Monday, 28 November 2011

Pathfinder Beginner Box in Review

I don't normally do this sort of thing but it has been a long time since I have been this excited about a release, I am a pathfinder RPG fan boy after all.

Box Contents:
  • Getting Started sheet
  • A set of 7 dice in bright red. d4, d6, d8, 2x d10, d12 and a d20
  • 4 pre-generated characters a Fighter, Rogue, Wizard and Cleric eack based on one of Paizo's iconics
  • 4 blank character sheets
  • Hero's Handbook
  • Game Masters Guide
  • 3 A4 pages of cardboard cut out pawns with plastic bases
  • 2 sided battle mat with one side blank and the other with a dungeon
  • A page of adds
The Important Stuff:

The Hero's Handbook; contains a simplified character creation section that includes rules for 3 races Dwarves, Elves and Humans. 4 simplified character classes the Fighter, Rogue, Wizard and Cleric each up to level 5, along with a simplified set of Skills, Feat's and Equipment. After the character creation section there are rules for combat that have the more complex ideas stripped out, like attacks of opportunity and combat maneuvers like trip and bull rush.  There is also a fun little choose you own adventure style solo adventure, that introduces new players to the basics of the game and to the story telling methods used to in role playing. I was sceptial of the value of this mini adventure, but after playing through it definitely has its merits. I also discovered that I can roll these dice as poorly as I roll any others.

The Game Masters Guide; opens up with an adventure that is set in the dungeon that is on printed on one side of the provided battle map. While not a major issue the adventure leaves a party of four players with less than half of the required experience to level up, so it may disappoint a few players. The book includes a fairly extensive beastery and has a lot of tips for GM's to build their own adventures. There are chapters dedicated to magic items, traps and the various conditions adventures will face during their careers which makes the book a useful reference for experienced GM's as these sections are much the same as the relevant sections of the core rulebook but are condensed into a much more practical format.

The Battle Map; has one side of the haunted dungeon flip mat produced by Paizo and the other is a blank grid surface, both sides can be drawn/written on with wet or dry erase markers and is made from sturdy card stock. The map folds up to around the size of an A4 sheet but if it is stored or transported in this manner I have found these maps are a little difficult to work with as they are prone to not sitting flat on the table top, storing and transporting the map flat can cause some logistical problems though.

The pawns; are made with quality art and are fairly sturdy, the cardboard they are made of will fray over time so it might be worth sealing the edge with PVA to hold them together. There are plastic bases provided to stand these in, but there are no where enough for all of the pawns so the bottom edge of the cardboard will become damaged after repeated swapping of bases. It would have been nice to see a larger base in the set as well for the larger creatures, but as long as a little common sense is used this should not be an issue.

The Pre-generated Characters; are set out nicely with all sorts of helpful hints printed in the margins, it would have been nice to have something like this available when I started playing as I had no idea what I was doing.

Ongoing Support; is being provided by Paizo through the beginner box section of their web store they have already posted an adventure and the rules needed to play the barbarian class along with a few new options for each of the classes included in the beginner box

Overall I am very happy with the Pathfinder Beginner Box it has everything you need to start playing and keep you and a group of friends entertained for hours, locally there has been a large increase of interest in the Pathfinder RPG singe the release of the beginner box. I have gone from struggling to get enough players to make a party to now having 8 or 9 potential players, as people who were intimidated by the 576 page core rule book are more than happy to give the game a go now.  I also have a couple of people willing to give GMing a go which will be a nice change of pace, I have been running games of Pathfinder RPG since the first alpha play-test release but I am yet to sit on the other side of the screen.

Until next time


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