Declare Archives of Nethys as official source of Organized Play Legality


Pathfinder Society

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

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The purpose of this thread is to ask that Archives of Nethys be declared as the official source for Organized Play Legality.

Currently, the Archives of Nethys website is the official source of the online rules for both editions of Pathfinder and Starfinder. However, to determine what is legal for PFS1e and SFS, one needs to check Additional Resources and Campaign Clarifications that are located on the Paizo website. To determine what is legal for PFS2e, one must check the guide found on the Organized Play Foundation website.

I know that there are a lot of people who believe that Archives of Nethys is the authorized source of legality for Organized Play. But as far as I know, no such declaration has been made.

I ask if you agree with me than flag this post as needing a FAQ.

If you don't agree, please provide information about why you don't agree.

I believe that the Archives of Nethys is not part of Paizo Inc. and is control by a third party. For Archives of Nethys to become the official source for Organized Play legality, it would likely require a greater level of commitment from the website administrators that they may not wish to have.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Thats putting a lot on the nethys folk(s) isn't it?

If nethys gets something wrong and you use them as a source, thats pretty much the definition of an honest mistake. No harm, no foul, you just try to fix it as best you can.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

*three-fingered stamp of approval*

Archivesofnethys already maintains PFS/SFS legality and updates their site regularly.

We would just need a nod from Campaign Leadership to acknowledge the work that's already being done.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Paizo's sites and documents have a long history of errors (and delays) themselves.

Anyone who used a Spinosaurus as a Companion knows this to be true.

AoN is paid by Paizo to be their SRD. It should be recognized as official in all cases.

4/5 Venture-Agent, Maryland—Hagerstown aka Z...D...

This would be much appreciated. No more cross referencing. All the answers on one site.

4/5 5/5

Never flagged before, I think I did it wrong the first time. Please ignore the non FAQ flag. I agree a centralized reference would be optimal. If AoN is the way, im in.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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While I’m not opposed to making the PFS legal status on AoN more official, they need to get the information for what is legal from somewhere. Is the suggestion that AoN become the place where the additional resources are published for 2E?

I think Tonya’s last message about that mentioned that they believe that document/page/whatever needs to be on a Paizo controlled system (and potentially the guide could move back to Paizo’s site as well). That is why it’s not being updated on the organized play foundation site. There seem to be other (legal?) concerns around where that information is kept that Paizo is still working through.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

In another thread, a new player asked whether a PF1 Trait was legal for play, but didn't give the book they found it in. Myself and another poster couldn't find it on Archives, but it was listed on a notorious 3rd Party site, so I told the OP that the Trait likely wasn't legal. Gary Bush took issue with that reasoning, since it's possible AoN was in error and may have (for whatever reason) missed including that particular Trait on their site.

Since PFS is a branch of Paizo, and AoN is Paizo's official SRD, that makes them PFS official, too. If AoN was instead only described as PFS official, then that same logic wouldn't apply.

While it's fairly easy at this point in PFS2 to check whether a player option is legal, how often did players complain back in PFS1 that the Additional Resources list was a nightmare to navigate? I'm thinking 1, 5, 10 years down the road and foreseeing the same headaches.

But open up Archives, search for that little Glyph of the Open Road, and you're good.

Scarab Sages 4/5

But Archives has to get the information from somewhere. I’m trying to understand what the actual request is. Is it that we be able to look at AoN and rely on what is posted there when choosing options? So if something is listed as legal on AoN, then we can use it? But the Additional Resources still exists somewhere else?

If so, then what happens when they disagree? I’m fairly certain there are still a handful of situations where AoN lists something as legal or not, when the AR lists the opposite. For example, the Gloves of Improvised Might were clarified long ago to be legal, but AoN has never updated to reflect that. It brings us back to check the AR to be sure, which is already the situation.

Or is the request that the Additional Resources moves completely to AoN and we no longer have an AR document? If this is the request, that’s where the issues that are apparently issues with the OPF site come in. The OPF site is official, too. It’s the only place where the guide for PFS2E appears. But it was still stated that Paizo feels like the information there might need to move back to an internal system. I don’t see a difference with AoN.

