Annual State of the Pathfinder Society Campaign and the Release of Guide 4.3

Monday, January 7, 2013

Wow, it's 2013 already! The past year has been a good one for Pathfinder Society Orgainzed Play in many regards. With all the changes that have taken place, as well as the goals set for the future, I thought it was important to give a report of how last year has played out.

First, and most importantly, I want to thank all of the Venture-Captains and Venture-Lieutenants, regional and convention coordinators, GMs, and people I use as sounding boards (you know who you are). Without all of you, I would not be able to achieve everything listed below and make Pathfinder Society as great as it is. I also want to thank all of our players and fans. Without you, I wouldn't have an awesome job to come to each morning. So, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your efforts and support.

The Pathfinder Society campaign has already seen numerous positive improvements and changes. Here is a short list of things we've accomplished together in 2012:

We've addressed our leadership, our organization, our ground game, and our rules. And we couldn't have done any of it without all of you.

All that is great, but it's not enough. We're not done yet (which means that we all have more work to do). I'm excited about the future of the Society. In particular, the following items on my now-less-than-secret to-do list excite me:

  • Continuing to go to as many conventions as I can get to. My upcoming 2013 schedule includes:

    Winter Fantasy in Fort Wayne, IN
    OwlCon in Houston, TX
    MegaCon in Orlando, FL
    GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV
    A visit to Melbourne and Sydney, Australia from March 23—April 2.
    ACD Distribution show in Madison, WI
    A tour of five cities and U.S. military bases in Germany from May 6—18
    Origins in Columbus, OH
    PaizoCon in Seattle, WA
    PaizoCon UK in Birmingham, UK
    RopeCon in Espoo, Finland
    Gen Con in Indianapolis
    PAX Prime in Seattle, WA
    Alliance Distribution show in Ft. Wayne, IN
    JimCon in Winnipeg, Canada.

    My goal is to meet as many Pathfinder Society players, GMs, and coordinators as I can face to face. I encourage you to introduce yourself to me at those conventions.
  • The plotline for Season 5 has been worked out. We will start working toward Season 6 shortly.
  • We are looking at ways to make faction missions have a meaningful impact on the campaign.
  • Improve the Retailer Support program, including upgrades to the website interface to make it more user friendly for both retailers and customers.
  • Improve the GM Rewards program.
  • Expanding the Venture-Captain program to additional areas in North America, as well as increasing the number of Venture-Captains internationally.
  • Working with IT to integrate a more user-friendly website for event coordinators.
  • Continuing to highlight international Pathfinder Society play through monthly blog posts.

The last year has been a great learning experience for me as Pathfinder Society continually evolves and improves. There have been some bumps in the road, but nothing that has proven insurmountable. I already knew that the Pathfinder Society community is smart, diverse, and very passionate. It is amazing how much energy and enthusiasm you all have for the game and it is very inspiring. Likewise, the people here at Paizo are some of the most creative and different-thinking people I've ever met. It's as amazing as you'd think it was.

I will finish with letting everyone know that I will continue to do the best job I possibly can to help Pathfinder Society grow and improve. Sometimes I will make mistakes. But, if I do make a mistake, I will own up to it. As always, I am available for all of you to reach out to me with concerns, criticisms, thoughts, suggestions, venting, and ideas via email, private message, Skype, phone call, carrier pigeon, written letter, message spell, pony express, contact other plane spell, or sending spell.

Mike Brock
Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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Liberty's Edge *****

And making this a legal document, where every sentence needs to either include, be preceded or followed by a clause or statement that it is either clarifying or in context with preceding or subsequent sentences is not a good idea. That would just bog down the FAQ into a document 10 times as long, and would be ridiculous.

If you read every sentence in the FAQ as true, then there is no contradiction to anything else in the FAQ, they are all just instructions on how to do what you want to do. You can't take one sentence out of a paragraph, read it out of context, and take it to mean what needs to be done.

You have to read the entire paragraph, in context with the entire paragraph, and it is clear.

Liberty's Edge *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Wraithcannon wrote:
You see Steg, you see? This is why I didn't reply, I didn't want the thread hijacked.

But making a statement about how something is poorly worded, without explaining how its poorly worded, does nothing to help us word it less poorly.

