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sunshadow21's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 3,377 posts (8,244 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 29 aliases.


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Jiggy wrote:
You can't produce that level of awe when a PC finds a level-appropriate item, especially given that (unless you find it at the very end of the campaign) it's actually going to end up outclassed and replaced.

I've actually found this to be a bigger problem when DMs insist on making every single magic item special and unique because players start to focus in on the numbers and mechanical effects while usually ignoring the story after the first couple. On the other hand, if you let the numbers and mechanical aspect be reasonably common like the system tends to assume, and then throw in a handful of items with a full and deep story, not only are the players more interested in the stories, but they actually stand out more for having the stories and special powers. Excalibur and the Ring of Power (along with the associated rings for the different races) still stand out, not because of mechanical strength, but because the story actual matters to the players; because the story matters, players are more likely to upgrade them and/or keep them around for the specific times they are needed rather than just try to sell them off for generic magic items.

Jiggy wrote:

Threads like this one seem to usually center around finding ways to reconcile these two things: a system built around "magic is common" and using that system to tell "magic is rare and awe-inspiring" types of stories.

Luckily, we've got some creative folks around who have shared several viable options: convert the role of gear into inherent level-based bonuses, let people find whatever they need and work it into the story, have a single mysterious shop that constantly changes location, etc.

I've found that the best way to handle this is to allow for both. Eberron did that quite well, and it's one thing I liked about it. Low level items were reasonably common and even predictable and mundane, but mid to higher level items and characters were far more scarce and/or unpredictable, retaining the sense of awe and mystery. Even many seemingly common things like trains and airships were owned and used by entire guilds, not individuals, and relied on either trapping an elemental and keeping it contained or convincing an elemental to fill that role voluntarily. This approach has the advantage of being both workable within the existing rules without having to make a ton of changes and believable at the same time.

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blahpers wrote:

I've come up with quite a few methods over the years for this, though I haven't tested many of them. My favorite one that spans multiple campaigns:

Low-level magic items such as potions and the like can be found in most shops. For higher-end items, however, there exists a grey-to-black market network run by a mysterious merchant guild that caters exclusively to adventurers and other figures of more direct (as opposed to merely political) power. Access to increasingly higher-end goods requires commensurate proof of your exploits in the form of fame, records of the ruins you've delved or ancient dead gods you've seen, or perhaps undertaking a quest for the network to prove your capabilities.

That's similar to how I do it. Lower level stuff is commonly found on store shelves. Mid level stuff can be commissioned, acquired through organizations that the PCs have worked with, or similar methods; it's still accessible with just a little bit of effort, but merchants aren't just going to be selling it to anybody walking in off the street. High level stuff typically requires DM involvement in order to highlight the fact that getting them requires meeting more requirements to get someone to make it for you or show you the recipe/plan so you can make it yourself.

For story, I don't usually worry about it until the campaign starts getting into the +3 or equivalently priced items, though sometimes I'll do it with +2s or other specific items related to plot or character backstory; the items before that simply change too often to be worth while to worry about and are still within the price range of many nobles, making them likely to be reasonably common and not particularly unique.

Your original ideas seem like a perfectly good way to handle this. Simply lowering the various stats and/or imposing conditions like blindness or deafness while giving a handicap as a reason is perfectly acceptable. Let magic heal it or not according to the nature of the disability or disease.

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Orthos wrote:

On the one hand, I like when, as my above post indicates, my players know their way around things and sessions don't grind to a halt because someone can't remember what dice to add to what or how this spell works.

On the other hand, I love ad-lib stuff like this and players thinking outside the box.


This is pretty much where I sit. When making things up on the fly, something fun to see whenever possible, having questions about how to resolve it doesn't bother me. However, if someone wants to play a two weapon ranger and after 8 levels still needs help calculating their base attack bonuses for all their attacks, I tend to run out of patience. I've found that when first starting a Pathfinder campaign, the first few levels will always take some time as people get comfortable with the rules they and the group are using; when using a system this complex, that's just part of the game. After that, it should speed up; if it doesn't, that is when it starts becoming a negative to me.

Pathfinder requires a certain amount of reading and math in order to keep moving smoothly; I don't expect people to be experts, but I do expect them to be prepared to put forth at least some effort in both of those departments and not just sit down expecting to be told a story and not having to do any work on the mechanical side themselves. After a few levels, they need to be able to run their own character effectively without requiring excessive help or game time, whether that be having the rules memorized or knowing where to find the relevant rules in the book; nothing more and nothing less.

DMs I hold to a higher standard only because they tend to actively use more systems than players, but I still don't really expect them to have everything memorized. Knowing where to find stuff quickly or having the pertinent info already written down in their notes is more important than having it memorized. I also don't expect them to have every class feature memorized; that's on the player of the character in question, not the DM. Nor do I expect a perfect RAW ruling for every situation; as long as it seems reasonably close, and the rulings are consistent, specifics for repeat situations can be looked up after the game is over.

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WotC's biggest problem with digital tools is that they always seem to try for one tool that does everything. The difficulty that creates is that they end up asking people to pay for everything when they really only want one part of it. Part of Paizo's success with their subscriptions is that they have multiple subscriptions that allow for the buyer to customize what they get. Same with HeroLab and selling each package individually, including within the systems themselves. Dungeonscape may offer something similar to that customization, as it isn't being made by WotC themselves, so there is reason for hope in that department, but it still won't be able to compete with the accessibility a basic PDF offers.

Not offering a PDF fearing that it will compete with Dungeonscape or the physical books is a bit far fetched. Each is a different products that appeal to different crowds. Offering only a PDF probably would not be a good digital strategy for WotC, but not offering PDFs at all is equally silly.

Oath wrote:
The Cleric spell list probably shouldn't be as "good" as the Wizard/Sorcerer list. The casters that use it can have every single one ever printed, for free, just by praying.

