Is Pathfinder Sustainable in the Long-Term?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Before we start let me just say that I hope Pathfinder is a big success for Paizo. This thread is not about me knocking their new product, it is about me wondering whether or not it is sustainable for them in the long-term. I'm sure that the people at Paizo have done their homework on this one and think that it is. I really hope that they are right, but I have my doubts.

In the short-term, Paizo (and Pathfinder) should do just fine. Paizo have deservedly built up a good reputation over the last few years. They have come out of the whole Dragon/Dungeon fiasco looking like the unfortunate victims of a WotC business decision (which I believe they are). They have also been able to take advantage of current subscribers surplus Dungeon and Dragon subs by convincing them to change them over to Pathfinder subscriptions. In addition some people are supporting Paizo and subscribing to Pathfinder just to stick it to the man (WotC).

Howver, in the long-term things are different. Here are some issues which I think will result in lower subscription numbers in the longer-term for Pathfinder which could make the product unviable:

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

Yes, I realise that they have actually paid for the issues but a lot of people would have perceived it as money that they had already spent so it didn't matter. 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.

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. Yes, you can get it for $13.99 USD if you subscribe. However $4 shipping for US subscribers and or $5 shipping for non-US subscribers means that you are still paying $18-$19 USD for each issue. That works out to somewhere between $215.88 (US Subscriber) and $239.88 (Full Retail) to get all 12 issues each year. This is more than it cost if you had 1-year subscriptions to both Dungeon and Dragon.

Yes, I know that 1 issue of Pathfinder is still cheaper than a product Paizo have compared it to, Red Hand of Doom. I also know that there will be more actual content per page compared to Dungeon and/or Dragon now that advertisements no longer fill half the page. Despite this I believe that some people will not subscribe as the price is higher than they are willing to spend on a monthly subscription.

There are also others for whom $215-$240 USD represents a significant percentage of their yearly gaming budget. Some people may not be willing to commit that much of their budget to just one product. They might, for example, prefer to spend a bit on sourcebooks, a bit on minis and a bit on adventures instead.

3. 2 adventure paths per year is too much. Even if Pathfinder produces the best adventures on the market (which I think is possible), some people just won't be able to keep up with the speed at which they come out. Even if my group played on a weekly basis (which we don't), I still don't think that my group could complete an AP in 6 months. This means that we would never catch up and I would always have adventures which I never ran. I don't think that I am alone in this situation.

Some groups have yet to finish the AOW AP, even though most of the ST AP has been published. Eventually DM's will reach a point where they have so many unrun adventures that they just don't need another adventure path, no matter how good it is.

Of course all of this assumes that people use AP's exclusively. If you like to run stand-alone adventures or something of your own creation as well as AP's then you get even further behind. This will mean that you will reach AP oversupply even sooner.

4. It is easy to lose subscribers for 6 months at a time. If someone doesn't like the concept of a particular adventure path in Pathfinder it is unlikely that they will buy any of the 6 issues that feature that AP. Yes, I do know that roughly half of each issue of Pathfinder will include other information that will be useful to any campaign, such as spells, monsters, feats, campaign locations, etc. However, I doubt that many people will spend $20 to buy a product that they know up front that they won't be able to use half of.

I know that the adventures are being designed with the idea that they can also be used as stand-alone adventures. However, the common perception (at least from posts I have read here and on the Paizo boards) is that the AP adventures aren't really used unless you are running that particular AP. Part of the problem is that once you decide to use a particular AP adventure, you are effectively eliminating the ability to use that particular AP with your group. Either that or you have to come up with a substitute adventure to fill in the one that you have used.

5. The WotC Digital Initiative. This is a bit more of a wildcard that the others since we don't actually have much information on what this will actually be. However I think it is reasonable to assume that some people that previously subscribed to Dungeon or Dragon will be interested in it. They may not have enough money to get both Pathfinder and the Digital Initiative. Some will choose the Digital Initiative, meaning fewer Pathfinder subscribers.

In summary, there are quite a few issues that I feel need to be addressed for Pathfinder to be an ongoing, long-term success. Some of them may have simple solutions, others are a little more difficult to solve. Personally I hope that I am either wrong about some of theses issues and they turn out to be non-events. I would hate to see the end of Paizo and AP's now that they have lost the Dungeon and Dragon licences.

