Wheel of Time and Pathfinder


Product Discussion

The Exchange

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My group and I actually enjoyed the WotC produced Wheel of Time setting/game. Unfortunately the support was short lived, only one 2 books in total. Currently we convert the old stuff to Pathfinder when we feel the urge to play that setting, but it isn't the same as having an official book.
I was wondering if doing a release for Pathfinder is in anyway a possibility? I honestly don't know what is entailed when it comes to licensed products, so I feign ignorance if this is an endeavor that is too big for Paizo. Still if it is a possibility it would be nice to have an official PFRPG Wheel of Time product with updated info.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

First, the IP would need to be available for licensing, which means that WotC's exclusive rights to it need to have expired and I'm not sure if that's the case. It may just be that they stopped supporting the system due to low sales and still hold the license.

Second, Tor and Jordan's widow would need to approve a new license. I don't see why they wouldn't be supportive of seeing RPG products in print again, but you never know.

Finally, Paizo would have to want the license, and I'm pretty sure they don't. After losing the Star Wars Insider license and then the Dungeon and Dragon licenses, I believe they are content being untethered to other companies when it comes to the financial success of their company. They are also overworked with supporting the products they already produce to support their own rules system and game setting. I can't imagine they'd have time to add more work to their already overloaded schedules.

But none of this means that another publisher can't license WoT and produce PFRPG compatible products. They'd just have to license the property themselves and be sure to comply with the Pathfinder Compatibility License in addition to whatever terms they had with Tor.

Dark Archive

Can someone point me to a link that might give me more information on this setting? I plan on googling it anyway, but I wondered if someone had a specific link. I don't know anything about this, but I'm a time travel buff who has designed A LOT of time and time travel related Pathfinder/D&D home material and have honestly considered putting out a time-related sourcebook for Pathfinder if I can find the time. So I'm curious if this is the kind of thing that would be up my alley at all...

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Wheel of Time is not a time travel setting. It's a series of fantasy novels written by the late Robert Jordan. Check out Wheel of Time wiki for more information, or pick up The Eye of the World to start the series.


You should go visit here

[url]http://www.pencil-pushers.net/forum/index.php[/url]

As I came to understand it (I was very active in its fan community before I started Rite Publishing), The licence was let go by WotC before they knew how successful it was (they only licensed it for the initial book releases.)

So yes its out there if someone wanted to pay for it. The company most likely to do this would be Mongoose Publishing having just lost the Conan Licence, you might ask them.

Me I would rather see something more like what Green Ronin did with Song of Ice and Fire and what Crafty Games is doing with Mistborn making a system specific to that setting

Steve Russell
Rite Publsihing

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Qwilion wrote:
Me I would rather see something more like what Green Ronin did with Song of Ice and Fire and what Crafty Games is doing with Mistborn making a system specific to that setting

I agree. I always felt the d20 system was a strange fit for WoT. Magic works entirely differently, there aren't the standard D&D demihuman races, most magic items are angrela or terangreal, etc. I think one could keep some elements of d20 while reinventing the rest. If someone picked the license up, I'd be a huge supporter of the line, but I'd love to see it done as its own system.


I agree with Yoda... the magic system (the One Power) felt way clunky when they tried to force the Vancian system on it. I'd support somethig like this as well.


I agree, it needs at the very lest it's own magic system, To get the feel of the world, I would be leaning toward it's own system from the ground up rather then shoehorning it into pathfinder

Dark Archive

HEX might work with it if you used a magic system similar to what was done with Desolation. The way Desolation does their magic system is that you roll your pool of dice, trying to make your target number of successes but each of your failures counts as "burn" damage taken by the caster. If you play it safe and cast at the right level you don't suffer so much, but if you over cast (which is allowed) you'll burn yourself to death. My thought being that channelers can over channel and get burned out from the ability.

I also agree that Green Ronin would be a good choice to make a game for it. I like what they've done with Dragon Age, but it's still devoping so will be intertesting to see how it goes. Song of Ice and Fire seems pretty good too.