That honestly is it's biggest problem. I personally would rather see domains treated like the arcane schools, and clerics only have access to a few basic domains + a handful relevant to their god. It'll still have plenty of power, but give more room for domains to actually have a visible effect.

I've found it depends on the DM. Some like it, some don't.

thejeff wrote:
I agree on the impulse buys, but there's no way they could knock the Core PHB dow low enough to hit the $10-$15 range, so if that's your target it's irrelevant.

It's entirely relevant though. If you're looking at needing at product to be in the $10-$20 range to grab impulse purchasers or those on the fence, than the base price matters because it will drive what the final price will be after discounts. If the base price is too high to readily grab that price range, it will create additional challenges. By pricing the PHB where they did, WotC made the point of entry more expensive than your average tabletop RPG, as expensive as a typical video game or movie by itself, and more expensive than a rental service like netflix. This doesn't automatically hurt them, but it does impact the amount of effort that will be required to sustain the sales they are seeing now.

The starter set is a good product, but it's not a replacement for the PHB, and now you're asking people to buy both the starter set and, later, the other core books, jacking the total price up. It is useful in helping limit the challenges created by the high base price of the core books, much the same way that Amazon offering it at massive discounts does, but it doesn't make those challenges go away or resolve them entirely.

In the end, the high base price is fair for the product being offered, but it does create challenges that WotC will need to be aware of and address in order to sustain strong sales. Simply saying Amazon can offer it for 50% off isn't going to be enough; it's a start, but it's not enough by itself.

thejeff wrote:

Because those people can't go to Amazon and get it for $30 if they're not sure about paying $50? You seem to be arguing that people who aren't sure about it will be basing their decision on the list price, not on the price they'd actually be paying. Which seems odd.

You're going to lose some impulse buys in brick and mortar stores with the higher price point, but for anyone shopping online and worried about price, the actual price is whatever discounted price Amazon offers.
Now, if they'd actually priced it at $40, then the Amazon discount would get it closer to $20, so maybe that's an argument.

People are more likely to impulse buy a physical product they can see and touch and skim through. Very few people to go Amazon or the internet for impulse purchases or to buy something they are still unsure off. That means that the price they will be looking at is going to be much closer to the base $50 than the discount that someone like Amazon can provide. To get those people to go online and buy it, it would probably have to be in the $10 to $15 after all the online discounts kick in, so the starting price is still a notable factor, because Amazon can only discount things so far.

In the end, the Amazon argument is valid for determining where people are going to be inclined to buy the book. It does less well in convincing others not so sure of the system that they want go ahead and buy the book regardless of their concerns and reservations.

You're missing the point again. It's not expensive to those that already know they want it; thus the whole Amazon argument, while not completely unimportant, is not a particularly valid argument in this case. You're talking about people who would likely find a way to buy the book even if it cost twice as much. Regardless of what sale price Amazon can offer, $50 is still expensive to those who have other concerns and aren't willing to drop that kind of money on something they may not like and could easily drop no more than half that on a wide variety of other stuff in the market today and get something they know they will enjoy; having it available for $25 or so on Amazon isn't going to have much of an impact on these people. It's not about whether people can afford it, it's whether people truly find value in it or not. By setting the base price point as high as they did, WotC ensured that many still on the fence and unsure of the value they would get out of it personally will not be buying the book without a lot of hesitation as it amplifies many of the other reservations people may have about the system.

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Alan_Beven wrote:
Given the sales figures of 5e so far I think the pricing seems about right to me.

The true test hasn't really sunk in yet. The initial sales were guaranteed regardless of price. Once everyone who knew they were going to buy the books no matter what the price was, either as collector's items to play the game, is when the true test will start. The sales figure over the course of the first year are more important than the sales figure for the first month.

Wrath wrote:

Maybe the younger ones will do what me and my mates did when we first got into gaming and had no cash. We all pitched in and bought a copy? That was back in the 80s and the prices we were paying for roleplay stuff even then was considered high.

Separating the PHB from the DM guide keeps magic items firmly in the hands of the DM again. This is a great thing as far as i m concerned. This edition so far has given me more freedom for DMing than 3.5 and Pathfinder. Less chance of rules lawyers telling me what I can and can't have in a game cos it's not laid out in such and such a book.

I love the fact that thebPHB has monsters in it for summoners and wild shape too. It gives exactly you need to be a player for the game, nothing more.

The running of the game world is back in the DM's hands.

All of that will work for some people, but the people likely to do that aren't going to be phased by the price in the first place, so it's really a moot argument. The people who are going to be hesitant about the price are those not in full agreement with everything you just said, at which point the comparatively higher price point when compared to other stuff on the market will start to hurt WotC. Getting a lot of people to pay that much for something that doesn't exactly suit their particular interests (and 5E will not ultimately automatically appeal to everyone, in large part precisely because of the level of DM control that most of the system's supporters seem to be relishing) is going to be tough when there's a good chance that they can find something that does for probably a cheaper price, especially when you throw in movies, phone app games, computer games, and all the other media entertainment options available today that wasn't available in the 80s. The price by itself won't be that much of an issue, but taken with any kind of other hesitance for any reason, and the price tag will amplify those other reservations people may have.

JoeJ wrote:
Fake Healer wrote:

I really like the look of the rules so far (Starter box and the Basic Rules PDF) and will be purchasing the PHB soon....kinda pissy about a $50 price tag for just a PHB. I feel that is too much. $35-$40 I could've seen but $50 just seem like a gouge and a price that will make it hard for the younger crowd to get into. What 12-13 year old is running around with $50 for a PHB, $50 more for a DMG, and then has to figure out what to do about monsters for his game.....$100 and no monsters or adventures seem like a bad price point to start out.

At least Pathfinder was a PHB and DMG combined for the Core price. $50 seems like a greedy price-point.