What do you think? Agree or disagree? Have any solutions? Post and let me know.

Olaf the Stout


I really don't think things are going to be all that bad. The success of companies like Malhavoc Press or the Game Mechannics has already proved that as a customer base we know how to follow the talent and not just the brand.

Both magazines have been better since Paizo took the helm, and better yet since Erik took the captain's chair. People know that. That same level of talent is going to be driving Pathfinder and as you say it has a guarenteed early win. I suspect that the team at Paizo is dynamic and savvy enough to keep Pathfinder evolving if it does not show signs of sustainable longevity.

I have absolute confidence that they can do it, whether or not people will or can afford we shall see, but the business model is something that can be fine tuned as time progresses.

Plenty of third party publishers have fallen by the wayside, but the best of the bunch have become very successful by comparable industry standards. Paizo have an established record and loyal customer base. They already lead the pack.

I think that you make solid points, but the only thing that concerns me a little is that no other third party publisher has managed a monthly book release (perhaps Mongoose, but their quality is varied to say the least and doesn't require a subscription).

Hopefully Pathfinder can remain on the shelves and not vanish as store returns as a magazine might?

Cheers
Ian


You raise some very relevant points. I think overall you are probably right...Pathfinder will not be sustained on the level it has been in the past. The price is too high and 2 APs a year is too much. I think Pathfinder will probably last, but the same level of artwork, cartography, writing, full color pages, I just don't know.

The recent changes seem so big, that I'm expecting WotC to announce something that represents an even bigger change. Whether that be 4e. I just don't know. Everything seems like such a state of flux it could go anywhere.

I will try to stay loyal to Pathfinders, but I to don't know if I can sustain longterm the costs and the interest.


Let's judge it after it has been out for a few months.


Olaf the Stout wrote:
In addition some people are supporting Paizo and subscribing to Pathfinder just to stick it to the man (WotC).

This would be a silly way to accomplish this, since WotC owns Paizo.

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

This is exactly what I did. I'm not totally sold on Pathfinder. One of the reasons I enjoyed Dungeon was because the adventures could make use of all WotC material, not just OGL stuff. This made it much more varied than most d20 products. I was able to convert my remaining subscriptions into two issues of Pathfinder, but unless it's really stellar, I don't plan on renewing.

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

While the price is comparable to that of similar size WotC products, there are cheaper d20 modules available, some even by the same authors. So I agree that Paizo will really need to pull a rabbit out of a hat to get people to pay more.

P.S. Enjoying your minis?

Paizo Employee Senior Software Developer

Keoki wrote:

This would be a silly way to accomplish this, since WotC owns Paizo.

That is incorrect. Paizo is a privately-held, completely independent company.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Keoki wrote:
Olaf the Stout wrote:
In addition some people are supporting Paizo and subscribing to Pathfinder just to stick it to the man (WotC).

This would be a silly way to accomplish this, since WotC owns Paizo.

No it doesn't. WotC and Paizo are separate and distinct companies with different owners. WotC does not own Paizo.


Ian Hewitt wrote:

I really don't think things are going to be all that bad. The success of companies like Malhavoc Press or the Game Mechannics has already proved that as a customer base we know how to follow the talent and not just the brand.

Both magazines have been better since Paizo took the helm, and better yet since Erik took the captain's chair. People know that. That same level of talent is going to be driving Pathfinder and as you say it has a guarenteed early win. I suspect that the team at Paizo is dynamic and savvy enough to keep Pathfinder evolving if it does not show signs of sustainable longevity.

I have absolute confidence that they can do it, whether or not people will or can afford we shall see, but the business model is something that can be fine tuned as time progresses.

Plenty of third party publishers have fallen by the wayside, but the best of the bunch have become very successful by comparable industry standards. Paizo have an established record and loyal customer base. They already lead the pack.

I think that you make solid points, but the only thing that concerns me a little is that no other third party publisher has managed a monthly book release (perhaps Mongoose, but their quality is varied to say the least and doesn't require a subscription).

Hopefully Pathfinder can remain on the shelves and not vanish as store returns as a magazine might?

