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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > August 2019 (#33) > Second Thoughts: 12 things you need to know about the new Pathfinder

Second Thoughts: 12 things you need to know about the new Pathfinder

Pathfinder: Second Edition is out this month, bringing over a decade of improvements and additions to the fantasy RPG. Pazio’s director of game design Jason Bulmahn talks us through what’s new – and what isn’t


Pathfinder: Second Edition is officially out on August 1st, but a playtest version of the new game was released last summer as a way of ensuring that the finished thing lived up to its full potential – by putting the designers’ changes fully through their paces.

“The playtest was specifically designed to stress test the game,” Bulmahn says. “Its entire purpose was to push the boundaries of the game and see where it broke. Some of the challenges there were that it didn’t break where we expected it to or, y’know, the characters were too durable or they weren’t durable enough.”

The playtest game was packed with ideas that the designers were considering for Second Edition. Some of them worked perfectly, others needed a bit more tweaking and a few just didn’t pan out at all – but the team didn’t hesitate to make the decisions necessary to make the proper book as strong as possible for players.

“Some aspects of the skills system didn’t quite work the way we wanted. There was a lot of things that we threw out there to see how the audience would interact with it, and whether or not they would find it acceptable,” Bulmahn continues. “We’re changing a lot of the base assumptions of the game; in the end, we still want the play style to be the same, we still want the stories to be the same. But how we get about it we changed in some ways, and we wanted to find of where that felt like a natural progression and where other players might feel like we went in a direction that wasn’t allowing us to tell the stories that we were telling.”

Bulmahn admits that the five-month playtest was “a challenging endeavour”, but that getting players’ feedback on Second Edition while it was still in the works was key to ensuring it lands with a bang.

“We learned a lot about where we had gone right, and kind of where we had gone wrong,” he says. “Making it, frankly, a relatively easy job to patch up some of those problems.

“In the end the results and feedback we got really did allow us to make a better game.”

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