base set rulebook
Welcome
to Varisia.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
It’s a realm dotted
with the monolithic
relics of an empire
long since crumbled,
a rough but majestic
land of misty forests
and rolling plains
bordered by sharp
peaks and bountiful
seas. Its people are
hardy pioneers
and newly minted
nobles, all eager
to carve names for
themselves from the
stern landscape.
Beyond the settled
lands, beasts and
giants unused
to civilization's
encroachment stalk
the hills and woods,
making short work
of the unwary
and legends of the
bold. Yet none can
claim to know all
of Varisia's secrets,
and in its darkest
shadows an ages-old
evil stirs once more.
Dark rumors
whisper that
the Runelords
have returned. But the story
is not yet
written, and
only you can
determine the
ending.
Object of the Game
RULES SIDEBARS
In the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, your party of adventurers
races against time on a quest to defeat a dangerous villain. Each
player has a deck of cards representing a character. In most
scenarios, your characters explore a variety of locations as you try
to hunt down the villain. You’ll need to clean out or protect these
locations so you can defeat and corner the villain before time runs
out. As you play more games, you’ll complete scenarios, improve
your deck, customize your character, and take on more and more
powerful challenges.
Card Sets
The Rise of the Runelords Base Set is one of several Pathfinder
Adventure Card Game products. This box contains everything that 1–4
players need to begin the game, including the base card set for Rise
of the Runelords. Included in the same box is your first Adventure
Deck, Burnt Offerings, which provides the cards needed to tell the
first chapter of the Rise of the Runelords story. Other Adventure
Decks, available separately, continue the adventure by adding new
locations to explore, new villains to fight, new loot to acquire, and
much more. The Rise of the Runelords Character Add-On Deck, also
available separately, adds new characters, monsters, and other cards;
it also increases the maximum number of players to 6.
Each Rise of the Runelords card is marked with a pair of set
indicators: the top of each card features the logo of the Adventure
Path, and a letter or number in the upper-right corner identifies the
specific product that the card came from. This might be a letter, such
as B (indicating the card is part of the base set) or C (indicating that
it’s from the Character Add-On Deck); adventure deck numbers from
Throughout this rulebook, you’ll find a number of sidebars that
look like this one. These sidebars explain general rules that
deserve special attention. Make sure you read them all!
STRATEGY SIDEBARS
You’ll also find a variety of sidebars that look like this one.
These offer advice about game strategy. If you prefer to develop
strategies on your own as you play, feel free to skip these
sidebars—you won’t miss any rules!
EXAMPLE SIDEBARS
Sidebars that look like this provide examples. Don’t miss the
example of an entire turn on page 26!
1 to 6 indicate that the card is part of one of six Adventure Decks for
Rise of the Runelords. If a card has a letter for the set indicator, treat
its adventure deck number as 0.
Also available separately are a variety of Class Decks. Each one
includes several different versions of a specific character type (for
example, the Summoner Class Deck has three different summoner
characters) and a variety of cards that are useful for those characters.
Since Class Decks are designed for use with any Adventure Path, Class
Deck cards are marked with the name of the Class Deck instead of
the logo of an Adventure Path. Class Deck cards are also marked with
the letter B or numbers from 1 to 6 in the upper right.
To the left of the letter or number, you’ll find the card type.
RULES: THE GOLDEN RULES
If a card and this rulebook are ever in conflict, the card should be considered correct. There is one exception to this: When the rulebook uses the word
“never,” no card can overrule it. If cards conflict with one another, then Adventure Path cards overrule adventures, adventures overrule scenarios,
scenarios overrule locations, locations overrule support cards, support cards overrule characters, and characters overrule other card types.
Despite this hierarchy, if one card tells that you cannot do something and another card tells you that you can, comply with the card that tells
you that you cannot. For example, if you’re at a location that prevents you from moving, and the scenario has an effect that would move your
character, you do not move. If a card tells you to ignore something, the thing you’re ignoring never has any effect on you. If a card instructs
you to do something impossible, like draw a card from an empty deck, ignore that instruction.
Regardless of the above, if you need to do anything with any number of cards from the blessings deck (other than shuffling it) and you
don’t have enough, you lose the scenario; if that happens with your character deck, your character dies.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
2
TRAY LAYOUT
TABLE OF CONTENTS
OBJECT OF THE GAME
CARD SETS
ORGANIZING YOUR CARDS
SETTING UP
ADVENTURE DECKS
SUPPORT CARDS
PLAYING A SCENARIO
Taking Your Turn
Playing Cards
Encountering a Card
Attempting a Check
Damage
Dying
Examining and Searching
Resetting Your Hand
Summoning and Adding Cards
Closing a Location
Encountering a Villain
8
8
9
11
13
12
15
16
16
16
17
18
AFTER THE SCENARIO
Ending a Scenario, Adventure, or
Adventure Path
19
BETWEEN GAMES
20
ITEMS
CARD TYPES
Character Cards
Feats Role Cards Token Cards Story Cards 21
21
21
22
22
23
ALLIES
Location Cards
Support Cards
(Cohort)
Boon Cards
CHARACTER DECKS
VILLAINS
WEAPONS
CHARACTERS, ROLES, AND TOKENS
2
2
4
4
ADVENTURE PATHS, ADVENTURES,
AND SCENARIOS
19
(Adventure Path, Adventure, and Scenario)
HENCHMEN
LOCATIONS
SPELLS
23
23
24
(Weapon, Spell, Armor, Item, Ally,
Blessing, and Loot)
Bane Cards
25
(Villain, Henchman, Monster, and Barrier)
ARMORS
MONSTERS
BLESSINGS
BARRIERS
LOOT
3
EXAMPLE OF PLAY
SUGGESTED DECK LISTS
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
CREDITS
REFERENCE SHEET
26
27
28
29
30
BASE SET RULEBOOK
There are more than a dozen different card types in the Pathfinder
Adventure Card Game. Among them are character cards, roles, and
tokens; story cards, which include an Adventure Path, adventures,
and scenarios; locations; support cards; banes, which include villains,
henchmen, monsters, and barriers; and boons, which include
weapons, spells, armors, items, allies, blessings, and loot.
On story cards and location cards, the side with the more colorful
version of the artwork is the face; the less colorful version is the
back. Very rarely, a card can have two faces, as token
cards do.
For your first play session, you’ll need only the base cards, so leave
Burnt Offerings sealed for now. If you own the Character Add-On
Deck, go ahead and combine that set with the cards in the base set
as described in Organizing Your Cards (see below). If you own any
Class Decks, you may also add any cards from them that have a B in
the upper-right corner.
We have also published a number of promotional cards; these
are marked with the letter P in the upper-right corner. If you have a
character promo card, or you have a promo card that has the Owner
trait and you are playing the character listed as the owner, you can
use it right away. Don’t add other promo cards to the game until you
begin adventure 1 of the Adventure Path.
Organizing Your Cards
The way you organize your cards is important, since there are
times when you’ll need to quickly locate specific cards during play.
The box includes a special tray to keep all of the cards organized.
It has room for the cards from the base card set, the Rise of
the Runelords Character Add-On Deck, and all six Rise of the
Runelords Adventure Decks.
Each type of card has its own place in the box, so you’ll need
to divide up the cards by type as shown in the illustration. For
now, leave the character deck slots empty. You’ll build your first
decks soon.
When you use adventures, scenarios, locations, villains,
henchmen, and loot, you’ll often be asked to locate specific cards.
You may wish to alphabetize the cards within each of those types to
help you find them quickly during play. Group the character, token,
and role cards by character. The other card types should have their
cards shuffled, as you will often be asked to draw random cards
from those groups.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
4
Ezren’s deck
includes
1 weapon,
8 spells, no
armors, 3 items,
3 allies, and no
blessings.
(The checkboxes
are for card
feats that he’ll
gain later.)
Setting Up
Preparation is the key to a successful adventure. The road to victory
is littered with the bodies of the unready.
Choose Your Character. Each player chooses one character card;
this represents the character you’ll be playing in the game.
Characters have skills, which tell you which dice to roll when you
attempt a check; powers, which are special things you can do
before, during, or after the game; and other details that make them
different from one another (see Character Cards on page 21). You
might use some of your character’s powers at the start of the game,
so read them right away.
Locate the token card that matches your character card. Then place
both on the table in front of you.
Build Your Character. Each character needs a character deck;
if you don’t already have one, you’ll need to build one. If you’d like
to start playing quickly, use the suggested deck for your character
provided at the back of this rulebook (see Suggested Deck Lists on
page 27). Alternatively, you can choose your own cards to create
your deck. The Cards List on your character card indicates the exact
quantity of each card type that you must choose from the box to
make up your character’s deck. You may choose only cards that have
the word “Basic” in the list of traits underneath the card name.
Trade Cards If You Like. Before starting a scenario, players may
freely trade cards from their character decks. After trading, each
character deck must still conform to the list of card types specified by
the character card.
LOCATION DECK
BURIED CARDS
CHARACTER CARD
RD
LO
C
AT
IO
N
ON
CA
RD
CA
I
AT
C
LO
LOCATION CARD
LO
C
AT
IO
N
CHARACTER DECK
BLESSINGS
DECK
DISCARD PILE
CHARACTER DECK
LOCATION CARD
DISCARD PILE
BLESSINGS
DISCARD PILE
LOCATION DECK
N
TIO
CA
DE
CK
CK
DE
LO
TO
K
EN
CA
LOCATION DECK
RD
BURIED CARDS
RD
N
KE
TO
K
EN
CA
TO
CA
RD
DISCARD PILE
CHARACTER DECK
5
CHARACTER CARD
SCENARIO
ADVENTURE
LOCATION CARD
ADVENTURE PATH
BURIED CARDS
CARD SETUP
CHARACTER CARD
BASE SET RULEBOOK
Set Out the Story Cards. A scenario is intended for a single play
session, an adventure consists of a number of linked scenarios, and
an Adventure Path is a series of linked adventures. The Rise of the
Runelords Base Set includes a three-scenario introductory adventure,
Perils of the Lost Coast, which you will complete before you begin the
full Adventure Path—if you have not yet completed Perils of the Lost
Coast, skip the first step.
• Put the Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path card faceup on
the table. It lists the adventures that make up the Adventure
Path as well as the reward you’ll get for completing all of
those adventures.
• Put the current adventure card faceup on the table. It lists the
scenarios that make up that adventure, as well as the reward
you’ll get for completing all of those scenarios. (If you’re just
starting, put the Perils of the Lost Coast adventure card on
the table.)
• Put the current scenario card faceup on the table. It describes the
goals and any unusual rules for this particular game session, as
well as the reward you’ll get for winning the scenario. (If you’re
just starting, the Perils of the Lost Coast adventure card tells you
to complete the scenario Brigandoom! first, so put that card on
the table.)
Set Out the Locations. The back of each scenario card lists the
locations the scenario uses; a required number of players is listed
next to each location. Use all of the location cards listed up to the
number of players you have. For example, if you have 3 players,
you’ll use all of the location cards listed for 1, 2, and 3 players,
but you won’t use any of the location cards listed for 4, 5, or 6
players. Put the location cards you’re using faceup in the middle of
the table.
