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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook

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Enter a fantastic world of adventure! The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game puts you in the role of a brave adventurer fighting to survive in a world beset by magic and evil. Will you cut your way through monster-filled ruins and cities rife with political intrigue to emerge as a famous hero laden with fabulous treasure, or will you fall victim to treacherous traps and fiendish m Enter a fantastic world of adventure! The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game puts you in the role of a brave adventurer fighting to survive in a world beset by magic and evil. Will you cut your way through monster-filled ruins and cities rife with political intrigue to emerge as a famous hero laden with fabulous treasure, or will you fall victim to treacherous traps and fiendish monsters in a forgotten dungeon? Your fate is yours to decide with this giant Core Rulebook that provides everything a player needs to set out on a life of adventure and excitement! This imaginative tabletop game builds upon more than 10 years of system development and an open playtest involving more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into the new millennium. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook includes: - All player and Game Master rules in a single volume. - Complete rules for fantastic player races like elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, and half-orcs. - Exciting new options for character classes like fighters, wizards, rogues, clerics, and more. - Streamlined and updated rules for feats and skills that increase options for your hero. - A simple combat system with easy rules for grapples, bull rushes, and other special attacks. - Spellcaster options for magic domains, familiars, bonded items, specialty schools, and more. - Hundreds of revised, new, and updated spells and magical treasures. - Quick-generation guidelines for nonplayer characters. - Expanded rules for curses, diseases, and poisons. - A completely overhauled experience system with options for slow, medium, and fast advancement. ... and much, much more! Cover art by Wayne Reynolds


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Enter a fantastic world of adventure! The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game puts you in the role of a brave adventurer fighting to survive in a world beset by magic and evil. Will you cut your way through monster-filled ruins and cities rife with political intrigue to emerge as a famous hero laden with fabulous treasure, or will you fall victim to treacherous traps and fiendish m Enter a fantastic world of adventure! The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game puts you in the role of a brave adventurer fighting to survive in a world beset by magic and evil. Will you cut your way through monster-filled ruins and cities rife with political intrigue to emerge as a famous hero laden with fabulous treasure, or will you fall victim to treacherous traps and fiendish monsters in a forgotten dungeon? Your fate is yours to decide with this giant Core Rulebook that provides everything a player needs to set out on a life of adventure and excitement! This imaginative tabletop game builds upon more than 10 years of system development and an open playtest involving more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into the new millennium. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook includes: - All player and Game Master rules in a single volume. - Complete rules for fantastic player races like elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, and half-orcs. - Exciting new options for character classes like fighters, wizards, rogues, clerics, and more. - Streamlined and updated rules for feats and skills that increase options for your hero. - A simple combat system with easy rules for grapples, bull rushes, and other special attacks. - Spellcaster options for magic domains, familiars, bonded items, specialty schools, and more. - Hundreds of revised, new, and updated spells and magical treasures. - Quick-generation guidelines for nonplayer characters. - Expanded rules for curses, diseases, and poisons. - A completely overhauled experience system with options for slow, medium, and fast advancement. ... and much, much more! Cover art by Wayne Reynolds

30 review for Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook

  1. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    I'm converting my current D&D game from 3.5 to Pathfinder, so I wanted to buy myself a copy of the rulebook rather than mooching off my friend's. Naturally, in the game store, I also had to buy the Bestiary and Bestiary 2. I forgot how expensive gaming books are when you buy them new and not at the used bookstore. Jeez. I read through this book, skimming some parts I knew well, and reading others more closely. It's very well-written, more accessible, I think, than D&D is. Many of the rules are ex I'm converting my current D&D game from 3.5 to Pathfinder, so I wanted to buy myself a copy of the rulebook rather than mooching off my friend's. Naturally, in the game store, I also had to buy the Bestiary and Bestiary 2. I forgot how expensive gaming books are when you buy them new and not at the used bookstore. Jeez. I read through this book, skimming some parts I knew well, and reading others more closely. It's very well-written, more accessible, I think, than D&D is. Many of the rules are explained more fully and in a more comprehensible way. I also really like the art, and the emphasis on capable and experienced adventurers no matter their gender or age. As long as I have some people who are really experts in my group, I will probably never need to read this cover-to-cover, and for that I'm grateful, because my head starts swimming after battle statistics after awhile. But it's definitely a well-done book and worthy of the adulation it gets in my group.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Basic Premise: Rules for Pathfinder, a roleplaying game that adapts (and improves upon) the open source d20 rules developed for Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. I waited for this book for a looooong time. This was probably the closest I've come to reading an RPG book from cover to cover since I last read a brand-new system and had to run it. That said, i didn't actually read it fully from cover to cover. Some parts I read very closely, others I skimmed. For those who are interested in playing the game, u Basic Premise: Rules for Pathfinder, a roleplaying game that adapts (and improves upon) the open source d20 rules developed for Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. I waited for this book for a looooong time. This was probably the closest I've come to reading an RPG book from cover to cover since I last read a brand-new system and had to run it. That said, i didn't actually read it fully from cover to cover. Some parts I read very closely, others I skimmed. For those who are interested in playing the game, usually the first question I'm asked is "How different is it from D&D 3.5?" The answer: not very. There's some streamlining of skills, but not nearly to the extent that 4th edition did. There are some cool new feats, and some really cool new character class and race features. There's also an XP chart GMs can use for deciding if they want characters in their game to advance in level at a slow, fast, or medium pace. It took all of the essential GM and player tools and put them in one book. Frankly, that's a really nice feature for a player/GM, as I was always having to flip between multiple books for some of the stuff I wanted to do in either role. On the other hand, if you only have one copy of the book, then there's going to have to be sharing. The art is largely recycled from other Pathfinder books- largely the Rise of the Runelords adventure path materials, and there isn't a ton of art in the book overall. This isn't always a bad thing- the art is quite good- but there are a lot of places where I would have liked a little more illustration, particularly in the equipment and magic item sections. The design layout for the sections on skills, feats, and spells is also really well-done. All of the titles are in a dark brown bar so it is VERY easy to skim down the page and find exactly what you're looking for.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bill Coffin

