Pathfinder RPG and Paizo in the Face of 5E


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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You know, I change my answer to deinol's - he's got the better one!


Arnwyn wrote:
Black Knight wrote:
I will never understand why some people insist that monsters and PC's should follow the same rules.
And I will never understand why some people can't understand that. *shrug*

Because they see it as the PCs vs the World, and the World is out to get the PCs.

Instead of...

The PCs are inhabitants of a World which isn't intentionally designed against them, but there things in the World that can be a threat.

A goblin is goblin doing goblin things, even when only other goblins and maybe some goblin dogs are around. Sometimes the PCs encounter a goblin doing goblin things and they fight. Goblin powers should be about doing goblin things. Not purely focused in making the PCs lives hell.


deinol wrote:
It really comes down to simulationist vs gamist. A simulationist wants the game rules to be like physics, and apply equally to everyone. They use terms like verisimilitude and the like. Even if the game is just the illusion of a simulation, that illusion is what they are looking for in a game.

One would have to avoid thinking too hard in order to buy any RPG as a simulation -- but maybe that's just me.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
bugleyman wrote:
deinol wrote:
It really comes down to simulationist vs gamist. A simulationist wants the game rules to be like physics, and apply equally to everyone. They use terms like verisimilitude and the like. Even if the game is just the illusion of a simulation, that illusion is what they are looking for in a game.
One would have to avoid thinking too hard in order to buy any RPG as a simulation -- but maybe that's just me.

Every simulation has layers of abstraction. As I said, most simulationists are looking for a game with the illusion of simulation.


Black Knight wrote:

I will never understand why some people insist that monsters and PC's should follow the same rules.

Considering that most monsters will have a lifespan of 1-5 rounds, why should they be built with the same complexity as player characters?

I agree! However, I do not particularly care which way it is. What I do find interesting is why it would go one way, and then another. If there is any reason to think that the game of Dungeons and Dragons has in its core some elements that are consistent, then one idea should be adhered to, on the other hand if there is no reason to assume that the game of Dungeons and Dragons has to have, at its core, any consistency then it is okay with me to change game mechanics from one edition to the next.

But considering the topic of this thread this argument (should the system have consistency or not) becomes of the most vital kind, because we are, mostly, talking about the viability, sale ability, of a new edition and the things that will encourage or discourage us from buying into a new edition, or the things that will drive us to other company’s products because of a new edition.
So a very valid point indeed. Is consistency from the mechanics of one edition to the mechanics of a following edition important to the power in the market of the brand?


deinol wrote:
Every simulation has layers of abstraction. As I said, most simulationists are looking for a game with the illusion of simulation.

Yeah, I got that. And still I have yet to find an RPG that presents such an illusion which stands up to even the slightest scrutiny -- so I find that particular criticism of 4E to be quite silly. YMMV.


Black Knight wrote:

I will never understand why some people insist that monsters and PC's should follow the same rules.

Considering that most monsters will have a lifespan of 1-5 rounds, why should they be built with the same complexity as player characters?

It's not that we want the same complexity, it's that by applying the same general rules, the world is a bit more consistent without the DM having to do anything. Not every monster needs the full skills, feats, class abilities, etc. loadout worked out, and indeed as a DM when I adjust things on the fly, I only worry about the things I need, but it's nice that if what I need should change, I don't have to completely rework the monster to get from being a "monster" to being an "npc" or "pc." All I have to do is add more details following the common rules for those details; a fairly easy task. It seems to be pretty consistent that those DMs who don't like 3.5/PF are the ones who insist on working up every detail of every monster just because the rules allow for it and/or they seem to think the players are going to notice they put in all that work, while those that do like the 3.5/PF system see the potential complexity as making it easier to expand upon the basic required stats without much effort if needed, but generally don't worry about most of the additional complexity until it actually comes up. That seems to be the biggest shortcut/trick that a DM either learns quickly or not that can make their life easier.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
bugleyman wrote:
deinol wrote:
Every simulation has layers of abstraction. As I said, most simulationists are looking for a game with the illusion of simulation.
Yeah, I got that. And still I have yet to find an RPG that presents such an illusion which stands up to even the slightest scrutiny -- so I find that particular criticism of 4E to be quite silly. YMMV.

All I can say is that for me, the uniformity of rules in 3E is part of what brought me back to D&D with 3E. I really liked the elegant way multi-classing was handled. I really liked that monsters and PCs worked the same, although I probably couldn't have vocalized that at the time. 3E's release brought me back to D&D after a decade of playing other games.

