About this project
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO SUPPORTED THIS KICKSTARTER! Kickstarter will provide us with the contact information for each backer after they have processed your pledges. We will email you asking for information like your T-Shirt size and your shipping address.
Make sure that emails from Paizo.com and Goblinworks.com are white-listed in your spam filters!
We're going to be hard at work on the Technology Demo, which should be finished in about 90 days. During this period you'll receive occasional updates from the Kickstarter Project Page about ongoing ways to support the Pathfinder Online MMO. We also encourage you to visit the Pathfinder Online message boards on Paizo.com!
- Goal #1—ACHIEVED! Because we've reached 2000 backers, we're going to create another dungeon level beneath Thornkeep, which will be presented as an additional PDF download for everyone who has pledged $15 or more. This new level will be designed by Paizo's own Jason Bulmahn, and backers will be able to participate in a survey to determine the theme of that dungeon. See Update #3 for details.
- Goal #2—ACHIEVED! Because we reached $125,000, we'll add a dungeon level by James Jacobs as a PDF download for everyone who has pledged $15 or more.
- Goal #3—ACHIEVED: Because we reached $150,000, we'll add a dungeon level by Erik Mona as a PDF download for everyone who has pledged $15 or more.
- Goal #4—ACHIEVED: Because we reached $175,000, we'll add the dungeon levels by Jason Bulmahn, James Jacobs, and Erik Mona to the printed Thornkeep book, already going to everyone who has pledged $50 or more! See Update #10 for details on these last three goals. Update: Jason, James, and Erik will also autograph the books going to everyone who has pledged $75 or more!
- Goal #5—ACHIEVED: Because we reached $200,000, we'll add a final dungeon level by Ed Greenwood to the PDF and print editions of the Thornkeep book! See Update #14 for details!
- Goal #6—ACHIEVED: Because we reached $225,000, we'll add a specially designed bookplate signed by cover artist Wayne Reynolds to the autographed Thornkeep book already going to backers at the $75 level! Update! The bookplate will also be autographed by Ed Greenwood!
- Goal #7—ACHIEVED: Because we reached $250,000, we'll add in two Flip-Mats, representing all four of the lower dungeon levels, at the $100 reward level. For details—or to find out what Flip-Mats are—see Update #20. Update! We'll also add PDFs of the two Flip-Mats to the $30 reward level!
We’ve heard it our entire careers: “Are you crazy?” “It can’t be done.” “Nobody would buy that.” “It’s impossible.” Yet we have succeeded in doing the impossible, time after time after time.
A roleplaying game where you play the monsters rather than the heroes? Are you serious?
Vampire: The Masquerade had its 20th anniversary last year.
Wait, you want to make a card game where you have to create your deck by buying booster packs of random trading cards? Nobody would buy that.
Magic: The Gathering is by far the most successful game ever in the history of tabletop gaming, and will celebrate 20 years in 2013.
You want to do WHAT? Make the Dungeons & Dragons game mechanics open source? That’ll kill the entire industry!
The Open Game License (OGL) revolutionized the RPG market in 2000, leading to hundreds of companies producing products compatible with the Third Edition of D&D.
Hold on—you’re going to create your own game to compete with Dungeons & Dragons? You’re wasting your time!
The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is now the world’s best-selling tabletop RPG.
So when we told people we wanted to create a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMO) for a fraction of the cost and development time of the big MMOs, you can imagine some of the responses we got.
It’s a pipe dream! Nobody can do that. It’s impossible.
Well, we’re the team that laughs in the face of impossible. Pathfinder Online is the project that will slay this dragon. And Goblinworks is the company that will make it happen. Impossible? We say nay!
Pathfinder Online is a hybrid sandbox/theme park-style MMO where characters explore, develop, find adventure and dominate a wilderness frontier in a land of sword and sorcery. The Pathfinder world is high fantasy in the tradition of epics like The Lord of the Rings, Conan, The Wheel of Time and Game of Thrones.
The Pathfinder setting includes many different classic and modern fantasy elements, from lost cities shrouded in misty jungles to decaying pyramids amidst deserts of burning sands to a fantastic island metropolis where folk from across the world live side by side with all manner of fantastic creatures. The Pathfinder world has a place for any story a player wants to tell. (For more information on the world of Pathfinder and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, please visit http://paizo.com/pathfinder.)
Pathfinder Online’s robust trading system puts players in control of the world’s economy with player-created items, consumables, fortifications, and settlements. Character-controlled settlements can grow into full-fledged kingdoms that compete for resources as they seek to become the dominant force in the land, raising vast armies to hold their territory against the depredations of monstrous creatures, NPC factions, and other player characters.
