What steps to take for us to make our own sourcebook?


Advice and Rules Questions


Myself, a friend, my cousin and possibly my girlfriend might all be thinking of putting our talents together to create a little, free download pdf sourcebook for the Pathfinder RPG, entitled "Dwarves Expanded".

I know this may seem strange coming from me, I've only been playing Pathfinder for a few months and am asking rule questions on the blog all the time, but I have played D&D since I was a wee 12-year-old lad and warhammer even before that. My first-ever tabletop RPG character was a Dwarf Fighter in 3.5, and since I was young, I loved the Dwarf Race in fantasy.

As I got older, taller and grew into my features, losing my round face, I started to look and feel more akin to an elf, or half-elf. Lithe, lanky and tall, I lost my connection with the dwarves of my old perspective. However, after the recent Hobbit films, and heavily due to Fili and Thorin (in that order) I've fallen back in love with dwarves again, as those two have shown me how versatile the race could be.

That being said, is it just me, or do dwarves, who are typically hailed as the greatest craftsman in fantasy, not have enough content? Not just in terms of the fact they lack a fair amount of armors, having only Dwarven Plate as far as I've seen, but also given only so many options for how to build one, typically almost entirely leaning to heavily armoured fighters?

Either way, I wanted to write some things for dwarves, possibly add a new race of their humanoid subtype, like a duergar variant or new type of dwarf, add in some new weapons, shields, armours...maybe an archetype or two if I can figure out good balancing and have time to write some up. These would all attempt to stay reasonably within Golarion's flavour, I would not want to create something so out of the setting that no GM would want it, or that would ruin the race. I just want something to, well, expand on the dwarves with.

Anyways, anyone have any tips, tricks, or advice for us? Maybe someone will tell me it's a dumb idea and we should not waste the time? I plan on writing, my friend will edit, my cousin is an artist, my girlfriend would help with art assets and possibly the graphic design. I may also draw the weapons because that's the only thing I can draw. Anyways, thoughts? Feelings? Condemnations?


While staying reasonably within Golarion's flavor is a smart way to go, you can't actually use, place, nor mention Golarion as that is Paizo's official IP and not OGL. You need to stay OGL.

You might look at Rite Publishing In the Company of..." series of racial supplements for inspiration, which seem to along the same lines as what you're looking to do yourself. You might use any one of those guides as a template. Especially some of the more recent guides like In the Company of Tengu which include IC description of race, customs, relations, religion, then racial and alternate racial traits, favored class options, racial archetypes for various classes, feats, spells, weapons and items. Most of the Rite Publishing guides include a racial paragon class, which a custom 20 level class focused on the strengths and weaknesses of a given race.


gamer-printer wrote:

While staying reasonably within Golarion's flavor is a smart way to go, you can't actually use, place, nor mention Golarion as that is Paizo's official IP and not OGL. You need to stay OGL.

You might look at Rite Publishing In the Company of..." series of racial supplements for inspiration, which seem to along the same lines as what you're looking to do yourself. You might use any one of those guides as a template. Especially some of the more recent guides like In the Company of Tengu which include IC description of race, customs, relations, religion, then racial and alternate racial traits, favored class options, racial archetypes for various classes, feats, spells, weapons and items. Most of the Rite Publishing guides include a racial paragon class, which a custom 20 level class focused on the strengths and weaknesses of a given race.

Thanks for the Advice! Even though it will almost definitely be released for free (if we ever finish it) you may still have saved us from a unsettling email, I was planning on possibly expanding on the Five Kings Mountains, but you're right, I should describe everything vaguely anyways so they fit more easily into custom settings. (I imagine that is where it would be use most anyways, right?)


If all four of you have ideas, all four of you should write. Some more, some less. Exchange writings. Even if you are the head writer, someone else might have some great ideas that don't materialize until the words are written. Same with editing. Even if your pal is head editor, your artist or GF might catch an error or have an idea based off of someone else's idea. You want a document that looks nice. Find some software that you like and start creating mock-ups of different looks. Try different fonts, backgrounds, colors, etc.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:
If all four of you have ideas, all four of you should write. Some more, some less. Exchange writings. Even if you are the head writer, someone else might have some great ideas that don't materialize until the words are written. Same with editing. Even if your pal is head editor, your artist or GF might catch an error or have an idea based off of someone else's idea. You want a document that looks nice. Find some software that you like and start creating mock-ups of different looks. Try different fonts, backgrounds, colors, etc.

Good point, although I was thinking we'd be collaborating constantly, merely that those would be our main jobs. As I said, I might also draw up some weapons, and my editor buddy, along with my girlfriend and cousin, are all going to look over my ideas and decide if they sound balanced, flavourful and worthwhile. This will be a team effort, just saying our main talents.


I use Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 10 which allows me to create multi-page PDF files of page layout designs - some of those mentioned "In the Company of..." series, I did the page layout. In one product Haiku of Horror: Autumn Moon Bath House, I did writing, design, cartography and page layout. Although I hired an artist to do the cover art, I did the cover design. I also had some design help from Justin Sluder, and editing from Dave Paul. So even though this was a project done almost entirely by me, I still had an artist, desginer and editors help getting it done.

There's a free Kaidan product (my published homebrew) called Frozen Wind, a one-shot module - so you can get an idea on what you might include in a free product. Look at the art and cartography which is a must to at least appear as a professional product, even a free one.

