4e vs. Pathfinder

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I am a DM, and I would like to know, what are the differences between Pathfinder and 4e? Please, I don't want this to be a screaming match between people who love one and hate the other, I really would like to know the differences and similarities because a player suggested I switch the campaign over to Pathfinder.

On a side note, when running the Age of Worms adventure path, does anyone have any resources for adapting to 4e or Pathfinder? 
No matter the intentions, I can only see this going one way and that's badly.  You could probably search out other threads on the subject.
People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. --George Orwell There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people. --Howard Zinn He who fights with monsters must take care lest he thereby become a monster. --Friedrich Nietzsche Devil\'s Brigade
Pathfainder is a more complicated system, much harder to learn for most people.  Characters are mosre cutomizable: it means char-op types can have alot of fun with the system.  Balance, while better than 3.5, isn't nearly as tight as 4e.  Expect some classes to outshine others.
Not to get into a deep side by side comparison, I will say this much - 4e is far and away more GM friendly.
Well, the only difference is the rules.

Paizo took the 3.5 rules and tweaked them to make the classes more balanced and cleaned up the skills and some other things ("negative levels" are no longer a true negative level, but cumulative penalties, so you're not actually retconning your character). It is backwards-compatible with other 3.5 products, giving it the benefit of all the previously published material (as well as all the negatives of that material).

Wizards moved towards 4th Edition to balance the classes out and create a more tactical game that is easier to learn and play. They also wanted to make it easier to integrate in virtual tabletops and such, although their own VTT has been long delayed.
"There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened." - Douglas Adams I ♥ My Realms
I am a DM, and I would like to know, what are the differences between Pathfinder and 4e? Please, I don't want this to be a screaming match between people who love one and hate the other, I really would like to know the differences and similarities because a player suggested I switch the campaign over to Pathfinder. 

If you've played 3.5, you know about what Pathfinder is like.  The big obvious differences is that there are no healing surges, roles aren't as clearly defined, and PCs and monsters are both more detailed - there's more 'reward for system mastery' (optimization works better for the PCs) and more work as a DM to create challenging encounters without crossing the line to TPK.  As a DM, I wouldn't consider going from 4e to 3.5 or Pathfinder.  4e just makes the DM's job much easier.  It'd be less of a pain to replace one player than to try to run with the older system.


On a side note, when running the Age of Worms adventure path, does anyone have any resources for adapting to 4e or Pathfinder?

AoW was for 3.5, so should be able to run it under Pathfinder.  Converting to 4e would be a matter of re-doing all the encounters, which isn't really all that bad.  Encounter balance is structured and simple in 4e, so it's much easier to re-do them from scratch than to try to convert 3.5 encounters to 4e directly.

Want to see the best of 4e included in 5e?  Join the Old Guard of 4e.

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

Its also a new game.  If you own any 3.5 you can count on having serious troubles with using it.  Pathfinder characters are more powerful than 3.5 ones.

You will need to memorize huge amounts of material since running most critters\characters requires knowledge of spells.  One thing I like about 4e is that I rarely if ever have to crack a book during play.  By comparison look at a 4e dragon versus a Pathfinder dragon.  You need a good understanding of all the material.  (4e cards kick butt, why don't other games catch on?)

4e is incredibly DM friendly...   So much so that there are many alternate adventures styles for 4e in the 3rd party domain.  DMs can actually get beyond the linear story line even in modules.

By contrast Paizo's adventures are simple linear story lines.  (They are also amazingly good for what they are.)   If I was to do some Pathfinder, I'd probably only be able to run modules.


4e is very gamest, or tactical.  I feel this is true.  Pathfinder is very narrationist, so you can get away from the minis etc.  IMO if I was wanting to go narrationist, I'd go with Castles and Crusades, there is so little there, that there is nothing to do BUT role-play.
I own both, and I've run both. Pathfinder, as others have said, is D&D 3.5 re-tooled. It offers more customization, more options and more to do. However, it is a whole lot harder to teach new players, and exponentially harder to GM. In Pathfinder, it can take hours to build a proper encounter (in my experience) whereas in 4th, it can be slapped together in minutes.

It really boils down to, how much time and effort do you have to put into creating an encounter, and how important is it that all the little things have rules?

