The Pathfinder 2nd Edition Beginner Box is an excellent introduction for players new to Pathfinder 2nd Edition. This article provides a review of the Beginner Box and its contents, as well as some supplemental guidance which will help you run the Beginner Box smoothly.

Groups using the Beginner Box on will find this article especially helpful, as I’ve included specific guidance on how to improve your experience with the module on roll20.

Table of Contents

Session 0

Before you meet to play the Beginner Box, I recommend running what has become known in the community as “Session 0”. This exercise helps to work out logistics and some practical questions about your game. This article doesn’t go into detail on how to run a full Session 0, but covers some major points.

Despite the name, “Session 0” doesn’t need to be handled with an actual scheduled session. Conducting it over a shared text discussion works fine. SMS text messages, discord, etc. all work great. I’ve conducted numerous Session 0’s this way and it has never been a problem.

Choosing The GM

The Beginner Box is designed to be run by one Game Master for roughly four players. If you’re experienced with tabletop RPGs that’s a fairly standard setup.

If you’re new to tabletop RPGs, choosing your GM is an important decision. The GM will be doing the most “work” since they’ll be running the game and doing setup. If anyone volunteers to be the GM, let them have it unless multiple want the role. If there are multiple volunteers, pick at random or choose by some other method which the group agrees to.

If no one volunteers, discuss it with the group. Being GM typically isn’t a life sentence. Picking someone who has ample free time to read the contents of the Beginner Box is a great way to decide. You might also pick whoever purchases the Beginner Box since they’ll have easiest access, but a generous member of the group (or the group as a whole) might gift the GM with the Beginner Box as thanks for running the game.

Party Creation / Character Creation

Before you put anything on your character sheet, discuss characters with your group. Figure out whatever everyone wants to play. The Beginner Box includes four pre-generated characters, but you’re free to build custom characters and I recommend doing so at some point because building a character is a very informative exercise in any roleplaying game.

The Beginner Box assumes that you’ll have characters equivalent to a cleric, a fighter, a rogue, and a wizard. It’s totally fine to deviate from that classic 4-class party, but for the Beginner Box I recommend staying close to that makeup unless everyone the group is experienced with tabletop RPGs and ready to handle any gaps in the party’s capabilities.

If you plan to build custom characters, see “Character Creation”, below for further guidance on how to handle that process with minimal difficulty.

Scheduling Your Game

Figure out when and where you’re going to play.

I recommend planning game sessions of three to six hours. This can be a difficult time commitment depending on schedules, but expect game sessions to lose chunks of time at the beginning and end, so a multi-hour session allows a solid block of play time. Also expect that you’ll have periodic interruptions due to things like running out of snacks/drinks or needing to use the restroom.

If you’re playing in-person, there are some responsibilities to be managed. Someone needs to host, which often entails cleanup both before and after the session. I recommend having someone bring snacks and beverages, as this can minimize interruptions during the game. Ideally, whoever brings snacks and beverages should not be the host or the GM (they have enough to do already), but work this out with your group, and be mindful of the dollar cost of bringing food/drinks, especially if your group is planning a long-term game. What one player considers an easy contribution to the game may be a problematic financial commitment for others.

If you’re playing remotely, the challenges of hosting are reduced and everyone is responsible for their own play space, snacks, drinks, etc.

Where to Get the Beginner Box

For physical copies, I recommend starting with your friendly local game store. If you don’t know where to find your FLGS, I recommend using the Paizo Store Locator.

If a FLGS isn’t available to you, you can purchase the Beginner Box from some book stores, or online via or other online retailers like Amazon (affiliate link).

For digital copies, the Beginner Box is available as a pre-built module on The Marketplace.

As of writing this articles, Fantasy Grounds does not have an official module for the Pathfinder 2e Beginner Box, but if you use Fantasy Grounds definitely check their marketplace in case that has changed.

Play the Solo Adventure

The Beginner Box includes a guide “pick a path”-style solo adventure which helps you to learn the basics of playing Pathfinder 2e by playing the adventure. Many people (myself included) reinforce learning by practice, and playing this adventure is a fantastic introduction to the rules even if you’re already read the text of the rules. If everyone plays the solo adventure once before playing the rest of the Beginner Box, it will make your first session much easier as everyone will have a basic understanding of playing the game.

If you have a physical copy of the Beginner Box, you’ll have a physical copy of the solo adventure. I recommend that whoever purchases the Beginner Box read and play the adventure immediately, then pass the adventure around to the rest of the group.

