Pathfinder 2.0 Playtest; My first impressions

The long awaited 2nd edition playtest of Pathfinder is out! So, how is it? At first glance, the books are well made and feel great. The content feels just as well made, an interesting cross between the innovations of Starfinder and the simplicity of D&D 5e. So let's go over it chapter by chapter.

First off; Ancestry. This is where your adventure truly begins, ancestry is the basis of your character. All of the races have their own feats which allow you to make more varied characters than 5e offers, but nowhere near as much content to dig through as Pathfinder 1e. Interestingly, Half-orc and Half-elf are only available by taking human first and then burning your level 1 feat into it. This feels a bit awkward but makes a lot of sense thematically. The inclusion of 5e style backgrounds means that characters can be as widely varied or as specialized as you please, plus they add neat lore options, like Alcohol lore (Looking at you barkeep). Overall, the feeling of a character can be whatever you'd like (as in most RPG systems) but the building process allows you to really flesh out a character at creation. The inclusion of Starfinder's bulk system offers a much needed improvement to carry weight.

Secondly, Classes. Core classes are exactly what you would expect from a Pathfinder setting, including the quintessential classes (Fighter, Monk, Druid, Ranger, Wizard, ETC) and Paizo's favorite; The alchemist. Overall, classes are extremely variable, it would be difficult to make two druids that do exactly the same thing and that can be said of all of the other classes. Each class has a series of Feats that become available at certain levels. These stack on your ancestry feats to make your build as truly terrifying or as hilarious as you'd like. Overall though, each of the classes feels unique and fun, with a huge amount of builds available.

Moving on to the skills. Paizo has really outdone themselves with this system. Gone are the days of crunching numbers to shout an obscene score such as a 110 in a crafting check or a sneak of 108. Instead, skills are played much like they are in 5e, mostly your ability score and proficiency bonus with any associated items tacked on at the end. For the most part, you can attempt any skill untrained, however training adds much to the skill you're trying to attempt. Training comes in the form of the TEML system, which stands for Trained, Expert, Master, and Legendary. This training comes from your class, background, and skill feats.

Which brings us to chapter 5, feats. The chapter 5 feats are all associated with a certain skill and allow you to do more with that skill, however, they require a certain amount of training with the skill. For instance, as a rogue, trained in Thievery, you can take the Pickpocket feat at level one, which does pretty much what is says on the tin. Overall, this adds a huge amount of flexibility to what you can do with your character. Skills become more fun and useful, even in combat, rather than the series of dull checks that were required before.

Chapter 6 goes over equipment and how it works. For the most part, armor, weapons and items work the same, but their weight has been converted over to the Bulk system that Starfinder uses. This makes tracking your carry weight SO MUCH EASIER! Overall, the items system is pretty standard for a fantasy RPG with nothing too ridiculous standing out.

Now comes my personal favorite, Spells. The system for spells in 2.0 seems super intuitive, Most casters max out at 3 spells per day and progress up the spell levels quite a bit faster. A large part of that is the introduction of 10th level spells, spells that were utterly game breaking before fit into this category, things like Wish, Gate, and Time Stop with a few new ones thrown in. The most striking thing in this chapter is the druid's breakaway from Divine spells. They're now considered a "Primal" caster. Personally, I think this is a great move, opening the druid up to a much more varied toolbox, rather than just working off of the cleric list with some extra stuff. Overall, pretty well done.

Advancing to Advancement, this is a very interesting chapter. This is where a lot of the customization of your character comes in. This chapter includes archetypes such as Cavalier and Pirate, as well as multiclassing options and the games first, and so far only, prestige class, Grey Maidens. This chapter is the perfect addition to all of the class options in creating your character how you want it to be played. Overall, some amazing content here, with your options numbering in the thousands at this point.

The rest of the book includes generalized combat rules and a list of loot, a lot of this part i simply didn't have the patience to read and rather skimmed over. The biggest thing in this section is the way combat works from the player side. Every player now gets 3 actions, but attacking multiple times imparts serious penalties. Other than that, Fighters are now the only ones who get attacks of opportunities, which adds a lot to the otherwise fairly dull class.

Overall, the book feels well connected and well thought out. Personally, I can't wait for the full edition to come out.


-Matt Aarons