5th Edition vs Pathfinder Critique


4th Edition

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Ideally WotC will decide to release the core books as PDFs via dndclassics, even if they decide to price them relatively high compared to the print price.

I also would like to see them put a straight forward 5E character creation tool on their website, whether behind the DDI firewall or otherwise as this is the tool that is most useful to the majority of players. If it let you do one click character creation or an entire party that would be ideal (give me a 3rd level elf rogue, go!). It should let me save my character to their cloud or locally and let me generate a PDF.

Relative to the OGL, I would think they'd be more likely to come out with some kind of D20 style compatibility license that lets you add to the game more than create your own game. It would require you to reference the core rules but on the plus side would let you use the approved logos/trademarks and make use of IP, such as having mind flayers in your adventures.

So far, especially compared to 4E or PF, I find character creation with 5E much simpler. With a few rolls of my dice and the free fillable PDF template they have I was able to whip up a character in less than 30 minutes. Good stuff.

The Exchange

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I understand where Bugleyman is coming from. I wouldn't stop playing the system because of it though. However, his point about most other companies having electronic presence is quite valid.

I like electronic copies of products because it means I don't need an epic bookshelf to hold all my roleplay material. More importantly, it means I don't have to lug tons of physical copies of my rule books to game night. I just carry my iPad, minis and dice now.

For me, it is very convenient.

At the moment, 5e only has two books out, plus adventures. I run a table for the organised play at my local shop. So now I'm having to take the adventure, monster manual and PHB. However, much of what I need is in electronic format for free from WotC.

The most interesting discussion I've had about this recently was with the owner of my local shop. He has to carry physical books, and they need to move from his shelves in order to make profit. His 5 th ed stuff is moving well at the moment.

His Pathfinder isn't moving at all.

Both games seem to be equally represented in the area, based on games at his shop and recruitment notices for our area. However, the pathfinder players purchase their stuff electronically. It saves them a ton of cash ( I'm in Aus and our books are damn expensive due to shipping and taxes)

So, electronic is good for the consumer, but is killing the physical shop front. The shops are still the places where many people discover these games exist in the first place.

Cheers


sunshadow21 wrote:
These days, for anything to really thrive, yes it needs digital support. For better or for worse, the presence or lack of digital aids will be one of the determining factors in how well this system does, and the longer WotC takes to get official digital tools or pdfs out there, the more the void will be filled by others, probably less than legally, and/or the more that the younger crowd will simply ignore the system entirely. Not even putting out pdfs, something that's more or less an industry standard these days, will hurt WotC, just as it did when they ignored them in 4E. I can understand that some people don't agree with this, but that's the age we live in. The digital stuff cannot and should not ever fully replace the physical books, but it does have to be there.

Totally understood. Your last sentence is absolutely true. I just dont think it has to be now, with such few material out. Should they be working on something? Absolutely. But i dont think they need it until at least the start of next year. I know it would be nice for some people that dont enjoy having the physical copy of the book to have a PDF version to buy. But there's alot of QQ'ing over one book right now. when they get to three or four PLAYER resources, then I'd see a need for digital support, at the least an SRD. But everything a player currently needs is in one book.

I thought it had been done before, but I don't understand why a system hasnt come out with a way to either a) buy a digital copy that cannot be shared, or b) if you buy the book you get a code for a PDF that cannot be shared. Since i am not that tech savvy, is it even possible? I thought a system had done it already, but not positive.


lorenlord wrote:
I thought it had been done before, but I don't understand why a system hasnt come out with a way to either a) buy a digital copy that cannot be shared, or b) if you buy the book you get a code for a PDF that cannot be shared. Since i am not that tech savvy, is it even possible? I thought a system had done it already, but not positive.

It may be technically doable, but practically, it's not really implementable right now, if ever. Both options usually end up requiring more work than they are worth to get them to work.


lorenlord wrote:


I thought it had been done before, but I don't understand why a system hasnt come out with a way to either a) buy a digital copy that cannot be shared, or b) if you buy the book you get a code for a PDF that cannot be shared. Since i am not that tech savvy, is it even possible? I thought a system had done it already, but not positive.

Because "Cannot be shared" is a very high bar. And generally a pointless one. It generally involves being irritating and cumbersome for the legitimate user and not hard for the pirates to get around.