    And so, I have finally buckled down and read this weighty tome, which has become one of the standard-bearers of the modern role-playing game hobby and industry. I have nibbled at the edges of d20 rules systems for a few years now, but I decided to just dive in and read Pathfinder because I figured even if it's not my kind of game, knowing why that is will be good for me. Plus, I love Pathfinder books; they are beautiful pinnacles of production. The Pathfinder rules are fairly simple at their core And so, I have finally buckled down and read this weighty tome, which has become one of the standard-bearers of the modern role-playing game hobby and industry. I have nibbled at the edges of d20 rules systems for a few years now, but I decided to just dive in and read Pathfinder because I figured even if it's not my kind of game, knowing why that is will be good for me. Plus, I love Pathfinder books; they are beautiful pinnacles of production. The Pathfinder rules are fairly simple at their core, and I'm not going to try to explain them to non-gamers because, well, that's what this book is for, innit? For those already familiar with Dungeons & Dragons, which this book is derived from more or less, the rules are pretty straightforward and the concepts holding them all together - rolling a twenty-sided die plus various modifiers against a target number to determine the outcome of a task or an action - is a solid one. What Pathfinder does best is it streamlines all of the eleventeen billion various details that comprises D&D and it unifies them into a really consistent framework. Versions 3.0 and 3.5 of D&D did this first, of course, and from what I understand, Pathfinder took that work one step further, but having no experience with 3.0 or 3.5, I can't tell the difference. All I can really compare this to are the old-school versions of D&D I used to play, namely Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and The Basic/Expert/Companion/Master/Immortal Dungeons & Dragons. And against those old standards, the difference is huge. Now, what's worth noting is that right now, there is a revival of these old rules going around, and the thing about these old rules, particularly AD&D, is that those rules were at times very uneven, hard to decipher, and all-around led to people adapting which parts they liked/understood and ejecting the parts that didn't work for them. This made early RPGs like AD&D a personal experience. My AD&D was not your AD&D was not his AD&D and so on. As time wore on, role-playing games tried to address this with more complete rules, rules written more skillfully and in plain English. But D&D being what it was, sort of resisted this. You already kind of knew the rules, so a fullbore rewrite was never quite in the cards. Here's the thing, though: nowadays, there are plenty of new RPGs, such as Castles & Crusades, that are modern re-writings of those old, wonky-as-hell D&D rules, right along side modern games like Pathfinder, which are rather a bit different evolutions of those old rules. For a grognard like me (look it up, kid), the question largely comes down to this: I like D&D. I like it a lot. I don't want to feel like I have to fix the rules so they work as I want them. To that end, do I want to play a retro-clone like Castles & Crusades, or do I want to play Pathfinder? And in that direction is where my review of Pathfinder must go. Pathfinder is an immense rulebook, nearly 600 pages. It is festooned with all kinds of detail, much of it designed to give you an extraordinary degree of customization for your player character. Magic spells are presented in an orderly fashion, as are the massive array of magic items to include in the game. Combat rules are, at their heart, fairly simple to execute, as their rules conform to the essential D20+modifiers vs. target number mechanic. But there is something about the combat I disliked intensely, and it was the volume of rulemaking devoted toward resolving combat in a tactical, almost wargame-y fashion. It is coupled with exhaustive descriptions for how lots of specific combat situations are to be resolved. The whole thing looks and feels very complete, but for a guy like myself, who wants to keep combat simple and resolved almost in a narrative sense, rather than in a really detailed gamist sense, it all felt like too much of a good thing. It felt, if I can be honest, like an effort to finally codify the best GM responses to every single rules lawyer bitch, gripe, moan, and dodgy move ever conceived since 1977 or so. These are all things that GMs figured out to handle over years of play. Now, there is an official rule for everything, and that isn't always a great thing. I saw this approach also in the GM section, in which adventures and encounters are actually budgeted by the GM, removing from the game a great deal of the randomness that characterized older versions of the game. That randomness often produced weird or silly results, but it also was fun as hell. Pathfinder seems to have rejected the randomness of old to such a degree that the whole game is meant to be finely controlled from the outset. And in that, I have to say, Pathfinder works really, really well. But it also feels like it has stripped away that DIY aspect of role-playing that I so enjoy. In its effort to cover every contingency, Pathfinder seems strangely...sterile. I suppose it feels like actually going to a foreign country and seeing it for all it's worth, the good and the bad, versus going to the Disneyworld imitation of it. The Disney version is perfect in every way, and it's ideal for a guaranteed good time. But you can't actually say you've had a bona fide cultural experience. That's the feeling I get by comparing Pathfinder versus simpler, looser rules that require you to kind of wing it a little. And that is why I wonder if ultimately, Pathfinder might not be for me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    The book that got me interested in gaming again. I gave up after D&D 3.5 became an unmanageable mess of splatbooks and my interest in the industry faltered for a few years until I happened upon a review of this here mighty tome. After checking out the free pdf version online I ordered a hardcopy and instantly fell in love. It reminds me of the 90s, when game designers churned out books because they loved gaming, not because it was making them a ton of money (I'm looking at you WOTC!). You can tel The book that got me interested in gaming again. I gave up after D&D 3.5 became an unmanageable mess of splatbooks and my interest in the industry faltered for a few years until I happened upon a review of this here mighty tome. After checking out the free pdf version online I ordered a hardcopy and instantly fell in love. It reminds me of the 90s, when game designers churned out books because they loved gaming, not because it was making them a ton of money (I'm looking at you WOTC!). You can tell the Paizo crew seriously loves gaming in the d20 rules. The attention to detail and amount of play-testing they put into changing what didn't work so well in 3.5 really shows. Even if you don't read it cover to cover, it's enough material to keep you going back to its pages; a pleasure since they are designed and laid out so thoughtfully.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    It's a game rulebook! It's a massive weight and exercise tool! It's both! In all due seriousness, Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook is now ensconced on my permanant shelves of game books to refer to often. A very very well done expansion of the OGL D20 licence, Pathfinder further refines and updates the rules in many good ways. Whether you're new to fantasy role-playing or an old gaming dinosaur like myself (playing since 1982), there's much to love and enjoy about Pathfinder. Give it a look, regardl It's a game rulebook! It's a massive weight and exercise tool! It's both! In all due seriousness, Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook is now ensconced on my permanant shelves of game books to refer to often. A very very well done expansion of the OGL D20 licence, Pathfinder further refines and updates the rules in many good ways. Whether you're new to fantasy role-playing or an old gaming dinosaur like myself (playing since 1982), there's much to love and enjoy about Pathfinder. Give it a look, regardless of whatever rules you normally use, as I'm sure you'll find something worth adopting into your own games.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    While I greatly enjoy playing D&D 3.5, Pathfinder is a bit more enjoyable. The rules, skills, HP and feats are vastly easier to calculate/track than 3.5. The classes seem to be a bit more powerful as well. Only a few sessions in so we'll see how it goes but I like it so far. I don't feel as lost in leveling my character as with 3.5 and that makes me very happy :-) While I greatly enjoy playing D&D 3.5, Pathfinder is a bit more enjoyable. The rules, skills, HP and feats are vastly easier to calculate/track than 3.5. The classes seem to be a bit more powerful as well. Only a few sessions in so we'll see how it goes but I like it so far. I don't feel as lost in leveling my character as with 3.5 and that makes me very happy :-)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jake Ramberg

