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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Hmm. Looking over the lists of changes from the podcast I see a few things that I find problematic. I'm not a big fan of some of the ideas borrowed/adapted from Starfinder, for example.

I am not overly sold on the initiative system either. I still have hopes for this, but they aren't as big as before.


Redelia wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:
MendedWall12 wrote:


Glad you brought this up. Reading the blog description of initiative system already sounded wonky and weird. That you've listened to actual gamers trying it, and that it was slow, boring, and also pointed to doing something narratively ridiculous just to get the most sure bet to act high in initiative, fleshes out some of the amorphous concerns I had about how weird it sounded. Maybe this will be one of the things that the playtest squashes?

It MIGHT be one of those 'more extreme' rule versions that were mentioned upthread by Paizo stuff, that's only included in the Playtest to get removed anyway and replaced with the rule versions they always intended to include but had to show the worse version first so that the final version doesn't look so bad.

(I mean, I'm glad they admitted that, but that doesn't make the move look better)

That's a rather unfair paraphrase of what they said.

What they have said they are doing is in places they have chosen the more unusual of the options they are considering, because they want to see what we think.

was that what they meant? because it certainly didn't read that way


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Redelia wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:
MendedWall12 wrote:


Glad you brought this up. Reading the blog description of initiative system already sounded wonky and weird. That you've listened to actual gamers trying it, and that it was slow, boring, and also pointed to doing something narratively ridiculous just to get the most sure bet to act high in initiative, fleshes out some of the amorphous concerns I had about how weird it sounded. Maybe this will be one of the things that the playtest squashes?

It MIGHT be one of those 'more extreme' rule versions that were mentioned upthread by Paizo stuff, that's only included in the Playtest to get removed anyway and replaced with the rule versions they always intended to include but had to show the worse version first so that the final version doesn't look so bad.

(I mean, I'm glad they admitted that, but that doesn't make the move look better)

That's a rather unfair paraphrase of what they said.

What they have said they are doing is in places they have chosen the more unusual of the options they are considering, because they want to see what we think.

If they are including the "more unusual" option as a way to more fully decipher what doesn't work, I find that a pretty strange way to play test. If, however, the "more unusual" version of a rule has characteristics that are similar to what the developers believe will be the new baseline, and they are just including this version so as not to reveal too much, I can understand that.

Still, based off of what I'm reading I'd say this more unusual initiative system already shows a number of flaws. If the rogue has to spend every moment in exploration mode "stealthing" just to avoid being flat-footed, you've now created an initiative system that also creeps into ruining exploration mode, because munchkin players will be making exploration decisions based off of the possibility that they may at some point be surprised with combat.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MendedWall12 wrote:
Redelia wrote:
Hythlodeus wrote:
MendedWall12 wrote:


Glad you brought this up. Reading the blog description of initiative system already sounded wonky and weird. That you've listened to actual gamers trying it, and that it was slow, boring, and also pointed to doing something narratively ridiculous just to get the most sure bet to act high in initiative, fleshes out some of the amorphous concerns I had about how weird it sounded. Maybe this will be one of the things that the playtest squashes?

It MIGHT be one of those 'more extreme' rule versions that were mentioned upthread by Paizo stuff, that's only included in the Playtest to get removed anyway and replaced with the rule versions they always intended to include but had to show the worse version first so that the final version doesn't look so bad.

(I mean, I'm glad they admitted that, but that doesn't make the move look better)

That's a rather unfair paraphrase of what they said.

What they have said they are doing is in places they have chosen the more unusual of the options they are considering, because they want to see what we think.

If they are including the "more unusual" option as a way to more fully decipher what doesn't work, I find that a pretty strange way to play test. If, however, the "more unusual" version of a rule has characteristics that are similar to what the developers believe will be the new baseline, and they are just including this version so as not to reveal too much, I can understand that.

Still, based off of what I'm reading I'd say this more unusual initiative system already shows a number of flaws. If the rogue has to spend every moment in exploration mode "stealthing" just to avoid being flat-footed, you've now created an initiative system that also creeps into ruining exploration mode, because munchkin players will be making exploration decisions based off of the possibility that they may at some point be surprised with combat.

GM issue - They should not let the players stealth everywhere. Metagaming is not ok. If it makes sense for them to be sneaking around then fine. I think it is very flavorfuly and makes so much more sense.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Setting the politics aside, as we have been asked to do, the reason why I like the switch to "ancestry" is that it is a good umbrella term for what used to be ethnicity, race, and racial variant/subrace. While I don't know that this is Paizo's plan, it seems to allow for one mechanic, called ancestry, to cover "I'm a Chelaxian," "I'm a dwarf," "I'm a sea elf," and "I'm a peri-born," all in the same way.


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"Why don't we hire those adventures from last time?"
"Have you seen them move around town? Sneaking and crawling about like they are on a game trail or something? No thanks, I couldn't show my face in court after that."


