Interesting Pathfinder V. D&D Articles on EN World


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Liberty's Edge

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Hmmm ...

Is Pathfinder "In Its Twilight"? Observations From A Retailer

Is D&D Still In The Lead? The Orr Group Says "Yes!"

Sovereign Court

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It's interesting that so many posts talk about Paizo's rules bloat.

I've got to agree. I'm here for the adventures first, Golarion second and rules options come a distant third.

I do wish that after the first year we'd had one hardcover per year in the RPG line.

I'm supposed to read occult adventures and horror adventures to fully enjoy Strange Aeons. It just puts me off the AP...

I wonder how many groups play 'full pathfinder' with every single Paizo rule book?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Culturally, D&D is going to stay in the lead because it came first. Just as many people call all drywall sheetrock and all copiers Xeroxes, many groups I know call any and all fantasy tabletop gaming "D&D."

Even the 4th Edition debacle didn't change that, so of course with 5th being a legitimately pretty good system, why would that change?

With that said... "Observations From a Retailer" is what I like to call "anecdotal evidence." That article's content may be summed up in its entirety as follows:

"One store isn't selling as much Pathfinder stuff as it used to do in part because its staffers seem more inclined to push 5th Edition D&D which has a higher brand name recognition and is also a perfectly fine system."

To which I respond, "but MY local gaming store sells more Pathfinder than D&D because the Pathfinder players are often on hand using the game room so people see it as a fun game they can easily find a group for."

Both of these anecdotal data points are equally meaningless.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:
rules bloat.

Rules Bloat: A proliferation of RPG game mechanics that allegedly nobody wants, yet everyone buys.


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Paizo has current support, active forums, and continuing expansion of player options for a game that I love. Pathfinder will be one of my top RPGs for many years to come, and I in no way see it in any state of "twilight".

I dislike the term "rules bloat." I prefer the term "more options and more tools." The implication of the first statement is that the game is ever expanding and difficult to keep up with. There is some truth to that, but only if you feel the need to be in the know about every book out there. I do not feel this way. I can play my Pathfinder with as few or as many books as I choose, and therefore the amount of "bloat" will never affect me more than I allow it to.

In contrast to those above, I play Pathfinder because of the neat splat and rule books (I love books like ACG, APG, Occult, Horror, etc) and couldn't care less for Golarian or the APs. I GM more often than not and I have more than enough material in my head to ever have need (and therefore much of a desire) for modules and/or APs. I also love the bestiaries in comparison to 3.x's MMs.

Community Manager

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Removed some posts and their responses. Please don't bring forum drama from other places—we have enough of our own. Also, please do not resurrect the Edition War Beast—let it lie.


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I rather enjoy pretty much everything about Pathfinder: I love Golarion, I love having APs come out that let players have self contained campaigns, I love modules for shorter sessions or one off groups, I love the options and tools that new books give on a regular basis.

I also love Pathfinder Tales and frankly wish we had more. If the site did not ask for you to be an already published author I would love to write novels in the setting. It is that solid.

Contrast this with D&D: you get very little books to give you options, routinely have sweeping changes to the lore and setting and you only have at this point one novel series to keep up with as a fan. And you better love reformed drow characters if you want to keep up with that one series.

I'm not bashing D&D, I love Forgotten Realms or at least the old version of it. I think 5th edition is hella fun to play. There is absolutely nothing wrong with both D&D and Pathfinder being fun and profitable for all involved.

I know which one I heavily prefer and as long as Paizo keeps producing things that I enjoy then they will continue to receive my hard earned coin.


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Paizo also sells pathfinder by subscription so Game Store sales not nessacerily the best measurement. After store markup My group generally finds it cheaper to get directly from Paizo, plus there is the benefit of the free PDF. All I need to bring is my tablet and leave the books at home


Paizo's setting books have always been better than their rules.
Golarion on 5th ED works pretty well as I once witnessed.


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I'm not making any claims, but most of my PF books are bought as PDFs here, not in game stores. Now, I'm also someone who hasn't bought any 5E books at all, so I'm not representative for any wider populations.


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This doesn't surprise me. I think Paizo is going to find continued growth much more challenging with a solid version of D&D in print. Furthermore, I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Capitalism!


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Capitalism!

Exactly. A little competition is good for everyone.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Capitalism!

Capitalism, ho!


As Greylurker says, many people buy the electronic versions or buy direct. I buy Paizo stuff from Paizo because I know that more of my money goes to the company that's producing the game.

