First Look at the Pathfinder Playtest

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Welcome to the next evolution of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!

Just shy of 10 years ago, on March 18th, 2008, we asked you to take a bold step with us and download the Alpha Playtest PDF for Pathfinder First Edition. Over the past decade, we've learned a lot about the game and the people who play it. We've talked with you on forums, we've gamed with you at conventions, and we've watched you play online and in person at countless venues. We went from updating mechanics to inventing new ones, adding a breadth of options to the game and making the system truly our own. We've made mistakes, and we've had huge triumphs. Now it is time to take all of that knowledge and make the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game even better.

By now, you've probably read all about the upcoming launch of the Playtest version of the game set to release on August 2nd, 2018 (but just in case you haven't, click here). In the weeks and months leading up to that release, we are going give you an in-depth look at this game, previewing all 12 of the classes and examining many of the most fundamental changes to the game. Of course, that is a long time to wait to get a complete picture, so I wanted to take this opportunity to give you insight into the game, how it works, and why we made the changes that we made. We will be covering these in much more detail later, but we thought it might be useful to give a general overview right now.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

New, but the Same

Our first goal was to make Pathfinder Second Edition feel just like the game you know and love. That means that as a player, you need to be able to make the choices that allow you to build the character you want to play. Similarly, as a Game Master, you need to have the tools and the support to tell the story you want to tell. The rules that make up the game have to fundamentally still fill the same role they did before, even if some of the mechanics behind them are different.

Building a Character

It's worth taking a moment to talk about how characters are built, because we spent a lot of time making this process smoother and more intuitive. You start by selecting your ancestry (which used to be called race), figuring out where you came from and what sorts of basic statistics you have. Next you decide on your background, representing how you were raised and what you did before taking up the life of an adventurer. Finally, you select your class, the profession you have dedicated yourself to as an intrepid explorer. Each one of these choices is very important, modifying your starting ability scores, giving you starting proficiencies and class skills, and opening up entire feat chains tailored to your character.

After making the big choices that define your character, you have a variety of smaller choices to make, including assigning skill proficiencies, picking an ancestry feat, buying gear, and deciding on the options presented by your class. Finally, after deciding on all of your choices, the only thing left to do is figure out all of your bonuses, which are now determined by one unified system of proficiency, based on your character's level.

As you go on grand adventures with your character, you will gain experience and eventually level up. Pathfinder characters have exciting and important choices to make every time they gain a level, from selecting new class feats to adding new spells to their repertoires.

Playing the Game

We've made a number of changes to the way the game is played, to clean up the overall flow of play and to add some interesting choices in every part of the story. First up, we have broken play up into three distinct components. Encounter mode is what happens when you are in a fight, measuring time in seconds, each one of which can mean life or death. Exploration mode is measured in minutes and hours, representing travel and investigation, finding traps, decoding ancient runes, or even mingling at the queen's coronation ball. Of all the modes of play, exploration is the most flexible, allowing for easy storytelling and a quick moving narrative. Finally, the downtime mode happens when your characters are back in town, or relative safety, allowing them to retrain abilities, practice a trade, lead an organization, craft items, or recuperate from wounds. Downtime is measured in days, generally allowing time to flow by in an instant.

Most of the game happens in exploration or encounter mode, with the two types of play flowing easily from one to the other. In fact, exploration mode can have a big impact on how combat begins, determining what you roll for your initiative. In a group of four exploring a dungeon, two characters might have their weapons ready, keeping an eye out for danger. Another might be skulking ahead, keeping to the shadows, while the fourth is looking for magic. If combat begins, the first two begin with their weapons drawn, ready for a fight, and they roll Perception for their initiative. The skulking character rolls Stealth for initiative, giving them a chance to hide before the fight even begins. The final adventurer rolls Perception for initiative, but also gains some insight as to whether or not there is magic in the room.

After initiative is sorted out and it's your turn to act, you get to take three actions on your turn, in any combination. Gone are different types of actions, which can slow down play and add confusion at the table. Instead, most things, like moving, attacking, or drawing a weapon, take just one action, meaning that you can attack more than once in a single turn! Each attack after the first takes a penalty, but you still have a chance to score a hit. In Pathfinder Second Edition, most spells take two actions to cast, but there are some that take only one. Magic missile, for example, can be cast using from one to three actions, giving you an additional missile for each action you spend on casting it!

Between turns, each character also has one reaction they can take to interrupt other actions. The fighter, for example, has the ability to take an attack of opportunity if a foe tries to move past or its defenses are down. Many classes and monsters have different things they can do with their reactions, making each combat a little bit less predictable and a lot more exciting. Cast a fire spell near a red dragon, for example, and you might just find it takes control of your magic, roasting you and your friends instead of the intended target!

Monsters and Treasure

The changes to the game are happening on both sides of the GM screen. Monsters, traps, and magic items have all gotten significant revisions.

First off, monsters are a lot easier to design. We've moved away from strict monster construction formulas based off type and Hit Dice. Instead, we start by deciding on the creature's rough level and role in the game, then select statistics that make it a balanced and appropriate part of the game. Two 7th-level creatures might have different statistics, allowing them to play differently at the table, despite both being appropriate challenges for characters of that level.

This also makes it easier for us to present monsters, giving us more space to include special abilities and actions that really make a monster unique. Take the fearsome tyrannosaurus, for example; if this terrifying dinosaur gets you in its jaws, it can take an action to fling you up to 20 feet through the air, dealing tremendous damage to you in the process!

Hazards are now a more important part of the game, from rangers creating snares to traps that you have to actively fight against if you want to survive. Poisons, curses, and diseases are a far more serious problem to deal with, having varied effects that can cause serious penalties, or even death.

