You are here

Home » Latest News » Sources

Paizo

paizo.com Recent Blog Posts in Paizo Blog 2018-08-09T22:16:49Z 2018-08-09T22:16:49Z
Updated: 2 hours 34 min ago

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 22:00

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

Friday, August 17, 2018

Now that Gen Con is behind us, it's time to once again resume our weekly look at the next wave of Pathfinder Battles pre-painted plastic miniatures from WizKids, October's Kingmaker!

This week we explore a few figures in the set that are more than their initial appearance might suggest, either due to the creatures' special abilities or hidden histories. First among these deceptive creatures is the wild spriggan, a common Small figure. While these goblin-like relatives of gnomes are only a few feet tall in their normal form, they can transform into hulking brutes in an instant. The large spriggan is a Large uncommon figure, meaning most GMs should get enough of spriggans across both sizes to build a sizable (pun fully intended) war band.

While changing size is a pretty neat ability, it doesn't necessarily help spriggans hide from potential prey or lurking threats. For that ability, one need look no farther than the gargoyle, which appears in two different forms in Pathfinder Battles: Kingmaker. The first, an uncommon Medium figure places the creature on a standard round base, and depicts it in an action-packed battle pose, while the second, a similarly sized, unbased piece of dungeon dressing, appears as an intricate but completely benign statue adorning a gothic rooftop. While the pictured images depict the figures painted different colors, we asked WizKids to standardize their coloration across the two figures so a GM could place the latter as "set dressing" and then swap it for the former when the creature reveals its true nature. When we get final production samples, we'll update the images from these digital renders to actual photographs.

Finally, we have the first of our weekly previews of the set's many player character-appropriate miniatures, based off the companions from the forthcoming Pathfinder: Kingmaker computer RPG from Owlcat Games (launching worldwide on September 25)! While I won't reveal the exact nature of this figure's secret, I will say that Tristian, Human Cleric—a Medium uncommon figure—is perhaps the most enigmatic and inscrutable companion in the game, and his storyline is one I'm most excited to see the community uncover when the game comes out. Armed with a Sarenite holy symbol, Tristian makes a great stand-in for clerics of the Dawnflower in any Pathfinder campaign.

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

Tags: Kingmaker, Licensed Products, Miniatures, Pathfinder Battles

2018-08-17T22:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Stars, Kudos, Conventions, and More!

Fri, 08/17/2018 - 19:00

Stars, Kudos, Conventions, and More!

Friday, August 17, 2018

So we've put a wrap on Gen Con 2018 and are already talking about 2019! Once again the Sagamore Ballroom rang to the sound of games, this time in three different systems - Pathfinder, Starfinder, and Pathfinder Playtest. We had a special during each evening slot, accompanied by awesome visual maps put together by Paizonian Andrew White. The presentation for Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-00: The Hao Jin Cataclysm by Mike Kimmel, featured the vocal talents of editor Jason Keely and customer service rep Sam Phelan blended together through the mastery of Ben Loomes of Syrinscape. I highly recommend checking it out!

If you prefer your interactives traveling to distant star systems, I recommend Starfinder Society Scenario #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion, by Mikko Kallio. Debuting at Origins and with repeat runs at PaizoCon UK and Gen Con, it mixes ship combat and tactical adventure in a must-play story that pivots the action from Season 1 and sets up the events of Season 1A.

John departs in a couple weeks for DragonCon in Atlanta, while I have a week longer at home base and then am off for SkalCon. We are currently looking at travel for 2019 and setting up the shows we will attend. If you are an organizer who wishes for an organized play staffer to attend your show, please send an email to [email protected] with the show particulars, including if you are able to assist with airfare/hotels/badges/meals. We are working on a short timeline and need requests by 1 September 2018.

Volunteers

A huge thank you to all the GMs and HQ staffers who volunteered for our conventions this year, both for the large scale shows like PaizoCon, Origins, and Gen Con and the local events. Without you, there would be no Society, no game rooms, and possibly no conventions. We appreciate your continued support and offer up three cheers for your continued generosity of time and energy!

A few final details need working out before we put out a call for PAX Unplugged, but we will be looking for some assistance with that show.

Pathfinder Society GM Stars

A cornerstone of the Pathfinder Society is the Game Masters who To achieve this milestone, GMs facilitate 150 games, of which at least 50 must be unique scenarios and 10 are special scenarios, as well as run a game for a venture-captain. A conservative estimate of time needed to reach 5-stars is 650 hours! To the GM listed below, thank you very much for the time and energy you spend running Pathfinder Society games! Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

  • Snowy Brierley
  • Brent Gass
  • Kevin Baumann
  • Francis Webb
  • Stefan Rohde
  • Matt Proctor
  • Geoffrey Peart
Campaign Service Coins

My travels over the past six weeks afforded me several opportunities to award members of our community for going above and beyond in their dedication and service to the Society. Each of these members has been part of the venture officer community at some point, in some cases multiple times. They founded areas, setting up games where there were none. Mentorship, convention volunteer, organizer...just a few titles they've worn over the years. A huge thank you to the following volunteers. We recognized their effort with a coin and a new Organized Play number. For their effort and service on behalf of their local communities and the Society at large, vivat!

Gustavo Cruz795PaizoCon UK 2018 Jim Torbet796PaizoCon UK 2018 Caner Unsal797PaizoCon UK 2018 Lau Bannenberg798PaizoCon UK 2018 Walter Sheppard799Gen Con 2018 David Shaw800Gen Con 2018 Mike Bramnik801Gen Con 2018 Will Johnson802Gen Con 2018 Russ Brown803Gen Con 2018 Order of the Wayfinder

Two years ago, we founded a new award that recognized a top volunteer in the Organized Play community. Called the Order of the Wayfinder, it is handed out once each year in recognition of exceptional service to the Society as a whole. This year, we did not award a Paizo volunteer of the year, choosing instead to wrap that award into the Order of the Wayfinder, as many of the Volunteer of the Year recipients were also organized play volunteers. The first recipient was Bob Jonquet for being a long term Venture-Captain/Regional Venture-Coordinator and Gen Con lead. Last year, we recognized Alistair Rigg for being a long term Venture-Captain (on two continents) and maintaining the Warhorn catalog for both Pathfinder and Starfinder scenarios.

This year, during the Venture-Captain dinner at Gen Con, we announced the third winner. Unfortunately, the recipient wasn't able to join us, so I swore the room to secrecy until I could contact them. Several hours later, after a late night (for them) Messenger conversation, I could announce the newest inductee to the Order of the Wayfinder: Auke Teeninga!

Besides being a Regional Venture-Captain, having joined the ranks of VC as part of the original 13, Auke has spent hours behind the scenes streamlining event support, boon distribution, and scenario requisition. His work, while not as visible as some volunteers, enables thousands of events to receive their support in a timely manner. He watches over the requests and makes sure they do not fall through the cracks. In addition, he participates in a variety of Task Forces and liaisons with the other RVCs to deliver a quality program. Thank you Auke, for all your efforts on behalf of Organized Play!

Starfinder Society Second Seekers

Over the past few months we've received emails about several characters achieving fame with the Second Seekers [Luwasi Elsebo] faction. As Rising Stars in their faction, they hope to achieve some level of renown. If you have such a character and are interested in their continued ascension within the Starfinder Society, please send their name, class, and a brief write-up, along with your organized play number and their character number, to [email protected].

Conventions

The summer con rush is wrapping up, but the list below shows there are still plenty of opportunities to attend conventions and play Society games! All of the conventions on the list maintain some type of web presence, be it website, social media page, or Warhorn listing, so if you are interested in attending in either capacity, check out their websites or contact the local venture-officer for more information! If you know of a convention running Society games that is not on this list, encourage the organizer to contact me at [email protected] to discuss their event.

Convention NameLocationStart Date Play-by-Post Gameday VII (2018)Online8/13/2018 GardenCon 2018Geneva, Switzerland8/16/2018 AnimeFest (2018)Dallas, TX8/17/2018 Burg Comics Con 2018Harrisburg, IL8/18/2018 SFS Tacoma Game Day 2018Tacoma, WA8/19/2018 Convocation 2018Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada8/24/2018 Coulee Con 2018La Crosse, WI8/24/2018 Dragonflight 39 (2018)Bellevue, WA8/24/2018 Extra Life Table Top Appreciation WeekendHudson, OH8/24/2018 MegaMooseCon 2018Richburg, SC8/24/2018 Neon RIWarwick, RI8/24/2018 Shadowcon 2018London, United Kingdom8/25/2018 Reaper ConDenton, TX8/29/2018 B-ConDenver, CO8/30/2018 FanExpo 2018Toronto, Ontario, Canada8/30/2018 CoNfUsIoN 2018 - SummerUtrecht, the Netherlands8/31/2018 DragonCon 2018Atlanta, GA8/31/2018 Gateway 2018Los Angeles, CA8/31/2018 Gateway to Golarion IIIKutztown, PA8/31/2018 Gexcon 2018Chantilly, VA8/31/2018 PacifiCon 40 (2018)Santa Clara, CA8/31/2018 SacAnime Summer 2018Sacramento, CA8/31/2018 TRPG Festival: Welcome to Pathfinder Lodge in JapanShizuoka, Japan8/31/2018 Your Pathfinder Con I (2018)Fredericksburg, VA8/31/2018 Corn ConDeKalb, IL. USA9/1/2018 CornCon (2018)DeKalb, IL9/1/2018 Charlotte Crit-Con 2 - Double DamageConcord, NC9/7/2018 Evergreens & Beer (2018)Sylva, NC9/7/2018 HoH Comic Con 2018Elkhart, IN9/7/2018 Lone Star Game Expo 2018Grapevine, TX9/7/2018 SIBCON 2018Butler, PA9/7/2018 PFS/SFS @ Granite State Comic Con 2018 Manchester, NH9/8/2018 TotalCon End of Summer Sizzler (2018)Marlborough, MA9/9/2018 BattleCon The Third (2018)Richmond, VA9/14/2018 Grand Con 2018Grand Rapids, MI9/14/2018 SkålCon 2018Roseville, MN9/14/2018 CogCon 28 (2018)Rolla, MO9/21/2018 HMGS-South Hurricon 2018Kissimmee, FL9/27/2018 Fields of Honor 2018Johnson, IA9/28/2018 Retail Support Con I (2018)Raleigh, NC9/28/2018 RinCon 2018Tucson, AZ9/28/2018 Saluki Comic Con (2018)Carbondale, IL9/28/2018 Rollplay 2018Singapore, 9/29/2018 SydCon18 (2018)Sydney, New South Wales, Australia9/29/2018 NukeCon 2018Omaha, NE10/5/2018 Conapalooza 2018Kingsport, TN10/12/2018 Pathcon 5.0 (2018)Salt Lake City, UT10/19/2018 2018 Organized Play Staff Travel

Unfortunately, I've had to withdraw from attending FanExpo in Toronto this year due to some logistics issues. I'm working with the event team to add it to my travel roster in 2019. I've updated the list below to reflect organized play staff attendance at the last few shows of the season.

Convention NameLocationStart DateOP Staff DragonConAtlanta, GA8/30/18John SkalConMinnaepolis-St. Paul, MN9/14/18Tonya HurriconTampa, FL9/27/18Tonya PaizoCon OZMelbourne, Australia10/19/18Tonya U-ConAnn Arbor, MI11/16/18Tonya PAX UnpluggedPhiladelphia, PA11/30/18Tonya

With the Pathfinder Playtest in full swing, we will soon revisit the Pathfinder Society 2 topic threads we introduced when we first announced a new edition of the Pathfinder Game. While we cannot give you a full view of what the new Society will look like, we hope to be able to narrow our discussions and hone in on a few topics.

Until next time—Explore, Report, Cooperate!

Tonya Woldridge

Organized Play Manager

Tags: Conventions, Organized Play, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder Society

2018-08-17T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Decorate Your Dungeon

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 19:00

Decorate Your Dungeon

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Last fall, we got experimental with a set of pawns and launched the Pathfinder Pawns: Traps & Treasures Pawn Collection. The experiment seemed to work, so when there was a spot on the schedule for another Pawn Collection, we decided to try another set of pawns that represented objects rather than creatures, and that set is here this month with the Pathfinder Pawns: Dungeon Decor Pawn Collection.

Putting together this set of pawns was fun. We had a brainstorm where the creative team filled up an entire whiteboard in short order. We had more ideas than I could fit into this set, and more ideas than just things found in a dungeon. In this pawn collection there's a good mix of dungeon dressing, furniture, doors and windows, spell effects and hazards, and things you might find outside rather than inside.

When we released the Traps & Treasures Pawn Collection, I grabbed some Flip-Mats and minis and headed to a conference room to set up some scenes to show the set off, so I figured I do the same for this new release. Check out some of the things you'll find in Pathfinder Pawns: Dungeon Decor Pawn Collection!


Sometimes a wizard needs a little privacy, so try out this folding screen.
Where are the windows on the map? Oh, right there! The set includes broken windows, intact windows, and even a few stained glass windows.
Like windows, sometimes you need to clearly depict where arrow slits are located so Harsk can line up his shot.
Decorate your house or dungeon with a bookcase, cabinet of curiosities, and a grandfather clock... and much, much more.
Graves, open graves, and headstones allow you to set up a handy undead encounter.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as I enjoyed playing with toys on the clock this morning. Later this month after these hit stores and your mailboxes, let me know what you think about the set!

Adam Daigle
Managing Developer

Tags: Pathfinder Accessories, Pathfinder Pawns

2018-08-16T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Faction Focus: Second Seekers (Jadnura)

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 19:00

Faction Focus: Second Seekers (Jadnura)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Scoured Stars incident shaped the narrative at the launch of the Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild. That momentous—some say would say, catastrophic—event set the stage for the campaign's first season and the ongoing mystery of the Scoured Stars. With the recent unveiling of Starfinder Society #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion, we on the Organized Play team thought it was a great time to look back in history to before the campaign started. Specifically, let's learn of the First Seeker who first brought the Starfinder Society into the Scoured Stars: First Seeker Jadnura.


Illustration by Graey Erb

Jadnura joined the Starfinder Society after spending years honing his talents as a solarian within the Pradulex Monastery onboard the kasatha colony ship, Idari. Looking for a proper way to utilize his considerable talents, Jadnura joined the Starfinder Society, training within the halls of the Lorespire Complex along many notable Starfinder agents, such as a young Fitch and Naiaj. Jadnura preferred missions that took him to the fringes of explored space, and he specialized in exploring seemingly hostile environments. It was during his time as a field agent that Jadnura came across a mystical relic known as the Tear (as in "to cry tears") on an otherwise dead volcanic world.

When agents of the Lorespire Complex examined the Tear, they learned the device seemed to have some connection with the distant realm of the Scoured Stars—a trinary star system known to host a plethora hostile lifeforms and an abundance of malign outsiders. Using the Tear as a physical means of pointing the Society's interest at the Scoured Stars, Jadnura used his considerable charm and personal drive to attain the mantle of First Seeker, with his ultimate goal being the full exploration of the Scoured Stars. The rest, they say, is history…

Second Seekers (Jadnura)

Like his successor, Luwazi Elsebo, there were (and still are) many Starfinders keen to support Jadnura in his role as First Seeker. These Starfinders united under the longstanding "Second Seekers" faction, with their aims directed at exploring the Scoured Stars and enacting Jadnura's trademark "lead from the front" philosophy of exploration. Some of these agents managed to avoid the Scoured Stars incident, whereas others more recently heard of Jadnura's many endearing qualities and have chosen to serve him above the current nominal First Seeker. Where Luwazi Elsebo dedicated her nominated First Seeker term to re-unifying and reconstructing the Society, those following Jadnura have remained focused on their First Seeker's specific goal: unraveling the mysteries of the Scoured Stars.

With a return to the Scoured Stars, it's inevitable that we'll learn a bit more about Jadnura, so for those spoiler-conscious folks out there, I'll keep some of the particulars hidden below:

Starfinder #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion Spoilers

Ok… so the big news from this year's interactive special is that JADNURA IS BACK! That's right, as part of the climactic unfolding of the interactive special, the Starfinder Society has recovered the missing First Seeker and extricated him (and other survivors back to the Pact Worlds)! Of course, this leads to some interesting questions about how leadership within the Starfinder Society is going to be working going forward.

Over the coming months, we'll be looking at introducing Jadnura to our players through upcoming scenarios. This includes several scenarios that include the Faction (Second Seekers [Jadnura]) tag. Jadnura is going to play a major role in our upcoming stories, not to mention defining his relationship with nominated First Seeker Luwazi Elsebo. We wanted to give the interactive some time to play across all our major events before we revealed this massive lore development in a public way, and now that the summer convention season is winding down, expect to see product pages and updates for these scenarios in the near future.

Finally, if you played the interactive special, then you know that there's the potential to earn your first Reputation with Second Seekers (Jadnura). This was just a light tease of what we've had planned. I humbly request that you don't spoil this in the comments below, as I try to be somewhat vague with our spoiler-free players about how this new faction is going to play into our campaign's future!

For those of you interested in joining the Second Seekers (Jadnura) faction to honor the lost First Seeker, I have some good news! With the upcoming release of the next update to the Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Guide (sometime around late October or early November) we'll be introducing a whole section on this faction. The plan is to include a variety of boons along the lines of what you've seen with other factions. If you've seen the release of our limited-release first minor faction, the Manifold Host, I assure you that this will include a lot more faction-facing content.

Ok, alright, fine, I may have one more spoiler…

Starfinder #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion Spoilers

With Jadnura's sudden return to the Starfinder Society, he's become quite interested in what's transpired in his absence. I know there's a lot of players out there who've been interested in replaying previously played content, and I'll give a strong hint that Jadnura has your back! (In boon form, if not with his ridiculous heavy weapon as well!)

I understand that waiting several months is a bit of a tease. I also understand that it's even more of a tease to preview all this without a means of actually getting into the faction. So, let it be known that I'm a generous developer. The following boon is available to all characters as of the posting of this blog and will be reprinted in the next update to the Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Guide. New characters created following this blog post can choose this boon for their starting faction champion boon.

Second Seekers: Jadnura Champion (Faction Boon)

You've declared your allegiance to the Second Seekers (Jadnura) and dedicate your missions to furthering the faction's goals.

Prerequisites: Second Seekers (Jadnura) Tier 0

Cost: 2 Fame

Benefit: This Faction boon allows the character to gain Reputation with the Second Seekers (Jadnura) faction. A character with this boon slotted at the end of a successfully completed scenario gains Reputation as detailed in the primary and secondary success conditions of that scenario.

Normal: A character gains no Reputation unless she has a Faction boon slotted.

See y'all next blog,

Thurston Hillman
Starfinder Society Developer

Tags: Graey Erb, Organized Play, Starfinder Society

2018-08-15T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Rule of Threes

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 19:00

Rule of Threes

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The initial volume of the Against the Aeon Throne Adventure Path releases this month, marking several changes to the Starfinder Adventure Path format, some permanent, some more experimental. Firstly, as many of you know by now, Starfinder Adventure Path is becoming a monthly product! We'll be delivering new adventures, new articles, and new creatures to you every 30 days or so until someone makes us stop. Heck, it's worked pretty well for Pathfinder all these years, so I think we'll probably be fine. We have a lot of exciting campaigns and stories that we want to share with you, so we hope you'll join us for this journey among the stars.

Illustration by David Melvin

Secondly is our exploration of a shorter campaign length. Both Against the Aeon Throne and the following Adventure Path, Signal of Screams, are presented in just three volumes, giving groups a chance for a somewhat extended experience in the Starfinder universe without having to commit to a full six-volume campaign, which can usually take at least a year to play. When we decided to double our production of adventures, we also thought the change would be a good opportunity to experiment a bit with the format. And the plots and themes we wanted to work with at the time seemed to lend themselves to shorter arcs. Thus, the three-volume campaign was born!

These shorter campaigns let us explore a slightly more focused narrative, much in the same way a Pathfinder Module tells a complete, self-contained story. We can really hit the most important plot points with big, splashy encounters and not have to worry about sustaining that level of energy over six adventures. While the six-volume campaign is great for telling epic, sweeping tales, these shorter adventures allow us delve into moments that might affect the characters on a more personal level. However, that doesn't mean the fate of the galaxy won't be at stake!

That isn't all we're trying out over the next several months. While the beginning of Against the Aeon Throne is for new 1st-level characters, the first adventure of Signal of Screams is for 7th-level characters. This will mark the first time an Adventure Path won't begin at 1st level! That being said, if your group isn't comfortable with starting at 7th level, then we made sure that the two Adventure Paths dovetail nicely into one another. Once you've finished with Against the Aeon Throne, you can transition right into Signal of Screams. Sure, there will be a slight change of tone in the adventures, but if your group doesn't mind the shift, then you should go for it!

Illustration by Mark Molnar

As these adventures get released, we are very interested in hearing your feedback about the changes. How do you like the three-volume format? Are six-volume Adventure Paths too long for your group? Would you like to see more content that starts at higher levels? Or do you prefer the dangerous thrill of those first few levels? Let us know!

And don't worry, the Starfinder Adventure Path line returns to the usual six-volume campaign in February of 2019 with Dawn of Flame!

Jason Keeley
Developer

Tags: Against the Aeon Throne, David Melvin, Mark Molnar, Starfinder, Starfinder Adventure Path

2018-08-14T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Your First Adventure

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 22:30

Your First Adventure

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Pathfinder Playtest is live!

