Dndclassics.com

Looks like Wizards of the Coast has re-embraced releasing their back catalog in PDF format:

http://www.dndclassics.com/

For those who haven’t been following, they had previously released old stuff in PDF format, but some years ago (right around 4e, I think), they pulled them all. Now they are back. Of course, they were always torrent available, but now anyone (cough cough) who torrented any of the old classics can go pay for them now.

People who have been paying more attention than me can comment on how this reflects on the failure of 4e, and perhaps that 5e will attempt to capture that past of D&D in an effort to combat the success of Pathfinder. But I’m just happy to have legitimate access to all of this old material in digital format.

Geoff

Saw this pop up last night on twitter. I was huge into 2e back in college (mostly DM’d) and seeing all those source books gave me a major nostalgia boner. I loved the source books for 2e. I even had the humanoids handbook with me on my honeymoon. I really need to dig into the storage closet and make sure none of those books have been eaten by mice.

Interesting. It’s all run through DriveThruRPG.

That’s pretty cool. Our group actually started a 2e campaign last year and have been playing ever since. Our DM has a huge library of 2e source material but this may help him fill in some gaps.

No Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, no sale. Particularly at those prices.

Looks like B1 In Search of the Unknown (Basic) is a freebie during the launch of the site.

It’s so horrifying that people are nostalgic for 2e. That’s NEW AD&D. ;)

Well I was slapped down for playing basic since it was the spawn of satan and caused kids to murder each other. It wasn’t until college and I was out of my parents house that I was finally able to play. The 2e players handbook was the first gift my then girlfriend/now wife ever bought me!

I think there are two things going on here: a need to keep D&D visible as a brand while Next is in production and a means of bringing in D&D revenue as 4e winds down (figuratively speaking - 4e’s d-e-a-d, although they’re still pushing it on the website). With the current speculative launch date for Next being 2014 they’ve got a big gap to fill, product-wise.

That sucks! At least you got your freedom.

The success of Pathfinder is overblown amongst gamers. From what I’ve been told, while Pathfinder easily tromped 4e’s launch and sold spectacularly well, it hasn’t had the kind of long-tail sales that D&D typically had. The announcement of D&D Next gave Pathfinder a sales bump, but nothing too fantastic. The same thing happened for the Kickstarter events. The starter boxed set sales have had a better long-term performance, but it’s thanks to being prominently shelved in a national bookstore chain.

In the post-90’s pen & paper RPG world, there’s D&D and there’s everything else. You can survive and even be profitable, but you’ll never equal the kind of brand awareness that D&D continues to have. D&D was always the 900-pound gorilla in the room, but the problem has become a lot more pronounced as the pen & paper market has dwindled overall. Like video games, smaller indie RPGs have been successful by taking charge of their own production and sales. Perhaps the larger, less agile brands won’t be sustainable in the smaller marketplace?

It’s going to be interesting to see if D&D can survive past Next. I’m also curious about how Pathfinder is going to do with their foray into their self-produced, partially crowd-funded MMO.

Maybe so, maybe not. It’s true we can’t see DDI subscriber information (e.g.), and when Paizo touts numbers I believe it includes PDF sales, which is something Wizards has only recently gotten into so it’s hard to do direct comparisons. But it seems Pathfinder appears to be outselling D&D in channels where measuring is possible (icv2 link); to wit ], and it has been for a couple of years by those measures.

That in and of itself is pretty significant. I don’t think anyone would suggest Pathfinder is as big a name as D&D. But where as some people might overstate it’s strength/relevance/whatever, you appear to be understating it.

All this just makes me want to game again, doesn’t mater what system!

I don’t think I am. I’m not saying Pathfinder/Paizo is in danger of closing up and declaring bankruptcy. I didn’t even say that their sales have internally been a disappointment. I think Paizo understood exactly the situation when they launched, since they came from a working understanding of the audience.

I’m just saying that pen & paper gamers routinely exaggerate the success of Pathfinder. Outselling D&D in the current market is obviously nothing to scoff at, but it’s also not an indicator of Pathfinder’s ascendancy as the crown jewel of the hobby. I see amateur-hour sales projections and predictions from laymen on the 'net that breathlessly exclaim that Pathfinder is a guaranteed successor to the D&D mantle. It’s really not.

