Featured Pathfinder Playtest

The Pathfinder Playtest: Changes to Come

We’re less than five months away from the release of Pathfinder 2nd edition. Folks who participated in the playtest saw a notably changed system, and those who kept up on the regular updates saw the game change even more due to player feedback. After all that, what will the final version look like?

Only the designers know for sure, although fans can expect previews as the hype for the new edition builds. But interviews during and after the playtest, not to mention the update documents themselves, already provide some hints as to what’s coming. Here’s a breakdown of the changes we can definitely expect from 2nd edition.

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Frog and Toad

Frog is a Dream-Stealing Monster that Must be Stopped!

My wife played a part in a community theatre production of A Year with Frog and Toad, a play based on the Frog and Toad stories written by Arnold Lobel. If you haven’t read Lobel’s books, I’m sorry your parents neglected you.

The play taught me two things. First, Arnold Lobel had a terrific wit. His simple stories about friendship are filled with wry irony and clever twists. Second, the play made a huge deviation from Lobel’s stories by turning Frog into a manipulative dream monster.

Frog is basically Freddy Kreuger meets Inception, with a little co-dependency thrown in just for fun. He uses some unexplained dream-altering magic to force Toad into a “friendship” that is entirely based on pleasing Frog.

I can tell you’re not convinced. Let me prove my point by referencing key scenes from the musical.

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Pathfinder Flumph

The Awesome Silliness of Fantasy RPGs

Originally published on Sidekickcast.com

If you’re a fan of role-playing games, you probably got introduced to the game through a little thing called Dungeons & Dragons. It may have come by a different name back then, such as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, but the general gist remains the same. In my unscientific study, about 99% of gamers were found to have come into the hobby via some iteration of D&D.

I’ve hopped around a lot in the RPG hobby, and while I got off the D&D train, my current game of choice, Pathfinder, is an extremely close cousin of the world’s first role-playing game. While there are a lot of reasons I tend to stick close to the D&D tradition, one of the major ones is the oddball humor that the game’s history is steeped in.

I like a good beer and pretzels game, where the play is fairly casual and the jokes are frequent. And when it comes to D&D-style fantasy, the jokes have been baked into the game for decades now.

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Prisoner of Azkaban

Nitpicking Movies: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Like its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban marked a potentially perilous place for the film franchise. Chris Columbus chose not to return as director. Richard Harris, who had played a perfect Dumbledore, died before filming began. A new director, a new cast, and a new visual style could have sunk the franchise.

Luckily, the third film of the series made very few missteps. While the style was definitely different from its predecessors, audiences largely enjoyed the changes. This not only turned Prisoner of Azkaban into a success, but laid the groundwork to allow new directors to make each future installment their own.

Yes, the Harry Potter movies seemed to turn every potential problem into a resounding victory. And that’s good – otherwise these nitpicks would seem mean-spirited rather than an opportunity to poke fun at a pretty solid film.

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Super Mario Odyssey

Death is Cheap in Super Mario Odyssey, and I Love It

Common wisdom in video game design says that you can’t make death cheap. While you never want the player to quit in frustration, you also want to make them think. If death lacks consequences, players feel no tension. So a bullet wound or bottomless pit usually leads to a reload or level restart.

And then along comes a game like Super Mario Odyssey, where getting mauled by a Tyrannosaurus only loses you 10 coins, which you can go back and recover 30 seconds later. What gives with that?

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Apparatus of Kwalish

Weird Magic Items I Wish I’d Used

Originally posted on Sidekickcast.com

Thanks to whatever weirdness inhabited the heads of Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, fantasy gaming has some really bizarre stuff baked into its history. I’ve gamed long enough to use a lot of that weirdness (including my personal favorite, the deck of many things), but there’s still so much more out there. Here’s a quick list of some of the fun items in Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder that I’ve always wanted to slip into an adventure but have never quite been able to make fit.

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