I totally understand the need to not split the Pathfinder product line by creating an entire new ‘Basic’ product line (see the intense discussion on that here).  Here is what I suggest as an alternative.

Just as there are different XP tracks in Pathfinder Society (so you can stay at 7th level for a long time if you want to), so there could be a different ‘combat complexity’ method, a sort of sanctioned house rule which is called out in future editions of the product. It would be consistent with much of the Beginner Box rules. The “Basic Combat Style” might look something like this:

  • No Attack of Opportunities
  • No Charging on Surprise
  • No Combat Maneuvers or Combat Defense
  • No Concentration Checks to cast spells, you cannot cast spells when you are next to an enemy unless it is a touch attack spell
  • No Ability Damage or Drain (Poisons mostly give the sickened condition or penalties to whatever is affected by the stat they would normally be associated with. Level Drain replaced with an aging effect (touch = +1d6 years to your character’s life). Ability damage/drain into a temporary effect which goes away on its one at a rate of 1 per hour.)

That’s it. All else would be the same. The idea here is GM’s could declare “I’m using ‘Basic Combat Style’ at my table to run this Pathfinder Society module,” and players would know what that meant. Also, new products might adopt the friendlier PFBB formatting, but that’s just a style thing.

You’d have one set of rules, but approving a slightly different style of gaming which would let those accustomed to the Beginner Box to continue to play a lighter combat style while still coming into the full game. Sure, you can do this in home games already, but I’m particularly wanting to see out a codified, sanctioned way to run the game which you could bring with you to a convention and still feel like you could legitimately run the PFS game with.

I’m sure the list I have above could be improved upon, but I wanted to see if anyone else shared an interest in a sanctioned ‘Basic Combat Style’ option within the game.