Can I print it and give the printed copy to someone else? Can I not print it and thus not have convenient printed pages when I want them? Can I make backup copies? Can I copy it to my desktop, laptop and tablet, but not to someone elses? Even if I give him the code?

If nothing else, they can scan the hardcopy into pdf and distribute that. It's impossible to prevent people from pirating your content.

Therefore, the best strategy is to sell it to them in a convenient form at a reasonable price. Surprisingly to those paranoid about piracy, this actually works.


Wrath wrote:

I understand where Bugleyman is coming from. I wouldn't stop playing the system because of it though. However, his point about most other companies having electronic presence is quite valid.

I like electronic copies of products because it means I don't need an epic bookshelf to hold all my roleplay material. More importantly, it means I don't have to lug tons of physical copies of my rule books to game night. I just carry my iPad, minis and dice now.

For me, it is very convenient.

At the moment, 5e only has two books out, plus adventures. I run a table for the organised play at my local shop. So now I'm having to take the adventure, monster manual and PHB. However, much of what I need is in electronic format for free from WotC.

The most interesting discussion I've had about this recently was with the owner of my local shop. He has to carry physical books, and they need to move from his shelves in order to make profit. His 5 th ed stuff is moving well at the moment.

His Pathfinder isn't moving at all.

Both games seem to be equally represented in the area, based on games at his shop and recruitment notices for our area. However, the pathfinder players purchase their stuff electronically. It saves them a ton of cash ( I'm in Aus and our books are damn expensive due to shipping and taxes)

So, electronic is good for the consumer, but is killing the physical shop front. The shops are still the places where many people discover these games exist in the first place.

Cheers

This ultimately is the problem that we have to find in today's market. To me, both books and digital have strengths and weaknesses, and finding a way to let multiple formats and distribution methods flourish is going to be a challenge the industry is going to have to address sooner rather than later.


sunshadow21 wrote:
lorenlord wrote:
I thought it had been done before, but I don't understand why a system hasnt come out with a way to either a) buy a digital copy that cannot be shared, or b) if you buy the book you get a code for a PDF that cannot be shared. Since i am not that tech savvy, is it even possible? I thought a system had done it already, but not positive.
It may be technically doable, but practically, it's not really implementable right now, if ever. Both options usually end up requiring more work than they are worth to get them to work.

Thanks. Was just a thought. It seemed like a viable idea, but i can see your point.


I think the biggest frustration for people on the PDF front is that it is basically a no work option for WotC. They have the PDFs of the books already. They have a delivery mechanism via sales on dndclassics.com. Also, if every other RPG vendor out there (or at least all of the big players) can put out PDFs and not worry about piracy, etc. why can't WotC?

Now, I suspect the decision has a lot to do with not undercutting their loyal store partners and/or their software development partners but once the core is out for a bit and with Dungeonscape scrapped we might be seeing some more progress on this front.


sunshadow21 wrote:
Wrath wrote:

I understand where Bugleyman is coming from. I wouldn't stop playing the system because of it though. However, his point about most other companies having electronic presence is quite valid.

I like electronic copies of products because it means I don't need an epic bookshelf to hold all my roleplay material. More importantly, it means I don't have to lug tons of physical copies of my rule books to game night. I just carry my iPad, minis and dice now.

For me, it is very convenient.

At the moment, 5e only has two books out, plus adventures. I run a table for the organised play at my local shop. So now I'm having to take the adventure, monster manual and PHB. However, much of what I need is in electronic format for free from WotC.

The most interesting discussion I've had about this recently was with the owner of my local shop. He has to carry physical books, and they need to move from his shelves in order to make profit. His 5 th ed stuff is moving well at the moment.

His Pathfinder isn't moving at all.

Both games seem to be equally represented in the area, based on games at his shop and recruitment notices for our area. However, the pathfinder players purchase their stuff electronically. It saves them a ton of cash ( I'm in Aus and our books are damn expensive due to shipping and taxes)

So, electronic is good for the consumer, but is killing the physical shop front. The shops are still the places where many people discover these games exist in the first place.

Cheers

This ultimately is the problem that we have to find in today's market. To me, both books and digital have strengths and weaknesses, and finding a way to let multiple formats and distribution methods flourish is going to be a challenge the industry is going to have to address sooner rather than later.