Build the Location Decks. Each location card has its own list of card
types that are used to build a location deck, in much the same way
that a character card has a list of card types that are used to build a
character deck. Shuffle each card type and deal the correct number
of cards of each type to form the basis of each location deck. Don’t
look at these cards; set them facedown in a stack next to their
location card.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
6
RULES: ROLLING DICE
The game comes with five dice: a 4-sider, 6-sider, 8-sider,
10-sider, and 12-sider. When you roll the 4-sider, use the
number that’s upright.
The game uses a shorthand form describing the number and
type of dice to roll: Xd#, where “X” represents the number of
dice to roll and “d#” represents the number of sides on the
dice. For example, if you’re asked to roll 2d6, that means to roll
2 6-sided dice and add their values together. Sometimes the
shorthand includes a “+” or “–” and a number listed after the
die, meaning that you add that number to, or subtract it from,
the total of the roll (not each individual die rolled). So 2d4+2
means to roll 2 4-sided dice, total them together, and then add
2. No matter how many penalties are applied to a roll of the
dice, the result can’t be reduced below 0.
Sometimes, the type of die that you need to roll is determined
by your skill. If you’re told to use your Strength skill + 1d8, and
your Strength die is a d10, roll one 10-sided die and one 8-sided
die and add them together to determine your result.
If a card calls for a die roll that affects multiple characters
or situations (for example, if it says that each character at a
location is dealt 1d4 damage), roll separately for each.
Add Villains and Henchmen. Each scenario card lists one or more
villains and one or more henchmen. Make a stack of cards starting
with the villain(s) and then add henchmen, working from the top
of the list down, until your stack has as many cards as you have
locations. Use multiple copies of the henchman at the bottom of the
list as needed. For example, if you have 5 locations and your scenario
card lists Gogmurt as the villain and Tangletooth, Bruthazmus, and
Goblin Raiders as henchmen, you’ll make a stack of 5 cards: Gogmurt,
Tangletooth, Bruthazmus, and 2 Goblin Raiders. If you had only 3
locations, your stack would consist of Gogmurt, Tangletooth, and
Bruthazmus, with no Goblin Raiders. Shuffle this stack and put 1 card
on top of each location deck. Then shuffle each location deck.
Create the Blessings Deck. Draw 30 random blessing cards from the
box. Shuffle them together, form a deck, and place it facedown on
the table.
Arrange Yourselves around the Table. Use any order you wish.
Place Token Cards. Each player chooses a location and puts her
character’s token card near it. Multiple characters can choose the
same starting location.
Draw Starting Hands. Each character card includes a hand size for
that character. Draw that number of cards from your character deck.
The character card also lists a favored card type; if more than one
is listed, choose 1 type before drawing. If you didn’t draw at least
1 card of that type, discard that hand and draw again, repeating as
needed until your hand contains at least 1 card of the specified type.
If you discard enough cards that you can’t draw up to your full hand
size, draw all the remaining cards, then shuffle your discard pile into
your deck and draw the rest of your hand. Once you have a full hand
that includes your favored card type, shuffle any discarded cards back
into your character deck.
Add Cohorts. The Rise of the Runelords set doesn’t contain any
cohorts, but some characters that may be used with Rise of the
Runelords (from Class Decks and other Adventure Paths) use cohorts.
If you have a cohort listed on your deck list, add it to your hand (see
Cohorts on page 23).
Decide Who Goes First. Starting with whichever player the group
chooses, take turns proceeding clockwise (see Taking Your Turn on
page 8).
RULES: SKILLS, DICE, AND MODIFIERS
If your character card says “Strength d10,” and the “+1” box
next to that has been checked, your Strength skill is d10+1,
and your Strength die is d10. (The “+1” is called a “modifier.”)
If your character card also says “Melee: Strength +3,” your
Melee skill is d10+4, your Melee die is d10, and the Melee
modifier is +4.
STRATEGY: SHOULD YOU SPLIT THE PARTY?
There’s an old saying in roleplaying games: Never split the
party. Is that true for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game? This
isn’t an RPG, so the answer is, “It depends.”
Sometimes, it’s a good idea to have multiple characters at
the same location; other times, it makes more sense to split
the party. A lot of your strategy depends on which characters
you’re playing. If you’re playing Valeros and Lem, staying
together makes sense; if you’re playing Harsk and Merisiel, it
may not be so important.
The best strategy also depends on where you’re going. Harsk
can handle the Treacherous Cave, but Ezren might not be able
to close it if someone else runs into the villain. Sometimes
you want backup for whatever perils await you; sometimes
there’s a dragon that blasts everyone at the same location. Pay
attention to where you are in the game. If you know where
the villain is, splitting up so you can temporarily close open
locations is a good idea... unless it isn’t. Every situation is
different, and thinking before you move is always wise.
7
BASE SET RULEBOOK
Playing a Scenario
The Runelords’ plots are sinister indeed. You must track down the
villains, vanquish their minions, and quash their evil schemes!
Taking Your Turn
Take your turn by going through the following steps in order. You can
play cards and use powers without limit in between these steps, as
long as they don’t say they can only be played at certain times.
Advance the Blessings Deck: At the start of your turn, discard the
top card from the blessings deck faceup onto the top of the blessings
discard pile. You never acquire this card, though some cards may refer
to it during your turn. If you have to remove one or more cards from
the blessings deck for any reason and there are not enough cards to
do so, the party loses the scenario (see Ending a Scenario, Adventure,
or Adventure Path on page 19). After advancing the blessings deck,
apply any other effects that happen at the start of your turn.
Give a Card: You may give 1 card from your hand to another player
at your location. (Other players cannot give you cards on your turn.)
Ezren,
the wizard
Ezren’s talents lie in
spellcasting. He’s got a
lot of spells, and can get
them into his hand quickly.
This also means he might
run out of cards before
he reaches the end of the
adventure. He also has no
blessings, so he might not
get to explore much unless
he acquires some allies or
finds some magic that lets
him explore again.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
Move: You may move your token card to another location. Moving
then triggers any effects that happen when you enter or leave
a location. When you choose to move, you must always select
a new location, although it is possible for some effects to move
you to the same location you came from. If you do not change
locations, your character is not considered to have entered or left
a location. Some effects may cause you to move whether you
want to or not, and other effects may restrict you from moving. If
RULES: TRACKING THE BLESSINGS DECK
It’s very easy to get excited about starting your turn, so much
so that you might forget to advance the blessings deck.
Unfortunately, once you realize you’ve skipped it for the last few
turns, it’s often not so easy to figure out how many cards you
need to flip to catch up. We recommend that when each player
advances the deck, she should orient the card she turns over so
that the text is right-side up to that player. Sure, it makes for a
messy-looking blessings discard pile, but it makes it easy to see
who remembered and who didn’t.
8
an effect would move you while another effect restricts you from
moving, do not move.
Explore: You may explore your location once each turn without
playing a card that allows you to explore; this must be your first
exploration for the turn. You may never explore outside of your
explore step. When you explore, flip over the top card of your current
location deck. If it’s a boon, you may attempt to acquire it; if you
don’t attempt that, banish it. If it’s a bane, you must try to defeat
it (see Encountering a Card on page 11). Many effects allow you to
explore again on your turn, and there is no limit to the number of
times you can explore.
However, during a single exploration, no matter how many
different effects allow you to explore again, treat them as granting
one additional exploration, not a series of additional explorations.
For example, Ezren has a power that lets him explore again when he
acquires a card that has the Magic trait, and the location Academy
lets you explore again if you encounter anything other than a spell
on your first exploration. If Ezren were to acquire an item that has
the Magic trait on his first exploration there, he’d get one additional
exploration from those effects, not two.
If a card grants you an additional exploration, after you finish what
you are doing, you must immediately use that exploration or forfeit it.
RULES: LIMITED RESOURCES
If you’re required to do something with a certain number of things
and there aren’t that many things available, use as many as there
are. For example, if you’re told to choose 2 characters at a location
occupied by only 1 character, choose only that character. If you’re
told to draw 4 cards from a deck that has only 3 cards, draw the
3 cards. (Regardless, if you need to do anything with any number
of cards from the blessings deck, other than shuffle it, and you
don’t have enough cards, you lose the scenario; if that happens
with your character deck, your character dies.)
Note that this only applies when you are required to do something.
If you have the opportunity to do something that requires a
limited resource, and you don’t have enough of that resource, you
cannot do that thing. For example, if you have the opportunity to
close a location whose “When Closing” says “recharge 2 spells”
and you have only 1 spell, you cannot close that location.
STRATEGY: SHOULD YOU ALWAYS EXPLORE?
STRATEGY: SHOULD YOU BE SELFISH?
The blessings deck is a countdown timer, and it’s very unforgiving.
More exploration leads to more success, but there are times you
just want to hang out for a while.
One reason might be the state of your hand or character deck.
If you’re hurting, you might just want to be next to Kyra as she
starts her turn.
Another reason to slow down is to realign your party toward
the end of the game. If you just need someone at the Warrens so
you can temporarily close it when you find the villain, don’t risk
finding a monster and upsetting your whole closing scheme. Take
the time to get your strategy set, especially if you have plenty
of turns to burn.
Of course, the biggest disasters often occur shortly after
someone says, “We’ve got plenty of turns left.”
Throughout the game, your friends will ask you for help. They
might even beg for it. Should you ever tell them no?
Probably not. This is a cooperative game, so sharing information
and setting goals as a group is wise. Think about ways you can
help each other, such as having Kyra forgo exploration to heal
another character. You might spend a blessing to get a boon that
you can’t use and give it to someone else who desperately wants
it. Some groups even play with their hands faceup on the table so
everyone can help make choices.
Other players do not share as freely, and there’s a good reason
for it. Your character is a living, growing entity. Your choices will
determine whether your character succeeds and improves. If you
let your friends make decisions for you, you might not be looking
out for yourself.
Close a Location: If your character is at a location that has no cards
remaining and has not been closed, you may make one attempt to
close it at this time (see Closing a Location on page 17).
End Your Turn: First, apply any effects that happen at the end of
the turn. While you do this, unless a power directed you to end your
turn, you may play cards and use powers. Then, reset your hand (see
Resetting Your Hand on page 16). When you’re done, the turn passes
to the player on your left.
Playing Cards
Anyone can play a card whenever the card allows it. Playing a card
means using a power on that card by performing an action with
that card that is specified by the card itself (See Boon Cards, page
24). Choosing to activate a power on a displayed card also counts as
playing it. If a power says using it counts as playing a boon, it counts
as playing a card. Doing something with a card that does not use a
power on that card does not count as playing that card. For example,
if Kyra discards a spell to activate her healing power, it doesn’t count
as playing that spell (meaning she also can’t recharge it). When a
card has multiple powers, you must choose one of them, and you
must do everything that power says when possible. If a power says
it may be used when something happens, you may use it every time
that happens. Otherwise, a specific card’s power may only be used
once per check or step.
When you play a card, it will usually require you to take one of the
following actions.
• Reveal: Show it from your hand then put it back in your hand. You
may not reveal the same card for its power more than once per
check or step.
