A Whirlwind Week!

Whoooo! It’s been a busy week.

My kids had their school holiday concert this week. They were supremely excited for it. My daughter’s been practising her holiday songs and dancing around every day since they first started practising two months ago. She would give me a mischievous smile every time I saw her practising, then shut the door in my face. Haha. Anyway, the concert was a lot of fun. They sang Hanukah, Kwanza, Christmas, and holiday songs, and had a ton of fun. I had my niece and nephew with me for both shows (they do an afternoon and an evening show) which I suppose might make some people nervous. What two and four year old want to sit nice through a concert, never mind the same one twice? But they’re usually pretty good for me, and I bring them with me every year, so they were pretty excited to see their cousins put on a show for them. They had a lot of fun and were actually really, really good. Which was nice. I got to enjoy the show too, haha. I parked my niece in her stroller at the edge of an aisle so she could see, but other parents kept getting up and standing in front of her and blocking her view. I suppose they figured she was ‘just a baby’ and wouldn’t mind. Ha! She’s two and at that age where she’s using new words every day. So, every time someone purposely stood in front of her she’d shake her little fist and exclaim, “HEY! CAN’T SEE! YOU! GO! I CAN’T SEE!”

So many parents jumped and looked around shocked to see it was this tiny, cute little chubby toddler giving them a scolding. Some moved, some ignored her, some scowled at her, some jumped a foot like we were on some gag show, but either way I had a laugh. She’s adorable. Haha.

Later in the show Santa made an appearance and went through the crowd greeting kids so my niece and nephew were just AMAZED. “SANTA! ITS SANTA! LOOK AUNTIE! SANTA!!” My kids up on stage were pretty excited about it to. Apparently Santa had made a few visits to their rehearsal ahead of time to say he was coming and greet all the kids. My daughter explained to me later that night that someone from her class had written him an email to invite him to the concert, so OF COURSE he came. It was cute.


Last night we went to a fancy gala for my husband’s work. Princess Auto is celebrating its 85th year in business. Not only that, it’s a small Winnipeg-based, family owned, Canadian business that stretches from coast to coast. Many of you won’t have ever heard of Princess Auto before, but let me start by saying: no, they don’t sell cars. Haha. They were originally an auto wrecking business based on Princess Street here in Winnipeg, but as the years went on their owners were always adapting to the current and future retail market. They got into army surplus at the end of the war, mail order catalogs, and later stores. They kept changing with the times and now they have 43 stores across Canada and are opening one more that I know of this year, with a few more in 2019. They sell products in all kinds of categories: hand tools, outdoor, farm, trailer, driveline, hydraulics, and surplus (where you can find good deals on just a bunch of.. stuff. Haha). Where I live people either have never heard of Princess Auto, or LOVE IT. Like, OBSESSIVELY love it. Their customers are absurdly loyal. I suppose it’s mostly due to their ethos. Princess Auto has made it their mission, and always has, to treat their customers and employees with kindness and respect. They’re one of those businesses where the regulars come in and hang out all day, chatting and visiting and browsing. Staff probably knows them by name, what they do for a living, and about their family. Like at an independent coffee shop, or your local gaming store. A little community where everyone’s welcome. I’m just some employees wife, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the owners, CEO, and all kinds of other wonderful people plenty of times. A lot of customers bring in gifts for the staff and store, just because. I have some smoked fish and pepperoni sticks made by some happy customers sitting in my fridge right now.

Anyway, the folks over at Princess Auto are super nice, and they always throw a great party, so it’s one of those work get-togethers that is always fun to go to. For the 85th Anniversary Gala they hosted a big dinner and dance, with a live brass band, free food and drinks, prizes, gifts for everyone, and (very important) free cab vouchers to get home. There were staff in from all over the country, and guests of honour from the early days of Princess Auto. It was a lot of fun.

My kids went for a sleepover to my Mom’s house for the evening, so I’m sitting in my living room as I type this with a hot cup of tea and… silence. There’s just the tap of the keyboard as I type, a distant drip in my sink — I really should get up and turn that off — and my husband’s snoring from the other side of the apartment. It’s so… still.

I’m not used to that. Being still.

Even when my kids are at school I’m watching other young children and trying to stop them from tearing my modest apartment apart. Life is never quiet for me. And certainly never still.

It’s weird. But nice. Give me another few hours and I’ll miss my kids. Haha. But, for now, it’s the first quiet break I’ve had in a long time.


