Rate of Expansion of the Pathfinder game.


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Silver Crusade

Now in August of 2012, three years after Auguest 2009, we have 12 Hard bound books in the Pathfinder games: Core Rule Book, Bestiary, Bestiary 2, Bestiary 3, Game Mastery Guide, Advanced Player Guide, Advanced Race guide, Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Combat, Ultimate Equipment, The Inner Sea World Guide, and The rise of the Rune Lords.

This averages 4 books a year. How does this expansion fit with people? too slow too quick....is it just right?

what do you think?

Thanks


The goal is always 3 a year, but uh...things happen.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32

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As long as the books remain at the same consistently high level of quality that I've come to expect from Paizo, they can keep it up as long as they wish.


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I personally prefer hardcover books and wish all of Paizo's non-adventure products were hardcover, so.. bring it on :)


James Martin wrote:
As long as the books remain at the same consistently high level of quality that I've come to expect from Paizo, they can keep it up as long as they wish.

Agreed. I dont really care who much they produce as long as its created with the same level of care placed on past books.


Dragonamedrake wrote:
James Martin wrote:
As long as the books remain at the same consistently high level of quality that I've come to expect from Paizo, they can keep it up as long as they wish.
Agreed. I dont really care who much they produce as long as its created with the same level of care placed on past books.

Pretty much this.

The most basic concept that people don't seem to grasp, is that quantity is NOTHING; quality is EVERYTHING.

I am not too concerned about their release dates, as the books and concepts will be formulated when they are completely thought out. The only thing that matters is as I've said, that they are a quality that is equal to or (hopefully) superior than their previous release.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
ElyasRavenwood wrote:

Now in August of 2012, three years after Auguest 2009, we have 12 Hard bound books in the Pathfinder games: Core Rule Book, Bestiary, Bestiary 2, Bestiary 3, Game Mastery Guide, Advanced Player Guide, Advanced Race guide, Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Combat, Ultimate Equipment, The Inner Sea World Guide, and The rise of the Rune Lords.

This averages 4 books a year. How does this expansion fit with people? too slow too quick....is it just right?

what do you think?

Thanks

Too many rules for me, but that's a preference about content, not speed.

It seems to me that three hardcovers per year is comfortable for them and four is a little too much. That may have changed with the new staffing arrangements though.


3-4 books a year seems about right IMHO. Monthly releases was to much in 3.5 and 4th died fast for various reasons.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Paizo has nailed it in terms of "rate of output" (I still have more hardcover 4e books than Pathfinder and I stopped buying those after less than 2 years).

As far as I'm concerned, Goldilocks would have picked Paizo's release schedule.

Liberty's Edge

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I clicked on this post expecting a mathematical extrapolation predicting that everyone in the world will play pathfinder by 2050.


While they are all hardcover I would not lump some of them into the goal they set.

Core Rulebook
Bestiary
Bestiary 2
Bestiary 3
Advanced Player's Guide
Advanced Race Guide
Ultimate Magic
Ultimate Combat
Ultimate Equipment - An argument could be made here if this is really needed with the number of items already located in other books. I would say it is more of a completionist/convenience book than a requirement as it is purely items and no rules.

These I would toss into the could leave them and not miss out on anything to do with the rules for the most part.

GameMastery Guide - Mainly as it is more of a tip/design guidebook, a great one at that either way. In an alternate release world this would have included the GM sections of the Core Rulebook at part of the classic 3 book method.
The Inner Sea World Guide - Useful if you run Golarion or to mine ideas.
Rise of the Runelords - It is an AP and is not required at all for the rules.


I like the current rate of expansion.

Although I do feel there are a bit too many pointless archetypes/feats/spells, most books so far have had a good deal of actual valid choices and their quality is usually very good, APG still being my favorite.

Even UM and UC, seen by many as the least satisfatory core books still have lots of great stuff in them. I particullary like the Magus class and martial style feats.

The APs are generally very good too. I didn't play all of them, but the ones I did play, I really enjoyed.

Bloat is inevitable, unfortunatelly. But at least for now, Paizo is doing a good job at adding new stuff without over saturating the game.

However, I'd like to see new game options that didn't come in the form of feats or spell, the called shot mechanic is a good start (although I haven't used it yet), but I'd like to see more stuff like that, something that adds to the game without replacing something else. The best example I can think of is the new combat maneuvers from APG, they added something new to the game without the need of replacing another part of it. But
I digress...