I don’t know any of the particulars of the deal between AoN and Paizo. I know that when AoN was announced as the new host for the SRD, the announcement on AoN seemed to indicate that the site was not being compensated. It’s also possible that was a misunderstanding by the community. AoN seems fine with whatever arrangement they have with Paizo, and as long as that’s the case that’s fine and between the two entities. I only point that out because it appears that AoN is acting in a very similar capacity to the OPF, so just because they are the official SRD, that doesn’t mean the same issues of having the information on a volunteer site don’t exist. It’s just moving it from one volunteer site to another.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Nefreet wrote:
Since PFS is a branch of Paizo, and AoN is Paizo's official SRD, that makes them PFS official, too. If AoN was instead only described as PFS official, then that same logic wouldn't apply.

The problem is that you cannot point to a post or blog where AoN has been declared the OFFICIAL source for legality in Organized Play.

All that we have about AoN is an official announcement that it is the official location for the online rules of Paizo products. We, as players of Organized Play, know that Our GM (ie Campaign Leadership) defines what parts of the rules we can use and what parts we can not. And the Our GM has told us that we need to look at specific place to find what rules we can use. And the specific place is not AoN.

Again, AoN, is a great source. I look there first to see if something is legal. If I see the symbol indicating that it is legal, I then go to where Our GM has told me to go to verify that the rule is usable.

I would love to have Our GM say we can use AoN as official. Our GM has not done that yet.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Thats putting a lot on the nethys folk(s) isn't it?

If nethys gets something wrong and you use them as a source, thats pretty much the definition of an honest mistake. No harm, no foul, you just try to fix it as best you can.

Yes, it would. We don't know if they were asked to do that and declined because of the level of accuracy required. Of of the decision was made to retain in-house so control could be better maintained.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Colorado—Denver aka roll4initiative

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Paizo's Additional Resources page is the only place to see if something is legal or not for 1e PFS.

The Guide to OP on the OP Foundation webpage is the only place to see if something is legal or not for 2e PFS.

Is this correct?

5/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka Pirate Rob

There's been some statements from Tanya regarding additional resources and how the OPF website hosting them is problematic from a legal standpoint.

So at the moment whi knows how pf2 additional resources will be announced...

3/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking

Nefreet wrote:

Paizo's sites and documents have a long history of errors (and delays) themselves.

Anyone who used a Spinosaurus as a Companion knows this to be true.

AoN is paid by Paizo to be their SRD. It should be recognized as official in all cases.

Actually Archives has some really flaws in it that make it really inappropriate to use for additional resources. Massive spoilers for APs are often located right next to mechanics from player content books.

Also Nethy's system will probably cause more confusion than it's worth as unless as plenty of non legal items are listed as legal currently for 2e. I get why but even I was a little flummoxed initially.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Christian Dragos wrote:

Paizo's Additional Resources page is the only place to see if something is legal or not for 1e PFS.

The Guide to OP on the OP Foundation webpage is the only place to see if something is legal or not for 2e PFS.

Is this correct?

Yes, Correct.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

A reminder that clicking on FAQ on the first post does not indicate support. It only says "Hey, please look at this and provide us with guidance."

Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

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AoN is nice, but I don't think this would work for Pathfinder 1 content. Pathfinder 2e is new enough (and unsanctioned enough...) and Starfinder's publication history is light enough that there might be some hope, but I'm not optimistic for them either.

The obvious concern is that AoN has some very longstanding errors, including but not limited to sanctioning content. A lot of the existing PFS1 content is also sanctioned in a manner that doesn't lend itself to easy translation to the existing AoN sanctioning marker--"this archetype is legal for core rogue but not unchained rogue" for example.

On top of that, the AR's pretty closely tied in to the Campaign Clarifications document, which isn't integrated into AoN at all.

Looking at PFS1e in more detail, there are also some challenges where there are items that have been published twice, with different text; are still legal in both sources; yet AoN only displays the most recent version. (see: skinwalkers, masterwork tools, etc.)

Between all of those concerns I have, I believe that AoN as currently constructed is a poor replacement for the additional resources pages we currently have. It would be a LOT of work to incorporate all of the various rulings and edge cases in.

