Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game


Pathfinder Society


Starfinder


Starfinder Society


How We (Sometimes) Name Cards

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sometimes we like to give you nice folks a window into the strange ways that Lone Shark and Paizo do things on the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. Here's Chad on our patently rigorous standards for naming cards.

Way back when, we set out to make an adventure card game for the glorious world of Pathfinder. Our friends at Paizo had just the right Adventure Path in mind: Rise of the Runelords was being prepped for the Anniversary Edition. The developers had taken a fresh look at the story, the art was getting refreshed and expanded, and the publisher likes it when products lined up nicely. We—Lone Shark and Paizo both—set up a giant playtest, the results of which included "huge mounds of feedback" and "Vic learning more about various local FedEx policies and peccadilloes than any human should." Everything looked great, but...

While we were busily putting together the game system, the characters, the Adventure Path, and the giant box and tray, that still didn't cover everything. We still needed some introductory material—something to go into the base box alongside the first adventure. And because we knew that the second adventure was going to arrive two months after the first, we thought there was a decent chance that people would play the introduction more than once. (In this, we were both right and very wrong.) We talked to Paizo to see if they had any suggestions, and eventually settled on a few varied scenarios around Sandpoint. We conscripted the dragon Black Fang from an encounter in the Pathfinder RPG Beginner Box, and from the Sandpoint appendix in Rise of the Runelords, we took the alchemist Pillbug Podiker and the handsome bandit leader Jubrayl Vhiski.

These names were obvious.

Thus armed with a cadre of ne'er's-do-well (I'm pretty sure that's the correct pluralization), we set about building some relatively simple scenarios around them. Black Fang got himself an eponymous Dungeon, Pillbug the poisoner gave us The Poison Pill, and Vhiski... Hmm.

The man with no scenario name.

As it turns out, I've heard at least three versions of this next part. Most agree that it was late, at the end of a long day. We were all sitting around a table, or a couple tables. There's always at least one laptop; sometimes next to piles of rough-cut cardstock, other times next to small fortress-walls made of Gary's Gaby's mostly-empty beverage containers. We're always tired. Someone always says "I dunno; just give it a name, and we'll figure it out later." Then someone says some version of "I got it" and types into a spreadsheet cell. Often someone looks at the spreadsheet and proclaims it perfect, done, finished, "Ship it!"—sometimes it's even the same person who entered it into the cell.

Now, something that you might not know, but probably could have guessed, is that both Lone Shark and Paizo always do a review pass on the material, just to make sure that everything lines up right—that the art matches the concept matches the name matches the world. Sometimes we catch things like "That is clearly not an Elf," so we change a trait. Other times, we've used a name that might be technically correct but just doesn't sound right—"Force Pike" is a perfectly reasonable Pathfinder weapon that will just not sound right to a huge number of people. And sometimes, the Lone Shark tendency to sneak perfectly innocently insert puns into the game runs afoul of Standards and Practices. For example...

Not the name his mom gave him.

Mike here, rudely interrupting Chad's soliloquy. Now, just look up there and you'll see: that is one handsome fellow. When we were thinking of dreamy chaps in old-timey naval garb for Skull & Shackles, one image came to mind: Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC production of Horatio Hornblower. So we wrote an art description asking for Cumberbatch in a faux–British naval uniform, just like he wore in that series. But we couldn't just name him "Benedict Cumberbatch," so we hopped over to the YouTube series How to Pronounce, which will teach you many things (but not how to correctly pronounce anything). The entry for Benedict Cumberbatch pronounces his name "Bucket Crunderdunder" (among other things). So that's what we named him. Of course, Vic caught wise to us and made us change that ridiculous name to something less ridiculous, so Heartbreak Hinsin was born. There's only one problem with this story: Benedict Cumberbatch was never actually in Horatio Hornblower—it was Ioan Gruffudd. So we based an ally on a mispronunciation of a mistake. Par for the course round the Lone Shark offices. OK, back to Chad.

In the case of the first base scenario for Runelords, the name Mike chose was in danger of running into this particular filter.

A pun like that only comes around every hundred years.

