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Is anyone worried about Pathfinder after reading the Next playtest?


D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond)

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I'm not worried, because I don't care if Pathfinder fails. I have all the books for it I'll ever need if my friends want to keep playing. I'd rather play something else anyways, and D&DNext looks like something I might really like.


Personally, I like different systems because they play different. Pathfinder plays very differently from PrimeTime Adventures, or Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. All three games play very differently from Dread. Even somewhat similar games in theme have different uses, I like PF, but Dungeon World is a lot of fun too.

I think the fatal flaw of DDN is if it tries to be all things to all people. It's not possible and will only dilute the system as a whole.


I'm not that worried. Pathfinder has a large following at this point. The worst that could happen would be that Paizo decides to revise Pathfinder to help it compete with 5e.


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I see two possibilities, based on the answer to the question, "Can you easily use Pathfinder material with D&D Next?"

If the answer is "No", then the current status quo would be maintained for the foreseeable future. Under that scenario, Paizo thrives, and Wizards continues to struggle.

If the answer is "Yes", then we would be in a new era where two very similar game systems would co-exist (much as was the case in the 1E/2E vs. BECMI era). Paizo and Wizards would compete to provide material usable with either set of rules, and we (the customers) would be the winners. Under that scenario, both companies thrive in the absence of other complicating factors.

Shadow Lodge

Ratpick wrote:


"Warland: The Campaign Setting of Having Wars all the Time

sold! Love the name!

:p

Shadow Lodge

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David knott 242 wrote:


If the answer is "No", then the current status quo would be maintained for the foreseeable future. Under that scenario, Paizo thrives, and Wizards continues to struggle.

I don't think that's as definitive as you seem to assume.

Shadow Lodge

cibet44 wrote:
sirmattdusty wrote:
I think Paizo should keep what they do best no matter how good D&DN is (and I think it's really good....so far). And what they do best is AP's, modules, & adventures. Something that WOTC, in my opinion, stinks at. In a perfect world, if D&D Next becomes hugely popular as a RPG, they should subcontract Paizo to write adventures for them, meanwhile, Paizo can still write adventures for the still very good Pathfinder RPG. Of course I say this as a consumer, not a businessman/lawyer looking at business models, OGLs, trademarks, or corporate profits...i'd like to have my cake and eat it too. I honestly think that no system can survive on system alone. We lazy DM's (and there are many of us) need that pre-written adventure to even run the game and if there isn't that, then what good is having the game in the first place regardless of how wonderful the mechanics might be.
I think there is much wisdom here. Of course WoTC subcontracting Paizo is not realistic, but I would love to see Paizo "freeze" the rule-set and concentrate on what it does best. That being adventures, long form campaigns, and world building. I can't imagine the majority of Paizo customers came to Pathfinder because of the APG and Ultimate books. No, they were here already because of the adventures.

Yeah. The best time to do the freeze is past, though. I personally think it should have frozen after the APG. To me, that's when it became it's own game. Just the Core Rulebook and and you have is a slightly tweaked SRD, admittedly in a pretty package. And both the Ultimate books were kind of "meh".


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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My answer was “no, not worried” before reading this thread. After having read it to this point, that opinion has only been reinforced.

1. Paizo makes some of the best, if not the best, RPG products – period. Their business model is very successful by all accounts, and nothing about the 5e announcement or its existence merits a change from that business model. With the lead-up & launch to 4e, WotC decided that they wanted to take the game in a specific, yet very different, direction than 3e had taken. All well and good. However, I have not purchased a single WotC product in years. Meanwhile, I am subscribing to more Pathfinder lines than I ever dreamt that I would. So as long as customers like me continue to like what Paizo is doing and vote with our wallet, Paizo would be stupid to change their business model. They’re not stupid. Will 5e sales eat into Paizo sales to some degree? I’m sure it will, but it doesn’t appear that WotC’s business model is going to mirror Paizo’s, so you won’t likely see huge attrition.

2. For all the claims that PF is “just a 3.x clone”, Paizo has built upon that OGL framework to make its own game. The innovations introduced by books like the APG and Ultimate books have gone in markedly different directions than WotC splats did. I liked Pathfinder when it was first released. I now love the flexibility and customization Pathfinder affords me. Hands down, my go-to FRPG.

3. Paizo already develops to the fans that prefer the Pathfinder RPG & the 3.x heritage. They also cater to the adventure path, module, & detailed setting crowd. They now have fiction & miniature lines. WotC, in trying to “unify” the fan base, is trying to find a middle-ground to appeal to all D&D players. I think they can do well at that, but unless it out-Pathfinderizes Pathfinder (across all the product lines to boot…), I have NO incentive to change.

