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11 Awesome Things About the Refreshed Player Companions

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Readers with subscriptions to the Pathfinder Player Companion line have already started getting a glimpse of Varisia: Birthplace of Legends, with its refreshed format and philosophies. But for everyone still waiting for their hard copies, who haven't checked out the Player Companions in the past, or who just want to see a bit of what all the hubbub is about, here are ten new awesome things you can expect from Player Companions going forward.

Something for YOUR Character! Every Player Companion begins with a new "For Your Character" introduction, enumerating which character classes receive the most focused love, as well as new features great for characters of any class! Regardless of the type of character you're playing, each Player Companion will always have something for you!

Questions to Ask Your GM! You're not playing Pathfinder by yourself. To make the most of the content in every Player Companion, there's a list of questions for players to ask their GMs regarding that month's topic. Player Companion: Knights of the Inner Sea is going to have lots of players excited to don their shining armor, but if your GM is about to take you under the sea, maybe you should put that character concept on hold. Make sure you've got the right character for your campaign with just a few simple questions.

Rules Index! Want to cut right to the chase and find the feats, traits, archetypes, and other rules elements that your character has to have? Flip to the rules index for a comprehensive listing of the crunchiest elements, by type and with associated page number. Stop wadding through pages searching for that lost trait and get back to playing!

Did You Know? Making the Pathfinder RPG has been a weird and wild ride. Learn behind-the-scenes secrets and weird Pathfinder trivia with the quick new "Did you Know?" call-outs.

Almost a Centerfold! Player Companions are some of the only Pathfinder products that lie absolutely flat (there's no gutter between pages for words or art to get lost in). This gives us the opportunity to do jaw-dropping, uninterrupted, two-page art pieces right in the center of every book. In Varisia: Birthplace of Legends, that means a massive player-friendly map of all Varisia (complete with routes and travel times to some of the most exciting locations), but down the road it'll mean month after month of lavish, artistic depictions of regions, topics, and themes central to that month's Player Companion. If you want a lot of information without a lot of words, here's the place to look!

Vistas and Double Truck Art! See the Pathfinder Campaign Setting like never before with huge, double-page-spanning art pieces. Beyond just the huge piece in the center spread, expect to see sweeping views of some of the most exciting lands and epic scenes from across Golarion, with art pieces only the format of Pathfinder Player Companion can provide. Check out just a few of the most awesome vistas from Varisia, Birthplace of Legends and next month's Knights of the Inner Sea, included here!




Illustrations by Ben Wootten

New Players Welcome! Weren't here for Pathfinder Adventure Path #1? Didn't play Hollow's Last Hope? That's just fine, and welcome aboard! Pathfinder Player Companions are designed to be entry points for players who know nothing about the subject of the month, giving you the backstory on existing topics, overviews of regions detailed at length elsewhere, and quick briefs that bring you into the know with gamers who have been playing Pathfinder for years!

The Veteran's Arsenal! Player Companions are your new one-stop arsenal for the best gear, archetypes, spells, magic items, traits, and other character options related to the month's topic. Also, don't worry about just getting rehashes of information presented elsewhere—with every overview you can also expect Player Companions to drill down deeper into details players need to know on some of the richest subjects in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting. Think you knew everything there was to know about Varisia? In Varisia, Birthplace of Legends, you'll learn all about the territories and totems of Shoanti quahs, the most traveled routes of Varisian wanderers, the fastest travel times between major locations, arcane schools from across Varisia, freshly updated Varisian equipment, and much, much more!

What You Need—NOW! We know players don't always have the time to read an entire book's worth of material to make their character—especially when they need that character right away. Player Companions are now built with every two-page spread focused on a single topic, giving you everything you need to know on the subject at a glance, or allowing you to page quickly past material you don't need in search of what you want. These focused sections give players in a rush the opportunity to make the right choices for their characters and learn about the Pathfinder Campaign Setting without having to read dozens of pages.

Roles! Heard about a great idea from the Pathfinder Campaign Setting, but not really sure how to build it? Then you need a role! Roles can be considered builds, templates, or kits that give you suggestions on what rules and roleplaying themes you should consider if you want to play a character related to some of the most exciting cultures and organizations in Golarion—folks like Varisan fortune-tellers, Sczarni toughs, and Sable Company marines (to name just a few from Varisia: Birthplace of Legends). Roles draw on rules and options from across the whole spectrum of Pathfinder RPG products so you don't have to hunt through book after book for the perfect feat or that archetype you know you saw somewhere. Additionally, roles are as much about how you play your character as what stats go into building it, so you'll also find tips on how to roleplay, preferred gear for your character, and even considerations on relationships you might want to share with other members of your party. At the same time, every role is entirely a suggestion—an idea of how we here at Paizo might build a type of character—so if you want to play an exception to the rule, well, being exceptional is what being a PC is all about!

