Pathfinder Playtest Update 1.6!

Pathfinder Playtest Update 1.6 is finally here.

This is it. The last one.

Or, more accurately, the last scheduled one. Although Paizo has no plans to do so, they might release another update in the future.

So what does this mean?

For starters, the final chapter of the Doomsday Dawn playtest surveys are open. You can head down to the Pathfinder Playtest website after completing Doomsday Dawn and fill them out.

For those of us who aren’t done Doomsday Dawn (or the Pathfinder Playtest Society Scenarios) don’t worry about it. You can still fill out feedback surveys until the end of the year. That’s two more months of time for playtesting and feedback.

And finally?

Well, you get a bunch of cool new updates! And by a bunch I mean a LOT. More specifically, each of the classes in the Pathfinder Playtest have some new changes. For some classes the changes are minor, and for others they’re HUGE. Seriously! Alchemist got a whole overhaul and Paladins? Well, we’ll get there…

So read on, and see some of what’s new!

Alchemists have a huge number of changes! In fact, they have a whole new progression chart. But, we’re only going to take a peek at some of them. No longer running off of resonance, they used infused reagents to create a certain number of alchemical creations each day for free. This brings about a bunch of changes to many alchemical items, including different level versions of many items such as acid, alchemist’s fire, and mutagens. Another neat addition is essentially a specialty — are you good with bombs, healing, mutagens, or poisons? This selection will give you some cool abilities along the way, tailored to your alchemist’s style of play. I ADORE the changes to alchemist, so be sure to give them a thorough look-see.

Barbarians have very few changes. Their proficiencies have become more broad, and most noticeably, barbarian’s rage has an update which is going to make it feel more… unpredictable. After each round spent in a rage you’ll need to make a flat check to see if you remain in your rage. This check will get harder the longer you’re raging. It’s a flavourful change that I think will be great.

Bards have minor changes. Like all spellcasters they’re going to be getting one extra cantrip at first level. They also have some changes to their muses. Clerics also get one more cantrip. Their change is a removal though, they can use less channel energy per day. Sad! Haha. On the plus side there’s been a change to somatic spell casting which will allow all those clerics (and paladins) who use a weapon and shield to cast without difficulty. (The changes are more intricate than that, so be sure to read them!).

Druids have a lot of changes, particularly to the wild order and wild shape. Seriously. There’s lots. Haha. There’s also changes to the spell goodberry, and to animal companions.

Fighters only real change is to stances, while Monks have they ki strike improved (YES!), and some other changes to their ki pool and ki powers. Skipping around a bit, rangers have some minor changes to their hunt target ability, rogues have some awesome expansions to their rogue specializations, and sorcerers have some new feats and a new infernal bloodline (called diabolic). Wizards have some awesome new abilities, and gain the quick preparation ability right from level one. They can swap out spells they’ve prepared for others, and can give up lower level spell slots to prepare higher level spells. Just AWESOME! I’m super excited to give them a try.

But wait? What about paladins?

Paladins no longer need to be LG. Instead, they can also be CG, or NG. Each of these options will affect some of their abilities, as well as their paladin code. Exciting!

Of course, there’s many more changes than we’ve mentioned. So be sure to snag yourself a copy of the update and give it a read. Pathfinder Playtest Update 1.6 is available as a free download here.

Enjoy!

Jessica

Pathfinder Playtest 1.5!

This week’s Pathfinder Playtest Update is Version 1.5 and it’s a small one!

Sort of.

There are really only two changes this week, but both changes have quite a bit of a ripple effect. For starters they’ve tweaked the death and dying rules again, which also affects the DC to administer first aid, and the wording used on some other minor abilities (the dwarven ancestry feat mountain’s stoutness, the feat toughness, and the spells breath of life and stabilize are all good examples of this). On a related note, the DC for treating wounds with the medicine skill has changed, and is based on the patient’s level now, instead of the player’s.

And the only other change?

