First, let me say, I was skeptical of a second edition because I lived and suffered under the constant development of Basic, 1st Ed and 2nd Ed of Dungeon’s & Dragons. It was an arms race of hard backs and splat books seemingly for no reason other than to drain any and all ‘disposable’ income gamers in the 80s and 90s had to offer.

With the release of 3rd Ed D&D it seemed to get worse with some excellent third party sources that meshed with varying levels of balance. That was about the time pirated PDF files began circulating around the Internet saving tons of $$ and simplifying hauling libraries of expansion and rule books from game to game.

Now, digital libraries are all the rage with troves of every game imaginable available for download for those that idly run a search on the right engine.

Enter Pathfinder 2nd Ed. I purchased the Core Rulebook and Bestiary PDFs directly from Paizo on release. I perused the digital pages and discovered the fundamental differences of the fresh take on a classic system. I bought the ‘deluxe’, physical core rule book to experience the system as the publisher intended. I must say it’s a completely different experience.

From character generation to how magic and gear are presented the entire system seems like an overhaul for the sake of appealing to console and computer gamers. Then, in the second glance of the rule set, it becomes apparent that they wanted to compartmentalize everything into bite sized morsels for ease of consumption.

Character generation isn’t a matter of rolling the dice to generate the core ability scores. It’s a basic point buy system by default but you can still use the dice method if you prefer. Character creation is still a bit cumbersome as your building an alternate ego; a complete persona.

You’re supposed to begin with a character concept. Then generate the ability scores. Those base scores are modified in various ways by the character’s Ancestry, Background and Class.

Ancestry, is a more encompassing term than Race. Each Ancestry still imparts some basic details that helps your character reflect their unique racial heritage. Ancestries establish a baseline for Hit Points, Size, Speed, Ability ‘Boosts’ and ‘Flaws’, languages, traits and other special abilities. Ancestry provides Heritages to reflect variations in the racial types that impact the cosmetics of each sub-race. Finally, Ancestry Feats are earned as the character advances in level. This allows your Ancestry to influence the character’s advancement as much as their Class. No more cookie cutter elves, dwarves or even humans.

Backgrounds, if you’ve ever played 2nd Edition AD&D, are much like Secondary Proficiencies. What did your character do before becoming an adventurer? What skills did they use to earn a living? What kind of lifestyle did they live? You’ll get some bonus Feats and Skills here.

Finally, Class choices are what your character is doing now as an adventurer. Balance between all the classes has always been a hot topic but, after reviewing the system a few times I think Paizo may have managed to reach a reasonable balance.

Martial classes have been top dog since 3rd Ed D&D with access to piles of Feats through advancement and access to combat tactics that none of the other classes could really compete against.

Magic focused classes all suffered from being relegated to support ‘buff bot’ roles to keep the martial classes alive and improve their capabilities. Not playing that role was challenging and, at lower levels, really never worked.

Now, all classes have the capacity to stand on their own more reasonably providing both support and active combat capabilities. The flexibility of Class focused Feats, steady progression of Ancestry Feats and more focus on skills during play allows everyone to play their character like they want instead of being pidgin holed into a single role.

Speaking of Feats, these are not the overwhelming Feats of 3rd Ed simply rehashed. Every Feat has been ‘re-balanced’. Many of the general feats apply skill modifiers instead of arbitrarily boosting a character into nearly superhuman status. More number crunching in several ways but hopefully they keep a reign on how Feats impact game play moving forward.

The role of currency has been adjusted a bit too. Gear is no longer hundreds of coins. Starting currency is a flat 15 gold with which you can comfortably purchase starting gear. I’m guessing some one finally ran the numbers on carrying large sacks of coin and figured out how impractical it was.

Magic, as a system is always complex for a player or GM to account for effects and impact on game play. PF2E handles spell progression allowing spells to grow with the caster as appropriate. In previous editions of D&D and PF, for instance, Magic Missile projects bolt of force at an opponent for 1d4+1 damage. The caster gains an extra missile every two levels to a maximum of five missiles.

In PF2E, with their new action system you can cast one extra bolt for every action you spend for a total of 3 in a single round. In addition you can cast the 1st level spell as a 3rd level spell and gain on extra missile. This progression continues but the level of the spell increases by two for each additional missile. The only limitation being the level of spell you can cast.