Social organizations scale from small parties of a few adventurers to player nations inhabited by thousands. As settlements develop, the surrounding wilderness develops more complex and challenging features, including randomly generated encounters and resources as well as exciting scripted adventures.
For the past several months, the Goblinworks team has been working on three major projects. We’ve been recruiting talent to fill out our art and design teams. We’ve been working to make a final selection of the middleware that will drive Pathfinder Online. And we’ve been talking to investors to raise the capital we need to go into active production.
We announced Goblinworks and Pathfinder Online this past November because we wanted you, our community supporters, to hear about it first from us rather than getting hints from the grapevine that something was up at Paizo. Since that announcement, we’ve had amazing meetings with MMO publishers and developers, game designers, and potential investors.
We’ve had to do all three of these things in parallel because there are a couple of intersecting “chicken and egg” problems here. Investing at this stage of a project is very much about having faith in the people working on the project—and we have some amazing folks who want to work with us, but they have careers and family obligations, so they can’t just pick up and relocate to Redmond on the hope that we’ll get the funding we need. We’ll also need to show our investors specific details about our financials, which are affected tremendously by the deal we can secure for our middleware—the engine that runs the game. Our business experience and social networks have provided us access to some awesome middleware deals that aren’t readily available to outsiders, but sealing those deals is tied to the staff and funding issues as well. In short, we need to move forward before we can move forward.
And then the Internet Changed Everything. And the harbinger of this change is Kickstarter!
Seeing the Kickstarter success stories of Double Fine, The Order of the Stick, Wasteland 2, and Shadowrun Returns (to name just a few), we realized that Kickstarter could be just what we need to break through our roadblocks.
From the very beginning of Pathfinder Online, we’ve had a firm goal: we want a very close symbiosis with our customers, getting their feedback on our design ideas and, once the game is launched, iteratively adding content to the game based on their feedback. To provide transparency on our plans, we’ve been doing bi-weekly design blogs at https://goblinworks.com/blog, and we’ve been getting your feedback on the Goblinworks messageboards at http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/licensees/pathfinderOnline. We’ll continue to update the blogs and interact with our community throughout the Kickstarter process—and on into the future.
But right now, we need you to help us in a new way. We need you to help us PROVE to the world that our impossible dream is possible.
This Kickstarter will fund the Technology Demo of the Pathfinder Online Massively Multiplayer Online RPG. The Technology Demo will be fully playable, integrating account management, character creation, a virtual world server, multiple simultaneously connected clients, middleware used for rendering landscapes and characters, basic game mechanics, and player communications. The demo will only support a few simultaneous users exploring a couple of small locations, so the general public won't be able to play it, but we will produce a short video of the demo that everyone will be able to experience, and a special longer video exclusively for backers of this Kickstarter.
Your support of the Technology Demo will help us raise awareness of Pathfinder Online and will show potential investors what the game is really about. Funding this demo will also signal to potential partners that Pathfinder Online has an audience that's large enough and dedicated enough to allow the long-term success of the MMO. Nothing speaks louder than a ton of people putting up money to show their support of a new concept—that’s the genius element of Kickstarter!
Since this Kickstarter isn’t meant to fund the final video game, we had to think outside the box a little bit. Pathfinder Online is based on the world created by Paizo Publishing for their tabletop Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, so we thought it would be pretty cool to work with Paizo to create an RPG book that details one of the locations that Pathfinder Online characters will start in. We settled on the town of Thornkeep—that’s the very same “hive of scum and villainy” that the Pathfinder Online community named in our first online poll back in January! To make Thornkeep come alive, we’ve enlisted the talents of veteran game designer Rich Baker. Rich is going to give you everything you need to run a Pathfinder RPG game in Thornkeep, including the surrounding woods and a detailed dungeon below the ruins upon which Thornkeep was built. This very same dungeon will also be built as part of our technology demo, providing a great window into how tabletop design will make the transition to the digital medium.
And that’s just the first half of a 64-page book! The remaining sections will be written by our Pathfinder Online design team, letting you into Goblinworks’ design philosophy and giving you inside information gleaned from the development of our technology preview. The Thornkeep book will be produced to Paizo’s usual quality standards—perfectbound, printed in full color, with lots of all-new original artwork, including a brand new beautiful cover painting by fan-favorite Pathfinder artist Wayne Reynolds (the cover you see here is a mock-up).
We didn’t stop there either! We’ve built up a wide range of Goblinworks-themed merchandise, from posters and T-shirts to an entire day spent playing Pathfinder and dining out with the Goblinworks staff at one of the world’s finest restaurants! We have a reward level for every pocketbook, so give them a look and tell us what you think!
