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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I will probably invest into playtest edition to see how it measures up to my favorite two games, 13th Age and Shadow of the Demon Lord.

If it is as good, as lean and elegant, then great. Otherwise, well, I'll be a happy owner of shiny playtest edition.

NOTE:
This means, in plain English, that I expect the people behind PFRPG 2nd edition to follow modern trends in RPG design, and slaughter sacred cows hailing from 3rd edition era.

A few examples:

- all-warrior party remains viable throughout all levels in 13th Age. Yes, warriors can support themselves without healers and wizards.

- adjudicating complicated combat in SotDl takes 45 minutes... if you're a beginner GM that is.

- magic items are not be all and end all of a character. Character abilities are more important than trinkets.

- feats that grant +1 to _something_, feats that grant +1 every N levels... GONE!

- there is place for epic magic, but it is not in combat. You don't cast reality altering stuff in seconds. On the other hand, Wizards don't need to run out of magic during a day, forcing everyone to take a long rest.

And so on.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

How strange if the greatest happiness from PF2e comes from Brazilians thrilled at the opportunity to get a different licensee...

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I do see a trend here that I need to answer. Newer does not equal better. A good game is a good game in 2018, in 2030, in 1970, and even in 1870. Matching up with the current fad does not mean better. People learn, but sometimes what they learn is a mistake.


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I will be downloading the playtest materials when they are released and checking things out, but doubt I will be 'wowwed' enough to convert to the new system when it comes out.

I am happy for the people that are excited about getting a new system. However, I moved to Pathfinder because it was an evolution of the gaming system I loved. It was firmly grounded (about 90% commonality) in the gaming system I had played since 1974 even as that gaming system evolved and changed.

So why am I not doing the same with PF2e...? Because from the list of changes for the playtest it is more of a 'let's streamline things' sort of edition. Which means (to my mind) dumb down things. Just my perception, could be wrong.

I also hate to see Paizo going the route of Wizards. Bringing out a new edition of course increases their revenue stream. Sell all the stuff again, right? To my mind, wrong! People have invested thousands of dollars in their interest/hobby and now suddenly, that gets sidelined. Why? Has there been an overwhelming outcry for a new game system? For an improved one (that has little commonality with the existing system save for using the same labels with spiffy new and improved mechanics *read changed here*)? I don't know, I am not a part of the Paizo customer service department but again I don't think so. I go to the Cons and the PFS players there have not been screaming to have all of their characters (which have taken years to advance to where they are) nerfed or rebuilt. Just the opposite actually.

As a corporate decision, I get it. But please, don't try to sell me on how great this is going to be. That is something we have seen already (4th edition anyone?) and it is insulting.

So again, happy for everyone that is excited about a new 'edition' but think it will ultimately be a new system. Which I have no interest in.

How much is my no interest? Well I was going to go to PaizoCon again but why bother? PFS play is going to take a major hit due to this change in a few months one way or another... so no need to bother with trying to get in some PFS play.

Some games reach a point where they do not need to be improved merely expanded and appreciated. As an example, I offer Monopoly. Played it as a kid, still play it occasionally with friends and plan on playing it with my grandkids... Because it is just fun. Always has been, probably always will be.

Winding this up, I would like to thank Paizo for a great 10 years and wish them luck. But they will not be getting any more of my money save perhaps some miniatures now and then. Between the stuff they have released and the wealth of 3rd Party Publishers out there who have been supported PF1e for the past 10 years, I suppose I have enough material to last me for a VERY long time.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

DM Alistair wrote :I never understood the hate against 4e and 5e.

For me, it was because when WoTC hyped their upcoming 4.0 and told us : «in the meantime, keep playing and buying D&D 3.5.» Only to find out later thant the 500$ worth of stuff I bought from those dweebs, would not be useable with 4.0. So I stuck with Paizo and Pathfinder and never gave WoTC another dime.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Keith McVay wrote:
Its to sell people a whole new set of books they already own.

That would defeat the purpose of a new edition, which is to be different enough to be worth the expenditure and development time and money.


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The real question is with all the changes to game mechanics, class design, race design/choices, etc. is what 1e Pathfinder classes and races will be able to comeback at all.


