I have a role-playing group for years now. For a long time we played games like Shadowrun or Eclipse Phase. Right now we are playing Pathfinder. Pathfinder is a high-fantasy system based on Dungeons & Dragons 3.5. Until now I played a Life Oracle aka a powerful healbot. I did one thing and I did it well: heal my group. In the last session my character died because of some wrong decisions of the group regarding an overpowerful enemy. Well, I am not sad at all. It got pretty boring to play a healbot. In combat I buffed a bit, but most of the time I just tried to get near people for in-combat healing, when there were undead enemies I could do some damage and otherwise I just tried to not get hurt and heal everyone after combat. That’s pretty much it.
Now I have the chance to build a new character. Since we are a group of 6 players a lot of the roles are set already. There is tank (dwarven fighter), a big weapon (half-orc barbarian), the range-combat guy (elven ranger), a buffer (drow wizard whose main job now is to hand out haste…) and a rogue who can do some damage and can disable traps. Since I do not want to play the healbot anymore I had a look around other classes and I came to the conclusion that each and every class seems pretty boring.
Whatever you are doing, the only thing that is expected as it seems is to optimize the heck out of your character, I mean specializing it because the game mechanics do not allow anything else. And everything is very much straight forward it seems. I just do not see how most of the abilities can be used within the setting and the rules in a creative way. And finding holes in the rules isn’t the creativity I mean. There is just not a lot of space to do unexpected things. Even a magic based character can’t do that unexpected stuff.
And the setting is more suited to rail roading than to open gameplay. Rail roading in that case means that there is not much in terms of left and right what we can actually do. In games that play nowadays or in the future have in my experience an intel- and a mission phase. In the intel phase you do your legwork. Try to get information etc. More than just ask around in the local tavern but go to the target location and find out information that will make the mission easier and come up with unconventional ways to solve it. But doing intel with a classic dungeon crawl, on a graveyard or some “bad” place isn’t really possible because you get thrown into the “mission” usually immediately if you are coming near the dangerous terrain. And therefore the mission phase becomes usually pretty straightforward as well because the setting rarely allows for unconventional solutions.
Maybe it is just me but I think I found now out why I actually do not like fantasy-settings. I would be grateful for any suggestions how I can make it more fun for me and I would be really really grateful if someone could give me some hints for interesting builts that allow a diversified gameplay for a new pathfinder-character. I planned to do a Paladin but that’s in the end more or less only one action all the time as well.