Please replace Adventure Path fiction with better maps!


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion

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I love the Adventure Path series and generally like the slow, evolutionary tweaks that have happened over time since the first ROTRL series.

Yes, a few AP's have sputtered and stuttered, but all have been interesting, worthy efforts that captured the imagination of at least some gamer groups.

One element, though, that seems worthy of a major overhaul -- to my eye -- is the fiction that takes up a chunk of each installment.

I love reading fantasy. I even occasionally enjoy short fantastic fiction.

But there's something about the style and the episodic nature of the Pathfinder Journal that just doesn't work for me.

This is no disrespect to the authors. I often recognize some good, solid writing.

And I get the idea that fiction is a way to flesh out the atmosphere of Golarion.

But I just don't ever find myself engaging the stories or the characters in ways that get me to the end.

I wonder if other regular purchasers and players agree that this is real estate that could be better used in other ways?

One MUCH more useful element for my gaming table would be a series of pages devoted to 1" grid maps usable for key battles in each AP installment.

If Paizo printed 3-5 pages of miniature-scaled maps per episode, I'd be over the moon as a DM...and that also seems like an element that would be fairly easy to produce.

-Capt Marsh

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This topic rolls around every few months.

I like the fiction. I don't want to see it go.


I also like the fiction, and I'm pretty sure I'd dislike the price-hike replacing it with maps would cause.


Fair enough preferring/liking the fiction. But why would maps cost more? I'm not talking about removable art or inserts or anything of that sort.

Just an 8 1/2 by 11 map that I can photocopy and bring to the table. Are those expensive to make and print in a format like the AP?

And not to push a rope. But even if you like Golarion fiction...

In the context of an AP's function, do you think the fiction makes more sense than really usable maps?

- Marsh


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Maps are art. Art is more expensive than text.

Grand Lodge

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I second the Captain's sentiment.

I too like the fiction, but feel it could be released electronically and replaced with content necessary to the AP.

For example: Had Serpent Skull been reinforced with additional maps and content to strengthen continuity, it would have been a better AP across the board.

I don't want to debate cost, no one on the outside, has any clue...


Yeah, I'm skeptical about that cost argument.

There are really good digital map-making programs all over the place that produce cool content pretty easily.

And AP modules are already really art-rich, so it's not like they'd have to add new colors to their print budget.

Like Azmyth, I can think of a half-dozen specific places in ROTRL and Shattered Star where a maps would have boosted the AP value.

Having a copy-ready map also helps clarify the narrative a bit for DMs. It sort of telegraphs the idea that RIGHT HERE is a significant set-piece moment.

It would also be cool to have maps that would essentially establish iconic places for entire APs -- the main room in the Rusty Dragon, a small section of Sandpoint's wall, a street in Underbridge...

--Marsh


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I think the cost argument is a valid one. That said, I think that the fiction, though very well written, could be released separately, leaving room for something actually useful to the AP like some text addition that the authors often have to drop for space reasons.


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I'm all for replacing the fiction with something more tied to the actual adventure. More maps, more bestiary, more space for adventure text, what have you.


Captain Marsh wrote:
In the context of an AP's function, do you think the fiction makes more sense than really usable maps?

Not really. But as noted, text is cheaper than art. And text that's unrelated to the adventure is easier from a scheduling standpoint, too -- they could (in theory) write dozens of fiction pieces in advance and dole them out one per adventure path installment, but obviously they can't do that with maps or other material that's tied to the adventure.

Dark Archive

Prefer the fiction keep it


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I am in the camp that the fiction adds quite a bit of value to the APs. As the primary GM, it offers me gobs of flavor and hooks that help give flesh to the AP settings. I am fine with the current approach.

With that said, if the same material could be added to the website, and extra supplemental stuff added, I would be fine with that. But, I think if they could add more, they would have.


I'm surprised by the loyalty to the fiction in the AP context, but it sounds like there's a good audience for it. Cool and good.

Question: Can anyone recommend particular AP storylines that really worked and that are worth going back and trying to read back-to-back?