I know that it's hard to believe, but the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook is less than 2 weeks old, and we've already learned so much about the game. Feedback for the first part of Doomsday Dawn and the three Pathfinder Society adventures is pouring in through our surveys and the paizo.com forums. While there are some interesting early trends in the data that point at a few things that are going to need some work, we want to avoid getting into any of the fine details until the first part of the playtest is over (in just about 2 weeks). Until then, we'd like to talk about a number of other things.

Rules Updates

Starting today, you're going to begin seeing some rules updates from the team to clarify or fix issues with the current draft of the playtest. Rather than focusing on typos or other small errors, we're going to try and keep the updates restricted to things that we think are problematic to the gameplay if left as-is. In the coming weeks, you might also see us replace entire subsystems of the game, if warranted by playtest feedback.

The updates themselves are broken into two categories. The first is critical updates. These are issues that distort the game heavily and should be fixed immediately. The second category, just called updates, refers to rules that are important enough to warrant a fix, but that have a relatively limited impact at the game table. There are plenty of other changes we're noting as well, but most of these will have little to no impact on the current state of the game.

You can find the current updates by going to the downloads section on PathfinderPlaytest.com. After you download the PDF, you'll get an email notifying you of additional changes whenever we post an update!

Playtest Surveys

As mentioned above, some of the playtest surveys are now live! If you have completed your playthrough of Part 1 of Doomsday Dawn or of any of the three Pathfinder Society playtest scenarios, then we have some surveys for you! For those of you who have not, I have a couple of reminders.

  • If you are playing Doomsday Dawn, make sure your group has the playtest tracking forms, which are located at PathfinderPlaytest.com. These will help GMs and players track a few vital statistics during play that you might otherwise forget when it comes time to take the surveys.
  • The surveys are only for people who have completed Part 1 of Doomsday Dawn or one of the three available Pathfinder Society playtest scenarios. Each adventure has a survey for Game Masters and a survey for players. Doomsday Dawn also has an open response survey, allowing you to give more descriptive feedback of your experience.
  • General surveys asking about classes, ancestries, and other mechanics will come out next month (giving everyone a chance to get in some play time first).
  • The surveys are each a few pages long (usually 4 main sections) and most should take you no more than about 10-15 minutes to complete. Please make sure you go all the way to the end of the survey!
  • Here are the links for the surveys:

Doomsday Dawn Part 1, The Lost Star
Player Survey | Game Master Survey | Open Survey

Pathfinder Society Playtest Scenario #1: The Rose Street Revenge
Player Survey | Game Master Survey

Pathfinder Society Playtest Scenario #2: Raiders of Shrieking Peak
Player Survey | Game Master Survey

Pathfinder Society Playtest Scenario #3: Arclord's Envy
Player Survey | Game Master Survey

What's Next

For the remainder of the playtest, you can expect to see a blog from the design team once per week looking at the playtest, talking about where we're at, what we've learned, and where we're going. In addition, you can find us livestreaming Doomsday Dawn as we play through the adventure in the office with staff. Finally, after each part of the playtest is over, you will find us on the Twitch stream talking about what we've learned from the playtest and taking questions from the room and from the forums. It's sure to be a lot of fun, and you will be able to watch it all live over at twitch.tv/officialpaizo.

Until next time, keep playing and sending us that feedback. We've only just begun on our journey to make a better Pathfinder, and we need your help to see it through! Will you join our noble quest?

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

Join the Pathfinder Playtest designers every Friday throughout the playtest on our Twitch Channel to hear all about the process and chat directly with the team.

Tags: Pathfinder Playtest

2018-08-13T22:30:00Z
Categories: Company News

With the Ultimate Wilderness Deck, Your Power Will Be Mushrooming

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 21:00

With the Ultimate Wilderness Deck, Your Power Will Be Mushrooming

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Hello! We just came back from a highly successful Gen Con, where we showed off the newest stuff for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, including the debut of the Ultimate Wilderness Add-On Deck. It falls to me to guide you through the wonders therein, and I'm thrilled to do so, because it allows me to talk about mushrooms.

Yes, mushrooms! The fleshiest, most spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus you'll find in the moistest, least welcoming shadows of the forest. I get to tell you all about them, because I'm a fun guy. (See, if anyone else on my team had volunteered to do this blog, they could have stopped me from making that joke.) [Vic: So very, very tempted to delete that, but Erik Mona says not to stand between a man and his puns... much.]

The reason the subject of mushrooms is so fond to me is that there is an epochal divide on the PACG design team. There is one group (headed by me, Liz, and Paul) that believes mushrooms are the best! And there is another (headed by Chad, Gaby, and Tanis) that believes mushrooms are the actual devil. (Keith pretends to split the difference, but we all know he's just placating us mushroom enthusiasts.) So those of us who love mushrooms relish any opportunity to wax poetical about squishy, fleshy mushrooms in front of the others.

So I shall! The Ultimate Wilderness Deck is filled with them. Here are three.

The delight of mycophagists everywhere.

Let's address the elephant ear mushroom in the room first: The trait PLANT is not quite accurate, since everyone knows mushrooms aren't plants. But we needed things that worked on Plants to affect these cards, so we ignored the biological distinction. I figure everyone in Golarion thinks mushrooms are plants, even the ones that shriek all the time.

Once you get past that, you'll love that the deck is filled with tons of Plants, all of which have that great kicker on the bottom of the card. Basically, these plants don't count as in your hand when you set your hand size. So you can have a whole lot of them. They grow, you see.

There are also some Plant allies as well.

Feed me, Seymour!

Of course, we also loaded the deck up with Animal allies and things that affect them.

You are not going to argue with a person who befriends Vampire Squids.

As well as all sorts of other cards that affect Animals.

There are blessings for Halflings and Gnomes too.

And if you like having animals around, why not turn into them? We have nine new spells of the aspect type we introduced in the Hunter Class Deck. The aspects are the first spells to have the Animal trait. They're kinda creepy looking, but in a good way.

Mostly in a good way.

You know who likes all this stuff? Zova, the iconic shifter. The shifter is straight out of Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Wilderness, and Zova has been a favorite of ours since the R&D team started cooking her up. We started designing this deck before the RPG rules were finished, then reconciled things as the shifter... well, took shape, as it were.

Nice claws.

I'd like to call your attention to Zova's hand size. It's the first hand size line with text in it, because Zova has the spell Shapechange hardwired into her character. Every turn, you can pick your hand size from three (or even five!) options. No more dying because you drew too many cards, maybe ever.

Then when you get good at playing with a variable hand size, you can either blow everything up with Fire and Acid, or just be a lycanthrope.

That flavor text for Elemental Shifter is how we talk about the weather in Seattle.

The Ultimate Wilderness Add-On Deck is the shiftiest deck we've ever made, and we're thrilled to end the Ultimate series with it. Now we're taking a break from class decks to focus everything on the new Core Set and Curse of the Crimson Throne. Thanks for letting us put out 27 decks in the Class Deck and Add-On lines. We hope to make more someday! For now, enjoy Ultimate Wilderness!

Mike Selinker
Lead Designer, Adventure Card Game

Tags: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Ultimate Decks

2018-08-09T21:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Starfinder Beginner Box Announced!

Fri, 08/03/2018 - 18:00

Starfinder Beginner Box Announced!

Friday, August 3, 2018

We have an important communications dispatch to issue here at Starfinder HQ: we're working on a Starfinder Beginner Box!

Come spring 2019, you'll be able to get your hands on a box with all of the components needed to quickly learn and play the popular Starfinder RPG. From dice, to maps, to pawns, to separate books for GMs and players, this box is meant to provide a self-contained gaming experience for those with little to no experience with Starfinder—or with tabletop RPGs at all.

Work on the Beginner Box is still churning apace back in our office in Redmond, even as the project's design team is bustling around Indianapolis at Gen Con. In addition to our team's game design work, at this very moment we have the best production crewmembers in the business dedicated to making this product as awesome as possible.

We just announced this project at our Starfinder 101 panel at the convention, but we realize that legions of interested parties are not in Indianapolis. For those who couldn't make it to the show, check out the Starfinder Beginner Box cover that we revealed below!

If you'd like to see the seminar where we announced this project, go to Paizo's Twitch page and find the video for the Starfinder 101 panel.

In the meantime, stay tuned in the coming months for more information about the Starfinder Beginner Box!

—The Starfinder Beginner Box Design Team
Joe Pasini, design lead
Owen K.C. Stephens, design lead
Amanda Hamon Kunz, managing developer
Rob McCreary, creative director

Tags: Starfinder

2018-08-03T18:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Pathfinder Playtest Preorder Update

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 01:00

Pathfinder Playtest Preorder Update

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

When Paizo was planning this year's Pathfinder Playtest, we expected to exceed our own ability to fulfill orders on a timely basis, so we decided to use Fulfillment by Amazon. Unfortunately, Amazon's reports indicate that most customers will not be receiving their orders by tomorrow's release date. They shipped 3 orders on July 28, 3 more on July 29, and no orders on July 30 or 31. Today, they have shipped almost 10% of the outstanding orders, and they are continuing to ship through the night and into tomorrow. They have so far been unable to tell us when they will complete shipping. We will be posting updates as we receive them in this forum thread.

This delay doesn't impact preorders placed with retailers; most of them should have already received their products for release tomorrow. Paizo.com preorders for pickup at Gen Con are also unaffected.

We sincerely apologize for this delay. If your paizo.com Pathfinder Playtest preorder is being fulfilled by Amazon, we will be giving you $15 in paizo.com store credit in the near future.

PDFs of all of the playtest products will be available for free shortly after 6:00 AM Pacific time at paizo.com/pathfinderplaytest.

—The Paizo Team

Tags: Paizo, Pathfinder Playtest

2018-08-02T01:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Playtesting the Game

Wed, 08/01/2018 - 00:00

Playtesting the Game

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Welcome to the Pathfinder Playtest! Along with all the other members of the Design Team and the rest of the Paizo staff, we'd like to thank you for your time, dedication, and enthusiasm. Without you, we could not hope to make the best possible version of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Your feedback, thoughts, concerns, and criticism are vital to our process—we literally can't do it without you!

So, let's talk about all the ways you can help us playtest the newest version of Pathfinder! Starting on Thursday, August 2, make sure to grab the free PDF of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook and make your first character. If you are planning on being your group's Game Master, download the free adventure Doomsday Dawn and start reading through Part 1 of the adventure. Make sure to also grab the free Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary PDF, since it contains all of the adversaries you will need to run the adventure.

Once you've gathered a group together, plan on playing regularly over the next few months as we make our way through all seven parts of the adventure. Doomsday Dawn is broken up into seven distinct chapters, each of which tests different levels and different aspects of the game. Make sure to set aside some time to give us your feedback as well. We are including surveys this time around to collect your thoughts and help you get your feedback to us as quickly and efficiently for you as possible, so taking part in the playtest could not be easier!

