Business Model vs. Sacred Cow: The Curious Case of Top-Tier Play


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Steve Geddes wrote:
(I equate 4E paragon tier characters to be about the same scope as 5th-10th level PF characters).

Except for spellcasters, what they are capable of in PF compared to 4th Ed is not really viable, 4th Ed is more a question of how much damage, how many squares you move things, and maybe a rider; not even close to what spells are capable of in PF.


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I also equate spellcasters of 5th-10th level in PF as roughly the same as paragon casters in 4E, scope-wise. Translating between the two isn't one-to-one, but a 10th level PF wizard can affect the world about as much as a 20th level 4E wizard, in my opinion.


Terquem wrote:

I have played every version of D&D

Every Version

I've never played a game with characters over level 11

I have played every version as well. I have 5, 1-17+ level characters under my belt.


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BPorter wrote:

Which begs the question:If high-level play is problematic, or at least challenging to design for, and is less popular by significant and measurable means, how does it make sense to devote ½ of your new edition’s core product to supporting that style of play?

Businesses often like referring to 80-20 rules. We have no way of knowing what the ratio of low-level vs. high-level play is, but the conceptual extrapolation stands: does it make sense from a business standpoint to devote ½ your development effort and page count to something that (for example’s sake) only 20% of your customers will use?

If high-level play equated to a high-end product generating equal or greater revenues, the answer would be obvious. But RPG content doesn’t work that way. So why do it for PF2?

Non-business reasons to continue supporting high-level play:

- As others mentioned, the game is designed for gamers, by gamers. I'm pretty sure the Paizo guys very much want to play high-level themselves.
- This problem is a design problem. If you're a designer, PF2 is a once-in-10-years opportunity to tackle this challenge. Of course they want to do it.
- As they've said many times, the goal of PF2 is to allow players and GMs to tell the stories they want to tell. Removing legendary levels of spellcasting and incredible feats would make the game world a lot poorer from this perspective.

Business reasons:
- As others mentioned, high-level support takes a lot less than 50% of the book. It takes an even smaller portion of the design effort.
- The storytelling aspect has a business impact as well: High-level NPCs and monsters are story tropes. So, either they're appropriate end-of-arc challenges for PCs, or they're unbeatable challenges that the PCs must avoid or circumvent in clever ways in order to still win. Either way, they're necessary to many of the scenarios and APs Paizo needs to sell, even if PCs themselves rarely reach the top levels.
- Even if high-level material is only used in a small portion of actual play time, a non-negligible part of the audience loves to read it, discuss it, dream of playing with it, etc. It's inspirational and aspirational. Depriving these readers, often the most engaged of their customer base, would be a very wrong move.


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I want to add 2c.

1) I think high level play grinds as the nature of d&d especially 3.0 / 3.5 / pf is that players get new toys as they level up. Thus at higher levels they have more options and everything grinds down.
Higher level spells are bigger offenders but higher level feats are too.

2) 4th ed did this very well with its three tiers of play and players swapping out powers so they never had too many options.

In terms of design I like the option to play zero or hero or demigod. I dont think the assumption that most campaigns should follow that progression is a good idea. I think campaigns should end when the story fits. But I definitely think the full options of rules should be in the game.


Tholomyes wrote:
GRuzom wrote:

Like the OP I don't like high level play - our solution is to play P6, as it is great for the gritty kind of games that we like:-)

I wonder if there'll be a P62ED? And how hard it would be to create ...

I think it will be harder than in PF1e, because of the way that they're reducing feat chains. A lot of things that used to be level gated just by having large feat prerequisites are going to either scale by level, or have level prereqs in 2e. As a result, I suspect the pool of feats that you can select for post-6th advancement will be fairly limited, at least early on in PF2e's lifetime.

That being said, I'm sure a lot of this will be solved as more books get released, and probably you can even allow certain higher-level feats that don't break the gritty feel, but I suspect it will be harder.

yes, it probably will. But 2ed looks interesting and if going P2ED proves too difficult, there will still be P1ED:-)

Can't se how we can loose


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Tholomyes wrote:
I think it will be harder than in PF1e, because of the way that they're reducing feat chains. A lot of things that used to be level gated just by having large feat prerequisites are going to either scale by level, or have level prereqs in 2e. As a result, I suspect the pool of feats that you can select for post-6th advancement will be fairly limited, at least early on in PF2e's lifetime.

You could also just fiddle with PF2's version of E6. I mean, it's not a huge stretch to allow a Feat or three of higher level if you organize it properly (though really high level Feats are probably too powerful).