Great point. That's going to be a rough juggling act for companies. I know in the wargaming community, there have been alot more army codexes going digital instead of printing out the books, especially for the less-popular armies (I've played Warhammer Fantasy [the Tabletop game, not the RPG] since 1995). I understand why they're doing it, but I always liked to have the physical copy in my army bag.


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Ah yes the soft cover army books of Games Workshop. Back in my day (early to mid 1990s) we loved those soft cover books that came apart so easily so you could put only the pages you needed into slip covers and then into a binder to keep handy. Man that was a brilliant design flaw um feature


thejeff wrote:
lorenlord wrote:


I thought it had been done before, but I don't understand why a system hasnt come out with a way to either a) buy a digital copy that cannot be shared, or b) if you buy the book you get a code for a PDF that cannot be shared. Since i am not that tech savvy, is it even possible? I thought a system had done it already, but not positive.

Because "Cannot be shared" is a very high bar. And generally a pointless one. It generally involves being irritating and cumbersome for the legitimate user and not hard for the pirates to get around.

Can I print it and give the printed copy to someone else? Can I not print it and thus not have convenient printed pages when I want them? Can I make backup copies? Can I copy it to my desktop, laptop and tablet, but not to someone elses? Even if I give him the code?

If nothing else, they can scan the hardcopy into pdf and distribute that. It's impossible to prevent people from pirating your content.

Therefore, the best strategy is to sell it to them in a convenient form at a reasonable price. Surprisingly to those paranoid about piracy, this actually works.

Thhose are valid points. I guess i was just wondering "aloud" if it could be done. You absolutely answered my question in your 3rd paragraph. "It's impossible to prevent people from pirating your content." Thank you, that was the quandry I was basically getting at. I know that Army Builder (a program for tabletop gaming) limits you to having it on a certain number of devices per license, but I guess that would be like comparing apples and oranges.


Terquem wrote:
Ah yes the soft cover army books of Games Workshop. Back in my day (early to mid 1990s) we loved those soft cover books that came apart so easily so you could put only the pages you needed into slip covers and then into a binder to keep handy. Man that was a brilliant design flaw um feature

mine are all in good condition still. One of the lucky ones I guess. And I used them a ton. plus they were so cheap, apparently literally as well as figuratively lol.


Wrath wrote:

I understand where Bugleyman is coming from. I wouldn't stop playing the system because of it though. However, his point about most other companies having electronic presence is quite valid.

I like electronic copies of products because it means I don't need an epic bookshelf to hold all my roleplay material. More importantly, it means I don't have to lug tons of physical copies of my rule books to game night. I just carry my iPad, minis and dice now.

For me, it is very convenient.

At the moment, 5e only has two books out, plus adventures. I run a table for the organised play at my local shop. So now I'm having to take the adventure, monster manual and PHB. However, much of what I need is in electronic format for free from WotC.

The most interesting discussion I've had about this recently was with the owner of my local shop. He has to carry physical books, and they need to move from his shelves in order to make profit. His 5 th ed stuff is moving well at the moment.

His Pathfinder isn't moving at all.

Both games seem to be equally represented in the area, based on games at his shop and recruitment notices for our area. However, the pathfinder players purchase their stuff electronically. It saves them a ton of cash ( I'm in Aus and our books are damn expensive due to shipping and taxes)

So, electronic is good for the consumer, but is killing the physical shop front. The shops are still the places where many people discover these games exist in the first place.

Cheers

Physical books are living on borrowed time. I wouldn't be surprised if my grandchildren see them become a museum curiosity. The economics of printing and distribution simply don't make sense in a digital world.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
bugleyman wrote:
Wrath wrote:

I understand where Bugleyman is coming from. I wouldn't stop playing the system because of it though. However, his point about most other companies having electronic presence is quite valid.

I like electronic copies of products because it means I don't need an epic bookshelf to hold all my roleplay material. More importantly, it means I don't have to lug tons of physical copies of my rule books to game night. I just carry my iPad, minis and dice now.

For me, it is very convenient.

At the moment, 5e only has two books out, plus adventures. I run a table for the organised play at my local shop. So now I'm having to take the adventure, monster manual and PHB. However, much of what I need is in electronic format for free from WotC.

The most interesting discussion I've had about this recently was with the owner of my local shop. He has to carry physical books, and they need to move from his shelves in order to make profit. His 5 th ed stuff is moving well at the moment.

His Pathfinder isn't moving at all.