Its just complaining, rather than helping in being the solution.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Perhaps I can help, Andy. The issue is this part:

Andrew Christian wrote:
FAQ wrote:
An NPC isn't just going to give you access to his spells for free, and purchasing a scroll of that spell represents the cost of gaining access to his spellbook.
How is this unclear? This is just giving justification language to why, when a scroll (or other PC) is not found during a scenario, you have to actually purchase it to copy a spell into your spellbook.

This directly contradicts the Core Rulebook:

CRB: Magic: Arcane Magical Writings: Adding Spells to a Wizard's Spellbook: Spells Copied from Another's Spellbook or a Scroll: third paragraph wrote:
In most cases, wizards charge a fee for the privilege of copying spells from their spellbooks. This fee is usually equal to half the cost to write the spell into a spellbook (see Writing a New Spell into a Spellbook).

The Core Rules say you pay half the scribing cost to get access to a spell so you can scribe it. The FAQ instead says it costs the price of a scroll.

Wraithcannon's issue with it is that, for such a huge departure from Core Rules, it should either be in the Guide or in its own FAQ entry, instead of tacked onto the bottom of a FAQ on a tangentially-related subject.

Another bothersome aspect of it is that the way it's phrased seems to imply that the author of that FAQ didn't even realize they were contradicting Core Rules when they wrote it - it feels like an accident rather than a campaign decision.

Liberty's Edge *****

Jiggy wrote:

Perhaps I can help, Andy. The issue is this part:

Andrew Christian wrote:
FAQ wrote:
An NPC isn't just going to give you access to his spells for free, and purchasing a scroll of that spell represents the cost of gaining access to his spellbook.
How is this unclear? This is just giving justification language to why, when a scroll (or other PC) is not found during a scenario, you have to actually purchase it to copy a spell into your spellbook.

This directly contradicts the Core Rulebook:

CRB: Magic: Arcane Magical Writings: Adding Spells to a Wizard's Spellbook: Spells Copied from Another's Spellbook or a Scroll: third paragraph wrote:
In most cases, wizards charge a fee for the privilege of copying spells from their spellbooks. This fee is usually equal to half the cost to write the spell into a spellbook (see Writing a New Spell into a Spellbook).

The Core Rules say you pay half the scribing cost to get access to a spell so you can scribe it. The FAQ instead says it costs the price of a scroll.

Wraithcannon's issue with it is that, for such a huge departure from Core Rules, it should either be in the Guide or in its own FAQ entry, instead of tacked onto the bottom of a FAQ on a tangentially-related subject.

Another bothersome aspect of it is that the way it's phrased seems to imply that the author of that FAQ didn't even realize they were contradicting Core Rules when they wrote it - it feels like an accident rather than a campaign decision.

Ok, I see the point there.

But it isn't unclear. It is quite explicit the process required.

Just because you don't like what is being written, doesn't mean its poorly worded.

Grand Lodge *****

Jiggy, the place you are copying from, and the quote you list are specifically talking about the amount you would need to pay when copying the spell from another wizard's book. Whhile it is under the same heading of 'Adding Spells to a Wizard's Spellbook', it seems pretty clear to me that the only part it is talking about for the scroll is the part about needing to take the time and to make the check to be able to understand what the scroll says.

The copying cost for a scroll is under the next section, "Writing a New Spell into a Spellbook".

Just my 2cp.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Andrew Christian wrote:

Ok, I see the point there.

But it isn't unclear. It is quite explicit the process required.

Just because you don't like what is being written, doesn't mean its poorly worded.

"You have to pay X" isn't what he's saying is unclear.

What's unclear is that the FAQ says "We're making one change", goes on to describe that one change, and then mentions in passing a second change.

Something that claims to describe one change and then describes two instead? Not exactly clear.

So was that second change supposed to be there or not?

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Seth Gipson wrote:

Jiggy, the place you are copying from, and the quote you list are specifically talking about the amount you would need to pay when copying the spell from another wizard's book. Whhile it is under the same heading of 'Adding Spells to a Wizard's Spellbook', it seems pretty clear to me that the only part it is talking about for the scroll is the part about needing to take the time and to make the check to be able to understand what the scroll says.

