Latest PF2 Info On Theatre Of The Mind, PDF Timing, German Translations, & More
  • Latest PF2 Info On Theatre Of The Mind, PDF Timing, German Translations, & More


    A few small Pathfinder 2nd Edition tidbits have dropped in my inbox! I've summarised the latest below, and added it all to the Pathfinder 2nd Edition Compiled Info Page. This covers theatre of the mind play, monster reactions, PDF timing, German translations, and Pathfinder Society support for 1st Edition. (Thanks to Jerome for the email!)



    There's a 2-hour Know Direction podcast interview with Erik Mona and Logan Bonner. I'll be adding info from that to the bottom of this post when I finish listening to it.

    First, some items from the Paizo messageboards:
    • Paizo's Logan Bonner on how "theater of the mind" Pathfinder 2 will be -- "I'd say it's about on par with PF1E in that regard. We haven't playtested TotM style because that tends to be less common among our fanbase. I should give it a shot so we can know what to expect for that style of game. My guess is that it would be easier for me personally to visualize what was happening when using three-action turns, but I'm not entirely sure! If you end up playtesting in this style, I'd be really interested to hear how your experience goes."
    • Logan Bonner on monster reactions -- "It's not a rule, just an option. Many monsters don't have any reaction beyond the basic ones, ones with combat training might have Attack of Opportunity or a similar reaction, and others have ones particular to them."
    • Paizo's chief technical officer Vic Wertz commented on the timing of the announcement, the PDF releases, and the playtest -- "One of the primary drivers for telling people now is that we have to tell our retailer channel about things that are happening in August months in advance, and we picked this week because it gives us the opportunity to talk to retailers about it face-to-face at the game industry's biggest retail-oriented trade show next week. Believe me, I wish we could announce it and drop the PDF on the very same day, but that would be horrible to our distribution network."
    • In response to suggestions that Paizo release the PDF of the players rules early, he said "Not going to happen. This is a coordinated worldwide campaign—our German and French translation partners are in on it too, and they don't even get to start their work in earnest until the English edition is locked down. We have other licensees working on playtest support as well, and most of them also need us to finalize things before they do the bulk of their work. And we're not going to treat people who choose to participate by picking up the book at their favorite retailer or at Gen Con as afterthoughts. As far as the time requirements for the playtest goes, we have a guided plan that will ensure we get the feedback we need in the time we have. Playtest products release August 2. The playtest itself begins August 6. For everyone."
    • Vic Wertz was asked why there weren't more classes and races in the core rulebook -- "One answer to your second question (and a little bit to your first) is that there's only so much room in the Core Rulebook.


    Paizo's chief technical officer, Vic Wertz, also kindly dropped me a line to clarify some information.
    • Preordering print editions -- "The March 20–May 1 preorder window is only for placing preorders on paizo.com. Retailers who accept preorders will have different windows. (Distro has to place their order with us by May 1, so they will probably want preorders from their retailers sometime before that.)"
    • Translations -- I had mentioned the French translation, but Vic confirmed the German arrangements. "Note that Black Book will also be translating the Playtest Edition. And our German translation partner, Ulisses Spiele, is also onboard for Second Edition as well as the Playtest Edition. Here's their page."
    • On support for 1st Edition -- "Pathfinder Society will continue allowing playing and reporting First Edition characters in First Edition scenarios for the foreseeable future."


    Paizo's Erik Mona mentioned a couple of things here on the EN World message boards:
    • Why no Kickstarter? -- "We considered that, but didn't feel like that would be fair to our brick and mortar retailer partners, who are a significant part of the Pathfinder ecosystem, and one that we're trying to support more and more."
    • On the new action economy -- "The revised action economy is very similar to the one we introduced in Pathfinder Unchained a few years ago, and any similarities to 5e are coincidental."
    • On depth of character creation -- "Just wanted to chime in here to say that the depth of options in character creation and advancement is a core principle of Pathfinder's design philosophy, and that has not changed with the new edition. If anything, there are even MORE ways to customize your character with the new rules, but we hope that they are better explained and work together a bit more seamlessly than all of that type of stuff does in the current version of the game.

    Paizo designer Jason Bulmahn tweeted about some concerns regarding complexity and depth -- "Considering some of the worries I am seeing about Pathfinder Second Edition being streamlined and easier to play, think I might need to do a blog on this topic and how it relates to our design philosophy... reducing complexity doesn't mean less depth. As it turns out, complex burdensome rules that you are familiar with and understand are still complex and burdensome. I want to keep the options, the choices, the tactics, but I want your access to them to be easy and intuitive. Not that I want to seem like I'm undercutting a genuine concern, but I think it might be good to explain the methodology and design approach. Let's folks know the how and the why..."

