I'm back from GenCon, and one of the best things about it was being able to finally talk, in full and unvarnished detail, about the new Pathfinder rules. No more saying, "wait and see," as it's now here! If you're an adventure author for Pathfinder Second Edition, here are a bunch of things, in no specific order, to keep in mind when working with the new system.

* New XP. There's a new method for calculating experience points, and it's entirely based on the level of challenges compared to the level of the heroes. That gives a certain amount of XP, and 1000 XP are needed to level. How does that math break down? I've been saying that it takes 12 encounters to level: 2 at "Low" difficulty, 8 at "Moderate" difficulty, and 2 at "Severe" difficulty. That's 2 * 60 + 8 * 80 = 2 * 120 is 1,000 XP. I strive to make may chapters this long now.

* New Encounter Equivalencies. But you don't need to make all your encounters fights! There are rules for exciting and ongoing hazards called "complex hazards" that grant XP just like a fight would. I like using those, particularly because the core rules outline so many different kinds: traps the party rogue can Thievery their way through, haunts the party cleric can Religion their way through, environmental hazards the party ranger can Survival their way through, and so on. Lots of flexibility here! Also note that achievement XP awards (what used to be called story awards) are hard-coded right into the system. They're in increments of 10 XP, 30 XP, and 80 XP. These numbers aren't accidental. An achievement award of 30 XP is just like fighting a single low-powered enemy, and would be awarded for some smart play or getting around a tricky skill situation. Two of these replaces a "Low" difficulty encounter. An achievement award of 80 XP would be for successfully navigating what other systems might call a skill challenge: host a fancy dinner party, defuse a complicated network of bombs, successfully hit the streets to find a list of information about a killer, and so on. One of these provides exactly as much XP as a "Moderate" difficulty encounter.

* Magical Investigation Is More Limited. Many of the spells that just gave players information either aren't there at all, or are locked behind the "Uncommon" frequency, which means GMs might not give those out to their players (although I think the default is that they will). This means murder mystery and investigation adventures remain more viable than they were before. Note that some spells seem to be gone but just changed names: speak with dead is now called talking corpse.

* More Rewards. Rewards now come in a lot more types. Besides XP and treasure, the classic awards systems, an adventure can award lots of other things, such as Hero Points, access to Uncommon rules items, formulas for how to craft items, and more. That gives adventure designers more flexibility to reward heroes with something other than a pile of gold.

* Detect Magic Is Fixed. Okay, so this last one is minor but I love it. In First Edition, the detect magic spell worked through many barriers. You could circle a wooden building 60 feet across and learn the magic auras of literally every creature in there, before you even walked through the door. That's too powerful, and needed to be reined in. Now, detect magic is an emanation, meaning it only works within line of effect. Those few spells that are blocked specifically by stone, or a sheet of lead, or what have you (such as locate) still say so, but there are fewer of them.