PathfinderWiki talk:No crunch

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Pathfinder RPG Conversions

Since we first added the conversions section to the wiki, the number of people getting confused by the blurred line in regards to our policy on this is ever increasing. As we move away from doing articles about traits and feats, I think we should also phase these out. Lilith's DMTools is a great resource and is actually built for storing statblocks. I have asked her if these could live there and she's said yes. So I propose we should plan to shut this section down and move its content there. Not only will this allow us to follow our own rules more consistently, but we could even remove the OGL from the page at that point, since we aren't adding anything that isn't IP. This will, of course, be dependent on Paizo's Community Use rules. What are others' opinions on this proposal? -- Yoda8myhead 07:24, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Removal of types and subtypes

This discussion has already begun in Forum:Template for crunch? and Talk:Dwarf (subtype) and in both places I indicated I would be proposing a change to this policy.

This policy currently states that "it is not necessary to duplicate crunch from the standard reference documents or any source material" and I hold this statement to be true. I believe that articles on crunchy topic such as those on types and subtypes which do not have distinct flavor in the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting go against the current Scope of the project, most notably the section on Core rules and elements. Because there is clear, demonstrable flavor for races and classes in Golarion, I think there is no reason to remove these elements, but types and most subtypes are, I feel, crossing the line. Some subtypes, especially those of certain outsiders like devils, demons, and angels have flavor unique to the Great Beyond, but articles should be written from an in-world POV, not one from a game rules perspective.

Thus, my proposed changes are as follows:

  • Delete all articles pertaining solely to types and subtypes which have no discernible flavor differences from the default baseline of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
  • Remove all articles from subtype categories and delete the empty categories when done (excluding those outsider subtypes which remain, as noted above).
  • Leave type categories, as these are a simple way for us to organize similar monsters into categories without creating a whole new system
  • Alter the Scope of the project to more clearly distinguish the line between Golarion-specific articles and those which are taken as a given as part of the game.
  • Remove links to such articles from all {{Creature}} infoboxes (we should be able to do so fairly simply with one of our bots)
  • Remove the subtype column from the Monster index, replacing it with an alignment column, which is arguably much more useful for users, since only a single subtype could be alphabetized to begin with)

I believe that doing this is one of the final steps in de-crunchifying the wiki which will, hopefully, reduce confusion for new editors who don't see a clear dividing line between what is and is not appropriate.

Second, I think we should include a better justification for why we do not include crunch on the wiki, either here or on the scope of the project, the main reason being that it requires much more work to update should the setting experience a new rules edition or stop being a game setting and branch exclusively into fiction. The in-world definitions of flavorful elements will not change (we hope) with these shifts, while the definition of an Outsider or an air subtype creature might, if types and subtypes even exist.

What is the general consensus? — yoda8myhead 03:45, November 21, 2009 (UTC)

