Pathfinder & 4th Edition


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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Erik, James, & co.

Thanks guys. You all do marvelous work. I'm just grateful for the honesty... On many levels, the posts by James & Erik are just as insightful as they are disturbing. I really do appreciate that, as it lends itself to a great feeling of openness with you.

I'll go back to my corner now,
/d

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Out of curiosity, what disturbs you?

--Erik

Contributor

Erik Mona wrote:

Out of curiosity, what disturbs you?

--Erik

I'm guessing it's your cycloptic visage. ;-) ...or '-) maybe.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Erik Mona wrote:

Out of curiosity, what disturbs you?

--Erik

The green, cyclopean eye?

(Sorry. It's just so rarely I get to use cyclopean in a sentence.)

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Erik Mona wrote:

Out of curiosity, what disturbs you?

--Erik

I can't speak for DarkMeer, but I can say I personally found the "firing the customers" attitude of which you referred as fully disturbing!

(Though not at all disturbed by Paizo or yourself, who have always demonstrated concern for their customers as paramount)

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I hope SOMEONE sticks around to support 3.5 play, and right now, Paizo is my best hope for that. Their experience with Dragon and Dungeon magazines has given me confidence they'll stick with the core, and not go off on some tangent, anything they introduce will be for the good of the game.

I'm almost certainly going to pick up and play 4th Edition. But just last weekend, I visited a couple of members of my gaming group just as they were about to leave for another game, and I spied a 2nd Edition PHB in one of their hands - yes, they were running off to play a long-running 2nd Edition campaign. That's where I figure I'll be with 3.5 Edition 2-3 years from now (maybe a good while longer) playing both systems.

Should Pathfinder go 4th Edition, absolutely I will go along with it. Though I also feel there could be a good opportunity for a respected company such as Paizo sticking with 3.5, and being a market leader supporting that system.

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Erik, best post ever. I really thank you for clarifying your thoughts and opinions in a time where veiled disclosures have run rampant. We truly appreciate your candor. Well, at least I do.


Erik Mona wrote:

Out of curiosity, what disturbs you?

--Erik

DarkWhite hit it on the head. The "Firing of the Customers." Something I'm familiar with, being in retail... And I don't like it.

A while back, some of us old fogies thought that the direction that they are taking the game is putting us in the back seat, making it less enjoyable for us long-term (note: I do NOT speak for everyone, there are those ready for a new system, I just happen not to be ready).

But back to your question's actual answer. They seem to be destroying everything I love about the game. The great wheel is gone (just read the Design & Development on Demons & Devils and feel ill). They have eliminated the Erinyes, and made the Succubus a Devil... And they are turning the Forgotten Realms on its hea (again). Attach the recent removal, err... discontinuation of licenses for Dragon, Dungeon, and Dragonlance, the lack of putting a set of preliminary rules in Paizo's hands, and many other things about their PR that I can't even begin to say how offended I am...

Yeah, It sure feels like they want to "fire the old guy," or, worse, get me to quit. Too bad I'm only 26, and I seem to be too old to play a game I love (as much as one can love a game).

So, Erik, I feel that your post hit on the head what I'm looking for in an RPG company. GOOD PR, and the designers care about the game they are creating. So far, with all that has happened, I have only Paizo to trust with what I feel is the tradition of D&D.

I know it was wordy, but thank you for reading.

/d


Erik Mona wrote:

Despite the flaws of 3.5 (now often trumped up by the very designers responsible for them as part of the 4.0 marketing push), there does not seem to be the same system malaise that existed in the waning days of second edition. Plus, lots of players have a much more significant investment in 3.0 and 3.5 than they did in the earlier editions, mostly due to the overwhelming flow of $34.95 monthly hardcovers coming from Renton over the last few years. The PR and marketing challenge of selling 4.0 to the customer base is far more significant, in my view, than the PR and marketing challenge of selling 3.0 to lapsed 1.0 and 2.0 customers.

I have a lot of faith in the design abilities of the Wizards of the Coast staff. As a former PR professional I have some concerns about their ability to lead the audience where they want them to march. We'll see.

Thank you very much sir.

As apprehensive as this attitude makes me feel about the future of the hobby...
I am glad to see a professional opinion that mirrors my own "knee jerk" reaction.

I wish there was more I could do to support Paizo than I am already doing...

You guys deserve it.

Speaking of which... If it isn't too tacky to ask (spoilered in case it is too tacky);

Spoiler:
What category of product produces the largest profit margin for you guys? Aside from your D&D specific items that is... I'll be sure to dive into those areas more if I can no longer justify buying the D&D specific items.


That's not information we'll ever share. Sorry, mate. :-/


Watcher wrote:

I could really care less what system I am playing. I really couldn't. As far as I am concerned I am playing the "Pathfinder Role-playing Game" that is supported by the DnD 3.5 system. To the extent that I even care to think about it, the "Pathfinder RPG" uses DnD 3.5 as a common sort of operating system that all my players understand.

I'd like to say that this mirrors my sentiments. I switched from 2.0 to 3.0 with glee because I found 3.0 to be a much better system. But for all that we didn't have as much fun with it in the beginning as with the old 2.0 system. Why? Because under 2.0 we were playing the Dragonlance campaign. A long series of interlinked adventures. My players liked it so much, they always wanted to have the same type of campaign. Unfortunately for 3.0 there was a sort of D&D Adventure Path (the eight modules), but it sucked (they were basically so loosly connected to not be connected). I then settled for interlinking Dungeon adventures, but that took a lot of energy and got a lot harder when RL got in the way.

