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More Beginner Box style products?


Beginner Box

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While it'd database work, adding "Beginner Box Friendly" to all applicable products would be good. Not sure how much it would cost, but having stickers for retailers to put on their boxes, or a "try these!" flier would be good too.

Basically, a clear indication of what you can play/use with the Beginner's Box and a clear "graduation" path to Core and beyond. Its not immediately clear to me on the website, honestly, and we can't assume whoever is shopping on the site necessarily is the gamer (could be a gift, after all).


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Azure_Zero wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

A game that requires you to read ten chapters (plus an additional five if you're the DM) is complicated.

It all kind of assimilates and makes sense over time, but it's still complicated - its trying to help you simulate a world, after all.

Funny thing is some of those chapters may be chosen to be read,

I only read a small piece of the GM section, and you can still run a game with that,
You only really need to read Chapter 12 as GM, for a player coming from the BB the only chapters you'll really need to read are 7 and 8.

Core Rule Book TOC:
Chapter 1: Getting Started
Chapter 2: Races
Chapter 3: Classes
Chapter 4: Skills
Chapter 5: Feats
Chapter 6: Equipment
Chapter 7: Additional Rules
Chapter 8: Combat
Chapter 9: Magic
Chapter 10: Spells
Chapter 11: Prestige Classes (this is also player stuff)
Chapter 12: Game mastering
Chapter 13: Environment
Chapter 14: Creating NPCs
Chapter 15: Magic Items (Player and GM stuff here)

Sure (I based my ten chapters comment on your quote. I've certainly never read the entire book and I can play it fine). Nonetheless, providing 500+ pages is still complicated, even if you don't have to read all of them. How do you know, when you begin playing, which bits you can skip?

In the context of games, any RPG is complicated. In the context of RPGs, pathfinder is at the complicated end.

That's neither good, nor bad, but portraying pathfinder as simple and uncomplicated is likely to create "expectational dissonance", in my view.


Azure_Zero wrote:


And if you think it's complicated, that's incorrect.
As you are making it more complicated than it appears to be.
For it's your view that created the illusion of it's complexity.

Pathfinder Core Rule Book Chapters 1-10 - 372 pages

Pathfinder Beginner Box Heroes Handbook - 64 pages

I don't think the page count is an illusion. 372 pages appears much more complicated than 64 pages.

I understand the Beginner Box is meant to be an introduction to the Pathfinder Core Rules, but it is equally suitable to being a stand alone product imo, even if its never supported beyond whats already been done.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Naleax wrote:
Azure_Zero wrote:

And if you think it's complicated, that's incorrect.

As you are making it more complicated than it appears to be.
For it's your view that created the illusion of it's complexity.

Pathfinder Core Rule Book Chapters 1-10 - 372 pages

Pathfinder Beginner Box Heroes Handbook - 64 pages

I don't think the page count is an illusion. 372 pages appears much more complicated than 64 pages.

I understand the Beginner Box is meant to be an introduction to the Pathfinder Core Rules, but it is equally suitable to being a stand alone product imo, even if its never supported beyond whats already been done.

Here's the trick of the illusion,

when you see a page count your brain makes assumptions on the complexity, and you build mental and psychological barriers, to stop a truck, for an ant.

If you were to ratio the BB rules to the Core rules, with core rules at 100%, the BB is at 60%, so your half-way to the Core.
The differance is the number of options is greater in the Core and thus takes up more space, that and the Core book is also the GM guide, which adds to it's intimidating size.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Lots of options is complexity.

What are some examples of complicated games, in your opinion?


Azure_Zero wrote:

Here's the trick of the illusion,

when you see a page count your brain makes assumptions on the complexity, and you build mental and psychological barriers, to stop a truck, for an ant.

If you were to ratio the BB rules to the Core rules, with core rules at 100%, the BB is at 60%, so your half-way to the Core.
The differance is the number of options is greater in the Core and thus takes up more space, that and the Core book is also the GM guide, which adds to it's intimidating size.

Gah! This is the same reason why 20 sit ups seem easier than 100! Its all in my head!

I see your point, but all those extra options really do seem to weigh the game down considerably. IMO, BB is just much more agile with all the fat trimmed off.


Steve Geddes wrote:

Lots of options is complexity.

What are some examples of complicated games, in your opinion?

I agree with you, the game is complex. If it wasn't, we wouldn't have threads on WBL that go on for 4 pages after a FAQ is released about how it should work. We wouldn't have threads on whether you can fight with two weapons without having to use two-weapon fighting.

As for complex systems, I would put Pathfinder about midway on the scale. Systems like Mutants and Masterminds, True 20, and Marvel Superheroes at the easy end. Systems like Champions and Star Fleet Battles are at the more complex end.


Illusion aside I've always judged rpg rules complexity by page count. This goes hand in hand with good writing. If you can convey a rule clearly, and in as few sentences as possible, you've done your job as a designer/writer. The BB does that almost perfectly, but adds a design element that assists remarkably well, and keeps the skill, feat, spell, combat options to a minimum. This makes it easier for everyone playing, in turn making a faster paced game.

