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 Post subject: Rumours ...5th edition
 Post Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:45 pm 
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Youngling
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What are your thoughts? Been to a couple of boards in the community and there is a lot of chatter about Monte writing columns for Wizards again.Whats the possiblities of him doing core rule stuff again? Steel what have you heard? A couple of people had mentioned that they are going to support 2 versions like they kind of did in the 80’s. D&D and AD&D. Some people even are suggesting that Wizards realize now that they $#@!!! The BED and are going to ask the community for there input just like Paizo did. I would like to hear your guys thoughts....


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 Post subject: Re: Rumours ...5th edition
 Post Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:48 pm 
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Well, if they do come out with a 5th edition, I doubt I will be pre-ordering it...


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 Post subject: Re: Rumours ...5th edition
 Post Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:50 pm 
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As with any new game system, my opinion is "Wait and see." 4E turned out to really not be my thing, but Pathfinder isn't really my thing either. I don't think there will ever be an edition of D&D that jives with what I want out of a roleplaying game- FATE has come closest to that, with Savage Worlds and a few other systems doing a pretty good job.

That said, Pathfinder is definitely more my thing than 4E, and it's entirely possible Wizards could put out a level-based fantasy RPG I like more than all of the current level-based fantasy RPGs.

So, tl;dr: I'm anxious to see what shapes up from this.

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 Post subject: Re: Rumours ...5th edition
 Post Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:11 pm 
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I myself LOVE Pathfinder.......It s by far what the majority of the community out there wanted. Again I’m not going anywhere...I’m presently trying to convert my old RAPPAN ATHUK campaign to Pathfinder ...Just trying to figure where to put the Dungeon of Graves in the Inner Sea... Sorry for the ramble...I was just curious what AZ and Steel thought. I really value there insight to the gaming community and Industry as a whole and if Wizards throws in for another edition I think it would just fragment the community that much more……..

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 Post subject: Re: Rumours ...5th edition
 Post Posted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:28 pm 
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I'm very curious about this also.
From a business stand point, what can hasbro do? It really doesn't matter what business you are in, when you have a product and its failing and your only rival competitor has a product nearly identical to one of your old products, what would you do? Lets assume a Wal-Mart approach.

There are great retro-clones of D&D from OE - 2E, so those arent making a comeback, so its gotta be a Pathfinder killer. Hasbro will retain their 4E crowd, who doesnt have any great interest in Pathfinder or 3E, by pumping out more product for that line. Then Hasbro releases a revised 3.5E, pulling people from Pathfinder.

The horrible thing is since its Hasbro, they have deep enough pockets to put out great looking books for 3.5+ and deliver it at a price point that Pathfinder/Paizo won't be able to match (and they shouldn't try). Does it mark the end of an era? Probably.

I really enjoy Pathfinder and all the products they've produced. In my heart I hope they use Monte to rewrite some fluff for 4E and it will still be 4E. Or maybe Saga Edition D&D or maybe its just that amazing 3D tabletop app that'll be out anytime Hasbro promised years ago and Pathfinder/Paizo sticks around unharmed.


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 Post subject: Re: Rumours ...5th edition
 Post Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:28 am 
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I discussed this with a couple of Paizo freelancers last week (who shall remain nameless) and they were both wondering what I thought about it.

Well, for one, we all agreed that Monte was at WotC working on 5th Ed.. There is no other reason for him to be there, so we are all agreed on that. It’s coming and there is no doubt about it. As for when, well that’s a much bigger question. My guess – and that’s all it is – is that we might see this in the winter /spring of 2013, and certainly by Gencon 2013 at the latest.

Please appreciate that there are a few other factors which will impact upon its release. The biggest element is the time it will take Monte and his team (he’s not alone on this) to design, playtest and write it. I don’t see that process as being less than a year – and maybe a little more than that. I think it is also likely that WotC will try to integrate software tools to fully support it. That code is going to require a substantial part of the rules system to be completed before it can really get under way towards a beta state. Because I’m convinced WotC is going to continue to emphasize its online subscription model for 5E, all of that says to me that 5E cannot possibly be ready before the Winter of 2013 at the earliest – and probably later that year.

The Five Year Trend

2013 also fits within WotC’s emerging “five year” horizon for their editions of D&D. After 3.0, WotC went towards an emerging trend of “five years” in terms of their “Revise. Reset. Resell” marketing strategy for the game. I find that marketing strategy to be exceptionally odious and the main reason why 4E was a failure in comparison to 3E. Never mind what it was or what it wasn’t in terms of its underlying design – it’s main failing was that it was released too soon.

