Rust Monster

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I'm in.

I'm an older guy, so as long as you can handle that, I'd like to play in your campaign. I particularly like that we're starting at 1st level, that's my favorite way to play, start at 1 and build from there!

I have two quick questions on this module:

1. How precisely does on get from the top level of the Fishery to the lower level? It's not really clear to me. The door attached to the boat at the back is said to be unknown by the patrons.

But the text also claims the alchemist/book keeper will flee to that level if his morale fails, but how precisely does he get to it?

2. Am I right that none of the NPCs would lead a party to the lower level, no matter how skillful the diplomacy? Gaedren's location seems isolated and inaccessible for a reason. I ask because my party seems pretty keen to get to Gaedren without a fight, but I don't easily see a way they can do that.

Thanks in advance, I know I am posting on an ancient product, but if there is anyone who might know the answer to these two questions I'd be obliged.

Scott Betts wrote:
It seems odd to have worded it in a way that makes it appear to have been 4e's fault. If anything, WotC appears to have gone out of its way to try and help out local game stores that were seeing less RPG revenue as a result of Amazon's pricing scheme - something WotC had little (if any) control over.

Well, chalk that up to poor writing skills. The point is, the relationship between retailers and WOTC over 4e was rough, and Encounters is the first real bone retailers have been given from WOTC for 4e in a while.

I do think WOTC is very stupid in building relationships. I do think a lot of retailers are not happy with 4e and I do think Encounters was a great idea to repair that relationship.

What baffles me about Encounters is how there is no option to purchase product as part of the tournament. DCI excelled at coming up with that in a variety of games.

But then again, a lot of WOTC's moves with D&D have baffled me.

They had an opportunity to place a D&D sku in Wal-Mart and they whiffed on the opportunity, almost resentful of the opportunity. Hasbro hands them chances to build better brand equity and they seem to not only squander it, they resent it. I wager Paizo would kill for guaranteed placement in Wal-Mart of a new sku.

Yes, I am very critical of WOTC. I think Slaviscek's team needs a right kick in the arse. They had a lot of time and money and had a 14 million dollar business to build upon. They've gutted the brand, cut the revenue in half (maybe more) and then turned around and blamed everyone else (including Paizo) for the malaise.

But I am stunned many of you don't think tabletop games are on shaky ground right now. I think the industry is confronting some dangerous signs. I think, if Paizo or WOTC could speak frankly on this topic (which they can't), they'd tell you they were concerned. Their demographic is getting older, they still only appeal to a predominantly male audience and overall the market appears to be shrinking.

This, at a time when interest in role play and fantasy is at the highest I've ever seen it in my lifetime.

Clearly, I am in the minority on this thread that sees this as a serious concern, but it would seem to me that the potential for growth in tabletop gaming is much, much greater than the actual growth. In fact, I'd wager, and I'd wager heavily that D&D 4e had caused a serious dip in revenue for the RP group of WOTC. If I had to guess, I'd say D&D has gone from about a 14 million dollar brand to about a 7 million dollar brand.

And I think Paizo probably spends a fair amount of time trying to figure out how to expand their demographic appeal and how to cultivate more women as customers. I think that not only are both necessary to thrive, but also both can be done without losing your core "fanboi" customer base.

I checked out more of Panakos, some great ideas there.

I don't want to go so far as to strip Earth away to a new location. I like the idea, but I just don't want to go there.

But I do see concepts and ideas in here I'd like to borrow and bend to suit my needs. I'll summarize what I took and how I used them in the weeks ahead, so you can review them and make sure you are okay with what I borrowed and how I used it. It's a courtesy thing, I want to make sure they way I was inspired by your work here, suits you.

My wife wants to play today and my home brew isn't close to ready, so I am coming up with a quick adventure scenario to play. I'll set it in my campaign world and post how it went in a separate thread.

It will be my first ever playing with Pathfinder rules.

Laughing Goblin wrote:
Alternatively, the grappler could bypass their normal attack progression, and instead perform a a grapple check. This grapple check would not only maintain the grappled condition of both the grapplee and grappler, but also allow them to move, damage, or pin, the grapplee.

Forgive me for resurrecting an old thread, but I have a question on this.

If I maintain my grapple with a grapple check and I chose to damage my opponent as my option of actions allowed after a grapple check is maintained, is the damage automatic? Or does it require an attack roll? Or does it require another CMB vs. CMD roll?

I just couldn't find the details on that in the book.

