Open Letter to Paizo RE: Pathfinder


Paizo General Discussion

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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Kthulhu wrote:
Personally, I could also deal with a scaling-back of new rules content (and even some of the rules-oriented setting material). I could easily deal with the Player's Companion line being scaled back to 3-4 books per year, and the rulebook line back to one bestiary per year, and maybe another rulebook every year or two. That would leave the real meat of the setting material (Campaign Setting books and the AP volumes) at it's current rate, while turning the dial back on the inevitable power creep and abundance of the abhorrent "Timmy Cards". Maybe with the time they saved they could bring the Module line back to bi-monthly or even monthly, while keeping the recent increased page count. I personally find actual adventures more interesting than "Ooze-Slayer's Guide, Part III".

Quick quiz. The first four questions are multiple choice, where the choices are "Mostly Players," "Mostly GMs," or "Both."

1. Who buys rulebooks?
2: Who buys Player Companions?
3. Who buys Campaign Setting books?
4. Who buys adventures?

5. Which are there more of: players or GMs?

6. If you want to sell a lot of books, what do the answers to the above questions tell you about your strategy?


Jrcmarine wrote:


John, that seemed a bit snappish to me.

You might be right...in which case I apologize to Desna's Avatar. I was just going for blunt.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Kthulhu wrote:

Paizo grinds the interns into meat so that the senior staff may live.

Savanna Broadway (no, she was an intern, not a stripper) escaped.

Expect major turnover soon.

Are you sure that the senior staff is still alive?


Desna's Avatar wrote:
Golarion setting isn't NEARLY as fleshed out as it could be. That's my point...

You know, there's already more Golarion lore printed than I will ever read and certainly massively more than I will memorize.

I've already got all the campaign-setting material I can cope with but I'm okay with balance. If Paizo reduces crunch output, I guarantee my purchasing will be similarly reduced. While you will evidently pick up the slack to purchase their fluff, it's not a given that overall they'll see a net improvement.

Again, balance. Do not bemoan that things are being printed that aren't for you as long as there are things being printed that are.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:

Quick quiz. The first four questions are multiple choice, where the choices are "Mostly Players," "Mostly GMs," or "Both."

1. Who buys rulebooks?
2: Who buys Player Companions?
3. Who buys Campaign Setting books?
4. Who buys adventures?

I actually dont have a clue, but my answers would be:

1. Both
2. Both
3. Mostly GMs (with quite a few players)
4. Mostly GMs (with not many players)

is that right?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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OP,

I am not familiar with the FR source book you referenced (I refused to play 4E) but I have been assuming you meant something like the "From the Ashes" Greyhawk Box Set or the "Menzoberranzan" boxed set. Would that be an accurate assumption? If so I would love to see something like that put out. Those sets were heavy on the "story" yet also added spells, gear, sometimes new classes and new maps.

I too don't have a problem with new rules, classes, feats, etc. and I think one of your points was that you would like to see those things integrated in a more setting specific manner which would necessitate more fleshing out of the world? Does that seem correct?

Paizo has to be careful not to follow in the footsteps of TSR. Early TSR cut its teeth on modules. Core Rule Books were put out every couple of years and large projects like a boxed set were created every few years. When TSR began to publish massive amounts of all of the above, we know what happened.

Paizo faces a unique challenge in that The gaming populace is much larger, more age diverse and more socially diverse than ever before- a problem TSR and WoTC failed to accurately address. In addition those challenes, Paizo has to put out content a lot faster than companies had to in the past. Yes they have to pay their employees and as a business have to please shareholders, but more importantly they must satisfy the wants and needs of the aforementioned diverse groups. A lot of those groups already have a basic grasp of the basics of Pathfinder. In fact they had it before it was released because it was based on 3.0/3.5. So while I am a content junkie, much like yourself, a lot of players are not and unless new material is released that gives them new options they become bored.

I agree that format, layout and integration should be used more than it currently is used to blend the addition of content and rules. I also believe the people at Paizo are trying to do his. The beautiful thing about these forums and my favorite aspect of Paizo is that its employees not only troll these posts but actually take the time to respond and in many cases heed the suggestions of posters or at the very least consider them. It is a sign of a company that cares about the players more than the almighty dollar.

Webstore Gninja Minion

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Jrcmarine wrote:
Yes they have to pay their employees and as a business have to please shareholders, but more importantly they must satisfy the wants and needs of the aforementioned diverse groups.

Paizo is a privately owned company and doesn't have shareholders (in a publicly owned company sense).

Jrcmarine wrote:
The beautiful thing about these forums and my favorite aspect of Paizo is that its employees not only troll these posts but actually take the time to respond and in many cases heed the suggestions of posters or at the very least consider them.

"Troll" might not be the best word choice here—trawl, perhaps?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

A privately owned company has shareholders, depending on its structure. At the very least it has owners which are the same thing as shareholders.

As for troll vs. Trawl.... What? You didn't like my pun?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Steve Geddes wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:

Quick quiz. The first four questions are multiple choice, where the choices are "Mostly Players," "Mostly GMs," or "Both."

1. Who buys rulebooks?
2: Who buys Player Companions?
3. Who buys Campaign Setting books?
4. Who buys adventures?

I actually dont have a clue, but my answers would be:

1. Both
2. Both
3. Mostly GMs (with quite a few players)
4. Mostly GMs (with not many players)

is that right?

Pretty much. Wanna take a shot at 5 and 6?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Jrcmarine wrote:
A privately owned company has shareholders, depending on its structure. At the very least it has owners which are the same thing as shareholders.

