10 Things You Didn't Know Were in the Strategy Guide

Thursday, February 19, 2015

There have been a lot of questions and speculation on the messageboards about what's going to be in the upcoming Strategy Guide, but now that it's set to (finally!) hit shelves next month, you'll get to see for yourself. In anticipation of its debut, allow me to present a sneak peek into 10 different features I bet you didn't know were in this book.

1. Themes:
A theme gives you a ready-made character concept, and a roadmap for building that character using the options available in the Core Rulebook. If you want to play the sort of mysterious druid who can call upon the land to rise up against her foes and the sky to strike down those who threaten the natural world, the Fury theme will take you, step-by-step, through building a character who can do those things, advising you on everything from which race and feats to choose to which starting gear to purchase. If, on the other hand, what attracts you to the druid class is the idea of playing a character who shares an unbreakable bond of friendship and trust with a wild creature, the Animal Friend theme will provide you with the advice you need to create that character.


Illustration by Maichol Quinto

See the paw-print Animal Friend icon in the upper right-hand corner of the image? Keep an eye out below for a glimpse into how it gets used throughout the Strategy Guide.

2. Character Quiz:
Not sure what type of character you'd like to play? This light-hearted quiz will help you determine which theme best matches your play style and interests.

3. Class-Specific Introductions to Spellcasting:
Get a basic overview of how magic works for your character class, advice on which spells to choose, and a walkthrough of how to cast a spell.

4. Tactical Advice for Combat:
Not sure what to do on your turn? Check out this advice on where to focus your attention and on actions you can take to make the most of the circumstances in which you find yourself.

5. Overviews of Non-Combat Roleplaying Situations
Solve mysteries, explore, meet important NPCs, scout, and divide the spoils of your adventures with flair and confidence using these guides.

6. How To Start Running Your Own Games:
Aspiring GMs can find the pointers they need on where to get started if they'd like to try their hand at running their own campaign.

7. Character Sheet Help:
Get easy-to-follow instructions on how to fill out your character sheet, and a handy diagram of what goes where.

8. Beginner's Guide to Reading Spell Descriptions and Other Mechanics Text:
A step-by-step walkthrough of how to read spell descriptions, feats, and other rules-heavy text helps you choose options for your character with full understanding of what they'll do for you.

9. Detailed Instructions for Leveling Up:
Class-specific leveling guides go over everything from reminders about adding hit points to suggestions on the best feat choices from your themes.

Remember that paw-print Animal Friend icon? It's present throughout the druid class guide and other sections of the book, giving you theme-specific guidance and insight into building and playing your character.

10. Pointers Toward Further Exploration on Nearly Every Page:
Whether it's providing tips for more advanced play, suggesting alternate ways to use skills, or guiding you to where in the Core Rulebook to find more information on a combat maneuver, the Strategy Guide's page margins are packed with jumping-off points to make your gaming experience richer and get the most out of your character.

Stay tuned for more Strategy Guide sneak peeks next week!

Jessica Price
Project Manager

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Tags: Maichol Quinto Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Well, at least it has plenty of things to read. :)

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Superscriber

I have been waiting for this release. I think it will be a big help at my local shop, we see a fair number of new gamers and a guide to help ease them into the hobby will be great. Can't wait until mine gets here.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I am absolutely excited for this release. I'm hoping it is a good way to flow with the BB to the Core game without too many hiccups (and a better guide than the transition guide is in the BB).


This product is really important. Many of us on these Messageboards have gamed through several editions of D&D/Pathfinder and other RPGs*. We intuitively know how to use the CRB because we've seen other books very much like it. A new player often doesn't know how to use the "manual" to gaming because it's the intermediate/expert manual with the beginner's manual nowhere in sight. Finally, we have the product that teaches the complete game without assuming mastery of previous editions or RPGs.

* Full disclosure: I'm closer to a newbie than an expert, since I only know 3.5 and Pathfinder. So, yay Strategy Guide!


