Pathfinder Player Companion: Varisia, Birthplace of Legends (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Player Companion: Varisia, Birthplace of Legends (PFRPG)
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Begin an adventure like no other in Varisia, a land of ancient mysteries and fantastic danger. Within this book you’ll find countless player-friendly possibilities as you explore one of the most richly detailed corners of the Pathfinder campaign setting. Will you indulge fortune as a Varisian wanderer, retake your tribal lands as a fierce Shoanti barbarian, uncover the secrets of a lost arcane empire, or fight to protect your peaceful home from dark magic and fierce monsters? The choices are endless, but you'll find the ones that are right for you with this primer to an entire realm of adventure.

Varisia, Birthplace of Legends presents a player-focused overview of the land, people, magic, and mysteries of the region of Varisia, one of the best-loved and most explored frontiers of the Pathfinder campaign setting. Every Pathfinder Player Companion includes new options and tools for every Pathfinder RPG player.

    These are just a few of the features you’ll find inside this book:
  • A bold new format with new features, revealing more exciting topics, options, and inspirations every time you turn the page.
  • A look into the lives of Varisia’s native peoples, the proud tribal Shoanti and far-traveling Varisians, with new ways to play members of both cultures.
  • New archetypes, feats, equipment, and traits to make characters a part of Varisia, plus many that link to Adventure Paths set in the region, like Rise of the Runelords.
  • A player-friendly map of Varisia, featuring major settlements, distances between locations, and hints at adventure sites to explore.
  • A player’s guide for the Shattered Star Adventure Path, giving players everything they need to know to create characters ready to face this deadly new campaign.

Written by F. Wesley Schneider, Amber E. Scott, Tork Shaw, James L. Sutter, and Jerome Virnich

Each monthly 32-page Pathfinder Player Companion contains several player-focused articles exploring the volume’s theme as well as short articles with innovative new rules for all types of characters, as well as traits to better anchor the player to the campaign. This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, but can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-453-5

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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Great, Player-Friendly Overview of Varisia

5/5

Varisia, the rugged wilderness that contains only a few scattered city-states and several small settlements, is home to five (soon to be six) adventure paths; so it’s only fitting that it receive a sourcebook. Oddly, instead of appearing in the campaign setting line, Paizo decided to make Varisia, Birthplace of Legend a Player Companion book. This means it’s shorter (32 pages) and more focused on options for PCs. Still, it’s a great addition to the canon: full of gorgeous artwork with clear, accessible introductions to the peoples and places that make Varisia a great place to adventure.

The fantastic artwork starts with the cover, the best representation we’ve seen of the Sandpoint Devil to date. The interior front cover is all about Shoanti tribal lands, explaining how the various nations (“quahs”) have different totems and traditions. As it provides cleric domains and oracle mysteries for each quah, it’s quite useful for a player hoping to add some depth to their Shoanti PC. The inside back cover features something about the other indigenous people of the area, the nomadic Varisians. The focus here is on Varisian caravan routes, but the feature most useful to GMs is a grid showing how far (in miles and travel days) it takes to go between most of Varisia’s major settlements by land. I often forget this is here, and I wish I wouldn’t.

The interior has a really fresh, bold art layout that sets this Player Companion apart from previous ones in the line. After the usual table of contents, there’s an overview of which classes get special attention in the book and which options can be made use of by all PCs. Then, after a rules index (perhaps oddly placed near the beginning instead of the end of the book), there’s a two-page overview of Varisia that includes a paragraph on each of the core races and (my favourite) a sidebar on “Five Things Everyone Knows About Varisia.” This last bit is the sort of thing GMs can pass around to new players without overwhelming them with world-lore.

The next two pages focus on the Shoanti. The Shoanti race traits are great, and the section on common Shoanti sayings are quite evocative. My favourite part of the new Player Companion design was the introduction of the idea of “roles”. Roles are essentially flavourful build-suggestions that help a player focus around a key concept—here, it’s “Shoanti Outrider” and “Shoanti Totem Shaman.” The roles include suggested classes, class features, personality traits, and preferred equipment. The nice thing about the roles is that they help players create well fleshed-out characters without simply adding more mechanical bloat.

