GVDammerung's page

194 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


1 to 50 of 194 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>

Arovyn wrote:
. . . I'm tired of seeing, "4th Edition is not Dungeons & Dragons."
Arovyn wrote:
I don't see how liking one means hating the other.

Dungeons and Dragons builds communities. That can be as simple as a single play group or as large as the RPGA. These communities, in turn, are founded on social interaction that is mutually reinforcing when that interaction is positive. As a consequence, players become invested in that interaction, in that play experience. They do so not solely because they are getting a kick out of pretending to be a heroic fantasy figure but also, perhaps moreso, because of the social context of the game. When this social context is threatened, those most invested will protest.

4e threatens the social context of the preexisting play community in two ways. First, it is simply different, different to a degree where no conversion is possible, to say nothing of changes to the backstory. This compares unfavorable from a community standpoint with 3.0, which at least offered the possibility of a conversion, even if not a one for one conversion. Second, and more importantly, 4e’s focus is on tactical combat, rather than roleplaying or playing within the context of a story. To illustrate, 4e can be played perfectly well as just a skirmish game - no story or roleplaying, just some monsters and a fight. No prior edition’s combat system was so robust as to allow just the combat to function, 360, as its own game and a satisfying one as just that.

By both measures - the experential and the objective, rules dominant focus - 4e is not D&D in any accepted or expected sense except that it is branded so. Those who object to anyone saying “4e is not D&D” are proving the point that 4e is in fact not D&D. If 4e were D&D in an accepted or expected sense, there would be no need to object because no one would be saying “4e is not D&D.” That enough people are finding that 4e is not D&D to say so often enough to see some others object only makes the point - experentially and objectively looking at the rules dominant focus, 4e is not D&D to a significant segment of the community recognizing that, as noted supra, D&D is a game of communities. The community has spoken - there is no consensus that 4e is D&D, except in name.

But this doesn’t matter, right? We can all just live and let live, right? Wrong. The community, or at least a significant part of it, perceives a threat. Like a mob, the community does not stop to think the matter through. It reacts to the threat and seeks to neutralize it, avoid it or alert others in the community to it. And the threat is real.

Unchecked, 4e will replace existing D&D communities with 4e D&D communities. The new is almost always perceived as “improved” and certainly sold that way. Some will find it so. Others will simply follow the fashion. Thus, 2e communities replaced 1e communities and 3e communities replaced 2e communities, while 3.5 communities replaced 3.0 communities. Some held out but most older edition communities were replaced. Existing 3X communities are presently fighting emergent 4e communities for the right to survive and not be replaced. The internet, the OGL and Paizo’s Pathfinder RPG give the 3x community reason to believe they can succeed. The internet, the OGL and Paizo’s Pathfinder RPG give existing 3x communities the means to fight with a prospect for survival.

Why must it be a fight? It is a function of history. Gamers have been taught that it must be so. 1e replaced 2e as THE ONE GAME. 2e was replaced by 3e as THE ONE GAME. 3e was replaced by 3.5 as THE ONE GAME. The days when OD&D could be supported alongside AD&D are long gone. Gamers have been taught that there shall be THE ONE GAME and hence the 3x community and the 4e community have at it. Indeed, Wotc today has it that 4e is to be THE ONE GAME, when it might have allowed continued support for 3x (but one need only look at the GSL to see the contrary intent). The zero sum mindset continues and Wotc is its chiefmost sponsor.

So. 4e is not D&D in fact and by acclamation. And it’s a fight.

Zuxius wrote:
My prefernce though, is that I hope Pathfinder will find a ....path..(forgive the pun) so we can enjoy High Level play in a more simplified form. I would prefer that Pathfinder go off the tracks to be honest and take High Level play to a completely new level. . . . I really don't care about backward compatibility, but I just thought up an interesting option. Suppose Paizo created a High Level Campaign book that basically converted your 3.5/Pathfinder RPG stuff into High Level Pathfinder compliant.

I can respect any individual's not caring about backwards compatability on a personal level. However, on a game design level, for a game like PFRPG that is trading to a large degree on dissatisfaction with 4e because 4e is "too different" from 3x, backwards compatability (at the game design level) is a must. No or highly limited backwards compatability is suicide for PFRPG in the broad market, divorced from any one individual's preferences. PFRPG just simply must be backwards compatable (in a 3.75 way) or it will piss away a goodly amount of goodwill and an equal amount of customers - enough lost customers to sink PFRPG as a game and likely Paizo as a company. Backwards compatability is nothing less than SURVIVAL for PFRPG and then PAIZO.

Your suggestion of a separate book dealing specifically with high level play is certainly a possibility worth considering. However, the idea that high level play would adhere to different rules than low level play is IMO a non-starter. The 3x epic level rules failed in large part because they tried just this approach. Moreover, if high level play uses different rules, it will feel different, maybe like a different game. In that case, IMO, it should be a different game, not PFRPG at all. High level play should run and feel like a reasonable extension of low level play - that is where the payoff is in reaching high level! You struggled to get to high level and now comes the good stuff - not the completely different stuff! Completely different stuff at high level makes a mockery of achieving high level! No. IMO, low level needs to flow into medium level and then high level play as seemlessly as possible so that the feeling of accomplishment and reward are maintained.

I think, if I read you correctly, you have some substantial doubt that it is really possible, using rules reasonably derived from 3x, to facilitate high level play. Certainly, there are problems that we both have noted as having experienced. I feel that it is possible to "fix" high level play without creating an entirely divergent system. In fact, if all I had to do every day was design games, I am reasonably certain I could fix high level play within the existing rules framework at least to the level of suiting my own tastes. Of course, I do not have that luxury and thus look to published rules to give me a leg up. In this regard, I trust the Paizo brain-trust to "fix" high level play within the existing rules framework. It is part of what I will be paying them for. And I trust them to do it while maintaining backwards compatability in a 3.75 way.

The thing is that the PFRPG beta comes out next week. I plan on ordering a copy as I cannot attend Gencon this year. I'm sure others will also do so or download the beta otherwise. Then begins a year of tinkering with the beta headed toward alpha. Given this timeline and threads like this one and I feel comfortable saying that I have confidence Paizo will tackle the high level play issue and will do so within the context of the 3.5 rules framework. I think it is on their radar.

Now, will high level play be completely fixed in the alpha? I have no clue. I think Paizo will surely fix the lowhanging fruit rules that can be easily fixed to help high level play. Beyond that they may fix pretty much everything or they may not be able to. In the latter case, I have no doubt they will hear about it on their message boards. If there is enough interest, I'm sure a PFRPF Rules Companion will follow shortly. If you look at how Paizo is packaging Golarion, they are not shy about putting out titles. So whether in the alpha or a rules companion, I think Paizo will be addressing itself to fixing the issues with high level play in 3.5.

What will help most is for people to be very specific about what they percieve to need fixing. There is a well publicized and obvious list but beyond that providing Paizo specifics is, I think, the best way to go. Here again, I have faith because Paizo has demonstrated a very close attention to its customers.

I don't have blind faith in Paizo but faith based upon what I have seen demonstrated.

So, rather than suggesting Paizo set about developing something completely different, I would suggest that those serious about getting high level play fixed begin by advoising Paizo 1) what specifically needs fixing and 2) how might those issues be fixed without designing a completely different system for high level play.

Think like you worked for Paizo! You must have backwards compatability for PFRPG to do well and for Paizo to do well. So, given that, what about high level play in 3.5 needs fixing - specifically? And how might a fix be put in place that would not completely destroy backwards compatability? Remember, Paizo is evolving the 3.5 rules in the manner of a 3.75 so some changes are cool. Your challange as a game designer is not to throw up your hands and say it won't or can't work. Your job as a game designer is to find a way to make it work or to come as close as you can.

Of course, few on these boards are actually game designers but thinking like one is the best way to encourage and help Paizo give you what you want - improved high level play!


Zuxius wrote:

. . . Nice to hear so many have no problems with High/Epic Level play. . . . As a DM I detest the way it stands at present. 3rd Edition has one very good trait about it: Fantastic Options for the Players. There has never been an Edition that has allowed this many options to the players. And all those wonderful options come home when I am planning everyone's adventure, and pulling my hair out trying to consider them all.

This was not the D&D that I played in 1st or 2nd Edition. . . .
Today is a whole other ball game. My players . . . engineer fairly horrific combos that just about break the game. . . . As it stands though, the more "options" they attain, the less I feel competent as a GM. As a near 40 something, I really don't have the time to backward examine the possibilities and prepare for "counters" to these "God Players".

This sums up my feelings exactly. It is why I _loved_ the idea of a 4e. Then I saw the festering pile of "fix what's not broken" that should have been limited to "fix what was broken" and decided 4e was the Devil's Childe, particularly as on top of its other incompetencies, it did not even have the decency to be backwards compatible. 4e lost me then and there.

PFRPG, being backwards compatible with 3x, and looking to mainly "fix what's broken" greatly appeals to me in no small consequence. Certainly, high level play in 3.5 is broken IMO, mainly because it is both dull and takes forever to prepare for even as it is dull. Fixing high level play, once backwards compatability is taken care of, would have my full support.

Iridal wrote:
. . . My players don’t engineer fairly horrific combos, so they do not break the game. As DM I find easier to say: "No, you can not create this combo" than to change the whole system.

This is exactly my approach - by default - for the reasons Zuxius identifies. It would be great if one didn't have to short circuit the rules. Having to do so says to me - the rules need fixing.

toyrobots wrote:

A softer way of explaining the same thing is the GMing is hard work, and as good players they should be willing to help you work less to give them more good sessions.

If the GM burns out, there's no game.

And this is my ultimate trump card as a DM. Thankfully, I have players mature enough to see the reality of the situation once I lay it out there. However, again, that I have a need to do so says the high level rules could use some reworking. If high level rules worked, there should be no need for a "sit down" between players and DM where everyone agrees there is an issue and decides how it will be addressed.

Give me backwards compatibility in the first instance, but after that high level play should be on anyone's short list of problem areas to look at with an eye toward a fix.

toyrobots wrote:

A certain number of variants, mind you, are welcome under the auspice of "GM Leverage". But it is very easy to get carried away with options, at the expense of simplicity— so I can't stand behind a statement like "Pathfinder RPG should break the record of most optional rules." (meaning no personal offense to that poster)

Not a problem. This is essentially what it boils down to and I think that would likely break a record. "Breaking a record" just sounds more substantial/dramatic than it really is, as most games don't feature many if any options in their core presentation. So some number of optional sidebars more than - what? - six? eight? twelve? (in a 200-300 page text)- is likely to break a record for a core rules presentation but without going overboard. I think we are roughly on the same sheet of music.

toyrobots wrote:

. . . I'm not against optional rules whatsoever, . . . It's more important to have one complete book of basic rules. A followup softcover for options would be wonderful.

I want to use all the ink I pay for, and if the room that would be used by sidebars I might use, I'd rather see more feats, spells, and equipment I will use.

But you don't know. You don't know whether you would use the sidebar material until - after - you make your purchase and have read the product. You are in the last paragraph quoted above assuming a fact not in evidence - that you would not use most of the sidebar material. You might not, but you might. You won't know until after you purchase and read the product.

