Brief Intro, Question on Style Guide


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


INTRO
(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!

QUESTION

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.


I know of no PF style guide. In fact, neither the OGL (Open Gaming License - which is what allows you to use open content rules in your own publications) nor the CUP (Community Use Policy - which allows you to use lots of extra stuff in addition to the OGL, especially the whole Pathfinder Campaign Setting stuff, provided you're not making any money with this stuff, i.e. no selling stuff, not even a website with ads, as far as I know) 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.

I'm not a lawyer, but that probably means that no one can create and publish such a style guide.

However, nothing keeps you from using that in your own, private stuff (unless I'm wrong). You just can't put it online (unless it's on a private page only your players have access to)

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.) Acrobat or other PDF viewers should also allow you to extract the pictures from the PDFs, which you could then use for your stuff, too. I used to do that with some desktop wallpapers I created for Pathfinder, but they're not in compliance with the CUP, so I can't put them on my page any more.

From what I remember, one of the Fonts (the one used for the AP titles) is Treacherous.

And there is a thread around where people list the different fonts used in Pathfinder and, where applicable, links to where you can download them. I don't have the link on hand, though. The search function should find it.

Treacherous is not available (for free), but there are webpages where you can generate phrases in the font as pictures.


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.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

KaeYoss wrote:
I know of no PF style guide. In fact, neither the OGL (Open Gaming License - which is what allows you to use open content rules in your own publications) nor the CUP (Community Use Policy - which allows you to use lots of extra stuff in addition to the OGL, especially the whole Pathfinder Campaign Setting stuff, provided you're not making any money with this stuff, i.e. no selling stuff, not even a website with ads, as far as I know) 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.

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.

That said, as long as you're not talking about *distributing* your personal products, you don't need to worry about what the CUP says; it doesn't apply to things made for personal use. (Trying to place restrictions on what you create for personal use would be pretty silly, for several different reasons.)


Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I use Publisher for most of my handouts. (I also use it for the newsletters that I do for the Lions Club I'm in.) It's really good for columns and insets. I think you can mimic most of the utility in Word, it's just easier in Publisher.


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!

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