Pathfinder Gamemastery Guide

4.00/5 (based on 5 ratings)
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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Shadow Lodge

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Val'bryn2 wrote:
They are actually lowering page count by roughly 20 percent and raising price by the same. Original Gamemastery Guide had an MSRP of 39.99, vs the new 49.99, with a page count in the 320s vs 256 for the new edition. We are charged more for less. And we already know roughly 30 of those pages are NPC statblocks,

It’s just the invisible hand of the market correcting the price to match the supply and demand curve.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'm happy with the price to content ratio for 2nd edition.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Val'bryn2 wrote:
Yes, as has been established, inflation rate is 17%, however the book has increased in price by 25%, while offering 20% less.

I did a little more digging, and I think I can explain what's going.

The overall inflation rate is an average of the inflation rates of a number of different goods and services. The prices of some things rise more slowly, like manufactured goods that require little labor and can benefit from advances in automation. The prices of other things rise more quickly, especially things that require a lot skilled labor. So we'll get a more accurate picture by looking at inflation rates in this category, instead of average inflation rates in general.

This website has inflation rates for a number of different goods. I think the closest fit is the inflation rates for magazines and newspapers, which is 39% since the the 1e Gamemastery Guide was published.

So inflation alone accounts for almost all of the discrepancy.

And then a few other factors (e.g., increasing cost/page for smaller page-count products, increases due to the fact that Paizo's publisher is in China, and the US/China tariff war, etc) probably make things a bit pricier on Paizo's end as well.

Scarab Sages

8 people marked this as a favorite.

I pay money for quality content, which requires professional writer, editors, designers, etc. Page count is a good metric of quantity but not quality. So I'm not bothered by the price increase/fewer pages.

Sovereign Court

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Paizo continues to create high quality products. Everything produced so far in 2e has blown me away, seriously beautiful, well written RPG products that continue to support Artists and Writers in the industry. (Just look at all the great talent that contributed to Gods and Magic in the latest blog). Well worth it.

Though back on topic, Excited for this! Gonna be crammed full of awesome and useful content!


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition Subscriber

It sounds like Paizo undercharged early in the first Pathfinder life cycle. Trying to work their brand into the conversation. I admire how well it went! At the same time, however, they are still producing better, prettier, and more interesting content than Wizards is, while at a more pleasant price point. Comparing Paizo a decade ago to Paizo now is a poor metric, as the world is not the same. Comparing the amount and cost of Pathfinder content now to D&D instead is a more healthy and telling metric.

I've enjoyed the hell out of the books I've bought so far. Been great stuff, and only the World Guide has felt a little thin.

Silver Crusade

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

Let's also not forget that Wizards of the Coast has this little side business in form of that funny card game... what was it's name ... Magic: the Gathering, right? I've heard it earns enough small change as to allow WotC a wee little more financial leeway in how the price their products than Paizo can.

Silver Crusade

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

… so about that there Guide to masterin the game...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
… so about that there Guide to masterin the game...

To be honest, when this was added to the schedule I had every intention of cancelling before it came out.

Now, I'm pretty stoked to see what's inside.

I'm especially intrigued by the variant rules.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Asgetrion wrote:
Why spend any money on a system you don't like? Out of support for Paizo? Then why complain about it? I'm confused, because I wouldn't spend money on any 2E products unless I genuinely liked them. I just couldn't afford it anymore, because my expenses have radically gone up since 1E came out, and yet my salary is still pretty much the same it was 9-10 years ago.

Good question. I'd say it's a combination of factors:

* I have friends I don't really get to play with anywhere other than PFS
* Some of the expenditures (core PDFs, Fall of Plaguestone) came before I had really formed an opinion about 2E one way or the other
* Some of the items (maps, pawns) work fine for other systems
* At least some is company affinity...I did a similar thing with Starfinder before I decided I didn't care for it
* I am fortunate enough to be able to afford it; $30 or $40 is under my "impulse purchase" threshold
* Last -- but definitely not least -- emotional, rather than rational, decision-making =D

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Removed some posts.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

So i just noticed there is no pdf copy listed. Is that a mistake or are we really not getting a pdf copy of this rule vook with subscriptions?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You will, Paizo store has lately tendency to have the PDF option for books disappear randomly.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
You will, Paizo store has lately tendency to have the PDF option for books disappear randomly.

