Interesting Time for PF2 with D&D 5.5 / 6th coming 2024


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Seisho wrote:

*reading the 5e which is around for 6 years, has gotten barely any new content, will be replaced in 3 years which are probably also devoid of any notable content*

Hmmm...

*Looks at Pathfinder pdf collection and Paizos release schedule*

I think I'm good...

And it's FREE on a regularly updated website with a SEARCH FUNCTION.

Edit: Legally and Officially too!


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You can make a good video of a PF2 game, but you pretty much have to do with Jason did in Knights of Everflame - one-two theater of mind fights per evening, some light use of skills, but mostly just rp'ing.


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Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
You can make a good video of a PF2 game, but you pretty much have to do with Jason did in Knights of Everflame - one-two theater of mind fights per evening, some light use of skills, but mostly just rp'ing.

A PF2 videogame would probably play a lot like the very good recent Shadowrun games that Harebrained Schemes did; turn-based tactics games where you control a party of characters, separated by isometric exploration that used skill checks and dialogue choices.

It would feel very different from the Owlcat games, but would basically be a dream come true for me.


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Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
You can make a good video of a PF2 game, but you pretty much have to do with Jason did in Knights of Everflame - one-two theater of mind fights per evening, some light use of skills, but mostly just rp'ing.

The other games Jason ran with Paizo staff worked pretty well. Especially Band of Bravos.

Of course, playing with developers you generally don't have too much in the way of rules problems.


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I also think that 5E has done a poor job in respecting the various campaign worlds that helped to make 5e possible. Dark Sun, Greyhawk, and let's not forget Dragonlance, have been treated poorly by 5E since like day 1.

I really do not like their new changes to Iggwilv.


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thaX wrote:


Forgotten Realms died in 4th edition.

For me it died in 3E, as most of the sourcebooks took all the RSEs and confirmed them as cannon. The original grey box with all the FR supplements thereafter would be a great point to go back to. Or anything pre-godswar.

Personally, I vote for a return to Greyhawk. Erik Mona's (co-authored) Living Greyhawk gazetteer is the Greyhawk "bible" for me.


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The great truth is that Hasbro would have to screw up on a really massive scale to lose ground appreciably with D&D; even the 4e situation was a loser _only by their standards_ (by any other RPG company in the world it would have been considered a massive success).

The combination of decades of name recognition and network externalities is just a juggernaut that likely can't be beat. PF1e, which is probably as close as anyone has come (barring the debatable Vampire case) was an artifact of a perfect storm of events, and as has been noted, that likely just meant they were at least in the running.


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Sagiam wrote:
Seisho wrote:

*reading the 5e which is around for 6 years, has gotten barely any new content, will be replaced in 3 years which are probably also devoid of any notable content*

Hmmm...

*Looks at Pathfinder pdf collection and Paizos release schedule*

I think I'm good...

And it's FREE on a regularly updated website with a SEARCH FUNCTION.

Edit: Legally and Officially too!

Yeah, got to love it. Still gonna buy at least most pdfs (because I love and support them)

I just wish that I could get my hands on the pdfs as early as some of the subscribers *sigh*

Well, can't be everything perfect I guess


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Sunderstone wrote:
thaX wrote:


Forgotten Realms died in 4th edition.

For me it died in 3E, as most of the sourcebooks took all the RSEs and confirmed them as cannon. The original grey box with all the FR supplements thereafter would be a great point to go back to. Or anything pre-godswar.

Personally, I vote for a return to Greyhawk. Erik Mona's (co-authored) Living Greyhawk gazetteer is the Greyhawk "bible" for me.

2E and some 3E Forgotten Realms products were amazing.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Michael Sayre wrote:
Lanathar wrote:

There appear to be some people implying that this new edition might be at least partly to stop people jumping to PF2E

Is there really any evidence that this has happened to a significant degree such that 5E would notice ? And given they don’t put out loads of books and the jumpers have likely already bought theirs - does it even matter ?

