The "too much books and bloat" argument.


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I don't buy it nor do I comprehend the issue. This is a bit of a rant so I apologize ahead of time.

I've been hearing this argument far too often when the issue of Pathfinder vs 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. I keep hearing the argument that Pathfinder is slowly being eaten alive by the sheer amount of books and bloat and that it is difficult for new people because of the amount. Then what is said about 5th edition is that it is so easy because of it's level of slow release. I find this argument wrong because technically you only need two books to play Pathfinder forever while you need three for D&D. You could also do just fine with the starter set for both games. Anything outside of the core books are optional. If you are a gamer then you know there are core books that you start with and if you are new to gaming then just ask someone where do you start. I don't buy this whole "I'm overwhelmed with the sheer amount of product and options."

So who's forcing people to buy all those books out there? You don't need anything outside of core to play the game so why give out and keep others from having the options they want when all you have to do is limit what you buy? Are these people compulsive buyers who can't help themselves? When I go out for dinner I don't order everything on the menu. I pick and choose what I want. I also wouldn't give out about the menu having things on it I don't like because there are others who eat there that do like it.

I also hate this attitude that Wizards seems to have bred that lots of options are bad for the game. I find this false because all Wizards/Hasbro is interested in is meeting a specific profit target. Trying to spin and justify their weak release schedule in this manner is just BS. This then spills over to Pathfinder and people spouting crap about the game is dooming itself with all the "bloat".

I'm happy Pathfinder gives me options. Do I use everything? No I do not, but I have sense enough to pick and choose what I want used in my games.

I'm glad Paizo gives us a game that benefits us the fans instead of worrying about making specific profits and then trying to tell us that wanting more is bad for the game.


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It's a product of the business model.


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Forever Slayer wrote:


So who's forcing people to buy all those books out there?

Inter-party game balance, for example, in PFS.

If you're playing a chained monk for flavor, while someone else is playing a cheeze-blooded aasamar sorcerer, you've just opted to be Commissioner Gordon in the local Batman comic. This is less fun for you (since you're going to be hard pressed to find anything useful to do at the table), and also less fun for many of the players at your table, since you're basically taking up a table slot to do little or nothing.

As more and more adventures are written, they will of necessity include more and more options on the GM's part, and you may find yourself strongly disadvantaged. A simple example is "ghost salt," which is not a Core item (it was introduced, according to AoN, in the Pathfinder Society Field Guide) but provides easy/cheap access to the ghost touch weapon special ability. Suddenly, incorporeal undead are no longer a death sentence to low-level martial types. In fact, weapon blanches generally are a win for martial types as it makes golf-bagging practical before you can get a +5 weapon.

So if you restrict yourself to Core-only, you're putting yourself and your party at increased risk unless the GM is also restricting herself to Core-only.

The flip side of this is that more options == more power. Newer material makes everyone more powerful, which means newer modules need to pay attention to this new power. The witch's slumber hex takes an already bad trope (a lone boss monster) and makes it unworkable.... but also puts much of the Stolen Lands adventure path into "granny mode." Now designers need to ask themselves "how would a witch break this encounter," and they will design new encounters assuming the higher level of power.

So Pathfinder has chosen -- deliberately, in comparison with the old 3.5 model -- to strongly restrict new material. And they're not doing particularly well with it. They're doing better than 3.5, but a lot of people who were complaining then were still complaining because less of a bad thing is still a bad thing.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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I'm with you. You can pick and choose what you want to use in your games. There are two conditions where it's more of an issue. 1) Organized play, where if you are GMing and not running Core, players may show up with some weird thing you don't know about, because there's so much out there it's impossible to have an encyclopedic knowledge of every feat, archetype, alchemical item, etc. This is mitigated by the Core campaign and the rule that players must have source material on hand. 2) If you are GMing for a player that insists you allow any player option. This is an extremely common sentiment among players, especially on these boards.


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I love the bloat. Having recently played a rival system, I found it immeasurably less satisfying than Pathfinder because there were so few options for building my character.

Paizo do a great job imho of keeping things balanced. Sure, more options mean power creep as people find methods to further optimise their builds, but I've still never taken part in a game where a core only cleric or wizard, or a barbarian with power attack couldn't hold their own.


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Another thing that used to bother me were the people who insisted a system was broken because of the possibility of what you "could" do using options XYZ plus a little creative reading of the rules. Kind of like the whole Pun Pun example. Not the fact that no DM in their right mind would allow it, but the fact that it was possible.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Forever Slayer wrote:


So who's forcing people to buy all those books out there?