Later this week it’s my birthday. I’ll be turning… (pardon me while I count) … 33! Yes, I literally had to count. Honestly, once I turned 18 (which is the year you’re an adult where I live in Canada) I just stopped counting. I’m an adult! That’s all I need to know. Haha. I don’t do much for my birthday. I’m not one of those people who has a big party, or even family over really. I usually just take a day off from babysitting and spend the day with my husband. My birthday wishes? Same as always! Hugs from my kids, a day free from chores and cooking, and a slurpee for a treat.

I’m a fan of the simple things. Haha.

Not sure what I’ll be doing this year. Taking my kids to school. Probably cleaning my house and cooking. Haha. But, my husband booked the day off (he’s a sweetheart), so maybe I’ll make him do all my chores for me.

Hey! A girl can dream!

So, from me and mine to you and yours, here’s wishing you all happy birthdays throughout the year. I value every one of you that comes by to visit our little corner of the internet.

A thousand thanks!


In other news, PaizoCon registration has officially begun!

PaizoCon will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in SeaTac, Washington over Memorial Day weekend (which is May 24–27). I may admit that I’m a little jealous of all you folks who are going to attend. Haha. At PaizoCon you can meet your favorite Paizo artists, authors, designers, developers, editors, and personalities. You can also play games at the Pathfinder and Starfinder Society organized play tables, attend panels and workshops, get some snazzy sneak-peeks, and (of course) buy stuff! This PaizoCon will also mark the relaunch of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (which has been getting an overhaul) and their new Adventure Path: Curse of the Crimson Throne. The Starfinder team  apparently has some secrets to share, and Pathfinder Second Edition is sure to be a hot topic, as well.

The Guests of Honor for PaizoCon 2019 are Liane Merciel (author Pathfinder Tales: Hellknight), Wayne Reynolds (freelance illustrator whose work includes every Pathfinder RPG hardcover release and the Pathfinder Iconics), and The Glass Cannon Podcast (weekly live-play podcasters who play Pathfinder and Starfinder. I’ve previously written about them here.).

Curious about pricing? Look no further!

  • 4-Day Badges are $75.00
  • 4-Day Kid’s Badges are $40.00
  • PaizoCon Preview Banquet Tickets are $45.00 and include an exclusive commemorative item available only to attendees at the Preview Banquet and through auctions or prizes at select charity events.
  • Purchasing a 4-Day Badge (regular) and a Preview Banquet ticket together are $110 ($10 savings)

For more information on PaizoCon 2019 and to register head over to PaizoCon.com. Want to learn more about the special guests? Check out LianeMerciel.com, WayneReynolds.com, and GlassCannonPodcast.com.


In other news, Wayfinder is announcing their accepted authors this week. Wayfinder is a free Paizo magazine written by fans, for fans, which features a ton of new content for the Pathfinder RPG. The issues are always a free download on Paizo’s website, and are always a treat to read. Usually they follow a theme and this year it’s not about Pathfinder at all! It’s about Starfinder! Absalom Station to be exact. They’ve been accepting entries from fans since the summer, and reading through them for another two months, and now this weekend they’re supposed to announce everyone who’s articles and submissions they’re going to use. My kids each created a creature for Wayfinder this year, and I submitted a Weal and Woe article and two themes. We’re all excited to see if any of us made the cut. My kids, particularly, are on the edge of their seats. It’s adorable. We’ve got our fingers crossed.

Wish us luck!


Finally, I want to talk about Pathfinder Friday. This past week’s episode was AWESOME! Erik Mona, Chief Creative Officer and Publisher of Paizo, was on the show and was an amazing guest. Erik has been with the team at Paizo the whole time. From back in the Dungeon and Dragon Magazine days, when Pathfinder wasn’t even born yet. This marked his first time on the show since they got they’re snazzy, comfy set for the twitch stream, and wow! They should really get him on more often!

Erik shared a ton of information with us about the Starstone! From behind the scenes inspirations, to the history and lore of the Starstone, how it arrived on Golarion, it’s effect on the world, its powers, and how you can use it. Just a ton of interesting information. Some of it was even new to me (exciting!).