As an LLC, we have "members," of which there are two: Lisa and me.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:

Quick quiz. The first four questions are multiple choice, where the choices are "Mostly Players," "Mostly GMs," or "Both."

1. Who buys rulebooks?
2: Who buys Player Companions?
3. Who buys Campaign Setting books?
4. Who buys adventures?

I actually dont have a clue, but my answers would be:

1. Both
2. Both
3. Mostly GMs (with quite a few players)
4. Mostly GMs (with not many players)

is that right?

Pretty much. Wanna take a shot at 5 and 6?

Those are the easy ones. Although, having said that, one of the biggest surprises to me when I discovered Paizo was how well the APs do and how central they are (or were anyway) to your business. I would have confidently and erroneously predicted they'd be too DM focussed to be big sellers.

.
I've reconciled myself to the fact that, when it comes to RPG supplements, what I want is quite a way from what most of the RPG world wants. Luckily, I also quite like what they want anyway. (Though I'm still going to keep nagging about an extravagant and expensive Absalom boxed set).

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Troller!

or

Trawler if you prefer.

I am very familiar with business structures. As the CFO for the company I work for I have to. Regardless your shareholders, owners, members, etc. have to expect a decent ROI and require the company to take the appropriate steps to ensure viability and profitability.

And now that I have garnered at least a smidgeon of your attention, what are the chances of a boxed set product as mentioned above? :-)

Shadow Lodge

Steve Geddes wrote:
I've reconciled myself to the fact that, when it comes to RPG supplements, what I want is quite a way from what most of the RPG world wants. Luckily, I also quite like what they want anyway. (Though I'm still going to keep nagging about an extravagant and expensive Absalom boxed set).

Yeah, what I described was more what I WISHED Paizo would do rather than what I think they will actually do, or even what I would seriously request. It's what Paizo would do in the Ideal World According to Kthulhu. Unfortunately, that place diverges pretty wildly from how the world actually is.

For example: It's 2013...where the hell is my flying car already?!?!?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

The flying car's carbon footprint is too large. But the flying bicycle might make it!


Kthulhu wrote:

Paizo grinds the interns into meat so that the senior staff may live.

Savanna Broadway (no, she was an intern, not a stripper) escaped.

Expect major turnover soon.

Or so we were told...

But what if it is only a ruse to silence suspicions of the masses? How do we know that Savannah that supposedly escaped is the same Savannah that came here in the first place? How do we know that the escapee isn't one of their minions now? One of their tools, perhaps a simulacrum, perhaps a mind-controlled clone, perhaps just a shapeshifter that replaced her while she lingers somewhere in the vaults of the Paizo warehouse...


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I think there are alot of good points made here..so far i think paizo is doing a great job..the world books are my favorite so yes i want more, more , and more...i think its a testement to the skills of the pazio crew that there are those of us that want to learn more of the secrets of glorian that we are impatient..we all have our wants some of us want the focus to shift away from varisa for awhile, others want a full on hold of belkzen ap..whatever our wants i think we can all rest assured with the talent at hand and those steering the wheel we will get to all of those places that we cant wait to read more about..


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Lord Fyre wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:

Paizo grinds the interns into meat so that the senior staff may live.

Savanna Broadway (no, she was an intern, not a stripper) escaped.

Expect major turnover soon.

Are you sure that the senior staff is still alive?

That is not dead which can eternal lie,

And with strange aeons even death may die.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

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Vic Wertz wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
Personally, I could also deal with a scaling-back of new rules content (and even some of the rules-oriented setting material). I could easily deal with the Player's Companion line being scaled back to 3-4 books per year, and the rulebook line back to one bestiary per year, and maybe another rulebook every year or two. That would leave the real meat of the setting material (Campaign Setting books and the AP volumes) at it's current rate, while turning the dial back on the inevitable power creep and abundance of the abhorrent "Timmy Cards". Maybe with the time they saved they could bring the Module line back to bi-monthly or even monthly, while keeping the recent increased page count. I personally find actual adventures more interesting than "Ooze-Slayer's Guide, Part III".

Quick quiz. The first four questions are multiple choice, where the choices are "Mostly Players," "Mostly GMs," or "Both."

1. Who buys rulebooks?
2: Who buys Player Companions?
3. Who buys Campaign Setting books?
4. Who buys adventures?

5. Which are there more of: players or GMs?

6. If you want to sell a lot of books, what do the answers to the above questions tell you about your strategy?

Hopefully the net result isn't "ignore the GMs."

Because I'll ask a counter question. Of the people who buy ALL the books, how many are GMs and how many are players, you think?

Verdant Wheel

I really dont think that Paizo has to prove anymore their love for the gms.


Kthulhu wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I've reconciled myself to the fact that, when it comes to RPG supplements, what I want is quite a way from what most of the RPG world wants. Luckily, I also quite like what they want anyway. (Though I'm still going to keep nagging about an extravagant and expensive Absalom boxed set).

Yeah, what I described was more what I WISHED Paizo would do rather than what I think they will actually do, or even what I would seriously request. It's what Paizo would do in the Ideal World According to Kthulhu. Unfortunately, that place diverges pretty wildly from how the world actually is.

For example: It's 2013...where the hell is my flying car already?!?!?

[threadjack]Where is my hoverboard?[/threadjack]


Uh...Oceanshieldwolf *Knock knock knock*, HELLO!. THOSE DONT COME OUT TILL 2015!