Amazon has it for $29.95.

Relying on Amazon having it cheap doesn't change the basic argument; nor does having a basic pdf entirely remove it. Not everyone can or will use Amazon or some other online retailer, and even if they do, the price is still ultimately set by WotC, and they still are the ones to ultimately answer for it. The basic pdf and the starter set are a good start, but there is still a very real gap in price between those products and the books one is expected to buy to routinely play or DM. After seeing the player's handbook, it would be well worth the money for someone genuinely interested and able to play it frequently, but probably not for someone still on the fence after trying out the basic pdf and/or the starter set or not able to play the system routinely. Both WotC and Amazon, as well as others, have done a good job of mitigating most of the price concerns for those truly happy about the system, but the price will still be a factor for those not willing or able to fully commit to playing the system routinely.

Round 2: DC 18

Fort Save 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17

Gormar takes the second drink and gets most of it down before suddenly spitting some of it out. "Darn gunpowder. Thought I washed all of it out my mouth before I came over. Guess old Nora is going to have to wait. If the gut can't take a fleck or two of dirt, no way it's handling what she can offer up. Time to see if you earn yourself a gold or not." While obviously not happy, he takes the setback in stride as he watches his foe.

Gormar shrugs a bit. "Food is food to me, but I can see how many would look forward to the treats you mentioned." He finally breaks a smile as the whiskey arrives, accentuating his very noticeable teeth and jawbone structure even more. "Ah good, time to begin. Number one down the hatch." He grabs the mug and downs the alcohol with ease in a single swig.

I'm thinking contested Fort saves, starting at DC 15, going up 3 every round until someone fails their Fort save.

Fort Save 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24

"My stomach has taken far worse, believe me. I don't get hungover, I just pass out, and missing out on crowds of the festival doesn't sound like a bad idea. Crowds and I don't get along much. As long as I'm awake for the feast, I'll be happy."

Gormar has been around Sandpoint for a while working at the Pillbug, so as a town guard, you would likely know of him. While capable of being quite boisterous from time to time, he's not usually much of a troublemaker.

"Whiskey sounds good today. That way, I win regardless; either I'm out cold and can forget about that moronic apprentice or I win and I'm still probably drunk enough to be able to forget about that moronic apprentice. And it's good training for old Nora waiting for me across town." He sits down and waves down a waitress, "Whiskey, and lots of it. I'll pay for it and the mess."

Kittyburger wrote:
The early episodes of TNG (by which I mean seasons 1 and 2) were TERRIBLE! They're pretty much a testament to how desperate we were for ANY television sci-fi in the mid-80s (as if the frantic rerunning and re-rerunning of TOS didn't get that across!). Season 1 was more or less trying to recreate the vibe of TOS and Season 2 was hampered by a writer's strike and piddled out in an awful clip show at the end. TNG didn't get good until season 3 and it stayed good until mid-season 7.

That still leaves a window of about 5 years of having a solid sustainable story line, in line with the original thought that it's biggest problem that it ran on well after it really needed to. I can understand taking some time to find it's legs, but recycling plots is harder to excuse away.

Gormar rp:
Gormar, a massive looking half orc whose orcish roots are plainly obvious, enters the bar after what was apparently an interesting day, his artisan clothes still clearly showing burn marks and smelling of a bit like gunpowder. Finding a seat at the bar, "Give me some of the stronger stuff you got; don't care what, just need it strong. Alver had one of his apprentices trying to make some fireworks today for the festival; it didn't go so well." Looking around the crowded bar, he shouts, "Whose up for a drinking contest? 1 gold that no one can beat me."

I present Gormar, an alchemist(/barbarian) looking to tap into his inner beast.

Gormar,Male Half-Orc Alchemist (Beastmorph)):

CG Medium humanoid (human, orc)
Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +5
AC 13, touch 11, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor, +1 Dex)
hp 10 (1d8+2)
Fort +4 (+2 trait bonus vs. disease and poison), Ref +3, Will +1
Speed 30 ft.

bite +2 (1d4+3) and
dagger +2 (1d4+2/19-20) and
greataxe +2 (1d12+3/×3)

bomb +2 (1d6+2 Fire, DC 12, 3/day) and
sling +1 (1d4+2)

Alchemist (Beastmorph) Spells Prepared (CL 1st; concentration +3):
1st—Cure Light Wounds , Enlarge Person (DC 13)
Formula Book- Ant Haul, Cure Light Wounds, Endure Elements, Enlarge Person
Str 14, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 15, Wis 13, Cha 10

Base Atk +0; CMB +2; CMD 13

Feats Brew Potion, Splash Weapon Mastery, Throw Anything

Traits hagfish hopeful, slippery (bellflower network)

Skills Appraise +6, Craft (alchemy) +6 (+7 to create alchemical items), Knowledge (nature) +6, Perception +5 (+7 to find hidden objects (inc. secret doors and traps), determine whether food is spoiled, or identify a potion by taste), Sleight of Hand +5, Stealth +6, Survival +5, Use Magic Device +4;
Racial Modifiers +2 Appraise, scavenger

Languages Common, Goblin, Orc

SQ alchemy, mutagen, orc blood, weapon familiarity
Combat Gear
acid (3), alchemist's fire, smokestick, leather armor, dagger, greataxe, sling,

Other Gear
alchemy crafting kit, backpack, masterwork, bandolier, bedroll, belt pouch, belt pouch, belt pouch, winter blanket, chalk (10), chalkboard, charcoal stick (10), trail rations (5), waterskin (2)

8 gp, 3 sp, 9 cp
Special Abilities
Alchemy +1 (Su) +1 to Craft (Alchemy) to create alchemical items, can Id potions by touch.

Bomb 1d6+2 (3/day, DC 12) (Su) Thrown Splash Weapon deals 1d6+2 fire damage.

Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).