Brigandoom! It's like Brigadoon but with brigands! How droll!

Thing was, "Standards and Practices" (in this case, Paizo's development staff) had noticed our "clever" name, and flagged it for review. The jig was up, we thought. We'd have to abandon our fun name and come up with something else. Given how late we were in the process, we were starting to resign ourselves to a plain, boring name, when someone else spoke up; the Chief Creative Officer and Publisher, in fact.

"Far be it from me to stand between a man and his pun," Erik Mona said, and cleared the flag.

And we love him for it to this day.

Chad Brown
Adventure Card Game Lead Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

The Gary part was an awesome touch. I knew right away where that link was taking me. Thanks for the peak behind the curtain.


Are Keren Rhinn and Zae cards yet and if so what expansion deck are they a part of?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Berselius wrote:
Are Keren Rhinn and Zae cards yet and if so what expansion deck are they a part of?

They're allies in the Pathfinder Tales deck. You might want to read this blog.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Actually, there's a bit more to the Bucket Crunderdunder story. At the time we were working on the introductory material for the PACG version of the Skull & Shackles AP, the RPG team was working on a seafaring module called Plunder & Peril, so we decided to tie them together a little bit. And when Bucket needed a new name, I went trawling through the P&P manuscript for characters I could conscript, and settled on Jaspin "Heartbreak" Hinson. Unfortunately, I wasn't aware that the RPG team was going to commission art for him, so Heartbreak looks completely different in that book...

Lone Shark Games

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Vic Wertz wrote:
Actually, there's a bit more to the Bucket Crunderdunder story. At the time we were working on the introductory material for the PACG version of the Skull & Shackles AP, the RPG team was working on a seafaring module called Plunder & Peril, so we decided to tie them together a little bit. And when Bucket needed a new name, I went trawling through the P&P manuscript for characters I could conscript, and settled on Jaspin "Heartbreak" Hinson. Unfortunately, I wasn't aware that the RPG team was going to commission art for him, so Heartbreak looks completely different in that book...

Who said ours was Jaspin Hinsin? This is his brother Jospin "Heartbreak" Hinsin.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

This was an interesting insight. As someone who doesn't play the RPG, I always thought all the 'named' Allies (or Henchmen, or whatever...) are actually based on pre-existing NPCs.
I wouldn't say 'NO' to a blog series with a few more of these anecdotes, and with more detail (for example, why did you feel you need a 'dreamy naval chap' in the first place, if there wasn't one in the RPG? With that description, I would've expected him to add to Charisma/Diplomacy which is not the case, so clearly those decisions are not (always) mechanics-based...)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Also, Hornblower was made by ITV, another British TV channel (via one of it's regional subsidiaries), not the Beeb.

For those who haven't seen it, it's one of the greatest Napoleonic war naval dramas of all time. As one of my medical school friends described it, it's "Sharpe On A Boat".

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

In terms of naming, I've been curious why several creatures have different names than their Pathfinder RPG equivalents. Such as "Bloodbug" instead of "Stirge," or nearly every demon in Wrath.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Oh man! We loved Bucket Crunderdunder in our playtest! We literally held on to him until the end of the AP. One of our players even said a short little poem for him; it was great!

Lone Shark Games

ryric wrote:
In terms of naming, I've been curious why several creatures have different names than their Pathfinder RPG equivalents. Such as "Bloodbug" instead of "Stirge," or nearly every demon in Wrath.

In places where there might be legal complications to using a name derived from a different intellectual party on a card (which is not covered by the same OGL/SRD framework as written work), a different name is used.

For example, Mariliths were originally named in Dungeons and Dragons. They're covered by OGL and SRD for publication in written works, but cards are a different medium. So, we avoid the problem.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
ryric wrote:
In terms of naming, I've been curious why several creatures have different names than their Pathfinder RPG equivalents. Such as "Bloodbug" instead of "Stirge," or nearly every demon in Wrath.

The PACG cannot use names or terms that are only available under the OGL, as PACG doesn’t use the OGL. This is likely the cause of the renames you mention, and is also why it uses terms like Angelkin and Pitborn instead of Aasimar and Tiefling.