There's also nearly limitless skill options, since there's a Skill Feat available to get a new Trained skill and several Skill Feats for every skill, even if you're only Trained in them. If you add a Feat to get additional Expert skills (something that would definitely not be a good idea in normal play but might in E6), you could even get more of those. That could be interesting.

Agreed, I can't wait to play around with the PLAYTEST book!

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Weather Report wrote:
Talek & Luna wrote:

2) Too much of the game world is known.

There is no fear of the unknown and players can read upon on established game settings. This also does not allow room for the PC's to grow. This has always been a fault of D&D since the TSR early days where settings like Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms & Dragon Lance have long established nations that do not allow for much in the way of independence.
Well, that's obviously not true, as you can have growth and independence in the real world, now; one can have great adventures in a familiar world as much as an unfamiliar one.

No, your logic is flawed. If every part of the game world is mapped out with very advanced countries then there is little room for classic dungeon crawls or monster threats to originate from. For example, what prevents the Knights of Solamnia from rushing out to meet a threat that the PC's are supposed to handle? What prevents the Great Kingdom from overrunning its neighbors? Fantasy settings have to throw in temporary Deus Ex Machina to overcome their own poor world design (I.E. A cataclysm, The Over King is completely insane, A circle of Eight ridiculously overpowered magic users, a secret do-gooder organization such as the Harpers, etc.). A brief attempt during 4E was made with their Points of Light backdrop to make PC's special by making civilization feel weak and threatened.

The idea isn't that you cannot have rich adventures. The idea is that at high level your characters with the possible exception of the wizard do not stand out enough to effect things on a global stage. Take the Forgotten Realms as an example. Your 15th level fighter may own his own keep and command 250-500 troops. That is nothing compared to the resources of a nation such as Cormyr or Amn, let alone Hillsfar or the Zhentarim network.


Davor wrote:

Ignoring High Level play would actually be detrimental to low-level play. The existence of high level abilities as a carrot-on-a-stick for players is a core aspect of what makes gaining levels fun. If you remove that, you remove some incentive for players, which hurts the game overall.

Additionally, one might argue that if higher level play were more feasible to run, it would occupy a larger part of the market.

I think this is a big part of it. People love imagining themselves being the level 20 Wizard with his one demiplane and Wish one day.

And even if its not used much by players, if the cap is 12, it limits what enemies can reasonably be. It impacts the story.


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Talek & Luna wrote:

No, your logic is flawed. If every part of the game world is mapped out with very advanced countries then there is little room for classic dungeon crawls or monster threats to originate from. For example, what prevents the Knights of Solamnia from rushing out to meet a threat that the PC's are supposed to handle? What prevents the Great Kingdom from overrunning its neighbors? Fantasy settings have to throw in temporary Deus Ex Machina to overcome their own poor world design (I.E. A cataclysm, The Over King is completely insane, A circle of Eight ridiculously overpowered magic users, a secret do-gooder organization such as the Harpers, etc.). A brief attempt during 4E was made with their Points of Light backdrop to make PC's special by making civilization feel weak and threatened.

The idea isn't that you cannot have rich adventures. The idea is that at high level your characters with the possible exception of the wizard do not stand out enough to effect things on a global stage. Take the Forgotten Realms as an example. Your 15th level fighter may own his own keep and command 250-500 troops. That is nothing compared to the resources of a nation such as Cormyr or Amn, let alone Hillsfar or the Zhentarim network.

The followups to my adventure path campaigns show that that does not happen.

My Rise of the Runelords campaign went to 20th level. Varisia now has a new island in the sea south of Riddleport, because the party brought the Runeforge demiplane back to Golarion. That is a significant change, and some 20th-level movers and shakers from other nations might visit. Nevertheless, it does nothing that affects any other adventure path, not even Crimson Throne, Second Darkness, nor Shattered Star, which are also set in Varisia. RotR did affect Jade Regent, but those two campaigns began in the same small town with an overlap of NPCs.

I moved my Jade Regent campaign a few years earlier on the Golarion timeline so that it began before the end of my recently finished Rise of the Runelords campaign. The powerful 12th-level heroes of RotR were out of town when the goblin raids at the beginning of Jade Regent occurred, so a new party of 1st-level heroes dealt with the problem. A month later, I had the two groups meet. The now 17th-level RotR heroes could have helped the now 2nd-level Jade Regent heroes, but the issue in front of the Jade Regent party seemed like a local matter that did not need their help. The RotR party was off to a place that needed them more.

