Status Update

With my new job, my free time’s gone down the toilet, hence the lack of substantial updates and the general focus more on tech and electronic gaming over tabletop gaming and other stuff. It’s not that I don’t have content to post, it’s just that I don’t have time to polish it up and post if — I guess if someone’s dying to hear my opinions, I could dust off some bitchy posts about science fiction films I wrote up back in December when I didn’t have a working computer, or any of the dozen cathartic investigations into D&D mechanics I worked up when running Serpent’s Skull. But I’m trying not to sound like a pretentious whiny git, okay?

Though, one thing I want to get off my chest, that’s both gaming related and mostly me venting. Paizo’s having their tenth anniversary sale, and is cleaning out house: Second Darkness and Legacy of Fire are going for $5 per module/$30 per Path, plus most Planet Stories pulp novels and GameMastery 3.5 modules are going for $3-4 each. I’ve tried promoting some of the better modules (River Into Darkness, think The African Queen turning into Apocalypse Now) and Legacy of Fire (which I ran and had tons of fun with, up until the last two modules). The GameMastery modules for $3 is a deal, and Legacy would still be a steal if they were selling it for $10/each. And I keep getting stonewalled with the “but I don’t want to convert from 3.5 D&D to Pathfinder” argument.

Seriously, this is like the #firstworldproblems for gamers. It’s not like someone is asking you to convert from D&D to GURPS or Savage Worlds—both of which people do, and have notes/guides for, by the way.

I don’t fully understand it because I bought into Pathfinder under the theory that I’d be able to keep using my 3.5 D&D library without having to do much conversion—Pathfinder made a lot of tweaks, but it’s called 3.75 D&D for a reason. It’s closer to 3.5 D&D than any other D&D-based game, such as Spycraft 2.0 and DC Adventures. In fact, part of me thinks it stayed too close to D&D and would have been vastly improved by moving away from some of its core concepts to nullify the d20 system’s worst angles (caster supremacy, which was shot down in Beta after the first gnarly fighter build and demolished after Ultimate Magic; a growing bloat of save-or-suck spells; exponential power creep making the system crap out around level 12).

And Pathfinder’s changes were mostly streamlining the 3.5 formulas: like every class having their attack bonus and saving throw progression tied to their hit dice (d6 = slow, d8 = med, d10/d12 = fast), stuff like that.  At the end of the day, 3.5 to Pathfinder conversion is a snap if you know the formulas that make up the system—especially since for many adversaries, you’ll be pulling stats out of a Bestiary anyway. I’ll probably go into more detail later, but unless you’re dealing with an undead, outsider, or dragon, which were tweaked to fit the aforementioned progression formulas, it’s a matter of adding a few feats and bumping up health by a pinch. The real conversion work is with skills, but let’s face it, when the monster only lives for 3-5 rounds, skills are more for completion’s sake than for functionality.

Converting Legacy of Fire mid-stream, I found I could convert all the monsters in an entire module in about an hour or two. And that’s when I didn’t bother using the conversions already available online.

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