Last year, when I was looking to begin indoctrinating, err teaching, my son about role playing games I looked around for a system. I knew a few things. I wanted to start with Fantasy. I wanted to avoid having to start from the ground up with world building. And I wanted it simple and stream lined. That is how I ended up going all in with 5E.
And that was a perfect system for what we were doing. It had a great starter box and starter campaign. The system was perfect for learning with. Simple, and elegantly so, not overly complex, not a lot of choices, or overwhelming with math and the tougher choices. It was really perfect for everything I wanted to do. And, the boys had a great time with it, enjoying as I gradually expanded the game.
It worked for everything I was doing, and allowed the boys to level up. And I enjoyed running it. And I think it is a great system, and in more adult, experienced hands it would be just as great, if not better. I look forward to once again finding an adult group to run it with.
But, as I have been playing Pathfinder in my Denver game I have also grown to really like that game too. It truly is the perfect game for an old school rules loving type like me. There is really pretty much a rule for everything under the sun. It is challenging. It encourages players to think about their characters and really develop them in many different ways. While it is possible to have 2 similar characters in Pathfinder, it is equally possible to develop multiple different directions from the exact same starting place, which is something I really love.
And, most importantly, if you are somewhat tech oriented like I am. And also cheap, like I am. Pathfinder is amazing for how inexpensive it is to get into. I have spent maybe 10$ overall. And yet I have all the resources I need to not only play, but also run the game. They are a company that clearly embraces the age of electronics and open source. And in the big picture I think that is a huge deal. Not enough game companies do that in my humble opinion.
In short, if you want to play in a Fantasy role playing game there are plenty of good options out there. If you are just starting out, or are an experienced player who doesn’t want to focus too much on the system, the D&D is great. If you are experienced, and want a crunchy system with scads of rules and versatility then Pathfinder will work out really well. Both are excellent systems in my mind. They speak to different sides of my being. I don’t think you could go wrong with either system if you are looking to run a Fantasy game.