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Everything I have heard makes this a step away from why I play Pathfinder. It looks to me like it will fall between simple easy almost systemless games which are good for some things and complicated crunchy games which are good for others , in that valley of mediocrity were it is too much effort for being lazy and not enough complication to be worth thinking about.
Probably more popular with the younger market , which is a much better demographic than grumpy old men like me to aim for. I could use the £40+ it will save me a month to redecorate the bath room.

I will read the playtest and could be pleasently suprised.


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Damn, you don't look at a forum for like three years and the whole layout changes...

Speaking of which, change! As someone who's been saying for five years that it was time for a new edition that moved things away from 3.5 assumptions, I'm glad. I'm glad for Paizo more than for me, because I don't like the sound of most of the changes being bruited, but hey you can't have everything.

An awful lot of the things described here do sound *a lot* like 5e, despite the protestations of staff that, no, really, they're totes different! In fact, when I read through the blog post I actually checked the date because I thought it was an April Fool's joke. I get why they're doing it: in terms of sales 5e is eating Pathfinder's lunch right now, new players are virtually all going to 5e, and 5 has damned near 100% of the flashy online visibilty.

Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of 5e, so those changes don't get my motor running like, at all. And that's the risk of a new edition -- you always lose a few people along the way.

But the fact that I may not like the direction things look to be moving is irrelevant: Paizo had to change Pathfinder. It had to put out a new edition or D&D would swallow it like a shark swallows a minnow. The market is moving decisively away from Pathfinder and the only way to turn a portion of it back is through reinvention. Businesses do it all the time -- also like a shark, a company has to move forward or it dies.

And I hate to break it to all the oldtimers like me who are complaining that Paizo is being terribly cruel in invalidating the massive bookshelf you've built up over the past 18 years of this game's life, but the truth is *we don't matter.* A single newcomer matters more than any five of us, because the newcomer will buy all the books and tell his or her friends about this awesome game and then the friends will buy the books -- us grogs just can't match that economic impact. Every book we already own is a book Paizo can't sell to us again, it's as simple as that. And moan about "cash grabs" and "betrayals" all you want, but the collective goodwill of everyone who owns all their products is worth less to Paizo's bottom line than a few thousand people who are willing to buy it all again.

The tempest that is this forum reminds me of the customer survey cards that the big wargame companies Avalon Hill and SPI used to put into all their games. People who bought the games filled them out and sent them back saying what they wanted in games. Thing is, only the diehard grogs ever filled them in, so Avalon Hill and SPI were only hearing from the people who wanted bigger boards, more pieces, more rules, more complexity. Naturally they listened the feedback and kept churning out harder and harder games, which kept the grogs happy and drove off everyone else. And guess what? Avalon Hill is now a brand owned by Hasbro and SPI is, well, nothing as far as I know. I'm not saying there's a direct correlation between AH/SPI and the groaning shelves of rules and splats accrued over the past 18 years...but it was aliens.

A smart company listens to its diehard customers, sure, but never at the expense of attracting new ones. So shine on, Paizo. I hope the new edition is a rousing success. I'll take a look for sure, even if I don't push beyond the core book. Here's hoping you can steal Hasbro's thunder a second time.


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JJMJester wrote:

Just wanted to throw in my two cents into this major news…..YES!!!!!!!!!! All of the changes honestly feel like it’s addressing issues I’ve been having with Pathfinder for a while now. I still own my physical Beta Copy and have been running games with Pathfinder since then both in person and on Roll20. I couldn’t even begin to think about how many hours I’ve put into either prepping games, playing games, or researching Pathfinder stuff. I think most people agree that recently Pathfinder has been showing more issues with the newer books.

All the stuff that’s been hinted at so far just seem like natural improvements on the current system. My hope that 2nd Edition finds itself between Pathfinder 1st Edition and D&D 5th Edition; more options than 5th but smoother all around than Pathfinder 1st Edition.

Thanks for taking the risk with this Paizo Staff.

It feels like what 4th ed should have been.

Dark Archive

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

Bring back weapon speed!!

Seriously though, 11 years is plenty of time between editions. Well more than WotC ever gave any of theirs after 2nd.

I am very excited to see what the new game looks like, and hope it is better than Starfinder, which introduces some good new concepts, winds up with basically every combat feeling the same.

Personally, I'm excited by two things - I get to try out a new game from people whose work I enjoy, and those people are making choices that I think will lead to them continuing to publish products for me.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Marc Radle wrote:
As others have said, game systems evolve and new editions come out. It’s just a fact.

No, it's a practice that's become standardized. That's not the same thing. "Adventures don't sell as well as supplements" was "just a fact" too, and then Paizo maintained three adventure lines simultaneously (the APs, the modules, and the PFS scenarios), putting the lie to that. I just wish they'd put the lie to the so-called inevitability of new editions as well.

Quote:
They have to or they fade away and are replaced by other systems.

Again, I don't believe that to be true; what causes systems to fade away is lack of ongoing support, not lack of a new edition.

