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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nogoodscallywag wrote:
1of1 wrote:

Prefab backgrounds...

That was probably my least favorite part of Starfinder and 5e D&D.
Especially the part where if you opted out with Themeless in Starfinder, it felt like you were intentionally given something worse than the other options.

^^^^THIS.

Going themeless in Starfinder really burned my wick. Why penalize a player for this? Ridiculous. Every GM should houserule this away and allow a themeless player to figure out a fair and balanced way to not be penalized.

5e characters are allowed to make their own backgrounds.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
nogoodscallywag wrote:
Stubbazubba wrote:
Quote:
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!

What a cool idea...but why on earth is this a monster-specific ability? Shouldn't this be a natural result of the grapple rules available to anything strong enough?

Because it would be absurd to allow a medium sized PC to grab an enemy by the jaws and fling them up 20 feet into the air, that's why.

No it wouldn't. Not the slightest bit absurd.

Only if you take the 'jaw' word too literally, and even then I could see some more bestial PCs doing it.

Quote:
Having monsters be a different set of rules than the PCs is what makes them unique, fun, and terrifying. This is how it used to be done.

Nothing wrong with being creative and spontaneous with the monsters, but it does not make sense to me at all as a GM to have things in my world that some existences can't acquire in some form or other for metagame reasons.


nogoodscallywag wrote:
Stubbazubba wrote:
Quote:
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!

What a cool idea...but why on earth is this a monster-specific ability? Shouldn't this be a natural result of the grapple rules available to anything strong enough?

Because it would be absurd to allow a medium sized PC to grab an enemy by the jaws and fling them up 20 feet into the air, that's why.

Having monsters be a different set of rules than the PCs is what makes them unique, fun, and terrifying. This is how it used to be done.

What if I am fighting a Pixie Horde? and they already got my arms tied with their devilish pixie ropes


Fresh pixie stix

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
nogoodscallywag wrote:
1of1 wrote:

Prefab backgrounds...

That was probably my least favorite part of Starfinder and 5e D&D.
Especially the part where if you opted out with Themeless in Starfinder, it felt like you were intentionally given something worse than the other options.
Going themeless in Starfinder really burned my wick. Why penalize a player for this? Ridiculous. Every GM should houserule this away and allow a themeless player to figure out a fair and balanced way to not be penalized.

Themes are a pretty simple framework. If you don't like the ones in the book, it's not too hard to create a new one that fits better.

I think of Spacefarer as the default for space fantasy, though.

Grand Lodge

Mark Seifter wrote:
Samy wrote:

Mark, I'm talking about the other direction. (Running 2e adventures in 1e system.) We already saw you run Everflame on the video on the fly, so we know that's doable -- it's the other direction that some people are still wondering (and hoping) about.

I don't intend to jump into 2e until there's much more races and classes, so it would be really cool if we could still continue to buy the AP line and use them in 1e while waiting for 2e to fill out with the options we require.

Honestly, the main barrier to doing that, and the reason it's harder than vice versa, is simply PF1 itself. By which I mean, If you have an appropriate PF1 monster or NPC handy already (like if you're fighting a troll and you have the B1 troll handy from PF1), it shouldn't be too hard, with the main task being treasure adjustment. If not, then just the fact that making a monster/NPC is always inherently complicated in PF1 is going to slow you down in that direction.

Samy, couldn't we just replace the monster, trap, etc. stats in the new 2e module with the 1e stuff and just keep the flavor/plot/sequences?

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Dandy Lion wrote:
Erik said he found that particular flavour of mind magic ill-fitting the setting.

Which is SUPER strange since the setting is a literal mish-mash of nearly every single genre around....

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragonborn3 wrote:
The Dandy Lion wrote:
Erik said he found that particular flavour of mind magic ill-fitting the setting.
Which is SUPER strange since the setting is a literal mish-mash of nearly every single genre around....

The fact that you're mish-mashing does not mean that you are under obligation to include everything or to follow any logic of what goes in and what does not.

And if anybody says "YEAH YEAH so you've included X and Y but you didn't include Z" you can just ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and walk away.

I need to use those anime kid emoticons more often.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

,___, (\__/)
(O,O)(='.'=)
/)__/)(")_(")

they're fun!

