Guidance — Alex’s PaizoCon 2019 Retrospective

Hello, everyone! I was planning on writing this article last week, but doing it FROM PaizoCon proved a little bit impossible this year; I was WAY too busy. As you might have heard or even seen firsthand, this year wasn’t really a “vacation” PaizoCon for me; I worked closely with Know Direction in Cascade 13, helping Perram manage the stream so everyone couldn’t Con could feel like they were part of PaizoCon. Between that massive undertaking, I managed to get a few games of Organized Play in and even did a Pathfinder 2E delve, which was run by Paizo Developer and Know Direction blogger Luis Loza.

Before I return to doing Tian Xia kineticists and writing about design, I wanted to take some time looking back on this year’s PaizoCon, mainly from a “What’s coming from 2E Pathfineder” perspective. This is going to be a quick article because my current exposure to the new game is minimal, but I hope it’s helpful nevertheless.


A Whole New Game

The #1 Impression that I got playing Pathfinder 2E for about 30 minutes was that this polished version of the Pathfinder Playtest was actually an entirely different game. Yeah, sure, the 3-Action Economy was still there as was the (in my opinion) over reliance on the word “feat”, but from a game mechanics perspective much of the game was entirely new and different. When I sat down at Luis’s Pathfinder 2E delve with Perram, I very intentionally picked the pregen Champion (formerly the paladin), Seelah. I played pregen Seelah in the Pathfinder Playtest delve the year before and the first character I built for the Level 1 area of our Doomsday Dawn actual play was  also a paladin. Even a year ago, I knew I wanted to be able to compare the Playtest Paladin to the final product, Pathfinder 2E’s Champion.

The Playtest Paladin was something of a hot mess. Lay on hands wasn’t useful in combat unless you burned a specific 1st-level class feat on it, as it provoked an attack of opportunity and healed for a measly d4 Hit Points. The Champion paladin got around this by having a ridiculously powerful human feat that let her pick an extra class feat, which gave her an additional paladin power. The net result was that when I made my elf paladin for Doomsplay, I basically had good Lay on Hands and that’s it. It was very not-fun to play, and I personally complained about both in the survey.

Based on what I saw in 2E, that “really annoying feat” seems to have been made completely baseline for the champion, or at least the paladin and the redeemer; I haven’t seen what the liberator looks like, but the paladin definitely has the feat rolled in and I’ve seen Sara Marie use the redeemer’s lay on hands to similar effect in the Oblivion Oath actual play podcast. This is great, as it freed up Seelah to take a paladin feat that gave her a cleric domain. The domain power she had was INCREDIBLE; basically, she could use it as 1-Action to Stride, Climb, or Swim normally AND get an extra 10-foot movement speed to all such actions she could take that round. It cost 1 focus point and Seelah only had one, so I had to choose between that power and lay on hands each time, but seeing as Oblivion Oath has shown us that you get your focus point back with 10 minutes of rest, and suddenly both powers seem SUPER useful. I’m notorious for hording powers with limited daily uses, so I LOVED seeing a mechanic that was like, “Nah, you can have this back man.”

Along similar lines, Seelah didn’t have a human feat that gave her an extra class feat, so I’m assuming that means that option is GONE. Which is awesome. The extra human class feat was a problem because not only did it ensure that human was always optimal for builds (imagine if humans were the only ones who could take the “Extra” class feature feats in PF1), it also forced classes that wouldn’t normally have 1st level class feats to have a couple in case you were a jerk human who just HAD to take that ancestry feat at 1st level. And of course you did, it was BROKENLY good. I’m not really sure what Seelah had instead of that, but I was relieved to see the problem gone.


A Brisk Pace of New Content

At the PaizoCon 2019 Preview Banquet, we got a good taste of what to expect from the World Guide product line going forward, and it left me feeling fairly optimistic going forward with the new edition. The World Guide line is basically a Campaign Setting Guide supplemented with a Player Companion or two, and occupies all four of those product slots for any given month. From a business standpoint, I assume that Paizo is doing this because Barnes and Noble won’t stock the flimsy 32-page Player Companions (I’ve never seen a Player Companion OR a Campaign Setting Guide in my Barnes and Noble, personally). From a consumer standpoint, this saves subscribers of both lines some money while also giving us a deeper look at various topics. The World Guides announced seemed very broad in scope to me; there’s a Character Guide for the Lost Omens Campaign Setting, a general dossier on the Lost Omens Campaign Setting, and a book on the Gods and on Magic. Currently, it seems like my predictions weren’t all correct, seeing as between August and January we’re only going to see three new ancestries (Hobgoblin, Leshy, and Lizardfolk). This doesn’t seem like enough to me, personally, so I hope Paizo finds places to hurry up and do more soon!

PaizoCon 2019 also saw the announcement of the GameMastery Guide, surprising no one. It’ll be interesting to see what sort of content they put in the new GMG, seeing as some of its ideas from 1st Edition became staples in adventures (looking specifically at haunts). We know this book will have dueling rules, but beyond some very minor content drops we don’t know much, and we don’t know what to expect in the Core Rules line beyond this book in 2019. I’m expecting to hear about more releases at GenCon, personally.


Overall Impressions

Currently, I’m feeling pretty great at Pathfinder 2E. What I saw of the game at PaizoCon leaves me to believe that this is going to be a game worth trying out, and that there’s a lot of lessons learned from community feedback there. This is sort of a difficult conclusion for me to pass onto you, my readers, since as a part-time freelancer a portion of my livelihood is invested in Paizo’s success, but I truly think that Pathfinder 2E has all the trappings of a great game. Will it be better than your 1st Edition Game? Hard to say from a 30-minute delve and a 30-minute banquet presentation, but I’ve got my fingers crossed! Heck, if high-level play works then that’s already a feather in this game’s cap, no?

Thanks for listening to me ramble, and I’ll see you guys next week for more of the content you love. I think I’m going to do either a tengu kineticist or a samsaran kineticist. Got an opinion on which one I do next? Tell me about it on the Know Direction Discord, @Alex Augunas, the Everyman Gamer! Take care!

Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder and Starfinder Roleplaying Games, owns Everyman Gaming LLC, and cohosts Know Direction: Beyond with James Ballod and Jefferson “Perram” Thacker. You can keep up with Alex’s exploits on the Know Direction Discord or at his Twitter, @AIJAug.

 

Alex Augunas

Alexander Augunas lives outside of Philadelphia, USA where he tries to make a living as an educator. When he's not shaping the future leaders of tomorrow, Alex is a freelance writer for esteemed Pathfinder Roleplaying Game publishers such as Paizo, Inc, Radiance House, Raging Swan Press, and more, and also acts as a co-host and blogger on the Know Direction Network, where he has earned the nickname, "The Everyman Gamer." Recently, Alex has forayed into the realm of self-publishing through his company, Everyman Gaming, LLC.

PaizoCon 2019 Preview Banquet

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