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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Which Ver. of D&D ...

    I have played D&D for a Long time ... buy I have not went past 3.5e
    Our group has tried both 4th and 5th and have found that we prefer the detail of 3.5 ...
    My question is ... which ver. lets casters cast their 0 level cantrips at will ?
    and how similar / different is it from 3.5?

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    Default Re: Which Ver. of D&D ...

    Pathfinder gives you at will cantrips, and it's similar enough to 3.5 that most of the content can be used by either system without being modified, and most of what does need to be modified, can be changed on the fly.

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    Default Re: Which Ver. of D&D ...

    That's 5th Edition. Some of the things are named similarly, but the similarities start with rolling a d20 to deal damage and end with ability scores.
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    Default Re: Which Ver. of D&D ...

    Quote Originally Posted by frogglesmash View Post
    Pathfinder gives you at will cantrips, and it's similar enough to 3.5 that most of the content can be used by either system without being modified, and most of what does need to be modified, can be changed on the fly.
    This is not even remotely true.

    Pathfinder makes a ton of minor rules modifications that really add up to quite a mess when you are looking at using 3.5 material. Between CMD/CMB, hit point and saving throws, monsters out of the Manual are not usable as-is. With inconsequential changes to almost every spell as well as the basic monster combat routines, you'll be running into something you have to double-check against the Pathfinder rules almost every combat round. I would assert with confidence that Pathfinder in its current state is less compatible with the 3.5 rules than 3rd edition books or d20 modern sourcebooks are.

    That said, Pathfinder does offer at-will cantrips.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troacctid View Post
    But that's one of the things about interpreting RAW—when you pick a reading that goes against RAI, it often has a ripple effect that results in dysfunctions in other places.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Awkward View Post
    This is not even remotely true.

    Pathfinder makes a ton of minor rules modifications that really add up to quite a mess when you are looking at using 3.5 material. Between CMD/CMB, hit point and saving throws, monsters out of the Manual are not usable as-is. With inconsequential changes to almost every spell as well as the basic monster combat routines, you'll be running into something you have to double-check against the Pathfinder rules almost every combat round. I would assert with confidence that Pathfinder in its current state is less compatible with the 3.5 rules than 3rd edition books or d20 modern sourcebooks are.

    That said, Pathfinder does offer at-will cantrips.
    I'd honestly disagree with this. As long as you have a solid understanding of which base rules you're using, MOST pathfinder and 3.5 material can be used interchangably. Personally, I run a 3.5 base and incorporate a whole load of pathfinder material into my games, and I have friends who do the opposite, running a pathfinder base and incorporating a whole tonne of 3.5 material into their games.

    Sure, there are some type changes to HD and bab and saves etc, but you don't need to do a whole creature conversion to have it be usable, by which I mean, say you want to take a brachina from 3.5 and use it in pathfinder. Outsiders got an upgrade to D10 HD, and lost 2 skill points/level, and would have gotten an extra feat or two, but those changes are minor enough that you REALLY don't need to go through and rejigger the whole creature. Likewise, CMB/CMD aren't terribly difficult to determine (bab+str+size for CMB, 10+bab+str+dex+size for CMD), and even the poison rules you can just use them as is, rather than trying to convert it to the pathfinder 1/round poison rules.

    Classes and feats are even more easy to incorporate, often needing little to no changes at all.
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    Default Re: Which Ver. of D&D ...

    4th edition also has at will abilities for every class, including cantrips for wizards.

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    Default Re: Which Ver. of D&D ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Awkward View Post
    This is not even remotely true.

    Pathfinder makes a ton of minor rules modifications that really add up to quite a mess when you are looking at using 3.5 material. Between CMD/CMB, hit point and saving throws, monsters out of the Manual are not usable as-is. With inconsequential changes to almost every spell as well as the basic monster combat routines, you'll be running into something you have to double-check against the Pathfinder rules almost every combat round. I would assert with confidence that Pathfinder in its current state is less compatible with the 3.5 rules than 3rd edition books or d20 modern sourcebooks are.

    That said, Pathfinder does offer at-will cantrips.
    The rules changes between PF and 3.5 are so minor in general it takes a minimum of mental effort to correct them on the fly if you decide to pull monsters from 3.5.

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    Default Re: Which Ver. of D&D ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    The rules changes between PF and 3.5 are so minor in general it takes a minimum of mental effort to correct them on the fly if you decide to pull monsters from 3.5.
    There are a lot of fiddly ones that can easily trip up someone that is not familiar with both systems. If you know both it is not too bad but someone unfamiliar with Pathfinder will end up with badly tripped up encounters with saves and hitpoints alone being wildly off their 3.5 equivalents. It is easy to fall into the trap of being used to doing it so forgetting how complicated it actually is but there is more than a fair bit of work to someone who is new to the process.

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    Default Re: Which Ver. of D&D ...

    Quote Originally Posted by ZamielVanWeber View Post
    There are a lot of fiddly ones that can easily trip up someone that is not familiar with both systems. If you know both it is not too bad but someone unfamiliar with Pathfinder will end up with badly tripped up encounters with saves and hitpoints alone being wildly off their 3.5 equivalents. It is easy to fall into the trap of being used to doing it so forgetting how complicated it actually is but there is more than a fair bit of work to someone who is new to the process.
    Is that person really going to notice that the monster has more/fewer/better/worse hit points/saves than they're "supposed to"? Given the approximate nature of the CR system, is the difference outside the margin of "your table experience may vary"?

    Or is this an old grognard who's used to operating sytems based on duct tape and chewing gum not seeing the problem with a little bit of smoke coming from the engine?

