Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thoughts on the Pathfinder Basic Box

I can't stop singing the praises of the Pathfinder Basic Box, but I do have one issue with it - where to go from here.

I know that when the group has outgrown the PBB, they are supposed to move on to the full Pathfinder Rules, but is that really the best or only route to take?

I don't know if it's in Paizo's plans, but I think an Advanced or Expert Boxed set would be a perfect follow up. Include advancement from 6th up to 10th level, add in some classes (Ranger, Druid, Bard and possibly Paladin), give me back my halfling and you have a complete game in 2 boxed sets.

Key phrase here is "Boxed Sets". Boxed sets can sit on the shelf of your Walmarts and Toys R' Us when RPG books won't. They can expand the market.

The boxed sets can offer a streamlined Pathfinder system that is compatible to the existing line. If the players want, they can always move on to the full rules for more options. Or they could stay with the streamlined system.

The streamlined approach and intuitive presentation of the rules in the Basic Box certainly have my attention. If my sinuses hold out, maybe Feltothraxis can take a look at the Pathfinder Basic Box. I suspect he'll enjoy it as much as I do ;)


  1. I'm playing in a Pathfinder game and to be honest I'm not a huge fan of the system. it works, but there are lots of moving parts, so something simpler like the new boxed set is much more to my tastes.

    If I were running it, I'd probably try bolting some variant of E6 on once everyone's hit fifth level.

    Another option, if I were feeling daring, would be to try leaving the level cap as it is, even as monsters get tougher, a sort of modern version of the Holmes set. Although there's a lot of emphasis on level-appropriate encounters in Pathfinder, I've found in a few years of playing it that the numbers are fuzzy and clever players can punch a good three levels above their weight.

  2. From statements on the Paizo boards, it is clear that they do NOT intend to have ongoing support for the boxed set. Their plan is that people will move on to the core rules, and they do not want to split their customers into two rules groups.

    While it is theoretically possible that demand can overcome any plan, in this case it is facing a serious obstacle: Paizo intends to not grow beyond a certain size so that the character of the company does not change, and my understanding is that they are close to that size cap. So the real question might be, will it be possible for a third party to find a way within their license to support the box and meet that demand?

    My advice for people who really enjoy the BB in the mean time would be to adopt VERY slow progression and focus on elements of role-playing other than level advancement. Although, after your blog, I'm very curious to see if we fan support for further play develops.

  3. will it be possible for a third party to find a way within their license to support the box and meet that demand

    There are a number of third-party support products for Pathfinder already, so I don't see why not.

  4. I had the same E6 idea that you had already posted Kelvin. Well I'm sure a lot of people had that idea.

    Call it E5? bbE5? does it matter?

    I will definitely run this. I can see it potentially being a bridge between the older versions of D&D I like to run, and the 3.5/pathfinder my group prefers to play.

  5. yeah, kicking around the Paizo forum, I see that the company is wary of a BB2 or Expert Box. Legit Reasons.

    Still, I don't see why fans / 3PPs couldn't work on some expansions.

    I'd like to see some of the other Pathfinder classes and races trimed to Basic Box styling.

    6th level should be easy enough to figure out without going beyond the box (new spells), but just adding 4th level spells to the mix (7th level characters) will add tons of life to the BB.

    Curse you Paizo! Curse you and you damn Box! heh

  6. Paizo's released a couple of free PDFs that expand on the BB a bit: a player's kit that adds the barbarian class and a few new options for the 4 starting classes, and a GM's kit that adds a few more monsters and magic items. Maybe they'll continue a slow trickle of new classes and races for the BB just to keep interest going. If not, should be easy enough to do some conversions from the core rules.

    Ed Green

  7. I read an exchange between Clark Peterson & Vic Wertz on this (I'll try to come back with a link) and there is something about the wording in the PF compatibility license for 3PP that discourages the ability to offer ongoing support for the box. I haven't looked into it, but since Vic is the CEO's arm candy (and technical director), I'd say he'd know. I'll be curious to see if there's a good work around to said discouragement.

  8. @Theodric - if you find the link I'll be in your debt ;)

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  10. I think the best way is to start developing your own house rules after you reach level 6. If you don't want to go with the "pro" version, you definitely need to give a shot at your creativity - like we all did at the time when B/X was aout. I really do believe RPG is all about rule 0, and I think it would be a good choice to start tinkering for a year or two before moving to the full Pathfinder ruleset.


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