I’ve stayed out of the whole 4e vs Pathfinder debate. Largely because it seems to me have been more about WotC vs Paizo, and I couldn’t see the battlelines in that particualr war. Also, I try very hard to not be overly negative about the hobby, either as a whole, or about specifics. I’d rather celebrate what’s good, and let others worry about the bad. I will say this though, I have an issue with people riding on others coat tails, especially when that damages the health of the original. I appreciate that’s a bit cryptic, but there you go.
Two years since I hitched my cart to 4e, and the edition wars have calmed down to no more than skirmishs. So, I thought I’d take a look at some of the things I’ve not paid much attention to all this time: the crazy alternate world of Pathfinder.
Now, I’m not in the market for running PF anytime ever. I can’t give up the digital tools, and all the other gubbins that comes with 4e. I’ll happily convert their adventures but that’s another story. I would play PF though, so long as it was sub 10th level. From what I read, that’s not an unusual view. So I’m intrigued more than anything by PF GMs. What does their hobby look like, compared to mine? How do they prep? What do they do about Detect Evil? High level play? Alignments? Wizard dominance? etc etc etc. I want to know if the PF GMs have it easer and better than the 4e DMs.
Only one way to find out, I picked up a copy of the PFRPG Gamemastery Guide.
It’s absolutely huge. 319 pages. And it’s wordy. Small font, double columns. I seriously doubt I’ll ever get to read the whole thing, it’s almost intimidating. Which means, I won’t review it in my usual style but I’ll give my thoughts on the bits I do read, and impressions as they come to me.
First thoughts are: Wayne Reynolds cover, so I’m on comfortable ground there. As usual I scan the credits and I’m stunned to see how many authors they have for this thing; 31 listed. There’s lots of names I recognise too: ex WotC staffers, Privateer Press, Robin Laws and Graeme Davis (the classic WFRP author I presume?!). I am amazed at this. 31 voices explains the length of the book, but already I have worries about consistency and tone.
Second thoughts: the artwork throughout is…. ok. I was led to believe that PF books were the epitome of good looking books? I like the page designs well enough but the art is below WotC standards for sure. Maybe it’s because so many pieces are functional rather than inspirational. Like pictures of chests in the treasure section. I think WotC has the majority of it’s art pieces represnting adventureres and creatures rather than furniture. Where PF does shine though is in the chapter openers, and that’s because there’s a cool piece of micro-fiction alongside each double page spread.
I’m sure I’ll have more to say in future posts.