Of all of the systems that Game Masters interact with, magic items are one of the most important, so we spent extra time ensuring that they are interesting and fun. First and foremost, we have taken significant steps to allow characters to carry the items they want, instead of the items that they feel they must have to succeed. Good armor and a powerful weapon are still critical to the game, but you no longer have to carry a host of other smaller trinkets to boost up your saving throws or ability scores. Instead, you find and make the magic items that grant you cool new things to do during play, giving you the edge against all of the monsters intent on making you into their next meal.

We can't wait until you find your first +1 longsword to see what it can do!

What's Next?

There are a lot of things we are excited to show off, so many in fact that we have to pace ourselves. First off, if you want to hear the game in action right now, we've recorded a special podcast with the folks from the Glass Cannon Network, converting the original Pathfinder First Edition Module, Crypt of the Everflame, to the new edition. Head on over to their site and listen to the first part of this adventure now!

Stop by tomorrow for the first blog taking an in-depth look at Pathfinder Second Edition, starting off with the new system for taking actions, then visit us again on Friday for an exploration of the Glass Cannon game, exploring some of its spoilers in detail!

We Need You!

All of us at Paizo want to take a moment to thank you, the fans, players, and game masters that have made this exciting journey a possibility. It's been a wild ride for the past decade, and speaking personally, I could not be more excited for where we are heading. But, as I am sure you've heard a number of times already, we cannot make this game without you, without your feedback and passion for the game. Thank you for coming with us on this adventure, thank you for contributing to our community, and thank you for playing Pathfinder.

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest
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3 people marked this as a favorite.
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I do want to point out (since I looked it up) that 2nd Edition AD&D was first released in 1989, and third edition followed it in the year 2000- eleven years later. If 3rd edition was a reasonable thing to do after 11 years of AD&D 2nd edition, then I fail to see how Pathfinder 2nd edition being released 11 years after Pathfinder 1st edition is even remotely unreasonable; particularly since Pathfinder has been much better supported than AD&D 2e. Note- I still have all my 2nd edition books and I do not consider them worthless.

This pretty much nails it for me. Made the same jump from 2E to 3E with a mix of trepidation, optimism and excitement. At the time my RL gaming group were knee deep in a sprawling campaign and we went all in for converting and play-testing as we went, and had a blast doing it.

PF2E, to me offers the same opportunities - all our previous lore and products (as PossibleCabbage and others have succinctly said) aren't lost or defunct - they'll remain as conversion sources and inspirational materials.

I for one look optimistically forward to seeing what PF2E brings, figuratively and literally, to the table.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
QuadSquidSquad wrote:

You keep using words like "confusing" and "stream-lining", but you're not very convincing about it. Because, face it, most GMs can hand wave any of the difficulty of your system away, but can that difficulty so easily be reinserted? Your game is challenging and complex, and while it seems you think that is a detriment to your bottom line, I think you're going to find that the majority of your players see it as the very core of your value.

GMs handwaving problems away is in my experience a bug, not a feature.

Rule Zero in my experience shouldn’t be “don’t let Rules get in the way of fun”, it should be “if you encounter a problem do the design work to make it compatible with your table”. The less of that I have to do, the better, but inversely if I so have to do the work, I hope the rules are as transparent about the underlying math and assumptions as possible.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I already got told from my gaming group that they will not touch 1E with a 10 foot pole, so no tears from my side for that edition.

2E we will see, but it will probably still be too near to 1E for them anyway.

The MAIN thing is, keep releasing those glorious Adventure Paths, they are the main thing i buy, regardless of theme, and they are always a treat to read and use parts from. As long as those stay intact, i am with you.


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QuadSquidSquad wrote:

...Because, face it, most GMs can hand wave any of the difficulty of your system away, but can that difficulty so easily be reinserted? Your game is challenging and complex, and while it seems you think that is a detriment to your bottom line, I think you're going to find that the majority of your players see it as the very core of your value.

For me, when the proper answer to such a problem is “a good GM hand-waves” for 90% of the questions, it’s time for a fix. What if the problem is so baked in that any expansion triggers it, like high-level rocket tag? Or what happens when a new idea comes along that the majority of players agree it’s a good thing like archetypes, but because it’s not in the core book it’s limiting its usefulness? A game that doesn’t clean up and revise periodically will die from a thousand cuts. Even a game as stable as Call of Cthulhu has changed quite dramatically over the years while keeping its core tenets.

My local PF group is a bunch of ten to thirty-five year veterans of D&D, with so much institutional knowledge of d20 and 3rd Edition we’ve had to generate pages and pages of house rules to restore fun to our PF games (effectively making ‘armistice treaties’ on the material we can and can’t use in order to make the game more fun for us.) We’ve also added in extra tweaks to incentivize mobility in combat and deincentivize magic item arms races. As a group, when the house rules gets over about three or four pages, we welcome a revision to the game that, at its core, we enjoy. If we didn’t enjoy it, we wouldn’t have gone through that much trouble to keep it fun.


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Count me in the cautious maybe camp . . . .

A few random thoughts:

    :
  • With respect to setting-specific stuff in the Core Rulebook, I could understand how if it was simply mixed into a solid mass it could be objectionable, but on the other hand if you introduce it in the form of frequent sidebars of the form "Xxxx in Golarion", it could actually be helpful as a set of clearly demarcated examples, even to world-builders who want nothing to do with the default Pathfinder Campaign Setting.
  • With respect to 10th (or even higher) level spells: I don't know what is in the actual plan for PF2e, but a good use for this would be to level-bump some spells that are too powerful for the level where they are without removing them entirely or simply nerfing them into uninteresting blobs. I think that 1 added level of spells won't be enough to accomplish this, but it's a start.
  • Put my vote in for MORE of monsters following the same rules as PCs, even if the particular ones they follow are hard for PCs to get. And while we're at it, I want to see a Pathfinder 2.0 equivalent of Savage Species . . . But DO look for ways to make it easier to figure out a monster's abilities (or for that matter, a PC-class NPC's abilities) without having to look through a huge number of other books.
  • Also put in my vote for reform to Animals (and Vermin). Some Animals don't get enough credit for intelligence or alignment potential in D&D versions up through 3.5/PF (not sure about 4th Edition and 5th Edition). If a Skeleton or Zombie with no more Intelligence than an early 21st Century robot can be Evil, recognize that a dog can be Good . . . .