As Monte noted on the podcast earlier this year, there was a tremendous interest in 3E because 2E was D-E-A-D at the time of 3E’s release. When 4E was released, 3E was still very much alive in the market place in terms of its value in use. Late era 3.5 sales edged down for WotC because the market they wanted to exploit (rule books) had only so much capacity before it was overwhelmed. And there is no question at all that WotC overwhelmed gamers with 3.5 rules – so many of them and released so often that WotC pretty much ran out of ideas and topics to write books about – and enough customers interested in those ideas – to make it sensible to make more of them. I’m not suggesting somebody could have come up with better ideas, btw. There’s only so many rules you can release in such a short period of time. (I’ve got at least twenty 3.5 books from that era on my shelf I’ve barely cracked – and never read.)

What WotC needed to do was come up with a different product line instead of selling rules. WotC needed a new product line that had more capacity for absorption in the marketplace. WotC did exactly that with D&D Miniatures and for a time, it worked. But WotC overestimated the capacity of the market to absorb the product in as short a time span as the product was being released. They ended up flooding the market with too much inventory in 2006/2007 and that inventory glut harmed that market in the short to medium term for the next few years, too.

So WotC ran out of topics to write books on and they ran out of customers who wanted to buy miniatures by the case. They couldn’t find a way to make adventures profitable enough for them to justify the development expense and sustain the product line over a longer life-cycle. It was time to release 4E.

As a consequence, 4E was not “too soon” for WotC, but it was much “too soon” for most of their customers. That’s a real problem for WotC’s business model and it is one that they still have not addressed.

Moreover, 4E’s break from compatibility with 3E was a disastrous design decision from a marketing perspective, because when the OGL was factored into the picture, it opened the market to actual competition against D&D’s brand. Taker a release of an Edition of the game which was put out too soon, add to it the OGL, and what you got was Pathfinder RPG. Pathfinder aimed directly at lifestyle gamers who weren’t done with 3.xx yet. As a consequence, in my estimation, Paizo has now pried at least half of those “lifestyle gamers” away from WotC and they have built their following for Pathfinder from that secure, (if demanding), customer base ever since.

Losing half or more of your lifestyle gamers hurt WotC’s success in the “long tail” of its product line in the later stages of 4E. Its expansion rule books did not sell nearly so well because half the people (or more) who would have bought them didn’t. They were off buying Pathfinder. Still, that’s not the real problem when it comes to marketing 4E. The expansion books sustain the brand and make a bit of money, but the real cash is in the temporary gamers. And THAT has been the problem we’ve seen in the past two years for WotC. The emergence of Paizo as a real competitor of an ongoing brand has siphoned off not just half of their “lifestyle gamers”. If that is all it was, it wouldn’t be so bad. But Pathfinder has become so successful that it has siphoned off a BIG ASS CHUNK of new gamers churning IN to the market for their temporary 1 to 3 year stint in the hobby. Those are the customers who bulk up the number of core rulebooks sold and can make the game significantly profitable.

I don’t know how many of the new gamers have “churned in” to Pathfinder RPG instead of “churning in” to 4E, but it’s a HELLUVA LOT. That’s why we have seen the sales numbers of Pathfinder’s Core Rulebook INCREASE in 2010 and 2011. There is no other explanation for that sales trend that fits the facts. Those are customers who aren’t WotC customers and never will be. That’s a big loss to WotC in terms of their sales levels. Not good. WotC’s Essentials line was aimed at those new customers, and the market performance of the Essentials lines indicates that it didn’t work. At the same time, there weren’t enough of those new customers coming in to make the D&D minis line profitable, and WotC has killed that collectible product line off, too.

So now we’re getting 5E.

5E will Probably be Awesome

So, what will 5E be like? I haven’t a clue. Given that it’s Monte Cook, and further given that WotC lost a lot of customers to Pathfinder RPG that they would very much like to have back (and FAR worse, has since lost a LOT of short-term customers who have become Paizo’s temporary customers instead of WotC’s), I think it’s fair to say that the future of D&D will look more like its past and less a significant break from the traditions of D&D that 4E was. I think 5E will not be taking not so much a step forward so much as it will really be one step back and two steps sideways.

