Could there be a Beginner Box 2?


Beginner Box

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The Exchange

LazarX wrote:
Lisa Stevens wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:

Um you mean you when D&D was at it's most popular?

Never got the whole 'split' your customer base thing. Who cares as long as they are buying from you. The only thing that makes this questionable is do they have enough people to continue to develope and write things for both APF and BPF. Otherwise I think they should put some thought into it.

It may have been at it's most popular, but the splitting of the customer base is the #1 reason why TSR went out of business. It would take me a couple of hours to explain why this was the case, but as the person responsible at WotC for taking the old TSR data and analyzing it to see why they went belly up, the biggest cause that I found was splitting the customer base into segments. Whether it was D&D vs. AD&D. Or Forgotten Realms vs. Ravenloft vs. Greyhawk vs. Dragonlance vs. Birthright vs. Dark Sun vs. Planescape vs. Mystara vs. Al-Qadim vs. Spelljammer vs. Lanhkmar vs. any other setting book that they produced. Splitting the customer base means lower sales on any particular product which means lower profit margins which eventually means going belly up.

-Lisa

One major difference is that unlike your Beginner Box, AD&D was not an advanced version of D&D, it was essentially a very different game whose rules set had a large degree of incompatibility with it.

And yet, the accessories for one were easily adapted to be used with the other. They were very different games, but not necessarily incompatible. And this Box will be much closer to the 'full' version of the game.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Evil Lincoln wrote:
Paizo! Newborn Box! Get on it!

I'll buy it! That's two :-)


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Vic Wertz wrote:
But when players want to have more than three races and four classes for five levels, or when they want more spells, feats, equipment, and magic items, or when the GM wants more monsters with new abilities, or access to a wide variety of published adventures and Adventure Paths that go well above 5th level, that's when they'll have "outgrown" the Beginner's Box. At that point, the best place for them to go is the Core Rulebook, and their experience with the Beginner Box will make that book far less daunting than it is to a complete newbie.

Since the BB will be a slimmed down version of the PFRPG rules, I assume that it will also be OGL?

In that case, wouldn't it be possible for someone to expand the rules to all the other classes and races? So you'd have a BB version of everything you need to play those level 1-5 games some people have been clamouring about.
That might keep some from "outgrowing" the BB box and never buy the Core Rulebook.
So, in other words, this might be a somewhat ripe market for 3rd party publishers (both doing the expanded class and race book, feat books + adventures for this level range).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Lisa Stevens wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:

Um you mean you when D&D was at it's most popular?

Never got the whole 'split' your customer base thing. Who cares as long as they are buying from you. The only thing that makes this questionable is do they have enough people to continue to develope and write things for both APF and BPF. Otherwise I think they should put some thought into it.

It may have been at it's most popular, but the splitting of the customer base is the #1 reason why TSR went out of business. It would take me a couple of hours to explain why this was the case, but as the person responsible at WotC for taking the old TSR data and analyzing it to see why they went belly up, the biggest cause that I found was splitting the customer base into segments. Whether it was D&D vs. AD&D. Or Forgotten Realms vs. Ravenloft vs. Greyhawk vs. Dragonlance vs. Birthright vs. Dark Sun vs. Planescape vs. Mystara vs. Al-Qadim vs. Spelljammer vs. Lanhkmar vs. any other setting book that they produced. Splitting the customer base means lower sales on any particular product which means lower profit margins which eventually means going belly up.

-Lisa

I think these kinds of experiences of yours is what makes our wonderful pathfinder game so amazing! We have a diverse product that also exists as a cohesive whole so all the genres are satisfied yet we still buy all the books. You rock, your product rocks, and I hope for Paizo's sake and our sake as gamers that this game expands beyond all expectations. Thanks for turning your experience into an awesome set of lines of products!

Paizo Employee CEO

Brian Darnell wrote:
I think these kinds of experiences of yours is what makes our wonderful pathfinder game so amazing! We have a diverse product that also exists as a cohesive whole so all the genres are satisfied yet we still buy all the books. You rock, your product rocks, and I hope for Paizo's sake and our sake as gamers that this game expands beyond all expectations. Thanks for turning your experience into an awesome set of lines of products!

You are welcome! I try not to repeat history's mistakes. :)

-Lisa


Lisa Stevens wrote:
Brian Darnell wrote:
I think these kinds of experiences of yours is what makes our wonderful pathfinder game so amazing! We have a diverse product that also exists as a cohesive whole so all the genres are satisfied yet we still buy all the books. You rock, your product rocks, and I hope for Paizo's sake and our sake as gamers that this game expands beyond all expectations. Thanks for turning your experience into an awesome set of lines of products!

You are welcome! I try not to repeat history's mistakes. :)

-Lisa

but possibly making another one by putting all eggs in a single bag? (a good product diversification would help in this case)


Enpeze wrote:


but possibly making another one by putting all eggs in a single bag? (a good product diversification would help in this case)

Paizo has plenty of diversification. Just look at the store, the various types of RPG products (AP's, the campaign setting, the rule books, the accessories), the fiction lines, etc.

