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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
This week’s Pathfinder Playtest Update is Version 1.5 and it’s a small one!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
This week brings us a few exciting announcements. For starters, Pathfinder Playtest has just released two new surveys. These are both general feedback surveys which are not connected to Doomsday Dawn. The first is about your experiences and opinions on ancestry and the second is on classes. Both surveys can only be filled out once and feature opportunities for your to offer feedback on each of the ancestry an class options. If there’s any that you don’t want to give feedback on you’re welcome to skip them. It really important to remember that these surveys are very in depth. Make sure you’re prepared to answer detailed questions including which aspects and feats were your favourite, overpowered and so on. It’s handy to have your Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook on hand to reference feat and ability names. Overall I really enjoyed the ancestry survey, but I did have trouble with the class survey. It had an error which kept redirecting me back to the beginning of the survey after I completed the feedback on the first class. I’m going to head back and try again later, but for now I’ve had to leave it be. When you’re ready, be sure to head over to Paizo’s website and fill out the surveys. Or click the links provided: Ancestry Survey and Class Survey.
UPDATE: The survey is now working fine for me!
The other big announcement? PATHFINDER KINGMAKER! I know, I know, Kingmaker’s an old campaign. But we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about Pathfinder Kingmaker the computer game! This RPG is currently available for pre-order on both GOG and Steam and is going to be released next week. It looks AMAZING (if only my computer was good enough to play it… Haha). This game follows the story of the Kingmaker Adventure Path, and expands upon it greatly, including an entire new ending, a plethora of new characters, and a ton of quests. You’ll have to conquer, rule, and protect your own nation in the Stolen Lands! There’s supposed to be a ton of character options for your characters, including multi-classing and archetypes. After completing the tutorial and prologue you can also create your own team of characters. In addition, there’s eleven pre-made party members who have their own stories, personalities, quirks, and abilities. Each has tied to unique events from the game’s storyline, and some of them can even be ‘romanced’ by your characters. I’m definitely looking forward to the banter. Haha.
So who are these characters? So glad you asked!
One of them will be familiar to most of us: Amiri the Kellid barbarian. There’s also Nok-Nok the goblin rogue (who some of us might recognize from his Pathfinder Adventure Card Game promo card). The rest (as far as I know) are all new. Ekundayo the Garundi ranger, Harrim the dwarf cleric of Groetus (god of the end-times), Jaethal the elven undead inquisitor of Urgathoa (goddess of undead), Jubilost the gnome alchemist, Linzi the halfling bard who’s going to chronicle your adventures, Octavia the half-elf arcane trickster and her good friend Regongar the half-orc magus, Tristian the human cleric of Sarenrae (goddess of the sun and redemption), and finally Valerie the human fighter who gave up a life in service to Shelyn (goddess of beauty and love) to learn to fight. They look like a fun group of unique characters. And their art? AWESOME. All of them look great.
For more information on Pathfinder Kingmaker you can check out Paizo’s blog post, or watch some of the previews from GOG and Steam. Want to get the whole scoop? Pick up the game yourself! And be sure to swing by and let us know what you thought of the game.
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.
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?!
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!
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).
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.
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.
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!
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!