A further example, Fireball, traditionally inflicts 1d6 of damage per caster level to a maximum of 10d6. Now, as a 3rd level spell, it inflicts 6d6 of damage but can be increased by 2d6 by increasing the level of the spell by one. So, a 17th level Wizard could cast a Fireball that inflicts a total of 18d6 damage as a 9th level spell.

Beyond the impact of damage from spells, D&D and PF have both been struggling with legacy spells and effects. It feels like Paizo actually walked through the list of spells and carefully considered some of the arbitrary limitations that have been propagated since 3rd Edition.

Spell duration was one of the seemingly broken things we repeatedly encountered over the last decade. Mage Armor, for example, used to be 1 hour per character level and provided a spell caster or another touched creature with a +4 bonus to armor class. PF2E took the spell, eliminated the option for use on another creature and provided scaling to keep it on par with what a Fighter might have access to at a similar level.

Now Mage Armor provides a +1 Item Bonus to AC with a maximum Dexterity modifier of +5. Heightened to a 4th level spell provides saving throws with a +1 item bonus. At 6th level the AC bonus increases to +2 and retain the +1 to saving throws. In addition, the spell remain in effect till the next day when you prepare spells.

Overall, Pathfinder 2nd Edition is not just a rehash of the overgrown 3rd Edition D&D Open Game License rules. It stands on it’s own as a definite growth and re-balance that table top gaming has been looking for since Hasbro bought WotC.

This is not going to be a simple adaptation for us older gamers. It’s a new and complex system requiring patience and some unlearning of old habits. I plan on using the new system during my next turn at the GM seat when we cycle back to Fantasy. Meanwhile, I’ve got some studying to do.

Currently enjoying a pathfinder based game in our game master’s home-brew setting. This is my character’s background story. Yes, I’m role playing a female. It’s good to shake things up on occasion.

I pulled the portrait from DeviantArt somewhere linked from Pinterest. A slight adjustment on the eye color made it fit.

Born deep in a swamp to a mother that she would not know, a young child was left on the doorstep of a trapper shack at the edge of the foul waters.

Discovered by the trapper’s wife Miramel, the child was immediately taken in and welcomed, until her husband, Bedyval, returned home.

This orphaned child was a beauty to behold, unnaturally so it seemed to the trapper. Dark hair, fair skin and differently colored eyes, gold and blue, marked the child as something more than human. Not a bright man Bedyval was superstitious enough to believe the child harbored some dark secrets in her origin. He delivered the infant to a local orphanage run by an elderly elven matron.

Ainare was an elder among her people but she was far from the nearest elvish settlement. Some speculated that she had been cast out for un-elf-like behavior others whispered that she was in self-exile over a lost love. Whatever her circumstances, she established an orphanage and cared for many children throughout her long life.

When Ainare met the small, beautiful infant she inquired about a name for the child from Bedyval. He replied over his shoulder as he left that his wife had taken to calling her Beatrix.

Ainare knew this child was unlike most of the orphans in her care and as Beatrix grew it became more apparent. She took to learning very quickly mastering several languages by her eighth Summer.

Around this time Beatrix began to manifest other strange traits besides the oddly colored eyes. Once in defending herself from a bully she wounded the larger child with razor sharp claws. She also discovered that she had no need for a light source at night seeing just as clearly in light or dark.

What Beatrix possessed in intellect and beauty, however, she lacked in wisdom and self-control. Beatrix rarely interacted with the other children unless she was manipulating them into some sort of mischief on her behalf or for her amusement. Ainare quickly learned that if Beatrix was watching another child get scolded it was likely that she had a hand in the trouble.

On her twelfth summer Beatrix made a new friend, a strange raven. She suddenly learned the guttural language of goblins and spent hours conversing with the Raven. They wandered the local wilderness seeking out odd herbs and other strange items. By Beatrix’s fourteenth summer it was apparent to Ainare that she had been learning arcane arts from the Raven.

Aghast at such a development the matron demanded that Beatrix send the raven away and return to more ladylike studies as she was fast approaching becoming an adult. Refusing, Beatrix left in the darkest night traveling with her raven companion to the nearest city.

A beautiful young girl in a large city with no money has few options to survive. With guidance from her raven Beatrix arrived on the doorstep of a Temple of Calistra. The sisters immediately took the girl in and tutored her in the many ways of the savored sting. Beatrix flourished in the newly discovered sisterhood. Once ready to be formally accepted into the church she took a new name, Manx Darkthorn.

