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It's a bit underwhelming so far...


Shattered Star

201 to 250 of 277 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | next > last >>

Looks like the adventure is really broken after all : There has only been one reported death and that due to a player killing another

(the homage to Paranoïa is intended)


Coridan wrote:
Player driven games are awesome with the right game and right players. I vastly prefer player driven games (though my players aren't really the proactive type so it doesn't work with my current group :( ) but I also think player driven games work better in Vampire the Masquerade and such rather than D&D

+1,000,000

Previously CoT was one of my least favorite APs. Tark's CoT Nobles without a House PbP changed that. The cast of PCs has made it one of my favorite APs now. Great players do make a great game.


I don't have the Patfinders in my Golarion - please make this playable for us who aren't really into the "organized adventurerer thing"...

I think that this could be a really cool campaign!

GRU

Grand Lodge Contributor

GRU wrote:

I don't have the Patfinders in my Golarion - please make this playable for us who aren't really into the "organized adventurerer thing"...

It already is, pretty much. You can easily replace the Pathfinder Society with any other organisation (or individual) you like. It's mostly just a jumping off point for the Adventure Path. They only feature a bit in the first chapter and James Jacobs has said that they don't feature much more than that in the whole AP.


James Jacobs wrote:
Whether or not Skull & Shackles failed depends on your point of view. If it DID fail, I would put it to you that the point it failed was with us not properly letting folks know ahead of time what kind of adventure they'd be expecting. Furthermore... Skull & Shackles had to handle some pretty significant non-core elements—ships and nautical themes and fleet battles are not handled really at all in the Core Rules, and the rules in Ultimate Combat are a bit TOO complex for what we wanted to do. Which mean that it was a really really hard AP to pull off. As a result, it fell significantly behind on the schedule, and perhaps we ended up biting off more than the game could chew.

Just a brief note - I don't think S&S failed overall (thus my specific reference to failing "on that front", referring to overuse of dungeons - which really only became an issue in the finale (#5 and #6), when the AP is really supposed to get awesome.

So while IMO it did fail on some of the location-based adventuring portions, overall I thought S&S was a relative success, especially on the work put into the nautical parts. (We just wanted more of that...!)

Oh, and (almost) completely unrelated - but because another poster mentioned it I thought it really really needed to be said again:

Foundations of Flame (from SCAP). That.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

Getting back to that tidbit about extra material, Where will we find that extra goodness? Is there going to be a front page announcement or do I need to follow this thread? Thanks in advance.

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mine all mine...don't touch wrote:
Getting back to that tidbit about extra material, Where will we find that extra goodness? Is there going to be a front page announcement or do I need to follow this thread? Thanks in advance.

If you're talking about the extra material for Curse of the Lady's Light, it's right here. (And it's also posted on that book's product page).

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

In the end folks... one thing that's important to keep in mind that, like it or not... dungeons and dungeon crawls are VERY popular. So that's probably the #1 reason you see dungeons show up so often in adventures.

I get that not everyone likes them. And I understand that's the whole point of this thread.

But they're popular.

You're the creative director of the very successful adventure module publishing house. You have a window on that most of us don't, but if you'll entertain some baseless anecdotal speculation... I don't think dungeon crawls are really that popular. In my experience as a GM at various cons and at weekly and monthly events at my Friendly Local Game Store for years (in addition to my weekly home games), players frequently misidentify dungeon crawls as "the thing they like" based on limited experience.

I'm not trying to set up some hierarchy of geekdom here and claiming that "experienced" players know better or some such nonsense. Stick with me.

Dungeon crawls as you said are easy to write and easy for GM's to run. Therefore a lot of early gaming and convention gaming and stuff is dungeon heavy. These nostalgic early experiences of gaming get coated in a kind of patina, reinforced by the fun environment at cons or at gaming stores where there is a high novelty value. People think they really like dungeon crawls.

When you ask them what it is they like about dungeon crawls though, you find that they have a hard time identifying it. They might say "tactical combat" - but you can have that outside a dungeon. They might say "cool environments" - again no dungeon necessary. They might say "more action, less talking" - who needs a dungeon for that? When they get to play with a GM who takes them on a great rooftop chase, or a scene of court intrigue that is packed with consequences and plot twists and real danger, or travel scenes with environmental dangers and thrills and not just a lot of walking and micro-managing supplies they often find that the same things they liked about dungeons can be had without the room by room drudgery.

Honestly, what is it (other than the ease of writing and design) that you can do with a series of encounters mapped to a "dungeon" that you couldn't do in any other setting or via a chain of plot based events, or with a skills challenge etc...? You guys already do a ton of great writing in your books that has nothing to do with dungeons - and THAT is what I think makes your AP's popular. Quality writing. Great scenarios. Memorable NPC's.

Doubtless you'll say that you have to keep mixing it up. That the recipe for your success is all of the above, but I think a dungeonless AP is not only doable, and wouldn't be a mere novelty. You don't even have to be explicit about calling it a dungeonless AP. Just think, "What would we hope to accomplish with a dungeon in this story and could the same thing be done without the linear room by room 'dungeon'?"

Don't sell yourselves short. Your popularity isn't due to your 'fanservice' or your kowtowing to the old tropes of D&D. Your popularity is due to great writing. We would want it even if it didn't try to ring any nostalgia bells - many of us would want it even more.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
sabedoriaclark wrote:

You're the creative director of the very successful adventure module publishing house. You have a window on that most of us don't, but if you'll entertain some baseless anecdotal speculation... I don't think dungeon crawls are really that popular. In my experience as a GM at various cons and at weekly and monthly events at my Friendly Local Game Store for years (in addition to my weekly home games), players frequently misidentify dungeon crawls as "the thing they like" based on limited experience.

I'm not trying to set up some hierarchy of geekdom here and claiming that "experienced" players know better or some such nonsense. Stick with me.