It’s very important that our technology preview keeps to a specific schedule, scope, and budget—we’re not looking to raise millions of dollars here—so we’ve deliberately limited the number of rewards available at most higher levels. If you miss some of these opportunities on this Kickstarter, don’t worry too much—we hope to offer other opportunities in the future! Note that any images are approximations; finished products may vary.
$5: You'll be able to see an exclusive long video of the final Technology Demo. Additionally, in thanks for your backing, you’ll be listed in a Special Thanks section of the Goblinworks website as well as in the release of the Pathfinder Online game.
$15: You’ll get access to the 64-page PDF of the Thornkeep book. In addition, you’ll get the $5 reward level. Update: Because we've reached 2000 backers and $150,000, the Thornkeep PDF has been expanded to include four extra levels of the Thornkeep dungeon, designed by Paizo's own Jason Bulmahn, James Jacobs, and Erik Mona, plus the legendary Ed Greenwood, and backers will be able to participate in a survey to determine the theme of Jason, James, and Erik's dungeon levels.
$30: You’ll become a member of the Goblin Squad. Goblin Squad members will be identified with a special icon on the Goblinworks messageboards, currently on paizo.com and later on goblinworks.com. The Goblin Squad will receive special alerts letting them know about new information first: announcements, blog posts, concept art, etc. We’ll give special priority to Goblin Squad members throughout the development process. This is your chance to identify yourself to us and to the community as a key supporter of Pathfinder Online. In addition, you’ll get the $15 reward level. Update: Because we reached $250,000, you'll also receive PDFs of two different Flip-Mats that detail the lower Thornkeep dungeon levels. To learn more, check out Update #20.
$50: You’ll get a printed copy of the Thornkeep book. In addition, you’ll get the $30 reward level.
$75: You’ll get a printed copy of the Thornkeep book autographed by Rich Baker, Jason Bulmahn, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, and members of the Goblinworks team, and a poster of the Thornkeep cover artwork by artist Wayne Reynolds. In addition, you’ll get the $30 reward level.
$100: You’ll get a special Goblinworks T-shirt. In addition, you’ll get the $75 reward level. Update: Because we reached $250,000, you'll also receive printed copies of two different Flip-Mats that detail the lower Thornkeep dungeon levels. To learn more, check out Update #20.
$250: You’ll become a Goblinworks Founder. To commemorate this, you will receive a stock-like certificate suitable for framing announcing your status. You will also receive a special Founder icon (replacing the $30 level icon) on the Goblinworks messageboards on paizo.com and goblinworks.com. You will also receive a deluxe Goblinworks Founder challenge coin minted specifically for us. In addition, you’ll get the $100 reward level.
$500: You’ll become a Goblinworks Executive Founder. To commemorate this status, you will receive a gorgeous granite plaque with stand that will look great on your desk or shelf. The plaque will incorporate artwork in a special thermal process that actually makes it part of the granite. You’ll also receive a very nice leather messenger bag with an embossed Goblinworks logo. Since many GMs now use iPads or Kindles in their games, we are also including a nifty e-gadget portfolio that has a place to put your tablet, a pad of paper, and pockets for things like dice and pens. You’ll also receive a special Executive Founder icon (replacing the $250 and $30 level icons) on the Goblinworks messageboards on paizo.com and goblinworks.com. In addition, you’ll get the $250 reward level.
Additional details for $500 rewards:
- Leather Messenger Bag: Enjoy this Pathfinder Online–branded messenger bag that's refined without even trying! The interior is finished with a nylon liner to protect the leather. The adjustable webbed shoulder strap can be sized for the most comfortable fit. Features full-length back pocket, two large pockets under the flap and spacious main compartment. Interior zip pocket and organization panel make it easy to find smaller items. Bag dimensions: 10" x 15" x 3"
- Zippered Padfolio: This office organizer is made of textured Ultrahyde. Secure media panel holds an iPad and most other e-readers and tablets. Padfolio comes with 11" x 8.5" writing pad with 30 sheets of lined paper and velcro closure document holder. It has an organizational panel on the back of the media panel holder, perfect for pens or pencils. Padfolio dimensions: 13" x 10.5" x 15/16"
$1,000: You’ll be welcomed as part of a very small group of alpha playtesters in a closed playtest of Pathfinder Online. This will be a great chance for you to give us direct input on how Pathfinder Online ends up looking and playing in its final incarnation. (If, for some reason, Pathfinder Online never gets to its alpha playtest stage, you will be refunded $500. We don’t expect that to happen, but we want you to be comfortable knowing that you’ll get what you pay for!) In addition, you’ll get the $500 reward level.
