With GenCon this weekend comes the release of an amazing amount of new content that is about to hit your sessions of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. How best to address the flood of arcanists, slayers, shadow warriors and warpriests about to explode into filled out character sheets?
Incorporating New Content in an Ongoing Game
Assess the Need – It may be you don’t have a strong need for implementing the new content. Maybe you are planning on saying a flat no to this year’s biggest crunch book or maybe a casual survey indicates your group won’t be using it this campaign. Great, now you can mount up your unicorns and ride off to your rainbow castle. But seriously, no group I have ever played in has not had at least one player interested in new content. If you are lucky enough to have such a group save yourself the time.
Support the Story – Maybe the new changes or elements fit in with your story. The magical plague the party has been struggling to cure rips through the barbarian tribes and ignites their bloodlines converting a number of them to bloodragers. An ancient tome reveals the secrets of arcane exploitation native to the arcanists.
Add-a-clysm – Sometimes a large addition of new content requires a story of its own. Invasion, planar conjunction, mass resurrection, and large-scale psychic events are all possible lead-ins for massive mechanical injections into your campaign. Lost continents return from mystic exile only to find their warpriests are unheard of. Dead expert investigators are called from death to solve an impossible case. Don’t be afraid to go big budget here, especially if the mechanics will help your game.
“Him? He’s been coming here for years…” – A simple yet effective way to introduce new content is to present it in a manner as if it is already known and existing but simply out of the player characters realm of experience. This allows higher level and plot relevant NPCs to be introduced regardless of previous campaign progress. This is also the default approach of the core campaign setting.
Applying New Content – An Example
Bloodragers are a natural fit to the Imar barbarians subject to the distant emanations of the Shards. Shamans are much the same. Hunters, Slayers and Brawlers are likely Imar that have formalized their training, with a few Hunters in the Stonewrath as well.
Skalds, swashbucklers and investigators join our romantic rogues. Some Slayers are likely in the Innocent and make great foils to our rogues.
Arcanists and Warpriests present greater challenges as that we have significantly altered the presence of their parent classes. Cleric scarcity can be shifted to Warpriest with relative ease. Arcanists on the other hand are probably tied to our God of Secrets. We will make a small rebel element attached to our magus group.
Other new releases recently include Rogue Genius Games Shadow Warrior. A full base attack bonus cousin of their Shadow Assassin class. Being reminded Shadow Assassin makes me think that both the new class and its predecessor both the medically match the warrior ideal I am presenting for Crimson . With them both drawing strength from the Shadow Plane they make a lot of sense as related to the fetchling presence in the Endamon setting.
New elements never need to be stressful with solid approaches to world-building. A flexible and adaptive approach to game design will facilitate change no matter how often it comes or how far you are into your story.