Dungeon crawls as you said are easy to write and easy for GM's to run. Therefore a lot of early gaming and convention gaming and stuff is dungeon heavy. These nostalgic early experiences of gaming get coated in a kind of patina, reinforced by the fun environment at cons or at gaming stores where there is a high novelty value. People think they really like dungeon crawls.

When you ask them what it is they like about dungeon crawls though, you find that they have a hard time identifying it. They might say "tactical combat" - but you can have that outside a dungeon. They might say "cool environments" - again no dungeon necessary. They might say "more action, less talking" - who needs a dungeon for that? When they get to play with a GM who takes them on a great rooftop chase, or a scene of court intrigue that is packed with consequences and plot twists and real danger, or travel scenes with environmental dangers and thrills and not just a lot of walking and micro-managing supplies they often find that the same things they liked about dungeons can be had without the room by room drudgery.

Honestly, what is it (other than the ease of writing and design) that you can do with a series of encounters mapped to a "dungeon" that you couldn't do in any other setting or via a chain of plot based events, or with a skills challenge etc...? You guys already do a ton of great writing in your books that has nothing to do with dungeons - and THAT is what I think makes your AP's popular. Quality writing. Great scenarios. Memorable NPC's.

Doubtless you'll say that you have to keep mixing it up. That the recipe for your success is all of the above, but I think a dungeonless AP is not only doable, and wouldn't be a mere novelty. You don't even have to be explicit about calling it a dungeonless AP. Just think, "What would we hope to accomplish with a dungeon in this story and could the same thing be done without the linear room by room 'dungeon'?"

Don't sell yourselves short. Your popularity isn't due to your 'fanservice' or your kowtowing to the old tropes of D&D. Your popularity is due to great writing. We would want it even if it didn't try to ring any nostalgia bells - many of us would want it even more.

In the end, I suppose we'll have to look at the sales figures for Shattered Star to determine just how popular THIS dungeon crawl is.

But you're right. I am the creative director of a successful adventure module publishing house. And I like to think that a part of why that publishing house is successful at publishing adventure modules is that I, as the creative director and primary creative force behind the Adventure Path for the past decade or so, have been making mostly the correct decisions on what types of Adventure Paths to publish.

Including a dungeon-heavy one like Shattered Star. Or Age of Worms or Rise of the Runelords, for that matter, which are probably the two MOST popular adventure paths we've published. The fact that Kingmaker is probably our third most popular Adventure Path is NOT lost on me, but even Kingmaker has a pretty large number of dungeons in it... they're just smaller and more spread out. Unless you look at the third adventure. Or the last adventure.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

sabedoriaclark wrote:

Honestly, what is it (other than the ease of writing and design) that you can do with a series of encounters mapped to a "dungeon" that you couldn't do in any other setting or via a chain of plot based events, or with a skills challenge etc...? You guys already do a ton of great writing in your books that has nothing to do with dungeons - and THAT is what I think makes your AP's popular. Quality writing. Great scenarios. Memorable NPC's.

Wanted to reply to this particular point on its own.

What it is we can do with a series of encounters mapped to a "dungeon" that we couldn't do in any other setting or via a chain of plot-based events would be present a series of dungeon crawls. Don't lose sight of that fact—Shattered Star is SUPPOSED TO BE DUNGEON CRAWLS. For nostalgia's sake if nothing else. We've never hidden that fact, and I knew folks would be wary about a very dungeon-heavy adventure path, which is partially why the next two adventure paths will have more urban and wilderness and planar elements.

In the end... quality writing and great encounters and memorable NPCs are, hopefully, going to continue to be featured in all our Adventure Paths. So that you as gamers won't have to decide on those elements when picking one of the dozen-plus APs we have to offer you— you can pick the one with the theme and story that you like the best.


S&S was great :)
Just a few oddities.. no doubt one reason discussion has been muted is how they came out, usually in sets of 2 paths.

But this was definately the "evil path" :D


a dungeon can be many different 'sites'....and with all that flying and magic about its no wonder people live in them

I run a lot of heavy urban stuff and it does suffer from a few issues.

-It you wish it to be unrailroady, then there will be bits the party just dont got to, they dont take that option, clue, route etc This is fine in a home game but tricky for an AP with its xp needs etc AND people would feel a tad robbed, i think, if they only used 40 out of 60 pages of the adventure

-they may go to the same place several times, weeks and months apart. word space is therefore needed to have some ideas to cover this. If the old Bath-House is cleared off baddies, you can bet your COR+1 someone will occupy it a week later.

-makes things tricky for an episodic AP, especially if is set in one city

Anyhoos, having just run Kingmaker to the end

Spoiler:
Nyrissa won and ship-in-a-bottled-the-kingdom
having only read through SS-1 Im quite liking it

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:


Don't lose sight of that fact—Shattered Star is SUPPOSED TO BE DUNGEON CRAWLS. For nostalgia's sake if nothing else. We've never hidden that fact, and I knew folks would be wary about a very dungeon-heavy adventure path, which is partially why the next two adventure paths will have more urban and wilderness and planar elements.

I get it. Expectations managed. I'm not trying to argue for this AP to be something other than what you set out to make it - and have made it very clear all along was your intent.

I was speaking more philosophically about future AP's and what makes them popular. If it's true that Rise of the Runelords (which I've read but not played) and Age of Worms (which I've neither read nor played) are your most popular AP's I don't think that proves the point that dungeons are what is popular. As you say Kingmaker is possibly the third most popular, and in these forums the consensus seems to be that Curse of the Crimson Throne is the most critically acclaimed - which had plenty of dungeons, but even more urban, wilderness and intrigue.

Furthermore, if I am correct that your popularity is more due to the general quality of writing, creativity, and diversity in your product than that frees you to consider options that you seem to consider outside the mainstream like an AP with even fewer or zero dungeoncrawls. It goes without saying that you are in control here and even if what I'm saying sounds like criticism it is criticism from someone who likes your product and buys an awful lot of it.


as for urban/diplomacy... im thinking very much on this dungeons adventure "diplomacy", getting a plane full of diamonds for your guys (or even yourself).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I enjoy AP’s of all types, as do the folks in my gaming groups. I think Shattered Star will be well received when we get around to it (almost 5/6ths of the way through Serpent Skull at the moment and Runelords is next in line). I like the wide variety in APs and the variety within each AP and wouldn’t change a thing.