Shadow Lodge

Be prepared to do a whole lot of reading if you pick up the series. There are at this point parts 2 and 3 of the final book still being written and not yet released. By the time it's finished, it's going to be well over 10,000 pages in the entire 14 book series. In addition there is the one prequel book. I really like it, but I haven't read the last three books. I'll probably wait until the the final ones come out in paperback.

I gotta say while I loved it for being a Wheel of Time RPG, I also didn't like how the One Power was handled. It definitely didn't seem like a good fit for the system.

The Exchange

I'll concede that the One Power did seem a bit off, but it isn't unworkable. I don't think the faults in the game were d20 specific, but more than likely that WotC was trying to push so many different products out the door, at that time, that they didn't take the time to really work on it. I'm not saying they did a bad job, but it could have been better.

Which is why I would like to see it done by a group like Paizo. Although I would not be opposed to a HEX version. That is probably my number 2 favorite system. I would prefer a d20 version with a different take on the magic system.

@ Delthos
You really should get back into the series. The last couple of books Jordan wrote before he died did get a little dull in places, but the newest book, that was written using his notes, is excellent. It is probably in the top 3 as far as my favorites in the series go. I just finished it a few weeks ago and can't wait for the next 2 books.

Scarab Sages

As it happens, I was part of the design team for The Wheel of Time RPG from WotC, so while I'm in no better position than anyone else to talk about it's quality, I do know a fair amount about how it was developed.

First, it's success was never a surprise, nor was the line "canceled." This was early in the era of d20, well before d20 Modern, and a common belief was that d20 = D&D, and couldn't be used for anything else. In addition to doing some long-term licensing (Star Wars leaps immediately to mind, and there were other major licenses pursued that, due to factors entirely out of WotC's control, never became games), it was decided to do a few limited licenses to both show the system's improved versatility, and to attract new customers. The d20 Call of Cthulhu was one of these, and Wheel of Time was another. The license only covered 2 products and a few articles, so that was all WotC was ever going to do, as the plan, from the beginning.

(There is a fairly large article, which I helped with, Erik Mona managed to muscled into the Dragon Annual d20 Special if you want more support for the existing game.)

Development of the game was far from rushed, nor was it an afterthought. WotC had a very large RPG R&D department at the time, and in addition to having time assigned to write, edit and lay out the product (months, each), we were given time, on the clock, to read the series and playtest the game (neither of which is the norm for rpg companies). We also worked very closely with Mr. Jordan to make sure we got the details right, down to hairstyles of different groups. I had the honor of reading through a copy of his notebook detailing the world, which was very cool.

As for the One Power, what ended up in the rpg book is what worked best in play, and what received the most positive feedback from playtesters. While it reads a lot like Vancian magic, it plays very differently. We found the option to overchannel created situations very quickly where players knew they -might- be able to pull off a given effect, but couldn't be sure. Discussions among outside playtesters often sounded a lot like what characters new to the One Power said in the books. Obviously not everyone will like any given design decision, but we tried a lot of options and found this one worked best in play. It was also very quickly grasped by new players, which was another design consideration.

And, I'm thrilled every time I hear anyone is still playing the old game. I get about an email a month asking me about Heal checks (we left a detail out), or importing WoT rules to D&D, or D&D rules to WoT.

Dark Archive

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
As it happens, I was part of the design team for The Wheel of Time RPG from WotC, so while I'm in no better position than anyone else to talk about it's quality, I do know a fair amount about how it was developed.

Wow. Thanks for the post, Owen.

Do you know if the Jordan estate would be willing to license the series again?

The Exchange

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:


(There is a fairly large article, which I helped with, Erik Mona managed to muscled into the Dragon Annual d20 Special if you want more support for the existing game.)
...
And, I'm thrilled every time I hear anyone is still playing the old game.

I have and regularly use that Dragon Annual.

We still regularly play the game and even though in my new group there are only two WoT fans, everyone likes the setting. I've dropped it into more than a couple dimension jumping games that I have ran in the past as well. Other than the Eberron CS and the Dragonlance CS, the WoT setting is still probably one of my most used 3.x books and I own quite a few of them.

I still would like to see if the Jordan estate would be willing to let Paizo revise the setting for Pathfinder. Especially now that the series is coming to an end and there are quite a few events that have happened since the initial release way back when.

BTW, thanks for the informative post.

