Pathfinder Gamemastery Guide

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Pathfinder Gamemastery Guide

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Whether you are a new Game Master or experienced storyteller, you can always find new ways to hone your craft. This 256-page Pathfinder Second Edition rulebook contains a wealth of new information, tools, and rules systems to add to your game. Inside you will find handy advice for building your own adventures, designing towns, and creating vibrant characters alongside rules systems for dramatic chases, thrilling tournaments, and deadly duels. This book also includes more 40 pages of sample nonplayer characters, from the simple town guard to the vile cultist, presented to make your job as GM that much easier!

The Pathfinder Gamemastery Guide includes:

  • Rules, advice, and guidelines to build adventures, campaigns, and the denizens and treasures that lurk within, from settlements to nations to infinite planes!
  • Creative variant rules to customize the rules to make the game your own, including variant bonus, feat, and magic item progressions, characters gaining the power of multiple classes at once, and more!
  • All sorts of new and variant magic items including intelligent items, cursed items, artifacts, quirks you can add to items, and a brand new type of item called a relic that scales with your character!
  • A catalog of subsystems to handle unique situations, from thrilling chases to researching mysteries to vehicle combat to elaborate duels to sandbox-style "hexploration" and more! Plus, a universal victory point system to help you design your own subsystems!
  • More than 60 new NPCs to use in your game, designed for maximum usefulness to all Pathfinder campaigns!

ISBN: 978-1-64078-198-6

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

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Useful

4/5

It's a great book. A lot of the most important stuff is in the Core Rulebook already, but if you're serious about creating your own creatures or treasure, this is essential. Especially because the math on PF2 is so much tighter, you can't go wrong doing it right.

I really can't complain about anything that is in the book, but about stuff that is missing: FUN! I was browsing the game mastery guide of first edition not too long ago, and that book makes you laugh, be inspired, and just want to jump to the drawing board and create an adventure. Random name generators, npc personality traits, tavern menus, it's all there to inspire you. While this book, meh. It's about teaching you more rules.

Useful, yes, but ultimately not very heartwarming.


A fantastic book!

5/5

So I'm a rather fledling GM, both within the Pathfinder sphere and the broader world of tabletop, and I'm not one to run prewritten APs or modules, and I'm always eager for more books (or sections of books) that cover how to run games - and from that perspective, the 2e Gamemastery Guide is fantastic.

Going section by section:
- Don't let the names of the Introduction and especially the Gamemastery Basics sections fool you - while they mostly cover theory, the way the information is presented is very helpful, and talks about issues that legitimately crop up in a lot of GMing discussions online - the notion of session zero, the idea of safety tools, problems with GMPCs, metagaming, adjudicating rules, structuring campaigns/adventures/encounters (the adventure recipes especially are brilliant!), even drawing maps is covered.

To some, it might seem like "well, duh" - and even to me these concepts weren't alien going in, but it's extremely great to see those tackled in a hardcover mainline rulebook for a major RPG and not merely on places like Reddit.
Also, the fact that Paizo waited a little bit after the release of PF2 meant that it gave them more time to address certain issues people were having while running the game, which was a good idea in hindsight.

- Tools is the next section, and it's a fun one for sure, one that a lot of people out there will benefit from - featuring an extensive coverage of creating monsters, hazards and NPCs (with the caveat that it's still more of an art than a science, even in a crunchy game like Pathfinder), various kinds of magic items (intelligent, cursed, relics, artifacts) with guidance on how to make your own, and a solid section on worldbuilding, for those who wish to run Pathfiner in a setting of their own.

- Following Tools is the Subsystems chapter, which might be one of the best parts of the book - starting off with a breakdown of how most subsystems operate and how to make one of your own, followed by several sample ones, from Influence for more robust social encounters to "Hexploration" (couldn't it just have been called Hexcrawl though?) to Afflictions (which seem to be handled with a decent amount of tact, given the kind of subject matter it is) to Vehicles! Certainly a lot of fun stuff here - my head is already buzzing with how to utilize a lot of these, or even make some myself!

- Next up on the list we have the Variant Rules, which allow you to tweak the game under the hood to tune it for different sorts of tones and genres - want less reliance on magic items? Boom. Want a grittier game that resembles 5th edition more, without the level bonus to proficiency? Got you covered. Want gestalt PCs with multiple classes? That's in there.