Oddly enough, Kingmaker was the one I enjoyed the least (the exploration aspect got a little monotonous), but it was still enjoyable. With all APs, anything we don’t like, we change and there has been very little that we have had to change.

So far, I think Shackled City has been the best, though I suspect RotRL will surpass that one.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of point going out or your way to put a whole different background and setting on an Adventure Path that would be substantially the same if cast as a typical "Dungeon Crawl".

A dungeon is a familiar setting that doesn't need to be spelled out in great detail - it's just accepted. With a limited word-count the players (and writers) get more bang for the buck if the descriptive text is spent on plot and participants, not on the environs. Moving outside that framework should be driven by necessity of the plot, and not just for flavour.

Stepping outside the dungeon entails some level of risk, too. Paizo have been ready to try this, and have added mechanisms to some APs. Sometimes it worked just fine - sometimes (*cough* caravan encounters *cough*) not so well. But even when the additional material works, there will be some number of players who just don't like the different feel/setting/...

Some people dislike dungeon crawls; some dislike pocket dimensions, or planar adventures, or settings full of demons and demigods, or anywhere with firearms, or mad wizards threatening the safety of the world, or ...

I don't expect to like every AP that comes along. But as long as Paizo produce ones that I like faster than our group can complete them I'll be happy.


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Maybe I'm in the minority here but for me at least it's the STORY that makes or breaks an AP.

I can make dungeons or cities or even futzing about in the wilderness interesting. Nobody tells me a dungeon full of encounters can't be handled in non-hack-n-slash ways. Nobody tells me a city needs to be handled as a static reality. Nobody tells me the middle of nowhere can't be full of opportunity. As a GM and as a writer I can MAKE these things interesting. I can MAKE encounters into something I want them to be. That's easy.

If the story of an AP is missing or overly simplistic or a great idea that has poor execution then I feel that AP fails. That's why I was so disappointed by Serpent's Skull. That's why I won't run Kingmaker. And that's why I'm interested in knowing how Shattered Star turns out as the volumes come out.

I don't particularly care if this story takes place in Golarion's largest dungeon, in the middle of Absalom, in a life raft in the middle of the ocean, or in a room with a moose. So long as the story interests me I'll be happy.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
ANebulousMistress wrote:
Maybe I'm in the minority here but for me at least it's the STORY that makes or breaks an AP.

Fully agreed, which is why I commented earlier in this thread that despite my skepticism about an all dungeon crawl AP the writing and the story in the first volume totally got my attention. It is also why I've commented here later in the thread that a zero dungeon crawl AP could totally work. It is the story and the writing that sells it and for those of us who find dungeon crawling generally less compelling it would be a welcome change. For those who love dungeon crawling I argue that they'd still love an AP with a great story even if there weren't any linear room by room monster smashing fests.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Still hoping for the Mega-Dungeon AP one day.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Sunderstone wrote:
Still hoping for the Mega-Dungeon AP one day.

Me too. No doubt this AP has pushed the probability of that happening back a few APs, nonetheless a megadungeon is more than just lots of dungeons. I hope we see one in a few years time.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
sabedoriaclark wrote:
Honestly, what is it (other than the ease of writing and design) that you can do with a series of encounters mapped to a "dungeon" that you couldn't do in any other setting or via a chain of plot based events, or with a skills challenge etc...? You guys already do a ton of great writing in your books that has nothing to do with dungeons - and THAT is what I think makes your AP's popular. Quality writing. Great scenarios. Memorable NPC's.

Setting is part of the story. What you can convey is the unique environment/social dynamic that would develop in such a claustrophobic environment with limited resources and egress.

.
I like dungeons (a lot) but I dont like room-by-room sequences of monsters to kill. I dont think that's what the fans of dungeons (or better a megadungeon) are asking Paizo to produce. I agree that Paizo's popularity is driven by their focus on quality, experimentation and innovation. I'd like to see that applied to a monstrous dungeon (precisely to counter the relatively common perception that "dungeon=series of combats").


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Steve Geddes wrote:
... nonetheless a megadungeon is more than just lots of dungeons.

How so? I've been trying to understand the concept and appeal of the so-called megadungeon for some time. What makes it so exciting to certein people? What exactly is a megadungeon anyway? And why would it exist in the first place?


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Zaister wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
... nonetheless a megadungeon is more than just lots of dungeons.
How so? I've been trying to understand the concept and appeal of the so-called megadungeon for some time. What makes it so exciting to certein people? What exactly is a megadungeon anyway? And why would it exist in the first place?

In reverse order (and purely from my, not particularly well-informed perspective):

And why would it exist in the first place?
I think it probably wouldnt exist in any sensible world. It's a fantasy game trope that is accepted based purely on how things were in 'the old days' (with a multi-levelled dungeon complex full of ever-more difficult monsters/puzzles/traps/etcetera a convenient hike from some small town with a voracious appetite for loot and a blithe indifference to the subterranean threat on their doorstep.

How so? What exactly is a megadungeon anyway?
The reason I distinguish between megadungeons and lots-of-dungeons is that the attraction (to me) is not "being underground for a long time" - it's the unique mix of vastness and simultaneous constraint which I find an interesting setting. There are lots of choices - but lots of restrictions too. What I mean by megadungeon is a multiple level, vast, underground complex. It has limited but numerous entrances/exits to the surface world and to the 'underdark' (or whatever equivalent exists) and many interconnections between the various levels. There are some regions controlled by various factions, some uncontrolled (although generally containing wandering monsters and other threats). There are plenty of unoccupied rooms and many interconnecting hallways/passages. One often misunderstood feature, in my view, is that they are not linear (or not entirely anyhow - there may be some 'gauntlet' sections). Another misconception (although well justified given several examples of megadungeons) is that they are wall-to-wall combat. That's definitely not the kind of megadungeon AP I'm asking for when I request one.