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Gondolin wrote:

DM Alistair wrote :I never understood the hate against 4e and 5e.

For me, it was because when WoTC hyped their upcoming 4.0 and told us : «in the meantime, keep playing and buying D&D 3.5.» Only to find out later thant the 500$ worth of stuff I bought from those dweebs, would not be useable with 4.0. So I stuck with Paizo and Pathfinder and never gave WoTC another dime.

And most of 3.5 was invalidated in Pathfinder except by GM fiat.

4e was a fun game, I honestly, truly wish people had given it a proper shot. 5e is also a fun game and appears to be just plain dominating the market in both sales and visibility with so many podcasts and such showing people playing it and discussing it.

I said it already but I'll say it again - Change is not bad and Paizo as a company needs to innovate to stay afloat. If they don't then their fan base will continue to shrink. The d20 system is nearly 20 years old and it's showing! What was once new and exciting (feats, the sorcerer class, skills) are now so worn down and trodden over that many people either balk at them or just try to find new and exciting other things (Why play a sorcerer when you can be a bloodrager? Why take that feat which requires 4 other feats to unlock when you could use this 3pp feat that does the same thing and is only 1 feat? Etc etc).

PF2E? Yes please!

Lantern Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

There’s lots that needs simplifying. But please don’t take it to far; don’t become 5e. Don’t introduce a blanket level based proficiency, don’t make skills so bound up in class and background that you remove the lovely customisation you have in Pathfinder.

Scarab Sages

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Why is it OGL based or compatible? Allows third parties to also make stuff for it?

As far as the initial read, I'm hesitant cause of the feats already being talking about being designed into. Ancestry feat at creation and a class feat every level? Can we expect to see the headache of feat trees and new feats in every single publication so it swells to a number north on "way to many?"

I'm on the fence but leaning toward the tap out already.


@DM Alistair

Would you settle for PF1.5E? LOL


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Wow. I don't think Paizo gets the depth of betrayal some of us may feel at this point. Hyperbole, some of you may view that last sentence, I am certain. Yes, we have yet to see what the changes may be. However, the way you have worded them gives us pause. If we wanted simple, we would not be playing Pathfinder. Avid gamers are not necessarily looking for simplicity. We want depth.
I dumped my original love (D&D). 4.0 was the last straw. For about 3 years or so, I did not purchase another RPG book. I kept my 3.5 and taught my sons (5) how to play. Then, at the insistence of a friend who played (and gifted my boys with their 1st miniatures), I checked out Pathfinder. We all fell head over heels for it. I have spent countless dollars (including subscribing for over 2 years now) on your products since. We love the diversity and possibility in 39+ character classes and all the archetypes.
It is a sad day to hear that all those books will now be, it appears to me, irrelevant. Perhaps I am wrong, but it appears that Paizo is now doing exactly what WoTC was guilty of: rebooting for the sake of sales.
I hope I am wrong, but if things are changing as drastically as they sound, Paizo and my family may be parting ways. Perhaps it is for the best. We own enough product to continue our games. Sad though that it will no longer be supported with new material.
We shall see.


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

You know you don't have to use all third party stuff out there, right?


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I want these employees at Paizo to be able to work and support their families and make a fantasy rpg. PF1 is slowly losing that and slipping away into unviability. The 3.5 holdouts aren’t enough to support the product anymore at the current number of releases. 5th is killing it in hth sales and online visibility. The old core rule book does not really work as a standalone document anymore. It needs too many follow up books that fixed things to be viable, or DM fiat to just take stuff out of the game that isn’t fun or bogs it down.

As a player I’ll be a bit sad since short term for sure choices will go down. We will lose some customizations that are fun and unique. That is a plus for a ten+ year old system. As a DM this makes me happy because Pathfinder is an awful game to onboard new players into. There is so much system mastery needed to make viable characters. Or even if you ignore that the party discrepancy between your players who just want to make a character and play and those who have that system mastery. I’d be happy to have a reasonable amount of choices that I don’t have to get with half my players at level up and guide them through their spell/feat selection.


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Not to be offensive or a downer but colour me skeptical, the last company that I was invested in that done this was GW getting ride of WHFB for Age of Sigmar. So I will be reserved and observe proceedings to see how it goes since I have some fears for the future.

