Pathfinder Society for 3PP / OGL?


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An idea:

  • In a given "season", have a small set of 3pp material that is going to be in the adventures/campaign/modules, that a GM would need to be up on.
  • In a particular gaming group, the players can use that material, plus whatever else the GM is comfortable adding to the mix.

If one group is running an adventure using triple-gestalt mythic egregiously-overpowered-feats, and another is using core Pathfinder with spellcasting replaced by Spheres of Power, and both groups are having fun, does the power difference matter?


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Just to restate my position as a consumer and occasional freelancer

I think the idea of a living campaign or at least some sort of 3PP organized play is a great idea. I also think that if it's implemented even halfway decently it could do a lot to help get more people into 3PP in game stores.

I also think that if it only uses spells, feats, and archetypes from 3PP that the living campaign will be an utter failure as the best and most interesting things in third party land are the unique subsystems and classes.

People aren't gonna be lured in by "Bravery Feats" no matter how high quality they are. What they will be lured in by is the the mysteries of the Masquerade Reveler, the Iron Man suits of an Aegis, the shining white Necromancers honoring their ancestors, the airships buzzing through the skies, the Gladiators battling to the cheers and jeers of an unseen audience, or the Element Enhanced Martial arts of a Mystic.

That will be more difficult since some systems don't play well with others at all, but those don't have to be included on the list.

Also a small part of me hopes that some books with alternative skill rules will be allowed, such as Dragon Tiger Ox Wire Fighting acrobatics, since base Pathfinder acrobatics are absolute ass

Also as far as I saw only one writer (he is not the head honcho at DSP) seemed truly against the idea. All the others seemed either for it or skeptical, but not not outright against the idea.


Insain Dragoon wrote:
People aren't gonna be lured in by "Bravery Feats" no matter how high quality they are. What they will be lured in by is the the mysteries of the Masquerade Reveler, the Iron Man suits of an Aegis, the shining white Necromancers honoring their ancestors, the airships buzzing through the skies, the Gladiators battling to the cheers and jeers of an unseen audience, or the Element Enhanced Martial arts of a Mystic.

But the piece you are missing is if you use something from each of those books a GM has to actually have the books and/or content and know how it plays in the setting they are playing it. How much do you think it will cost GMs to purchase to have at their table to play a session? How much time is it going to cost the to learn new rule systems on top of the typical Pathfinder ones? If you pick content that is 100% OGL (and not all of it is) AND available at D20PFSRD.com you have handled a lot of those issues from the start. Just my view on it.


LMPjr007 wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
People aren't gonna be lured in by "Bravery Feats" no matter how high quality they are. What they will be lured in by is the the mysteries of the Masquerade Reveler, the Iron Man suits of an Aegis, the shining white Necromancers honoring their ancestors, the airships buzzing through the skies, the Gladiators battling to the cheers and jeers of an unseen audience, or the Element Enhanced Martial arts of a Mystic.
But the piece you are missing is if you use something from each of those books a GM has to actually have the books and/or content and know how it plays in the setting they are playing it. How much do you think it will cost GMs to purchase to have at their table to play a session? How much time is it going to cost the to learn new rule systems on top of the typical Pathfinder ones? If you pick content that is 100% OGL (and not all of it is) AND available at D20PFSRD.com you have handled a lot of those issues from the start. Just my view on it.

This is circumvented if you use the same rules that PFS uses. if the player wants to use a mechanic, he or she has to be willing to buy the material ande bring it to the table.


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LMPjr007 wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
People aren't gonna be lured in by "Bravery Feats" no matter how high quality they are. What they will be lured in by is the the mysteries of the Masquerade Reveler, the Iron Man suits of an Aegis, the shining white Necromancers honoring their ancestors, the airships buzzing through the skies, the Gladiators battling to the cheers and jeers of an unseen audience, or the Element Enhanced Martial arts of a Mystic.
But the piece you are missing is if you use something from each of those books a GM has to actually have the books and/or content and know how it plays in the setting they are playing it. How much do you think it will cost GMs to purchase to have at their table to play a session? How much time is it going to cost the to learn new rule systems on top of the typical Pathfinder ones? If you pick content that is 100% OGL (and not all of it is) AND available at D20PFSRD.com you have handled a lot of those issues from the start. Just my view on it.

Or as Distant Scholar and Insain Dragoon posited - have themed seasons, and collect all the available/allowed rules into a handy PDF. Or, work with John Reyst and get all the content onto a dedicated 3-Play d20PFSRD page. I know I'm happy that almost all of my (admittedly limited) product catalog is now available for free on d20PFSRD (thanks to John and Sarah C/Ambrosia Slaad!!!).

And if at all possible, have the themed seasons still interact with a baseline of more generic mechanics/feats/skills/spells/classes/subsystems. Which would also be provided in a similar fashion.


