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Kicking Off Pathfinder Online

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

You've probably heard that Paizo is working with Goblinworks to produce Pathfinder Online, a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game. Goblinworks has been giving you snippets of our plans in the biweekly blog posts on goblinworks.com, and we've been getting your feedback on the Pathfinder Online messageboards here on paizo.com. Well, we're now ready to kick off the next phase of Pathfinder Online.

Today we announced a Kickstarter project to help us build the Pathfinder Online Technology Demo. Go take a look at the press release or visit the Kickstarter project page to find out what this Kickstarter is all about, and then come back here so I can share some details you'll want to know. Don’t worry, I’ll wait right here...

...Did you read it? Pretty darn cool, huh?

Goblinworks.com has its own blog today talking about the Kickstarter, so head over there when you're done here for more details on that. What I want to talk about here is the Thornkeep book!

Since the Pathfinder Online Technology Demo itself isn’t something that we can offer to Kickstarter patrons, we had to go outside the box for our Kickstarter rewards, and the Thornkeep book seemed like the perfect answer.

Thornkeep has a Pathfinder Online logo on the cover, but make no mistake—Paizo is handling this book just like any of our other Pathfinder products. It's set in the very same world of Golarion as our other roleplaying products, and contains 100% official Pathfinder campaign setting material for use with the Pathfinder RPG.

The first half of the 64-page Thornkeep book is a Pathfinder RPG sourcebook covering the town of Thornkeep and its surrounding area. Thornkeep is part of the River Kingdoms area, which is the setting for Pathfinder Online. (You could also drop Thornkeep into almost any wooded area in your own campaign setting.) As we mentioned in one of our earliest Pathfinder Online blog posts, Thornkeep is one of three starting locations for PCs in the MMO—it's the chaotic frontier town that Ryan dubbed our "hive of scum and villainy" (think a fantasy version of Deadwood). (You even helped us name Thornkeep in our first online poll!)

We thought it would be cool to allow folks to explore Thornkeep's various dark corners in their Pathfinder RPG sessions before Pathfinder Online is released. We will be using this book as our guide when we're building its digital equivalent. We're even going to have a small dungeon in this book that will map directly to the one featured in the Technology Demo. So not only will you be getting a guide to one of the towns in Pathfinder Online, but you'll also be getting the first look at how content from the RPG transitions to Pathfinder Online, as well as how content from the MMO might find its way to your gaming table!


Rich Baker, author of Thornkeep!

When we were looking for somebody to write the sourcebook material for us, we went to our good friend Rich Baker. This is Rich's first time working on Pathfinder, but he has been involved with classic D&D campaign settings from the Forgotten Realms to Birthright, and we figured it would be fun to see how he would approach Thornkeep! I've seen his partial turnovers already, and they're awesome!

So what about the second half of the book? That's going to be a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Pathfinder Online, including excerpts from our internal design document, plus design sketches and early artwork for the MMO, as well as essays from Goblinworks and Paizo team members designed to give you insight into the making of the MMO. Consider this a backstage pass to all of the goings-on at Goblinworks!

Of course, we couldn’t have a cool product like this without a Wayne Reynolds cover. The cover image you see here is a mock-up—Wayne should have the real Thornkeep cover done by PaizoCon, and we plan to unveil it at our banquet!

Thornkeep isn't the only Kickstarter reward, though. There are lots of fun rewards for folks at all levels of pledge support! You could even come to Paizo for a day, play a Pathfinder game with your dream Paizo GM, and have a four-hour dinner with your GM, Goblinworks CEO Ryan Dancey, and myself. Check out all of the Kickstarter rewards and help us get to the next step in the development of Pathfinder Online. We wouldn’t be here without you!

Lisa Stevens
Paizo CEO
Goblinworks COO

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Goblinworks Paizo Pathfinder Online Rich Baker
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Goblin Squad Member

I've just signed up at the $50 level, partly for the game and partly for the book itself.

I'm a veteran (ok, recovering addict) of Everquest and World of Warcraft, and played Star Wars Galaxies as well. I played Everquest in order to get a feel for MMO's for when SW:G came out, but soon got bored of the grind in SW:G. A colleague convinced me to try out WoW and I got hooked to that for a while but managed to give it up when I got bored of the grind and the continual updates that meant learning to play my character all over again and replacing all my equipment.

I'm looking forward to seeing the demo and hoping you can create a game that isn't all about the daily grind or trying to find a high level group to play with. I'm also hoping that the game keeps Pathfinder's distinctive graphic style.

I've put the widget on my blog.

Grand Lodge

Zombieneighbours wrote:
Berselius wrote:
I'll be honest. This is a bit of a let down. I was hoping for a single player game (like NWN) but instead we get a game like D&D: Online.