Both games seem to be equally represented in the area, based on games at his shop and recruitment notices for our area. However, the pathfinder players purchase their stuff electronically. It saves them a ton of cash ( I'm in Aus and our books are damn expensive due to shipping and taxes)

So, electronic is good for the consumer, but is killing the physical shop front. The shops are still the places where many people discover these games exist in the first place.

Cheers

Physical books are living on borrowed time. I wouldn't be surprised in my grandchildren see the day where they are a museum curiosity. The economics of printing simply don't make sense in a digital world.

The problem with that for gaming is the death of the FLGS.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
bugleyman wrote:
Physical books are living on borrowed time. I wouldn't be surprised if my grandchildren see them become a museum curiosity. The economics of printing and distribution simply don't make sense in a digital world.

I would be surprised to see physical books disappear completely. They can offer many advantages that digital products cannot. Their use will continue to decrease until digital products equal or surpass them in day to day life, but they will always be around. Simply writing off physical books entirely is just as stupid as ignoring the need for developing digital products.

Shadow Lodge

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bugleyman wrote:


Physical books are living on borrowed time. I wouldn't be surprised if my grandchildren see them become a museum curiosity. The economics of printing and distribution simply don't make sense in a digital world.

I'd wager paper books exist long after your grandchildren's grandchildren has been rendered unto dust.


thejeff wrote:
The problem with that for gaming is the death of the FLGS.

Possibly. I certainly hope not.

FLGSes might be able to thrive by providing a better experience. Perhaps by renting a comfortable place to game with a good assortment of food and snacks for sale, etc. Or perhaps by hosting card game tournaments, book signings, or other things that really have to happen in person.

But my fondness for FLGSes notwithstanding, print is teetering on obsolescence.


Hey, I saw Back to the Future part 2, and I know that our "books" are going to be museum pieces by 2015, because they still use dust jackets, you know because dust free paper is going to be invented and, and then...wait, hold on a minute I don't think that movie was telling the truth.


Kthulhu wrote:
I'd wager paper books exist long after your grandchildren's grandchildren has been rendered unto dust.

And I'd take that wager. However, since we'll both be dead...


Ok...so for those of you without a grounding in economics (seriously, not a dig):

Paper is expensive. Ink is expensive. Every copy printed carries a marginal cost. Printed books are heavy and bulky. They cost money to store, distribute, and sell. Modern printed books are printed on paper that is chemically unstable.

Conversely, digital copies are free. Displays are getting smaller, cheaper and more ubiquitous every day. In the not so distant-future, we will do away with physical displays altogether with projection or holograms, or possibly by going straight onto the retina.

The simple fact is that printing isn't going to make sense from a resource allocation point-of-view for very much longer.


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God I so agree with you

and then maybe we can get rid of all those wasteful renditions of oil based pigments on stretched sails. Man is that getting old.

Seriously. Economics. That's your argument, economics?

I published two novels. My publisher pays me $2.35 for each physical copy sold. You know what they pay me for each digital copy they sell...I'll give you one guess.


Terquem wrote:

God I so agree with you

and then maybe we can get rid of all those wasteful renditions of oil based pigments on stretched sails. Man is that getting old.

Seriously. Economics. That's your argument, economics?

I published two novels. My publisher pays me $2.35 for each physical copy sold. You know what they pay me for each digital copy they sell...I'll give you one guess.

Economics runs the world.

Re: Oil paintings. You're also confusing the act of creation with the act of consumption...I fully expect prints to disappear at some point. Why would you want a print when you can have a 100% accurate digital reproduction that costs less than a penny a day to run? It's only a matter of time.

Speaking of the act of creation, congrats on finishing two novels. I'm curious: Did you write them on a computer? A typewriter? Or did you write them by hand? Why?

As for what your publisher pays you for ebooks, I have no idea. Why don't you share and tell us what you think it means?

Also...judging by your tone and use of sarcasm, you seem to be taking this very personally.


Terquem wrote:

God I so agree with you

and then maybe we can get rid of all those wasteful renditions of oil based pigments on stretched sails. Man is that getting old.

Seriously. Economics. That's your argument, economics?

I published two novels. My publisher pays me $2.35 for each physical copy sold. You know what they pay me for each digital copy they sell...I'll give you one guess.

Eyeballing it based on standard averages: about $1.50?

From the way you've phrased it, I'd expect nothing, which means you need to cut a better deal.