Then all of a sudden the Adventure Path concept gets revived and done right with Shackled City. I jumped on it and never looked back. I had no plans on switching to 3.5 and only did so because SC was 3.5. Since then I've been collecting Adventure Paths (AOW, STAP, a Dragonlance path, The Drow War Saga and everything Pathfinder).

Furthermore, every WOTC 3.5 hardcover I bought I only bought because it was usefull in one or the other way in an Adventure Path (e.g. I bought Stormwrack for it's use in STAP, I bought Fiend Folio and MM2 for it's use in SC, etc...). For me it's the adventures that sell stuff. I've come to realize that the system may be great, but without a good campaign to keep me going it's pretty worthless (I really am too busy to write one myself). I don't see any WOTC plans to launch 4th edition with an AP and without one I won't make the switch. Even if there is one, it still doens't justify scrapping all the other ones I have (We're just about to finish SC and start on STAP).

So I'll continue to buy good adventures, adventure paths and associated setting material. I want to keep telling good stories with my players. What system I do it in is of secondary importance.


Darkmeer wrote:
Erik Mona wrote:

Out of curiosity, what disturbs you?

--Erik

DarkWhite hit it on the head. The "Firing of the Customers." Something I'm familiar with, being in retail... And I don't like it.

A while back, some of us old fogies thought that the direction that they are taking the game is putting us in the back seat, making it less enjoyable for us long-term (note: I do NOT speak for everyone, there are those ready for a new system, I just happen not to be ready).

But back to your question's actual answer. They seem to be destroying everything I love about the game. The great wheel is gone (just read the Design & Development on Demons & Devils and feel ill). They have eliminated the Erinyes, and made the Succubus a Devil... And they are turning the Forgotten Realms on its hea (again). Attach the recent removal, err... discontinuation of licenses for Dragon, Dungeon, and Dragonlance, the lack of putting a set of preliminary rules in Paizo's hands, and many other things about their PR that I can't even begin to say how offended I am...

Yeah, It sure feels like they want to "fire the old guy," or, worse, get me to quit. Too bad I'm only 26, and I seem to be too old to play a game I love (as much as one can love a game).

So, Erik, I feel that your post hit on the head what I'm looking for in an RPG company. GOOD PR, and the designers care about the game they are creating. So far, with all that has happened, I have only Paizo to trust with what I feel is the tradition of D&D.

I know it was wordy, but thank you for reading.

/d

I haven't seen this post show up in the thread, so I'm quoting it just so that it can be seen . . . darn "random cloaking" posts.


Taurendil wrote:

I'd like to say that this mirrors my sentiments. I switched from 2.0 to 3.0 with glee because I found 3.0 to be a much better system. But for all that we didn't have as much fun with it in the beginning as with the old 2.0 system. Why? Because under 2.0 we were playing the Dragonlance campaign. A long series of interlinked adventures. My players liked it so much, they always wanted to have the same type of campaign. Unfortunately for 3.0 there was a sort of D&D Adventure Path (the eight modules), but it sucked (they were basically so loosly connected to not be connected). I then settled for interlinking Dungeon adventures, but that took a lot of energy and got a lot harder when RL got in the way.

Then all of a sudden the Adventure Path concept gets revived and done right with Shackled City. I jumped on it and never looked back. I had no plans on switching to 3.5 and only did so because SC was 3.5. Since then I've been collecting Adventure Paths (AOW, STAP, a Dragonlance path, The Drow War Saga and everything Pathfinder).

Furthermore, every WOTC 3.5 hardcover I bought I only bought because it was usefull in one or the other way in an Adventure Path (e.g. I bought Stormwrack for it's use in STAP, I bought Fiend Folio and MM2 for it's use in SC, etc...). For me it's the adventures that sell stuff. I've come to realize that the system may be great, but without a good campaign to keep me going it's pretty worthless (I really am too busy to write one myself). I don't see any WOTC plans to launch 4th edition with an AP and without one I won't make the switch. Even if there is one, it still doens't justify scrapping all the other ones I have (We're just...

Yes!

That was more eloquent than what I was saying, but yes.. that pretty much sums it up for me.

I'm an old guy myself. I just turned 40 and have been involved with role-playing since I was 12 or 13 (with a few years where I was off and on). I don't have Taurendil's more recent history, but when I got involved with DnD again after years of other games- I was specifically excited by the notion of a 'campaign in a box', but not like Forgotten Realms, but also have a tightly interwoven 'Adventure Path' that I could bring to life with the free time that I have available with 9 to 5 job and a small family. I'd never heard of 'Adventure Paths' before.. but they are exactly what I want.

The reason I keep hammering away at this is because this is a paradigm shift, and a damn interesting one.

It used to be, for me, that the rules system came first- and then one either developed your own game or hoped that the published adventure material wasn't crap. To use some construction terms: the Rules People used to be the General Contractor, and the Adventure Guys were the Sub-Contractor.

Now.. at least for two guys on an internet forum, that has reversed itself. Now the Adventure Guys are the General Contractor, and the Rules Guys are the Sub Contractor supporting them.

That's pretty interesting, and it makes me wonder how prevelant that might be for other people.

Now Erik says he's most comfortable eventually moving to what the main stream consumer is playing, and that's a pretty wise business decision, because I have no idea how many other people feel the way that I and Taurendil feel. However, this change in trend is something I never saw before, particularly because you had so many people who claimed to want the freedom to develop their own campaigns and adventure material (and more power to them, they should continue to have that ability).