Cheers
Ian

Ian, you are correct in regards to Pathfinder evolving and being continually finetuned. Paizo are obviously smart enough to spot any issues with Pathfinder and deal with them as they arise. Hopefully they can find (or have already found) solutions to many of the possible problems I have highlighted.

I still wonder though if there is a big enough market to support a monthly $20 adventure book subscription. As you also mentioned, no-one has really tried before so it is a bit of unknown territory.

Olaf the Stout


Keoki wrote:
Olaf the Stout wrote:
In addition some people are supporting Paizo and subscribing to Pathfinder just to stick it to the man (WotC).
This would be a silly way to accomplish this, since WotC owns Paizo.

As Sebastian stated, I am pretty certain that Paizo is a totally seperate company to WotC. Some of the Paizo staff may freelance for WotC but I don't think that WotC owns Paizo.

Keoki wrote:
Olaf the Stout wrote:
Subscribers that switched their surplus Dragon and Dungeon subs find that Pathfinder doesn't fill the same role that the magazines did.[/B] 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.
This is exactly what I did. I'm not totally sold on Pathfinder. One of the reasons I enjoyed Dungeon was because the adventures could make use of all WotC material, not just OGL stuff. This made it much more varied than most d20 products. I was able to convert my remaining subscriptions into two issues of Pathfinder, but unless it's really stellar, I don't plan on renewing.

I imagine that there are many people in your position. If too many people choose not to renew then it may make Pathfinder no longer viable. I think this is a very real issue.

Keoki wrote:
P.S. Enjoying your minis?

Yes I am thank you very much! :-) I haven't had a chance to use them in the campaign as yet but hopefully I will soon.

I hope that you are also enjoying yours.

Olaf the Stout


Keoki wrote:
Olaf the Stout wrote:
In addition some people are supporting Paizo and subscribing to Pathfinder just to stick it to the man (WotC).

This would be a silly way to accomplish this, since WotC owns Paizo.

That's a big negative, my friend. Paizo is a privately held company that is not, in any way, owned by Wizards of the Coast. It has always been this way. Paizo published Dragon and Dungeon under license from WotC, not as a division of WotC.

Wanted to clear that up.

Contributor

And to add to what Josh wrote, we have run Paizo very successfully for five years, and we do kinda know what we're doing here. If it didn't look like Pathfinder would make us money, or was a bad idea, or if it even remotely seemed like we'd have to cut art quality in the future - you can trust me when I say we would have NEVER launched it in the first place.

We are nothing if not very, very proud of our high quality of work. If it can't look spectacular, we won't make it. That has been and will continue to be our focus, making the best darn games and accessories on the market.

Grand Lodge

Just to add my wortless 2 cents in.

Yep, Pathfinder is quite a bit more expensive. But have you read the juicy previews of Rise of the Runelords? Let's face it, WizCo would NEVER have come up with something THAT cool. I am in for the first adventure path 100%.

And considering the amazing talent at Paizo (how do you guys pronounce that name anyway?) in fully expect to be sucked in with every path.

I don't think 2 paths a year are too many. I am still getting my group to run the Shackled City (yeah remember that one?) and yet I LOVED reading AoW and ST.

Besides, we all know how we all play... we pirate what we want from all kinds of sources. By the end of my Shackeled City I fully expect to have pulled in elements of AoW and ST as well as Rise of the Runelords. Oh and MY Shackeled City features parts of Privateer Press' Witchfire Trilogy as side jaunts.

And if we stray out of the adventure path, there are scores of AP elements I can easily drop into any adventure. While I am sure that Paizo's new world will not have Scuttlecove in it, MINE sure will.

And besides I am betting that before it all ends (take a few years) our friends at Paizo will be the proud owners of WizCo... the best thing that could happen to D&D! And I intend to support them so they can do it. (besides I could stand to skip a few happy meals anyway and use that money on helping Paizo buy WizCo).


Joshua J. Frost wrote:
Keoki wrote:
Olaf the Stout wrote:
In addition some people are supporting Paizo and subscribing to Pathfinder just to stick it to the man (WotC).

This would be a silly way to accomplish this, since WotC owns Paizo.

That's a big negative, my friend. Paizo is a privately held company that is not, in any way, owned by Wizards of the Coast. It has always been this way. Paizo published Dragon and Dungeon under license from WotC, not as a division of WotC.