Meanwhile, I'll keep bootlegging encounter maps wherever I can find them... :)

Thanks for the chat,

Marsh

Liberty's Edge

Even if the fiction doesn't directly tie into the AP it can often be very useful. I don't think anyone should run a Mwangi game without reading "Plague of Lights" which I think is better at nailing down the feel of the people and cultures of the region than Heat of the Jungle or the rest of the Serpent's Skull AP. So no, keep the fiction.

Sovereign Court

I can see where the OP is coming from but personally I think the fiction helps to round out the adventure path books into something that appeals to more then just a person looking to run the path. Especially when you combine it with the other additional chapters that examination life on Golarion. The different religious over-views, the magic items, the bestiaries and the like all work towards that goal.


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That's probably why it doesn't appeal to me - I convert all the APs over to my own homebrew world, so the "flesh out Golarion" part of the fiction is of no interest to me.


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The fiction is cool, but in Adventure Paths it is a complete waste of space. May as well have an article about the best way to unclog a shower drain. Some people really want an article about unclogging shower drains, useful stuff that is. But APs are not the place. Especially with the recent price hike, I'd rather see all 100 pages of my purchase go toward the adventure and supplementary articles that can be used with the adventure (towns, deities, creatures, etc.)

I also find I'm much more likely to read the web fiction and Pathfinder novels. I never go back to read AP fiction.

I understand the original core of AP subscribers were people replacing a magazine, but as the audience has expanded (greatly), I think more people are getting the APs to run games with and the content should reflect that.


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drumlord wrote:
I also find I'm much more likely to read the web fiction and Pathfinder novels. I never go back to read AP fiction.

This.


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I'm a librarian. I love reading. And I've been a subscriber since Carrion Crown.

But I've never actually read any of the fiction in my APs. Why would I?

For world information, the articles detailing areas/deities/etc are more concise.

For flavor ... well, I've read an awful lot of fantasy novels. Definitely hundreds, probably over a thousand. Between that and the two master's degrees in medieval literature, I've got flavor covered.

More maps would be awesome, but they would probably be expensive to produce.

Grand Lodge

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This topic comes around periodically. I used to be on the side of keeping the fiction, but honestly, I haven't been able to "get into" any of it since Eando Kline signed off (yeah, since AP18, I think). Now, I think I fall into the "don't care" category with regard to the fiction articles.

Maybe it's time to re-evaluate them. Back when Pathfinder first came out, there was no other PF/Golarion fiction source. Now, we have a weekly fiction blog that seems longer than what appears in the AP and we have novels. If you want Pathfinder fiction, it's easy to get for free from the blog or to purchase in novel form. The AP fiction seems woefully lacking in comparison.

However, my opinion would be heavily swayed by what replaced it. miniature scale maps would be a terrible idea. They're too small to be of much use and you would still have to print them or mutilate an AP to use them. Another article would be probably be the best bet.

-Skeld


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I'm a charter AP subscriber, so I'm -- what? 66 issues in now? -- and I have never read any of the fiction in the APs. For me, it's dead space, unlike the articles and bestiary pages that follow the AP itself. Might as well be pages of advertising for all I get out of it.

I'm kind of extreme in the breadth of my dissing of the fiction, though I'm not especially vocal about it; not only do I not subscribe to the published fiction line, and ignore the pages in the AP issues, I even get mildly annoyed at seeing Pathfinder Fiction take up space in the Paizo Blog every week, when there's a perfectly good separate and dedicated Web Fiction tab for me to ignore.

I think I may have read somewhere that the fiction pages in the APs serve to flesh out the associated settings/cultures/whatever, and that may be true, but I don't see why that couldn't be done just as well in additional or expanded gazetteer type articles.

For me it's not just the narrative format, there's also the fact that I more or less ignore the Pathfinder Society in my games, treating it as either non-existent or radically diminished in behavior and influence. Obviously Paizo can't cater to that, but it does make the fiction pages doubly useless to me.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

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While I am not advocating for the removal of anything in particular, I would absolutely LOVE to see the return of a "Maps of Mystery" page. I am still pulling out old issues of Dungeon Magazine and fitting Chris West's maps into my games. They were beautifully done and amazingly versatile.

