Is it too late to go back to the drawing board?


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Is there a way to see what issues are getting a close look and which ones are not?

There are a lot of things I have issues with. But I'm all about supporting a game that appeals to the masses and keeps getting support while I house rule it into my own flavor.

But there is at least one deal breaker. And I know it is an issue to a lot more people than just me. I don't want to even mention it because there are plenty of threads for debate.

I just want to know how I can understand if it is truly on the table or not. If no, I'll thank you and wish you the best with no hard feelings. If yes, I'll try to give as much constructive feedback as I can.

But working with the product I have in my hands, there is a weight around its neck. I find it hard to get excited about even the stuff that is awesome to me (and there is quite a bit of that).

A little gesture to give me hope would keep me enthusiastic. And putting me out of my misery would be appreciated almost as much. :)


Baval wrote:
(...) instead what were getting is a hardline "play out way or not at all" system that I rejected PFS for and am rejecting this system for.

So you took the second option then.


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BryonD wrote:

Is there a way to see what issues are getting a close look and which ones are not?

There are a lot of things I have issues with. But I'm all about supporting a game that appeals to the masses and keeps getting support while I house rule it into my own flavor.

But there is at least one deal breaker. And I know it is an issue to a lot more people than just me. I don't want to even mention it because there are plenty of threads for debate.

I just want to know how I can understand if it is truly on the table or not. If no, I'll thank you and wish you the best with no hard feelings. If yes, I'll try to give as much constructive feedback as I can.

But working with the product I have in my hands, there is a weight around its neck. I find it hard to get excited about even the stuff that is awesome to me (and there is quite a bit of that).

A little gesture to give me hope would keep me enthusiastic. And putting me out of my misery would be appreciated almost as much. :)

Yeah, I am like broken record at this point, but where is the Wow-Factor, I mean, especially as they are going the revolutionary route.

Make Legendary, /legendary/!


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I fully agree with Vic Ferrari on this one.

Legendary needs to be legen-wait for it-dary


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Visanideth wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
So...now that we've seen it seems like most of the locals will just be sticking with 5e or pf.

*Voice over* They didn't.

This is the story of every RPG playtest ever. The reaction of the WotC community on the official boards to the 5E playtest was so bad Hasbro killed the forums. 5E proceed to be a gigantic commercial success.

Stop dreaming about PF2 failing. It won't.

My hometown isn't particularly large, im involved in roughly 4 of the half dozen or so rpg groups in it. Maybe its different where you are, but don't presume to speak for an area you aren't a part of.


Visanideth wrote:
Otha wrote:
Visanideth wrote:
Considering 4E is the second best selling D&D edition of all times as far as core products go, I don't think that is going to scare Paizo very much.

It would scare me if I were them. D&D's brand name is strong in the RPG market...even though they lost a good bit of fans over 4e, their base was strong/large enough to sustain the losses...and when they released 5e, many fans came flocking back because D&D apparently fixed what had caused their fans to split...

Don't see it as the same at Paizo. RPG fans flocked to Paizo because of the change to 4e; that's their base. They seemingly built their base on folk resistant to drastic changes and carved out a niche for themselves...and when 5e was released some of the D&D folk went back to their first love. I'd guess most that stayed with Pathfinder were the hardcore fans and the ones who had invested a lot of time and money...and now Paizo introduces a drastic change to Pathfinder and many of these hardcore fans are disappointed...considering how Pathfinder came to be, this should not be a surprise...

This may be a move that Paizo has to make to survive...I'll be participating in the PbP playtests next week and hope all goes well...I just worry what might happen to Pathfinder if it doesn't go so well...I don't think Pathfinder can sustain a split in the fan base as well as D&D was able to...

Honestly the history of 4E proves that online outrage is rarely, if ever, a good meter of judgement for the actual success of a product. Paizo's only concern is creating a product that can safely coexist with 5E, and not appeasing grognards. Grognards never have the commercial critical mass to sustain a product.

There are still over three dozen 4E books sitting on the local stores shelves in my area. They made their money, but it came at the cost of the FlGS if my area is any indication.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Visanideth wrote:
Otha wrote:
Visanideth wrote:
Considering 4E is the second best selling D&D edition of all times as far as core products go, I don't think that is going to scare Paizo very much.