Playtesting with Doomsday Dawn
  1. Before play begins, make sure to download the Playtest Tracking PDF (which will be available starting Thursday, August 2) to help you keep track of a few important pieces of information that we'll ask about later in the surveys. Note that the PDF contains a sheet for GMs and a sheet for players.
  2. Play a chapter of Doomsday Dawn. We highly recommend you start with Part 1 and play the adventure in order so that you fully experience the story, but if you can only play some of the parts, that's OK!
  3. Fill out the surveys that correspond to the chapter you just played (either the GM survey or the player survey, plus general feedback if you want to give some free responses). You'll be able to find links to the surveys at pathfinderplaytest.com starting on Thursday, August 2. Surveys for Parts 2-7 will go live as we progress through the playtest (see the playtest schedule below). We recommend filling out each survey soon after you play the chapter so the memory is fresh, but don't worry about memorizing any fine details; that's what the Tracking PDF is for!
  4. Go back to Step 2 and play another part of the adventure until you're done with Doomsday Dawn! We'll be focusing on each part in order, according to the playtest schedule.
Playtesting with the Pathfinder Society
  1. Before play begins, make sure to grab the Society Playtest Tracking PDF (which will be available starting Thursday, August 2) to help you keep track of a few important pieces of information that we'll ask about later in the surveys.
  2. Play one of the Pathfinder Society playtest scenarios.
  3. Fill out the survey corresponding to the scenario you just played (the player or GM survey, plus the general feedback survey if you want to give some free responses). We recommend filling out any surveys soon after you play the scenario so the memory is fresh, but don't worry about memorizing any fine details; that's what the Tracking PDF is for.
  4. Go back to Step 2 and play a different scenario. You can also replay any of the scenarios to try out a new class, ancestry, or other combination!
Playtesting with Custom Adventures

There aren't any step-by-step instructions for playtesting using your own adventures. You're in charge! Use the rules in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook and Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary to create any sort of adventure you want. To make sure your data are as strong as possible, try to keep to the guidelines in the rulebook and avoid setting any house rules, as these limit what we can learn from your responses. For instance, if you run a monster much stronger than the guidelines and then report that the PCs were easily defeated, we can't tell how they might have fared under normal conditions. Other than that, the sky's the limit.

General Surveys

In addition to the adventure-specific surveys, we will also be releasing general surveys that we would like everyone to complete, focusing on ancestries, character classes, play mechanics, and more! We want to give you a chance to playtest a bit before we launch those surveys, but when they go live, you'll find the links with the other surveys at pathfinderplaytest.com.

Discussions

In addition to responding via the surveys, you can engage with other players and designers over on our forums, discussing the rules of the game and possibilities for the future. While we want to focus on actual play feedback, we also want to hear your ideas about the game.

Playtest Schedule

The playtest officially gets under way on August 2, 2018, and runs through the end of the year, closing on December 31, 2018. During that time, we will be focusing on various parts of the Doomsday Dawn adventure, making our way toward the dramatic conclusion in mid-November. Check out the following schedule so you can plan your games accordingly.

Doomsday Dawn, Part 1: 1st-level characters, playtest begins 8/2/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 2: 4th-level characters, playtest begins 8/27/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 3: 7th-level characters, playtest begins 9/10/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 4: 9th-level characters, playtest begins 9/24/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 5: 12th-level characters, playtest begins 10/8/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 6: 14th-level characters, playtest begins 10/22/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 7: 17th-level characters, playtest begins 11/5/18

Watch Us and Chat Live

You can also follow along with the playtest on the Paizo Twitch stream. Once the playtest is underway, we will be hosting a live stream every week where we play the game and talk about the results of the playtest so far. Videos from that stream will be archived on our YouTube channel if you miss the live broadcast. We will also be doing a playtest wrap-up every two weeks as we move from one part of the playtest adventure to the next. Expect to hear all about the results of the playtest and what changes are being made based on your feedback and comments!

How do you plan on participating in the playtest? Do you have any other questions about the process you'd like to ask us? Let us know in the comments below!

Tags: Pathfinder Playtest

2018-08-01T00:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

On Legacies

Tue, 07/31/2018 - 19:00

On Legacies

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Crystal Frasier has left the building, but her legacy lives on! Legacies are a big focus of the War for the Crown Adventure Path, which comes to its stunning conclusion with Amber E. Scott's The Six-Legend Soul. Amber's adventure opens on a truly dire note:

Spoiler:

While the PCs were working hard to obtain the approval of First Emperor Taldaris's spirit in Axis (as recounted in John Compton's excellent adventure, The Reaper's Right Hand), assassins murdered Princess Eutropia!

This is not a good position for the PCs to find their patron.
Illustration by Miguel Regodón Harkness

Some of these conflicts are intellectual, while others are definitely not.
Illustration by Miguel Regodón Harkness

Illustration by Miguel Regodón Harkness

Bringing Eutropia back from the dead is merely the first step in a thrilling adventure that will put high-level heroes to the test. Amber assembled a ton of exceptional encounters—so many that I'm not sure how she fit them all into a single adventure—and Crystal tied them very neatly to the rest of the adventure path. Several of the PCs' former enemies and allies influence this story, but it is the legendary figures from Taldor's history that really steal the show. You may have noticed the, well, shall we say, suspiciously favorable histories of Taldan emperors in the inside cover of each of the adventure path's volumes. The PCs meet each of them here, vying with these legendary spirits for control of young Prince Carrius's soul.

It's quite common for us to end an adventure path with a "Continuing the Campaign" article, and War for the Crown is no different. In addition to providing adventure hooks regarding several loose ends, Crystal's article presents an in-depth subsystem to determine what kind of ruler Eutropia becomes at the end of the campaign. So much of Eutropia's legacy is tied up in the PCs' decisions and victories throughout the entire adventure path that her ultimate leadership style rests on their actions. Will history call her Eutropia the Kind, Eutropia the Builder, Eutropia the Measured…or even Eutropia the Bloody?

Bring your War for the Crown campaign to a stunning conclusion and create a lasting legacy in your world!

Ron Lundeen
Developer

Tags: Miguel Regodón Harkness, Pathfinder Adventure Path, War for the Crown

2018-07-31T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Invasions and Explorations

Fri, 07/27/2018 - 21:00

Invasions and Explorations

Friday, July 27, 2018

I'm very happy to announce that we have completed sanctioning for both the Ironfang Invasion and Ruins of Azlant Adventure Paths! Before saying anything further about these adventures, I'd like to thank my fellow developers Luis Loza and Eleanor Ferron for their assistance in doing the vast majority of the work on sanctioning Ironfang Invasion so that we could have it ready to go alongside Ruins of Azlant for a double-dose of new sanctioned content.

The Ironfang Invasion Adventure Path pits the PCs against a fearsome hobgoblin army known as the Ironfang Legion. Many of the boons Luis and Eleanor wrote for this militant adventure tie into building a militia to fight back against the Legion, recruiting NPCs to your cause and gaining a suite of thematic abilities suitable for any warleader. Don't worry though, the boons from these Chronicles are still going to be useful and effective if you decide to play in campaign mode and apply them to a different character who never sallied forth against the Legion!

Ruins of Azlant will take you to colonies and ancient "ruins." The Chronicle sheets and boons reflect the Azlanti connection, offering everything from allies on and near the island of Ancorato to extremely rare ioun stones! Once again, while the boons provided by these Chronicle sheets are written to help enhance your characters' connections to the story and setting, they'll still be powerful and useful in their own right if you decide to apply them to another character after completing the Adventure Path. You can locate the sanctioning documents from the individualIronfang Invasion and Ruins of Azlant product pages and Additional Resources.

With the Ironfang Invasion and Ruins of Azlant sanctioning wrapped and ready for your perusal, we've got a few much-sought-after modules that are primed for our next round of sanctioning releases. Until then, happy gaming, everyone!

Michael Sayre
Developer

Tags: Ironfang Invasion, Organized Play, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Society, Ruins of Azlant

2018-07-27T21:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Multiclassing and Archetypes

Fri, 07/27/2018 - 19:00

Multiclassing and Archetypes

Friday, July 27, 2018

One of the trickiest parts of the rules is multiclassing. At its heart, multiclassing allows you to build almost any character you can envision, taking parts from multiple classes to build the perfect version of your character. Making these rules play well with the rest of the game, unfortunately, has always been a challenge. Concepts that really should work together just fell flat, leaving you with a character who could not perform at its level and keep pace with single class characters. This was especially the case for certain classes, like most spellcasters, that had a central class feature or features that you would fall sharply behind in if you weren't constantly progressing in that class.

Suffice to say, when it came time to redesign the system for the Pathfinder Playtest, we knew that multiclassing needed work.

Then came the rules for archetypes. The new design for this emblematic part of the game allows archetypes to be taken by any class, so you can decide exactly how much you want to invest into an alternative path for your character. The more we worked on that system, the more it began to sound like it shared almost exactly the same goals as multiclassing. Our thought was, shouldn't they just be the same system?

Multiclass archetypes are one of the more experimental parts of the Pathfinder Playtest. So much so that there are only four of them in the book, one for cleric, one for fighter, one for rogue, and one for wizard. Just like ordinary archetypes, you must take a special dedication feat to gain access to the archetype, but you cannot be of the same class as the archetype (so you can't take the rogue dedication feat if you are already a rogue). Let's take a look at one of these feats.

Wizard Dedication Feat 2

Archetype, Dedication, Multiclass

Prerequisites Intelligence 16, trained in Arcana

You cast spells like a wizard and gain a spellbook containing four arcane cantrips of your choice. You gain access to the Cast a Spell activity and the Material Casting, Somatic Casting, and Verbal Casting actions. You can prepare two cantrips each day from those found in your spellbook. You're trained in spell rolls and spell DCs for casting arcane spells and in attacks you make with arcane spells. Your key spellcasting ability for these spells is Intelligence. You can use wands, scrolls, and staves, but only for spells of a spell level you can cast. Arcana is a signature skill for you.

Special You cannot select another dedication feat until you have gained two other feats from the wizard archetype.

Right away, this lets you cast a few simple cantrips; allows you to use wands, scrolls, and staves; and makes Arcana a signature skill for you (meaning you can advance your proficiency in the skill to master and legendary). Like other dedication feats, once you've taken Wizard Dedication, you gain access to other wizard archetype feats, each of which makes you a more powerful master of the arcane arts. Take a look.

Basic Wizard Spellcasting Feat 4

Archetype

Prerequisites Wizard Dedication

Add two level 1 spells to your spellbook. You gain a single level1 spell slot that you can use to prepare a level 1 spell from your spellbook. At 6th level, add two level 2 spells to your spellbook, and you gain a level 2 spell slot that you can use to prepare a level 2 spell from your spellbook. At 8th level, add two level 3 spells to your spellbook, and you gain a level 3 spell slot that you can use to prepare a level 3 spell from your spellbook.

Even though you can cast spells, the spell level of your cantrips and arcane powers is half your level rounded up.

This feat pays dividends all the way up through 8th level, giving you more spells you can cast, and if you take it later on in your career, you get all of that spellcasting all at once. Better still, there are additional feats you can take to gain spells of up to 8th level! But let's say you want to be even more of a wizard—you want to get some of the other class features that make wizards fun to play. Take a look at these feats.

