Paizo's Pathfinder and Conan

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Clovenhoof
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Paizo's Pathfinder and Conan

Postby Clovenhoof » Sun Sep 21, 2008 1:22 am

Have you looked at Paizo's Pathfinder RPG? I'm a bit surprised I havenÄt found a thread about it here.
(The complete Rules are available for free download at Paizo's website)
Do you think it could be modified to play Conan with it?

My impressions after looking at the latest release (and I mean "looking", not analyzing every paragraph and learning everything by heart):

* The Core classes (same as in D&D) have all been upgraded. Now basically every class gets a boon at every level.
--> Relevancy for Conan: the Ranger's Combat Styles have been made more flexible (you get to choose a bunch of bonus feats from a list over the levels). This might be incentive to go over the Borderer again (which many deem too weak).

* The skill list has been boiled down to what we've seen numerous times now, and which seems to have become a popular Conan houserule already. E.g. Hide and Move Silently are merged into Stealth, and so forth. From what I can tell, it's a good balance.

* Feats: some feats now work a bit different from 3.X, and some also have lowered Prereqs. There are also some completely new feats.

* Combat: completely new Combat Maneuver system. All those maneuvers like Bull Rush, Grapple and Trip have been boiled down to a single die roll. No opposed checks, no multiple checks (except for possible AoOs), it looks so much faster than the SRD system.
This appears to be the most notable improvement Pathfinder has to offer, however the associated "Improved" feats have been changed/nerfed a bit as well.
I didn't find any other significant changes, but streamlining combat maneuvers alone is worth kudos.

Armour works the usual way and there are no Defense progressions, so those would have to be transplanted from the Conan system (a great opportunity to fix Defense). Also use Conan's HP progression and Massive Damage rules, and of course the Conan classes (maybe with a revamp here and there); along with all the other Conan-typical features, like weapon table etc.
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Postby Brisco » Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:19 am

I like the way the skill points work. Maximum rank is your level. All class skills are +3. There is no -4 penalty if you have no ranks in a skill (from what I can tell). It results in a player-friendly sort of game where all the players feel more involved, and seem to have a bit more fun. There is a simple rule of thumb for converting ranks from other source books so compatibility isn't really an issue.

I started to GM a Conan game the day before I started playing in a Pathfinder campaign (Beta edition).
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Postby sacerd » Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:53 am

Actually I love Pathfinder I just wish they would replace the Barbarian class with something a little closer to what we see in Conan.
I am currently a Player in a Rise of the Rune Lords game, so far its pretty spiffy.
I would recommend Pathfinder to anyone who is hip to the whole Fantasy RPG thing.
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Postby Sutek » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:15 pm

I've been looking for the rule set everywhere but it's sold out at every game store I go to! I found the Beta set. Is that enough, or should I keep looking for the real deal?

I love the pantheon and country descriptions in the campaign guide. Really the top notch work that 4.0 D&D should have been.
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Postby WeakAsAKhitan » Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:54 pm

The Alpha and Beta downloadable versions are merely for "playtesting". I don't think the actual RPG will be on the shelves until August 2009 (that's Paizo Time; if they're using Mongoose Time it'll be December 2009).
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Postby Brisco » Fri Oct 10, 2008 1:22 am

The soft cover print edition of Pathfinder is exactly the same as the PDF version you can download for free. I recommend downloading it first, just to see what you think.

http://paizo.com/pathfinder/pathfinderRPG

As previously mentioned, it is intended for play-testing, but the rules contain everything you need.

I am now going to run out and buy the current Runequest for comparison.
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Postby Sutek » Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:25 pm

So, basically, the soft cover Beta Playtest version is 100% the real deal, but they're letting us help them work the kinks out for the official launch planned for AUG09. Sounds cool in and of itself.

I love the campaign guide, so I don't mind buying the soft cover rather than downloading free, just to show my support for what they're trying to do. It still ultimately boils down the sales numbers, after all.
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Postby Clovenhoof » Sun Oct 12, 2008 11:45 am

I'd like to discuss their new and streamlined way of resolving Special Attacks, which in Pathfinder are renamed Combat Maneuvers (not to be confused with CMs in Conan).

Everyone has a Combat Maneuver Bonus, or CMB:
CMB = BAB + Str mod + special size modifier

where the special size modifier is the inverse of the armour class size modifer; i.e. "small" is -1, large is +1 and so forth; not the -4/+4 modifiers of SRD. This effectively helps the players, as the PCs don't have such a hard time with larger opponents, which are commonly encountered.

Success is determined by a check against a DC, which is calculated as follows:

DC = 15 + target's CMB.

Most combat maneuvers draw an AoO from the target. If the AoO hits you, add the damage taken to the DC of the combat maneuver. Other modifiers apply, e.g. a Stunned target grants you a +4 bonus.

A big change is Grapple, which is now also treated as combat maneuver and, as such, is handled with a single roll (plus AoO). This is a huge improved compared to the terribly convoluted SRD grapple rules. These grapple rules are less than half a page as opposed to one full page.

