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Pathfinder and 4e / 3.5


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There has been alot of debate recently on Pathfinder using the upcoming 4e rules or sticking with the 3.5 rules. Would it be possible to use both?

If Paizo decides to make the switch to 4e how difficult would it be to publish a supplement that contained everything you needed to run the path using 3.5? I know the encounter format will be changed quite a bit but if this could happen I'd think it would be a win/win situation for Paizo and their customers.

Once the ball is rolling a bit then you could truly see how much support there would be for 3.5 (or 4e if the situation was reversed) and make the call on which edition to use for future products.

Thinking out loud here I suppose the thing to do would continue with 3.5 and make the supplement for the 4e rules. If you sell a ton of supplements then make the switch.

Though I suppose the fault with either plan is people will have to buy Pathfinder to use the supplement so you'd only know who was interested in the supplement's information. If you sold a ton of supplements it'd be easy to figure out but at what point would you know for sure?

Maybe all this speculation is for nothing- it could cost far too much to implement the idea. I've never owned an RPG company myself (or any other company for that matter) so I have no clue. Just wanting the best of both worlds is all!


Your avatar is very appropriate. The 3.5/4.0 debate is the two headed monster of the RPG industry. I would prefer to have the Pathfinder mods in version 3.5 as I have no plans to switch to 4.0. If I were Paizo I would offer 4.0 conversion pdf's if one sub scribes to Pathfinder. If 4.0 becomes popular that a switch from 3.5 to 4.0 would be warranted. Staying with 3.5 would be the safe bet.

Cheliax Contributor

ronin wrote:

If Paizo decides to make the switch to 4e how difficult would it be to publish a supplement that contained everything you needed to run the path using 3.5?

We don't know because we don't know what 4e looks like. :\

Also, we can barely keep up with putting out the products we do now, which are all in a system we know very well. Trying to put out the same number of products with two versions of rules inside (one set we know and one set we don't) is effectively doubling our workload. Which we definitely don't have capacity to do.


Personally, I hope they pick something other than 3.5, but not necessarily 4E since I have no idea what that will be like yet.

I have begun relying on other simpler RPG rules systems like True20 which minimize the crunch and maximize the fluff. This is mostly due to my gaming group though, as we have pretty much played 3.5 to death and want something new.

So I'm pretty happy no matter what system is used, as I will usually end up converting it anyways.


Unfortunately, it is not only providing stat blocks for both systems. If what Wizards tells is true, the whole philosophy of building encounters is changed and this probably to a degree which makes a 3.5-4.0 conversion very difficult, meaning that it is necessary to design a completely new encounter. Whatever Paizo does, I hope they take the right decission (from a comercial pov, that is).

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Pop'N'Fresh wrote:
Personally, I hope they pick something other than 3.5, but not necessarily 4E since I have no idea what that will be like yet.

I hope they don't go this way. The people I play with are either 3E or 4E. We've talked about it and none of them are interested in a 3.75 or D20 alternative rule set.

If Paizo went this way I'd have to cancel my subscriptions because their material would never see use at my games.

Belfur wrote:
Unfortunately, it is not only providing stat blocks for both systems. If what Wizards tells is true, the whole philosophy of building encounters is changed and this probably to a degree which makes a 3.5-4.0 conversion very difficult, meaning that it is necessary to design a completely new encounter. Whatever Paizo does, I hope they take the right decission (from a comercial pov, that is).

I would disagree. Goblins are goblins. It doesn't matter what system you use. You might need less goblins, you might need tougher (or more) goblins. But ultimately they're still goblins. The complexity of encounters might have to be simplified, but calculating how much XP a party should have on page 12 is still something that can be done in both systems.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
SirUrza wrote:
Pop'N'Fresh wrote:
Personally, I hope they pick something other than 3.5, but not necessarily 4E since I have no idea what that will be like yet.

I hope they don't go this way. The people I play with are either 3E or 4E. We've talked about it and none of them are interested in a 3.75 or D20 alternative rule set.

If Paizo went this way I'd have to cancel my subscriptions because their material would never see use at my games.

Belfur wrote:
Unfortunately, it is not only providing stat blocks for both systems. If what Wizards tells is true, the whole philosophy of building encounters is changed and this probably to a degree which makes a 3.5-4.0 conversion very difficult, meaning that it is necessary to design a completely new encounter. Whatever Paizo does, I hope they take the right decission (from a comercial pov, that is).
I would disagree. Goblins are goblins. It doesn't matter what system you use. You might need less goblins, you might need tougher (or more) goblins. But ultimately they're still goblins. The complexity of encounters might have to be simplified, but calculating how much XP a party should have on page 12 is still something that can be done in both systems.

