Illustration by Alex Aparin


Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide Preview #1

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The start of Gen Con 2010 is five weeks away, which means that the Advanced Player's Guide will be hitting game stores and subscriber mailboxes in just over one month. To celebrate the release of this impressive tome, we are going to be previewing parts of it every week until its release. Last week we recapped the information from the PaizoCon APG Preview Banquet. This week we are going to dig into some details with an extensive look at the races chapter.

As I mentioned last week, each of the seven core races receives a two-page spread of information. Each spread starts out with information about adventurers of that race, taking on each of the 17 classes available (that includes the six new classes found in the APG). This is followed up by alternate racial traits that allow characters to portray members of the race that are a little different than the rest, but still well within the theme of the race. To take one of these alternate racial traits, a character has to give up one or more existing racial traits. For example, take a look at this dwarven racial trait.

Stonesinger: Some dwarves' affinity with the earth grants them greater powers. Dwarves with this racial trait are treated as one level higher when casting spells with the earth descriptor or using granted powers of the Earth domain, the bloodline powers of the earth elemental bloodline, and revelations of the oracle's stone mystery. This racial trait replaces the stonecunning racial trait.

Or how about this Half-Orc racial trait.

Toothy: Some half-orcs' vestigial tusks are massive and sharp, granting them a bite attack. This is a primary natural attack that deals 1d4 points of piercing damage. This racial trait replaces the orc ferocity racial trait.

Each replacement racial trait is made to explore one facet of the race's inherent theme. Elves get abilities that tie them to nature, gnomes get abilities that explore their fascinations, half-elves can take abilities that help them live in both worlds, halflings can focus on their sneaky talents, and even humans are not left out. Humans can take racial traits that reflect their upbringing.

In addition to a host of racial traits, each race also receives a number of favored class options. These options are tied to a race's theme in most cases, meaning that races only receive options for classes that are racially common. Possessing one of these options just gives your character an additional choice whenever he gains a level in his favored class (instead of a skill point or a hit point). For example, take a look at this elven wizard favored class option.

Wizard: Select one arcane school power at 1st level that is normally usable a number of times per day equal to 3 + the wizard's Intelligence modifier. The wizard adds +1/2 to the number of uses per day of that arcane school power.

Once an elven wizard takes this power twice, he gains an additional use of that ability. Want more, take a look at this gnome bard favored class option.

Bard: Add 1 to the gnome's total number of bardic performance rounds per day.

Of all the races, only humans have an option for all 17 classes. Here is the human sorcerer favored class option.

Sorcerer: Add one spell known from the sorcerer spell list. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the sorcerer can cast.

Although this chapter is only 18 pages long, in a 336-page book, it is absolutely crammed full of new rules for characters of any race and class, a philosophy we took with the entire rest of the book. Next week, we will delve into the classes chapter, starting off by taking a look at the six new base classes in the book, and I might even go into some detail on the changes made to them after the playtest was over.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

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Is there a Divine Bard option which turns the bard more into a healer? Can you give us any info on alternate racial/class traits for half-elves?

Shadow Lodge

I like these sort of favored class bonuses much better than the generic +1 HP/ Skill point. It's a bit of a bump to the classes though.

Quote:
Sorcerer: Add one spell known from the sorcerer spell list. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the sorcerer can cast.

On the one hand... great, helps short up the sorcerer's biggest weakness. On the other, pretty much guarantees 99% of sorcerers will be human.

Not sure how I feel about that.

The art is awesome... One of my favorite action shots with Merisiel ever.

Dark Archive

This is all lovely and all but ...

Where are the Demon lords who are part of Demon lord Thursdays ??

Play nice !

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
0gre wrote:


On the one hand... great, helps short up the sorcerer's biggest weakness. On the other, pretty much guarantees 99% of sorcerers will be human.

Not sure how I feel about that.

Human, Female, Varisian, long pale hair, red dress ... aham.

Let's hope that other races get cool sorcerer stuff because this one is pretty freaking awsome !


