4.0: PAIZO IS STILL UNDECIDED


4th Edition

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Erik Mona asked readers, "What do YOU want Paizo to do?"

I want Paizo to spearhead a 3.75 Edition of D&D for launch at Gencon 2008.

The argument is made that 4e is bound to be so uber cool that no one will want to play anything else. This may be but there is reason to imagine how it might not be. Let's think about why this last is so.

What has prompted Erik to posit his question? Well, Wotc has not in a timely manner provided Paizo with the 4e OGL, d20 license and SRD so that that Paizo can make informed business decisions. That begs a question.

Why hasn't Wotc provided Paizo with the 4e OGL, d20 license and SRD so that that Paizo can make informed business decisions? Well, they are really busy with 4e and the 4e OGL, d20 license and SRD are not as high a priority as other things. Another question is begged.

Why, less than a year from launch, is Wotc still hammering out the exact details of 4e, its playtesting, the Realms new incarnation, Ebberon's conversion, Gleemax, the DDI etc.? It looks like 4e is being rushed. I can fathom no businss reason why with less than a year to go until launch Wotc should have so many loose ends that need tying up and which are so important that the 4e OGL, d20 license and SRD are tied up unless Wotc did not properly plan the launch the of 4e. In other words, unless 4e is being rushed to market. Maybe Hasbro demanded 4e's announcement and launch immediately. Maybe Wotc believed they had things better in hand than it turned out. I don't know and it doesn't matter as the end result is the same - the appearence of an on-the-fly, rush job.

If 4e is being rushed to market, there is some reason to think it might not be the uber coolness it might otherwise be expected to be.

At the same time, the 4e launch is unlike any other (O/A)D&D launch in the history of the game. The 3x OGL means 3x can continue and it can evolve. A mass conversion to the new edition is not a foregone conclusion.

While this is not to say 4e will fail, it is to say that it may well leave room for a shiny, new 3.75 edition from the people at Paizo who have a sterling reputation for quality D&D. A new 3.75 edition would then "compete" with a new 4e - and be crushed by 4e backed by Wotc? Not necessarily.

As Erik pointed out Paizo need not succeed on the same level as Wotc to succeed on its own economic terms. A fraction of Wotc's market could well support Paizo and Paizo as a business must look out for its business interests first. But there is more.

A 3.75 Edition would not compete in the same market space as 4e D&D. It would rather compete much as, for example, an Exalted, a Rifts or a True20. In other words, as another game not D&D (in terms of market space). There are any number of long supported and successful RPGs on the market that are not D&D but whih are successful on their own terms. Paizo3.75 could easily be one more.

Now, in terms of rules or gameplay space, a 3.75 edition would be a close cousin of 4e D&D. This is not a bad thing but a good thing. While not competing for the same market space, a 3.75 edition would leverage the huge audience familiar with the d20 system. This is just golden as it is a virtual built in potential audience that just needs to be reached and attracted to the 3.75 edition market space. Recall that even a fraction of this potential audience could see Paizo as profitable or moreso than it has been or is.

In sum, I don't think it is suicide for Paizo to think well and hard about a 3.75 edition. It is rather the prudent thing to do. But then should it be done, given the unknowns? I think so.

First, opportunities like this - the opportunity to launch an edition that can draft (in the Nascar sense) behind the industry leader are extremely rare. More rare is the confluence of Paizo's close association in the public's mind with D&D and its well earned reputation for top quality - all with the drafting opportunity. Not to be too melodramatic, but the stars really do appear aligned but the moment will be fleeting. If Paizo is going to go 3.75 they need to do so in time for a Gencon 2008 launch as Gencon is where the hardcore of gamers congregate as nowhere else. It is a sales and marketing opportunity not to be missed.

Second, all modesty or specific disagreement aside, Paizo is THAT good. I've been avidly gaming since 1978 and I have never seen a collection of talent the likes of which Paizo has at hand when consideration is given to its staff and its body of associated freelancers. These folks can make this work. They have the talent. If they could tap Erik's former DM Monte Cook, it would be frosting on the cake. To be a writer or really any sort of a creative person you need, besides talent, a thick skin and a fair ego. However, I have known few creative folks who, deep down, don't occasionally wonder or think "I'm I really that good or am I just lucky?" In other words, some moments of self-doubt. Most times such is inconsequential. But when the conversation moves to something as potentially impactful as launching a 3.75 Edition at roughly the same time as the industry leader launches its new edition, well, those quiet voices of self-doubt can grow much louder. I'm hear to say that, in my educated opinion, Paizo and company should not listen to the voices of self-doubt. Paizo and company are _THAT_ good. They _CAN_ make this work. On the level of pure talent, Paizo can compete with any collection of Wotc folks, who are no slouches. I'd go so far as to say that only a Nimrod would fail to understand that Paizo can, talent wise, stand toe-to-toe with Wotc and not blink and not back down. There, I said it.

Third, there is the obvious continuing failure of Wotc to provide timely information to Paizo so that it can go 4e. As Erik said, the clock is ticking. If Paizo waits and waits and waits on Wotc, eventually Paizo will be caught out, dependent of Wotc. There are two issues here. The first is the timing, as has been noted. Paizo may not be able to respond in a timely fashion sufficient for its business purposes. The second, about which little or nothing has been said, is whether the actual content or terms of the 4e OGL, d20 license and SRD will be sufficient for Paizo's business purposes. For example, at Gencon Bill Slavasek suggested that the 4e OGL or d20 license might only allow a publisher 6 releases a year. Such restrictions could well make the content unacceptable from a business standpoint even if the timing issues could be worked out. If proceeding can be said to be perilous, waiting cannot be said to be any less perilous.

