Modules, it turns out, apparently DO sell


So what is the defining difference between Paizo and the rest?

Come on, I've given my thoughts clearly and straight. So what, in your opinion is it that make Paizo so successful that they have taken the number 2 spot as the best selling RPG company?

What is it that the others aren't doing, that they should be doing?

It can't be quality, others are doing that, so it has to be something else.

Fantasy Flight. They have hands down the best customer support in the industry.

Loose a component for one of their games? They replace it.

Have a damaged collector's edition slipcase? They replaced it.

And I'm in Sweden, on another continent. I have found FFG customer service to be leagues better than Paizo's, and Paizo's is still one of the best in the business. Just not the best.

Also, Chaosium is tight with the fan base. And Open Design ... the fan base is part of the design process. Can't get much more in tune than that.

I think you are right about one thing. We're going to have to agree to disagree.

Are you being purposefully obtuse or not reading my posts... I think a combination of overall quality in all areas is the key to Paizo's success...

And since we are calling poarticular companies out, here's an example... while pretty, the books in FFG's new WFRPG 3e are flimsy and of poor quality, also the amount of actual game and world info you get for the amount of money is poor. I don't see reps from Chaosium or FFG coming to gaming forums they don't own and chatting with fans... Hey look, there's James Jacobs above me now posting on a site other than with gamers.

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I think using Paizo as the example really Isn't Fair. When someone says "Paizo", you think adventure modules. Paizo has produced adventure modules since the days of the print magazines, and then started doing JUST the modules until the PFRPG came out. All of their resources were put into making the best modules in the market. They have the best writers in the market.

To say "Hey modules sell, Look at Paizo" is a little unfair because Modules are What Paizo Does (until recently).

Not to mention that Paizo didn't HAVE to produce rules UNTIL after 4e came out. All the rules they needed were in the SRD.

The question is not "Do modules sell (for Paizo)?" but "Do Modules Sell for anyone ELSE?" Ask Necromancer, or any other 3PP if the amount of purchasing for modules are worth it?

James Jacobs

We've been doing more than modules for a while, actually—campaign setting stuff, player crunch, board games, card games, generic RPG accessories, all before we tackled the Pathfinder RPG last year.


First Post
And since we are calling poarticular companies out, here's an example... while pretty, the books in FFG's new WFRPG 3e are flimsy and of poor quality, also the amount of actual game and world info you get for the amount of money is poor. I don't see reps from Chaosium or FFG coming to gaming forums they don't own and chatting with fans... Hey look, there's James Jacobs above me now posting on a site other than with gamers.

They also effectively killed 2E by deleting all of the forums and support content needlessly, didn't finish rolling out the promised PDFs for 2E, and are going to pull the ones they did release (though hopefully they got some integrity and decided not to go ahead with that plan). Enforcing their skewed vision of WFRP just made it that much worse. They've also yet to resolve productions issues with Warhammer Invasion.

FFG has good service, but it's not "hands down" the best by any stretch of the imagination. (I'd give that title to Privateer Press but that's besides the point) Many, many game companies provide a fairly high level of service compared with what you'll find outside the industry. FFG is right there in the middle.

I've encountered Paizo issues here and there but they're right there in customer service too. If one of these companies is better than the other in that respect it's by the narrowest of margins.

I don't even see why the comparison is necessary. Paizo is making smart choices, involving their fans, and putting out quality product (similar to PP). It shouldn't be surprising that they're doing well.
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Dark Mistress

First Post
I am going to add to what Treebore said up above. Paizo is top or near top in the following ways.

1) Quality Production values(WoTC and a few others are as good maybe better)
2) Quality of writing/material (once more there is a few companies up there with them)
3) Customer Service (some of the best, personally Iron Crown Enterprise has given me the best but paizo is close)
4) Making you feel apart of things. Posting on the forums, engaging in conversations, posting on other forums and acting like a gamer geek like their fans. (a few companies do that but not many)
5) Cost, for what you get paizo is some of the cheapest products out there. Aka bang for your buck.

Now I personally don't know of another company that does all 5 things as well as paizo does. yes some others are as good in one or more area's but I don't know of any that is as even close to as good in all area's. I think that has a effect on their sales.

As for adventures selling, well part of why I think the AP line of adventures sell is 1/3rd of it is other non adventure stuff.

Edit: You know what? I am not completely sure which side of the debate i am on anymore. I guess I am just posting cause I find the topic interesting.
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I think it's also important to note that Paizo has experience. When it messes up, it learns from the mistakes and, on the next module or AP or what have you, they know what the mistake was and fixes it. They try to keep experienced writers around...not kick them to the curb.

It also might help that their CEO knows just a few things about the gaming industry ;p


First Post
I came to the Pathfinder AP party late but when I did, man I was glad I came!! I have started reading them from the very first and continue to do so. I have to say without any embellishment. I actually have fun reading them. Not playing them or adapting them, to my campaign or anything like that. Just simply reading them.
Once I have that round of fun though, get this, I then get the joy of mining them for ideas for my game. So to me that's twice the fun. Finally, the maps are top notch quality, which I get to use. So, not only do I get the joy of simply reading them, I also get the joy of using them for my game.
And after all of that, if I want to, I STILL have the option of running them as a full adventure. The untapped usefulness is still there.
To me the Paizo modules and APs have helped me to recapture my love of reading and GMing. They deserve my hard earned dollars.