More generally you're conflating long-term, probably irresistable trends in technology with currently skewed bargaining positions between authors and publishers. You should make a larger percentage on the digital books.

I wouldn't expect physical books to vanish completely, but to become much more of a niche, collector's item market. High-end print on demand may also become the way to go for those who do want the physical copy.


Economically, digital is cheaper than books in the short run, yes, but books still have advantages. Long term, their maintenance cost to the producer is zero; you make it, you sell it, and you move on to the next thing. Digital products tend to require servers and/or updating material to work with new protocols; if they don't offer either of these things, than the functional life of a digital product is much shorter, and the consumer will demand a lower price accordingly, so either way, it costs the creator money. They are also more predictable to both the creator and consumer; their initial costs may be higher, but they are generally well known and better understood, and consumers know what they can and cannot expect from them. Physical products are also generally more appealing to consumers because once you have the product, you control it entirely, and it's very difficult for anybody to take that control away short of taking the physical product away. With digital products, the consumer never really fully controls the product; there's too many people that can limit access or use of that product with little to no warning.

In the end, both mediums have strengths and weaknesses, and the marketplace will have to adapt to the presence of both. Digital products are not going away, but neither is the physical book. As the drawbacks of digital offerings become better known, you'll see a resurgence of the physical books as a viable alternative when digital simply can't offer what people are looking for, and this industry is going to be one of the places where physical books continue to do well. Digital tools are good and helpful, but they will never replace the feeling of flipping through a book and looking at artwork to get inspiration.


As time goes on, the advantages of print will erode to nothing. Even the tactile properties of books will be reproducible with a digital device at a much lower cost than print.

But really, this is all beside the point. Today, books are viable. I simply prefer digital, and unless and until WotC sells content in my preferred format, someone who does gets my money. So everyone wins?


sunshadow21 wrote:

Economically, digital is cheaper than books in the short run, yes, but books still have advantages. Long term, their maintenance cost to the producer is zero; you make it, you sell it, and you move on to the next thing. Digital products tend to require servers and/or updating material to work with new protocols; if they don't offer either of these things, than the functional life of a digital product is much shorter, and the consumer will demand a lower price accordingly, so either way, it costs the creator money. They are also more predictable to both the creator and consumer; their initial costs may be higher, but they are generally well known and better understood, and consumers know what they can and cannot expect from them. Physical products are also generally more appealing to consumers because once you have the product, you control it entirely, and it's very difficult for anybody to take that control away short of taking the physical product away. With digital products, the consumer never really fully controls the product; there's too many people that can limit access or use of that product with little to no warning.

In the end, both mediums have strengths and weaknesses, and the marketplace will have to adapt to the presence of both. Digital products are not going away, but neither is the physical book. As the drawbacks of digital offerings become better known, you'll see a resurgence of the physical books as a viable alternative when digital simply can't offer what people are looking for, and this industry is going to be one of the places where physical books continue to do well. Digital tools are good and helpful, but they will never replace the feeling of flipping through a book and looking at artwork to get inspiration.

Digital stuff can be sold without any DRM or other server side control involved. My Paizo pdfs for example are mine. I can do as I please with them and will be able to continue to do so, even if Paizo shuts down.

No one can limit that, short of hacking my computer - and my backup storage. Which is the rough equivalent of breaking in and taking my hardcopies.
Some e-book formats work similarly. I know I've bought a few that way - mostly small press, online only stuff, I prefer real books for casual reading.


thejeff wrote:

Digital stuff can be sold without any DRM or other server side control involved. My Paizo pdfs for example are mine. I can do as I please with them and will be able to continue to do so, even if Paizo shuts down.

No one can limit that, short of hacking my computer - and my backup storage. Which is the rough equivalent of breaking in and taking my hardcopies.

Some e-book formats work similarly. I know I've bought a few that way - mostly small press, online only stuff, I prefer real books for casual reading.

You can still lose access to power, and thus access to the devices required to read the pdfs. As an archiving medium, digital will always be second to physical, which is why most companies still use lots of paper, and still require hardcopies when archiving is required. Aside from the power issue, you have the issue of differing protocols, operating systems, and corrupted data. We already face challenges accessing data stored on microfilm only 40 years ago; that problem is just going to get worse. Digital is very good for accessing information for immediate use, but books are still the kings of long term access and storage, and always will be, especially for the rare and obscure that people don't want to have to pay constant server and connection fees to maintain access to. Digital access is improving and will get closer to what books offer, but it will never replace books. It will simply offer an alternative to how information is accessed at any given time.


sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Digital stuff can be sold without any DRM or other server side control involved. My Paizo pdfs for example are mine. I can do as I please with them and will be able to continue to do so, even if Paizo shuts down.

