The Pathfinder Playtest is ever evolving. You download (or purchase) the rulebook, make your characters, and play. Maybe you play one of the adventures from Doomsday Dawn, maybe you play all of Doomsday Dawn. Maybe you play one of the Pathfinder Playtest Society Scenarios (#1: Rose Street Revenge, #2: Raiders of Shrieking Peak, #3: Arclord’s Envy). And maybe you play a custom adventure. When you’re done you fill out one of Paizo’s many surveys. Paizo goes through that feedback and makes changes. That’s right! Constantly over this next year they’ll be combing through your survey responses and adapting their rules for the playtest. It sounds like these changes will occur approximately monthly, but don’t quote me on that. We’ll have to wait and see. What is certain, is that their first update to the Pathfinder Playtest rulebook is already here.
So what’s different?
First off, head over to Paizo’s website and download the update document. Then give it a read. The update document is five pages long (the final page is the OGL), and is split into four types of rule changes: New Rules Updates, Critical Updates, Other Updates, and Doomsday Dawn Updates. Despite being ranked by importance, it’s imperative you begin to use all of the new rules immediately.
As for the rules themselves, we won’t get into specifics. The document is free and does a better job of explaining things than I ever could. The biggest changes you will notice are to death, dying, and the rules surrounding it. No longer can you be dying while conscious, which is wonderful. The updates make use of the slowed condition, which I think is going to be an improvement. We’ll have to see how that plays out. Another major update includes some alchemist changes. For starters, your special alchemist abilities (Quick Alchemy and Advanced Alchemy) no longer specify that they must be used with common formula, so if you unlock an uncommon formula throughout the course of your adventures you can still use it with your special abilities. In addition, they gain training in one extra skill, and the number of formula that alchemist’s start with has been clarified. Turns out the number is eight. Four from your formula book and four from the alchemical crafting feat. (Note to self, update my daughter and my alchemists…). Also, all classes are proficient with unarmored defence (which means you’ll still get a bonus to AC even if you’re unarmored). Bards gain an extra spell known to start, druids get training in one less skill, rangers can choose Strength or Dexterity as their key ability score, stabilize has been changed, bastard swords deal slashing damage (they were erroneously listed as piercing damage, haha), recognize spell has been adjusted (to fix counter spelling), and don’t worry: the bag of holding has been fixed! This is just a taste of the changes. There’s a lot more updates. Four whole pages worth! So put on your thinking caps and get reading. (Wow, I really hope they put out an updated copy of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook that includes these changes. Once they put out a second update document, referencing it for changes is going to be painful! Haha).
Changes will continue to occur over time so your feedback is incredibly important. Not only does it provide Paizo with a large pool of data that they can use to decide the future of the game, it also lets them find out all kinds of nifty little bits of information. For example: most played race so far? Human. Most worshipped deity? Cayden Cailean. Class that died the most? Cleric. Number of people who chose to worship Asmodeus? Three. Not three percent. Nope. Just three.
At the moment, you can fill out surveys on a variety of adventures. Each of the Pathfinder Society Scenarios has it’s own trio of surveys: player survey, GM survey, and general feedback survey. Doomsday Dawn originally launched with access to three surveys, all for the first part of the adventure: The Lost Star. (Again, a player survey, GM survey, and general feedback survey). Just the other day they released a second trio, all for the second adventure in Doomsday Dawn: In Pale Mountain’s Shadow. It is incredibly important that if you complete the survey on In Pale Mountain’s Shadow you us the new, updated rules! Further surveys for the later adventures in Doomsday Dawn will be released in the future.
Now, if you haven’t filled out your previous survey on the Lost Star, don’t worry! It’s not too late. All of the surveys will be available until the end of the year, and will be revisited by the Paizo team regularly. You haven’t missed your chance to contribute.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my daughter and I have to select some extra formula for our alchemists.