Spells! They’re making them stronger. Unfortunately, the only kind of spells that are easy to edit in this type of playtest are the damage dealing ones. So, although you can expect see many (if not all) spells get beefed up a bit for the release of Pathfinder 2 next year, the 1.5 update only changed the damage dealt by around forty-five spells. Typically it was the initial damage that was changed, with the heightened increases remaining at the same interval. Exciting!

This is definitely one of those aspects of gameplay you want to give feedback on. Did your spells slaughter the enemies without difficulty? Did the enemy’s spells slaughter you? Important to know (and easy to playtest)! So after you’ve given the spells a test run be sure to give your feedback. I know I’m curious to see how this plays out.

Jessica

Shaping the Society

GrandLodgeSymbolThis is your chance to shape the future!

The future of what?

The Pathfinder Society!

With the launch of Pathfinder 2 next year and the end of Season 10 of Pathfinder Society Organized Play, there will be a lot of changes. The Pathfinder Society will be no different. They’ll be switching to the new rules and, since they’ll be changing that up, they’re taking the opportunity to shake things up in the Society as well.

That’s where you come in!

The folks over at Paizo have put together a series of surveys meant to gauge your opinions on a variety of topics regarding the society, and it’s future. So if you want a chance to help shape the Pathfinder Society of tomorrow, now’s you’re chance!

The first survey was released a month ago and asks questions about tiers, experience, and the roleplaying guild guide. After that came a survey about boons, and another survey about chronicle sheets. The chronicle survey asked questions about five different potential layouts for future chronicle sheets, examples of which can be found on Paizo’s blog post here (before you click the survey like be sure to check out the chronicle examples!).

The latest survey came out just this week. It’s topic? Pregenerated characters. Now, I personally don’t utilize them, but I do understand their importance. For many people (particularly at conventions and gaming shops) their first experience with Pathfinder is through pregenerated characters in the Pathfinder Society. This means that whether or not you personally use them, they’re important. This survey references various potential layouts for pregenerated characters, so before you fill out the survey be sure to check out the visual examples (which can be found on Paizo’s blog post here).

Be sure to share your opinions while you can! I’m not sure how long those surveys will remain active.

Jessica

Pathfinder Playtest: Resonance Test

Resonance.

If you’re playing the Pathfinder Playtest you’ll know that its one of the of the most controversial additions to the game. It was meant to represented your characters innate ability to activate magic items, and intended to help limit how much magical gear your characters could utilize each day. If you wanted to use a magical cloak you invest some resonance. Fire a magic wand? It costs resonance. Want to drink a potion? Resonance.

Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook
Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook

Personally? Disliked it. It felt… arbitrary. Like your GM just suddenly saying: ‘No, you can’t use that,’ when you know you should be able to. Especially with potions! And alchemical objects! Why?

Paizo has already confirmed that when Pathfinder 2.0 comes out there will be a change to the resonance rules. But, just this week they decided to test out a new system. They’ve taken our feedback and shook it up a bit.

Enter the Resonance Test!

The Resonance Test is a PDF rules update that is free to download and focuses on Resonance, new rules for it, and updated items and abilities that reflect this change. Afterwards there are some pregenerated characters. After reading the new rules, you select a character and use them to play through Pathfinder Playtest Society Scenario #2: Raiders of Shrieking Peak. Give the rules a shot and then provide Paizo your feedback in a special survey. It’s important to note that these rules are not for using with the rest of the Pathfinder Playtest, and that you shouldn’t create your own characters to utilize these rules.

So, what are these rules, anyway?

For starters, resonance means something different. It’s no longer the number of magical items you can use every day. Instead, resonance represents how many magical items you can wear each day. Essentially it takes the place of item slots. But, instead of keeping track of each slot on the body, you just get 10 of your choice. This is meant to be a large enough number that you don’t feel constrained, but at the same prevents excessive over-use. Magical items (wearable, consumable, and so on) no longer take resonance to function. In fact, they no longer take any kind of points to function. They just work. Most of them have a limited number of uses (either per day, or total).