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
kyrt-ryder wrote:
nogoodscallywag wrote:
Stubbazubba wrote:
Quote:
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!

What a cool idea...but why on earth is this a monster-specific ability? Shouldn't this be a natural result of the grapple rules available to anything strong enough?

Because it would be absurd to allow a medium sized PC to grab an enemy by the jaws and fling them up 20 feet into the air, that's why.

No it wouldn't. Not the slightest bit absurd.

Only if you take the 'jaw' word too literally, and even then I could see some more bestial PCs doing it.

Let's consider how this would potentially be done in Pathfinder 1e. If your character is Medium-size and wants to forcibly move an enemy 20', we'll call that a Bull Rush (ignoring that you can normally only do so to push enemies horizontally). Assuming that the rule for vertical movement remains consistent (moving straight up costs twice the normal distance), you'd essentially have to Bull Rush an enemy 40' to get them 20' into the air. In order to successfully do this one would need to roll their Bull Rush attempt and beat the enemy's CMD by 35. This is all assuming the enemy actually weighs less than you can conceivably lift and throw.

Perhaps if the PC was also a Gargantuan 32-64' tall creature with a reach of 20' and a Strength of 32 it wouldn't be so unreasonable. But for a humanoid of Medium size with an average 5' reach and height around 7' on the high end? I doubt it. Unless you happen to be an Abyssal Bloodrager with a Strength score in the upper-40s of course.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Charabdos, The Tidal King wrote:
nogoodscallywag wrote:
1of1 wrote:

Prefab backgrounds...

That was probably my least favorite part of Starfinder and 5e D&D.
Especially the part where if you opted out with Themeless in Starfinder, it felt like you were intentionally given something worse than the other options.

^^^^THIS.

Going themeless in Starfinder really burned my wick. Why penalize a player for this? Ridiculous. Every GM should houserule this away and allow a themeless player to figure out a fair and balanced way to not be penalized.

I haven't look into Starfinder that much....what I did see turned me off, and I'm really not the least bit interested with the setting.

Creating and defining background is actually one of the most enjoyable aspects of RP to me.

In general, most of the ......"shortcuts" (for lack of a better term) to character creation, are one of the biggest turn off's to me in other systems.

So far, I'm seeing little that would make me interested in 2E.

I'll look at the playtest when it comes out, and if I see anything I like I'll incorporate it into my 1E games....evidently some of the stuff was in unchained....but as we have used very little from unchained.....I'm not holding my breath that I will be overly interested in 2nd E. If the modules for 2nd E are easily backwards compatible.....I may continue to buy them....if not we have a fair amount of material to continue foreword for a good amount of time.

It will be interesting to see how this play's out....


LuniasM wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
nogoodscallywag wrote:
Stubbazubba wrote:
Quote:
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!

What a cool idea...but why on earth is this a monster-specific ability? Shouldn't this be a natural result of the grapple rules available to anything strong enough?

Because it would be absurd to allow a medium sized PC to grab an enemy by the jaws and fling them up 20 feet into the air, that's why.

No it wouldn't. Not the slightest bit absurd.

Only if you take the 'jaw' word too literally, and even then I could see some more bestial PCs doing it.

Let's consider how this would potentially be done in Pathfinder 1e. If your character is Medium-size and wants to forcibly move an enemy 20', we'll call that a Bull Rush (ignoring that you can normally only do so to push enemies horizontally). Assuming that the rule for vertical movement remains consistent (moving straight up costs twice the normal distance), you'd essentially have to Bull Rush an enemy 40' to get them 20' into the air. In order to successfully do this one would need to roll their Bull Rush attempt and beat the enemy's CMD by 35. This is all assuming the enemy actually weighs less than you can conceivably lift and throw.

Perhaps if the PC was also a Gargantuan 32-64' tall creature with a reach of 20' and a Strength of 32 it wouldn't be so unreasonable. But for a humanoid of Medium size with an average 5' reach and height around 7' on the high end? I doubt it. Unless you happen to be an Abyssal Bloodrager with a Strength score in the upper-40s of course.

First of all, unless the target has flight how are they resisting that vertical movement like they would a bullrush?