Arcane School Feat 4

Archetype

Prerequisite Wizard Dedication

Select one school of magic from those found in the wizard class. You gain the level 1 school power tied to your school and a pool of Spell Points equal to your Intelligence modifier that you can use to cast that power.

If you already have a pool of Spell Points, use the higher ability score to determine the pool, as normal, and your Spell Point pool increases by 1.

Basic Arcana Feat 4

Archetype

Prerequisites Wizard Dedication

Gain a level 1 or level 2 wizard feat of your choice.

Advanced Arcana Feat 6

Archetype

Prerequisites Basic Arcana

Gain one wizard feat. For the purposes of meeting its prerequisites, your wizard level is equal to half your level.

Special You can select this feat more than once. Each time you select it, you gain a new wizard feat.

There's even a feat that gives you additional spell slots of every level except for your two highest, giving you more versatility in your spellcasting. It's important to note that these powers come at the cost of some of the flexibility of your primary class, but not at the cost of core features. A cleric who multiclasses into fighter will keep all of her spellcasting abilities, but she will have to trade out some of the feats that allow her to be better at casting heal or at using domain powers in exchange for increased proficiency in weapons and armor, added hit points, and the ability to make attacks of opportunity. You might even choose to multiclass into several classes. You could play a cleric who, in addition to all her cleric spells, also has up to 8th-level druid spells and 8th-level wizard spells, though such a three-tradition spellcaster would have few cleric feats to speak of!

Well, that about covers the rules for multiclassing in the Pathfinder Playtest. If these archetypes work, you can expect to see one for each class in the final version of the game, giving you the flexibility to build characters that draw on more than one class to make their concept click. We hope you'll give these a try during the playtest and let us know what you think!

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

Tags: Pathfinder Playtest

2018-07-27T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

What's Your Armory Class?

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 19:00

What's Your Armory Class?

Thursday, July 26, 2018


Illustration by Alexander Nanitchkov

While the hundreds upon hundreds of weapons, suits of armor, and items in Starfinder Armory, can technically exist in a vacuum (space joke!), none of them amount to much without a skilled user. The final portion of Armory is devoted to new class options, many of which help characters leverage their shiny new items to even better effect. Plus there's a new archetype that brings the Augmented, a growing cultural movement of self-modification, to any character who wants to hack their body to perfection.

Envoys get a slew of improvisations and expertise talents that make them even stronger team supports, granting allies extra actions to quaff serums or reload weapons. They can also become even better battlefield medics, demolition experts, and computer whizzes!

Mechanics learn new tricks and even get additional drone mod options: you might teach your drone the Barricade feat or install cybernetic or magitech augmentations into its chassis. What's magitech, you ask? A new type of augmentation with dozens of options, included in Armory!

Mystics forge a new connection, which introduces two new spells (marked with asterisks) that any mystic can learn:


Illustration by Alexander Nanitchkov

GENETURGE

You are connected to the very building blocks of life, adept at altering your DNA code and that of others. You may see augmentation as a natural part of evolution, or the ultimate form of self-improvement that drives life towards enlightenment, or even a perversion of the natural order undertaken to venerate dread gods. With your enhanced understanding of biotech, you might be a famous self-help expert, a sinister fleshwarper, or an adaptable xenoseeker surveying mysterious planets in the Vast.

Associated Deities: Eloritu, Oras, Triune (Casandalee), Yaraesa

Associated Skills: Life Science and Medicine

Spells: 1st—detect augmentation•, 2nd—spider climb, 3rd—remove affliction, 4th—reject augmentation•, 5th—modify memory, 6th—regenerate

Operatives find more than a dozen new exploits, including pistol whip, knee shot, and utility belt. A new operative specialization, gadgeteer, emphasizes expertise in Engineering and Sleight of Hand.

Solarians have new revelations, including two new zenith revelations! With one, you can transform into a swarm (as the monster subtype) of thousands of flaming pinpoints; the other lets you pull a creature outside the confines of space and time. Like you do.

Soldiers get a new fighting style, called shock and awe, that focuses on overwhelming enemies with auditory and visual stimuli. They also have a bevy of gear boosts, including ones that enhance their use of disintegrator and sniper weapons (and yes—powered armor!).

Technomancers score new magic hacks (expend a spell slot to forge a magical, grenade-like matrix of volatile energy!) and spells (including animate armor, which, yes, can work on powered armor!).

Joe Pasini
Starfinder Developer

Tags: Starfinder

2018-07-26T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Pathfinder Society Playtest Scenarios

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 19:00

Pathfinder Society Playtest Scenarios

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

One of the advantages of this team's creating organized play scenarios for the better part of a decade (it surprises me that I can truthfully say that) is that we're now very familiar with how Pathfinder Society scenarios are laid out, how we word certain things, and countless other nuances. Introducing Starfinder Society gave us (especially Thurston Hillman) lots of opportunities to tweak our models to fit a new game system, and in many ways it prepared us for the changes we've made in Pathfinder's Second Edition. Sure, some of these are editorial minutiae like no longer splitting whether we use the preposition "on" or "to" when referring to bonuses on rolls versus bonuses to static values (e.g. AC or CMD). Others are more apparent, such as how we arrange encounters, where we place tactics, and how we calculate treasure. Learning these new styles and adapting them to organized play has been an experience, and we're hoping that this is a first step toward presenting great scenarios in the upcoming campaign.

One of the most unexpected updates for us was how Second Edition shapes those Knowledge checks that appear at the beginning of most scenarios (right after the adventure briefing). In the current edition's Pathfinder Society scenarios, these provide increasingly specific, esoteric, and/or useful information based on the result of a PC's Knowledge check. Some of Second Edition's underlying math, the different levels of success, and other factors make it so that this start-of-scenario tradition has to evolve, and Michael, Linda, Mark, and I brainstormed lots of different approaches to handling these opening skill checks to learn more. We found that there's not one perfect solution in theory, so we've used a different model in each of the playtest adventures releasing in August. As we launch these scenarios, we'll also be posting survey links to solicit your feedback. As you can imagine, we're eager to hear how each of these information-gathering systems worked for your table.


Illustration by Kenneth Camaro

But hey, that's enough nuts and bolts. If you'd like to know more about the Pathfinder Society playtest process, check out the Organized Playtest blog. Let's dive into the stories!

The early public previews of Pathfinder's second edition have relied on two particular adventures. Most of our playtesters so far have experienced our demo, in which the PCs clash with a cruel Asmodean zealot and his small army of undead. Beginning at PaizoCon, we also debuted Pathfinder Society Playtest #1: The Rose Street Revenge as a lottery event that's also appeared at Origins and PaizoCon UK. In the wake of Absalom's grand manumission event(kudos, Liberty's Edge faction!), the city's former slaves have found new homes there as the newest free citizens. However, someone seems to hold a grudge. Known as the Rose Street Killer, this villain has systematically killed or abducted these freed people, and the latest victim is a recent recruit of the Pathfinder Society. In this series of four quests for 1st-level characters, the PCs follow exciting leads in order to unmask the killer and put an end to the attacks once and for all. Not only do these adventures involve a visit to the Society's unlikely kobold allies beneath Absalom, but there's also a chance to explore the Puddles, a flooded district where volunteer Muckrucker guards (like the one illustrated here by Kenneth Camaro) keep the peace. We expect this quest series by Leo Glass, Thurston Hillman, Joe Pasini, and Linda Zayas-Palmer will be many players' first and fun introduction to Second Edition.


Illustration by Josef Kucera

Linda took the lead on our next scenario, so let's hear from her directly.

The first of our offerings for 5th-level characters is Pathfinder Playtest Scenario #2: Raiders of Shrieking Peak, by developer Luis Loza. When Pathfinder agent Inisa Ardaali recovered a relic from Iomedae's ascension, she took every precaution to get it back to Absalom safely. Instead of sailing directly into Absalom's harbor, she landed in nearby Diobel and hired a nondescript caravan to cover the rest of the distance overland. Despite her preparations, however, her caravan did not reach its destination. They fell prey to an unexpected group of bandits, leaving the survivors to limp back to Diobel empty-handed. The PCs pick up the robbers' trail and set off into the perilous wilderness. Will they forge new alliances with those they find along they way or let their blades do the talking? It's up to you to decide. How would you respond to this fellow swooping down out of the sky, as illustrated by Josef Kucera?


Illustration by Javier Charro

Want more 5th-level adventure possibilities? Look no further than Pathfinder Society Playtest #3: Arclord's Envy by Lyz Liddell. This adventure does many things we've always dreamed of: it's a story that takes place in Nex, resoundingly reflects its setting in the encounters, and at long last shows off the Nexus House (the oldest Society lodge outside of Absalom)! What's more, we've introduced the lodge's three caretakers, most notably the esteemed gnome Sebnet Sanserkoht (illustrated here by Javier Charro). The 5th-level PCs are in charge of a daring whodunit that hinges on a recently discovered text written by the archmage Nex himself. This is no mundane investigation, though—not in a capital city run by wizards, maintained by elementals, and guarded by a pair of titanic golems! Because it's possible to replay these playtest scenarios for credit, this scenario includes some flexibility for the GM to vary parts of the investigation and the culprits themselves in order to keep players on their toes every time.

And don't forget that we'll also have a 10th-level scenario coming out in September! In the meantime, get ready for three great adventures to kick off the playtest at Gen Con in style!

(And surveys. Don't forget the surveys!)

John Compton
Organized Play Lead Developer

Tags: Javier Charro, Josef Kucera, Kenneth Camaro, Organized Play, Pathfinder Playtest, Pathfinder Society

2018-07-25T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Born of Two Worlds

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 19:00

Born of Two Worlds

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

As some of you have no doubt noticed, we haven't said much about half-elves and half-orcs except to confirm that they'll be part of the Pathfinder Playtest. Of all of the ancestry choices in Pathfinder, these were two of the trickiest to design. With the way that the feats are structured, it would be easy enough to just list the feats from both parents (plus some unique options), but that quickly led to cherry-picking the best of both. Moreover, that approach didn't address the base statistics of the ancestry that are very important to overall balance, such as starting hit points and speed.

In the end, we decided to make both half-elves and half-orcs an addition to the human ancestry. You start by selecting human, then take the corresponding heritage feat to represent your diverse ancestry. Let's take a look at the half-elf feat.

Half-Elf Feat 1

Heritage, Human

Either one of your parents was an elf, or one or both were half-elves. You have pointed ears and other telltale signs of elven heritage. You gain the elf trait. Select two of the following benefits: elven speed (increase your Speed by 5 feet), elven tongue (add Elven to your list of languages), gifted speaker (you are trained in Diplomacy), or low-light vision (you can see in dim light as well as you can in bright light). In addition, you can select elf, half-elf, and human feats whenever you gain an ancestry feat.

Special You can select this feat twice. The second time, it loses the heritage trait and you gain the other two benefits.

