The 2nd Edition of the Pathfinder roleplaying game by Paizo can handle a large number of adventure styles due to Golarion, its fantastic “kitchen-sink” setting that is branded as Lost Omens.
To make it easy for game masters (GMs) to run a sweet campaign-style adventure for players, Paizo innovated (and then perfected) the “Adventure Path” model. These Adventure Paths are a series of 6 monthly 96-page softcover books.
Each of the 6 individual volumes provides one part of a serialized adventure, as well as back matter articles and an “Adventure Toolbox” to help GMs run the adventure path. The 6 parts have a connecting theme and story that link all the parts into one epic campaign that starts at 1st level and takes players all the way to level 20.
The Pathfinder Adventure Paths have long been the flagship of the Pathfinder RPG and this continues into 2nd Edition (2E). The Adventure Paths create a myriad of story options to choose from, with more releasing each month. So, we’ll be keeping this article updated!
Pathfinder 2nd Edition Adventure Paths
Age of Ashes
(July – Dec 2019) James Jacobs, Creative Director for Pathfinder 2nd Edition, says this, “Age of Ashes is our first Adventure Path for Pathfinder Second Edition, and I wanted to ensure that the storyline was suitably epic, gave players a good look at numerous locations in the Age of Lost Omens, and played to the strengths of the new rules—all while giving players a host of memorable villains and allies to meet, fight, and befriend.”
It does all the things listed above but it lacks fine-tuning due to it being in development as the rules were codified. As such, it can be a bit of a meat grinder and spell casters might feel limited. But that’s not to detract from it as an AP, just to acknowledge it requires a little more experience. New to Pathfinder 2E players should look first to the Pathfinder 2E Beginner Box as a starting point, then graduate to Age of Ages if they wish.
For those who don’t intend to play Age of Ashes, listen to it being played. The Dragon Punch Podcast is using Age of Ashes as the framework for their play-through podcast.
– Get volume 1: Hellknight Hill
(Jan – June 2020) Whereas Age of Ashes was intended to give players an epic adventure that that showed off the locales and cultures of the Lost Omens setting of Golarion, Extinction Curse is designed to show off the quirky fun and characterization that is available in Pathfinder 2nd Edition.
If you guessed an entire adventuring party of circus performers, please collect your winnings from the office betting pool.
“Players begin as leaders of the Circus of Wayward Wonders when tragedy strikes. But as these heroes lead their motley band of performers and roustabouts around the Isle of Kortos, they uncover a sinister plot to exterminate life from the Starstone Isle. The dead god Aroden may be gone, but his legacy lives on, as do his old enemies who would destroy the wonders he raised from the sea. Spectacle meets savagery as the heroes strive to stop the Extinction Curse!”
– Get volume 1: The Show Must Go On
Agents of Edgewatch
(July – Dec 2020) Agents of Edgewatch is city-based, taking place in Absalom, the city at the center of Golarion.
From the first volume: “Get ready to shine your badge and report for duty—the Agents of Edgewatch Adventure Path begins! In this thrilling new Pathfinder campaign, players assume the role of fresh recruits of the Edgewatch, the newest division of Absalom’s city watch.
Tasked with fighting crime during this year’s Radiant Festival—a grand centennial gathering of exhibitors and wonders from around the world that this year celebrates the grand reopening of Absalom’s treacherous Precipice Quarter, long a ruined haven of monsters and criminals.
Soon after taking on the new beat, the detectives learn that the fair has attracted not only cutpurses and vandals, but also poisoners, ransomers, and even a sadistic serial murderer, and it’s up to the Agents of Edgewatch to crack the case and bring these villains to justice!”
– Get volume 1: Devil of the Dreaming Palace
(Jan – Mar 2021) Abomination Vaults is something brand new for Pathfinder, although it has been done in the Starfinder line: It’s a 3-volume AP, as opposed to 6 volumes. As a result, it takes characters from 1st up to 10th level, which is the sweet spot for roleplaying games quite frankly.
Abomination Vaults is a dungeon-based campaign, set in the sleepy little town of Otari, just like the adventure designed for the Pathfinder 2nd Edition Beginner Box and that companion adventure to that, Troubles in Otari. To that end, it tells a parallel story to those set in Otari, serving as a companion adventure for new players who may have just come into the game via the Beginner’s Box.
The first chapter of Abomation Vaults, Ruins of Gauntlight, is written by Creative Director James Jacobs, so it has an excellent pedigree.
– Get volume 1: Ruins of Gauntlight
Fists of the Ruby Phoenix
(Apr – June 2021) But, Clave, won’t a 3-part adventure path throw off Paizo’s release schedule?” Well, not if they follow Abomination Vaults up with a second 3-chapter adventure path.
Fists of the Ruby Phoenix is a campaign that starts at 10th level, which means any Abomination Vault players can pick it right up after that adventure concludes or it can stand alone as its own story by creating brand new level 10 characters. Volume one is written by the incredibly talented Luis Loza and features a dinosaur island, folks!
The marketing copy: “The time has come again for the Ruby Phoenix Tournament! The sorcerer Hao Jin has invited only the strongest martial artists, adventurers, and fortune seekers to her world-famous fighting competition. The motley roster of contenders must compete for this decade’s champion title and the choice of one of the Ruby Phoenix’s grand treasures. Who will come out on top, and who will be left in the dust? There’s only one way to find out!”