The following two pages are on the Varisians, and follow a similar format. I’d say the race traits aren’t as useful, but the roles are still interesting: “Varisian Bravo” and “Varisian Fortune-Teller.”
“Battle in Varisia” (two pages) introduces two new feats and two new archetypes. One of the new feats, “Thunder and Fang,” is pretty cool—it allows a character to use an earthbreaker in one hand! The archetypes are “Kapenia Dancer,” a flavourful magus archetype that only comes online at high levels, and “Thundercaller,” a more offense-oriented bard archetype.

“Magic & Faith in Varisia” (two pages) provides short, one-paragraph long overviews of the various arcane schools in the land. I didn’t find this particularly useful, as the information provided is cursory and appears elsewhere. There’s an overview of common faiths in Varisia that includes the mystery cults of Magnimar and the totemism of the Shoanti, but again it’s only the briefest of introductions. A “What is Thassilon” paragraph is nice in answering the “what does my PC know about Thassilon?” question that can easily come up in some APs.

“Equipment in Varisia” (two pages) is a bit odd, as it provides descriptions and stats for weapons (like starknives, bladed scarves, and klars) that have already appeared in the Core Rulebook or Inner Sea World Guide. I guess it’s worth emphasizing them as common Varisian weapons for players unfamiliar with those sources though. Some minor alchemical and spellcrafting items are also introduced here, though they’re all pretty minor and niche in terms of usefulness.

Perhaps the best thing about Varisia, Birthplace of Legend is the pull-out map in the center. The map, which is drawn as an “in-world” artefact, is a gorgeous representation of where major cities and geographical features lay. In addition, it’s quite useful as it provides the distance in miles between each set of landmarks. I’ve happily let my players use this, and I’ve used it myself as the GM when I didn’t have a more detailed “zoomed-in” map available.

Next up, each of the three major city-states in Varisia (Korvosa, Magnimar, and Riddleport) gets a two-page spread. Each of the entries provides the full settlement stat block for the city, a page of general description, two roles for characters from that city, and a couple of new regional traits. Understandably, these entries are just brief overviews, but they’re well-done and give the reader a good taste of how each of the three cities is very different than the other two. Two of the smaller cities in Varisia (Janderhoff and Kaer Maga) receive a similar one-page treatment, with one role and one trait apiece. Finally, Sandpoint and many of the smaller settlements in the area are covered in a single two-page spread; with so many communities to cover, each tends to get only a line or two of coverage.

The next two pages are especially relevant to anyone playing in the Rise of the Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, Second Darkness, or Jade Regent Adventure Paths: new campaign traits! It’s pretty cool to see older APs get support, and I wish this trend would have continued more.

Last up is a two-page player’s guide for the then-new Shattered Star AP. It includes the usual (but important) tips on what sorts of characters are appropriate for the campaign, as well as several campaign traits.

All in all, this is a nice, clear, colourful overview of Varisia. As far as I’m concerned, it should be distributed to everyone playing in a campaign set there.


Useful, if brief, overview of Varisia and its people

4/5

Read my full review on my blog.

As a GM, I have found this book extremely useful in preparing NPCs and general flavour for my Varisia-based campaign. Since there is no Campaign Setting book that covers Varisia as a whole (and I don’t really expect there to be one in the future), this is the next best thing to get a good overview of the types of people who live in the region.

This book also looks good, with great cover art and some really nice interior pieces. I recommend it for anyone spending significant time in the Varisia region.


4/5

I have never had much interest in varisia, neither its inhabitants nor its cities, do this book make me change my mind?, lets see.

The people: There is some good fluff on shoanti and varisians, like the names of the most common shoanti tattoos of every tribe. However, there is no more information about the tribes, I have to look at wikigolarion for the information. The same for varisians, good but too little.

The land: As before, good but too little. What is the point in saying "more details in player companion second darkness"?

The Rules: I have to say that most of the time traits are a waste of space, and that is true for this book. There are a couple of good ones, but a lot are just pointless.

About the feats, Deadly dealer is really cool but it is just weak. Thunder and fang is just great and unique.

Roles: This book present something called "roles". They are like a guide to flesh out your characters.

They have a good side and the bad side. The good side is that they are full of fluff, which is, IMHO, something that player companions to golarion should have in abundance.

The bad side is that they take too much space but do not any new rule. It is a wasted opportunity. A dusk warden is just the same old urban ranger.

If there is not going to be nothing new mechanically, then the class options, preferred equipment and preferred options should not be there.

So far, the book is a solid 4 star. However, the advertisement of APs made in pages 28 to 30 is really annoying and a waste of space that should have been dedicated to more useful things.