For those of you who don’t know, the Starstone is part of a giant meteorite that was called down from outer space by some ticked off aboleths in order to put those uppity humans back in their place. The meteorite was slowed and detoxified by two Azlanti gods, Acavna and Amazden, which prevented much of the devastation that could have been caused at the expense of their lives. But, the impact still shook up the world. Civilzations ended, the sun was blocked from the sky, the terrain was literally reshaped, some races fled to different locations, which even created new races. In short, it was a BIG DEAL. A long time later a survivor by the name of Aroden found the stone, raised it up from the oceans, created the isle of Kortos, became a god, and made a city for his worshippers called Absalom. Thanks Aroden! When you interact with the Starstone you undergo a series of phantasmagoric visions and experiences that is different for everyone. This is known as the Test of the Starstone, and it sort of pits yourself against yourself. This inner test determines if you’re worthy to be a god, and if so, what you’ll be god of. If you pass you can become a living god, which is sort of like a demigod and is the most available method for ordinary people to become divine. Some people managed (Norgorber, Iomedae, and Cayden Cailean), while many more died in the attempt. Around the Startsone Aroden built a temple and filled it with dangerous tests, traps, and guardians.

“The first part of the Test of the Starstone, the dungeon part, tests your character sheet, but the second part tests your character,” said Erik Mona.

The Starstone is an artifact which had a huge historical impact on Golarion, it’s people, and the Pathfinder Campaign Setting as a whole. It even has a role to play in the Starfinder universe. Which is why this episode was such a neat one to get to see. Because, despite its importance, the Starstone isn’t really something that Pathfinder has focused on. It set the stage for the game and the world, but then it’s been sort of… idle. Nothing’s really happened with it lately, in and out of game. This is something that they hope to remedy in Pathfinder Second Edition. Erik explained that they’re going to do the Test of the Starstone one day, but the question is when and how. Is it better served as an Adventure Path or a high level deluxe adventure? He also mentioned that the team at Paizo is putting in a lot of thought into some central themes which may have been neglected over the last few years. This includes Absalom (which only PFS has focused on), Aroden, the Starstone, and much more.

If you haven’t seen the most recent Pathfinder Friday episode, I highly suggest you give it a watch. You can watch it and other previous episodes on Paizo’s Twitch stream, as well as on youtube. Although, I highly recommend watching it on Twitch so you can see the Q&A portion of the episode as well.

Enjoy!

Have a great week everyone,

Jessica

Starfinder Guild Guide Updates!

Big news for the Starfinder Society today, as the Starfinder Guild Guide has a new update. Now that’s a Halloween treat! There’s some pretty awesome changes this update will be bringing to Starfinder Society Organized Play, but first, lets start small…

There’s changes to the rebuilding rules for characters and personal boons. There are new, expanded, and edited faction boons. The Wayfinders new capstone boon allows you to play as a ghibrani (YAY!), while the Exo-Guardians new capstone boon allows you to use a whole new starship: the Gorgon. The instructions for filling out chronicle sheets have been updated, vehicle tags and vanity boons have been mentioned, UPBs can be bought in any quantity, the Drake’s been edited. And… well there’s plenty of other minute changes you probably won’t notice on a read through. In fact, some of the small changes we named you probably won’t notice either.

But, you know what you will notice?

A new faction! Second Seekers (Jadnura) is now a faction you can join! First Seeker Jadnura was previous lost in the Scoured Stars Trinary system and was recently freed by the Starfinders, led by First Seeker Luwazi Elsebo. Oh, the drama! Be sure to check out this faction’s boons, as some are pretty nifty!

And, my favourite change? All legacy races have been included as playable races available to everyone! Yes! Dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, half-elves, and half-orcs, can now be played by all! *happy dance*

But wait?! What about those boons you may have earned which let you play as a specific legacy race? Never fear! Those boons can be used to increase a single ability score under fourteen by +2 on your existing characters with that race. For special GM boons this will not take up a personal boon slot, while with boons earned through a scenario (such as halfling admittance or dwarf admittance boons) it will take up the personal boon slot.

Awesome!

Those of you who don’t have it can download the Starfinder Society Guild Guide for free on Paizo’s website.

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

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

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Media Frenzy!

Whew! Another busy week has come and gone and I feel like I’ve barely come up for air! This month is flying by! But, enough about chores, work, and responsibility! Let’s talk about something fun.

d20 games in the media.

(Around my house).

