Product Identity in Starfinder


Third-Party Starfinder Products


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It's no surprise that the Gap is called out as product identity. I was a little surprised to see skyfire though.

My biggest puzzle was with retaining the Drift as product identity and simultaneously declaring an official open game content term for it (hyperspace).

What I find curious is this concept of "an official open game content term for this identified piece of product identity". Are there any analogs of that in Pathfinder? Presumably it's only something Paizo can declare (or can someone else publish open gaming content about "the Absence"?)

I wonder if "hyperspace" is best avoided by 3PP who don't want the flavour of the drift to be imputed.


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"Hyperspace" is a pretty generic term. I think several 3rd party publishers are intending to use that term to replace "Drift". I am looking forward to seeing how they will rework the travel times and other mechanics of the Drift since they won't be able to reference that concept directly (and they may have their own ideas about travel times in their own universes).

Silver Crusade

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Hyperspace is fine, nobody has claimed it before it became generic enough to be safe territory.

Specific expressions of hyperspace, such as Starfinder's Gap, or WH40k's Warp, or Warren Ellis' Bleed, are game for IP protection.

It's all about the idea-expression gap ;-)


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I don't know if you've got the book yet, but I'm referring to the expression of product identity. Specifically: "...the Drift (the official Open Game Content term for which is “hyperspace”)."

I don't remember another time when someone said "this thing is product Identity and this other thing is the official open game content term for it".

It's as if the drift isn't paizo's expression of hyperspace - almost like that clause purports to make it the other way around.


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*That feeling when you wanted to go to the Gap, and ended up in hyperspace instead.*

Liberty's Edge

Space Bugs: "I knew I shoulda taken that left Drift portal at the Demiplane of Khaki."

Shadow Lodge

The Drift is Hyperspace. The Gap is the forgotten time between Pathfinder and Starfinder.


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Daedalaman wrote:
The Drift is Hyperspace. The Gap is the forgotten time between Pathfinder and Starfinder.

Thanks, I edited the post.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Our statements of Product Identity have always ensured that certain things important to our campaign setting are Product Identity, meaning they can't be used under the OGL, while our game mechanics are generally Open Game Content, meaning they can be used under the OGL.

But the Drift is unusual in that it wants to be both of those things. The story of the Drift is fundamental to the fabric of our campaign setting, and is therefore something we want to reserve for ourselves. But there are game mechanics directly associated with it that are essential to how long-distance travel works in the Starfinder RPG itself. We don't want to force other publishers to have to make up their own rules for that, so we have provided a suggestion for renaming the existing mechanics in a way that lets us tell the stories we want to tell, yet lets them make products that are fully compatible with the game everybody's playing.

To be clear: The Drift itself is Product Identity, but the mechanics of space travel are Open Game Content, so if you just call it "hyperspace," you're good to go. (There's nothing forcing you to use that term if you don't want to... but most publishers probably will, and unless you have a really good reason not to, your readers will therefore probably appreciate you following suit.)

(The Gap is also Product Identity, but as there are no important mechanical elements associated with it, we have not offered an alternative name for it.)

This isn't actually the first time we've done something like this. In the Pathfinder RPG Adventurer's Guide, we provided a whole bunch of setting-neutral Open Game Content alternative names for rules elements whose names are Product Identity. For example, the "Qadiran horselord" archetype can be referenced as the "desert horselord," and the armor "Grey Maiden plate" can be referenced as "scar soldier plate."


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Thanks, Vic.

I wondered what the distinguishing feature was. Thanks for the other examples too - I hadn't noticed the practise before.

Cheers.


I still get Gap and Drift backwards - just because the Gap is the name for Hyperspace in a series of books by Stephen R Donaldson - so my mind is wired to think of that as a "travel" word.


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I liked a lot about those books. I couldn't get past the collection of vile characters though (there were about two sympathetic characters in the entire series, as I recall). Just a little too explicitly dark and villainous for me. :(


Steve Geddes wrote:
I liked a lot about those books. I couldn't get past the collection of vile characters though (there were about two sympathetic characters in the entire series, as I recall). Just a little too explicitly dark and villainous for me. :(

I think I read them all, a long time ago, but I've had no desire to go back to them.

Too nasty for me. Donaldson tends to get pretty dark in anything he does, but there was nothing to balance it in the Gap books - unlike Covenant, for example.


thejeff wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I liked a lot about those books. I couldn't get past the collection of vile characters though (there were about two sympathetic characters in the entire series, as I recall). Just a little too explicitly dark and villainous for me. :(

I think I read them all, a long time ago, but I've had no desire to go back to them.

Too nasty for me. Donaldson tends to get pretty dark in anything he does, but there was nothing to balance it in the Gap books - unlike Covenant, for example.

Looking at my username, I'm sure you can understand my opinions of his work.:) The Gap is very dark, agreed. He has a new series starting in Dec, and I can't wait.


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thejeff wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I liked a lot about those books. I couldn't get past the collection of vile characters though (there were about two sympathetic characters in the entire series, as I recall). Just a little too explicitly dark and villainous for me. :(

I think I read them all, a long time ago, but I've had no desire to go back to them.

Too nasty for me. Donaldson tends to get pretty dark in anything he does, but there was nothing to balance it in the Gap books - unlike Covenant, for example.

Yeah, this is my recollection too. I haven't read another of his books since this series.

Some of the setting ideas I quite liked, but not the characters.


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Well, we're way off topic, but in the Covenant books for example the darkness and unsympathetic main characters are balanced by other parts of the setting - the Land, the Lords, the Giants, etc. For me it makes a big difference. The Gap was too unrelenting.

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