Is 3.5e bloat coming back?


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First of all: I don't have the book yet!

My opinion so far: I think the new PrCs are build around the Obedience and "balanced" by this.
I think that is one of the main "issues" with PrC, they are set in the setting/factions and due to this have restrictions beyond the rules (a Red Mantis Assassin have to obey his organisation leader, Church PrC are bond to their church etc. ), if you are Rollplaying this restriction didn't count much, but if you embrace them and roleplay them, they can be a pain in the ass.

E.g. Evangelist of Gorum (to get the awesome Greatsword DAMAGE !!!), the group have to negotiate peace between two rival clans to open up a trade route.. is this something Gorum, GOD OF WAR wants? No, have fun to roleplay that :D

P.S.: I know a lot of player don't like these kind of restrictions (take a look at the "we want CG Paladins!!! - guys", but they are part of the world and dealing with them makes a lot of fun and differs P&P RPG from tabletop games (from my point of view)


If the game is getting overburdened with too many classes, feats, spells, items, etc., there's an easy fix: publish more on the setting and less on new rules. There's 40+ countries, 20+ religions, and tons of groups/organizations/individuals out there that could use some exploration. All of them could be addressed with new materials fleshing out the setting, with few or even NO new classes/feats/spells.

GURPS didn't publish new rulesets with every addition; they focused on settings and themes and even characters. Granted, Golarion is more restrictive than GURPS (it was never meant to be 'universal'), but the same option is available. More story, less number-crunching.


There's a lot of stuff out there. However, for home games at least, it's pretty easy for a GM to say: players can use only Core and APG (or whatever he or she prefers). Of course, it doesn't stop the GM from pulling from additional sources. . .

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For every one person that says their is too much rules bloat. There will be another person asking for more. Personally with the core and the APG one has enough options to craft a decent amount of characters. That being said Paizo should focus on those wanting more option. As it allows them to make more profit. Those that want less rules are not their market imo. As they won't buy more material. It's a simple matter of taking what one needs and ignoring the rest.

I play Rifts and while the core has not changed for years. Their is a lot of class bloat. To the point where it's become redundant. For example they have a police officer class. Then release "new" classes that besides having a difference in a skill or two are the same just renamed.

I do agree though that there are other areas, topics they could explore. Did the Strategy guide really need to come out so soon. If it all. I rather see a set of hardcovers or softcovers based on the different types of environments like 3.5. had.


Calybos1 wrote:

If the game is getting overburdened with too many classes, feats, spells, items, etc., there's an easy fix: publish more on the setting and less on new rules. There's 40+ countries, 20+ religions, and tons of groups/organizations/individuals out there that could use some exploration. All of them could be addressed with new materials fleshing out the setting, with few or even NO new classes/feats/spells.

GURPS didn't publish new rulesets with every addition; they focused on settings and themes and even characters. Granted, Golarion is more restrictive than GURPS (it was never meant to be 'universal'), but the same option is available. More story, less number-crunching.

Yes but GURPS was never as popular as Pathfinder. There is an easy fix - don't buy something you don't like - if the stuff didn't sell they'd cut down/change or discontinue the line - you see some of that in the modules line. The pre-painted minis are going through product growth changes - not everything that Pazio puts out is automatically a gold mine - but considering they have been doing 2 hardcover rulebooks + 12 AP volumes - and the chronicles and companions line from almost the beginning (with some delays here and there) and haven't really made changes to these lines other than to either add extra product or tighten up the shipment schedules - I'd say the sales data suggests that's what people want.

No company is going to stop making a product people will pay for because a few people don't like it. I notice many of those complaining already only have a limited selection based on preference (using what was said in posts in this thread as reference) - I would hazard to guess that not only does this have no effect at all on the product schedule or content - but it also shows that you aren't the market or target for these products. And that's OK. No one is required to have everything - and if your player wants to use it the rules should be up on the PRD for you to reference anyway. Win-Win.


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Calybos1 wrote:

If the game is getting overburdened with too many classes, feats, spells, items, etc., there's an easy fix: publish more on the setting and less on new rules. There's 40+ countries, 20+ religions, and tons of groups/organizations/individuals out there that could use some exploration. All of them could be addressed with new materials fleshing out the setting, with few or even NO new classes/feats/spells.

GURPS didn't publish new rulesets with every addition; they focused on settings and themes and even characters. Granted, Golarion is more restrictive than GURPS (it was never meant to be 'universal'), but the same option is available. More story, less number-crunching.

Except paizo clearly has customers who WANT more feats, classes and spells. If there wasnt there wouldnt be so much interest in the advanced class guide, and there wouldnt be a massive 3rd party product community providing more of this stuff.

So why exactly should paizo stop serving those customers? They are still releasing setting material and adventure material. If you only want that stuff, use that, dont use any of the new rules stuff.