$2,000: You’ll be welcomed to Goblinworks HQ in Redmond, Washington for a unique chance to play the technology demo. You will be the first folks outside of Goblinworks and Paizo to play in our technology demo, getting your first hands-on experience with Pathfinder Online. After getting a chance to play the demo, you will have lunch with members of the Goblinworks staff where you can ask questions and find out what it is like to work on Pathfinder Online. Backers at this level are responsible for their own transportation and lodging. If there are enough backers at this level who can make it on a particular day, we will schedule them together—playing with a larger group will be much more fun! Otherwise, we will work with you to find a mutually acceptable day. In addition, you’ll get the $1,000 reward level.
$5,000: You’ll get the ultimate one-on-one experience at Paizo and Goblinworks HQ! Your day starts with a five-hour Pathfinder RPG gaming session with the celebrity GM of your choice: Rich Baker, Jason Bulmahn, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, or Wes Schneider. Sessions will be run for six players; you can fill the other five slots with your own guests, or we will fill them with folks from Paizo and Goblinworks. The adventure you play will be open to negotiation between the backer and the GM. Later that evening, you’ll share a dinner at the world-famous Herbfarm restaurant with Ryan Dancey, Lisa Stevens, and the celebrity GM. The Herbfarm (www.theherbfarm.com) has been dubbed one of the best restaurants in the world from such varied sources as Zagat, Frommer’s, Travel & Leisure, the James Beard Foundation, and National Geographic. Its nine-course dinners last more than three hours—plenty of time to enjoy the company of your dinner guests. We will regale you with stories from our times in this industry and answer your questions in an intimate setting. All in all, a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Backers of this level are responsible for their own transportation and lodging. Dates for this experience will be worked out to the mutual satisfaction of both the patron and Goblinworks. In addition, you’ll get the $2,000 reward level.
The folks behind Goblinworks and Pathfinder Online include some of the most accomplished veterans of the computer game and tabletop gaming industries.
Ryan Scott Dancey (Chief Executive Officer)
He’s been called “the Steve Jobs of MMO Marketing.” While Chief Marketing Officer of CCP from 2007 to 2010, he increased paid subscribers to CCP’s flagship sci-fi MMO EVE Online by 50%—an unequaled achievement for a 5+ year old MMO.
Ryan knew from an early age that he wanted to be an entrepreneur. He’s been involved in business since his early teens, and has been involved with companies of all sizes and complexities, from working with a single partner to leading a brand and business team for a Fortune 500 company. Ryan has served as a software developer, a salesperson, and a marketer. He was a brand manager and Vice President of Wizards of the Coast, and the Chief Operating Officer of a Las Vegas-based entertainment company.
He won the Silver Anvil award of the Public Relations Society of America for his marketing campaign for the 3rd Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. He has won several Origins Awards for excellence in game design and publication. He was given a special ENnie award in recognition of his contributions to the field of tabletop roleplaying games. His published game design credits include the Legend of the Five Rings collectible card game and several products for Dungeons & Dragons, and he led the teams responsible for the development and publishing of five other collectible card games.
The MMO field combines all three of his great passions—creating companies, exploring computer systems engineering, and adventure gaming—all at the same time.
Lisa Stevens (Chief Operating Officer)
When Mark Rein•Hagen and Jonathan Tweet asked her if she was interested in helping out with a new company they were forming called Lion Rampant, she jumped at the chance to turn her lifelong love of gaming into a career and became the company’s editor. Since then, she has been involved in all facets of game production, starting with design and editing credits for the critically acclaimed Ars Magica and Vampire: The Masquerade roleplaying games. Lisa has been an art director, graphic designer, typesetter, licensing manager, and a marketing and sales director. She was also instrumental in the merger between Lion Rampant and White Wolf in 1990.
In 1991, she left White Wolf to help Peter Adkison start Wizards of the Coast. Her first job encompassed sales, marketing, and production. When Magic: The Gathering spurred the rapid growth of the company, Lisa settled into managing new business and licensing. In 1996, Lisa became the vice president of event marketing and helped launch the Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour. Later that year, she helped launch the Wizards of the Coast Game Center in Seattle. In 1997, she joined the TSR brand team as the brand manager for the Greyhawk campaign setting and the RPGA, the organized play program for Dungeons & Dragons. In 1998, Lisa went to the new strategic planning department, where she lent her immense industry knowledge to the TSR and miniatures divisions, including the launch of the 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons. In her final position at Wizards, she was the brand manager for Star Wars and launched the d20 version of the Star Wars RPG, in addition to acquiring the Official Star Wars Fan Club and serving as the club’s president for three years.