Teen Titans Go!
Teen Titans Go! (The Complete First Season)

Every once in a while I mention we’ve seen an episode of a show or movie that references D&D in some way. Stranger Things is and obvious (and amazing) example. iZombie has a wonderful set of episodes that feature Dungeons and Dragons, and my kids had a blast watching Voltron’s ode to the game. Just the other day we saw another on one of our family’s favourite kids cartoons: Teen Titans GO! In case you’re unaware, the Teen Titans are a teenage super hero team created by DC comics. Back in 2003 they had an awesome cartoon that played on the Cartoon Network, and a few years ago they re-released a spin-off of the show as… well an inane comedy. They’re the same characters and the same voice actors, but the show is goofy, irreverent, and rarely features any actual crime fighting. It’s a comedy above all else, and my whole family loves it. Seriously! My favourite episode, ‘And the Award for Sound Design Goes to Rob’ (Season Two, Episode 48) involves silence taking over the world, and the Teen Titans making their own sound effects for everything. When dolphins say ‘Booya!’ and Beast Boy makes punches sound like a fart, you know you’re about to have some laughs. My kids were rolling on the ground in laughter. (Seriously). Anyway, there we were, enjoying some Teen Titans Go! when the episode ‘Riding the Dragon’ (Season 3 Episode 51) started. (Most of) The Teen Titans are enjoying a fantasy game where they attempt to ride a dragon, only to have Robin appear and tell them they’re not playing by the rules. He proceeds to force them to, and spends the entire episode sucking all the fun out of their D&D style game. It’s hilarious.

And then today? My kids had the chance to have their weird and wacky characters ride a dragon in game. They were so excited! They even started singing a song from the Teen Titans episode. The look of absolute joy on their faces was truly a delight. Special thanks to GM Dennis for giving them the opportunity! (Thanks!)

On a similar note, my kids finally discovered the glory of Critical Role! How? Why? …Beastmaster!

Seriously.

My kids saw a picture online of Terry Crews holding up a fake warhammer and roaring. Immediately they exclaimed: “Hey! I know that guy! He was a judge on Beastmaster! Let’s watch that!” (My daughter LOVES Ultimate Beastmaster). So we clicked play.

Warcraft Film
Warcraft

It was an episode of World of Warcraft themed CelebriD&D starring Terry Crews. (I imagine more than a few of you have watched it!). Long story short we gave it a try and my kids were enthralled! They thought it was hilarious. My son thought that Terry Crews’ character ‘Thodak the Blacksmith’ was the coolest, but my daughter loved Marisha Ray’s goblin ‘The Ritz.’ If you haven’t watched it (or any of the other CelebriD&D episodes) and you like that sort of thing I suggest you give it a shot. It was great fun. Of course, my kids have never played World of Warcraft, so when we finally finished watching all the CelebriD&D episodes we watched the World of Warcraft movie, which is currently on Netflix. My husband fell asleep (he’s recently given up coffee, so I wouldn’t hold that against the film), but the rest of us liked it.

While we’re on the topic of random online videos that we’ve enjoyed, I also got a lot of laughs from Joe Manganiello’s and Stephen Colbert’s Dungeons and Dragons interview. Oh! And (not nerd related at all) Robert Irwin’s appearance on Jimmy Fallon with Kevin Hart. Obviously, Kevin and Jimmy are hilarious, but man! Robert is so enthusiastic and adorable! I love it!

We’ve been watching Paizo’s Twitch Channel recently. The Doomsday Dawn live play episodes look interesting, but I’ve yet to give them a try. Admittedly, I don’t have the time to watch them. Haha. I don’t watch anything live, but when I can find the time (usually while preparing vegetables for dinner or something) I put on a shorter video. I regularly watch the Pathfinder Friday episodes (which are a whole lot of Deconstructing Doomsday Dawn recently!). But my favourite? I ADORE Starfinder Wednesdays! May of the recent episodes preview the Against the Aeon Throne adventure path (and information related to it). Recently they started making episodes about different planets in the Pact Worlds. Eox was first. Then Aucturn. And tonight they’re going further afield to the planet Daimalko. Awesome! My kids even love sitting down to watch these ones. It’s such a great way to get the feel for the many planets across in an engaging way. I hope they keep it up!

Speaking of making gaming engaging, I recently stumbled upon the work of Craig Bailey, a GM who makes props to go along with his games. Most of them are from Starfinder’s Dead Suns adventure path and WOW! Are they ever amazing!  Field notes, passports, news clips, and even mock websites where the players can attempt to sift through an NPCs emails! AWESOME! If you haven’t heard of him (and especially if you’re GMing Dead Suns) be sure to look him up on twitter or youtube!

Seriously.

I can’t even imagine the effort put into these ‘handouts.’