Secondly, nobody ever claimed the combat maneuver system of PF1 is well engineered.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:
First of all, unless the target has flight how are they resisting that vertical movement like they would a bullrush?

Typically we laymen call it Gravity. Which means it makes as much if not more sense for size modifiers to apply to CMD. As for Strength they can try to grab you while you try to throw, and even if you do still throw them the drag of their limbs dragging against you can reduce the speed when you release, decreasing maximum height, and Dex can be used to twist in the air to increase drag, again decreasing how far you go.


So, Developers:
It has been mentioned that there will only be one more Hardcover in the RPG line, and 17 more books in the AP line. that begs the question, will we continue to get Modules and Campaign Setting books between now and PF2? and if so, would it be spoilerific to ask how many haven't been announced yet?


Shinigami02 wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:
First of all, unless the target has flight how are they resisting that vertical movement like they would a bullrush?
Typically we laymen call it Gravity. Which means it makes as much if not more sense for size modifiers to apply to CMD. As for Strength they can try to grab you while you try to throw, and even if you do still throw them the drag of their limbs dragging against you can reduce the speed when you release, decreasing maximum height, and Dex can be used to twist in the air to increase drag, again decreasing how far you go.

Gravity offer resistance yes, but its static resistance.

Succeed the check to throw them and they will fly as far as you are capable of throwing them.

Very different from a bull rush.


nogoodscallywag wrote:
Rosita the Riveter wrote:

Okay, I haven't been able to get much information on how baked into the new rules Golarion lore will be. That worries me, because 9.5 times out of 10, I have no desire to use Golarion. In order for this to be the game for me, I need to know that I can use it with a homebrew or third party setting with ease.

Also, to be brutally honest, after the Kineticist, Vigilante, and Shifter, it's really hard for me to trust Paizo as game designers anymore. Especially with all the public input you had on the Kineticist and how underpowered it was well before publishing it. I'm kind of skeptical as to holl well you can actually pull off anything you are proposing here, because your recent track record with lesser projects suggests you can't.

There's nothing at all saying you can't do what you wish. Include or remove anything Golarion related. I don't know why it's so difficult for GMs to do this.

I think this is from two things, either they are new and inexperienced trying to learn something that can not really be taught by book and thus lack the confidence or understanding.

Or they are the sort that don't want to think, that just wsnt to be told what to do and when.

Not that the latter would ever admit it, and I don't think they'd admit it to themselves even, but that second type is the most common gm I find.


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nogoodscallywag wrote:
Stubbazubba wrote:
Quote:
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!

What a cool idea...but why on earth is this a monster-specific ability? Shouldn't this be a natural result of the grapple rules available to anything strong enough?

Because it would be absurd to allow a medium sized PC to grab an enemy by the jaws and fling them up 20 feet into the air, that's why.

Having monsters be a different set of rules than the PCs is what makes them unique, fun, and terrifying. This is how it used to be done.

That, and combat maneuvers can cover grapples and throws, I'm sure, and whether you can throw someone 20 feet is really dependent on being very strong. But yes, monsters should not be built on the same rules as PCs. I like that they have ability scores and stuff, and it sounds like they'll have levels now instead of CR (which should make design a lot more accurate and rewarding), but ultimately, they don't need all the stuff that PCs have. It's time-consuming, it's extra work, and it doesn't ever amount to anything that adds to a game. Often you're not even going to see all of the facets of the monster, so putting in the same amount of work to create one as you would a level 1 character is just silly.


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TheAlicornSage wrote:
Characters should not be defined by mechanics. The character should be defined narratively, with mechanics chosen afterwards that best represent the character concept.

I agree entirely, at the level that base classes should represent a clear and distinct concept mechanically as best as possible.

Given the choice between a dozen initial character classes expanding upwards to something similar to how many PF1.0 has (or ideally more), and the impossible combinatorial nightmare that mix-and-match customisation is for making balanced games without broken exploits with even fifty different independent feats (which comes out as 3 x 10^64 possibilities if I am counting right) I strongly favour the former.


Alzrius wrote:
TheAlicornSage wrote:
Characters should not be defined by mechanics. The character should be defined narratively, with mechanics chosen afterwards that best represent the character concept.

