Pathfinder Adventure Card Game has 3 versions or base sets:
- Wrath of the Righteous
- Rise of the Runelords
- Skull & Shackles
What is the difference between them?
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In terms of system and rules all of the base sets are relatively similar with minor differences stemming from rules clarification and the system refinement that comes with the game makers continuing to improve.
The biggest differences are thematic ones, with different settings and characters for each set, for example Skull & Shackles has a ship based movement system, because it's set on the sea, whereas Rise of the Runelords and Wrath of the Righteous are land based.
The similarity is evidenced by the ability to use characters from one set in any of the others. However the adventures are designed to be started with new characters, so you wouldn't want to start with a previously leveled character.
You can search for differences in the base sets, or for posts on what is new in each successive base set, but here are some of the more fun additions in each one from my experience:
Skull & Shackles introduces:
Wrath of the Righteous introduces:
Mummy's Mask will introduce:
I really like the rules clarifications/enhancements in each set, and most of the new mechanics (ships are a little clunky). But that said, I would recommend a beginner start with Runelords, a great well-balanced, low-difficulty, high-fantasy-themed set.