Given that, what are you purchasing? You are purchasing, I suspect, what you believe to be and hope to be a solid set of rules that you will find appealing. You can have a somewhat better handle on this because of Pathfinder's open playtest but there is still a degree of uncertainty. There always is as even the most careful purchaser can get only so much from reading reviews or from in-store reading prior to purchase. Ultimately, at a certain irreduceable level beyond any careful pre-shopping investigation of a product, a purchase is a placement of faith in the publishers/designers.

So. Do you trust Paizo? What have their products shown you to date? Have they given you reason to imagine that a sidebar strategy would so undermine the utility of the PFRPG as to make it not worth your while? I bet not. I bet the opposite - that you have been impressed with the way Paizo handles its business. I certainly believe that Paizo could execute a sidebar strategy without fatally compromising the quality of the PFRPG.

Its a matter of degree. If every other page had a sidebar, that would be one thing. I doubt Paizo would be that silly. The issues that likely need sidebars are limited and even that number can likely be reduced by careful design of the main text.

This said, if your point is that ANY sidebars reduce the optimal utility you would get from the product, you would, of course, be correct. You would also be asking for a perfect product - specifically, a perfect product FOR YOU. No game can so accomodate any purchaser. The best that can be hoped for it, pardon the expression - the greatest good for the greatest number. Acknowledging that, if you will, puts sidebaring back in the equation and we are back to trusting Paizo not to go overboard. I'll take that bet.

Obviously, if PFRPG is to succeed, it needs to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. Presenting options in sidebars is probably the simplest way to accomplish this. It is, of course, a compromise but that is no reason for criticism as compromise is the way of the world, not zero sum.

I take your point and I hope you take mine. I trust Paizo to ably split any difference. Do you?

Darrin Drader wrote:
. . . So here's the please everybody option: Optional rules. Rules that will affect backwards compatibility for those who have a problem with it. For everybody else, a few tweaks are made to make the game a little easier to play within the existing framework.

I agree with this idea 110%. In a way, Pathfinder would be well served IMO if it set a record for "most sidebars in an RPG." Sort of the PH mets Unearthed Arcana under a single set of covers. Lay down the base PF rules, then present in sidebars alternative applications. Give people a core set of rules _and_ lots of options to vary those rules for different sorts of play.

It would be my thought that the basic PF "core" rules would need to be largely backwards compatible - as in a 3.75 sense, recognizing that Pathfinder will not, is not intended to be, and cannot succeed as simply a reprint of 3.5, but will still be backwards compatible in a 3.75 sense like 3.5 was backwards compatible with 3.0. Then, the sidebars would present more "radical" rules options that might not be backwards compartible in a 3.75 sense. Cake and eating it too.

This said, even without presenting "radical" options, sidebars with alternative 3.75 backwards compatible options would still be the way to go IMO. I don't think Pathfinder can go wrong with options in sidebars, whatever their precise nature. Again, the PH meets Unearthed Arcana in a single book.

Alternatively, if "high level play" requires something more thorough going, maybe an Appendix is the way to go. It is another option.

Backwards compatibility in a 3.75 sense must, however, remain the primary core design criteria.

Pax Veritas wrote:
Backward compatibility is a must-have, and a dealbreaker for many players.

Agreed. Any other opinion is ill informed or ill intentioned.

Backward compatability is the cornerstone of Pathfinder. Alter this, make Pathfinder non-backwards compatabile, and you will sink Pathfinder. Pathfinder's core demographic are people for whom 4e is "too different from 3.5." Make Pathfinder as different from 3.5 as 4e and, when 4e is done with Pathfinder, there won't be much left. To survive, Pathfinder must be backwards compatible and everything else comes a distant second. Do not forget it.

This said, fixing high level play would be a HUGE feather in Pathfinder's cap and is a worthy goal to pursue so long as backwards compatibility is maintained. I think the folks at Paizo are aware of this and I think they will have a "fix," although it remains to be seen how effective it will be. Within a range, I think it possible to have both a fix for high level play and backwards compatibility.

I think, for purposes of discussion, it would be very helpful to identify exactly WHAT about high level play is deemed the problem under discussion. Just saying "high level play" can encompass a host of issues. For example, one might be most concerned with the "save or die" phenomenon; then again, one might be concerned about the magic item "Christmas tree" syndrome most evident at high levels, or one might be concerned about how play can slow at high levels as stat blocks become pages in length etc.. All of these could fit under the rubric of "high level play." Saying, "Yes, all of the above" is of absolutely no value as each is a different and distinct issue. In fact, "high level play" without more is almost a useless term.

Some aspects of "high level play" will be more amenable to being addressed while preserving vital backwards compatibility than others. Its the glass half empty or half full problem. Fixing some aspects of "high level play" might be enough for some folks but insufficient for others. I think Paizo will "fix" "high level play" by at least some measure but expecting them to fix everything, particularly when folks are inspecific, is probably bordering on the foolish.

In this way, complaining about "high level play" and any "failure" of Paizo to deal with it or to even raise that spectre strikes me as a strawman - keep the discussion unhelpfully general and thereby set up Paizo to fail when a more specific complaint about play at high levels is trotted out later after the game is done.

Perhaps the above goes too far but the suggestion that Paizo would be better off ignoring backwards compatibility in favor of fixing an amorphously defined "high level play" by itself suggests to me either an ill motive or an oblivousness to the demands of the market for Pathfinder that would come close to rank stupidity.

Backwards compatibility is everything. Anything else is just frosting on the cake.

YMMV but then you would be wrong.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I have finished reading The Pathfinder Chronicles Gazetteer (PCG) and am struck by just how easy it is to identify the “steals” that went into making up the campaign setting. YMMV but this is my count:

Azlant - Atlantis. Less obviously, the Azlanti survivors to the east harkens to Robert E. Howard’s use of Atlantis in his history of the Hyborian Age.

Kelesh - Persia.

Tian Xia - China.

Vudra - India.

Absalom - Lankhmar by way of the City of Greyhawk.

Andoran - Greece. Backwards. Real history goes Greece, Rome, Byzantium. PCG goes Byzantium, Rome, Greece. See Cheliax and Taldor.

Belkzen, Hold of - The Pomarj (Greyhawk) or any other Orc realm.

Brevoy - The Hold of Stone Fist (Greyhawk) meets the FtA era Hold of the Sea Princes where everyone dies overnight (Greyhawk).

Cheliax - Rome. With a double reverse twist. Rome had Republic and Imperial periods. Cheliax has godfearing and diabolic periods. Also Rome begat Byzantium. PCG Byzantium (Taldor) begat Rome (Cheliax).

Druma - The Ferenghi (Star Trek DS9) and the Bajorans (Star TrekDS9) combined go medieval.

Galt - France during the Revolution. Que the Scarlet Pimpernel Adventure Path.

Geb - Aerdi undead (Greyhawk) meet Jakandor (TSR) undead meet Magic the Gathering -Urza vs Mishra = Geb vs Nex.

Irrisen - Baba Yaga Russia meets Iggwilv’s Perrenland (Greyhawk) with a nod to Birthright (TSR) Land of the White Witch

Isger - No clear parallel

Jalmeray - India/Ceylon/Serendip

Katapesh - Lankhmar’s Bazaar of the Bizarre as a country

Kyonin - Elf realm - Celene (Greyhawk) or most any other elf realm (Birthright, Realms etc.)
Lastwall - Shield Lands (Greyhawk)

Linnorm Kings, Land of the - Viking barbarians, Barbarian states (Greyhawk) etc.

Mammoth Lords, Realm of the - Quest for Fire, Clan of the Cave Bear, 10,000 Years BC, Land That Time Forgot etc.

Mendev - Warhammer fight against Chaos

Molthune - Germania (Roman Province)

Mwangi Expanse - Every pulp Africa cliche you can shake a stick at

Nex - Axum meets Magic the Gathering’s Urza vs Mishra with a nod to Dark Sun (TSR) in the interior

Nidal - Any shadowy, shadow magic kingdom meets Hellraiser

Nirmathas - The Vesve Forest (Greyhawk circa FtA) as a kingdom

Numeria - Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor

Osirion - Egypt

Qadria - Arabian Persia Palmyra

Rahadoum - Any atheist realm

Razmiran - Any false god theocracy

River Kingdoms - The Bandit Kingdoms (Greyhawk)

Sargava - Freed colonial possession, Rome meets Africa

Shackles, The - Caribean or any other pirate isles

Sodden Lands - Mosquito Coast and ruins move to Africa

Taldor - Byzantium via Atlantis to beget Rome (Cheliax) to beget Greece (Andoran)

Thuvia - Land of the Lotus Eaters (Odyssey) meets the Fountain of Youth

Ustalav - Ravenloft (TSR)

Varisia - Gypsy adventure land

Worldwound, The - Warhammer

This isn’t a criticism of PCG. PCG has a nice sense of fantasy historicism that does much to stitch together what could otherwise be a crazy quilt of borrowings. However, and this is a criticism, so many of these lands scream Adventure Path and not much else - prime example Galt. As a nation state Galt makes little sense but as a site for an Adventure Path it has an obvious utility. This raises the question - is Golarion primarily a means to set and sell Adventure Paths or is it primarily a place for DMs to set their own campaigns? I like Golarion after only Greyhawk but I know Greyhawk and Golarion is no Greyhawk. It is too obvious and too obviously on the make for Adventure Paths. Still, second place to Greyhawk is fine company.

James Jacobs wrote:
I suspect that when we fire up our Pathfinder fiction, we'll follow the same course we have with our game books—we'll be using established authors in the field at first, and perhaps eventually open things up to new writers. The fiction line decisions are still being made, though, so anything's possible!

I've said it before and at length so I won't repeat myself but just say this - when you launch your Pathfinder fiction line, it will mark the beginning of the end for Pathfinder.

Fiction won't kill Pathfinder but it will not help, and will thereby look to cap its potential as a game (for reasons discussed previously).

Can you provide any sense of how soon you plan to inaugurate the beginning of the end? I'd like to save myself some bother, if possible.

hogarth wrote:

From my point of view, 4E had a lot of momentum when it was first announced, but then gradually started losing it during the lengthy waiting period before it was actually released, then experienced another small spike when the game actually came out.

I think the same thing applies/will apply to Pathfinder: there was a big spike of interest when it was first announced (from what I saw), which will gradually decline until the final rules are released in 2009, which will cause interest to have another spike.

Interest usually waxes and wanes. The trick is, of course, to see interest wax more than wane. I trust Paizo on this front. Look at the record.

Paizo announced Pathfinder, open play test and 3.5 compatibility pre-4e. Result – Pathfinder dominates the news cycle for months prior to the 4e launch.

4e debuts. Paizo wisely does nothing in the face of the Big Release. “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Result – Wotc wins the news cycle but Paizo, by refusing to fight on Wotc’s home ground, avoids any perception of “losing” to 4e.

4e FR and Living FR prepare to followup the 4e launch at Gencon. Paizo counterprograms with the Pathfinder Beta and organized play. Result – unclear. I’ll venture to guess, however, that if 4e FR gets as mixed a reception as 4e has gotten, Paizo will walk away with a draw at least, which is saying something when you are in the ring with Wotc.

