Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pathfinder: Building Out a New Shelf

My first shelf of gaming books was GURPS. I'd had gaming books before, but I started buying GURPS books and I couldn't stop. I still have a couple dozen of them in the basement, but GURPS 4th ed. kind of sunk my interest, not because it was bad, but because I had this shelf of books I didn't want to burn...

Then I got back into the first roleplaying game I'd ever played: Dungeons & Dragons. I'd started with 1st edition, and by the time I came back, it was 3.5. This was a new take on D&D and it had some interesting cohesion that drew one in and made buying dozens of books appealing. This I then did...

But they too introduced a 4th edition and sent me on my way, not wanting to burn several shelves of books.

And then there was Pathfinder. The I've told the story before, so I won't do it again, but what I would like to do is talk about the new shelf. First off, Paizo offers a very attractive deal on subscriptions. You buy a subscription to one of their product lines and you get each hard-copy book along with a downloadable PDF. You can also buy their books on Amazon, but don't expect that they're getting a fair cut from the big A.

So, here's how I recommend going about building a shelf for both the campaign world (Pathfinder Chronicles and the world of Golarion) and the core game itself:

Now you have a shelf. There are other things you can pick up, especially if you're interested in the Pathfinder Society organized gaming, but that's a whole other ball of wax.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pathfinder: On Golarion's Roads

I'm going to be running a new tabletop RPG campaign in 2011 titled, "On Golarion's Roads," using the Pathfinder RPG rules, which are widely referred to as "D&D 3.75."

The game is loosely based on The Wizard of Oz, with the PCs playing the part of Dorothy. The metaphor stops pretty early on, however, as there's no wicked witch or lollipop guild. Instead, the players will be sucked over from Earth and immediately dropped into the chaos of every day life in a world where magic and monsters are as common as fruit carts. The primary plot revolves around the attempt to return home, though presumably the characters will come to question this goal as they become more entrenched in Golarion.

One experiment I'm trying is the creation of my own Player's Guide. The guide for this game can be found at along with all of the usual information on what books to get or Web resources to use. The Player's Guide was a real challenge, mostly because of the complexity of introducing the characters as level 1 NPC classes and then "upgrading" them to PC classes after the fact. Lots of decisions had to be made about traits, attributes and so forth, all of which assume the character grew up on Golarion and has always been the "heroic" type. I hope that this guide might actually end up being a useful resource to others who seek to implant characters from other worlds into Golarion, in the future.

Pathfinder and mktreasure

mktreasure, my random treasure generation for d20/3.5 Dungeons & Dragons is getting a makeover. I'm working on a new version that will handle Pathfinder. So far, the Pathfinder RPG SRD rules are pretty much the same as the regular d20 SRD. There are a few things that vary like all of the various energy resistance items are actually just "energy resistance" now rather than "fire" and "sonic" and so on. Also, there are many more types of armor (quilted, rosewood, etc.) than in the basic d20 rules. I'll fold all of that in and get a version that can crank out pure Pathfinder SRD treasure, but until then you can keep using the existing version which is fairly compatible. Just throw out anything that doesn't look right.

If you don't know mktreasure, the d20 SRD lays out the rules for generating random treasure hordes. At first it looks like just a series of tables, but it gets fairly complex, and there are some difficult edge cases that I had to solve for. In the end, it took several weeks of trying things out, checking against the rules, tweeking, and pulling my hair out over typos an inconsistencies. The end result? Here's a sample for a level 10 treasure horde:

coin: 0pp 1,196gp 0sp 0cp (1,196gp value)
gem: tiger eye turquoise (10gp)
gem: freshwater (irregular) pearl (9gp)
gem: obsidian (8gp)
gem: lapis lazuli (7gp)
gem: citrine (60gp)
ring of chameleon power (12,700gp)
divine scroll containing:
 1. tree shape (lvl 2, cast 3) (150gp) (150gp value)
protection from arrows 10/magic (potion) (300gp)