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!
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