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4.0: PAIZO IS STILL UNDECIDED


D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond)

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Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Y'know, there's a reason Bioware dumped Neverwinter Nights in favor of Dragon Age. Truth of the matter is that D&D "the brand" has accumulated a lot of baggage. So I can see the appeal of just letting WotC go on their merry way.

However, unless Paizo can rally pretty much everybody else to their flag, a competing 3.Paizo product is probably not really a viable option. Not for the long-term, anyway.

If you feasibly can rally pretty much everybody else, and create the Paizo VHS to WotC's Betamax, then I'd say you are almost morally bound to do so, if only to stick it to them for murdering Dragon and Dungeon.

However, we have to live in the real world, where such a partnership is unlikely. My suggestion, therefore, is to stick with 3.5 until you are damn good and ready to do 4E well -- and if that means not rolling out 4E until a year or more down the road, so be it. That, and keep all the eyes open you can muster for the eventual knife in the back from those who have a vested interested in being The Only Game In Town.

Hope this helps.

-The Gneech

Osirion

Here's my take:

Keep pathfinder #3-#6 (a.k.a Rise of the Runelords) as a 3.5 product.

When you do get the 4E ruleset, start with a Gamemastery Product or two. You guys will be learning the ruleset too, and a "smaller" project is a great place to work out the bugs. Call these "4dventure" products if you can get WoTC to let you label them as such. This should give you product production well into 2008 on BOTH lines at the same time that 4E is out. I think based on sales of either pathfinder or the gamemastery 4E as well as the message board feedback of the released 4E product should give Paizo a much better handle on the issue.

I will support Rise of the Runelords, but would be very disappointed if you changed horses mid stream. As to other pathfinder products...depends on 4E and what Paizo can do with it as well as what Paizo can do with "3.75"...but at least if you do something along the lines of what I outlined, I'll have TWO product lines to purchase in the near term to better make my decision (I would buy 4E gamemastery) and others would too. Based on sales you can determine the necessary financial decisions.

edit: damn you marc, I posted too slow! lol

Andoran

From DM Jeff
"You know, I wouldn't be adverse to you making Pathfinder 3.5 and your gamemastery adventures 4.0 (which can be planned in a shorter stage, I'm guessing) and you seeing for yourself how sales go, if that were even remotely possible."

Further thought on DM jeff's idea - since the GameMastery modules already have more flexibility than Pathfinder - would it be feasible to try 3.5 versions AND 4.0 versions of the same module (separate publications)? Let your customers decide which one they want to buy. If sales start to drop off for the 3.5 version and 4.0 versions pick up, you might then decide to switch to 4e for Pathfinder.

Osirion

RobertDD wrote:
...With rulebooks outselling adventures 10 to 1 the break-even point of a Pathfinder PHB could be a fairly easy mark.

This is very true. But I think its part of WoTC "problem" in the first place. By neglecting the small sales of adventures, they are having a hard time attracting and keeping people at the game table. You do this with quality adventures, as Paizo has demonstrated brilliantly. And once people are at the game table they will buy the "big books". WoTC is going the "new edition" route to breath life into their company and boost the bottom line. Probably a good idea financially. What will determine the long-term success of 4E is the amount and quality of the adventures they produce. Its a pretty big gamble: they are relying on the DI to do that for them.

Paizo has a well established reputation as a Quality adventure line. For them to publish a OGL 3.75 they don't have to write a new edition. Much less risky. And sionce Paizo knows how to keep people at the table ( a la quality adventures), a sourcebook or two is indeed, gravy.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Re: Supporting both. It's not doable.
It's not.

First of all, there are just the publishing logistics of needing more written for the same amount of money, and possibly cutting page counts (effectively) to squeeze in the doubled stat blocks and conversion guides. For instance, it has been said that 4E will make fighting hordes of low-level enemies possible, even at a relatively low level. For a fight that is 4 kobolds in 3.5 might need to be 8 or 10 in 4E. That's a considerable amount to say when it needs to be done for every encounter in a module. Not to mention the extra work per word for the writer, since they have to make sure stuff works in both systems.

Second, it has been made abundantly clear that leveling up will be a different beast in 4E. We know there are more levels total, and it's anybody's guess about what the power gain per level is or how many encounters it takes to level. This is less of an issue for GameMastery modules, since they are one-shot, but Pathfinder APs rely on having at least a good guess of how much the players leveled up in the previous adventures. Making something work from adventure one to adventure six in an AP might not be possible, let alone easy.

Third (and last), Vancian vs. Non-vancian magic affects the setting. The way magic works affects the world around it. And affects what major NPCs can even do if certain spells cease to exist or go up in level. For instance, the Dragonstar setting made use of Teleport for insterstellar travel, since it had an infinite range in 3.0. In 3.5, conversion have to either house-rule it, or use Greater Teleport instead. Since this means that teleporting now requires a higher level and/or more money, that's a big difference. Making a setting consistent with two different methods is HARD.

Cheliax

I suppose that I have to hope that Paizo will switch to 4th edition, because I can pretty much bet money on the fact that I'll be adopting those rules, which sound a lot like the kind of game I've wanted to run for years. I have no problem with 4th edition's rule changes, at least as I've seen so far from the scant info we've received.

However, I greatly mourn the death of Dragon and Dungeon, the apparent pillaging of Greyhawk, and the way that the flavor of whatever new generic campaign world 4th edition is set in is being shoved down my throat. And, the mere fact that you took the time to actually ask me what I wanted makes me think that I'll remain a subscriber to Pathfinder and GameMastery modules for as long as you produce them, no matter what system you use. I can't promise you that I'll run them as actual games, but then I think of all the modules that are out there that I've never get around the running anyhow. They're still great reads, and I plan on buying anything Pathfinder related for the sheer joy of reading them.