Nevertheless, these 'campaigns in a box' sell like hotcakes, or am I wrong? I don't know a thing about Eberron but the shelves seem jammed with books.

So stepping back, it's really interesting to wonder what drives the sales over a prolonged period of time.. core rules.. or the desire to run certain well developed campaigns?

For me, if it was a business meeting between myself the GM, and Paizo, and WOTC- I'd be inclined to point out to WOTC that they're here as part of the Paizo package... not the other way around.

So when Erik points out that they're not being given access to 4th edition material, but non-developers are, it's really moronic on the part of WOTC.

And I mean that objectively and sincerely, not as a suck-up fanboi. If it's still happens to be complimentary to Paizo, so much the better for them. :)


Joshua J. Frost wrote:
That's not information we'll ever share. Sorry, mate. :-/

No need to apologize. This was the response I was expecting. :-)

Just trying to improve my part. ;-)

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Christopher West wrote:
(...) If 4E takes off like a rocket, but didn't give Pathfinder time to get on board, that would be very frustrating.

... not just frustrating, but economically suicidal. :(

I just heard the news that Germany's oldest RPG ("The Dark Eye") found a new publisher, the previous publisher gone bancrupt (for different reasons, though).

I trust in your motivation, people at Paizo.
And I hope that you will be able to keep publishing great RPG material for a long time.

And if there is one company I'd trust to develop OGL into the 3.75e I wanted 4e to be, then it is Paizo.

Greetings,
Günther

Grand Lodge

Watcher wrote:
So when Erik points out that they're not being given access to 4th edition material, but non-developers are, it's really moronic on the part of WOTC.

Just to point out, the non-developers getting the 4th edition material are playtesters. The game just entered its first external playtest round, and I don't know about you, but as the developer of a rules set (well, I'm looking at it with my game design glasses on; I have nothing to do with Wizards whatsoever), I'd want to get at least ONE round of external playtesting done with before running out those test copies of the game to developers - Speaking as an experienced playtester, external testing ALWAYS reveals bugs in the design that were not expected and weren't caught by internal playtesting, because the internal testers know already how the game is SUPPOSED to work.

Which is not the same as the way it DOES work. Sometimes not even close.


firevalkyrie wrote:
Watcher wrote:
So when Erik points out that they're not being given access to 4th edition material, but non-developers are, it's really moronic on the part of WOTC.

Just to point out, the non-developers getting the 4th edition material are playtesters. The game just entered its first external playtest round, and I don't know about you, but as the developer of a rules set (well, I'm looking at it with my game design glasses on; I have nothing to do with Wizards whatsoever), I'd want to get at least ONE round of external playtesting done with before running out those test copies of the game to developers - Speaking as an experienced playtester, external testing ALWAYS reveals bugs in the design that were not expected and weren't caught by internal playtesting, because the internal testers know already how the game is SUPPOSED to work.

Which is not the same as the way it DOES work. Sometimes not even close.

I don't think anyone is expecting a full set of finalized rules, but if the third party developers are even going to have an idea of what 4th edition is like in time to make any products, if they have enough material for external playtesting, they should have a "subject to change" set of rules for the potential developers to see.


Erik Mona wrote:

Back at Wizards of the Coast in 1999 there was a lot of talk about "firing the existing audience" of D&D with the third edition launch. The logic went like this: "Even if we have to fire all of our existing customers, so long as we replace those old customers with more new ones, the result will have been worth it."

Of course, 3.0 did nothing of the kind. Instead, largely by harkening back to the "good old days" of first edition ("Back to the Dungeon," Greyhawk as core, half-orcs, monks, and assassins back in the game, etc.) they managed to revitalize the community of "lapsed" D&D players, bringing them back into the fold.

I have to wonder how prevalent that "fire the customer" mindset is this time around.

So, if 4.0 is not immediately embraced by the majority of Paizo's existing audience and we're still committed to 3.5 Pathfinder into 2009, we'll have to look very seriously at sticking with the system for a year or two.

Thereafter, we might release a "3.75" that smooths out some of the system's kinks and addresses some of the common complaints about it in a way that is respectful of the game's 30-year tradition.

Thank you for your illuminating post.

I'd buy a Paizo published v3.75 over a WoTC 4.0 (or 4.5) without hesitation. In fact, count me in for two of each book!

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

KnightErrantJR wrote:


I don't think anyone is expecting a full set of finalized rules, but if the third party developers are even going to have an idea of what 4th edition is like in time to make any products, if they have enough material for external playtesting, they should have a "subject to change" set of rules for the potential developers to see.

I wonder if WotC is/was concerned about what happened with the launch of 3e when White Wolf threw together a s@!%ty monster book and rushed it out the door to beat the MM to market. If so, it seems like there are better ways to handle the problem than not giving developers the core rules.

My other theory is that they have their collective heads so far up their collective asses that they can no longer tell day from night.


Tars Tarkas wrote:
I'd buy a Paizo published v3.75 over a WoTC 4.0 (or 4.5) without hesitation. In fact, count me in for two of each book!

Ditto here. That would be a dream come true. :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
Shade wrote:
Tars Tarkas wrote:
I'd buy a Paizo published v3.75 over a WoTC 4.0 (or 4.5) without hesitation. In fact, count me in for two of each book!
Ditto here. That would be a dream come true. :)

I would buy it also, especially if it meant I could continue to use Paizo adventure paths with my gaming system of preference.