Monthly! Player Companions have gone monthly! Now subscribers can expect a new host of options for their characters and details on the hottest topics in Golarion every single month. (After all, you're a player every month, right?) Get all the backup you need—now twice as often!

Pathfinder Player Companion: Varisia, Birthplace of Legends is available now, so if you've never taken a look at Pathfinder Player Companions before or didn't think they were for your game, now's the perfect time to take another look. We've put a lot into refreshing this series, and I think you're really going to like what you see. Thanks for checking them out, and be sure to tell us what you think!

F. Wesley Schneider
Editor-in-Chief

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Ben Wootten Pathfinder Player Companion
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F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Dark_Mistress wrote:
Yeah i would like to see them all wallpaper size as in at least 1400 wide or bigger.

Ugh. Keep it up people. This is TOTALLY the way to get what you want. :P

(No sarcasm intended) :)

How about this. I would gleefully give you my money to have a large wall print of Korvosa hanging above my head as I GM Curse of the Crimson Throne. It's that awesome.

Whoever is responsible for this artwork did an absolute fantastic job. Not just in portraying the major landmarks, but even in little things like getting the exact number of battlements around the East Shore city wall precisely perfect in their number and location.

Seriously, if you have wall prints available of these, then you own some money that currently resides in my pocket.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
toxycycline wrote:

Whoever is responsible for this artwork did an absolute fantastic job. Not just in portraying the major landmarks, but even in little things like getting the exact number of battlements around the East Shore city wall precisely perfect in their number and location.

Seriously, if you have wall prints available of these, then you own some money that currently resides in my pocket.

I think it gets even better if I'm remembering certain details correctly:

Curse of the Crimson Throne spoiler:
They have a fitting prop right where the Direption went down. :)

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

toxycycline wrote:
Whoever is responsible for this artwork did an absolute fantastic job.

Ben Wooten, I believe. A really awesome guy. He did some sketchwork and concept art for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and also the King Kong movie. Really great artist. I had a chance to see his portfolio once at a dinner party. Just mind-blowing stuff. The kind of art where you look at it and wonder how someone could create that from a blank piece of paper.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

Steve Geddes wrote:

Hopefully you don't still need to hear it Wes, Sarah, James (sutter) and whoever else I should be listing.. (EDIT: Patrick, apparently)

This is a welcome and well executed revision.

Glad it's working for you! This has been a huge team effort from the get go with a ton of back and forth on how can the words work with the art and how can the art work with the words. There were definitely some challenging parts, but ultimately it's really heartening to see what happens when there's a more integrated design rather than the "you do your thing then we'll do our thing" approach necessity so often leads us to.

Neil Spicer wrote:
Ben Wooten, I believe.

Ayup!

Paizo Employee Developer

Steve Geddes wrote:

Hopefully you don't still need to hear it Wes, Sarah, James (sutter) and whoever else I should be listing.. (EDIT: Patrick, apparently)

I wont read it properly until the hardcopy arrives, but it's a really nice job. Thanks. :)

Thanks! It warms my lava heart to see everyone enjoying the new Player Companion line so much.

And to be certain, this book may look like the cat's meow onscreen, but you ain't seen nothing yet until you see it in print. :]

Qadira

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I will add my voice to the praise for the new layout. Also the content was wonderful. I have been very inspired and I just wish I had had this years ago.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The panoramic views look amazing, and if the new organisation helps players and GMs find info easily, then I approve.

I know I'm too late to influence the content of either of these two products, but I would ask something I mentioned in the other feedback thread;

I accept that the point of the line is to showcase Golarion, but please can the mechanical content be made more generally valid to all players, and not restricted by unnecessary prerequisites?