Inter-party game balance, for example, in PFS.

If you're playing a chained monk for flavor, while someone else is playing a cheeze-blooded aasamar sorcerer, you've just opted to be Commissioner Gordon in the local Batman comic. This is less fun for you (since you're going to be hard pressed to find anything useful to do at the table), and also less fun for many of the players at your table, since you're basically taking up a table slot to do little or nothing.

As more and more adventures are written, they will of necessity include more and more options on the GM's part, and you may find yourself strongly disadvantaged. A simple example is "ghost salt," which is not a Core item (it was introduced, according to AoN, in the Pathfinder Society Field Guide) but provides easy/cheap access to the ghost touch weapon special ability. Suddenly, incorporeal undead are no longer a death sentence to low-level martial types. In fact, weapon blanches generally are a win for martial types as it makes golf-bagging practical before you can get a +5 weapon.

So if you restrict yourself to Core-only, you're putting yourself and your party at increased risk unless the GM is also restricting herself to Core-only.

The flip side of this is that more options == more power. Newer material makes everyone more powerful, which means newer modules need to pay attention to this new power. The witch's slumber hex takes an already bad trope (a lone boss monster) and makes it unworkable.... but also puts much of the Stolen Lands adventure path into "granny mode." Now designers need to ask themselves "how would a witch break this encounter," and they will design new encounters assuming the higher level of power.

So Pathfinder has chosen -- deliberately, in comparison with the old 3.5 model -- to strongly restrict new material. And they're not doing particularly well with it. They're doing better than...

Then run your own games at home.


I like all the options for building and customizing characters. I think there is only so much you can play as a simple fighter/wizard/cleric type of party and having the new choices keeps things fresh. I think PF has done a much better job of keeping things balanced than 3.5, and I don't really feel the extra material creates a burden as most of it is available for free on the internet.

Liberty's Edge

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Starfinder Superscriber
Forever Slayer wrote:
Then run your own games at home.

Here's the thing -- organized play has lots of advantages. It lets you build characters that you can play lots of different places. There's a ready-made community out there you can find games to play with. It's fun.

So, yeah, "just run home games" is a solution to wanting to have the ability to limit the options you have to deal with. But it comes with the baggage of no longer being able to enjoy the other advantages of organized play. (And Pathfinder has a really good organized play system.)


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rknop wrote:
Forever Slayer wrote:
Then run your own games at home.

Here's the thing -- organized play has lots of advantages. It lets you build characters that you can play lots of different places. There's a ready-made community out there you can find games to play with. It's fun.

So, yeah, "just run home games" is a solution to wanting to have the ability to limit the options you have to deal with. But it comes with the baggage of no longer being able to enjoy the other advantages of organized play. (And Pathfinder has a really good organized play system.)

Not to mention that "running your own games" is extremely time-consuming, especially for the Game Master, and runs a serious risk that you'll run out of interesting, fresh, energy. One can pick up, read, and run a published module in a tiny fraction of the time that it takes to design an equivalent-length adventure from scratch -- and the props (e.g. maps, artwork, et cetera) are usually of higher quality than you can do at home.

Ultimately, it comes down to a question of "why are there restaurants when you can just cook at home?" Some people can't cook at home because they lack the facilities (how am I going to roast a turkey in a microwave?). Some lack the skill (what do you mean, `poach eggs'? Steal them from the woods in the dead of night?), some lack the time, and some just want a change from the same old thing.

So even for your home game, you may enjoy the convenience of a prepublished module, and you have to deal with issues of power creep.


While I personally love to deal with a high (and increasing) number of rules, I think it causes stress to some other players. They stress themselves with attitudes like 'I have to stay competitive, so I must dig through all these rules' - so the many options become a burden for them.

It's pretty much impossible to convince all of them to relax, be content with solid to good characters and enjoy the game. But there is a technical solution: Better rules overviews. The official reference, D20PFSRD, Archives of Nethys, Pathfinder Community, PathfinderWiki etc. do a good job, perhaps they have to be more known and more used?

Sovereign Court

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Running your own games is better, but then comes the issue of telling your players that no you are banning this and that option, and your friends start complaining about unfair, unfair ...

And even if you announce a list in advance, there is a real possibility to forget a lot of things.