At least Paizo doesn't oversupply us with classes and prestige classes like 3.5 did. I'm happy with the speed that things are being developed.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Draco Bahamut wrote:
I really dont think that Paizo has to prove anymore their love for the gms.

You can say that, but if they're going to base decisions on market majorities, the GMs become subject to the tyranny of the masses.

GMs are always outnumbered by players, kinda by definition.


Vic Wertz wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:

Quick quiz. The first four questions are multiple choice, where the choices are "Mostly Players," "Mostly GMs," or "Both."

1. Who buys rulebooks?
2: Who buys Player Companions?
3. Who buys Campaign Setting books?
4. Who buys adventures?

I actually dont have a clue, but my answers would be:

1. Both
2. Both
3. Mostly GMs (with quite a few players)
4. Mostly GMs (with not many players)

is that right?

Pretty much. Wanna take a shot at 5 and 6?

I can add to even Vics post if I might.

In this example, we have 3 GMs in the city in which I live who I know quite well. They have been playing Pathfinder for varying amounts of time but all for a not insignificant amount of time. Well name them Jeremy(me), Dan, and Fred, and just for fun I will throw in my buddy Manny from Nova Scotia.
Jeremy(me)- is the oldest GM has been collecting RPG stuff for more than a decade and has all the Pathfinder stuff printed by Paizo and some 3PP stuff.
Dan- Has been playing Pathfinder for a few years, owns a lot of the hardcovers and a few AP issues and nothing else.
Fred- owns just the core rulebook.
Manny- Owns a few hardcovers and about a dozen AP issues. (Which he only subscribed to the AP line because I constantly bugged him to do so)

The players that play in these groups 12 of them own a core rulebook, of 16 players.
Now take a look at what everyone owns, and how much of it is setting stuff. I don`t know how typical this is, but since I knew a lot of GMs I`d throw down the statistics of what everyone had. Sad to say but the Crunch stuff seems to get the biggest sales in this scenario.
Edit: I am not saying that this is the typical scenario. I am not saying that this is the end all be all truth, I am saying this is the situation I see within my circle of friends and acquaintances. Though Vic and Lisa would know how typical this scenario is saleswise.

Liberty's Edge

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I don't think it was implied that they ignore GMs... or that it's even a simple A => B kind of equation!

There are more players, so there is obviously going to be more sales of books that can be bought by players and GMs alike. However, GMs tend to buy more in general, from adventure modules, game aids such as maps and minis, through to world/setting material and rulebooks.

It's not exactly a simple matter to know whether putting out X more product in the "GM-only" lines is worth cutting Y products in the "player-friendly" lines... but judging by Paizo's general economic success (presumed from their reprints of various rulebooks and the rate at which they are hiring new staff!) they have got a good balance at the moment.

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:


Quick quiz. The first four questions are multiple choice, where the choices are "Mostly Players," "Mostly GMs," or "Both."

1. Who buys rulebooks?
2: Who buys Player Companions?
3. Who buys Campaign Setting books?
4. Who buys adventures?

5. Which are there more of: players or GMs?

6. If you want to sell a lot of books, what do the answers to the above questions tell you about your strategy?

I subscribed to each of the lines mentioned above before I was playing, and bought my 3.0 D&D PHB at least 2 years before I played my first game and by then I owned/read over 40 2nd edition modules and over 20 Dragon magazines.... so I might not be the best to ask these... So I'll just go based off the store I do odd shifts for:

1. CRB: Both Anything past that: GMS
2. Both(worst selling line in the store prior to the update, now even with chronicles) (3/1 GM/Player ratio)
3. Both* (5/6/4 GM/Player/no group ratio)
4. Both** (1/1/1 GM/Player/no group ratio)
4A(APs) Both** (3/2/5 GM/Player/no group ratio)

*just as many people who do not have a group buy them to read about the world as either of the other demographics...

** largest demographic people who buy them do not have a group and get them to read about the world

5. Active or potential? actively players, potentially the same number with PFS growing, I have seen the gap shrink considerably

6.GMs, because most of the 'casual' players won't buy anything past the CRB unless their GM shows them something in a book that fits them enough that they HAVE to have it.


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There may be a lot of noise in this thread, but Enpeze really gets hits the nail on the head. It's not about the amount of setting material, it's depth of setting material that Golarion really lacks. Neil Spicer also does a really good job of focusing the discussion. It's a shame that Neil's post is hidden behind a spoiler button.

I could just repeat their points, I could voice how much I want to have adventures in the Empire of Taldor but can't feasibly do it due to how sparse the canon is, I could talk about how combat-heavy the APs are and how it would be nice to let the players bask in canon rather than run them through many, many combats in grid-lined areas, but instead I'll just highlight these two posts, so that these brilliant posts might get less-lost in all the noise.

What I will say, though, is that Paizo produces canon so I can buy it and not have to make it up myself. Paizo produces APs so I can buy them and not have to make up my own adventures. Telling someone to fill in the details of APs or of Golarion themselves is telling them to turn away from Paizo products.

-Matt


I'm not all that big on published settings, but I think Golarion has plenty of detailed info on it between the Inner World Sea Guide, the various adventure paths, and all those other little things floating around. I think if you put it all together, it's really a very detailed world. I suspect that anybody who thinks otherwise is cherry-picking what he will acknowledge as setting-specific, and is ignoring the rest just so he can make his point.

Pathfinder is nowhere near as bloated as 3.5 was by this time. As a GM who has ALWAYS - since 1st Edition - built his own adventures in his own worlds, I like having vanilla rules. Acting like this is a new phenomenon is either disingenuous or ignorant. We've always been around. The DMs I played with, as well as myself ALWAYS transported locations and adventures (such as those from Greyhawk) to our own worlds, and then wrote mostly original material around them - when we used them at all.

