12 Critical Hits of ‘Pathfinder’ Gaming News From PaizoCon 2016

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Two days into PaizoCon and my son and I have enjoyed a couple fun-packed days of gaming with two still to come. While many other games are played here, PaizoCon focuses, of course, on all things Pathfinder. PaizoCon runs four days, Friday through Monday, and we started the convention with a little Pathfinder Society organized play. I’ve been coming to PaizoCon with my son since he was nine, and over the past four years we’ve taken our characters from noob-firsties to sixth level heroes that can stand their own amongst  the best of them. This weekend we’ve also perished in a delve with pre-generated characters, playtested a first-ever run through of Minotaur Games’ “Battle Taxi“, and nearly killed Bilbo Baggins 20 years before he even found the One Ring. That would have been awkward.

I’ll cover all the awesomeness that is PaizoCon in another post after the con finishes this Monday, but here I’d like to fill you in on all the juicy news from the annual PaizoCon product preview banquet. In addition to running various games throughout the weekend, staff also sit one or two per table at the banquet and guests get to pick who to sit with on a  first-come-first-served basis. It’s a great way to meet the people behind the game. After a filling meal and too-much dessert, we got the scoop on Paizo’s coming year. Be sure to stay tuned to the end for an unexpected Paizo announcment!

  • Horror Adventures: They started by talking about the next Pathfinder RPG release, Horror Adventures. A 256-page hardcover detailing how to run a horror adventure intended to scare both your players and their characters. The book contains new rules such as “corruptions” that allow you to tempt your players to the dark side, sanity and madness rules, and new horrific archetypes such as “serial killer” for the new vigilante class. No rule book would be complete without spells, items, and some new monster feats, such as “skin suit” which is as bad as it sounds. Horror Adventures is sure to “take your game into the darkest reaches, where the dead hunger for the living, alien gods brood in dreams, and madness and death lurk around every corner!” I look forward to finding ways to better make some scenes in the game as horrific as intended.
  • Villain Codex: Paizo has already released the NPC Codex and Monster Codex. Both are great sources for ready-made opponents or for a quick pre-generated player as well. I’ve used NPC Codex in this way many times when my kids out of the blue want to play a game of Pathfinder. The Villain Codex, coming out this fall, is intended to give you campaign spanning adversaries to throw at your players. It provides 20 villainous gangs including Brutal Slavers, Corrupt Guards, Demon Knights, Merry Outlaws, Sinister Cults, and more. The book will contain information on the group, individuals within the group, advice for running them, and new feats, spells, and magic items for them. For anyone who brews their own world, or takes pre-written adventure paths off-book, the codexes are a great resource.
PFRPGVillainCodex
Photo of slide from PaizoCon Preview Banquet presentation.
  • Pocket Editions: Previously announced, both the Core Rulebook and the Bestiary are being released as pocket editions as much smaller books than the original versions, and capable of being opened flat. Unless you have transitioned to the digital age and carry all your books as PDFs, these smaller books will be a boon for anyone that does any traveling with their books (such as Pathfinder Society players who are expected to have the books with them.) At a much cheaper $24.99 for the Core Rulebook and $19.99 for the Bestiary, these books also make entry into the game a little less painful.
  • Encounter Codex: Announced for Spring, the Encounter Codex will be a book full of “vastly customizable” pre-made adventures that can be run with little to no prep. Working in conjunction with the Paizo flip maps and pawns they will serve as quick stand alone encounters, or to be dropped into your campaign serving characters from level 1 – 20.
  • Pathfinder Academy: Tonya Woldridge, Paizo’s Organized Play Coordinator talked about Pathfinder Society and made a very cool announcement concerning the rollout of Pathfinder Academy. Basically Pathfinder Society for kids at conventions where Pathfinder Society is run. Giving them a specific place that is their own, and labeling the play sessions PFA instead of PFS for easy identification, the games include lessons that teach skills such as splash weapons or grappling, then face the kids with an adventure to test that skill. Advancing from beginner, to transition, to advanced, players will learn and work their characters up to 1st level society characters ready for PFS play. Pathfinder Society scenarios will also begin to receive a rating to give parents warning for when a scenario may have content that is inappropriate for younger audiences. Pathfinder Academy is intended for children as young as six. I wish this was around when I first brought my kid to PaizoCon when he was nine.
  • Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and Guild: Tonya also talked some about the Pathfinder Adventure Card game organized play, with a mini-season of The Goblins preceding the release of Mummy’s Mask. Season eight was announced as Year of the Stolen Storm. Mike Selinker talked about some new mechanics we’ll be seeing in Mummy’s Mask. First, Mummy’s Mask is about looting tombs, and all you wonderful tomb robbers will now be able to sell the items you gain. They are also introducing new Occult Adventures classes, including one with 11 item slots. This brings the Adventure Card Game to over 19 class decks!
  • Pathfinder Adventures: Obsidian created Pathfinder Adventures, a phenomenal translation of the Adventure Card Game for iOS and Android tablets. Available now, the game is as entertaining as it is beautiful. While you can pay for content, you can also play to unlock content, so the game is free. At that price there’s really no reason not to try it out. Some differences from the ACG are that Pathfinder Adventures offers randomized scenarios in addition to the regular scenarios (an excellent way to boost in-game cash!) and will soon start offering special daily quests. We know they’ve been working on multiplayer, but they also announced that we’ll be able to re-skin the dice so we don’t all have to have the same blue ones. The most exciting news, however, is that they are working on versions for PC and for both iPhone and Android phones! My phone is what is always with me, so once this happens, I’ll get as sucked in as I did with Fallout Shelter… ah, maybe just one more game before I go to sleep… just one more.
A screenshot of 'Pathfinder Adventures.' It's free, so there's no reason not to try it out! Image from Obsidian.
A screenshot of ‘Pathfinder Adventures.’ It’s free, so there’s no reason not to try it out! Image from Obsidian.
  • Adventure Path: The next adventure path to be released at Gen Con is Strange Aeons, a Lovecraftian horror adventure. Then we’ll see the Ironfang Invasion. After a few off-beat adventure paths such as Iron Gods, Hell’s Vengeance, and Strange Aeons, Ironfang Invasion is a return to some classic monsters, like hobgoblins and medusa. Creative Director James Jacobs says that this will be a chance for those with animal companions and wilderness skills to shine. Last, in September Paizo is releasing a 480-page hardbound version of the ever-popular Crimson Throne updated to Pathfinder rules. Syrinscape, an awesome application for creating in-game sound effects, will be releasing a Crimson Throne sound pack.
  • HarmonquestPathfinder on TV!: Harmonquest is “a comedic journey into the hilarious world of fantasy roleplaying with Dan Harmon (creator of Community).” With celebrity guests each week, such as Nathan Fillion, the series is premiering on NBC’s subscription streaming channel Seeso July 14. Each show will be part live gaming, and part animated action depicting the antics. Now we just need an epic live-action Pathfinder series. Make it so, Lisa Stevens!
Harmonquest will be half live roleplaying and half animation. Image from Starburn Industries.
Harmonquest will be half live roleplaying and half animation. Image from Starburn Industries.
  • Pathfinder Comic: With the latest volumes, Origins and Hollow Mountain, coming to hardback collections, we’re ready for the next volume of Pathfinder Comics. Eric Mona announced the next volume as Pathfinder Worldscape, a mash up of Pathfinder and other Dynamite content such as Red Sonja, Tarzan, and four-armed Martian warriors. This proves to be a wacky-romp. I have loved the Pathfinder Comic series. With beautiful art and great adventures, it has been a great way to share Pathfinder with my kids when we aren’t playing the game.
  • Pathfinder Battles: Wizkid’s line of miniatures has always proved to be excellent. The Rusty Dragon Inn set sold out quickly. The newly announced line, Deadly Foes, proves to continue the trend as depicted in images of a pit fiend, the book of the damned, a clockwork dragon, and others. Wizkid makes affordable pre-painted plastic miniatures perfect for players and game masters alike.

