Monday, 17 October 2011

Paizo Beginner Box & Its Monsters

I'm of the opinion that the best piece of design in 4E (beyond the basic rules) are its monsters, especially past the MM3 paradigm. Perhaps it's not exactly a compliment to say that the game's monsters became really good only three books in, but they're good. I don't exactly agree with them in everything they do, but I think they make the game a lot more fun (and easy) from behind the DM screen compared to most classic 3.x monsters. Oldschool probably still has the upper hand with its tiny "AC, HD, HP, Att/Dmg" statblocks which are the apex of elegance and simplicity. But I'm rambling. Point: 4E monsters = good.

So I'm really not surprised at the look of the redesigned monsters for the Pathfinder Beginner Box. Here's one:
(c) by Paizo etc.

The statblock is cleaned up, a lot of the cruft is removed, the graphic design is extremely similar to a 4e monster. As I said, I'm not surprised. Perhaps this also accentuates how Pathfinder and 4E are a lot more similar than it might seem once you get past the differences in presentation. Of course there have been a few fundamental changes made between the two games, enough to drive a wedge between the two fanbases, but (and I've argued it before) 4E is Pathfinder rebuilt from the ground up, with an eye to pre-3rd edition non-Rolemaster influenced play, with few very bold "houserules" thrown in.

The only really massive change about 4E are Powers. Powers stand out the way that almost everything else about 3.x stands out opposed to older editions (skills, feats, iterative attacks etc.). 4e sans powers is a rationalization of 3.5E, the way 3E was a rationalization of 2E. These new monsters are a testament to that.

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