How open are you to using / allowing fan-made content?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Silver Crusade

Fluff or mechanics, from works like Wayfinder? Either to be used by yourself as a player or used by a player in a game you're running?

If you're not open to it, what would it usually take to make you comfortable with it?

Just wondering what the general attitude on the matter is, and how to make material as usable as possible.


Mikaze wrote:

Fluff or mechanics, from works like Wayfinder? Either to be used by yourself as a player or used by a player in a game you're running?

If you're not open to it, what would it usually take to make you comfortable with it?

Just wondering what the general attitude on the matter is, and how to make material as usable as possible.

Fluff can come from anywhere as long as it makes sense. Mechanics gets a good look over. I can normally spot any flaws within a few seconds. Even when I can't sometimes something feels wrong. I have adopted ideas I found on the boards so I am pretty open about what I let in since official stuff is not the only good stuff.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Just like any published material, anything my players come up with is allowable after my review.

Because ALL material, published or not, is fan-made.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm pretty open to anything the players bring me. I'll usually review any crunch first, and if it seems a little shaky I ask them to come up with a back-up idea in case it turns out to be broken (either too weak, too strong or requires too much adjudication).


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Usually its a matter of review. I take a look at it the same way I would any 3rd party product and decide if it is mechanically sound and right for my game in terms of flavor. For me it doesnt matter if its in Wayfinder, 3rd party publisher, a forum post or a paizo product, the review process is the same.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Everything is subject to my review... even if it's core.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Because ALL material, published or not, is fan-made.

Agreed! I'm always open to fan-made material, pending review and consideration.


Personally fluff from other sources I have no problem with. I incorporate ideas from various settings into my campaigns and use a variety of monster manuals from other publishers.
Spell and magic items generally get treated with suspicion.
Classes and feats from other sources get the stink eye.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

Generally, I prefer as few "add-ons" as possible because I don't want to be searching through 87 bits of source material as I prepare sessions.

At the same time, I enjoy additional material--"official" or "fan-made" where it well and truly fills a niche not provided by the core rules--if, of course, my campaign setting suits having that niche filled. It gives both me and my players more choices to build concepts suitable to the gameworld.

Anything, whether handed me by a fellow fan or the Gaming Gods on High, gets reviewed for possible balance issues and related concerns.

Adding to/beyond the above, various things I take into consideration (fan-made or "official"):
- Is it well written and described? (Ideal answer: yes)
- Does it have internal consistency, or is it just a lump of different concepts smashed together kitchen sink style? (Ideal answer: yes, no)
- How complex are the mechanics? Are they over complex? (Ideal answer: Not very, no)
- Is there a build that could easily be made over-powered (based on the performance of my particular players) with this material? (Ideal answer: no)
- Can I program the custom material into PC Gen easily so I don't have to hand-create everything that uses this material? (Ideal answer: yes)

If I come up with mostly "ideal answers" then I will use it when it suits the game I am running.


With pathfinder I try to stay away from 2nd company stuff, but some times we use it (just spent alot of time going through 3.5 stuff and trying to get the best mix so I try not to do that anymore) . I consider Wayfinder 2nd Company stuff


I'm pretty open. I scrutinize it pretty well, tend to ask questions about the desired effect and such. Sometime I put my own in. For instance, I recently just put together a Divine-themed version of the Arcane Archer that I'm considering for an upcoming game that I will co-GM. Anyway, the biggest thing I worry about is balance and it really needs to not be something that steps on other players' toes.

And further, I just love to read creative stuff! Seriously, the biggest draw is looking at what others who love my hobby are inspired to create. Plenty is going to be sloppy, but sometimes the muse is like that. in the end, you should make the best decision for your game.

Randy
Growing Up Gamers

Dark Archive RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

For me, at least, if it doesn't have either a Paizo or WotC logo on it, it's not getting used in my game. I believe in internal consistency and believe that the best way to accomplish that is to limit options to a single publisher/developer. In the case of WotC stuff, well, I allow most of it so long as it's easily convertible to Pathfinder, but still wouldn't allow anything from Bo9S or Tome of Magic simply because of the ways that it alters the existing rules and I don't want to deal with it.


If its flavorful for what game I am running/ playing in, and crunchwise not so good than any X class character made must take it regardless fo concept(my personal yardstick for Overpoweredness) I may allow it or ask a GM if it is allowed for me to take.

It's not solely the GM's responsability to be vigilant about what new content is or is not added to the game world/system. Act like a responsable conceientious player and you generally get to play with better toys by proving that you aren't absolutely abusive/ adversarial/powergaming/cheesy.


Like most of the other posters, I'm open to all sorts of house rule or fluff suggestions from my players. I review each independently, and allow it if it will help rather than harm the players (all the players) gaming experience.

I've learned to be more open to ideas my players generated on their own than material they get from 3rd party sources. In my experience, most player requests for customized material come in two flavors:

  • Players who ask for what they want/need to make a cool character concept work, or to fix a flaw in the rules.
  • Players who scour books and 3rd party material until they find something overpowered, then ask to use it.