Hagfish Hopeful +2 trait bonus on Fortitude saves against disease and poison.

Mutagen (DC 12) (Su) Mutagen adds +4 to a physical & -2 to a mental attribute, and +2 nat. armor for 10 min.

Orc Blood Half-orcs count as both humans and orcs for any effect related to race.

Scavenger +2 Perception to find hidden objects (inc. secret doors and traps), determine if food is spoiled or identify a potion by taste.

Throw Anything Proficient with improvised ranged weapons. +1 to hit with thrown splash weapons.
will end up being alchemist/barbarian with equal levels in both

Background, Appearance, & Personality:
black hair; black eye;, grey scarred skin; 6'10"; 234 lb
Gruff, but kind; tends not to rely on others, but doesn't turn help away either; dour and serious; usually level headed, but known to be dangerous when his temper comes out
Gormar was odd from his birth, with his orcish blood being hugely obvious, and his childhood was rough. Bounced around from orphanage to orphanage until he finally got tired of the routine, and headed off for the woods, he learned to survive by tapping into his primal instinct and intution. He eventually fell into the study of alchemy to find ways to enhance that instinct further, and that journey recently brought him to Sandpoint to study under Alver Podiker.

After a year in Sandpoint, he's finally getting somewhat comfortable around the village, and the villagers in turn getting at least somewhat comfortable with him. Working at the Pillbug by day, he has made it his goal to win the prize at the Hagfish, where he spends a considerable amount of time drinking and relaxing, figuring that he's already used to enough to eating and drinking rancid, rotten, and nasty stuff just to survive, he may as well earn some money from the training. He also frequents The Rusty Dragon to see what kind of interesting travelers are passing through and if they have any useful bits of knowledge for him to glean.

While not overly religious, he tends to honor Desna regularly, a habit picked up by traveling among the local Varisians for many years.

A typical evening:
Gromar walked into the Hagfish a touch earlier than usual, ducking automatically at this point to avoid hitting his head on the door frame. His clothes reveal that the day at the Pillbug was fairly quiet with no fresh stains and burn marks joining the many that have accumulated over time. Glancing at the tank and the beam of names, he nods approvingly at the lack of no new names in the last few days before greeting Nora, who simply scowls back. Sitting down at his usual corner table, he orders his usual drink and settles in to watch the normal crowd trickle in, keeping an eye out for any newcomers.

I did use the Bellflower trait to get Stealth as a class skill because it's the only one I could find that would give it. I don't know why Paizo thinks stealth and perception are so terrible to write traits for.

I am interested. Will post a character later today or tomorrow morning.

Malwing wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
At any given level, especially early levels, there won't be much. The only consistent line is the inflict wounds spells. Touch spells are problematic because most casters don't want to use them for a wide variety of reasons. I'm not surprised that most people don't bother with them. Spellstrike is basically on it's own when it comes to making touch attacks appealing. It gets better as you get higher in level, but you're fighting the fact that offensive touch attack spells are definitely amongst the worst supported spells in the system. I suspect Spellstrike was intended to alleviate that to some extent, but by itself, it can only do so much.
Here's my problem there; Magus has his own spell list. If we go through the trouble of making a special list for a class that has an ability that synergizes with a specific kind of spell then why not support it? Not even a powerful option just something that does something. I know why it wasn't supported but what about now?

I wondered about that myself at the time. As for why not now, the magus is just one of many options available to players, and while not the least popular, not the most popular either. The demand to support those kinds of spells is higher now, but still not very high.

At any given level, especially early levels, there won't be much. The only consistent line is the inflict wounds spells. Touch spells are problematic because most casters don't want to use them for a wide variety of reasons. I'm not surprised that most people don't bother with them. Spellstrike is basically on it's own when it comes to making touch attacks appealing. It gets better as you get higher in level, but you're fighting the fact that offensive touch attack spells are definitely amongst the worst supported spells in the system. I suspect Spellstrike was intended to alleviate that to some extent, but by itself, it can only do so much.

You could throw the inflict spells on the list. They are useful touch spells, and, since the class is built on the bard chassis, and bards get the cure spells, it's not that far of a reach thematically. Beyond that, your choices are going to be fairly limited, though if you comb through the list of core spells, you'll probably find a couple of others buried here and there.

You may be having fun now, but the seeds are there for the fun to go sour very quickly. A new character is going to be your only option going forward to continue having fun. If the DM doesn't allow a simple character swap, your options are limited. You might try to arrange with the other players and/or the DM to setup the scene where your character goes off on the rest of the party, making it less likely to create a personal feud while still giving you an opening to bring in a new character. If that doesn't work, leaving the group and finding someone else to play with is, unfortunately, your only real option that doesn't just create more problems down the road. The other players obviously don't care about how well your character does or does not fit into the party, and if the DM doesn't allow a character swap or go along with a story driven, player supported PVP battle, he clearly doesn't either, which will make it harder to find concensus on anything else going forward.

Honestly, I see this kind of conversation happening a lot, and not just with PF, and both sides will have valid reasons to support their views. In the end, while the changes are not bad, they will impact WotC's ability to successfully reunite the fan base. For all that there is a lot to potentially like, there isn't much of anything there for 3rd edition and PF players to really grab onto in terms of competing with a system that many still like. WotC very clearly went very conservative and went back to the brand's very DM heavy roots; the cost is they took out almost all of the player driven options beyond the class itself (even skills aren't really player driven anymore when DMs ultimately control when and how they can be used). To me, they did a really good job of making a modern version of the original game, and that's great for those that liked that original version. There's a lot of people who didn't like that version, though, and many more that don't have the ability/time to find the type of group that the rules assume the game will be played in, and for those people, 5E is often going to be a major step backwards. For many others, it won't get any reaction at all besides "why do I need yet another edition of a game based on the same basic logic I can already find in at least 4 others?"

