Player Core and Gamemaster Core Remastered Review

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

Apparently, the biggest news I'm reading is the "clarification" of the Death and Dying rules - which were misprinted in the previous Core Rulebook (printed from the Beta playtest rules). FYI - they're printed correctly only on the GM Screen and now in the remaster.
And IMO, they make the game MUCH worse.
According to the game designers, your character adds their Wounded Value to their Dying Value EVERY TIME their Dying Value would increase.
So if you're Wounded 1 and drop to Dying, you start as Dying 2. If you take damage or fail a save, that increases your Dying Value by 2 because you were already Dying 1.
In this case there's no reason to have multiple Dying or Wounded values in the game. It's just instant death.
My GM screen has the rules explained the same way the CRB explains it, with your wounded value only being added to an increase in dying due damage taken. It doesn’t say to add it in a failed recovery check.
 

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Are there any photos of the interior you could share? One of my qualms with PF2 was sort of the same qualm I had with 4e: the aesthetic being too blocky, too "we took items meant for a video game menu and put them in a book."

I prefer the more natural language of 3e, PF1, and 5e.
 


These games ought to let you be 'dying' for multiple minutes, and as long as you get brought back up to 1 HP with magic, you should be alive again. Maybe have some medium-term debilitation due to the strain, but like, we don't need to make it easy for PCs to die.
So much of this. There is such a thin line between someone being fully functioning (any amount of positive hp), and then downed, attacked once, dead. In both DnD 5e and PF2. At least make it a part of the death save system or something, so there is at least some time-based tension, not just an on/off switch.

And I absolutely hate games putting the GM into the position of having to decide whether the monster does what's reasonable for it to do (attack someone before they're brought back up again) or, you know, not looking like you're gleefully killing off your friends.
 

So much of this. There is such a thin line between someone being fully functioning (1-10 positive hp), and then downed, attacked once, dead. In both DnD 5e and PF2. At least make it a part of the death save system or something, so there is at least some time-based tension, not just an on/off switch.

And I absolutely hate games putting the GM into the position of having to decide whether the monster does what's reasonable for it to do (attack someone before they're brought back up again) or, you know, not looking like you're gleefully killing off your friends.
As a GM, I have never attacked a downed player for 2 reasons.

1. Kicking a player when they’re down just feels bad.
2. I figure most creatures will move on to the immediate threat, so continuing to attack a downed player while another player is up and fighting doesn’t make sense to me. I might know the player is alive and could recover, but the monster doesn’t.
 

dave2008

Legend
I like the idea of a wizard thesis. Downtime and research is a big requirement for level up in my games and I like the idea of weaving a thesis into the for wizard characters. Actually, the general concept could work for several classes
 

Erdric Dragin

Adventurer
Hated the god awful change and restructuring of D&D when it went from 3e to 4e, and I have no care for 5e. None of it is even remotely the same as before.

I moved to Pathfinder 1e thinking it would last, or at least it would continue to benefit from even a little support (say a Bestiary of PF2e monsters converted or some other PF2e gaming material converted to 1E, small PDFs even for like $10-$15 every quarter?) but that's been axed completely and PF2E is absolutely nothing like the original. No spell schools is the worst, so just toss out things like Sin Magic, for example, or the Harrow Decks? They take away all the flavor and leave everything as generically bland as 4E D&D, way to go Paizo.

Maybe 3rd time's the charm? Maybe a 3rd company will pick up 3.5e/PF1e system and actually keep it around for once instead of changing editions all the damn time. There really only needs to be one version, really, just keep updating it.
 

Hated the god awful change and restructuring of D&D when it went from 3e to 4e, and I have no care for 5e. None of it is even remotely the same as before.

I moved to Pathfinder 1e thinking it would last, or at least it would continue to benefit from even a little support (say a Bestiary of PF2e monsters converted or some other PF2e gaming material converted to 1E, small PDFs even for like $10-$15 every quarter?) but that's been axed completely and PF2E is absolutely nothing like the original. No spell schools is the worst, so just toss out things like Sin Magic, for example, or the Harrow Decks? They take away all the flavor and leave everything as generically bland as 4E D&D, way to go Paizo.

Maybe 3rd time's the charm? Maybe a 3rd company will pick up 3.5e/PF1e system and actually keep it around for once instead of changing editions all the damn time. There really only needs to be one version, really, just keep updating it.
The 3.5 SRD is out there, have at it champ! I'm sure you'll get it right where 2 other companies that seem to be doing just fine failed.
 
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jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
Hated the god awful change and restructuring of D&D when it went from 3e to 4e, and I have no care for 5e. None of it is even remotely the same as before.

I moved to Pathfinder 1e thinking it would last, or at least it would continue to benefit from even a little support (say a Bestiary of PF2e monsters converted or some other PF2e gaming material converted to 1E, small PDFs even for like $10-$15 every quarter?) but that's been axed completely and PF2E is absolutely nothing like the original. No spell schools is the worst, so just toss out things like Sin Magic, for example, or the Harrow Decks? They take away all the flavor and leave everything as generically bland as 4E D&D, way to go Paizo.

Maybe 3rd time's the charm? Maybe a 3rd company will pick up 3.5e/PF1e system and actually keep it around for once instead of changing editions all the damn time. There really only needs to be one version, really, just keep updating it.

Pathfinder 1e was "around" for ten years. I don't think that qualifies as "changing editions all the damn time". Geez.
 

Vincent55

Adventurer
as i have not gotten any of the books since the first ones put out, then i might buy this to have a different book than D&D 5e trash. I liked the first run back when 3 was going and changed to it when D&D 4th was hitting the stores.
 

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