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The Most Dangerous Site in Gaming

Monday, September 19, 2011

About a decade ago, the unwritten rules for success in the tabletop roleplaying game industry were rewritten by the most dangerous man in gaming. Ryan Dancey, then a vice president at Wizards of the Coast, championed the idea of "open gaming." This idea was clearly crazy. Take the crown jewels of the most popular roleplaying game in history and give them away to your competition, for free? Madness!

In retrospect, it was not so crazy after all. That decision changed the entire industry. Hundreds of publishers, including Paizo, have since taken advantage of Ryan's foresight. The core innovation was the OGL, the Open Gaming License, but the real meat was in the SRD: the System Reference Document, the rules you actually needed to play the game.

The original SRD was a collection of exported Microsoft Word documents. The rules you needed were in there, but it wasn't very user friendly. Over the years, fans have taken it upon themselves to organize and hyperlink that content, earning the enduring gratitude of countless gamers.

When Paizo launched the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, we stood on the shoulders of the giants who came before us. Open gaming is at the heart of everything we do. What better way to help the fans play their favorite game than to publish the rules, for free, in an accessible and hyperlinked format? And so, the PRD was born: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Reference Document.

We take our commitment to open gaming seriously, so we update the PRD with the open content from each of our new rulebooks. For the release of Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Combat, we decided to put a little extra into our revision. Take a look at the new Pathfinder Reference Document. Now look at it using your phone, or your iPad. Notice anything different? That's right, it doesn't suck anymore! We've put a lot of effort into making it as useable as possible.

I hope this latest presentation of the rules to the world's best roleplaying game makes lots of people happy. Happy people have a way of becoming happy customers, and that's the key to our ability to keep on producing great content for your game.

P.S. The current PRD consists of over 2,000 files and more than 50,000 hyperlinks and is produced by tiny robots from our original InDesign documents, so there are bound to be some problems. Please post here if you find any.

Gary Teter
Software Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Nice.

I especially like that it is divided by book.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Meanwhile, Wizards of the Coast does an about face and doesn't release anything in 4th Edition as open content. That was the original reason why my group went to Pathfinder, we've got several players that don't own any books and just used the SRD when we were playing 3e/3.5.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

And thanks to that, I'll never have to buy a source book again.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Thank you for the hard work, and for continuing this tradition! This is one of the reasons I will continue to by books from Paizo (*winks at TOZ*).


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I prefer reading books, over looking at a screen. And the book does not use electricity, internet, or anything electronic. And books give a sense of ownership, that you really do have it, no eye strain, and supports the company that is producing the books.

But the PRD is a good resource tool for those that are missing a few resources or are new to the game.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

While I prefer books also, it is hard to beat a quick rules search on the PRD. Great job and thank you for providing this resource.


While nicer, it still is not as navigable as d20pfsrd.com and stuff is still initially sorted by book first instead of by what you are looking for first and book last, or with book as an additional beginning reference point instead of the only one.

ie. I want to play a Bard - Core Rulebook>Classes>Bard
But what archetypes are available to me? You go through every released book and look for archetypes for Bards. Never mind spells.

Liberty's Edge

Cartigan wrote:

While nicer, it still is not as navigable as d20pfsrd.com and stuff is still initially sorted by book first instead of by what you are looking for first and book last, or with book as an additional beginning reference point instead of the only one.

ie. I want to play a Bard - Core Rulebook>Classes>Bard
But what archetypes are available to me? You go through every released book and look for archetypes for Bards. Never mind spells.

I have to agree with Cartigan on this one. When I click on Bard, I should see every archetype available. When I click on Bard Spells, it should list all spells from every official source book. It makes more sense than organizing by book.


I agree with Cartigan and Shaundakul.

Also, I'd like to see all official Paizo content added there. Until then, it'd d20pfsrd.com for most, I'm sure.


Shaundakul wrote:
Cartigan wrote:

While nicer, it still is not as navigable as d20pfsrd.com and stuff is still initially sorted by book first instead of by what you are looking for first and book last, or with book as an additional beginning reference point instead of the only one.

ie. I want to play a Bard - Core Rulebook>Classes>Bard
But what archetypes are available to me? You go through every released book and look for archetypes for Bards. Never mind spells.

I have to agree with Cartigan on this one. When I click on Bard, I should see every archetype available. When I click on Bard Spells, it should list all spells from every official source book. It makes more sense than organizing by book.

Personally I would like both options, because some games I am in limit what books we can draw from, and others are completely open. Sometimes I just like to look at all the options for a given class.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
And thanks to that, I'll never have to buy a source book again.

I agree, and I still have purchased most of the rules books.

-Swiftbrook


Azure_Zero wrote:


But the PRD is a good resource tool for those that are missing a few resources or are new to the game.

