Why are there so many people obsessed with "balance" on here?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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ciretose wrote:
So far in your build from the other thread I haven't seen any God wizard emerging.

There's a statblock? Link?


ProfessorCirno wrote:
See, here's the catch - even in Vance? These are all really cool powers, but they aren't anything along the lines of Fireball or Horrid Wilting or Flesh to Stone. Very few of them are useful for combat.

Completely wrong. Vance's Excellent Prismatic Spray had one purpose - murder people. Without any reasonable chance of survival. In fact, the main difference between DnD attack spells and average fantasy attack spells is the former lacking punch to insta-destroy people without magical protections. You seem to be forgetting that the whole reason 3.X wizards even bother with fancy SoL/SoD combos is spell direct damage being nerfed to heck.

ProfessorCirno wrote:


More importantly, even if somehow Merlin or Gandalf could just kill anyone with magic, it is important to understand why they don't. It isn't the role of the wizard to completely overshadow the warrior. That's dumb. They have a completely different part to play in their stories. It's why, outside of D&D, there are no stories of Wizard Supremacy.

Most of fantasy literature, is a bunch of stories of Wizard Supremacy. The opposite is an exception, actually. It's just sometimes wizards don't get to be PCs, and therefore they must lose. Doesn't change the fact, that they plainly can do more than fighters. Fully applies to Sword & Sorcery literature as well. In fact, the whole selling point of this subgenre is heroes challenging superior power of dark magic with only their swords and somehow winning. Ever noted how sorcerers tend to be boss enemies there, almost never mooks?

As about myths, in some mythologies they are tricksters, in some they summon armies of genies to lay waste on cities of their enemies or fight as equals against guys whose arrows carry more momentum than the universe. So, your generalization here is wrong too.


anthony Valente wrote:
Freesword wrote:
stuff about CR

Freesword. Just to clarify my POV on CR vs. party.

I'll admit to some misunderstanding of what you were saying when I initially responded to you.

We agree that all encounters of a given CR are not necessarily equal.

I think we can agree to disagree on whether cherry picking encounters to match up encounter and party can be classified as fudging (although I agree it works, is perfectly rules legal, and is not a bad thing).

We disagree on the usefulness of the CR system but that is more subjective based on what we do with it and our perceptions of how it should be interpreted.


ciretose wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
ciretose wrote:
If it takes your caster a standard action at 75% success to put something on me and my caster a standard action at 100% success to take it off, what has really been accomplished?

You're out of the fight for a round of two, and your caster is for a full round, and by then the fight's over and your friends are all dead.

ciretose wrote:
Disabled isn't dead. Someone else still has to go in and do the dirty work of removing hit points.
Shooting fish in a barrel.

Round 1, you win init you cast your spell. Same round (if I don't save) my caster negates. I've been holding until my caster negates, my turn.

Someone still has to shoot the fish, before it recovers.

That is balance, and why it is designed as a 4 player game.

You make the assumption that the SoS is not an action denial effect. If it denied your fighter an action and his initiative comes up before it is removed then he does not get to hold his action as the effect dictates his action (using sleep as an example, he snores on his initiative as his only action).

So at this point, one spell has tied up the caster for 1 round and probably the fighter. 1 action vs 2. Never forget the power of the action economy. Still a good trade if my one action can deny 2 opponents any action against my party for the round. If we are talking 4 vs 4 here them my side just got a 3 on 2 advantage.


WPharolin wrote:
Since you don't actually have any real numbers, everything you have said about the popularity of the game is by default hearsay, and to be ignored, until you can can demonstrated otherwise.

Here is a link to a youtube video of a lecture Erik Mona gave at Neoncon 2009. It was about the industry as whole and featured several points here he talked about sales figures.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKp7Vi1apto

It's over an hour, but a very interesting watch. Here are some key points for those that don't want to watch the whole thing.

17:45- He talks about how the 4E launch is nothing compared to 3.0

38:00- He mentions an industry insider reporting sales figures for 1980's modules like Tomb of Horrors and Temple of Elemental Evil selling between 50,000-150,000 copies, previously he mentioned that new publishers were lucky to sell through a 5000 copy print run in today's market.

47:35- He says at best they are selling 10% of D&D products that they were in 80's

It is impossible to calculate the effects of PDFs and especially pirated ones, on sales figures, but it is clear from this lecture that the hobby has shrunk from it's heyday in 1982-1984. Competition from MMORPGs and computer RPGs have had a considerable effect on the popularity of TTRPGs.

Liberty's Edge

Evil Lincoln wrote:
ciretose wrote:
So far in your build from the other thread I haven't seen any God wizard emerging.
There's a statblock? Link?

Not yet, but he's slowly been forced to actually describe his wizard.

So far he has a starting 16 con, 20 int with everything else dumped. He has a rat familiar, took improve init at 1st level and craft wonderous at either 3rd or 5th level so he could make a belt of con and headband of intellect.

Of course that means two of his 4 free 2nd level slots are filled, the other two being stinking cloud and slow.

He also has Color Spray, Web and Glitterdust, along with 45 hit points at 5th level.

Pulling this out of him is like running a campaign in and of itself.

Liberty's Edge

Freesword wrote:


You make the assumption that the SoS is not an action denial effect. If it denied your fighter an action and his initiative comes up before it is removed then he does not get to hold his action as the effect dictates his action (using sleep as an example, he snores on his initiative as his only action).

