Pathfinder Bloat - are you concerned?


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I'm concerned about the introduction of new classes so soon after the release of the ACG. I'm concerned that Pathfinder is become bloated and creating such a load of information that new players or GM's may feel the learning curve is too high to become vested in this system.

What are yall's thoughts? (Note: I'm not complaining just to complain, this is a real concern of mine and I would appreciate some honest discourse on the subject.)

Dark Archive

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I'm not concerned about bloat yet, yes it can get to that point, but if you look at the core line, there are still plenty of topics that can and should be explored before anyone starts thinking its too much; or so I think


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Part of my concern is the timing. We just got 10 new classes and a source book with additional options. I would like some time to digest those classes and options first. I feel like I was served my 1st course in the meal and before I even finished it they served me the 2nd course.

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I am not concerned. Six more classes to the Core, APG, UM, UC, ACG, Ultimate Psionics, Secrets of Divine Channeling allowed classes in my games is fun!

Shadow Lodge

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I am always looking for more options. If those options are good, it doesn't qualify as bloat for me. Bring 'em on.

I've never quite understood the opposing mindset, to be honest.


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For my home games, no.
For PFS, yes.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also dont forget, this is a playtest for a release next August. So it will be a year before the new classes get released "for real".


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Concerned? No. Surprised? A little. Hungry? Yes.

It seems like classes came at a trickle between the APG and the ACG but the floodgates are open now.

Personally, I'm more interested in improvements to existing classes (Pathfinder Unchained) and streamlining (Strategy Guide). Those are more likely to be future purchases than more options.

But I think that's because I'm relatively new to the hobby.


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I like having more options and have no problem deciding what to allow and disallow in my games.

Sucks to be a PFS GM, though.

Shadow Lodge

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*looks at bookshelf full of 3.5 books* Nope!


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I did not like most of the ACG, not sure if I would like PF unchained or the other hardcover of the next year. The good thing is that you do not need those new book to still enjoy the old PF material.


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More options are nice.


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If I use all the products I have for Pathfinder at once my players have 122 classes to choose from.

I don't allow all of these at once for thematic reasons but the amount of options only becomes bloat if you are somehow uncomfortable as a player playing alongside unfamiliar classes because nothing I have invalidates the core options barring Monk/Rogue/Fighter buffs and replacements.


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I don't know what's supposed to be bad about bloat.

If you don't like the new classes, don't play with them. There's nothing in the ACG and there will be nothing in OA that is more powerful than a wizard with 9th level spells (though a psychic with 9th level spells will be roughly equivalent in power) so the baseline for power has already been established. You won't lose out in terms of power if you choose to restrict yourself to CRB+APG+UM+UC as quite a few people do, and even CRB+APG or CRB only aren't much different. It's just options.

So, if you don't like the options, and don't play with them, what's the downside to the existence of rulebooks you choose not to buy or use?

Are you afraid that you'll like the new rulebooks and want to play with them? Well, I can see that being a worry if you're on a very limited budget, but other than that, what's wrong with it?


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Ah, I re-read your post and saw your main point of concern:

Quote:
creating such a load of information that new players or GM's may feel the learning curve is too high to become vested in this system.

There may be a certain degree of player pressure for GMs to adopt rules that the GM doesn't feel comfortable with. Other than that, I think Paizo does a perfectly fine job of making it clear that the only things you really need to play a game of pathfinder are the CRB and a Bestiary.


Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:

Ah, I re-read your post and saw your main point of concern:

Quote:
creating such a load of information that new players or GM's may feel the learning curve is too high to become vested in this system.
There may be a certain degree of player pressure for GMs to adopt rules that the GM doesn't feel comfortable with. Other than that, I think Paizo does a perfectly fine job of making it clear that the only things you really need to play a game of pathfinder are the CRB and a Bestiary.

I can say that that depends on the GM. I've been pretty intransigent in what I allow, and I started a mere year ago. So I'm not too worried.


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The ACG was so poorly executed, I'm likely done adding to my collection/allowing into my games, minus perhaps PF Unchained which I may want to at least look at.

