A Beginner’s Guide to Playing Pathfinder Tabletop RPG

If you’re into tabletop gaming, eventually you’re going to come across the name Pathfinder.  It’s just unavoidable in the RPG gaming world.

Once you hear about it you might be wondering what exactly it is?   How do I  get started?  The goal of this article is to give you a starting point on your adventure.

I think the best way to think about Pathfinder is a streamlined Dungeons and Dragons. It’s got a lot of flexibility in it, and a lot of Adventures (pre-made stories to play through).

In this article, we explain the differences between Pathfinder and D&D.

Today, I’ll tell you what it is, why you should start playing it, and how you can get started right away.  So let’s start with a quick summary of how to start.

  1.  Check out some podcasts and videos if you’re unsure about the game in general.  Some good examples include:
    1. Glass Cannon Podcast
    2. How to start video on Youtube
    3. Another starter video on Youtube
  2. Have a look at this site and sift through the various races and classes.
  3. Watch some actual gameplay. This Youtube video is great.

If you’re sold on the game, the next step is the Pathfinder Beginners Box

This Beginner Box has everything you need to get rolling (ha, see what I did there?  Like dice?).  You get 3 books, a set of 7 dice, 80 “pawns” which are cardboard representations of various characters and monsters, plus some pre-generated heroes and blank hero sheets.  Oh, AND a game mat to play on.  So with this set, you’re ready to go.

Ok, so you know where to start now.  Let’s talk a bit more about the game.

What is Pathfinder?

Pathfinder is a popular, tabletop role-playing game by Paizo Publishing, which was originally a branch of Wizards of the Coast. It came out as an offshoot of Dungeons and Dragons.

While its stage was first set in a fantasy world very similar to the Lord of the Rings, it started incorporating alternative settings, including science fiction and horror over time.

That being said, the main idea of the game remains the same: a group of gamers cooperating and competing with each other in a game that’s all about creating strategies, role-playing, and using imagination.

Most of the Pathfinder adventures take place in a fantasyland called Golarion where untold stories can unfold to create excitement.

Various Character Options

The Pathfinder Tabletop RPG games consist of a dungeon master who has a command over the story as well as the rules along with one or more players who control the characters in the story.

Aside from official products and third-party characters, you’re free to make any character you can think or dream of. For a Jedi, you can simply add a few levels of psion or psionic warrior to a few levels of monk or fighter.

If you’re someone who enjoys playing a game with an anime or Japanese mythology theme, you can create an East Asian fantasy creature or play with a ninja. Apart from this, you can play with a wizard, cleric, rogue, or archetypical fighter.

And guess what? You can enjoy all these character options free. So, even if you’re on a low budget right now, you don’t have to miss out on the fun!

What Type of Gamers is Pathfinder Perfect for?

Considering the wide range of products offered by Pathfinder, it’s suitable for almost all types of gamers!

Generally, you’ll enjoy this game the most if you have the following play styles:

Tactical Combat

Pathfinder comes with its own range of pre-painted miniatures for you to use as a part of your role-playing game.

The combat rules of this game involve making a lot of tactical choices and decisions. This means you need to know where each member of yours and your competitor’s army is before you decide to make a move.

Is the orc warleader close enough to shoot with your longbow or is he hiding behind the boulders?

Character Customization

If you’ve ever heard a group of Pathfinder lovers talking about the game, you might have realized that most of them love custom-creating different characters for RPGs, even more so than they like playing with them.

With a great game like Pathfinder, you have so many knobs to tweak to create a hero of your own choice – trust me when I say that character customization in this game is like a separate game on its own!

Heroic Fantasy

The fantasy world of Golarian where all Pathfinder adventures are set is a land of high fantasy reminiscent of Tolkien’s Middle Earth and Howard’s Hyboria.

Besides this, there are several other adventure sites in the form of steamy jungles, crashed space cruisers, prehistoric tundras, and the post World War I streets of Russia.

What Makes Pathfinder Tabletop RPG So Unique

The simplest answer to ‘what sets Pathfinder apart’ is its adventures.

It doesn’t matter which game style you think you have, chances are that you’ll enjoy playing in these adventure paths.

Pirates

Are you a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ fan?