For those who thought 3E was a great leap forward from 2E, 4E felt like a half-step backwards. For those that felt 3E was more complicated and fiddly than it needed to be, 4E was a step back toward the game's roots.

Neither of those opinions are wrong. I can see the strengths in both styles. I actually like both games, depending on the style of game I want to play or run.

Dark Archive

This is what has happened again, except this time each prong is represented by a company.

No right or wrong, just philosophies.

specifically:
Gygax, who wrote the advanced game, wanted an expansive game with rulings on any conceivable situation which might come up during play. J. Eric Holmes, the editor of the basic game, preferred a lighter tone with more room for personal improvisation.

Looking at the big picture, I find it amusing. But I'm also curious where 5e will go from here. My guess is it will try to do a bit more straddling of the two philosophies.

Silver Crusade

Chuck Wright wrote:
Why do you think many of us stopped playing 2E in the first place? Granted, we didn't know much about what was going on behind the scenes at that time, but it showed in the quality of the products that they were in it for the quick cash and not the love of the game anymore.

True. I personally stopped playing when 3e came out. Reading that people are alienated by Hasbro and their management of the D&D brand does not surprise me and reminded me of the Lorraine Williams days of TSR. My comment was more out of my experiences with 2e and came out of my own cynicism.


deinol wrote:


Actually, since it is more often the GM who decides the choice of system, I doubt the GM is picking Pathfinder because they don't trust the GM.

It really comes down to simulationist vs gamist. A simulationist wants the game rules to be like physics, and apply equally to everyone. They use terms like verisimilitude and the like. Even if the game is just the illusion of a simulation, that illusion is what they are looking for in a game.

A gamist doesn't care about simulating a world. They just want to play the game. So shortcuts in monster creation are fine by them.

Neither style is better or worse than the other. It is just a matter of taste. If a game focuses too much on one over the other, they loose the other half of the spectrum. I can see both sides, as they each have their strengths.

I'd say you hit it on the head. I prefer the simulationist approach (3.x) myself, but to each their own.


R_Chance wrote:
deinol wrote:


Actually, since it is more often the GM who decides the choice of system, I doubt the GM is picking Pathfinder because they don't trust the GM.

It really comes down to simulationist vs gamist. A simulationist wants the game rules to be like physics, and apply equally to everyone. They use terms like verisimilitude and the like. Even if the game is just the illusion of a simulation, that illusion is what they are looking for in a game.

A gamist doesn't care about simulating a world. They just want to play the game. So shortcuts in monster creation are fine by them.

Neither style is better or worse than the other. It is just a matter of taste. If a game focuses too much on one over the other, they loose the other half of the spectrum. I can see both sides, as they each have their strengths.

I'd say you hit it on the head. I prefer the simulationist approach (3.x) myself, but to each their own.

This is why I like things to be "simulated". So I can GM things like this when players go WAY off the rails.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
VoodooMike wrote:

Don't underestimate the power of a brand, and WotC is a stronger brand than Paizo just as Dungeons and Dragons is a stronger brand than Pathfinder. If WotC decided to may 5e as a 3e revamp, it would be a pretty big problem for PF.

If, as Lisa has stated, pathfinder products are outselling 4e products then I don't think it is unreasonable to assume that WotC would look at what Paizo is selling (an improvement on their own product!) and consider doing exactly that. Bringing Monte Cook, one of the original 3e designers, back on board is also something of a hint.

That said, I don't think you'll see something as close to 3e as PF is because WotC will want to keep (by way of easy transition) the 4e fans. Instead, the 5e design team will work hard on identifying what it is that makes 4e popular with its fans, and trying to incorporate that into a close-to-PF version of 3.5e.

So, how the Pathfinder system fares in the long run depends very heavily on what WotC decides to release as 5e. The more distant the two are from one another, the better Pathfinder will fare.

Some interesting points; WOTC might have been a stronger brand in the beginning but the work that Paizo has put into Pathfinder and the PFS community is paying off. Pathfinder now outsells Dnd; that's a fact. They are now the market leader.

Now if 5E is the most awesome game in the universe ever created - I still wouldn't be jumping ship any time soon. I still have stories to tell, I am enjoying PFS and the community. The other GM's in Australia are a pretty good bunch of people as well.