That said, I'd still love to run a 4th edition Pathfinder campaign.

But, whatever you do, it probably won't disappoint me. Thanks for asking!

Osirion

Ross Byers wrote:
... some really good points...

However I don't fully agree with you. But then I'm not in publishing either.

I still feel that it is 'doable'. It would not be easy. It would require a fair amount of extra work. But it still might be worth it for at least one adventure path.

(And the more I think about it, the more I would love to see this. To have side-by-side comparisons of creatures, traps, monsters, classes, etc. would be incredibly valuable to me when 4e comes out.)


Can I just say this....Erik Mona, Paizo, ask and you shall receive. Over 300 posts in one night. Not too shabby for feedback.

Osirion

Turin the Mad wrote:
Checkbook heck, put up the option to invest to the gamers!

HOLY CRAP! I'd thrown down for some Paizo stock!


From an economic standpoint, is there a reason the third Pathfinder AP has to be started immediately after the last one? Why not just put it on hold for a few months and fill the channel with additional GameMastery modules?

Or is Pathfinder a huge chunk of Paizo's bottom line?

Osirion

Rookseye wrote:

It seems to me that Paizo plans to carry on the spirit of the game we all know and love, regardless of the edition.

Elmore's bug-eyed red dragon on the red D&D Basic Rules says,
"Stay with Paizo!"

The bug-eyed gate keeper to the City of Brass on the Dungeon Master's Guide says,
"Stay with Paizo!"

The pissed-off, bug-eyed Demogorgon on the cover of Dungeon #150 says,
"Stay with Paizo!"

The edition is irrelevant, you guys, the publisher, editors, writers, and artists, are what is relevant.

Pat yourselves on the back, you may or may not be aware, but you have saved the community of this game.

STAY WITH PAIZO!

QFT

It is the TALENT behind the edition.

edit: Sorry about the multiple posts, this thread is huge and I am mining it for gold.

Osirion

Shisumo wrote:

As for a 3.75, my interest in that would depend mostly on the level of compatibility with the 3.5 stuff I have now. Selling me a completely new game that I have to chuck my current stuff for isn't really doing anything that 4E wouldn't do.

I hate the 3.75 label...heck, I think I might have brought that particular nomenclature over to these boards myself (not really sure). BUT the reason why its used as a label is to signify that it IS 3.5 compatible. That is to say, it still is part of the 3E family.


I want Paizo to convert to 4e. I rely on Paizo for adventures in the same way I rely on WOTC for rules.

D0, D1, and U1 are some of my favorite adventures I've read in years, right up there with my other 3.x favorites: Red Hand of Doom, Forge of Fury, Whispering Cairn, Prince of Redhand, Kings of the Rift, Here There Be Monsters, and Seige of the Spider Eaters. Oh, wait, you guys had a hand in almost all of those. So you guys have a track record of consistently good-to-great adventures, but the mechanics are not what makes them great. It's all about characters, situations, and really great storytelling. Oh, and great maps and illustrations. None of that is edition-dependent.

WOTC's track record with rules evolution is also great. Loved 3e, loved 3.5e, loved reserve feats and loved Dungeonscape. And I love the simplified 4e statblock for the Spined Devil. I have almost no doubt whatsoever that I will be playing 4e at this time next year, because I expect that the rules will rock. Again, that's based on track record. I don't want to try to convert new Paizo adventures to 4e.

If Wizards blows up too many sacred cows (I'm not actually worried about this, but some people are), then I'd think that'd create an excellent opportunity for Paizo to resurrect those dead cows. Necromancer Games seems to have the right idea with its plans for the Tome of Horrors 4e (for example, including a succubus demon and frost giants). Offer us "4th Edition Rules, Paizo Feel." Or 1st edition feel, if you prefer - but I think Paizo has surpassed 1st Edition for great adventures.


brothersutek wrote:
This is the new schism in our group and for the most part the reaction to a "new" version of DnD is being met with the same reaction as if you just found a rotting corpse in you bathroom "oh no not again"!

That's... not quite the reaction anybody I know would have to a corpse in their bathroom. Does this kind of thing happen a lot in your neck of the woods? ;)

Osirion

Erik Mona wrote:
lojakz wrote:

The worst thing in my mind is if WotC uses you, Green Ronin, Necromancer Games, Goodman Games, and Mongoose Publishing to bring in all the hold outs because you make better products, then cuts the tether and lets you sink.

I can see them doing that.

I _can't_ see them doing that.

But I also can't guarantee that the people we work with over there today will be the decision-makers when it comes time for 5th edition.

--Erik

With all do respect that sounds like bad business: If you are relying on the current people at WoTC rather than any contractual agreement you are bound to be let down. Those people could get fired, for example, when the 4E release fizzles next year at GenCon, and your up the proverbial creek well before 5th edition...so best make sure you have a paddle now.

Cheliax Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Stedd Grimwold wrote:
Turin the Mad wrote:
Checkbook heck, put up the option to invest to the gamers!
HOLY CRAP! I'd thrown down for some Paizo stock!

Sadly, it's not practical on the paizo side. Even assuming the are set up to sell stock (they're an llc, so it depends on their operating agreement), doing a public offering would require a prospectus that complies with the 33 Act. Such a document is expensive to produce, and the cost of doing so would be far greater than the amount raised.

The best investment you can make in the company is to purchase their products.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Every time I hear the complaints about 4th edition D&D, and how it is the end of the world, I look over at my game shelf.