While brainstorming for a mounted NPC, I went looking through what themed feats and traits already existed. Many were 'Mendev only', 'Lastwall affinity', or some other restriction. Most of these options were mundane, realistic tactics, which in theory could be learnt by anyone, such as 'riding in close formation'. Yet, by the RAW, only a minority of people from a tiny geographic area would have ever thought of doing so, or had the opportunity to train, despite those who knew being able to travel and teach it anywhere. There didn't seem to be any justification for such specific wording, except to maybe justify the inclusion of what ought to be a general option, in a regional book.
There are other examples; is there a valid reason why a pit fighter has to be from Cheliax, to effectively use spiked armour in a grapple?
Sure, the style is named after the barbed devil's proper name, and those creatures are well-suited to it, but...so what? One could just as easily justify a Sargavan basing the style on watching a triceratops...or a druid becoming at ease with his porcupine wildshape...or, you see the point?
I could have had a concept, rustled up an idea for a feat, taken it to my GM and asked "What do you think?", and got it judged on mechanical balance. Now? "There's already a feat that does that...look here....Oh. Well ain't that a shame. It says here you don't qualify..."

I think overly-specific prerequisites actually have the opposite effect as intended; rather than a generally-available option opening up new concepts, the rigid regional/faction prerequisites shut them down.
What was once open season for a homebrew feat, ends as soon as the 'official' version comes out.

There is still value in discussing regional practices, but they could be illustrated by listing 'typical' feat and trait choices.
"The ninja of Clan Octopus use long, flexible weapons, such as chains, and often combine these with special techniques, such as Cornugon Strike, Cornugon Trip..."
Each book can add off what came before, rather than the material being ghettoised, and unused.

I know as GM I can ignore restrictions, but as a player, I'm at the whim of GMs who are wary of changing anything. I also can't play those concepts in PF Society.
Also, not everyone sets their game in Golarion; even those that do may still not be using a particular region.

In the end, having content that can be used by more people, in more games, would increase the appeal of the product line.

Qadira

Snorter wrote:
I accept that the point of the line is to showcase Golarion, but please can the mechanical content be made more generally valid to all players, and not restricted by unnecessary prerequisites?

This. It's annoying to find a couple of feats that perfectly describe a character that you have an idea for, and then realise that they require you to have been born on opposite sides of the continent at the same time. This is something that irritated me back in the Forgotten Realms. Tonight, I will be playing my new mage, Schrödinger...

Would it be possible to write these feats so that they gave a small additional bonus to people from the appropriate region, rather than blocking out people from elsewhere?

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

When it's a fluff prerequisite (region, religion, organization, whatever), it's easy enough to simply remove the prerequisite if that's what works best for your gaming group.


Erdrix wrote:
Back to the center folds, a 5760 x 1080 wallpaper would look amazing across my eyefinity set up. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

So... where do you live? *fetches the blackjack*

Also, +1 for desktop backgrounds created from these gorgeous pieces of art!

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravenmantle wrote:
When it's a fluff prerequisite (region, religion, organization, whatever), it's easy enough to simply remove the prerequisite if that's what works best for your gaming group.

If it were my own game, sure. I'll do that in a heartbeat.

But when you're in someone else's game, or an organised play environment, it's not an option.

And even when you are the master of your own campaign, there's still issues.
Players with cool concepts may end up unneccessarily limiting themselves; they may bin a perfectly good PC concept that I'd be glad to include, and I never know. They may not even ask for permission to use non-Core material, as they don't expect to be able to use it.
Then there's the potential upset that could be caused, when an NPC kills a PC, and the players ask how they carried off that move? When they find out it was a combination of feats from different books, they could take it badly.
And that's all totally avoidable.


Yes, re-flavour a feat assuming you're not playing a Society character.

I've come across few examples where a DM has not allowed Paizo material without being up-front about it.

I guess the issue is that broadening the scope of region-specific feats makes them wordier. At the very least, you are adding an if clause which then takes up more printing space.

Qadira

How about not limit the scope of the feats in the Companions line, but limit it in the Additional Resources document for PFS if absolutely necessary to retain flavour?

Osirion

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Lest anyone think I'm being negative, I'm leafing through my copy, which came yesterday.

One page jumps out, as it would have fit a concept I was looking for in a former PC. Obviously, this material wasn't out at that time, and the campaign is now abandoned.

Thundercaller (page 11) is a bard archetype, for the Shoanti. The PC I ended up building was a sorcerer, but the concept was similar. A wild loner, touched by the gods of storms.
This has flavour, which is well suited to the suggested ethnicity, but it doesn't lock that flavour out of reach to other regions, or even hinder it being ported to another setting entirely.
That's what I'm looking for.

