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Pathfinder 2E Paizo Announces Pathfinder 2nd Edition!

Paizo has just announced the Second Edition of its Pathfinder Roleplaying Game! Read on for the announcement straight from the horse's mouth. The horse, in this case, being Pathfinder designer Jason Bulmahn. "In 2008, Paizo launched an unprecedented public playtest aimed at updating the third edition rules to make them more fun, easier to learn, and better able to support thrilling fantasy adventures. More than 40,000 gamers just like you joined in the fun by playtesting the new Pathfinder RPG rules and providing feedback, and the rest is gaming history. Now, 10 years later, it's time to put the lessons of the last decade to use and evolve the game once again. It's time for Pathfinder Second Edition!"


PlaytestRulebook.png


Welcome to the next evolution of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!

Just shy of 10 years ago, on March 18th, 2008, we asked you to take a bold step with us and download the Alpha Playtest PDF for Pathfinder First Edition. Over the past decade, we've learned a lot about the game and the people who play it. We've talked with you on forums, we've gamed with you at conventions, and we've watched you play online and in person at countless venues. We went from updating mechanics to inventing new ones, adding a breadth of options to the game and making the system truly our own. We've made mistakes, and we've had huge triumphs. Now it is time to take all of that knowledge and make the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game even better.

By now, you've probably read all about the upcoming launch of the Playtest version of the game set to release on August 2nd, 2018 (but just in case you haven't, click here). In the weeks and months leading up to that release, we are going give you an in-depth look at this game, previewing all 12 of the classes and examining many of the most fundamental changes to the game. Of course, that is a long time to wait to get a complete picture, so I wanted to take this opportunity to give you insight into the game, how it works, and why we made the changes that we made. We will be covering these in much more detail later, but we thought it might be useful to give a general overview right now.



Illustration by Wayne Reynolds​
[h=2]New, but the Same[/h]Our first goal was to make Pathfinder Second Edition feel just like the game you know and love. That means that as a player, you need to be able to make the choices that allow you to build the character you want to play. Similarly, as a Game Master, you need to have the tools and the support to tell the story you want to tell. The rules that make up the game have to fundamentally still fill the same role they did before, even if some of the mechanics behind them are different.
[h=2]Building a Character[/h]It's worth taking a moment to talk about how characters are built, because we spent a lot of time making this process smoother and more intuitive. You start by selecting your ancestry (which used to be called race), figuring out where you came from and what sorts of basic statistics you have. Next you decide on your background, representing how you were raised and what you did before taking up the life of an adventurer. Finally, you select your class, the profession you have dedicated yourself to as an intrepid explorer. Each one of these choices is very important, modifying your starting ability scores, giving you starting proficiencies and class skills, and opening up entire feat chains tailored to your character.

After making the big choices that define your character, you have a variety of smaller choices to make, including assigning skill proficiencies, picking an ancestry feat, buying gear, and deciding on the options presented by your class. Finally, after deciding on all of your choices, the only thing left to do is figure out all of your bonuses, which are now determined by one unified system of proficiency, based on your character's level.

As you go on grand adventures with your character, you will gain experience and eventually level up. Pathfinder characters have exciting and important choices to make every time they gain a level, from selecting new class feats to adding new spells to their repertoires.
[h=2]Playing the Game[/h]We've made a number of changes to the way the game is played, to clean up the overall flow of play and to add some interesting choices in every part of the story. First up, we have broken play up into three distinct components. Encounter mode is what happens when you are in a fight, measuring time in seconds, each one of which can mean life or death. Exploration mode is measured in minutes and hours, representing travel and investigation, finding traps, decoding ancient runes, or even mingling at the queen's coronation ball. Of all the modes of play, exploration is the most flexible, allowing for easy storytelling and a quick moving narrative. Finally, the downtime mode happens when your characters are back in town, or relative safety, allowing them to retrain abilities, practice a trade, lead an organization, craft items, or recuperate from wounds. Downtime is measured in days, generally allowing time to flow by in an instant.

Most of the game happens in exploration or encounter mode, with the two types of play flowing easily from one to the other. In fact, exploration mode can have a big impact on how combat begins, determining what you roll for your initiative. In a group of four exploring a dungeon, two characters might have their weapons ready, keeping an eye out for danger. Another might be skulking ahead, keeping to the shadows, while the fourth is looking for magic. If combat begins, the first two begin with their weapons drawn, ready for a fight, and they roll Perception for their initiative. The skulking character rolls Stealth for initiative, giving them a chance to hide before the fight even begins. The final adventurer rolls Perception for initiative, but also gains some insight as to whether or not there is magic in the room.