EtG


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Keith McVay wrote:
Its to sell people a whole new set of books they already own.
That would defeat the purpose of a new edition, which is to be different enough to be worth the expenditure and development time and money.

So, they don't want people to buy a whole new set of: Core Rulebook, Bestiaries, Advanced Guides, etc? If you say so, man.

I bought a lot of books for 3.5 that I never used or where a pain in the ass to use in game. I didn't make that mistake with Pathfinder. With the exception of the APs, I own: Core Rulebook, Bestiary 1, and APG. That's it. When you keep adding books of feats, etc. you have too many products that during gameplay turn into a chore because everybody is flipping through 25 books to find one thing out of it, so I never made that mistake with PF.

There are a lot of people that still buy a lot of books (Bestiaries 1-6, All of the Advanced Guides, etc.), but the audience is small for all of these products and once all the people that are ever going to buy them have, well its time to put out a whole new set of books in a new version for these same people to buy all over again.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Keith McVay wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:
I've yet to see a good reason why that step was necessary at all. "People nowadays are too stupid to understand the PF rules" can't be it
Its to sell people a whole new set of books they already own.

That seems like a harsh assessment to me. I believe that the Paizo staff love RPGing as much as we in their community do. It's obvious when you see the quality of the products they have given us over 10 years. Also, taking steps to ensure the long-term viability of your product isn't greed, it's sound business practices. As an older GM bringing a new generation of young people into the game, I see great potential in a more streamlined, easier to use rule system. I listened to the GPC podcast (love the GPC crew!) and I didn't get any sense that the rules were "dumbed down". I really liked the streamlined action system and just from that brief exposure found it much easier to grasp than the current system of move actions, free actions, swift actions, etc. My big concern is that it will take years to roll out updated versions of all the classes and that this will slow adoption of the new rules for GMs and players like me who really love the massive variety that Pathfinder 1e provided.

Contributor

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Erik Mona wrote:
Subparhiggins wrote:

Is the lore for Golarion going to be kept relatively consistent for a seamless transition with PF2E? I admit I was disappointed with other games when they decided to axe half the pantheon, etc, and erase entire species from existence.

Edit: Also is the timeline going to be continuous? Or will there be any time skippage backward or forward involved?

I suspect someone else has answered this, but we have always assumed that Golarion's timeline moves forward on a 1:1 basis with time in the real world, and when we revise the campaign for Pathfinder Second Edition we'll update the current year to 4719, which is a 12-year shift from the first Pathfinder Chronicles Gazetteer and Pathfinder #1 back in 2007.

Usually this doesn't really impact books or adventures, so we don't make a big deal of it, but it's been a part of the setting from the very beginning.

In updating the base presentation of the setting to 4719, we'll also codify the resolution of certain Adventure Paths with important international implications. War for the Crown will bring us a new monarch in Taldor. Return of the Runelords will shake things up in Varisia. The one after that will have its own implications. While we're at it, we'll update the world to a new situation in the Worldwound, for example.

But we're not killing off any gods or anything. All oracles in the campaign setting don't suddenly turn into clerics or evaporate into smoke or something.

We're not jumping forward to a time when EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT(tm).

“Reign of Winter Spoiler”:
Can we have Anastasia as the new Queen of Irrisen too?!

Looking at my few posts, I've been to negative. I'm the kind of person that finds a game system I like and can play it for decades without getting tired of it (3.0 to 3.5 to PF etc; or Hero 3rd - 5th) so edition changes tend to bother me, just because it's change. "The sky is falling" is my immediate reaction. I'll just be quiet in my corner now, I don't want my knee-jerk reactions dragging down the conversation.


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GeraintElberion wrote:

This worries me as well:

Playtest FAQ wrote:


Does the new version of Pathfinder find a better balance between spellcasters and martial characters?

We certainly hope so. Many of the changes made to the game attempt to address this issue by adding versatility and power to martial characters. At the same time, spells have been redesigned to ensure that they are of the right power when first acquired, but diminish in utility over time, giving spellcasters the tools they need to contribute, while giving other characters a chance to shine with their abilities. Ultimately, we need you to tell us how well we have solved this issue. That is what playtesting is all about!