I'm going to be honest - there's a lot of whining, and a lot of misinformation, assumption and plain old you-don't-know-what-you're-talking-about going on in this thread. There are a lot of egos flying around here, clouding these issues. Everybody needs to take a breath. You are not being attacked, nor is your style of playing - or anybody's - in danger of going extinct.

What I would like to see from Paizo, would be genre-specific rulesets. For instance, there's a lot of Lovecraftian stuff in some of these adventure paths and minor books, but how about a book with the rules tweaked for maximum detective work and lower-powered heroes, as that genre deserves? Okay, that's really Chaosium's area, but as an example, you can see what I mean. I'm not talking about just new monsters and locales, I mean something tweaked to better suit the genre in question. You could also do a tweak on something apocolyptic, with appropriate tweaks. Or maybe pure sword and sorcery. Similar to how d20 Modern was to 3.5 That sort of thing.

Yes, I know third parties do that, but I would be interested in Paizo's take on at least SOME of those genres.


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Mattastrophic wrote:
...I want to have adventures in the Empire of Taldor but can't feasibly do it due to how sparse the canon is...

I think this is the point where I, and maybe a few others, get lost. What is preventing you from having an adventure set in Taldor? If you need a butcher's shop on the corner of Main St. and Stavian Ln. in Oppara, and you need the butcher to be a retired soldier who is having troubles with the Ulfen huscarls hired to guard the grand prince, while the High Strategos Maxillar Pythareus takes a cut of their extortions, and the only Cleric/Champion remaining at the Basilica of the Last Man struggles to help the the poor butcher despite having no divine powers, etc., etc., etc... you can have all of that. You don't need it printed in a 64 page book, to do so.

Less canon means more room for creativity.


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Jrcmarine wrote:

OP,

I am not familiar with the FR source book you referenced (I refused to play 4E) but I have been assuming you meant something like the "From the Ashes" Greyhawk Box Set or the "Menzoberranzan" boxed set. Would that be an accurate assumption? If so I would love to see something like that put out. Those sets were heavy on the "story" yet also added spells, gear, sometimes new classes and new maps.

I too don't have a problem with new rules, classes, feats, etc. and I think one of your points was that you would like to see those things integrated in a more setting specific manner which would necessitate more fleshing out of the world? Does that seem correct?

Paizo has to be careful not to follow in the footsteps of TSR. Early TSR cut its teeth on modules. Core Rule Books were put out every couple of years and large projects like a boxed set were created every few years. When TSR began to publish massive amounts of all of the above, we know what happened.

Paizo faces a unique challenge in that The gaming populace is much larger, more age diverse and more socially diverse than ever before- a problem TSR and WoTC failed to accurately address. In addition those challenes, Paizo has to put out content a lot faster than companies had to in the past. Yes they have to pay their employees and as a business have to please shareholders, but more importantly they must satisfy the wants and needs of the aforementioned diverse groups. A lot of those groups already have a basic grasp of the basics of Pathfinder. In fact they had it before it was released because it was based on 3.0/3.5. So while I am a content junkie, much like yourself, a lot of players are not and unless new material is released that gives them new options they become bored.

I agree that format, layout and integration should be used more than it currently is used to blend the addition of content and rules. I also believe the people at Paizo are trying to do his. The beautiful thing about these forums and my favorite aspect of Paizo is that...

I don't play 4th Edition either. However, that Greenwood book is so full of juicy goodness that it adds tremendously to my Pathfinder campaign.

And yes, fairly accurate assumptions, and yes, that does seem correct. Basically, you hit the nail on the head.

I appreciate you taking the time to actually attempt to understand what I am getting at, rather than getting defensive or attacking me.

I agree that Paizo is a company where there is actually hope that these improvements can occur.


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Mattastrophic wrote:

There may be a lot of noise in this thread, but Enpeze really gets hits the nail on the head. It's not about the amount of setting material, it's depth of setting material that Golarion really lacks. Neil Spicer also does a really good job of focusing the discussion. It's a shame that Neil's post is hidden behind a spoiler button.

I could just repeat their points, I could voice how much I want to have adventures in the Empire of Taldor but can't feasibly do it due to how sparse the canon is, I could talk about how combat-heavy the APs are and how it would be nice to let the players bask in canon rather than run them through many, many combats in grid-lined areas, but instead I'll just highlight these two posts, so that these brilliant posts might get less-lost in all the noise.

What I will say, though, is that Paizo produces canon so I can buy it and not have to make it up myself. Paizo produces APs so I can buy them and not have to make up my own adventures. Telling someone to fill in the details of APs or of Golarion themselves is telling them to turn away from Paizo products.

-Matt

+1, and yes, both of those posts are excellent.

James Jacobs seemed to have no problem eventually understanding what I was saying, and encouraging me to "hang in there", that eventually Pathfinder will be fleshed out to the extent I and others would like to see it fleshed out.

So I'll pass along that encouragement mate.

And I also think it's hilarious that certain individuals are telling me to come up with material on my own (which I do plenty of). If I did solely that, I wouldn't need a game, adventures, or rules to purchase. I would simply have designed them all myself. Everyone here relies on Paizo for creation, and asking them to "create" is not exactly beyond the pale.


