Hello readers! Since Ravi got to post on Tuesday when it was my turn, I'm taking over for this Saturday to even us out while the Random Topic table is completed!
I've mentioned in a few articles previously about the game DM and I have been playing with our friends Matt and Bryan. What I haven't said yet is that this game? It's not D&D. It looks like D&D, it plays like D&D, and for all intents and purposes, it IS D&D. But it's not quite. It's called Pathfinder.
Basically, Pathfinder was made by a group of people who found too many minor issues with D&D, how characters were made, and how it played in 3.5 rules and decided "We can do this." Well, maybe it didn't happen exactly like that, but it certainly feels like it. Classes that were lacking a bit got boosted, techniques that were complicated got simplified (combat maneuvers like tripping, grappling, disarming and the like has become SO much easier to calculate). DM says in his opinion, one of the most important differences between D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder is that it encourages people to think hard between prestiging out or sticking with a single class for 20 levels due to all the improvements made to flesh out the core classes and make them more interesting and desirable, especially with melee classes. Magic has also been simplified without being weakened and casters can mesh better with the melee-ers without overstepping themselves. One of my favorite changes? Instead of applying only to the one opponent you designate per round, the feat Dodge applies as a flat AC bonus. No declaring who you're dodging, just +1 to your AC, which is amazing in large combats.
The great thing is that since Pathfinder is based strongly on 3.5 D&D, you can easily mold the two together when it does come to prestige classes. 3.5 certainly has a much larger variety to choose from. Pathfinder offers plenty of its own unique classes and prestiges though, especially in the Advanced Players Guide and their newest addition, Ultimate Magic. Bryan has taken the Alchemist base class with Master Chymist (I swear DM says that's how it's spelled. I have no idea) prestige for a test drive. They're basically casters who prepare all their spells as potions or bombs, and interestingly, they have a potion that turns them into a Mr. Hyde version of themself. We found it an interesting addition to a team (even though his Mr. Hyde version decided it was best to run off and start slaughtering enemies after the rest had run and the potion wasn't going to wear off. Matt decided that Mr. Hyde wasn't compatible with the rest of the group and made him make a new character.) Monsters have also been pumped up, and creatures that were once not so much a threat or not too intimidating at least LOOK as threatening as they should from their pictures. The art in the Pathfinder books is spectacular.
So if regular D&D is getting dull or you're frustrated with some of the pitfalls of the game, look into Pathfinder. It's D&D at a brand new level and definitely worth a try for your next campaign.