    He also posted a couple of photos of lucky people playtesting Pathfinder 2nd Edition at Gary Con. I am very jealous.







    As a final note, I'd like to add that it's SO much fun doing this again. It's how this site started with D&D 3E, and this really has that "feel" of those years about it.
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    Comments 17 Comments
    1. Tranquilis's Avatar
      Tranquilis -
      Well, the first paragraph from Bonner is very sobering: “Theater of the Mind? Never really thought about it. You mean some of you would be interested in that?”

      Times have changed.
    1. Ath-kethin's Avatar
      Ath-kethin -
      Indeed. I've never been too big a fan of miniatures play in RPGs, and not just because I'm a cheapskate. I've played in campaigns that used them, and while there is a definite advantage in terms of tactical play, I think it comes at the expense of creative and outside-the-box thinking. Which isn't a surprise, since grid mats and minis are literally "inside the (neatly ordered) box(es)" thinking.

      It's just not my style, I guess. Obviously many people dig it, and there's room enough for everyone here.
    1. RevTurkey's Avatar
      RevTurkey -
      Not tested...Theatre of the Mind? Crumbs. Not even with bits of hastily scribbled tactical maps etc? I’ve played D&D variants (including PF1 for a bit) for over 30 years and only used minis for about 5 of those in total (mostly AD&D1e and D&D4e). That’s a pretty big thing to admit not testing. I’m excited and interested in the new edition but they need to cover the basics and playing without figures is how a great many of us enjoy our games...
    1. Polyhedral Columbia's Avatar
      Polyhedral Columbia -
      Glad you're feeling the old spark of fun Morrus - yeah, feels kinda like ye ol' Eric Noah days of yore. Thanks for your service!
    1. ccs's Avatar
      ccs -
      Quote Originally Posted by RevTurkey View Post
      Not tested...Theatre of the Mind? Crumbs. Not even with bits of hastily scribbled tactical maps etc? I’ve played D&D variants (including PF1 for a bit) for over 30 years and only used minis for about 5 of those in total (mostly AD&D1e and D&D4e). That’s a pretty big thing to admit not testing. I’m excited and interested in the new edition but they need to cover the basics and playing without figures is how a great many of us enjoy our games...
      Well, what really needs testing here?
      Minis & grid or no, the process of taking 3 actions (I move here & use 2 actions to cast x, or I attack x2 & use my shield, etc) works exactly the same:
      You speak the words & describe what your doing. The DM describes the results & monster actions.

      The only difference in TotM style play is that you've got to provide more details (sometimes) when you speak.
      Play testing that won't reveal anything new that the last 40 years hasnt.
      What it'll do though will waste valuable time.
    1. Arilyn's Avatar
      Arilyn -
      To be honest 5e makes a big deal around "theatre of the mind", but has done little to support it in the rules. Still have movement in feet, and spells still have cones, lines and areas of effect, once again all measured out. Systems that truly support "theatre of the mind" play should ditch all that in favour of distances measured much more abstractly, such as engaged, close, far. Cones, lines and blast areas also need to be ditched for a simpler resolution system. 5e is easier to play without miniatures than 4e, and easier than PF/3.5, because it's a simpler system, but it feels like designers did little to actually support non-miniature play. Too bad for both systems.
    1. RevTurkey's Avatar
      RevTurkey -
      I think they should at least check their game without the minis to make sure no unforeseen problems arise. Seems logical to me. Anyway, I think this could be a good game and I’ll probably get it..minis required or not.
    1. mach1.9pants's Avatar
      mach1.9pants -
      Minis are never required, just some sort of tactical map. I don't think I've ever gamed without some visual representation of the area we are fighting in. Squared paper and pencil or whiteboard and marker is the norm for me. Nothing really needs testing imo, it's not pathfinders forte. Those who can TotM in DnD (which all use real world measurements) can TotM in PF2. I can't apart from the most simple of situations!
    1. Pauper's Avatar
      Pauper -
      If PF2 can't really do Theater of the Mind, then they're going to have a hard time getting people to put together the kinds of streaming games that are helping to make D&D 5e so popular -- Dice, Camera, Action uses a virtual map, but only to set the place, not with virtual minis or any kind of tactical activity, and Critical Role doesn't show a battlemap at all.

      A critic could argue that nothing prevents Pathfinder folks from making a streaming game (and some already have), it's telling that the first DO from that linked article is "know the game, because every time you have to look up a rule its time you're not spending interacting with your audience", and the first DON'T is "don't have some really knowledgeable players and some newb because the knowledgeable players will end up playing the newbs' characters for them" then you have some idea why there don't seem to be any existing PF streams that have the kind of visibility of the ones I note above.