Playtime is also a major factor, as I've had 4th Ed. combat over in roughly an hour, but one Pathfinder battle take upwards of 4. But these are my own experiences.

Again, both have their positives, and negatives. And for what's it worth, my own recent RPG timeline has been: 3.5 ---> 4th ed. ---> Pathfinder ---> 4th. ed. (Essentials). I prefer D&D 4th Edition (Especially Essentials).
I should also point out that if you want to really get both sides represented, head over to the Paizo forums and ask the same questions.

That way, you're sure to hear the likes (and dislikes) from both fan bases, not just one.
"There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened." - Douglas Adams I ♥ My Realms
I should also point out that if you want to really get both sides represented, head over to the Paizo forums and ask the same questions.

That way, you're sure to hear the likes (and dislikes) from both fan bases, not just one.



This is a brilliant idea, and people should take note.
Couple points -

Pathfinder has a lot less errata.  This is mostly due to it being a older more polished game but WoTC takes some blame for pushing out producte before it's really play tested.

Level and Class Balance.  4.0 has a lot better class / level balance.  Pathfinder starts out with weak feeling classes, they get stronger, and then they get over-powered as they level up.  At least for the spell casters.  It's about the exact opposite for the melee classes.  This has more to do with the 3.5 system.

Living Games.  Paizo seems to actually listen and offers what the, reasonable, player base wants for Living Pathfinder.  WoTC to get anything out of them for the LFR seems to take 6 to 8 months and then they don't offer support for another couple of months.  At least thats the way it seems.

Plus all the other points people have made.
Here are some particular differences between systems.

Healing --  4e uses heaing surges (equal to 1/4th of max hp) for most healing.  Everyone has a certain amount of surges that they can use to heal themelves.  Powers and magic items can help use thse surges doing battle (and in some case add more healing on top ofthe surge) and when not in battle you can use as many surges you want.  Every day everyone recovers all lost hp and surges.  In 3.5 healing is done through magic (spells or items) or very slowly through natural healing (1 hp/level/day).

Hit Points - in 4e more hp is gained at 1st (e.g. fighter gets 15+con SCORE at 1st level and 6 at each additonal level) and in 3.5 on average you get the same hp per level (e.g. fighter gets d10+con BONUS per level).

Powers - In 4e each class gets powers that they can use at-will, once per encounter, or once per day (this varies with the Essentials class as the martial classes don't get dailies).  In 3.5 some classes (like fighters) get all of their powers (mostly through feats) at-will and some classes (like wizards) just get daily spell powers.  A wizards spell don't get that much better at each level like in 3.5.  For example, in 4e a fireball spell is more accurate for higher level wizards but does the same damage.  In 3.5 a fireball did d6 damage per wizard level.

Monsters - Monsters aren't build like PC in 4e (they were in 3.5). So monsters don't have class levels or feats or anything like that.  In 4e their role and level defines their stats (there is some variation in the stats).

Skills - In 3.5 PCs had skill points at each level that they wuld spend to increase skill bonuses.  In 4e everyone get a +1 to each skill at every even level and a +5 to a few skills they are trained in.

Weapons - In 3.5 weapons were differentiated by base damage and crit ranges and multipliers mostly. In 4e they are still differentiated by base damage but instead of different crit stuff they have different proficiency bonuses (although high crit is a property in 4e).

 Any Edition

I should also point out that if you want to really get both sides represented, head over to the Paizo forums and ask the same questions.

That way, you're sure to hear the likes (and dislikes) from both fan bases, not just one.



This is a brilliant idea, and people should take note.


Someone did just that a few weeks ago.  I read both threads, and both devolved into edition wars pretty quick.  I'm rather surprised this thread lasted two pages without it already.

I haven't really given Pathfinder a fair shot, but here's what I like about 4e, from the DM's side:

-Making encounters is easy.  The guidelines for doing so are very clear cut, monster levels give an accurate idea of the threat it represents within those guidelines.  

-Monsters are simple enough to play right out of the book without spending much, if any time pouring over their abilities.  At the same time, they remain complex and diverse enough and with enough tricks to seem vibrant and interesting.  

-Relatively good class balance makes it easy for a DM to judge what a group can handle. 

-Unambiguous character abilities make it easy to know what your PCs can and can't do.