    Well organized, nice pictures.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mark Bevier

    The system is great, but at least for my play style not ideal. Combat can really take a long time if you use all the rules. It also isn't as engaging because you tend to focus on the rules the whole time rather than having a cinematic battle described. Some may enjoy this, but if I had to choose I would go with a system that had more engaging combat that can resolve faster. Or, simply go with a more fuzzy resolution of the rules and leave the battle grid at home. There less balance issues than D& The system is great, but at least for my play style not ideal. Combat can really take a long time if you use all the rules. It also isn't as engaging because you tend to focus on the rules the whole time rather than having a cinematic battle described. Some may enjoy this, but if I had to choose I would go with a system that had more engaging combat that can resolve faster. Or, simply go with a more fuzzy resolution of the rules and leave the battle grid at home. There less balance issues than D&D 3.5, but that isn't saying much. If you have players that like to min/max with players who chose skills/feats for RP reasons - you will have some drastic disparity in character power here. I won't mention the ridiculous power spikes you can produce, but they are there and annoying to deal with. Overall, the issues with engaging combat, etc can be solved with a creative GM. However, providing a challenge in combat to the powerhouse characters this system produces becomes a real chore. All in all, still the best variant of that D&D 3e flavor. If you liked D&D 3/3.5e, you'll love this.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Moe