I'm not sure how expensive, time-intensive, or crazy-making such an addition would be, but I can tell you it would be the single most valuable feature I would take (second only to the adventure itself) from an AP volume.


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Paizo has an irrational love of fiction in the APs. It's not going away.

But I'm still going to say it anyways: the fiction in the APs is a massive waste of space (especially painful when you keep hearing about "page count" issues that have demonstrably caused problems in past APs).

But yeah, I've resigned myself to the fact that the fiction is here to stay. *sigh*

Contributor

The fiction is one of my favorite parts of the APs, and I heartily support its continued inclusion.


I like the fiction. I think the fiction articles help to round out each Pathfinder issue.

Remember that the Pathfinder line isn't just a collection of six-part adventures. Paizo originally put the Pathfinder series together as a replacement for Dungeon and Dragon magazines.

Supplemental articles and, yes, short fiction are baked in to the product-- it's part of what makes it what it is.

I say... if it ain't broke, don't fix it!


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Haladir wrote:
I say... if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

The problem is, it is broke. As Arnwyn mentions, page count, word count, and cutting of adventure bits to meet space requirements have been issues with several APs in the past. The fiction is space that could otherwise be used for expanding the scope of the adventure - smoothing out current text, adding cut or squeezed portions or allowing the space to expand them as necessary, and less of a need to cut portions to fit.


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Christopher Rowe wrote:
The fiction is one of my favorite parts of the APs, and I heartily support its continued inclusion.

Is it really part of the AP, though? or just part of the book that includes the AP?

Can you give me an example of how reading the fiction contributes to the DM's understanding of or preparation for the story the players will be playing out? I'm not trying to be antagonistic here, I just don't know how, or how well, the two are supposedly related.

Pick any AP except Serpent's Skull for your example, as I'm currently a player in that story. I don't want any spoilers.


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basically : fiction always was the weakest part of any "Pathfinder" issue. Anything actually campaign related (and be it longer articles on the other subjects ) would be welcome.

Because, let's face it, it is not always very good fiction (sometimes it was^^).
And maps of mystery, larger maps (done inhouse, right) or repeated maps from previous issues would do the trick quite fine. Even extend the AP by a few pages of stats or descriptions if you do not mind.

Dark Archive

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I like Pathfinder fiction... and that's exactly why I buy and read the Pathfinder novels. In the APs? Not so much. Never once read any of the AP fiction. A waste of space in a publication I buy for adventures and the support articles to run the adventures.
But by the same token it doesn't bother me enough to not purchase an AP. So... eh. Whatever. Just my 2 cp.


Orthos wrote:
The fiction is space that could otherwise be used for expanding the scope of the adventure - smoothing out current text, adding cut or squeezed portions or allowing the space to expand them as necessary, and less of a need to cut portions to fit.

Space limitations don't work like that. If 25% of author submissions are too large for the page restrictions and have to be trimmed down, then increasing the page restrictions doesn't really fix anything; you'll still have authors submitting manuscripts that are too large for the new limit and that will have to be trimmed down.

Like it or not, the fiction is cheap filler (not "cheap" as in bad, but "cheap" as in it doesn't cost a lot of James Jacobs's valuable and limited development time to oversee) and probably won't be going anywhere any time soon.


hogarth wrote:
Orthos wrote:
The fiction is space that could otherwise be used for expanding the scope of the adventure - smoothing out current text, adding cut or squeezed portions or allowing the space to expand them as necessary, and less of a need to cut portions to fit.
Space limitations don't work like that. If 25% of author submissions are too large for the page restrictions and have to be trimmed down, then increasing the page restrictions doesn't really fix anything; you'll still have authors submitting manuscripts that are too large for the new limit and that will have to be trimmed down.

Oh I'm sure that'll always be an issue. Given a limit, there's always someone who'll try to push it to the last, or miss it completely and go over, or what not.

