School’s out for summer, Canada Day has passed, and Independence Day (for all you American’s out there) has just ended. It’s a new month, with new releases in the gaming world. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited for some of this month’s products!
Now, this isn’t out until AUGUST, but if you want to get your hands on a print copy now is your chance. Paizo is releasing the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook in hardcover, softcover, and in a special edition cover. They’re also releasing the Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn and the Pathfinder Playtest Flip-Mat: Multipack. All of these products will be available for free as PDF downloads on August 2nd, but print copies will be quite hard to come by. Preorder or bust! In addition they’re releasing three Pathfinder Society Scenarios for Pathfinder Playtest. One series of quests at tier one, and two scenarios at tier five. An interesting choice! All three will be available as PDFs for free on August 7th. For more information, or to preorder print copies, check out Paizo’s website.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some products you can get your hands on this month!
In the world of Pathfinder there are only two new products up for grabs. The Six-Legend Soul (War for the Crown 6 of 6) is the much anticipated finale to the War for the Crown Adventure Path! Oh, it’s gonna be a good one! I’m SUPER curious! Pathfinder Player Companion: Heroes from the Fringe presents a look at a lot of non-human, unique character options. Examples of this include the Ekujae elves of the Mwangi Expanse, and Pahmet dwarves of Osirion’s deserts, and many more. The part I’m most excited about? Whimsical phantoms for spiritualists! Come on, you know you want to be haunted by a chipper gnome ghost! I’m very intrigued with this product and can’t wait to see what’s inside. Pocket Editions of Ultimate Combat and Bestiary 5 also come available this month.
Starfinder also has two exciting releases: The Dead Suns Pawn Collection, which has over 100 custom pawns from the Dead Suns Adventure Path, including a bunch of awesome starships! It looks amazing! What’s more exciting than that? A new hardcover book! Starfinder: Armory. Aww, yeah! This book is packed full of tons of new weapons and armour, as well as magical, technological, hybrids and mundane gear. There’s new bioaugmentations, weapons fusions… Every kind of item type has some new choices in this book. Also? New character options which focus on equipment! I don’t have a clue what they’re going to be, but I sure am intrigued!
In the world of Organized Play there will be four new scenarios coming out at the end of this month. Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-24: Beneath Unbroken Waves is a tier 5-9 scenario written by Kate Baker of particular importance to the Concordance Faction. It tasks the PCs with investigating underwater ruins. Scenario #9-25: Betrayal in the Bones is a tier 12-15 scenario written by Tom Phillips which continues the ongoing story of the Grand Lodge Faction. It allows players to finally get back at some old enemies! For more details, check out a previous blog post where we spoke about events leading up to this scenario! Starfinder Society Scenario #1-18: The Blackmoon Survey is a tier 1-4 scenario written by Jesse Benner which tasks players with exploring an ancient Eoxian ruin to determine why the workers on the excavation have been going missing. This one sounds like a ton of fun. Scenario #1-19: To Conquer the Dragon is a tier 5-8 scenario written by Matt Duval which send the players to Triaxus to open a Starfinder Lodge! This scenario builds on events from #1-13: On the Trail of History, and involves starship combat. I can’t wait until I get my hands on them later this month!
What’s left? Maps of course! And this month certainly brings us a LOT. Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Watch Station is a pretty handy map set which gives is a solid dungeon or underground prison on one side, and a moderately sized sheriff’s office/town barracks on the other. It can also sub in as any small building that includes barracks, such as a thieves den, guild headquarters or school. Pathfinder Flip-Mat Multi-Pack: Forest is a useful set of two flip mats which feature woodlands, rocky banks, and small rivers. These two mats each connect to each other in multiple ways, which means that you can continue your game with a rolling scene, over and over again. They look gorgeous. Starfinder Flip-Mat: Asteroid is an interesting map release. One side is an incredibly useful map of a canyon, impact site or crater which is going to see a ton of use. It’s super adaptable, and can even work in Pathfinder play. The other side is a complex built into the interior of an asteroid. It looks quite interesting. Clearly intended to be used in the Diaspora, it can double as a lot of other complexes, including an underground bunker, base, laboratory, military instalment or even a school. Unfortunately, all three map sets are not yet released on Amazon, so if you’re Canadian, like me, or from another place in the world where the cost of having anything delivered from Paizo is ABSURD you’ll need to wait a while before getting these beauties on order.
There’s also a whole new type of map being released this month: Pathfinder Flip-Tiles! We’ve talked about these before on d20diaries, but in short, they’re a collection of 6×6 tiles with images on both sides which easily can connect to form a large complex. This month brings us two sets of map tiles. Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Dungeon Starter Set, includes basic dungeon features including halls, stairs, turns, entrances and rooms. It has a whopping 42 double sided map tiles. The second set, Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Dungeon perils Expansion Set, is an expansion which works will the Dungeon Set (and will work with other sets in the future). It contains 24 double sided flip-tiles which depict hazards including trapped and lit hallways, chemical spills, chasms, rock falls, magical devices, and fungal growths. They look pretty cool. Much like this months flip-mats, these products aren’t yet available on Amazon. As a brand new product, I haven’t yet seen these in person, so I’m not sure how easy they’ll be to adapt and use in a live game, but I’d love to find out. If any of you get your hands on these tiles, let me know! I’d love to hear what you think!
