Epic Gumdrop Ep 14: RPG Family and Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Beginner Box

We are getting back into Roleplaying Games, but this time with kids. This episode we talk largely about the Pathfinder Beginner Box as a gateway to family RPG mayhem.

Listen above or subscribe via iTunes.

(Length: approx 39min)

Here’s our notes from the show:

Why Pathfinder?

  • There’s not a lot of ‘beginner box’ options for people wanting to take up playing a Roleplaying Game.
  • There’s a good Paizo unboxing of the beginner box we’ll link to which gives an idea of all the components we’ll talk about here:

What’s included?

  • Large double sided flipmat. One side has a map for an adventure that’s included, the other side is a blank terrain you can draw on with markers (and wipe off and re-use later)
  • Little cardboard characters and monsters that fit into plastic stands. These match the scale of the maps. The nice part is that they provide male and female versions of the character types, which is more inclusive when you are playing with a family. Unless you’re my daughter and you want to be a Wizard named Philip.
  • Prebuilt character sheets, plus extras to build later (and free downloads of blank sheets from Paizo website)

Pathfinder Beginner Box contents

Hero’s Handbook

  • Solo adventure to get player familiar with concepts
  • Walkthrough from zero knowledge
  • More details about basic classes covered by the prebuilt sheets
  • Basic weapons/armor/spells/etc
  • Nice overview of playing the game: combat and more combat

Gamemaster’s Guide

  • Includes an adventure to run with a simplified explanation of ideas for first time GM
  • Explains concepts of how to GM and build stories for further adventures

Pathfinder flip mat


  • Layout of books is phenomenal with lots of thought put into breaking down and explaining systems and ideas that could be overwhelming to newcomer
  • Art is gorgeous and used liberally. Even if you’re not into genre fiction or fantasy art it’s still really impressive. They must know that the art is a huge draw.
  • Includes transition guide to move players along past level 6 if they want
  • We picked up a few books right away as it was immediately clear this would be a long-term thing. The Bestiary is probably the best kid’s book ever. Unless they read some of the descriptions, like the Ogre’s, and ask you what big words like necrophilia mean.
  • Hadn’t thought about how combat oriented this is. Knew this, but didn’t think of it.

Pathfinder character sheet

Kid Thoughts

  • d20s!
  • Monsters and Traps!
  • Kids like the storytelling aspect.

Pathfinder characters and monsters

GMing for Family

  • Like any game, familiarize yourself with the books and rules before you sit down. If you are new to Roleplaying Games this is especially true. And if you aren’t, it’s a good refresher.
  • We all sat down to play, and after my wife stated she will hold off playing again until the 7 year old has a better concept of how to play. It was a little frustrating for an adult because when given the three obvious decisions the 7 year old chose the eighth one. Adults are maybe a little easier to lead along.
  • Patience. Have a big bowl of patience next to you. It will take longer than you expected and you will have to look up all kinds of stuff you didn’t check before playing.
  • Kids will break your adventure. Roll with it.

Pathfinder male and female characters


  • They’ve created almost too many products. Which means my kid wants them ALL. All the bestiaries, all the cardboard representations, all the maps. The upside is that all these things exist if you desire them.

Pathfinder character sheets


  • Bought a one-on-one compendium to play with 7 year old because we can’t always get the family to sit down together. Also, wanted to play something that wasn’t just hacking off goblin heads. There are more traps and clever things in the one-on-one adventures because the character simply can’t perform non-stop combat.
  • Really want to try the Gumshoe system which is about investigating. Sure, there’s conflict, but it would be good to try something isn’t all slash and bash.
  • Also want to try all the stuff from Monte Cook Games, like their Numenera and The Strange. These look interesting and a step beyond the usual. We watched some play-through promo videos on their website and the kid was hooked. Cypher System here we come.

Pathfinder character description