Wanted to clear that up.

Josh, are you saying that you found my comments negative or are you referring to what Keoki posted?

If you are referring to my comments, what exactly did you find to be negative? I'm interesting in hearing your (and others within Paizo) thoughts on this matter.

Olaf the Stout

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The negative was merely to the claim that WotC owns Paizo, as far as I can tell. Because they don't own Paizo any more than the sun owns the moon or Santa owns the Easter Bunny or I own a Wii (grrrrrr).


Olaf the Stout wrote:
Joshua J. Frost wrote:
Keoki wrote:
Olaf the Stout wrote:
In addition some people are supporting Paizo and subscribing to Pathfinder just to stick it to the man (WotC).

This would be a silly way to accomplish this, since WotC owns Paizo.

That's a big negative, my friend. Paizo is a privately held company that is not, in any way, owned by Wizards of the Coast. It has always been this way. Paizo published Dragon and Dungeon under license from WotC, not as a division of WotC.

Wanted to clear that up.

Josh, are you saying that you found my comments negative or are you referring to what Keoki posted?

If you are referring to my comments, what exactly did you find to be negative? I'm interesting in hearing your (and others within Paizo) thoughts on this matter.

Olaf the Stout

I'm sure that was a reply for what Keoki postet.

Oxi


James Jacobs wrote:
The negative was merely to the claim that WotC owns Paizo, as far as I can tell. Because they don't own Paizo any more than the sun owns the moon or Santa owns the Easter Bunny or I own a Wii (grrrrrr).

After re-reading his comment I get it now. I think I read it as 'bit' rather than 'big' the first time. Do you have any comments in regards to my post James? I'd be interested to hear Paizo's thoughts.

Olaf the Stout

Dark Archive

Krome wrote:
Yep, Pathfinder is quite a bit more expensive. But have you read the juicy previews of Rise of the Runelords?

Not one. I haven't even looked at the goblins.

I am trying to keep myself a Rise of the Runelords free zone. It should make it even more enjoyable when it finally lands on my doormat.

Dark Archive

We will have to suck it an see as they say, and I have already ordered my lollipops :) It looked good to me but getting to download the PDFs as well if you subscribe moved me from buying from a LFGS when it launched to instantly subscribing (thus the new bit after my name that I just noted).

I will give it a go for the first seven, I think that is the first full path unless I have misread something. It looks intriguing enough that some of my old players are thinking of coming out of retirement, real life commitments be damned. I assume they wills till feed their children though :)

So that would be $19 for me a month, which includes shipping to the UK, for face value of products worth $39 or so (including the value of the subscribers free PDF). Also getting over $2 to £1 at the moment means I spend more money on lunches at work in three days than this will cost me, or to put it another way it is a fair bit less than an hours wage (although UK cost of living tens to be high comparedt to most places).

The point here is the cost of this product and its "value" is dependant on your disposal income really. It could cost £20 a month and I'd still but it from what I've seen.

As for the ownership thing, imagine if the reverse was true? That Hasbro dumped WotC and Paizo get enough capitol together to buy WotC.

Note most big corporations tend to act fairly insane at some point, particulalrly when the suits start bottom feeding. So it could happen.

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
The negative was merely to the claim that WotC owns Paizo, as far as I can tell. Because they don't own Paizo any more than the sun owns the moon or Santa owns the Easter Bunny or I own a Wii (grrrrrr).

I own a wiii... I would trade you playing time for more free pathfinders, but then you wouldn't have time for those great teaser blog posts that I keep hitting refresh for each time zelda goes to a splash video...


James Jacobs wrote:
The negative was merely to the claim that WotC owns Paizo, as far as I can tell. Because they don't own Paizo any more than the sun owns the moon or Santa owns the Easter Bunny or I own a Wii (grrrrrr).

I apologize, James. My information about Paizo's ownership actually came from one of your responses in another thread. Maybe I misunderstood you.

Sovereign Court Contributor

Just after the announcement, I posted a similar thread that got lost in the ether.

I share Olaf's concerns, but I have also witnessed Paizo's responsiveness to their customers.

