With the release of the first instalment of each adventure path, Paizo has also released a short player’s guide. These guides provide players with some initial background, selections of campaign traits, and a variety of other things appropriate to the particular adventure path. The idea is to help players design characters that are suited to the adventure to come. With the early adventure paths, including Rise of the Runelords, the guides were printed books. Starting with Council of Thieves, the guides became pdf-only releases. The attractive part, however, was that they were free downloads. The new Rise of theRunelords Anniversary Edition Player’s Guide is in the style of these later guides, a free pdf download.
The original guide for Rise of the Runelords was somewhat different than all the guides that followed it. It was less a guide to Rise of the Runelords (indeed, it was called simply Pathfinder Player’s Guide on the cover, only mentioning Rise of the Runelords on the inside title page) than it was an introduction to Varisia and Golarion. Golarion was a brand new campaign setting at the time, and so this book needed to cover things like the gods and the domains offered, and race and class information. Obviously for the new Player’s Guide, details such as these are no longer necessary, so the book is free to deal a little more with the campaign itself. It includes long-sought-after campaign traits (traits had not yet been created when Rise of the Runelords first came out) and tips on the most useful skills to select. These are followed by a more extensive gazetteer of Varisia than the original Player’s Guide had.