Big changes were just announced for Pathfinder today. The release of Pathfinder’s Second Edition.
Whether that causes you to jump for joy or cringe in terror, it’s big news! What does it give me? Fear.
Now, thankfully, things won’t be happening right away, or all at once. On August 2nd Pathfinder’s launching their rules as a playtest. Called, Pathfinder Playtest, there’ll be a free copy of the new rulebook available as a download on their website, as well as a new deluxe adventure module, and a flip mat. All of these downloads can also be purchased in hard cover on their website. During the first few months after the release of Pathfinder Playtest you’re encouraged to try out the new ruleset and leave your feedback on their messageboards. Upon completion of the playtest they’ll launch Pathfinder Second Edition.
I rather like the playtest phase, and I am excited that there’s a free download of the rules that’s going to be available. So, thanks for that Paizo. But, honestly, I don’t want new rules. New rules means replacing rulebooks. It means a phasing out of the content I have at home. It means trying to get a handle on a new game. And mostly, it means more money. Money I don’t have to reinvest.
Now, let’s be clear. Pathfinder’s not perfect. Are there things that could be fixed? Yes. Streamlined? Yes. Does that mean I want it changed and altered? No. I stopped playing Dungeons and Dragons the moment they switched to 4th edition and took up Pathfinder instead. Why? Is it cause I hated 4th? No. I never even gave it a try. I stopped because I didn’t want to learn new rules, or buy another new Core Rulebook. I switched to Pathfinder, because I wouldn’t have to learn anything new. And I loved it. I worry that this switch will leave me behind.
I understand where they’re coming from. I understand that lots of players will be thrilled. Games and rules for d20 games are always evolving. Always getting better. I understand wanting to make Pathfinder the best it can be. I understand making it easier and more user-friendly for new gamers. And I certainly understand that after creating Starfinder, why wouldn’t they want to do the same to Pathfinder? I mean, at its core, Starfinder ‘fixed’ and ‘improved’ a lot of the basic rules from the Pathfinder game into a ‘better’ version. After having done that, successfully, why wouldn’t they want to do the same for Pathfinder? I definitely get that.
And, I suppose, underneath my apprehension and fear, I am excited.
But what about the new rulebooks? They won’t be compatible with the old ones. What about all the wonderful books I own? I won’t forget about them. I won’t stop using them. It’s much more likely I stop buying new product. What about the Pathfinder Society? The classes? How compatible will Pathfinder Second Edition be with Pathfinder?
From a thorough reading of the information on Paizo’s website, I get the feeling that although adventures and monsters will be relatively easy to switch over to the new rules, it’s the character rules, and the basic rules themselves that will take more work. This won’t be something you just switch over. You’ll need the new rules for that.
As of August 2018 there will no longer be content published for Pathfinder (First Edition). Everything will be published for their new ruleset. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get the old books. The Pathfinder Pocket Editions will be kept in stock as long as people continue to purchase them, while PDF versions of their extensive Pathfinder collection will be available for the foreseeable future on their website.
As for Pathfinder Society? It sounds like the Pathfinder Society will continue on in two forms. Like the rulebooks, as of August all new scenarios will be to the Playtest/Second Edition ruleset. You’ll need new characters to play by the new rules. However, all of the ‘old’ scenarios will still be available for purchase, and can be run for credit with ‘old’ characters using the original ruleset. This is likely going to continue at conventions and via online play-by-post for a long time to come. Kind of like choosing between Core and Standard, now you’ll also have the addition of ‘Second’ (or whatever it’s going to be called…)
Pathfinder knows what they’re doing. And I love Pathfinder.
But when it comes down to it, what do I really think of the upcoming changes? What am I going to do?
I’m going to take a deep breath, and give it a try.
When Pathfinder Playtest comes out on August 2nd, I guarantee you I will download the rules. I will read the rules. And I will test out the rules.
In fact, I bet I’ll enjoy them.
But when Second launches will I buy the books again? Will I keep up with it?
In time? For sure. But right away?
I honestly can’t say.
What I can say, is that I think they’re going about it the right way. This playtest will be invaluable for them, both for gaining valuable feedback, and for providing nervous gamers like me the chance to try out the rules for free, before we make up our minds. We get to give it a try before investing. And most importantly? Allowing and facilitating use of the old ruleset, for those of us who decide we don’t want to move on to a ‘bigger’ and ‘better’ Pathfinder.
Want to learn more about Pathfinder Playtest? Follow the link to Paizo’s website and give the FAQs a read for yourself.
Have an opinion? Want to let me know your thoughts on Pathfinder Playtest?
Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.