Hero 5th Edition Revised (which makes it a 6th edition)
Savage Worlds Revised (a second edition within 2 years of the first, not to mention the Explorer's edition)
Call of Cthulhu 6th edition
Paranoia XP
Shadowrun 3rd, or is it 4th, edition
Battletech: Total Warfare
Gurps 4th edition.
Deadlands: Savage Edition
DC Heroes 3rd Edition

heck, I'm playtesting Chill 3rd edition

New editions aren't unique to D&D. They drive the industry. Without them, we don't tend to get new players in the hobby. Yes, some "new" editions are really new print runs with small additions and added errata, but that never stopped me from purchasing them. I have 5 of the 6 editions of Call of Cthulhu. The new Hero stuff is almost as prolific, and almost as expensive, as the D&D stuff, and it's in B/W.

I really hope that Paizo updates to 4th edition in their 3rd Adventure Path for Pathfinder, not in issue 3 but in the 3rd Adventure Path. It will provide me with a great campaign.

I can't believe how much anti-WotC/Hasbro stuff I read on this site. About how they don't produce any "good" adventures. Sure they do, and a lot of them are -- and will continue to be -- written by Paizo employees. I am very much looking forward to the conclusion of the Eberron trilogy in the online Dungeon. Hmmm...I wonder where the guy who wrote that publishes a lot of his other adventures.

Christian Johnson


At the risk of sounding like a suck-up, Pathfinder is what brought me back to D&D. As a GM, I've run several systems over the last 20+ years but hadn't played D&D since 2nd edition. Pathfinder (and it's precursor adventure paths) motivated me to get on board again. What I've seen of Golarion so far is very engaging, and hints of the remainder have piqued my interest for more. I plan on spending a lot of time tromping around in Paizo's playground, regardless.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

I thought I might add that I am eagerly awaiting:

The second edition of the Lone Wolf Rpg by Mongoose and the Third edition of Mongoose's Conan RPG. Atlantean edition was very much a second edition.

Christian Johnson

Cheliax

As an aside, tangabily related to thsi topic:

With WOTC doing 4e......is it NOW possible to get hardcovers of Age of Worms and Savage Tide like we have of shackled city?

I think those might be definately worth looking into.....if you're sticking around 3.5/3.75


Erik Mona wrote:
lojakz wrote:

The worst thing in my mind is if WotC uses you, Green Ronin, Necromancer Games, Goodman Games, and Mongoose Publishing to bring in all the hold outs because you make better products, then cuts the tether and lets you sink.

I can see them doing that.

I _can't_ see them doing that.

But I also can't guarantee that the people we work with over there today will be the decision-makers when it comes time for 5th edition.

--Erik

Granted, it might just be my anti-corporate fears speaking when I say it. I know that you and many of the folks that work at Paizo, as well as many of the contributers, have either worked directly for WotC or freelanced for them over the last decade. You (Paizo) know WotC way better than most of the people on these boards ever will.

So while I'm sure you're right about WotC not throwing you, and the other 3rd party publishers, under the bus with this edition. You're are probably right too, to be concerned about the next edition; whether it's 4e Redux, or 5th.

I'm assuming that nobody outside WotC (and possibly even they) have seen the new version of the OGL, if they have even drafted it. I remember reading a post shortly after Gen-Con on these boards where either you or James Jacobs said that Wizards was indicating that they were making the new version of the OGL more permissive (maybe I mis-read). Does Paizo still think this will be the case?

4e has me concerned. Not as concerned as the 3rd party publishers have to be about it, my lively-hood doesn't rest on this industry. But i'm still concerned non-the-less; I don't want to see many of the for-mentioned publishers vanish. I'm squarely of the opinion that all of you must do what's necessary for your companies future success; whether it's developing your own rule set, switching to 4e, or sticking with 3.5. Unfortunately none of you can't predict what WotC will do 5 years from now or even 10 years from now. Heck, by then you may have already gone your own direction, with your own rules.

Personally, I'd like to see the break from Wizards. I don't think you can necessarily do it though and be successful. (I do think an organized front of publishers sticking with the older rule set would prove successful). While all of us on here know how great your products are, not all gamers do... yet. The wisest option, for the short term, is probably to go with 4th. I'd be overjoyed if the 3rd AP remained in 3.5 however. It might be wiser to keep it in 3.5 and let the Gamemastery modules be your first steps into 4e anyway.

However, whatever decision is made, I will probably continue to buy your PFAP, if simply for the fluff in each book. I'm unlikely, though, to purchase any Gamemastery Modules after the switch to 4e.

Well I've rambled on enough.
I think it's obvious that Paizo's appreciated, I know that I'm a huge fan (both literally and figuratively).

Andoran Cartographer

I'm in love with Paizo's adventure paths, and not just because I do work for Paizo. I plan to maintain my Pathfinder subscription through 2008, regardless of Paizo's eventual decision on what system to use for their third Pathfinder. In other words, my financial support of Pathfinder will continue, even though I probably won't end up running the second or third adventure paths. I'll buy them and read them because I love reading a good adventure and my mailbox would be awfully lonely without my Pathfinder subscription.

The reasons I may not run them are simple: I'm just now getting close to the end of the Age of Worms adventure path with my group, and probably won't see it finished until 2008 is here. After that, I plan to run Rise of the Runelords--and by the time that is finished for my group, this whole decision will probably be long behind Paizo. We're looking at 2009 or later before I need another adventure path. But I'll keep buying them because I love reading them.

