Pathfinder and 4e

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What is a good way to describe the differences in Pathfinder and 4e, and which do you feel is better? Please just focus what you like about each and differences, don't go into hating one or the other. I'm trying to give both options to a group of new players, where some have played 4e.
What is a good way to describe the differences in Pathfinder and 4e, and which do you feel is better? Please just focus what you like about each and differences, don't go into hating one or the other. I'm trying to give both options to a group of new players, where some have played 4e.



There are about 1000 threads on this very topic already. Please use either the search function, or google, as a flame war is almost inevitable.
Yeah, I don't see this thread ending well.

If you really want to see the differences, just look at the two systems and maybe play a couple games from each. You can get the Pathfinder SRD for free and you can download the 4e Keep on the Shadowfell for free.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
Fine, simple pros and cons of each.



  • 4e D&D

  • Pros-
    Simpler Rules set, but still has many options.
    Classes are well balanced so everyone gets to shine at points in the game.
    "Gamist' style, Rule of Cool over rule of minutae.
    Good Support
    Well known brand name provides easier group finding
    Rich Histroy

  • Cons-
    More 'Gamist' than Simulationist in many cases where simulation would be good.
    All classes being equal also means all classes are about as hard to learn to play
    Multiple situational modifiers
    Levels start breaking down in the 14-20 range (subjective, but listed for completion)

  • Pathfinder

  • Pros-
    Wide variety of skills and sub-set rules for Simulationist players
    Good Support
    Growing brand name
    You likley know the rules (or at least part) already.

  • Cons-
    Poor class balance.
    Levels strat breaking about level 7.
    Multiple situational modifiers, with sub-rule sets for many of them.


That's about it, from my experience. If you want hard and gritty, Pathfinder might be more your thing, if you want easier to play and survive, you might want 4e.

If you want a good blend of both extremes, play Savage Worlds instead.
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Pros of 4e:  It's not 3.5.

Pros of Pathfinder:  It is 3.5.


That's it in a nutshell, really. 

 

 

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

If you want to play 3.5E, play 3.5E

If you want to play 4E, play 4E

If you're angry and want to stick it to WotC, play Pathfinder
...whatever
If you want to play 3.5E, play 3.5E

If you want to play 4E, play 4E

If you're angry and want to stick it to WotC, play Pathfinder



/thread
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Well, the old school D&D player in me who prefers Vancian magic and non-combat spells plays in a Pathfinder campaign and runs another.

The side of me that begs for simplicity in grid rules and DM prep runs a 4th Edition game.

Call me conflicted.
Well, the old school D&D player in me who prefers Vancian magic and non-combat spells plays in a Pathfinder campaign and runs another.

The side of me that begs for simplicity in grid rules and DM prep runs a 4th Edition game.

Call me conflicted.



OK yep you're conflicted.


Laughing  
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Pros of 4e:  It's not 3.5.

Pros of Pathfinder:  It is 3.5.


That's it in a nutshell, really. 




...Ya know, usually I disagree with what you say, Tony, but....I think you put it quite well.

Of course, to somebody who has no knowledge of 3.5e, its not helpful.

In any case, I'm surprised that it hasn't devolved into whines or screams already. 

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57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.

I have played D&D 4E using the PH and PH 2 and Pathfinder using the Core Rulebook and the Advanced Player's Guide. Here's my take on the differences from a player's point of view.

With 4E, you pick one of two builds (more with other books) and that build points a new player pretty well in one direction. In the case of the PH, a couple of classes actually use different primary ability scores for each build, encouraging a certain selection of powers even more.

Pathfinder uses a similar system, but in 4E speak the player creates a build not the designer. By this I mean a player playing a fighter picks out the feats he thinks will create the gladiator he sees in his mind's eye or the player of a sorcerer picks a bloodline to create a cursed antihero with corrupted magic flowing through his veins. The player narrows the focus instead of the game designer.

The differences for the players are that in 4E a professional game designer gives you the initial build making it a bit harder for a player to make truly poor design choices, but also limiting what the player can do to what the builds provided allow. In PF, the player has more freedom since he isn't restricted to two builds but the danger is he could flail around with no real concept and make a lot of choices that don't work together.

The game designer is expected to help out the player a lot in 4E, hence the errata and updates to rules. Some players love the constant rule tweaking and some players don't like the constant changes.

The gamemaster is expected to help out the player more in PF. PF requires trial and error and acquiring system knowledge, which is a lot of fun for some people and too much work and effort just to play a game for others.

