We start our review of the fantasy gaming genre with an absolute juggernaut. Pathfinder Roleplaying, by Paizo, represents a very typical fantasy gaming experience. It offers the expected fantasy heroes (warriors, wizards, clerics, and rogues, to name a few) and splashes in some new ideas (Gunslingers, magi) and even goes as far as to take iconic parts of some heroic ideals and mix them with others.
Set in the fantasy world of Golarion, Pathfinder has a little bit of something for every player type. Explorers have darkened monster infested jungles, the ruins of lost civilizations, and the joy of running into the deepest darkest places below the surface. Builders will find the options for establishing their own businesses and areas of control a refreshing change of pace, and for the monster hunters, there are no less than five tomes full of monsters waiting to tear them limb from limb.
Pathfinder boasts an impressive product line, and the best word i can use to describe the complete system is Options. Pathfinder has a staggering array of options and choices for the player, and as much as that can be a strength, it can also be a weakness. A new player who is making full use of the available product line is overwhelmed by an array of choices. Exacerbating this potential issue is the fact that not all the choices are equal. Some choices are representative of player choices for what they want their character. Others represent the best combat option for a character of that level.
Options drive the Pathfinder Role-playing Game in more ways than one. The Game Master has a very deep bench of published material to work from when setting the game up. With options including the 6 part adventure path campaigns, to individual modules, to all the tools needed to build an adventure form the ground up, Pathfinder has a brick load of options for the all of the players around the table.
My full write up for the overall system is available at http://zardozgames.blogspot.com/p/pathfinder-writeup.html
Next up we'll cover a couple of other interesting fantasy games and then we'll gear up for Star Wars December.