So at this point, one spell has tied up the caster for 1 round and probably the fighter. 1 action vs 2. Never forget the power of the action economy. Still a good trade if my one action can deny 2 opponents any action against my party for the round. If we are talking 4 vs 4 here them my side just got a 3 on 2 advantage.

So far in the SoS spells presented, sleep (from color spray) is the only effect that would fall under this. And sleep isn't something you need a caster to overcome.

Economy of action is absolutely critical. And economy of resources is also nothing to sneeze at.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
ciretose wrote:
*extrapolation*

Social engineering at its best? :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.

D&D at its height in the early 80s had VASTLY more players than it does today, based solely on sales figures.

I realize it can be frustrating for someone not in the RPG industry to not have access to market research or sales data or any of that stuff, and while I'm not going to break that trend and cite numbers here... I've seen the sales figures for AD&D ad Basic/Expert D&D from the early 80s, and I worked in the sales department at WotC during the launch of 3rd edition, and there's no comparison—tabletop D&D was bigger in the early 80s than it ever has been again.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Demigorgon 8 My Baby wrote:
It is impossible to calculate the effects of PDFs and especially pirated ones, on sales figures, but it is clear from this lecture that the hobby has shrunk from it's heyday in 1982-1984. Competition from MMORPGs and computer RPGs have had a considerable effect on the popularity of TTRPGs.

It's not just MMORPGs and computer RPGs that tabletop games have to compete against, though. Back in the 80s, there were simply FEWER hobbies that gamers-to-be had to choose from. Today, the time spent gaming competes against not only time spent on video games, but on time spent watching movies on disc or streaming, or socializing on the internet, or tinkering online with any number of projects, or simply having VASTLY more books in the fantasy genre to read than there were in the early 80s.

D&D's success was it's own worst enemy in a way, because it essentially started an entirely new industry. It was first, and while it was first it was king. The fact that over three decades later it's STILL so popular speaks directly to how strong it was coming out of the gate, frankly.


ciretose wrote:

Not yet, but he's slowly been forced to actually describe his wizard.

So far he has a starting 16 con, 20 int with everything else dumped. He has a rat familiar, took improve init at 1st level and craft wonderous at either 3rd or 5th level so he could make a belt of con and headband of intellect.

Of course that means two of his 4 free 2nd level slots are filled, the other two being stinking cloud and slow.

He also has Color Spray, Web and Glitterdust, along with 45 hit points at 5th level.

Pulling this out of him is like running a campaign in and of itself.

Well, thanks for compiling that. I'm not super interested in seeing it to "disprove" CoD's statements. Rather, I just want to see the statblock so I can judge for myself. I've never really seen a well-optimized Wiz statblock, and as GM, I owe it to myself to study up on that kind of thing. Can anyone provide a link to any optimized wizard statblock of the type that features so routinely in these discussions?


FatR wrote:

Most of fantasy literature, is a bunch of stories of Wizard Supremacy. The opposite is an exception, actually. It's just sometimes wizards don't get to be PCs, and therefore they must lose. Doesn't change the fact, that they plainly can do more than fighters. Fully applies to Sword & Sorcery literature as well. In fact, the whole selling point of this subgenre is heroes challenging superior power of dark magic with only their swords and somehow winning. Ever noted how sorcerers tend to be boss enemies there, almost never mooks?

As about myths, in some mythologies they are tricksters, in some they summon armies of genies to lay waste on cities of their enemies or fight as equals against guys whose arrows carry more momentum than the universe. So, your generalization here is wrong too.

The problem with your analysis is included in your analysis. The protagonists win (usually). Whether the protagonists are wizards or not. It doesn't prove any particular superiority for wizard/spellcaster. Personally, I don't set much store in this as an argument. It's at least as plausible to suggest that the reason the characters are so dangerous is that they're higher level. They're not powerful because they're wizards; they're powerful because they're high level.

And in some mythologies, they're really good at dealing with mooks but not so strong against heroes. It's also noticeably rare when they're all those things you suggest, mythological spellcasters usually having a much narrower range of abilities than D&D ones.


James Jacobs wrote:

D&D at its height in the early 80s had VASTLY more players than it does today, based solely on sales figures.

I realize it can be frustrating for someone not in the RPG industry to not have access to market research or sales data or any of that stuff, and while I'm not going to break that trend and cite numbers here... I've seen the sales figures for AD&D ad Basic/Expert D&D from the early 80s, and I worked in the sales department at WotC during the launch of 3rd edition, and there's no comparison—tabletop D&D was bigger in the early 80s than it ever has been again.

Not to mention the used book and hand-me-down effect. AD&D and D&D in the early 1980's had fewer total copies in print than today. Twenty-five years later and thousands of prints and reprints circulating out there, makes it less likely that people need to buy new books.

I work in a middle school and hear about students getting hand-me-downs of 1st and 2nd edition D&D books from fathers and uncles. I'm sure some of these inspire them to go out and get the newer editions, but I also suspect that many of them simply enjoy the older editions as they stand.


James Jacobs wrote:

D&D at its height in the early 80s had VASTLY more players than it does today, based solely on sales figures.

I realize it can be frustrating for someone not in the RPG industry to not have access to market research or sales data or any of that stuff, and while I'm not going to break that trend and cite numbers here... I've seen the sales figures for AD&D ad Basic/Expert D&D from the early 80s, and I worked in the sales department at WotC during the launch of 3rd edition, and there's no comparison—tabletop D&D was bigger in the early 80s than it ever has been again.

You mentioned the 3.0 launch, how does that compare to PF? Do you think the customer base for TTRPGs is still shrinking, or do you think it has stabilized at it's current level?