That doesn't mean I won't dream of a day when we can get a GUI, like AoN, for the AR as opposed to a difficult-to-parse, counterintuitive list. It's just that realistically, I don't think it's even close to feasible. :(

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Good points =(

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

I'm not really sure what the point of this would be...

1) Through {some mysterious process} PFS leadership cooks up a document for a given book on what should be allowed.
2) This document is handed over to IT to be published and/or this document is handed over the volunteers maintaining the OPF wiki-ish website to be published.
3) It's transformed into something that can be shown on the web, hopefully without changing any of the substance.
4) Archives of Nethys reads the published Additional Resouces and at some point tags some of the options in the archives as (conditionally) legal.

It's a bit of a game of telephone. AoN has to interpret IT's redition of what the OPF leadership meant to say.

Maybe AoN gets the document directly from OPF leadership. But still, AoN has to interpret the document to tag specific options as legal or not, whereas the IT guy can just copy-paste things because he's not actually trying to tag specific items in a SRD somewhere. So AoN is by its very design exposed to one extra source of data corruption than the official AR page.

The Exchange 5/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

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I’ll start by saying that I love Archives of Nethys and it’s usually the first place I go to check for legality (and reference the AR if there is a question for any reason).

However. . . as of this writing, it doesn’t have any of the material from the Starfinder Character Operations Manual listed as legal. None of the issues we have with delayed or ambiguous Additional Resources are going to be solved by making an external site the “official legality” source. If anything it adds in more delays and more chances for errors.

Errors:
Alex said it quite well. The structure of AoN occasionally causes hiccups in identifying what is legal. Sometimes the way an option is written requires a more narrative approach to explain legality than AoN’s yes/no checkbox.

Official Source:
Also, remember that Society players still need to own the source for anything they are using. Not just to be sure they properly paid, but also to actually read the whole text around an option. I had a sorcerer trying to use meditation spells in a 1E game. “You can’t do that, you’re a spontaneous caster.” “Archives of Nethys says the ones I am using are legal.” “They are legal, but you don’t meet the requirements for casting them.” “There aren’t any requirements.” “There are. Did you read the sourcebook?” “. . . “

1/5 RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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Should there be a better, more centralized source for sanctioning?
Yes.

Additional Resources is an obstacle for new players as I pointed out before. I've seen new players become utterly crushed give up on PFS before their first game. The sanctioning process, in general, continually demoralizes the organized play community.

Should Archives of Nethys function as the official organized play source?
No.

AoN is an independently owned wiki for content. It has no affiliation with Organized Play Foundation, and to force them into such a thing places a huge amount of burden on its owner.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Colorado—Denver aka roll4initiative

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I believe it should be an official organized play source. They are partnered with Paizo. They do a great job.

Here is the post.

2/5

On the one hand, an online resource that's 90% accurate being dubbed "official" would be nice.

On the other, the OP Team is already behind on everything thanks to staffing issues. This just adds another step and another party to the process. It also doesn't solve the source ownership problem.

AoN shares a problem with Herolab when it comes to PFS and it had caused my tables to grind to a halt. A player finds a cool thing in AoN or HL, doesn't understand it or can't explain it. When I ask "ok, where is it from" and they hand me their phone or tablet. Then we need to find the actual Paizo source, find out if they own the source (which 50% of the time they don't), and then come up with solutions.

The one upside of core only PFS2 has been that I haven't had this issue since August. Before it was a once every 2-3 month problem. It seemed like everytime a new player discovered HL or AoN we'd have this problem crop up.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Christian Dragos wrote:

I believe it should be an official organized play source. They are partnered with Paizo. They do a great job.

Here is the post.

What do you even mean by "an official organized play source"?

* Does it count for owning the source of an item you want to use? Obviously not. You don't own AoN.

* If you've already proven you own a source (for example by showing your My Downloads page, or because you've shown your physical books to that GM before), can you use AoN as a a reference instead of having to have a dozen watermarked PDFs or physical books with you? Yes, that's fine. Caveat: in PF1, there are some items that are printed in two different sources, that are not exactly the same, but are both legal. AoN will show you only one version, not necessarily the one in the book you own. Unlike some other games, in PFS there's no standard rule that the newest printing is always the only official version and that older versions automatically also work like that. It's been done for some items but not for all.