Shadow Lodge

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Forever Slayer wrote:
I'm happy Pathfinder gives me options. Do I use everything? No I do not, but I have sense enough to pick and choose what I want used in my games.

I'm happy it works for you. It doesn't work for other people.


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TOZ wrote:
Forever Slayer wrote:
I'm happy Pathfinder gives me options. Do I use everything? No I do not, but I have sense enough to pick and choose what I want used in my games.
I'm happy it works for you. It doesn't work for other people.

For me it came down to this question.

Do I want to spend more time crafting my PC than playing my PC?

I want to play. Therefore I chose a game that tips that way in practice.

Shadow Lodge

As did I.


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after decades of GMing experience, let me tell you that it is incredible easy to go to a player and say :'Look, I like your character concept and I appreciate the work you put in it, but for the sake of the group power balance, maybe it is better to exclude certain options from our table. Also, I'm not that familiar with that class or that feat and had no chance to read this book yet and we would be less problematic for all of us if we just limit this and that to those couple of books.'
95% of the players will accept and understand that. The rest will not play with me as GM. It's that easy. It's not the 'bloat' that's the problem. It's 'problem players' that are.


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Here's my rule: Players, you are limited to Pathfinder books that I own. That's Core, APG, Unchained, Beastiary 1-4.

I think I'll pick up Ultimate Campaign with some Christmas money, but that's it for a while. As I master the books I have, I'll add more.

This rule ensures that the source material is always on hand and players aren't catching me flat-footed with things from left field.

Some new players will balk at the beginning of the campaign, but if the rule is in place [i]before[/b] they make their characters, they shouldn't squawk too much.


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Mykull wrote:

Here's my rule: Players, you are limited to Pathfinder books that I own. That's Core, APG, Unchained, Beastiary 1-4.

I think I'll pick up Ultimate Campaign with some Christmas money, but that's it for a while. As I master the books I have, I'll add more.

This rule ensures that the source material is always on hand and players aren't catching me flat-footed with things from left field.

Some new players will balk at the beginning of the campaign, but if the rule is in place [i]before[/b] they make their characters, they shouldn't squawk too much.

inb4 your players drowned you in a mountain of books for x-mas


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

IIRC, PFS did just create a core rulebook only play category, so that seems to address some concerns over bloat in that venue.


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IMHO, the problem comes more from having 999 ways of doing the same things, but there are still holes in the rules regarding other things.

AP and Modules have NPCs doing X, Y and/or Z, but if the PCs want to do those things, the GM need to hand wave / homebrew too many new rules.


I have seen some tech-savvy DMs launch a "campaign site" based on sections from the PRD. This to me seems the best method--though it's incredibly time consuming.

"In the old days" <acquires rocker, sweet tea>, you had binders, and DMs could add or subtract based on those.

Having some single, unified source is brilliantly useful, just harder to do these days, esp. without the specialized technical know-how. For example, I know it's possible to download the PRD for use in a community website, but from there you'd need to add, subtract, and mess with the CSS and so on.

What could be useful would be some sort of unpackable WordPress/Drupal version of the PRD where DMs could check off what they wanted, then click-launch in a matter of minutes.

There may be sites that offer that already, who knows.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I love the output under 3pp, bringing in better spell point systems, races, classes, as filler to a world I know well. Since 3.0 put half-orcs in as a PC option, despite their not existing in my world, I have refused several requests. The only 'monks' write on parchment and do daily prayers. I could go on, but it is ultimately 'my' world.

The RotRL game I occasionally reference uses the Campaign Rules I foist on my players with their own vote. Well, mostly. Half Orcs are in, but monks got 3/8 ones when we were setting up, no sixes and only one 5.

Each session has some 'floating rules, modified Rogue Genius Spell points 'float' at GM's fiat, but have only been benched once. Piece meal armor only appeared in one game and caused so much delay no GM has allowed it since. We are also under a cobbled together grappling mish-mash (I confess that I hate it), but not one 'grapple' has qualified as yet.

Spells from 3pp are popular, as are some player crafted spells.

Our company includes a 3pp 'revived' undead sorcerer with that Bloodline.
Another is John Brazier race and a third is a small Wyvern-Humanoid just learning to fly. In all, they keep it interesting.


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Perhaps part of the reason you "don't comprehend the issue" is that you're treating a statement of preference as an objective critique(?)

I don't like having lots of options. That's not me saying games with options are somehow broken, wrong or poorly designed. It's me saying I don't enjoy them.