In fact, I believe both the store and the AP's started because Paizo wanted to offer a diverse set of products, and not be too dependent on the success of just one line of products (or the whims of a licence holder). The store replaced star wars insider and the AP's replaced Dungeon and Dragon magazines. Paizo's diversification helps their business because fans for one product group are drawn into others (fans of the AP's might be drawn to the rules or campaign products, Planet stories fans might want to try the pathfinder tales.

The mistake TSR made is that they had too much diversification within a certain product group (such as several types of RPG rulesets, several types of campaign settings, etc). In the end, this meant that not enough fans of one ruleset or setting were interested in products related to another setting, hurting the company's bottom line.

Paizo Employee CEO

Chef's Slaad wrote:
Enpeze wrote:


but possibly making another one by putting all eggs in a single bag? (a good product diversification would help in this case)

Paizo has plenty of diversification. Just look at the store, the various types of RPG products (AP's, the campaign setting, the rule books, the accessories), the fiction lines, etc.

In fact, I believe both the store and the AP's started because Paizo wanted to offer a diverse set of products, and not be too dependent on the success of just one line of products (or the whims of a licence holder). The store replaced star wars insider and the AP's replaced Dungeon and Dragon magazines. Paizo's diversification helps their business because fans for one product group are drawn into others (fans of the AP's might be drawn to the rules or campaign products, Planet stories fans might want to try the pathfinder tales.

The mistake TSR made is that they had too much diversification within a certain product group (such as several types of RPG rulesets, several types of campaign settings, etc). In the end, this meant that not enough fans of one ruleset or setting were interested in products related to another setting, hurting the company's bottom line.

What the Chef said. :)

-Lisa


If Paizo isn't interested in developing products specifically to work with the Beginner Box, would Paizo at least be prepared to countenance the possibility of an existing or new third party publisher interested in writing and publishing stuff aimed at that niche going ahead instead?


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ronaldsf wrote:
Perhaps the "second step" would be tied in with one of Paizo's adventure paths?... "Hey! So, have you found out that you like PFRPG? Get a taste of what our entire line has to offer by jumping into one of our Adventure Paths!"

This sounds feasible to me as well - perhaps an AP which uses the slow advancement track for XP could run down the pace enough for a Beginner's Box game - you could run at least three books of the AP without needing anything outside of the BB. It would also be cherished by much of the E6 crowd, too, I would imagine.

Quote:
And this would coincide with a Pathfinder-compatible re-release of RotRL of course. :) And also, it doesn't hurt that the Jade Regent AP, which apparently also has its origins in Sandpoint, would begin at around the same time that BB comes out. Also, introducing people to a specific town in Golarion will also hook people into the official campaign setting as well.

I'm mostly quoting this as yet another hammer strike on the nail of "UPDATE AND REPRINT RotRL PLZ". Consider it +1'd - although I'd want a RotRL update to cover as many levels of play as it did originally!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

GentleGiant wrote:

Since the BB will be a slimmed down version of the PFRPG rules, I assume that it will also be OGL?

In that case, wouldn't it be possible for someone to expand the rules to all the other classes and races? So you'd have a BB version of everything you need to play those level 1-5 games some people have been clamouring about.
That might keep some from "outgrowing" the BB box and never buy the Core Rulebook.
So, in other words, this might be a somewhat ripe market for 3rd party publishers (both doing the expanded class and race book, feat books + adventures for this level range).

The mechanics are OGL, yes.

At this time, however, the Beginner Box is not on the list of products that parties using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility License may reference.


Vic Wertz wrote:
At this time, however, the Beginner Box is not on the list of products that parties using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility License may reference.

I trust you have evaluated the pros and cons to opening that one up, but from here I'm seeing mostly pros...


Vic Wertz wrote:
GentleGiant wrote:

Since the BB will be a slimmed down version of the PFRPG rules, I assume that it will also be OGL?

In that case, wouldn't it be possible for someone to expand the rules to all the other classes and races? So you'd have a BB version of everything you need to play those level 1-5 games some people have been clamouring about.
That might keep some from "outgrowing" the BB box and never buy the Core Rulebook.
So, in other words, this might be a somewhat ripe market for 3rd party publishers (both doing the expanded class and race book, feat books + adventures for this level range).

The mechanics are OGL, yes.

At this time, however, the Beginner Box is not on the list of products that parties using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility License may reference.

It seems to me that if the aim is to keep players interested and playing the basic game beyond whatever adventures (if any) may be included in the basic introductory set, until they're ready to move on to the PFRPG rules, some sort of source of decent quality adventures would be useful. Not every school-age GM is going to be a James Jacobs capable of putting out stuff capable of keeping his/her friends in the game long enough for them to want to bridge over to the main rules. If Paizo put out just the basic box, once any included adventures are exhausted, it seems to me that there's a risk of at least some groups rapidly losing interest, dumping it in the next garage sale, and not going on (or at least not for some years) to the core game.

