Apex of Power

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Over the past few weeks, we’ve given you a look at two new dragons from the Monster Core, due out early next year. And while I'm sure folks are eager to throw a diabolic dragon and a mirage dragon at their players, this week, we wanted to turn our attention to some of the new material you’ll find in the GM Core, a book packed cover to cover with everything a GM needs to run Pathfinder Second Edition!

While much of this tome will be familiar to those of you who have read the Core Rulebook and Gamemastery Guide, there are still plenty of new things tucked away here to delight and surprise your players! To give you just a taste, today I thought we’d look at two brand-new apex magic items set to appear in the GM Core! These items are the pinnacle of power for most characters, highly sought after for their ability to increase your attribute modifiers. We hope you enjoy this sneak peek at some of our exciting new items!


Bracers of Strength: silver colored bracers decorated with a bear paw and claw-like details

Bracers of Strength — Item 17

Apex, Invested, Magical
Price 15,000 gp
Usage worn bracers; Bulk L

Etchings of powerful bears decorate these brass bracers. You gain a +3 item bonus to Athletics checks and a +2 circumstance bonus to Athletics checks to lift a heavy object, Escape, and Force Open. When you invest the bracers, you either increase your Strength modifier by 1 or increase it to +4, whichever would give you a higher score.

ActivateBear Hug [one-action] (manipulate) Effect Attempt to Grapple a creature. If you succeed, you crush the creature in your grasp, dealing bludgeoning damage to it equal to your Strength modifier. If you critically succeeded, the damage is equal to double your Strength modifier, and the creature suffocates as long as it remains grabbed or restrained by you.


Cloak of Swiftness: a translucent cloak

Cloak of Swiftness — Item 17

Apex, Invested, Magical
Price 15,000 gp
Usage worn cloak; Bulk L

This thin cloak is surprisingly light, as if clouds or the very wind were woven together to make the garment. The cloak grants you a +3 item bonus to Acrobatics checks. When you invest the cloak, you either increase your Dexterity modifier by 1 or increase it to +4, whichever would give you a higher score.

Activate—Ride the Wind [one-action] (manipulate) Frequency once per day; Effect You tug on the cloak, wrapping yourself in the power of wind. You gain a fly Speed of 30 feet for 1 hour. While wrapped in the cloak, you become translucent, causing you to become concealed for the duration.


These items and more are set to premiere in the GM Core, coming out this November! Tune in next week as we take a look at some of the new elements you’ll find in the Player Core!

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Pathfinder Remaster Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Huzzah! New Apex!

Horizon Hunters

Can't wait to see more on the remaster panel! One of the questions I'm going to ask is related to lifting heavy objects. I always thought it depended on the bulk rules, but here and there I see the game suggesting this would be a check, but I don't find anything about it in the core rulebook.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I covet that cloak!

Finally, a goal worth nursing a character through all those levels.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Romão98 wrote:
Can't wait to see more on the remaster panel! One of the questions I'm going to ask is related to lifting heavy objects. I always thought it depended on the bulk rules, but here and there I see the game suggesting this would be a check, but I don't find anything about it in the core rulebook.

That text exists on the Belt of Giant Strength. This feels like a soft combination of that belt and the Titan's Grasp apex gloves.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Those look good, but surely apex magic items deserve more grandiose names? Bracers of Titan Strength? Bracers of Boundless Might? Bracers of Amazing Alliteration? ;-)

Dark Archive

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You know, even though I knew the change was coming, it kinda threw me a bit to see the ability score change in writing.

At this point I’ve been using ability scores for more than two decades and going to the modifier system is probably going to take a bit for my brain to grok.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
bugleyman wrote:
Those look good, but surely apex magic items deserve more grandiose names? Bracers of Titan Strength? Bracers of Boundless Might? Bracers of Amazing Alliteration? ;-)

Bracers of Boundless Buff-ery

Dark Archive

4 people marked this as a favorite.
bugleyman wrote:
Those look good, but surely apex magic items deserve more grandiose names? Bracers of Titan Strength? Bracers of Boundless Might? Bracers of Amazing Alliteration? ;-)

They’re common items! Any decent magic shop in the land will have a cupboard full of ‘em!