I think Pathfinder stands on it's own, I am buying more third party product that I ever did with 3.5 through this site (I am talking to you Tome of Horrors) - and it's still the game I have known, played and enjoyed all my life.

Shadow Lodge

lastblacknight wrote:

Pathfinder now outsells Dnd; that's a fact. They are now the market leader.

Sauce plz.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Black Knight wrote:
The whole magic item Christmas tree thing, on the whole, is my biggest problem with any edition of D&D. It sucks that you NEED tons of gear to be a proper hero under the default assumptions

Depends on your play style I guess, I have never had this issue. By the time any magic items came around I was just grateful to have any.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Warning! This is a rant, please ignore if you don't want to hear a rant :)

Spoiler:

Maddigan wrote:

I almost quit playing D&D over 4E and if not for Pathfinder, probably would have still been playing 3.5.

This makes me sad :(

MerricB wrote:
Well, in a way, you're still playing 3.5E! :)

But really he isn't.

This is one thing that still frustrates me about Pathfinder - the fact that people (like Maffigan) gave up on 3.5 to move onto Pathfinder RPG leaving it harder to find players willing to play 3.5 (I have given up on finding 3.5 players at cons and got back into PFS as its the nearest I could get).

But to add insult to injury a few people claim that PF is 3.5, or is keeping 3.5 alive when in fact it is helping it to die perhaps even more so than 4e did. Everytime I see a 3.5 OGL Compatble logo on a Pathfinder RPG book I get annoyed.

Okay, rant over!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
TOZ wrote:
lastblacknight wrote:

Pathfinder now outsells Dnd; that's a fact. They are now the market leader.

Sauce plz.

Source for me too please!

Unless you are referring to the ICv2 survey, in which case its not an outright fact as a) it doesn't include sales from all sources (including Paizo's online store and WotC's DDI) and b) is a quarter by quarter survery and from what I understand PF was tied with D&D for 2010 Q3 and came top for 2011 Q2, but in all other quarters D&D did better than PF according to the ICv2 survey. It will be interesting to see of PF can retain the top spot for Q3.

2009 Q4 D&D top
2010 Q1 D&D top
2010 Q2 D&D top
2010 Q3 D&D & PF tie for top
2010 Q4 D&D top
2011 Q1 D&D top
2011 Q2 PF top


Thank you for the data DigitalMage. Pathfinder might or might not be outselling 4E (we don't know for sure given the incomplete nature of the data), but either way it is probably too close for comfort for WotC, given how dominant D&D has been in the past.

Shadow Lodge

DigitalMage, you're always welcome at my 3.5 table. :D

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
TOZ wrote:
DigitalMage, you're always welcome at my 3.5 table. :D

thanks :) I still have dreams of running the Freeport trilogy under the 3.5 rules and running an Eberron campaign too (my first Eberron campaign I ran was funnily enough uner 4e).

Shadow Lodge

...dammit now I wanna play in both.


Roman wrote:
Thank you for the data DigitalMage. Pathfinder might or might not be outselling 4E (we don't know for sure given the incomplete nature of the data), but either way it is probably too close for comfort for WotC, given how dominant D&D has been in the past.

Ignoring DDI sales is a pretty big deal. WotC has been moving the majority of their transactions to digital.

It's like trying to use cds sold as a measure for how popular a band is while entirely ignoring iTunes. Counting retail sales of PC games and ignoring Steam. You get the idea.

Well, except that ICv2 isn't even that, it's based entirely on a non-scientific "study" done by asking some retail stores a few questions.


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Also my friends that prefer GURPS always find it adorable when D&D players of any edition refer to themselves as "simulationist"

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

"Who's sales are bigger" comments aside...

Pathfinder doesn't need to be bigger than D&D for D&D to react. (indeed, if they wait that long, they're frakked anyway.)

If/When a 5e is coming, it needs to innovate. it's like the old Mac OS/Windows debates.* It doesn't matter to the Microsoft user if Windows models their GUI after Apple, while outselling Apple. The end user is the one who wins from Microsft taking what people like about the competition and building on it.

My Droid wouldn't exist without the iPhone, because without the iPhone, no one would have tried to design an 'iPhone killer' Pathfinder wouldn't exist (and I'd have more money) if not for the advent of 4e. If 5e incorporates elements of Pathfinder (whether you call it a step backwards or not) it means that WotBro is moving to protect their market share by innovation, not by crushing the competition.