I can understand perhaps not opening the whole thing with the compatibility license (allowing third parties to produce rules that encourage newcomers just to stick with the basic set forever might be a problem), but it seems to me that there could be a case for Paizo maybe to offer someone like Clark Peterson (if he's interested) and Legendary Games a special license to at least allow the production of supporting adventures to keep newcomers playing the basic set and building their enthusiasm for the game.
(I take it here, perhaps wrongly, that Paizo would be far too busy to put out support adventures for the basic box themselves...)

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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As I said before, it's in everyone's best interest that we bring Beginner Box players who want to expand their game beyond that box into the full Pathfinder RPG as quickly as possible, because that opens doors to literally hundreds of fascinating adventures, sourcebooks, and rulebooks, plus Pathfinder Society organized play, a very large network of players, and a host of third-party and even 3.5 and 3.0 materials they can use in their game.

It's one thing to give them support that *eases* that transition, but giving them reasons to *delay* that transition would be a mistake.

There's a reason this is called the Beginner Box and not, say, the Basic Game.


Vic Wertz wrote:

...It's one thing to give them support that *eases* that transition, but giving them reasons to *delay* that transition would be a mistake.

There's a reason this is called the Beginner Box and not, say, the Basic Game.

Ah. I see that you mention support to ease the transition from the beginner box to the core game. Do I read correctly here that there will be additional products (or pdfs?) scheduled to carry out this function?

Edit:
I suppose a full-time customer support officer in charge of a dedicated section of the boards for transitioners could be another such support method, although one with the potential drawback of yet another salary which needs to be found...

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:

...It's one thing to give them support that *eases* that transition, but giving them reasons to *delay* that transition would be a mistake.

There's a reason this is called the Beginner Box and not, say, the Basic Game.

Ah. I see that you mention support to ease the transition from the beginner box to the core game. Do I read correctly here that there will be additional products (or pdfs?) scheduled to carry out this function?

We don't have anything to announce at this time. I'm just saying that *if* we do anything beyond what we've already announced, that will be a likely road for us to go down.

Sovereign Court

Evil Lincoln wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
At this time, however, the Beginner Box is not on the list of products that parties using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility License may reference.

But nothing to stop someone releasing a "Basic Game" compatible with Pathfinder that has the 1-5 rules from the Starter game and then carries them to 20th level or more, I guess? Or even just drop the "compatible with Pathfinder" bit and just use the rules and expand them?

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Vic Wertz wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
My exact quote was "Ultimately, it's in our best interest to get people who have outgrown the Beginner Box to transition to the full Pathfinder RPG as soon as possible."
While I'm clarifying my own sentences, I might as well point out that, in addition to being in Paizo's best interest, it's really in the best interest of Pathfinder players at all levels, too. It's in the best interest of graduating Beginner Box players because it immediately opens up hundreds and hundreds of compatible products, and it's in the best interest of core RPG players because we won't have to divide our attention supporting multiple lines, and it's in the best interest of the community because, well, one large community is better than two small ones (in most ways, anyway).

As an interesting (and related) topic, this article on examiner.com talks about players at a recent convention.

examiner.com wrote:
We played, quite amicably, right alongside tables full of Pathfinder players. There seemed to be more Pathfinder players than 4th Edition gamers, but I noticed an interesting trend too - there were more new players in the 4th Edition games than the Pathfinder games. Or to put it another way, the experienced players were in Pathfinder games while the new players were in the 4th Edition games.

Thus, if there were something that made it more likely for new/inexperienced players to choose Pathfinder, it would definitely be a plus for Pathfinder in general (both as a product and as a group of players).

Shadow Lodge

Honestly, I could see a "Beginner's Box II" as a replacement/complimentary product, but only if the first one does really well. Imagine one set underground, or around a haunted castle, that sort of thing. You can pick up any or all of the boxes and play. You can 'grow out of them' at any time as well.

So not more content, but the same content of a different flavor, intended to attract players of different tastes and/or to shore up supply issues with the first run of the box.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Bagpuss wrote:
Evil Lincoln wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:
At this time, however, the Beginner Box is not on the list of products that parties using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility License may reference.
But nothing to stop someone releasing a "Basic Game" compatible with Pathfinder that has the 1-5 rules from the Starter game and then carries them to 20th level or more, I guess? Or even just drop the "compatible with Pathfinder" bit and just use the rules and expand them?

All of the usual Open Game Content declarations are in place in the Beginner's Box.


Vic Wertz wrote:

As I said before, it's in everyone's best interest that we bring Beginner Box players who want to expand their game beyond that box into the full Pathfinder RPG as quickly as possible, because that opens doors to literally hundreds of fascinating adventures, sourcebooks, and rulebooks, plus Pathfinder Society organized play, a very large network of players, and a host of third-party and even 3.5 and 3.0 materials they can use in their game.

It's one thing to give them support that *eases* that transition, but giving them reasons to *delay* that transition would be a mistake.

There's a reason this is called the Beginner Box and not, say, the Basic Game.