When I factor in the compelling arguments made in this thread, however…

WotC has a bunch of settings to mine – yet a multitude of settings helped kill TSR and 4e setting support was a dabbler’s touch. They didn’t pick a horse and run with it, and no of them caught on to the levels of their earlier incarnations, let alone Golarion.

This “unify the customer base” thing. 5e runs the risk of falling short to the majority by trying to be all things to everyone. At least it does, if that’s the way you interpret the “unify” comments. I don’t. 5e has to be its own game. I think what WotC is trying to do is evoke a sense of previous editions while building something new. Will the something new equally satisfy 4e fans and Pathfinder fans? Possible, but unlikely.

5e must have an OGL / 5e doesn’t need an OGL – Both can’t be true. If 5e goes back to the OGL, I think Paizo feels a bit more of a pinch as every 3PP tries to jump onto the 5e bandwagon. But if the anti-OGLers are correct, 3PP product is insignificant anyway, so why would WotC bother? My odds are 60-40 against an OGL. The GSL was a joke, however, so if they do a license, I expect it to try and find a middle ground between the OGL & GSL.

The “I already have all the PF books I need / I don’t buy stuff” camp – yeah, if you’re not buying anything, you’re probably not the primary customer base that ANY company is focusing on. At best, you’re a homebrew fiend, more likely you’re a casual gamer, and at worst you’re a fickle fad-driven follower of the latest “shiny”. The only way you’re inflicting pain by going elsewhere is if you take other players (& presumably their $$$) with you – and there’s no way to measure that. Perceived net loss = negligible.

WotC doing electronic “stuff” better. Really? I mean, REALLY?!? Yes, DDI was a success (or its fans certainly think so at least). But Mr. Mearls has said that first and foremost, WotC recognizes that D&D is a tabletop RPG. Can they do better/dominate? Yes. (But c’mon, between the Character Builder snafus, the vaporware VTT, pulling the PDFs, etc. it’s not like they could really do WORSE.) I’m totally fine with HeroLab and $10 PDFs, thanks.

Interop – Yeah, not really seeing this based on everything revealed thus far and the design goals. Obviously, stuff can be adapted/converted, but you have that now with PF & 4e/3e/2e/1e, etc.

Paizo “making more $$” supporting 5e – REALLY?!?-Part 2. First off, this would require an OGL-equivalent style license – the GSL didn’t cut it last go-round. Secondly, Paizo is NOT going to put their livelihoods & futures in the hands of a license holder again unless all other options have failed them. The company didn’t know if it would survive the pulling of the Dragon & Dungeon licenses. NO WAY they’re going back to that. People wanting Paizo to throw over Pathfinder so they can get Paizo crafted content for D&D (whatever edition) are buying snowballs for a field trip to Hell and expecting to come back with all of them.

I DO expect that WotC will reclaim some “lost sheep”, but I don’t think 5e will bring D&D back to the heights of 3e’s popularity. YMMV.


Face_P0lluti0n wrote:
WotC has a spotty history with Organized Play. PFS, on the other hand, is a record-breaking success.

I don't know that this is true; I think WotC's success with Living Greyhawk hasn't been matched by Pathfinder Society (yet?). WotC seemed to let a lot of people down with Living Forgotten Realms, but it continues to have very high play numbers, and WotC's Encounters program--also under their "organized play" umbrella--seems to be a real success. So maybe "spotty" is a fair statement for WotC if you see LFR as a failure--and I'm not sure it is--but I don't know that "record-breaking success" is fair for PFS (depends on your opinion of a "record," I suppose).

Since neither of these companies produces hard statistics about their organized play programs, however, any analysis here has to be anecdotal.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
WelbyBumpus wrote:
WotC's Encounters program--also under their "organized play" umbrella--seems to be a real success.

I'm not so sure. While I only have anecdotal evidence to offer, I'm seeing players drop out of Encounters campaigns for a variety of reasons: the relentless "buy this new hardback book to get the new character options for this season's offering", characters that you only run up to fourth level, and the poorly-designed rulebooks which make it necessary to hunt through maybe three different books to check up on something.

While Pathfinder has all these problems, they are not as severe; the character/clock reset for an Adventure Path comes after a much longer timeframe than a single season of Encounters, online resources such as the PRD makes searching for rules a lot easier, and much of the setting-dependent information a player needs is in the (free) player's guide.
Encounters was originally pitched as the foot-in-the-door gateway product; it doesn't really seem to know whether it's trying to be the Beginner's Box equivalent or something more like Pathfinder Society, and doesn't really do a good job of being either.

Shadow Lodge

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thomrenault wrote:
Is anyone worried about Pathfinder after reading the Next playtest?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

No.


