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

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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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 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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