I already feel the system is "bloated" myself. Honestly, I think after my current game I'm switching systems completely, maybe to Shadowrun, 5E or Gurps. Paizo's quality of work has really gone down hill the last year (some of my friends say 2, but I've only noticed about the last year, maybe 18 months) and brought the game away from where my enjoyment from the game > balancing all the crap they throw out.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I havent GM'd a home game yet and only GM PFS. The issue with PFS is that if its legal to play then I have to allow it. PFS GM's lack some of the safeguards that they would have in a home game.


Quote:
I already feel the system is "bloated" myself.

Could you explain what you mean by this, and in what way it is harmful to you?


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Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Are you afraid that you'll like the new rulebooks and want to play with them? Well, I can see that being a worry if you're on a very limited budget, but other than that, what's wrong with it?

*looks at empty wallet*

You got me! $10 per month of RPG stuff is my limit, unless I get some yardwork money from cutting my 90-year-old neighbor's lawn or raking her leaves.

Why can't Paizo just let me catch up?

Shadow Lodge

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Duncan7291 wrote:
I havent GM'd a home game yet and only GM PFS. The issue with PFS is that if its legal to play then I have to allow it. PFS GM's lack some of the safeguards that they would have in a home game.

Yeah I can see how that would be a problem. Speaking as someone who wouldn't touch PFS with a ten-foot pole.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No.

-Skeld


Orthos wrote:

I am always looking for more options. If those options are good, it doesn't qualify as bloat for me. Bring 'em on.

I've never quite understood the opposing mindset, to be honest.

Pretty much sums it up for me. I love having options, anything I don't like I just don't use. My wallet feels the pain though.

Grand Lodge

nope


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nope.

I don't use the word bloat.

I think of them as options. I have more pages in rules from 3PP than I do from Paizo. I'm always up for more.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Duncan7291 wrote:

I'm concerned about the introduction of new classes so soon after the release of the ACG. I'm concerned that Pathfinder is become bloated and creating such a load of information that new players or GM's may feel the learning curve is too high to become vested in this system.

What are yall's thoughts? (Note: I'm not complaining just to complain, this is a real concern of mine and I would appreciate some honest discourse on the subject.)

Honestly? My thought is that someone asks this exact same question every 2-3 weeks.

New GMs and Players need to know one thing and one thing only...

You don't need to master and buy the whole enchilada at once. You don't need anything other than the core rulebook and the first bestiary to run a campaign of your own, or even to run something on the order of the first couple of AP's or Dragon's Demand.

Everything else is optional.... buy and play a'la' carte. Technically speaking these new classes haven't been released yet. All we have are materials for folks who want to beta test some bleeding edge new content. It does not come with an obligation to buy or use. If you are a PFS DM... it's incumbent on YOUR PLAYERS, not you to have the material with them if they bring these characters to a table. And you are fully empowered to tell them that they can't play these characters if they don't.


I think part of the reason this is coming out is to enable adventures in Vudra. Psychic abilities is an integral part of that setting, and James said he didn't think they would go there until the rules for psychic materials were available. Similar thing happened with Numeria.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lloyd Jackson wrote:
I think part of the reason this is coming out is to enable adventures in Vudra. Psychic abilities is an integral part of that setting, and James said he didn't think they would go there until the rules for psychic materials were available. Similar thing happened with Numeria.

You don't need to be a technomancer to play a in Numeria. Plenty of PFS characters after all won't be technologically inclined at all.

On the same vein you don't need to be psychic to be in Vudra. There will be psychic aspects to the region, but there will be even more non-psychic aspects. Given the announced AP schedule, we're a long way before that becomes an issue.


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Duncan7291 wrote:

I'm concerned about the introduction of new classes so soon after the release of the ACG. I'm concerned that Pathfinder is become bloated and creating such a load of information that new players or GM's may feel the learning curve is too high to become vested in this system.

What are yall's thoughts? (Note: I'm not complaining just to complain, this is a real concern of mine and I would appreciate some honest discourse on the subject.)

Since you can always simply choose not to use anything you desire, no, it's not an issue.


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LazarX wrote:


Everything else is optional....

The CRB is also optional, if you get right down to it. Don't like wizards? *poff* No wizards.


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True. But they didn't do a Numeria AP until they had the technology rules. I'm thinking it's the same with Vudra. No Vudra AP until the psychic rules are in place.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lloyd Jackson wrote:
True. But they didn't do a Numeria AP until they had the technology rules. I'm thinking it's the same with Vudra. No Vudra AP until the psychic rules are in place.