If you have a digital copy of the Beginner Box via roll20, you’ll need to set up a campaign on roll20 to access the solo adventure. The adventure is included as notes in the Journal tab of the campagin, and you’ll need to click through the 25 journal entries to play the adventure. It’s somewhat clumsy, but in exchange you can have your whole group play the solo adventure at their leisure. Keep in mind that the GM will need to make these journal entries available to the players (see GM Pre-Game Prep, below) before they’ll be visible.

The guided adventure in the Pathfinder 1e Beginner Box was the inspiration for my online guided adventures for DnD 3.5, 5e, and Pathfinder 1e, and while I haven’t adapted my adventure for 2e yet I intend to do so at some point, which should be helpful for players who may be unable to pass around physical copies of the Beginner Box’s copy of the solo adventure.

Playing With a Physical Copy

Pre-Game Prep

Before you play, you’ll want to crack open the Beginner Box and do a few things before you actually play. This will involve some passing documents around (especially the Hero’s Handbook), so you may need to meet with your group in-person to get prepared before you can actually play. Much like a board game, you have one copy of the game manual and everyone needs to learn how to play at the same time.


Pretend it’s your birthday, because you’re about to open something really special. I don’t have a fun unboxing video, so you’ll have to settle for text or go watch Paizo’s official unboxing videa. I’ll give you a brief rundown of what’s in the box:

A Getting Started Document. A one-sheet document which explains how to get started with the Beginner Box.

A Set of 7 Polyhedral Dice This is your standard set of RPG dice, used in a wide variety of tabletop RPGs. You only need one set for a full table of people to play, but if you play long term everyone should acquire their own dice. If you need a quick, inexpensive solution, dice roller apps are available for free on your smart phone. But if you’re new to tabletop RPGs I encourage you to try physical dice when possible. Rolling physical dice adds a tangible experience to the game which is difficult to describe, but immensely satisfying.

Four Pre-Generated Character Sheets. These include the iconic cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard. These sheets also serve as helpful reference documents for important terms that you’ll see in the game, so even if you don’t play the pregen characters players may still find the sheets helpful to reference while playing.

These characters are official characters in the Pathfinder setting of Golarion, and feature prominently in both Pathfinder fiction and in Paizo’s published works. If you’re curious, you can learn more about the iconic characters in the Meet the Iconics article series. These characters have over a decade of published lore (for example: the cleric and the rogue are married), but don’t feel like you need to know any of it. If you want to scratch out their names and play as your own character with the same stats, that’s fine. These are your version of the characters, and you and your group should tell your own stories. You can also make your own characters, which we’ll discuss later.

A Stack of Reference Cards. These cards are identical. While playing, each player (including the GM) should have one handy. They include the rules text for several important topics like status conditions and common actions which the players will take on their turns. While learning the game this will save you a lot of time staring at the rule books and having a short list of common actions can be helpful when deciding what to do on your turn.

The Beginner Box Hero’s Handbook. This small paperback book contains a Solo Adventure, a synopsis of Pathfinder 2e’s core rules, as well as rules for creating your own character using a small set of character options chosen for the Beginner Box. I recommend that all players read the Hero’s Handbook, though you only need to skim the parts about building your character unless you’re going to build your own character right away.

Four Blank Character Sheets. These character sheets aren’t the normal default character sheet, and are customized to work well with the Beginner Box to help players learn the game. Regular character sheets don’t have the big strip on the left with colorful pictures of dice. Don’t worry: you’ll learn to identify different dice pretty quickly.

Beginner Box Game Master’s Guide. Only the player who plans to be the GM should read this document, as it contains the Menace Under Otari adventure which you’ll play as part of the Beginner Box, and if players read it they’ll spoil the story for themselves. After running the adventure, players might enjoy reading it to learn about being the GM.

Double-Sided Flip Map. This is a map of the dungeon which the players will explore as part of the adventure. Each side is one level of the dungeon. Don’t reveal this to the players yet. If you have dry-erase markers, you can write on the map with them. This is great for taking notes, marking where players have found things or left things in the dungeon, or even petty vandalism.

Three Cardboard Pawn Sheets. Pop-out pieces of cardboard with depictions of characters, creatures, and important symbols. These are a great replacement for expensive metal or plastic miniatures, and they work great for other adventures once you go beyond the Beginner Box.

