News Digest: Pathfinder 2nd Ed Release Line Details, D&D Ranger NOT Changing, BattleTech Clan Invasi

Hello everyone, Darryl here with this week’s gaming news! More release details for Pathfinder 2nd Edition, a story didn’t happen involving Dungeons & Dragons (but I’ll explain why it’s worth mentioning why it’s not a story), a big expansion to BattleTech on its way, and more!
Full release details are now available for Pathfinder 2nd Edition. The core rulebook will once again do a minimum of 1d6 bludgeoning damage as it comes in at a whopping 640 pages, 65 pages longer than the first edition core rulebook and more than 200 pages longer than the playtest document. While the core rulebook has everything you need to play, it’s not getting released alone. The Pathfinder 2nd Edition Bestiary clocks in at a more standard 360 pages and will have over 400 monsters and NPCs. Both of these books will be available in a normal edition and a red faux-leather deluxe edition available on August 1st with a big launch at Gen Con. Coming on in mid-January 2020 will be the Pathfinder 2nd Edition Gamemastery Guide, with 256 pages of magic items, alternate rules, subsystems for different playstyles, over 60 NPCs, and the usual rules and advice for running a game and planning a campaign. The Gamemastery Guide will also have a deluxe faux-leather edition, though the current preview image indicates it will be a dusty yellow or light brown rather than the red of the other two books (though the product description notes the cover color may change before release). The core rulebook has a retail price of $59.99 ($79.99 for the deluxe edition), while the Bestiary and Gamemastery Guide will be $49.99 ($69.99 for the limited edition).

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Additionally, we’ve got a preview of the artwork for the GM’s Screen, seen above. There’s no price or release date yet for the GM Screen, but I would be surprised if it also on August 1st with the rest of the main product line or very soon thereafter. We do have more August 1st launch titles though. The first is the setting book Lost Omens World Guide, a 136-page hardcover guide to the Pathfinder setting in a world where the god of prophecy is dead, with more archetypes, backgrounds, and other rules as well as information. Finally, we have the standalone adventure The Fall of Plaguestone, a 64-page adventure starting at first level as the players try to solve the murder of an ally that turns into a race to stop a magical blight. The Lost Omens World Guide has a retail price of $36.99, while The Fall of Plaguestone will be available for $22.99.

So this is more of a…non-story? The story is that there is no story. That still doesn’t make sense. Just…let me get into it. Kotaku reported on an interview with Mike Mearls discussing the upcoming Baldur’s Gate III video game. Mearls talked about the years-long attempts to “fix” the ranger class across several Unearthed Arcana playtest articles and how that material will be integrated into Baldur’s Gate III and eventually into the tabletop game. Well, Kotaku went with the headline “The Ranger Class Is Getting Some Changes In D&D (And Baldur’s Gate 3)” which caused Twitter to immediately assume what the headline said was true. Which then required Dungeons & Dragons senior designer Jeremy Crawford to tweet a single-word reply: “Nope.” Crawford further clarified that what Mearls was referring to was, as stated, the long-running attempts to create options for the ranger class to make it more appealing and balanced against the other classes and that any such redesign would be an alternative class presented as in a future product along with variants on other classes. So the story is there is no story, despite so many people thinking there was a story because a video game website wrote a misleading headline about tabletop gaming, requiring this tabletop gaming reporter to clarify the story that there is no story.

A new boxed set is on the way for the BattleTech wargame, this time via a Kickstarter. This boxed set, titled Clan Invasion, will focus on the events of the 3050 invasion of the Clans into the Inner Sphere and will include models for five Clan BattleMechs (with more unlocked as stretch goals). The boxed set will include maps, scenarios, and campaign rules for recreating the various battles across the bloody invasion. There will also be four stand-alone miniature packs, two for the Clan and two for the Inner Sphere. Not all of the included mechs have been listed, but the most interesting are the Inner Sphere Command Lance with the Marauder and Archer and the Inner Sphere Battle Lance with the Warhammer and Phoenix Hawk. If those mechs sound familiar, it’s because those designs have been part of the long-running intellectual property rights legal struggle with Harmony Gold that was finally resolved last year, making it the first time that tabletop players have been able to get miniatures for those designs in a very long time. The Kickstarter, launching on July 17, will also include stretch-goals for more products including additional maps, scenarios, and miniatures and add-ons for existing BattleTech products, miniatures, and rules.

This weekend, the Shadowcasters Network will stream for 36 hours as part of their channel fundraising drive. The huge marathon stream will feature a mix of tabletop and roleplaying games with a couple of video games thrown in. And yes, there will be a lot of Shadowrun, with six different presentations and Q&As schedule to preview more of the Shadowrun Sixth Edition rules. Rewards for donations include signed character sheets, a season pass to Shadowrun Missions organized play material, playing a game with members of the Shadowcasters crew, and a raffle featuring prizes like the Shadowrun Sixth World Beginner Box, Shadowrun PDFs, Earthdawn PDFs, and more. The marathon starts this afternoon at 4:00 PM Eastern and runs all the way non-stop until Sunday morning at 4:00 AM Eastern on the Shadowcasters Network Twitch channel.