Roof Racer (page 19) isn't.
It suggests that only the streets of Korvosa have navigable rooftops. That only the inhabitants of that city will ever have the opportunity to become expert at traversing them.
o_O?

Also, apparently, only Magnimar has an underclass that lives under bridges (page 21), only the gamblers of Riddleport have need to quickly defend their winnings (page 23), only Varisians (page 27) have town gossips, local know-it-alls, or adventuring ex-cooks who can brain someone with their tools (someone needs to inform Weiss and Hickman they'll have to rewrite their 30-year-old iconic Tika...and Sam Gamgee...and Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark...and The Blue Rajah from Mystery Men....).

<THUNK> <-----was the sound of my head hitting the desk.


Snorter wrote:

If it were my own game, sure. I'll do that in a heartbeat.

But when you're in someone else's game, or an organised play environment, it's not an option.

I'll grant you that one. :)

Taldor

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Snorter wrote:


Also, apparently, only Magnimar has an underclass that lives under bridges (page 21)...

While I accept your general point, you might want to accept that 'living under a bridge' in Magnimar is rather different to living under a bridge in most places.

Underbridge is an entire region of the city that has over 1,000 permanent residents. That's not the same as even a few dozen derelicts sheltering under a major bridge in Egorian. That's a scale byond any bridge in the real world.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

Thanks to everyone who chimed in about fluff-limited rules. Perhaps going forward we can find a way to encourage the rules and fluff relationship without making things quite as limited.

In many ways, that's what we've been going for with the new Roles for the Player Companions--giving people many different ways to build a given character concept without actually restricting them to those rules. Suggestions rather than mandates. But I suppose that model could also work in reverse--giving many different fluff suggestions for a given rule or build, so that people don't feel like they have to be from a given area or race to play a certain type of character.

Interesting...

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

It should also be pointed out that traits are specifically designed to be tied to fluff--that's the whole schtick of traits, and the reason why you'll often find many traits for different regions/religions/etc. that have exactly the same mechanical effect. If they were fluff-neutral, they'd just be yet another small bonus, and there'd be a lot fewer of them.

That said, if folks are sick of traits and would rather have more roles suggestions or fluff-neutral crunch, let us know! Last we checked, people were really excited about them, but if folks are getting bored, that's good information to have.

Taldor

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

i love traits. keep 'em.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Snorter wrote:


I accept that the point of the line is to showcase Golarion, but please can the mechanical content be made more generally valid to all players, and not restricted by unnecessary prerequisites?

In a word: Yes.

In more words: That's something we'll be definitely striving for. I purposefully made the fairly public and fairly difficult to carry through on declaration that every Player Companion will have something for YOUR character to really push us to make sure what we're presenting is not just as diverse in scope as possible, but as accessible as possible. While some material benefits from and/or enriches our world from having restrictions connected to our campaign setting (I'm not going to unleash a bunch of Sarenrae related feats to non-Sarenrae worshipers, or deeply Viking related feats to characters with no reason to be connected to the Land of the Linnorm Kings) our goal is to make things as permissive as they logically can be while still encouraging characters to become more invested with certain corners of our world. So if you're finding Taldor characters have access to a lot of options you really want, maybe it's worth considering playing a character from Taldor. But having all swimming related feats require you to be from Hermea, no, that sort of restrictive philosophy is not something we're interested in perpetuating. We want our setting to be as permissive as possible and help you build the characters you want to play.

All of that said, a setting related restriction is implemented for campaign reasons, not as a balancing factor like a required class feature, spell, skill, or ability score prereq. If you REALLY want feat X, but it says you need to be from place Y that you don't want to be from, talk to your GM and see if she'd be willing to house rule the prereq away, or if building into your character's history a good reason for you to pseudo-meet that prereq would work (you might not be from area Y, but your grandparent/instructor/lover was).

Never forget that once these rules are in your hands, they're yours and we're not going to come to your home and thwart you if you want to make a tinker or two to better suit your character, play style, or campaign. (Unless it's the Pathfinder Society; that's different and our design very much has players of that campaign in mind!)

Qadira

James, Wesley - thanks for taking the time to come in here and respond. I'm glad that this is something you have your eyes on and that your intent is to make things as region-limited as is necessary for the feel of the campaign and no more than that.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Snorter wrote:
Lest anyone think I'm being negative, I'm leafing through my copy, which came yesterday...