Shadow Lodge

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i'm all-in for a new edition...the last few years i've started to get a bit of pf fatigue...i still enjoy playing it in the moment because i like the stories the adventure paths tell...but we have so many house rules and established tropes now it'll be nice to be able to do some new things with the game...i've always liked the golarion setting more than the rules anyway which is why i can't wait until some new novels come along...but until then this sounds like just the refresher i need...

back when starfinder released i honestly thought i was done with pathfinder for good since sci-fi is really more my thing and the rules looked more streamlined...but sadly my group hasn't wanted to give it a try yet so a second edition for pf seems much more likely to actually see some play time...


QuadSquidSquad wrote:

You keep using words like "confusing" and "stream-lining", but you're not very convincing about it. Because, face it, most GMs can hand wave any of the difficulty of your system away, but can that difficulty so easily be reinserted? Your game is challenging and complex, and while it seems you think that is a detriment to your bottom line, I think you're going to find that the majority of your players see it as the very core of your value.

100% accurate.

The main reason I've switched from 5e to PF is because of PF's more structured & complex game design. If I wanted to play a rules-lite RPG, I would have just stuck with 5e. I came to PF for a reason, don't now make that a moot reason.

---------------

This whole talk of backgrounds becoming a rule & not just fluff is troublesome to me though... Having something as important as your characters background be governed by something as concrete & restricting as the very rules of the game seems like a really bad move to me.

Unless you create rules for every possible background a character could have, in other words, do the impossible (& make the game needlessly complex in the process), or have the backgrounds be extremely vague & broad, leaving finer details up to the PC, I don't think this idea is going to win you any fans. If anything, it will just help drive away current supporters...


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I was thinking that Paizo should come out with a new edition and here it is!

I was on the fence before I listened, not pessimistic or optimistic, just neutral. Yet from what I listened to during the podcast with Glass Cannon, it sounds all very reasonable really.

Like being able to, as a fighter, use your shield as an immediate action to take the damage for you instead. With the shield blocking damage equal to its hardness and it only taking damage if the hardness was overcome. Also that if you are proficient with shields, you can naturally use them to shield bash enemies which is very nice.

Or that spellcasters are required to spend a number of actions equal to if the spell has V and/or S components. So for example you could cast the cantrip Acid Splash (V+S) and still have an action left over to cast Shield (V). I do wonder how Paizo will be handling Still and Silent Spell metamagic feats if that is how spellcasting runs off the new action economy.


Personally I am sceptical, much like with Starfinder, I'm interested. However I worry that it will be dumbed down, I love the depth and complexity of PF and rarely have problems with the rules. I rarely need to House Rule anything and love that for almost anything I need there is already a thought through rule for it. While learning it can be slow as there is so much to learn once people have they have incredible freedom within the game.

I'm definitely going to give it a go, partially because I'm looking forward to seeing The Dominion of the Black invade. But I don't think I will ever get tired of first edition. This game was made by people who never wanted to stop playing D&D 3.5, I wonder if this will have its own Pathfinder offshoot one day.


Jason S wrote:
SteelGuts wrote:
I have three editions of DND, two of 5E because we got a custom made French one. Three of Warhammer RPG, two for L5R, two for Warammer 40K....

Yeah, but how much are they being played today? Every edition fractures an already small subculture and makes it even smaller.

Attended two local conventions recently. No 5E. No Warhammer. No L5R. No Warhammer 40K. 1 table of Starfinder. 6 tables of Pathfinder, which basically supported the entire convention. Imo "old" PF is doing a lot better than the edition jumpers.

This is a very fair point. We don’t have much convention so RPG is really more of a friends groups on table or Roll 20.

I can’t speak for the other of course. But each time, so far, that I switched to a new edition of one of my RPG, I preferred the new one. It was always « sharper » (dunno if I am clear here damn lack of vocabulary). Generally speaking the new additions or revisions were where I wanted them to be. And you have to consider that for me it was harder because we don’t have much translations in France, so new Dark Heresy will probably never be translated and yet I prefer it.

I think the huge issue is money. That is why I was expanding the parallelism with Wargames and Boardgame or other RPGs. But still, you can stay on Pathfinder 1. I will probably for a long time, as I will wait for a few supplements to get out for 2.0. There are so many AP I did not play yet or build I did not try. People are angry that the game is going to finish but there don’t even have played 50% of what is already out.


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Sweet sahuagins! Really looking forward to this. It's high time to wash away the compatibility crud of 3rd edition AD&D. And yes, I have played D&D since the early 80's and had had lots of fun in all previous editions. But a lot has happened since 3.5 in game design, and Pathfinder so nervously clinging to so many (rather stale) gygaxisms is hopefully soon behind us. To quote Bruce Lee; absorb what is useful, discard the rest. Can't wait to read the playtest!


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
QuadSquidSquad wrote:

You keep using words like "confusing" and "stream-lining", but you're not very convincing about it. Because, face it, most GMs can hand wave any of the difficulty of your system away, but can that difficulty so easily be reinserted? Your game is challenging and complex, and while it seems you think that is a detriment to your bottom line, I think you're going to find that the majority of your players see it as the very core of your value.

GMs handwaving problems away is in my experience a bug, not a feature.

Rule Zero in my experience shouldn’t be “don’t let Rules get in the way of fun”, it should be “if you encounter a problem do the design work to make it compatible IIIwith your table”. The less of that I have to do, the better, but inversely if I so have to do the work, I hope the rules are as transparent about the underlying math and assumptions as possible.

