Pathfinder Second Edition Kicks Off August 2

Pathfinder Second Edition Kicks Off August 2

A decade after the launch of the Pathfinder tabletop game, publishing company Paizo has announced that an open playtest for the second edition of Pathfinder will kick off internationally from August 2.

In an announcement through YouTube and the official site, Paizo indicated that the upcoming edition would introduce 10th level spells, streamline proficiencies and actions, introduce goblins as playable characters, rebalance magic items, add a new form of initiative, and changes to feats and races.

On a practical level, the changes to actions are probably one of the biggest changes. In a FAQ, Paizo explained that the current action types had been replaced with the option for three actions and a single reaction each round:

Beyond the narrative, there are many things that have changed, but mostly in the details of how the game works. You still pick a race, even though it is now called your ancestry. You still decide on your class—the rulebook includes all of the core classes from the First Edition Core Rulebook, plus the alchemist. You still select feats, but these now come from a greater variety of sources, such as your ancestry, your class, and your skills.

Where the changes really shine through is in how the game is played. Gone are the confusing action types like move, standard, swift, and immediate, instead replaced with a simple system of three actions and one reaction each round. All of the varied systems and formulas for determining your character’s bonuses and statistics, like saving throws, attack bonuses, and skills, have been unified in a single, easy-to-use proficiency system based on your choices and your character’s level.

The playtest rulebook will come with a “cheat sheet” to help players understand some of the differences from the first to second editions, but post-release Paizo confirmed they would “provide guidance for using material from First Edition”.

Furthermore, the playtest 400-page rulebook, 24″ x 30″ flip-mat multi-pack and the Doomsday Dawn test adventure would be released for free online on August 2. Physical editions will be available for pre-order later this month, although availability may vary. Softcover versions of the player handbook are priced at $US29.99, with a $US44.99 RRP for hardcover editions.


  • Gone are the confusing action types like move, standard, swift, and immediate…

    Jeez, if you were confused by actions then I don’t know what to say.

  • Sooo its keeping the robust pathfinder character creation, but moving to the much quicker and slimmed down 5e style combat system.

    • Not surprising, 5E is an excellent system that doesn’t get bogged down at higher levels like 3.5E/Pathfinder does. There was concern initially that 5E was making things too simple, but I’m really happy with the system.

      • Whereas I agree with the initial concern. 5e is too simple. Too cookie cutter. Not as bad as 4e, which tried to turn D&D into WoW, but still too cut down.

        Poor fighters get a completely raw deal, with everyone else beefed up at lower levels while they get no extra love and remain largely impotent at high level.

        And by the gods I miss flanking.

        At the same time the sloppy writing leaves so many loopholes, making it a min-maxers delight.

        • I don’t agree with that assessment at all.

          Let’s start with fighters. They have one of the smoothest power curves of any class in 5E, and are easily top tier in DPR along with rangers from start to finish. In tanking they’re beaten only by the barbarian and paladin in late game. The Battlemaster and Eldritch Knight subclasses are some of the most popular in the game, though I’ll agree that Champion lags a little.

          All the classes largely perform within a fairly close range of each other because of 5E’s bounded accuracy design. In fact, the biggest complaint in the early days of 5E was the opposite of what you’re saying, that the class variation is too flat rather than too varied. Bounded accuracy was added specifically to address the power imbalance problem (both between classes and between levels) that 3.5E had and that 4E tried to fix but failed.

          No need to miss flanking, it’s in the 5E DMG page 251.

          In my experience 5E has fewer loopholes than any previous version, including Pathfinder, so that seems like an odd complaint to make. 5E also has the least errata changes of anything 3E onwards, again including Pathfinder. It’s pretty well regarded as one of the most stable editions to date.

          • Just to clarify since re-reading this made it seem a little hostile, that wasn’t the intention at all. I’m always in favour of playing whatever system works best for you. My comments were intended generally speaking, based on consensus on the subreddit, Beyond, Roll20 and listening in on conversations in hobby stores (which I do far too little of these days, stupid busy life).

          • That’s OK. I didn’t find it hostile. I found it interesting and well stated.

            I’m a long term 3/3.5 player and minmaxer), and am playing 5e now because a friend has recently got into gaming and is running a campaign.

            I stand by my comments on fighters though. For as long as I can remember fighters have had a tough time of it. The classical example is Fighter vs Wizard – at low levels fighter beats wizard pretty much every time (as they should – nasty, weedy little casters). At high levels fighter is dead before he gets into melee range. 5e makes the wizard beefier at lower levels – cantrips that do as much damage as a longsword or bow for example – but leaves the imbalance in damage output at the top end of town. I may be wrong – I haven’t played at high level yet – but that’s how it reads.

            I turned immediately to p251, excited, then cried. Variant rules. My GM doesn’t like variant rules. He’s an Adventures League fanatic 🙁

            I’m playing a monk, and there are a number of little boosts, esp at lower levels, thanks to to ambiguous rules and lack of clarification. Even without them, though, the monk is a Min Maxer’s delight.

          • Yeah, my golden era was 3/3.5 as well, always great fun. I’ve played a moderate amount of 5E, and I just really like how smooth the system is. You’re never slowed down checking modifier tables or summing up 15 different statuses to figure out what’s going on, which was one of the least fun parts of 3.5.

            Sorry to hear your DM doesn’t like variant rules, I think flanking is a pretty common one to include, right behind ‘feats’. AL does allow a select set of variant rules but I can’t remember if that’s one of them, I haven’t touched AL in ages.

            Monk is actually the most recent character I built. I did a fair bit of research, read a lot of Sage Advice. If you haven’t looked at the latter I’d give that a go, it’s basically tweets by the two main designers clarifying things. Sometimes they’re actual loopholes, but most of the time they’re misunderstandings of how different rules interact.

            Monk is great fun, hope you enjoy playing it. They don’t become immortal at 20th level any more like in 3.5, but they have a great combat feel as well as non-combat flavour.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!