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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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Will the vistas ever be offered as frameable prints?
Are they even close to the right size in their original format?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Lovely!

I don't suppose there's a chance of getting the three spreads merged into one image, as it would make an awesome desktop background?

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
WampaX wrote:

Will the vistas ever be offered as frameable prints?

Are they even close to the right size in their original format?

Wow, I would love to see that Worldwound (I assume) pic as a poster.

Fantastic.


Does the shift from bi-monthly to monthly reflect any success that Paizo has earned?

Contributor

WampaX wrote:

Will the vistas ever be offered as frameable prints?

Are they even close to the right size in their original format?
Enlight_Bystand wrote:
...desktop background?
Callous Jack wrote:
a poster.

Nope! Not at the moment. Sorry all.

These awesome pieces take up about the same space as a typical Pathfinder half-page image, but stretched thin over two pages. In other words, they're significantly smaller here than how they are in print.

They're also super cool, but there's currently no intention to treat these any differently than any other art element. They are a staple of the new Player Companions, though. So expect them to appear frequently!

Contributor

Andru Watkins wrote:
Does the shift from bi-monthly to monthly reflect any success that Paizo has earned?

The Player Companions have done well and we think they have even greater potential, both being a big part of the shift. But sales and subscription numbers are a lot of what drives a product line, so if you like what you see here, please do check out Player Companion: Varisia or, if you're really excited, consider subscribing. We promise to repay those who do with 32-pages of awesome every month! :)


F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Andru Watkins wrote:
Does the shift from bi-monthly to monthly reflect any success that Paizo has earned?
The Player Companions have done well and we think they have even greater potential, both being a big part of the shift. But sales and subscription numbers are a lot of what drives a product line, so if you like what you see here, please do check out Player Companion: Varisia or, if you're really excited, consider subscribing. We promise to repay those who do with 32-pages of awesome every month! :)

And your Diplomacy roll is.....natural 20!!! You have convinced me :)

Grand Lodge

I am really exited to see these changes as well.

Thanks PAIZO. My FLGS thanks you as well, it keeps me going back.


hmm vistas but I thought paizo used macs. [/ooc]sarcastic[/ooc]
They do look awesome though.

Liberty's Edge

The new format literally dropped my jaw. Some of the best improvements ever. The look is gorgeous, layout clean and there's more than 2 entries in the table of contents! ;-) It is a GREAT what they have changed with this series.


I would like to say that the new look/feel and content are great. It feels far more relevant and to the point, offers more diverse world-relevant crunch for my characters, and hopefully will keep doing it in the foreseeable months to come :)

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

"Wadding" through?

Dark Archive

Yeah i would like to see them all wallpaper size as in at least 1400 wide or bigger.

Contributor

LoreKeeper wrote:
I would like to say that the new look/feel and content are great. It feels far more relevant and to the point, offers more diverse world-relevant crunch for my characters, and hopefully will keep doing it in the foreseeable months to come :)

We'll keep refining and tinkering, but so far it seems like folks are digging the new format! So we'll keep it up!

Contributor

Thorkull wrote:
"Wadding" through?

Yes. But I do have a singularly "HULK SMASH!" method of reading. :P

Contributor

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) :)


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
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) :)

Next Paizo Subscription,

Physical Art Prints with digital variable sized Wallpaper images.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
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) :)

This is what happens when you have cool art, it's not OUR fault now is it. ;p

Scarab Sages

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Andru Watkins wrote:
Does the shift from bi-monthly to monthly reflect any success that Paizo has earned?
The Player Companions have done well and we think they have even greater potential, both being a big part of the shift. But sales and subscription numbers are a lot of what drives a product line, so if you like what you see here, please do check out Player Companion: Varisia or, if you're really excited, consider subscribing. We promise to repay those who do with 32-pages of awesome every month! :)

I'd seriously love to subscribe - but I'm in the UK and the postage is just too expensive - I have to wait for them to be shipped over and buy locally.

If you could find a distributor who'd accept subscriptions and handle posting locally...?


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

LOVE the changes. This is what the Companion line should have always been.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Will any early copies of Player Companion: Knights of the Inner Sea be available for sale at GenCon?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Swiftbrook wrote:
Will any early copies of Player Companion: Knights of the Inner Sea be available for sale at GenCon?

Nope.

Contributor

Swiftbrook wrote:
Will any early copies of Player Companion: Knights of the Inner Sea be available for sale at GenCon?

We won't, it's the September release.

However, if you track me down, I will happily describe it to you in detail.

Or Lisa. I think she might be even more excited about this one than I am. :)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Dark_Mistress wrote:
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) :)

This is what happens when you have cool art, it's not OUR fault now is it. ;p

Wait! If the Player Companions are going to have "Almost a Centerfold!" then ....

Alahazra, Amiri, Freya, Kyra, Merisiel, Seelah, Seoni, ...


I've always thought that the pathfinder player line was one of the best deals in the industry. Now... It is simply the greatest book for the price anywhere and that is just from viewing the PDF. I love the layout the options, and the art. I've been a great follower of Varisia and I still found things that are interesting and new. I can't wait to see what comes next in this new layout and luckily I only have to wait a month now. Keep it up Paizo you guys are great.