-The 4e DMG is the among best DM resources ever written, along with DMG2 and Robin's Laws of Game Mastering
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
Because I am in an extreme minority on the WotC boards (a Pathfinder subscriber and supporter), I figure I better add more to my previous posts before this thread starts to stray into the '4E Rulez!' arena.

4th Edition Pros


  • Easier to learn - I have to agree, 4th Edition is much easier to learn than its predecessors. New players can easily jump into a game and figure out what's going on and how to play their character.

  • Streamlined builds - Having straitforward classes with limited "branches" in paragon and epic tiers and also reducing the reliance on feats/skills to make a character better is definitely a plus.

  • GM Friendly - Gods, yes! It is incredibly easy to GM 4th edition since you no longer have to "build" monsters to meet the needs of the adventures.


4th Edition Cons


  • Streamlined Builds - After a while, the easy to build characters simply become challenges to min/max or optimize for the best DPS in order to "win" the challenges easily

  • Healing Surges - Or, "How to keep the DM from killing my character." Okay, it's not quite that bad. But still, 3.5 had potions and asked you to take a standard action to drink one and it provoked an attack of opportunity. Meaning you couldn't attack while drinking it and if you did so while something threatened you, they got a free hit.

  • Fraternal Twins - One of the biggest complaints I have for 4th Edition, as do a good portion of gamers, is that the classes are too much like each other. Yes, the Wizard and Fighter are very different in style and definition, but when you look at a Wizard power and Fighter power, remove all the "fluff" and find out they are both doing [Attribute]+[3W] damage, it kinda kills the mood.


Pathfinder Pros


  • Fan Approved - Before they went to production, they started off with an Alpha Playtest, then a year-long Beta Playtest where they asked for input by the fans on what changes they should make to the system to make it better. And they continue doing that with new products.

  • Backwards Compatible - All the previously published material for 3.0/3.5/OGL products can be brought over to Pathfinder with minor modifications in most cases. Meaning there's a dearth of books out there that can be brought in if you want.

  • Balanced Classes - Is the low-level fighter totally equal with the low-level wizard? Is the high-level fighter totally equal with the high-level wizard? No, but the gap between them has been shortened considerably, so the low-level wizards and high-level fighters no longer feel like useless tools in their respective campaigns.


Pathfinder Cons


  • Backwards Compatible - Yes, one of the same things that makes it great also leaves it open to some disastrous stuff. By the end of WotC's 3.5 run, the system had bloated to 175 base classes, 782 prestige classes and 3,304 feats. These have all been inherited by Pathfinder for possible use.

  • Backwards Compatible 2 - The other problem with compatibility is that it requires modification to bring the old into the new. Which means trying to figure out mechanics an use for your favorite prestige class and the knowledge that it's totally unofficial outside your own home group.

  • Heavy Learning Curve - Like previous editions, you can sit someone down and teach them the basics of the game in a single sitting. However, that's covering just the basics and to really get the meat off the bones, you'll be learning the rules for at least a few months of weekly games. This has led many a gamer to stop playing because "it feels like homework".

"There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened." - Douglas Adams I ♥ My Realms
Thank you very much MattDroz! That's what I needed.

On the teaching of the game, is there an easy way to introduce Pathfinder? is there an easy way for giving the races and classes for 4e? (On the last one, with the PHB, PHB2, and PHB3, there are alot of classes and races) 
when you look at a Wizard power and Fighter power, remove all the "fluff" and find out they are both doing [Attribute]+[3W] damage, it kinda kills the mood.

There are vanishingly few Wizard powers with the Weapon keyword (maybe it's still technically none - the WotST weapon powers being PP powers, afterall), and I'm sure none that simply do 3[W] damage. 

Balanced Classes - Is the low-level fighter totally equal with the low-level wizard? Is the high-level fighter totally equal with the high-level wizard? No, but the gap between them has been shortened considerably, so the low-level wizards and high-level fighters no longer feel like useless tools in their respective campaigns.

Well, less imbalanced classes, I guess.  If having classes not quite as badly imbalanced as 3.5 is a plus for Pathfinder, how is having robustly balanced classes not a plus for 4e?



is there an easy way for giving the races and classes for 4e? (with the PHB, PHB2, and PHB3, there are alot of classes and races) 

The simple expedient is simply to use a sub-set of the classes and races.  For instance, just PH1.  You can fairly easily define a campaign world simply by picking some of the 5 Sources (Martial, Arcane, Divine, Primal & Psionic) and just using them, thus cutting down on the number of classes.  Dark Sun, for instance, excludes Divine.  Races can be used to give a campaign a certain feel - Ebberon and Warforged, for instance. 