This is a win win for everyone.

*

Spoiler:
yeah yeah, and GURPS is Linux and Shadowrun is Web-OS, it's an analogy. Got it?


Uchawi wrote:

I am not sure myself, because plenty of other games, including GURPS did not follow the same rules for monsters and PC's. And no one ever complained when they played my games, nor I when I played in someone elses. If players were interested in a monster as a race, there were enough rules to give them what they wanted. Technically there is no D&D game, or derivative, where monsters and PCs playing by the same rules is exact. There is always room to fudge, otherwise, how can you be creative? The important fact is there are rules for monsters and players, and everyone understands what those are.

Another suspicion I have is if there is even the illusion of monsters and PCs following the same rules, then it gives the players a sense of comfort, when they do not trust the DM, or do not want any type of DM fiat.

If you don't trust the GM, then don't play.

Its like I invited you to a party and you kept acting like the food may be poisoned and you kept trying to figure out what I was talking about even when I wasnt talking to you. Its an ass move on your part.

Shadow Lodge

Darkwing Duck wrote:
If you don't trust the GM, then don't play.

Oh gods yes. I made that mistake once.

Never again.


Kthulhu wrote:
Well, people who argue that 4E was some massive shift, but 3.0 was just a minor tweak might not really consider it a different game. :P

I think there are not a lot of people that actually know what they are talking about (because they were there when 3.0 was born and played 2e extensively beforehand) that would say 3.0 was just "a minor tweak".

But up to and including 3.5 and Pathfinder, D&D always felt like a living world that was (incompletely) described by a rules system.

4e IMHO feels like a rules system that tries to describe a world.

Big difference (also please note that I don't say that one is strictly better than the other)!


deinol wrote:

It really comes down to simulationist vs gamist. A simulationist wants the game rules to be like physics, and apply equally to everyone. They use terms like verisimilitude and the like. Even if the game is just the illusion of a simulation, that illusion is what they are looking for in a game.

A gamist doesn't care about simulating a world. They just want to play the game. So shortcuts in monster creation are fine by them.

Neither style is better or worse than the other. It is just a matter of taste. If a game focuses too much on one over the other, they loose the other half of the spectrum. I can see both sides, as they each have their strengths.

Yes absolutely!

No simulationist actually thinks the rules mimic physics. Or proper combat. I fight sword and shield in the SCA, and it just does not work the way the game... any game from Pathfinder to Rolemaster... would have you beleive.

I teach Physics. The rules simulate physics poorly. All I want is a consistency. And not foolish consistencies. 3rd edition consistencies at least work with each other.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Simulationist:
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Another thing 5e would need to bring back to appeal to me is meaningful character advancement. My (admittedly limited) experience with advancement in 4e is thus:

1st level: You need somewhere between a 9 and a 12 to hit, and it takes 2-3 hits to drop a level-appropriate foe.

6th level: You need somewhere between a 9 and a 12 to hit, and it takes 2-3 hits to drop a level-appropriate foe.

13th level: You need somewhere between a 9 and a 12 to hit, and it takes 2-3 hits to drop a level-appropriate foe. Oh, and you still can't defeat 1st level foes in one hit.

I'm the sort of GM who likes to occasionally throw higher level PCs against low level foes so that they can measure how far they've come and feel awesome. In 4e it doesn't work - lower level foes can't hit or be missed, but they still take too long to drop. I know I could just use minions, but it defeats the point if I change the stats.

Short version: what is the point of character advancment if everything in the world exactly gets bigger to cancel your gains? 4e characters are stuck perpetually at 7th level (PF/3.5 scale).


bugleyman wrote:
One would have to avoid thinking too hard in order to buy any RPG as a simulation -- but maybe that's just me.

Based on all the comments, conversations, and discussions around 'simulation' in RPGs over the years... I do suspect that it is, indeed, just you.


MerricB wrote:

Simulationist:

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

modern language is all about using words outside of their meaning. Simulationist as we gamers are using itapplies far more than how DNA is used in the common media as a shortcut for a core meaning.


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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNS_Theory#Simulationist

Nope think we're using it right in this jargon context.

Or would you prefer we use the

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Model


Dorje Sylas wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNS_Theory#Simulationist

Nope think we're using it right in this jargon context.

Or would you prefer we use the

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Model

I never read the wiki page before now, but simulationist is particularly spot on for my style. So I stand corrected. Simulationist is used MUCH better than my example before.