The themes selection looks nice. That in combination with the other build guides are neat. That said, half of the selections appear to be a lot repackaged rules material from the Core Rulebook. I will skim it when it comes out, with the hope that my copy/paste impression is false.


Looking forward to getting this for my kids.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Rabbiteconomist wrote:
That said, half of the selections appear to be a lot repackaged rules material from the Core Rulebook.

That's kinda the point. An accessible, easy-to-read, explanatory repackaging of the Core Rulebook. If you've been roleplaying for more than a few years and you're not trying to teach any new players, you could pass on this one.

Lantern Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I was pretty skeptical when this was first announced, but this book seems like the perfect "book 1a" to suggest alongside the CRB for a new player.

And 10:1 says any veteran will probably see something new (or at least in a new light)- -I'll probably pick one of these up just for the new approach to teaching Pathfinder.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is going to help with the high school club I advise SO much.

Liberty's Edge

Jayson MF Kip wrote:

I was pretty skeptical when this was first announced, but this book seems like the perfect "book 1a" to suggest alongside the CRB for a new player.

And 10:1 says any veteran will probably see something new (or at least in a new light)- -I'll probably pick one of these up just for the new approach to teaching Pathfinder.

That's my thought exactly. I'll want one for doing introductions and helping new players through those critical first few levels.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Buying this

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Cards, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

Im looking forward to it


Seems like this make be a good bridge from the Beginner Box (which I believe is the intent).

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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I think that this book plus the option of "PFS Core" will really help to draw in new players who might feel overwhelmed not only by the hefty Core Rulebook but also by the plethora of other rulebooks available in "regular" PFS.

"Here, this Strategy Guide and Core Rulebook are all you need to learn and play the game, and also the only resources that everyone else is using. So you're all on the same footing. Let's do it!"

Looking forward to it.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This really looks like it will help new players. As a PFS GM, I know that new players can become frustrated or overwhelmed with options.


I'm looking forward to handing this to new players during the inevitable character creation hour before games launch.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

So, if I decided to use this as an introductory transition between the BB and the Core game, how many copies should I actually get? 1, 2...more?

That's what I'm trying to figure out right now.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

What an AWESOME resource! With a full-time job and three other outside activities, I need help getting the most out of my game time and mentoring new female players. This looks like a major time- and headache-saver. Can't wait to get a copy! THANKS, PAIZO!!! This is why I'm loyal to Pathfinder! :)

Kingwood Tabletop Gaming
*Play Games. Meet People. Newbs Welcome.*
http://www.meetup.com/kingwood-tabletop-gaming


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

So if you find the CRB big and scary like Hamlet, this book is basically the Cliff Notes. This is gonna help my group (and probably me!) a great deal, can't wait!

Paizo Employee Developer

GreyWolfLord wrote:

So, if I decided to use this as an introductory transition between the BB and the Core game, how many copies should I actually get? 1, 2...more?

That's what I'm trying to figure out right now.

I recommend having at least one copy per two or three newer players.

It's nice to have more than one copy so that several people can take it home between games. It's invaluable to have multiple copies when the characters gain a level, because that's a classic moment when all of the players are itching to paw at books and figure out what features to take next. It's also a great gameplay resource for new players who are trying to figure out what to do on their turn, and having a few copies available means that someone can be planning out her turn while someone else completes his. Making sure everyone doesn't have to crowd around the same book is a big plus.

Of course having one per new player is even better, but I cannot really recommend that as the answer.


Oh, I see! This is the book I've been agitating for lo these last 4 years or so.

Cool!


Mike Kimmel wrote:

I think that this book plus the option of "PFS Core" will really help to draw in new players who might feel overwhelmed not only by the hefty Core Rulebook but also by the plethora of other rulebooks available in "regular" PFS.