One point does not fit neatly into the above. Pathfinder wins the newscycle when 4e looses it, because a stumble by 4e is big news and Pathfinder is perceived to be an “alternative.” Again, Paizo can’t possibly say this but 4e’s missteps are Pathfinder’s gains in the newscycle. While Pathfinder is fully capable of succeeding for Paizo with no reference to 4e, Pathfinder’s greater success in the market is dependent on 4e failing or being perceived to be less than what it was hoped or thought to be. So far, Wotc is accommodating Paizo by making serial missteps with 4e. So what next?

Wotc willlikely move to “adjust” 4e’s positioning in the market to the greatest degree they can – which is another and open question. Wotc will also rely on the Big Brand to eventually wear down resistance to 4e. This puts the onus on Paizo not to get beat by standing pat. While Paizo can have some thought that Wotc will continue to misstep with 4e, basing a strategy on that contingency would not be wise. Paizo cannot simply be reactive with Pathfinder. I believe they will continue to press their advantage. Look at the schedule.

Pathfinder is scheduled to enjoy a wealth of support products, many by “name” designers. 4e FR, by comparison, will have comparatively few releases – 3 core books then . . . nothing . Maybe an adventure here or there? In this way, Pathfinder stays on the offensive and in the news.

I suspect, but cannot say, that Paizo will also have a few “surprises” along the way. I suspect a few between now and the 2009 Pathfinder release. More thereafter. Such “surprises,” and Paizo’s ability to deliver them, will in combination with how well 4e recovers after stumbling out of the gate, ultimately tell the tale.

It is too early to declare any victor or even a tie. I would not, however, bet against Paizo. Wotc has the brawn. Paizo is nimble and quick. Both are smart in their fashion. Should be an interesting tussle.

joela wrote:

I frequent several boards and noted many Paizo and Pathfinder threads. I've noted a marked change of tone of late, a growing hostility. . . .

Has anyone else who frequents other boards noted the same as well?

No. You are imagining things or giving over much credence to the wailing few.

Paizo has the weather gage, the high ground, the initiative - choose your metaphor. If you compare the number and volume of the complainers, comparing Pathfinder/Paizo vs 4e/Wotc, Pathfinder/Paizo is getting the better of things by both measures.

The really amazing thing, and why you may hear the 4e advocates wailing more piteously of late,is that the launch of 4e only temporarily dominated the RPG conversation before Pathfinder crept back into the mix. Of course, part of this was due to 4e's horrible presentation in the 4e PHB etc. In short, Wotc gained the advantage with their Big Brand, but the details then lost them that advantage. Brand gets you into the game, execution keeps you there. Paizo is executing with surgical precision while Wotc executes with an apparent hubris that supposes that the mere invocation of the name "D&D" is the beginning and end of the conversation and all that they need do. Not so.

Paizo's rep for quality, customer focused design was built through Dungeon and Dragon. Gamemastery/Pathfinder products have only burnished that rep.

Wotc's rep? 4e too soon after 3.5 too soon after 3.0. 4e change for change sale. 4e too focused on tactical combat. 4e PHB not user friendly. GSL a deal breaker. Kill Dungeon and Dragon. Promise a great DDI, deliver a something much less.

While Paizo has hardly put a foot wrong, Wotc staggers loudly about as if drunk on their own importance.

The 4e folks who are getting nervous about Pathfinders' persistence and forward momentum are on to something and crying in their beer for a reason - 4e is in trouble out of the gate and Pathfinder is moving up fast. Wotc is either unaware of this, unwilling to acknowledge it or unwilling or unable to do anything about it. Probably a combination. The fermenting split even among 4e supporters - 4e 3PP's going copyright and publishing for 4e without the GSL - only makes matters worse. Wotc has a triply fractured market - 4e (and 3PP using the GSL), 3PP 4e that doesn't use the GSL and Pathfinder. Of the lot, Pathfinder is the one with its stuff all in one bag, and widely acclaimed neat stuff that that.

So, yes, you are probably hearing more bleeting from the 4e flock but, no, sentiment is running strongly in favor of Paizo. In fact, matters are proceeding well enough, although Paizo folks could never say this, that Pathfinder may just give 4e more than a run for its money - assuming the present status quo continues.

Vic Wertz wrote:

We are just in the very, very early stages of drafting a fan site document (as in "thinking and talking about it, but not yet actually writing it").

Until that's done, let Fair Use and other aspects of copyright law, as well as the OGL's open content clauses, be your guide about what's ok and what's not. (And, as has been pointed out, it's also ok to use material from the Paizo Blog, though we'd like proper copyright attribution wherever possible.)

While I don't have much in the way of detail to share on our policy right now, you can expect that we'll ask for a few reasonable restrictions (such as proper attribution, and restriction against using our IP for profit), and in return we'll provide access to additional content that isn't available under Fair Use or the OGL.

Thank you very much for your reply. This is helpful. I will check back in 6 months or so, if there has been no general announcement. I am aware that both Eric Mona and Sean Reynolds have some experience in this area and trust Paizo will have a solid fan website policy.

Not sure if this is the Sub-Forum in which to place this thread but its my best guess. Please feel free to relocate as needed.

My question -

What is Paizo's policy, if any, with respect to fan websites that would utilize Paizo intellectual property, for example Pathfinder material, in the creation of derivative works - ie fan fiction or fan created game material?

By way of example, please see Canonfire.com, wherein fans have posted fan created Greyhawk fiction and fan created Greyhawk campaign material that builds upon or expands upon officially published Greyhawk material.

Does Paizo:

a) Prefer no such fan websites be created?
b) Encourage the creation of such fan websites?
c) Express no opinion, pro or con, with respect to such fan websites?
d) Look to evaluate such fan websites on a case by case basis?

Can you please provide me with some guidance?

Thank you.

To: The OP
Re: China.

See Rogers, Jim - A Bull in China
See Malkiel, Burton - From Wall Street to the Great Wall

I'll take China - all the way to the bank. India, too. Capitalism is as American as the 4th of July.

Roger Bert wrote:

Respectfully, Pathfinder RPG has become too different from D&D version 3.5 for me. I was not looking to the Pathfinder RPG to try to fix every problem in v3.5. I was looking to the Pathfinder Magazine (ya, I know they don’t call it that) to supply a source of new compatible adventures that I might be able to use in home campaigns. . . . I just think it is becoming too different. It has to work with the majority of existing d20 v3.5 material for me.

Good Gaming.

This is a perfectly reasonable position. You want a more pure continuation of 3.5. PF is more purely a 3.75. That +.25 goes too far for your taste. Okay.

I don't think it fair to say that PF is "becoming too different," however. What you seem to me to be saying is that PF is not enough purely 3.5. If any significant change from 3.5 that requires the DM to do a bit of conversion etc. is the criteria for "too different" then the observation that PF is "too different" is simply saying that no PF would suit, recognizing that PF never represented itself as merely 3.5 with a name change.

That said, there remains the question of _how_ different is PF from 3.5 in objective terms. People's opinions will differ, of course, but I think it fairly safe to say that 3.5 material will function "as is" with PF material mechanically, with very little or no work, although the results may require the DM to supply game balance rather than the rules (assuming 3.5 is balanced to begin with). The reverse also appears true - PF material can largely function mechanically in a 3.5 game "as is," with again the caveat that the DM will need to look to game balance rather than relying upon the rules alone. By way of comparison, 4e and 3.5 are incompatible mechanically, so incompartable that one never gets to finer questions of game balance etc. By this comparison, 3.5 and PF are very compatible and similar. And this was PF's intent from the first.

By the criteria PF set for itself, to be largely compatible with 3.5 in a 3.75 way, PF is not "too different." Does it have perfect compatability? No, but that was never the assumption. It is close enough that with little or no work, just depending, PF and 3.5 can make use of each other's materials in a way 4e and 3.5 cannot. How much is too much work for any DM will just depend, of course.

I respect your position that PF may call upon you to do some extra legwork that a purely 3.5 product would not, and I agree with that. I think, however, that PF continues 3.5 in a way that no other post-4e rules set does. IMO, PF will be "too different" only when it is as incompatable with 3.5 as 4e is incompatable with 3.5. By that measure, PF is not "too different" at all.

Pathfinder will survive. The question is how well it will prosper.

Pathfinder will survive because 1) it is well positioned to leverage 3x, the OGL and the 3x gamer who, for one reason or another, is not jumping aboard the 4e bandwagon and 2) it is creating an interesting world to wrap around the rules that will spin off products and keep people engaged. Games have managed 2 before but 1 is an entirely new phenomenon. Paizo has wisely recognized this and has moved adroitly to capitalize upon the opportunity.

How well Pathfinder will prosper is an open question. Certainly, Paizo is doing everything it can to maximize the upside - open playtest, organized play etc. There are, however, factors outside of Paizo's control, the largest of which is how Wotc manuvers within the market. 4e's launch is suboptimal on several fronts and Wotc may or may not be willing/able to manuver in choppy seas they believed would be far calmer. It is my opinion that Wotc will be forced to play catchup for the entire product cycle of 4e. However, they may choose not to play at all.

I believe there is a reasonable chance that, if 4e remains suboptimal, Wotc may look to cut its losses, either bringing 5e to market more quickly (say 2013) or by essentially giving up the roleplaying business of D&D (perhaps licensing this end of the business) and focusing on expansion of the D&D brand. In my estimation, the roleplaying end of the D&D brand has fewer revenue opportunities than brand expansion. If Hasbro is paying attention, I think they will see the same thing. If Hasbro is not paying much attention, then I think it will be 5e in 2013. Either way, if Paizo is paying attention, Pathfinder can prosper very well.

I see Pathfinder faceplanting only if 4e more than recovers after stumbling out of the gate. For Pathfinder to fail to prosper, 4e must not only recover but then succeed over and above. I don't see such a scenario as likely and I think Paizo will skillfully guide Pathfinder to sustained prosperity at least through 4e's product life - Round 1. 5e in 2013 (most likely scenario, IMO) will be Round 2.

I have noted that the number and complexity (quality) of adventure site maps within the Crimson Throne adventure path have been decreasing. This continues a trend from the later Runelords.

All this harkens back to a discussion that was had in relation to Dungeon Magazine and the Maps of Mystery series in that magazine. Long story short - maps are good.

Please include more and more complex adventure site maps in future adventure paths. Paizo has done some outstanding cartography and, for me, it forms part of the value proposition Paizo offers and, in part, it is why I purchase the adventure paths. So. Maps, please.

Zardnaar wrote:
In essence I would rather play 3.5 but DM 4th ed.

At the risk of hyperbole, this is one of the most important statements I've see with respect to 3.5, 4e and PF. What you describe has the potential to be a nightmare scenario for all concerned. And I personally think you may not be alone in your feelings.

Ideally, PF should split the difference - the game you want to run and play. Will it? That depends.

I think to this point PF has had as its main design objective compatibility with 3.5. I think this is the first priority. You, however, have well identified what should be the second priority - ease of play superior to 3.5.

Part of that involves high level play. But there is a bigger problem of which high level play is really only a symptom.

PF must diverge from tne 3.5 play experience in terms of how it plays. Which means, it must be less like 3.5 while at the same time retaining a general compatibility with 3.5. Tall order.