So, I give it a weak 4 star.


5/5

I've reviewed this product on RPGGeek.com.

You can find it here.


disappointing

1/5

Having most if not all of the paizo catalog since being a dungeon/dragon subscriber, I've been getting/subscribing to much of their products.

Have to say this one is disappointing. The product is 32 pages long. However, the last 4 out of 5 feel like advertising for other products(the last being an actual advert). The middle is a 2 page map spread that doesnt add much as far as content. The first is the table of contents, the next two are roles for characters which turn to "here are the other products and page numbers where they are".

Which is the biggest complaint I have for this. You scroll through places- lets say City of Magnimar- you get to the end of one page of the two page spread it says "for more details can be found in product pathfinder campaign setting Magnimar, city of monuments" Same with some weapons only to be told for more details to go look in the core rule book or inner sea guide.

Why am I spending money on this product only to be told more details are in other products and places? I bought the product to have all the Varisia items


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Truth, Varisia is my favorite spot on Golarion. Three APs set there aren't enough and I've even put some work into moving Council of Thieves, Kingmaker, Carrion Crown and the ol' Kobold King adventures there. I love it more than any other location on the planet.

Question, though. Is this written with any spoilers from the first three APs? I know you say your setting is time-immune such that metaplots won't carry the storyline forward, but in the past I've seen some assumptions in your writing (such as posting the location of Xin-Shalast on your official map or the taming of Bloodsworn Vale in the timeline of Korvosa). Will this player's companion be written for players who have yet to play Crimson Throne, fer instance?

Scarab Sages

Finally some more delicious details on Varisia! Looking forward to this one.


James Jacobs wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Yes yes yes. I am so happy to see this coming out. Any chance we'll see a Varisia gazetteer as a full-sized book as well?

I'd love to eventually do a 320 page (or bigger) hardcover on Varisia, frankly.

I was also going to ask for a 64-page campaign setting book, but you just trumped me HARD. O.O


Came all late to this, but OMG AWESOMESAUCE!!!!**

This is a book I have been waiting for!! and asking for!!. Varisia is definitely one of my favorite nations, and I came way late to the Golarion party, so thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Also,
SO glad I am subscribed to this!!!

**Awesomecause: When you're so awesome, its like you covered in sauce of it :)

Silver Crusade

James Jacobs wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Yes yes yes. I am so happy to see this coming out. Any chance we'll see a Varisia gazetteer as a full-sized book as well?

I'd love to eventually do a 320 page (or bigger) hardcover on Varisia, frankly.

Ahhh take my monies!


I really like Varisia, like many on these boards, I think.

Varisia, in my opinion, on account of it being a frontier region of Golarion, hits the perfect balance between familiarity and strangeness.

When you play a character treading in the wilds of Varisia, you know that you're going to discover strange new things, maybe even map some poorly charted territory - but at the same time, you're not wadding in some vaguely defined vacuum.

I like it that people back in Korvosa will hear about my hero's adventures and talk about it while drinking some perfectly civilized Chelaxian wine :-). I'm currently playing in Korvosa (CotCT), and I love the feeling of this meticulous (at the start ;-) city surrounded by wilderness and barbarian Shoanti tribes.

Speaking of that, I love the Shoanti: creating a believable ethnicity, original enough that it doesn't seem to come straight from our world, is a wondrous feat.

And thanks to the people of Paizo, for doing a great job of entertaining my imagination with thrilling adventures !


I look forward to seeing the changes to the companion line and getting a Player Companion on Varisia. I'm hoping one of the changes is putting the crunch together instead of spread-out across multiple sections. Trying to find some ability you read about in a Player Companion right now usually involves looking at least four places (and hoping you pulled the right book). I'd rather see mechanics grouped by type of mechanic (traits, feats, weapon properties) than by social trait, social feat on one page, religious trait and "aristocratic weaponcrafting technique" on another page (for example).

As for hardcovers, I want a 320 page hardcover for Ustalav. I do like the city-state vibe of Varisia though, reminds me of the Western Heartlands of FR somewhat with its city-states. Right now I'm reading AD&D Ravenloft: A Guide to Transylvania (A Masque of the Red Death accessory) with an eye toward applying material presented toward the Ustalav sandbox campaign I'm developing. More actual material for Ustalav would be great though, especially more details of the Hundred Haunted Vales of the Hungry Mountains.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Will this book have Spoilers for Runelords, Crimson Throne, and Second Darkness?