That’s it for this months new releases! What products are you most excited for? I know my household can’t wait to get our greedy little hands on Starfinder: Armory! Here’s hoping!
If this doesn’t sound exciting to you, trust me. It is.
This is another wonderful play-by-post convention. It will be run in two sessions, with Session One running from August 13th to September 30th, and Session Two running from October 1st to November 12th. Anyone is welcome to volunteer to run a game, just like everyone is welcome to sign up to play a game. Currently, you can sign up for only three games, but come July 1st you’ll be able to sign up for however many games you desire. Most of these sign ups are first come first serve, but I have seen some that are going to be drawn by lottery. There’s already a wide variety of games up for offer, with more being added daily. Definitely check out the sign ups often. The majority of the games that are open right now are Pathfinder, with Starfinder coming in second. There’s also some Core Pathfinder games openly recruiting, and even some new Pathfinder Playtest sessions! Yeah! Now, that’s exciting!
For full details on Play-by-Post Gameday VII, check out this wonderful discussion thread, Want to sign up to GM a game? Simply head on over to the website and scroll down to the bottom. Click on ‘Submit Another Game Listing,’ and fill out the form. Select what you’d like to GM from a list, and away you go.
What about players? Looking to join a game? Head on over to the website and take a look at the games currently recruiting. Be sure to keep an eye on the dates! Once you’ve found something you’d like to try follow the links and see if there’s space. Be sure to check back often, as new games are constantly being added.
If you’re interested in playing a Special, you’ll need to head on over to the website on July 1st, which is when registration begins.
I wish you the best of luck!
In other news, we’ve added a new feature to d20diaries. Take a peek up at the main menu riiiiight at the top. Custom Creations. This is where you can find anything I (or my children) have made for use with the Pathfinder or Starfinder Roleplaying Games. Free fan content. Currently in it’s infancy, this page will soon be home to NPC stat blocks, monsters, adventures, locations, archetypes, themes, races and more. All kinds of goodies from me, to you.
Well, another month has come and gone, which means there’s a whole bunch of new and awesome products coming out from Paizo. But first, it should be noted that today’s your last day to pre-order physical copies of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook, Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn, and the Flip-mat multipack. If you intend to pick up a copy of any of them, now’s your last chance. Free copies of the PDF will be available in late August.
Two new Pathfinder Society Scenarios were recently released, Scenario #9-18: Scourge of the Farheavens is a tier 1-5 scenario that sends the players all the way to Iobaria, which promises to be a blast. This is definitely the scenario I’m most excited for, and I hope to pick it up soon. The second PFS release is Scenario #9-19: Clash in the Kaimuko Wood, is a tier 5-9 scenario that takes place on the border of Kwanlai and Tianjing in Tian Xia. Involving abyssal corruption, this adventure continues events in Scenario #9-12: Shrine of the Sacred Tempest, and directly contributes to the ongoing storyline of the Silver Crusades.
Near the end of May there’ll be two more scenarios for us to sink our teeth into. Scenario #9-20: Fury of the Final Blade is a tier 7-11 scenario that sees the Liberty’s Edge faction leader, Colson Maldris, up to some shifty underhanded shenanigans, involving Andoran’s corrupt elite, the Grey Gardeners of Galt, and the soul-trapping guillotines they’re known for. Turning to the Pathfinders for aid Maldris set out to lay the groundwork for a rescue plan–only to end up captured himself. This awesome-sounding scenario leaves the fate of Colson Maldris in your players hands, and directly affects the Liberty’s Edge faction’s ongoing plot. Finally, we have Scenario #9-21: In the Grandmaster’s Name, which is a tier 3-7 adventure that lets your players pose as intercepted agents of Grandmaster Torch, and perform some underhanded espionage in Druma. I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited for this mission, as my whole family loves the Grandmaster (or rather, some love him, and some love to hate him!).
But, the most exciting new release? The Jungle of Despair pre-painted plastic minis! Like the rest of the randomized Pathfinder Battles minis, they come in four-figure boosters (with one large and three medium minis inside). You can also buy a brick (which is eight booster boxes) or a case (which contains four bricks).
