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Is it possible to prepare and run a Pathfinder game in the Forgotten Realms settings? Has anyone tried this?

I've found "Finding your Path in the Forgotten Realms Project" but I can't validate how useful it is.

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Pathfinder, often referred to as "D&D 3.75", is based on the D20 system and its open content, and as such is (mostly) backwards compatible with D&D 3.5, and can easily handle any D&D3.5 material you try to mix into it. I don't see any problem with taking WotC's sourcebooks for the Forgotten Realms and either going over them to see if there aren't any irregularities, or (if you're experienced in D&D3.5 and Pathfinder) simply doing it on the fly. –  lisardggY Jan 21 '13 at 17:17
We have other questions about general 3.5e to Pathfinder conversion (e.g. rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/4064/…) - please restrict this question to your experience running/having seen run the Realms in Pathfinder. Also keep Good Subjective, Bad Subjective in mind - don't answer if you haven't done it or seen it done. –  mxyzplk Nov 25 '13 at 2:39
Is there something in the question that suggests that we keep it subject to the specific conversion? Any rules for Forgotten Realms and Pathfinder seem to be valid. –  Kyle Willey Nov 25 '13 at 4:34
Paizo has their own 3.5-to-Pathfinder conversion guider here: paizo.com/products/…. I have used it a lot in my D&D game. –  Randumbness Feb 25 '14 at 1:17

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The group I game with most of the time runs a Forgotten Realms campaign setting. We have played it in 2.0, 3.0, 3.5 and now use Pathfinder. There is very little change that we have to make. For 90-95% of it we just use the Pathfinder rules as is. We simply remade our characters for each edition as needed and custom FR specific monsters are converted to Pathfinder stats as needed. Deities and such are generally reused from the 3e/3.5e FR manuals and anything that may conflict we simply address on an as needed basis. But frankly, very little has needed to be resolved.

We are currently running the City of the Spider Queen module, which actually is a tiny bit easier in Pathfinder given the differences in rules for Haste and a couple other spells that the module relies heavily upon. Of course, our DM is making up for it in other ways.

Overall, though, it's been a fairly seamless transition for us to Pathfinder rules based in a Forgotten Realms world.

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You’ll have to calculate monsters’ CMB and CMD, since 3.5 did not use those, and you’ll have to redo NPCs’ skills, since Pathfinder changed those a fair bit. You will also have to update humanoid characters’ ability scores, racial features, and class features, since Pathfinder changed a few of those, too.

This should be straightforward; just add in the things that Pathfinder added to each character’s race and class. Other than these things, you should be able to use any 3.5 content (including Forgotten Realms stuff) as-is. The conversion work is not difficult, it’s just tedious; Paizo’s claims of backwards-compatibility have... been overstated, to say the least. Adapting one thing is trivial, but when you’ve got a whole series of monsters, NPCs, and things, it becomes a lot of work for the DM, unfortunately. Easy work, just a lot of it.

The Linked Homebrew

Ultimately, that link is huge and I cannot even begin to go through it all to check it for quality. On some level, quantity may be an indicator of quality: someone who goes through the effort to write all of that out is probably also going through the effort to make it worth writing and reading – but not necessarily. I will state that Ziegander (who’s critiqued a few things later on in the thread) is a homebrewer that I have respect for, but it seems likely, given the sheer number of posts, that he has not read the entire thing either.

At any rate, it looks like the project is an attempt to create Pathfinder versions of non-Core 3.5 material as it is used in Faerûn, and possibly also to use non-Core Pathfinder material for thematically appropriate things in Faerûn. Both pretty good ideas; can’t comment on execution. The former will save you having to think too much if you come across something important that uses non-Core material that Pathfinder doesn’t have a conversion for. The latter actually introduces more work – you now have to account for more classes – but will lead to a more varied and consistent world, avoiding the usual pitfall where supplement-added classes are bizarrely absent from the gameworld.

The only thing I can say about it for certain is that you do not have to use it, and using Pathfinder for your Forgotten Realms game does not necessarily require even remotely that much work.

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I'm sorry, if you haven't run the Realms in Pathfinder then this isn't a licit answer. –  mxyzplk Nov 25 '13 at 2:45
@mxyzplk I disagree entirely: this is not a subjective question. In fact, were I to wish to do so, I could quite objectively and accurately answer the questions posed with “yes, it is possible” and “yes, people have.” I expanded on why it is possible (there’s very little conflict to begin with) and I discussed how it has been run by the author of the linked material. –  KRyan Nov 25 '13 at 16:24
@mxyzplk Moreover, Good Subjective Bad Subjective are guidelines primarily for how people should vote. In extreme cases it may be appropriate to delete answers that stray too much from them, but I do not accept that the only way to answer any question that is more than pure rules-lookup is with specific and precisely-matching personal experience, I do not think that is what the guidelines are for (because you are both grossly expanding the definition of “subjective” and missing the purpose of the article). –  KRyan Nov 25 '13 at 16:26
@mxyzplk This answer has a score of 11, despite my lack of experience with this particular setting, because people found it useful. I don’t particularly care about this answer, but if you’re going to turn Good Subjective Bad Subjective into a bludgeon you’ll use to shape this site into your preference rather than that of the users, we have a problem. Is this the best possible answer? No. Is it a good answer? Up to you; vote accordingly. Is it a licit answer? Yes, I should think it is. –  KRyan Nov 25 '13 at 16:27
Your answer conveys no useful information and shows no specific expertise in the Realms, it basically says you can read his link and that 3.5 to PF conversion is possible (the domain of other preexisting questions). –  mxyzplk Nov 26 '13 at 3:32

