May 29 2012
by Luis Loza
Many video games owe their existence to the tabletop role-playing game. Were it not for Dungeons and Dragons and its kin, things would look a lot different in the world of pixels. However, this article isn’t about the influence of the RPG on the video game world. Instead, this is here to introduce you to the strange and foreign world of the pen and paper game. I know plenty of gamers who have wanted to take the leap into the tabletop RPGs, but have always needed that push. Since D&D is currently having and identity crisis with its upcoming new edition, I figured that the Pathfinder RPG would be a great place to test the waters.
Before I start, let me give you a quick rundown of how the Pathfinder RPG came about. Pathfinder is a game by Paizo Publishing, which was originally a branch of Wizards of the Coast, which owns Dungeons and Dragons. Paizo was happy making adventures and other content for the 3rd edition rules of Dungeons and Dragons. After a chain of events, Paizo found themselves separated from Wizards and on their own. In order to continue producing content they loved, they released Pathfinder, which itself is founded on the 3rd edition rules of D&D. Alright, got it?
Just so you’re not bored to death, here’s a barbarian fighting a robo-scorpion. Yeah, this happens all the time.
As for where to begin, Paizo was so kind to release a product called the Beginner Box. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Inside you’ll find a barebones, but still playable version of Pathfinder so you and a couple buddies can get started. Along with that, you get an adventure, a battle mat to play on, and a variety of tokens to show your great heroes and the monstrous foes they fight against. I can personally attest as to how easy it is to start with this. After opening the box, it only takes about 10 to 20 minutes to get going. Although you can only play the first few levels of a character and you’re missing a lot of content, the Beginner Box is the best starting point for fueling your RPG hunger.
Not bad for $35.
Where you go from here is up to you. If you’d like to continue playing Pathfinder, I would recommend picking up the Core Rulebook and the Bestiary, which is honestly enough for months of play. This means coming up with adventures all on your own, though. If you or a friend is up to the challenge, then more power to you. However, I know how much work that can be, so you may be more inclined to run an adventure that is already written and ready to go. Paizo also offers plenty of these for people to play. If you need a game for just one night, pick up a module and go. If you want a more long-term thing, pick up one of their adventure paths. These are lengthy campaigns that feature haunted nations, founding new kingdoms, or sailing the high seas to find the next big treasure.
This could be you!
Of course, Pathfinder is not the only game out there. While it works great for your standard fantasy fare, it might not be the game you’re looking for. If you would like something more modern, check out White Wolf Publishing’s Mage, Werewolf, or Vampire series. Is space travel more your thing? Try Rogue Trader from Fantasy Flight Games. If you prefer superheroes, check out Mutants & Masterminds from Green Ronin Publishing. Really, there’s a game out there for what you would like to play. From Anima to Call of Cthulhu to Warhammer RPG, you can find a game to enjoy. No matter what you try, I suggest giving the game of tabletop RPGs a try.
Suggest material and games:
Core Rulebook – Player and GM guide to PFRPG
Bestiary – Monsters and creatures
InnerSeaWorld Guide – The official Pathfinder campaign setting
The Harrowing –Alicein Wonderland style adventure
Kingmaker – Rags to riches kingdom building campaign
Carrion Crown – Horror themed campaign
Skull and Shackles – Pirate themed Campaign
Anima: Beyond Fantasy – Video game and anime inspired fantasy
Ars Magica – Fantasy in a mythicalEurope
Call of Cthulhu – Lovecraft inspired horror
Dragon Age RPG – Fantasy game in the Dragon Age universe
DresdenFiles RPG – Storytelling game set in the Dresdenverse
Dungeons and Dragons – The classic
FATE – Generic and freeform system, very malleable
GURPS – Generic “kitchen sink” system
Legend of the Five Rings – Asian mythology fantasy
Mage: The Awakening – Magic and reality bending themed storytelling game
MAID – Play as an anime maid in any setting
Mutants & Masterminds – Superhero
Paranoia – Dystopian, dark humor setting in which backstabbing is encouraged
Rifts – Post apocalyptic cyberpunk
Rogue Trader – Space faring set in Warhmmer 40k universe
Shadowrun – Futuristic cyberpunk
Traveller – Space faring sci-fi
Vampire: The Requiem – Vampire and intrigue themed storytelling game
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay – Fantasy game set in Warhammer universe
Werewolf: The Forsaken – Werewolf and horror themed storytelling game
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