That perspective is not intended to be persuasive to anyone else, it's purely feedback to Paizo (since if they hear it enough, they may shift their production focus more towards what I do enjoy).


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Forever Slayer wrote:
So who's forcing people to buy all those books out there? You don't need anything outside of core to play the game so why give out and keep others from having the options they want when all you have to do is limit what you buy?

The reason the production of bloat that I don't want affects me is due to opportunity cost. Paizo can't do everything - when they make a book with lots of rules options, they are devoting corporate resources they could otherwise be spending on additional campaign material, adventures, etcetera (the things I want more of than what they currently produce).

Any time some product is produced, we miss out on something else. Providing feedback in the hope of increasing our personal "hits" and decreasing our personal "misses" isn't about stopping anyone else from getting what they want - it's just an economic fact of life that if you get what you want I get less of what I want and vice versa.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Stereofm wrote:

Running your own games is better, but then comes the issue of telling your players that no you are banning this and that option, and your friends start complaining about unfair, unfair ...

And even if you announce a list in advance, there is a real possibility to forget a lot of things.

Or post and point at the list for 6 months inviting comment, only when you do a character audit realize NO ONE READ THEM.

Sorry, I have a rock in my shoe about that one.


Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I started up the Pathfinder RPG not too long ago (about 8 months judging by my collection of APs). Although I have experience with 3.5 as well as other systems before I started, I found the sheer amount of rules and options overwhelming at first. I know how to handle that (namely, restrict myself to a small subset of the options and gradually introduce more as I go along and get more comfortable), but many do not and may find themselves in similar situations. I know I've had players of other RPGs bow out because they got intimidated by how much stuff there was out there that they thought they needed to all have down before they could play properly, and no amount of saying otherwise could change their mind on that.

The PRD and other free online resources help take some of the edge off of the options, as there is no longer a required huge upfront investment to begin the game, but it won't help those players who assume they need to know everything to succeed or otherwise not suck.


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Forever Slayer wrote:

I don't buy it nor do I comprehend the issue. This is a bit of a rant so I apologize ahead of time.

I've been hearing this argument far too often when the issue of Pathfinder vs 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. I keep hearing the argument that Pathfinder is slowly being eaten alive by the sheer amount of books and bloat and that it is difficult for new people because of the amount. Then what is said about 5th edition is that it is so easy because of it's level of slow release. I find this argument wrong because technically you only need two books to play Pathfinder forever while you need three for D&D. You could also do just fine with the starter set for both games. Anything outside of the core books are optional. If you are a gamer then you know there are core books that you start with and if you are new to gaming then just ask someone where do you start. I don't buy this whole "I'm overwhelmed with the sheer amount of product and options."

So who's forcing people to buy all those books out there? You don't need anything outside of core to play the game so why give out and keep others from having the options they want when all you have to do is limit what you buy? Are these people compulsive buyers who can't help themselves? When I go out for dinner I don't order everything on the menu. I pick and choose what I want. I also wouldn't give out about the menu having things on it I don't like because there are others who eat there that do like it.

I also hate this attitude that Wizards seems to have bred that lots of options are bad for the game. I find this false because all Wizards/Hasbro is interested in is meeting a specific profit target. Trying to spin and justify their weak release schedule in this manner is just BS. This then spills over to Pathfinder and people spouting crap about the game is dooming itself with all the "bloat".

I'm happy Pathfinder gives me options. Do I use everything? No I do not, but I have sense enough to pick and choose what I want used in my games.

I'm glad...

I do understand for some people who GM for PFS, and they don't have the right to say no, but that is really a PFS issue.

Outside of that when I starting pressing with questions it boiled to some GM's not liking to tell their group no, and they don't want to find a new group, maybe because their players are also their friends, so the shift the blame to Paizo.

Another thing is that someone blame option paralysis, but most people don't have access to every source book, and even if they do, they don't need every book. You can play the game with just the core rulebook.

Some point to the new material being used in AP's and having to get that, but they are not required to buy that. It is free online, and they can print out the specific webpage. They also do not have to learn then entire book that a class/item/spell/etc came from. They can learn that one class or even substitute another class in. When I first saw an alchemist in a book I didn't want to learn it, so I threw in an equal level wizard.

The list goes on, and there is a solution, and never have I seen it be problem that is bad for "the game". It is a problem for their games.

PS: Bloat also means different things to different people so you may have to ask each person what they mean by bloat.