• Display: Place it faceup next to your deck, unless stated otherwise;
the card’s powers function as long as it is displayed. When a
character displays a card, it is not part of that character’s hand,
deck, or discard pile, but it still belongs to that character.
• Discard: Put it into your discard pile—a stack of faceup cards next
to your deck.
• Recharge: Put it facedown at the bottom of your character deck.
• Bury: Put it under your character card (likely losing access to it for
the rest of the scenario).
• Banish: Put it back in the box, shuffling it in with the other cards
of the same type (thus losing it for good).
Example: The ally Soldier has 2 different powers—you may
recharge the card to add 1d4 to your combat check, or you may
discard the card to explore your location. You can do either, but
you can’t do both, because once you play the card one way, it’s
no longer in your hand for you to play it the other way.
9
Harsk,
the ranger
Harsk is the friend
everyone wants to have—
as long as he’s somewhere
else. Ranged weapons suit
him best; his ability to fire
arrows from long distances
can turn the tide of many
a combat. He’s also great
in dangerous locations
because he can scout out
the threats in advance
and endure whatever they
throw at him.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
Kyra,
the cleric
Everybody runs to Kyra
for help. She can heal
without a Healing spell, but
doing so keeps her from
exploring. She must find
a balance between using
her blessings for bonus
dice and spending them to
explore again. She’s also
a good combatant, and
shines when she tries to
kill something that should
already be dead.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
When you reveal a card, it does not leave your hand. When you
display a card, it leaves your hand immediately. When you play
cards by performing any other actions, set them aside while you
process their effects. For example, a spell might tell you to discard
it, then allow you to succeed at a check to recharge it instead; set
it aside until you resolve the check that determines whether or not
you recharge it. Do what each card requires in the order you set
them aside. While set aside, a card does not count as being in your
hand, your discard pile, your deck, or anywhere else.
If you play a card in such a way that it leaves your hand, that
action can trigger only 1 power. For example, if a card says you
may discard it to add to your die roll or discard it to explore your
location, you may discard it to trigger either effect, but not both.
Always perform the first action required by a power before
performing any other action. For example, if a card says
“Recharge this card to recharge a card from your discard pile,”
recharge the card you’re playing before recharging the card from
your discard pile.
Cards often have instructions that you need to follow after you
play the card; follow these instructions even if the card is no longer
in your hand (even if the card is out of your sight, such as in the
box or in a deck).
If you are instructed to play, reveal, display, discard, recharge,
bury, banish, or otherwise manipulate a card, that card must come
from your hand unless otherwise specified. You may not activate a
power or play a card that doesn’t apply to your current situation. For
RULES: AFFECTING THE SITUATION
In some situations, you are limited to playing cards or using
powers that affect or otherwise relate to the current situation.
In these cases, the things you do cannot require anyone to do
something else for your action to be meaningful—the things you
do must directly affect the situation. For example, let’s say that a
character is attempting a check using a power that adds 1 to her
check for each blessing in her hand, and a second character has a
power that allows him to give the first character a card. He could
give her a blessing, because that doesn’t require any other action
to affect the check. But he could not give her a card that allows
her to draw a blessing from the box, because she would have to
do something else—in this case, play the card he gave her—to
affect the check.
10
RULES: ACTIVE AND OPTIONAL POWERS
In the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, there are always a lot of
cards in play. But you don’t need to worry about doing what all of
them say all the time. Generally, powers on cards are only active
in certain situations.
• Cards in your hand
Powers on cards in your hand are active only when you choose
to play them.
• Cards you examine
When you examine cards, only powers that say they happen
when you examine the card are active.
• Banes you encounter
All of a bane’s applicable powers are active while you encounter it.
• Boons you encounter
When you encounter a boon, the only powers that are active are
ones that say they happen when you encounter it, if you acquire
it, or if you fail to acquire it.
• Other cards you encounter
When you encounter a card that isn’t a bane or a boon, the only
powers that are active are ones that say they happen when you
encounter it.
• Cards in the blessings deck and discard pile
With regard to these cards, the only powers that are active are
ones that say they happen when they are discarded from the
blessings deck or while on top of the blessings discard pile.
• Location cards
Most powers on location cards are active only when players are
at that location, but a few location powers affect other situations.
• Other cards on the table
Powers on cards on the table—including story cards, character cards,
and displayed cards—are active whenever they are appropriate.
Playing cards from your hand is always optional. Active powers on
all other cards are only optional if they say “you may” do something.
example, you may not play a card to reduce damage when damage
is not being dealt, and you may not play a card to evade a monster
when you are not encountering a monster.
If a card in your hand does not specify when it can be played, you
can generally play it anytime you can play cards, with the exception
that during an encounter you may only perform specific actions at
specific times.
STRATEGY: SHOULD YOU BURN THROUGH
YOUR DECK?
Playing a character such as Merisiel or Seelah gives you ways to
churn through your deck faster, discarding cards quickly to get
to the cards you want. While this makes you far more likely to
defeat your enemies and acquire what you need, it comes with a
cost: you might kill off your character.
This game is all about trade-offs. Should you press your luck
or hold off a bit? Not taking risks will make you lose as often as
taking too many risks, but at least your character will be alive
after you lose.
One of the toughest choices involves shedding cards as you
reset your hand. You’re allowed to discard any number of cards
before you draw up, but that means you’re closer to death. There
are few things more humiliating than dying because you forgot
how many cards you needed to draw at the end of your turn.
When you have too many cards in your hand, that’s a different
problem. If you can play some cards that can be recharged—even
though you might have used them much later—it’s still worth
playing them. Discarding cards for no gain is more painful.
Your cards include your deck, the cards in your hand and your
buried, discarded, and displayed cards. You can look through your
displayed, discarded, and buried cards at any time. You may not look
through your character deck unless a card specifically allows it. Don’t
shuffle any stack of cards unless you’re instructed to. A deck is a deck,
a hand is a hand, and a pile is a pile whether or not it has cards.
Encountering a Card
When you encounter a card, you—and only you—can go through
the following steps. No one else can perform these steps for you,
though others might be able to play cards to help you deal with the
encounter’s challenges. During each of these steps, characters may
perform only the specified actions. Characters may only play cards
or use powers that relate to each step (or relate to cards played or
powers used in that step). Each character may play no more than
1 card of each type during each step; for example, a character may
play no more than 1 blessing while attempting a check, though
multiple characters could each play 1 blessing. A character may not
activate a given power more than once during each step, other than
effects that can be used each time something particular happens.
RULES: FACEUP CARDS
Sometimes a card is left faceup on the top of the location deck.
The card is still in the deck, and it can never leave the top of
the deck until it is defeated or the condition that caused it to
be left faceup on the deck has been resolved. If a faceup card
tells you that you must encounter it on your first exploration on
a turn, then you must encounter it the first time you explore that
turn. After that exploration, ignore it for the purpose of additional
explorations that turn; however, it still counts as the top card of
the deck for any other purpose. If multiple cards are left faceup on
the same deck, you may place them in any order and encounter
them in that order, one per exploration. If you’re instructed to
put cards on top of the deck, put them immediately below any
faceup cards. If you’re instructed to shuffle the deck, leave any
faceup cards on top.
Characters may not play any cards or activate any powers between
these steps.
If the card you’re encountering states that it is immune to a
particular trait, during the encounter, characters may not play cards
that have the specified trait or use powers that would add that trait
to any check against that card. The card you’re encountering might
require or allow a check that can affect your check to acquire or
defeat; you must resolve that check before you begin the check to
acquire or defeat.
After you flip over the top card of the location deck, put it on
top of the deck and read it. If the card is a bane, you must try to
defeat it. If it is a boon, you may try to acquire it for your deck; if
you choose not to acquire it, it counts as failing to acquire it. If any
powers happen when you flip over the card, they take effect at this
time. Then go through all of the following steps that apply in order.
Apply Any Effects That Happen When You Encounter a Card. If
any powers on the card you’re encountering happen when you
encounter the card, they take effect at this time. You may also use
powers or cards that state they can be used when you encounter
a card.
Apply Any Evasion Effects. You may use a power or card that lets
you evade the card you’re encountering. If any powers on the card
you’re encountering relate to evading the card, they take effect at
11
Lem,
the bard
While most others
specialize, Lem wants to do
everything. He’s a jack of all
trades, capable of handling
most challenges. He’s great
at making friends, whether
they’re characters who need
a boost or allies who want
to join his side. He should
pick up as many spells as
he can, as he’s the only
character who can use all of
them efficiently.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
this time. If you evade the card, do not activate any other powers
on it. Shuffle it back into the deck; it is neither defeated nor
undefeated, and the encounter is over.
Apply Any Effects That Happen Before You Act. If any powers
on the card you’re encountering happen before you act, they take
effect at this time. You may also use powers or cards that state they
can be used before you act.
Attempt the Check. Most cards require you to succeed at a check
to acquire or defeat them. If a card’s check section says “None”
or “See Below,” look at the card’s powers and immediately do
whatever it says there.
If a power allows you to automatically defeat or acquire a card,
you may use it instead of attempting the check. Doing so counts
as succeeding at all checks and requirements to defeat or acquire
the card. You may not use such a power against any card that does
not have a check to acquire or defeat, or any card that has a check
you’re not allowed to succeed at.
After you attempt the check, deal with any effects that were
triggered by the check. If any cards played while attempting a
check include their own checks, resolve the current check in this
step and the new checks in subsequent steps.
Merisiel,
the rogue
When she’s on her own,
sneaky Merisiel has the
power to burn cards to
boost her own deadliness.
She can take out just
about anything—including
herself if she’s not careful.
She needs to temper her
bonus damage with selfpreservation. She’s talented
at removing barriers, and
at never getting into a fight
she doesn’t want.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
Attempt the Next Check, If Needed. If another check is required,
resolve it now. For example, some boons allow you to attempt a
check to recharge them, and some banes require a second check to
defeat. Repeat this step until you resolve all such checks.
Apply Any Effects That Happen After You Act. If any powers
on the card you’re encountering happen after you act, they
take effect at this time. You may also use powers or cards that
state they can be used after you act. Do this whether or not you
succeeded at your checks.
Resolve the Encounter. If you succeed at all of the checks required
to defeat a bane, banish it; if you don’t succeed, it is undefeated—
shuffle the card back into its location deck. If you succeed at a check
to acquire a boon, put it in your hand; otherwise, banish it. If you
move during an encounter, any effects that would happen after that
encounter do not happen. If you are forced to end your turn during
12
an encounter, shuffle the encountered card back into the deck, or if
it was summoned, banish it; it is neither defeated nor undefeated,
and the encounter is over.
Attempting a Check
Many times during the game, you will need to succeed at checks to
do things, such as acquire a new weapon or defeat a monster. When
you are required to attempt a check, you may not choose to fail it.
Each boon card has a section called Check to Acquire. This section
indicates the skills that can be used in checks to acquire the boon and
the difficulty of the checks. If you succeed in acquiring the card, put it
into your hand. If you fail, banish it.
Each bane card has a section called Check to Defeat. This section
indicates the skills that can be used in checks against the bane and
the difficulty of the checks. If you succeed in defeating the bane, it is
usually banished. If you fail to defeat a bane, it is usually considered
undefeated, and it is shuffled back into the location deck. If you fail
to defeat a monster, you are dealt damage (see Take Damage, If
Necessary on page 15).