While there will remain some aspects of 4E that WotC will continue with along into 5E, I think 5E will look a lot more like a fusion of Star Wars: Saga Edition & d20 Modern re-infused with Arcana Evolved/Iron Heros touch of 3.xx.. The game will look a lot less like 4E and a lot more like 3.5. It truly will be more of a ver 3.90. That’s my feeling. I may well be wrong.

But really, that’s not what’s important. I know it SEEMS that it’s important, but it isn’t. I’m fairly certain in fact that I will like 5E as a system. In fact, I am fully prepared to like it a lot. But there are three factors involved in 5E – all of which are beyond the capabilities of Monte Cook to redeem or remediate – which will cause me to not adopt it as my go to RPG.

I want to be clear that I really don’t think there will be “problems” with Fifth Edition, as such. I think Monte will do a pretty damn good job, overall. From my perspective, the “problems” with Fifth Edition stem from the corporate objectives and business model of Wizards of the Coast, not from the design talents of Monte Cook. As such, those problems are beyond the capability of any one designer to ameliorate == and any one edition of the game to fix.

The Problems with Wizards of the Coast Approach to the Hobby:

1. They want the fast buck, not the long dollar: If you have ever read articles by Ryan Dancey on the sales figures for the core books of 3.0, Ryan gives you a sense of just how many copies of the core rules that WotC sold a little more than a decade ago. It was a breathtakingly large number of core rulebooks. They sold hundreds of thousands of copies a month when it was released. The later iterations of 3.xx – even the core rulebooks for 3.5, never sold nearly so well. Hell, I’m not sure that (excepting the three core rulebooks for 3.5), that if you took the REST of the entire 3.5 product line, combined? My bet is that you wouldn’t match the number of core rulebooks that WotC sold for 3.0. They sold millions of those things -- just a stupid number of them.

When your sales figures get that large, your cost of production drops to extremely low levels. You can print those books for a couple of bucks each on that scale. Your profit per book still goes sky high. At that point, you realise that what your business is really all about is selling core rulebooks. The rest of your game is just window dressing and marketing spin so you can sell more core rulebooks to new gamers.

And that’s why WotC does what it does. They aim to sell core rulebooks to as many players of the game as they possibly can, in as short a timespan as they possibly can. They don’t care if those players churn in and churn out of the hobby in less than three years. A sale is a sale, in their view. If those customers stick around as “lifestyle gamers” – so much the better. But WotC is a division of Hasbro, and Hasbro wants the fast buck. That’s why the Revise. Reset Resell strategy will continue in another five years after 5E is released, even if Monte Cook gives us a Fifth Edition that he received from God on the slopes of Mount Sinai engraved upon Stone Tablets.

So when is 6E coming? It says right here in 2018. You know what? Fuck that. I mean *really*: FUCK THAT.

My timeline for an RPG system isn’t five years - it’s much closer to ten. I think ALL lifestyle gamers are customers who dig MUCH deeper and care MUCH more about the game than the 80% of WotC customers who are temporary gamers of convenience (game for three years or less). Lifestyle gamers are closer to a ten year product cycle than a five year cycle in terms of our edition horizon. So WotC and I don’t see eye-to-eye on this and that’s not EVER going to change with 5E, 6E, or 7E. Monte Cook sure as hell isn’t going to change WotC’s marketing strategy on that issue, either.

Paizo knows this and has been quite clear that their horizon for the Pathfinder RPG product line is aimed at a deeper and longer run than five years. They haven’t yet said how long they will aim for, but the intent is to longer than five and get closer to ten. Their business model and product release schedule on the Rules side is aimed at this longer span, too. (I do fear that Paizo’s release schedule on the Golarion side / Player companion aspect of the game is too ambitious. We’ll see.)

So that’s Knock #1 on 5E. In fact, I am so dead certain about that aspect of WotC’s business model that I know it will be a problem with a game that does not yet exist and that I haven’t even seen yet.

You know the line from Jerry Maguire, “You had me at hello”? Well, in this case, “You lost me at five years”. FUCK THAT.

2. WotC wants to sells Rules to Players, not Adventures to GMs: here, the problems of the approaches to the game as between Paizo and WotC are rather dramatically highlighted. As some of you might have gathered from listening to Chronicles, I happen to LIKE Adventures. I like them a lot. I like reading them, I like playing them, I like running them, I like buying them and collecting them, too. I LOVE adventure products.