Martial/Caster disparity has always been theory-crafting nonsense which ignored the actual play experience in which a mixed team of heroes works together. When a wizard summons a monster to give flanking for the rogue's sneak attack or casts bull's strength to enhance the fighter or uses a wall to divide the enemy or brings the barbarian back from the brink with breath of life, that's Pathfinder.

I hope they focus on 'a diverse team of heroes who work together' with lots of niches, rather than 'anything you can do i can do better', which is how a lot of martial/caster debates go.

Martial caster disparity is the ability to make a caster that does the same exact if not better job than the fighter or rogue. That's the issue. I can build a sixth level caster that can do the job of the rogue better than the rogue. I can build a sixth level caster that has faster scaling for attack and damage than the fighter and also do other stuff that the fighter would die for.

Grand Lodge

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Colour me cautiously optimistic to see where this goes. I have a huge stock of PF1 books, adventures, Golarion stuff, and design work already, and I dearly love the essence of Pathfinder, a big chunk of which came from its 3.5 roots. I also haven't really bought in to Starfinder yet, and so I'm not sure whether I'll like the changes if that's where they are based. But I'm willing to let Erik and Lisa and the Paizo crew guide us to the next step. And I will playtest the HECK out of this game come August.

I understand why many people are nervous - 4E's emotional scars are still there for me, too. But, many of the most problematic aspects of the game are now the 3.5 ancestry.

Sure, you *could* fix things with a series of Unchained books, redoing everything from feats to the CR system to mounted combat to the vision rules, and patching old classes to keep up with new classes, and making hybrids of hybrids of archetypes. But then, Pathfinder wouldn't be Pathfinder anymore, either, and it wouldn't really be 3.5 compatible anymore.

Most importantly, the "Unchained" route would sacrifice the most important aspect of a tabletop RPG today: accessibility to new players. When a character made with 20 books is several levels more powerful than one made with the Core Rulebook,and new players realize that the only way to be competent is to spend another several hundred dollars - well, we're seeing what happens in the sales figures, in the number of tables of 5E vs PFS in stores, etc.

Lead on, Paizo. We'll help where we can.

Grand Lodge

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On backwards compatibility - a derail:
Pathfinder already isn't backwards compatible with 3.5, or even itself in the early days. Sure, it uses the same terms and base mechanics, but you can't use old stuff in Pathfidner without "converting" it. By way of example, I'm prepping a Pathfinder module which was written when it was just the Core Rulebook. I can't see how any of the combats, even the +4 APL BBEG one, will last more than a round against a modern group with feats and archetypes. It's for PFS, so I can't change it. Barring terrible dice, I doubt I will even damage any of the PCs at all. Luckily, it's an AWESOME story, in Golarion, the best fantasy campaign setting EVER, so the combats aren't everything.

Scarab Sages

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

Great. I am going to have to convert "Orc and Pie" again!


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I am likely a member of the target audience for this new edition--a former Pathfinder GM who migrated (with all 3 of my groups) to D&D 5e because the overhead of prepping and running Pathfinder just got to be too much for me, especially at high levels. It became too complex, fiddly, and time-consuming. A lot has been learned about how to design a fun yet streamlined RPG in the last 10 years and it feels to me like Pathfinder has fallen behind competitively by clinging to its aging 3.5 framework. Yes, the diehard grognards are happy, but only serving their desires is probably not a viable long-term business plan. A change is needed if Paizo wants to bring back those who went to 5E and new players who find 5E to be a much easier entry point into the hobby.

I like D&D 5E, but find myself really missing some things from Pathfinder--such as lots of flexible character options, richer tactical combat, Golarian, and the adventure paths (which are much better than the D&D adventures so far). Give me a Pathfinder 2E that is much more streamlined, easier to introduce to new players, easier to prep and run, less prone to power gaming, reduces the caster/martial divide, and still has lots of interesting (but not complex and fiddly) character and combat options, and I would seriously consider bringing myself and our groups back to Pathfinder. I want the richness and options without a ton of additional complexity. Something between the current Pathfinder and D&D 5E would be just right for me. I believe that many who are playing 5E would eventually welcome another alternative that is a little more (but not a lot more) complex and rich in terms of options and story potential.