If a card refers to a check against another card, that refers to any
check required by that card, whether it’s a check to defeat, a check to
acquire, a check to recharge, or any other check.
If multiple checks are listed on the card with “or” between
them, choose one of them. If there’s a “then” between them, you’ll
need to succeed at both checks sequentially; you must attempt
both checks, even if you fail the first, because failure often has
consequences. “Or” takes priority over “then,” so if a card says
“Wisdom 10 or Combat 13 then Combat 15,” you must first attempt
either a Wisdom check with a difficulty of 10 or a combat check
with a difficulty of 13; after that, you must attempt a combat check
with a difficulty of 15.
Only the character who encounters the card may attempt the
check, save for one exception: if a card requires sequential checks,
the character who encountered the card must attempt at least one
of the checks, but any other checks may each be attempted by any
character at the encountering character’s location. While you are
attempting a check against such a card that you did not encounter,
powers that would apply to the character who encountered it apply
to you instead.
Many cards also require checks to use powers or to recharge the
cards after playing them.
Attempting a check requires several actions that are explained
below. Each player may not play more than 1 card of each type or
use any 1 power more than once during each check, other than
powers that can be used each time something particular happens.
RULES: OPTIONAL VS. REQUIRED CHECKS
• If you are instructed to attempt a check, you must do so.
• If you are instructed to succeed at a check to do a thing, and
the instruction does not use the word “may,” you must attempt
the check; if you succeed, you must do that thing.
• If you are instructed to succeed at a check or do a thing, you
must attempt the check; if you fail, you must do that thing.
• If you are instructed to either attempt a check or do something
else, choose one of those options.
• If you are presented with 2 or more options, none of which
require a check, you may choose any of those options.
Determine Which Skill You’re Using. Cards that require a check
specify the skill or skills you can use to attempt the check. Each check
to defeat or acquire a card lists one or more skills; you may choose
any of the listed skills for your check. For example, if a check lists
Dexterity, Disable, Strength, and Melee, you may use any one of
those skills to attempt your check. Even if your character doesn’t have
any of the skills listed for a check, you can still attempt the check,
but your die is a d4.
Some cards allow you to use a particular skill for a specific type of
check, or to use one skill instead of another. (These cards generally
say things like “For your combat check, use your Strength or Melee
skill,” or “Use your Strength skill instead of your Diplomacy skill.”)
You may play only 1 such card or use only 1 such power to determine
which skill you’re using. A few cards that can be used on checks don’t
use any of your skills; they instead specify the exact dice you need to
roll or the result of your die roll.
The skill you’re using for the check, and any skill referenced by
that skill, are added as traits to the check. For example, if your
character has the skill Melee: Strength +2, and you are using your
Melee skill, both the Strength and the Melee traits are added
to the check. When you’re playing a card to determine the skill
you’re using, that card’s traits are also added to the check; for
example, revealing the weapon Longsword +1 foryour combat
check adds the Sword, Melee, Slashing, and Magictraits to the
check. (This isn’t the same as giving you a skill; for example,
playing the spell for example, the spell Holy Light adds the Divine
trait to your check, but it does not give you the Divine skill.) If a
power adds an additional skill or die to a check, that skill or die
13
Seoni,
the sorcerer
Seoni blows stuff up. Even
if she doesn’t have a spell
in her hand, she can invoke
a fire blast whenever she
meets an unfriendly sort.
She doesn’t have many
spells to start with, but
since she has an explosive
power, her spells don’t
have to be Attack spells.
And since she always
recharges her spells, she’ll
be seeing them a lot.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
STRATEGY: SHOULD YOU HOARD BLESSINGS?
Blessings are among the most versatile cards in the game. Most
can be used to add to checks or to explore again, but you can’t
use one blessing to do both at the same time. So when you’re
trying to decide whether to play a blessing on your companion’s
check to acquire a wand, you might be wondering, “Did I just cost
us a turn?”
What is the opportunity cost of not exploring? Do you need that
sword more than you need to find the villain? The risk-reward
analysis requires some thought.
Early in the game, you might be willing to spend a blessing
on a check, but when the clock is ticking down, conservatism is
often the wiser course. If it’s your combat check and you think you
need the blessing to suceed, it’s likely worth playing it. Fail badly
enough, and you might lose the blessing to damage anyway.
This analysis is worth going through, but don’t let it stop
you from acting. There are always more turns—at least, until
there aren’t.
Valeros,
the Fighter
Valeros is bristling with
weapons. While most
characters must discard
them for their most
powerful effects, Valeros
just puts them back into
his deck. That means he
shouldn’t be afraid to take
damage or discard to get to
the cards he wants. Valeros
is effective when he’s using
up his cards, not when he’s
safeguarding them.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
is not added as a trait to the check. For example, a card that adds
your Strength die to your combat check does not add the Strength
trait to your check.
Most monsters and some barriers call for a combat check. Weapons
and many other cards that can be used during combat generally tell
you what skill to use when you attempt a combat check; if you aren’t
playing one of those cards, you must use your Strength or Melee skill.
Determine the Difficulty. To succeed at a check, the result of your die
roll and modifiers must be greater than or equal to the difficulty of the
check. In checks to defeat a bane or acquire a boon, the difficulty is
the number in the circle under the skill you’ve chosen. In other checks,
the difficulty is the number in the text that follows the skill you’ve
chosen. (For example, where a card’s power instructs you to attempt a
Fortitude 7 check, the difficulty is 7.) Some cards increase or decrease
the difficulty of a check; for example, if a card says that the difficulty is
increased by 2, add 2 to the number on the card you encountered; if it
says the difficulty is decreased by 2, subtract 2 from the number. When
determining the lowest or highest difficulty to defeat or acquire a card,
apply all powers from cards that affect the difficulty, but do not apply
powers that happen before you act, while you act, or after you act.
14
Play Cards and Use Powers That Affect Your Check (Optional).
Characters may now play cards or use powers that affect your check.
Characters may not do things that modify a skill unless you’re using
that skill, and characters may not do things that affect combat unless
you’re attempting a combat check. Do not add traits from these cards
to the check; for example, playing the spell Aid on a check does not
give the check the Divine trait.
Some cards and powers affect only specific types of checks,
such as Dexterity checks, Acrobatics checks, or non-combat checks.
If, on your character card, the skill you’re using refers to another
skill, both skills count for the purpose of determining the type of
check. For example, if you’re using the Arcane skill on a combat
check, and your character card says that your Arcane skill is
Intelligence +2, the check counts as both a combat Arcane check
and a combat Intelligence check. Traits also determine the type
of check; for example, if you’re attempting a combat check and
you played a weapon that added the Ranged trait, it counts as a
Ranged combat check.
Some cards may allow you to replace a specific die with a
different one. For example, Lini can discard a card to roll a d10
instead of her Strength or Dexterity die on a check. She replaces only
the die, not the skill, so if her Strength were normally d4+1, using
this power would allow her to roll d10+1 instead.
Example: Seoni encounters the spell Glibness. The check to acquire
is Intelligence, Arcane, Wisdom, or Divine 6. Seoni selects Arcane.
Her character card says her Arcane skill uses her Charisma die,
which is d12, plus 2. She rolls a 3 and adds 2 for a result of 5, 1
less than she needed to acquire the spell. Dejected, she banishes
the spell.
On the next turn, Kyra encounters the monster Ghost. It has
2 possible checks to defeat: Combat 12, or Wisdom or Divine 8.
Though Kyra could use her Strength to attempt a combat check,
she instead selects Divine. Her character card says that her Divine
skill uses her Wisdom die, d12, plus 2. In addition, she has a power
that gives her another 1d8 and the Magic trait against monsters
with the Undead trait, which the Ghost has. So she rolls 1d12+2
+ 1d8, resulting in a 14. That result vastly exceeds the Ghost’s
difficulty. The Ghost’s power says that if Kyra’s check to defeat
didn’t have the Magic trait, the Ghost would be undefeated, but
since her power added the Magic trait to her check, the Ghost
is banished.
Assemble Your Dice. The skill you’re using and the cards you played
determine the number and type of dice you roll. For example, if you’re
attempting a check using your Strength skill, and your Strength die is
d10, you’ll roll 1d10. If another player played a blessing to add a die
to your check, you would roll 2d10.
Attempt the Roll. Roll the dice and add up their value, adding or
subtracting any modifiers that apply to the check. No matter how
many penalties are applied to a roll of the dice, the result cannot
be reduced below 0. Powers may allow or require you to reroll 1
or more dice; each such power can let you reroll dice only once in
a single check or step. If the result is greater than or equal to the
difficulty of the check, you succeed. If the result is lower than the
difficulty, you fail.
Take Damage, If Necessary. If you fail a check to defeat a
monster, it deals an amount of damage to you equal to the
difference between the difficulty to defeat the monster and your
check result. Unless the card specifies otherwise, this damage is
Combat damage. For example, if the difficulty to defeat a monster
is 10 and the result of your check is 8, the monster deals 2 Combat
damage to you (see Damage, below). Remember that players may
not play more than 1 of each card type during a check, so if you
previously played a spell to affect the check, you may not play a
spell to reduce damage.
Damage
When you are dealt damage, you and other characters may play only
cards and use only powers that reduce or otherwise affect the specific
type of damage you’re being dealt. If you’re being dealt Fire damage,
for example, you may play cards that reduce Fire damage or cards
that reduce all damage, but you may not play cards that reduce only
Combat or Electricity damage. Each character may play no more than
1 of each card type to affect damage to the same character from the
same source. If a card says it reduces damage with no type listed, it
reduces all types of damage.
After any cards or powers affect the amount of damage dealt,
choose that number of cards from your hand and discard them. If you
don’t have enough cards in your hand, discard your entire hand.
STRATEGY: SHOULD YOU LOOK AHEAD?
Harsk, Seelah, and cards like Augury let you look at cards in
location decks before you must encounter them. This can be
a tremendous help as you race the ticking clock that is the
blessings deck.
Finding the villain early can mean the difference between
success and failure. A card like Augury can strand a villain on the
bottom of a deck, leaving him waiting for you to return while you
loot and lock down other locations.
Of course, all that peeking ahead comes at an opportunity
cost: those Spyglasses could instead be cards that help you
defeat banes and acquire boons. If you can’t actually beat what
you find, there’s no point in finding it.
Dying
If, for any reason, you are ever required to remove 1 or more cards
from your deck and you don’t have enough cards, your character
dies. Bury your deck, hand, and discard pile; your turn immediately
ends. You cannot take turns, play cards, move, do anything, or affect
anything while you are dead; effects that refer to characters do not
affect you unless they specifically refer to dead characters. Certain
powerful cards allow you to return from death; if this doesn’t happen
before the end of the scenario, your death is permanent. The other
characters may use the dead character’s cards when they rebuild their
decks after the scenario; any cards they don’t keep are then returned
to the box.
If all of the characters are dead, the players lose the scenario (see
Ending a Scenario, Adventure, or Adventure Path on page 19).