WotC doesn’t. It’s not that they hate ‘em or anything. If WotC could make (what they consider to be) a good buck on adventures, I am confident that I would see 12 new WotC adventures on a spinner rack every month at the local 7-11 if they could manage it. In fact, it they could make it work, I am certain of that. It’s not that they are prejudiced against them; it’s simply that WotC’s business model does not permit Adventures to be a core part of their business plan in terms of their sales expectations for those sorts of products. So WotC does not make many of them and does not emphasize them in their game products line. They are instead an afterthought; marketing spin and product support to WotC. It's not something they consider their flagship line of their core brand.

In contrast, Paizo literally founded the Pathfinder product line upon selling adventures. The Pathfinder brand was created to sell ongoing adventures every month to subscribers. The Pathfinder RPG was, in fact, CREATED to service customers of their Pathfinder Adventure Path line (even if it has quickly grown beyond that need).

Paizo does this profitably because Paizo has seized upon something that WotC doesn’t have: directs sales to subscribers of their physical product lines. As a consequence, Paizo makes money -- a good chunk of money – every month by rolling out a new edition of Pathfinder Adventure Path. It’s in the black before it even ships, and every sale at retail generates more profit – it doesn’t just recoup costs of sales.

That isn’t going to change with 5th Ed. Monte Cook isn’t going to change WotC’s business model to permit it to create, market and sell new campaign spanning adventures on a monthly basis.

Which is a shorthand way of saying that the best thing about Pathfinder is Greg Vaughan, Tim Hitchcock, Richard Pett and the rest of the Werecabbages. That’s why Pathfinder has my loyalty. That’s why I am Pathfinder RPG fan. I like the “hardware” of the Pathfinder RPG “console”, sure, but what I like the most about it is the “software” (Adventure material) that is made for it.

That isn’t going to change with 5th Ed. I promise.

3. Strong World Setting, Vast in Breadth and Deep in Scope: Lastly, the thing which really saddens me about 4E is just how much WotC WRECKED so much of the IP that it inherited from TSR and developed on its own during the 3.5 era. Wizards managed to drive a spike through the chest of the Forgotten Realms during the change to 4E. I wouldn’t have thought that their send of brand management could be so flawed, but it was. They have buried so much of their setting material generated for previous editions of the game, I’m just AMAZED.

It may be that WotC will smarten up and attempt to resurrect an old setting for 5E. I could easily see a re-release fo Greyhawk for 5E in an attempt to woo back older customers. They might try the same with a new Dragonlance world setting, too (though I think that well is dry, tbh).

The problem is, WotC’s approach to new setting material is hobbled by their Five Year edition horizon and their lack of subscription sales to sustain the profitability of the product line. Again, Paizo has figured it out for Golarion in a way that WotC never did for any of its world settings. In a little more than four years, Paizo has churned out a simply ASTONISHING amount of setting material for Golarion. There is EASILY more information on Golarion than exists for Greyhawk. When you stop to consider how long Greyhawk has been around, that’s not just a BOLD statement, that’s a STARTLING one.

It’s true though. The AP line churns out 100 pages a month like clockwork. Add in the player’s companions and Chronicle settings and 32 page stand alone and all the PFS scenarios, plus special campaign hardcovers and map folios, you get this:

Pathfinder AP: 96 x 12= 1152
Pathfinder Stand Alone Modules: 6 x 32= 192
Pathfinder Player Companions: 6 x 32= 192
Pathfinder Chronicle Settings: 6 x 64= 384
PFS Scenarios: 26 x 16= 416

Total Page Count: 2,336 Pages PER YEAR

That doesn’t include Hardcovers, Compilations, Map Folios, GameMastery brand products or other special product lines. Per FRIKKIN year.

While some of that Player companion material may not be strictly Golarionesque, the vast majority of it is. And while adventures are not setting material per se, a lot of it is. As a result, in the past three years when all cylinders have been firing on the above product schedule, we consequently now have an almost STUPID amount of detail on Golarion. Even so, Golarion is so large and so varied that there is vastly more to be explored than has been explored already.

I’d rate myself among Paizo’s more knowledgeable customers on all of this world setting stuff, and even for me, it’s often confusing. From a standing start, it certainly can be a lot to handle for a new GM to the setting and that may be a real concern. Certainly, there is so much information on Golarion that a careful GM should take the time to research the areas and NPC’s where his or her campaign is set. Still, for now at least, it’s working and it’s working well in terms of sale, too. From Tabula Rasa to the most detailed campaign world ever (save the Forgotten Realms) in only four years! Given the headstart that TSR/WotC had, that’s quite a feat to pull off while not flooding the market with unsellable products and exhausting customer demand. (So far, at least.)