I have subscribed, but it is likely that for me, and many others, the more affordable route will be to buy them online from a book vendor. Both of the big online bookstores I shop with online give free shipping on purchases over $39, and usually a basic discount of 20-40% of MSRP on games products. So if I buy three every three months, I'll probably save money. And since there is a good chance I'll be paying import duty if I order them direct from Paizo, but not if I order them from in Canada, I may be saving there too.

It's just hard to think of this as not a magazine. Ideally Paizo can walk the line of making us understand it's not a magazine, but having people want to buy it like it's a magazine.

I am concerned that I can really only justify buying one AP per year in terms of how much I'll use it. Unlike the extra articles in Dungeon, I'm less likely to plunder bits from an AP if I have it in mind that I might run it one day. I suspect there are a lot of people like me. My group does game every week, and we can't get through a whole AP in a year.

I have very little fear that WotC's online initiative will affect Pathfinder's sales significantly.

Craig Shackleton

The Rambling Scribe

Scarab Sages

I don't thing that Pathfinder will have to see the circulation numbers that Dungeon and Dragon did to be a successful venture for Paizo. I can't even speculate as to the amount they had to pay to liscense the magazines from Wizards, but it is a cost they will no longer have to shoulder.

And as a book Pathfinder will not force upon them the costs associated with destroyed copies each month.

And I am pretty certain that Pathfinder is just the beginning. They and by extension we, the players and dms that give them feedback, are building a world from the ground up. Which by the way is a very strong selling point for me. There will be campaign settings, accessories, minis, maybe organized events similar to rpga and many other ways for the pathfinder line to be profitable.

Even if I do not run one of the APs I will purchase it. Not just to support Paizo, which I admit is partly reason, but also because each one is another chapter in this new world that is openning up.

-Tam


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

This topic prompts a lot of brainstorming on my part, so apologies in advance for the long post that follows:

I have to admit, at the moment, I'm hoping/expecting that within a year or two, the format of Pathfinder may adjust to closer to one adventure path a year, with other adventures as well as the non-adventure material included. I'd love it if these "other adventures" were actually interconnectible adventures related to that path (side quests, alternate missions, separate adventures that explore some story element raised in the main path but not fully explored).

In many ways, I think this would be cooler than just an adventure path alone, because it would allow a deeper exploration of the ideas from the main adventure path. For example, one side adventure could take place entirely as a flashback to historic events, and the players of the main adventure path could use provided pre-gen character sheets to play out the historic actions their characters learn about during the main adventure path. (Did that make sense?) Another side-adventure might provide a way of introducing new PCs to an existing group - for example, if the group experiences a near-TPK in adventure 2, use this scenario for 1 or 2 sessions to introduce the new PCs to what's happening in the area, then let them get together with the survivors. Most of the non-path adventures would simply explore other aspects of that part of the world, and wouldn't be expected to be run concurrently with the main adventure path, instead allowing a group to "revisit" the area with a separate adventure, possibly years later.

On the other hand, I could see the currently planned business model working as a way of gradually building a world, exploring each new area with sets of adventures. Particularly for those of us who are still running Age of Worms, we may end up with the first three (or so) 6-month adventure paths before we start running any of them. Hopefully, the adventures will be self-contained enough that we would have the option of using parts of different paths together to creature world-traveling campaigns if we decide that fits our group better than one consistent story across all 15 character levels. For example, I could run adventure 1 from path 1, then send the PCs on a journey to do the 2nd and 3rd adventures of path 3, then over to path 2 for the fourth and fifth adventures, and "home" to the nation in path 1 to learn of developments there and perform the final adventure of that path.

Even if the adventure paths end up being too cohesive for most of us to split them up that way, we'd still win, because as new portions of the world are developed, we'll have a very engaging, story-driven means of learning about that part of the world, even if we never get around to running those particular adventures as written.

So either way could be interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.


On the other hand, if 40% or so of each volume is "campaign-enriching material" like monsters, locations, etc., maybe it's worth buying even the APs you're not going to run. Think of it as you would think of buying a fairly complete set of Eberron or FR material--no one can possibly use everything they've got in those books for their own campaign, but when you've got a complete set you've got everything you need to do whatever you want in the campaign world. If I got, say, a couple or three great sites (cities, expanses of ruin, wilderness regions) in each AP, plus a dozen or two monsters, plus a bunch of NPCs and a little bit of fluff and crunch to help my players, it might be worthwhile to buy the APs you're not going to play, and you can always pirate an adventure or adventure segment here and there when you need a sidetrek as well.