Whatever you’re interested in, there’s a lot of neat stuff coming out this month. Far more than I could indulge in, that’s for sure! It’s the two pawn collections that I’m most interested in getting my hands on. That and the Scourge of the Farheavens PFS scenario. What about you? What are you most excited for from Paizo’s upcoming products? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Well, April’s here and that means rain and puddles and flowers all around. Or it should, anyway. Instead, we’ve got another cold snap and some snow where I live. But soon! Oh, SOON it will feel spring-like outside! Eventually…
Whatever the weather, Spring Break and Easter have just come to an end for us, and my kids are back in school. My son’s more than a little put-out with this situation, but my daughter’s thrilled to get back to Kindergarten and have some fun. Plenty has happened for us this past week, and it’s been more than a little busy. My daughter obsessively loves rabbits, so Easter is her favourite holiday. In fact, the only thing she likes better than Easter is her birthday, which also passed last month, so this time of year’s always a little bonkers. Aside from Easter events, egg hunts and dinners, we also took my kids to get their picture taken with the Easter Bunny at the mall, and tried to squash in enough time to pick up a gift for my kids. My daughter ended up picking out her own Easter gift when she discovered a children’s stuffed chair–that was a pink rabbit. She’s quite pleased with the gift, and sits in her rabbit chair constantly.
We had two opportunities to get some d20 gaming in this week, although we had hoped to get three in. This past Tuesday my kids sifted through their many, many, MANY characters and took a look at the adventures that each adventuring party was in the middle of or about to embark on. They decided to each pick a group and we’d play one on Tuesday, and the other on Friday. My son chose our aptly named ‘Jungle Characters’ while my daughter chose our much beloved ‘Goblin Characters’ who are about to finish up We B4 Goblins! (which is a FREE download and great fun, so you should definitely click that link! Haha). Deciding we’d start with the Jungle crew, I cracked out my old Dungeon Magazine, Volume #136, and we got right down to playing a modified Tensions Rising. Unfortunately, we ended up busy on Friday and didn’t have time to play our trouble-making goblins, but we did find time on Saturday to begin our second adventure with our Starfinder characters! We embarked on an important Wayfinders mission to Elytrio with Yesteryear’s Truth. Full details on our play sessions this week will appear in an upcoming post, but for now, just know that we had a ton of fun!
In Starfinder news, Pact Worlds was released last week, which we’re itching to get our hands on in my house. Seriously. Even my husband wants that one! And today it just became sanctioned for Starfinder Society Play. Nearly everything in the entire book is an option. Now, if only I owned it… There were also two new Starfinder Society Scenarios released, which I did splurge on. Scenario #1-10: The Half-Alive Streets is a tier 1-4 mystery involving a lethal bio-tech augmentation that sets the PCs loose on Absalom Station. While Scenario #1-11: In Pursuit of the Scoured Past is a tier 3-6 that sends the PCs to the library world of Athaeum, where they’re on the hunt for information about the Scoured Stars Incident. Also joining you? Some Hellknights from the Order of the Pyre! How could it go wrong? Neither of these scenarios involve starship battles.
Later this month the volume five in the Dead Suns adventure path will be released: The Thirteenth Gate. Dead Suns begins with Volume One: Incident at Absalom Station, which I’ve found great fun. They’ve also announced the next Starfinder Adventure Path. For those of you who don’t know, Starfinder Adventure Paths are going to be of varying lengths. One six-part series, followed by two three-part series’. This means that once Dead Suns wraps up we’ll be treated to Against the Aeon Throne, which is a three volume series that begins at level one with The Reach of the Empire. This Adventure Path pits the PCs against the Azlanti Star Empire which I’m absurdly excited for! Afterwards we’ll get to play Signal of Screams, which begins at level 7 with The Diaspora Strain. I’m particularly interested in this one as it strikes me as a horror themed space adventure which is just AWESOME. I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.
As for Pathfinder, the second volume of War for the Crown, Songbird, Scion, Saboteur has been on game shelves for a while, but volume three, Twilight Child, is due out later this month. If you’ve been reading my blog lately you’ll know that I’m super excited for this campaign, although I’m not yet lucky enough to own it. Last month Merchant’s Manifest came out, which admittedly, I’m not very excited for. But, later this month a sourcebook on the creepy nation of Nidal is released. Called Nidal, Land of Shadows, this IS a book I’m thrilled for. I’ve always been drawn to this ominous place and I can’t wait to see what they do with it. The Pathfinder Society has two neat scenario’s out this month. The first is Scenario #9-16: Fallen Family, Broken Name, which is a series of five one-hour quests that take place in Isger and revolves around the now deceased Irrica family who were said to command some kind of supernatural forces. Sent to discover this weapon and the family’s secrets, this scenario sounds like a lot of fun. Plus, if I’m being totally honest, I’ve never had the chance to play in Isger before. This scenario is intended for tiers 1-5. The second scenario recently released is Scenario #9-17: Oath of the Overwatched, which returns to the constantly cursed Blakros Museum and directly involves the Dark Archives faction. I’ve been a big fan of this series of scenarios from way back during Season 0, so I’m desperate to play this one! Intended for tier 5-9, this one’s going to be tricky!