If Paizo makes the switch to 4.0, I'll follow suit right away and may even end a current campaign early in order to make the edition change at the same time that they do. If they keep producing 3.5 stuff forever, my group will probably keep playing it, because the Adventure Paths are so spectacular.

4th Edition is going to divide the fanbase (already has, actually), but over time the new rules for it will be adopted by most active groups, even many of those who currently oppose it, because people love to stay current, get the latest rules, and generally feel cool and "in-the-know". New options are just too tantalizing to gamers after they've played out the current game. Even the diehard 3rd edition groups will eventually fizzle, and new groups that are born to replace them will look to the new edition because it's on the shelves.

The only way for Paizo to combat this trend (rather than embrace the change, which obviously is still an option) would be to throw down the gauntlet with a Pathfinder RPG and seek to establish as much of a presence on store shelves as possible. That will be very hard to do under any circumstances, and WotC's release of a new edition will make it even harder to stay visible. Basically, in order to succeed in this way, you have to get enough of the fanbase rallied to your cause to make a new Paizo-written "3.75" core rulebook successfull enough in the marketplace to stay prominent on store shelves. Once it slips out of the consumer's eye, you're looking at a state of diminishing returns. It's quite a gamble, frankly, that depends on your ability to splinter off enough support from 4th edition market to sustain your own game in the long term. And you'd have to do it fast, ideally for next year's Gen Con, in order to maximize your support from the gamers who are opposed to 4.0 on principle. (Because their buying power will either leave the market completely, get focused on another game or publisher, or eventually drift back to WotC after the dust settles.)

The release of 4th edition will have created a tremendous rift in the D&D-playing community, obviously, and the above solution basically requires you to sustain that rift and cater to one side of it. If successful, the gaming industry will basically have two flavors of D&D on the market, competing for the same spot on shelves. Not an enviable position, but potentially very profitable if you pull it off, based on the low overhead you mentioned previously. Your profits would be greater because you wouldn't have as much expenditure. (Though you would probably need to bring in more staff to ramp up your production of the newly-expanded product line.) Plus, if Hasbro decides to stop production of the D&D RPG, you'll then be in a great position to draw in the disenfranchised gamers.

It's such a gamble, though, that I honestly don't recommend it. I want to see Paizo around for a very long time, and I think the safest bet for you would be to delay this decision until you can make it with 4.0 in hand, even if that means publishing Pathfinder Adventure Path 3 with the 3.5 ruleset.

With that in mind, I think you should go ahead with your 3.5-based APs, but declare an intent to create 4.0 conversion documents on your website as you release each issue. It's more work--maybe even a grotesque amount of work--but I think it will pay off for you in the long run if you cater to both sides of the rift until the dust settles and the game's future is clearer. If 4.0 looks grim for the purposes of your business when it's finally here, you can then go ahead with Plan B and rally the community to a new Pathfinder era of d20-based fantasy roleplaying.

Publish your Pathfinder installments with 3.5, but plan to create 4.0 stats for the critters when the time comes--that way both sides of the divide can benefit from your product.

My two cents.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber
Lori B wrote:

From DM Jeff

"You know, I wouldn't be adverse to you making Pathfinder 3.5 and your gamemastery adventures 4.0 (which can be planned in a shorter stage, I'm guessing) and you seeing for yourself how sales go, if that were even remotely possible."

Further thought on DM jeff's idea - since the GameMastery modules already have more flexibility than Pathfinder - would it be feasible to try 3.5 versions AND 4.0 versions of the same module (separate publications)? Let your customers decide which one they want to buy. If sales start to drop off for the 3.5 version and 4.0 versions pick up, you might then decide to switch to 4e for Pathfinder.

The Paizonians would know for certain, but there's a few inherent problems that I see here.

1) Timelines: By the time they got the sales data from the GameMastery Module, it would be months (possibly double digit months if not a year given the 6 month arcs) before they could have an impacted Pathfinder onto the market.

2) Printing Costs: Volume decreases printing costs. A 3.5 and a 4e version of the same product would be two entirely different books as far as the printer is concerned. So they would basically double the printing costs and probably lose serious money on the product.

3) Marketing: I can only imagine the nightmare of trying to market the 2 products without confusing distributors and retailers. I'm sure it would be far more likely for stores to choose one or the other, which would get you accurate data on what the distribution channel chooses (and from what I hear, it's already making that choice known loud and clear), but it would prevent many consumers from voting.

In theory, it sounds ideal. But given various business realities, it is certainly not feasible, unfortunately.


Amen Chris! Amen. I could not have said it better. ~grins~ Really, I couldn't.


I just can't see a 3.5 patch being viable in the long run. A quicky patch might get you through a Pathfinder arc, but why bother? If your only motivation for revising is to get through the next 6 months, you're better off staying with the rules everyone has been playing with for the past 5 years. If you did a full-scale update of the 3.5 rules, you're essentially committing to those rules for, what? at least two more years? And I suspect, once you get into it, you'd end up with a new edition, not a 3.5 patch.

I think it'd be a fascinating, cool, interesting thing to have Paizo and a few other of the d20 leaders hammer out a Revised d20 game system and support it in lieu of 4e, but it'd also be a hell of a risky move.


I think the question is: How many existing Paizo customers will disappear if Paizo stays 3.5? I wager (from a business perspective) it will be a negligible number in the first six months of 4e, a less than worrisome number from 6mo to 1 year, and a faction well worth considering thereafter.

From this thread, the associated poll, and other sources, two things are evident: Paizo has a strong following, and there is a great deal of apprehension about 4e. Paizo customers aren't going to cancel their 3.5 subscriptions and switch to 4e on day 1. But very many will want to know what 4e is all about. In those first six months, they will continue to purchase 3.5 consumables (particularly adventures) while they peruse the core books to see if it's a system worth switching to.