Even as a casual fan I am of Paizo's Pathfinder, I don't think they have much to worry in the long haul. For one, I think Pathfinder has narrowed down their customer base to a specific style and they cater to that group/style..........HARD. Much of the 3E holdouts are devotedly Pathfinder fans (and a good majority of Realms fans too) because it's a system they've helped make better. Now, had Paizo put out a Tome of Battle-equse book, I'd be far more willing to run more Pathfinder at home but they've expressedly mentioned they don't want that and thus, don't want my style in their game.

Ok, enougth Pathfinder pandering.......

What DDN will do well is bringing back a LOT of the 0D&D, 1E, and 2E crowds. From reading the Playtest, the style caters to their DM-empowering, ambiguous rules regarding actions, and simplifed combat format. The fact that you don't need a battle-grid or miniatures also adds into a lot of older nostalgia play. And most of the players that enjoy these types of games have money to spare on such a game.

4E holdouts might really really really want to jump onto the DDN bandwagon IF they can pull off mechanical/tactical style play. Fast combat is fun but it sorta lacks that tactical angle a lot of 4E fans enjoy. There's also quite a few bits of 4E rules thrown in that might help make the adjustment from one system to another. If WotC can get the modular part down, make Fighters (and other non-spellcasters) with cool, interesting, and unique capabilities they might have them hooked too.

Also, DDN has the "new shiney" lable attached to the game. People might just pick up the 3 Core books because they're collectors, because they by any new RPG that hits the market, because they're truely in love with the rules, or because they actually want to see what's offerd. I think DDN will explode onto the market for the first few months, if not the first year. People generally like new things. People generally enjoy trying customizable systems to get a certian feel for the game. And all of that is profit for WotC.

As far as DDN's handout to Paizo/Pathfinder fans, I think their best hope is to provide a different style of game that Pathfinder fans might try when they're not doing Pathfinder. Sometimes I get fed up with 3E and sometimes campaigns grow stale or you kill the party or people move/change or you get into a new group. These are all great ways to try something new, and in this case DDN hopes it's them.

Sovereign Court

TOZ wrote:
thomrenault wrote:
Is anyone worried about Pathfinder after reading the Next playtest?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

No.

Agreed. +1

Sovereign Court

Diffan wrote:
What DDN will do well is bringing back a LOT of the 0D&D, 1E, and 2E crowds.

Er... I am the OD&D, 1E, and 2E crowd. No, this will not bring me back. Nor will the other 17 neo-grognards I know; we're playing Pathfinder.


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Pax Veritas wrote:


Er... I am the OD&D, 1E, and 2E crowd. No, this will not bring me back. Nor will the other 17 neo-grognards I know; we're playing Pathfinder.

if the "OD&D, 1E, and 2E" crowd is really just one guy, I think it'd be a mistake to aim an entire game line on just you, anyway. :p


Pax Veritas wrote:
Diffan wrote:
What DDN will do well is bringing back a LOT of the 0D&D, 1E, and 2E crowds.
Er... I am the OD&D, 1E, and 2E crowd. No, this will not bring me back. Nor will the other 17 neo-grognards I know; we're playing Pathfinder.

Thing being the Pathfinder boards, I'm not suprised. Other places, much more different opinion. DDN appears to be bringing back much of the style and openness of play (not relying on codified rules, for one) that we saw in earlier editions. Flatter math, magical items not being tied directly into character advancement, TotM style of play (Theater of the Mind), no need for battle-mats or minis, etc. That, to me, seems like they're harkening back to older editinos.

Now, as 4E fan a lot of this is sorta "meh" to me. I like codified rules. I like keeping the DM on the level with his PCs. I like classes that have a little more structure. These haven't really presnted themselves with DDN's playtest. But time will tell.

Dark Archive

Not worried at all. After delving quite a bit in the 5e playtest, I found it to be a very different game from PFRPG - more akin to a hybrid between the AGE system and the Rules Cyclopedia/BECMI.

Modules could change that, but right now I feel they come from very different premises, aim for quite different objectives, and cater to different enough crowds.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
The system's simplicity is the draw for me, and will be for others, I suspect. A 5-page combat section in one place handily beats out 9 pages in the 3.5 DMG + 30 pages in the 3.5 PHB, or 26 pages in the PF Corebook.
thejeff wrote:
I really, really doubt that'll last into the final system. At the very least they'll add optional systems for all the things you mention, in which case you'll probably need to reference both. Most likely, all sorts of feats and special rules for those will appear. We've already seen some. It's just that they're currently only on the character sheet, we don't have the rules sections that they come from.
If the options are just that, options, then the simplicity will still be there. I don't have a problems with a "complexity module" tacked on. Options can be ignored without having to radically alter the system.

