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Color me cautiously optimistic. I don't know the experience of most of the folks behind it, but Avellone is a really good storyteller. Even his more mediocre efforts, like Neverwinter Nights 2, are well worth playing.
As to the diversity question, I think it's well worth voicing concerns now. Diversity is one of the Pathfinder brand's strengths, and it would be good to have that show through in the first major foray into the video game market.
Milo v3 wrote:
Two mythic PCs in my game took divine source and wound up creating their own religion. Unfortunately, a minor holy war broke out between their followers while they were away on an adventure. Fun times.
The only thing off the top of my head that I liked better in D&D than in Pathfinder is that the 3rd edition DM's Guide had rules for playing a multiclass character at 1st level (basically, you were a half-level in both classes). However, that got removed by 3.5, and I don't think it ever made it into any SRD.
Charlie Bell wrote:
I wonder if Starfinder will be to Pathfinder what Star Wars Saga Edition was to 4th Edition--an experiment with new mechanics as prelude to a new edition of the core product.
Every time Pathfinder has come out with something new, the speculation is that it's a playtest for a new edition. Pathfinder Unchained was supposedly a secret playtest, but it's been out for at least a couple of years now.
I'm sure that the lessons they learn from Starfinder will work their way into a future edition, just as with lessons learned from Pathfinder Unchained, the Beginner's Box, and everything else.
Depends on how loose you want to be with the definition of an RPG.
I was 11 when I first played D&D (black box with Escape from Zanzer's Dungeon as the sample adventure).
About a year prior to that, my brothers and I spent a lot of time playing Milton Bradley's HeroQuest, which is technically a board game but which we added enough dialogue and house rules to that it basically served as my first RPG.
Yeah, I hear a lot of people say "Starfinder is obviously just a trial Pathfinder 2.0." Along with "Alternity was just the 3.0 playtest" and "Saga was the 4.0 playtest".
Speaking of Saga, when the Dragonlance Saga card-based RPG came out, there were people (including a columnist for Dragon Magazine) speculating that it was a test bed for 3rd edition AD&D. So this stuff comes up pretty much anytime the maker of a popular game tries something new.
The "Saga was the 4.0 playtest" speculation is probably helped by the fact that one of the 4th edition preview books specifically called Saga out as an inspiration for 4th edition. However, I'm pretty sure the context was that they took lessons from that game and incorporated them into 4th edition rather than designing the game specifically so they could playtest a new version of D&D.
That's a shame about Alternity - I didn't realize it was a bomb. Still, I think the point stands that Starfinder will hopefully be an expansion of Paizo's audience rather than a split.
How many times have we heard them blame the fall of TSR on splitting the lines of sale?
TSR split its fanbase by creating multiple competing products in the same genre. They were printing the Forgotten Realms side by side with Mystara and Greyhawk, all of which were targeted toward generally the same audience.
This would be more comparable to TSR's attempt at Alternity, which was about expanding their audience. In theory at least, Starfinder should be an opportunity to bring people who don't want D&D-style fantasy into the fold.
And, if it is a failure, I would imagine that Paizo probably will pull the plug on it rather than commit the other big TSR blunder of continuing to print products that they were taking a loss on.
Automatic bonus progression is one of my favorite variant rules, but it's a tricky thing to make the standard.
As it exists, it's a patch on the Pathfinder system for people who want to reduce magic items. But if you were to include it in the core, the more effective way of making its effects the default would be to revise creature math so a CR 10 encounter doesn't expect that you have a +3 resistance bonus to all saves and a +2 deflection bonus to AC.
However, revising the creature math may effect backwards compatibility and makes the Bestiary monsters less usable without some adjustment.
It seems to me that a lot of products have been speculated as Paizo experimenting with a Pathfinder 2.0. I mean, this is a lot of the same stuff that people said about Pathfinder Unchained.
Ultimately, it's partly true - a 2nd edition of Pathfinder probably will draw from lessons learned from Starfinder...but also from everything that came before it, including Pathfinder Unchained, the Advanced Player's Guide, Ultimate Campaign, the adventure paths, the companion line, and so on.
I would think that armor as DR would be against the backwards compatibility angle.
In terms of expectations, the 3.5 --> Pathfinder transition gives us an idea of what Paizo considers backwards compatibility to be. Maybe there will be some more changes due to the genre shift, but I think that gives us a starting point for the guessing game of what stays and what goes.
Considering that I'm nearing the end of a long, mythic storyline involving the PCs taking on a dragon-god that's terrorized my campaign setting for more than 15 years (real time) now, I'm already having visions of flashing forward to a future where said dragon-god has been resurrected as a cyborg and formed an alliance with a sentient planet.