The PRD (along with the pfsrd and the PDFs) is an invaluable resource even if you have all the books. Sure, it doesn't replace a book you can read at leasure, but for looking things up (something I find myself doing quite often while behind the GM screen; and it's good for character creation, too).

Sczarni

I love the new design of the prd. It's elegant, it cleaner and is a lot more user friendly than the last version. Love it, keep up the good work everyone.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have to agree it still needs work, and it's actually rather bad on android phones, the big "by book" navigation takes up the entire screen, while the rest of the page is faded to the side in the background, and because of that I have scroll bars that serve no purpose...

It's better, but it still needs a lot of work for mobile devices.

"Doesn't suck" is true, but still not exactly a "great site".


It IS much cleaner, although like others say, listing by class/archetype/et al is still needed (maybe a switch to turn on/off primary listing?).

Also, allow me to be one of the ones among the crowd who never would have tried PF without having the SRD. It was originally the new fighter class, and then the other classes as I looked through them, that attracted me. Since then, I've gone on to purchase books and next week will be purchasing more even though its' all available on the SRD.

You definitely do gain new players by letting them see what's going on, no matter how many naysayers there are, and those of us who come into the game that way really do appreciate it. Keep up the good work guys.

The Exchange

One thing of note, I'm getting the standard site on my Android tablet and it no longer lets me zoom in or enlarge the screen.

It works great on my Android phone.


KaeYoss wrote:
The PRD (along with the pfsrd and the PDFs) is an invaluable resource even if you have all the books.

Sure is. Keeps me from having to drag all of those heavy books to work and back everyday. Easier to hide from my boss than a giant book too (as long as I remember to wipe my browsing history).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I disapprove of this blog post not being written in pirate or binary! ;)


Azure_Zero wrote:

I prefer reading books, over looking at a screen. And the book does not use electricity, internet, or anything electronic. And books give a sense of ownership, that you really do have it, no eye strain, and supports the company that is producing the books.

But the PRD is a good resource tool for those that are missing a few resources or are new to the game.

+1

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Great job. It looks fantastic on my iPad. To all the developers on this release, your hard work is appreciated.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

I'm glad to see Paizo staying committed to the OGL.

As to the 'it's better but...' I have to say a) this shows they're committed to improving it. which b) is impressive because it's not an outlay.

Sovereign Court

Thank you Paizo!

Long live the OGL!


I love the new look for the PRD. Before on my nook color, the main links where shoved way down just below the table of links to the left hand side. Now I can see everything without scrolling all over the place. And OGL is such a wondrous thing, and not because it's free. If anything, it makes me want to buy more because I'm not treated as a criminal by default and it allows easier entry for new players all while building up good will for everyone involved. :D


Notsonoble wrote:

I have to agree it still needs work, and it's actually rather bad on android phones, the big "by book" navigation takes up the entire screen, while the rest of the page is faded to the side in the background, and because of that I have scroll bars that serve no purpose...

It's better, but it still needs a lot of work for mobile devices.

"Doesn't suck" is true, but still not exactly a "great site".

Perhaps its "rather bad" on your android phone, but on my Samsung Epic, it's pretty damn awesome.

The only complaint, which is minor, is that the various class(and perhaps other such) tables could use some tweaking to make sure they show up fully on the page. Again, minor and easily able to be worked around.

Shadow Lodge

Cartigan wrote:

While nicer, it still is not as navigable as d20pfsrd.com and stuff is still initially sorted by book first instead of by what you are looking for first and book last, or with book as an additional beginning reference point instead of the only one.

ie. I want to play a Bard - Core Rulebook>Classes>Bard
But what archetypes are available to me? You go through every released book and look for archetypes for Bards. Never mind spells.

That's why I'm hoping they vastly expand the Index portion of the PRD. Right now it's just a listing of all the feats and spells.


Looks good overall, but class tables are unusable on my phone. Very low resolution screen (320x240) using Opera Mobile on Android. For Barbarian it only shows up to the Ref Save column. With some poking and prodding it'll scroll a little bit back and forth, but it's extremely sluggish (one or two pixels ever second) and I can't get it to do it consistently; most of the time it wants to scroll the page instead.


I really like the new PRD. For a long time now I have been using d20pfsrd.com, and still do for certain tasks - but the added glut of third party material on there, while interesting and useful, can sometimes make finding core-only content a chore.

Unfortunately, Paizo's old SRD left much to be desired aesthetically (hard to read for my poor old eyes for one thing), and lacked an integrated search function, which d20pfsrd.com has had for awhile, despite some obvious burps in its workings.

I am very pleased with the updates to the PRD and find it much more usable than before. It's great to be able to tell new players that they can go to a single site and screen all content by volume - so, for instance, if I've limited their build options to core rules and APG only, they can easily ascertain what content comes from those books.

And I don't have to have the discussion of, "No, you can't take Hellfire Ray, because it isn't a core spell." "But it was on that site you sent me!" "Grrrrr..."

