Paizo News: PaizoCon Online Wrap Up

Catching up on spoilers and news about Pathfinder Remastered, Lost Omens: Highhelm, Starfinder Enhanced, Pathfinder Adventures, and more.

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If you opted to spend your PaizoCon Online 2023 playing games, don't worry, we watched the Twitch streams to make sure we were caught up on all of the spoilers and news that Paizo put out. The Keynote speech hinted at all of the things Paizo has in the works and the panels that followed expanded on and gave us spoilers for new books and adventures.

Pathfinder Remastered

First things first, the full color cover reveal. The sketches we saw of the covers will be the ones you can buy at your FLGS. Player Core and GM Core will be out in November with Monster Core and Player Core 2 out early next year.

The goals of these books are pretty straight forward: streamline the game, make it easier to enter the game by dividing GM content from player content, and get the books under the ORC license. You can still use any of your old books with no to minor tweaks.

Alignment has been removed from everything. This is partially because things like law and chaos only showed up along good and evil and partially because edicts and anathema cover those ideas in a better way. Clerics will have the option to sanctify themselves, gaining either the holy or unholy trait, and access to spells that become holy when you cast them.

There will be a new damage type: sprit. Spirit damage can be sanctified and works on incorporeal beings. Schools of magic will be removed due to the OGL.

Leshy and Orc have been added to the Ancestries and all Orc feats will be collected in this book instead of scattered everywhere. Versatile heritages makes it so you can mix and match heritages with more than half-human. Nephilim will be taking the place of Aasimar and Tiefling due to legalities with the OGL. Another versatile heritage we will see are Changelings.

Bards are getting more details about the muses and proficiency with all martial weapons. Anything dealing with Cleric's alignment got reworked, along with the warpriest getting master proficiency with the deity's favored weapon and expert in martial weapons. Druids got a tune up, including custom spell shaping abilities. They removed the open trait from Fighters as it was intuitive. Warden Spells have become core to Rangers and reworked the Crossbow Ace feat. Rogues are now trained in all martial weapons.

Witch has gotten one of the biggest reworks of the classes. The patrons are more specific and relevant. Familiars gain cool and unique abilities from the Witch's patron. As well as new feats that can turn a broom or polearm into a flying broom or have your patron use your familiar as a portal to reach out and grab your enemy's soul.

Wizards are going back to school and learning curriculums, such as The School of Battle Magic that lets you learn war-centric spells for the battlefield. This allows lots flavor and the ability to add new schools to reflect different parts of the setting. Wizards will also be getting weapon proficiencies.

Spell components are being reworked into manipulate and concentrate traits. This is to get rid of the holdover from the OGL. Some spells will be renamed, some will be replaced. Tree Shape will be replaced with One With Plants. A few spells will be compressed together: Light is now both Light and Dancing Lights. Condition removal spells will be stronger and focused around conditions as well as temporarily shutting off the condition if it doesn't counteract it completely.

The GM Core will make everything easier to find and is broken up into four sections: Running the Game, Building Adventures, Subsystems and Rules Variants, and Magic Items and Treasure. Subsystems were updated and adjusted to make them more player friendly, such as the research subsystem. More vehicles are added including a hot air balloon. The planes have had their names changed to use more Golarion terms and will include the new planes from Rage of Elelments.

Magic item activations now have a named activation to thematically tell you what it does. Talismans are easier to use and will be pulling more of their own weight. Reinforcing runes will be able to be added to shields to make them harder and more durable. Assistive items were added like corrective lenses, hearing aids, and wheelchairs.

Rage of Elements

Kineticists will continue to have their impulses. Composite Impulses will allow you to mix two elements together like a lightning rod where you throw a metal rod across the battlefield to call down a bolt of lightning. You will have to option to focus solely on one element or collect them all.

Each element will be getting its own chapter with new adventure possibilities, new spells, items, and monsters. Wood and Metal will be added to the current list of elements.

A big theme of this book is about choosing your elemental philosophy to take it beyond the four Greek elements. Every element will be getting a troop for you to do hordes of elementals, like the Avalanche Legion.

If you want genies, you’re getting genies with new lore.

How of the Wild

If you want creatures, this is the book! Lots of classic monsters are getting new variants and expansions. There will be hydras that eat starmetals to gain special abilities. Spellsong Lyrebird is a wizard’s attempt at creating a familiar that could help him cast spells, but has now become an invasive species that can cast spells independently.