Dark Archive Contributor

WampaX wrote:

Will the vistas ever be offered as frameable prints?

Are they even close to the right size in their original format?

It bears repeating: the landscapes of Golarion are my favorite art.

Silver Crusade

<- my face

It was like finding a unicorn.

Those views of the cities...that's something I've wanted to see FOREVER. I need to show the Korvosa piece to my CotCT group. The Magnimar piece is going to be priceless for setting the sceene for my Shattered Star group.

The things you can do with that vista format, the possibilities that opens up...oh man. The future is looking good. :D

Everything in this blog post is a treat. I love the pushing of GM/PC collaboration in the books themselves, which is going to foster a healthier scene overall. Really looking forward to those "Did You Know" sidebars or whatever format they take. The culture-specific options and detailing too, especially in this first book with the Varisians and Shoanti. That has me really excited about what this means for the future books in the line.

Again, want.

The Exchange

caribet wrote:


I'd seriously love to subscribe - but I'm in the UK and the postage is just too expensive - I have to wait for them to be shipped over and buy locally.

If you could find a distributor who'd accept subscriptions and handle posting locally...?

The 15% Pathfinder Advantage discount I get by subscribing to the AP's means that the end cost of my subscriptions equals what I can get them for over the counter in the UK. It also means that stuff arrives a darned sight quicker than from Amazon and I also get a free PDF.

Do you have a friend that subscribes to the AP line who would be willing to subscribe to the Companions line and then sell you the print version at cost?

I also keep prodding for all of the EU subscription orders to be shipped in bulk to a re-distributor in the EU who then handles the final postage. Who knows, it might happen one day.

Sovereign Court

brock, no the other one... wrote:
caribet wrote:


I'd seriously love to subscribe - but I'm in the UK and the postage is just too expensive - I have to wait for them to be shipped over and buy locally.

If you could find a distributor who'd accept subscriptions and handle posting locally...?

The 15% Pathfinder Advantage discount I get by subscribing to the AP's means that the end cost of my subscriptions equals what I can get them for over the counter in the UK. It also means that stuff arrives a darned sight quicker than from Amazon and I also get a free PDF.

Do you have a friend that subscribes to the AP line who would be willing to subscribe to the Companions line and then sell you the print version at cost?

I also keep prodding for all of the EU subscription orders to be shipped in bulk to a re-distributor in the EU who then handles the final postage. Who knows, it might happen one day.

With you on that, would love to subscribe to pawns and hardcovers...

Keep on fighting the good fight!

Dark Archive

GeraintElberion wrote:
brock, no the other one... wrote:
caribet wrote:


I'd seriously love to subscribe - but I'm in the UK and the postage is just too expensive - I have to wait for them to be shipped over and buy locally.

If you could find a distributor who'd accept subscriptions and handle posting locally...?

The 15% Pathfinder Advantage discount I get by subscribing to the AP's means that the end cost of my subscriptions equals what I can get them for over the counter in the UK. It also means that stuff arrives a darned sight quicker than from Amazon and I also get a free PDF.

Do you have a friend that subscribes to the AP line who would be willing to subscribe to the Companions line and then sell you the print version at cost?

I also keep prodding for all of the EU subscription orders to be shipped in bulk to a re-distributor in the EU who then handles the final postage. Who knows, it might happen one day.

With you on that, would love to subscribe to pawns and hardcovers...

Keep on fighting the good fight!

+1 Would love for subscription to be a good option here in the UK.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hey, I subscribe from Poland. They hit me every time with shipping and handling, but I keep on truckin'. Paizo deserves 100% of my money, and free PDFs are just to good to be true.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
Hey, I subscribe from Poland. They hit me every time with shipping and handling, but I keep on truckin'. Paizo deserves 100% of my money, and free PDFs are just to good to be true.

Right there with you, although I'd prefer the money to be going to Paizo rather than paying the postal service £8 to collect £1 in tax...

GeraintElberion wrote:

With you on that, would love to subscribe to pawns and hardcovers...

Hardbacks - murder on the wallet. For pawns, if you suspend the subscription for the boxes, the rest shouldn't be too expensive to ship as they are flat. I don't think the plan is to do too many boxes with bases in.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh, I also had to pass on Prawns. Not only is the shipping crazy in the brain (USPS, you will suffer for that someday) but since it's not "books", I'm gonna be hit by import fees and VAT.

Oh well, there's amazon.co.uk for that.

Sovereign Court

Gorbacz wrote:

Oh, I also had to pass on Prawns. Not only is the shipping crazy in the brain (USPS, you will suffer for that someday) but since it's not "books", I'm gonna be hit by import fees and VAT.

Oh well, there's amazon.co.uk for that.

I think most Europeans are in the same situation: subscribing to softcover books because the hardcovers weigh too much and prawns and gamesmastery stuff are not books and so incur more tax and fees.