Steve Geddes wrote:
Forever Slayer wrote:
So who's forcing people to buy all those books out there? You don't need anything outside of core to play the game so why give out and keep others from having the options they want when all you have to do is limit what you buy?

The reason the production of bloat that I don't want affects me is due to opportunity cost. Paizo can't do everything - when they make a book with lots of rules options, they are devoting corporate resources they could otherwise be spending on additional campaign material, adventures, etcetera (the things I want more of than what they currently produce).

Any time some product is produced, we miss out on something else. Providing feedback in the hope of increasing our personal "hits" and decreasing our personal "misses" isn't about stopping anyone else from getting what they want - it's just an economic fact of life that if you get what you want I get less of what I want and vice versa.

I get what you are saying but it's not like Paizo hasn't put out loads of adventures already and still continue to put them out. I would agree withd your comment if it was 5th edition D&D you're talking about.


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wraithstrike wrote:
Forever Slayer wrote:

I don't buy it nor do I comprehend the issue. This is a bit of a rant so I apologize ahead of time.

I've been hearing this argument far too often when the issue of Pathfinder vs 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. I keep hearing the argument that Pathfinder is slowly being eaten alive by the sheer amount of books and bloat and that it is difficult for new people because of the amount. Then what is said about 5th edition is that it is so easy because of it's level of slow release. I find this argument wrong because technically you only need two books to play Pathfinder forever while you need three for D&D. You could also do just fine with the starter set for both games. Anything outside of the core books are optional. If you are a gamer then you know there are core books that you start with and if you are new to gaming then just ask someone where do you start. I don't buy this whole "I'm overwhelmed with the sheer amount of product and options."

So who's forcing people to buy all those books out there? You don't need anything outside of core to play the game so why give out and keep others from having the options they want when all you have to do is limit what you buy? Are these people compulsive buyers who can't help themselves? When I go out for dinner I don't order everything on the menu. I pick and choose what I want. I also wouldn't give out about the menu having things on it I don't like because there are others who eat there that do like it.

I also hate this attitude that Wizards seems to have bred that lots of options are bad for the game. I find this false because all Wizards/Hasbro is interested in is meeting a specific profit target. Trying to spin and justify their weak release schedule in this manner is just BS. This then spills over to Pathfinder and people spouting crap about the game is dooming itself with all the "bloat".

I'm happy Pathfinder gives me options. Do I use everything? No I do not, but I have sense enough to pick and choose what I want

...

I think the whole "because I don't want to lose my friends I have to allow everything" is a corner case bordering on myth. While there may be a crazy case where friends have blackmailed their DM, I don't think it happens enough to justify it as an argument. I have never seen a group of friends force someone to DM something they don't want to. I would say they aren't really your friends to begin with. I've had friends moan and give out but that's usually it.


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Steve Geddes wrote:
Forever Slayer wrote:
So who's forcing people to buy all those books out there? You don't need anything outside of core to play the game so why give out and keep others from having the options they want when all you have to do is limit what you buy?

The reason the production of bloat that I don't want affects me is due to opportunity cost. Paizo can't do everything - when they make a book with lots of rules options, they are devoting corporate resources they could otherwise be spending on additional campaign material, adventures, etcetera (the things I want more of than what they currently produce).

Any time some product is produced, we miss out on something else. Providing feedback in the hope of increasing our personal "hits" and decreasing our personal "misses" isn't about stopping anyone else from getting what they want - it's just an economic fact of life that if you get what you want I get less of what I want and vice versa.

This seems like a bit of assumption to me. Not everyone who is good at/enjoys designing rules is going to be good at/enjoy creating setting and modules.


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Mykull wrote:

Here's my rule: Players, you are limited to Pathfinder books that I own. That's Core, APG, Unchained, Beastiary 1-4.

I think I'll pick up Ultimate Campaign with some Christmas money, but that's it for a while. As I master the books I have, I'll add more.

This rule ensures that the source material is always on hand and players aren't catching me flat-footed with things from left field.

Some new players will balk at the beginning of the campaign, but if the rule is in place [i]before[/b] they make their characters, they shouldn't squawk too much.

I have a similar policy.

Although, I own core, apg, arg, acg, um, uc, unch, myth, and several of the little player supplement, in addition to Beast 1 - 3, spheres of power, path of war, the godling books, half the talented class line, and a number of other rogue/super genius books.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that I don't limit much.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Forever Slayer wrote:
So who's forcing people to buy all those books out there? You don't need anything outside of core to play the game so why give out and keep others from having the options they want when all you have to do is limit what you buy?

