D&D 5E Is DnD next chasing a pipedream?

Scrivener of Doom

Adventurer
I do believe that Next will fail without solid adventure support.

One of the biggest problems with 4E was that two of its first three adventures - Keep on the Shadowfell and the eternally execrable Pyramid of Shadows - seemed to have been specifically designed to drive people to Pathfinder.

In all of Mike Mearls' columns I have yet to see him really communicating that WotC gets the need for adventure support. The simple fact is that no matter how many people claim they generate all their own content, adventures are the lifeblood for a new edition because they actually show how the game plays. If you screw them up - as WotC did with 4E - you will lose customers.

And it really bothers me, too, that Mike Mearls' name is on Pyramid of Shadows....

I think he really needs to start talking about adventure support. That's the shot in the arm that Next needs.

At some point PF will get old, moldy and bogged down under its own weight. We shall see how the fanboys react when Pathfinder 2.0 comes out. That is when D&D will win them back. (or not - I like to cover my bases when I make a predication).

I've always thought of Pathfinder as a campaign world plus adventures. The ruleset is not really the important part. Paizo seems to be very much about actually playing the game and its product line supports that. IMO, of course.
 

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The box WotC was in with 4e is even worse with D&D Next because
- Paizo is still supporting Pathfinder, so youneed a very compelling argument for them to switch
- Many people who liked 4e have been... unimpressed, at best, with D&DNext so far, and are upset with WotC for not supporting the only game they currently have right now (I'd wave here)
- Nothing will legally stop anyone from creating a 4e equivalent of Pathfinder (IMO, and IANAL, nothing recognizable as D&D could not be reverse-engineered from the d20 SRD, and the OSIRIC effort pretty much proved this)
- It's become far easier to find out about non-D&D games over the last decade or so as the internet has become pervasive

Absolutely this. And there's one more point.

I have seen literally nothing in D&D next to get excited about. Expertise dice are ... cute. But I can not think of a single way it is better than both 4e and Pathfinder or looks as if it will ever be better than both 4e and Pathfinder; just about everywhere it's better than one it's worse than the other. For that matter it isn't even notably bad - that would at least give people something to get excited about. It's just ... blah.

As someone who plays both Pathfinder and 4E on a regular basis...I consider the APG to be a better purchase then almost all of the 4E player-based books combined. The Pathfinder players books are so CASH. WotC really needs to start amping up the quality of their splatbooks if they ever want to compete with Pathfinder.

The one time I've looked at any of the content in the APG my very first character concept was for a Summoner who used his Eidolon as a sneak-thief. I ended up realising this would out-skill the rogue, out fight the fighter, and match the sorceror for utility casting. I've never been able to do that to any 4e product - and the APG also brought the Gunslinger to the party. I therefore absolutely can not consider the APG remotely high quality however good the finish is.

That said, the major disconnect between 4e and PF I think is Melvin and Vorthos. Pathfinder keeps Vorthos very happy but can make a Melvin cringe. 4e on the other hand needs a friendly neighbourhood Melvin or it falls slightly flat, and Melvins are rarer than Vorthoses.

I do believe that Next will fail without solid adventure support.

One of the biggest problems with 4E was that two of its first three adventures - Keep on the Shadowfell and the eternally execrable Pyramid of Shadows - seemed to have been specifically designed to drive people to Pathfinder.

Seconded. How anyone could produce such horrible modules is beyond me.

I've always thought of Pathfinder as a campaign world plus adventures. The ruleset is not really the important part. Paizo seems to be very much about actually playing the game and its product line supports that. IMO, of course.

