Earlier this week, after a long two years of silence and limbo, Wizards published their 5e OGL, and now all the little publishers, like myself, are excited about the opportunity to publish material under this license.
The question I have is "should I stay loyal to Pathfinder, or hop on this new boat?" Which has a lot of ramifications...
First off, what is the state of Pathfinder? I haven't heard anything from Paizo that makes me believe they will refresh and clean up their game, so Pathfinder will stay around for another year as we get Bestiary 6 and the Books of Tactics II. I've stated publicly multiple times, and support Jervis Johnson (of Games Workshop fame) when he said that an average game has a life span of five years before it needs a new edition. Pathfinder has been around now since 2009, six and a half years (so far, more like 7 or 8 by the time a new edition rolls around).
I am anxiously waiting for PaizoCon to see what they will announce. A revamp/ reboot/ clean-up of the book is well needed and would be welcomed by the community in general, not to say increase sales through the new book.
Let's ask ourselves what is the state of 5e? I'll be honest, 5e may not be setting things on fire, but it is the new hat on Malibu Stacy. Its play numbers are growing, more and more people are looking into it as an alternative to Pathfinder. More than one organizer reported the growth of its play numbers and the decline of Pathfinder play at their events. So players are migrating to something new, looking for a change.
Who is my target audience? It would be too simple to say "every gamer", and while that is my goal, it is unreasonable. I know there a lot of people who have no interest in my products, whether because of the platform, they like what they have or they hate me (yes, yes, I know there are a few out there...). My target player used to be "a PFS player wanting a change of pace", increasing their play options for a game they loved. However, that player, as a whole is now either playing 5e/Adventurer's League (AL), playing other games or playing PFS full-time (and only PFS).
I don't have a good answer right now. I still believe that those who play both PFS and Legacies enjoy playing Pathfinder more, because they do it in a different way and get more mileage out of the game they love.
Is there a way to have my cake and eat it too? Isn't this the ultimate joy? Be able to write and create material for both 5e and Pathfinder? My answer for it is pretty clear and simple: NO. I do not have the time nor the energy to be able to produce material for both consistently. The Legacies definitely cannot run in both systems, because of the time required to write, design and correct. Creating two play-test groups would be more hassle than I really want to do. With the Player's Guide for Tyrants of Saggakar out, I would be open to publishing a 5e version of it.
So the question becomes, How about having one campaign in Pathfinder and another one using 5e? which has a similar answer. However, they idea has a lot of potential. One campaign could focus on Faremh and the other could be on a very different local (such as hajit-dominated Seher, or the Kynean-dominated Nyen'To) with occasional winks and crossovers. Had NeoExodus Legacies still been around, this is something that we could have attempted and pulled off.
Is there really a desire in the community for third party 5e products? I'm pretty sure there is. With so few 5e products out right now, third party publishers will fill the gap and establish 5e as the new baseline, a crown Paizo had. WotC get some free marketing and a bunch of additional fans and de-facto partners to promote their game and the core game.
What do I want to do? Perhaps the biggest question of them all. I don't have a good answer for this one.
To help me decide, I ran a poll on the Legacies Facebook group. But there too, the community is torn, with great passion to one side or the other.
So I have yet to make a decision, meaning that everything stays as is for now. I will publish products for 5e in the future.
I'll admit I am not sad with that decision.