The more options you give, the higher the page count, the more complex the game becomes.


Getting back on topic....

I think BB is a great intro into the Pathfinder Core Rules, I just think it needs to progress much like the design and rules layout of the BB. After learning from the BB a customer then picks up the Core Rule Book only to find out its simplicity of design is nothing like that of the BB. In effect you have to go back and re-read the rule book to see if you've got it all right, and at 300 pages + thats a daunting task. BB progression into Core Rules would need to be uniform to make the transition easy for the beginning player.

With that said a book or other boxed set that expands the game with the rest of the core rules content and utilizing the design element of the BB would be a perfect solution and would satisfy needs across the board. It would in effect make the game modular, but compatible with core rules.

That would be a great support product and mesh the BB and its expansion product nicely into the Core Rules, AP's, Modules etc. It would also give players/Gm's a choice on how they progressed with the rules. I can see players showing up to games with core rule books, others with BB and its expansion, both being the same just with different presentations.

Make sense..?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Just to add my voice, I would definitely love any sort of add on for the BB. I think a guided super module, laid out like the BB module but much longer would be awesome. The idea that this module could progressively add more full crb rules also appeals. I got the PDF of the core book but find it a tad daunting.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Naleax wrote:


Pathfinder Core Rule Book Chapters 1-10 - 372 pages
Pathfinder Beginner Box Heroes Handbook - 64 pages

I don't think the page count is an illusion. 372 pages appears much more complicated than 64 pages.

I understand the Beginner Box is meant to be an introduction to the Pathfinder Core Rules, but it is equally suitable to being a stand alone product imo, even if its never supported beyond whats already been done.

It's not jut the number of pages either, the crb fits a lot more words per page than does the BB. So we're not talking six times the reading, more like (I'd hazard to guess) ten times minimum.


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OperationsKT wrote:

I got the Beginner Box a few weeks back. I like it.

Then I got the Pathfinder Core book because I wanted to compare, and I keep getting invited to actually play in a game of it.

While Pathfinder is pretty much v3.5 D&D with all the house-rules I used already in it and a few new features, it is still v3.5 in essence, which still means it has all the issues I had with v3.5.

Mostly related to complexity and game-prep time issues. For fairness and full disclosure, I don't even do a lot of 4e anymore because now it has too many books and is more complex than I bought into it for. My current games of choice are Savage Worlds (Necessary Evil, Slipstream, and Weited War II), BRP, and nWoD: Mage.

But I really do like the Beginner Box. It's what Essentials could have been if they had not screwed up the marketing and product packaging (in short, they really should have had one big Player Book for Essentials instead of 2), and actually made them a good introduction to the game.

What I'm asking, or suggesting, is that maybe the 'Beginner' line should continue. Maybe offer a second beginner book with levels 6-20 of the 4 in the box. Another book with Beginner style versions of the other classes and races, levels 1-20. And a Beginner Bestiary. All with the pared down lists of feats, spells, and the like, and the fewer combat options (but point out the golden rule, or that you can adapt rules as desired from the Core Rulebook).

Or, same concept, but keep the Beginner lines levels 1-5 only. Or maybe levels 1-10.

I'd just like to see more like this. I think that the Beginner Box is the optimal level of complexity for the v3.5 rules. Enough options to do most character ideas, but not so many that a guy with limited time to prep and run could miss vital things that could break a game.

Just my two cents.

KT

I have to agree. I understand that Paizo wants this box set to be a beginner game that leads players to the main game; however, after listening to WotC plans for 5th edition, I wonder if Paizo should rethink their approach and change the beginner box into the part of the basic rules line.

5th edition is supposed to be modular in nature. Make the game as simple or complex as you like.

I think Paizo should address this early. Jump in and make a basic set of rules and support it with adventures, etc. Perhaps the next set should be levels 5 - 10 and introduce optional rules like AOO, etc. Rules that can be ignored or used to bring players close to the core rulebook. Players can jump up to the full rule-set at anytime or stay with the basic system. I can only think this as a win-win for Paizo.

P.S. I like the formatting of the beginning books. Perhaps something they can adapt to the next printings of the core rulebooks (not promoting new edition here, just perhaps, reformatting)

Shadow Lodge

TheGreenDeath wrote:
It's not jut the number of pages either, the crb fits a lot more words per page than does the BB. So we're not talking six times the reading, more like (I'd hazard to guess) ten times minimum.

Yeah, a Core Rulebook done in the BB style would probably have 2-3 times as many pages


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Alice Margatroid wrote:

But you don't have to use APG/UM/UC/etc. If people have problems with the crunch of PFRPG, they are not going to enjoy playing a Beginner Box version of it either, I don't think, because as you said, everything stacks up... feats, spells, abilities.

You honestly don't even need to do THAT much work to run an "expanded" BB campaign that goes to level 10, using restricted CRB material only. You could probably spend 15 minutes per class, tops, extrapolating the relevant abilities. Pick 10 simple spells of 4th and 5th levels for the Wizard and Cleric. Add maybe a dozen more feats. Add a couple more skill tricks for the rogue. That's it.

