Pathfinder RPG Fall 2016: Smaller and More Evil

pathfinder mini boxThe theme for all things Pathfinder this fall has been dark and deadly supplements to the game to bring a bit of horror to player’s games. Supplements have been released featuring the covert shenanigans and evil organizations found in Ultimate Intrigue and Villain Codex, the dank and dark setting found in Horror Adventures, and the dark ghostly burdens found in the Haunted Hero Handbook. It is as if the teenaged(1) Pathfinder RPG has entered its Goth stage. There is even a release of miniatures, Deadly Foes, designed to complement these dark tales of woe. Aside from the darker side, the Pathfinder rulebooks have taken a page from cell phone technology and have been shrunk into easier-to-carry paperback editions.


Pathfinder Ultimate Intrigue
pathfinder.ultimate intrigueThis past summer saw the release of the Ultimate Intrigue supplement. Like most supplements of its type, it contains includes new character classes, archetypes (ways to flavor a specific character class), feats, magic items, and spells. Details include the vigilante class that specializes in leading a double life, options that work with street-smarts and disguises, and spells designed to mess with social settings and interactions. GM’s will find advice on how to run stealthy heists, running pursuits, and ways to provide verbal duels and other social challenges. The most significant content in the book is the option to include a system of influence into the game that provides goals and rewards to players who make an effort to link their characters with non-player characters and organizations.

Pathfinder Horror Adventures
pathfinder.ultimate horrorIf you want the dark shadows of intrigue to be even darker, search no farther than Horror Adventures. Not a supplement full of adventures, it is dedicated to helping a GM design and run a horror theme to life. Players may find themselves facing corruptions eating away at their humanity (turning them into vampires and werewolves) or facing off against the hungry dead, all while staving off new diseases, curses, haunts, and traps. To help the hapless heroes, the book includes the obligatory new feats, spells, and other character options. The big winner in the book will be the GM. It provides a system to track sanity and madness (those poor players!) and hints and tips on how to truly scare your players as you run different styles of horror genres in a Pathfinder game. Not everyone is a fan of the dark and sinister, but those looking for a bit of monstrous horror or cthulhu insanity will find a (dangerously) dark treasure trove of information.


Pathfinder Haunted Hero Handbook
pathfinder.haunted herosIf your GM is running with a darker-leaning or even horror themed campaign, it is only natural to try to twist the theme into new ways to empower your character. The Haunted Hero Handbook provides players with many new options for their character that tie into ghosts, hauntings, and other tragic past experiences. A new category of magic, haunted spells, provide players ways to recreate the dangerously sinister effects of haunts. Included in the book is an overview of the ways various religions in the Pathfinder setting deal with ghosts and other aspects of the spirit world.





Pathfinder Villain Codex
pathfinder.villain codexWhether you’re into a horror themed game or not, the Villain Codex will let a GM spice up their evil quotient by providing 20 different groups of malevolent beings willing to work behind (or in front of) the scenes to provide a foil for the player characters’ party. The groups span nearly every level of character and they all bring new rules and powers to hinder (and annoy “in a good way”) the players. Designed to be flexible, the villain groups can be fit into almost any style of campaign.



Pathfinder Pocket Editions
core rulebook pocket compareEnough about dark things, time for something light. The two main Pathfinder books, the Core Rules and Bestiary are now available in paperback form. While the Bestiary is mainly a tool for the GM, the core rules are handy to have on hand for any player. However, hauling these books around is quite a weighty proposition. The solution is to create paperback versions. The two new pocket editions (Core Rules and Bestiary) are shrunk and printed as paperback books. They’re labeled “pocket” sized, but I’d like to see the pocket that could hold them. Essentially, both books have been printed at about two thirds the size of the originals. They are literally scaled-down versions of the originals. Since they have the same number of pages, they’re about the same thickness. The transition to smaller paperbacks make the smaller books run a bit over 1.5 lbs – heavy but significantly lighter than the originals. The only drawbacks of the new “pocket” versions are the paperback bindings (which seem pretty sturdy as far as paperbacks go) and the smaller fonts. The pages have exactly the same layout (nothing is pared down to make the books shorter) and so may be a bit small for reading in dim light (or if you’re simply getting a bit too old, such as myself.) I’d greatly prefer to keep my standard sized books by my side when gaming but the lighter weight makes the pocket editions tempting for gaming on the go.

Pathfinder Battles: Deadly Foes
Books are all well and good, but when it comes down to the business of playing the game, players focus will be on the things happening at the table. There are few better ways to gain and keep players’ attentions then through the judicious use of miniatures. The folks at WizKids are up to their old tricks with a new release of prepainted minis entitled Deadly Foes. As the title suggests, while some of the minis could be used by player characters, they are primarily designed with an eye towards getting in the characters’ way. There are 52 minis in all but, as is normal with minis, some are more common than others.



In keeping with the Deadly theme, I found the set to be somewhat heavy on the devil, demon, and underworld genre – such as a medium-sized three headed Cerberus style dog. Some of my favorite minis to come along aren’t even standard monsters. The obelisk is perfect for any arcane or cultic setting, and while I wouldn’t normally say to myself “I need a mini of a rope trick”, now that I have one I’ve started to think about ways to use it in the game. Similarly, the unicorn makes me want to set up some fae encounters. The best minis in the set stand out due to their painting. Many figures, the hellhound or hell cat for example, have excellent flaming accents that grab your attention. (There’s even a hellgate that almost seems to glow.) Another nice figure is the shadow giant whose golden accents pop against its dark skin. There seemed to be more demons and devils in the set than I would normally use, but that is balanced by the paint jobs of some of my favorite minis. Miniatures are always expensive, but I was pleased with this batch as it contains figures painted much better than what I would normally be able to achieve on my own.


pathfinder.minis mine



And that’s the news from the Pathfinder arena; while Halloween has come and gone, there is still room for some dark and scary in your ongoing RPG campaign. What better way to freak out your players by haunting them with ghosts of Christmas past?


*(1.) Pathfinder is 13 if you start counting from the appearance of D&D 3.5 edition, which serves as a major influence on the Pathfinder RPG.

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