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Open Call Relaunch


Scenario Submission Talk

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Paizo Employee ** Developer

After a hiatus of a few weeks, the Pathfinder Society Open Call is back, with a whole new set of guidelines of what we're looking for. Hopefully this new format will work out better for us and for the community of hopeful authors than previous open call formats have. Feel free to ask any questions you might have in this thread, or in a blog post coming on the topic sometime next week.

Best of luck, all!

Osirion *** Venture-Captain aka Daerthon

Thanks Mark!

Osirion *** Venture-Captain aka Daerthon

Hi Mark,

If you have a few moments, could you please answer the following?

Regarding the Quests:
1. Can any of the Map Packs and Flip-Mats be used, or are you only interested in maps from more recent sets?
2. Can we use or create creatures that are reasonable facsimiles of miniatures or pawns, or do we need to stick very closely to the creatures those figures represent?

Also, I've been looking for how Paizo determines word count for submissions. Do I just use the tools included in my word processor, or is there an online tool somewhere that you use for an 'official' word count?

Thanks for your help!

Brent Holtsberry

Grand Lodge ****

Oh dude, the Quests outline is just awesome. Excited!
*puts on Circlet of Intelligence*

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Brent Holtsberry wrote:
1. Can any of the Map Packs and Flip-Mats be used, or are you only interested in maps from more recent sets?

Map products that are still in print are preferred. If we wanted to use a Quest as a game store or convention demo, for example, we would want to show off our map lines in the process, and hopefully get stores to stock them and sell them to players who were impressed with the adventure or the production quality of the maps. We can't do that if we don't even have any copies of the maps here in our own webstore. I don't want to say it's a deal-breaker to use an out-of-print map, because I specifically didn't put that restriction in the guidelines to prevent someone with an awesome idea that really needed to use a map from five years ago feeling like it wasn't even worth it to submit. But the rest of the submission would really need to justify why that older map was used to get accepted.

Brent Holtsberry wrote:
2. Can we use or create creatures that are reasonable facsimiles of miniatures or pawns, or do we need to stick very closely to the creatures those figures represent?

Use your best judgment. If you want to include a jackalwere and use a gnoll instead, that'd probably be ok. You don't need to worry about matching specific weapons for a town guard with a halberd to one with a heavy crossbow in your adventure, but saying a goblin is a kobold wouldn't work.

Brent Holtsberry wrote:
Also, I've been looking for how Paizo determines word count for submissions. Do I just use the tools included in my word processor, or is there an online tool somewhere that you use for an 'official' word count?

Use the word count tool in your word processor. Unless it's wildly different than the one in Microsoft Word that we use, it should give you roughly the same number it gives us.

Osirion *** Venture-Captain aka Daerthon

Perfect. Thanks for the input Mark!

***

Quick question...

Quote:

All enemies (monsters and NPCs) must be represented

by either a Pathfinder Battles miniature (http://paizo.com/
pathfinder/battles) or a Pathfinder Pawn (http://paizo.com/
pathfinder/pawns).

Does this mean a writer must provide the specific mini or pawn description that should be used? If so, is it part of the stat-block?

*

Whiskey Jack wrote:

Quick question...

Quote:

All enemies (monsters and NPCs) must be represented

by either a Pathfinder Battles miniature (http://paizo.com/
pathfinder/battles) or a Pathfinder Pawn (http://paizo.com/
pathfinder/pawns).

Does this mean a writer must provide the specific mini or pawn description that should be used? If so, is it part of the stat-block?

Also those links do not lead anywhere.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Oh dear -- time to break out the old typewriter again...

Andoran

I'm glad to witness the return of the open call! I'll be seeing what I can come up with, but before that, two more questions.

1- I'm intrigued by the bit about Paizo not being interested in comedy submissions. I can understand why it's there (Golarion isn't a parody setting, and asking GMs to be comedians is always a tricky proposal), but I'm curious as to what would be considered a "comedy submission" and what might not be. I imagine the line must be included because some entries were rejected on these grounds?

I ask largely because one of my current ideas can be described as a tongue-in-cheek premise played straight. If it's too much of a gray zone I'll likely err on the side of caution and go for a more serious scenario, though.

2- Do writers need to worry about the rewards? Looking at Ambush in Absalom's Chronicle Sheet, I notice that the reward structure consists of picking one of two boons and gaining PP, but no Gold or XP. Should this be the case in every scenario, or would it be possible for the reward to only be, say, a handful of gold or access to a rare wand?