Bag of Bases. Plastic bases designed to hold up the cardboard pawns for monsters and players. You don’t stringly need to use these, but it’s fun to see the adventurer’s pawns standing on the map.

Organized Play and Additional Products Flier. This is an advertisement for the Pathfinder Society organized play organization on one side and an ad for the full hardcover source books on the other.

Read The Rules

Starting with the Hero’s Handbook, you’ll want to read the rules to get a basic understanding of the game’s rules. If the book is being passed around, the GM should go first because they’ll also need to read the Game Master’s Guide so they’ll need some time to do that.

Once the GM reads the Hero’s Handbook, they should read the Game Master’s Guide. This includes instructions on how to be the GM, information on the city of Otari, and the contents of the adventure included in the Beginner Box. You don’t need to memorize anything or read it all in excuciating detail, but a quick glance through the book will help you know where to find things when you need them later. Expect to have this book open constantly while playing since it contains important things like monster stats.

If passing the books around is proving to be too slow, you might also enjoy Archive of Nethys’s New Player’s Guide. It doesn’t contain the exact same information as the Beginner Box booklets, but it may still be helpful.

Character Creation

Even if you plan to play using the pre-generated characters, I recommmend creating a character as a learning exercise if you plan to play Pathfinder 2e beyond the Beginner Box. Everyone, including the GM, should take part in this exercise.

To create characters, grab the Hero’s Handbook and find the rules for creating characters. Players can skim the individual ancestries, the individual backounds, and the individual classes while deciding which options they would like to play, but should read their selected options in detail.

If you are an experienced player (either in Pathfinder 2e or in other TTRPGs), you might consider player options beyond the beginner box. Discuss this with your GM and your group, and remember that if many members of your group aren’t experienced players bringing a complex character in the game may make it difficult for them to learn the rules. If you plan to play long-term, you can always start from a simple character and eventually replace them when your novice players have become comfortable withe the game.

The Beginner Box includes 4 blank character sheets for creating your own characters. If you need more (you will need more eventually), you can download PDF copies of the official character sheet in color and printer-friendly versions and print them yourself. I recommend sticking to the printer-friendly version unless you really like the color red.

Pick Pawns for the Players

The players will need something to represent them on the map. The Beginner Box includes three sheets of cardboard pawns, including some for the pre-generated characters. You can use nearly anything to represent a character on the map, but they should generally fit into a 1-inch square to fit the grid on the flip mats. Coins and lego minifigs both work great as inexpensive miniature replacements, as will pieces from many board games.

Play the Game

Once everyone has characters and has read the rules a bit and selected or created characters, it’s time to play.

Lay out the flip map on the side for level one of the dungeon, and cover most of it with sheets of paper to hide parts of the map that the players can’t see yet (essentially creating a “Fog of War” effect). Place the player’s pawns on the map at the starting point recommended in the Game Master’s Guide, and you’re ready to go.

For suggestions on running the adventure Menace Under Otari, see “The Adventure”, below.

Playing With a Digital Copy via

The instructions below go into detail about how to set up your game in Roll20. I’ll try to describe where to find things in text, but here’s a helpful screenshot which I’ve artfully vandalized using MS Paint.

Screenshot of the Roll20 play screen with annotations.
Screenshot of the Roll20 play screen with annotations.

Pre-Game Prep

Whoever purchases the module on Roll20 will need to conduct these setup steps. If the owner of the module is not the GM, you can pass some of these steps to the GM part-way through the process, which I’ll explain below.

The Roll20 module for the Beginner Box has done a lot of setup already to make playing the module as easy as possible. Monsters are statted, tokens are set up, maps are created and layed out. However, there are still buttons to be pressed and some configuration to be done to make your game run smoothly.

If you’re not familiar with Roll20 already, I recommend starting from the Roll20 Youtube channel’s Tutorials Playlist. The official tutorials are a great introduction to the platform.

Creating the Campaign in Roll20

To begin, start a new campaign in Roll20. Give it a clever name (or don’t, I’m not your mom). Under the “Optional: Choose a Character Sheet” section, select “Pathfinder Second Edition by Roll20”. In the “Optional: Choose a Module” section on the right side of the page, select the Beginner Box. The black ribbon with white text says “Menace Under Otari”, and the splash art features the Pathfinder logo, large green text, and a green dragon.

Once that’s done, click the bright blue “I’m ready, Creat Game!” button. This will create your game and open the campaign details page.