Glad so much of this is working for you! I think you'll especially get a kick our of the roles which are all about building characters of a variety of types using the most permissive rules of our core rulebook line.

One thing I'd be wary of, though, is looking at every feature born from a set place's flavor as being a detraction from every other place that might hypothetically have similar themes. Take the roof runner trait from the spread on Korvosa for example. For those who haven't seen the book yet, we present two pages on the city of Korvosa, giving readers details on the city at large, history, unique types of characters from there, and two regional feats aimed at residents of Korvosa with a focus on flavorful elements we've built up as being distinctive to that community in the 5 years we've been building content for that city. One, roof racer, gives you a bonus on certain Acrobatics checks, as a big element of the seedy side of Korvosa - featured in our fiction and in the Curse of the Crimson Throne AP - is that a lot of it takes place on the roofs of buildings. So this regional feat is made available to characters who have ties to Korvosa and who want to have a measure of that distinctive element built into their character.

But is this option being made available to characters from Korvosa meant to imply either that no city anywhere else in Golarion has a similar slum-roof set-up or that no characters from anywhere else on Golarion could have a similar trait? Well... no. That said, that roof element has been a distinctive feature of Korvosa, we've been talking about to for years, and it's something that makes Korvosa special. So, for characters who grew up with that, we wanted to give them the option to take a special little trait. By doing that, I see that as a way for players who are interested in Korvosa to get access to something they've read about and maybe thought was cool from our body of work, or for players who are new to Korvosa but who are intrigued with it to take a little ability that makes them a bit different from someone from anywhere else.

But is the intention to deny everyone else that ability and force characters to make certain types of characters? No, absolutely not. But it's all about your point of view. This particular section on Korvosa and this set of traits was constructed to provide unique flavorful information on and for Korvosa - not to provide general or generic content. If the goal had been to provide more feats or traits or similar character options to the widest possible audience, we wouldn't have tied them to Korvosa at all. In fact, we probably wouldn't have tied them to any place and instead made the topic of the article "New Traits" instead of "Korvosa." And that's totally viable, but not something I'm going to include in a book on Varisia (though I well might in an upcoming Player Companion). Additionally, if we have another city in the world where a major feature of it is having slums on the roofs like in Korvosa (or an entire city district under a gigantic bridge, like in Magnimar) - I can't think of any other city like this, but if we do have it or later decide we want to create it - I would have no problem re-purposing this trait to have it apply there as well when we decide to cover it in a Player Companion.

The reason for many of the options in this book being Varisia related isn't just for the sake of the book's theme, it's also for the sake of organization. While I know a certain number of our readers really enjoy scouring books of all types for that one stray option that provides a minor extra bonus, it's a messy way to handle things. Mitigating that is part of the reasons I added the rules index to every Player Companion, but when you've got 10 of these companions, I want players to know that Varisia it going to be full of options for their character from Varisia, Knights of the Inner Sea is going to have tons of great options for knight and rider characters, and so on and so forth, allowing players to pick up the book that works best for them and the character they're trying to build. I don't want to force them to scour through Varisa for that one trait that might work for their Qadiran dervish - that's a pain.

I also don't believe that presenting a trait and saying that it works for characters from area X precludes something similar from appearing for undetailed area Y. Could we have taken a relatively general trait like Town Gossip from page 27 and listed all of the communities in Golarion where that trait might be appropriate? Certainly, though that would probably take up that entire spread and would not serve the Player Companion's topic, Varisa, especially well. Or, could we have made all of those feats general feats? Yes, though then I would want to strip out everything that makes them specifically Varisian, like all of the specific abilities for the various towns. And those are cool! Making a character, saying you're from Turtleback Ferry, and having a unique little option for it is a neat thing! (Though, for the few most generic of these traits, I could see them going into a compilation of new general traits almost unchanged.)

But just because Turtleback Ferry got a cookie doesn't mean every other corner of Golarion DIDN'T get a cookie. Varisia, Birthplace of Legend is about Varisia, building characters from Varisia, adding detail to Varisia, and presenting options unique to Varisia. That said, there's a ton in there for characters who have ties to Varisia but who aren't playing campaigns set in Varisia. But for readers who want nothing to do with Varisia, they'll find the majority of the content to interest them either comes in the form of a variety of unrestricted rules and gear that can be transported anywhere, or content they can house-rule and relocate where ever they please. And there's a considerable ammount of that, but this book was built to be a go-to source for Varisia first and foremost, not a general resource. General resources are viable and we will likely do some of that, but that's not the focus of Varisia, Birthplace of Legends.

