RPG: BREAKING – Pathfinder 2nd Edition Coming

  • Posted by
  • at

After a decade of adventure, Pathfinder is going to be releasing a Second Edition.

Big news today gang. After a decade of finding Paths, and a year of finding Stars, the folks over at Paizo have just announced Pathfinder: 2nd Edition. What does that mean exactly? Well in August, you can sign up for a playtest and get a look at what 2nd Edition Pathfinder will look like. Here’s what Paizo has to say:

via Paizo

Welcome to the next evolution of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!

Just shy of 10 years ago, on March 18th, 2008, we asked you to take a bold step with us and download the Alpha Playtest PDF for Pathfinder First Edition. Over the past decade, we’ve learned a lot about the game and the people who play it. We’ve talked with you on forums, we’ve gamed with you at conventions, and we’ve watched you play online and in person at countless venues. We went from updating mechanics to inventing new ones, adding a breadth of options to the game and making the system truly our own. We’ve made mistakes, and we’ve had huge triumphs. Now it is time to take all of that knowledge and make the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game even better.

There are three big categories they talked about for now. With a focus on how exactly the game is going to change, and the different ways they’re thinking about it. Worth noting is the “three modes of play” for the game. But for now, let’s take a look at the overall shape of things to come.

New, but the Same

Our first goal was to make Pathfinder Second Edition feel just like the game you know and love. That means that as a player, you need to be able to make the choices that allow you to build the character you want to play. Similarly, as a Game Master, you need to have the tools and the support to tell the story you want to tell. The rules that make up the game have to fundamentally still fill the same role they did before, even if some of the mechanics behind them are different.

So, it’ll still be Pathfinder at the end of the day. There are a few big changes coming to the game. Characters are getting more streamlined–and taking a cue from 5th Edition D&D, Pathfinder is dropping the differentiated attack proficiencies and stuff that they used to have. And instead there’ll just be that unified proficiency system.

Playing the Game

We’ve made a number of changes to the way the game is played, to clean up the overall flow of play and to add some interesting choices in every part of the story. First up, we have broken play up into three distinct components. Encounter mode is what happens when you are in a fight, measuring time in seconds, each one of which can mean life or death. Exploration mode is measured in minutes and hours, representing travel and investigation, finding traps, decoding ancient runes, or even mingling at the queen’s coronation ball. Of all the modes of play, exploration is the most flexible, allowing for easy storytelling and a quick moving narrative. Finally, the downtime mode happens when your characters are back in town, or relative safety, allowing them to retrain abilities, practice a trade, lead an organization, craft items, or recuperate from wounds. Downtime is measured in days, generally allowing time to flow by in an instant.

Most of the game happens in exploration or encounter mode, with the two types of play flowing easily from one to the other. In fact, exploration mode can have a big impact on how combat begins, determining what you roll for your initiative. In a group of four exploring a dungeon, two characters might have their weapons ready, keeping an eye out for danger. Another might be skulking ahead, keeping to the shadows, while the fourth is looking for magic. If combat begins, the first two begin with their weapons drawn, ready for a fight, and they roll Perception for their initiative. The skulking character rolls Stealth for initiative, giving them a chance to hide before the fight even begins. The final adventurer rolls Perception for initiative, but also gains some insight as to whether or not there is magic in the room.

Additionally, characters will have reactions and other things they can do during the game–similar to another system that rhymes with myth sedition–but that’s what Pathfinder has always been. A sort of interpretation of some of the same core mechanics, gone off in their own directions. Paizo is very…crunchy in general with their design. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle the streamlined take of rules in the modern era, where players just want to sit down and play as quickly as they can.

Monsters and Treasure

The changes to the game are happening on both sides of the GM screen. Monsters, traps, and magic items have all gotten significant revisions.

