Varsovian
 member, 1357 posts
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 18:58
Pathfinder is scary...
Last year, somewhat by chance, I ended up with a whole bunch of Pathfinder books. After looking through them - especially the bestiaries - I decided that I liked them so much that I would like to GM this game at some time. Since then, I actually ended up buying a few more books... that said, I haven't got to playing this game yet.

Why? This game is scary - when it cames to the amount of rules. It crunchier than GURPS - the corerulebook has nearly 600 pages. And then, there are bestiaries, player and GM guides, advanced classes, books like Ultimate Magic / Campaign / whatever... I'm seriously overwhelmed.

And of course, before starting to GM, one needs to come up with a setting. That means decisions - on style and mood, on races available, on languages, on gods... And when you come up with gods, you need to create a whole cosmology for them... Again, more complicated than GURPS!

How to even start with this game??? Ugh...
witchdoctor
 member, 133 posts
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 19:08
Pathfinder is scary...
Being a beginner GM, you could always just start simple.  Good players will understand that you would like to ease into the role and limit the character creation to just the basic core books to start and maybe allow the other non-core books at a later date when you feel more comfortable with running a campaign.  One piece of advice I gave to another fledgling GM was to use the introduction of another rulebook as an adventure hook...an expansion into a wider world for your party.
Sir Swindle
 member, 197 posts
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 19:40
Pathfinder is scary...
Most of the rule books are really just piecemeal articles that you don't really need to know very well. Skim over most of the specifics and then take a careful look at what your players actually pick. The SRD is your friend, I've spent a lot of time perfecting the ability to open manuals to the correct page, but for everyone else having a hyperlinked wiki available for all of the options is handy (the only way you can play a summoner in my opinion).

You are being too ambitious with your setting. What classes are available? What ever they picked! What races are around? Apparently the ones the PC's are have populations in the region, except the guy playing wolverine he's from some other region.

Powered by the Apocalypse (apocalypse world and it's contemporaries) actually have a really good guide on how to actually run games from the seat of your pants.

Crunchier than GURPS is maybe an overstatement. Isn't the collected page count of all the GURPS manuals something like 10,000 pages?

That being said if you know GURPS why are you trying to run PF? It's a steaming heap of un-fun filled garbage... IMHO
swordchucks
 member, 1376 posts
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 19:48
Pathfinder is scary...
There are a lot of moving parts to Pathfinder, but it's much simpler than GURPS overall.  The thing you'll find quickly is that while there are a LOT of rules... most characters only touch on a fraction of them, especially at low level.  You need to read through the combat section a couple of times, check out the glossary, and skim skills and you're probably well enough equipped to run a module.

Getting started, I'd suggest running a module or two to get your feet wet.  Master of the Fallen Fortress is really popular for that http://paizo.com/products/btpy...-the-Fallen-Fortress and another option are the Goblins modules, which are just fun (and show the Golarion goblins in all of their sneaksy evilness) http://paizo.com/products/btpy...Module-We-Be-Goblins

For your first time out, you can force folks to use pre-generated characters (the goblins modules include them, and Pathfinder Society has a ton of them).  That'll greatly cut down on your issues with learning characters, etc.

Another alternative is if you have the Basic Set.  It has a scaled-down rule set you can use and it's very easy to make characters in and run.
engine
 member, 292 posts
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 19:51
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Varsovian:
Why? This game is scary - when it cames to the amount of rules. It crunchier than GURPS - the corerulebook has nearly 600 pages. And then, there are bestiaries, player and GM guides, advanced classes, books like Ultimate Magic / Campaign / whatever... I'm seriously overwhelmed.
By no means does anyone have to be aware of every single rule, choice and option in a D&D game. That's one of the nice things about level-based games: everyone only really needs to be familiar with the things relevant to the level at which they're playing. That's going to be a fair amount even at first level, since there can be a lot of basic rules, but it's still just a segment of what's necessary.

Then there's stuff that just isn't going to come up in your games. If you're not planning to involve seafaring, don't bother learning about the relevant rules, feats, items or monsters. Etc. That's one of the nice things about dungeon-based adventures.

Varsovian:
And of course, before starting to GM, one needs to come up with a setting. That means decisions - on style and mood, on races available, on languages, on gods... And when you come up with gods, you need to create a whole cosmology for them... Again, more complicated than GURPS!