    Just finished a 2nd read through of this. I know I will probably catch flack for this as Pathfinder is hugely popular, but to me this isn't the best book. To me it's written for people who already played or play 3.5 D&D. It doesn't do a good job of introducing the game or the game concepts and contains a hugely crunch rules vs. fluff balance. There is actually nothing in here about the game world. Nothing that tells me what kind of stories I can tell with this. Nothing that really tells me "what Just finished a 2nd read through of this. I know I will probably catch flack for this as Pathfinder is hugely popular, but to me this isn't the best book. To me it's written for people who already played or play 3.5 D&D. It doesn't do a good job of introducing the game or the game concepts and contains a hugely crunch rules vs. fluff balance. There is actually nothing in here about the game world. Nothing that tells me what kind of stories I can tell with this. Nothing that really tells me "what do I do with this" I hear that the 'campaign setting' is the Guide to the Inner Sea - which sounds cool, but doesn't that mean this is no longer the 'one book system' people claim it is? All that aside I do like the crunch. Without having play I can't confirm it but the rules changes from 3.5 D&D all seem very well thought out and like very positive changes. This sounds like a very tight system and I have a very strong feeling that with this I never need to touch my 3.5 books again (though I could still use them since the books are compatible).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This really is everything a beginning player would need to create a character or even DM their first pathfinder game. That said, it's based of the 3.5 version of Dungeons and Dragons so this is slightly complicated but this book breaks down everything nicely if you have a mind for gaming, or just enough patience to work it through. Though I will fault this book for placing some of the information in bizarre places (not in the chapter or place where one would expect) and I've had to use the index This really is everything a beginning player would need to create a character or even DM their first pathfinder game. That said, it's based of the 3.5 version of Dungeons and Dragons so this is slightly complicated but this book breaks down everything nicely if you have a mind for gaming, or just enough patience to work it through. Though I will fault this book for placing some of the information in bizarre places (not in the chapter or place where one would expect) and I've had to use the index to hunt the info down, but it is there! The art is solid although it's trying to copy Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 a little too much, but to some that might be a plus as they flee from 4.0 and *shudder* Next. At the end of the day Pathfinder is a solid system with it's own flaws and perks like any other completed d20 system, but this one lends it self to rule bending/ rewriting and is based on d&d 3.5 and "fixing" the problems with that system. Worth a try if Next or whatever system you're running just isn't cutting the mustard anymore.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Blake

    The shadowy masterminds of the internet have been touting this as D&D 3.75, and truly, that is dead on. Front to back, it's everything from the PHB and DMG, but with a ton of clarifications and re-organizations. Also, all the races and classes have been buffed like they were working with a personal trainer three days a week. But hey, it works. NERD. The shadowy masterminds of the internet have been touting this as D&D 3.75, and truly, that is dead on. Front to back, it's everything from the PHB and DMG, but with a ton of clarifications and re-organizations. Also, all the races and classes have been buffed like they were working with a personal trainer three days a week. But hey, it works. NERD.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Payton Wessell

    This is what 4th edition should have been. Awesome job on making the game we love that much bettr.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Julian Meynell