Want to see the best of 4e included in 5e?  Join the Old Guard of 4e.

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

I'll not weigh in on this subject too heavily, mostly because I blame Monte Cook for everything I hated about 3.x and his reek is all over Pathfinder.


Why?

HAND OF KARSUS!

 

 

I am a DM, and I would like to know, what are the differences between Pathfinder and 4e? Please, I don't want this to be a screaming match between people who love one and hate the other, I really would like to know the differences and similarities because a player suggested I switch the campaign over to Pathfinder.

On a side note, when running the Age of Worms adventure path, does anyone have any resources for adapting to 4e or Pathfinder? 



i've been playing in a PF-only (no 3.5 material. just the pathfinder SRD & PHB2) campaign for a little over 20 sessions right now and my honest opinion is...

it's 3.5.

now, whether or not that's a good thing is up to you.

the changes they did seem big at a first glance, but in play don't really make much of a difference, and it carried over many of the problems i had with 3rd. the rogues still rogued, the fighters were still big dumb brutes, the clerics are still healbots in a can (well, low level at least) and the wizards are still frail at low levels.

i've not yet seen PF stuff and 3.5 stuff mixed in together to see what difference it makes, but i highly doubt it would be that much more noticeable.

some things are little bit more streamlined (grapple/trip/etc...) but still end up falling into the same problems the 3rd ed version had (VERY situational or requires you to focus your whole build). linear fighters and quadratic wizards is also still very much in effect.

the differences between PF and 4th ed are the same as the differences between 3.5 and 4th ed. for me the most fun i've had with pathfinder is when we didn't use the rules and just RP'd.

all in all, PF for me would be entirely forgetable and passable if not for the fact that one of the only 2 guys i would play 3.5 with wanted to run it.

PF has less errata then 4th (3 pages + OGL legalese), yes, but that's mostly because the guys a Paizo don't care to fix game balance issues. very little of the errata is actually there to fix problems and most are either bits that weren't included and should have been or are clarifications (stuff like "these rounds need not be consecutive"). very little, if any, is there because people found loopholes in the system.
3rd ed SRD, character sheets, errata & free modules 4th ed test drive - modules, starter rules, premade characters and character builder & character sheet, errata Free maps and portraits, dice, printable graph paper, campaign managing website, image manipulation program + token maker & zone markers

"All right, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back. GET MAD! I DON'T WANT YOUR **** LEMONS! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THESE?! DEMAND TO SEE LIFE'S MANAGER! Make life RUE the day it thought it could give CAVE JOHNSON LEMONS! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'M THE MAN WHO'S GONNA BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that's gonna BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!" -Cave Johnson, Portal 2
I think that one thing that is really misunderstood about 4e is balance.  The characters aren't really balanced, they just aren't grossly underbalanced.

What this translates to is that all the players are contributing all the time in a meaningful way.  That makes it a group game with lots of group participation. 

That's what we're all here for right?

Older editions didn't work that way at all.  So its entirely possible to go to a 4 hour session and quite literally not participate for one reason or another through no fault of your own.  Worse... you may have to sit there and watch the other 'specialists' screw up.

A good example is a negotiation.  In 4e.. it could well be a group activity, and the fighter being all intimidating to get what he wants, while the wizard tries to review the history of the situation, while the cleric tries to get everyone to see reason.  In other editions your negotiator would go do his thing and quite possibly fail.  Meanwhile the other players are sitting on the side lines quietly waiting for a resolution, an dmore than likely loosing attention in what is going on.
when you look at a Wizard power and Fighter power, remove all the "fluff" and find out they are both doing [Attribute]+[3W] damage, it kinda kills the mood.

There are vanishingly few Wizard powers with the Weapon keyword (maybe it's still technically none - the WotST weapon powers being PP powers, afterall), and I'm sure none that simply do 3[W] damage. 

Balanced Classes - Is the low-level fighter totally equal with the low-level wizard? Is the high-level fighter totally equal with the high-level wizard? No, but the gap between them has been shortened considerably, so the low-level wizards and high-level fighters no longer feel like useless tools in their respective campaigns.

