My research process for Echelon usually involves pulling as much related material together as possible so I have it all in one place. That way I can work with a single document — print it out, scribble in margins, and so on, rather than packing around several books and something to write in, and it gives me something easy to copy and paste from.
For some time now I’ve planned to mine Pathfinder for Echelon. At first just the core book, then working my way into major supplements and third-party material. I’ve gone through Dawnforge and Iron Heroes much as I had expected to, and now I’ve started on Pathfinder.
I’ve known for some time that Pathfinder is fiddly and there are a lot of options, but even with just four books from Paizo (Core Rulebook, Advanced Player’s Guide, Ultimate Combat, Ultimate Magic) there is an immense amount of material on the topics I’m interested in. I don’t mean ‘just’ feats (the four Paizo books have a total of 704 of them! The D&D 3e Player’s Handbook had, I think, 70, the Pathfinder Core Rulebook has 175) and spells (the four Paizo books have 1263!, almost half of which are in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook), I mean that between archetypes and class-specific stuff (rage powers, arcane discoveries, sorcerer bloodlines) I’m building documents dozens of pages long.
It occurred to me that these are a decent supplement length. It is almost a spin-off of the work I’m doing for Echelon, but it wouldn’t be that much more effort to take these reference documents I’m working on and package them for sale. Pathfinder is a paragon of exception-based design (“take that common thing and make these changes to it and that’s your character”… and you can do that with your class, your class abilities — cleric domains have subdomains that modify the originals). What if, as a value-add, these were fully-applied? That is, each class has each associated archetype applied so you can see what it looks like with the changes made, and since multiple archetypes can sometimes be applied, either do that or at least identify which archetypes are viable together. Subdomains are presented as applied to their base domains, so you can see the full power set and spell list, rather than referring to two different books.
This is an almost incidental amount of work compared to what I’m already doing, but I can easily see producing a document of 60-100 pages per class, possibly bigger and/or with supplentary documents.
Most of the work, I will be doing anyway. I wonder, if I were to package these for others to use, if there would be a market at DriveThruRPG or the like. There is little truly creative here, it is largely repackaging to get focused, related material in one place, and applying the changes described in the delta objects (class archetypes, subdomains). However, it would provide a document with everything I have available on a single topic, rather than having to refer to four hardcover books… and various PDFs, and other books as I incorporate them in my research.
I suppose my primary questions are:
- Would this be of interest?
- What would be a reasonable fee to charge for a single topic or class?
- Especially since it is not what would really consider original work, but a convenience.
- I expect initially these would be largely text-only (boring to look at!), but if this led to being able to afford art I can see revising the documents to incorporate it. On the other hand, I suspect most people interested in this might consider in-document art to be kind of nice to see, but really be more interested in the content.
I’m not looking to make a lot of money here, but there is enough work involved that I think it would not be an unreasonable thing to charge for it rather than give it away. It also might help finance, or at least subsidize, my buying-RPG-stuff-online habit….