Some will decide to switch and look for Paizo 4e material. It would be great if Paizo 3.5 adventures had a corresponding 4e OGL download for stat blocks. And one or two top notch adventures solely in 4e OGL land. That would keep loyal Paizonians who want 4e products shopping Paizo at least for a while. Paizo could use this time to evaluate the 4e interest based on downloads and 4e purchases. And 4e customers who love Paizo story, content, and flavor have a reason to hang onto the company. Bottom line: play it be ear for as long as possible and be flexible enough to follow the emerging trend.

On a related note, I think 3.75 would be a huge business mistake. At least under that moniker. Unless 3.5 is hopelessly broken (and it isn't), it's all risk for Paizo and little gain. You wind up with a product that isn't compatible with 3.5 or 4e, and you risk alienating both followings. If it's not significantly different than 3.5, why bother? Why confuse customers looking for 3.5 products? If it is significantly different, you totally alienate the 3.5 people and carve yourself a smaller piece of the market pie. Plus, naming it 3.75 says to me "This will be replaced by 4e." Otherwise, what's the significance of the number?

Hmmm...I think I just paraphrased Chris West somewhat.

Andoran Cartographer

Thanks, Sharoth. :)

Silver Crusade Owner - Subcultures

First of all: this is a great thread. It really is!

What I have seen from 4.0 so far does not pique my interests at all.
Wotc seem to be moving for a 'core' edition that does not feel 'core' to me.
Classic Greyhawk and "heck" even the Realms, thats what I would define as "core" Dnd. Gnomes, elves, angry orcs. Throw in a twist. Stir with a bone.
4.o seems to be aimed at another audience.
And it seems to be another game.
But we cant be too sure about that.

Anyway.
Paizo, stick with 3.5, and I am with you.
Create a 3.75 "Pathfinder-RPG" and I will worship you, for you will have granted me a wish.
Get 4.o...
I am not too sure, see, its too early to really tell.
Judging by what I have seen so far: screw wotc, screw 4.0. Paizo: keep on making True-Dnd. Create your own branded RPG, make the old-timers happy. Keep doing this untill all old-timers are dead, 3.5 and 3,75 long forgotten. And create something for whatever edition of current world popular open gaming license RPG piques your interest.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Christian Johnson wrote:

I really hope that Paizo updates to 4th edition in their 3rd Adventure Path for Pathfinder, not in issue 3 but in the 3rd Adventure Path. It will provide me with a great campaign.

I can't believe how much anti-WotC/Hasbro stuff I read on this site.

I think you missed the point. If they need to start the 3rd AP now due to publishing concerns and WOTC wont show them the rules or even the new OGL rules they simply can't. They would probably plan monsters and paths only to discover they aren't in the rules, or the rules are so diffrent they need to rewrite the whole AP due to playtests.

This is probably the biggest issue I have currently with WOTC. It sounds to me like Paizo's hands are tied. Make AP#3 3.5 or pray 4e isn't so diffrent that a rushed product will be okay. Id much rather have a great 3.5 product than a crappy 4e port. Maybe the 4th AP will work.


Christian Johnson wrote:

Every time I hear the complaints about 4th edition D&D, and how it is the end of the world, I look over at my game shelf.

Hero 5th Edition Revised (which makes it a 6th edition)
Savage Worlds Revised (a second edition within 2 years of the first, not to mention the Explorer's edition)
Call of Cthulhu 6th edition
Paranoia XP
Shadowrun 3rd, or is it 4th, edition
Battletech: Total Warfare
Gurps 4th edition.
Deadlands: Savage Edition
DC Heroes 3rd Edition

Christian Johnson

Consider me sufficiently chastized. You are of course absolutely right. And to be fair, grumble as I might, I still shell out the money.

I enjoy the game, always have, and I'll still be buying them when it's 56.5 Edition. But with change comes complaining.It always has...


Personally, I'd be inclined to think to broaden the base as far as possible, rather then narrowly proscribing the system to use. It may require some work initially, but it could pay in dividends in the long term and take Paizo out of the WotC box.
To this end, I'd suggest expanding the systems to include Runequest and perhaps GURPS (though that may be more difficult). I know that Paizo is something of a d20 stronghold, but these two systems are the strongest out there, and both are sadly lacking in prewritten adventures. Perhaps the information for using these systems could be PDFs addendums for subscribers? It could be a great win/win scenario and open up the markets for both companies and players.
Whether to go from 3.5 to 4 depends mostly on where WotC want to take the OGL, and I don't think Paizo's business model should be such a hostage to fate.
That's my two cents.


I've already posted my feelings on this on the first page of the thread.

(and I am using this alias to show that I am a Pathfinder Subscriber, I wish that was obvious with whatever alias I use)

I didn't really answer how the hype is treating me.

I'm not rabid anti-4th Edition. If Paizo switches, I switch.

But on a more emotional level?

I hate that we're even having to have this conversation. Near as I can figure, the only rationale for not getting 4th edition material to third party publishers under a new OGL (by January) is that they want Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, and Eberron (or whatever in-house WOTC settings) to have no competition as available campaign settings when 4th edition comes out. If they release the OGL later, they've still netted themselves a market advantage in sales when people go looking for a setting compatible with the new game they just bought.

That eliminates competition on the business side, but on the user side? When you eliminate competition, you eliminate quality, and this applies here even more than in some other businesses. Paizo competes by delivering quality, and if WOTC witholds the OGL, even just to gain the GenCon advantage- it's we the consumer who really pay. Either in not having choices, or WOTC not needing to maintain a standard of excellence.

