Regarding Non-Canon Sources

Aeakett September 10, 2009 User blog:Aeakett

Note that I wrote this post during scraps of free time while attending to more serous matters. As such it may lack even the minimal coherence of my usual ramblings. That said, I think it covers the main points that I wanted to get across, and I'd like to share my thoughts while the prompting discussions are still fresh in everybody's minds

There has been a bit of talk lately about canon and what should and should not be included in the project. Most of this discussion has revolved around "fluffy bits" found in various creature books (Tome of Horrors, the Bonus Bestiary, and the upcoming Pathfinder Bestiary specifically). In the case of ToH, it's pretty easy to make the case that it isn't canon, and its fluff shouldn't be cited. The BB and PFB are a little less clear though (on the surface at least). I mean, look it says "Pathfinder" right on the cover. However, Heaven's Agent pointed out (correctly in my opinion) that these are system books designed to be generic enough for use with any setting. Conversly, what we're interested in here at Golariopedia is the setting.

To many, including myself, this rather fine distinction can be pretty frustrating. It's pretty fair to assume that the fluffy bits in the system book that Paizo writes reflect reality in the setting. It also seems reasonable to think that 3rd party fluff (from ToH for example) from monsters used in setting books would be legitimate for inclusion.

It's also interesting to consider the case of certain 3rd party material written Paizo staff and contributers. The ones that come to mind are:

  • Armies of the Abyss by Erik Mona. Paizo already uses Qlippoth in their setting material, so it seems pretty reasonable that the rest of the book would apply to the setting
  • The Elysium Gem by Colin McComb. This is an upcoming release form SKR Games that consists of material cut from Beyond the Vault of Souls.
  • Darkness Without Form: Secrets of the Mimic by Clinton J. Boomer and Matt Banach. Boomer literally wrote the book on Golarion's mimics, or at least the chapter of the book on Golarion's monsters (Dungeon Denizens Revisited).

Despite all of these juicy bits floating around out in the world, none of them are canon. Paizo has never said that they will honour any material in any of these sources. By extension, the wiki does not consider them to be valid sources. The fact is that, these unofficial "sources" are more likely to be disregarded than any official product. As it is, Paizo has already admitted that Guardians of Dragonfall contains information that they aren't quite happy with, and that it will be disregarded if/when a newer product needs to override it. Heaven's Agent also claims that the setting treatment of Jubilex already varies noticably from the fluff in ToH (a fact that I have no reason to dispute, despite my lack of knowledge on the matter). I suppose that my point is that, Paizo have already shown themselves willing to override their own work, and put their own spin on 3rd party material, and chasing scraps of information form non-canon sources is probably folly.

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