It would scare me if I were them. D&D's brand name is strong in the RPG market...even though they lost a good bit of fans over 4e, their base was strong/large enough to sustain the losses...and when they released 5e, many fans came flocking back because D&D apparently fixed what had caused their fans to split...

Don't see it as the same at Paizo. RPG fans flocked to Paizo because of the change to 4e; that's their base. They seemingly built their base on folk resistant to drastic changes and carved out a niche for themselves...and when 5e was released some of the D&D folk went back to their first love. I'd guess most that stayed with Pathfinder were the hardcore fans and the ones who had invested a lot of time and money...and now Paizo introduces a drastic change to Pathfinder and many of these hardcore fans are disappointed...considering how Pathfinder came to be, this should not be a surprise...

This may be a move that Paizo has to make to survive...I'll be participating in the PbP playtests next week and hope all goes well...I just worry what might happen to Pathfinder if it doesn't go so well...I don't think Pathfinder can sustain a split in the fan base as well as D&D was able to...

Honestly the history of 4E proves that online outrage is rarely, if ever, a good meter of judgement for the actual success of a product. Paizo's only concern is creating a product that can safely coexist with 5E, and not appeasing grognards. Grognards never have the commercial critical mass to sustain a product.
There are still over three dozen 4E books sitting on the local stores shelves in my area. They made their money, but it came at the cost of the FlGS if my area is any indication.

Yes, 4th Ed sold well, initially, what new edition of the iconic RPG wouldn't; but in less than 2 years there was damage control (Essentials) going on.

I pray for no New Coke action with PF2; come on, folks, bring it!


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Its just one of the things people tend not to take into account. The company's sales figures just show how much distributors and stores bought. Doesnt show how well they sold at the store.


I would definitely scrap the magic spell system and start over. Nothing about any of the cantrips with the possible exception of daze or electricity arc merits spending two actions to cast. Very few of the spells of 2nd level or lower merit a two action cast either tbh.

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Otha wrote:
But, as you say, the RPG market is probably different. I just don't know if Paizo can afford to lose the majority of their Grognards unless they can get at least a matching infusion of new players...

The question is if they didn't already lose at least a part of their grognards. I mean, the typical Pathfinder Grognard is probably like me and was already there before the whole Pathfinder adventure started. Or at least they came onto the roster as soon as PFRPG was a thing (probably because hthey didn't like what 4E had to offer.)

No matter what there are a lot of people I used to know on these boards that have gone silent over the years and some of them I know started playing 5E instead. So, while only Paizo might know the exact numbers, I'd assume that if you only try to cater to the Pathfinder grognards, that would be a battle already lost. They probably need to make a game that is more accessable than 3.X/PF is, to bring new players into the fold while doing their best to give their old players something they still can like.

But then, "grognards" like me were already there for the original Pathfinder playtest and can remember that then, the designers did something similar to PF2. They pushed the limits during alpha and beta playtest just to see what their fanbase would like and what not. And they dialed back on a lot of things before finally publishing PF1.

So a lot of what skeptics see as radical changes might just be Paizo doing what they did with the original playtest. And if the designers find out that the majority of playtesters dislikes something, they'll probably remove or modify it into something that gets a better reception.


Otha wrote:
But, as you say, the RPG market is probably different. I just don't know if Paizo can afford to lose the majority of their Grognards unless they can get at least a matching infusion of new players...

Thing is, grognards will eventually leave the game, it's a group with dwindling numbers by definition. You cannot add new grognards to the group there are, but you substract some of them every year. If not because some other reason, at least because they'll die of old age someday.

The game NEEDS new players for long term success. The game does not need grognards, can survive without them.

The problem here is just that picking up new players is riskier. It might work, or it might not, and if it doesn't work, Paizo will suffer, a lot. So it's a choice between taking a risk, and succeed or die in a blazing fireball of glory, or sit down and slowly wait your death.

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gustavo iglesias wrote:
The game does not need grognards, can survive without them.

