Today the playtest for the Advanced Class Guide will drop, and as of this blog post, will be legal right away. Additional Resources will be updated with exactly what is legal for playtesting, although one can imagine that most of the playtest will be legal. I know that I’m excited to try out the new classes, and I’m sure that a lot of you guys are too. There hasn’t been an open playtest in PFS in a while, so here’s some advice to make the playtesting experience a little bit better for all.
The player is responsible for bringing the playtest rules to the game. Much like any other additional resource, players are responsible for bringing any playtest material to the game so that the GM can become familiar with the mechanics upon request. While there may be some GMs who dive into the playtest and become familiar with all 10 classes deeply, most GMs will need a reminder about what your class can do. If you are playing a playtest character, it is polite to inform your GM of this and ask them if they are familiar with the mechanics of it. If they aren’t, provide a copy of the playtest rules plus a copy of any messageboard clarifications.
Be involved with the playtest on the Paizo boards. There will be forums set up on Paizo’s site dedicated to discussing the playtest classes. This is one of your opportunities to affect the content that Paizo puts out. Discuss your experiences, what you liked and didn’t like about the class, and how it performed during the game. This playtest is a giant conversation, and the developers are listening. If you take the time to give feedback, it will be better for all.
Untested mechanics are no excuse for bad behavior. It’s already possible in Pathfinder Society to create broken characters. Optimized summoners, slumber-spamming witches, and kitsune fey sorcerers are all examples of characters who are on the very top of the power curve. There are 10 new classes in the playtest, each with something brand new. Chances are, something will be overpowered and/or broken. You may be playtesting, but everyone at the table is trying to play Pathfinder Society. If you realize that you are dominating the table, hold back and let other people participate. As players who play those kind of builds know – you may have found a “win button” in the rules, but that doesn’t mean that the game is automatically enjoyable.
Different is not necessarily overpowered. This one is mostly for the GMs out there. As people play the playtest classes in your games, you are going to see brand new mechanics that break your expectations over and over again. Certainly, when this happens, check to make sure that everything is kosher and that there are no problems. However, that little voice in the back of your head that tells you when something is overpowered will probably be wrong at some point in the playtest process. There will be new strong options, and sometimes we need to tell the voice in the back of our heads to shut up. If the mechanic is causing the problem at the table, then you should let the player know and tell him to hold back a bit, much like you would for a powerful build from current material. And if a new mechanic is constant causing problems, please post that feedback on the Paizo forums! That’s really important to know!
Most importantly, have fun! Playtests are an exciting time where we can try out lots of cool new stuff! Just remember to have fun while doing it! If you have any questions about the playtest, feel free to send me an email, although I won’t be able to answer anything until the playtest is actually posted.