I agree with you, but I don't think that Pathfinder 2E is going to be able to go much further than its predecessor in making that viable. Pathfinder 1E, just like 3.X, made it so that certain mechanical choices and combinations worked better than others, and if you built a character focused only around representing a narratively-built definition of who your character was and what they could do, you were liable to end up with one that was less effective, in terms of mechanics, than a character that was created along mechanical lines first and then defined narratively. Spellcasters that multiclassed were a notable example of this.

Personally, the reason that I'm not optimistic about Pathfinder 2E making much (if any) headway with fixing this is that - in my opinion - the root of this particular problem is character classes themselves. Siloing various abilities into particular classes at particular levels, typically done in the name of that elusive specter known as "balance," means that - if you're trying to get abilities from several different character classes in order to flesh out your narratively-generated idea - you're going to have to waste a lot of levels to do it, and pick up other class abilities that you don't want along the way, in all likelihood.

With "hole-patching" prestige classes (e.g. mystic theurge, eldritch knight, arcane trickster, etc.), archetypes, and feats, this can be slightly ameliorated, but those are putting a band-aid on the issue rather than solving it. Solving it would mean abandoning character classes altogether and going with a point-buy system of selecting character abilities (which wouldn't require that you go to a rules-light option either, I should add; you can still do this while maintaining compatibility with the d20 System engine), which in...

Two things,

3.x was designed with the idea of customization via gm. Yes, there are classes and such thjngs, but the gm was supposed to adjust the classes for each player. The dmg even included an example.

I suspect the entire point of classes at the time was two fold, niche protection (an element of spotlight balance, which is different from game balance) and inspirational starting points, for those times when you don't have any ideas, well you can just grab a package and make adjustments.


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
TheAlicornSage wrote:
Characters should not be defined by mechanics. The character should be defined narratively, with mechanics chosen afterwards that best represent the character concept.

I agree entirely, at the level that base classes should represent a clear and distinct concept mechanically as best as possible.

Given the choice between a dozen initial character classes expanding upwards to something similar to how many PF1.0 has (or ideally more), and the impossible combinatorial nightmare that mix-and-match customisation is for making balanced games without broken exploits with even fifty different independent feats (which comes out as 3 x 10^64 possibilities if I am counting right) I strongly favour the former.

Except for two things, when you have a concept that is not covered by a class, and second, game balance destroys naturalistic balance and does not help at all when playing the story, thus game balance is strictly for playing the rules. That is why so many complained about balance issues in 3.x, because they didn't understand that 3.x favored naturalistic balance.

Trying to balance the two, playing the story and playing the rules, is crazy, and I doubt you could do much better than 3.x. Paizo doesn't seem to even try.

Liberty's Edge

I have played RPGS since 1980, and have seen AD&D, the Basic Box, AD&D 2nd Edition, AD&D 2.5 (the Skills and Powers black books), 3rd Edition, 3.5, 4.0 and Pathfinder. I have seen great changes in this hobby, and I think that it helps to take a long-term perspective on change. I thought that no edition would last forever, and I am not completely surprised by this announcement. (Starfinder made me think it was more likely, as some of Alternity's rules influenced D&D 3.0)

I STILL have my 3.0 announcement shirt and remembered that my gaming group at the time was split. Eventually, we adopted 3.0 and 3.5. So, I think that communication and transparency will be crucial during the playtest process. It helped with D&D 3.0, 3.5 and Pathfinder 1.0. It will still be vital for Pathfinder 2.0. I appreciate fellow gamers and developers and designers for starting the dialog and keeping it going.

I find myself cautiously optimistic but I think that it might be wise to use terms that differ from other games. Perhaps skill proficiencies can be replaced with skill competencies. Also, I think that there are some things that are vital to the new system.

Customization of character design is important. Two characters of the same class can be very different and should be. (As an example, perhaps clerics of the same deity may have very different abilities based on their personal paths or fitting into a certain sect of a faith. I am pleased to see the muscle wizard as an option, as a friend created an interesting one and amusing one - a nagaji wizard with a long-suffering toad familiar.)

