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APG meets Expectations as it Concludes the Original Vision of PF2


The Advanced Player's Guide is the capstone piece to the original vision for Pathfinder Second Edition. The PF2 CRB was a whopping 640 pages and Paizo still had more content ready to go in it that they just could not release due to space issues. Everything that was left out was designated to be released over the next year in either the Lost Omens line of books or in the Advanced Players Guide. Things that were not quite fully fleshed out for the original release were then worked out. Four additional classes were put through a playtest and are featured in the APG; the Investigator, Oracle, Swashbuckler, and Witch. Five new ancestries are in the APG while three more were released in the Lost Omens Character Guide in 2019.

One of the new concepts in PF2 is that of Versatile Heritages. Instead of having separate ancestry categories for Aasimar, Tiefling, Changling, Dhampir, and Duskwalker, they are now what is called a versatile heritage. These modify the ancestry choice the player made for the character via the heritage selection. This is a very interesting concept as it provides many additional options for players. These five are just the first of multiple waves of versatile heritages which will be released over time by Paizo.

For those who have been desiring more options for characters, the APG delivers. The four new classes have their dedications for multiclassing along with 38 new archetypes. In addition, each of the 12 original classes gained some new options to choose from as did each of the original ancestries. Not all of the options are as viable as other options, but much of that will depend on the theme of a campaign and how GMs choose to allow players to select archetypes. I can envision some GMs designating some archetypes as free additional choices for players in that they can take one with no additional feat penalties because they give added depth to the campaign's theme such as the dandy or celebrity. Other GMs could emphasize select archetypes like the gladiator as a free archetype for their campaign's theme. The potential for some very interesting campaign themes definitely exists with these archetypes.

One of the things I was watching for in this book was the dreaded power creep. I do not see it present. None of the archetypes seems to overwhelm any of the original classes in terms of raw power while instead they augment them. This was a goal of Paizo from the beginning and it seems to have been met. The APG does what it was intended to do. It expands the options available to players at the initial creation of their characters and as those characters level up over time. Perhaps the best part of that is the APG continues to expand upon building characters as concepts and not as a collection of soulless numbers. While the numbers are important to determining how well a character can do something, the concept behind the character matters more. PF2 put the role back into roleplaying and the APG continues that vision.

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