Finally, there is the question of how Paizo sees itself philosophically. This is necessarily a "touchy-feely" affair but not less important for all that. What does Paizo's "gut" say about what we know of 4e and where matters now stand? I think there has been some reservations about some if the directions 4e will take the D&D story. If those reservations on Paizo's behalf might be said to reflect not only Paizo's "gut" but the broader feelings of any numkber of gamers, then going with one's "gut" feeling would be more than that. In this regard, Paizo's experience with Duneon and Dragon magazines can be illustrative. Paizo and company have had to create Dungeon and Dragon content as much on "gut" instinct as on any empirical or objective criteria. Success with content changes was not guaranteed. That Paizo succeeded with both magazines as well as it did suggests that Paizo should feel fairly comfortable trusting its "gut." Again, putting all modesty and specific disagreements aside, Paizo has demonstrated an uncanny nack for knowing what amers want, what they like and what they will buy. Gamers have recognized this and in consequence Paizo enjoys an enviable, loyal following of satisfied customers. There is objective evidence that Paizo can trust its "gut" feelings.

Is any of this a guarantee of success? No. Obviously.

Just as obviously, no one can guarantee failure.

I know that there are some folks at Paizo who are big Star Wars fans so I'll use that metaphor - Trust the force. Reach out with your feelings.

Alternatively, as the World Series begins tonight, I'll close with - If you build it, they will come.


Well I've read several message threads along these line in the past several weeks, both here on Paizo and elswhere, and I have to say that I, and my group have pretty much decided to stay with 3.5, or I would even consider a 3.5 varient (3.75 or whatever).

I, like many others have said, have so much material now that it would last quite some time. I also have a lot of 2nd Edition stuff that I can and have converted to 3rd Ed.

Does that mean I won't even consider 4th Ed. when it finally reaches us? No. I will be happy t give it a look. Will I convert to it on day one? No! It will be quite some time before I even think about it.

Any way that is my two cp worth.

Thanks,

DJ


Erik Mona wrote:

At that point, it seems, Paizo would be producing a "Pathfinder" RPG that would be wholly independent of Dungeons & Dragons and Hasbro's plans. Such a plan carries with it considerable risk, but it may be the only serious option available to us for 2008.

I think that it would indeed be a significant risk. I'm not business-savvy enough to say what I'd do in such a situation. Create shorter but higher-page-count adventure paths for a time so I wasn't locked into a six-month period where I could not change? Rely more on GameMastery modules, which could probably be more easily converted? Convert in the middle of a Path and provide a conversion PDF for the previously-released items? I dunno.

I will say that... one thing /I/ loved about 3.0 was the idea of Arcana Unearthed: an Alternate Player's Handbook. You have the talent and drive, I think, to do something like that and make it a success. Use the 3.5 rules and do a '3.75' in a way; simply create your own classes, spells, skill packages and such. AU was to my mind a brilliant, brilliant idea; a way you could do something different and yet still very much the same.

I have to say that, well, the 'new generation' approach is what D&D needs. Even if you go the 3.75 route, I say kick the grognards to the curb. Change the classes, rebalance the druid, make the paladin a prestige class, kill the gnome, make Jubilex a living plane of existance, introduce a new spell system, go nuts. Don't let the chains of the past keep you in the same position as those who have the sick fantasy that somehow D&D will go back to 1E.


Koldoon wrote:
Tobus Neth wrote:

Wizards of the Coast is a multi-million-dollar subsidiary of a billion-dollar toy corporation.

Which is what D&D is going to become action figures and playsets.

3.5

They did action figures and play sets *points to the fortress of fangs sitting on top of the book-shelf in his office* and it didn't work in the 80s when action figures were big... what would possibly make them think it will work now?

- Ashavan

Forgotten Realms Action figures would sell like coke at studio 54. Drizzt Do'urden dual cutting scimitar action! And Mithril Hall playset

would be the itshits to all Fanboys.


Hey, Erik & Co!

First, thanks for being so honest, and for taking our opinions into account. It's nice to know that we're appreciated. :)

FWIW, as someone who's relatively neutral about 4E at this point, what Paizo (and Green Ronin, and Necormancer, etc.) decide to do will certainly lend weight as to whether I (and by extension, my group) upgrade or not. (At this point, I put more stock in the "Paizo" name [and all the people that go with it], than I do in the "WotC" name.)

We're currently running "Age of Worms", and are just finishing "Three Faces of Evil"; that means by the time 4E sees the light of day, we'll STILL be playing in the campaign. And, there's rumblings about someone running "Savage Tide" after that. And there's still Pathfinder, too....

Plus, our group is older (mid-30's to 40's), most of us have been playing since 1E, and the prospect of learning a new set of rules (not to mention splurging for another set of "Core Books") is not sitting especially well with us, since we've mostly mastered the 3.5 rules by this point.

So, I am hoping that Paizo DOESN'T convert (assuming that is a feasible alternative, of course; I'd rather you see you upgrade than fold up shop, needless to say), and that "Pathfinder" continues it's stellar run under the 3.5/OGL auspices. But if you do upgrade, I'd be more likely to invest in at least the 4E Core Books…

Scarab Sages

Erik Mona wrote:
What do YOU want Paizo to do?

I would like Paizo to hire those guys from the older Capital One credit card commercials. Then use them to perform a "hostile-takeover" of Wizards of the Coast. Conquer them man! You can do it, and we would probably help.

Send out the call. To Arms! To Arms!

