Got the rules book and the Bestiary for some Amazon bucks the other day. The Gamemaster guide is on pre-order as it hasn’t officially been released yet.
This edition, from what I can tell, simplifies a lot of the first edition jungle by giving players tons of feats based on ancestry, class, and level. Players can negotiate variations of the core classes by choosing feat trees that are more organized than the 1st edition rules. There’s enough wiggle room for them to totally discard the core character design if players wish, by using the archetype rules and choosing feats from other classes. Fighters can eschew the normal fighter feats and pick up alchemy feats for example. They just won’t be as good at fighting or as good as a pure alchemist, but they can break the mold just because they can.
Half-elves and half-orcs are considered human ancestry, and they get to choose feats based on their other racial type. They get to control the degree of their otherness if they want. They just deprive themselves of vanilla human feats. Humans have a lot of diversity, but other races can play variations of the basic racial mode. You can play a dwarf from a different environment and get a feat that replaces of the usual ones.
Players don’t roll hit points. They’re given the max of their ancestry die type + class die type at 1st level, and max class hp every level after. So, a 1st level dwarf fighter get 10 (dwarf HD) + 10 (fighter HD) + CON bonus. There are also 3 actions per round instead of 2. Some activities can take 2 or 3 actions. There’s triggering effects that take place and enable free actions.
Attacks of Opportunity aren’t available to just anybody. Melee classes get to choose them as feats. Fighters at 1st, Champions (renamed paladins) at 6th, etc. Some AoOs can also be used on targets within range that are using Concentration, like casters.
One thing I noticed about some of the monsters is that their reach can be different depending on attack type. A Roc has a wing attack at 15’ range, and its claw & bite are 10’, for example. In 1st ed, the reach was the same for all attack types, depending on the size of the creature.
I wanted to show off this bright shiny toy to my gaming group, but a couple of them hated it. They saw the reduction of complexity as nerfing, and the game system as forcing a player to take a generic build rather than allowing them to hunt every fucking rule branch in existence to get a +1 bonus somewhere – the same people who complain how Pathfinder 1st ed. gets bogged down in rules during battle. Really, there’s still versatility in how you get to build your character, and the designers didn’t make your choices poor ones. Plus, you’re allowed to retrain feats during down time, so it’s not like you’re stuck with a deadbeat character for eternity.
I’m pretty sure I can get my gaming group to play it when the online database is more complete, but I didn’t expect them to have such a sour reaction to it to start.