Yes, but there wasn't a whole book of technic classes. Also instead of coming out at the same time, the Vudra AP will most likely be 1 or 2 years behind the release of Occult Mysteries.


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This question comes up everytime a new book is released or announced. The answer to your concerns will always be the same:

"Nobody will ever force you to use a book you do not want to use in your game. Ignore new books at your leisure."


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What some people call "bloat", I call "ongoing support" - I don't want to see a line drawn under and a declaration that the game is somehow now finished and complete, because that tends to result in a reset back to a brand new game with a new CRB and starting over yet again, in an endless cycle.

My only real concern is with the heaviness of the core rules themselves - I'd dearly love to see a pared-down version of the CRB with more of the complexity moved out into optional books.


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I think it depends.

If you are not playing in Golarion, I don't think it's a problem. With your own game, you can decide what rules you wish to use or not. This means you can play with ONLY the core rules.

However, if you are using the PRD, it could get confusing when you see all the other options...but I still think you could restrict it to what one would see as the core rules.

With PFS however, hopefully the GM is familiar with the rules and can keep them straight in their heads.

There is ONE OTHER area which is annoying to me personally, and where the rules bloat really starts to show.

This is in the AP's and modules, of which are my primary interests from PAIZO. Don't get me wrong, I love PAIZO and their work, but it gets annoying that to run the AP I have to refer to almost every book they've released at times.

I would like it if they would restrict it to the CRB (maybe, and only maybe occasionally, use another book outside the CRB) and the bestiaries...and that's it.

No having to refer to such and such, the ACG, the APG, or anything else in the APs.

Have it as CRB and bestiaries only...

I think that's where it gets most annoying if I had to point to one area of concern.

For a starting GM...if they don't know how to adapt an AP accordingly, it could be crushing as they have all these books to read and learn before even trying to play the current AP's coming out.


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Under A Bleeding Sun wrote:
Honestly, I think after my current game I'm switching systems completely, maybe to Shadowrun, 5E or Gurps.

The naivete of this statement makes me giggle so. With the exception of 5E, you WILL be dealing with gnarliness and bloat.

If you want a different system I suggest FantasyCraft.

Personally I found the ACG to be pretty great. There were grammar and other mistakes abound, but no worse than anything else - certainly nothing worse than what Wizards of the Coast has ever put out. And if you think THIS is bad I'm glad you never had to see the twilight of TSR, my friend.

I've liked pretty much everything Paizo's put out since 2009.

Do I USE all of it in my campaigns? No.

I love Mythic Adventures as a means to make Monsters more powerful, and I use the Mythic Tiers as a way to define Deities in my games. Players, however, don't get Mythic stuff because it's just crazy at levels below 20.

Doesn't mean I think the book is "bad" just not for me.

Same with the Gamemastery Guide - I didn't need that much in there, so it's low on my "to-get" list.

I was content with the "Core 5" of the CRB, ARG, UC, UM, and UE for quite some time, and those five books still form the backbone of the game.

The ACG added to this well, in my opinion, even if there are grammatical kinks to work out - by the second printing it should be pretty spotless.

The Technology Guide, as well, is excellent. I just don't expect to use it ever, really, because I typically like my fantasy games to be Clockpunk (which generic Pathfinder does superbly) or even up to Steampunk. I could even use the system for up to Dieselpunk, though at that point it'd probably be best to use FantasyCraft and Spycraft together for that (magic users ala Doctor Fate in WWII is just a guilty pleasure).

I'm just not a huge fan of running Sci-Fi-Fantasy games; I don't dislike the genre - in fact I love Xanth and a lot of other Piers Anthony stories, and, of course, Star Wars - I just don't personally like running them.

I don't think anything Paizo's put out has been "bad" - just not as universally useful in some instances.

---

Also, while I do worry about "bloat" since adding classes is USUALLY indicative of a company running out of ideas, I don't really worry much about Occult Adventures being this. Psychic and Urban Fantasy classes haven't been touched on in any real depth yet - the sole exceptions being perhaps the Investigator and Inquisitor - so I'll reserve judgment.

