Pathfinder Adventure Path: Rise of the Runelords Player's Guide (OGL)

4.70/5 (based on 17 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path: Rise of the Runelords Player's Guide (OGL)

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Who Will Save Sandpoint?

This invaluable resource for Pathfinder's first Adventure Path reveals how best to customize your character so that he'll fit into the realm of Varisia with ease. Inside this guide you'll find:

  • An introduction to Varisia, the frontier region that serves as the setting for Rise of the Runelords, and a brief exploration of your PCs' new hometown of Sandpoint.
  • Notes on how humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, half-elves, and half-orcs exist in Varisia.
  • Details on what roles each character class can expect to fill in Rise of the Runelords, including suggestions for animal companions and familiars, favored enemies, character backgrounds, and more.
  • Domains and more for twenty new deities comprising the core pantheon of the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting.
  • New weapons, armor, and equipment.
  • New feats to give your PCs a distinct Varisianfeel.
  • Full-color maps of Varisia and Sandpoint.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-059-9

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

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Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

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4.70/5 (based on 17 ratings)

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A Fantastic Way to Start an Epic Adventure

5/5

As my long-running Rise of the Runelords campaign has finally hit the last chapter, I realised that one of the things I've never reviewed is the original (3.5 edition) Rise of the Runelords Player's Guide. This 16 page book was sold with a cover price of $ 2, and (I think) usually came bundled in packs of five so everyone at the gaming table could have one. It's a high-quality product that comes on glossy paper and with colourful artwork and design. They're pretty hard to find nowadays, but I was lucky to spot one on eBay for a reasonable price. Anyway, with no further ado, let's get into it.

The cover is very cool, and, although players won't be quite aware of why yet, sets the tone for the campaign perfectly. The 7-pointed Sihedron star takes prominence, and the page borders are designed as if the reader is about to open an ancient, eldritch tome. The inside front-cover is a map of Sandpoint (the town that serves as the PCs' homebase), with detail sufficient to make out individual buildings, street names, and geographical features. It's exactly the map that players should have at the table to better envision where their characters are, and players could, as they explore, make their own key to go along with the map. The inside back-cover is similarly useful: an attractive map of Varisia that includes tons of marked locations and clear geographical features. The vast majority of these locations aren't visited during the campaign, so there's no spoilers here--and in addition, the GM can make good use of this map as well.

The first page, "Welcome to Varisia," emphasises the usefulness of having PCs designed specifically for the region and the campaign. Varisia is a frontier wilderness, and many of the challenges in the campaign involve surviving the land, not just monsters. PCs who think about feats like Endurance and skills like Climb will find themselves better placed than PCs who care only about combat. Players who ignore the Player's Guide very well may find themselves having a harder experience than they should in the campaign, but it's probably their own fault!

The next three pages, "Races of Varisia," discuss how the Core races fit into the region. This is especially important for players new to Golarion who have probably never heard of Shoanti, Chelaxians, and Varisians. Stories are best when they're grounded in interesting, believable settings, and this requires investment by the players in trying to make characters that reflect that setting.

Pages 6-9 are "Adventurers of Varisia." It contains a couple of paragraphs on how each of the Core classes fits into the region and to the campaign more generally. It's also chock-full of useful sidebars on things like native fauna, the deities of Golarion, and suggested familiars for sorcerers and wizards of different backgrounds. In short, there's a ton of flavour and little bits of detail that help to situate a PC in the setting.

The next two pages are "Equipment of Varisia", and it focusses on weapons and armor used by the native Varisian and Shoanti peoples. There are illustrations and statistics for things invented specifically for this setting, such as starknives, earthbreakers, bladed scarves, and more. Many of these pieces of equipment were later included in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook and other sources, but often in a way that strips them of a lot of the flavour that is presented here.

The next three pages are titled simply "Varisia." The section contains a brief overview of the region and its history--a crucial theme of the Adventure Path. Several feats for PCs who hail from the region are included. Because this was designed for 3.5, I won't go into great detail on them, other than to say they're probably low-powered compared to modern Pathfinder feats. This book came out before Paizo had the concept of campaign traits, which is probably the only thing really lacking here. A sidebar describes the languages often spoken by inhabitants of Varisia.