No one can limit that, short of hacking my computer - and my backup storage. Which is the rough equivalent of breaking in and taking my hardcopies.

Some e-book formats work similarly. I know I've bought a few that way - mostly small press, online only stuff, I prefer real books for casual reading.

You can still lose access to power, and thus access to the devices required to read the pdfs. As an archiving medium, digital will always be second to physical, which is why most companies still use lots of paper, and still require hardcopies when archiving is required. Aside from the power issue, you have the issue of differing protocols, operating systems, and corrupted data. We already face challenges accessing data stored on microfilm only 40 years ago; that problem is just going to get worse. Digital is very good for accessing information for immediate use, but books are still the kings of long term access and storage, and always will be, especially for the rare and obscure that people don't want to have to pay constant server and connection fees to maintain access to. Digital access is improving and will get closer to what books offer, but it will never replace books. It will simply offer an alternative to how information is accessed at any given time.

Except the paper a lot of stuff is printed on these days is far from archival quality. But sure, long term storage is good, but what fraction of the publishing business is going for long term storage and not immediate use?

Or I can lose access to power and not have light to read my hard copy, while I could keep reading on my tablet or ebook reader for hours. And I could lose my physical books in a fire and restore my ebooks from cloud backup.

But now we're far away from "the consumer never really fully controls the product".


sunshadow21 wrote:
You can still lose access to power, and thus access to the devices required to read the pdfs. As an archiving medium, digital will always be second to physical, which is why most companies still use lots of paper, and still require hardcopies when archiving is required. Aside from the power issue, you have the issue of differing protocols, operating systems, and corrupted data. We already face challenges accessing data stored on microfilm only 40 years ago; that problem is just going to get worse. Digital is very good for accessing information for immediate use, but books are still the kings of long term access and storage, and always will be, especially for the rare and obscure that people don't want to have to pay constant server and connection fees to maintain access to. Digital access is improving and will get closer to what books offer, but it will never replace books. It will simply offer an alternative to how information is accessed at any given time.

Locally-stored Unicode FTW. Also, as thejeff pointed out the vast majority of printed media isn't archival quality. Stone tablets, on the other hand... ;-)

Seriously though, maybe I'm wrong. The only way to know for sure is wait and see. So...meet here in eighty years? :P


As an example, microfilm. It seemed like a great idea at the time, and it saved a lot of space, but nowadays, not even most researchers deal with it that much. Most digital offerings are the same way. A new OS comes out on a new device on a new network, and all the old information either needs to be copied over or left behind; maintaining the old device and software is simply not an option in most cases given the sheer number of devices and software iterations that would have to saved and that's before you get into the issue that most devices today rely more and more on the cloud for basic functionality. That's very different from a book that short of physical damage or loss of possession can always be accessed, even if it isn't always understood. As a book owner, I have full control over that book and the material within. Yes, things can happen to that book, but they all require direct access to the book itself. As a digital owner, I'm at the whim of the hardware manufacturer, OS developer, application and protocol maker, the creator of the actual product, the power company, and in many cases, my ISP. Much harder to claim to have control over that product when a decision by someone else on something not directly related to that product can effect access to the product both short term and long term.


sunshadow21 wrote:
As an example, microfilm. It seemed like a great idea at the time, and it saved a lot of space, but nowadays, not even most researchers deal with it that much. Most digital offerings are the same way. A new OS comes out on a new device on a new network, and all the old information either needs to be copied over or left behind; maintaining the old device and software is simply not an option in most cases given the sheer number of devices and software iterations that would have to saved and that's before you get into the issue that most devices today rely more and more on the cloud for basic functionality. That's very different from a book that short of physical damage or loss of possession can always be accessed, even if it isn't always understood. As a book owner, I have full control over that book and the material within. Yes, things can happen to that book, but they all require direct access to the book itself. As a digital owner, I'm at the whim of the hardware manufacturer, OS developer, application and protocol maker, the creator of the actual product, the power company, and in many cases, my ISP. Much harder to claim to have control over that product when a decision by someone else on something not directly related to that product can effect access to the product both short term and long term.