What makes it so exciting to certein people?
What I like about them is partly just nostalgia - dungeon delving ever deeper was how I got started and there is a certain familiarity/ease of play. I also like the unique environment - the politics in such confined, tightly controlled spaces together with the inherent continual shortage/crisis of resource management which would arise. (I like siege scenarios too, as it happens for similar reasons). There's also an element of escapism - dungeon delving (and planar travelling) are the parts of the game most far removed from my everyday life. Urban adventures and wilderness travel are, to me, inherently 'less fantastical' and hence less interesting.

Having said all of that - I like a broad array of options, so I'm by no means suggesting that megadungeons should be common as AP subjects. I'd like to see one from Paizo though - partly because I suspect they'll produce something awesome and give one of my favorite environments a new, paizo-level dose of fresh inspiration.


Zaister wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
... nonetheless a megadungeon is more than just lots of dungeons.
How so? I've been trying to understand the concept and appeal of the so-called megadungeon for some time. What makes it so exciting to certein people? What exactly is a megadungeon anyway? And why would it exist in the first place?

Treat yourself to the PDF of Goodman Games Castle Whiterock. It's 3.5 but all sorts of yummy. With Paizo's writing it could be the greatest thing since white bread! Ymmv.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Steve—

thanks for the explanation. It helps to understand.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Sunderstone wrote:
With Paizo's writing it could be the greatest thing since white bread! Ymmv.

I very much prefer rye bread. (Which, I guess, is the default kind of bread here in Germany anyway.) :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

I have loved dungeons ever since reading about Khazad-dûm / Moria in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Did Tolkein justify this dungeon or was it just part of a great story? Not sure but I still love dungeon adventures.


Sunderstone wrote:
Still hoping for the Mega-Dungeon AP one day.

Cathedral of ascension could work that way.

Going across in the first paragraph, entering the gates and the grand gates shut close.

You wont get out as a mortal, so either ascend or fail and die.
So downwards into the dungeons the path takes.. all 6 installments, until at last either divinity of final death is achieved.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

ikki3520 wrote:

Cathedral of ascension could work that way.

Going across in the first paragraph, entering the gates and the grand gates shut close.

You wont get out as a mortal, so either ascend or fail and die.
So downwards into the dungeons the path takes.. all 6 installments, until at last either divinity of final death is achieved.

Can you tell us more about Cathedral of Ascension? i don't think i have ever heard of it before and my Google-fu didn't find it.

Thanks!


catdragon wrote:
ikki3520 wrote:

Cathedral of ascension could work that way.

Going across in the first paragraph, entering the gates and the grand gates shut close.

You wont get out as a mortal, so either ascend or fail and die.
So downwards into the dungeons the path takes.. all 6 installments, until at last either divinity of final death is achieved.

Can you tell us more about Cathedral of Ascension? i don't think i have ever heard of it before and my Google-fu didn't find it.

Thanks!

That place with the starstone ;)

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Galnörag wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
So... an AP where the whole party has to be elven paladins of Iomedae, exploring the new demiplane where Treerazer has begun to rebuild his extraplanar fortress? I'm in!

You would have to be elves, because after SD (which we loved) no one in Golorion particularly seems affectionate to the Elves anymore (at least around our table.)

Honestly, after the 5th module they honestly were like "if it weren't for all the other people who would get hurt when Kyonnin became Golorion's second b@@% h+#&, we would let it happen."

I guess well cool, becoming meat puppets in the 4th module also didn't help either.

heavy sigh

Which is the primary reason why I want to redo the 5th adventure for Second Darkness. It was SUPPOSED to be the adventure that makes the PCs into friends of the elves, but it misstepped hard, alas.

I kinda like that adventure, but I also understand your point. I'd suggest just looking forward. There's Jinin, and Castrovel, and the Crown of the World, and undersea where there's a really cool, elf-centric adventure that's going to be awesome someday. I know it; it's only a matter of time.


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James Jacobs wrote:
In the end, I suppose we'll have to look at the sales figures for Shattered Star to determine just how popular THIS dungeon crawl is.

hmm "looking at the sales", just how many copies are being sold via subscription and will be bought, regardless fo their eventual use ? Speaking for myself, I will never run "Second Darkness", "Bastards of Erebus" or "Shattered Star", yet I bought them.

I think, paizo runs a professional "by the numbers" take on this, but looking over at 4E, the things that strikes me about people who used it is :
"It's nice for dungeons but really not much else"

I just returned from a local Con, and hardly anyone went for "romp through the location" adventures, be they easy to set up or highly complex.

Does one really want to walk down that path of "dungeons everywhere" to yield to a, possibly small, minority of gamers ?


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Chocolate Thief wrote:
I have loved dungeons ever since reading about Khazad-dûm / Moria in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Did Tolkein justify this dungeon or was it just part of a great story? Not sure but I still love dungeon adventures.

Sooo... to be frank, the group passes through Khazad-Dum, from west to East. Much like the passage through Rohan. Nothing dungeon-oriented in it, except for being underground. One "blockhouse" battle at Balin's tomb.

And taking a long and hard look at most publication aimed at DnD/Pathfinder, where exactly do we, the readers get an extended delving through dungeons and dark tunnels ?

Rarely if ever, because frankly, it is boring stuff to read about.


sabedoriaclark wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


Don't lose sight of that fact—Shattered Star is SUPPOSED TO BE DUNGEON CRAWLS. For nostalgia's sake if nothing else. We've never hidden that fact, and I knew folks would be wary about a very dungeon-heavy adventure path, which is partially why the next two adventure paths will have more urban and wilderness and planar elements.

I get it. Expectations managed. I'm not trying to argue for this AP to be something other than what you set out to make it - and have made it very clear all along was your intent.

