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?
Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
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.
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.