[3.x/PfRPG/4E] Goodman Games looking to Expand beyond 4E

migo

whORE
I would imagine that 4E in the long run will take over a lot of the smaller ones. The system is in a lot of ways better and more appealing. Some people don't like it, but the reaction has been generally positive. It'd make sense to do print for 4E at least, and then PDF to be printed for all the OGL games - given all the variations of OGL it would be understood by the player base I think, while 4E will naturally be a fixed system.
 

Dabbler

Retired User
- If you go generic stats...well, that's probably the easiest route, but you need some kind of internal system for deciding "challenge levels" or something. You're fighting 6 orcs in this encounter...are they 6 C&C orcs, or 3 orc berserkers, an orc shaman, and two orc soldiers? If there's some internal system developed for rating this stuff, that has to be developed with an eye towards satisfying many system conversion (difficult at best), and must be reprinted in every book. Not a big deal if they go totally PDF (just make that "system" available online and/or copy-paste it into every PDF), but then you're still looking at losing the print channel to sell your books, which afaik has been very nice to Goodman Games.
Possibly the worst route. If I buy a module or adventure, I expect it to do all the donkey work for me and in some systems stating the encounter is the donkey work. If they come unstated or with work remaining to be done, I'll pass on it for the adventure that is fully stated. Harsh, but true.


Edit:
I would imagine that 4E in the long run will take over a lot of the smaller ones. The system is in a lot of ways better and more appealing. Some people don't like it, but the reaction has been generally positive. It'd make sense to do print for 4E at least, and then PDF to be printed for all the OGL games - given all the variations of OGL it would be understood by the player base I think, while 4E will naturally be a fixed system.
That would surprise me a great deal, partly because 4e is a very different system to the d20 systems out there (which is one large reason not everyone likes 4e), and partly because there is a strong possibility that 4E will give way to 5E at some point. The problem for Goodman is that 4E did NOT take over everything - instead of consolidating the market, it split it, and Goodman is missing on a large chunk of the market by going with 4e. No other major 3PPs did, and they are showing no signs of going that way either. In other words, a huge part of the market, both buyers and sellers, is giving 4e the cold shoulder ...

On the other hand, you are right in that publishing for all systems is probably the best way to go, because then you tap both markets.
 
Last edited:

Philotomy Jurament

Registered User
Validated User
I think a good 4e module has a different set of design assumptions and a different approach from a good 3.x or TSR edition module. A conversion of a 4e module is very low on my list of potential purchases, especially since there are an increasing number of products that are designed for my preferred edition (or one that is highly compatible with it).

The way I see it, there are three broad categories of D&D: TSR editions, 3.x, and 4e. You could design a module that works well for any one of those, but it probably wouldn't work as well for the other two categories, unless you were willing to put in more significant effort than just re-statting. That said, a conversion to TSR D&D from 3.x is more likely to work than a conversion from 4e, IMO.
 
Last edited:

gerrardthor

Retired User
Possibly the worst route. If I buy a module or adventure, I expect it to do all the donkey work for me and in some systems stating the encounter is the donkey work. If they come unstated or with work remaining to be done, I'll pass on it for the adventure that is fully stated. Harsh, but true.


Edit:


That would surprise me a great deal, partly because 4e is a very different system to the d20 systems out there (which is one large reason not everyone likes 4e), and partly because there is a strong possibility that 4E will give way to 5E at some point. The problem for Goodman is that 4E did NOT take over everything - instead of consolidating the market, it split it, and Goodman is missing on a large chunk of the market by going with 4e. No other major 3PPs did, and they are showing no signs of going that way either. In other words, a huge part of the market, both buyers and sellers, is giving 4e the cold shoulder ...

On the other hand, you are right in that publishing for all systems is probably the best way to go, because then you tap both markets.
I think this is the point that has to be looked at and considered.