But I fail to see how that negates the point. More space is still more space. They may not have to cut as much of a document that comes to or beyond the (current) limit. And some things that may have been cut before may be able to squeeze in without, or with only minor editing, compared to a larger cut necessary for inclusion in a smaller space.

Never a perfect world, nor do I expect one, but still I can't see this as anything but a plus for the inclusion of more content in the adventure itself =)

Contributor

Damon Griffin wrote:
Is it really part of the AP, though? or just part of the book that includes the AP?

Fair enough. I don't read the pieces for increased understanding or preparation for the story the players will be playing out, to use your words, though I do think that happens organically in some cases. I read them because I enjoy the world of Golarion a lot, and I enjoy fantasy in the forms of short fiction, novellas, and serialized fiction, so, hey-o, nice dovetailing.

This seems to be very much a "to each her or his own" situation, not conducive to "logical" arguments. I happen to like the fiction a lot and hope it stays. Others obviously would rather have something else in its place. My hope is that the opinion of those who like the fiction carries the day, of course.


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hogarth wrote:
Like it or not, the fiction is cheap filler (not "cheap" as in bad, but "cheap" as in it doesn't cost a lot of James Jacobs's valuable and limited development time to oversee) and probably won't be going anywhere any time soon.

The perception is that it is cheap as in bad. Your reading or skimming through a book full of beautiful art and then you get to a completely unrelated little story section with little sketches, like Paizo had run out of money when they got to those pages.

In the world of Pathfinder fiction, if you want to talk about what at a glance is catching people's eyes and what looks the most professional and put together, novels > web fiction > AP fiction.

To those who like the fiction, would you find it objectionable if the very same fiction with the exact same quality was available elsewhere and AP's were solely dedicated to being AP's?

Paizo Employee Developer

Orthos wrote:
hogarth wrote:
Orthos wrote:
The fiction is space that could otherwise be used for expanding the scope of the adventure - smoothing out current text, adding cut or squeezed portions or allowing the space to expand them as necessary, and less of a need to cut portions to fit.
Space limitations don't work like that. If 25% of author submissions are too large for the page restrictions and have to be trimmed down, then increasing the page restrictions doesn't really fix anything; you'll still have authors submitting manuscripts that are too large for the new limit and that will have to be trimmed down.

Oh I'm sure that'll always be an issue. Given a limit, there's always someone who'll try to push it to the last, or miss it completely and go over, or what not.

But I fail to see how that negates the point. More space is still more space. They may not have to cut as much of a document that comes to or beyond the (current) limit. And some things that may have been cut before may be able to squeeze in without, or with only minor editing, compared to a larger cut necessary for inclusion in a smaller space.

Never a perfect world, nor do I expect one, but still I can't see this as anything but a plus for the inclusion of more content in the adventure itself =)

The real thing isn't cutting an author's turnover. The real thing is the second part of hogarth's post—there's just not enough time to expand the adventure that much more. As it is, it takes a month to develop the adventure in each AP installment. Since they come out each month, adding more content to the adventure would make us slip our schedule, which is something no one wants to see.

As for the fiction, we'll do like we always do and weigh decisions based on what people want and what we think is best for the product. This topic comes up from time to time and each time it's nice to see where people stand on it.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Honestly, give then weekly serials and Pathfinder Tales and the way the fiction front of your publishing array has blossomed I'm pretty sure you could drop the fiction out of APs and present it in some standalone format (eg. AP subscribers get a free PDF) and have the resulting space used for something more ... gamey.

I love fiction, I love Dave, Elaine and Kevin and Sir Pett but when I'm shelling out hard money on gaming product, I want gaming product, not a hybrid gaming/fiction.


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Adam Daigle wrote:
The real thing isn't cutting an author's turnover. The real thing is the second part of hogarth's post—there's just not enough time to expand the adventure that much more. As it is, it takes a month to develop the adventure in each AP installment. Since they come out each month, adding more content to the adventure would make us slip our schedule, which is something no one wants to see.

Does this include support articles that are specifically related to the AP at hand?

If so, why, and how does it differ from the fiction?

