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Preview: Ultimate Campaign

Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified PolygameistRPGamer Staff
edited June 2013 in Saving Throw Gaming
As some of you may or may not know, I subscribe to a number of Paizo lines of books in order to keep up to date on Pathfinder rules and flavor. The latest book I received was a rule book, but also brings a lot of flavor to the table. Ultimate Campaign has a lot of rule sets that support those things outside of combat and skill checks. From character generation to relationship mechanics to rules for building up your own guild...this thing has it all.

I'm still reading through it, but I can tell you about two sections that caught my eye right away. First, the character background generator is a good 50 pages or so, and as they advertise, they provide ways to either randomly generate your background, or add to ideas that you already have. They finally bring the 'drawback' or 'flaw' system from d20, with their spin on it, which looks like it would work rather well. Just reading through this section has given me a lot of ideas for new characters.

Another system I like so much that I was actually using a version of it already, is the relationship mechanics they have. These were first presented in the Jade Regent adventure Path. For those who have not played it, this gives GMs and players a way to quantify and track where relationships are at between PCs and NPCs. When I first read them, the mechanics reminded me of something you would expect in game like Mass Effect, running under the hood...and the idea of having them in a pen and paper game felt arbitrary and meta. However, in running this through the Jade Regent campaign, I can tell you it was an instant hit. Players who didn't do a lot of RP before started thinking outside the box (as bonuses are awarded to checks based on RP and how much though is put into the interactions). It created a lot of hilarious, fun, memorable moments in our game, and I've used my own version of these mechanics in my campaigns ever sense.

While I enjoy both of the above, I'll stop short of saying these two reasons are enough to rush out and grab this book. But, there is more. Lots more! Hopefully, I will write out a more detailed review after I read it, if time allows. In the mean time, I've pasted the description of the entire book from the website below. If you pick this one, let me know :)

P.S. While designed to work in the Pathfinder gaming system, I could see this easily adapting to any d20 fantasy based campaign...including D&D 3.5.

uc.jpgProduct Description
Take Charge!

Where the dungeon ends, another adventure begins! Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Campaign takes you on a guided tour through the parts of the game that happen between monster attacks and quests for ancient artifacts. As some of the most powerful and prestigious heroes around, do your player characters want to build up a kingdom of their own, or lead an army against a neighboring nation? Perhaps they want to start a business, craft magic items, or embark on a quest that will come to define them. Whether you’re looking for help generating a young character or seeking ways to challenge adventurers who’ve grown bored of fighting monsters one-on-one, this book has everything you need!
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Campaign is a must-have companion volume to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook. This imaginative tabletop game builds on more than 10 years of system development and an open playtest featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into a new era.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Campaign includes:
  • A detailed guide to generating character backstories, including a new system for random character generation and traits and drawbacks to meld your background with your statistics.
  • Story feats that increase in power as you achieve key goals, making quests and crusades more than just flavor!
  • A complete downtime rules system to flesh out those parts of a PC’s life that take place between adventures, such as running a business, gaining power and influence in a community, or starting a magical academy.
  • New rules for retraining and switching classes; honor, reputation, and fame; young characters; investment; magic item creation; and other key adventuring topics.
  • Rules for building up a kingdom, including construction and technological advancements, governing your people, and more.
  • Mass combat rules to help you lead clashing armies and conduct epic battles in a fun and efficient manner—without losing sight of the PCs themselves.
Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!


  • TGBarighmTGBarighm Member Full Members
    edited June 2013
    Ah, a book that specializes in fleshing out a campaign setting. I always wondered when they'd get around to creating a book like that.

    I never really liked the flaw system. I suppose the point was to encourage players to add interesting quarks to their characters by rewarding them for doing so, but I'd rather players volunteered such things.
  • Phillip WillisPhillip Willis Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2013
    It's completely optional. If you take a flaw, you get a trait...which balances out mechanically. Take it or not, you'll be about the same power level either way :) . So, it really is something you (should) do flavor purposes. I'm sure there will be SOME players who take flaws that don't impact them to take a trait which gives them a useful bonus for the pure min/max benefit. I try to discourage that approach when it comes to traits. Everything else about your character in PF is pretty much min/maxed for combat and skill effectiveness (attributes, feats, etc), but traits should be really about RP/backstory.
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
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