By the time that the current Pathfinder RPG is done, the size of Golarion will probably swell to an utterly ridiculous level of detail given the current production schedule. Still, to Paizo’s credit, their first “true sequel” to an AP or any other aspect of their world was only released in August 2011.

I enjoy all of this stuff; I enjoy it immensely, as a matter of fact. To me, it is a clear advantage that the Pathfinder brand has over 4E. What I love the most about it is how all of this stuff inter-relates and cross-supports each aspect of Paizo’s product lines, too.

I promise you that NOTHING about Monte Cook’s 5E will threaten that comparative strength or suddenly bring to the fore a competing line of equally as ambitious setting products from WotC. It won’t happen because their business model does not permit it.


Final Result of Some Unknown Ass Kicking 5e vs. The Pathfinder Brand Line


Longer product life-cycle. Better and more voluminous Adventures. Better and more voluminous setting material. Those are the current strengths of Pathfinder RPG over 4E and there is, in my estimation, almost a ZERO PROBABILITY of that changing with 5E.

So while I will look at 5E and will probably buy it, too – I have no reason to fear that Paizo and the Pathfinder brand have much to worry about from WotC. Paizo serves a segment of the market that WotC does not serve, and Paizo serves the same niche that WotC does serve, better, in my estimation.

And because of WotC’s business model, I don’t see that changing with 5E, even if 5E is the best damned RPG system ever created (and for the record, I am expecting that it may well be, too).

Bottom line: Paizo leverages their own subscriber base to obtain a better product line and greater market advantage from it than WotC has. Paizo started its business from the perspective of a company whose core business model was servicing magazine subscribers and has made it work.

That’s not going to change with 5E – or 6E, either.

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 Post subject: Re: Rumours ...5th edition
 Post Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:12 pm 
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Thanks Rob. I was pissed when they killed Greyhawk...what they have done to FR is sad.... really sad. I was big into Living Greyhawk....Had been a member of good standing of the RPGA since 97-98... Any way you hit it on the head with the 5 year marketing strategy. They just want to squeeze as much juice out of the orange then throw it under the bus. Sounds like Microsoft. Thanks I really just wanted to hear your opinion. It holds considerable weight in my neck of the woods. I live in Halifax and our community is growing a lot of my friends listen to the cast . Again thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Rumours ...5th edition
 Post Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:30 pm 
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As was discussed on O66, I'm very intrigued with the concept of a truly modular rules system that can be stripped back to an extremely fast flowing rules lite system to a heavy mechanically technical system. But more importantly where you can play rules you don't like much in their lite version and rules you do like in their heavy version.

of course designing classes that works with multiple rulesets is no easy feat either you'd really have make classes more modular too.

if they can come up with a new core mechanic that will allow such a high level of modular customization I think they'll be on a winner.


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 Post subject: Re: Rumours ...5th edition
 Post Posted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:02 pm 
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This might be a little off topic but Rob is right …Most of us are not here for just 5 years….I’ve been plying this game since 79…. I’m here ….like most of us for the long haul. We played D&D and AD&D. When 3rd came along we had been playing the same game with the same world(s). I, like many others bought into there line of Shit. We all bought there books. I easily have over 2500 dollars invested in books that are 3.5 and 3.0. Not just Wizards but 3rd party stuff as well. When they switched to 4.0 they might as well shoved a 40 gallon barrel up my arse. I felt like I was set up… used….and treated like a WH$#@ They didn’t even give me the decency of a reach a round while they where doing it….. And I am pissed off still to this day..... Now that there is a possibility of them doing it again to another group of people …It brings back that hatred and total disregard of our loyalty and fandomship. Sorry for the rant I had to let it out….EXCORISING THE DEMONS

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 Post subject: Re: Rumours ...5th edition
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:56 pm 
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FYI, Know Direction #27 has an interview with Erik Mona with some discussion of Monte's work with Wizards.

LINK


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 Post subject: Re: Rumours ...5th edition
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:24 pm 
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I would be intrigued with a 5E. And like other people said I will be around for a while, even with my long hiatus from RPGs, I am still playing and Pathfinder none the less (thanks to everyone from the cast for that, with-out you guys I probably wouldn't be playing Pathfinder).