As a former child-player turned adult-player who sells RPG products, I want to chime in that this is EXACTLY on the right track. I've had to watch the last several Christmases as parents came in to buy their children D&D to play, and then get completely lost in the 4E mire, ending up with something the parent doesn't remember (to teach easily) and the child, being a child, has difficulty learning alone.

(WotC was sneaky in disguising their new game box with the old, old cover. It tricked many people. "Ooh, I started with this.")
Now old-timers bringing up the new generation have an option that works like DnD used to (mainly). "You want a game like you played as a kid? This (PF) is that game. That (4E) isn't, it doesn't have 1d6/level fireballs, among other major changes."
Teen and even preteen nerdlings, once they grasp the basics of PnP RPGs, shall heartily consume the CRB. Nerdlings are bright, and reading O.S. Card/Tolkien/Rothfuss/etc., not just Salvatore & Paolini. Each kid will share discovered rules as they recognize their importance, and while they'll miss some things, their exuberance will make up for it.
(Did the 'rules' really matter that much at that age to you?)
So, thanks, Paizo, for coming out with this.

As for marketing, you may wish to put something on the box to key into those players from the 70s-80s returning with their families such as being a "wonderful intro into the game you grew up with" (but not that, it needs work) (Even a red dragon would boost sales, I suppose.)
Also, make a module or two that had explicitly laid out rules/rule walk-throughs (or page notes for where to find them in the CRB) and designer comments about post 5th play choices. This could transition them into full-blown PF (while being a real PF module) and would be awesomely useful.
Thanks
JMK


everyone buy BB

that may garauntee the Intermediate Box, or somesuch!1

Dark Archive

Evil Lincoln wrote:
Paizo! Newborn Box! Get on it!

The monster 'figures' are made of the same stuff as Flintstone's Chewable Vitamins, so that when your toddler slays an orc, he gets to eat it, and it's good for him!

On the downside, you have to buy new 'figures' at the end of every session, but, from a marketing standpoint, that's not a downside...

Dark Archive

Vic Wertz wrote:

There's a reason this is called the Beginner Box and not, say, the Basic Game.

Ah, I hadn't thought of that. You guys must spend way more time thinking about your products than we do, since you always seem to be one step ahead ... :)


Vic Wertz wrote:

There are a number of problems with that approach. First, right out of the gate, the maximum potential audience for this theoretical box 2 is, by definition, a subset of the audience for box 1, and box 3 would have an even smaller audience, and so on. For some products, that might be ok, but in order to hit the price point we have on the BB, we're taking a much slimmer margin than usual, and that makes it very hard to justify doing something similar that we know will be less successful.

Also, dividing our audience into several different groups that each understand different subsets of the rules may not be the wisest move, as a fractured audience is harder to support.

Ultimately, it's in our best interest to get people who have outgrown the Beginner Box to transition to the full Pathfinder RPG as soon as possible.

But that's assuming that the PFBB doesn't bring in new fans that grows that initial set. Its only anecdotal but the RPGnet poll shows an 80% increase in fans i.e. people not interested in PF Full but would be interested in a second PF BB and who may well buy more PF Full products like adventures, setting and bestiaries if such further support was given.

It also assumes that a second PF box would fracture a line, when even Paizo have already shown with the PF BB that this need not be the case. A second PF BB is not a seperate line. Its just one product that may open up the rest of your line to new customers.

You also have to weigh up the fact that PF's competitors (including D&D) will probably use simplicty as their biggest distinguishing feature and what would happen if a 3PP made such a product that wasn't as compatible with the rest of Paizo's full PF line.

Ultimately, I think the conclusion you have reached here needs more thought.

In terms of the price point, that is a very valid point. I would not expect a second PF Box to be at the same low price for the reasons you stated.

Shadow Lodge

Skywaker wrote:
It also assumes that a second PF box would fracture a line, when even Paizo have already shown with the PF BB that this need not be the case. A second PF BB is not a seperate line. Its just one product that may open up the rest of your line to new customers.

A second Beginner Box covering levels 6-10 essentially does become a separate line.


Kthulhu wrote:
A second Beginner Box covering levels 6-10 essentially does become a separate line.

Sure. But by that criteria, the PF Beginner Box is already a seperate line.

The point being made is that by "seperate line" it doesn't mean that every product need be duplicated. A majority of Pathfinder products could remain valid for those using PF BB or PF Full, such as modules, adventure paths, bestiaries and setting material. This means that the fears of splitting the customer base are much reduced.

Paizo has already shown with the PF Beginner Box that the base rules of Pathfinder can be simplified without very much loss in compatibility by simply editing the choices available and presenting the rules material in a more user friendly fashion.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Skywaker wrote:
Paizo has already shown with the PF Beginner Box that the base rules of Pathfinder can be simplified without very much loss in compatibility by simply editing the choices available...

When it comes to a level 6+ beginner product, the elephant in the room is iterative attacks.