Liberty's Edge

James Jacobs wrote:


I'd love to eventually do a 320 page (or bigger) hardcover on Varisia, frankly.

OMG Yes! And maybe on on the Worldwound...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Stratagemini wrote:
Will this book have Spoilers for Runelords, Crimson Throne, and Second Darkness?

Hopefully nothing major, and likely nothing at all.

Contributor

Stratagemini wrote:
Will this book have Spoilers for Runelords, Crimson Throne, and Second Darkness?

No. Unless you're the kind of GM who feels like players even knowing what Shoanti are and that Thassilon was a thing are spoilers.

In general, readers should expect these books to get about as spoilerific as an AP's Player Guide, as they're meant to guide players toward useful choices, but not ruin the fun of a campaign. That said, since they don't focus on specific APs, these companions have even less potential for spoilers than your typical Player Guide.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've updated the image and product description to match the finished product.


Vic Wertz wrote:
I've updated the image and product description to match the finished product.

Looks Sweet Vic

The artist who did this one should get a bonus because it's that sweet.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

These last few Player Companions have had absolutely stunning pieces of cover art. Who's the talented artist for this one?

Liberty's Edge

"A player’s guide for the Shattered Star Adventure Path, giving players everything they need to know to create characters ready to face this deadly new campaign."

:(


Paladinosaur wrote:

"A player’s guide for the Shattered Star Adventure Path, giving players everything they need to know to create characters ready to face this deadly new campaign."

:(

It will be available separately as well, Right?

Liberty's Edge

This cover feels a lot like the Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Hardcover.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Cheapy wrote:
Paladinosaur wrote:

"A player’s guide for the Shattered Star Adventure Path, giving players everything they need to know to create characters ready to face this deadly new campaign."

:(

It will be available separately as well, Right?

Yes.

More precisely...

The Player's Guide to Shattered Star will consist of the following three components:
1) Advice on what kinds of characters to play.
2) Several campaign traits.
3) Faction rules for the Pathfinder Society, updated from the 2-page entry in the Faction Guide to comply with the newer faction rules presented in the Pathfinder Society Field Guide.

Components #1 and #2 appear in print in "Varisia, Birthplace of Legends." They are 2 pages long in all.

The free Player's Guide PDF for Shattered Star will consist of Components #1, #2, and #3.

(That DOES mean that the free PDF Player's Guide for Shattered Star will only be about 4 or 5 pages long.)


Please tell me that cover is not a mock-up! It's just so awesome!

That Jerse- *ahem* Sandpoint Devil is what got me hooked on Pathfinder in the first place after all, since it's a cryptid.


I think it's angry because Valeros is very clearly trying to neuter the poor beast.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Mechalibur wrote:
These last few Player Companions have had absolutely stunning pieces of cover art. Who's the talented artist for this one?

Michal Ivan.


It seems rather redundant to print the same material (player's guide material) in 2 releases, especially when one is free. That is roughly 6.25% of the book.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Azten wrote:
Please tell me that cover is not a mock-up! It's just so awesome!

This is the finished cover.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nukruh wrote:
It seems rather redundant to print the same material (player's guide material) in 2 releases, especially when one is free. That is roughly 6.25% of the book.

My theory:

It seems reasonable to me to believe that rolling the AP Player's Guide material into the Companion line is a great way of helping toward lessening the workload of the AP crew. i.e. this sounds like part of the ongoing effort (along with personnel changes such as the hiring of Adam Daigle) to streamline the AP process to ensure that everything happens in a timely, on schedule fashion.

By doing things this way, the player's guides become less cumbersome to produce, as it simply requires taking the pertinent section from the Player Companion and making it into its own pdf (along with some minor tweaks).

I like it. This way, we get HUGE, 32-page thematic player's guides (such as this, which could work great for a number of APs, including Shattered Star), and for those who don't get the Player Companions, they still have access for free to the relevant info.


New archetypes. Yay!

I had hoped to see a 'Inner sea at War' book (in similar fashion to Inner Sea Magic) fleshing out armies, mercenary bands and awesome style feats focusing on fighters (no imp unarmed strike preq) but this will do.

Come on HOUNDMASTER!


STR Ranger wrote:

New archetypes. Yay!