- Last but not least is the NPC gallery, which sounds like what'd you expect - essentially a bestiary of NPC stat blocks, divided into various categories like Criminals and Explorers, with plenty of advice on how to utilize and modify them, nicely complementing the Monster/NPC creation chapter as well as the Bestiary. Also the art is very nice and decently diverse.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this book, and certainly see myself getting a solid amount of mileage out of it. Kudos to Paizo for this one!


Level Up Your Adventure Paths!

4/5

As an experienced GM who only runs Adventure Paths, I felt that a good half of the content in this book wasn't targeted towards me. Much like the PF1 GMG, the PF2 GMG isn't a compulsory buy unless you are a new GM or plan on running custom campaigns.

However, the content in the other half has proven useful in running Adventure Paths:

- The subsystems provided give substance to aspects of the game that any other TTRPG would delegate to GM fiat. Victory points allow you to create your own subsystems on the fly. Adventure Paths can't cover every possibility, after all!
- The variant rules are knobs and dials that enable GMs to deliver a specific game experience (including those experiences popularized by the Pathfinder fanbase and even other TTRPGs). These will provide Adventure Paths with even more of replay value.
- The NPCs are easily modified/upgraded and allow GMs to stat out minor NPCs that don't typically get stats in Adventure Paths. Finally!

(edited 3/12/20)


Disappointing

2/5

Normally I'm a huge Paizo and Pathfinder fan. I've been playing and running Pathfinder since first edition and was keen when second edition was released.

This is a beautiful book. Sturdy, well lsid out, clear fonts, easy to read and no visible spelling errors that i've noticed. All the usual high Paizo production values that we've come to know and love.

For me the creature and NPC design rules (effectively the same thing in 2nd ed) are critical to run games.The rules are clear and seem well thought out.

However much of the rest of the book seems to be written simply to pad this section out into a viable publication. The gamemastery advice isn't revultionary or groundbreaking, the nation and settlement sections provide nothing mechanical and simply encourage GMs to lay out their information in the same format as Paizo.

On the whole I can't shake the feeling tha much of this book was written purely as padding for the sections surrounding creature, hazard and NPC creation and as a means to justify the $49.99 price tag.

This is the first time I've been left feeling disappointed by a Paizo release.


A great resource for GMs of all stripes

5/5

This is a great resource for GMs of all stripes.

There's a bunch of good advice for GMs, both beginning and experienced, advice on managing players, managing rarity, and so on.

Then there's a great chapter on building -- world-building (including building towns/cities, nations, and even entire planes), building your own monsters, building custom magic items and haunts, and so on. Also new rules governing cursed items, artifacts, and relics (items which increase in power as the players do).

There's a bunch of helpful material for GMs to add: a bunch of new curses, diseases, drugs, a bunch of new artifacts and some new cursed items, and a giant catalog of fully stated NPCs to use when the occasion arises.

There's a bunch of rules on new subsystems, including influence rules, research rules, chase rules, infiltration rules, reputation rules, duels, leadership, vehicles (including a couple pages of examples, including a steam-driven mech!), and so on.

Finally, there's my favorite part: variant rules of various kinds to use in your game. Lots of stuff people have asked for here: bounded accuracy variants, dual-classing variants, free archetypes, alternate ability score variants, ability score point and skill point variants, alignment free variants, level 0 characters, stamina, and so on.

And then there are my two favorite variant rules. (1) First, there's the deep backgrounds rules for character creation, which I find *enormously* helpful in helping players to flesh out their characters. And (2) the automatic bonus progression which is a great addition to the game in so many ways. It saves GMs the headache of having to constantly work to make sure players have gotten the right loot of the right kind to ensure they fit the expectations of the game, and don't get wiped out -- i.e., it removes magic items as math fixers, and instead leaves them as just fun and interesting things to add to the game.

All in all, a great addition to the game.


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4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Relics, eh? A throwback to Weapons of Legacy perhaps?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Sweet cover image!


^ Agreed!

--C.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Camellen wrote:
Relics, eh? A throwback to Weapons of Legacy perhaps?

Relics in 1e are scaling items that get more powers when you do "triumphs" related to legacy of the item

So yeah, I'm glad they are returning :D And glad for library research rules and hexploration and variant rules and... Glad for lot of things!

My only confusion related to cover is that while it is call back to 1e gamemastery cover, this one isn't actually referencing the final confrontation with Alaznist from Return of the Runelords. Heck I don't think she even has black dragon ally in that one?

Silver Crusade

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

O hai gestalt multiclassing, it's been a while.