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    Default Re: Which Ver. of D&D ...

    I'd agree that 3.5 material takes some conversion if you wanna use it for Pathfinder: not only for the few rule changes, but also because of the overall power level: at low-to-no-optimization, PF characters are stronger out of the gate, and in my experience, 3.5 written adventures and modules fail to challenge them appropriately. Of course the difference disappears with mid and high-op, since you'd need to tweak challenge for that anyway.

    So, it takes some conversion if you're using the 3.5 books... But if you're writing your own adventures, building content for Pathfinder and playing it feels pretty much the exact same as 3.5. Just grab the core Pathfinder books, use that, if you wanna add some 3.5 go for it, and you're set.
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    Default Re: Which Ver. of D&D ...

    I guess I'll amend my original statement and instead say that Pathfinder is close enough to 3.5 to spark an argument about how close it actually is.

    I think it's also telling that so much of the back and forth has been about balance, and not mechanical functionality.

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    Default Re: Which Ver. of D&D ...

    Quote Originally Posted by frogglesmash View Post
    I guess I'll amend my original statement and instead say that Pathfinder is close enough to 3.5 to spark an argument about how close it actually is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by frogglesmash View Post
    I guess I'll amend my original statement and instead say that Pathfinder is close enough to 3.5 to spark an argument about how close it actually is.

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    Default Re: Which Ver. of D&D ...

    Quote Originally Posted by frogglesmash View Post
    I guess I'll amend my original statement and instead say that Pathfinder is close enough to 3.5 to spark an argument about how close it actually is.

    I think it's also telling that so much of the back and forth has been about balance, and not mechanical functionality.
    I was actually referring to a hypothetical DM who did not completely know the ins and outs of both systems. I would think it was obvious that someone who did would have little trouble adjudicating on the fly. I also don't think anyone disagreed with me on that premise, even if I didn't correctly state it up front.


    I also agree that there is no debate about balance. The biggest balance issues in 3.5e stem are unarguably some variation of "Martial characters are too limited." or "Spellcasters are overpowered." Pathfinder in turn buffed spellcasters and nerfed martials. In that respect, between the two systems it's more unbalanced. Pathfinder functions mechanically just fine if you accept this about the system going in.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troacctid View Post
    But that's one of the things about interpreting RAW—when you pick a reading that goes against RAI, it often has a ripple effect that results in dysfunctions in other places.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Awkward View Post
    Pathfinder in turn buffed spellcasters and nerfed martials.
    Sort of - the top-end stuff was all around eliminated for both martials and spellcasters. No more Incantatrix, Hulking Hurler, Dweomerkeeper, or Ubercharger, after all. I think what you're referring to is more the mid-op stuff. Any caster whose gameplan was simply cast "good value spells" got nothing but gravy out of PF, and any martial character who wanted to do anything more than hit dudes got shafted by the way CMD scales so much faster than CMB can.

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    Default Re: Which Ver. of D&D ...

    That said, if you want to stick to 3.5 you could always play the Warlock or Dragonfire Adept for your "at will" needs.

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    Default Re: Which Ver. of D&D ...

    Quote Originally Posted by orlondok View Post
    My question is ... which ver. lets casters cast their 0 level cantrips at will ?
    and how similar / different is it from 3.5?
    Both 4e and 5e have at-will cantrips.

    With 4e, the designers set out to reinvent D&D from the ground up—they made a lot of daring innovations and killed a lot of sacred cows. The end result really leans into the tactical combat aspect of the game and is very different from what came before it. With 5e, the designers set out to recapture the best elements of previous editions and simplify them to make the game more accessible to new players. The end result feels kind of like a distilled version of D&D with most of the crazy complexity and bookkeeping stripped away to make room for the storytelling.

    Neither one has 3.5e's ridiculously modular character-building. 5e has a similar system for multiclassing, but no prestige classes, and a very limited set of options (5e with all sourcebooks is maybe comparable to core-only 3.5e); you're expected to use personalities and backgrounds to make your characters unique, rather than game mechanics. 4e has a wealth of feats, races, powers, paragon paths (the spiritual successor to prestige classes), and magic items. Building a character still has that same feeling like you're building a deck in a TCG, which 3.5e has in spades but 5e definitely lacks. (The multiclass rules in 4e are much more restrictive, though.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Divine Susuryu View Post
    Sort of - the top-end stuff was all around eliminated for both martials and spellcasters. No more Incantatrix, Hulking Hurler, Dweomerkeeper, or Ubercharger, after all. I think what you're referring to is more the mid-op stuff. Any caster whose gameplan was simply cast "good value spells" got nothing but gravy out of PF, and any martial character who wanted to do anything more than hit dudes got shafted by the way CMD scales so much faster than CMB can.
    It goes deeper than that, IMO.

    Pathfinder has tons of little niggling things that all add up to make the game appear as though the core design goal was that, "Martial characters can't have nice things."

    There's no logical reason for all of the combat maneuver feats to be split up while none of the metamagic or other spellcasting feats were. Spellcasters even got a pile of new feats to play with (Dazing Spell, Bouncing Spell, Sacred Geometry, Spell Perfection, etc.) It's terrible design to allow specialist wizards to be able to cast spells of their barred schools by using two slots instead of one as well as cast them from items without penalty. There is no good reason at all not to specialize, especially if you know that the game won't progress past level 7.
    Why is Tumbling now based on the CMD of the creature (which scales well out of the realm of possibility by level 10 or so) but not defensive spellcasting?