Spoiler:
You'd probably get at least a couple hundred volunteers. I'd certainly shuffle my undead ass to the muster.


Wayne Ligon wrote:
I have to say that, well, the 'new generation' approach is what D&D needs. Even if you go the 3.75 route, I say kick the grognards to the curb. Change the classes, rebalance the druid, make the paladin a prestige class, kill the gnome, make Jubilex a living plane of existance, introduce a new spell system, go nuts. Don't let the chains of the past keep you in the same position as those who have the sick fantasy that somehow D&D will go back to 1E.

You have got to be kidding. You're essentially telling Paizo to ignore the majority of its fanbase.


DaveMage wrote:
You have got to be kidding. You're essentially telling Paizo to ignore the majority of its fanbase.

I think it's another fantasy that they think they are the majority. They are a small, very vocal but still small, minority.


Just a minor observation.. this thread has done about 28.42 posts an hour since Erik started it yesterday afternoon.. if you took an even average for every hour.

Dark Archive

DaveMage wrote:
You have got to be kidding. You're essentially telling Paizo to ignore the majority of its fanbase.

Agreed. It's pointless to have a Pathfinder PHB to just recreate 4E.

Dark Archive

Wayne Ligon wrote:
I think it's another fantasy that they think they are the majority. They are a small, very vocal but still small, minority.

Dude, you are coming up with pseudo-motivations of other posters (always a bad idea on message boards, by the way) by distorting what people are talking about here.

I for one am certainly not entertaining such thoughts of belonging to "a majority" (whatever that means). I do believe however that I'm not alone. Paizo's looking at "how sustainable" such a number/customer base would be, I think.

That's the point.

Paizo doesn't need to sell more Pathfinder than 4E to survive. A fraction of the sells will make it live, and live well. See Erik's OP for that. The question is: how small is the number of potential customers, exactly? Is the fraction that would make Paizo survive attainable and sustainable on the long term? That's the real question.

The Exchange

Talion09 wrote:

I'll be quick, as I'm at work. Otherwise I'd give this the more indepth response it deserves.

I'll continue my GameMastery and Pathfinder subs (and continue buying supplemental material like Flip-Mats, Map Packs, Item Card, etc) as long as Paizo keeps on putting out consistent high quality products like you have over the last 3+ years.

If you go to 4th, I'll follow. If you stay 3.5, I'll keep on buying too.

And if you make a 3.75 version, I'd buy it too, as I would expect it to be high quality.

*And this deserves more of its own thread, but what would you "fix" in 3.5 if you made a new edition? Perhaps make gnome ninjas a core class? ;-)

Ditto minus the Gnome Ninja idea. I am curious to know what edition 3.75 would be. The reason behind sticking with Paizo is that I am using the industry 'turbulance' as an excuse to cut my expenses. I have enough 3.5 resources to last a lifetime. All I want is my monthly fix of 'entertainment'. That will be Paizo.


I will stay with Paizo all the way no matter what. I've got so much invested and 3.5 and you guys over there and it's not just my money but my trust.

Sovereign Court Contributor

A more salient point is that WotC is already targeting new players and kicking the grognards to the curb. Some of those grognards are loyal Paizo fans and some are just disenfranchised gamers hoping that someone targets their demogrphic too.

Paizo can fight for a piece of the 4E pie, and probably do well, but there's also this whole other pie that's just sittin' there.

If Paizo is going to join in the new-player market (this is really kind of an artificial division) they are better off riding shotgun with WotC, ie switching to 4E. If they are going to target the old-timers, they should stick with the current edition and just support it with an ongoing ruleset.

By making up a whole new different game, they would not be targetting either of these pools. Instead, they'd be sharing the 'we want a different game' pie with True20, Runequest, etc. who are already estblished. Plus the amount of work to develop a whole new game is much greater than the amount of work to patch up and rerelease 3.5.

Dark Archive Contributor

Benoist Poiré wrote:
Having a system of choice, like say Pathfinder RPG, and provide 3.5, 4E, MRQ, CC, True20 conversions as web enhancements or PDF complements or whatnot is in the realm of the possible, isn't it?

Not if you expect US to make the conversions, no. It is not possible. Hence why I brought up the deals we have with Troll Lords and Green Ronin. They are the ones doing the work, because they know their systems best. So, like I said, any company that wants to do official conversions of our stuff is more than welcome to contact us about it. :)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Wayne Ligon wrote:
bla bla bla

Dude, I think you got confused and thought you were on the ENWorld boards...


Benoist Poiré wrote:
Agreed. It's pointless to have a Pathfinder PHB to just recreate 4E.

OTOH, so much of the stuff people here love is WotC IP, and 3.75, or whatever, can't fully reprint or update it.

Contributor

DitheringFool wrote:
Wayne Ligon wrote:
bla bla bla
Dude, I think you got confused and thought you were on the ENWorld boards...

Wayne in my experience with him is a very good guy. Just saying.

That said, I think he's got this one a little skewed. A great deal of people buy Paizo's work because it honors the traditions of the game at its core.

What I love about working for James and Erik is that they strive to give players what they want, and yet they produce work that is always innovative and exciting. They walk this line well, keep their fingers on the pulse of the gaming community, and deliver excellent products that inspire even as they pay homage to what came before.

I don't really care about the sacred cows of D&D truth be told (here I'm with Wayne), but what I do care about is not pooping on people's love of the game and respecting my fellow gamers tastes. Listening to and fulfilling the passions of gamers is an honor, and frankly it's a lot easier to do than trying to sell more collectible minis at exorbitant prices.