Choices should be meaningful and some should not be obvious. Will wizards have access to familiars and equally valuable bonded items? (Many of my wizards never cared for familiars even in 1E.) Will choices matter for characters of all classes and ancestries. Similarly, there should be a variety of fighter types that are viable from two-handed fighters to sword-and-board to dexterous rapier wielders to strategists whose cunning is vital to their fighting style. All characters should be able to contribute to a party. (I have seen powerful, even over powerful fighter types as well as overly powerful spellcasters in some groups. Again, all characters in a part of adventurers need a chance to shine.)

Upper-level play should be manageable and fun, and this should be true at all levels of play. I have played epic level characters that took years to develop and were important parts of the settings with their peers and shaping their worlds and saving their worlds several times. (One character had an on-again and off-again play history of some 20 years and ultimately succeeded his mentors as someone who helped to look after his world.) This took teamwork, planning, and bold action. One thing I like about Golarion is that the characters are the primary heroes, with some other heroes perhaps in the background. (I am fond of Old Mage Jatembe and his Ten Magic Warriors.) I am pleased that the timeline is advancing without world-shattering events.

(Upper-level play or epic-level or mythic-level play can likely wait a few years.)

I do want to see a lot of support for organized play, and my local group in Northwest Indiana is probably one of many to provide feedback. I am pleased that there is an opportunity for feedback and I think that we will learn a lot about building a new system. I think that one of Paizo's strengths is listening to customers.

Rule zero should be that fun is the ultimate priority. I think we need to ensure that everyone can have fun. I have taken the time to read the posts in this thread and urge everyone to treat each other with respect. We all have different opinions and priorities, yet I think we should remember that as gamers and human beings what unites us is more powerful and important than what divides us. Regardless of where you stand on this new playtest, I wish you good gaming and lots of fun.


One thing that really helps fun, is understanding and having good ways to communicate about different playstyles.

Cause telling me that a game will be combat heavy does not tell me a caster must be responsible for identifying all potions, and that the characters must all be perfectly trusting and handled like faceless pawns in a game of chess when combat occurs, and you better not bother the gm with out of the box thinking built on flavor instead of mechanics.

That sort of surprise is bad for everybody.

------

Quote:
... a variety of fighter types that are viable...

See, this is something I don't understand.

In a world where magic can be trained, only an idiot would think professional soldiers without magic is a good idea. The entire idea is absurd.

On the other hand, having mundane classes for campaigns where magic is limited, such as a Darksun campaign, makes sense, cause in those settings, magic soldiers is not possible, and there are lots of reasons to have folks do without magic. Other settings might even have magic be accessable to only a few, like Harry Potter.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
TheAlicornSage wrote:


See, this is something I don't understand.

In a world where magic can be trained, only an idiot would think professional soldiers without magic is a good idea. The entire idea is absurd.

Disagree entirely. We have different degrees of competency in the real world as is and we don't train everyone to be crack SAS level soldiers. Not every one is capable of everything, even if the set of skills is trainable, not every scenario warrants that level of expertise and thus resources spent on that training is a waste in the vast majority of situations and finally having a bunch of soldiers being able to explode a small town with a few words can cause more problems than it solves.


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I didn't say they needed to be as good as dedicated wizards.

But consider modern soldiers and technology. We are all taught the basics of the various technologies we use. We are also taught first aid. These skills certainly compare with engineers and doctors, and we are required to become competant at these skills, but that doesn't mean we are taught in depth enough to be equal to doctors and engineers.

Magic would be the same way. Soldiers would learn the basics of spells most useful on the field. Further, damage spells would be unlikely to make the list.

In mechanical terms, soldiers would have a slower magic progression, and their list would be utility spells such as spider climb, expeditious retreat, and shield. Additionally, they'd study spellcraft and learn to recognize what an enemy spellcaster is casting so they can resond appropriately, just like how we learn about our enemies and their capabilities in the real world, and that alone takes a basic proficiency in magic.

Just like how war of sword fights can't co-exist with guns, so to would magic be considered a crucial resource in a fantasy war.

I'm not saying every soldier would be an awesome and highly trained caster, bug they'd know the basics and have several basic spells and understand the way of magic so they can work side by side with the soldiers who do specialize in casting magic.