Pathfinder Playtest Society Scenario 2 Raiders of Shrieking Peak
Pathfinder Playtest Society Scenario #2: Raider of Shrieking Peak, by Luis Loza.

But, that’s not all. They’ve also shaken up Spell Points. In this test they no longer exist. Instead you have Focus Points. These points are based off of your charisma and your ancestry. They represent your natural affinity for magic and magical objects. You can use focus points to either activate your spell powers (which you once used spell points for) or to get more out of a magical item. Now, taking a spell power from your class no longer grants you extra focus points and, since you have less focus points to work with that you used to have spell points, all of your spell powers abilities have been amplified. Simply put, spell powers are better than they used to be, and cost Focus Point instead of Spell Points. But you have less spell points.

But what if you don’t have spell powers? No worries! As mentioned, you can also use focus points to get a little something extra out of your magical gear. What that effect is will vary between item. Some potions might have double the duration or potency, a limited use ability could gain an extra use, and so on.

Interesting.

Overall, I vastly prefer the new resonance test rules to those found in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook. I like that resonance is going to replace item slots, and I like that you no longer need to spend points to activate magical items. I love the concept of focus points, and using your innate charisma to push magical items beyond their capabilities. It’s very occultist (and I love Pathfinder’s occultists!). I even like that spell powers and these new item focus powers share the same point pool. My only quibble? I’m going to wish I had more points! Haha.

I’m excited to see how these new rules work in play!

Jessica

SaveSave

Pathfinder Playtest: 1.4!

Well, it’s another week and another Pathfinder Playtest Update! There’s new surveys to fill out about Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn: Part Five: Heroes of Undarin, new videos to watch on Paizo’s twitch stream, and a new Pathfinder PlaytestUpdate Document. Be sure to head on over to Paizo’s website and download the free update. This version? 1.4!

So, what’s new this time around?

Heritages.

In previous versions of the Pathfinder Playtest you select an ancestry: dwarf, elf, goblin, gnome, halfling, or human. This choice grants you ability boosts and flaws, hit points, size, speed, languages, and some special abilities. Then you select a single ancestry feat. This feat grants you an additional ability or quality based on your ancestry that you get to select yourself. At higher levels you can select more ancestry feats. Unless of course, you’re a half-elf or a half-orc. To access those races you have to select human, and then use your ancestry feat to become a half-elf or half-orc.

That’s no longer the case.

Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook
Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook

Instead, they’ve introduced an additional kind of feat: heritage feats. Now you select an ancestry, apply it, then select a heritage feat and an ancestry feat. Like ancestry feats, heritage feats are tied to your ancestry. Only gnomes can select a gnome heritage feat, and so on. The half-elf and half-orc ancestry feats are now a part of this heritage feat system. You become a human, select a either half-orc or half-elf as a heritage feat, and select an ancestry feat like every other ancestry gets to. In addition to shuffling these feats around they created unique heritage feats for each ancestry. With the selection of a heritage feat you can now play a desert dwarf, jungle elf, svirfneblin, razor tooth goblin, nomadic halfling, and so on. Each ancestry has around four new heritage feat options. Some of these options will be familiar. For example, the dwarven hardy ability has been moved from an ancestry feat to a heritage feat called Strong-Hearted Dwarf. Others options are brand new.

But, that’s not the only changes. With the addition of heritage feats some of the ancestry abilities have been shuffled around. Other ancestries lost abilities, and some (like halflings) gained some (finally!). They’ve also created three new, higher level ancestry feats for each ancestry.

The rest of the changes are quite minor. They’ve altered the phrasing on a few abilities, improved fighter’s bravery, ranger’s full-grown companion, and the feats battle medic and natural medicine. Crafting can now be used to Recall Knowledge about alchemy instead of arcana. Medicine can now be used to find forensic information on a body or a crime scene. A few spells were slightly adjusted.

And that’s it! It’s a small update, but the heritage system is going to effect every character created to date, so it’s quite important. I’m curious to see how this alters the feel of Pathfinder Playtest characters.