The only reason that makes any sense is pfs. Home games can decide amongst themselves how many options they want to use. PFS is a problem when the game has more options then certain people want. But that should be dealt with WITHIN PFS, and not with what is actually available for ALL paizo customers.


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Calybos1 wrote:
If the game is getting overburdened with too many classes, feats, spells, items, etc., there's an easy fix: publish more on the setting and less on new rules. There's 40+ countries, 20+ religions, and tons of groups/organizations/individuals out there that could use some exploration. All of them could be addressed with new materials fleshing out the setting, with few or even NO new classes/feats/spells.

Now this doesn't necessarily apply to Golarian, specifically, but especially in homebrew settings not every race, class, feat, spell, trait available in the game needs to be, nor should be available. A GM should take the time to limit such to what best fits a specific setting.

For example, in the Kaidan setting of Japanese horror (PFRPG) by Rite Publishing. Local inhabitants are limited to human, kappa, kitsune, korobokuru, hengeyokai, and tengu. There are no elves, half-elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, nor half-orcs. Those races might fit a typical fantasy setting, but in Kaidan, they don't belong. Also because the government of Kaidan has a moratorium on the number of foreigners allowed in-country, offering only a single port of entry, and requiring 'papers' provided by the government determining where they are allowed to travel and how long they can stay. Kaidan is very much a police state, not unlike feudal Japan had been.

Such restrictions help the setting feel more niche and can make things easier in what to allow and disallow PCs in such a setting. Just because a given mechanic or aspect is published for PF, doens't mean it has to be included in every setting.


swoosh wrote:

Complaining about bloat and complaining about balance are two completely different issues.

Especially when you're bringing up 3.5 here, splatbooks were the only thing that kept martials even remotely relevant in 3.5.

Unless you were a full caster, you didn't need it (though Bards got major buffs from splat)


Kolokotroni wrote:
Calybos1 wrote:

If the game is getting overburdened with too many classes, feats, spells, items, etc., there's an easy fix: publish more on the setting and less on new rules. There's 40+ countries, 20+ religions, and tons of groups/organizations/individuals out there that could use some exploration. All of them could be addressed with new materials fleshing out the setting, with few or even NO new classes/feats/spells.

GURPS didn't publish new rulesets with every addition; they focused on settings and themes and even characters. Granted, Golarion is more restrictive than GURPS (it was never meant to be 'universal'), but the same option is available. More story, less number-crunching.

Except paizo clearly has customers who WANT more feats, classes and spells. If there wasnt there wouldnt be so much interest in the advanced class guide, and there wouldnt be a massive 3rd party product community providing more of this stuff.

So why exactly should paizo stop serving those customers?

No one's saying 'stop serving those customers.' I'm saying "Take a look at your business model and consider long-term survival as well as next-quarter profits." If you frontload all your new rules in vast quantities now, you'll have nothing to sell next year. And when you reach the tipping point (and make no mistake, there IS a tipping point), your business will collapse. Moderation is a smarter approach... dole out the new rules in small pieces, a little at a time, so the customers keep coming back.


Artanthos wrote:
Anarchy_Kanya wrote:


Then they should make it to not be their sole avenue of play. Where's will there's always a way.

As soon as I get access to Simulacrum or a reasonably intelligent AI I'll agree with you.

I would love a set group. Has not happened in almost 15 years now.

PbP. Online gaming (Roll20).

As I said, where's a will there's a way.

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Removed a post and reply. Edition warring isn't OK here.


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One pet peeve of mine is the Trait bloat. There are hundreds of them now, the vast majority are redundant (a dozen different traits to gain a +1 trait bonus to the same skill, and get it as a class skill).

On the other hand, there are a bunch that do things that even a feat cannot do: Replacing the key stat for some skills (like Intelligence to UMD or social skills), regaining caster levels lost from multiclassing, reducing metamagic costs on select spells, and so on. Remember when traits were supposed to be half a feat?

Meanwhile, traits like Tireless Avenger and Hill Fighter exist. No Acrobatics check to Charge down a steep hill or mountain slope! (Apparently no such check is necessary for a steep slope in other environments?) Don't even get into how ridiculously situational Tireless Avenger is. You couldn't have a more obscure corner case unless you had a trait that gave you a +1 trait bonus to confirm crits while wielding am Urumi against Grumpkins in the dark of the moon on the fifth of June in a Kenworth pullin' logs.

Take note of which type of class gets which type of trait.


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Ipslore the Red wrote:

Specifically, PrCs being the best options forever, 100 base classes and 500 PrCs, a zillion special materials, and so on.

