Should Role-Playing Games say "Don't Panic!" right on the cover?I was browsing for more Pathfinder RPG opinion and news today and came across this post on something called the Apathy Blogs. It provides a nice little summary of industry events leading up to the development of the Pathfinder RPG. The only part of it that bothers me is this little paragraph:
I think the biggest strength of the system is also its greatest weakness. The d20 system has always been a very customizable rules set. Characters can mix and match classes at each level. There are a wide variety of feats a character can use to add variety to abilities. So while building a first level character is fairly easy, a new player joining a high level game for the first time can be overwhelmed with choices. If you want a game that has the potential for a lot of complex customization, this is it. If you are looking for a light rules system there are plenty of other good choices out there.Why is it that "rules light" seems to equate to fewer player choices? Why are player options in a game system considered overwhelming? Why is this a weakness?
Personally, I think this is an irresponsible statement about any D20 rules set one hasn't tried for a good length of time, much less one that's been as refined over time as the Pathfinder RPG has. It's taken over 30 years to get here and that is a good thing. I mean this isn't rocket science? No one's in mortal peril if you pick the wrong feat. It's a game?!
The statement above is purposeless overdrama and to new players looking to grow into a great game system filled with nice touches of history and tradition, yet expressed without vanity or ego, the Pathfinder RPG is a completely valid choice for new players.
The Pathfinder RPG isn't the new car built from scratch, accompanied by new defects, it's the one made with with a serious effort to stamp out the defects of prior models.
Also, let me point out that the statement above addresses a very specific scenario: a beginning player joining a high level game. Okay, how often does that really happen? One little misread and new players are headed for the hills. C'mon, if you're a new player joining a high level game you're obviously going to have help building a character or have time to read the information. This is a game, not a final exam or job interview.
We live in a world where people complain when they don't have enough choices, particularly here in America. As a result there are 17 different kinds of rice to pick from at the grocery store. Is that a bad thing? No. Eventually you might get tired of white rice and want to try a different variety. Choice is not a weakness.