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

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I'm not a big proponent of the fiction, and wouldn't mind seeing it replaced with something else, but I'm also quite aware that my individual preferences are not necessarily representative of the larger Pathfinder audience and that not all content is specifically for me (or people like me). It's a pretty small chunk of each volume, and the marginal value I might get from a replacement section is, well, pretty marginal.

I don't quite get how maps would be used as a substitute. It seems to me that the pdf is the appropriate/best way to provide scaled maps, or grid maps, or what-have you, and the pdf map tools have improved substantially over the past year or so. As much as I'm indifferent to fiction, I don't see providing additional paper versions of a tool best used in a digital format as an upgrade to the existing product. I'm all for greater utility in maps, but I think the appropriate avenue for increased utility is in the pdf, not in extra pages of maps in the physical product.

Finally, one oft overlooked virtue of fiction is that it teaches appropriate writing skills such as, for example, the use of paragraphs. Paragraphs are a fairly recent innovation in modern communication and allow for the grouping of related thoughts into coherent packages that make reading and comprehending them easier for the reader. It appears that this new form of communication has not filtered down to all readers of Pathfinder APs, and anything that could help raise awareness of this amazing development in written discourse among the larger Pathfinder audience is a net positive in my book.


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Adam Daigle wrote:
The real thing isn't cutting an author's turnover. The real thing is the second part of hogarth's post—there's just not enough time to expand the adventure that much more. As it is, it takes a month to develop the adventure in each AP installment. Since they come out each month, adding more content to the adventure would make us slip our schedule, which is something no one wants to see.

Okay, it makes sense to me that the timeline prohibits expanding the adventure; I'm still unclear on how we sometimes have things already written and then cut for space, and still end up with fiction in those issues (i.e., some of the stuff on Turtleback Ferry in Hook Mountain Massacre.)

Also, a legitimate need for filler to even out the page count every month doesn't automatically translate to a need for fiction. Something like the old Dragon sections Bazaar of the Bizarre, Pages From the Mages, Giants in the Earth or even Sage Advice would provide a forum for publishing magic items, spells, archetypes, PFRPG writeups of famous fictional characters, or FAQ responses, any of which could be quickly tailored for desired length for a given month's AP, and any of which would provide more practical utility than Eando Kline's musings.

Put a Pathfinder's stamp on it, obviously. You wouldn't use Bazaar of the Bizarre but perhaps Relics of the Repository.

Silver Crusade

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Let me start by saying that I am a big fan of the Adventure Paths. I think they are great.

That said, I would not mind seeing the fiction go. I have read a few of the stories, and thought they were okay, but they just don't fit in with why I subscribe to the AP series. I buy the adventure paths to help me run Pathfinder games. When I am looking for fiction, I go elsewhere.

There are many things I would prefer in place of the fiction. Here is a short list of things I would enjoy better:

  • Gamemastery articles and advice.
  • Maps, whether tied to the AP or not.
  • Designer notes.
  • Side adventures, even if it is just possible hooks for expanding the adventure. (I realize some of the APs do this, so I guess I'm really saying "MORE!") :)
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre.
  • Music suggestions.
  • "Inns and Taverns of Varisia." A travel club article, even if it just fleshed out (and crunched out) a single mundane location each month, that can be dropped in just about anywhere.

I'll stop there, since I said it was to be a short list.

I am a huge fan of the adventure paths, so I hope I don't come across as complaining. I just want Paizo to know that I am not getting everything out of the APs that they are putting in.


A page is way too small for a 1" grid map. I recommend using the maps in the AP as simple guidance; just draw lines on a flip mat to be "kind of like" the ones in the book, and go. It's just for combat, after all. Plus, the text descriptions of the rooms are better than a fancy drawing.


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I used to read the AP fiction, but somewhere along the line I've stopped doing it, for no special reason, actually. Gorbacz has the truth in that Paizo's output of Pathfinder fictio hast increased dramatically since the time fiction was originally established as part of an adventure path. Even at the time the switch from the long format of Eando Kline's journal to the current shorter format six-part novellas vaguely associated with the adventure path occurred, there was no other fiction line. Now, there's the bimonthly novel line and weekly web fiction, which really is quite a lot.

