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Author Topic: Is history repeating itself with Paizo?  (Read 4834 times)

Haffrung

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Is history repeating itself with Paizo?
« Reply #60 on: August 21, 2013, 06:09:14 PM »
Quote from: hamstertamer;684214
Modules/adventures were usually good sellers when I worked at a gaming store in the early 00's.  I never heard that they don't sell well until I started reading rpg forums in the late 00's.  I have a feeling that the people who don't like pre-made adventures started the rumor and then megaphoned it.  Making it a "fact." Then everyone was surprised when Pathfinder's sold well, and were confused by it.

I can kinda see why WotC backed off adventures. TSR published a massive glut of crap adventures for 2E, and unsurprisingly they lost money on a lot of them. Then with the OGL, the adventure market for 3E was glutted again, much of it also crap.

But Paizo has shown what happens when you have pretty much one publisher releasing a modest number of high-production value adventures for a popular game, and you know how to promote and support those adventures. Ka-ching. People want a common game experience. It's not my cup of tea, but I completely understand the appeal of wanting your group to tackle the Rise of the Runelords after reading about dozens of other groups playing it.
 

Grymbok

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« Reply #61 on: August 21, 2013, 06:17:58 PM »
Quote from: hamstertamer;684214
Modules/adventures were usually good sellers when I worked at a gaming store in the early 00's.  I never heard that they don't sell well until I started reading rpg forums in the late 00's.  I have a feeling that the people who don't like pre-made adventures started the rumor and then megaphoned it.  Making it a "fact." Then everyone was surprised when Pathfinder's sold well, and were confused by it.


I think that "modules don't sell" as received wisdom really just comes from the idea that modules don't sell as well as splat books (that is, the sales aren't necessarily bad in absolute terms, but they may not represent the best return on investment for a publisher). And you can certainly see the logic that a book targeted at all players of D&D has a higher sales potential than a book for GMs using a certain setting only.

The fact that WW couldn't sell modules either (on account of all theirs being crap) will have compounded the perception.

The funny thing is of course that you could support D&D forever with modules and settings without creating "bloat" and therefore needing an edition change.

hamstertamer

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« Reply #62 on: August 21, 2013, 06:26:38 PM »
Quote from: Haffrung;684222
I can kinda see why WotC backed off adventures. TSR published a massive glut of crap adventures for 2E, and unsurprisingly they lost money on a lot of them. Then with the OGL, the adventure market for 3E was glutted again, much of it also crap.

But Paizo has shown what happens when you have pretty much one publisher releasing a modest number of high-production value adventures for a popular game, and you know how to promote and support those adventures. Ka-ching. People want a common game experience. It's not my cup of tea, but I completely understand the appeal of wanting your group to tackle the Rise of the Runelords after reading about dozens of other groups playing it.


I agree for the most part, I think, but I don't see how a crap adventure would stop people from buying a good adventure. No one stops buying novels because they bought a bad novel.  You can pretty much say there is a continuous glut of bad novels in the book industry, yet people still buy novels and read them all the time.  Just go to the book section of a Wal-mart.  I would consider most of that crap, or at least stuff I would never buy or read, but they are still made, printed, and some people must buy them sometimes. So I don't think that having a glut of material, even if a lot of is bad, would stop people from buying. I think it's another reason.
Gary Gygax - "It is suggested that you urge your players to provide painted figures representing their characters, henchmen, and hirelings involved in play."

hamstertamer

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« Reply #63 on: August 21, 2013, 06:33:17 PM »
Quote from: Grymbok;684226
I think that "modules don't sell" as received wisdom really just comes from the idea that modules don't sell as well as splat books (that is, the sales aren't necessarily bad in absolute terms, but they may not represent the best return on investment for a publisher). And you can certainly see the logic that a book targeted at all players of D&D has a higher sales potential than a book for GMs using a certain setting only.

The fact that WW couldn't sell modules either (on account of all theirs being crap) will have compounded the perception.

The funny thing is of course that you could support D&D forever with modules and settings without creating "bloat" and therefore needing an edition change.


Yeah, I think it's that WOTC didn't want to publish quality adventures for whatever reason.  I do think that their adventures sold just fine.  It's combination of an attitude "who cares about adventure modules" and let's go for the highest profits possible.
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Tetsubo

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Is history repeating itself with Paizo?
« Reply #64 on: August 21, 2013, 06:39:03 PM »
Quote from: hamstertamer;684234
Yeah, I think it's that WOTC didn't want to publish quality adventures for whatever reason.  I do think that their adventures sold just fine.  It's combination of an attitude "who cares about adventure modules" and let's go for the highest profits possible.


For me, I didn't want adventures, I wanted rule books and settings and equipment books and terrain books and monster books. The things I could use to create my own adventures. So the whole Adventure Path line of PF material is lost on me.

crkrueger

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« Reply #65 on: August 21, 2013, 06:54:01 PM »
Modules are full of NPCs, maps, set pieces, plot threads, traps, sometimes new spells, monsters, goodies and setting info.