Except that the adventure path I own makes me think that Paizo is far more about owning and reading the game than playing it. Kingmaker is incredibly 15 minute working day centric (by the RAW, most hexes can have no more than three encounters in a day - and one is going to be pushing it) and turns into a joke in later modules. Most notably the invasion at the top of module 4 when a small army with no spellcasters and no one with a will save of above +3 tries to invade the PCs' kingdom. The PCs are expected to fortify the town and wait for the bad guy army to arrive (no even mention that they will do something else) rather than head out there and behave like a commando unit. When the army arrives, the townsfolk are meant to fend off the NPC army while the PCs take on six trolls in the open - and the trolls can neither fly nor use magic.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Interestingly, so far, from playtesting, I've found that creating my own adventures using D&DNext has been quite easy, easier than 4e and easier than 3.5/pathfinder. If this fact holds true when the game is launched, that would be another way for Next to compete and win over DMs everywhere. If it becomes easier to find a D&DNext game to play in, the battle will be won (at least for a little while).

This is also a very important thing for me. If the new edition is going to require me hours to prepare a session, I'm just not going to run a game with it. Ideally I want preparation to require LESS time than gaming (but not including the writing of the story and main NPC concepting into this).

However my friends are also going to require being able to start playing without almost any preparation at all... and this is going to be much harder to achieve. I think however that in early 2012 there was a Legends & Lore article where they really pointed out that one of the major design goals of D&D Next was to be able to setup a session with new PCs in 15 minutes, and go through a small (but not trivial) adventure in an hour or two. I hope they still remember and agree with this goal because that seems to be the only real option for my gaming group for the time being.
 

delericho

Legend
Except that the adventure path I own makes me think that Paizo is far more about owning and reading the game than playing it.

There's a lot of truth in that. I know that I've been a subscriber to Pathfinder from the start, and am yet to run any of their APs. Indeed, the format of our game sessions means that it is extremely unlikely that I would even attempt to run one. I get them to read, and to mine for ideas.

While the Adventure Path is the product at the centre of their line, I'm reasonably sure that they don't make their money by selling Adventure Path books, but rather by selling subscriptions to Adventure Path books.

While I agree that more adventure support from WotC would be a good thing (and good adventures even more so), I'm inclined to think that almost all that support should come via the DDI (and thus subscriptions). Indeed, other than one or two introductory adventures when they first introduce the edition, they probably should produce any adventure products in-print.
 

delericho

Legend
That said, the major disconnect between 4e and PF I think is Melvin and Vorthos. Pathfinder keeps Vorthos very happy but can make a Melvin cringe. 4e on the other hand needs a friendly neighbourhood Melvin or it falls slightly flat, and Melvins are rarer than Vorthoses.

I've now read this article (which was fascinating, by the way), and I don't think it's as simple as that, though it's hard for me to express exactly why.

The key thing, I think, is that it is actually the very thing that I love about 3e that also frustrates me to no end, and that is specifically that wonderful, glorious, broken math. It is precisely the way that the game was so joined up and (apparently) mathematically rigorous that first attracted me to the game, and as I dug further into the game it only impressed me more.

It was only with several more years, and many many hours, of further experience with the system that I came to recognise that it was fundamentally flawed. And, worse, that it was flawed in such a way that it cannot be meaningfully fixed. (If you will, it's like the Leaning Tower of Pisa - leave it alone and it will eventually collapse; fix it, and it loses the very thing that makes it interesting.)

By contrast, 4e seems to have more robust math at its core, and may actually possess the mathematical rigour that 3e promised. But it never showed me the connections that made it up - all I see in "Page 42" is that they've worked out what the right answers should be and presented those, without "showing the working", or even giving any impression that the working even exists.

It does nothing for me where 3e did. More importantly (for the purposes of this discussion), it does nothing from me in "Melvin" terms where 3e did.

(Conversely, my experience with people at the "Vorthos" end of the scale is that they look at 3e, get promptly turned away by the math, and go play some other system entirely. Though 4e is also unlikely to be their system of choice, since both games require carrying a weight of system that they tend to reject.)
 

braro

Explorer
(Conversely, my experience with people at the "Vorthos" end of the scale is that they look at 3e, get promptly turned away by the math, and go play some other system entirely. Though 4e is also unlikely to be their system of choice, since both games require carrying a weight of system that they tend to reject.)