I was speaking more philosophically about future AP's and what makes them popular. If it's true that Rise of the Runelords (which I've read but not played) and Age of Worms (which I've neither read nor played) are your most popular AP's I don't think that proves the point that dungeons are what is popular. As you say Kingmaker is possibly the third most popular, and in these forums the consensus seems to be that Curse of the Crimson Throne is the most critically acclaimed - which had plenty of dungeons, but even more urban, wilderness and intrigue.

Furthermore, if I am correct that your popularity is more due to the general quality of writing, creativity, and diversity in your product than that frees you to consider options that you seem to consider outside the mainstream like an AP with even fewer or zero dungeoncrawls. It goes without saying that you are in control here and even if what I'm saying sounds like criticism it is criticism from someone who likes your product and buys an awful lot of it.

+

'nuff said


Just finished the Shards of Sin tonight with my GM and I have to say I enjoyed it. It felt very refreshing with the dungeon crawl as I haven't been in a decent one for the last year. I'm also a fan of maze traps and the Rift Siphon was very fun!


Dark_Mistress wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
That said... a truly dungeonless Adventure Path would be an interesting and challenging experiment, but I'm really REALLY worried that no one would want it since dungeons are such a well-loved and traditional element of the game.

I personally would love to see a heavy urban, RP heavy AP. One where they might be some fights but they would be things that happened in a variety of places and very few in the same place. With a lot of stuff between the fights.

Of course i am fairly sure I am in a vocal minority but a minority the same.

I wouldn't count on that... adventuring is not dependent on dungeons at all, IMHO, but rather on, y'know, adventure. And the definition of that is definitely broader than "dungeons". If we go by that, why ain't there a dragon in every AP?

After we got "Ship Combat, the AP", I think some experimenting on the front of a very RP heavy, urban AP might be interesting. Curse of the Crimson Throne is one of the most beloved APs, with the exploration chapter being seen as the weakest part ( although Scarwall, OTOH, was seen as one of the strongest of it, so feel free to shoot my hypothesis full of holes on that account ).

An AP with a more static location, but great character interaction might be a good way to go.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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vikingson wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
In the end, I suppose we'll have to look at the sales figures for Shattered Star to determine just how popular THIS dungeon crawl is.

hmm "looking at the sales", just how many copies are being sold via subscription and will be bought, regardless fo their eventual use ? Speaking for myself, I will never run "Second Darkness", "Bastards of Erebus" or "Shattered Star", yet I bought them.

I think, paizo runs a professional "by the numbers" take on this, but looking over at 4E, the things that strikes me about people who used it is :
"It's nice for dungeons but really not much else"

I just returned from a local Con, and hardly anyone went for "romp through the location" adventures, be they easy to set up or highly complex.

Does one really want to walk down that path of "dungeons everywhere" to yield to a, possibly small, minority of gamers ?

"Looking at the sales" includes subscriptions, direct sales via Paizo.com, and sales to distributors. We mostly look to direct customer feedback (via the boards, conventions, etc.) to determine how popular adventures actually are once they're run, and one such bit of information I gleaned from these boards is that a lot of people really want a dungeon-heavy AP. They also wanted pirates and horror and the Worldwound and Baba Yaga. We don't just make our decisions as to how to spend 6 months of our flagship setting line idly.

And frankly... If all someone does is read an adventure and they never run it... I hardly count that a failure at all. Pathfinder products are meant to provide entertaining reading JUST AS MUCH as they are to be played. If something is never run in your game, but you enjoyed reading it or if you found some inspiration in it or borrowed even one element for another game you're running, then that's a justified purchase in my mind.

Andoran

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

I just want to clarify that I enjoy a dungeon heavy AP, Shack city and Shatt star are both awesome; I would love to see a dungeonless one though.

Examples: Carnival of Tears, Foundation of Flames

This concept would work well with Galt I think


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vikingson wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
In the end, I suppose we'll have to look at the sales figures for Shattered Star to determine just how popular THIS dungeon crawl is.

hmm "looking at the sales", just how many copies are being sold via subscription and will be bought, regardless fo their eventual use ? Speaking for myself, I will never run "Second Darkness", "Bastards of Erebus" or "Shattered Star", yet I bought them.

I think, paizo runs a professional "by the numbers" take on this, but looking over at 4E, the things that strikes me about people who used it is :
"It's nice for dungeons but really not much else"

I just returned from a local Con, and hardly anyone went for "romp through the location" adventures, be they easy to set up or highly complex.

Does one really want to walk down that path of "dungeons everywhere" to yield to a, possibly small, minority of gamers ?

"It's nice for dungeons but really not much else" is a very parochial way of looking at it. I read Shattered Star and I see interesting characters, set-pieces, plots, dungeon ecology and politics, great support articles, and even interesting encounters that take place outside the dungeons. "Really not much" indeed.

Unless that statement was reserved for 4E, in which case, you would be implying that the design agenda behind Shattered Star risks hewing too close to that model. While that might have been a concern before the first module was released, now that it's out, I'm pretty sure it's nothing like the 4E modules I own.

Also, "small minority of gamers"? You do realize you've been insinuating your own biases into your opinions about Paizo's market, right? Even if you and every gamer you personally know doesn't like dungeons it still doesn't mean it's representative of a proper sample size. Unless you personally know over 2,000 gamers.

For example, I don't like blue cheese. I literally do not know anyone else in my city who likes blue cheese. Many people I know actively despise blue cheese. This does not indicate, in any form, that Canadians in general do not like blue cheese. It also does not indicate that Canadians who do like blue cheese are a minority. It might indicate (probably not) that people in my town or neighbourhood who like blue cheese are a minority, but that would be as far as it would go.

So disliking dungeons might be a local thing in your region. Even the con you recently attended was a local event. Luckily for Paizo, their consumer base is international. On a broad-spectrum, dungeons still seem to be fairly popular. Popular enough that 3PPs are doing successful business through Paizo's website selling dungeon modules. Even if one were to only use the messageboard trends for determining demand, it would seem that dungeons still sell very well.