This pisses me off.

Why can't I buy what I want to buy, particularly when I used to be able to? That is, third party 3.5 support materials and settings.

It's not just Paizo that is being told what they can and can't do with this new edition. It's us the consumers. Sometimes I wonder if people really consider it that way.

All the crunch stuff, and even some of the minor fluff stuff doesn't begin to bug me as much as this does.

There, I answered the whole question.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Arelas,

I don't think I missed the point, but I should have been clearer that my 3rd AP vs. #3 was directed at someone who seemed to have that fear. As for your proposal of waiting until the 4th AP to avoid a disappointing port of the path, I think that is a great idea. I don't want a clumsy port either, my gaming shelf is filled with some pretty bad d20 books which have the major flaw of not understanding the rules/balance of 3.0.

I trust Paizo more than those, now mostly out of business, d20 publishers. They understand balance, though Erik's love of "unbalanced encounters" (as evidenced in his interview in Kobold Quarterly)differs from my own personal DM philosophy, and write/select awesome writers for excellent adventures. I've just adapted Gallery of Evil into my Eberron CSI:Sharn game as a follow up to the Saint Demain trilogy of adventures.

I am willing to wait for Paizo to shift to 4th while they make sure they do it correctly, but I hope they do transition over. Like Christopher West, I currently have enough material for 3.5 to last me some time. I will be in desperate need of some high quality 4th edition stuff, particularly urban/mystery oriented as CSI: Sharn the Next Generation begins at some point in late 2008/early 2009 as a 4th edition game.

Christian Johnson

Andoran

Hi Erik,

I can't honestly say yet whether 4E is going to be used in my gaming circle or not. There is so little concrete information about how this new edition will actually work that I'm just lost in the mire of wild speculation.

I'm very surprised that WotC hasn't taken the time to share at least the basic rules with key people at Paizo. I would have thought that bringing you guys on board as major 4E supporters would be a priority and a brilliant stroke of marketing. Imagine the free PR that would have come from that via these boards, not to mention the sales generated by such an esteemed referral!

All I can say is that these are uncertain times for all of us. For most of us, all that's on the line is just a new edition of our hobby, for publishers like you, it could mean your livelihood if you make the wrong choice and cannot change course. I would suggest caution, and do your best to actively court WotC into releasing a copy of the core mechanic for your review before making the final call. All their PR suggests that you're all bestest of friends anyway, so why wouldn't they try to bring you on board?

All that being said, I just want to say thanks for actually taking the time to ASK US WHAT WE, THE CONSUMER, WANT. Even though I don't have a concrete answer yet, it's really very considerate of you to ask. You've generated more goodwill by that simple act than you can imagine.


Christian Johnson wrote:
I can't believe how much anti-WotC/Hasbro stuff I read on this site.

Well Christian,

As a consumer you get used to particular business model. 3.5 OGL for example.

A great deal of these people aren't that upset about 4th edition. They're upset that the business model is going to change, and they're no longer going to be able to enjoy the same choices and options that they once did.

That's the real deal. I can't speak for everyone in the world, and I'm sure some people just don't want a new edition....

But I would go so far as to say that the new edition itself is not the biggest cause for outrage, it's how it's going to handled on the business end.

EDIT: And if you have a wealth of material, maybe that doesn't bother you. But respectfully, that's good for you individually.
Peace.

Cheliax Contributor

firbolg wrote:
To this end, I'd suggest expanding the systems to include Runequest and perhaps GURPS (though that may be more difficult).

If the companies who put out those games came to us and wanted to do conversion notes from our stuff into their systems, I'm sure we'd be happy to discuss particulars with them. After all, IIRC we've got agreements with Troll Lords and Green Ronin to convert Pathfinder to C&C and True20, respectively.

Unless those deals fell through. I haven't heard anything further about them lately.

Anyway, back to the regularly scheduled discussion, everyone! Thanks everyone for your feedback! ^_^

Osirion

I have enough 3.X material to play through for years, and although 3.5 has its problems it's still a very fun game to play.

So far I like most 4e rules changes, I don't like story changing elements of it and I totally dislike its seemingly collectible aspect.

Having said that, my main problem is finding players, if 4.0 drags most people with them, I'll probably switch, if there is a market split, I'll probably stick to 3.5.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Chris West wrote a very excellent post, but the following got me thinking:

>>"New options are just too tantalizing to gamers after they've played out the current game".

I don't know about most of you. I think, on average I have DM'd or played in over 300 3rd edition sessions, and you know what? For me and my group we haven't even begun to touch all the cool options, ideas and stuff sitting in our books already. To us the game is as fresh, exciting, and full of surprises as it was 7 years ago.

I'm certainly not arguing Chris' statement, but this is one group that is isn't even remotely surprised-out or has used all the new options available to us in 3.5, and that alone is one reason we want to keep on playing it.

-DM Jeff

Cheliax

Mike McArtor wrote:
firbolg wrote:
To this end, I'd suggest expanding the systems to include Runequest and perhaps GURPS (though that may be more difficult).

If the companies who put out those games came to us and wanted to do conversion notes from our stuff into their systems, I'm sure we'd be happy to discuss particulars with them. After all, IIRC we've got agreements with Troll Lords and Green Ronin to convert Pathfinder to C&C and True20, respectively.

Unless those deals fell through. I haven't heard anything further about them lately.

RuneQuest itself has an SRD and is Open though. Thus, a business deal with Mongoose isn't necessary to publish conversions, unlike particular applications of the d20 system that are trademark of their respective owners, like CnC and True20.