The reason the production of bloat that I don't want affects me is due to opportunity cost. Paizo can't do everything - when they make a book with lots of rules options, they are devoting corporate resources they could otherwise be spending on additional campaign material, adventures, etcetera (the things I want more of than what they currently produce).

Any time some product is produced, we miss out on something else. Providing feedback in the hope of increasing our personal "hits" and decreasing our personal "misses" isn't about stopping anyone else from getting what they want - it's just an economic fact of life that if you get what you want I get less of what I want and vice versa.

This seems like a bit of assumption to me. Not everyone who is good at/enjoys designing rules is going to be good at/enjoy creating setting and modules.

Oh sure - I didn't mean to imply they could just stop putting out rules books tomorrow and begin churning out even more flavor material. I realise they can't just switch direction on a dime - if they went from where they are now to producing 'mechanics free' adventures, I'm sure there'd need to be a shift in staffing makeup over a long period of time.

The point is just that "producing x amount of mechanics" isn't irrelevant to me (even though I won't use much of the mechanics they produce).


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Forever Slayer wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Forever Slayer wrote:
So who's forcing people to buy all those books out there? You don't need anything outside of core to play the game so why give out and keep others from having the options they want when all you have to do is limit what you buy?

The reason the production of bloat that I don't want affects me is due to opportunity cost. Paizo can't do everything - when they make a book with lots of rules options, they are devoting corporate resources they could otherwise be spending on additional campaign material, adventures, etcetera (the things I want more of than what they currently produce).

Any time some product is produced, we miss out on something else. Providing feedback in the hope of increasing our personal "hits" and decreasing our personal "misses" isn't about stopping anyone else from getting what they want - it's just an economic fact of life that if you get what you want I get less of what I want and vice versa.

I get what you are saying but it's not like Paizo hasn't put out loads of adventures already and still continue to put them out. I would agree withd your comment if it was 5th edition D&D you're talking about.

I think your comment about "agreeing" is kind of my initial point. You can't really disagree with my preference, can you?

I know they've put out lots of adventures and flavor material. That doesn't change the fact that they don't put out as much as I'd like (which is why producing more mechanics affects me, even though I'm just going to ignore it - if there's enough people like me, Paizo will divert resources from producing mechanics to producing more flavor/adventures, but they won't know that unless we tell them that's what we'd like).

Opportunity cost is a fact of life - it applies to both WotC and Paizo.


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I think sales of certain books tells them what to produce.

Example:
If the forums say we only like adventures, but their money is overwhelmingly from rules I think rule books still get made more.


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My only problem with the sheer number of books and options:
They weigh a F$*&@ing ton!
Seriously, as a fan of paper, I am hauling some significant weight around to games!


Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:

My only problem with the sheer number of books and options:

They weigh a F$*&@ing ton!
Seriously, as a fan of paper, I am hauling some significant weight around to games!

I can't disagree. I had that problem in 3.5. I just started to copy certain pages, and leave the rest of the book at home.


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wraithstrike wrote:

I think sales of certain books tells them what to produce.

Example:
If the forums say we only like adventures, but their money is overwhelmingly from rules I think rule books still get made more.

I think that's undeniable. The module line went from monthly to bimonthly to quarterly whilst the player companion line has gone from strength to strength. I, at least, hadn't noticed a clamouring for more player companions.

It seems to me that PF is likely to appeal to people who like lots of options and probably also people who are better able to process and deal with bloat (in whichever way works for them).


Forever Slayer wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Forever Slayer wrote:


...

...
I think the whole "because I don't want to lose my friends I have to allow everything" is a corner case bordering on myth. While there may be a crazy case where friends have blackmailed their DM, I don't think it happens enough to justify it as an argument. I have never seen a group of friends force someone to DM something they don't want to. I would say they aren't really your friends to begin with. I've had friends moan and give out but that's usually it.

That, but sometime the problem is the available places to play, or lack thereof. A lot of complain come from "the player who rent/own the place we play at give us troubles", said player/GM might use the "then go find another place to play at" blackmail.


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The reason why the "There is too much bloat" argument baffles me is because it assumes that you have to know how everything works to GM the game. Unless you are running PFS, you don't. You only need to know how the specific classes your players are running work. Who cares if they have a billion options if they are coming to your game with only a few of them?