Just as a side note, it isn't necessary to be an experienced GM to try out PF. A GM can use an Adventure Path or module to get started, and help his players learn at the same time he is learning.

Both the player and the GM can also get help in building PCs by buying the Hero Lab rules for Pathfinder. It does a lot of number crunching for the player and allows monster customization for the GM.

In 4E, a DM doesn't need expert knowledge of the players' characters. However, the DM has to decide how he will handle the updates done by the game designers. I don't use the new online character builder but I assume it now automatically updates each month? If so, the DM who wants to use online help has to adapt to new rules as updates come out. If a DM doesn't want to do this, he will have to restrict his players to offline builds or find a copy of the original character builder that he can download. So the DM will also gain system knowledge in 4E by seeing the changes the designers make each month to tweak the system and how those changes affect game play in the DM's campaign.

Expounding further:

In Pathfinder you do get more freedom with character builds.  And the poor balance created because of it makes it easier for campaigns to fall apart to over powered characters.

Pathfinder = Character-centric attitudes.  It's all about the character.  They don't need their buddies.  High potential for over powered combos.

4e = Party-centric attitudes.  Its all about the party and how you fit in with the party.  You can't solo things very easily.
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Another difference between 4E and PF is in the group of PCs. In 4E, each class has a role (which the PH 2 adds secondary role to). The PCs are encoured to cover every role. The PH 2 classes cover more of the roles with the secondary role and are a good choice. I believe Essentials is built more the PH 2 but with less power choices for martial characters than those in the PH. The designer provide these roles and the players are encouraged to cover each role for a well-rounded party.

In PF, the PCs have to find a role in the group to fill. In PF, though, the GM and players have to work together more to determine the roles each PC can fill. The game doesn't define roles directly, so the group determines what it wants out of the game. This design can backfire if the group doesn't agree or chooses poorly. However, between multi-classing and prestige classes, PF offers a lot of tweaks even as PCs advance to tweak the roles and change concepts so if the group works together, they can usually work any problems out.

With PF, if a player played 3.5 and wants a different experience, they should pick up the Advanced Player's Guide. The APG is Paizo's first major rule design work on PF that doesn't work off of previous 3.5 designs. It is all new, all PF. I haven't see a cleric played since the APG came out and the classes in the book really allow for a wide range of characters. A combination of Core Rulebook and APG classes work seamlessly together; the APG is balanced against the Core Rulebook and the classes don't have any new tweaks or upgrades.

In the same way, I'd recommend the PH 2 in addition to the PH to cover the traditional D&D classes. While the PH already has a new class in the warlord, the PH 2 brings back old favorites like the druid and introduces new and interesting classes like the shaman. The classes in the PH 2 are my favorite for 4E.
Expounding further:

In Pathfinder you do get more freedom with character builds.  And the poor balance created because of it makes it easier for campaigns to fall apart to over powered characters.

Pathfinder = Character-centric attitudes.  It's all about the character.  They don't need their buddies.  High potential for over powered combos.

4e = Party-centric attitudes.  Its all about the party and how you fit in with the party.  You can't solo things very easily.



PF doesn't have poor balance; that is opinion not fact. PF has much less errata than 4E; that is fact not opinion. My 1st printing 4E DMG has skill challenges all wrong  and two-thirds of the monsters in the 1st printing MM are underpowered. Both of those rule problems indicate poor balance. The game designers have since tweaked those rules to generate better balance in 4E.

PF is also not about the character. It is about the shared story. Read the Core Rulebook and it is hard to miss that design paradigm.

I do agree about 4E however, it is about the shared experience between the classes and how they interact with the world through roleplaying, skill challenges, and combat. That design paradigm is a good one too. It is different than the design paradigm of PF, not better or worse, just different.

Which is what the OP was looking for--a contrast between 4E and PF.
If you want to play 3.5E, play 3.5E

If you want to play 4E, play 4E


If you're angry and want to stick it to WotC, play Pathfinder



I hate to jump on the bandwagon here, but that really is perfect. 



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If you want to play 3.5E, play 3.5E

If you want to play 4E, play 4E


If you're angry and want to stick it to WotC, play Pathfinder



I hate to jump on the bandwagon here, but that really is perfect. 






Not quite perfect.

Wizards didn't invent D&D and their 3.0, 3.5, 4E, and 4E with Essentials is no more worthy or less worthy than PF. Both game systems are built on the work of previous game designers.