This approach comes with a number of advantages. First off, it lets us make a half-elf that truly does have some of the advantages of both ancestries, while still allowing you to pick the parts that you think best represent your character's upbringing. Grew up among elves? Then picking up the Elven language makes sense. Had to explain yourself to the humans you grew up with? Then being trained in Diplomacy might be the way to go. As with all of our ancestries, we wanted the choice of being a half-elf or half-orc to be meaningful to your character and expressive of the backstory that you've decided to create. This ancestry feat gives a lot of benefits; to get similar benefits, you would normally use a general feat to pick up Adoptive Ancestry, which grants you access to the ancestry feats from another ancestry (as long as they don't have physiological requirements) to represent your deep connection to another ancestry's culture and traditions. However, being a half-elf gives you access to human feats, elf feats, and half-elf feats (including feats with physiological components), as well as two additional benefits.

At this point, you might be saying, wait, what about humans in general? Let's take a look at some of their options. At its core, human is a very flexible ancestry, with choices like Natural Ambition to gain an extra 1st-level class feat, General Training to gain an extra 1st-level general feat, and Skilled to gain training in two additional skills. However, humans also have fun options for particular builds, like this one for a character who wants to reduce the penalties for being untrained.

Clever Improviser Feat 1

Human

You've learned how to handle situations where you're out of your depth. You gain a +1 circumstance bonus to checks for skills in which you're untrained.

Of course, this approach for half-elves and half-orcs means that we needed to include a few orc feats in the book so players would get the complete experience of being a half-orc. Take a look at this classic feat.

[[R]] Orc Ferocity Feat 1

Orc

Frequency once per day

Trigger You're reduced to 0 Hit Points.

Fierceness in battle runs through your blood, and you refuse to fall from your injuries. When this feat is triggered, you avoid being knocked out and remain at 1 Hit Point.

This allows the half-orc to stay in the fight after taking a felling blow, even a really big hit or a critically failed save against a dragon's breath attack!

In addition to allowing you to choose any feat from both ancestries, we were also able to design a few ancestry feats specifically for half-elves and half-orcs. Take a look at this half-elf feat.

Inspire Imitation Feat 5

Half-Elf

You inspire your allies to great feats through your own actions. Whenever you critically succeed at a skill check, you automatically qualify to take the Aid reaction when attempting to help an ally at the same skill check, even without spending an action to prepare to do so.

This means that when you critically succeed, you can Aid your ally at no extra cost to yourself, which is particularly useful if your ally needs some help doing something at which you excel.

Beyond what this means for half-elves and half-orcs, using an ancestry feat to unlock a more diverse heritage gives us a lot of options for the future. For instance, aasimars, tieflings, and other planar scions come from a wide variety of ancestries in Golarion, instead of just defaulting to human. In Pathfinder First Edition, there's a sidebar to that effect, but it provides no mechanical adjustments for non-human planar scions beyond their size category. The playtest treatment would allow you to build a character whose ancestry really reflects their combined heritage. And if your setting has half-elves and half-orcs where the other parent isn't human, say half-orc/half-dwarf characters, you can just allow the half-orc feat for dwarf characters and the rest of the work is already taken care of. This also opens up a lot of design space (in the form of feats) to explore what otherworldly parentage might mean, giving you different options based on what type of outsider has influenced your heritage, similar to the popular subcategories of aasimar and tieflings (pitborn, musetouched, and so on). Having a solar in the family might grant access to entirely different feats than if your ancestors were blessed by a hound archon.

Now, this approach is a little different than what we've done in the past, so we are going to be asking a few questions about this through surveys during the playtest. We're keen to hear what you think about half-elves and half-orcs in the playtest. Why not roll one up and give it a try?

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

Tags: Pathfinder Playtest

2018-07-24T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Druid Class Preview

Mon, 07/23/2018 - 19:00

Druid Class Preview

Monday, July 23, 2018

Druids are practitioners of primal magic, which blends vital essence (the essence of life, instinct, and faith) with material essence (the essence of matter and the natural world). Thus, primal traditions are rooted in an instinctual connection with and faith in the surrounding world: the cycle of day and night, the turning of the seasons, and the natural selection of predator and prey. Druids are the iconic primal spellcasters; they call upon the power of nature for magic through their deep faith, as opposed to primal sorcerers, who harness the power of fey or other natural creatures that flows through their blood to access the same sorts of primal energies.

Since this is the last class, before we go deeper into the druid's mechanics, I want to show you some extra pieces each class has that you might not know about. Every class entry starts with some bullet points to help you get a feel for what playing the class might be like.

Playing a Druid

Players of druid characters might approach gameplay in the following ways:

  • During combat, you call upon the forces of nature to defeat your enemies and protect your allies. You can cast spells drawing upon primal magic to summon deadly animals to fight at your side, grant resilience to you and your friends, or heal their wounds. Depending on your bond to nature, you might also call upon powerful elemental magic or even change shape into a terrifying beast to fight with tooth and claw.
  • During social encounters, you represent balance and a reasoned approach to problems, looking for solutions that not only are best for the natural world, but also allow the creatures within it to live in harmony and peace. You often propose compromises that allow both sides to gain what they truly need, even if they can't have all that they desire.
  • In exploration mode, your skills in nature are invaluable. You can track down enemies, navigate through the wilderness, or use your spells to detect any magical auras around you. You might even ask wild animals to assist your group in your travels with their extraordinary senses and scouting abilities.
  • In downtime mode, you might craft magic items or potions. Alternatively, your tie to nature might lead you to tend to an area of the wild, befriending its beasts and healing the wounds caused by civilization. You might even attempt to teach people sustainable techniques that allow them to subsist off the land without harming the natural balance.
Roleplaying a Druid

Druids are the living embodiment of nature, acting as its agent; you protect the wild places from harm and speak for their interests in more civilized lands.

If You're a Druid, You Likely...
  • Have a deep and meaningful respect for the power of nature.
  • Are in constant awe of the natural world, eager to share it with others but cautious of their influence.
  • Treat plants and animals as allies in your quest, working with them toward your goals.
Others Probably...
  • View you as a representative of nature, and might even assume you can control it.
  • Assume you're a recluse who avoids society and cities, preferring to live in the wild.
  • Treat you as a mystic, similar to a priest, but answering only to the forces of nature.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Spellcasting

Druids are full prepared spellcasters, able to cast the same number of spells per day as the cleric and bard, rather than gaining extra spells through bloodlines or schools as the sorcerer and wizard do. However, just as the cleric has channel energy and the bard has compositions, the druid has more than enough tricks up her sleeve to make her a primal powerhouse. And figuring those out starts with...

Orders

As the druid's initial architect, Jason pulled the concept of orders from the sidelines of lore directly into the spotlight, making your choice of order a major part of your druid. As with the bard's muse, you can choose abilities that belong to another order, but unlike for the bard, you gain extra benefits from feats and abilities that belong to your own order, incentivizing you to check out your own order's feats first. An order member gains a new skill and an order power that druids of other orders can't gain, and each order adds its own component to the basic druid anathema forbidding actions like despoiling nature. The four orders presented in the playtest are animal, leaf, storm, and wild, though more orders are all but certain to arise.

Animal

An animal druid (known by names like druid of the claw or druid of the wing depending on her preferred animal) has a strong connection to animals. She is trained in Athletics, which is a signature skill for her. She also gains the heal animal order power (exclusive to that members of order) and the Animal Companion feat. Committing wanton cruelty to animals or killing them unnecessarily is anathema to her. (This doesn't prevent her from defending herself against animals or killing them cleanly for food.)

This is the order that's all about having the coolest animal companion. Other druids can easily get an animal companion (and they're a solid choice for all druids) and take the same upgrade feats, but with each feat, the animal order druid will get something cool or extra for the animal. As an example, an animal druid's companion can have multiple specializations, which are like animal companion archetypes, if the animal druid commits more to this path.

Leaf

A druid of the leaf reveres plants and the bounty of nature, acting as a caretaker and warden for the wilderness, teaching sustainable techniques, and helping areas regrow after disasters or negligent humanoid expansion. She is trained in Diplomacy, which is a signature skill for her. She also gains the Leshy Familiar druid feat and the goodberry order power (exclusive to that members of order). Committing wanton cruelty to plants or killing plants unnecessarily is anathema to her. (This doesn't prevent her from defending herself against plants or harvesting them if necessary for survival.)

This style of druid is all about plants, with options including Verdant Metamorphosis, where you flat-out become a plant, and the druid of the leaf's leshy familiar, which has more powers than a typical familiar. Let's check out Verdant Metamorphosis to see a special benefit only druids of the leaf receive:

Verdant Metamorphosis Feat 18

Druid

Leaf Order

You transform into a plant version of yourself. You gain the plant trait and lose any trait that's inappropriate for your new form (typically humanoid). You can change from a form that looks mostly like your old self into a tree or any other non-creature plant as an action (this action has the concentrate trait). Perception checks don't reveal your true form, but a creature can attempt a Nature or Survival check against your class DC to determine that the plant is new to the surrounding area. While in this form, you can observe everything around you, but you can't act other than to spend an action (this action has the concentrate trait) to change back, which ends your turn. In this form, your AC is 30, your TAC is 20, only conditional bonuses, conditional penalties, and circumstance bonuses and penalties can affect you, and you treat all successes and critical successes on Reflex saves as failures.

Special If you are a druid of the leaf order, if you transform into a non-creature plant and take your daily rest during daylight hours, the rest restores you to maximum Hit Points and removes all non-permanent drained, enfeebled, sluggish, and stupefied conditions.

Storm

A druid of the storm carries nature's fury within her, channeling it to terrifying effect and riding the winds and storms. She is trained in Acrobatics, which is a signature skill for her. She also gains the Storm Born druid feat and the tempest surge order power (exclusive to that members of order). Creating unnatural weather patterns that could be damaging to the local environment (such as by using a 9th-level control weather ritual) is anathema to her.

In addition to healing magic, the primal list contains powerful energy blasts, including fireball and other spells newly available to druids. Armed with this magic, druids of the storm are elemental dynamos who focus on the power of the tempest, flying around in storms and ignoring penalties from weather. Notably, their tempest surge order power is an extremely good blast for a 1 Spell Point power, particularly after if they take a feat that ups the d10s to d12s. Let's take a look, since you'll be slinging it around a bunch of times each day.

Tempest Surge Power 1

Air

Electricity

Evocation

Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting

Range 30 feet; Targets one creature

You surround a foe in a swirling storm of violent winds, roiling clouds, and crackling lightning. The storm deals 1d10 electricity damage to the target, depending on their Reflex saving throw.

Success Half damage.

Critical Success No damage.

Failure Full damage, and the target is sluggish 1 for 1 round.

Critical Failure Double damage, and the target is sluggish 2 for 1 round.

Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 1d10.