    This book is what 3.5 should have been. In retrospect 3.5 was where D&D started to go downhill. I suspect that this is when corporate types that had no understanding of role-playing started making core decisions and started alienating their fan base, 3.5 did not really revisit 3rd edition, but instead made a few tweaks to the game that were nor really better or worse, but caused people to have rebuy the books or to work with two slightly different systems. In contrast Pathfinder revisited the ru This book is what 3.5 should have been. In retrospect 3.5 was where D&D started to go downhill. I suspect that this is when corporate types that had no understanding of role-playing started making core decisions and started alienating their fan base, 3.5 did not really revisit 3rd edition, but instead made a few tweaks to the game that were nor really better or worse, but caused people to have rebuy the books or to work with two slightly different systems. In contrast Pathfinder revisited the rules, reconsider everything and fixed all the problematic stuff. Unlike the disaster of 4th edition, Pathfinder is the true successor to D&D. The main fix is that the core classes are boosted in power. There is now interesting new stuff for almost every class level and the core classes are as good as Prestige classes. Pathfinder gives a lot of love to the Core classes and quite a bit of flexibility which is only increased by the other supplemental books. That means that the core classes are just very interesting to play. Everything else has been improved as well. That has been done by revisiting everything and cleaning it up where needed. Some of the highlights are combing The Player's Guide and The Dungeon Master's Guide into one book. The addition of the concepts of the Combat Maneuver Bonus and the Combat Maneuver Defense. This brings all the special actions in combat like bullrushing, overrunning, feinting and sundering under one system of rules. In particular, it simplifies grappling so that these rules are now simple enough that players are going to be tempted to grapple, instead of avoiding it because the rules are such a headache. Another standout is the overhaul of skills. A number of skills have been rolled together. In particular - search, spot and listen have been rolled into one skill of perception, hide and move silent rolled into stealth and balance, jump and tumble into acrobatics. This is just much better and quicker. Also, a skill being cross classed is no longer such a big deal. Any character, can overtime, become good at any skill. For some classes, certain skills will be easier. First level, also works like all other levels for skills and that is just much better. There are almost double the number of feats as there were in the 3.5 players guide as well. Magic item creation has been improved and players might do it now. In this book, there is not one change that I have noticed that does not improve the game. My only beef with the game is that it continues to put too much emphasis on combat. From the start the bulk of the rules for D&D were always about combat because it evolved out of miniatures gaming. In 1st and 2nd edition there was a lot of hand-waving in the rules, so the fact that everything outside of combat was blurry did not matter so much, because everyone had to role play out situations including combat all the time. Once 3rd edition cleaned up combat, some more robust rules for everything else might have been useful, so that the game supported adventures that were less of the traditional dungeon crawl a little but better. The supplements address this a bit, by putting in spells that are really only about role-playing more frequently. Things like the Game Mastery Guide or Mythic Adventures don't fix this because there rule sets are bad. However, Pathfinder is what 3.5 should have been and people playing any edition of D&D after 2nd edition should switch to Pathfinder because it is doing what 3rd edition did, only better and 4th edition is not worth playing at all.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Seth Kenlon

    Pathfinder is essentially a fork of Dungeons & Dragons (at version 3.5), and as forks go, it doesn't diverge all that much. In fact, you might consider it a parallel universe. Pathfinder retains the epic scope of D&D, it keeps the same tone, and the same general feel. It's a classic RPG system, with all the basic rules and intricate subtleties of a fully-developed system. Pathfinder has, impressively, managed to build up a rich and diverse lore for its world. You have to look for it a little hard Pathfinder is essentially a fork of Dungeons & Dragons (at version 3.5), and as forks go, it doesn't diverge all that much. In fact, you might consider it a parallel universe. Pathfinder retains the epic scope of D&D, it keeps the same tone, and the same general feel. It's a classic RPG system, with all the basic rules and intricate subtleties of a fully-developed system. Pathfinder has, impressively, managed to build up a rich and diverse lore for its world. You have to look for it a little harder than you do for D&D lore, but as long as you seek it out, you'll find plenty to work with. Some of it comes through in the rulebooks, but there's more in a few novels and comic series, too. The nice thing about Pathfinder is that it has a lot of game history; it's been around for years, with lots of add-on material from both its creators at Paizo and from third-party contributions. What that means to you as a player is that if you can imagine it, someone's probably already made it a compatible option in the game. On the whole, I don't see any reason to prefer either D&D or Pathfinder over the other. Buth are well-designed RPG systems with plenty of backstory, inspiration, and intrigue. Both are fun to play, and both have active communities and publishers. The core rulebook is over 500 pages, but it's really three books in one: 1. There's the player's guide, with rules for building a character, including descriptions of the core classes and races, plus a list of feats, spells, and equipment to choose from. 2. Then there's a basic dungeon master's guide, which I think is the weakest part of the volume; it doesn't really give a big-picture view of what the dungeon master has to do during the game, or how to start a game, but provides insight into minor rules that haven't necessarily been explained elsewhere yet. If you had never played an RPG and were looking to this book for an examination of how it's done, I'm not sure you'd be satisfied. for that, check out the Pathfinder Beginner Box or even the misnamed Pathfinder Strategy Guide. 3. Everything else; there are advanced character options, discussions about environments and what you might find in each, an extensive list of magic items, and more. In other words, you get a heck of a lot for your money, and if you read this book from cover to cover, you'll emerge knowing all the D&D and Pathfinder tropes and traditions you need. This is highly recommended. If you're just getting into tabletop RPG, try the Pathfinder Beginner's Box, which is uh-maze-ing.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Miranda

    What I really like about the Pathfinder CRB is that almost everything you need to run your campaign can be found inside this book. Unlike the DnD-verse, in which you really need the PHB, DM Guide, and the Monster Manual in order to truly run a campaign, with Pathfinder you only need the CRB, mostly if you're just starting out as a GM. Lots of good materials inside. What I really like about the Pathfinder CRB is that almost everything you need to run your campaign can be found inside this book. Unlike the DnD-verse, in which you really need the PHB, DM Guide, and the Monster Manual in order to truly run a campaign, with Pathfinder you only need the CRB, mostly if you're just starting out as a GM. Lots of good materials inside.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Max