Sovereign Court

ciretose wrote:
Evil Lincoln wrote:
ciretose wrote:
So far in your build from the other thread I haven't seen any God wizard emerging.
There's a statblock? Link?

Not yet, but he's slowly been forced to actually describe his wizard.

So far he has a starting 16 con, 20 int with everything else dumped. He has a rat familiar, took improve init at 1st level and craft wonderous at either 3rd or 5th level so he could make a belt of con and headband of intellect.

Of course that means two of his 4 free 2nd level slots are filled, the other two being stinking cloud and slow.

He also has Color Spray, Web and Glitterdust, along with 45 hit points at 5th level.

Pulling this out of him is like running a campaign in and of itself.

It's kind of weird that you follow everything he says closely enough to have all of that figured out. That being said, I'm about to add to the weirdness now by saying that he definitely took Toughness to get to 45 hp at 5th level, unless he's rolling for hitpoints at each level. Or he has one of those belts of Constitution or something else to squeeze out an extra modifier.

Liberty's Edge

Squidmasher wrote:
ciretose wrote:
Evil Lincoln wrote:
ciretose wrote:
So far in your build from the other thread I haven't seen any God wizard emerging.
There's a statblock? Link?

Not yet, but he's slowly been forced to actually describe his wizard.

So far he has a starting 16 con, 20 int with everything else dumped. He has a rat familiar, took improve init at 1st level and craft wonderous at either 3rd or 5th level so he could make a belt of con and headband of intellect.

Of course that means two of his 4 free 2nd level slots are filled, the other two being stinking cloud and slow.

He also has Color Spray, Web and Glitterdust, along with 45 hit points at 5th level.

Pulling this out of him is like running a campaign in and of itself.

It's kind of weird that you follow everything he says closely enough to have all of that figured out. That being said, I'm about to add to the weirdness now by saying that he definitely took Toughness to get to 45 hp at 5th level, unless he's rolling for hitpoints at each level.

No, I think he is just putting his favored class bonus hit point in there rather than the skill point. He has an 18 con, so +4 per level. So Start with 10 and add 7.5 a level.

Now his will and reflex saves are going to burn him, but he doesn't need to take toughness. He still can, he has a few feats left. I personally would also take eschew materials in there somewhere.


Squidmasher wrote:
It's kind of weird that you follow everything he says closely enough to have all of that figured out. That being said, I'm about to add to the weirdness now by saying that he definitely took Toughness to get to 45 hp at 5th level, unless he's rolling for hitpoints at each level. Or he has one of those belts of Constitution or something else to squeeze out an extra modifier.

Also, +4 init is really sort of awful at 5th.

Liberty's Edge

Evil Lincoln wrote:
Squidmasher wrote:
It's kind of weird that you follow everything he says closely enough to have all of that figured out. That being said, I'm about to add to the weirdness now by saying that he definitely took Toughness to get to 45 hp at 5th level, unless he's rolling for hitpoints at each level. Or he has one of those belts of Constitution or something else to squeeze out an extra modifier.
Also, +4 init is really sort of awful at 5th.

In his defense, he really needed it at 1st level.

This is kind of the point. We were playing RoTRL and my wife made a ranger with favored enemy Goblinoid. Great back at 1st level, not so awesome now that she is 14th level.

But you have to do things in early builds sometimes to survive for later builds. At 1st level his spells were all initiative races, so that helped him have a chance considering his 10 dex.


ciretose wrote:
Squidmasher wrote:
ciretose wrote:
Evil Lincoln wrote:
ciretose wrote:
So far in your build from the other thread I haven't seen any God wizard emerging.
There's a statblock? Link?

Not yet, but he's slowly been forced to actually describe his wizard.

So far he has a starting 16 con, 20 int with everything else dumped. He has a rat familiar, took improve init at 1st level and craft wonderous at either 3rd or 5th level so he could make a belt of con and headband of intellect.

Of course that means two of his 4 free 2nd level slots are filled, the other two being stinking cloud and slow.

He also has Color Spray, Web and Glitterdust, along with 45 hit points at 5th level.

Pulling this out of him is like running a campaign in and of itself.

It's kind of weird that you follow everything he says closely enough to have all of that figured out. That being said, I'm about to add to the weirdness now by saying that he definitely took Toughness to get to 45 hp at 5th level, unless he's rolling for hitpoints at each level.

No, I think he is just putting his favored class bonus hit point in there rather than the skill point. He has an 18 con, so +4 per level. So Start with 10 and add 7.5 a level.

Now his will and reflex saves are going to burn him, but he doesn't need to take toughness. He still can, he has a few feats left. I personally would also take eschew materials in there somewhere.

Fort +8 Ref +2 Will +3. (or +5, on 25 PB)

Of course, who targets arcane spell casters with Will save effects? And Reflex saves suck, so yeah.

Edit: The whole game is an init race, and there's plenty of non Dex things that boost init.


CoDzilla wrote:
Edit: The whole game is an init race, and there's plenty of non Dex things that boost init.

I agree emphatically that the whole game is an init race. I've asked you before: What are the non-dex methods? Traits? Spells? Class abilities?

Sovereign Court

Evil Lincoln wrote:
CoDzilla wrote:
Edit: The whole game is an init race, and there's plenty of non Dex things that boost init.
I agree emphatically that the whole game is an init race. I've asked you before: What are the non-dex methods? Traits? Spells? Class abilities?