A combination of "Player provide" and "seasonal themes" eill fix that. A GM eont have to learn Psionics till the season that includes that. Following the season if a GM likes it maybe they can add it to the permanent stable.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

The Ragi wrote:

And LMPjr007 hasn't even shown what he's actually planning to do. xD

By this tiny crazy sample it seems developers are against it and consumers are interested.

Of note, despite some vehement concerns about implementation, I'm not actually against the idea. As I mentioned in my posts, I've tried similar projects on a smaller scale with really great results. I also think LPjr is a really stand-up guy with some serious design chops, so my concerns aren't even about ability or intent, just the unintended consequences of the indicated implementation.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:

I think you should look to Pathfinder Society for ideas on how to implement this. Here are some starters.

1. Decide on what third party you're going to use.

This is the NUMBER ONE thing on my list.

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
2. If a player wants to use a 3pp mechanic/class/whatever, he should have proof of ownership... watermarked PDF page or some other proof of purchase. (such as a list of PDF downloads here at the Paizo store)

Agreed. But I also don't want to surprise the GM with something completely not balanced / broken. Hence, why I initially want to limit what is being used.

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
3. You'll need to be very top down on this. You need an overall head of the campaign, a group of people underneath, and campaign coordinators to run events at conventions or gamedays.

That is something we are looking at building in a way that the volunteering GMs receive some type of "compensation" for their "work".

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
4. You'll want some way for players to register characters. This is optional as Living City ran along just fine without it for a long time.

We are in talks to build an online service where this would be handled completely digitally speaking backed up with the physical campaign and event certs from adventures played.

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
This is circumvented if you use the same rules that PFS uses. if the player wants to use a mechanic, he or she has to be willing to buy the material ande bring it to the table.

This is a great idea but I also don't want the GM to be bogged down with more additional content that they may not be familiar with on the fly. I want the experience of this to move nearly flawless for all involved.

Distant Scholar wrote:
In a given "season", have a small set of 3pp material that is going to be in the adventures/campaign/modules, that a GM would need to be up on.

I think this is a great idea similar to what Paizo does with new their adventure paths and Player Guide. I have thought of the Living Campaign season to run from Gen Con of one year to Origins of the following year. The space between Origins and Gen Con (3 to 5 weeks) would be full blown promotions of what to expect for the next season.

Ssalarn wrote:
Of note, despite some vehement concerns about implementation, I'm not actually against the idea. As I mentioned in my posts, I've tried similar projects on a smaller scale with really great results. I also think LPjr is a really stand-up guy with some serious design chops, so my concerns aren't even about ability or intent, just the unintended consequences of the indicated implementation.

I completely understand your feelings on this. That is why before I got started with anything I had several conversations with Henry Lopez of Paradigm Concepts on what they did right AND wrong with Living Arcanis and JP Chapleau who ran NeoExodus Legacies for me which was our first "toe in the water" of Organized Play. We want simple but elegant solutions for issues that we know will exist while at the same time making it simple enough that complex things can be added in the gaming and adventures session that don't bog down and slow the game to a crawl.


In that case I think the first season may best be products that don't intoduce new subsystems, but introduce new and exciting classes.

Stuff like Genius Games products, Liber Influxus, Alternate Path series from LRGG,ect.

Publisher, Dreamscarred Press

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We supported this idea back when John Reyst was trying to put something together like that. I believe it was already mentioned - 3Play? There was a lot of activity on that topic and it didn't pan out.

Without knowing all the details, I can't commit either way, but a fee-based structure just to get included raises some significant red flags to me. And if there's a moratorium on any new subsystems, then Dreamscarred's involvement is moot anyway.


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I'd rather see a living campaign set in a different genre, actually. Perhaps cyberpunk, or Urban Fantasy/Supernatural Horror.


For those that are wondering what it might look like for the 3PP that we would be looking to add to this Living OGL, here's what was created four years ago by JP Chapleau for NeoExodus Legacies, our Living Campaign for the NeoExodus Campaign Setting. I would want to do something similar like this for the other 3PP campaign setting & systems that are available.

For example, if we wanted to add Dreamscarred Press they would have a psionics sourcebook that would cover the system AND their Third Word campaign setting book to cover their world. Each one "could be" used together, with other 3PP campaign settings or completely independent of each other. We would work with the 3PP to make sure what they were looking to place in their campaign guide would work overall with the whole Living OGL concept too.


Here is a thread from Facebook that I thought might help better understand what people are looking for with PFS and Organized Play in general.


OK here and idea to deal with Local / regional adventures situation: The main storyline adventures (AKA Hard Points) could be played everywhere; while the one off not main storyline related adventures (Soft Points) would be local / regional adventures. This way you get best of both worlds? What do you think?