I can see a lot of folks playing both for different reasons, but I don't see a lot of people suddenly completely dropping PF for 5E at this point. Most of the people in that camp have already moved on from PF, or were already looking for a reason to move on. Either way, the long term impact on both PF and 5E is going to be minimal; PF will continue to get new blood that enjoys what PF offers and 5E will continue to look elsewhere primarily for support, just like they are now.

5E is not a bad system, but it will never directly compete with PF; it's main competition is going to be other rules light systems, which can offer the same DM flexibility 5E has while also offering something to the to players at the same time, 5E's biggest weakness. When players almost never engage with the system directly, keeping those players interested in the face of competition is going to be tough, and 5E will have plenty of competition, unlike its pre 3rd edition predecessors that had very little.

KarlBob wrote:
"Living campaigns"/"Organized play" are the biggest reason why RAW vs. RAI matters. For all the good they've done for the hobby, and all the players they've enabled to find a game, they do severely curtail the former nigh-omnipotence of the individual GM. There's a good reason to do that (making the play experience as uniform as possible, at any PFS game anywhere in the world), but it only applies if you're trying to have a uniform experience in the first place.

It's not just organized play that has created a desire for this uniformity. People have grown up, moved, found themselves not able to easily stay with a single group/DM, and/or are playing with others over the internet. Having a very DM oriented system works fantastic for those that find and stay in the same face to face group for several decades. It works less well in other circumstances, and one of the casualties of this is the classic party setup. If you're routinely playing with someone new or playing over the internet, you don't want to have to spend half your time figuring out individual interpretations; you need a much clearer baseline for what your character can and can't do. Having more specific classes helps with this as it give the player more focused mechanics to work with that don't rely on DM interpretation to do everything. To me as a DM, that's a good thing. As long as the expanded mechanics come with a clear message that I retain veto power over everything, I like having the rules cover most of the common tasks and abilities; that gives me more time to worry about everything else.

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I find that both mechanics and flavor have to be there in the end to have a good character. Which one comes first doesn't matter nearly as much as an end product that incorporates both. A character that lacks either is noticeably less interesting. Either the character can't actually do what I am roleplaying when it comes time to pick up the dice or the game becomes a glorified board game; neither is really the best experience.

On the OP, though, the development cycle of both 3.5 and PF have shown that designing a basic generic class isn't actually as popular as many people like to make it sound. The typical cleric and wizard expectations are hit just as much as fighter and rogue. Witch, oracle, bard, druid, sorcerer, and summoner have in many groups taken the place of the the traditional casting classes. The main advantage all of these more focused classes is that neither mechanics nor flavor are favored; they have good mechanical support and still cover a wide range of flavors quite easily. The traditional classes have strong flavor, but usually lack mechanical support to effectively back most of the flavor up.

The original classic party worked for it's time, but it's probably time to treat all four of the classic roles as broad archetypes covered by multiple mechanics/classes rather than specific classes unto themselves. As classes, they are hard to balance against each other and across multiple tables/groups, which is a major consideration that has to be looked at in today's increasingly mobile world. Paizo has shown that making a fairly focused core class and having archetypes and customizable class features to change the focus while staying within the same general framework is probably the best design going forward. Throw in traits, and you get even more flexibility while maintaining basic mechanical support. Leaving almost everything beyond flavor up to the DM is not a sound idea if the goal is to truly engage the player, and even WotC picked up on this; 5E includes built in subclasses and backgrounds.

Also, as far being aggressive is concerned, 4E's problem wasn't ultimately that it was aggressive, it was that the aggressiveness was not well framed and supported by the marketing and PR. 3E was in many ways just as aggressive and was ultimately well received, so packaging very clearly makes a difference. I honestly think that if people had been able to get a fuller glimpse of precisely what was coming with 4E, a lot more people would have been accepting of it, rather than getting a major shock at release. At the very least, more people would have known more clearly it wasn't for them and simply said nothing. 5E could have gotten away with being more bold in the changes, given that the play test gave many people a pretty decent idea of what to expect, making it easier to manage expectations and responses. I can understand to some degree why it wasn't, but it's still a bit of a missed opportunity.

Buri wrote:
I don't think they can get away with being more aggressive. At least, it wouldn't be smart for them to. Their last edition was very much like that. It blew up in their face. Sure, they have a great release with the PHB but for their planning right now, they can't have known that for sure. I hope the subsequent releases and feedback keep being good so they can ramp up a release schedule as time goes on. That will take time.

Is that time they are going to have? They are going to need to get out at least a standard press release before the DMG comes out, or they will probably lose momentum during the vital quarter following that release. Adventures aren't going to hold the attention of the average player, and even many DMs won't be all that interested. I understand they don't want to flood the market with supplements, but they can't afford to space new books out too far either without losing momentum each book could add to the process. The lack of any new announcements at GenCon, while not a sign for panic, doesn't exactly help the perceptions still being built around the system.

memorax wrote:
I'm curious Sunshadow do you have anything good to say about 5E or Wotc? It's like listening to a broken record. We get it you don't like 5E or Wotc. I can respect that even is I don't agree with it. Could not keep repeating yourself by downplaying everything Wotc has achieved. Or the merits of 5E. It's not even a month since the 5E release and your nothing but doom and gloom.

WotC and 5e has done a lot of good things; it clearly appeals to a lot of people. I am impressed that I haven't seen anything that feels like a major failing point; that is a major step forward from both 3rd and 4th edition. In some ways, though, that kind of safe, compromising design does limit it's overall appeal, which has an impact on how well it's likely to do in the broader market, both in the tabletop game and in other endeavors.