(Optional) Granting GM Permissions

Before you go further, I recommend sending your players invites to your game. Click the purple “Invite Players” button near the right side of the page. This will open a pop-up dialog. You can invite players by entering their email addresses or there is a shareable link which you can copy and distribute by other means (email, discord, text message, etc.). Encourage your players to click the link and log in as soon as possible, as this will allow you to assign characters to them or assign the GM role if the owner of the module is not going to be the GM.

If you plan to make a different person the GM, you’ll need to assign permissions to them. Once they have logged into the game once, they’ll appear in a list of players on the right side of the campaign details page. If you mouse over their avatar, you’ll see options to promote them to GM or to kick them from the game. Promote them to GM, and they’ll have access to do nearly everything that you can.

At this point, whoever is going to be the GM should complete the remaining setup steps. If this is not the module owner, the module owner will need to remember to rejoin the game as a player from the “My Settings” tab of the game interface every time that they open the game interface. This will prevent them from seeing GM-only content and spoiling the game for themselves.

To access the Play Screen from the Details Page, click the bright pink “Launch Game” button. There will be a loading screen with an advertisement unless you’re paying for a Roll20 subscription. Be patient.

General tip: The GM can choose to “Re-Join as Player” then “Re-Join as GM” as often as they like. This makes it easy to check your work as the GM to ensure that players can see what you want them to see (and ideally can’t see anything else).

The Journal Tab

Next, the GM should examine the Journal tab on the play screen. It contains all of the pre-written handouts for the adventure, including the solo adventure, character creation rules, and every other bit of text that would be in the physical copy of the Beginner Box.

By default, none of these journal entries are visible to your players, but you’ll want to change that. The journal entries are collected into groups, but you’ll need to reveal individual entries by right-clicking on the title of the entry and selecting “Reveal to Players”. Yes, this is tedious, but you only need to do it once. I recommend revealing everything in the following sections:

  • Solo Adventure: Pirate King’s Treasure
  • Sidebars
  • Pre-Generated Characters
  • Hero’s Handbook and Quick Rules Reference
  • Creating Your Hero

At this point, your players have access to everything which they should read. The solo adventue is a basic introduction to the mechanics of the game. The sidebars are reference documents for rules which you and the players may want to reference frequently during the game. The Pre-Generated Characters are full character sheets which the players can either play or use as a reference while building their own characters. The Hero’s Handbook and Quick Rules Reference include the rules of how to play the game, including important information on game statistics and skills. Creating Your Hero includes the character creation rules and a small selection of character options included in the Beginner Box (see Character Creation, below).

Maps and Fog of War

Next, we’ll need to make some changes to the dungeon maps to prevent players from seeing the whole maps as soon as you change the page. I’m going to assume that you’re using the basic Fog of War functionality, but if you’re using the Advanced Fog of War (which requires paying for a subscription), the steps are similar.

To access the Page Toolbar, click the teal squarehanging from the top of the window above the map area on the play screen. (The tooltip reads “Page Toolbar”). This will cause the Page Toolbar to slide down at the top of the screen.

Quick summary of the Pages Toolbar: Each rectangle represents one “map”. The red banner which says “Players” indicates what the players can see. Only the GM can see the toolbar and move between maps. To move the players, click and drag the red banner from one map rectangle to another. Mousing over existing maps will reveal some buttons to control those pages, but you won’t need those while running the Beginner Box.

Click the page rectangle labeled “level one”. This is the first level of the dungeon in the Beginner Box adventure, and clicking it while open that page for you (and only for you). In the control menu at the upper left of the map area, look for an icon which resembles a black fluffy cloud. Mouse over it to reveal the Fog of War controls. Click the “Reset Fog” option. You may recieve a dialog asking if you want to enable Fog of War (yes, you do). You’ll then see a dialog title “Confirm Reset”. Click the “Reset Fog” button, and the whole map will be covered by Fog of War.

Repeat this process for the map labeled “level two”.

Quick summary of Fog of War: Much like a Real Time Strategy video game, the “Fog of War” covers areas that the party can’t see or hasn’t explored. How to manage this is left up to the GM. The basic fog of war functionality can be use to manually reveal and hide sections of the map when the GM is ready to do so, such as when players enter a room for the first time. Players can see anything on the Map Layer which is not hidden by fog of war, so the DM needs to be cautious not to reveal overly-large portions of the map for fear of revealing fun surprised like monsters, traps, and treasure.