It's tricky to say. PF2's player base may actually have more former/current 5E players than former/current PF1 players at this point, but that would be in part because there's around 42 5E players in the world for every PF1 player that ever existed.

It's also tricky because assuming that Pathfinder ever surpassed D&D in any edition isn't really accurate. By the time Pathfinder was higher on the IcV2 charts (themselves very inaccurate and prone to bias) than D&D 4E, they'd already announced 5E and intentionally started the wind down on 4E (which was actually much more successful than people realize, just not 5E successful, which is what Hasbro and WotC were aiming for.) WotC was also in the process of adopting direct distribution models and taking other steps that actually increased their sales and audience through venues that aren't tracked via traditional TTRPG tracking metrics.

The reality is that D&D and WotC aren't really competing with Paizo, their peers are companies like Blizzard. So it's very likely that announcing a new edition of D&D will mean the migration of players to PF2 is significantly enhanced, but even if that number of new people adopting PF2 for the first time were to be twice the size of the entire PF1 audience at its height, that number might not be significant enough for WotC to care or notice. If they see anything equating to even a fraction of the market growth 5E created, they could literally lose 10× the PF1 audience in players and still come out ahead by double that amount.

"PF2's player base may actually have more former/current 5E players than former/current PF1 players at this point"

is something that's explicitly true of r/Pathfinder2e interestingly, we've done surveys about it there, its like 60% former 5e players at last count, and I can only imagine its gone up in the months since.


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I'm excited for this new edition. I am seeing that either:
A, the new edition will be really good, and I'll finally pick up D&D, giving me another game to play.
B, it won't be to my taste, and I'll stick with PF2E, but we'll get more people into the hobby because of word of mouth and the buzz generated from 5E's prior success. I suppose this is also applicable to point A.


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The-Magic-Sword wrote:

"PF2's player base may actually have more former/current 5E players than former/current PF1 players at this point"

is something that's explicitly true of r/Pathfinder2e interestingly, we've done surveys about it there, its like 60% former 5e players at last count, and I can only imagine its gone up in the months since.

It's not really surprising and I'm not sure it really says that much.

There are a lot of of 5E players. Even a pretty small percentage of them coming to PF would make up a big proportion of PF players. 5E grew the hobby immensely. Some of those players are going to move to other systems.


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Lets go back to Rolemaster!!!

But on topic: coming from 5e (2nd ed, RM, 3rd, 3.5, pf1 before that), pf2 took a bit of getting used to, but I wouldn't go back to 5e or anything comparable. Mostly the balance between casters and martials on all levels is good. The balance between all classes, I would even say. Not that all are the same, but there is nothing which is unplayable, it seems.

If 5.5/6 would build on 5, i would not be interested.


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5e would need rebuilding from the ground up to end with a cohesive system, and I'm not sure WOTC is willing to flip their golden goose upside down even if it resulted in a better game for casual and experienced fans alike; through my experience with the system (two campaigns and a few oneshots as a player, one larger campaign as a DM) it's just gotten more clear to me that what someone calls "playing 5e" is just adopting the familiar framework and name of D&D to entice players and then adding dozens of houserules to solve any shortcomings the GM considers egregious, all while tiptoeing around broken supplemental material that feels completely disconnected from the core line; I've never seen pure RAW 5e being played, and the moment one of my former GMs chose to do so significantly decreased the group's enthusiasm, although the campaign was ending a short while after regardless.

All I've got to say is that in my time GMing 2e (certainly less time than I've done it for 5e, with the pandemic and all) I've never felt the need to modify written material beyond very simple on-the-fly changes like allowing a creature to die with 2 hp left if it fits the narrative and pacing better. Simply following the encounter guidelines saved me hours of planing because I knew I could trust them, items have level and price recomendations, risky material is tagged as rare and needs GM approval, proficiencies and tasks scale naturally, etc.

