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Recently I commented that JBE is stepping away from developing for Pathfinder on a regular basis. Sure, we will be doing a Pathfinder release when we believe that there's a significant contribution to be made, but we are not going to release a Pathfinder product every two weeks just to keep our place in the market. But the single biggest reason I personally am stepping back from the game is because Pathfinder is no longer fun for me. I do this after I get home from the day job so this is what I do for fun. And when it is as enjoyable as the day job, I have to reevaluate what I am doing.
So most of my time lately has been involved in some 13th Age but mostly Traveller. JBE started out with Traveller and it is great to get back to the company's roots. But I am having far more fun these days then I have been for a long time with Pathfinder for one simple reason: I am devoting much of my Traveller design work these days to Foreven Worlds as an unofficial part of the Third Imperium setting. It is just SOOOOOO NIIIIIIICE to be able to have a Zhodani bad guy or a Vargr thief or to just say the The Third Imperium.
More than anything else, Jon Brazer Enterprises is known for the Book of the River Nations. Why did we call it the River Nations? Because we couldn't call it the River Kingdoms. We had to get as close as possible so that most people would figure that it was *nudge, nudge, wink, wink* the same place. But then we had to explain to others over and over again that we "cannot legally call it the River Kingdoms so this is as close as we could get," "are not lazy designers, are aware that it is really called the River Kingdoms but we can't call it that legally," "designed it this way on purpose so that you would know it would work in your game," and on and on. It really was a tiring, never ending battle of explaining that every product that had "River Nations" on the cover was not a mistake, not us being lazy or underhanded, or outright malicious before a person will consider looking at the release. Mind you, that is after the tiring effort of making sure there is not a single other reference to any other Pathfinder setting location is in the product to begin with.
This is not just limited to Pathfinder, mind you. We are experiencing the same issue with 13th Age. The idea of icons is OGL but the icons themselves are not. So I can't say, the High Druid. Instead I have to say the Great Druid. And again, we got called "lazy designers" for "messing up the name of the icon." As such, our releases with 13th Age have been limited.
Now, compare that with the Foreven license for Traveller. I can define the area all I want and make all the adventures in that section of space as I desire, calling a Vargr a Vargr instead of an "Uplifted Canine Alien" without getting in legal trouble. And no one has yet to call me a single name for doing so. Infact the two reviews for our first release have been glowing. The less glowing review, his chief complaint boils down to him wanting more because he really enjoyed what was there so much. Plus, setting development is just more enjoyable then system development. All of this translates to me having MUCH MORE FUN designing for this then just about anything else I have worked on for Pathfinder.
Take the Forgotten Realms Map for a moment (click on the link for a image). You see several continents with nothing defined on them and others with not everything defined. Even Faerun isn't fully detailed. It was first published in 1987 and is arguably the most developed RPG campaign setting in the world. Can anyone give me a single competent reason why a continent that has nothing defined on it to date cannot be opened up to other publishers on an unofficial basis? Or even just one country in the undefined parts of Faerun? Or take the Pathfinder Campaign Setting. Paizo didn't start defining the setting in a major way until 7 years ago when Rise of the Runelords was released. Even if you ignore all the D&D 4E Forgotten Realms material, that setting has 21 years of development to Pathfinder's 7. So if the Pathfinder Campaign Setting is still going strong 14 years from now (2028), will it be as defined as the Forgotten Realms is today? If you take a look at the FR map, that still leaves lots of room for Paizo to grow the Pathfinder CS if they reserve one country or even one continent for other publishers.
Now the real question would be: why on earth would a publisher want to open up part of their campaign setting, even on an unofficial basis, to other publishers? Easy answer is this: money. Lets say Paizo allowed other publishers to make material for the area just south of Geb. No country is defined there so odds are Paizo hasn't even considered planning a single product there. So it costs Paizo nothing to release if another publisher created an adventure path set there (we'll call it South of Geb to make life easy). Now compare that with someone playing in the Cross of Fire Adventure Path from LPJ Design (which I am looking forward to reading, btw). What does Paizo sell to a GM running in the two APs? Cross of Fire: more PFRPG hardcovers and that's it; South of Geb: same PFRPG hardcovers, Inner Sea Gods, if Paizo released a Geb campaign setting book, that would probably would be bought as well, plus a number of other campaign setting books/players guides to help the GM get a full understanding of the surrounding region and the organizations involved, plus some stand alone adventures of Paizo's incase the players go off the rails (since they take place in Paizo's world, they are easier to move to a different country then to a different setting). How about players? Cross of Fire: a few copies of the player focused hard covers (so no Bestiaries) that the player didn't already own and that's it. South of Geb: those same player focused hard covers plus Inner Sea Gods (possibly the full campaign setting as well), a players guide for the race the player is playing, another player's guide that covers the class, and several more. So for both players and GMs, Paizo sells more products to them.