I ask because of the paper-bound abomination known as Inner Sea Gods and the monstrosity known as Evangelist. From what I have seen of the book, namely Walter's guide to it, it seems to be almost universally terrible from a balance standpoint. Especially evangelist. You lose one level- one fricking level-of your class, and it's easy to get a feat to bring class features back to hit dice. Then you get 100% free features for another 9 levels.

And then exalted has straight spellcasting progression, permanent protect from ______, AND a free domain.

Sentinel is disgustingly cheesy as well. Bonus feats, free +1s to hit and damage, fricking LEADERSHIP for free, +4 to initiative DR, Diehard, and cure critical wounds as a swift action on yourself?

Am I overreacting or should this book never have been written and its authors terminated posthaste?

I think you're reaching for a presumably objective determination (whether 3.5 bloat is returning or not), and then justifying it in the post of yours following the quoted one with a subjective position. That sort of falls apart.

The undeniable reality of most any tabletop RPG that ages past a certain point is that bloat's unavoidable. You either have to keep releasing new material (resulting in bloat), or hope your existing library is enough to keep cash flowing in so you remain an actual company, and not just a publishing house like some of the popular 90s RPG designers (who shall remain nameless) have become.

At this point, the amount of bloat in a given game is reliant entirely upon the allowance of the GM. I recall personally towards the end of my time in 3.5, I was considering, at the conclusion of the campaign we were in at the time, starting a new campaign which used only the Core Rulebooks. If it wasn't in the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide or Monster Manual I, it wouldn't be in the game. That meant feats, classes, prestige classes, etc. It would have been interesting to see how the game played without all the ancillary, optional material.

While technically all material in Pathfinder is "optional" due to Rule Zero, most players can typically rely on all the content present in the Core Rulebook being present in a vast majority of games they'll encounter.

Pathfinder doesn't seem headed for a new edition any time soon (nor should it ever really, as far as I'm concerned; it's the near-perfect distillation of 3.5, which was near perfect on its own; what needed fixing got fixed and called "Pathfinder"). Consequently, new material is just going to add to the bloat. It gets even moreso once you add in third-party "authorized" content like stuff from Dreamscarred Press or Rogue Genius. I mean, DSP just released Ultimate Psionics, finally adding back into the game the one really "iconic" element it's been missing. Even so, most people have always treated psionics as optional material. Its proponents are relentlessly dedicated, its opponents are ravenously opposed to it. It's like watching those arguments that always crop up amongst rock fans once someone brings up the band Kiss. There just doesn't seem to be much middle ground when it comes to psionics.

If you're uncomfortable with the amount of bloat in Pathfinder, run a game utilizing only the material you want in the game, and let your players know that stuff not in approved rulebooks won't be showing up in that particular campaign. It's a pretty easy (and elegant) solution.

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The trouble is that eventually, the percentage of GMs buying new PF releases will drop beneath a certain threshold (as it did for AD&D 2nd Ed and 3.5... 3.0 didn't live long enough.) At that point the financial pressure for Paizo to do a re-release of some kind will be irresistible.

Though honestly I'd be fine with them fully integrating the FAQs from the boards, and maybe putting the Oracle class in core (no disrespect to the fans of other APG classes, but 'spontaneous divine caster' strikes me as a big niche that needed filling... we could bump the Bard and Paladin to the new-edition APG... - see, now I've enraged everybody!) A revision rather than a 'new edition', you know: putting their best-engineered stuff from other books in the new core book.

And maybe they could split the core book back into players' and GMs' books? I know binding is expensive, but that 600-page doorstop is a pain in the butt.

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My answer to the title:

No, it isn't.

Reason: 3.5e is dead and hasn't had anything new released in many, many years.

If you are asking if Pathfinder is seeing a trend in options like that of 3.5 my answer is still no. The sheer options bloat of 3.5 has no yet been reached by Paizo's efforts alone. In fact Paizo hasn't even come close to the number of hardback books.

Does Pathfinder have options bloat? Maybe. It really is a matter of definition and opinion. My opinion is no. Yours may vary.


I didn't read the whole thread, so I am almost certainly ninja'd here, but: Paizo is a BUSINESS. They produce a PRODUCT...that they then sell, in order to make money. "Bloat" is a meaningless term; it implies that Paizo could somehow sell the same 3-4 products without change, forever, and somehow NOT saturate their market and subsequently go out of business.

Paizo is going to put out new products: New books, new rules, new adventure paths, new sourcebooks, new etc. They will do this for as long as they can turn a profit selling them...just like WoTC did with 3.5, and for exactly the same reason: so they can stay in business. There are, in point of fact, very few games, RPG or otherwise, that do not experience some form of this...how many different versions of Monopoly are there?

