Is Pathfinder Sustainable in the Long-Term?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Grand Lodge

Whew, thanks Jeremy, this is a big relief for me and food for thought.

Clearly, Paizo has the resourses and momentum for a great start to Pathfinder. So, by the time our subscription credit starts to run dry and people start cancelling, Pathfinder will have enough of a name to justify charging enough for ads to bring consumer cost back down -- thereby getting the customers back (maybe before some even leave).

I'm also starting to see why Paizo went to the "book" format: if companies were not willing to shell out the same dollar for ads because the product wouldn't have the famous name, Paizo couldn't use the same format. Another, very risky format would have to be used.

I'm pulling for you Paizo; "I play" too!

-W. E. Ray

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
David Holden wrote:


I'm in my fourth semester of Classical Greek, and "paizo" actually means "I play" (or "I dance"). In Latin and Greek, the standard form of a verb is normally listed as the first-person singular form instead of the infinitive, as other languages such as Spanish do. Thus, "to play" is actually "paizein."

Wow, I never thought I'd be able to use this knowledge online.

Paizo wouldn't be alone in this, though. ;-)

That danish company producing small plastic bricks which you can attach to each other: Lego -> latin = "I read".

Or the german car manufacturer Audi. Its predecessor company name was "Horch" which means as much as the order "listen!". Audi is just the latin translation of "Horch".

Okay. Enough smart ass comments for now. :pp

Günther


Hey folks,

This is my first post on the message boards. I got drawn here by the news that Dungeon and Dragon would be cancelled. First, let me say that I think that is a *huge* mistake on WotC's part. But they are unlikely to listen to any of us (especially me). So here is my list of positives and negative on Pathfinder.

1) Good content value for the price
2) Superior creative talent
3) OGL - means more creative freedom
4) If WotC launches 4.0 - Pathfinder becomes the flag ship for sustaining 3.5
5) Mix of contents means (hopefully) something for everyone

Now here are the concerns

1) Value/price ratio may be good - but it's still alot of money
2) Adventure path focus means less focus on crunchy material - I believe that the majority of D&D players find crunch more valuable
3) Adventure path focus means that the product is more likely to be seen as a DM product meaning it is skewed to the smaller audience segment
4) Support for a single world makes losing some of the audience because the particular path or area focused on is not interesting to them more likely. Each time someone drops out because the current material is not interesting to them means their return is less likely.
5) No ads for other cool stuff - but this will likely be offset by catalogues - so this might actually end up being a plus.

That said I got sold on it when I read the Goblin song. I'm going to convert and try it out. Phil, Lisa, Erik and the whole lot of you have my unconditional support and highest regard.

Anthony "Zulkir" Valterra


If nothing else, Pathfinder is designed for long term success, and, with any luck, it will become an industry leader and role model for future generations of adventure products. More than any other adventure product released anywhere else, this series promises to deliver the "complete package" in terms of campaign-style gaming without the need to purchase excessive sourcebooks and materials to expand your enjoyment.

People need to stop trying to make the comparisons and stop looking at this as the substitution for Dungeon and Dragon magazines. It is not meant to be a replacement for either of these, even though it does take some of the best ideas and concepts from them to create a wholly new product. The subscription format is a unique approach to such a product, but it makes sense to me. For $2 less, I can have the product shipped directly to me every month when the product is released and not have to worry about running to the store and hoping there is still a copy available for me to purchase. I approve!

The one idea that really appeals to me about this product is the value for the quality of everything it has to offer. The books will provide relevant source material to run the campaign (not just a single-shot adventure!) for me to utilize, minimizing the amount of extra work that I may need or want to do for myself. How I would have loved to have seen the awesome Red Hand of Doom adventure to have been given this kind of treatment. (I'm sensing that James Jacobs probably shares that sentiment more than anybody!)

I believe the formula is good, and the results will be phenomenal. The only thing that really hinges on this product's success will be the quality and the flavor of the setting and the adventures themselves. Considering the positive responses and reactions to previous endeavors with the Adventure Path series, the new information revealed in the Paizo blogs, and the given track record of quality productions and customer interactions by the company, I have no doubt that many of us will not be disappointed.

Lone Shark Games

I'm personally more excited about Pathfinder than I was about both Dungeon and Dragon put together. This is absolutely my kind of product, even if I can't possibly run 2 whole APs a year for my group.

While it is possible that Paizo can lose me by putting out products that don't meet my standards, I have every faith - based on the evidence I have seen to date - that I'll be in on Pathfinder from #1 until it ends, and that I'll be using the material from these 'issues' years after they came out.