If your character dies, start a new character for the next
scenario. Choose a character card (it can be the same character
who just died, though you do not get any of the feats that
character previously earned) and build a new character deck as
described in Build Your Character on page 4, choosing only cards
that have the Basic trait. If your party has begun the adventure The
Hook Mountain Massacre, you may ignore the Basic trait restriction;
instead, you may use any cards in the box with an adventure
deck number at least 2 lower than that of the adventure you’re
currently playing.
15
FROM THE
CHARACTER ADD-ON DECK
Amiri,
the barbarian
Amiri is a scrapper. The
strongest character in the
game, she can also unleash
her deadly rage, tossing
cards to get boosts to her
physical checks. This is a
bit dangerous, but Amiri
is a daredevil. She’s never
going to be stuck anywhere
she doesn’t want to be.
When a barbarian enters
the room, she leaves when
she wants to.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
Examining and Searching
Sometimes a card allows you to examine one or more cards—that
means looking at the specified card and then putting it back where it
came from. If you are examining a location deck, when determining
which cards you are examining, consider only facedown cards. If a
card tells you to examine a deck until you find a particular card type,
begin with the top card of that deck and stop when you have found a
card of the correct type. If you don’t find a card of the specified type,
ignore any directions related to that card. Examine the cards in the
order you find them, and put them back in the same order unless
instructed otherwise. If anything would cause you to shuffle the
deck while you are examining cards, shuffle the deck only after you
put the cards back. (Examining cards is not exploring, though it may
happen during an exploration.)
Sometimes a card allows you to search a deck and choose any card
of a particular type; that means you may look at every card in the
deck and choose any card of that type. Unless instructed otherwise,
shuffle the deck afterwards.
Resetting Your hand
FROM THE
CHARACTER ADD-ON DECK
Lini,
the druid
Lini commands animals to
do her bidding—a humble
dog will serve her better
than most humans will.
She’s a good spellcaster,
and can serve as a
healer if Kyra’s occupied.
If all else fails, she can
even turn into a bear to
bump up her Strength or
Dexterity considerably.
That lets her collect a lot of
non-Attack spells.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
Do the following whenever you are instructed to reset your hand.
First, you may play cards or use powers that say they may be used
when you reset your hand. Next, you may discard any number of
cards. Then, if you have more cards in your hand than your hand size
specifies, you must discard until the number of cards in your hand
matches your hand size. Finally, if you have fewer cards than your
hand size, you must draw cards until the number of cards in your
hand matches your hand size.
Summoning and Adding Cards
Sometimes you will be told to summon cards or to add cards to a
deck. When this happens, retrieve the cards from the box. However,
if you’re told to summon a card that’s already being used, just
imagine you have another copy of that card for the new encounter;
this summoned copy ceases to exist at the end of the encounter. A
summoned card can’t cause you to summon a copy of itself or of the
card that summoned it.
If you’re told to summon and encounter a card, this immediately
starts a new encounter. If you’re already in an encounter, complete
the encounter with the summoned card before continuing the
original encounter. If you’re told to summon and encounter a boon,
16
and you acquire it, draw it. Otherwise, after evading a summoned
card or resolving the encounter with it, never put it anywhere other
than back in the box unless the card that caused you to summon it
instructs you otherwise. If an effect causes multiple characters to
summon and encounter cards, resolve the encounters sequentially
in any order you like, including banishing the card at the end of the
encounter. If the summoned card is a villain or henchman, defeating
it does not allow you to win the scenario or close a location deck—
ignore any such text on those cards. Cards that you summon are not
part of any location deck.
The When Closing section on some locations requires you to
summon and defeat (or acquire) a card. Summon and encounter it; if
you do not defeat (or acquire) it, the location is not closed.
If you’re told to summon and build a location, if it’s not already
built, retrieve the location card from the box and build the location as
usual; do not add villains or henchmen unless instructed to do so. The
location and its deck become part of the location list for the rest of
the scenario and are no longer considered summoned cards.
If you are instructed to summon and play a card, immediately
draw the card from the box and play it, using any power on it that
can be used in the current circumstance, then banish it. If no power
on it can be used in the current circumstance, banish it.
If you’re instructed to add a card to the top or the bottom of a
deck, do so; otherwise, any cards added to a deck are shuffled into it.
If you’re told to add a random card of a particular type with some
additional requirement, such as “having the Human trait” or “nonBasic” (shorthand for “not having the Basic trait”), draw cards of that
Example: Harsk acquires the final
card in the Mountain Peak location
deck. He may now attempt to close
the location. In the When Closing
section, Mountain Peak says Harsk
must succeed at a Wisdom or
Survival 6 check. Harsk selects
Survival. On his character card,
his Survival skill is his Wisdom
die of d6, plus 2. Harsk rolls a
5, for a total of 7, and closes
the Mountain Peak, flipping the
card over to show it is closed.
type from the box until you find a card that fulfills
the requirement. Then add that card and put the rest
back in the box.
Closing a Location
You may earn the opportunity to close a location in a
number of ways. Usually you get to attempt to close
a location after defeating a henchman from that
location deck (the henchman card will indicate if this
is the case) or after that location deck runs out of
cards (see Close a Location on page 9). You can never
attempt to close a location that is temporarily or
permanently closed, or that your character isn’t at.
When you have the opportunity and want to close
a location, do whatever the location’s When Closing
section says. Locations often require specific checks
to close them; otherwise, they list specific tasks you
must perform. (If a location says you may close it
automatically, you don’t need to do anything else.)
If the When Closing text offers multiple options
separated by “or,” you must choose an option before
you use any powers, play any cards, or roll any
dice. If you succeed at meeting the When Closing
requirement, search the location deck for villains. If you
find any, banish all non-villain cards from the location
deck. The location is not closed—but at least you know
where the villains are! If you would banish any cohorts
this way, you may encounter them instead.
If you didn’t find any villains, perform the When
Permanently Closed effect: First, apply any effects
that say “before closing.” Then banish all of the
cards from the location deck; it is now closed.
Finally, apply any effects that say “on closing”
and flip the location card over. The location stays
closed for the rest of the scenario, so villains may
not escape to that location (see Encountering a
Villain on page 16). Characters may move to closed
locations, and if there are cards there, they may
explore and encounter those cards as normal. (Most
closed locations don’t have cards to explore, but
some effects can put cards there.)
FROM THE
CHARACTER ADD-ON DECK
Sajan,
the monk
Sajan has nary a weapon,
armor, or spell, but that
doesn’t mean he’s a lesser
combatant. He churns
through blessings to pump
up his unarmed attacks,
and to explore as much
as he likes. Sajan’s lack
of armor means he can
quickly get into trouble,
though, so he wants feats
and items that can soften
the sting of bad luck.
17
BASE SET RULEBOOK
Encountering a Villain
Most scenarios have a villain—a big bad bane for the players to fight
at the end. Villains work a lot like other monsters, but since defeating
them is the goal of many scenarios, some special rules are used.
Unlike monsters and henchmen, a villain doesn’t just need to be
defeated. A villain also needs to be cornered: you need to make sure
there are no open locations the villain can escape to.
FROM THE
CHARACTER ADD-ON DECK
Seelah,
Attempt to Temporarily Close Open Locations. Before a character
encounters a villain, each character at any other open location may
immediately attempt to fulfill the When Closing requirement for his
location; the villain’s location cannot be temporarily closed. You may
decide the order in which these attempts are made. If anything causes
a character to move before his attempt is made, he may attempt
to close his new location, not his previous location. If any character
succeeds, his location is temporarily closed and the villain cannot
escape there this encounter (see Check to See Whether the Villain
Escapes on page 18). Temporarily closing a location only prevents the
villain from escaping there during this encounter; it does not trigger
any of the other effects of closing a location, and the location opens
again immediately after the encounter.
Encounter the Villain. This encounter works exactly as it does with
other banes, but be careful to look for any special rules listed on the
villain card or the scenario card.
If You Defeat the Villain, Close the Villain’s Location. You do not
need to fulfill the When Closing requirement. Search the location deck
for additional villains; if you don’t find any, banish all of its cards. The
location is permanently closed, and the location’s When Permanently
Closed effect is triggered. Flip the location card over. If any villains
remain in the deck, banish everything except the remaining villains
and shuffle the deck; the location is not permanently closed, but if
there are no other open locations for the villain to escape to, banish
the villain.
Check to See Whether the Villain Escapes. If any locations are
not closed, the villain escapes. If you defeated the villain, count
the number of open locations, subtract 1, and retrieve that number
of random blessings from the box. Shuffle the villain in with those
blessings, then deal 1 card to each open location and shuffle those
location decks. If the villain is undefeated, do the same thing, but
retrieve the blessings from the blessings deck instead of from the box.
(Note that if you did not defeat the villain, there is always at least one
open location: the one in which it was just encountered.)
If the Villain Has Nowhere to Escape to, You Win! See After the
Scenario below. Some scenarios may have other conditions for
winning; if a villain can’t escape but you haven’t met these conditions,
banish the villain and continue play.
the paladin
Seelah can wield swords
and spells with equal
skillfulness, and excels
when on the defense.
She turns blessings into
damage, and her armors
can handle most assaults.
Seelah can also scope
out the locations she’s
exploring, but don’t
expect her to hang on to
treasure—she’s looking for
evildoers to smite.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
Example: Lem and Merisiel are in Black Fang’s Dungeon. Lem is at the Throne
Room, Merisiel is at the Desecrated Vault, and Temple and Shrine to Lamashtu
are open as well. On Merisiel’s turn, she encounters Black Fang! Lem now has
a chance to temporarily close the Throne Room, and he easily succeeds at his
Diplomacy 6 check. Merisiel now encounters and defeats Black Fang, banishing all
the cards in the Desecrated Vault. But since the Temple and Shrine to Lamashtu are
open, Black Fang has somewhere to escape to. Merisiel’s player shuffles together
Black Fang and a random blessing from the box and deals 1 of those 2 cards into each
of the open, unclosed locations—but not the Throne Room, since Lem temporarily
closed it. The hunt for Black Fang continues!
18
After the Scenario
Now the time of adventure has passed. Return to the inn, heal your
wounds, and divide the treasures you’ve unearthed. Rest while you
can, for the runelords’ plans will not be halted for long.
Ending a Scenario, Adventure, or
Adventure Path
If at any point you need to advance the blessing deck but there
are no cards remaining in it, immediately end the current turn; the
scenario then ends and your party of adventurers loses. You also
lose if all of the characters are dead at the same time (see Dying
on page 15). You do not earn the reward on the scenario card, and
you didn’t complete that scenario. You must replay it and complete
it successfully before you can attempt the next scenario.
If the players defeat the villain and prevent it from escaping,
or they achieve a different condition for winning listed on the
scenario card, your group defeats the scenario and earns the
reward listed on the scenario card. You may be rewarded with
loot cards, each of which can be given to any character in the
group. If you’re rewarded with a feat, choose an appropriate
checkbox on your character card (or your role card, if you have
one) and check it. That feat now applies to your character until
she dies. If you’re rewarded with a feat of a specific type and
your character has no unchecked feats of that type, you do not
gain a feat. You may not earn the reward from a given scenario,
adventure, or Adventure Path more than once unless the reward
specifically tells you otherwise.