Will there be a deluxe edition for this book as was hinted at?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

They have done more than hint at it.


David knott 242 wrote:
They have done more than hint at it.

Sweet. I just didn't see the product listed. Thanks!


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Tag yourself on the cover. I'm the sheathed sword attached halfway down a skirt.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Awesome!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Xenocrat wrote:
Tag yourself on the cover. I'm the sheathed sword attached halfway down a skirt.

Well... Magic? Or rather, MYTHIC MAGIC!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hmm. I thought this would be where the monster creation rules would be, but aside from the 'and the denizens and treasures that lurk within' line, I don't see anything to indicate those will be in this. That... concerns me, since monster creation is something I want.

Dark Archive

Isn't that located in bestiary usually?


CorvusMask wrote:
Isn't that located in bestiary usually?

Nope. Monster creation rules will not be in the bestiary but will be available 'fairly shortly thereafter'.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Then I think this is indeed the book that provides them.

Paizo Employee Designer

24 people marked this as a favorite.

Hi, this was my first "Product description page," which after 5 years is actually a bit surprising. Anyways, the "denizens that lurk within" are 100% monsters and NPCs, so there will be "Rules, advice, and guidelines to build" them.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Hi, this was my first "Product description page," which after 5 years is actually a bit surprising. Anyways, the "denizens that lurk within" are 100% monsters and NPCs, so there will be "Rules, advice, and guidelines to build" them.

Entirely understandable! I'm a self-published author by trade myself, and I swear that book descriptions are one of the hardest part of the process of publishing to get right.

Also, I'm really glad to hear that the monster creation rules will be in there. ^^


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Why am I so excited about variant rules before the regular rules are even out?


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The red haired woman on the cover appears to be Alaznist, seeing she's wearing the same clothes as on the cover of AP #133 and is wielding the same weapon. The Thassilonian wrath rune that makes up the back of the throne supports that, too. But isn't she supposed to be dead now?

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Zaister wrote:
The red haired woman on the cover appears to be Alaznist, seeing she's wearing the same clothes as on the cover of AP #133 and is wielding the same weapon. The Thassilonian wrath rune that makes up the back of the throne supports that, too. But isn't she supposed to be dead now?

As I said, its call back to 1e Gamemastery book where Karzoug was sitting on throne with dragon behind him(he was also dead when that book was released :p)

Its taking bit more creative liberties though since gamemastery cover was pretty much inspired by the RotR while this one is more inspired by Gamemastery cover than final battle with Alaznist


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Ah, I see. I also must have missed you post pointing out Alaznist.

So we know what to expect for the Gamemastery Guides for Pathfinder Third to Seventh Edition, then!


Zaister,

I'm hoping that we'll get maybe a Red Dragon for Xanderghul. Maybe. I dunno.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

You guys want to post any more Return of the Runelords spoilers for those of us playing it?

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
PFRPGrognard wrote:
You guys want to post any more Return of the Runelords spoilers for those of us playing it?

Well, I think nobody was expecting you, of all people, to follow closely product threads for PF2e :P

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Zaister wrote:
The red haired woman on the cover appears to be Alaznist, seeing she's wearing the same clothes as on the cover of AP #133 and is wielding the same weapon.

Dark Archive

What Runelords looks like has never really been a spoiler(their statues are all over Varisia) O_o Also as I said, this cover doesn't spoil the Returns since its more based on Gamemastery 1e cover than what happens in AP.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
What Runelords looks like has never really been a spoiler(their statues are all over Varisia) O_o Also as I said, this cover doesn't spoil the Returns since its more based on Gamemastery 1e cover than what happens in AP.

The Cover doesn't spoil it. What Zaister mentions at the end of his post about her does...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

They asked a question.

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I like how Pathfinder is back to author names on the cover. It's a nice tradition of the board game industry, worth carrying over to pnp RPGs.

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
I like how Pathfinder is back to author names on the cover. It's a nice tradition of the board game industry, worth carrying over to pnp RPGs.

Can I order Special Edition copy that has all the authors' names on it, please? :3

I think it'd be cool, and look cool too.


That's what I was looking for!
As a GM, I've always used my own campaign settings, complete with its own deities, planes, kingdoms, technology, unique monsters, et cetera, along with a few fluff and rules changes (I try to keep those as small as possible). Is this product the go-to resource for me? It looks tasty...

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Will this book feature haunts or any similar subsystem, just as its 1E counterpart did?