I’m also saying that the marketplace has fundamentally changed. Unless something crazy happens, the pen & paper RPG hobby will never have the kind of sales they enjoyed in the heyday. This is another thing the Pathfinder cheerleaders regularly get wrong. They think that D&D not doing as great as they used to is exclusively a D&D issue. It’s definitely not.

Drat, I was hoping this was about the gold box games.

The Paizo / Pathfinder situation is pretty complex - while it’s hard to get firm numbers it’s clear they and WotC were playing a game of chicken and WotC blinked. Which is unfortunate: 4e was a strong design. I’m sure many at WotC / Hasbro now see kicking Paizo to the curb by pulling all their .pdf’s off the market and taking Dragon / Dungeon out of their hands shortly after the launch of 4e as a bad idea. That, plus the lingering OGL, pretty much gave rise to their only competitor in the tabletop RPG space. Had those things not happened, it’s likely 3rd edition would have become obsolete in much the way 2nd edition did before it. Instead, the OGL did exactly what Ryan Dancey claimed it was supposed to - provide a life raft for those who disagreed with the changes made in subsequent editions, eventually leading to Pathfinder.

I think it’s awesome to preserve out of print gaming material in PDF format, but I have about as much intention of returning to oldschool AD&D as I do of trying to eat a chainsaw. I won’t claim there’s not some cool settings from that era, and it may have been decent design compared to other systems at the time but…ugh.

I mean, I’m not really in the market for D&D at all anymore but 3rd edition was such a huge improvement over previous editions it’s not even funny.

I cant imagine they are making any money with prices like that for digital copies…

Okay, having actually looked at the site…they’re going to be rolling out more books over time, right? Cause right now there’s about 12 to 20-ish titles per edition, and that doesn’t even include the core rules for any editions other than 3.5 and the Red Box Basic D&D set. And what they do have is kinda massively random.

I feel comfortable saying you are, at this point.

I’m just saying that pen & paper gamers routinely exaggerate the success of Pathfinder.

Which gamers? The gamers saying this to you are cancelled out by the gamers who don’t say this to me. And I play in the Pathfinder Society games in a large metropolitan area. Never heard anyone, once, suggest Pathinder had somehow “suplanted D&D at the top of the hobby”.

Is there some talking head doing this? And if so, why would I possibly care? Talking heads do crazy shit all the time. We would all be better off ignoring them.

Outselling D&D in the current market is obviously nothing to scoff at,

So generous of you to concede that point.

but it’s also not an indicator of Pathfinder’s ascendancy as the crown jewel of the hobby.

It’s been my experience that many people don’t see it this way.

I see amateur-hour sales projections and predictions from laymen on the 'net that breathlessly exclaim that Pathfinder is a guaranteed successor to the D&D mantle. It’s really not.

I think it’s important that your biases have in no way, shape, or form colored this observation.

I’m also saying that the marketplace has fundamentally changed.

Say, do you think Paizo having PDF versions of its products available for what must be years now is a reflection of this? Also, can you get Pachters thoughts on that one?

Unless something crazy happens, the pen & paper RPG hobby will never have the kind of sales they enjoyed in the heyday. This is another thing the Pathfinder cheerleaders regularly get wrong. They think that D&D not doing as great as they used to is exclusively a D&D issue. It’s definitely not.

  1. Cite on which “Pathfinder cheerleaders” think this.

  2. You sound like someone who is sick to death of people raving about Pathfinder. Which is entirely reasonable, because that sort of thing always gets old. But it also appears to be coloring your commentary here, and rather boldly. “Cheerleaders” , “breathless”, “[hyperbole attributed to other people]”; these are the words of a lover scored or something, and not so much the words of reasoned analysis.

I know, I’m giving you shit and it’s horribly mean, but come the fuck on already.

I’m sure some pathfinder fans have gone overboard in “cheerleading” what Paizo has done. This sort of thing is pretty common. So what.

I personally don’t give two shits about whether Pathfinder is sitting at the top of anything, except to say that I find their success so far “neat”. All I really care about is if they put out compelling products (post Advanced Players guide, it’s been touch and go on that front actually, but this is an entirely different conversation; one that Wizards has an uncomfortable familiarity with in fact). Pathfinder is not the only RPG system I am interested in, and I have and will game in other things in the future.