Sometimes I just feel WotC doesn't care if it poops all over a large fraction of its older audience if it means they can push boxes and boxes of plastic nonsense on rich young kids whose parents will shell out 20 gp everytime the child needs a fix.

Maybe that's harsh, but I frankly feel WotC is looking for a new fanbase, and while that's fine and good, you don't have to alienate your old one to do so.

I know plenty of young people who like Paizo's products, and I like the idea that they can sit at a table with an old grognard like some of you lovely posters here, and get down on this game we all love together. Generations playing the game side by side, now that brings a smile to my face. My two cents.


Watcher! wrote:
The emotional aspect I mentioned however, is still valid.

Certainly. I'm not saying "don't be pissed", or even "don't be pissed over this". I'm just trying to say "Be pissed for the right reasons."

An informed pissed is best, it's harder to dismiss. :)


Benoist Poiré wrote:
DaveMage wrote:
You have got to be kidding. You're essentially telling Paizo to ignore the majority of its fanbase.
Agreed. It's pointless to have a Pathfinder PHB to just recreate 4E.

Yet this is not exactly what I said. Again, look at Arcana Unearthed. NONE of the races are the same, NONE of the classes are the same. There are some pretty interesting and extensive changes to the spell system. Yet, it's still quite recognizable as D&D 3.0/3.5. It did well enough for there to be a 3.5 edition of it, and a number of supplements.

Now, I don't know what their sales numbers were but it seemed to do quite well. I ran a campaign with it for over a year and to my surprise even the casual gamers in the group bought the AU rule book. Given that of course Paizo doesn't have to make the same numbers as 4E to be successful and thrive as a company, I wonder if the sales figures for AU would have been sufficient? A not insignificant number of sales might have been generated by Monte Cook's name recognition, but I'd submit to anyone that Paizo's name recognition is at least as good as his, if not better. People would give a Pathfinder RPG a good hard look just from all the good will that Paizo has built up in the community.

So IF AU sales numbers would be good sales numbers for Paizo, then I think there is more than enough market out there for a book that can take things from scratch and change them to make a 3.5-recognizable product and STILL make some quite significant changes to both the rules and the backgrounds. They're already changing monster fluff in the Pathfinder books, their look and feel and cultures, so it's a small step to go further and one they've already seen will be accepted. Why not have Pathfinder as a class rather than Ranger? Why not have a gypsy-like caster rather than the Bard? Molding the Pathfinder RPG to make it cleave closer to Varesia would make sense.


I'm with you Captain. I'll stay if it's 3.5, 3.75, Pathfinder or whatever you want to call it.

If you start a "Living" campaign. I'll be the first top volunteer and help out as much as I can.


I apologize in advance for the "do you know who I am?" nature of this, but I feel it's relevant to what I'm going to talk about. I am the organizer of the Seattle Dungeons and Dragons Meetup.com Group a group about 500 strong, and as such I kind of consider us Paizo's "hometeam" club.

I am definitely interested in 4th edition, and I'm certain to pick up the books when they are released, but having had our group's resurgence come along with 3.5, I can say that many, many gamers in the Seattle area are going to be sticking with 3.5 for a while.

My home campaign is 3.5 right now, and I've got material written in the 3.5 ruleset to play for years. I think that this edition (3.5) is going to see more players not upgrade than any version of D&D that came before.

With 4th edition, I'm going to be doing something I've been thinking about for a while, that I haven't had the guts to do to my group with 3.5. I'm going to severely limit the amount of sourcebooks my characters can draw from. With 3.5, we all have so many books that to do so would be taken as an insult. They spent all this money, they want to use the books. I know as a DM I can always limit the available sourcebooks, but I've never had a strong reason to. The reason has been creeping up in importance, and with 4th edition I'll have the reason and the opportunity.

So we'll dual-system. Many players play two systems. Our two systems will be 3.5 and 4th edition. For me it'll be based on what modules I want to run. Pathfinder and Wolfgang Baur's Open Design project are at the top of a short list of things I want to run, and they are both written using 3.5 rules.

Enough rambling. I think that if Paizo goes to 4th edition, my group will mostly go to 4th edition, with a few exceptions. If Paizo stays with 3.5, my group will stay will 3.5, with many fewer exceptions.

Jon Kinarthy
Organizer of the Seattle Dungeons and Dragons Meetup
Boardmember for Emerald City Gamefest

Dark Archive

I agree with Logue. They are effectively dumping on 30 years of tradition and the fans of that tradition with the changes that are coming in 4th edition. Then they subtly say that if we are not onboard for these changes, we are being childish (see Shelly M.'s horrid article in "Dragon" and the ridiculous changes to the Forgotten Realms). It's pretty clear they want to "fire" the current audience, and replace us with WOW junkies who will shell out tons of cash for randomized digital minis on the DI. I will support third party companies such as yours that treat their customers with respect, instead of trying to force crap made for 13 year olds down our throats. I will especially support a company that makes a 3.75 type system or sticks with 3.5, just to give someone besides WotC my business.

Contributor

Wayne Ligon wrote:


So IF AU sales numbers would be good sales numbers for Paizo, then I think there is more than enough market out there for a book that can take things from scratch and change them to make a 3.5-recognizable product and STILL make some quite significant changes to both the rules and the backgrounds. They're already changing monster fluff in the Pathfinder books, their look and feel and cultures, so it's a small step to go further and one they've already seen will be accepted. Why not have Pathfinder as a class rather than Ranger? Why not have a gypsy-like caster rather than the Bard? Molding the Pathfinder RPG to make it cleave closer to Varesia would make sense.

This makes strong sense.