I’ve written about this several times already so you should know what A Touch More Class from EN Publishing (the game publishing arm of EN World) is all about. The Kickstarter is now live and funded in just four minutes (which I’m pretty sure is as fast as you actually can fund a project on Kickstarter just from the delay between going live and pledges actually finalizing). Nine new classes for your D&D 5e games, plus a revised version of A Touch of Class which introduced seven new classes, plus access to 28 PDFs from EN5ider with over 60 new subclasses, plus a custom tarot deck for the Cardcaster class, plus two separate adventure paths. I’m probably forgetting something. Anyway, there’s several previews on the Kickstarter page, plus the last three entries in EN World’s Mythological Figures series (Nikola Tesla, Sherlock Holmes, and Billy the Kid) have been made using these classes. And, like all the EN Publishing Kickstarters, all the work is complete and fulfillment will begin immediately after the Kickstarter funds on Friday, July 19.

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The 2019 Origins Award winners were announced last weekend. Game of the Year is the board game Root by Leder Games who also got the award for Board Game. The award for roleplaying game went to Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition, while best roleplaying supplement went to Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. The Origins Award nominees occur following the GAMA Trade Show in March determined by the Academy Jury, while winners are determined by popular vote at the Origins Game Fair convention.

As someone who went to film school, I can’t help but be a little fascinated by Zoetrope. For those who don’t know, a zoetrope was one of the earliest methods of creating a motion picture, like a top you spun and looked inside to see still pictures rapidly changing to create the illusion of motion (later replaced by flip-book style machines called nickelodeons). What does this have to do with the game Zoetrope? Well, it’s a time travel game based on cards to create a timeline of events as you roleplay through attempting to solve problems occurring throughout time. Sometimes you move forward or backward trying to repair events. Okay, so now I’m sure you’re wondering what that has to do with the historical zoetrope device. I mean of course they’re related, it’s not like I wrote all that just to brag about my film history education. There’s obviously more to it than the general idea of a spinning flipbook as a metaphor for time travel, right? Well what do you know, I’m out of space for this Kickstarter! The PDF with printable card deck is available for a $10 pledge, the core game is available for $30, and there are several pledge levels for those who only want specific components if they already own the core game (the print-and-play version is already available on DriveThruRPG). This Kickstarter is fully funded and runs until Tuesday, June 25.

There’s not a whole lot of 3D terrain available for science fiction games, so I always like to make note when Kickstarters like Galactic Rebellion Space Station Walls come up. This set of laser-cut wood or acrylic terrain can be easily customizable to create any sort of starship, space station, or sci-fi base layout you could want with styling based on “a galaxy far, far away” for that lived-in retro-future feel. The wooden versions come in Standard and Premium versions, available in a set of five walls for $15 or $20 respectively or twenty-five walls for $75 or $100 respectively. The acrylic walls are available in a set of five for $25 or twenty-five for $125. There’s also a special $30 pledge level for two oversized walls scaled to the classic 3.75 inch action figures for a certain classic film series about a galactic war. This project is fully funded and runs until Friday, June 28.

That’s all from me for this week! Don’t forget to support our Patreon to bring you more gaming news content. If you have any news to submit, email us at news@enworldnews.com, and you can get more discussion of the week’s news on Morrus’ Unofficial Tabletop RPG Talk every week. You can follow me on Twitch where I’ll be streaming some Shadowrun games, subscribe to Gamer’s Tavern on YouTube for videos on gaming history, RPG reviews, and gaming Let’s Plays, or you can listen to the archives of the Gamer’s Tavern podcast. Until next time, may all your hits be crits! Note: Links to Amazon, Humble Store, Humble Bundle, and/or DriveThru may contain affiliate links with the proceeds going to the author of this column.
 
Darryl Mott

Comments

Superchunk77

Explorer
I feel badly for Rangers everywhere.
I don't see why. We have a Ranger in our 5e Birthright party and he's one of the most powerful characters in combat. Keep in mind, this is the PHB ranger class, not one of the UA versions. He's focusing on archery and literally rains death down on monsters before they even get close to my fighter.
 

Paragon Lost

Explorer
I don't see why. We have a Ranger in our 5e Birthright party and he's one of the most powerful characters in combat. Keep in mind, this is the PHB ranger class, not one of the UA versions. He's focusing on archery and literally rains death down on monsters before they even get close to my fighter.
What levels were you all operating at? Rangers are very powerful the first two tiers it's true, later tiers they're found to be lacking.
 

ScuroNotte

Explorer
I don't see why. We have a Ranger in our 5e Birthright party and he's one of the most powerful characters in combat. Keep in mind, this is the PHB ranger class, not one of the UA versions. He's focusing on archery and literally rains death down on monsters before they even get close to my fighter.
Its not about the damage, but the features of the class. They are to narrowly focused. Not enjoyable. The game is not only about damage output.
 

