I wonder how much Paizo realizes how easy it is just to make a pathfinder 2.5 without paizo thanks to the OGL


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Paizo Employee Creative Director

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H2Osw wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
thejeff wrote:
WormysQueue wrote:
Filthy Lucre wrote:
People keep saying that the setting and the rules are tied together but I don't see any evidence of this.

I see it this way: It starts with the goblins being promoted to a Core Ancestry, and that happened solely due to the popularity Goblins gained within the Golarion setting. Also a whole chapter being dedicated to the setting.

It continues with sidebars in the Monster Manuals that specificially point to Golarion.

But more importantly, apart from the pure rulebooks, you now also have the Lost Omen line with books like the Character and the Ancestry Guide that would both have mostly been treated as setting-neutral books in the first edition.

Is that really from popularity within the Golarion setting or popularity in general? How would anyone really tell the difference?
From my position: It really is from Golarion. Rules are great fun, but without stories to back up the rules, they're just rules. Think of the rules as the cameras and sets and CGI programs and practical effects that make up a movie. Those things were both used to make your FAVORITE movie and your LEAST FAVORITE movie. It's the artists who use the rules to make stories that folks can enjoy that build attachments. That's how it's always seemed in my head. We couldn't do this thing without rules, but we wouldn't STILL be doing this thing without stories.
Dwarves > Goblins, prove me wrong.

I can prove that statement wrong to me, but not to you. Nor would I want to. We offer choices in Pathifnder because we know that for every gamer, the best choice is different.

The Exchange

thejeff wrote:
Is that really from popularity within the Golarion setting or popularity in general? How would anyone really tell the difference?

Well, apart from what James just said I don't remember them ever been that popular before they got the Paizo setting treatment starting with RotRL. If that popularity was universal, I'd expect other systems to also include them into their core books. Instead of, let's say, having Hobgoblins, Tieflings or Dragonborn.


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WormysQueue wrote:
And in my opinion that shows that they are aware that their setting has much more importance for their ongoing success than you seem to think it has.

It very well may be a major selling point for most of their audience/customers. It's just not for me, and I was surprised to be in a minority.

For example, when I DMed 3.5 D&D we didn't do so under the impression that we had to have any kind of fealty or deference to Greyhawk.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
H2Osw wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
thejeff wrote:
WormysQueue wrote:
Filthy Lucre wrote:
People keep saying that the setting and the rules are tied together but I don't see any evidence of this.

I see it this way: It starts with the goblins being promoted to a Core Ancestry, and that happened solely due to the popularity Goblins gained within the Golarion setting. Also a whole chapter being dedicated to the setting.

It continues with sidebars in the Monster Manuals that specificially point to Golarion.

But more importantly, apart from the pure rulebooks, you now also have the Lost Omen line with books like the Character and the Ancestry Guide that would both have mostly been treated as setting-neutral books in the first edition.

Is that really from popularity within the Golarion setting or popularity in general? How would anyone really tell the difference?
From my position: It really is from Golarion. Rules are great fun, but without stories to back up the rules, they're just rules. Think of the rules as the cameras and sets and CGI programs and practical effects that make up a movie. Those things were both used to make your FAVORITE movie and your LEAST FAVORITE movie. It's the artists who use the rules to make stories that folks can enjoy that build attachments. That's how it's always seemed in my head. We couldn't do this thing without rules, but we wouldn't STILL be doing this thing without stories.
Dwarves > Goblins, prove me wrong.
I can prove that statement wrong to me, but not to you. Nor would I want to. We offer choices in Pathifnder because we know that for every gamer, the best choice is different.

When I hit reply on your post it only had the words, It really is. I also only say "prove me wrong" in jest. I love hearing or reading you talk about lore.


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James Jacobs wrote:
H2Osw wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
thejeff wrote:
WormysQueue wrote:
Filthy Lucre wrote:
People keep saying that the setting and the rules are tied together but I don't see any evidence of this.

I see it this way: It starts with the goblins being promoted to a Core Ancestry, and that happened solely due to the popularity Goblins gained within the Golarion setting. Also a whole chapter being dedicated to the setting.