I believe Pathfinder has 2 primary competitive advantages over D&D 5E:
* richness of character and combat options
* Golarion and the adventure paths

These are the things that I hope you are able to keep part of Pathfinder 2E. If you do, it will likely still "feel like Pathfinder" to me.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Color me cautiously optimistic also.

Slight digression: I was overly optimistic about Starfinder, because I was a SyFy nut (e.e. Doc Smith, Asimov, Heinlein, etc) long before I got into fantasy, and a simplified rule set as well as simplified other aspects looked wonderful. I don't play Starfinder because of the ship-to-ship combat rules, too complicated for me.

So, if PF2 does not have a bolt on system like Starfinder did with ship-to-ship, then I probably will be much more optimistic.

Going to wait for the PDFs to come out in August.

-- david


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

...a huge deal has been made of how goblins are going to be a playable race in the new 2.0 Pathfinder.

This is a race that in-canon is terrified of written words and by nature is disruptive and doesn't work well together save with others of their race.

Yeah, and a lot of that is Paizo's own doing. They took "normal" goblins from D&D 3.5 and made them into pyromaniac bobble-headed balls of chaos and destruction. This will be my first house-rule in Pathfinder 2 -- no, you cannot play a goblin. Yes, I understand that they are a core race. You still can't play them.

Every now & then I run monster campaigns where players get to try out goblins, kobolds, and other low-race-point monster races. I will shunt my goblin-loving players into those games and keep goblins away from my main game.

Tengu, kitsune, and all the other races that you can play in Pathfinder Society would be a much better baseline. Also nezumi/ratfolk. These are sentient races that have been shown to function in society. Much better options.


Scott Young wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

sure, but it is terribly easy to convert 3.5 or early PF to Pathfinder today. It is not a lot of work. And I know players in my group who play PF APs in 3.5 without any troubles.

If that's the level of difference between PF2 and PF, then okay, I'm on board. (Not for the new system, but for the new APs at least) But it doesn't look that way

On the accessability 10-15 years ago, I agree, that would have been a problem. But looking at my gaming groups: In addition to the CRB and a handful of books based on which character they decided to build, most of the choices the make are based on all those apps they have on their phones, SRD and various other webpages. ESPECIALLY new players. I have one in my group who started RPGing 5 years ago (with PF, so it can't be too bad for newbies) who uses the hell out of those resources coming with new ideas and concepts almost every month. He loves all the options that PF provides


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Scott Young wrote:
On backwards compatibility - a derail:

Here's the thing though: you CAN convert 3.5 material to Pathfinder. 3.5 and PF have the same underlying skeleton, so with a few minor adjustments in terms of wording adjustments, skill and feat changes, and maybe number changes if you're feeling fancy you can have a fully functioning PF class/feat/ability/whatever or vice-versa. You can't convert anything from 3.5 to 4e, because the game was changed so drastically as to make that almost impossible. The PF-SF conversion is similarly very difficult, except that Paizo did include suggestions on how to rebuild classes which is what makes it actually doable. Note that I said "rebuild" and not "convert", because you still can't use a PF Paladin in SF, you can only make a new class which is an approximation of the old in a different system.

So the hope is that when 2e comes out it releases in a state where, if the old material isn't perfectly compatible with the new, it's at least a simple task to make it compatible instead of requiring a set of rules to do a rebuild.

Liberty's Edge

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IIRC, Pathfinder started as Jason Bulmahn pulling a gigantic binder with some improvements he'd been working on for a long time. This feels exactly the same. Giving Pathfinder the Pathfinder treatment.


I'm looking forward to the playtest content but I am concerned...

Recent soft-cover books (such as adventure paths) have issues with pages falling out of the binding even after limited use, I had it happen multiple times with multiple books and I'm not particularly hard on them.

Can we expect the same type of binding on the softcover version of this playtest material? Is it best to just bypass the softcover and shell out the extra money for the hardcover?

Does paying what amounts to retail price for the play test give purchasers any sort of discount towards the official book?

