When Wizards of the Coast had moved onto D&D 3rd edition, my friends were still playing second, still talking "THAC0", still 'open-source, why should I care?'
And now, with D&D 4th edition out there, my friends (albeit a different set of friends) are still playing 3.5. More precisely, we've been playing the Pathfinder RPG, because this particular group of roleplayers are Wizards of the Coast ex-pats and either own, run, or are involved with Paizo, the company that's created it. So we've been beta testing, and I got my beautiful hardcover rulebook before the rest of all y'all.
What is Pathfinder RPG, you may ask. Well, Wizards consciously made most of D&D 3.5 "open source", to encourage people to adopt it, modify it, make supplements for it, etcetera. The actual trademarked name "Dungeons & Dragons" was not part of the deal, of course, but the bulk of the material is freely reproducible. And that's what Paizo did - they took 3.5, made a host of improvements and fixes, called it Pathfinder, and there you have it.
Which appeals to me greatly, because in my old age I have become the sort of guy who would usually rather fix something broken then try to start over from scratch. Throw out a perfectly good game engine and start over? Crazy! We'll keep using the old one, refactoring and fixing the most glaring problems, rather than spend months building a whole new one and creating a whole new set of problems. Spend thousands of dollars tearing up my lawn, putting down new topsoil, etcetera - crazy! I'll just get out there every weekend and pull weeds. The reason my friends don't like adopting new roleplaying systems isn't just because they're staying in their comfort zone - it's also because they know that new, complicated systems have hosts of problems. It'll take years to shake the glitches and balancing issues out of 4.0. Until then, we're sticking with 3.5.
Anyhow, it just released. You can pick it up here, though they've already sold out of their first printing with preorders alone. http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG
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