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Great Follow Up That Follows TraditionCalebTGordan (RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32) —
It was announced over a year ago that there would be a second edition of Pathfinder, and after a long playtest and many months of waiting we now have it in our hands. This is my review of the system, which I have had been able to look at as a freelance writer for Fat Goblins Games. My copy was a special freelance copy without art and some assets, as well as missing sections that held Paizo IP. I would normally not review a product like this without seeing an actual finished document, but Paizo's reputation for good layout and art has me confident that they would score near perfect marks in those areas.
Pathfinder Second Edition is the system I would bring to a group that is already familiar with tabletop RPGs and desiring a simpler rules experience while maintaining a satisfying level of complexity and rewarding experience for those with system mastery. This is a game you could use to introduce new players to RPGs, as the basics are not hard to learn and everything follows very similar design philosophies. However this is still a game best suited for experienced players who understand the basics of the hobby and have some level of mastery over ttrpgs. This system is a great example of how "easy to play" doesn't mean it isn't a complex game. It is also a great example of what a new edition should be, which is to say this is a game worthy of the name Pathfinder.
I am not going to get into comparing everything that has changed between the previous edition and this one. Overall, I like the changes. There are specific things that I would have done differently and there are certainly elements I do not like altogether, but as a whole I like Pathfinder Second Edition.
Possibly the best I could say about it is that I am already planning on trying to get a group together. PF2 scratches a lot of itches that I have with gaming, and I know people that would enjoy what is here. However it is just how much this feels like Pathfinder that makes me optimistic.
Typically with a new edition something gets lost in the transition. The designers try to do something new, like moving from THAC0 to the d20 system. This isn’t a bad thing, as innovation is always needed to keep the hobby fresh. New ways of play opens up the hobby and provides the type of variety that keeps it alive today. However, what Paizo has done here is show that you can leverage innovation while maintaining the basic elements that make your game stand out.
The first edition of Pathfinder grew up and evolved around a complex system that had a great depth of customization. It built upon a tradition of story telling within the fantasy RPG space, and established its own culture and expectations around that tradition. In designing Second Edition, a goal was set to make this feel like Pathfinder by maintaining the same levels of depth in customization and allowing the same types of stories to be told. Jason Bulmahn and his team certainly succeeded in this.
That said, what do I not like? Most of what I ended up disliking are small details. The formatting of the statblocks are not friendly to third party publishers who want to match the same styles, and there are some aspects of them that annoy me for reasons I can’t explain. I feel disappointed in how shields ended up being disposable for characters that rely on the shield block action. It feels like punishing them for doing something the game not only goes out of its way to let you do but also encourages certain builds to rely on. I love most things about ancestry but it also seems like they have painted themselves into a corner that will make certain ancestries difficult or impossible to design in the future.
Not the best choice for this character.CalebTGordan (RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32) —
Great miniatures give you good and attractive details all around the mini. Unfortunately this one has hair obscuring the traditional front. From that angle the face is completely hidden and gives an effect that reminds me of Cousin It. This means the miniature is nearly unviewable from the front. Looking at it from the side and back the miniature has a great image to it, and the details really work well. If the hair had been pulled back a bit more, or the head made to look slightly more forward, this would be a much better miniature.
Incidentally there are two pieces of art for this character. While I don't know when or where either of them were published, the other piece would have made for a much better miniature. The pose is more traditional, and while the hair may have obscured the back, where there is a large tattoo I imagine is important for some reason, the hair could have been lifted up to give it a good wind swept appearance. Granted, the piece they used was more dramatic of a pose but I believe it didn't pay off here in a miniature.
The mold lines are in good, accessible areas that make them easy to file down. My mini didn't have much work that needed to be done to clean it up.
This mini comes in three pieces. The hand with the sword, and a sheath for the sword both need to be attached.
KOBOLD Guide to Game Design—Volume 2: How to Playtest and PublishKobold Press
Print Edition Unavailable
Add PDF $14.99
Excellent ResourceCalebTGordan (RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32) —
I needed this, I wanted this, and I now have this. For someone who wants to publish his writing, this is a must have resource and I have no doubt that if I follow the advice and information within, I will reach that goal.
This Covers a Need ExactlyCalebTGordan (RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32) —
Though short, this is packed full of Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. I have read articles and "how-to" blogs, books, and threads about the very topics this book covers, and none of them reach this level of informative and entertainment quality.
Baur not only explains the information the reader needs to hear, but he does it well and in a way that can be understood.
This book is for a GM who is looking for help on how to write his own material, a new freelance writer who does not have a personal coach, or a seasoned world craftsman looking to perfect their art.
This book is worth more then the purchase cost, and if used to boost freelance writing skills it will more then repay for itself.
All weapons, disapointing artCalebTGordan (RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32) —
I looked through all the cards as soon as I received the pack and I was happy to see all the weapons. I was disappointed with the art of several of the weapons, though most of them were good enough with a couple being amazing. In particular, the spear looked too elaborate, even if it was magical.
The weapon labeled as falchoin isn't even a falchoin. It is a type of short sword, and the handle clearly isn't for two handed use.
Beside those complaints I am happy with the product and will be using them as often as I can.