2010-01-01, 01:50 PM (ISO 8601)
Firbolg in the Playground
Stats 'n' Stuff
3. General Changes - Races, Skills, Feats
All the Pathfinder core races are much stronger than their 3.5 equivalents. They all get a net bonus to abilities (elves are +2 Dex +2 Int -2 Con, humans and half-elves are +2 to any one stat). They also get extra abilities, some of which are quite nice (elves get free Spell Penetration, for instance).
One effect of the changes has been to narrow the power gap between the strongest and weakest races quite a bit. As an example, letís compare a human to a half-orc in Pathfinder. Both get the same stat bonuses (+2 to any one stat). The human gets a bonus feat and an extra skill point per level. The half-orc gets Darkvision, ferocity, weapon familiarity, and a couple other minor benefits. As you can see, there isnít much in it. Iíd still say the human comes out ahead, but the difference is much smaller than it was in 3.5.
The 4x starting skills rule is gone. Classes now get a number of skill points each level equal to their class skill points + Int bonus. Cross-class skill penalties are also gone; they're now 1:1, no limit, same as anything else. If a skill is a class skill and you put at least one rank in it, you get +3 to that skill.
As a result, thereís a mechanical incentive in Pathfinder to be at least moderately competent at all your class skills. Since putting 1 rank into a class skill gives you a +4 bonus, there's no real reason not to do it once you've levelled up a few times and have the points to play with. Cross-class skills are also now a much more attractive proposition: a 10th-level Fighter who's maxed out Perception has +10, a 10th-level Rogue who's maxed out Perception has +13.
Balance, Tumble, and Jump have all been folded into a new skill, Acrobatics. Forgery, Decipher Script, and Speak Language have all been folded into a new skill, Linguistics. Listen, Search and Spot have been folded into a new skill, Perception. Hide and Move Silently have been folded into a new skill, Stealth. Gather Information is folded into Diplomacy. Open Lock is folded into Disable Device. One old skill has been removed, Concentration (now a caster level + ability modifier check). One new skill has been created, Fly (Dex-based, class skill for Dru, Sor, Wiz).
What this means in practice is that your skill points go further than they used to, and previously obscure skills like Balance and Forgery are a lot more common. Oh, and everyone now has Perception.
Feats are now gained at every odd-numbered level, ie at levels 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19.
Individual feats have had many, many changes, way too many for me to list. Many of the old standard feats have been weakened, while others have been improved. Itís impossible to sum up the feat changes without making this article the length of a Robert Jordan novel, so Iím not going to try. If you want to see for yourself, go over to the Pathfinder SRD and have a browse.
Last edited by Saph; 2010-01-01 at 02:29 PM.