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SF Here's the cover of INCIDENT AT ABSALOM STATION, the first adventure in Starfinder's DEAD SUNS AP!

The first Starfinder adventure path, launching in August along with the core rules, is the Dead Suns AP. Following the same model as Paizo's Pathfinder adventure paths, it's a 6-module series. The first adventure is called Incident at Absalom Station, and here's a look at the cover by David Alvarez, depicting the leader of a notorious street gang on Absalom Station! The Dead Suns AP will be released every other month (taking 12 months in total), and each adventure contains a new planet, a new starship, and new monsters.

 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

Desh-Rae-Halra

Explorer
I dont think it is a bad move. They really don't know how successful it will be yet. Through Kickstarter, I have seen Legendary Games survey their backers, and even people getting Starfinder indicated it would be good to wait and see if the line really takes off.
More recently ( as in currently) Frog God Games tried to launch a Kickstarter for Starfinder Planets and Bestiary supplements that would come out around launch. They are nowhere close to being funded.
https://www.kickstarter.com/project...arfinder-roleplaying-game-compati/description
 

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God

Explorer
The snide comment is delightfully charming, charismatic, and dismissive, which is utterly lovely of you, but "over-production" (if it *has* a definition) means "producing more than demand" which is completely not what's happening here. Paizo is producing to demand, partly by virtue of a useful subscription model. Claiming (by inference) that you know Paizo is currently "over-producing" is an extraordinary claim, and it requires some pretty solid evidence. "I personally don't want the latest Pathfinder adventure path" isn't evidence.

There will come a point where people cancel their subscription to the APs and stuff, sure. And I'm sure Paizo will adjust accordingly. They're not looking at message boards to see if armchair generals recommend they produce less stuff while people buy the stuff.

Though I'm sure they're giggling at us internet idiots throwing our expert advice into the ether and pretending we know better than them what their spreadsheets say. :)
SaveSave
SaveSave
So much for smartphone-induced brevity :/

I made no claim they're over-producing for their audience (though they were certainly over-producing for my taste, but different strokes,etc.). I have no doubt they have great data -- far better than TSR. But just like TSR, they won't know they've exceeded demand until they do it. Question is, will they actually dial back or will they, like TSR, try to juice flagging demand with more product? They may have been doing that already -- is Starfinder an attempt to diversify and keep their current staff busy and employed in the face of the market share decline (or at least stall) since 5E debuted? Without access to their sales, I don't claim to know. But I certainly don't think they're infallible, or incapable of falling into the same bloat-trap that felled TSR.
 

ArchfiendBobbie

First Post
So much for smartphone-induced brevity :/

I made no claim they're over-producing for their audience (though they were certainly over-producing for my taste, but different strokes,etc.). I have no doubt they have great data -- far better than TSR. But just like TSR, they won't know they've exceeded demand until they do it. Question is, will they actually dial back or will they, like TSR, try to juice flagging demand with more product? They may have been doing that already -- is Starfinder an attempt to diversify and keep their current staff busy and employed in the face of the market share decline (or at least stall) since 5E debuted? Without access to their sales, I don't claim to know. But I certainly don't think they're infallible, or incapable of falling into the same bloat-trap that felled TSR.
Brevity is often mistaken for failed wit. That is because the phrase "brevity is the soul of wit" is a fallacy, but one that pervades societal subconscious. Thus, it causes miscommunications.

There... is actually the theory that much of what they are doing with Starfinder is precisely because of the bloat Pathfinder has suffered, to the point there are questions in parts of the Pathfinder fanbase on if the game can be salvaged for another edition. I saw some posts on Paizo's own boards, before life dragged me away from gaming for awhile, suggesting the idea of Starfinder may be based on answering that very question... or at least exploring on if they have an alternative product line to explore for replacing Pathfinder. I do know the company itself has indicated that while sales are relatively good, even long before 5E came out Paizo was not making enough money off PDFs to rely on them as a source of profit. This was stated as the reason why they do not offer PDF-only subscriptions. And that was during the time Pathfinder was dominant.

There's also the fact I've seen the setting referenced to frequently as simply impossible to get into. There's simply too much to read, which potentially cripples two of their regularly-released product lines outside of long-term customers (some of whom have also begun to flag, due to bloat weariness).