Ah ok. Thanks.


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

I am SOOOO looking forward to this one!

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

okay, I am now ready to receive this product. Paizo, feel free to press the "Release" button.

That will be all - Thank you,

NiftyB


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Is it weird to say that this is the product I've been most looking forward too since the PF2 playtest, including the PF2 core rule book? Because apparently I think it makes sense to release a book that used to help build a game world, before releasing the book that has the actual rules for the game. Now if you excuse me, I'm going to put on my pants followed by the underwear because apparently that works for Superman.

Silver Crusade

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

Hi, this is Gorbacz's wife taking over his account for one post. Many hearts to whoever came up with the previewed Doctor NPC and their ranged atack "Thrown medical textbook" - I've thrown a few during my studies and yes, they do a lot of damage.

Dark Archive

Its weird to see Gorbacz's account being sincere in tone :O

Silver Crusade

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
CorvusMask wrote:
Its weird to see Gorbacz's account being sincere in tone :O

I'm always sincere, you just can't take that level of sincere.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm going to withhold judgement until I actually get the book. Based on the 2nd set of inflation data, I was probably premature. Flavor has been pretty good, it's just been a sticking point for me that, at the same time a wizard can throw a fireball, a goblin can set themselves on fire and do a ranged fire punch. It's basically giving them Produce Flame, but they take damage for it. That as a general complaint on power disparity in feats, and the specifics that we should have had the monster building rules in the Bestiary.

Still, this could be interesting, looking forward to the settlement rules and relics, hopefully they will be better than Weapons of Legacy. I loved the flavor, but the mechanics just didn't work.

The Exchange

So...going by average Paizo release timetables. Next week?

Dark Archive

TheLoneCleric wrote:
So...going by average Paizo release timetables. Next week?

Normally shipping to subscribers would start on monday 10th of february.

But as Sara Marie wrote in the february 2020 new release and shipping thread:

"I'm holding off on order creation until at least tomorrow (Friday, February 7th) as we work to ensure some outstanding issues from the recent retail tax code update have been resolved."

it could take a while longer.

Street date (when stores are allowed to sell it) for this and the other february products is february 26th.


"More than 60 new NPCs to use in your game, designed for maximum usefulness to all Pathfinder campaigns!"

Single best part of the 1E GMG in my opinion, and alone justifies the $15 for the PDF, even for an occasional GM like me. Now I'll just hope against hope for a new NPC Codex...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Interesting how Alanizt(apologies if I am butchering the spelling) is on the cover. I know the 1ed had karazoug on the cover, but he was one of the first big bad evils from rise of the runelords. The runelords in this case is one who was thwarted in 1ed return of the runelords. I know it’s probably not the best to take all the art for the covers in absolutes, but if alanizt did return, I imagine she would be needing a lot of help to return to prominence, power(or life). Not that would not be impossible. I think the right forces and the right bit of scheming, and a sufficiently powerful artifact could definitely restore her. Though personally I think Ileosa has a better shot of coming back. And her coming back would likely be quite the spectacle.

Silver Crusade

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

I'm pretty sure her (and the dragon as well) are just an homage to P1's cover.

Paizo Employee

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Val'bryn2 wrote:

Flavor has been pretty good, it's just been a sticking point for me that, at the same time a wizard can throw a fireball, a goblin can set themselves on fire and do a ranged fire punch. It's basically giving them Produce Flame, but they take damage for it. That as a general complaint on power disparity in feats, and the specifics that we should have had the monster building rules in the Bestiary.

( It's way better than produce flame because it's a ranged unarmed attack that bypasses all physical resistances, can benefit from handwraps of mighty blows, adds bonus damage from weapon specialization, and can be used with monk abilities like flurry of blows and Stunning Fist. Also the goblins who can take that feat have fire resistance and will almost never take damage from it. And it can't be counterspelled and doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity. )


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Will this book include rules or guidelines for creating ancestries or class options in addition to the other stuff? Is there such a resource for PF 2e already or in the works, if not?

I guess it's a lot more complex but the details and guidelines of npc/monster creation makes me want something similar for player options.