Only time will tell!

Jessica

 

First snow and giving thanks!

Whoo, it’s been a busy week!

My family spent the better part of last weekend preparing for winter. We dug out and washed all of our winter gear, tried on coats and boots, matched mitts (or shoved lonely mitts into mismatched pairs), donated what was too small to the homeless, and went out to buy new winter boots. Everyone in my house needed a new pair this year and with the amount of walking we do winter boots are a necessity for everyone, not just my kids. Which is unfortunate, I suppose, because they’re really expensive. It’s important they’re warm enough and waterproof to keep everyone nice and toasty throughout our chilly winters, so cheap fashion boots won’t cut it. They’ve got to be cold rated for -30°C at least. -40°C is better. Not easy to find for my daughter. For some reason boys boots are built for the cold, while a lot of girl boots look like they’re warm, but aren’t. Anyway it took us the weekend, but we all managed to find a pair. And just in time! We had our first real snow on Wednesday. I say real snow because we’ve had flurries before this. But this snow stayed. There was enough of it to get the kids all excited, and to make snowballs and tiny snowmen (or in my daughter’s case, tiny snow rabbits). I’m not sure how long the snow will stay. It might not go away until next spring, but there’s only a few centimetres, so if we get a warm day it might still melt away. We’ll see. My kids were thrilled for it, but after only a day of the damp and the (very, very mild) cold they’re already complaining.

Suck it up kids! We’re just getting started! It will get so much worse. Haha.

My toddler-aged niece that I watch on the weekdays hates getting in her winter clothes, so every trip outside and to and from school is a tear-filled struggle. Not to mention the time! It takes twenty minutes to get everyone properly dressed and out the door. (Once they get used to it I hope to cut it down to fifteen. Ten would be a welcome miracle). My niece keeps expecting me to give up on her and let her do whatever she wants, which is not going to happen. Clearly she has forgotten we had this same problem last winter. She did not win. She’ll grow accustomed to it in a few weeks. Hopefully sooner. Thankfully her older brother (he’s four) does remember last year’s winter. He knows he needs to bundle.

Pathfinder Playtest Doomsday Dawn
Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn

In other news, my family and I tried playing some more of Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn. We prepared our characters for ‘In Pale Mountains Shadow’ and got started. Unfortunately, by the end of the session they decided they were bored with it. They’ve officially given up playing through Doomsday Dawn and are ready to go back to their regular games. My son desperately wants to continue with the Carrion Crown Adventure Path (we’re about to start Carrion Crown: Book Two: Trial of the Beast), my husband wants to continue with The Shackled City Adventure Path (we’re nearly done book one), and my daughter wants to play some more of our Starfinder Society characters. Most of the other campaigns we’re playing together I moved online so we can play via play-by-post. Getting in a post a day lets us keep playing, so we can dedicate our one chance to play on the weekends to one of our three main campaigns.

Although it may sound like we’re done with the Pathfinder Playtest that’s not quite accurate. I’m playing through two different play-by-post runs of Doomsday Dawn, and we’re all playing in a play-by-post run of the Pathfinder Playtest Society Scenarios. We’re halfway through Rose Street Revenge right now and enjoying it. My son’s character is particularly hilarious. We’ll share more about that at a later date.

Captain Underpants
My son’s current favourite book: The Adventures of Captain Underpants: The First Epic Novel by Day Pilkey, by Day Pilkey.

