[Pathfinder] January/February 2019 Update - Moving Digitally and Physically

Hello everyone! As you're all well aware, I didn't put out an update for February and I am sorry for that. My wife and I found out from our landlord that the house (we were renting a bottom level) was being sold, and we had to quickly start packing and find a new place to move.

That said, I can't go more than a few days without getting itches to get back to work, and I've still been busy while Kat and I have been packing and house hunting. Devin has, as usual, been his amazing self and kept up with more data entry while I've worked on changes to the site's front-end. We finally found a new place to rent a couple weeks ago and moved in 3 days ago, so all's well there now. I'm writing this post balancing the keyboard on my lap and using a TV on a bookshelf as my display, but the unpacking shall happen soon!

As for the changes, I'm happy to announce that some significant progress and long-needed updates are finally here. The main thing I wanted to talk about was the recent outages and the site's load times. I'm hoping you all have seen a significant improvement on the second part, as the outages were directly related to me finally becoming fed up with my old host and moving to a VPS (Virtual Private Server). While I originally intended this to provide more reliable uptime for the site and advanced notifications of maintenance, this had an unintended side effect.

For some time now I've struggled with the best way to deliver content to the users - I thought I had figured out the right way to do output caching of the pages in the last update, but my tests showed mixed results. Sometimes it seemed to work, other times it didn't trigger at all. I did figure out one mistake I'd been making when it came to a Parameter-specific field, but even with that change the caching was intermittent. Then, I moved the site. I still am unsure on the why, but once I was fully moved over to my lovely new Server VM, caching started working! I was skeptical at first, not sure on why it failed to work on shared hosting while working on the VPS, but after repeated testing from multiple computers/networks, it seems like I've finally gotten it fixed. In truth, all of you should have seen the changes already - for about a week now the site has been on the new VPS, and load times are better than ever.

Now, some of you probably have still seen some slowness here and there - to test things out, I set the code to only retain a cached copy of a specific page for 1 hour. The first time a page was loaded without an existing cache, speeds were as they were - alright someplaces, bad on others. For the next hour afterwards, however, users would get the cached version and the page would load in a few seconds. With this update, I'm increasing the cache limit to a full day, so as soon as anyone at all checks a page in a given day, for 24 hours after all should see quick speeds getting to that page. This is especially useful for many of the Spells pages, Feats, Wondrous Items, and other historically longer loading areas.

A lot of this is probably like a 5-year old gushing about how he figured out the multiplication table to a seasoned web developer, but for someone who ultimately programs as a hobby, this was extremely satisfying to finally get working. The last month has been a ball of chaos and stress, but today making this update I'm very happy where everything's landed. Thanks so much to all who emailed and commented with tips and suggestions!

Without further inducing of a TL;DR status, here's the updates!

New Books

[Adventure Path] Curse of the Crimson Throne (PRPG) 

[Adventure Path] Pathfinder #132: The Six-Legend Soul 

[Adventure Path] Pathfinder #133: Secrets of Roderic's Cove 

[Adventure Path] Pathfinder #134: It Came from Hollow Mountain 

[Adventure Path] Pathfinder #135: Runeplague 

[Adventure Path] Pathfinder #136: Temple of the Peacock Spirit 

[Adventure Path] Pathfinder #137: The City Outside of Time 

[Adventure Path] Pathfinder #138: Rise of New Thassilon 

[Adventure Path] Return of the Runelords Player's Guide 

[Adventure Path] Tyrant's Grasp Player's Guide 

[Comics] Pathfinder: Goblins! #1 and #5 (the others had no mechanics to add)

[Module] Seers of the Drowned City 

[Module] Thornkeep 

[Player Companion] Wilderness Origins 

Site Changes

  • New sections have been added to the Monster area, including the long-requested Templates and a new section for Monster Family descriptions and member lists (sub-groups of like monsters) 
  • The Qinggong Monk powers were updated to include all available options
  • New rules from Book of the Damned, Gamemastery Guide, Horror Adventures, Planar Adventures, Ultimate Combat, and  Ultimate Wilderness were added
  • Rules clarification added to the Divine Gift portion of each Deity entry
  • Corruptions, introduced in Horror Adventures, have been added to the Afflictions section
  • Occult Rituals have been added into the Spells area

Community Assistance

I often get asked if people can assist the site in various ways, so we thought it might be useful to start including some requests from the community that the site could use assistance on. At the moment, that focus is the Rules content. Devin has crawled through many of the RPG product line books and added their rules to the website, but there are many mechanics and systems hidden throughout Adventure Paths, Campaign Setting books, and other product lines.

If you know of some mechanics/sub-systems that we could add (and don't have already - filter the Rules by Source to see if something's been covered) then please send us an email ([email protected])! We very much appreciate any assistance on this, there are a lot of books.