Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Newbie Advice

This just came up on the Paizo Boards, introducing someone to Pathfinder who doesn't "quite" get it.

When getting a new player into a game, it's often very easy to overwhelm them with choices.  Perhaps they have some concepts of their own. "I want to play a Wizard!" Or, they get forced into the role no one wants "Hey, why don't you play a cleric!". If the game seems too difficult, it's not likely your new friend will return to continue gaming. For a game as complex as Pathfinder, this is extremely important.

The best thing to do, is to give the new player something easy to play. What's the best thing to start a new player on. There are a few schools of thought. One is to give them a fighter or barbarian with a big weapon, point them at the enemy and let them go. Of course with the number of feats the fighter gets it can become daunting unless being guided constantly. Barbarians can be fun because of the rage powers, but that's more choices.

Another thought is to give them a sorcerer, which is easy since you don't have to memorize spells, spontaneous casting being the easy thing to do. Sorcerers can be pretty boring when they're not casting spells. (Not as bad as they were in 3.5) And the new player doesn't always know when to stay out of combat. In addition, there is a big choice to be made right at level 1 with the bloodline power, could be a good thing, or a bad thing.

My personal thoughts are for a Ranger, with enough skill points to be fun out of combat. I would make them ranged combat for their combat style. This gives the player plenty to do, but not too much. It keeps the game fun, while not overworking them. If by 5th level they feel up for spell casting then they can, if not, use the skirmisher archetype from the Advanced Player's Guide. As a Full BAB Class, it isn't difficult to hit, especially with a decent DEX.

Another important factor when it comes to neophytes is start the game at level 1. There's enough to worry about without worry about more skill points, feats, and attribute advances.