Dark Archive

3-4 a year if it was broken down something like this.
1 Bestiary
1 Player option book (APG, UM or UC)
1 GM style book (GM guide, upcoming Campaign builder book etc)
1 Other (Campaign guide, RotRL HB, examples of future books, Deities book, Tian Xia campaign guide HB etc)


I think the rate of expansion has been close to perfect. There is plenty of time to utilize and enjoy the options in each new book and there is time to save up for the next one along the way.

Honestly, I'd love to see them update and pull some of their 3.5 stuff up into current form like they did with RotRL to stagger between released.

Paizo is doing it just right and I'm not looking anywhere else for my RPG products.


ElyasRavenwood wrote:

Now in August of 2012, three years after Auguest 2009, we have 12 Hard bound books in the Pathfinder games: Core Rule Book, Bestiary, Bestiary 2, Bestiary 3, Game Mastery Guide, Advanced Player Guide, Advanced Race guide, Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Combat, Ultimate Equipment, The Inner Sea World Guide, and The rise of the Rune Lords.

This averages 4 books a year. How does this expansion fit with people? too slow too quick....is it just right?

what do you think?

I'm going to take the term expansion as referring to substantial new rules content, not just any book that happens to be a hardcover. Why do I pick this particular reading of the word? Because more stuff that works just like the stuff you have now doesn't take up much more headspace at all. In my mind it thus contributes far less to any sense that the game is growing in the way that the pacing becomes an issue. The number of books doesn't really tell us a lot by itself.

Rise of the Runelords is an AP hardcover, not a rule book. So I'll take that off the list. Inner Sea World Guide is a setting book, not a rule book. That leaves the list. Bestiaries are about the most widely useful books around and, more importantly for my purposes, rarely introduce any significant new rules, so let's remove all three of those. The GMG is mostly advice, not rules. So we can discount that. I don't have Ultimate Equipment to look and see for sure, but my understanding is that it's more or less a big pile of equipment without much in the way of new rules. So like a bestiary it can be taken off the list. The ARG likewise is mostly new tools that use all the same rules as before.

Four books in three years, unless I miscounted. That's downright stately, and even the books I'm counting as having significant new rules play very nicely with existing stuff rather than branching out on their own in big ways. New classes definitely add to the rules overhead, but most of them hew very closely to the core classes and so benefit from scads of positive transfer. A witch, for example, has weird hexes and plays differently, but if you know how a wizard works the hexes are the only thing you need to learn afresh and they come in tiny, easily-assimilated doses. An oracle likewise gets a lot of transfer from sorcerer. The most out there thing Paizo has really done is the summoner.

Scarab Sages

Lemmy wrote:
However, I'd like to see new game options that didn't come in the form of feats or spell, the called shot mechanic is a good start (although I haven't used it yet), but I'd like to see more stuff like that, something that adds to the game without replacing something else.

Oh, hell, yes.

"Ooh, look. New spells. That'll be a great versatility boost to the quadratic cleric, druid and wizard. Does little for the bard, inquisitor, oracle, or sorcerer, who would have to drop one of their existing choices."


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For me it's too many books. Definitely.

That means too many rules to know, too much money to spend, too many spells/feats/archetypes/races...

Some are very good, some are ...well not so useful IMO.

See I only have a limited amount of time to read and learn all these (Family, job and other leisures take also their toll).

So I don't want to have books bloat.

Fluff yeah ... more rules, more rulebook to look into during games ? Naaaah

I already have another table beside my gaming table where i put all the books to refer to during games ... Please no more rulebooks...

Dark Archive

Rate of expansion works fine.

I stopped "expanding" a while ago (no Advanced Race Guide, no Ultimate Equipment, lots of stuff from the two Ultimate Magic/Combat vetoed, still referring to the old Campaign Setting Hardcover rather than to the Inner Sea World Guide), but in a broader perspective 3 to 4 hardcovers per year is a very good rate of production and market ability to absorb the rules bloat.

The Ultimate Campaign book will be the last hardcover for a while for me (Bestiaries aside), unless the following one deals with enviroments. Or a Casmaron setting hardcover.