I will admit that this doesn't help PFS GMs, but that's just a corner case compared to how most groups experience their roleplaying games.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Matrix Dragon wrote:
The reason why the "There is too much bloat" argument baffles me is because it assumes that you have to know how everything works to GM the game. Unless you are running PFS, you don't.

Even running PFS, you don't.

Contributor

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Matrix Dragon wrote:
The reason why the "There is too much bloat" argument baffles me is because it assumes that you have to know how everything works to GM the game. Unless you are running PFS, you don't.
Even running PFS, you don't.

My general rule for PFS is, "I let me player know how their build works." If a player pulls something something seriously crazy, I audit. Before that happens, however, I don't worry about it.


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I'm on the anti-bloat bandwagon, and have abandoned PF for 5E, which I find a wholly superior rules system. I'm saddened by this, as I have a lot more affection and respect for Paizo as a company than Wizards. I also really miss the quality of the Paizo AP's (their strength IMO) - Wizards' efforts have been improving with each AP, but they're still far short of the quality of most Paizo offerings.

So how does the bloat lessen my enjoyment of the game?

1) The other characters are often stupid and/or bizarre. I confess to liking a fairly standard Tolkeneqsue flavor to my role-playing. I enjoy a few flavorful steps outside those bounds when they are appropriate to a setting and really add something (ie Dark Sun). When I end up in a group with a ratfolk gunslinger, a kitsune occultist and an oread skald, I'm pretty much ready to pack it in. I understand that gonzo over-the-top fantasy really appeal to some, but I'd rather pass. Also, I've noticed a tendency for people using the latest/greatest races/classes to build to have much less of a personality, being all crunch and no fluff. Nothing says this has to be true of course - you can have a boring halfling thief or a grippli witch with an interesting and well-developed personality, but it is a trend I've noticed (or perhaps most discussions on forums focus on crunch and just leave off the personality aspects as irrelevant to the topic at hand).

2) The AP's being produced are now less usable. The last AP I subscribed for was Mummy's Mask, and I found it frustrating to even read through with the magic items from many varied books and monsters from sources I had no interest in buying (ToHC etc). Yeah, I can work around anything as a GM, but the more work it requires the more likely I am to reach a point where I'd rather just convert to 5E.

3. With each new chunk of rules released, there comes a chance of power creep and unfortunate (from a non-munchkin's POV) rules interactions. Paizo seems to have done a reasonable job of combating power creep, but it is there (although I've stopped buying books prior to the hybid classes and Unchained so I may be out of touch).

In the end, I understand that there are people who live for variety, and are super keen to roll out their najali investigator in an attempt to relieve their boredom with the standard races and classes. I personally view PF as having reached a golden age with the Core + APG books, and have been increasingly less happy with it with each subsequent release (the Advanced Race Guide is a particular thorn in my side).

The question is, are there more people who think like the former, or more people like me? Despite my unhappiness with the direction Paizo is taking PF, I really wish them well and hope they have a profitable and happy future. The last stats I saw noted that there were 12k 5E games (or chars forget which) running on Roll20 vs 8k PF games, which I find alarming for the future of PF. Anecdotally, I also notice much slimmer pickings for PF groups on the Roll20 LFG forums. On the other hand, I've heard second hand reports that Paizo's tables were much better attended than Wizards at GenCon. Not sure what to think.


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I'm actually wishing 5e had more options already. Ten pdf's of Unearthed Arcana in, and I'm getting frustrated with small glimpses of ideas that I can only access by PDF.

I'm pretty stoked about Pathfinder's two hardcover books that they're putting out this year - the Vigilante one and the horror one are both totally up my alley. So I'm fine with Paizo and I'm constantly impressed with their ability to come up with interesting ideas.

5e as a ruleset is great but I'm unsure about Wizards' longterm interest and ability to support the TTRPG. Dropping the online forum wasn't a great indicator. It seems they're working the TTRPG on a shoestring budget, with what seems like zero in-house employees that exclusively work on the TTRPG. (Most of it is outsourced and Mike Mearls works on other D&D lines as well.)

As I've said in other threads, I love both systems for different reasons and I hope they both thrive.


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Coffee Demon wrote:
5e as a ruleset is great but I'm unsure about Wizards' longterm interest and ability to support the TTRPG. Dropping the online forum wasn't a great indicator. It seems they're working the TTRPG on a shoestring budget, with what seems like zero in-house employees that exclusively work on the TTRPG. (Most of it is outsourced and Mike Mearls works on other D&D lines as well.)