In other news, my whole family’s been loving their play-by-post campaigns they joined for OutPost. My children and I finished one of the scenarios, Scenario #45: Delirium’s Tangle, over a week ago, and my daughter immediately set out to bring her beloved oracle, Lady Naysha into another adventure. She has since joined up in a game of Scenario #5-08: The Confirmation, alongside one of my husband’s new characters. Meanwhile, my son’s forgetful wizard, Fuzzzy, alongside his pet owl, Bobby, joined up to play Master of the Fallen Fortress, a free Pathfinder Module which is sanctioned for Pathfinder Society play. Lady Naysha and Fuzzzy were both previously introduced in this blog post. My character, Juno Berik, has yet to join another game. For those of you curious, our escapades in Delirium’s Tangle can be found here. My husband has had such fun playing his occultist Enzo in our still ongoing Black Waters adventure, that he made three new Pathfinder Society Characters. Toban Tangletop, an eccentric gnomish chef and inquisitor of Shelyn is joining Lady Naysha on her Confirmation; Ruslo, a roguish Varisian slayer who fights with a grappling hook and has a bone to pick with the Aspis Consortium is playing alongside Fuzzzy and Bobby in Master of the Fallen Fortress. And finally, Jeb Barlo, a water kineticist swamper from Wartle, has just begun to tackle Scenario #0-23: Tide of Morning. One of my Starfinder characters has also completed one of her OutPost games: Aurora Vim, a stylish and vain ysoki envoy with a chipper attitude and an ego bigger than a starship. Better known as Rora, this quirky little ball of fun just made a name for herself by tracking down a fugitive on Akiton and saving an entire town in Scenario #1-02: Fugitive on the Red Planet. To read about her adventures on Akiton, check out the completed gameplay thread, here.
And, in anticipation of Pathfinder Playtest, we’ve been reading Paizo’s previews of the new ruleset on their blog. Recent articles include information on critical hits, critical failures and a system that they’re calling the four degrees of success, and a rogue class preview. But, my personal favourite? The details they shared about those beloved pyros: goblins! Colour me intrigued, Paizo!
I hope, like us, your last week has been full of fun, and the glorious sound of rolling dice.
Things are pretty crazy around my house right now. My son’s sick (again), and both of my children had their birthdays this past week. But, as things begin to settle, we’re ready to get right back into the swing of things here on d20 Diaries. So today, we’re taking a look at another book I recently got my hands on: Pathfinder Player Companion: Adventurer’s Armory 2!
The Adventurer’s Armoury 2 is a sequel to the ever-popular Adventurer’s Armory, which was also released as a Player Companion back in April 2010. As a product from the Player Companion line, it’s a thin, soft-cover book intended for use by players, which clocks in at 32 pages in length. In my opinion, the Adventurer’s Armory was among the most universally useful books in the Player Companion line, so I was thrilled to pick up the sequel.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at what’s inside…
The inside covers both feature purchasing charts showcasing the new equipment in this book. The front inside cover’s home to weapon and armour charts, while the back inside cover’s where you’ll find everything else. This includes adventuring gear, alchemical remedies, alchemical tools, alchemical weapons, poisons, clothing, magical items, and mundane tools. Looking past the covers we find the table of contents and then the introduction.
Although it doesn’t sound very exciting, the introduction’s home to one feat, Equipment Trick, which is an old, quirky feat originally printed in Adventurer’s Armory which allows your characters to make interesting uses out of a specific type of equipment chosen at the time of taking the feat. Only certain items have equipment tricks written for them, and in order to use each trick you must meet its specific requirements. Sound confusing? No worries. You take the feat and select which kind of item you’re going to learn tricks with, then read the list of tricks. If you meet the requirements for any of those tricks, you can use them. If not, keep an eye on them. You can use the trick as soon as you do meet the requirements, even if its many levels down the road. Curious what kind of equipment you can utilize? We’ll touch on that again later. For now, just know there’s plenty.
After the feat, you’ll find a collection of five traits which are all themed around where you buy your goods and feature some of the most infamous marketplaces in the Inner Sea. Including Absalom’s Coin District, Cassomir, Katapesh, Ostenso, and Riddleport, each of these traits are flavourful and fun. That being said, they’re not staples. You won’t read them and decide every one of your characters has to have it. My personal favourite? Absalom’s Amiable Briber, which is a social trait allows you to offer bribes without fear. The first time someone refuses a bribe you offer, that person’s attitude towards you doesn’t worsen, even if the offer normally would offend the person. Cool! Cassomir’s Bountiful Herb-Lore and Riddleport’s Master Messenger are also pretty cool, so be sure to check them out.
Lastly, the introduction features a handy rules index that lists the page numbers of each feat, trait and other rules option presented in this book. By now, one thing’s already clear: not everything in Adventurer’s Armory 2 is new. Some of the equipment and player options in this book are reprints from other out-of-print books. An understandable move, and helpful for those of you who might not own the original sourcebooks.