Hey everyone... first of all, let me just say thanks for all the kind words in this thread. And that first thread, the one that pointed out how many pages of adventures and stuff we've produced over the past few years helped explain to me why I'm so tired all the time lately! :)

Seriously, though... adventures do sell. Paizo more or less exists as a game company today (and not merely as an online RPG store) because adventures sell. If they're done right. And by "right," I mean "fun to read."

Because I suspect that the majority of adventures published by game companies are never actually played by most of those who read the adventures.

Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE hearing stories about how much fun folks have had playing adventures, and I'm really pleased with how robust our messageboards are with just this type of feedback, but the truth is that there are more gamers than there are gaming groups. And you don't STOP being a gamer when you're not actually playing an RPG.

So, gamers who don't currently have groups and gamers who want to enjoy their hobby on days when they're not gaming need something fun to read. And adventures, which tell stories, ARE fun to read. (If they're built to be read.)

If someone plays an adventure that Paizo publishes, I count that as MUCH as a successful adventure as if someone reads an adventure and uses an idea in his home game AND as much as someone who just reads an adventure one rainy afternoon and enjoys it.

After all... there are lots of movies and books and comics out there; reading one doesn't fill the urge to read more. The same goes for adventures.

I'm pretty confident that adventures, as long as they're fun to read, will remain popular and profitable (and yes, our adventures ARE, as a general rule, profitable—the Adventure Path line is quite profitable).

And if an adventure is fun to read, chances that the person who had fun reading it will want to share that experience by running it for his/her friends, I think, DRAMATICALLY increases. At least, that's how it works for me. If an adventure's not fun to read, has dull maps, and/or has lame art, it goes right back on the shelf and stays there.

Anyway... I gotta run! Gotta get started on the next 5,000 pages of adventures! :p

Someone brought up that post on another forum, and I decided to cross-post my response there on here.


It's an interesting post, if old old news, as Jacobs has said this time and again. See, what he glosses over is the context in which his "adventures are also there to be just read, not played" posts usually arise on the Paizo boards, and that is when customers point out how Paizo's simultaneously catering to the audiences Jacobs mentions, to wit

(1) GM running module as written
(2) GM stealing an NPC here, a location there
(3) GM without a group, just likes to read,

is not without problems. Just look at the first 20 pages of Burnt Offerings, Jacobs' own flagship instalment in the Pathfinder adventure path series, and you'll see what it means when an author entirely compromises the needs of audience (1) to cater to the needs of audience (3). WotC does it the other way round, all their modules are solidly geared towards audience (1) and don't give a flying :):):):) about audience (3); which is, incidentally, why they sell so poorly: I really can't imagine that anyone casually browsing 4e modules in a bookstore on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Barnes & Modules gets his imagination fired away. By contrast, every Paizo module to date has had the instant effect of visually and verbally scoring a bull's eye on the casual reader. That's the legacy of Paizo running Dragon magazine, which they had to design in such a way that casual readers on news stands or Barnes & Nobles bookshelves would feel prompted to pick them up and quickly peruse them... that being the point at which Paizo (as Erik Mona once said) already considered their product a success. Needless to say, this type of customer context is utterly alien to audience (1). When I GM a module, most of the visual and verbal effort in Paizo products often comes as a hindrance, as it's not even geared towards the players at my table; 95% of the text doesn't concern the actual adventure at the table, very little is cast so as to make it easy to convert it into read-alout text (or into something I can paraphrase as such without 'reading it alout from the book'), very few pictures work as table devices since they don't just show the baddies but also some other heroes fighting them, and so on and so on.

Paizo has very clearly dedicated its efforts to writing modules for group-less GMs, which also includes GMs who have a group but not the time to run another Pathfinder campaign for them (either because they're running a campaign of their own - which is where (2) above comes in - or because they're already running an earlier Pathfinder campaign). Which, come to think of it, is 95% of all their customers. Heck, I myself got probably 3000 pages of Paizo content on my shelves with only a thin chance of using 10% of that material at my gametable in the foreseeable future.


Writer for CY_BORG, Forbidden Lands and Dragonbane
Are you being purposefully obtuse or not reading my posts... I think a combination of overall quality in all areas is the key to Paizo's success...

Ok, in your opinion they are the best in all areas. Fair enough. That's where we'll continue to disagree.

I don't see reps from Chaosium or FFG coming to gaming forums they don't own and chatting with fans...

I've seen Jay Little on Strike-to-Stun. Aint that many more WFRP boards outside the FFG ones.

But I agree with your point. The amount of direct interaction between Paizo and the fans is unmatched. Good delivery of a smart sales and marketing strategy in my opinion.

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