There will be six new playable ancestries including Minotaur and Centaur. Minotaurs will be getting their own version of the Fastball Special. Centaurs will be able to be ridden for an interesting twist on mounted combat.

Highhelm

There are four levels to Highhelm: Kings Crown. Kings Heart, Stonebreech, and the Depths. Each level has its own character. The first adventure in the Sky King’s Tomb Adventure Path will take place almost solely in Highhelm.

While you are born into a specific Dwarven clan, there is nothing keeping you from switching as you grow up. Each clan focuses on different thing professionally.

Grindlegrubs are a domesticated grub that is the Dwarven equivalent of a cow. They make great steaks. They live on waste, removing the need for the city to have a sewer system.

Tian Xia

There will be six new ancestries. Samsarans were people who drank from a mystical spring, causing them to bleed water instead of blood and reincarnate. Tanukis use their big bellies for mystical power and can shapeshift into inanimate objects. Wayangs are native from the shadow plane and utilize shadows through different feats.

Pathfinder Adventures

Harrow Deck is delayed due to a production error with the box. Sky King’s Tomb AP will be a three parter starting in Highhelm and taking you deep underground. Season of Ghosts AP will be four parts and horror themed starting in October. Rusthenge will be a standalone adventure where strange happenings have been going on in Iron Harbor and it’s up to you to find out what’s going on.

Seven Dooms for Sandpoint is Adventure Path #200, coming in March 2024! This 200 page adventure will be taking us back to Sandpoint, where we started out in AP #1 Burnt Offerings. This will be for levels 4-11 and is an adaptation of the original Paizo office campaign. It will be available in both hardcover and softcover.

Darklands

In the Sky King’s Tomb backmatter, there will be a lot of new creatures (like the Algothullu and Ulatkini), everything you ever wanted to know about cave worms, new archetypes, and new items. New items include relics and long forgotten Dwarven artifacts.

Lots of random dungeons connect to the Darklands, not just Highhelm. Because a lot of Darklands is based in OGL, ‘Return to the Darklands’ will retcon previously revealed information. This includes Drow. In their place will be the Serpentfolk, who are now the bad guys of the Darklands and are trying to take over the world.

Cavern elves are now called Ayindilar, Umbral Gnomes are Drathnelar, and Subterranian dwaves are Hryngar. Hryngar will no long be taking slaves, instead they recruit you into their pyramid schemes.

Starfinder Enhanced

This book is going to have options for days for both players and GMs. New themes such as the battle medic, rancher, vid gamer, personal trainer, and street magician. New speces including playable holograms with hardlight bodies, Skiridates who have sonic breath weapons, Novians who are the embodiments of tiny dying stars, and more. Tons of new achetypes: Armored Visionary, Autocite, Exalted Champion, Major League Coach, Counselor, Menagerie Manager, and more.

Over 90 new feats! Arcane Ripost allows you to deal spell damage even if you fail to cast a spell because of AoE. Gag Gift is a dirty trick to put a grenade on someone. Starship Officionado inspires once per Starship combat without a check.

Four Enhanced Classes: Envoy, Solarian, Technomancer, and Witchwarper. The Envoy will be less pigeonholed as a support character by allowing things like an Inspiring Combo (doing a full action and using one of your improvisations). Solarians will now be allowed to advance attunement and spend attunement points without needing all three. Technomancers gain a technomatic talent every three levels. Witchwarpers get a pool of uses of Infinite Worlds per day that don’t affect their spell slots.

All classes got four pages of new stuff, in addition to the two pages each Enhanced Class has. Evolutionist got Divine Niche, Operative has a Mysterious Benefactor, Mystics gain new Connections, Biohacker has Hypermycology, and Precog gains the Seer Anchor.

There will be rules for designing spells as well as new spells and rituals.

New creature companions including bone familiars, vividile (they eat radiation), and Liminals.

Tons of new equipment! New rules for scaling equipment and customizing it.

There will be rules for narrative starship combat which is more flavor driven. GMs will have alternate skill DCs, Free Archetype rules, Milestone leveling, and new uses for Resolve Points.
 
