The Advanced Player’s Guide Playtest

Hello, and welcome to d20diaires!

It’s been a busy few months around here. A new school year has started for my kids, my little sister is celebrating her 18th birthday, Thanksgiving and Halloween have come and gone, and winter’s beginning to set in. There’s not much snow outside right now, but this past week the wind has finally turned cold. We’ll get much, much colder weather over the next few weeks and months, but my kids are already bundling up in their winter layers for the walks to and from school.

I’ve spent most of my free time working on numerous freelance RPG assignments, which has been an absolute blast! But, today I’m taking a short break from the amazing projects I’m lucky to be a part of, to pop in, say hello, and chat about something I’m super excited for: the Advanced Player’s Guide Playtest!

That’s right! Starting today you can head on over to Paizo’s website and download playtest versions of the four new classes they’ll be bringing to Pathfinder Second Edition’s Advanced Player’s Guide: the investigator, oracle, swashbuckler, and witch! I’m a huge fan of oracles and witches, in particular, so I am absolutely thrilled to see some of my favourite classes rejoin the game so quickly!

The APG Playtest begins today and runs until December 2nd, 2019. Download the rules, build some characters, and take them for an adventure or two. After trying out the classes, head back to Paizo’s website to fill out a survey and offer your feedback on the forums. It’s time to help shape these classes into the best they can be!

The Advanced Player’s Guide releases in July 2020.

For more information, to download the playtest classes, and to offer feedback, check out Paizo’s recent blog post.

Enjoy!

Jessica

Free RPG Day 2019

Today is Free RPG Day 2019!

Did you participate?

We sure did!

Established in 2007, Free RPG Day works with participating hobby game retailers and RPG publishers to bring new and exclusive RPG products and adventures into the hands of gamers worldwide. Fans can grab brand new material for a variety of RPGS for free by stopping by their local participating game and hobby shop.

Last year my family had a ton of fun with Free RPG Day, particularly with Paizo’s two releases: Skitter Shot, a first level Starfinder adventure featuring a crew of excitable skittermanders, and We Be 5uper Goblins, a hilarious sixth level Pathfinder adventure featuring some infamous goblin heroes on their most epic and amazing adventure yet! For those of you who missed FREE RPG Day 2018, both modules are available as a free download on Paizo’s website, or as a physical copy for five dollars.

Free RPG Day BooksThis year Free RPG Day was held on June 15, 2019, with Paizo’s free downloads of the PDFs being available on July 1, 2019.

My husband, my children and I headed out for a trip to our local game shop. There’s a few places you can go in Winnipeg for RPG products, but our shop of choice is Game Knight Games and Cool Stuff. It’s a bit of a trek to get there, two buses and at least an hour and a half of travel time for us, but it has a great selection of RPGs, board games, miniatures, and collectible card games. They also have a spacious game space. It’s a wonderful store. The buses were accommodating, and we made good time. In no time at all we headed inside and perused the goodies on offer. There was quite a selection!

There were two products we knew we wanted to bring home with us: Skitter Crash, a third level Starfinder adventure featuring skittermanders, and We Be Heroes? a Pathfinder Playtest adventure for first level goblins. My seven-year old daughter immediately scampered over to the table and swept up Skitter Crash, while my son grabbed We Be Heroes? This left my husband and I a bevy of books to browse. In the end, my husband settled on The Witcher Easy Mode: An Introductory Booklet to the Witcher TRPG, and I scooped up Modern Age Threefold Quickstart.

Free RPG Day 2019

The Witcher Easy Mode: An Introductory Booklet to the Witcher TRPG is just that –– an easy introduction to The Witcher TRPG. 30 pages in length it includes rules, six pre-generated characters and a short adventure called Still Waters.

Modern AGE Threefold Quickstart is an easy to understand gateway to the Modern AGE RPG that comes with streamlined rules, reference sheets, five pre-generated characters, and an introductory adventure called Burning Brighter. It’s 40 pages long and has a lot of nice art inside.

we be heroes? free rpg day 2019
We Be Heroes?

We Be Heroes? is an adventure we knew we wanted to bring home with us. It’s a Pathfinder Playtest adventure, using the final version of the Playtest rules. We Be Heroes? is a first level adventure written by Brian Duckwitz which continues the tradition of the super popular We Be Goblins series (We Be Goblins!, We Be Goblins Too!, We Be Goblins Free!, We B4 Goblins!, and We Be 5uper Goblins!). However, this adventure features a whole new team of goblin adventurers who are set to take on the minions of the Whispering Tyrant! (And zombie pigs?!) Driven by hunger and the orders of their chief, the goblins of the Crookedtoes tribe are tasked with finding out why all the animals in the forest have fled the region, and what happened to the tribe’s best scout. They get to meet up with some heroic knights, explore a wrecked farmhouse, and… be heroes! We absolutely adored reading this adventure and intend to play it soon — although whether we’ll play it as a Playtest adventure, switch it over to Pathfinder First Edition so we can play it right away, or wait for August and switch it over to Pathfinder Second Edition rules remains to be seen. Either way, we’re going to have a blast with it. If you didn’t get your hands on this amazing product, don’t worry. You’ll be able to download it for free on Paizo’s website in two weeks or so.

skitter crash - free rpg day 2019
Skitter Crash

Finally, there’s my personal favourite… Our skittermander heroes from Skitter Shot are set to continue their adventures in Skitter Crash! Written by Jason Keeley, this is a third level Starfinder module that sees our skittermander heroes crash their ship on a mysterious swampy planet after a run in with space pirates and an interstellar cyclone! They’ll need to find their ship, deal with the space pirates, and (of course!) make some nu-friends! The adventure was a lot of fun. So fun, in fact, that we played it today at our local gaming store with a wonderful GM (you’re awesome, Wil!) and another player new to RPGs (I hope you had fun, Robin!).

