Pathfinder 2.0 Image

‘Pathfinder Second Edition’ First Impressions

Gaming Tabletop Games

Pathfinder 2.0 Image

Note: Now that I have books in hand, you can check out my more recent article as well!

I love Pathfinder. I love both the complexity and the depth of the system. I love the Adventure Paths, the writing, Golarion, the multitude of character options, and Paizo the company. I will be the first to admit I’m a fanboy. Admittedly though, the game is difficult to teach, and some of the complexity often slows the action, sending us back to the books to check a rule–even for people like me who read Pathfinder rules for fun between games.

So, while I want to keep the rich depth of the game, we can afford to lose some of the complexity.

While I’m not in need of a new addition, I’m happy for one that improves play in exciting and clarifying ways without losing what I love about Pathfinder. In addition to this streamlining though, there are two things I’ve always wanted different in Pathfinder, and one major aspect of the game that cannot be lost.

Here’s what I would want to see in the new edition– two changes and a major keep;

  1. Change: Encourage more movement in combat
  2. Change: Make magic items wondrous again–get rid of the Big Six
  3. Keep: Character options. Keep the breadth and depth of character options both in creation and in play

From what I have seen so far, and based off what I’d want out of a new edition, Pathfinder Second Edition appears to be killing it!

Dynamic Combat

I want to see more movement in combat.

In the current edition of Pathfinder characters get seven different action types, free, full-round, immediate, move, standard, swift, and other. Focusing on movement, this really boils down to  a move action, and a standard action (such as one attack) or, foregoing the movement, the character can take a full-round action. A full round action may give the character access to multiple attacks or special attacks. When taking the full-round a character can take a  free “five foot step.” Because of the in-game value of full-round actions, typically once combat starts it turns into the 5-foot shuffle as everyone is maximizing their damage by taking full-round actions and utilizing 5-foot steps.

Further, if a player does choose to have their character use a move action and a standard action, the move needs to be used entirely before or after the standard action. You could run up to a creature and swing, or swing and then run away, but there’s no running up to something, doing something, and then continuing on your movement.

Harsk and Seoni battle some undead
Harsk and Seoni battle some undead. Image from Paizo Website.

In the new action economy as detailed on a recent blog on the Paizo web site, these seven different actions types are reduced to just an action and a reaction. Most everything a character can do such as move, attack, get a potion, drink a potion, is an action. Most spells take two actions. In a single round, measured in seconds, the character can take three actions, and one reaction.

From the All About Actions blog,

Three Actions

It’s your turn. You get to take three actions. That’s it. You want to move three times? Done. Instead you want to move once, draw your sword, and attack? No problem. How about attack three times? Go ahead (but you’ll take an increasing penalty for each additional attack). With only a few notable exceptions, most things in the game now take one action to accomplish. Opening a door, drawing a weapon, reloading a crossbow, moving up to your speed, raising your shield, taking a guarded step, swinging your greataxe—all of these and much more take just one action to perform.

There are, of course, some exceptions. A few things don’t take an action at all, like talking or dropping a weapon. Conversely, most of the spells in the game take two actions to cast, although some can be cast quickly, such as a heal spell that targets yourself. Many of the classes can teach you specific activities that take two more actions to perform. The fighter, for example, has a feat that you can select called Sudden Charge, which costs two actions but lets you to move twice your speed and attack once, allowing fighters to get right into the fray!

One Reaction
… all characters get one reaction they can take when the conditions are right.

Reactions always come with a trigger that must occur before the reaction can be taken. Let’s say you’re playing a paladin with a shield and you have spent an action to defend yourself with that shield. Not only does this boost your Armor Class; it also allows you to take a special reaction if you are hit by an attack. This shield block reduces the damage taken by an amount up to the shield’s hardness!

This is so much easier to explain and understand for the new and old players alike, but it also opens up a whole new set of gameplay. The Paizo development staff has been responsive in the comments to the blog posts, and Vic Wertz said that, “this allows strategic things you could not do before.”

For instance, consider in The Lord of the Rings when the fellowship is fighting the cave troll in Moria. The characters are darting in, taking single strikes at the big cave troll, and darting back–move action in, attack action, move action out. The whole party could be doing that, the beast might get its one reaction to strike at one of the party, but it’s going to have to choose who to move towards to strike on its turn. It won’t be able to just stand there and unleash all potential attacks on the characters that are forced to stand next to the cave troll. It’s a simple and obvious tactic that just was not possible in original Pathfinder. The best you could do was span this over two rounds– Move in, attack, stand there taking hits until your next round when the character could attack, then move away.

I can also envision a character running across a battlefield trying to reach a destination, hacking down minions as they go. In First Edition, the character would be forced to either start or end their round next to a creature they were attacking. In Second Edition, given three actions, any number of which could be movement, they could be darting across the field, taking a swing when convenient. I keep talking about melee combat and movement, but any other action could be used as well.

Further, in Pathfinder First Edition, a player has an all-or-nothing choice–forgo all of my movement to use all my attacks (might be two, or at higher levels three or four), or take one attack and move. In second edition, not only do characters have the option of three attacks right at first level (something a one fisted fighter in first edition does not get until 11th level), but a player can choose to take one or two attacks and still get movement, or go all out and take all three attacks with no movement.

As I discuss later in this post, character options in and out of combat are key for me, and this new action economy is simple, easy to explain, and while I have not played this yet, it seems as if it’s going to result in more character choice, with dynamic and cinematic combat as characters and their foes are moving all over the battlefield.

I just focused here on how I feel the new action economy will result in more movement on the battlefield. Read the full action economy blog (and if you’re ambitious, the comments) to see everything else this new economy opens up for the game, such as the new reaction that can be taken when it’s not a character’s turn–fighters can take an attack of opportunity, or a sword-and-board fighter can do some interesting things with their shield. Wizards can maybe use their reaction to cast a counter spell. It’s a whole new gamespace for Paizo to work in that was historically just “Attack of Opportunity” a mechanic that discouraged so much interesting play. There are hints that not only will fewer characters and monsters be able to take Attacks of Opportunity, but that fewer actions will trigger them. AOO’s are some of my player’s biggest complaints–often they say something they want to do, just to hear, “that triggers an AOO.” Not being the rules-nerds like me, they just figure I’m making it up as I go–come on, It’s not that hard!).