The Exchange

GeraintElberion wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:

Oh, I also had to pass on Prawns. Not only is the shipping crazy in the brain (USPS, you will suffer for that someday) but since it's not "books", I'm gonna be hit by import fees and VAT.

Oh well, there's amazon.co.uk for that.

I think most Europeans are in the same situation: subscribing to softcover books because the hardcovers weigh too much and prawns and gamesmastery stuff are not books and so incur more tax and fees.

In the UK there is a minimum limit below which they won't collect VAT - I think £13. So the occasional set of maps or cards in with a subscription order is OK. It's when the non-books total sneaks over the limit and you get the small VAT bill and the large charge for collecting the bill that it annoys me. I'm hoping that the pawns don't take me over...


Gorbacz wrote:
Oh, I also had to pass on Prawns.

Besides, they're really fishy-smelling when they arrive anyways.


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

Silver Crusade

Another nice thing about that city art:

Besides Magnimar with its obvious visual cu, Korvosa is instantly recognizable by anyone familiar with its map. Often city art is just generically "city" with regard to canonical layout, streets, etc. But there...it's the map, fully fleshed out. Castle Korvosa is the easy thing to spot, but there's Thieves' Camp and all the other districts being represented. Heck, I can trace my finger down the street my players chased ________ down. I'll be able to point at locatins and say "That's where Three Rings Inn is." or "There's where you guys set up shop."

Can't think of much city artwork you could do that with outside actual maps.

If I could do it all over again, I'd want that Korvosa image as the GM's screen while running CotCT. :)

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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) :)

Oh, man, can you imagine how awesome these would be spanned across a dual-monitor setup?

Mine's 2560x1024, if you need a target size ;-)

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Erdrix wrote:
Back to the center folds, a 5760 x 1080 wallpaper would look amazing across my eyefinity set up. *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*

Preach on, brutha.


You know taking the black woman off the cover of Knights of Golarion after the mockup cover played a role in the "is Golarion racist" thread over on RPG.net ranks pretty high on my list of unforced PR errors. I would expect that cover change will appear, in the worst possible light, in every edition wars thread from now to the end of time.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
The Forgotten wrote:
You know taking the black woman off the cover of Knights of Golarion after the mockup cover played a role in the "is Golarion racist" thread over on RPG.net ranks pretty high on my list of unforced PR errors. I would expect that cover change will appear, in the worst possible light, in every edition wars thread from now to the end of time.

People that want to b!tch about things, nitpick, flame, etc will find something or twist something to their agenda. It doesn't matter what you say or do, sooner or later they will find, twist, something to give them their platform to stir up problems. Best thing is to just ignore them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Agreed, DM.

Also, she was just on the cover of Blood of Fiends only a few months ago. Gotta keep changin' it up!

Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.
The Forgotten wrote:
You know taking the black woman off the cover of Knights of Golarion after the mockup cover played a role in the "is Golarion racist" thread over on RPG.net ranks pretty high on my list of unforced PR errors. I would expect that cover change will appear, in the worst possible light, in every edition wars thread from now to the end of time.

I am completely unaware of the thread you're referring to (and do NOT need to be enlightened), but all of our mock-up covers are just that, mock-ups. They are created months in advance of receiving final text or even sketches of cover art, by people who typically only have the title of the book to base their design on. Additionally, the first post on every announced product is always "Announced for XXX! The cover image is a mockup, and will change prior to publication."

So, for better or worse, that's a thing, and a thing I think we're pretty up front about.

That said, if anyone needs pictures of men or women of a wide range of ethnicities doing awesome things, all one needs to do is flip through our run of covers. Ultimately, though, if folks want to spend their time arguing over something we here at Paizo put a significant amount of time and consideration into (this, and gender balance), they're welcome to their discussion and opinions.

Silver Crusade

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:


I am completely unaware of the thread your referring to (and do NOT need to be enlightened),

I looked. You really don't need to.

I voiced some concerns here some time back on ethnicity representation in some books, but Golarion has typically been very good on the matter of diversity, which made those issues stand out a bit more than they would have otherwise. And even those issues seemed to get confronted in later books.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Trust me in this case being unaware is a good thing.

Contributor

Also, it should be noted that all our mock-ups are created with art we've reused from other products. So it's not that we aren't publishing that art--it's that we've *already* published that art. :-P

Without seeing the thread, I'm guessing Seelah is the character you're talking about. Since she's our iconic paladin, we actually already have a wealth of artwork featuring that particular character--she first showed up on the cover of Pathfinder #7, and has been kicking ass ever since.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

So, when do we get the new and improved Elves of Golarion?

Grand Lodge

ditto on what pyschicmachinery said.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

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. The look is fantastic and (speaking as a "rules are just guidelines" kind of player) it feels considerably more flavorful and inspiring to browse than the previous format. I hope the numbers guys are still getting what they need, but for my part it's much easier to dodge the rulesy bits, which is a big plus.

The art and layout (Sarah, I presume?) is fantastic, evocative and makes you want to immediately set a game in magnimar, korvosa, kaer maga and riddleport - all at once.

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

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