I have no idea why no one is talking about Encounter Codex. That looks like it's going to be absolute heaven and JUST THE PERFECT product for me, someone who likes to DM but never has the time for prep.
Two of my favorite AD&D products were the Decks of Encounters. This book sounds like those, albeit with a higher level of quality control. I'm looking forward to them.
I like the sound of it for a couple reasons:
1) It adds an Aroden-level mystery to the setting which can help drive adventures.
2) It gives Golarion-native characters a Titan AE-style scenario where their world is just gone and nobody really knows why.
From a game perspective, it's probably a good chance to help differentiate the settings a bit. Having Golarion be a prominent part of the game increases the chance that folks see this as just another Pathfinder setting, when it seems like Paizo is trying to make it distinctly different.
I really hope this is the Gail Simone Red Sonja, which is slightly different from the "classic" Sonja but in my opinion a more enjoyable read.
Well, I don't think it is actually Paizo's calculation that everybody who subscribes to Pathfinder AP will automatically also subscribe to Starfinder APs.
I would bet that the goal is to expand the Paizo audience. Traditional fantasy isn't going away as an RPG staple, but there are still lots of people out there who might love Paizo's commitment to quality but who have been waiting for it to be applied to something other than D&D-style fantasy.
While I think this particular gimmick falls flat, it's worth remembering that comics has always been a gimmick-driven industry. Misleading covers and cliffhanger endings have been a staple for well over half a century now.
Sometimes, those gimmicks are terrible. Other times, they turn out to be great. Bringing Bucky Barnes back as a brainwashed super soldier, for example, seems like a terrible gimmick. Under the skilled pen of Ed Brubaker, though, it turned into a really good story.
Marvel also said that Ben Reilly was the real true Spider-Man, that Bruce Banner would never be the Hulk again, that Thor was dead forever as of Ragnarok, and so on.
They also spent a lot of time and money trying to convince people that the Sentry had actually been created by Stan Lee and forgotten about in the 1960s instead of being something that Paul Jenkins pulled out of his butt circa 2000.
Marvel lies to sell comics. A lot. Anybody who buys into something their editorial or marketing department says does so at their own risk.
I thought this was a bad twist because readers wouldn't buy it as anything more than a cheap bait and switch.
Given the online reaction, especially on social media, it seems that a lot of folks really think Marvel is making this change long-term.
I guess Marvel knows their audience a lot better than I do.
I have tried Automatic Bonus Progression and highly endorse it. It eliminates the need for flavorless magic items like cloaks of resistance, allowing PCs to gather more interesting gear.
It also keeps PCs more or less on a uniform power curve, at least when it comes to stats. That means that somebody who is less experienced in the game and who doesn't know that it's expected to have something that gives you a +X to hit at certain levels isn't penalized for not knowing one of the unspoken assumptions of the game.
Amber is a terrific writer. I'm loving Siege of Dragonspear so far.
I hadn't connected the name back to her Pathfinder works until just barely. I adapted The Worldwound Incursion into my high-level game that is incredibly cluttered with NPCs. Despite the fact that I was looking to reduce the cast, I wound up adding Anevia and Irabeth anyway because they are such great characters.
Every time I have seen her in a forum, she has been very pleasant and generally awesome. No one deserves the harassment she's getting, and especially not her. I hope this all passes as soon as possible.
It's not really "a couple of years." It's close to a decade, through an edition change, and at the point where collecting those floppy pieces of paper and glue would cost a few hundred dollars and some time hunting on eBay.
So my son saw me printing out some stuff for a session of Pathfinder and wanted in on it. Prior to the adult game, I broke out the Beginner Box and let my kids have at it. We didn't use character sheets and greatly simplified the rules (basically, everybody did 1d8 damage, and a 10 or higher on 1d20 was enough to succeed at just about anything most of the time).
I knew the Beginner Box was a great product, but I didn't really expect that it would be able to hold the attention of a 2- and 4-year-old for more than an hour. My son played a good zombie, and my daughter played a princess (grabbing the elf wizard figure because it looked the most princess-y). We ran through the entire first adventure, and my son even got creative and decided to make friends with some of the monsters instead of fighting them.
This blog entry goes into a bit more detail on the session. Has anybody else tried the Beginner Box with very young children? If so, how did it go?
I would be very resistant to this idea, but A LOT has happened in sci-fi films in the last 20 years that is ripe for satire.