Last up is a two-page description of Sandpoint. Sandpoint is extremely important for the campaign--if the PCs don't care about it, the campaign doesn't really work. So getting the players invested in the town early is one of the GM's biggest tasks. This book doesn't really emphasise the necessary connection as much as it should, however.

I love the idea of Players Guides, and they're one of the things that drew me to Paizo Adventure Paths to begin with. They're a great way to sell players (in a non-spoilery way) on a new campaign, and to give them a chance to customise characters for it. The original Rise of the Runelords Player's Guide was a concise but interesting and useful preview of the campaign, and surely contribute to the success of the Adventure Path as a whole. It's still worth using today and I think it's far superior to the (PDF only) Anniversary Edition Player's Guide (which I've reviewed elsewhere). I'd recommend making the substitution, just linking to the updated traits for the Pathfinder RPG.


Got surprising amount of use from it

5/5

Contains a lot of information, doesn't give away too much about the adventure. Good resource IMO.


Small but packed full of info

5/5

This is a small (only 16 pages) guide to the world in which Pathfinder is set- the continent of Varisia, part of the world of Golarion.

It purports to be the guide to start the players out on "Rise of the Runelords" but it's a great guide for any who adventure in that world.

Sections on races and classes of Varisia, including a great chart on the local Deities , including Portfolios, Domains and even favored weapons.

There's also a handful of local weapons and other gear, including the Starknife and War-razor.

I also like the local feats, here included for a free background feat. In power, they are moe like "traits" than feats, but still they add a little local flavor and some roleplaying ideas, but also are somewhat useful.

There's great color maps of Sandpoint and Varisia, too.

All in all, this is a fantastic value for the price.


Portuguese - Br

4/5

Uma ótima primeira introdução ao cenário de Varisia, mas não prepara tão bem os personagens para a campanha quanto player guides futuros. De qualquer forma é muito bem escrito e vale a pena para qualquer jogador de Rise of the Runelords.


Excelent Resourse

5/5

Perfect starting point to getting you players ready for this AP.


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Silver Crusade

question & possible problem maybe with my pdf.

None of the As (or as) are showing up, is anyone else like that??

like example Civliz tion on page 13 & anther example P L DINS & R NGERS on page 8, is how it's coming up. Also it's the big text titles only, everywhere else it's fine.

other then that, just skimmed (no nap, couldn't sleep too damn hot here right now) it & I like what I see, kudos Paizo!!!


Haldir wrote:

question & possible problem maybe with my pdf.

None of the As (or as) are showing up, is anyone else like that??

like example Civliz tion on page 13 & anther example P L DINS & R NGERS on page 8, is how it's coming up. Also it's the big text titles only, everywhere else it's fine.

other then that, just skimmed (no nap, couldn't sleep too damn hot here right now) it & I like what I see, kudos Paizo!!!

Nope, mine's fine. Perhaps you need a newer PDF reader?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

erian_7 wrote:
Ungoded wrote:
The Varisian Tattoo spell-like abilities do not seem to have the Varisian names mentioned in the feat description.
Yeah, I just noted that same thing in my review.

That's unfortunately because we had to cut those names to make the feat fit.

They were just made-up words anyway...


James Jacobs wrote:
They were just made-up words anyway...

Could we get them here? Easy enough for us to just re-insert into the campaign for our Varisians!

Silver Crusade

erian_7

yup that was it!! I use Foxit Reader & my version was 1.3 (just upgraded to 2.0) & everything is fine now with my copy (heck spaced off checkin for updates till you suggested that, ha ha.)

again thanks for the suggestion, my copy seems to move faster as well (probably something to do with the 2.0 version)

RM

Paizo Employee Creative Director

erian_7 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
They were just made-up words anyway...
Could we get them here? Easy enough for us to just re-insert into the campaign for our Varisians!

I'm pretty sure they're gone forever.

The feat may or may not be reprinted in the Pathfinder Chronicles Gazzeteer or elsewhere in the future, at which point we'll remake them (or hopeful find where they went). I'll see if I can track them down, though; if I can find them, I'll post them.

But since they're basically just Varisian equivalents of the same words in Common... not having them doesn't hurt the game any more than not having Varisian words for much else, really. PLUS it's one less editor trap! :)


Haldir wrote:

erian_7

yup that was it!! I use Foxit Reader & my version was 1.3 (just upgraded to 2.0) & everything is fine now with my copy (heck spaced off checkin for updates till you suggested that, ha ha.)

again thanks for the suggestion, my copy seems to move faster as well (probably something to do with the 2.0 version)

RM

Yeah, I use FoxIt at home as well. Just sounded like a potential browser issue...

