Recently my gaming group had to take a hiatus for me to catch up on paperwork, which seems the bane of all teachers in today's age. It's even worse in my field of special education, but hey -- it pays the bills. So anyway, my group has largely dissolved back into the woodwork of the school. All that is but for a die-hard crew of 5 that continues to come to my room to game until I leave each day about 430 or 500. Sure they play Pathfinder, and not OSRIC, 1e, or Hackmaster, but they are still gaming hard with little sign of letting up or stopping. They have inspired me to say the least.
So , now that I'm fairly caught up with my work overload and have my new behavioral class under control I'm starting to talk about the idea of starting up the club once or twice a week again. I figure I can manage that. Well the Pathfinder guys are pumped about it; and I have to admit, if I had to choose six gamers to support in the club five of them would be the Pathfinder group. They just, well, deserve it.
I have a hard time reaching out to the others that claim to love to game and even those who like OSRIC and old school gaming. But haven't cracked a rulebook once in the last 5 weeks.
So what's the problem you ask? Well, the die hards want to game, yeah you guessed it: Pathfinder.
Now, I like Pathfinder as a game. I like it better than 4e and as much if not more than 3.5. Paizo's support is amazing, better than WoTC by far in terms of quality product and relations with their customer base. But I just have a few old grognardy issues with the game.
My problems with PF:
First is multiclassing. I hate the multiclassing concept in PF. I mean come on, you have a fighter trucking around in the woods hacking baddies and he earns enough xp's to advanced to second level, so he ... takes a level as a WIZARD! For ciminy's sake! How the heck do you figure that? It just stretches my belief too far. It makes no sense whatsoever. Not to mention the 4th level pc who is a 1st level cleric, 1st level wizard, 1st level ranger, 1st level paladin. Give me a frickin' break.
Okay so no big problem here. Simply disallow multiclassing. I can live with that. The game can live with that and we are all good.
Secondly, prestige classes. Same issue as multiclassing, sort of. Classes like prestige classes really out to be carefully roleplayed and I do mean carefully. Even IF you allow them they should NOT be easy to acquire.
So cut them out too. Lots of 3.5 GMs disallowed them too. No big prob there either.
Thirdly, and the real killer. Feats. I despise feats. If there was ever a power game mechanic besides 4e powers it has to be feats. What exactly are they anyway? As you advance in level in any level based rpg you gain power by being able to do more stuff. Otherwise there is not much point to a level based system. If the game has this built in why do we need feats? Why? I'll tell you why: POWERGAMING. Yes, every game suffers to one point or another by powergaming, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. Nor should the system have a built in power gaming mechanic. Loopholes are fine, even rules or mechanics errors in the ruleset. These things have always existed and will be discussion for rules lawyers long after we're gone. But to write in a power gaming mechanic is to me anathema. I don't like it and hate it even more than multiclassing or prestige classes.
And the trouble with this is that you CAN'T get rid of it. It's built into the system. All classes are balanced by distribution of feats, especially at first level. And races and classes like humans and fighters are balanced by being able to acquire more feats. If you start jacking with feats in Pathfinder you're jacking with a core part of the system. I'm not saying it can't be done, but it seems to be a bigger headache than I'm willing to put up with.
So, what do I do for the die hard PF players who want me to GM again? I'm not sure. But every time I mention Hackmaster they shake in their junior high tennis shoes. Heh heh ... This could be fun.