If all of this sounds familiar, it is because it is the basic ideas behind the OGL to begin with. This, however, takes it to its next level. The campaign setting material is not invalidated because the group did not change settings. There's a reason why Wizards stopped supporting all their 2e campaign settings once they were bought by Wizards and went to 3e. If it had a Forgotten Realms label on it, gamers didn't feel it was useful in their Greyhawk game. So those gamers didn't buy it. So Wizards consolidated the number of campaign settings they supported during their 3e days: Forgotten Realms and Eberron. Paizo took that same idea and made a single setting that could encompass just about every possible style of d20 play. But now the areas that are not being developed much (like Psionics) are getting support from other publishers who, because they can't touch Paizo's setting, are making their own setting, with a corresponding adventure path (also really enjoyable and highly recommended). So a desire maintain a tight control on the number of campaign settings has actually resulted in more campaign settings, a kind-of return to the 2e days.
Now I'm sure that Wizards is not going to do this and I wonder if Paizo will. But what about 13th Age? Can Pelgrane Press honestly say that they will have the world beyond the Dragon Empire detailed as much as Golarion is today in 7 years? Or how about other settings? If we all took a lesson from Traveller and opened up part of our campaign settings for unofficial development, maybe the setting would get more development and more players.
And designers like me would have more fun.
Be sure to check out all of Jon Brazer Enterprises' downloads for Pathfinder, Traveller, and 13th Age at the d20PFSRD store today. Be sure to visit the JBE blog at d20PFSRD.com for more musings and ramblings.
Share your thoughts below.
From the depths of the desert sands, beneath the unrelenting sun, Great Pharaoh, blessed of the Gods, has collected these Objects of magic and power. Chronicled by the Scribe at the behest of our God-King, every item has been meticulously recorded. Some items protect the user while others aid the user in adventurous endeavors; they may be portable or stationary. It is the sincerest wish of Pharaoh that all find within this scroll items that bring Glory to their Names.
Within this 16 page PDF, you will find:
Don’t leave the pyramid without these exciting magic items.
I was talking with someone over email today about the Section 15, specifically whether you should just list the books you use or everything that those Section 15's as well. And I realized that this is something that has been discussed many times on these boards and others should hear it as well.
The OGL says:
OGL Section 6 wrote:
Notice of License Copyright: You must update the COPYRIGHT NOTICE portion of this License to include the exact text of the COPYRIGHT NOTICE of any Open Game Content You are copying, modifying or distributing, and You must add the title, the copyright date, and the copyright holder’s name to the COPYRIGHT NOTICE of any original Open Game Content you Distribute.
This means that every book that you publish, you must list everything in the section 15s of the books you reference. Everything. No exceptions. Period.
But that argument gets quickly countered with, "Just look at Paizo. Are they doing it wrong?" Here's the Advanced Race Guide's Section 15:
ARG's Section 15 wrote:
So why did they not list the mammoth long listings for Bestiary's 1-3 in this book. Why wasn't the listings for the Pathfinder Core Rulebook listed? Well, technically speaking from a pure OGL standpoint, they didn't have to list those four books in the first place. I mean, they own B1-3 and their contents (atleast the parts they didn't take from OGL sources). So if they don't list them, who is going to sue Paizo? Themselves? Not so much.
Everything Paizo needed to reference in their OGL is either in the d20 SRD or in the Tome of Horrors. Paizo could have left B1-3 off of their OGL. But they didn't. Why did they do that? I don't know, you would have to ask them to be sure. However, if I were to hazard a guess, I'd say that they wanted to credit the authors from B1-3 that did not work on the ARG. Some of the authors for B1-3 may not have worked on the ARG. If those authors did not contribute to ARG worked on some of the races, they didn't need to be credited in the OGL. But I imagine that Paizo felt that they should be credited so they simply listed those books in their OGL. So now if you use an Oread or a Udine (just to pull two out of the air, no clue if they actually were the same authors in the two books or not), the original author for each is listed in your OGL.