Every published module for me is like getting another Lego kit.  I can use it as is just fine, but it's way more useful thrown into the mix here and there.
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hamstertamer

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« Reply #66 on: August 21, 2013, 11:14:04 PM »
Quote from: Tetsubo;684239
For me, I didn't want adventures, I wanted rule books and settings and equipment books and terrain books and monster books. The things I could use to create my own adventures. So the whole Adventure Path line of PF material is lost on me.


I have no doubt it is lost to you.  That's why there is a nasty rumor on the internet by certain RPG fans that modules/adventures don't sell.  If a person sees no use in something, then they can't understand why someone would buy it.  Some game designers have adsorbed this attitude as well, and it shows by their reluctance to create modules/adventures.
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Mistwell

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« Reply #67 on: August 22, 2013, 12:09:54 AM »
Quote from: hamstertamer;684229
I agree for the most part, I think, but I don't see how a crap adventure would stop people from buying a good adventure. No one stops buying novels because they bought a bad novel.

You might stop buying novels by that author, however.  And with the RPG industry, all too often "publisher" is substituted for "author".  

I think this happened with WOTC 3e modules. That started out well.  Bruce Cordell's "Sunless Citadel" was good.  Rich Baker's "Forge of Fury" was good. And then James Wyatt's "The Speaker in Dreams" was just meh. And John D. Rateliff's "The Standing Stone" was not good.  And it all kinda went downhill from there with "Heart of Nightfang Spire" and the other three in that adventure path, and I think people just assumed WOTC modules were not worth buying.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 12:16:48 AM by Mistwell »

Opaopajr

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« Reply #68 on: August 22, 2013, 12:42:39 AM »
Quote from: hamstertamer;684214
Modules/adventures were usually good sellers when I worked at a gaming store in the early 00's.  I never heard that they don't sell well until I started reading rpg forums in the late 00's.  I have a feeling that the people who don't like pre-made adventures started the rumor and then megaphoned it.  Making it a "fact." Then everyone was surprised when Pathfinder's sold well, and were confused by it.


I too worked in a game store in the late 90s and early 00s. My experience is the absolute inverse of yours. We co-workers used to watch the modules bleach in the sun along with jigsaw puzzles. Scratch that, we'd have annual sales of jigsaws and watch them cycle off the shelves around Christmas. But the modules remained.

The age of splats was still holding court in those days.
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hamstertamer

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« Reply #69 on: August 22, 2013, 02:29:35 AM »
Quote from: Opaopajr;684306
I too worked in a game store in the late 90s and early 00s. My experience is the absolute inverse of yours. We co-workers used to watch the modules bleach in the sun along with jigsaw puzzles. Scratch that, we'd have annual sales of jigsaws and watch them cycle off the shelves around Christmas. But the modules remained.

The age of splats was still holding court in those days.


I guess it must be regional thing then.  I remembered people looking for and buying modules all the time.  No one every said, "There are too many adventure modules, I will stop buying them."  Never happened, and never made sense.
Gary Gygax - "It is suggested that you urge your players to provide painted figures representing their characters, henchmen, and hirelings involved in play."

hamstertamer

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« Reply #70 on: August 22, 2013, 03:08:45 AM »
Quote from: Mistwell;684298
You might stop buying novels by that author, however.  And with the RPG industry, all too often "publisher" is substituted for "author".  

I think this happened with WOTC 3e modules. That started out well.  Bruce Cordell's "Sunless Citadel" was good.  Rich Baker's "Forge of Fury" was good. And then James Wyatt's "The Speaker in Dreams" was just meh. And John D. Rateliff's "The Standing Stone" was not good.  And it all kinda went downhill from there with "Heart of Nightfang Spire" and the other three in that adventure path, and I think people just assumed WOTC modules were not worth buying.


I think that you are just applying personal preference.  I guess, for me, I didn't like the sunless citadel or the early ones all that much but liked the older ones better.  Weird, I think how that works.  

We did have a prominent carousel to display modules, while other gaming stores in the area keep them on a shelf somewhere out of immediate sight. I imagine that there was a bit of ideology in the assignment of where they were displayed.  I once took a bunch of back stock of D&D books and created a display in the window, we sold out of everything I showcased in a weekend. Weird right?

So in my experience, game store employees/owners only push what they like and then judge what sells or doesn't based on that.  In this sense, you can't rely too much on game stores for an accurate reading.  I definitely remember people coming in once a week looking for a new book or a new module/adventure.  So I honestly believe that the "module/adventures don't sell" idea is fraudulent.  Put out good quality stuff and people will buy it (even if they never play it).  

If game store employees hide it and down talk it, and say it sucks, then people won't buy.  And usually game store employees are very opinionated.  Which is why I think that, if WOTC is smart, they will sell their products at wal-mart and target, exclusively.  Gaming stores are passé. Screw them I say.
Gary Gygax - "It is suggested that you urge your players to provide painted figures representing their characters, henchmen, and hirelings involved in play."