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Nice. I like that there's going to be more Apex items. In my Age of Ashes game, I had to homebrew something up because none of the existing ones seemed appropriate for the party's sorcerer. More options means a better chance of getting something that feels right


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Xethik wrote:
Romão98 wrote:
Can't wait to see more on the remaster panel! One of the questions I'm going to ask is related to lifting heavy objects. I always thought it depended on the bulk rules, but here and there I see the game suggesting this would be a check, but I don't find anything about it in the core rulebook.
That text exists on the Belt of Giant Strength. This feels like a soft combination of that belt and the Titan's Grasp apex gloves.

Yeah. And the Cloak of Swiftness seems to be the replacement for the Anklets of Alacrity. Which is nice. I much prefer a free Fly spell use per day VS the free Water Walk spell per day.


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

I like these, very cool and flavorful. I think this shift away from OGL legacy stuff will be a good thing for Pathfinder.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It's going to take me a minute to stop thinking of ability scores instead of the modifier, but it's also more intuitive.

The items themselves look pretty good, if straightforward.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I like the cloak a lot.


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Old_Man_Robot wrote:
They’re common items! Any decent magic shop in the land will have a cupboard full of ‘em!

This simply isn't true in 2E—only truly extraordinary settlements like Absalom and Quantium will be above 10th level or so. Even Katapesh is only 13th level. You can't easily acquire a 17th-level magic item in even the largest settlements. No reason to believe that will change in the Remastered version.

I am curious about how ability boosts are going to be handled with the switch to modifiers only: previously, you needed to invest two ability boosts at two different levels in order to raise the modifier from +4 to +5 or +5 to +6. Unless the math is receiving a tweak to account for this, how exactly is that going to work if there's no ability scores? I was always like "well, they can't just do this, even if it would be the sensible thing to do, because it's simply not intuitive to put an ability boost into a modifier and not raise it by 1 until you put another one in 5 or 10 levels later."

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
GM_3826 wrote:
Old_Man_Robot wrote:
They’re common items! Any decent magic shop in the land will have a cupboard full of ‘em!

This simply isn't true in 2E—only truly extraordinary settlements like Absalom and Quantium will be above 10th level or so. Even Katapesh is only 13th level. You can't easily acquire a 17th-level magic item in even the largest settlements. No reason to believe that will change in the Remastered version.

Hyperbole my dude.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm the only one that didn't like that these magical items moved to a GM's book?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
YuriP wrote:
I'm the only one that didn't like that these magical items moved to a GM's book?

Most of the magic items had to be moved to GM Core, apparently due to page space. I think only Level 0-2 items were said to be in Player Core, and most of the alchemical items are being moved to Player Core 2.


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Old_Man_Robot wrote:
Hyperbole my dude.

what is a hyperbole

Sorry, I'm bad with sarcasm. Still, these items are special in-universe. Just not extra special.


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A bear hug for Strength modifier damage at the level you would obtain these items is a fricking joke of an ability. I did 6 or 7 damage to the enemy with 300 hit points. Oh boy. They really felt that bear hug.

Sometimes I wonder if the designers tell themselves, "This is so cool" without ever going "This damage is so incredibly weak and pathetic compared to what the player will be facing at this level, why did I even bother to put this ability they will never use on this item. It's like I wasted words in the book and I should know better."


3 people marked this as a favorite.
YuriP wrote:
I'm the only one that didn't like that these magical items moved to a GM's book?

Nope. It is not a good thing to copy from 5e at all. Especially for a game like PF2e where magic items are essential. Even in our 5e games everyone examined magic item lists. Of course, there's AoN, but still.

Deriven Firelion wrote:
A bear hug for Strength modifier damage at the level you would obtain these items is a fricking joke of an ability.

True. But you can fish for crits and suffocate enemies!

P.S. Even better! You also instantly catch Attacks of Opportunity and all other (manipulate) reactions in the face! While normal Grapple doesn't have this.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
YuriP wrote:
I'm the only one that didn't like that these magical items moved to a GM's book?

I'd prefer them in Player Core too, but I get why they made the change since they're trying to make that book smaller and less intimidating to new players.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Deriven Firelion wrote:
A bear hug for Strength modifier damage at the level you would obtain these items is a fricking joke of an ability. I did 6 or 7 damage to the enemy with 300 hit points. Oh boy. They really felt that bear hug.