After increasing the damage to d12s, the damage scales at the same rate as lightning bolt. But it doesn't just deal damage! The sluggish condition penalizes AC, attack rolls, and Reflex saves, so taking double damage on the critical failure is just the beginning of the horrible pain. When we were playtesting, every creature that critically failed against tempest surge was in for a very bad round.

Wild

The savage, uncontrollable call of the natural world infuses a druid of the wild, granting her the ability to change her shape into the ferocious form of a wild creature. She is trained in Intimidation, which becomes a signature skill for her. She also gains the Wild Shape druid feat and the wild claws order power (exclusive to that members of order). Becoming fully domesticated by the temptations of civilization is anathema to her. (This doesn't prevent her from buying and using processed goods or staying in a city for an adventure, but she can never come to rely on these conveniences or truly call such a place her permanent home.)

Notice the wild order druid starts with Wild Shape? Any druid with Wild Shape feats gets a free extra casting of certain polymorph spells, heightened to her highest possible level, eventually rising up to two free castings if the druid takes enough Wild Shape feats. But the thing that makes a wild order druid particularly different is that, in addition to these, she gains a number of additional bonus castings of these spells equal to her Strength modifier (if it's more than 1). That means a druid of the wild tends towards higher Strength than a typical member of other orders.

Druid Features

Aside from an order, you gain spellcasting and primal spell proficiency at the same levels as all the other spellcasters, new spell levels at every odd level save 19th, expert proficiency in primal spells at 12th level, master proficiency at 16th level, and legendary proficiency at 19th level. You also get the secret Druidic language (don't teach it to nondruids—that's anathema!) and wild empathy, which lets you use Diplomacy to Make a Request of animals, and possibly of plants if you're a leaf order aficionado.

Druid Feats

I covered many feats that connect to orders, but many feats aren't affiliated, like this powerhouse:

[[F]] Leyline Conduit Feat 20

Druid

Metamagic

Frequency once per minute

Trigger You start to cast a spell of 5th level or lower that has no duration and a maximum of 2 spellcasting actions.

You add a Somatic Casting action to the casting of the triggering spell, and you don't expend the prepared spell as you cast it.

This means every minute, you can cast a 5th level or lower spell without expending it. That's really useful! There are some interesting effects of how Jason designed this feat, though, that make it more than just a simple repetition, particularly the fact that you can use Leyline Conduit only if you were already able to cast the spell, meaning you had to prepare it and then avoid using it up by casting it without Leyline Conduit. So the feat gives you somewhat limitless uses of the spell, but if you really need to cast it again before the minute is up, while Leyline Conduit is unavailable, you'll expend the spell for real (at least for the rest of the day).

Animal Companions

Before I go, let's talk about animal companions. While Jason was deep in preliminary design of the druid, he bestowed upon me a strange primal chart of flowing options, almost in Druidic itself, and explained it to me. This chart combined all the best aspects of the 4th- and 7th-level animal companion advancements with animal companion archetypes and new unique features for each different animal, all while moving away from having to make tons of basic feat selections for the companion. What I built from that chart was the first draft of the animal companion system in the playtest. Let's show off the companion most often overlooked in Pathfinder First Edition, the noble bear. The bear has generated a plethora of threads dedicated to how neglected it is, so let's see how the playtest handles it.

Bear

Your companion is a grizzly, panda, polar bear, or other type of bear.

Size Small

[[A]] UnarmedStrikes jaws, Damage 1d8 piercing;

claw (agile), Damage 1d6 slashing

Abilities Str, Con

Hit Points 8

Skill Intimidation

Senses scent

Speed 35 feet

Work Together Benefit Your bear mauls your enemies when you create an opening. Until your next turn, all your weapon Strikes against a creature your bear threatens deal 1d8 additional slashing damage. If your bear has a specialization, the additional slashing damage increases to 2d8.

Advanced Maneuver Bear Hug

[[A]]Bear Hug

Requirements Your last action was a successful claw Strike.

Make another claw Strike against the same target. If your Strike hits, the target is also grabbed, as if you had succeeded at the Grapple action.

The bear starts out Small. Don't worry—when it grows up, it can eventually become a Large bear (in the first book, too; there's no need to wait). The bear's boost in Strength and d8 damage die for its jaws make it the most directly damaging companion, tied with the snake, which it edges out in terms of Constitution, Hit Points, and land Speed. (The snake, for its part, has better AC and lots of special Speeds.) The Work Together benefit is something you can have the bear do instead of attack, and it again deals the most direct damage, adding 1d8 (later 2d8) to the damage of your weapon Strikes. The bear is a great companion for someone who plans, much like the bear itself, to wade into the thick of the fight. Finally, the bear can eventually learn the Bear Hug advanced maneuver. This maneuver essentially means that if the bear hits twice in a row, it gets a free automatic grapple. Handy for keeping foes in place!

So that about wraps up the druid. If you were a druid, which of the four orders would you be?

Mark Seifter
Designer

Tags: Druids, Lini, Pathfinder Playtest, Wayne Reynolds

2018-07-23T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Order of the Amber Die--The Azlant Odyssey, Part 4

Sat, 07/21/2018 - 19:00

Order of the Amber Die—The Azlant Odyssey, Part 4

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The folks from Order of the Amber Die are back again! Get ready to dive into adventure with a new report from their latest marathon session running through Pathfinder Adventure Path #124: City in the Deep! Be forewarned, though! There are spoilers aplenty in this report. (Maybe just look at the awesome pictures if you're playing through this.)

Going into volume four of the Ruins of Azlant Adventure Path, we had a couple of pieces of information about what lay ahead; these included following a lead about a veiled master, and knowing that we were headed to the underwater city of Talasantri. We originally scheduled our usual four-day run, but during play we endeared ourselves to the city and adjusted our schedules to make this a slow-burning marathon of nearly a week, culminating with fireworks and food on the 4th of July!

To create immersion for our visit to an underwater city, we surrounded our play area with a 360-degree panorama of undersea scenes matching the coral streets of Talasantri (including a merfolk evocative of many we'd encounter). To capture the effect of jellyfish lanterns lighting the city, we employed string lights of appropriate colors, along with sparkling underwater lighting effects from our local Halloween store. As we toured establishments in the city, we were enraptured by music from Aquasonic, played completely underwater. Lastly, our tabletop itself glimmered with the craftsmanship of both Blue Table Painting and Black Bard Studios, who helped bring Talasantri to life for us.

  • Adventure: Pathfinder Adventure Path #124: City in the Deep
  • Marathon Length: 125 hours, 50min
  • Session Hours: 60hrs, 15min
Highlights From "City in the Deep"
  • Our biggest concern was how it was going to play out being underwater for so long. Matt, a veteran of the Order and our "Player Captain Emeritus," supervised the party's toolkit for underwater adventuring. He made it so that we were able to enjoy our time in the deep without having to stress too much about the lack of air, cold temperatures, and pressure damage. Spells like endure elements, water breathing, waterproof, and ride the waves (combined with a rod of metamagic extend) were easy enough to keep track of. At the same time, certain items ensured that we had backup measures: pearl of the sirens, necklace of adaptation, apparatus of the crab, and pressure pills (from the Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Aquatic Adventures sourcebook.
  • Our list of friends and alliances continued to grow. Nieran Codali, a Mordant Spire elf rescued from the bottom of The Flooded Cathedral, considered it essential to accompany us after he saw that three of our four iconics were human; since, as he explained to Merisiel openly, the humans were certain to fail. Though he sometimes refers to us as "the bastards of Azlant" and talks about our humans in the third person, we wouldn't have survived the final battle without him.
  • While exploring the island of Blood Lily Cay in search of an ancient weapon, we spotted a ruined temple through the foliage. Facing its divine guardian/broken soul coatl turned into a 26-round combat worthy of any World Cup elimination match. Unfortunately, our first "own goal" of the campaign also occurred, when Kyra cast a mass cure light wounds in an attempt to damage the creature she assumed was undead (without successfully identifying it). Instead, she healed the coatl at a crucial moment, ensuring we'd have to retreat in defeat.
  • Some BIG creatures live under the waves, and we're starting to meet them. The best God of War boss fights couldn't hold a candle to watching Valeros go into melee alone against a gargantuan dire shark, and later a colossal shipwrecker crab. The aquanaut beat them both.
The Odyssey

Talasantri looked unlike anywhere we'd ever been, and yet much of the city functioned like plenty of places we had been. We shopped, got invited to parties, became caught up in local intrigues, and the relationships we built ended up being more important to our success than any treasure we found. We had to pick our friends wisely though, and there were certainly options: aristocratic merfolk, proud aquatic elves, shady cecaelias, and plenty more. Kyra's ability to hit a DC 52 Diplomacy check certainly came in useful, but most citizens were indifferent to surface folk, so Dan still had to roleplay his way into positions to use it. Ezren even fell for a merfolk who styled herself as the "Arcanic Researcher" of the city, and was invited to view her collection of rare magic items (a visit he wouldn't discuss with us). We're keeping the large map we printed of Talasantri, and we'll be going back in this campaign—or another.

Character Deaths
  • Merisiel was able to corner a deep merfolk sorcerer after minutes of chasing his multiple castings of dimension door. Facing only the elf, the merfolk cast defensively and gambled on a disintegrate. From just a foot away, he reached out a finger toward the rogue—natural 20. The critical hit was almost inevitable, and Merisiel's saving throw was a tragic natural 1. So 26d6 became 52d6, and our GM wanted to roll it all at once. We scoured the house for d6s, and everyone pitched in some of their own. Total damage? 192. The single highest amount of damage ever delivered by a spell in OAD history.
  • When draugr are protecting a shrine of Dagon with keen greataxes, Power Attack, and times 3 critical multipliers, some PCs are going to wind up face down. Kyra took 57 points of damage in three hits, and Merisiel took 106 points of damage in two hits. At least they went out together.
  • An out-of-water excursion threw off some adventuring routines we had established, and we stumbled into two ambushes by the aptly named Blood Lilies. Koloshkora and Ezren found out through experience that the plants were highly poisonous, too.
Best Quote From Marathon 4

(While crossing the ocean floor at 20 ft. speed.)

Valeros: "Can't this thing go any faster?"

Merisiel: "Not with the old man driving."

Ezren: "This is maximum speed, thank you."

Current Situation

We've discovered that our quarry, the veiled master named Ochymua, seeks a weapon with the power to devastate Golarion. For assistance, it seems Ochymua contacted an ancient lich named Auberon the Drowned—which means now we seek this same lich. Armed with two aberration bane weapons and a ranger with a +6 favored enemy bonus, we're locked and loaded as we head into part five of this Adventure Path. We have three words for all alghollthu who oppose us: BRING IT ON.

More Content

For character builds, questions about The Azlant Odyssey, additional content and more, see our thread on the Paizo messageboards.

Follow Order of the Amber Die on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube!

