April Blooms and d20 News

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!

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Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Pact Worlds

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.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path: Volume Two: Songbird, Scion, Saboteur

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.

Until next time,

Jessica

Pathfinder Playtest: Actions! Reactions! And a Glass Cannon!

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?

I’d love to hear your opinions!

Jessica

Pathfinder: Second Edition

Whoah!

Big changes were just announced for Pathfinder today. The release of Pathfinder’s Second Edition.

That’s right.

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.

Jessica

News, news, news…

As the snow starts to melt, and our long, long, long, winter finally looks like its coming to an end, there’s plenty going on around my house this week. In addition to pulling out sunglasses, splash pants, and rubber boots, that is…

To start with, a play-by-post campaign of Legacy of Fire that I’m involved in just lost a player, and my kids were accepted as a replacement. They spent a few days after school brainstorming and planning, and together we put their characters onto the Paizo website. They loved picking out their avatars, and saying hello on the discussion board. So what are they bringing to the table?

A pair of gnome siblings who travel the world as their whims take them. They have a particular fondness for the desert, and have recently been wandering the wilds of Katapesh. My son is a sorcerer with the elemental bloodline (water). Studious and curious, Min Bunnisbeldar is a blue-haired gnome who obsessively studies and researches magical techniques and theories. Along with his elemental ray bloodline talent, colour spray is his go-to method of attack. But, his intelligence might be his greatest weapon. Min’s sister, Rab-rab, shortened her last name to Bunnis. She has a pet jackrabbit (not surprising at all, if you know my daughter’s love of rabbits), and is childish and whimsical. Rab-rab is an air kineticist who can push her enemies back with her air blasts. She loves to explore, and fly kites, using her aerokinesis to keep it aloft even when there’s no breeze. Min and Rab-rab hope to bring some excitement and optimism to the campaign when they get to join in a few weeks.

In other news, Paizo updated their website. Although I was expecting some minor maintenance, it turns out they launched an entire new site design. Ironically, I was just thinking the other day they their site was super useful and easy to navigate, but was looking decidedly old fashioned. Well, that’s no longer the case! The site looks gorgeous, and it’s much, much easier to see the current new releases. It’s bold, and works great. There are some down-sides, of course. The ‘My Campaign’ tab, which you’ll rely on constantly if you’re involved in play-by-post gaming, has vanished. There are other ways to navigate to your campaigns, thankfully, but none are as fast or efficient. Fortunately, I hear they’re working on bringing the ‘My Campaign’ function back. There were some complaints that the font hurt people’s eyes or was too small. Personally, I liked it, but the majority has spoken and the font size for the message boards was increased dramatically. I think it’s obnoxiously large, myself, and hopefully they can strike a balance in the future. Honestly, my biggest problem is the black bar on the top of the page. I find that if you look at it and then proceed onto one of the white pages–like the messageboards–you get afterimages across your eyes, which makes it hard to read and gives me a headache. All in all, I’m happy with the changes, and am excited to see how the site gets tweaked in the coming weeks.

At home, my family and I have been slowly playing through our first Starfinder adventure, Into the Unknown. Soon, I’ll be sharing our character designs and our experiences here, on d20 Diaries.

In Pathfinder news, my kids have both been working on writing an adventure in their free time. My son’s involves buried treasure, and is intended to be played by pirates, while my daughters involves a mysterious island. In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing their adventures, and our characters created for them, with you, so stay tuned!

Lastly, my son filmed a youtube video about a dungeon he made. It’s our first d20 Diaries video, so we’re pretty excited. He’s thrilled with the outcome. So if you want to see what a six-year-old D&D player gets up to in his free time watch, The Temple of Snakes, below, or check out d20diaries on Youtube! We’d love to hear what you think.

Thanks for joining us on d20 Diaries!

Jessica

 

Paizo: New Releases

Hey there, guys!

With the passing of Family Day here in Canada, and a wonderfully lazy long weekend over and done, it’s time to get back to work, and back to school!

So welcome back to d20 Diaries!

There’s a ton of new releases kicking around Paizo’s Pathfinder and Starfinder lines, and we’re going to look at my favourites today. So sit back, enjoy, and get ready to wish your wallets had a bit more money in them! I know I will… Haha.

