Well the PFS Core campaign has been out now for a few months. And well... I have been surprised by a few of the things I have heard from the players.
I have to say that the comments I made in my January Rant hold true. There has not been a massive challenge increase, characters have not become more vanilla, it's not open replay, and there has not been a massive influx of new players to the campaign.
What it has done is create a number of GMs who do not want to deal with the BS and the huge number of material in splat books, in essence, making the game simpler and "purer".
So what has changed?
- I noticed, on the lists and group where I lurk and troll that there have been More Games organized. That's a big bonus for the Core Campaign.
- A definite reason for the previous point, is that I noticed New GMs were stepping up and running games. These new GMs do their best, with mixed result. However, as they get more experience, I think most of them will do just fine. Another big plus, this time for the gaming community as a whole, but the core campaign. By limiting the options, a GM can be much more familiar with the basic abilities of their players.
- Replay opportunities have grown. This really has been a boon for old farts like me who are always looking to play. I don't GM PFS anymore, but do a lot of Legacies. I had the chance to play more. That's always good.
- On the somewhat negative side, I noticed a fairly large Split in the GM base. As many GMs prefer to run Core, and avoid the shenanigans and arguments that the Open campaign has. Since the additional splat books are not as well-balanced as the Core book, this makes the game more fun for the GM, who does have the advantage of playing with all kind of toys.
- Similar to the previous, a Split in the Player base has appeared. Many of the more "power-players" definitely shirk away from the core. In smaller markets, this might definitely be a bigger issue.
So where does that leaves us?
After some time, it seems to me that Core was a great move for PFS. There are some issues (it's not perfect), but overall the gains FAR outweigh the issues and problems. I have been enjoying a few Core games myself and they were very enjoyable, reminded me of those early days of PFS when (we thought) factions mattered.
This led me to start thinking about the game itself. Is it time for a Pathfinder RPG trim-down/ redux/ v2? The release of Pathfinder Unchained and the eventual inclusion (or not) of its content into PFS will be a good indication of where the wind is going at Paizo. I have been a vocal proponent of a cleanup of the game (a v1.5 if you will). After going on six years, gathering the content into a "new" core book would not be a bad thing, quite the opposite. Hopefully include some of the good things of 5e and make PFRPG the better game.
But I do not have the ears of the gods. So all I can do is rant about it. And keep playing this game I love. And hope that Paizocon will have announcements of interest.
So everything is still to come!