Some people will not want to have to essentially download a patch to run their game. They want the whole package unto itself.
 

migo

whORE
I suspect though that 4E will grow. First of all there's the RPGA, so simply on account of having some organised play where you can take a character from one campaign to another is an advantage. Second of all there's new campaign settings coming out. FR had people with mixed feelings, but from the sounds of it with Dark Sun they're doing the right thing. Each new campaign setting will bring in new players. Third, it's the most visible RPG out there, if someone wants to play an RPG and they don't know where to look, they'll find 4E first. While it may have fragmented the market it has the best prospect of growing. I don't see Pathfinder drawing in people who didn't play 3e/3.5 before. FantasyCraft might, but overall I don't see that happening to the same degree as 4e. It might not dominate the market right now, but it has things by virtue of being D&D that the other systems don't. If I look at games wanted ads for anything d20/D&D related, most of them now are for 4e. Some 3.5 holdouts are still there, but I haven't seen anything for Pathfinder, and that to me suggests that while 4e will continue to grow,the 3.x holdovers will just begin to shrink.
 

Dabbler

Retired User
I suspect though that 4E will grow. First of all there's the RPGA, so simply on account of having some organised play where you can take a character from one campaign to another is an advantage. Second of all there's new campaign settings coming out. FR had people with mixed feelings, but from the sounds of it with Dark Sun they're doing the right thing. Each new campaign setting will bring in new players. Third, it's the most visible RPG out there, if someone wants to play an RPG and they don't know where to look, they'll find 4E first. While it may have fragmented the market it has the best prospect of growing. I don't see Pathfinder drawing in people who didn't play 3e/3.5 before. FantasyCraft might, but overall I don't see that happening to the same degree as 4e. It might not dominate the market right now, but it has things by virtue of being D&D that the other systems don't. If I look at games wanted ads for anything d20/D&D related, most of them now are for 4e. Some 3.5 holdouts are still there, but I haven't seen anything for Pathfinder, and that to me suggests that while 4e will continue to grow,the 3.x holdovers will just begin to shrink.
Pathfinder is also growing, far beyond Paizo's expectations. D&D may be the most visible, but the spin offs have always been a big thing in D&D. Just look at the fact that there are people playing 1E and 2E clones after 30+ years, and at the huge number of d20 variant games. One commentator in the industry remarked that in 4e Wizards/Hasbro tried to take control of the market, but only succeeded in splitting it in two. D&D has always contained a huge amount of 3rd party material produced by fans and enthusiasts who say the original and thought it would be better with just a little tweak here and there. The licensing on 4e leaves these people out in the cold, so where will they go?

The D&D name will always pull in numbers, of course, and they have the largest share of any RPG in the market, but that does not mean there are not room for others. Given the coverage it has had, I would say 4e has got as many of the existing gamers as it is going to get. It's the new gamers who are the ones who will be the deciding factor. From what I have seen so far, Pathfinder is actually starting to find new gamers, and so might other producers, but I don't think that will be the biggest threat to 4e's dominance. I think that will be 5e.
 

oni no won

Registered User
Validated User
Here's something I've been thinking about. What if a DCC were written in "native 4E" but there were downloads to support other systems? Or...what if the DCC had generic stats ("Orc, 6 hp, axe, chainmail")...and ALL detailed stats were available as a download? So if you play 4E you download the 4E stats PDF...if you play Pathfinder you download the Pathfinder stats PDF...etc.

Tell me what you think. There are certain economics required in publishing modules, but as long as those economics are met by satisfying one or two larger systems, it may be possible to support more than one system.[/I]

Full post found here.

What's your feelings about such a plan? It's generating a lot of heated debates over at EN World and Paizo.
Personally, I like it! With dual stat products, I've felt I didn't fully get my money's worth because some of the space have been filled up with a system I didn't play. With your idea, it will cater to the (supposidly) larger player base while also supporting other d20 systems without wasting further space to implement those systems.
 

itarakoturo

New member
Banned
One commentator in the industry remarked that in 4e Wizards/Hasbro tried to take control of the market, but only succeeded in splitting it in two.
This sort of comment implies that the "split" is somehow close to even, which is laughable. Paizo will be incredibly lucky if it manages to capture even 5% of the total D&D market at some point down the line (not that this is bad; it's actually very impressive). Yes, there are still people playing 3.5, but that's because it was what everyone was playing before 4e hit. People gradually shift towards new editions over time. Eventually the shift will be towards Pathfinder and 4e, the majority of which will probably go to 4e. 4e already has the clear plurality, and possibly even a majority of play. Calling what happened a "split" is completely inaccurate - it ignores the history of how edition changes work, over-inflates the number of groups who are part of the I-hate-4e-and-won't-play-it crowd, and is generally only used by those who are part of that crowd in the first place.

