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Pathfinder 2 Updates -- How Big Should The Bestiary Be? New Initiative System? ... And Other Stories

Today's Pathfinder 2nd Edition news update contains a number of minor tidbits. Plus, they're still planning the Bestiary and are interested in opinions on how big it should be. All of this has, of course, been added to the ever-expanding Pathfinder 2nd edition Compiled Info Page.

Today's Pathfinder 2nd Edition news update contains a number of minor tidbits. Plus, they're still planning the Bestiary and are interested in opinions on how big it should be. All of this has, of course, been added to the ever-expanding Pathfinder 2nd edition Compiled Info Page.


  • Here's a playtest report by Marc Radle from Gary Con! The biggest item in this list, to me, is the new Initiative system. We've already heard about how PCs can roll things like Stealth, Survival, or other skills rated to what they're currently doing. And the condition degrees sound intriguing.
    • The new three action economy rule is, frankly, fantastic! It speeds up combat, gives everyone more to do on their turn, and feels a bit more tactical (in the best way). Can't say enough good things about it!
    • The new initiative system probably took the most getting used to, but after the first combat, even that made sense and felt fine
    • The active use of shields (instead of the more passive "I have a shield so I'm just always using it") was very cool.
    • Characters had normal AC and a touch AC, but no flat-footed AC (flat-footed in now a condition)
    • Healing spells are now in the Necromancy school (I approve!)
    • First level characters start out with more hit points (excellent)
    • Skills are consolidated somewhat (Spellcraft and Knowledge Arcana seem to be a single skill now, for example)
    • You can now Crit (or fumble) skill checks etc.
    • Conditions now have a number which designates the degree - nauseated 1, for example, means you are nauseated and take -1 to whatever checks the nauseated condition specifies. Nauseated 2 is worse and gives you -2 on those checks. Seemed pretty clever!
    • Overall, the playtest / demo made me feel quite positive about the new edition. The game still felt like Pathfinder, just an improved, slightly more refined version.
    • One thing that seemed very clear though (and was something Jason confirmed) is that this will NOT be a radical departure from what we are used to. You will easily be able to run a Pathfinder 1.0 adventure using the new edition rules by basically swapping out some stat blocks, making a few other quick changes (on the fly even) and you will be good to go. All our current Pathfinder adventures will not be obsolete, in other words!

  • On expanding Golarion -- "We'll do minor check-ins now and again as APs and other initiatives dictate, but for now there are still a few highly appealing nations in the Inner Sea Region that have not gotten their due, and they presently take priority. We'll get to that other stuff, though. I can see a very clear path in that direction that I'm not sure I could a year or two ago." (Erik Mona)
  • Why no half-elf iconics? -- "[FONT=&amp]And there are no half-orcs, either. I wish we'd done it differently back in 2007, but fixing it within the core 12 means saying goodbye to some very good friends, and we're not really interested in going there." [/FONT] (Erik Mona)
  • On how to abbreviate editions of Pathfinder -- "[FONT=&amp]Speaking just for myself, I'm gearing toward PF1 and PF2. The lowercase "e" is superfluous, as the number denotes the edition. [/FONT][FONT=&amp]PF1 is more useful to specify between editions, i.e. "they did this so much better in PF1." If Pathfinder First Edition is called simply PF, it loses function as a catch-all abbreviation for the game in general, its world, the culture and customs associated with it, etc. [/FONT][FONT=&amp]Anyway, just my two cents."[/FONT] (Erik Mona)
  • Erik Mona mentions the Bestiary --
    • On a suggestion that monsters have more information and context -- "I'd also very much like this, but this also adds pages if you don't want it to come at the cost of more options and stat blocks."
    • On including most of the monsters from Bestiaries 1-3 -- "[FONT=&amp]I'm guessing a truly credible version of that book would be at least 600 pages. [/FONT][FONT=&amp]Are you willing to pay $60-70 for such a book? [/FONT][FONT=&amp]I'm genuinely interested in people's answers, because to tell you the truth I am strongly considering a base monster reference that is significantly larger than Bestiary 1's 320 pages. [/FONT][FONT=&amp]So... don't be shy about your opinions, please."[/FONT]
  • ​Logan Bonner in response to a post about replacing feats like skill focus with skill unlocks -- "You're in luck!"
  • Defining whether items are held, wielded, or free -- "[FONT=&amp]We've certainly put work into this and really want you to put it through its paces."[/FONT][FONT=&amp] (Logan Bonner)[/FONT]
  • Finally, Gary Con is over, and Paizo's Jason Bulmahn has left. The Pathfinder Playtests raised $2,163 for charity. Here are some photos of the last two playtest groups, courtesy of Jason Bulmahn.


"These madmen raised $233 for charity playing the new version of Pathfinder!" - Jason Bulmahn


"My last Pathfinder Preview table at Garycon! We raised another $370! That's over a grand for charity so far!" - Jason Bulmahn

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I like the current physical size of the Bestiary. I don’t think they should go over about 400 pages, same with the Core Rulebook. Plenty of time to add more books to the line if all goes to plan :)


The Laughing One
A 600 page book at $60-$70 is a good deal, 80% more content for 35-55% more added to the price. The question becomes, how does that book wield? I still have Ptolus... As a pdf, it really wouldn't matter that much...

The bestiaries are one of my favorite books, together with the sourcebooks with new base classes, but Devir didn't want to translate to Spanish languange the Bestiary 3. The monster manual and bestiaries are books what get old very good after new editions when there is enough background, but without "filling", like some pages from 3.5 Monster Manual IV and MM V. Really I miss the translation to the dragons.

Silver Griffin

How about get most of Bestiary 1&2 & include a bunch more context & ecology on the monsters. I would pay more to get a larger book that had some ecology & behavior notes. Just doing the stats was one of the first thing that got carried over from D&D 3.x to Pathfinder.


I would be concerned about a 600 page book. My PF1 core rulebook saw very little use, but the binding fell apart quickly. Have the hard cover books improved in quality... in this sense?


New Publisher
I like the lore and story elements in monster books! If it isn't super hard to convert, most long time PF players/DMs will have no shortage of monsters. New players can probably start with 200-300 monsters, and wait 6-12 months for more....

I don't like 600 page books, too hard to actually use.


All depends on how compact the new stat blocks are vs those from PF1. Also it depends on which play tier they target. They can focus on the 'lower tiers' for the first book and keep those unique high level monsters for some special book later in the line.


Well, that was fun
Staff member
I think one of the most important things for big Pathfinder stat blocks is to remove the long list of feats and spells. They require too much system mastery (or reference in-play).

I'd say list a few spells they're likely to use, along with the info to use them. Instead of listing the feats, just make sure their effects are incorporated inline. Every time you turn from the Bestiary to a rulebook to find out how to run a monster, you're taking away from playing time.

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