Having a system of choice, like say Pathfinder RPG, and provide 3.5, 4E, MRQ, CC, True20 conversions as web enhancements or PDF complements or whatnot is in the realm of the possible, isn't it? Maybe not all of these, but some, why not?

See on this Mongoose RQ page, bottom free downloads, to see all the SRD documents for core rules, Monsters, Companion et cetera.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Erik,
Perhaps you should consider sending some sort of insert or flyer along with any products you ship posing the 3P vs 4e switch question. The more input you get from your customers the better the data set and the sounder the conclusion. Have a random drawing of the voters as an incentive for folk to log on and respond. Just a thought.

Cheliax

Vic Wertz wrote:

I'd also like to comment on the notion that some people see the transition to 4th edition as inevitable.

It's true that the transition to *3rd* Edition was inevitable, and it was so mainly for two reasons:
1. Nobody could continue making 2nd Edition products.
2. Frankly, most customers eventually decided that 3rd Edition was actually a better product.

The first reason clearly doesn't apply to the 4th Edition transition, and, right now, a lot of folks have serious doubts about the second reason being true this time around.

I honestly believe that, for the first time in the industry's history, following the market leader is *not* inevitably the best move.

Just wanted to quote you Vic to tell you I agree wholeheartedly. There are indeed other possibilities. For the first time, going with the mammoth is not obviously the right business answer.


Skeld wrote:
Krome wrote:

oh and why would I like to see a 3.75?

Two things I would want to see changed in 3.75

This is why 3.75 would be a risky move ... while you like the idea of changing these 2 things, there may be a significant portion of community that doesn't. Or maybe they want to change thing that you think doesn't need to be changed.

Any 3.75e version is bound to be a mixed bag. I would think that it's likely to aggravate as many or more people than it please. It'll be the 3e-3.5e conversion all over again; just on a smaller scale.

-Skeld

What if it wasn't a risky move though? Or what if it was made to be a less risky move? What if it was a softcover .25 version rules upgrade/modification to 3.5, instead of a fully blown 3.75 hardcover? Weighing in at $14.95 or $19.95, and dovetails in with your existing 3.5 books?

No need to reinvent (or rewrite, or reprint) the wheel. To steal an analogy from Heathy, just put a shiny new hubcap on the 3.5 mobile.

While speculation can be made that 3.75 would be risky, I'm free to speculate that it could be done in a way that minimizes risk to both Paizo and the gaming community.

~RD

ps...My apologies if I am covering old ground...I'm only up to page 3.


First off, let me say that in the 17 years i have dm'd, never have i enjoyed any groups adventures as much as yours. You revitalized the magazines, and my interest in them, and i thank you. I love Pathfinder so far, and am starting a game up tomorrow hopefully (haven't been able to play in 3 months :( ). I am not switching to 4ed b/c i usually work 7 days a week, 10 hours a day, and am not going to take the time to familiarize myself with a new system, and no one else i know ever runs a game.
So, a 3.5 (or 3.75) Pathfinder arc has my continued support for all of my eternity, but a 4ed Pathfinder would see me leave, and i would just run the dragon's hoarde of material i already have until i ran out, then make up more mself. So i sincerely hope that a independant Pathfinder line winds up being a very viable, profitable, and definate thing. But if not, i wish you well, and will continue to lurk silently on your boards, and smile and laugh with you guys. (Been lurking around for three years or so silently. First messageboards i've ever frequented.)
Love your work, keep it up.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber
Watcher wrote:
I hate that we're even having to have this conversation. Near as I can figure, the only rationale for not getting 4th edition material to third party publishers under a new OGL (by January) is that they want Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, and Eberron (or whatever in-house WOTC settings) to have no competition as available campaign settings when 4th edition comes out.

To be fair, I'm pretty sure it's because WotC is utterly up to their eyeballs with the edition change. It's a massive amount of work on it's own, and on top of that coming up with a legal agreement to allow other companies to use your stuff that you will be bound to for years to come... well, that can't be done overnight.

They are just plain busy, not malicious. Erik Mona and Clark Peterson - both people who have directly talked to those making these decisions - have clearly stated here and at EN World that they believe it's clearly a matter of WotC being swamped. It doesn't stop both from stating publicly that they need the rules ASAP (and really they need to get public pressure going to keep this issue nearer the top of Ultra-High-Priority material that ALL needs to be done a month or two ago). But I have never heard either of them, or anyone else in the industry, accusing anyone at WotC of trying to stifle competition by withholding the SRD and licenses.

Hopefully this public pressure and the realities are the print industry will finally push things through at WotC.

So, don't assume they are maliciously trying to stifle competition and get all pissed at them. If you are going to be pissed at them, at least pick any of the other legitimately true reasons. :) The underlying theme I am seeing in most of the blogs posts over at WotC (well, other than "Boy, does 3rd edition suck. I'm glad I've been playing 4e for years!") is that they are overwhelmed with too much work in too little time. That's all. No anti-3rd party conspiracy.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

My thoughts are basically in line with Ashavan's.

Koldoon wrote:

Frankly Eric, I'm as undecided as you are. They haven't really given us anything except some hints (that were somewhat hopeful) and some fluff (that mostly was not).

That said, I think there are some strong arguments for not rushing out the gate and converting (if you do convert) at your own pace. A market will remain for 3.5 materials for at least another six months, if not a year, because far too many people felt burned by 3.5 to convert to 4e immediately. True, many may be grognards - but I think the grognards make up a bigger part of wizards rpg base than they think we do.

