YMMV: Pathfinder

  • Broken Base: There are several: synthesists, gunslingers, and the technology-is-king region of Numeria are among them.
    • The encounter with Iomedae in Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth has become rather divisive.
    • That the setting includes direct Lovecraftian copypasta despite the fact it was stated the designers would not include Lovecraftian mythos.
    • The Advanced Class Guide was rushed to print for GenCon 2014, fan-speculation being that the reason for this was so Paizo had something to show off, because Wizards of the Coast was premiering Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition at the same time. This, however, led to glaring editing mistakes, and one class had a post-playtest downgrade - the Warpriest, which originally could make attacks using its level as Base Attack Bonus with its Sacred Weapon(s); there was much outcry over it being "bad", but an equal amount of cheering, as the Warpriest in the playtest was noted to completely run amok in groups due to this full-BAB plus 6th-level Spell progression. The divide is fairly 50/50 on Paizo's forums, and the book has received the worst/most mixed customer reviews (3.5/5 on Paizo's site) for any of the PRD "Big Books".
    • Pathfinder Unchained spawned many examples:
      • The Unchained summoner, being the remake of a class that's already a Base Breaker, was destined to crack opinions. For those who regarded it as too effective, it's a welcome series of nerfs that manages to retain the class's flavor and, unlike some other Unchained classes, offers a few new archetypes to replace those rendered ineffective by the swap. To those who didn't mind where the summoner was, balance-wise, it's a bunch of unnecessary changes to a class Paizo has always been unnecessarily fixated on "fixing," even in light of well-acknowledged power differences between the other, more-versatile full casters and everyone else, and, unlike some of the other Unchained classes, no longer leaves the original class as an available option for Pathfinder Society play.
      • The Unchained monk. In stark contrast to the rogue rework in the same book, the Unchained monk has a few minor tweaks to the manner in which it gains ki powers to make it a bit more customizable and full-BAB, but little else, and it loses the monk's traditional advantage of three good saves in the process. Worse, the rework completely altered some of the monk's core abilities and mechanics, rendering unusable a number of popular and powerful Archetypes that needed them to trade out. Many fans who were looking forward to some love for a class that, if not in quite as bad of shape as the rogue, still definitely needed a boost to put it on par with the other martials, were very disappointed, arguing the remake fixed some minor issues but didn't really address the monk's core problems. 5e's alterations to the class are generally seen as a much bigger step in the right direction. Others, usually those who liked the old monk's power level just fine, feel the resulting class isn't bad, just a lateral rather than forward shift that's still a fine and playable class that keeps the monk right where it used to be, and they regard that as a good thing.
      • Most agree the rogue needed a bit of a boost and welcome the many changes and advantages that the Unchained rogue represents, particularly that, unlike the other Unchained variants, the rogue doesn't have to lose anything to get them. But a number of player are still unhappy, feeling that making the rogue too effective in combat waters down the class's skillmonkey feel.
      • Some even think the new "skill unlock" system Rogues have was pushing it a bit far past balancing, with the interpretation that this means certain skill-monkeys could be better at the skills other classes are flavored to specialize in.
    • The late 2015 errata and changes to previous books. While many previously-troubled archetypes got welcome reworks, and some saw increases in raw power, many previously-unique classes and archetypes were either completely remade beyond recognition or just nerfed into the ground. Worse, these changes started by impacting the effectiveness of many of the most popular methods and tactics martial classes relied on to do their jobs, bending the already-strained fighter-caster power dynamic even more in the caster's favor.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Curse of the Crimson Throne: The followers of Zon-Kuthon, God of Envy, Pain, Darkness, and Loss tend to be a nasty bunch, with a penchant for torture and self-mutilation. Yet not a one of them�including quite possibly Zon-Kuthon himself�has ever come close to the level of atrocity perpetrated by Kazavon, Zon-Kuthon's one-time Champion. Essentially Vlad the Impaler in the form of a sixty foot Blue Dragon, Kazavon disguised himself as a human mercenary and offered to help the nation of Ustalav drive out the invading Orc hordes. Upon his victory, Kazavon set himself up as the dictator of the borderlands area, where he ruled with an iron fist, torturing to death all those who disagreed with him, including many of the soldiers who had served him faithfully up to that point. When his employer tried to rein him in, Kazavon flayed the man alive. He would go on to achieve truly special heights of depravity, holding torture parties, and orgies involving the undead, spreading his influence throughout the entire area, and having entire villages impaled for his entertainment. Kazavon was eventually killed by a party of heroes, but the madness didn't stop there. The pure evil of his soul contaminated his skeleton and threatened to resurrect him. The bones were crafted into seven Artifacts Of Doom and hidden throughout the country; contact with even one of them is enough to drive the wearer down a path of madness, murder, and ultimate self-destruction. When Queen Ileosa, Big Bad of the Adventure Path dons the crown, Kazavon influences her to murder her husband, turn Korvosa into a Police State, unleash a plague against the city's poorest citizens, and drain the lives of thousands in an effort to gain eternal youth (in reality, the spell will just resurrect Kazavon).
