Pathfinder Society Open Call Submissions

Thursday, October 30, 2008

After reviewing nearly half of the submissions for the Pathfinder Society Open Call, I want to address a few recurring issues and errors. Please note that not all of these issues and errors result in automatic rejection and don't assume your submission was rejected if you feel any of the items below apply to it. I have not yet selected the finalists.

Understanding the Pathfinder Society

This is the most important gaff I've seen—authors who don't really understand Golarion's Pathfinder Society. Either the submitter hasn't read the entry in Pathfinder #1 and the entry in the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting or he or she is choosing to ignore it. Submitting a proposal for Pathfinder Society Scenario #17—Perils of the Pirate Pact and completely ignoring the motivations of the Pathfinder Society in your submission makes it feel more like a generic adventure and less like a scenario that should necessarily focus on Golarion's famed organization of vagabond explorers and thrill-seeking treasure hunters.

Avoid Passive Voice

Don't do it. Don't use it. Remove it from your writing style altogether. Passive voice is boring, distracting, and authors who use it often miss opportunities to approach a description from an evocative direction. For an excellent guide to passive voice, read this webpage from Purdue's English Department. Removing passive voice will strengthen your submissions and strengthen your final turnover.

Spelling Errors and Grammatical Errors

Use your spell check, have a friend read your submission, read your submission out loud—each of these is a great way to find errors. While one or two errors won't necessarily eliminate your submission, repeated errors will as they show a lack of attention to detail.

Use the Clues

In the summary for #17, for example, there were three clues: ettercaps, a book stolen from a Pathfinder Society venture-captain, and dead pirates dangling in spiderwebs over the River Sellen. Not using the clues from the summary in your submission makes your submission much less likely to be accepted.

Elaborate X

Many submissions spend more time on elaborate names, elaborate concepts, or elaborate scenes than on a good solid plot. While cool names, concepts, or scenes are cool, I'd rather see much more time spent making the plot flow well and making it make sense than submitters throwing spider pirates and complicated NPC names at me. You have one page to wow me—wow me with a good plot.

All in all, this has been a positive experience and I feel confident that I'll be able to reply with feedback to each submission. Check back on the Pathfinder Society messageboards and the Pathfinder Society website on Monday for the names of those selected for the Pathfinder Society open call. And importantly, don't let a rejection keep you from submitting for the next round!

Joshua J. Frost
Events Manager

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Tags: Open Call Pathfinder Society
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