Dark Archive

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I was not playing Pathfinder when it first came out. I feel like I missed out on a lot and this is giving me the opportunity to do that again. So excited and after the listen through of the Glass Cannon Podcast of 2e it sounds good. Can't wait


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Alchemaic wrote:
Scott Young wrote:
On backwards compatibility - a derail:

Here's the thing though: you CAN convert 3.5 material to Pathfinder. 3.5 and PF have the same underlying skeleton, so with a few minor adjustments in terms of wording adjustments, skill and feat changes, and maybe number changes if you're feeling fancy you can have a fully functioning PF class/feat/ability/whatever or vice-versa. You can't convert anything from 3.5 to 4e, because the game was changed so drastically as to make that almost impossible. The PF-SF conversion is similarly very difficult, except that Paizo did include suggestions on how to rebuild classes which is what makes it actually doable. Note that I said "rebuild" and not "convert", because you still can't use a PF Paladin in SF, you can only make a new class which is an approximation of the old in a different system.

So the hope is that when 2e comes out it releases in a state where, if the old material isn't perfectly compatible with the new, it's at least a simple task to make it compatible instead of requiring a set of rules to do a rebuild.

Actually, it was probably easier to go from 3.5E to 4E than it is from 3.5E to Pathfinder because 4E was fundamentally more streamlined from the sense that the vast majority of a statblock is just words for the sake of words.

Sovereign Court

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The goblin thing has me really worried.

Massive changes to Golarion just to shoehorn a monster race into the CRB seems, on the surface, an awful decision.
I hope that the solution is amazing.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, apparently the first biggest singular hit of Paizo was Distant Worlds (thus leading to Iron Gods and later, Starfinder) and the second one are Goblins.

It's the "if you want more of something, buy/review" in action.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I would imagine that Goblin player characters are the result of a whole generation of adventurers wiping out whole tribes of adult goblins and taking their babies to the local orphanage to be raised by humans. These orphans, when they grow up, are about as socially accepted as half-orcs.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As long as I can effectively convert Chemlak into PF2E without a) gimping him beyond recognition and b) being forced to take a “background option” that’s completely different to the history I started building for him in 1988, then I’ll be happy. I’ve been able to convert Chemlak seamlessly from 1E, 2E, 3E, 3.5E, and into Pathfinder (the 5E conversion is trickier).

I don’t want or need a 1-for-1 conversion of every ability, feat, or item. I just want to be able to keep playing my character, within the rules.


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Hmm... if Goblin PCs and Starfinder mechanics is what I get for buying PF content, maybe the CRB should have been my only purchase in hindsight


Zaister wrote:
You know you don't have to use all third party stuff out there, right?

I WANT to use my 3rd party stuff. I like my 3rd party stuff it's why I bought them. If I can still use them for PF2, even if it takes a bit of conversion work, that's fine.

But If I can't use them at all,
that's going to piss me off. I'm expecting books in the mail right now, that I'm going to get all of a year of use out of before a new editions comes out and now they are useless?

That right there is a big reason for me to not get the new edition


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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.

The difference is that 2E helped kill TSR and when WotC bought TSR's properties, they needed a new D&D edition to make the purchase profitable. Also, 2E had become broken and other RPGs were becoming more popular than D&D.

Pathfinder is in nowhere near the same boat.


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GeraintElberion wrote:

The goblin thing has me really worried.

Massive changes to Golarion just to shoehorn a monster race into the CRB seems, on the surface, an awful decision.
I hope that the solution is amazing.

what changes?

Look at Thornkeep, there are already goblins living in that town, or Riddleport. There are already Goblins living everywhere. Some live in caves and behave like insane bandits others live in the slums of your city and steal stuff from your trash bin. Occasionally there is a really clever one who thinks "I could lead a different life If I hang with those Bigjobs over there"


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MadScientistWorking wrote:
Actually, it was probably easier to go from 3.5E to 4E than it is from 3.5E to Pathfinder because 4E was fundamentally more streamlined from the sense that the vast majority of a statblock is just words for the sake of words.

It is impossible to convert a 3.5E PHB only dual-wielding Fighter into a 4E PHB only dual-wielding Fighter. So, in that one case, at least, the conversion to PF was a lot easier.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MadScientistWorking wrote:
Actually, it was probably easier to go from 3.5E to 4E than it is from 3.5E to Pathfinder because 4E was fundamentally more streamlined from the sense that the vast majority of a statblock is just words for the sake of words.