Thanks in advance.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Fredison wrote:
I'm curious as to what would be considered a "comedy submission" and what might not be. ... I ask largely because one of my current ideas can be described as a tongue-in-cheek premise played straight. If it's too much of a gray zone I'll likely err on the side of caution and go for a more serious scenario, though.

Without seeing the submission, I can't really say what side of the line it falls on. We know a joke encounter when we see one, though. If you have a toilet mimic, a grippli with a pig animal companion, a silly animated object, or names that are puns, you're likely over the line. Even our more comedic published adventures (generally the ones with goblins in them) are serious stories with real danger. If the level of comedy a submission contains is more than you've seen in an existing published adventure from us, it's likely going too far.

Fredison wrote:
Do writers need to worry about the rewards? Looking at Ambush in Absalom's Chronicle Sheet, I notice that the reward structure consists of picking one of two boons and gaining PP, but no Gold or XP. Should this be the case in every scenario, or would it be possible for the reward to only be, say, a handful of gold or access to a rare wand?

Chronicle sheets will always be generated by Paizo. As long as all the NPCs in an adventure have gear appropriate to their level and all encounters offer treasure values appropriate for their CRs, then you're good. In general, however, PCs will not receive wealth on Chronicle sheets from Quests, though they may gain access to special equipment from within the adventure.

Paizo Employee Paizo Glitterati Robot

Lochmonster wrote:
Whiskey Jack wrote:

Quick question...

Quote:

All enemies (monsters and NPCs) must be represented

by either a Pathfinder Battles miniature (http://paizo.com/
pathfinder/battles) or a Pathfinder Pawn (http://paizo.com/
pathfinder/pawns).

Does this mean a writer must provide the specific mini or pawn description that should be used? If so, is it part of the stat-block?

Also those links do not lead anywhere.

Battles and Pawns should work correctly now.

** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

I assume that any submissions still in the pipeline from the old guidelines are still valid, right?

Paizo Employee ** Developer

If you submitted something under the old guidelines and don't receive a response by the end of the day, please email opencall@paizo.com to ensure that your submission wasn't lost.

***

So, having taken a look at how the pawns are numbered in each set, if you have an NPC who is mentioned in your scenario, would it be required to show it something like this?

Ms. Bard Person (Figure: Rise of the Runelords #10 Ameiko Kaijitsu)
[stat block follows]

Paizo Employee ** Developer

It can't hurt. For humanoids, it's less of an issue than if you put in a huge blue dragon that we know we can't represent with any of our minis/pawns sets.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Mark Moreland wrote:
It can't hurt. For humanoids, it's less of an issue than if you put in a huge blue dragon that we know we can't represent with any of our minis/pawns sets.

But Mark... Huge: 239 Dragon, Adult Blue

don't hit me! :P

A query: trying to shave my submission below 2k - does the listing of what miniature/map for each NPC/zone count against that?

Thanks!

Paizo Employee ** Developer

If you're so close to your word limit that you can't spare 10 or 20 words to explain vital information your developer will need to produce the story you're trying to tell, then you likely haven't trimmed enough fat off the rest of the adventure.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Mark Moreland wrote:
If you're so close to your word limit that you can't spare 10 or 20 words to explain vital information your developer will need to produce the story you're trying to tell, then you likely haven't trimmed enough fat off the rest of the adventure.

Did you ever teach English at WWU or WSU Mark? You sound like a lot of my old professors :P

PS: Thanks ;)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Possibly a silly question, but is there anywhere with a complete list of the miniatures and pawns available. The links take us to the product pages, but I'm not sure about where to find a list of what's available in each set?

Paizo Employee ** Developer

The lists of all pawns in each pawn set are on the sets' respective product pages. For lists of all Pathfinder Battles minis, you'll want to click on the Singles link for the set you want to look at, and it should list all minis contained within that set.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Thanks Mark. I'll start on my submission next week. I'm moving this weekend, but once I'm settled in I'm going to create a quest of awesome!

Shadow Lodge ***

Is there a style guide for pathfinder lying around somewhere? IE spell names are italicized, the proper adjective for someone from cheliax etc.

Pathfinder Society Quests do not include new or custom
cartography, and must utilize a single map taken from the
GameMastery Map Pack or GameMastery Flip Mat lines.
All submissions must indicate what map is used within the
adventure.