Mr. Mona please do what you need to do to keep Paizo going and bread on the table for you and your staff, freelancers and artists. D&D is my game and if there is something I cannot convert, it is because I a too tired, busy or otherwise occupied.

It was brought up earlier that you guys should lay the ground work to buy and own/run D&D. Please do so, I feel you folks would do great at this. I am contemplating this myself as well but do not yet have the resorces to pull this off.

Good Luck and thanks for everything you have done to make D&D cool.

Dave

The Exchange Kobold Press

Jonathan Drain wrote:
By deliberately forking D&D in order to compete with WotC's flagship product, you would be at loggerheads with Wizards instead of working with them to round out the market.

It's not so much "deliberately forking" as "not having materials available to prepare 4E products." Paizo needs to either be brought into the 4E publishing loop, or it needs to make alternate plans for its own survival.

"" wrote:
Fourth edition has serious potential and it's not something I think you want to throw away on some bad feelings.

I didn't really hear any bad feelings here, just a legitimate business concern. The time for WotC to start sharing SRD and 4E data to bring partners into the 4E community is now, not 3 months from now.

Finally, just a neutral inquiry, what makes you sure that 4E has such great potential? I've heard snippets that seem promising, and others that seem, um, less promising.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Nicolas Logue wrote:
DitheringFool wrote:
Wayne Ligon wrote:
bla bla bla
Dude, I think you got confused and thought you were on the ENWorld boards...
Wayne in my experience with him is a very good guy. Just saying.

Without a doubt...and he is welcome to be wrong around here when ever he wants :)

What makes the ENWorld boards so laborious is that people wont let it go...they keep on and on and on...kind of like I do. Hmmm, never mind.


Nicolas Logue wrote:
Sometimes I just feel WotC doesn't care if it poops all over a large fraction of its older audience if it means they can push boxes and boxes of plastic nonsense on rich young kids whose parents will shell out 20 gp everytime the child needs a fix.

Hey, if we can buy D&D stuff with gold pieces, sign me up!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber
Whizbang Dustyboots wrote:
Hey, if we can buy D&D stuff with gold pieces, sign me up!

I will seriously sell you almost every RPG book I have for 1 gp each. :-)

I would prefer 1 oz. coins minimum. I don't care about country of origin, just purity of the metal.

:D

Dark Archive

Wayne Ligon wrote:
So IF AU sales numbers would be good sales numbers for Paizo, then I think there is more than enough market out there for a book that can take things from scratch and change them to make a 3.5-recognizable product and STILL make some quite significant changes to both the rules and the backgrounds. They're already changing monster fluff in the Pathfinder books, their look and feel and cultures, so it's a small step to go further and one they've already seen will be accepted. Why not have Pathfinder as a class rather than Ranger? Why not have a gypsy-like caster rather than the Bard? Molding the Pathfinder RPG to make it cleave closer to Varesia would make sense.

Now that indeed makes a LOT of sense. I understand much better what you mean now.

I can get behind that.

That's the use of "grognard" that ticked me off. That's the whole dismissive attitude I often see behind the use of the term that starting to rub me the wrong way. I apologize.


Erik Mona wrote:
This opens the option of producing an improved "3.75" somewhere down the road to address a few commonly acknowledged problems with the rules without throwing out the three decades of tradition that have kept D&D, fundamentally, the same game since the very beginnig. At that point, it seems, Paizo would be producing a "Pathfinder" RPG that would be wholly independent of Dungeons & Dragons and Hasbro's plans. Such a plan carries with it considerable risk, but it may be the only serious option available to us for 2008.

Why? If you do not convert to 4th then just use 3.5. If not converting to 4th is the choice you make why do you feel this 3.75 is necessary? If WotC didnt announce 4th edition would you be looking into "commonly acknoledged problems with the rules"?

Erik Mona wrote:
What do you think? Assuming the third Pathfinder Adventure Path, Second Darkness, remains 3.5, will you stick around?

Its the only way I WILL stick around. I have no intention of going to 4th edition. If the Third Adventure Path ends up not being 3.5 I will be heartbroken. You are worried about everyone converting and leaving 3.5 behind. I think (among the Pathfinder fans) that there are probably more players who will not convert than those that will.


Erik Mona wrote:

Folks,

As it stands there remains a chance that Paizo will not convert to 4.0 next year, mostly because we will not have the materials in hand with enough time to do so. The only viable option, at that point, is to stick with 3.5 for the time being. This opens the option of producing an improved "3.75" somewhere down the road to address a few commonly acknowledged problems with the rules without throwing out the three decades of tradition that have kept D&D, fundamentally, the same game since the very beginnig. At that point, it seems, Paizo would be producing a "Pathfinder" RPG that would be wholly independent of Dungeons & Dragons and Hasbro's plans. Such a plan carries with it considerable risk, but it may be the only serious option available to us for 2008.

I'm sorry to see this happening to you. I'm sure you're not really surprised.

As for me, I will stick with Paizo.


Mr. Mona
Perhaps you could consider a Game Mastery Product called the Players Handbook, The Monster Manual and The Dungeon Masters Guide? I understand you have access to some of the most talented folks in the gaming world and could probably write something like this that would "save" D&D from the depredations of soggy headed corporate seattlites.

What is it about the northwest and corporations? I remember when REI was cool.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Rambling Scribe wrote:
Callum wrote:
Lich-Loved wrote:

Warning: Threadjack alert.

3.5+ - ugh
3.75 - sounds "fractional"
3.Paizo - cumbersome
3.P - naming goodness.

I propose 3.P as the abbreviated name of a Paizo-inspired revision to 3.5.