What I meant is a GM can involve a new player easily through guidance and legerdemain, and then the player can grow into the system. But when you aim for simplified the challenge and thrill involved with mastery just aren't there anymore. It just seems like you're intent on making a game you can't get good at.

And right now, I've got to wonder how much is set in stone and how much is up to the playtest. Cause I listened to the podcast,and the combat sysyem feels clunky rather than simple. When casting, I can't speak a verbal component while moving my hands for the somatic component at the same time? I can attack, at level 1, three times in a round with a rapier, but only fighters can attack a retreating opponent? I can be well within my movement speed, but jumping up on a log is a separate action?


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I'm uneasy how much the new rule set sounds like 5E. I REALLY, REALLY dislike those rules and hope the playtest takes 0% inspiration from 5E. I'll look over the rules when they come out but my first impression is a pretty bad one as it seems like the things I like about pathfinder are things getting 'fixed'.


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Razcar wrote:
Sweet sahuagins! Really looking forward to this. It's high time to wash away the compatibility crud of 3rd edition AD&D. And yes, I have played D&D since the early 80's and had had lots of fun in all previous editions. But a lot has happened since 3.5 in game design, and Pathfinder so nervously clinging to so many (rather stale) gygaxisms is hopefully soon behind us. To quote Bruce Lee; absorb what is useful, discard the rest. Can't wait to read the playtest!

Gygx was not a fan of 3E and there were very few Gygaxisms left in the game by the time PF landed. A few alignment restrictions perhaps.

Anyway ex PF player here the complexity and bloat killed it for me, loved the Inner Sea World Guide and early PF.

Currently playing 5E alternating with AD&D/OSR clones. Will probably buy just to throw some money Paizo's way and 5E is not perfect it was just better than the other options (3.5, PF, 4E etc).

Miss a few 3.X isms at least in concept, execution maybe not. They are.

1. Larger skill list.

2. Microfeats

3. Fort/Rex/Will saves (6 saves makes the game less complex how?).

4. Slower healing rate (natural, wands of CLW can sod off as well)

5. 4 encounters per day not 6-8

6. Short rest and long rest classes can be difficult to play nice together with adventure pacing.

7.Some traditional D&D isms such as LG only paladins.

I don't mind complexity to much when it comes to options (lots of classes, feats etc) although I prefer less classes and races its not a strict requirement.

There are some things I do not like about Pathfinder over 3.5, WAR art being one of them but complexity is the main killer. Stacking bonuses, being able to buy magic items, fiddly modifiers are all really annoying.


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To all those who say "you can still play 1e if 2e doesn't appeal to you" that's obvious, but that's not the point.

Look at it this way, do you think it would be more fun to play in & be a part of the currently supported system, or would you rather be left behind in the dust?

No one voluntarily wants to play an "outdated" system & you can hardly blame them for voicing any displeasure they have towards that. Long time Pathfinder fans should know this better then anyone, considering PF's origins...

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Olorin_Plane_Walker wrote:

This whole talk of backgrounds becoming a rule & not just fluff is troublesome to me though... Having something as important as your characters background be governed by something as concrete & restricting as the very rules of the game seems like a really bad move to me.

Unless you create rules for every possible background a character could have, in other words, do the impossible (& make the game needlessly complex in the process), or have the backgrounds be extremely vague & broad, leaving finer details up to the PC, I don't think this idea is going to win you any fans. If anything, it will just help drive away current supporters...

Yeah, I can't imagine this being a very good idea. If that turns out to be the case when the playtest hits maybe the people at Paizo will actually listen so we don't end up with "Okay everybody, literally roll up your character. Start at the race table, then background, etc" as a core idea.

Yes that is an exaggeration. No, that is not something I want to see from Paizo. They are(or at least should be) better than that.


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Dragonborn3 wrote:
Olorin_Plane_Walker wrote:

This whole talk of backgrounds becoming a rule & not just fluff is troublesome to me though... Having something as important as your characters background be governed by something as concrete & restricting as the very rules of the game seems like a really bad move to me.

Unless you create rules for every possible background a character could have, in other words, do the impossible (& make the game needlessly complex in the process), or have the backgrounds be extremely vague & broad, leaving finer details up to the PC, I don't think this idea is going to win you any fans. If anything, it will just help drive away current supporters...

Yeah, I can't imagine this being a very good idea. If that turns out to be the case when the playtest hits maybe the people at Paizo will actually listen so we don't end up with "Okay everybody, literally roll up your character. Start at the race table, then background, etc" as a core idea.

Yes that is an exaggeration. No, that is not something I want to see from Paizo. They are(or at least should be) better than that.

It sounds like an update to the trait system to me. I can't see how that is a bad thing as it did serve as part of your character's backstory with mechanical benefits and one drawback.

Scarab Sages

I'm sad this is happening because I love Pathfinder the way it is, but its just too early to decide how I feel(other than nervous) about the new system. My problem is that even if the new system is good it feels unnecessary. Pretty much all of my current gaming is PFS/SFS I just don't have the time for much else, and claims that my 1st edition PFS campaign isn't going anywhere are only half true. Sure I can still play my first edition PFS characters for now, but without new material the campaign isn't alive its on life support. So now I just have to wait and hope that my favorite hobby remains one that I want to be a part of.


Zardnaar wrote:


Gygx was not a fan of 3E and there were very few Gygaxisms left in the game by the time PF landed. A few alignment restrictions perhaps.

You're correct. I should have written TSRisms instead, or maybe williamisms... (j/k on the last one)


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Are you including (my much loved) Psionics this time around?


If the backgrounds are like 5e then you'll be able to make your own tailored to your backstory.

The Ragi wrote:
Are you including (my much loved) Psionics this time around?

