Reading the Pathfinder 2 Core Rulebook #01

Reading the Pathfinder 2 Core Rulebook #01

Reading the Pathfinder 2 Core Rulebook #01Reading the Pathfinder 2 Core Rulebook #01 – from the games designer viewpoint.

A player or GM is likely to only read sufficient for their first few game sessions. They will cover only their immediate needs (running the game basics, the character class they will be playing, level 1 support items, feats, etc).

You will likely already have done this and maybe played your first few sessions – this is great for getting a basic feel of the system and its changes. However, as a designer intending to write for the system, we need to read it all and really look hard at the:

  • design,
  • language,
  • rules and edge cases,
  • lore

Get to really understand the edition changes that will hit as we write. Also review and identify those arenas in which we can work.

In short, we have to really dig deep, and so we need to take lots and lots of notes.

Base materials

Before we start, we need to make sure we have some basic items to assist us in our read through. Some of the items will become our early edition bibles of ideas and themes to build upon.

  • first, a quiet place, somewhere we will not be disturbed.
  • lots of time to read, think and plan.
  • page marker, for obvious reasons.
  • notepad (or device if you prefer) – I use A4 narrow feint pads.
  • number of colored pens (device font colors).

My initial color set

This will allow us to make notes as we go and to color code them (alternatively use a set of notepads). For example, I will be using my standard color selections:

  • Royal Blue
    • will be notes about the basic rules and game structures.
  • Purple
    • will be for notes about formatting and styles employed.
  • Green
    • for Golarion – in particular the lore and timelines.
  • Cyan
    • salient points I want to include for this reading log.
  • Red
    • make a checklist of things to come back to and check them off when you have.
  • Pencil
    • my ideas for design I have whilst reading.
    • Pencil also means I can erase them when I find they are already done elsewhere.

The Table of Contents is your friend

Settled in? Great. Lets crack open this hefty tome and go straight to the table of contents. Why?

The table of contents is invariably the order in which we will read the book. It allows us to break down a reading schedule so we don’t try to take in too much at a time. Its like cramming for an exam – too much at once will mean we don’t learn everything we must.

I am going to work through the PDF for convenience for this reading blog. Be aware that the page numbers I give might have changed if you are reading this with a later print run.

So lets look at the table of contents and break down our initial reading plan.

The Reading Plan

I know I am going to read around once to twice a week, and I am going to blog about what I read. So I am reinforcing my read not only through my note taking but also a second time for this blog.

I am taking a few days between each read to digest and think about what I have read. I can return to the pages most recently read to double check my understanding and to let things cement in.

Don’t try to read the whole thing in one go. You will tire and miss things. Just like cramming you will fail to take everything in. Pace yourself, you probably have Pathfinder 1 games to finish up, so take your time and do it right.

Calculating your Reading schedule

The PDF reader tells me there are 642 pages in the core rulebook file. Some of these will be full page art, but we can work on a reading timescale from this figure. I have already stated my intent that I am reading twice a week. So effectively, I have halved the number of weeks I need to read the book.

Lets assume we want to aim for a 10 week read. That’s 64 pages a week, or 32 pages per reading session. Looking at the table of contents, there are 11 sections, plus an appendix, a character sheet and the glossary and index. This might be a bit too much, so lets see what a 12 week period works out at… just under 54 pages a week, or 27 pages per reading session. I think I will aim for 12 weeks.

Pathfinder 2.0 – Introduction – Pages 4 thru 31

The first section is a general introduction. We are going to make this our first reading session. 28 pages to this section means it is the perfect size for my 12 week reading plan.

I know the temptation is great to skip the introduction but consider this. The introduction gives the designer their first taste of language, form and structure. It sets expectations of the new system and often introduces new or changed terms at a high level.

This is an invaluable starting point. So we will read this for our first read through.

Pathfinder 2.0 – Ancestries and Background – 32 thru 65

The first thing we spot here is a new term – ancestries. I note this in Red to check what it means when we get here. I can make an educated guess, but I am illustrating the method here.

At 34 pages, I am going to split this into 2 reading sessions of 17 pages each. I am doing this as I don’t want any reading sessions to span multiple sections of the rulebook

Pathfinder 2.0 – Classes – 66 thru 231

Next we have a very large section on the character classes, of which  there are 12. These cover 166 pages, so on average, 14 pages per class. This means I should plan to read no more than 2 classes per reading session.

Pathfinder 2.0 – Skills – 232 thru 253

At 22 pages, this section is a nicely sized single reading session chapter of the book. It will give you great insight into the non combat part of game play and will definitely inspire magical items of all kinds. You will make a lot of notes in this chapter for sure.