Well, less imbalanced classes, I guess.  If having classes not quite as badly imbalanced as 3.5 is a plus for Pathfinder, how is having robustly balanced classes not a plus for 4e?




The time I looked at PF it looked like they tweaked a couple spells and said done.. so I am completely baffled by any claim the classes in it are balanced.  Somebody just claimed the sky was made of swiss cheese...
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 


The time I looked at PF it looked like they tweaked a couple spells and said done.. so I am completely baffled by any claim the classes in it are balanced.  Somebody just claimed the sky was made of swiss cheese...


Lets leave it at more balanced...
Cubic Wuzards and Squared Figthers?

I'll not weigh in on this subject too heavily, mostly because I blame Monte Cook for everything I hated about 3.x and his reek is all over Pathfinder.


Why?




The elegant answer to this question would be to link the interview he did around 3.x's release on gamingreport.com...but I can no longer find the interview because the site is now defunct.

Since there is no more hard evidence to back up my claims,  I am forced to withdraw my statement.





I'm not sure, but I think you're referring to the interview where he explained that he purposely included bad choices in the game to reward game mastery.  

The honeymoon was over for me on that day also.  

That kind of stuff is fine in competitive games, but in an rpg?  No.  Bad design.  You can see it in certain places more readily that others. 
I'm amazed, and impressed.

When I saw the title, I expected a lot of    




Instead, I'm seeing a lot of  
I'm amazed, and impressed.

When I saw the title, I expected a lot of    




Instead, I'm seeing a lot of  





No one's mentioned my favorit part of 4e.

Seperation of church and state fluff and mechanics.

While it may be small to some people, discribing a magic missile as a beam of green light instead of blue orb really makes the characters mine, and really helps roleplaying (in this case, roleplaying green lantern), and opens up the game to for me to be far more creative then 3.5 ever allowed.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Because I am in an extreme minority on the WotC boards (a Pathfinder subscriber and supporter), I figure I better add more to my previous posts before this thread starts to stray into the '4E Rulez!' arena.

4th Edition Pros


  • Easier to learn - I have to agree, 4th Edition is much easier to learn than its predecessors. New players can easily jump into a game and figure out what's going on and how to play their character.

  • Streamlined builds - Having straitforward classes with limited "branches" in paragon and epic tiers and also reducing the reliance on feats/skills to make a character better is definitely a plus.

  • GM Friendly - Gods, yes! It is incredibly easy to GM 4th edition since you no longer have to "build" monsters to meet the needs of the adventures.


4th Edition Cons


  • Streamlined Builds - After a while, the easy to build characters simply become challenges to min/max or optimize for the best DPS in order to "win" the challenges easily

  • Healing Surges - Or, "How to keep the DM from killing my character." Okay, it's not quite that bad. But still, 3.5 had potions and asked you to take a standard action to drink one and it provoked an attack of opportunity. Meaning you couldn't attack while drinking it and if you did so while something threatened you, they got a free hit.

  • Fraternal Twins - One of the biggest complaints I have for 4th Edition, as do a good portion of gamers, is that the classes are too much like each other. Yes, the Wizard and Fighter are very different in style and definition, but when you look at a Wizard power and Fighter power, remove all the "fluff" and find out they are both doing [Attribute]+[3W] damage, it kinda kills the mood.


Pathfinder Pros


  • Fan Approved - Before they went to production, they started off with an Alpha Playtest, then a year-long Beta Playtest where they asked for input by the fans on what changes they should make to the system to make it better. And they continue doing that with new products.

  • Backwards Compatible - All the previously published material for 3.0/3.5/OGL products can be brought over to Pathfinder with minor modifications in most cases. Meaning there's a dearth of books out there that can be brought in if you want.

  • Balanced Classes - Is the low-level fighter totally equal with the low-level wizard? Is the high-level fighter totally equal with the high-level wizard? No, but the gap between them has been shortened considerably, so the low-level wizards and high-level fighters no longer feel like useless tools in their respective campaigns.


Pathfinder Cons


  • Backwards Compatible - Yes, one of the same things that makes it great also leaves it open to some disastrous stuff. By the end of WotC's 3.5 run, the system had bloated to 175 base classes, 782 prestige classes and 3,304 feats. These have all been inherited by Pathfinder for possible use.