A spell point based variant rule should do that fine.


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Razcar wrote:
Zardnaar wrote:


Gygx was not a fan of 3E and there were very few Gygaxisms left in the game by the time PF landed. A few alignment restrictions perhaps.
You're correct. I should have written TSRisms instead, or maybe williamisms... (j/k on the last one)

MonteCookisms perhaps even then 3.0 had 5 IIRC designers on it. They played it like 2E in testing apparently. What broke 3.0 and plagued 3.x was those changes they made from 2E to 3.0. Hell if you d20ized 2E and added feats you arguably would have a better game than 3.0.

I actually played 2E after I burnt out on 3.x. Started to prefer it over 3.x once I houseruled in BAB over THAC0 and tweaked the human and dumped level limits. Kept racial restrictions though it is AD&D.

To a previous poster I voluntarily play older D&D's and their clones. Easier to run and better balanced than 3.x, and are grittier than 5E/does different things. If you want to have fun at level 12+ break out B/X or BECMI. Its odd playing B/X again even with 2d6 for morale and reactions once you get past level 6 or so the game runs reasonably well (even with THAC0).

3.0, and 5E are essentially new games, 4E kind of evolved (mutated perhaps) out of late 3.5 splats.

OD&D, B/X. 1E, 2E were evolution's along with 3.5 and Pathfinder.


I just realized that since Return of the Runelords is scheduled to have its final installment come out in January 2019, this means that we get exactly 1 more AP afterwards that has to support the Pathfinder 1st Edition rules (although it might have sidebars or other pointers for conversion to Pathfinder 2nd Edition, and Return of the Runelords conceivably could even have this as well, although it seems less likely due to the earlier state of the Pathfinder 2nd Edition Playtest(*)). As far as I know, not much has been said after the AP after Rise of the Runelords(**).

(*)And James Jacobs said that Return of the Runelords will be 100% 1st Edition Pathfinder, which leaves 0% for sidebars.

(**)Except that Eric Mona, who is also one of the announcers of Pathfinder 2nd Edition in the Join the Evolution! video, said "And WOW, that last AP is a DOOZY".

Actually, this probably deserves its own thread, and since I couldn't find one, I'm going to make one . . . DONE.


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My first reaction is negative.

The blind-spot in the whole "but you can still access / convert old material" is that the playerbase, consciously or not, will understand this business decision as an abandonment of the old edition, and will move on one way or the other, with all the books losing their play value as they are rendered more obscure with the passing of time.

A company simply can't have it both ways no matter what an FAQ entry says.


Olorin_Plane_Walker wrote:

To all those who say "you can still play 1e if 2e doesn't appeal to you" that's obvious, but that's not the point.

Look at it this way, do you think it would be more fun to play in & be a part of the currently supported system, or would you rather be left behind in the dust?

No one voluntarily wants to play an "outdated" system & you can hardly blame them for voicing any displeasure they have towards that. Long time Pathfinder fans should know this better then anyone, considering PF's origins...

well not no one I know a few people that won't move on from their edition all the way back to first. I think their is even a trend right now for people wanting to play retro systems.


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I don't use your forums much, but I've played a lot of Pathfinder and I've read almost all of your (in this post, you = Paizo/PF devs) published material, and I wanted to offer some of the things I think you deserve in the thread, especially given all the reactionary and childish behavior you're having to handle. I hope you're not taking it too personally, but I know firsthand how rough criticism can be sometimes.

Pathfinder is one of my favorite games (systems) ever, and I love it to death, and I'm intensely grateful to all of you who worked so hard on it for the years it took to go from one of the most well-crafted RPGs to the richest, most customizeable (using first-party content, not saying "you can do whatever you like") game I've ever had the pleasure to play.

I feel minorly qualified to offer basic advice for you to think about, but I recognize you've probably heard it before, you've probably heard it said better, and you know your business (RPG-making) better than everyone in this thread with the likely exception of being tied in knowledge with a couple of your 3PP designers.

Here are my thoughts on some major questions in this thread, possible changes from 1E to improve your system, and what you've already done right.

Spellcasters are more and more broadly powerful than melees. And that's okay! Many players have issues with spellcasters outshining them. That's not a system problem, that's a playgroup or mentality problem. Your Fighter isn't ever going to make people fly, and flying is f$!#ing cool, but so is being a fighter and knocking the s*&# out of dragons and demons (or angels!), and if the people around you aren't giving you the positive reinforcement and general camaraderie you deserve for playing your roll well, they're not doing their jobs as friends / fellow players.

You should make it so monsters [do/don't] use PC rules! Well, personally, I think you've already done that beautifully in 1E. There are monster abilities, there are special abilities (a dragon's aura isn't any less impressive because high-level spellcasters can cause similar effects), and there is still room for synchronizing effects like constitution damage's effects on players and monsters, there is still room for giving NPCs class levels, and there is still a universally-understood underpinning underpinning behind each character that lets player characters use the intuition they would have to make assumptions: This creature is very fast (high dex), it is going to be difficult to touch (touch AC, escape artist, etc.). The shared mathematical relations players have to learn to play their own character naturally lead them to understand enemies, which is critical.

Don't take out the math! Please! I will keep playing and enjoying Pathfinder 1E if you do, and I will understand, but I would love to move forward with you all as you try to make a better game. Providing simplifications is excellent, and it would help more people get into your game, and it would be more than sufficient for many people, but a large portion of your existing playerbase LOVES the detail and the tweaking and having LOTS of options and LOTS of choices every time they create a new character or level up. "I get two new spells, five more skill points, another feat, a class feature, etc." is a bread and butter and highly cherished aspect of the game to me. You've heard this before, but it's the single most important thing to me, so I believe it merits echoing.