This reasoning is, of course, less true if you want to stay in FR, Eberron or Greyhawk--but if you plan on buying into the Paizo campaign world, then it's pretty cool to get the whole thing. I'll just have to spend less on supplements, I guess.

(Oh, if we get lots of tokens and battlemaps, we can cut down on our minis expenses too).


Olaf the Stout wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
The negative was merely to the claim that WotC owns Paizo, as far as I can tell. Because they don't own Paizo any more than the sun owns the moon or Santa owns the Easter Bunny or I own a Wii (grrrrrr).

After re-reading his comment I get it now. I think I read it as 'bit' rather than 'big' the first time. Do you have any comments in regards to my post James? I'd be interested to hear Paizo's thoughts.

Olaf the Stout

Oops! I have the habit of slipping into military jargon when I type or speak---negative in the context above simply meant "you are incorrect" and, yes, I was referring to Keoki's post. :-)


And to speak directly to the OP:

We have very conservative estimates about Pathfinder's success. While no Paizo employee will ever give out company data on these boards, it is safe to say that we've been VERY happy with the overwhelmingly positive response that Pathfinder has garnered.

We have the best fans in the world and these past six days have proven that.

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Hi everyone at Paizo (and the rest in here ;-) ),

I have to agree that the starter of this thread had some points which are worth considering:

Personally I always felt that an adventure path (reaching character 20) is something like a climax for any adventure group. How often do your characters reach these levels (at least in my campaigns... :p)?

Any adventure being played at this level, would have a huge impact on your campaign world. I like Forgotten Realms, but I hate so called "realm shaking events" which makes you a passenger in your own campaign setting.

So just one adventure path that sets the pace for the adventures in that year, accompanied by many side track adventures and a few three part adventures would be perfect for me.

Otherwise you meet the same problem over and over again. Twice per year adventures reach a level at which characters have to save the world over and over again.

Besides concentrating solely on adventure paths is risky business. So far I liked every issue of Dungeon I received. If I didn't like the adventure path adventure, there were still two more adventure and (my favourite part of) DMing tips and aids.

Pathfinder won't contain DMing tips, it won't offer other adventures but the one adventure path part in it, and even worse: the back part of it possibly contains material for a part of the campaign world which you already didn't find appealing in the front part of that Pathfinder issue.

Ok. That was really negative! ;-) (never been in military) I want Pathfinder to succeed, I am absolutely positive about your ability and talent to create appealing adventures and support material. And for that very reason I wouldn't want you to stumble by something minor like the wrong choice of adventure path setting which could hamper your sales for half a year...

Greetings,
Günther


In regards to Paizo maybe getting to buy out the D&D brand, maybe they'll get their chance if 4th edition debuts. I think a new edition of the game will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Honestly, unless WotC comes up with something really revolutionary, what more can be done to improve the game? I'm not talking about updating errata and tweaking things, I'm talking about the whole shebang.

One reason I will never buy a 4th edition product is that I can't afford to spend the hundreds of bucks just to update my game.

The other reason is that I have enough existing material to keep me happily gaming the rest of my life.

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

That is as true for me. I owned some 2nd editon stuff and now have huge collection of 3rd edition stuff. The day 4th edition hits the shop shelves (and is less compatible than 3.0 and 3.5 ;-)), will be the day when I stop buying new books.

But to the subject at hand: Is concentrating purely on adventure path adventures sustainable in the long term?

Greetings,
Günther

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Adventure paths are arguably the most successful thing Paizo has accomplished in either magazine, from a critical and financial standpoint. If ANYthing we've been doing since Paizo started is sustainable over a long term... it's Adventure Paths.

I have a LOT of faith that Pathfinder will be sustainable. People don't just play adventures. They read them for fun, or they mine them for ideas, or they put them on the shelf and play them 3 or 7 or 10 years later. Plus, every Pathfinder will have non-adventure support material that is, in many cases, based on the most popular columns we've run in Dragon AND Dungeon over the past several years.

