Paizo announced during GAMA on Wednesday April 26 that Pathfinder 2E Remastered is coming! This set of four new releases will effectively replace the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, Game Mastery Guide, Bestiary, and Advanced Player’s Guide. The reason for these revisions is to bring Pathfinder in line with the Open RPG Creative (or ORC) License. Paizo created the ORC License in response to the Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons Open Game License debacle in January of 2023.

Link to the Paizo Blog here.

For those who maybe don’t follow TTRPG news, the OGL debacle happened because WotC tried to revoke a 20 year old agreement with Third Party Publishers, fans, and Content Creators that allowed free reign over the use of all of the D&D rules stated in the System Reference Document 1.0. The proposed OGL 1.1 was pretty draconian and quickly rejected by long term fans. A long silence by Wizards of the Coast execs, some really sad sauce excuses, and a new proposed OGL did not help matters. Eventually WotC caved and threw the entirety of the SRD 5.1 into Creative Commons by 4.0.

These changes are necessary.

Separating from what is rapidly proving to be an unstable WotC and any semblance of their OGL regardless of the CC-BY-4.0 is simply a necessity for any company wanting to survive in 2024. (When the new D&D Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide are due to drop.) Paizo is the next largest company in the TTRPG industry. They grew out of the original OGL way back in the 3.0/3.5 D&D days. Pathfinder was born out of a love for the old Third Edition D&D days.

While fans celebrated the “victory” over WotC at the end of the OGL debacle, there are many skeptics who believe our WotC woes have not ended. Not only is the OGL still a bis suspicious, but the corporation’s ethics and interactions with fans have been atrocious. Their latest scandal involves sending armed Pinkerton agents to confiscate “embargoed” Magic: the Gathering cards from a YouTuber’s house. I think Paizo is doing the right thing by going the way of the ORC License and completely eliminating anything that looks like WotC Intellectual Property from the four books that act as the core of Pathfinder 2E.

What is Paizo changing?

So far most of the changes we’ve heard about on Roll for Combat and Paizo’s blog (mentioned above.) Paizo also did a Twitch Live Stream right after they announced the new books. There is a really nice FAQ attached to the Paizo blog. The big changes we’ve seen so far are mostly cosmetic.

“Spell Level” becomes “Spell Rank.” Alignment is getting kicked to the curb for good. Several spells and creatures are being removed, renamed, or replaced in the game to avoid OGL IP issues. Paizo is also building from the four years of errata that the game has been running.

Much like Wizards of the Coast is promising with their 5E changes, Pathfinder 2E is going to be completely compatible with the older PF2E game books. This is not a new edition or even a 2.5 revision. It’s simply intended to divorce PF2E from the D&D OGL and place everything squarely under the (much safer, friendlier looking) ORC License. Unlike WotC, I believe Paizo when they say the game is in good hands and we can trust what they’re doing is not a new edition.

I think it’s also being done to make Pathfinder 2E even more competitive.

All of the recent WotC shenanigans have driven a lot of older 5E fans over to Paizo’s Pathfinder 2E. Paizo reported that a January run on Core rulebooks completely cleaned out the warehouse. A new print run of those books recently came back in. Several other game companies reported record sales in January and February as well, but possibly none more so than Paizo. Pathfinder 2E is probably the most similar game mechanically to D&D 5E, without quite as much hype.

If you were debating about buying the original PF2E Core gamebooks, this would be a great time to do so. After this, the new Player Core and GM Core will replace all the nostalgic original PF2E IP, so if you still want to use old rules, creatures, gods, and alignment those older books will be a good investment. I’m also a nut and a completist, so I’m getting the new books and keeping my old ones.

Paizo is arguably the second largest TTRPG Company in the industry behind WotC/Hasbro. I think it was wise for them to put these four new core books out in Q4 of 2023 and Q1 of 2024, hopefully ahead of D&D’s whatever-they’re-calling-it + VTT. I also think it’s an immense advantage for Paizo to be focused on the game itself, the books, and communicating openly with the fans as often as possible. I would love to see them go head-to-head with WotC on sales next year, especially given the number of former Paizo staffers that are now working at WotC. At least Paizo isn’t using dramatic shenanigans to try to stay in the press.

My own personal interest in Pathfinder 2E has grown.

There was a time last year when I was firmly in the Old School Renaissance camp of gaming. Unfortunately, the OSR raised its ugly head and became a little discouraging. I still love Dungeon Crawl Classics for its simplicity and bizarreness. I’m still doing material for it. The same can be said for Old School Essentials. I’m also not abandoning my love for Basic Rules Cyclopedia D&D. Everything I’ve just named has its charm and I’m keeping them close by along with several other basic rules systems.

My love for Pathfinder 2E was rekindled back in December and January when I was considering doing Dungeon 23 with 5E and other various systems. With all of the news around the OGL piling up faster than it could be reported on some days, my Dungeon 23 plan deflated. I think my goal for Dungeon 24 is going to be Pathfinder or ICRPG.

RPG Superstar got me interested in building Pathfinder 2E monsters again. I can build monsters in just about any system, but the PF2E Game Mastery Guide does such a better job of laying everything out and then the Pathfinder websites help a lot. Archives of Nethys is my friend these days. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the game.

Is it my favorite game now? Not really. But it has definitely earned a place in my heart after everything being a D&D fan has put us through recently. For a while I’d even considered getting away from fantasy TTRPGs altogether and going back to my superhero, sci-fi, and horror roots. But my love of elves, flashy katanas, spells, and dragons keeps dragging me back in. (LOL!)

I know a lot of people have commented on the crunchiness and heavy rules in PF2E.

They’re not completely wrong. I think it has a more robust action economy. I actually like that the designers have resolved many gameplay situations before the GM has to deal with them. A certain other game just gives you a vague reference and then the DM is forced to “wing it.” That extra bit of crunch in PF2E actually speeds the game along in my opinion.

From what we’ve heard the Remastered Core rulebooks are going to help streamline play a little further. Some of the GM material is getting moved over and we no longer have a 642 page Core Rulebook that will simplify things. The new Core books are due to come in around 500 pages from the estimates I’ve seen so far. The designers are also moving some of the information around to make it easier on the players and GM to find. I can see why the Pathfinder Core, GM Mastery Guide, and Advanced Player’s Guide might be a bit intimidating starting out. There’s a lot of information to digest and some of it could be a bit more organized. Just my opinion.

Yes, there are way lighter rules systems out there. I’ve mentioned several of them in their own blog articles. Pathfinder’s Golarian is a big world. It’s kinda fitting that the rules be more robust to go with it.

Thanks for stopping by. More on the new books closer to their release. I’m pretty excited about it.