Also, many people (everyone in my game group for example) have played and many continue to play both 4E and PF (and some of us also played 3.5, 3.0, 2E, 1E, Basic, and at least looked at OD&D).

Some players like PF more than 3.5 but that doesn't stick to WotC as WotC doesn't produce 3.5 material anymore. Wizards isn't losing 3.5 sales to PF as they don't sell 3.5 anymore. In fact, PF encourages some 3.5 sales as players pick up old books they like. Wizards could actually make some money from PF players if they starting selling PDFs again (of any OOP edition).
The core mechanic at the heart of both games is the same: roll a d20 and add modifiers to reach a set number. Positive modifiers on the roll are good, negative are bad. 

Pathfinder, like 3e before it, starts with the assumption you can do anything and provides rules for anyone to attemp anything. But, it gives you penalties for trying unless you take a feat or your class gives you bonuses. 
4e lets you do much less, so you can't even try without a power. If it is something anyone can do you perform it normally but recieve a bonus for having a feat or class feature.
That's the major difference in game design, everything else is nuance and specific to classes or rule subsets.  

There's also the game's philosophy to the world. Specifically, PF is a world made up of numbers while 4e is not. There are set challenges for most tasks, so if you train in something it gets easier as you become higher level. Fighters have easier time knocking down most doors, walls get easier to climb, locks easier to pick, etc. Unless said door/ wall/ lock is extraordinary. Monsters have a set, singular power level that is added onto. For the most part, 4e scales the challenge with the level, so there are fewer set DCs. So it's always equally as challenging to knock down the door, climb the wall, or pick the lock. Monsters are relative, and can go up and down in potency for narrative reasons. 


The other big differences have nothing to do with the game.

First, Pathfinder is covered under the Open Game Licence. So ALL of the core rulebook is available free online. Legally. So you can try it for free. And Paizo has taken Pathfinder's open content further, so all of their releases are available to be shared online. You technically don't ever have to buy the books. You can also get Pathfinder books as well-made PDFs, and for some products, if you pre-order a print book off Paizo's website (because they have a very complete online store) they will often throw in a free PDF copy. PDFs themselves are cheaper, often a quarter of the book's cover price. 
4e is not and they want you to pay for the books or monthly for the online tools.  There is a place to try 4e for free, but this is hidden in the website and no longer available via the main page (because they want you to buy Essentials). And WotC is actively trying to make it so people buy their books or pay for their products, cancelling the downloadable Character Builder and Monster Builder and switching to an online version. WotC does not have an online store. They stopped doing PDFs two years ago, and when they did sell PDFs they could often be more expensive than pre-ordered print copies. 

Paizo is really well liked by their fans, both as a company and the individual members. They support their fans encouraging fan projects (they host the fan magazine Wayfinder on the main site). And they regularly have open (free) playtests of new material and take feedback, knowing the fans can review more thoroughly than the designers. Fans on the site occasionally deliver pizza to the Paizo office and Paizo staff are encouraged to to spend free time on the message boards communicating with the fans. 
Meanwhile, people seem to like D&D despite WotC. WotC really is this impossing faceless company that seems to get in the way of the designers and developers (all really nice people) talking with the fans and communicating. The fans often don't trust, feeling like they're being lied to or used. And it's rare to see a WotC employee on the forums as there's no incentive and it can be such a toxic environment. When WotC released its new, updated community site you occasionally got staff blogging, but that's rare now.
Really, people seem to like Pathfinder so much because of Paizo, while people seem to like D&D and 4e despite of WotC.  

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Personally, I find the quality of the game more important than whether or not the company is kissing my butt.
...whatever
Personally, I find the quality of the game more important than whether or not the company is kissing my butt.



As I mentioned above, my 4E Dungeon Master's Guide had incorrect rules on skill challenges and the damage mechanic by level right from the beginning. And two-thirds of my 4E Monster Manual is underpowered. So quality for 4E was not high in the beginning of the system.

Fans like Paizo not because Paizo kisses their butt (wonderful image right after I ate lunch, thanks btw) but because Paizo communicates with customers, listens to customer feedback, and makes business decisions (ie produces RPG game products) that meets the needs of their greatest number of customers while trying not to alienate those customers whose needs they cannot directly meet.

This openness translates directly into quality. Huge open playtests help the quality of rules. Working with skilled writers of all types (novel, D&D designers from all editions including 4E, world builders for Wizards etc) produces not only quality rules but also well detailed and enjoyable stories.