Paizo Employee Designer

12 people marked this as a favorite.

Even better! Haunts are a core type of hazard, alongside traps and environmental hazards, so they're in core (and they were in the playtest's hazards as well).


Hmmm, I expected a more generic term, so we could have diabolic haunts or fey haunts that weren´t undead in nature.

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Draco Bahamut wrote:
Hmmm, I expected a more generic term, so we could have diabolic haunts or fey haunts that weren´t undead in nature.

At least in the playtest, there's nothing about the haunt trait that makes it undead-only.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Of all the books in the lineup for 2E, this is the one I'm most excited about. I've been running a homebrew Playtest campaign since February, converting to 2E when it's released, and the sooner I get access to some of the things in this book, the better. Premade NPCs, monster creation rules, guidance on magic item creation... it can't come soon enough for me.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Even better! Haunts are a core type of hazard, alongside traps and environmental hazards, so they're in core (and they were in the playtest's hazards as well).

Hoo! Glad to hear that, Mark! I don't know how I didn't notice them in the playtest file, but it's fantastic that they're a core hazard now! :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Pathfinder Gamemastery Guide wrote:
Creative variant rules to customize the rules to make the game your own, including variant bonus, feat, and magic item progressions, characters gaining the power of multiple classes at once, and more!

I'm really excited about this. And I'm *really* hoping (cross my fingers) that there'll be at least a couple suggestions for optional rules for how to boost Charisma, for GMs who are so inclined.

After a decade of arguments and flamewars about how to do this on this site alone, ranging from the dawn of PF1 (like in this 1000 post thread) to the dawn of PF2 (like in this thread), having some kind of semi-official guidance for GMs to work from would be a godsend.

If bribes of any kind (cookies? burboun?) are required, I can make it happen!

Dark Archive

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
Zaister wrote:
The red haired woman on the cover appears to be Alaznist, seeing she's wearing the same clothes as on the cover of AP #133 and is wielding the same weapon. The Thassilonian wrath rune that makes up the back of the throne supports that, too. But isn't she supposed to be dead now?

As I said, its call back to 1e Gamemastery book where Karzoug was sitting on throne with dragon behind him(he was also dead when that book was released :p)

Its taking bit more creative liberties though since gamemastery cover was pretty much inspired by the RotR while this one is more inspired by Gamemastery cover than final battle with Alaznist

I’ve just remembered- when the GMG came out, the version of the Karzoug fight was the 3.5 version, where I don’t believe he had a dragon friend. When it was compiled, he gained the dragon, retroactively making the cover accurate!

Dark Archive

It has been said that this book could slip to a Later release date...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

January - February is what they said.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm hoping for a variant rule system for a more D&D 5e prepared casting system for pathfinder 5e.

I generally feel like the versatility in spellcasting is undermined a little bit when players have to prepare or know a specific level version of a spell to cast it and not "know Fireball and cast it at any slot you want that's 3rd or above when prepared".

Or I might Just homebrew it myself if needed.

Dark Archive

Oh hey, this shows up in product list again. It had disappeared for while for some website related reasons :D

I think library research rules were covered under "victory point" subsystem, but was verbal duels something this book would have?


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Wish this one was coming out sooner, some of these rules would be of great use already.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So, we have to wait until January to get NPC stats? Lame

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

That entirely depends on what NPCs you need?

Build from the ground up? Yes, but they are working on hopefully getting the monster building rules out for people to use before then.

Otherwise we have the Bestiary and the stats in the Adventures.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm getting this book anyway so it's kind of a moot point, but will adventure paths be referencing NPC statblocks from this book? I'm getting back into Pathfinder after only being at the beginning of 1e, and I just want to get a sense of what books I want to have on me for future APs!

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:

That entirely depends on what NPCs you need?

Build from the ground up? Yes, but they are working on hopefully getting the monster building rules out for people to use before then.

Otherwise we have the Bestiary and the stats in the Adventures.

It IS pretty unfortunate for people like me who are obsessed with getting rule details right :p Like, no matter what, it is not fun that there is four month gap between release and having all "necessary" books for GM.(npc/monster creation rules is something I consider "necessary" since while there are work arounds, honestly running campaign with only the bestiary would be hard)

Not much anyone can do about it though, hopefully Paizo gets the building rules out nice time and not few weeks before january.


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

The Build Rules are out!

Silver Crusade

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And as the preview on Paizo's Facebook indicates, there will be rules for gestalt PCs in this book.

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