Sebastian wrote:
KnightErrantJR wrote:


I don't think anyone is expecting a full set of finalized rules, but if the third party developers are even going to have an idea of what 4th edition is like in time to make any products, if they have enough material for external playtesting, they should have a "subject to change" set of rules for the potential developers to see.

I wonder if WotC is/was concerned about what happened with the launch of 3e when White Wolf threw together a s&*@ty monster book and rushed it out the door to beat the MM to market. If so, it seems like there are better ways to handle the problem than not giving developers the core rules.

My other theory is that they have their collective heads so far up their collective asses that they can no longer tell day from night.

"By God, our s$@@ty Monster Manual will be out first, if its the last thing we do!"

Sorry couldn't resist.

In all seriousness though< I remember seeing that in the bookstore and thinking, "wait, if this is out, the official one has to be around here somewhere, doesn't it."

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

KnightErrantJR wrote:


In all seriousness though< I remember seeing that in the bookstore and thinking, "wait, if this is out, the official one has to be around here somewhere, doesn't it."

Plus, they did everything they could think of to mislead you into thinking it was the official one. It even looked like the bound tome design of the official WotC books. I guarantee you that when that turd hit, the brass at WotC that weren't on board with the OGL gave Ryan Dancey a dirty look or two.


Sebastian wrote:
I wonder if WotC is/was concerned about what happened with the launch of 3e when White Wolf threw together a s#%!ty monster book and rushed it out the door to beat the MM to market. If so, it seems like there are better ways to handle the problem than not giving developers the core rules.

I'd forgotten about this somehow. The original Creature Collection did, in fact, beat the 3E MM to store shelves by a small margin and, if I recall, it sold really, really well for Sword & Sorcery Studios. Of course, back then, during the first six months of the OGL/D20 STL, a D20 logo on a product was practically a license to print money.

I remain convinced that WotC will "manage" the 4E much better than they did the 3E one, which, while it succeeded brilliantly, succeeded in ways WotC neither anticipated nor intended. I'd be amazed if they intend the same thing to happen this time, which is why I don't think we'll see a flowering of third party D20 support companies as we did under 3E.


Heh. I still use Creature Collection to this day, and find the creatures within far more interesting than most of MMIII or MMIV.

YMMV.


Erik Mona wrote:
No, actually. I don't give a crap about the virtual tabletop. I'm sure it will be useful for people who want to play on the Internet, but I'm guessing it will be an underfunded boondoggle that constantly looks like a four-year-old videogame.

Ouch!

But so very true. Certainly if "Master Tools" is any indication...

-The Gneech


Watcher wrote:

I think I come at this from a fairly unique perspective...

But I encourage James and Erik to give this some thought.

I started rise of the Runelords last Saturday, and my players had a blast and it was a big success.

When my players ask 'me' what we're playing, I say "Pathfinder".

You see, I come from 2nd Edition, and hadn't looked at D&D in 15 years. I got back into it when my group want to play some high fantasy with a strong continuing campaign storyline. Rise of the Runelords was pointed out to me by someone who attended GenCon and had met the Paizo crew who sold him on Pathfinder as a campaign for people without much prep time.

Sadly, that friend couldn't play or run it after all.. But I volunteered, and picked up some used 3.5 rule books at a second hand bookstore..

..So what's my point?

I could really care less what system I am playing. I really couldn't. As far as I am concerned I am playing the "Pathfinder Role-playing Game" that is supported by the DnD 3.5 system. To the extent that I even care to think about it, the "Pathfinder RPG" uses DnD 3.5 as a common sort of operating system that all my players understand.

Last weekend all the players were happy. I delivered a solid campaign start with lots of details and immersion. I spent my prep time familiarizing myself with the rules and my presentation of the material, and I let Pazio handle the raw creativity. People told me they hadn't played such a good game in a long time and they're all excited for the next session.

That's what I'm paying Paizo for.

I'm not paying them to make me an "Awesome DnD 3.5 Campaign".

Both of those statements sound similiar (and neither are bad things)... but there is a subtle difference.

I'm not beholden to WoTC. They make a toolset, and I can either use it or I can set it aside.. Right now I'm not reading these 3.5 books and saying to myself, "Wowee! Look at what I've been missing!!" I'm reading them to figure out how to present the 'Pathfinder RPG' in the easiest and most...

Sweet Lord in Heaven, thank you! I've been floundering trying to come up with a summary of my personal preferences but you've hit the nail on the head.

My position is somewhat different than yours in that I am heavily invested in 3.5 - but not in WotC product. Most of my "3.5 library" consists of d20 and OGL games. I do have WotC books beyond the core, but I pull from any and all sources I want to run the kind of game my players and I enjoy. With Pathfinder being OGL and pulling from publishers like Green Ronin and Necromancer, Glorarion/Pathfinder is rapidly winning me over to make a setting switch.

I won't be making a rules/mechanics switch. Even if 4e is the greatest thing ever (which I'm becoming increasingly skeptical of), how many years of d20/OGL "catch-up" will it take to cover the same ground? (Assuming that I even want or can afford to buy the "upgrade" of all those topics?)

Obviously, I'd prefer Pathfinder to stay 3.5 (or better yet, see Paizo's 3.75!). If they go 4e but I can strip out the mechanics while still getting my money's worth, I'll keep buying. If not, unfortunately I'll have to be happy with the 3.5/OGL material they put out between now and then.


Erik Mona wrote:
I've never played an MMORPG, I have no interest in playing an MMORPG, and elements that move the game further from its traditional roots as a social tabletop game give me the heebie jeebies. I am at least a little bit concerned that, while the decisions Wizards of the Coast will make to ensure their game is a success for a wholly owned subsidiary of a major international publicly held corporation, those same decisions might not result in changes that are in the best interest of the game or its existing audience.

