Pathfinder: The New Deal

Over the past few days I’ve been discussing a few things with my Iourn players, and we’ve come to the decision to shelve almost all the Pathfinder house rules and play the game largely with the rules as they are written. I’m not going to go into the whys and wherefores here as it would rather deflect from the point of this blog entry. I’ll of course pontificate at length if asked, but I’m assuming on balance no one really cares.

What we are now left with is a large number of House Rules for Pathfinder that need to be excised from the system. However, we’re not of a mind to blindly adopt everything, so we are taking the opportunity to discuss the House Rules and see if there’s anything there worth saving. What I intend to do is to look at the orginal written rules behind each house rule and apply these Three Tests:

1) Narrative Integrity: Would adopting the rule as written directly conflict with the ongoing story of Iourn; would it contradict anything that had already been established? In principle, story should trump mechanics, and so the rules should reflect the story first and foremost.

2) Games Without Miniatures: Is the rule something that can be easily adjudicated without using miniatures and a battlegrid? If it isn’t, then it needs to change. The tinkering will be minimal but such rules need to be streamlined to make them easy, consistant and fair in play.

3) Our Preferences: Finally we need to look at whether we like a rule or not. It may be possible that we actually prefer an existing house rule and would like to retain it. But, we’d have to look very carefully at what side-effects such a decision would have.

In applying the Three Tests, our guiding principle should be to tinker as little as possible. A Pact of Minimal Tinkering if you will. If the published rules work soundly for our purposes, then we should be very unwilling to change them. I’m not against creating new game elements such as spells, archetypes, prestige classes or feats if it helps realise the game world. But these additions will need to be within the existing rules where possible.

As far as converting materials from editions 3.0 and 3.5 – obviously we’ll do this if those materials are currently in play. I’m not going to insist that Kybos becomes a Witch instead of a Binder, or that Ravenna drops the Spellsword prestige class. However, using materials from previous editions may create certain ‘legacy’ issues within the system. So what I would say going forward is that new characters only use material from the Pathfinder books. At least until I have the time to mount a massive conversion project.

You can a full Index to the Pathfinder: New Deal on its own page.

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