If you’re using the Advanced Fog of War, the maps are already set up so that the player’s tokens will automatically figure out line of sight and show them what they should see based on their position. This is exciting functionality which I greatly enjoy for dungeon crawls, but it can be a pain to set up in custom modules and if you don’t play frequently the roll20 subscription may not be worth the price. The game is still fun without Advanced Fog of War, but if you’re playing often via Roll20 it may be worth the price.

Once you have reset the Fog of War, you can check your handiwork by dragging opening the Map Toolbar, dragging the “Players” banner to either map, and then going to the My Settings tab and clicking “Re-Join as Player”. This will refresh the page, and if the Fog of War is working it should show a fully black map.

The GM can jump back and forth from the GM view and the Player view and use the Fog of War controls to practice hiding and revealing portions of the map. If you get things really messy, you can always click the “Reset Fog of War” button again.

Read The Adventure

All the technical grunt work to get set up is done. Now you get to read a bunch of fun stuff!

Start from the section appropriately labeled “START HERE”. This is a brief section detailing the contents of the Roll20 module which may be helpful. If none of these documents make sense because you’re new to Roll20, don’t worry about it.

Next, read the Hero’s Handbook and Quick Rules Reference section under the Journal tab. These documents contain the core of the game’s rules, as well as a text log of an Example of Play which serves as another great learning tool similar to the Solo Adventure. I recommend that the players read these documents, too, as everyone needs to have a basic understanding of the game’s mechanics.

Next, read the Otari document. This is a “Gazetteer” which describes the city of Otari, where the Beginner Box adventure takes place. Much of this document can be shared with the players, but there are some events described in the document which are intended to surprise the players, so you may need to read the document to the players in chunks or edit the Journal entry to move the hidden pieces into the “GM Notes” section.

Finally, under the “Adventure: Menace Under Otari” section, read the first document also labeled “Adventure: Menace Under Otari”. The last section of this document titled “Getting Started” will be re-read when you and your players convene to play for the first time. Note that the document refers to “text in green” which is intended to be read aloud. This is a direct duplication from the physical copy of the Beginner Box. In the Roll20 module, the text is formatted as a “block quote” with the text indented and a gray vertical line to the left of the indented text.

Character Creation

Even if you plan to play using the pre-generated characters, I recommmend creating a character as a learning exercise if you plan to play Pathfinder 2e beyond the Beginner Box. Everyone, including the GM, should take part in this exercise.

To create characters, have players read the Creating Your Hero documents, starting from top to bottom. Players can skim the individual ancestries, the individual backounds, and the individual classes while deciding which options they would like to play, but should read their selected options in detail. Find the portion of the Equipment section which details your class’s starting equipment, and look at the rest of the document for your equipment’s descriptions. Finally, read the Finishing Your Hero document. The Leveling Up document can be saved for later, but if players are excited they’re free to read it right away.

If you are an experienced player (either in Pathfinder 2e or in other TTRPGs), you might consider player options beyond the beginner box. Discuss this with your GM and your group, and remember that if many members of your group aren’t experienced players bringing a complex character in the game may make it difficult for them to learn the rules. If you plan to play long-term, you can always start from a simple character and eventually replace them when your novice players have become comfortable withe the game.

Regardless of your level of experience, I strongly encourage you and your party to make sure that someone in the party is Trained in the Medicine skill. It’s a crucial survival tool in Pathfinder 2e, and having someone who is able to perform the Treat Wounds activity will make the whole game run much more smoothly.

Player’s Character Sheets and Tokens

Setting up character sheets and tokens for a new character is somewhat tedious, but you only need to do it once per character and it will save you a lot of effort after that. For example: when moving between maps, a character’s hit points will persist so you don’t need to update the tokens in multiple places.

If you’re using a pregen character, their character sheet appears in the Journal tab. You can bring their token onto the map by clicking and dragging the journal entry’s title onto the map. The pregen characters have tokens set up to show their hit points and AC (see the “Getting Started” journal entries where this is explained), and they’re ready to play right away.

To create a new character in roll20, the GM must go the play screen and open the Journal tab. Click the “+ Add” button near the top right of the Journal tab, and select “Character” from the menu. This will open a pop-up dialog.

Start by entering a name for the character. A randomly generated name will be added by default which you’re free to keep, and you can change the name later if you want. Set the “In Player’s Journal’s” field to “All Players” so that everyone can see the new character. Set the “Can Be Edited & Controlled By” to the name of the player who will control the character. Keep in mind that players will only appear as options in these fields if they have joined the game at least once. After this point, the player can make the remaining changes to set up their character’s stats by editing the Character Sheet tab in the journal entry, but the GM will need to build their token.