I mean, there are already reasons to grapple people with one action. This is just free damage on top of that. Like it looks like this stacks with Crushing Grab, since that's a "when you successfully grapple" clause.

Of course, maybe Crushing Grab will be different now.

But I think it's good to design the ability portion of apex items with a mixture of "powerful effect, limited uses" and "useful but not dramatic effect, unlimited uses."


Old_Man_Robot wrote:

You know, even though I knew the change was coming, it kinda threw me a bit to see the ability score change in writing.

At this point I’ve been using ability scores for more than two decades and going to the modifier system is probably going to take a bit for my brain to grok.

Glad it wasn't just me. That +4 where my brain was expecting an 18 required me to make an embarrassing number of doubletakes.


Is there some kind of post somewhere that explains exactly what mechanics are covered under the OGL? Like it makes sense that ability scores would be, but I had no idea that they were until reading this post. All I know is that alignment and some monsters and spells and stuff are all changing or out completely. I'd love to read more on this.
I'm not too sad to see ability scores be replaced by modifiers as I think just having the modifiers will be more new player friendly.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Baelor the Bard wrote:

Is there some kind of post somewhere that explains exactly what mechanics are covered under the OGL? Like it makes sense that ability scores would be, but I had no idea that they were until reading this post. All I know is that alignment and some monsters and spells and stuff are all changing or out completely. I'd love to read more on this.

I'm not too sad to see ability scores be replaced by modifiers as I think just having the modifiers will be more new player friendly.

Most game mechanics can't be copyrighted in the USA, but game expression can! So while you can have dragons in your game with breath weapons, having the exact same spread of chromatic and metallic dragons probably isn't good enough in court to defend in terms of game expression.

So, names of things are changing. Alignment is very much a D&Dism, so that's going away. And the ability score to attribute modifier is mostly 'cause it was a legacy thing that doesn't do much at all in PF2E. So at this point, might as well go all in and get rid of it.

Wanna know more? There's plenty of opportunities to find out next week at PaizoCon Online!


4 people marked this as a favorite.
YuriP wrote:
I'm the only one that didn't like that these magical items moved to a GM's book?

You were not, and far from it, but it's still a worthwhile change based on the overall feedback. I'll take having more fellow players and eventual GMs over keeping a 600+ page CRB.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks. I wish I could do Paizo Con Online but sadly I think a lot of it is during work hours, but I'll watchstuff afterward.


Deriven Firelion wrote:

A bear hug for Strength modifier damage at the level you would obtain these items is a fricking joke of an ability. I did 6 or 7 damage to the enemy with 300 hit points. Oh boy. They really felt that bear hug.

Sometimes I wonder if the designers tell themselves, "This is so cool" without ever going "This damage is so incredibly weak and pathetic compared to what the player will be facing at this level, why did I even bother to put this ability they will never use on this item. It's like I wasted words in the book and I should know better."

My read of the suffocation rules is that they fall unconscious on a critical success. So it could be a way to compensate for the amazeballs Critical Success effect.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
CynDuck wrote:
YuriP wrote:
I'm the only one that didn't like that these magical items moved to a GM's book?
I'd prefer them in Player Core too, but I get why they made the change since they're trying to make that book smaller and less intimidating to new players.

When I got the Core Rulebook, I joked that the Bestiary is the one that's supposed to kill people. I'd also prefer magical items in Player Core, but I understand their rationale as well.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

I feel like basic equipment should be in the player book, but stuff you shouldn't shop for belongs in the GM book.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
CynDuck wrote:
YuriP wrote:
I'm the only one that didn't like that these magical items moved to a GM's book?
I'd prefer them in Player Core too, but I get why they made the change since they're trying to make that book smaller and less intimidating to new players.

To some extent I see that.

On the other hand... having player-facing options spread across two books, one of which is also a GM resource, feels like it might make things even more frustrating and potentially intimidating for new players.

The CRB was nice because it kept everything in one spot.

The PHB/MM/DMG model was supposed to be nice because it kept things focused for the player, their resource was one discrete book.