Skull and Shackles is an adventure path that gives you a chance to play an adventurous game of heroic piracy!

High Fantasy

The fantasy classic ‘Rise of the Runelords’ features everything you can want in a fantasy game – an ancient evil unbound, lost empires, sinister priests, and redneck ogres.

Science Fiction

If you’re interested in science fiction, you’ll have some serious fun playing with spacecraft and uncovering the secrets of the Iron Gods on the land of Golarion.

Wuxia

If you’re more into East Asian-inspired fantasy games, the Jade Regent adventure path is ideal for you. This setting is nestled in the land of Tian Xia far away from Galorion itself. The lost ruler of an ancient Dragon Empire must rise to the throne.

Cthulhu

Play in the adventure path of Strange Aeons and find out if the Great Old Ones really did return to Golarion.

Playing Pathfinder Tabletop RPG: Getting Your Concepts Cleared

I’ll be honest with you, the rules of this game might seem complex and intimidating at first but the key is to shake that thought away.

The game itself is quite simple and easy, revolving around two basic concepts. These are:

Acting

To begin with, you must keep in mind that Pathfinder is a ‘role-playing’ game and not a ‘roll playing’ game.

The favorite part of most gamers is the invention of new characters with dynamic, complex personalities and then impersonating those characters. This part of the game is exciting, simple, and difficult at the same time.

Although you don’t have to memorize the list of complex rules, you should be able to mark a clear line between what you know as a person and what your character knows and how it behaves. Now, this might sound like a very easy thing to do but when you actually come down to doing it, it may be a bit challenging.

Action

The action part is where the rules and the dice come into play!

Once you start playing Pathfinder, you’ll note that you’re spending most of your time roaming around in towns and the countryside, conversing with non-player characters (NPCs), and generally experiencing the story unfold around your character.

However, there will be times when you have to act. Now, whenever you take an action, you’ll probably need to roll the dice to see if it was successful. The dungeon master controls whether or not a dice roll is successful.

How to Get Started

The easiest and perhaps the best way to learn to play Pathfinder Tabletop RPG is by finding a group of gamers who already play the game.

Thankfully, the role-playing community is very open and inclusive. Players leave or drop out of the groups all the time and so, there often is a need to add new members to the group.

In case your luck fails to find you an established Pathfinder group, you can even start learning the game with a group of friends using the Pathfinder Beginner Box.

Features of the Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Beginner Box

Buy on Amazon

The Pathfinder Beginner Box is a great way to take your first step into the adventurous world of fantasy. It comes with a set of simple rules to help you create and customize your own character.

It also features a robust system to take your character to different adventure paths and deadly battles against mighty monsters and villains like dragons and goblins.

You can make the game as interesting as your imagination allows you to!

Please note that this beginner box is only designed as the introduction of the game so you’ll eventually need to move on to the core rules of the game. This box will teach you all the basics at a very affordable rate – I’d recommend you buy it.

This beginner’s kit includes a 64-page Hero’s Handbook, which not only teaches how to create a character but also offers a solo adventure to teach you the basics.

You’ll also get your hands on a 96-page Game Master’s Guide that features a stripped-down version of the game rules, a small adventure with tips to become a game master. It also entails some details about the monsters encountered during the adventure.

In addition to this, the box also contains a 16-page transition guide to make your hero adventure-ready.

These three guidebooks help both single learners and the entire group to learn the Pathfinder game.

The kit also has a set of (7) high-impact polyhedral dice, 80+ full-color pawns signifying several heroes, monsters, and dragons, as well as (4) pre-generated character sheets to help you get started with the action!

Now, it isn’t absolutely necessary to learn the game with Pathfinder Beginner Box. You can surely jump directly to the core rules and take help from YouTube videos but if you don’t have much experience with role-playing games, the beginner’s box will certainly be a worthwhile investment.

Once you get a hang of the game, you can then move on to buying the Pathfinder Core Rulebook.

Well, Ready to Play?

So, are you ready to explore Golarion as a one-man army or with a group of gamer friends?

I’d love to hear exciting Pathfinder Tabletop RPG stories of your adventures! Share them in the comments below.

Last update on 2020-11-25 at 05:28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API