JP On Gaming

Monday, December 12, 2022

[Rant] What Paizo got right (and I got wrong)

Great Day in Taldor vignetteIt's not often that I admit that I was wrong. But the more I work at writing and expanding my own game settings, the more I have to give it to the people at Paizo. Now, don't get all excited (Chad). I have not played Pathfinder in years and just have no intention of doing so - mostly because I don't want to put the effort into organizing it.

I got into Pathfinder when it first came out, in 2009 and really liked what I saw of the rules. The game is solid and well-tested. I played it with great enthusiasm until 2017 or 2018.

I remember looking at the Golarion Setting Book. Multiple times. And every time, I kept getting the impression of something missing, like I was drinking a Kool-Aid drink into which there was too much water. Sure it TASTES like something, but the full flavor is not there. Like everything was in there, but that it lacked some meat.

For years, I kept that impression.

Then earlier this year, I decided to give a new look. And won't you be surprised, I found the book to be extremely well written with just enough material to make it viable. And therein lay its genius: the razor's edge upon which it thread. Just enough.

Could it use more? Yes! For most of the nations in the book I find myself wanting to learn more about them. There is just enough to tease my taste buds. Just enough for me to create an adventure there. Having since written multiple settings (Akhamet, Olympia, co-wrote Rhym, and soon Ozaka), I found myself in awe of the Golarion setting book for its simplicity.

So what did I get wrong back in the day? How did I come to this impression of incompleteness? Of water-down Kool-Aid? I mean the book is the same. How could I have changed so much?

On the one hand, clearly experience. With more writing, I could appreciate it more.

On the other hand, I guess the issue was that I could not find good hooks for the stories *I* wanted to tell. That while good, nothing reached out to me. The light flavor of historical elements with fantasy elements just did not feel like it went deep enough. While this latest impression remains, I have to review my thoughts on the rest of it.

This is a solid product that deserves the praise it earned in the past and the accolades it garnered.

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