Ratfolk and Catfolk and Race Boons Oh My

Monday, June 3, 2013

Of all the feedback I receive about Pathfinder Society Organized Play, whether it be in person when I am visiting different regions, through emails, or on the messageboards, what I hear most is that non-convention-goers have little to no chance to obtain some of the convention-only boons that are offered at regional shows. The most popular of these boons are the racial boons, which open up the player's options to choose a unique race. I have thought long and hard on how we can even out things for those players who are not able to attend a convention for whatever reason.

First, let me clarify that we will always have special boons that can only be obtained at conventions. These will consist of a multitude of various options, from extending the range of the Day Job earnings chart to unique races. Our regional and national conventions and larger game days are where we garner the biggest PR for our game. But that doesn't mean I don't want to offer the chance of getting cool boons, especially racial boons, to members of our player base who don't attend conventions.

At these regional conventions, players only receive approximately a 10% chance to receive any boon that is provided at the convention. I don't think it is unreasonable to offer a similar chance to non-convention players.

One tool that has finally been opened to me is I am able to filter play of individual scenarios, and to see every reported table and every Pathfinder Society number that was at that table. I am also able to filter dates so I can see exactly how many tables of a specific scenario were reported over a specified time. Playing around with this new tool got me to thinking about how I could utilize it for the benefit of the entire Pathfinder Society player base.

My initial thought is that when a scenario presents something unique, such as helping a race like ratfolk, catfolk, or dhampirs (and no, I am not advising one way or another whether either of these races will make an appearance in Season 5), it might be possible to offer these races (or whatever races were aided in a specified scenario) via a lottery type of system. While I certainly don't want to flood the OP with a zoo of races (such as making them available on a Chronicle sheet for everyone who plays the specified scenario), I don't think it is a bad thing to occassionally give a limited pool of players the chance to play a new race, similar to the Grippli boon at Gen Con this year, as long as we control the flow of how many become available. With that said, my thinking is that after the first month or two of a specified scenario, I would randomly select from all tables that reported success in the specified scenario. All the players and GMs of the randomly selected tables would then have the unique Chronicle sheet sent directly to them.

Maybe this is or isn't the best way to offer unique boons to the entire playerbase, especially those who can't or won't attend conventions. However, it is the start of a working idea I am still toying with that would offer an equal chance to everyone who plays the specified scenario in a specified time limit. If you think this is a horrible idea, please offer a solution for how we can make it better. I would very much like to hear your feedback on what you think of the above system, or hear your thoughts on any other suggestions you might have for how to best utilize this new tool I have been given. As always, your feedback and comments help to strengthen the community at large, and without your feedback and participation, Pathfinder Society wouldn't be as awesome as it is today. I look forward to reading all of your comments.

Mike Brock
Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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Shadow Lodge ****

Jeff Merola wrote:
That's not a reward for GMing more, that's a punishment for people who don't.

Trust me, I get it. I wish I could still play Andoran or Sczarni faction in a few months, but that option is going away.

If you pop the spoiler I have up above on this system, I'd think if we had Mike's access to the player data, we'd find out that the bulk of the highly engaged players, would really lose no options - because their table played+GM'd count would get them immediately back to where they are today.

There's another set of players, who have played between 10-30 sessions. I don't imagine these folks have *that* many active characters (certainly there are many players who do level 1-2 over and over again). They would still have access to one of the "pulled" races of their choice by the time their first character is level 4. When you have only 10 sessions under your belt, how pressing is the need to have 3 races all unlocked? I know there's people out there who currently for their first 15-20 games today have the option to create a level 3 aasimar, level 3 tiefling and level 3 tengu - but I imagine that's a significant minority.

I'm not a fan of pulling options, but in the case I was exploring, I was trying to engineer it such that the folks who had the limited options are the ones who really didn't need all those options.

The goal was to take someone who has been playing PFS for a few months and say has 8 sessions of player credit. Now they are very interested in making a tiefling. They can then decide, "hey you know I will GM that Confirmation game this month so I can make my tiefling afterwards by getting 2 credits towards a race unlock instead of 1, to hit my magic number sooner."

The fact I reference races that were made available being put into this pool is because I perceive it's more of a reality that these can be made carrots than Mike deciding to throw a bunch of currently more exclusive races into play as the carrot.

Personally, I'm most interested in carrots for the folks who just started playing in 2014 to lure them towards the GM club. Next, I'm interested in the folks who have 50-100 tables under their belt being lured towards 100-200 tables (of combined player + GM sessions) where they see some slight benefit to mixing their player sessions with GM sessions.

