How I Set Up My New PF2 Game, “Gatekeepers.” Part 1: Rules Options

So, with the Really Wild West campaign closed, and me still needing to make sure I am engaged in rules that’ll be relevant to working on completing the way-too-delayed 52-in-52 subscription, I have concluded it’s time for me to run my first Pathfinder 2nd Edition campaign.

For reasons that will hopefully become clear later, I’m naming this the Gatekeepers campaign.

But, being me, that’s going to come with houserules and optional rules. Pathfinder 2nd Edition has a lot of really cool optional rules designed to help game groups find exactly the kind of ttRPG they want, and I’ve been wanting to try many of them out since before the game was published. Since we had a Session 0 to go over some basics for the campaign, here are the optional rules I worked out with the players during Session 0.

As the week progresses, I’ll talk about houserules, themes, quickstart gazetteers, and so on. Those articles will also all be linked from the Gatekeepers Index, so they’ll be easy to find.

(The adventure is likely to start here, at the “Smoke Pine Taven.” … Yes, “Taven.” Art by Asaneee.)

The PF2 GMG has lots of great rules for how to tweak the core system to produce a different feel or tone. I have gone with several of those options, and sketched out below along with why I picked them. It’s worth noting that these options are all supported by our electronic character software of choice, making them easy to keep track of.

Free Archetype
You get a free archetype feat at 2nd level and every even level thereafter. This significantly broadens the PC options and makes some classic protagonist tropes easy to model, and I like that flexibility. I know several players are looking at multiclass feats, but there are other interesting archetype options as well.

Ancestry Paragon
This slightly-more-than doubles the number of ancestry feats you get over the course of 20 levels. Ancestry feats have a high percentage of exploration, social, and on-theme abilities, and I like adding more of that flavor to a campaign.

Allow Nonhuman Half-elves and Half-orcs
I’m fine with dwarf/elves and goblin/orcs, or whatever other ancestral combinations players want to play with. I mean, I wrote Bastards and Bloodlines. Of course I’m down for weird ancestry combos.

No Coin Weight
Yes, it’s unrealistic. So is heroes who never have to go to the restroom. In 40 years of gaming, I have seen tracking coin weight slow down games way, way more often than I have seen it make the game more fun. My games normally enforce encumbrance rules, and I am certainly doing so with the bulk rules in PF2… except for money.

Proficiency Without Level
In this campaign no one (PC or foe) adds their level to their proficiency bonus for anything. This increases the threat of minor foes and dangers, and it lowers the total value of numbers people have to add in-play. Higher-level characters will still have a significant advantage due to things such as more feats, higher ability scores, special abilities, bigger damage and HP values, and so on. I’m excited to play PF2 this way and explore the feel it creates.

It’s easy enough for players to just not add this into their calculations. When running foes and monsters, I have to remove it, though that’s not hard (and there are electronic game aids that will do that math for me).

Automatic Bonus Progression
This replaces the need for potency, striking, and resilience runes with an automatic scaling potency bonus. This both allows a character to carry the same longsword at 12th level they began the game with at 1st (so if you grabbed the longsword off the mantle place that your grandfather carried during the Bloodletter Wars as a 1st level champion, that same blade can be part of your whole career and legend), and makes it easier for everyone to match the character vision they have with the gear they end up with.

In addition to selecting some of the specific optional rules built-in to the Pathfinder 2e game engine, I’m also going to be implementing some not-in-the-book houserules, which I’ll go over tomorrow.

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About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at

Posted on September 26, 2022, in Pathfinder 2nd Ed and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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