Is there published errata or elaboration on grappling?

It is still, (in my opinion), needlessly complicated and this is one area I wish Paizo had cleaned up 3.5 even more than it already did.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I am actually blind in one eye so I can maybe help here.

I used to have 20/20 vision, but when I was 13 (and just learning D&D at the time ironically), I got walloped by a tennis ball during a game. The eye was badly damaged, but healed itself to about 100% effectiveness. However that eye's ability to see has gradually diminished over time. Then around 5 years ago it so, it went completely blind. So I know what it is like to see out both and then, only see out of 1.

You don't lose distance in your vision and you don't lose ability to see small details in things either.

There are three things that effect you most:

Peripheral Vision. It is significantly reduced. So much so, that I bump into things I don't see on my right constantly and I must take a lane change to my right, very, very cautiously and must specifically turn my head to complete the lane change.

Depth perception. This isn't nearly as bad as the loss in peripheral vision. In fact you adapt and although your depth perception is diminished, you do maintain a fairly decent degree of this. I struggle to catch a baseball much more than before, especially if it is thrown fast and comes at me from the right side.

Seeing in the dark. You only have one operating iris, so the amount of light you let in when it is dark is severely limited. So in light that many people only consider "kinda dark", I have a very hard time seeing anything. Also if there is a light shining in from my left side, I can really struggle to see, because the right eye can't compensate or adjust.

It isn't as bad as you would think. I play soccer for example. And playing soccer is just fine (this is an activity similar to combat in some ways in that you must move and strike and must watch a large field to figure out where to position yourself). My only real drawback here is my vision of the field (especially to my right) is diminished. I usually play the wing, where my good eye can stay focused on the field of play. I tend to play much better in natural light than artificial light, because many soccer fields aren't lit that well and like I said, seeing in dimmer light is a strain for me.

I'd house the following rules, as a suggestion:

Perception -4. I think this is fine. I think I'd apply it most, if lighting was low (torch light) or if peripheral vision was required to see the object.

I'd add a penalty to being flanked. If someone is flanking you on both sides (and you can't turn your head to compensate for your lack of peripheral), you're going to have a very bad time defending yourself. I'd increase the penalty to being flanked this way.

You should still be able to fight just fine, and read just fine and even do things like pick locks or find traps. Detail work isn't hard, I can paint miniatures just as well with one eye as I did with two.

And if you ever meet me in a bar and want to take me down, feign with your left, then roundhouse me with your right, from as far an arc from my right eye as possible. I won't see it coming until you are mere inches from my face. :)

beej67 wrote:

I'm already working on something very similar, and have it hosted on the web already if you'd like to use it:



Lots to read here, one thing that really caught my eye on first glance and would work really well for me, are Andrew's Gilganeisan Islands. There were several elements to that area I really enjoyed and would like to use.

I wanted a series of islands that were inhospitable with extreme temperatures and nasty mythological beasts. I particularly love the idea of an ancient place being "protected" by abyssal basilisks and undead, it has a "Sinbad" feel to it, which is something I'd like to capture.

And having it all revolve around Babylonian-style culture and theme seems perfect.

I am sure there's much more here I can exploit, so thank you for sharing that out.

Amazing feedback, thank you all!

I was amazed by this, I posted a massive wall of text and you took the time to read it and offer salient advice.

The key theme I see coming back here is to try things, then watch how players react and adjust accordingly. In other words, make your home brew development an iterative process. Note what worked, what didn't and then adjust accordingly.

I also liked the advice of taking ideas that have been done to death and tweak them somehow to give them a little more distinctive flavor.

Solid stuff all around, I knew I could count on role players to provide intelligent, constructive and honest feedback, cheers!

Uchawi wrote:
Social media is mainstream and the benefits are instant access and communication, therefore an RPG should follow, and embrace the digital age. I am sure it is not that simple, but those are some intial thoughts.

This is spot on, if the article on the new CIV is to be believed, this is precisely the focus on CIV FB.

I wonder if there is a means by which people could play a simple version of PF on FB, which could then translate to greater rewards/chances or opportunities at a live store?

Could FB be used as an acquisition tool? A way to bridge people over into buying the books and entering events at a store?

Is there a way you could bring your D&D FB character to Encounters and somehow win something cool? Or at least be urged to buy product you would never normally buy?

Again, I am too thick to know if that is viable or intelligent, but I loved your comment and thought it was spot on.