And yes, some soldiers, who would need to be actual military soldiers with military discipline, and not ivory tower idiots, would have magic as their speciality, and they would also need to know how to fight and make use of armor just like any other soldier cause a military unit simply can't afford to blow through all their magic in 20 seconds, they need to use it wisely for endurance.


TheAlicornSage wrote:
Quote:


Given the choice between a dozen initial character classes expanding upwards to something similar to how many PF1.0 has (or ideally more), and the impossible combinatorial nightmare that mix-and-match customisation is for making balanced games without broken exploits with even fifty different independent feats (which comes out as 3 x 10^64 possibilities if I am counting right) I strongly favour the former.

Except for two things, when you have a concept that is not covered by a class,

if that's the case, it wants to be a new class. I am unconvinced that the number of utterly distinct concepts that work in any specific setting exceeds the number of classes the game can support.

Quote:


and second, game balance destroys naturalistic balance and does not help at all when playing the story, thus game balance is strictly for playing the rules. That is why so many complained about balance issues in 3.x, because they didn't understand that 3.x favored naturalistic balance.

Trying to balance the two, playing the story and playing the rules, is crazy, and I doubt you could do much better than 3.x. Paizo doesn't seem to even try.

Could you expand on what you mean by "naturalistic balance" here ?

Grand Lodge

Sunderstone wrote:

If I may ask...

1) Exactly how much emphasis on miniatures this time around?
My biggest gripe with 3.5/PF is the strong emphasis on the tactical with minis and battlemats and the need to stop the game constantly to draw out a new room.

I'd venture to say, using Paizo's mini line and the vast majority of players who use minis and maps, that the miniature play in Pathfinder is a key and great and fun element which draws in most people.


I don't know your GMing style Alicornsage, but some of us desire harmony between the rules and the story.

As a GM I don't want to be making the judgement calls required to use the rules as a guideline in play.

I will rewrite the rules top to bottom if necessary to get the feel I desire, but at the table I play by the rules just as much as I expect my players to.

(To clarify a point based on a recent topic you brought up, I use the rules for resolution of actions and do my best to promote immersive role-play)


TheAlicornSage wrote:

I didn't say they needed to be as good as dedicated wizards.

But consider modern soldiers and technology. We are all taught the basics of the various technologies we use. We are also taught first aid. These skills certainly compare with engineers and doctors, and we are required to become competant at these skills, but that doesn't mean we are taught in depth enough to be equal to doctors and engineers.

Magic would be the same way. Soldiers would learn the basics of spells most useful on the field. Further, damage spells would be unlikely to make the list.

In mechanical terms, soldiers would have a slower magic progression, and their list would be utility spells such as spider climb, expeditious retreat, and shield. Additionally, they'd study spellcraft and learn to recognize what an enemy spellcaster is casting so they can resond appropriately, just like how we learn about our enemies and their capabilities in the real world, and that alone takes a basic proficiency in magic.

Just like how war of sword fights can't co-exist with guns, so to would magic be considered a crucial resource in a fantasy war.

I'm not saying every soldier would be an awesome and highly trained caster, bug they'd know the basics and have several basic spells and understand the way of magic so they can work side by side with the soldiers who do specialize in casting magic.

And yes, some soldiers, who would need to be actual military soldiers with military discipline, and not ivory tower idiots, would have magic as their speciality, and they would also need to know how to fight and make use of armor just like any other soldier cause a military unit simply can't afford to blow through all their magic in 20 seconds, they need to use it wisely for endurance.

Or you know, like in much fantasy, martials can be powerful without actually casting spells. Like they are in PF - getting way beyond anything realistic - while still falling behind casters.

Ideally elite martials should be able to be as powerful and versatile as casters without being casters. They should play differently, but shouldn't be weaker.
That's hard to get right mechanically, but it's harder if you hold martials down to some definition of "realism" (while still allowing them to be completely unrealistic in other ways.)


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I am incredibly excited. Just as I was in the process of turning my back on PFRPG for 5th ed... Very well timed.

The big question for me is... will 2.0 be backwards compatible (or at least easily convertible) with the 1.0 Adventure Paths?


Quick question, is the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook going to be available for free download as a PDF? If so, is it already available and if so where can one download it?


newagelancelot wrote:
I am incredibly excited. Just as I was in the process of turning my back on PFRPG for 5th ed...