    Why, in the name of Tiamat, did the design team allow someone to get away with nerfing Power Attack? And Cleave? It seems like someone at Paizo really really doesn't like spiked chain trippers, Uberchargers, and Uber-grapplers and designed the system accordingly. I don't honestly understand why, since those concepts are just differently viable alternatives to, "I run up and hit it with my stick" every round.

    I understand that some of the iconic spells got nerfed too, but here's the thing with that logic: nerfing "a spell" doesn't really do anything to affect a spellcasters overall level of power as long as there is at least one other spell that also allows them to win at the same spell level. It makes spellcasters less interesting because they have fewer options they will want to use, but as a wizard I am certainly not any less powerful now that I have to cast ghoulish hunger to win the encounter because finger of death got reduced to an inconsequential damage dealing spell. There's still a multitude of spells like that on every class's list. The fine folks at Paizo even added some new ones.

    I don't hate Pathfinder because of pettiness over it outlasting the system it was based on. I hate it because it was sold as a bad bill of goods. There are still people who genuinely believe that Paizo was serious about creating "3.5 D&D Done Right!" I hate it because the open play test was a blatant lie. People who actually ran apples to apples comparisons, same game tests, or repeated experiments to get controlled results or uncover regressed bugs were not only ignored, they were banned from the official forums. Paizo wasn't interested in fine tuning a system for optimal play. It was a marketing ploy that was never intended to produce any real results.

    Pathfinder generally gets a thumbs-down from me. I find it to be a mechanically neutral change from 3.5, and that for everything they did right there's always at least one more thing they did wrong. If the martial/caster disparity is your main gripe with 3.5, Pathfinder will not solve your problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troacctid View Post
    But that's one of the things about interpreting RAW—when you pick a reading that goes against RAI, it often has a ripple effect that results in dysfunctions in other places.

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    The funny thing is, that if you discount high-optimization tricks that only hardcore forum users would know about AND that most DMs wouldn't allow in the first place (like the hulking hurler), and if you look at the levels people commonly play at instead of levels 15 through epic, then PF martials are actually stronger and more versatile than their 3E counterpart, and better balanced with casters, and they get their tricks online earlier.

    It's all about target audience. To the average player, having your build come online instantly with a level-1 archetype (instead of having to wait until level 9 to qualify for all the feats and prestige classes) is far more important than whether 8th or 9th level spells are balanced (because he'll probably never use those).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troacctid View Post
    Both 4e and 5e have at-will cantrips.

    With 4e, the designers set out to reinvent D&D from the ground up—they made a lot of daring innovations and killed a lot of sacred cows. The end result really leans into the tactical combat aspect of the game and is very different from what came before it. With 5e, the designers set out to recapture the best elements of previous editions and simplify them to make the game more accessible to new players. The end result feels kind of like a distilled version of D&D with most of the crazy complexity and bookkeeping stripped away to make room for the storytelling.

    Neither one has 3.5e's ridiculously modular character-building. 5e has a similar system for multiclassing, but no prestige classes, and a very limited set of options (5e with all sourcebooks is maybe comparable to core-only 3.5e); you're expected to use personalities and backgrounds to make your characters unique, rather than game mechanics. 4e has a wealth of feats, races, powers, paragon paths (the spiritual successor to prestige classes), and magic items. Building a character still has that same feeling like you're building a deck in a TCG, which 3.5e has in spades but 5e definitely lacks. (The multiclass rules in 4e are much more restrictive, though.)
    I'll have to digress a bit.

    5e does have quite a bit of options only in Core, but really simplified. For one, subclasses really help to differentiate characters of the same class. Even if you play a Fighter, the way a Champion, Battle Master and Eldritch Knight play differ a lot from each other. (It's the difference between vanilla Fighter, Warblade, and Duskblade, if you strip those down to their bare basics). Then, you add the option of Feats; 5e Feats provide more benefits than 3e, PF or 4e Feats, though replacing an ability score improvement for them can be quite jarring. A Sword & Boarder Champion doesn't play the same way as a Sword & Boarder Eldritch Knight, if only because the Champion focuses on dealing more damage with normal attacks, while the Eldritch Knight focuses on supplementing its swordplay with casting. Trying to claim that a Two-Hander Eldritch Knight Fighter is very similar to a Sword & Board Champion Fighter seems misinformed. A better claim would be that you don't lose yourself on the complexity of 3e, nor the results of that complexity.

    To elaborate a bit further: creating an optimized character in 5e is pretty easy, but may not feel truly rewarding to most people. You can pull off works of beauty with all 3e books (and I'd arguably claim all PF books, but IMO PF has more stunted options than 3e does, even though it has some sweet gems), and mastering that complexity to create such beautiful builds is a reward on its own. Just watching what the Optimization Showcase (both the original from Tempest Stormwind's group, as well as the renewed version in our own forums) demonstrates that point - when you start mixing and matching and looking for synergies, you end up creating fun and flavorful builds that are just as fun to build as to play.

    In 5e, since there's less option clutter, it's easier to see what works and what doesn't, and it feels like some builds are cookie cutters. Sword & Board? Shield Master is a must, and might as well add Sentinel to the mix; add Duelist Fighting Style for some extra damage and call it a day. Two-Hander? Go Great Weapon Fighting and Great Weapon Mastery, choose a Greatsword or Maul, and call it a day. Nowhere near the complexity of Improved Shield Bash + Shield Specialization + Agile Shield Fighter + Shield Ward, or Power Attack + Imp. Bull Rush + Shock Trooper and then juggle two classes and one PrC to get the build you want. However, despite the basics for the fighting style being similar, your choice of class can make the character differ in how it plays. (Fighter? A Champion focuses on landing a lot of critical hits, a Battle Master focuses on using maneuvers, and an Eldritch Knight mostly focuses on using spells for defense. Barbarian? Rage, and probably Totem Warrior to be almost unkillable. Paladin? Definitely there for going nova with your Smites).