But having a player book and a GM book but the GM book is also full of player options feels like it's sort of defeating its own paradigm.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
YuriP wrote:
I'm the only one that didn't like that these magical items moved to a GM's book?

Not just that too, they've reversed course on the whole "GM content in GM books and Player Content in the rest" now that monsters and player options are going to be mixed together again. Guess it didn't encourage the kind of sales they were hoping for... /shrug

Silver Crusade

They split all of 1 book and combined it with others.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Themetricsystem wrote:
YuriP wrote:
I'm the only one that didn't like that these magical items moved to a GM's book?
Not just that too, they've reversed course on the whole "GM content in GM books and Player Content in the rest" now that monsters and player options are going to be mixed together again. Guess it didn't encourage the kind of sales they were hoping for... /shrug

Was that ever a thing for second edition? I feel like there was a mix of both, plus lore, in pretty much all of the books.


Baelor the Bard wrote:

Is there some kind of post somewhere that explains exactly what mechanics are covered under the OGL? Like it makes sense that ability scores would be, but I had no idea that they were until reading this post. All I know is that alignment and some monsters and spells and stuff are all changing or out completely. I'd love to read more on this.

I'm not too sad to see ability scores be replaced by modifiers as I think just having the modifiers will be more new player friendly.

This can't really be answered without a court of law deciding one way or the other. The concept of measuring physical and mental capacity through numbers is clearly not copyrightable, but the concept of measuring through the exact set of six attributes 'Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma' combined with an expectation that humans without supernatural enhancement are almost all in the 3-18 range and... at this point a court would PROBABLY decide that is OK, but they might not. So Paizo is being careful.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

To each their own. Personally, over time I have come to very much like the classic player book | gm book | monster book division, and don't mind magic items largely being the purview of the GM.

To be fair, I also don't tend to enjoy games where players make shopping lists of magic items; that's just a bit too "meta" for my taste. I do appreciate that, to some extent this is unavoidable in something like PFS, where the GM may not know the characters well (and doesn't make treasure placement decisions anyway). In a more traditional campaign I much prefer the GM custom placing items for players.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I wish the cloak wasn't a cloak. Feels like it will compete with the stealth slot too much. Though I suppose I shouldn't assume the stealth items will remain cloaks.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Quote:
[...] whichever would give you a higher score.

ಠ_ಠ


I would have put these magic items in Player Core 2 myself, even with the extra 8 months, but I guess we'll see what actually winds up in each book.

Liberty's Edge

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Ezekieru wrote:
Baelor the Bard wrote:

Is there some kind of post somewhere that explains exactly what mechanics are covered under the OGL? Like it makes sense that ability scores would be, but I had no idea that they were until reading this post. All I know is that alignment and some monsters and spells and stuff are all changing or out completely. I'd love to read more on this.

I'm not too sad to see ability scores be replaced by modifiers as I think just having the modifiers will be more new player friendly.

Most game mechanics can't be copyrighted in the USA, but game expression can! So while you can have dragons in your game with breath weapons, having the exact same spread of chromatic and metallic dragons probably isn't good enough in court to defend in terms of game expression.

So, names of things are changing. Alignment is very much a D&Dism, so that's going away. And the ability score to attribute modifier is mostly 'cause it was a legacy thing that doesn't do much at all in PF2E. So at this point, might as well go all in and get rid of it.

Wanna know more? There's plenty of opportunities to find out next week at PaizoCon Online!

I think getting rid of Alignment also provides the non-inconsequential benefit of getting rid of alignment threads on these boards.

It's the "Nuke them from orbit" solution :-)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Baelor the Bard wrote:
Thanks. I wish I could do Paizo Con Online but sadly I think a lot of it is during work hours, but I'll watchstuff afterward.

Will the panels be put up for free somewhere after they have happened or do you also need to get an online ticket for their archival recordings? Are there archival recordings in the first place? Since I live in Germany, the time difference and just work hours are not compatible with life viewing for me.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Paizo's YouTube is where this kind of stuff lands (usually not immediately, tho).