I'm also pretty sure Paizo wouldn't mind if you use the PRD to expand the BB set. They've achieved their goal of making you a Pathfinder player. Now you're open to buying their other products, e.g. Gamemastery tools, Adventure Paths, Modules, Pathfinder Society, etc., that you would not have bought at all before.

I think what is really needed is not another box set but more instructions like that are in the BB that lead you more into the more advance rules of the game, for example A would say to do this, B something else, just like they did for generating a PC, all this would lead towards getting everyone up to speed on all the rules, I have not bought the BB as of yet but I will now that I have bought the Core Rulebook and it's taking me a lot longer to learn than I thought it would.

I think learning it in bite size bits such as what the BB is used for, is a lot more helpful for players like me that do want to learn the whole system, so these could be suplements not more box sets.

One more idea, a supplement to the Core Rulebook that takes off where the BB leaves off but you have to use the Core Rulebook in order for that supplement to work it would be a more intermediate supplement and could also be advanced as well so after you completed that supplement, using the Core Rulebook would be very easy and no longer confusing for anyone.


I agree with Raven Shadowz. I've read a lot further into the BB but I've also been dipping into the PRD to look up things in the RPGSS entries.

The BB holds the GM's and players' hands and leads them along a nice easy path through their first adventure, then helps the GM in designing the next adventure. But after a few sessions the players and GM are going to hit a cliff that looks insurmountable from the bottom. Paizo needs to throw down a rope from the top of the cliff. It could be a booklet supplementing the CRB that tells the GM how to expand the game in a few easy chunks, introducing a few new rules each session, or it could be a couple of modules from level 5-9 that introduce them as the modules progress.


Naleax wrote:

Getting back on topic....

I think BB is a great intro into the Pathfinder Core Rules, I just think it needs to progress much like the design and rules layout of the BB. After learning from the BB a customer then picks up the Core Rule Book only to find out its simplicity of design is nothing like that of the BB. In effect you have to go back and re-read the rule book to see if you've got it all right, and at 300 pages + thats a daunting task. BB progression into Core Rules would need to be uniform to make the transition easy for the beginning player.

With that said a book or other boxed set that expands the game with the rest of the core rules content and utilizing the design element of the BB would be a perfect solution and would satisfy needs across the board. It would in effect make the game modular, but compatible with core rules.

That would be a great support product and mesh the BB and its expansion product nicely into the Core Rules, AP's, Modules etc. It would also give players/Gm's a choice on how they progressed with the rules. I can see players showing up to games with core rule books, others with BB and its expansion, both being the same just with different presentations.

Make sense..?

I agree 100%


S'mon wrote:

But frankly Pathfinder Core can only ever have limited appeal (even if it's the 800lb gorilla of the RPG world), it's just too complicated, and like 3e too vulnerable to min-maxer play that deters more casual players.

A simplified ruleset that runs parrallel to core but is compatible with your adventures & other product is a good business proposition IMO.

I suspect you're overestimating the number of people who:

(a) would buy "Beginner Box"-style products, but...
(b) would never buy any regular PFRPG products.

Of course, the great thing about the OGL is that anyone who disagrees with that assessment is free to publish something to fill that product niche. Everybody wins!


Bit of thread necromancy here, but I didn't want to start a new one for this.

I found an EXISTING solution, already published by Paizo.

The older, pre-Pathfinder Core softcover books (64 pages) like the Pathfinder Chronicles Gazetteer and the like, like these;

http://paizo.com/products/btpy82t7?Pathfinder-Chronicles-Gazetteer

http://paizo.com/products/btpy85eh?Pathfinder-Chronicles-Gods-Magic

Or, really any of the stuff listed here I think:

http://paizo.com/pathfinder/campaignSetting/35E

I got the first two I listed up above, and they have lots of fluff, but little crunch to add to the game. Works great with the Beginner Box, and also fit in it. At least the two I have do, with room for maybe one more.

So, there is an option, already made, if you want to stick to a Beginner Box game but still have a few more options.


Alice Margatroid wrote:


I understand that you want Paizo to do it for you, but it just seems like a misguided request, in my mind, because that would be unnecessarily splitting the market, as has been explained elsewhere.

I don't care about splitting the market. But I do know that I would very very happily buy a BB continuation set that took the BB to ca 10th level; with class expansions, monsters, and magic items, but without attacks of opportunity etc.

They could include some more races, half-orcs and half-elves come to mind, but not vital. Maybe a couple more classes, Ranger and Paladin perhaps, but not vital.

Osirion

S'mon wrote:


I don't care about splitting the market.

But Paizo cares and said they do not want to do that.


S'mon wrote:
I don't care about splitting the market. But I do know that I would very very happily buy a BB continuation set that took the BB to ca 10th level; with class expansions, monsters, and magic items, but without attacks of opportunity etc.

That's the great thing about the OGL; some other company can leap in and produce a product line based on that, even if Paizo isn't interested in it!

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