Soften prohibitive requirements without sacrificing an assumption and heavy reward for specialization. The barrier to making a reasonable Grapple is too high - 13 int (why?), two feats (why?), and an understanding of one of the worst, least clear systems in the game (i know you know this, and I don't say this to be rude). Let's not talk about pinning, even. Let's not talk about the "Grab" special ability, its implications if you maintain a grapple with the attack that has the "Grab" special ability, and god forbid dealing with tentacled or devouring creatures. Pin could be a feat - it could be stronger if acquired, and it would reduce greatly the burden of understanding on a player (or DM!) having to resolve a grapple for the first time. That's in line with my favorite combat maneuver, Trip, which has the extremely cool and satisfyingly simple reward of making the target provoke an attack of opportunity with its Greater feat. Specialization should unlock new depths of a skill and make it truly powerful; it should not be a barrier to entry, especially in the case of common things like combat maneuvers.

Honestly, I don't want your background. Frankly, I don't want backgrounds to exist. I don't want to come into character design and think about what fits your mold, what background allows me to do what I want how I want it, or to fit a trope (every time). Every character I create, every game I play, I will pick and choose effects from multiple backgrounds to customize my character. If you do make a set of common backgrounds, let it be pre-packaged sets of what used to be traits, proficiencies, etc., instead of the primary or exclusive means of statting up a character. See the below for more on this - "some other game's" approach is a massive turn-off.

Last thing: I don't want to see you try to compete for 5E's market share, you probably don't want that, and most of the people who already have interest in your brand don't want that. There's good reason not to, as well. You know how to do you best. You've learned from your mistakes, your successes, and your game's community more effectively than you've learned from 5E's successes. Be cautious borrowing too heavily from the successes of others. The surest knowledge you have is about your own system - stray only carefully.

I'll add more thoughts a little later, and hopefully only after reading some of your blog posts in the coming weeks. I am cautiously optimistic about my chances of having a new favorite RPG come 2019, but I am absolutely thrilled for all of you that you're having such success and working on something new that you can love less conditionally.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Freelancing reaction (I might be the only one like this right now, I might not...)

Looks at pile of 1.0 work he was working on...

Announcement made

Looks at pile of 1.0 work he was close to finishing...

Looks at pile of 2.0 conversion work to be redone...

Thinks about how big the 1.0 core book was, and realises he has to read 2.0 again when it comes out...

And then new Bestiary rules to follow...

Thinks of nice kind Paizocon Paizo staff and what they just did to his workload...

Thinks "You (insert favourite rude word here in capitals)!"
(add as many exclamations as you feel appropriate :P)

Rolls up sleeve...

Realises there is only one core book all of a sudden to worry about...

Feels better about that... a little...

Remembers his self funded, self promoted Pathfinder blog on Pathfinder games design...

Horror strikes faster than the Horror rules in a game run by Jason B...

...Even... more... to... convert...

"You (insert another favourite rude word here in capitals)!!"

Checks ink in the pen...
...oil in the lantern...
...mice in the internet wheel...
... puts daily Paizo 2.0 playtest visit on calendar...

... and sets to work, starting with re-planning everything! >.<


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Olorin_Plane_Walker wrote:

To all those who say "you can still play 1e if 2e doesn't appeal to you" that's obvious, but that's not the point.

Look at it this way, do you think it would be more fun to play in & be a part of the currently supported system, or would you rather be left behind in the dust?

I play the game I enjoy, and don't care at all about whether it has current support. I'm still playing Runequest 2e (though I'm enjoying MgT 2e plenty as well).


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Olorin_Plane_Walker wrote:

To all those who say "you can still play 1e if 2e doesn't appeal to you" that's obvious, but that's not the point.

Look at it this way, do you think it would be more fun to play in & be a part of the currently supported system, or would you rather be left behind in the dust?

No one voluntarily wants to play an "outdated" system & you can hardly blame them for voicing any displeasure they have towards that. Long time Pathfinder fans should know this better then anyone, considering PF's origins...

well not no one I know a few people that won't move on from their edition all the way back to first. I think their is even a trend right now for people wanting to play retro systems.

OSR is around 3% of the games played online, 3.5 5%, PF 15%, big Kahuna is 5E.

Still 3% is not that far behind 3.5 and its ahead of 4E. There is some nice OSR games and books being produced as well.

4E is beating 1E though (not by a lot). OSR is split over 3 editions of D&D (4 if you count 2E) and a lot of clones.


Ooh! Very interesting!

Also, on a somewhat unrelated note, as a Greek I find the way Paizo is pronounced by Mr. Mona and Mr. Bulmahn in the video here so very very weird. :-P

Silver Crusade

Mr Erik Mona, will the Worldscape content still be canon as of 2E?

Then there's the Vampire Hunter D book (and the upcoming Niobe module) that was supposed to be sold on the store, will those be ported to 2E or sold in 1E format?

Liberty's Edge

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

Give me landscaped gm screen and character sheets please!


Aroden returns!


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I want to buy Deluxe Rulebook, Module, Flip-Mat - where to sign?


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I... Don't like how I feel about this. I like Pathfinder, and I'm not poised to jump ship. There's no other system I've been waiting to run to at the first mistake. This is my game of choice.

So... Here's hoping Pathfinder 2e is great. Here's hoping Pathfinder 2e doesn't leave me going "Well... there's no roleplaying games left that I'm interested in playing any more."

Count me in on the playtest at least, but I've gotta say, I'm really, REALLY worried about seeing 2e fail to live up to what 1e gave us over these past years.


Damn the conflict of emotions right now.

As a GM and someone who over the last year has come to despise elements of the Pathfinder rules I am hyped for a cleaner, smoother game system.

The other side of me is pained that I dropped a lot of money on Frog God books over the last year and now might have to do additional work to use the content from them.

I'm also interested to see how Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds do with this, considering they've just in the last year go their licences and started rolling out items those items are now in effect going to be less desired over time.