Reactionary is an awesome trait, and he could be specialized in Divination for the +1/2 level Initiative bonus. I don't really know of any spells that help other than Cat's Grace, but it only has a duration in minutes.


CoD, is Divination spec optimal for you? What schools to drop?


FatR wrote:

Stuff

You're only proving me right, though.

Remember, the second group of fantasy wizards are "evil sorcerers who fail to use their spells then die when Conan throws a chair at them." That ain't a D&D wizard.

Quite frankly, wizards are almost never the PCs, so I have no idea where you're coming from in that.

And lastly, you've yet to convince me of anything. Certainly Vance had The Excellent Prismatic Spray. And that was one of...how many spells one of the strongest wizards in the setting could memorize? Oh yes, four. Have you read the series? Aside from the atrocious prose, it's basically 5% actual wizardry. Most of it is wit and swashbuckling and other general more "sword" then "sorcery."


Something else should be taken into consideration.

OD&D = Played like a board game, just without the board. The rules for simple, fast, and easy to play. Was package as a board game (in a box), and was sold at Toy Stores, Hobby store, Book Store (were i bought mine), and Retail store (sometimes).

1st AD&D = Play was also every simple, easy to play, fun. Had a few more options. The advantage to 1st ED was that it was Hardback, although this also means that fewer copy get sold in long run. While there were some campaign setting published, for the most part i never heard of them until long after 2nd ed came out.

2nd AD&D = Lots more was added. Gods were added as Non-Player characters (books and novels). Campaign setting came out ever 6 months. The Good: Campaign were new, interesting, and original while still all following the baseline rules. The Bad: TO MUCH STUFF. To many books. Players would choose one campaign setting, and not have enough money to fool with the rest.

3rd AD&D = The Good: Some rules got streamlined. The Bad: To many rules. To many books. Cost to much to buy all the books. Many of the books look water down version of 2nd AD&D with way more fluff.

4E = Did not buy (look thro them at bookstore tho). Just seamed like a water down marketing campaign to get my money by re-hasing out old stuff. New rules were to lock you into a system, so you would have to buy new books with pre-generate stuff that would work in those new rules......PS..kind of felt this way..about some of the 3.5 stuff that was published, like complete book of Fighter, elf, ranger, etc etc etc.

With each new set of rules: The rules became longer, harder, more completed, required more stuff (mini's, hex pads, more books), more expensive, less fun for kids (those under 18) and took longer to figure out a battle.

Of course it does not sale as well today as it did back in the OD&D days. The whole game costed $80.00 Total, and you could enjoy it easily for only $60.00 if you wanted to (red, blue, & black box set).

Another problem is Distillation (Down in Alabama): You only find D&D books at bookstore now. Books a Million/Barn&Nobles or Hobbie store ...They all died out in the south :( Many of the small book store have gone belly-up.. so you have fewer places saleing the product.

PS.... I was age 9 when i first say the OD&D Red box set. Bought it myself with cutting grass money, 3 months latter. Took me a year of reading- and reading it before i could figure out how to play it... blood Thaco tables were confusing for a 9 year old. Then i bought the blue box set, and 3 months latter they came out with the black. :( had to wait a whole year before i got the gold :(

To be honest.... if i was give a copy of 3rd Ed or latter when i was 9 year old... i would never have gotten into the Hobby. Just to expensive, to many books, and to many rules.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Oliver McShade wrote:

Something else should be taken into consideration.

>>snip<<

Of course it does not sale as well today as it did back in the OD&D days. The whole game costed $80.00 Total, and you could enjoy it easily for only $60.00 if you wanted to (red, blue, & black box...

Without taking away from your main point (OD&D was cheap, 3.x is expensive), I think you're mixing up some terminology. The red box set postdates OD&D by a few years; when I think of OD&D I think the original 3 booklets plus Greyhawk, Blackmoor, and Eldritch Wizardry (Gods, Demigods, and Heroes optional). Since OD&D grew out of a set of miniatures rules, it was readily assumed that players had access to figures. OTOH, you could get the whole thing for less than $50, 1978 dollars. 1st ed wasn't any more expensive, despite being hardcover--$10 each for the Player's Handbook and Monster Manual, and IIRC the DMG was $20. It was 1st edition that sold the most copies.


ProfessorCirno wrote:


You're only proving me right, though.

Only in your dreams, though.

ProfessorCirno wrote:
Remember, the second group of fantasy wizards are "evil sorcerers who fail to use their spells then die when Conan throws a chair at them." That ain't a D&D wizard.

No, that's the group that at least half the time fails to kill Conan without save only because the author dropped a McGuffin meant to shut them down in Conan's lap.

ProfessorCirno wrote:
Quite frankly, wizards are almost never the PCs, so I have no idea where you're coming from in that.

That's what you think because you haven't really read much modern fantasy. Books of Robert Jordan, Terry Goodking, Raimond Feist, David Eddings and a s&~#ton of other authors prove that your statement is

patently false.

As a note, DnD wizards, as per 3.X, actually lack sheer power, compared to many fantasy examples, even if we count examples with no real drawbacks to magic use and ability to invoke it nearly instantly. Rand al'Thor (or Lina Inverse) blows things up much better than them. So do all the bigshot magic users from, say, Glen Cook's books (even discounting truly off-the-charts ubermages, like the Dominator or Marika). Frikking Harry Potter mindcontrols people much better than them. And so on. DnD wizards only excel through versatility and utility effects.

ProfessorCirno wrote:
And lastly, you've yet to convince me of anything. Certainly Vance had The Excellent Prismatic Spray. And that was one of...how many spells one of the strongest wizards in the setting could memorize? Oh yes, four.

