Pathfinder publisher Paizo has announced plans to remaster the fantasy RPG’s second-edition rulebooks as its latest step in breaking away from the Dungeons & Dragons OGL.
The Pathfinder Second Edition Remaster Project will include revised versions of four core rulebooks - the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, Gamemastery Guide, Bestiary and Advanced Player’s Guide - which effectively serve as the game’s entry point for GMs and players.
The older books’ current print runs will be their last before being replaced with the new ‘Core’ books: Pathfinder Player Core, Pathfinder GM Core, Pathfinder Monster Core and Pathfinder Player Core 2, respectively.
The remastered rulebooks will notably mark Pathfinder 2E’s transition to Paizo’s Open RPG Creative licence, announced earlier this year as an open-source alternative to D&D’s Open Game License - on which Pathfinder was originally built - in the wake of widespread industry and player backlash to Wizards of the Coast’s plans to change the OGL.
The controversial plans were later reversed amidst a messy U-turn and apology by the D&D giant - which resulted in D&D’s core rules being released under a Creative Commons licence - but have nevertheless seen RPG makers including Paizo, Call of Cthulhu publisher Chaosium and The One Ring studio Free League split from the OGL.
Paizo confirmed that the move to its own ORC would see “a few minor modifications to the Pathfinder Second Edition system” in the remastered rulebooks, including the removal of moral alignment and creatures, spells and magical items adopted from the OGL, but reassured players that the rules would remain otherwise untouched and fully compatible with Pathfinder’s existing second-edition books.
“Outside of a few minor changes in terminology, the changes are not anywhere substantive enough to be considered a new edition,” the publisher explained in a blog post. “This is a remastered version of the original, not a new version altogether.
“A pre-Remaster stat block, spell, monster, or adventure should work with the remastered rules without any problems.”
As well as the post-OGL rules tweaks, the remastered rulebooks will take into account gameplay updates and errata released for Pathfinder 2E in the four years since the RPG’s latest edition launched. This will include some elements from supplements released after the original core books.
The remasters will also rearrange the existing rules in an effort to make learning how to play Pathfinder easier for newcomers. Paizo’s announcement noted that “this year saw a huge explosion of new Pathfinder players”, following the news that the RPG sold through months’ worth of books in two weeks after the OGL backlash.
Improvements will include collating rules for each playable class in the single Player Core book rather than requiring players to jump between the Core Rulebook and the Advanced Player’s Guide. The books’ presentation will similarly be “streamlined” based on feedback from current players.
The first two hardback rulebooks, the Player Core and GM Core, will be released in November. The Monster Core will follow next March, with a second Player Core tome releasing in July 2024. Special and pocket editions of the physical rulebooks will also be released.
Paizo confirmed that its other planned releases for Pathfinder 2E - including its monthly Adventure Path scenarios and Pathfinder Society campaigns - would not be affected by the release of the revised rulebooks, and existing content not included in the remastered books would not be removed.
While no additional remastered books have been announced, the publisher added that it was “very likely” that Pathfinder’s other bestiaries would receive a similar treatment in the future.
As for Pathfinder’s spin-off Starfinder, Paizo simply said that the remastered changes would “not yet” affect the sci-fi RPG.