Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook (OGL)

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook (OGL)

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Enter a fantastic world of adventure!

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game puts you in the role of a brave adventurer fighting to survive in a world beset by magic and evil. Will you cut your way through monster-filled ruins and cities rife with political intrigue to emerge as a famous hero laden with fabulous treasure, or will you fall victim to treacherous traps and fiendish monsters in a forgotten dungeon? Your fate is yours to decide with this giant Core Rulebook that provides everything a player needs to set out on a life of adventure and excitement!

This imaginative tabletop game builds upon more than 10 years of system development and an open playtest involving more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into the new millennium.

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook includes:

  • All player and Game Master rules in a single volume
  • Complete rules for fantastic player races like elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, and half-orcs
  • Exciting new options for character classes like fighters, wizards, rogues, clerics, and more
  • Streamlined and updated rules for feats and skills that increase options for your hero
  • A simple combat system with easy rules for grapples, bull rushes, and other special attacks
  • Spellcaster options for magic domains, familiars, bonded items, specialty schools, and more
  • Hundreds of revised, new, and updated spells and magical treasures
  • Quick-generation guidelines for nonplayer characters
  • Expanded rules for curses, diseases, and poisons
  • A completely overhauled experience system with options for slow, medium, and fast advancement
  • ... and much, much more!

Available Formats

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook is also available as:

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-60125-150-3

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Last Updated - 5/30/2013

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Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Rulebook Subscription.

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5/5


What a Pathfinder truly needs...

5/5

If there is any one book to have, it is this one. It is the only Pathfinder book you will ever need to start playing, but if you're like me you'll eventually want more.

When I first learned of tabletop RPGs my attention turned to D&D even though I knew next to nothing about it, nor did I know of anyone who played it. I only knew it because it was the name everyone knew when someone said "tabletop RPG" and the answer wasn't "what is that?" I wanted to play it but I didn't know where to start. I was lost, forlorn, and alone.

Then, one fateful day, I met someone online who told me about Pathfinder. I took one look at the Core Rulebook and I never looked back, and to this day I don't regret the decision one bit. The Core Rulebook is a solid start to any aspiring tabletop gamer's adventure and is a must own not only for the abundance of useful information it provides but also for the clean presentation and the magnificent art provided by Wayne Reynolds.

In short, if you want to play Pathfinder and haven't already, pick this book up immediately. It is well worth it.


Legendary

5/5

Legendary. It’s hard to know where to begin to review this book, but that one word encapsulates it well. There’s a reason Pathfinder is thriving a decade into its existence, and it all starts here. If you don’t know anything about Pathfinder, you can think of it as a revised and improved version of a specific edition of D&D (the “3.5” edition). Its strength is the nearly infinite capacity for customization, and its weakness is that enormous customization introduces complexity. In other words, this is a “crunch heavy” instead of a “rules light” game. Trust me, it’s worth it though. This is going to be a long review because I’ve got fifteen chapters to cover in this massive, 575-page book! If you don’t have the patience to read through the whole review, the conclusion makes it clear: buy this book. With this and the Bestiary, you have years of adventure at your fingertips.

Chapter 1 is “Getting Started” (12 pages). This chapter contains a brief introduction to the game, an overview of each chapter, a glossary of common terms, an example of play (very useful if this is your first RPG ever), and the rules for generating ability scores for a character (how physically and mentally capable they are).

Chapter 2 is “Races” (11 pages). The “Core” races presented here are: Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs, Halflings, and Humans. As you would imagine, there are advantages and disadvantages to each race. The chapter spends a page on each race, and beyond the rules ramifications it takes care to talk about what members of that race typically look like, what their culture is like, why they often become adventurers, and how they relate to other races. It’s not an overwhelming amount of information (which is good for new players). For the most part, these races stick to fairly standard fantasy expectations.

Chapter 3 is “Classes” (57 pages). There are eleven “core classes” presented in this book: Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, and Wizard. The spread of classes does an excellent job covering different play-styles and roles within a group. The power level of these classes has been significantly bumped up from D&D 3.5, and there are a lot more choices to be made within each class. This makes the classes more complex, but also more satisfying to see advance up through each level. If you’re brand-new to Pathfinder, it might be good to stay away from spell-casters like the Druid, Cleric, Sorcerer, and Wizard until you get more experience, as the sheer number of choices to be made can be overwhelming at first.

Chapter 4 is “Skills” (27 pages). Skills are something that every character has and they determine the likelihood of success in doing certain things. Want to leap from one rooftop to another? Roll an Acrobatics check. Want to figure out what spell that evil wizard just cast at you? Roll a Spellcraft check. Different classes get bonuses to using particular skills, but every character, regardless of class, can become good at something if they invest their “skill points” in a particular skill. Pathfinder has condensed the number of skills slightly from D&D 3.5, though it still has more than newer RPGs tend to have. I like the diversity and ability to specialize in discrete areas, but some think there should have been further consolidation. Each skill is described with great detail on specifically what it allows you to do and not do, which is quite helpful in avoiding rules arguments.

Chapter 5 is “Feats” (29 pages). Feats are special abilities. Every character gets to choose one feat at every odd level, and some classes and races get “bonus” feats. A feat might be something that lets you fight better in darkness (“Blindfighting”) or it might be something that makes certain spells you cast more effective (“Spell Focus”). There are several dozen feats to choose from, so this can be one of the parts of character creation that takes the longest to do. Their value, again, is that they allow for enormous customization of a character. Just because there are two Fighters in the party doesn’t mean they’ll be identical, because feats allow them to operate in very different ways!