Up to five. Why it is so difficult to figure out, that if two characters have the similar basic competency, but one of them can also press "I Win" button up to five times per day, that character is far more powerful that another. 1+5 is more than simply 1.

ProfessorCirno wrote:
Have you read the series? Aside from the atrocious prose, it's basically 5% actual wizardry.

Have you? It is not. Well, not when actual wizards take the field.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:

D&D at its height in the early 80s had VASTLY more players than it does today, based solely on sales figures.

I realize it can be frustrating for someone not in the RPG industry to not have access to market research or sales data or any of that stuff, and while I'm not going to break that trend and cite numbers here... I've seen the sales figures for AD&D ad Basic/Expert D&D from the early 80s, and I worked in the sales department at WotC during the launch of 3rd edition, and there's no comparison—tabletop D&D was bigger in the early 80s than it ever has been again.

Thank you for this. I don't have access to anything, obviously, but I don't think the current generation quite understands what a phenomenon D&D was back in the early 80s.

Liberty's Edge

John Woodford wrote:
Oliver McShade wrote:

Something else should be taken into consideration.

>>snip<<

Of course it does not sale as well today as it did back in the OD&D days. The whole game costed $80.00 Total, and you could enjoy it easily for only $60.00 if you wanted to (red, blue, & black box...

Without taking away from your main point (OD&D was cheap, 3.x is expensive), I think you're mixing up some terminology. The red box set postdates OD&D by a few years; when I think of OD&D I think the original 3 booklets plus Greyhawk, Blackmoor, and Eldritch Wizardry (Gods, Demigods, and Heroes optional). Since OD&D grew out of a set of miniatures rules, it was readily assumed that players had access to figures. OTOH, you could get the whole thing for less than $50, 1978 dollars. 1st ed wasn't any more expensive, despite being hardcover--$10 each for the Player's Handbook and Monster Manual, and IIRC the DMG was $20. It was 1st edition that sold the most copies.

The PHB and MM were $12 each, and the DMG $15. But in modern dollars, that's $30 and $38, so the actual monetary valueisn't different than modern books.

Liberty's Edge

WPharolin wrote:
houstonderek wrote:


Flame bait thread anyway. May as well be locked. Serves no purpose other than arguing, especially since the target of your query for the most part don't care about balance, but relevance.

Huge difference.

These two things are intrinsic to one another. There isn't a huge difference. The reason high level monks are irelevant is because they aren't balanced.

houstonderek wrote:


Seriously, when one company had a vast majority of the market, and eighteen other companies with completely different systems could still survive, that's a ton of gamers. There aren't enough gamers now interested in anything not involving a d20 to keep more than the four or five companies doing something other than d20 afloat.

The number of successful companies at any given time says absolutely nothing about the number of people playing TTRPGs. Fun fact for you, there were more than eighteen companies then, and there are more than eighteen now.

How many books were pirated in 1982? 2010? How many groups in 1982 played a game available for free for anyone to download or use on a website? 2010? How many gamers are showing up to gaming conventions in 1982? 2010? How many people in 1982 had a laptop with DDI subscription that they just shared at the table because it was cheaper than buying books? 2010? How many people are leaving the TTRPG scene to go play video games? How many people are playing D&D now because they were introduced to the hobby due to the large number of popular D&D video games?

What about D&D book burnings? You remember those right? I'm not even kidding when I say people were buying D&D books in 82-83 just to BURN! I have no idea if it was a regular occurrence or not, but it came up at least twice when I first started playing. D&D was a big deal, and me and my friends were forced to hide our gaming hobbies to keep from being ostracized. I know it wasn't that bad everywhere (and it sounds like things were just peachy for you), but in some communities being...

Ok, the guy with the numbers supported my theory. Is that good enough for you?

;-)


James Jacobs wrote:

D&D at its height in the early 80s had VASTLY more players than it does today, based solely on sales figures.

I realize it can be frustrating for someone not in the RPG industry to not have access to market research or sales data or any of that stuff, and while I'm not going to break that trend and cite numbers here... I've seen the sales figures for AD&D ad Basic/Expert D&D from the early 80s, and I worked in the sales department at WotC during the launch of 3rd edition, and there's no comparison—tabletop D&D was bigger in the early 80s than it ever has been again.

I do think this is a bit debatable. I believe you can conclusively say that D&D SOLD more units in the 80s than today but I do not think that automatically translates into MORE PLAYERS.

I have been playing D&D since 1980 and I think more people actually PLAY the game today than in the past. In the early 80s I knew many people that bought D&D products but never (or rarely) played the game. Today almost no one buys a D&D (or related) product unless they actually PLAY the game. I'm sure many D&D basic sets were purchased in the 80s that rarely, if ever, actually got played. Now if you just compare 1E AD&D Players Handbook sales in the 80s to sales today you might have a more accurate comparison but Basic set sales should be excluded from modern comparisons.

Now if I may stretch this ad-hoc argument even further I could say that World of Warcraft players are actually D&D players since the games are essentially identical in "spirit of play" and the only major difference is the medium they are played on and the owning company and subsequent branding. If you allow for this extrapolation then you can see there are clearly more role playing game PLAYERS today than in the 80s.

Liberty's Edge

cibet44 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

D&D at its height in the early 80s had VASTLY more players than it does today, based solely on sales figures.