Are iterative attacks just a combat option that can be neglected in the name of simplicity? Or are they so fundamentally important to the math of the system that it's impossible to remove them without throwing all the numbers off at higher level? And, if the latter is the case, would it be possible to replace iterative attacks with some sort of simple, Vital Strike mechanic while still claiming compatibility with the full game?

That, to me, is the big sticking point when it comes to higher-level beginner content.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Skywaker wrote:
Paizo has already shown with the PF Beginner Box that the base rules of Pathfinder can be simplified without very much loss in compatibility by simply editing the choices available and presenting the rules material in a more user friendly fashion.

And there's a reason we stopped where we did: after 5th level, things start getting *much* more complicated. Multiple attacks. Lots of people flying. Spells that can't be communicated in four lines of text. I'm pretty confident that we *couldn't* cover levels 6 through 10 in the same space; I think even covering 6 through 8 in that page count would be a challenge.


Epic Meepo wrote:

When it comes to a level 6+ beginner product, the elephant in the room is iterative attacks.

Are iterative attacks just a combat option that can be neglected in the name of simplicity? Or are they so fundamentally important to the math of the system that it's impossible to remove them without throwing all the numbers off at higher level? And, if the latter is the case, would it be possible to replace iterative attacks with some sort of simple, Vital Strike mechanic while still claiming compatibility with the full game?

That, to me, is the big sticking point when it comes to higher-level beginner content.

Good point. Paizo have shown the ability to design around this kind of issue, with the likes of Attacks of Opportunity being removed from the PFBB. I am confident that they could do in this case too.


Vic Wertz wrote:
And there's a reason we stopped where we did: after 5th level, things start getting *much* more complicated. Multiple attacks. Lots of people flying. Spells that can't be communicated in four lines of text. I'm pretty confident that we *couldn't* cover levels 6 through 10 in the same space; I think even covering 6 through 8 in that page count would be a challenge.

I have no doubt it would be a challenge, but that alone seems like a weak reason for rejecting the product.

The thing with a second product is that you don't have to replicate all the material already provided in the PF BB. So, equipment, ability scores, races, combat and skills all give up extra pages for these more complex issues.

Also, the GM book gets a lot slimmer too as you don't need to repeat the GM advice. I could see the Player book becoming 96 pages and the GM book becoming 64 pages in a second set. That's a lot of extra space inside the same sized product.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Skywaker wrote:


I have no doubt it would be a challenge, but that alone seems like a weak reason for rejecting the product.

I think they've given a number of other reasons, including actually wanting people to move on to Pathfinder RPG, not wanting to split the product line and thereby the fan base,trying to keep PF Society focused on PFRG, etc.

Skywaker wrote:

The thing with a second product is that you don't have to replicate all the material already provided in the PF BB. So, equipment, ability scores, races, combat and skills all give up extra pages for these more complex issues.

Also, the GM book gets a lot slimmer too as you don't need to repeat the GM advice. I could see the Player book becoming 96 pages and the GM book becoming 64 pages in a second set. That's a lot of extra space inside the same sized product.

The resources in terms of manpower to do this correctly, which is the only way Paizo would want to do it, would be pretty draining on the design staff. And really, what does an "intermediate" box do for Paizo? Do you think it would help to accomplish the stated goal of the beginner box, which is to draw new players in, show them the basics of the game in a limitted, attractive (graphically), easy to understand counterpoint to the PF Core Rulebook's more obtuse presentation, while encouraging them to "graduate" to the core rules when they've started craving more by remaining completely compatable to the core?

I mean, I look at the BB and see: ads on the sides of the box, an ad on page 63 of the Hero's Handbook, an ad on pg 96 of the Game Master's Guide, and a full color double sided ad sheet on the bottom of the box. Oh, then you come here to download the ad-on pdfs and get 4 more pages of ads, all for Pathfinder. Seems like there's an intent there.


Reckless wrote:
I think they've given a number of other reasons, including actually wanting people to move on to Pathfinder RPG, not wanting to split the product line and thereby the fan base,trying to keep PF Society focused on PFRG, etc.

That's cool. Ultimately, Paizo will make their own call on this. I am just trying to present reasons why Paizo may want to look again at this opportunity.

But if they don't, fair enough. I hope this is picked up by a 3PP as I think there is an opportunity here going begging.

Reckless wrote:
The resources in terms of manpower to do this correctly, which is the only way Paizo would want to do it, would be pretty draining on the design staff. And really, what does an "intermediate" box do for Paizo? Do you think it would help to accomplish the stated goal of the beginner box, which is to draw new players in, show them the basics of the game in a limitted, attractive (graphically), easy to understand counterpoint to the PF Core Rulebook's more obtuse presentation, while encouraging them to "graduate" to the core rules when they've started craving more by remaining completely compatable to the core?

No, but I think it will bring in new fans into Pathfinder that will buy existing products from the full line such as Adventures, Modules, Setting, and Bestiaries, whilst at the same time starving competitors of probably the primary point of distinction.