Chapter 6 is “Equipment” (16 pages). Your character will need a weapon, maybe some armor, and some other gear like a backpack or a coil of rope. But in addition, you might wonder how expensive a night’s stay at an inn is, or how much it’ll cost to persuade a local wizard to cast a spell for you. All of the answers are in this chapter. I really appreciate that every item and service isn’t just listed on a table with a price, but in addition most receive a description, a picture, and (sometimes) additional rules to explain how it works in actual gameplay.

Chapter 7 is “Additional Rules” (13 pages). The title of this chapter isn’t particularly helpful, as the entire book consists of rules. Really, it’s a miscellany of various things about your character. First up is Alignment, which is whether your character is good, evil, or somewhere in between. A lot of other RPGs dispense with such questions, but it is “hard-coded” into Pathfinder in the sense that it’s not just a role-playing choice: many spells, magic items, and other effects change depending on a character’s alignment. Next, there’s a few pages on “Vital Statistics” like determining a character’s age, height and weight, and (most importantly) carrying capacity (also known as “encumbrance”). If your character has a low Strength score, don’t expect him or her to be able to carry a lot of gear. Then, there’s a discussion of movement speeds in various contexts (in the course of a combat encounter, for example, or for travelling great distances overland). Last, a bunch of little things are covered under the title “Exploration”: how far characters can see in different levels of light, how to determine if an object can be intentionally broken, etc. It’s a chapter that’s easy to overlook but provides answers to a lot of “little things” that might come up during a session.

Chapter 8 is “Combat” (29 pages). Combat is a major part of Pathfinder, and there’s admittedly a lot to digest in a short number of pages here. The way the chapter is laid out isn’t necessarily intuitive, and later Paizo products (like the Strategy Guide) do a much better job making combat clearer. You’ll find everything you need in this chapter, but you’ll be flipping back and forth for a while. I’ve been playing for years and I still refer to it occasionally.

Chapter 9 is “Magic” (19 pages). This chapter discusses different categories of spells, how characters learn them, and how to read a spell entry in the next chapter. It’s a chapter that’s easy to skip over at first, but is actually pretty important once a campaign gets serious.

Chapter 10 is “Spells” (156 pages). You read that right: about a quarter of the book consists of an alphabetical list and description of several hundred different spells! The spells have been cleaned up and improved from D&D 3.5 for better gameplay, but what hasn’t changed is that magic still rules. If pure power is what you want, play a true spell-caster and you’ll find it.

Chapter 11 is “Prestige Classes” (23 pages). Prestige Classes are special classes that characters can eventually take, well into their adventuring careers, if they meet certain prerequisites. This book has ten of them: Arcane Archer, Arcane Trickster, Assassin, Dragon Disciple, Duelist, Eldritch Knight, Loremaster, Mystic Theurge, Pathfinder Chronicler, and Shadowdancer. For the most part, and until very recent, Pathfinder hasn’t been a game where prestige classes thrive. Apart from some specific flavour reasons, a character would usually be better off simply continuing in their base class rather than taking levels in a prestige class.

Chapter 12 is “Gamemastering” (15 pages). As its title indicates, this chapter helps the person running a game (the “Gamemaster” or “GM”) prepare an adventure, referee the rules, deal with common problems at the table, etc. It’s okay for what it is, but I’ve seen better resources to help new GMs figure out what they’re doing.

Chapter 13 is “Environment” (39 pages). This chapter contains a lot of little things to help make the setting interesting. It contains rules on weather, travelling through the wilderness, dealing with traps, and so forth. It’s primarily for the GM too and shouldn’t be a priority to master until more fundamental rules are digested.

Chapter 14 is “Creating NPCs” (11 pages). This chapter gives rules for creating background (non-player) characters by using “NPC classes” like a Commoner. I have to admit I never use this chapter, as I just rely on NPC stat blocks already generated in other Pathfinder products.

Chapter 15 is “Magic Items” (101 pages). Your adventurer is going to want some cool magic gear, and this chapter explains what it does, how much it costs, and how it’s made. It’s pretty extensive and detailed.

Last up, there are appendices summarizing “Special Abilities”, “Conditions” (status effects a character might be under), “Inspiring Reading”, and “Game Aids” (other products you can purchase).
The Core Rulebook is a hefty tome for an RPG book. For players coming from D&D 3.5, it’s basically a combination of the Player’s Handbook and the Dungeon Master’s Guide in a single volume, but refined and improved. The book is, with the single exception of the deities, completely “setting neutral” (that is, it’s suitable for play in any campaign world or a homemade setting). There’s some excellent artwork taken from other Paizo products mixed in with some artwork that’s more pedestrian. Still, the production quality overall is fantastic. I would normally go into more detail, but there are hard word counts on these reviews. So I’ll sum up by saying: this is the one book you won’t leave home without, and it’s worth every penny.

Special Note: The Core Rulebook was recently released in a smaller softcover. The interior is exactly the same as the sixth printing of the hardcover, but it’s lighter and easier to carry. I’ve been using it for a few months now, and I’m quite happy with the font size, reduced price, durability, and ease of use.


Pathfinder's Heart

5/5

This book is at the heart of all Pathfinder games. It is great and can be picked up regularly cheap with sales all over. (Humble Bundle 1$) I myself have a PDF but plan to pickup a hardcopy one day. Either one will do the trick and is always good to keep handy. I like the PDF because you can do keyword searches. Even if you don't ever use it. The cover art is pretty awesome.