The verdict?

This adventure is a BLAST. I highly recommend it.

Skitter Crash Battle

I hope a lot of you got out to Free RPG Day! If you did, I’d love to hear what kind of products you got your hands on, and what you thought of them.

Happy gaming!

Jessica

 

Pathfinder Second Edition: Forging the Future!

We haven’t talked about Pathfinder Second Edition in a while. Neither have the folks over at Paizo. Or, at least, not publicly. That’s because the Development Team has been hard at work sifting through survey data, making changes to the game, and generally working their asses off to make Pathfinder Second Edition the best RPG that it can be.

But, this past Pathfinder Friday on Paizo’s twitch stream, we finally got some news! Jason Bulmahn, Director of Game Design, sat down with Host and Marketing Manager Dan Tharp to talk about the future of Pathfinder.

His first topic of conversation?

Surveys.

Feedback surveys on the PF2 Playtest are going to be open until December 31st at midnight. That’s right! You’ve still got time to give them your feedback, answer their questions, and give Paizo the data they need to continue improving the next version of Pathfinder. Be sure to get your surveys done before the New Year!

But, even though they’re still accepting feedback, and sifting through our responses, the development team is already working on improving the game, and revising everything. Word is they’re halfway done editing the book, with another quarter that they hope to get done over the holidays. (Yes, they brought home more work). The whole development team deserves a huge round of applause. Keep up the good work! (And take a breather while you’re at it!).

Now, as I mentioned, they’re still accepting feedback, and they still testing and retesting everything they can. They’ve made some changes, but they’re not done yet — not by a long shot! In addition, some of the things they’ve changed are likely to change again. But they’re making progress. And Jason decided to share some of that progress with us.

The Top Five Things That You Can Look Forward To for Pathfinder Second Edition!

#5 – Polish and Flavour. Jason admitted that a lot of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook was technically sound, but dry. It lacked pizazz! They intend to change that. The development team is trying their best to inject as much flavour into the rulebook as they can! Thank goodness! Haha. Sneak peeks Jason mentioned included calling the various rogue specializations a ‘Rogue’s Racket’ and that Wizards get to create their own graduate thesis to represent their specialization in magic. Awesome! I can’t wait to see what else they bring to the table.

#4 Jason rewrote Chapter 1. This new introduction to the game is said to be an engaging narrative which is meant to be as entertaining and easy to understand as possible. It even includes a sample build and an example of play. Awesome!

#3 – GM Resources. The folks at Paizo are trying to make GMing as easy as possible. The table of DCs, which were overly complicated, are now streamlined into a simple chart. Conditions are undergoing some changes, as well. Some were removed, others were changed, and they even added a new one: Doomed! Essentially, Doomed lowers your dying threshold. This is a condition players will want to get rid of ASAP!

#2 – Resonance. They got rid of it completely. Pardon me while I dance in glee.

#1 – Proficiency. Although the system makes sense and was met with positive feedback, many players said that they didn’t feel like the numbers involved allowed for enough variance between the proficiencies, so they’re being changed! Untrained will remain +0 (and does not add your level), Trained skills will be at +2 plus level, Expert at +4 plus level, Master +6 plus level, and Legendary +8 plus level. Here’s hoping they’ve got the math right this time around!

Other mentioned changes include allowing the three different alignments for paladins, making spellcasters and spells more powerful, adding ‘Fail Forward’ rules (which is when even on a failed roll your PCs progress, but with some kind of penalty or downside caused by their failure), and more! I don’t know about you, but I’m exciting to see what Pathfinder Second Edition will become!

Jessica

Assorted Dice Rainbow

Pathfinder Playtest Update 1.6!

Pathfinder Playtest Update 1.6 is finally here.

This is it. The last one.

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

So what does this mean?

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

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

And finally?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But wait? What about paladins?

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

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

Enjoy!

Jessica

Pathfinder Playtest 1.5!

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

Sort of.

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

And the only other change?

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

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

Jessica

Pathfinder Playtest: Resonance Test

Resonance.

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

Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook
Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook

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

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

Enter the Resonance Test!

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

So, what are these rules, anyway?

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

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

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

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

Interesting.

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

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

Jessica

SaveSave

Pathfinder Playtest: 1.4!

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

So, what’s new this time around?

Heritages.

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

That’s no longer the case.

Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook
Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook

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

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

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

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

Only time will tell!

Jessica