I had hoped to see a 'Inner sea at War' book (in similar fashion to Inner Sea Magic) fleshing out armies, mercenary bands and awesome style feats focusing on fighters (no imp unarmed strike preq) but this will do.

Come on HOUNDMASTER!

You sure you didn't meant to post in Knights of the Inner Sea?


Vic Wertz wrote:
Azten wrote:
Please tell me that cover is not a mock-up! It's just so awesome!
This is the finished cover.

Consider it bought.


I am just not a fan of repeated info in books that cost money, which is roughly 0.34 per page in this product line. I would much rather have 2 pages of specific/random tables as opposed to repeated info that is available elsewhere and essentially relies on the book to be tied to an area covered in an AP. Such books would be produced anyway to tie in with the AP line. Just repeating content for the purpose of lessening the workload, if that is truly the case, is just cutting corners. The books only have 30 pages not including Table of Contents/Coming Next pages. Toss in chapter intro pages (1-2 pages) which leaves 28 pages. 2 repeated pages brings that down to 26 pages.

I just don't see how repeating content lessens any workload beyond not producing unique content for each product. Someone still has to export files to their respective pdfs, which while it is not rocket science seems to involve many hands in the approval mix to achieve the results from what has been commented on by staff in the past.


Nice Cover Art!

Liberty's Edge

Nukruh wrote:

I am just not a fan of repeated info in books that cost money, which is roughly 0.34 per page in this product line. I would much rather have 2 pages of specific/random tables as opposed to repeated info that is available elsewhere and essentially relies on the book to be tied to an area covered in an AP. Such books would be produced anyway to tie in with the AP line. Just repeating content for the purpose of lessening the workload, if that is truly the case, is just cutting corners. The books only have 30 pages not including Table of Contents/Coming Next pages. Toss in chapter intro pages (1-2 pages) which leaves 28 pages. 2 repeated pages brings that down to 26 pages.

I just don't see how repeating content lessens any workload beyond not producing unique content for each product. Someone still has to export files to their respective pdfs, which while it is not rocket science seems to involve many hands in the approval mix to achieve the results from what has been commented on by staff in the past.

So the traits(that would probably make it to d20pfsrd)and the types of characters to play (that seem redundant between the AP and the area) get their own 2 pages inside the Varisia companion, and will be given away for Free in the Shattered Star Player's guide. The Player Companion line gains importance, and the Free (FREE) Player's guide is still open to you. The Free(free) Player's guide is just a condiment. I'm glad they are pushing to theme these together.


I looked at that cover and yow. Now we know what My Little Pony would look like in Golarion. Even the cute little multi-colored ponies are badflanks there!

Sovereign Court

Nukruh wrote:

I am just not a fan of repeated info in books that cost money, which is roughly 0.34 per page in this product line. I would much rather have 2 pages of specific/random tables as opposed to repeated info that is available elsewhere and essentially relies on the book to be tied to an area covered in an AP. Such books would be produced anyway to tie in with the AP line. Just repeating content for the purpose of lessening the workload, if that is truly the case, is just cutting corners. The books only have 30 pages not including Table of Contents/Coming Next pages. Toss in chapter intro pages (1-2 pages) which leaves 28 pages. 2 repeated pages brings that down to 26 pages.

I just don't see how repeating content lessens any workload beyond not producing unique content for each product. Someone still has to export files to their respective pdfs, which while it is not rocket science seems to involve many hands in the approval mix to achieve the results from what has been commented on by staff in the past.

So, should they pull the free stuff?

I don't really like the pdf player's guides anyway, the printed issues for RotRL and CotCT were much better.

As it is, I'd much rather have a companion (as Second Darkness had) with the info than have to print out a flimsy pdf.

I vote to drop the free player's guide.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:


I don't really like the pdf player's guides anyway, the printed issues for RotRL and CotCT were much better.

As it is, I'd much rather have a companion (as Second Darkness had) with the info than have to print out a flimsy pdf.

This is my feeling too. I don't consider them to be padding out the player companion. I consider the free product to be containing (some) repeated material.

I was a big fan of the old printed players guides. Sadly, that didn't work out. Maybe with the monthly companions and the policy of increasing integration of the various product lines we will end up with a satisfying compromise.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Cover is Incredible, and I am incredibly happy to have a book that will tell my players more about Varisia and how they should prepare characters for campaigns in the region... I'm unsure about having Shattered star Specific advice though... I'll reserve judgement on that point till after I see how it works.