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John Kretzer wrote:
Desna's Avatar wrote:

I think there's a balance with is obtainable. To a lesser extent, I enjoy new rules, feats, etc. if they fit and matter in the context of a world that I care about. But I also want to know more about that world, and have depth enough granted to it that I actually care about it, it's people, places, and things. If that's the case, I'll care much more about any associated spells, feats, etc.

Definitely appreciate all the opinions here. Many seem to be missing my point entirely, and although I've restated and re-framed it many a time already, some seem to have a different paradigm. That's fine, and I'll let it lie.

See here is the thing....you want Pazio to cater to you...and your group. That is just a really stupid bussiness model. Lets say they start making the perfect product for you...and than go right out of bussiness. Because some of there customers just are not interested in Golarion...or some of their customers like new option...but since what any given person will like will vary their few tidbits of feats, spells, etc that you like just don't keep them all happy...some don't want to see this level of detail in Golarion...some want to see a ton of new options come out...etc. I really just don't understand people's need for everything to be perrfectly to their taste in the RPG.

Anyway here is a possible solution that might help you out. On this message board there are...what hundred's of GMs and players who could help you out. And you don't even have to pay for it. Need a town with NPCs and such...start a thread.

Though I don't know what Pazio's policy or reaction to this would be.

Come now. We all want what we want, and we want more of it. :)

I'm not exactly unique there.

So yes, just like you, and everyone else, I would love it if Paizo could effectively cater to my desires.

However, I don't expect them to do so unless it's financially feasible. That's reality.

I don't expect "everything to be perfectly to my taste". It never has been, nor will it ever be. That's sort of a strawman. I personally was never arguing for that, nor do I expect that.

Paizo is in the business of creation. I am simply communicating what I would like to see created.


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The Crusader wrote:
If you need a butcher's shop on the corner of Main St. and Stavian Ln. in Oppara...

I may not need to know about every butcher's shop, but there are a few areas where the canon is really lacking:

-Government structure. How is the Empire governed? How is it set up? Who are the key players? What are their titles? How much autonomy do the individual provinces have? What about the central government in Oppara? Is there a set of departments/ministries/etc?

-Religion. I know that Aroden used to be really big in Taldor, but I know nothing of the religion of the Empire, other than that there's an illegal cult of Sarenrae.

-Culture. What do Taldans, rich and poor, enjoy doing? What do they like to eat? What does a Taldan aspire to when he grows up? Do Taldans follow the dogma of a particular religion? Do they define their world by what is told to them or through logic?

-The royalty. I know that Taldor has a Grand Prince who has only one daughter. Is he married? If so, what's his wife's name? Why has he not produced an heir? What would happen if Stavian III were to die? Who would the throne pass to?

-The nobility. Who are the prominent families? Which lands do they govern? What are Taldor's noble titles, and how do they rank? What are some of their heraldry?

-The merchant and peasant classes. How does Taldor acquire wealth? What are the surplus-producing crops? What about crafted goods?

I could go on and on. In order to run a campaign in the Empire of Taldor, I need more than what Taldor, Echoes of Glory tells me. Looking at the book, I count 18-20 pages of setting material and ten pages of rules items. I know how the OP feels, as I so wish those ten pages had useful setting material in them. All it took was a single sentence to spark the broad strokes of my campaign ("...the princess opposes its continuation and is currently building support among the Senate for her ursurpation of the throne upon her father's death.") but it will take more than a sentence to have a setting where the campaign can take place.

The Crusader wrote:

you can have all of that. You don't need it printed in a 64 page book, to do so.

Less canon means more room for creativity.

Again, Paizo produces canon so I can buy it and not have to make it up myself. I suck at worldbuilding. I am better at plot. I would much rather focus my limited time and energy on crafting the plot and the encounters in my specific campaign and pay Paizo for the setting it takes place in.

-Matt


Desna's Avatar wrote:

Come now. We all want what we want, and we want more of it. :)

I'm not exactly unique there.

True.

Desna's Avatar wrote:
So yes, just like you, and everyone else, I would love it if Paizo could effectively cater to my desires.

Actualy this is not true...in regards to me. I perfer to keep a open mind about things. If they catered exclusively to my desire...I would not have the things that they have done that have broaden my taste.

Mmmm I guess maybe the do catered to my desire in part as I want then to be open mind about everything from lore to mechanics which they have been great about.

Desna's Avatar wrote:

However, I don't expect them to do so unless it's financially feasible. That's reality.

I don't expect "everything to be perfectly to my taste". It never has been, nor will it ever be. That's sort of a strawman. I personally was never arguing for that, nor do I expect that.

Paizo is in the business of creation. I am simply communicating what I would like to see created.

Sure...I get that...requesting is never harmful. Heck I'll point to where to a thread I started that requests more Hardcovers books supporting the Campaign world.

But you should not begrudge somebosy else stateing their desires either. Which to me was kinda of what the WoW statement was.


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Mattastrophic wrote:
The Crusader wrote:
If you need a butcher's shop on the corner of Main St. and Stavian Ln. in Oppara...

I may not need to know about every butcher's shop, but there are a few areas where the canon is really lacking:

-Government structure. How is the Empire governed? How is it set up? Who are the key players? What are their titles? How much autonomy do the individual provinces have? What about the central government in Oppara? Is there a set of departments/ministries/etc?

-Religion. I know that Aroden used to be really big in Taldor, but I know nothing of the religion of the Empire, other than that there's an illegal cult of Sarenrae.

-Culture. What do Taldans, rich and poor, enjoy doing? What do they like to eat? What does a Taldan aspire to when he grows up? Do Taldans follow the dogma of a particular religion? Do they define their world by what is told to them or through logic?