After initiative is sorted out and it's your turn to act, you get to take three actions on your turn, in any combination. Gone are different types of actions, which can slow down play and add confusion at the table. Instead, most things, like moving, attacking, or drawing a weapon, take just one action, meaning that you can attack more than once in a single turn! Each attack after the first takes a penalty, but you still have a chance to score a hit. In Pathfinder Second Edition, most spells take two actions to cast, but there are some that take only one. Magic missile, for example, can be cast using from one to three actions, giving you an additional missile for each action you spend on casting it!
Between turns, each character also has one reaction they can take to interrupt other actions. The fighter, for example, has the ability to take an attack of opportunity if a foe tries to move past or its defenses are down. Many classes and monsters have different things they can do with their reactions, making each combat a little bit less predictable and a lot more exciting. Cast a fire spell near a red dragon, for example, and you might just find it takes control of your magic, roasting you and your friends instead of the intended target!
[h=2]Monsters and Treasure[/h]The changes to the game are happening on both sides of the GM screen. Monsters, traps, and magic items have all gotten significant revisions.

First off, monsters are a lot easier to design. We've moved away from strict monster construction formulas based off type and Hit Dice. Instead, we start by deciding on the creature's rough level and role in the game, then select statistics that make it a balanced and appropriate part of the game. Two 7th-level creatures might have different statistics, allowing them to play differently at the table, despite both being appropriate challenges for characters of that level.

This also makes it easier for us to present monsters, giving us more space to include special abilities and actions that really make a monster unique. Take the fearsome tyrannosaurus, for example; if this terrifying dinosaur gets you in its jaws, it can take an action to fling you up to 20 feet through the air, dealing tremendous damage to you in the process!

Hazards are now a more important part of the game, from rangers creating snares to traps that you have to actively fight against if you want to survive. Poisons, curses, and diseases are a far more serious problem to deal with, having varied effects that can cause serious penalties, or even death.

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.
We can't wait until you find your first +1 longsword to see what it can do!
[h=2]What's Next?[/h]There are a lot of things we are excited to show off, so many in fact that we have to pace ourselves. First off, if you want to hear the game in action right now, we've recorded a special podcast with the folks from the Glass Cannon Network, converting the original Pathfinder First Edition Module, Crypt of the Everflame, to the new edition. Head on over to their site and listen to the first part of this adventure now!
Stop by tomorrow for the first blog taking an in-depth look at Pathfinder Second Edition, starting off with the new system for taking actions, then visit us again on Friday for an exploration of the Glass Cannon game, exploring some of its spoilers in detail!
[h=2]We Need You![/h]All of us at Paizo want to take a moment to thank you, the fans, players, and game masters that have made this exciting journey a possibility. It's been a wild ride for the past decade, and speaking personally, I could not be more excited for where we are heading. But, as I am sure you've heard a number of times already, we cannot make this game without you, without your feedback and passion for the game. Thank you for coming with us on this adventure, thank you for contributing to our community, and thank you for playing Pathfinder.

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design
[h=2]Pathfinder Playtest Features[/h]The new Pathfinder Playtest rules are the first step in the evolution to the new edition. We have incorporated the best innovations and lessons of the last 10 years to move the game forward in new and exciting ways. As we count down the days to the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook release, we'll be revealing more information on the following topics (and more!) on the Paizo blog:

  • 10th-Level Spells and 4 Spell Lists
  • Alchemists in Core
  • Archetypes and Multiclassing
  • Class Changes
  • Classic Monsters and Magic
  • Clean, Modular Information-Based Design
  • Combat Maneuvers that Rock
  • Designed for All Levels of Play
  • Easier to Play
  • Goblin Player Characters
  • Golarion-Infused
  • Heroic Storytelling
  • Innovative Initiative
  • More Customization
  • New Background System
  • Pathfinder Society
  • Production Values
  • Race Changes and Feats
  • Rebalanced Magic Items
  • Simplified Actions
  • Streamlined Proficiencies
  • Support
  • True to Pathfinder
  • Wayne Reynolds Art