  • Backwards Compatible 2 - The other problem with compatibility is that it requires modification to bring the old into the new. Which means trying to figure out mechanics an use for your favorite prestige class and the knowledge that it's totally unofficial outside your own home group.

  • Heavy Learning Curve - Like previous editions, you can sit someone down and teach them the basics of the game in a single sitting. However, that's covering just the basics and to really get the meat off the bones, you'll be learning the rules for at least a few months of weekly games. This has led many a gamer to stop playing because "it feels like homework".




I do have to ask how is class inbalance in PF a pro.  it's better but not where it shuold be. 

Healing surges is a PRO not a CON. Yes it's different but different is not bad.  I think this is one of the biggest postive jumps for 4th.

No one's mentioned my favorit part of 4e.

Seperation of church and state fluff and mechanics.

While it may be small to some people, discribing a magic missile as a beam of green light instead of blue orb really makes the characters mine, and really helps roleplaying (in this case, roleplaying green lantern), and opens up the game to for me to be far more creative then 3.5 ever allowed.



In 3.x you needed an entire feat to do that (Spell Thematics).

Must of missed that feat.  Did it work for divine spells as well?

Still, Perhaps it was just the DM i had, or the lack of system mastery (i didn't play for very long), but i was excited when i was told "i could do anything" and then told that i couldn't be a fire-breathing marshmallow man, or couldn't play a guy with claws growing out of my hands.  I was quite disappointed.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

No one's mentioned my favorit part of 4e.

Seperation of church and state fluff and mechanics.

While it may be small to some people, discribing a magic missile as a beam of green light instead of blue orb really makes the characters mine, and really helps roleplaying (in this case, roleplaying green lantern), and opens up the game to for me to be far more creative then 3.5 ever allowed.



In 3.x you needed an entire feat to do that (Spell Thematics).

And in 2e, there was a spell for it:  Sense Shifting.

As a DM, I'd allowed players to decide what their spell-effects looked like even back in the 1e days.  It's really never been much of a stretch.  Of course, in 4e it goes beyond cosmetic apearances.  In AD&D a spell that created a patch of grease or oil would behave differently than one that created a patch of ice, because spells were adjucated based on what they said they did, not their mechanics (which were often lacking).  The icy spell might cause a container of water to burst, for instance, while the oily one might make an area flamable - in 4e, they'd just knock you prone, create difficult terrain for a little while, and that's it, no extrapolation or sophomore physics.


Still, Perhaps it was just the DM i had, or the lack of system mastery (i didn't play for very long), but i was excited when i was told "i could do anything" and then told that i couldn't be a fire-breathing marshmallow man, or couldn't play a guy with claws growing out of my hands.  I was quite disappointed.

Heh.  You should have started with Hero System. 

Fire Breathing Marshmallow Man?  Wolverine clone?  No problem.

Want to see the best of 4e included in 5e?  Join the Old Guard of 4e.

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

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  • Healing Surges - Or, "How to keep the DM from killing my character." Okay, it's not quite that bad. But still, 3.5 had potions and asked you to take a standard action to drink one and it provoked an attack of opportunity. Meaning you couldn't attack while drinking it and if you did so while something threatened you, they got a free hit.



I don't think you know how healing Surges work. They aren't "free action: heal". In combat, you have to use a Second wind, a standard action that is used once an encounter. Or, a leader could make you spend one. They might get to do that 3-4 times an encounter. For the entire party.
Still, Perhaps it was just the DM i had, or the lack of system mastery (i didn't play for very long), but i was excited when i was told "i could do anything" and then told that i couldn't be a fire-breathing marshmallow man, or couldn't play a guy with claws growing out of my hands.  I was quite disappointed.

Heh.  You should have started with Hero System. 

Fire Breathing Marshmallow Man?  Wolverine clone?  No problem.

Havn't had a problem in 4e either.

Well except for my nightcrawler clone.  I havn't found a good way to get an at-will moderate distance teleport.  Though a swordmage avenger comes close, and i can just pick any race to be blue, but it lacks the stealth i want.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.