After you complete a scenario, if any displayed boons could be
banished or removed from the game when a certain condition
is met (such as the end of an encounter, the end of a turn, or a
location closing), treat them as if that condition is occurring. Then
put all cards other than boons back in the box. Next, rebuild your
character deck (see Between Games on page 20). Finally, put any
remaining cards back in the box.
After you successfully complete a scenario, you may proceed
to the next scenario on the adventure card. If you’ve successfully
completed all of the scenarios on the adventure card, you earn
the reward on the adventure card.
After you successfully complete an adventure, you’re ready
to move on to the next one. Add all of the cards from the next
Adventure Deck to the box; if you own any Class Decks, you can
RULES: DEALING WITH CARDS
Unless a card says otherwise, drawing means taking a card from
the specified source and adding it to your hand. If no source is
specified, draw it from your character deck. When you draw a card
from a facedown deck, such as a character deck, a location deck,
the blessings deck, or any other deck the game tells you to create,
draw from the top of the deck. When you draw a card from a
faceup pile, such as your discard pile, the blessings discard pile, or
any other pile the game tells you to create, draw a card of your
choice. When you draw a card from the box, unless you are told
to draw a specific card, draw a random card of the appropriate
type by shuffling the cards you’re drawing from and drawing the
top card.
This applies to actions other than drawing—for example, if
you’re told to bury 1 card from your deck, bury the top card;
if you’re told to bury 1 card from your discard pile, you choose
the card.
When you are told to discard a card from a deck, always put it
on top of that deck’s discard pile.
add any cards from them that have the same adventure deck
number as the Adventure Deck cards you just added. Begin with
the first scenario of the new adventure.
If you successfully complete all of the adventures in an
Adventure Path, you earn the reward on the Adventure Path card.
At this point, you can build your own adventures using the cards
you have, or you can create new characters and start over.
19
BASE SET RULEBOOK
Between Games
After each scenario, you must rebuild your character deck. Start by
combining your discard pile with your hand, your character deck,
any cards you buried under your character card, and any cards you
displayed; you may then freely trade cards with other players. Your
deck must end up meeting the Cards List requirements on your
character card. Loot cards count as cards of their type. For example,
if your character’s Cards List specifies 3 items, and you keep 1 loot
card with the item type when your rebuild your deck, your deck
must contain exactly 2 other items.
If you can’t construct a valid deck from the cards your group
has available because you don’t have enough of certain cards,
choose the extra cards you need from the box, choosing only cards
that have the Basic trait. After you begin the adventure The Hook
Mountain Massacre, you may ignore the Basic trait restriction;
instead, you may use any cards in the box from the base set and
the Character Add-On Deck, as well as any cards from an adventure
whose adventure deck number is at least 2 lower than the
adventure you’re currently playing. If you have cards left over after
rebuilding all of the surviving characters’ decks, put them back in
the box.
If you want to start a new character, you may, but it’s
important that you do not keep decks for characters you’re not
actively playing. Doing so would use up cards that you should
be encountering during play. The base set is designed to have
no more than 4 character decks built at one time; the Character
Add-On Deck, available separately, expands the maximum number
of concurrently built decks to 6. If you switch characters for some
reason, it’s best to write down the cards in the previous character’s
deck­(or use the free character sheets posted online at paizo.com/
pacg) and return the cards to the box until you want to play that
character again.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
20
STRATEGY: SHOULD YOU SEEK OUT DANGER?
When you’re adventuring, you can go wherever you want… but
not all locations are created equal.
Start by looking at the text on all of the location cards. You
might be able to discard an ally to explore again, but if you’re at
the Cell, will you have an ally to bury when you need to close it?
A location’s When Closing requirement can guide your path as
well. If you can’t close the location when the henchman pops up,
you’ll have to burn through the whole deck to try again.
Sometimes you’ll want to leave a location open until the villain
appears and you can temporarily close it.
All else being equal, more exploration yields more fun.
STRATEGY: ADVICE FOR SOLO PLAY
Solo play is particularly good for quickly completing scenarios to
advance your character if you want to catch up to other players.
Not all characters should be considered equal for solo play.
For example, Lem is quite good at helping other characters—but
when there are no other characters, he’s a lot less useful. Ezren
doesn’t have any blessings, so when no one else can give him
any, his progress might be inhibited. Merisiel, on the other hand,
is great for solo play, because she gains bonuses when no one
is at her location.
You can also play multiple characters if you like; we suggest you
try solo play with 2 characters. Treat each character as if he were
being played by a separate player (so if you’re playing Sajan and
Valeros, advance the blessings deck at the start of Sajan’s turn and
at the start of Valeros’s turn).
Some cards are particularly difficult in solo play. If your character
can’t ever get out of the Treacherous Cave, your scenario will grind
to a halt. When you encounter such a card, remove it from the
game and replace it with another card of the same type that
roughly matches its power level but isn’t quite so impossible to
overcome. (Some cards are actually easier in solo play, such
as banes that require each character to succeed at a check.)
Card Types
A stranger gives you a mysterious treasure chest. Unlock it, and
therein you will find a trove of wonders the likes of which the world
of Golarion has never seen.
Hand Size: This is the number of cards you draw to form your hand at
the beginning of each scenario. When you reset your hand, you must
discard or draw cards so you have exactly this number of cards again.
Character Cards
Proficient With: If your character is proficient with weapons or specific
types of armors, they’re listed here. Some weapons and armors are
more useful for characters who are proficient with them.
Each character card includes the following information.
Traits: Many effects use a card’s traits; for example, some cards give
you a bonus if your character has a particular trait.
Skills: Skills tell you what type of die to roll when you attempt a check
(see Attempting a Check on page 13). Normally, you roll 1 die of the
appropriate type for a check, but other cards can add to that.
Powers: Each character has powers you can use to affect the game.
Unless a character power says “you may,” it is active whenever it is
appropriate. You may use multiple different character powers during
one check or step.
Favored Card Type: Your character always begins a scenario with
at least 1 card of this type in hand (see Draw Starting Hands on
page 7).
Cards List: At the start of each scenario, your character deck must
contain exactly the listed quantity of each boon type. As you play
through a scenario, you will add and remove cards from your deck, so
it may vary from this list during play. At the end of the scenario, you’ll
rebuild your deck to conform to the list again, although you might
not end up with exactly the same cards you had before. If you have a
cohort listed, and it hasn’t been removed from the game, you can put
it in your hand after you draw your starting hand; it counts as a Basic
card for you.
Feats
Character cards include a number of powers with checkboxes;
these are called feats. After successfully completing a scenario
or adventure, you might be instructed to gain a feat of a specific
type. After you check a box of that type on your character card,
your character may use that feat in future scenarios. You may
not use feats that are not yet checked off. If there’s more than 1
checkbox associated with a skill, power, or card type, you must
check the unchecked box farthest to the left before you can check
immediately adjacent boxes. For example, if a skill has boxes
labeled +1, +2, and +3, you must check the +1 box before you can
check the +2 or +3 box, and you must have checked +1 and +2
before you can check +3. These boxes aren’t cumulative—that is,
“+2” replaces “+1,” so they do not add together to make +3.
We recommend you use a pencil to lightly check the feat boxes,
or you can track your character with the free character sheets
posted online at paizo.com/pacg.
There are three main types of feats.
21
BASE SET RULEBOOK
Skill Feats: When you gain a skill feat, check 1 new box in the Skills
section of your character card. Skill feats add a modifier to a skill of
your choice: you’ll add the number next to the box you selected to any
check attempted with that skill. So if your Charisma die is d10, and
you’ve checked the “+2” box for your Charisma skill, you’ll roll 1d10
and add 2 when you attempt a check that uses your Charisma skill
(see Attempting a Check on page 13).
Power Feats: When you gain a power feat, check 1 new box in the
Powers section of your character card. Some power feats give you new
powers, such as increasing your hand size or making you proficient
with weapons or specific types of armors. Other power feats improve
your character’s existing powers. If your character has a power that
allows him to add 1d4 to another character’s combat check, and
you’ve checked the “+1” box next to it, you’ll add 1d4+1 to the other
character’s check. These modifiers apply only when using the power
on your character card; if you instead play a card with a similar power,
the feat modifier doesn’t apply.
Card Feats: When you gain a card feat, check 1 new box on the
Cards List on your character card. Each card feat allows you to put
one more card of the type you choose into your character deck.
After you choose a card feat, use the new number on your Cards
List whenever you rebuild your deck.
Role Cards
Each character card has a corresponding role card, though you won’t
use it right away. Role cards are part of the reward you get for
completing the third adventure of the Rise of the Runelords Adventure
Path. Role cards offer new feats for you to choose; these feats apply to
your character as if they were part of the original character card, and
your role card counts as part of your character card.
Each side of the role card presents a different specialization for
your character, allowing you to choose one of two different paths
for your character’s continuing advancement. For example, one
side of the role card for the fighter Valeros presents feats that let
him specialize as a defending Guardian, while the other side offers
feats to advance him as an offense-oriented Weapon Master.
When you are told to select your character’s role card, select
one of the two roles. From then on, whenever you gain a feat and
choose to check a box on your role card, you must always choose
feats from that side of the role card.
Your role card must be placed directly over the Powers section of
your character card; thereafter, your character card’s Powers section
cannot be modified. When you first get the role card, check any
boxes for the role you’ve chosen that match boxes you’ve already
checked on your character card. For example, if the “Light Armors”
box was checked on your character card, check the “Light Armors”
box on your role card.
Token Cards
Each character has a corresponding token card, which you’ll move to
keep track of your character’s current location. Each token card also
includes a brief character biography.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
22
Story Cards (Adventure Path,
Adventure, and Scenario)
Story cards define the game session you’ll be playing. You always
have a scenario card, which tells you what to do and where to go in
the current game session. You also have an adventure card, which lists
the scenarios you must finish to complete the adventure, and perhaps
an Adventure Path card, which lists the adventures you need to finish
to complete the Adventure Path.
The front of each story card includes powers for playing it. Some are
used during play, and some are used as you set up a particular scenario,
so make sure you read them right away. Story cards also list a reward—
something you get to do once you complete the task provided by the story
card (see Ending a Scenario, Adventure, or Adventure Path on page 19).
The front of each scenario card lists the villains and henchmen in
the scenario; the back of each scenario card includes a list of locations
used in the scenario (see Set Out the Locations and Build the Location
Decks on page 6).
Location Cards
Location cards represent the places your characters will visit during the
scenario. If any character is at a location, it is considered occupied. The
front of each location card has the following features.
Deck List: This tells you the quantity of each card type you need to set
up the location deck (see Build the Location Decks on page 6).
At This Location: These are special powers that are in effect while the
location is open. Some of these remain in effect when the location is
permanently closed; in that case, they also appear on the back of the
location card.
When Closing: When you have the opportunity to close a location
and want to do so, you must perform this task. Usually you get the
opportunity to close a location after a henchman is defeated there
(when this is the case, the henchman card will say so) or after the
location deck runs out of cards (see Closing a Location on page 17).
When you close a location, flip it over. The villain can no longer escape
to this location, though characters can still move there.