What about a toothy half-orc barbarian with the bite rage ability? I guess it would bring the bite damage to 1d6.


Man I can't wait. Though, as someone playing an elf wizard, I hope there's a better favored class ability than that!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

baron arem heshvaun wrote:

This is all lovely and all but ...

Where are the Demon lords who are part of Demon lord Thursdays ??

Play nice !

On the Abyss, Thursday only happens once, alas.

The Exchange

Quote wrote:
Wizard: Select one arcane school power at 1st level that is normally usable a number of times per day equal to 3 + the wizard's Intelligence modifier. The wizard adds +1/2 to the number of uses per day of that arcane school power.

"... increases by half the number of uses per day ..." surely?

Witness the power of my demi-acid dart...

Shadow Lodge

brock wrote:
Quote wrote:
Wizard: Select one arcane school power at 1st level that is normally usable a number of times per day equal to 3 + the wizard's Intelligence modifier. The wizard adds +1/2 to the number of uses per day of that arcane school power.

"... increases by half the number of uses per day ..." surely?

Witness the power of my demi-acid dart...

The power only advances every other level.

Dark Archive

is it me or did lini just have a growth spirt... i mean she is just as tall as our elven girl


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Maybe she's standing on a dead goblin...


Quote:
Sorcerer: Add one spell known from the sorcerer spell list. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the sorcerer can cast.

Does this mean at every level? I truly hope not. Surely not.

One extra spell and the ability to re-select it every level would be good.


Wait, does the human favored class option give it a bonus spell every single level? That's ridiculously strong.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Meh, not that much.

Lvl 1 - 3 give you cantrips. At level 20, you would get at best:

2 spells from each level 1-7
3 spells from level 8.

And you are still Wizards's idiot savant brother. :)


It is ridiculously strong.

Liberty's Edge

Ellington wrote:
Wait, does the human favored class option give it a bonus spell every single level? That's ridiculously strong.

As opposed to getting the hit point/free skill point. I don't think it that incredibly bad seeing as how you have to trade out for that.


Gorbacz wrote:

Meh, not that much.

Lvl 1 - 3 give you cantrips. At level 20, you would get at best:

2 spells from each level 1-7
3 spells from level 8.

And you are still Wizards's idiot savant brother. :)

3 spells from level 8 at best? You've just doubled the amount of level 8 spells known.

Everything else in that preview I like. Awesome stuff. But this just seems too much.

The Exchange

0gre wrote:


The power only advances every other level.

Thanks 0gre, my brain was still expecting Traits.


It is amazing to me how you make crack out of paper and ink!

The Exchange

Ellington wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

Lvl 1 - 3 give you cantrips. At level 20, you would get at best:

2 spells from each level 1-7
3 spells from level 8.

And you are still Wizards's idiot savant brother. :)

3 spells from level 8 at best? You've just doubled the amount of level 8 spells known.

At the cost of 20 hp or (approx) a -2 to all of your skill checks.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also note that both extra HP and skill points aren't that easy to come across, while spells can always be cast from scrolls.


Gorbacz wrote:
Also note that both extra HP and skill points aren't that easy to come across, while spells can always be cast from scrolls.

To get an extra 20 hit points you would need to increase your constitution by 2. This can be achieved with items or stat increases.

To get an extra 20 skill points you would need to increase your intelligence by 2. Again, this can be achieved with items or stat increases.

I'm not saying this is trivial to do, but do you know any way in which you can get 20 extra known spells?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ellington wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Also note that both extra HP and skill points aren't that easy to come across, while spells can always be cast from scrolls.

To get an extra 20 hit points you would need to increase your constitution by 2. This can be achieved with items or stat increases.

To get an extra 20 skill points you would need to increase your intelligence by 2. Again, this can be achieved with items or stat increases.

I'm not saying this is trivial to do, but do you know any way in which you can get 20 extra known spells?