First off, monsters are a lot easier to design. We’ve moved away from strict monster construction formulas based off type and Hit Dice. Instead, we start by deciding on the creature’s rough level and role in the game, then select statistics that make it a balanced and appropriate part of the game. Two 7th-level creatures might have different statistics, allowing them to play differently at the table, despite both being appropriate challenges for characters of that level.

This also makes it easier for us to present monsters, giving us more space to include special abilities and actions that really make a monster unique. Take the fearsome tyrannosaurus, for example; if this terrifying dinosaur gets you in its jaws, it can take an action to fling you up to 20 feet through the air, dealing tremendous damage to you in the process!

And in stuff like this, we’ll see Paizo’s unique take on monster abilities really take hold. There’s a lot waiting in the future, so stay tuned in the coming months–we’ll have a lot of Pathfinder updates for you.

Happy adventuring!

  • Johaad

    Now pathfinder can have its own edition wars!

    • Wyatt Q Alvis

      Gronards rejoice!

    • Matthew Pomeroy

      I will bring the tanks and airplanes!

  • Gee, that monster design blurb sounds a WHOLE LOT like the way 4e worked…

    >Different, but the same

    D&D in a nutshell.

    • Grasshopper

      That’s what I always wanted! 4th Ed D&D but from Paizo! <3

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      To be fair, monster design in 4E was actually really, really good. Monsters were all fun and engaging. 4E floundered on the player side of the screen.

  • Aurion Shidhe

    Thanks, I will stick with D&D. I own all of the Pathfinder books and enjoy playing Pathfinder. But I will never, ever, run a game of PF again.

  • af

    I thought the whole point of Pathfinder was that it was never going to change.

    But actually, the beans were spilled in a recent article about RPG gaming in real-life prison: Pathfinder’s raison d’etre is that in prisons where D&D is forbidden, the guards are too ignorant to tell Pathfinder is pretty much the same game. I’m not making this up, look for the relevant quote in this fascinating article: https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/padk7z/how-inmates-play-tabletop-rpgs-in-prisons-where-dice-are-contraband

    “If the prison bans D&D, play Pathfinder. They’re pretty stupid and won’t know it’s the same thing […]”

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Pathfinder was never going to not change. I do not know where you heard that.

      Also, a 10 year life span without a major revision is really solid for an RPG.

      • af

        It was the vibe I got from forums and sites, that gamers liked Pathfinder because it didn’t change and remained old school. I may be mistaken, but I see I’m not the only one who thinks so here…

        • Xodis

          PF was born due to players not wanting to change editions, not wanting to play “dead” editions, and not wanting to invalidate all the money spent on books.

          From a business standpoint he is right, but from a player perspective its a slap in the face. That being said they already had a “Revision” edition a few years ago that was accepted as the standard for improving PF.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            I have never understood the resistance to change. The base game was always clunky and haphazard. The improvements added to the game as time went on, felt more like bolt on additions held together with duct tape, rather than being truly integrated into the system (i.e. Archetypes).

          • af

            But wasn’t resistance to change the whole reason for Pathfinder’s existence? People who wanted to keep playing D&D 3.5 after it was deprecated?

          • Xodis

            Its because players are the finite resource in gaming. There is a fear that because Game B is released and players will want to play that, I will have a harder time trying to find players for Game A.

          • Dennis J. Pechavar

            I was able to find people to play 3.5 DnD but as a group we tried 4th and hated it. 5th is amazing but my group prefer Pathfinder. Heck we still have a good percentage of our group who want to play advance 2nd edition! I don’t get to play enough for any edition change to matter.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          They were silly and foolish to believe a new edition would never come.

  • YetAnotherFacelessMan

    They’ve had a lot of playtest time, they’ve seen 5e… I’m hoping they’ll impress me. I believe that when there is strong competition between substitute goods, consumers win. I want as many healthy and good tabletop games as possible. I want us to feel a little conflicted picking a system because we like them all. I hope this goes well.