Now seventeen summers have passed and Manx has discovered her talents and innate abilities have grown, but a strange dream haunts her sleep. A voice emanating from a dark, foggy swamp beckons to her. She feels a familiarity within this voice but it also triggers warnings and occasionally, panic. Could this be the source of her strange abilities?

I’m playing a Human Bloodrager in our current game. It’s essentially a Sorcerer mixed with a Barbarian. All the Rage powers are enhanced with Sorcerous bloodline magic. I selected the draconic bloodline so when I activate the Rage feature my character manifests some cool dragon stuff like claws and breath weapons.

We’ve reached 9th level and I’ve been looking for a prestige class option to move forward. A prestige class is really just supposed to solidify your character’s role in the party and help you build the character’s story. The problem is that the core prestige classes were all created long before the existence of the Bloodrager class and there’s really no other options that mesh with it online or otherwise.

In my case, because i chose the draconic bloodline, the Dragon Disciple looked promising but it was geared solely toward sorcerers. Here is my first pass at creating a more universal draconic prestige class for the Pathfinder campaign setting.

Draconic Scion


Savage ancestry can empower greatness in those that embrace it. Draconic blood mingled with that of mere mortals provides a pathway to evolution into something greater and more powerful. Living in the savage frontiers and untamed wilds barbarian tribes produce some of the most fierce and powerful warriors known. Those with the blood of dragons often rise to become powerful leaders.


Draconic Scions seek to empower their draconic heritage in the quest to evolve past their mortal shell or defend their tribe or clan. A scion continues to evolve toward true dragon status by embracing and enhancing their existing bloodline. This empowerment alters them physically and provides a spark of longevity found in their draconic ancestor.


A Draconic Scion’s alignment tends toward their draconic influence but because they started the journey a mere mortal their path is their own. Tendencies toward law and chaos are strongly influenced. Good or evil depends wholly on the Scion’s background and life experiences.

Hit Die

Scions benefit from their heritage and use a d12 to bolster their hit point total.


  • Class Feature: Draconic Bloodline, Draconic Rage Powers. Bloodragers, Sorcerers, Skalds and Barbarians often embrace their ancestry to become Draconic Scions.
  • Race: Any non-dragon.
  • Skills: Knowledge (Arcana) 9 ranks
  • Language: Draconic

Class Skills

Appraise, Diplomacy, Bluff, Fly, Intimidate, Knowledge (Arcana, Geography, History & Nature), Perception, Sense Motive and Spellcraft.

Ranks per level: 6 + Int modifier per level.

Table: Draconic Scion

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special Spells per Day
1st 0 1 0 1 Blood of Dragons, Draconic Evolution
2nd 1 1 1 1 Bloodline Feat, Draconic Evolution +1 existing spellcasting class
3rd 2 2 1 2 Draconic Evolution +1 existing spellcasting class
4th 3 2 1 2 Draconic Evolution +1 existing spellcasting class
5th 3 3 2 3 Bloodline Feat, Draconic Evolution
6th 4 3 2 3 Draconic Evolution +1 existing spellcasting class
7th 5 4 2 4 Draconic Evolution , Dragon From (1/day) +1 existing spellcasting class
8th 6 4 3 4 Bloodline Feat, Draconic Evolution +1 existing spellcasting class
9th 6 5 3 5 Draconic Evolution
10th 7 5 3 5 Draconic Aging, Draconic Evolution, Dragon From (2/day) +1 existing spellcasting class

Class Features

Weapon & Armor Proficiency

Draconic scions gain no additional weapon or armor proficiencies.

Spells per Day

At the indicated levels, a draconic scion gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in a spellcasting class to which he belonged before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain other benefits a character of that class would have gained, except for additional spells per day, spells known (if he is a spontaneous spellcaster), and an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a draconic scion, he must decide to which class he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.

Non-spellcasting draconic scions do not gain spells or spellcasting abilities.

Blood of Dragons

A draconic scion adds his level to his qualifying class levels when determining the powers gained from his bloodline/rage power.

If the draconic scion does not have levels of bloodrager/sorcerer/skald/barbarian, he instead gains bloodline powers of the draconic bloodline using the draconic scion level as his level to determine the bonuses gained.

If not already determined, the character must choose a dragon type upon gaining his first level in this class. If a dragon type has already been selected then draconic scion uses the existing selection.

This ability does not grant bonus spells to a spellcasting class unless they possess spell slots of an appropriate level. Such bonus spells are automatically granted if they gain spell slots of the spell’s level. Non-spellcasting draconic scions do not gain spells or spellcasting abilities.

