Dungeon Master Assistance

Where anyone over 18 can share thoughts and ideas on RPGs.

D&D 5E vs. Pathfinder 2nd Edition

Comparing Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons (D&D 5e) to other Table Top Role Playing Games (TTRPG) – Key Features and Differences

I am going to be reviewing several TTRPGs. These reviews are going to specifically compare them to D&D 5e. I am doing this with the assumption that my readers are already familiar with D&D 5e. But I am not assuming any knowledge of earlier editions of D&D.

I have already reviewed Index Card Role Playing Game (ICRPG) and Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC).

These different game systems will all be in the same “Swords and Saucery” genre, what many refer to as “classic” high-fantasy, with warriors battling monsters alongside magic users in a medieval setting. They all focus on fantasy combat, with exploration and opportunities for social interaction. This will include some ‘old school’ retroclones harkening back to the early days of Dungeons & Dragons. They all include comprehensive rules set that cover character creation, spells, combat resolution, weapons and equipment, monsters, treasure and the key dice and play mechanics tying it all together.

Their primary system mechanic is rolling a die (typically a d20), but this varies somewhat. These should all be easy for the current D&D player to understand because they all have many of the same basic features although the specifics may vary. These are things like: races, classes, ability scores, experience points, class levels, weapons, armor, hit points, magic spells, etc. So if you know the current version of D&D most of the rules for these other games are using concept that you are already familiar with.

For each game system, I intend to provide a basic summery of each of these topics:

  • Summary of the game system
  • Primary differences to D&D 5e
  • Races
  • Classes
  • Stats
  • Character creation
  • Character sheet
  • Combat
  • Magic and spell casting
  • XP and character level advancement
  • What you need to get started


After saying all of that, I’m not doing it for the most popular alternative to D&D, which is Pathfinder 2nd edition. The reason is that I am not interested in doing that. Here is my opinion of Pathfinder.

The Pathfinder role playing game is, in my opinion, better that Dungeons and Dragons 5e in almost every possible way. I’ll say that again. Pathfinder is a better role playing game than D&D. However, it is not a game that I enjoy playing. This is because of its massive rules bloat which, for one thing, results in combat being too slow.

As an example;

Here is a Pathfinder 2E Cheat Sheet:

Compare this to my D&D 5e Combat Reference Sheet: https://olddungeonmaster.com/2016/02/06/dd-5e-combat-reference-sheet


2 responses to “D&D 5E vs. Pathfinder 2nd Edition

  1. seth g March 8, 2023 at 8:51 pm

    I think that Pathfinder info you linked to is for 1st edition, is it not? I’ve just started with PF2E and it is far smoother than…that.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: