Friday, June 5, 2009

I Love Paizo - Keeping the spirit of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5E Alive

I love Paizo. And not just because Erik Mona, the head publisher, dropped by and left a comment on this blog recently (though that was pretty cool - he has his own blog, btw). And it is not just because they did Dungeon and Dragon magazines right up until Wizards pulled the rug out from under them and cancelled both in anticipation of the fourth edition of D&D. While that is a good reason, it is also one in the past, since the magazines are no more.

No, I love Paizo because they are the main company that is keeping Dungeons and Dragons 3.5E alive right now, at least in spirit. I would perhaps have liked it if they kept right on putting out products for 3.5E specifically, instead of switching over to a somewhat modified, 3.75E, if you will. But so long as there is strong compatibility there, that should be ok. And maybe it is the case that they needed to do that in order to continue to put out new products that mesh, because of licensing issues and so forth. It can be hard to go from being able to do "official" rules stuff in Dragon and other products to doing unofficial, 3rd party type stuff. Again, though, that is just speculation on my part.

While I will continue to play 3.5E, I will pick up Paizo's new rule book when it comes out. I owe it to them to check it out and I may incorporate some elements into my game if they are easy enough to do so. I think of it as sort of the Unearthed Arcana of the 3.5E system (though I know there already is a book of that name, I am thinking back to 1E).

I love the Pathfinder modules and series of adventures. There is nothing better than a campaign that is all along one storyline, even if there are side-treks along the way. I do wish they would at least go to level 20, if not Epic (Epic would be asking a lot). It would also be nice if there were more high level adventures. I know they are harder to do and take up more space, but I, for one, would be glad to pay a premium for high level or Epic adventures. I've even toyed with the idea of trying to publish a few myself - I have come up with a few adventures of my own in that area to run for my game over the years. I had to. There was almost nothing else available. I'd think of it as a huge untapped market and business opportunity, but then again, maybe there aren't many adventures that level because they don't sell well, for whatever reason. (Though really, how could you tell, with such a small sample size - I know of exactly one epic level adventure, from Goodman Games, and of only a handful of adventures over level 15.)

But back to Paizo love. I love the other, support products that have come out for Pathfinder as well. It is nice to have a living, breathing world out there that will get continued support for the foreseeable future.

I don't know of any other companies like that out there, but then I admit that I haven't had much time to look (so if there are any, I'd be glad to know about it). I was terribly disappointed that Goodman games completely abandoned 3.5E for 4E. Why not do both? I know you can't do a single product for both, but I thought you could have separate product lines. Unless Wizards have really been asses about that.

In any case, I will be picking up the new Paizo player's handbook when it comes out and I'll post my thoughts on it here when I do (and have had time to peruse it).

So, my hat's off to Paizo. Thanks for helping to keep my beloved game (version 3.5) alive and kicking. While I would have played 3.5E regardless, it help keeps the spirit of 3.5E alive, and that is a very good thing.


DQ said...

Stumbled upon your blog--just wanted to comment. Pathfinder looks great (and if you are not already aware you can download the beta for free to see what some of the changes will be like, although the final rules will not exactly resemble it).

"I thought you could have separate product lines. Unless Wizards have really been asses about that."

The Game System License (the 3rd Party Publishing license for 4e) specifically states that you cannot also publish materials under the OGL (3.x compatible materials). If you stick with OGL, you can't publish GSL materials, and vice versa. That is why Paizo committed to putting out Pathfinder RPG... they thought the GSL had some very questionable content (beyond the exclusivity clause) and so chose to stick with OGL. But they also knew that people who liked 3.5 wanted to see some changes in the game balance and so on--a revision rather than a new edition with entirely different rules--so they did the "3.75 rules."

And that's prolly more than you wanted to hear from a total stranger. :)

Delzoun said...

Woo Paizo! My group has switched over to the Beta rules, and I have a group of online friends who are playing with the Beta rules as well!

We're all pumped for August when the final prints are supposed to be released!

DBB said...

DQ - now that is just downright ugly - so it isn't just that you can't do a given product in only 3.5 or 4.0, you have to give up ALL products for 3.5 to do 4E. That explains a lot.

That's a scorched earth policy, and it makes me even less happy with WotC / Hasbro.

Delzoun - I have ordred the new Paizo rules (along with a bunch of other Paizo stuff I didn't already have - I just had the Pathfinder stuff and modules, really). I am looking forward to seeing the rules in August.

kathulhu said...

We've adopted the Pathfinder 3.75 rules for our games. My DM is currently converting the original Temple Of Elemental Evil to 3.75 for us. Good times.

DBB said...

Hopefully a conversion from 3.5 to 3.75 is relatively painless - I would think it would be. Probably the biggest difference is the special attack thing - but then you just need to calculate the numbers once per creature type and you are set.

NPCs might take a bit more for the base class changes, but there you could just leave them as is.