... Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide Preview Banquet Recap Tuesday, June 22, 2010With PaizoCon 2010 officially in the books, it's time to start looking forward to the Advanced Player's Guide, which releases in early August at Gen Con. On Saturday night, during the banquet, I gave a nice long preview of the book, and wanted to make sure that everyone who was not able to attend also had a chance to hear about some of the exciting new rules and features in this mighty tome. ... First off, we...
With PaizoCon 2010 officially in the books, it's time to start looking forward to the Advanced Player's Guide, which releases in early August at Gen Con. On Saturday night, during the banquet, I gave a nice long preview of the book, and wanted to make sure that everyone who was not able to attend also had a chance to hear about some of the exciting new rules and features in this mighty tome.
First off, we took a look at the races chapter, which includes a two-page spread of information on each of the seven core races. Each one includes new alternate racial class features for you to choose from and new favored class options. The latter gives you another thing to choose from when you take a level in a class favored by your race. For example, dwarven barbarians can choose to gain 1 additional round of rage per day instead of an additional hit point or skill rank.
Next comes the classes chapter, which starts off with the six new base classes and then continues on with new rules and material for the 11 core classes from the Core Rulebook. The base classes have received a host of updates since the playtest, but still primarily function much in the same way as they did before. For the core classes, we added scores of new rules. Most of the classes contain numerous archetypes, or different takes on the class, which includes a number of alternate abilities that you can take as a package. For example, rogues can select the sniper archetype which grants them increased range with their sneak attack and reduces their penalties for making attacks at long range.
Illustrations by Eric Belisle
Although this chapter has a little something for everyone, one of the things I was most excited to reveal was the antipaladin class. This alternate paladin is sure to keep your players up at night. His smite good attack deals double damage to paladins and good-aligned clerics on the first successful attack. His touch of corruption deals damage and can inflict terrible cruelties on hapless PCs. He can be a carrier of disease and can radiate an aura of sin. He is a tough, tough customer. But my favorite part of putting together the entire book was writing his code of conduct. Here is an excerpt:
Under exceptional circumstances, an antipaladin can ally with good associates, but only to defeat them from within and bring ruin to their ranks.
After classes is a meaty feats chapter, containing 163 feats that range from metamagic feats, combat feats, and even a host of racial feats. This chapter even includes a number of high-level feats that duplicate a number of powers of the old 3.5 archmage prestige class. One feat of note is Shadow Strike, which allows a character to deal precision damage, even if the target has concealment, allowing rogues to finally be able to sneak attack a foe in a dark alley.
After feats comes equipment, which contains new tools, useable by nearly any PC, and a lengthy chapter full of spells. There are spells in this book for every spellcasting character, including new spell lists for elementalist wizards. All told, 57 pages of spells with new choices at every level of play. After spells comes the prestige class chapter, which includes 8 new classes. I previewed the Stalwart Defender during the banquet, which is an update of the 3.5 Dwarven Defender. The name change stems from the fact that you no longer need to be a dwarf to take levels in this class. The class also grants many new abilities that the defender can choose from as he gains levels.
The book is rounded out with a large magic items chapter, including new items from virtually every category. It starts with armor and weapons and wraps up with cursed items and artifacts. That chapter is followed up with the new rules chapter, which includes info on four new combat maneuvers (dirty trick, drag, reposition, and steal), an optional hero point system, and the entire traits system used by the Pathfinder Adventure Paths.
All of that, crammed into 336 pages between two beautiful covers. A detailed preview of the Advanced Player's Guide will start very soon. Keep your eyes here on the Paizo blog for more information on this exciting book.
... Introducing Rummy-Tum-Tugger! Monday, March 22, 2010Every other Thursday evening, I run my Shadow Under Sandpoint campaign for the editorial folks. I started the game several months ago for three reasons—as a team-building exercise, as a way for we editors to get more familiar with the game we created, and because it sounded fun. Several of the PCs from this campaign appear in the recently released NPC Guide, in fact... but not all of them. ... When Rob McCreary joined the Paizo...