How about 3.Pi?

Truth be told, I suspect the 3.x names would be problematic for anyone other than WotC to use, and not neccesarilly desirable.

A better name would be somethign like, oh I don't know, "Pathfinder Chronicles."

I think Gamemastery RPG or Pathfinder RPG is a pretty easy fix for a new system...

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Erik Mona wrote:

Are there enough players willing to make a break from Wizards of the Coast and the Dungeons & Dragons brand to sustain a healthy 3.5-based Pathfinder business? I don't know. A part of me is very skeptical about it, but until we get a chance to evaluate the new rules set, this is exactly the sort of scenario we are forced to consider, and I do not find the prospect wholly without its merits.

What do you think? Assuming the third Pathfinder Adventure Path, Second Darkness, remains 3.5, will you stick around? I know most of you are as in the dark about fourth edition as we are and I understand that it's too early to make a serious call. But how is the 4.0 hype treating you these days? Do you plan to start up a new 4.0 campaign on day 1?

What do YOU want Paizo to do?

In an average year I spend about $600 or so on RPGs and related products, thus far this year I've only spent ~$200 dollars on RPG stuff and all of that has been with or through Paizo.

As others have said, "Paizo is my Master now."

Now I'm sure when 4e hits, I'll buy 4e books, but if Paizo sticks to the 3.5 development branch, I'm all there, too.

In fact, my next fantasy campaign will be one of two things, either Ptolus or Pathfinder, and that should tell you exactly where Paizo's stuff is, for me, when it comes to gaming. Neither of which, thus far, need or ask to need 4e.

No insults being drawn in this analogy, but WotC might be Microsoft, but Paizo is Apple. *grins*

Hell, I even say that after falling in the first round of the recent open call.

Keep it up, folks, you're on the right path that leads to an awesome place for us all.

Just think, one day Paizo will have two campaign settings and folks will be arguing over them and stuff, like the Known World and Greyhawk, or FR and Eberron, or whatnot.

Robert N. Emerson
Grand Master Delver CuDraoi at Delver's Square
Magister of Glen Ravin
The Emerson Papers

Ex Ignorantia Ad Sapientiam; E Luce Ad Tenebras


Sebastian wrote:


It could work. I suppose one thing I might toss out there is to pick up the phone and give your friends at other gaming companies a quick buzz to see what they think. One way to make a new 3.paizo edition work would be to open up the rules changes to all gaming companies. If you could have those rules be stamped by the likes of Monte Cook, that would go a long way to giving them credibility. The ultimate result would be something more akin to the 3.75 - including the ability to get the 3.paizo rules from the Paizo site for free. That would open up the market for 3.paizo to be the definitive grognard standard...

Erik-

I love your stuff, and am less-than-enthusiastic about many of the 4e pre-release teasers, especially the fluff changes, which all seem capricious and unwanted. Change for its own sake is not improvement.

That said, I echo many of the posters here in feeling that a 3.75 alternative system is a risky proposition, fraught with peril. One way to significantly reduce that risk is to follow Sebastian's idea: do not toe the line, but make sure Paizo is not on an island. What about a joint venture release with some of the other larger non-WOTC companies, to create a truly alternate system? Having multiple companies involved would serve both to dilute the risk, while concurrently increasing the product support perceived by customers, especially if clearly billed as a different "classic-feel" flavor which WOTC is choosing to abandon in 4e.

Scarab Sages

I thought I would respond to two of my favorite Paizo, and Open Design, adventure writers.

Nicholas Logue, whose adventures have helped form the core of my CSI: Sharn campaign (with the addition of material regarding the Quori takeover of Deneith in City of Towers), wrote:

Sometimes I just feel WotC doesn't care if it poops all over a large fraction of its older audience if it means they can push boxes and boxes of plastic nonsense on rich young kids whose parents will shell out 20 gp everytime the child needs a fix.

If this sounds personal, it isn't, so please don't take it that way. BUT...I think that this is filled with a lot of assumptions, and a certain amount of potentially pride based "preciousness," regarding the underlying intentions of WotC. Namely that WotC is intentionally pooping on fans for some bizarre reason. As if they want to lose an existing fan base, which makes zero business sense.

I believe, and I can't know, that the reason they are making the changes they are making is to bring new players into the mix. That, by necessity, means that they are going to tweak some traditional tropes. After all, the existing ones aren't continuing to bring new gamers into the hobby. The complaints I hear by 3rd edition fans today are the same ones, only slightly modified, that I heard back in 1988 and in 2000. Hasbro is looking for new players, they need a new "branding" for the same reasons Pepsi and Coke keep changing their advertising and recipes. And those of you who think that New Coke was the only time Coke changed their recipe, I've got some real estate I'd like to sell you. They need to make it fresh. In doing so, they have to carefully balance the need to satisfy existing gamers with making the game "sexy" enough for new players. We're just lucky that they aren't making D&D into the Avatar: The Last Airbender rpg.

As for the "pushing boxes and boxes" assertion you made, I almost took that personally. I am not a "rich young kid" and my parents stopped buying my rpg stuff in 1985. I shell out no less than $350.00 a quarter to purchase complete sets of whatever new D&D minis set is heading my way. Why? Because my players, most of them anyway, like having minis in their game and like that I use them. Some will not play without minis and "wonder where their character is" when we have tried to play more abstract games. Heck, Erik Mona wrote about how much he loved Monte Cook games because of the massive use of Dwarven Forge and painted minis. Those were words I took to heart, and thanks to D&D minis and World Works I can have some pretty graphically interesting adventures. The D&D minis are one of the best things to happen in gaming, in my opinion, in quite some time. They are cheaper than lead, especially Games Workshop, and they are already painted. I most certainly don't think they are nonsense.