    • Second Darkness: Allevrah Azinrae was once an Elven cleric of Nethys, God of Magic, and a hero in the nation of Kyonin. That was before she, with the aid of the Demon Lord Abraxas, conceived of a plan to exterminate the drow. When the fellow members of her Government Conspiracy refused to go through with the plot, Allevrah murdered her critics, let her rage transform her into a drow, and fled to the drow capital of Zirnakayinn, where she murdered the matron of House Azinrae and took it over. Desiring revenge on Kyonin, Allevrah plans to drop a meteor on the capital; if successful this plan will wipe out Kyonin and trigger an ice age that will kill most life on the planet. After a failed attempt at using the city of Riddleport as a test target, Allevrah retreats to the Land of Black Blood below Kyonin, where she prepares to summon her meteor. She also allows her lover (who is terrified of her) to perform hideous experiments that reduce the victims to masses of screaming black liquid, cuts deals with an aboleth mind rapist and a neothelid, feeds prisoners to ropers, and orders her troglodyte henchman, Ornn, to eat a charda colony's children if they do not cooperate with her. Driven solely by hate, Allevrah shows just how far even the best person can fall.
    • Pathfinder's evil deities can be a bad lot, but none are quite as horrible as archdaemon and Horsewoman of War Szuriel. A former paladin, Szuriel became a conquering empress who had every member of her former faith crucified in revenge for her excommunication. Following her death, she became a daemon, and murdered her way to the top of Abaddon's hierarchy, eventually slaying the previous Horseman of War and taking his title. In her new rank, Szuriel represents war at its most terrible, celebrating societal breakdowns, scorched earth campaigns, and ethnic cleansing, and counting Insane Admirals, General Rippers, and Sociopathic Soldiers galore among her most devoted followers. Hiring out her daemons to those who pay the most, Szuriel inevitably turns on her employers, after forcing the campaign to degenerate to the point where mutual genocide is the only way it can end. Forging weapons in the heat of burning human souls, and revelling in violent excess, Szuriel demonstrates what happens when a Physical God adopts the mentality of the most sadistic Psycho for Hire.
  • Crazy Awesome: Cayden Cailean, in his mortal life as well as during his godhood.
    • The entire premise of Rasputin Must Die!.
  • Creator's Favorite: The Aasimar race are sometimes accused of being this in design terms, since they have many benefits but no drawbacks and aren't considered to be overpowered enough to ban in most non-PFS games.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Laori Vaus, Perky Goth elf chick from Curse of the Crimson Throne.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: In some circles, Valeros the human iconic fighter and Imrijka the half-orc iconic inquisitor.
    • Likewise, Amiri, the human iconic barbarian and Oloch, the half-orc iconic warpriest.
  • Fetish Retardant: Urgathoa, goddess of the undead. A sexy Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette from the waist up, but rotting and skeletal from the waist down.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Lamashtu towards Shelyn, whom she wants to corrupt.
    • Everyone loves Shelyn, so most of the Evil Gods tend to like her like this.
