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Thread: Comparing D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder

  1. #1
    Guild Journeyer Nexis's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
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    Post Comparing D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder

    Hi Y'all.

    Now that the 3.5 vs 4e thread is getting along fine I was interested in a thread open to comparing 3.5 to the new Pathfinder game.
    I have the Beta version and had a quick look and so far I like what I see.
    What I would like to do is invite those who have also looked over the game and also some who have played it to come in and tell us what you feel is good and not so good and also the differences between the games.

  2. #2
    Guild Member Sirith's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
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    I downloaded the beta version quite a while ago, just to see what they had back then.

    To be honest, I was mostly interested in the art, which was very nice, compared to some 3.5e art. Especially the class pictures caught my eye, the monk even made me want to play a monk (which is a class I don't like) because the character looked so cool. Wayne Reynolds (Y).

    Other than that, I'm interested in what they changed, but I'll never see it in play. Unless my DM suddenly decides to adopt it, which I don't see happening any time soon, it's very much out of my reach.

  3. #3

    Post Pathfinder differences...

    While I'm not Pathfinder expert, I have been using the Beta in our 3.5 games for about 6 months.

    Grapple was always such a bear to work with in 3.5, I make a roll, opponent makes an opposing roll and then comparison to a chart is required to determine result. In Pathfinder, grapple is a single D20 roll, no opposed roll, once you know the associated chart, it easy to see right away whether you succeed or fail.

    In fact all combat maneuvers: trip, bull rush, etc fall under the CMB or combat maneuvers base.

    The Paladin's Smite Evil special ability meant you could apply the attempt on a given attack, if you fail to hit, you've used up one Smite Evil available for the day, as it works in 3.5. In Pathfinder, you select a target in combat to apply Smite Evil to. Until that target is defeated the initiating of the Smite Evil continues even for multiple rounds.

    There's some fluff difference - Sorcerers have available up to 10 different bloodlines as "sources" of their sorcery, since sorcerers are born into the class. In 3.5 lineage source of power is discussed and perceived to exist, while in Pathfinder different bloodlines access different feats or powers later in a sorcerer's career based on bloodline.

    The barbarian has a Rage Mechanic similar to the Smite Evil mechanic that gives lots more power and sustainability in combat. Making barbarians among the best martial classes.

    Almost every spell has been tweaked in some small way to enhance both its mechanics and playability.

    Oh, first level characters gain access to an additional feat, which bumps them to survive better at low levels.

    Pathfinder actually borrows some ideas from 4e as well, its much easier to create encounters than in 3.5, some adventure development is much less time consuming. Much of Pathfinder is designed to streamline 3.5 play.

    There are many other differences, but these are some of the more obvious ones.

    Note: Paizo has said, the Beta was created to see how far they could depart from 3.5 and still feel like the same game. In the final publication in August, some of these departures will disappear and the final product will be a bit closer to original 3.5 vs the Beta version.

    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 05-14-2009 at 03:43 PM.
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  4. #4
    Community Leader Facebook Connected torstan's Avatar
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    Jul 2007


    Can you expand a little on how they have streamlined adventure construction? Any routes for fast NPC construction? Any alterations to the CR, EL system?

  5. #5

    Post No time right now, but...

    When I'm not a work I'll get more details, but regards tables in Pathfinder that converts CL to XP, and through a simple add up the levels of each player allows for a budget of XP values x level of difficulty to "purchase" opposing monsters based on that budget.

    It really works well with varying levels of PCs in a party vs. varying levels of opponents like 1 BBEG and 2 to 10 lesser minions. Much faster to create encounters.

    There is a third party "Pathfinder compatible" product coming out called Trailblazer that further develops this idea into a quick math exercise making it even easier.

    I'll post more details tonight.

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  6. #6
    Guild Apprentice
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    Mm, after I looked around the 3.5 v. 4e forum and heard about Pathfinder, I downloaded the beta. I think I'm converted.

    What I really like about what they've done is that they've made the classes a bit more unique. The fighter, for example, now has abilities nobody else can get (instead of just a lot of feats, only three of which were exclusive), and the bard is both a jack-of-all-trades and a skill monkey good enough to replace the rogue (the bard is almost...a worthwhile class to take ). And the skill mechanic that allows full ranks in all skill (with a bonus to class skills), I love. I've only skimmed most of it, but I like what I've seen.

    I'm interested in hearing the rest of your post, GP, especially with regards to Trailblazer. Encounters have always stumped me, but I love Pathfinder's reverse-method (look at total XP and add up monsters to reach it; as opposed to the standard guess CRs and then find XP) as complicated as it is.
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  7. #7

    Post Simplified encounter creation for Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Table 12-3 has XP values for all CRs, so any CR valued monster is supported.

    Tables 12-1 and 12-2 uses kind of "fuzzy math" technique to build simple encounters.

    Below, however, is Wulf Ratbane's modifications that improve the above method - to be published as Trailblazer, before Gencon 09, as an eventual supplement to Pathfinder.

    Step One: Determine the Encounter Budget

    For each PC in the party, look up his level, and add the indicated amount of XP to the encounter budget.