For me, a lot hinges on variety. If the APs can provide different types and flavors of campaigns, then yes. However, if the APs are going to be nothing more than a series of "stop ______ from taking over the world," then I'd have to exercise some doubts...


I agree with foxish--if the variety is there, I'll keep buying.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

David Holden wrote:
Lisa Stevens wrote:
We pronounce it to rhyme with "Pie Dough." It's a biblical-era Greek word meaning "to play."
I'm in my fourth semester of Classical Greek, and "paizo" actually means "I play" (or "I dance").

That's what happens when one posts at one in the morning—we know that; it's correct on the FAQ page. To be fair, it was actually me posting using Lisa's computer—I didn't want to go to the trouble of logging out and back in.

(We also know it was originally "paiðzw," and thus the actual pronounciation is really more like "py-dzo." But WE pronounce it to rhyme with "pie dough.")

-Vic.
.


Deimodius wrote:

Okay, back on track.

I've seen (here and elsewhere) people complain that AP's aren't sustainable in the long run, and/or that two AP's in a year is too much too soon, and it occurred to me to point out that we are looking at this the wrong way.

These are (imho) _not_ AP's like what we had in Dungeon. Consider that Paizo is building (with us) a brand new campaign world! Pathfinder, rather than being just a string of unending AP's, is actually a series of Campaign Source books, or gazetteers if you like, that describe the new campaign world to you. The BONUS is that they describe it by actually giving you adventures to play in!

You don't have to play a single adventure from the AP's, and you will _still_ be able to read them and get the info about the world that you need to write your own adventures! And it doesn't stop there, no, there will also be separate articles about the world and its inhabitants.

These aren't just AP's, they are the building blocks of what promises to be an extremely cool new campaign world.

Firstly if you want a campaign setting, there are much cheaper and effective ways to get exactly that for less than $216 USD (what it cost you if you subscribe to Pathfinder for a year). You could get much more value for your money by buying a campaign setting and some setting books. The setting information would also be in a couple of books, not spread out over a whole heap of issues like Pathfinder is.

I imagine that there are also some people that don't want a new campaign setting. They might be happy with Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Eberron or their own homebrew.

I understand that Paizo can no longer use Greyhawk (or FR or Eberron for that matter) so it makes sense on their part to create a new campaign world to set their adventures in. As cool as this new setting may be though, it won't be 100% useful to all Pathfinder subscribers. Some people will just want the AP adventures. The fact that they also get a campaign setting at the same time may not add any value to the product for them.

Olaf the Stout


Olaf the Stout wrote:
Firstly if you want a campaign setting, there are much cheaper and effective ways to get exactly that for less than $216 USD (what it cost you if you subscribe to Pathfinder for a year). You could get much more value for your money by buying a campaign setting and some setting books. The setting information would also be in a couple of books, not spread out over a whole heap of issues like Pathfinder is.

Yeah, but then after you buy all the campaign books, you either have to write modules, or buy them. Pathfinder is a campaign setting and modules rolled in to one. You're getting 2 whole APs a year, which is a lot of modules, and has been pointed out repeatedly, you will be able to run them as stand-alone adventures.

Let's compare your "campaign setting and some setting books"

Eberron: (Purchased through Paizo)

Campaign Setting book: $35.96
Player's Guide to Eberron: $26.96
Sharn City of Towers: $26.95
Adventure: Red Hand of Doom: $22.46 x 12 = $269.52
Total: $359.38

So that's only the three main Eberron source books. There are others that look very cool that I imagine Eberron groups would be using. I've used the Red Hand of Doom adventure because we have been told that each issue of Pathfinder will be about the same, and you get 12 of them is a year. And of course, that doesn't include shipping.


Deimodius wrote:
Olaf the Stout wrote:
Firstly if you want a campaign setting, there are much cheaper and effective ways to get exactly that for less than $216 USD (what it cost you if you subscribe to Pathfinder for a year). You could get much more value for your money by buying a campaign setting and some setting books. The setting information would also be in a couple of books, not spread out over a whole heap of issues like Pathfinder is.

Yeah, but then after you buy all the campaign books, you either have to write modules, or buy them. Pathfinder is a campaign setting and modules rolled in to one. You're getting 2 whole APs a year, which is a lot of modules, and has been pointed out repeatedly, you will be able to run them as stand-alone adventures.

Let's compare your "campaign setting and some setting books"

Eberron: (Purchased through Paizo)

Campaign Setting book: $35.96
Player's Guide to Eberron: $26.96
Sharn City of Towers: $26.95
Adventure: Red Hand of Doom: $22.46 x 12 = $269.52
Total: $359.38

So that's only the three main Eberron source books. There are others that look very cool that I imagine Eberron groups would be using. I've used the Red Hand of Doom adventure because we have been told that each issue of Pathfinder will be about the same, and you get 12 of them is a year. And of course, that doesn't include shipping.

