Planning to Go From D&D 5E to Pathfinder? Here’s What you Should Know — a Dungeon Master’s Guide

Jason Dookeran
5 min readJan 24, 2023
Dragon for Scale

With Wizards of the Coast’s last and most ridiculous faux pas in dealing with us players, you might have considered looking for a new system to play. You might be looking for something similar enough to D&D, so you don’t feel strange learning a new system. Pathfinder is actually based on an older iteration of the ruleset but revamped and streamlined to make for more exciting and impactful gameplay. As a DM who has run tabletop games from all the way back in 3rd edition, Pathfinder is my choice for the most immersive and fun system to play. Why does it “feel” better than D&D? Dungeons and Dragons has a lot of “promise” for your character. Yet sometimes, your execution might get muddled, and you’ll end up with a sub-par character. Pathfinder makes you feel like you’re powerful and exceptional from level 1. And with each level after, you get more and more badass. What more can you ask for?

Isn’t Pathfinder Complicated?

It’s not THIS kind of math

Pathfinder might seem complicated on the surface, but it really isn’t. If you’re a beginner DM, especially one who had to figure out 5E, you might be pleasantly surprised at how well-designed a system Pathfinder offers you. Instead of leaving it open-ended like 5E, Pathfinder has a more concrete and established set of gameplay mechanics. While experienced DMs can fiddle with it and edit the system to suit their wants, newbie DMs shouldn’t worry about adding stuff.

Another interesting difference between the systems is character creation. D&D has pretty granular character creation and is built for narrative-heavy stories. Pathfinder offers you a much simpler method of dealing with character creation. You might think simpler makes for less interesting characters, but you’d be wrong. Pathfinder allows players to customize their characters through backgrounds and classes, and there are a lot of both. Additionally, with each level, players gain a feat, taking them from marginally powerful at level 1 to pretty ridiculous by level 10.

So How Do We Go from D&D to Pathfinder?

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Jason Dookeran

Freelance author, ghostwriter, and crypto/blockchain enthusiast. I write about personal finance, emerging technology and freelancing