In fact, as James Jacobs pointed out, one of the reasons they produced Shattered Star is because of messageboard demand. Just as the demand has also influenced the production of the upcoming Irrisen and Worldwound APs. I've been following the Paizo forums quite closely for four years and I agree with Mr. Jacobs, dungeons are still popular with the Paizo community.

vikingson wrote:
To each his own. Speaking for myself, I am fine with having graduated from the "Let's bash em" dungeons of my childhood ("Lost caverns of Tsojacanth", how we miss thee.. nevermind the "Temple of Elemental Evil" original edition.... ) to more socially dynamic, more sandboxy and less "you have to climb through a stupid statue hitting monsters" (and yes we had that in the Dragonlance-series^^).

Finally, to bring up an earlier point you made in the thread, I agree that sometimes the concept of "Dungeon-crawling" hearkens back to the days of our youth before we "graduated" to more mature styles of gaming. I'm not going to argue whether that style of play is more or less mature than any other (that's a topic for another thread), but it is certainly as legitimate a playstyle as any other. However, one could point out that it is a playstyle more common to younger gamers and that's why "many" of us might see a dungeon-crawl AP as not being as interesting for us experienced gamers. While that may be true (or not), it discounts the fact that Paizo isn't just selling their products to ages 25+.

Paizo just released the Pathfinder Beginner Box within the last year. There are a lot of new gamers, many young, who are just getting into the Pathfinder. Since the simpler playstyle of dungeon-crawling seems to be associated with the early stages of what you could call the "gamer life-cycle," now is the perfect time for Paizo to release an AP designed for "early stage gamers".

You and I may no longer be young gamers but we're also not the only generation that exists or plays RPGs. Just because our childhood is behind us doesn't mean other children don't play the game. It's quite possible that a certain demographic of gamers has never played Lost caverns of Tsojacanth, The Rod of Seven Parts, White Plume Mountain, or the Tomb of Horrors. While that sort of material may be overly familiar to some of us, to others this type of campaign may be entirely original.

And to those players, I say "Welcome, I hope your first forays into the dungeons of The Shattered Star are as memorable and inspiring as my first forays into Undermountain, The Night Below, and The Lost City".

Cheers,
Tony


The Block Knight wrote:

Unless that statement was reserved for 4E, in which case, you would be implying that the design agenda behind Shattered Star risks hewing too close to that model. While that might have been a concern before the first module was released, now that it's out, I'm pretty sure it's nothing like the 4E modules I own.

Also, "small minority of gamers"? You do realize you've been insinuating your own biases into your opinions about Paizo's market, right? Even if you and every gamer you personally know doesn't like dungeons it still doesn't mean it's representative of a proper sample size. Unless you personally know over 2,000 gamers.

Been going to conventions for... hmm approximately 30 years ? Groups hereabouts "list" what the adventure will be about ( besides other metadata), and it has been.... well observable, that "dungeon run" type stories take longer to fill up with players. Nevermind them breaking up much earlier - which may be due to frustration, incompatability or the group having "wiped-out"

If you list "a journey of exploration" people will mostly happily attend. If you list "a journey of dungeon exploration"... yeah, things do take significantly longer.

And how many gamer people do I know ? Say.. about 500 ? I have certainly mastered for over a hundred players throughout the years. And played in one or two groups (besides mastering) at every convention I attend, which currently are about 3-4 per year. 3 conventions x 20+ years.... yeah that should be in excess of 500 players. Even with a solid number of returning customers. I consider myself knowledgable around DnD + offshoot players, and I'd say, I have a solid foundation for taking my stance.

I am not insinuating, I am refering the results of "practical observation vs. what do the forums tell us ". Hereabouts, reality always beats number-crunching theories and dogma.
Nevermind the forums having a very special subset of players publishing themselves.

And... looking at sales at the friendly local gamestores (incidentally run by good friends ), 4E is "dead", because it focused on tactical board-game dungeoneering.

And yes, I think "Shattered Star" is venturing down the 4E road far too much. Time will tell, but raising the flag of "Consternation" about it, is just the thing the forums need.
And be it for a more diverse opinion on the whole matter. Just consider that of the 15 players I game with (in Pathfinder), only two of us post on this forum. Be it for language skills (all Europeans here) , interest, "just being players" or general aversion to forums. But none of the other players wants "dungeoneering" either, and they do purchase all the general paizo stuff.

The Block Knight wrote:

Finally, to bring up an earlier point you made in the thread, I agree that sometimes the concept of "Dungeon-crawling" hearkens back to the days of our youth before we "graduated" to more mature styles of gaming. I'm not going to argue whether that style of play is more or less mature than any other (that's a topic for another thread), but it is certainly as legitimate a playstyle as any other. However, one could point out that it is a playstyle more common to younger gamers and that's why "many" of us might see a dungeon-crawl AP as not being as interesting for us experienced gamers. While that may be true (or not), it discounts the fact that Paizo isn't just selling their products to ages 25+.

Paizo just released the Pathfinder Beginner Box within the last year. There are a lot of new gamers, many young, who are just getting into the Pathfinder. Since the simpler playstyle of dungeon-crawling seems to be associated with the early stages of what you could call the "gamer life-cycle," now is the perfect time for Paizo to release an AP designed for "early stage gamers".

Looking at my good Matze, who is running a game for eight to ten year olds, the kids they are actually much happier with "outside plots" instead of "Dungeon Crawls", because they are much less stressful with regard to concentration. They enjoy doing wild stuff with rangers, cavaliers and wizards, riding down kobolds in the forest, trying to entrap a giant and fighting witches, instead of smashing from room to room.

The big problem with dungeons, IMHO, is that they actually proclaim "chopping down monsters" to be an adventure. An adventure, in my book at least, is a thrilling and heroic story, not localised monster-icide

Our generation may have been raised on the "old dungeons", but that does not mean, one cannot do much better these days. And the great campaigns I most fondly remember from my youth/teen years are the "Desert of Desolation" or the excellent UK-series of adventures. And not "Tomb of Horrors" or "Temple of Elemental Evil".