As of right NOW, I feel several of the OA classes are uninspired "psychic" ports of existing classes (I'm looking at you Summ- I mean Spiritualist, and Psychic), but there may be complete class rewrites as time goes on, so until the final Playtest comes out and the proper book is published, I'm not declaring "WURST EVAR!" by any stretch yet.


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Bloat started with the APG.


Options are good. Let's have 100 classes each with 30 archetypes, if possible. Ignore the ones you don't want to use. A GM may not be familiar with them all, so if you end up with such a situation, show the GM the set of rules for what you want to play, and the GM can disallow it if it's judged unbalancing.

Meanwhile, people get as close to the options they want, which is good. The whole problem with a class-based system is how it can be constraining (but to eliminate classes would be too radical of a change and make the game something totally different, not that it can't work in other systems); but the more classes and archetypes, if well thought out, the more you get to choose what you really want out of a class, meaning you get the best of both the class system and classless systems.


While I am a little concerned with the speed of things coming out, I haven't seen anything yet that worries me.

I like the fact that now I can say, "These are the allowed classes and races" and use that to help set the tone for the campaign.

For example if I say:

Gunslingers, swashbucklers, rangers, rogues, ninjas, alchemists, investigators, oracles and sorcerers are the allowed classes

You've got a very different feel than if I say:

Wizards, Witches, Alchemists, Investigators, Oracles are the only allowed casters in this campaign

If I want a spirit focused magic campaign world I can simply allow witches, shaman, oracles, mediums, occultist and summoners as my spell casters and not worry that people won't be able to build something they like with the classes allowed while still having the mechanics allowed support the feel I'm looking for.

And that is very nice for me.


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chbgraphicarts wrote:
Under A Bleeding Sun wrote:
Honestly, I think after my current game I'm switching systems completely, maybe to Shadowrun, 5E or Gurps.
The naivete of this statement makes me giggle so. With the exception of 5E, you WILL be dealing with gnarliness and bloat.

Shadowrun 5th edition has one book out past the core line-up right now. And even when 4E was near its end, it felt less bloated than PF does now. More importantly, I can actually say I'm gonna run a core only game of Shadowrun, where in PF that's practically blasphemy (at least in the groups I've seen).

My point being was the actual time spent sorting through the bad has gotten to the point where its more time than my enjoyment running the game. See, I actually go through and allow and disallow options ahead of time. Its getting to the point of way too much time. ACG has been awful about it, as have several other books released over the last year. Then a player shows up with XYZ garbage which specifically wasn't disallowed(or perhaps was but was on the PFSRD or whatever) and it creates at the minimum an annoying time wasting situation.

When a game workload > the fun it becomes bloated. When the time learning the rules > time playing the game it becomes bloated. When the time looking up some obscure spell or ability > time spent on that players turn it becomes bloated. For me, its pretty much at that point. Unlike other game systems, PF (D&D in general) tends to make it very difficult to say no more is allowed as players tend to carry an entitlement to use all the shiny new things (IME). When I run Shadowrun, Fallout, System Shock or any other system, I have never ran into that problem.

And, personally I disagree with the quality of what they've put out recently, but thats just me. Everyone has their own opinion on quality obviously but it seems as if its really gone down hill over approximately the last year. I usually at least somewhat like everything they've put out, but the last 8-10 new books I've looked at have had a lot that didn't gird well with me.

And for the record, people wouldn't complain about bloat if they didn't care about the game. It often means the game is going in a direction where it becomes unwieldy or unmanageable for them, and they don't like that. I absolutely could, over a period of a year dedicating all my free time to it, go through and decide whats allowed and whats not. More often than not someone chooses to leave that system at that point, hence the frustration.

And for those of us in PFS, what rules we know and can't know isn't an option.


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Duncan7291 wrote:

I'm concerned about the introduction of new classes so soon after the release of the ACG. I'm concerned that Pathfinder is become bloated and creating such a load of information that new players or GM's may feel the learning curve is too high to become vested in this system.

What are yall's thoughts? (Note: I'm not complaining just to complain, this is a real concern of mine and I would appreciate some honest discourse on the subject.)

I agree, it's a major concern. And the bloat is tending to come in the form of character optimization bloat.

Not every book that is released has to be an extensive archive of new classes, feats and spells.