It continues with sidebars in the Monster Manuals that specificially point to Golarion.

But more importantly, apart from the pure rulebooks, you now also have the Lost Omen line with books like the Character and the Ancestry Guide that would both have mostly been treated as setting-neutral books in the first edition.

Is that really from popularity within the Golarion setting or popularity in general? How would anyone really tell the difference?
From my position: It really is from Golarion. Rules are great fun, but without stories to back up the rules, they're just rules. Think of the rules as the cameras and sets and CGI programs and practical effects that make up a movie. Those things were both used to make your FAVORITE movie and your LEAST FAVORITE movie. It's the artists who use the rules to make stories that folks can enjoy that build attachments. That's how it's always seemed in my head. We couldn't do this thing without rules, but we wouldn't STILL be doing this thing without stories.
Dwarves > Goblins, prove me wrong.
I can prove that statement wrong to me, but not to you. Nor would I want to. We offer choices in Pathifnder because we know that for every gamer, the best choice is different.

We love our Loreannosaurus Rex

The Exchange

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Filthy Lucre wrote:
It very well may be a major selling point for most of their audience/customers. It's just not for me, and I was surprised to be in a minority.

Not even sure if you're in a minority, tbh. I mean, when Paizo announced PF 1, what used to be a relatively small community exploded with an influx of new players and most of those certainly came for the system first. No idea how many stayed because of the setting. I can only speak for myself and I am pretty much a setting and story guy. And originally, I think a lot of us early Paizo fans were.


James Jacobs wrote:
thejeff wrote:
WormysQueue wrote:
Filthy Lucre wrote:
People keep saying that the setting and the rules are tied together but I don't see any evidence of this.

I see it this way: It starts with the goblins being promoted to a Core Ancestry, and that happened solely due to the popularity Goblins gained within the Golarion setting. Also a whole chapter being dedicated to the setting.

It continues with sidebars in the Monster Manuals that specificially point to Golarion.

But more importantly, apart from the pure rulebooks, you now also have the Lost Omen line with books like the Character and the Ancestry Guide that would both have mostly been treated as setting-neutral books in the first edition.

Is that really from popularity within the Golarion setting or popularity in general? How would anyone really tell the difference?

From my position: It really is from Golarion. Rules are great fun, but without stories to back up the rules, they're just rules. Think of the rules as the cameras and sets and CGI programs and practical effects that make up a movie. Those things were both used to make your FAVORITE movie and your LEAST FAVORITE movie. It's the artists who use the rules to make stories that folks can enjoy that build attachments. That's how it's always seemed in my head. We couldn't do this thing without rules, but we wouldn't STILL be doing this thing without stories.

As for the original question, I'll echo the reply that we know how HARD it is. If it were easy to replace Pathfinder, I suspect I'd be posting this reply to a different part of the internet.

That said, one of the best parts about the OGL is that this CAN HAPPEN eventually. For many years, D&D was my favorite RPG. Today, 2nd edition Pathfinder is. At some point in the future, it'll be some new game. We'll just all have to wait and see, I guess.

That was specifically about goblins becoming popular as character choices. Which was likely driven by their appearances in some adventures and then in the We Be Goblin series, but I think I'd distinguish between the setting and adventures that take place in it, but could often easily be moved elsewhere. At least the goblin parts of it. The goblin characterization more than the world they were in, at least in my opinion.

On the larger point, I do think that a lot of Pathfinder's popularity is the setting. It's definitely a lot of its appeal for me..


WormysQueue wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Is that really from popularity within the Golarion setting or popularity in general? How would anyone really tell the difference?

Well, apart from what James just said I don't remember them ever been that popular before they got the Paizo setting treatment starting with RotRL. If that popularity was universal, I'd expect other systems to also include them into their core books. Instead of, let's say, having Hobgoblins, Tieflings or Dragonborn.

I guess that's a question of what's "Setting". The characterization of goblins in PF/Golarion is definitely the appeal and that was presented in adventures set in Golarion.