A Fresh Start

5/5

After years of seeing the Pathfinder rule books on the shelves of my FLGS, I took the plunge in December of 2012. I bought the Core Rulebook and began skimming it immediately. My first discovery was the character creation rules. They were fun! Characters were cool in a way that I hadn't seen in previous editions of the world's oldest role-playing game. Within three months, I was up and running my first Pathfinder adventure. That was three years ago and I have no regrets getting involved with the Pathfinder system.


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Will this be on sale at Gen Con? If so, will there be enough copies that it won't be sold out by the weekend?

I can only go on Saturday and this is on my must-have list.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

RaFon wrote:

Will this be on sale at Gen Con? If so, will there be enough copies that it won't be sold out by the weekend?

I can only go on Saturday and this is on my must-have list.

If all goes according to plan, yes, it will be on sale at Gen Con. We're bringing a LOT of copies, so hopefully they'll last till Saturday. If they don't, there'll probably be fireworks shooting off above the Paizo booth for the rest of the con.


Oh, PDF for 10 dollars.

I like that very much since shipping and handling would otherwise bring it up to 90 bucks for me.

Which would've been a deal-breaker.


I'm glad to see Paizo has made the .pdf a reasonable price.
They may just lead the way for other, responsible, companies bringing down the price of electronic versions of their products.

Best,

Liberty's Edge

(Happy Dance)

I am so buying the pdf of this. This gives me more money to spend on other stuff I have had my eye on. Thanks Paizo!

Dark Archive

$9.99 price. I'm saddened by this news.

Background: I'm a strict deadtree-buying guy. I only buy pdfs if the product is not available in print form. Thus, while I admit the $40 difference between the PRPG HC and the pdf is eye-opening, it's not enough to change my buying habits. (I purchased the PRPG beta print version even after downloading the pdf. And I'm glad I did: the print copies seem to be in demand.)

FLGSs, apparently, won't be seeing it that way. The thread, Paizo sets price of Pathfinder RPG PDF at $9.99!!!!! over at enworld basically uses the PRPG pdf to bash FLGSs and LGSs to get "competitive" with pdf prices (as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc). I contacted one of my FLGS's owners to discuss the pdf price, and the drop in room temperature was noticeable. Apparently many companies offer a $10-$15 price difference between their print and pdf siblings, not $40. Even he, an avid buy print version buyer, admitted he'd reconsider his stance as such a deep discount.

I'm now torn. On the one hand, I can understand why Paizo's offering such an incredible price. On the other hand, I like my FLGS which supports my hobby in many ways (e.g., game space, discounts, first dibs, special orders, players, hangout, etc.) We're planning to run a PFS intro game at the store in September to promote the new book (similar to what WotC did with 4th Edition).

Now I'm not sure. The FLGS got good sales when we ran a V:tR one-shot and I hoped to do the same with PRPG. That won't happen, though, if we tell the newbies they can buy the pdf directly from Paizo.

Advice?

Paizo Employee CEO

joela wrote:

$9.99 price. I'm saddened by this news.

Background: I'm a strict deadtree-buying guy. I only buy pdfs if the product is not available in print form. Thus, while I admit the $40 difference between the PRPG HC and the pdf is eye-opening, it's not enough to change my buying habits. (I purchased the PRPG beta print version even after downloading the pdf. And I'm glad I did: the print copies seem to be in demand.)

FLGSs, apparently, won't be seeing it that way. The thread, Paizo sets price of Pathfinder RPG PDF at $9.99!!!!! over at enworld basically uses the PRPG pdf to bash FLGSs and LGSs to get "competitive" with pdf prices (as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc). I contacted one of my FLGS's owners to discuss the pdf price, and the drop in room temperature was noticeable. Apparently many companies offer a $10-$15 price difference between their print and pdf siblings, not $40. Even he, an avid buy print version buyer, admitted he'd reconsider his stance as such a deep discount.

I'm now torn. On the one hand, I can understand why Paizo's offering such an incredible price. On the other hand, I like my FLGS which supports my hobby in many ways (e.g., game space, discounts, first dibs, special orders, players, hangout, etc.) We're planning to run a PFS intro game at the store in September to promote the new book (similar to what WotC did with 4th Edition).

Now I'm not sure. The FLGS got good sales when we ran a V:tR one-shot and I hoped to do the same with PRPG. That won't happen, though, if we tell the newbies they can buy the pdf directly from Paizo.

Advice?

Joella:

It took me a while to understand the necessity of pricing the PDF at the lower price. And I firmly believe that this won't harm a brick and mortar retailer one iota. Why? Because gamers fall into two camps: those like you and I who love to have dead-tree versions of our games and those who are strictly in the digital realm. Sure, there are folks who like the ability to have both versions (and our subscription practices are aimed at them), but they are mainly dead-tree lovers. Folks who will only buy a PDF were never a customer of the dead-tree version. Many of those folks would have downloaded a free digital version from one of the many pirate websites. Some of them probably still will. But by keeping the PDF price low, it encourages people to check out the PDF legally and because the price is low enough, they are more likely to go the legal route than pirating the digital copy. Also, it is a great way for a customer to preview the game and see if they like it. If they do, I bet that they will end up buying a print copy somewhere, whether it is at a FLGS or online. Without the inexpensive PDF, we probably never would have had the chance to sell a print copy to that person.