      I don't think PF2 has to be streamable to be an acceptable upgrade, but given the popularity of 5e streams, I'd be shocked if the Paizo folks weren't asking themselves if there are ways to make PF2 more stream-friendly.

      --
      Pauper
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      I've really never had much trouble doing theatre of the mind with Pathfinder. I mean, it super supports minis and is awesome at it, but when I'm not using minis, I don't feel I'm struggling at all. It doesn't need special tools really.
    1. darkmoonrising's Avatar
      darkmoonrising -
      Their comment about reducing complexity and streamlining some of the math, without reducing depth of options, is a big step in the right direction! Granted they will never simplify it as much as I would like, but reducing fiddly bits should help gameplay. E.g. I like the sound of 3 actions each round, should be easy to teach and give more interesting tactical choices when playing (rather than, as others have said and I have seen to often, move 5 ft and attack).
    1. Sunseeker's Avatar
      Sunseeker -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tranquilis View Post
      Well, the first paragraph from Bonner is very sobering: “Theater of the Mind? Never really thought about it. You mean some of you would be interested in that?”

      Times have changed.
      He indicates that in their experience Pathfinder fans are less interested in ToTM than not. Which makes sense given the crunch-heavy nature of Pathfinder.

      That said, I'm not sure how you "playtest" ToTM. Taking away the mat and minis doesn't change the rules. It just changes how you visualize it. Unless they're measuring things in "squares" now I doubt ToTM is any worse or better than it has been for the last decade.
    1. DM Howard's Avatar
      DM Howard -
      I guess my question is why even do physical playtest sales? It just seems very double-dip-ish to me. To then use the retailer/physical partnership as a reason for holding back the PDF release seems a little disingenuous to say the least. WotC didn't feel the need to produce a physical version of the playtest, why does Paizo? Many stores participated in the 5E playtest without physical pre-orders of a playtest.
    1. oknazevad's Avatar
      oknazevad -
      WotC did release Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle during the 5e playtest. Physical copies were a con-exclusive, but they did exist. And the playtest-era D&D Encounters modules were also physical releases, though in those cases it was as much to release for retail anything at all, as the 4e crunch books were stopped pretty much as soon as the playtest was announced. So there were physical releases, and they existed pretty much to keep product flowing to retailers.
    1. Arilyn's Avatar
      Arilyn -
      Quote Originally Posted by Millennial Grognard View Post
      I guess my question is why even do physical playtest sales? It just seems very double-dip-ish to me. To then use the retailer/physical partnership as a reason for holding back the PDF release seems a little disingenuous to say the least. WotC didn't feel the need to produce a physical version of the playtest, why does Paizo? Many stores participated in the 5E playtest without physical pre-orders of a playtest.
      Well, I wouldn't buy a hard copy of play test material, but I bet it will sell well. Remember, the 5e play test packets were pretty rough, and the game changed a lot and frequently. We didn't get a full game. A lot of stuff in 5e didn't even show up in the play test packets. Pathfinder is going to be a beta copy, a complete game, which will end up being altered for the final version.

      As for waiting, they've been working on the second edition for a few years, so I guess we can wait a little longer...This is a playtest for a pretty much complete game, which is actually far more normal than what WOTC did for 5e.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Millennial Grognard View Post
      I guess my question is why even do physical playtest sales? It just seems very double-dip-ish to me. To then use the retailer/physical partnership as a reason for holding back the PDF release seems a little disingenuous to say the least. WotC didn't feel the need to produce a physical version of the playtest, why does Paizo? Many stores participated in the 5E playtest without physical pre-orders of a playtest.
      Erik Mona answers that in the Know Direction podcast.

      http://www.enworld.org/forum/content...ection-Podcast

      Basically, it's cheaper to buy a nice book from them than it is to download a 400+ page PDF and print it. You don't have to buy it. Just grab the free PDF if you object to the existence of a physical copy.
    1. DM Howard's Avatar
      DM Howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
      Erik Mona answers that in the Know Direction podcast.

      http://www.enworld.org/forum/content...ection-Podcast

      Basically, it's cheaper to buy a nice book from them than it is to download a 400+ page PDF and print it. You don't have to buy it. Just grab the free PDF if you object to the existence of a physical copy.
      Yeah I listened to the podcast while at work today. Felt that the answer was. . .unsatisfactory. If that was truly the case then they would just sell the playtest copies at cost.

      I'm not objecting to the physical copies so much as I am objecting to their reasoning behind it. No biggy, I'm going to pre-order a softcover anyway. It just seems strange, I guess.
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