I'm kinda scratching my head on this one, because of how we define "options". Perhaps I'm not well informed on DDN.

Do the "options" include new classes, feats, or abilities, such as those found in new books like the APG from PF or the Complete series from 3.5? I could see a player being rubbed the wrong way if they found one of the above in a product they bought and wasn't able to use it because the module it came with wasn't being used. I understand that can happen in any game, just the modular method of DDN would promote it more.

It also speaks to what GMs are buying versus what players buy (I am a GM and thus bought the GM guide, my players bought the APG, for instance).

And to clarify, I mean if they found a psion class or a large weapon feat, for instance, not so much a cowboy class or a spelljammer-esque feat.

Shadow Lodge

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Pax Veritas wrote:


Er... I am the OD&D, 1E, and 2E crowd. No, this will not bring me back. Nor will the other 17 neo-grognards I know; we're playing Pathfinder.

I haven't really given the playtest too much of a look-through yet, but my brief skim has given me the impression that anyone who flatly rejects it in favor of Pathfinder has no right to claim to be a part of the OSR.

The Exchange

Kthulhu wrote:
Pax Veritas wrote:


Er... I am the OD&D, 1E, and 2E crowd. No, this will not bring me back. Nor will the other 17 neo-grognards I know; we're playing Pathfinder.
I haven't really given the playtest too much of a look-through yet, but my brief skim has given me the impression that anyone who flatly rejects it in favor of Pathfinder has no right to claim to be a part of the OSR.

I don't think he made any claim towards being part of the OSR. Just that, you know, he's played OD&D, 1E and 2E, having then gone to Pathfinder.


Modera wrote:
Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
Jerry Wright 307 wrote:
The system's simplicity is the draw for me, and will be for others, I suspect. A 5-page combat section in one place handily beats out 9 pages in the 3.5 DMG + 30 pages in the 3.5 PHB, or 26 pages in the PF Corebook.
thejeff wrote:
I really, really doubt that'll last into the final system. At the very least they'll add optional systems for all the things you mention, in which case you'll probably need to reference both. Most likely, all sorts of feats and special rules for those will appear. We've already seen some. It's just that they're currently only on the character sheet, we don't have the rules sections that they come from.
If the options are just that, options, then the simplicity will still be there. I don't have a problems with a "complexity module" tacked on. Options can be ignored without having to radically alter the system.

I'm kinda scratching my head on this one, because of how we define "options". Perhaps I'm not well informed on DDN.

Do the "options" include new classes, feats, or abilities, such as those found in new books like the APG from PF or the Complete series from 3.5? I could see a player being rubbed the wrong way if they found one of the above in a product they bought and wasn't able to use it because the module it came with wasn't being used. I understand that can happen in any game, just the modular method of DDN would promote it more.

It also speaks to what GMs are buying versus what players buy (I am a GM and thus bought the GM guide, my players bought the APG, for instance).

And to clarify, I mean if they found a psion class or a large weapon feat, for instance, not so much a cowboy class or a spelljammer-esque feat.

I've got no idea how they expect to make the modular thing work. At least if they try it on the scale they're claiming.

My gut feeling is that there might be two ways it would work. One more traditional than the other.
The traditional way would be, to use your example: Theres a psionics module. If you use it, players can choose psion classes and the abilities that go along with them. If not they can't. Not really any different than a group not buying a sourcebook or not allowing gunslingers in their game. This happens in pretty much every system anyway.
The other is more what I think they mean. Optional rules systems. Backgrounds and Themes are specifically mentioned on the playtest character sheets as being optional. This may extend as far as Skills and Feats being entirely optional. If your player found a cool large weapon feat, but you're not playing with feats, then he can't use it.

The second seems to be more problematic. First, going by what little info we have, both Background and Theme add abilities to the characters, making them more powerful and letting them do more cool things. In my experience, that means pretty much everyone is going to want to use them. Second, as the number of possible combinations of modules gets bigger, it seems to me adventure design gets harder. It'll have to handle not just the changed power levels from different modules, but also different ways to handle situations. For example, resolving a task with formal Skill Challenges, basic skill rolls, or just ability checks depending on what skill system is in use. Just possible examples, I have no idea what options there will be for skill systems.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:
Pax Veritas wrote:


Er... I am the OD&D, 1E, and 2E crowd. No, this will not bring me back. Nor will the other 17 neo-grognards I know; we're playing Pathfinder.
I haven't really given the playtest too much of a look-through yet, but my brief skim has given me the impression that anyone who flatly rejects it in favor of Pathfinder has no right to claim to be a part of the OSR.