  • Healing Surges - Or, "How to keep the DM from killing my character." Okay, it's not quite that bad. But still, 3.5 had potions and asked you to take a standard action to drink one and it provoked an attack of opportunity. Meaning you couldn't attack while drinking it and if you did so while something threatened you, they got a free hit.



I don't think you know how healing Surges work. They aren't "free action: heal". In combat, you have to use a Second wind, a standard action that is used once an encounter. Or, a leader could make you spend one. They might get to do that 3-4 times an encounter. For the entire party.



Well, potion use is a minor actgion that does not provoke in 4E, so far as I can tell. 

What I found a bit odd about healing surgres was the ability to bring characters back from far in the negatives to "0+surge+leader's bonuses" in hit points.  It is extremely good game design in making encounters a lot more fun but does seem to break the suspension of disbelief; in this sense 4E is geared for combat over many levels (i.e. it not being surprising that players survive for long periods).  This has it's pluses and minuses but definitely puts a unique feel on the game (sand not a bad one, in my opinion, no system does high fantasy hero as well).
I play both.
I'll dissect the argument from the two big perspectives. 

Players
From a player standpoint the games should be similar. Really, the games play fairly similar, as they're both D&D and have most of the same strengths and weaknesses.  
If you have all new players 4e might be easier as they can get the official Character Builder. However, there are tools for Pathfinder as well such as the Excel-based Heroforge and Hero Lab's tools. 
Established players might have a library of books to draw from when making characters, that might push them one way or another.  
However, new players might appreciate the cheaper up-front cost of Pathfinder, given 90% of the rules are available for free online  and there are cheap official PDFs available off the publisher's website. 

4e is a much more living game, with monthly new products and new rules options. With 3.5e dead and Paizo being a much smaller company, the amount of content for Pathfinder should be smaller. 4e has more feats and "spells" that 3.5 and more are released constantly. With Pathfinder, if you limit classes and races, you greatly limit the amount of content you might have to learn. 

DMing
This is a little trickier.  
4e is much easier to run and manage. But encounters can still be a bear to plan, as you have to balance multiple monsters and add terrain for interesting fights. Every combat just has to be interesting, making it a little trickier. And DMs generally have to run multiple monsters at once meaning more bookkeeping and longer DM turns.  
But with Pathfinder, making NPCs is harder and longer and the rules require much more memorization. There's also less room for reskinning and more to consider when customizing. 

Given you're running a 3e adventure path, many of the problems with 3e/Pathfinder (long prep time) are diminished. Updating to Pathfinder really often amounts to using their monster book (or the aforementioned website) or adding feats to NPCs. Much less work than changing every monster and DC to 4e, and likely radically altering every fight to add more creatures and terrain. 
Before posting, ask yourself WWWS: 
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No one's mentioned my favorit part of 4e.

Seperation of church and state fluff and mechanics.

While it may be small to some people, discribing a magic missile as a beam of green light instead of blue orb really makes the characters mine, and really helps roleplaying (in this case, roleplaying green lantern), and opens up the game to for me to be far more creative then 3.5 ever allowed.



Actually that is part of 3e - there was a specific rule allowing you to reflavour spells.

The worst part of 4e is people trying to pass off their reflavouring as part of the official rules - yes my "dagger" actually has the stats of a full blade but heh it is just to help my role playing dude.

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Pathfinder for PRESIDENT!!
I'll not weigh in on this subject too heavily, mostly because I blame Monte Cook for everything I hated about 3.x and his reek is all over Pathfinder.


Why?




The elegant answer to this question would be to link the interview he did around 3.5's release on gamingreport.com...but I can no longer find the interview because the site is now defunct.

Since there is no more hard evidence to back up my claims,  I am forced to withdraw my statement.

But on a personal note, #$& that guy....right in his ear.








Magic also has a concept of "Timmy cards." These are cards that look cool, but aren't actually that great in the game. The purpose of such cards is to reward people for really mastering the game, and making players feel smart when they've figured out that one card is better than the other. While D&D doesn't exactly do that, it is true that certain game choices are deliberately better than others.

Toughness, for example, has its uses, but in most cases it's not the best choice of feat. If you can use martial weapons, a longsword is better than many other one-handed weapons. And so on -- there are many other, far more intricate examples. (Arguably, this kind of thing has always existed in D&D. Mostly, we just made sure that we didn't design it away -- we wanted to reward mastery of the game.)

www.montecook.com/cgi-bin/page.cgi?mc_lo...