    And all of that is just Core + feats. Add multiclassing, and you can see some of that complexity returning. Add what few splats there are (honestly, just 4 crunchy splats between SCAG, Volo's [for races], Xanathar's [for spells, feats and subclasses] and Mordenkainen's [for...less options than SCAG?], with the Ravnica campaign setting as a distant 5th), and you can do some pretty interesting combos. There's a reason why Paladins and Warlocks combine pretty well, and figuring how many levels of each and what to do with them and which subclasses for each can be just as complex and fun as building something in 3e or Pathfinder.

    So...saying that 5e builds can't be complex or fun is misleading at best. Obviously it doesn't have the bulk of content that 3e has, or even the amount it had if you compare the content based on the amount of years it has released (as I said, 5e has about 5 splats total, whereas 3.5 was already up to the Player's Handbook 2 and nearing the second set of Completes by now), but you can do quite a bit with what you have.

    That said, it's nowhere near the nightmare that is building a character for 4e. Much more of a pain if you lack the Character Builder.
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    5e does have quite a bit of options only in Core, but really simplified. For one, subclasses really help to differentiate characters of the same class. Even if you play a Fighter, the way a Champion, Battle Master and Eldritch Knight play differ a lot from each other. (It's the difference between vanilla Fighter, Warblade, and Duskblade, if you strip those down to their bare basics).
    Having DM'd well over a thousand hours of Adventurers League, I feel I can say with a great deal of confidence that this is, uh, not the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by T.G. Oskar View Post
    So...saying that 5e builds can't be complex or fun is misleading at best.
    Who said that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by orlondok View Post
    I have played D&D for a Long time ... buy I have not went past 3.5e
    Our group has tried both 4th and 5th and have found that we prefer the detail of 3.5 ...
    My question is ... which ver. lets casters cast their 0 level cantrips at will ?
    and how similar / different is it from 3.5?
    As others have mentioned, Pathfinder is by far the closest to 3.5 with at will cantrips. It also comes with an enormous advantage in comparison to pretty much any other RPG: all player options and rules published by Paizo are available for free online, on well-structured and updated websites such as Archives of Nethys and d20pfsrd.com, including stuff originally made for the default Golarion setting. The same goes for a large majority of the very high quality material from third party publishers such as Dreamscarred Press and Drop Dead Studios (check out for example Psionics, Path of War (improved Tome of Battle) and Spheres.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Awkward View Post
    Pathfinder in turn buffed spellcasters and nerfed martials. In that respect, between the two systems it's more unbalanced. Pathfinder functions mechanically just fine if you accept this about the system going in.
    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Awkward View Post
    It goes deeper than that, IMO.

    Pathfinder has tons of little niggling things that all add up to make the game appear as though the core design goal was that, "Martial characters can't have nice things."
    Uhm...? Are you talking 'bout Pathfinder core only, which it appears very few groups play (the PF "default" seems to be "everything on Archives of Nethys goes" - which is everything Paizo)?

    If not, it appears your info is hopelessly outdated, while your reference points and expectations remain those appropriate for (high-op) 3.5, not for PF.

    The truth is that if comparing the games on the whole, PF martials are generally clearly superior to their 3.5 counterparts and on average definitely closer to PF casters than 3.5 martials are to 3.5 casters. And no, this is not opinion, it's undeniable fact. If you or anyone else doubts me, I urge you to, for example, go check out the PF fighter's Advanced Weapon Training and Combat Stamina, the barbarian's rage powers (note say Spell Sunder, Come and Get Me and Savage Dirty Trick), Unchained monk and rogue, the bloodrager and the paladin. And when it comes to ToB counterparts, PoW has easily more than three times the content of a generally much higher quality. (The same goes for PF psionics and MoI-equivalents (Akashic Mysteries) btw).

    There's no logical reason for all of the combat maneuver feats to be split up while none of the metamagic or other spellcasting feats were. Spellcasters even got a pile of new feats to play with (Dazing Spell, Bouncing Spell, Sacred Geometry, Spell Perfection, etc.) It's terrible design to allow specialist wizards to be able to cast spells of their barred schools by using two slots instead of one as well as cast them from items without penalty. There is no good reason at all not to specialize, especially if you know that the game won't progress past level 7.
    I agree these changes weren't good, and recommend using for example the well-tested Elephant in the Room house rules to correct the combat feat tax issues.

    But regardless, a PF martial doesn't need any of the stat score prereqs or the horrible Combat Expertise tax to qualify for any and all combat maneuver related feats, making them quite a bit more accessible than in 3.5. And more importantly, the fact remains that PF martials can be far more effective with combat maneuvers than their 3.5 counterparts. And by that, I mean effective enough to embarrass even the most highly optimized 3.5 builds, by easily taking multiple enemies of a CR above their level out of a fight each round, without even having to damage them. Yes, such effective melee BFC would be blasphemy in 3.5, along with other options allowing martials to focus on something other than single-target damage and still remain viable past 10th level. Highly effective Str-based melee martial without Power Attack? Yep, I'm afraid so...

    Why is Tumbling now based on the CMD of the creature (which scales well out of the realm of possibility by level 10 or so) but not defensive spellcasting?
    Typically, a 10th level PC who depends on tumble to avoid AoOs will easily have an Acrobatics bonus of more than +27, and the average CMD of a CR 10 opponent is 31.5. How is an 80% success chance (or better) "well out of the realm of possibility"?