*standing ovation*

 In other news (sort of) I read the Dragon+ Magazine whenever I have the time (which is rarely. Did I mention I’ve been busy lately? Haha). For those of you who don’t know it’s a free Dungeons and Dragons web-magazine you can view online or through the Dragon+ app. But, this last issue I made sure to make the time to give it a read. Why? RAVNICA!

D&D Ravnica
D&D: Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica

As some of you may be aware, I don’t just plat d20 games. I love all kinds of games. Including collectible card games. And, although my kids love Pokemon, my game of choice is Magic: The Gathering. By far. Love it. I love the game, the art, the lore, the worlds… Everything except the COST! Haha. So when I heard that Dungeons and Dragons was joining forces with Magic: the Gathering and releasing a Ravnica campaign sourcebook I squealed in glee. Then I thought: “It’s about time!” Cause, really! They’re both Wizards of the Coast! Why did this take so long?!? D&D: Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica is due out near the end of November, but is already available for preorder on amazon. Even better? At the time of posting it’s twenty dollars off the regular price. If only I had someone to buy it for! (Other than myself…).

A girl can dream.

 Jessica

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

 

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

 

Pathfinder Playtest 1.3!

As the Pathfinder Playtest keeps chugging along, this week brings us new surveys and new rules updates! The new surveys are open for the next chapter of Doomsday Dawn: The Mirrored Moon which reunites your players with their primary PCs for this mini adventure path. And the rules updates? There’s a lot of them! Thirteen new pages of rules, plus a separate pdf with a bunch of new content on… wait for it… archetypes! (Pardon me while I squeal with glee!)

So, what exactly is new this update?

To start with the penalty for being untrained in a skill is greater. While it used to be equal to your level minus two it is not equal to your level minus four. Although it might seem lame, I like this change. Now those people who have taken the time to become trained in a skill actually feel better at it than those who didn’t. Before it was kind of a toss up.

The next major change is the DC chart. They’ve shuffled around the DCs a bit, and fine-tuned it. This also effects the DCs across all skills and throughout Doomsday Dawn and the Pathfinder Playtest Scenarios. Yeah. This change is sweeping! I’m curious to see how it plays out.

Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook
Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook.Also available as a free download on Paizo’s website, along with the rules updates.

There’s also… the ten minute rest! What? Yup! First of all, identifying magical objects no longer takes an hour, it only takes ten minutes. FINALLY. This was one of my major pet peeves from the Playtest so I’m thrilled they changed it. Ten is more manageable. Repairing items? Also ten minutes. And finally, they’ve added a new way to use the medicine skill. You can now use it to treat wounds. This takes — you guessed it — ten minutes and can heal up to six people (yourself included) of some of their wounds. This means that there are now ways to heal yourself and your party without relying on magic. In addition, it makes taking a ten minute break after a fight a standard, organic thing to do. You fight, you win. Yay! You bandage your wounds. While the healer does that the mage identifies a magical item and the fighter repairs his shield. It fits. You know? This I can get behind.

There have been some nice changes to classes. Alchemist’s are no longer double-dinged on resonance when using infused items that they give to their companions. Monks finally have simple weapon proficiency so they can actually use a ranged weapon. Thank goodness! Rangers have some new 1st level feat options, and Rogues no longer need to be Dexterity based. Instead they have a trio of techniques they can choose from at level one.  Sorcerers no longer have to take their later bloodline feats, which makes them feel less restrictive.

Death and Dying rules have been adjusted again, with the inclusion of a new condition ‘wounded.’ For the full details you’ll have to give the pdf a read, but I think this method is meant to make it a bit harder to survive than the last updates made it, but still easier than the original Playtest rules. I’m curious to see how it plays out.

There’s other smaller changes and clarifications. Its been confirmed that shields can never take two dents at once. Its also been pointed out that your spell roll is not used for your spell attack rolls. Instead you use your proficiency modifier and Dexterity or Strength as normal. I was really happy that the spell roll was used for your spell attack rolls, but I can see why that’s not the case. Still, I think it’s and unfortunate clarification. I rather liked being a mage who could naturally aim their spells. (Sad! Haha).

That’s all of the big changes, but there’s also a second document. This contains updated rules for all of the multiclassing archetypes, changes some of them (fighter: here’s looking at you!), and adds a bunch of new ones. Oh, yeah! There are now multi class options for every base class. Very exciting!