Wondrous Magic Items

I want magic items to be wondrous, special, and rare again.

In the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons days magic was rare (in my campaigns) and had interesting effects. They weren’t just stat boosting items. Pathfinder First Edition makes the assumption that as characters level they will be boosting their to-hit, armor class, saving throws, and abilities such as strength and intelligence, through the use of magic. Characters are mathamatically expected to have what has become known as the “Big Six” to stay competitive against level appropriate monsters–magic weapon, magic armor, cloak of resistance, stat-boosting item (headbands for mental stats, belts for physical), ring of protection, and an amulet of natural armor.

Expecting characters to have the Big Six has a couple of negative effects

  1. Magic items are boring stat boosters: In the old system characters have limited slots for items–if the character is wearing a Cloak of Resistance (that gives a yawn-inducing bonus to saving throws), you can’t also be wearing something interesting like Cloak of The Bat, or Cloak of the Hedge Wizard for instance. This is true of rings, amulets, and all the other items as well. Interesting items are sold to buy “necessary Items” in Pathfinder 1.0.
  2. Magic is everywhere/not special: Requiring players to have the Big Six also results in the Christmas Tree Effect. The character is lit-up with magic! Magic is not rare and exciting, it’s commonplace and ubiquitous.
Hyrm an intelligent magic sword
Hyrm, an intelligent magic Bastard sword from, Pathfinder Tales ‘Liar’s Blade.’ Magic promises to be special again in ‘Pathfinder Second Edition.’ Illustration by Greg Opalinski.

While I eagerly await a blog post detailing the changes to magic items, it appears as if Pathfinder Second Edition fixes this issue. From the initial blog post First Look at the Pathfinder Playtest, Paizo allude’s to the elimination of the Big Six.

Monsters and Treasure

Of all of the systems that Game Masters interact with, magic items are one of the most important, so we spent extra time ensuring that they are interesting and fun. First and foremost, we have taken significant steps to allow characters to carry the items they want, instead of the items that they feel they must have to succeed. Good armor and a powerful weapon are still critical to the game, but you no longer have to carry a host of other smaller trinkets to boost up your saving throws or ability scores. Instead, you find and make the magic items that grant you cool new things to do during play, giving you the edge against all of the monsters intent on making you into their next meal.

Some of how they allow for deviation from this Christmas Tree effect will likely be rebalancing encounters so that these inherent bonuses are not necessary, but also, there are some other ways characters will achieve these bonuses without the need of magic. One is more liberal stat increases like in Starfinder, where, instead of a one point increase in one ability score every four levels, characters will be boosting multiple ability scores every few levels. Another such stat boosting method is that weapons come in various levels of workmanship–mundane through legendary, each providing increasing bonuses to hit, just because of the quality of the weapon.

The fourth episode of The Glass Cannon Podcast playtest also spends some time talking about how magic items will be implemented. The mechanics are promising. Characters will be limited to how much magic they can use in a day–items worn, potions consumed–by tracking something called “Resonance.” Each player has an amount of Resonance (Level + Charisma modifier if I heard correctly), and when an item is donned or used, Resonance is used, once Resonance is used up, the there is risk of failure with additional magic use. This will greatly decrease the Christmas Tree Effect.

Another interesting magic item bit gleaned from the podcasts is that magic weapons damage dice scale with their magical bonuses. If a longsword does 1d8 damage, a +1 longsword does an extra d8 damage, and a +2 longsword does 3d8!

Character Options

So far I have discussed two items I am happy to see changed from Pathfinder First Edition. But there’s one thing, much more important to me, that Pathfinder Second Edition must keep, and that’s character options. Character options during character creation, as well as options in and out of combat.

One of the best parts of current Pathfinder is the enormous variety of character builds. Given the number of classes, feats, traits, skills, and many other choices, players can make whatever character they envision.

Harsk the iconic ranger
Harsk the iconic ranger. It appears as if ‘Pathfinder Second Edition’ will give us character options at every level. Illustration by Wayne Reynolds.

In the Paizo blog post, Leveling Up, we get a peak at what goes into building a character.

Leveling Up!

Gaining new levels and the toys that come with them is a core part of Pathfinder First Edition, and we want to make it more rewarding in the new edition.

Once you have enough Experience Points to level up, you’ll increase your proficiencies, then get some more Hit Points (8 + Constitution modifier for a cleric, for example), and then get to make the choices for your new level. What choices? Those are all covered on your class’s class advancement table. For instance, at 2nd and 3rd levels, the cleric gets the following:

  • 2 Cleric feat, skill feat
  • 3 2nd-level spells, general feat, skill increase

One thing we knew we wanted to include in the new edition was a good number of choices for all characters. In first edition, this could be pretty unequal. Even though over time, the game incorporated more ways to customize any type of character, we wanted to build in more robust customization into the structure of every class. That’s why every class gets specific class talents (which include spells for spellcasters) at 1st level and every other level thereafter, increases to skills every other level, and feats at every level!

Feats are one of the best ways to customize a character and give them special and heroic things they can do. Getting a choice of a new feat at every level makes leveling always have something interesting to add to your character–no more “dead levels.”

Feats Feats Feats!

On any level when you don’t gain a class feat, you gain a skill feat to change the ways you can use skills, a general feat that’s useful to any character regardless of class, or an ancestry feat that reflects the training or advantages of your people. Skill feats are part of the general feat category, too, so if you really want to invest in your skills, you can drop 15 feats on improving them!

Many of your feats—especially class feats—give you new actions, activities, and so on that you can use. They have a special format to tell you how they work with your three actions and one reaction. Formatting them this way means that it’s easier to tell whether a feat is something you can always do or a special action you can take. In Pathfinder First Edition terms, this would be like the difference between Weapon Focus and Vital Strike.

One of our goals with feats was to make them easier to choose and to use. Most feats require very few prerequisites, so you won’t need to worry about picking a feat you really don’t want in order to eventually get one you do. Any prerequisites build off your level, your proficiency, and any previous feats the new feat builds onto.

I’m fond of classes such as the Magus that have class specific magus arcana to pick from. This class design looks like we’re not only giving players something to choose at every level, but also special choices based off of their class decision.