Quote:
I respect (and even understand) the desire some folks have that Pathfinder remain the same and never move on to a second edition, but the reality is that a second edition was inevitable.

It's only inevitable because we've been told, across the industry over the years, that it's inevitable. We've been trained to accept this idea that new editions are a necessity largely because virtually every RPG has adopted the practice over the years. In point of fact, the reasons given to justify these changes - usually some combination of "we're fixing fundamental 'problems' with some central aspect of the game that were impinging on" and "we're making the game more accessible to a wider audience" - are rarely so egregious that they require jettisoning the entire product line in favor of a new edition.

The more likely reasons are much more pragmatic in nature. New editions tend to be a (somewhat risky, but when managed correctly) safe way to inject some new revenue as everyone rushes to buy the new book(s), and tend to make things easier on the designers and developers who are oftentimes the ones who struggle the hardest to manage the bloat (e.g. the shifter). None of those are "bad" reasons per se (and they're not necessarily indicative of a financial crisis in the company, as Paizo said in their new edition FAQ), but they're reasons that exist apart from the nature of the game itself, rather than being fundamental to it.

I have no doubt that some of the tweaks involved in Pathfinder 2E will be improvements to things I've enjoyed. I likewise am certain that some of the changes will not be to my liking. But what I'm most certain of is that none of the changes will constitute some sort of necessity that needed to be implemented in order to keep the game viable as a playable game.

The "inevitability" of Pathfinder 2.0 is due to business practices, not game development. And that's fine; I expect Paizo to do what's good for them. But that doesn't mean it's what's good for us.

Pathfinder 2.0 is not something that had to be.


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Put me in the optimistic camp. I look forward to see how I can duplicate my magus in PF 2.0.


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You know what game has gone 40 years without a second edition? RIFTS

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Alzrius wrote:
Quote:
They have to or they fade away and are replaced by other systems.
Again, I don't believe that to be true; what causes systems to fade away is lack of ongoing support, not lack of a new edition.

I have to wonder, how much more support could be offered to Pathfinder 1E?


4 people marked this as a favorite.
knightnday wrote:

Hmm. Looking over the lists of changes from the podcast I see a few things that I find problematic. I'm not a big fan of some of the ideas borrowed/adapted from Starfinder, for example.

I am not overly sold on the initiative system either. I still have hopes for this, but they aren't as big as before.

Well, if Paizo handles this playtest like the original 10 years ago, there will be a whole bunch of things in the playtest that seemed awesome when they wrote it that got cut because in practice it sucked.

So there's hope for you. :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Alzrius wrote:
Quote:
They have to or they fade away and are replaced by other systems.
Again, I don't believe that to be true; what causes systems to fade away is lack of ongoing support, not lack of a new edition.
I have to wonder, how much more support could be offered to Pathfinder 1E?

The implication being that there was nothing left to write about?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Alzrius wrote:
Quote:
They have to or they fade away and are replaced by other systems.
Again, I don't believe that to be true; what causes systems to fade away is lack of ongoing support, not lack of a new edition.
I have to wonder, how much more support could be offered to Pathfinder 1E?

hmm...the setting books that will come out could hopefuly be used for both systems, but other than that, 2 Aps a year for instance is a good start to support the system. There are a couple of classes I still would love to see introduced (a working 'Noble' class of some kind, that's actually playable and not just reworkings of of other CHA based classes, as an example. Some more exotic classes outside of the eurocentric builds most classes stem from are other examples)

I still see a lot of mileage both in the crunch and in the fluff departement


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Shisumo wrote:
Setting the politics aside, as we have been asked to do, the reason why I like the switch to "ancestry" is that it is a good umbrella term for what used to be ethnicity, race, and racial variant/subrace. While I don't know that this is Paizo's plan, it seems to allow for one mechanic, called ancestry, to cover "I'm a Chelaxian," "I'm a dwarf," "I'm a sea elf," and "I'm a peri-born," all in the same way.

I am genuinely curious if there will be mechanics for supporting people who are of non-standard mixed ancestry. Like I have had multiple characters whose parents were a half-orc and a half-elf, and it would be nice to have a way to handle that besides "just pick one" that person would not describe themself as one of the other.

Like there is probably not room for "half-(half-tian, half-elf), half-(half-vudrani, half-orc)" on the default character sheet, but I want to play someone like that (parents were sailors, naturally.)

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Alzrius wrote:
The implication being that there was nothing left to write about?

The implication being that people have been claiming Pathfinder has been scraping the bottom of the barrel almost since it launched. When does Paizo prove them right? How long can the APs and setting material keep the lights on at Paizo, if the crunch stops flowing?


Alzrius wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Alzrius wrote:
Quote:
They have to or they fade away and are replaced by other systems.
Again, I don't believe that to be true; what causes systems to fade away is lack of ongoing support, not lack of a new edition.
I have to wonder, how much more support could be offered to Pathfinder 1E?
The implication being that there was nothing left to write about?