I was talking about converting classes mechanically, not general playing. If you owned a 3.5 book and started playing 4e, that 3.5 book is now useless because the two systems are completely incompatible. If you owned a 3.5 book and started playing PF, the book is now less useful but you can still apply the material in that book to your game, albeit with a bit of work adjusting it. It has nothing to do with any discussions on which systems play better or are more streamlined or whatever.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

mixed feelings here, but at worst D&D3.75 (Pathfinder1.0) is finally left alone, no more extra rules is not necessarily a bad thing.
I probably would have been happier with a „Complete <enter character role of choice>“ series for revenue generation, so I‘d not have to flick through 6 source books to create a tree hugging arcane casting rogue.

Deciding to change to PF2.0 would be greatly helped if I got some sort of discount for all the books I bought in PF1.0 via Paizo.


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What I want to see:
1. Rules that are just as deep but easier to use (check out Savage Worlds for examples of deep but thin page count rules).

2. "Create your own" tool sets to flesh out a new edition so that it is palatable in options compared to the older edition. Starfinder really needed a few tables like this for gear. PF 2e needs this for classes, feats, spells, races, ect. Don't fear handing out this information. It makes the game better for the enthusiast who need a lot of neat to chew on.

3. Verisimilitude in the rules. Avoid sacrificing to much for "the game". NPCs and PCs should have the same math (none of that Starfinder separation). Non-monsters shouldn't have abilities that PCs can't. No abilities should last "for combat" or only be usable in combat.

4. Setting independent - our group has played for years and we don't play in Golarion most of the time. Don't fill a rule book when setting clutter. It makes your game seem more complicated than it is.

You are basically giving up the die-hard "no more new edition" people.
You aren't getting the 5e people. Too much marketing for that game. Only people that discover they don't like that game will play something else. You should avoid being like 5e as much as you avoided being like 4e. Any idea you steal needs to make a stealth check.
You are left with people that want a complex rules heavy fantasy game. You can have paths for those less into that concept to follow so that they can play with friends, but your core audience is serious RPG nerds and people disgruntled with 5e. Your 3e audience is probably gone unless you give them conversion guides too. At the same time, your product will fill the niche of "the other D&D". You may want to go out of your way to retain that flavor. I haven't seen too many people actually stay happy will 5e (aside from professional actors putting on a show for money. They sell a love for that system pretty well)


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Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:
ShinHakkaider wrote:
There's enough material that you'd never want for new stuff except out of an extreme sense of entitlement or pure GREED.
Uh, wow, okay. Guess I'm entitled and greedy for still having more things I hoped to see in a game I'm familiar with and like.

That's MY POV, Yes. Especially when some of the people in this thread have been downright belligerent about 1e support being cut off after 10 YEARS of product. Product not only from Paizo but from solid 3rd party companies as well.

I mean Pathfinder is one of THE most supported systems out there, PERIOD. At this point, I think it surpasses the level of support that 3.5 had in its twilight. So yeah maybe greed was a little harsh, but I do stand by the sense of entitlement that people have in regards to feeling that Paizo should still support a system that already has a metric ton of support already.

SNS. *shrugs*


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Technotrooper wrote:

I am likely a member of the target audience for this new edition--a former Pathfinder GM who migrated (with all 3 of my groups) to D&D 5e because the overhead of prepping and running Pathfinder just got to be too much for me, especially at high levels. It became too complex, fiddly, and time-consuming. A lot has been learned about how to design a fun yet streamlined RPG in the last 10 years and it feels to me like Pathfinder has fallen behind competitively by clinging to its aging 3.5 framework. Yes, the diehard grognards are happy, but only serving their desires is probably not a viable long-term business plan. A change is needed if Paizo wants to bring back those who went to 5E and new players who find 5E to be a much easier entry point into the hobby.

I like D&D 5E...

Okay, if you are the target audience, then I am also the target audience. If that's the case, then I can tell you, point blank, when I left behind my book shelf full of Pathfinder books, because of the increased complication caused by bloat, it was both the most difficult, and most rewarding decision I've made in regards to playing RPGs, ever. I can also tell you with complete certainty I will not be buying PF2.0, UNLESS all the PF books I have on my shelf are able to quickly and easily meld into the new system. If there is any conversion that needs to be done to move my existing books into PF2.0, it will be a no go for me.