Yeah, that was a bit weird. The playtest game is clearly closer to AD&D stylistically than PF is. Not everyone who's a fan of the earlier editions hates WoTC. Some of us quit D&D before WoTC existed.

The Exchange

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RE: modules. I think their line of thinking is more along the traditional lines, but in addition to that they have talked about trying some more novel things with modules. For an example, campaign modules, that are basically optional sets of rules that you can use to alter the feel of your campaign ever so slightly (campaign modules they've mentioned include low-magic, where cantrips and orisons become 1st-level spells, and high-magic, where all characters get access to a couple of cantrips/orisons). So, modules are not just going to be "Here's a new subsystem and a bunch of classes that make use of it."

I can actually see them doing lots of interesting things with modules, provided they run with this idea wholeheartedly. For an example, an idea that struck me yesterday that could be possible as a rules module would be monster themes: basically like themes for PCs, these could be used to turn the average mook into a different type of creature with a simple template, without having to go through the various steps of monster customization. So, if you wanted to turn an orc footsoldier into a more brutish, heavy-hitting type, you'd just give the orc the Brute theme, make the necessary adjustments and be done with it.

At least I hope they do that with monsters, because a simple system of minor templates that can be added on top of creatures to modify them on the fly would be terrific.


thejeff wrote:
So much that what I'm responding to about modularity got omitted.

Back when I first heard the modularity plan, my question was if it would allow different edition styles of play at the same table, or from table to table, agreed on before play. I don't really have a preference, but looks like its going to be closer to the latter.

Mind you, I'm curious to see the character creation packet to figure out what the most basic character generation includes. I'm assuming they boiled down the first four characters as much as they could, and those guys have race, class, background and theme, so basic chargen may include all of those.

I also saw a line on the WotC playtest discussion about how anyone who didn't like at will cantrips for the wizard could ignore them and give the wizard a brace of daggers; if that's the sort of thing the modular set up uses it may be more reverse engineering (not what it means, I know) than snap on, snap off.

Edit: In answer to the OP, no, I'm not worried; I own and play more than one RPG at present.

Liberty's Edge

I realize that I am a lot different than many players & DMs (I still use that, I don't care what anyone says). I don't primarily buy APs and modules. I like rules options, but as a DM I reserve the right to say no. I will not allow Gunslingers in my games, nor anyone using the grit rules. I also hate gnomes, PF or otherwise. I have only attempted to run 1 AP, and I cobbled together a campaign with a few published modules (some converted from 3.5) that ran for quite a long time and had a very high level of player satisfaction. I may not be the primary "collector/completionist" gamer that Paizo or any other company wants to get. I love Pathfinder, they fixed a lot of the 3.5 problems and added more new charcter options that make sense to me and my players. As a gamer who started with 1st ed, and got the blue "expert" rules box for christmas, I still run my games as "DM trumphs gods" because the rules expressly state that if you don't like it, don't use it, and the (D)M is the final arbiter of the rules. If you want to play that way, you can. No rules system argues that, and I am unsure where that mentality comes from, or why people think that a new rules system is needed to fix it. I am planning to playtest the DNDNext rules, but do not see myself switching my games to it. It looks OK, and I want to like D&D again, but I love the setting and rules for pathfinder. There has always been room for more than one game in the gaming world, so I don't think that DNDNext is the death knell for Pathfinder. Pathfinder does a good job and has a lot of loyal fans that HATE wotc and would rather play monopoly than anything they put out. I have rambled, sorry all.


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

At this point, the success of Pathfinder is in the hands of Paizo. Paizo's decisions (not WotC/D&D) will determine Pathfinder's success or failure.

D&D Next will likely succeed out of the gates because, well, it's D&D! Also, the designers of D&D next will likely produce a solid game.

Where D&D next is likely to fail will be in product choices. Are they going to take 2 or 3 player's handbooks/DMGs/MMs to roll out the full game like they did with 4E? If so, that will cost them some players. Will they go rules heavy and not support the game with great adventures? That will cost them some players. Will they write their adventures including all of the optional "rules modules" and therefore include information that confuses DMs not using all of the rules modules? That will frustrate DMs. The bottom line is that product support should be known before anyone dives in.

I'm willing to bet that WotC corporate will find a way to screw up the player experience. Heck, at their current pace, one should probably wait to buy the new version until they come out with revised rules in 2-3 years.

Finally, the wildcard involves the OGL. Will they create a game that is easily cloned by existing OGL rules? If so, someone will make a game like it that may hurt D&D sales.

Silver Crusade

Jerald Schrimsher wrote:

Pathfinder does a good job and has a lot of loyal fans that HATE wotc and would rather play monopoly than anything they put out. I have rambled, sorry all.