Moving on from the introduction we come to one of my favourite sections of the book: Equipment Packages! What, you may ask, is an equipment package? Simple! It’s a big collection of gear that your characters can choose to start with. What does it cost you? Two things! First, it costs a trait: Well-provisioned Adventurer. Second, it costs your starting gold. That’s right! If you take this trait you don’t staring gold at all. So, are these equipment packages worth it? That depends. In terms of value, each of these packages is worth about a thousand gold pieces. That’s a lot! In addition, the gear is well-chosen, and varied. Each allows for a minor amount of tweaking with GM approval, which should make them even more accessible. Having that much extra wealth can mean the difference between life and death at level one. However, whether or not you personally feel the gear is better than a +1 to a saving throw, a bonus to a few skills, turning a skill into a class skill, or picking up a quirky minor ability, is entirely a personal preference. My husband wasn’t wowed by it, but I certainly was, and my kids also loved it. I wouldn’t use it for all of my characters, of course, but for plenty these equipment packages are an option I’d consider. In addition to a well-chosen set of equipment geared at many different class types, these packages also include the weight for both medium and small characters already calculated. A wonderful thing if you don’t really like number crunching weights and carrying capacities, determining the adjusted weights for small sized characters, or coin counting to the copper piece. These equipment packages can also be purchased for 1,000 gp, for those of you who don’t want to use a trait to get one. As an aside, GMs can also use these equipment packages as rewards, care packages and gifts to be handed out to your players by grateful NPCs. The only obvious downside? They’re heavy. With the lightest weighing in at 44 pounds (28 3/4 for small characters) your low-strength characters are bound to be overburdened by them. I’d love to see some more light-weight options appear in the future. My favourite equipment packages turned out to be the Arcane Adept (intended for arcane spellcasters) and the Daring Bravo (intended for any lightly armoured combatant). My young son loved the Wilderness Warrior, while my daughter loved the Mystic Guide (which she’d like to use on her next druid). After you’ve given the equipment packages a read, leave us a comment and let us know if you intend to use any. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Next up we come to what most people will purchase this book for: armour and weapons. First up’s the armour. With eight new choices varying in price from 1 gp to 2,100 gp, there’s a wide variety of new armour, even if there aren’t many. My personal favourites are the Erutaki coat, the Varisian dancing scarves, and the reinforced tunic. In addition to armour, this book introduces a new type of item called a modification. Modifications can be applied to armour by a skilled smith, and offer both a benefit and a drawback. You’ll also find a feat later in the book that allows players to better utilize armour modifications. Although cool, none of these modifications are cheap, so invest with care. I’d recommend the nimble modification, which increases an armour’s Max Dex by two, reduces its check penalty by one, but costs 1,000 gp, and adds five pounds to its weight. Burnished also sounds like lots of fun at lower levels. For a cost of 500 gp, five pounds of added weight, and a -10 penalty to stealth in areas of bright light, you can dazzle your enemies with your brilliantly shining armour! Capable of targeting everyone who can see you within 30 feet, this ability has the potential to be really effective. However, each target can only be affected once per day. Other armour modifications include deflecting, double-plated (which I expect will see a lot of use), jarring, nimble, razored, slumbering (which is SUPER handy) and vitalguard.
With that we come to the Weapons. There’s a whopping twenty-five new weapons in this book, most of which are exotic, and only one of which is simple. I’m pretty partial to the cutlass, the lantern staff, and the spiral rapier. That being said, the flask thrower’s going to be incredibly handy for some characters. Past the new weapon options you’ll find a handy list showing what weapon group each belongs to, followed by seven weapon modifications. Weapon modifications work in the same way as armour modifications do, and also feature some feats which can improve their efficiency and capabilities. In addition, modified weapons have their weapon type increase by one step (from simple to martial, and martial to exotic). The weapon modifications included in this book are brutally weighted, dual-balanced, jagged hooks, razor-sharp, serrated edge, tactically adapted, and versatile design. Personally, I think that dual-balanced (which reduces the penalties for two-weapon fighting by -1) and tactical adapted (which allows you to add weapon qualities like blocking, disarm, and nonlethal to a weapon) are bound to see the most use in play.
All in all, I like the idea of modifications more than I like them mechanically. I’m unlikely to invest in them due to their hefty price tag, and the extra weight. Of course, if I’m playing a character who has extra cash to spend, a wide array of proficiencies and carrying capacity to spare, I’d give definitely them a try. I’m very curious to see them in action.
Next up we have a single page of feats. There’s nine of them total, and all of them are combat feats. Seven have to do with armour and weapon modifications, while the last two involve utilization of the dwarven dorn-derger, an exotic weapon that appears in this book. Although I’m sure some people are bound to try out the modification feats, especially Creative Armorsmith and Creative Weaponsmith, I found the feats on offer so specialized that I’m highly unlikely to use them. It’s a shame, but luckily these aren’t the only feats up for offer in Adventurer’s Armory 2.