* Does it count for showing what's PFS-legal? Well, sorta. It mirrors the Additional Resources document. When there's a disagreement, the AR document wins because that's the true source. That's what OPF leadership actually wrote. AoN tries to take that text document and tag all the rules correctly but sometimes gets a double negative wrong or forgets something.

* What about clarifications? In PFS some items are changed in the AR page and some are changed in the Clarifications. AoN doesn't show all of those things.

Dark Archive 4/5

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I don't really see the request as adding steps, mostly because given the track record I think AoN could respond with the appropriate tagging faster than the Paizo tech team can post a document to the website. As someone else said properly reading the AR also requires going to Campaign Clarifications, which is also quite terrible to read completely disembodied rules text from... In short it would provide a pretty big useability boost and while there may be some logistics hurdles I haven't read anything that sounds remotely insurmountable.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Colorado—Denver aka roll4initiative

To clarify, i believe AoN should be the official Additional Resources list. Of course, one would still need to own the source material/hardcopy. Sure, there are problems with 2 versions of something being legal, but, AoN has their own staff of contributors that should be able to fix minor mistakes when they come up.

1/5 RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Christian Dragos wrote:

I believe it should be an official organized play source. They are partnered with Paizo. They do a great job.

Here is the post.

There's a huge difference in responsibility between a game content wiki and an official sanctioning document.

As far as I know, leadership has not even decided where to publish the official guides either. At best, this is premature.

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Agent, Finland—Turku aka Tomppa

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I would love it IF AoN could function as an AR document for 2e. Accomplishing this would require a lot of effort though, and a change in how information is handled.

The first and most glaring problem is the "broken telephone" effect. AoN is right 90% of the time, but as others have said, there are errors. Sure, AR can get errors in it too, but -until they are fixed-, the AR is the law. Posting a separate AR and then having Nethys take note, with both being "legal sanctioning documents" poses a problem when the two conflict - and the key word here is conflict.
This could be avoided by not having an AR in the first place, and nethys being the only source to check sanctioning legality - But would this cut down on errors? Possibly not.

Second: Nethys can (and often is) a bit late on sanctioning markings. People are constantly complaining about sanctioning not being fast enough, adding another middleman to it certainly does not make it faster.

Third: Yeah, the duplicate items from different books, campaign clarifications, FAQ's, etc. IF all of these could be solved into/with nethys, that would be awesome. However, it's unlikely. We have just 2 books sanctioned for PFS, and there's already at least 1 error in the nethys regarding the legal status of a certain class feat (The class feat is legal, but only through a boon. Nethys lists it just as "legal" without the usual red circle and explanation. Spoilers, and misleading.).

I'm not saying these problems can't be fixed, I'm just saying that there's a lot more to this than just announcing that nethys is now the AR for 2e.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, France—Paris

I don't see the need of modifying the purpose of AON that way, I would say it would be easier to modify the layout of the AR to make it more readeable.

Unless the website is directly handled by Paizo or Blake Davis directly hired by the company, I don't see the site becoming official source soon.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Tommi Ketonen wrote:
I'm not saying these problems can't be fixed, I'm just saying that there's a lot more to this than just announcing that nethys is now the AR for 2e.

For clarity, my request is for AoN to be official for all three of the Organized Play campaigns.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I guess I should mention the caveat that the search function on Nethys has been broken for a while now. I emailed them, but as of today it's still not working.

(just tried searching the Starfinder side for "Entangled", but when you click on the search result it takes you to an overview of all the Starfinder sourcebooks, rather than the Condition itself)

Still better than the original Paizo SRD, though, ironically =/

Scarab Sages 4/5

Just a follow-up on my previous post... The Gloves of Improvised Might do actually show as legal now on AoN. There's a weird format thing on the site, though, that I don't remember being there before. When you view the entry, it doesn't show the glyph of the open road next to the name of the item where it would normally appear. Instead, it shows a glyph next to the +1, +2, +3, etc. in the item description. This appears to be a result of each + version being a separate item on the table. It's doing the same thing for the Amulet of Natural Armor. So on that point, AoN is not wrong. Just confusing.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Having thought about this a bit more, I've come to some conclusions. Let's first establish some basics;

* When the whole AR decision-making process is done, there is a document/spreadsheet with which options become legal and which don't. Let's call it the Mother Document (MD) for clarity. The MD is probably more list of changes ("add the following from this new book, and change the following in that old book").

