Now You Know – 2008 All Over Again

Every week, Now You Know recaps the Know Direction content of the past week, previews the Know Direction content of the week to come, as the director of operations, Ryan Costello, shares his thoughts on the state of the network.

We live in interesting times as Pathfinder enthusiasts. Interesting, familiar times.

Pathfinder was born in times like these. Before Pathfinder, Paizo paid the bills as a second party publisher (official licensee rather than publisher of open content) of Dragon and Dungeon magazines. With a 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons on the horizon at the time, Paizo couldn’t get a straight answer from D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast as to how they could support the new game. By the time WotC revealed the proposed Game System License, which included a clause preventing GSL users from continuing to use the Open Gaming License, Jason Bulmahn delivered Mon Mothma (the project outline that would become Pathfinder) to Paizo management.

Of course, fans like me only heard Paizo’s perspective years later. At the time, me and my gaming group just knew 4e was on the horizon, and we weren’t interested. We weren’t against the idea of changing systems, we just didn’t feel what we heard about 4e meshed with our playstyle. Then Paizo came out of nowhere with Pathfinder, which was exactly the system we wanted a new edition of D&D to be. Before long, we realized how welcoming and engaging the Pathfinder community was. At the time, Paizo already had a loyal fanbase from their days of magazine publication. Those fans stuck around and championed the new game. They helped me replace any negative feelings I had about not being a D&D player for the first time with the wonderful feelings of being a Pathfinder enthusiast.

I’ve been thinking about those days a lot over the last couple of weeks. I also thought about them a lot over the last few years. Before the One D&D announcement, many D&D players seemed tired of 5e. Fans and influencers brought up their issues with the system more frequently, and offered hacks to improve the game. When a lot of those suggestions lined up with Pathfinder 2e’s solutions, we followed the lead of those early enthusiasts during the transition to 4e: offered an alternative.

At the time, it didn’t go over well. Pathfinder 2e players were treated like we were sewing disharmony within the D&D community. So, most of us backed off. Then One D&D was announced, and a lot of the ideas for how the game would change paralleled Pathfinder 2e. I saw many Pathfinder 2e fans and influencers venting that they just wanted it acknowledged that the aspects of One D&D being highlighted as innovations had a lot in common with then three year old PF2. But again, it felt like we were treated like a nuisance to D&D players.

Two weeks ago, things changed.

On the one hand, I feel bad. I know what it’s like to have events outside of something I enjoy impact how much I enjoy it. Even when I felt unfairly represented by a lot of the D&D fanbase, I never wanted them to feel bad about something they love. I also know how hard this is on the creative staff whose livelihoods are impacted by a sudden shift in the perception of the company and brand they work on.

But in that mix of emotion is some gratification. It’s nice to see Pathfinder trending in the larger gaming space in such a positive light. Every “I’m going to give Pathfinder a try” post to social media I see comes with nostalgia for when I realized everything being a Pathfinder fan meant. But probably most of all, I’m thankful this isn’t a new edition war. In 2008, the communities were against one another. Now, we’ve never felt so united.

Everyone knows I’m not the champion of Pathfinder I used to be. I enjoy 2e, but not as much as I enjoy 1e. I still freelance on Pathfinder here and there, but I’m practically working full time on Essence20 at this point. That said, I haven’t felt so invigorated as a Pathfinder fan in a while. Also, it’s great to have a passionate and intelligent staff of Pathfinder enthusiasts carrying the Know Direction Network’s torch.

On that note, we are on the cusp of a major network refresh. Currently, our plan is to have a big February of launches and relaunches. However, with all the news lately, don’t be surprised if plans change and timelines move up. The new and returning content just might have to hit the ground running.

Speaking of content, here’s a recap of the Know Direction Network podcasts and articles that released last week:

Recap of January 9th to January 13th

What happened last week on and

Monday, January 9th


Intrepid Heroes 103 – Stop the World Seed

It finally happened! After 9 months of hearing how Eleanor’s mystic is probably human, we have reason to suspect that maybe they’re not.


Now You Know – One Point One

I may have broke my own record for most links in an editorial. It felt important to note my sources when discussing the OGL 1.1 leak.

Tuesday, January 10th


Game Design Unboxed 54 – Relics of Rajavihara

I appreciated Joe Slack talking about why he released Relics of Rajavihara as a solo game. The market’s obviously much bigger for multiplayer games, and he could have pretended he designed a cooperative game. Instead, he stayed true to the game’s strength, and the game was better off for it.


Eldritch Excursion – Anadi Upd8
By Nate Wright

If you’re a fan of spider people, rejoice! Nate shared how he would update the anadi ancestry to reflect the ancestry errata. He also designed a bunch of new Heritages and Ancestry Feats for the anadi.

Wednesday, January 11th


Behind The Screens – Snappy GMing

I’ve been playing Marvel Snap, so I wrote a Behind The Screens applying it to GMing. As I do.

Thursday, January 12th


Digital Divination 074 – Favorite Starfinder Armor Upgrades

John and Jason are getting deeper into the Starfinder mechanical weeds with their Top 5 episodes. I’m not complaining. By jumping to radically different options for their lists, they’re keeping the conversation fresh and I feel like I’m learning more and more about Starfinder.

Friday, January 13th


Upshift 010 – Tell Me About Essence20

How do you explain Essence20 to a gamer who might be looking for a new RPG? Like this!

Preview of January 16th to January 20th

This is back to Block 2 of our 2-block schedule.

Note: Because of the holidays, some of the below content might not see release this week.

Monday, January 16th


Now You Know – 2008 All Over Again
By Ryan Costello

Never thought I’d be so happy to be reminded of the edition wars.

Wednesday, January 17th


Presenting: Isabelle Thorne

John speaks with longtime Pathfinder freelancer and adventure writer Isabelle Thorne.

Thursday, January 18th


Investing In
By Rob Pontious

Rob shares what he loves about the RPGs he’s been playing lately, and why you should check them out.


Now you know,
Ryan Costello

Ryan Costello

What started as one gamer wanting to talk about his love of a game grew into a podcast network. Ryan founded what would become the Know Direction Podcast network with Jason "Jay" Dubsky, his friend and fellow 3.5 enthusiast. They and their game group moved on to Pathfinder, and the Know Direction podcast network was born. Now married and a father, Ryan continues to serve the network as the director of logistics and co-host of Upshift podcast, dedicated to the Essence20 RPG system he writes for and helped design. You can find out more about Ryan and the history of the network in this episode of Presenting: