Pathfinder Modern Pledge Drive Leaves Me Ambivalent

Super Genius Games is taking patronage money to fund a Pathfinder-ized version of d20 Modern.  They’re only at $8k of their $70k goal with a month to go.

Am I signing up?  No.  I would probably buy such a thing if it came out, depending.  I love Pathfinder but was ambivalent about d20 Modern.  If it was a better version, sure!  But I don’t get how people are insisting on these patronage models.  In this case, I worry…

1.  What if the game is just bad?  There’s good names behind it but there’s always a chance.

2.  What if the game is never delivered?  Or is colossally late?  I am still a sad pre-buyer of Sinister Adventures’ Razor Coast, and if it wasn’t for Lou Agresta and unpaid volunteers chipping in, it would never see the light of day.  The RPG landscape is littered with collapsed projects.  My general policy is to NEVER preorder stuff unless it’s something like a major book from WotC or Paizo and I KNOW it’ll ship within about a month of when it’s supposed to.  I let my Logue-mania from his Paizo work get me carried away for Razor Coast; I won’t do that again, I’ve been reminded.

I do subscribe to some of the Paizo lines, just because they have an unbroken track record of delivering quality on time.  But no one else has that going for them.

In general, who pays for things sight unseen, before the thing is even developed?  No one.  It seems like a bit of an unrealistic business plan.  It’s one thing to just take some pre-orders with “if you order real early you get to playtest or give input or whatever” – sure, you get the $$ early and give some access, that’s fine.  But making it contingent – bad plan.

I know Open Design has been doing this – but I haven’t bought into any of those, either.  In fact, there’s a couple of them I’d like to buy now (like Kingdom of Ghouls) but I can’t because of their closed patronage model – that’s throwing money away, and generally makes me grumpy and unwilling to buy in to such schemes on a personal level.

I’m glad people are innovating business models and all, and if they are working for people (or if they think they are) more power to them…  But this is one consumer who’s not into it.

6 responses to “Pathfinder Modern Pledge Drive Leaves Me Ambivalent

  1. Nor me. There’s something a bit off about this kind of approach which has always made me wary to get involved. The Open Design stuff even comes over a bit creepy, as it seems more of a clique than a publishing method.

  2. To be honest, $70K sounds kind of expensive. It may take that much to produce a hard copy of the book, they could do a PDF for a fraction of that. How much work would it really be to combine the Pathfinder and Modern SRD’s.

  3. Open Design has delivered every single project it committed to. Every. Single. One.

    Not only that, most of them were bigger than the patrons paid for (more content). And many of them have won ENnie awards.

    Beyond that, the current round of Open Design projects will all be available to the public: From Shore to Sea is a patronage project designed by Open Design, and published by Paizo, for instance. Sunken Empires will ship in May to patrons and the public.

    @kelvingreen, can you clarify on the “creepy” comment? Open Design is (duh) open to everyone, so it’s hardly a clique.

    • Yeah, and I’m looking forward to Shore to Sea being finished and reviewed and deciding whether I want to buy it.

      I know y’all have a good delivery track record, but, for example, I played in a Zobeck campaign and it wasn’t quite my cup of tea – which is unsurprising, as everyone doesn’t love everything – but it also means pre-buying is a hard sell. Normal buying involves having something in hand first, something you can either leaf through and evaluate or read reviews of. Asking people to give that up to “sight unseen” trust it’ll be good, good for them, and delivered is a big deal, IMO. I’m glad y’all have built enough of a rep people do it, but I don’t think it is the brightest idea for people to start in new, like with Super Genius. No track record.

      I’d like to see a better model, like O’Reilly’s Rough Cuts – pay some (or just prepay) to get early access and input. Or, wait and buy it when it’s out. Which sounds like the direction y’all are going.

  4. I’m with Chuck, re: PDFs. First off, it seems like a good way to test the waters for a new game. Put out a few smaller PDFs and see if there’s enough interest to proceed. Conversely, it also gives potential customers or sponsor/pledges something to judge the risk on As someone who loved D20 modern and respects the guys behind the possible pathfinder/d20 thing, but who disliked D&D 3e and Pathfinder, I’m a little too skeptical to venture a pledge.

    And regarding Open Design, my only experience with it is the podcast, which is pretty good. I’ve heard good things, but again, not being a 3e/D20/Pathfinder or 4e player, I haven’t looked at the material first hand. I have a hunch the “clique” comment about OD may be related to the podcast, sometimes it seems a little chummy and “in crowdy”, but in the context, it doesn’t bother me.

  5. 1. What if the game is just bad? There’s good names behind it but there’s always a chance.

    You run that risk with any product you pick up, even if you wait for a review, you run the risk of not agreeing with the reviewer, and do you read the whole book before you buy it? Every company from Open Design to Other World Designs (Super Genius Guides) only has brand recognition to go on the same as WotC or Paizo you buy thier new product sight unseen,

    there are many reviews of Patronage Projects after they have been Completed, if you were interested in Empire of the Ghouls then go check the Imperial Gazetteer fro pathfinder .

    I can’t speak for Open Design or Other World Designs but on Rite Publishing patornage projects (Heroes of the Jade Oath, rituals of Choice adventure path, Coliseum Morpheuon Breaking of Fostor Nagar), would simply give you your money back if you decide the project is not for you in the first 60 days after that we would work something out (mostly because that’s the limit paypal has on a 100% refund)

    2. What if the game is never delivered? Or is colossally late?

    Like Open Design, Rite Publishing has completed every patronage project we have set out. (Heroes of the Jade Oath BETA, Litorians, A Witch’s Choice, To Kill or Not To Kill,) with the others being on going.

    And every one of our project offers extras map packs paper minis along with the early access, and we have never had a closed project So if you want a 16-20th level pathfinder adventure mini setting after you get done with a Paizo AP you can join the Coliseum Morpheuon patronage project or you can wait till we release it to the public, pay the exact same price but miss our on the extras.

    wow that was a long post

    Steve Russell
    Rite Publishing

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