James Jacobs wrote:

I'm pretty sure they're gone forever.

The feat may or may not be reprinted in the Pathfinder Chronicles Gazzeteer or elsewhere in the future, at which point we'll remake them (or hopeful find where they went). I'll see if I can track them down, though; if I can find them, I'll post them.

But since they're basically just Varisian equivalents of the same words in Common... not having them doesn't hurt the game any more than not having Varisian words for much else, really. PLUS it's one less editor trap! :)

That'd be cool, but no big deal of course. Heck, all this stuff is pretty much just made-up names anyway!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Wes is ON IT! STAY TUNED!!!

Contributor

James Jacobs wrote:

I'm pretty sure they're gone forever.

Not true! Here you all go...

Abjuration: Avidais
Conjuration: Idolis
Enchantment: Carnasia
Evocation: Ragario
Illusion: Vangloris
Necromancy: Voratalo
Transmutation: Avaria

So, that little speed bump crested, tell us what else ya like!


Yeah, see, that's why you guys are getting all my money now...

I did write up a review for the PDF. Definitely one of the best free products out there. I might just have to bump my star rating from a 4 to a 5 with that speedy turn-around!

Contributor

erian_7 wrote:

Yeah, see, that's why you guys are getting all my money now...

I did write up a review for the PDF. Definitely one of the best free products out there. I might just have to bump my star rating from a 4 to a 5 with that speedy turn-around!

DO IT! Oh, and have have we ever told you that you're our Favorite poster?


F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
DO IT! Oh, and have have we ever told you that you're our Favorite poster?

Hey, is that the same "Favorite Poster" rating that gets a free lifetime subscription to all Pathfinder products? Yay! ;^)

I did actually bump that star up a notch, even before I knew about my most favored poster status (which I guess the government folks would want to rename to "normal poster relations"--hmm, and that analogy probably also means I ain't gettin' squat...).


Boards have been pretty quiet...We're all too busy reading the Player's Guide! :D

Dark Archive

Lilith wrote:
Boards have been pretty quiet...We're all too busy reading the Player's Guide! :D

Agreed. I printed mine up and have read it several times. Now I'm pondering just what the Chelish Devil Binders are like. Or if the MObbad Leigh really is bottomless. Or what chased the Mierani Elves away from their capitol. Not to mention countless other things.

Who has time to post with all these vital questions running rampant through one's mind!?!?

Grand Lodge

How will we normally get our downloads or was the players guide free to everyone?


The PDF of the Player's Guide is free. The Print Version is $2.00 per copy plus S & H.

You can get the PDF HERE

Enjoy!


JavertCMH wrote:
How will we normally get our downloads or was the players guide free to everyone?

Subscription PDFs (Pathfinder and GameMaster) will bin in My Account under My Downloads.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Is a hide shirt light armor or medium armor? The description says that it is light armor and it doesn't reduce speed, but it is listed as medium armor on the table.


Oh YEAAAHH!


For the PDF, I wish you could snag the picture of the maps without the text on them.

j.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Zynete wrote:
Is a hide shirt light armor or medium armor? The description says that it is light armor and it doesn't reduce speed, but it is listed as medium armor on the table.

It's light armor. It is to hide armor what a chain shirt is to chainmail. That table is causing trouble.

Contributor

tdewitt274 wrote:
JavertCMH wrote:
How will we normally get our downloads or was the players guide free to everyone?
Subscription PDFs (Pathfinder and GameMaster) will bin in My Account under My Downloads.

Really? Mine wasn't there. I came to this message and found the free download. I wouldn't have known it existed if I friend hadn't said he'd gotten a copy already.

Paizo Employee Senior Software Developer

ChristinaStiles wrote:
Really? Mine wasn't there. I came to this message and found the free download. I wouldn't have known it existed if I friend hadn't said he'd gotten a copy already.

The Players Guide is a bonus for charter subscribers, not part of the regular subscription, so it would never show up on your My Downloads page.

I had thought to send an email to all Pathfinder subscribers today letting you know about the free download, but events conspired against me. We might send an email Monday.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Oh, and have have we ever told you that you're our Favorite poster?

