I'm interested in making the switch to Pathfinder from DnD v3.5 as a DM. Aside from buying the books, I'm wondering if people can either a) direct me to good resources/threads (as I'm sure this question has been asked and answered before) or b) offer their opinions on what parts of the Pathfinder mechanics to pay special attention to if I plan to dive in and try to DM a new campaign with no previous experience playing the game. Although it offers the most elegant solution, I don't plan in investing in a "beginner box", but will jump straight to the handbooks ...


The single most important thing I can tell you: Be patient, and look everything up. No really, as much as you think you might know what "x" does, look it up. Take nothing at "face value" of what you remember from 3.5e. Particularly when it comes to feats, skills and spells. Though even that may be something of a red herring, because many of the special abilities for classes changed too, along with equipment and magic items. I found the d20pfsrd.com to be a real life saver due to the fact that there were so many minute changes.

Goofdad above mentioned the other thread that points out differences, so I wont belabor that subject here. I can tell you that after I made the switch, and I've never regretted the choice. Despite occasionally borrowing spells out of the 3.5e Spell Compendium.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Chris! The srd link is particularly relevant and I hadn't stumbled across it yet. I'm hoping to delegate a lot of the responsibility for knowing the mechanics of feats, spells, and special abilities to my players at first. Hopefully experience will be a good teacher, and my players, forgiving :) \$\endgroup\$ – Cat May 4 '12 at 12:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Glad to help. I can tell you that the d20pfsrd is my go-to source for pretty much all things Pathfinder. They've done a fantastic job of organizing all the details- And it's all searchable. Players are usually forgiving of the five-to-ten seconds it takes me find stuff these days. I still buy the books, because I want to support the hobby. If you were to peek in to games that I'm GMing, you'd notice that there is a distinct lack of any books except (potentially) a module sitting next to me. It's all because of that site and a netbook. \$\endgroup\$ – Naetuir May 4 '12 at 16:05
  • Re-read all the feats.
  • And skills.
  • Spells you can look up as you go.
  • Get a fast rules app for you phone/pad, like PFR or PFRPG RD.
  • Try to motivate your players for getting into the new rules as well, several heads cooperating work so much better.
  • Also, the Combat chapter needs re-reading. Grapple, attack of opportunity, and lots of other stuff has changed substantially (for the better).
  • Jump right in there, have tons of fun and learn as you roll!
  • \$\begingroup\$ I love bullet points! Thanks for this. I definitely will consider getting one of the apps you mentioned. Do you have a preference between these two? \$\endgroup\$ – Cat May 4 '12 at 17:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ I definitely recommend PFR. I'm biased, though, as I'm the developer of that app :-) \$\endgroup\$ – thomax May 7 '12 at 11:45

As stated, spend some time on d20pfsrd.

If it were me, I'd spend some time looking over the classes, as almost all of them have new abilities or things changed. You'll want to know what your PCs are doing when they start using Bloodline abilities or Rage Powers. I'd also spend some time looking at how Combat Manuevers work. This is a considerable change from 3.5 Death and Dying is a little bit different if I recall correctly as well. Take a look at traits, which are new. If your players do a lot of crafting, you'll want to knote that you no longer pay XP to craft magical items Other than that Pathfinder has lots of variant rules, like haunts. They're neat, but something you probably don't need to be concerned with at this point.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Phineas - the more answers I get, the more I get the sense that I will have to pay special attention to everything, lol \$\endgroup\$ – Cat May 4 '12 at 17:39

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