My biggest frustration right now is understanding their business plan going forward. They are being massively conservative in the one product and market they have the best chances of getting away with not being conservative, while taking all the risks in areas that they have the least amount of support to recover from any notable failures. They have no core they are trying to build around, it's just put as many products out there as possible and hope enough of them make enough money. It's an odd strategy, even if the tabletop market is a fairly small one; they risk giving up a solid position within the tabletop market to maybe be occasionally competitive in many markets. It may end getting them more raw income for a while, but eventually, it will water down the brand if they don't pick one aspect to be the main focus eventually. To be fair, WotC is not the only company I dislike for following this kind of strategy. In fact, they aren't even the worst company in my mind. It's just that while my excitement for the system is actually growing and if I ever find myself in a group that's playing it, I will join in without hesitation, my excitement for the brand is not keeping pace. That is a large part of many posts that seemingly repeat the same things; it's an effort to figure out precisely where that boundary is and what is causing it.

I wouldn't call either of the MMOs huge successes; not failures, but definitely as niche as the system itself. Registered players gets into tricky territory when it comes to MMO anymore because there's no real baseline to measure it off of when every company uses their own metrics of what precisely that means for the game; Neverwinter's business model, like many f2p models, tends to make that particular number less useful. If they've done single player games, that's news to me; I take that back, I vaguely recall one single player game early in 4th edition that was flat out terrible. They're trying, but the level of success is highly debatable; there's nothing since Neverwinter Nights that's really been a clear success.

MMCJawa wrote:
Are you so certain about that? I recall reading in the past that the novel lines + certain video games such as Neverwinter Nights and Baldur's Gate were far far more profitable many times than the actual DND lines. I don't know what the state is currently, but it doesn't seem like a bad policy..

The bolded part is key. Most of those successes didn't come under WotC's watch. The novels have held on, but nothing major has come out of it the entire time under WotC's control. Neverwinter nights 1 & 2 did well, but they are still over a decade old. Internet wise, they have DDI, which while good, still fell far short of their goals. And that's the highlights of their efforts in those areas. Not exactly a strong track record to build confidence off of. It's not a bad idea, just one that WotC has been trying for a long time and not succeeding at. It's not impossible, but at this point it very much is I'll believe when I see it.

MMCJawa wrote:

My thinking is that, unlike with 4E, the game plan for this edition is not to gain huge numbers of people who have never played a RPG before, but rather to retain 4E users and earn back fans of earlier editions.

If they can get new people into the hobby, great. But that is not the main goal of the marketing as far as I can tell.

I think they want to keep the brand "viable", in that they are supporting a system, but everything I have heard makes it sound like they might be mostly keeping DnD alive for the purpose of novels, computer games, and other multimedia

That may be, but that does rely on trusting them to pull off the novels, computer games, and other stuff. Aside from Drizzt, which many people don't really associate with D&D directly, they have none of that, and haven't been able to get anything like it going consistently despite more than a decade of trying. So those things fall firmly in the "I'll believe it when I see it" category. Even if any of that is successful, there's no guarantee that success in one area will be based on or bleed over to success in other areas. It's not the best strategy for long term success of the brand. Right now WotC has nothing firm beyond 5E; 5E merely being viable may not be enough if the other projects fall through.

thejeff wrote:
Maybe I've just been lucky or maybe it's something about my approach to gaming, but I've never had a GM I wanted to play with that I needed rules to protect me from. I've certainly played with GMs that screwed me over despite the rules. Just not for long.

You've been lucky and you've apparently had your choice of GMs, so another bit of luck. A lot of people are stuck in places where the available DMs and fellow gamers aren't numerous enough to have that choice. Success with DM oriented systems becomes a lot more hit or miss in those circumstances.

I'm just not convinced that the general market is going to be anymore receptive to 5E than they are to PF, making most of the changes largely a wash in long term impact. Getting casual gamers was tough before 3rd edition when other entertainment options were limited. 5E goes back to the system where it's entirely DM dependent and that may not work all that well when players can go any number of other places and get exactly what they want when they want like they can now. 5E will do a good job of bringing back really old players, but just like every other edition, leave other players behind, and the challenges of getting new players will be about the same. So, I'm just not seeing a reason for excitement in regards to it's impact on the greater market long term.

MMCJawa wrote:
And nostalgia...well it works as a business strategy. I know lots of people online are only trying the game because it reminds them of earlier editions, in some way or another.

Nostalgia is a great hook, but it doesn't automatically make great campaigns, which is the meat of the tabletop game. Going back to a "simpler" game appeals to a lot of people in many ways, but it also brings back many of the challenges that both DMs and players had with that kind of system that led to the more formalized ruleset of 3rd edition in the first place. 4E had exactly the same problem. Both it and this system make the actual adventure easier to run, but overall the amount of DM effort is basically the same to maintain a campaign; the areas that are complex and the areas that are simple are simply shifted. There are no training wheels to help new DMs/groups/players out; that is going to lead a lot of frustration, and a lot of people will turn to something else (this was far less of an option back when these types of rules were popular last time) that comes easier rather than working through the frustration. It's a bit easier to DM perhaps, but from the player's side, it's not actually that much easier to play; looking up rules is replaced by asking the DM basically everything. With the right DM it works and works well, but all it takes a one really bad experience to get someone to walk away and never look back.

Nostalgia is a great short term strategy, but not so much for long term. It has a way of wearing off quickly at precisely the wrong times. This won't be a problem for established groups that already have most of the social issues worked out, but with new players, organized play, and those stuck with playing in random groups or in groups of people with different goals and expectations, the nostalgia factor will wear off very quickly and that's going to be the true test of the system. DM centric games can make amazingly good experiences; they can also be complete disasters. WotC has to find a way to provide enough of a baseline to prevent total disasters while leaving room for the DM freedom that so many crave; so far they've met the latter, but that's always been the easy part. Giving both DMs and players of all experience levels enough tools to do the former and/or repair the disasters after they have happened is a far bigger challenge and one in which nostalgia will have no real influence at all.

