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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.

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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:

  • Rules clarifications
  • Slightly higher difficulty than RotR
  • Ships and fleets: build a fleet, gain access to minor abilities through your ships, and fight or seize other ships
  • Firearms... lots and lots of firearms

Wrath of the Righteous introduces:

  • Rules clarifications
  • Definitely higher difficulty than SaS
  • Mythic Paths: epic character specializations, that allow you to roll D20's and perform extra feats
  • Cohorts: special ally-like cards for various scenarios
  • Armies and troop cards: special challenges and allies
  • Demons... lots and lots of demons

Mummy's Mask will introduce:

  • Rules clarifications
  • Triggers: abilities that trigger when you merely examine a card in a deck, before you encounter it
  • Probably some mummies (educated guess)

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.

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