Ninja’d by Keith. That’s what I get for having the page open too long without refreshing :P

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

And now I know. Thanks!


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
skizzerz wrote:
and is also why it uses terms like Angelkin and Pitborn instead of Aasimar and Tiefling.

For what it's worth, I appreciate these more 'natural' and intuitive appellations. It makes the game a lot more approachable for anyone who's not among the hardcorest RPG player base, and who doesn't need to struggle with awkward pronunciations and is unlikely to know what a Babau is (to use one of the more user-friendly demonic names).


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber

How We (Sometimes) Name Cards....
Don't start me on making French puns out of English names, idioms, acronyms...
I managed (I don't know how) to refrain from doing that for 5 years or so for fear it wouldn't be politically correct.

Lone Shark Games

6 people marked this as a favorite.

I really miss that Gary. What's he doing these days? He was great!


golfdeltafoxtrot wrote:

Also, Hornblower was made by ITV, another British TV channel (via one of it's regional subsidiaries), not the Beeb.

For those who haven't seen it, it's one of the greatest Napoleonic war naval dramas of all time. As one of my medical school friends described it, it's "Sharpe On A Boat".

Never saw the shows but I highly recommend the books. I listened to the Hornblower audio book on my commute for years. Excellent.

Is there a Pathfinder RPG system for ship to ship battles?


IronGiant wrote:
Is there a Pathfinder RPG system for ship to ship battles?

One version is available for free in the Skull and Shackles Player's Guide.

Lone Shark Games

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Longshot11 wrote:
For what it's worth, I appreciate these more 'natural' and intuitive appellations. It makes the game a lot more approachable for anyone who's not among the hardcorest RPG player base, and who doesn't need to struggle with awkward pronunciations and is unlikely to know what a Babau is (to use one of the more user-friendly demonic names).

Well, I think a lot of them at least know the Babau Oh Yeah song.


skizzerz wrote:

The PACG cannot use names or terms that are only available under the OGL, as PACG doesn’t use the OGL. This is likely the cause of the renames you mention, and is also why it uses terms like Angelkin and Pitborn instead of Aasimar and Tiefling.

So Pitborn = Tiefling in PACG? No matter what kind of evil Outsider is related to? I thought pitborn means demonkin, because is WotR there are some monsters with pitborn and demon traits. But Ramexes' history hints he is devil-kin.

Lone Shark Games

SimonB wrote:
So Pitborn = Tiefling in PACG? No matter what kind of evil Outsider is related to? I thought pitborn means demonkin, because is WotR there are some monsters with pitborn and demon traits. But Ramexes' history hints he is devil-kin.

In Pathfinder, tieflings are spawns of humans and any fiends, whether they be devils, demons, or anything in-between. So are PACG's Pitborn.

We could be more specific if we wanted. As Chad notes frequently, there is no hair split so fine in the Pathfinder RPG that it cannot be split again. But in PACG we generally aim pretty wide so if we ever say "If you have the Pitborn trait" we catch as many characters as possible. (Which to date is only Ramexes, Radovan, and the upcoming Emil from Hell's Vengeance 2.)

Lone Shark Games

Keith Richmond wrote:
Longshot11 wrote:
For what it's worth, I appreciate these more 'natural' and intuitive appellations. It makes the game a lot more approachable for anyone who's not among the hardcorest RPG player base, and who doesn't need to struggle with awkward pronunciations and is unlikely to know what a Babau is (to use one of the more user-friendly demonic names).
Well, I think a lot of them at least know the Babau Oh Yeah song.

Keith has not gotten enough credit for this joke.

Lone Shark Games

It's probably worth noting that while Mike believes that he's the one who first came up with the name Brigandoom!, he's only one of at least 4 Sharks with that belief. :-)

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder Adventure Card Game / General Discussion / Paizo Blog: How We (Sometimes) Name Cards All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in General Discussion

©2002-2017 Paizo Inc.® | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours, Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time.

Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder, the Starfinder logo, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Legends, Pathfinder Online, Starfinder Adventure Path, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.