The implication is that "complete book of bald elven rogue psionicist with oversized red pants" sells much less than a core book.

You could always keep writing books, with every book being a bit more niche than the previous one. But sooner or later, you'll need a reboot.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
The implication being that people have been claiming Pathfinder has been scraping the bottom of the barrel almost since it launched. When does Paizo prove them right?

Presumably when the imagination, dedication, and talent of the people at Paizo runs out. Hence why I don't think we were anywhere near that point. :)

Yes, we had things like the shifter showing that mistakes and issues can crop up, but those remained very much the exception, rather than the rule.

Quote:
How long can the APs and setting material keep the lights on at Paizo, if the crunch stops flowing?

I don't believe that the new edition was precipitated by the crunch being in any danger of not flowing.

gustavo Iglesias wrote:
The implication is that "complete book of bald elven rogue psionicist with oversized red pants" sells much less than a core book.

Leaving aside that everything sells less than a core book, "Planar Adventures" was pretty clearly a stone's throw away from what you're describing. ;)

Quote:
You could always keep writing books, with every book being a bit more niche than the previous one. But sooner or later, you'll need a reboot.

I don't think that's necessarily true; I think it's possible, with enough innovation and imagination, to keep expanding the areas that could be written about, rather than having to drill down into ever-more-specific materials. (Maybe not indefinitely, but I think that Pathfinder 1E had life left in it, possibly considerably so.)


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Hythlodeus wrote:


I still see a lot of mileage both in the crunch and in the fluff departement

Well, fluff will keep coming, and probably will be rules-neutral, so you can use that. And PF is OGL, so 3PP will come and fill that niche if there is enough market for it.

In fact, if you feel there is a clear gap to be filled, I suggest you to try to fill it. Either in person, or investing in some project that does it. That Complete Book of Noble might be profitable.


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One thing I will say is that 5E got it right in the amount of products it releases, which are minimal.

- 3 Core Books
- An adventure HC or 2 a year
- One crunch/fluff combo book about a specific topic

So in 4 years they have (I think)

- 3 Core Books
- 8 Adventures
- 3 Fluff/Crunch Niche Books (Volo, Mordenkainen and Xanathar)

I don't think people want non-stop books of feats and mediocre classes. Sales of 5E seem to indicate this and my personal buying preferences align with this philosophy.


13 people marked this as a favorite.
Hythlodeus wrote:
Thebazilly wrote:
Paizo is a company that shows respect for their customers and fans
Yeah, until yesterday I thought so too. Then they kicked me in the balls

That is ludicrously melodramatic


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Keith McVay wrote:

One thing I will say is that 5E got it right in the amount of products it releases, which are minimal.

- 3 Core Books
- An adventure HC or 2 a year
- One crunch/fluff combo book about a specific topic

So in 4 years they have (I think)

- 3 Core Books
- 8 Adventures
- 3 Fluff/Crunch Niche Books (Volo, Mordenkainen and Xanathar)

I don't think people want non-stop books of feats and mediocre classes. Sales of 5E seem to indicate this and my personal buying preferences align with this philosophy.

That is what 5E does, but Paizo won't do that.

There will be very quickly 2-3 hardcovers a year, plus the Campaign Setting, Player's companion, Adventure Path, and scenarios lines.

Modules might get dropped-- but I don't think for a second PF2 means Paizo is changing their business model, which is based on subscriptions.

That's why I feel the most hesitant about it-- how many of all those lines books will just be "and here it is again in the new system, with new art and a new name, but the same stuff."

I think the answer will be "most" of the player's companions and hardcovers.

APs would not, but obviously- but that's the one line I didn't subscribe to before this announcement$

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There are so many people who really need to dial it back.

Please remember that a hobby is not a replacement for an identity, or a personality.

You are more than the sum of the games you buy.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Keith McVay wrote:

One thing I will say is that 5E got it right in the amount of products it releases, which are minimal.

- 3 Core Books
- An adventure HC or 2 a year
- One crunch/fluff combo book about a specific topic

So in 4 years they have (I think)

- 3 Core Books
- 8 Adventures
- 3 Fluff/Crunch Niche Books (Volo, Mordenkainen and Xanathar)

I don't think people want non-stop books of feats and mediocre classes. Sales of 5E seem to indicate this and my personal buying preferences align with this philosophy.

It's not about the quantity, but about the quality too. 10 crunch books a year with only three of them being any good? that's bad. but three books a year and the same percantage of them being good? that's worse.

so less quantity usually means less books that have even a chance to be of any kind of interest to me, less books that I actually might want to use. Publish more books and the chance that at least one of them might be interesting enough to me to buy is pretty high

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Alzrius wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
The implication being that people have been claiming Pathfinder has been scraping the bottom of the barrel almost since it launched. When does Paizo prove them right?

Presumably when the imagination, dedication, and talent of the people at Paizo runs out. Hence why I don't think we were anywhere near that point. :)

Yes, we had things like the shifter showing that mistakes and issues can crop up, but those remained very much the exception, rather than the rule.