Another thing to think about is that the game is open content. Within a very short amount of time of release, I expect the Pathfinder RPG rules to be available for free on various wiki pages. So you can basically play the PFRPG and never pay a penny. With the inexpensive PDF, you might just decide to get the much prettier version instead of just using the wiki. That makes the Pathfinder Core Rulebook a weird duck in regards to the PDFs and pricing and such. There is definitely a big value to the print verson of the core rulebook. Unless you own your own printing facility or can run off high-def copies at work, it is cheaper to buy the print book than to buy the PDF and print it off yourself. Trust me, we needed some early copies of the book ourselves and the B&W printings were more expensive than the core rulebook MSRP.

I have to admit that this whole low-pricing scheme for the core rulebook is a bit of an experiment. My feeling is that it will feed the base of people who play the PFRPG and drive many of them to buy the print version somewhere. Also, I think we will see less pirated copies when the PDF is reasonably priced. Only time will tell whether this was a good move or not, but my gut tells me that it is.

Whew, that was a lot of typing. :) Thoughts?

-Lisa

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

James Jacobs wrote:
If all goes according to plan, yes, it will be on sale at Gen Con. We're bringing a LOT of copies, so hopefully they'll last till Saturday. If they don't, there'll probably be fireworks shooting off above the Paizo booth for the rest of the con.

I'd bring some, but I have to clear airport screening.

Sovereign Court

Well, I can say that by pricing your PDF at $10, you've made an extra sale from me. Instead of subscribing, I decided I would buy the RPG products at my FLGS to support them (and I already have an AP sub). So I thought I would be forgoing the PDF, which I was fine with. Priced at $10 (or, more accurately, $8.50 for me), there's no question that I'll be getting the PDF as well.

And I wouldn't be surprised if I'm the only one to do this.


Lisa, I find your reasoning sound.

I think the low price will actually spread the wealth around, with more people who decide to buy the pdf (whether before in most cases or in a few perhaps after) from Paizo and then buy the book through other venues.


Interesting. I think it will work. And definately a good chance to bring lots of new people to the game.

I'm a dead tree guy myself, and my books are already on preorder through the subscription. This changes nothing for me.

Sovereign Court

Phenomenal news. £5 odd for the PDF? So bought.

I was going to buy the hardback at my FLGS, mainly due to the shipping, so it's good to see that I can get the PDF for cheap, to check over the rules and for reference.

As for the FLGS question, if the PDF's sell well, then people will want hardbacks. Which are best to get from Amazon, Paizo or the FLGS. FLGS's should aim for that market, rather then worrying about PDF's that will drive business to them.


Lisa Stevens wrote:
Thoughts?

Lisa:

I haven't been shy about disagreeing with you before, but you're spot on with this move. It will pay off big time, and stands in stark contrast to the WotC PDF debacle.

Condensed version of what I said upthread:

  • PDFs and hardcopy are complementary goods, not substitute goods
  • Lost sales will be more than offset by new customers
  • Huge marketshare and mindshare divideneds

A bold, savvy decision.

You may continue as CEO for the time being. ;-)


Exactly. The main competitor my LGS has is online. My desires, they are great, my purse, she is small.


Lisa Stevens wrote:
Another thing to think about is that the game is open content. Within a very short amount of time of release, I expect the Pathfinder RPG rules to be available for free on various wiki pages. So you can basically play the PFRPG and never pay a penny. With the inexpensive PDF, you might just decide to get the much prettier version instead of just using the wiki.

100% right on the money.

I'm going to use my hardcover version for reading, enjoying the art etc. and a (free, I hope) hyperlinked web version for using with my computer. With those two wonderful options at my disposal, the PDF is a distant third. But for $10? To quote Geddy Lee: "Ten bucks is ten bucks, eh!"

Sovereign Court

hogarth wrote:
To quote Geddy Lee: "Ten bucks is ten bucks, eh!"

I have to admit, I never thought I would ever catch anyone else referencing Bob & Doug McKenzie's seminal hit (feat. Geddy Lee), Take Off!

Now, my life is complete.


Lisa Stevens wrote:
joela wrote:

$9.99 price. I'm saddened by this news.

Background: I'm a strict deadtree-buying guy. I only buy pdfs if the product is not available in print form. Thus, while I admit the $40 difference between the PRPG HC and the pdf is eye-opening, it's not enough to change my buying habits. (I purchased the PRPG beta print version even after downloading the pdf. And I'm glad I did: the print copies seem to be in demand.)

FLGSs, apparently, won't be seeing it that way. The thread, Paizo sets price of Pathfinder RPG PDF at $9.99!!!!! over at enworld basically uses the PRPG pdf to bash FLGSs and LGSs to get "competitive" with pdf prices (as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc). I contacted one of my FLGS's owners to discuss the pdf price, and the drop in room temperature was noticeable. Apparently many companies offer a $10-$15 price difference between their print and pdf siblings, not $40. Even he, an avid buy print version buyer, admitted he'd reconsider his stance as such a deep discount.

I'm now torn. On the one hand, I can understand why Paizo's offering such an incredible price. On the other hand, I like my FLGS which supports my hobby in many ways (e.g., game space, discounts, first dibs, special orders, players, hangout, etc.) We're planning to run a PFS intro game at the store in September to promote the new book (similar to what WotC did with 4th Edition).

Now I'm not sure. The FLGS got good sales when we ran a V:tR one-shot and I hoped to do the same with PRPG. That won't happen, though, if we tell the newbies they can buy the pdf directly from Paizo.

Advice?

Joella:

It took me a while to understand the necessity of pricing the PDF at the lower price. And I firmly believe that this won't harm a brick and mortar retailer one iota. Why? Because gamers fall into two camps: those like you and I who love to have dead-tree versions of our games and those...