For rating the 4e/Vorthos relationship, I have found 4e to weirdly be the system that works best if you don't know the rules - because each power is self containted and works on its own. A lot of people I play with barely know the rules, outside of "Standard, Move, Minor" "Red, Green, Black" and "Roll vs. Target"

Does this mean that Vorthos is more about it? I don't know. But the Vorthos people I play with care more about the art, the description, and the vision behind using the powers and such, more than the actual rules behind them And 4e does have a certain type of balance between even non-optimal choices.

One game I DMed recently had a half-elf ranger with a sling. At -2 to hit and -1 to average damage from a bow, it wasn't great, but they were still able to contribute well, and ended up getting kills on some of the biggest things.
 
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Gundark

Explorer
At some point PF will get old, moldy and bogged down under its own weight. We shall see how the fanboys react when Pathfinder 2.0 comes out. That is when D&D will win them back. (or not - I like to cover my bases when I make a predication).

Yep, eventually PF 2.0 will come. Regardless of what anybody thinks or says.
 

carmachu

Adventurer
But the 'pump & dump' new-customers-every-5-years model that has been successful for Games Workshop (over 25 years now!) seems unlikely to work for WoTC either. This leaves WoTC without a viable business model.

Define successful, because GW has its own issues If you have followed their finances for the last decade, they are selling less and less and only maintaining mostly through higher and higher prices every year. They arent selling more units, they are selling less at higher prices.

And their success prior to going public after 2000, shows two very different companies. Prior to 2000, they were a private company and acted akin more to piazo in customer service and interacting with their customers. GW was a very different company once they were a public company and have acted more akin to WOTC/Hasbro or worse.
 

S'mon

Legend
Define successful, because GW has its own issues If you have followed their finances for the last decade, they are selling less and less and only maintaining mostly through higher and higher prices every year. They arent selling more units, they are selling less at higher prices.

I would define success as maintaining or increasing sales (by $ value), maintaining or increasing profit, and maintaining or increasing market share. Games Workshop's high price approach seems to have worked for them at least in the former two; they have probably lost some market share recently but remain dominant.
They do seem to have got in trouble recently over their aggressive approach to IP; it's all very well sending C&D letters but don't go to court (vs Chapterhouse) unless you can show you do actually own the IP you claim to own!
 

delericho

Legend
At some point PF will get old, moldy and bogged down under its own weight. We shall see how the fanboys react when Pathfinder 2.0 comes out. That is when D&D will win them back. (or not - I like to cover my bases when I make a predication).

Yep, eventually PF 2.0 will come. Regardless of what anybody thinks or says.

Actually, I'm not convinced. I suspect a Pathfinder "second edition" will actually be a lot more like PF 1.1 than 2.0. There may well be another raft of minor tweaks to the system, and very likely a reorganisation of material (so that some of the "big eleven" core classes get demoted in favour of some of the new classes that have been developed since), but I would be very surprised to see wholesale changes to the underlying rules - it'll be much more a "3.85e" than a "4e" or "5e".

The major reason for this is simple: with the OGL out there and most of the rules already available for free, the scope for making big changes to the rules is actually quite small - whatever they do is likely to be controversial and split the market. But if all they do is a massive errata drop, coupled with a re-org to bring all the most-used items under a single set of covers, they should be able to get a lot of people to re-buy the books (if only to replace core rulebooks that are several years old, and well used, by then).

And bear in mind that if the core of Paizo's business is subscriptions, and especially subscriptions to the Adventure Path product, that frees them to not have to worry (too much) about the content of a new edition - to have it be successful enough they don't need to find new subscribers, they just need to make sure they don't cause their existing subscribers to cancel.

(That said, there does exist the possibility that someone will come up with a new and revolutionary mechanic, one good enough to render the existing SRD/OGL material obselete. In which case, PF 2.0 would look rather different. But I don't see that as very likely - it really would need to be spectacular to cause everyone to shift; anything less would just split the market.)
 

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