Ok, so a project that was supposed to be due sometime in mid-November is now due by November 1st, which means blogging will be spotty until next month. Even my regular gaming has been thrown off schedule. This is what I get for boasting about how we play nearly every week. For those of you to whom I owe writing, yeah, might be a little late because of this. Basically, work is sucking all the oxygen out of the room.
Paizo's decided they wanted to get in on the box action, and they're launching their beginner box this month. It includes a 64 page player's book (nice traditional page-count there) that will get you all the way through 5th level. The pre-gen character sheets are done up to explain how to use the stuff on the sheet to minimize running back to the book. There's also a DM's book that's twice as long that includes an intro adventure that introduces different aspects one-per-room (the first room involves a skill check, the next room has a combat, etc.). It also includes 100+ monsters with a much more strealined statblock (still not old-school simple, but surprisingly sleek for 3.x game) and advice on building your own adventures. Plus other goodies:
Frankly, the neatest parts to me are the character sheets for the pre-gens that give you the basics right on the sheet. For a game as complex as 3.x, that seems pretty vital to me. I'm also intrigued by the implication made towards solo play out of the box (though no details, so possibly I misunderstood that part).
The box comes out in late October and retails for $35. That's probably still in the impulse-buy range for people with jobs and comfortably below the price of a new computer or console game. The challenge for Paizo will be getting it in front of potential new players; their strength has always been in catering to the existing 3.x community, and I doubt they're going to have penetration into WalMart or Target.