By the end of this year third party companies need to stop selling products with the old d20 logo on them. For print product this means selling, giving away, or destroying backstock. PDFs though can simply have the logo and legal info taken out and then be put back on sale. The question for Green Ronin then is what brand do we re-release these PDFs under?
We could simply create a new brand like “Classic 3” to indicate that these are former d20 books that work with D&D; 3 or 3.5. The downside of that plan is that we’d be creating the brand from scratch and we’d have to educate people about what “Classic 3” (or whatever we chose) meant.
The other leading option is to re-release these PDFs under Paizo’s Pathfinder brand. Right now Paizo is playtesting the Pathfinder game, which is basically the next iteration of the D&D; 3.5 rules (as opposed to 4E, which goes off in another direction entirely). Paizo will be doing something like our True20 Trademark License, which will allow other companies to release Pathfinder branded material. When Paizo announced Pathfinder a few months ago, it was big news and it is serving as a rallying point for those gamers who want to stick with the 3.5 rules. It would thus make a certain amount of sense to use Pathfinder for our old d20 stuff and Paizo has already done a lot to establish the brand.
The issue for GR is that Pathfinder won’t be taking its final form for some time. There’s a beta out next month but the final game isn’t releasing until August, 2009. Paizo has said that backwards compatibility is a big goal for them, but there are going to be some differences (possibly some big ones) between Pathfinder and D&D; 3.5. It makes total sense for Paizo to evolve the rules, but I wonder at the implications for GR if we use the Pathfinder brand. We are not planning on going back to these books and making major revisions. If we turn the d20 Freeport Companion into the Pathfinder Freeport Companion, for example, the contents of the book would remain the same. We’d just be changing the title and logo. What I wonder is whether gamers would expect our old books to be revised for 100% compatibility with Pathfinder? Or would they understand that while our books are compatible in the way any 3.5 book will be, they weren’t designed originally as Pathfinder products.
It’s an interesting question and we have until the end of the year to figure out the answer. What do you all think?