Player Core and Gamemaster Core Remastered Review

I was given preview copies of the new Pathfinder Player Core and Gamemaster Core books from Paizo so I could review them before they hit the shelves on November 15th.

Paizo announced earlier this year that it will be putting out Remaster editions of its Player Core and Gamemaster Core. This was to take out any final bits of legacy content from the Open Game License and to bring the core rules up to date. This also allowed them to organize the content that was scattered over many books and put it in one place so players and GMs alike could easily access the rules and lore needed to play Pathfinder. Please Note: I was given preview copies of the new Pathfinder Player Core and Gamemaster Core books from Paizo so I could review them before they hit the shelves on November 15th.

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Clean and Organized​

My first impression was how clean and organized these books were. As much as I like the parchment look of the previous edition, I love the simple off-white background with the green and brown borders. It makes for an easier reading experience. This extends to the character sheets in the back of the book.

The other thing that I immediately enjoyed was the references to where to find things in the book. While the books are set up to chronologically take you through character creation, being told what page to jump to when I know what I want to make is amazing.

Looking over the character sheet, there is a very big change that threw me for a loop: ability scores are gone. In their place are Attributes. All Attributes start at zero and get boosts and flaws during character creation depending on ancestry and class.

This doesn’t mean that every Elf Witch will look the same because a lot of boosts can be placed in whatever Attribute you want. When you get to level 5 (and every five levels afterward), you’ll get 4 boosts to your Attributes that can be placed however you see fit. Once an Attribute gets to +4, it takes two boosts to raise it by one.

The other big change is doing away with alignment. I won’t lie, I’m actually happy about this one. It allows for more nuanced characters and does away with a lot of arguing at the table when a player argues that they shouldn’t have their alignment changed due to their actions. Instead, edicts and anathema show the code of ethics a character lives by. This allows the character to live, breathe, and change as the game progresses.

There are also a lot of name changes throughout the books to move away from OGL names. The Abyssal language is now Diabolic, Sylvan to Fey, etc. The same goes with spells: Acid Splash is now Caustic Blast. Little things that will take a minute to get used to.

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Ancestries, Backgrounds, and Classes

They’ve added Leshy and Orc as ancestries and now I want to make a tree person. In place of the standard half-elf and half-orc are versatile heritages. If you don’t want to pick just one ancestry, you can now take the mixed ancestry heritage and get the best of both worlds. Can anyone say Halfling with Leshy branches?

The big thing for me is the amount of classes being cut back to eight: bard, cleric, druid, fighter, ranger, rogue, witch, and wizard. Paizo has been teasing us for weeks on some of the changes they’ve made and I’m excited to finally see them up close and personal.

One of the things I noticed was that some feats were moved around or renamed. Witch’s Armaments now houses Eldritch Nails, Iron Teeth, and Living Hair as a first level Feat (you can only pick one of the attacks, but you can take the feat more than once to gain the other attacks). Witch’s familiars also gain abilities when the Witch casts or sustains a hex.

The thing I was most interested in seeing was how the lack of school types for the spells and the different wizard schools play into building a Wizard. Not only do Wizards learn certain spells based on the curriculum of their school, but they also have an Arcane Thesis which grants them benefits based on their research.

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Feats and Equipment

As much as I love Familiars and Animal Companions, the addition of a Pet Feat tickles my fancy. I love the idea of having a tiny animal that my character can train to follow her everywhere.

If you don’t feel like doing a ton of shopping when you make your character, they did move the quick equipment packages to the beginning of the equipment section instead of the end. One thing they did add was assistive items where your character can now get things like hearing aids and wheelchairs, making it so players can have characters who are more like them.

Spells

As I said earlier, spells schools for arcane casters went away. For a lot of players, this won’t make a huge difference because the spell list for each rank is now just completely alphabetized. Another change is in the Spell Traits: Auditory and Visual Traits have been combined into the Illusions Trait.
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GM Core

As a player, I love that they took out GM things from the Player Core. This keeps players from metagaming and looking at things like hazards and monsters for stats. The downside of splitting the GM Core from the Player Core is the loss of treasures and alchemical items from the book the players are using. This isn’t the worst thing in the world as Alchemists are not one of the classes in the Player Core, but it is something to keep in mind.

That being said, if you are running a game for the first time or want to brush up on how to build a game, this is the perfect book. It walks you through how to plan a session, running encounters, doing exploration, dealing with downtime, and rewarding players.

Just like the Player Core, everything is clean and easy to read and they tell you where to go in the book for more information as they talk about things.

If you are building an adventure of your own, they walk you through the eight steps: styles, threats, motivations, story arc, NPCs and Organizations, locations, encounters, and treasure (my favorite). They even break the styles of adventures down into their basic elements so you can figure out what you need for a dungeon crawl that is challenging, but not too challenging.

The Treasure Trove is overflowing with all sorts of items from runes to poisons to relics and cursed items (anyone want a Bag of Weasels?). I’m looking forward to reading through the items at a later date to see what I can work toward for my characters.

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Final Thoughts

Overall, I really like the way these books look. They are a great jumping on point for new players and GMs with their easy to read pages and organized step-by-step walk through of character creation and game building. There is enough that is the same from 2nd Edition that the switchover to Remaster shouldn’t be too difficult while still having a lot of new and different ways to enjoy the game.
 

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Dawn Dalton

Dawn Dalton

ngenius

Adventurer
Looks well made but not for me. Just tired of regularly buying new expensive books before fully enjoying existing ones bought.

However, if we can mix and match 2nd Edition and this one at the table, and that option is presented in the new GM Remaster, I may purchase it for that.
 

jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
The presence of thoughtful organization is a big selling point for me, as the first 2e core books seemed to be lacking that (notably with regard to character gen). This was the big sticking point that kept me from buying into Pathfinder 2e initially, as I was rather impressed with the rest of that game.
 



Keep in mind, the rework was planned, but got focused on as a matter of self defense. Let us not forget January, and the utter cluster chaos that brought.

I personally bought this the moment it hit a store. Just waiting for it now.

And now for the obligatory complaint: Really? Witch before paladin? Are you MAD?
 



And now for the obligatory complaint: Really? Witch before paladin? Are you MAD?

If i could swap one I'd probably remove bard for paladin.

But if there could be only 8 I would do. Barbarian, Fighter, Paladin, spell less Rangers, Rouge, Wizard.

Yup, just 6 (didnt see that coming) martial focused with no divine casters. Home-brewing low magic without clerics is where it is at.
 

Looks well made but not for me. Just tired of regularly buying new expensive books before fully enjoying existing ones bought.

However, if we can mix and match 2nd Edition and this one at the table, and that option is presented in the new GM Remaster, I may purchase it for that.
The basics are all still there. Some classes are more powerful (witch), but I haven’t encountered anything in the PDF I received a couple days ago that makes me think it’s a radical departure from a gameplay perspective. I’ll likely switch my group over gradually while we finish our current Abomination Vaults campaign and give my group the option to reroll their character before we move on to the Stolen Fate AP we’re following that up with. I’ve already started using new terms (off-guard) where it makes sense. Alignment hasn’t been a factor yet so dropping it will go unnoticed.
 

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