At the very least, is there an article on the kinda high level philosophy that went into PF2e ancestry and class design, so I can better see the patterns of the existing class options?

Grand Lodge Premier Event Coordinator

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Dunno if the designers are still watching this page since the book is off to the printers, but will there be additional guidelines how to adjudicate the Recall Knowledge action? It seems to garner a very wide range of methodology of GMs and it would be interesting to know what the RAI is.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

8 people marked this as a favorite.

The Core Rulebook has a section on adjudicating knowledge in the Gamemastering chapter, and the GameMastery Guide has some additional advice on false knowledge and secret checks. For what it's worth, we had an Arcane Mark episode recently on Knowledge in games. It's still up on twitch at the moment. link


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I know that there will be advice on designing adventures and campaigns, but will there be any advice on setting creation?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Will we get treasure tables in this book?


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Gorbacz wrote:
You will, Paizo store has lately tendency to have the PDF option for books disappear randomly.

"Randomly"? We gremlins never get any credit. Mwah-ha-ha-ha!

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Hunt, the PugWumpus wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
You will, Paizo store has lately tendency to have the PDF option for books disappear randomly.
"Randomly"? We gremlins never get any credit. Mwah-ha-ha-ha!

That’s because you sabotage your own invoices!

Paizo Employee

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ssalarn wrote:


( It's way better than produce flame because it's a ranged unarmed attack that bypasses all physical resistances, can benefit from handwraps of mighty blows, adds bonus damage from weapon specialization, and can be used with monk abilities like flurry of blows and Stunning Fist. Also the goblins who can take that feat have fire resistance and will almost never take damage from it. And it can't be counterspelled and doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity. )

( That last part's technically not correct because it's still a ranged attack. It won't provoke a Disrupt Prey though! )

Dark Archive

bugleyman wrote:
Asgetrion wrote:
Why spend any money on a system you don't like? Out of support for Paizo? Then why complain about it? I'm confused, because I wouldn't spend money on any 2E products unless I genuinely liked them. I just couldn't afford it anymore, because my expenses have radically gone up since 1E came out, and yet my salary is still pretty much the same it was 9-10 years ago.

Good question. I'd say it's a combination of factors:

* I have friends I don't really get to play with anywhere other than PFS
* Some of the expenditures (core PDFs, Fall of Plaguestone) came before I had really formed an opinion about 2E one way or the other
* Some of the items (maps, pawns) work fine for other systems
* At least some is company affinity...I did a similar thing with Starfinder before I decided I didn't care for it
* I am fortunate enough to be able to afford it; $30 or $40 is under my "impulse purchase" threshold
* Last -- but definitely not least -- emotional, rather than rational, decision-making =D

Ah, no problem, now I understand. Although I usually don't spend anything on a system I don't like, I did buy a number of Forbidden Lands and Mutant : Year Zero stuff just out of support, well aware that I'll probably never play or run those games -- they're great, but I don't think I can convince my friends to try them. And to be truthful, I've even bought a number of *cough*5E*cough* books (adventures, mostly) just for inspiration and more FR lore. :)


I don't think I've been charged yet. Will I be charged once this product has shipped? When does this product release? I though it was set for later in the month.

Silver Crusade

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

You are charged when it is shipped.


Seems it's out (is it?), but the sign of an "add PDF" function seems missing...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lucas Yew wrote:
Seems it's out (is it?), but the sign of an "add PDF" function seems missing...

nope, not out yet

•Street Date for Paizo Products: Wednesday, February 26th

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Diego Valdez wrote in the february shipping thread:

"Howdy folks!

We're hoping to run the auth on Monday, but we still have some things to check off the pre auth list. So on Monday we will be evaluating whether we can get it started or not."

So shipping hasn't started yet, but will hopefully start soon, which means nobody has the PDF yet.


VERY MUCH looking forward to this so I can expand stuff in my games!!

Cheers

Tom


I'm interested to see what they did with Relics. I was never a fan of how those types of items have worked in the past, so I'm curious of what they did with them. Artifacts and stat blocks are also of great interest to me. I'm also curious on how city stat blocks will work in the future. The end of the month can't come quick enough.

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