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way too much stuff now

makes con games like pfs increasingly hard to run as you rely on the player to have interpreted page 300 of Ultimate Everything correctly...and given the forum traffic, this will not happen


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I'm happy with it for now, but... I could see them running low on Rules ideas at some point. (Also, there were a fair number of rules in the GMG, for those saying it was mostly advice.) Of course, they still haven't done Epic, or Psionic, which I wish would have come before things like the NPC Codex and Ultimate Equipment. I'd also love to see an environment book, like 3.5's Dungeonscape/Sandstorm/Frostburn/Stormwrack/Cityscape line. And an Ultimate Skills. I think there's probably enough material left for a GMG2 and another equipment book, eventually. Maybe even something like Unearthed Arcana, containing nothing but rules alterations.

And that doesn't include the Campaign Setting - still want a World Guide for Casmaron, Vudra, Tian Xia, Arcadia, and Sarusan. And the Darklands. And, for that matter, a Castrovel and Akiton World Guide.

All that will probably take years at their current rate... which is probably a good thing, and thus their current rate is about right. Much faster and they may run out of material too quickly. Much slower and they'll NEVER get around to some stuff.


+1 to Derek!


For me personally, it is too many.

My current group only plays about every other week. And we actually progress much slower than most groups seem to manage.

So options that I want to try are expanding much faster than I get the opportunity to try them out.

Also, the rules options are difficult to keep up with from a mechanics point of view. We seem to constantly have someone trying something new that I am not familiar enough with because it hasn't come up before.

Some players in the group now have 4 books that I don't have. When I'm the GM I either have to say you can't use them (which can cause resentment) or borrow the books and spend more of my limited free time learning the new rules and option.

Last time I was the player the GM was getting frustrated because almost every single spell I cast over about 3 sessions was one that he didn't know. So he either had to assume I really did know the spell fairly well (and some of them are pretty complex) or stop to read it himself.

Also, I am unwilling to buy that many hardcover books a year for just one hobby.

Unfortunately for me, the above make me not really the target market for Paizo. Their key target demographic is the people who will buy as many quality products as they can put out and devote the time to learning and utilizing them. People like me are kind of an add on optional demographic then generate some useful additional sales.


I like the rate, but the quality has been a tad lacking in some of the books.

Ultimate combat book turned out more like APG 2, while leaving the primarially non-casting classed in a ditch for the Ultimate Magic book.

You also add in spells listed but not given. You come up with some slightly disappointing things here and there.

However the quality has been good all around

Liberty's Edge

As stated above, i wouldn't count either The Inner Sea Guide or Rise of the Runelords with the others, as they are extensions of the Campaign and Adventure Path lines.

Their current output is a touch too fast for me, but that's my personal taste, and I think I lag behind the average response.

Even then, I bought nine of those ten books in either physical or digital format, and I'm really excited about the upcoming books announced (Ultimate Campaign, NPC Codex, and Mythic Adventure). So I would say very slightly faster than what I would like.

Silver Crusade

Thank you for all of your responses.

I am comfortable with the current rate of expansion. I don't think I would want it any faster.

I understand the Inner Sea World Guide, and Rise of the Runelords, are extensions of the campaign line, not the Role Playing Game line of products, but, the money to pay for them comes out of the same wallet so to speak, and they go on the same book shelf.

Anyways 3-4 Hard bound books a year seems like a good number. I wouldn't even mind if they pulled back to 3 books a year, Perhaps one for Paizo Con, another for Gen Con, and a third that could be ideally releases around the beginning of December.

Thanks for your posts.


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I wonder why the number of softcovers doesn't bother anyone? They cost far more money per page than hardcovers do, and are released far more often.. For instance, the Bestiary costs $40 for 300+ pages, while two softcover campaign setting books cost $40 for ~130 pages.


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James Martin wrote:
As long as the books remain at the same consistently high level of quality that I've come to expect from Paizo, they can keep it up as long as they wish.

This. I will admit the current rate of new material is too much for me, personally, to keep up with, but as long as they are selling product, turning a profit, and maintaining their quality standards (or even improving them over time, which has been extremely refreshing), I'm a happy customer.


Back in the day (1st and 2nd ed) I used to try and keep up with all of the rules bloat that always crept into the game. I stopped doing that in 3.0 and 3.5 and the same is true in PF. Our games tend to have little character turnover and we have a very stable base of players (and have for years, so I don't see it changing anytime soon). So the opportunity/need to try out new race/class combos on a frequent basis just isn't there.

