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I'm going to get a bit granular with this response. Please bear with me.
It's funny. There's a huge disconnect between what people tell me they want, and what people actually buy. Put a different way, I get a lot of feedback on the forums that collectors are tired of NPC and PC figures in sets, to the point that many people quote a preponderance of them as reasons not to buy a case, or to cherry pick three figures from a set of 55, or whatever.
Alternatively, the NPC and PC figures generally sell much better than monster figures* on our own singles sales, and at every convention or trade show I go to, store managers and owners beg me to make more figures that work for player characters.
Serving one side of this issue over the other basically screws me 50% of the time. So far I've been trying to balance things out, and quite honestly I despair that I will never be able to get the balance right for everyone. So, when deciding what figures to do I try to have a mix of both, guided by what I personally think would make cool and useful figures.
Because running this line is a huge amount of work (albeit fun work, but work none the less), I like to give myself one figure per set that I decide to do simply because power isn't power unless it's abused a little bit. There's no way most right-thinking people would do figures of the Wolliped, Gibrileth Demon, or Seaweed Siren, so I decided to make each of those for the simple reason that I think they look neat, and I felt I deserved at least one personal choice per set.
Now that we're doing 10 fewer sculpts per set, I've got to be a little more careful with this sort of thing, for reasons several critics have already posted in this thread. And thus a little joy dies from my world, but if it means better sales for the figures, I can deal with it.
* It seems to be that the best-selling figures in general are commons that you want a lot of--wolves, snakes, goblins, skeletons, etc. That's why I figured the Builder Series would be strong sellers, but alas… no.
I make no apologies for the number of animals in this set. A flock of birds of prey make for a cool encounter, and these things work great as familiars, animal companions, etc. I'm not going to load a ton of animals into future sets (this one is probably the limit), but there will be more of them in the future, I'm sure of it.
I don't mind when they stray a bit from the Adventure Path. Because this campaign was so vast and weird as far as the spectrum is concerned, it would have been okay either way as far as sticking with adventure path specific encounters. But in most cases, I prefer monstrous creatures to, say, an overabundance of campaign-related humanoids.
So says everyone except retailers and their customers. It's a conundrum.
The original Frost Giant was not based on Paizo art. WizKids brought that to the table before we even got started. I think it's a cool mini (especially with the neat change-out hand), but it's not really got the same oomph as some of our giant drawings.
Had the Reign of Winter Adventure Path included more good drawings of frost giants, I would have fought harder to get them in the set. As it was this set had more Larges that were helpful to running the campaign that I couldn't put in another set. I've got no room for Triaxian dragonriders in future sets, but I can put a generic Frost Giant in just about anywhere.
Moss Troll is a weird monster because it established its "look" before Wayne Reynolds redesigned the general Troll for the first Pathfinder Bestiary. Therefore, it doesn't really look like other trolls and is a bit of a pain in my ass for branding reasons, even if the art we do have of this creature is pretty cool. That probably got in the way of including the Moss Troll in this set. I'll get to him eventually.
I was a bit surprised at the lack of a dracolisk, though not extremely disappointed. Although I think the artwork is beautiful and it would make a great miniature, it's something I can wait for.
Dracolisk has been sculpted and is currently on the sideboard with nine other figures waiting for their moment to strike. I'm pretty confident I'll get him in two sets from now. The figure is amazing.
I appreciate that folks are mixing in some "cautious" with their optimism regarding the audio dramas, but as I have heard the whole episode and have been working with Big Finish on the first five scripts (so far), I wanted to pop in and encourage you to keep an open mind about this product line.
For starters, these are NOT audiobooks. Big Finish has produced full-cast audio adventures, with music, sound effects, and a large cast including four regular characters and numerous supporting roles and bit players. While of course everyone will need to decide if the asking price makes sense to them, comparing Pathfinder Legends to an audiobook isn't really a fair comparison. These are not audiobooks.