When using 3.5 Materials with Pathfinder there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.

  1. Keep the Conversion Guide in Mind.
  2. Creatures will be weaker in terms of skills. You can take the time to do the tedious work to update them, or just try to remember which options got fused together on the fly (that's typically what I do) and just roll with it.
  3. Domains. There are many domains for the forgotten realms, and not all of them exist for Pathfinder. I believe there are a few domain conversions kicking around, but I don't remember where they are. Much of the work in this area has been done for you though, you just need to find it.
  4. Prerequisites: Whenever you see a prerequisite of skill ranks from a 3.x source and you want to use it for Pathfinder: A. Convert Skill Requirements to use the Pathfinder Skill List (easy). B. Class Skill bonuses count toward the prerequisite, in addition to actual ranks. This is because in 3.5, you got 4x skill points at level 1, and your maximum number of skill ranks in a skill was level+3 instead of simply your level.
  5. Spells: Spells with an Exp Component instead have a gold component, and/or have an increased gold component. The conversion document may detail what the change is, or you may have to google it, it's been a little while.
  6. LA +0 D&D 3.5 Races are weaker than Core Book Pathfinder Races. the main Pathfinder races are roughly on par with most LA+1 races in 3.5. Genasi are better than the Pathfinder Planetouched, which are mechanically terrible. Also, Pathfinder doesn't have Level Adjust as a game mechanic; they did away with it on purpose. Most of the commonly used LA+ Races (LA +1s and LA +2s, and some LA+3s) are a bit more powerful at low levels, and about the same once you hit level 5 to 8. Level Adjust wasn't a very well balanced game mechanic, and it often resulted in overly weak characters, who got more and more behind the other player characters as the game went on. Sidenote, Forgotten Realms Drow are all what Pathfinder calls "Noble Drow". If someone wants a LA+X Race, Consider toning down the race a bit, and grant the more powerful abilities to the character gradually, improving them as they level up, or granting some of them at higher levels instead of all at level 1. If the race has Hit Dice with skill ranks, instead of just giving them the hit dice and skill ranks upfront, consider counting the racial skills as class skills, and allowing the character to upgrade their class Hit Dice to the racial Hit Dice until they've gotten all of them. Likewise with saving throws. There will still be a bit of a power gap at the lower levels, but it will be less drastic, and it will become less noticeable as they level up until it no longer matters. You may also want to consider trying to have all of the PCs be similarly numbered LA+ races, to make balancing them easier. For Races with a skill bonus to specific skills, if the bonus is in the range of +4 to +6, consider giving the player Skill focus in that skill as a bonus feat instead. They'll have a +3 until level 10, at which point it would become a +6. I say this because a +5 or +6 to a skill at first level could be problematic, but at level 10 it's not that big of a deal.
  7. You'll need to be able to quickly calculate CMB/CMD from a monsters statistics. That comes up alot.
  8. Overall, you'll find that the D&D 3.5 monsters can be used with Pathfinder with little difficulty, but their numbers will be a little on the low side as you start to progress. You may find you want to make some adjustments to make things more difficult when you're not able to grab a Pathfinder version of some monster you're using. If you find yourself needing more difficult encounters for your players, consider the following options: A. Use Pathfinder Creatures in place of the ones in the module or book you're looking at. This is often an option, as many monsters have been re-published for pathfinder. B. Convert the NPC or Monster to Pathfinder (Not terribly difficult, though a bit tedious, and figuring out what their numbers should be at can be tricky). C. Use the monsters as-is, and add a few more of them to pad the encounter. D. Increase the Monster's numbers, for instance, +1 to all their rolls and defenses, and +1 HP per HD. Which is the best option will depend on the creature in question, and the amount of time you have. The trickiest part that you will need to work out is Domains.
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Hey, this isn't really a "3.5 to Pathfinder" question - we have those - it's specifically about running the Forgotten Realms. –  mxyzplk Nov 25 '13 at 2:02
Well, if you can convert system related things in a campaign setting book then you can also run a seamless FR game with Pathfinder. –  Yuqu Nov 27 '13 at 20:59

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