Chad Perrin: SOB

14 August 2008

Pathfinder RPG Beta released today

Filed under: RPG — apotheon @ 09:56

This is part of my RPG series of entries here at SOB. See the inaugural entry in the series for more details.

Paizo Publishing made the free Beta test PDF for its upcoming Pathfinder RPG available for download at the Pathfinder RPG Webpage. The “softcover” print edition of the Beta is available for order in the Paizo store, as well (though it’s not free like the PDF download). I’m going to have a look through the PDF in the next few days and decide whether I want to buy a copy of the Beta. Whether I buy a hardcopy Beta will probably depend mostly on how complete it is. It’s always nice to have a physical book to refer to in the course of a game session, after all — but if I have to refer to the D&D 3.5 core books too much in addition to the PRPGb book, I may not consider the book worth its price tag. On the other hand, it’ll be a piece of gaming history.

We’ll see.

Anyway, immediately after downloading the Beta and unzipping it, I noticed that there’s a “web enhancement” PDF included. It contains a bunch of spells and magic items that didn’t make it into the Beta’s page count. It might be worth printing the web enhancement document on my black and white laser printer, if I get the print version of the Beta. That being the case, having these spells and magic items in a separate document won’t dissuade me at all from paying for a print version of the Beta. After all, cutting a bunch of usually unimportant magic items out of the Beta so they can fit in other stuff that’s more important for day-to-day use of the book strikes me as a good sign. That means the Beta actually contains more stuff that’s important to the game than Paizo expected it to contain, after all.

The Beta still has a problem that the Alpha had, though: instances of capital A in headings don’t display in PDF readers using FreeType for font rendering. I talked to someone at Glyph & Cog (the developers of xpdf) about it, and it seems to be a matter of Adobe’s PDF authoring software violating Adobe’s own PDF document specification standard with regard to how fonts should be handled. It’s not a huge problem — but it’s enough of a problem that I wouldn’t spend actual money on the PDF, since I don’t want to spend real money on something that doesn’t display correctly in the software I prefer to use. I could use Acroread, except it sucks almost as bad as the Adobe Reader application for MS Windows — so the fact capital As aren’t displaying in heading text is a small price to pay for getting to use a slimmer, simpler, easier to use PDF reader.

Luckily, the Beta PDF is free.

I’m pretty sure I’ll comment more on the Beta in the near future.


  1. This is certainly very interesting to me. I originally downloaded the Alpha version of the Pathfinder RPG a while ago but in all honesty I didn’t have the time to give it a good look. The idea, however seemed interesting enough specially when one considers the sort of gloomy mood that has been casted over (a certain part of) the D&D community these days over certain issues over the release of the 4th Edition of the game.

    I am not part of that community, nor do I specially like D&D… but I’m always looking for interesting ideas and applications (a lot of which can indeed be found on the D&D books and also on the Pathfinder products) to use while roleplaying, so I think this is a worhtwile download.

    Thank you for the news bit, and take care.

    Comment by the_blunderbuss — 14 August 2008 @ 10:55

  2. Thanks for commenting, blunderbuss. I can understand your interest in picking up ideas even from games that don’t particularly interest you in and of themselves.

    Judging by the content of one of the more recent posts in your Weblog (drop the dice), it seems like your biggest problem with D&D is that you prefer a more narrative, storytelling style of gaming. So do I, generally. In my experience, almost any RPG can be twisted to that end (even Chartmaster). The rules in some games can help or hinder that, of course, but that’s what house rules are for.

    On the rare occasion that I’ve found myself in a hack-and-slash rules lawyering group, I haven’t stayed with the game long. There are always gamers more interested in good roleplaying than “good” roll-playing. You just have to find ’em. I guess I’ve been lucky enough to find them more often than not, by a pretty wide margin.

    Comment by apotheon — 14 August 2008 @ 12:25

  3. As far as being interested with taking ideas from games that I don’t particularly enjoy… well, I am about to take a big plunge into the lava filled pool of D&D madness. I actually agree with you on the fact that most RPGs can be twisted to a particular end, specially on the fact that usually there always a bit of ‘twist’ needed to fit a particular game/system with a particular group of people.

    As for finding people, I have recently started roleplaying on-line and it has been quite a refreshing activity considering that I had been playing with the same group of people for years. I don’t know if this has happened to you, but I roleplayed with friends and thus roleplaying was also one way to keep the social bond together which made it somewhat trickier to change the scene.

    That’s it for now I guess. Do expect to see me around ;) Take care.

    Comment by the_blunderbuss — 14 August 2008 @ 06:32

  4. That’s a pretty big plunge, all righty — 4E is, unlike previous incarnations, pretty much exactly what you seemed to suggest D&D is. It’s no longer a proper RPG, in some respects. It’s more like a cross between World of Warcraft, Magic: The Gathering, and Warhammer: Fantasy Battle than it is like previous editions of D&D. If you wanted to pick a real challenge, in terms of a D&D edition that is as much a tactical wargame as possible, and as far from rehabilitation for actual roleplaying purposes as possible, you could not have done better than picking 4E for that purpose.

    If your intent is just to have a D&D game that is less geared to the tactical, and more to the collaborative act of telling an interesting tale and plumbing the depths of the characters’ personae, just to have a D&D game that suits you better, I’d definitely recommend a different edition.

    Any different edition, really.

    Comment by apotheon — 14 August 2008 @ 08:08

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