    • Xodis

      That is a very rare and logical outlook on this. Most RPG players fear change because they already have a favorite system, and dont want other RPGs stealing away potential players, which is the bottleneck of hobbies like this. Same reason rabid Tabletop wargaming fans must immediately claim a brand new game that hasn’t even been released yet (Star Wars Legion) is DOA, simply because if its successful, their own investment loses value.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      To be fair, we are living in a golden age of Table Top RPGs. The real problem is that only a handful of systems are getting wide spread exposure and players.

      • af

        I love competition in this space, especially if it gives indie self-published titles a chance. But it has a downside: see for example the supposed “golden age” for ipad/iphone games: it turned out real exposure was really hard, and only a few people and companies managed to succeed. Most game devs cannot break even.

  • Kabal1te

    I have been wondering how long it would be before this happened. Core rulebook pathfinder isn’t terrible for a knock off D&D, but in its current state it makes 3.5 look like a balanced reasonable game. Between the resurgence of D&D proper thanks to 5e and the number of people that will be upset if they change too much, this may backfire like D&D 4e. In all honesty the only reason pathfinder became a thing is because of how unpopular 4e was. I could foresee this going WotC’s way more than Paizo’s, especially if all their supplements and adventure paths are not compatible with this new edition.

    • bobrunnicles

      ^^^ this. So much this.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Paizo’s real strength has always been its adventure paths and their organized play network. That is the core to their success. So long as they keep making interesting and fun adventures as well as supporting their organized play, I doubt PF will ever truly falter, the way 4E did.

      4E was a radical shift in mechanics, scope, tone and structure. For all intents and purposes, it was a new game. As far as I can tell, PF 2.0 will not be a new game.

      Plus, let’s be real here, Paizo was only the #1 RPG during the end of 4E’s life and during 5E’s extensive play test. The minute D&D 5 came out, Paizo was supplanted.

      Streamed play sessions are going to be a huge part of RPGs going forward. To find success on streams, you really need a system that is simple enough for the uninitiated to grasp. You also need a system that avoids rules debates by being clear and concise. Currently, Pathfinder really does not satisfy either of those aspects. Based on what I heard in the podcast, they are definitely cleaning the system up to fit the above criteria.

      • Kabal1te

        Ya know on that last point I am not so sure about. I have never streamed a session and have no desire to watch one streamed. I can barely stand watching 40k streamed to learn tactics. I couldn’t imagine watching other people play an RPG when I myself could be playing, or painting models, or a dozen other more entertaining things. I get that there are people that watch such things, but I can’t help but wonder how large that commuunity really is.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          It is like sports – some people like playing, many also enjoy just watching other people play.

          The first episode of Critical Role’s second campaign currently has 1,266,314 views. This does not count the views they have on Twitch.

          So there definitely is a big audience for these live.

          The community of people who watch other people play D&D (and other RPGs) is actually quite large. It also serves as a great tool to introduce roleplaying to people who have little exposure to Role Playing. I know a lot of people who specifically started playing because they were introduced to D&D via the Acquisitions Incorporated podcasts/videos. The same is true for Critical Role, probably more so, since their viewership is so much higher.

          The videos also help introduce people to different systems. I would have never heard of Stars Without Number if not for Rollplay. Now it is one of my favorite RPGs.

          Having a system that works well on streaming is only a benefit to the company who makes the system.

  • Luca Lacchini

    Thanks, no. Paizo has burned all the bridges with the rehaul of the setting, the bland APs, and the options bloat on which thrived for the last years.
    Sorry, but I won’t fall for the same trick twice in a row.

    • Kefka

      I was very much into Pathfinder and the setting for quite a while but dropped out, what did they “rehaul” exactly?

      • Luca Lacchini

        No longer a human centric world (more playable races than in the latter days of 3rd ed, including non-evil drow*), no longer a sword&sorcery inspired theme (more a high powered kitchen sink), various changes to deities and nations to “smooth out” the grittier, debatable edges (such as Erastil or Calistria, the Hellknights).