In my time playing 2e I learned very early on to trust the system, while running 5e felt like having to weave my personal touch at every corner, but at that point I wasn't really playing 5e. Playing 5e was never a problem, as long as I could figure something out, it was fair game to try it, but being a DM for 5e quickly opens one's eyes to what's behind the veil

Every single DM tool in 5e is dysfuntional:

Encounter balance? CR does not work, it's that simple; while 2e gates abilities like invisibily and flight under level restrictions and tries to make them comparable to players, 5e just throws stuff at the wall and sees what sticks. A werewolf duel in 5e is bound to end in an eternal draw because neither can be harmed by non-magical means, and it just gets sloppier the further you dive into it. If the usulessness of the numbers wasn't enough most monsters are just meatbags with sharp teeth and at most a single ability, boring to the core. Boss encounters adding lair actions and legendary actions simply feel like cheating the economy because the system was unable to translate the "boss" feel to its natural flow of combat.

Loot tables? May as well handpick it instead, seeing as gamebreaking items lurk even in low-level tables and regardless of rolls your players will be Bezos rich by the time they clear their third dungeon, although they can't spend any of that money in magic items, because supposedly they're beyond rare and magic shops are next to nonexistent (a tidbit ignored by 95% of groups).

Exploration Pillar? I'll leave this session empty, reflecting the effort WOTC put on this one

Magic weaponry? Technically an "option", but it feels like half of the creatures above CR 5 are immune to mundane harm. Ignoring them will only skyrocket your spellcasters above and beyong martial players, but then again this would just accelarate what would happen regardless.

Class balance? No 5e class is made equal, there are Bards, Wizards and Paladins living in the Elysian fields, then there's an abyss where the rangers and monks dwell. The "hit people with a stick real good" purgatory has most fighters and barbarians in there, and some are satisfied with having no class features, options or cool abilities because this way their friend that's on the phone for half the session can still enjoy themselves. The highs just get higher and the lows just get lower with each subclass released, either forcing DMs to limit players using the broken new shiny class or having to bump up the undesirable ones because the job of balancing wasn't done properly.

Action Economy? "Can I use my bonus action to do X" is the 1º most asked question from new 5e players for a reason, the entire thing is inconsistent, and weaponizing one's bonus action is the easiest way to break the existent power curve. A worthy revision would need to define the worth of a BA in a clear manner and offer a way for every class to fill theirs with something useful if its meant to be a part of the regular Action Econ.

Does that mean 5e is a bad game? No, a bad game can't earn the praise that this edition received, but it is poorly planned, inconsistent and incompatible with anyone that likes predictability or organization in their home games; as a natural improviser running 5e never felt hard, but it was taxing, there is no such thing as a confident 5e DM simply because of how easily things in that system can get volatile. And considering the content Wizards has been putting out I'm not sure I'll return to run that system with any priority in the near future, but I'm certaintly open to being impressed.


Deriven Firelion wrote:


2E and some 3E Forgotten Realms products were amazing.

For me, Queen of Spiders was the only memorable FR book from those editions.


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I can't imagine the D&D changes will matter too much to Pathfinder, especially if it's just a 5.5. If it's more significant, and ends up being more like a 6E even if they don't call it that, then it could be a big deal for Pathfinder, but I'd need to know a lot more before I started guessing in what fashion. As many have said, name recognition and brand loyalty are huge things to overcome.

At the moment I'm mostly expecting character creation stuff for 5.5, because that's what they've been fiddling with. I'd put money on no more alignments and changing the terminology for races. I really hope they go with Pathfinder's Ancestry+Heritage system, because not only do I think the terminology sounds natural, but the mechanical consequences it has for things like Versatile Heritages also feel super organic. It's probably my favorite part of Pathfinder 2E. I can't imagine doing it a better way, but I've certainly seen worse, and I hope they don't mess it up just because they don't want to look like they're copying their competitor (I don't think that would help Pathfinder, just hurt the industry).