Unicode is operating system and platform independent. Store it locally and there's really no way a third party could interfere short of physical access (which, as thejeff has noted, also applies to printed matter).

As for DRM: Interesting point. It is entirely possible that misguided "content owners" could succeed in restricting digital technology through legislation sufficiently to obviate its many advantages. Very discouraging, but not implausible.


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bugleyman wrote:
thejeff wrote:
The problem with that for gaming is the death of the FLGS.

Possibly. I certainly hope not.

FLGSes might be able to thrive by providing a better experience. Perhaps by renting a comfortable place to game with a good assortment of food and snacks for sale, etc. Or perhaps by hosting card game tournaments, book signings, or other things that really have to happen in person.

But my fondness for FLGSes notwithstanding, print is teetering on obsolescence.

That's exactly what is happening to many FLGSes. If Magic the Gathering wasn't such a huge draw, I don't think there would be ANY FLGS if print books vanished. Oh, and how exactly would there be "book signings" if there are no print books?

Looking back through a few of these 5th edition threads, bugleyman makes a comment on how 5th edition is dead or a "non-starter" due to no pdfs and the thread goes way off topic.


Adjule wrote:
That's exactly what is happening to many FLGSes. If Magic the Gathering wasn't such a huge draw, I don't think there would be ANY FLGS if print books vanished. Oh, and how exactly would there be "book signings" if there are no print books?

I should have written simply "signings." I was thinking existing books, cards, pictures, etc. But yeah, that probably won't last. How about author readings?

Adjule wrote:
Looking back through a few of these 5th edition threads, bugleyman makes a comment on how 5th edition is dead or a "non-starter" due to no pdfs and the thread goes way off topic.

Perhaps, but is it fair to characterize expressing my opinion about 5E vs. Pathfinder digital availability in a thread entitled "5TH EDITION VS PATHFINDER CRITIQUE" as off-topic? For some reason people feel compelled to pontificate on how unreasonable my opinion is because they don't share it.


My recent issue with not being smart enough to keep up with Pathfinder is all the new "extra" bits offered to give certain classes that special quality.
What do we have now

Monks - Ki
Gun fighters - Grit
Swashbucklers - panache

and I think there are others.

When will we actually see
Chutzpah
Snark
Gumption

as special character points available to pull off those unusual game changers?

And that kind of goes hand in hand with what was already said about feats, and such. it seems, to me anyway, that as soon as you nail down, define, how a specific heroic act can and cannot be done, you put limits on the player's creativity and prevent them from asking

"Hey, what if I tried this?"

and you as a DM answer, "Sounds, crazy, make a (insert ability score here) roll and apply disadvantage to it because (insert game thing going on here), or advantage (insert game thing going on here), and try to beat a 10!"

For me, in a direct comparison between 5e and Pathfinder, I feel I can manage the game as it is being played better under the 5e rules than I ever will be able to do it under the Pathfinder rules, except in those specific games I am playing face to face with people I know and we all agree on a limited rules set to follow, then those Pathfinder games I might be able to handle.

The Exchange

sunshadow21 wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Digital stuff can be sold without any DRM or other server side control involved. My Paizo pdfs for example are mine. I can do as I please with them and will be able to continue to do so, even if Paizo shuts down.

No one can limit that, short of hacking my computer - and my backup storage. Which is the rough equivalent of breaking in and taking my hardcopies.

Some e-book formats work similarly. I know I've bought a few that way - mostly small press, online only stuff, I prefer real books for casual reading.

You can still lose access to power, and thus access to the devices required to read the pdfs. As an archiving medium, digital will always be second to physical, which is why most companies still use lots of paper, and still require hardcopies when archiving is required. Aside from the power issue, you have the issue of differing protocols, operating systems, and corrupted data. We already face challenges accessing data stored on microfilm only 40 years ago; that problem is just going to get worse. Digital is very good for accessing information for immediate use, but books are still the kings of long term access and storage, and always will be, especially for the rare and obscure that people don't want to have to pay constant server and connection fees to maintain access to. Digital access is improving and will get closer to what books offer, but it will never replace books. It will simply offer an alternative to how information is accessed at any given time.

For me it's not the loss of power that concerns me. For me it's the corruption of data or complete loss of data that worries me.