Just because Paizo is good at these things does not means Wizards has to be bad in general. Wizards just doesn't have the same priorities. Some customers like Wizards hands off approach and some like Paizo's direct to the customer response.
4e lets you do much less, so you can't even try without a power. If it is something anyone can do you perform it normally but recieve a bonus for having a feat or class feature. 


I don't take issue with most of what you said (and rather agree wholeheartedly with your last statement). However, I do want to say something about this part right here. Powers codify what your character is best at, but they are not the only thing you can do. The part about not being able to even attempt anything not covered by a power is patently false (check the DMG pg 42). However, players do seem to ignore this and unconsciously limit themselves to only what their powers can do.
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Pathfinder, like 3e before it, starts with the assumption you can do anything and provides rules for anyone to attemp anything. But, it gives you penalties for trying unless you take a feat or your class gives you bonuses. 
4e lets you do much less, so you can't even try without a power. If it is something anyone can do you perform it normally but recieve a bonus for having a feat or class feature.
That's the major difference in game design, everything else is nuance and specific to classes or rule subsets.

Hello, page 42? This is just misinformation.
There's also the game's philosophy to the world. Specifically, PF is a world made up of numbers while 4e is not. There are set challenges for most tasks, so if you train in something it gets easier as you become higher level. Fighters have easier time knocking down most doors, walls get easier to climb, locks easier to pick, etc. Unless said door/ wall/ lock is extraordinary. Monsters have a set, singular power level that is added onto. For the most part, 4e scales the challenge with the level, so there are fewer set DCs. So it's always equally as challenging to knock down the door, climb the wall, or pick the lock. Monsters are relative, and can go up and down in potency for narrative reasons.

This is also false. A wooden door is a wooden door, even in 4e. But by the time you're epic tier you're not bashing in wooden doors anymore, you're bashing in doors constructed from the divine will of a pantheon of gods.
4e lets you do much less, so you can't even try without a power.


I know you're aware of page 42, so I have to imagine this was some sort of typo.

PF is a world made up of numbers while 4e is not. There are set challenges for most tasks, so if you train in something it gets easier as you become higher level. Fighters have easier time knocking down most doors, walls get easier to climb, locks easier to pick, etc.


While I appreciate the plug for my blog.  In both PF and 4e, characters can get better at knocking down doors, picking locks, and climbing walls.  Both PF and 4e assume that as players level, they encounter tougher doors, more complex locks, and more difficult walls.  So I'm not sure how this is a point of comparison.

The only difference is that in 4e, everyone is getting better, while in PF, only the character choosing the skill gets better, resulting in an obscene skill spread by which a climbing challenge results in either one character easily overcoming it, or only one character having a hope to overcome it.
Worth mentioning is the campaign support advantage of pathfinder over 4th edition. I think WOTC made an error in their minimal campaign support route they took in 4th edition - I actually enjoyed reading the fluff heavy regional support books that were routinely released with 3rd edition. Pathfinder is an ongoing, expanding world, which is a big plus if you're into that sort of thing.

The thing PF brings to the table is better adventures. Paizo got their start really with Dungeon, so its no real surprise there, but the aventure path modules can be good runs that dont feel *too* rail roady. Add in actual cartography and dungeon exploration instead of map-tile setup skirmish after map-tile set up skirmish, and its more in line with how I've enjoyed adventures for the past 25 years. I also think they are aimed at a more adule audience, with some gritty and dark horror and more adult themes touched on. WOTC seems aware of how the delve format doesnt have broad appeal, so perhaps 4th edition might begin producing worthy adventures. Right now, the best 4th edition ones I've seen have all been patron projects by Wolfgang Bauer (particularly the fey heavy Wrath of the River King).

Its also rather easy to convert fights in these to 4th edition, since 4th edition is really easy to build encoutners for with the insider tools. I'm running a 4th edition game set in the PF world, and using mainly their adventures, and its been quite fun, and a breeze to DM for.
Personally, I find the quality of the game more important than whether or not the company is kissing my butt.



As I mentioned above, my 4E Dungeon Master's Guide had incorrect rules on skill challenges and the damage mechanic by level right from the beginning. And two-thirds of my 4E Monster Manual is underpowered. So quality for 4E was not high in the beginning of the system.