Pathfinder:

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Pathfinder’s War for the Crown: Part One: Crownfall, by Thurston Hillman.

There’s three great new Pathfinder products I’m dying to get my hands on! First up is a book we’ve already taken a look at here on d20 Diaries, War for the Crown: Part One: Crownfall. This is part one of a new Adventure Path which takes place in Taldor and looks AWESOME. All of the reviews I’ve read of it have been great, and I literally cannot wait to get my hands on it! I hear that the Player’s Guide is in editing, and won’t be out for another week or two.

The second release is something I’ve been waiting for since I got my hands on Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 6. That’s right! The Pathfinder Pawns: Bestiary 6 Box! There’s plenty of awesome pawns in this collection, including monkey goblins, mockinfey, a ton of new daemons and demons, enough dragons and golems to make any GM cackle madly, and–my personal favourite–the ever creepy sakhils. The icing on the (fabulous) cake? A total of six Archdevils and three Great Old ones! I hope your PCs have some mythic tiers under their belts… Currently, The Pathfinder Pawns: Bestiary 6 Box is only available on Paizo’s website, but I’ll be sure to update this post as soon as it appears on Amazon.

UPDATE: Check out Pathfinder Pawns: Bestiary 6 Box on Amazon!

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Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Taverns! Newly released by Paizo Publishing.

Finally, we’re going to talk about a surprising addition: Inner Sea Taverns. I have quite a few of the ‘Inner Sea’ supplments, and the ‘Of Golarion’ line. Some of them I’m thrilled with, while others see little use around my house. I wasn’t sure where I would fall with this one. It’s about taverns, after all! But, after reading the previews and reviews, I’m actually keen to get my hands on it. This book takes a look at six unique taverns throughout the Inner Sea, including the Whispering Stone in Wati (which will be sure to see use for anyone running Mummy’s Mask: Part One: The Half-Dead City ); Runoff in Starfall, where even taking a sip of your drink is dangerous (perfect for Iron Gods: Part 5: Palace of Fallen Stars!); Formidably Maid in Port Peril (which is where Skull & Shackles: Part 1: The Wormwood Mutiny begins!); and–the one I’m most excited for–Aeylinth Vineyard, a sophisticated treetop wine bar in Kyonin! In addition to detailing these very different establishments, it’s owners and some notable patrons, Inner Sea Taverns also includes rules for barfights and some new pub games. It sounds like a ton of fun!

Starfinder:

And with that we blast off into space! As a new product, Starfinder has a ton going on right now, but we’re going to take a look at two products that just hit shelves, and one that’s coming soon!

First up? Starfinder’s first and only Adventure Path, Dead Suns: Part Four: The Ruined Clouds! This adventure is intended for level seven characters and sees the players explore an ancient alien city floating in the atmosphere of a gas giant in the middle of an unexplored star system! Throw in a powerful weapon and the ominously named Devourer Cult, and this adventure sounds like a blast! This adventure is part of a six volume adventure path, and is preceded by Dead Suns: Book One: Incident at Absalom StationDead Suns: Part Two: Temple of the Twelve, and Dead Suns: Part Three: Splintered Worlds.

The second new release I’m itching to get my hands on is Pathfinder Map Pack: Starship Decks. This useful collection of sci-fi rooms includes a med-bay, escape pods and a starship brigde, all of which are perfectly suited for starships and buildings. Coupled with Pathfinder Map-Pack: Starship Corridors, or Pathfinder Map-Pack: Starship Chambers, you can easily make a ton of varied environments for your players to explore.

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Paizo’s Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Pact Worlds, due out next month!

The final product we’re going to salivate over is coming out next month: Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Pact Worlds! As previously mentioned on d20 Diaries, Pact Worlds is much more than a book about Starfinder’s campaign setting. Yes, it contains details on all of the major planets of the Pact Worlds. And yes, it has all kinds of awesome details on those planet’s inhabitants, settlements and environments! But it also contains new playable races, new themes, new ships, new archetypes, and new gear, spells and feats! In short, despite being a book about the setting of Starfinder, it’s got a ton of new class options for everyone. I can’t wait!

Thanks for checking out some of Paizo’s new releases with us!

See you next time,

Jessica