RULES: OWNER TRAIT
Some cards have the Owner trait, followed by the name of a
character. If your character is the Owner of a card, you—and only
you—may treat it as if it has the Basic trait.
RULES: MAKING YOUR OWN CARDS
You can make your own story cards—simply follow the format
on the ones in the box, choosing villains and henchmen that are
appropriate for the power level of your characters. Be careful when
setting rewards; you don’t want to give out too much for success.
You can also make your own character and role cards. To
balance them with the ones in the box, each character should start
with 15 cards on her Card List, no more than 1 d12 in her skills,
and no more than 5 different skill modifiers. The sum of the skill
dice should be 42. She should have 15 skill feat checkboxes, 10
card feat checkboxes, 4 power feat checkboxes on her character
card, and 12 power feat checkboxes on her role card. Expanded
guidelines can be found at paizo.com/pacg.
Support Cards (Cohort)
Support cards supplement various features of the game. Support cards
do not count as either banes or boons.
Cohorts are companions that some characters get at the start of a
scenario. (Rise of the Runelords does not include any characters that
use cohorts; they can be found in other Adventure Paths and some
Class Decks.) If the back of your character card lists a cohort at the
bottom of your cards list, after you draw your starting hand, add your
cohort to it.
If you encounter a cohort in a location deck, you automatically
acquire it. If you would banish a cohort, remove it from the game
instead; it may not be used in future scenarios, even if it’s listed on
your character card.
When Permanently Closed: When a location is permanently closed,
the powers listed here go into effect.
23
BASE SET RULEBOOK
Boon Cards (Weapon, Spell, Armor,
Item, Ally, Blessing, and Loot)
Boons are cards you may be able to acquire and put into your hand or
deck for future use. Weapons, spells, armors, items, allies, blessings,
and loot are all boons. Each player may play only one of each type of
boon on a single check. The following information appears on boons.
Type: This is the boon’s card type.
Traits: Many effects use a card’s traits; for example, a Skeleton is
harder to defeat when you play a weapon that has the Piercing trait.
Check to Acquire: When you encounter a boon, you may attempt a
check to acquire it. If you succeed at the check, put the card in your
hand; if you fail or choose to not attempt the check, banish the card
(see Playing Cards on page 9). You only attempt the check to acquire
when encountering a card, not when drawing it from your deck or
playing it from your hand. Some boons list actions other than checks
that you may take to acquire the card. Loot cards do not have a
check to acquire; instead, you earn them as a reward for completing
a scenario.
Powers: Each power is presented as a complete paragraph. Powers
allow you to perform a specified action to cause an effect, such as
discarding the boon to add to a check. (Common actions include
revealing, displaying, discarding, recharging, burying, and banishing,
but other actions may be specified.) When you perform an action
with the card to cause an effect, you are playing it for its power (see
Playing Cards on page 9).
If a paragraph on a boon doesn’t require you to perform an action
with that boon to cause an effect, that paragraph is not a power;
do what it says at the appropriate time. For example, if a paragraph
says “After you play this card, if you have the Divine skill, recharge
it instead of discarding it,” and you have the Divine skill, you must
recharge the card after you play it. If a card says “If proficient with
light armors, you may recharge this card when you reset your hand,”
and you are proficient with light armors, then when you reset your
hand, you may recharge that card. When you are required to do
something with the card as part of the effect (rather than to cause an
effect), that does not count as playing it. So in either of the previous
examples, recharging the card does not count as playing it.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
24
If a card tells you that you may treat it as if it has the same powers
as another boon, do not include paragraphs that are not powers.
The following are general descriptions of each type of boon.
Weapon: Weapon cards often require you to do something (such as
reveal the card) to modify your combat check. If a weapon’s power
refers to characters who are proficient with weapons, look in the
Powers section of your character card to see if you’re proficient.
Spell: Spell cards have a wide variety of effects. Spells always have
the Arcane or Divine trait or both; characters with a skill matching that
trait will often be able to make the best use of a given spell.
Armor: Armor cards help you by reducing damage. Armor powers
specify which types of damage they reduce; if a power refers to “all”
damage, that applies to all damage of all types. If the armor doesn’t
reduce the type of damage you’re being dealt, you can’t play it to
reduce the damage. For example, if you’re dealt Fire damage, and an
armor card doesn’t say it reduces Fire damage or all damage, you can’t
play it to reduce the damage.
Item: Item cards have a wide variety of effects. Many of them help
with non-combat checks.
Ally: Ally cards often help you with checks you attempt, and many let
you discard them to explore again on your turn.
Blessing: Blessing cards often allow you to explore or add dice to
checks attempted by any player, including yourself, at any location.
The dice added are normally of the type associated with the skill
the character is using for the check. For example, if Lem is making a
Strength check with his Strength of d4+1, Blessing of the Gods adds a
d4. If a card instead specifies the exact dice to roll for the check, the
added dice are of the type specified by that card.
Loot: Loot cards are unique in a couple of ways. The other boons can
be found by exploring locations, but loot cards are only given out
as rewards for completing scenarios, except in very rare cases when
other cards give them out. They are automatically acquired, and so
they have no check to acquire. Also, loot cards list a type, such as
“weapon”; apart from the way loot cards are acquired, loot cards
STRATEGY: SHOULD YOU ACQUIRE BOONS YOU
WON’T USE?
Bane Cards (Villain, Henchman,
Monster, and Barrier)
The short answer is “absolutely.” At minimum, a boon is something
you can give up as damage when some monster cracks your skull
open. But there’s another reason: your fellow adventurer might
want you to give it to him.
This is sometimes trickier than it looks. To give a card to
someone, you must start your turn at that character’s location.
That character might have to come to you to get it, assuming you
even still have it in your hand when he does. Coordinating a timely
rendezvous can lead to a villain’s untimely demise.
This situation is a lot easier, of course, if a character who’s good
at acquiring a type of boon gets it herself. If you’re able to look
ahead in the location deck or evade cards, you can tell another
player about a useful card. Then she can spend her turns trying to
get it, and you can get on with your own goals.
You must defeat bane cards or suffer their consequences. Barriers and
monsters appear randomly in location decks, while most scenarios call
for specific villains and henchmen.
STRATEGY: JOIN THE COMMUNITY
To get the most out of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, please
visit paizo.com/pacg. You’ll find FAQs, rules updates, character
sheets, links to videos of people playing the game, the latest
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game news, and more. You’ll also find
the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game messageboards, where you
can interact with other players and the people who made the
game. You can also learn about and join our worldwide Pathfinder
Society Adventure Card Guild organized play program and advance
your characters through new scenarios.
Type: Most banes are either monsters or barriers. Most villains and
henchmen have the “monster” type and count as monsters; a few
have the “barrier” type and count as barriers.
Traits: Many effects use a card’s traits; for example, banes that have
the Goblin trait may be harder to defeat in a particular scenario.
Check to Defeat: This is the skill check or combat check needed to
defeat the bane. If the check is listed as “None” or “See Below,” the
requirements to defeat the bane may be stated in the bane’s power.
If the check is listed as “None” and the power does not state the
requirements to defeat the bane, the bane cannot be defeated. You
normally take damage if you fail a check to defeat a monster (see
Take Damage, If Necessary on page 15).
Powers: These special rules apply when you encounter the bane. If
a bane says an effect happens if or when you do a particular thing,
it applies to any character who does that thing. If it limits the things
you can do, that limit applies to any character who wants to do those
things; however, if the limitation is the result of an action such as
playing a card or attempting a check, it applies only to the character
who took that action.
behave just like other boons of that type and count as cards of that
type rather than loot when played. If a loot card ends up in a location
deck, you automatically acquire it when you encounter it.
25
CAN’T GET ENOUGH
GAME? TRY THE
ADVENTURE CARD
GUILD!
If the scenarios provided
just aren’t enough for
you, or you want to play
at conventions or game
store events, check out
the Pathfinder Society
Adventure Card Guild.
This new organized play
program features new
stories in the world of
Golarion. Each Base Set
release coincides with a
new season of Adventure
Card Guild play.
To join the Adventure
Card Guild, you’ll
need to register for a
Pathfinder Society ID
number at paizo.com/
pfsacg, buy a Class
Deck, and download the
Guide to ACG Organized
Play. Then browse our
forums or look for an
Adventure Card Guild
event at paizo.com/
pathfinderSociety/
events and you’ll be on
your way!
BASE SET RULEBOOK
Example of Play
Edward and Monica sit down to play their third session of the
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, using the scenario Black Fang’s
Dungeon. Edward has opted to play the mighty wizard Ezren, and
Monica plays Merisiel the rogue. After setting up the location and
blessings decks, Edward and Monica decide to start their characters
together in the location Throne Room, so they put their token cards
near the Throne Room card. Both players draw their starting hands,
but since Monica’s hand doesn’t include any item cards—Merisiel’s
favored card type—she has to discard her hand and draw again. This
time, she gets an item—a Blast Stone—so she keeps her new hand
and shuffles the old one back into her deck.
Edward begins play by advancing the blessings deck, and then he
chooses to have Ezren explore the Throne Room. He flips the top card
over to reveal the spell Acid Arrow, which has a check to acquire of
Intelligence or Arcane 4. Edward looks at his character card and sees
that Ezren’s Arcane skill is d12+2, better than his Intelligence skill of
just d12. He rolls a 7 and adds 2 for a total of 9, which easily exceeds
the difficulty. Edward adds the Acid Arrow to his hand.
Since he has just acquired a card that has the Magic trait, one
of Ezren’s character powers triggers, allowing him to immediately
explore again. Edward flips over the next card of the location deck
to discover an Ancient Skeleton henchman! Monica and Edward
are excited because they know that defeating the henchman will
allow them to close the Throne Room and move one step closer
to completing the scenario and winning the game. The scenario’s
special rule is “When any character encounters the henchman
Ancient Skeleton, each other character at that location must summon
and encounter the henchman Ancient Skeleton.” This means Merisiel
must encounter one too, but Monica’s not worried—Merisiel has a
power that allows her to evade her encounter, so she banishes her
summoned Ancient Skeleton right away.
To defeat his Ancient Skeleton, Ezren must attempt a combat check.
Edward opts to play the Acid Arrow spell he just acquired, which lets
him roll his Arcane die—d12+2—plus 2d4 for his check. The difficulty
of the check is 8, and Edward wants to make absolutely sure he’ll
succeed, so Monica plays her Blast Stone to add another 1d4 to the
check. Edward assembles 1d12 and 3d4, and rolls a total value of
12, then adds 2 (the “+2” from his Arcane skill) to get a result of 14.
Now Edward can try to recharge his Acid Arrow. The card says he must
BASE SET RULEBOOK
26
succeed at an Arcane 6 check, so he rolls d12+2 and gets a 9. He
puts the card at the bottom of his deck. Playing the Acid Arrow spell
triggered another of Ezren’s powers: after he plays a spell that has the
Arcane trait, he can examine the top card of his character deck, and if
it’s a spell, he can add it to his hand. The top card is the spell Levitate,
so he puts it in his hand. Best of all, because Ezren succeeded at the
check, the Ancient Skeleton is defeated; Edward banishes it.