So! To wrap all of this up: Do we strive to make our rules as permissive as possible and not imply that every bard has to be from Oppara and every witch has to be from Irrisen? Yes! Absolutely! We want to make playing any sort of character anywhere in Golarion a viable option. That said, we think Golarion has a ton of AWESOME stuff in it and that our world is a rich and vital place with lots of neat options. Part of what makes that material neat, though, is that it's unique to a place or otherwise special, and as soon as we start saying things like winter witches are just as common in Osirion as they are in Irrisen, they lose part of what makes them special and that part of the world loses part of what makes it special. So we will continue to bind rich rules options to equally rich corners of our campaign world. Additionally, in a guide book to a particular land, if we make an option available to a certain village or region - especially a particularly generic option - there's not necessarily an implication there that the option is forever and entirely unique to that place. I'd have no problem with picking up several of the traits from the Sandpoint and Other Settlements article from Varisia, distilling out what makes them distinctly Varisian, and adding them into a general collection of traits down the road. But, by dint of the book they appear in and the needs of the characters that book is designed to serve, it made sense to include them under the aegis of Varisian options. GMs and interested players who want to see these options be a greater part of their world of course have the option to make those adjustments as soon as they see fit. Players in our Pathfinder Organized Play program, however, will have to make use of the material as presented, though, which remains entirely viable and especially good choices heading into the new, Varisia-rich Year of the Risen Rune season.

Overall, please understand that we're not trying to deny characters options, we're trying to enrich corners of our worlds by describing options that make those corners unique and, by extension, help make characters from such places richer. We already present numerous general options - especially in the form of traits - and will continue to, but when we're writing about a certain place we absolutely will create material born from and intrinsically tied to the stories we've told and want to tell there. In such a case, presenting such material will trump creating generic content for the widest possible audience, but we strive to strike a balance in the Player Companions, and if trait X doesn't work for you (and you have a GM or situation that can't make a rules element more permissive), I promise there are dozens of other options in that book, many of which are applicable to characters of the broadest scope. Because as much as we want to make the Player Companions about enriching characters connections to Golarion, we first and foremost want to assure that in every one of these you'll find something useful for your character, whatever it might be.

Paizo Employee Editor-in-Chief

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
ALL OF THE WORDS!

Because I think it's worth noting I just wanted to explain why I dropped about two-thousand words of Player Companion philosophy on you all this morning. I'm not trying to bury criticism in a word-avalanche, quite the contrary, I'm keenly interested in what people want to see in the new Player Companions and especially what works and what doesn't in the first entry into this refreshed line. But I also want to make sure that everyone understands that the decisions that went into the changes in this line are the fruits of months and months of consideration and discussion by some of the most experienced designers at Paizo and by the same people who helped design both the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the world of Golarion. No part of this relaunch was bumbled into or a product of thoughtless momentum. So if there's anything I can do to provide even a glimpse of the philosophical and design iceberg that carries this new line, I'm happy, even eager, to do so. So if you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to drop a line either here or on the product pages of upcoming Player Companions. Thanks all!

Qadira

2 people marked this as a favorite.
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
ALL OF THE WORDS!
Because I think it's worth noting I just wanted to explain why I dropped about two-thousand words of Player Companion philosophy on you all this morning.

Don't worry, we got it. Shortly after the climb checks and the catching of the breath :)

Cheliax

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like the new layout and aspects to Varisia book. But I would still like to see things like local foods, local clothes, is there a certain breed of horse that is highly sought after from Varisia? Etc things like that, so it is more unique from any other country when i present it to the players. The little details is what I want to see more. But I did think this one was a big step in the right direction, the only part I wasn't overly found of was the part about the AP tie in's not bad, just wasn't a fan.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
ALL OF THE WORDS!

You call that a word avalanche? Hah! I scoff at your minor bulwark of text. ;-P

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Dark_Mistress wrote:
But I would still like to see things like local foods, local clothes, is there a certain breed of horse that is highly sought after from Varisia? Etc things like that, so it is more unique from any other country when i present it to the players.

I'm in the same boat, though it does essentially boil down to "MOAR PL0X", which I've pretty much had to almost everything setting related. ;)


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I think the trait issue is a kind of ordering problem caused by the complete disjunction of rules and the descriptive text that makes the guides what they are (awesome :).