Starfinder

  • Starfinder: Last, and this was a biggy: Paizo is introducing Starfinder a science-fantasy roleplaying game set in Golarion‘s future where magic exists side-by-side with technology. The planet of Golarion is missing, and “the gods will not say where it is.” In its place is Absalom Station, basically “United Nations meets Babylon 5.” An AI has ascended to godhood, providing the mortals with faster-than-light travel, so the players have access to thousands of worlds;
    “the land rush is on!” All core races from Pathfinder, as well as some new races like rat folk, will be available for play. Starfinder is a stand-alone game and all you need to play is the Starfinder Core Rulebook. However, it will be backwards compatible with Pathfinder. Any content from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game will transfer, and if you know how to play Pathfinder, you’ll be able to easily jump into Starfinder. Set to be released August 2017 at GenCon, you can read more about Starfinder at its dedicated website, and in Paizo’s press release. All I can say is that there’s just not enough time to play all the games that need to be played!
Absalom Station
Golarion, the planet, is missing. In its place is Absalom Station, a mix of the United Nations and ‘Babylon 5’. Image from Paizo.

With all the standard releases of great new rules, adventure paths, miniatures, and comics, as well as a new TV show, the Pathfinder Academy, and an entirely new roleplaying game, Starfinder, it was quite a night of news from Paizo! It looks like they’ve got some solid work ahead.

PaizoCon now has daily passes available on-site. In the Seattle area? Pop in and play some games!

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