The copying cost for a scroll is under the next section, "Writing a New Spell into a Spellbook".

Just my 2cp.

Not sure I follow you, Seth. Lots of references to what I quoted, but I quoted more than one thing. Lots of "it" is talking about XYZ, when there are multiple "it"s being referenced.

A little more explicitness and fewer pronouns, and perhaps I can reply. ;)

Liberty's Edge *****

Jiggy wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:

Ok, I see the point there.

But it isn't unclear. It is quite explicit the process required.

Just because you don't like what is being written, doesn't mean its poorly worded.

"You have to pay X" isn't what he's saying is unclear.

What's unclear is that the FAQ says "We're making one change", goes on to describe that one change, and then mentions in passing a second change.

Something that claims to describe one change and then describes two instead? Not exactly clear.

So was that second change supposed to be there or not?

My opinion is this:

It doesn’t really matter if it says one but two actually happens. It doesn’t matter if the current language is a mistake and the author did not understand the current Core Rule Book correctly or if it was purposefully made a 2nd change.

Until it is directly addressed, and either left the same or changed after such addressing, the rule is what it is.

The process and costs are very clear in all circumstances.

To ignore the 2nd change, because the first sentence says one is purposefully not following a campaign rule.

Grand Lodge *****

Sorry about that. This is what I was referring to.

Jiggy wrote:

This directly contradicts the Core Rulebook:

CRB: Magic: Arcane Magical Writings: Adding Spells to a Wizard's Spellbook: Spells Copied from Another's Spellbook or a Scroll: third paragraph wrote:
In most cases, wizards charge a fee for the privilege of copying spells from their spellbooks. This fee is usually equal to half the cost to write the spell into a spellbook (see Writing a New Spell into a Spellbook).

The Core Rules say you pay half the scribing cost to get access to a spell so you can scribe it. The FAQ instead says it costs the price of a scroll.

The quote you are listing above about the cost is in reference, I am fairly certain, ONLY to when copying a spell from another wizard's book.

The reason it lists '...or a Scroll' in the heading is because the section also covers the information about needing to take the time and make the check to identify. The quote you list is separate from that paragraph because it is no longer applying to scrolls.

The amount you need to pay to copy a scroll is listed on the chart in the next section down "Writing a new Spell into a Spellbook".

That clear it up?

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Andrew Christian wrote:

To ignore the 2nd change, because the first sentence says one is purposefully not following a campaign rule.

No one's suggesting ignoring it. Just requesting the 2nd change be moved to a more visible location.

Someone reading that FAQ could very easily get the general idea of what 95% of its word count is devoted to explaining, and miss the one sentence at the bottom of a wall of text that deals with a different subject.

All Wraithcannon was asking is (as I understand him) for that sentence to be moved to the Guide or perhaps to its own FAQ entry, where it's more easily visible.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Seth Gipson wrote:

Sorry about that. This is what I was referring to.

Jiggy wrote:

This directly contradicts the Core Rulebook:

CRB: Magic: Arcane Magical Writings: Adding Spells to a Wizard's Spellbook: Spells Copied from Another's Spellbook or a Scroll: third paragraph wrote:
In most cases, wizards charge a fee for the privilege of copying spells from their spellbooks. This fee is usually equal to half the cost to write the spell into a spellbook (see Writing a New Spell into a Spellbook).

The Core Rules say you pay half the scribing cost to get access to a spell so you can scribe it. The FAQ instead says it costs the price of a scroll.

The quote you are listing above about the cost is in reference, I am fairly certain, ONLY to when copying a spell from another wizard's book.

The reason it lists '...or a Scroll' in the heading is because the section also covers the information about needing to take the time and make the check to identify. The quote you list is separate from that paragraph because it is no longer applying to scrolls.

The amount you need to pay to copy a scroll is listed on the chart in the next section down "Writing a new Spell into a Spellbook".

That clear it up?

Sounds then like you didn't follow what *I* was originally saying. Yes, the rule I quoted from the CRB was talking about copying from another spellbook. It then gives a price for doing so, representing a fee charged by the other spellbook's owner.

The PFS FAQ makes reference to that same fee, but gives a different price.