Monday, March 22, 2010
Every other Thursday evening, I run my "Shadow Under Sandpoint" campaign for the editorial folks. I started the game several months ago for three reasons—as a team-building exercise, as a way for we editors to get more familiar with the game we created, and because it sounded fun. Several of the PCs from this campaign appear in the recently released NPC Guide, in fact... but not all of them.
When Rob McCreary joined the Paizo editorial team, I invited him to join the game (which brought our total number of players up to a staggering total of nine!). After a false start with a half-orc (who soon left the party to seek fame and glory as our iconic inquisitor), Rob settled on a gnome summoner inspired by another of our new iconic characters. Yet unlike the iconic summoner, who has some sort of weird chicklizatrice type monster as an eidolon, Rob went for a different critter entirely.
His character is named Balazar, and his eidolon is named Rummy-Tum-Tugger (no relation to a certain similarly named feline superstar). When Rummy-Tum-Tugger first showed up, I asked Rob to describe him, but that didn't really help. It seems that every session, something new comes up and folks have to revise what they think Rummy-Tum-Tugger looks like. "Wait, his teeth shoot ice?" "Huh? He has six limbs?" "He's PURPLE?"
There's only one solution. A contest!
Break out your pencils, pens, paints, and Photoshops, because whoever draws Rob the best and most accurate depiction of Rummy-Tum-Tugger not only gets the satisfaction of helping my poor group of PCs visualize what their newest member actually looks like, but I'll sweeten the deal by sending that person a copy of the NPC Guide, signed by the entire Paizo editorial staff!
To enter, simply email your illustration to me at firstname.lastname@example.org as a .jpg attachment by the end of the month—keep the file small (600 KB or less). Rob will then pick his favorite picture of them all and that'll be the winner, and we'll show it off in a blog post at the start of April.
And now, the details! Rummy-Tum-Tugger is a Medium-sized eidolon. He's got the quadruped base form, and looks vaguely like a purple badger with six legs, each leg tipped with scary sharp claws. His jaws are filled with BIG sharp teeth that are caked with even sharper razor-sharp ice. Oh, he also has a gore attack. Some sort of horns or spikes or something. Did I mention he's purple? He also wears an amulet of mighty fists. And he can talk. And he likes cheese, but since he's lactose intolerant poor Balazar has to constantly watch Rummy-Tum-Tugger's cheese intake.
... Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Preview #14 Wednesday, August 12, 2009The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook releases tomorrow at Gen Con and game stores around the country. Over the past 14 weeks, we have look at all of the core classes and one of the prestige classes that can be found in the book. We've taken a look at a host of feats, spells, and magic items, as well as a few other rules bits along the way. This week, we are investigating the most important rule in the game. Not...
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Preview #14
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook releases tomorrow at Gen Con and game stores around the country. Over the past 14 weeks, we have look at all of the core classes and one of the prestige classes that can be found in the book. We've taken a look at a host of feats, spells, and magic items, as well as a few other rules bits along the way. This week, we are investigating the most important rule in the game. Not surprisingly, it is also one of the first rules in the book.
This is your game.
The rules in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook are presented to help you tell the stories that you want to tell. They are organized to help speed up play and enrich your world. You might find that, through play, some of these rules do not suit your style of play or do not serve the story you are trying to tell. Feel free to change them. Sit down with your group and discuss what "house rules" you are going to use as part of your campaign. Add, subtract, or even polymorph these rules to fit your needs. If you are the Game Master, you should work with your group to determine what changes are appropriate. If you are a player, remember that the GM is the final arbiter, but do not be afraid to make suggestions or bring new rules to the table for him to review. When you play the Pathfinder RPG, we want to make sure that you have fun. The rules are there to serve that goal, not to stand in the way.
Since this is the last preview, I want to take just a moment to thank all of the playtesters that spent countless hours playing, reviewing, and critiquing the Beta version of the game. I think you will find that they had a large influence on the final design and deserve a great deal of credit for all of its improvements. It was a lot of work to weed through over 100,000 messageboard posts, but the final game makes all of that effort worth it. If you were part of the Alpha or Beta playtests, I would like to say thank you.
