As a gamer, I really cut my teeth on Pathfinder. It wasn’t my first love, but it was the system where I first learned to optimize. The redoubtable Treantmonk was my guru, and Zenith Games’ Comprehensive Pathfinder Guides Guide was my secret kung fu manual. Even a cursory read-through of those guides will tell you that, when it comes to picking PC races, human is almost always a top-tier choice. The bonus feat is exceptionally good, your racial stats go exactly where you want, and the “skilled” trait means you’ve always got a few extra points to throw around to flesh out your character. All things considered, that sounds like the ideal flexible adventurer. All upside, no downside. At least, that’s what I thought when I played my first wizard. I was destined for a rude reminder.

DM: “You push aside the false tomb revealing a yawning pit beneath. A cold wind rises from the hidden passage. What do you do?”

Me: “I leap down into the hole.”

DM: “Ha! You fall through blackness, and—”

Me: “Tut-tut, my good man! I cast feather fall as I go, assuring a soft landing.”

DM: “Ok then. You land safely in pitch blackness. You can hear the sounds of shuffling footsteps all around you. Roll initiative.”

And thus it was that my overpowered god-wizard spent his first round of combat casting the light spell and getting dog-piled by ghouls. Lesson learned. Just because I can see the miniatures as a player, it doesn’t mean that my character has the same luxury. The physical representation on the table is just a visual aid. The real game is going on in Imagination Land, and that strange country is chronically poorly lit.

How about you guys? Is there any game rule that you have a hard time remembering? Perhaps some situational modifier that you always seem to overlook? Let’s hear it in the comments!