I think a lot of people hear simulationist and assume that it means that someone wants to simulate our world as accurately as possible, when usually it means that the person just wants to feel like he's playing in a mostly complete world where the physics (whatever they may be for that world) are more or less consistent.


MerricB wrote:

Simulationist:

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

You killed my Jargon. Prepare to get snarke-

AW, man I was ninja'd! Like, three times!


Mournblade94 wrote:
Dorje Sylas wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNS_Theory#Simulationist

Nope think we're using it right in this jargon context.

Or would you prefer we use the

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Model

I never read the wiki page before now, but simulationist is particularly spot on for my style. So I stand corrected. Simulationist is used MUCH better than my example before.

That Wikipedia page reads like a Gish Gallop.

ryric wrote:

Another thing 5e would need to bring back to appeal to me is meaningful character advancement. My (admittedly limited) experience with advancement in 4e is thus:

1st level: You need somewhere between a 9 and a 12 to hit, and it takes 2-3 hits to drop a level-appropriate foe.

6th level: You need somewhere between a 9 and a 12 to hit, and it takes 2-3 hits to drop a level-appropriate foe.

13th level: You need somewhere between a 9 and a 12 to hit, and it takes 2-3 hits to drop a level-appropriate foe. Oh, and you still can't defeat 1st level foes in one hit.

I'm the sort of GM who likes to occasionally throw higher level PCs against low level foes so that they can measure how far they've come and feel awesome. In 4e it doesn't work - lower level foes can't hit or be missed, but they still take too long to drop. I know I could just use minions, but it defeats the point if I change the stats.

Short version: what is the point of character advancment if everything in the world exactly gets bigger to cancel your gains? 4e characters are stuck perpetually at 7th level (PF/3.5 scale).

What the hell are you doing where it takes a 9 to 12 to hit? Usually that is a huge sign that you are running the game in a manner that WoTC warns you isn't fun and leads to treadmill battles. The issue isn't with the system but with you.

Tacticslion wrote:


On the other hand I have a manual of the planes that doesn't tell me anything about the planes. It's like a vague survey course of "oh yeah, and there's some interesting stuff on planes a, b, and c, but d-f are boring, also there's a city on this one and a war on this one, we think, but don't know; also we may or may not introduce illumians at some point in the future, so we'll throw this in here to keep our options open, but not tell you anything about it."

Are you really that uncreative enough that you have to have someone hand hold you to actually come up with plot ideas? Even with their best campaign settings WoTC doesn't baby you and still forces you to think because they don't spell out what an human is doing in a city full of zombies.


sunshadow21 wrote:
I think a lot of people hear simulationist and assume that it means that someone wants to simulate our world as accurately as possible, when usually it means that the person just wants to feel like he's playing in a mostly complete world where the physics (whatever they may be for that world) are more or less consistent.

That's fine, but the perception of simulationism is totally subjective, while this argument is often dressed up as an "objective" difference between the 4E and earlier versions of D&D.

If people went around saying "I prefer 3.5E because I find it to be simluationist," well then there would be no problem. Of course, they may as well just stop at "I prefer 3.5E."

In fact, we should all stop at "I prefer ______." But of course that doesn't happen...someone always has to tear down the other guy, or at the very least give "reasons" why his/her opinion is the "correct" one.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
bugleyman wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
I think a lot of people hear simulationist and assume that it means that someone wants to simulate our world as accurately as possible, when usually it means that the person just wants to feel like he's playing in a mostly complete world where the physics (whatever they may be for that world) are more or less consistent.

That's fine, but the perception of simulationism is totally subjective, while this argument is often dressed up as an "objective" difference between the 4E and earlier versions of D&D.

If people went around saying "I prefer 3.5E because I find it to be simluationist," well then there would be no problem. Of course, they may as well just stop at "I prefer 3.5E."

In fact, we should all stop at "I prefer ______." But of course that doesn't happen...someone always has to tear down the other guy, or at the very least give "reasons" why his/her opinion is the "correct" one.

Don't worry, 3.5 fanbase has tribalism well covered. I'll give you a hint: Tome of Weaboo Fightan Magic also known as Tome of Martials Done Right, depending on which tribe you're in. :)


bugleyman wrote:
sunshadow21 wrote:
I think a lot of people hear simulationist and assume that it means that someone wants to simulate our world as accurately as possible, when usually it means that the person just wants to feel like he's playing in a mostly complete world where the physics (whatever they may be for that world) are more or less consistent.
That's fine, but the perception of simulationism is totally subjective, while this argument is often dressed up as an "objective" difference between the 4E and earlier versions of D&D.