I'd be cautious with claims like this, though. Because with a niche hobby like RPGs, the older generations play a vital role in bringing new people into the fold. So just dismissing them as being irrelevant runs the risk of those grognards going and supporting someone else.

It's kinda how Pathfinder RPG came into existence.


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
Otha wrote:
But, as you say, the RPG market is probably different. I just don't know if Paizo can afford to lose the majority of their Grognards unless they can get at least a matching infusion of new players...

Thing is, grognards will eventually leave the game, it's a group with dwindling numbers by definition. You cannot add new grognards to the group there are, but you substract some of them every year. If not because some other reason, at least because they'll die of old age someday.

The game NEEDS new players for long term success. The game does not need grognards, can survive without them.

The problem here is just that picking up new players is riskier. It might work, or it might not, and if it doesn't work, Paizo will suffer, a lot. So it's a choice between taking a risk, and succeed or die in a blazing fireball of glory, or sit down and slowly wait your death.

You can certainly add new grognards, depending on your definition. Sure you cant add people who have literally been playing the game for years and wont leave the edition they started with, but you can certainly add new people who started on older editions and prefer them if grognards start them on that edition. I myself prefer 3.X almost exclusively (play some 5E now and then and other game systems) and have added plenty of other people who also prefer 3.X to the hobby.


WormysQueue wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
The game does not need grognards, can survive without them.

I'd be cautious with claims like this, though. Because with a niche hobby like RPGs, the older generations play a vital role in bringing new people into the fold. So just dismissing them as being irrelevant runs the risk of those grognards going and supporting someone else.

It's kinda how Pathfinder RPG came into existence.

I don't think they (we) are irrelevant.

I do think there's a possiblity for the hobby to survive without players like me, with 27 years of experience. It is harder, sure, but it's not impossible.

Long term, it's impossible to survive without new players.

So if there's some kind of false dichotomy, like the proposed in the forums often, where you HAVE to pick between grognards and new players, period, then the answer is obvious I think. I'd rather try my options, than go for a certain slow death.


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Bluenose wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I don’t think Pathfinder has a huge pull for grognards (though such fans exist, I’m sure). The key “old school Pathfinder” crowd probably view 3.5 nostalgically. That’s not the edition typically associated with grognards.
It's 18 years now since 3.0 came out. I think that's getting close to grognard status, even if the older crew (like me) who played OD&D when it was the current edition don't really think of it as anything but one of the new editions.

I must have just been misunderstanding the word. I always thought grognards were people who preferred the playstyle popular in 1970s/80s RPGs.

I didn’t think it mattered how long you’d been playing (though it’d obviously be correlated). I thought it was a qualitative thing about tastes, rather than a matter of longevity.

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gustavo iglesias wrote:
So if there's some kind of false dichotomy, like the proposed in the forums often, where you HAVE to pick between grognards and new players, period, then the answer is obvious I think. I'd rather try my options, than go for a certain slow death.

Ah ok, then the misunderstanding was on my part (sorry for that). Was probably triggered because that was something I seemed to hear very often in defense of all the changes 4E did.

Luckily I don't think it's an either-or question. Funnily enough, I might have more problems to convince my kids to play PF2 than to convince myself, because they really like their PF1 characters. Might be especially difficult to convince my son to give up his Kitsune Magus.

Which is why I really hope the goblin (and the alchemist) will make it into the final release. Though I fear for all of Golarion's civilization should he ever get his hands on this combo. That will probably make Earthfall look like a minor nuisance.

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Steve Geddes wrote:
I must have just been misunderstanding the word. I always thought grognards were people who preferred the playstyle popular in 1970s/80s RPGs.

Probably one of those cases where the term might mean different things to different people.

To me, the term "grognard" has ever been something that only those people that have been there basically from the start should be allowed to call themselves.

Which is why I normally don't call myself this way because I'm at the very best, a 2nd generation player.


A Grognard was a french veteran soldier that fought for Napoleon for the whole period of the Emperor's wars.
The definition for gamers vary, but it's always related to veteran players who have been playing for long.


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Vic Ferrari wrote:
Otha wrote:
Visanideth wrote:
Honestly the history of 4E proves that online outrage is rarely, if ever, a good meter of judgement for the actual success of a product.