– Get volume 1: Despair on Danger Island
Strength of Thousands
(Dates) Worldwide supply change issues has broken Paizo from its Swiss watch timing, so Strength of Thousands is estimated July-Dec 2021 but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. As a result, I’ll not be sharing exact dates moving forward.
The premise of Strength of Thousand is incredible, as this AP is taking adventurers to magic school!
Here is how Paizo presented it: “A magic school like no other! The oldest and most prestigious magic academy in the world is the Magaambya, an ancient institution founded by the greatest wizard the world has ever known. This wizard vanished long ago, but his sinister enemies plot against his school and those who attend it.
Over their long academic career, the heroes rise from humble students to become teachers, and they ultimately hold the fate of the Magaambya magic academy in their hands. Graduates of the Magaambya are among the greatest wardens of the world, but if the heroes can’t marshal the strength of thousands who have come before them, the venerable Magaambya might fall!”
Needless to say, I expect this to be a very popular adventure path!
– Get Volume 1: Kindled Magic
Quest for the Frozen Flame
Prepare to get a little frosty in the Quest for the Frozen Flame, a 3-part AP set in the frozen Realm of the Mammoth Lords. There are a lot of similarities between the touchstone of Horizon Zero Dawn and this AP of the tundra.
Here’s the blurb from Paizo: In the brutal tundra of the Realm of the Mammoth Lords, only the hardiest folk have what it takes to withstand unsparing weather, track down big game, and fight back hostile followings. The Broken Tusk following has survived another winter, but a new year just began, and signs of danger foretell a year unlike any before.
Unless their newest party of scouts can secure a safe route through the wilds, saber-toothed beasts, warmongering rivals, and the ever-looming possibility of natural disaster all threaten to end an ancient people’s legacy. Will the Broken Tusks succumb to the elements and surrender to their rivals? Or will you guide your following to glory and reclaim a stolen birthright?”
Since this is another 3-part adventure path, you’ll progress from 1st-level all the way to 12th. You can even tack on a new archetype for your character: Mammoth Lord. Are there mammoths as mounts? You’ll just have to play to find out!
– Get volume 1: Broken Tusk Moon by Ron Lundeen
Outlaws of Alkenstar
The followup 3-part adventure path is Outlaws of Alkenstar, an adventure path that is focused on gunslinging! On the heels of the Glass Cannon Podcast finishing up their playthrough of the Pathfinder First Edition Adventure Path Giantslayer, gunslinging is as popular as ever!
This 3-part AP starts out with a very old-western feel to it, mixed with a little Blades in the Dark. Is there even such a thing as the ‘good guys’ anymore? You’ll take to the streets of Alkenstar, the City of Smog. Expect there to be plenty of alchemical hi-jinx and explosions. If you liked the Iron Gods Adventure Path for First Edition, this might be the place for you to start.
Here’s what Paizo says about Volume 1: “A ragtag band of gunslinging outlaws get their hands dirty in the greasy alleyways and whisky-soaked saloons of Alkenstar, the City of Smog. To get revenge on the mogul who destroyed them, the renegades will have to stick up an illicit bank, foil a crooked shieldmarshal, and escort a reclusive inventor to safety.”
It should be noted that a worthy supplement to this Adventure Path would be Pathfinder Guns & Gears! You can check out a full review of Guns & Gears right here at Nerds on Earth!
– Get volume 1: Punks in a Powderkeg by Vanessa Hoskins
(September 2022) The Kingmaker hardcover might feel out of place in this list, as it is most remembered as an early Adventure Path for Pathfinder 1st Edition.
But Paizo is looking for creative ways to bring more support to 2nd Edition and if they can do that by pulling forward some of the best stuff from 1st Edition, all the better.
The solution there was a highly successful Kickstarter for a hardcover edition of the old school Kingmaker adventure path that converts it to 2nd Edition rules, while also codifying content introduced in the Kingmaker video game.
The ambitious project was scheduled for a November 2020 release but has been much delayed because it is more than 1,000 pages of content, including the hardcover Adventure Path, a hardcover Bestiary, and an optional Bestiary for D&D 5e.
(July – December 2022) The final AP for 2022 returns to a 6-volume adventure. We’re headed to Geb which means undead galore! This is starting to sound a lot like a cross between Mummy’s Mask and Hell’s Rebels, with a light sprinkling of zombie to top it all off.
Let’s check out the quote from Paizo: “…characters rise from skilled troubleshooters to join the Blood Lords who rule a land of the dead. The adventure also details the Great Factions of Geb, whose favors are key to rising in political influence, and provides a complete gazetteer of the town of Graydirge, where the adventure takes place.”
This Adventure Path is bound to be a little darker, so it won’t be for the faint of heart. Coincidentally enough, the release of Blood Lords coincides well with the recent release of the Book of the Dead! These are definitely a worthwhile pairing with a glass of red.
– Get volume 1: Zombie Feast by Mike Kimmel
(2023) The announced AP for 2023 returns to a 3-volume adventure. The Gatewalkers Adventure Path follows a team of paranormal investigators attempting to unravel the mystery behind a mass amnesic episode which left them with lost memories and strange powers.
– Preorder volume 1: The Seventh Arch by James Sutter.
That will in no way be all from Paizo when it comes to adventure support for Pathfinder 2nd Edition. As a result, we’ll keep this post updated.
In just a year after the release of Pathfinder 2nd Edition, Paizo has released two full Adventure Paths that will take characters to level 20, plus announced several more. In addition, they’ve shown a willingness to be creative and break the script with the Kingmaker hardcover and two 3-volume APs. Needless to say, it’s a great time to be a gamer.