I can see it from both sides. It appears combat in 4e will be fairly different from how combat is currently. If it was just a matter of having the appropriate stat block then I'd say go for it. If the entire encounter would need to be rewritten to accomodate a 4e version then it may not be viable.

It seems like once you got good at it you could use approximately the same number of creatures but just vary the levels appropriately. So maybe in 3.5 the encounter would be a CR5 creature and four CR3 creatures. In 4e it could be a level 6 creature with five level 4 creatures (I have no idea honestly, just throwing examples out there).

I'd have to guess it would fall somewhere in between just swapping out stat blocks to a total rewrite and would vary for each encounter. I think it could be easier though if you had that in mind when designing the AP from the beginning.

The one thing you wouldn't have to change is the story, goals, etc which is what makes the APs what they are for me. Maybe a freelancer or two could weigh in about how difficult it would be to write an adventure that contained conversion stats for another edition? I don't know if it a workable idea but if it could be pulled off I think it could be worthwhile.

Of course I say this without having to put any money on the line. It doesn't cost anything to talk about it though!

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
ronin wrote:
I can see it from both sides. It appears combat in 4e will be fairly different from how combat is currently. If it was just a matter of having the appropriate stat block then I'd say go for it. If the entire encounter would need to be rewritten to accomodate a 4e version then it may not be viable.

Why would it need to be rewritten? Granted I'm not writing them, but if I had to I'd go about it like this.

*calls James*
Me: "James, what edition are we publishing?"
James: "Hey Urza! I was just thinking how much you'd like this new Seoni art we just ordered, I'll email you a copy. As for your question, we're doing 4th edition."
Me: "Gotcha. Still doing 3e web enhancements?"
James: "Yeap, that's what the fans want."
Me: "Ok great. And I'll be killing the refresh button on outlook until I get that email. Later."
James: "Bye."
*hangs up phone*
*James gets an Mike "the Intern" McArtor to email the Seoni art to Urza*

Now I sit down and write my 4e adventure ignoring 3e for now. Done, send it to James. Trade editing revisions. It's done.

Now to start on my 3e web enhancement.

I look at the first encounter.

Ok 4 goblins... I look at my handy 3e Monster Manual and Dungeon Mansters guide. See 4 goblins for a party of 4 core characters (the design principle of Pathfinder) is no problem for them in 3E. Ok, I write down how much XP they'll gain from the fight.

Next encounter, works alright too. (In 4E they just leveled up, but oh well, different systems right?)

Next encounter. 2 hobgoblins and 3 goblin dogs. Oh no! The PCs haven't gotten 1000 xp yet (in 3e) to get to level 2 and on top of that they wouldn't have rested yet! Hmm this isn't good. Well.. if there's only 1 goblins dog there, it'll be tough.

And you keep going. Tracking the XP the party should have earned after each encounter and what level they should be when they get to the next fight. In the case of single monster or boss encounters, the stat blocks will be completely different but that's something we'll all have to live with dealing with 2 different rulesets.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
SirUrza wrote:


Ok 4 goblins... I look at my handy 3e Monster Manual and Dungeon Mansters guide. See 4 goblins for a party of 4 core characters (the design principle of Pathfinder) is no problem for them in 3E. Ok, I write down how much XP they'll gain from the fight.

This may work at 1st level, but it's going to be a lot harder later on. Try doing the same kind of analysis with Mokmurian. First off, are stone giant wizards even legal, and if not, what are you going to do with him? How will you adapt his backstory, which hinges on most stone giant casters being sorcerers (impossible in 4e)? Can monsters have PC classes at all, and if not, what monster can you use here? Will any of his tactics, which rely heavily on specific 3.5 spells, survive into 4e or will you have to rewrite his entire tactics block? Are there specific 4e spells he'd be stupid not to have, or to defend against? Is there any way to salvage the fact that he's a *specialist* wizard?

How about Runeforge? The whole McGuffin relies utterly on schools of magic. What if 4e doesn't have them? Major rewrite time.

I am running RotRL in a moderately house-ruled 3.5. One major difference: no flight, no teleportation. It wasn't a problem at all in Burnt Offerings. By Spires I'm having to make major changes to almost every encounter. In my experience, any form of system conversion becomes increasingly difficult at higher levels.

I think the estimate of 2x work to put it out in both 3.5 and 4 is approximately correct. If the designers knew both 3.5 and 4 very well it might come down to 1.5x work, but not lower; and it would ramp up module by module. High level spellcasters are notoriously impossible to translate well.

