There's never been a better time to get in to pen and paper RPG's than now. There are so many new, unique, and interesting games out that you don't have to look very hard to find something that should immediately appeal to you. It's not just quirky indie RPGs that are drawing people in, though. Thanks to the release of products like Paizo's new Pocket Editions for the well-loved, and incredibly well supported, Pathfinder RPG, it's also easier than ever to get in to the tried and true staples of the RPG world.
While it's generally pretty easy for a group to get a single copy of the books to get their DM squared away and get their characters rolled up, if you are anything like me, it won't take more than a session or two before you'll be craving your own copy of the core rulebook, player's handbook etc. to pore over between, or even during, sessions. It can get pricey to drop $50+ on heavy, hardcover books though, and while .pdf copies can come in handy, there's just something about being able to crack open a book that adds an extra bit of je ne sais quoi, or tactile satisfaction, to the experience.
Enter Pathefinder RPG's new Pocket Editions of their Core Rulebook and Bestiary. These books are hardcover versions that measure an easily portable 6.5" by 8.4", yet still retain the same page count and all of the same content of their hardcover brethren. Additionally, and probably more importantly, each of the books comes in at just half the price of the hardcover versions. Considering the reduced price, and ease of portability (I've been carrying around the copies that Paizo sent to me for five days without any issues), there is almost no downside to the books. Almost.
There is one big thing to consider with these new books, and one small thing. Because the same content is packed into a smaller package, the font size is quite a bit smaller than in the hardcover versions. I personally don't have a hard time reading any of the content as long as the room is well lit, but if you have issues with your vision, you will want to take a look at these books in person before you pull the trigger in order to ensure that you'll actually be able to access the content that you are paying for.
A more minor nitpick about these versions of the books is the fact that they don't lie open as easily as the hardcovers if you are keen to keep them open to any pages near the front or back of the book. While they are easy to flip through, it can be somewhat tricky to keep the book open to a particular page when necessary, say during character creation for example. This is more of a problem with the Bestiary than it is for the Core Rulebook, but it can be overcome if you are willing to crease the spine of the book a bit.
Aside from those things, the rest of the construction is very nice. The bindings are stiff and secure, and both books are full color and chock full of thematic illustrations. While they aren't going to be the best choice for a group's DM, these are great for players who like to have their own copies of the material, and even better for people who like to play in organized Pathfinder Society events.
My normal RPG group has been on hiatus for a while, but carrying these books around for the past week has me feeling the itch to get back into it. They are so easy to dig out of my backpack and thumb through that I find myself reaching for them multiple times throughout the day when I should be doing more responsible things.
If you are interested in them, you can pick up the Core Rulebook for $24.99, and the Bestiary will set you back just $19.99.
Paizo provided TechRaptor with copies of both the Core Rulebook and Bestiary Pocket Editions.