To build a token for the player, open the Art Library tab. Find a suitable token either using the search functionality or by uploading image files to your personal library. Numerous tokens are available for free online. Once you find a token, click and drag it onto the map. Once it appears on the map, double-click it to open the Token Settings pop-up dialog.

In the Token Settings dialog, start from the Details page. Set the “Represents Character” dropdown to the name of the character. This will allow the token to use stats from that character’s character sheet. Under “Name” the field should populate automatically. Check the “Nameplate” checkbox next to the name field so that the token’s name is visible. Under “Token Bars”, set the Attributes to “hit_points” on the first row and “armor_class” on the second row, leaving the third blank unless you already know what you want to use it for.

This allows a visible green bar above the token to show the character’s current HP and when you click on the token your AC will display in a blue circle. If these values don’t immediately appear above the token, that’s normal. They will only appear once the character sheet for that character is edited to populate values for those stats.

Finally, we need to set the token as the default token for the character. Click the token on the map to select it. Next, click the Journal entry for the character to open the pop-up dialog. Click the “Edit” button at the top right of the dialog to switch to the Edit popup dialog. On the left side of the pop-up dialog, under the “Default Token (Optional)” heading, click “Use Selected Token”. This will cause an image of the token to appear in that space and the button will go away. Click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the pop-up dialog to return to the journal entry, then close that dialog by clicking the X at the top right corner of the pop-up.

To check your work, click and drag the Journal entry for the character onto the map. The token should appear. You can do this multiple times on the same map, and you can delete tokens by clicking them and pressing the Backspace or Delete keys on your keyboard.

Play the Game

At this point, you’re ready to play. When game time finally comes, open up the “Adventure: Menace Under Otari” document and get started. The documents will guide you as the players move about, and should provide enough information that the GM doesn’t need to frantically improvise.

For suggestions on running the adventure Menace Under Otari, see “The Adventure”, below.

The Adventure

Expect running the Beginner Box to tak 8 to 12 hours. The duration will vary between groups because no two groups are going to play the same way and sometime poor dice rolls can make things go faster or slower, especially in combat.

Running the adventure is fairly simple, and the text of the adventure explains how to proceed. The adventure is designed to gradually introduce complex rules concepts, allowing players to learn and practice the rules as they go.

One point where the adventure falls short is the introduction. The game begins immediately in the dungeon after you’ve read the first snippet of read-aloud text. Rather than thrusting the players into the basement of the fishery, I recommend offering them a few moments to discuss what they do before going to the fishery. This is a great time for them to purchase things like torches which they may have overlooked during character creation. However, be sure to encourage the players not to spend too much time mucking about in Ontari. There’s adventuring to do!

If any of the players ask how their characters know each other, either let the players come up with something or suggest that they play cards together at the Crow’s Casks (one of Ontari’s taverns detailed in the adventure). They don’t need a detailed history together, but generally you don’t wander into a dungeon full of monsters with complete strangers at your side.

Once you get into the dungeon, the text of the adventure will introduce new mechanics in each numbered area. These will cover important parts of the rules, especially various combat mechanics. Each encounter is designed to introduce one or two new mechanics, and to allow players to see those mechanics in action. However, nothing in the text actually explains these mechanics to players so while the Game Master gets a good tour of the game’s numerous combat mechanics, the players are left to swing their swords about and ask the GM what they should be doing.

While it absolutely spoils the surprise of each encounter, I encourage you to take the time at the start of each encounter to explain how the mechanics of that encounter work. For example: Level 1’s Area #5 includes enemies with weaknesses and enemies with resistances, and knowing that ahead of time will dramatically change the outcome of the encounter. My own groups was relying heavily on piercing damage against the skeletons and killed the zombie shambler before they learned that it had any weaknesses. Players coming from 5e will find this encounter very information because 5e’s vulnerabilities and resistances work very differently from PF2’s weaknesses and resistances.

As you run the adventure, I encourage you to read the full text of each area, as there are some fun hidden bits like traps and hidden treasure. I’ll also provide some specific suggestions for some of the adventure’s areas based on my own experience running the Beginner Box:

Area #2: The weird orange things surrounded by green vine-like things are apparently mushrooms. They’re described in the text, but I honestly thought they were pumpkins.