Mary

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Mary Yamato wrote:
This may work at 1st level, but it's going to be a lot harder later on. Try doing the same kind of analysis with Mokmurian. First off, are stone giant wizards even legal, and if not, what are you going to do with him? How will you adapt his backstory, which hinges on most stone giant casters being sorcerers (impossible in 4e)? Can monsters have PC classes at all, and if not, what monster can you use here? Will any of his tactics, which rely heavily on specific 3.5 spells, survive into 4e or will you have to rewrite his entire tactics block? Are there specific 4e spells he'd be stupid not to have, or to defend against? Is there any way to salvage the fact that he's a *specialist* wizard?

Except why would I design a campaign in 4e with a sorcerer? As you point out, Sorcerers don't exist.

Mary Yamato wrote:
How about Runeforge? The whole McGuffin relies utterly on schools of magic. What if 4e doesn't have them? Major rewrite time.

Perhaps you're confused because I used goblins and goblin dogs in my example. Maybe I should have done orcs, but what. I was not talking about converting Rise of the Runelords to 4E.

Personally, I don't see Paizo sticking with 3.5 unless the GSL is so restrictive, what we've seen in Pathfinder SO FAR can't contine. And since Paizo hasn't tried to sell it's own PHB, like many companies did, which was something I'm sure Wizards hated and will restrict in 4E, I can't image any of their products not being possible.

As for past APs. They've already said they doubt they would convert Rise of the Runelords and Curse of the Crimson Throne to 4E if they go with it.

In any case, if they did continue to use 3.5 as their ruleset, it would make sense to me that if they plans to serious support 4E web enhancements they would have to be careful what non-4.0 compatible stuff they use from here out.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Urza: It's not just translating encounters. If you're trying to adapt a whole AP, assumptions like how fast the party levels break. Fixing one encounter is easy. Fixing an AP is hard. You wouldn't make a 4e path with a sorceror, because they don't exist. But 4e will have things 3e doesn't. How do you back-translate that? What if the MacGuffin uses something in 4E like 'power sources' that 3e doesn't have?


I for one hope it stays 3.5, until Paizo has no other choice then to change to 4E.

I find 3E adequate for my gaming needs. I think 3E is vastly better then 2E was. I am confident that 4E will be an improvement on 3E (if for no other reason then the zillions of hours of playtesting and millions of gamers’ feedback directly and indirectly to WotC).

But I, like many 2nd edition friends I know, can not afford to just throw away my enormous investment in 3E, which by the way is less then a decade old. I will not be coming over to 4E for many years to come if ever.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I can't imagine that financially it would be feasible to do both systems.

First off, you have to create two stat blocks for every critter and or villain. Then you need two different encounters for each one. Why? Because, as I understand it, the power levels of the critters in 4E are not equivalent to power levels in 3.x For example, a 1st level encounter for in 4E may call for 4 hobgoblins, but in 3.x that would be overkill, so now you have to rewrite the encounter.

Second, and most important, would you pay to buy a book that is 64 pages long, but is in essence a 32 page adventure? Since you have to nearly double your entries the book has to be much bigger so they have to charge a much higher price. Why not just sell the regular version and give away a free PDF conversion? Because they are in essence doing work for two adventures. While their printing prices may not go up, their labor costs do. If labor costs go up they have to raise prices.

So, the question becomes would you pay 1.5 to 2x the price of an adventure to have it in both systems? A couple of people might, but very few.


And levels aren't even directly scalable, their being 20 in 3.5 and 30 in 4e.

They're going to have to pick one system and make the best they can with it, then maybe some fans can do conversions and put them up, but if 4e is a incompatible as it looks then I'm not sure how well that would work, IF paizo go 4e.


Mary Yamato wrote:


How about Runeforge? The whole McGuffin relies utterly on schools of magic. What if 4e doesn't have them? Major rewrite time.

From what I hear, 4e wizards won't be the generalists they are in 3e (and 2e, and probably before that). It's quite possible that the whole runelords idea won't work in 4e at all because there are simply no classes that could work as a proper necromancer or illusionist or transmuter and so on. (and when I say 4e, I mean the three corebooks that are released later this year, not a mix of those three and 9 other core books released the three following years as well as half a dozen splat books and two years worth of D&D subscriptions)

Of course, sin magic could be pretty much limited to the first adventure path and it all works out later.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
KaeYoss wrote:
From what I hear, 4e wizards won't be the generalists they are in 3e (and 2e, and probably before that). It's quite possible that the whole runelords idea won't work in 4e at all because there are simply no classes that could work as a proper necromancer or illusionist or transmuter and so on.

Actually that isn't exactly true. Wizards won't be able to specialize in 4E. They'll be general spellcasters in terms of 4e. Wizards has also said that Necromancers, Illusionists, and Transmuters will be classes they do later, that will be wizard-like, but more powerful in terms of their chosen spell type.

