PaizoCon Celebrates Pathfinder, Starfinder and All Things Paizo
Celebration of all things Paizo
Pathfinder and Starfinder are the stars of the show for PaizoCon 2018. The annual convention first started in 2008 is a chance for fans to gather and play games together, attend seminars and workshops, meet and interact with each other and Paizo staff.
PaizoCon from the Paizo press release:
REDMOND, WASHINGTON (May 5, 2018): Join Paizo staff, authors, artists, and more for a weekend of gaming and camaraderie! The Pathfinder Playtest doesn’t release until August, but attendees at PaizoCon will get a chance to see the evolution of Pathfinder in action. They can also playtest the updated Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. The convention runs May 25-28 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels in Seattle, Washington.
Win the Lottery! Attendees should prioritize signing up for the event lottery at PaizoCon.com, which allows hundreds of fans to get an equal chance at claiming a coveted spot at events. The opportunity for attendees to rank their event preferences ends on Tuesday, May 8 at 2:00 pm PST.
PaizoCon events include the Preview Banquet, panels, seminars, workshops, and exclusive gaming events. There will be organized play sessions for Starfinder Society, Pathfinder Society, and the Adventure Card Guild. Paizo staff, game industry veterans, and fans will run open gaming. Special Guests include artist Taylor Fischer, who will host panels on designing aliens and monsters, and the Glass Cannon Podcast, who have promised events and shenanigans all weekend long.
4-Day Badges are $75, Preview Banquet tickets are $35 and purchasing them together gives attendees a $10 discount. There are Kids Badges for children ten years old and younger. Single Day Badges will be available in person at the PaizoCon convention store and are priced at $25 for adults and $15 for kids.
Fans can learn more and register at paizocon.com.
With all the buzz surrounding Pathfinder Second Edition, here’s a closer look at the system’s roots.
Looking for a change to familiar rules
Imagine you’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 for a while and you’re not enjoying the new fifth edition. Looking back at D&D 3.5 there seems to be a gap not filled, a few mechanics not how you need them to be. Don’t worry, there’s a solution for that. Many writers at the time when Wizards of the Coast announced Fourth Edition D&D thought the same thing and joined the team at Paizo to create a giant known as Pathfinder. Given that Pathfinder is about to go into playtesting for it’s Second Edition, this seemed like an apt time to go back and look at the giant before it settles down for some much-deserved rest. For those veterans looking for something familiar or a new comer looking for a game that has more mechanics than 5E I present to you: Pathfinder.
Starting with the basics
Looking at the core book you start off the same way you do with D&D 3.5. Paizo has given you the standard dice rolling, 4d6 drop your lowest die etc, or the options of point buy and stat array. You get to the race section and its familiar friends. Elf, dwarf, human, gnome, halfling, half-elf, and half-orc. This section gives you a little blurb on the race, its society, how it acts and its general lifestyle and opinions on things. At the bottom you’ll find all the abilities and stat modifiers for the race. Easy as pie.
Next, we go on to Chapter 3 and classes. All these should be familiar to veteran players and inexperienced players alike. You have barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, and wizard. These classes have become a staple to many games now.
Yes, I know some of you are yelling at the screen, “That’s not all of them!” You’d be right, however again, basics. With each of the classes you’ll see some new abilities and a few tweaks. Don’t be alarmed, it’s all well-written and straight forward. From there it’s skills, which will take a bit more reading for those more familiar with D&D 5E. Pathfinder puts a lot of work into skills to make them very versatile and keep them from being used in the wrong way.
After that is feats. Paizo took a lot of time to carefully develop the feats here. Unlike D&D 5E, where feats are few and just give some minor tweaks, in Pathfinder they define the character. This is where you chain things together to make a unique and versatile character as well as try to gain advantage in combat. The next few chapters are basically gearing out your character, followed by additional rules, mechanics, and introductions into the combat and magic system.
Following that is a unique section. Most games don’t include in the core book a section to run the game. However, Paizo did. Pathfinder comes with a section on how to run the game, what you can find in different environments, creating NPCs, magic items, and some appendices to help you start building a story.
If this seems intimidating for just one book you can look at the Beginner Box. It comes with a basic copy of rules for player and Game Master, premade characters, an adventure, the maps you need for it and cardboard miniatures. Plus, a set of dice. Everyone needs dice. From here you can step into Pathfinders Game Master’s book and first Bestiary. These would be the first step in your Pathfinder collection. Collection will make more sense as I keep explaining things.
Going up a few levels
Now that you’ve decided that Pathfinder is enjoyable, and you want to go a bit farther, you’ve can start looking at what other books there are available. Pathfinder has a significant library of books for your game, so I recommend you break down what you’re looking for before you go bankrupt trying to buy them all at once. If you’re looking for new classes and ways to enhance your character there are books such as the Advanced Class Guide, Advanced Players Guide, Ultimate Combat, and Ultimate Magic to name a few. I would name more but that will eat up a lot of room. Alternatively if you’re looking for a larger menagerie of monsters Pathfinder as a collection six Bestiaries as well as a Monster Codex. There are also books to help you run your game and expand your Pathfinder world like the Inner Sea Primer, NPC Codex, Ultimate Campaign, and Villains Codex for just a few examples.
Some accessories to help you out
Some of these can be used with any game system and others are specific to Pathfinder, but they are all helpful. The first thing I recommend picking up as a player and a GM is Hero Lab, a program for computer or mobile that will let you purchase source book content and load it in one place to allow you to more fluidly build characters, encounters, and manage game play.
You can link characters from this program into the next item, Realm Works. Normally if it were any other system I would recommend World Anvil except Realm Works is built to pair with Hero Lab, so it works smoother here. I still strongly recommend checking out World Anvil though, it is a fantastic resource. From there, I would strongly recommend a battlemat of some form. Chessex, Gale Force 9, and Table Top are a few options for these. The Pathfinder GM screen is also helpful and has a wide selection of handy charts on it.
There are multiple adventure paths to choose from if you are nervous about writing your own, from the classics of King Maker and Rise of the Runelords to Against the Giants and the Iron Mask. Also dice, you can never have too many dice. If you want to spice things up a bit Paizo has also made a critical hits and critical fumble deck of cards to make those epic moments, whether good or devastating that little bit more interesting.
What to take away
Pathfinder is very much a crunchy, vast, mechanical system. There’s all kinds of features to explore and endless combinations of classes, prestige classes, feats, spells and abilities. A considerable number of the books are now in pocket form and less expensive than their predecessor. Also, Paizo has made Pathfinder available in PDF at a lower cost. If you go for the more nostalgic feel of the printed books, I highly recommend investing in strong durable book cases. I know my Pathfinder collection has caused me to re-evaluate how much I’m willing to spend on a book case. Folks, if you want a game a bit crunchier, or something with a large scope, I highly recommend looking into Pathfinder.
Coming over the horizon
As most people know, Paizo, has annouced Pathfinder Second Edition, so a lot of the above information will see new life. You will see a new race join the team with the goblin as a core playable race. Also, they welcome the alchemist as a core class. These changes are heralding new changes to the class trees as well. Each of the classes will now get more customized feats and abilities that you have options to choose. Proficiencies will get an overhaul as well, moving into a new tier system. The system will start as common, expert, master and legendary giving various bonuses. The weapons will receive new categorizations and abilities to accompany your skill with them. Overall there will be some big changes to the giant. If you want to look at the outline of some of these coming changes there is some listed over at the Playtest site. At the time of writing this, the Paizo Pre-orders have closed for the new content however you can still get the PDF’s from when they launch from the Paizo site.
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