Quote:
How long can the APs and setting material keep the lights on at Paizo, if the crunch stops flowing?
I don't believe that the new edition was precipitated by the crunch being in any danger of not flowing.

Obviously, Paizo disagrees.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Alzrius wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
The implication being that people have been claiming Pathfinder has been scraping the bottom of the barrel almost since it launched. When does Paizo prove them right?

Presumably when the imagination, dedication, and talent of the people at Paizo runs out. Hence why I don't think we were anywhere near that point. :)

Yes, we had things like the shifter showing that mistakes and issues can crop up, but those remained very much the exception, rather than the rule.

Quote:
How long can the APs and setting material keep the lights on at Paizo, if the crunch stops flowing?
I don't believe that the new edition was precipitated by the crunch being in any danger of not flowing.
Obviously, Paizo disagrees.

I don't believe that's "obviously" the case; as I said, I think this was primarily motivated by the practicalities of business, rather than issues of game development.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Alzrius wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
The implication being that people have been claiming Pathfinder has been scraping the bottom of the barrel almost since it launched. When does Paizo prove them right?

Presumably when the imagination, dedication, and talent of the people at Paizo runs out. Hence why I don't think we were anywhere near that point. :)

Yes, we had things like the shifter showing that mistakes and issues can crop up, but those remained very much the exception, rather than the rule.

Quote:
How long can the APs and setting material keep the lights on at Paizo, if the crunch stops flowing?
I don't believe that the new edition was precipitated by the crunch being in any danger of not flowing.
Obviously, Paizo disagrees.

And only time will tell who is right...


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Keith McVay wrote:

One thing I will say is that 5E got it right in the amount of products it releases, which are minimal.

Obviously it works for some people but I really have to disagree myself.

When 5e first came out I thought the system was neat but eagerly waited for more content to be published before I really dug into it... and in four years they've released all of two major splat books.

So I'm still waiting.

Also worth noting that such a model is probably unsustainable for a company like Paizo who doesn't have something like MTG to fall back on.

But I'll freely admit I'm on the other end of the spectrum here, to the point where I'm frustrated by how slow Starfinder's content cycle is too.

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Fourshadow wrote:
And only time will tell who is right...

I don't think there is a right. Nor do I think Paizo will ever test the theory far enough to know.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
BOOM!

How is it possible that you're first on almost every single blog post Paizo puts out??? HOW???


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Gip wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
The plan is to address this in the course of play in an upcoming adventure so that it is part of the evolving narrative rather than simply tacked on all of a sudden with no context.
Does this mean we don't get to be crazy little pyros anymore? This saddens Gip enough he feels like writing...

NO GIP! DON'T DO IT! IT STEALS YOUR WORDS!

And on to the serious post...

(TL;DR: Some analysis on what was gleaned from the podcast, my stress reaction, individual responses at the end. I don't really like 5e and this pass of the playtest is looking heavily inspired by 5e.)

Physically ill. Having a powerful stress reaction to the game I love so much being so seriously torn to pieces. While the setting is a beautiful thing, I could run Golarion with the Apocalypse World system using nothing more than the Inner Sea World Guide and a little time on the wiki. What brings me back to Pathfinder again and again is the rich flexibility and variation between characters, which we can see from the Podcast so far is being torn to pieces.

I know, I've slacked off. I know I was guilty of not paying enough attention to the community when the time for Superstar rolled around. I know, I worked on my "Behind the Third Eye" and "PAST"-setting material too long, and dropped out of the MCAs early (Which then basically became Advanced Class Guide?), and through depression and injury missed my chance to publish them before Paizo beat me to the punches. (Occult Adventures and People of the Wastes I'm lookin at you!)

... But I always believed. I don't know where the perception came from, but I always believed that Unchained was the chance at 2nd Edition Pathfinder, that we would see a rule update with the Rules Compendium, that the legacy artifacts would be stripped out of the game with a fresh eye and clean language. I thought there would always be -time-. And now suddenly that time is gone.

Just culled from the podcast so far:

Opinions follow:

These divisive new changes are community killers!
*Skill Consolidation (Proficiency System prevents customization and gradation)
*Critical Threshold (Beating AC by 10 creates a crit)
*Inherent Fumbling System (Because rolling back to back natural 1s isn't punishment enough)
*Homogenity and Striving For Sameness (Simplifications lead to 'one right choice' thinking, and every Shadow Priest starts to look like every other Shadow Priest. MMO-ification. This was supposed to be done away with in 2e.)
*Unchained Afflictions (Now your character too can die from a simple infection!)
*Candy Colored Buttons (Do you need larger market share? Your base can already do math.)
*Divorced Mechanics (Monsters have 'special rules'.)
*Damiel (D-did he hurt you?)
*Skill Attacks (CMD and CMB are a brilliant and elegant solution, and a hallmark of Pathfinderyness. Please don't kill them. Using skills as attacks is a terrible idea.)