Other than that, they'll probably do the custom Ability Score Increases thing, but I'm not sure they'll commit to the "race is entirely roleplayed and not mechanical at all" thing they asked about in surveys. I think for the average player that will actually backfire when it comes to flavor and engagement. If they did, that's the sort of thing I think could suddenly boost up Pathfinder.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I do like PF2. As stated it is my favorite d20 system.
Then Starfinder and 5e. I do think the classes need some rebalancing to be closer to the newer subclasses. How much of this will be done 5.5/6 remains to be seen. I do think they will add more options to combat and feats. I do not think it will be as big a shift as 4th to 5th. I think it will be more than 3.0 to 3.5. Related to staff working on it now and 3 years away. If it were minor tweaks it seems strange would announce when 3 years out rather than wait till closer to launch.


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Sunderstone wrote:
Deriven Firelion wrote:


2E and some 3E Forgotten Realms products were amazing.

For me, Queen of Spiders was the only memorable FR book from those editions.

The Ruins of Myth Drannor was cool.

Faiths and Avatars was cool. More depth to the religions than any edition.

Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 3rd edition with the insane Archmage add on class. That was a nicely made book. It had a big, nicely made map of the Forgotten Realms.

The Ruins of Undermountain

City of the Spider Queen

So many of the supplements were great like Waterdeep and the North and The Shining South. Great maps and lots of information.

Drow of the Underdark

Netheril: Empire of Magic

Magic of Faerun

There were a ton of quality books in 2nd and 3rd edition for Forgotten Realms. The 3rd edition book quality was great. They really put some nice money into the maps and overall book quality FR books in 3rd edition.


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To defend the 4e Realms’s honor somewhat: there’s a nation perched on the land around (and into) a massive rift into the Underdark, populated by an alliance of dwarves, renegade drow, and the largest remnant of the god of invention’s faith.

They’re just to the south of an ancient artificer empire recently returned to the surface, a belligerent empire of undead, a merchant republic of geniekin, and a militant outpost of alien dragonfolk.

It ruled.


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keftiu wrote:

To defend the 4e Realms’s honor somewhat: there’s a nation perched on the land around (and into) a massive rift into the Underdark, populated by an alliance of dwarves, renegade drow, and the largest remnant of the god of invention’s faith.

They’re just to the south of an ancient artificer empire recently returned to the surface, a belligerent empire of undead, a merchant republic of geniekin, and a militant outpost of alien dragonfolk.

It ruled.

You speak of lands beyond the Sword Coast that may as well not exist due to the lack of support they get from Wizards.

The Realms does have some cool and mostly vanilla fantasy stuff but sadly they don't support it well if at all.


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keftiu wrote:

To defend the 4e Realms’s honor somewhat: there’s a nation perched on the land around (and into) a massive rift into the Underdark, populated by an alliance of dwarves, renegade drow, and the largest remnant of the god of invention’s faith.

They’re just to the south of an ancient artificer empire recently returned to the surface, a belligerent empire of undead, a merchant republic of geniekin, and a militant outpost of alien dragonfolk.

It ruled.

4E realms had some interesting tidbits, but overall I hated it. The time skip killed of many ongoing novel storylines and felt very forced and unnecessary. Also killing off many of gods simply sucked IMO. The drow, a personal favorite of mine, had any nuance stripped away and reduced to just evil Lolth worshippers. This decision by WotC would ironically come to bite them in the butt years later when people got tired of always evil drow.

If it wasn’t for the fun gameplay of 4E, I probably would had skipped it entirely out of spite for killing the Realms. I’m guess I’m more bitter about it than I realized lol.

Dark Archive

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While there were always factions that complained about the changes in the setting with edition changes, even the big ones really were still incremental up through 3rd edition. And from a lore perspective you had great combinations of supplements, boxed sets, and novels. I've read almost every TSR/ WOTC novel, and the narrative just really collapses starting with 4E. Kill-off but bring back characters in big ways. It got to the comic book level where it all just needs a reboot. Basically all the other 2E settings were pretty cool. Many had some significant warts, but there was some real interesting setting ideas. Eberron grew on me in 3E, but Ravenloft reached a pinnacle of really in depth setting that makes for really fun stories. It's not really suited to an full AP type of arc, and if I was so inclined I'd do an E6 type hack to bring it back. Unfortunately none of WOTC's efforts on this front have been remotely palatable.