Leaving the weapons and armour behind we come to the next section of the book, which showcases eighteen new pieces of mundane gear. Of them, I’d guess that only five or six will see play with any kind of frequency. The most useless item on the list would definitely be the false teeth, while the most universally used would probably be the charcoal. It’s so much better than buying ink and an inkpen! But, my favourite? The spring-loaded scroll case. This snazzy little case is five gold, and can be hung from a belt or backpack. It holds a single scroll which can be retrieved as a swift action. Shiny!
After the adventuring gear is a new type of equipment known as preparatory gear. These are items that you practise with for an hour everyday, then make a specific skill or ability check. If you pass, you gain a benefit that lasts for 24 hours. For example, the drowner’s helmet can help train you to hold your breath longer and the practise straitjacket can help train you to escape from bindings. There’s only two other preparatory gear in this book: the hanging board and a thief trainer. Each option’s a bit pricey–between 35 and 200 gp–but is certainly useful. The one hour daily training requirement might be a turn-off for some players, but I don’t mind at all. It’s particularly useful for non-spellcasters who travel with spellcasters and can give them something to do while your casters prepare their spells or pray to their deities. Since the benefits of each last 24 hours, training can also be done at night before heading to bed. All in all I think it’s an intriguing concept, and I’m excited to see them put to use.
Up next is some equipment tricks for use with a few fun bits of mundane gear: ladders, lanterns, mirrors and poles. Each type of gear has between three to five tricks associated with it (poles have three, ladders have four, while lanterns and mirrors have five each). Some of these tricks require a number of ranks in an associated skill to utilize, while others require specific feats as the prerequisites. The lantern tricks are the most utilitarian, and allow users to make their lanterns burn brighter or dimmer and explode like alchemist’s fire when thrown. When being held in the same hand as a shield, your lantern can deal some fire damage with each shield bash. Finally, you can toss lantern oil in an opponent’s eyes with the dirty trick maneuver (your lantern or theirs) which can both blind and burn them. The mirror tricks also sound like lots of fun. My personal favourites let you shine light into your opponents eyes, reflect gaze attacks, and even penetrate illusions! No longer is your mirror just for looking around corners!
Leaving behind the mundane adventuring gear we head into the exciting world of more mundane gear! This time it’s tools and tool kits we’re taking a gander at. Both of these sections are small, with only six items in each. As far as tools go, I was excited for a duo of new bear traps, while my daughter insisted that the portable terrarium was the greatest item in the entire book. (Warning: She may have been biased by the adorable picture of the terrarium, which features a cute little frog in a glass globe…). As for tool kits, I’m partial to the elemental explorer’s kit, and the underground survival kit, although I’m more than ready to admit that the fiendslayer’s kit and the undead survivor’s kit will see more use in play. And what other kits are up for offer, you ask? The emergency interrogation kit, and the invisible enemies kit.
The next section is a single page that features seven new poisons. The cheapest poison up for offer is the delightfully named rainbow scarab shell. At a price of only 150 gp per dose, this iridescent toxin deals strength damage upon injury once per round for four rounds. Although it’s not particularly difficult to resist or overcome, victims who reach 0 strength also begin to suffocate. The priciest poison also happens to be my favourite. Grinding joint paste is an ingested poison with a ten minute onset which costs a whopping 2,100 gold per dose. Made from dried and ground up cockatrice organs it causes a decent amount of Dexterity damage for six minutes. In addition, movement becomes so painful that the victims take damage whenever they swing a two-handed weapon or move more than ten feet in a round. Ouch! I’m also pretty partial to the Leng’s tears, which is a fast acting contact poison which causes vivid hallucinations and paralysis. Failing just once causes a full ten minutes of paralysis, with unlucky victims being unable to move for an entire hour. Nasty!
Following these nasty poisons is another set of equipment tricks, this one for instruments. Of all the equipment tricks offered in this book, this set are by far my favourite. In fact, they might be my favourite equipment tricks ever. I love them! Attention grabber lets your character draw attention to themselves in order to cover their allies movements. Goad animal lets you command friendly animals to perform tricks they know as a free action or push them to perform tricks they don’t know as a standard action. Jaw-dropping distraction lets you feint with a perform check instead of a bluff check. Play to the crowd let’s you use a perform check in place of an initial diplomacy check to influence an NPC, and finally, ruffian’s riff lets you treat an instrument as an improvised weapon with the performance special feature. Got a masterwork instrument? Then it counts as a masterwork weapon. Got a magical one? It’s treated as magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. Awesome. I’m definitely going to be giving these tricks a try.