Will pick up the free PDF copies of things and run this for my RP group at the end of the year, I have hopes for the new system and will give it a go before I lose all hope.


So...it's is basically dungeons and dragons 5e action economy and skill consolidation with a Pathfinder/paizo/golarion spin on it...not at unhappy with this, the only true scare I have(and it's deeply unsettling sleep depriving fear) what do I do with all these Pathfinder hardcovers I have?!?!?!, Which not to toot my own horn(throwback to one of gcp old episode) is almost all of them with campaign settings, adventure paths, and player compabions. Please paizo please oh please don't make them useless...


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Erik Mona wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:


Just out of curiosity's sake, are there any plans to delve a little deeper into non-Inner Sea continents, such as Arcadia?

Yes. The initial focus will be the Inner Sea, but for instance we just had a high-level conversation the other day where we were discussing that the "cover absolutely everything/everything gets one column" approach we ended up taking for the Dragon Empires could have been a lot better, and that the framework we're building for setting stuff needs to better allow for deeper dives on out-of-the-way places.

Brilliant.


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

So, people keep saying, "This is just a cash grab!" or similar things. Well no, and yes, in a way. Of course Paizo is producing this new edition to make money, just as they are producing the current edition to make money. Paizo is a business, and the object of a business is to make money. That is not reprehensible, that is just economics. They're not the salvation army. If your business does not make money, or not enough, it will die. Paizo is a business, and they are well within their rights to continue to want to make money.

One of their moneymakers is the Roleplaying Game product line. But that line is coming to a natural end. There are only so many new rules you can invent without the whole thing getting ridiculous. What kind of rulebooks for the current edition can you imagine that would not be called "cash grabs"? "What? Yet another bestiary? I have monsters enough, they just want my money!" "Oh god not another book of hundreds of feats and spells. The game is bloated enough, you're not getting my money for that!" and so on.

Companies like Paizo live by publishing and selling new books on a regular basis. Do you expect them to say, "OK we can't really think of any new rulebooks that actually contribute to the game, so well, we'll just stop publishing thm"? Do you think that would be remotely commercially viable?

This is the natural evolution of a RPG business. Games are released, and then expanded and improved upon for several years. They eventually reach the natural end of their lifespan, and are then reborn in a new edition. That is the business model of RPG publishing companies, as is has always been, and as it will remain in the future.


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I will surely have a look in the 2.0 Version...

But in the moment it feels uncomfortable like a marketing decision like this:

3.5 survives...
3.5 thrives...
3.5 dies...
PF1 bye...bye...
PFS switch or die...
PF2 buy...buy...buy....


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Mixed feelings. I think Pathfinder needs an update.
There is some bloat that feels unhealthy for the game and is hard to remove only using errata. More importantly the higher levels feel worse than the earlier ones for various reasons and fixing this is beyond the scope of some slight adjustments.
So I believe a new edition is a good thing, even if it invalidates some of my books. As long as stuff is accessible online the books are optional either way (and I really hope Paizo keeps it this way).

So why mixed feelings? From the blog it sounds like Paizo tries to fix problems I've never seen as such. Pathfinder allowing for small adjustments and a ton of feats is one of its most important niches. I like browsing through hundreds of feats and think about possible combinations and builds. I like putting just a few skill points here and there. My character might be decent at acrobatics because he tumbled around a lot as a child, but if the new system is anything like what I'm afraid it will be I'll probably have the choice between being untrained or being an olympic jumper at higher levels.

A lot of people have chosen Pathfinder because they like the math and the fairness that comes with it. My biggest fear is that Pathfinder 2 will turn out steamlined and arbitrary. Don't allow this to happen.

I'm aware as someone who actually disliked the fact Paizo mostly ditched the advancement by HD rules for monsters from 3.5 I may not be representing a majority, but I'm pretty sure I'm not alone either.
Fix the shortcomings of Pathfinder like those I mentioned in the first paragraph, but don't dumb it down. Pretty please.


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Lisa Stevens wrote:


If you read the FAQ, you will notice that we plan to keep Pathfinder 1st edition in print through our pocket editions until there is no longer enough sales to justify them. If they last another ten year, then cool! No need for a 3PP. We are already going to do it.

-Lisa

No need for a 3PP would mean that new content for 3.x Pathfinder would still come out, therefore keeping the system alive. And that is not the case. Future adventures will be written for 2nd edition only, which means no new content to keep 1st edition alive unless there are 3PP that fill that void. The whole FAQ answer is "Yes, you can still buy rulebooks of a system that no longer will be supported by our company", which I have to say is a very cynical answer


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Not that you want to think about technology at a time like this! But 2e is a perfect opportunity to add some structure to your data storage and publishing that could help us all. It's something that's a huge effort to do later, and easiest at the point you are at right now.

Storing all pathfinder object (monsters, items, spells, etc etc) data in a structured format with a web based interface would allow:

* ease of sharing information with employees and freelancers through interface access control. No need for monster excel sheets and then checking you have the right version.

* ease for employees and freelancers to find the right object (monsters, items, etc) through anything from simple keyword search to very specific queries. For example: "give me all monsters that have an energy draining attack between CR5 and CR10 that were published in books related to cheliax”)

* structured data enforces and improves data consistency and data quality. Making QA more robust.

* structured data can make data versioning/change management much easier and more transparent

* automatically generated, guaranteed up-to-date documentation for the public (PF SRD). Plus automatic linking between related items.

* structured data can easily be made available to 3rd parties

* specific data can be automatically omitted or explicitly tagged in publications (unpublished content can be omitted and IP content can be tagged for example)

* structured data will enable the community to more easily create better apps, websites and services that further strengthen the game and the community (d20pfsrd, archives of nethys, hero labs, character sheet apps, monster databases, Spellfinder for Alexa, etc etc) - see the Eve Online API and the community services it has enabled for example (eg: http://evemaps.dotlan.net/).