PF _MUST_ speed up DM prep-time and play, and it _MUST_ better enable high level play, which is a good way to begin to address how DM-prep and play can be sped up. This is how, I think the high level play issue can best be conceptualized - not as something largely independent to be fixed (like polymorph) but as the first step in addressing the wider issue of DM-prep and play speed. If PF fails to address this issue, it may not fail but its success will be more limited.

Excellent post and observations!

I am seeing some folks whose opinions I generally respect increasingly saying that Pathfinder is too different from 3.5 and that they have "lost" or are "losing" interest in Pathfinder. I respectfuly suggest they are confusing not liking this or that bit of Pathfinder with the suggestion that Pathfinder is overly divergent from 3.5. To wit -

IMO, PF must be generally compatible with 3x. Put another way, it should be as compatible with 3.5 as 3.5 was with 3.0 (as those two versions can be switched back and forth with little difficulty in 9 out of 10 cases by anyone reasonably familiar with both versions). PF being as compatible with 3.5 as 3.5 was with 3.0 is essentially saying Pathfinder takes the place of a 3.75.

This said, a 3.75 is not just 3.5, so absolute rules identity with 3.5 is not only out of the question, it is undesireable. General identity or general compatability, not specific, is good enough.

To survive, Pathfinder must establish its own identity, even as it looks to assume a compatible, 3.75 niche in the market.

So, the PF Thief or Wizard or Fighter etc. is not the 3.5 Thief, Wizard or Fighter etc. Such a comparison completely misses the point.

So, the PF Thief or Wizard or Fighter etc. is better/worse than the 3.5 Thief, Wizard or Fighter etc. Such a comparison completely misses the point.

The question is - is the PF Thief or Wizard or Fighter etc. capable of being played in a campaign alongside the 3.5 version (remember a same/different, better/worse comparison is not the point!)? If they can, all is well.

By comparison can a 4e Thief, Wizard or Fighter etc. be played in a campaign alongside a 3.5 Thief, Wizard or Fighter etc.? The answer is clearly "no" as too many rules for how they play are different. So long as PF avoids this level of rules divergence, it accomplishes its basic design goals. Now, of course, within this broad definition of success, there is plenty of room for this approach or that and thus room for some to find PF not to their taste. This, however, should not be confused with saying PF has failed in its design objective. PF's design objective is not to be to everyone's taste because that is impossible. PF's design objective is to assume a 3.75 niche - compatible with 3.5, even if not identical, but not so radical a departure as 4e.

In my estimation, PF is holding to its fundamental design objectives, and I like it. I think many people are conflating these two distinct observations. To many try to justify a "not to taste" feeling with
a "they're doing it wrong" argument. Those observations are distinctly different and should not be confused.

KaeYoss wrote:
You got it? Mine wasn't even sent yet!

Yup. And it is a great adventure. Much better than the first installment, which frankly left me underwhelmed.

Seven Days to the Grave may be new "classic" in terms of it being, as mentioned in the editorial, the ultimate "plague" adventure. I certainly have not seen better. Compare the limpness of the same theme in The Sinister Spire from Wotc.

SirUrza wrote:
I have a feeling we're going to see a VERY limited SRD.

This is the crux of the matter. The issue is not that there will be a GSL but rather the issue is what restrictions the GSL will impose on 3rd party publishers.

The obscene slurping of Wotc at this announcement is premature at best. What exactly, specifically is being cheered? No one yet knows and the general public won't know until June.

Perhaps, the GSL will be as free-wheeling as the OGL. Perhaps, it will be more restrictive. After all the delay at Wotc, I know where I'd put my money. I'm with Sir Urza.

Essentially, Wotc put its finger in the dike. They got some "good news" after getting whipped when Paizo announced Pathfinder but it is "good news" without any substance at this point.

As for Paizo, they just got the fight they had better have known was coming all along when they decided to go 3x and not 4e. Wotc is on the line with 4e and they are going to do their best to make it a hit, to include running over any percieved competition. Pathfinder is competition for 4e, make no mistake. Everyone at Paizo and Wotc are "friends," to a point and after that point they are competitors looking for customers - roleplayers - to play their respective games.

I do not believe the current announcement impacts Paizo much at all. The reveal of the GSL may.

Longer term, the Pathfinder rollout will eclipse the 4e rollout by over a year, with Pathfinder offering continuing oportunities for fans to provide inputs and thus be and stay involved all the while. Given Paizo's rep and nose for quality, I think any initiative Wotc may gain short term with these kinds of announcements Paizo can weather. Key will be Paizo's followup to the final version of the Pathfinder RPG in 2009. Paizo must maintain momentum. March or die.

What will kill Paizo is to try to straddle the fence and publish for both 3x and 4e. Any number of Pathfinder fans will see a Paizo move to 4e as a backing off from Pathfinder and 3x. At this point, that would be suicide. In fact, Paizo needs a stronger, "official" announcement that the GSL makes them no never mind.

Longer term, a Paizo move to 4e would be less damaging but it will still be seen as a backing off from 3x and Pathfinder. If Paizo goes that way they had best be very, very, very sure that 4e is a hit and has staying power for some time before 5e. Worse case scenario - Paizo announces support for 4e in 2011 and Wotc announces 5e in 2012 for a 2013 release. OOPS!

Old saying paraphrased - When you set out to assassinate the king, you had best succeed. All the "Oh no! That is not our intent" BS to the side, the Pathfinder RPG is an attempt to steal Wotc's customers, to assassinate the king. Paizo now must succeed.

Just got my copy of Curse of the Crimson Throne No. 2 - Seven Days to the Grave and read the lower planar details for Golarion. I just wanted to say "Well done." Bringing back daemons is, I think, an outstanding design choice. Daemons, as conceptualized, are cool and their return gives Pathfinder a definite "old school cool" vibe. If you are not already planning a sourcebook on Golarion' devils, demons and daemons, please allow me to suggest it. You've got a nice signature bit here that, IMO, can and should be followed up in a major way at some early point. Good job!

“Backwards compatibility.” Note that the term has two components.

“Compatibility” refers to a mutually sympathetic/utilitarian relationship between X and Y states. X is in sympathy with Y, and Y is equally in sympathy with X. X can be utilized with Y, and Y can be equally utilized with X. Compatibility is covalent. Covalence does not require absolute similarity or compatibility as between X and Y. Rather, X and Y need only share a sufficient relationship to be mutually sympathetic/utilitarian.

“Backwards” defines the Y state. The X state is that of the present/future. Or vise versa if you prefer. Distinctions between “backwards compatibility” and “future compatibility” miss the point of covalence and are irrelevant. As between X and Y, covalence exists and effects each state in an equivalent fashion or it does not exist.

P3 (the Pathfinder RPG) and 3.5 D&D will be backwards compatible if their relationship is covalent. P3 characters should be able to function pretty much “as is” in a 3.5 adventure; 3.5 characters should be able to function pretty much “as is” in a P3 adventure. Similarly, P3 monsters should be able to be used pretty much “as is” with 3.5 characters, and 3.5 monsters should be pretty much able to be used “as is” with P3 characters. The same relationship should hold for magic spells, feats, skills etc. Note the use of the phrasing “pretty much.”

Covalence does not demand absolute identity between X and Y. It only requires a critical sharing of elements sufficient for a mutual sympathy/utility. Hence, “pretty much” the same does not invalidate the compatibility.

Practically, this means P3 can, and indeed must, differ from 3.5. P3 can, in fact, vary substantially from 3.5, and still be backwards compatible as between P3 and 3.5 so long as the relationship between the two remains covalent.

Doing away with hit points, Vancian magic etc. would destroy covalence and are thus nonstarters in P3 design. Giving a particular class a set of variant abilities does not necessarily destroy covalence. Changing how grappling works does not necessarily destroy covalence. The devil is in the details.

“How far” is “too far” to retain covalence is, I think, a function of magnitude. Hit points and Vancian magic, for example, are everywhere in D&D, both pervading the game and helping to establish is defining characteristics. They are of such magnitude within the game that changing them would destroy the covalent relationship between any new game and 3.5. Grappling is of a lesser magnitude and is then more amenable to tinkering.

The danger is this - there are a number of low magnitude elements of 3.5 that each could be modified without impacting covalence individually. However, if one sufficiently modified _enough_ of these smaller magnitude elements they might add up to a sufficient degree of difference to destroy covalence. Death by a thousand cuts in other words. Paizo has to be particularly careful in this regard.

There is the danger of an accumulation of small changes adding up to a change factor big enough to destroy covalence both objectively and subjectively. The foregoing has looked at objective rules functionality. The subjective factor is independent and is solely the function of how people will “feel” about P3 as it relates to 3.5. Even if P3 is objectively compatible with 3.5, if people subjectively feel it is not covalent, not backward compatible, Paizo is in just as much trouble as if P3 were objectively incompatible.

It is Paizo’s task to manage both the objective and subjective aspects of backwards compatibility. I trust they are aware of this and will do so.

There is an old saying “measure twice, cut once.” Paizo’s open playtest is measuring twice. The Alpha, then Beta versions, before the finalized version is another example of this. Paizo’s goal is to get it right when the final cut is made. Given this cautious approach of measuring twice, no one should prejudge the final P3 until it is final. Playtests are all about testing possibilities and seeing what works best with what. Those who contribute ideas that are not adopted contribute just as much as those whose ideas are adopted. Its all about giving all the ideas an exploration and putting together those ideas which work best together. Those already suspicious of backwards compatibility are leaping head in their thinking to 2009. Paizo is working in 2008. The future is now.

If Necro were to release a product for Pathfinder, I would not purchase it. I'm not sure what might persuade me to buy another Necro release. I have my reason.

Necro before seeing the 4e rules or GSL declared themselves 4e bound. This is "me too" thinking I find appalling. Then, to compound matters, Clark made a declaration (paraphrasing) along the lines that 4e would be great and that Necro looked forward to supporting 4e. Again, this was done (at the time) with ZERO knowledge of the rules and ZERO knowledge of the GSL. Had such statements come from anyone other than a major 3rd party publisher they would have been hooted down as rank boosterism. As is, they were just plain boosterism.

I choose to patronize more thoughtful publishers. While I have no love of 4e, I don't think it unreasonable that a company might decide to support 4e. I do think it unreasonable that a company would choose to so position itself with 4e and the GSL SIGHT UNSEEN. So, I vote with my wallet. While I used to regularly purchase Necro products, Necro can go begging in my household.

YMMV but its my opinion and I'm entitled to it.

I don't want to contribute to thread proliferation necessarily, but as I don't see a general "Thief Thoughts" folder, here goes.

I and my group feel that the thief is the standout new class and it is all attributable to the thief's "talents." People want to play this thief and they want more talent possibilities. Of special note are the low level magic abilities where the feeling is that this is the slickest method to simulate a Grey Mouser sort of character that anyone can recall, far superior to forcing a multiclass. In fact, adding a bit more "umph" to the minor magics would not be rejected.

This raises a problem; like feats, not all talents are created equal. Some are plainly unequal. Likely, this is unavoidable. However, to the greatest degree possible, talents of a similar level should have a similar value or utility. Inexact, but there it is.

Excellent design here! On first look, everyone is very impressed and pleased!