"Here, this Strategy Guide and Core Rulebook are all you need to learn and play the game, and also the only resources that everyone else is using. So you're all on the same footing. Let's do it!"

Looking forward to it.

I still am teaching new players. I personally would prefer a better written core rulebook if it it's agreed that CRB is ponderous and hard to understand for new players (or one that is thin and strong enough to not fall apart at the seams). But all of you have at. Unchained sounds more to my taste.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Dustin Ashe wrote:

This product is really important. Many of us on these Messageboards have gamed through several editions of D&D/Pathfinder and other RPGs*. We intuitively know how to use the CRB because we've seen other books very much like it. A new player often doesn't know how to use the "manual" to gaming because it's the intermediate/expert manual with the beginner's manual nowhere in sight. Finally, we have the product that teaches the complete game without assuming mastery of previous editions or RPGs.

* Full disclosure: I'm closer to a newbie than an expert, since I only know 3.5 and Pathfinder. So, yay Strategy Guide!

And not just that. I've been gaming since the '70s and there's something about the way the CRB is organized that I find impenetrable. I know most of the rules but it has taken me years to get to where I can actually *find* any of them on demand.

It's weird -- I'm not even saying that the CRB is organized poorly just that it doesn't work for me.

So I'm looking forward to seeing an alternate layout that I have the potential of grokking.

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

This is looking good. I think we did a good job with this book. Kudos to my former teammates. :)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

So this is kinda like the Pathfinder version of the D&D 3.5 "Rules Compendium"?


Chris Mortika wrote:
So this is kinda like the Pathfinder version of the D&D 3.5 "Rules Compendium"?

No. It doesn't contain actual information other than what it suggests and not any information from anything past the Core Rulebook. Its more of a step by step guide to making and leveling a character based on the information from the Core Rulebook.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

It's a pity that it doesn't include options from the APG, etc.


Lord Fyre wrote:
It's a pity that it doesn't include options from the APG, etc.

I don't think so. Given the scope its not nessesary. If the growth progression of a player is Beginner Box > Core Rulebook > Advanced Player's Guide, then this book would be holding the player's hand in the transition from Beginner Box to Core Rulebook with the assumption that the player would know a thing or two about the game by the time they're at the APG. If it did then it would be just as overwhelming as plopping a bunch of books and options in front of them in the first place, be a massive book, and people would complain that the Gunslinger, Magus and ACG classes aren't in there. I think that any 'baby steps' book would have to limit it's scope to the Core Rulebook, because otherwise you might as well start up Pathfinder 2.0 and explain everything with baby steps from day one.

That said I'm surprised that we haven't gotten class specific Player Companions that are effectively 'how to' books for each class. Like a Player Companion: Fighters, Player Companion: Wizard, ect.


Quote:
That said I'm surprised that we haven't gotten class specific Player Companions that are effectively 'how to' books for each class. Like a Player Companion: Fighters, Player Companion: Wizard, ect.

The Tactics Toolboxes (Ranged Tactics Toolbox, Melee Tactics Toolbox, Dirty Tactics Toolbox) seem to be aimed at filling this need in a broader sense of giving how-to advice and options for specific playing styles. There's a lot of fan-made CUP guides that are also effective, just not "official."

I'm hoping the Strategy Guide does its best work in teaching players how to interpret what's on the page, which is in part why a focus on themes over builds and limiting references to just the CRB are good things for me (and the examples in the blog post back this up, so I'm still really excited about it).

The structure and presentation don't change much between the CRB and other core books, so once you learn how to parse a spell block, or a monster stat block, or a character build, you can do the same things in the APG, ACG, Ultimate books, etc.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

While I think that most things outside the CRB would be extraneous and unnecessary, I think Oracle would deserve mention as, essentially, the divine version of Sorcerer. I'm not saying it should get as extensive treatment as the other classes, but I think it would have been a smart play to have an overall look at classes, and point out that for both divine and arcane, there is both a preparing and spontaneous option out there.