I managed a game store through most of the lifespan of D&D 3.0 & 3.5, and saw hundreds of third party books cross my shelves. I was an active DM and player at the time, and reviewed a lot of those books. (Coworkers & customers gave me the low-down on many more.) I found that these also came primarily in two flavors:

  • Adventures & Settings - Some interested me and some did not, but these books got few complaints. They gave me the impression they wanted you to buy the book because they had a really cool gaming idea they thought you would like.
  • Lists of rules - These books almost universally contained a few rules that were simply more powerful than what was available from WOTC. They were pretty clearly trying to sell books by offering power.


I'm not open to player created crunch at all. Most of the third-party published material is powerfully broken in my opinion -- as that is likely a point of their selling strategy. And even a thing or two has sneaked through in Pathfinder.

There are so many options already in the game that most players have never even tried, I don't really see the point in adding to my game prep time to review, edit and playtest new crunch. By the time I got done with it the player would most likely not want to play it anymore anyway.

This is just my experience. Milage may vary, but players that have ever come to me with this have not really been looking for flavor, but looking for ways to outshine their fellow players.


As a GM, I tend to allow most things through if they are added to make a cool character work and not just to add power to the party/character.

I tend to prefer 3rd party productions to player-character created items; but that has more to do with the skill of the creator and the number of online reviews I can find. :D


LazarX wrote:
Everything is subject to my review... even if it's core.

What he said.


Everything is subject to review so if it's not broken it can be used.


In the last year, our gaming group has made an effort to contain our player options to what is in the core rules and the APG. We've done this after experimenting with lots of leftover 3.5 rules variants and classes, plus some 3PP OGL material, and finding them largely unbalanced.

Having said that, if a player really likes an idea and asks me or the other GM if they can use it, we'll usually review it before we give it a yay or nay, sometimes allowing it on a probationary basis. I used a fan-created base class (a mixed melee-and-spell base class predating the magus) to build a character a few months back; the build looked reasonably balanced at a first glance, but upon playtesting it, we found that it was overpowered to the point of being hopelessly broken. I rebuilt the character using the core classes to approximate the same concept and we moved on.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Almost never, in my case. If the player asks, I'll review it and answer, but by default, I never allow fan-made material.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
KaeYoss wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Everything is subject to my review... even if it's core.
What he said.

It's the only logical choice!

Grand Lodge

Open.

I feel very strongly about the following:

After having played a decade of 1E and another decade of 2E, not to mention the wealth of other gaming systems in the 80s and 90s, we've become pretty mature, pretty experienced gamers.
We know what's what.

And when you add the decade of the d20 system, where we saw and thoroughly played through 3.0 -- then saw how the revision came out in 3.5 -- and added ALLLLLL those Complete Books and other Splat books. ... And then saw Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved (and all its published development), .... and the Unearthed Arcana. ... And when you add all the game balance and mechanics questions we've gone through on The Boards, . . . .

AND then add the development of Pathfinder where we saw and playtested and played the NEWLY revised 11 Core Classes, .... and then APG with Playtest and play --

WE ARE JUST AS QUALIFIED AS ANY PROFESSSIONAL GAME DESIGNER at designing Class, Race, PrC and Feat mechanics.

At this point there ain't CRAP that anyone at Paizo, or the legendary Wolfgang Baur, or the god-like Monte Cook, can design that has ANY more viability than a Class or PrC that John or Jane Doe can design.

If I sat down and wrote out a Ranger Class it would be just as legitimate as anyone else's . . . . Of course, just like what Lazar X and Chaos-Boy said, a DM would still have to give it a look-over and decide whether to allow it -- but that's just like anything Paizo or anyone else publishes. ... No difference.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

*slow clap* Well said, Ray.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
*slow clap* Well said, Ray.

Yea I'll second that.


I'm open to fan-made and 3PP content. Like others, I reserve the right to review it, because a lot of people will write mechanics and don't even understand how the rules of the game function (a great example is the Gunslinger Initiative from the Ultimate Combat playtest, which seems to have no grasp on the core mechanics and is badly written).

However, there is a lot of fan-made and 3PP material that is exceptionally good, and often better than official material in terms of balance or flavor, so it's a matter of just sorting out the diamonds from the glass.

I write a lot of material for my players as well, including new classes, feat, races, and racial progressions, so why shouldn't I give others' material a chance? I also allow certain options from 3.x and other d20 books if they won't cause any waves; but it's just a matter of scrutiny. If something doesn't work perfectly, then we'll modify it or try something different.

Also, +1 to what Ray said.


As a GM I am always very open to ideas from any source. As a GM I can generally balance out player choices or if I need to force them to accept a more limited version of something that's become a problem.

Most players in my games tend not to power game or seek out a lot of other game materials beyond core books they own or perhaps official splat books for their class. If you hand them the book they may find something in it they like, but unless you do that they are pretty content with whatever they are working with.