Paragon Lost

Explorer
Its not about the damage, but the features of the class. They are to narrowly focused. Not enjoyable. The game is not only about damage output.
Yeah I didn't even get to that part, since I wanted to focus on his focus on their damage a ability. A great point though, that I should have brought up as well.
 

Superchunk77

Explorer
Yeah I didn't even get to that part, since I wanted to focus on his focus on their damage a ability. A great point though, that I should have brought up as well.
I only mentioned damage output as that seemed to be the biggest gripe from the feedback I've seen. Granted, we are only level 6 right now, but I foresee his character being extremely useful even at the higher levels. We've got a rogue, fighter, and warlock in the party too so he's the go-to guy for anything survival or nature related. He took the Hunter subtype if that matters.
 

ScuroNotte

Explorer
I only mentioned damage output as that seemed to be the biggest gripe from the feedback I've seen. Granted, we are only level 6 right now, but I foresee his character being extremely useful even at the higher levels. We've got a rogue, fighter, and warlock in the party too so he's the go-to guy for anything survival or nature related. He took the Hunter subtype if that matters.
The complaint I most often hear/read are the features you gain that pertain to specific terrains. Regardless of level, survival/nature will be of no help if not in favored terrain. That is why they are terrible and the biggest complaint
 

Superchunk77

Explorer
The complaint I most often hear/read are the features you gain that pertain to specific terrains. Regardless of level, survival/nature will be of no help if not in favored terrain. That is why they are terrible and the biggest complaint
If you're talking about their "Natural Explorer" class feature then I'm not really seeing the problem. If you talk to your DM to get hints then you can usually pick a terrain that will be useful until at least 6th level, when you pick and second, and then 10th when you pick a third terrain. For most campaigns, that will cover 90% of the adventures.

Same goes for favored enemy. Ask the DM and he'll usually give you ideas or hints. Most good DM's want their players to succeed and be useful so asking them is completely normal.

The ranger in our game chose grasslands and underdark mainly because our DM puts most adventures in those areas. He also ruled that underdark is basically any natural underground terrain.
 

mcmillan

Explorer
I think it goes a bit beyond just being able to ask for hints about which terrain to use.

First, while suggesting DMs be open and flexible is good, it still relies on the DMs' cooperation. And if we're talking about revising class features I think it's valid to point to this as something that could have been better implemented to not rely on the DM's whims.

But more fundementally, this class feature seems implemented to apply to some specific play styles where land navigation plays a significant role, and I'm not surprised if a lot of tables aren't actually using rules that apply here. I think a lot of groups (at least some of the time) treat travel as something that just happens, so abilities that prevent being lost or slowed and minimize the need to find supplies don't come up. Even if your group did want to play that out, the Natural explorer feature essentially says there won't be major consequences - resulting in it being even more likely to be glossed over as opposed a feature that would allow the player to highlight that they want to focus on this playstyle.
 

Superchunk77

Explorer
First, while suggesting DMs be open and flexible is good, it still relies on the DMs' cooperation. And if we're talking about revising class features I think it's valid to point to this as something that could have been better implemented to not rely on the DM's whims.
Not exactly. If you sit down for a Ghosts of Saltmarsh game and choose "deserts" as your favored terrain then that's on the player. If your DM is a jerk and refuses to give you any guidance whatsoever, then that's a DM problem, not a rules problem.

But more fundementally, this class feature seems implemented to apply to some specific play styles where land navigation plays a significant role, and I'm not surprised if a lot of tables aren't actually using rules that apply here. I think a lot of groups (at least some of the time) treat travel as something that just happens, so abilities that prevent being lost or slowed and minimize the need to find supplies don't come up. Even if your group did want to play that out, the Natural explorer feature essentially says there won't be major consequences - resulting in it being even more likely to be glossed over as opposed a feature that would allow the player to highlight that they want to focus on this playstyle.
Overland travel is a core rule and it's in the SRD. If a group is not using it, then that's a house-rule. Whether or not it's a significant part of the campaign is up to the DM. If you're playing Dark Sun or something, then wilderness survival becomes far more important. If you're running a city-based campaign, then pick the fighter or rogue class instead perhaps? Natural Explorer doesn't eliminate all consequences of wilderness travel. It makes your party's life slightly more convenient when in those environments. You get to your destination faster, avoid getting lost (unless magic is involved), are less prone to surprise, your rations last longer, and you're better prepared if you're tracking something. All things that a ribbon class feature is supposed to do.
 

mbeacom

Visitor
Anybody arguing that PHB 5E Rangers aren't garbage is being silly. Even WotC has admitted they screwed up and they're no good. It's pointless to defend them. They've been trying to fix them for 4 years. This doesn't happen if they are just fine and somehow we all just don't get it. Even the designers know they're trash.
 

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