That's the practical end of it. On the other (artistic/storytelling/gaming) end of it: why would anyone want fewer options? They can't possibly be THAT confusing. As a long time (30+ years) DM, it has been my experience that players have more fun when they are playing the character they want to play, rather than the one they settled for. More options make that easier. Cognizance of these simple facts can pay enormous dividends at the gaming table; and usually outweigh the minor difficulty of a few mechanical adjustments...to either the encounters or a character's class features, as needed. It just really isn't that hard to adapt.

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Im pretty sure the reason that 3.5 died is that it stopped being supported, both by WotC and then by Paizo as well once many of the fans came over or split between 3.5 and 4E.

Im pretty certain that they could have continued strong with 3.5 for a good while if they wanted to. Back then, there where a lot of books requested that never even got touched on.

3.5 Epic Level Handbook
Heroes of Intrigue
Unearthed Arcana 2
Spell Compendium 2
An area book (like Sandstorm) for Swamps/Marshes and also one for the Planes
A monster guide to Elementals (like Libre Mortus)

a few off the top of my head.

I, personally think that Pathfinder could use more bloat, in some areas. There are still plenty of things not covered. I think there are way too many Traits, to the point that some do the exact same thing 2 or even 3 times. I think some classes have an obnoxious amount of archtypes, while others have not nearly enough. I'd be happy to never again see a new Alchemist, Bard, Monk, Magus, Rogue, Summoner, or Witch archtype, for instance, but Cleric, Cavalier, and a few classes could not only use a bunch more, but break even further away from the mold than has been done.

I can't wait for the ACG and Advanced Class Origins books. I don't really like Golarion though, so generally don't care too much for the setting specific books, and only pick them up for the crunch. So everyone is different.


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Elbe-el wrote:

I didn't read the whole thread, so I am almost certainly ninja'd here, but: Paizo is a BUSINESS. They produce a PRODUCT...that they then sell, in order to make money. "Bloat" is a meaningless term; it implies that Paizo could somehow sell the same 3-4 products without change, forever, and somehow NOT saturate their market and subsequently go out of business.

Paizo is going to put out new products: New books, new rules, new adventure paths, new sourcebooks, new etc. They will do this for as long as they can turn a profit selling them...just like WoTC did with 3.5, and for exactly the same reason: so they can stay in business. There are, in point of fact, very few games, RPG or otherwise, that do not experience some form of this...how many different versions of Monopoly are there?

That's the practical end of it. On the other (artistic/storytelling/gaming) end of it: why would anyone want fewer options? They can't possibly be THAT confusing. As a long time (30+ years) DM, it has been my experience that players have more fun when they are playing the character they want to play, rather than the one they settled for. More options make that easier. Cognizance of these simple facts can pay enormous dividends at the gaming table; and usually outweigh the minor difficulty of a few mechanical adjustments...to either the encounters or a character's class features, as needed. It just really isn't that hard to adapt.

1) I'd rather see more adventures and more setting than more rules.

2) Option paralysis is a real thing. Past a certain point you spend more time weeding through junk you don't want than finding the pieces to build the character you want.
Also, the more focus on mechanical build options the more those come to define the character, when I'm often happier defining character through personality without worrying about the mechanical details. Often the more options just wind up defining something anyone could do as something that can only be done with the new ability.


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thejeff wrote:

1) I'd rather see more adventures and more setting than more rules.

2) Option paralysis is a real thing. Past a certain point you spend more time weeding through junk you don't want than finding the pieces to build the character you want.
Also, the more focus on mechanical build options the more those come to define the character, when I'm often happier defining character through personality without worrying about the mechanical details. Often the more options just wind up defining something anyone could do as something that can only be done with the new ability.

I've never really understood option paralysis. Couldn't you just limit your book options for a campaign if that is a worry?

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Scavion wrote:


I've never really understood option paralysis. Couldn't you just limit your book options for a campaign if that is a worry?

Me neither. Its not like one has the entire fate of humanity in one hands when making a character. Or running a game. Limiting what books are used to make or run the game is the solution. I dont and never will understand how more options is a bad thing. The impression I keep getting is that once again some sort of outside entity is forcing gamers to use all the` books.


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Is that really option paralysis? I was under the impression option paralysis was being presented with too many good options to make a choice, thus paralized by options.

What Jeff is describing looks to me like an excess of garbage with a few gems mixed in. (3.5 suffered from the same thing, although in my opinion 3.5 provided far more martial gems than PF does, but a similar number of caster ones.)


kyrt-ryder wrote:

Is that really option paralysis? I was under the impression option paralysis was being presented with too many good options to make a choice, thus paralized by options.

What Jeff is describing looks to me like an excess of garbage with a few gems mixed in. (3.5 suffered from the same thing, although in my opinion 3.5 provided far more martial gems than PF does, but a similar number of caster ones.)

That confuses the heck out of me too. The status quo is that a huge majority of options are garbage. Too situational and not even good for situational use describes a lot of choices.

