Hello hello, and thanks for joining me! The Pathfinder Playtest is here (in case you’ve been living under a rock) and everyone is having a go. I am excited and have been for months. I love Pathfinder and everything about it, but even more so I love game systems and learning all about them. Have you ever played Magic? I’ve read the comprehensive rules on that three times through! But then again I used to be a judge as well, so I kinda needed to. ANYWAY.
The new look Playtest is shaping up to be a really exciting change. I think the first thing to look at is the new actions in fights. No more “Standard action” to attack or cast a spell. No more “move action” to jump up. Instead, you get 3 actions, and that’s it. Use them for whatever you want! Do you want to attack? Go ahead. Want to attack again? You can! Just take -5. Feel like a third hit? -10 and you can!
What about Spells? Spells vary depending on how many actions it takes to form the spell. A normal Fireball needs you to 1) say the Magic Words, and 2) Wave your Hands, so that’s 1 Verbal Component, and 1 Somatic Component, and hey presto! You got a spell. What if a spell only needs 1) a hand gesture? Then that’s a Somatic Component, and you got a spell. You could cast that spell 3 times in one round! How about casting a spell and then chopping someone’s head off? Perfectly doable (assuming you’re playing some weird Fighter/Wizard) as that would only take 3 actions (Somatic, Verbal, Strike).
The second thing I want to point out is the simpler way everything is presented. Most things are now “feats”, but not the general feats we’ve had in the past. Those abilities you get from your ancestry (not race anymore) are Ancestry feats. Those abilities from your class? Class feats. Got a feat that only improves your skills? Skill feat! There are still General feats, but you’ve gotta wait all the way till level 3 to get one of them.
The Playtest is free to download, and it’s 400 pages before you even get to the Bestiary and adventure path, but I heavily suggest you download and try it out. All feedback is great and helps shape the official Pathfinder Second Edition that’ll come out next year. This is ONLY a Playtest, so if you don’t like anything now and don’t speak up about it, you’ve missed your chance!
Probably the newest thing of the whole Playtest for me is the proficiency system. Now you’re untrained, trained, expert, master or legendary in EVERYTHING. Armor, weapons, spells, skills. They all add your Level as a bonus, then either -2, 0, 1, 2 or 3 respectively. So if you’ve got some Armor with a +2 bonus, you’ll get +2, as well as your Dex bonus AND your proficiency bonus. For a Fighter that may be Expert, so add your Level +1, whereas Rogues are only trained in Armor, so you get just your Level.
This is a wonderful opportunity that’s being provided to fans of Pathfinder, and it’s an exciting look at the present way in which games change. With a live feed to what the customers are thinking companies are able to directly respond to immediate reactions. No seriously, there’s already a small number of fixes that have been made available at the website, so download that too if you have the time. I’m only too excited to experience the new Pathfinder as well as having a hand in it’s crafting.
Now I want to talk about my next series of articles for this website. I’ve done 6 about Starfinder, and 6 about Pathfinder, so now I’m changing gear and will be morphing back Starfinder, writing Creative Creatures. Basically, as a GM, do you need some free cut ‘n past PCs? We are the place for you.
Each article will feature an entirely new PC (or NPC, if you need) created to be part of a team of 5 characters. Together these characters will make a thematic group while remaining balanced, so you can expect each team will have 1 spellcaster, 1 close range, 1 ranged and 1 skill monkey, and then “misc”. Each group is ideal for drag and drop play, say if you need PCs in a hurry because all your friends have come over and said: “Quick, run that campaign you’ve got waiting!”
The theme of each group will vary depending on the type of adventures for each group. If everyone is planet fallen, then there won’t be any Ace Pilots, while there will be Survival ranks for each PC. Maybe they’re on a water planet, so there’s a Kalo in the group, as well as a Mystic who knows Life Bubble (brilliant spell, that).
Along with the stats of these PCs will be detailed backgrounds about the characters. Where they came from, why they adventure, what they’re after. This will also include inter-group relations, so you might learn that the kind-hearted Ysoki Soldier had his family murdered by Vesk warriors years ago, but the Mystic in the group is another Vesk – will the Ysoki learn to look past their fears and accept the Vesk’s help when wounded?
Or perhaps the Envoy leader of the group is a fantastic person, but they’ve come from a background of lies and surviving on the streets, and they know that turning in their fellow members would pay handsomely… The only other member of the group who knows this is the Operative, who could reveal the Envoy’s past to the group, but the Envoy has one of their family members under duress, so it’s very much treading on eggshells for them.
I have enjoyed writing GM Rolefinder and hoped you enjoyed it too. I’m sure I’ll have fun writing Creative Creatures for Starfinder, and can’t wait for each issue to reveal a new member of each group!
Thanks for reading, and join me next time when I introduce you to Jurgen Hartbern, the Dream Prophet Dwarven Soldier. His aim is great if his mind is in the present…