This last one speaks to a strength of the Pathfinder community: there's a lot of us nerds who love your game and have the skills to build tools that simplify crunch for players and GMs that struggle with it.

I hope that all makes sense!


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Elizabeth Zeigler wrote:

Of all the things about 2e, this statement has me the most nervous:

"As the new edition of Pathfinder develops, most of your favorite classes, archetypes, feats, spells, and magic items will find a home somewhere in the game."

One of my favorite draws to Pathfinder IS the huge variety of classes and archetypes. Vigilante is one of my favorite classes, specifically a certain archetype of Vigilante; with the uncertain nature of what classes will be rolled out and when in 2e, I could hypothetically be waiting nearly ten years to play that class...if at all. We are flipping a coin to see what classes get an official 2e release, flipping another coin to see what archetypes get an official release, and yet flipping a third for what point of the edition's life cycle that it will be released.

That's a whole lot of coin flips just to reach the status-quo. Last thing I want to do is shell out the big bucks investing in an edition that may or may not even have the classes and archetypes I play.

You’ve nailed one of my two concerns. My favorite part of Pathfinder is the immense diversity of classes. My players also immensely enjoy the wide range of class options. In my opinion, this is a strength that has helped differentiate Pathfinder from the esteemed competition. Whether my group and I switch to PF2e will depend on how quickly the other classes are reintroduced. Hopefully they will come out quickly as the heavy lifting of creating the class has already been done. I’m hoping they come out with class books that include classes of a similar theme together (martial, arcane casters, nature based, etc) to give us access to all the classes faster rather than sprinkle them across other books over years and years.


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One reason I probably wont end up playing 2e is that it doesn't really sound like the type of game that I can port my Pathfinder setting to. Even ignoring the fact that "of course the game will have less content it just came out", my campaigns don't use the generic races, we don't play golarion, and it's probably going to be excruciatingly easy for characters to be made which don't fit any of the backgrounds..... the lack of psychic magic in core also doesn't help.

After a few years I'll probably give it a look, but my game based around planar content/philosophy-based divine magic/non-standard races/non-evil undead/subjective morality/planar magic... they don't like wont be coming any time soon.

I do hope they don't tie culture to the Ancestries, and that proficiencies aren't based around "What weapons were in europe".


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Late comer to this thread and sorry if this is a repeat question...

Will this be retro-compatible with version 1, or is all my stuff now useless à la D&D 3.5 to 4 a few years back.?


Gondolin wrote:

Late comer to this thread and sorry if this is a repeat question...

Will this be retro-compatible with version 1, or is all my stuff now useless à la D&D 3.5 to 4 a few years back.?

It sounds like no. But that you can attempt to homebrew things like the older content.


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darth_borehd wrote:
I am severely disappointed in Paizo and a little angry. This is exactly why I left D&D.

I feel exactly the same........

Do we know how long 1st edition will be supported for ?
I hope at least Return of the Runelords is still in 1E rules....I was really looking foreword to it....


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This was long overdue. It's exciting. And annoying, but such is life.

* It will be annoying if current content/classes are locked into being released as dribs and drabs - I don't want to ersatz a magus or witch - I want to be able to play them, oh I don't know, now? like I can currently? - the retrograde step could be years in the making, never mind the possibly questionable decisions about what gets lumped into what packet, and for how much. I don't see this as a cash grab at all, merely a needed readjustment, that other companies have done for years in a plethora of industries, that just happens to make amazing commercial sense, if it works.

* Golarion-infused. Damn. Such a pity if you don't care for Golarion. And the whole schitck of goblins AND alchemists (so THAT's why Alchemists are in the Rulebook, just realilsed!), just to push the Paizo-Golarion fan-ism (by which I mean the fans of Goblins, and Goblins as fire-pyros within Paizo) seems forced. And self-gratifying. Still, it's your world. I just want the rules, not your story baked into it. Yada yada yada, we had this thrashed out with the Adventurer's Guide and Starfinder...

* If it is simpler, why the complicated rules for shields? ;)

I'm currently running ADnD1e Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh in PF for my son, my brother and his kids. First session was last Saturday. We had a blast. Many jokes were had, and inspiration kindled. I'm sure they won't mind which edition we use, and if it is...less complicated... they might like it more. But I suspect it wasn't complicated to begin with, and the various interactions between the rules (the math) are endlessly diverting.

* One last thing: re the surveys - I remember these when DnD4e was coming. And 5th? They were so badly written. Leading questions. Vague shades of grey in terminology and language. Blunt inconsistencies. More leading questions. Some leading questions about blunt inconsistencies dressed up as preconceived notions. Terribly pedestrian questions about art direction. Blah blah blah. Please be direct, concise and not afraid to call a digging tool a spade. The clearer your questions the better we can answer. And please listen. I do get the feeling most of your minds are waaaaaaay made up, and the player/fanbase response will be to tidy up a few non-integral loose ends you couldn't really care less about one way or another. Like what owlbears should look like.

* Great to see Wayne Reynolds is on. More WAR!!!! Ask him to add in extra extraneous equipment to every unattended or depending extraneous loose piece of tied on equipment. Plus more bags, satchels, rings, necklaces, torcs, pointy feet, equipment, sticks, rods, gambesons, aventails, kettles, hookahs, sashes scarves and ponchos. And weapons! Weapons everywhere. Weapons as piercings! Piercing weapons and piercings as weapons. Tattoos. Leggings and puttees with immaculately planned geometric or random designs. Hanging from things, because they were only just washed and need to dry. By being hung out on sticks. Which are for marking out combat arenas. That are marked out with a little scratching fork located in the sheath. Over by the scabbard next to the pouch below the pocket. Love you to bits Wayne!

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