I much prefer that we continue to get more options because then we may have a good pool of interesting choices in the future.


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I am not too worried about bloat. For the most part, we only get one hardcover volume a year that is shock full of new player options. This year that's Advanced Class Guide, but beyond that you have the Strategy Guide (which seems to be catering towards new players), Monster Codex (DM focused book), and Inner Sea Gods (which is probably closest we will get to a Ultimate Divine book, but a good chunk of it is DM or setting material).

If they keep up the current production, I don't see an issue.


thejeff wrote:
1) I'd rather see more adventures and more setting than more rules.

Eh. I can make my own adventures and my own settings much more easily than I can make my own rules.

Quote:
2) Option paralysis is a real thing. Past a certain point you spend more time weeding through junk you don't want than finding the pieces to build the character you want.

True, but I'd rather have the options to weed out in the first place than be narrowly constrained.


None of the PrC are OP. They are all just "good enough to warrant taking" which is so rare that they're labled as OP.

Evangelist class features don't amount to much, so the previous class scaling is fine.

The divine casting PrC doesn't scale a lot of your previous class abilities, so it's fair.

The full BAB PrC makes martials have a decent option, so it's fine.


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Calybos1 wrote:
I'm saying "Take a look at your business model and consider long-term survival as well as next-quarter profits." If you frontload all your new rules in vast quantities now, you'll have nothing to sell next year. And when you reach the tipping point (and make no mistake, there IS a tipping point), your business will collapse. Moderation is a smarter approach... dole out the new rules in small pieces, a little at a time, so the customers keep coming back.

Isnt that what paizo are doing now? I'm no fan of rules expansions (I think there's already too many PF rules for my tastes) but I dont feel like their annual output is particularly skewed towards crunch over flavor material.

There's adventures, bestiaries and codices plus the campaign setting books are predominantly rules-light (even the player companions have a fair dose of flavor material in them now). The only books which seem particularly rules-intensive to me are a couple of the hardcovers each year.


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kyrt-ryder wrote:

Is that really option paralysis? I was under the impression option paralysis was being presented with too many good options to make a choice, thus paralized by options.

What Jeff is describing looks to me like an excess of garbage with a few gems mixed in. (3.5 suffered from the same thing, although in my opinion 3.5 provided far more martial gems than PF does, but a similar number of caster ones.)

The two situations are pretty much indistinguishable if you're not particularly good at rules analysis.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:

Is that really option paralysis? I was under the impression option paralysis was being presented with too many good options to make a choice, thus paralized by options.

What Jeff is describing looks to me like an excess of garbage with a few gems mixed in. (3.5 suffered from the same thing, although in my opinion 3.5 provided far more martial gems than PF does, but a similar number of caster ones.)

The two situations are pretty much indistinguishable if you're not particularly good at rules analysis.

I was actually kind of thinking of those as different but related things.

One is the problem of weeding through all the junk to find the few gems. The other is flipping back and forth between the good ones trying to decide which to take.

I really prefer a simpler but more flexible system with less character building crunch, but more options during play. PF tends to reward extreme specialization and the more feats and options that are given the more that seems to be true, since you can focus even more with more abilities.

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Wow, a horrible class for PFS. I'll just write on your chronicle that you lost all of your powers now cause it is going to happen and you can't get them back. A horrible class for a pc. Great for an Npc.

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GeneticDrift wrote:
Wow, a horrible class for PFS. I'll just write on your chronicle that you lost all of your powers now cause it is going to happen and you can't get them back. A horrible class for a pc. Great for an Npc.

Uh...you only lose them for a day for missing your Obedience, not forever. That's clearly the intent and developers have said as much.

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
GeneticDrift wrote:
Wow, a horrible class for PFS. I'll just write on your chronicle that you lost all of your powers now cause it is going to happen and you can't get them back. A horrible class for a pc. Great for an Npc.
Uh...you only lose them for a day for missing your Obedience, not forever. That's clearly the intent and developers have said as much.

The complaints seem to be raw based. And you clearly lose all abilities as raw. If people want to be reasonable then it is a non issue so win/win.


Rules bloat is a problem to look out for.
I remember when WOC was cranking splat books out like once a month and not giving a whole lot of attention to game balance. I certainly hope that Paizo does not fall into that trap.

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master_marshmallow wrote:

So does the Evangelist not add spells in or do spells count as a class feature?

Can I select Mystic Theurge and actually get to 9th level spells on both the wizard and cleric lists?

MT is not a spellcasting class. No spell list or granted spells. It does not even have an ability called spells.


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Calybos1 wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Calybos1 wrote:

If the game is getting overburdened with too many classes, feats, spells, items, etc., there's an easy fix: publish more on the setting and less on new rules. There's 40+ countries, 20+ religions, and tons of groups/organizations/individuals out there that could use some exploration. All of them could be addressed with new materials fleshing out the setting, with few or even NO new classes/feats/spells.

