FRE Decision

I’ll be fully realizing my Experiment 1. My FRE will be a guide to creating a character in the Pathfinder TTRPG. It will include an extensive rewrite of the current character creation rules, reorganized to better reflect how we go about designing a character. It will also include tips that will help new players create a character they enjoy playing and generally help them navigate through the thousands of options available to them. One reason I chose this experiment is because all of the Pathfinder character creation rules I’ve read through misrepresent how we typically create characters, and none of them really guide the player through all the possible options. These issues make an already complex process even more difficult to navigate and increase the barrier of entry for people interested in playing Pathfinder. My FRE would lower this barrier of entry and generally be a more useful guide to character creation for new players. As an experienced Pathfinder player, I’d like to enable others to join in the hobby I enjoy so much. I’d like to share these rewritten rules with current Pathfinder players so they can potentially use them to introduce new players to the game. I’d also like to try to find a venue that would more directly allow my guide to reach people interested in trying Pathfinder (e.g. a journal/website dedicated to TTRPGs/tabletop games).

I’ve been excited to work on this experiment since I thought of it. I’ve always emphasized and enjoyed writing very clearly, concisely, and understandably in my work. It’s recently gotten me interested in technical writing (e.g. writing instruction manuals and user guides). Rewriting the Pathfinder character creation rules allows me to try out technical writing and see how I feel about it. It also gives me a chance to work with one of my favorite subjects and gain a deeper understanding of Pathfinder. In particular, it will be very interesting to try to come up with useful tips for new players in character creation. The character creation system is very complex, so you really have to analyze the system deeply to determine how we make enjoyable characters. This FRE will also have a very reasonable workload – I don’t have to do a whole lot of research (I’m already very familiar with the system), and the actual instructions will more-or-less be paraphrased from other sources. The tips and formatting are the biggest challenges, but those should still be reasonably achievable.

I really enjoyed writing for my second experiment, but it would’ve taken way too long to fully realize it. I wanted to write a full-length farce (a play with absurdist comedy), but 2 hours of dialogue takes many hours of writing. My Experiment 3 (a Socratic dialogue) would’ve been more reasonable, but I didn’t find the genre as compelling as I had initially expected. It seems like a formal philosophy essay or a play might’ve been better fits for my idea.

My character creation guide will be in the form of an instruction manual. When you want to deliver instructions as clearly and concisely as possible, instruction manuals are typically the best choice. My origin piece interspersed the instructions for character creation throughout a personal narrative about creating my own character. Although it was interesting, I definitely wouldn’t hand it to a new player and tell them to use it to create a Pathfinder character. If you want to know how to change a lightbulb, you’re probably not gonna pick up a romance novel, musical, or horror film about changing a lightbulb – an instruction manual will deliver a far more focused message in far less time. You might watch the lightbulb horror film for fun, but you probably won’t want to sit through 2 hours and 10 minutes of lightbulb-based terror every time your lightbulb burns out. I want to deliver a clear, concise, focused guide to Pathfinder character creation, so an instruction manual is my best bet. I don’t think my genre would make it more difficult to reach my audience; sure, D&D short stories and memes reach a broader audience, but they’d do an awful job of delivering character creation instructions. I think if I publish to the right venues, my guide could still reach a good number of new players.

I could post my character creation guide on both of these forums dedicated to Pathfinder:  https://www.reddit.com/r/Pathfinder_RPG/ and https://paizo.com/community/forums/pathfinder/pathfinderRPG. From there, experienced players could introduce new players to Pathfinder with my guide.

3 thoughts to “FRE Decision”

  1. As someone who really knows nothing about Pathfinder or video games in general, I liked how your writing about it was generally pretty easy to follow. This subject definitely sounds like something you are passionate about, which I’m sure will come through in the detail of your final project. I appreciated the humor at the end of your blog post about watching a horror movie about light bulbs in order to figure out how to change a light bulb — I think it gets your point across about your rationale for fully realizing this experiment as opposed to your others.

  2. This is quite interesting and definitely not something I would have originally imagined as a final project, but now I can see the reach and positive effect this could have. I’ve found technical writing to be tedious in the past, but I’m happy to hear your own thoughts from the perspective of being very engaged with the material.

  3. Your passion for your material really shines through! Even though I didn’t know what Pathfinder was at first, I feel like you did a pretty good job painting the picture (but maybe mention that it is an online game earlier on in your piece). Other than that, I love that you’re exploring technical writing! That’s such a valuable life skill! Finally, I LOVED these two sentences: “If you want to know how to change a lightbulb, you’re probably not gonna pick up a romance novel, musical, or horror film about changing a lightbulb – an instruction manual will deliver a far more focused message in far less time. You might watch the lightbulb horror film for fun, but you probably won’t want to sit through 2 hours and 10 minutes of lightbulb-based terror every time your lightbulb burns out.” This was where I felt your voice was the most engaging, and it was a good way to end. Gotta run, but I hope your project goes well!

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