Posted on January 7, 2011
Two Pathfinder things that scare me.
Rolland brought up the Advanced Players Guide the other day – I’ve taken a look at it in passing and I’m not sure what I think about it. I think a lot of my misgivings about it are actually memories of previous games’ APG type books.. so how correct I am to be wary of them is up in the air. Here is why I think I’m maybe a bit more worried than I need to be:
Firstly, there is no real reason to think that any of the classes or skills in there are going to be unbalanced. I think the Paizo people did a good job at balancing the classes in Pathfinder. Since it is the same people writing the APG, I have no reason to think they won’t do the same good job. Except for all the games that have been fucked up by a second wave of classes in the past. The 3rd party stuff published for Pathfinder I assume will be a mixture of frustrated wish-fulfillment and min/maxing so I am (rather unfairly) never going to look at it.
Secondly, all the rules for all the APG stuff is online too. In fact to access the Core rules at my favourite PF site, http://www.d20pfsrd.com/ I have to read around the APG stuff anyway.
So really, my initial objections to the APG seem a bit silly. My last objection is sticking with me a bit though: The Advanced Players Guide is a guide for advanced players.
That’s not us.
We’re a clever lot to be sure, but this isn’t that easy a game to remember. Of all of us, Ben T has the best grasp of the rules; we can only trust that he uses this power for good. When the game runs smoothly from my end, it is usually because I’ve done adequate prep-work, not because I hold the rules in my head well. For everyone else, this is either their first time with a post-3rd edition system or pretty close. The burden to remember your class stuff lies mostly with you and it isn’t that remembering all of a Chevalier’s class abilities is harder than a Fighter’s class abilities, it is just that… I dunno; throwing in all the content of the APG would be too complicated, cherry-picking content would be confusing and unbalancing.
I’m going to hold off on the Advanced Player’s Guide for now. The adventure paths add enough as you go anyway. The adventure path I’m going to run after this one will be adding Character Traits that replace the 1st level feat and one extra race (no, it isn’t Kender). That’s probably a good way to add rules (no, it isn’t Ogre Mages either).
Plot Twist Cards. I think this is a great idea, but I’m not sure it is a good fit for now, in this current story. Shit’s getting real; the party is coming to the realization that there is some shenanigans going on connected to an ancient empire… now probably isn’t the time for wackiness. In a more open setting, where the story is less important than the characters, I’d be all for it. This would be great in a sandbox setting; but, shit is afoot. With one per level, per layer in an eight player group, there is a possibility of that getting overwhelming.
Really, assuming you wouldn’t use these cards to screw over your fellow PCs (you wouldn’t, would you?) I think they’d make hard encounters even easier than you’re already finding them. You already get Critical cards that NPCs don’t and numerically, things tend to be in your favour. I have a feeling that the Plot Twists played on enemies would turn encounters even easier.
In addition, pursuant to the point I made above, I’m not convinced I could GM it well. They are something else I’ll mull over for a future game, I think. If everyone is moved to the point of climax about these cards however, I’ll reconsider. In all likelihood I’ll buy them anyway and give them a look over.