        It’s not different, but it’s bland and uninspiring.
        APs follow pretty much the same framework of a patron for the first half that guides the party and tell them where to go and what to do, afterwards things happen no matter what. They lost the edge.

        * for those who don’t know, drow in PF must be evil to be drow. Or rather, that was the baseline established for the race in the original presentation.

        • Kefka

          Sounds like I should read up on it. Sounds a bit concerning. The Hellknights in particular were a favourite of mine.

          • Luca Lacchini

            Not recommended, unless you’re in for a nerdrage fueled rant on some internet boards.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Golarion was always a bland kitchen sink setting. It has to be, to account for the widest possible diversity of adventure locales and regions from which PCs can hail.

      Non-evil Drow has been a thing since the Drizzt novels started coming out. People want to be Drow, let them. Sure every Drow PC will pretty much be cut from the sale cloth but, eh, it is what it is.

      • Luca Lacchini

        No, and no.

        Golarion was a varied setting with a wide variety of different locales (and thus adventure possibilities), but with nation specifics and continental common elements that set it apart enough from the blandeness of true kitchen sink worlds.
        In the latest years, it has lost even those factors that helped it in some degree to stand out. It has become predictable.

        Drow were evil in their first incarnation (G and D lines of modules) and they were presented in PF as a throwback to that interpretation of the race. With a very clear statement. Being a Drow in Golarion is being inherently evil, and I won’t go further for unwanted spoilers.
        Non-evil/Good Drow are a thing from the Forgotten Realms and further on. Other settings.
        It’s the kind of cross-pollination that impoverishes something instead of enriching it, as it takes away character and makes it standardized.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          I have to disagree with you. Golarion is a pretty generic kitchen sink setting, complete with Egypt-land, Africa-land, Viking-land, China-land, etc.

          Drow were evil in D&D but that shifted over time. I don’t see why it bothers you so much that players want to play a fun and interesting race.

          The Drow change may feel generic but that perfectly fits in a Kitchen Sink world.

          Having said that, Golarion does have a few gems that do stand out in an otherwise crowded market. Most especially, Cheliax. Really love that place.

          You mentioned the Hellknights were changing. What did you mean by that?

  • Rob brown

    I’m really fascinated by the general antipathy towards Pathfinder. After playing it for 10 years, our group did a wholesale shift towards D&D. I’m really not sure what would convince me to go back to Paizo.

    I gave starfinder a whirl briefly because i was hoping it would effectively be a good alternative system for Dark Heresy and I actually found it very bland. So if Pathfinder 2 takes the same cues then I’m not hopeful. I agree with those that say it will backfire. After all how can they avoid going back over the same ground?

    On the flip side going over old ground and reinventing it is what 5e is all about and they’re doing an amazing time doing it. My gut feeling is that Paizo should go back to writing amazing adventures with 5e rules.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      D&D has had 5 editions over 30 years. You can only pile things on top of a system for so long before you need to start over.

  • Pathfinder became everything I diidn’t like about D&D 3.5 and then cranked to 11. So I’ll pass and stick with current D&D.

    • Kabal1te

      Became? For me pathfinder started off that way day one

      • Yeah when I use the word became I mean when it was created. It, the product, became that. I gave it a fair shake but it just really was not something I enjoyed.

    • tridus

      That was the point. Pathfinder was literally created for D&D 3.5 fans that wanted a compatible but still supported system. It explicitly catered to that.

      If you didn’t like 3.5 in the first place, you weren’t the target market.

      • There were a lot of things I liked about 3.5. I played it twice a week for years. There were things that I didn’t like about it as well. Mainly the spreadsheeting and the gamey game powergaming that it encouraged, and I think pathfinder took those elements and amplified them.

  • Xodis

    Wow, I wonder how butthurt the FB pages are after years of screaming that “PF will never release a new edition because it would be a slap in the face to everyone who supported them when D&D did it!”