Two things,

So if the adventure is taking place in a large Osirion temple, you find the closest map the map pack has to an Osirion temple and put the entire place on one map, reskinning it with descriptions.

If you wanted to have a fight on board a ship en route to the temple, you couldn't because that would be two maps ?

Also, how does the new way faction missions are being done affect the submissions, if at all?

Sczarni *** Venture-Lieutenant, Connecticut—Manchester aka Cpt_kirstov

Mark Moreland wrote:
The lists of all pawns in each pawn set are on the sets' respective product pages. For lists of all Pathfinder Battles minis, you'll want to click on the Singles link for the set you want to look at, and it should list all minis contained within that set.

You can also check pathindermini page by Kor

Paizo Employee ** Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Is there a style guide for pathfinder lying around somewhere? IE spell names are italicized, the proper adjective for someone from cheliax etc.

There is but it's an internal document. In general, if you look at our published material, you can see what our style is (and part of what the open call is looking at is a potential author's ability to emulate the quality and style of stuff that's already passed muster).

Small things we'd likely overlook in a submission that would be easy fixes on our end: using "Osirion" as the adjective for something from Osirion instead of "Osirian"; mixing up "Chelish" and "Chelaxian"; not realizing that we have secret plans for a venture-captain or other established NPC that would necessitate us changing a character in your submission; setting an adventure somewhere in the world when there is a better fit somewhere else that we could easily relocate the adventure to.

Larger issues that display a lack of attention to detail and familiarity with our products and style: capitalizing spell names; not capitalizing feat names; not italicizing magic items or spells; not adhering to our established format of presenting encounters in separate sections describing creatures, traps, development, treasure, and so forth; lack of understanding of how to calculate CR for a multi-creature encounter; misspellings of established proper nouns from our setting or the campaign; not spell-checking your document; not proofreading your document for grammatical errors.

In both cases, the more your submission looks like what we publish in both style and quality, the more likely we'll be to accept it.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
So if the adventure is taking place in a large Osirion temple, you find the closest map the map pack has to an Osirion temple and put the entire place on one map, reskinning it with descriptions.

Correct. Or you don't reskin it, but rather look at the maps we have available and say, "hey, they have this map of a ruined church. I could totally set an encounter there with a bunch of zombies and an evil cleric." Trying to retrofit existing maps onto a written encounter is really hard. You're generally better off designing to the map than trying the other way around.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
If you wanted to have a fight on board a ship en route to the temple, you couldn't because that would be two maps ?

You also likely couldn't because it would be hard to describe two completely different locations with all the requisite flavor text and narrative links between them in 2,000 words. If your Quest requires more than one location, it is likely beyond the scope of what Quests are supposed to be.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Also, how does the new way faction missions are being done affect the submissions, if at all?

It doesn't, as Quests don't include faction missions, nor do they award Prestige Points.

*

Thanks for all of the information, Mark. Can we also look at the 1-hour slots ran during the Grand Convocation as an example for a Quest, or were they something different?

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Sean H wrote:
Thanks for all of the information, Mark. Can we also look at the 1-hour slots ran during the Grand Convocation as an example for a Quest, or were they something different?

Those specific encounters weren't limited to 2,000 words like the Open Call Quests are, but they were intended to be Quests in all other ways. You could also use the Beginner Box Bash demos or even our Compleat Encounters as other examples of 1- or 2-encounter adventures using a single map and able to be run in around an hour. We put Ambush in Absalom up for free to provide everyone with at least one example of the format we're looking for, but we've published a lot of material that could be considered a Quest without much expansion of the definition of the line.

Sczarni *** Venture-Lieutenant, Connecticut—Manchester aka Cpt_kirstov

Mark Moreland wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Is there a style guide for pathfinder lying around somewhere? IE spell names are italicized, the proper adjective for someone from cheliax etc.

There is but it's an internal document. In general, if you look at our published material, you can see what our style is (and part of what the open call is looking at is a potential author's ability to emulate the quality and style of stuff that's already passed muster).

I think there was one posted for the RPG superstar contestants as well

Andoran

Mark Moreland wrote:
Without seeing the submission, I can't really say what side of the line it falls on. We know a joke encounter when we see one, though. If you have a toilet mimic, a grippli with a pig animal companion, a silly animated object, or names that are puns, you're likely over the line. Even our more comedic published adventures (generally the ones with goblins in them) are serious stories with real danger. If the level of comedy a submission contains is more than you've seen in an existing published adventure from us, it's likely going too far.