As of this posting, a number of folks have already received their rulebooks, and discussions are already taking place on our messageboards about the changes and additions to the game. So, instead of talking about the rules, I wanted to close this preview with a look at some of the fabulous art that you will find in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. The Core Rulebook is available in stores and at our booth at Gen Con starting tomorrow. See you on the boards.
Takin' it Easy Uncontest Winners! Friday, February 6, 2009Okay. Wow, check out that Takin' it Easy Unthread (or, if you're at work, maybe don't). There's more than 300 posts on there, most being some really hilarious captions for the scandalous scene from Pathfinder Adventure Path volume #21. Totally a hard decision, but at the end of the day the caption that had the editorial pit most in stitches was James Martain's short but sweet: ... Dear Pathfinder letters... ... James picked up a few...
"Takin' it Easy" Uncontest Winners!
Friday, February 6, 2009
Okay. Wow, check out that "Takin' it Easy" Unthread (or, if you're at work, maybe don't). There's more than 300 posts on there, most being some really hilarious captions for the scandalous scene from Pathfinder Adventure Path volume #21. Totally a hard decision, but at the end of the day the caption that had the editorial pit most in stitches was James Martain's short but sweet:
"Dear Pathfinder letters..."
James picked up a few free PDFs for his hilarity. We've got a few worth some extra special mentions, though! Thanks for everybody who posted. Really funny stuff everybody, thanks for playing along!
Little did his friends know that Exren's arcane eye functioned perfectly well underwater.
Merisiel: "Hey, is Wrinkles dead?! I'm taking his stuff!"
For weeks Sajan had suffered the jibes and taunts of the others. However, by not inviting him to the pool party, they had gone too far.
Pathfinder Takin' It Easy Caption UnContest Monday, February 2, 2009In just over 20 issues of Pathfinder we've put our 12 iconic heroes through a lot. Pathfinder volume #4 features Seoni getting knocked off a cliff, Pathfinder volume #11 sees Lem getting strangled, and in Pathfinder volume #18 Lini gets abandoned by her allies (and her kitty!). So yeah, we're a little rough on those guys. So, in Pathfinder volume #21, we give them a little break. Check it out. (Forewarning, this is arguably...
Once you're done ogling Valeros, here's the deal. Until Friday we'll be accepting captions for this piece on the "Takin' It Easy" UnThread. We'll hook up whoever writes the caption that makes us laugh hardest with a free PDF or... something (we're still working out the details). Regardless, it'll be something cool. One caption per entrant please (that counts aliases as well).
So there you go! Write down what comes to mind (try to keep it PG–13 rated) and maybe we'll hook you up with something! Yeah, there aren't a lot of details, but we're playing things fast and loose 'cause we thought it'd be fun. Can't wait to see what you all come up with!
... Illustrations by Jesper Ejsing Illustration by ... Wayne Reynolds ... Pathfinder iPhone Wallpapers Friday, January 30, 2009Several of us at Paizo have iPhones, but some of us flaunt that fact a bit more than others. Take Managing Art Director James Davis, for example—since he got his iPhone, we very rarely see him without at least one earbud stuck in an ear, and he heads back to show me some (admittedly cool) new app he found once a week on average. ... Of course, the good news is...
Illustrations by Jesper Ejsing
Illustration by Wayne Reynolds
Pathfinder iPhone Wallpapers
Friday, January 30, 2009
Several of us at Paizo have iPhones, but some of us flaunt that fact a bit more than others. Take Managing Art Director James Davis, for example—since he got his iPhone, we very rarely see him without at least one earbud stuck in an ear, and he heads back to show me some (admittedly cool) new app he found once a week on average.
Of course, the good news is that his iPhone obsession sometimes results in cool stuff we can share. Such as these three Pathfinder iPhone wallpapers! Check 'em out!
... Illustration by Kevin Yan ... Beasts of the Black Blood Monday, December 1, 2008In Pathfinder #18's Descent into Midnight, the heroes travel deep into the Darklands, into the nightmare realm of Orv. There, in an immense cavern known as the Land of Black Blood, the final enemy awaits. This volume of Pathfinder includes a short gazetteer about the Land of Black Blood that details the numerous strange locations therein and several of the region's dangerous denizens, like the aboleth pictured...