I added some materials from Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Numeria Land of Fallen Stars to my Iron Gods campaign. I had several side quests waiting in the wings: to Crow Mountain, to the Sunder Horn tribe, to the Ghost Wolf tribe, to the neighboring nation of Mendev. The only side quests I used were to the city of Chesed and to the Plain of Ten Thousand Swords. The problems in the unrealized side quests, ranging from friendly negotiations to world threats, are still there. Maybe the heroes will go there now that the adventure path ended, but the followup to the adventure path itself could take years. They now control the Technic League and have to realign it for good rather than evil. Then they will lead an industrial revolution. Numeria itself will keep them so busy that someone else will have to deal with the neigboring Worldwound. And when Numeria no longer occupies their attention, they will probably help with the cleanup at the Worldwound. Again, none of the other adventure paths will be affected.

When a campaign might save the world, I get the gods themselves involved. Desna is fun to roleplay as a behind-the-scenes meddler, because she is willing to let the party fail in the name of free will. By 16th level in Iron Gods, the party was having chats with a trio of goddesses, Desna, Brigh, and Alseta. Given that their divine alliance was a compromose of conflicting alignments--Chaotic Good, True Neutral, and Lawful Neutral--they let the party make the decisions. And the party knows that they don't have to rush off to the Worldwound because the goddesses mentioned that others were dealing with it.


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Talek & Luna wrote:
Weather Report wrote:
Talek & Luna wrote:

2) Too much of the game world is known.

There is no fear of the unknown and players can read upon on established game settings. This also does not allow room for the PC's to grow. This has always been a fault of D&D since the TSR early days where settings like Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms & Dragon Lance have long established nations that do not allow for much in the way of independence.
Well, that's obviously not true, as you can have growth and independence in the real world, now; one can have great adventures in a familiar world as much as an unfamiliar one.
No, your logic is flawed.

Not at all, I may be going to Japan this year, I plan on some growth, independence and adventure. I don't have to go to an alien planet for that.


Well considering that the later levels was a mess it makes sense for Paizo to try to correct this in a new edition instead of having virtually 5-10 levels being undesired or broken.

I bet for a lot of people bringing the legendary monsters down to the player would cause a lot more uproar than a high level redesign.


There is the sacred cow Thing - we had that discussion on wether there still is a reason for Attribute scores instead of just bonuses. And we got the clear answer that they will be kept them for old times sake and so people recognize the game.

I am a fan of the clear tier System of 4th Edition and could imagine something like that for Pathfinder, but it would alienate too many customers. And it kind of is there with the expert, master, legendary levels there are.

Admittedly, I struggle with the decision not to put out more low Level AP's or modules - that would be a very valid strategy and I don't see that it would alienate too many Players. But let's see how the Starfinder 3+3 AP's work out, and mybe we will see a Change like that (even though not in the near future, due to planning time, etc.)


Talek & Luna wrote:
If every part of the game world is mapped out with very advanced countries then there is little room for classic dungeon crawls or monster threats to originate from.

Even if the world is mapped out in that much detail (Golarion isn't; how much do you know about Shenmen?) and for some reason the world-builders didn't leave any uncivilised areas, there can still be extra-planar threats, the Underdark/Darklands, necromancers and alchemists creating new monstrosities, cultists resurrecting evil gods...

Every adventure writer ever has managed to find a new source of threat or a new place to put a lost temple / haunted castle / demon prison.

Talek & Luna wrote:
For example, what prevents the Knights of Solamnia from rushing out to meet a threat that the PC's are supposed to handle?

Possibilities:

They don't know about the threat, or underestimate it.
They are busy dealing with some other threat.
The PCs are the Knights sent to deal with the threat.
They're doing their best, but the threat is too powerful for them to defeat.
A traitor within their ranks is undermining their ability to act.
The GM has decided they don't exist / were recently exterminated in their own version of the game world.


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I'd like Paizo to always publish AP's in second edition which go to level 20.

I'd like for them to adjust the math of high level play that problems like rocket tag, monster ability DC's which are laughable and one or two rounds combats disappear.

I'd like for Paizo to include a little guide in their new core rulebook which makes it clear what the different tiers like Legendary are supposed to mean for the type of game you are playing. One of the biggest misconceptions I often experience from players is that in their minds their level 18 character is essentially the same kind of character they were playing at level 3. It would be nice if Paizo could clear that misconception up by just outright stating that at a certain point you just surpass being the village hero.


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magnuskn wrote:

I'd like Paizo to always publish AP's in second edition which go to level 20.

I'd like for them to adjust the math of high level play that problems like rocket tag, monster ability DC's which are laughable and one or two rounds combats disappear.

I'd like for Paizo to include a little guide in their new core rulebook which makes it clear what the different tiers like Legendary are supposed to mean for the type of game you are playing. One of the biggest misconceptions I often experience from players is that in their minds their level 18 character is essentially the same kind of character they were playing at level 3. It would be nice if Paizo could clear that misconception up by just outright stating that at a certain point you just surpass being the village hero.