I realize it can be frustrating for someone not in the RPG industry to not have access to market research or sales data or any of that stuff, and while I'm not going to break that trend and cite numbers here... I've seen the sales figures for AD&D ad Basic/Expert D&D from the early 80s, and I worked in the sales department at WotC during the launch of 3rd edition, and there's no comparison—tabletop D&D was bigger in the early 80s than it ever has been again.

I do think this is a bit debatable. I believe you can conclusively say that D&D SOLD more units in the 80s than today but I do not think that automatically translates into MORE PLAYERS.

I have been playing D&D since 1980 and I think more people actually PLAY the game today than in the past. In the early 80s I knew many people that bought D&D products but never (or rarely) played the game. Today almost no one buys a D&D (or related) product unless they actually PLAY the game. I'm sure many D&D basic sets were purchased in the 80s that rarely, if ever, actually got played. Now if you just compare 1E AD&D Players Handbook sales in the 80s to sales today you might have a more accurate comparison but Basic set sales should be excluded from modern comparisons.

Now if I may stretch this ad-hoc argument even further I could say that World of Warcraft players are actually D&D players since the games are essentially identical in "spirit of play" and the only major difference is the medium they are played on and the owning company and subsequent branding. If you allow for this extrapolation then you can see there are clearly more role playing game PLAYERS today than in the 80s.

Saying WoW players are D&D players is like saying people who commute to work are NASCAR drivers.

Similar activity (they both involve a car/elves), way different investment in time and effort.

And I seriosly wonder what rock everyone was under (or if they were even alive) in the '80s. You couldn't get away from the game (and I was all over the place in living, northeast, Deep South, Texas) and every school I went to had a few groups of kids playing at lunch. Even jocks, metal heads, stoners, preps, etc were playing, it wasn't just "geek culture". I had all kinds of kids from different cliques at my tables all through high school. Now, all I pretty much see playing are geeks of some stripe or another. And, while geek culture is hip right now, not all geek activities are. "Zombie Apocalypse" is as much a hipster meme now as a geek one, but D&D barely registers in hipster culture, for example.


houstonderek wrote:

Ok, the guy with the numbers supported my theory. Is that good enough for you?

;-)

Sort of. Having access to sales numbers is fine and all, but it doesn't account for many of the questions I asked. For example, if you go to the Gamers Den you will find a large number of people who play in Tomes games. The Tomes are free and so they get ignored when it comes time for the RPG headcount. We all know that there are people playing D&D, Pathfinder, Shadowrun, Earthdawn, nWoD/oWoD, Trailblazer, GURPS, 7th Sea, Gamma World, Warhammer/Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader/Deathwatch, etc. Some people actually pay for the books, some people pirate them, some people use free content, some people play off of the SRD, some people borrow books at the table, some people are playing old games and haven't bought any books since their favorite edition of their favorite game stopped being published, and some people share DDI subscriptions (a lot of people do this where I live)

So yes I am thoroughly convinced that there are less people who are buying D&D books today than there was in 1982, and I concede to your victory on that point (it certainly didn't seem that way when I started). I am not convinced however that the hobby is less popular today than it was.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The recreational gaming industry IS bigger than ever, its just that the traditional 'sit around a table with x folks' is a vastly smaller slice of the pie than it once was. A semi-stable group I know of, 30+ years of gaming together on and off, now includes children and grandchildren of the original crew. Where the old farts of my generation had D&D and Traveller, the current Saturday fare alternates between EA sports football/basketball, WoW marathons (as many as 25 players in the same basement), Metroid, Metal Gear Solid, Call of Duty, Avalanche Press' sea warfare and Axis&Allies, this past month (Nov). My running of Boot Hill was a guest appearance only. I may have missed one...

I leave out their Wii bowling league. It includes wives and other 'non-gamers' that consider it 'exercise'.


This is a really interesting topic. I'd like to make a couple of comments.

1.) Game balance doesn't exist in a vacuum. In a thieves' campaign, a Paladin isn't going to be that useful. In an undead hunter's campaign, a Paladin will shine much brigther. So, just opening the book and expecting it to be balanced (without considering the type of campaign you're running) is stupid. However, it can be entertaining unto itself.

2.) Tabletop gaming can offer stuff that computer gaming can't. It allows for much more freedom in "out of the box" thinking. It allows for much more face-to-face, human reaction. Sadly, I think tabletop game design is still in this mentality where it views more and more game structure as a good thing - it tries to challenge computer gaming in that area where computer gaming is clearly going to kill it - rather than focus on maximizing where it can kill computer gaming (e.g. getting "off script"). I consider the fact that tabletop gaming never got away from magic items which do nothing but boost stats as scarily connected to the idea of computer game grinding. Seriously, it's time for tabletop gaming to grow up.

Liberty's Edge

WPharolin wrote:
houstonderek wrote:

Ok, the guy with the numbers supported my theory. Is that good enough for you?

;-)

Sort of. Having access to sales numbers is fine and all, but it doesn't account for many of the questions I asked. For example, if you go to the Gamers Den you will find a large number of people who play in Tomes games. The Tomes are free and so they get ignored when it comes time for the RPG headcount. We all know that there are people playing D&D, Pathfinder, Shadowrun, Earthdawn, nWoD/oWoD, Trailblazer, GURPS, 7th Sea, Gamma World, Warhammer/Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader/Deathwatch, etc. Some people actually pay for the books, some people pirate them, some people use free content, some people play off of the SRD, some people borrow books at the table, some people are playing old games and haven't bought any books since their favorite edition of their favorite game stopped being published, and some people share DDI subscriptions (a lot of people do this where I live)

So yes I am thoroughly convinced that there are less people who are buying D&D books today than there was in 1982, and I concede to your victory on that point (it certainly didn't seem that way when I started). I am not convinced however that the hobby is less popular today than it was.