[h=2]Compatibility?[/h]The big question -- backwards compatibility? Paizo says "While many of the rules of the game have changed, much of what made Pathfinder great has remained the same. The story of the game is unchanged, and in many cases, you can simply replace the old rules with their new counterpart without having to alter anything else about the adventure. As for individual rules, like your favorite spell or monster, most can be added with a simple conversion, changing a few numbers and rebalancing some of the mechanics."
[h=2]Pathfinder Playtest Products[/h]All Pathfinder Playtest products will be released as FREE downloads exclusively at paizo.com on August 2, 2018. On the same day, we'll release limited-edition print versions of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook, Pathfinder Playtest Adventure, and Pathfinder Playtest Flip-Mat Multi-Pack for players and Game Masters seeking the ultimate playtest experience. These print editions will be available for preorder from local retailers now and paizo.com between March 20 and May 1. We'll also have copies at the Paizo booth during Gen Con 2018 in Indianapolis on August 2–5.
[h=4]Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook[/h]This massive 400-page rulebook contains everything you need to create characters and run Pathfinder Playtest adventures from levels 1–20! With gorgeous new illustrations by Wayne Reynolds, the Playtest Rulebook lights the path leading directly to Pathfinder's future. Available in three editions: softcover, hardcover, and deluxe hardcover with foil-debossed faux-leather cover and ribbon bookmark.
[h=4]Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn[/h]This 96-page super-adventure contains seven multi-encounter scenarios designed to introduce the new rules and put them to the ultimate test on your game table! With adventures spanning all 20 levels and featuring most of the game's newest rules, Doomsday Dawn provides a thrilling tour of the new rules, and of the Pathfinder world itself!
[h=4]Pathfinder Playtest Flip-Mat Multi-Pack[/h]Throw your heroes into the action with this collection of two double-sided Flip-Mats for use with the Playtest Adventure. These beautiful full-color maps measure 24" x 30" unfolded and set the scene for climactic battles that will determine the future of Pathfinder! The maps' erasable surface can handle and dry-erase, wet-erase, or even permanent markers.
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

marroon69

Explorer
Hmmmm well it was fun to have a single version. I would have rather they create a new game, a new world, something new and leave Pathfinder as is. I agree that they could slow down the publication a lot or even stop it at some point. There is a ton of content out there. But now there will be a flood of "new" Pathfinder 2e content that will look very much like the old Pathfinder 1e content. Based on the FAQ they created their plan will be to start "re-releasing with new and fresh updates!". Uhhgg more marketing jargon..... At this point, I might as well join the 5E train since there are a lot more players over there....
 

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Aldarc

Legend
Simple or complex, and yes there are other factors, wants, needs, etc... still it is a cash grab.
I don't think "cash grab" means what you think it means.

I would disagree. Is it perfect? No, no its not. But there is never going to be a perfect 'crunchy' game either.
The primary issue is that early PF was beholden to follow 3.5 closely enough as to be "backwards compatible." It modified and built upon 3.5 to the point of being commonly regarded as "3.75 edition," but there were a number of byzantine rules, mechanics, and character options it was required conceptually to adhere to. This is not a criticism of 3.X and PF per se, but the gaming environment had changed. New mechanics established. New innovations made. And there is only so many papercuts that Paizo could bear or band-aids that Paizo could apply to 3.X as part of its original Pathfinder chassis. A lot of 3.X does have its own sort of elegance, beauty, and appeal. Not denying that. But I think that with all that Paizo has published. The alternative would have been to essentially reprint a "new core" set of books that cleaned up and adopted the new set of assumptions that have become part of the Pathfinder RPG experience. Being too close to the original, however, would likely have resulted in greater upset, as that would have been seen in a similar vein as the switch from 3.0 to 3.5. That would have been a cash-grab. But the intent of this set of revisions appears to be modernizing the Pathfinder d20 chassis for (1) Paizo's core fanbase and (2) newcomers to the hobby while still keeping to the spirit of Pathfinder. I don't think that modernizing Pathfinder equates to 5e either, particularly given some of the cross-pollination between Paizo writers and other game systems.

Its not really backwards compatible. Is it easier to up-convert from 3.0, or 3.5, to PF than say basic/1e/2e or a rolemaster, harn, etc? Yes. It was more because it was familiar enough.
PF was originally billed in its marketing as being backwards compatible; however, it became increasingly less so as its rules complexity, layers, and innovations were brought more into the standardized forefront of the game system.
 


Kobold Boots

First Post
Looked at a lot of these posts over the last 10 pages. I guess my take is this.

First, as someone that's already gone through the edition changes from 1e all the way to 4e and was just really getting in to 5e, history repeats itself. So I'm not going to bother with the dynamics of "cash grab" or "backwards compatibility" or any of that. End of day if you want the game to be published or get support from a vendor, it needs to generate income.

Second, I really don't understand why people are wondering if P2e is going to be that much different from D5e. It's using the D5e OGL. Of course it's going to be a lot like D5e. I'd expect it to be.

Last, 10 years for an edition is entirely reasonable. Games get long in the tooth and show their warts the more you build on them, especially as the staff changes and you lose the initial desire to keep things tight.
 


I just hope it doesn't look too much like 5th edition. There is a reason I still play Pathfinder / 3.X ...