* Currently, the MD is then given to IT, which puts it on the website. This isn't going very smoothly. But presumably the data doesn't change and the Paizo AR page (PARP) is a match with the MD. The PARP is the result of applying all the previous MDs.

* Archives of Nethys then looks at the PARP and tries to apply all of those changes to their database. This splits it up into a thousand little items.

* Any other websites/apps that also need/want PFS sanctioning data (Herolab, Pathbuilder, d20pfsrd etc. etc. also look at the PARP.

---

Okay, so what would happen if we made AoN "the" official source? The PARP would vanish, and this would massively screw any other sites that want to feature info about PFS sanctioning, because they now have to go scrape all of AoN to look for anything that changed. That's going to put a technical burden on AoN because they have to deal with other websites scraping them, and it's also kind of unfair competition. Also, for anyone looking for a quick overview of what in a given book was sanctioned, they have to go through the AoN sources page for that book and click on every option to see if it became legal. That's very time-consuming.

So, what else could we do?
* Directly give the MD to AoN, so they can update their info more easily. Seems like a good idea, but what if there's a difference between the PARP and AoN readings of the MD? None of us onlookers now know if mommy or daddy is speaking the truth.

* Publish the MD for everyone, instead of waiting for IT to put it on the PARP. Just put them on a page as a list of MDs. Anyone can download them and run their own AR page if they like. And anyone can verify if anyone else is doing it right. There's still a single source of truth, the MD collection page.

3/5

For what it's worth, I love Archives of Nethys and have used it as my primary online PRD long before it became the official PRD. However, updates have been slow to it for what is legal or not, and I have caught at least a couple of errors and discrepancies in it in that regards. Code changes are much more likely to cause temporary problems than a pdf list, and the Additional Resources guide can be downloaded to reference when the internet is unavailable, unlike Archives of Nethys. I generally rely on AoN when building a character to determine legality, but I try always to double-check all options with the Additional Resources, just in case... and it has paid off from time to time.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

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zeonsghost wrote:

AoN shares a problem with Herolab when it comes to PFS and it had caused my tables to grind to a halt. A player finds a cool thing in AoN or HL, doesn't understand it or can't explain it. When I ask "ok, where is it from" and they hand me their phone or tablet. Then we need to find the actual Paizo source, find out if they own the source (which 50% of the time they don't), and then come up with solutions.

My experiance has been the opposite. My biggest gripe with HLO right now is that I get access to Cool Things in SFS and Hero Lab doesn't support them. Like all the races we find in scenarios.

2/5

James Anderson wrote:
zeonsghost wrote:

AoN shares a problem with Herolab when it comes to PFS and it had caused my tables to grind to a halt. A player finds a cool thing in AoN or HL, doesn't understand it or can't explain it. When I ask "ok, where is it from" and they hand me their phone or tablet. Then we need to find the actual Paizo source, find out if they own the source (which 50% of the time they don't), and then come up with solutions.

My experiance has been the opposite. My biggest gripe with HLO right now is that I get access to Cool Things in SFS and Hero Lab doesn't support them. Like all the races we find in scenarios.

My encounters with HL have mostly been with 1E. If they're not loading SF content, I can see that being a big issue.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Australia—NSW—Newcastle aka Tim Schneider 908

If AoN wanted to take on the burden & it simplified the process for Paizo, sure...

If it makes the process harder or slower in any way, which I expect it would, then I for one would prefer to see Paizo sanction faster rather than prettier.

Unless you just mean saying there's 2 sources of truth now - the official additional resources and nethys - then we have to work out who we believe when they conflict... and once you say in case of conflict go with the official one then the nethys one is roughly in the spot it already is - a great starting point but you really should check the official source & additional resources before using.

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