Apart from the whole dispel/antimagic/money/dicky GMs issue of stat boost items, Int boost items in Pathfinder have pre-associated skills. Also, a Sorcerer will be rather wearing a +Cha item, usually.

20 known spells doesn't bring you above Wizard level of awesomeness, and as long as we agree that straight casters are the benchmark, I'm fine.


Themetricsystem wrote:
Ellington wrote:
Wait, does the human favored class option give it a bonus spell every single level? That's ridiculously strong.
As opposed to getting the hit point/free skill point. I don't think it that incredibly bad seeing as how you have to trade out for that.

One HP / level is equal to the toughness feat. And I've seen the HP option as more popular than the SP option.

There was a 3X feat that gave a sorcerer ONE extra spell, with the same -1 level limitation. And I saw that feat taken on several ocassions, it was a decent feat.

This change lets you drop the equivalent of one feat to gain the equivalent of one feat every level.


Gorbacz wrote:
20 known spells doesn't bring you above Wizard level of awesomeness, and as long as we agree that straight casters are the benchmark, I'm fine.

So are you claiming that the core sorcerer is, at a minimum, 20 known spells weaker than the core wizard?


I will agree with Gorbacz. It does not increase the number of spells per day from the sorcerer, only the spells known. At best, this gives a sorcerer the ability to pick up some utility spells without giving up their normal selection.

By comparison, a Wizard can still know all of the spells on the list and prep from them as needed. What he does not prep, he can carry on scrolls that he made.

That said, compared to the other preview options, the extra spell is a strog selection and doesn't seem equal to an ability that you have to take twice to see any benifit from.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Of course. He can't cast Greater Teleport, Prismatic Spray and Limited Wish on Monday and Finger of Death, Plane Shift and Vision on Tuesday. He gets to cast more of spells per day, sure, and if the favoured class bonus would bump that I would yell "brooooken !", but spells known ? Meh.


Thraxus wrote:
At best, this gives a sorcerer the ability to pick up some utility spells without giving up their normal selection.

Which is huge. The limitation on spells known is the key balancing element of the sorcerer.


I've been over at ENWorld defending against claims of power creep just because new options are being offered. And I agree that with more options the potential for creep is always an issue. But, if the options are well designed then it doesn't need to be.

But setting a spell known equal to a single hit point is way beyond creep.

I really hope some clarification comes along.


Ellington wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Also note that both extra HP and skill points aren't that easy to come across, while spells can always be cast from scrolls.

To get an extra 20 hit points you would need to increase your constitution by 2. This can be achieved with items or stat increases.

To get an extra 20 skill points you would need to increase your intelligence by 2. Again, this can be achieved with items or stat increases.

I'm not saying this is trivial to do, but do you know any way in which you can get 20 extra known spells?

+1

BryonD wrote:
[...]But setting a spell known equal to a single hit point is way beyond creep. I really hope some clarification comes along.

+1

+20 HP? Just pick the feat Toughness.

Looking at the Human Sorcerer and the looking at the Gnome Bard I feel the Gnome (and the bard) is comming out short again.

The art is great and I love the Half-Orc racial trait, Toothy. Playing a half-orc Rogue will be so great.
The dwarven racial trait, Stonesinger, is really cool.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
BryonD wrote:
Thraxus wrote:
At best, this gives a sorcerer the ability to pick up some utility spells without giving up their normal selection.
Which is huge. The limitation on spells known is the key balancing element of the sorcerer.

No. The key balancing element of the sorcerer is that once you select your spells know you are stuck with them. You don't have the swiss army knife versatility of the Wizard. You face hard choices and many times your party will sigh "damn we wish we had a Wizard" when they will be in need of some situational spell. Of course, one can compensate with scrolls, but they are not always and everywhere available.

The new bonus helps some, sure, but still the Wizard walks over the Sorcerer in term of long-time utility.


BryonD wrote:
This change lets you drop the equivalent of one feat to gain the equivalent of one feat every level.

I agree with BryonD.