Pathfinder 2.0 – Feats – 254 thru 269

Feats next, 16 pages – I thought about adding some more to read to this session but on reflection didn’t. The reasons are two fold, the first is I didn’t want to read multiple sections per reading session. The second, more important in this case, is that feats are a very good area for designers to find space in which to work in interesting ways.

Pathfinder 2.0 – Equipment – 270 thru 295

Yes, do read this too. It may seem boring at first, but sometimes unusual and interesting equipment can drive designer inventiveness. Consider this, the equipment lists are a sopping list for future wondrous items and magical equipment inventions. Expect to generate a lot of ideas when reading through this section. At 26 pages, it is a perfect size for a single reading session too.

Pathfinder 2.0 – Spells- 296 thru 415

120 pages of spells next. I think here, rather than investigate the by class split and organisation, I will simply estimate 30 pages per reading session. I am expecting a massive number of ideas while reading this, so what I will do is not the page and spell name with the idea. That way I can quickly refresh my thoughts when reviewing my notes.

Pathfinder 2.0 – The Age of Lost Omens – 416 thru 441

A 26 page overview of Golarion at its new point in this products timeline. This again is a good sized single session read and will likely give rise to story thread ideas and encounter ideas during the read of this section.

Pathfinder 2.0 – Playing the Game – 442 thru 481

A very rules heavy section of some 40 pages in length. The obvious thing to do here is a rough split of 2 reading session of 20 pages each. It is this section that will highlight more than any other the arena in which a designer is writing.

Much of what games design does is to take the core of a system and to bend it and twist it in interesting and engaging ways, Often introducing new rules, so it is here we must pay our greatest attention. It is here we will make most of our notes.

Pathfinder 2.0 – Game Mastering – 482 thru 529

This section running to 48 pages will be a 2 session read again for all the same reasons as stated for Playing the Game above. Here, as designers, we will pay particular attention to how much we put onto the game masters shoulders. How much book keeping we are asking them to do with our designs. Copious notes and ideas will come from this section, just like for the Playing the Game section above.

Pathfinder 2.0 – Crafting and Treasure – 530 thru 617

88 pages of magical wonders and rules for creating such. This one is aimed squarely at the game master and the games designer. This I will split over 3 reads, the first 2 being 30 pages and the last being the remaining 28 pages. I fully expect I will be revisiting this section a lot with my design work over the coming months and years.

Pathfinder 2.0 – Conditions, Sheet, Glossaries and Indexes – 618-640

This leaves 3 sections of the book remaining – the conditions summaries, the character sheet, the glossaries and indexes. I recommend reading these to help reinforce the game terms when you first met them in the main reading, and to double check you hadn’t missed any.

Where to next?

You now have two choices at this point – start working on something for the system or continue onto the Bestiary. It is very hard to work on a complete unit that doesn’t include creatures, but you could write some articles for Wayfinder.

For me, I will move onto the Bestiary as a second reading log for this site. Then I will write for Wayfinder to build up my confidence and grasp of this new edition.

The Reading Plan – Session by Session

    1. Week 01
      1. Introduction – 28 pages
      2. Ancestries and Backgrounds – 17 pages
    2. Week 02
      1. Ancestries and Backgrounds – 17 pages
      2. Classes – 02 out of 12 – 27-28 pages approx
    3. Week 03
      1. Classes – 02 out of 12 – 27-28 pages approx
      2. Classes – 02 out of 12 – 27-28 pages approx
    4. Week 04
      1. Classes – 02 out of 12 – 27-28 pages approx
      2. Classes – 02 out of 12 – 27-28 pages approx
    5. Week 05
      1. Classes – 02 out of 12 – 27-28 pages approx
      2. Skills – 22 pages
    6. Week 06
      1. Feats – 16 pages
      2. Equipment – 26 pages
    7. Week 07
      1. Spells – 30 pages
      2. Spells – 30 pages
    8. Week 08
      1. Spells – 30 pages
      2. Spells – 30 pages
    9. Week 09
      1. Age of Lost Omens – 26 pages
      2. Playing the Game – 20 pages
    10. Week 10
      1. Playing the Game – 20 pages
      2. Game Mastering – 24 pages
    11. Week 11
      1. Game Mastering – 24 pages
      2. Crafting and Treasure – 30 pages
    12. Week 12
      1. Crafting and Treasure – 30 pages
      2. Crafting and Treasure – 28 pages
    13. Week 13 – Summaries, Glossaries and Indexes

Coming next

So we have identified our first read is the whole of the Introduction section. I will read this, make commentary and notes and share most of this with you in the next reading blog.

Anthony Adam (Template Fu)
Author: Anthony Adam
Updated: 2019/08/09 11:01

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