And I think making them ALWAYS go to level twenty is a big mistake.


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I really hope the starfinder experiment with having 2 three part adeventure paths released back to back works out and makes it to Pathfinder. I like the idea of a story that wraps up between levels 1-10. And maybe telling a story that starts out a little more epic would also be good. I want a mix basically, 1-20, 1-10 and 10-20, and maybe just maybe... modules again?

That would be good

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Arssanguinus wrote:


And I think making them ALWAYS go to level twenty is a big mistake.

Luckily, this is easy to get an answer to. Paizo will be able to read sales numbers and determine whether their model is worth it. People can buy what they want and let the chips fall as they may.

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Elegos wrote:

I really hope the starfinder experiment with having 2 three part adeventure paths released back to back works out and makes it to Pathfinder. I like the idea of a story that wraps up between levels 1-10. And maybe telling a story that starts out a little more epic would also be good. I want a mix basically, 1-20, 1-10 and 10-20, and maybe just maybe... modules again?

That would be good

This sounds like the best solution for folks that want something less epic, those that want gonzo, and those who want it all.


Games don't exist in a vacuum, the reality is that PF shares the same market as D&D, so I think is in Paizo best interest to differentiate themselves as much as possible from 5e, and they are doing just that by filling the niches that 5e failed to do so, that means more crunch, more customization options, and high levels gaming.


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GRuzom wrote:

Like the OP I don't like high level play - our solution is to play P6, as it is great for the gritty kind of games that we like:-)

I wonder if there'll be a P62ED? And how hard it would be to create ...

I think I already have it. Limit proficiency to Expert (or maybe Master, I need to see what that all entails), Only spells of level 3 or lower, slots stay they same for all classes you just prepare heightened spells. And limit items to Level 6. Wouldn't necessarily need to limit level, but you could choose to.


Charlie Brooks wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:


And I think making them ALWAYS go to level twenty is a big mistake.
Luckily, this is easy to get an answer to. Paizo will be able to read sales numbers and determine whether their model is worth it. People can buy what they want and let the chips fall as they may.

Not really. If only through level twenty is available that tells nothing.


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I think this idea that Paizo is devoting 1/2 its content to high level play is pretty blatantly not true. Half of APs may be going into that, but APs are specifically designed around having one continuous adventure that runs pretty much as long as possible. (Which isn't to say they have to run that long, but that's what they have been using them for.)

But if you look at their modules? 4 out of 68 take place at levels 15+. As you yourself pointed out, all PFS content is below level 12, and there are 251 products in their scenarios store.

None of that is to say that we can't have shorter APs that run levels 1-10 or 11-20 instead of 1-20. But this idea that Paizo has overfocused on high level play is pretty bizarre. There is way more low level content that you can play, and plenty of stuff with end points and hooks you can expand upon alike.

If anything, they've really neglected the high levels. Now, there may be legit reasons for that due to problems with PF1e, but that's a reason to fix those problems, not spend even less time on the high levels.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Elegos wrote:

I really hope the starfinder experiment with having 2 three part adeventure paths released back to back works out and makes it to Pathfinder. I like the idea of a story that wraps up between levels 1-10. And maybe telling a story that starts out a little more epic would also be good. I want a mix basically, 1-20, 1-10 and 10-20, and maybe just maybe... modules again?

That would be good

The only way this would work for me is if the story of the low-level AP could be seamlessly continued in the first module of the high-level three-parter. Meaning that the boss of the third module is basically only the middle manager for the real end boss and the high-level three parter does not tell a completely separate story. It would require putting some plot hooks for the second three-parter into the low-level AP (maybe in some text boxes so that the GM can add them optionally).

Two three-part AP's where the low-level and high-level stuff are completely apart in terms of story are not of interest to me.


Captain Morgan wrote:
I think this idea that Paizo is devoting 1/2 its content to high level play is pretty blatantly not true.

The game runs from levels 1-20. Where one defines "high level" varies and the earliest that Legendary tier can be accessed is suspected to be 15 but we won't know if there are ways to bring it online earlier until at least the playtest doc is available.

Some say the game goes high level at Level 10. I was specifically referring to the PF2 CRB. Again, the point was about content consumption preferences. The stuff preceding it was the basis for the question within a business model context.

If 10 is where someone considers "high level" then in a 20-level game, presumably half of the character-building content addresses those levels. If you're more comfortable with 1/3 or 1/4, cool. The specific ratio wasn't the real point of the thread anyway, but rather how the content could, not would, be consumed.