Measuring by VTT's only captures part of the market. Many VTT's aren't subscription or tied tightly to the rules. Maptool players could be doing anything and it's not captured.

I expect that Pathfinder is going to slow down on the non-Golarion stuff and spent that time supporting Starfinder. This is a pattern common to many games.

Shadow Lodge

Distant Scholar wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Capitalism!
Capitalism, ho!

I'm communism!

Liberty's Edge

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Starfinder Superscriber

What I'd be interested to know is if the popularity of D&D/5e is growing the hobby. That'd be ideal.

Myself, I haven't purcahased any 5e books of them. I would have if I could get PDFs of the core books (or if there was a complete core book reference online along the lines of the PRD), but you can't. Yes, in fact, the lack of availability of fully useful PDFs is the reason I haven't purchased hardcover D&D books.

This is one thing Paizo really gets right, in my opinion. (Although... there's another model one could consider, and that's the "bits & mortar" model. Lots of smaller companies are in on this. If you buy a book from a FLGS, and the FLGS and the publisher are participating, you get a free PDF. I'm pretty sure this does *not* work with Amazon.)


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rknop wrote:
Myself, I haven't purchased any 5e books of them. I would have if I could get PDFs of the core books (or if there was a complete core book reference online along the lines of the PRD), but you can't. Yes, in fact, the lack of availability of fully useful PDFs is the reason I haven't purchased hardcover D&D books.

This. Even putting aside the casual, patronizing contempt with which they treat their customers, this was the an absolute deal-killer for me.


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We have a weekly PFS lodge locally. It has been around for about three or four years now. Lately we have had a fortnightly D&D 5th organised play (encounters?) table where a handful of stalwart Pathfinder players give the game ago. For them it's about having a bit of variety which is good. They still say that 5th edition is far too simple though. Far too reminiscent of the old basic D&D box sets of the 80's. I think that is the problem.

Paizo took 3.5 D&D and ironed out a lot of the issues. A few, like grappling, still need to be worked on and simplified IMO, but otherwise they took an excellent game system and made it better. WotC, on the other hand, seem to be bringing D&D down to a more intro level. A reverse of what it used to be back in the day. That is obviously going to draw some players who want to be guided into the hobby gently. Pathfinder can be a lot to take in all at once and could be turning people off.

Then there is the issue that some games are pushed more by FLGS staff than others. Been there and done that. I used to work in a FLGS for a few years and I stopped suggested 4th ed D&D because of personal bias and directed potential new players towards Pathfinder. That is probably happening all over the world now but in 5th ed's favour.

Paizo also put out a heck of a lot of hardcover additions. This may also be turning people away as they think they need to buy them all. Then you have something like Herolab (an invaluable resource) where I have met gamers who refuse to buy the real books when they can just download the HL update and get everything for far cheaper.

There is no simple answer. Another year and maybe Pathfinder will be on the top spot again.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
rknop wrote:
What I'd be interested to know is if the popularity of D&D/5e is growing the hobby. That'd be ideal.

This seems to be what's happening (there isn't a lot of published data around, but everything I've managed to find shows this to be the case).

Even some of the statistics quoted in the OP's linked threads show that although PF is losing market share on the VTT site (or whatever it is) the raw numbers are still increasing.

Personally, I don't care who has the largest market share - I just want them both to be growing (which it seems that they are) so yay for me getting what I want again!

Sovereign Court

Steve Geddes wrote:


Personally, I don't care who has the largest market share - I just want them both to be growing (which it seems that they are) so yay for me getting what I want again!

That is generally the 'job' of the market leader in most markets is to expand whatever market they're in. (It's the reason Progresso's commercials are all about how much they're better than Campbell's, and Campbell's commercials are basically "Mmmmmmm soup!".) And, as much as I like Pathfinder, it's a bit much for someone new to RPGs.

So - even if 5e doesn't officially take the market leader position back for D&D, hopefully it's able to fill that void in the RPG market.


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At the risk of starting an edition war, I feel that the last two editions of Dungeons and Dragons are more niche rpgs. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just how it feels to me.


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GeraintElberion wrote:


I wonder how many groups play 'full pathfinder' with every single Paizo rule book?

As a DM, I generally open the floodgates and tell my players "play whatever you want, even 3PP. Just let me see what you want to do first."


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I mostly play online, and my default is "Any Paizo" unless I'm specifically doing something different (like only using Spheres of Power for magic). I do expect people to adhere to the theme of the game - don't, y'know, submit an Antipaladin for my Wrath of the Righteous game - but other than that, I prefer to encourage creativity. I also tend to accept 3PP on a case-by-case basis.