Monopoly would be fine since its one of the few board games out there that isn't owned by Hasbro - same company that owns WOTC.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thejeff wrote:


I've got no idea how they expect to make the modular thing work. At least if they try it on the scale they're claiming.

The traditional way would be, to use your example: Theres a psionics module. If you use it, players can choose psion classes and the abilities that go along with them. If not they can't. Not really any different than a group not buying a sourcebook or not allowing gunslingers in their game. This happens in pretty much every system anyway.

Agreed completely. They'll have to be wary of what they put in each book though if they approach this method.

For instance: In Races of the Wild, there were a bunch of new feats for arrows and some cool new arrows. This was where the book shined (IMHO). However if I didn't care about elves/halflings/raptorians, I probably wouldn't have bought the book. And some DMs are known for throwing out the baby with the bathwater (ex. "Raptorians are overbalanced, banning Races of the Wild").

So to avoid this, is each book going to be made up of modules? So if I bought the cowboy book, will there be a guns module, a gunslinger class module, a gun tricks module, etc.? I could see that working. (Granted I'm just guessing and musing out loud).

thejeff wrote:

The other is more what I think they mean. Optional rules systems. Backgrounds and Themes are specifically mentioned on the playtest character sheets as being optional. This may extend as far as Skills and Feats being entirely optional. If your player found a cool large weapon feat, but you're not playing with feats, then he can't use it.

The second seems to be more problematic. First, going by what little info we have, both Background and Theme add abilities to the characters, making them more powerful and letting them do more cool things. In my experience, that means pretty much everyone is going to want to use them. Second, as the number of possible combinations of modules gets bigger, it seems to me adventure design gets harder. It'll have to handle not just the changed power levels from different modules, but also different ways to handle situations. For example, resolving a task with formal Skill Challenges, basic skill rolls, or just ability checks depending on what skill system is in use. Just possible examples, I have no idea what options there will be for skill systems.

I didn't even think about the power level. Food for thought, thank you.


Modera wrote:

Agreed completely. They'll have to be wary of what they put in each book though if they approach this method.

For instance: In Races of the Wild, there were a bunch of new feats for arrows and some cool new arrows. This was where the book shined (IMHO). However if I didn't care about elves/halflings/raptorians, I probably wouldn't have bought the book. And some DMs are known for throwing out the baby with the bathwater (ex. "Raptorians are overbalanced, banning Races of the Wild").

So to avoid this, is each book going to be made up of modules? So if I bought the cowboy book, will there be a guns module, a gunslinger class module, a gun tricks module, etc.? I could see that working. (Granted I'm just guessing and musing out loud).

I'm making this up of course, but if I was going to do it, there would be a cross.

The Guns book would be a module.
It would have in it a bunch of stuff related to guns, some of which would be the base rules for the module and some of which would be rules that you'd use if you were using the appropriate other modules. For example, assuming Feats are a separate module, there would be Gun Feats in the book that you would only use if you were using the Feats module.

Side note: I really wish "module" wasn't the word for this concept, since it already has an accepted jargon meaning in role-playing: packaged adventure.


Can we call them "rules units" instead? (Even though this reminds me of school textbooks...)

@Sirmattdusty - Monopoly is owned by Hasbro.

I think Pathfinder will be fine. I am interested in DDN as another RPG in the collection. But I wonder how the modules (packaged adventures) will read with all of the special rules units included and excluded...

Shadow Lodge

Ratpick wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:

No, this will not bring me back. Nor will the other 17 neo-grognards I know; we're playing Pathfinder.

I haven't really given the playtest too much of a look-through yet, but my brief skim has given me the impression that anyone who flatly rejects it in favor of Pathfinder has no right to claim to be a part of the OSR.
I don't think he made any claim towards being part of the OSR. Just that, you know, he's played OD&D, 1E and 2E, having then gone to Pathfinder. I'm not really sure if that would result in the following quote:
Pax Veritas wrote:
I am the OD&D, 1E, and 2E crowd.

Silver Crusade

Veiled Nail wrote:

Can we call them "rules units" instead? (Even though this reminds me of school textbooks...)

@Sirmattdusty - Monopoly is owned by Hasbro.

I think Pathfinder will be fine. I am interested in DDN as another RPG in the collection. But I wonder how the modules (packaged adventures) will read with all of the special rules units included and excluded...

Ah yes, I was thinking Parker Bros still owned them. Forgot that Hasbro bought Parker Bros..

The Exchange

Kthulhu wrote:
I'm not really sure if that would result in the following quote:
Pax Veritas wrote:
I am the OD&D, 1E, and 2E crowd.

True, I guess.