    Judging by the core rulebook, Pathfinder seems like a fairly good system, even if it has a few faults. It's basically a revised and improved version of D&D 3.5, with all the complexity that implies. There are some good things done to make the rules simpler or better. Classes have more features and options: paladins can chose between a magic war horse and the ability to customize their weapon with magic powers, sorcerers have bloodlines that define some of their special abilities, and so on. Also Judging by the core rulebook, Pathfinder seems like a fairly good system, even if it has a few faults. It's basically a revised and improved version of D&D 3.5, with all the complexity that implies. There are some good things done to make the rules simpler or better. Classes have more features and options: paladins can chose between a magic war horse and the ability to customize their weapon with magic powers, sorcerers have bloodlines that define some of their special abilities, and so on. Also, feats come more often, and the skill system has largely been streamlined by removing the fiddliness of skill points and combining old skills into Stealth and Perception. On the other hand, while I get what they're trying to do with the Fly skill, it still seems fairly silly. Other touches that I like include removing XP costs for spells and item crafting, making energy drain attacks less of a pain to deal with, and making stuff like the arcane archer open to any character regardless of race. Still, this shares the same level of complexity as 3.5, which makes me a little wary, but I will admit that playing Neverwinter Nights and reading the original 3.5 books means I have a pretty good familiarity with the rules. I do have some complaints about the book itself. This is an incredibly long book, and while only parts of it are necessary to start as a player, it still has the potential to be pretty intimidating. Fortunately, there's the Beginner's Box and the Strategy Guide now, but when this first came out, it wasn't necessarily the best entry point. More importantly, it has a fairly anemic game mastering chapter that really doesn't offer anywhere near enough advice. Personally, I wish they'd cut that and a few of the other bits from the DMG out and saved them for the Gamemastery Guide where they really belong. Since there's already a separate book of monsters, I feel that no attempt at comprehensive GM advice was necessary here, and nothing at all is probably better than what we did get. On the plus side, I do definitely like most of the changes and improvements over 3.5, and the art is much, much better - as is the aesthetics of the book in general. Overall, I had a fairly enjoyable time reading this (aside from the 150 pages of spells, which was a bit of a slog at times), and I look forward to playing this system as soon as I can.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Keelan

    Well, I had absolutely no idea this kind of book was on Goodreads, but seeing as it's been my role-playing bible for the last 2 years, I might as well review it! Pathfinder is undoubtedly one of the most intricate RPGs, especially where character creation is concerned. Even with the Core Rulebook, the amount of variety that can be accomplished using only the core classes/races is astonishing. There are rules that cover every kind of situation, but with enough flexibility to allow you to improvise Well, I had absolutely no idea this kind of book was on Goodreads, but seeing as it's been my role-playing bible for the last 2 years, I might as well review it! Pathfinder is undoubtedly one of the most intricate RPGs, especially where character creation is concerned. Even with the Core Rulebook, the amount of variety that can be accomplished using only the core classes/races is astonishing. There are rules that cover every kind of situation, but with enough flexibility to allow you to improvise where you have to. As a GM, you can theoretically throw whole subsystems out and just wing it with the basic mechanic if you want an easier game (something I've done a few times), but the basics are easy enough to memorize if you put some effort in, leaving just special situations to read up on before the session, if deserts or avalanches are likely to come up. The thing with Pathfinder is, there are a *lot* of special situations if you feel inclined to use them. It's a very mathematical, crunch-y system, so if you prefer a more narrative approach, I'd recommend a somewhat lighter RPG, such as 2E, 5E, or the free Basic Fantasy RPG rules. Now I'm going to contradict myself, because I actually do have a very narrative style of play, and I use Pathfinder. This is because 1. I love the amount of options you get with Pathfinder, 2. I love how modular and how easy the system is to customize , and 3. I never let the system get in the way of a good story. The whole book is written in a very neutral tone that makes it a joy to read for me, although some might find the raw statistics and tables pretty dry-- there're no anecdotes or snippets of wisdom from the authors to break up the constant stream of mechanics. This works for me: what I expect from a core rulebook is just the rules, without any asides to past gaming experience or hints on play. This also means I don't recommend the book for people who are new to roleplaying. There's a beginner's box for that, so I assume that contains the necessary introductions to the hobby, but as far as the Rulebook is concerned, it's assumed you already know what you're doing. The book itself is clearly laid out, and has fantastic artwork and production, of course.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    (Please see my review for the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook, v3.5 before proceeding here.) I'm very pleased that Jason Bulmahn and his colleagues had the sense to keep the D&D 3.5 rules active, and that they have continued to evolve the rules allowing them grow. Nothing against D&D 4th edition; it's a fine game, and if it's the game you prefer: more power to you. If you read my review of the D&D Player's Handbook, v3.5, you know my feelings on the matter -- I don't care what version you pl (Please see my review for the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook, v3.5 before proceeding here.) I'm very pleased that Jason Bulmahn and his colleagues had the sense to keep the D&D 3.5 rules active, and that they have continued to evolve the rules allowing them grow. Nothing against D&D 4th edition; it's a fine game, and if it's the game you prefer: more power to you. If you read my review of the D&D Player's Handbook, v3.5, you know my feelings on the matter -- I don't care what version you play... I don't care if you're a grognard happily keeping AD&D 1st edition thumping along, or a newbie playing your first RPG ever... I don't care, so long as you play. Pathfinder is a fine choice, by the way. The system is easy to learn, there is a very abundant availability of game materials, and it continues a very important tradition in fantasy role playing games.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