In other news, Pathfinder Kingmaker the video game has now officially launched. For those of you who don’t know, Pathfinder Kingmaker is a computer RPG with a wide variety of NPC allies for your character to befriend (and the ability to create your own allies!). The game looks AMAZING. It’s currently available to purchase on GOG and Steam.  For more information on the game check out our recent blog post: here. Already playing? Let me know what you think! I’d love to hear all about it!

Until next time,

Jessica

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Pathfinder Playtest 1.2!

The Pathfinder Playtest is changing again. That’s right, it’s time for some more rules updates!

This week marks the second set of changes to the Pathfinder Playtest rules. Be sure to head over to Paizo’s website and download version 1.2. But that’s not all! You’ll also need to download the new character sheet! It’s been edited to conform with the new rules, and been shuffled around a bit. I rather like the new layout.

Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook
Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook. Also available as a free download on Paizo’s website.

This update document is eight pages long, with the last page dedicated to the open game license and other fine print. It includes all of the updates to Pathfinder Playtest (from the first and second updates). This means that you only need to have the most recent version of the update document, not all of them. Any new additions to the update document are in bold. Although it sounds simple, it’s actually quite hard to differentiate between regular text and bold text in the document, so look closely!  Rules updates are split into four types of rule changes: New Rules Updates, Critical Updates, Other Updates, and Doomsday Dawn Updates. Despite being ranked by importance, it’s imperative you begin to use all of the new rules immediately.

As for the rules themselves, we won’t get into specifics. The document is free and does a better job of explaining things than I ever could. The biggest changes you will notice this time around are with signature skills. They’re gone. Poof. Vanished. No longer does your class restrict which skills you can become Master or Legendary with. Instead, anyone can become Master or Legendary in whatever they want — if you’re willing to invest in that skill of course. I’m a big fan of this change, so I’m happy they went this route. This change affects a lot of other aspects of the game. Some feats are now irrelevant, and others were modified. The text throughout the book has to change a lot. There’s other skill changes you’ll notice as well. Each class is automatically trained in a certain skill, and many classes have more skills they’re trained in to start with.  More nice updates, if you ask me!

There’s some other fun changes. Bards now have a feat that lets them gain 10th level spells. The range on their soothe spell has also been changed to 30 feet. Some of the spells granted by domains are different now. And the barbarian animal totem can now use weapons — as long as they’re NOT raging. There’s some other barbarian updates as well, so be sure to read closely!

This is just a taste of the changes. There’s a lot more updates. Changes will continue to occur over time so your feedback is incredibly important.

Feedback? What feedback?!

Pathfinder Playtest Doomsday Dawn
Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn. Also available as a free download on Paizo’s website.

Surveys. When you’re done playing any part of Doomsday Dawn, the Pathfinder Playtest Society Scenarios, or just playing in general, head on over to Paizo’s website and fill out one of Paizo’s many surveys. Paizo goes through that feedback and makes changes. That’s right! Constantly over this next year they’ll be combing through your survey responses and adapting their rules for the playtest. It sounds like these changes will occur approximately bi-weekly, but don’t quote me on that. Not only do your responses provide Paizo with a large pool of data that they can use to decide the future of the game, it also lets them find out all kinds of nifty little bits of information.

At the moment, you can fill out surveys on a variety of adventures. Each of the Pathfinder Society Scenarios has it’s own trio of surveys: player survey, GM survey, and general feedback survey. Doomsday Dawn originally launched with access to three surveys, all for the first part of the adventure: The Lost Star. (Again, a player survey, GM survey, and general feedback survey). Surveys are now also available for the second adventure in Doomsday Dawn: In Pale Mountain’s Shadow, and the third adventure in Doomsday Dawn: Affair at Sombefell Hall. Further surveys for the later adventures in Doomsday Dawn will be released in the future. There’s also some general feedback surveys available. Soon you can expect to see new surveys on more general topics.

Now, if you haven’t filled out your previous survey on the Lost Star, or In Pale Mountains Shadow, don’t worry! It’s not too late. All of the surveys will be available until the end of the year, and will be revisited by the Paizo team regularly. You haven’t missed your chance to contribute.

Let us know what you think of the new changes in the comments!

Until next time,

Jessica

Playtest
Farewell old character sheet! It’s time to make some changes!

 

Return of the Runelords – Player’s Guide!

The Return of the Runelord’s Player’s Guide has recently been released by Paizo. Meant to go with the Return of the Runelord’s Adventure Path, which takes place in the nation of Varisia, this player’s guide is a free download on their website. The Return of the Runelords Adventure Path is already underway, with volume one, Secrets of Roderic’s Cove, released at the start of this month, and volume two, It Came from Hollow Mountain, released at the end of this month. The other four volumes have yet to be released (but are available for pre-order).