New format for Pathfinder Player Companion: Happy

Yet another book concerning Varisia: Not so much

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Very nice cover.

Liberty's Edge

product description wrote:


A bold new format with new features, revealing more exciting topics, options, and inspirations every time you turn the page.

You know, WotC started doing new formatting for their 3.5 stuff just prior to the announcement of 4th Edition. I hope this "bold new format" ISN'T a harbinger of Pathfinder 2.0.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
HangarFlying wrote:
product description wrote:


A bold new format with new features, revealing more exciting topics, options, and inspirations every time you turn the page.
You know, WotC started doing new formatting for their 3.5 stuff just prior to the announcement of 4th Edition. I hope this "bold new format" ISN'T a harbinger of Pathfinder 2.0.

Almost certainly not. It isn't the first time that they've made changes. This is almost certainly due to the fact the the combat/social/magic/faith were increasingly looking like things were being shoehorned in & the move to a monthly release schedule for the companions.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

HangarFlying wrote:
product description wrote:


A bold new format with new features, revealing more exciting topics, options, and inspirations every time you turn the page.
You know, WotC started doing new formatting for their 3.5 stuff just prior to the announcement of 4th Edition. I hope this "bold new format" ISN'T a harbinger of Pathfinder 2.0.

It's not.

Liberty's Edge

James Jacobs wrote:

It's not.

Awesome! You the man!

Silver Crusade

Keep the Varisia books coming!

Looking forward to that mythical 320p hardcover!

Dark Archive

If I recall correctly, Paizo stated that the would no longer divide their Player Companions into Combat, Social, Faith and Magic sections, so the "bold new format" could just mean that.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Jadeite wrote:
If I recall correctly, Paizo stated that the would no longer divide their Player Companions into Combat, Social, Faith and Magic sections, so the "bold new format" could just mean that.

It means more than that.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Can't wait for the new format. I was never a fan of Combat/Social/Faith/Magic - I thought it constrained the creativity and enforced unnecessary content.


good as long as it doesnt mean that we get an image of Seoni slapping Valeros..

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Cover art.


Paizo's art has really evolved since Rise of the Runelords.

Liberty's Edge

That player friendly map might be the best part of this book, or the at very least something I'll get the most out of.

Contributor

Joseph Wilson wrote:

My theory:

It seems reasonable to me to believe that rolling the AP Player's Guide material into the Companion line is a great way of helping toward lessening the workload of the AP crew. i.e. this sounds like part of the ongoing effort (along with personnel changes such as the hiring of Adam Daigle) to streamline the AP process to ensure that everything happens in a timely, on schedule fashion.

By doing things this way, the player's guides become less cumbersome to produce, as it simply requires taking the pertinent section from the Player Companion and making it into its own pdf (along with some minor tweaks).

In short: Yup!

In long: Over the years AP Player's Guides have evolved into include more information that's less directly pertinent to the players of said adventure path. It's been important to get that info out there and we've been glad to do them, but it's meant the player's guides themes have shifted to something only partially useful to players. Additionally, they became increasingly onerous to create, taxing the staff of a line already struggling with their production schedules.

By rolling the majority of the heavy lifting for the player's guides into the player companion, we can do a few things. First, we've got a whole other crew doing the work on them who can work with the AP guys and who have worked on plenty of APs themselves to assure that what needs to be in these guides get in there. Second, the love that we give a print project will always exceed the love we give a PDF product - that's just the way it is. So we can dedicate more design, art, and edit resources to make sure these player's guide sections look really sharp. So, by making the hear of the player's guides part of the player companion line, we can produce something more exciting and better looking without overtaxing the AP crew.

Now, the Shattered Star Player's Guide will have more that isn't covered in Player Companion: Varisia, but then Player Companion: Varisia will tons of player friendly details that aren't covered in the Shattered Star Player's Guide. Overall, each stands nicely alone and supports the other nicely. And really, if you like what you see in the free Player's Guide, there's a strong chance you'll love whats in Player Companion: Varisia.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
Can't wait for the new format. I was never a fan of Combat/Social/Faith/Magic - I thought it constrained the creativity and enforced unnecessary content.

Meeee too. As we get closer to Player Companion: Varisa's August release I'll be doing a couple of previews of the new format and design on the Paizo blog so everyone can check out the new hotness.

Overall, the new key words are modularity, flexibility, and variety.

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