Here's where I am coming from: the hobby now is steady, with a lot of enthusiasts. D&D in 1982 was a phenomenon akin (although not in scale, obviously) to the Beatles in 1964. It was HUGE. It was in nearly everyone's mind, whether for the better or the worse. Major networks ran stories about it (and not all bad, contrary to popular belief. And it was unsustainable. When the faddishness wore off, a lot of companies shrunk or went under.

Even TSR ultimately failed because they were offering too many D&D products to a shinking audience, and they were splitting that shrinking market into too small chunks of not D&D players, but Faerun players, Dark Sun players, Ravenloft players, etc, and were ordering print runs to accomodate a market a few years behind where it really was. The days when a rabid fan base ate up everything TSR put out were past by the time 2e hit its stride.

3e brought some old timers back into the fold, and rejuvinated the hobby to a sustainable market level, but it never captured the imagination, nor did it benefit from being a super-fad like D&D did when it was fresh and new. And the majority of the new companies were built around the OGL, and supplied players of WotC's market with games; they didn't create new players the way, say, WoD did in the early '90s, which was the last big infusion of people not in the hobby who became gamers.


houstonderek wrote:

Here's where I am coming from: the hobby now is steady, with a lot of enthusiasts. D&D in 1982 was a phenomenon akin (although not in scale, obviously) to the Beatles in 1964. It was HUGE. It was in nearly everyone's mind, whether for the better or the worse. Major networks ran stories about it (and not all bad, contrary to popular belief. And it was unsustainable. When the faddishness wore off, a lot of companies shrunk or went under.

Even TSR ultimately failed because they were offering too many D&D products to a shinking audience, and they were splitting that shrinking market into too small chunks of not D&D players, but Faerun players, Dark Sun players, Ravenloft players, etc, and were ordering print runs to...

However, this still says nothing about the current number of people playing RPGs, only about the current SALES state of D&D and Pathfinder. Many of those glory day gamers are still playing the old games, so they aren't counted because they aren't buying the newer books, because they are fine with the old ones. I don't doubt for a second that the games sales statistics show a decline in the hobby. But we don't have enough information to actually make any sort of inference as to how many people play table top RPG's. We don't have enough information to make a reasonable assumption one way or the other.


LilithsThrall wrote:

This is a really interesting topic. I'd like to make a couple of comments.

1.) Game balance doesn't exist in a vacuum. In a thieves' campaign, a Paladin isn't going to be that useful. In an undead hunter's campaign, a Paladin will shine much brigther. So, just opening the book and expecting it to be balanced (without considering the type of campaign you're running) is stupid. However, it can be entertaining unto itself.
...

This is precisely one of the reasons why I would disagree with anyone who says that "tailoring" the encounters to match the PCs is an example of the GM soft-balling encounters. If the party make-up is 4 10th level rogues, you can't reasonably expect a CR 10 dragon attacking a town they're currently in to be a standard APL encounter for them even though by the rules, that is supposed to be relatively easy.

To be clear, I'm not advocating that the GM always tailor encounters to the PCs. That's lame. But SOME tailoring is necessary, even in a sand-box style campaign if only to preserve versimilitude.


anthony Valente wrote:
LilithsThrall wrote:

This is a really interesting topic. I'd like to make a couple of comments.

1.) Game balance doesn't exist in a vacuum. In a thieves' campaign, a Paladin isn't going to be that useful. In an undead hunter's campaign, a Paladin will shine much brigther. So, just opening the book and expecting it to be balanced (without considering the type of campaign you're running) is stupid. However, it can be entertaining unto itself.
...

This is precisely one of the reasons why I would disagree with anyone who says that "tailoring" the encounters to match the PCs is an example of the GM soft-balling encounters. If the party make-up is 4 10th level rogues, you can't reasonably expect a CR 10 dragon attacking a town they're currently in to be a standard APL encounter for them even though by the rules, that is supposed to be relatively easy.

To be clear, I'm not advocating that the GM always tailor encounters to the PCs. That's lame. But SOME tailoring is necessary, even in a sand-box style campaign if only to preserve versimilitude.

I agree. The idea that the GM shouldn't tailor (ie. make the game interesting and fun), but, instead, should rely on the game designer/math/foresight just plain doesn't make sense and I have to assume that it stems from a fundamental distrust in the GM as a friend (ie. somebody interested in making sure you have a fun time).


LilithsThrall wrote:

I agree. The idea that the GM shouldn't tailor (ie. make the game interesting and fun), but, instead, should rely on the game designer/math/foresight just plain doesn't make sense and I have to assume that it stems from a fundamental distrust in the GM as a friend (ie. somebody interested in making sure you have a fun time).

Well to be fair, if you are running the game as a GM in the "classical" sense, you are expected to be a literal referee when conducting an encounter and not favor the monsters or the PCs (the literal words "impartial judge" are printed in the 1E DMG if I recall correctly). So GM as "friend" doesn't fit in that style, but nor does GM as "foe".

However, modern GMing conventions and advice doesn't always follow that philosophy, at least from what I've read. Overall, I think it's a good thing to present different gaming styles.


anthony Valente wrote:
Well to be fair, if you are running the game as a GM in the "classical" sense, you are expected to be a literal referee when conducting an encounter and not favor the monsters or the PCs (the literal words "impartial judge" are printed in the 1E DMG if I recall correctly).