    • Sarenrae and Asmodeus have a little of this going on; Inner Sea Gods even mentions their rivalry is a passionate one.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Why does Pathfinder invoke Lovecraft Lite despite being the Darker and Edgier counterpart to Dungeons & Dragons? Because it's only logical to do so! Most of the horror for Lovecraft's characters comes from the sheer shock in seeing such alien creatures and experiences, which so drastically contrast their understanding of realitynote . However, the inhabitants of Golarion — or, really, any D&D-ish setting — have a far, far broader view of reality than Victorian humans do. When your neighbor is a youthful girl who has outlived two generations of your family, your other neighbor is able to twist reality to his whims with some mumbo-jumbo and funny gestures, and your king could well be massive, nigh-immortal, immensely powerful dragon, something like a Mi-go doesn't stand out that much. The world is so full of strange and twisted lifeforms that creatures of the Mythos simply aren't any stranger than anything anyone's already seen. Add to that the fact that killing such creatures is bog-standard, and Mythosian monsters lose yet more of their power to scare the denizens of Golarian. By the standards of a basic Lovecraft hero, a Golarion adventure engages in Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? every time he cuts down a raging orc warrior or a drow or, heck, even a goblin.
  • Fridge Horror: Chainmail is not a clingy formfitting material, yet Laori from Curse of the Crimson Throne wears a skin-tight bodysuit made of the stuff, studded with hooks, spikes and other pointy bits. Zon-Kuthon's priesthood are noted elsewhere for sewing or otherwise integrating their vestments into their flesh...
  • Game Breaker:
    • Depending on who you ask, the 3.5 CoDzilla (overpowered "Cleric or Druid") problem has either been preserved or addressed, with both sides arguing that their claims are correct. Given that everything boils down to individual player preference and the skill of the GameMaster to arbitrate these things, its probably best to Agree to Disagree. However, most people agree that the problem at least has been toned down.
    • End-level spellcasters in general, unless you buff the CRAP out of your enemies' saves. Or give them spell resistance.
      • Or give them the stealth/dexterity to act first. Concentration checks to cast while taking damage is no longer a skill in Pathfinder... while this means that you don't have to spend precious skill points to do it, it also means that there's no way to nullify it, or set up enough skill buffs that you'll automatically succeed. A rogue flanking a caster will make casting especially difficult, and fighters actually have a lot of options that make in a nightmare to try to cast against them within 30 feet.
    • The Synthesist Summoner archetype breaks the game so thoroughly that it's officially banned from organized play.
      • Some argue that it is no worse than the normal summoner or a Co Dzilla, it just interacts with the party in a way that makes the existing flaws obvious. A Co Dzilla can outshine the fighter too, but that is really all the Synthesist does, so they can't avoid it.
    • Originally, the entire Gunslinger class got tarred with this brush. A full BAB ranged class that also targets Touch AC, which is almost universally the worst stat on most enemies and they add their DEX bonus to the damage their weapons deal, something no other class can do except for an expensive magic item ability for melee weapons only. However, after years of real-world play, the class proven more balanced than initially thought, with many weaknesses enemies can utilize (limited out-of-combat utility, spells and terrain features that make hitting difficult even with touch AC, high-probability misfires at most levels, reduced range compared to other long-range weapons with powers that only work within the first range increment, expensive ammunition, water) becoming apparent. Now, players and DMs alike generally agree that neither the class nor Early Firearms like pistols and muskets are what is broken - it's Modern Firearms like revolvers that are, and thus, most campaigns only allow Early Firearms.
    • Primalist bloodragers can trade in any of their bloodline powers they don't like for two barbarian rage powers at no other cost. For those not in the know, this basically makes them better versions of barbarians in practically every way. Like the synthesist, also banned from organized play.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Sarenrae's holy symbol features what would latter become Dark Souls's "Praise the Sun" gesture.
    • Zon-Kuthon's origin story is in several aspects a Darker and Edgier version of Nightmare Moon's.note 
  • Internet Backdraft: The "errata" to the Advanced Race Guide, years after the fact, has been virtually universally derided, first for brutally nerfing or warping-out-of-shape countless suboptimal-but-fun builds (the popular Scarred Witch Doctor archetype is a frequent sticking point), second, for primarily focusing on breaking the power of the already-weaker martial classes rather than the dominant casters, and for coming out years after the fact, making it more of a "balance" change than anything else... something the playerbase has no desire for or patience with.
