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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!"


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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

CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
I didn't read all 14 pages of comments but personally, I really like the concept of ancestry instead of races. By presenting them this way, you can have a world with only humans who have different capabilities depending on their ancestry.

I must say that I found the original Pathfinder too heavy and complicated for my more recent tastes, so this is good news. I will definitely take a look at it.

Adventures in middle earth usees cultures instead of races. There are about 7 i think human cultures in the book, and they all get different abilities and access to culture specific feats.

Its brilliant, and you can easily have a campaign just of humans and make the world and the players seem vastly different on that basis alone
 

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Aldarc

Legend
I get the feeling that Paizo is not really interested in Psionics.
Dreamscarred Press was there almost at the outset to pick up the banner for psionics, so I think that Paizo let them have that niche. It was not until MUCH LATER that Paizo made their own Psychic Adventures book. But most people who wanted psionics, had already looked towards Dreamscarred Press for leadership.
 

Shasarak

First Post
Dreamscarred Press was there almost at the outset to pick up the banner for psionics, so I think that Paizo let them have that niche. It was not until MUCH LATER that Paizo made their own Psychic Adventures book. But most people who wanted psionics, had already looked towards Dreamscarred Press for leadership.

You are right about Dreamscarred Press Psionics. I dont know if they ever did a Spanish version for Luis, I imagine that there would be a significant amount of work to do that,

I did like the Psychic Adventure classes. They were definitely their own beast though not a replacement for Psionics,
 

Olaf the Stout

Adventurer
I would not be surprised if Paizo continues to sell PF1 APs to PF2 players. I mean APs are what the company stands for. And I think any conversion issues will probably be quite manageable with a simpler creation systems that they are proposing. I certainly plan on completing my purchase of the Kingmaker AP when I eventually have disposable income again.

I disagree that they would do that. That will mean 2 lots of stats, 2 lots of layout, potentially 2 smaller print runs. That just seems like a good way to almost double your workload while getting the same revenue.

Far better to just release it as PF2, which keeps your workload the same, but more importantly encourages your players to shift to the new system and re-buy all the rulebooks from you.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
They're not near each other in power or specifically utility. They have some minor parity in combat, but casters pull way ahead in exploration and social thanks to various effects. Essentially all non-casters have is skill checks, which casters ALSO get. As such, casters should be significantly worse in combat. An evoker types can give up other utility to achieve closer to non-caster baseline. It's BETTER than it was, still not where it needs to be.
I think you’re just flat wrong on every part of this, except where you say that it’s better than it was. The bolded section I find especially, egregiously, erroneous.




And extra utility. AND getting to pick new spell loadouts daily.
how would your suggestion fix any of that? Why do you feel that making casters not fun to play addresses this?



They shouldnt be par though. Not without losing utility in other areas.
every basic type of class should be roughly on par in each mode/pillar of the game.


I don't see how them casting cantrips for a few rounds to build magical energy up for a big spell is unfair. It's basically all fighters do and they don't even have big effect outside of action surge! Fighter types need more nova, and casters need less. This will also help balance how D&D generally plays out, with less than 6-8 combat encounters. It removes the need for time wasting filler and stops a caster from dropping a bunch of effects in rapid succession to dominate play.

When did fairness come up?

Also, some classes nova, while others deal consistent damage. Nova isn’t more valuable than DPR.

The last part is accomplished by the concentration mechanic in 5e, again without making caster less fun to play than other classes.
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
More I was suggesting that I thought it possible that PF1 APs (not rulebooks) might continue to be popular enough to see print as is. I am not RPG business wiz though, so maybe that is not the case. There is no reason for them to continue producing new PF2 APs with a PF1 version, I definitely did not mean that.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Ok, let’s try to be more positive, here.

So, we both want a balanced game where casters and non casters are roughly equal in overall power.

I want them to be roughly equal in all pillars of the game, you (it I’ve read you right) don’t think that matters, in fact support making some good at a given pillar while others are bad at that pillar but better at another.

If you’re willing to see them roughly on par in all pillars, I think we can compromise and see a fun and satisfying way to a balanced game.

So, here’s my rough sketch:

5e tones down spells’ power quite a lot. I’d say that the power disparity only exists in 5e at high levels, and even then it is vastly reduced compared to PF (frankly I only even see any disparity when it comes to fighters out of combat. Out of combat I’d rather have a rogue than a wizard around), but there are still issues. Point is, we can safely steal some of 5e’s fixes to spells, like making save or suck less common, and less unavoidable for the target, while making save or die MUCH less common.

2, make it the social thing about wizards that they can re-kit when they sleep, and consider that strongly in general class balance.

3, provide plenty of ways to get magic as a non “full caster”.

4, provide all characters with a set of maneuvers, and design the combat mechanics in a way where the martial classes will naturally be better at these maneuvers.

5, tie things like jump distance, swim speed, to both a stat and proficiency bonus, so proficient users are noticeably better at them.