Exactly. WotC seems to be taking a "We had to destroy the village to save it" approach to D&D, what with their MMORPG-esque rules and the Digital Initiative's blatant attempt to copy MMO monthly subscription fees. I don't like what I see because it reminds me less and less of a social tabletop game, as you say, and that experience is the core of D&D.

Now I don't mind the simplification of the rules (I've been simplifying D&D rules since 1st edition) but I do mind the simplification of the setting and fluff material without a good reason. Change only for change's sake is chaos, not progress.


Erik Mona wrote:


The scenario might play out something like this:

For whatever reason, WotC is unable to provide third-party publishers with a working draft of the rules until, say, January or so. Our print schedules are so far out these days that that simply won't allow us time to measure the new game's impact on our planned storylines for the third Pathfinder Adventure Path. Even under this scenario, we'd likely publish some 4e-compatible GameMastery Modules, but Pathfinder is the flagship of our RPG efforts. I'm NOT switching systems mid-way through an Adventure Path. That would be far too disruptive to our business and our customers are practically begging us not to do so already. So it's not happening.

So if the very first installment of the third Adventure Path is not compatible with 4.0, NONE of the third...

I'm sorry Erik, and I'm sure that you are more knowledgeable than I am due to your position and history in publishing, but do you really expect 4.0 to be anything but a substantial success for WotC? Even if the reception is lukewarm, are you really prepared to cater to a player base that shrinks from month to month as more people convert?

As a new Pathfinder DM, I don't really find these statements encouraging. I had simply assumed that Pathfinder would convert to the most recent D&D toolset when it's available as it is designed to be used with the D&D RPG. Your comments on being able to play the same types of games you've been playing for 30 years don't exactly fill me with hope. I had thought that Paizo valued innovation over "sacred cows" and stale D&D conventions.

I don't really know why you expect that WotC would release a prototype ruleset to a third party competitor before it sends it off to external playtesters. I am also confused as to why you compare the future ruleset to MMOs when none of the previews indicate anything remotely "computer-gamish" aside from the elements MMOs have already stolen from earlier D&D editions.

Once again, I respect your opinions as I am not knowledgeable of the publishing business or RPG playtesting. Thanks for your continued excellence in Pathfinder! Hopefully I'll be continuing with you guys next year in 4th ED. :)


I read James and Erik's posts as being cautiously optimistic with regards to 4e. They clearly don't want to make any hasty or ill-informed decisions about the new edition, and are just playing things safely. We all know how many of the early 3e products sucked because didn't fully understand or appreciate the rules, and Erik certainly doesn't want to alienate his customers. At the moment they are simply hedging their bets and watching what unfolds. They certainly can't switch over to 4e before they get the new material, and if 4e is as different from 3e as some people claim, switching over mid-adventure path could be disastrous (or at least mildly messy). I personally feel that they will switch over to 4e, but if they don't I do hope that they work on bringing out a new version of 3.5 which fixes up some of the fundamental problems that exist with the current version.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Tanus wrote:


I'm sorry Erik, and I'm sure that you are more knowledgeable than I am due to your position and history in publishing, but do you really expect 4.0 to be anything but a substantial success for WotC? Even if the reception is lukewarm, are you really prepared to cater to a player base that shrinks from month to month as more people convert?

As a new Pathfinder DM, I don't really find these statements encouraging. I had simply assumed that Pathfinder would convert to the most recent D&D toolset when it's available as it is designed to be used with the D&D RPG. Your comments on being able to play the same types of games you've been playing for 30 years don't exactly fill me with hope. I had thought that Paizo valued innovation over "sacred cows" and stale D&D conventions.

I don't really know why you expect that WotC would release a prototype ruleset to a third party competitor before it sends it off to external playtesters. I am also confused as to why you compare the future ruleset to MMOs when none of the previews indicate anything remotely "computer-gamish" aside from the elements MMOs have already stolen from earlier D&D editions.

Once again, I respect your opinions...

Someone asked for a scenario that might keep us doing 3.5, so I provided it.

I do not believe that that is the optimal option at this point, but it is an option.

All of the third-party companies who had 3.0-compatible products available with the release of the new edition (Atlas, Green Ronin, White Wolf) had playtest copies of the rules in advance of the release of the game. It is reasonable to expect that this will be the case, and Wizards has said as much in public.

Don't read too much into this. The best business decision is very likely to convert to 4.0 upon release of the new rule set.

But it can't be a done deal until we see the rules and the OGL, and that hasn't happened yet.

Incidentally I'll leave aside the straw man about innovation and stale conventions. The stuff we publish stands for itself.

--Erik

Liberty's Edge

Joshua J. Frost wrote:
That's not information we'll ever share. Sorry, mate. :-/

Now I'm dying to know.


Erik Mona wrote:

Someone asked for a scenario that might keep us doing 3.5, so I provided it.

I do not believe that that is the optimal option at this point, but it is an option.

All of the third-party companies who had 3.0-compatible products available with the release of the new edition (Atlas, Green Ronin, White Wolf) had playtest copies of the rules in advance of the release of the game. It is reasonable to expect that this will be the case, and Wizards has said as much in public.

Don't read too much into this. The best business decision is very likely to convert to 4.0 upon release of the new rule set.

But it can't be a done deal until we see the rules and the OGL, and that hasn't happened yet.

Incidentally I'll leave aside the straw man about innovation and stale conventions. The stuff we publish...

Thanks for the quick response!

Sorry, didn't mean to accuse you guys of not being innovative. I think all of the stuff you guys put out is quite refreshing and different which is why I was confused about some of your earlier statements. I guess I just read too much into them!

Thanks again for the great products!


Tanus wrote:
I'm sorry Erik, and I'm sure that you are more knowledgeable than I am due to your position and history in publishing, but do you really expect 4.0 to be anything but a substantial success for WotC?

Im not Erik obviously..nor am I very knowledgeable in the buisness...

But to answer your question...Yes. I think 4th edition does have a chance of not being successful.

4th edition is going to tear the current D&D community apart in terms of those who will convert to 4th and those who will remain with 3rd or just quit the hobby in frustration.

Now I obviously cannot poll the world of D&D players..but I think the amount of people who dont wish to convert compared to those who will is almost 50/50....Ok maybe 60/40 in favor of 4th.
Either way WotC is going to lose about a third of its players at least.

Now in order for the 4th edition to be successful WotC would need to pull in more NEW players to D&D than the amount of people they pushed away.
I dont know if thats a guaranteed possiblity.

Maybe I'm out of touch...but D&D players are getting older and older...and brand new players are becomming less and less common. If someone is brand new to the game its because older players invited them in.
I really am having a hard time picturing a group of people under 20 years of age, (not one of them has played D&D before) all buying the books and learning to play on their own. Not in this generation of video games and special effects.

You cant say with 100% certainty that WotC knows what they are doing..Remember they are not infallable and have released product that has failed (Dreamblade, Chainmail, the latest Star Wars miniature set haveing those square bases ect.)

I think 4th edition will cause more people to leave than draw more people in and bring D&D closer to its end....But thats just me.


I have to agree with Watcher, BPorter, and the rest. The system is not a big concern. I owned a lot of 2e books for the Forgotten Realms and Planescape, to name two settings.

Currently I have most of the Eberron books.

I like unique takes on settings. I started out with FR. I picked up Eberron because I love pulp and steampunk, and the setting works toward that end. Now I am getting Pathfinder because of the new take on the old.

Unfortunately, I will not be doing the 4e shift anytime in the near future. For the most part, my gamers are not interested. I will still get Pathfinder stuff. I have converted AD&D adventures to Earthdawn and Traveller adventures to Shadowrun, so I can always mine for ideas.

In the end, the feel of the setting and the "history" that seems to go with it is what is important. I don't care for some of the core changes being discussed for 4e. Regardless of what WOTC does, I know Pathfinder will hold closer to the roots of D&D. It may not be exact, but it will be familar. That is good enough for me.


I agree that changing the crunch is good if the game is easier and better..Its changing the fluff that kills it for me.

I open the FR novels and I read how Drizzt sleeps and has infravision and it annoys me because when 3rd edition came out elves dont sleep and drow see in B&W in the dark now.

Compared to the changes 4th edition is making those minor elf changes seems like nothing now. Elves are now distantly related to fey and they are related to Eladrins. Eladrins are celestials..How did they become the cousins of elves..or fey?

As far as we know the Blood War doesnt exist nor has it existed anymore....Thats a BIG change.
And Succubi are devils now and Erinyes never existed at all. So what does that do to Malcanthet? She's either an Archdevil now, still a Demon Lord but not the patron of Succubi...or the most likely answer..She doesnt exist.

It also seems like Teiflings are a PHB race now...I know people who play 3rd for years who said "whats a Teifling?" upon hearing this news. They are going from obscure Monster Manual creature to a creature that will likely be in half the adventuring parties come 4th edition because Im sure lots of people will want to play a guy with horns and demonic ancestry because thats "cool".

Its not just the rules...its the history and the feel thats being changed...People dont like that.


Oh and one last thing...

I STRONGLY urge Erik to have the first THREE adventure paths be 3.5th edition....Even if you get the 4th edition rules from WotC in the mail TODAY.

Take the time to feel out the changes and the public's reaction just like you said in your hypotetical that you posted above.

Dont just assume this bird will fly..It may just crash in a few months. At least you will be able to puff out your chest and say you upheld the classic game and didnt help kill it.

But once again I must repeat...What do I know? :)

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Jason Grubiak wrote:


Its not just the rules...its the history and the feel thats being changed...People dont like that.

I like it. Does that mean I'm not a person?

I STRONGLY urge you to consider your CAPABILITIES to speak on behalf of MANY PEOPLE even when you FEEL STRONGLY about a SUBJECT.

Strong feelings felt by you != similar feelings felt by everyone.


Sebastian wrote:

I like it. Does that mean I'm not a person?

I STRONGLY urge you to consider your CAPABILITIES to speak on behalf of MANY PEOPLE even when you FEEL STRONGLY about a SUBJECT.

Strong feelings felt by you != similar feelings felt by everyone.

The word "people" should never automatically be assumed to include everyone on earth. I am not foolish enough to think everyone agrees with my opinion.

If I wanted to mean everyone I would have said "No one likes that".

You know what I meant Mr.Sensitive. No need to try to start an argument. ;)

Still if I mislead anyone into thinking Im a jerk who is including them as a person who must be in agreement with my point of view then I apologise.


Jason Grubiak wrote:

I agree that changing the crunch is good if the game is easier and better..Its changing the fluff that kills it for me.

I open the FR novels and I read how Drizzt sleeps and has infravision and it annoys me because when 3rd edition came out elves dont sleep and drow see in B&W in the dark now.

