I’ve been working my way through the Pathfinder Gamesmastery Guide. The first couple of chapters won’t come as any surprise to experienced GMs, of any game. They cover the absolute basics of getting started and running the game. The advice is perfectly good. It takes the form of short sections devoted to specifics such as Tone and Setting or Where to Play. This advice is pretty generic, certainly not solely of use to D&D gamers. The focus zooms in and out alarmingly fast. On one page is a discussion about player absence, and then there’s a discussion about what you do with miniatures when the monster dies. It’s almost dizzying. Once all this is done and dusted, the book turns to the science of GMing, and that’s where the rules of Pathfinder start to rear it’s head.
Under the heading of GM considerations, there’s a chapter that causes a raised eyebrow. Specifically, it deals with the notion of game changers. These are spells, abilities, powers etc that have the potential to add difficulty to the campaign. Here’s what the book feels necessary to call out as prime offenders:Invisibility Flying Teleportation Lie/evil detection Remote viewing Portents & omens
The general advice given is to allow these things in game, but not to let them get out of hand. Well, yeah. Imagine that advice spread out over a couple of thousand words though! I couldn’t help but think, why not just play 4e? I know, I know, the differences are greater than just that. Still, this simply doesn’t come up in the DMG, because the game has made the problems utterly disappear.
I don’t bring this up merely to carp, it’s actually to see if the GM job is still as it was in 3.x, and by the looks of this chapter I’d say it is. Which scores a strike against me wanting to run Pathfinder.