The Exchange

That would truly be a godsend if WoT could be licensed to be written up for PF. Shades, even a new system unto itself for WoT would be wonderful. I'm eagerly awaiting the last few books, but I will probably sit down and re-read the entire set before tackling those last books.

As far as game settings go, WoT is right up there among my faves. Top five would probably be WoT, Ravenloft, Iron Kingdoms, Dragonlance and Eberron. I won't say much abouth the canon PF settings yet as I am still getting to know them, but I like what I have seen so far.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I think it's been pretty well established that Paizo is overclocked right now producing Pathfinder RPG, AP, modules and assorted GameMastery stuff (not to mention Planet Stories), so any cycles spent on a licensed product like WoT would be cycles lost to other Paizo products.

If I were spinning up a RandLand campaign, I would use the base Pathfinder RPG rules for mundane stuff, and retrofit the GURPS Magic mana-pool system for One Power channeling (angreal == powerstones). A long time ago I used to run GURPS Fantasy, and the way Aes Sedai work with angreal is almost exactly how a GURPS mage works with powerstones.


delabarre wrote:

I think it's been pretty well established that Paizo is overclocked right now producing Pathfinder RPG, AP, modules and assorted GameMastery stuff (not to mention Planet Stories), so any cycles spent on a licensed product like WoT would be cycles lost to other Paizo products.

If I were spinning up a RandLand campaign, I would use the base Pathfinder RPG rules for mundane stuff, and retrofit the GURPS Magic mana-pool system for One Power channeling (angreal == powerstones). A long time ago I used to run GURPS Fantasy, and the way Aes Sedai work with angreal is almost exactly how a GURPS mage works with powerstones.

Powerstones are similar, but they would be more akin to the power wells 2 of the female characters have. Temporary pools of power that can be tapped into in places where there is no power available.

Angreal are more of a power multiplier, or maybe a powerstone that never needs to recharge.

The problem comes in when you want to translate D&D spells across to a GURPS or GURPS like system. A lot of D&D spells don't translate cleanly into a mix of fire, air, earth, water, and spirit and the GURPS spells is a lot smaller than the D&D one.

Another way to do it would be to take the sorcerer class, remove the bloodlines, and allow the class to learn spells like a wizard(from another caster since scrolls don't exist), and make a set of feats that restricts what spells you can or cannot learn(these feats would be things like talent with healing etc)


I'm involved in a WoT game atm, we still use the d20 version...but as of late found it lacking.
I'm working on a re-write and exploring a few out of the box concepts...and a few things we've done in house (warders as a template, as an example). I'm planning on using the PF core rules as a foundation for everything (skills, feats, xp, etc.), though.
One of the ideas is not boxing in channeling with a class, but using classes to expand channeling. I'm tossing around making channeler either a template or "race"...the idea being someone who can channel can channel...but may not choose taht path or dedicate the learning to it thats required, or choose to take a class to expand that knowledge.
I feel this will open up RP a bit, not having to multiclass as much.
Also looking at doing weaves not unlike psionics from 3.5 expanded book, where you ahve the basic idea of what it does, but can spend extra power points to beef it up.
This is all in "idea" stage at this point. I'd like some feedback.

Dark Archive

A friend of mine who follows everything on the web related to WoT was telling me he thought he saw something about there being a new RPG for it. He wasn't sure, but thought it said that Green Ronin had been approached for it. I haven't found anything to confirm this and he might have been thinking of Song of Ice and Fire, which I know they have since I own both the PDF and HC of it. GR would be an excellent choice though if there ended up being any truth to it. With the series wrapping up (hopefully) a final RPG covering everything would be nice.


Green Ronin has been doing a lot of licensed games lately with Dragon Age, SoIaF plus they did the Black Company, and Wild Cards. If it were to be done by someone else I would want Green Ronin to do it.

I keep coming back to this, we just secured our first non free licence with the Diceless System. I keep thinking as a patronage project it would be an interesting project, to create something system specific for it.

Having played the d20 WoT Rpg for two years, the biggest problem is that channelers can (just like in the books) wrap up any other character with air, and just move on, no save, no nothing, stuff your mouth with air and move on.

