So now that I've hit the analysis of Pathfinder point by point, what can I say for my actual opinion of PF? And any hope that I can be okay embracing the game? What would I change, if anything?
Since I've already been through the long of it. The short of it is: nothing.
My actual opinion is something else entirely. I think the development in some roleplaying games as of late has been to please the majority of the games buyers--those who play PCs. Players want to be able to make lots of cool, powerful characters. Games like Pathfinder provide lots of possibilities for achieving this, and long lists of races, character types, advancement options as well as skills, feats and the like. To tell you the truth as I've gone over this analysis I was seriously considering dropping all my class-based games for awhile and going with GURPS, HERO or BRP from Chaosium. I mean if we really want ultimate flexibility and power then any of these options are better designed to do so than PF.
But what would be the point of doing that? I mean my players really enjoy Pathfinder. They are having all sorts of fun exploring all of its options and maxing out its possibilities. And believe it or not even this group I'm currently running is getting a bit better at playing the game and roleplaying their characters.
All of the points I mentioned in my blow by blow complaint list are mostly just my personal impressions of how fantasy should be played. I shouldn't really force anyone to go down my road if they don't want to.
But what about where my heart lies? What about my own truth? Well, I haven't abandoned that. Lately when I droll over fantasy games it tends to be over games like Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, Crypts & Things and Jim Raggi's Carcosa. I also have high hopes for Astonishing Swords & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. And you really can't take away my love of Hackmaster--even in it's newest guise. But the problem is I'm sort of on the outs where all of these games are concerned. First of all DCC RPG's character funnel has proven theoretically very unpopular when discussed among our club members. Crypts & Things is fairly violent and dark for middle school kids; but I suppose that's true of all of these games.And Carcosa, is well ... Carcosa. Even Hackmaster is really for adults sensibilities, but prolly the most amenable to exposure to the young.
Which is fine--none of those are really games aimed at "kids". And neither was AD&D back in its day. Didn't bother me then, and in fact made the game more intriguing to me. But I am a school teacher now, and have to be careful of how gritty and dark I make the fantasy that I share with the kids in our RPG club.
So for now, we've got two Pathfinder games going. The Labyrinth Lord/Swords & Wizardry game was dropped by unpopular demand. Call me a wuss, color me easily influenced by popular opinion. really I just want my players to be happy. I'm trying to embrace this fact, and my role in the new gaming world. It might all be different if I was gaming with a group of other middle aged gamers from the hobby shop. But then again it might not.