The cast has been reduced from six to four due primarily to Big Finish's experience with more than 200 Doctor Who audio dramas that it's difficult for listeners to follow the storyline when there are so many characters fighting for screen time. Even making sure that six characters each have "character moments" means that much of the plot could get crowded out. Don't worry too much if your favorite character is not featured in this series. The plan is to produce additional adventures that will feature some different characters, too.
I don't think there's much rhyme or reason to the gender balance of the party. It certainly doesn't have anything to do with Big Finish having more male actors available than female actors. They have access to hundreds of top-talent voice actors, and all of the folks working on the Burnt Offerings audios are great.
The actors portraying Harsk and Ezren, for example, are _wonderful_. Those voices "are' the voices of those characters in my mind, now, so when I'm reading a line from a Pathfinder Comics script or an upcoming Big Finish drama, their voices are the ones I hear in my head. They really do a good job to add to the iconic characters.
As you might imagine, given the running time a lot of the minor elements of the story of the Adventure Path have been condensed or cut out entirely. Big Finish has used the modules as a basis, and then produced an _adaptation_ of the material. Everything in the audios will be familiar to folks who really know Rise of the Runelords, but folks expecting the equivalent of a "shot-for-shot" remake of the Adventure Path are likely to be disappointed.
But folks who keep and open mind, who are interested in the characterizations of the iconic characters, and who are eager to hear the Pathfinder world come alive are going to find A LOT to like about the audio dramas.
Big Finish has done a terrific job.
I am hoping to do a tavern-themed set some time in the future, which would be a great place to include some of these figures.
We've already done town guards in Heroes & Monsters (and there's another one coming shortly), and a fifth of the Skull & Shackles set probably qualifies for your sailor mini.
If you can stomach a monkey on his shoulder and a spell effect on his hand, S&S's Gilbrok the Tongue is our best "old man" so far. He seems to fit your other criteria.
Legends of Golarion has a king and a queen already. I can see maybe doing a less martial-looking (and better executed, frankly) king in a future set, but I think Queen Ileosa is pitch perfect and fits your description perfectly.
At least three other suggestions of yours are coming within the next two sets.
The rest will have to wait, but a lot of them are enticing.
That's a good question. I do have plans for providing more adventure content for PFS, but those plans interlock with many other plans at Paizo. Sometimes resources that I would prefer go to one thing end up getting cannibalized by a more pressing and immediate need. We're currently focusing a ton of attention and effort to getting a stronger hold on our production schedule. I have hope and expectation that mastering that issue will provide the opportunity we need to commit more resources to PFS adventures.
Oh, it's nothing so dramatic as all of that. I read and comment on these boards just like everybody. I'm not trying to shut down discussion of this, just letting Patrick Harris specifically know that his concerns have been noted and will be considered in future decisions of this nature, but that there is not really anything to be done in this case, and that continuing to gripe about it (however constructively) is not likely to have any additional effect above and beyond the several similar posts already in this thread.
Patrick Harris @ MU wrote:
Your concerns have been well noted by the PFS team, by the other participants in this thread, and by Paizo's publisher. The latter is working very hard to devote more resources to Pathfinder Society as soon as possible, so that we have more capacity to do things like this. This year, internal scheduling concerns make it so that drafting a brand new scenario for the Exclusive slot was not in the cards.
I respectfully ask you to roll with this particular blow. The deed is done. We understand that it is not universally popular, and the best we can do is take that into consideration when we are planning out our offerings for 2015 and beyond.
I hear the comments on the goat rarity. In the case of a basic sculpt like this, I'll often err on the side of common in favor of reserving the uncommon slot for a more complex sculpt or paint job. I figure a GM could use a herd of goats or something if need be. I also have to think of the guy who buys three or four boosters instead of the guy who buys a whole case. Still, this is one of the hardest parts about building these set lists (especially in the case of "Adventure Path" sets with lots of NPCs), and I'm constantly tinkering with my methodology based on feedback from customers.
Wow, thanks guys. It took forever for people to get to play it, so I was really starved for feedback for about a year or so. Glad to hear people enjoyed it. I had a great time running it, as it really gave me a chance to both focus on some of my favorite aspects of Pathfinder continuity (the Society, Durvin Gest, Galt, ice devils) while at the same time getting in touch with my organized play roots.