6, let any character use a reaction to try and interrupt the casting of a spell. Casters can do it better if they burn a spell to do it, but weapon users deal damage when they succeed while casters don’t.
 

prosfilaes

Adventurer
More I was suggesting that I thought it possible that PF1 APs (not rulebooks) might continue to be popular enough to see print as is.

Pathfinder APs are sold like periodicals; they're printed mainly for subscribers but with enough to supply game stores, and once they're out of print, they're out of print. They have twice published a full AP as a standalone book, but they've made a big deal about not doing that regularly, in part because they don't want cut into the subscriber market; if you want an AP in print, get a subscription, or at least buy it while it's fresh. They will continue to design and releases PF1 APs until PF2 comes out, but then they're not going to go back and reprint stuff for PF1 that they wouldn't have reprinted when PF1 was in print. They don't plan on taking the PDFs down, so those will always be available.
 

Aldarc

Legend
You are right about Dreamscarred Press Psionics. I dont know if they ever did a Spanish version for Luis, I imagine that there would be a significant amount of work to do that,

I did like the Psychic Adventure classes. They were definitely their own beast though not a replacement for Psionics,
Same. They seemed to be more flavorful-designed "psychic classes" for people who disliked the trappings of "psionics."

Hopefully, Dreamscarred Press could be involved in porting psionic classes for Pathfinder 2.0, as that company actually has the passion and talent for psionics.
 

fantasmamore

Explorer
I always thought that it was a pity I didn't like Pathfinder as a system, since it had the best APs and lots of stupid little things that I would buy in a heartbeat; paper pawns, maps, cards. So I am excited about the new edition. I really hope to like the system and sincerely, most of what I hear is encouraging. Other than the word "feats" that is.
 




Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
[MENTION=1]Morrus[/MENTION] I know you just consolidated all the non-5e D&D sub forums into a neat little package, but you might consider a new one for Pathfinder 2. It's gonna be a hot topic for a while, and likely to become the "other" active and current D&D game.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I always thought that it was a pity I didn't like Pathfinder as a system, since it had the best APs and lots of stupid little things that I would buy in a heartbeat; paper pawns, maps, cards. So I am excited about the new edition. I really hope to like the system and sincerely, most of what I hear is encouraging. Other than the word "feats" that is.

“Feat chains” is a red flag for me, bc IMO it’s one of the worst aspects of 3/.5, PF, SW:SE, but feats in 4e and 5e I really like. I just hate adding an additional thing into the game that requires my players to grind through several levels before realizing a reasonable mechanical approximation of their basic concept.

Anyway, the game aides for PF are great even if you don’t play PF. I use their maps in my 5e games all the time. If I didn’t have a couple hundred plastic minis, I’d probably use their pawns too!
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Hey [MENTION=31506]ehren37[/MENTION] I read your response in my email notifications, and you have good points. I hope you’ll respond to my more positive comment and engage in a dialogue about how to actually address the issue without making one type of class suck to play.

I will say this, though, as a general note: it’s not about power, at least on my end. I don’t even play full caster classes like the wizard, pretty much ever. Last time I did was my first 3e character, a half-elf Cleric.

It’s about the actual abilities being fun to use during actual play. That is my #1 priority, and IMO should be the top priority of any game designer. Even above balance, though balance is a quite close second.

IME, casters in 5e dnd simply don’t dominate out of combat. Their spells are limited use, and rarely trivialize actual skills, and rogues are vastly better at skill use than they are. Even the bard falls behind the rogue in skill use. The problem is usually the fighter specifically, which is rarely allowed to have nice things, but even then many fighter archetypes are very good, and they and rogues will generally kill the big threat more easily than the wizard in fights, as well.

Your concerns match my exp with 3.5 and PF, but not all with 5e.
 

Aldarc

Legend
“Feat chains” is a red flag for me, bc IMO it’s one of the worst aspects of 3/.5, PF, SW:SE, but feats in 4e and 5e I really like. I just hate adding an additional thing into the game that requires my players to grind through several levels before realizing a reasonable mechanical approximation of their basic concept.

Anyway, the game aides for PF are great even if you don’t play PF. I use their maps in my 5e games all the time. If I didn’t have a couple hundred plastic minis, I’d probably use their pawns too!
So you don't like this in PF. You don't like the potential action economy of PF2. It's almost as if neither the PF nor PF2 system is for you, that you prefer 5E, and yet you're still hear telling us that you dislike everything for the sake of disliking everything. When either PF or PF2 gets something right, would you mind telling Paizo? I'm sure you are their target audience.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So you don't like this in PF. You don't like the potential action economy of PF2. It's almost as if neither the PF nor PF2 system is for you, that you prefer 5E, and yet you're still hear telling us that you dislike everything for the sake of disliking everything. When either PF or PF2 gets something right, would you mind telling Paizo? I'm sure you are their target audience.

Stop being so defensive.

I like PF. I criticize things I like, because I’ve no need or inclination to pretend they’re perfect.

Sorry my criticisms offend you?

And I’ll be following this and providing whatever positive and negative feedback seems appropriate.

its always very weird when people see criticism of one or two specific parts of something, and jump straight to “just to do something else if you hate it so much!!!!1”
 

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