    As the spiritual successor to the original Dungeons and Dragons and as the gameplay successor to edition 3.5 of the same, this game does an excellent job ironing out the wrinkles of the latter without departing too much from the former. Though it seems like a hefty tome to read, the actual mechanics are a fraction of book which is devoted mostly to reference lists involving magic and some player character development. The rules themselves are minimal, and even better, definition of many specific As the spiritual successor to the original Dungeons and Dragons and as the gameplay successor to edition 3.5 of the same, this game does an excellent job ironing out the wrinkles of the latter without departing too much from the former. Though it seems like a hefty tome to read, the actual mechanics are a fraction of book which is devoted mostly to reference lists involving magic and some player character development. The rules themselves are minimal, and even better, definition of many specific terms are at the end of the book making it easy to refer to them. If the book has a flaw at all, it's that the rules are indeed peppered throughout the many lists, and sometimes I would like to give a new player something concise so as not to overwhelm them. In any case, play on my good companions!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shane Moore

    When Wizards of the Coast released D&D 4.0 a lot of players found it unpalatable. The influence of video games on the mechanics was evident, and some of the depth and complexity of earlier editions was lost in service to accessibility. Pathfinder was an alternative, a step forward from 3.5 though instead of being a diversion it was clearly in the same direction that 3.5 had been going. Pathfinder provided a lot of solutions to the common complaints about 3.5 (like the grappling rules) and develo When Wizards of the Coast released D&D 4.0 a lot of players found it unpalatable. The influence of video games on the mechanics was evident, and some of the depth and complexity of earlier editions was lost in service to accessibility. Pathfinder was an alternative, a step forward from 3.5 though instead of being a diversion it was clearly in the same direction that 3.5 had been going. Pathfinder provided a lot of solutions to the common complaints about 3.5 (like the grappling rules) and developed the game in a logical direction. In my opinion its greatest feature was that it retained compatibility with 3.5 material, though the older stuff would often be a little underpowered compared to the Pathfinder options so scaling it up a tad might be advisable.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Ragland

    Well organized, clearly written, and with high production values. This is the quality of corebook I aspire to produce. The artwork however sorely needs to be reviewed, especially in terms of the female characters, as it shows an attitude that is outdated and sexist. The game mechanics are presented in a logical progression and in clear, readily understandable terms. The Paizo team's love of this game shows on every page. As far as content, Pathfinder is, like its ancestry, a combat-oriented, cru Well organized, clearly written, and with high production values. This is the quality of corebook I aspire to produce. The artwork however sorely needs to be reviewed, especially in terms of the female characters, as it shows an attitude that is outdated and sexist. The game mechanics are presented in a logical progression and in clear, readily understandable terms. The Paizo team's love of this game shows on every page. As far as content, Pathfinder is, like its ancestry, a combat-oriented, crunchy-bit heavy game system, not particularly suited for social adventure or roleplaying in non combat situations. Does it deliver What It Says On The Tin? Absolutely. If you're looking for an old school, combat heavy exploration, delving, or war campaign, Pathfinder delivers.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Takes the rather stale, bloated and overly complicated Dungeons & Dragons v3.5 and tidies it up, making it feel fresh and new but still manages to keep the 'feel' of D&D. Despite having plenty of 'crunch' it is easy to read, remember and learn. The only real criticism is that despite a sizeable section on how to run a game, there is no bestiary or introductory adventure, making it of little use to those new to the hobby. Despite that, it is the spiritual successor to D&D 3 that D&D 4 wasn't. Takes the rather stale, bloated and overly complicated Dungeons & Dragons v3.5 and tidies it up, making it feel fresh and new but still manages to keep the 'feel' of D&D. Despite having plenty of 'crunch' it is easy to read, remember and learn. The only real criticism is that despite a sizeable section on how to run a game, there is no bestiary or introductory adventure, making it of little use to those new to the hobby. Despite that, it is the spiritual successor to D&D 3 that D&D 4 wasn't.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Artyom Laletin

