Paizo’s Pathfinder 2E Remastered: A Game Master’s Perspective and Exclusive Insights

In the dynamic world of tabletop gaming, few companies have stood out like Paizo. Renowned for its groundbreaking role-playing games, especially Pathfinder, Paizo has consistently demonstrated a deep commitment not just to creating exceptional gaming experiences, but also to fostering a supportive environment for its staff and a welcoming community for players. This article explores the new Remastered version of Pathfinder 2E. Within are the thoughts of a long time Gamemaster and fan of Pathfinder from the launch of 1E on. At the end of the article, The Geek Post sent three questions about the Remaster to Paizo which they agreed to answer.

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Pathfinder 2E, launched in August 2019 with its comprehensive Core Rulebook, marked a significant evolution in tabletop RPGs. This book offered players a world of endless customization options, while the simultaneously released Bestiary equipped Gamemasters with all the rest of the necessary tools to run the game. Despite its innovative gameplay, the Core Rulebook’s extensive size posed a daunting challenge for newcomers, creating a high entry barrier. Additionally, Pathfinder 2E’s release under the same OGL as its predecessor, aimed at fostering a rich, third-party content ecosystem, was an unforeseen hurdle due to licensing complexities unforeseeable at the time.

In 2023, the tabletop gaming community faced a tumultuous period when Wizards of the Coast encountered significant backlash regarding the Open Game License (OGL). This controversy, while thoroughly covered on other platforms, was not talked about at the Geek Post publicly. The issues did highlight the OGL’s vulnerabilities. In response to the shifting landscape, Paizo experienced an unprecedented surge in Pathfinder 2E’s popularity, as players increasingly gravitated away from Dungeons & Dragons. This spike in demand rapidly depleted Paizo’s stock, prompting a strategic reassessment of their licensing and product roadmap. Amidst these challenges, Paizo embarked on a transformative journey: crafting the Open RPG Creative License (ORK), revising Pathfinder 2E for compliance, and seizing the opportunity to refine the game further. This process, that me as an avid fan and gamer, imagined was a caffeine-fueled, intense brainstorming session among Paizo’s top minds, culminated in the decision to remaster Pathfinder 2E. Instead of launching a new edition, they ensured compatibility with existing materials while embracing the new ORK framework.

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The Geek Post had the privilege of previewing the remastered Pathfinder 2E’s Player Core 1 and Gamemaster Core books, and we eagerly incorporated them into our weekly game. The transition was seamless, with only minor adjustments needed for our diverse character roster, including a Kineticist, Fighter, Investigator, Summoner, and Rogue. The remaster introduced subtle yet impactful changes like revised names, new feats, and an improvement on actions such as Disarm and a new one called Reposition which has delighted our fighter / rogue combination. The players unanimously praised the improved layout, which enhanced accessibility and organization, particularly for magic items now found in Gamemaster Core. Another aspect that players loved was the inclusion of feats and ancestries from the Advanced Players guide.  Notably, the elimination of ability scores and alignment went unnoticed, underscoring the effectiveness of Anathemas and Edicts in enriching roleplay. Overall, this remaster, far from being a mere revenue tactic, represents Paizo’s commitment to evolving the game to meet the community’s needs, despite the initial release’s errata. It is a welcome evolution that we at The Geek Post wholeheartedly embrace.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to Paizo for their responsiveness in addressing our questions about the Pathfinder 2E Remaster. Their willingness to engage with us during a hectic holiday season and amidst their busy schedules is appreciated. This interaction reflects Paizo’s dedication to their community and their commitment to transparency and dialogue.

GeekPost: For individuals new to Pathfinder 2nd Edition, would the Player Core Book provide a comprehensive foundation for getting started? Furthermore, does this book serve as a sufficient update for players who already possess previous editions and wish to transition to the remastered system?

Paizo: Pathfinder Player Core is the new foundational book for Pathfinder Second Edition. It has everything a new player will need to play the game—including eight classes, rules for all modes of play (encounter, exploration, and downtime), and more. The classes in Pathfinder Player Core give new players a variety of options to choose from, with well-balanced guides to play. Plus, these new remastered books have been updated to have more accessible organization, which makes them much more approachable for new players.

For existing players, Pathfinder Player Core contains all the rule updates for the system, as well as quality of life improvements for the eight classes therein. The eight remaining classes will be remastered in Player Core 2, complete with new archetypes and more. With Pathfinder Player Core and the errata notes on our website, any existing player can update their character to the remastered system!

GeekPost: What informed the selection of classes and ancestries featured in the first installment of the remastered series?

Paizo: Pathfinder Player Core contains a lot of content that the design team wanted to establish early—such as the most iconic and archetypal roles, like the fighter and rogue. We wanted to include casters of all four traditions up front, with options to choose from. Also, we had some clusters of player options that we wanted to present together—like druids and leshies.

Some character options had larger elements tied to the OGL and needed to be remastered together. For example, the sorcerer, barbarian, and kobold are all tied to draconic elements, and thus cluster well together. As their powers tie into the new dragons coming in Pathfinder Monster Core, it made sense to give them all a home in Pathfinder Player Core 2.

GeekPost: What do you anticipate will be the most significant challenges for long-time players transitioning to the updated system? Do you have any recommendations for players who are currently engaged in a campaign and are considering updating their characters to align with the updates?

Paizo: The changes made to spellcasting and cantrips will likely be the most complex to implement at the table, especially for players used to the old mechanics. But we have a blog post here that breaks down those changes to help players and game masters understand the switch.

We also made a handy guide for players and GMs working to make their current characters and games remaster compatible—including errata for classes in Secrets of Magic and Dark Archive.

For any players considering updating their current characters to remastered versions—be sure to touch base with your GM beforehand. The rebalancing of classes may affect the threats your GM has designed, plus new and different abilities may surprise them. The easiest time to make a change would be at the next leveling-up opportunity—bring it up with your GM and see if your party would like to explore switching to remastered classes.