Don't get too excited. Wes's previous favorite poster was that one with the kitties hanging off of a tree limb—"Hang in there, baby!"

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Just finished first read of the Player's Guide. Very cool folks. Leaves me wanting more. Very first-edition feel; lots of potential stories, lots of questions, some of which I know will be answered later, in other products, and some I suspect will just hang out there, tantalizingly unanswered ... Very cool.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Mosaic wrote:
Leaves me wanting more.

What a coincidence—we're making more!

Contributor

Mosaic wrote:
Just finished first read of the Player's Guide. Very cool folks. Leaves me wanting more. Very first-edition feel; lots of potential stories, lots of questions, some of which I know will be answered later, in other products, and some I suspect will just hang out there, tantalizingly unanswered ... Very cool.

I'm overwhelmed that everyone seems to be enjoying this so much, thanks for all the kind words. You can bet that a lot of the questions raised in the Player's Guide are going to be picked up on in Rise of the Runelords. There's even a bit that'll get some screen time in Curse of the Crimson Throne. Besides that, you've got a setting now... who's starting a game? ^_~

Vic Wertz wrote:


Don't get too excited. Wes's previous favorite poster was that one with the kitties hanging off of a tree limb—"Hang in there, baby!"

*Sniff* Poor little kitty... such a trooper.

Scarab Sages

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

I'm pretty sure they're gone forever.

Not true! Here you all go...

Abjuration: Avidais
Conjuration: Idolis
Enchantment: Carnasia
Evocation: Ragario
Illusion: Vangloris
Necromancy: Voratalo
Transmutation: Avaria

So, that little speed bump crested, tell us what else ya like!

Thank you for finding them, Wes. You guys rock!

So,

Abjuration : Avidais : (The only thing I have here is the Latin Invidia) : Envy
Conjuration : Idolis : Idle : Sloth
Enchantment : Carnasia : Carnal : Lust
Evocation : Ragario : Rage : Wrath
Illusion : Vangloris : Vainglory : Pride
Necromancy : Voratalo : Voracious : Gluttony
Transmutation : Avaria : Avarice : Greed


F. Wesley Schneider wrote:


I'm overwhelmed that everyone seems to be enjoying this so much, thanks for all the kind words. You can bet that a lot of the questions raised in the Player's Guide are going to be picked up on in Rise of the Runelords. There's even a bit that'll get some screen time in Curse of the Crimson Throne. Besides that, you've got a setting now... who's starting a game? ^_~

I plan to, just as soon as it shows up in the old mailbox.

I may be slow in saying this but, while I am broken up quite a bit by the demise of the magazines I grew up with, you wonderful people at Paizo have softened the blow considerably. I ran Savage Tide and am currently a player in an Age of Worms campaign; both experiences have made the anticipation of Pathfinder overshadow my shock, disbelief and grief of the untimely end of Dungeon & Dragon.

Well done, Paizo. Well done indeed.

-Carson Strother, 21 year (A)D&D veteren.


Wow. Yesterday was awesome for me.

1. This player's guide came out.
2. I went to the new addition of my FLGS (in my city, the Bookshelf was selling so many gaming supplies that it made an addition called the Gameshelf next door - yay!) and I found the core rulebooks for AD&D 1st and 2nd edition.
3. Because I was wearing my D&D t-shirt at my FLGS they manager gave me a free D&D baseball cap.
4. I got a booster of Night Below for D&D minis and I got the epic large gold dragon miniature.
5. Some guy at my FLGS invited me to join a new campaign of D&D 3.5 on Tuesday for 3rd level characters.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Phazzar wrote:

Wow. Yesterday was awesome for me.

2. I went to the new addition of my FLGS .

FLGS?.... Ok... I do not know all Forum Speak.

Friendly Local Gaming Store?...

Florida Legal Girl Scouts?

Flying Large Girls Squadron?

Freakily Large Gerbal Singers?

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Gary Teter wrote:


I had thought to send an email to all Pathfinder subscribers today letting you know about the free download, but events conspired against me. We might send an email Monday.

I am telling you it was the Freakily Large Gerbal Singers!!!!


FLGS?.... Ok... I do not know all Forum Speak.
Friendly Local Gaming Store?...

Close...Favorite Local Gaming Store.

Though I like the Freakily Large Gerbil Singers...might incorporate them into a game sometime.