Hence, I tend to stop after the second support book comes out (APG in this case). There's enough material between CRB and APG and some of the (Races) of Golarion books to keep me going for years. Another member of our group buys every book anyway, so it's there for the group if desired but if I'm running I generally disallow the material (there are exceptions). I will buy all of the Bestiaries, though, and I like to stay current on the campaign world so I buy products that support it. Additional rulebooks I have little use for. But that's just me.

Liberty's Edge

Are wrote:

I wonder why the number of softcovers doesn't bother anyone? They cost far more money per page than hardcovers do, and are released far more often.. For instance, the Bestiary costs $40 for 300+ pages, while two softcover campaign setting books cost $40 for ~130 pages.

It's because people have a harder time justifying spending a lot at once.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

I don't think it can go any faster.

The Rise of the Runelords hardcover wrecked production schedules. They do not have the manpower to put out more content than they currently do.

I don't think anyone has to worry about an acceleration of content.


TriOmegaZero wrote:

I don't think it can go any faster.

The Rise of the Runelords hardcover wrecked production schedules. They do not have the manpower to put out more content than they currently do.

I don't think anyone has to worry about an acceleration of content.

A very good point. Though I am very glad they produced that particular hardcover.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Card Game, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:

I don't think it can go any faster.

The Rise of the Runelords hardcover wrecked production schedules. They do not have the manpower to put out more content than they currently do.

I don't think anyone has to worry about an acceleration of content.

In fact, we haven't had a fourth big book announced for next year (if you presume there will be a opponent stat book of some form towards the end of next year. Admittedly there is the like of project swallowtail, the munchkin tie up etc, but there have been several new hires in the last few months.


Mike Silva wrote:
Are wrote:

I wonder why the number of softcovers doesn't bother anyone? They cost far more money per page than hardcovers do, and are released far more often.. For instance, the Bestiary costs $40 for 300+ pages, while two softcover campaign setting books cost $40 for ~130 pages.

It's because people have a harder time justifying spending a lot at once.

This, plus people only need to buy the softcovers that appeal to them. The Core Rules line is needed for every campaign, but a book about, say, Varisia is going to be of little need if your home campaign is set in Sargava. And even the little use it has will almost vanish in a Forgotten Realms campaign.

Scarab Sages

I think the pace is just about right. Like others have said, if you toss out the bestiaries, adventure and setting hardbacks you are left with just a few. The core plus APG are very robust, whereas I think a lot of groups cherry pick from among the UM and UC moreso than the APG. I know for a fact I am likely to never use Words of Power, gladiatorial combat rules, or called shots. I just have too large of a gaming group to bog the game down like that. On the other hand, I absolutely love the fact that we have all these variant options codified in case you do want to use them.

From a PFS point of view, I can see where the UM/UC added in are a lot of rules. From a private gaming group point of view, my players looked over UM/UC and with the exception of a few archetypes, spells, and the magus, went "Meh" and most of it is unlikely to see the light of day unless a new player joins us.

I do hope that we don't see a APG2, UM2, or UC2. I would much rather they focus on a book for epic rules, psionics, or some other completely untapped source for more core rules development. Frankly the 3rd party material and our own groups frankenstein efforts can fill in any gaps still remaining. If there are new feats, traits, and spells to be added, let them come from adventure or campaign material and not from "the next big book of whatever".


Derek Vande Brake wrote:
This, plus people only need to buy the softcovers that appeal to them. The Core Rules line is needed for every campaign, but a book about, say, Varisia is going to be of little need if your home campaign is set in Sargava. And even the little use it has will almost vanish in a Forgotten Realms campaign.

That's the case for hardcovers too. If a hardcover doesn't appeal to me, I don't need to buy it. There's nothing inherent about a book being hardcover that makes it must-buy as opposed to a softcover.

This thread isn't about the amount of "rules" vs "non-rules", it's about the amount of "hardcover". I would much rather buy 1 hardcover setting book consisting of the material from 3 softcover setting books, than those 3 softcover books separately.


They could put out a book every month and I would not mind as long as it was high quality. My issue with 3.5 was that out of one book I have find 1 or 2 PrC's, and maybe 5 feats. With PF even the things I don't care for due to personal taste are generally useful, and something that I might look into later.