Side by side on the same page with the instrument equipment tricks is a column that I actually loved a lot. Examples of masterwork tools. I know, it doesn’t sound very exciting. But, think of it. How often do you purchase the generic ‘masterwork tools’ from the Core Rulebook. On occasion, right? Maybe if you’ve got a character who has a craft or profession. But this list reminds us that these tools are far more useful than the average player has been giving them credit for. This lists a large number of skills (which don’t already have a designated tool or tool kit), and provides example tools that you could purchase to improve those skills. Want to improve your acrobatics check? Pick up a balancing pole, gymnast’s slippers or a vaulting pole. Feel like being menacing? You could invest in frightening tattoos, an executioner’s hood, or a set of torturer’s tools. How about a reference book to help with a knowledge check, or lubricating oils to help escape bonds. This list really got me thinking about the term ‘tool’ and how they can be applied to a wide variety of characters and skills. I was honestly surprised how useful I found this little column, and I’m sure plenty of other players will get good use out of it, as well.
The next two pages revolve around clothing, with the first page being ten new articles of clothing, and the second being six new spells that need to be cast upon specific articles of clothing. The burglar’s outfit, courtesan’s outfit and squire’s outfit all provide great new options for starting outfits, while the spells allied cloak, grappling scarf, and surefoot boots were all great fun.
Past clothes we get to one of my favourite sections in the book: impromptu equipment. That’s right! Want a list of example objects and their damage for reference? It’s here! Want some magical items that help improvised weapons? Also here! There’s also a few neat feats and, my personal favourite: special qualities that some improvised weapons can possess. So whether you’re wielding a pronged taxidermic moose head, a gross hunk of rotting meat, a heavy anvil, or a burning log, these improvised weapons qualities are a lot of fun that can really get your player’s creativity flowing. It’s going to be a blast! As for feats, check out hook fighter, which lets you turn a grappling hook into a deadly weapon. For magical gear be sure to pick up gloves of improvised might and quick metal bracers, both of which are awesome options for characters interested in focusing on improvised weapons.
As we near the end of the book we find ourselves among a pile of products that can be created with arguably the most popular type of crafting in Pathfinder: alchemy. This section features two new alchemical remedies, three new alchemical tools, and seven new alchemical weapons (four of which are forms of alchemical bolts). My personal favourites were troll stypic (a painful paste which can grant users fast healing for up to 8 rounds) and the tress tincture (an alchemical weapon that causes raid hair growth, which can be terribly irritating, as your opponents hair constantly gets in their eyes and obscures vision. Yes, you read that correctly!). In addition to new alchemical substances we also get three new sets of equipment tricks which showcase the classics of alchemy: smokesticks, tanglefoot bags, and thunderstones. Exciting! Although all three are awesome, the tanglefoot bag tricks are my favourite. If you’ve got a sneaky or stealthy character, definitely give the smokestick tricks a read. The final part of the alchemy section is a new kind of brew called concoctions. These creations are less stable than your typical alchemical creations and are known for having bad side effects. In addition, players who consume more than one concoction at a time roll on a table of random effects. Half of these effects are good, and half are bad. Of those, they vary from alright and not too bad, all the way up to amazing and horrible. If you’re a gambler this can be great fun to fiddle with, but with the options ranging from ‘unleash the full potential of my body and mind’ which allows you to gain a +4 bonus on two ability score for 24 hours, all the way to the concoction explodes within your stomach, or is highly toxic, I’m not really into to testing my luck. The concoctions themselves are typically 50 gold each with the priciest being 100 gp. Each offers a benefit and a drawback. The crystal-sweet concoction gives you +2 on diplomacy and -4 on sense motive, while the sphere-song concoction gives you +1 on Will saving throws and a -2 on initiative. Although interesting, I think these items have great potential for GM
use. These can easily be added into drug dens, dangerous bars and high-end noble parties. They can also be focal points for social encounters, or used as a ‘test of faith’ or as ‘dares’ by gangs, religious organizations and the nobility. Whatever use your group happens to find for them, they’re certainly a colourful (and potentially dangerous) experience.
The next two pages of Adventurer’s Armory 2 feature a variety of equipment from two distinct regions: the Dragon Empires and the Padishah Empire. Each region has an entire page to itself, and contains a few articles of clothing, alchemical remedies or tools, and a special material. Spirit-vision ink turned out to be my favourite piece of equipment from Tian Xia, while the special material, sunsilver, was my favourite object to come from the Keleshite culture.
The final section of this book turned out to be among my favourites. It releases rules for a brand new type of construct you can make right from level one: poppets. If crafting’s not your cup of tea, you can also purchase these little fellows. Although too costly to purchase as a brand new level one character, they’re certainly affordable by the time level two rolls around. These tiny or small creations can be upgraded and modified with a host of abilities, and can even be taken as familiars with a special feat. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you may have already heard me speak about poppets. My seven-year-old son made a mad scientist who is obsessed with creating new life, and currently has two poppets he’s hand-crafted with care. To read more about poppets and our experiences using them in games, read my blog post Character Focus: Professor McMaan, and Crown of the Kobold King: Part One. Short summary: we love them.