Characterization, character themes, detailed magical items with a history and theme is ignored to cater for the character optimization crowd.

A bit of balance would be good.

I like character optimization, but it's only one facet of a multifaceted game.

Shadow Lodge

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Quote:
Characterization, character themes, detailed magical items with a history and theme is ignored....

Except it's not. It's more that you can't put these sort of things in a book of rules.

There are very few rules regarding roleplay, and there's a reason for that - because nearly every group roleplays differently. Just look how much fuss alignment, the only rule in the core game that focuses on roleplay, causes on the forums - to the point that a growing many groups simply do not use it.

If the one core rule that focuses on roleplay instead of mechanics is getting ignored by a growing number of people playing the game, that sends a strong message to the game makers: roleplay rules are not wanted, let us roleplay how we wish to, not with codified rules.

And that's probably for the best. Because you try it, and nine times out of ten you'll end up with people complaining that the book is telling them they're roleplaying wrong.

If you want character options and detailed world history, you probably want to focus on the setting line over the game mechanics line - Paizo, with good reason, devotes all the energy they put into those sorts of projects to their Golarion products, and keeps the world-neutral products to simply mechanics because there are a great many players (myself included) who do not use Golarion. So they make the world-neutral products as open to use as possible by divorcing them from setting-specific information.

Everything you want in that list above (excepting characterization, because as I said Paizo deliberately avoids publishing the hornet's nest that is "here is how you roleplay right") can be found in the setting-specific Golarion line books. If you're looking in the game books rather than the setting books and getting upset that you only find mechanics, it's your own fault for looking at the wrong product.


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To the OP - No. Bloat does not exist. Options do.

Though I agree that PFS may become slightly arduous for a period.


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@Orthos I don't necessarily disagree with you.

Although characterization can be world neutral, and can be a blend of mechanics and exposition. Presence of characterization doesn't necessarily equal authoritarian roleplaying standards or codified ruling.

Feats, Spells and Magical Items can all assist in exploring a multitude of themes providing associated mechanics to a player's character.

Pathfinder is a role-playing game not strictly a table-top miniatures wargame, even though some people use it as such and that's fine. 'A book of rules' indicates the latter rather than the former.

Having Pathfinder hardcover core releases that appeals to the interests of a diverse range of players can only be a good thing.

I have played roleplaying games where there was as many female players as there were male players. And their approach to character creation (or optimization) is quite different to male players and their interests need to be catered to so their involvement continues.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Yeah, it's totally bloated. I love it. I would like the consistent expansion even more if I had more time to play. As it is, if Paizo stopped producing right now, I think I'd need a game every day of the week for the next 30 years to get to try all the concepts I want to try. Assuming I can find a GM who will allow them.

Shadow Lodge

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Yeah Morz there's not much in your post I agree with. Especially that last bit, which came out of absolute left field and had near-nothing to do with the conversation at hand and just seems like an attempt to pick a flame. I'm not biting.

Regardless, between this conversation and your posts elsewhere, it's clear we want very different things out of the game.

The only thing you said that I agree with is that PF is a roleplaying game over a wargame. And while I agree, I disagree that that means we need rules and such for roleplaying. That sort of thing is more intuitive and learned by example than instruction.


To answer the OP: Nope.
As with any RPG system, the pathfinder system is there to let you use it's rules to play whatever kind of game you want. There is no correct way or incorrect theme to play it with. This supposed "bloat" increases the themes with which it can be played, which is not a bad thing.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

the thing is, new game options allow people to build characters they want to play much more easily. Before Occult Adventures, Their were a lot of concepts that were not really possible, or which required extensive diving through tons of different books to put together.

New character options/classes/archetypes allow easier roleplay because people can design characters to their specifications, without dealing with the baggage of stuff that doesn't fit their concept, key concept abilities that don't come online until late in the game, or a character that is significantly weaker than the rest of the party.

Scarab Sages

No concern here. These new classes will not be out for another year. Chew on the recently-released classes for a while. It's not a MUST that everyone participate in playtesting these.

You can only play one character at a time, and depending on how much you play, it could take years to try all the classes. And then there's multi-classing.....

Shadow Lodge

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Vod Canockers wrote:
Bloat started with the APG.

Bloat started with the CRB. Have you seen the size of that sucker?

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