Abandoning Pathfinder RPG altogether for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition? Why not just continue to play both?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Berselius wrote:
Quick question, is the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook going to be available for free download as a PDF? If so, is it already available and if so where can one download it?
Quote:
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

Yes, it will be a free PDF.


Berselius wrote:
newagelancelot wrote:
I am incredibly excited. Just as I was in the process of turning my back on PFRPG for 5th ed...
Abandoning Pathfinder RPG altogether for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition? Why not just continue to play both?

Best guess: a combination of economy of disposable income, time, and shelf space. I concur with the sentiment of "disregard fake edition wars, acquire good memories," but there's a practical undercurrent to adhering to specific games.


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The correct number of character classes in a role-playing game is zero.


Ed Reppert wrote:
The correct number of character classes in a role-playing game is zero.

I find three ultra broad ones works very well, and helps focus inexperienced players a bit better than true classless.


Erik Mona wrote:
Kain Gallant wrote:

Here's what I want to see in the 2nd Edition:

5 of your 6 items align closely with the design goals of the new edition.

So which one doesn't align with the design goals?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
eljava77 wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:
Kain Gallant wrote:

Here's what I want to see in the 2nd Edition:

5 of your 6 items align closely with the design goals of the new edition.

So which one doesn't align with the design goals?

Presumably the one about npcs and pcs being built from the same rules. They've already said the default way to build npcs will use different rules (although the numbers will come out very similar to what you'd get if you built the same npc via the pc rules).


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Ed Reppert wrote:
The correct number of character classes in a role-playing game is zero.

GURPS already exists and is a perfectly fine game for playing classless, and when I want to play GURPS I do. That's not what I come to Pathfinder for.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
There is a section in the introduction that discusses different inspirations for building your character and talks about how you might build from concept first, and that's how I start, blending in with mechanics. However, I think more people probably start with a class in mind.

I've always been a concept first character maker. Even when I have a mechanic I want to use, I don't 'fill in' the rest of the character until I have a concept for the character.


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I do not understand why on earth people try to change a fundamental, even defining part of a game with a feature that is freely available in other games.

Defined classes is one of the things I like about Ad&D/3.x. Take that away and it is no longer AD&D/3.x.
Keep your grubby mitts off...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ed Reppert wrote:
The correct number of character classes in a role-playing game is zero.

For me, I'd say it's >= 20


nogoodscallywag wrote:
Sunderstone wrote:

If I may ask...

1) Exactly how much emphasis on miniatures this time around?
My biggest gripe with 3.5/PF is the strong emphasis on the tactical with minis and battlemats and the need to stop the game constantly to draw out a new room.
I'd venture to say, using Paizo's mini line and the vast majority of players who use minis and maps, that the miniature play in Pathfinder is a key and great and fun element which draws in most people.

Even if I did love the constant breaking the immersion to map out every single room, stuff like the RotR boxed set of cardboard minis (or whatever they are called) have limited print runs and then become unavailable. This is a bit of a PITA too.

We stopped mapping everything except "important" encounters, boss fights and the like anyway, but it's hard sometimes when certain feats and flanking mechanics come into play so much.

TBH, if WotC had PDFs, I'd probably have tried and possibly switched to 5th edition by now.


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Squeakmaan wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:
The correct number of character classes in a role-playing game is zero.
For me, I'd say it's >= 20

I guess it might be approximately 50, but plenty of people with more imagination than me could plausibly come up with notions I am overlooking.


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dragonhunterq wrote:

I do not understand why on earth people try to change a fundamental, even defining part of a game with a feature that is freely available in other games.

Defined classes is one of the things I like about Ad&D/3.x. Take that away and it is no longer AD&D/3.x.
Keep your grubby mitts off...

It's not just particular features, it is the best combination of features.

There are features of d20 I dislike, such as classes, but being classless is not enough of a feature on it's own to make me want to use a system.


Well, I do suffer from Metathesiophobia (look it up) but that being stated, I have preordered everything in the platest offer (softcover mind you) At the very least, if I dont like it, the flip mats will still be of use.


Power level of magic missile tied to actions and not wizard level?
Dealbreaker.
Not F*@*ing Joking.

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