I am looking forward to being a player in the Runelords campaign. I am DM'ing the STAP and just finished Tides of Dread.
This Campaign looks to have a lot of promise, I hope to be able to find an avenue to be able to work in my chracter idea of a necromancer that isn't evil. Life and death are two sides of the same force and both must be protected :)
Just finished flipping through the players guide, good work so far. Looking forward to see more!


Wow! Nice cover art design. Kudos to whomever designed that.


A question about printing this pdf.
Does anyone know whether it's possible to somehow print it without the parchment background? My printer (yes, it's not the most expensive one) is going bananas over the background and I'd like to conserve some ink too.
And seeing that the text is all my players need right now for reference (until I get a hold of the published book itself) I was wondering whether there's any way to just print that.
Just copying the text into e.g. Word isn't working either, as the formatting gets all screwed up.


"Made in China"?


das schwarze Auge wrote:
"Made in China"?

Hmm... it could just be as simple as it's cheaper to get it printed in China. Or...it could be China's plan to take over the world by controlling DnD content, which, of course, influences the smartest people in the world.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Traken wrote:
das schwarze Auge wrote:
"Made in China"?
Hmm... it could just be as simple as it's cheaper to get it printed in China.

You betcha. By a HUGE factor. If we had to print it in the US or even Canada, we'd probably have to charge at least twice the price.

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Vic Wertz wrote:
You betcha. By a HUGE factor. If we had to print it in the US or even Canada, we'd probably have to charge at least twice the price.

I'm amazed that this is the case, especially considering the fact that overseas shipping can't possibly be cheap. I just don't know how it's done!


Is there anything wrong with the link for the free download ?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Seldriss wrote:
Is there anything wrong with the link for the free download ?

No... What are you experiencing?


My download accelerator was giving me an error message and couldn't download the file.
I disabled it and tried "by hand".
It worked :)


Sharoth wrote:

The PDF of the Player's Guide is free. The Print Version is $2.00 per copy plus S & H.

You can get the PDF HERE

Enjoy!

Any mention of when the print edition is shipping? I've got it pre-ordered with a few other things that are currently available (including the super-sweet Pathfinder goblin t-shirt) so it's sitting waiting...which is perfectly fine but I'm antsy to have the Player's Guide in-hand instead of on-screen.

- Chris Shadowens


Well, I've gotten my Players Guide, and now I'm really, really eager for the first installment to arrive!

You did a beautiful job with the players guide!


I just skimmed my copy of Pathfinder: Player's Guide to RotRL(OGL)
Awesome! And just when I thought I was starting a homegame based in Eberron. Let's see what my players think. Keep up the great work! I was ticked when I heard I would no longer get copies of Dragon (final issue rocks BTW) but if this is what I have to look forward to I only have one thing to say....Dragon who?

Asomodeus as a LE Diety? Rock on. Gives me a great way to introduce my v3.5 re-write of A Paladin in Hell (awesome highlevel 2nd ed adventure).

Artwork is great. I am glad to see you have stayed focused on turning out a great looking, easy to read, high end product. Thanks.

One other question. I am assuming that the intent is to keep everything v3.5 in Pathfinder even after 4ed rolls out in 2008? If this seems like an ignorant question my apologies.

Laterz Taterz!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Shawn Lederer-Hughes wrote:
One other question. I am assuming that the intent is to keep everything v3.5 in Pathfinder even after 4ed rolls out in 2008? If this seems like an ignorant question my apologies.

We haven't seen the 4th edition rules yet, so we can't answer that question yet. We certainly won't be switching editions in the middle of an adventure path. So assuming that 4th edition does what we want it to do, and assuming its OGL is permissive enough, and assuming we can publish the type of adventures we like using the rules, and assuming our readers support the move, the earliest we'll be converting to 4th edition is with Adventure Path 3, which begins in Pathfinder #13 at next year's Gen Con.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I have to ask: Why is the Big Game Hunter feat so much more powerful than the other Bonus feats? Or are the <blank>-born feats better than I think they are?

(Also, will the 5-pack be available on the website?)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Ross Byers wrote:
(Also, will the 5-pack be available on the website?

No need—you can buy as many singles as you like! (The 5-pack was mainly designed to ensure that retailers realized that this product is targeted at gaming groups, not just GMs.)


It is just me, or did anyone else notice the lack of Chelaxian names?

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