Its anecdotal only, by an RPGnet poll shows that there is about an 80% increase in fans interested in the PF BB approach. Whilst that is on the high side, even a 10% or 20% increase in the fan base is significant and will increase Paizo's resources. Saying that it can't be done due to manpower is a self fulfilling prophecy.

Reckless wrote:
I mean, I look at the BB and see: ads on the sides of the box, an ad on page 63 of the Hero's Handbook, an ad on pg 96 of the Game Master's Guide, and a full color double sided ad sheet on the bottom of the box. Oh, then you come here to download the ad-on pdfs and get 4 more pages of ads, all for Pathfinder. Seems like there's an intent there.

Sure. The PF BB fulfills that goal. But that doesn't mean it can't fulfill more than one goal. So whilst it already provides a lead in to the full system, there is also a group of potential customers who may be brought in to a majority of Paizo's products if the PF BB got a little more support. Surely that's worth some exploration and discussion.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Vic Wertz wrote:
Multiple attacks. Lots of people flying. Spells that can't be communicated in four lines of text.

Well, complicated spells and flying aren't a problem. Just leave out any complicated or flight-related spells and items. It's really just the iterative attacks that get needlessly complicated.

Vic Wertz wrote:
I'm pretty confident that we *couldn't* cover levels 6 through 10 in the same space; I think even covering 6 through 8 in that page count would be a challenge.

Challenge accepted. If someone on the boards can give me the exact word count for the Hero's Handbook, I'll attempt a write-up of levels 6 to 10 in that many words or less. (I can start once I've picked up my BBox from my FLGS.)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Absolutely worth discussing.

In actuality, part of the reason I made 4 new classes in BB style is I am very interested in doing a BB style campaign myself.

What I was kind of trying to point out is what your arguments would need to overcome; Paizo has a very specific goal with the BB. Adding a BB 2 into the mix has very serious business considerations for them.

I could definitely see a colaborative effort in the future here, at EN world, and elsewhere to do an expansion for the BB. In fact, places like EN World kind of thrive on those sorts of combined efforts, see E6 for a good example. (In fact, the classes linked above are for an "BBE5" style campaign I'm working on.)

I'm not convinced BB2 would be a viable option for Paizo, much less a profitable one. But then, I'm no expert. That's why I tend to listen to Lisa and Vic on these things- they've proven to be quite the adepts. It's also why I'd encourage you to continue the discussion, and for others to provide their feedback: I know Vic and Lisa are "listening".


Reckless wrote:
What I was kind of trying to point out is what your arguments would need to overcome; Paizo has a very specific goal with the BB. Adding a BB 2 into the mix has very serious business considerations for them

No doubt. I also have no doubt that Paizo knew that the PF BB would generate this exact discussion. Erik and Sean have at least alluded to it already, even if Vic is running a harder line on the point.

There is more that can be done in this design space. I don't expect Paizo to do anything it considers not profitable, but that doesn't mean that there is no way for this design space to be exploited.


Epic Meepo wrote:
Challenge accepted. If someone on the boards can give me the exact word count for the Hero's Handbook, I'll attempt a write-up of levels 6 to 10 in that many words or less. (I can start once I've picked up my BBox from my FLGS.)

Awesome :)

You have 160 pages to play with. You will need to cover high level monsters and magic items and an adventure suitable for that level. i think that would probably take up the 64 page book, leaving you with 96 pages.

You don't need to cover races, classes up to level 5 and related feats and spells, combat or skills.

For iterative attacks, I am not sure that they would need to be removed. At their most basic, they are simply additional attacks requiring a full round action and could be added as an Advanced Combat Option.


Some of this discussion and theorizing, while interesting, is preemptive. Paizo's gonna eat the results if a Beginner Box 2 doesn't turn out well, and so they won't have the luxury we have and will not decide anything without looking at some hard date, such as: the Beginner Box's sales, the response of young people, whether there are constant stories of 14-year-olds starting with the Beginner Box and moving on to the Core Rulebook but not making sense out of it, etc., etc.

On the last point, Paizo won't quite know until the people who are new to the game have tried it. And I'm sure Paizo is thinking about free online "intermediate" materials for just those folks.

For now, Paizo's goal and mantra is to greatly broaden the base for the full Pathfinder RPG. I'm not talking linear growth -- I'm talking mushrooming growth. What we (the current enthusiasts of the game and even of tabletop RPGs period) want is secondary: they're trying to tap into the zeitgeist and see if they can bring in a whole flood of new younger gamers. And so they'll look at the results and, if there's a giant new influx of gamers, gear their business model around how to please them. In my opinion, that's the right approach. Sure, it's scary and it's bold and we might see more "MMO lingo" around these forums, but it also means bringing new life to the whole genre.

And so, to the extent we're talking about a product to support a "rules-lite" version of Pathfinder beyond Level 5, it's probably flat-out not on Paizo's mind unless a huge market develops (much bigger than the current Pathfinder market) around the Beginner Box that also wants to stick to "Beginner Box play".