Silver Crusade

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Cyder wrote:
keftiu wrote:

To defend the 4e Realms’s honor somewhat: there’s a nation perched on the land around (and into) a massive rift into the Underdark, populated by an alliance of dwarves, renegade drow, and the largest remnant of the god of invention’s faith.

They’re just to the south of an ancient artificer empire recently returned to the surface, a belligerent empire of undead, a merchant republic of geniekin, and a militant outpost of alien dragonfolk.

It ruled.

You speak of lands beyond the Sword Coast that may as well not exist due to the lack of support they get from Wizards.

The Realms does have some cool and mostly vanilla fantasy stuff but sadly they don't support it well if at all.

*cries in Mask of the Betrayer*


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Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
thaX wrote:

A new edition won't help if the stick with the Forgotten Realms setting.

They need to either go fully in on Eberon or go back to the Greyhawk setting. (Dragonlance won't be a factor in this)

Forgotten Realms died in 4th edition.

What they did to the Realms for 4e was the final straw that made me abandon 4e and DnD forever.


3 years is an eternity but the reason I played PF2E was I wanted to just try other systems than say 5e. I frankly never had any background with PF1 and PF2E just happened to come out after I had finished several long 5e campaigns.

So for the next 3 years I think PF2E has opportunity to grow but conversely it could stall a little bit as players try out a new DnD system.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would agree as far as PF2 growing some. Which is good in my book. My favorite Forgotten Realms book was the 300 or so campaign book and all hardback supplements for the 3/3.5 version.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

If you switched to 5e from Pathfinder for whatever reason, or you stuck with Pathfinder after 5e, I don't see how 5.5 would cause you to change your mind.

I think culturally if anything the divide has only grown between the two systems since 2010. Things like lack of alignment, no Paladin codes, merging wizards and sorcerers into spontaneous casters, etc. -- they add up. For some people, that's an incentive. For others, it's a disincentive.

Cyder wrote:


You speak of lands beyond the Sword Coast that may as well not exist due to the lack of support they get from Wizards.

This is a huge thing for me. The focus on the Sword Coast in 5e is just the Forgotten Realms greatest hits album.


"'member Baldur's Gate? 'member Candlekeep? 'member Neverwinter?" "Ooooh yeah, I 'member!"

Dropping Eberron was criminal.

Anyways --

People have been saying "Okay, THIS is the nail in the coffin for Pathfinder, it was fun while it lasted folks" for 10 years.

Dragon Magazine license got cancelled - "Oh man, how is Paizo gonna survive? How can they possibly find new revenue streams?"

3.5 being replaced by 4e - "Oh man, how is Paizo gonna survive? How can they possibly find new revenue streams?"

5e clawing back market share - "Oh man, how is Paizo gonna survive? What are we gonna do now?!"

etc.

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Leon Aquilla wrote:

If you switched to 5e from Pathfinder for whatever reason, or you stuck with Pathfinder after 5e, I don't see how 5.5 would cause you to change your mind.

I dunno...while I'm primarily into Pathfinder, D&D does several things I like but just isn't quite there for me. A revision gets my attention because there are certain steps that can be taken to make the game much more to my liking.

Then again, I don't see D&D and Pathfinder as mutually exclusive. They fill similar niches, but each has strengths in different directions, so there are compelling reasons to include both on the gaming shelf.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

People may be more prone to try system they were thinking about now that it is known there will be newer version of D&D in 3 years. Maybe not huge amounts but sone may make the switch to PF2.


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Taçin wrote:
...there is no such thing as a confident 5e DM simply because of how easily things in that system can get volatile...

I don't know - I've been running a campaign for nearly 3 years and I'm a confident 5E DM.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Leon Aquilla wrote:


I think culturally if anything the divide has only grown between the two systems since 2010.