In July 2002, she formed Paizo Publishing, LLC. As CEO, she led the group that published Dragon and Dungeon, the official D&D magazines, and also published Star Wars Insider, Undefeated and Amazing Stories. In 2004, she launched paizo.com, a gaming website which sells nearly 25,000 different gaming products, in addition to having an active messageboard community. In August 2007, Paizo launched the Pathfinder Adventure Path and, since then, the Pathfinder brand has become the hottest in the adventure gaming industry, spinning off Pathfinder Modules, the Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Player Companions, Pathfinder Tales fiction, and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. In 2009, the Pathfinder RPG jumped out of the gates with record sales and has since eclipsed Dungeons & Dragons as the top selling RPG.
Lisa received her MBA from the University of Washington. She has won numerous awards, including Origins Awards for the design of Ars Magica and Vampire: The Masquerade, as the Assistant Editor of White Wolf Magazine, and for the graphic design of Magic: The Gathering. In addition, she was honored by Advertising Age in 1995 as one of the Top 100 Marketers of the Year for her work on Magic: The Gathering.
Mark Kalmes (Chief Technical Officer)
Mark has worked for 15 years on the most technically demanding projects he could find. He has worked on fluid dynamics, expert medical systems, document management systems, integrated development environments, mobile devices, and of course video games.
In 2002, Mark joined Cryptic Studios and helped launch the successful City of Heroes superhero MMO. City of Heroes was launched with minimal investment, with only 21 people in the company. It quickly gathered a large audience and became highly profitable. Mark became a lead programmer on City of Villains and was named as the software director for the successor project, Champions Online. While at Cryptic, Mark created several successful mission systems and architected the Cryptic DB distributed database system.
In 2007, Mark left Cryptic to start World of Darkness, a new project building on the successful vampire property. He staffed the North American office of CCP with new programming hires and produced the first playable internal test version of the game. While at CCP, he worked closely with the core technology group in Iceland to create a common technology platform for both World of Darkness and EVE Online. Since exiting CCP in 2009, he has pursued his self-directed research in robotics and developed a consumer-focused shopping site, flitterati.com, for people who love books.
Richard Baker (Thornkeep Author)
Richard Baker is an award-winning game designer with more than 75 roleplaying sourcebooks, adventures, boardgames, and miniature games to his credit. He began his career in 1991 at TSR Inc., creating well-known Dungeons & Dragons titles such as the Birthright Campaign Setting, World Builder's Guidebook, and Player's Option: Spells and Magic, as well as the Alternity Science Fiction Roleplaying Game. In 1997, Rich moved out to join Wizards of the Coast, Inc., where he was a key part of the 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons design team and served as creative director for the 3rd Edition Forgotten Realms line. More recently, he led the design teams for the 4th Edition Dark Sun Campaign Setting and the 4th Edition Gamma World Roleplaying Game. Rich is also the author of thirteen fantasy and science fiction novels, including the Last Mythal trilogy, the Blades of the Moonsea trilogy, and the New York Times bestseller Condemnation.
Paizo Publishing (Licensor)
Paizo Publishing was formed in 2002 to publish Dragon and Dungeon, the official magazines for Dungeons & Dragons, and Star Wars Insider magazine. From 2002 to 2007, Paizo focused on supporting D&D through the magazines and other releases. Paizo announced the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game in 2008, kicking off the industry’s largest public playtest, and released the game in August 2009. By spring 2011, the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game surpassed the 4th Edition of D&D as the leader in the hobby gaming market, and its pace of growth continues to increase.
Paizo.com hosts a very active community which grew dramatically as the Pathfinder RPG went through public playtest and into release. Paizo also runs the Pathfinder Society, an organized play group that encourages members to participate in a large shared-world Pathfinder campaign via adventure scenarios played at conventions, game stores, and at home. The Pathfinder Society has further enlarged the community and expanded the game’s following.
Paizo’s Pathfinder campaign setting has been explored through more than 50 monthly Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes as well as dozens of Pathfinder Campaign Setting books, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Society Scenarios for organized play, Pathfinder Tales novels, and more. In all, Paizo has released almost 300 Pathfinder products, with nearly 200 more products in release by official Pathfinder licensees; several new Pathfinder products are released each month. Paizo has licensed translations of Pathfinder products into French, German, and Italian, with additional languages currently in the works.
©2012 Goblinworks, Inc and Paizo Publishing, LLC. Paizo Publishing, LLC, Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, and Pathfinder Society are registered trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC, and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, and Pathfinder Online are trademarks of Paizo Publishing, LLC. Goblinworks, the Goblinworks logo, and the Goblin Squad are trademarks of Goblinworks, Inc.
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