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Scenario Submission Advice


Scenario Submission Talk

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**

I've spent the last couple of days reviewing and selecting the next round of scenarios and I have some general words of advice for everyone. Your submission is less likely to be accepted if you do the following:

*Create large terrain features (such as new rivers) that don't exist on the Golarion map. Small features like small towns, small canyons, etc that wouldn't be detailed on the larger Golarion map are fine to invent. Telling me there's a brand new river in Cheliax, though? Not so much.

*Name towns/NPCs/anything after any pop culture reference at all-—no Batman references, no X-Men references, don't name your town after a Final Fantasy spell, don't name your villain after a rap artist. You're not being clever. You're being annoying. And for Desna's sake, Google exists. Google your proper names.

*Send me a "save-the-world" submission that only portrays the PCs as heroes, saviors, or rescuers without any tangential ties to the Pathfinder Society-—when I read these, I know immediately the submitter knows nothing about Pathfinder Society.

*Invent new rules sub-systems. Sometimes they work (#11: The Third Riddle, for example) most of the time they're clunky. Scenarios are played in four hours-—new sub-systems cause confusion at a table that has no time to be confused. If you just can't imagine any other way for the scenario to work and your sub-system actually benefits game play, then leave it in. But if you have any doubt, take it out.

*Start your submission with 300 words of fiction. I don't care. It doesn't help your submission—-it just frustrates me. The instructions don't ask for fiction. Including it just leads me to believe you can't follow instructions.

*Include random encounters in your submission. In a four hour scenario, every encounter better be tied to the story and better be pushing the PCs to a climax and conclusion. Let's say I'm headed to the store to get some milk—-you'd expect bandits to try to take my money, or a milk thief to waylay me for my purchased product on the way home, or a robber to hit the store while I'm standing in line. These events can be linked to the story of me getting milk. What you don't expect is to be struck by a flying elephant, or run over by the Space Shuttle, or hit and killed by Jupiter. Random encounters are silly for scenarios. They have a place in the game, to be sure, but four hours just isn't enough time for encounters that don't move the story forward.

Keep these in mind, avoid when you can, and your chances of seeing your name on a published scenario will increase.

Andoran

thanks Joshua, I know at least I will keep it on mind :)

Andoran * Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

Not that this is the only thing that tanked my submission, but I did a Google search on an NPC (Veliisha, dryad) and found someone with a similar name (Veleisha, hip-hop artist). Is this something I need to watch out for?

**

taig wrote:
Not that this is the only thing that tanked my submission, but I did a Google search on an NPC (Veliisha, dryad) and found someone with a similar name (Veleisha, hip-hop artist). Is this something I need to watch out for?

How do you know that your submission has tanked?

**

taig wrote:
Not that this is the only thing that tanked my submission, but I did a Google search on an NPC (Veliisha, dryad) and found someone with a similar name (Veleisha, hip-hop artist). Is this something I need to watch out for?

Errr, no. I'm not worried about oblique stuff that's similar-sounding--I'm worried more about direct rip-offs of pop culture names.

The rejections haven't gone out yet. :-)

Osirion RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Joshua J. Frost wrote:
taig wrote:
Not that this is the only thing that tanked my submission, but I did a Google search on an NPC (Veliisha, dryad) and found someone with a similar name (Veleisha, hip-hop artist). Is this something I need to watch out for?

Errr, no. I'm not worried about oblique stuff that's similar-sounding--I'm worried more about direct rip-offs of pop culture names.

The rejections haven't gone out yet. :-)

Ah man, so MC Hammer as the name of an archmage villain is a bad idea?

**

Joshua J. Frost wrote:


Errr, no. I'm not worried about oblique stuff that's similar-sounding--I'm worried more about direct rip-offs of pop culture names.

The rejections haven't gone out yet. :-)

Like Venture-Captain Jayzee Sneeze from the Mwangi expanse? Or the halfling bard/crime-lord Notorius SMALL? ;)

So.. rejections. When? I won't be able to sleep until I receive mine. ;)

**

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Navdi wrote:
So.. rejections. When? I won't be able to sleep until I receive mine. ;)

Sometime after you go to sleep.

Andoran * Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

Navdi wrote:
taig wrote:
Not that this is the only thing that tanked my submission, but I did a Google search on an NPC (Veliisha, dryad) and found someone with a similar name (Veleisha, hip-hop artist). Is this something I need to watch out for?
How do you know that your submission has tanked?