There's also this: A Player Companion can involve setting background, feat design, item design, spell design, and other neat little bits.
A Module puts it all together. There is no writing task like an adventure to really push your understanding of the game and how it all works together as a whole. It's the best test for a Superstar.
Lots of people can "fake it" or luck their way into writing a neat item, or having a good idea for a spell.
It is impossible to "fake" writing a good adventure.
I was a judge the very first year of RPG Superstar, before public voting on the Wondrous Items open call round. Three of us read about 1000 submitted items, the good and the bad, over the Thanksgiving weekend. It was a lot of work, it was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot myself from all of the submissions.
In the years since, I've had to step back a bit from RPG Superstar as the duties of co-running Paizo as a whole have taken up more and more of my time. Yesterday, however, I found myself with a few hours of free time, so I wandered into the judges chambers and started voting on items from this year's contest.
And I've got to tell you, you guys are doing a fantastic job.
Yes, there are plenty of items that don't follow the rules, or that are simply spells in a can, or that just don't earn their designer a spot in the next round. But as a whole, the quality of submissions has increased leaps and bounds from that first year. Even the bad items are better than they used to be.
Items are more likely to be in the right format, are more interesting, and are flat-out more creative (as a whole) than in previous years. Sure, I've judged far fewer than 1000 items so far, but I can say that after only an hour or so of reading I saw several items I would be happy to publish in a Pathfinder supplement, something that definitely wasn't the case that first year (and a few years after that).
I know that waiting to find out the results of the first (or any) round can be excruciating, especially as other judges can focus on the negatives and on the items that don't deserve the superstar title, making you second-guess your efforts.
But from the perspective of someone who was there at the very beginning, I'm very impressed with a LOT of items this year, and I'm eager to follow the contest as the rounds go on.
You guys are doing an excellent job this year. Keep up the good work, and good luck in future rounds!
We probably won't do dinosaurs, so it's safe to cross them off any wishlists. Huge slots are so precious that it doesn't make sense to use them on creatures that are so easily represented by a plastic toy. And honestly, it's possible to get dinosaur toys with really great paint jobs relatively cheaply, so these creatures are, alas, never going to be a priority for the Pathfinder Battles line.
Froghemoth is an obvious one I'd really like to do. I think the elementals would sell well, but you'd need to do four of them so the packaging is a little strange. Two sets of two?
Dragon Turtle is one I'd like to do, probably paired with some other sort of aquatic dragon.
Elephants and mastodons fall into the dinosaur category for me. We could do them, and I'd do them sooner than dinosaurs, but I'm certain there are decent enough proxies out there.
I think the retriever is probably too associated with D&D, and I try to be very cautious with regards to respecting that sort of thing.
Glad people are digging this two-pack. It's a bit of an odd duck due to the circumstances surrounding its birth (one pick up from an earlier set, one a really cool but fairly obscure monster), but both of these figures look absolutely great, and I hope you really like them when you have them in hand.
Mystic Lemur wrote:
The classes themselves will not be subbed out. Elements of their implementation can and will be changed as a result of constructive playtest feedback.
Theoretically, this could include "how exciting they are," but since that's highly subjective and likely differs from gamer to gamer, it's very difficult to be specific--that's where your feedback comes in.
As the "no-portmanteau" guy, I guess I should chime in here.
The most important part is that Jason and I don't always agree on everything. I wanted to call the magus the warlock, but we argued about it for a couple of hours and he won the argument, mostly because there was a popular D&D class with that name that worked differently, and in the end we agreed it would cause too much confusion to call it that.
The second most important part is that "warpriest" doesn't really ring my "BS Bell" the same way that "warmage" does. I can't quite explain it, but it just doesn't bug me that much. Sorry.
The third part is I don't like "bloodrager" either, probably for the same reasons you don't. That said, it's pretty obvious what it is mechanically from the name, and thematically it does tie into magic blood, which is something we don't really have in the real world (that I know of). So I let it slip by.