GURPS didn't publish new rulesets with every addition; they focused on settings and themes and even characters. Granted, Golarion is more restrictive than GURPS (it was never meant to be 'universal'), but the same option is available. More story, less number-crunching.

Except paizo clearly has customers who WANT more feats, classes and spells. If there wasnt there wouldnt be so much interest in the advanced class guide, and there wouldnt be a massive 3rd party product community providing more of this stuff.

So why exactly should paizo stop serving those customers?

No one's saying 'stop serving those customers.' I'm saying "Take a look at your business model and consider long-term survival as well as next-quarter profits." If you frontload all your new rules in vast quantities now, you'll have nothing to sell next year. And when you reach the tipping point (and make no mistake, there IS a tipping point), your business will collapse. Moderation is a smarter approach... dole out the new rules in small pieces, a little at a time, so the customers keep coming back.

That is precisely what you are saying. If a customer wants new feats, spells, and options, and you are saying release only books without new spells feats and options, that failing to serve those customers.

The simple fact is that only a portion of paizo's customer base will buy pure setting material. Most of those are GMs. Players (which in general outnumber gms) want things to use for their characters. Option books sell better. Period. To abandon releasing options in their books is a very poor business model in a game that is as codified as pathfinder is. If you cut out the crunch, most players wont buy the books, and many gms wont either. As a dm I like new toys to play with. If I want pure setting stuff, I pick an adventure path, that gives me all the setting I need to run the game and I'll make up whatever else I need. Crunch is what I want as a customer. I am not going to buy crunchless books. If paizo pulled all the crunch out of their releases they would no longer be serving me as a customer, or others who share my views.


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Kolokotroni wrote:
The simple fact is that only a portion of paizo's customer base will buy pure setting material. Most of those are GMs. Players (which in general outnumber gms) want things to use for their characters. Option books sell better. Period.

Turns out this is false. And this line of thinking is years out of date. (Yikes!)

The AP line is the flagship line at Paizo, and started ramping up even in the Dungeon magazine era.

Your post is old WotC thinking - long since debunked.

**********
To answer the thread title:

Of course "bloat" is coming back. To snerk at 3.5 and then turn around and laud Pathfinder is inexplicable, delusional, and hypocritical, AFAIC.

(I make no comments on whether the "bloat" is good or bad - only on the comparative reaction between 3.5 and PF. I also make no comment on the issue of power creep.)


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Kolokotroni wrote:

The simple fact is that only a portion of paizo's customer base will buy pure setting material. Most of those are GMs. Players (which in general outnumber gms) want things to use for their characters. Option books sell better. Period....

One other thing to consider, there are a lot of setting stuff sold to those who do not play pathfinder. Every couple of weeks on the RPG.NET d20 forum there is a thread like "Best system to use for Golarion that isn't Pathfinder" and "Is the Inner Sea World Guide fluff or crunch" looking to buy the book for another system.

There are a lot of people who buy the adventure path and sourcebooks that have no interest in the mechanics of the thing.

Just a point of interest. I personally love every high mechanics book that comes out - I have spent more in 3PP rules material for PF than I have Pathfinder books, just for more mechanical choices.


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Type2Demon wrote:
not giving a whole lot of attention to game balance. I certainly hope that Paizo does not fall into that trap.

Too late.


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I'd say player option bloat kicks in when my players look at the options available for their concept and are overwhelmed.

For classes and prestige classes, I'd say we're a long way off. At least, as long as my players are starting from concepts and using that to narrow down their choices.

For feats, we're possibly even further off. Rather than being overwhelmed with the options, it's often a question of finding one that fits at all.

Spells, I'll grant, are pretty overwhelming. But they start out pretty overwhelming in core, so I'm not sure how much it hurts to add another log to the fire.

That said, I can see it being pretty overwhelming for someone trying to build a character from mechanics first... But that's not something I ever want my players doing, so it being difficult actually makes my job easier as a GM.

Cheers!
Landon


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Arnwyn wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
The simple fact is that only a portion of paizo's customer base will buy pure setting material. Most of those are GMs. Players (which in general outnumber gms) want things to use for their characters. Option books sell better. Period.

Turns out this is false. And this line of thinking is years out of date. (Yikes!)

The AP line is the flagship line at Paizo, and started ramping up even in the Dungeon magazine era.

Your post is old WotC thinking - long since debunked.

I never said the APs are not their flagship product. That doesnt make my statement false. It is factual that the group of people that buy adventure paths and setting material, is a subset of the people who buy products from paizo as a whole. Not everyone who plays dms. Almost everyone who buys APs dms (even if they dont run every ap they buy). And most people who dont dm, dont buy or buy relatively few adventure paths. Are you going to tell me that there is any adventure path that has sold as well as the APG?

