Hey all, Sam and David here.
Okay, so we had purchased the Pathfinder Second Edition Core Rulebook at Gen Con a couple years ago, when it had come out of playtesting and was available in hardcover. But it just sat on our shelves, waiting for us to pick it up and try it out, ever since. The group we had been playing with seemed perfectly happy with playing D&D 5E. There’s nothing wrong with 5E, but we generally like to explore other systems as well.
At the beginning of the year, there was that whole OGL debacle with Wizards of the Coast and people were flocking to other gaming systems…like PF2E. And Sam decided that it was a good time to pick up the Beginner Box. This was also the time that our D&D group (the ones perfectly happy with D&D 5E) decided they didn’t want to play with us anymore and kicked us out of the group.
We’ve been wanting to try out the Beginner Box and review it ever since…and we’ve finally managed to figure out our schedules enough with a few new friends to be able to play. And we’ll be doing our first session tomorrow.
So…we figured we would spread out our thoughts on Pathfinder 2E (PF2E) over a few different posts. Last week we all got together to make out characters, so today we’re going to focus on that. Let’s go ahead and get started.
- Take the first step into an amazing world of fantasy adventure!
- The Pathfinder Beginner Box contains everything you need to learn how to play the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
- Will you be a courageous fighter, charging headfirst into battle, or a sly rogue, moving quietly to strike at foes from the shadows?
- Maybe you will be a knowledgeable wizard, wielding incredible arcane spells or a wise and pious cleric, using the power of your deity to shape the world for the better. It is all up to you!
- The Pathfinder Beginner Box includes an 80-page Hero’s Handbook, including rules for character generation, a solo adventure, skills, spells, and equipment.
- A 96-page Game Master’s Handbook, containing an introductory adventure, over 20 pages of monsters, rules for building your own adventure, and magic items.
Okay, the Beginner Box does include four pre-built characters: a fighter, a wizard, a rogue, and a cleric. And honestly, the sheets in the Beginner Box are pretty cool, but they’re also simplified from the actual 2E sheets. They have included the pre-built character sheets as well as a few blank ones, and the game instructions actually recommend sitting down and building a character, even if you choose to play with the pre-built ones. That way you have more of an understanding about how the sheet is set up and how to do everything.
Being that all of us have played TTRPGs before, including Pathfinder 1E, we decided to build our own characters anyway…using the character sheets we purchased and printed from Paizo’s web site. While the Beginner Box sheet is only a couple pages long, the actual sheet can be 8 pages long, depending on which pages you actually need.
And since we are playing with the full character sheets, and we have access to most of the books, David–our Game Master (GM) said that we could use any official rules to build our characters, which gave us all A LOT of options.
For example Tundra has decided to play a Swashbuckler, so he only needed the first four pages (two if you print front and back), because he didn’t have a need for the spellcasting pages or the pages for companion/familiar or formulas.
But for Winter and Sam, they both chose spellcasting classes that have a familiar or companion, so they need all eight sheets (four if you print front and back). Winter decided on a Witch, and Sam is playing a Druid. —What’s really fun about that is Sam’s first Pathfinder 1E character was a Druid with a companion animal too, but this one is very different.
For the moment we’re using the names Winter and Tundra for our friends. They are still deciding if they want to go by their actual names or pseudonyms online, and we respect whatever decision they make. So, we’ll let you know what names they choose, when they choose them.
Anyway, there are so many options with Pathfinder, both 1E and 2E, which makes it a bit more involved to create your character. Between all the ancestry and heritage options, the classes, and of course all of the different feats….making a unique character can be fun, even if it’s a little time consuming.
What is also really nice about Pathfinder is that pretty much all of the information is online for free. Paizo regularly shares places for you to get the information, places like Archives of Nethys. But, especially these past few months, We’ve also noticed that Paizo frequently shares 3rd party creators when they have cool ancestries or backgrounds or classes or adventures, things that aren’t official, but are really cool. We love that they seem to support other creators who use their system and world, and that’s really dope.