That said, if Rick Moranis isn't going to be in it, I feel very skeptical about the whole thing.
Who knows? Maybe Mel Brooks can rope both Moranis and Gene Wilder into the movie and have a reunion of semi-retired actors.
Milo v3 wrote:
Another way to look at it is the possibility that the developers are experimenting with what would work in a new edition...which would be a good idea, in my opinion. It's a lot easier to put out a new monk and see how people like it as opposed to radically changing the monk in a new edition and hoping it doesn't become one of the big complaints of the new edition.
Cole Deschain wrote:
Could that be done while maintaining backwards compatibility with published material, which is one of the stated reasons why Pathfinder has its own rulebook in the first place? Far more challenging.
I think it depends on what you're trying to clean up.
Are you going to be able to turn fighters into a class that dwarfs wizards in terms of power? Probably not. But if you want to add the stamina pool from Pathfinder Unchained to fighters, that can be done without wrecking previous adventures. A 5th-level fighter in the old edition would still be about the same as a new 5th-level fighter; you'd just have to figure out what the character's stamina pool is when running it in a new game.
My take on backwards compatibility is thus:
Not too long ago, I ran the AD&D 2nd edition Night Below campaign as a Pathfinder game. I was able to keep the same story and swap out monsters when they had a Bestiary equivalent, but I wouldn't consider it to be backwards compatible. For any major villain or unique monster, I had to rewrite the stats in order to make them fit in the game.
By contrast, I can run the original Rise of the Runelords, a D&D 3rd edition campaign, with very little problem in the Pathfinder system. Some of the numbers are different than they would have been if it was written in Pathfinder, but the language is pretty much the same. Looking at the stat block for an ogre fighter, for example, tells me what the critical multiplier on its weapon is, that it has the Power Attack feat, that its composite longbow has a +7 Strength bonus, and so on. Sure, I have to do a bit of conversion to find its Combat Maneuver Bonus and I have to remember that its Listen skill is now Perception, but that takes 30 seconds tops.
My preference for future editions of Pathfinder would be to make it more like the 3.5 --> Pathfinder model rather than the AD&D ---> D&D 3rd edition model. You can change what individual parts of the system, such as what certain feats, spells, and abilities do, while still keeping the scale and the language roughly the same.
If it gets to the point that I have to do lots of work to convert old adventures over, then I don't consider that backwards compatible and the old material starts to lose value to me. I ran a very successful Night Below campaign, but it took extra work above and beyond what I normally do for a game and I'm less likely to use AD&D modules in the future unless they're really good. By contrast, the entire vast library of 3.0 and 3.5 material still remains something that I can use with little to no extra work, even though certain mechanics have gone through 15 years of changes and improvements.
While he's on the Dark Side and wear a mask, I wouldn't put Kylo Ren on the same level of Vader. He's presented as a more sympathetic character right in the first movie, and I don't think he'll be as much of a big bad as the series goes on.
Vader was a guy firmly on the Dark Side who had a tiny spark of light in him. Kylo is much more conflicted and seems to be more of a hostage of the Dark Side than anything else. I think that will play a big role in future movies, and I welcome the shift - it would be a shame just to copy the story beats of the first trilogy, after all.
That's the catch 22 that Paizo faces. Release a rehashed edition and possibly face a lose in sales. Do the same with a new edition and the same happens. Though out of the two the second gives fans a incentive to reinvest the first not so much. At the very least if they do go with a rehash it needs to be decently priced imo.
That's kind of the situation they face with any release. Any book takes a lot of investment (granted, with even more risk when a new edition comes out). Unlike us, though, Paizo has comprehensive sales data and measurables they can look at.
That information isn't always accurate, but it gives them a chance to make an educated assessment of the risks and rewards of any release. We fans really have nothing to go on but our gut feelings.
Well when the core is about 90-95% rehash with 5-10% new material it's a rehash. Of a rpg that was already rehashed. To me at least a core needs 50%+ new material to be consider a new product. I still enjoy playing and running it.
I don't really think I agree with that assessment. True, in terms of word count Pathfinder is probably not 50% new material. However, when I switched my games over I noticed an immediate change in the way it played. In my opinion, the game became much more fun. If a 2nd edition only changes 10% of the actual text but manages to make the game markedly more fun than before, I would consider it a smashing success.
I dunno...I mean, I guess the incredible Hulk has a supernatural shapeshifting ability and the ability to see creatures in the ethereal plane, but I always imagined him as some sort of variant barbarian whose rage powers grew more potent with anger.