Fans like Paizo not because Paizo kisses their butt (wonderful image right after I ate lunch, thanks btw) but because Paizo communicates with customers, listens to customer feedback, and makes business decisions (ie produces RPG game products) that meets the needs of their greatest number of customers while trying not to alienate those customers whose needs they cannot directly meet.

This openness translates directly into quality. Huge open playtests help the quality of rules. Working with skilled writers of all types (novel, D&D designers from all editions including 4E, world builders for Wizards etc) produces not only quality rules but also well detailed and enjoyable stories.

Just because Paizo is good at these things does not means Wizards has to be bad in general. Wizards just doesn't have the same priorities. Some customers like Wizards hands off approach and some like Paizo's direct to the customer response.



I'd just like to say that while I don't know much about Paizo's interactions with its customers, not being a PF player. I do know SOMETHING about WotC's. They are not as cold and distant as some people would like to make out. ALL of the WotC developers have staff blogs. Some of them haven't been super active lately, but others have posted pretty consistently and you can definitely have discussions with them there. I've also had discussions with a couple of the core 4e devs at various (rare) intervals here and there. Mostly you have to want to talk and have something interesting to say besides begging for your favorite candybar or some complaint about some detail of something (which I'm sure they're not averse to hearing, but they simply can't absorb themselves in those debates all day every day). You will also note that WotC has solicited a lot of fan input in various ways, particularly offline at cons, Encounters groups, etc. but also online. They've made a number of previews of different rules that were used for playtest purposes by the community, etc.

Now, I've heard some complaints about WotC not listening to playtest feedback etc too, but I've also heard people complain on that score about Paizo at times, especially during the original PF development. I think you just have to accept that while fan involvement in design is great there are just limits to what is possible.

I think most of the differences between WotC and Paizo are more audience expectation than anything else. This is where Paizo has at least benefited from their situation and probably done some smart things to appear more friendly. WotC OTOH seems to be somewhat less focused on that. Probably there are more internal things for their guys to worry about, I don't know. Doubtless Paizo has acheived a more friendly reputation. I'm not sure WotC is LESS friendly or open though in reality. They are just not seeming to know how to project it effectively.

Anyway, PF vs 4e? Play what you want. Get the starters for each of them and pick. They're both FRPGs and they're both pretty good. 4e is a bit easier to play, PF is more like older classic D&D in some respects.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
I`d also say that pathfinder has some fantastic settings to play in. They are often quite dark and present some decent moral questions (i very much enjoyed the crimson throne series).

4th Ed has much more bland settings and made the mistake of killing Forgotten realms, which had a very loyal fanbase. Eberron remains a good setting, but when Ravenloft didnt make its planned appearance, it became pretty obvious that the next big hitter wasnt going to leave the stable. A great shame as a good Ravenloft would have done a great deal to win back players.

I dont understand the WotC mindset on this. I was a great fan of Ravenloft and Planescape, as well as the Realms. I can put my dislike of the rules aside should a decent job be done with any of those, but at this time, it hasn't. 4th Edition is like some faceless thing that sucks the colour out of the RP experience and that shouldnt be the case.

Even "points of light" is bland and most people dont even see it as the core setting.

I don't know really what is going on. It almost seems as if WotC is winding down with 4e and Paizo is revving up with Pathfinder.

I almost wonder if WotC is in negotiations with a 3rd party to either publish D&D, or take on publishing and fleshing out the campaign settings. The dearth of campaign material in 4e for the settings, and the lack of settings in general is odd. I mean here you have a robust and balanced play system, some of the largest and well established settings and no material to run in them.

DM'ing encounters got much easier with 4e, but there aren't any adventures to put those encounters in. As a DM for Dark Sun you have to create all of the adventures yourself. Back in the hey-day, there were like 12 different adventures for Dark Sun within the first 2 years of its release. 

Pathfinder has more adventures than you can shake a stick at. They are hardcore trying to build up Golarion into an epic campaign setting on par with earlier FR or Greyhawk.

WotC is sitting on all of this wonderful and rich IP, and aren't doing squat with it. That is why I am theorizing that they are having meetings with other providers to establish content for the system.     
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
Warrant, I've been thinking the exact same thing.  
  
Fantasy Craft > Pathfinder


Tongue out
With 4E, you pick one of two builds (more with other books) and that build points a new player pretty well in one direction. In the case of the PH, a couple of classes actually use different primary ability scores for each build, encouraging a certain selection of powers even more.