I like to hear about what the players are selecting, but I actually don't like to worry over the details much. In pick up games I may ask players not to utilize some magic item that is going to be a problem. Some guy brings a character at level 6 with a ring of infinite wishes or some such, I just say, don't use that tonight and were all good.

Sometimes I've made feats or classes specifically for someone because they have a cool idea, but they don't really know how to make it balanced.

And Kudos to Ray, I think what he says is true of most vet players. I'd say that there is some art to the writing of balanced mechanics that requires practice to develop, but a sense of what is or isn't balance comes best with a whole lot of play. Every edition of D&D has had some core elements that were trash and some that were pretty much broken (at least by comparison to others.)

Look at the feat Leadership for instance. It breaks nearly every rule of feat design you can think of when looking at every other feat, and it has incredible potential for abuse. Yet its a core element and so long as the GM is on their toes, its likely not a problem in your game and can be one of the coolest and most story driving feats in the book.

Some mechanics ideas are simply broken, but any GM that kind of abdicates balance entirely to the authors of books, be they official or no, is at the mercy of their players munchkin impulses/imaginations.


W E Ray wrote:
We're qualified . . .

+1

I agree, with one caveat. Many players, and all new players, do need someone to write and vet material for them. I like a system to have a clear set of core rules that:
1) new players can use without editing
2) I can count on having access to in any game I join, unless I'm told otherwise. (Preferably before I join the game, and definitely before character creation.)

Silver Crusade

Thanks for the responses all. It's been encouraging to say the least. :)

And here I thought I was worried about being an odd duck in my stance on the issue...


*quacks*

Liberty's Edge

I. R. Bird wrote:
*quacks*

Caw!


My experience with homemade stuff is that it's most effective to make it a group effort. If I want to run a game and want to add a race that I came up with a race I want in the setting, I put it to the group. If a player has something they want to add to the campaign that they designed, the same thing gets done. We do this because every one has some blinders on to what ever they make. Once everyone is satisfied, we can put it in play.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
W E Ray wrote:
At this point there ain't CRAP that anyone at Paizo, or the legendary Wolfgang Baur, or the god-like Monte Cook, can design that has ANY more viability than a Class or PrC that John or Jane Doe can design.

I'm strongly closed, because I look at this the other way around: something can be a masterpiece of design, free of bias and flaw, and still be wholly unsuited for use in a particular game or group.


W E Ray wrote:

Awesome stuff, , ,

+5 vorpal

Just added this to my gamers bible (it's in constant revision and development hell).

J S wrote:

I'm strongly closed, because I look at this the other way around: something can be a masterpiece of design, free of bias and flaw, and still be wholly unsuited for use in a particular game or group.

This should go without saying, but many people feel the need to constantly point it out. I never focus on the things I don't use, nor do I feel ripped off by a book if there's only one thing I like out of it. In my campaign I have a villain/occasional hero NPC with levels in Chameleon from Races of Destiny. It's the only thing I'll probably ever use from that book, but it adds so much to my campaign that I can't imagine the character without it, and I don't feel like the book was a waste of money. Yes, I could've made him without it, but seeing the prestige class is what gave me the idea for his abilities/personality.

If a product expands the horizons for me, even in only one small way, it was worth whatever I paid for it. Especially if it gives me 1000 more ideas to use in my games.


W E Ray wrote:

Open.

I feel very strongly about the following: *good stuff*

Well said. Things, from anywhere, get my review and if they are good, and fit the world (or I can reasonably fit them into it) they're in.


Riggler wrote:

I'm not open to player created crunch at all. Most of the third-party published material is powerfully broken in my opinion -- as that is likely a point of their selling strategy. And even a thing or two has sneaked through in Pathfinder.

There are so many options already in the game that most players have never even tried, I don't really see the point in adding to my game prep time to review, edit and playtest new crunch. By the time I got done with it the player would most likely not want to play it anymore anyway.

This is just my experience. Milage may vary, but players that have ever come to me with this have not really been looking for flavor, but looking for ways to outshine their fellow players.

Are you going by 3.5 3rd party? If not I have seen or heard of any of the companies on this site having broken things out, as far as being overpowered anyway


Ray agree 110%

To make a good adventure all I need is the main book. But I have been doing this for years. I will use fan made material if it makes sense.

I wish my current players would go out and find things.( Very Boring )

I love adding special quirks for backgrounds give me a good story and I will bend the rules to make it happen. That is what makes a gm better then a computer game, the ability to go beyound the rules and make it a custom experience.


Xyll wrote:
I love adding special quirks for backgrounds give me a good story and I will bend the rules to make it happen. That is what makes a gm better then a computer game, the ability to go beyond the rules and make it a custom experience.

Amen brother!


wraithstrike wrote:
Are you going by 3.5 3rd party? If not I have seen or heard of any of the companies on this site having broken things out, as far as being overpowered anyway

My opinion on 3rd party material was formed by 3.0 actually. After purchasing several books and realizing that there was just too much work for me to make it usable I kind of swore off third-party published stuff. I've been burned too many times.

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