These things are fine:
*Active Spellcasting (caster rolls instead of saves, except against area attacks)
*Active Shields? (This could be interesting, I will playtest this.)
*Unchained Action System (This is fine. Take it or leave it. No one at my table has difficulty with move/act/swift.)
*Spell Actions (This is an interesting take and a new spin on the vancian system, I would try this out, particularly since "Channeled Spells" with action effectiveness based on how long it took to cast them was a concept I already tried out and worked quite well at the table.)
*Innovative Initiative (Hmmm. Playtest. You roll init based on 'what you were doing'.)
*Mechanized Backgrounds (This is fine. Whatever gets players into the character mindset.)
*Racial Advancement (This is fine. Making choices feel relevant beyond level 1 for people who forgot they picked 'elf' in their RP is good.)

This is a mixed bag:
*The 8th Race (ACK! Goblins are fine for a beer and pretzels oneshot, but Roleplayed like Pathfinder Goblins they're chaotic and evil little monsters who should give paladins morale issues about "slaughtering wholesale against a species based on the color of its skin", not jolly little English scholars who read from books with their little spectacles.)

Please tell me this second edition nonsense is all an early April 1st prank? I certainly don't have 90$ (AUD) to spend on a new core book when I have literally thousands already invested in the PFRPG as it is!

Will I be able to print my Golarion-centric Adventure Path ("World In Chains", because Zon-Kuthon needs more love) as a 1e third party product once the line is dropped?

@Anguish: They didn't get rid of iterative attacks. They're now available from first level. Every attack (you get 3 actions in the currently proposed system) after the first is at -5 to hit.
@DM_aka_Dudemeister & @Gorbacz: I guess.. we could always break off and spin up our own version of Pathfinder 1e? The Opened Opener Gamed Gaming Content License?

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:


I understand feeling betrayed, or hurt, or even sad to hear there's a new edition coming out. I remember being in this position when D&D 3.5 transitioned to 4e. Luckily Pathfinder was announced and it was a lifeline to the playstyle I enjoyed. At this point there's no sign of a Pathfinder 1e spin-off game by a 3rd party publisher, and the excitement of the game they love expanding has ended. I completely understand why that hurts.

@Agent Eclipse:+1 my friend. Add a little dizzy, and sweating palms.

Agent Eclipse wrote:
I am in the torn emotions club. My stomach is churning due to how much I have invested in Pathfinder to see it now go the route of D&D. One of the initial reasons I came to Pathfinder was to maintain the feel of the system I loved (3.5).

A final thought:

EXPLOSIVE RUNES


Cant say im happy about it, but ok, i will give it a chance to surprise me. Hope it isnt like SF.

Im sad PF is finally ending, but i must admit there is so much material already here one could game with this for the years to come, so im sure my house group will remain playing PF, even if we dont go over to 2.0.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I respect Paizo's right to manage its products however it wants, but I'm with those who are disappointed with this move. I also agree that Pathfinder can certainly be improved, but the richness of the current options has a lot of value to me. I've got numerous character concepts that I still want to try, and existing characters that I want to play with and develop more fully. Now I'm told that the richness of the existing rules will go away. Further, at least for organized play characters, they have little more than a year to "live" before my time, and my emotional investment, gets wiped out. Meanwhile, I'm not purchasing any new Paizo products that will have such a short useful life.


Alzrius wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
The implication being that people have been claiming Pathfinder has been scraping the bottom of the barrel almost since it launched. When does Paizo prove them right?

Presumably when the imagination, dedication, and talent of the people at Paizo runs out. Hence why I don't think we were anywhere near that point. :)

Yes, we had things like the shifter showing that mistakes and issues can crop up, but those remained very much the exception, rather than the rule.

Quote:
How long can the APs and setting material keep the lights on at Paizo, if the crunch stops flowing?

I don't believe that the new edition was precipitated by the crunch being in any danger of not flowing.

gustavo Iglesias wrote:
The implication is that "complete book of bald elven rogue psionicist with oversized red pants" sells much less than a core book.

Leaving aside that everything sells less than a core book, "Planar Adventures" was pretty clearly a stone's throw away from what you're describing. ;)

Quote:
You could always keep writing books, with every book being a bit more niche than the previous one. But sooner or later, you'll need a reboot.
I don't think that's necessarily true; I think it's possible, with enough innovation and imagination, to keep expanding the areas that could be written about, rather than having to drill down into ever-more-specific materials. (Maybe not indefinitely, but I think that Pathfinder 1E had life left in it, possibly considerably so.)

Hey, Tolkien did that his entire life. :)

Shadow Lodge

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Patrick Newcarry wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
BOOM!
How is it possible that you're first on almost every single blog post Paizo puts out??? HOW???

TOZ is eternal.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Purplefixer wrote:
*Divorced Mechanics (Monsters have 'special rules'.)

