Third Party classes and races from a third party perspective

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Canada714
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Third Party classes and races from a third party perspective

Postby Canada714 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:20 am

When making campaigns in your guys long history of Game Managing, what has been your opinion of third party material? Especially now as you guys ARE a third party publisher. Personally I've seen that, unlike you guys, many third parties don't seem to balance and perfect their classes and races. This has given third parties a bad reputation and I know some GMs outright forbid third party anything. Care to share any guidelines/advice with us on the matter?
...and I said "OATMEAL? ARE YOU CRAZY?!"...oh, sorry
"I also enjoy long walks on the beach beneath the pale blue light of elder gods." -Selerik

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David
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Re: Third Party classes and races from a third party perspec

Postby David » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:28 am

Pathfinder Society doesn't allow any, which makes sense, since PFS is literally the advertising mechanic of Paizo, those fiends.

The most prevailing thought(outside of running in terror) is to go with trusted companies that tend to make decent products.

I have noticed that third party SETTING material is more often accepted, and used as a basis of a campaign.

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Canada714
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Re: Third Party classes and races from a third party perspec

Postby Canada714 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:43 pm

So typically you don't allow third party material in your own campaigns?
...and I said "OATMEAL? ARE YOU CRAZY?!"...oh, sorry
"I also enjoy long walks on the beach beneath the pale blue light of elder gods." -Selerik

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David
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Re: Third Party classes and races from a third party perspec

Postby David » Sat Sep 07, 2013 9:56 pm

I'm a lousy person to ask, since my recent Pathfinder experience is all PFS, outside of playtesting my own third party material. It does make sense though. If you're running a Forgotten Realms game, you may be leery adding things that don't make sense to the Realms. Ponies may be a hard sale, along with super psionic death squads or extraplanar druids of time/space, if the Gm feels this violates their sense of the setting.

lbxzero
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Re: Third Party classes and races from a third party perspec

Postby lbxzero » Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:12 am

When it comes to 3rd party expansions, it depends on the game being played and who are the players. As a DM, I am very nice, focusing on fun and laughter than trying to kill the party. Although if I stop rolling to determine the initiative for the NPCs, then I am out to kill.

So for using 3rd party material, you the DM should review it first. For playing among a group of close friends, it is usually ok for a home campaign. For a group of gamers at the game store for local campaigns, that will have to be approved, with everyone respecting the decision, among the that group. For a PFS or living campaign with rules and such, no.

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Canada714
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Re: Third Party classes and races from a third party perspec

Postby Canada714 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:52 am

lbxzero wrote:Although if I stop rolling to determine the initiative for the NPCs, then I am out to kill.
:rderp:...:laugh: I love it. I'm doing that next campaign. "Guys...he didn't roll initiative...RUN!!"
So for using 3rd party material, you the DM should review it first. For playing among a group of close friends, it is usually ok for a home campaign. For a group of gamers at the game store for local campaigns, that will have to be approved, with everyone respecting the decision, among the that group. For a PFS or living campaign with rules and such, no.

What can you do to determine if something is unbalanced? What are the signs to look for?
...and I said "OATMEAL? ARE YOU CRAZY?!"...oh, sorry
"I also enjoy long walks on the beach beneath the pale blue light of elder gods." -Selerik

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David
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Re: Third Party classes and races from a third party perspec

Postby David » Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:04 am

My rule of thumb, try to think of reasons someone would NOT want to pick something, mechanically. If you have trouble thinking of reasons, you're in trouble. Nothing should be an immediately obvious win.

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Rannil
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Re: Third Party classes and races from a third party perspec

Postby Rannil » Sun Sep 08, 2013 12:02 pm

The major problem with balance is that is depends on factors. In a world of only fighters a wizard is a overpowered force, and a world of commoners a fighter is a unbalanced presence. It's the major issue with third party in general, you don't know what the makers used as baseline. With a steady DnD group you can get a feel for the players, their play-styles, their preferences and how they see balance and based on that you can judge whether things will be overpowered or underpowered compared to that group. Also the cleverness of players can bring unexpected consequences to things that sounded balance.

My baseline for balance is options. The more options it has, the more powerful it can become. For example Aasimar and Tiefling, strong races on their own, but the racial heritage feats makes them unbelievable customizable. There hasn't been a single PFS game I saw without one of those two. (Like David also said, the more desirable, the more likely it is overpowered.)

In the end it's hit or miss, if you trust your gaming group don't be afraid to test things out and don't be afraid to ask to turn things back if things turned out to be more powerful then expected. After all balance is in the eye of the beholder mage.
Emissary of the Phoenix Wolves.

Lore Stalker, Seeker of Truth, is writing pony fanfiction right here, on my blog. Currently writing for National Pony Writing Month.

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Selerik
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Re: Third Party classes and races from a third party perspec

Postby Selerik » Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:12 pm

I have personally ALWAYS been leery of third party content for the sake of having it. It is too easy to mix and match and have your own frankenstein monster of autowin. 3.5 suffered that same problem just with official materials! Lest we forget pun-pun.

That being said, I enjoy games that are 3rd party but stand on their own, because they were simply that well made and that interesting. Iron Kingdoms 1st Edition was a perfect example of that for me.

I do see Ponyfinder filling that sort of niche. We recognize this may be a gateway for geeky parents to get their kids into their first tabletop, and equally realize this will be an extension of thousands of other ways Bronies have found to express themselves and their vibrant imaginations.

Necrose
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Re: Third Party classes and races from a third party perspec

Postby Necrose » Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:39 pm

In my own limited time running games, I actually was completely oblivious to third-party content for tabletop roleplaying games before starting online groups and I never had any problems with players wanting to play a race or class or use something, be it gear, spells, or class options, that wasn't out of something official when I didn't want it. Either they were fine with the fact that the campaign I put together for them didn't allow it, or what they did have access to was plenty for them. But that's my experience as a DM. As a player, I look at everything and submit it to my DM for consideration if they don't explicitly state at the beginning whether or not third-party content is allowed. If it is, great, I have lots of ideas. If not, to me at least, it's a bit of a let down but there's still plenty I have access to with the official stuff.

My advice for DMs trying to decide whether they should allow third-party content in their campaigns or not is consider everything. Who are the players and what do they want? What do you want and how does that coincide with what the players want? Does the content in question have a place in your campaign as you envisioned it? If so, to what extent do you allow third-party content? But most of all, I advise keeping an open mind. What looks cool to your players but looks horribly overpowered to you in this campaign could be just the thing some other campaign needs to help make it truly memorable. Remember, just because you run one campaign that's all first party does not mean you can't run another that does allow some things Paizo or Wizards of the Coast or whoever didn't make themselves but was made with their rules in mind and have it be just as enjoyable to all involved.

If you do, I advise taking it slow at first. Maybe a race or two up for consideration at creation, or a base class. Maybe allow each character take one third-party feat they like and think their character would benefit from following the normal rules of meeting requirements and levels feats are gained. Even though I advocate players building the most OP characters because that allows me when I DM to create more challenging things to throw at them, even I say let them use what you can justify letting them use and leave out everything you can't. And if it so happens you yourself don't like anything third-party or do but just can't think of any way to work it in, so be it. Like I said before, there's plenty of first-party content to work with.


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