Art of the Genre

Today Art of the Genre is going to take a look at Paizo’s Pathfinder NPC Codex. However, before I begin I’d like to put this book into context.

I few years back my oldest friends and I decided to go back and play a bit of AD&D 1E since we’d spent a decade playing 3rd Edition and its heir apparent Pathfinder. Now, that isn’t to say we no longer enjoyed Pathfinder, but it just felt like nostalgic variety was in order so we split our time between the two.

I well remember sitting down to our first adventure and rediscovering what an intense grinder AD&D was, how first level was like a marathon, and after all those grueling hours of play where magic-users were essentially one and done and fighters got that single attack, you finally achieved 2nd level [assuming you were lucky].

It was in taking the characters up to that next level that the true difference between Pathfinder and AD&D set in. For all intents and purpose, you rolled for hit points and that was it. Done, nothing more, you had achieved 2nd, congrats!

The stark reality here is the infinite customization that Pathfinder provides, and when such a character goes up in level you might do any of the following: Roll Hit Points, Choose a Feat, Assign Skill Points, Adjust Saving Throws, Adjust Ability Scores, Assign Special Class Skills, etc.

Now, this intense customization is what leads me to the NPC Codex. As a gamemaster for Pathfinder, one of the most time consuming things you’ll have to do is create viable NPCs that are as well thought out as the player characters themselves. This is hard enough when making warrior classes, but heaven forbid you’ve got to throw a spell caster in there!

NPC Codex is the ultimate time saving tool for any Pathfinder gamemaster and I highly recommend it to keep your campaigns fresh, hard-nosed, and less overall work for your already taxed creative mind.

The book is basically 315 pages of pre-generated characters. Each character gets a full page plus is rendered in full color art so that both you and your players get an idea of what to expect. The first 178 pages are dedicated to the Core Classes [Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, etc] and provide you a 1 through 20 level depiction of EACH class as an NPC including CR and XP value. Truly, it is extensive, and you never need worry again about what a 13th Level Barbarian would look like stat wise again.

Section Two is nearly 40 pages of Prestige Classes that are rendered in much the same way as the Core without doing a full run of all levels. These classes include Arcane Archer, Arcane Trickster, Duelist, Mystic Theurge and many more.

Section Three goes into the full NPC classes for the game and adds another twenty-four pages dedicated to the likes of Adept, Aristocrat, Commoner, Expert, and Warrior.

Section Four is also an interesting inclusion, especially for those of you who don’t already collect the various Adventure Path modules. These twenty-two pages depict the Pathfinder Iconic Characters and their various level advancements.

In all, the book is a massive tome that is sure to provide everything a gamemaster needs for quick reference while stating campaigns or creating adventures on the fly.

Game Review: 3.5 [out of 5]

Written by Scott Taylor — October 17, 2013

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