To provide a counterpoint: I consider myself part of the "OD&D, 1E, and 2E crowd," whatever the hell that is, due to the fact that I find pre-3e editions of the game to be more to my liking. What I'm seeing in D&D Next caters more to my personal tastes than Pathfinder does, for reasons I've outlined in many other posts.

Also, I know for a fact that I'm not the only one who shares this view: I've heard many a person who identifies more with OSR than modern editions of the game go so far as to say that they think the playtest rules of the game are already vastly superior to Pathfinder.

I won't say that any generalizations can be made based on this: some OSR players will reject D&D Next for a variety of reasons, while some might find in it a good alternative to the various other OSR games and retro-clones that are out there. Personally, I probably won't stop playing OSR games any time soon, but I consider D&D Next a viable choice when I start to look for a new game.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ratpick wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
I'm not really sure if that would result in the following quote:
Pax Veritas wrote:
I am the OD&D, 1E, and 2E crowd.

True, I guess.

To provide a counterpoint: I consider myself part of the "OD&D, 1E, and 2E crowd," whatever the hell that is, due to the fact that I find pre-3e editions of the game to be more to my liking. What I'm seeing in D&D Next caters more to my personal tastes than Pathfinder does, for reasons I've outlined in many other posts.

Also, I know for a fact that I'm not the only one who shares this view: I've heard many a person who identifies more with OSR than modern editions of the game go so far as to say that they think the playtest rules of the game are already vastly superior to Pathfinder.

I won't say that any generalizations can be made based on this: some OSR players will reject D&D Next for a variety of reasons, while some might find in it a good alternative to the various other OSR games and retro-clones that are out there. Personally, I probably won't stop playing OSR games any time soon, but I consider D&D Next a viable choice when I start to look for a new game.

I'm wondering how much of that is simply because the rules are still essentially in a draft form. When the full set of rules is released, I'd be very surprised if they were as stripped down as they are currently...

The Exchange

thomrenault wrote:
I'm wondering how much of that is simply because the rules are still essentially in a draft form. When the full set of rules is released, I'd be very surprised if they were as stripped down as they are currently...

Personally, I don't think it's likely that they'll add that much more complexity into the core rules. Having read a number of forums, the reception to the light nature of the rules has been, for the most part, overwhelmingly positive. I personally think they will abide by what they've implied thus far: these are pretty much the core rules of the game, subject to change only so they can work out the math and such, with more complex rules being handled through optional modules.

Which I think is awesome, because I could see myself happily running something in the vein of the current playtest rules.

Dark Archive

After the trouble I had to just get the material so that I could actually play test it, I do not think Pazio has anything to fear.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I'm sure I can count on WotC Marketing Team with this one.


The difficulties with the distribution of the playtest materials are symptomatic of a lot of what turned people off during the 4E launch, and it's unfortunate that things like that are tainting the reception of the new rules for some people.

I think there's a big wall of separation between the people at Wizards of the Coast who love the game they're producing and know how to interact with fans in a way that will spur valuable feedback, and the people at Hasbro who are simply accustomed to doing business as usual, part of which process is being hyper-protective of their IP.

While I don't always care for the actions of the latter, I'm pretty impressed with the former. It's nice to reach out for feedback on an idea in a forum and get positive, constructive input from the people designing the game - and I have gotten exactly that from a D&D Next designer while working on playtest preparation.


Pathfinder is already a proven successful product, and D&D 5th is a big risk. I have invested my money in Paizo, a company I trust and have been impressed with time and time again with consistent product releases. If 5th is awesome than it will be another cool game to add to the shelf. Remember, supporting the whole industry as a whole is always a good thing. Pathfinder is #1 right now, and anything else coming to compete with it has a mighty task ahead of them.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
WelbyBumpus wrote:
Face_P0lluti0n wrote:
WotC has a spotty history with Organized Play. PFS, on the other hand, is a record-breaking success.

I don't know that this is true; I think WotC's success with Living Greyhawk hasn't been matched by Pathfinder Society (yet?). WotC seemed to let a lot of people down with Living Forgotten Realms, but it continues to have very high play numbers, and WotC's Encounters program--also under their "organized play" umbrella--seems to be a real success. So maybe "spotty" is a fair statement for WotC if you see LFR as a failure--and I'm not sure it is--but I don't know that "record-breaking success" is fair for PFS (depends on your opinion of a "record," I suppose).

Since neither of these companies produces hard statistics about their organized play programs, however, any analysis here has to be anecdotal.

Keep also in mind that in it's heydey, RPGA sponsored a LOT of living campaigns. Living Arcanis, Living Force, Living Kalamar, Living Death,and of course the mother of them all, Living City.

Paizo has done well with Pathfinder Society organised play, but it's a very muted experience compared to Living City, with much more of a top down feel to it.


