Hello, and welcome to a special review of Pathfinder Second Edition. With most of the Know Direction team at Gen Con 2019, gluttonously consuming second edition in all its glory, most of our blogs are on hiatus. I, Randal, writer of Groundbreaking and Terraforming, am here to fill that void with a chapter by chapter review of the new core rulebook. This review is intended to simply be my take on the material as I read it, as first thoughts and impressions, and not a hard comparison of changes from first edition.
For a section of the book that is going to get a lot (and I do mean a LOT), I think it hit all the marks it needed to. Each condition is thorough enough that I didn’t reread a single one (but I will be rereading them soon to memorize them). The sidebars, yet again, were great choices that helped to elaborate on some topics that were complex and bound to bump into each other, such as the Redundant Conditions sidebar.
What? Why? I mean, I think they sorta match the color scheme of the rest of the book, kinda? Not only is it hard for me to read, but I would never do that to my printer. Good thing they immediately released “printer friendly” versions … although, the number of people creating custom sheets is ever growing.
Glossary and Index
Unlike the conditions section, which was super easy to read, the glossary and index was a dry, boring read. It was literally just lists of words and page numbers! Unlike the rest of the book (that was good about repeating info where needed) I was constantly referencing other pages while reading the glossary and index!!! Ok, you got me, J/K. As far as I can tell, this is a very exhaustive list of terms for easy referencing (and includes a number of descriptions/definitions as well). Truth be told, the idea of this entire series of blogs started with me making the joke about how dry a read the index was.
I admit I have been a bit of a Pathfinder fanboy for years, I mean, I have blogs where I write custom material for it! That said, I liked what I saw in the lead up to the Playtest, and was eager to try it. The rapid changes to the Playtest based on our feedback gave me great hope that 2e was going to be everything they claimed. I stopped playing 1e when the Playtest released, I was so certain I would switch. Once the Playtest wrapped, I was sold, and being between campaigns anyway, we started playing Starfinder in the gap so that I could forget the Playtest rules and have a fresh brain for 2e.
I am in love with the new system. The content flowed well, and I enjoyed reading every chapter. The proficiency system is simple, clean, and provides a solid backbone. 3 action plus 1 reaction system is a massive improvement over 1e. While I still dislike how the class feats are siloed, I love the way archetypes and multi classing turned out. I look forward to running and playing gestalt characters (which in my mind simply receive an extra feat every even level to take multi class archetype feats). The heightening of spells is one of my favorite changes, and I am already fond of the four magic traditions. Standing on the shoulders of 10 years of evolution from DnD, I think this version of Pathfinder is going to allow us all to take our games to the next level.
I am really looking forward to trying out all of the options and combinations that await. I want to see if a Paladin that multi classes into Sorcerer for the Shield cantrip is viable or just plain silly. I want to see if Fighter / Monk or Monk / Fighter provides more options. I want to try each class with an animal companion mount. I want to figure out which class works best with multi Wizard to make my favorite style of Magus.
I also cannot wait to start playing with the nuts and bolts of the system to create new content. The new mechanics are easy to follow and make expanding the game so much easier than in 1st edition. I already have dozens of ideas floating around for ancestries, feats, archetypes, and spells. I am going to honestly have a hard time keeping Groundbreaking 1e compatible with all of the ideas I have in mind. Especially the adventures I will be writing.
Thank you for coming along with me for this review. Please join me on our Discord to discuss all your favorite bits! https://discord.gg/Rt79BAj