Well, it’s official – I’m a Pathfinder player!
No, I haven’t abandoned Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition; that’s still my main game. But I was invited to join an ongoing Pathfinder campaign run by a guy who I know to be a fantastic game master, so I took it as an opportunity to learn a new game.
I’m playing Beren, a human cleric of Desna, the goddess of luck and travel. The way the character came together was sort of funny. I was invited to join a game in a campaign world I knew nothing about. I read through the Pathfinder Core Rulebook and thought that cleric would be a good class for me to play. In looking at the various domains, I liked the luck and travel features of Desna and thought one of her clerics would provide some fun role playing opportunities (she’s very free spirited), so I rolled one up.
Then the GM provided the campaign guide (Rise of the Runelords) and it turns out that there’s a race of humans called the Varisians who are basically gypsies and who commonly worship Desna. Well, that’s an easy fit! So, Beren is a gypsy (although he’s somewhat adrift from his people and has been assimilating into non-Varisian society for several years).
It also turned out that the first session started with a dedication of a new temple of Desna in the town of Sandpoint, so my cleric was very well received. Hey, go with the flow.
The game itself was fun. We fought off a bunch of goblins attacking the town, became known as heroes, went on a boar hunt, got appointed as temporary town guards, and are currently investigating a glassworks that’s been invaded by goblins.
The role playing has been great. We’re all still getting to know our own characters, let alone one another’s, so it’s a slow process, but coming along nicely. The GM continues to be awesome, really bringing the NPCs to life. We made a lot of progress in the adventure itself, with four separate combat encounters already down and the plot beginning to unfold.
Combat is similar in a lot of ways to D&D4e, though there are certainly differences I need to keep in mind. I’ve accidentally cheated at least a couple of times by forgetting that every other diagonal square that you move in Pathfinder costs an extra square of movement. I’ve had to get used to the fact that the cleric’s most useful activities typically replace an attack (doing some healing, making someone’s next attack better) whereas in 4th Edition those things tend to be in addition to making an attack. I’ve gotten the feeling that I’ve probably screwed something up in making the character (he only has 8 hit points at first level, and the other characters seem to have a lot more), but I’m still having fun with him.
So far, I think I’d say I enjoy 4e as a game a bit better, but playing with a great GM is worth it for any system. Pathfinder is kind of fiddly compared to 4e, but it’s more “realistic”. I’ll definitely give it a nice, long try and I’ll have fun doing it. But so far if I had to pick just one game to play, I’d lean toward 4e. We’ll see how my opinion evolves as I get a better understanding of the Pathfinder system and more games under my belt.