General Concept/Setting: 6/10
Spencer: It is hard to go below a 6 for Pathfinder because although it basically is a copy of the DND world, it has added more complexity to it in terms of monster depth and general setting. Unfortunately, the fact that it copied directly makes it a low score.
Tyler: Since it is a game that was developed from D&D 4th edition it is extremely similar to D&D. There are a few changes, additional monsters, different races but its hard to separate the two.
Learning Curve: 5/10
Spencer: This game takes a while to learn and even after you think you have learned it all, there is another rule. I do not think this game is very accessible, but do think that it is worth it to learn. If you are interested in diving down all the rabbit holes for the rules, you will like this game. I do think that you can simplify the rules to make it better, but if you want to stay true to the game, I do not think that this game is easy to play and has a steep learning curve.
Tyler: In general this game is a more complex/intense version of D&D. With more actions that can be taken in combat, more statuses effects, and a ton of extra rules, you may be overwhelmed. Though even with the large amount of rules, it does give the game more depth and more flexibility in play since you can do more, but be ready to do a lot of reading.
Character Creation: 9/10
Spencer: Here is where the game shines the most for me. I love that there are near infinite possibilities. The specialization that you can do makes it feel like you are really able to go a ton of different directions. I would rate it higher, but I think leveling up can be a bit tricky. While it borrow heavily from DND to start, the classes in this game seem far more thought out and overall just better.
Tyler: This is where the game shines! Yes it has the base classes of D&D but the people at Paizo have created a ton of additional class options that are extremely thought out and unique. Not only have the options of classes been almost doubled but there are tons of races, archetypes, and more to customize your character with! This may leave you feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options, but you won’t get bored of Pathfinder 1E due to the lack of character creation options.
Spencer: This game is great at making all players feel valued. Because of all the directions you can go with the characters, you can really specialize in specific areas and become really niche in your creations. This allows for really balanced play particularly if players communicate what the type of characters they are playing.
Tyler: Paizo has done a great job making the various classes balanced. Since skills in Pathfinder 1E are limited too classes, you will need to have a diverse party, because it is extremely difficult to be the master of all in this game. Thus, players will need to rely on each other to overcome the various challenges thrown at them.
Spencer: Similar to DND, the combat can easily fall into a basic slug-fest with not much else happening. While there are cool mechanics such as touch AC or bleeding damage, the combat is very basic and becomes quite stale, quite quickly.
Tyler: Combat in Pathfinder 1E is a step up from D&D. With various actions that can be taken in combat like full guard, charging, bull rushing and more, you won’t be limited to just attacking. Add on your class abilities, you’ll find combat to be fun and exciting. Of course you will need to know these rules to be able to use them, so make sure you read up on all the possible actions you can take or else this game will become a slug fest. One weakness I’ve found with Pathfinder’s combat is the unforgiving nature of opportunity attacks, this makes combat stale as players don’t want to move so that they can take full attack actions and avoid additional damage.
Spencer: This game does a better job of creating more skills and a variety of checks that a player can do. This allows for more world exploration and interactions with surroundings. One thing that is really interesting is that some skills say that if you don’t have it, you can’t try it. While this makes sense for some checks, I don’t know that it works for everything. I think the same checks become pretty rote and annoying to hear “I do perception… for the 8th time this session.” There is a lack of uniqueness in the skills.
Tyler: With a well flushed out world, and unique nations, cultures, and races, the Pathfinder 1E system can be a fun game to explore. The campaign books developed by Paizo are AMAZING and leagues ahead of their competitors. They provide GMs with all the information to create a living breathing world for your players to explore.
Gameplay–Role Playing: 7/10
Spencer: Role playing is similar to DND. Nothing very unique about it. Not much to say on this point. Don’t really know how to grade it.
Tyler: Role playing wise, Pathfinder is not very unique as it is similar too many other settings and games. Though immersion into the game can be hurt due to the multiple times you will have to dig into the rule book.
Spencer: More work has to be done for this game because of the possibilities the GM has. There are like 5 bestiaries and a massive rulebook to work with. While you don’t have to read all the rulebook (most of it is character types), it is important to read a good chunk of it. I think this game is fun for a GM, but can be inaccessible because of how much there is.
Tyler: There is so much content for the GM to work with! Paizo has made multiple campaign booklets, bestiaries, and content additions so you’ll never run out of content to use. Like I said above, the campaign booklets Paizo has written for the game are leagues ahead of other systems. The books are extremely well laid out, with monster stat blocks located next to where they are needed, monsters have a list displaying their disposition in fights, their loot, and so much more so there is no need to flip pages to find information. Yes the rules can be difficult but if you put enough time and studying into it, you’ll find Pathfinder 1E an amazing system.
Spencer: With how much material there is, the cost of the game can go up pretty quick. If you are a GM, you have to get at least 1 bestiary, the core rulebook, and the GM manual. That means price rises fast. As a player, you can get by with just the core book, but that means that you are spending a decent amount. While the game is very good, I don’t think value/ cost is where it shines.
Tyler: This game is pretty pricy. With the large amount of books, you’ll be dishing out a lot of cash for them. The art work and content inside the books are amazing so I do believe it is worth the investment. Paizo put in a lot of work and know their worth.
Spencer: Unlike other systems, this game has such a ridiculous amount of material that it can be played for a long time and not feel like the same game. This game plays very well into being a short campaign or a long one that can go months. While it isn’t the best for a short campaign like a one-shot because of all the rules and investment you have to make, it does a great job in the longer versions of games.
Tyler: This game is excellent for long campaigns. The adventure paths written by Paizo are literally 6-7 books long with so much content in them, you may find yourself playing the same campaign for a year or two and never be bored by the lack of content or repetition. I do agree with Spencer in the fact that this game is probably not the best for one shots since you will need to put a lot of time and effort into learning the rules.
Overall Score: D12
Spencer: If you are looking for a more complete world with a wider range of options that most of the games you are currently playing, this is it. I stand by saying that the character creation and development is the strongest area of the game because it allows for so much variety. I don’t think it is perfect because of how much it borrows from DND, but I do think that it is a fun game and worth time to at least consider.
Want to learn how to play the 1st edition of Pathfinder? Join the Roll Playing Guys as we delve into the world of Pathfinder in our own homebrew campaign