If you don't want to weigh in on the point of the thread, that's cool. If you want to say the amount of high-level content is 1/4 (or whatever), fine. Go with that. However, I really don't have the interest to split hairs over something that really is tangential to the question that was asked.


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Yeah but there would still be 1-20 adventure paths, its just that not every adventure path has to be that. That way paizo are catering to a bunch of different groups. As I say, I hope that it works out well for starfinder


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Elegos wrote:
Yeah but there would still be 1-20 adventure paths, its just that not every adventure path has to be that. That way paizo are catering to a bunch of different groups. As I say, I hope that it works out well for starfinder

It basically killed my entire interest in Starfinder. When it launched I was very interested to run an AP for it. Then I saw that the volumes were shorter and would run out long before reaching max level, so that was that.


Captain Morgan wrote:


If anything, they've really neglected the high levels. Now, there may be legit reasons for that due to problems with PF1e, but that's a reason to fix those problems, not spend even less time on the high levels.

This was also part of the basis for my question. Presumably, high level content is "neglected" because it sells less well. The goal of any business is to sell more, not less.

Again, this is an example, not an expectation that Paizo will do this!
If, for example, if the preferred play experience in terms of story is Levels 1-10, wouldn't it make more sense from strictly a business standpoint to extend that over levels 1-20 so that the full gamut of the game is accessed/played at a more consistent level? And provide "legendary/anime/demigod" style content in a separate supplement(s)? That way, from a business standpoint, you are expending resources more in line with the sales/profits you will derive from the expenditure of resources (development, print runs, etc.).


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magnuskn wrote:
Elegos wrote:
Yeah but there would still be 1-20 adventure paths, its just that not every adventure path has to be that. That way paizo are catering to a bunch of different groups. As I say, I hope that it works out well for starfinder
It basically killed my entire interest in Starfinder. When it launched I was very interested to run an AP for it. Then I saw that the volumes were shorter and would run out long before reaching max level, so that was that.

Starfinders APs topping out at 12 is a differebt discussion. Im suggesting a mix of 6 and 3 volume adventure paths, where the 6 volumes go to 20, like youve wanted, but the 3 volumes go 1-10 and 11-20. That way, you get what youre asking for, other people get what they want. The concept of shorter APs while not your thing would also allow paizo to avoid stretching stories over 6 volumes when they would benefit from a tighter structure


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BPorter wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:


If anything, they've really neglected the high levels. Now, there may be legit reasons for that due to problems with PF1e, but that's a reason to fix those problems, not spend even less time on the high levels.

This was also part of the basis for my question. Presumably, high level content is "neglected" because it sells less well. The goal of any business is to sell more, not less.

Again, this is an example, not an expectation that Paizo will do this!
If, for example, if the preferred play experience in terms of story is Levels 1-10, wouldn't it make more sense from strictly a business standpoint to extend that over levels 1-20 so that the full gamut of the game is accessed/played at a more consistent level? And provide "legendary/anime/demigod" style content in a separate supplement(s)? That way, from a business standpoint, you are expending resources more in line with the sales/profits you will derive from the expenditure of resources (development, print runs, etc.).

I am going to say totally, unless they fixed the math and the game doesn't breakdown. I think there is kind of a chicken and egg thing going on. The question that we won't be able to answer until we get the playtest is: Is higher levels less popular because people don't like to play them or because the math starts to breakdown so bad?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Elegos wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Elegos wrote:
Yeah but there would still be 1-20 adventure paths, its just that not every adventure path has to be that. That way paizo are catering to a bunch of different groups. As I say, I hope that it works out well for starfinder
It basically killed my entire interest in Starfinder. When it launched I was very interested to run an AP for it. Then I saw that the volumes were shorter and would run out long before reaching max level, so that was that.
Starfinders APs topping out at 12 is a differebt discussion. Im suggesting a mix of 6 and 3 volume adventure paths, where the 6 volumes go to 20, like youve wanted, but the 3 volumes go 1-10 and 11-20. That way, you get what youre asking for, other people get what they want. The concept of shorter APs while not your thing would also allow paizo to avoid stretching stories over 6 volumes when they would benefit from a tighter structure

Yes, I've explained above the only way how the two 3 volume AP idea would work for me.


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BPorter wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
I think this idea that Paizo is devoting 1/2 its content to high level play is pretty blatantly not true.

The game runs from levels 1-20. Where one defines "high level" varies and the earliest that Legendary tier can be accessed is suspected to be 15 but we won't know if there are ways to bring it online earlier until at least the playtest doc is available.

Some say the game goes high level at Level 10. I was specifically referring to the PF2 CRB. Again, the point was about content consumption preferences. The stuff preceding it was the basis for the question within a business model context.