This favored class option seems strongly unbalanced. Probably there are other rules that we don't know yet, i.e. perhaps some of this new racial options could be selected only a limited number of times.

Liberty's Edge

I think that it is also worth noting that you even get this choice to make if you choose to be a Human Sorcerer, as opposed to a Gnome or whatever else.

This sounds good on paper, but in an actual game, I'm fairly certain it's going to land with a soft thud and piddle off as you get some levels. And when you are choking on that incendiary cloud you will sure as hell wish you picked up the HP.


Themetricsystem wrote:
This sounds good on paper, but in an actual game, I'm fairly certain it's going to land with a soft thud and piddle off as you get some levels. And when you are choking on that incendiary cloud you will sure as hell wish you picked up the HP.

I think I'm on board with TMS here. I'm looking for a way to break this, and while the extra spells are nice, I'm not really blown away by the option. I mean, it's $#!+& for the first 3 levels - ooh, more cantrips known! - and after that, it's basically two extra spells known for each level, which is handy, but not exactly gamebreaking. It is probably worth more to me than an extra hit point or skill point would be, but only once I hit level 4, and even then, it would largely depend on how I built the character.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wow, that Sorcerer power is... wow. oO

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Seems that during the APG design process Jason was on the same stuff which he was smoking/eating/drinking when he designed the PF Paladin.

It other words, "Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop designing RPGs !".

Not a bad thing, you know. Maybe it's thanks to the diet ? :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hey, I am just now playing a human Sorcerer, who just now will have gotten into fourth level, so I am totally on board with this new ability. :D Please don't change it!


It's not that the extra spell per level thing is game breaking (as many have said, it isn't), it is that it is so clearly superior to the alternatives. I defy anyone to convince me that one feat (20hp) is equivalent to the following spells-known progression: 3/2/2/2/2/2/2/2/3. Even when you're only getting cantrips, detect magic at will > a hit point and it only gets better from there...

Just to change tune, though, since I am actually positive about the preview overall :) ...

The rest look AWESOME! I especially like the toothy racial trait for half-orcs and the elven wizard's extra uses of school powers. Also, something like Stonesinger for dwarves is long overdue I reckon.


I think it takes wizard> sorcerer and levels the field a bit between them.

But overall, I can't wait for this book.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My next character will be a Half-Orc Barbarian with bite rage power and Toothy.

I'll ask the GM nicely if I can fit an iron jaw replacement and call him Chomp.

Chomp chomp. This is gonna be good ... Give us the book !


I wonder if it's supposed to be a reselectable bonus spell known, that would be a fair trade for toughness.

I hope somebody from paizo gets into this thread and clears up exactly what this gives you.

Coz it's not came breaking, but it's deisceernably, decidely better than +1 hp per level, and as said many times, an option that is superior enough that the other options aren't really options is bad design.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

To be honest 20 more rounds of Bardic Performance per day, seems more useful in game then then Sorcerers extra spells known. The only levels where it actually increases the power of the sorcerer is at 1-3 when he gets extra cantrips, since those are unlimited castings). At 5th level the bard goes from 4+Chr bonus times per day to 9+Chr bonus times per day giving all of his allies a +2 to hit and damage. The sorcerer knows 2 extra first level spells. (and 3 cantrips).


Justin Franklin wrote:
To be honest 20 more rounds of Bardic Performance per day, seems more useful in game then then Sorcerers extra spells known. The only levels where it actually increases the power of the sorcerer is at 1-3 when he gets extra cantrips, since those are unlimited castings). At 5th level the bard goes from 4+Chr bonus times per day to 9+Chr bonus times per day giving all of his allies a +2 to hit and damage. The sorcerer knows 2 extra first level spells. (and 3 cantrips).

As a Bard from level 8 you NEVER run out of round. Perhaps things change when you reach level 12 and get Soothing performance.

