jaime lawrenceI am not, by nature, a fantasy roleplayer. I love Science Fiction, Horror, Crime, Victoriana and more, but the whole Elves and Orcs thing was never my scene. I’ve certainly tried Dungeons and Dragons and Middle Earth and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and the systems were ok, but the world never really grabbed me. Recently, I began looking for an RPG my son could play soon (he’s 9 and has really enjoyed playing board games like Warhammer Quest and Imperial Assault with us) and discussed it with my brother, who suggested Pathfinder.

Now, my experience with Pathfinder is limited; I knew it was based on the old version 3.5 of D&D and that it had a somewhat broader world than that game – the store kept getting posters advertising the game with pirate-themed puns, or fantasy adventurers fighting Egyptian mummies. I also knew that my brother was well into it – he comes to my store with his group twice a month and they go hammer and tongs at it all day long. Rather than roll my eyes and ask ‘What makes Pathfinder so special?’, I decided to listen in on one of their sessions.

PZO9055POSTER 500It was FUN.

There was a big emphasis on drama. There were puns flying and unexpected plot twists and characters being used as improvised weapons and a light, but not meaningless system behind it all. I was intrigued – something fantasy games hadn’t really done for me previously. Was this a fluke? I had to investigate further and find out if this was the doing of the game, or just a good GM making things exciting.

My first port of call was to chat to some of the local players, Josh, Nik and Nik (we’ll call him Nik2) and get their take on it.

How is Pathfinder different from any other Fantasy game?

There’s a number of different settings, the world is rich and varied and you never know what’s around the corner. My favourite is Numeria, the land of Barbarian tribes, robots and spaceships. – Josh

It’s a small thing, but the addition of guns developed by Dwarves makes the game a little more modern – Nik

What do you like about Pathfinder in comparison to other Fantasy RPGs?

To me, Pathfinder is build upon the foundation of where D&D went right, taking the old 3.5 system and cleaning it up. In addition to this, it tends to draw in the most welcoming, friendly and open-minded of roleplayers – Josh

The quality control is quite good, and whilst there is a pile of product there is no requirement to have it all – it simply adds options. It continues the look and feel of D&D, and built upon what that system did well. – Nik2

What is coming up in the future of Pathfinder that makes you excited?

PZO9226 NumeriaEverything that comes out builds upon the strong points. – Nik

I’m curious about Starfinder, and what that is going to bring to the Pathfinder table. – Nik2

Just about everything they bring out – especially the PFS scenarios & modules – Josh

So all that sounds good, right? Since I first listened in on that session, I’ve hosted another one and I’m definitely sold – these guys know how to have a good time with dice, minis and maps. I think the day is coming soon when I grab some character sheets, pick out a couple of minis, pack my son into the car and head to my local store to get into it!

There’s a complete listing of Australian Pathfinder Events to be found on Warhorn, or check with your local Good Games store when they run their regular game! Of course, there’s nothing wrong with just swinging by and pickup up a Beginner Box or Core Rulebook to try it all out yourself – Pathfinder is going places, jump onboard and enjoy the trip!