And it does so at the bottom of a long, wall-of-text FAQ entry on a different subject. :/

**

Uh huh, ten posts later and we're still hijacking the thread. Thanks Andy

Liberty's Edge *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Wraithcannon wrote:
Uh huh, ten posts later and we're still hijacking the thread. Thanks Andy

You brought it up Brian. I'm just trying to get clarification as to why you feel its unclear.

So that we can address it correctly should Mike choose to address it.

If you didn't want to hijack the thread, you should have started another thread instead of just throwing out a snarky comment.

**

Mike already said he was going to address it, so it's really not necessary for you to understand anything until he clarifies it. This issue has been argued over in other threads, so there's really no need to clog up this one with any of the controversy there.

All I wanted to do was bring it up to Mike that this is still a point of contention with people who play wizards, and he said he would post something on it.

That should have been the end of it. If you had wanted clarification, you've got my email. I would have happily pointed you back to the threads that we have already hashed it over in. Now we have another 15 posts on an issue THAT HE ALREADY SAID HE WOULD ADDRESS.

*

Andrew Christian wrote:
If you are going to "quote" me, please link to the post where I said what I said, so that I can see the context surrounding what I said, and why I said it.

You said that here: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2oi1k?Wizard-Spellbooks#35

Liberty's Edge *****

Would the following language be sufficient to clarify things for the FAQ up to a point that it can be added to Guide 5.0 should Mike choose to add this to the Guide?

Quote:

How can wizards, witches, magi, and alchemists learn new spells or formulae?

Pages 219–220 in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook discuss how to handle a wizard’s spellbook, but Pathfinder Society makes one adjustment to these rules: a wizard does not have to purchase a scroll found during the course of a scenario in order to copy that scroll into her spellbook
There are 3 ways a spell may be obtained to copy into a spellbook (read the text following the lsit for the procedure required to actually copy the spell):
  • find a scroll or spellbook during the course of a scenario,
  • coordinate with another player character that has a spellbook to directly copy spells from their spellbook,
  • or if in a city with a population of 5,000 or more, you may purchase the right to access an NPC spellcaster’s spellbook for ½ the cost of copying a spell into your spellbook, per pages 219-220 in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook.

{NOTE: If Mike chooses not to make the change back to the Core Rulebook, then replace the 3rd option to: “or you may purchase a scroll, which represents obtaining access to an NPC spellcaster’s spellbook” and replace the words “one adjustment” in the first sentence with “two adjustments”}
A wizard only needs to spend the time, succeed on the appropriate checks, and spend the amount of gold listed on the table on page 219 of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. Keep in mind that the process of copying a spell from a magic scroll into a wizard’s spellbook removes the spell from the copied scroll, turning it into a blank piece of normal parchment. The normal rules for finding items during the course of a scenario are that they can be used during the scenario but must be purchased after the scenario in order to be kept. This clarification for wizards and their spellbooks is the singular exception to the gear rules. An alchemist can likewise copy spells from scrolls found during a scenario into his formula book as detailed on page 28 of the Advanced Player's Guide. Similarly, a witch PC's familiar can learn spells from another witch's familiar or from scrolls found during the course of a scenario, as detailed on page 68 of the Advanced Player's Guide. Magi follow the same rules in copying spells to their spellbooks as wizards in all ways save that they use the magus spell list to determine if they may learn a spell, instead of the sorcerer/wizard spell list. If a wizard, witch, magus, or alchemist PC is adventuring with another PC who could teach them a spell, those PCs may exchange spells on their own terms as long as they make the proper skill checks and their trading of arcane secrets does not interfere with the flow of the game, at the GM's discretion. Any spell or formula learned must be accounted for on a scenario's Chronicle sheet in the "Conditions Gained" section.

Liberty's Edge *****

Steg wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
If you are going to "quote" me, please link to the post where I said what I said, so that I can see the context surrounding what I said, and why I said it.

You said that here: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2oi1k?Wizard-Spellbooks#35

Not seeing where in the thread I said that I thought it was poorly worded.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

@Andy: I'd suggest taking out the very first sentence ("Pages 219–220 in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook discuss how to handle a wizard’s spellbook, but Pathfinder Society makes one adjustment to these rules: a wizard does not have to purchase a scroll found during the course of a scenario in order to copy that scroll into her spellbook") and otherwise leave it as you propose.