If 10 is where someone considers "high level" then in a 20-level game, presumably half of the character-building content addresses those levels. If you're more comfortable with 1/3 or 1/4, cool. The specific ratio wasn't the real point of the thread anyway, but rather how the content could, not would, be consumed.

If you don't want to weigh in on the point of the thread, that's cool. If you want to say the amount of high-level content is 1/4 (or whatever), fine. Go with that. However, I really don't have the interest to split hairs over something that really is tangential to the question that was asked.

The point of the thread, according to the emphasis of your opening post, is:

"If high-level play is problematic, or at least challenging to design for, and is less popular by significant and measurable means, how does it make sense to devote ½ of your new edition’s core product to supporting that style of play?"

The premise of the thread is that Paizo has over-focused on high level play. And there are numerous problems with this premise. Yo

1. Their goal is to make high level play less problematic.

2. If the game runs 1-20, level 10 is not high level. It is mid-level. I guess if you want to ignore that there is a middle and define anything after the first half as "high" you can. But level 15 has generally been established as the benchmark for Legendary, which seems to mark off the top tier of play.

3. Even if you did define anything after 10 as high level, 1/2 the CRB isn't devoted to high level play. The actual level progression and options is only a (significant) fraction of the CRB. The CRB also contains the rules which govern the game and are agnostic of build or level. Using the PF1 Core Reference Document, only 218 of 576 pages is actually related to building characters. And 96 pages of that is magic items. That means only 38% of the content even references building a character, and only a fraction of that content is high level.

4. The CRB is meant to be a launch pad for other content, not the only thing Paizo sells. Therefore, it behooves them to have it be a pretty encompassing starting point.

5. Having more room for low level options doesn't inherently improve the game. One of the big problems with PF1 is there are too many feats and how hard they are to parse. One of the big strengths of PF2 seems to be making the lists easier to parse, and part of that is by breaking them up by levels of play. Squashing down the levels means suddenly low levels have an overwhelming number of options again.

6. Even if 80% of the market focuses on low level play, those folks will only buy so many products-- you probably won't want to buy 10 new low level adventures if you aren't even half way through the first 10 released. RPG content is one of the harder products to completely consume because of its social nature. So while the 80% are still working through your current catalog, why not sell some stuff to that leftover 20%?


BPorter wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:


If anything, they've really neglected the high levels. Now, there may be legit reasons for that due to problems with PF1e, but that's a reason to fix those problems, not spend even less time on the high levels.

This was also part of the basis for my question. Presumably, high level content is "neglected" because it sells less well. The goal of any business is to sell more, not less.

Again, this is an example, not an expectation that Paizo will do this!
If, for example, if the preferred play experience in terms of story is Levels 1-10, wouldn't it make more sense from strictly a business standpoint to extend that over levels 1-20 so that the full gamut of the game is accessed/played at a more consistent level? And provide "legendary/anime/demigod" style content in a separate supplement(s)? That way, from a business standpoint, you are expending resources more in line with the sales/profits you will derive from the expenditure of resources (development, print runs, etc.).

Nope. Because the levels of play in the CRB don't dictate how much content is generated at any given level. If you effectively make the Core Rulebook levels 1-10, and publish a supplement with rules for levels 11-20, then all you've done if force people who want to play level 11-20 adventures to buy a second core rule book.

Some companies certainly do stuff like this, but things like same day DLC are hardly beloved in the video game community.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Terquem wrote:

I have played every version of D&D

Every Version

I've never played a game with characters over level 11

I have played every version as well. I have 5, 1-17+ level characters under my belt.

Myself, I started with the old blockmoor rules for chainmail and played every version of d&d [except 5e cuz yuck] and pathfinder and have managed to see max levels in each with my home group.

My track record with online games is not as good as they tend to die out around 8-12 as that seems to be the time real life starts intruding into players free time as people get new jobs, start back to school, ect. That said I HAVE managed to hit max level in 4e and pathfinder online games but in those cases we didn't start at low levels: I have yet to manage to make it from first to max level online.


Captain Morgan wrote:
<snip>

The point of my thread was the question at the end. I know this because I wrote the post. The question at the beginning was to provide context for my thought process which led to the question.

Again, I know this, because I wrote it.

If you chose to focus on other elements of the post vs. the true question I posed, that's cool, but it doesn't change what I asked or what motivated me to ask it.


Captain Morgan wrote:


Nope. Because the levels of play in the CRB don't dictate how much content is generated at any given level. If you effectively make the Core Rulebook levels 1-10, and publish a supplement with rules for levels 11-20, then all you've done if force people who want to play level 11-20 adventures to buy a second core rule book.

Some companies certainly do stuff like this, but things like same day DLC are hardly beloved in the video game community.

