Paizo is releasing a preview PDF of their upcoming Pathfinder RPG, which will still be using the 3.5 D20 rules.
Though it looks neat, I’m more interested in it as a design and social factor- what kind of game will they make after a year and some change of open playtesting? Will we see more pushes away from standard D20 now that it’s no longer a concern to be compatible with unseen future WOTC products? Will awesome fringe 3.5 based games emerge from a hardcore, dedicated fanbase over the next 10 years?
That and, Paizo pretty much has the best D&D artwork right now, though the EverCleavage is problematic, at least the female characters look kickass and in the mix of every fight scene.
One of my players ordered her own copy of Artesia, and since she hasn’t played anything since AD&D (1 or 2E? I’ll have to ask), it’ll be interesting to see how well she can clamber through the rules and tome that is Artesia.
While the point is for us to play, I’m always looking at it from the standpoint of usability- how does the non-gamer interact with your text? Does it work as a teaching tool? What doesn’t work? We’ve got plenty of games that assume you know what you’re doing and few that do not, so while stuff like Ptolus work as excellent ways of divvying up info for the person who gets the game, how do we format info for the noob?
While the “X Book for Dummies” format is good at introductions, it definitely comes across as a textbook- it lacks flash. Is there a way to keep the artwork and design format of a normal RPG book and still up the communication factor?
As a useful information tool, D&D 4E color codes the powers that the characters get- so you can easily track which ones you can use all the time, once an encounter, and once a day. Naturally, I want to break out old X-Clan before each game and hear that infamous phrase, “Protected, by the Red, the Black, and the Green… with a key, Sissy!”