How to even start with this game??? Ugh...
The great thing is that you don't need to make all those choices yourself. Get some players interested in the general idea of a simple Pathfinder game, and then collaborate with them on the details.

And contain those details. Why do you need a cosmology at all? Not every game depends on that level of detail.

I can understand wanting those details, or feeling that they're necessary, but games really can get by on less. One thing they can't get by on is a frustrated, overwhelmed GM, so you'll need to find a balance. Remember that it's fiction, and don't hold yourself to too high a standard, as most of them are unrealistic anyway. You're not Tolkien, and you don't have his kind of time, or his goals. You're just playing a game. Let your guide be more modern stories where lots the details aren't written yet, because the writer (like most GMs) doesn't know how long the story will need to last. My bet would be that a lot of the stories you enjoy didn't initially have nearly the backstory they appeared to have down the road.
Varsovian
 member, 1358 posts
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 20:28
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Hm. I can't imagine why I wouldn't need a cosmology? If I'm running the game in a setting that's supposed to be my own, I need to come up with my own gods (otherwise, there won't be any of clerics to choose from). And if I come up with gods, these gods need to make sense conceptually. Meaning, I need to create some sort of cosmology...

It's the same with creatures like demons, devils etc. I feel that if I include them in the setting, I need to know where they come from, so that I RP them faithfully. And that means creating the history of the universe... Uh.

One solution I have is to decide that the gods are basically unknowable and that there might hundreds of religions out there worshipping their own gods. So, a cleric player would get to create their own custom god during character creation...

As for having to choose races beforehand: let's say that I run the first adventure as a goblin encounter. Then, I decide that the setting is supposed to be serious, gritty and dark... But that doesn't fit with that first adventure, which included goblins! Which are funny and cute and cartoonish! So, I need to know beforehand whether I include goblins...

Anyway, thanks for the advice! Keep it coming...

BTW. Reading the rulebook right now. I'm on page 30 and so far, so good. Although I don't get why sorcerers use Charisma to cast magic... And why Strength determines the ability to hit someone in melee. Some of these rules are weird...
GammaBear
 member, 761 posts
 Gaymer
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 20:28
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
There's a good reason its nickname is Mathfinder.
Varsovian
 member, 1359 posts
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 20:32
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Well, at least the character creation isn't as complex as in GURPS. GURPS is great (I think... I have yet to play it, even though I have a ton of books), but the character creation can take days there.
Egleris
 member, 158 posts
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 21:36
Re: Pathfinder is scary...

Like many people said, the best way to go about rules is to have the SRD handy and check the necessary rules whenever they come up - you don't really need to know them by memory and you'll soon learn the ones you need more often.

On the matter of the setting, improvising is likely less hard than you think - get yourself a few dozen fantasy maps, cobble them together and rename/repopulate as necessary to fit your player choices and concepts. Using real-life cultures as models is also pretty easy, particularly the less known time periods - everybody has an idea of what happened in France during the Revolution, but the time period after the Restauration is much less well known, despite being the choice setting for a number of famous fiction. As for gods, the SRD offers stats for a multitude of them - here's the link, just pick the ones you like the most, or which fit your setting choices the best.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classe...ains/gods-pantheons/

That said, if you're using Pathfinder as a system, why not use the in-house setting of Paizo, Golarion? It has a perfectly free accessible wiki, a setting that allows for pratically every plotline or ideas you could possibly want to explore, and offers a wealth of fluff for many classes, seeing as they were created with the setting in mind. I can understand not wanting to use the modules/adventure path if you have a story of your own you want to use (even if, as said, a lot of them are really good) but the setting itself can be used indipendently.

As for those rules who seem strange, that's because a good number were inherited from D&D 3.5, which itself was adapting an ever older system. Sorcerer use Charisma to cast because the amount of power they control is supposed to depend on the force of their personality, which is what Charisma controls; and hits depend on Strenght on the simple principle that stronger characters are better at close combat (unless special training is involved, which is what feats are supposed to represent).

If you were asking from a mechanical standpoint, though, STR determines to hit because otherwise it'd be fully useless (since it only determines melee to-hit and damage, and the two most useless skills; compare with DEX, which is the strongest stat in the game as it determines a whole ton of things). In fact people drop it enough already in character creation as it is, since most casters don't need it and archery is superior to melee anyway.