Hmm, I think the list does need to be broken down as others have suggested. I think Samnell broke it down pretty well.

The biggest problem is the fairly steep Law of Diminishing Returns that added rules content brings to the game. Core is 569 pages. APG is another 335. So that is 900+ pages just to have most complete character stat blocks. Once you add a few more books, things get really crazy. You come up against the paradox: Why have all of these books, if Paizo's content is only going to use two or three books at a time? (I recall reading on these boards that Paizo did not want to publish stat blocks that require many different books.)

My idea would be to separate things into setting type books. An Asian theme book with Samurai and Ninja, a Middle Eastern theme book, perhaps a Native People's type book, or Steampunk type thing, etc. That way the added classes, feats, equipment, etc. would be tied to a specific setting, not all mixed together.

As a bi-weekly gamer, I fully realize that I am not the hard-core that I assume Paizo focuses on. What I am saying are my opinions on what I like, not how Paizo should run their business. If Paizo can turn out tons of high quality product, I'll eventually catch up, and if I'm a few years behind, that just means it will be a little cheaper by then. I just want to be able to buy the latest AP, and not need a half dozen books I don't have to understand the stat blocks.

PS Yes, the rules content is available on the PRD for free, and I really appreciate it. However, when I GM, I generally don't have access to a computer, and somethings (monsters) just aren't the same without the awesome art in the printed books. At a certain point, the benefit of all these specific classes, feats, items, spells, etc. is out weighed by the added complexity.


One of the things I could see as streamlining the classes is to create more simplified tables.

  • One shows base attack progression for best, moderate and poor.
  • One shows save progression for good and poor saves.
  • One shows feat progression.

(The above three could be a single chart.)

From that point on, all classes simply refer to those charts (or that one chart) to discuss their BAB/saves. Heck, since Paizo tied BAB to hit-dice value (which I'm not a fan of, but oh well), you don't even have to represent the hit dice value of the classes, except to make a note (and special ability) on the barbarian progression called "greater hit dice" (or, for flavor, if you prefer, "incredibly tough") which notes that instead of the normal d10, the barbarian gets a d12 hit dice. Then that's taken care of too.

  • Have one chart that details a full spell-progression, prepared caster. [that's cleric, druid, and wizard]
  • Have one chart that details a full spell-progression, spontaneous caster (and another related chart for spells known) [that's an oracle and sorcerer]
  • Have one chart that details a partial spell-progression, spontaneous or prepared caster (with a related chart for spells known, if it's spontaneous) [that's alchemist, bard, inquisitor, magus, and summoner]
  • Have one chart that details a limited spell-progression, for prepared or spontaneous caster (with a related chart for spells known, if it's spontaneous) [that's the paladin and ranger - there are currently no spontaneous ones I know of].

After that just have the individual classes refer to the appropriate spell progression table.

All other class special traits can come entirely from the class itself. If it's a caster, refer to the table, not whether it's prepared or spontaneous, it's primary stat, and any notable exceptions. Otherwise, just provide a basic "this class gains this bonus" chart for each class. That also allows the chart to be spread out (to avoid one really big line of stuff), but more likely thinner in general, and thus allowing information to take up less space over-all, saving on print space (and thus money).

The biggest deal to handle would be the spell-casting charts, but not needing to reprint the chart every time would be a serious space saver, even in the core rule book - you take care of the cleric, druid, and wizard charts with one, and the paladin and ranger charts with another: you're effectively saving three chart-spaces in the class descriptions. (If you include all the classes, you're saving quite a bit more!)

When you have things like a cleric's domain spell (which the current chart system is very ambiguous about anyway; so many new players ask why, exactly, they have "4+1" spells per day, instead of "5"...) the simple wording, "In addition to it's normal spells per day, the cleric gains one additional spell slot per spell level that can only use to prepare a domain spell." And that takes care of that.

Still, that's just my idea for when they eventually do publish a new set of rules, which is probably quite some time away.


I like the rate of expansion, even as I get impatient for the next book. :) One of the problems with 3.x D&D (for me) was that books were coming out all the time and I couldn't keep track of them all. They lacked any real build up or excitement and just seemed to be dumped on the player-base as they were ready. Granted, that is sort of how I feel about the soft-covers that Paizo releases, but it helps that those are not as necessary (if needed at all) for me to enjoy the game.

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