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    Satyr's Avatar

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    Default 4th edition 3rd party publishers

    D&D 3 has established the fine tradition that the official publications were usually overshadowed by the often more creative and better thought-out sourcebooks, rule adaptations and varieties which were not published by WotC.
    The best settings, source books, game ressources and rule adaptations were all written by 3rd party publishers and many of the WotC ressources were bland and mediocre in comparison.
    Yes, I don't have a very high opinion of the quality standards of the official D&D material. I know, a shoking revelation by now.
    But is it me or is there indeed a certain lack of third party publications for D&D 4? Have I just overseen those? Is it still too early for a larger collection of 3rd party addendums? Or is the publication policy for the 4th edition to restrictive?

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    Default Re: 4th edition 3rd party publishers

    I personally find the official books to be much better both quality-wise and balance-wise compared to third party books. The designers at WoTC have been working hard for 4th edition, and I can see it really paying off.
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    Default Re: 4th edition 3rd party publishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Satyr View Post
    Or is the publication policy for the 4th edition to restrictive?
    This. Given all the goings on about PDFs it's no surprise that Wizards want to keep it in-house, at least for the time being anyways.
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    Zombie

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    Default Re: 4th edition 3rd party publishers

    There aren't a lot from what I understand. One reason for this is I believe WOTC's license for 4th Edition is much, much stricter, confining publishers to a much narrower range of options.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: 4th edition 3rd party publishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Satyr View Post
    But is it me or is there indeed a certain lack of third party publications for D&D 4? Have I just overseen those? Is it still too early for a larger collection of 3rd party addendums? Or is the publication policy for the 4th edition to restrictive?
    I think Goodman Games and KenzerCo are releasing 3rd party stuff (Goodmans under the GSL, KenzerCo not). But you're right about the terms of the GSL being a turn off to a lot of 3rd party licensees. Many 3rd party companies sniffed it, went "Do not want!", and used the OGL to release stuff with fewer strings attached.
    Last edited by bosssmiley; 2010-01-18 at 06:07 AM.

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    Default Re: 4th edition 3rd party publishers

    Goodman's certainly releasing 4e material. Mongoose did a few books, I think? ENWorld are redoing their War of the Burning Sky for 4e as well. From what I hear, the market for 4e products just isn't as strong as the market for 3.x was.

    Anyway, quite apart from the different licenses I think the situations have changed. 3.0 was the new hotness, and granted people the freedom to piggyback their own d20 products on the cresting D&D wave. By contrast 4e landed in the market with a resounding splat, and several publishers decided to see if it had legs before getting behind it. Of course, this gave Wizards the opportunity to release a whole bunch of specialist splatbooks before anyone else did, and what they have released is pretty good so far. (As in, if you like 4e you should also like the splats.)

    Also, 4e was marketed to 3rd party publishers in possibly the most cack-handed manner I have ever seen. If anything, this actually reduced their confidence in the new product.

    Another difference is that the means of production have changed - small companies can now produce pdf products at a fraction of the price of print ones, so you'll see most of the new stuff popping up online rather than in gaming stores. Of course, this means the new stuff is much less visible unless you actively go searching for it.

    On top of that, a lot of the 3.x third-party stuff was advertised in Dragon and Dungeon magazine. I don't read the new ones (I didn't read the old ones) but is that even possible any more? If not, then that's another cut in the visibility of third-party products.
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    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: 4th edition 3rd party publishers

    I think another issue is the character builder and compendium. Now those that choose to invest a small amount of money can seamlessly add all the current products with errata into the builder and have it available for use, whereas with third party you're back to referencing the book and flipping through pages all the time.

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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: 4th edition 3rd party publishers

    The GSL isn't quite "if you use this, you may never again release products under the OGL". The problem is that you can't publish any given product line under both the OGL and the GSL, and it's up to WotC what constitutes a product line.

    That is pretty horrible - it basically means that WotC gain total control over what you can publish under either license, subject to any anti-BS laws in your jurisdiction.

    potatocubed's comment about Dragon and Dungeon is actually quite significant - both magazines used to take external advertising (even from companies that weren't making products in support of D&D).

    There is also the whole subscription model WotC have now adopted. It's basically the most convenient way to play, but the only way to extend it is to use whatever WotC gives you. Which is nothing. So you're stuck using a whole pile of different sources, and I can see why some people wouldn't see any point.

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    Default Re: 4th edition 3rd party publishers

    Quote Originally Posted by lesser_minion View Post
    The GSL isn't quite "if you use this, you may never again release products under the OGL". The problem is that you can't publish any given product line under both the OGL and the GSL, and it's up to WotC what constitutes a product line.
    It isn't that now, but it was when it was first launched. A lot of publishers took one look at it, went "Guess that means no 4e for me," and had given up by the time it was changed.

    I don't find the GSL to be too bad, but then, I'm too small for WotC to notice. Who knows; maybe when I finally get profitable, I'll get a C&D that informs me I've been doing it wrong this whole time.
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