Bloodline Feat

Upon reaching 2nd level, and every three levels thereafter, a draconic scion receives one bonus feat, chosen from the draconic bloodline’s bonus feat list.

Draconic Evolution

As a Draconic Scion advances, the power flowing from their dragon heritage becomes more prevalent. Each level a Draconic Scion can select a single evolutionary gift. Most gifts can be taken multiple times providing increased effects as noted in their description.

  • Natural Armor Increase (Ex)
    As his skin thickens, a draconic scion takes on more and more of his progenitor’s physical aspect. A draconic scion gains an increase to the character’s existing natural armor (if any). This gift can be taken up to three times. These armor bonuses stack. The draconic scion’s skin becomes covered with scales colored like their Bloodline dragon type.
  • Ability Boost (Ex)
    As a draconic scion gains levels, his ability scores increase. These increases stack and are gained as if through level advancement. This gift can be taken up to 4 times granting a +2 bonus each time. No single ability score can receive more than a single increase.
  • Dragon Bite (Ex)
    Whenever the draconic scion uses his bloodline to grow claws, he also gains a bite attack. This is a primary, natural attack that deals 1d6 points of damage (1d4 if the draconic scion is Small), plus 1–1/2 times the draconic scion’s Strength modifier. Selecting this gift a second time bestows an additional 1d6 points of energy damage. The type of energy damage dealt is determined by the draconic scion’s bloodline.
  • Breath Weapon (Su)
    A draconic scion gains the breath weapon bloodline power, even if his level does not yet grant that power. Once his level is high enough to grant this ability through the bloodline, the draconic scion gains an additional use of his breath weapon each day. The type and shape of the breath weapon depends on the type of dragon selected by the draconic scion, as detailed under the Draconic sorcerer bloodline description. Taking this gift multiple times increases the number of times the breath weapon can be used each day.
  • Darkvision (Ex)
    The draconic scion gains darkvision with a range of 30 feet. Selecting this gift a second time increases the range of this ability to 60 feet.
  • Blindsense (Ex)
    The draconic scion gains blindsense with a range of 30 feet. Selecting this gift a second time increases the range of this ability to 60 feet.
  • Wings (Su)
    The draconic scion gains the wings bloodline power, even if his level does not yet grant that power. Selection of this gift a second time either increases maneuverability to good (+4) or increases flight speed to 90 feet.

Dragon Form (Sp)

At 7th level, a draconic scion can assume the form of a dragon. This ability works like form of the dragon I. At 10th level, this ability functions as form of the dragon II and the draconic scion can use this ability twice per day. The caster level for this effect is equal to his effective spell casting levels for his draconic bloodline. Whenever he casts form of the dragon, he must assume the form of a dragon of the same type as his bloodline.

Draconic Aging (Su)

At 10th level a Draconic Scion ceases to age like a normal member of their native race. Their natural age categories are doubled for calculating age effects. Refer to Table 7-2: Aging Effects found on page 169 of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook.

Droskars_CrucibleOnward to Droskar’s Crucible to find the last ingredient.

After an uneventful half day’s travel through the forest our heroes top a wooded hill and get their first look at the deteriorated structure. Being mid day they decide to explore the ruins before nightfall. They begin with the single intact tower accessible through the courtyard. After several attempts they force the swollen door from its hinges and gain access. While poking around they draw the attention of a giant spider living in the dense webs above. A battle ensues but they dispatch the creature with little trouble.

Then, it’s a choice of two doors. One, a double door, is obviously the main entrance to the ruined halls. The second appears to be a service or side entrance. Our intrepid adventurers decide to split up. Amber takes the double doors and Jayd enters the single side door.

Upon entering the side door Jayd has to adjust to the sudden murky light and then moves down the hall. A closed door appears on her right. She tries to open it quietly to no avail.

On entering the large main entrance Amber finds herself at a cross hall. She decides to go right, a noise draws her attention as she nears a corner. Sounds like someone fiddling with a door. There in the dark hall is Jayd still working on getting her door open. Amber approaches and makes short work of the old door. They enter what appears to have been an armory that has long since been looted. A quick search of the room provides two discoveries. Amber finds three well made cross bow bolts. Jayd discovers a secret door.

