Posted by: NiTessine | August 15, 2008

Pathfinder RPG Beta Is Out!

Yesterday, Paizo released the beta playtest edition of their Pathfinder RPG. You can either download it for free or buy the softcover edition. The download also comes with a sixty-page web enhancement with about 100 spells and 80 magic items that they couldn’t fit in the rulebook. Which has 410 pages.

I haven’t yet had more than a cursory glance through the rules, but they look good. Only slight changes from the Alpha Edition, it seems, which would indicate they’re getting it right – no drastic changes needed. I can’t wait for the final version.

There has been dismay expressed in certain circles that the Pathfinder rules are not, in fact, a sublime, intricate, elegant system that takes their consciousness to a higher level of existence.

It’s still in playtest, people. Give it time.

Seriously, though, the rules aren’t the main draw event here. The rules are good, though, make no mistake. They’re far better than the 3.5 system, too.

The main draw here, the reason I will most likely switch over to Pathfinder RPG once the final rules come out, is that Paizo Publishing is currently releasing consistently the best, most inspired, and coolest fantasy RPG material out there. Classic Monsters Revisited, Burnt Offerings, Seven Days to the Grave, The Skinsaw Murders, The Hook Mountain Massacre, Pathfinder Campaign Setting... their product catalogue is just oozing awesome.

This is not to say that other companies, like Green Ronin, White Wolf or Mongoose Publishing, aren’t releasing good stuff – they are. I love Freeport to bits, Exalted rocks and Conan is mighty. Paizo is just releasing more.

Really, if the rules are the main thing in a game for you, you’re looking in the wrong place. In fact, I’ve got just the game for you…

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Responses

  1. One big reason for me to switch to a system is the availability of open source tools for it. As soon as PCGen provides that support, the system becomes an option for my group.

  2. Mmf. Seems they’ve already released a number of data sets for different Pathfinder supplements. Looking good on that front.

    Any word on whether they intend to support the beta or wait for the final rules?

  3. @NITessine: I downloaded PCGen’s last stable release just now to verify what datasheets they have included in it. For Paizo, they have the Pathfinder Chronicles: Rise of the Runelords which as far as I know uses D&D 3.5. There was it, there was nothing for the Pathfinder system. I think the situation may change once the system gets out of beta.

  4. Yeah, at the moment there is nothing out except for the beta that actually uses the Pathfinder rules.

    Were I them, I’d probably wait until the game is actually out.

  5. @Cole: PCGen will support Pathfinder RPG. I am currently working on the implementation. However, it will need more than just a data set, PCGen code itself will also need new functionality which is right now in a state of feature request finalization, and will soon go to implementation. Look for it in one of the upcoming 5.15 alpha versions, or in 5.16 when it’s released.

    We have also just recently released out of cycle data sets for several more Pathfinder Adventure Path issues, which you can get here: https://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=25576

  6. “There has been dismay expressed in certain circles that the Pathfinder rules are not, in fact, a sublime, intricate, elegant system that takes their consciousness to a higher level of existence.”

    That’s a pretty skewed way to say it. The version I see on boards is that Pathfinder doesn’t seem to actually be in any noticeable way _better_ than regular 3.5, just _different_, with a big bunch of changes whose purpose is left unclear at best.

  7. If it’s not better in any noticeable way, you’re just not looking.

    The place it’s most obvious is the skills. With the elimination of skill synergies, Diplomacy no longer breaks down by level five, and they’ve taken from 4E the one single thing it did well, and conflated Spot and Listen into Perception, Hide and Move Silently into Stealth, and Concentration into Spellcraft. Also, Forgery is now just another Craft skill.

    Also, sorcerers are interesting straight out of the rulebook, and Combat Reflexes and Power Attack are less math-intensive. Grapple was fixed as well.

    The power-up given to the classes and the game’s balance may be subject to debate, but there are definite improvements in there.


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