Fan-page review : The d20 PFSRD webpage
I want to offer to your attention a collector-site of free contents, which is under the aegis of the Pathfinder roleplaying-game. (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/)
The Paizo Publishing launched the Pathfinder RPG at 2009. So, it was the year after of the publishing of the DnD 4th edition. Both released in August, with one year difference.
Maybe the reason was that, because the system of the Dnd 3rd, and later the Dnd 3.5th edition is free (Open Game License, shortly OGL). That means, you can rewrite it, you can use it, publish it. But you can do it with the game core, or the mechanic only. For example, the pictures aren’t under the OGL. In example, you can publish the rules of fighting, modify it, rewrite it, but the illustrations can’t. Or you can make it with the whole system, under the watching of the OGL laws.
Now you can say that in the site there are pictures from the RPG. But I think it’s only from the FREE samples. Oh, what are they? The Paizo has a good habit: before every series they publish a free prelude, or a free player’s guide (available on the Paizo’s webpage: paizo.com).
So, back to the d20Pfsrd, as in its name, the page is simply a reference page. (SRD means System Reference Documents.) Awfully, and of course legally there isn’t any content from the world of Golarion, the official world of the Pathfinder system. But, everything else we can find easily.
First, we can lightly make a player character in the Pathfinder system, with the help of that webpage. It’s like a click-’n-go Player’s Handbook – usually uses the latest errata, and correcting wherever it needed. The contents are almost full. In the Paizo’s blog I found a comment, and in that somebody said that the page-master was so fast. Because the page collects the PF material from every official source: annual Paizocon, Pathfinder meetings, RPG cons, ink and paper based publications, and the publications of the creators from theirs blog.
The Character Sheet of the most active person of the site, John Reyst is here. He is friendly, and like it when someone wants to help in his work about the site. And, oh, yes, he is a half-elf.
Let’s go back to the site. There is everything what you need:
Description of the core classes: I always choose a barbarian, sorry. But in the detailed description I found the alternate class features in one place too (changed or replaced features). Useful, I think.
Base classes: in example cavalier, or alchemist (They are prestige classes in the original Dnd 3rd ed.)
Prestige classes: In example the everyone’s favorite, old-school assassin, or the world-specified, a little bit Indiana Jones, a little bit exhibitionist Pathfinder Chronicler. Everywhere is a link to the most important, and key expressions. It is from the skills to the feats. Without turn the page, only one click: it’s comfortable to remember what I have to roll, when I want to backstab the sleepy town-guard. There is no time to be lazy, use it.
Feats by groups like combat feats, channeling feats, etc.
Equipments: gears and goods always needed (with magic item generators).
Sytem Basics: ability scores, alignment, carrying capacity (the most important page for Halfling rogues) etc.
Races: In two groups: the core races, and the races from the Dragon Empires. The Dragon Empires is an Oriental like part of Golarion, and here played a newly published series of Adventures. As in the classes before, in the races chapter I found everything for the given race. I.e. here you can find favored classes, alternate racial traits, relation to core and base classes.
Gamemastering: This is the longest chapter. But very useful. I.e. clicking to the main title we can learn to make encounters, from the planning, to the xp awarding, in one page. In the other hand the recited expressions is the most used by the GMs. Most of it there is pictures to help – it’s not from the Paizo, but fan-made, I think. In this case I thought the Space, reach topic, where you can find tables, by size and modifiers with pictures to help imagine the difference between medium and gargantuan.
Magic: No more words. It’s a spellbook, sorting by level, class, school, alphabetical order. Here found the rules of magic, and a spellcard generator to make a small spellbook to our beloved magic-user. (The result is a little bit feeling of the 4th edition.)
Bestiary: “Simply” a collection, like the magic chapter before. But here I found a very good source. Namely, the beasts, NPC’s, and traps from the Pathfinder Adventure Paths (series of adventures). For example the Rise of the Runelords was the first Adventure Path, and the first part was the Burnt Offering – yes, in Oregon, in the US it was a stage production of school children. (Pictures are, and the blog of the author are here. Only with a mouse click you can explore the character sheet of Bruthazmus, the evil bugbear, or the Warchief Ripnugget. Only the stats are here. The detailed description is in the adventure book. But it’s useful, I think, ‘cause the links help to explore a rarely used feat or ability. Most preferred cases, when the party is higher level, the enemies are too.
Environment: In this chapter the weather generator generates for one week before. It will be the GM’s best friend.
So, nearly the end of the site other contents are. It is from other OGL user Pathfinder publishers, like Four Winds Fantasy Gaming, Super Genius Games, etc. (And here you can find – in my opinion – the weakest point of the dnd: the Psionics.)
And in the end there are the useful links, and tools to other Pathfinder related sites.
Summary, d20Pfsrd is a good site to playing Pathfinder RPG, and using it, either to prepare an adventure or under a session, or making a character. It is fastest, than turning the pages.
The contents are changing, and it means, that they need working hands, like people, who convert pages, who make artwork, google doc developers, etc. So, the Paizo strategy is that the world and system of the PFRPG is as changing, as the new publishing reflects the readers and players. So, the Darkmoon Valley arrived first to the players (Crown of the kobold king, Revenge of the kobold king, Carnival of tears, Guide to the Darkmoon Valley), and who is lucky enough to play along the modules, which are not an adventure path, just a lightly connected adventure bunch, well, they will say that, they are the experts of the Northern part of Andoran, the Land of Freedom.
From that reason the system is chiseling, refining, and of course, these new details will appear in the site too. And, as I seen, if the site will be prosperous, and successful, than we will find more pictures, and house roles, and contents. So, be it!
Jeremy A. Wylie