Ever since its announcement nearly a year ago, players and GMs alike have been speculating about what would appear in Pathfinder Unchained. It was only a short step from there to start wondering what would appear in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. We started exploring this same question early in the book's production, and even then it was clear that some sections would not be a good fit for the campaign, others would absolutely play a role, and many others would require closer study. With the generous assistance of the Pathfinder Design Team and numerous volunteers, we were able to weigh the pros and cons and finalize what our Pathfinders might see in the field.
We'll start by discussing some of the sub-systems that likely come as no surprise to anyone, largely because they would require massive character rebuilds, severely impact how the game works for someone who just has the Core Rulebook, or require us to scrap the current XP system. Much of Chapter 3 (Gameplay) falls into this category; removing alignment, ditching iterative attacks, altering poison, heavy revising action economy, and introducing wound thresholds would invalidate considerable chunks of existing scenarios and possibly wreck how many of our existing characters function. Other features reference gameplay elements that simply don't appear in the organized play campaign, so dynamic item creation, alternate profession rules, fractional base bonuses, and staggered advancement are not a good fit. As intriguing as the many new skill options look, imposing consolidated skills, grouped skills, or background skills would just be too disruptive for a campaign in its seventh year. The same is true for many of the magic systems, including simplified spellcasting, spell alterations, automatic bonus progressions, and innate item bonuses.
Several other systems were not so cut and dry. We discussed the stamina pool system for quite a while before deciding not to include it; it is an extensive section that we may revisit in the future, but at this time it is not available in the campaign. We came to a similar conclusion for variant multiclassing. We are adding the Signature Skill feat for exclusive use by the unchained rogue—which I suppose spoils a later surprise. John is very excited to include esoteric components and scaling items on a few Chronicle sheets, but these items are not available for purchase otherwise.
Still, we imagine Chapter 1 (Classes) is the topic everyone is waiting for, and we have seen many of you making fairly accurate predictions. All four Pathfinder Unchained classes—barbarian, monk, rogue, and summoner—will be legal for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The unchained barbarian, monk, and rogue are available in addition to the versions that appear in the Core Rulebook; as noted on page 8 of Pathfinder Unchained, "These classes can be used alongside their original counterparts (although individual characters must use one version or the other exclusively)."
In fact, we're so excited about these classes that we're announcing a one-time limited rebuild to anyone with one or more levels in these classes, allowing those characters to switch any levels in the four classes to their unchained version at no cost. This includes the automatic retraining of any rage powers or rogue talents, as well as the free retraining and selling at full cost of any feats, items, and other character options that no long function properly due to the unchained classes features. For example, a rogue automatically gains the ability to add her Dexterity bonus to damage, so she could sell back her +1 agile rapier at full price. Likewise, a barbarian with the Raging Vitality feat would no longer benefit from its increased Constitution bonus, so she could retrain that feat for free. Much like when we have offered free faction changes in the past, you'll need to take advantage of this opportunity before you play the character after April 29, 2015.
You may notice that we did not say the unchained summoner would be available alongside its Advanced Player's Guide counterpart. Effective immediately, the Advanced Player's Guide summoner is no longer available in the organized play campaign, and the unchained summoner is its legal replacement. However, we recognize that someone who already has a summoner (and the book to play it) should not be punished for this change. Therefore, if you have a character with levels in the summoner class, and you have played the character at least once at level 2 or higher, you get to keep your summoner as is; you may also continue to gain levels in the summoner class. Any character gaining a level in summoner for the first time must use the unchained summoner, and anyone character still within the 1st-level window of free rebuilding must also use the unchained summoner.
As a final note, we want to advise folks about archetype and other features' compatibility for the unchained classes for the organized play campaign.
- The unchained barbarian qualifies for any archetype that does not modify how the rage class feature operates (such as the urban barbarian archetype), and she is limited to any barbarian rage power that appears in Chapter 1 (including the rage powers on page 13)
- The unchained monk does not qualify for any archetypes, save those in future publications that specifically cite their compatibility with the unchained monk class.
- The unchained rogue qualifies for all existing rogue archetypes, but she is limited to any rogue talents listed in Chapter 1 (including the sidebar on page 24).
- The unchained summoner qualifies for all existing summoner archetypes, save those that modify the eidolon's type or base form.
The Pathfinder Society Team