    That said, I agree the defensive spellcasting is kinda pointless, but that's largely because casters generally don't get caught in melee and have other defenses to not be bothered if they actually provoke an AoO anyways, which is the same in 3.5. (And of course, quite a few PF martials have some potentially very effective tools to become a royal pain in the butt of an enemy caster trying to cast while threatened.)

    Why, in the name of Tiamat, did the design team allow someone to get away with nerfing Power Attack? And Cleave? It seems like someone at Paizo really really doesn't like spiked chain trippers, Uberchargers, and Uber-grapplers and designed the system accordingly. I don't honestly understand why, since those concepts are just differently viable alternatives to, "I run up and hit it with my stick" every round.
    This is all true. The question is how much it matters, considering PF also gave martials several considerably more powerful and versatile options and possible combos than 3.5 did. Here's a simple example - a human with levels in a single class and no custom items - I've used before (I originally made this for a player looking for advice on opting melee reach control):

    Spoiler: Conrad Control - 13th Level Build Outline
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    Human Bloodrager (Primalist) 13
    CN Large male humanoid (human)
    Aberrant bloodline

    Feats, Bloodline and Rage Powers (exact order dependent on tastes/game)
    1 Dirty Fighting, Improved Dirty Trick (human bonus); Bloodline familiar (compsognathus?)
    2 -
    3 Enforcer
    4 Bloodline power: abnormal reach
    5 Divine Fighting Technique (Rovagug’s Thunder)
    6 Combat Reflexes (bloodline)
    7 Greater Dirty Trick
    8 Rage powers: internal fortitude (rage cycling!), savage dirty trick
    9 Improved Initiative (bloodline), Ascetic Style (double-chained kama)
    10 -
    11 Fiendskin
    12 Iron Will (bloodline); rage powers: come and get me, strength surge
    13 Soulless Gaze
    Bloodline familiar Alertness
    Flawed scarlet and green cabochon Endurance
    Training double-chained kama Dirty Trick Master, Intimidating Prowess
    Cracked opalescent white pyramid in wayfinder weapon familiarity, Weapon Focus (double-chained kama)

    Ability Scores (20-point buy, including listed gear, bloodrage and cat's grace cast by Conrad)
    Str 32 (16 base, 2 race, 2 level, 4 belt, 6 rage, 2 size enlarge person
    Dex 16 (13 base, 1 level, 4 cat's grace, -2 size enlarge person
    Con 22 (14 base, 2 belt, 6 rage
    Int 8 (8 base)
    Wis 14 (12 base, 2 headband)
    Cha 14 (12 base, 2 headband)

    Traits Fate's Favored, Reactionary

    Notable Gear (100,108 gp of 140,000 gp per WBL) double-chained kama +1 dueling (PSFG) training main end, +1 training off-end, furious amulet of mighty fists, gauntlets of the skilled maneuver (dirty trick), belt (+4 Str, +2 Con), headband of havoc (+2 Wis & Cha), maiden's helm, cracked opalescent white pyramid in wayfinder, flawed scarlet and green cabochon (rage cycling!), cracked pale green prism (attacks), cracked dusty rose prism, wands of enlarge person and long arm

    Savage Dirty Trick
    Can be made in place of any melee attack once per rage and opponent, which is nearly always due to rage cycling.
    Dirty Trick CMB +43, +49 with strength surge (average CMD of CR 13 opponents is 38.6, average of CR 16 is 44.8)
    Effects 11 lethal damage, 1d6+2 nonlethal damage and free demoralize attempt, applied condition lasts for 1d4 rounds, +1 round per 5 CMB check exceeds CMD, or until removed as standard action. If the target fails DC 29 Fort save (average Fort of CR 13 is 13.3, average of CR 16 is 16.3), it can also be dazed or nauseated for 1 round, or for the entire total 2d4 or greater duration if the target is hit by a second dirty trick while affected by the first. Such a target cannot take a standard action and is therefore unable to remove the condition. (AFAIK, there are no more than one or two specific creatures (not types or subtypes) in PF immune to being dazed.)

    Demoralize
    Free action whenever dealing nonlethal damage, Intimidate +36 vs DC (10 + target's HD + target's Wis mod; average DC of CR 13 is 29.1, average of CR 16 is 34.1). First success makes target shaken for a number of rounds equal to the nonlethal damage taken. Second success against target already demoralized worsens condition to frightened, and third success to panicked. (Conrad deals nonlethal damage with every successful dirty trick, and can deal nonlethal damage instead of lethal with no penalties on any other melee attacks, as Ascetic Style allows him to apply unarmed strike benefits to his double-chained kama.)

    Other Notable Statistics
    Reach all spaces within 30' (with enlarge person and long arm using double-chained kama)
    Initiative +14 (and uncanny dodge)
    AoOs 4 per round, at least 1 can be a dirty trick, each attack against Conrad triggers AoO

    In short, Conrad can truly dominate the battlefield, threatening a 35' radius and having the ability to make just about any enemy dazed and utterly useless for at least 2d4 rounds with just two melee attacks (replaced with dirty tricks), as well as panicked for several more rounds with one additional hit. A single AoO is usually enough to make an enemy completely unable to act, triggered also whenever an enemy attempts to attack Conrad. Perfect for protecting Conrad and his party, not to mention for the purpose of interrogating enemies after the fight instead of killing them during the fight. And Conrad also happens to be pretty darn good at scaring such survivors into telling the truth...


    Or are you saying that it's easy to put together an equally simple 3.5 martial build at least as effective in combat as Conrad, which also doesn't rely on damage in order to take enemies out of a fight? Perhaps even a more effective defender?