Pan wrote:
This round I believe will be all about support. Can 5E bring the adventures and rule support? If so I think it will compete well. If they dont it will taper off. Im hoping it raises the bar and paizo matches them toe for toe. Having one king in the industry is no good, IMO.

And this is the area that so far at least, I'm really not convinced that WotC is concerned about doing much, at least directly. Adventure support seems to be there, but everything else, not so much. I think the best hope here is a robust open license, or at least active seeking out of selective licensing to trusted partners. I just don't see WotC themselves putting out the kind of support needed to sustain that level of competition.

Bill Dunn wrote:
And as far as rules changing for a reason, that kind of statement seems to imply that every change and every reason for those changes was correct. That may not be the case. I think some editions made some changes just to kill sacred cows, to put a new spin on the game of D&D, but I don't think those are very good reasons in and of themselves.

The changes made in 3rd edition held up over a decade; right or wrong, they were generally accepted. The changes made in 4E held up barely, if at all; right or wrong, they weren't. This time, they asked people what they wanted, and what they wanted right now was shaped in large part by the rose colored glasses looking at the comparatively distant past; therefore, it does not surprise me that most people are not seeing any problems with the new system yet. It gave them exactly what they wanted to see from their current perspective. What I am less certain of is how well those changes were thought out and how long they will last as a result; 4E showed very clearly the idea of changing for the sake of change is not usually a good one.

Like them or hate them, the changes with 3rd edition stuck; something about them and the overall environment they were released into worked. 3rd edition legitimately earned the position it rose to. I cannot say with the same amount of confidence that 5E will do the same; heavy DM centric systems (such as pretty much any edition of D&D besides 3rd and certain aspects of 4th) struggle with supporting that kind of popular support (winning over DMs is actually pretty easy; creating a system that DMs can easily find players excited about is usually another matter entirely), and yet many people seem to expect the brand to carry forward with the same strength. The brand as a whole does not yet have enough other solid pieces for that expectation to happen, and may never have enough other solid pieces to be realistic. WotC very much seems to be gambling on nostalgia lasting long enough for some of the other pieces to take over the main burden of carrying the brand. Given that this is the third time they've tried that basic strategy, it's not promising, and they may find themselves in a bit of a tight spot once the inevitable nitpicking settles in.

Steve Geddes wrote:

I think you misunderstand me. I'm not bothered, I'm curious.

I wasn't saying "go away" I just genuinely didn't see what the point is, so I asked. I realise I'm not owed an answer.

I guess to me, there's a certain fascination over the cyclical nature of what gamers prefer. When 3rd edition came out, people were ready for it. With this release, many people seem ready for it. Myself on the other hand, tend to find something I like and stick with it. If I get tired of it, I don't look for a minor variation, I look for something completely different. All versions of D&D and the many clones are all basically variants of the same core game, therefore, my interest in the system itself is virtually nil; I already own basically the same game. Understanding why the different variants get the cyclical level of support they do is interesting, at least to me. "Because it's D&D" annoys me because it's not really much of an answer; it's both too narrow and too encompassing at the same time. The answers that are interesting are when people are forced to go beyond that; that's the part of the conversation I push for and the part of the conversation that I learn from.

Steve Geddes wrote:
I don't see it as "sides" really. I was just curious what you get out of those posts.

I'm curious at what anybody gets out of 90% of the internet forums. If my posts bother you that much, do what I do with the posts that bother me; ignore them. If enough people ignore them, than clearly there's no further conversation and it drops; until then, the legitimate responses gained are both interesting and usually helpful.

Bill Dunn wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:

At this point, if I am going to be spending money, I expect to see something new and different enough to be worth the dollars spent; at least so far, 5E isn't. It's a good system, I hope it does well, but I was hoping for something that would actually compete with PF, keeping Paizo on their toes. Unless WotC comes out with a robust third party license system, I don't see that happening; WotC clearly doesn't have any plans to do much with the system directly themselves. Paizo, and other competitors as well, put out enough content of high enough quality overall that WotC is not going to be able to just put out adventures and the seemingly very occasional something else and hope to maintain a long term presence in the market; movies, video games, or whatever else they have been talking about for decades now and have yet to seriously produce would be nice to see, but a great many people won't care about them and many that do won't make the connection to the game that WotC clearly hopes they will make.

I think 5e will compete pretty strongly with PF simply for the fact that it is D&D. That brand means a lot. Just look at the edition wars - what's that all about? At it's most fundamental level, It's about being D&D players. Why else would people go to such effort to criticize 4e or backlash against those criticisms? Why else would people cling to their favorite sacred cows/sacred cow hamburger? It's because they want to be D&D players (or still be D&D players) and have the currently supported edition be an edition they can identify themselves as D&D players with.

That's going to be pretty stiff competition.

And that bothers me a bit. I don't mind a strong brand that earns it, but a brand that is strong because of what nostalgia offers and very little else isn't that strong of a brand in the long run, and doesn't help much of anyone. I'm hoping that the nostalgia factor is eventually replaced with something more substantial and consistent to provide the underlying strength; I really don't want to see them fall into a pattern of big spike as a new book is released followed complete silence and virtually no new actual product until the time comes for the next big grand release announcement generating another big spike. That cycle is fine or twice, but it will get old real quickly if it becomes the norm. Being flashy wears thin when there's not a lot of substance to back it up.

With 5E, a lot of the things that they are using were changed in 3rd edition, and at the time, people wanted them changed for a variety of reasons. On top of that, it took a good decade and a half for people to get tired of those changes, and there are many who still like them. I think right now it's hard to see just how much people are reacting to a new shiny and seeing the old rules through rose colored glasses vs people actually liking the older way of doing things better. A lot of rules in every version before 3rd edition simply got ignored or adapted to local groups; the only real difference with 3rd edition is that the internet immortalized most of them so that we can still remember every little breaking point, error, and miscalculation more clearly.