Warboss Squee

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« Reply #71 on: August 22, 2013, 06:00:22 AM »
Quote from: Kellri;682338
Sorry, I've been playing D&D. What exactly is a 'Paizo'??


Something that had a chance to take the good of 3.5 and make it better by discarding the flaws, and failed fucking horribly.

Haffrung

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« Reply #72 on: August 22, 2013, 10:44:11 AM »
Quote from: hamstertamer;684229
I agree for the most part, I think, but I don't see how a crap adventure would stop people from buying a good adventure. No one stops buying novels because they bought a bad novel.  You can pretty much say there is a continuous glut of bad novels in the book industry, yet people still buy novels and read them all the time.  Just go to the book section of a Wal-mart.  I would consider most of that crap, or at least stuff I would never buy or read, but they are still made, printed, and some people must buy them sometimes. So I don't think that having a glut of material, even if a lot of is bad, would stop people from buying. I think it's another reason.


I've certainly stopped buying during glut times. In the early AD&D days, I could pick up a TSR adventure and be pretty sure it would good (T1, B1-4, G-series, D-series, S-series, C-series, A-series). Hardly any duds in the bunch. By around 1985, they were churning out a lot of crap. Rahasia was the last TSR module I bought for many years. I had hit a point where a module I bought was likely to be so bad I wouldn't run it.

Same thing with the 3e glut. I never did like the WotC adventures, but Necromancer Games hit the ground running with Crucible of Freya, Tomb of Abysthor, and Rappan Athuk. Then they started to turn out larger volumes of crap. Once bitten, twice shy. I picked up a couple adventures by other third-party publishers and they were terrible. Figured Goodman Games' DCC would be a good fit; nope. Mediocre at best. Filler. With two DCCs on my shelf that I will never use, there's not much chance of me risking a third.

Now compare that with Paizo. Before an adventure is even released they have teasers. Threads that the publishers post to outline the adventure and its tone. At release you get reviews, user comments, ratings, and session reports. The adventure paths themselves have a huge amount of material out there - reviews and GM tips, support material. You can easily do 2-3 hours of research on an adventure path before taking the plunge.

Whatever the problems with the railroaded format, and the cheesy setting, you know with Paizo you'll be getting top-notch layout, maps, and production values. They tend to attract the best freelance writers in the industry, and adventure path chapters are reserved for the ones who have proven themselves. This is all because they keep a strict limit on how many adventures and AP chapters they turn out a year. That means quality control.

Since the third-party modules for Pathfinder are sparse on the ground, someone picking up a Pathfinder adventure or setting book has a very good chance of buying a very good product. The quality is consistent enough that their bread and butter is subscriptions. You wouldn't have that many people buying books sight-unseen if the adventures were of dubious quality.
 

Lawbag

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« Reply #73 on: August 22, 2013, 10:52:33 AM »
I posted a remark based on the OP comments along these lines.
 
I could see the creep of crap that ruined DND3.5 starting to infect Pathfinder.
 
The secret I found was not to support 3rd party products unless they added value rather than rehash material previously published for 3.5.
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tenbones

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« Reply #74 on: August 22, 2013, 02:57:33 PM »
Quote from: camazotz;684188
Think of it with this analogy: not everyone knows how to cook, and need lessons. The APs do exactly that (for better or worse).


I used to think this too. I'm not as certain about that analogy any longer. Ironically you point out the very reason why I'm shifting my view...

Quote from: camazotz;684188
On a more sophisticated level, I've found that very few GMs in my area actually produce their own content. Most rely heavily on the APs, the Pathfinder Society modules and the single adventure lineup; almost none of them are ready or willing to put the little bit of extra effort necessary into doing their own thing, not least of which is because for many it's a daunting task; the process of creating content is actually a lot tougher for many people than is the process of reading and memorizing a module. Shockingly so, it seems.


1) GM's that just use this pre-canned stuff don't want to put in the effort.

2) It corners them into fairly unsophisticated campaigns.

It's different if you're an experienced GM and are just using AP's to fill in time for a casual game, than say - a relatively green GM "learning" from running AP's exclusively. Until you start going "off road" and doing your own thing, I think there is a cap to your GM skillset that will simply never grow by dint of the fact that no AP can account for your specific tastes (obviously).

so the question for me is - in Ye Goode Olde Days, we got our modules we ran them, then when the modules were done, we had to improvise. Is the glut of AP's prolonging the birds "staying in the nest" so to speak? What do you think?

Quote from: camazotz;684188
So when I wonder about Paizo's success with PF, I need only look to the other GMs around here running their APs and PFS modules to realize why this game does so well: it's spilling over with support for amateur or average GMs, and the pros can take the core and do what they want with it.


/total agreement on this last point. Paizo has set a good standard for what an RPG company should do to support its line - regardless of what you might think of the game.