On topic, I think Goodman should avoid trying to make the same adventure work under multiple systems. Speaking as someone who has quite a bit of experience converting adventures from one edition to another, you can't simply say "Use these stat blocks in this edition, and use these stat blocks in this edition." EN Publishing has the right idea with their WotBS campaign: take the same rough campaign details and alter the entire adventure/adventure path as necessary to fit within the conceits of the new edition. You're going to need different maps, different ways of exposing the plot, different structures to non-combat challenges, and all of these things are separate from what you could do simply by substituting stat blocks.
 
Last edited:

Dabbler

Retired User
This sort of comment implies that the "split" is somehow close to even, which is laughable. Paizo will be incredibly lucky if it manages to capture even 5% of the total D&D market at some point down the line (not that this is bad; it's actually very impressive).
I never implied it was 50/50 - in fact 4e had 75% of the RPG sales by cost for 2009 in the bag, while Paizo took 6%. These stats are based on stats supplied from gaming stores, they don't account for on-line sales direct from the seller (which accounts for most of Paizo's business, I am not sure about 4e) or from sources like Amazon (where the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook outsold the 4e core rulebooks for the tail end of 2009) and I am unsure if it includes stats from non-gaming outlets (on this side of the ocean bookstore Waterstones stock D&D but not Pathfinder the last time I checked).

However, these are the sales, they are not necessarily what people are playing; from my old club, I know that the split was about 50/50 between 4e and 3.5/3P back in November. If that is typical (and it may not be) Goodman would be missing half their target market by concentrating on 4e. Even if the 75/25 split is closer to what people are playing, it's a substantial market to tap into.
 

timbannock

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
EN Publishing has the right idea with their WotBS campaign: take the same rough campaign details and alter the entire adventure/adventure path as necessary to fit within the conceits of the new edition. You're going to need different maps, different ways of exposing the plot, different structures to non-combat challenges, and all of these things are separate from what you could do simply by substituting stat blocks.
Yeah, I forgot about this approach in my original thoughts. It is probably the *best* theory, but leads to some of the issues already mentioned, like development time increasing and only targeting one market or channel. While it makes the most sense in terms of rules and design, you then have to figure out how to market each version of the adventure to different crowds, how much effort to put into the stats for each version, how many copies you'll sell of each version, etc.

I think the market might look something like this (and I'm totally making these #s up): 75% of people play 4e, 20% play 3.5/Pathfinder, and 5% play something else (old-school style retro clone or something like C&C). Whether these numbers are accurate doesn't matter; think about developing an adventure for each of these. You get way more POTENTIAL sales for a 4e adventure than you would a C&C one, right? So do you develop both versions for the same amount of time (i.e. outline it, fact-check it, plot it out, write the background material)? Do you put the same amount of money into the artwork, or do you recycle (edition artwork is big to some people, as DCC books proved)? Do you bind the books the same? Do you shoot for the same overall word-count, or page-count?

Those logistical factors can severely change whom you sell to, how much you sell for, and what channels you use. It sounds like a really, really tough business model to figure out, and it's the kind of risk that is much easier to muck up than say, sticking to one system.

On the other hand, they could just have a 4e adventure design team, a Pathfinder adventure design team, and an "Other" adventure design team. Occasionally the teams collaborate (it'd be like a cross-over in the comic books!), but for the most part, the different teams do what they do separately. Maybe some general plot threads are used across all three, but for the most part, you just have your separate teams, and you CLEARLY label which product goes with what.
 
Top Bottom