Not only would this remove an offending line and require less to be changed if Mike sticks with the pricing alteration, but it also reads better: Having the question be "How...?" and the answer start with "There are 3 ways..." is pretty clean and nice. :)

Oh, also you misspelled "list" in the parenthetical aside before the list starts. :D

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Andrew Christian wrote:
Steg wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
If you are going to "quote" me, please link to the post where I said what I said, so that I can see the context surrounding what I said, and why I said it.

You said that here: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2oi1k?Wizard-Spellbooks#35

Not seeing where in the thread I said that I thought it was poorly worded.

The post he linked is yours, and your very first sentence in said post starts with "Steg, I agree that the FAQ is written poorly".

Did your browser botch the link or something? Or do you just need coffee? ;)


Could I suggest reorganizing to move the following either toward the beginning or into another paragraph? As it is the PFS rules are buried in the "you should know this already".

Quote:
If a wizard, witch, magus, or alchemist PC is adventuring with another PC who could teach them a spell, those PCs may exchange spells on their own terms as long as they make the proper skill checks and their trading of arcane secrets does not interfere with the flow of the game, at the GM's discretion.
Quote:
Any spell or formula learned must be accounted for on a scenario's Chronicle sheet in the "Conditions Gained" section.

Liberty's Edge *****

Jiggy wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Steg wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
If you are going to "quote" me, please link to the post where I said what I said, so that I can see the context surrounding what I said, and why I said it.

You said that here: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2oi1k?Wizard-Spellbooks#35

Not seeing where in the thread I said that I thought it was poorly worded.

The post he linked is yours, and your very first sentence in said post starts with "Steg, I agree that the FAQ is written poorly".

Did your browser botch the link or something? Or do you just need coffee? ;)

I dunno, maybe... chuckle...

Grand Lodge ***** Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

Ok folks. I've removed a few posts that is turning this topic from snarky to flammable. Keep it civil. I REALLY don't want to lock this thread.

Grand Lodge ***** Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

Michael Brock wrote:
Wraithcannon wrote:
Great, the guide still doesn't address how arcane casters with spell books pay for writing new spells into their books.
I will get it added to the FAQ when I have some time.

FAQ Updated.

Shadow Lodge ****

I'm curious, is the Errata already updated in the new PFS Guide?

*****

Michael Brock wrote:
Ok folks. I've removed a few posts that is turning this topic from snarky to flammable. Keep it civil. I REALLY don't want to lock this thread.

sometimes I wonder if Mike ever thinks back to the nights when he walked the mean streets of Atlanta and ponders the good old days ... where drug dealers were the worst he had to deal with

Shadow Lodge **** Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West aka JohnF

Michael Brock wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Wraithcannon wrote:
Great, the guide still doesn't address how arcane casters with spell books pay for writing new spells into their books.
I will get it added to the FAQ when I have some time.
FAQ Updated.

Thanks, Mike.

Unfortunately this still doesn't resolve the issue that has caused me the most problems - copying scrolls from a defeated enemy's spellbook. I've known a GM refuse to allow this because the FAQ only says you can copy spells from scrolls found in a scenario - no mention is made of copying from found/captured spellbooks, although the spellbook is listed in the statblock.

P.S. The FAQ still says it was last updated in November 2012.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

JohnF wrote:
Unfortunately this still doesn't resolve the issue that has caused me the most problems - copying scrolls from a defeated enemy's spellbook.
FAQ wrote:
All other methods of gaining new spells ... function as described in the Core Rulebook and relevant class descriptions.

The FAQ says that every method of gaining spells that's not explicitly discussed in the FAQ functions as described in the CRB. The CRB describes the ability to copy spells from other spellbooks.

There shouldn't still be an issue.

Grand Lodge ***** Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

1 person marked this as a favorite.

What Jiggy advised above. If you conquer a wizard in an adventure, and acquire his spellbook, then you may scribe the spells from it as outlined in the CRB. Note that the spellbook must be listed in his equipment to scribe spells from it.

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