Just call me Darth Vader, because my reaction is NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Greymist wrote:
I respect Paizo's right to manage its products however it wants, but I'm with those who are disappointed with this move. I also agree that Pathfinder can certainly be improved, but the richness of the current options has a lot of value to me. I've got numerous character concepts that I still want to try, and existing characters that I want to play with and develop more fully. Now I'm told that the richness of the existing rules will go away. Further, at least for organized play characters, they have little more than a year to "live" before my time, and my emotional investment, gets wiped out. Meanwhile, I'm not purchasing any new Paizo products that will have such a short useful life.

You can continue to play and report PFS sessions for Pathfinder 1e indefinitely, so unless you’ve played every PFS scenario you have years and years before you need to worry about your organised play characters becoming obsolete. It’s all in the FAQ.

Grand Lodge

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Johnnycat93 wrote:
You know what game has gone 40 years without a second edition? RIFTS

Oh, you’re right. RIFTS is an excellent example of the problems that happen when a ruleset is not revised. I love the fluff of the world, but hate the machanics. If any game system could stand to have a second edition to revise it... it’s RIFTS. The gamebooks are riddled with typos and self-contradictions. It was so confusing to have to parse as a player.

Hmm


5 people marked this as a favorite.
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

There are so many people who really need to dial it back.

Please remember that a hobby is not a replacement for an identity, or a personality.

You are more than the sum of the games you buy.

Darn it! Now you tell me. I should probably go to my Facebook page and scrub "Nerd Gamer" from every post. I might not be back for a while. :P


Purplefixer wrote:
Gip wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
The plan is to address this in the course of play in an upcoming adventure so that it is part of the evolving narrative rather than simply tacked on all of a sudden with no context.
Does this mean we don't get to be crazy little pyros anymore? This saddens Gip enough he feels like writing...

NO GIP! DON'T DO IT! IT STEALS YOUR WORDS!

And on to the serious post...

(TL;DR: Some analysis on what was gleaned from the podcast, my stress reaction, individual responses at the end. I don't really like 5e and this pass of the playtest is looking heavily inspired by 5e.)

Physically ill. Having a powerful stress reaction to the game I love so much being so seriously torn to pieces. While the setting is a beautiful thing, I could run Golarion with the Apocalypse World system using nothing more than the Inner Sea World Guide and a little time on the wiki. What brings me back to Pathfinder again and again is the rich flexibility and variation between characters, which we can see from the Podcast so far is being torn to pieces.

I know, I've slacked off. I know I was guilty of not paying enough attention to the community when the time for Superstar rolled around. I know, I worked on my "Behind the Third Eye" and "PAST"-setting material too long, and dropped out of the MCAs early (Which then basically became Advanced Class Guide?), and through depression and injury missed my chance to publish them before Paizo beat me to the punches. (Occult Adventures and People of the Wastes I'm lookin at you!)

... But I always believed. I don't know where the perception came from, but I always believed that Unchained was the chance at 2nd Edition Pathfinder, that we would see a rule update with the Rules Compendium, that the legacy artifacts would be stripped out of the game with a fresh eye and clean language. I thought there would always be -time-. And now suddenly that time is gone.

Just culled from the podcast so far:
These divisive new changes are community killers!
*Skill Consolidation (Proficiency System prevents customization and gradation)
*Critical Threshold (Beating AC by 10 creates a crit)
*Inherent Fumbling System (Because rolling back to back natural 1s isn't punishment enough)
*Homogenity and Striving For Sameness (Simplifications lead to 'one right choice' thinking, and every Shadow Priest starts to look like every other Shadow Priest. MMO-ification. This was supposed to be done away with in 2e.)
*Unchained Afflictions (Now your character too can die from a simple infection!)
*Candy Colored Buttons (Do you need larger market share? Your base can already do math.)
*Divorced Mechanics (Monsters have 'special rules'.)
*Damiel (D-did he hurt you?)
*Skill Attacks (CMD and CMB are a brilliant and elegant solution, and a hallmark of Pathfinderyness. Please don't kill them. Using skills as attacks is a terrible idea.)
These things are fine:
*Active Spellcasting (caster rolls instead of saves, except against area attacks)
*Active Shields? (This could be interesting, I will playtest this.)
*Unchained Action System (This is fine. Take it or leave it. No one at my table has difficulty with move/act/swift.)
*Spell Actions (This is an interesting take and a new spin on the vancian system, I would try this out, particularly since "Channeled Spells" with action effectiveness based on how long it took to cast them was a concept I already tried out and worked quite well at the table.)
*Innovative Initiative (Hmmm. Playtest. You roll init based on 'what you were doing'.)
*Mechanized Backgrounds (This is fine. Whatever gets players into the character mindset.)
*Racial Advancement (This is fine. Making choices feel relevant beyond level 1 for people who forgot they picked 'elf' in their RP is good.)