While revisiting the old rules isn't bad, a lot of folks are forgetting they changed for a reason, and reimplementing them just because they aren't the rules people have been griping about recently isn't a surefire long term strategy.

Steve Geddes wrote:

Why do you post here? It's pretty clear 5E isn't your thing (its not mine either) but what's the point in posting such frequent critiques in the sub forum set aside for fans of D&D on Paizo's website?

I could understand such posts on the wizards website (if you had some goal of providing feedback in the hopes of engendering improvement) but what is the aim of posting them here?

In this case, it's because the thread discusses the reasons various people have for either lacking or having excitement for the new edition. Those reasons change, for both good and ill, as more information comes out and old information gets processed. It is a conversation that I will have with myself at least for a good long while and I hope the community as a whole has for a good long while as well. As long as it is respectful, it is helpful to both sides to have it.

Kthulhu wrote:
I don't actually hate Pathfinder. I'll even play it. But I do think it's overrated in general.

While I can't entirely disagree with you, the same can be said for WotC and the official D&D brand as well. I'm seeing an awful lot of "because it's D&D" as the reason for being excited, and that's not enough for me. I see entirely way too much reliance on brand recognition to carry both 5E and the anticipated movies, games, and other stuff they have in the works.

And before someone tries to claim I hate WotC or am in love with PF, at this point I would approach something new like 5E the same regardless of who was making it or why; I already have that niche filled, and don't need yet another game in that style of play. If I want fighters and wizards, I already have both 3.x and PF, and even a couple of late AD&D books. The main reason I am still interested in PF is that they aren't sticking to just fighter, cleric, wizard, rogue, the way that WotC is beating it into the ground yet again. I get the strong nostalgia factor for D&D, but I'm actually getting to the point where I respect 4E a lot more than I did initially precisely because they didn't rely on just nostalgia.

At this point, if I am going to be spending money, I expect to see something new and different enough to be worth the dollars spent; at least so far, 5E isn't. It's a good system, I hope it does well, but I was hoping for something that would actually compete with PF, keeping Paizo on their toes. Unless WotC comes out with a robust third party license system, I don't see that happening; WotC clearly doesn't have any plans to do much with the system directly themselves. Paizo, and other competitors as well, put out enough content of high enough quality overall that WotC is not going to be able to just put out adventures and the seemingly very occasional something else and hope to maintain a long term presence in the market; movies, video games, or whatever else they have been talking about for decades now and have yet to seriously produce would be nice to see, but a great many people won't care about them and many that do won't make the connection to the game that WotC clearly hopes they will make.

In the end, WotC may have the familiar brand, but everyone else has actual product, and that's worth just as much as an known brand name. It's why at the end of the day, I still buy and play PF and will continue to do so over WotC and 5E; actual product matters a lot more than brand name, and Paizo delivers on that far better than WotC has for some time. Only time will tell if WotC can change that sufficiently to get any of my money again; just having a smash hit of the core books is not going to be enough.

I personally prefer the druid list, and have houseruled it as the basis for many of the oracle mysteries instead of the cleric list because the core cleric list is decent for what it is designed to do, but for many of the mysteries, especially the nature and elemental based ones, the druid list is a far better base. I also like that it's more balanced. It covers a better mix of ranges, targeted saves, and overall types of effects. The cleric list is almost exclusively, even with the inclusion of non-core sources, touch spells and will saves until you get to the higher level spells, where touch spells and will saves are still very prominent. In the end, it's not so bad that it needs an complete rewrite right away, but if and when they get around to making a "new" edition, it's one of the things I would have high on my wishlist to see changed. It would help boost the role of domains and make it easier to design other full casting divine classes like the oracle and druid without increasing the amount of space required for separate spell lists.

I am going to withdraw my interest. Life is a bit too hectic right now to properly support another game.

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Cambrian wrote:
A lack of early campaign books shouldn't be much of a problem. Players looking to play in a setting like FR or Darksun have 2nd/3rd/4th material to draw upon.

Older players will have that material, yes, but if the goal is to get new players, they will need at least a basic gazetteer to support the adventures no later than next summer to give the new DMs something to work with beyond the adventures themselves. It's not impossible to do, but the fact that they didn't even plan something that basic is rather telling in how much faith they were willing to put into 5E's success. Hopefully, they were just hedging their bets while setting up for the best case scenario of needing more material quickly; we'll find out soon enough.

Ffordesoon wrote:
All of which is to say that while your skepticism isn't unwarranted, optimism isn't unwise either. Now, if we don't see a more robust slate of books announced around the time the DMG hits, that'll be cause for alarm.

I did note that my sticking point was the unbridled enthusiasm, not optimism in general when taken in realistic doses. It's a far better system with a far better rollout than anticipated. I just hope for their sake that they had stuff lined up that could be brought online and released quickly if the core books proved to be successful. I would hate to see such a positive release lose momentum because they weren't able to sustain the effort in the crucial time period immediately after the core books released.

I saw more than adventures, that's for certain. I saw active effort being put into world support, with several supplemental lines and articles sitting alongside the adventures in the AP. I saw active work being done on expanding the core book very early on, with announcements of major upcoming products coming very quickly, even if the details and dates didn't all get filled in right away.

With 5E, I see ... adventures in a world that frankly doesn't interest me. That's pretty much it. Not even a rough timeline or any specifics of what they expect to include in future material beyond a few adventure arcs. It's disappointing, and leads to one of several concerning conclusions. One, the team for the system itself is so small, that expecting much of any support at all for any world beyond FR is at least two years out, a long time for a brand that touts it's many IPs as a major selling point. Two, they didn't trust in the success of the core system enough to be comfortable anything else aside from a few adventure arcs. Frankly, neither is a good scenario for the prospects of the long term support the system will need to overcome 4E's stigma.

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