Wow, I never knew this. I don't think I will ever pick up a Monte Cook product.

 Any Edition

No one's mentioned my favorit part of 4e.

Seperation of church and state fluff and mechanics.

While it may be small to some people, discribing a magic missile as a beam of green light instead of blue orb really makes the characters mine, and really helps roleplaying (in this case, roleplaying green lantern), and opens up the game to for me to be far more creative then 3.5 ever allowed.



Actually that is part of 3e - there was a specific rule allowing you to reflavour spells.



Which rule was that?  The only one I can recall (Arcane Admixture, I think it was) required a feat expenditure for you to do it.

The worst part of 4e is people trying to pass off their reflavouring as part of the official rules - yes my "dagger" actually has the stats of a full blade but heh it is just to help my role playing dude.



What's wrong with that?  If you want to say a fullblade is a serratted poisoned dagger (which explains the damage difference), wielded by a character with a knife-fighting style that requires a free hand for balance and 2-handed strikes (which explains the two-handed use required by the fullblade), I don't see anything wrong with that.
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Actually that is part of 3e - there was a specific rule allowing you to reflavour spells.



Which rule was that?  The only one I can recall (Arcane Admixture, I think it was) required a feat expenditure for you to do it.



Page 34 of the DMG under the heading "Describing Spell Effects"



The worst part of 4e is people trying to pass off their reflavouring as part of the official rules - yes my "dagger" actually has the stats of a full blade but heh it is just to help my role playing dude.



What's wrong with that?  If you want to say a fullblade is a serratted poisoned dagger (which explains the damage difference), wielded by a character with a knife-fighting style that requires a free hand for balance and 2-handed strikes (which explains the two-handed use required by the fullblade), I don't see anything wrong with that.



If you want to use a Full Blade then use one.  There is no rule that lets you use a Full Blade and describe it as a Dagger and yet there are some that believe that 4e has completely dissociated fluff from mechanics.

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The worst part of 4e is people trying to pass off their reflavouring as part of the official rules - yes my "dagger" actually has the stats of a full blade but heh it is just to help my role playing dude.



What's wrong with that?  If you want to say a fullblade is a serratted poisoned dagger (which explains the damage difference), wielded by a character with a knife-fighting style that requires a free hand for balance and 2-handed strikes (which explains the two-handed use required by the fullblade), I don't see anything wrong with that.



If you want to use a Full Blade then use one.  There is no rule that lets you use a Full Blade and describe it as a Dagger and yet there are some that believe that 4e has completely dissociated fluff from mechanics.



Actually there is.  The "My Son, The Fire Archon" sidebar (on page 21 of the DMG2).
There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

What's wrong with that?  If you want to say a fullblade is a serratted poisoned dagger (which explains the damage difference), wielded by a character with a knife-fighting style that requires a free hand for balance and 2-handed strikes (which explains the two-handed use required by the fullblade), I don't see anything wrong with that.



There's nothing wrong with it if that's the kind of game you like.  It's just that it's a house rule that needs DM approval.
The worst part of 4e is people trying to pass off their reflavouring as part of the official rules - yes my "dagger" actually has the stats of a full blade but heh it is just to help my role playing dude.



What's wrong with that?  If you want to say a fullblade is a serratted poisoned dagger (which explains the damage difference), wielded by a character with a knife-fighting style that requires a free hand for balance and 2-handed strikes (which explains the two-handed use required by the fullblade), I don't see anything wrong with that.



If you want to use a Full Blade then use one.  There is no rule that lets you use a Full Blade and describe it as a Dagger and yet there are some that believe that 4e has completely dissociated fluff from mechanics.



Actually there is.  The "My Son, The Fire Archon" sidebar (on page 21 of the DMG2).



Will you post that sidebar here?  I don't have a DMG2 and I want to see the wording on that.
If you want to use a Full Blade then use one.  There is no rule that lets you use a Full Blade and describe it as a Dagger and yet there are some that believe that 4e has completely dissociated fluff from mechanics.



Actually there is.  The "My Son, The Fire Archon" sidebar (on page 21 of the DMG2).



So then by this argument, could my 7th level Archon Rogue could use the serratted poisoned dagger to do d12 [W] with his fiery blast?

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