So, while I've previously supported keeping the fiction in the AP volumes, today I would not mind if they were actually replaced with something gaming-related, and if it isn't possible to expand the adventure itself—which seem a little weird when we're routinely told that this and that had to be cut for space from almost every volume—then I think I'd prefer another short support article, more NPC spreads, or even an expanded bestiary over keeping the fiction.

I don't think additional maps are a good idea, especially battle scale maps. While those can be useful, having them perfect-bound into an AP volume, I think, reduces that usefulness (of course one could always print them from the PDF). The German edition of Pathfinder Adventure Path usually replaces the ads in the back with reprinted maps from inside the adventures, sometimes half-page maps scaled up to a full page, sometimes full-page maps. While this is a nice idea, I've found that for me the fact that the maps are bound into the book reduces their usefulness, because you still have to flip back and forth.

In any case, I'd also be OK with keeping the fiction, but I've come to a point now where I'd look favorable on any decision to replace it with useful gaming material.


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Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I have never read the AP fiction, and don't plan to start. Those are dead pages to me. I'd love to have other content there instead. I like the old side quests.

Paizo Employee Developer

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Arnwyn wrote:
Adam Daigle wrote:
The real thing isn't cutting an author's turnover. The real thing is the second part of hogarth's post—there's just not enough time to expand the adventure that much more. As it is, it takes a month to develop the adventure in each AP installment. Since they come out each month, adding more content to the adventure would make us slip our schedule, which is something no one wants to see.

Does this include support articles that are specifically related to the AP at hand?

If so, why, and how does it differ from the fiction?

Nope. I was speaking mainly to the adventure, which is Rob's and James' job. The rest of the book is my domain, aside from the fiction that James Sutter outlines, assigns, and develops. If the fiction was removed from the AP I wouldn't imagine seeing longer adventures, but rather additional articles.


I realized that amid my complaints I didn't address the OP. I don't need more maps in the AP usually, and certainly not 1" scale maps. PDFs are great for that kind of thing. I see Adam's point too about not being able to simply expand the adventure. Mostly I'd like the pages to be used for expanded or extra supplemental material (city, creature, npc, deity articles) related to the AP. This is why people love Sandpoint so much, because we got so much information about its locations and NPCs.

And hey, if we're keeping fiction, why not make that fiction actually related to the AP? Why not have a story of Nualia's life before Runelords, or how the Master of the Gales became so badass before Skull and Shackles? Or what Thassilonian life was like for the various Thassilonian NPCs that show up in those APs? That's the kind of fiction I'd at least be interested to look through as an AP GM and may even be useful in running it.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

drumlord wrote:


And hey, if we're keeping fiction, why not make that fiction actually related to the AP? Why not have a story of Nualia's life before Runelords, or how the Master of the Gales became so badass before Skull and Shackles? Or what Thassilonian life was like for the various Thassilonian NPCs that show up in those APs? That's the kind of fiction I'd at least be interested to look through as an AP GM and may even be useful in running it.

The Paizoians can speak to this better than me, but my understanding is that there are some logistical problems with tying the fiction tightly to the APs. The APs are something of a moving target, with a large number of moving pieces handled by different people. It's already a pretty big challenge to get the art to match the text to match the maps and then have each AP match up to the subsequent AP without also tying the fiction tightly to the adventure. It'd probably be very difficult to get the details of the fiction to match the details of the adventure, particularly with so many other balls in the air.

That said, but for the logistics, I wouldn't mind seeing fiction along the lines of what you're suggesting. I'm not certain I'd read it, but I like the concept.


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Sebastian wrote:
That said, but for the logistics, I wouldn't mind seeing fiction along the lines of what you're suggesting. I'm not certain I'd read it, but I like the concept.

I could get behind that kind of fiction. Nualia's back story as a short story, maybe even one episode only, that could have been awesome.


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Sebastian wrote:
I'm...quite aware that my individual preferences are not necessarily representative of the larger Pathfinder audience and that not all content is specifically for me (or people like me). It's a pretty small chunk of each volume, and the marginal value I might get from a replacement section is, well, pretty marginal.