Your point about PAX is well taken and you are providing great discussion, thank you!

Although, I am still not convinced a line at PAX is indicative of much at all. I firmly believe, 4e is a big disappointment at WOTC, I further wager there is rumbling inside WOTC to do something about it, but of course that's just speculation.

I don't know that I'd say the PA guys have a lot of indy cred

I disagree. I think much of their brand is built on "indy cred". In other words, I think much of what PA is built on, is the idea they are neutral, that they are advocates for things they genuinely like. Certainly, during their first years they touted this a lot.

But the thing is, they've become entangled in a lot of corporate interests, so the lines have started to blur. I think even Tycho had admitted this, but I think the "cred" PA has carries a lot of weight. It's something that publicly PA is uncomfortable with, but perhaps privately they exploit. I don't blame them if they do.

But with 4e, I think WOTC got lucky PA decided to hype 4e - a lot, or perhaps it wasn't luck, perhaps it was just a handshake. PA doesn't have to account for that, nobody questions it. If it is the latter, then it signals some backroom deal between PA and WOTC and frankly, I don't think WOTC is agile enough to pull it off. More likely, they got lucky Gabe tried out his free sample and liked it, and were smart enough to give him more free stuff afterward.

Certainly, if you read Gabe's fascination with 4e it was largely about being able to control the narrative. It was about content generation. And why not? It's half the fun of playing a paper RPG. If paper still has one aspect it can blow away digital, it is that content generation is still not that viable in most video games. It was ambitious, but ultimately a failure in NWN (a glorious failure though) and most MMOs still avoid it entirely. COH tried it, but failed to realize it would get exploited by power gamers and had to retreat. It still exists in COH, but it is a relatively marginal part of the game. Anyway, the point is, I didn't see anything that led me to believe it was 4e's system, it was simply Gabe had never really explored being a GM before and used the arrival of some free D&D stuff, to explore it. And to his discovery, paper provides an avenue to create your own narrative and to be creative in ways, the digital games still cannot touch.

So, the summation you should derive from the PA and D&D relationship is not "this proves D&D doesn't need more younger fans". It is, I believe that "it proves WOTC needs relationships it never bothered to foster or develop much before". And also, perhaps, that young kids like building stuff, (like their own fantasy worlds), which is an aspect that is sometimes underplayed when marketing paper games.

I think it also proves the way you market your game is changing. I think it proves that gaming in general is changing, and many companies (like WOTC) are still struggling to adapt. That's a large part of what I was hoping this thread could be about, discussing the changes and keeping paper gaming viable (and somewhat competitive) in an increasingly digital world.

I taken an earlier point about Encounters though. This is a good idea. If only because its own of the few bones WOTC has thrown the average retailer in a while. 4e crushed retailers, because AMAZON went nuts with its pricing, gouging out the average retailer.

Magic proved that your brand strength must be maintained by vigilant care of your average retailer...and providing mechanisms to lure players into their store to buy product. Encounters attempts to do that, my only gripe about Encounters is unlike Magic tournaments there's not a lot of product to buy to compete in the tournament. Magic has this nicely built in the incentive to buy more, to improve your chances is also there. It's an element I think RPGs has to elegantly model, in some capacity.

I think miniatures might be an answer here, but D&D botched minis badly, with an AWFUL skirmish game and having to constantly manage to disparate systems, but I digress, another topic for another thread!

On the topic of women...

I agree that overall your game must focus on quality first, to attract more women to play it. This is obvious. Also, you as you rightly say, you can't pander to women either. The awful products that WOTC came out with, that screamed "hey girls play this game", were utter failures for this reason.

But there are trends emerging from the platforms that ARE succeeding in getting more women to play.

One thing Sid Meier notes is a lot of women dislike destruction and direct competition in their games. In other words, if women build an asset in a game, they only want to see it grow, never get destroyed, especially at the hands of someone else playing the same game.

Women generally, detest griefing. They hate losing XP. They hate losing levels. (That is if this article is to be believed). My humble experience demonstrates that in MMOs, the RP community has a larger number of women than the PvE and PvP communities. And no, not female avatars, I mean actual women behind them. Certainly the women in my family gravitate to RP much more readily than PvP. Of course, I've also met women gamers who can kick my ass in PvP, but there seems to be some information that suggests women like collaborating in games.

That sounds horribly sexist, but some of that is coming from Sid Meier, who lets admit has a keen eye for gaming systems and what makes them work. If this is the case, then a paper RPG is a perfect vehicle to attract these kinds of gamers.