Builds? You're saying that the suggested builds that are optional limit your creativity?

I have never used a build.

Ever.

And its not like I had to do an extensive workaround. They are simply....not important, and exist purely to give a complete FNG without the time to read and grok the powers an idea of how to create and run a concept.

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Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

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"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.

To the OP: If you like "old-school" D&D, Pathfinder is what you wanna play. I have the books, but personally I find the rules clunky and inefficient, especially for combat. 4E for my money, is a much more streamlined and elegant combat system. Also, I find character creation/advancement in 4E far more interesting than Pathfinder, with many more options, and balance between character classes in 4E is far superior as well.

Where Pathfinder has a huge advantage over 4E, as others have mentioned, is in the sheer amount of published setting materials and adventures. Even better, they have Adventure Paths that take characters from lvls 1 through 20.

@Warrant: Your theory seems plausible, I've been wondering about the dearth of setting material and adventures for 4E myself, especially compared with previous editions.

"You got your Essentials in my 4E!" "Well, you got your 4E in my Essentials!"
I've been invovled in companies that are contemplating a merger/spin-off etc. and this is the type of behavior they exhibit. Minimalize large scale roll outs and drastically reduce your pipeline of scheduled material.

Time will tell....Time will also funnel more money from WotC to Paizo. I have started to buy Paizo adventures to use in 4e simply because 4e doesn't have enough stuff to purchase. 

In my experience, combat passes more quickly in Pathfinder than it does in 4e; also there are more ways to bypass encouters (combat-wise) in Pathfinder than in 4e in my experience.

Skills are something else where Pathfinder OR 4e can appeal to different playstyles. In 4e, EVERY character can give a shot at EVERY skill (they may not be trained, but they can still try, and get the basic modifier) So in a 4e game if you tell one person to roll for arcana, the whole group can roll and someone will inevitably succeed. In Pathfinder, if you don't know certain skills, you can't even try. To each their own with this.   
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
To the OP: If you like "old-school" D&D, Pathfinder is what you wanna play.

Define "old-school". As which matches closer will vary depending on what you consider core to old school (and what editions you use for the definition, for me it is OD&d, AD&D 1st edition and BECMI).
For me one of the properties is your class choice at creation mattering. which it does not in 3.X and I would assume in pathfinder as well as it is a 3.x derivative.




In both PF and 4e, characters can get better at knocking down doors, picking locks, and climbing walls.  Both PF and 4e assume that as players level, they encounter tougher doors, more complex locks, and more difficult walls.  So I'm not sure how this is a point of comparison.

The only difference is that in 4e, everyone is getting better, while in PF, only the character choosing the skill gets better, resulting in an obscene skill spread by which a climbing challenge results in either one character easily overcoming it, or only one character having a hope to overcome it.



I think the point is that 4E scales the skill challenge by default based on character level. PF doesn't scale DCs; a wooden door always has a set break DC for example unless the GM changes its construction.

Your second point also shows the big difference in philosophy between 4E and PF. In 4E all characters are close to being equal at many things--the perceived balance. In PF, if a wizard can't climb a wall he tries a spell or goes and buys a grappling hook or has the barbarian give him a boost. A wizard climbing a wall is not a core idea in previous editions of D&D just in 4E. If I was genius with a book of spells I would never have learned to climb a wall either. PF models that type of thinking. D&D models allowing everyone in a group to do similar things. Different design philosophies.
With 4E, you pick one of two builds (more with other books) and that build points a new player pretty well in one direction. In the case of the PH, a couple of classes actually use different primary ability scores for each build, encouraging a certain selection of powers even more.



Builds? You're saying that the suggested builds that are optional limit your creativity?



Yes. No.

Builds point to a class feature for many classes, usually one of two choices in the PH (see ranger, rogue, and warlock) and PH 2 (many of the classes). In addition, several powers get an extra boost depending on the build, the last line of a power notes is which of the two (or three in a warlock's case) class features get an extra effect.

As I said, the build points a new player in a certain direction, that of a defined class feature out of two choices and encouraging but not requiring certain powers that work best with the chosen build. But don't take my word for it, check out p. 52 in the PH:

The next section of a class entry describes each class build in more detail. A build is the theme you think about when choosing your powers and other abilities. The build you choose (if you choose one) suggests what abilities you should prioritize and gives you some guidance as you choose powers, at 1st level and as you gain levels.

A build isn't intended as a constraint, but asa way to make informed choices....