This is a mixed bag:
*The 8th Race (ACK! Goblins are fine for a beer and pretzels oneshot, but Roleplayed like Pathfinder Goblins they're chaotic and evil little monsters who should give paladins morale issues about "slaughtering wholesale against a species based on the color of its skin", not jolly little English scholars who read from books with their little spectacles.)
Please tell me this second edition nonsense is all an early April 1st prank? I certainly don't have 90$ (AUD) to spend on a new core book when I have literally thousands already invested in the PFRPG as it is!

Will I be able to print my Golarion-centric Adventure Path ("World In Chains", because Zon-Kuthon needs more love) as a 1e third party product once the line is dropped?

@Anguish: They didn't get rid of iterative attacks. They're now available from first level. Every attack (you get 3 actions in the currently proposed system) after the first is at -5 to hit.
@DM_aka_Dudemeister & @Gorbacz: I guess.. we could always break off and spin up our own version of Pathfinder 1e? The Opened Opener Gamed Gaming Content License?

So... you're going to make your own Pathfinder RPG? A derivative of a derivative? It's like looking into a hall of mirrors...

In all seriousness, though, you will be able to publish your 1e AP under the OGL as a third party, as per the FAQ they released yesterday.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Squiggit wrote:
Keith McVay wrote:

One thing I will say is that 5E got it right in the amount of products it releases, which are minimal.

Obviously it works for some people but I really have to disagree myself.

When 5e first came out I thought the system was neat but eagerly waited for more content to be published before I really dug into it... and in four years they've released all of two major splat books.

So I'm still waiting.

Also worth noting that such a model is probably unsustainable for a company like Paizo who doesn't have something like MTG to fall back on.

But I'll freely admit I'm on the other end of the spectrum here, to the point where I'm frustrated by how slow Starfinder's content cycle is too.

It seems to work for WotC, seeing how 5e dominates the market for the 15th quarter in a row, while also adding new players to the player pool.

This is something I think a lot of people is missing here. Some people has stated in this thread that "Paizo will lose the grognards" and "Paizo won't win 5e players back" or "Paizo won't beat WotC at their market" and whatever.

First, grognards are also being swallowed by 5e. There is no lack of podcasts and youtube series of people playing 5e with grey beards that starting to play the game when Dave Arneson's name was still printed in the books.

Second, "win the 3e grognards or win the 5e players" is a false dichotomy. It states that those two are the only kind of players out there, which is false, just like 5e showed. There is a different kind of player: new players. DnD managed to blow the sales ranks, while ADDING new players.

Third, new players are, long term, a much better investment. If only because old grognards with gray hair (like myself) will die of older age sooner than new players drawn into the hobby. There is people out there who started to play in 1980 or before. That's 35 years committed to the hobby. Those people won't be there for another 35 years, because of pure age. BUT new players who enter the hobby now might last for 35 years, just like those players of old did, and are still around.

To every people saying "I won't buy anymore", just think that such "threat" only matter if Paizo fumbles. If PF 2.0 sells well, changing 1.000 old guards for 2.000 new players is a clear win. Would it sell well? That I don't know. But if Starfinder record selling for Paizo is a hint, the (admittely big) backlash in the forums of people claiming "SF sucks because it's not PF" won't matter at all.


Patrick Newcarry wrote:

So... you're going to make your own Pathfinder RPG? A derivative of a derivative? It's like looking into a hall of mirrors...

In all seriousness, though, you will be able to publish your 1e AP under the OGL as a third party, as per the FAQ they released yesterday.

Or at least we could run an online service to bring together other gamers to play the classic version... PathfinderFinder?

I was asking because the AP I've started into starts in Nidal and deals with the terrors of the Shadow Court of Pangolais and some top-level Cenobi- I mean top-level Kytons. It's Golarion, not just OGL.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

As someone who has been through multiple edition changes in his day (and frankly hated every one of them), I can't say I was happy to hear this news.

I became less happy as I read everything, because it kept reminding me of one thing. D&D 5e. If I wanted to play 5e, I would. I came to Pathfinder after 3e because, wait for it, I liked the d20 system and was not willing to abandon it in favor of the new flavor of the month "streamlined" mechanics.

I didn't transition to D&D 4e. I looked at 5e and decided to stay where I was. I'll look at PF2e when it comes out, and make my decision then, but for the time being I don't really think I'll be converting.

As for the reasoning why?

I detest simple games. If I want a dumbed down... sorry, "streamlined" game, there are many mediocre options out there I could be playing now. I like the complicated ones, because I can do what I want in complicated rulesets because they can offer me TRUE flexibility and customization.

Hell, if I had enough people that would put up with it I'd be playing GURPS or Mutants & Masterminds, but Pathfinder was good enough at the options to be viable.

I want MORE complicated rules. I want MORE choices, not less.

I see "simplified and streamlined" and I hear "Here's your 6 choices of what you're allowed to play, pick the one you hate least."

I don't want to pick parts A, B, and C and have everything auto-generate from those choices, I want to craft each point by hand. Because I want to have true flexibility that lets me use mechanics for what I want them to do, not for what the developers tell me I'm allowed to do.

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