You continue to miss the forest for the trees. My premise was to modify the 1-20 experience, with new PF2 content (I can't believe I have to state that) across a 20-level spread; not sell a CRB that addresses levels 1-10, 1-12, or 1-15. Legendary/high-level (however you want to define it) would be either an additional range of levels, an overlay like Mythic or some other element.

In any case, I think I can safely put you in the "No, I wouldn't want a separate book for Legendary/high-level Play" camp. Cool.

On a separate note, if you object to "DLC", i.e. supplements, then Paizo's business model for PF1 and Starfinder would seem to be at odds with your RPG preferences. However, if you're a Core+Bestiaries player/GM, then I guess that fits.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
BPorter wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
<snip>

The point of my thread was the question at the end. I know this because I wrote the post. The question at the beginning was to provide context for my thought process which led to the question.

Again, I know this, because I wrote it.

If you chose to focus on other elements of the post vs. the true question I posed, that's cool, but it doesn't change what I asked or what motivated me to ask it.

If everyone reads your question as something else, perhaps the problem isn't in everyone else, but in how you worded it.

If by legendary/high-level play you mean anything above level 12, then no, I don't want a separate book that's only supposed to cover half the game time. That would be incredibly wasteful and pointless.


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If you make a 1-20 spread equivalent to our current levels 1-10, I reckon you won't see much of an increase in people playing the high levels. Most people will still start at level 1 because it is the most intuitive place to start, and games will still stop for reasons that have very little to do with the level of play long before they hit level 20.

As is, the core rulebook (and by extension the AP lines) are meant to let you start out as a very weak character and gradually escalate to a legendary hero.

This contrasts itself to games like 5e where your growth isn't nearly as high. Paizo can try to beat 5e at their own game, or they can make their own game. They have opted for the latter.

If you relegate Legendary to a splatbook, and flatten out the power curve, you're left with a game that does very little to distinguish itself from the leading game on the market.

I don't really see how that's a better decision, especially when people who like low level pathfinder can just use a slow XP track and play the hundreds of low level books Paizo publishes.


Cyouni wrote:
BPorter wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
<snip>

The point of my thread was the question at the end. I know this because I wrote the post. The question at the beginning was to provide context for my thought process which led to the question.

Again, I know this, because I wrote it.

If you chose to focus on other elements of the post vs. the true question I posed, that's cool, but it doesn't change what I asked or what motivated me to ask it.

If everyone reads your question as something else, perhaps the problem isn't in everyone else, but in how you worded it.

If by legendary/high-level play you mean anything above level 12, then no, I don't want a separate book that's only supposed to cover half the game time. That would be incredibly wasteful and pointless.

If this:

Since PF fans are presumably ok with a steady publication of supplements, would you rather see content divided this way for more targeted focus for both Paizo & customers or do you prefer the all-in-one/across the spectrum approach? (This is a theoretical/curiosity thread, so high-level/epic/mythic fans you can put your flamethrowers away.)

... - a bold text question providing a binary choice and ending with a question mark - is unclear, perhaps the problem is the with the reader rather than the question. That is exactly how the question appears in the original post.


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I find that the apparent suggestions that GMs should create content for games involving characters of high levels

On Their Own

is appalling


High end content is great.

I ran an E8 campaign for three years and borrowed heavily from high end content. From character abilities, to magic items, to spells, to monsters. I routinely used CR 15+ monsters, but adjusted their stats to better suit my players.

I'm not sure why you would be opposed to a higher variety of content, both as player and GM options.


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BPorter wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
BPorter wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
<snip>

The point of my thread was the question at the end. I know this because I wrote the post. The question at the beginning was to provide context for my thought process which led to the question.

Again, I know this, because I wrote it.

If you chose to focus on other elements of the post vs. the true question I posed, that's cool, but it doesn't change what I asked or what motivated me to ask it.

If everyone reads your question as something else, perhaps the problem isn't in everyone else, but in how you worded it.

If by legendary/high-level play you mean anything above level 12, then no, I don't want a separate book that's only supposed to cover half the game time. That would be incredibly wasteful and pointless.

If this:

Since PF fans are presumably ok with a steady publication of supplements, would you rather see content divided this way for more targeted focus for both Paizo & customers or do you prefer the all-in-one/across the spectrum approach? (This is a theoretical/curiosity thread, so high-level/epic/mythic fans you can put your flamethrowers away.)

... - a bold text question providing a binary choice and ending with a question mark - is unclear, perhaps the problem is the with the reader rather than the question. That is exactly how the question appears in the original post.