The rumor is: no one want to work with Mike Mearls for long, and since Hasbro will fire everyone else but MM...


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Ackbladder wrote:

I'm on the anti-bloat bandwagon, and have abandoned PF for 5E, which I find a wholly superior rules system. I'm saddened by this, as I have a lot more affection and respect for Paizo as a company than Wizards. I also really miss the quality of the Paizo AP's (their strength IMO) - Wizards' efforts have been improving with each AP, but they're still far short of the quality of most Paizo offerings.

So how does the bloat lessen my enjoyment of the game?

1) The other characters are often stupid and/or bizarre. I confess to liking a fairly standard Tolkeneqsue flavor to my role-playing. I enjoy a few flavorful steps outside those bounds when they are appropriate to a setting and really add something (ie Dark Sun). When I end up in a group with a ratfolk gunslinger, a kitsune occultist and an oread skald, I'm pretty much ready to pack it in. I understand that gonzo over-the-top fantasy really appeal to some, but I'd rather pass. Also, I've noticed a tendency for people using the latest/greatest races/classes to build to have much less of a personality, being all crunch and no fluff. Nothing says this has to be true of course - you can have a boring halfling thief or a grippli witch with an interesting and well-developed personality, but it is a trend I've noticed (or perhaps most discussions on forums focus on crunch and just leave off the personality aspects as irrelevant to the topic at hand).

2) The AP's being produced are now less usable. The last AP I subscribed for was Mummy's Mask, and I found it frustrating to even read through with the magic items from many varied books and monsters from sources I had no interest in buying (ToHC etc). Yeah, I can work around anything as a GM, but the more work it requires the more likely I am to reach a point where I'd rather just convert to 5E.

3. With each new chunk of rules released, there comes a chance of power creep and unfortunate (from a non-munchkin's POV) rules interactions. Paizo seems to have done a reasonable job of combating power creep, but it is...

You have the option of not only picking the options you want to play but the option of who you play with. If people are playing characters that are too crazy then find a different group who appeal more to what you want. I think the problem is more personal than an actual problem with the amount released.

Grand Lodge

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Forever Slayer wrote:
You have the option of not only picking the options you want to play but the option of who you play with. If people are playing characters that are too crazy then find a different group who appeal more to what you want. I think the problem is more personal than an actual problem with the amount released.

Remember that not everyone is in a player and group rich environment like we are. What works for you does not always work for others.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If it occurs often enough, then it goes beyond a purely personal problem and moves there also being a systemic issue. (Systemic here meaning, going beyond individual problems/user error and into something larger at work.) Imposing demands on people with limited time and/or opportunity will not make your argument convincing to get people to stop making their own.

Generally speaking, I find many of the options not very suitable for my tastes in a lot of the books. There's several pieces of stuff I like in each of the books, but finding them can be like finding the diamond in the rough. So I guess for me it's not so much the amount of total data there, it's the signal to noise ratio.

Then there's also the way the mechanics interact. There's the matter of reinventing the wheel, many of the archetypes and such have similar themes or even names. Another point is that the more options you have, the easier it is for some unseen interaction of those options to come along and "break" things. It's a bit of a pain to go back and revise something after the fact and/or suck it up and let it for the rest of the campaign.


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IMO, No Gaming is better than Bad Gaming.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Forever Slayer wrote:
You have the option of not only picking the options you want to play but the option of who you play with. If people are playing characters that are too crazy then find a different group who appeal more to what you want. I think the problem is more personal than an actual problem with the amount released.
Remember that not everyone is in a player and group rich environment like we are. What works for you does not always work for others.

A decent internet connection removes many barriers. Our current campaign is featuring players from New Jersey, New York, California, and London. Scheduling is kind of tricky, but it works.


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rknop wrote:
Forever Slayer wrote:
Then run your own games at home.

Here's the thing -- organized play has lots of advantages. It lets you build characters that you can play lots of different places. There's a ready-made community out there you can find games to play with. It's fun.

So, yeah, "just run home games" is a solution to wanting to have the ability to limit the options you have to deal with. But it comes with the baggage of no longer being able to enjoy the other advantages of organized play. (And Pathfinder has a really good organized play system.)

And now there is PFS "Core" (or whatever the official name is) to cater to those exact players who don't want the bloat.

Almost as if there is an option that works (even within organized play) for both player who want lots of options and those who do not.

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