I don't want to contribute to thread proliferation necessarily, but as I don't see a general "Fighter Thoughts" folder, here goes.

I and my players like the new fighter. The armor and weapon bonuses make it feel like the fighter is accomplishing something more as he levels and that he is less "everyman." Good work.

Looking at the Pathfinder thief's "talents," there is a thought that the fighter could have something similar to vary fighting styles beyond type of armor and type of weapon. A suggestion.

With respect to iterative attacks, the feeling is to split the baby. Fewer iterative attacks but retaining them in 3 levels, sort of nodding to 1e. So, 1 attack at low levels, 2 attacks at mid levels and 3 attacks at high levels. Problem is backwards compatability. So, the suggestion is a side bar similar to the variant XP progression. Make it an option (of course, applicable to all classes with fighters getting the most iterative attacks.)

In fact, the thought is lots of sidebars with lots of options. Pathfinder - The Game With Options?

To answer the title of this thread, Paizo will succeed because they are not merely creating a variant version of D&D; they are creating an alternative to D&D. This is so because of the timing and reaction to 4e.

3.5 is on its last legs. 4e is an unproven commodity. Pathfinder can thus compete with an unproven entity. Other d20 games - Arcana Unearthed, True 20, Conan etc. - they all went up against a proven and dominant commodity in 3x D&D. This is a more equal fight.

At the same time, there is a huge amount of unrest surrounding 4e; it has not been anywhere near universally hailed as the best thing since sliced bread, unlike the 3.0 launch. This means there is an available audience that Pathfinderr can hope to win over.

Finally, Paizo has an unrivalled reputation for quality, an unrivalled link to "official D&D" because they first became known through publishing Dungeon and Dragon and thanks to those mags an unrivalled pool of rpg talent ready and used to working for them. They also have a very loyal fanbase.

Paizo is in the right place, at the right time with the right vehicle to succeed. I'm surprised it took Paizo so long to figure out that this is a fight they can win.

Keoki wrote:

I was surprised and dismayed to read the news that Pathfinder is sticking to 3.5. . . . I can't help wondering, however, if this decision is in some way a thumbing of Paizo's collective nose at WotC for the whole Dragon/Dungeon debacle. It seemed to me at the time that Wizards pulled the financial rug out from under Paizo by taking away what were almost certainly their two most popular products. Fortunately Paizo's talented writers came up with Pathfinder, a marvellous campaign setting that seems to really be taking off. And, having determined that most of its fans will stick with it no matter what, Paizo is in a position to raspberry 4E entirely. In short, it seems that while WotC decided they no longer need Paizo, so Paizo now no longer needs them.

I'll miss Pathfinder, but I certainly wish Paizo the best of luck with it. Your thoughts?

To quote the noted philosopher Michael Tyson, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Wotc punched Paizo in the mouth. Paizo had to adapt to the demise of their old plan. So. They created Pathfinder from the ruins of Dungeon's adventure paths, with Dragon-like content added in, which has in turn spawned Golarion and the Pathfinder RPG. Not bad considering they got hit in the mouth by gaming's version of Iron Mike, Wotc. I like the boxing analogy because in boxing no champ is champ forever. Wotc is champ until they aren't.

Marc Radle 81 wrote:
Has there been any reaction from Wizards regarding the decision? Either officially or maybe on an individual basis?

Just my two cents:

1) I rather suspect that individuals at Wotc who like the folks at Paizo have no issue with this. Other folks . . .

2) As a company, Wotc could care less. They think they have the bee's knees with 4e and can't imagine or won't allow themselves to imagine that whatever any other company does can possibly matter. Ah, hubris! And marketing spin.

3) As soon as 4e sales are not all that Wotc projections have them being, if or when that should occur, Wotc will care mightily about what Paizo has done and with 20/20 hindsight, Wotc will see Paizo as having "split the market." Wotc's response will then be interesting in the manner of the Chinese curse. It will be 4e vs Pathfinder and Wotc vs Paizo. Paizo should contingency plan for this. If Pathfinder is perceived as "hurting" 4e as might be judged by anything Wotc says or does, if and at such time, Paizo should be prepared to seize upon this and look to claim the market initiative - "The King is dead. Long live the King!"

Game fiction for Pathfinder is not a good idea for at least three reasons.

1st - To the extent that persons presently employed by Paizo with full time jobs would be doing the writing, that writing would be a species of "taking the eye off the prize." To point out the painfully obvious, Pathfinder must succeed as an RPG before it can gain any traction as a setting for game fiction. Absent a Dragonlance-like phenomenon, Paizo's ability to pay the bills will depend on Pathfinder the RPG more than Pathfinder the setting for game fiction. Paizo's employees need to be focused on the Pathfinder RPG not writing novels or short stories.

2nd - To the extent that persons not presently employed by Paizo might be tasked with writing the game fiction, the question to be asked with the fiction is - will they materially advance the sales of the core line of RPGs which pays the bills? Given the RPG is and will be for the foreseeable future in its infancy, the answer is "no." Paizo needs to release products to define the setting and has a healthy release schedule to that end. Adding novels will misdirect interest from the game to the fiction. Fiction at this point is the wildest sort of cart before the horse.

3rd - Game fiction has a tendency, particularly among fans who like game fiction, to drive setting development. If fans like the fiction or if the fiction is compelling enough, many want the game to reflect this. The novels then come to drive the development of the game. This takes the player out of the equation to a degree as the feeling is that the NPCs of the fiction are the real movers and shakers and not the PCs. The Forgotten Realms is the best/worst example of this. For this reason, game fiction is always problematic.

Of course, game fiction based on a setting that models the rules of a game is, by definition, artificially constrained and then contrived. It tends, more often than not to lack complexity, depth and nuance as compared to fiction that is not so constrained. At its best, game fiction is comparable to the lesser sort of non-game fiction. In other words, it usually sucks. That it is popular says more about the reader's level of reading and appreciation than anything else; the best description being that game fiction is akin to literary junk food - enjoyable as guilty pleasure but eat enough of it and you suffer for the overindulgence.

YMMV But then you would be ill informed and wrong. :-D

Um. Never mind. GO PATHFINDER! :-D

And thank you. I need now never darken the 4e folder again.

Sir Guy: "You've come to Nottingham once too often."
Robin: "When this is over my friend, there'll be no need for me to come again."


Congratulations! And well done! You have my support!

Surprised. But very, very pleased. Thank you for allowing myself and those I game with to remain actively engaged in playing D&D (Pathfinder version)rather than becoming edition orphans this summer. I look forward to continuing to support Pathfinder, Gamemastery and Paizo. You will succeed.

Sebastian wrote:

Paizo has made its decision; WotC has made its decision. It's time for everyone here to make their decision - can you support the game you love without tearing down someone else's? This is an important decision, because whether we like it or not, attacks are going to come to us. People are going to post here, on ENWorld, on WotC, in every forum on the internet attacking Pathfinder, attacking Paizo, and attacking the community that supports them. We can respond in kind, or we can do what's best for Pathfinder. We can refute the lies, share our experiences, and refrain from making this into a Pathfinder v. 4e debate.

We all know what blind fanaticism for 4e looks like; let's not give Pathfinder fans the same bad name.

Well said and good advice. Enlightened fanaticism. :-D

Not to diminish what you've said so very well but it will, in some measure, come down to Pathfinder vs 4e. Its just those wanting Pathfinder to win need to "fight smart," which is what you've ably outlined. Kill'em with kindness. A smile. A friendly word. A free download and open playtest. I'm drinking the kool-aid!

Laeknir wrote:
Charles Evans 25 wrote:


I note that in your Opening Post you appear to have quoted one sentence from Lisa Stevens. Without seeing it in the context of the rest of the post that she made, I find that I can not be certain that she may not have been speaking poetically rather than literally, making some sort of bardic appeal to the message boards. (...)

That's always the problem with pulling single sentences out of context. I think you're absolutely right.

Here's the original paragraph, from the original thread:

Lisa Stevens wrote:
(...)I am hoping that a time will come when the angst will have subsided and 3e and 4e fans can live together in peace and harmony. I think that 3e makes the perfect game for many folks, and can totally understand why many other people are excited about 4e. There is nothing wrong with liking one over another, just like it isn't wrong to prefer True 20, Castles and Crusades, RuneQuest, or any other RPG. I really don't understand why one person choosing 3e over 4e is such a threat to the 4e devotee and vice versa. It is a personal decision and should stay personal, IMHO. My mom always told me that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything. I wish more folks would listen to that good advice. (...)

Perhaps, I'm missing something but I don't see the expanded quote/context adds anything or detracts from the statement that she simply does not understand "why one person choosing 3e over 4e is such a threat to the 4e devotee and vice versa." Nor do I think the expanded quote invalidates my original post. If one does not understand how to drive, getting behind the wheel to go some place is probably not the best course, if I can use an extreme and exaggerated illustration. I read Ms. Stevens as owning that she doesn't understand "why one person choosing 3e over 4e is such a threat to the 4e devotee and vice versa" and I see nothing in the expaned quote that modifies, explains or makes that poetic. I could be missing something, of course.

The key word in the operative sentence I quoted is, I believe, "threat" - Ms. Stevens does not understand how one group can feel threatened by the other, as I read it. I hope I have addressed this. Boiled way down it comes down to loss. For the 3e person loss of current edition status and all the entails and the specific potential loss of Paizo's well regarded support materials. For the 4e person the loss is mainly the Paizo support as they by definition are more or less pleased with gaining 4e.

I read Ms. Stevens literally in her professed lack of understanding seeing nothing in her larger post that casts this as other than a literal lack of understanding, specifically of the "threat."

Saracenus wrote:


I guess I don't see the need to understand someones reason for their anger or passion on either side of the debate. If you cross the line of civility and the posting rules I really don't care why you a jerk, just that you where. On my mailing lists, I really don't care if someone had a "good reason" to attack someone else, its verboten. End of subject.

I think understanding why someone feels or acts a certain way is critical to understanding motivation. Situations alter all things, IMO. Its not about having a "good reason" for being a jerk, IMO, but about why someone might behave like one when in other circumstances they would be entirely pleasant. If its jerk for jerk sake - its hammer time! If there is more to it, and in this case I think there is for the reasons set out, I think the appropriate response is not so clear and should certainly be carefully measured against the knowledge of what is behind the situation. How we got to a pass and where we go from there are IMO as important as the fact that we have come to a particular point. Does that make sense?

Charles Evans 25 wrote:

GVD: . . . The trouble is that this approach has left uncertainty regarding your position on potential counter-examples.

For example those who have internet access on a regular basis these days, can locate others who play older editions of the game more easily with such a tool and, even if they are not geographically located in the same area, can engage in Play by Post games (albeit very slowly) via the medium of the world wide web. . . . The approach which you have taken means that I don't know if you've even thought of this however, or if you have but consider it irrelevant to the arguements which you were presenting to Lisa Stevens?
This is unfortunate in my opinion, as you seem to be trying to convey some valid concerns.

You are entirely correct that there are factors in mitigation of some of the points I raise, legitimate counter-examples. I did not mean to ignore these and they are relevant. I consider the point you raise, quoted above, entirely appropriate and valid, for example. I think, however, that the counter examples do not sufficiently mitigate the points I raised to invalidate them or really undermine their main thrust. Thus, I did not make a longer post longer to discuss exceptions that do not sufficiently or materially impact the points of my post. YMMV.