I'd suggest you check out the blods. Pathfinder online will have very little in common with DnD online, save being massively multiplayer

It is a closer relative to starwars gallaxies or Eve

Guild Wars 2 could be a game changer. I am paying attention to these ArenaNet guys. GW1 was great and I only did the PVE stuff.

Goblin Squad Member

I'm guessing that the project will reach $50K by the end of the day as North America wakes up.

Liberty's Edge Goblin Squad Member

I was so excited to read about this last night! So happy to be involved in some way with Pathfinder Online before it actually comes out, and I want the hardcover book to add to my collection. I'm also using it as an incentive to start using messageboards more frequently to add some feedback.

Kickstarter projects are taking up so much of my money and attention lately. I've spent way more on Kickstarter in the past couple months than retail games, haha.

Goblin Squad Member

Is it hardcover? I'd presumed it was a "standard" paizo 64 page book.

Goblin Squad Member

Wow $30k after a day--very excited about this and encouraged. Clearly this is a service a bunch of us really want, and are willing to pay for.

The Exchange Goblin Squad Member

i have been reading their project model for the game and so far i like the sound of it much more than anything else out there.

Goblin Squad Member

I've put my money where my mouth is and pledged. Here's hoping the gear arrives all the way down to us in Australia, (and more importantly we can actually get onto the server when it does start up ...)

Goblin Squad Member

Steve Geddes wrote:
Is it hardcover? I'd presumed it was a "standard" paizo 64 page book.

Yeah, I have no idea where that's coming from, because it's not mentioned at all in the Kickstarter or the blog post.

Goblin Squad Member

Personally I hope they can pull it off. I have seen so many MMO start-ups fail because they would never be able to get and keep investors. Dominus, an amazing concept, that had a working beta, never made it, simply because they couldn't get the funding needed. I don't need WoW. Hell, I don't even like WoW. I want a game that mixes the amazing player driven game play of EVE Online, the community caring and togetherness of DAoC, with decent non-stylized(aka WoW) graphics.


I'm a bit shocked at the Kickstarter campaign coming from Paizo. I just think it looks bad for an established company to do this.

Goblin Squad Member

Riggler wrote:
I'm a bit shocked at the Kickstarter campaign coming from Paizo. I just think it looks bad for an established company to do this.

It's Goblinworks, not Paizo.

Goblin Squad Member

It's not Paizo that's doing the Kickstarter,
but Goblin Works that's doing the kickstarter.

Paizo is licensing Pathfinder to Goblin Works.

Sovereign Court Goblin Squad Member

Riggler wrote:
I'm a bit shocked at the Kickstarter campaign coming from Paizo. I just think it looks bad for an established company to do this.

It's not Paizo, it's Goblinworks, a brand new entity. They work closely (and share some staff) with Paizo, but this effort has to succeed or fail by it's own merits.

Or would you rather see Paizo use all the resources from the tabletop RPG on an effort that may end up tanking?

Goblin Squad Member

The kickstarter's nearing the 40K mark

Goblin Squad Member

Woot! $40,000!

Goblin Squad Member

less than 10K to go.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Riggler wrote:
I'm a bit shocked at the Kickstarter campaign coming from Paizo. I just think it looks bad for an established company to do this.

I think you'll find Steve Jackson games is about to finish up a highly successful kickstarter project of their own, and are commited to due another in the future, and they've been established much longer and possibly more prominently than Paizo. Kickstarter is valid for companies of any size and establishment, its a good way to get an exact measure of interest in a project and lower risks, not to mention spreading awareness and increasing popularity for a project.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I am glad that Rich Baker is writing this, rather than a Paizo staffer, because the thing which worries me about this is the idea that it might take valuable resources away from PFRPG stuff.

However, I do find it a bit annoying that a Golarion sourcebook is being released outside of the CS line, with a very high price-tag and some other content I am not interested in.

I hope that the Thornkeep book is made available for Golarion fans soon, and priced the same as other 32-page Golarion sourcebooks.

Sczarni Goblin Squad Member

GeraintElberion wrote:

I am glad that Rich Baker is writing this, rather than a Paizo staffer, because the thing which worries me about this is the idea that it might take valuable resources away from PFRPG stuff.

However, I do find it a bit annoying that a Golarion sourcebook is being released outside of the CS line, with a very high price-tag and some other content I am not interested in.

I hope that the Thornkeep book is made available for Golarion fans soon, and priced the same as other 32-page Golarion sourcebooks.

My guess is that kickstarter people will get theirs around October, and everyone else will have to wait a month or so.