-The royalty. I know that Taldor has a Grand Prince who has only one daughter. Is he married? If so, what's his wife's name? Why has he not produced an heir? What would happen if Stavian III were to die? Who would the throne pass to?

-The nobility. Who are the prominent families? Which lands do they govern? What are Taldor's noble titles, and how do they rank? What are some of their heraldry?

-The merchant and peasant classes. How does Taldor acquire wealth? What are the surplus-producing crops? What about crafted goods?

I could go on and on. In order to run a campaign in the Empire of Taldor, I need more than what Taldor, Echoes of Glory tells me. Looking at the book, I count 18-20 pages of setting material and ten pages of rules items. I know how the OP feels, as I so wish those ten pages had useful setting material in them. All it took was a single sentence to spark the broad strokes of my campaign ("...the princess opposes its continuation and is currently building support among the Senate for her ursurpation of the throne upon her father's death.") but it will take more than a sentence to have a...

Thank you for writting what i felt, yet could not say.

I would also like to know about the economy of Taldor. What are its exports? Who trades?
If i set up a thieves guild, what are they likely to be stealing.

Also, as cannon material, it would help new players have a better understanding of what is going on.

I do not understand the reluctance of making more money by publishing such material. I would like it to make me a better player, as well as GM.


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Mattastrophic wrote:
-Government structure. How is the Empire governed? How is it set up? Who are the key players? What are their titles? How much autonomy do the individual provinces have? What about the central government in Oppara? Is there a set of departments/ministries/etc?

It's a crumbling monarchy. Names, make some up, and stat/flesh out the ones you need for your story (you would have to do this anyway). Titles (see Names). As much/little as you need. Not strong (according to canon, adjust if necessary). From the ISWG: "Thousands of noble houses, claiming heritage dating back to the earliest days of empire constantly jockey for position and control of the various departments of the nation's complex bureaucracy."

Mattastrophic wrote:
-Religion. I know that Aroden used to be really big in Taldor, but I know nothing of the religion of the Empire, other than that there's an illegal cult of Sarenrae.

Arodenites are still around (Basilica of the Last Man), plus Abadar, Calistria, Cayden, Norgorber, Sarenrae, Shelyn.

Mattastrophic wrote:
-Culture. What do Taldans, rich and poor, enjoy doing? What do they like to eat? What does a Taldan aspire to when he grows up? Do Taldans follow the dogma of a particular religion? Do they define their world by what is told to them or through logic?

From ISWG: "...beneath a pretense of high society and avant-garde culture..." What do they eat (Really, you can't handle that one?)? Being a more powerful/successful Taldan. If they're religious. Yes or no, much like the way people differ across the board.

Mattastrophic wrote:
-The royalty. I know that Taldor has a Grand Prince who has only one daughter. Is he married? If so, what's his wife's name? Why has he not produced an heir? What would happen if Stavian III were to die? Who would the throne pass to?

If it helps the story. Still stuck on names (so, Cynthia... why not?). Who says the daughter can't be heir? Political upheaval, or a smooth transition of power (whichever helps your story). The one strong enough to take it.

Mattastrophic wrote:
-The nobility. Who are the prominent families? Which lands do they govern? What are Taldor's noble titles, and how do they rank? What are some of their heraldry?

Still just names (some are listed in various places, like Tilernos). The ones you need them to for your story. Titles, still see names, then put them in order of rank. Lions, Eagles, Dragons, maybe a Sheep, Towers, Stags....

Mattastrophic wrote:
-The merchant and peasant classes. How does Taldor acquire wealth? What are the surplus-producing crops? What about crafted goods?

By providing goods and services at a price for profit (also, stealing underpants). Ummm... corn and sorghum (why not?). Monogrammed towels and Taldan pottery.

Mattastrophic wrote:
I could go on and on. In order to run a campaign in the Empire of Taldor, I need more than what Taldor, Echoes of Glory tells me... All it took was a single sentence to spark the broad strokes of my campaign

No, you don't need more. You just fill in the blanks.

Dark Archive

Part of the fun for me has always been to put the fine touches on these things. Books like the Inner Sea World Guide are great because they give you just enough to still have some artistic license of your own to shape them into your campaign. If you do not like doing that kind of stuff, GMing might not be your thing, which is fine. Just like players are responsible for the background of their characters, GMs are responsible for fleshing out the APs or homebrews. I actually prefer that not every little bit is fleshed out about a place so no player can say "that's not were the mage tower is! its down the road in the alchemist quarter!".

Shadow Lodge

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Tirisfal wrote:
At least Paizo doesn't oversupply us with classes and prestige classes like 3.5 did. I'm happy with the speed that things are being developed.

Well, archetypes are becoming the new prestige classes. And they are flinging those out pretty steadily.

The Exchange

One thing I like about the system as it stands is that Paizo leave enough information to DM discretion, even for their own world. It means I can tell the story I want without someone who's read all the canon saying "Hey, he can't do that, in Knowledge Obscuratia VI they clearly outlined his abilities as blah, blah, blah restrictions to my game much"

I get enough feel for the world with the novels, the AP's, the players guides and the other lines devoted to Golarian specific content. If they filled every piece of the world with official content, then I'd be under a moderate amount of pressure to learn it all. I've had that happen with other games, most notably first edition warhammer roleplay when me and my mates were playing that and the table top game back in 80's and 90's. We all read as much about that world as we could, and it soon go to the point where that began to impact on games we played and how some scenarios played out. My creative Gming got more restricted the more content that got released.