As I wrote before, I don't think you meant it that way, but your statement was highly dismissive and loaded with assumptions. I agree that Hasbro not sharing the new OGL is wrong. I agree that it puts Paizo in a position of having to make a very tough business choice, or at least know that they have the support of fans, but please don't assume nefarious motives.

Wolfgang Baur, of whose Open Design adventures I have been a patron of every one -- at the $100.00 level for the past 3 (which includes the upcoming Arabian themed adventures) -- and am a print and pdf subscriber to his Kobold Quarterly wrote:

I didn't really hear any bad feelings here, just a legitimate business concern. The time for WotC to start sharing SRD and 4E data to bring partners into the 4E community is now, not 3 months from now.

I agree whole heartedly.

Finally, just a neutral inquiry, what makes you sure that 4E has such great potential? I've heard snippets that seem promising, and others that seem, um, less promising.

Hopefully this won't torpedo my hopes of an accepted submission to Kobold Quarterly in the future, but...I have no certainty that 4th edition will be good. I know it has potential because it has very good designers, who have worked on excellent products in the past, working on it. I have as many concerns as the next guy. None moreso than after reading the post on design influences over at the Wizards site.

Rob Heinsoo's disdain for previous editions was concerning to me. He "didn't see 2nd Edition AD&D as an improvement over Runequest or Champions, so I gave it a miss." Say what? Runequest is one of my least favorite systems, and I own enough Basic Roleplaying Stuff to know (Stormbringer, Hawkmoon, Cthulhu, Superworld) that I prefer to use the very rich product they create as source material. And I, for one, am sick of the "choices not limits" philosophy of design. Some of my most individual character concepts were created during the "limiting" and "restrictive" character class eras. Want to know how "inviting" Champions is? Ask the noobish members of my group. They are so intimidated by 5th edition revised, they won't even consider a Champions campaign. Thank heavens for Savage Worlds and Necessary Evil. Don't even get me started on the crap that is Arduin.

But then I read James Wyatt and Andy Collins and my blood pressure lowered.

I am also hopeful because they are finishing Nicholas Logue's wonderful Eberron trilogy in the online Dungeon and I have hopes that they will continue to use the talented free lancers, like Nicholas, Wolfgang, and Matt Forbeck, who have a lot of great ideas behind them -- and hopefully many in front of them. I have such faith in Wolfgang that I have already gambled another $100 on him before I received his third Open Design adventure.

I am frustrated that the Monk might be made purely Asian in flavor, the original was based on Remo Williams (read Gygax's intro to Oriental Adventures if you don't believe me). I am frustrated that WotC will be ignoring Mythic archetypes and allowing multiple alignment Paladins. I am frustrated that they are merging the Succubus and the Erinyes because they "play the same game design role." Huh? Christianity based temptress devils vs. Greek demons of vengeance. Things like this demonstrate a distinct ignorance of mythology. Now if they had said Erinyes and Harpies shared the same place, I might have gone along for the ride.

I am sure 4th won't be perfect. 3rd certainly wasn't, and it got rid of some things I really liked and added more complexity than I'd have liked, but I still like 3rd and the new gamers it brought to my group. I hope 4th brings even more gamers to my group.

Oh and since I spent all that time harping on Mr. Logue. I should note that if he did an Open Design adventure, I'd totally sign on.

Christian Johnson
Host -- Geekerati: A featured show on the BlogTalkRadio network.
"If you can geek out about it, we will."


It's pronounced boo-LAY! wrote:

I think that if Paizo goes to 4th edition, my group will mostly go to 4th edition, with a few exceptions. If Paizo stays with 3.5, my group will stay will 3.5, with many fewer exceptions.

Jon Kinarthy
Organizer of the Seattle Dungeons and Dragons Meetup
Boardmember for Emerald City Gamefest

I think this sums it up the best for most people here. A great product is a great product regardless of x.x.

I would be wholly on board with a 3.5+ from paizo though.


I'll be sticking with my pathfinder subscription regardless of what edition it uses. My gaming group isn't tied to a specific system, most of us will play whatever the current DM wants to run. We won't be rushing to convert to 4.0, but if it is fun and novel, someone in the group will buy it and run it. If Paizo decides to do a 3.75 I'd buy it and run Pathfinder with it.

Contributor

rowport wrote:
Change for its own sake is not improvement.

Why do people assume WotC is making arbitrary changes? It wasn't true for any previous revisions, I don't see why it'll be true now.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Wolfgang Baur wrote:
It's not so much "deliberately forking" as "not having materials available to prepare 4E products." Paizo needs to either be brought into the 4E publishing loop, or it needs to make alternate plans for its own survival.

Plus, in my own view, branching d20 is not a bad thing, hell it was built into it and thus far we've been given things like Arcana Unearthed/Evoled and True20.

If that's forking, then fork me into the grave. *grins*

As I've said in a few places, I think a branch or schism within d20 would be beneficial, since it would cut down on the "they're invalidating all my books" anti-4e crowd, give more options to the player-base, and give freelancers an avenue of fiscal earnings while they get up to speed on 4e.

Competition increases innovation, dang it.

Wolfgang Baur wrote:
I didn't really hear any bad feelings here, just a legitimate business concern. The time for WotC to start sharing SRD and 4E data to bring partners into the 4E community is now, not 3 months from now.

Yeah, I'm with Wolfgang on this, Paizo and WotC, at least from all I've seen and hear, are feling anything but bad feelings towards one and other.