Goblin Squad Member

GeraintElberion wrote:

However, I do find it a bit annoying that a Golarion sourcebook is being released outside of the CS line, with a very high price-tag and some other content I am not interested in.

I hope that the Thornkeep book is made available for Golarion fans soon, and priced the same as other 32-page Golarion sourcebooks.

Yeah, this is the part that bothers me the most.

I understand that I don't HAVE to buy it, but I'm a completist, and I want to ensure I get the book. Since this isn't something that's happening with any kind of frequency, I'm ponying up this time, but am not going to be too happy if this happens a bunch...

Further, something Paizo/Goblinworks needs to take into consideration - if this is an attempt to gauge interest in the MMO, then my backing is being considered as interest/support in the MMO, and I'm anything but.

I'm paying because I want the book. I have no interest in the MMO.

Goblin Squad Member

The Kick starter is now at $45,458,

Less than 5K to go.

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Nihimon wrote:
Riggler wrote:
I'm a bit shocked at the Kickstarter campaign coming from Paizo. I just think it looks bad for an established company to do this.
It's Goblinworks, not Paizo.

Additionally Steve Jackson Games and Troll Lord Games are both "established" companies that have done/are currently doing well on Kickstarter.

Brian E. Harris wrote:

I'm paying because I want the book. I have no interest in the MMO.

But you've proven that, given the right incentive, a strictly table-top customer will support the MMO.

Its cross promotion...I'm sure plenty of WoW MMORPG players buy packs of the trading card game strictly for the loot cards; and a lot of people who watch Game of Thrones on HBO will never read the books. (Their loss...)

Goblin Squad Member

$45,573 and rising!

Oh and....
<-- Inaugural member of the Goblin Squad

Thanks Ryan & co, I feel all fuzzy inside.

Paizo Employee CEO

Steve Geddes wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
Brian E. Harris wrote:
So is the Kickstarter going to be the only way to get the Thornkeep book?
There will eventually be other ways, but that's the only way right now.
Will those other ways include the possibility to get hard copies, or just PDFs?

Hard to tell at this point. We need to print a certain number to use our printer, so we know we will be printing at least that number. If the Kickstarter blows up (like it looks like it is doing) then they could all sell out through the Kickstarter. Then only a PDF will be available. However, if there are some leftover after the Kickstarter ends, we aren't going to just throw them away, so we will probably offer them in some other way. The only sure way to get a print copy is to support the Kickstarter. We actually would prefer it at this time because it will show the world how much support this game has behind it. The more people back this Kickstarter, the more powerful it becomes when we go to investors to fund the final game.

-Lisa

Paizo Employee CEO

Steve Geddes wrote:
Is it hardcover? I'd presumed it was a "standard" paizo 64 page book.

Yep, a standard 64-page softcover, much like you would find in our campaign setting line.

-Lisa

Paizo Employee CEO

Kradlum wrote:
I've put the widget on my blog.

Kradlum, thanks for backing the Kickstarter. But even more thanks for putting the widget on your blog! That is a great way to get the word out to folks about Pathfinder Online! Woot!

-Lisa

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

I don't care if you hit 50k...keep it going! I haven't had a chance for you to take my money yet!

Dark Archive Goblin Squad Member

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I just...uh...ponied up, as they say.

Goblin Squad Member

Nailing a kickstarter target in about 24 hours seems like the kind of intangible that makes an impression with a potential investor(s). Exciting to watch!

Goblin Squad Member

Nice....

I initialy ponied up at the $30 level to show my support for the project....

But frankly for an extra $20 a hard copy of the source book is a GREAT Value and impossible to resist... so $50 it is. Digital is very convenient, but frankly there's just nothing like the feel of having paper in your hands.

Kickstarter is awesome....looks like you guys are going to be fully funded before the day is out!

Liberty's Edge Goblin Squad Member

And here I was foolish enough to think it would take 72 hours. At this rate, the goal will be met in under 24!

Dear Goblinworks people, please start brainstorming stretch goals.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
It's Goblinworks, not Paizo.

If you want to argue semantics, it's Paizo, not Goblinworks:

Amazon Payments wrote:

Greetings from Amazon Payments,

We have received your May 10, 2012 authorization to let Paizo Publishing, LLC, Kickstarter charge you.

Goblin Squad Member

Deane Beman wrote:
But you've proven that, given the right incentive, a strictly table-top customer will support the MMO.

Actually, I believe that I'm supporting the production of a video, with absolutely no guarantee (and that "no guarantee" affirmed in the Kickstarter) that the MMO will be produced.

And no, I'm really not showing that I'm supporting the MMO. I'm showing that I really really wanted what appears to be a limited edition book for the RPG, so much that I'm willing to buy into the crass cross-promotion thereof.