I also like that it looks like we’re alternating between class feats and skill or ancestry feats. When there’s no limit to feat selection there’s the temptation to just pick the optimal combat feat. I like having the impetus to pick more flavorful feats.

While I’m eager to get my hands on the class mechanics and choices, it looks like Paizo is satisfying my must-have requirement of character options. It’s one of Pathfinder’s core strengths, and I’m glad that they see it that way too.

More to Come!

Paizo is putting out three blog posts a week to wet our appetite for Pathfinder Second Edition right up until the release of the playtest materials in August. The PDFs will be available for free on the Paizo site come August 2, but If you want a printed version, you’ll only get it if you pre-order by May 1st.

Want more? Go check out the Pathfinder Playtest podcasts. The amazing folks at the Glass Cannon Podcast, sat down with Paizo’s Director of Game Design, Jason Bulmahn, and Publisher Eric Mona to play through the Crypt of the Everflame Pathfinder module, with Jason Bulmahn converting the module on the the fly for the Pathfinder Second Edition ruleset. Highly entertaining while giving us some great insight into the new edition.

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27 thoughts on “‘Pathfinder Second Edition’ First Impressions

  1. Awesome article man, well written and hits all the heavy points right on the head. I’d definitely love to chew the fat in the lead-up to Playtest if you’re ever keen man.

    1. Thanks for reading! I’ll definitely be writing more about it… I already have so much more to say and wonder about based off the blogs coming out from Paizo. Excited to get to playtest!

  2. Character creation is the best part of Pathfinder. I really feel like they took a step backwards in Starfinder and hope they don’t do something similar in P2.0.

    1. It’s looking promising… I hope there’s a way to access all the class feats for characters not of that class. Will give us more flexibility in character creation.

      Currently though it’s looking like we get significant choices every level… which is great.

  3. I’m going to be honest and ask a very stupid question: Why would you want to change a system when you have one that works just fine? Pathfinder is the reason 4th ED D&D flopped.
    Being autistic, learning new systems can be a royal headache because of all of the confusion of learning a new system. I’m not looking forward to this.
    Personally, I think that this is a waste of time and money. A lot of people put hundreds, if not thousands of dollars into this game. Why should we spend more money for a change in the system that is not guaranteed to work?

    1. It’s not a stupid question at all Mat,
      Think of it another way. If you played 1 game of Pathfinder every week could you get through all the content that Pathfinder v1 has to offer? If you can I’d be very impressed because there’s honestly so much stuff that the arrival of a new edition won’t really impact most people’s gaming.

      Pathfinder is so chokkas with content that there will never be a shortage of games, character, adventures for players to use for their needs. But being able to create the foundations for what will hopefully be a more streamline and simplified system is needed to keep pace.

      Right now so many other systems are easier for new people to get into and learn and Pathfinder for all it’s popularity is still considered one of the most complex games available. Pathfinder v2 is trying to do what it does best, become a marriage of the best parts of D&D, simple and easy mechanics together with a ton of customization for your characters and adventure.

      I don’t think I’ll ever stop playing 1st ed, but neither am I going to avoid the new Pathfinder v2. I love the setting and love the game and look forward to making sure my voice is heard for shaping the new edition. I hope you will as well, we need passionate people like yourself to stand up and say “This is what was awesome and what we want”

    2. Those are all totally valid points. It is an interesting business decision that would make a great case study in a businesses class!

      In response to some of the points and questions though…

      1. I wouldn’t say that Pathfinder is THE reason 4th ED did not do was well as it could. I believe it was a mix of 1) new edition is always going to leave a dedicated group on the old version 2) 4th ed was a significant change in MANY ways from 3rd edition, for some, many unpopular ways, 3) this coupled with the fact that Paizo was no longer licensed to support 4th edition (no more Dungeon or Dragon magazine, etc), Paizo really had to make Pathfinder. Having an excellent next edition to 3.5 available gave all the prior fans somewhere to go. I don’t see Paizo cutting out the third party companies, so the 3rd party co’s will happily make new content for the new game… they won’t be creating a direct competitor because business decisions like happened with 4E. Further, I don’t think Pathfinder 2nd edition is going to be a huge leap from Pathfinder 1E. I believe it will still feel like Pathfinder, but just smoother.

      2. Why change? As said in the other comment by AskaPathfinder, the game is extremely complex. It could be simplified without losing what we love about the game. And while I love Pathfinder 1E there are things I would love to see changed, like the requirement of the Big6, like static combat, etc… all the stuff I wrote in this post above. As long as the rich depth in character options remains, and the interesting world with superb APs. Plus, business-wise… Paizo’s whole business model revolves around selling books, we can’t fault them for wanting to create something 1000’s of people will want to buy.

      3. “Not guaranteed to work”… I don’t know what wouldn’t work. Pathfinder 1E, D&D 1, 2, 3, 3.5, 4e, 5e… ALL WORK. They just have different play-styles and differing levels of complexity. You may say that at high-levels some of these versions cease to “work”, but I’m not afraid of the new rules not working. Especially after months of public play testing.

      4. I too have invested a ton of time and money into the current edition. It is painful to think I am going to start over my collection of new rules… more painful than the investment though is the WAIT for things I want, like the Magus. While I believe it won’t be hard to convert APs and such, it’s not as nice as using product designed for the system you’re using. All that’s true, BUT just because a new version is released does not mean my old system does not work anymore, I’ll likely overlap game systems as my home games are deep in a couple campaigns, using classes I don’t expect to see in 2E for a good 2+ years from now. But what I’ve seen of the new system… simpler, more clear rules… I’d love to get my less rule-savvy players into the new system. The ability to keep using 1E is less true if you are primarily a society player… 1E society games will likely die off, if not for lack of support support, in terms of games available… so if you are primarily a PFS player, yeah, you’ll likey be forced to change sooner.

      All that said, some customers will certainly take this transition as a reason to jump over to D&D 5e, some customers will stay on 1E (which isn’t really a lost customer… Paizo will sell probably PDFs of all the old rules forever and hard copies as long as they last). But, many people are pretty excited by this new version and all it has to offer.