At the moment I have all my digital copies on hard drive, portable drive and iPad. Many of them are also kept in log files on Paizo. But I've had that level of protection before and still lost lots of data. And what happens if paizo goes belly up, where's my data then.

Also, there's a huge issue with resale at the moment. With physical copies, if I'm done I can sell them. Currently that's not happening with digital copies. Those are big issues that need to be resolved before print disappears completely.


Terquem wrote:

My recent issue with not being smart enough to keep up with Pathfinder is all the new "extra" bits offered to give certain classes that special quality.

What do we have now

Monks - Ki
Gun fighters - Grit
Swashbucklers - panache

and I think there are others.

When will we actually see
Chutzpah
Snark
Gumption

as special character points available to pull off those unusual game changers?

And that kind of goes hand in hand with what was already said about feats, and such. it seems, to me anyway, that as soon as you nail down, define, how a specific heroic act can and cannot be done, you put limits on the player's creativity and prevent them from asking

"Hey, what if I tried this?"

and you as a DM answer, "Sounds, crazy, make a (insert ability score here) roll and apply disadvantage to it because (insert game thing going on here), or advantage (insert game thing going on here), and try to beat a 10!"

For me, in a direct comparison between 5e and Pathfinder, I feel I can manage the game as it is being played better under the 5e rules than I ever will be able to do it under the Pathfinder rules, except in those specific games I am playing face to face with people I know and we all agree on a limited rules set to follow, then those Pathfinder games I might be able to handle.

I'd personally say it goes beyond being "smart enough." Even if you have the time and energy to keep all that stuff straight...why? The pay-off just isn't there for me. I much prefer something like advantage/disadvantage.


Wrath wrote:
Also, there's a huge issue with resale at the moment.

That definitely needs to get solved.

So that's two good reasons I might be wrong. ;)


I agree, it has a certain "elegance" to it


bugleyman wrote:
Terquem wrote:

My recent issue with not being smart enough to keep up with Pathfinder is all the new "extra" bits offered to give certain classes that special quality.

What do we have now

Monks - Ki
Gun fighters - Grit
Swashbucklers - panache

and I think there are others.

When will we actually see
Chutzpah
Snark
Gumption

as special character points available to pull off those unusual game changers?

And that kind of goes hand in hand with what was already said about feats, and such. it seems, to me anyway, that as soon as you nail down, define, how a specific heroic act can and cannot be done, you put limits on the player's creativity and prevent them from asking

"Hey, what if I tried this?"

and you as a DM answer, "Sounds, crazy, make a (insert ability score here) roll and apply disadvantage to it because (insert game thing going on here), or advantage (insert game thing going on here), and try to beat a 10!"

For me, in a direct comparison between 5e and Pathfinder, I feel I can manage the game as it is being played better under the 5e rules than I ever will be able to do it under the Pathfinder rules, except in those specific games I am playing face to face with people I know and we all agree on a limited rules set to follow, then those Pathfinder games I might be able to handle.

I'd personally say it goes beyond being "smart enough." Even if you have the time and energy to keep all that stuff straight...why? The pay-off just isn't there for me. I much prefer something like advantage/disadvantage.

That's not specifically an advantage/disadvantage thing though. It's a "nailing down all the specific ways you can do cool things and making you take feats for them" problem.

In a less defined game than PF (like AD&D) you could do exactly what Terquem describes except instead of advantage/disadvantage you'd just apply a bonus or penalty.


Terquem wrote:
Ah yes the soft cover army books of Games Workshop. Back in my day (early to mid 1990s) we loved those soft cover books that came apart so easily so you could put only the pages you needed into slip covers and then into a binder to keep handy. Man that was a brilliant design flaw um feature

Games Workshop could be construed as an example of a multinational corporation who had everything in place to excel and promote their product and be a prominent player in the 21st century. But they failed in the understanding of their market as well as the rapid chances of customer needs.

They are now a Shadow of their former selves.

I bring this up as an example of a very profitable company who sat on their laurels instead of looking ahead (as well as the current state of affairs), as well as a cautionary warning to those higher up.

5ED is a game changer. It is not a question of those who are hardcore in their choice of RPG system. They will stay in their system regardless.

It is the competition of gathering new players and 5ED is rather easy to play, that is backed by the Juggernaut known as Hasbro.

This is going to be a war of attrition. Let's hope that those higher up in Paizo understand what lies ahead.

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