Each CM also has its own "Improved" Feat. These feats differ from the SRD. The prerequisites have been streamlined to either Str 13 + Power Attack or Int 13 + Combat Expertise; only Improved Grapple still has IUS as prereq. Each feat negates the AoO and gives a +2 bonus to all CMB checks involving this maneuver, also when you are on the defense. (e.g. you have Improved Trip and someone tries to trip you, his DC is increased by 2)

As you can see, you generally need to roll 15+ against an opponent with identical CMB, or 13+ if you have the Improved feat, which effectively means a success chance of 30% or 40% respectively. Simple and elegant.
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Postby Sutek » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:43 pm

Sounds a bit like what I had suggested for cleaning up Grapple some time back. One roll = success, barring AOA from the target. I like the DC15 + AOA damage, though; very clean.

I'm gonna go pick this Beta stuff up tonight. I can no longer resist...lol
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Postby Clovenhoof » Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:46 am

A little heads-up:
a few sessions into our new campaign, I can now confirm that the Combat Maneuver rules work very well and have definitely improved our game.

Before, Special Attacks (like Trip etc., not to mention Grapple) always were awkward and complicated; they felt like debris in the combat system and bogged down the game. Not only because each Special Attack would easily require 3 to 5 die rolls (not counting AoOs), but also because each has its own different mechanism that we _never_ knew by heart. So we had to interrupt the game and look it up ("Now is that an opposed Strength check? *flipflipflip* Ah, you may also defend with Dexterity.")
Moreover, the fact that most of these maneuvers requires an Ability Check makes them _terribly_ random. Here's a guy with Str 20 pushing a guy with Str 14 -- that should be a huge difference, but with the standard rules he just had a 15% chance to actually win! Ridiculous, if you ask me.

The CMB rules clean up all those issues very nicely. Each attack uses the same basic mechanism, so you don't have to look up how it works every time. It's just a single die roll into which all relevant stats are factored in, so it's just as fast as a regular attack. And the results are much more predictable, or in other words, less random.

Actual play example:
Today, we rushed into an occupied guardhose. I (Barbarian) picked up a table and threw it, so I had both hands free. Two of the guards attacked me. I grappled one of the guards:
My CMB = BAB +6, Str +4, Improved Grapple +2 --> +12
Guard's CMB: BAB +5, Str +3 --> +8 --> DC = 8+15 = 23
I rolled and succeeded (Check result 24) so I successfully grappled the guard and automatically did Unarmed Damage.
Then the other guard attacked and I got to use the Human Shield maneuver which gave me Parry 18. The guard rolled 17 to hit and thus hit his comrade.
The grappled guard on his turn tried to escape from the Grapple, and rolled 8+d20 versus DC 12+15=27; so of course he failed.
In the next round, I drew my sword with a Move Action while keeping hold of my "Shield" with a fresh CM roll. I got +5 bonus for having him grappled, and -4 for doing it one-handed, and I managed to keep on to the hold while attacking the other guard with my sword. It went like a breeze.
I kept damaging him every round by keeping him in a headlock with the Off Hand, thus using him as a (+2) Shield while attacking the other guard with my sword.
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Postby Apple » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:25 am

Side note, but Conan grapple and SRD grapple aren't the same either. Conan grapple is only 1 roll as well, although I find the rules fairly unclear and still need cleaned up, but thats a different thread.

I haven't seen the pahtfinder RPG system, but I'd assume Conan could be run in anything really, even 4E if you whack yourself on the head enough.

The pathfinder campaigns though I'd advise people to stay away from. I've played/run 2 of their campaign paths from Dungeon magazine and I own the first two of their stand alone campaigns (Runelords and Throne) and I've played in 2 of the Mongoose campaigns for Conan and both the Mongoose campaigns were FAAAAAAR better. If you want pretty pictures then go with pathfinder, if you want an adventure campaign that looks like it's been playtested and edited and makes sense then Mongoose.
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Postby Clovenhoof » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:10 am

Side note, but Conan grapple and SRD grapple aren't the same either. Conan grapple is only 1 roll as well, although I find the rules fairly unclear and still need cleaned up, but thats a different thread.
Two rolls, not counting AoOs: one for Grab and one for Hold. The Hold in Conan goes against a Grapple Defence, instead of the opposed check in SRD. So that's an improvement in itself; the problem is that now Grapple is different from all the other special attacks (Bull Rush etc.) because these all _still_ require an extremely random opposed check.
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Postby Malcadon » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:04 pm

I remember reading them when they were new (Beta Playtest, plus Alpha Release 1 & 2). They did some interesting things with the rules, but by that time I was fatigued with anything 3.xx! I'm quit surprised no one started a post about it until now.