There is a difference between 3.5 and 4E though. When I play 3.5/PF, I know what the physics of the world are, and can reasonably expect it to be applied in 99% of the situations I find myself in. Even when the DM has house ruled the core rules into oblivion, I can still expect the same level of consistency. When I play 4E, there is no such baseline of what I can reasonably expect; everything is entirely up to the DM, who may not have thought about anything beyond the firt adventure. I'm not saying this to say that one is better than the other, simply pointing out that there is an objective difference between the two systems.


sunshadow21 wrote:
There is a difference between 3.5 and 4E though. When I play 3.5/PF, I know what the physics of the world are, and can reasonably expect it to be applied in 99% of the situations I find myself in. Even when the DM has house ruled the core rules into oblivion, I can still expect the same level of consistency. When I play 4E, there is no such baseline of what I can reasonably expect; everything is entirely up to the DM, who may not have thought about anything beyond the firt adventure. I'm not saying this to say that one is better than the other, simply pointing out that there is an objective difference between the two systems.

Then I respectfully submit that you know very little about physics. ;)

Seriously, that's not an insult -- I'm no physicist myself. But you're still confusing your perception of consistency for a objective difference.

Are there many objective differences? Absolutely -- but the presentation of an internally consist world isn't one of them. 3.5 just pays it more lip service.


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MadScientistWorking wrote:
Are you really that uncreative enough that you have to have someone hand hold you to actually come up with plot ideas? Even with their best campaign settings WoTC doesn't baby you and still forces you to think because they don't spell out what an human is doing in a city full of zombies.

Hi, thanks, I appreciate condescension in the reply! That's thoughtful, right there! (pardon my own condescension, it's not normally like me, but I felt you might prefer it in your replies... it gives you something, in the future, to fuss at me for)

Actually, no they don't, and that's fine, and you missed the point pretty badly in your hurry to be kind of rude.

The (two-fold) point: give me something to actually work with and, more importantly, don't make products worse than you used to. "There were once illumians. Now there (probably, maybe) aren't, and there's a desert instead." That's not a world, that's a vague outline scribbled on someone's napkin at the end of a lunch meeting, and that's what they presented. Does it open up lots of potential? Oh, sure. But again, compare WotC's own product they produced previously under the same name. There are far, far more hooks with more decent amounts of explanation and more rules crunch than the 4E version of, again, what's supposed to be the same product.

The new one is an inferior product, costs just as much, and does less for me. This is the point I was making.

What was supposed to be a manual of the planes... wasn't. Instead, it was a "here's some vague things we think you might want to develop more, maybe, good luck with that", which isn't very nice when you pay that much for something. Somehow, they managed to put less information in the space they had, which is soundly disappointing. Some of us like to play in a world rather than in a "place where stuff happened".

bugleyman wrote:
But you're still confusing your perception of consistency for a objective difference. Neither system simulates anything remotely consistent -- 3.5 just pays internal consistency a little more lip service.

I bolded the important part. Internal consistency. Generally, one of the things that makes a good story is internal consistency within the story.

If I, for example, decided to create this entirely new, hypothetical, never-before-seen character who could create any object he could think of out of energy, or add kinetic energy he could apply to things, but had limited energy to do these things, and he was vulnerable to particular color and/or substance (depending, of course, on which of the Green Lanter- er, I mean completely hypothetical characters we mean), he should not suddenly be able to ignore all his limitations, have invulnerability, super-strength, laser eyes, super-breath, and a whole other host of abilities without said power source, unless I have a pretty good explanation. Green Lantern should not suddenly become Superman (even though there is a Green Lantern who's very much like Superman). Nor should Professor Xavier suddenly become Cyclops.

There are internally consistent rules at work in comics (despite the fact that comics in no way follows any rules of real-world logic), and so people continue to purchase comics and enjoy their internally-consistent stories. And, of course, comic-followers tend to get uppity when the internally consistent thing called "canon" gets "retconned", because suddenly that internal consistency - which is what they rely upon to make the story - is thrown out the window.