Edit:
I rahter have a trait that gives the bard more spells known (or more spells per day) than a trait that boost rounds per day.
As for the Sorcerer. I play a human Sorcerer with the Arcane bloodline. I've played him from level 1 and he is now level 12. The only spell levels where I feel I need more spells known are the 2:nd level spells and the 3:rd level spells. I think a feat giving the Sorcerer or the bard some extra spells know would have fixed the problem.
With too many spells known where is the challenge? Or as BryonD put it: "The limitation on spells known is the key balancing element of the sorcerer."

I feel Paiso has made a great job with the Sorcerer, so this trait is a bit über.
There was a 3.5 in Compleate Arcane Extra Spell. benefit: Learn an additional spell up to one level lower than current highest level.
That feat was much to weak, but this new trait is much to good.

I agree with Mon: "it is so clearly superior to the alternatives."

The Exchange

Zark wrote:


As for the Sorcerer. I play a human Sorcerer with the Arcane bloodline. I've played him from level 1 and he is now level 12. The only spell levels where I feel I need more spells known are the 2:nd level spells and the 3:rd level spells.

Perhaps during playtesting that was found to be the balance. Perhaps at most levels people will say "Can't think of another spell I need, I'll have the HP please."


Gorbacz wrote:
No. The key balancing element of the sorcerer is that once you select your spells know you are stuck with them. You don't have the swiss army knife versatility of the Wizard. You face hard choices and many times your party will sigh "damn we wish we had a Wizard" when they will be in need of some situational spell. Of course, one can compensate with scrolls, but they are not always and everywhere available.

And letting the sorcerer pick more spells takes a lot of the limitation out of that. This lets up the pressure exactly where sorcerers are supposed to feel pressure.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
BryonD wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
No. The key balancing element of the sorcerer is that once you select your spells know you are stuck with them. You don't have the swiss army knife versatility of the Wizard. You face hard choices and many times your party will sigh "damn we wish we had a Wizard" when they will be in need of some situational spell. Of course, one can compensate with scrolls, but they are not always and everywhere available.
And letting the sorcerer pick more spells takes a lot of the limitation out of that. This lets up the pressure exactly where sorcerers are supposed to feel pressure.

Not more than having a melee class with 20 HP more for soaking damage (or any other class for surviving the odd maximized damage spell). I believe that we can agree that we disagree - I'm not a fan of dying in the gutter to defend my opinion :)

And between people saying "it's OP", people saying "it's OK" and people saying "meh, it's weak" I think we have some kind of balance here.


Perhaps it's fine perhaps not. I fine houserule might be letting the Sorcerer pick a bunus spell every uneven Sorcerer level (1,3,5 etc.)
At Sorcerer level 2, 4, 6, etc. she may pick a HP or a skill point. ..or perhaps only a skill point.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, I postulate that the biggest weakness of the Sorcerer is the delayed spell progession, but limited spell selection is right behind that. So I think this really helps out without eliminating the biggest problem. It's a great ability. :)


Gorbacz wrote:

Not more than having a melee class with 20 HP more for soaking damage (or any other class for surviving the odd maximized damage spell). I believe that we can agree that we disagree - I'm not a fan of dying in the gutter to defend my opinion :)

And between people saying "it's OP", people saying "it's OK" and people saying "meh, it's weak" I think we have some kind of balance here.

I'm not sure that anyone is saying it is weak.

I'm way from certain that there is a balance.
I'm also quite certain that calls for more power should always be discounted because there is always a "make my char uber, screw balance" crowd.

And this is vastly better for the sorcerer than 20 HP for a fighter. And if you are sayign 20 HP, that is AT LEVEL 20. 20 HP at L20 is minor, whereas 3 more 8th level spells known is freaking insane.

20 extra HP is better for a sorcerer than it is for a fighter because the sorcerer is softer and the HP represent a bigger percent boost. And yet the clear and obvious agreement is not just that no human sorcerer will take the HP now, but that there may even be too much motivation to make all sorcerers human just to get this.

Setting all that aside, when you are trying to tell people "don't worry, a bunch of new feats doesn't mean power creep" and then Paizo kicks things off with a power balloon, the case is undercut.

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