Basically, we've been paying attention to what people like and don't like in the magazines for about half a decade, and we're using that knowledge to distill into a single monthly book product.

In the end... Pathfinder'll have to speak for itself, but I'm very optimistic and excited about its future.

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Again thanks for your fast answer! :-)

I am very curious about Pathfinder, but I will enjoy Dragon's and Dungeon's last issues all the more for the knowledge that this will be the end of an era... :(

Greetings,
Günther


The original post brings up many good points and I agree or at least fall into some of the categories.

I fully admit that Paizo as a company, kicks ass! They have done more to re-spark my interest in D&D gaming in the last few years than anyone. In fact I love the APs! I started AOW and stopped at a TPK, only because STAP was in my hands and we were excited to start it.

However, I think is not the norm for me or my gaming group. The only reason that I have not signed up as a Pathfinder subscriber is that I have enough material to wait and see it in person to decide. Then, if I like it , or my group is ready for something new, I would get it. However, $120 to spend on an AP is a lot of money. Thusly, I will consider starting a Pathfinder AP very carefully.


James Jacobs wrote:
People don't just play adventures. They read them for fun, or they mine them for ideas, or they put them on the shelf and play them 3 or 7 or 10 years later.

The ironic part in all of this is that I'll finally get my long stated wish--electronic stat blocks that I can copy and paste on to 3x5 cards for use at the gaming table, since Pathfinder's PDFs will also be available to subscribers.....and electronic copies of any future plans WotC has with Dragon or Dungeon will also have them.

I still have a bad, bad taste in my mouth--like I just watched a beloved family member get kicked in the teeth and I couldn't do anything about it but watch, but I'm trying to look for the silver lining.


SuperBeast wrote:
However, $120 to spend on an AP is a lot of money. Thusly, I will consider starting a Pathfinder AP very carefully.

Share the cost with your players. We all pitched in to buy a friend Ptolus, so he could run us through it. It ended up costing us $13 a pop and he gets to keep it since he's going to the trouble of DMing and doing game prep for us. Just a thought.

Lantern Lodge

farewell2kings wrote:
SuperBeast wrote:
However, $120 to spend on an AP is a lot of money. Thusly, I will consider starting a Pathfinder AP very carefully.
Share the cost with your players. We all pitched in to buy a friend Ptolus, so he could run us through it. It ended up costing us $13 a pop and he gets to keep it since he's going to the trouble of DMing and doing game prep for us. Just a thought.

I have a better plan. Our group might submit some new monsters, and if any of us gets any money for them, we're spending it back on pathfinder

Lantern Lodge

Phil Lacefield Jr. wrote:
or if it even remotely seemed like we'd have to cut art quality in the future

Baby reynolds cries when you say things like that :D


farewell2kings wrote:


Share the cost with your players. ...

Brilliant!!!

I am going to ask them at the game tomorrow night.

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Almighty Watashi wrote:
farewell2kings wrote:
SuperBeast wrote:
However, $120 to spend on an AP is a lot of money. Thusly, I will consider starting a Pathfinder AP very carefully.
Share the cost with your players. We all pitched in to buy a friend Ptolus, so he could run us through it. It ended up costing us $13 a pop and he gets to keep it since he's going to the trouble of DMing and doing game prep for us. Just a thought.
I have a better plan. Our group might submit some new monsters, and if any of us gets any money for them, we're spending it back on pathfinder

There is a missing link in your argumentation: First you need money in order to buy your first Pathfinder and know what to contribute... ;-)

Greetings,
Günther

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
SuperBeast wrote:
farewell2kings wrote:


Share the cost with your players. ...

Brilliant!!!

I am going to ask them at the game tomorrow night.

Actually players in my group do something similar. It is rather symbolic (10 EUR per person per year), but I DM about 90% of our sessions, so contributing some money to my expenses (Dragon, Dungeon, and lots of WotC books) is a nice gesture of appreciation of my efforts. :-)

Greetings,
Günther


If I come back to Germany, can I pay for a gaming session with a Kasten of Koelsch?

Paizo Employee CEO

Krome wrote:
...considering the amazing talent at Paizo (how do you guys pronounce that name anyway?)

