Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gen Con Haul, quick and dirty reviews, Part 1

Here are some of the things I got at Gen Con this year.

Ok, that is a small lie.  I actually didn't buy anything this year, but instead bought some on PDF before the Con and others afterwards.

First up Pathfinder, the big Ennie winner of 2010.

Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide
OR "Bought it for the Witch, Stayed for the Paladin"
The one thing I see here is some serious influence on what I will call "new School" D&D.  Pathfinder and D&D4 took the same base idea (D&D 3.5) and then went in very different directions.  I think Pathfinder is exactly what we would have gotten in D&D 4 had the same team stayed at Wizards/Hasbro.  That is more evident with this book.
The race section is interesting, but I am not sure what I'll do with that all yet. Though I like the potential of what they have here.  I can see similar options for various countries or lands the characters grow up in.
I love the new classes.  The Alchemist, Oracle and the Witch are all kinds of awesome.  The cavalier is a nice throwback to the old UA.  The Witch Hunter Inquisitor is also quite cool.   The Oracle and the Witch are like Divine and Arcane versions of the same thing really.  That is how it should be.  A multiclassed Oracle/Witch (a Seer? A Sybil?) would be very cool if built properly.  I love all the archetypes (Mysteries, Orders and the like) really gives each class some style.  Speaking of the witch, I love how much she is reliant on her familiar. Something I think other witch classes for *D&D over the years has forgotten. Though I am not a fan of the witch needing a hag for a coven.  I don't mind that she can count as a hag, but I still think three witches should be able to form a coven on their own.
The section on expanding the existing base classes is equally as awesome.  Again, this book seems to deliver on the promise of the old Unearthed Arcana.  All sorts of new archetypes are detailed.  Think of what they did with the Sorcerer and bloodlines and now apply that to every class.  Sorcerers get new bloodlines, fighters get new fighting styles (which helps move them away from the Cavalier.  This is a good thing). Wizards get new schools (Earth, Wind and Fire...and Water.  Benders or 70's Soul.  You decide).
The Zen Archer Monk is cool beyond words.  In one of my Pathfinder games I am playing a Paladin, so I am looking at the various archetypes (Divine Defender, Hospitaler, Sacred Servant, Shining Knight, my faves Undead Scourge and Warrior of the Holy Light) really closely.  There is also an Antipaladin class, not a prestige class.
Plenty of new feats.  New equipment (no new polearms). Lots of new spells. And Prestige Classes.
While there is nothing here that screams witch or oracle, there are some neat ones for the cavalier, inquisitor and paladins.  The Holy Vindicator certainly looks fun. There are some new magic items, cursed items and artifacts.
There are some new rules, including Hero Points, which is nice and the whole section on Traits; which I am unsure if this is the same as what come out before or not.

All in all a really awesome book.  If you are playing Pathfinder then it really should be a must have.
The best comparison is of course to the old Unearthed Arcana of the 1st ed days (not the 3rd Ed one).  The rules here are designed to be added right into your game with a minimal of fuss.
As a publishing model I can see Pathfinder coming out with these every so often, like WotC and their Player's Handbook X model.  But the issue with that is there is so much in this book now and it adds so much flexibility that I am uncertain where they would want to go next.  Mind you I do have my own ideas, but would those support a line?

Other Random bits:
I like the witch. I like her a lot.  But there are things I would change about her to be honest.
I guess the Witch iconic character is named Feiya, but I have not seen her stated up yet, other than she is Chaotic Good and has white/blond hair like the iconic sorceress,  Seoni.

While the expanded races are neat, I think I would have liked to see something new too.  A new race really should not be out of the question given the races that both 3.x and 4e have given us.  Not a dragonborn or a wilden, but a demonic type like the Tiefling might be cool.

The three core Pathfinder books, the Core Rules, Bestiary and Advanced Player's Guide, use the same color on their bindings as the core D&D4 books.  Red, green and blue.  Granted these are the most common colors, but it bears mentioning.

With the release of this book would it be safe to call Pathfinder "Advanced D&D 3rd Edition" instead of D&D 3.75?  I personally like that better.  So once again you could say we have AD&D and D&D.

I mentioned it before, but the art is fantastic.  It is still the "dungeon punk" feel of 3.x, but updated to the D&D4 style a bit.

What is missing here I think and needed is some information on Pathfinder Epic level play.  I was never thrilled with the Epic Level Handbook from WotC and I also don't think it will work very well with this book. But I would like to see something.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What? No new polearms? How disappointing . . .

I kid, I kid. Looking forward to looking over this soon.