    I understand that some of the iconic spells got nerfed too, but here's the thing with that logic: nerfing "a spell" doesn't really do anything to affect a spellcasters overall level of power as long as there is at least one other spell that also allows them to win at the same spell level. It makes spellcasters less interesting because they have fewer options they will want to use, but as a wizard I am certainly not any less powerful now that I have to cast ghoulish hunger to win the encounter because finger of death got reduced to an inconsequential damage dealing spell. There's still a multitude of spells like that on every class's list. The fine folks at Paizo even added some new ones.
    So you're saying casters are actually more powerful in PF?

    Honestly, while I agree with many of your complaints, your comparisons are obviously based on such hopelessly outdated data they're irrelevant.

    I don't hate Pathfinder because of pettiness over it outlasting the system it was based on. I hate it because it was sold as a bad bill of goods. There are still people who genuinely believe that Paizo was serious about creating "3.5 D&D Done Right!" I hate it because the open play test was a blatant lie. People who actually ran apples to apples comparisons, same game tests, or repeated experiments to get controlled results or uncover regressed bugs were not only ignored, they were banned from the official forums. Paizo wasn't interested in fine tuning a system for optimal play. It was a marketing ploy that was never intended to produce any real results.
    Sounds like you actually hate Paizo rather than the game itself. If that's the case, I recommend you at least try to not let that influence what you say about the game itself to people looking for advice.

    If the martial/caster disparity is your main gripe with 3.5, Pathfinder will not solve your problem.
    This is definitely true. That said, the more extreme 3.5 balance problems are actually gone in PF, and the general risk of running into balance problems is a bit lower in PF.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    The funny thing is, that if you discount high-optimization tricks that only hardcore forum users would know about AND that most DMs wouldn't allow in the first place (like the hulking hurler), and if you look at the levels people commonly play at instead of levels 15 through epic, then PF martials are actually stronger and more versatile than their 3E counterpart, and better balanced with casters, and they get their tricks online earlier.

    It's all about target audience. To the average player, having your build come online instantly with a level-1 archetype (instead of having to wait until level 9 to qualify for all the feats and prestige classes) is far more important than whether 8th or 9th level spells are balanced (because he'll probably never use those).
    This. And I'd say PF martials can actually be far more viable than 3.5 martials also in higher levels. Most importantly, they actually have some tactical options and versatility in combat, rather than being forced into the "repeat full attack for max hp damage"-niche.
    Last edited by upho; 2019-03-14 at 08:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by upho View Post
    Uhm...? Are you talking 'bout Pathfinder core only, which it appears very few groups play (the PF "default" seems to be "everything on Archives of Nethys goes" - which is everything Paizo)?

    If not, it appears your info is hopelessly outdated, while your reference points and expectations remain those appropriate for (high-op) 3.5, not for PF.
    Correct. I have not looked at Pathfinder in several years. I can't speak to the quality of content produced in that time period.
    That said...

    I agree these changes weren't good, and recommend using for example the well-tested Elephant in the Room house rules to correct the combat feat tax issues.
    ...That the gaming experience is vastly improved by house-ruling is not a defense of the system. It's an indictment of it.

    But regardless, a PF martial doesn't need any of the stat score prereqs or the horrible Combat Expertise tax to qualify for any and all combat maneuver related feats, making them quite a bit more accessible than in 3.5.
    No but they do require more feats that before just to be able to do the same things they could do previously.
    ...More feats than they got extra feats.

    So you're saying casters are actually more powerful in PF?
    That is the core of one of my main complaints yes. The classes that needed them the least got buffs.

    Sounds like you actually hate Paizo rather than the game itself. If that's the case, I recommend you at least try to not let that influence what you say about the game itself to people looking for advice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troacctid View Post
    But that's one of the things about interpreting RAW—when you pick a reading that goes against RAI, it often has a ripple effect that results in dysfunctions in other places.

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    Quote Originally Posted by upho View Post
    The truth is that if comparing the games on the whole, PF martials are generally clearly superior to their 3.5 counterparts and on average definitely closer to PF casters than 3.5 martials are to 3.5 casters. And no, this is not opinion, it's undeniable fact. If you or anyone else doubts me, I urge you to, for example, go check out the PF fighter's Advanced Weapon Training and Combat Stamina, the barbarian's rage powers (note say Spell Sunder, Come and Get Me and Savage Dirty Trick), Unchained monk and rogue, the bloodrager and the paladin. And when it comes to ToB counterparts, PoW has easily more than three times the content of a generally much higher quality. (The same goes for PF psionics and MoI-equivalents (Akashic Mysteries) btw).
    I think, while the classes may be in general better than their 3.5 counterparts (usually because they're literally the same class with some more stuff tacked on), the feats and general support beyond is worse if you're playing pathfinder exclusive. I've been a strong advocate for people porting over as much 3.5 material as they can/want into their pathfinder games, because honestly, pathfinder feels like half a system. They have such lackluster and miniscule spell support, feats in general feel mediocre, with few interesting options, and magic items feel like there's nothing interesting to take, so I usually just end up grabbing the stock standard +X items, or asking my DM to let me make custom items.