However, this leads many to confusion. Many feel, "Oh so I only need to list in my OGL what I used, not what those books listed." That is not true. You still need to list everything you used and everything those books used in your section 15.
As an example, in Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Player's Companion (print on sale for $2), I used a dhampir and a fetchling as well as creating the umbral kobold and the wanderer. Because I used two races detailed in Paizo's books, I'd have to list either B2 or the ARG. But if I made a supplement that detailed the Umbral Kobold and made no mention of the dhampir or fetchling, I could leave them out if I so choose. But if I wanted to add in the Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Player's Companion to my section 15, I could do that. Now, technically speaking, I should add in everything in the Sf: SPPC's section 15 as well. That is good form and a safe legal practice. Doing anything else is shaky, legally speaking and I would not recommend doing it without talking to a lawyer.
It’s the holiday season, whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or Boxing Day or the Winter Solstice or Festivus or any others. Our present to you this season is a $2 sale on printer Shadowsfall books. As the days grow shorter, play on the Plane of Shadows, where high noon looks light twilight and a blood red moon shines on a good night. Grab the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane and Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Players Companion in print today for a holiday miracle of a price.
Order the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane and Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Players Companion, each for $2 today. Also be on the lookout for other One-Day Free Downloads throughout the month.
With all that in mind, how would you handle a pantheon with only 1 deity in it? Thoughts?
A truly dwarven group of magical items, gemhancements bring the lore and personality of the dwarves to your game. Book of Magic: Gemhancements delivers to you a new set of rules for magic items based on gems. These unique and versatile magic items are easy to integrate into your game.
Within this 8 page PDF, you will find:
Explore this uniquely dwarven type of magic items today.
Jon Brazer Enterprises would like to welcome our new line developer. From the Mile High State of Colorado, we are pleased to have Marie Small join us. With an amazing list of writing credits that include the Book of Heroic Races: Seedlings, Pathfinder Player’s Companion: Dragon Slayer’s Handbook, and Conflict PvP: Tactics & Teams.
Marie describes herself as an evil overlady with her own small army of minions consisting of a husband, two cats and four kids. She enjoy games of all kinds, reading, music, and creating art of all kinds. “I’m extraordinarily grateful to my husband for holding me to my promise to compete in RPG Superstar 2011. I’m also grateful to everyone who voted (regardless of whom they voted for), the judges, and the fine folks who have granted me the opportunities I’ve had ever since.”
We are really thrilled to have Marie apart of our team. Please join me in welcoming Marie to Jon Brazer Enterprises.
A Touch of the Celtic
Different cultures have a different flare of the divine. Some venerate the equinox as a time of rebirth while others find virtue in being a gifted athlete. Still others believe that taking part in a good harvest is the height of a deity’s generosity. It is this touch of the divine that Book of the Faithful: Celtic Subdomains brings to your game.
This 5-page PDF features:
Bring the luck o’ the Celts into your game.
Will you walk the line between life and death, or will you choose a side, against your own nature?
Even among the planetouched races, the reapers are outcast. The children of psychopomps and humans, reapers see the world from both the perspective of the living and the dead.
Book of Heroic Races: Reapers gives you everything you need to play a half-psychopomp character. This 30-page supplement, presented with a forbidden tome background and a printer friendly layout, features:
Be heroic with this new race today!
Today at JonBrazer.com, we are posting a few Favored Class Options for Non-Favored Races. What do I mean by non-favored races, I mean races that do not get the same amount of love as humans, elves, dwarves, or even gnomes. So today, we are sharing with you few of the options you can choose for your character. We even are sharing with you a few options for the Time Thief, Psion, Soul Knife, and Malefactor classes. Why, because we love them as well.
Read more at JonBrazer.com
Every spellcaster needs the best feats around and Book of Magic: 7 Spellcaster Feats brings you amazing feats for your spellcaster! Pure crunch with no filler material.
These feats are ideal for any spellcaster. Inside this 3-page PDF, you will find the feats Angelic Mastery, Improved Spell Critical, Inner Strength, Mindshaper, Planar Caller, Shadow Resistant, and Spell Critical.
Prepare to be Afraid!