There are differing opinions as to which is easier to play -- preparing or spontaneous -- but for that contingent which finds spontaneous casters easier for them to manage, it would be nice to at least have a heads-up that divine has an option for that too, just like arcane does.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

DANG it Paizo. I thought my wallet was safe. SAFE. You... you monsters.

Webstore Gninja Minion

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Tacticslion wrote:
DANG it Paizo. I thought my wallet was safe. SAFE. You... you monsters.

Death Attack (Wallet): Success!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber

*strongly suspect those dice are loaded*

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Samy wrote:

While I think that most things outside the CRB would be extraneous and unnecessary, I think Oracle would deserve mention as, essentially, the divine version of Sorcerer. I'm not saying it should get as extensive treatment as the other classes, but I think it would have been a smart play to have an overall look at classes, and point out that for both divine and arcane, there is both a preparing and spontaneous option out there.

There are differing opinions as to which is easier to play -- preparing or spontaneous -- but for that contingent which finds spontaneous casters easier for them to manage, it would be nice to at least have a heads-up that divine has an option for that too, just like arcane does.

While this book goes into detail only on Core Rulebook material, we do *briefly* discuss other books providing additional options.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

And if it sells like hotcakes, I imagine a sequel is not out of the question.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That's excellent, thanks Vic.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I hope the wife finds this an appropriate gift for our fifteen month old. Sure he isn't old enough to play (or even to read)yet, but I believe in being prepared.

Paizo Employee Developer

12 people marked this as a favorite.
Combat Monster wrote:
I hope the wife finds this an appropriate gift for our fifteen month old. Sure he isn't old enough to play (or even to read)yet, but I believe in being prepared.

My experience with small children is that they are among the best roleplayers. In fact, one of the more niche selling points of the Strategy Guide is that it is not a choking hazard for children age 3 and younger. The same is not necessarily true for dice.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kajehase wrote:
*strongly suspect those dice are loaded*

They're not loaded. Liz just looks at them and they know to roll 20. Any dice that hasn't done so dosen't live to see the next sunrise.


John Compton wrote:
Combat Monster wrote:
I hope the wife finds this an appropriate gift for our fifteen month old. Sure he isn't old enough to play (or even to read)yet, but I believe in being prepared.
My experience with small children is that they are among the best roleplayers. In fact, one of the more niche selling points of the Strategy Guide is that it is not a choking hazard for children age 3 and younger. The same is not necessarily true for dice.

I wish I could favorite this post more.


After all the guides (many of which are excellent) that I have read (most but not all linked from the Zenith Games blog), it is nice to see Paizo getting in with their own entry, which doesn't try to replace all those more specific guides, but acts more as an introduction to them, giving tastes of the concepts that those guides go into in more depth.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am surprised that the entry for the sorcerer includes the bit about sorcerers requiring 15 minutes to regain their daily spell slots, but omits the (more important) fact that these 15 minutes must follow an 8 hour rest.


^Now that you mention it, the 1st Edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide had the same problem, as part of its generally abysmal organization. The rules for what you had to do to recharge your spells were in one place, but the rule for what you had to do to be able to recharge your spells were in some other weird place. So when I was playing 1st Edition AD&D, apparently none of the DMs (including me) found the latter rule until it was too late to retcon everything, and so we had to house rule it just to have a rule at all, so spellcasting recharging ended up needing the approximate equivalent of a D&D 5th Edition Short Rest. This often turned out to be necessary just to survive (a common occurrence would be holing up somewhere, and then the Clerics would "Pray . . . put 'em on, pray . . . put 'em on, pray . . . put 'em on . . .").

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't want to take away from how nice the Strategy Guide will be for newer players, but I have to admit thinking how I'm going to give a gag copy to some of my long-time (since 1st Ed. through PF Beta to today) players: "hey bro, you need to step up your game... getting kind of rusty... just saying..."

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