      Thanks for reading and for your comment. Your concerns are certainly felt by others as well, and we’re all interested in seeing how this goes!

      And like AskaPathfinder says, I look forward to contributing feedback during the playtest… the best way to get the perfect game is to help create it through that feedback!

      1. If you think that Pathfinder is complex, you should stop role playing. This is one of the simplest systems that I have ever played and I played 2nd edition D&D and 3rd before learning Pathfinder. My autism made it difficult to understand, but now that I can, I help other people in character generation and the whole nine yards.
        Don’t get me wrong, my form of autism is good with doing numbers, but all it takes is practice and any one can do it with very little trouble without having to min/max a character.

        1. I certainly wouldn’t recommend anyone quit roleplaying games based off their preference for more or less complexity. I do agree that anyone can learn to play Pathfinder, it just takes time and/or help from others. Though, for someone without prior gaming experience, and no guidance from experienced individuals, learning the Core Rulebook would be a daunting task. The game could certainly lose some complexity while keeping or gaining depth, and thus make it a more accessible game.

          Thanks for commenting!

        2. Matt.
          Sorry, but Pathfinder is complex. Now there are many light role playing systems, that in fact signify, how complex is pathfinder.
          Stats, skills, feats, ability, per day/per week use abilities. All influence each other and require bookkeeping (not to mention scrolls/potions). It is also intuitive (and in creation was similar to D&D3.5 allowing smooth transition). Perhaps transition was easier for your, as it was very similar to the previous systems, that you’ve played.

          1. So first off, All the things you’ve mentioned are basic TTG mechanics, and they are not unique to pathfinder. Pathfinder has very simplified stats, feats, stats and even combat flow compared to most other games, and for a comparison we have simply “perception” in pathfinder, while DnD for the longest time had “sight”, “smell” and “hearing as three separate skills.

            Second, it’s good storytelling and DM’ing when the actions the party took at a point affect everything else in the world, that’s called “World building”. That has nothing to do with “pathfinder or any ttg is difficult” that has to do with “you are a bad or lazy gm/player”. Here’s an example:

            Your party is on the way to a major city and while traveling through a small town is asked to investigate a nearby cave that has been glowing and has strange sounds coming from it, but the party refuses and moves on. Several days later it turns out that a cult of kobolds had been trying to open portal to the abyss inside the cave… And that event doesn’t pause because you left. A good DM would allow that to factor into the future; the cult successfully opens the portal after 1d4 days in game, and without the aid of the player party the town is hopelessly overrun by demons and kobolds. Most citizens are killed while the rest flee the destruction, and when the razing of this town is complete the raiding group moves toward the next inhabited village. The day after you arrive at a nearby city a large number of refugees from the town arrive, they quickly recognize the party and make a point to let EVERYONE know that you “COULD” have done something, but chose not to, and now their families are dead and demonic raiding party is loose in the countryside. By nightfall even more refugees arrive, as the devastation spreads across the countryside. Now even the street urchins and pick pockets spit on you as you walk by, no one will do business with you and the town guard makes it very clear that you are not welcome in their city. You could potentially use diplomacy to rectify this, but this diplomacy check now has a -6 attached to it and the only conditions the people will accept is you going out and facing the threat you could have prevented. And many of them will hope that you die. While fighting the raiding demons, you discover that they’re being helped by a noble in the city, and intend to summon their commander, a lesser demon lord, directly into the city you just came from… But now those citizens refuse to believe you when you bring warning. They might have believed you, had you gone into the cave and stopped the portal in the first place. But why would they believe the cowards that stood by and did nothing?

            Pathfinder is not complex. You are just lazy.

          2. Thanks for commenting Sean… but I don’t understand your second part. I agree that all the things listed in merlin’s comment are in many TTRPGs, but then the example of a scenario with a single diplomacy role to convince the town of something… the story may have some complexity with multiple things leading to the problem, but, maybe I’m agreeing with you, but the mechanics utilized in the story are simple. Single skill check.

            The “Complexity” that I’m talking about is not in the specific mechanic (like skills in PF2 are more “complex” then PF1 with untrained, trained, etc), but I’m measuring complexity in how many different mechanics and sub-rule systems a person needs to know. While skills are more complex in PF2, the SYSTEM as a whole is less complex because skills, AC, To Hit, Saving Throws ALL use the same mechanic, so you just need to know one thing.

            So, I guess I’m agreeing with you, though I would not call anyone lazy… it’s all different preferences about what you want to focus on. Sure anyone can make a deep and interesting character story-wise… I personally like depth and choice in the mechanics of my character to go along with that. PF1 was excellent at that… and it looks like PF2 is maintaining that, while reducing the complexity (number of different sub-systems you need to now)… albeit with specific changes that I question (why would anyone summon now).

    3. I totally agree. Instead of changing everything just to be changing things like it seams they did. There should be three reasons to change something. One; make it more balanced. Two; make it easier and more understandable not vague creating more questions. Three; fix problems.

  4. Still nervous about being stuck with Starfinder pigeonholed character creations. However that aside, a lot of the positive changes to combat reminds me of NWoD vs OWoD combat mechanics. Much more streamlined and fun however there is still a place for OWoD along side NWoD.

    1. Diverse, unique, customizable character building is really on the top of my list. It’s why I’m with Pathfinder. I do plan to delve into character creation in the playtest. One of their latest blogs speaks some to backgrounds, and I was happy to see in the comments, that while there’s something like 18 backgrounds in the core rule book, that there’s five additional in the playtest module… so I think we’ll get many more backgrounds quickly. Beyond backgrounds though, I hope that between any group of characters of the same class, that they can all feel very different.

      I am not familiar with NWOD (World of Darkness for those that don’t know) gameplay, what are the similarities between WoD and what you’re seeing in Pathfinder 2.0?

  5. Nope, negatory, never gonna touch this even on playtest. Paizo originally said there would only be ONE version of Pathfinder once they started, not their going back on their word. Honestly this shows Paizo to be hypocrits, so I will not ever touch second edition as I think it’s just a garbage idea. When you give your word on one thing you keep it, Paizo did not keep it. SO they lied to me and broke my trust, plus these changes I disagree with. Not to say it will be ba bad system, but on principle I will not be touching this. If they had of said maybe we will update in the future if this takes off, then yeah…. But no what they originally said, they went back on and I am unwilling to support this product based on hypocrisy.