  • Iron Woobie: While the specifics have never been given, it has been stated that the goddess Desna's past has been shaped by tragedy and loss (including the murder of her closest friend and mentor), but she keeps on going without complaint.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
  • Les Yay:
  • Merisiel and Kyra, if the "Ask Merisiel" thread on Paizo's forums is to be believed. Apparently, if she could spend one night alone with any of her companions, it would be Kyra and what she would do... is not something that she would be allowed to say in polite company. All we've got is her line about how humans "can be super sexy and intriguing, especially when they worship Sarenrae and wear so much armor that you can't make out the details but just barely."
Merisiel: Kyra's still kinda a stick in the mud, but she's getting better at it. Slowly. Operation "loosen up the cute cleric" continues into its fourth year, in other words.
Merisiel: Best part about Kyra's healing magic? They're touch spells, and she's too kind-hearted to NOT heal someone who's actually hurt.
Kyra: By the Light of the Dawn, people, STOP encouraging her! I have enough problems keeping Valeros in line...
Merisiel (to Kyra): Kissy kissy!
  • LGBT Fanbase: Since the Rule 34, there's been a surprising degree of internet support for the Valeros/Imrijka pairing.
    • It's large in general thanks to the creators deliberately avoiding to specify the many of the characters' sexual preferences, meaning that they are potentially allowed to be romanced by players of any gender, depending on the DM and players.
    • Many lesbian NPCs appear throughout the various modules.
      • At least two lesbian-transsexual couples (lesbian/bisexual woman, male-to-female transsexual) appear in the adventure paths; Anevia Tirablade (human) and Irabeth Tirablade (half-orc) note  in Wrath of the Righteous, and Marislova (half-elf) and Jadrenka (changeling) in Reign of Winter.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon: What Zon-Kuthon, god of pain, did to his father.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: The developers sought to do this with some of the classic monsters in the splatbook Misfit Monsters Redeemed, specifically going for some of the most laughed-at monsters from the older editions of D&D, such as the Dire Corby, Wolf-in-sheep's-clothing, and the infamous Flumph (which is now a good-aligned extraplanar messenger warning adventurers about threats from beyond the stars).
    • The 3.5 soulknife class was always something people loved in concept, but hated in execution. Following the new Pathfinder version put out by Dreamscarred Press, the soulknife is now, while not as top-tier as most casters, solidly on par with martial classes like the fighter and barbarian, and has a number of cool and unique tricks to give it its own unique flavor.
      • 3.5's Tome of Battle supplement was the opposite, in several ways. It filled a niche that many players wanted to see filled, but many people felt that it made martial classes too similar to spellcasters. Dreamscarred Press revived its Maneuvers mechanic with their Path of War supplement, which instead embraced the larger-than-life, almost magical feel that Tome of Battle had.
    • To hear the Paizo forum-goers tell it, the Rogue was the most god-awful waste of paper and ink e'er to have been sent to print. And then the book, Pathfinder Unchained came out, and released an upgraded version of the Rogue which left all the original parts intact and added on a whole bunch of other abilities, including giving the Rogue unique tricks with Skills, a very nasty set of tricks called Debilitating Strikes which make the rogue a combat-tactics monster, upping the power of many of their weakest Talents (to the point that several became the BEST talents overnight), and granting Weapon Finesse as an automatic Bonus Feat at level 1, with the ability to further use Dexterity in place of Strength to determine damage with the Rogue's Weapon of Choice at level 3! And because all that happened was the addition of stuff to the Rogue, that means that all the previously-published Archetypes now work with the Unchained! Rogue.
  • Squick:
    • Lamashtu has this covered. See Nightmare Fuel above.
    • Zon-Kuthon. He's covered in ripped flesh and sucking wounds.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • Golarion Goblins, unlike most versions of D&D, are essentially pyromaniac psycho chibis. Even cuter in the expansion books, where they tend to dress up as other monsters and carry around big d20s.
    • Fungus Leshy as well. Most of the leshy are Ridiculously Cute Critters, but the fungus-based ones look like baby spawn of Shub-Niggurath.
    • Cacodaemons, the lowliest of all daemons, are essentially flying mouths with eyes. They want to eat your soul, but how do they look so huggable while doing it?
    • Similarly, quasits, which are the demon counterparts to imps and cacos. The one in the bestiary is trying to look evil, but the fact that it's standing next to a candle kinda ruins the effect and makes it look somewhat adorable.