Because, if PF and D&D are about anything, they are about collaboration and growth. So this is something I would hope Paizo and WOTC are looking can they tout that the primary feature of PF is that you work together with others to grow and expand your avatar?

One other thing the article noted was that women tend to game in short, daily spurts. This is what plays against the paper games. Paper games are rarely played daily and when they are played, the sessions are often long. The rules are often voluminous too, a game like Cityville teaches you the basics in seconds and does in a very fun, interactive way.

I don't know how you position your brand to offer, quick one-hour adventures that have a high amount of collaboration required for the group to succeed and a built-in reward for a character returning, (even after a long absence). I don't know if touting the creative aspect of content creation is really worth it (although in Gabe's example it appears that it is). I don't know how you offer (or tout) all that in your game without tainting it and annoying those already invested in the game.

I don't know these things, because I am not that bright and I can't design a game to save my puppy's life. But people like Lisa Stephens and Bill Slaviscek are smart. And I wonder what their next moves are, because I don't think the status-quo is healthy for any business.

And I think its these challenges that can really define the success of the PF and D&D brand in the years ahead.

Scott Betts wrote:
I reject your premises.

And I humbly reject your notion "all is well" with 4e, based on scanning a crowd a gaming convention, especially PAX which isn't wholly indicative of the paper gaming market.

Although, you've tapped into something much more interesting, which is the symbiotic relationship of PA and WOTC. I'll even go so far to say as the nature of PA is an interesting topic, which has often got a lot of corporate interest behind it, but still has a lot of established "independent" credibility. That's a neat trick. WOTC is thrilled with this, and probably tout this often as a "win", and therein (perhaps) lies one of the keys to paper games thriving. That's something worth exploring in this dialog, in my opinion.

The argument that over 4e's health isn't nearly as interesting. We can all speculate on this. You speculate because you saw a line at PAX. I speculate based on other factors. We can hash that out more, but it will go nowhere, it's all based on perception, not data.

It's moot anyway.

ALL business want to grow and ALL businesses know one of the keys to brand health is to continually expand and cultivate young customers.

This basic truth, is evident in advertising which you and I consume every day.

So back to the original question, how does paper RPGs attract more younger customers and attract more women to the game?

And yeah, I'd wager heavily these are still key concerns of both Paizo and WOTC, because it is simply good business to be concerned about it.

I love to GM. I particularly love the prep work of being a GM. It is a significant reason I continue to game on paper.

I am now at the start of creating a new campaign, which is why I am new Pathfinder fan, (having only just purchased the Core Rules about a week ago).

So as I assemble notes and sketch out concepts for the campaign, I wanted to see which of these concepts you like or hate. Many of these ideas are tried and true (or perhaps tired and used), some are weirder and some are clearly derivative.

Feel free to rip these concepts apart, I want the feedback, if you need more info on them, please ask. And thank you greatly in advance, any feedback is greatly appreciated!


1. A growing empire. One that is new to power, but is quickly emerging as a skilled and dangerous threat to neighboring nations. One nation quickly forms an alliance to spare it from harm, but this has only made the other nations all the more nervous. Nothing earth shattering here, but have any of you put politics in your campaign and have it work? At first the war is just a backdrop, but later of course, it will become an integral part of the player's plight.

2. A Sorcerer who is also Pharaoh. Nothing new here! But I did want to explore an Egyptian culture that begins to rise in power in the late middle ages, rather than in ancient roots of the Bronze Age. The Egyptian cultural references will be loose (its really just a hint of flavor rather than anything) and there will be a heavy dose of Sorcery with this Pharaoh. I'll toy with magic here too, chariots that are pulled by winged Pegasi stuff like that. Does a hackneyed villain nation like this work, or does it just spoil the flavor?

3. Almost every culture in my campaign will be a nod to an ancient Earth culture in some way. Many of the mythological gods and culture of ancient times, will have mirrors on my world. The world is not Earth, but the Greek, Egyptian, Celtic and Norse gods thrive on it. This isn't a bold concept at all, but I wonder if any of you have feedback on how much you like (or dislike) worlds built this way.

4. Elves are not aloof, in fact they are very integrated with human society. With some exceptions the Elves in my world aren't aloof. In many nations in my world, Elves are largely integrated as a race, the mixture of the races is fairly prolific too. There are Elves who just a trace of human ancestry and vice-versa.