Keep your eyes peeled for part five once the group gets some rest. If you've missed the first three installments, check them out here:

Order of the Amber Die—The Azlant Odyssey, Part 1
Order of the Amber Die—The Azlant Odyssey, Part 2
Order of the Amber Die—The Azlant Odyssey, Part 3

Adam Daigle
Managing Developer

Tags: Community, Order of the Amber Die, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Ruins of Azlant

2018-07-21T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Homebrew Special: Emerald Legacy

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 22:00

Homebrew Special: Emerald Legacy

Friday, July 20, 2018

Francesco "Doppelschwert" Silvestri tackles the latest Homebrew Special challenge with his new Pathfinder Adventure Card Gamecampaign: Emerald Legacy. He totally had me at "Sharkomancer."—Mike

Now that Ultimate Combat and Ultimate Equipment are out, so Hayato and Reiko are available as playable characters, I'm finally ready to proudly present my latest longtime project: Emerald Legacy, a new homebrew Adventure Path for Skull & Shackles!

Before we get into specifics, let's start with a short rundown of the setting. In the prologue, you start in Absalom and are hired as mercenaries by the Tian noble Hiro Yamashi to join his expedition to the Shackles, where his brother Masao has fled after stealing a family heirloom. In order to get the heirloom back, you'll chase Masao and his henchmen through several exotic locations, discovering his plans along the way. Once you find out what he's up to, will you be able to stop him in time? I certainly hope so!

When I started this project, I first looked back on all the experience I gathered while working on my first homebrew AP Revenge of the Wicked. While I'm very happy with how RotW turned out, I have to admit that setting up the box is rather complicated, so I wanted to improve on this aspect in Emerald Legacy. At the same time, I wanted to change a lot of things to give the set my own spin and try out some new ideas.

The one thing from RotW I was absolutely sure that I wanted to keep was the great appearance of the cards made by Ludwig Orsingher, and so I asked him to help me out with this project again. Luckily, he agreed, and he made both the awesome logo as well as the great realizations of all the custom cards for Emerald Legacy, a contribution for which I want to express my deep gratitude.

With that said, let's have a look at what Emerald Legacy has in store for you!

Your ship is your upgradeable base of operations.

I like it when RPGs give you the option to have your own upgradeable base—a place for your heroes to return to between adventures. In the RPG version of Skull & Shackles, you can earn your own island; it's also a central mechanic in the popular Kingmaker AP. For Emerald Legacy, I decided early on that I wanted a base to be important both in the narrative as well as mechanically. My solution for this was to make the Shirofune, an upgradeable ship that grows alongside you during the course of the AP. (You might think that the concept of a floating fortress is a fantasy trope, but warships like these were actually used in Japan during the 16th and 17th century.)


Note: The artwork on the Shirofune card above was done by myself, and is not covered by the Paizo Community Use Policy.

My idea was to set up the Shirofune much like a character. Instead of skills, though, there are ship facilities, which produce cards from an upgrade box you can customize yourself with 3 class decks, another AP, or Skull & Shackles itself. This allows you to give the set a distinct flavor by adding your favorite expansions. (The Monk Class Deck and the Ultimate Combat and Ultimate Equipment decks make excellent candidates for a Tian theme.) From a narrative point of view, your choice of upgrade box corresponds to the people that were hired to work on the ship.

And instead of a cards list, there's a list of cargo that you get to add as plunder to your ship at the beginning of each scenario! These cards can be used as an income for boons, as payment for the cards from the upgrade box, or to use the ship card's power (discussed below).

You'll never walk alone.
For once, no one expects you to save the world all by yourself.

While your party plays an essential role in the story of Emerald Legacy, you're not the only ones working toward your goal of stopping Hiro's brother Masao. Important NPCs will regularly help you out as cohorts, and when everything else fails, you can resort to calling the Order of the Raging Wave to help you out! This seafaring monk order has travelled with Hiro from Tian Xia to support him on his quest, and their leader Umiko Sensei acts as your mentor during the journey.

In exchange for a little donation in the form of a plunder card, they will temporarily replace your role card, gladly taking care of your problems for you. This role card is the third step of turning your ship into a character by having its crew earn power feats. Over the course of the AP, you can have them learn all kinds of useful tricks to cover the weaknesses of your party. You could very well play through Emerald Legacy with 1d4 in Wisdom without the need to despair at the first sight of the infamous Siren Caller!

You have rivals, and there are sidequests connected to them.
Instead of pirates vs. ninjas, it will be you vs. pirates AND ninjas!

For this AP, I thought it would be cool to fight against a rivaling party with opposing goals. While you are fighting on Hiro's side, his brother Masao has a band of loyal followers that you will meet several times throughout your journey. To keep them fresh and relevant, I made them veterans and introduced villain feats, which grant them additional powers over time. Since you get to choose those powers, you can start with the least disruptive powers for your party, but you will eventually be forced to make what I hope to be hard choices. Additionally, each villain has a theme that will influence the rules of the scenario they appear in. For example, there is usually a scenario rule related to examining cards when Kaze is around. By encountering these villains several times, it was possible to flesh them out more, and I didn't need to make a huge number of custom cards you would use just once.

In Emerald Legacy, sidequests are the only way to earn loot cards, and they have minor and major consequences for later parts of the AP and the ending of the story! I've introduced 2 sidequests for each villain, giving you even more opportunities to interact with them.

You'll get into all kind of crazy situations.
Note: The artwork on the Shrine of Sealing card above was done by myself, and is not covered by the Paizo Community Use Policy.

I'll openly admit that when I make my homebrew adventure paths, I often try to incorporate my favorite mechanics from the official material, which you can consider as my love letter to the game. In particular, Mummy's Mask had a big influence on many of Emerald Legacy's cards and scenarios.


Illustration by Ben Wootten.

However, I also try to come up with new mechanics and ways to make the game feel different from what you are used to. Emerald Legacy contains a new type of scenario that I like to think of as "Showdown Scenarios." These all use the Shrine of Sealing, a location where characters are not allowed to start. No matter what you do, the villains will eventually all end up in the Shrine of Sealing, and you need to close all other locations before you can win. Assuming you win the fight against a villain, it's actually better not to temporarily close any locations in these scenarios, which has a major impact on how you can approach them.

Here's a short list of my favorite 5 features from other Emerald Legacy scenarios, in no particular order:

  • There is a self-proclaimed "sharkomancer" that lets you roll on a shark table.
  • You can reunite a dinosaur with its lost baby (or keep it for yourself—I'm not judging).
  • There is an anti-magic zone that your casters won't like very much.
  • You can encounter a tribe of grindylows living inside of Hirgenzosk.
  • Depending on how you play, you may or may not encounter the guy to the right.

If you want to try out Emerald Legacy, you can find the free PDF and further information in this thread. I'm still updating the PDF as well, so any feedback is welcome!

I hope you enjoy the AP and can use it to scratch your Tian Xia itch until the day we can have an official card game version of Jade Regent :) Until next time!

Francesco Silvestri (Doppelschwert)
Homebrew Scenario Designer & Sword Enthusiast

Tags: Adventure Card Game Homebrew, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

2018-07-20T22:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Running the Game

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 19:00

Running the Game

Friday, July 20, 2018

As the Pathfinder Playtest begins, Game Masters will need to quickly get up to speed with the new rules. The Game Mastering chapter of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook is here to help you out! It covers the responsibilities of a GM, gives advice on running sessions, and teaches you how to adjudicate the rules of the game. Because this is a playtest, there aren't details about creating your own campaign or adventures, but rest assured, this information will appear in the Pathfinder Second Edition rulebook!

Running Modes of Play

A large section of the Game Mastering chapter runs through the special concerns of running the three modes of play: encounters, exploration, and downtime. The specific rules governing those modes appear in the Playing the Game chapter, so this chapter instead talks about how to set the pace of the game as you GM. Exploration and downtime get the most focus here, since most the rules for running encounters are addressed in Playing the Game. The section on exploration goes over exploration tactics characters might adopt, and gives advice on what to do when players want to choose tactics that aren't included in the default options. It also addresses how to begin and end encounters, including some advice on how to use the new initiative rules of the playtest. The section on downtime shows you how to play out a single downtime day at the table, and how to cover long periods of downtime quickly and keep them interesting. It also talks about buying and selling items and retraining abilities.

Difficulty Classes

Setting DCs is one of your major tasks as GM, and the rulebook covers how to create two different types of DCs: those that are appropriate for a certain level and those that are static challenges in the world. This first category is great when you need the DC of an obstacle created by an enemy of a certain level but don't have all their statistics, when you set the DC to Craft an item of a particular level, and so on. Levels and categories of difficulty are given in a table so you can pick a DC quickly. The level is based on your opposition's level, and the category depends on the particular situation. Here's a portion of that table.

LevelTrivialLowHighSevereExtreme0 910121417 11012141518 21113151619

Static challenges are everything from climbing a tree to identifying a minor noble. These tasks don't really get more difficult if the PCs are higher level, but can still be expressed in terms of level and difficulty category. The guidelines explain how to select a level and category of difficulty. For instance, climbing a rope that's hanging in mid-air is a level 1 task, so it's normally a high DC (14), but it might have a low DC (12) if you can brace yourself against a wall while climbing through a narrow area, and maybe even a trivial DC (10) if you can brace against two walls. Because static DCs don't increase as the PCs advance in levels, eventually low-level static tasks will become nearly automatic for them. We give guidelines here for GMs crafting their own adventures, but it's ultimately up to them what level and DC tasks are. (In published adventures, this information is still provided.)

As you can see, the rules for DCs intentionally put far more choice in your hands as the GM. Rather than having a long list of DCs and modifiers pre-defined, we wanted to let the GM assess the particulars of any given situation and then use some simple tools to set the DC, rather than needing to calculate a DC based on rules that aren't always exactly suitable to the challenge facing the players.

This section also speaks to some particular categories of skill DCs for crafting, gathering Information, performing for an audience, practicing a trade with Lore, recalling knowledge with skills like Arcana or Lore, or training an animal.

Rewards

This section contains some rules not directly related to Doomsday Dawn, but that we want people to take a look at and use if they create their own campaigns during the playtest. One thing that shows up is rules on awarding Experience Points. This includes XP awards for accomplishments, so that you'll have guidance for when the group pulls off important tasks that aren't encounters or hazards. As noted previously, it normally takes 1,000 XP to level up, but there are also options for varying the players' advancement speed by having a new level every 800 XP or 1,200 XP. If you're playtesting your own campaign, you might want to have characters level up every 800 XP so you get a chance to playtest more levels of the game!

Environment and Hazards

The last section of the Game Mastering chapter briefly summarizes environments and the rules for hazards (such as traps, environmental dangers, and haunts). These are covered in more detail in the Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary. They'll be in the final version of Pathfinder Second Edition's core rulebook, but the Playtest Rulebook didn't have quite enough space for the whole thing!

Are you looking forward to GMing playtest games? What changes are you hoping to see? Are you going to run Doomsday Dawn, or try some of your own adventures too? Sound off in the comments!

Logan Bonner
Designer

Tags: Pathfinder Playtest

2018-07-20T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Pages