Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pathfinder: Old School Style?

As I mentioned in my last post, I was contacted by some of the old group of players and we have been kicking around what we would like to play/DM.

After some thought, I am considering running Pathfinder, but in an Old School style of play.  I really dislike the crunchiness and the sheer amount of rules in the Core Rulebook.  I really want to strip it down.

One of the things I have noticed as a player in a Pathfinder game, is the effects of Attacks of Oppurtunity and how that can slow down the game as players mull over the best way to move their miniature on the grid to avoid such attacks.  I am considering removing that aspect of the game altogether.  Though I am concerned what impact that will have on other rules.

Anyone have any ideas on this particular mechanic?  And any ideas of Old-Schooling Pathfinder in general?


  1. Hey Greg, maybe check out Pathfinder Basic? Or, check out the stripped back options here:

  2. Seconding the Beginner Box. It's very stripped down and goes to level 5. I wasn't a big fan of of 3.x/PF as a DM, but the BB gets it down to around Basic/Expert levels of D&D.

  3. Hmm, OK I'll see about the Beginner Box Set. And I'll check out that link. Thanks!

  4. Pathfinder is as tricky as 3.5 to strip things out of. If you strip out skills, you destroy several classes. If you strip out Attacks of Opportunity, you destroy the Rogue's tactical aspect. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Ol' Monte designed 3E to fit so very well together, to appear modular but not to be, and 3.5/3.PF just further solidified it. Me personally, love the system, but I have the same desire to strip it down as you do, oddly enough. For me it's like I don't get enough to tinker with with the BX/ODD derivatives, but with Pathfinder it's too much sometimes. Gotta be a way to reconcile it. Designing monsters is like mental gymnastics. I'll keep thinking and let you know. But I've been thinking for 5 years.

  5. Two suggestions:
    1. Remove Pathfinders interactive attacks and replace with the simpler iterative attacks from Trailblazer
    2. Remove attacks of opportunity and replace with a +2 bonus to attack rolls against anyone who is silly enough to do something dumb while someone is attacking them (ie something that would have granted an AoO)

  6. Basic PF is something I've given some thought myself:
    -drop all classes except the basic four
    -replace scaling attack bonus with fixed ones
    -change AoO with "Opportunities of Attack": which simply means you may attack before your turn.
    -drop feats except those granted by class

    1. Late to the party, but feel the need to give 2 cents anyway.

      Seconded on most od Artikid's suggestions, wirh a few caveats:

      - Classes - rather than simply limiting classes, I favor generifying them as well: Make it clear that powers can be reskinned to represent what players want. Why can't a fighting type character represent a kung fu monk? Why can't mind control and esp type spells represent psychic powers? Not strictly old school though.
      - See no preblem with scaling attack bonuses myself. Though I could see them being limited to fighters.
      - Something vaguely similar I'm doing is giving fighters an effort resource they can spend to influence rolls in combat, even when it's not their turn, provided they can justify getting involved.
      - Dropping feats: Yes! As much as I like character customization, feats are a bane. If you must have feats to justify character traits, then:
      Avoid feats requiring other feats.
      Avoid feats for things that just give a random +x to things.
      Avoid feats that coukd just be some other class ability slightly modified or reskinned. Just let the player define their character as desired instead.
      If you need a feat to access a class feature (e.g. crafting magical stuff) then why not just make it a class feature?

      Also, shout out to Artikid: very impressed with your work on Dangers and Dweomers.

  7. Removing opportunity attacks doesn't hurt the game if you aren't running it on a grid. If two players are both attacking the same target, assume they're flanking it if at all possible.

    Just make sure the players know about this upfront so they don't take useless feats!