Just being pessimistic. :-)

Andoran

taig wrote:
Navdi wrote:
taig wrote:
Not that this is the only thing that tanked my submission, but I did a Google search on an NPC (Veliisha, dryad) and found someone with a similar name (Veleisha, hip-hop artist). Is this something I need to watch out for?
How do you know that your submission has tanked?
Just being pessimistic. :-)

"I am a pessimists... that way I always get good news"

-Strahd von Zarovich

* RPG Superstar 2012

Montalve wrote:
taig wrote:
Navdi wrote:
taig wrote:
Not that this is the only thing that tanked my submission, but I did a Google search on an NPC (Veliisha, dryad) and found someone with a similar name (Veleisha, hip-hop artist). Is this something I need to watch out for?
How do you know that your submission has tanked?
Just being pessimistic. :-)

"I am a pessimists... that way I always get good news"

-Strahd von Zarovich

Apparently, this time it was warranted. :-)

Congratulations to the authors who were selected.

Andoran

I concur... same here

Taldor ***

Joshua J. Frost wrote:
*Name towns/NPCs/anything after any pop culture reference at all-—no Batman references, no X-Men references, don't name your town after a Final Fantasy spell, don't name your villain after a rap artist. You're not being clever. You're being annoying. And for Desna's sake, Google exists. Google your proper names.

But of course we cannot ignore a good fantasy-name just because some ridiculously small band in Kathmandu, Nepal has the same, right?

Joshua J. Frost wrote:
*Include random encounters in your submission. In a four hour scenario, every encounter better be tied to the story and better be pushing the PCs to a climax and conclusion. Let's say I'm headed to the store to get some milk—-you'd expect bandits to try to take my money, or a milk thief to waylay me for my purchased product on the way...

Regarding 'The Third Riddle'...

Spoiler:
...which does have a seemingly random encounter. It is explained to the DM, but for the players it is very random, although fitting. Desert raiders, who would have thought!


Joshua J. Frost wrote:
....don't name your town after a Final Fantasy spell

Ugh, that was me. I was just Googling my proper nouns for #28, and thought I'd better check last month's too. Sorry about that.

Who knew? (Well obviously, Josh knew.) No excuses though: I won't miss the Google check again.

Taldor *

Yes, Google is our friend. Did a quick check on my names, and discovered one of them was actually a computer RPG I've never heard of. That would have been really annoying to miss.

**

Its usually a good idea to google every name you're using. My proposal, for instance, had a lot of Iranian names, which I googled to avoid naming an npc after some real world persons or some such.

Andoran * Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

*bump*

Read the first post. I hope this helps a lot of the first-time submitters.

Taldor *

taig wrote:

*bump*

Read the first post. I hope this helps a lot of the first-time submitters.

Not as well as I'd hoped when I read it originally.

Cheliax

Navdi wrote:
My proposal, for instance, had a lot of Iranian names, which I googled to avoid naming an npc after some real world persons or some such.

This made me giggle, I'm assuming you meant "some real world celebrate/famous person...". If they are bone-fide names, then they must be tagged to "some" real world person ;)


I haven't submitted anything yet. Therefore I am not sitting at home chewing my fingernails to the bone waiting for the axe to fall. As a long time DM of D&D (30 years spanning 1e-3.5e) I first approached PathFinder after reviewing 4th edition and not really liking what I found. PathFinder on the other claw is a very well thought out and well written piece of work reminiscent of the olden days of D&D. I am in process of getting the hardcover copies of the Bestiary and the Core Rulebook to go with the pdfs I have already downloaded. I am also purchasing as soon as I get home 6 of the scenarios from season 1. With all of this in hand I will proceed to digest the enormous amount of material, run a few games with my home group and possibly be ready to make my own submission in the near future. Then I can sit here and chew my claws to the bone while waiting for the Final Word. Meanwhile Kudos to those of you who passed through the fire and don't give up to those who went down in flames.


Regarding this 'don't':

*Start your submission with 300 words of fiction. I don't care. It doesn't help your submission—-it just frustrates me. The instructions don't ask for fiction. Including it just leads me to believe you can't follow instructions.

I seem to understand this, but 'Shipyard Rats' begins with a lengthy piece of fiction. Maybe this an issue of definitions. Do you consider background text not to be fiction?

Cheliax

jocundthejolly wrote:

Regarding this 'don't':

*Start your submission with 300 words of fiction. I don't care. It doesn't help your submission—-it just frustrates me. The instructions don't ask for fiction. Including it just leads me to believe you can't follow instructions.

I seem to understand this, but 'Shipyard Rats' begins with a lengthy piece of fiction. Maybe this an issue of definitions. Do you consider background text not to be fiction?

Good point.

Josh I purchased "Shipyard Rats" to use as a guideline because it was written by you. If we follow that model everything will meet your expectations I hope.

