I'm running a 3.5E table for a mix of experienced and new players. The adventure we're running is "Way of the Wicked", which is set for Pathfinder. (To clarify: the players are working with 3.5 rules, and we run the game at 3.5; only the adventure is Pathfinder)

For the first bit, I had just been translating on-the-fly (It wants Perception, OK roll Spot or Listen as appropriate). But last session the party encountered NPCs with class levels, and it became apparent that the Pathfinder versions were significantly up-powered from the player versions (beyond what could be explained by differences in builds and levels and such).

I did some handwaving to avoid a TPK, but since this campaign runs all the way up, I'm concerned that the power differential could get out of hand.

So, what tricks and traps should I beware of when running a Pathfinder adventure under 3.5 rules?


No worries, you should be fine

The basic power-level is slightly higher in the first 2 or 3 levels in Pathfinder, but will quickly even out as the differences between in power-level between classes start to show.

Encounters in Pathfinder adventure paths should not be problem for even a moderately optimised group. There have even been threads on paizo.com how a swarm of bee can be reasonably expected to kill more than half of all adventure path (AP) bosses in a fair fight.

The one exception are a few specific trick monsters or traps that depend on luck or foreknowledge, but those would hurt a Pathfinder-only party as well.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Marking this as accepted since this is matching my experience - we're around level 7-8 now and once the characters (and players) got their bearings, things have swung to the opposite problem - I have to start upscaling things so it's not a cakewalk. ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Allen Gould May 20 '14 at 15:56

The tricks and traps in Pathfinder are not meaningfully different than the tricks and traps in 3.x, aside from there being slightly fewer of them due to Pathfinder not yet having as much material out for it, simply because it hasn't existed as long (yet). The only major concern is, as you have already discovered, the power creep.

This is easy enough to account for simply by running 3.5 PCs of a higher level than the level of Pathfinder PC you would run through the same AP (Adventure Path). For example, if the adventure is written for 8th level Pathfinder PCs, consider running it with 3.5 PCs who are level 9 or 10. The exact degree of the level differential you should use will vary depending upon the optimization level of your group and the play style and preferred challenge level of the players. (This kind of adjustment should be done anyway, even within a single system, to account for such optimization and style differences; the crossover with PF simply adds another factor influencing the analysis in the direction of an increase in PC levels.)


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