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Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Technology Guide

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Technology Guide
From: Paizo Publishing, LLC
Reviewed by: Steve Constant

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Technology Guide is a supplemental guide for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game from Paizo Publishing, LLC. It is to be used with the Iron Gods Adventure Path or to introduce super-science into any campaign.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” – Arthur C. Clark

With that introductory quote, Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Technology Guide makes the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game one the most diverse sandbox roleplaying game settings.

(Sorry Savage Worlds. Please don’t blackmail me.)

I think it’s fantastic, to quote my favorite Doctor. And terrifying. Here’s why – this roleplaying supplement book is the end product of all the players constantly requesting and asking their game masters to allow them to use items and weapons not found in their campaign’s fantasy setting. Starting with the mighty Gary Gygax and the published 1980 adventure module Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, it continued on through each version of Dungeons & Dragons until the creation of Pathfinder by Paizo.

Each time, the introduction of a science fiction motif into a fantasy genre game has only resulted in a few cool gadgets, weird alien monsters, a few crashed spaceships-themed dungeons, and a new roleplaying game or two. But now, with Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Technology Guide, something else has occurred – it is a new science fiction genre game using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game rules set. And, even more strangely and amazingly, it works.

This supplement is divided into three parts. The first is ‘Technology in the World.’ It breaks down new Feats, Spells, Skills, and Class Abilities that can be used with super-science. The second is ‘Technological Equipment.’  It is a staggering thirty-six pages of new technology-based gear with art and in-game uses. The third is ‘Technological Hazards and Artifacts.’  This covers the odds and ins of using technology and how they have interacted with the Pathfinder campaign setting.

The first section, ‘Technology in the World,’ borrowed lessons learned from psionics and added game mechanics to an existing system, simple and sweet. With a single Feat, pre-existing Skills gain new uses for technological items. The Feats also add to the flavor of setting by adding anti-technology sentiment, thus helping characters who care nothing for super-science by just smashing it to bits. New Spells and Class Archetypes allow for genre-specific modifications of the core classes. Plus the addition of a new prestige class, Technomancer, allows for multiclassing in Pathfinder when in recent additions to the game it seems as though it hasn’t been encouraged.

The second section, ‘Technological Equipment,’ is overwhelming. It is the reason why this book was written. New and unique weapons, armors, pharmaceuticals, cybertech, and technological gear is organized simply with easy-to-read reference charts. It is also important to note that this isn’t all of the super-science gear that will be in Pathfinder. Some technological gear was presented in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Numeria, Land of Fallen Stars and will be introduced throughout the Iron Gods Adventure Path.

The final section, ‘Technological Hazards and Artifacts,’ introduces realistically scary dangers that the players will face and treasures they could find. Timeworn rules set, radiation, technological traps, and insane artificial intelligences are detailed, along with treasures that are standard items in true science fiction-based roleplaying games, such as powered armor.

Conclusion? I equate the Technology Guide to the psionic rules set of Dungeons and Dragons game. Each game master must make a decision – whether or not to allow psionics into their campaigns. Super-science will have the same unbalancing effect as psionics. It will be just as complicated and hard to follow. Unless the campaign is focused on this specific area, such as Dark Sun setting for psionics and Iron Gods Adventure Path for super-science, I highly suggest keeping these additional rules sets locked away from players for ease of game play.

Note: I cannot wait to see more technology-based items for Pathfinder. I personally don’t mind shooting a red dragon in the wing with a rail gun to bring it down. It should be interesting to see how the rest of the Pathfinder community reacts to such an overwhelming science fiction theme in a fantasy game.

Iron Gods is the fifteen Adventure Path published by Paizo Publishing.

Codex Rating: 17

Product Summary

Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Technology Guide
From: Paizo Publishing, LLC
Type of Game: RPG Supplement Rulebook
Authors: James Jacobs and Russ Taylor
Cover Artist: Kerem Beyit
Interior Artists: Helge C. Balzer, Sara Betsy, Milivoj Ceran, Yanni Davros, Joel Hustak, Eric Lofgren, Sam Manley, Leonardo Meschini, Alexander Nanitch kov, Antoine Roi, Mac Smith, Bryan Syme, Jose Vega, Chris Waller, Daniel Warren, and Joe Wilson
Creative Director: James Jacobs
Editor-in-Chief: F. Wesley Schneider
Managing Editor: James L. Sutter
Lead Developer: Mark Moreland
Senior Developer: Rob McCreary
Developers: Logan Bonner, john Compton, Adam Daigle, Mark Moreland, Patrick Renie, and Owen K.C. Stephens
Associate Editors: Judy Bauer and Christopher Carey
Editors: Justin Juan, Ryan Macklin, and Matthew Simmons
Lead Designer: Jason Bulmahn
Designer: Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Managing Art Director: Sarah E. Robinson
Senior Art Director: Andrew Vallas
Art Director: Sonja Morris
Graphic Designers: Emily Crowell and Ben Mouch
Number of Pages: 68 page rulebook
Game Components Included: Pathfinder supplement handbook
Retail Price: $19.99(US)
PDF Price: $13.99(US)

Website: www.paizo.com/

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