I think that's really true on the forums but I'm not sure how far that spreads. A lot of the groups I interact with drift between systems or play one because that's what their GM is running more than out of any particular allegiance.


Dave2 wrote:
People may be more prone to try system they were thinking about now that it is known there will be newer version of D&D in 3 years. Maybe not huge amounts but sone may make the switch to PF2.

Possibly but this new version of D&D doesn’t sound like it will be that different. They want it backwards compatible and 5e is too successful to deviate too far from. But I could be wrong


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Michael Sayre wrote:
It's also tricky because assuming that Pathfinder ever surpassed D&D in any edition isn't really accurate. By the time Pathfinder was higher on the IcV2 charts (themselves very inaccurate and prone to bias) than D&D 4E, they'd already announced 5E and intentionally started the wind down on 4E (which was actually much more successful than people realize, just not 5E successful, which is what Hasbro and WotC were aiming for.)

Is that accurate? I thought D&D Next was announced in Q1 2012 and PF1 had taken the #1 IcV2 Q2 2011

Paizo Employee Designer

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dirtypool wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:
It's also tricky because assuming that Pathfinder ever surpassed D&D in any edition isn't really accurate. By the time Pathfinder was higher on the IcV2 charts (themselves very inaccurate and prone to bias) than D&D 4E, they'd already announced 5E and intentionally started the wind down on 4E (which was actually much more successful than people realize, just not 5E successful, which is what Hasbro and WotC were aiming for.)
Is that accurate? I thought D&D Next was announced in Q1 2012 and PF1 had taken the #1 IcV2 Q2 2011

I believe Q1 2012 was when they officially stated that their project was D&D Next, but the build-up to that had already been in motion for some time, including changes in the timing between product releases, other "end of cycle" products, and updates to retailers and distribution networks. Basically much the same as how the most recent announcement wasn't that surprising to people who order products for game stores or are otherwise tapped into the industry; if I'd realized when the 50th anniversary for D&D was, I wouldn't have been quite as confident about predicting "6E" a year early last year.

The average lifespan of an edition is 5-7 years; Pathfinder was one of the first major (and I use major as an industry-specific status here) edition cycles to break that range, and frankly it was terrible for the employees of the company. Every book was already selling more poorly than the previous one and every year after 7 basically came out of the workplace longevity and bonuses of the content creators. Edition cycles are just incredibly predictable and come with a massively telegraphed punch that hits employees first and then distributors and FLGSs.

Also, IcV2 data being anecdotal reports of ongoing trends means that when game stores stop receiving product or seeing that they don't have anything to order in the distribution network, it naturally gravitates to putting whatever does have an active distribution line that's selling well at the top. So by the time Pathfinder gained in those charts, people already knew change was on the horizon with D&D, if not that the intermediary name of that change was D&D Next.

Liberty's Edge

PF3 confirmed for 2024-2026 ;-P


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I'm a long-time poster, and I thought this video from my Rules Lawyer channel would interest people in this thread.

It is titled "New D&D Edition Announced! 5 Things It Should STEAL from Pathfinder 2E"

The TLDR (and time stamps):

0:00 - WOTC's Announcement
3:08 - Competition Is Good
4:34 - #1. More Choices in Character Advancement
5:53 - #2. Parallel Advancement Tracks
7:38 - #3. Rein-In Overpowered Options
9:45 - #4. Add Rules Where They're Needed
12:43 - #5. More Unique Monster Abilities


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As someone who isn't really a system loyalist (though pf 2e is by far my favorite d20 based game), I kinda look forward to seeing what a new D&D edition brings to the table. I personally like having multiple game systems, since every system has something they do well.

In pf 2e's case, I very much enjoy its ease of running (seriously, I only need like 2 hours or prep time each game unless I have to make a dungeon or something), it's rules are (typically) very consistent, it's very easy to make balanced homebrew for, and it's DC by level guidelines and mosnter creation rules make it easy to make on the fly ruling when walking into uncertain territory. As a player, I really like the class feat/archetype system; I can get pretty creative about my abilities (especially with free archetype). During the guns and gears playtest, we had 3 inventors, and none of them felt the same from a mechanics standpoint.