    If however, you include literally just the spell compendium and magic item compendium when playing pathfinder, it immediately feels like a much better system, and continues to feel better the more and more backsupport it gets from 3.5 content. Personally though, I prefer to use 3.5 as a base and backport pathfinder material to 3.5, because I dislike many changes pathfinder introduced at a system level, but I still like much of the content they introduced, like the alchemist, the summoner, and I even use the ranger/paladin/barbarian/rogue base classes in place of the 3.5 ones, though if they want a 3.5 ACF they must use the 3.5 base class, so sometimes I get 3.5 barbarians because they want whirling frenzy lion totems.
    Last edited by Crake; 2019-03-14 at 07:25 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kazyan View Post
    Playing a wizard the way GitP says wizards should be played requires the equivalent time and effort investment of a university minor. Do you really want to go down this rabbit hole, or are you comfortable with just throwing a souped-up Orb of Fire at the thing?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    They have such lackluster and miniscule spell support, feats in general feel mediocre, with few interesting options, and magic items feel like there's nothing interesting to take, so I usually just end up grabbing the stock standard +X items, or asking my DM to let me make custom items.
    As Upho says, this was probably true ten years ago. In the current state of the game? Yeah, not so much
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    As Upho says, this was probably true ten years ago. In the current state of the game? Yeah, not so much
    I'm not in the same boat as doc, I've been playing pathfinder exclusive under my friends' DMing for years, because they feel pathfinder is a more intuitive base (and to a degree I agree with that, some things are easier like skills, and combat maneuvers all being rolled into one system, but I don't believe easier is necessarily better), and they're rather casual DMs, so they don't want to deal with porting forward much/any 3.5 mater, so I've had a decent level of exposure to pathfinder in it's current state without any 3.5 material, and not talking from vague memories from a long time ago. For example, I've played a cleric in both 3.5 and pathfinder, and my 3.5 cleric felt like it had so much more to do, so many more options, you have a whole plethora of divine feats to use your turns on, domain feats to replace/augment your domains, actually interesting domain powers rather than minor abilities you may never use, plus a whole slew of interesting prestige classes that you could go into to specialize, wheras the pathfinder cleric, by comparison, felt so lacking, no real interesting uses for your turns, no interesting prestige class options (because they don't exist) and the archetypes added little to nothing to the class, plus the spell list felt like the 3.5 phb spell list, but worse, with 90% of the paizo added spells being so insanely niche that they would barely ever be useful.

    I think the only character archetype in pathfinder that's actually improved has been ranged combat. Gunslingers, rangers getting improved precise shot at level 6, and a plentitude of actually useful ranged feats makes shooting people actually feel good.
    Last edited by Crake; 2019-03-15 at 04:56 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kazyan View Post
    Playing a wizard the way GitP says wizards should be played requires the equivalent time and effort investment of a university minor. Do you really want to go down this rabbit hole, or are you comfortable with just throwing a souped-up Orb of Fire at the thing?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    you have a whole plethora of divine feats to use your turns on,
    You mean like these ones in PF?

    domain feats to replace/augment your domains,
    Such as these options? Or maybe these holy non-magical items?

    actually interesting domain powers rather than minor abilities you may never use,
    Maybe this long list of subdomains, several of which have swift or immediate action powers? Or perhaps these? Oh, and you can also pick from these here, as well as those.

    Come now. If you think PF doesn't have options at this point, you haven't been looking. If your argument is that some of these options are pretty bad, then you're clearly right, but bear in mind that the majority of items, spells, or prestige classes in 3E are also pretty bad. It's just that die-hard forum users know which ones to take and which to ignore.

    plus a whole slew of interesting prestige classes that you could go into to specialize,
    Ok, this I agree with. A large part of 3E is building up to a prestige class and figuring out how to meet the requirements; whereas PF is more about picking a class and archetype at level one and sticking to that. To be fair, except for die-hard forum users, this appears to be what most players want.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Yes, I saw those, and compare them to the divine/domain feats in 3.5, they feel like absolute garbage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    I wasn't aware of the divine fighting techniques honestly, but looking at them, they're all pretty meh compared to the things you can do with domain feats in 3.5. The non-magical holy items are also cool, but 3.5 has those too, and they're much better again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Maybe this long list of subdomains, several of which have swift or immediate action powers? Or perhaps these? Oh, and you can also pick from these here, as well as those.

    Come now. If you think PF doesn't have options at this point, you haven't been looking. If your argument is that some of these options are pretty bad, then you're clearly right, but bear in mind that the majority of items, spells, or prestige classes in 3E are also pretty bad. It's just that die-hard forum users know which ones to take and which to ignore.
    Note I never said they didn't have options, I said they didn't have interesting and good options. Now of course, you can find gems here and there amongst the swathe of mediocrity, and you're right, the same goes for 3.5, but in general, in my experience in playing a pathfinder cleric vs playing a 3.5 cleric, I found 3.5 just felt better. The good options in 3.5 just felt more engaging and impactful vs the good options in pathfinder just feeling like I'm doing the same thing, just maybe either a bit different or slightly better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Ok, this I agree with. A large part of 3E is building up to a prestige class and figuring out how to meet the requirements; whereas PF is more about picking a class and archetype at level one and sticking to that. To be fair, except for die-hard forum users, this appears to be what most players want.
    Not just prestige classing, but multiclassing in general, pathfinder seems to heavily push against it, yet in 3.5 it's so powerful. Take an anecdote from quite recently, a friend wanted to play a pathfinder skald in a 3.pf game a friend was running, but then I pointed out to him that a 3.5 barbarian/bard mix is just almost infinitely superior in every way. Inspire courage is just flat out better than inspire rage, grabbing extend rage, extra rage, and tireless via being human and taking a flaw gets him 3x 12 round rages at level 1 without being fatigued (where a level 1 skald he'd only have 6 rage rounds per day), and then at level 2 onward getting bard, and inspire courage ontop of that, blah blah etc etc, you get the picture. Now of course, pathfinder's skald is all packaged into one neat little box, and I understand that appeal, but it's one neat little mediocre box.