The classes themselves are unlikely to change. The book will have 10 hybrid classes, roughly similar (if not quite similar) to the presentation in the playtest document.
That said, Paizo is committed to a full, interactive playtest for these classes. The book is far, far, far from 90% complete. We are making every effort to take player comments to heart, and many changes will be made to the classes based on feedback during the playtest.
Our last playtest received valid criticisms about the amount of hands-on designer involvement and communication. We are committed to making sure that this is NOT the case with this playtest. I think you can see by the interaction Jason and his team have brought to this effort that they are committed to reading comments, responding frequently, and making changes if necessary.
Zombie Ninja wrote:
Yep, I really disagree with Jason on this one, but since the book is already laid out and likely mostly written, the designers are not going to go back to the scratch on some of the class abilities. Hopefully the'll keep this in mind, new stuff is cool too. Balance isn't everything.
To be clear about something, the book is not even remotely "already laid out." The PLAYTEST DOCUMENT, which is to say the ROUGH DRAFT of these classes is laid out, but that's a completely different animal than the book itself.
When _that_ process begins, several months from now, it will begin from scratch as an entirely different document. The fact that our art team spent a day dropping the text without art into a design template has no relationship whatsoever to the final book.
This is all essentially correct. It's a mile-tall tower erected by the archmage Nex as a Siege Castle during his unsuccessful attack on Absalom centuries ago. The Spire houses a collection of demiplanes Nex used to draw semi-corporeal shades of creatures imprisoned within. It is connected to his palace, the Bandeshar, in the city of Quantium, and contains many wonderful things.
We printed the standard number of copies for an volume in its sequence. If anything I think we were more concerned that conservative tastes in fantasy would depress the sales of an experiment like this. The fact that the opposite occurred is frankly a fantastic development in our understanding of the audience, since it encourages more experimentation and funkiness every once in a while. The most significant development is currently the upcoming Iron Gods Adventure Path, which may not have happened had this adventure received a more tepid response based simply on the concept of taking a step outside sword and sorcery.
That Brandon turned in a marvelous volume (because he did way more than just the adventure in this one) certainly helped, of course.
I don't think it's fair to say that Paizo is too big to listen to product problems. You've got the direct ear of one of the company's senior executives addressing your specific gripe directly on a public messageboard.
In many, many cases when our customers have issues with something we produce we move heaven and earth to address them specifically. For example, when the Pathfinder Battles line started, many customers were dissatisfied with the packaging so we worked with WizKids to address that issue specifically.
I can assure you that we will do everything we can to make sure that the pieces of larger miniatures fit together well. The wings on the last two dragons have been tricky, but I have them fully assembled in my office with no use of glue, and lots of folks are likewise using them without a "permanent" solution.
There were, to my knowledge, no problems with the multi-part Rune Giant, and really I haven't heard too many complaints about the fit of the Gargantuan Blue in Shattered Star, either.
For what it's worth, I haven't noticed any problems after assembling multiple production-run copies of the Gargantuan Green Dragon from Legends of Golarion, either.
It's not that we don't listen, it's that we cannot solve every single issue to the satisfaction of every single customer in every single instance.
Then you're probably out for a lot of these big minis, unfortunately, because they will often be shipped in multiple pieces. This reduces the cost of both the product itself and of shipping (because the box is smaller), and it makes the figures more durable and less likely to break in shipping.
The figures are not supposed to require glue. Sometimes a joint doesn't fit perfectly, and you may need/want to glue it together to make it fit. That's far preferable, at least to me, to charging $50 per figure and replacing a third of them due to breakage.
If losing your business on these large figures is the price to pay for that, I think we're going to have to live with it.
Thanks for the honest feedback. It's pretty clear we could have been more communicative regarding the wind-up of the Mythic Adventures playtest, and I apologize on behalf of the company if you feel that your efforts were wasted. We will endeavor to improve communication on the upcoming Advanced Class Guide playtest. This thread has provided a lot of good food for thought on that score.
Thanks for sticking around and using a frustrating experience as the basis for providing constructive criticism.