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What are the strengths and weaknesses of Pathfinder and Fantasycraft, two unofficial D&D 3.5 "upgrades", compared to 3.5 and each other?

What kinds of play or play groups are they more fit for?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is FantasyCraft really an upgrade of DnD? I had always thought that it was divergent enough to be considered it's own system, whereas Pathfinder is specifically designed to continue 3.5 and make it more awesome. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cthos
    Commented Jul 20, 2011 at 14:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ My understanding is that FantasyCraft is more than just SpyCraft with Orcs. It's more along the lines of "we're doing for the fantasy genres what SpyCraft did for the espionage genre, and we're thoroughly updating the underlying mechanics as a result of everything we've already learned, doing SpyCraft". \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 20, 2011 at 15:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Pathfinder is essentially D&D 3.75. It's mostly just like 3.5, only better in some small ways. See: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/1/… \$\endgroup\$
    – RMorrisey
    Commented Jul 21, 2011 at 1:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I edited the question to turn it into a game comparison rather than game recommendation question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tommi
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 15:37

2 Answers 2

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Both Pathfinder and FantasyCraft have their roots in D&D (as does Spycraft, honestly). A lot of the basic rules are similar, but FantasyCraft has, in my opinion, diverged the most. I find FantasyCraft to be more rule-detailed than Pathfinder, so is more suited to groups that like more structure. Both games are fairly combat-oriented, but FantasyCraft offers a better (in my opinion) mechanism for handling social "combat"

Finally, there seems to be a LOT more support for Pathfinder than FantasyCraft. That can be a benefit for groups that don't have a lot of spare time.

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Starting with Spycraft 2.0, there was an influence on character design for classes from City of Heroes. FantasyCraft falls into this same pattern which is basically to say that there are no dead levels when progressing.

FantasyCraft has several differences starting with a more streamlined combat system overall, enhanced Character generation system that gives tremendous more variety, a NPC system that allows you to port in any D20 monster to the game, Action Dice (which started with Spycraft Classic back in 2001), Campaign Qualities to fine tune the settings of the game to your liking, simplified Grappling rules, and tremendous balance between all Character classes. Socially focused Characters can still be very effective in regular combat through certain actions.

This is certainly more support for Pathfinder over FantasyCraft because the latter is a company comprised of only 2 guys doing the writing compared to the staff over at Paizo.

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