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 Post subject: Re: Rumours ...5th edition
 Post Posted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 4:22 pm 
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Seems to me WotC could really do some damage to Paizo's marketshare if they;

# Keep their D&D brand name which they surely will.
## Follow Paizo's lead by creating a more scalable, if not, simpler to enter ruleset that scales to player's level of experience playing the game. Something like a layer system with component pieces that could be plugged in or out. Paizo has already done a little of this with their character class archetypes which pretty much makes prestige classes obsolete but also lets player keep their choices simple at first or dive in to the deeper, finer details.

### Offer strong line of digital social tools to improve playing speed. The calculative demands of d&d have started to make or break campagin's experience. Also human error in respect to rules interpretation are also increasing as player user base becomes broader.

#### Allow players to create the d&d universe under some kind of group peer review system. Built similar to Pathfinder Society this might eclipse all that Pathfinder AP, modules, etc. have done or will ever do. Kind of like a youtube of campagin settings. It will probably be > 70% less than stellar :( but that could open a bit of security for Paize with them being sticklers for quality.

##### Create multiple superior world settings and AP to Golarion. I'm not a big fan of Golarion but I respect the consistency and generally think its a very rich setting.

It doesn't seem like Richard Pett et al would especially stick with Paizo if the offer was right with 5e. There are surely a number of presently unknown module authors who would give the Werecabbages a run for their money but the Werecabbages are so cool they would probably recruit any new blood that fell on the map.

###### Werecabbages co-write 5e.

well, all these are just real quick thoughts I had & I definitely don't know much about the biz behind rpgs. I hope someone can point out why any of these would work or not.


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 Post subject: Re: Rumours ...5th edition
 Post Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:02 am 
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Not quite on topic, but: prestige classes and archetypes fill different needs. Archetypes essentially add more 20-level classes where the core concept of the class is not sufficiently different to existing classes to be a base class.

A sniper rogue fulfills the role of the sniper at the expense of giving up the role of finder of traps. If you're in a campaign like Kingmaker where there are very few dungeons and very few traps then an archery specialist is more useful. You have to make the choice at 1st level though and you can never change it.

Prestige classes are a specialization that the character takes on after 1st level. A sniper prestige class would allow a PC to take on this role later when it was found to be necessary.

The other role that prestige classes have is to allow the GM to designate a society/association/guild/group as being really cool - so cool that they have their own way of doing things. This is not something you should do with every society but there should be a few groups in your world that have this marker. This is why many PrCs have entry requirements that aren't purely mechanical, e.g. assassin has to kill someone just to qualify. This gives players an idea of what all assassins have in common and binds the class together mentally in a way that the archetype of sniper rogue doesn't.

So, the conclusion I have is that archetypes do not make prestige classes obsolete.

As far as the other points you made go:

1. They would have to modify 4th edition a lot to make it more modular. What I have seen of it is pretty seamless.
2. WotC didn't have a great experience with digital tools in 3rd edition. Their chargen tool was abandoned and eTools also had support problems. People didn't buy it enough. Lone Wolf seems to be doing better with Hero Lab, probably because more people are able to use the tool at the table (the laptop explosion) and because Lone Wolf is keeping up with the new books as they come out. Out of my regular group of 5, only one is not using Hero Lab. Perhaps a new 5th edition tool will have better luck.
3. Pathfinder Society grew out of Paizo's experience with the Living series (Greyhawk etc). They've learned what works and what doesn't. Does WotC have that experience? Probably not.
4. WotC (and Hasbro) creating new worlds on the level of Golarion? I think they would have to change their whole mindset away from the way they're doing things now (introduce new rules to make money) to more closely model Paizo (make money on adventures) - in which case they would be playing catchup. When this happens in business, the trailer usually runs out of money before they actually catch up. Would Hasbro allow WotC a deep enough war chest to make up the difference? Probably not.


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 Post subject: Re: Rumours ...5th edition
 Post Posted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:41 pm 
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tyrfing wrote:
Not quite on topic, but: prestige classes and archetypes fill different needs. Archetypes essentially add more 20-level classes where the core concept of the class is not sufficiently different to existing classes to be a base class.

A sniper rogue fulfills the role of the sniper at the expense of giving up the role of finder of traps. If you're in a campaign like Kingmaker where there are very few dungeons and very few traps then an archery specialist is more useful. You have to make the choice at 1st level though and you can never change it.