Since dnd seems to be taking a 0ath of narrative gaming, I'd like to see them make their encounter design rules become robust and actually usable like pf2e, and for more guidelines on doing on the spot rulings, again, similar to pf2e. These things would allow for a more steamlined narrative experience.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Michael Sayre wrote:

The average lifespan of an edition is 5-7 years; Pathfinder was one of the first major (and I use major as an industry-specific status here) edition cycles to break that range, and frankly it was terrible for the employees of the company. Every book was already selling more poorly than the previous one and every year after 7 basically came out of the workplace longevity and bonuses of the content creators. Edition cycles are just incredibly predictable and come with a massively telegraphed punch that hits employees first and then distributors and FLGSs.

Also, IcV2 data being anecdotal reports of ongoing trends means that when game stores stop receiving product or seeing that they don't have anything to order in the distribution network, it naturally gravitates to putting whatever does have an active distribution line...

As someone who has been involved in this game family since AD&D 1st edition, one issue I would raise is what results you get from a new edition that is compatible with the previous edition vs. one that isn't.

D&D 3rd edition was a very new thing to me when it came out, as all prior D&D material was more or less compatible -- Prior to that point, all monster stat blocks were more or less compatible and could be used with any edition of the game as long as they didn't reference too much player facing material. With 3rd edition, that was no longer true.

Since then, compatibility breaks between editions have become the rule rather than the exception. That means that D&D 3rd edition had greater longevity that it would at first appear, as the same set of gaming material remained more or less usable from D&D 3.0 to D&D 3.5 to Pathfinder 1st edition.

It remains to be seen whether D&D 5th edition is able to avoid major incompatibilities going into its next edition and what Paizo will do with PF2 when it reaches the point where something like a new edition becomes necessary. I am hoping to actually start playing PF2 before Paizo publishes a new edition that is incompatible with it, as that would raise the question as to whether I want to bother keeping up with Paizo's latest edition at that point.

Dark Archive

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I'm not entirely sure how appropriate average is in this situation either. AD&D was first published in 1977, 2nd edition in 1989, and 3rd in 2000. So for most of the history it was exceeding 10 years between editions. I don't doubt that other publishers have had different experiences. But if other companies are routinely pushing editions out closer to every 5 years it is far from clear that all of that data should be treated like it applies in a meaningful way, there is just too much variation.

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I feel like AD&D is far enough in the past and had enough extenuating circumstances around it that it's not great for using as real evidence in this example.

1st edition AD&D took three years to roll out, with the Dungeon Master's Guide not landing on shelves until 1979. Rules-wise, the game only got about one hardcover release a year, which made its production schedule dramatically different than any major title nowadays.

TSR also had major financial troubles in the mid-80s with a change of ownership. That ownership took a few years to ramp up 2nd edition, as the company was trying to move as far away from the guy who would have designed that (Gary Gygax) as possible.

2nd edition AD&D had a release schedule that was actually way faster-paced than even Pathfinder. And it also hit financial troubles, with TSR unable to print products by 1997 and being bought by WotC. When WotC purchased the company, they started working on their own version of D&D that again moved in a very different direction than what previous management had been doing.

In looking at edition cycles, I feel like going back prior to the 21st century probably warps the scale a bit because the industry has changed a whole lot in the past 20 years. Furthermore, the circumstances around both editions of AD&D were way too messy to really be reflective of how edition changes tend to happen, in my opinion.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

all I need/ want from pf2e at this point is mythic/ epic rules & the monsters that come with it otherwise everything I could want in pf2e is already in ir has been announced


Charlie Brooks wrote:

I feel like AD&D is far enough in the past and had enough extenuating circumstances around it that it's not great for using as real evidence in this example.

1st edition AD&D took three years to roll out, with the Dungeon Master's Guide not landing on shelves until 1979. Rules-wise, the game only got about one hardcover release a year, which made its production schedule dramatically different than any major title nowadays.