Just looking at the vague descriptions of the new mechanics for PF2.0, it looks very much like 5e version 1.5 (which would seem to fit the Paizo business model, after all Pathfinder was 3.75). Examples: unified level based proficiency, three game "modes," and streamlined (and mightily pared down) action choices in combat. Add in that now you can cast spells using more than one action (read: from a more powerful slot), and you have a lot of the reasons I finally decided to leave Pathfinder in the first place - to get rid of rules bloat.

It seems to me that Paizo learned a lot about things from the unchained rules, which is a shame, because, if instead of Unchained, they had playtested 2.0, and worked hard to make all their previous material integrative in that system, I probably would never have even looked at 5e. As it stands, not only did I look, I bought in, and now the only Pathfinder I play is in a single PbP here on the boards. Sadly, because I have always had great experience with Paizo staff and community, I don't think Paizo will be getting any of my money in the future unless they start making 5e compatible APs.

Just my 2cp

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:

I would imagine that Goblin player characters are the result of a whole generation of adventurers wiping out whole tribes of adult goblins and taking their babies to the local orphanage to be raised by humans. These orphans, when they grow up, are about as socially accepted as half-orcs.

Should no explanation be given, this is what I'm going with for sure!

I wonder if there'll be a time gap between 1e and 2e in canon?


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I too remember the days when WotC presented 4E, telling us, more or less outright, that the 3.5 system was rubbish and that we were stupid for buying it, whilst still trying to make the final sales. It was insulting, and it made me feel betrayed.

Fortunately, Paizo seems to have a different mode of communication with its customer base, and I don’t get that feeling. While they are obviously telling us how great the new edition is going to be, I don’t sense even underlying belittlement against those who are not welcoming it thus far, and therefore, kudos to them.

With that said, I do not welcome the news at all. I changed to PF precisely because I loved 3.5, and while the two systems have their differences, these are not insurmountable.

I love the wealth of options, which some critics call ‘bloat’: I accept that this seems staggering to newcomers, casual gamers, and people with different inclinations than myself. But for me, it’s an important, even essential part of the game.

Also, I’ve created my beloved characters in that system, and do not wish to see them changed by the need to adapt to the a new system - where they will be different, where defining characteristics will have changed. To avoid that ‘need’, I might be forced to stay with PF as it is, and say ‘pass’ to the 2nd edition PF.

I know it is early days, and I will not abandon PF before 2E actually shows up. I’ll complete the collection. But as it stands, I am more likely to cancel any and all subscriptions after the last new releases for 1E. There is a chance that the changes will not be so major as I fear: time will tell. But that is my situation for the moment.

Some previous posters argue that Paizo has to remain competitive against WotC with 5E, which seems to be doing well. That is certainly true, and I would not want to see Paizo sink below the surface in an ocean of competitive sharks.

But I cannot help but wonder. Paizo carved out a niche for itself: the grognards, the 3.5 refugees as someone called them above. It did not seek to confront 4E directly, but to cater to a different audience, one that wanted no part of 4E.

Granted, that was 10 years ago. The audience has grown older. Some may have left the game, some may be ready now, when they weren’t a decade ago. Others have joined the Pathfinder community afterwards, and have not experienced the Great Edition War of ‘08.

Is it wise for Paizo to abandon this (shrinking?) niche and confront 5E in the open? To challenge WotC, which is backed by the full power and money of Hasbro? If Paizo changes their system, they risk having previously loyal customers take a look at 5E - if you are going to play a new game, you might as well have a look at all the options - and decide to give their custom to WotC. People who might never have bothered if they could stay in their comfort zone with PF.

In short: Paizo will lose the ‘grognards’. That is certain. It will carry over those who are ready for change, or embrace it. That is certain, too. But people not yet invested in any system, or people pushed into deciding whether to change to PF2 or 5E will be up for grabs for any company out there, and there WotC has several financial advantages.

I don’t have access to the numbers or statistics, but I wonder whether this move is quite risk-free for Paizo.

As for myself, I don’t believe I have the time, energy, or will to change in what is a hobby. I’ll stay in my comfort zone, and invest any resources into other areas of my life.

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