I mostly do professional game cartography for various publishers. My design and publication work is something I do on the side.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Trumoi wrote:
gamer-printer wrote:

While staying reasonably within Golarion's flavor is a smart way to go, you can't actually use, place, nor mention Golarion as that is Paizo's official IP and not OGL. You need to stay OGL.

You might look at Rite Publishing In the Company of..." series of racial supplements for inspiration, which seem to along the same lines as what you're looking to do yourself. You might use any one of those guides as a template. Especially some of the more recent guides like In the Company of Tengu which include IC description of race, customs, relations, religion, then racial and alternate racial traits, favored class options, racial archetypes for various classes, feats, spells, weapons and items. Most of the Rite Publishing guides include a racial paragon class, which a custom 20 level class focused on the strengths and weaknesses of a given race.

Thanks for the Advice! Even though it will almost definitely be released for free (if we ever finish it) you may still have saved us from a unsettling email, I was planning on possibly expanding on the Five Kings Mountains, but you're right, I should describe everything vaguely anyways so they fit more easily into custom settings. (I imagine that is where it would be use most anyways, right?)

If you're not planning on charging for it (at all) and you're not planning on becoming a publisher, you would be able to produce a sourcebook referencing some of Paizo's IP (presumably including the Five Kings Mountains, as Dwarves of Golarion is on the Community Use Approved Product List) via their Community Use Policy.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Trumoi wrote:
gamer-printer wrote:

While staying reasonably within Golarion's flavor is a smart way to go, you can't actually use, place, nor mention Golarion as that is Paizo's official IP and not OGL. You need to stay OGL.

You might look at Rite Publishing In the Company of..." series of racial supplements for inspiration, which seem to along the same lines as what you're looking to do yourself. You might use any one of those guides as a template. Especially some of the more recent guides like In the Company of Tengu which include IC description of race, customs, relations, religion, then racial and alternate racial traits, favored class options, racial archetypes for various classes, feats, spells, weapons and items. Most of the Rite Publishing guides include a racial paragon class, which a custom 20 level class focused on the strengths and weaknesses of a given race.

Thanks for the Advice! Even though it will almost definitely be released for free (if we ever finish it) you may still have saved us from a unsettling email, I was planning on possibly expanding on the Five Kings Mountains, but you're right, I should describe everything vaguely anyways so they fit more easily into custom settings. (I imagine that is where it would be use most anyways, right?)
If you're not planning on charging for it (at all) and you're not planning on becoming a publisher, you would be able to produce a sourcebook referencing some of Paizo's IP (presumably including the Five Kings Mountains, as Dwarves of Golarion is on the Community Use Approved Product List) via their Community Use Policy.

THanks for clearing that up, still not entirely sure though, might benefit more to not reference and leave our materials more open-ended so they can be easily utilized in custom setting too right? I love Golarion, but not everyone plays in it.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I think it depends on what your motivation is. Do you want to write something that gets used by lots of people? Or do you specifically want to expand upon the five kings mountains stuff?

Going the CUP route lets you use much more of paizo's IP but imposes restrictions - not charging for it and not becoming a publisher being the obvious ones. Producing something under the OGL/PF Compatibility license means it's by necessity more generic, but that leaves you more options, down the track.


Using the CUP also allows you to use Paizo art assets too...

Webstore Gninja Minion

Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Using the CUP also allows you to use Paizo art assets too...

To a very limited extent.


Steve Geddes wrote:

I think it depends on what your motivation is. Do you want to write something that gets used by lots of people? Or do you specifically want to expand upon the five kings mountains stuff?

Going the CUP route lets you use much more of paizo's IP but imposes restrictions - not charging for it and not becoming a publisher being the obvious ones. Producing something under the OGL/PF Compatibility license means it's by necessity more generic, but that leaves you more options, down the track.

Well, merely that the idea I had for a subrace of dwarves, that still functions as it's own race rather than a set of racial traits, would be used by players who love dwarves and their lore and flavour, but might not want to play only heavy armoured, tanking classes.

A faster dwarf, maybe more naturally charismatic or possibly less lawful. Something to rock a dwarven ranger, rogue or bard in, so people who enjoy both can have a character with good functions of each without breaking down the balance.

For this the idea was flavorfully compatible with the Five Kings Mountains, and the two could thrive together, but it is not dependent, so if I had to pick, I would rather be a bit more vague and generic so that anyone could use the subrace in tandem with their version of dwarves.


I'd say create a fictious dwarven mine/settlement/clan. Use an IC narrator, a dwarven resident, describing the culture, society, religion, relations with other races. It is here you can introduce the unique factions that promote the idea of your unique ideas applied to class and archetype variations. Make it so that your dwarven community can be easily dropped into any existing dwarven kingdoms of Golarion or any other setting that a particular GM is using. Keep this fluff separate from the crunch, with fluff at introduction and mechanics to follow.


Liz Courts wrote:
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Using the CUP also allows you to use Paizo art assets too...
To a very limited extent.

Well I'm not sure exactly how many dwarves have apeared in the allowable assets...

@Liz - can you link to the information/page on just what Paizo art assets are allowed to be used for Community Use?

Webstore Gninja Minion

The complete Community Use Policy is here—it covers usage requirements and permissions.


PathfinderWiki collects many of the images released via the Community Use Policy, with most categorized by race, class, etc.

For instance, here's all the images of dwarves on PFWiki. I believe all are released under the CUP.

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