Bogged Down in Mechanics

It happens in nearly every game system. You’re generating a character that’s just a little wonky to better fit your play style or vision of the character and the mechanics get in the way generating Mechanic-Lock.

For GMs it happens at the most in opportune time during a game session when everything should be running smoothly someone pulls an obscure action out of their hat and the game skids to a halt while rules are referenced and interpreted thus destroying the momentum.

Starfinder being a relatively new game system breaks down when emphasis is placed on their starship mechanics. They’re not easily built, priced or upgraded because the game states quite specifically that ships are not the focus… of a space-based game; ships are not the focus. There are other methods of traversing the universe, of course, but the thrill of stealing, owning and customizing a party asset like a ship is inevitably one of the many focuses of the game.

Pathfinder 2.0 has addressed some of the things that drastically imbalanced the game but introduced a rather clunky mechanic for character generation. Generate your abilities, choose an Ancestry (Race), Class and a Background. Now, as you advance, your character gains benefits not only from their Class but also their Ancestry (Race). Now you level up as a Human as well as a Fighter. Sure it allows some customization so not every Human or Goblin is just a template but it seems like more complication for the sake of breaking a mold that has worked just fine for the last 35-ish years.

We recently returned to 2nd Ed AD&D for a few games and it was quite refreshing to shed all the feats and tweaks that came with D&D 3.0 and just got more ridiculous with Pathfinder. Looking at Pathfinder 2.0 the Backgrounds feel alot like the 2nd Ed Secondary Non-Weapon Proficiency system lending a ‘career’ skill to building the character’s background before they were an adventurer. Funny how some mechanics get recycled.

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