What Pathfinder is about ?

 

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After posting the prologue/epilogue news, I’ve received several people You can’t think of Pathfinder the same way you think of your other boardgames. It’s not a box of stored pieces, stored in some neutral pre-game state of tabula rasa until your next session. Playing means changing the way the cards are organized as characters earn new equipment, allies, and powers. Eventually, you’re supposed to buy new add-ons and shuffle into the box more monsters, more weapons, more spells, more traps.

You draw from these to set up your adventure. And even further down the line, you’ll cull the weaker cards from the collection. At any given time, your adventure has a level number which affects certain cards. A copy of Pathfinder is a persistent and evolving entity, similar to the way a copy of Risk Legacy changes, the way it becomes different from anyone else’s copy of Risk Legacy.

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The most significant part of the box is the sets of cards each character has accumulated. My sorceress had a formidable frost ray, a toad familiar, and a pair of wands. My monk had a grand set of carefully tailored blessings. My druid’s holy light and inflict spells mean he packs a divine punch. You even mark up the character cards to mark their progress by upgrading powers and stats. When they die, well… I hope you used a pencil to mark up your cards.

It’s a cooperative game, but it feels different from the usual co-operative game, where everyone races a clock or holds back some sort of onslaught. The basic structure is that you’re searching through piles of cards, each representing a location with unique properties. You’re trying to find the main villain shuffled somewhere into one of those piles. Is he in the Woods? On the Waterfront? Could he be in the Academy? But it’s not enough to find him. You have to corner him to set up the kill, which is a matter of card management. Mechanically, Pathfinder is a smart system with unique dramatic tension.

Everyone wants to beat the main bad guy to earn the scenario’s reward, but there’s something far more important at stake: you benefit personally from treasure you find.

So Pathfinder is only as co-operative as any tabletop RPG or any need or greed roll in an MMO. Furthermore, the threat of death, which is mostly manageable, is a matter of how boldly you want to play the odds. When you die, it’s your fault. My sorceress never should have been fighting when she was that weak. I pushed too hard getting my monk ready for fighting and didn’t think to expect a magical trap. I should have just walked away and tried again later. Because Pathfinder is first about personal gain and second about vanquishing evil, which can wait. You’re mainly here for the loot so your character will be more powerful for the next adventure, which will have even greater rewards. You’re playing Pathfinder for much longer than just tonight’s boardgame night.

Unfortunately, that’s also how Pathfinder is sold. This box is clearly labeled “base set”, and it’s not lying. It’s missing a lot of gameplay. You can get through the included adventures in a few nights, at which point you’re hanging fire for the next set of monthly cards. Many of the traits on these different cards might as well be flavor text. Oh, sure, I love when I have holy water in my hand and I come across something with the undead trait. But that’s so rare. This is a box full of useless cards and cards with useless stats. For instance, most of the particulars of damage type are mostly irrelevant. So what if zombies are immune to poison and mental damage? So what if fire damage is boosted at that one location? Pathfinder’s base set is full of empty sockets.

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Conversely, there are plenty of gameplay plugs and nowhere to put them. Why would I bother toting around a potion to help with a survival check when I can count on one hand the number of survival checks I’ve had to make? Oh, hey, these awesome subclass cards for each character sure do look cool! Will your bard become a virtuoso or a charlatan? Hold that thought for a few months of play …

Furthermore, the strength of the system — persistent characters carried over between games — means Pathfinder won’t work for a lot of boardgaming groups. Because it’s a set you’re supposed to arrange and mark up based on your various play sessions, there is no provision for adapting this box to the usual vagaries of tabletop gaming. That said, I like the game so much that I have the 3 first boxes that came out, with all the adventures + playmats + character addons decks that are out there. I am waiting to complete those before jumping into the last released set that was released recently.

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

The PaizoCon 2015 is just behind us ! It took place during the Memorial Day in the US. It is the eighth PaizoCon since its inception and, for the first time at four days in length in a new larger venue. That said, the best thing about PaizoCon is that it’s a relatively small convention where you get to spend time interacting with the staff and game creators.

Some events, such as gaming sessions with Paizo staff as game masters, are in high demand, but have limited seating, so these events are distributed via lottery. There was also first-come-first-served system on the Paizo website. There are numerous unscheduled events like the a Reaper Miniatures Paint ‘n’ Take where participants paint and keep a free miniature, a Pathfinder Online MMO demo room, Dungeon Delve mini roleplaying adventures, and of course the Paizo store where you can meet industry artists, authors, and third party vendors as well as purchase merchandise.

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What I was particularly interested in is the brand new products of Wrath of the Righteous that kicks off the new season of Organized Play for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game from Paizo Publishing.

The new Wrath of the Righteous box is a new core box game, being able to be played all on its own without having to own other Pathfinder Adventure Card Game sets. The set comes with over 500 cards of all types, from boons to monsters and let’s not forget the barriers. It also has seven character classes, several of them are brand new (arcanist, summoner, inquisitor, cavalier).

In this season, players will battle against all manner of demons and cultists as they work to close the demonic and hellish Worldwound. The demon lord Deskari will stop at nothing to take over the world and only the players are there to stop him and his seemingly endless tide of minions. An example of the Fiendish Minotaur henchmen here below.

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Wrath of the Righteous starts easier than the other Pathfinder Adventure card games but quickly gets tough. It is designed with the same six-part adventure in mind. The game comes with the first part of the adventure and additional packs can be purchased as they are released. The game feels like a high-level quest with a path for heroic characters doing amazing deeds and pursuing mythic adventures.

For fans of the Pathfinder card game, Wrath of the Righteous delivers more of the same gaming goodness but with enough additional features to keep things extremely interesting. For fans of the roleplaying game, it is fun to play through the same adventure in a different capacity as a card game.

PACG: Characters Class

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Some of you are new to Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (or PACG in short) or to the gaming world overall; so to help you out here is a short article explaining you the types of Characters Class you can pick up in this game. You’ll find the detailed templates on the paizo website (single download file) if you want to dig in and have a further look at all characters.

If you’re getting hooked up into PACG, a nice additional buy for your sessions are those characters mini-playmats that really comes hand to keep your table nice and tight without having many cards flying around. We use them and I would highly recommend it.84288_409492A_SS_Paizo_7Pk_2

PACG: Custom Base Decks

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Together with our core team of adventurers (Cindy, David, Filip, PG), we’re just making our way out of the introduction campaign called “Perils Of Lost Coast” of the Rise Of The Runelords base-set from Paizo. We quickly realized that the suggested decks in the rulebook are not the most optimal. Should we built custom started decks for our characters before we start the Burnt Offerings campaign ?

Alright, it’s a long question but I found actually an interesting answer from Boris Dvorkin on a BGG forum post back in November 2014. Find a full  reworked summary of his input on this article page.