Playtests, People, and Pathfinder

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
As you may have already read, our little group of friends has been actively involved in play-testing the new Pathfinder 3pp (or 3rd Party Publisher) material being crafted by the mad wizards over at Dreamscarred Press. Specifically, the classes for their new Path of War product which takes the material from the old Dungeons and Dragons v3.5 book Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords and brings it into the current Pathfinder setting with a few updates and new twists on it.

We decided to conduct one of our play-test sessions by running the module "The Ruby Phoenix Tournament," a module for 11th level characters set in an Asian themed martial arts tournament. We play-tested both of the new classes currently available from Dreamscarred, the Warlord, and the Stalker. (To read some of our running commentary on the progression of these classes, check out the Paizo forum thread here.) We ran them side-by-side with some of the classes from the Pathfinder main product line, the Ninja, the Cleric, and the Bard. We had a blast. 

The new Dreamscarred classes brought a new dynamic to the game, and meshed extremely well with the other party members. We had the added incentive of the new classes allowing our party members to explore some mechanics of the game that our group normally doesn't dive into. Disarms and Dirty Tricks were suddenly a staple of the game. My friend Steve (the founder and most prolific contributor on this blog) has been in love with the new Warlord class since about five minutes into the game, loving how he's always got something to do and how he generally makes everyone else better while doing it. Our friend Cody fell so in love with the Stalker class that he's begun contemplating various methods of quietly removing his current character in our normal gaming session so his new flame can take its place. While I can't condone the suicide-by-proxy of a party member in our game, I'll admit that playing a teleporting critical hit machine has a certain undeniable appeal to it.

One of the big things about this play-test hasn't just been that it's an awesome opportunity to play around with cool new mechanics and classes, it's been that we've got to actively watch the classes grow and change in response to the input of ourselves and others. This is a really cool evolution, and the fact that we've gotten to be part of it is one of the reasons that Pathfinder and its 3rd Party Publishers have been so successful. 

A game that everybody likes is cool. A game that everyone likes, and that the fan base helped directly build, is amazing. That's what Dreamscarred is giving to us now and what Paizo has been giving their fans via their Pathfinder core line ever since its inception. A game that the players own, a game that grows and evolves as a direct result of the player's influence and insights. If you like RPG's and tabletop games, if you're a fantasy fan and you've never seen Pathfinder, check it out. It's amazing. And once you've gotten to know Paizo and their game, get to know all of the other companies who help grow and evolve this game, guys like Dreamscarred Press, Abandoned Arts, Little Red Goblin Games, and more. They're pretty amazing too.