As a change, I'd like to suggest a severe revision of this policy.
Two of the three stated scopes of this project are to help gamers enhance their play experience. That being said. the "No Crunch" policy seems to drive this project away from those goals. I think their should be a "Separation of Crunch" policy instead. In this policy, crunch explicit to the campaign world would be in a separate portion of the article from the fluff of the flavor text.
Many of the questions that bring me here are the who, what, when, and wheres of the game world. However, many more are the hows and whys. To quote: "worshipers of Sarenrae are sometimes trained to utilize precise diplomacy to redeem evil-doers before resorting to violence" is preferred to "a worshiper of Sarenrae who takes this feat gains a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks to redeem an evil person." One of these is fantastic from a literary and artistic standpoint. However, for those of us engineering new campaigns and characters, the other one contains more useful information.
To summarize: While the flavor text used to describe the game world in great detail without using game terminology is good, the needs of the average gamer go for the meat and potatoes of how it is different, and why things work the way they do.--Venemox 04:59, November 23, 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the input, Venemox, and welcome to the wiki. To take your proposal deeper, how would one determine on which page a specific piece of crunch would appear? Would the entire project need to be rehauled if there were a change in rules set?
I worry that, were we to present crunch along with as detailed of setting information as we do, we would risk making it unnecessary for players or GMs to purchase paizo's books, which is the last thing we want. Since they have been generous by allowing us, or anyone else for that matter, to use their product identity as long as we make no money from it, I would feel almost guilty combining that license with the OGL to effectively make their products obsolete. If you can see a way to ensure this doesn't happen, I'd love to hear it, because it was a major discussion when the wiki was in its infancy and led to the current policy. Sadly, those discussions were lost when we moved from an independent server to wikia. In any case, I'm happy to pick it back up. — yoda8myhead 06:20, November 23, 2009 (UTC)
Personally, I still like being able to explain it as an 'in world encyclopedia' of the world. Any information such as Venemox notes should be referenced, pointing to the page that the crunch is on, and that should be enough in my opinion. Citing the second sentence in the about page: "The wiki is NOT designed to replace official printed material, but rather to complement it." The PRD has enough of this data already. We could look at also linking to the PRD when available/relevant. -- Cpt kirstov 16:22, November 23, 2009 (UTC)
For the most part I like the changes as you've presented them, Mark, though I might reconsider the deletion of subtype categories. They can be utilized in the same manner as type categories, as a method of further organizing creature articles; perhaps rather than being parent categories unto themselves, they should be subcategories added to the type articles as needed. For example, [[Category:Outsiders/Devils]], [[Category:Outsiders/Daemons]], [[Category:Outsiders/Evil Outsiders]], etc.
I too don't like the idea of including crunch in the project due to the fact that we would, in essence, be providing rules information by bypassing the sourcebooks. While I do understand your reasoning and position, Venemox, this project's purpose has never been to duplicate the rules information Paizo publishes. Above all else I've always seen the goal of this project to be chronicling the CS' lore and events, and in doing so providing a much easier means of searching through information that would otherwise only be accessible through pouring through an ever-increasing mountain of books. We can accomplish this without covering the rules information, while at the same time refrencing the source of our content so that someone interested in those rules can purchase the book and/or reference the information directly. -- Heaven's Agent 16:30, November 23, 2009 (UTC)
Cpt Kirstov has summed up a great deal of what I wanted to say about this. I would like to underscore what a mess a rules change would have though. As it is, we just underwent one, and it was pretty much a non-issue for us. Questions of what to do with old crunch would come up (convert to new rules? leave as is? remove completely), and have to be dealt with. Conversely, our approach could have buried some details that need to be taken care of. Let me set up a fictional example:
Let's say that an early module introduced a substance called unobtanium, and that it was statted up as having a hardness of 20. With our prosaic approach we might express this by saying that unobtanium is as hard as adamantine. Now imagine that in PFRPG v4.8 adamantine has its hardness increased to 37 (assuming that the mechanic still exists). We clearly have a piece of information on the wiki that would need to be updated (ignoring the fact that the original author's intent as to the relative hardness of unobtanium would have to be sorted out). Is this really a whole lot different than any new source obsoleting something that we currently have written? Not terribly, though the fact that the original statement that unobtanium is as hard as adamantine is derived from the rules could make it harder to suss out.
I'd like to propose a minor change to the way that we cite things derived from crunch. I say that we find a way to make the superscript numbers in the body text be slightly visually different. This would facilitate finding derived facts, and would allow folks like Venemox see that there is a crunch element buried there, and allow them to find it.
To be clear, I completely support the eradication of all crunch from the wiki. What I'm suggesting here is that finding facts derived from crunch is something that may be helpful to wiki users. — Aeakett 17:40, November 23, 2009 (UTC)
Addendum: I think that it's kind of unfortunate that "Devil" is a subtype. To me that is as course or fine grained as "Elf", and should probably be treated as such. Just because an entity lives on another plane is no reason to treat it as second-class. The take-away from that is that I don't support [[Category:Outsiders/Daemons]] as Heaven's Agent suggested but rather [[Category:Daemons]]... FWIW — Aeakett 17:51, November 23, 2009 (UTC)
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to see [[Category:Daemons]], or any similar category, removed from the project; such creatures have a specific role in Golarion and the CS, and such a category would contain lore information specifically about these beings. The subcategory structure I propose is specifically for type/subtype categorization and organization, and something I put forth specifically with that in mind. -- Heaven's Agent 18:10, November 23, 2009 (UTC)
Some interesting suggestions here. Thanks for participating in the discussion, everyone. To respond to a few points:
Re: subtype categories- I guess I don't have a problem with them, but making them subcategories of types risks getting really bloated. For example there are outsiders, elementals, undead, magical beasts, dragons, etc all with the fire subtype. Do we create six or more categories for fire subtype creatures, none of which link to one another, or a single category as we currently have it? I also don't like the wordy nature of [[Category:Blank subtype creatures]]. The fact that some subtypes can simply be referred to as "Demons," "Devils," or "Azata" just makes it all the harder to standardize. And if we have a category for a creature type, do we need to link to an article explaining what that creature type is? Or can we simply say "all these creatures have the extraplanar subtype" but assume readers will be familiar enough with the rules to place that in context?
Re: denoting information derived from crunch- While I like the spirit behind this idea, I think it would be incredibly hard to implement, not only because we have almost 25,000 articles to date and many of them would need to be revised to incorporate this new approach. Secondly, how would one determine when something necessarily comes from a crunch source? Suppose the Harrower article contained the line, "Harrowers channel the mystical power of the Harrow Deck in order to bolster their own abilities, though how the cards will affect them on any given day is purely a matter of chance." This is the flavorful essence of what a Harrower is but it also has rules elements that back it up. Any major flavor element will, or should if it's well designed. Does saying Hellknights consider the upholding of the law to be their paramount motivation derive from flavor or from the prestige class's alignment restriction? This issue aside, I am not aware of any wikicode that distinguishes one reference from another, so I don't know how we could make one superscript reference call any different than the next. As it is, if someone wants to know why or how a Harrower gains their powers, the references link to the class's page in the Campaign Setting and one can easily examine the source to see if there are mechanics to back up the element they wish to highlight in their game.
yoda8myhead 18:11, November 23, 2009 (UTC)

Reset indent

As far as trying not to replace the Pathfinder books from Paizo, that makes sense. But, if all this wiki does is rephrase flavor text already printed in official Paizo products, then why re-quote it? Perhaps the answer lies in simply referencing the source material in a clear and consolidated fashion. Simply listing the book and applicable pages.