For example, there are specialist websites that favor certain editions but those sites compare poorly with sites discussing the current editions. I know this first hand as I read some of those sites. Locating others to play out of publication editions on the internet or via the internet is also possible but these options are far less than ideal. I've had some prior experience here as well.

Certainly, a dedicated fan of an out of print edition or setting can find fellow devotees via the internet. All is certainly not lost. But much is lost at the same time. More is lost by almost any measure, I think. As a Greyhawk fan, loss and making the best of things via the internet when your game is out of print are familiar to me! ;-D

Chris Perkins 88 wrote:
GVDammerung wrote:

Reset as suggested and Paizo just went "all in" with respect to its decision on going 3e or 4e.
How so? . . . My assumption is that you're saying that a "reset" would indicate that Paizo won't tolerate anti-4th edition speak (my assumption could be dead wrong... in which case I apologize).

Sort of. I think it could be percieved as you suggest to a degree that Paizo might loose the opportunity to keep those customers against whose preferences the decison is ultimately made - those who might stick around just for the good read and ideas. Of course, that ship may have already sailed, may be sailing or may have never had any validity in the first place. I don't know. Personally, I'm strongly leaning 3x but the HPL elements in Pathfinder have me at least thinking about sticking with Paizo for Golarion even if a 4e decision is ultimately the way Paizo goes.

Imagining that the GSL is soon to be forthcoming, this whole mess will be resolved as soon as Paizo announces. With just a short time to go, my thought would be to avoid anything that could be taken amiss. The moderation announcement falls into this category (IMO) and I'd be thinking that a reset could too. If the GSL gets out the door and Paizo announces, everything will be resolved by main force without Paizo having to do anything that might be taken badly by one set or another pre-ultimate decision. The GSL is the ultimate solution here, IMO.

Chris Perkins 88 wrote:
I'm not gonna prattle on too much but I think it's time the 4th Edition boards were reset.

Reset as suggested and Paizo just went "all in" with respect to its decision on going 3e or 4e.

Saracenus wrote:
I would have more sympathy for your position if the indiscriminant bomb dropping continued or spread to other parts of the Paizo forums, something that hasn’t happened. Moderation is now on a personal basis. When a post gets modded, there is an explanation. Warnings are being given when behavior hits the limits of what is allowed. Is it perfect, no. I did see a post get modded and then put back. It seems that Paizo is dialing in on what is and isn’t a violation of the rules. . . . As I see it, people have stopped reacting with their ids and have started thinking about what they are saying or at least considering how they are saying it. This is a good thing. Passion has its place, but left unbridled it spirals out of control. I still see passion in people’s posts but it doesn’t overwhelm everything else. This is a good thing.

I do not necessarily disagree. In theory. We will have to see how things go in practice. To put a personal spin on why I care or bothered to post (I have not been a frequent poster for quite some time), I offer the following.

While I am presently not inclined toward 4e based on what I know, I have not seen it fully and thus remain curious. My first impressions have on occasion proven off the mark in the past and are not infallable. To that end, I have been an avid reader, even if not poster, on a variety of message boards. In my reading, I have found the negative posts as enlightening as the positive posts, more so, as regards 4e's specific features. Too many of the positive posts I have read have been uncritically positive. Negative posts have been uncritical at times too but less so and even when so have drawn critical, and enlightening, responses from those more positively inclined. I have learned more through the give and take. An unhappy thing happened on the way to the forums, however.

First, the Wotc forums (if I can say this) became dominated by 4e boosters and opposing, critical opinion was lost. I stopped frequently those forums because of this. Next, ENWorld came to be dominated in much the same way (if I can make that reference). I have scaled back my reading, again. Thereafter, I found Paizo to have the best discussion of the features of 4e. Now, this appears imperiled, albeit by good intentions. You know what they say about that road. I would very much not like to loose another forum.

As I now for the fourth time takes pains to point out, I am not opposed to objective moderation. I would not, however, like to see subjective moderation used as an excuse to, intentionally or not, chill comments critical of 4e. All the politeness and civility in the world are not a replacement, for me, of a solid critique, however rough around the edges.

As I have endevored to say, I think 3e and 4e advocates have solid reasons for feeling as they do, feelings Ms. Stevens indicates she does not understand. Without such understanding, I question how the moderation can be sensitive to those feelings. A blanket paen to civility and politeness in moderation is a "one size fits all" approach to a situation where not everyone is similarly situated. One size cannot fit all when there will be winners and losers, both in the move to 4e generally and with respect to Paizo's decision, and I think it naive to imagine otherwise. Indeed, I have, post-moderation, read attempts to use the threat of moderation for partisan pro-4e arguments. While not effective necessarily in drawing moderation, they are effective in chilling the atmosphere all the same IMV.

I would prefer that those going against the grain be given some leeway in making their points, not because one supports incivility, but because one wishes a robust dialog and recognizes the factors in play here, factors that as other message boards have demonstrated, can too easily stiffle such dialog. This is not a fear without a prescedent but a fear with two very real prescedents. I would prefer the admonition to civility now attached to the 4e sub forum be removed. As you stated, let the moderation be personal and tailored to the situation, not a general broadside. If Ms. Stevens comes to understand that which she admits to not understanding, I think the rest follows if there is any sympathy for why people feel as they do. I believe, by her own statement, that her reaction and hence Paizo's to the question Is this board representative of how Paizo wishes to be seen? was an overreaction based on the stated lack of understanding. Know the truth as the saying goes or, if you prefer, free your mind.

crosswiredmind wrote:

I disagree with the overall message in the OP regarding the 3E/4E divide.

The subtext is that those staying with 3E care about D&D and those that want to play 4E do not.

There is no subtext of this sort. I do think that the case can presently be made more strongly as to why 3e advocates are feeling a pinch, they why 4e advocates might be upset.

First, 3e is going away as produced by the industry leader in favor of 4e. Where 4e advocates stand to gain, 3e advocates stand to lose. That isn't saying either side cares more or less, just that there is clearly more loss on the 3e side of the equation. Loss always pinches a better tighter than a putative gain. Wherein lies the second point.

Second, 3e advocates know in concrete terms exactly what they are loosing in terms of the 3e rules set. While more information about 4e emerges daily, the overall picture is incomplete. 4e advocates are advocating for an, as yet, incomplete picture. While 4e is as incomplete a picture to 3e advocates one thing is certain, the known that is 3e is being retired by the industry leader and official publisher. Again, this doesn't mean one side cares more or less. Rather, the 3e folks are simply more aware at present of what they are loosing than the 4e folks can be precisely certain of all that they will gain.

I hope this distinction does not ellude you. There is no comment being about about who cares more or less.

varianor wrote:
I would find more validity in your post if it was a discussion of the point you originally raised, instead of an unveiled screed against moderation.
varianor wrote:
I read it and thought about it in its entirety before posting.

The original statement was Lisa Steven’s - “I really don’t understand why one person choosing 3e over 4e is such a threat to the 4e devotee and vice versa.” I have endeavored at length to explain why this might be so. Understanding why goes a long way toward understanding the reaction to the announced moderation. The two are linked, as they were in the original thread Ms. Stevens responed to - “Is this board really how Paizo wants to be represented?” I did not invent the connection; it was there from the beginning. I merely addressed the full equation.

You will also note, or not, that I have twice (and now for a third time) indicated that there is a place for moderation when there are clearly grounds for such.

Your reading is unsupported by any basis in fact and belied by a full reading of the facts of the posts referenced.

Lisa Stevens wrote:
I really don't understand why one person choosing 3e over 4e is such a threat to the 4e devotee and vice versa.

Incorporated into her response to a poster who decried the allegedly overly negative tone of the Paizo message boards with respect to 4e, in the wonderfully entitled thread “Is this board really how Paizo wants to be represented?” Lisa Stevens made the above comment. This comment has gone uncommented upon in the aforementioned thread and, I believe, deserves one of its own. Why?

1) Well, here we have the CEO of Paizo professing some mystification over the split in the D&D gaming community between those who support for 3x as opposed to those who support 4e. The CEO of Paizo. At the same time Paizo has very publically not decided between 3x and 4e. And has on multiple occasions asked its customers what they are going to do and how their opinions of 4e are evolving.

2) The comment might be neither here nor there, perhaps, but for the immediate impact of the posting. Despite the heavily freighted inference inherent in “Is this board really how Paizo wants to be represented?” Ms. Stevens sympathized and agreed with the poster. Thereafter, she is the CEO after all, Paizo’s 4e forums were made subject to “moderation” where one could not reference other gaming companies or other parts of the larger online gaming community, at least not in anything but an affirming manner. Discussion of 4e on Paizo’s message boards was henceforth to be conducted in something resembling a vacuum, as if a larger world did not exist and did not matter in the discussion. To say that such a vacuum bears any resemblance to the reality of the gaming community and how it interacts across internet forums is, with understatement, curious. If one questions this assertion, one need only observe Paizo employees speaking as Paizo employees on other message boards and the employees of other gaming companies, speaking as employees of those companies, speaking on Paizo’s message boards.

Given the above, Ms. Steven’s self expressed lack of “understanding” deserves, even needs, to be addressed. So, let’s begin.

1st – D&D requires a commitment that is greater than that in games like Monopoly. D&D requires more time to prepare and play and encourages players, to include the DM, to roleplay, to take on a role. In both these ways, D&D is an immersive experience, unlike other non-roleplaying games.

2nd – D&D calls upon both player and DM creativity much more than other sorts of games like Monopoly. DMs create their own worlds and adventures, making the game uniquely theirs in its play. Even if a DM uses published campaigns or adventures, a very large number of DMs modify the published material, again, making it uniquely theirs. Players, in either situation, create their characters personalities and vicariously experience the game through these characters, making the game uniquely theirs. Making the game uniquely theirs gives rise to a sense of “ownership” or at least “investment” in the game, distinct for other games.

3rd – The social interaction, the give and take, of playing D&D is highly immersive, again distinct from other sorts of games. The consequence is a level of bonding with other players and with the game that one does not find with games like Monopoly.

In consequence, the D&D player or DM is predisposed, even conditioned, to look at D&D in highly individual or personal terms. The game in this sense “matters” more than non-roleplaying games. If the play of D&D has occurred during a person’s formative years or just over a long period of time, the above factors are further strengthened.

Having established in broad outline something of the mind frame of the D&D player generally, we can next turn to the 3e version of the game.

1st – After a period of waning popularity, 3e marked a resurgence in the game. D&D became more popular than at any time since its heyday in the 80s. Players had the sense of being a part of a rebirth or renaissance of the game, something played up by the manufacturer. 3e was synonymous with this sense of purposeful community.

2nd – The 3x rules set encouraged, even demanded, that players delve into the minutia of the system. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the emergence of various and complex “builds” for optimized characters. What is more, the 3e rules were sufficiently complex and involved that “builds” were rewarded with more effective characters. At the same time, “builds” were only the most obvious manifestation of the 3e rules set’s spur to creativity, One could get very, very creative with feats, skills, PrCs etc. That creativity was further multiplied many fold as, for the first time in D&D’s history 3rd party publishers could add their visions to the official ones.