    1. Luckily there’s SO much content for PF 1.0 that you could play it for a very long time. Like I said, even though I WILL be playing PF 2.0, I’ll be playing PF 1.0 for at least a couple years to finish what I’ve got in the queue (MAYBE I’ll convert our current campaigns to PF 2.0, unknown.)

      I’m currently playing Rise, and want to play Shattered Star, and then the newly announced Return of the Runelords, it sounds so awesome (and taking characters to 20… with time spent playing at 20! Yiss!) And Tar Baphon in the Final AP… The Tyrant’s Grasp… sold!

      If you are a big PFS player, wanting to stay with first edition would of course be a problem as you’d lose organized play for your favored edition.

      In any case, I understand your concerns, and hope you keep playing whatever system you love… I AM looking forward to the changes, though there are many character options and such I’m not excited to have to wait for. I certainly understand concerns of cost of repurchasing and such as well.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  6. What a terrible idea. They’re doing the exact same thing that WoC did to D&D with 4th edition. And IIRC that’s what started Pathfinder! This is a system that traces its core rules back almost half a century. Many of the rules in PF contain the exact same wording as AD&D. PF is the result of decades of refinement of that system. It has a rich history that comes across in the atmosphere at the table.

    Pathfinder 2.0 is just a corporate grab for more consumers. Saying we need to dumb this down so more people can play is offensive to those of us that know how. If millennials aren’t smart enough or don’t want to put in the effort, they should stick to their playstations and doodle birds on their smartphones. Not everyone gets to be a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon.

    I think existing players who support the change just see an opportunity to move up in the social rankings at the game store. When Paizo kicks out the old timers with this new edition, there will be space in the hierarchy for the less experienced to move up and say, “Hey, this is great! Come here and I’ll teach you.”

    Next thing you know, it will be a cooperative game. Wouldn’t want any customers to get their feelings hurt because their character died doing something stupid. I guess that’s “progress.”

    1. Thanks for commenting… some valid concerns of course…

      “What a terrible idea. They’re doing the exact same thing that WoC did to D&D with 4th edition. And IIRC that’s what started Pathfinder!”

      It’s a little different, sure it was a change in the system from 3.5 to 4.0 that people didn’t like but on top of that it was the decision to totally cut Paizo out of the picture. Paizo was no longer able to do Dungeon/Dragon magazines, and due to a change in licensing, really had nothing to do… WOTC created a competitor. All the current third party publishers will continue to be able to make content for Pathfinder 1.0 as well as Pathfinder 2.0… and while, if you want to continue to play 1.0, I’m sure plenty of third party publishers will continue to make content (for at least awhile), they will also be making Pathfinder 2.0 content. And since they won’t be cut out from doing 2.0 content, there’s no impetus for any of them to make Pathfinder 1.5. So, yes, I see your point, so PF1 players will be unhappy, but don’t see the same result as with D&D 4.0… there won’t be a Third Party Roadfinder 1.5.

      “This is a system that traces its core rules back almost half a century. Many of the rules in PF contain the exact same wording as AD&D. PF is the result of decades of refinement of that system. It has a rich history that comes across in the atmosphere at the table.”

      True! But I think Pathfinder 2.0 will also be that… I’ll be curious to see if there is still some of the “exact same wording.” In any case, the Playtest will tell us if it comes across in the atmosphere at the table or not. When I play tested at PaizoCon, it felt just like playing Pathfinder. Again, we’ll see.

      “Pathfinder 2.0 is just a corporate grab for more consumers. Saying we need to dumb this down so more people can play is offensive to those of us that know how. “

      As I said in my post above… there are definitely things that could be improved from Pathfinder 1.0. The three action economy was excellent in my playtesting allowing for depth to play while also being a more consistent system, an action is an action, reactions encompass immediate, AOO, and more, opening up (while being less complex) way more design potential. Less complex is not necessarily dumbed down. There’s still the potential for great depth and choice, while eliminating complexity. Heck, the proficiency system is more complex if you look at this one component than current skills, attacks, etc… BUT it’s one system for many things, so the game as a whole is less complex.

      I hate the Big 6… it makes magic boring and mundane. Talk about “rich history” of D&D. The Big 6 magic items and resulting Christmas Tree effect is NOT what my AD&D days felt like. Magic items were cool and did interesting things, you weren’t required to forgo a Cloak of The Bat for the Cloak of Resistance +2. And talk about complexities. The Big Six is a HIDDEN complexity. I don’t think it says anywhere that by X level you should have magic AC bonus of Y, and saving throw bonuses of Y, etc. The only way I know that is I read forums, listen to Podcasts, etc. Requiring players to do the level of research necessary to even know about that requirement is a complexity that does not need to exist, especially given that it cheapens and makes mundane all magic items. I’d rather remove that complexity, and make magic items interesting and exciting again. I love the direction of magic items in terms of making them interesting again. (I’m on the fence about resonance right now.)

      “If millennials aren’t smart enough or don’t want to put in the effort, they should stick to their playstations and doodle birds on their smartphones. “

      This is your one point that I can’t even remotely agree with. Where does “millennials“ even come into this? No one is saying they’re doing this for a certain group of people. Paizo’s just trying to improve a game that has clear issues (that are talked about ad nauseam on the boards… the issues are known and DO exist) Jason Bulmahn talks often about keeping depth while removing complexity. Again… this is not some issue about millennials… so funny how everyone tries to blame them for everything. There aren’t even any millennials in my gaming group! With this golden age of gaming, and so many people being introduced to “D&D” through shows like Stranger Things, podcasts like Critical Role, and Glass Cannon Podcast, many people that have not considered playing are coming to the game now… some millennials sure, but about 20% of my son’s high school (Gen Z) plays some form (and yes, some Pathfinder), and they aren’t complaining about the system. I’ve seen many new adults in the Gen X, and Baby Boomer Range playing for the first time or coming back. Millennials has nothing to do with this. Sure, I’d love they all played pathfinder… but I’d rather play a system that had more dynamic combat, and interesting magic items.