Thoughts? I think I will copy and paste this rather than try and explain these things in my own words. Plus your as high an authority as anyone could hope to have on this topic, so if they wish to argue afterwards, well, its their problem.

I would like to know if you are willing to back up WOTC and even Goodman, they have both said that PDF sales are pretty much meaningless in comparison to sales of the print versions. So this to me means that free PDF copies, or very cheap versions, won't in any measurable way hurt print sales. If anything it should do what your saying in this post, that it will likely help boost those sales.

So is that true? Is my LGS' claims, and Titan Games claims, and a few other LGS blog claims, that free/cheap PDF sales hurting them are very equivelant to crying that "The Sky is Falling!"

I know in my LGS situation his claim si completely false, since he doesn't even carry Paizo. He claims your practices lose him sales. Nope, I owuld have bought your modules from him, if he carried them. Since he didn't, I bought them from you. Others I bought from Amazon. So with me he cost himself sales, Paizo's practices had nothing to do with it.

The only thing your PDF offers have done is kept me from buying via Amazon instead. Where I would have saved myself a LOT of money if I didn't value the PDF copies enough to effectively pay an extra 5 or 6 dollars per product, due to shipping costs with you guys.

Plus I do like the fact that you guys get ALL of my money when I buy direct from you.

I am not one of those people who feel my LGS keeps my gaming alive. The internet has done far more for me and my gaming than any of my LGS' have over the last 10 years.


See, it's things like this that make me want to give Paizo all of my money. I'm still buying the hardcover version, but I will be telling all of my fence-sitting friends about the $10 pdf version. Plus, I may ALSO buy the pdf version for electronic searching, depending upon how useful the index is.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Personally, I feel pretty confident that our products are high enough quality that many of the people being exposed to them via inexpensively priced PDFs will eventually choose to pick up a print copy, often at a local retailer. That's borne out by the fact that we gave out a FREE PDF of our Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beta to everyone who wanted one, yet we still sold out the entire print run in just a couple of months.

Cheap PDFs do not trump the desire for printed books by a significant portion of the audience.

I did a more in-depth analysis of some of the reasons behind this here in response to some retailers' reactions to our "PDF Love" sale a while back (so that analysis is specifically focused on discounted PDF, but most of it still applies to PDFs that are just plain inexpensive to start with).

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
If all goes according to plan, yes, it will be on sale at Gen Con. We're bringing a LOT of copies, so hopefully they'll last till Saturday. If they don't, there'll probably be fireworks shooting off above the Paizo booth for the rest of the con.

If airport security detains me for bringing a fireworks care package I hope Pazio sends me a copy in jail.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

I'd like to go on record saying that I think the low-price point PDF will actually INCREASE sales of the PFRPG and associated products at local game stores. A few observations:

1. We gave away the Beta playtest PDF FOR FREE to anyone who wanted it. The in-print BETA Playtest Edition of the PFRPG was the fastest-selling Paizo product to date, with the large majority (i.e. "almost all") of the sales going through the hobby game channel.

2. Players who balked at the $50 price point necessary to defray the costs of printing and putting together a 576-page book now have an option to get into the game at a significantly lower cost. Many of these "experimenters" will in turn decide to pick up a hard copy, and the most likely place they will do so is at their local game store.

3. Because the book is so heavy, shipping (especially internationally) is cost-prohibitive for a number of gamers. Those gamers _could_ subscribe and get a free PDF, but the smarter option is to get the PDF for $9.99 and buy the book at the local game store, thus saving money on shipping. These customers are actually _disincentivized_ to purchase the hard copy book directly from Paizo or set up a Pathfinder RPG subscription. That ought to _directly_ benefit local game stores.

4. More Pathfinder players means more Pathfinder products sold in all channels. The FLGS is the best-stocked and most convenient place for customers to buy Pathfinder products, so more players ought to mean more money for the local game store.

5. Paizo spends tens of thousands of dollars annually on hobby-exclusive products like the Pathfinder Beta Print Edition, Free RPG Day, the Combat Pad, promotional posters, etc. Our Pathfinder Society Organized Play program is designed to facilitate in-store play, and has been used to good effect by several savvy store owners and managers. We do a lot to support the local game store, and we will do even more in the future.


Nameless wrote:

Well, I can say that by pricing your PDF at $10, you've made an extra sale from me. Instead of subscribing, I decided I would buy the RPG products at my FLGS to support them (and I already have an AP sub). So I thought I would be forgoing the PDF, which I was fine with. Priced at $10 (or, more accurately, $8.50 for me), there's no question that I'll be getting the PDF as well.

And I wouldn't be surprised if I'm the only one to do this.

Consider yourself unsurprised.

I'm Subscribing, *and* buying a second hard copy at my FLGS, *and* will probably pay for my sig. other to purchase the PDF separately.


James Jacobs wrote:


If all goes according to plan, yes, it will be on sale at Gen Con. We're bringing a LOT of copies, so hopefully they'll last till Saturday. If they don't, there'll probably be fireworks shooting off above the Paizo booth for the rest of the con.

Lol..

This is off topic, but I was at Gencon last year, talking to you and Wes, when one of my friends and players bought the last single copy of the Campaign Book hardback you brought. It was Saturday afternoon and you two autographed it for him.

It was a fun moment, wish I had a chance to be there this year.