@Owen
The problem was no one told the fans "Hey we are only doing two books and a magazine article" we all thought it would get the same support as Star Wars so long as we brought the products.

I will say the first book from WotC had the best artwork for the WoT ever, the layout was awesome, and I think it met all its design goals (making a game from a novel is HARD!, with 4 years hard core in that fan community, there is no way you can please anyone with all of what you do).

However the second book, it was not as good, The first book was all in house and you could tell time and care was taken on it. The second book had an ugly cover, and read like someone blew the deadline, wtih someone else having to come in at the last minute and fix things quickly, not to mention the whole messing around with cannon (which was publicly denounced by the author), which reminded me of a saying I think I picked up though I forget who said it and I am paraphrasing the Design Team makes great rule books but the magazines are the ones that make great adventures.

I will say I really loved the material in the annual and I used a Blight creature templated King Bear (A fan template, and your stated out animal). I also really loved the forward of the Core Rule Book written by Robert Jordan.

Scarab Sages

@Rite; Well, we did tell people at the time that is was a limited license, but it was much harder to get news out back then. There weren't nearly as many people reading online news reports in 2001 as there are now, nor as many d20 communities to put such information out on. I was on the WotC site, and there were long threads of fans asking for more. And the official answer always was "We only planned two products, though of course if it sells really, really well we'd be interested in getting an additional license for continuing the line."

It sold well. It did not sell really, really well.

As for the second book, I had a lot less to do with that one so I'm not in the same position to discuss it's development. I do know that Jordan personally approved absolutely everything, from the original outline to the final text. And his approvals can as line-by-line commentary, not some blanket approval that suggested he'd never read it. When we got comments back from Jordan, they went into levels of detail like character's clothing not matching their preferred color scheme, and national beard styles being off. And we fixed them.

Of course, WoT was Jordan's, and if he approved something he didn't like or later decided it didn't match what he needed it was his IP to do that with. But I don't know what else we could have done to make sure it matched. He gave the green light at every step, from outline to final edit.

And yeah, the One Power lets you do some outrageous stuff. To have it be otherwise wouldn't have been true to the books. We could have tones it down so you had to be really high level for those tricks, but that didn't match our take on the books either. I'll cop that we may have made the wrong call, but we made it out of respect for the core material.

For the record, we also had a lot of fun with that game.


Owen (and design team):

Thanks SO much for making that magic system. I'm not a fan of the novels or anything (never read them), but my friends were. They picked up the setting and ran it and I found it to be amazing.

For me, WoT's magic system is *THE* best magic system/variant/whatever I've ever seen for magic casting. It's just fantastic. I love it so, so, SO much!!! I really can't express it beyond simply stating loud, vocal (figuratively speaking) support.

I keep reading here how the magic just fell short ... ??? I've NO frame of reference mind you, but as far as "how do we deal with magic" for D&D settings ... OMG!! You guys came up with a system that makes EVERY other system, or proposed system that I've run across look pale in comparison.

From the mix of Talents and Affinities and their impact on casting spells, to overchanneling, and then to small spell lists to be cast with varying degrees of impact depending on the spell level used! The whole thing is brilliant and we loved that system for the ideas presented within it.

Well done! Ignore the nay-saying - that system was/is amazing and I still have plans to try and revamp the standard 1001 spells into some form that makes use of those design elements for my own house games (just need to finish off the spells and get time to actually play more).

I don't have many books on my shelf of the D20 variety ... WoT is one of my "must haves" just to show off the magic system it uses. I've even copied out just the magic rules section to bring to many tables as just a discussion piece to show it off. {because I try to show off how awesome it is any chance I get. BEST D20 MAGIC SYSTEM EVER!}


As magic systems go, there are far worse, I agree.
I truly don't mean to belittle the work Owen and others have done.
I'm just not one to accept that it can't be made better.

Shadow Lodge

I don't feel that the magic system is bad, I really do like the system. I just feel that it doesn't quite fit the One Power as described in the novels. I just can't quite put my finger on what that is. Maybe this means its as good as it needs to be, I don't know.

Silver Crusade

Rite Publishing wrote:

Green Ronin has been doing a lot of licensed games lately with Dragon Age, SoIaF plus they did the Black Company, and Wild Cards. If it were to be done by someone else I would want Green Ronin to do it.