Air0r wrote:

As a DM, I generally open the floodgates and tell my players "play whatever you want, even 3PP. Just let me see what you want to do first."

Asa DM, I generally just give the players Core Rulebook and whatever supplements I have on hand. They just get confused by optional, extraneous and cross referenced rules on d20pfsrd, and forget what their character can actually do. Do you not experience this and how do you avoid it?


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Nohwear wrote:
At the risk of starting an edition war, I feel that the last two editions of Dungeons and Dragons are more niche rpgs. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just how it feels to me.

Interesting. If anything, I'd say 5E is about as "mainstream" as RPGs get. Which, in fairness, is "not very." :P

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
nemophles wrote:
Do you not experience this and how do you avoid it?

I do not, as HeroLab is in heavy use at all of my home games.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
GeraintElberion wrote:
I wonder how many groups play 'full pathfinder' with every single Paizo rule book?

*Raises hand*


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

All D&D has is it's name.

Since they threw away there online community like garbage, something I don't see Paizo doing anytime soon, I just don't see how they could compete without their pre-existing brand recognition and deep-pocketed parent company Hasbro.


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Ravingdork wrote:
Since they threw away there online community... something I don't see Paizo doing anytime soon...

This was perhaps the most startling thing. Not that I expect a company to take accept all the vitriol of their boards (I don't think even 4chan could survive that), but I'm not sure there are (should be?) better venues to talk about a game than the company's website. Small press, certainly farm that out, but the big players have some sort of duty to keep 'dialogue' with the end users.

Beyond trade shows/conventions, how else would is it possible get large amounts of 'reliable' information/data back to the large publishers? Sales numbers alone can't tell all the story, though reviews might be a better metric.


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Greylurker wrote:
Paizo also sells pathfinder by subscription so Game Store sales not nessacerily the best measurement. After store markup My group generally finds it cheaper to get directly from Paizo, plus there is the benefit of the free PDF. All I need to bring is my tablet and leave the books at home

I was really disappointed when I found that I couldn't just buy a PDF of the Player's Handbook from the WotC site. It's funny, because I often complain that Paizo stays too married to dead tree publishing, but WotC seems unable to comprehend that anything other than that even exists.


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Ravingdork wrote:

All D&D has is it's name.

Since they threw away there online community like garbage, something I don't see Paizo doing anytime soon, I just don't see how they could compete without their pre-existing brand recognition and deep-pocketed parent company Hasbro.

Well, yeah. But those are huge and powerful assets - particularly the brand recognition.

Getting beyond niche in the RPG industry has always been a huge struggle for anything but D&D.

Given that Pathfinder got its start as "Keep playing D&D 3.5", that's pretty much true for Paizo as well.

Dark Archive

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I came in to RPGs knowing DnD. I ended up playing Pathfinder.


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Melkiador wrote:
I was really disappointed when I found that I couldn't just buy a PDF of the Player's Handbook from the WotC site. It's funny, because I often complain that Paizo stays too married to dead tree publishing, but WotC seems unable to comprehend that anything other than that even exists.

It is a shame considering how much effort seemed to be going into D&D Classics/DM's Den over on OBS. I would gladly drop some money on a digital copy of the 5e core books if I could find them. Frankly, this is the only way I can continue to justify purchases: digitals take up no physical space so I can tote my library around on a tablet, are often less expensive, and are excellent entry points (for me) to hop in on a Kickstarter for.


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Greylurker wrote:
Paizo also sells pathfinder by subscription so Game Store sales not nessacerily the best measurement. After store markup My group generally finds it cheaper to get directly from Paizo, plus there is the benefit of the free PDF. All I need to bring is my tablet and leave the books at home

The issue is CRBs which (usually) represent new players. You don't get your CRB by subscription. I suspect most aren't bought online at all. It doesn't matter what any other book is doing, if you've stopped moving the basic entry level player book you've stopped growing and started dieing.

If the trend isn't local it's a sign that it's time to wind down Pathfinder and start work on Pathfinder 2. Maybe too late since I'd expect it to be worked on relatively slowly alongside the usual PF1 content, most of which can't be PF2 proofs of concept like ToB was for 4e. I guess Starfinder might be able to be done as an intermediate system with new rules for shared mechanics where PF1's rules need changing, but that depends on how many shared mechanics there are.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Nohwear wrote:
At the risk of starting an edition war, I feel that the last two editions of Dungeons and Dragons are more niche rpgs. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just how it feels to me.