But to the extent we're talking about product ideas to transition to full Pathfinder, that is much more likely (IF the reception to the Beginner Box shows there's a market for it). My own personal wish list for such an "Expansion Box" would be: pawns for more races and classes and higher-level monsters, a decent-sized "learner's manual" that walks you through the main subsystems of FULL Pathfinder, and perhaps with a sample adventure thrown in to introduce these concepts (flying, AoO's, iterative attacks, two-weapon fighting, energy drain, armor check penalties, you name it). This "learner's manual" wouldn't need its own lists of feats and spells because its goal is teaching young people how to take in and use the Core Rulebook.

I frankly don't see the first scenario being very likely. I think young people who start with the Beginner Box will want to see their characters grow more powerful, and they're quite capable of taking on new challenges and don't mind making mistakes along the way, once their interest is sparked. I think the Beginner Box sparks that interest admirably.


Reckless wrote:
(In fact, the classes linked above are for an "BBE5" style campaign I'm working on.)

I had exactly this thought, that an E5 would be the "logical" way to extend the Paizo BB. The exact sort of thing Paizo doesn't want I'm sure, but there is definitely a niche that wants this to avoid the messier aspects of high-level PF.


The Rot Grub wrote:
Some of this discussion and theorizing, while interesting, is preemptive. Paizo's gonna eat the results if a Beginner Box 2 doesn't turn out well, and so they won't have the luxury we have and will not decide anything without looking at some hard date, such as: the Beginner Box's sales, the response of young people, whether there are constant stories of 14-year-olds starting with the Beginner Box and moving on to the Core Rulebook but not making sense out of it, etc., etc.

FWIW I wholeheartedly agree. I don't expect Paizo to jump the gun with this. Its a tricky decision.

What I do hope is that Paizo haven't closed the door of the matter, which was intimated by posts on these forums.

The same goes for any 3PP thinking of the same.

Shadow Lodge

Lisa Stevens wrote:


It may have been at it's most popular, but the splitting of the customer base is the #1 reason why TSR went out of business. It would take me a couple of hours to explain why this was the case, but as the person responsible at WotC for taking the old TSR data and analyzing it to see why they went belly up, the biggest cause that I found was splitting the customer base into segments. Whether it was D&D vs. AD&D. Or Forgotten Realms vs. Ravenloft vs. Greyhawk vs. Dragonlance vs. Birthright vs. Dark Sun vs. Planescape vs. Mystara vs. Al-Qadim vs. Spelljammer vs. Lanhkmar vs. any other setting book that they produced. Splitting the customer base means lower sales on any particular product which means lower profit margins which eventually means going belly up.

-Lisa

I just happened to be the lucky guy sitting in the lobby in the chair next to where you sat down and explained all of this at the last Paizocon, Lisa. That, to me, was worth the price of the con alone. Hearing the secret history of D&D, TSR, and WotC from someone who was there in the middle of all of it... I missed lunch and one of my scheduled events because I was hypnotized listening to you.

So, thank you for that.

- Rebis


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I think the discussion is very intriguing, especially since possible consequences do not have to be the "obvious" ones like Beginner Box 2. The opinions out there could be of a huge importance when it comes to a second edition of Pathfinder, or even to a general "way" the game might develop in the future.

My interpretation of what lies between the lines of this thread (and similar ones):
1.) The light and straight-forward "style" is wildly appreciated. Of course, the fact that this is indeed a BEGINNER Box with only 5 levels helps a lot, but I'm sure quite a percentage of the design decisions could partly be imported into the core (with appropriate changes, of course). I'm thinking, for example, about the item pictures. That 4-line-magic-descriptions and "do bla, do bla" as character progression will not work forever should be clear.
2.) Pathfinder is NOT "only" a reworked D&D anymore. There is, of course, a legacy, but PF has become much more of a game in its own right. Consequently, thoughts that might have been taboo until now could be considered again, AS LONG as the spirit of the game is preserved. I'm talking about notions like (boo-hoo) changing, replacing or simply leaving out some classes, races, spells, items, rules - or even character levels - when it comes to the Core Rules (just as an example).

The more I think about it, the more I get the impression that the Beginner Box and the Core Rules work together quite well - I think a "BB2" would be very... special (not to say redundant); let the community work on this one.
BUT, and I think that's shockingly obvious: The Beginner Box is now "state of the art" when it comes to Pathfinder design - and the core should adapt!
If I read the BB and follow it up with the core, I should not suffer a culture shock, I should think "Ah, it's the same, only more complex and with more options". This ties together with the two points before. A serious paradigm shift in book organisation and design would perhaps be most important, by far more important than rule changes - Pathfinder suffers from its heritage as well as from the fear of being not recognized as the legacy of 3.5. The Beginner Box, I claim, does not have these restrictions, as it was an "easy-going gimmick" (for the hardcore fans) from the beginning. In fact, BB feels a bit more like 4e design-wise, in a good way. And perhaps, the core should overcome it's heavy background too. The BB has opened a door, cunningly.

If it comes up, my understanding of "design" is a mixture of game design, graphics and organisation of text and rules.


@La Cipolla: Here is a spirited discussion of just that.