I doubt that it will happen myself. I don't mean to be a downer or anything, but this was the impression that I got from Mr. Jordan after meeting him at DragonCon back in 2005. I stood in line (with literally hundreds of others) to get an autograph from him. When my turn came, I presented him with a copy of my Wheel of Time Core Rulebook, one that I had specifically bought for that purpose. The look that he gave me was a weird combination of amusement and shock. Apparently I was the first fan to give him one to autograph after it came out. With his wife sitting there, he then informed me that while he enjoyed the idea of the game being made and he appreciated my support of it through the purchase of the product, he didn't think he could allow anyone else to touch it.

Spoiler:
Apparently some folks at WOTC had some ideas about making it conform in such a way that there would paladins, rogues, sorcerors, and the like running around in the setting. He would have none of those shenanigans going on with his IP. The only one who would know more for sure would be Mr. Stevens, but I don't think Mr. Jordan would lie about something like that. And he wasn't being malicious when he said it. It was with a sense that he had learned a lesson. I walked away with my belief in WOTC as a company shaken that day.

I wouldn't have gone through the trouble of getting a whole new book for him to sign if I didn't appreciate the work that had gone into it or the book series itself (When I ran it, my one rule was that you had to read at least the first book in the series before you could play). And if a company such as Green Ronin were to get it then I would buy it in a heartbeat. But I don't think that we'll see any other gaming company get their hands on that particular IP.

Super Genius Games

Blayde MacRonan wrote:
Apparently I was the first fan to give him one to autograph after it came out.

I can't vouch for the rest, but I had my copy signed back in 2001. Still have it on my shelf.

Hyrum.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

HyrumOWC wrote:
Blayde MacRonan wrote:
Apparently I was the first fan to give him one to autograph after it came out.

I can't vouch for the rest, but I had my copy signed back in 2001. Still have it on my shelf.

Hyrum.

When WotC launched the book originally, they flew RJ out for a signing event at the University Book Store in Seattle. I wasn't able to get out to the event (or just didn't make the time, kinda wish I had), but I did go to the UBS in the next day or two and bought one of the presigned copies they had on the shelf.

So I didn't get it signed, but I got it signed. :)

Super Genius Games

Jason Nelson wrote:
So I didn't get it signed, but I got it signed. :)

That's awesome. :)

Yeah, I was living in LA at the time and (I think) Winter's Heart had been released a few months earlier. Jordan was doing his book tour so we went and stayed in line. I got to ask him a couple of questions and get the book signed.

Hyrum.

Scarab Sages

Blayde MacRonan wrote:
Apparently some folks at WOTC had some ideas about making it conform in such a way that there would paladins, rogues, sorcerors, and the like running around in the setting. He would have none of those shenanigans going on with his IP. The only one who would know more for sure would be Mr. Stevens, but I don't think Mr. Jordan would lie about something like that. And he wasn't being malicious when he said it. It was with a sense that he had learned a lesson. I walked away with my belief in WOTC as a company shaken that day.

Sure we had a vision to make it conform in such a was there would be paladins and sorcerers. It was a d20 product. We were never, ever going to put paladins and sorcerers in a Wheel of time product. But just like you can have Mighty Cthulhu fight 20th level (3.0) D&D characters, and can attack Toril with (original edition) Star Wars d20 Star Destroyers, we wanted a sword to be a sword, a hit point to be a hit point, and a bear to be a bear.

In fact, that last was particularly important, since we were only planning 2 total books. Players could take anything from the MM that THEY felt fit their WoT games, and use the stats. We weren't going to have an independent bestiary for WoT beyond what we fit in the core rulebook.

Now, I don't know what Jordan said to anyone after the project, or how he felt about it by 2005. I do know I have myself been asked to sign copies of the RPG that had his signature before me. And I know we had long talks with him when we wrote it, and conformed to his ever desire on fact and format. He had final approval. He wrote pages about every chapter. It missed its original print date because we needed to make sure it had every change he asked for. If he didn't like what we printed, all he had to do was say so.