      I would love to see more people playing “my game” Pathfinder. Making is a better and at the same time more accessible game is a good thing in my mind. And while I love Pathfinder 1.0, and think I have an excellent grasp of the rules, I’m excited for some of the changes, and apprehensive about others. I’m not excited about the “loss” of some of my materials, and character classes that won’t be available for years, but the gains with such things as action economy and magic items, as discussed above, while providing me the flexibility of character design that I love about Pathfinder… I’m excited for that.

      Again, from the session I played, I felt like I was playing Pathfinder. I did not feel like it was dumbed down or too simple. Combat was more dynamic and we had a ball.

      1. This implies that anything besides their own incompetence is keeping them from playing the game. Let me give you an example as to why this doesn’t work. I’m playing in a campaign that a friend of mine is running, it’s the Mummy’s Mask module. We’re in book 2 right now, and are about to go into the final portion of the book. Our DM invited one of his college friends who is very new to the game (We’ll call him B), and another guy who he knows (We’ll call him K). B is new to the game, but isn’t trying to learn it. He made a character that is quite literally just himself (an accountant) and he reasons that his character “Doesn’t care about the gods and religions” as a way to not have to familiarize himself with any of the basic world building of pathfinder. So when we come to a particular puzzle


        Where we find a mural of the symbol of Pharasma painted on the floor and a particularly noteworthy prayer on the wall stating that “all those who live must path through deaths door, and be judged by her”. We search the room and figure out that there’s something underneath the pharasma symbol, and we assume that the prayer has something to do with it. After chanting the prayer out loud nothing happens, so our paladin reasons it might be LITERAL, and then coup de grace’s himself to literally pass through deaths door. Our healer frantically keeps him alive thanks to him passing 5 fort throws in a row to survive the coup de grace, as he wracked his brain enough to figure out that the swirl on the pharasman symbol represents the river of souls that carries all of the dead to pharasma’s bone yard to be judged, and that is the metaphorical “door”. You must chant the prayer while walking along the swirl to open the secret staircase into the hidden dungeon below. Now B has a +15 to knowledge religion, and when I pointed out to him that Pharasma’s church is as massive and common in Golarion as Christianity is in the real world, so basic information about pharasma being the death deity is factually common knowledge to everyone. His response is “but my character doesn’t care”. He also believes that his character employs the party, and tries to take everyone’s loot and boss everyone around, and generally plays on his phone instead of paying attention and justifes this too with “my character just doesn’t care”.
        K on the other hand, is playing a “goth wizard chick” who follows the god of masochism. His answer to every single event is either “why would my character do that?” or “I don’t really care” and to then just let everyone else act. Even in combat he sits in the back and casts pit, then sits in the back and watches the fight. He’s actually very well known for doing this, as he hates combat for some reason, and views systems like EXP as “tedious” while praising the every loving crap out of World of Darkness. Thanks to him wanting to add things into this game “To make it interesting”, we are now running on milestone leveling, we have no less than 2 extremely over powered NPC’s running around that the party can call on to save us collectively known as “The gun”, and we have “drama points” that are literally inspiration from 5e that literally allow us to manipulate the game and nullify consequence completely. When we encountered a crystal dragon and needed to make a stupid high diplomacy check to take the easiest route, we all failed the diplomacy. And then one of us just used his drama point to succeed. We’ve also seen drama points used to simply “survive” a coup de grace from a ghoul, clear a PC’s affliction of Mummy Rot, and succeed on multiple failed rolls involving roll play. And we get drama points all the time, the DM just asks “do you want a drama point?” and then makes something “dramatic” happen. Getting drama points is entertaining, but good god they ruin. The. Game. And to make it worse, both B and K get angry at me because my character for the longest time was a gunslinger, and the only competent DPS in the party, and the only option in most encounters is for me to go full murder hobo as they try to “peacefully talk to” the ghouls that are already gnawing on their faces, or trying to “peacefully talk to” a guard and his pet lions when they attack us even though they know full well he is under the charm spell of a lamia and cannot be talked down.

        I’m probably going to leave the campaign pretty soon, because this isn’t fun. I’m already having a discussion with the DM about this, they’ve added so much and keep wanting to add more that this is no longer pathfinder. If YOU do not enjoy the game, then that is your problem, and you should go find a different game to play rather than force other people to change the game to fit your strange tastes. You come to play tag, so then play tag. If you want to play freeze tag, people might be interested. But if you start trying to make it more interesting by adding a rule that whoever is “it” has to carry a glass of water in his left hand, and can only tag people in his right hand, and can only tag people if the glass is more than half full… Then people are going to question why you are even bothering being here at all because you clearly are not interested in playing tag. Based on what I’ve seen, that seems to be what PF 2nd ED is. And it seems like you, along with anyone else defending it, are doing so without ever addressing these concerns. I’d wager you either have financial investment in the game, or you’re a cancerous player like B and K.

        The only thing I actually like about the pathfinder 2nd e (of the little I’ve bothered with) is that combat encourages movement. That could be an effective new dynamic without taking away from the game, or trying to make it radically different. Similarly, I see no issue with the “big six” as they are called. There are a variety of magical items in the game that you can carry around and use, and there are more than enough slots for you to get stuff beyond the “big six” and do things. Plus most of the items in the game ARE effective, there are very few worthless items in the game. Hell one of the most powerful and useful spells in the entire game is STILL prestidigitation. I’d also love to see them maybe clarify a bit on magic item creation rules, as I did spend 3 hours wracking my brain on each one to figure out exactly how they work (turns out the famous example of a perma true strike costing barely 2000 gp is wrong, it’s about 17,850 gp to create this when you actually follow item creation rules and you can’t reliably succeed in this until about 6th level) and it is VERY tedious, and often inconsistent.