That seems like a good enough indicator, but I'll be erring on the side of caution. I've begun work on a more serious Quest that's shaping up, I think, a lot more exciting to begin with.

If you're curious, my original idea started with the phrase "I've heard of fetching cats from trees, but this is ridiculous!" which would never actually be uttered in-game but should clue you in as to the premise. I imagine it would have been... borderline.

Cheliax *

Thanks for reopening the opportunity to submit to the Open Call. I have two questions.

Mark Moreland wrote:


Larger issues that display a lack of attention to detail and familiarity with our products and style: capitalizing spell names; not capitalizing feat names; not italicizing magic items or spells; not adhering to our established format of presenting encounters in separate sections describing creatures, traps, development, treasure, and so forth; lack of understanding of how to calculate CR for a multi-creature encounter; misspellings of established proper nouns from our setting or the campaign; not spell-checking your document; not proofreading your document for grammatical errors.

With the degree of difficulty in gaging Pathfinder Society scenario combat, what constitutes a "lack of understanding of how to calculate CR for a multi-creature encounter"? Example: In the 1-2 subtier you could end up running a table of four 1st level non-optimized characters. You could also end up running a table of six 2nd and 3rd level characters that are completely broken.

I guess what I'm asking is if you want us to correctly calculate their combined CR or create a level appropriate encounter which has the above mentioned problems.

As far as the Idea Submission Agreement goes, is a digital signature acceptable or must you send a scanned image of a signed copy?

Thanks for your time,
Dawson

*****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It refers to being able to calculate the CR for the encounter, not the actual challenge it will provide for a given party. Of course that's important too, but not what you're specifically quoting.

Examples:
3 CR 2 creatures = a CR 5 (normally).
2 Level 3 NPCs with PC Classes would be a CR 4 encounter.
And so on.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Kyle is correct. What I meant was, if you put four CR 1 creatures in an encounter and then say that's a CR 3 encounter, that indicates you don't know how to calculate CR.

As for the digital signature, I'll need to check and see if that's ok, but my guess is that it is.

Shadow Lodge ****

As a note I found it much easier to keep the word count sane by just referencing creatures from the bestiary. It allowed me to get two encounters at the same location. If I had custom built monsters there's no way I could have gotten as much flavor as I wanted and been anywhere near 2000words.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
Kyle is correct.

Saving this for later. :-)

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Kyle Baird wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
Kyle is correct.
Saving this for later. :-)

At the MtG forum I used to frequent, I collected these. Got up over 50, not counting repeats from the same people. :D

Cheliax *

Sweet, thanks for clearing that up guys.

*

Another question:

When noting which Flip-Mat or Map Pack to use, should we include a picture of it with NPC positions, or would that be taken care of if and when Paizo formats everything for release?

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sean H wrote:

Another question:

When noting which Flip-Mat or Map Pack to use, should we include a picture of it with NPC positions, or would that be taken care of if and when Paizo formats everything for release?

Depends. Do you describe their location to the GMs? Is their location critical? The more details you can provide, the better.

*

The location isn't critical, but providing a picture seems like a simple and easy-to-understand way of providing more information to the GMs. On the other hand, if a picture is worth a thousand words I really don't want the map to take up half my word limit.

Andoran *****

Sean H,

Be careful about thinking too much into this.

Read the linked quest, and read over several scenarios, to get an idea on how encounters are put together.

Your 2,000 words should be a complete rendering of what you'd like to see actually published. It should be publishable level writing.

Don't expect a developer to create text that you let out because you took a picture of a map, just so you could save 500 words to do something else with.

I'm not saying that's what you are doing. I'm just cautioning you not to read too much into it.

Mark (and possibly Kyle) can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that if your Quest is good enough, and the developer needs more information as to where to put NPCs on the map, they'll ask you.

Otherwise, don't play with semantics on things. Give them exactly what they are asking for.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

@Sean H.

If the question is whether the layout and art folks are going to clean stuff up—yes, yes they are.

As Kyle mentioned, the more relevant details you give them, the easier and cleaner it will be for them.

Easily understood material equals saved time.
Saved time equals saved money.
Both make for happy developers, and more work for you.

Andrew Christian wrote:
Mark (and possibly Kyle) can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that if your Quest is good enough, and the developer needs more information as to where to put NPCs on the map, they'll ask you.