Goblin Squad Member

Brian E. Harris wrote:
I'm really not showing that I'm supporting the MMO.

I imagine you're hanging a lot of meaning on the word "really", but it is manifestly true that you are "supporting the MMO".

Liberty's Edge Goblinworks Founder

Couldn't have been happier to sign up at the $100 level. Pretty excited about this Thornkeep book. Other members of my local group are giving as well.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
Brian E. Harris wrote:
I'm really not showing that I'm supporting the MMO.
I imagine you're hanging a lot of meaning on the word "really", but it is manifestly true that you are "supporting the MMO".

OK, so, here's the deal:

If this Kickstarter is meant to show investors how many people will pay for the MMO, then things are skewed, because I am, quite manifestly NOT supporting the MMO - if the rewards for support had nothing to do with the RPG, then I wouldn't be backing this Kickstarter.

Is my money being used to support the MMO? It's quite possible.

But am *I* supporting it? No. I'm buying a book.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:

I am glad that Rich Baker is writing this, rather than a Paizo staffer, because the thing which worries me about this is the idea that it might take valuable resources away from PFRPG stuff.

However, I do find it a bit annoying that a Golarion sourcebook is being released outside of the CS line, with a very high price-tag and some other content I am not interested in.

I hope that the Thornkeep book is made available for Golarion fans soon, and priced the same as other 32-page Golarion sourcebooks.

The point of the Kickstarter is that you're not paying this price to buy the book. You're essentially donating to get the bigger project off the ground, and your donation is that amount minus the cost of the book itself.

If that's not in alignment with your preferences, you're best off just waiting until the book is sold separately.

Goblin Squad Member

LazarX wrote:
If that's not in alignment with your preferences, you're best off just waiting until the book is sold separately.

One key problem there:

Brian E. Harris wrote:
So is the Kickstarter going to be the only way to get the Thornkeep book?
Vic Wertz wrote:
There will eventually be other ways, but that's the only way right now.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Will those other ways include the possibility to get hard copies, or just PDFs?
Lisa Stevens wrote:

Hard to tell at this point. We need to print a certain number to use our printer, so we know we will be printing at least that number. If the Kickstarter blows up (like it looks like it is doing) then they could all sell out through the Kickstarter. Then only a PDF will be available. However, if there are some leftover after the Kickstarter ends, we aren't going to just throw them away, so we will probably offer them in some other way. The only sure way to get a print copy is to support the Kickstarter. We actually would prefer it at this time because it will show the world how much support this game has behind it. The more people back this Kickstarter, the more powerful it becomes when we go to investors to fund the final game.

-Lisa

So, I'll reiterate what I just bolded:

The only sure way to get a print copy is to support the Kickstarter.

Goblin Squad Member

The kick starter is now at $48,263,

Less than 2K to go.

Liberty's Edge Goblin Squad Member

Azure_Zero wrote:

The kick starter is now at $48,263,

Less than 2K to go.

I wonder how many of us are hitting the F5 key every few minutes to see that number rise.

And I wonder what is going on at the Paizo/Goblinworks office today. A video would be fun...

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Wishing I had 5k laying around just so I can go hang out with the Paizo people for a day, with my favorite PFS players. :)

Goblin Squad Member

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Zahariel wrote:
And I wonder what is going on at the Paizo/Goblinworks office today.

I'm imagining a bottle of champagne is being chilled, and will be popped open as soon as they reach $50,000.

At least, I hope they have the free time to take a moment and celebrate when that happens.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2015

$49,483. Less than $600 to go.

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
Zahariel wrote:
And I wonder what is going on at the Paizo/Goblinworks office today.

I'm imagining a bottle of champagne is being chilled, and will be popped open as soon as they reach $50,000.

At least, I hope they have the free time to take a moment and celebrate when that happens.

I hope they don't. I hope they are working on setting up a stretch goal, just so they have a safety net in case this project goes over budget. Its better to come in under budget than to come to the community hat in hand later asking for just a bit more.

Liberty's Edge Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
Zahariel wrote:
And I wonder what is going on at the Paizo/Goblinworks office today.

I'm imagining a bottle of champagne is being chilled, and will be popped open as soon as they reach $50,000.

At least, I hope they have the free time to take a moment and celebrate when that happens.

I hope they have one at hand. They definitely deserve it.

Goblin Squad Member

The kick starter is now at $49,483,

A little over $500 to go

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

Less than $100!

Silver Crusade Goblin Squad Member

3 people marked this as a favorite.

ITS DONE!

Liberty's Edge Goblin Squad Member

DONE!

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