Erik Mona wrote:

I'd like to go on record saying that I think the low-price point PDF will actually INCREASE sales of the PFRPG and associated products at local game stores. A few observations:

3. Because the book is so heavy, shipping (especially internationally) is cost-prohibitive for a number of gamers. Those gamers _could_ subscribe and get a free PDF, but the smarter option is to get the PDF for $9.99 and buy the book at the local game store, thus saving money on shipping. These customers are actually _disincentivized_ to purchase the hard copy book directly from Paizo or set up a Pathfinder RPG subscription. That ought to _directly_ benefit local game stores.

I don't know if this has been asked before but will the Hard Cover be available internationally at the same time as the release in the US or will we have to wait until the books arrive after the US release date.

This may confirm point 3. because I will get the PDF for $13ish Australian dollars because "I WANT IT NOW NOW NOW!!!!" Then purchase the Hard copy at a FLGS.

I not sure about shipping and Amazon I will have to have a look into it.

As the mark-up on price at a FLGS in Australia can be jaw dropping I wouldn't be surprised if the book hits at least the $100 Australian mark.

In fairness to the store you are looking at import taxes, goods and services taxes, shipping and staff costs so yeh about $100... or more.

I am also guessing that at that price it will fly off the shelves as most of the smaller RPG books are around that price anyway.


I hope store owners think through the points in this thread before they start complaining.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

The 8th Dwarf wrote:

I don't know if this has been asked before but will the Hard Cover be available internationally at the same time as the release in the US or will we have to wait until the books arrive after the US release date.

This may confirm point 3. because I will get the PDF for $13ish Australian dollars because "I WANT IT NOW NOW NOW!!!!" Then purchase the Hard copy at a FLGS.

I not sure about shipping and Amazon I will have to have a look into it.

I don't know about the intl shipping from Paizo, but when I checked Amazon today to compare the price of getting the hardcopy from Paizo with the sub to the price of getting the pdf from paizo and the hardcover from Amazon, they have the release date listed for September 2. So while it might have free shipping and a lower price point, it doesn't look like they'll even start shipping them out until over two weeks after GenCon.

Grand Lodge

If the Core Rulebook is sold out, will there be reprints? Just wondering if I'll still be able to get a hold of the book when/if it sells out within the first few days.


Good reason to order actually.

Not as fun as to buy it at GenCon, but safer.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Hsuperman wrote:
If the Core Rulebook is sold out, will there be reprints? Just wondering if I'll still be able to get a hold of the book when/if it sells out within the first few days.

We will keep this book in print as long as we are selling Pathfinder products.

That said, there MAY be delays between printings depending on demand, but that will only happen if demand FAR outpaces supply VERY early in the cycle.

Here's hoping... :)


I've already got two pre ordered through my FLGS, so a cheap PDF definitely doesn't hurt sales any on my account. I have a few players that probably won't want to swing the amount of the full rules, so I'm getting another reference copy for the table.

Ironically, even though they probably won't pick up the hardcover, now its likely that Paizo will still get their PDF money. So, really, this seems like a win all the way around.


I think it's a reasonable expectation that all of my players will make sure to get the PDF. I myself plan on buying a second physical copy but I'm probably going to get it through my FLGS or a local book store. You know. Do my part for the local economy :P


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:


Cheap PDFs do not trump the desire for printed books by a significant portion of the audience.

I know I'm just a single voice but I concur. As handy as PDF's have been (i.e. updating a play by post away from home or doing some on the spot gaming out of town) they are as nothing unto print copies. Well, save for that find feature. Still, I have a harder time reading PDF's than I do print copies and find it more aggravating.

Perhaps if a special pdf/online book reader were to come out that was actually within my price range, color, didn't lag, and operated smoothly. (which to my knowledge doesn't exist yet, anyone mentioning Kindle will get hot cyber oil thrown on them, that is no where near 'reasonably priced' for my pocket book). Until then, PDF's will be a minor convenience rather than a replacement. Which means this customers buying him some print copies no matter what.

Dark Archive

Erik Mona wrote:

3. Because the book is so heavy, shipping (especially internationally) is cost-prohibitive for a number of gamers. Those gamers _could_ subscribe and get a free PDF, but the smarter option is to get the PDF for $9.99 and buy the book at the local game store, thus saving money on shipping. These customers are actually _disincentivized_ to purchase the hard copy book directly from Paizo or set up a Pathfinder RPG subscription. That ought to _directly_ benefit local game stores.

That's pretty much my plan (BTW, the print copy is already on preorder at my FLGS).

Oh, and the 10 dollars PDF has already netted Paizo two new customers, as yesterday night I did some pimping for PFRPG with my gaming pals. And tomorrow there's the AD&D 2e gaming evening, I'll try to sway some old-schoolers to a new sparkling ruleset.


I'd like to echo KEJR's thinking: My players are notoriously reticent to shell out for expensive (above US$25) books, and this leads to them using my books at the table, as well as borrowing them for character advancement, etc. Now that my table is going full-bore PFRPG, I will be insisting that they each purchase a PDF, and for $9.99, i can't imagine any of them balking. This is in addition to the hardcopy I have pre-ordered and the PDF I will be buying for myself for search purposes.

To wit, that's 5 PDFs sold to people that would NEVER have bought a $40+ book, plus a PDF sold to a gamer (me) that was gonna buy the dead-tree product regardless- that's 6 extra copies to 1 gaming group, and I'd bet there will be a lot of that going around.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There will be a lot of "Pathfinder ? 3.5 for 50 bucks ? Never ! Oh, wait, the PDF is 10$, might as well give it a shot..." people.