For folk who still like the 3rd edition rules, I recommended Pathfinder. I would likely just print out some of the rules as text only (I dont have the money to waste on another 3.x book, and I really hate the look of all that Korean-styled MMORPG/DungeonPunk art). Not just they folded many of the skill together, they made some new skills:
Acrobatics (a mix of Balance, Jump, Tumble)
Appraise
Bluff (I would just fold it into Diplomacy)
Climb
Craft
Diplomacy (Gather Information is folded into it)
Disable Device (Open Lock is folded into it)
Disguise
Escape Artist
Fly (It dose not grant the ability to fly)
Handle Animal
Heal
Intimidate
Knowledge (arcana, dungeoneering, engineering, geography, history, local, nature, nobility, planes, religion)
Linguistics (like a universal translator skill - with Decipher Script, Forgery, Speak Languages)
Perception (a mix of Listen, Search, Spot)
Perform
Profession (one of the most useless skills - EVER!)
Ride
Sense Motive
Sleight of Hand
Spellcraft (Concentration is folded into it)
Stealth (a mix of Hide, Move Silently)
Survival
Swim
Use Magic Device
(Use Rope is no longer in use, sorry Gorean fans)

I still see they have "Fluffer Feats" (like Acrobatic: +2 bonus on all Acrobatics and Climb skill checks). I always hated them, as they serve
no other purpose then to pad up the skills - and remind me how the game is way to focused on the mechanics and game balance!

I recommend using the skills, feats, and combat rules, but altered with with the Conan rules. The classes are not as interesting as the ones in Conan.
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Postby Clovenhoof » Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:49 pm

@Malcadon: the thread started half a year ago. ;)

I'm not fond of the Japano-RPG illustration style either, and the game as such is clearly and 100% a continuation of D&D 3.5, so don't expect any love thrown at the Sword & Sorcery genre.

The races and classes are the same as in D&D, except every single one has been pumped up more or less. Each race now gets +2 to one additional ability, for instance.
(The only possible exception are the Full Casters, which do get some new Kewl Powerz but fewer Spells per Day, so these may in fact be slightly nerfed over all. I can't tell just from reading the game.)

Also, while many of the class changes seem attractive in their own right, I am rather disappointed by what they did to the Fighter. Guess what, they give the Fighter more combat abilities! Woo hoo! The class still gets 2+int skill points and the same crappy skill list. This is NOT what this class needed to make it more attractive. The Fighter's problem has never been that he wasn't good enough at combat, but that he's totally inept at everything _except_ combat. Pathfinder did nothing to fix this.

In short, I don't think I'd play Pathfinder proper because I don't need another D&D game, but the one great thing they did is the new Combat Maneuver system, which I heartily recommend.
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Postby Apple » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:08 pm

Clovenhoof wrote:Also, while many of the class changes seem attractive in their own right, I am rather disappointed by what they did to the Fighter. Guess what, they give the Fighter more combat abilities! Woo hoo! The class still gets 2+int skill points and the same crappy skill list. This is NOT what this class needed to make it more attractive. The Fighter's problem has never been that he wasn't good enough at combat, but that he's totally inept at everything _except_ combat. Pathfinder did nothing to fix this.

Before 4E it seemed like half the threads on WotC boards was how feeble the fighter was, how a cleric could buff them self to be a better fighter than the fighter, how a wizard could buff them self to be a better fighter than a fighter, etc. etc. In part this was true because the 3.5E magic system was so utterly utterly broken it was neigh pointless to play melee at higher levels, after all, why swing a sword at level 17 when the wizard gates in a level 34 titan to solo the encounter?

Although access to feats and copious amounts of magic items could make a fighter ridiculously dangerous, it took half a dozen splatbooks to do it and you still weren't as flexible as a caster as your feat and equipment choices would lock you into 1 or 2 tricks and thats it where as casters can pick from hundreds if not thousands of different spells every day.
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Postby Clovenhoof » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:43 pm

Yeah that's true. I actually still play D&D 3.5, and I love to play melee classes. I also have lost all respect for the system so I munchkinize till the knob comes off. So what is my char? A Cleric and Radiant Servant of Pelor (well, Lathander b/c we play in the FR). Currently he's level 11 and a decent melee fighter, and main tank (highest AC) plus all those spells that can really make a difference how to solve an adventure. So I can make a difference in combat and in non-combat situations. Our main bruisers may deal more damage but as soon as combat is over the players go into Sleep Mode until the next encounter because there's no way for them to influence the course of the adventure.
And next level, I'll take Divine Metamagic: Persistent Spell which allows me to make Divine Power last 24 hours. That gives me the attack progression of a fighter and a huge plus to Strength, so I might end up outshining our bruisers.

My hope is that sooner or later the other players will be fed up with D&D and we can switch to Conan... or something. Though I don't think it could be as great as my current Conan group, which is pure chocolate... I mean roast boar.
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Postby Malcadon » Thu Apr 02, 2009 3:22 pm

One of my biggest issues with 3.5 are the skills. Whenever I'm making a NPC, I find having to draw up the skills gets way too tedious - Rank by level calculations, ability adjustments, tons of bonuses, situational bonuses, cross-class skills, skill caps, and so on! And then the game becomes defined - mechanically - by how you us the skills (if the PC whats to jump, the player has to look up the book to see how high)! I dont mind skill systems, but I like things to be be handled loose and fast - like using the Use the Battlefield maneuver as the main description for the Acrobatics skill, for example.

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