Heck, they handled the liscence changes well enough, with smiles and good words, so I doubt that they've soured into "Pistols at Dawn" over something like this.

Heck, WotC might feel safer with Paizo only doing 3.5 stuff for a year, it'd be one group of high quality products they wouldn't have to fight against, that's for sure. *laughs*

Robert N. Emerson
Grand Master Delver CuDraoi at Delver's Square
Magister of Glen Ravin
The Emerson Papers

Ex Ignorantia Ad Sapientiam; E Luce Ad Tenebras

Scarab Sages

Hill Giant wrote:
rowport wrote:
Change for its own sake is not improvement.
Why do people assume WotC is making arbitrary changes? It wasn't true for any previous revisions, I don't see why it'll be true now.

Slaughtering "sacred cows" that aren't broke feels to people like they are arbitrary decisions. I don't believe that they are "arbitrary", but they are still a bit weak on their explanations of "why". And without adequate explanation, it feels "arbitrary" because none of us were included on the decision making and the default "reason" ends up being "change for its own sake".

At least that is my take on it.


I started running DND campaigns in 1978 after nearly one and a half years as a player; several of my first players are still with me. I have dragged them through multiple game systems (several editions of DND, Traveller, GURPS, Cyberpunk, and even an aborted run using the excellent but unlamented Torg rules.) I thought we might consider 4.0, but my players have informed me that they are *done* with major system changes. We will stay with 3.5 and our system of house rules. I would be delighted to see Paizo continue their outstanding product lines under either the 3.5 OGL or a Paizo-issued set of changes to the 3.5 OGL professionally repairing some of the worst problems. However, I will continue to subscribe just to 'steal' their excellent campaign material even if they do change to 4.0 (which is beginning to sound more and more like a very different game than DND has been in the past) so count me as an ongoing subscriber regardless of system.

"No matter where you go, there you are." - Buckaroo Banzai


Moff Rimmer wrote:
Hill Giant wrote:
rowport wrote:
Change for its own sake is not improvement.
Why do people assume WotC is making arbitrary changes? It wasn't true for any previous revisions, I don't see why it'll be true now.

Slaughtering "sacred cows" that aren't broke feels to people like they are arbitrary decisions. I don't believe that they are "arbitrary", but they are still a bit weak on their explanations of "why". And without adequate explanation, it feels "arbitrary" because none of us were included on the decision making and the default "reason" ends up being "change for its own sake".

At least that is my take on it.

Yup, Moff got it right, at least from my perspective. If there is a logic for the changes, it sure the heck is not a clearly stated one, even as simple as "the Great Wheel is too complicated" or "gnomes suck."

Put a different way: why fix what is not broken? If it is broken (or you feel that it is), why not explain how your solution is better?


Jason Grubiak wrote:
Why? If you do not convert to 4th then just use 3.5.

Erik mentioned earlier in the thread that if they don't convert, they need to put out their own version of the Player's Handbook. They can't send everyone who wants to play with their game system to the used book store.

"3.75" is just shorthand for a modified 3.5 PHB under the Pathfinder or Gamemastery brand names that would have to be produced if Paizo does not make the switch. And much shorter to type.

So they would be sticking with 3.5, is kind of the point.

Dark Archive

In reply to Erik's original post (because this thread is already at 400-ish posts and likely too long to read all of them), I'll be happiest if Paizo doesn't convert to 4.0, and I'll continue to support Pathfinder as long as it doesn't make the switch. I am not interested in "monetized" collectible virtual miniatures, virtual subscriptions that don't allow downloads and retroactive access, slaughtering of sacred D&D cows, and much of the other drek WotC appears to have adopted to encourage the success of thier newest version of the game. My money will continue to enter the coffers of Paizo as long as WotC keeps their fellow games-makers in the dark.

Here's hopin'.


Sean, Minister of KtSP wrote:
Jason Grubiak wrote:
Why? If you do not convert to 4th then just use 3.5.

Erik mentioned earlier in the thread that if they don't convert, they need to put out their own version of the Player's Handbook. They can't send everyone who wants to play with their game system to the used book store.

"3.75" is just shorthand for a modified 3.5 PHB under the Pathfinder or Gamemastery brand names that would have to be produced if Paizo does not make the switch. And much shorter to type.

So they would be sticking with 3.5, is kind of the point.

Well, they could just put out the vanilla pure 3.5 rules with some additions to fill the gaps... but why not try to address some problem issues? While Grapple isn't Einstein-level math like WotC's 4th edition previews would have you believe... it could be more stream-lined.

Likewise I can think of some things off hand that I've house-ruled, or at least though about changing or tweaking. Like multi-classing (especially 1-level dips), ECLs, lack of balance among the core SRD classes, etc.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

You know, there is another good reason to tweak and fix some of the issues in 3e, because they can't release character leveling and other tidbits unless the book goes OGL, ala Arcana Unearthed/Evolved.

So, if you're going to have to go through the needed effort to layout and design your own OGL PHB, DMG, and MM, why not fix some of the known, often lamented problems in 3e.

Plus it would give them an added revenue to power such a drastic change and it would not invalidate previous versions for usage and make adventure conversion easy, peasy.

Personally, if the goblin is any evidence, I would loved to see a revamped/re-imagined MM from Paizo, I think it'd be awesome. *grins*

Robert N. Emerson
Grand Master Delver CuDraoi at Delver's Square
Magister of Glen Ravin
The Emerson Papers

Ex Ignorantia Ad Sapientiam; E Luce Ad Tenebras

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