I do know the work involved to approve an RPG is more than a lot of authors want to deal with, and many don't realize that until they've done it once. It's not a lunchbox or an art calendar. Its a set or rules describing the physics, metaphysics, trade, geography, sociology and biology of a whole world. The RPG often must delve into things the books don't, and an author either needs to give the writers his design notes (and they need to be pretty good), or needs to read and approve every addition to his world, or needs to decide it's okay for the RPG and the book world to be different.

I've been on a lot of RPG adaptations. Some authors shrug and don't care. Others get involved in the process, happily answering questions we have so they don't have to change something we make up. Others, like Jordan, go over every detail after the fact, and ask for changes. It's their world. That's fair, but it is a lot of work for them, and some people decide it's not worth the effort a second time.


Personally, I'd prefer to see the Wheel of Time done with something classless - the RQ2 system from Mongoose would be a very good system for it, I think, given that the magic systems can all be stripped out and replaced by something else without affecting anything else.

Having said that, if I were designing something like this for Pathfinder, I'd treat Channelling the same as the Force was treated in Star Wars d20 - it has feats and skills that anyone can pick up, but a couple of classes that focus on those things. I'd strip out all of the magic using classes from the system apart from one created from scratch (Ranger would remain, but would use the non-magical archetype), which would work in a similar way to the Jedi from Star Wars d20 Revised. Beyond that, I'm not sure exactly how I'd retune the magic system, other than that it would probably be based around feats and skills, and would gradually cause exhaustion, as is the case in the books.

Edit: Also, being born with the ability to channel would probably cost a second feat, only available at first level, in exchange for bonuses to all of the skills.

Dark Archive

One could do a modified version of True Sorcery for the spell system.


The Speaker in Dreams wrote:

Owen (and design team):

Thanks SO much for making that magic system. I'm not a fan of the novels or anything (never read them), but my friends were. They picked up the setting and ran it and I found it to be amazing.

For me, WoT's magic system is *THE* best magic system/variant/whatever I've ever seen for magic casting. It's just fantastic. I love it so, so, SO much!!! I really can't express it beyond simply stating loud, vocal (figuratively speaking) support.

I keep reading here how the magic just fell short ... ??? I've NO frame of reference mind you, but as far as "how do we deal with magic" for D&D settings ... OMG!! You guys came up with a system that makes EVERY other system, or proposed system that I've run across look pale in comparison.

From the mix of Talents and Affinities and their impact on casting spells, to overchanneling, and then to small spell lists to be cast with varying degrees of impact depending on the spell level used! The whole thing is brilliant and we loved that system for the ideas presented within it.

Well done! Ignore the nay-saying - that system was/is amazing and I still have plans to try and revamp the standard 1001 spells into some form that makes use of those design elements for my own house games (just need to finish off the spells and get time to actually play more).

I don't have many books on my shelf of the D20 variety ... WoT is one of my "must haves" just to show off the magic system it uses. I've even copied out just the magic rules section to bring to many tables as just a discussion piece to show it off. {because I try to show off how awesome it is any chance I get. BEST D20 MAGIC SYSTEM EVER!}

I Agree.


Mark Moreland wrote:


I agree. I always felt the d20 system was a strange fit for WoT. Magic works entirely differently, there aren't the standard D&D demihuman races, most magic items are angrela or terangreal, etc. I think one could keep some elements of d20 while reinventing the rest. If someone picked the license up, I'd be a huge supporter of the line, but I'd love to see it done as its own system.

d20 was a strange fit for WoT, but I think their take on cultural background packages was a small stroke of genius for a setting that is predominantly made up of human characters.

It was really well done! We're using variants of that idea in every D&D setting we've played since.


The way the humans of different nationalities filled in for species was great.

The balance between the classes was... i know its thematic in WoT that if you're not a channeler you're cannon fodder, but it was frustrating to play. The classes took a system that already favored quadratic wizards, gave them priest powers on top of that, but didn't have the magic equipment element that's the martial classes saving grace AND nerfed the fightery and rouguey classes for the cherry.

The wolfbrother class required a dc 20 wisdom check to use its best ability: something you've got a 1 in 4 chance of doing IF for some reason you got an 18 and put it in wisdom instead of strength (because you spend 12 levels hitting things before getting to that point)

I don't know if it could work as d20.

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