Agreed, which is why I usually just ignore it rather than comment on it. It's not that big a deal to me but after six years of buying stuff I don't use, as long as this thread was here, I figured, eh, might as well cast a vote.

Sebastian wrote:
Finally, one oft overlooked virtue of fiction is that it teaches appropriate writing skills such as, for example, the use of paragraphs. It appears that this new form of communication has not filtered down to all readers of Pathfinder APs, and anything that could help raise awareness of this amazing development in written discourse among the larger Pathfinder audience is a net positive in my book.

I don't really disagree with you here, but I will point out that properly formatted and punctuated fiction is available in hundreds of millions of other publications as well as the Web Fiction tab of the daily Paizo blogs. There's really no need for Paizo to devote a significant fraction of its monthly AP output toward educating the masses in Strunk & White's Elements of Style. I have to believe that close to 100% of all readers of APs read other things as well.

Webstore Gninja Minion

I think people are vastly underestimating the time and effort involved in creating a decent map, particularly if drawn to "battlemap size."

Kajehase wrote:
Maps are art. Art is more expensive than text.

Exactly this.

Senior Editor/Fiction Editor

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Sebastian wrote:


The Paizoians can speak to this better than me, but my understanding is that there are some logistical problems with tying the fiction tightly to the APs. The APs are something of a moving target, with a large number of moving pieces handled by different people. It's already a pretty big challenge to get the art to match the text to match the maps and then have each AP match up to the subsequent AP without also tying the fiction tightly to the adventure. It'd probably be very difficult to get the details of the fiction to match the details of the adventure, particularly with so many other balls in the air.

We've actually discussed this idea, and Sebastian is right on the money--the more things are tied together, the harder it is to pull everything off, as instead of just trying to develop a freelancer's turnover, you're trying to develop a freelancer's turnover while making sure that it matches *another* freelancer's developed turnover, all simultaneously and with different developers.

That said, though, I want to make it clear that AP fiction--and really, anything about APs--is not set in stone, as some folks have stated. As the guy ultimately in charge of the fiction, I feel some of the same conflict displayed in this thread. While there are admittedly a lot of logistical and business factors related to whether or not the AP fiction continues (or continues in its current form), the issue will ultimately be decided based on whether people want it, and what might reasonably replace it if it were to be removed.

So please, regardless of which side of the fence you're on, don't be shy about giving us your opinions! If you'd rather that space be filled with more support articles (longer adventures is *not* an option), tell us that, as well as what sorts of additional articles you'd like to see. If you're one of those people who rarely has time to run adventures but devours each fiction installment as it comes in, or who uses the fiction to get yourself or your players further into Golarion, let us know that too. Change can be healthy, but as has been noted, we'd need to see a real groundswell--and have a solid idea of what to run instead--in order to change the format of our flagship product.

So what do you think?


drumlord wrote:
I realized that amid my complaints I didn't address the OP. I don't need more maps in the AP usually, and certainly not 1" scale maps. PDFs are great for that kind of thing. I see Adam's point too about not being able to simply expand the adventure. Mostly I'd like the pages to be used for expanded or extra supplemental material (city, creature, npc, deity articles) related to the AP. This is why people love Sandpoint so much, because we got so much information about its locations and NPCs.

This is the kind of thing I could go for as well.

The fiction... the biggest problem, for me, is the lack of connection to the story. As I stated before, I don't run my games in Golarion, I port them over to my homebrew setting. So stories serving mainly to flesh out Golarion... well, no real interest I'm afraid. And when the story has little to nothing to do with the AP I'm running, that kills the remainder of whatever interest I had in it. It just becomes a part of the AP that never gets used, never gets looked at, essentially a placeholder.

So yeah. Expand on cities, expand on geography, expand on specific NPCs, expand on monsters and ecology. (Heck, a return of the Ecology of the ________ articles would thrill me.) Those kinds of things. Stuff that can get used in the adventure, as well as outside of it, and by GMs who for one reason or another aren't running their stuff in Golarion.

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