No, you're not.

I wrote a big long post as to why, exactly, you're not, but I deleted it (because I, sometimes, beat dead horses), so I'll just ponit out that rule 0 existed as far back as first edition DnD. Rule 0 is not compatible with the claim you made above that GMs are to just be "literal referees". If you're using some other standard to decide what GMing in the "classical" sense is, let me know.

Liberty's Edge

WPharolin wrote:


Sort of. Having access to sales numbers is fine and all, but it doesn't account for many of the questions I asked.

I am not convinced however that the hobby is less popular today than it was.

Sales is all we have to go on, TTRPG's are like sex - mostly done in the privacy of ones home. I doubt we will ever have numbers relating to the number of people actually currently playing in a game. I get your point about sales figures being a little more subjective given those persons that obtain material illegally via the internet (or interweb nowdays).

I find it hard to believe that TTRPG's are as popular now as back in the 80's. They were the 'only game in town', now the computer RPG market surely eclipses the TTRPG market. World of Warcraft, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Final Fantasy and the like I would think are far more accessible to the public. I think the concept of roleplaying is more widely known, but I am not sure that the use of Pen & Paper for RPing is that well known.

S.


Stefan Hill wrote:


Sales is all we have to go on, TTRPG's are like sex - mostly done in the privacy of ones home. I doubt we will ever have numbers relating to the number of people actually currently playing in a game. I get your point about sales figures being a little more subjective given those persons that obtain material illegally via the internet (or interweb nowdays).

I just want to be clear that currently I don't know nor have any more presumptions about whether TTRPG's were more popular then or now. But until we get those numbers I'm unconvinced either way.

Stefan Hill wrote:


I find it hard to believe that TTRPG's are as popular now as back in the 80's. They were the 'only game in town', now the computer RPG market surely eclipses the TTRPG market. World of Warcraft, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Final Fantasy and the like I would think are far more accessible to the public. I think the concept of roleplaying is more widely known, but I am not sure that the use of Pen & Paper for RPing is that well known.
S.

First, there WERE other games, including RPG computer games. Yes its true that they aren't world of warcraft but there were other games. Second, I don't think the existence of popular video games a threat. Maybe I'm wrong about that, who's to say. But I personally have played all of the games on you list and many many others and it hasn't interfered with my table top hobbies in any way. I also know of 2 people who were introduced to the hobby due to video games. One due to Baldur's Gate and the other from DDO.

I understand where your coming from, but without numbers I am and will remain unconvinced from either side of the fence. That said, I'm not sure this debate should continue, I think we have derailed the thread enough :)

Liberty's Edge

WPharolin wrote:
Stefan Hill wrote:


Sales is all we have to go on, TTRPG's are like sex - mostly done in the privacy of ones home. I doubt we will ever have numbers relating to the number of people actually currently playing in a game. I get your point about sales figures being a little more subjective given those persons that obtain material illegally via the internet (or interweb nowdays).

I just want to be clear that currently I don't know nor have any more presumptions about whether TTRPG's were more popular then or now. But until we get those numbers I'm unconvinced either way.

Stefan Hill wrote:


I find it hard to believe that TTRPG's are as popular now as back in the 80's. They were the 'only game in town', now the computer RPG market surely eclipses the TTRPG market. World of Warcraft, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Final Fantasy and the like I would think are far more accessible to the public. I think the concept of roleplaying is more widely known, but I am not sure that the use of Pen & Paper for RPing is that well known.
S.

First, there WERE other games, including RPG computer games. Yes its true that they aren't world of warcraft but there were other games. Second, I don't think the existence of popular video games a threat. Maybe I'm wrong about that, who's to say. But I personally have played all of the games on you list and many many others and it hasn't interfered with my table top hobbies in any way. I also know of 2 people who were introduced to the hobby due to video games. One due to Baldur's Gate and the other from DDO.

I understand where your coming from, but without numbers I am and will remain unconvinced from either side of the fence. That said, I'm not sure this debate should continue, I think we have derailed the thread enough :)

As someone who was alive in the 80's, this was state of the art in 1984.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King%27s_Quest:_Quest_for_the_Crown

Tabletop games of all sorts were much, much, bigger and more mainstream back then. We even had a Saturday Morning Cartoon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeons_%26_Dragons_%28TV_series%29

On the other side, it is much easier so subgroups like gamers to connect with each other here in the internet age.

Also, what does any of this have to do with the topic.

Liberty's Edge

WPharolin wrote:
Stefan Hill wrote:


Sales is all we have to go on, TTRPG's are like sex - mostly done in the privacy of ones home. I doubt we will ever have numbers relating to the number of people actually currently playing in a game.
I just want to be clear that currently I don't know nor have any more presumptions about whether TTRPG's were more popular then or now. But until we get those numbers I'm unconvinced either way.

Was that numbers on the number of people at this moment playing a TTRPG or the number of people at this moment having sex?

Derailment at an end, I promise.

S.

PS: For the record unfortunately I can't be counted in either category...

Sovereign Court

Watching the GamesU youtube video that was linked earlier Eric Mona mentioned that in his business meetings when 3.0 was getting hashed out he was hearing quotes from the D&D heyday where the module B3-Keep on the Borderlands was over a million in its print runs.

I know that getting any hard numbers is pretty much impossible, but if B3 was over a million, most of those likely in the D&D Basic Set, even if you roll in all the other factors, the sheer scale of a million then compared to 5000 now being a success story... it's big!

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