This exact principle applies to other works too. Harry Potter shouldn't, for example, suddenly have the ability to use the powers of his mind to reshape reality because "he's a godling now". Nor should Hercules suddenly have the power to shapeshift into any machine he wanted (though he might eventually develop the power to shift into animals) - it would violate too much internal-consistency.

That's what 3.X had going for it: internal consistency. This is why I like it better as a story-telling mechanism. Things worked the same way no matter who was doing it. There were, of course, varying levels of internal consistency. But that's going to be expected with any gaming system you come across - and any story you come across. There is nothing that has ever been pinned by man that is perfectly internally consistent, especially across multiple authors (one or two notable exceptions notwithstanding, the former of which is argued about to this day, the latter of which was ruled out fully within recent memory... and is still being argued about until this day).

Again, this is not from a 4E-hater: I play it, and am currently getting back into one of my previously-put-on-hold 4E games as a direct result of this thread and a few others. I just like 3.X (and thus Pathfinder) much better for its internal consistency.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
bugleyman wrote:

Then I respectfully submit that you know very little about physics. ;)

Seriously, that's not an insult -- I'm no physicist myself. But you're still confusing your perception of consistency for a objective difference.

Are there many objective differences? Absolutely -- but the presentation of an internally consist world isn't one of them. 3.5 just pays it more lip service.

It feels like we aren't speaking the same language.

When we say that the rules are 'the physics of the game', we mean that it has internally consistent rules that make up how elements within the game interact. It is an analogy to classical physics, not modelling actual physics.

In 3.X, you know how many feats a 5th level fighter is. Whether that fighter is an NPC bugbear or an orc or a PC elf. There is an internal consistency that simulationists like.

4E doesn't have that. Monsters and PCs have different rules for creation and interaction.

There may be areas where 3.X isn't internally consistent, although I really can't think of many. On the other hand, there are places where 4E is clearly not internally consistent. For someone who values simulation, that is enough to make them prefer 3.X.


Tacticslion wrote:

I bolded the important part. Internal consistency. Generally, one of the things that makes a good story is internal consistency within the story.

If I, for example, decided to create this entirely new, hypothetical, never-before-seen character who could create any object he could think of out of energy, or add kinetic energy he could apply to things, but had limited energy to do these things, and he was vulnerable to particular color and/or substance (depending, of course, on which of the Green Lanter- er, I mean completely hypothetical characters we mean), he should not suddenly be able to ignore all his limitations, have invulnerability, super-strength, laser eyes, super-breath, and a whole other host of abilities without said power source, unless I have a pretty good explanation. Green Lantern should not suddenly become Superman (even though there is a Green Lantern who's very much like Superman). Nor should Professor Xavier suddenly become Cyclops.

There are internally consistent rules at work in comics (despite the fact that comics in no way follows any rules of real-world logic), and so people continue to purchase comics and enjoy their internally-consistent stories. And, of course, comic-followers tend to get uppity when the internally consistent thing called "canon" gets "retconned", because suddenly that internal consistency - which is what they rely upon to make the story - is thrown out the window.

This exact principle applies to other works too. Harry Potter shouldn't, for example, suddenly have the ability to use the powers of his mind to reshape reality because "he's a godling now". Nor should Hercules suddenly have the power to shapeshift into any machine he wanted (though he might eventually develop the power to shift into animals) - it would violate too much internal-consistency.

That's what 3.X had going for it: internal consistency. This is why I like it better as a story-telling mechanism. Things worked the same way no matter who was doing it. There were, of course, varying levels of internal consistency. But that's going to be expected with any gaming system you come across - and any story you come across. There is nothing that has ever been pinned by man that is perfectly internally consistent, especially across multiple authors (one or two notable exceptions notwithstanding, the former of which is argued about to this day, the latter of which was ruled out fully within recent memory... and is still being argued about until this day).

Again, this is not from a 4E-hater: I play it, and am currently getting back into one of my previously-put-on-hold 4E games as a direct result of this thread and a few others. I just like 3.X (and thus Pathfinder) much better for its internal consistency.

I guess we'll just have to respectfully disagree, because 3.5 doesn't present an internally consistent world at all-- it just purports to.


bugleyman wrote:
I guess we'll just have to respectfully disagree, because 3.5 doesn't present an internally consistent world at all-- it just purports to.

It actually does a very good job of it. Like real physics, it can be hard to see a lot of the time, as the consistent part is often spread out over several sections of the book and buried under half a dozen apparently conflicting examples, but it is there.