Defeating the Ancient Skeleton allows Edward to immediately
attempt to close the Throne Room. To do so, he must attempt a
Charisma or Diplomacy check with a difficulty of 6. Ezren doesn’t
have the Diplomacy skill, and his Charisma die is just d6, so the
odds aren’t in his favor. Monica sees that her friend could use some
help, so she plays a Blessing of the Gods on Ezren’s Charisma check.
Though Monica has 2 blessings in her hand, she can only play 1 card
of any given type on a particular check, so she keeps the second
blessing for later. Edward rolls 1d6 for Ezren’s Charisma die and
another 1d6 for the blessing, and gets exactly 6. The Throne Room is
now closed, and Ezren and Merisiel are one step closer to defeating
Black Fang’s Dungeon.
Ezren gained 2 cards and played only 1, so if he resets his hand
now, he’ll need to discard down to his hand size of 6. Instead, he plays
his new Levitate spell to move to the Desecrated Vault, but rolls a 5
on his recharge roll, and discards the card. Since he played a spell,
his power lets him look at the top card of his deck, which is a Codex.
That’s not a spell, so he puts that back on his deck, and the turn
passes to Monica. Black Fang’s days are numbered!
Suggested Deck Lists
Spell: Arcane Armor, Force Missile, Invisibility
Item: Blast Stone, Bracers of Protection, Potion of Fortitude
Ally: Guard, Guide (2), Troubadour
Blessing: Blessing of the Gods (5)
Here are optional starting card lists for the seven characters in the base set and the four
characters in the Character Add-On Deck. All of these characters start with only cards
that have the Basic trait. Note that while all of these characters are buildable with any
others, they can’t all be built at once, because then you may not have enough cards left
in the box to play the game.
Seoni
BASE SET CHARACTERS
Ezren
Harsk
Kyra
Lem
Merisiel
Weapon: Quarterstaff
Spell: Arcane Armor, Detect Magic, Force Missile, Invisibility,
Levitate, Lightning Touch (2), Sleep
Item: Blast Stone, Bracers of Protection, Codex
Ally: Night Watch, Sage, Standard Bearer
Valeros
Weapon: Dagger, Longsword (2), Mace, Short Sword
Armor: Chain Mail, Wooden Shield (2)
Item: Mattock, Potion of Hiding
Ally: Night Watch, Standard Bearer
Blessing: Blessing of the Gods (3)
CHARACTER ADD-ON DECK CHARACTERS
Weapon: Light Crossbow (2), Shortbow (2), Sling
Armor: Leather Armor
Item: Amulet of Life, Crowbar, Holy Water
Ally: Crow
Blessing: Blessing of the Gods (5)
Amiri
Weapon: Mace, Quarterstaff
Spell: Cure, Guidance, Mending
Armor: Chain Mail, Wooden Shield
Item: Holy Water
Ally: Guard
Blessing: Blessing of the Gods (6)
Weapon: Longspear, Longsword, Quarterstaff, Short Sword (2)
Armor: Leather Armor, Wooden Shield
Item: Mattock, Potion of Hiding
Ally: Guide, Standard Bearer
Blessing: Blessing of the Gods (4)
Spell: Cure (2), Detect Magic, Guidance, Sanctuary, Strength
Item: Potion of Fortitude, Sage’s Journal
Ally: Crow, Dog (2)
Blessing: Blessing of the Gods (4)
LINI
Weapon: Sling
Spell: Cure, Levitate, Sanctuary, Strength
Item: Codex, Thieves’ Tools
Ally: Burglar, Sage, Troubadour
Blessing: Blessing of the Gods (5)
Item: Amulet of Mighty Fists, Caltrops, Potion of Glibness,
Potion of Vision
Ally: Guide, Sage, Troubadour
Blessing: Blessing of the Gods (8)
Sajan
Weapon: Dagger, Dart
Armor: Leather Armor
Item: Caltrops, Crowbar, Potion of Glibness, Potion of Vision,
Thieves’ Tools (2)
Ally: Burglar, Guard
Blessing: Blessing of the Gods (4)
Seelah
27
Weapon: Longsword, Mace, Short Sword
Spell: Cure
Armor: Chain Mail (2), Wooden Shield
Ally: Night Watch, Standard Bearer
Blessing: Blessing of the Gods (6)
BASE SET RULEBOOK
Things to Keep in Mind
If you’ve played other card games, board games, or roleplaying games,
you may find a lot of familiar concepts in the Pathfinder Adventure Card
Game. However, bringing in assumptions from other games—including
the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game—can potentially trip you up. Here are
some guidelines you might want to keep in mind.
Cards Do What They Say. Read any card as it is encountered or played,
and do what it says as soon as it makes sense. Let the card tell you what
to do, and don’t impose limitations that aren’t there. You can play an
armor card even if there isn’t one in your deck list. You can play a Cure
spell even if it’s not your turn. You can play a blessing on a check even if
someone else has played one. Cards say everything they need to say.
Cards Don’t Do What They Don’t Say. Each card’s powers reference
specific situations, and if you’re not in those situations, you can’t play it.
If a card says it works on “any check,” you can play it on anyone’s check,
but if a card says “your check,” it only works on yours. You can’t play a
Cure spell to reduce the amount of damage you’re taking, because Cure
isn’t about reducing damage. You can’t examine a deck that has no cards.
Your weapon doesn’t help you acquire new weapons. Each card tells you
what it’s for, and you can use it only for that.
No One Else Can Take Your Turn for You. Whenever you encounter a card
or make a check, you—and only you—must resolve it. No other character
can evade it, defeat it, acquire it, close it, decide what to do with it, or fail
at doing any of those things. If Sajan encounters a monster, Merisiel can’t
evade it for him. If Kyra encounters a Ghoul, Seoni can’t attempt the check
to defeat it. If Amiri encounters a Battered Chest, Lini cannot use Thieves’
Tools against it. If Valeros encounters a Spyglass, Harsk can’t attempt
the check to acquire it. If Ezren defeats a henchman at the Sandpoint
Cathedral, Seelah can’t discard a blessing to close the location. If the
game tells you to do something, you have to do it.
Cards Don’t Have Memories. Cards forget they’ve been played after
they’ve done whatever they do. So if you reveal an item to reduce
damage dealt before an encounter, you can reveal that item again
during the encounter. A monster isn’t affected by anything you did
in a previous encounter with it. Even though you’ve played a card to
explore again, after that exploration you can play another. Don’t ask
your cards to remember what happened, because they’re just cards.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
28
Finish One Thing Before You Start Something Else. You do many
things in a specific order, and you need to finish each thing before
you do the next. If a spell used in a check can be recharged, finish
the first check before attempting to recharge it. If a villain requires
two combat checks, finish the first before starting the second. Don’t
start a new process until you’ve finished the last one. (That said, if
the game doesn’t specify an order for things, you decide the order.)
If It Isn’t Called Something, It Isn’t That Thing. Every term in the
rules and on cards has a specific definition. The Goblin Warchanter has
the Goblin trait, but the Goblin Dog doesn’t, even though it has Goblin
in its name. A Potion of Healing may sound magical, but it doesn’t have
the Magic trait. A Ghost deals Combat damage when it damages you,
even if you failed a Divine check to defeat it. Detect Magic doesn’t use
the word “explore,” so you can play it at times when you can’t explore.
Don’t make assumptions—just read the card.
Add Only What You Are Told to Add. If a card adds another die, that’s
all it gives you: a die. It doesn’t give you your modifiers again. It doesn’t
give you the skill associated with that die. It doesn’t give you the ability
to recharge an Arcane spell if you don’t have the Arcane skill. When
you play a Longbow to add your Strength die to a Combat check, you
don’t get to play a Blessing of Gorum to add 2 dice, because you’re not
attempting a Strength check. You get what you get.
Allow for Abstractions. Sometimes the story you imagine can get in
the way of playing the game. Despite their aquatic nature, Bunyips
can be encountered in the General Store. Caltrops work against Ancient
Skeletons, even if they don’t have flesh on their feet. Harsk can fire a
Heavy Crossbow from the Mountain Peak into the Deeper Dungeons.
Don’t force the cards to fit your story; let the cards tell you their stories.
Choices Matter. Your choices have consequences. Once you choose
cards for your character, you can’t trade them for other cards whenever
you like. If a location makes you choose between attempting a check or
banishing a card before closing it, you can’t attempt the check and then
banish the card if you fail. If you roll too low on a Combat check, it’s too
late to play a Strength spell to improve your result. Once you choose a
side of a role card, you can’t switch to the other side. If something kills
your character, your character dies. Every choice matters—take your
choices seriously.
Game Design • Mike Selinker
Based on a Game Concept By • Rian Sand
Game Development • Chad Brown, Tanis O’Connor, Paul Peterson, and Gaby Weidling
Project Lead • Vic Wertz
Flavor Text • Jessica Price and F. Wesley Schneider
Story Development • Jason Bulmahn, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, and F. Wesley Schneider
Based on Rise of the Runelords By • Wolfgang Baur, Stephen S. Greer, James Jacobs,
Nicolas Logue, Richard Pett, and Greg A. Vaughan
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Art Direction and Graphic Design • Sarah Robinson
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Tales, and Rise of the Runelords are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC. © 2013
Paizo Publishing, LLC. May 2017 PDF Edition.
BASE SET RULEBOOK
Reference Sheet
Turn Overview
A Few Rules That Are Easy to Forget
Advance the blessings deck.
Give a card to another character at the same location (optional).
Move to another location (optional).
Explore the top card of the location deck (optional).
Try to close a location if it doesn’t have any cards (optional).
End your turn—apply end-of-turn effects, then reset your hand by first discarding any
number of cards then discarding down to or drawing up to your hand size.
• While encountering a card, each player may play no more than 1 card of each
type during each step.
• When blessings add dice to a check, the dice are of the same type that the
character is already using for the check.
• If your character doesn’t have a skill listed for a check, you can use a d4 for that
skill.
• In the case of a bane that requires sequential checks, any character at that
location can attempt one or more of the checks, as long as the character who
encountered the bane attempts at least one of them.
Encountering a Card
Apply any effects that happen when you encounter a card.
Apply any evasion effects.
Apply any effects that happen before you act.
Attempt the check.
Attempt the next check, if needed.
Apply any effects that happen after you act.
Resolve the encounter.
Attempting a Check
Determine which skill you’re using.
Determine the difficulty.
Play cards and use powers that affect the check (optional).
Assemble your dice.
Attempt the roll.
Take damage if you fail a check to defeat a monster.
Playing a Card
Reveal: Show it, then put it back in your hand.
Display: Place it faceup next to your deck, unless stated otherwise; the card’s powers
function until it’s discarded.
Discard: Put it faceup into your discard pile.
Recharge: Put it facedown at the bottom of your deck.
Bury: Put it faceup under your character card.
Banish: Put it back in the box with the other cards of the same type.
Draw: Unless otherwise specified, take it from your character deck and add it to your hand.
Encountering a Villain
Attempt to temporarily close open locations.
Encounter the villain.
If you defeat the villain, close the villain’s location.
Check to see whether the villain escapes.
If the villain has nowhere to escape to, you win!
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