Envoy's Alliance

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magnuskn wrote:
Baelor the Bard wrote:
Thanks. I wish I could do Paizo Con Online but sadly I think a lot of it is during work hours, but I'll watchstuff afterward.
Will the panels be put up for free somewhere after they have happened or do you also need to get an online ticket for their archival recordings? Are there archival recordings in the first place? Since I live in Germany, the time difference and just work hours are not compatible with life viewing for me.

Yes, stream VoDs are instantly available on twitch.tv/OfficialPaizo right at the same place that they're livestreamed, and then they'll also be uploaded to YouTube. And I know that for past years' conventions, audio-only recordings have been uploaded to a podcast feed afterward, so maybe those could happen this year, too!

Captain Morgan wrote:
I wish the cloak wasn't a cloak. Feels like it will compete with the stealth slot too much. Though I suppose I shouldn't assume the stealth items will remain cloaks.

Though from another design perspective, for example making it a pair of anklets or gloves would be bad for "coverage", since for 17th level the anklets of alacrity and pilferer's gloves already exist on AoN and remain legal; the cloak provides an option for people who are interested in other anklets or gloves!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Scrip wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Baelor the Bard wrote:
Thanks. I wish I could do Paizo Con Online but sadly I think a lot of it is during work hours, but I'll watchstuff afterward.
Will the panels be put up for free somewhere after they have happened or do you also need to get an online ticket for their archival recordings? Are there archival recordings in the first place? Since I live in Germany, the time difference and just work hours are not compatible with life viewing for me.

Yes, stream VoDs are instantly available on twitch.tv/OfficialPaizo right at the same place that they're livestreamed, and then they'll also be uploaded to YouTube. And I know that for past years' conventions, audio-only recordings have been uploaded to a podcast feed afterward, so maybe those could happen this year, too!

Also the gold nuggets are usually forwarded to these boards and to Reddit by concerned customers ;-)


The cloak is really something.
Can that concealment be used to hide?

I can't remember whether it has to be pointed out whether the concealed condition can't be used to hide, making it ok to hide with a default concleament, or it's a big no by default ( and sometimes the description just reminds this to players )?


5 people marked this as a favorite.
The Rot Grub "The Rules Lawyer" wrote:
My read of the suffocation rules is that they fall unconscious on a critical success. So it could be a way to compensate for the amazeballs Critical Success effect.

Ehh.. No, they don't? They only start suffocating, so there counting of 5+CON rounds starts, and subtracting -1/-2/all.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
I feel like basic equipment should be in the player book, but stuff you shouldn't shop for belongs in the GM book.

But it's pf2, not 5e! Players should, almost must shop for magic items!

Liberty's Edge

HumbleGamer wrote:

The cloak is really something.

Can that concealment be used to hide?

I can't remember whether it has to be pointed out whether the concealed condition can't be used to hide, making it ok to hide with a default concleament, or it's a big no by default ( and sometimes the description just reminds this to players )?

Concealed is enough to hide unless specified otherwise. The exceptions usually explain that while blurry / hard to hit, it is obvious where the creature stands.

We have nothing here (actually pretty much the opposite: becoming translucent), so yes, you can hide.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
Paizo's YouTube is where this kind of stuff lands (usually not immediately, tho).

Yep! Takes a few days, or even a few weeks for the panels to be uploaded on YouTube. If you wanna watch it earlier, the VODs on Twitch usually go up immediately after they're done streaming for that day. So you can catch them all immediately the following day on Twitch.

Also, people on Reddit (likely The-Magic-Sword) will make a text breakdown of all the new information and spoilers revealed at each panel, so you can wait for that to show up if you don't wanna watch (or cannot watch) the videos yourself.


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These are cool but it would be nice to see some new apex items designed for the mental stat martials who have to sacrifice their key stats for their attack stats. (inventor, investigator, thaumaturge, alchemist)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
Paizo's YouTube is where this kind of stuff lands (usually not immediately, tho).
Scrip wrote:
Yes, stream VoDs are instantly available on twitch.tv/OfficialPaizo right at the same place that they're livestreamed, and then they'll also be uploaded to YouTube. And I know that for past years' conventions, audio-only recordings have been uploaded to a podcast feed afterward, so maybe those could happen this year, too!

Thanks, should still be interesting for the details, even after reading the summaries on the board. :P

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