Overall, after deciding on ancestry and class, it didn’t take long to fill in most of the information. Both David and Sam have PF2E apps on our phones that show you what options are available for you at the level you’re creating the character, so it makes it way easier to get through all the options.
Ancestries are what was previously known as races, and honestly I like the name change because race never seemed fully appropriate. After you choose your ancestry (Human, Elf, Dwarf, etc) then you choose your Heritage, which is the specific type of folk within your ancestry–so this is where you can choose Human and then choose Half-Elf or Aasimar or Tiefling, or you can choose Elf and then choose High Elf or Wood Elf.
Your Ancestry and Heritage can determine some of your starting details, like hit points, speed, ability boosts (and flaws), size, and languages, as well as a special ability feature or feat that you start with.
Your class choice also influences your hit points, so you add your ancestry HP and your class HP plus your Constitution modifier, and that’s your HP at first level. Honestly, we like that this means you aren’t starting as a level 1 Wizard with only 7 HP. Most of the random characters we’ve built for fun end up having something like 12-20 HP at level 1, which feels pretty epic. Your class also determines your starting proficiencies with your saving throws, weapons and armor, perception, and skills.
You also choose a background—and there are a LOT of options here–but your background also gives you ability boosts, some skill proficiencies, and usually a feat or other feature. Honestly, that feels like it makes it way more relevant than the background options in D&D 5E.
From there you can choose the rest of your ability boosts—-which, by the way, how you handle ability boosts and flaws is pretty interesting if you go by the standard build, the skills that were granted from your class and background, and then your starting equipment. If you’re a spellcaster, then you’ll also need to fill out your spells…which can get a little more complicated because of how Pathfinder runs prepared spellcasters.
Okay, more details on ability boosts and flaws. If you’re going with the standard ability set up, everything starts with a +0 modifier (AKA score is 10). Each ability boost gives you a +2 to the score, which equals a +1 to the modifier…until you reach 18 as a score and then a boost only does +1 to the score. Likewise an ability flaw means a -2 to the score, which is a -1 to the modifier. A majority of the ancestries give three boosts and one flaw, although there are exceptions, like human which only gives two boosts. You can also choose the alternate score option for the ancestry, which is two boosts and no flaws.
Obviously, your GM could decide to roll a stat array, or to have you roll for stats to make things a little more varied, but starting everything at 10 (+0) makes the characters feel like they’re going to be going on the epic hero path, and that’s something we kind of like. We might change things up with future campaigns and such, but overall it’s pretty cool.
But, overall, what makes character creation so complex is the sheer amount of options you have. And as you level up, you’ll get even more ancestry feats, skill feats, class feats, and general feats…so there are so many opportunities to diversify your character. We’re really looking forward to seeing what happens with our little party.
For the breakdown on our party for this Beginner Box adventure we have…
Tundra playing P.Q. Swarthington, a Ratfolk Swashbuckler
Winter playing Kiriko, a Kitsune Witch accompanied by Asa, her fox familiar
Sam playing Verdant “Verdy” Sun Drinker, a Leshy Druid accompanied by Pango, her pangolin companion
We might also be occasionally joined by another friend, who has built an Orc Fighter, but that depends on his schedule.
After we get through this Beginner Box adventure, we’re thinking of continuing on with the Troubles in Otari mini adventures. But it should be noted that David plans to alter some of the adventure details, because he wants to set it all in his homebrew world that we’ll eventually be running a big campaign in. If all goes well then we’ll be podcasting that big homebrew campaign…and we’ll be sure to give you all the details once we get it all worked out.
Well, that’s all from us for today. Let us know if you’d like a rundown of our first session for next week’s Tabletop Tuesday, because we’d be glad to talk about it! We’d also be happy to talk more about our characters, too! So let us know what you want to hear more about. Thank you so much for stopping by, and we’ll be back soon with more geeky content.