|Charlie Brooks RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32|
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You know, I never really got the "Paizo/WotC/Chaosium/White Wolf/Etc... will invalidate my game" crowd.
I think this was a bigger problem in the 90s, when campaign settings seemed to exist for their novel lines first and the gaming table second.
I remember running the Forgotten Realms as presented in the 2nd edition boxed set, for example, and getting quite irritated when people assumed the Elminster in my games was the god-banging, fourth-wall breaking character from the novel lines instead of the quasi-senile old man I was familiar with.
Yes, you can simply say, "In my version of this setting, W and X are actually Y and Z," but I find that a lot of people like published settings for the shared experience they provide. There's a certain appeal to being able to say "My group helped lead an army against the city-state of Urik" without having to detail what that really means.
The metaplots of the 90s tended to hit fast and change the setting on a yearly basis, which made finding that common ground a pain. If you wanted to run a Dark Sun campaign, for example, you then had to specify if it was the original set or revised set, both of which had very different tones. And if it was the original set, then there was a question as to how much of the Prism Pentad stuff got let in.
Basically, TSR never invalidated anybody's game, but they warped the language around the game and made it difficult to share common assumptions - and that shared experience is one of the main draws of a published setting.
IMO, Pathfinder has struck a good balance so far. There are definite changes to the canon (i.e., Xin-Shalast is often referred to as a recently rediscovered city these days), but it's easier to ignore a sentence here or a paragraph there than an entire line of supplements.