My son has been reading like crazy lately! Obviously, I’m very proud of this. I believe that reading is one of those incredibly important skills you really need to instil a love of young. I always encourage my kids to find something they love to read, and indulge in it. Even though both of my kids are good at reading I always push them to try reading something that’s a challenge everyday. Not absurdly hard for them, or anything, but something they do need to work at a bit. Anyway, both of my children are reading well above their grade level so their classrooms don’t have anything that’s a challenge for them. They both bring home books that are far too easy for them for home reading everyday. In fact my daughter can read her older brother’s home reading books without trouble, never mind her own. We have a ton of books at home for my kids to read, but only two books that are a challenge for my son to read that interest him (and he’s read both chapter books repeatedly already). We have plenty of chapter books that my son reads for fun — Geronimo StiltonThe Hardy Boys (Secret Files)Scooby-Doo! mystery novels, Minecraft books, the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom junior novelization, and so on — but he can read one of those in under a half hour. They’re a challenge for my daughter (and some are too hard), but not exactly a challenge for my son. Something must be done! Once a week after I pick my kids up from school we go for a walk to the local library and I let them each pick out one book that’s a challenge for them to read, and one book that they just want. I say one, but inevitably they come back with one challenging book and a ton of other books they want to read. This is expected and totally fine. A while ago my son brought home a massive book on ecology clearly intended for pre-teens or teenagers. This thing was huge! Anyway, he loved it, but this time he wanted a chapter book. He contemplated starting the Guardians of Gahoole books, so he picked up one of those. But for his fun book? Captain Underpants. My son LOVES Captain Underpants. So he pulled down not one book, but every single Captain Underpants chapter book the library had. There are twelve of them.

Princess in Black
My daughter’s favourite chapter book: The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde, by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale.

“Are you sure you’ll read all of them this week?” I asked my son. “They’re going to be heavy.”

“Uh, yeah, Mom. Of course! But, it might take me two weeks to read them.”

It took him three days. Which is great! But, also… not great. I now have to break it to him that there are only twelve Captain Underpants books. He just read them all.  Meanwhile my daughter picked out three Princess in Black chapter books. She owns one of them: The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde, already, but the others are new to her. Although she’s disappointed they are not going to have any rabbits in them, she is enjoying them. So much so that she was inspired to write her own book. It’s called ‘Bunny’s Adventure.’ In it a rabbit named Pim journeys up the rainbow and finds another world. She makes some friends and is back home in time for bed. She worked on it for a few days and in the end gave it to her teacher as a gift. (Her teacher had just returned from surgery that week). It was adorable. She’s so proud of it.

Traveller Core Rulebook
Traveller Core Rulebook by Mongoose Publishing.

I was recently invited to join a play-by-post game of Traveller, and gifted a digital copy of the rulebook by the overly generous Tarondor. (Thank you!) Traveller is a game I’ve never played before, so I’m super excited to give it a shot. I’ve given the book a skim, and have just embarked on a thorough read-through. The character creation rules look particularly interesting. Like a mini-game of its own. Very cool! I can’t wait to try it out. I’ve got plenty left to read though, so I’m not sure how soon that will be. Haha. This time of the year is quite busy around my house. But, I’m happily working on it.

This coming weekend is going to be just as busy as the last one. Busier, in fact. Yesterday was a day off from school, this morning is swimming lessons for my children (which is about a thirty minute walk away), then dentist appointments later today. I’ve got to squish in a trip to the grocery store and the laundromat. And tomorrow? Thanksgiving at my Mom’s! Monday’s another day off from school and more Thanksgiving celebrations, this time at my mother-in-laws. That’s actually pretty quiet for us for Thanksgiving, in all honesty. We usually also try to squish in visits to my grandparents and my Dad’s, but it’s not going to happen this year. We don’t own a vehicle, and frankly I’m too tired. Haha. We’ll be making time for less frantic visits with them soon.

Well, I’ve got to get cracking! Plenty to do and no time to do it in.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Or, for those of you who are not Canadian, have a great weekend! I wish you all the best.

Jessica

Take a Look d20diaries cropped
My son desperately wanted his picture featured on d20diaries. This was our compromise. Haha.