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

vikingson wrote:

Looking at my good Matze, who is running a game for eight to ten year olds, the kids they are actually much happier with "outside plots" instead of "Dungeon Crawls", because they are much less stressful with regard to concentration. They enjoy doing wild stuff with rangers, cavaliers and wizards, riding down kobolds in the forest, trying to entrap a giant and fighting witches, instead of smashing from room to room.

The big problem with dungeons, IMHO, is that they actually proclaim "chopping down monsters" to be an adventure. An adventure, in my book at least, is a thrilling and heroic story, not localised monster-icide

Our generation may have been raised on the "old dungeons", but that does not mean, one cannot do much better these days. And the great campaigns I most fondly remember from my youth/teen years are the "Desert of Desolation" or the excellent UK-series of adventures. And not "Tomb of Horrors" or "Temple of Elemental Evil".

We all get it. You're underwhelmed. But your argument in favor "Desert of Desolation" doesn't make sense. The mist maze was awesome and is the most memorable dungeon in any adventure I've ever played.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And another answer to some of the questions...

Steve Geddes wrote:
Zaister wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
... nonetheless a megadungeon is more than just lots of dungeons.
How so? I've been trying to understand the concept and appeal of the so-called megadungeon for some time. What makes it so exciting to certein people? What exactly is a megadungeon anyway? And why would it exist in the first place?

In reverse order (and purely from my, not particularly well-informed perspective):

And why would it exist in the first place?
I think it probably wouldnt exist in any sensible world. It's a fantasy game trope that is accepted based purely on how things were in 'the old days' (with a multi-levelled dungeon complex full of ever-more difficult monsters/puzzles/traps/etcetera a convenient hike from some small town with a voracious appetite for loot and a blithe indifference to the subterranean threat on their doorstep.

Why would a mega dungeon exist? Lets look at Hollow Mountain. The Runelord decided that having an underground city in a mountain with her face carved on the outside was a good idea. Now, it's a mega dungeon.

As mentioned before, the Mines of Moria was a megadungeon, but not to the Fellowship (it was just a travel adventure for them), but to Balin and the dwarves that tried to reclaim it.
Or maybe you could take the concept of the city of Cauldron from Shackled City. A city in an extinct volcano, with several underground complexes under it; a deserted gnome city, several cave passages, and other complexes created by older inhabitants (and repurposed by their current inhabitants). A few more connections, and a megadungeon is born.
Or the underground passeges in Kaer Maga, how far do they run? What lurks in them that needs a dedicated team to guide travelers through them?


The Block Knight wrote:
In fact, as James Jacobs pointed out, one of the reasons they produced Shattered Star is because of messageboard demand.

I wonder if that's enough?

In fact, one might wonder if the Paizo APs are, in the end, just for Paizo Messageboard Users...


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
vikingson wrote:
The big problem with dungeons, IMHO, is that they actually proclaim "chopping down monsters" to be an adventure. An adventure, in my book at least, is a thrilling and heroic story, not localised monster-icide

FWIW, my requests for dungeon adventures aren't for the kinds of dungeons you're imagining.

A campaign of "chopping down monsters" is likely to get dull whether its indoor or outdoors. There's nothing about being inside which precludes a story from developing unless the dm chooses to run it that way.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Arnwyn wrote:

I wonder if that's enough?

In fact, one might wonder if the Paizo APs are, in the end, just for Paizo Messageboard Users...

Wow. Universe revolve around you much?

I'm sorry that just came off nasty and that wasn't my intent.

Spoiler:
(Well, perhaps a little (: ).

Mainly the good folks at Paizo only have a few ways to determine what their customer base wants. The forums are probably the one they see day in and day out. to mean, that means that its fair to assume that whats on the message boards is what the consumers want.

After all if you are a consumer and you don't tell the service provider what you want, you have to be satisfied with what is delivered to you.

Lastly, all the APs are are a collection of themed, perhaps sequential, encounters. if you don't want to have the dungeons, don't use them and convert the room to room encounters to NPC meeting to NPC meeting encounters. Its a lot of work, but it can be done.


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vikingson wrote:


Been going to conventions for... hmm approximately 30 years ? Groups hereabouts "list" what the adventure will be about ( besides other metadata), and it has been.... well observable, that "dungeon run" type stories take longer to fill up with players. Nevermind them breaking up much earlier - which may be due to frustration, incompatability or the group having "wiped-out"

If you list "a journey of exploration" people will mostly happily attend. If you list "a journey of dungeon exploration"... yeah, things do take significantly longer.

And how many gamer people do I know ? Say.. about 500 ? I have certainly mastered for over a hundred players throughout the years. And played in one or two groups (besides mastering) at every convention I attend, which currently are about 3-4 per year. 3 conventions x 20+ years.... yeah that should be in excess of 500 players. Even with a solid number of returning customers. I consider myself knowledgable around DnD + offshoot players, and I'd say, I have a solid foundation for taking my stance.

I am not insinuating, I am refering the results of "practical observation vs. what do the forums tell us ". Hereabouts, reality always beats number-crunching theories and dogma.
Nevermind the forums having a very special subset of players publishing themselves.

Whew, trying to avoid derailing the thread too much but since the discussion is keeping civil I suppose I'll continue. I was worried my last post came across as argumentative, I'm glad to see you didn't take it that way. Cheers.

Anyway, I'll try to keep this one shorter. I certainly can't argue regarding your history or experience. That is a lot of people and I also have to agree that forums cannot always be taken into consideration either because of its unique subset of people. So we're off to a good start as I agree with you on this.

However, 500 is still not 5000. Despite our best efforts, yours and mine, neither of us has divinatory powers. Paizo, on the other hand, does have access to a crystal ball called marketing data (okay, so it's low-magic sub-par crystal ball but it works). If their marketing data shows that out of 10,000 copies of dungeon X 85% sold, while only 70% of the 10,000 copies of political intrigue module Y sold then they know more than we do. Granted, you can rarely compare single modules since other variables (the strength of the author and the material) come into play. But they can see product trends for their published material far better than we can.

Maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong. My point is that Paizo isn't jumping into a risky endeavor to appeal to a, "possibly small, minority of gamers". They know what they're doing. 10 years of being the best in the business has shown that they know what they're doing.

vikingson wrote:


And... looking at sales at the friendly local gamestores (incidentally run by good friends ), 4E is "dead", because it focused on tactical board-game dungeoneering.

And yes, I think "Shattered Star" is venturing down the 4E road far too much. Time will tell, but raising the flag of "Consternation" about it, is just the thing the forums need.
And be it for a more diverse opinion on the whole matter. Just consider that of the 15 players I game with (in Pathfinder), only two of us post on this forum. Be it for language skills (all Europeans here) , interest, "just being players" or general aversion to forums. But none of the other players wants "dungeoneering" either, and they do purchase all the general paizo stuff.

4E is dead because they failed to provide proper support for their ruleset and because the modules weren't interesting. Period. Nothing to to with whether the modules took place in a dungeon. You did hit it on the head slightly with the "tactical board-game" being part of the cause but it has nothing to do with if the board-game takes place in a dungeon.

I too have a close friend (my college roommate) who opened and now runs his own gaming store. This is his take on it, his exact words: "Putting a roof on it doesn't make the story inherently bad".

Case in point, you could have a wilderness sandbox module that is just battle after battle against Orc tribes and no interesting set-pieces. That would suck. Or you could have a mega-dungeon like the The Candlestone Caverns in Golarion where the party is caught in the middle of a game of political intrigue where the Drow inhabiting an ancient Duergar outpost are trying to negotiate with envoys from the Court of Ether (a realm of noble dark Fey), all while attempting to lift the curse that has forced the ancient spirits of the dead Duergar to manifest and haunt the delicate political mission at hand. That sounds like a lot more fun than just killing hordes of Orcs and it's all done under one dungeon roof.

That's why his customers buy Pathfinder instead of 4E. It has nothing to do with the dungeons. As for Shattered Star, that's what I see - interesting set-pieces, alternate ways to achieve goals (like negotiation), varied ecology, etc. It is nothing like most 4E modules.

The key point to remember here, and this is what's misleading about some of your comparisons, is that this is a dungeon AP, not a dungeon-crawl AP. There is a huge difference.

Anyway, this is starting to run long and I'm about to start my weekly gaming session (which includes my FLGS friend I quoted above). I'll be back later to discuss the second half of your response which has some great points in it I'd also like to address.

Cheers,
Tony


vikingson wrote:

The big problem with dungeons, IMHO, is that they actually proclaim "chopping down monsters" to be an adventure. An adventure, in my book at least, is a thrilling and heroic story, not localised monster-icide

Our generation may have been raised on the "old dungeons", but that does not mean, one cannot do much better these days. And the great campaigns I most fondly remember from my youth/teen years are the "Desert of Desolation" or the excellent UK-series of adventures. And not "Tomb of Horrors" or "Temple of Elemental Evil".

having benn a GM for over 30 years myself, and having graduated the classic big dungeons like Temple of Elemental Evil, Tomb of Horrors, Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, Night Below, etc. I can say that never has my group devolved into simple hack and slash around it. As a matter of fact, we had tremendous amounts of RPing during these "crawls" and I have always weaved in their respective backgrounds into the overall setting/story. I have had the opposite experience filling up tables in the hayday when I ran Dungeon Crawls. The GM and Players will make or break any game RP-wise, end of story. Get a PDF copy of Castle Whiterock if you can, then add Paizo's talented developers to that, I would be stoked for this in a heartbeat (even if I prefer the classic box set for this type of project).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Arnwyn wrote:
The Block Knight wrote:
In fact, as James Jacobs pointed out, one of the reasons they produced Shattered Star is because of messageboard demand.

I wonder if that's enough?

In fact, one might wonder if the Paizo APs are, in the end, just for Paizo Messageboard Users...

Paizo messageboard users are one of the customers we build Adventure Paths for, but they're not the only ones. Also, I kind of HAVE to assume that those who are passionate enough to post frequently on these boards represent a pretty accurate view of the typical Paizo customer.

I'd rather build products my customers like and then try to branch out to new customers as a side quest than try to build products to catch mystical new customers and do things to appeal to the current customers as a side quest.

In any event, since the success and popularity of the Adventure Path line has been alternating between slow and fast growth spurts but hasn't really done a decline yet... I suspect that it IS enough.

We didn't "accidentally" reach volume #62, in other words.


James Jacobs wrote:

In any event, since the success and popularity of the Adventure Path line has been alternating between slow and fast growth spurts but hasn't really done a decline yet... I suspect that it IS enough.

We didn't "accidentally" reach volume #62, in other words.

My group and me have a very slow playing style, so it takes us years to complete a campaign.

I'm just happy that Paizo keeps producing APs, even if they appeal less to me personally. As long as enough customers like them to buy them, then the future of the line is assured. I don't doubt that once in a while there will be an adventure path that is right up my alley. That's all I need.

So I'm all in favor of Paizo's choice to do different things in different APs. Sure, they can't please all of the people all of the time, but if the line persists those who like it a bit less now might be overjoyed with the next campaign.


catdragon wrote:
Arnwyn wrote:

I wonder if that's enough?

In fact, one might wonder if the Paizo APs are, in the end, just for Paizo Messageboard Users...

Wow. Universe revolve around you much?

I'm sorry that just came off nasty and that wasn't my intent.

(Well, perhaps a little (: ).

Now, now - don't be a douche, please. It was nasty - and unnecessary.

My question was related to sample sizes and marketing information. (Mentioning in any way something about the 'universe' 'revolving around me' doesn't even make any sense. Why make such a foolish comment?)

My post was about market research that I was honestly wondering about... Are the messageboard users the main source of marketing info? Are there other sources? How much weight does Paizo put into messageboards comments? Are the messageboard users representative of those interested in Paizo products as a whole? (Or are they actually, when all is said and done, simply niche consumers?)

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