I'd say that question has been answered pretty thoroughly? People seem to not like your idea for having content divided for "a more targeted focus." No one in this thread seems to have spoken up in defense of the idea except you. The closest I've seen is Arssanguinus, who just strongly believes we should get APs that don't all run 1-20, and that's a pretty far cry from saying the core rulebook content should be segmented into two parts.

Nor does anyone seem to think it makes a lot of sense for Paizo to do it from a business perspective, as far as I can tell.

If people are addressing other parts of what you said, well, that's because you said a lot of stuff beyond simply asking that question and a lot of us feel it is inaccurate and/or misleading. If you just wanted a binary question answered, you can post a poll rather than a discussion thread with a very long opening post.

EDIT: I suppose if you wanted to clarify what you envision for levels 1-10 effectively becoming levels 1-20, that might help. Because every way I try and slice that looks unappealing.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Arssanguinus wrote:
Charlie Brooks wrote:
Arssanguinus wrote:


And I think making them ALWAYS go to level twenty is a big mistake.
Luckily, this is easy to get an answer to. Paizo will be able to read sales numbers and determine whether their model is worth it. People can buy what they want and let the chips fall as they may.
Not really. If only through level twenty is available that tells nothing.

They've got 10+ years of days upon which to base their expectations. If 2nd edition sells well but the adventure paths take a dip, I imagine adjusting the levels would be one of the first things on the menu.


I--as often is the case--find myself largely agreeing with Captain Morgan. That said, I get where BPorter is coming from. I think a lot of tables tend to lean more into the "realistic fantasy" levels of Pathfinder and find that content the most satisfying.

Two things remain to be seen however:
1. How much of this preference arises from the inadequacy of the high level rules rules (as others have mentioned before) vs. how much of this preference comes from the natural preferences of the market?
2. How important is the OPTION for high level rules in people's enjoyment of even the lower level content (agnostic of whether that high level content is satisfying/desirable)?

I think the answer to number 1 in unclear but I tend to think both factors have a non-zero effect.

For number 2, I think BPorter perhaps underestimates the importance of the high level game. If the high level rules are interesting, satisfying, and enticing then that can get players more excited about playing the game and gaining experience even as they get to the levels where BPorter might want to stop playing the game (say around levels 12-15). If the players don't know at what exact level that the game will end, they will always be hungry for more experience and the rewards for their next level even at levels 14 and 15.

Besides all of that, I think it would be cool to have neato-keen high level play where my characters can eventually become incredible forces of myth and excellence (but I think that is kind of secondary to the conversation BPorter is starting here).


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BPorter wrote:
Cyouni wrote:
BPorter wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
<snip>

The point of my thread was the question at the end. I know this because I wrote the post. The question at the beginning was to provide context for my thought process which led to the question.

Again, I know this, because I wrote it.

If you chose to focus on other elements of the post vs. the true question I posed, that's cool, but it doesn't change what I asked or what motivated me to ask it.

If everyone reads your question as something else, perhaps the problem isn't in everyone else, but in how you worded it.

If by legendary/high-level play you mean anything above level 12, then no, I don't want a separate book that's only supposed to cover half the game time. That would be incredibly wasteful and pointless.

If this:

Since PF fans are presumably ok with a steady publication of supplements, would you rather see content divided this way for more targeted focus for both Paizo & customers or do you prefer the all-in-one/across the spectrum approach? (This is a theoretical/curiosity thread, so high-level/epic/mythic fans you can put your flamethrowers away.)

... - a bold text question providing a binary choice and ending with a question mark - is unclear, perhaps the problem is the with the reader rather than the question. That is exactly how the question appears in the original post.

You actually asked more than one question in the original post. I took the liberty of answering only one of them, namely this one: "If high-level play equated to a high-end product generating equal or greater revenues, the answer would be obvious. But RPG content doesn’t work that way. So why do it for PF2?"

Now, with the understanding that you only meant the final question, I can answer that one too:

I don't think it would be a good idea to split the CRB into 2 or more books separated by level of play. I like the convenience of a single book, and I would see the separation, however it's done, as arbitrary. If I wish to imagine my dwarf druid's career, I don't want to refer to 2 different Druid chapters, 2 different Dwarf chapters, and 2 different Spells chapters. In addition, I suspect 2 books would be more expensive than one. Finally, I don't think doing this would be beneficial to Paizo's business in any way, for the reasons given in my earlier post, above. Since, as a PF player, I have a vested interest in Paizo thriving, that's one more reason I'm in favor of a CRB unified in one book.

That said, I wouldn't mind if Paizo decided to write some APs for levels 1-8, some for 1-12, and some for 1-20. Exploring different level ranges could be interesting, allowing them to step away from the "save the kingdom / world / universe as we know it" that tends to be the go-to story for high level APs.

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