I really don't think that there will be as much campaign information in 12 issues of Pathfinder as there is in those 3 Eberron books that you list. I imagine that the Eberron Campaign setting book would have as much, if not more information, all by itself.

As for the adventures, I don't think that 1 issue of Pathfinder will provide as much adventure as Red Hand of Doom. Yes, Paizo said that it was a roughly comparable product. However RHOD is 128 pages for starters. Paizo have said that the adventure portion of each Pathfinder will only be about 50 pages long, less than half the length of RHOD.

Olaf the Stout


WormysQueue wrote:
Depends on where you live though ;)

True, if my grandfather ever found out that I also like Altbier and Hefeweizen, he'd come back to haunt me...he truly believed that regional loyalty to beer stuff.

Back on topic--before you criticize Pathfinder and question its sustainability, why don't you let a few issues come out first? (and I mean that in a friendly banter kind of way, I'm not being critical of anyone's opinion, okay?)


There has been a lot of great discussion on this thread, particularly by Olaf (who started it off). Some of the concerns are understandably very real, but then Paizo has a fantastic head on its shoulders and a loyal fan base (as well as a lot of game cred and fame), so they have a better chance than a lot of other d20 companies to do well. The staff are also highly adaptable and will be able to see from looking at sales figures, etc whether or not Pathfinder is a failure or success and have enough time to set things in motion to make the necessary adjustments/changes. Remember also that they have the GamesMastery Line and the possibility of collaborating with WotC in the future, so we'll just have to wait and see.


Zulkir wrote:
Anthony "Zulkir" Valterra

Valterra...Valterra... Where have I seen that name....?

:D

Oh, and I am *deeply* relieved to find out I *have* been pronouncing Paizo more-or-less accurately! (now...if I could just learn how to pronounce "otyugh," all would be great!)


Doc_Outlands wrote:
(now...if I could just learn how to pronounce "otyugh," all would be great!)

It may prove more important to avoid being killed by one than to identify it correctly. ;)


Oh, sure - unless you are the one in the party who *madee* your spot check and are trying to pass the info:

"Guys! Look! Its an oti- ... an oyt- ... a DUNG-EATER!"

How heroic.


I've always pronounced otyugh as "aught-YUG," with emphasis on the last syllable.


Phil. L wrote:
There has been a lot of great discussion on this thread, particularly by Olaf (who started it off). Some of the concerns are understandably very real, but then Paizo has a fantastic head on its shoulders and a loyal fan base (as well as a lot of game cred and fame), so they have a better chance than a lot of other d20 companies to do well. The staff are also highly adaptable and will be able to see from looking at sales figures, etc whether or not Pathfinder is a failure or success and have enough time to set things in motion to make the necessary adjustments/changes. Remember also that they have the GamesMastery Line and the possibility of collaborating with WotC in the future, so we'll just have to wait and see.

I agree with you in many respects Phil. I also think that Paizo have at least as good a chance as any 3rd party company of making this work. Although I may have sounded a bit negative about the chances of Pathfinder in this thread, it is more out of concern than anything else.

Still, the people at Paizo aren't dumb. I'm sure they'll do their best to overcome any of the challenges that they may face. Whether that will be enough I guess we will find out in the coming months. I hope that it is.

Olaf the Stout


Lilith wrote:
I've always pronounced otyugh as "aught-YUG," with emphasis on the last syllable.

See, and here I've been saying it more like "OAT-yug" or occasionally "OAT-youg"

toMAYto, toMAHto - it's still a dung-eater! :D


I pronounce it "aww-ta", as in "why I oughta..."

Olaf the Stout


As I have said before, I think they will probably end up putting it out every two months instead of every month. After the initial AP, people will (imho) not buy the second one in as much volume as the first. I also think lgs sales will drop after the first 4 issues or so. I know I won't be in a rush to buy the book the moment it first comes out because my players won't be even close to finishing the first module when the 5th book comes out, so I expect my LGS to see that issues 5 and 6 are still on the shelves and adjust the orders down for the next AP.
I think that putting 2 AP's out in a year is going to be too much. Time will tell, but I'd be willing to bet I'm right.

Scarab Sages

All that I can say on the subject is that I'm in for the long-haul. I have seen the previews, and I'm impressed, it really seems as though the wonderful folks at Paizo are keeping with the "new-gamer" style of intricate back story and plot while injecting some "old-school" ancient civilizations and discovery. I've glad to see a bit of Borroughs' style mixed with a rich and detailed world and campaign.

