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Forbidden Words


Pathfinder Tales


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I know the OGL/SRD allows for various monsters, magic items, and spells to be used in gaming books but not in novels. For example Tiefling and Aasimar are off limits to use in novels. So is there a list of these off limits words that are provided to authors? For curiosities sake I would like to see that list.

Here's some words I'm not sure about:
Aboleth
Achaierai
Ankheg
Aranea
Athach
Avoral
Azer
Behir
Belker
Blink Dog
Bodak...

you get the idea.

So what words are novel friendly and which ones are not?

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

Very perspicacious, Brinebeast!

The list is actually quite large, and primarily contains monsters. For a variety of internal reasons, I can't publicly post the list, but the basic idea is that if a monster comes solely from the game's history rather than mythology, the name cannot be used. So we could reference the idea of a bug-like critter that eats metal--concepts can't be closed content--but we couldn't call it a rust monster. This is all because, though a novel is tied to the game and provides all sorts of *setting* material, it doesn't provide the OGL's definition of "game content" (meaning rules), and thus the OGL doesn't really apply.

The OGL: it's complicated.

Dark Archive Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
James Sutter wrote:

Very perspicacious, Brinebeast!

Your mockery does not go unnoticed, Sutter!

Contributor

I actually was not aware of this rule until after I'd written a couple of OGL monsters into my manuscript and submitted it for editing. You do get a list, but not until after the fact, when it's like "okay here are the ones you have to change." I imagine it would be prohibitively long to give us a complete list ahead of time.

Anyway, in the future I think I'll mostly stick to Golarion-specific creations rather than trying to use too many OGL things. It's easier to write that way, and it's better for showcasing the unique aspects of the game world anyhow.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

Dave Gross wrote:
James Sutter wrote:

Very perspicacious, Brinebeast!

Your mockery does not go unnoticed, Sutter!

People will have to read Queen of Thorns to get the joke. My mockery is marketing! :D


Liane Merciel wrote:

I actually was not aware of this rule until after I'd written a couple of OGL monsters into my manuscript and submitted it for editing. You do get a list, but not until after the fact, when it's like "okay here are the ones you have to change." I imagine it would be prohibitively long to give us a complete list ahead of time.

Anyway, in the future I think I'll mostly stick to Golarion-specific creations rather than trying to use too many OGL things. It's easier to write that way, and it's better for showcasing the unique aspects of the game world anyhow.

I really like that "in the future" part.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Thanks James, Dave, and Liane for the insight. I'm surprised that the list cannot be publicly posted, that doesn't make a lot of sense to me but I'm sure there are reasons.

I'm sure for things like spells and magic items a name change isn't as big of a deal as changing a monsters name, that might cause a lot of confusion. So will there be any effort to give monsters new names? Or perhaps even better for monsters like the Rust Monster give it a scientifc/scholarly name.
For Example:
Common Name (and off limits) - Rust Monster
Scholarly Name - Moxider (just combine oxide and monster)
Then after associating the two names together long enough they'd become interchangable. Then authors could just write about a Moxider eating the heroes sword. It would work eventually :)

So if you folks can't publicly post the list does Wizards have it posted somewhere?
It seems odd that that wouldn't be made readily avaliable.

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

Actually, when I said earlier that there was a list, I was speaking a bit metaphorically. In reality, lists are dangerous. Since game companies are always creating new monsters, any list you put together would be enormous and out of date immediately. Instead, I simply have authors tell me what monsters they want to use, and then I go check if those are okay or not. It's a much safer system.

As for how we deal with monsters--you can definitely replace things (for instance, in Winter Witch, we have house drakes instead of the pseudodragons discussed in Guide to Korvosa--which, in my opinion, is a much cooler name for tiny dragons). Other times, we just describe a thing. Because really, when something horrible with tentacles jumps out of a hole and starts eating your face, you don't have a lot of time to go consult your field guide and use the proper name...


I seem to recall Rosemary Jones doing just that (describing the monster's appearance and behaviour) to hilarious effect when a paladin encountered a rust monster in Crypt of the Moaning Diamond.

Not so subtle hint: Please see if you can poach Rosemary away from writing Forgotten Realms stories long enough to do something for Pathfinder Tales - she's written the two funniest fantasy novels not written by Terry Pratchett I've read so far in my 32 years of life.

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