Paizo has released an astounding 28 core and supplemental books during Pathfinder’s nearly ten year lifespan. You got your Bestiaries, your Codices, your Core Rulebook, your GameMastery Guide, Advanced this, Ultimate that, and even pocket-sized versions of a handful of the same.
Its a lot.
28 books is a whole bunch to own (Can anyone out there reading this make that claim? If so, drop in to our Character Sheets Facebook Group, share a pic of that beautiful collection, and draw our envy!), and it feels like even more to review. If we’re being honest with ourselves: Sometimes we buy them and end up mostly just admiring their spines as they stare back at us from the now sagging bookshelf (28 books weighs a lot).
While we’ve not reviewed anywhere near all of them, we’ve covered quite a few. Below you’ll find a short description of each we’ve covered with a hyperlink to the full review should you wish to dig a little deeper! In addition to the usual…um…additions of things like new races, classes, gear, and rules, the following books offer some distinct flavor to the Pathfinder system and settings. While not every book will appeal to you as a player or GM, there’s bound to be one in the 28 that has exactly what you’re looking for; or perhaps something amazing that you’re totally not looking for but will absolutely love.
Pathfinder Book Review Round Up
1. Ultimate Wilderness. You’ll find a whole mess of neat rules and mechanics for camp craft and other wilderness navigation and survival skills. New woodsy gear, magic, and animal companions are also included in this supplement. Definitely a boon to Rangers, Druids, and Alchemists.
2. Bestiary 6. Six. Six. Its never been done before! Paizo brought their usual A-game to the monster roster, and this time they turned them up to 11. Or perhaps more appropriately, they turned them all the way up to 30. Boasting the highest CRs to date and averaging beasties with a CR of 12, your higher level PCs will find all the challenge they can handle plus some in this book. No more whining about a lack of challenge at higher levels. The archdevils laugh at your puny level 20 PCs.
3. Pocket Editions of the Bestiary and Core Rulebook. The folks at Paizo borrowed Rick Moranis’s shrink ray and blasted a few of their books with it. Amazingly, there is absolutely no quality lost in the shrinking process. And the best part of the Pocket Editions is the fact that its never been cheaper to expand your Pathfinder book library.
4. Horror Adventures. Find one of those 3-hour long spooky sounds compilations on Youtube, turn out all the lights, pull a blanket over your head, and read this book with a flashlight to send chills running down the spines of your party at your next session. Offering more gear, ghoulies, player options, and spooky mechanics (like Corruption), Horror Adventures might not be for everyone, but for those who love themselves a good fright or a macabre twist, this hits the spot.
5. Pathfinder Unchained. Why wait for Pathfinder 2.0 to shake up the rules of your favorite system a bit? Unchained offers all sorts of new methods and means for everything from classes to skills, mechanics, spells and more. Rather than providing new options to supplement the core rules, it offers up alternatives.
6. Mythic Adventures and Occult Adventures. Mythic Adventures gives you another amazing way to level up your character. It walks you through how to make your PCs into true legends; even approaching the realm of gods. Occult Adventures adds a third magic (psychic magic) to the system alongside arcane and divine. Mysterious and unusual encounters await!
7. The GameMastery Guide. The folks at Paizo provided a clinic in the form of a book on how to hone your skills as a GM. And it covers so much more than rules. While it isn’t necessary to run an AP or home-brewed campaign, you will 100% find that this guide will prove beneficial.
8. Advanced Race Guide and Advanced Class Guide. This is where it all begins: With character creation! Why not make available to yourself even more options and combinations?! The Advanced Race Guide offers a treasure trove of insight into the core races while also providing new race-specific mechanics along with, of course, new races. The Advanced Class guide provides 10 new hybrid classes and new archetypes for all!
9. So…many...Ultimate Books! 5 to be exact: Ultimate Combat, Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Intrigue, Ultimate Campaign, and Ultimate Equipment. We cover all of them and their specific offerings in brief, though what each delivers on (and beautifully, we’ll add) is pretty much on the tin.
10. The Advanced Player’s Guide. Our resident Pathfinder book expert says, “if you are looking to expand your core Pathfinder game by only one book, the Advanced Player’s Guide is the one I would most recommend.” It was the first major rules expansion for the Pathfinder system and is widely credited as the book that really started to define Pathfinder as its own unique thing as opposed to a DnD 3.5 offshoot.
So many books, so little time! But that’s the beauty of these series of books, really: So few of them are necessary (arguably just the Core Rulebook and the Bestiary), so you are not required to possess them all in order to learn and love the Pathfinder system…but that doesn’t mean you won’t be compelled to! Search out the ones that appeal to your tastes or table and add that spicy variety to your favorite tabletop RPG.