 

Pathfinder Playtest Scenario #4: Frozen Oath

Pathfinder Playtest RulebookToday we’re going to look at the brand new Pathfinder PLAYTEST Society Scenario and tell you what we thought. Currently, there are four of them available as a free download on Paizo’s website: three that were released back in August, and one that was released a short time ago. (For more information on the first three scenarios check out this previous blog post. Each scenario is replayable. You may create your own characters for the intended tier (either created as level one for a tier one scenario, created as level five for a tier five scenario, or created as level ten for a tier ten scenario). Unlike regular Pathfinder Society Scenarios, you do not need to earn enough XP to reach higher levels for the Playtest. If you don’t want to make your own characters, you can also head over to Paizo’s website and download the Pregenerated Pathfinder Playtest characters for the three low level scenarios. For this new scenario, which is tier ten, there are no pregenerated characters. You’ll need to make your own. All you’ll need to run these four scenarios (other than your characters) is the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook, the most recent update document which, at the time of posting this, is version 1.3, and the scenarios themselves. Each scenario is intended for groups of FOUR players (unlike regular PFS Scenarios which are intended for six) although each contains easy ways to scale up encounters for larger groups. Although you’ll find references to events in each that I liked or disliked, and comments about specific characters, these scenarios are not explored in detail. It’s not my intention to spoil the events in these scenarios, or give summaries and full reviews, but to share my opinions and provide recommendations. Once you’re done playing or GMing any one of these scenarios, be sure to head over to Paizo’s website and fill out a survey about your experiences. This will be used by the Paizo team to make the Pathfinder Playtest the best that it can be.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Pathfinder Playtest 4 Frozen OathPathfinder Playtest Society Scenario #4: Frozen Oath is a Tier 10 adventure written by Ron Lundeen. As previously mentioned, you do not need to earn enough XP to reach level ten. Instead, you need only create your characters at level ten. The majority of this scenario takes place in Urjuk near the Crown of the World. It’s a harsh land of ice and snow, claimed by frost and taiga giants. The adventure begins in Turvik, a settlement in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, then moves quickly to the Path of Aganhei, and finally to Dvalinheim, a giant temple. For more information on the Crown of the World check out Pathfinder Adventure Path 51: The Hungry Storm (Jade Regent Book 3 of 6). For more information on the Lands of the Linnorm Kings check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lands of the Linnorm Kings. This scenario utilizes Pathfinder Flip Mat: Basic Terrain Multi-PackPathfinder: Flip Mat: Tech Dungeon, and a custom map of Dvalinheim.

ogthup tom ventre
Ogthup by Tom Ventre.

This scenario begins in a meeting in Turvik with the delightful Venture-Captain Bjersig Torrsen and his husky Mahki. Bjersig is a deaf half-orc well trained in reading lips who made another recent appearance in Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-03: Death on the Ice. He’s an awesome VC and I was thrilled to find that he had his own art this time around. Bjersig informs the party that he recently deployed a team of goblin trial-pathfinders on a scouting mission to a giant temple called Dvalinheim. They returned with an object of interest — a few tiles taken from the site which show the giant temple has a connection to the Tian representation of Desna. Believing that this temple could be a site built by the founder of the Path of Aganhei he’s dispatching the PCs to investigate further. He even gives the group a map drawn by one of the goblins. So… yeah. It’s totally accurate (not). Chances are the first thing the group will do is visit the goblin artist to ask her what the heck the map means. Which leads us to our second awesome NPC: Ogthup the goblin. Honestly, chatting with this quirky (and wonderfully drawn) goblin was my favourite part of the scenario. From there the PCs set out to follow Ogthup’s directions to the temple. There’s a few battles along the way, but the bulk of this scenario takes place in Dvalinheim itself. There the group will have to explore the temple, deal with more than a few angry frost giants, and… well let’s leave that part a secret for now. Haha. I particularly enjoyed the monster statistics in this scenario. Many of the creatures have special reactions, and interesting attack forms that make them feel really unique. My personal favourite was the disperse ability of the air elemental. Overall, I thought this was a fun scenario with engaging (but minor) NPCs and interesting opponents. I give it four out of five stars.

Definitely worth a free download!

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at this playtest scenario. If you have a chance to play it, I’d love to hear what you thought!

All the best,

Jessica