5. Wild Elves also exist. The idea of the "Wild Elf" the barbarian Elf will exist, nothing new here either, but in your experience is this an option players like to explore?

6. Gnomes have two distinct flavors. I am taking both the "fey" interpretation of Gnomes and the "gadget freak" interpretation of Gnomes. You can play either, although both Gnomes originate from different parts of the world and both Gnome derivatives are highly suspicious of the other.

7. Orcs are playable as a race. In fact, in one of the older empires, Orcs are a mainstream race. Those Orcs formed their own nation but made peace with a coalition of other nations that form the core of an old empire. Those Orcs speak common, are quite civilized and are even okay with Dwarves (although the civility doesn't always work the other way around). Orcs here have interbred with humans a fair bit, but not to the same degree as the Elves. Orc religion is shamanistic in nature and worships ancestors and animal spirits.

8. Gnolls as a playable race. Gnolls are not very civilized in my world, but they are highly intelligent. They tend to be nomadic, focused on the acquisition of wealth, not very well organized, but able to speak common and therefore playable as a race.

9. In one nation, women are completely subservient to men. So much so that it is illegal to teach them how to read. I like this as a plot device mostly, to expose the evils of sexism and to give a heroic cause for the heroes to fight against.

10. Terrorism. I think its an underplayed card in D&D campaigns, I intend to have terrorists, particularly radical religious groups in some of the large cities.

11. Slavery. It will exist and its cruelties will be part of the plot. Bad idea?

12. Dragons are considered holy by some and are connected to Druidism in my world. Nothing new here either, but would be curious to see thought on this idea.

13. Native American culture. I want a playable creed to be based on Native American culture, particularly the Salish culture. I'll throw in a bit of mysticism and shamanism for good measure. But the long houses, art, style and culture of the Salish fascinate me, so a small sliver of the western coast will host a rain forest where a Salish-themed race will live. This culture will be less technically advanced than its neighbors, but perhaps makeup for it with increased magical powers.

14. I am going to rip off the concept of "Ghost Rock" from Deadlands. Essentially the "inventor" Gnome race uses a form of coal, that the Salish-themed culture claims is haunted or cursed. The thing is, it is bringing great prosperity to the Gnomes. I am going to keep the steam-punk objects to a bare minimum, I'll do this by making the fuel source very rare and highly expensive. The focus here isn't the devices it can make, but rather the value (and dangers) of the arcane fuel source. Just how awful is that idea?

15. Miniature-based combat. No surprise here and these days it is rare people do NOT use miniatures. I am going to setup some maps BEFORE play begins on the table though. This allows me to tap into the Dwarven Forge pieces I have, (which really have to be setup before hand to work). Anyone have experience with this working well? Or not working well?

16. Start with nothing, but rise fast. This is standard MO for me, but I start all campaigns at level 1 with almost diddly in terms of armor, equipment or money (and in this case it will LITERALLY be nothing but loin cloths and a ragged shirt). But you rise quickly. I want to get the players to 2nd level in one session and to 3rd level in two and to 5th level in just a few sessions after that. After 5th, I ease the XP gain down and level it out to normal progression. Any advice here?

17. Spies...everywhere, secrets everywhere and knowledge and technology (and resources that fuel it) are highly valuable. I didn't like Eberron much at all, but one thing I did like was the nods to "Casablanca" scattered throughout. I want that kind of intrigue in one my central cities (which is at the aorta of the growing political strife). Does this kind of thing work? Or does it suck?

Sorry for the wall of text, but even if you just read a few and have feedback I'd love to hear what you think.

I am old. That's not unique when it comes to "paper and pen" role players. Anyone who is in the business of selling RPGs can tell you the demographic skews old and it gets older all the time.

Kind of like PBS, paper RPGs are always desperate to attract younger players, but also must continue to service their older, established clients.

It's not as easy a balancing act as you would think.

So, I thought I'd create a thread about the generations of gamers that are now out there.

Although Chainmail and the like was around in the 70's, it was really the 80's that launched paper & pen RPGs into a multimillion dollar business. It is no coincidence (in my opinion) that this was also the rise of home video gaming as well. Modern gaming culture truly took root with games like D&D, Zork, Wizardry, Traveler and the like.

What that means is, the generation that grew up with video games and RPGs are now having their own children and so we really have the first wave of second-generation gamers on our other words gamers who also have parents who game.

