My group has officially moved from Hackmaster Basic to Paizo's Pathfinder. We have had two sessions of Pathfinder now, a session dedicated entirely to character generation and the first session of play.
The character generation session really didn't go as well as I would have hoped. My biggest problem was deciding what kind of character to play. I had originally planned on playing a Half-Elf Druid and had a character concept in mind, but when I really considered the Druid I decided I didn't want to deal with all the paperwork that went with the class. Keeping track of an animal companion, stat differences for various Wild Shapes, etc was just not for me. At least not on the first run through the new system. Before I move on I should clarify, I don't dislike the Pathfinder Druid. If anything I like it much MORE than its 3.5 counterpart. Paizo did an amazing job making the class a balanced one.
I considered a number of other classes, but in the end my decision was dictated by the choices of the rest of the group. James opted for the Sorcerer, Bryan the Barbarian, and Mike the Rogue. Given those choices I felt the group needed Divine Magic to succeed, and more than that it needed the greater amount of healing offered by the Cleric.
All of the classes saw some type of revision in the transition to Pathfinder. Some, like the Ranger, got very little in the way of new abilities, but most got a good deal. As far as the Cleric, the two biggest differences that jumped right out at me were the loss of the Heavy Armor proficiency (a real shock to me initially), and their Chanel Energy ability which takes the place of Turn Undead (which is now a feat that can be taken by those who have the ability to channel energy). The Channel Energy Ability can be used 3 + CHA Mod times per day and supplies the cleric with a TON of healing ability, even more than the 3.5 counterpart. This was the biggest factor in my decision to play the cleric.
I did alright for myself when rolling stats; 8,9,11,14,15,18. My stats seemed even better since the rest of the group didn't do so well. On top of what I rolled a get a +2 to any one state I choose (Note: Half-Elves are MUCH better in Pathfinder than in 3.5... not that that is saying much) so I chose Wisdom. I arranged my stats as follows...
Str - 14
Dex - 9
Con - 11
Int - 8
Wis - 20
Cha - 15
Right away you see how bad my INT score is. Couple that fact with the Cleric's measly skill point allowance and you have the first thing that really peeved me off about Pathfinder, The Skill System. They wanted to simply skills, I get that. Hence the reason so many skills were condensed. No more hide or move silent, just Stealth. No more spot, listen, or search, just Perception. I don't know that I like it, but it doesn't annoy me too much. But by getting rid of cross class skills and simply giving a +3 mod to class skills (Thus eliminating the ___ + INT x 4 formula from 3.X) they really limited what one can do at first level. For example, my Cleric has a terrible INT that saddles him with a -1 modifier. Clerics only get 2 skill points at first level. So basically I got 2 -1 = 1 Skill point. That's right folks, 1 skill point. Under 3.5 rules I would only have four, but I would be able to spread them out, allowing me to use Spellcraft, Knowledge: Religion, and two other trained only skills. But instead I get to have 1 skill that is automatically maxed out.
Like I said, it annoyed me a great deal.
Fortunately, in Pathfinder when one takes a level of their favored class they can opt for 1 additional HP or 1 additional skill point. Given that my CON isn't great (no mod) I would have loved the HP, but alas I needed the skill point more. So at least I was able to take an additional skill and prevent myself from being the first cleric ever to know nothing about religion. Hurray.
As far as deities, the DM has his own well flushed out campaign setting with his own gods. I chose one who offered the Travel and Trickery domain. Those domains are pretty strong, though Liberation and Luck also seem like winners. With my character's high wisdom, the abilities offered by Travel (the ability to move through hindering terrain at normal speed) and Trickery (the ability to create a single duplicate of yourself like the mirror image spell) can be used 8 (3 + my 5 WIS Mod) times a day. Pretty good.
Alright that's it for now. I'll talk a little bit about my character's backstory and the group's first adventure next time.