Maybe...but I bought the hardcover books for 4E and never played it once. I know my boardgame group also had an RPG night (which I did not play in) and they bought it as well...and they stopped having RPG nights not too long after. Not saying it didn't sell well, just putting out that it may not have played as well as it sold. I know there was a lot of hype for 4E when it was released...and it's a given that a new version of D&D will sell well, at least initially. Just curious, is there any breakdown/comparison of sales figures for how well it sold from its first year to the following years? Any way, there were enough people that left it for Pathfinder to be born...

Visanideth wrote:
Paizo's only concern is creating a product that can safely coexist with 5E, and not appeasing grognards.

You could very well be right as concerning RPGs as I do not know the market that well; I hope they succeed but it's a risk. Anything seen as similar to a very popular product runs the danger of paling in comparison; Coke Classic-New Coke and Hardees making changes (new hamburger recipe, frying burgers as opposed to char-broil) in the 80's are a couple off the top of my head...

Visanideth wrote:
Grognards never have the commercial critical mass to sustain a product.

I admit I don't know the RPG market well, so you could be right...but I wouldn't say never. The wargame market depended almost solely on Grognards, small as that market was. Grognards sustained Avalon Hill for many years...and GMT Games is doing pretty well with Grognards as their primary base as well...

But, as you say, the RPG market is probably different. I just don't know if Paizo can afford to lose the majority of their Grognards unless they can get at least a matching infusion of new players...

Fantastic post.

As for 4th Ed...

I just remember what others post, Dancey, Gygax and Applecine have all put up nummbers and they are roughly in the same ballpark although Dancewyt's tend to be 15%-20% higher but as I said its a ball park.


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The big issue is that there's some weird assumption that systems need radical overhauls every so often. Its not necessarily the case but 9/10 times the changeover comes more from simple lack of access, advertisement, and store shelf space of the older editions. Editions very rarely are put in direct competition, in fact the only time i can think of that happening is PF vs 4E...and the older edition won out there.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
The big issue is that there's some weird assumption that systems need radical overhauls every so often. Its not necessarily the case but 9/10 times the changeover comes more from simple lack of access, advertisement, and store shelf space of the older editions. Editions very rarely are put in direct competition, in fact the only time i can think of that happening is PF vs 4E...and the older edition won out there.

That is because there has usually only been 1 edition in print, the exceptions are 4E vs Pathfinder, 1977 when there were 3 editions in print (Holmes, 1E and OD&D) and the old 1/E and B/X versions which ended in AD&D eating B/X's lunch. 1E PHB was reprinted into 2E though (1990) and the last 1E module was 1994 IIRC a ToEE reprint.

If PF 2E tanks I would imagine Paizo would go 3pp for 5E rather than relaunch 1E. I would be amazed if that subject has not been mentioned behind closed doors. Everyone who wants PF1 already has it and odds are sales of 5E conversions of PF APs would do better than new PF1 material.

Some of the 3pp for 5E have had massive sales, a 2 million dollar kickstarter being one of them along with the Kobolds and HotDQ.

I'll probably buy PF2 regardless due to goodwill towards Paizo, what I buy after that depends on what PF2 ends up being.Something a bit crunchier than 5E is fine but not PF1 or PF2 playtest levels of crunchy which are headache inducing comparatively.


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Bryon’s infallible wisdom on new players :)

New players are the most important players

New players happen naturally all the time as people (from 8 to 88) “discover” gaming

The total pool of gamers as a percentage of the population moves very little

It *does* move more than zero, the acceptance of “geek culture” as cool has moved the needle up

New players will buy the core book and, very very often, nothing else.
Subwisdom – anyone buying much more is no longer a “new player” , this happens consistently, but only to a small fraction of new players

Many new players are just curious and maybe willing to play infrequently for a long time, but are never going to be serious hobbyists. They are casual gamers.

Serious hobbyist is not an elitist title (in this context) just a moniker for people who play a lot and, usually, spend some consistent amount.

A lot of new players become casual gamers, but a lot of them try it and simply move on.