The Book of Beasts: Legendary Foes, the latest in the award-winning Book of Beast series, details the deadliest and most frightening monsters ever to grace your gaming table. Bring new life and peril to your mythic adventures with these fierce monsters and high level NPCs. Challenge your players at a whole new level with demigods and traps for the highest levels of gameplay from this 68-page, full-color monster tome.
Today, Jon Brazer Enterprises is sharing some of the spells from a hard-headed cleric named Clarissa. These spells were really fun to write and I hope you enjoy them as well. Read all about them at JonBrazer.com
Don't forget, we have the We're Not Going To PaizoCon Sale going on all week. Don't miss out.
Shape your fire words any way you desire. Keep the cold damage coming round after round. Blast your enemies with sound waves. Book of Magic: Energy Words Revisited lets you attack your enemies with acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic damage—whether for an instant, or over a series of rounds. Show those Vancian casters the true mastery of elemental forces!
This is the first year in a while that Jon Brazer Enterprises will not be attending PaizoCon. We will miss you all and hope everyone there has a good time.
But if you are like me and cannot make it this year, we have a surprise for you. All this week, we are running the "We're Not Going To PaizoCon Sale" here at Paizo.com. Grab all of our PDFs that are over $1 for 25% off all week.
So if you are looking for more monsters, get all the Book of Beasts for 25% off.
And its not just our Pathfinder PDFs that are on sale. Even our Traveller PDFs are on sale.
We at Jon Brazer Enterprises always aim to Enhance Your World and Your Game. Download these for 25% off.
Personalize your spellbook with these two signature spells. An druid I played a long while ago named Rostov was inspired by the character from the book Night in the Lonesome October. He created a few spells that had his own individualized style. Two of those spells are presented at JonBrazer.com. We at Jon Brazer Enterprises hope they enhance your game.
The pursuit of mysteries is the source behind an oracle’s power. Now your oracle can contemplate new realms of mystery with these two options for your character. The Fitness mystery lets your oracle become a model of physical perfection, while contemplating the Joy mystery allows your character to become a wellspring of internal peace and happiness for those around you. Seek the answers to mysteries unknown today with Book of the Faithful: Oracle Mysteries!
Vancian necromancers will eclipse your power no more! Give your wordcaster the means to destroy or ward off undying terrors — or create such horrors for his own ends. Book of Magic: 10 Undead Spell Words give you new spell words that harm undead, protect against undead, and create powerful undead creatures. This short supplement is a must-have for any wordcaster who faces off against zombie hordes and powerful liches — or who seeks to make one to do his own bidding.
This short supplement provides 10 new spell words for you to use with the Words of Power spellcasting system. Get this supplement today in either printer-friendly view or a laptop/tablet-friendly format. Download today from d20PFSRD, DriveThru/RPGNow and Paizo.
Do you enjoy the Words of Power system? Have you been interested in it but have been disappointed that no one has been supporting it? Do you like the idea of an on-the-fly magic system but were not happy with all the design choices behind Words of Power. Well your prayers have been answered. Jon Brazer Enterprises will be releasing Book of Magic: 10 Undead Spell Words on May 21st. And we have more coming in the future ... if this one does well.
That's the catch. No one really knows right now how many people are interested in expansions to the Words of Power system or even if there is any interest at all in the system. This is where you come in. We need you to download Book of Magic: 10 Undead Spell Words from either d20PFSRD, Paizo.com or DriveThruRPG/RPGNow once it is released if you want to see more of it.
So tell your friends at your Pathfinder game, on social media, at your local game store, everywhere about it. Show us your interest. And please tell us what other spell words you would like to see.
In a fantasy game where you can play a dwarf, why is the cavalier limited to riding a horse? Ride a beast into battle, delve the depths under the mountain and take to the skies on a mount that earns its place in fantasy. Whether you go bareback on an elk or have a specialized saddle made for your riding spider, none will forget your mount. Tell an epic tale of your knightly deeds and the mount that braved the dangers the whole way.
From the ultimate high ground for a squad of archers to a land barge that can quickly move a catapult across a battlefield, vehicles of all shapes and sizes are essential components of warfare. Now you can bring the awesome power of siege engines and transports to your game with these 20 new vehicles in Book of Multifarious Munitions: Vehicles of War. Whether you want a lone rider on a demon horse, a small adventuring party armed with a mobile barricade, or a large crew manning a sky dreadnaught, these vehicles will make your battles and your game epic.