Personally, when everything is said and done, if I were Wizards, I'd make Necros, Illusionists, etc. Paragon paths for the Wizard. It gives Wizards options.. but they probably have paragon paths already in mind.


I'm hoping that Pathfinder will either switch to 4E or stick with low level adventure paths that only go up to about level 12. I have enjoyed 3E and 3.5E, but frankly after running Shackled City up to 20th level, I don't think I want to ever run 3.5E adventures again as DM beyond about level 12 or at most 13 or 14 or so. High level 3.5E adventures just require too much of my time for run properly, with so many buffs and combos needed to run effectively any opponent to high level 3.5 characters.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
vagrant-poet wrote:
And levels aren't even directly scalable, their being 20 in 3.5 and 30 in 4e.

Of course everyone is making the assumption that level 1 to level 2 is still 1000 XP and that it's just as "difficult" as 3E to level. I have a feeling it will be less xp and that xp comes quicker, particular since level 1-10 are considered the "starter" levels and you start making important choice about the type of character you're playing after 10.


I can't speak for Paizo or anybody else, but right now my 4e itinerary is something like this:

Day 1: Read new rules five times.
Day 2: Start converting Burnt Offerings.


Personally, I'm looking forward to 4E. I really hope that Paizo proceeds with pumping out good products for the new edition. I'm already looking forward to Goodman Games 'Dungeon Crawl Classics' series for 4E, and plan on subscribing to that. I'm no big Pathfinder fan, but if Paizo releases some good modules I will be on board.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Ultimately they have to choose an edition for print. When/if they do other edition web enhancements, anyone playing with the guide has to realize that they're using the best rules available and that there will never be a 1:1 conversion.

So when 4E has something that 3E will never have, oh well. Live with the changes made to the encounter to make it work in 3E or stop playing when Paizo doesn't support your edition anymore.

Personally, I have no interest in playing with a conversion guide and while I know it can be made, and know it won't satisfy everyone (just look at how many people don't believe it can be done), I hope Paizo doesn't waste it's time making such conversion guides.


SirUrza wrote:
Personally, I have no interest in playing with a conversion guide and while I know it can be made, and know it won't satisfy everyone (just look at how many people don't believe it can be done), I hope Paizo doesn't waste it's time making such conversion guides.

If the game really is that different from D&D 3e, than converion guides might actually be impossible or very unpractical. Since wizards seems to like nothing more than to invalidate as much D&D as possible in 4e, it doesn't seem that unlikely.

zoroaster100 wrote:
I'm hoping that Pathfinder will either switch to 4E or stick with low level adventure paths that only go up to about level 12.

I hope they'll do neither.

In fact, I woudln't mind another 1-20 adventure path.

But while low-level adventure paths might be a small to medium inconvenience (might be a problem to get my players to go along with it), switching to 4e would mean I'd have to no further use for Pathfinder.

And I just want to remind you of one thing: Right now, we don't know how 4e will actually play on high levels (or at all). All we know is that they keep telling us how great it will be.

The problem is that their credibility is basically nonexistent, at least in my eyes. So 4e might be worse then 3e.

Cheliax Contributor

SirUrza wrote:

*James gets an Mike "the Intern" McArtor to email the Seoni art to Urza*

Yay! A promotion! ^_^


Mike McArtor wrote:
SirUrza wrote:

*James gets an Mike "the Intern" McArtor to email the Seoni art to Urza*

Yay! A promotion! ^_^

What were you before? The water boy? :D

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mike McArtor wrote:
SirUrza wrote:

*James gets an Mike "the Intern" McArtor to email the Seoni art to Urza*

Yay! A promotion! ^_^

Yes yes. Now go get me that coffee or no college credits for you!

Cheliax Contributor

Evil Genius wrote:
Mike McArtor wrote:


Yay! A promotion! ^_^
What were you before? The water boy? :D

I wish!

Coridan wrote:
Mike McArtor wrote:


Yay! A promotion! ^_^
Yes yes. Now go get me that coffee or no college credits for you!

Awww... Yes Sir, here's your coffee sir.


My group will convert at some point. But, I already have plenty of 3.5 material. So I'm conflicted. I really enjoy Paizo's work, but I'm considering dropping my subscription now that RotRLs is over.

What *I* would like to keep my mind at ease is a promise from Paizo to release some kind of 4E conversion for Curse of the Crimson Throne in a relatively timely manner (It goes without saying that I hope Second Darkness is 4E). I know it's work, but it's also SALES. A commitment from them will make my decision to keep subscribing easy.

I hope you're paying attention, Paizo!

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