Area #3: The way that this room is described might be confusing. The spider only comes out of its spot in the corner if the party touches its webs. I think that this is supposed to teach players that sometimes they can handle encounters by means other than violence. Of course, my players figured out the spider’s behavior and killed it anyway.

Area #4: I missed it on my initial read, but there are specific rules for how players can handle disassembling the barricade which allow them to do so quietly. Weirdly there is no guidance on how to handle players setting the wooden barricade on fire, but if you don’t feel ready to handle that you can warn the players that the smoke wouldn’t be great for them.

Area #5: This encounter is intended to teach players about weaknesses and resistances. Tell them that before they go into the encounter, and they might put in a little more thought than when they killed the giant rats earlier. You don’t need to tell the players why you explained weaknesses and resistances, but you could encourage them to use the Recall Knowledge action.

It’s also important to note that this encounter was designed assuming that the party has a good-aligned cleric in the party who can cast Heal. Using the 3-Action version of Heal both heals living creatures (the party, mostly), and harms undead creatures in the area. Using Heal in this way makes this encounter much more manageable for the party. I got this rule wrong while running the encounter, and it nearly resulted in a TPK (total party kill).

Area #6: My party got here and they were missing 1 hit point between the entire party (they first two encounters went really well for them). I didn’t want the effect of the bowl to go to waste, so I gave them any extra healing as temporary hit points which lasted for 1 hour. My players enjoyed that, and I got to teach them how temporary hit points worked.

Area #10: The room’s description doesn’t match the map. There is a chest which isn’t on the map, and the big box is supposed to have a lever rather than a giant wheel crank thing.

Area #11: The Roll20 module doesn’t have the right number of kobolds in the room. The trapmaster needs to spend three Actions to place one Snare, so her first three turns are spent putting down snares that the party can easily walk around. Remember: this is a learning experience rather than a deadly challenge. Expect the party to have little difficulty here, especially if they activate the trap from Area #10 and don’t manage to get hit themselves.

Area #12: This encounter kicked my player’s butts. The kobolds both rolled well above 20 on their Stealth checks, so not only did my players not notice the kobolds before marching into the room, but the kobolds went first in combat and managed to deal a ton of damage to the party before the players could respond. Sometimes the dice just work out that way.

If your players are natives of DnD 3.x or Pathfinder 1e, this is a great encounter to discuss how attacks of opportunity work in Pathfinder 2e. The most important change is that not every creature gets to make attacks of opportunity. When creatures take certain actions, such as moving out of a threatened space, they “provoke Reactions”. For a huge number of creatures (including the kobolds in this adventure), the creature won’t have a suitable Reaction to use. Attack of Opportunity is a specific capability which not every creature has, so against a great many enemies it is totally safe to run through their threatened area. I got this rule wrong (we had taken a real-world 4-week break between floors 1 and 2, and I’m still learning the game, too), and gave my players bad advice about how to take advantage of Flanking.

After defeating the kobolds, the players have the choice of going left into area #16 or going through the barrier at the back of the room toward area #13. My players chose to leave the barrier intact because it meant that whatever was behind it would stay that way for the moment, and they proceeded to area #16.

Area #13: This area is weirdly described, and based on the game map the water appears to be in motion. It isn’t. It’s a stagnant pool that has settled into a low point in the floor.

Area #14: This fight is pretty easy if the players realize that they can extinguish fire with water. It’s even easier if the players realize that the Cinder Rat can’t go into the water.

The room’s entry fails to describe what happens to the fire orb once the Cinder Rat exits the orb. It’s implied that the rat can enter and leave the orb, but unlike the orbs for air and earth, there’s no listed buff for the fire orb, so I think the orb is supposed to break somehow.

The buffs provided by the air and earth orbs don’t give the players any hints as to specifically what they do, or that they’ll only function once, or that they go away after 24 hours, or that the orbs only function once each. Basically they get a cryptic hint and some flavor text. It’s very flowery, but without the opportunity to experiment there’s no way for the players to figure out how to use the buffs without wasting them. Just tell the players what the buffs do.

Area #15: The Xulgaths have relatively low AC, their damage isn’t terrifyingly high, and there’s a natural choke point where the players could easily force the Xulgaths to approach them one at a time. The tactics for the Xulgaths also force them to each waste 2 Actions on their first turn to get up and arm themselves. This fight should be easy, especially if the players stealthily peek into the room rather than just walking in.

