Ramayana and Pathfinder

The past couple of weeks have left me lethargic and twitching slightly. Although I’ve gotten a lot of work done, I’ve become so exhausted that I’ve had to skip the gym for more than a couple of days. Thankfully my weight still hasn’t shot up, but I need to get back to my regular workout schedule and fast.

Anyway, the biggest project/headache I’ve been attending to over the past two weeks is our annual Ramayana festival. My four classes put a lot of work and rehearsals into their presentations, which were all quite satisfying. (Pictures on my Multiply)

On the other hand, this may be the last year Ramayana is going to be performed as we know it. Many issues have been raised regarding its feasibility, and many of these concerns are valid. We’re still in the wait-and-see stage, but to be honest, things aren’t looking very pleasant.

I’m still thinking of proposals as possible replacements, but everything is still up in the air. Depending on how much we cooperate with each other, we might still get to see another show in PSHS.

Pathfinder

So D&D 3.5 is on its way out, and Wizards of the Coast has been throwing all of its weight behind the 4th Edition project. To be honest, I like 4th Edition, but 3.5 also has its shining moments, and since I’ve spent a lot of money on 3.5 books, it would be awesome if I could continue using them.

That’s where third-party companies come into the picture. Paizo has just released the beta version of its new 3.5-based RPG system, Pathfinder. I’m not so familiar with the setting, but their Player’s Handbook is under the Open Gaming License that 3.5 used, and as such is currently available online for download.

The system is pretty much 3.5, but with some minor tweaks and a touch of D&D 4e (whether 4e haters admit it or not).

After going through the book, I saw that they made some rather interesting changes to the 3.5e core:

-the Barbarian uses “rage points” to manage its rage ability instead of just having uses per day. The rage points can also be spent to give the barbarian special abilities while in his rage state.

-the cleric, druid, and wizard now prepare their level 0 spells (orisons for the cleric and druid and cantrips for the wizard) and can then use those spells at will for the rest of the day. This gives them a rather similar feel to the at-will powers that all classes use in 4e. However, did they really have to do this? These three classes are widely seen as the most powerful classes in the game in the core rules alone. Making them more powerful is just insane.

-the Fighter is now far more versatile. He still gains the massive amount of bonus feats he gets in 3.5, but also gains weapon and armor training that further improve his skill with certain weapon groups or armor types. This brings us closer to the image of the fantasy fighter–the quintessential soldier who can kill with anything from a greatsword to a tavern tankard. However, hitting and dealing damage is still boring. I still want to give the fighter more tactical options. (So the Tome of Battle Warblade and the 4E fighter are good fixes in my book.)

-The sorcerer: My favorite update. Many players saw the sorcerer as the wizard’s slightly less intelligent step-brother. He gets less spells, can cast more times per day, but is ultimately not much different from the wizard. In Pathfinder, the sorcerer’s “magical bloodline” flavor is translated properly into game mechanics—whatever gave you your innate magical ability also manifests in other ways: you gain abilities depending on the source of your bloodline (Aberrant: you were descended from tentacle monsters from the Far Realm; Arcane: your ancestors spent too much time around magic;Celestial: Your ancestors were blessed by the heavens; Draconic: dragon blood in your family roots gives you their arcane power, etc.) as well as bonus spells known. While this gives you a bit more versatility, you don’t become anywhere as overpowering as the Wizard. Overall I feel it gives the sorc a more unique and interesting feel than the unfortunate 3.5 humanoid artillery piece.

-Races now have two positive racial ability modifiers each, but also have one negative modifier. For example, the half-orc gains +2 to STR and +2 to WIS, but is penalized -2 to CHA. Humans and Half-elves share the versatility of getting a +2 to any single ability score, much like in 4e.

-The art is fantastic. Most of it is done by one of my favorite fantasy artists: Wayne Reynolds. Take the Barbarian class entry art, for example:

We don’t have to look at ol’ Krusk anymore. Here’s the fighter:

While Regdar from the 3.5 PHB was awesome (and so is Todd Lockwood), I really liked how Wayne Reynolds made this guy gritty, rough, and ready.

Finally, the sorceress.

I think a “nuff said” is in order here.

Anyway, Pathfinder looks like a good successor to the original 3.5e D&D. If ever I’m going to run a new 3.5 game, it will be with this.

Here is the link to Paizo’s online store. The PDF of the Pathfinder Beta release is FREE. You need to sign up for an account, but downloading it will incur no costs.😀

~ by J. R. R. Flores on August 16, 2008.

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