You know, I am pleasantly surprised that there hasn't been any ranting, raving and
unfettered nerdrage in this thread.

I guess the Pathfinder vs. 4E rivalry is basically over, the real venom seems to be
between Original 4E and Essentials supporters.

Not that I think that particular issue should be discussed here, however.

"You got your Essentials in my 4E!" "Well, you got your 4E in my Essentials!"
 D&D models allowing everyone in a group to do similar things.  


My characters do things our own way.,.. the end may be the same but methods are their own.
If my wizard needed to pass a locked door - he would scribe glowing runes over it and mutter incantations for a moment and snap his fingers, I the player would then make a thieving check. My dm might allow me to do it from a distance using my Magehand.  Or I would blow the thing off its hinges with a precision magic missile... Come to think of it I might be able to turn back time on the door till it was last unlocked just for a moment or two but that takes a bit longer than the cantrip and might take some dust of crow wing and a hung thiefs finger bone .... but whichever
I could float across the water top by a ritual conjuring and bribing a hoard of fairies to do the task.  If we suspect lots of water hazards I can have the entire party breathing water but in an unpredicted emergency my fighter friends athletics will still be useful not over-ridden by a quick and cheap assed scroll. 
  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."

 

4e lets you do much less, so you can't even try without a power.


I know you're aware of page 42, so I have to imagine this was some sort of typo. 



At times it seems to be a hobby for people - you know intentionally playing to ignorance. 
  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."

 

You know, I am pleasantly surprised that there hasn't been any ranting, raving andunfettered nerdrage in this thread.

I guess the Pathfinder vs. 4E rivalry is basically over, the real venom seems to be between Original 4E and Essentials supporters.

Not that I think that particular issue should be discussed here, however.


+1

I was going to say the same thing. Even the word "vemom" was going to be used.
GAMMA WORLD Wuv D&D: Beyond the RPG - Transcript This is a complete transcript. http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/22329697?sdb=1&pg=last#390668593 The audio file is in this News Archive http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4news/DNDXP 2010 D&D Product Overview (47 minutes into the Audio) http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/22329697?sdb=1&pg=last#390928045
I think Pathfinder ended up being alot more popular than people thought it would be and it iosn't uncommen to find on various forums 4th ed users buying Paizo product and adapting it to 4th ed because WoTC doesn't even try.

  Pathfinder is probably the best version of 3.5 around. Thats its bigest advantage and weakness as it has alot of the same problems 3.5 had. The artwork is fantastic though and I would say it is consistently better than 4th ed. Paizo has also put alot of effort into their world.

 4th ed is very easy to DM and is a reaonably good tactical minis/skirmish type ROG. The downside is that it is a tactical skirmish RPG which may not be everyones cup of tea. Most of the complaints I would direct at 4th ed would be aimed at the AEDU structure of the classes. Doesn't mean I prefer essentials type classes either but I sometimes miss the class abilities you used to get as opposed to powers which 4th ed has.

Being honest I've enjoyed playing them all.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 

Either system works for me, and usually depends on what the DM is running nearby.  Each though has a favored class for me.

4e = Warlocks.  Possibly Gloom Hexblades too now.

Pathfinder = Alchemists.  How else does anyone pull off a Guy Fawkes and Mr. Hyde in the same build?  Literally.

Oh, and Kavrell?  Wooden Doors do have a set Break DC in 4e as well.  Its just a Strength Check vs. 16 DC.  Or just 20 hp of damage vs. 5 AC/Ref or 10 Fort against a medium sized wooden door.  The scaling DC refers to current level challenges, that actually have a chance of failure or even success.
-Yes, even the Wizard at level 30 with no Strength can perform a door breaking Strength check kick and never fail on a wooden door.  Of course, the absurdity of it is completely lost on the level 1 goblins staring at said wizard, seeing their lives flash before their eyes as their first defense was kicked open.  They are just that bad@%$ by that point, anyways for such little things.
You know, I am pleasantly surprised that there hasn't been any ranting, raving andunfettered nerdrage in this thread.

I guess the Pathfinder vs. 4E rivalry is basically over, the real venom seems to be between Original 4E and Essentials supporters.

Not that I think that particular issue should be discussed here, however.


+1

I was going to say the same thing. Even the word "vemom" was going to be used.



Sir, I like the cut of your jib!
Just don't ask me what a jib is...
"You got your Essentials in my 4E!" "Well, you got your 4E in my Essentials!"