Area #16: This status is a consistent pain point for everyone I’ve spoken to who has run the Beginner Box. Many players have trouble figuring out that you can disable or destroy the mechanisms to disable the trap, and even once they it may be very difficult to succeed. If players struggle to disable the trap quickly, the damage they can take is significant. The party’s best hope to quickly disable the trap is to send a rogue and/or a character with a big two-handed weapon into the room to disable or smash the mechanisms while the rest of the party remains safely in a separate room since they’ll likely struggle to contribute. Using the Aid action might work, but that’s a ton of risk for a minor numerical bonus.

I suggest making some adjustments to the room, and offer some unsolicited advice to the party. If anyone in the party is proficient in Thievery, explicitly tell them that they think they could disable the mechanisms. Also give the players descriptive clues that the smashed mechanism in the bottom-left corner has resulted in the statue affecting that part of the room less. If the d10 roll for the statue’s action doesn’t result in one of the options which is affected by broken mechanisms, it may take the party several round to notice the effects of disabling/breaking the mechanisms. I also recommend reducing the damage from 2d6 to 2d4, reducing the hardness of the mechanisms to 6, and reducing the Theivery DC from 20 to 18.

Area #17: My party got really clever for this room and quietly opened the door to peak in. They used their familiar as bait to draw out the three kobolds sitting at the table, and set an ambush for them. They rolled a series of high Stealth rolls, good initiative rolls, and successful attacks, so the entire encounter ended before the kobolds got a turn. I didn’t get to use any of the fun tactics for this room or throw oil on the party or any of those fun things, but it felt really good to see my players make a clever plan and succeed so thoroughly.

Unfortunately, they were so quick and effective that they didn’t think to take a prisoner. I let them level up once they completed this room even though they hadn’t cleared areas #13, #14, and, #15 because I knew that if they walked into the next room they would get slaughtered. We only had three players, but I suspect that a larger party might be able to handle things a bit better. If your players are struggling in combat, definitely let them gain a level at this point regardless of how actual experience they’ve earned.

Area #18: This fight is weirdly easy despite the stats of the enemies in the encounter. The kobold scouts’ tactics don’t allow them to use Sneak Attack and the spellcaster’s tactics make it hard for the kobolds to bring down a single member of the party. This is fine. Considering several of the past few encounters were very rough, I think it’s nice that Paizo decided to make the “mini-boss” fight a little gentle.

The loot here is really good, too. Make sure that the players check the chest before moving on.

Area #19: Dragon fights are no joke, and if the players charge recklessly into this room, expect them to die. Really emphasize the scary snarling noises from the rear of the cave to encourage players to not just rush into the room.


With the dragon and everything else defeated, the players are hopefully still alive and they now have a small fortune worth of gold, jewelry, and magic items. The adventure text includes a small passage about how the new of their success is recieved in town.

If your party makes it this far, they’ve done a great job. This adventure was designed for new players, but it definitely wasn’t easy.

I’ve Completed the Beginner Box. Now What?

Your group has succesfully completed the Beginner Box (or not. Maybe everyone died or you ended the game early for some other reason). Congratulations! If this is your first foray into tabletop RPGs, I sincerely hope that you enjoyed yourself and I hope that you’re looking forward to enjoying the hobby for years to come.

If you and your players like their current characters, you can continue the adventure by following the suggestions at the end of the Otari Document, which I’ve blatantly stolen and reproduced here with added links to Paizo’s online store:

The adventure in this book and the story seeds below aren’t the only adventures this town offers. The standalone Pathfinder Adventure Troubles in Otari continues the story begun here and brings heroes all the way to 5th level. The Abomination Vaults Adventure Path is a separate series of three linked adventures, starting with Ruins of Gauntlight, set in Otari and a dangerous dungeon just to the north. Of course, you can also invent adventures of your own!

If that doesn’t appeal to you, check with your Friendly Local Game Store to see what Pathfinder 2nd Edition adventures they have in stock, or check the Paizo website. Alternatively, you can write you own adventures.

If you plan to adventure beyond 3rd level (which you will if you go beyond the Beginner Box adventure), you’ll need access to more than what’s included in the Beginner Box. I recommend picking up a copy of the Pathfinder 2nd Edition Core Rulebook, or a PDF copy from Paizo’s online store. You can also access all of the rules for free (yes, legally) via Paizo’s official partner The Archive of Nethys. Players who purchase the physical book may still find Archive of Nethys a helpful reference document since physical books don’t have a search function.