Illustration by Kevin Yan
Beasts of the Black Blood
Monday, December 1, 2008
In Pathfinder #18's "Descent into Midnight," the heroes travel deep into the Darklands, into the nightmare realm of Orv. There, in an immense cavern known as the Land of Black Blood, the final enemy awaits. This volume of Pathfinder includes a short gazetteer about the Land of Black Blood that details the numerous strange locations therein and several of the region's dangerous denizens, like the aboleth pictured here.
But there are also less intimidating (but no less creepy) denizens of the Land of Black Blood than monsters ready to challenge a high-level party. Numerous rare and unique creatures make their home here as well, most warped from more common forms by ages of exposure to the vault's strange magics and the deadly black blood.
Ghost Bats: The pale bats native to the Land of Black Blood typically sate themselves upon large insects and other vermin, though in their swarms they have been known to attack larger prey. Possessing transparent wings and no hair—just white flesh—these small hunters sometimes grow to shocking sizes. Ghosts bats have the same stats as normal bats and bat swarms, though the species frequent mutants might grow to the size of dire bats.
Ether Frog: These creatures look like nothing more so than an oversized, four-legged blister with nostrils and a mouth. With an undifferentiated body and head, these ghost-white amphibians hide a single overdeveloped parietal eye beneath their bulbous backs, which grants them darkvision out to 60 feet despite their lack of normal eyes. Most creatures avoid the frogs, knowing of their natural poison—Ingested, Fortitude DC 14, initial and secondary damage 1d4 Dexterity. In all other ways they are simply largish frogs with the same statistics as common toads.
Stirge Hounds: These rare, unnaturally large stirges are often used as tracking animals, capable of following flying creatures through the Darklands. Stirge Hounds have the statistics of a stirge advanced to Small size and 4 Hit Dice. They are very aggressive and prone to hunting in packs or even swarms. Their proboscis is uniformly ivory-colored, while their bodies are usually dark rust-red along the wings fading to black upon the body.
Attention To Detail: The Story Behind Pathfinder's...
Attention To Detail: The Story Behind Pathfinder's Supporting Material Saturday, April 21, 2007When coming up with the format for Pathfinder, one of the biggest questions we faced as a team was, Okay, adventure path, check—but what else is going to be in there? While we knew that the adventure that is the heart of each volume would grab people, that only accounts for a bit over half of each book. Something that's hard to grasp until you're actually staring down the...
Attention To Detail: The Story Behind Pathfinder's Supporting Material
Saturday, April 21, 2007
When coming up with the format for Pathfinder, one of the biggest questions we faced as a team was, "Okay, adventure path, check—but what else is going to be in there?" While we knew that the adventure that is the heart of each volume would grab people, that only accounts for a bit over half of each book. Something that's hard to grasp until you're actually staring down the barrel of a pagination is just how massive each one of these books is going to be—without in-text ads to eat up space, almost a hundred pages is a daunting amount of white space. What were we going to put there?
Ideas flowed fast and furious, and many of them quickly crashed and burned. Everything from familiar content like appendices of magic items and reports on current gaming news to outlandish proposals like a miniature Adventure-Path-related comic book in every issue (my own misguided suggestion, and an undertaking only slightly less expensive than putting a man on Mars). In the end, however, we came up with two guiding principles for all "back matter" (as we've taken to calling the supplementary pieces).
1. Everything in an issue of Pathfinder must be actively useful to a DM running the Adventure Path.
2. At least some of it needs to be fun and useful for players as well as DMs.
While one of the nice things about the Pathfinder format is that supplementary pieces have the luxury of being more free-form with their structure, much of the back matter in Pathfinder falls into one of the following general categories.