If 10% of them will stick around after purchasing the PDF and go on with other Paizo products, even if for art/fluff only, it will be already a marketing victory. And I can bet that there will more than 10% of such "converts".

Really, WotC played it right into hands of Paizo with that anal PDF debacle. Makes me think that Lisa has some "mole" in the WotC marketing department...


One of the few folks on ENWorld that I pay attention to is PirateCat and here is his post about the $9.99(US) pdf.

Completely agree with his observation.

==============================
Quote:
Originally Posted by alleynbard
At $9.99 I could see buying a copy. I can't imagine going back to 3e but at that price point I can at least take a look. Who knows? If it really "wows" me, I might pick up the hardcover.
EndQuote:

And this - right here - is why I think this move is brilliant, and will end up helping both Paizo and game stores. Assuming the quality is what I expect it to be, Pathfinder's biggest challenge is that 4e players normally wouldn't even consider it. Anonymity is the enemy. The pdf price will cause a large amount of people to check it out who wouldn't have otherwise, and some of those people will buy the print copy. By doing this, Paizo isn't cannibalizing their sales... they're expanding their potential market size. Game stores will benefit from the additional print sales this produces.

Kudos, you guys. Great decision.
__________________
- Piratecat, EN World Admin
==============================


joela wrote:


I'm now torn. On the one hand, I can understand why Paizo's offering such an incredible price. On the other hand, I like my FLGS which supports my hobby in many ways (e.g., game space, discounts, first dibs, special orders, players, hangout, etc.) We're planning to run a PFS intro game at the store in September to promote the new book (similar to what WotC did with 4th Edition).

Now I'm not sure. The FLGS got good sales when we ran a V:tR one-shot and I hoped to do the same with PRPG. That won't happen, though, if we tell the newbies they can buy the pdf directly from Paizo.

Advice?

A legal .pdf version for $10 isn't competing against a $40+ book; it's competing against other electronic versions like an illegal .pdf version for $0 and a legal web site for $0.

Was there a similar uproar of game store owners when Jans Carton started d20srd.org? Presumably he was siphoning sales of the PHB, DMG and MM too, wasn't he? And I bet more people have visited d20srd.org over the years than will buy the PFRPG .pdf from Paizo!

Lantern Lodge

Gorbacz wrote:
There will be a lot of "Pathfinder ? 3.5 for 50 bucks ? Never ! Oh, wait, the PDF is 10$, might as well give it a shot..." people.

I can tell you there'll be a hell of a lot more of that thinking here in Australia.

As has been mentioned up-thread, this book is going to cost us in excess of AU$100 - $49.99 product + $42.05 international shipping = US$92.04 before conversion to kangaroo dollars and hell only knows what markup the retail stores will give it? Certainly there are ways of reducing that cost (15% Pathfinder Advantage or spreading international shipping across multiple books), but there will be a lot of "Pathfinder ? 3.5 for over 100 bucks ? Never ! oh, wait, the PDF is 10$, and I don't get slugged for international shipping !" The PDF may be a 5:1 saving of $40 to Americans, but it's a 9:1 saving of over $80 to Australians!

I had been fearing for a while that the sheer weight of 576 pages was going to hit international sales hard. I would hate to have seen international gamers turn away from Pathfinder based solely on the price of the Core Rulebook.

I gifted all my Runelord and Crimson Throne players and nieces and nephews the Beta last Christmas (took care of most of my Christmas shopping with one Paizo order last August, how smart was that?), but at $100 each I'm sorry to say I won't be following that up with the Core Rulebook this Christmas (sorry guys!).

I'm sure many of my players will be taking advantage of the $10 PDF, some will likely pick up the hardcover for birthday or Christmas, but at least they can all continue playing Pathfinder when the rules switch over in August.

My nieces/nephews, however are more likely to absorb a book than a PDF, and how do I gift a PDF to them on their birthdays anyway? Since they already have the Beta, I'll probably follow that up with the Bestiary instead. For this reason, I still think an entry-level Pathfinder Basic (levels 1-3) would be a wise product offering.

But otherwise, I echo everyone else's "Bravo Paizo!" on their PDF pricing. I suspect more players will be tempted to give a $10 PDF a try, and thus create even greater demand for Paizo's quality adventure paths and other products. Well done guys!


Wow. DarkMate, your mates there are lucky!


Wow. You guys really *do* get it.
So many companies freak out at the speed and ease with which information can be transmitted these days, but (IMHO) for those ready to accept change and adapt, the opportunities offered by (near) zero cost, infinitely scaling distribution, will make them very, very successful.

I've seen several comments from people outside of the US, where lower incomes/exchange rates/shipping + tariffs combine to make a larger financial barrier for people thinking of getting into this hobby. This move is hands down a better scenario for this audience, but it also makes me wonder:
Will your translators/foreign language publishers also be offering similarly priced PDFs, or will that be up to each and every translator/publisher themselves? I don't know if you necessarily want to FORCE your partners to also take this step, but if your own combined sales numbers (dead tree + PDF) are compelling, that in itself will likely convince any doubters. Actually, ESPECIALLY for markets (say, Latin America or Russian) where US$50+ hardback prices might reduce the market, a lower price point PDF would probably have an EVEN LARGER net increase in sales $ than the traditional approach.

