Welcome to the Pathfinder Playtest! Along with all the other members of the Design Team and the rest of the Paizo staff, we'd like to thank you for your time, dedication, and enthusiasm. Without you, we could not hope to make the best possible version of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Your feedback, thoughts, concerns, and criticism are vital to our process—we literally can't do it without you!
So, let's talk about all the ways you can help us playtest the newest version of Pathfinder! Starting on Thursday, August 2, make sure to grab the free PDF of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook and make your first character. If you are planning on being your group's Game Master, download the free adventure Doomsday Dawn and start reading through Part 1 of the adventure. Make sure to also grab the free Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary PDF, since it contains all of the adversaries you will need to run the adventure.
Once you've gathered a group together, plan on playing regularly over the next few months as we make our way through all seven parts of the adventure. Doomsday Dawn is broken up into seven distinct chapters, each of which tests different levels and different aspects of the game. Make sure to set aside some time to give us your feedback as well. We are including surveys this time around to collect your thoughts and help you get your feedback to us as quickly and efficiently for you as possible, so taking part in the playtest could not be easier!
Playtesting with Doomsday Dawn
- Before play begins, make sure to download the Playtest Tracking PDF (which will be available starting Thursday, August 2) to help you keep track of a few important pieces of information that we'll ask about later in the surveys. Note that the PDF contains a sheet for GMs and a sheet for players.
- Play a chapter of Doomsday Dawn. We highly recommend you start with Part 1 and play the adventure in order so that you fully experience the story, but if you can only play some of the parts, that's OK!
- Fill out the surveys that correspond to the chapter you just played (either the GM survey or the player survey, plus general feedback if you want to give some free responses). You'll be able to find links to the surveys at pathfinderplaytest.com starting on Thursday, August 2. Surveys for Parts 2-7 will go live as we progress through the playtest (see the playtest schedule below). We recommend filling out each survey soon after you play the chapter so the memory is fresh, but don't worry about memorizing any fine details; that's what the Tracking PDF is for!
- Go back to Step 2 and play another part of the adventure until you're done with Doomsday Dawn! We'll be focusing on each part in order, according to the playtest schedule.
Playtesting with the Pathfinder Society
- Before play begins, make sure to grab the Society Playtest Tracking PDF (which will be available starting Thursday, August 2) to help you keep track of a few important pieces of information that we'll ask about later in the surveys.
- Play one of the Pathfinder Society playtest scenarios.
- Fill out the survey corresponding to the scenario you just played (the player or GM survey, plus the general feedback survey if you want to give some free responses). We recommend filling out any surveys soon after you play the scenario so the memory is fresh, but don't worry about memorizing any fine details; that's what the Tracking PDF is for.
- Go back to Step 2 and play a different scenario. You can also replay any of the scenarios to try out a new class, ancestry, or other combination!
Playtesting with Custom Adventures
There aren't any step-by-step instructions for playtesting using your own adventures. You're in charge! Use the rules in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook and Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary to create any sort of adventure you want. To make sure your data are as strong as possible, try to keep to the guidelines in the rulebook and avoid setting any house rules, as these limit what we can learn from your responses. For instance, if you run a monster much stronger than the guidelines and then report that the PCs were easily defeated, we can't tell how they might have fared under normal conditions. Other than that, the sky's the limit.
In addition to the adventure-specific surveys, we will also be releasing general surveys that we would like everyone to complete, focusing on ancestries, character classes, play mechanics, and more! We want to give you a chance to playtest a bit before we launch those surveys, but when they go live, you'll find the links with the other surveys at pathfinderplaytest.com.
In addition to responding via the surveys, you can engage with other players and designers over on our forums, discussing the rules of the game and possibilities for the future. While we want to focus on actual play feedback, we also want to hear your ideas about the game.
The playtest officially gets under way on August 2, 2018, and runs through the end of the year, closing on December 31, 2018. During that time, we will be focusing on various parts of the Doomsday Dawn adventure, making our way toward the dramatic conclusion in mid-November. Check out the following schedule so you can plan your games accordingly.
Doomsday Dawn, Part 1: 1st-level characters, playtest begins 8/2/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 2: 4th-level characters, playtest begins 8/27/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 3: 7th-level characters, playtest begins 9/10/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 4: 9th-level characters, playtest begins 9/24/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 5: 12th-level characters, playtest begins 10/8/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 6: 14th-level characters, playtest begins 10/22/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 7: 17th-level characters, playtest begins 11/5/18
Watch Us and Chat Live
You can also follow along with the playtest on the Paizo Twitch stream. Once the playtest is underway, we will be hosting a live stream every week where we play the game and talk about the results of the playtest so far. Videos from that stream will be archived on our YouTube channel if you miss the live broadcast. We will also be doing a playtest wrap-up every two weeks as we move from one part of the playtest adventure to the next. Expect to hear all about the results of the playtest and what changes are being made based on your feedback and comments!
How do you plan on participating in the playtest? Do you have any other questions about the process you'd like to ask us? Let us know in the comments below!