    I’m sure its OK that PF is doing it though…because reasons.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Every game needs new editions.

      PF 1.0 lasted for 10 years. That is more than enough time to get your money’s worth out of the system.

      • Xodis

        I totally agree, but its no secret that PF only exists due to D&D switching to 4e and the hate it received (which isnt as bad as it was made out to be) coupled with the hundred and hundreds of dollars in 3e books that suddenly become “worthless” on a “dead” edition, blah blah blah… PF was born due to people not wanting to switch editions.

        I was a pretty avid PF gamer for awhile because my group didnt enjoy 4e, but during my time in the big FB groups the mentioning of this was absurd and as we can now see in the PF forums, a vocal group is already talking about betrayal.

        I cant tell if this will be a good or bad thing for the company and I have no dog in the fight (I pretty much stick to FFG RPGS), but I can easily see this as not working out well.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          I always found it funny how people were upset about their 3.x books being dead and being ecstatic that Pathfinder let them continue t ouse their 3.x books.

          A few years into Pathfinder’s life, it was a real struggle to find DMs that would allow you to use 3.x stuff in a Pathfinder game.

          Change is hard but if the game is good, people will adapt.

          • Xodis

            Again I agree, but Im someone who is more dedicated to playing any game, then playing a specific game. I have my favorites like everyone, but Ill play a bad game that everyone wants to play before I play a good game that no one wants to play.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Totally agree. I care more about people than I do systems. Unless I really loathe the system.

        • tridus

          Probably a good thing for the company. PF product sales are trending down because after 10 years of releases, people have enough material and don’t need more, or literally can’t handle more because of how bloated stuff like feat lists are now. More is not always better.

          Just doing more of that isn’t a path for success, because at this point what else can they really add? That’s why we get new editions, at the end of the day.

          Plus they can tweak some stuff, improve game flow, make some of the math less complicated, and so on.

          It makes sense, if done correctly. I mean, D&D has done it several times and 4e is the only one that didn’t work out for them, which had more to do with 4e itself than refusal to change systems. Look at how well 5e is doing.

          • Xodis

            According to PFs latest information, all of their previously released material should be easily able to work with little conversions or swapping a rule here and there, so their product sales might not see that big of an increase seeing as they have covered so much material there is little left to cover without retreading old ground.

            Remember though they already tried the “small changes” book with Pathfinder Unchained where they fixed and streamlined some classes. Still didnt work out that well for them. Honestly I cant see PF2 being much different than Starfinder which isnt that much different than PFUnchained’s changes.

          • af

            Tridus: yes, that’s precisely why new editions are born. I totally understand the publisher, too: they must keep churning out stuff, after all they must keep selling stuff to stay in business.

            I don’t understand why *gamers* put up with this. Oh, with miniature wargaming it’s a bit more understandable: you want the cool new minis. It happens a lot, and not only with GW: I follow the SAGA forums and they recently announced v2.0, incompatible with the previous one, and people are already raging (SAGA is a wonderful game which didn’t need a new edition; but see above).

            But role playing!? I’ll never understand this. You don’t need physical gadgets to play a RPG. You just need the core rules and your imagination. Maybe read some books for inspiration. *Maybe* use a pre-made campaign if you’re a novice GM and creativity isn’t your strong suit. But endless addons, modules and new versions of the rules? I understand how they benefit Paizo and WotC, but the gamers?

    • tridus

      There’s a lot of that, actually. People are weary and grouchy. We’ll see how it goes.

  • Monkeybrains

    This is neat and I’m excited to see the new rules, but I won’t be changing over anytime soon, got a stack of PFRPG books I still haven’t incorporated the rules from into a game yet, will probably be several years before I get bored enough to switch

  • Carney3

    I grew up with D&D, and like 3.5 and Pathfinder, but I remain a fan of GURPS above all.