Prestige classes are a specialization that the character takes on after 1st level. A sniper prestige class would allow a PC to take on this role later when it was found to be necessary.

The other role that prestige classes have is to allow the GM to designate a society/association/guild/group as being really cool - so cool that they have their own way of doing things. This is not something you should do with every society but there should be a few groups in your world that have this marker. This is why many PrCs have entry requirements that aren't purely mechanical, e.g. assassin has to kill someone just to qualify. This gives players an idea of what all assassins have in common and binds the class together mentally in a way that the archetype of sniper rogue doesn't.

So, the conclusion I have is that archetypes do not make prestige classes obsolete.


I totally agree with your points above. I should have said less appealing and possibly less effective.
To me, it seems, Paizo has stepped away from offering more prestige classes and really expanded on archetypes or even as far as new core classes. It makes the game less bloated and promotes faster playtime and less memorizations.

tyrfing wrote:
As far as the other points you made go:

1. They would have to modify 4th edition a lot to make it more modular. What I have seen of it is pretty seamless.
2. WotC didn't have a great experience with digital tools in 3rd edition. Their chargen tool was abandoned and eTools also had support problems. People didn't buy it enough. Lone Wolf seems to be doing better with Hero Lab, probably because more people are able to use the tool at the table (the laptop explosion) and because Lone Wolf is keeping up with the new books as they come out. Out of my regular group of 5, only one is not using Hero Lab. Perhaps a new 5th edition tool will have better luck.
3. Pathfinder Society grew out of Paizo's experience with the Living series (Greyhawk etc). They've learned what works and what doesn't. Does WotC have that experience? Probably not.
4. WotC (and Hasbro) creating new worlds on the level of Golarion? I think they would have to change their whole mindset away from the way they're doing things now (introduce new rules to make money) to more closely model Paizo (make money on adventures) - in which case they would be playing catchup. When this happens in business, the trailer usually runs out of money before they actually catch up. Would Hasbro allow WotC a deep enough war chest to make up the difference? Probably not.


I started with d&d from the very beginning to AD&D and came back to it when Pathfinder was released so I wasn't witness to how WotC has run up & down the D&D brand. My speculations are mostly based on common business strategy experience where you never count out the major player with resources to throw at their problem. Hell, they pulled Monte Cook back into their magic hat, -- who's next? Wolfgang & Brandon Hodges? They already have Rodney Thompson and he could really give Pathfinder a run for its money especially with the brand d&d.

Don't get me wrong... I think Paizo is awesome and stomping all over WotC but they are not without growing pains. Ultimate Combat was not perfect and it seems they are incredible about hitting their release dates but are waning a bit on the quality side as they spread new talents in the mix.

Golarion is immense but its not very exciting for me. There's nothing to the world that is epic & original. This is dangerous because so much of their AP lineup is dependent on Golarion canon. I think this is a major weakness for Paizo. They should start fleshing out more worlds, planes and multiverses and leave hooks in for players to generate & share content.

On the PFS thing, again, don't write WotC off just because Paizo has matured their organized play system. Its not perfect and it certainly isn't the majority of their player base. If there was a more fluid way for players to assert their rpg playing experience in a collaborative environment then that system would knock PFS to a lower tier. Besides, arent' they having a lot of shakeup with the PFS thing? Did it go down after Joshua Frost phased from the picture? -- man, they lost a seriously good designer there. Maybe he will write a 5e adventure.

I'm totally on Paizo's side on this but I think they have some tremendous pressure on them to keep up the quality and fight off the loyalty weight of the D&D brand name. I could be wrong, and I truly hope I am, but I don't think Pathfinder can supplant the D&D brand name for roleplaying games.


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 Post subject: Re: Rumours ...5th edition
 Post Posted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:06 pm 
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zeronine wrote:
so much of their AP lineup is dependent on Golarion canon. I think this is a major weakness for Paizo.

I would have to agree with you here, and this is a major reason Paizo doesn't get a larger chunk of my RPG dollars. I'm just never going to be satisfied with someone else's setting, and someone else's adventures. The creative part of my brain is constantly generating more content than I will ever be able to run at a hyperactive rate. World building is half, if not more than half, of the fun of tabletop gaming for me. Thus, any product that is difficult to adapt out of its "home setting" is not going to be high on my list.

I want to buy parts and tools, not a finished engine block.

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