Cities and Regions: One of the strongest selling points of Pathfinder, in my mind, is that it gives you literally EVERYTHING you need to run a campaign. While we of course encourage people to adapt the Adventure Path to their own homebrew campaign worlds—some of us at the office are doing the same thing—we also think it's important to make the setting itself as compelling as the plot. In Rise of the Runelords alone, we have three extensive city write-ups detailing cities that the PCs will visit in the course of their travels—Sandpoint, Magnimar, and Xin-Shalast. These aren't just town stat blocks—these are massive affairs filled with locations, NPCs, backstory, encounters, and maps of surpassing intricacy and beauty. (You'd think I was exaggerating, but when Wes Schneider brought in the map he'd drawn of the city of Magnimar, site of the second adventure, I would have sworn he'd traced it off of Google Maps... there was simply too much detail. When asked how he managed it, he shrugged and replied, "latent obsessive-compulsive tendencies, I suppose.") In addition, we'll also have a large-scale map of the entire region of Varisia, in which Rise of the Runelords takes place, with write-ups for dozens of locations that simultaneously help flesh out the world and give you instant story starters for additional adventures. (I don't know about you, but I'm always a huge fan of provocative regional maps that give you just enough flavor to get your mind going, then turn you loose.)
Ecological Write-ups: Designing a new setting and working under the OGL means that we have the opportunity to introduce new monsters and re-imagine classic ones. (If you want a taste of where we're headed, scroll down to the last blog post on the goblins in our world.) In Rise of the Runelords, we plan to reveal our vision for stone giants and dragons in depth, taking things beyond a mere MM entry and showing you their society, their beliefs, their insides... in short, everything that makes them tick. Because while a good illustration can make a monster intriguing, it's how they think (and how you play them) that makes them great adversaries.
Gods and Demons: Similar to my feelings on monsters, I think that gods and demons (somewhat interchangeable terms in our world) are the most fun when they have engaging stories. Several times in each Adventure Path, we'll pick one of the gods or demons from our campaign setting and give you an in-depth look at everything about them, from their story and stats to their worshippers and heralds. For the first path, that'll be Desna, Song of the Spheres and patron of gypsies, and Lamashtu, the Goddess of Monstrous Birth.
Additional Encounters: What if your party skipped half the encounters in part of an adventure, or heads off in a direction you hadn't expected? Additional encounters in the region, conveniently tied to the Adventure Path, can help save you a lot of scrambling.
Bestiary: One of the few supplementary sections guaranteed to be in each issue, the Pathfinder bestiary will contain a number of brand-new monsters each month, both actively involved in the adventure and unrelated but thematically tied. For a sneak preview of what sorts of creatures you can expect to see in the first volume, keep watching this blog!
NPCs: It takes more than just a stat block to make a fun NPC, and whenever possible, Pathfinder will present the supporting cast—both heroes and villains—in an expanded format designed to be easily to cut-and-pasted into other adventures.
Pathfinder Journal: One of the other constants in the back matter, the Pathfinder Journal will explore a new aspect of our campaign setting each month and help tie together elements of both Pathfinder and the 32-page GameMastery Modules, helping to increase cohesion and give you even more options for expansion.
Miscellaneous Crunch: Ah, the joy of the miscellaneous category! Here you'll find everything from new spells, rules, and feats tied to sin magic (a magic system tied to the seven deadly sins and utilized by the Runelords) to pieces on how to run and maintain your own keep or castle.
History: I'm sure that by now you're probably getting the general gist of the Pathfinder ideology, but the history of a game world is just as important—and potentially inspiring—as it's geography. A chance for us (not to mention some of the biggest names in the RPG business) to shade in the historical background of our world? Yes, please!
Pre-generated Characters: Never again will you have to worry about players forgetting their character sheets at home. Each volume of Pathfinder will feature pre-generated characters based on Wayne Reynolds's stunning depictions of the Paizo iconics, allowing you and your party to grab the book and jump straight into the adventure with a minimum of prep time.
Whew! Keep in mind that those are only a few of the broad categories you might find in each volume—as I mentioned before, one of the things that excites me most about Pathfinder personally is our freedom to run the pieces that need to be run, regardless of whether or not they fit in with an established section. To build something from the ground up and have the authority to experiment is a glorious thing, and I believe strongly that when an author says, "how detailed should section XXX be?" and we can answer, "as much as it needs to be," everyone wins... especially the reader.