Comments from Erik Mona and Sean Reynolds make it clear that the Box has changed the approach to rules somehow.

I'm very excited to see what post-Box Pathfinder looks like, either a BB2, a new edition, or just comprehensive errata, or something I don't even see coming.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Evil Lincoln wrote:

@La Cipolla: Here is a spirited discussion of just that.

Comments from Erik Mona and Sean Reynolds make it clear that the Box has changed the approach to rules somehow.

I'm very excited to see what post-Box Pathfinder looks like, either a BB2, a new edition, or just comprehensive errata, or something I don't even see coming.

It will be the Spanish Inquisition, no one expects that!!


@Evil Lincoln: Thanks for the direction! (These forums are simply TOO huge...) I will stay here nevertheless, for simplicity's sake.

One additional comment, fuel by the thread over there: Gods forbid there will be another edition (or organisation, or whatever), I dearly hope the Paizonians use all the time such a book(-line) needs, and even a bit more. After all, it would be a shame if a second edition was as "raw" as the first one has been, just different.
I also hope, some essential contents from the 3 Hardcovers (UM,UC,APG) will find their way into the core, while some of the fundamentally more complicated (and less useful) concepts could be outsourced. Magic-Item-Creation, I'm looking at you. There are also a lot of talents and spells which might not be as essential as a core book should be.

Paizo Employee CEO

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Rebis Ouroboros wrote:
Lisa Stevens wrote:


It may have been at it's most popular, but the splitting of the customer base is the #1 reason why TSR went out of business. It would take me a couple of hours to explain why this was the case, but as the person responsible at WotC for taking the old TSR data and analyzing it to see why they went belly up, the biggest cause that I found was splitting the customer base into segments. Whether it was D&D vs. AD&D. Or Forgotten Realms vs. Ravenloft vs. Greyhawk vs. Dragonlance vs. Birthright vs. Dark Sun vs. Planescape vs. Mystara vs. Al-Qadim vs. Spelljammer vs. Lanhkmar vs. any other setting book that they produced. Splitting the customer base means lower sales on any particular product which means lower profit margins which eventually means going belly up.

-Lisa

I just happened to be the lucky guy sitting in the lobby in the chair next to where you sat down and explained all of this at the last Paizocon, Lisa. That, to me, was worth the price of the con alone. Hearing the secret history of D&D, TSR, and WotC from someone who was there in the middle of all of it... I missed lunch and one of my scheduled events because I was hypnotized listening to you.

So, thank you for that.

- Rebis

Hey Rebis! I remember that conversation. I think that Ryan Dancey was sitting there with us. It is always fun to reminisce about the past. I plan to not make the same mistakes that my predecessors made. See you at the next PaizoCon!

-Lisa


Lisa

I have a question for you. You and others keep talking about not making the same mistakes as TSR in splitting the customer base. Did the research you do show an issue with the basic/advanced D&D split that started in the 80s or was it only an issue when coupled with the multitude settings in the 90s?

So in other words do you think TSR would have been more profitable in the 80s if it had never produced the Expert/Companion/Master/Immortal sets and just stuck with a basic set and the advanced game?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Skywaker wrote:
Epic Meepo wrote:
If someone on the boards can give me the exact word count for the Hero's Handbook, I'll attempt a write-up of levels 6 to 10 in that many words or less.

Awesome :)

You have 160 pages to play with. You will need to cover high level monsters and magic items and an adventure suitable for that level. i think that would probably take up the 64 page book, leaving you with 96 pages.

Having looked at the Core and the BBox side by side, I'm convinced that levels 6 to 10 (classes, spells, feats, magic items, and monsters) can be written up in BBox format in 24 or so pages. Levels 11 and 12 could probably be included by adding an additional 12 pages.

But I don't know that there's enough interest in seeing levels 6 to 12 in BBox format for me to bother writing them up, what with Paizo actively encouraging people to go right from the BBox to the Core. With intermediate products being actively discouraged, I doubt any PDF I throw together would garner enough of an audience to justify the time and effort it would take me to format and distribute it.


Kevin Mack wrote:
I could be wrong but removing AoO's seems like something that would alter how the game works quite a bit.(By which I mean make it play a lot less like the normal core rules).

It would, for gamers who try to make use of complex rules. For people just learning the game, it's another confusing bit of different rules they'll forget about 1/2 the time anyway. When I started my daughter and her friends' group (ages 10, 12 and 14), I ignored AoO for the first few sessions. In the second adventure, once they had the basic Initiative, Attack, Damage, concepts down, I brought this in for both monsters and the PCs. Now the PCs were more likely to survive an extra attack to a tactically unsound move, and the new rule was much easier to absorb and make good use of.


Hi,

I want a second box with:

- More classes : Barbarian, Druid, Explorer, Sorcerer, Ranger and Paladin.
- More races : Halfling, Gnome.
- More Pawns, lot of pawns.
- GM Guide 2 with another adventure and info about Golarion.
- Another Map, and a World Map.
- GM screen. (PLEAAAASE)

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