Pretty much, I think they were already facing that problem, but coasting along on popularity while trying to fix it without abandoning their primary product line; that explains their disastrous effort to diversify into gaming, and many of the missteps made in that area, as well as their current efforts in Starfinder. I don't think they expected the explosive growth of 5E, especially given how much of a disaster 4E was by comparison to Pathfinder, and I wouldn't be surprised if the treatment of APs for both Pathfinder and Starfinder isn't resulting from an unexpected profit crunch that makes them simply unable to hire more people.

That's not to say that Paizo is down and out yet. Let's see how Starfinder does first.
 
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ddaley

Explorer
Selling a lot of product has worked well for Paizo for quite a while. I even bought a fair amount of Pathfinder material, even though we barely played it.

They don't need to release rules supplements on an accelerated schedule. But, I think only having 1 adventure ready when the product releases will be an issue.

Customers complaining that you're selling too many things quickly becomes customers buying fewer things. If you're releasing a product faster than it can be consumed, you'll eventually go out of business.

You need to find a balance between not releasing any product, releasing too little product, and releasing too much product. Again, one ways is to vary the amount of product with a heavy initial release schedule and then a slower schedule.
 

Selling a lot of product has worked well for Paizo for quite a while. I even bought a fair amount of Pathfinder material, even though we barely played it.

They don't need to release rules supplements on an accelerated schedule. But, I think only having 1 adventure ready when the product releases will be an issue.
I've often said I don't need more Pathfinder rules options, I need negative rulebooks. I want to go back in time and not buy Mythic Adventures, Bestiary 4, or Advanced Class Guide.


They will have more than 1 adventure ready. They'll have the Free RPG Day adventure out before the rulebook. And whatever organised play Starfinder Adventures are released. Which is more than 5e had. Or Numenera, Dresden Files, FFG Star Wars, or pretty much any other game system you can name.
And very likely, most players will want to tell their own stories than run the APs.
Only having one adventure is a problem for that very small slice of time. But many people will be waiting until they finish their current campaign before starting Starfinder. Or waiting for the monster book at which point there'll be more adventures. At which point, the single adventure is not a problem.
 

Ask TSR how over-production worked for them.
TSR's problem with gaming material was that they were producing gaming material, like boxed sets, and selling it below cost. That's a problem in any business. With the book lines they were overproducing and having to eat the returns because that's how the novel business works - also not good. The fatal error seems to be that no one was keeping track of this.

Paizo has people at the top who were working for and with TSR at this stage. They seem well-aware of the mistakes and determined not to repeat them. Data is easier to track these days and the subscription model gives them a direct insight into what people are and are not interested in purchasing.

Sci-fi games have never sold as well as fantasy in tabletop RPGs. I think a more cautious release plan for a new sci-fi game is prudent. On top of that 5E's slower release schedule doesn't seem to be hurting it - why not try a similar approach?

It's much more palatable to say "hey, demand is skyrocketing so we're going to start publishing monthly" than it is to announce you're cutting back to bi-monthly for year 2. I think it's a smart approach.
 

JohnnyZemo

Explorer
This would have been a good opportunity to change up the old "stick a big npc portrait in front of the art" design their ap's all feature.
I'm not a graphic designer, but the word "Starfinder" looks too small to me. It looks like it's just begging to expand into all that dead space around it.
 

Nitehood62

Villager
When Pathfinder started and their APs after Dragon and Dungeon magazines stopped, they used to be bi-monthly as well. I had my magazine subs rolled over to Pathfinder and every other month got the new AP modules.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
It shouldn't affect my group, as we only run twice a month -- we started Hell's Rebels the month it came out, and are coming up on the two year anniversary of the ongoing campaign. :) The GMs are cutting material from the APs for our games as it is, so chances are if we run Dead Suns we'll still be in line for new releases and may not have to cut anything.
 

Starfox

Adventurer
TSRs problem was more that they didn't make sure they were actually making a profit on each product. Boxed sets can be more expensive to produce than what the market will pay for them. So they lived on novels, the game was basically a zero-sum game for them. When the books crashed, so did TSR.
 


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