TSR also had major financial troubles in the mid-80s with a change of ownership. That ownership took a few years to ramp up 2nd edition, as the company was trying to move as far away from the guy who would have designed that (Gary Gygax) as possible.

2nd edition AD&D had a release schedule that was actually way faster-paced than even Pathfinder. And it also hit financial troubles, with TSR unable to print products by 1997 and being bought by WotC. When WotC purchased the company, they started working on their own version of D&D that again moved in a very different direction than what previous management had been doing.

In looking at edition cycles, I feel like going back prior to the 21st century probably warps the scale a bit because the industry has changed a whole lot in the past 20 years. Furthermore, the circumstances around both editions of AD&D were way too messy to really be reflective of how edition changes tend to happen, in my opinion.

But if you don't go back to AD&D, the numbers don't work either. You're also looking at too few examples to say anything meaningful.

3rd (combined) - 8 years
3.0 - 3 years
3.5 - 5 years
4th (combined) - 6 years
4th (pre-essentials)- 2 years
4th Essentials - 4 years
5th 7 years

Only 3.5 & 4th edition fit in that 5-7 year range.

If you look at older D&D games, both AD&D versions were longer, by far. OD&D was only 3 years. The first two Basic variants were short, 2 or 3 years. The Mentzer version ran 8 and continued in the Rules Cyclopedia for another 9.

Of course, they could be looking at more recent game cycles with other systems, so that's harder to compare.

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I think it's probably worth looking at other gaming systems, too, especially those in the modern era (past 20 years or so).

D&D may well not be representative of the rest of the industry in this regard because it's so huge that it doesn't need to change very often.

I would previously have lumped Pathfinder into a similar category, but I don't work at Paizo and somebody who does is telling us that the ten years first edition got was very tough at the end.


I'm willing to bet this next evolution will be some changes for the Player's Handbook classes, adding any small errata they've made over the years to the text and that's basically it. Which for fans of current D&D is fine.

They have no real incentive to change much. Many of the edition's great problems are GM side, but the culture around 5e atm is willing to accept that.

It is possible to have a game both simple, and fluidly transition to narrative and be pleasant to DM, but I don't actually think that kind of structural change is anything they're interested in.


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I think Wizards is not to set on how far changes will go at this point. I do not think it will be anything too drastic. One interesting idea is to use proficiency dice instead of set number. This is optional rule in DMG. The new Transformers, Power Ranger, and GI Joe use it. If it is popular in those games it may make its way into 5.5/6. I do not think that would do anything more than that as far as changes to the system goes. I do see more character options, maybe rebalancing, more feats, and more combat options.


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Michael Sayre wrote:
The average lifespan of an edition is 5-7 years; Pathfinder was one of the first major (and I use major as an industry-specific status here) edition cycles to break that range, and frankly it was terrible for the employees of the company.

I'm not quite sure how you're defining "major," since it seems to be excluding the 9 year edition span of White Wolf's Vampire: The Requiem, the 10 year span of AD&D 1e, the 13 year span of Chaosium's 20th/6e Call of Cthulu and the 16 year edition cycle of Steve Jackson Games' GURPS 3rd edition.


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dirtypool wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:
The average lifespan of an edition is 5-7 years; Pathfinder was one of the first major (and I use major as an industry-specific status here) edition cycles to break that range, and frankly it was terrible for the employees of the company.
I'm not quite sure how you're defining "major," since it seems to be excluding the 9 year edition span of White Wolf's Vampire: The Requiem, the 10 year span of AD&D 1e, the 13 year span of Chaosium's 20th/6e Call of Cthulu and the 16 year edition cycle of Steve Jackson Games' GURPS 3rd edition.

To be fair ignoring Vampire: The Requiem is probably a good thing.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Sure, when talking about sales rankings and edition longevity we should absolutely reject the gameline what was pretty consistently #2 before Pathfinder was just because you for some reason don't like it.

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