        Case in point, you can buy the named magic weapon “Ghoul’s Lament” for 35,312 gp or craft it for 17,812 gp… OR you can make a +1 ghost touch disrupting warhammer, which is literally what Ghoul’s Lament is except it’s disrupting ability is nerfed for some reason, for 28,312 gp. The reason for this is that a +1 Ghost Touch Disrupting warhammer is made with the weapon enchants “Ghost Touch” and “Disrupting” that have a base cost of +2 and +3, along with the +1 enhancement bonus after masterworking the weapon. This means you spend 312 on the masterwork, then 2000 to +1 it, then 8000 for the +2 and 18000 for the +3, totaling 28,312gp. Ghoul’s Lament though, according to it’s item page, is made with the feat “Magic arms and armor” along with the spells “heal” and “planar shift”. Never mind that this would NOT create a +1 ghost touch disrupting warhammer, but instead a +1 healing warhammer of planar shifting. Which would only cost 5,086.4 gp, as to make this you would only need to spend 312 gp to masterwork, 2000 gp to +1 the weapon, and then since both abilities would have a 3 times per day effect you refer to the table that states you divide the base price by (5 divided by number of charges per day) and add that to the price. If we assume both effects have 3 times per day, 5/3 would 1.66666667, so 2312 divided by 1.6666667 results in 1387.2, which then you just apply twice. Once for heal, once for planar shift. These item creation rules are just phenomenally inconsistent with named weapons, which I would generally assume to be more powerful than the usual. THIS I would like to see improved. THIS I do not see being addressed by what you’ve described in the magic item department.

        1. Heh… magic item math! These games should be used in school…

          A lot to unpack there… certainly again, people have different tastes and K and B should probably be playing a different game (and you maybe with different people)… but, that’s a whole other issue than this. So, best of luck to you there… I hope everyone ends up with a group that they all enjoy (as that’s what matters.) Maybe some other reader can suggest a game that fits K and B’s play style.

          “I’d wager you either have financial investment in the game, or you’re a cancerous player like B and K.”

          I have no financial investment in the game… I DO get free books to review sometimes. I am the Pathfinder reviewer at GeekDad, though, because I LIKE Pathfinder and chose that over the other “D&D” options 8-9 years ago when I got back in (last having played AD&D 20 years prior). D&D 5e did not exist yet. Compared to 4e, I loved the mechanically deep character building and it just looked more interesting. But if I don’t LIKE PF2, I wouldn’t continue to spend my time reviewing it… the time I spend per book reviewing is far more than the $10 I’d otherwise spend on a PDF … so, no, no financial investment.

          Cancerous player… hope not. I pretty much play by the rules, so if I’m cancerous it’s in other ways then you describe.

          Where I’m coming at with this though is… I love PF1, but have always seen faults, the biggest of which are…

          1. Combat is static (my biggest complaint)… I want more action. I looked at Ultimate Campaign’s alternate action economy system, but it didn’t jive with either character I was playing… magus and inquisitor, BOTH swift action dependent, so I did not use it.

          2. Big Six… sure it doesn’t bother you, great! But, I remember the days of AD&D… magic was wonderful and special… it wasn’t seeping out of everything in the world. There are systems to use in PF to get rid of the big six “need”… when I was going to next GM Rise of the Rune Lords again (we’ve been on a 2 year Carrion Crown run with a different DM) I was going to introduce inherent automatic bonuses and get rid of most +X items.

          3. Not a fault… but the thing I LIKE best… mechanically interesting character builds. Needs to be in the system I play.

          SO… my plan up until a few months ago was to continue playing PF1 with the Big Six change… no plan yet on action economy. Then PF2 is announced. That excites AND worries me… excited because I hope for a system that is better… worried, because I love PF and want to keep playing it, if the new system does not appeal to me, then I’ll be playing a dying node on the “D&D” tree.

          But I also realize that, the fact is PF2 IS coming out next August. No doubt in my mind that it won’t (A two year playtest would be awesome… give us multiple passes and multiple play throughs… but, not going to happen.)

          Given that it’s coming out, I’m going to playtest it, give feedback, and hope it’s good enough that I’ll WANT to switch.

          I’ve finished the first session of the playtest, and we all loved the three action economy. The fights were much more interesting and cinematic. We’re talking again about introducing them to our PF1 games… we just need to figure out the swift action issue without costing those characters an action, or giving them too much of a boost by having three actions AND a swift action.

          We disliked the dying rules… when someone went down the game ground to a halt as we figured it out (this would get better), we hit some case that was confusing with healing, etc… after the session I did some Googling and discovered that Paizo said they were releasing new dying rules within a week or so.

          So, action economy… awesome! Dying rules… less awesome, but they’re already giving us a different set to try. That’s pretty promising to me.

          I’ve liked character creation quite a bit, as I was able to do interesting things. I hope there’s not too much balancing between the classes (or nerfing of casters to may fighters happy)… but haven’t played enough to see just how balanced or nerfed anything is.

          So… I’m liking what I see so far… I’m still attached to PF1 though too… but we likely will be playing PF1 for quite awhile (maybe with modifications) until we’re done with Carrion Crown and Rise. BUT I’ll be playing PF2 for my convention PFS games. I’m fine with that… but, I’m not going to be able to get most of my players to put the effort in to learn and play both games.

          Magic item creation… I’d need to look at the new rules in depth…

          I’m hopeful for PF2… but also, I guess I’m not as riled up as some people (or at all really) as I know, worst case is still pretty awesome, as I still have PF1… I can finish Rise of the Runelords (2 years), Shattered Star (2+ years), Return of the Rune Lords (2+ years) that I currently plan to GM… and all the rest of the content available… and many character concepts I want to try in any adventure my fellow players will DM for me. I have no worries.

          In any case, thanks for the comments, and good luck in your gaming with K and B!

    2. I was just re-reading comments and I just caught your last sentence… it IS a cooperative game! Everyone is at the table and should have the intent of cooperatively telling an awesome story for the enjoyment of every member at the table. Except in some specific cases, I would not want to play in a campaign that was specifically competitive. The gamester WILL win if they’re specifically trying to beat us… we’d only win by their grace. If players are competing, then I don’t see how they’d win in a balanced campaign.

      Pathfinder and D&D are cooperative games.

  7. My 2 cents..

    Being a avid RPGer since the 80’s (I started with Traveller, then D&D 2nd etc etc) and I have always heard through time ‘X game is too complex’ and I would always say ‘No, you just need to buy the book, read it and learn it’. Actully now I think of it really when PC MMOs started really coming out is when i started hearing that and as time has passed it has gotten worse because so many of the young people today do not want to take the time and LEARN a system, they just want to jump in and ‘faceroll over keyboard’ like many games are today. Or to put it bluntly companies are dumbing down games aka lowering the bar.