Return of the Runelords Players Guide
Return of the Runelords: Player’s Guide is a FREE download!

Now, I’m not sure about all of you, but I’ve been supremely excited for the Return of the Runelords Adventure Path. I have loved every adventure path set in Varisia, and played through or GMed quite a few of them. It’s a place of adventure, history, mystery, and — for me — fond memories. It’s right up there with my favourite nations of Golarion.

Like the Adventure Path Player’s Guides before it, this one is filled with all the information you need to create a character well-suited to the (Return of the Runelords) Adventure Path, and invested in its major plots and purpose. It contains advice and short compiled lists of which classes and archetypes are best suited to the campaign.  It briefly describes the region that the Adventure Path will be taking place in (Varisia, in this instance), as well as the races found there. It gives advice on which religions are common — including information on some obscure faiths.  It also contains suggestions for animal companions and familiars that are appropriate to the region. However, these lists (excluding the animals) are very brief. This is because the Return of the Runelords is very broad in scope. There is no one class that is better suited to it than others, and no classes that are unheard of. Characters of any race are more than welcome to play. This is a great time to pull out the wacky, weird, obscure, and eccentric character options you’ve been mulling over and give them a try.

There was plenty of interesting information in this little guide, including six new traits specific to the Adventure Path (called Campaign Traits), of which each character is expected to have one. I particularly enjoy ‘accidental clone,’ and ‘scion of legend.’ The player’s guide left me happily inspired. Although there’s lots of neat tidbits we could discuss here, I’m not going to go into details. It’s free! You might as well download it yourselves. What I will say is that all of your PCs must play people who have been in Roderic’s Cove for at least a month, and that you all are acquainted with one another. Not friends, or anything. That’s not required. But you know of each other and would be willing to work alongside one another for this adventure. Furthermore, your characters should be ambitious, and curious. They need to be willing to seek out answers and adventure for themselves. This adventure path does not rely on NPCs hiring you to complete a task or ordering you around. The drive to continue needs to come from your player’s characters. Finally, your characters need to be willing to protect not just the city of Roderic’s Cove, but the nation of Varisia as a whole. This is not a campaign that stays idle. It travels the width and breadth of the country.

Secrets of Roderics Cove Adam Daigle Return of the Runelords 1
Pathfinder Adventure Path 133: Secrets of Roderic’s Cove (Return of the Runelords 1 of 6)

In addition to your typical Player’s Guide information, this one also had a few extra goodies. For starters, Return of the Runelords is the direct sequel to the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path and the Shattered Star Adventure Path (which begins with Pathfinder Adventure Path 61: Shards of Sin (Shattered Star 1 of 6)). It assumes that heroes   — probably your PCs from those campaigns — defeated the Runelord of Greed, Karzoug, and reforged an ancient Thassilonian artifact known as the Sihedron. Of the many heroes who accomplished these feats, a few have decided to stay in Varisia and act as the nation’s defenders. Each player gets to select one of their heroes from either Rise of the Runelords or Shattered Star and make them one of these so called ‘Sihedron Heroes.’ These heroes will be in the background of the campaign, doing… stuff! Haha. (I have no idea what they’ll be doing, but you can bet its important!). As for the other PCs from those campaigns? That’s up to you. They will not play a major role in the adventure path. If you’ve never played either previous adventure path, that’s alright! Your fellow players can select their past PCs and you can make a concept (or stats) of your own hero. It’s a nice touch that ensures none of your players will be left out of the fun. Finally, if you’re from a group where none of your players completed Rise of the Runelords or Shattered Star, the GM will make the entire team of Sihedron Heroes themselves. Full details on the Sihedron Heroes role in Return of the Runelords (for GMs) will appear in other issues of the adventure path, beginning in Pathfinder Adventure Path 134: It Came from Hollow Mountain (Return of the Runelords 2 of 6). It should be noted that at the start of Return of the Runelords, the current location of the Sihedron Heroes is unknown.

