So, I’m still working on processing the newly announced Pathfinder 2nd Edition. The game seems set for a major mechanical overhaul. I’m intrigued as to how they’re going to pull this off.
My interest to see the execution comes from the fact that Pathfinder has become a very mechanically driven game. I don’t know if it started that way, but it feels like the underlying principles rule the game in very impressive way. While narrative and story-telling always have a place, the actual mechanical system is what makes it go.
You could make this argument for any game, really, but because Pathfinder favored highly determined rules, the game itself had a different kind of complexity. All of this though is based heavily on the mechanical system driving the game.
On one hand, the game itself has an incredible amount of depth. The level of nuance and subtlety characters can be built with has always been one of the game’s strongest points. Who knows where these kinds of things end up through an overhaul.
On the other hand, the can be a grind. While I love the game for the scale of what can be packed into a session fairly comfortably, there have been times where running it has been a real challenge. This has been especially prevalent during combat and character creation.
For combat, there is this constant need to engage in petty rules-lawyering to eke out the greatest possible bonuses, and what not. This is annoying as hell. Unfortunately, because this is how the game is written (with lots of bonuses and modifiers), the system can be hard to manage. Also, during character creation, I constantly have people looking to optimize their characters, rather than creating a fictitious persona in the game world. Rather than, “I’m an orphan seeking revenge on the cruel merchant tat burned down my home and killed my parents,” there is the need to have players creating character designed along the lines of, “I want my character to be able to dominate the field of combat.” This second point is extremely uninteresting, but very common in Pathfinder.
Now that a new edition is coming out, ti will be interesting to see how the game designers try and harmonize these different issues. Can the good and the bad be rectified? Tie will tell, but I think the answer is largely, “yes.” What the final product looks like is anyone’s guess, but I’m excited for what the game will be able to do.