Friday, May 22, 2009

Maybe Gen Con Would be Fun After All

A comment in my last post about Gen Con raised an interesting point. That Gen Con isn't just about the "Castle" - it isn't just about what Wizards is doing. There are also lots of third-party vendors there, many of whom are still supporting 3.5E. There is Paizo. That is a good point. I hadn't really thought of that.

I mean, I still feel like there is some of the magic lost, in that a big focus of what is there will be on Fourth Edition (4E), something I have zero interest in. Even sadder, the only other RPG I am at all excited about, though I haven't played it much at all (til just the past month) is equally of the wrong edition. I refer to Shadowrun. I really liked 2E of that, and played that quite a lot, a long time ago. There was a 3E that changed a few things but which was probably 80% the same, and compatible enough that you could keep using the old system. There were even a few things with 3E that, looking at them now, might be good to add to 2E even if I don't want to shift totally to 3E (and I don't). But alas, there is now a 4E of Shadowrun, one that radically changes everything, including the very core of the system mechanics. I really don't like that at all.

In addition, there are a TON of books out for 2E and 3E for Shadowrun, and not much at all is out for 4E, so even if I liked it, most of the game is not covered. Well, except for the old books on geographical areas. Those are probably useable with any edition. They are mostly info about social structures and such, not game mechanics. They were also really good. But to get back to the subject at hand, the fact that there is now a 4E I'm not interested in for Shadowrun means that the main Shadowrun booth will be of no interest to me. And sadly, there are no 3rd party vendors for Shadowrun that I'm aware of, beyond a few magazines here and there.

Now, on the upside for D&D, there are a ton of 3rd party vendors. But I wonder just how many will still make new stuff for 3E. The way 4E is being licensed, you aren't allowed as a vendor to make a product that is both for 3E and 4E. It is all or nothing. They are essentially doing scorched earth, to make sure everyone switches over to 4E. Goodman games, for instance, is only making new 4E modules, not any 3E. Even Paizo, my favorite, which is not going 4E, is also not really staying 3.5E, either. They are making their own version, call it 3.75E. It may have some interesting changes. And maybe it won't change enough to be all that incompatible, but it still feels like 3.5E is being abandoned by everyone.

So it is an open question whether there will be much, if any, new products put out by 3rd party vendors for 3.5E. I suspect there won't be. But I could be wrong. Still, that may make it worth going out, just to see what is out there. It is more than just about the system. But it is still sad to me that the games I love the most are essentially dead systems. That takes a lot of the excitement out of the convention. All of the big announcements or previews of new rule books and what-not will be things I have no interest in. It may be a bittersweet convention. But I'll at least take a look at it now. I could be wrong.


Erik said...

I encourage you to keep up the faith with Paizo. I've been playing in regular Pathfinder campaigns using the final or near-final rules for months now, and it doesn't feel like a "move away from 3.5" at all.

I think you'll be pleased. Even if you don't want to use all of the changes in the Core Rulebook, you'll be able to keep using the modules, Adventure Paths, and other stuff with very little difficulty.

--Erik Mona

DBB said...

That's, I suppose, all I could ask for - easy compatibility. I am going to get the new Core rulebook from Paizo and I may use parts of it if they look like good ideas.

I do mean it when I say Paizo is my favorite company out there for D&D. I get Pathfinder modules and the adventure paths as well by subscription. Even with the shift, I was intending to keep on with both.

(And for anyone who isn't a gamer who reads this, Erik Mona is the lead publisher for Paizo, so gaming geek that I am, I am quite pleased he stopped by - this deserves a post of its own).