Attracting new gamers is very important

Designing for new players is the best way to attract them. This means things like taking cues from Harry Potter or Game of Thrones more than Thieves’ World and Lord of the Rings (though not to any exclusion)

Another way to attract new players is to “lower the bar”. This can be a siren’s lure.

You might get more players (and a nice kick of sales, so good news there). But the players who are attracted specifically to the lower bar are much more likely to “simply move on”.

Games with a lower bar *as an end to itself* don’t last as long for “serious gamers” and, obviously, lose players who move on.

This is NOT to say that simplification which does not sacrifice depth is a bad thing. Quite the contrary, better design is usually easier and more simple. It is *only* to say that simplification with a primary goal of lower the entry bar for new gamers is not a good long term approach.


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Zardnaar wrote:
who plays 4E with just the core 3 book.

Masochists.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Its just one of the things people tend not to take into account. The company's sales figures just show how much distributors and stores bought. Doesnt show how well they sold at the store.

Also doesn't show you how many were bought, looked at/played and then dropped.

I'm not saying 4e was a success or not. But most data/figures are about the sales to stores or customers. Finding data on just how many people stopped playing with or without getting the books however is a bit harder to do.

I mean you see it with Movies and Video games. X sells well, but is dumped on by both fans and critics.


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MerlinCross wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Its just one of the things people tend not to take into account. The company's sales figures just show how much distributors and stores bought. Doesnt show how well they sold at the store.

Also doesn't show you how many were bought, looked at/played and then dropped.

I'm not saying 4e was a success or not. But most data/figures are about the sales to stores or customers. Finding data on just how many people stopped playing with or without getting the books however is a bit harder to do.

I mean you see it with Movies and Video games. X sells well, but is dumped on by both fans and critics.

Its another way you get to manipulate how data is presented as well. By restricting the report to "core book sales" you gather up all the people who picked up the book, tried it, and never played again. My group is one of those and accounts for like 4 or 5 books sold at one table. We tried three different campaigns and just gave up, never bought another 4e book, went back to 3.5 til pathfinder came around.


Pathfinder is to 5E what BMW is to Toyota. Sure BMW looks at what Toyota does but isn't going to be overly concerned about how well the new Corolla sells provided BWM's latest 5 series is a quality car.


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Gallo wrote:
Pathfinder is to 5E what BMW is to Toyota. Sure BMW looks at what Toyota does but isn't going to be overly concerned about how well the new Corolla sells provided BWM's latest 5 series is a quality car.

Personally, I find it even more distinct - snowboarders and skiers, maybe.

If skiing booms, there’ll be both an uptick in snowboarding and some snowboarders leaving for their popular skier friends. Ultimately though, snowboarding will survive or fail on its merits.

Meanwhile, fans of each will loudly argue over which one is better.


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gustavo iglesias wrote:

A Grognard was a french veteran soldier that fought for Napoleon for the whole period of the Emperor's wars.

The definition for gamers vary, but it's always related to veteran players who have been playing for long.

i had no idea that's where that word game from (i've always assumed it was derogatory shorthand for "old gamers who hate change" and tried to avoid it as such).

the more you know, i guess.


AndIMustMask wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:

A Grognard was a french veteran soldier that fought for Napoleon for the whole period of the Emperor's wars.

The definition for gamers vary, but it's always related to veteran players who have been playing for long.

i had no idea that's where that word game from (i've always assumed it was derogatory shorthand for "old gamers who hate change" and tried to avoid it as such).

the more you know, i guess.

Well the word translates as 'grumbler', Napoleon's Old Guard being known for complaining about most things. Things that changes but also things that don't change are equally valid targets. People claiming veteran status or traditional values when they're clearly only picking what they want from "the good old days" are a popular target - see Paladin 'debates'.

I've seen it suggested that if you didn't play with Gygax or Arneson then you can't be a grognard, although I think that was from someone being satirical (and someone who did play with them regarded the whole thing as nonsense). More often it seems to be people who played the first wave of RPGs, published in the 1970s or early 1980s before 'settings' became a cash cow.


Moro wrote:
Zardnaar wrote:
who plays 4E with just the core 3 book.
Masochists.

Yep.

I fully believe 4E is the best D&D edition, but it only really works if you've invested a few hundred dollars in it.

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