Pax Veritas wrote:
Diffan wrote:
What DDN will do well is bringing back a LOT of the 0D&D, 1E, and 2E crowds.
Er... I am the OD&D, 1E, and 2E crowd. No, this will not bring me back. Nor will the other 17 neo-grognards I know; we're playing Pathfinder.

I've got some bad news for you, then...you're not the OD&D, 1E, and 2E crowd anymore. You're the Pathfinder crowd.

Liberty's Edge

Scott Betts wrote:
Pax Veritas wrote:
Diffan wrote:
What DDN will do well is bringing back a LOT of the 0D&D, 1E, and 2E crowds.
Er... I am the OD&D, 1E, and 2E crowd. No, this will not bring me back. Nor will the other 17 neo-grognards I know; we're playing Pathfinder.
I've got some bad news for you, then...you're not the OD&D, 1E, and 2E crowd anymore. You're the Pathfinder crowd.

Which is ok, as based on sales it is now the Worlds Most Popular Roleplaying Game.

Liberty's Edge

On topic, it all comes down to support.

If it ain't OGL, freelancers won't be encouraged to support it with interesting material. And based on the adventures WOTC has been putting out recently...

Shadow Lodge

Agree with ciretose. If they make it difficult for 3PP to support their system, they better to a HELL of a lot better supporting it themselves than they've done throughout 4E. They also need to realize that if subscribing to a digital service is all-but-required, like in 4E, they can kiss some of the potential customer base goodbye.

As for the OGL, I don't think it's necessarily necessary. I'm not sure how the legalities of it work, but I do know that no game before 2000 had an OGL, and there were tons of 3PP for 0E through 2E, as well as plenty of support for other games that don't have an OGL (or even a GSL) attached.

But I also agree with Scott, in that if you claim to be a part of the OD&D/1E/2E "crowd", then you would be playing THOSE games (or at least retroclones thereof)...not Pathfinder.


Kthulhu wrote:
I'm not sure how the legalities of it work, but I do know that no game before 2000 had an OGL, and there were tons of 3PP for 0E through 2E, as well as plenty of support for other games that don't have an OGL (or even a GSL) attached.

Tons?

There was a reasonable amount in the 0e and early 1e era. But then TSR started throwing around legal muscle, and un-licensed Judge's Guild, and there was the period of nothing much but (explicitly licensed) Role-Aids from Mayfair, the occasional sighting of a Bards Games supplement, and some stuff made and sold locally by fans who never got noticed by TSR (or anybody else outside their home city) because communications were hard pre-Internet.

After TSR vs. Mayfair ended the (TSR-licensed) Role-Aids line, I really don't remember anybody but Wizards of the Coast (which did The Primal Order and did an edition of the Compleat Alchemist) doing anything noticeable. And then we had the era of the TSR Online Policy, an effort to keep even free AD&D 2nd-compatible material fan works under strict control.

Silver Crusade

Rule set is nice so far, from what's been released but it's about support and WotC has has terrible support in recent years with no reason to suggest anything different with 5E.

Paizo on the other hand blows every other company away with the depth and quality of their Pathfinder support. Plus Pathfinder has an excellent 3PP support.

With no OGL in sight for 5E (and no case to be made for one appearing) that's another strike in my eyes.

Shadow Lodge

see wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
I'm not sure how the legalities of it work, but I do know that no game before 2000 had an OGL, and there were tons of 3PP for 0E through 2E, as well as plenty of support for other games that don't have an OGL (or even a GSL) attached.

Tons?

There was a reasonable amount in the 0e and early 1e era. But then TSR started throwing around legal muscle, and un-licensed Judge's Guild, and there was the period of nothing much but (explicitly licensed) Role-Aids from Mayfair, the occasional sighting of a Bards Games supplement, and some stuff made and sold locally by fans who never got noticed by TSR (or anybody else outside their home city) because communications were hard pre-Internet.

After TSR vs. Mayfair ended the (TSR-licensed) Role-Aids line, I really don't remember anybody but Wizards of the Coast (which did The Primal Order and did an edition of the Compleat Alchemist) doing anything noticeable. And then we had the era of the TSR Online Policy, an effort to keep even free AD&D 2nd-compatible material fan works under strict control.

Perhaps me using the word "tons" was over-exageration, but I think the fact that 3PP have supported games that have nothing close to the OGL or the GSL is my main point.


Even without the third party support, there is a lot of interesting stuff for Pathfinder. They have a strong lineup of support products and adventures for Pathfinder lovers. D&D seems a bit overpriced for what we get by comparison. Of course, Pathfinder inherited much of its existing rule set, so they didn't need to take as much time developing the game.

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