I'm worried that quality of 3rd party publisher offerings for 4e will be compromised by the rush to the gate, as was so clearly the case for 3rd edition. I'd rather paizo and its freelancers take the time to actually learn the system, actually run things in the system, before trying to write in it.

That said... I'm not convinced the 3.5 edition group will remain a viable consumer base for you for much longer than that six months to a year. The posters on these boards might make it seem so... but we're dedicated folks, most of the rpg community is going to turn whatever way WotC tells them to.

- Ashavan


For my 2c, I plan to get the handbook and read the initial stuff. Unless it's very bad, I will convert.

While I expect not all will, I see many converting that need WotC to survive. Paizo, being an exception, may be able to do so without.

For me however, I am teaching a new generation to play D&D. I am 37, played since 82, and now my 2 sons and daughter are playing.

That doesn't mean I may not still play 3.5 with friends who don't convert, or as I expect, will, but not right away.

But, I've also made a conscious effort to stop purchasing 3.5 material already, apart from consumables such as adventures.

So, I will continue to support Paizo with their Game Mastery series until 4e, and for a limited time after. Depending on Paizo's choice of progression, perhaps even happily beyond!


Erik Mona wrote:
Do you plan to start up a new 4.0 campaign on day 1?

No. We've had this discussion among our local gamers. We shall not immediately be starting 4th Edition campaigns next summer. There are a couple of reasons.

First, I like to use published adventures. I do not have time for world building. So, I make ample use of commercially published adventures - I live by them. I was very dismayed to see the print version of Dungeon go away. It shall be nice to have all three core rule books available this June. But, they shall simply be reading material for me with no adventures and no campaign setting material to accompany them.

Second, I have a mountain of 3.5 material that I never had a chance to use. I am not gonna let this great material sit and get dusty when 4th Edition arrives. I shall try to make it through as much 3.5 material until 4th has a chance to catch up.

And, I am not converting anything to 4th Edition. The aforementioned lack of time shall prevent me from converting anything. I'd rather spend my limited time playing the game.

Don K. Brown
West Jordan, Utah


Ken Marable wrote:

To be fair, I'm pretty sure it's because WotC is utterly up to their eyeballs with the edition change. It's a massive amount of work on it's own, and on top of that coming up with a legal agreement to allow other companies to use your stuff that you will be bound to for years to come... well, that can't be done overnight.

They are just plain busy, not malicious. Erik Mona and Clark Peterson - both people who have directly talked to those making these decisions - have clearly stated here and at EN World that they believe it's clearly a matter of WotC being swamped. It doesn't stop both from stating publicly that they need the rules ASAP (and really they need to get public pressure going to keep this issue nearer the top of Ultra-High-Priority material that ALL needs to be done a month or two ago). But I have never heard either of them, or anyone else in the industry, accusing anyone at WotC of trying to stifle competition by withholding the SRD and licenses.

Hopefully this public pressure and the realities are the print industry will finally push things through at WotC.

So, don't assume they are maliciously trying to stifle competition and get all pissed at them. If you are going to be pissed at them, at least pick any of the other legitimately true reasons. :) The underlying theme I am seeing in most of the blogs posts over at WotC (well, other than "Boy, does 3rd edition suck. I'm glad I've been playing 4e for years!") is that they are overwhelmed with too much work in too little time. That's all. No anti-3rd party conspiracy.

I accept your words as reasonable. I won't disagree because you sound well informed.

The emotional aspect I mentioned however, is still valid.

After a while you get buzzed up and tense reading this stuff. Heck I've started a Runelords game, got players hooked, everyone can't wait till the next session.. I look at myself running Crimson Throne afterwards.. ..and then this. You start wondering what the future of the product line will be.

People like security, even in relatively innocuous things like getting their gaming products that they've come to enjoy.

Golarian is like starting Forgotten Realms from scratch, in that you start thinking of it as a long term investment, especially for a GM that's been retired for years and just starting over.

And if you're right Ken, I wish there was a way I could just send WOTC a note and tell them I'd like the security of not just buying their books, but those of the third party companies that I do business with too. I'd go to their website, but I'm told that's like the 594 plane of the Abyss.

Anyway, I didn't mean to sound crazy. Thanks for the reality check.


For what it's worth, a 4E Pathfinder adventure with the same page count will have more adventure in it than a 3.X one, simply because of the different stat blocks. (We've seen one stat block now, for one of the devils.)

So the people saying they'll stop buying Pathfinder if it goes 4E might want to reconsider. While there will still be converting to do (although if the community is as passionate then as they are now, there should be no lack of people willing to post said conversions), you'll get more adventure overall this way.

Just look at what the stat blocks look like in the final chapter of Savage Tide and imagine a large portion of that replaced with actual adventure content instead.

(This isn't to say anything about 4E is good or bad, just that smaller stat blocks mean more room for other stuff in Pathfinder.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DM Jeff wrote:

Chris West wrote a very excellent post, but the following got me thinking:

>>"New options are just too tantalizing to gamers after they've played out the current game".

I don't know about most of you. I think, on average I have DM'd or played in over 300 3rd edition sessions, and you know what? For me and my group we haven't even begun to touch all the cool options, ideas and stuff sitting in our books already. To us the game is as fresh, exciting, and full of surprises as it was 7 years ago.

I'm certainly not arguing Chris' statement, but this is one group that is isn't even remotely surprised-out or has used all the new options available to us in 3.5, and that alone is one reason we want to keep on playing it.

-DM Jeff

EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BTW, to the Paizo folks, whichever way you do decide to go, thank you for listening to us!

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