What would be the difference in terms of character creation for the Hard and Soft points?

For example if Hard Points restricted us to feats/spells/talents from 3PP with no access to classes I wouldn't be surprised to see the Hard Points as the less popular option.

I still think the best method is to have a baseline of books and then allow DMs of different areas to specify which books they want added to their region. If someone moves regions they could bring someone from baseline options or play a pregen.


Insain Dragoon wrote:

What would be the difference in terms of character creation for the Hard and Soft points?

For example if Hard Points restricted us to feats/spells/talents from 3PP with no access to classes I wouldn't be surprised to see the Hard Points as the less popular option.

The process is exactly the same, the Hard Point are the "main story" of the adventure path you are playing; while the Soft Points would be the "side trek" of the adventure path. Hope this helps.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If you're going to have regional play in this day and age, you need to account for online play. I'm GMing from Providence, but I have players from all 4 US time zones, plus Iceland and Singapore. What regional scenarios can we play?

This is somewhat theoretical, but iirc I've ran for someone from Greece, Singapore and Great Britian in the same game, so this is a major question.


Iammars wrote:

If you're going to have regional play in this day and age, you need to account for online play. I'm GMing from Providence, but I have players from all 4 US time zones, plus Iceland and Singapore. What regional scenarios can we play?

This is somewhat theoretical, but iirc I've ran for someone from Greece, Singapore and Great Britian in the same game, so this is a major question.

Right now we are focusing on the US and Canada for the first year and then develop other locations accordingly. All play Hard Points or Soft Points will be recorded online.


I'm pretty excited for this honestly. I would likely be interested in running stuff for a theoretical 3PP Society at my LGS if you get this idea off the ground in a way that can help 3PPs spread their love.


Insain Dragoon wrote:
I'm pretty excited for this honestly. I would likely be interested in running stuff for a theoretical 3PP Society at my LGS if you get this idea off the ground in a way that can help 3PPs spread their love.

Thanks for the support!


NeoExodus Legacies Organized Play for Pathfinder RPG. An organized play retail & convention-focused adventures that tell the ongoing story of adventures in the NeoExodus Campaign Setting.


I know it's necromancy but...

Interjection Games wrote:
let's see you, or anyone else, keep up with the insane number of publishers out there.

we keep this running for a reason: 3pp Pathfinder Classes, 3pp Campaign Settings, and 3pp Starfinder Player Options

So I had a weird thought while re-reading this thread. What if we reversed how organized play runs? Rather than keep track of what players can do, what if we just kept track of what players could face? Like instead of saying, “You completed this, you gain 1 level. Please have your GM submit a written report regarding your EXP gain and the magic sword you got” you just say, “Players #s 1347, 623, and 87 attended my game and completed the adventure”. Now all of those players got points they could use to “unlock” new adventure paths, higher CR enemies, etc. So they could use whatever 3pp material they want to combat it but unlocking the enemies would be the goal. I dunno. Probably silly.

Shadow Lodge

Sounds like madness.


LMPjr007 wrote:
Interjection Games wrote:

He gets it, ladies and gentlemen! I posit that any true "umbrella" 3pp organized play that seeks to function in the real world must have as little regulation as possible, if only because regulation is expensive, the industry is vanishingly small, and 3pp exists only because it is the specialty games CHOICE that exists outside of the somewhat-inflexible first-party material market. We have a sliver of a sliver here, and to spend that money on bureaucracy just doesn't quite add up in my mind.

Besides, if you build an engine that subjects itself to the same market pressures as the first-party publisher, you've just gone and made yourself obsolete, and people like myself and Alexander Augunas (definitely that guy; dude knows how to fill in crevices) can walk all over your self-imposed lethargy. Not good. Well, for the guy who does it. For me, it's great. Another competitor becomes easier to ignore.

To Louis

To be frank, Louis, let's see you, or anyone else, keep up with the insane number of publishers out there. I do understand the core of your fee structure. It gets rid of a large number of publishers and makes your job easier in that regard, but it also keeps you fed while you go through the materials. That's shrewd and it makes sense on a certain level; however, it also makes your service significantly less valuable because it's built upon exclusion rather than inclusion, which, in my eyes, kills the value of your plot before it begins.

In a realm such as ours, it is a GM's call what to use and what not to use, not yours, and the most we should do is advertise and/or make suggestions.

I will just say after 16 years of doing this specializing in PDF gaming releases I think I might a fair understanding of the gaming industry. I will just agree to disagree and if this doesn't do well, I will buy you a drink at Gen Con and if it does you can buy me one. Thanks again for your interest.

Give drink.


Bradley Crouch wrote:


Give drink.

Wait, I'm confused now--you're posting from a new account? Are you trying to out-do TOZ?


Nah. Same account, but, for some reason, my old name vanished.

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