It's ok to break with Canon occasionally, but if you do it enough, players who read that background get resentful. If Paizo leave the information with just enough hidden material, it allows GM's like myself to fiddle with the details and adlib detail so it doesn't mess with the guys who know everything there is to know about the world. I don't GM much anymore, but when I do, I prefer the freedom to make choices guided by official material rather than forced by the material.

As far as I am concerned, the company has hit the balance perfectly for me.

Cheers

Sczarni

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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Alright Mattastrophic, I'll bite:

Mattastrophic wrote:


-Government structure. How is the Empire governed? How is it set up? Who are the key players? What are their titles? How much autonomy do the individual provinces have? What about the central government in Oppara? Is there a set of departments/ministries/etc?

From the wiki article on Taldor: Government

Taldor is ruled by the grand prince, a hereditary title. The current Grand Prince Stavian III has only one heir, his daughter, Princess Eutropia. Taldor has a decadent noble class, bloated with titles and obsessed with the arcane arts. Taldor’s bureaucracy is headed by the senatorial class.[10] Much of the government management is left in the hands of the senatorial class, who constantly argue over jurisdiction.[6]

The crown seeks its personal protection from beyond Taldor's political ties and mixed loyalties. The Grand Prince is zealously served by the Ulfen Guard, who care only for their oath and duty to the crown, without any concern for the empire's political climate.[11]

Senator Karthis is the leader of the opposition party in Oppara, supporting the declaration of war against Qadira.[12]

All from Taldor Echos of Glory
Also from the Stavian III page:

In order to further strengthen his empire and to gain loyal supporters, Stavian III also created an incentive program which promised formal titles to anyone willing to claim lands from rogue lords.[4] This ensured that lords regarded as 'unworthy' of their position by the crown could be forcibly removed and replaced by individuals loyal to the Grand Prince.

Source: Decline of Glory

Mattastrophic wrote:
-Religion. I know that Aroden used to be really big in Taldor, but I know nothing of the religion of the Empire, other than that there's an illegal cult of Sarenrae.

My guess is that Taldor was once such a large empire that many religions were brought into the fold from the expansion. You would have to look at individual towns as a seaside town is more likely to worship the duel deity, while more backwater town would have shrines to other gods.

Religions that have been confirmed to have shrines in Taldor:
Abadar, Aroden, Calistria, Cayden Cailean, Norgorber, Shelyn, Sarenrae (as an underground resistance)

Mattastrophic wrote:
-Culture. What do Taldans, rich and poor, enjoy doing? What do they like to eat? What does a Taldan aspire to when he grows up? Do Taldans follow the dogma of a particular religion? Do they define their world by what is told to them or through logic?

Taldor Echos of Glory has two pages on this (11 and 12 paraphrased in the socety section of the taldor wiki article I liked to above). They have even written "Taldorians are decadent bon vivants, favoring rich foods, ornate attire, and jeweled accoutrements for even the most minor of casual affairs. To a Taldorian, appearance is an expression of power, and a keen sense of fashion represents a keen mind. Their appreciation for the arts extends beyond fashion and painting, dabbling in sorcery, dueling, and the murky strategies of politics and war."

Mattastrophic wrote:
-The royalty. I know that Taldor has a Grand Prince who has only one daughter. Is he married? If so, what's his wife's name? Why has he not produced an heir? What would happen if Stavian III were to die? Who would the throne pass to?

It has also been said that he likes to dally in frivolous activities, so not out of the question that his daughter might be born out of wedlock. At least we have a picture of Grand Prince Stavian III...

Mattastrophic wrote:
-The nobility. Who are the prominent families? Which lands do they govern? What are Taldor's noble titles, and how do they rank? What are some of their heraldry?

Royalty

Taldor's royal class is comprised of dynasty-inheriting houses, most of which trace their lineages back to one emperor or another. Its members hold byzantine titles, such as patrician, magister, proconsoul, mandator, exarch, viceroy, duke, and others. A large number of scholars in the Primogen Library keep and update the genealogical records, as each title has a subtle place in the hierarchy of the empire.

Status for both royalty and senate is distinguished by their lavish beards, which by law only they can legally grow (leading to them being called the "bearded"). Greater, more extravagant beards are a sign of a higher status

both from Taldor Echos of glory page 11 and 12

Mattastrophic wrote:
-The merchant and peasant classes. How does Taldor acquire wealth? What are the surplus-producing crops? What about crafted goods?

The Unbearded

The massive underclass of "the unbearded" make up 99% of Taldor's population. They are merchants, craftsmen, day laborers, dock workers, vagabonds, soldiers, sailors, and so on. Taldor's crushing taxes and the policies of the ruling class regarding the rights of citizens keep the unbearded in poverty. Careful advances of key citizens from the ranks of unbearded keep their compatriots ever hopeful that after hard work and long loyalty, they might join the ranks of the bearded. Taldor's military usually offers such a way of advancement, and because of that the Taldan Horse, Phalanx, and Imperial Navy are loyal and strong.

Again from the wiki article I linked to, which lists Taldor Echeos of Glory P 11-12 as its source.

While this doesn't include crops or inports/exports


Liz Courts wrote:
Jrcmarine wrote:
The beautiful thing about these forums and my favorite aspect of Paizo is that its employees not only troll these posts but actually take the time to respond and in many cases heed the suggestions of posters or at the very least consider them.
"Troll" might not be the best word choice here—trawl, perhaps?

I make this mistake all the time.


I'm sorry. But, if you want to discuss wasting time and resources... and then turn around and ask Paizo to create and canonize this level of minutiae for every region on the map... It's a bit silly.