I guess you could argue that Bruce Banner is a spellcasters whose magic is reflavored as technology - I mean, the guy did once trap Mephisto in what was basically a bag of holding. Still, I would probably make him an expert with a bunch of technology crafting feats.
Also, I don't think that guys like Thor and the Juggernaut count as low-level mooks. However, Wolverine always did kinda strike me as a PC who looked good on paper but who only manages to make meaningful contributions because the GM bends over backwards to accommodate him.
I agree with this. There are a ton of rules and corner cases that could be simplified and clarified in a new edition. Streamlining the rules can happen without stripping out the number of options in the game.
Barachiel Shina wrote:
To play devil's advocate, since I'm not really gunning for a new edition at the moment, there is a degree to which the splat books could clean things up and make for a better game if they were included in the core.
Pathfinder Unchained would be an example, as it introduces a number of oft-requested fixes. Given more time and playtesting (the best kind, through actual play), the most popular changes introduced in that book could make for a more enjoyable game as a whole.
I like prestige classes as their own thing because they allow for organic character growth as a campaign progresses. A PC who wants to have an archetype has to pick it up in the first few levels, but a 10th level character who suddenly learns about a secret society (or who suddenly discovers that he has draconic ancestry, et cetera) he wants to become part of can shift over to a prestige class. It's another option in a game filled with options, and I like that there are enough choices for people to pick and choose what works best for them.
That said, I do think I'd leave them out of the core books if I were deciding what stays and what goes in a 2nd edition. Then again, I'd probably leave archetypes out of the core books, too.
How much backstory do these characters have? If there isn't a lot, you can make up a foe from the past that has come back ("You defeated the Crimson Ravager ten years ago, but now he's back and seeking revenge.") This would give you a chance to utilize flashbacks and fill in descriptions of previous adventures as you go.
You could also dive into the rules from Mythic Adventures. Slap a few mythic tiers on the tarrasque and suddenly the 20th-level group needs to go looking for help or find a maguffin that can put them on an even playing field.
3. I do see D&D in a lot more locations than I see PF. Is it because it is new? Or because Hasbro has the sort of distribution reach that a small company like Paizo (and it IS small) can't hope to match? Or is there another component here at work? Paizo is digitally friendly. WotC is not. I can buy PDFs of Paizo products. I can't of most 5e stuff, I believe. WotC's online store is, frankly, horribly organized. The core rules aren't even at the top of the results. Meanwhile, Paizo offers subscriptions. I'm not sure. This next year will be very telling, I think.
By all reports, D&D is selling like mad, so it's hardly any wonder that it would be more available than Pathfinder, since it's regained its status as the top seller in the industry. However, I'm not sure that D&D's success has any major negative effect on Pathfinder, be it in terms of sales or audience.
Do many gaming groups do a ban/allow list, though? I personally run using the Core Rulebook and add in options as an adventure calls for it ("Man, I'd really like an intelligent human-looking construct...oh, here's the soulbound mannequin in Bestiary 4) or add new player options if the players ask for them ("Hey, can I play an inquisitor?" *thirty seconds of glancing over the PRD* "Sure.").
A given campaign needs options for about 4-6 PCs. It always seems to me like it's easier to allow/disallow something as a player asks for it rather than combing through many options and guessing at what should be added or removed.
I imagine that a new edition will come when sales of the current edition start to slow and Paizo decides that a revision of the game will kick things back into gear.
We already know that the GenCon release for 2016 is a new supplement focused on horror adventures, so that means any new edition probably won't happen until 2017 at the earliest.
While I would buy the heck out of a second edition, I'm also pretty happy waiting. The large amount of rules is mitigated by the fact that just about everything is accessible online. This means it's fairly easy for me to run a game of Core Rulebook + whatever addition stuff fits the campaign (all accessible from a few links on my tablet or phone) rather than carting a dozen different rulebooks to games like I did back in my AD&D days.
I think Superman Returns had a great cast that almost saved the movie. The problem was that Brandon Routh and Kevin Spacey were asked to be Christopher Reeve's Clark/Superman and Gene Hackman's Luthor. They nailed those parts perfectly, but giving Spacey a chance to make the character his own would have provided a much better result.
I think they're a bit too long indeed. I'm finding myself cutting all kinds of encounters from Giantslayer as a means to bring things to a faster close. Often encounters feel like they are just there as experience point balloons to be popped. So I'm doing away with much of that to move the story along.
While I think the adventure paths are pretty well-paced, I do think that there's usually room to cut encounters if you want a tighter plot. Switching to the fast XP track and removing some non-plot-relevant encounters would be pretty easy for most of them.
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