Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Little RPG Anyone?

I got a little nostalgic recently and started thinking about my old D&D days when I was in junior high. Now for you youngsters, that was circa 1978/1979 - ish, when Advanced D&D was taking the free world by storm. I spent many a long evenings gathered around my buddy Mike's kitchen table with the other guys on the block running through the Keep on the Borderlands scenarios (Caves of Chaos) or solving the Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh. Hell, we even delved into the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk. Those were the days when Roleplaying Games were great. As time went on, we found more time for girls and beer than we did for gaming. But I always kept up with the rules. I also picked up my copy of Dragon Magazine and also kept a watch out for any new miniatures (they were made of lead back then and I didn't have to pin them or super glue them).

Well TSR sold off D&D to these Wizards of the Coast guys and for a time, I liked what they were doing with the game. But then, 4th Edition has come along and I have to say that it is a far, far cry from what I grew up on. It's just not the same. Plastic, pre-painted minis, none of which look like the characters I'd create. Heroes and villains wielding misshapen swords. Ooh, I hated that. And seriously? Flat tokens to represent monsters and adventurers. What a complete lack of commitment on the part of WOTC. Sure the artwork got better, but the gaming aspect? It's taken a total dump.

As WOTC left the old editions of D&D behind and the OGL came onto the scene, other companies were able to publish fantasy RPGs that were basically picking up where the 3rd edition of D&D left off. Pathfinder RPG has probably been the biggest one to date and has been very successful. I love the setting and the artwork is every bit as good as the D&D stuff.

So what am I getting at? Well, through all this, I've been feeling the urge to get back into RPGs, but I was looking for a simpler way to do it...and as luck would have it, Paizo Publishing answered my prayers and released the Pathfinder RPG Beginner Box. At $34.00, it is well worth it. The quality of this product far surpasses WOTC feeble attempt to come up with a Basic version of D&D through their retro Red Box set. The Pathfinder product, like the D&D set, includes a solo adventure, a Player's Handbook and GM Guide, some dice and a map. But that's where the similarities end. Pathfinder's Beginner Box takes the players up through 5th level, not 2nd or 3rd. Paizo also includes stand up pawns that represent heroes and monsters that are included in the game. Complete with plastic bases. Pathfinder RPG introduces 3 primary races: Elf, Dwarf, Human and 4 primary classes: Fighter, Cleric, Wizard and Rogue. A big plus for me is that they also included pawns for every class and race combination as well as gender. Ingenious!!! So far, it's a great, great product. I can't wait to play.

Oh and one more thing, Paizo has teamed with Wizkids, to release a set of plastic, pre-painted miniatures for the Pathfinder as well. I am cautiously optimistic about this product. But if the minis fail, Pathfinder still produces some kick-ass metal miniatures for the Pathfinder game through Reaper. I'll just have to paint some up.

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