Between the widespread popularity of 3e and the creativity on several levels that it unleashed, and given gamers predisposition to identify with the play of the game, 3e enjoyed a strong positive bias, even loyalty.

Now we need to discuss the broad mechanics of game publishing.

1st – D&D editions that are currently published are supported by new products. D&D editions that are not currently published generally do not see new products released. New products are important to many who do not have the time to create full campaign settings and adventures from scratch. Take an edition out of current production and many players will be practicably unable to play, save for out of date material they may have accumulated.

2nd – D&D editions that are currently published are supported by the RPGA. D&D editions that are not currently published are not generally supported by the RPGA. For many, the RPGA is a chief or valued source of D&D games. Take an edition out of current production and RPGA play is foreclosed to many.

3rd – Most critically, the majority or plurality of gamers inevitably play whichever edition of D&D is currently being published. Players of older, non-current, editions have increasing difficulty finding players. As importantly, the community and sense of community is diminished with respect to any non-current edition of D&D. Those preferring other than the current edition find fewer outlets with fewer participants to discuss the game in the edition they prefer. The whole game experience is then diminished. One is made to feel less relevant. Indeed, one may see this dynamic with only the announcement of a new edition.

In short, gamers of any edition but that being currently published are disadvantaged to one degree or another.

Here we need to touch very briefly on 4e.

1st – 4e is not backwards compatible with 3e. It is mechanically sufficiently different that no conversion guide is offered or deemed officially possible. This is at variance with 3e as regards 2e and 2e as regards 1e. Any investment in 3e materials will be of limited utility with 4e.

2nd – The play of 4e, not surprisingly given its mechanics, will be different from 3e. If one enjoyed how 3e played, one will get a different experience with 4e. The 3e play experience will not be replicated.

3rd – Just as the mechanics and play of 4e will be different from 3e, the background or frame for 4e will be greatly different from that of 3e. In some real sense, 4e speaks a different language reflecting different assumptions or givens with respect to the story elements of the game.

Very simply, 4e is not 3e. 4e is not even close to 3e. 4e make no attempt to accommodate anything much of 3e and instead advises a clean break with 3e in favor of 4e.

Finally, we arrive at Paizo’s role in why 4e and 3e players are so strongly antagonistic in many cases.

1st – D&D’s publisher is the industry leader and many other companies follow its lead. To date, a number of well regarded 3e 3rd party publishers have, sight unseen, announced that they are dropping support for 3e, still possible under the OGL, in favor of 4e. Other companies have made no announcement. Paizo is virtually alone in very publically announcing that they are not simply undecided but may stick with 3e.

2nd – Paizo’s reputation as a publisher is first rate. Many like or admire Paizo without regard to any particular set of rules. Others, favoring one set of rules or another, would look forward eagerly to Paizo’s support for their preferred rules and would be very disappointed were Paizo to no longer support their preferred rules. That 4e and 3e rules are so incompatible in terms of rules, brings this factor to a fine point.

3rd – Paizo has frequently, prominently and repeatedly engaged and involved its customers in the company’s deliberations as to whether to support 3e or 4e. It has done so on its message boards, the very same message boards it now “moderates” because there is antagonism between 3e and 4e supporters.

So to come full circle, why Ms. Stevens is “one person choosing 3e over 4e is such a threat to the 4e devotee and vice versa?” Because a) D&D is an immersive, personalized experience, b) 3e was a strongly, even uniquely, popular game, c) non-current edition games are disadvantaged to one degree or another, d) 4e is a strong break from 3e and e) Paizo’s support is highly valued and has been opened to player input.

The positioning of 4e as nonconvertible from 3e has placed 3e and 4e fans at odds. Paizo holding itself out as unpersuaded but persuadable has given these fans a flashpoint for their disagreements. These disagreements are both sharp and heated for the reasons set forth at length above. It would be my hope, Ms Stevens, that you now understand why “one person choosing 3e over 4e is such a threat to the 4e devotee and vice versa.”

Given what I hope is your new found understanding, I would like to suggest to you that you revisit your quick agreement with the original poster of “Is this board really how Paizo wants to be represented?”

The very title suggests its answer in the negative. The question is then rhetorical and immediately biased as it calls into question posts unfavorable to 4e. That the result is moderation only nominally begs the question of who is being moderated. It is clearly those who do not support 4e. Of course, the post is well framed in terms of civility and politeness but this is transparent as it is clear whose “representation” of Paizo by their participation on these message boards is being called into question. It is that poster(s) not persuaded that 4e is a good thing. The issue is then not whether politeness and civility will prevail but whether politeness and civility will serve to “moderate” those disinclined to like 4e. While “moderation” certainly applies to those inclined to support 4e as well such moderation is a chimera for there is nothing there to moderate because those favoring 4e are nothing but praiseful. They can be easily civil and polite because they are for the emerging status quo. You, Ms. Stevens, I suggest have been gulled in the name of politeness and civility by a well phrased request to muzzle those questioning 4e.

I must remind you that Paizo has been more than a mere bystander in how the tenor of the Paizo message boards have developed. Paizo has encouraged those questioning 4e to find expression here and, should Paizo decide after seeing the GSL to stick with 3e, Paizo will have profited by this policy. Indeed, Paizo has attracted those not inclined to immediately support 4e to Paizo’s site and thereby profited already. Paizo’s hands are not clean and to use another cliché, the genie cannot now be placed back in the bottle, at least not without some breakage.

The level of alleged “negativity” warranting moderation is largely a phantasm. George Carlin and his seven words have not been invoked. No ones parentage has been called into question. The rare hyperbolic flourish that “insults” in any real sense is just that - rare. In short the moderation, particularly the ban on mentioning specific companies in other than a positive light and other message boards is overblown and pretextual. The “I know it when I see it” ban on the “insult by insinuation” is so vague and standardless that it is nothing but a muzzle. And from the above only one side is in practicality and reality being muzzled.

Its your house. Its your rules. I’ll ask the same question you so quickly leaped to answer before – is this how Paizo wants to be represented?

I’d prefer a level playing field. I prefer no ticky tack fouls and that the players be allowed to play, particularly as this game is largely at Paizo’s specific invitation. If you prefer, however, a “moderated” forum that advantages one group, and summon up what logic you will but the fact remains that those in opposition to anything are always more subject to being “moderated,” I can live with that. Paizo may, however, find me as dubious about matters as the poster who first inquired “Is this board really how Paizo wants to be represented?” I can withhold my patronage as easily as the previous guy, particularly if or when Paizo goes 4e.

And should that last be of concern to you? Well, I’m liking the Golarion line of products so far, particularly the Lovecraft touches. HPL just might be enough to get me to ignore an edition change should Paizo make one. Then again . . .

If you want the 3e hold outs to stick with Paizo in the event of any change to 4e, I suggest that making the 3e holdouts feel as if they have had a full and fair opportunity to be heard would be a good strategy. Until recently, I thought that was not an unfamiliar idea to you.

In all moderation, civilly and politely yours,

Glenn Vincent Dammerung

I fully expect 5e to arrive in 5 years, 6 max. Its one reason, among a host of others, why I am charry about 4e. I just don't see 4e sticking around very long. From what I've seen, 4e looks like it is built for speed, not distance.

Lilith wrote:
My biggest problem with Greyhawk is that there is a wealth of information out there, but there is not a consistent presentation of the material. The Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (which I managed to snag a hard copy of) works...sorta. Every time I look into it, I get the distinct impression that it is for people who are familiar with the world setting already, and not for somebody who is relatively new to the setting (like myself).

I think this is absolutely true. What is more, that wealth of information tends to accumulate until a picture emerges, more than any of the individual features leaping off the page at you to define the setting.

By way of example, warforged leap from the page to help define Eberron. So does the lightning train. So does magic as a sort of technology substitute. So do dragon riding halflings. Like these features or loath them, they are immediately attention grabbing and help define what makes Eberron unique.

Greyhawk has many fewer signature features that leap off the page at you in similar like. Greyhawk's uniqueness is in its accumulation of detail and its subtle sense of "wheels with wheels," as much as anything else. Neither leaps off the page like the aforementioned warforged for example. Greyhawk is by such measures then harder to quickly define to potential new players.

Any relaunched Greyhawk, IMO, would need some "leap from the page" features if it was to be sufficiently distinguishable from the Realms and just to attract new players who are being educated to look for "leap from the page" features by settings like Eberron. Once you are hooked on Greyhawk, subtle sells, but that won't get you alot of sales right out of the shute.

Greyhawk's presentation would need serious work. To the extent this would mean significantly adding to or altering the setting, one must return to the conundrum that Mearls first postulated - which customers do you chase? Its easy to say "both" but far more difficult to say specifically how that might be accomplished given the general state of affairs circa 4e.

I’m reading notions that “Greyhawk is a ‘classic’ setting” and that, with the changes to the Realms, such “classicism” might be just the ticket to sufficiently distinguish Greyhawk from the Realms. I do not think so.

4e is not a classic rules set in the same sense that Greyhawk, or the Forgotten Realms, is a classic setting. As Eric notes, the Realms was reimagined in large measure to bring it in line with the new 4e rules.

Given that Wotc feels the need to establish a new classic with 4e, why would they support deconstructing 4e to support something of the earlier style of classic play that is in strong measure Greyhawk? They would not, IMO. It would be counter productive. With 4e being the current rule set, it would make little sense to attempt to rework 4e to more closely resemble the design parameters or feel of some earlier edition just so they could relaunch Greyhawk. Earlier editions are over. The now belongs to 4e. If Greyhawk were to relaunch, every logic suggests that it would have to fully accommodate the 4e rules set.

While it might be possible to make small concessions and banish dragonborn etc., Vancian magic is certainly gone. And with Vancian magic goes much of what makes a classic Greyhawk wizard classic. Vancian magic is not just a rules system but a philosophy about how the magic of the setting operates as well. And, of course, such effects more than just wizards.

At the same time, Wotc has invested a great deal in the idea of its new cosmology. As any reading of practically any D&D message board will reveal, this is not an easy sell. Backing away from the new cosmology by allowing Greyhawk to utilize the Great Wheel would, in all likelihood, be counter productive to what Wotc is trying to make the new classic cosmology of D&D. In their place, I would never allow such a thing, particularly as attached to something as iconic in D&D’s history as Greyhawk. The downside possibility of seeing gamers even more widely reject the new cosmology would be very real, IMO.

One could go on but you take the point.

No. If Greyhawk were to relaunch, it would in all likelihood have to more accommodate 4e than see 4e altered to accommodate Greyhawk. Given this, there remains the unresolved matter of how to clearly, immediately and strongly distinguish a revived Greyhawk from the Realms, as Greyhawk’s “classic” status would not be sufficient as Greyhawk would have to accommodate 4e much as the Realms has had to accommodate 4e. Subtle distinctions, being subtle, like “wheels with wheels” would not be enough.

Contrary to Eileen’s opinon, IMO “doing nothing” with Greyhawk is an entirely viable option. Nothing is done with Dark Sun. Nothing is done with Mystara. Nothing is done with Birthright. Nothing is done with Al-Qadim. Doing nothing with older settings designed for rules sets with different design philosophies is, in fact, the norm. To the degree newer rules would significantly alter older settings, it is even likely the best course.