I LIKE a million options, I like archetypes and prestige classes. the one player-focused supplement per 2 year model WOTC has adopted just doesn't cut it for me.

I LIKE 3.X feats, I just don't care for the so-called "super-feats" of 5th edition.


I don't understand why WOTC couldn't smooth out a game without making it a complete bore. its nice to have a casual-focused game. But sometimes you want something epic, crunchy and full of options.... and that's why I still own Pathfinder, even though the majority of RPG player base apparently now plays D&D 5th edition.
 


Kobold Boots

First Post
The what now?

There’s only one OGL, and Paizo has been using it for over a decade.

There’s no such things as a 5E OGL or a 3E OGL. There’s just the OGL, released many years ago.

My apologies.

What I should have said was OGL 1 as applied to SRD 5.0 updated in 2016. :)

I think it's very clear based on the marketing of the P2e that it's using the SRD 5 content. Really shouldn't be that much of a debate. There will certainly be differences because it's a different product with a different team behind it.

Be well
KB
 

Kobold Boots

First Post
I just hope it doesn't look too much like 5th edition. There is a reason I still play Pathfinder / 3.X ...


I LIKE a million options, I like archetypes and prestige classes. the one player-focused supplement per 2 year model WOTC has adopted just doesn't cut it for me.

I LIKE 3.X feats, I just don't care for the so-called "super-feats" of 5th edition.


I don't understand why WOTC couldn't smooth out a game without making it a complete bore. its nice to have a casual-focused game. But sometimes you want something epic, crunchy and full of options.... and that's why I still own Pathfinder, even though the majority of RPG player base apparently now plays D&D 5th edition.

I think the good news for both of us is that the playtest book will be 400 pages. There's going to be plenty of crunch.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I think it's very clear based on the marketing of the P2e that it's using the SRD 5 content. Really shouldn't be that much of a debate.

I don't think that's clear at all. Certainly not my takeaway from it. In fact, I'd be surprised if PF2 used a single word from the 5E SRD.
 

ehren37

Explorer
It's more like the 2E taunt spell than the sleep spell. The magic is supposed to be in the ritual: if you mock someone hard enough, they take meta-physical damage to their confidence (or whatever), in the same way that they get mad at you if you throw a pie at them.

At least, that's how I read it. The 5E description of how the psychic damage type works is severely lacking, but the description of vicious mockery says that it is a string of insults laced with subtle enchantments. If it's supposed to work by convincing the target that they're already dead, such that their body shreds itself out of belief, then that's really not coming across in the presentation.

I think that's where the magic would come in...
 

Kobold Boots

First Post
I don't think that's clear at all. Certainly not my takeaway from it. In fact, I'd be surprised if PF2 used a single word from the 5E SRD.

We'll agree to disagree then. When I see the playtest book at some point in August, should I be wrong, you'll see a kudos to you in this thread. I'm good like that.

In my opinion, the absolute worst thing they could do would be to stray too far away from the D&D material. The best would be if they accepted the relationship and added the quality and crunch that their player base enjoyed and WoTC won't approach.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
We'll agree to disagree then. When I see the playtest book at some point in August, should I be wrong, you'll see a kudos to you in this thread. I'm good like that.

In my opinion, the absolute worst thing they could do would be to stray too far away from the D&D material. The best would be if they accepted the relationship and added the quality and crunch that their player base enjoyed and WoTC won't approach.

I think D&D 5.5 would be the worst thing they could do. They should be (and I suspect are) creating an entirely new branch off 3.x, evolving that ruleset significantly (it seems significantly enough that it won't be directly compatible). I imagine we'll see influences from a whole range of games. They'll produce their own SRD (or PRD, in their case).
 

Cergorach

The Laughing One
I find your opinion odd when Pathfinder was basically a 3.55E version of D&D, which was designed by WotC. Now Paizo have announced a Pathfinder 2nd edition which, based only on this article, I can only assume will follow a lot of the 5E design, which WotC also designed.

Now I'm far from a Paizo hater. I have a heap of their books (easily more than any other company outside of WotC) and I was devastated when WotC ended their Dungeon and Dragon magazine licenses as they had done an awesome job with both mags. That said, what they've did with Pathfinder was very much a derivative product of 3.5E and Pathfinder second edition looks like it will be a derivative product of 5E.
Pathfinder 'fixed' a lot of issues that 3.5E had acquired over time. Not only that, they kept releasing adventure paths, adventures, character options, world expansions, monster books, etc. PF is certainly more then 3.55!