Instead of presenting a trait such as Roof Runner and then referencing it in the text for Korvosa (e.g. " ... and with its unique architecture, it is not uncommon for those from Korvosa to share the Roof Runner trait"), Paizo has taken the route of severely limiting rules mentions in the descriptive text and instead has attached the descriptive text to the rules ("Roof Runner: If you're from Korvosa ...").

It's possible this dates back to the 3.5e/Pathfinder transition, when they actively tried to avoid having any rules in their books except when absolutely necessary (something I understand but really don't like) ... but I think it's a hindrance these days.

In my mind (and judge the safety of that for yourself), it makes perfect sense to include the Roof Runner trait in the book, but it also makes more sense for the Korvosa entry to refer to Roof Runner than for the Roof Runner trait to reference Korvosa.

Anyways, that's my take on it :)


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I dont know what the actual mix of rules:flavor is in this book. However, my impression was that there was less rules stuff in this than in previous companions. So even if the mix hasnt changed I much prefered the style.

I'm a fan of tying some minor rules elements to flavor elements, personally. It does impose limits, but it provides an objective way of modelling cultural/regional differences through the game mechanics. It might be of greater utility to those of us who arent very good at roleplaying different characters, I guess - kind of characterisation by brute force.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Dark_Mistress wrote:
I like the new layout and aspects to Varisia book. But I would still like to see things like local foods, local clothes, is there a certain breed of horse that is highly sought after from Varisia? Etc things like that, so it is more unique from any other country when i present it to the players. The little details is what I want to see more. But I did think this one was a big step in the right direction, the only part I wasn't overly found of was the part about the AP tie in's not bad, just wasn't a fan.

These extra details, including rumors/lore would make this approach nearly perfect for Companions. I concur, though, this is a big step in the right direction.


F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
In a word: Yes.

After reading all three posts, that sounded like a "No" to me. (Which, IMO, is the better decision.)

Tying mechanics to locations is awesome. (And, for the record, the FR Region Feats were awesome.)

Osirion

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Thank you, Wes, for providing such a detailed response, and not dismissing me out of hand. While I do often poke fun at rules or flavour that grate on me, I hope I can do so while staying on the right side of respectful, to the people involved.

I totally appreciate why some of the traits exist, and with the flavour they do, as a homage to some of the iconic adventures that made Paizo's reputation, post-Dungeon. CotCT was the first trial of the Chase mechanics, after all, and they served to capture the chaotic scramble over the slates and chimney pots, in a way that didn't bog down play.

Roof Runner fits the city's underclass, perfectly, and I'd consider taking it for any future Korvosan PCs or NPCs. But I remain in agreement with bonehead, who puts it thus;

gbonehead wrote:
In my mind (and judge the safety of that for yourself), it makes perfect sense to include the Roof Runner trait in the book, but it also makes more sense for the Korvosa entry to refer to Roof Runner than for the Roof Runner trait to reference Korvosa.

Which is the approach being taken with the Roles, and which I heartily approve. Let the build advice be inclusive.

Osirion

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F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Could we have made all of those feats general feats? Yes, though then I would want to strip out everything that makes them specifically Varisian, like all of the specific abilities for the various towns. And those are cool! Making a character, saying you're from Turtleback Ferry, and having a unique little option for it is a neat thing! (Though, for the few most generic of these traits, I could see them going into a compilation of new general traits almost unchanged.)

That could be awesome, and could resolve a lot of the issues people were having.

It also would have the effect of staggering the take-up of these options, by the wider community. Whether that be in PFS, or in games where the GM is unwilling or less confident at reskinning.

The effect on PFS would be similar to the racial boons; eventually you'll see these options taken up by newly-created PCs, but there will be the original 2-3 season veterans, who will know that they did it first. (Puts on non-prescription hipster glasses, folds arms, "B!+#!, please! Some of us were Local Gossiping before it became mainstream.")

Osirion

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GeraintElberion wrote:
While I accept your general point, you might want to accept that 'living under a bridge' in Magnimar is rather different to living under a bridge in most places.

Underbridge Lurker

Prerequisite: Troll race

Your relatives have lived under bridges for as long as you can remember, and you have become accustomed to recognising the footfalls and 'trip-trapping' of passers-by.

Benefits: You gain a +1 trait bonus to Stealth, when appearing from underneath the cover of an obstacle, and Favored Enemy (goat).

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