    I understand companies want to bring in ‘fresh blood’ for gaming since they do need to make money. BUT in doing so there is a chance of the company giving the middle finger to those who built/supported said older version of game.

    And really Pathfinder v1 is great when one reads the basic book and learns from it (how many people at a table when asked has the basic PF book? The ones that do not have it are the ones that are having the problem of not understanding it).

    The movement system is fine as is. There are ways to atk, move and atk again but that is higher levels (most of it is in the feats and the build of the character).

    Magic is again fine, If you play a lot of PFS (Pathfinder Society) then you already know about the slight limitations and how buying magic items work. If it is a home game then that is up to the GM/players..very simple.

    And character depth in v1 is so deep and robust no other system off the top of my head comes close (wait one does..all the GURPS books) but still I think v2 will take that away and will choke any type of character build I want, not what the class wants. Will i be able to make a melee caster in v2? or a smart, urban Barbarian that has brains and brawn in v2? etc etc. Easy to do in v1 but if v2 is anything like 4th/5th ED then welcome to the faceroll RPG.

    If people do not have the patience to work toward their character and build it up (like a person wanting to be a Bruce Lee monk at level 1..not gonna happen BUT as you level you can aim to be that Bruce Lee monk at upper level) then they must be the ones that reads the end of the book first..not start at the beginning and enjoy the adventure to GET to the end/goal.

    Here End of the Lesson.

    1. Thanks for commenting! You have some valid concerns… I love PF1 and certainly hope PF2 is something I love as much or more.

      Much of your comment is responded to in my prior response above, but in addition…

      “Or to put it bluntly companies are dumbing down games aka lowering the bar.”

      What I’ve seen so far is not a dumbing down, it’s a removal of complexity… a bunch of disparate ways of doing things… many rule sub sets, and special cases. For instance, Feats, Traits, Tricks, etc… as an example… They’re all variations of the same thing, in PF2 all those things are Feats… one system that covers them all… less complex, while maintaining depth. I think that’s a good thing. Sure people do learn about all the different ways we have “feat-likes” in PF1, but why should then. That’s an example of removing complexity without dumbing down the game. Dumbing down the game would be removing the concept of feats, or assigning specific abilities to a class… if you’re a fighter, there’s no choice you just get X Feat-like ability at Y level.

      Yes, it’s of top importance (one of my three items from this post) that PF2 allows for the same level of customization of characters I have now, and if I can do the same thing with a game system that has less sub-systems… great! That’s a good thing. We will have to wait a couple days to see if this is true.

      “I understand companies want to bring in ‘fresh blood’ for gaming since they do need to make money. BUT in doing so there is a chance of the company giving the middle finger to those who built/supported said older version of game.”

      I don’t know how much of this is let’s bring in new players, vs… it’s been 10 years and while awesome, the game could be better, vs any info from sales data… The changes I discuss in this post though are things I want (in my PFS game where I can’t modify the rules), and in my home games (yes I can do this in my home games, and when I was DMing next I was implementing a system to remove the Big Six, and to try to get combat more dynamic by making some tweaks… since we’ll likely still be playing PF1 when I DM again, I will likely still do that… BUT, I’d prefer a game that inherently did what I wanted.

      Certainly they risk alienating players, and I’m sure some will leave.

      “The movement system is fine as is. There are ways to atk, move and atk again but that is higher levels. Magic is again fine”

      I don’t want a system that is just fine… or require everyone to take a specific feat change just some there’s more movement. I dislike how static combat is, I dislike how mundane magic it… seeing a character that is a blinding Christmas tree of magic items… but what does the character have, a bunch of +x items… I am very much looking forward to these two changes. As per my post if …

      1. Combat is more dynamic
      2. Magic items are special (like in my AD&D days)
      3. Character generation is as robust and customizable as it is now

      Then PF2.0 will rock… again, we need to be making some characters to see if you can make” a melee caster” or smarty-barbarian. First thing I’m going to do is try to make a magus type character. If I can do that reasonably well on day one, utilizing the incomplete CORE PLAYTEST rule book, then I have great hope for when and as more content comes out. If all I can make is the same wizard as everyone else, then yes, we have a problem.

      “If people do not have the patience to work toward their character and build it up (like a person wanting to be a Bruce Lee monk at level 1”

      I have not seen anyone say that PF2 is going to “solve” the “I have to work my character up” issue. In the Playtest everyone felt like low-level PFS players… no Bruce Lees there. It’s a concern of mine that they’re going give everyone Bruce Lees at 1st level, and I haven’t seen others with that concern, or suggesting that’s a design goal.

      Much of this, we’ll have to wait a couple more days to see…

      The best way to get a system that meets your requirements is to get the free playtest materials when they become available on the 2nd, make characters, GM, play and give feedback. Let them know what you like and what you don’t. Make PF2 as close to a system you’ll love as you can.

  8. I’ll be interested to see how this all develops over time. I’ve been playing D&D for over 25 years now, starting with the red box and moving up to 2nd edition and I have come to a quite joyful conclusion that the newer editions of these games are truly the best yet. I play with both experienced and younger or newer players and I’m deeply impressed with the passion and depth of roleplay and narrative interest I’m seeing especially from the younger generation. This is what our hobby needed, ladies and gentlemen! I love both Pathfinder and 5e for differing reasons. The way I see it whilst Pathfinder 1 is an excellent system, it suffers from the same bloat of supplements and options that 3e DnD succumbed to over time (that are perhaps just inevitable in the life cycle of an edition of this kind of game) Yet that same plethora of options that forces me to spend a week designing a character just to be certain all my archetypes, feats and traits line up and my hero will be an asset to the party and not a dud or a drag, also enables me to cut loose with my wildest character concepts without relying on homebrew or the DM’s generosity. In 5e I can generate a character in less than an hour, but my options are, while more flexible within themselves, far far fewer. What I’d love to see from PF2 is a balance between those two design philosophies, keeping the huge spread of options whilst making them more balanced and accessible and most importantly ensuring that those out-there concepts Pathfinder permits are mechanically as cool and useful as they creatively are. No mean feat! But I have faith in Paizo to step up to it.

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