We pronounce it to rhyme with "Pie Dough." It's a biblical-era Greek word meaning "to play."

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

farewell2kings wrote:
If I come back to Germany, can I pay for a gaming session with a Kasten of Koelsch?

No, but a Kasten Bier would do nicely for me ;)


Koelsch is Bier.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Depends on where you live though ;)


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.

Scarab Sages

that's exactly why i subscribed. it'll be like the early greyhawk days...i'm really looking forward to discovering a new world...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This has been bugging me for a while:

The concern of Pathfinder's success has nothing to do with its content value. Every Paizo customer knows it will be very strong.

I've even recently allowed that we can get usable material from the APs even when we don't run them.

The concern is price. Have we ever wanted a "book" every month? Why not just make an OGL campaign setting and AP publication in magazine form? EVERYONE would "charter" subscribe! As it is now, I have serious concern over how many people will remain charter subscribers once their subscription credit runs out.

My money is on Gamemastery Modules (and other products) to save Paizo. I hope a hit to the company from having to cancel Pathfinder (in 2-3 yrs) isn't bad enough to sink the company.

-W. E. Ray


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.

OK but that essentially means its a product for DMs in need of a new campaign world. Just how many of those could there be out there? Maybe I'll be surprised but most of us where chugging along with whatever campaign world(s) we were using. For DMs like majority of the products value might be in what the serialized book has to offer our campaign worlds. I can always convert an AP I think I am going to play and I sure don't have a problem with a library full of adventures - most of which I know I'll never use. But its harder to use an AP as part of a library because one is ruining the AP.

Personally I'd rather see one AP a year and 6 issues full of support material including things like side quests, alternate adventures for the AP at this level or even just stand alone adventures appropriate to this part of the campaign world. That way I'd get all the benefits of 'building a whole new world' if that's what I want, but I also get bits easily plundered without the danger of their eventually being 10 threads devoted to different APs none of which have much traffic because the entire community is split up among the different APs so heavily that at any given time only a small minority is playing in any one of them.


Molech wrote:

This has been bugging me for a while:

The concern of Pathfinder's success has nothing to do with its content value. Every Paizo customer knows it will be very strong.

I've even recently allowed that we can get usable material from the APs even when we don't run them.

The concern is price. Have we ever wanted a "book" every month? Why not just make an OGL campaign setting and AP publication in magazine form? EVERYONE would "charter" subscribe! As it is now, I have serious concern over how many people will remain charter subscribers once their subscription credit runs out.

My money is on Gamemastery Modules (and other products) to save Paizo. I hope a hit to the company from having to cancel Pathfinder (in 2-3 yrs) isn't bad enough to sink the company.

-W. E. Ray

The powers that be have gone into depth on the issues regarding this a number of times now but I think your mistake here is presuming that you paid for Dungeon and Dragon Magazine. You only paid for a part of these magazines. The balance was paid for by the advertisers and they paid the big bucks for a proven product. They're not going to be willing to shell out the big bucks for an unproven product that does not have the WotC label in the corner and if they won't pay the big bucks then the subscriber base has to.

Even if Paizo offered advertising space to reduce the costs their is no way that they could get away with charging anything like what they charged for Dungeon and Dragon Magazines. So there really is no way that advertising can offset the price tag for the subscriber base as was possible with Dungeon and Dragon. So even if you where willing to give up half the space available to advertising it would not reduce the cost of the product the way it did with Dungeon and Dragon.

Say that the Advertisers where paying $7500 dollars for a full page ad in Dungeon - well now their going to be dickering about a price tag of $1000 dollars - I mean this is an unproven vehicle and they have a very limited advertising budget. Paizo can accept the $1000 dollars or the advertisers will spend their advertising budget else ware. What this means is that the $6500 difference between what the advertisers where willing to pay for a Dungeon spot and what they are willing to pay for New OGL Paizo magazine becomes a cost that must be absorbed by the subscriber base via a price hike.

That leaves the subscriber base with 2 options more or less.

96 pages for price X with nothing but a few house organ pages of advertising.

or

96 pages - half of which are filled with advertising for price X less 10%.

One does not really have to run the experiment to realize that the subscriber base is going to be pretty unhappy with the loss of half the content for a mere 10% savings


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"). 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.

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