Compared to the changes 4th edition is making those minor elf changes seems like nothing now. Elves are now distantly related to fey and they are related to Eladrins. Eladrins are celestials..How did they become the cousins of elves..or fey?

As far as we know the Blood War doesnt exist nor has it existed anymore....Thats a BIG change.
And Succubi are devils now and Erinyes never existed at all. So what does that do to Malcanthet? She's either an Archdevil now, still a Demon Lord but not the patron of Succubi...or the most likely answer..She doesnt exist.

It also seems like Teiflings are a PHB race now...I know people who play 3rd for years who said "whats a Teifling?" upon hearing this news. They are going from obscure Monster Manual creature to a creature that will likely be in half the adventuring parties come 4th edition because Im sure lots of people will want to play a guy with horns and demonic ancestry because thats "cool".

Its not just the rules...its the history and the feel thats being changed...People dont like that.

Well, I agree with you. :)


I agree too! The closest analogy (in recent gaming terms) to what wizards is attempting to do is a certain miniatures wargames company that release a 'new' edition of their core games every year or so, always changing just enough to make people buy it. The difference is that even if you do buy the new rules in this instance your old models are still (generally) playable. You may need to add a few (and of course they usually make sure you do) to make a legal army but you don't need to start from the ground up. With 4Ed all of your previous purchases are null and void. You have to scrap everything and start again. I know that the diehards will say you can still convert your stuff and the 'fluff' remains but if you look at what wizards have said, the fundamentals of that 'fluff' are changing. They are saying if you play 4Ed you must embrace it completely and forget everything that came before. Regardless of what supporters say, of the 40 or so regular gamers that I see semi-regularly at club days etc, not a single one is even remotely interested in 4Ed and indeed, most are really p...ed at the direction wizards has taken.

I know that is only a relatively small number world-wide but it is telling from a percentage point of view. If indeed the numbers were 50/50 in support of this direction you would think this would polay out in a number this high and a couple would support the changes, but no, not one.

As I have said previously, I understand that Paizo must do what is best for them as a business and I do not begrudge them that. I sincerely hope that when they switch to 4th ed that they are able to attract enough of the 'new customer base' that wizards are hoping to acquire to remain a viable business. The problem, as has been stated previously, is that I doubt the new-comers will make up for the many established gamers who will depart with the onset of 4Ed adventure paths, myself included.

I really do hope Paizo are able to find their niche as their product is a cut above most OGL products.

Andrew


Sebastian wrote:
Strong feelings felt by you != similar feelings felt by everyone.

QFT

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Jason Grubiak wrote:
It also seems like Teiflings are a PHB race now...I know people who play 3rd for years who said "whats a Teifling?" upon hearing this news. They are going from obscure Monster Manual creature to a creature that will likely be in half the adventuring parties come 4th edition because Im sure lots of people will want to play a guy with horns and demonic ancestry because thats "cool".

Damn right, that's cool! Living Arcanis was a very popular RPGA campaign setting (RPGA Living status was withdrawn from the setting only a few months ago). Dark-kin are a core race in the Arcanis setting, and are a very popular choice.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jason Grubiak wrote:


Its not just the rules...its the history and the feel thats being changed...People dont like that.

I agree with you too. Substantial changes take a lot of work to weave into an ongoing story and my version of Greyhawk includes every game I've played and everything I've written since I got the boxed set in the mid-80s. Unless you engineer some catastrophic changes to the setting (anyone seen the future entries in the Grand History of the Realms yet?), massive changes to cosmology, racial characteristics and the like just don't gel.

Don't get me wrong, much of what I've read about the mechanics of 4th Edition I like. I also like the Points of Light idea and have already started using that sort of concept in the settings I use, but the recent WotC post on Cosmology scared the &*^% out of me. Planes swirling in an Astral sea with the Abyss like a gaping wound at it's heart. I haven't used the planes overly much since I think the settings are rich enough on their own but please!

I do think that for this reason, as well as the fact that 3.5E products are being released right up to the end of the year, 4E has a possibility (however remote) of not being the success that WotC expect it to be. I have three shelves full of 3E/3.5E books and I've barely scraped the surface in using the content in them. Whilst I find some of the released teasers about 4E exciting, I'm disappointed that the crunch (and potentially the fluff) parts of all those books will be obsolete by next summer.

At the end of the day, I will also judge it with an open mind but I would like to add that following the 4E announcement I wavered on Pathfinder. Having just kicked off a solo play/novelisation of Shackled City using 3.5E (I'll post the first part elsewhere) and reminding myself how good the APs are, I've ordered the first two Pathfinders off Amazon. The quality of Paizo products speaks for itself so as long as there are Adventure Paths, whatever system they use, I'll be buying them.

Thanks to Erik and the team. I'm sure you'll make the decision that's right for us.


Jason Grubiak wrote:

Im not Erik obviously..nor am I very knowledgeable in the buisness...

But to answer your question...Yes. I think 4th edition does have a chance of not being successful.

4th edition is going to tear the current D&D community apart in terms of those who will convert to 4th and those who will remain with 3rd or just quit the hobby in frustration.

(I'm the same Watcher that posted earlier, but I guess I need a new alias to have an avatar icon)

And this is actually a reply to many of the posts that I've read, but I wanted to call Jason's post out in particular.

There is division out there right now, and even though I took the stance that I follow the campaign and not the rules... I know some people that would love to see the crunchy aspect of the game changed.