It Came From Hollow Mountain Mike Shel Return of the Runelords 2
Pathfinder Adventure Path 134: It Came from Hollow Mountain (Return of the Runelords 2 of 6)

And the second? The maps! SO MANY MAPS! Return of the Runelords begins in the town of Roderic’s Cove, but moves on to other settlements and parts of the country. Other cities that play a major role in this campaign are Kaer Maga, Korvosa, Magnimar, and Riddleport. This player’s guide has a map of every one of those locations, plus a map of Varisia! Now, there’s obviously not enough room in the player’s guide to put full information on those cities, but the fact that maps are provided is a really nice touch. For more information on those other places you’ll have to check out a variety of sourcebooks. Roderic’s Cove is detailed in Pathfinder Adventure Path 133: Secrets of Roderic’s Cove (Return of the Runelords 1 of 6). Kaer Maga (which is my favourite city in Golarion) is detailed fully in Pathfinder Chronicles: City of Strangers. Korvosa is the location of the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path (my personal favourite adventure path) and is detailed fully in Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to Korvosa (also available as a much more affordable PDF download). Magnimar is the home base of the Shattered Star Adventure Path and is fully detailed in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Magnimar, City of Monuments. Finally, Riddleport is the starting location of the Second Darkness Adventure Path, and is detailed in Pathfinder Adventure Path 13: Shadow in the Sky (Second Darkness Book 1 of 6). Looking for more books about Varisia and Thassilon? Check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lost Kingdoms, Pathfinder Player Companion: Varisia, Birthplace of Legends, Pathfinder Comics: Hollow Mountain, and Pathfinder Tales: Lord of Runes.

The last little bit of extra fun involves the campaign’s starting event: you’re attending the weekly Circle Market in Roderic’s Cove. During the first session you have a chance to find a great deal in the market. You’ll get 10% off of a single item chosen from either basic gear, alchemical items, weapons, potions, scrolls, or even a magical object. Although you’re free to choose the object itself, what category of item it is is determined by a d20 roll. It’s think its a nice bit of fun. Particularly if its repeated each time you attend the Circle Market. It is a weekly event, after all!

Runeplague Return of the Runelords 3 Richard Pett
Pathfinder Adventure Path 135: Runeplague (Return of the Runelords 3 of 6)

But, this is a Player’s Guide! It’s not about treasure, or cities, or Varisia. Not at its core. At its beating heart the Player’s Guide is a free tool to help players like us make characters who will work well within the Adventure Path they’re going to commit to. It should inspire us to make characters, entice us with ideas, provide us with some cool traits, and let us go crazy. And this one did.

So after reading the guide, what would I make?

A good question!

There’s a huge number of character concepts you could run with for this campaign, and a ton of classes that would work. In fact it’s one of those nice campaign where pretty much anything goes. I wouldn’t suggest using an aquatic mount or animal companion, but other than that it’s pretty open. I gave all the classes a lot of thought and came up with way too many ideas. I would adore playing the children of some of the other PCs from my family’s Varisian campaigns. Children of the heroes of Curse of the Crimson Throne, Second Darkness, and Rise of the Runelords adventure paths would be a ton of fun. Or, perhaps a spiritualist whose spirit companion is an NPC or a PC who died during one of those campaigns! I’ve always wanted to utilize the harrower prestige class, especially coupled with the deadly dealer feat, but have never had the chance. Someone descended from ancient Thassilonians would be a blast. There’s some fun character options from Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Ancients which would make that enjoyable. I have a soft spot for the Shoanti peoples, and playing a member of the Spire Clan would be particularly fun (they practically worship the ancient monuments dotting Varisia). I would have a blast playing a ex-gray maiden whose trying to start fresh and has the masked maiden vigilante archetype. And that’s not even counting all the other things I’d like to do! Chronomancer wizard, twinned summoner, relic raider rogue, and an arcanist are all on my list of things I’d love to play.

How about you? What character concepts and builds would YOU like to play for Return of the Runelords? I’d love to hear them!

Until then,

Get reading! You’ve got a free Player’s Guide to download!

Jessica


All six issues of the Return of the Runelords Adventure Path are listed below.

Pathfinder Adventure Path 133: Secrets of Roderic’s Cove (Return of the Runelords 1 of 6)

Pathfinder Adventure Path 134: It Came from Hollow Mountain (Return of the Runelords 2 of 6)

Pathfinder Adventure Path 135: Runeplague (Return of the Runelords 3 of 6)

Pathfinder Adventure Path 136: Temple of the Peacock Spirit (Return of the Runelords 4 of 6)

Pathfinder Adventure Path 137: The City Outside of Time (Return of the Runelords 5 of 6)

Pathfinder Adventure Path 138: Rise of New Thassilon (Return of the Runelords 6 of 6)

 

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