Shadow Lodge

I am not certain how Pathfinder will do in my group. We have not even started AoW yet let alone STAP (I am the only Dungeon subscriber and just took over the chair after several years off). Despite this, I am subscribing to Pathfinder and will be purchasing the GameMastery modules as well. To some of you, I am sure this sounds odd; the argument I hear in this thread is "my group is only on Adventure x and I won't need another AP for y months, so I won't be buying Pathfinder".

I will be buying Pathfinder to make an investment in Paizo as a company, to get in on the ground floor of their world and to make sure that the top-quality people at Paizo are there when I need them to be there. If I decided that my 30-odd Dungeons (which I am currently picking my way through one module at a time to build my own game) and the two full APs I already own are enough material for two years, then at the end of those two years, or after a brutal TPK, I will have no place for new, high-quality material because Paizo will have vanished as the many others out there in the same situation as I decided that Paizo's product was not 100% immediately useful, so we did not buy it.

For several years, I quietly subscribed to Dungeon and Dragon and never used a single article or even a single adventure. Suddenly, the DM that took over for me had to leave and the group tapped me to return to the chair. What would have happened had I not had those great Dungeon mags archived? In the same way, my group may start AoW (in six months or so) and hate it (unlikely), or may TPK and decide that they would rather do something else. Where do I turn if I have not been supporting Paizo?

For me, buying Pathfinder is about an investment in my gaming future and is putting my money where the best talent and customer service people are in the industry. If a few pile up on my shelves, unopenened after the initial reading, then I can rest assured my money was well spent, for there will come a time when those Pathfinders will be worth their weight in gold.


Olaf the Stout wrote:
1. Subscribers that switched their surplus Dragon and Dungeon subs find that Pathfinder doesn't fill the same role that the magazines did.

It's not meant to be a replacement; it's a whole different product that evolved from the Adventure Path Series; which became HIGHLY successful among subscribers.

As I stated in another thread: Here are the underlying issues with trying to produce another OGL magazine representative of what Dungeon and Dragon were. First, the initial investment; probably a few million, to get a NEW magazine in the hobby and book channels. They would have to start all over again and re-establish their worthiness to those in the sales channel that they are legitimate writers/authors. That they were in fact the same people producing Dragon and Dugeon.

Morevoer, the Magazine's brand name would need to catch on as well in the hobby community. And there would be a lot of folk who buy off the rack that know Dragon and Dungeon, but don't know Magazine X and that Magazine X is published by the same folk who published Dungeon and Dragon.

Marketing in this way is too costly. Pathfinder allows them to skirt around this and get right down to production with a new product line.

Olaf the Stout wrote:
Many people that converted their extra Dragon and Dungeon issues to Pathfinder would have considered it to be a free look at the new product.

As it should be; you can't pass judgement on something you have not tried. Rumors, heresay and a few snippets off the press do not create facts...only varied opinions. The only way to know is to actually engage the product.

This bridge will provide the "engaged" aspect to the product. Pretty much what Paizo wants with its subscribers.

Olaf the Stout wrote:
Once these pre-paid issues have run out and they have to start paying for Pathfinder they may decide that it isn't providing them the same value for money that Dungeon or Dragon did and stop subscribing.

Well..yea they could; they also could say, "Wow...I never thought it would be this great! What an idea...I love this stuff." All speculation and you're offering these speculations on a bias note; a subjective point of view. I don't share your view personally...but that's what makes everyone different.

Personally, I can't divine the futue of Pathfinder, but I can give it a try and support Paizo on it's initiative. Remember too, that ideas and other products spin off of current product lines and an increase in successful sales. Somewhere on this thread there is mention about a new campaign world. Paizo needs one going forward, no matter what product line they sell eventually, because these ideas are going to need a vivid campaign world to be successful.

Hmmmm...I'm bettting somewhere down the road that Paizo, if successful in some way with Pathfinder, will eventually put out supplements just like WotC puts out for their campaign worlds. I'll even wager a bet. The quality and appeal will blow away any current WotC settings; and yea, the likes of their new favorite baby -- Ebberon. A world that I personally can't stand to play in, but is widely liked among the D&D community.

Hmmmm...and if money really starts rolling in...hey, they may just attempt to put out a new OGL Magazine in the future.

Olaf the Stout wrote:
2. The price is too high. $19.99 USD for 96-pages may simply be more than some people are willing to pay for a monthly subscription.

Again, subjective. I don't feel that way at all and besides, my investment is in Paizo at this point. But I would think that their track record in quality and success outweigh any initial concerns subscribers would have about Pathfinder's introductory pricing. And for those of you that had both Dragon and Dungeon subscriptions, well the price is hardly noticeable.

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