Well, yeah. But also use some common sense and step outside your work and take a look at it. If your gut is screaming that "Mark needs to know this" then (without sarcasm) Mark probably needs to know it, and if you force him to come back and ask you, then you're not giving him all that he needs to know the first time. And you're eating up his time. This is a variation of Occam's Razor, in that the most obvious answer is probably correct.

You're right, there is such a thing as volunteering too much unnecessary detail, but you can err on the other side just as easily.

Sean H wrote:
When noting which Flip-Mat or Map Pack to use, should we include a picture of it with NPC positions, or would that be taken care of if and when Paizo formats everything for release?

Here, let me put this way. I have done this exact thing. I never got a nastygram back, and they used my suggestion. Unless Mark pipes up and says, "And yeah, it drove me nuts, Jim. Quit doing that!", I'm going to take it on faith it was a good practice.

Andoran

Probably doesn't need to be asked, but I imagine it would be bad form to have a scenario require cracking open four Bestiary Boxes for pawns to be played properly, wouldn't it?

I had an encounter involving four Shadows as henchmen, and only just noticed that there was only one per box. Whoops. Luckily it's not too late for me to redo the encounter, at least.

*

Jim Groves wrote:


Sean H wrote:
When noting which Flip-Mat or Map Pack to use, should we include a picture of it with NPC positions, or would that be taken care of if and when Paizo formats everything for release?
Here, let me put this way. I have done this exact thing. I never got a nastygram back, and they used my suggestion. Unless Mark pipes up and says, "And yeah, it drove me nuts, Jim. Quit doing that!", I'm going to take it on faith it was a good practice.

Okay, thanks!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

SEAN!

Hold up...

At the risk of appearing like an ass, it just dawned on me that the context here is pitching an adventure, and not actually writing one.

I'd say you're safe to send in the Flip-Mat, but mitigate what I said a little. The risk of TMI is somewhat greater if you're trying to sell the adventure in the first place.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Fredison wrote:
four Shadows as henchmen

o.O

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Mark Moreland wrote:
As for the digital signature, I'll need to check and see if that's ok, but my guess is that it is.

Any update on whether this is acceptable?

Cheliax *

As far as the one model per bestiary box issue,it sounds a bit silly to limit your encounters to what you can purchase in one box of "minis". We've all played an encounter or two with something misrepresented because someone simply didn't have the mini. I assume most of us (unless uber wealthy) will again in the future. I hope it's just a guideline to use creatures that "can" be represented by minis.

*

Jim Groves wrote:

SEAN!

Hold up...

At the risk of appearing like an ass, it just dawned on me that the context here is pitching an adventure, and not actually writing one.

I'd say you're safe to send in the Flip-Mat, but mitigate what I said a little. The risk of TMI is somewhat greater if you're trying to sell the adventure in the first place.

As I understood it, with the Open Call relaunch we are now submitting 'complete'(sans formatting and such) Quests, as opposed to simply a 500-word pitch like the old open call. At least, that's what I took from this:

Paizo Open Call wrote:

Your submission should be a 2,000-word Pathfinder

Society Quest, complete with an adventure background,
information on getting started, a tiered encounter (or two,
if you’ve got space), and a conclusion.

Though after reflecting on it some, I think Andrew may be right in that I'm over-thinking the semantics of formatting and such.

Andoran

Kyle Baird wrote:
Fredison wrote:
four Shadows as henchmen
o.O

Yeah, figured as much!

I guess might be just a bit too much of a newbie Pathfinder GM to try for this, cool ideas or not. :/

Andoran

Though I guess I might as well ask what precisely prompted that reaction, since I can make a few guesses (Too weak? Too strong? Too annoying? Too dull? Shadows just don't work that way?) but the uncertainity is kind of killing me over here.

That said, if I have further questions not directly related to the open call I'll likely make a thread for 'em.

Zoplo wrote:
As far as the one model per bestiary box issue,it sounds a bit silly to limit your encounters to what you can purchase in one box of "minis". We've all played an encounter or two with something misrepresented because someone simply didn't have the mini. I assume most of us (unless uber wealthy) will again in the future. I hope it's just a guideline to use creatures that "can" be represented by minis.

If need be I personally have no qualms playing with Lego minifigs, extra dice or sugar cubes with angry faces drawn on, but I imagine doing that would be missing one of the points of the Quests, which is to show off Paizo's new products. If the out-of-print flipmat question above is any indication, I imagine it's not necessarily a dealbreaker, but the Quest had better be really cool to make up for it.

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