99% of what they would have to write to accomplish this would be a complete waste, used and usable only in a few homebrew settings, and not at all if you're not using Golarion.


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John Kretzer wrote:
Desna's Avatar wrote:

Come now. We all want what we want, and we want more of it. :)

I'm not exactly unique there.

True.

Desna's Avatar wrote:
So yes, just like you, and everyone else, I would love it if Paizo could effectively cater to my desires.

Actualy this is not true...in regards to me. I perfer to keep a open mind about things. If they catered exclusively to my desire...I would not have the things that they have done that have broaden my taste.

Mmmm I guess maybe the do catered to my desire in part as I want then to be open mind about everything from lore to mechanics which they have been great about.

Desna's Avatar wrote:

However, I don't expect them to do so unless it's financially feasible. That's reality.

I don't expect "everything to be perfectly to my taste". It never has been, nor will it ever be. That's sort of a strawman. I personally was never arguing for that, nor do I expect that.

Paizo is in the business of creation. I am simply communicating what I would like to see created.

Sure...I get that...requesting is never harmful. Heck I'll point to where to a thread I started that requests more Hardcovers books supporting the Campaign world.

But you should not begrudge somebosy else stateing their desires either. Which to me was kinda of what the WoW statement was.

"Mmmm I guess maybe the do catered to my desire in part as I want then to be open mind about everything from lore to mechanics which they have been great about."

Exactly. And by doing so, they are fulfilling your desire. So it works out pretty well for you.

"But you should not begrudge somebosy else stateing their desires either. Which to me was kinda of what the WoW statement was."

Again, you must have missed the post where I told James that I play WOW as well. I am not begrudging anyone anything. I'm swimming upstream here, and simply trying to obtain for the minority a small sliver of the pie.


The Crusader wrote:

I'm sorry. But, if you want to discuss wasting time and resources... and then turn around and ask Paizo to create and canonize this level of minutiae for every region on the map... It's a bit silly.

99% of what they would have to write to accomplish this would be a complete waste, used and usable only in a few homebrew settings, and not at all if you're not using Golarion.

Again...hello Strawman! Nobody is asking for creation and canonizization of every bit of minutiae. Heck, I've flat out stated that I'm not looking for every minute detail to be covered.

So you are arguing against...yourself?....nobody?

Again, there is a balance which can be struck here. James and others associated with Paizo have recognized and acknowledged (on this thread) that there is room for growth here and that Golarion /will/ become more fleshed out...it's just a matter of time.

Cheers.


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The Crusader wrote:
No, you don't need more. You just fill in the blanks.

For a third time now, Paizo fills in those blanks so I can pay them and not have to fill them in myself.

Cpt_kirstov wrote:
The same source I am drawing from.

Looooooot of blanks in there. Your posting is an effective demonstration of the lack-of-depth in the canon.

Since we are pretty much just repeating ourselves now, and not addressing the primary issue of having way too many rules items in a setting book, I think I'll leave it there.

-Matt


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Seriously, that some people seem to get personally offended if a GM is asking for a more detailed setting is disturbing.

Liberty's Edge

Golarion is literally an entire world.

How many books have been written on the history of Earth.

You aren't going to get all of the canon filled in.

Get over it.

Now on the other hand, you are eventually going to push the limits of what you can do with the current ruleset before you will need a revision.

And I think we are getting close to that point.

YOMV.

Shadow Lodge

No matter how staggeringly in-depth they go, there will always be people that don't think they have taken it far enough.


magnuskn wrote:
Seriously, that some people seem to get personally offended if a GM is asking for a more detailed setting is disturbing.

Offended? Not me at least. Disagree? Sure.

Keep in mind that the more details Paizo does fill in, the more difficult it becomes to run non-Paizo material in Golarion, in turn reducing the utility of the setting. My Slumbering Tsar game is taking place in Katapesh but I'm not too worried about my players coming after me if I have gnolls not match behaviour documented in Essotera of Golarion - Hairy Dogmen of Katapesh Deeply and Intimately Explored. Right now things are vague enough to leave me some leeway.

If Paizo fills in too many blanks, yes, some DMs will have less work, but others will have more work, fitting their creativity in the blanks. Details can become shackles.

Bottom line is I'm completely comfortable with Paizo's mix, and strongly defend that. I personally don't want to see a skew in either direction, which is what the OP is asking for.

Also, let's keep in mind that Paizo drip-feeds setting information inside adventure paths. Want details on the Worldwound? There'll be some neat stuff in the next AP, guaranteed. It makes products synergize.

Liberty's Edge

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Another part of this, guys and dolls, is that "write it yourself" becomes problematic exactly at the time that Paizo goes ahead and does it (and they will do so sooner or later, never doubt it).

Using a prior example, there's not enough detail out there about Taldor in my opinion (not me personally, but an example person who holds an opinion). So, I go whole-hog and flesh Taldor all the way out. Aristocracy, inn names, prominent NPC's, everything. OK, great. Now we've been playing for a year, and Paizo Releases "Taldor: Right Down to the Mole on Your Character's Grandmother's Ankle", and now I feel like all the work I did is annoyingly wasted, because anything Paizo does at that level is going to blow away whatever I can do. I think of all the awesome adventures my party could have had in this super-awesome version of Taldor, and I weep and gnash my teeth. I may even rend my garments.

This is the reason I personally don't like filling out a publisher's world with my own stuff. If I'm going to be writing the preponderance of the mintuae, I would prefer to do it in my own sandbox.

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