The Elephant in the Room: Feat Taxes in Pathfinder (Full Rules Document)

In September of 2012, my brother and I released a blog post discussing the issue of feat taxes in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Although the post was intended to be a one-off thought experiment based on our experiences building characters for organized play, it gained an inexplicable amount of traction on Reddit, Facebook, and the official Paizo forums. It is responsible for 90% of the traffic on this website, recently celebrated its 100th comment, and has been used for countless Pathfinder home campaigns.

In response to the continued interest expressed by the Pathfinder community, we’ve decided to publish an updated and expanded version of our feat tree. This document, titled The Elephant in the Room after the original blog post, includes a reimagined version of the entire feat section found in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook.

We’re publishing the revised rules both here and on the newly redesigned Hearth & Blade website. Hearth & Blade was largely inspired by these feat tax rules, albeit adjusted for the P6 rule set, and the document provides a good idea of what our upcoming core rulebook will look like when it is finished.

More than anything, however, we hope that this document continues to spur interesting and lively discussion of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, just as the original blog post did.

Adventures in 8.5×11 at In Media Res

In Media Res is a Media Commons project dedicated to experimenting with collaborative, multi-modal forms of online scholarship. Each weekday, a different scholar curates a 30-second to 3-minute video clip/visual image slideshow accompanied by a 300-350-word impressionistic response – re-purposing an existing media object and providing context through commentary.

For the website’s #FantasyCartography week, I submitted Adventures in 8.5×11 – an article documenting the past decade of the One Page Dungeon Contest. The competition is something that I’ve been following for a long time – and have even participated in on occasion – and this was a great opportunity for me to sift through hundreds of past entries. I’ve included a short excerpt of my piece below:

Amateur pen-and-paper game design is certainly not a new phenomenon. Since Gary Gygax and David Arneson began their Blackmoor adventure in 1972 – fusing Chainmail medieval wargaming with Gygax’s established Fantasy Supplement – generations of gamers have meticulously crafted their own sprawling dungeons and fantastical campaign settings.

You can check out the entire #FantasyCartography week offering on the In Media Res website.

Text Adventure Twitter Bot

On somewhat of a lark, I decided to convert my Twitter account into a fantasy text adventure bot. I haven’t been the heaviest of user of the platform lately – at least not for crafting original tweets – so I thought I’d flex my meager programming and writing skills to bring what is essentially randomized Zork to social media.

Utilizing Zach Whalen’s excellent guide, I used a column-by-column randomizer to craft tweets that follow the standard text adventure format. My (now deleted) test tweet is indicative of the formula: “You enter an extravagant ballroom. A tiny sahuagin is sitting quietly on an oaken chair. An inconspicuous wand lies on the ground in front of you. Obvious exits are WEST and SOUTHWEST.”

The beauty of Whalen’s system is that you can edit your corpus easily through a Google Docs spreadsheet. New content can be added on the fly, without having to restart the bot or bring it down for maintenance. I’ll likely be fixing typos and creating additional content throughout the month of December.