Everything You Need to Play the TTRPG Pathfinder 2E
Would you like to know all the basics of the Pathfinder 2e Tabletop RPG games, from combat to roleplaying, and even materials required?
Pathfinder is an awesome TTRPG game that’s complex and varied with a rich setting and rewarding gameplay that players and Game Masters use to tell heroic stories.
You can play as either a Player, or a Game Master.
Each player in a Pathfinder RPG game brings their own character, and through the help of the other players and GM, will go on mind-blowing adventures and epic quests to solve problems, gather mythical treasure, and claim victory over the most deadly and ruthless opponents a fantasy world has to offer.
But what materials do you need to play Pathfinder?
While you don’t *technically* need anything other than the Pathfinder 2e Core Rulebook, you’ll be missing out on the full tabletop board games RPG experience unless you come prepared.
You will need the following:
Full Player Set:
Pathfinder: Second Edition Core Rulebook
Dice (Full polyhedral set will have a D3, D4, D6, D8, D10, D20, D%)
Pen & paper
Talk to your GM to see if you need anything else
Extras required for Game Masters:
GM / DM screen
Grid / Map (That is dry erase and has dry erase markers)
A standalone adventure (This one is an awesome for a large variety of groups)
GM screens are awesome - Don’t skimp if you’re the Game Master.
You could also splurge for Hero’s Lab, although it will double the cost of any book you purchase. It’s designed to help you create characters, and is 100% not required. Only 5% of players use it.
And instead of a standalone adventure, the GM could create their own campaign. Finally, talk to your Game Master what other materials you will need - if any.
3+ Players, 1 of which is the Game Master
3-4 Hours per play session
The Pathfinder community agrees that 3-4 players + 1 Game Master is the best size for a group.
But RPG tabletop games do not have a minimum number of players *technically*. It’s just more fun with 3-5 Players + 1 Game Master than fewer, or more. 5 Players may be a lot for some groups, but much of the community enjoys playing in a 5 player group.
Additionally, play sessions will commonly last between 3-4 hours.
Not all groups will follow this and you could run games with sessions as long as 12 hours or as short as 1!
But the majority of sessions fall within 3-4 hours.
So now that I know what’s required of me, what are the basics of playing Pathfinder?
Well, fortunately you already know the basics because you’ve played video games, watched movies, and listened to stories!
Think of your favorite movie.
Most movies have a main character or two.
For a tabletop RPG like Pathfinder, instead of a main character, you have a main “party” of characters, like a main cast.
The Game Master will play the supporting cast.
Each character (player character, or PC) is critically important. The whole “movie" is built around these characters and whatever their mission, challenge, or “quest” is.
Sometimes their quest might be to save the princess and other times it might be to steal the queen’s diamonds before a rival guild takes possession of the valuable jewels.
Pathfinder is just like a movie.
You tell a story, except it’s live, with other characters and a Game Master.
What does the Game Master do?
Game Masters describe the scene, control the non-player characters, villains, monsters, and help create an overarching story to the Roleplaying game.
You will need a Game Master in your group to play.
While the players play the game, the Game Master presents challenges to the players. It’s the Game Masters job to say what happens when a player decides to take an action.
Players trying to swipe the royal jewels off of the royal guard?
Then the Game Master asks the player to make a check, and then describes the scene.
If the player fails, maybe the GM describes how the player character’s fingers are buttery. If they succeed, maybe the GM describes how the guard, 10 seconds later after the burglary, looks panicked and tears through their own equipment to find the missing jewels.
The Game Master presents challenges to the players, and helps them tell a story, usually through a Standalone Adventure - A story which presents a problem to the players, and the players must solve that problem before the world gets worse.
That’s a Game Master, in a nutshell.
How do I play Pathfinder?
First up, once you have all the materials, a player group, and a Game Master, you will need to create your own character.
Pathfinder gives you the options to make any character you desire - From Jack Sparrow to Raistlin, or any unique combination between like a Cat-folk Burglar
To create your character…
Think of ideas for your character. If you’re having trouble imagining one, use inspiration from other media sources to inspire your character, and try mixing and matching two of your favorite characters into one! For now, don’t think about mechanics - Just build ideas!
Select your characters heritage & ancestry (who you are and where you’re from in the world)
Now time to think about your mechanics. What “role” would you like to play in the game? Want to beat baddies and protect your friends? Shape the world with magic? Sing? Ride a horse? Champion a cause? Good at finding ancient relics?
Select your class (which is like your characters “role” in the game and what special abilities and talents they have access to - Some will cast magic spells, others will bash with weapons.)
Fill out your details… like abilities, personality, and specializations.
And that’s really it!
The Pathfinder 2e Core Rulebook details the creation process in more details, but that’s really it.
Combat is complex and rewarding, so if you want to know more, you’ll have to crack open the book and start reading about the fighting!
What do you do outside of combat?
The world is open to you.
Board games top lists include Pathfinder on them for a huge reason.
Pathfinder is one of the best RPG board games thanks to storytelling. Your character can do an infinite variety of things outside of combat - even inside of combat.
You can go on adventures, fight back the evil in the world, blow up castles with crates of explosives, or even line your pockets with gold and rare treasures.
Ever seen the Hobbit?
A group of Dwarves, seeking to reclaim their homeland, ensnare both a gray wizard and an adventurous hobbit as they quest to rid their mountain kingdom of a vicious dragon.
Much of that adventure will take place out of combat, such as diplomacy with the Elves, or navigation through Mirkwood.
Many of these challenges will be tackled through the rolling of dice, like navigation, but other challenges, like diplomacy, can be handled by either dice and character skills or smooth words from the character.
It's up to you how the world perceives your character.
Because in game, you -are- your character.
Is that all the basics of the RPG Game Pathfinder?
You’re now armed with the materials required to play, an outline of how to create a character, and even the basics on how to play Pathfinder.
Pathfinder remains super popular, and has matured as a game system to be consistently awesome. It’s even on top tabletop games for kids lists, although the game will be much different when playing with a younger audience.
You’ll need Pathfinder miniatures for your game if you’re playing!
Pro Tip: wargame miniatures might be more expensive, but are more detailed, have more variety, and can be used for any character in the game.
Painted miniatures make RPG games much more fun because you can use those mini’s to represent your character and the monsters on the battlefield. Don’t just use dice or unpainted miniatures, you can even get custom miniatures here, so if you ever wanted to create your own character, now’s the time! Miniature painting primer can be found here, used to spray primer for miniatures so that your paint will stick to the mini. Then once you’re ready for painting, grab the best miniature paint set in our collection so you can get started and have an awesome Pathfinder session.
Written by: Gilean Benton