About the Sorcerer, the truth is that it was designed to be weaker than the Wizard. Thus, since casters become deadlier when they can maximize their casting stat, they were assigned CHA because it is the most useless stat in the game, as it only determines the effect of a few skills. Most of the other spontaneous casters simply followwed the Sorcerer because, ironically, it's more balanced: spellcasting is the most powerful ability in the game, so tying it to the weakers stat makes it slightly harder for casters to dominate everything, at least at the lower levels and/or with lower point-buy options.

This message was last edited by the user at 21:44, Thu 20 Apr.

engine
 member, 293 posts
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 21:42
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Varsovian:
As for having to choose races beforehand: let's say that I run the first adventure as a goblin encounter. Then, I decide that the setting is supposed to be serious, gritty and dark... But that doesn't fit with that first adventure, which included goblins! Which are funny and cute and cartoonish! So, I need to know beforehand whether I include goblins...
I sort of feel from this like you're not being serious here. Who says goblins are funny, cute and cartoonish? It seems like you're blocking your own process more than the game itself is.

Varsovian:
BTW. Reading the rulebook right now. I'm on page 30 and so far, so good. Although I don't get why sorcerers use Charisma to cast magic... And why Strength determines the ability to hit someone in melee. Some of these rules are weird...
If you could assure me that you really want explanations for these things, and that you're not just pulling our legs, I'd be happy to help you come up with ones that work for you.
pdboddy
 member, 525 posts
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 21:46
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
In reply to GammaBear (msg # 7):

Mathmaster called, said their dad could beat up Pathfinder's dad. :P
Varsovian
 member, 1360 posts
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 21:52
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Just a quick reply before I hit the bed (work in the morning...):

Engine, I assure you that I am serious! Really... And I do consider goblins cute. Just look at the official Paizo art.

They are like gremlins or critters... and both of these races were created for comedy horror movies. They were funny and goblins are funny, too!

This message was last edited by the user at 21:53, Thu 20 Apr.

Egleris
 member, 159 posts
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 22:02
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
In reply to Varsovian (msg # 12):

They're funny, yes, but they can be horror too if you want to handle them that way; Paizo AP/modules offers plenty of examples of this. And besides, mood whiplash is a thing, too - nothing wrong with graduating from fighting fools to actual serious threats. If anything, that's pretty classic as far as fantasy tales go.
Azraile
 member, 590 posts
 AIM: Azraile - Dislexic
 Dont take my text as mean
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 22:43
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
intimidating is more the word... lol

Scary is some of the stuff in WoD ... o.o
Not many table top companies had multiple source books that shops refused to carry due to the content in them.

From what I'm told some of the worse books read like snuff films in parts. x.x
drewalt
 member, 66 posts
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 22:53
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
A lot of the best PF I've ever played just uses the 3 basic books and maybe 1-4 more.
Azraile
 member, 591 posts
 AIM: Azraile - Dislexic
 Dont take my text as mean
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 23:42
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
I'm having fun in one thats like 4 pages long. lol
engine
 member, 295 posts
Fri 21 Apr 2017
at 05:08
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
In reply to Varsovian (msg # 12):

They are whatever you want them to be. Gnomes and halflings were invented to be funny, but Eberron took them and made them pretty terrifying.

The thing with most fictional stuff is that you have to buy-in for it to work. You have to agree with whatever premise is explicitly or implicitly being put forth. You may think that goblins are funny and goofy, but if you were playing in a game in which the GM was trying to make them a frightening horde, then you would need to buy in for that GM's game to work.

Questions asked of fictional worlds have no real answer. In the real world, most things work a certain way for some objective reason. That's not the case with anything fictional. In fiction things work a certain way because someone decided they should. Maybe that someone is very clever and hardworking and can make it seem like it's only natural that things should work that way, but since things don't really work that way, there's a falsehood somewhere. The audience can pick at the idea (maybe the author even hopes they will) but eventually they'll just unravel it and then they don't have the fun fiction anymore.

So, why do sorcerers depend on Charisma? The books, or I, or most people here could probably give you an answer, but that answer is only as "correct" and "real" as you want it to be. The only real reason for it is the same reason bishops can only move diagonally: because it's an attempt to make the game more interesting.

Basically, I advise not fighting the rules. If something is true, accept it as true, don't worry about the explanation. Buy in.
swordchucks
 member, 1377 posts
Fri 21 Apr 2017
at 13:14
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
engine:
Gnomes and halflings were invented to be funny, but Eberron took them and made them pretty terrifying.

I like Eberron, but Dark Sun did it first and made both far more terrifying ;)