I think so. This books features a lot of new equipment and gear, as well as some cool new rules to go with them. Although most of the rules are quite specialized and exclusive to certain character builds, the items in the book are much more varied and useful. It’s one of those books that you’ll pull out every time you’re making a new character, and pull out again for your first few level ups. Certainly, it’s not as useful as Ultimate Equipment. And with the upcoming change to Pathfinder Playtest this next August, it’s unlikely to be as popular as its predecessor, Adventurer’s Armory, was. But as far as Player Companions go, it’s definitely one of the most universally useful ones they’ve printed. In my opinion, it’s worth it.
Have a copy of Adventurer’s Armory 2 at home? Let us know what you think in the comments! Do you have a favourite item featured in its pages? Let us know that, too!
As you may have heard, Pathfinder recently announced that in August they’ll be releasing the beta version of Pathfinder’s Second Edition ruleset. For the first few months these rules will be available for a free download on Paizo’s website, and feedback will be collected from us, the players. Known as Pathfinder Playtest, this news has stirred up a lot of excitement. As mentioned in my previous post on the matter, I’m excited for the new edition, but also afraid. It’s not that I worry about the rules–I know I’ll like them–but I worry about the investment. I have no intention of leaving behind 1e, especially in regards to the Pathfinder Society. Although I know I’ll switch over to 2e eventually, the cost that’s going to be involved when 2e officially launches is going to prevent me from making the transition immediately.
Pathfinder is slowly releasing some spoilers and details on their blog of the new Playtest rules, and has an extensive FAQ section dedicated to the game already. So what do we know? For starters, alchemist will be one of the classes released with the original core classes in the first book. Also, goblins will be among the core ancestries up for offer, which is exciting! Who doesn’t love goblins? Wait! Ancestries? What’s that? It’s a new name for races, which will influence your character as it always has. In addition to ancestry and class, your character will also be influenced by a third category called your Background. I’m not sure what this is exactly, as details haven’t launched yet, but it sounds like having a theme from Starfinder. There’s also plenty of other little things that have been hinted at, but the only things that have been spoilered in any kind of detail is the action system.
You know all that work you put into learning which actions are standard, move, swift and free actions? Ignore that! Instead, everything costs one Action. During each round, every player gets three actions. Want to attack three times? Go for it! Draw a potion, move and administer it to someone else? Sure! Move and attack twice? Yup! Open a door, move through, shut a door? Yup! Three actions. Do what you will. Those of you choosing to attack multiple times take a cumulative -5 penalty on those additional attacks (so the second attack is at a -5 penalty and the third is at a -10). The only exception mentioned so far in regards to the ‘one Action’ rule is spells. Most spells will cost 2 Actions, some can be cast as 1 Action, and some will be cast at variable Action costs, which will increase the spell’s effectiveness. Every character also gets a single Reaction that they can take between the start of their turn and the start of their next turn. In addition to attacks of opportunity, each class has special Reactions they can take, like a fighter readying a shield against an attack in order to reduce its damage. So far I like this concept. It’s effective and uncomplicated. But will it work? After hearing it in action on the Glass Cannon Podcast special where they tried out Pathfinder Playtest alongside Jason Bulmahn and Erik Mona, I think it’s going to be great. This podcast was a lot of fun to listen to, and featured a lot of cool glimpses at the new rules.
My favourite thing I learned from the podcast? Initiative is no longer a single score. Instead, what you roll for initiative is determined by what you’re doing. For example, if you’re looking around and keeping alert it will run off of your Perception. If you’re slinking around and hiding at the time, Stealth will be what you’re rolling. And if you’re checking out the terrain and looking for tracks, you’ll roll Survival for your initiative. It’s a neat way to run initiative that sounds like a lot of fun.
For further details on Pathfinder Playtest check out Paizo’s website, blog post, or the podcast mentioned above.
What’s surprised me more than the new rules we’ve heard about is the variety of attitudes I’ve seen on the Paizo Messageboards about it. Some people are thrilled, which is what I expected, and some people are worried–also expected. Some are upset. One GM was so angry he immediately dropped every game he was GMing, leaving dozens of players in the lurch! Seriously!? How unprofessional can you be? Luckily, the wonderful community of players on the Paizo Messageboards leapt to the rescue and are managing replacement GMs as we speak. My character leaps for joy and thanks her lucky stars.
Since the announcement of Pathfinder Playtest, the news has settled. The shock has faded. And we’ve received a glimpse at the new rules and how play works. So how do I feel now? Excited. I can’t wait until we get to learn more about the new system.
And you? How are you feeling about Pathfinder Playtest and the upcoming Pathfinder 2e?