They ready themselves and open the secret door. A short hall full of dust and cobwebs appears to have been long forgotten. As they proceed down the hall it appears to have been a prison. Piles of bones lay scattered in the first three cells. As they peek into the last cell they hear the bones moving and three dwarven skeletons attack. After a heated battle our adventurers are victorious but wounded. Having grown late in the day they decide to close the strong armory door and the secret door to rest for the night and recover. In the last cell is another skeleton laying peacefully on the bunk. On its hand is a ring and within it’s chest cavity grows several ironbloom mushrooms!

Their quest complete the duo emerge after their nights rest to explore the ruins further. The first door just down the hall has something moving behind the mostly closed door. Jayd alerts the creatures in the room to their presence when the door creaks. Two wolves stop gnawing on a carcass and turn to attack the rogues. Thinking quickly Amber pulls the door closed and they run through the main doors hoping to escape. The wolves manage to get the door open and catch up to them in the courtyard. A pitched battle ensues, Jayd is rendered unconscious and Amber is fading when a crossbow bolt hits one of the wolves and a flaming projectile catches the other one. The wolves turn to deal with the new threat while Amber looks to aid her sister.

A moment later a ray of light strikes Jayd and she awakens ready for combat again. The battle moves outside the walls where a gnome warrior and halfling spellcaster have engaged the wolves. Soon the first wolf falls and the second flees. The new arrivals introduce themselves as Odis and Kyra. They were sent by Laurel to find the girls or return with the ingredients. Happily, they have achieved both goals.

Upon returning to Falcon’s Hollow the ingredients are quickly combined to provide a cure for the blackscour infection.

TatzelwyrmAs many may know, Pathfinder adventures are created for parties of four characters of the same-ish level to experience. We began our session with two, first level characters.

They decided to generated human, female, rogues so I walked each of them through the generation process; abilities, skills, proficiencies, armor, initiative and weapons. We ended up with Amber, the elder sister, and Jayd, two years younger. The ability dice were generous to one and brutal to the other so I massaged the scores to better round them out. I also generated three non-player characters to throw into the mix as needed (a halfling cleric, a gnome ranger and half elf sorcerer).

Here’s the backstory.

You’re half sisters, same father, different mothers. You lived in the city of Olfden till your father sent you to live with his sister in Falcon’s Hollow. You’re not sure about the reason but he said you’d be safe there. Your aunt is a seamstress and her husband works as a lumberjack for the Consortium. You help her with her business and her children.

Recently people began getting sick. The source of the illness was found to be a well tainted with blackscour fungus. Many recover from the resulting illness but the very young and very old are having a hard time. The only relief is various herbal combinations found at the only shop in Falcon’s Hollow.

Your aunt develops the illness, her husband returns to help care for her. You’re sent to Laurel, the Herbalist, for a packet of soothing herbs.

Having never role played in their life I tried to coax a little character out of them mostly to no avail, they seem to think it’s a narrative. After meandering through the conversation with Laurel they were off to find the contact at the logging camp. They approached the camp boss and asked where they could find Milon. The conversation was a bit awkward but he eventually pointed them in the right direction. Speaking with Milon was a little less awkward so they received their points of interest and ventured toward the deep dark woods.

Up first was the Bait encounter. Neither saw the archer in the tree, Jayd was struck by an arrow. Amber returned fire and managed to hit their attacker. Jayd used her spear and managed to hit the Razorcrow. Per the encounter’s engagement terms, the fight was over. The mysterious archer retreated deeper into the woods. They rescued the fox and Amber is carrying it along nursing it back to health. They camped and recuperated a little.

Next up was the Elderwood Moss. Reaching the clearing Amber ran for the tree to climb it. Jayd opted to look for the moss. A Tatzyl Wyrm pounced from the tree and attacked Amber. The battle was fierce, both took damage but finally overcame the beast. Moss in the bag they made camp and rested up till morning.

Another clearing and a creepy cottage. Where oh where did that witch put the rat tail roots? As they start rummaging through the shelves looking for their goal Amber is surprised by the cauldron trying to eat her. The cauldron resisted most of their damage being made of metal but between Jayd’s spear and Amber’s dagger they defeated the animated cook pot. Having defeated the guardian they took time to really rummage through the cottage discovering not only the Rat Tail roots but two minor healing potions and some other goods worth selling.

The last ingredient is on the northern edge of the forest in the ruined Dwarven Monestary. Ironbloom mushrooms are a rare delicacy for dwarves but the current inhabitants of the structure won’t appreciate a couple of humans rooting around.

Overall, a good two hour session of learning the rules and mechanics. There might be hope yet.

Till next session…