The old stereotype of the 20-something, frustrated academic, pursuing a hobby of relative obscurity is gone. Mega-brands like Warcraft are now mainstream, so mainstream they are used to advertise pickup trucks during NFL games, so mainstream they have more concurrent users during prime time than most television shows can only dream of.

Fantasy is bigger than ever. The amount of movies based on gamer culture or gamer-related property rises each year. Fantasy books, fantasy TV shows are everywhere, and even the vampire has become as mainstream as Wal-Mart. Comic books, which has always enjoyed a slice of the gaming demographic (and vice-versa) are so entirely mainstream, that it is often hard to find a blockbuster NOT based on a comic book.

Despite this, paper RPGs struggle (or at least have the potential to make far more money than they do). WOTC is no doubt losing sleep over how to maintain their D&D brand, if they aren't, they should be, for they have faltered of late. Paizo probably thinks of new tactics and strategies to capture more younger gamers.

That's not to say young paper gamers don't exist. Of course they do, I've been to gaming conventions, I see them. It's just that the proportion of younger gamers is far less than before. In the 80's, it was rare to see a gamer in their 40's and 50's. They existed, but they were always the exception and now they seem everywhere.

I also recently read a great article on Daily Beast about the growing number of women gaming on Facebook. Cityville boasts one of the largest and active gaming communities in the history of gaming and the majority of the players are women. The article attempted to dissect what it was that was attracting these women to play and Sid Meier offered his thoughts and was using his analysis to sculpt how Civilization would function on Facebook.

Are there lessons in his analysis for paper games as well?

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Our hobby needs fresh blood. It isn't in mortal peril, it isn't looking at extinction, but it has all the tell-tale signs of a business that needs younger customers in order to ensure a prosperous future. The time to cultivate the next generation of fans is now. They are out there, in fact they are out there in greater number than ever before. I wager Paizo and WOTC know this, I wager both fret over this issue weekly, so maybe our discussion here can help them?

I say this also, because this obsession with winning over younger players can create bad decisions if you are not careful. D&D 4th Edition was a poorly conceived product. It was, I am almost certain, an artifact of the Bill Slavisceks of this world reaching too quickly and clumsily for the MMO-playing youth out there. Now Bill is a very smart man, 30 points of IQ greater than me, easily, but WOTC did not succeed with 4th Edition.

Yes, I argue 4th Edition failed. That's an argument I doubt even WOTC has fully resolved (I wager many in WOTC blame the economy rather than their branding decisions for the poor sales). Now we can argue whether paper gaming is thriving or not, but it would be speculative. Neither you, nor I, likely have access to real data on this. But let's all agree that whatever the state of the paper gaming business, there is significant opportunity to grow and one of the keys to that growth is attracting more women and more younger players to the hobby.

If 4th Edition was a bad miscalculation to capture younger players (and I believe it was) and if we all agree younger players are needed to ensure the hobby thrives, what is the solution?

And what, if anything can paper gaming do to capture the growing number of women who are gaming? Yes of course, women gamers exist. I not only do not deny that, I live in a family that not breaks the gender gap, but also the generational one. My entire family games, that includes my wife and two daughters. Heck, my daughter practically runs the small gaming club at her high school.

But the hobby needs more, I don't think that can be denied.

And perhaps, just perhaps this thread can come up with viable solutions to this issue. I know I'll be very curious to read people's thoughts on this...

Vic Wertz wrote:
That is true and intentional; our style is one of a few things we've held back to distinguish our own products from third-party products; we therefore don't have a lot of motivation to provide details about it.

This is both fair and honest, thanks for sharing that.

I've learned just from tinkering this evening that replicating the style of Pathfinder without directly ripping off the page watermark is really hard.

And seeing what chavamana wrote and listening to my wife (who has 4 more points of wisdom than I do), I realized I should just come up with my own style for the book.

Like chavamana I'm going with two columns, with insets and frames above the columns for large images. I have a basic watermark now that I like, that uses a long spear along the right edge of the page and then has a basic "curtain" type dress up top to frame the page. The page itself is just slightly beige with a very gentle canvas texture. I am going to use a Trebuchet font which stands out nicely from the canvas watermark. I am going to use Word, chavamana is right you can use Word to setup a pretty nice trade dress. I chose Word because it will be more accessible for my kids (and fellow players) that way, also I can work on it online more easily.