I am not saying paizo should focus on option books, or that they need to follow a WotC model. They dont and have been wildly successful. But even paizo staff have expressed the fact that the option books have sold extremely well. More people buy crunch then fluff. Some people write their own campaigns and their own adventures. Those people will buy few, if any non-crunch oriented products. Since this is a factual statement, it is a basic inference that the people who buy setting material are a subset of people who are paizo customers in general.

X is the number of people who use golarion/adventure paths
Y is the number of people who play pathfinder but write their own setting and adventures.
Number of people buying paizo books is roughly X+Y. X is a subset of (X+Y).

And I am absolutely certain that if we got actual sales numbers, there would be no setting book (even the inner sea world guide) or adventure path that matched up to the advanced players guide in sales in terms of sheer numbers. Again, paizo has been successful with a different model, not focusing mostly on option books, but that doesnt mean that the option books have not sold better then individual setting products.

Edit:
Lord Morham makes a good point

People who buy paizo books are in 3 parts
X people who use golarion/adventure paths and play pathfinder
Y people who use pathfinder but write their own setting material
Z people who use golarion/adventure paths but dont play pathfinder.

People who buy paizo books are (X+Y+Z). (X+Z) is still a subset of the whole. And I would be literally stunned is Z was greater then Y. Its possible, but really improbable in my mind. Most people buy adventure paths and setting material to reduce their workload, not increase it.


@Kolokotroni
You might be correct about APG, but how do you think the comparison be between the two inner sea guides (remember there have been published two versions of that book) and UC?

Liberty's Edge

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Starfinder Superscriber
GeneticDrift wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
GeneticDrift wrote:
Wow, a horrible class for PFS. I'll just write on your chronicle that you lost all of your powers now cause it is going to happen and you can't get them back. A horrible class for a pc. Great for an Npc.
Uh...you only lose them for a day for missing your Obedience, not forever. That's clearly the intent and developers have said as much.
The complaints seem to be raw based. And you clearly lose all abilities as raw. If people want to be reasonable then it is a non issue so win/win.

Take a look at the "Deific Obedience" feat in ISG. The last paragraph is:

Quote:
If you ever fail to perform a daily obedience, you lose all access to the benefits and boons granted by this feat until you next perform the obedience.

(Emphasis mine.)

This is one of the biggest pitfalls of playing in PFS. You might get stuck with a GM who hasn't read the rules and wants to punish players who choose options he doesn't like with his own misunderstanding of the rules.

Shadow Lodge

Arnwyn wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
The simple fact is that only a portion of paizo's customer base will buy pure setting material. Most of those are GMs. Players (which in general outnumber gms) want things to use for their characters. Option books sell better. Period.

Turns out this is false. And this line of thinking is years out of date. (Yikes!)

The AP line is the flagship line at Paizo, and started ramping up even in the Dungeon magazine era.

Your post is old WotC thinking - long since debunked.

I think you are misrepresenting or misunderstanding things. APs and adventures are cheaper to make, and being soft covers, bring in more money after the cost to produce, and because multiple adventure products come out a year verses rulebooks being more around 1/year, they bring in more profit to Paizo. But thats not the same thing as they are more desired or sell better than rulebooks.

Multiple companies agree that rules/options/splat books are the ones that sell, including Paizo, but Paizos business model is heavily influenced by subscribers, and their production schedule favors APs and Adventures for this.

Even back in the Dungeon and Dragon mags days, Dragon (rules and options focused) outsold Dungeon (adventures and DM focused) significantly because generally only one person in a group would pick up Dungeon whereas (assuming they purchased either), multiple people where more inclined to pick up Dragon.

If Paizo where to make monthly rulebooks in soft cover the size of APs for Pathinder (not Golarion setting), things might change significantly.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
leo1925 wrote:

@Kolokotroni

You might be correct about APG, but how do you think the comparison be between the two inner sea guides (remember there have been published two versions of that book) and UC?

I am not sure, but my guess would be ultimate combat would be slightly ahead. That said, the inner sea guides are more akin to the core rulebook then they are to an option book. They are the 'main' book for the setting. Most people who have bought any setting books will have bought one of those. The same way most people who have bought an rpg book will have bought the core rulebook. And given the number of times paizo has had to reprint the core rulebook despite thinking they over ordered initially, I am going to guess nothing has come close to the sales numbers of the pfrpg core rulebook. Obviously I dont have numbers, and I am not talking about business model. I am simply stating that if you make a vendiagram of paizo customers and their purchases, there is a significant subset that simply do not buy setting material and that it represents a significant portion of paizo's current sales for pathfinder.