Can you explain what you mean by calling them "niche rpgs"? I have not looked at 4E since my initial read through of the rules lead me right to Paizo's e-doorstep, and I've never read any 5E anything.

I am genuinely curious. Thanks.


nemophles wrote:
Air0r wrote:

As a DM, I generally open the floodgates and tell my players "play whatever you want, even 3PP. Just let me see what you want to do first."

Asa DM, I generally just give the players Core Rulebook and whatever supplements I have on hand. They just get confused by optional, extraneous and cross referenced rules on d20pfsrd, and forget what their character can actually do. Do you not experience this and how do you avoid it?

I don't experience this problem.

The only two problems I have is two players who forget that 5e rules are NOT in pathfinder (specifically dex to damage for bows by default).
The other problem being that those same two players miraculously always have high rolls (they cheat and don't bother hiding it).

Sovereign Court

Air0r wrote:


The other problem being that those same two players miraculously always have high rolls (they cheat and don't bother hiding it).

Why are you still playing with them?


Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Nohwear wrote:
At the risk of starting an edition war, I feel that the last two editions of Dungeons and Dragons are more niche rpgs. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just how it feels to me.

Can you explain what you mean by calling them "niche rpgs"? I have not looked at 4E since my initial read through of the rules lead me right to Paizo's e-doorstep, and I've never read any 5E anything.

I am genuinely curious. Thanks.

It just seems that 5e is designed to appeal more to the OSR crowd and those new to the hobby. Whereas Pathfinder is aimed at a wider audience.

Sovereign Court

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Nohwear wrote:
Leg o' Lamb wrote:
Nohwear wrote:
At the risk of starting an edition war, I feel that the last two editions of Dungeons and Dragons are more niche rpgs. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it is just how it feels to me.

Can you explain what you mean by calling them "niche rpgs"? I have not looked at 4E since my initial read through of the rules lead me right to Paizo's e-doorstep, and I've never read any 5E anything.

I am genuinely curious. Thanks.

It just seems that 5e is designed to appeal more to the OSR crowd and those new to the hobby. Whereas Pathfinder is aimed at a wider audience.

To play devil's advocate - Pathfinder is also niche since it's for the more hardcore gamer.


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I started with Ad&D 1st edition, back in the day,and played ADD 2e edition too.

Never played the more recent editions, isn't even interested, no nostalgia factor.

Started playing Pathfinder on the forum, I think, and bought the books.

Now my daughter plays with me.


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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Air0r wrote:


The other problem being that those same two players miraculously always have high rolls (they cheat and don't bother hiding it).
Why are you still playing with them?

Because I am running a game for everyone to have fun. As long as their fun isn't interrupting the fun of the other players, then I don't mind.


Atarlost wrote:
The issue is CRBs which (usually) represent new players. You don't get your CRB by subscription. I suspect most aren't bought online at all. It doesn't matter what any other book is doing, if you've stopped moving the basic entry level player book you've stopped growing and started dieing.

Paizo's business model seems to be to give the core away for free though. 95% of those books are in the PRD on this site. My guess is that most of the profit is from adventure paths and player companions.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Atarlost wrote:
The issue is CRBs which (usually) represent new players. You don't get your CRB by subscription. I suspect most aren't bought online at all.

Amazon?

I don't know the last time I bought a physical book in a physical book store; it's been years. If the choice is a full-price CRB at the LGS or ordering one from Amazon where it's 40% off, that's a no-brainer.

Not to mention the people using HeroLab, all the rules being available for free online at the PRD/d20Pfsrd/Archives of Nethys, and the $10 PDF Paizo sells. Heck, I don't think any of the players in my RL gaming group own a physical CRB. Mine's just collecting dust on the shelf while I use online resources to build PCs, etc.

Paizo has transcended the "you must buy a $50 doorstop to play" paradigm.

Paizo Employee Contributor

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Joana wrote:
If the choice is a full-price CRB at the LGS or ordering one from Amazon where it's 40% off, that's a no-brainer.

It's a brainer (?) to me. For each game purchase I make, I weigh whether I want to spend extra to support my vibrant local gaming store, or save money (and wait a couple of days) to get it from Amazon.

I used to do more latter than the former; then game store less than a quarter-mile from my house closed. Now I do more of the former than the latter. I recently bought another CRB, and I bought it from a game store.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I very rarely purchase my print product from Amazon anymore, unless my local store can't get it. I skipped the new flipmat at GenCon just to buy it locally.

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