    Example: Party of four 1st level PCs each add +100 to the budget; total budget = 400 XP.


    Level XP Budget (per PC)
    1 100
    2 150
    3 200
    4 300
    5 400
    6 600
    7 800
    8 1200
    9 1600
    10 2400
    11 3200
    12 4800
    13 6400
    14 9600
    15 12800
    16 19200
    17 25600
    18 38400
    19 51200
    20 76800

    Step Two: Determine Desired Difficulty

    Multiply the total XP budget by the following multipliers:

    Easy: x2/3 (-1 EL)
    Average: x1
    Challenging: x1.5 (+1 EL)
    Hard: x2 (+2 EL)
    Epic: x3 (+3 EL)

    Example: Initial budget 400, challenging encounter x1.5, final budget = 600.

    Step Three: Purchase Creatures from the Budget

    Using the Creature XP values provided by Pathfinder, "purchase" creatures out of your encounter budget.


    CR XP
    1/10 40
    1/8 50
    1/6 65
    1/4 100
    1/3 135
    1/2 200
    1 400
    2 600
    3 800
    4 1200
    5 1600
    6 2400
    7 3200
    8 4800
    9 6400
    10 9600
    11 12800
    12 19200
    13 25600
    14 38400
    15 51200
    16 76800
    17 102400
    18 153600
    19 204800
    20 307200
    21 409600
    22 614400
    23 819200
    24 1228800
    25 1638400

    NOTE 1: If you have to purchase more than 10 of any creature, it's probably not going to add much to the challenge of the encounter.

    NOTE 2: Buy the most expensive creatures first. When you are done, if you have points left over, you can either toss them aside, or you can "overspend" just enough to buy one creature of the closest available amount.

    Pathfinder Examples
    These examples are taken directly from the Alpha 2 document.

    Let’s say you want your group of four 5th-level characters to fight a group of ogres (CR 3).
    Four 5th level characters each add 400 XP to the budget, for a total of 1600 XP.

    An average fight (x1 budget multiplier, 1600 budget) is 2 ogres (CR3=800 each).

    A challenging fight (x1.5 budget multiplier, 2400 budget) is 3 ogres.

    A hard fight (x2 budget multiplier, 3200 budget) is 4 ogres.

    An epic fight (x3 budget multiplier, 4800 budget) is 6 ogres.

    Let’s say you want your group of six 8th-level PCs to face off against a group of gargoyles (CR 4) and their stone giant boss (CR . This is to be a challenging fight.
    Six 8th level PCs is a base budget of 6 x 1200XP, or 7200 XP.

    It's to be a challenging fight, x1.5, final budget = 10800 XP.

    Stone Giant (CR costs us 4800 XP, leaving 6000 XP to spend on gargoyles.

    Gargoyles cost 1200 XP each; 6000/1200 = five gargoyles


    PS: this system doesn't claim to fix any problems regarding CR in the first place, just in using existing CR monsters, they can be more quickly created using the method above.
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  8. #8

  9. #9

    Post Regarding the Trailblazer Tables and PF.

    Really, on its own 4 equal level PCs, fighting 5 ogres is pretty straight forward, something you could almost do in your head. Where the system shines, however, is when you have a party of varying level PCs, say, 2 each 6th and 2 each 4th level characters and you're going to fight 4800 XP of ogres, instead of 6 normal ogres, try a 3rd level ogre barbarian chief and 3 standard ogre minions. Try doing that in your head, and you're more genius than I. Using the tables above make such a complicated level division and encounter creation easy, peesy!

    And, yeah, Novarri mentioned something I forgot to say. The Skills list, in 3.5 you have access to your class skills, but then pay double for non-class skills. Not so in Pathfinder you can purchase any skills at equal cost, those skills that fall under your "class skills" get a +3 bonus, that's the only difference. This makes acquiring skills you want much easier and less expensive to "buy".

    There are fewer skills than 3.5. Pathfinder rolled in Spot and Listen as the single Perception Skill, Hide and Move Silently in Stealth Skill. I think there are a few other 2 skills moved into one as well.

    Rope Use is gone (anyone can use a rope, why do you need a skill for that?). Climbing is easier, especially for rogues, a single roll for entire climb, I believe.

    Thought I'd add this information for the discussion.


    PS: Pathfinder has undergone a year of play-testing, making it one of the most tested systems in existence ever, which gives it better developmental control than other editions or systems.
    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 05-15-2009 at 02:19 AM.
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  10. #10
    Community Leader Guild Sponsor Korash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamerprinter View Post
    PS: Pathfinder has undergone a year of play-testing, making it one of the most tested systems in existence ever, which gives it better developmental control than other editions or systems.
    Just to add to this, the play-test was open to the public and feed back was actually asked for. Paizo is very open to suggestions and are quite willing to explain why they did things one way and not the other. I have noticed a definate change in Pathfinder from the Alpha to the Beta and some of that was due to player feedback. The designer has even posted a few threads stating where he wants to go with things and asking for c & c on those directions. He has even changed a few directions based on some of the comments.

    @ GP - very nice summary btw
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