Coming out of retirement and joining the 3.5 community late, I saw interesting things.. all these classes and prestige classes. A lot of people wanting to start with Rogue and then changing (confessing later that it was for the skill points, which I had not even noticed). In short, I heard complaints that the game didn't allow the flexibility that other games allowed.

I had one player, who couldn't join us because of schedule conflicts, who was a RedBrick Earthdawn and Shadowrun 4.0 player. He detests DnD, not for the flavor, but for the system. He has no problem at all with the old school feel, but hates the class system. He was going to play simply to play with his friends and do some high fantasy, holding his nose at the system itself.

And I think those people are going to want to flock to a new system that 'might' have the same feel that they remember, or at least might be a fantasy game that has been made better and easier with a lot of support (which WOTC will have for them to buy).

********

I'm going to play Devil's Advocate. Just remember I made my own position clear in previous posts. And I'm an old time guy who's played dozens of systems for decades. And I really do love Pathfinder.

However, if I sat back and was asked, what about DnD always made it so damn popular, I'd have to say that it's because everyone knows how to play it. It's easier to find people playing it. Not the 30 year tradition. Sorry Erik. On the other hand, there is a tradition, and some people really do care as evidenced on this board. But the simplicity and ease of the rules, and the commonality of it in a gaming community is arguable the cause of that. It's just a fact you're going to find more DnD players than you will find Exalted, Sorceror, Mutant and Masterminds, Dragonborn, and god only knows Nobilis. Is that because of the 30 year tradition, or is it because the darn kids all pick it up really quick and it's got lots of cool treasures and monsters?

You see what I mean? It's a "which came first, the chicken or the egg" scenario. Is the 30 year tradition the reason for it's success? Or that it's always been an easy common denominator among gamers, and thus developed a 30 year tradition?

I have to say, I think 4th edition will be a success. I will meet the nay-sayers half-way and say "it might not be the success that WOTC is hoping for." And if it is not the success that WOTC is hoping for, the reason will be that they weren't discerning in what needed to be changed, and what didn't need to be changed.

But as a previous poster said, changing the fluff might just be all about IP control.


I actually do like that the history and feel are being changed. I didn't like greyhawk's feel. I always played in homebrew worlds, and whenever possible threw out the gods and stuff that wizards put in its core books. When playing modules we would always have to adapt it to our own worlds because, well, greyhawk is boring to us, and everything tied to it feel dry, played out, a little lame.

I am excited and waiting happily for the changes. Everything I've read so far is exactly what I've been wanting.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

It's worth pointing out, too, that the world of the Pathfinder Chronicles is NOT Greyhawk, and the official "planes" of Pathfinder cannot be the Great Wheel as presented over 30 years of non-open D&D material.

So we've got to go down some new roads as it is.

--Erik


(I finally had a good moment at work to read the whole thread in one sitting, Huzzah!!)

I'm optimistic about the 4th ed. Everything I've come across so far has increased my anticipation for the end result. I'm optimistic that I can use 4th ed material almost seamlessly with Pathfinder. I feel that if I can put in a little work to include Psionics in Pathfinder, that I won't be that intimidated by a new edition. As long as I can place psionics in Pathfinder, I'm not afraid of anything else. Pathfinder feels way too powerful and dynamic to worry about becoming a casualty with such masters at the helm.

I enjoyed the change of fluff. If I ever should decide not to run a Pathfinder, I'll be glad that much of the fat is gone. I found their wheel way too clunky and cumbersome. I thought the Blood War was lame, personally. I felt, if two lower planes would duke it out like that over subtle perspectives of evil, then why not all of the other planes fighting each other constantly in similar blood wars: like between Lawful Good and Chaotic Good planes that disagree between control and freedom? I like the idea of making more races core, and I'm eager to see what they'll do with the Fighter class.

When I was running my homebrew, I would get burnout quickly in having to spend a week or two to prep for a 2-4 hour game. Pathfinder has made quite a change for the better. I've had almost no need to prep beyond getting familiar with the adventure. I recall in even using Dungeon adventures that I would still need a week to make sure an adventure fit into my homebrew world.

I've been so wow-ed by the game, that I've already made my party of characters and switching roles with my wife with whom I've asked to DM when the next AP comes out in Feb.

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
Dual stat blocks = Madness.

But James, you helped write the Lords of Madness? You are already mad :) Anyways .PDF enhancement is an option but it is a ball ache for no sales from 13 onwards.

What about the 3.5 stuff after 4.0 launches (12 or before), a retroactive patch as it where? The page count is not an issue for that, the watsed man hours creating something that generates no revenue is. Then again some loony on the tinternet will do it for free anwyay :)

Anyway, very interesting posts. Particularly Eric's open and honest and frank exchange of views dependant on what happens. I think it is important to note he is not saying they want to keep at 3.5 (quite the opposite), or whether they will have to do a 3.75, just that those may become options if Wizards keep acting like high handed numpties (I added the last bit so that is my opinion and it is not humble :))

End of the day if Hasbro want to comepete with Blizzard and capture their competitors customer base they should make like GW and try and beat them at their own game, not turn a game that has its own customer base into something that is clearly alientaing some of that customer base. Like they say "Roll like they have a pair", rather than creating some plagairised hybrid.

End result is if 4.0 cans (scarifices cans of Red Bull to Zeus), Hasbro will drop Wizards, which will have devalued significantly, and hopefully someone that gives great customer service, attention to detail, and ultimately produce sbetter quality products, with a nice cash flow from good sales, will step in. Look I play fantasy games, I can dream can't I? :)

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