Images are another fun aspect, I intend to email artists who make cool art and ask permission to use their image for personal use and only use those images the artist agrees to allow it. I know for a private project I don't need to really do that, (I mean they'd never know), but I thought it was a nice courtesy.

I may commission a small piece for the cover, just for the fun of it.

It's stuff like this that make this hobby so much fun.

It's going to take months to come up with the material to actually go in the book as well. I'm still fleshing that out as well. Once I have something I like, I'll post up the template for feedback and criticism. It won't stand up to professional work, I am a total amateur at this, I am a database guy by trade!

Thanks everyone for the feedback!

GroovyTaxi wrote:
The hand being magical or mechanical probably depends on your GM's preferences when it comes to the amount of magic in his setting.

Agreed, check with your GM to see which one he'd prefer.

Other than that though, I think you have a great idea.

But I'm a role player first and a power gamer last, so my GM bias is always tilted towards story and interesting character concepts. I tend not to game with power gamers at all, so my perspective is skewed.

I can't see even the most power-conscious GM having a problem with your idea however.

KaeYoss wrote:
In fact, neither the OGL, nor the CUP (Community Use Policy) - allow the use of Paizo's trade dress. In fact, it's explicitly named as one of the things they won't let you use.

Ouch, well I'd never want to intentionally violate the letter or spirit of the OGL or CUP. Thanks for that update.

KaeYoss wrote:

If you have the PDFs, you could look them up in Acrobat, you should be able to at least find out what fonts are used (some of them aren't available for free, though.)

I'll do exactly that and report back here. If the fonts are for sale, you can buy them and use them. It shouldn't violate the CUP or OGL to use a font that is on the open market.

The rest of the trade dress though can't be copied, it sounds like.

I wager I can mimic some things, making it sufficiently different to clearly not be a copy, but have some similarities that it feels a little like a real Pathfinder supplement.

I hope I can do stuff like create two columns of text, have a bordered edge around the page (different design, but similar perhaps) and mimic some of the table designs and such, without (hopefully) violating the spirit of the rule about not copying trade dress.

But if others feel this is taking too many liberties, I'll stop pursuing this. I say that because I think one of the things that keeps OGL alive, is the fans respect the boundaries, so I want to do the same.

It's meant to be completely benign, a simple desire to make a home brew volume look cool, print it out at Kinkos and then hand it to the kids to inspire them to write their own material.

I truly believe half of the magic in role playing is the creative element, the development of characters, ideas, stories and places and developing your writing skills in the process.

Thanks for the information KaeYoss, I'll poke around here and look into the PDFs more and see what I find and develop something that is not a copy, but has some similarity as to have been inspired by Paizo's great work.

(Skip to the question if my background doesn't interest you)

I am a brand new Pathfinder player. I've played D&D since 1980. These days, I play far more video games than paper games, but I've recently I've had the urge to develop a small campaign to teach my kids how to play. My kids have expressed interest in learning and my eldest met some friends at school that wanted to learn as well.

So, I sampled 4th Edition, but was turned off by it. I think the system has strengths, but it was too deep a cut into some of the mechanisms of 3.5 that I like. In other words, 4th Edition seems too radical and I'd lose a lot of the work and material I've collected in my time playing 3.0 and 3.5.

I recently purchased the Pathfinder Core Rules and I'm very happy with it. It appears to convert very easily and it has refined many of the rules, while keeping the core mechanics intact. It also embraces the OGL, which I think we fans should also support and applaud.

So, Pathfinder is the system I am going to teach my kids (and their friends) how to play. I am literally passing the game on to a new generation, so this is a project I am looking forward to!


I am looking for a Pathfinder style guide. What I mean by that is tips on fonts, coloring, layout of Pathfinder material and books.

The idea is, I want my home brew stuff to look as much like official material as possible. I only want this for vanity's sake, I have no intention of selling the material or distributing beyond my family and friends.

Still, I'd like it to look as consistent to real Pathfinder material as possible. It's part of my enjoyment of the hobby to create my own material and print it out and store it as my own "volume". I am also hoping that if it looks cool enough, it will inspire my kids to write their own material. I feel creative writing like this, is a useful skill and interest to develop in your kids.

I have access to Acrobat and Word, so I can setup templates in either, and I can even share the templates (if they are of interest) to help others give their home brew material a professional sheen.

Does such a style guide exist? Has anyone ever assessed what fonts most Pathfinder publications use and what general margins, coloring and style they use?

My apologies my request is obscure, but I was hoping someone here could point me in the right direction.