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Dawn Dalton

Dawn Dalton

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Paizo moving away from 3e signals the era of 3e is concluding.
It's more correct to say that it signals Paizo wanting/needing a cash infusion. Certainly it's not any sort of commentary/indictment regarding so-called "imbalances" or "unfairness to players."

Also, games (from larger publishers) that are currently in print tend to have more players than games that are out of print as a general rule, regardless of the mechanics being employed, since active support in communities makes a fairly significant difference with regard to reaching both new and existing customers.
 
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Konrad13

Explorer
The removal of the drow seems unavoidable. Gygax invented the drow as highly distinctive and recognizable concept. He borrowed from various reallife folkbeliefs, but his creation is something new and modern. WotC clearly owns the intellectual property of Gygaxs "drow", including the trademarks and copyrights.

The only avenue that Pathfinder could take going forward would be to create a new kind "dark elf", such as going back to Norse inspiration from the dvergar, or Celtic inspiration from unseelie fairies, or an innovative concept. But it would need to be clearly unlike the drow in order to avoid future problems.
Me and many MANY others would have been happy to see an "evolving take" on drow in Golarion, especially since one of their demon lords they venerated shifted alignment and ascended to godhood which would have been an amazing storyline to follow. But nope, just hit the big red retcon button.
 

The-Magic-Sword

Small Ball Archmage
I don't know, when I think about it from a worldbuilding perspective, there's only so much you can do that they aren't effectively doing anyway to make them different. My own setting doesn't even really feature them-- it features cavern elves which we gave translucent skin, we would have had to come up with yet another niche for them to fill. The more different you make them from classic drow the more covered you already are from just giving any existing elves lavender/obsidian skin and letting them live underground.
 

SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
Dropping the Drow rather than simply renaming them as dark elves, as a lot of other games have already done was definitely a choice. I'm a big fan of Drow and find the change perplexing. Dark elves that live under the earth is a great concept and they're pretty common villains. I'm running Abomination Vaults and there are several Drow in that, for instance. It will be interesting to see if they remove them in the upcoming 5E Abomination Vault port.

I've said it before, but a lot of these revision choices seem to be less about the OGL and more about the vision about the game world. I find that the game is the poorer for just about all of the changes, and it's made me less interested in the game overall. But then I am also not the person that Paizo is focusing on (much like I'm not the guy WotC is targeting) but I am someone who spends money, and depending on how Revised looks, I'll spend less of it.
 

grankless

Adventurer
Dropping the Drow rather than simply renaming them as dark elves, as a lot of other games have already done was definitely a choice. I'm a big fan of Drow and find the change perplexing. Dark elves that live under the earth is a great concept and they're pretty common villains. I'm running Abomination Vaults and there are several Drow in that, for instance. It will be interesting to see if they remove them in the upcoming 5E Abomination Vault port.

I've said it before, but a lot of these revision choices seem to be less about the OGL and more about the vision about the game world. I find that the game is the poorer for just about all of the changes, and it's made me less interested in the game overall. But then I am also not the person that Paizo is focusing on (much like I'm not the guy WotC is targeting) but I am someone who spends money, and depending on how Revised looks, I'll spend less of it.
As far as we know, the 5e Abomination Vaults is still an OGL product.

As Paizo has explained, "predominately evil culture of matriarchal elves who live underground" is something entirely created by DnD, and a good 85% of the writing of them is from the 3.5 days, when Paizo intentionally played up that the Golarion drow were basically identical to DnD drow because it was better for sales at the time. Calling them "smurfs" would not suddenly make them not identical to drow.

Besides, there are still Darklands-dwelling elves. They just aren't drow, culturally or design-wise.
 

I've said it before, but a lot of these revision choices seem to be less about the OGL and more about the vision about the game world.
I think the revision started with wanting to distance themselves from the OGL, but it quickly pivoted to "so since we're making these changes, can we make something better as a replacement". Better is obviously highly subjective and they'll end up losing some fans over some of the changes for sure. That's unfortunate, but I tend to think it's better for the industry if they can get out from under the D&D clone label and truly become their own thing.

It's probably worth mentioning Paizo is somewhat uniquely positioned in the TTRPG industry for a non-WotC publisher. They don't crowdfund their new books and probably lean pretty heavily on their subscription numbers to identify how large their audience is. I'm guessing that's a source of data they're using to help decide how the new changes are being received.
 

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