I have not submitted anything as of yet; just want to make sure there are no headache pain killers involved when I do. ;-)

**

jocundthejolly wrote:

Regarding this 'don't':

*Start your submission with 300 words of fiction. I don't care. It doesn't help your submission—-it just frustrates me. The instructions don't ask for fiction. Including it just leads me to believe you can't follow instructions.

I seem to understand this, but 'Shipyard Rats' begins with a lengthy piece of fiction. Maybe this an issue of definitions. Do you consider background text not to be fiction?

Shipyard Rats begins with plot exposition and background information. What it doesn't begin with is a short story about the main bad guy and his pet aardvark as they embark on an epic journey of friendship, love, and murder.

I hope you can see the difference. :-)

Qadira *****

Joshua J. Frost wrote:
jocundthejolly wrote:

Regarding this 'don't':

*Start your submission with 300 words of fiction. I don't care. It doesn't help your submission—-it just frustrates me. The instructions don't ask for fiction. Including it just leads me to believe you can't follow instructions.

I seem to understand this, but 'Shipyard Rats' begins with a lengthy piece of fiction. Maybe this an issue of definitions. Do you consider background text not to be fiction?

Shipyard Rats begins with plot exposition and background information. What it doesn't begin with is a short story about the main bad guy and his pet aardvark as they embark on an epic journey of friendship, love, and murder.

I hope you can see the difference. :-)

Yeah, aardvarks aren't even in the Bestiary! So if I change it to a pet badger I'm good to go?

**

Doug Doug wrote:
Yeah, aardvarks aren't even in the Bestiary! So if I change it to a pet badger I'm good to go?

You're good to go! Just read this message first:

Spoiler:
EXPLOSIVE RUNES.

Qadira *****

DANG IT! That's the second time I've fallen for that...

* RPG Superstar 2012

I hadn't considered a badger-centric module. Hmmm...

Andoran

taig wrote:
I hadn't considered a badger-centric module. Hmmm...

Don't forget the mushrooms.

Grand Lodge *

No mushrooms!

Dungeon already has "Old Man Katan"!!!

;)


I would like to (try to) write an scenario for the Pathfinder Society Open Call. Is anything known about when this open call closes? Is there still time to start writing?

Osirion ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ceylon Tom wrote:
I would like to (try to) write an scenario for the Pathfinder Society Open Call. Is anything known about when this open call closes? Is there still time to start writing?

The current Open Call is still active. More at the link, here.

http://paizo.com/pathfinderSociety/submissions


Is it customary to include stat blocks in a submitted adventure?

**

The submitted adventure should look like a final adventure, keeping in mind the first paragraph of that link above you.

If you can't do stat blocks correctly ... eesh, that's more than 50% of the development time right there.

Osirion ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ceylon Tom wrote:
Is it customary to include stat blocks in a submitted adventure?

If you are having trouble with stat blocks and making monsters, the best advice I can give is to grab an old module from 3.5 or earlier and convert it.

It forces you to look up numerous monsters, read through the stats/rules (especially undead templates and dragons, ESPECIALLY dragons) and crunch the numbers. Plus, you get the added benefit of playing an old classic. Some of them were pure evil!


I don't think that the stat blocks will pose a problem. I was just wondering if a scenario submission had to contain all the details of a full adventure, but Josh answered that.


What's the deal with maps in a scenario submission? Do we include self-drawn maps in our word-file or do we describe the buildings?

**

Self-drawn maps. Each scenario gets a maximum of a single page of maps and we strongly encourage scenario authors to use map packs/flip-mats to fill out the rest of the scenario. Every combat encounter *must* have a map.

Andoran ****

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Josh, you are leaving me with no choice but to submit an awesome scenario. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to write scenario's for Pathfinder!

Dave

**

Dave the Barbarian wrote:

Josh, you are leaving me with no choice but to submit an awesome scenario. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to write scenario's for Pathfinder!

Dave

I look forward to your submission. :-)

****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Joshua J. Frost wrote:
Dave the Barbarian wrote:

Josh, you are leaving me with no choice but to submit an awesome scenario. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to write scenario's for Pathfinder!

Dave

I second that, thanks for giving us the opportunity to get our thoughts out!

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Joshua J. Frost wrote:
And for Desna's sake, Google exists. Google your proper names.

I take it you all still have that bounty on your heads from the Finnish Olympic Team, for the slander against 'Lasseviren', the assassin?