Landon Winkler wrote:

I'd say player option bloat kicks in when my players look at the options available for their concept and are overwhelmed.

For classes and prestige classes, I'd say we're a long way off. At least, as long as my players are starting from concepts and using that to narrow down their choices.

For feats, we're possibly even further off. Rather than being overwhelmed with the options, it's often a question of finding one that fits at all.

The overwhelming part with feats and some other abilities is trying to winnow down which things actually apply to your concept.

Which often involves reading through dozens or even hundreds of things to find the handful that actually apply. Or worse the handful that apply if you've also taken some other thing.


"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
Even back in the Dungeon and Dragon mags days, Dragon (rules and options focused) outsold Dungeon (adventures and DM focused) significantly because generally only one person in a group would pick up Dungeon whereas (assuming they purchased either), multiple people where more inclined to pick up Dragon.

From what I remember, this is also untrue (in the latter days of Paizo's control). Dungeon was outselling Dragon near the end, and Paizo was trying to revamp Dragon in different ways to improve it.

(With that said, I'd love to hear from those who actually were there and know the real numbers, and let me know if my memory is crap!)


thejeff wrote:

The overwhelming part with feats and some other abilities is trying to winnow down which things actually apply to your concept.

Which often involves reading through dozens or even hundreds of things to find the handful that actually apply. Or worse the handful that apply if you've also taken some other thing.

I think it's a pain too, but I really only GM. On the other hand, it never seems to bother my players.

Literally the only thing they've complained about with feats are not finding any they want after an exhaustive search. It's never the search itself, although that is usually assisted by d20pfsrd and Google-sensei.

But if someone wants their perfect ten to twenty feats, I think it's only logical that they're going to end up wading through everyone else's ten to twenty to find them.

If we're okay with "close enough," then we can have a much smaller list of feats. But, if we're okay with close enough, we don't really need feats at all.

Cheers!
Landon

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
rknop wrote:
GeneticDrift wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
GeneticDrift wrote:
Wow, a horrible class for PFS. I'll just write on your chronicle that you lost all of your powers now cause it is going to happen and you can't get them back. A horrible class for a pc. Great for an Npc.
Uh...you only lose them for a day for missing your Obedience, not forever. That's clearly the intent and developers have said as much.
The complaints seem to be raw based. And you clearly lose all abilities as raw. If people want to be reasonable then it is a non issue so win/win.

Take a look at the "Deific Obedience" feat in ISG. The last paragraph is:

Quote:
If you ever fail to perform a daily obedience, you lose all access to the benefits and boons granted by this feat until you next perform the obedience.

(Emphasis mine.)

This is one of the biggest pitfalls of playing in PFS. You might get stuck with a GM who hasn't read the rules and wants to punish players who choose options he doesn't like with his own misunderstanding of the rules.

The class ability does not say that and they are different abilities. I can see people sticking to it. it would be horrible for a class to be so easily turned into dead levels. Should be an easy and obvious errata.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
GeneticDrift wrote:
master_marshmallow wrote:

So does the Evangelist not add spells in or do spells count as a class feature?

Can I select Mystic Theurge and actually get to 9th level spells on both the wizard and cleric lists?

MT is not a spellcasting class. No spell list or granted spells. It does not even have an ability called spells.

whoops mistook what the combo was here. /foot meet mouth.


Landon Winkler wrote:
thejeff wrote:

The overwhelming part with feats and some other abilities is trying to winnow down which things actually apply to your concept.

Which often involves reading through dozens or even hundreds of things to find the handful that actually apply. Or worse the handful that apply if you've also taken some other thing.

I think it's a pain too, but I really only GM. On the other hand, it never seems to bother my players.

Literally the only thing they've complained about with feats are not finding any they want after an exhaustive search. It's never the search itself, although that is usually assisted by d20pfsrd and Google-sensei.

But if someone wants their perfect ten to twenty feats, I think it's only logical that they're going to end up wading through everyone else's ten to twenty to find them.

If we're okay with "close enough," then we can have a much smaller list of feats. But, if we're okay with close enough, we don't really need feats at all.

And that's pretty much where I am. But it's not "close enough", it's "less detailed".

Having to take feats and other special abilities to do basic things competently doesn't help me build my character more closely. As more abilities are added, I just need more to hit the new standard of competence at my speciality and have less available for other things.


thejeff wrote:

And that's pretty much where I am. But it's not "close enough", it's "less detailed".

Having to take feats and other special abilities to do basic things competently doesn't help me build my character more closely. As more abilities are added, I just need more to hit the new standard of competence at my speciality and have less available for other things.

Keep in mind that the standard of competence is only whatever your DM sets it at aside from the rather low bar APs and PFS present.

Personally I just want more categories of feats like Style, Combat, Performance and the like. Makes searching easier.

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