Kobold Love 2: Barbarians and Other Finesse Classes

In my attempt to work through the Pathfinder System and work through the changes from 3.5, it occurs to me that every character can be as complicated or as simple as a player wants. The new class features and even basic design of the game offer more material to work with, but there’s no shame in keeping your choices simple. You can choose options that broaden your horizons and make you versatile, or you can focus more narrowly, limiting your options but maximizing your performance in your role.

In the 3.5 system, barbarians aren’t really versatile. You can spread yourself out a bit with feats and weapon choices, but you’re still pretty much an axe-murderer with a good land speed. As a Pathfinder barbarian, you gain more feats and equipment to customize your abilities like everyone else, but you also gain a new ability every other level to spend your pool of rage points on. Become a skirmisher who’s harder to hit on the run, or a clear-headed combat monster with no penalties for raging, or focus yourself into a better axe-murderer with more melee damage.

This is a great development in the hobby, with some classes having been marginalized in the Third edition as dipping classes (classes people routinely dip into for strong saves and an early ability, then abandon, like paladin, druid and ranger), or as stereotyped classes (classes where multiple characters tend to still look identical – like paladin, druid and ranger). If you’ve ever had a hard time focusing on a tricked-out combat rogue or wanting your bard’s abilities more tailored to his evil alignment, Pathfinder deserves a long look.

The second half of the Kobold Love party includes more finesse characters – including a barbarian. They showcase a larger range of abilities without spoiling the classic class features. The druid still feels and plays like a druid, but with no animal companion and the earth domain, is unique in its approach to the class. As a DM showcasing this system at your local hobby store, I’d try to assign the first batch of characters to newer players, and the second batch to DnD players who haven’t played Pathfinder yet.

Without further ado…

~ by Famine on February 1, 2009.

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