As far as rules changes go, you can't un-print a source book. Paizo won't recall them all, reprint new ones with the new rules and mail them back. The information contained on book X, pages 39-41 about a Golarion specific item will stay the same. There are already rules disparities in the printed material. Somehow, the SRD seems to get along just fine.

Additionally, sites like the SRD includes both all the crunch AND the flavor text from the source reference. At the very minimum, if this wiki is relying on outside tools (like the SRD and the DM Tools), then links to the corresponding information should be included where appropriate. - —This unsigned post was made by Venemox. Please sign all posts with ~~~~.

I agree that we could do a better job of linking from articles to their specific pages on the PRD or a different OGL website. This has been part of the canon policy and we have not done a great job of linking to crunchy sources. But the wiki was never intended to be another SRD. Knowing that Paizo will be producing novels in the next year or so that will contain absolutely no rules content makes it even harder to build a canon resource that includes crunch because a lot of canon sources will be completely bereft of these elements. If we were to build the framework of the site around supporting crunch we would run into the opposite of the current issue when future contributors or users are only interested in the fiction. Being a canon repository means swe need to be loyal first to the setting and then to the game.
Also bear in mind that Paizo own PRD includes the OGL content from the core rulebooks (including brief flavorful elements) but that they do not make their proprietary setting (that content designated as IP in the OGL) available along with that crunch. We operate under a different license than the OGL, and I fear that mixing the two licenses could confuse people using this as a resource. It's the same reason the GrandOGL Wiki includes stats for the Sandpoint devil but calls it the "local devil". They don't want someone seeing the stats and assuming that the name Sandpoint is open gaming content. We also wouldn't want someone using information on a feat or spell or magic item and thinking that the flavor included in the article was open content and reproducing it illegally.
You also mention that a Golarion-specific item will remain the same despite a rules shift, but that's not necessarily true. If PRPG v 2.0 completely eliminated wondrous items from the game or changed the way that classes work, the more closely tied we are to these rules terms the harder it will be to go back and keep the wiki up to date if and when that day comes. If articles only cover flavor and never crunch, then you are right, nothing really changes when there's a rules switch. I would just rather not have to go and find every reference to outdated crunch and remove it when the world timeline progresses to a new rules set.
I've written far too much when I should be having pie with my family. But I think this is a productive discussion and I look forward to hearing others' opinions as it continues. — yoda8myhead 21:05, November 26, 2009 (UTC)
I'm glad to see that my arguments are falling not on deaf ears, but rather those that choose to defend their positions with reasoning and logic. Bravo! And thank you!
As previously stated, all of these arguments were discussed at the sites inception, so I must apologize for falling behind the curve in that respect. When talking of licensing with respect to the OGL and CUP, we must remember they are 2 different entities. One is owned and maintained by WOTC and the other by Paizo. They are not mutually exclusive, which is addressed in the CUP FAQ.
My point was not that rules don't change, but rather that the historical documents you are referencing do not change.
However, shy of going back and adding the material to previous articles (a grand task, to say the least), the sudden change of policy and addition of crunch to future articles would simply be annoying to anyone reading it. I would like to retract my proposal to change this policy. It has sound reasoning and good arguments have been presented why this reference is free of it.
Oh, and I apologize for my previous post, I forgot to sign it!--Venemox 03:33, November 27, 2009 (UTC)
And thank you, Venemox, for being open to a dialogue about this issue. We've had people in the past become uncivil and need to be banned because they wanted more crunch on the project. I think that we can take from this discussion, if not a thorough overhaul of the crunch policy, a reminder that we can (and perhaps should) link to crunch sources on pages where they are relevant. We can easily put External links headers at the bottoms of crunchy articles and link to the PRD, d20PFSRD, DMTools, or whatever source we find applicable. While you are correct that going back and adding this to every existing article is a huge task, we can add them as we make new pages and when we're already editing older articles without appearing incredibly inconsistent overall. (Also, we all forget to sign posts from time to time. It's no big deal.) — yoda8myhead 19:54, November 27, 2009 (UTC)
I am going to go ahead and implement this proposal, since it has been two weeks of discussion and we seem to all be of similar mind about the issue. The only area with ongoing disagreement seems to be subtype categories and whether they should be subcategories of the various types, removed altogether, or remain the way they are. I will be using YodaBot to carry out a lot of these tasks, so if you want to follow the changes, look at recent changes from bots. — yoda8myhead 00:07, December 6, 2009 (UTC)


This policy needs adaptation to codify which 2E mechanics are exempted. For example, we seem to be all in on traits, to the point where even relative/subjective commonality traits left implicit in statblocks, like Category:Common creatures, are explicitly categorized. See also Talk:Races of Golarion; there is significant tension between 2E traits and ancestries vs. 1E creature types, creature subtypes, and races, particularly when 2E overrides or retcons a 1E classification. -Oznogon (talk) 06:08, 18 December 2020 (UTC)