...I think there IS a certain number of FLGS owners who currently DON'T "get it",
but I think you're going the right way, and rather than let one small, conservative channel dictate you abandoning another promising one, you should simply further "step up" the type of stuff you do to promote FLGS+Pathfinder tie in's, and even profile/interview (in your sales material) independent stores who have thrived with Pathfinder, as an example to 'doubting' FLGS owners.
(I think I saw it mentioned here that you guys were contemplating a softcover "PHB only" version (~50%-60% page count?) when you get to a point where a 2nd print run is needed, and I think that would also be a great move - combined with the PDF, you'd be offering product tailored to an even broader audience, and likely be making signifigant "upgrade" sells from people who first buy the PDF, then the "PHB", then the complete Rule Set. But you know how smart you are, you don't need to be told, I'm sure... ;-) )

Bravo.


DarkWhite wrote:

I gifted all my Runelord and Crimson Throne players and nieces and nephews the Beta last Christmas (took care of most of my Christmas shopping with one Paizo order last August, how smart was that?), but at $100 each I'm sorry to say I won't be following that up with the Core Rulebook this Christmas (sorry guys!).

What? I'm heart broken, how will I ever get swayed to join the dark side?


I will be purchasing both physical books and the PDF versions of the phb, gm guide and the MM. When at the game table, the PDF does me absolutely no good so I need a book if a rule or info needs to be confirmed. When NOT at the game table I am most likely researching at which point the text searching ability that the PDF offers saves me a ton of time ... well worth $10.00.

There is a caveat to my purchasing habits however, in order for me to continually purchase the physical books they MUST contain enough information to become necessary at the game table. IMO, WotC lost quite a bit of revenue from not only the fact that PDFs became available of their products but most of their non-core rule books contained a lot of fluff. If they would have had a lower number of books with larger content within each book, they would have certainly gotten more sales from me. Their high number of books, lower content per book strategy was a sub optimal choice made by people that probably don't game much .. I know I am not the only one that has felt this way and I speak with many other gamers with identical sentiments.

To summarize, if PathFinder can continue to release useful revised rule sets in larger content (200+ pages), you will get sales from me for not only the PDF but the physical books as well.

My $.02.


Well, this is odd. Apparently, someone is selling a "used copy" of the Pathfinder RPG book on Amazon for $999.99. They must need the money to buy more uranium for their time machine...


Ditto for me. I was already seriously considering buying the dead tree version from my FLGS and the pdf from Piazo just so I could support both companies. Now I will definitely buy the dead-tree from the game store and the pdf from Piazo.

Plus .... PLUS... This type of gesture has built up tremendous good will in my mind towards Piazo. I will helpless buy many more of their products in the future. :)

Nameless wrote:

Well, I can say that by pricing your PDF at $10, you've made an extra sale from me. Instead of subscribing, I decided I would buy the RPG products at my FLGS to support them (and I already have an AP sub). So I thought I would be forgoing the PDF, which I was fine with. Priced at $10 (or, more accurately, $8.50 for me), there's no question that I'll be getting the PDF as well.

And I wouldn't be surprised if I'm the only one to do this.


Question: Is there any way to sell a hard copy of your products with a PDF download code?

The main reason I subscribe to Paizo (and pay those extra shipping charges) is because I want both the dead tree version and the PDF. I am completely lost without my dead tree version, but since I game with my laptop, the PDF's have been an invaluable resource -- especially when I have left some of my books at home.

I would like to support my local retailer and I was wondering if Paizo could just print a download code inside the hard copies so that I could still get my all important PDF's.

Perhaps to justify this added cost you could charge $1 or $2 to register a download for the product with this method? This will still be significantly cheaper than the shipping costs I am now paying.

Liberty's Edge

Shadowborn wrote:
Well, this is odd. Apparently, someone is selling a "used copy" of the Pathfinder RPG book on Amazon for $999.99. They must need the money to buy more uranium for their time machine...

Been that way for about a month now when I first started to look into possibly buying the RP book on there (and turned away when I saw a Sept 2nd release date. Oh SMURF no).

And they don't need uranium anyway, they just need to get a lightning bolt to hotwire their flux capacitor ^(~_^)>


Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:
Question: Is there any way to sell a hard copy of your products with a PDF download code?

They have not figured out a way to do this that will work properly yet.

Just about everything requires Game Stores to participate properly. And as this unrelated thread demonstrates, there is no real way to get stores to "do the right thing."

So, the short answer is: Not yet.

Dark Archive

Quintrino wrote:
DarkWhite wrote:
I gifted all my Runelord and Crimson Throne players and nieces and nephews the Beta last Christmas (took care of most of my Christmas shopping with one Paizo order last August, how smart was that?), but at $100 each I'm sorry to say I won't be following that up with the Core Rulebook this Christmas (sorry guys!).
What? I'm heart broken, how will I ever get swayed to join the dark side?

Don't feign innocence, Asmogirl ... we know which faction you swear allegiance to.


Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:
Question: Is there any way to sell a hard copy of your products with a PDF download code?

I think Paizo's answer to your question was to provide the PDF for the core rulebook at such an incredibly affordable price (instead of incurring large costs/problems to provide codes in the books).

If you mean for products after that - see Disenchanter's answer to your question for the issues involved.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Kor - Orc Scrollkeeper wrote:

I would like to support my local retailer and I was wondering if Paizo could just print a download code inside the hard copies so that I could still get my all important PDF's.

Perhaps to justify this added cost you could charge $1 or $2 to register a download for the product with this method? This will still be significantly cheaper than the shipping costs I am now paying.

With the pdf for this book priced at only $9.99, you can get the hard copy book from Amazon or a local retailer and pay no shipping and then use the money you would have spent on shipping to pick up the pdf.

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