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MadScientistWorking wrote:

What the hell are you doing where it takes a 9 to 12 to hit? Usually that is a huge sign that you are running the game in a manner that WoTC warns you isn't fun and leads to treadmill battles. The issue isn't with the system but with you.

As I said, my experience with 4e is somewhat limited, I've only tried stuff with the original three books. What I'm describing is a core design philosophy for 4e though-everyone gets better at everything at an equal rate. So, after 10 levels, everyone has gotten a +5 to everything - attacks, defences, etc. - so no one is any better at doing anything than anyone else, other than differences from ability scores and feats. The monsters have gotten better at everything too, so you're just the same as 10 levels ago but with larger numbers. The underlying math of the system doesn't change as you level. I understand this is seen as a feature by many 4e fans; I find it to be a crippling bug.

Maybe that's changed since the original releases. I sure hope so. Once again, I don't hate 4e, I just don't prefer it and no one in my local circle of friends plays it.

I like how PF has three different "epochs" of play, low, mid, and high levels, and how play at those three levels is fundamentally different. 4e's tiers are more codified but less different. I'd want 5e to bring that difference back.


deinol wrote:

It feels like we aren't speaking the same language.

When we say that the rules are 'the physics of the game', we mean that it has internally consistent rules that make up how elements within the game interact. It is an analogy to classical physics, not modelling actual physics.

In 3.X, you know how many feats a 5th level fighter is. Whether that fighter is an NPC bugbear or an orc or a PC elf. There is an internal consistency that simulationists like.

4E doesn't have that. Monsters and PCs have different rules for creation and interaction.

There may be areas where 3.X isn't internally consistent, although I really can't think of many. On the other hand, there are places where 4E is clearly not internally consistent. For someone who values simulation, that is enough to make them prefer 3.X.

Ah, I think I see what you mean. Though I don't necessarily see how that translates into a better game, there is a clear difference between the two approaches.


sunshadow21 wrote:
It actually does a very good job of it. Like real physics, it can be hard to see a lot of the time, as the consistent part is often spread out over several sections of the book and buried under half a dozen apparently conflicting examples, but it is there.

I disagree. Take, for example, the demographics. Either they ignore magic, making them highly unlikely for a medieval agrarian society, or they purport to encompass it -- in which case the rules completely fail to address the astounding cultural changes that would result.

While we all have our own limits for what strains credulity, I would argue that any careful review by an informed reader will lead inexorably to the conclusion that the world as presented by 3.5/Pathfinder makes no sense at all.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
bugleyman wrote:
Ah, I think I see what you mean. Though I don't necessarily see how that translates into a better game, there is a clear difference between the two approaches.

I never said it was a better game. In fact, a more gamist person will prefer the simpler system that is faster to create and resolve encounters.

On the other hand, a more narrativist player will prefer a game that gives more control of the story to the players. Fate or Dogs in the Vineyard or Mouse Guard do this. Although things like plot twist cards or action/hero points add more narrative control to the players.

The point is not which game is better. It is that there are many different styles of players and different games suit certain styles better than others. A game publisher should be aware of the different styles and know which one they are catering to.

So the real question for 5E is, will they try to shift more in the middle to satisfy both gamists and simulationists? Or will they embrace being gamist and go from there? Or add more narrativist aspects to the game? Which way is better is still highly subjective, depending on what you value in your game.


deinol wrote:

I never said it was a better game. In fact, a more gamist person will prefer the simpler system that is faster to create and resolve encounters.

On the other hand, a more narrativist player will prefer a game that gives more control of the story to the players. Fate or Dogs in the Vineyard or Mouse Guard do this. Although things like plot twist cards or action/hero points add more narrative control to the players.

The point is not which game is better. It is that there are many different styles of players and different games suit certain styles better than others. A game publisher should be aware of the different styles and know which one they are catering to.

So the real question for 5E is, will they try to shift more in the middle to satisfy both gamists and simulationists? Or will they embrace being gamist and go from there? Or add more narrativist aspects to the game? Which way is better is still highly subjective, depending on what you value in your game.

But here is what I keep tripping over -- implicit in your statements is the assumption that a rule-system that handles NPCs and PCs in a consistent manner translates in to a more consistent game world. That assumption is exactly what I dispute.

However, whatever WotC does produce in 5E, I hope they seriously improve their public relations. :)

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