Joshua J. Frost wrote:

I've spent the last couple of days reviewing and selecting the next round of scenarios and I have some general words of advice for everyone. Your submission is less likely to be accepted if you do the following:

*Name towns/NPCs/anything after any pop culture reference at all-—no Batman references, no X-Men references, don't name your town after a Final Fantasy spell, don't name your villain after a rap artist. You're not being clever. You're being annoying. And for Desna's sake, Google exists. Google your proper names.

I guess I'm safe with variants of Ancient Egyptian names, Ancient Egyptian names, and names from Ancient Greece, Britain, and Ancient Rome.

Although, to tell the truth, what famous person in their right mind call themselves Akhtoy or Amenirdis?

but I just have to avoid the proper name Moroni (very popular name where I live).


Oh yes, can I submit an illustration too?

I have a wonderful portfolio.

**

Elton wrote:

Oh yes, can I submit an illustration too?

I have a wonderful portfolio.

I don't think so. While excellent, your style isn't really the same as that of the Pathfinder line. Also NSFW.


yoda8myhead wrote:
Elton wrote:

Oh yes, can I submit an illustration too?

I have a wonderful portfolio.

I don't think so. While excellent, your style isn't really the same as that of the Pathfinder line.

Question: do you represent Paizo? And Apologetic (defensive) answer: if by style you mean composition, yes I can change that. If by style you mean medium -- no I won't change that. Computer Graphic 3D is a lot better to work with (and A LOT harder) than traditional 2D medium techniques.

You have to pretty much think like a photographer and have an understanding of light.

Quote:
Also NSFW.

I don't put any nudes in my professional portfolio that is intentionally designed to appeal to the baser instincts, thank you very much.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Elton wrote:
Quote:
Also NSFW.

I don't put any nudes in my professional portfolio that is intentionally designed to appeal to the baser instincts, thank you very much.

NSFW is NSFW. It doesn't matter how tasteful you are, nudity is not appropriate in a corporate office environment, thank you very much.

**

Elton wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
Elton wrote:

Oh yes, can I submit an illustration too?

I have a wonderful portfolio.

I don't think so. While excellent, your style isn't really the same as that of the Pathfinder line.

Question: do you represent Paizo? And Apologetic (defensive) answer: if by style you mean composition, yes I can change that. If by style you mean medium -- no I won't change that. Computer Graphic 3D is a lot better to work with (and A LOT harder) than traditional 2D medium techniques.

You have to pretty much think like a photographer and have an understanding of light.

I don't speak for Paizo, but I know that they have worked very hard to maintain visual consistency among their various product lines. I'm not making a judgment call about your work; I think it's actually really good. But Paizo doesn't really use 3d computer graphics in any of their books, so I don't know if it'd be worth your effort to try to get something published along with an adventure proposal. In fact, I think the addition of extra, unsolicited material might detract from what could otherwise be an awesome proposal or final turnover. I'd hate to see a great adventure get passed up for any reason.

Elton wrote:
"yoda8myhead wrote:
Also NSFW.

I don't put any nudes in my professional portfolio that is intentionally designed to appeal to the baser instincts, thank you very much.

Again, no judgment. I just thought people deserved a warning, since everyone has their own definition of what's acceptable and what isn't.

Best of luck to you. I hope we see a Pathfinder Society scenario from you in the near future!


yoda8myhead wrote:


Again, no judgment. I just thought people deserved a warning, since everyone has their own definition of what's acceptable and what isn't.

Best of luck to you. I hope we see a Pathfinder Society scenario from you in the near future!

I've already sent an idea in. And I'm pretty passionate about it since it draws on what I would like to do in my life. If he passes it up that doesn't mean it can't be acceptable somewhere else.

Just that I'm sick and tired of people telling me that I need this adventure or that adventure, or this class doesn't belong here, or that class doesn't belong there; that rule subsystem is entirely inappropriate (mostly it was my cousin). So I said, I'll just write one myself. He said: "Go for it!"

So here I am. :)

**

We do not currently take submissions for art that I know of. Also, we don't use computer-generated 3D graphics in our works.

As for Mark's comment about NSFW, he's correct. If you're going to link to nude content, you need to warn ahead of time in your post that the link is NSFW.

As for Mark speaking for the company, when it comes to Pathfinder Society and the Pathfinder Society messageboards, Mark and Doug Doug can both be thought to generally represent the Society, yes.


Joshua J. Frost wrote:


As for Mark speaking for the company, when it comes to Pathfinder Society and the Pathfinder Society messageboards, Mark and Doug Doug can both be thought to generally represent the Society, yes.

I didn't know that, thank you for telling me. I'll give Mark's say more respect when he says something related to the Pathfinder Society.

I appreciate you backing him up on this. I think it's awesome. :)

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