    Of course, as I stated earlier in the thread, I believe if you run pathfinder with 3.5 options (or 3.5 with pathfinder options) that is the best way to play, because you're giving yourself access to twice the material to make the character you want. Imagine a pathfinder cleric with access to spell compendium spells, maybe a divine fighting technique, 3.5 divine power, channeled smite, maybe some domain feats, mixing and matching all the best bits from the systems. That would be a fun character, but I think, without 3.5 content, pathfinder just feels like, as I said before, half a system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kazyan View Post
    Playing a wizard the way GitP says wizards should be played requires the equivalent time and effort investment of a university minor. Do you really want to go down this rabbit hole, or are you comfortable with just throwing a souped-up Orb of Fire at the thing?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    Yes, I saw those, and compare them to the divine/domain feats in 3.5, they feel like absolute garbage.
    Well let's look at some divine/domain feats in 3.5. There's War Devotion: once per day, for one round only, you can fight defensively at -2/+4 instead of -4/+2. Magic Devotion: once per day, you may use a ranged touch attack for 1d6 per two levels. Chaos Devotion: for one minute, you get a random bonus to either your attack rolls OR your armor class, that you have to reroll each time you take an action. But wait, you can spend two or three turn attempts to do it again!
    Yup, great feats there. That's totally not absolute garbage, nosiree!

    Take an anecdote from quite recently, a friend wanted to play a pathfinder skald in a 3.pf game a friend was running, but then I pointed out to him that a 3.5 barbarian/bard mix is just almost infinitely superior in every way. Inspire courage is just flat out better than inspire rage, grabbing extend rage, extra rage, and tireless via being human and taking a flaw gets him 3x 12 round rages at level 1 without being fatigued (where a level 1 skald he'd only have 6 rage rounds per day), and then at level 2 onward getting bard, and inspire courage ontop of that, blah blah etc etc, you get the picture.
    It strikes me that your comparison is unfair: you're giving the 3E character three feats, and give the PF character nothing. The PF character should also have two feats, three traits, and a drawback.
    Aside from that, let's compare 3E's inspire courage to PF's inspire rage at mid-game. At level 10, 3E's inspire courage takes a standard action to activate and gives +2 to hit and damage; whereas PF's inspire rage is a move action to activate, and gives +2 to hit and damage and +2 fort saves, and +3 will saves, and three or more rage powers to each ally. To be fair, it gives -2 to AC as well; but how exactly is +2/+2 "infinitely superior" to +2/+2 and +saves and +rage powers? And then the skald gets substantially more spells per day, big skill bonuses, can cast while singing, and once per day can cast any spell in the books (twice at L11). I'll play that over a barbarian/bard multiclass any day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Well let's look at some divine/domain feats in 3.5. There's War Devotion: once per day, for one round only, you can fight defensively at -2/+4 instead of -4/+2. Magic Devotion: once per day, you may use a ranged touch attack for 1d6 per two levels. Chaos Devotion: for one minute, you get a random bonus to either your attack rolls OR your armor class, that you have to reroll each time you take an action. But wait, you can spend two or three turn attempts to do it again!
    Yup, great feats there. That's totally not absolute garbage, nosiree!
    I did say that 3.5 has it's fair share of garbage choices, my point was that the 3.5 good options feel more interesting and impactful than pathfinder's good options.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    It strikes me that your comparison is unfair: you're giving the 3E character three feats, and give the PF character nothing. The PF character should also have two feats, three traits, and a drawback.
    True, but I'm not sure exactly if there's a way in pathfinder to get up to 36 rage rounds per day at level 1, with the ability to ignore the fatigue after raging.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Aside from that, let's compare 3E's inspire courage to PF's inspire rage at mid-game. At level 10, 3E's inspire courage takes a standard action to activate and gives +2 to hit and damage; whereas PF's inspire rage is a move action to activate, and gives +2 to hit and damage and +2 fort saves, and +3 will saves, and three or more rage powers to each ally. To be fair, it gives -2 to AC as well; but how exactly is +2/+2 "infinitely superior" to +2/+2 and +saves and +rage powers? And then the skald gets substantially more spells per day, big skill bonuses, can cast while singing, and once per day can cast any spell in the books (twice at L11). I'll play that over a barbarian/bard multiclass any day.
    Well, between inspirational boost and song of the heart, a 3.5 bard is gonna have +4/+4, and while it's a standard action to activate vs a move action (though a bard with 1 level of warblade/crusader can get song of the white raven to make it a swift action), both are a free action to maintain, and 3.5's bard can keep performing as long as he wants for that single use of the day. That's also before words of creation which would boost it up to +8/+8, or dragonfire inspiration that would boost it to 4d6 (or 8d6 with words of creation).

    Also, inspire rage doesn't give +2 hit/damage, it gives +4 strength, so any attack rolls not based on strength, such as ranged attacks, or weapon finesse attacks will gain no bonus, and any damage rolls not based on strength, such as bows without sufficient strength modifiers, dex-to-damage rogues, or just good ol' crossbow bolts won't get any damage bonus, wheras the 3.5 bard would give them bonuses. Not to mention, spellcasters cannot benefit from inspired rage if they want to continue spellcasting. It's not so much about the bonuses being better, it's about the bonuses being circumstantial, and the drawbacks that come with it that make inspire courage (even pathfinder inspire courage) infinitely better than inspire rage. It just so happens that 3.5 can also boost inspire courage quite decently along the way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctor Awkward View Post
    Correct. I have not looked at Pathfinder in several years. I can't speak to the quality of content produced in that time period.
    Then don't?

    Needless to say I think the OP should be listening to Kurald and upho on this one rather than the... I'll be charitable and say "less informed" voices on this issue.

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    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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