Pathfinder Adventure Path: Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition Player's Guide (PFRPG) PDF

***½( ) (based on 10 ratings)

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The Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition Player’s Guide gives players all the spoiler-free information, inspiration, and new rules they’ll need to create characters prepared for the daring and adventure of the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path.

Within, players of this campaign will find everything they need to create character backgrounds tied to personalities and events vital to Pathfinder Adventure Path’s initial expedition into the exciting frontier of Varisia, along with new campaign-specific traits to give bold adventurers the edge they’ll need to take on the unpredictable dangers of that untamed land. This player’s guide features a full gazetteer of Varisia, revealing spoiler-free details of the land, both to chart their backgrounds and future adventures.

True heroes don't need to take on a risen Runelord unprepared! Gather your allies and let the Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition Player's Guide be your first step of the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path.

This product is designed for use with the Pathfinder Adventure Path: Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition.

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***½( ) (based on 10 ratings)

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Stick with the original guide, just update the traits!

**( )( )( )

Paizo's adventure paths for the Pathfinder RPG are an excellent idea: a single long campaign, with six separate chapters, sufficient to take a party from Level 1 all the way up to the Level 15-18. This past summer, I started directing my first adventure path, Rise of the Runelords, using the "Anniversary Edition" hardcover (which collects and updates the original adventure path featured in the monthly Pathfinder magazine). I think the adventure path is fantastic so far and am having a blast, but I have to say the one part that lets the campaign down is the Player's Guide.

The Player's Guide, which is free to download from, is intended to introduce players to the adventure path by giving them some background on the setting of the adventure, the type of stories that will be told, and sufficient links to the first chapter so their PCs know where they are when the campaign begins. The Anniversary Edition Player's Guide offers 1 page of helpful "Character Tips" (explaining that the adventure path involves ancient lost cultures, fighting giant monsters, and surface exploration) and then offers several excellent campaign traits (connections to the path's starting location, Sandpoint, along with a permanent mechanical advantage of some type). There's then a color map of Sandpoint and a very small map of Varisia. So far, so good. But the entire remainder of the Player's Guide consists of *nine pages* of description of various landmarks in Varisia, the vast majority of which the PCs will never visit and which are of no particular interest to the players; frankly, it's rather boring. The material is a copy of the material that appeared in the third volume of the adventure path, but should have been added, if anywhere, to the Anniversary Edition itself (though, with a separate sourcebook on Varisia available to GMs, it might not be necessary at all). Finally, there are two pages of ads for products that will only be of interest to the GM, not the players!

When the Anniversary Edition Player's Guide is compared to the original Player's Guide for the 3.5 edition of the adventure path, the faults of the new version become even more clear. The old Player's Guide featured an introduction to the three human ethnicities that are the dominate players in Varisia (Shoanti, Varisians, and Chelaxians), an explanation of how all of the core races are like in Golarion and Varisia, an overview of how the different core classes are perceived in the setting, an overview of the deities of Golarion, some flavourful equipment particular to Varisia, and a two-page spread on Sandpoint that gives just enough of an introduction to the town without spoiling anything. All of this information is especially useful to players who have never adventured in Golarion before.

If I had to do it all over again, I would give the players the old Player's Guide along with a link to the Archives of Nethys list of campaign traits for the Anniversary Edition. I'm confident this way would be a more enjoyable and flavourful introduction to the campaign.

Not really very useful for players.

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First, ask yourself, what is the purpose of a Player's Guide? It's to tell the players what they need to know about a campaign. That includes providing information about the location they'll be visiting and providing potential hooks for their characters.

This does a little bit to provide hooks in the way of campaign traits. There are a handful of suggested traits that would give the PCs a reason to be in Sandpoint, and some of them are very powerful -- I'd say they should almost be feats instead.

After that, there's very little useful information for the players. There's about nine pages' worth of descriptions of locations that the players will never visit unless they go completely off the rails of the campaign. There is very little information about the actual culture and history of Varisia as a whole. There's a map of Sandpoint, but the actual description of Sandpoint is only two sentences long. Your players will find themselves asking, what roles do the different races and classes play here? What deities are commonly worshipped, and what role does religion player in your average citizen's life? What languages are commonly spoken? What is the (known) history of Varisia like? What types of unique equipment or creatures are found in the area? The player's guide does not provide answers for any of these questions.

In short, they're better off just reading the original player's guide and skipping this one.

Useful for its Purpose

****( )

I found this Player's Guide to be useful for my group. However, I will note that we ran the original RotR arc 2-ish years ago, so the fact that the opening parts hint at what you're going to be facing was a bit of a moot point with us; they already knew what to expect and when.
Overall, I thought the traits were fitting, and I liked the paragraph entries on some the 'lesser known' sites and towns in Varisia. As for not including the town of Sandpoint itself, I used the map and entries in the actual AP; again, more as a refresher for my regular group.
As for the cover art, I see nothing wrong with it. You have women in real life who dress in more revealing clothing, and no one bats an eye. Also, it seems the woman in the center is garnering all the attention and causing people to jump to conclusions about girls in fantasy settings. I would like to call everyone's attention to the woman on the right of the cover.

All in all, it was a decent supplement to refresh my players' memories, and to provide a little extra info on the area for them to sow seeds for potential tangent side stories. What else do you really need from a rehashed/revamped adventure?

Useful campaign traits, but otherwise lacking

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Read my full review on my blog.

Overall, the various player’s guides for the different adventure paths make up one area where Paizo still seems to be figuring out what works, given the vastly varying levels of usefulness from one to the next. Unfortunately, the Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition Player’s Guide is one of the less successful. Apart from some campaign traits to choose from during character creation, players will get very little use out of this book.

Great stuff

****( )

First to tcavagne, what is wrong with the cover? Seriously, I think you neeed to mature a bit, there is nothing degrading to women about the cover.

I loved the cover, more like it please, in fact can we do more like this? If only to annoy the crazy feminists who have an aversion to anything cool.

On the product itself, great book, looking forward to doing the adventure when it gets re-released.

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