My thinking is that Greyhawk is best left to the glory that was once Rome. Greyhawk had a great run under very different rules sets but in that process Greyhawk became more and more divergent from its roots and I agree with Eric that Greyhawk is a “roots” setting. Even the adventure paths overseen by Eric are more well crafted tributes to classic Greyhawk than classic Greyhawk in esse. Could Greyhawk be reborn under 4e? Sure. I am not convinced it would be recognizable as such in more than name, however. Given that, I’d prefer not to see a 4e Greyhawk.

mearls wrote:

You have two customers you can chase with a Greyhawk book, and I think that puts up a really, really big hurdle to doing it right:

1. Greyhawk has existing fans who have studied the details, internalized the setting, and have a strong sense of ownership over it. When TSR let Greyhawk lie fallow, these were the guys who kept it going.

2. There are lots of potential Greyhawk fans out there who might like the setting if its presented to them correctly. They might know a little bit about the setting via the 3e core books and via the iconic adventures set there, but they don't know the details.

The problem is that these two groups want products that are mutually exclusive. You can't make both happy. Which one do you chase?

I'm a huge Greyhawk fan but Mearls is correct.

"True to Greyhawk" for established fans (and this is ignoring that GH fans are split into a number of seemingly mutually exclusive sub groups of GH fans) is likely to be "largely incomprehensible" to potential new Greyhawk fans, and perhaps more to the point, is also likely to be "practically unworkable" for a game publisher not strongly dedicated to Greyhawk.

I think it is possible with a boutique publisher (read Paizo) dedicated to the minutia/canon/consistency of the Greyhawk setting to craft (I said craft as in an "artisan" sense)something that could appeal to the broadest audience of established and potential Greyhawk fans. A larger publisher like Wotc that may not have the inclination or ability to deploy the resources necessary to master the minutia/canon/consistency of the Greyhawk setting sufficient to please existing fans while also well calculating to capture new fans. Wotc has bigger and more numerous fish to fry as it were.

If Wotc were to undertake to revive Greyhawk, Sam Weise is correct that the most productive way to do so would be to advance the timeline and essentially "reinvent" a good part of the setting (of course, selectively keeping some ties to what has come before). In broad principle, then, this is not unlike the 4e Realms. This would not please everyone, to Mearls' point, by any stretch but it is as good a "splitting of the baby" as is likely possible. Would such an "advanced timeline" Greyhawk sell? Probably more on a scale sufficient to please a boutique publisher than a larger publisher like Wotc. But that is no guarantee.

Practially, a revived Greyhawk would have to use the 4e rules. I obviously have not seen the final 4e rules set but from what I do know, I do not feel that the 4e rules would be a good fit for Greyhawk. As a Greyhawk fan, I'd buy a 4e Greyhawk, but I would not be enthusiastic about it. In fact, if I were to be asked, I would strongly advise Wotc not to produce a 4e version of Greyhawk. I think there would need to be too many accomodations to the 4e rules to leave Greyhawk feeling like Greyhawk, at least this long time GH fan. Someone new to the setting would, of course, know no difference.

Mearls is also correct that there is a very real perceptual problem as between the Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk. Of course, those deeply familiar with both settings can easily distinguish them. To the casusal observer, like the potential new Greyhawk fan, however, they are more the same than different. A revived Greyhawk would have to then:

1) try to please existing Greyhawk fans;
2) attract new Greyhawk fans; and
3) be clearly, immediately and strongly distinguishable from the Forgotten Realms.

If the first two are together tall orders, the third is also a tall order. Again, Greyhawk would have to be, to some likely substantial degree, "reinvented." "Getting it right," which is at the heart of Mearls post, would not be easy nor certain.

Eric Mona raises the Expedition to Castle Greyhawk module as a possible example of how to "get it right." Expedition to Castle Greyhawk is far, far from being a setting wide treatment. Its scale is modest by comparison and then limited. This is not to say that it is impossible to get Greyhawk right but it is to say that Expedition to Castle Greyhawk is no proof such can be accomplished at the larger scale required of a setting relaunch. By the same token, nothing in Expedition to Castle Greyhawk sets the adventure apart from something that might take place in the Forgotten Realms if the Greyhawk specific names were changed.

In fact, Expedition to Castle Greyhawk is a case in point. It is a signature Greyhawk location but its fine treatment in the module is hardly signature in the sense of being clearly, immediately and strongly distinguishable from being something similar in the Realms beyond the obvious Greyhawk names, of course. Herein is the challenge of a revived Greyhawk being produced by the same company producing the Realms.

Eberron to take an contra example, is clearly, immediately and strongly distinguishable from the Realms. Greyhawk, generally and with specific reference to Expedition to Castle Greyhawk, is not. That is a problem for Wotc.

Mearls is correct. A revived Greyhawk is problematic. Too problematic in all likelihood.

Some brave soul has compiled a list of known 4e monsters here - http://www.zipworld.com.au/~hong/dnd/Monsters%20&%20More%20(4th%20Editi on).pdf

A really strong trend emerges. Witness:

Dwarf - Warlord
Elf - Archer
Gnoll - Clawfighter, Demonic Scourge, Huntmaster, Marauder
Goblin - Picador, Sharpshooter
Hobgoblin - Archer, Warcaster, Soldier
Human - Bandit, Mage, Berserker, Guard
Kobold - Archer, Dragonshield, Skirmisher, Minion, Slinger, Wyrmpriest

Each of the more common races are being given multiple individual monster entries based upon function or activity.

The list above is only what has been released to this point and is thus partial. It takes no imagination to think that the 4e monster manuals might be filled with literally dozens of variations on each racial or monster theme.

For example, the above list sports six sorts of kobolds. While the dwarf and elf entries sport only one sort, it is easy enough to imagine a Dwarven Rock Fighter, Dwarven Mountain Ranger, Dwaven Shield Warrior, Dwarven Nosepicker etc. Or Elven Forest Friend, Elven Forest Runner, Elven Forest Ranger, Elven Butt Scratcher etc.

What a brilliant design move for 4e! Imagine how easy it will be to fill monster manuals! Just think of the money that will need to spend to keep up!

If you add another adjective, things can only get better - Red Dwarven Nosepicker! Green Elven Butt Scratcher. As opped to the black, white and puce versions.

Just amazing design.

I read the OP thusly, whether the OP is justified in his feelings or unjustified, - "Shame on all of you. I'm taking my ball and going home. MA! See what the bad people made me do!" Color me unimpressed by the reasonable and plaintive tone.

1st - As has been mentioned, Paizo has specifically invited comment on a) how one views 4e, b) how ones feelings are evolving and c) how one is anticipating proceeding.

2nd - The above approach is unique on the web to my knowledge.

3rd - Similarly unique is Paizo's very public stance for a 3rd party publisher that they are not immediately on board with 4e.

To turn a phrase, Paizo has given posters liberty to speak their minds while all wait on the 4e license (GSL). They do so for at least two reasons:

1) As noted above, Paizo remains very pubically uncommited to 4e and to some degree, to judge by Paizites posts, somewhat unimpressed with what they are hearing about 4e to this point, at least to the extent that the company is not willing to declare for 4e as some other publishers, like Necromancer, have done.

2) Whether Paizo goes 4e or sticks with 3x, Paizo wants to keep its customer base - both the 3x and 4e groups. Their best hope of doing so is to give both groups elbow room. If Paizo were to begin to censor those favoring 3x, Paizo would run the risk of seeing that group become, by some measure, disaffected. This is precicely what Eileen has noted as having happened on the Wotc boards. Wotc censors anti-4e sentiment and those who hold such sentiments go elsewhere. In the process, Wotc looses any chance to persuade those potential customers to come around to 4e. Wotc can perhaps afford to write off a segment of its customer base. Paizo can less afford to do so.

Ultimately, Paizo's decision on whether to go 4e or stay 3x will pretty much resolve the issue by main force. Until that time, Paizo is IMO doing a nice job of splitting the baby, as it were, on its message boards.

While nothing of this argues against civility, civility on the internet is often smothering and is then overrated. ENWorld is the best/worst example. It is always easier to be "civil" when you are "for" something. This dynamic makes it all too easy, under the cover of an enforced "civility" for the "fors" to quiet the "againsts." This is precisely what has happened on ENWorld.

The internet lends itself to extremes and civility taken to an extreme is too often in practice censorship of opposing opinion. I find paens to civility and cries of "can't we all just get along" to be code for "Please moderators, help quiet those I disagree with or don't like." As noted above, Paizo has reasons to avoid this or risk disaffecting some segment of the customer base they seek to retain.

Whether Paizo ultimately goes 4e or 3x, they will retain my respect, and thus potentially my business even if I don't perhaps care for their ultimate decision, precisely because they have not stiffled opinion on 4e, under the guise of an enforced civility or otherwise.

You're taking your ball and going home? I've got a ball too and I'm ready to play because the Paizo refs are not playing favorites.

crosswiredmind wrote:

. . . It seems to me that the people that come here just to dump on 4E are just trying to decrease the signal to noise ratio. They don't want to see people talking in a positive way about 4E.

It is as if they believe they can stop 4E from happening if they just put their fingers in their ears and tell the rest of us how crappy it will be, or that it is a game for the lazy, or for people with ADHD, or for those with very few brain cells.

I think the point is swiftly approaching when that has to stop so people can discuss the game from a common agreement that it is worth playing.

Three points. None news.

1) Paizo is undecided as to whether it will go 4e. Until that announcement is made, one way or the other, there is every reason for those hoping that Paizo sticks with 3x to continue to voice their distaste for 4e. Paizo has, in fact, invited such, asking their fans how they are reacting to 4e and about their plans going forward.

2) If Paizo elects to stick with 3x or go 3.Paizo, there will be no common agreement, at least not on these message boards. You are assuming that 4e will carry the day. It may. But that day has not yet come. Paizo remains undecided.

3) If one so wishes, one may see the withering and stullifying (respectively) effects of 4e boosterism on Wotc's message boards and ENWorld. 4e happy talk is hardly more edifying that its opposite number.

After Paizo's call, everything will quickly sort itself out, I think.

David Marks wrote:

I've noticed a number of posters who were pretty regular when I started posting here who have since seemingly dropped off the map. I think it can be a pretty wearying experience going through the same arguments with the same people over and over. I know sometimes I feel that way too!

I think 4E's release will be a definite relief, both for its proponents and its detractors.

Cheers! :)

I think this is an excellent point and reflective of a dynamic Wotc is counting upon - 4e critics will get worn down over time and will shut up, and thus for Wotc's purposes "go away" as well.

Note. Wotc' own message boards have moved from a positition of at least questioning inquiry to cheerleading. ENWorld has undergone a no less dramatic shift from open hostility to an attitude of avuncular acceptance and support, albeit not yet really cheerleading.

The outposts where those who want to stick with 3x can have their say without either being shouted down or smothered with politesse grow fewer. I imagine, if Paizo decides to go 4e, there will eventually emerge a Dragonsfoot (home to keepers of the early edition's flame) for 3x. At least or until another publisher recognizes the continuing viability and potential of the OGL and the market for such products.

1 to 50 of 194 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>