Great job, guys. And props to Gary for having the cojones to just say, "It doesn't suck anymore", instead of using a bunch of corporate speak to reframe the work as further optimizing an already-flawless experience. The honesty is as refreshing as the effort.

Lantern Lodge

quick note to Paizo.

I love the new layout.

Great job!

Keep up the Good work.

End-of-line!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Sajuuk, Turtle of Creation wrote:
Meanwhile, Wizards of the Coast does an about face and doesn't release anything in 4th Edition as open content. That was the original reason why my group went to Pathfinder, we've got several players that don't own any books and just used the SRD when we were playing 3e/3.5.

You're the folks that effectively make the argument that Dancey was wrong in giving away the store.

Shadow Lodge

LazarX wrote:
Sajuuk, Turtle of Creation wrote:
Meanwhile, Wizards of the Coast does an about face and doesn't release anything in 4th Edition as open content. That was the original reason why my group went to Pathfinder, we've got several players that don't own any books and just used the SRD when we were playing 3e/3.5.
You're the folks that effectively make the argument that Dancey was wrong in giving away the store.

Oh, teh irony!


HAIL PAIZO!

This is a major reason why we made the switch to Pathfinder RPG (from 3.5). Thank you! Especially for the Search function! Well done!

What I'd love to see in future:
- Consolidated spell lists
- Consolidated feat overview

The thing is, I now want to have the books as well...


You are right .... it doesn't suck anymore... wait, that is not enough to say.

I was using the PRD during a game the other day and noticed the change. I like the format and I am impressed how quickly the new content is being added. You are the best! Now I have another reason to get an iPad.


Just pulled it up on my Droid 2, btw. Works great from what little I messed around with (mainly just pulling up details on the witch base class for a PC update).

Shadow Lodge

LazarX wrote:
Sajuuk, Turtle of Creation wrote:
Meanwhile, Wizards of the Coast does an about face and doesn't release anything in 4th Edition as open content. That was the original reason why my group went to Pathfinder, we've got several players that don't own any books and just used the SRD when we were playing 3e/3.5.
You're the folks that effectively make the argument that Dancey was wrong in giving away the store.

I don't know if Dancey worked it into his argument at the time, but certainly in this decade's world a certain amount of freeloading is guaranteed to happen. I imagine if I went searching I could, at this very moment, find a copy of every Paizo pdf ever made online. I could download them at no cost in minutes. (Probably anyway. I haven't actually checked.)

On the other hand, if you offer the rules online, you take a big amount of the incentive away to go to the dark corners of the net and drudge those up.

And you get more people playing (and discussing, and recommending, etc) your game and not the other guy's. Particularly not the non-open other guy's game.

Anyway, back on topic, I looked at the site and it looks good. I'll have to try and use it when I actually need it to say for certain, though.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Monkeygod wrote:
Notsonoble wrote:

I have to agree it still needs work, and it's actually rather bad on android phones, the big "by book" navigation takes up the entire screen, while the rest of the page is faded to the side in the background, and because of that I have scroll bars that serve no purpose...

It's better, but it still needs a lot of work for mobile devices.

"Doesn't suck" is true, but still not exactly a "great site".

Perhaps its "rather bad" on your android phone, but on my Samsung Epic, it's pretty damn awesome.

It depends a lot on the browser you're using. On Miren for example the site is utterly broken, but Miren is an out of date browser that no one is working on. On the browser included with Android Gingerbread it's fine on my Optimus. I'll have to check it with Opera.


I'd like to see this format transferred maybe to a downloadable file kindle. I'd love to be able to use a kindle to look at all the stats.


I went to the PF PRD page today, it was the first time in a few weeks, I was immediately impressed by the new look and the organizational improvements. I haven’t gotten a chance to navigate through the new menus but on the surface it definitely seems to be a vast improvement to the general look and organization of the web site.

Another example of how the PF team works to put out a great product for their customers and then continue to follow up, listen to their customers, and improve an already excellent product. I use the PRD on a regular basis. I am always looking something up, from research for a personal game to research for a forum post that is where I go first for a quick, easily accessible answer on rules. I definitely appreciate any work the PF team does to improve that service.

Thanks.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Adam D wrote:
I'd like to see this format transferred maybe to a downloadable file kindle. I'd love to be able to use a kindle to look at all the stats.

Wouldn't that be in all those PDFs Paizo sells?

I think I saw that the Kindles now have an experimental browser. I'd love to know how the PRD looks on that browser.


Don Walker wrote:
Adam D wrote:
I'd like to see this format transferred maybe to a downloadable file kindle. I'd love to be able to use a kindle to look at all the stats.

Wouldn't that be in all those PDFs Paizo sells?

I think I saw that the Kindles now have an experimental browser. I'd love to know how the PRD looks on that browser.

I imagine just like it does on every other browser. You have to pick your book-topic then sort through it for what you want

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