Based on the information available (on the Paizo site) they are not so much copying 5.0 as evolving PF to a version PF2, sure there will be things in common, but also a lot of divergence. The best example is the THREE actions per turn in PF2. They still have a common ancestry in 3.5. And while WotC designed 3.0, TSR designed 1.0/2.0, which was based on Chainmail by Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren... Your point being?

As for Dragon/Dungeon, Paizo did it from 2002-2007, after that the print publication ended. Many of the people working at Paizo on both magazines were already working on the magazines previously or were working on D&D products. It was WotCs attempt at outsourcing an unstable product. Compared to the previous incarnations the digital version of Dragon/Dungeon wasn't very good... But that could be my dislike for 4.0 talking, while mechanically superior to 3.5 and PF, fluff and inspiration wise it had much in common with a sterilized petri dish... Dragon+ is just... Ugh!

Anyone who says 15+ years of D&D 3E, didn't actually make the whole ride. Everything 3.0 went out the window after 3.5 was released. While Pathfinder made conversions possible to and from 3.5, it was eventually so much work that everyone shelved out serious money for 3.5 to PF versions of the product they already owned in 3.5. I suspect that many will do the same for PF2.

As for Paizo supporting both PF1 and PF2, I seriously doubt that. With any product there is natural course where old customers stop being customers and new customers arrive, not to mention old customers possibly returning. Generally customers that are die hard 'old edition' users were also not core PF users, because if that was true they would have stayed with 3.5 (or older editions).

I suspect that Paizo can collect a TON of good information on what their customers think of their PF2 playtest and relate that quite well to their sales. Paizo does a lot of direct sales, both in physical products as in digital products... When a customer that played the digital playtest rules is negative about it and only got the PF1 pdfs through a $15 Humble Bundle (of which Paizo only saw ~$10), then it weighs a lot less then the positive opinion of a customer that has a subscription running through the Paizo store (and vice versa). WotC did almost NO direct sales, didn't do a playtest with 4.0, and wound up with a pretty big failure they corrected in 5.0. As PF will be 10 years old by the time it's officially released, that's longer then ANY version of D&D ever. That level of support is what I appreciate in a company, I'm curious what they'll do with PF2...
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I think D&D 5.5 would be the worst thing they could do. They should be (and I suspect are) creating an entirely new branch off 3.x, evolving that ruleset significantly (it seems significantly enough that it won't be directly compatible). I imagine we'll see influences from a whole range of games. They'll produce their own SRD (or PRD, in their case).
There are some pretty good ideas in 5e that would make pathfinder better...

... but I am uncertain how much they can take from 5e, legally speaking...
 

Kobold Boots

First Post
I think D&D 5.5 would be the worst thing they could do. They should be (and I suspect are) creating an entirely new branch off 3.x, evolving that ruleset significantly (it seems significantly enough that it won't be directly compatible). I imagine we'll see influences from a whole range of games. They'll produce their own SRD (or PRD, in their case).

Personally, I hope you're right. I just think that any evolved form of 3.x that has significant comparison to structures in D5e is going to be seen as 5.5 (or the 5 that should have been) by the part of the player community that cares about this sort of thing.

So yes, there's going to need to be some differences or why bother playing it? However, if you go too far away from home, you run the same risk.
 

Kurviak

Explorer
My apologies.

What I should have said was OGL 1 as applied to SRD 5.0 updated in 2016. :)

I think it's very clear based on the marketing of the P2e that it's using the SRD 5 content. Really shouldn't be that much of a debate. There will certainly be differences because it's a different product with a different team behind it.

Be well
KB

Unless paizo’s developers are misleading people on purpose. Both here and in paizo’s forum they said PF 2 is not based on 5ed at all
 

Arilyn

Hero
My apologies.

What I should have said was OGL 1 as applied to SRD 5.0 updated in 2016. :)

I think it's very clear based on the marketing of the P2e that it's using the SRD 5 content. Really shouldn't be that much of a debate. There will certainly be differences because it's a different product with a different team behind it.

Be well
KB

I listened to the podcast of actual play with the new rules (as they sit now), and its not at all like 5e.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Unless paizo’s developers are misleading people on purpose. Both here and in paizo’s forum they said PF 2 is not based on 5ed at all

Have you got a direct link to that on Paizo.com? If there's a nice, clear, unambiguous statement I'd like to make a news item out of it.
 

Kobold Boots

First Post
Unless paizo’s developers are misleading people on purpose. Both here and in paizo’s forum they said PF 2 is not based on 5ed at all

Arilyn said:
I listened to the podcast of actual play with the new rules (as they sit now), and its not at all like 5e.

Then you've both got better primary sources than I do and I defer. Glad I felt strongly enough to bring it up.
 

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