But the basic description of goblin traits is also in the setting agnostic bestiary.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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thejeff wrote:

That was specifically about goblins becoming popular as character choices. Which was likely driven by their appearances in some adventures and then in the We Be Goblin series, but I think I'd distinguish between the setting and adventures that take place in it, but could often easily be moved elsewhere. At least the goblin parts of it. The goblin characterization more than the world they were in, at least in my opinion.

One thing worth keeping in mind that, while it still applies now, it was even more true in those early formative years that the adventures we published were the PRIMARY source of setting material for Golarion. It was in the Adventure Paths and in the stand-alone module line where we did the bulk of our world creation for the first few years that Golarion was a thing in those pre Pathfinder-RPG days.

To me, an adventure has to have setting in it. There's no such thing as a "generic adventure" since you have to create proper nouns for things and people and religions and organizations and places in order to do an adventure, and that builds a setting.

Even in a Bestiary, there's setting lore building in the background. For example—the way a monster book organizes its supernatural creatures from the afterlife (say, angels and demons or what not) builds an implied amount of setting lore into the book.

The Exchange

thejeff wrote:

I guess that's a question of what's "Setting". The characterization of goblins in PF/Golarion is definitely the appeal and that was presented in adventures set in Golarion.

But the basic description of goblin traits is also in the setting agnostic bestiary.

I see where you're coming from, and of course, anyone who started their Pathfinder adventure with PFRPG would probably have seen that setting-neutral description in the Bestiary before they got exposed to the setting implementation.

But I also still remember when a few of us started to translate the infamous goblin-song into German and that was way before the bestiary even existed. To us, it was absolutely a setting element that differentiated Golarion goblins from Eberron or FR ones. And of course that colors my view on that topic in favor of the setting explanation.


Yeah, basically just a difference in what we think of as "setting" I guess.

Liberty's Edge

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Such archetypes as the Magaambya ones or the Hellknight ones exactly illustrates that, for PF2, the setting and the stories they want to enable drive the ruleset, not the other way around.


For me the rules are great and all, but the winner is the Organised Play program that makes the game truly portable. The Organised Play piece relies on the strength of the setting to give it context.

So yeah 'Setting' > 'Rules' - because the rules are just a means to an end and if I threw out all the rules and used D&D instead, the game would still work. The rules are just the agreed mechanics on how to make the session 'work'.


What I want to know is why anyone would WANT to make Pathfinder 2.5 wiithout Paizo(*). Now making Pathfinder 1.5(**) without Paizo, on the other hand, is understandable, because that's the only way you CAN have a Pathfinder 1.5(**).

(*)At least until they make Pathfinder 3.0.

(**)And eventually Pathfinder 1.75, and then 1.875, and thence 1.9375, and onwards to 1.96875 . . . .

Liberty's Edge

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UnArcaneElection wrote:

What I want to know is why anyone would WANT to make Pathfinder 2.5 wiithout Paizo(*). Now making Pathfinder 1.5(**) without Paizo, on the other hand, is understandable, because that's the only way you CAN have a Pathfinder 1.5(**).

(*)At least until they make Pathfinder 3.0.

(**)And eventually Pathfinder 1.75, and then 1.875, and thence 1.9375, and onwards to 1.96875 . . . .

I think they mean without the top management.

The Exchange

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UnArcaneElection wrote:
What I want to know is why anyone would WANT to make Pathfinder 2.5 without Paizo(*).

Well I think we've seen things like that during the 3E/4E era. Monte Cooks Arcana Unearthed; Mike Mearl's Iron Heroes or Rob Heinsoo's and Jonathan Tweet's 13th Age come to mind. So even those guys that had a huge part in creating those rulesets then immediately went and put their own spin on it with variant handbooks. And if I remember correctly, Jason Bulmahn had started to dabble with rules modifications that later turned into Pathfinder before Paizo even decided to do their own thing. Also Starfinder.

I am by no means a designer myself so I can only guess but I think part of this is just designers being themselves and constantly fiddling with the rules. And if they think they are on to something it might even reach a publishable state.

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