    Do you want a rampaging troll to break your friends' skulls? Well look no further! This is a pen and paper game for you! Set in a typical mid-magic world with your round of the mill elves, dwarves, orcs, halflings, gnomes and those other annoying things - humans. Choose a race, a class, and hope that your party members don't burn the inn down before the adventure really begins. Escaping from jail tends to drag on for a session or two. Do you want a rampaging troll to break your friends' skulls? Well look no further! This is a pen and paper game for you! Set in a typical mid-magic world with your round of the mill elves, dwarves, orcs, halflings, gnomes and those other annoying things - humans. Choose a race, a class, and hope that your party members don't burn the inn down before the adventure really begins. Escaping from jail tends to drag on for a session or two.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mountainroot

    I hate the D20 system. I think it's one of the worst systems for tabletop RPG with many problems and not theatrical at all. BUT My favorite edition so far was 3.5 but now that i read the Pathfinders is by far even better. There is no need to go back to 3.5 really. I don't consider 4th or 5th edition even remotely good. It's total garbage as a system. So i really thing that Pathfinder is the best D20 system there is out there.....but it still is a D20. I hate the D20 system. I think it's one of the worst systems for tabletop RPG with many problems and not theatrical at all. BUT My favorite edition so far was 3.5 but now that i read the Pathfinders is by far even better. There is no need to go back to 3.5 really. I don't consider 4th or 5th edition even remotely good. It's total garbage as a system. So i really thing that Pathfinder is the best D20 system there is out there.....but it still is a D20.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Riaz Rizvi

    Nice game system, richer, more technical than the latest D&D game. Gives players a more substantial framework to play in, though of course requires a lot of commitment on the part of player and DM. I've been playing this with my 13 year old and his friends, for about 5 weeks. I've written up as many cheat sheets to help them grasp the key rules, each week we get down to another level of detail, which makes the fights more interesting to play, and more satisfying to run. Nice game system, richer, more technical than the latest D&D game. Gives players a more substantial framework to play in, though of course requires a lot of commitment on the part of player and DM. I've been playing this with my 13 year old and his friends, for about 5 weeks. I've written up as many cheat sheets to help them grasp the key rules, each week we get down to another level of detail, which makes the fights more interesting to play, and more satisfying to run.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Four stars because there is actually such a thing as too many rules. But still. If you've been playing 5e for a while and are bored with the lack of options and/or prefer a little more crunch to your games, PF is where most people will point you, and they're right to. I love you, silly little game, even if you visibly strain under the weight of your own rules sometimes. Four stars because there is actually such a thing as too many rules. But still. If you've been playing 5e for a while and are bored with the lack of options and/or prefer a little more crunch to your games, PF is where most people will point you, and they're right to. I love you, silly little game, even if you visibly strain under the weight of your own rules sometimes.

  27. 4 out of 5

    James Bowman

    The best iteration of the D&D 3.5 ruleset, with many little improvements on the original. It also helps that it's an all-in-one book, combining both player and GM material into one giant text. If you want a solid and well-supported variant of D&D, this is the book to buy. The best iteration of the D&D 3.5 ruleset, with many little improvements on the original. It also helps that it's an all-in-one book, combining both player and GM material into one giant text. If you want a solid and well-supported variant of D&D, this is the book to buy.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chris Jackson

    This took me a long time to get through, longer than I thought it would, but I enjoyed reading through it and learning more about how another aspect of the RPG community works and fits in with others.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Page 815

    I use Pathfinder for all my RPG sessions with friends and has been gamemastering in it for 1-2 years now. The system is really good, simple but poweful. This book lies the bare basics in understandable way.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Harold Smithson

    There's an undeniable depth to the Pathfinder system and the massive amount of supplementary material released for it gives players and DMs alike many toys to play with (who among us would not like to fight a Jabberwock), but while I can respect this approach to game design, actually running it can be a problem. The depth is almost counterproductive, since the difference between a player who knows what they're doing and a player just starting out is astronomical leading to parties carried by one There's an undeniable depth to the Pathfinder system and the massive amount of supplementary material released for it gives players and DMs alike many toys to play with (who among us would not like to fight a Jabberwock), but while I can respect this approach to game design, actually running it can be a problem. The depth is almost counterproductive, since the difference between a player who knows what they're doing and a player just starting out is astronomical leading to parties carried by one or two dedicated powergamers. I actually prefer DnD 5e, despite its shallower systems. It's more flexible and, as a DM, easier to work with. You can quickly homebrew anything you want and experienced players can peacefully coexist with new ones. Far be it from me to condemn a work for catering to a relatively niche audience, but I don't get the appeal of pure system mastery in a game where the only reward is that the DM accidentally wipes the party when the one powergamer has to call in sick, or where your friends are useless for large sections of the game because you end encounters too quickly. There's an old Magic: The Gathering joke where a player organizes their deck beforehand in order to make sure they draw specific cards, only to randomly shuffle it a few minutes later. DM: Did you powergame? Player: Yes, but don't worry! You can just DM a campaign that's mostly social situations so the other players have fun. DM: So why did you powergame?

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