Silver Crusade ***

Michael Brock wrote:
So, from reading comments thus far, I assume no one really cares for the current GM boon we've provided for all 5 GM stars and we should consider something else? Is that an accurate assessment? It was specifically created for GMs who run consistently, earn stars, but can't get to a convention.

That is more then correct. The boon is worthless I have yet to see any GM use it at all.

Grand Lodge ****

wakedown wrote:
Trust me, I get it. I wish I could still play Andoran or Sczarni faction in a few months, but that option is going away.

Going away and staying away is different than going away except as a "reward."

wakedown wrote:
If you pop the spoiler I have up above on this system, I'd think if we had Mike's access to the player data, we'd find out that the bulk of the highly engaged players, would really lose no options - because their table played+GM'd count would get them immediately back to where they are today.

So if there's no change for the already engaged players, and a net negative for those that aren't, what is the benefit of the system? We should be trying to get the unengaged players more engaged, and I don't see taking away toys because they previously weren't as engaged as they could be doing anything but further disengaging them.

wakedown wrote:

There's another set of players, who have played between 10-30 sessions. I don't imagine these folks have *that* many active characters (certainly there are many players who do level 1-2 over and over again). They would still have access to one of the "pulled" races of their choice by the time their first character is level 4. When you have only 10 sessions under your belt, how pressing is the need to have 3 races all unlocked? I know there's people out there who currently for their first 15-20 games today have the option to create a level 3 aasimar, level 3 tiefling and level 3 tengu - but I imagine that's a significant minority.

I'm not a fan of pulling options, but in the case I was exploring, I was trying to engineer it such that the folks who had the limited options are the ones who really didn't need all those options.

My first ever PFS character was a Tengu. If your system had been in place at the time and I found out that if I'd started playing a couple of months earlier I could've made one but now I couldn't unless I put in time in a campaign I wasn't even sure I was going to like, I probably wouldn't be here now.

wakedown wrote:
The goal was to take someone who has been playing PFS for a few months and say has 8 sessions of player credit. Now they are very interested in making a tiefling. They can then decide, "hey you know I will GM that Confirmation game this month so I can make my tiefling afterwards by getting 2 credits towards a race unlock instead of 1, to hit my magic number sooner."

See, here's a problem. We're not talking about rewarding players. Their reward is they get to play. We're talking about systems that reward the people who put in the time and effort to GM. That's different.

Shadow Lodge ****

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Jeff Merola wrote:
My first ever PFS character was a Tengu... I couldn't unless I put in time in a campaign I wasn't even sure I was going to like, I probably wouldn't be here now

You're saying the only reason you're playing PFS (and have 4 stars, congrats) is because your first character could be a tengu? The system I proposed would've meant you'd needed to have played 10 games as a core race before you could've played a tengu.

If this theory is correct, does that mean that PFS is losing out on players all the time because the prospective participant can't make a dhampir for their very first PC? Or they can't make a ratfolk or catfolk for their very first PC?

I'm not sure this is enough cause for PFS to open up every single race to be played by any player in their very first game ever. While I wouldn't complain about this (any person for their XXX-1 can create a PC of any race), I don't see them allowing it. But just maybe a -1 is allowed to be anything from a longer list than other IDs.

Jeff Merola wrote:
See, here's a problem. We're not talking about rewarding players. Their reward is they get to play. We're talking about systems that reward the people who put in the time and effort to GM. That's different.

I can spoiler it again, but the idea was that GMing a table advances an individual along a progression track faster than playing a table. By participating, everyone gets the feeling of progress. By GMing, you get to advance that quicker for the hours you are putting it, and thus is a pretty good reward (in my opinion). If I knew I had the option to play a catfolk once I logged 150 "table points" into the system, I'd certainly try to get there quicker by GMing rather than playing 150 tables (by say GMing 5 specials for 20pts, GMing 40 store tables for 80pts, and playing 50 for 50pts).

Race Table Reward System Proposal v2.0:

Go through your chronicles and tally them all up. A chronicle as a player counts as 1 point, a chronicle as a GM counts as 2 points. Certain chronicles may count as more (GMing a special counts as 4 points). Modules are worth 2X a scenario.

Based on your points, you achieve certain levels where you can unlock playable races. At each level pick a playable race. You can now create PCs of that race whenever you create a new character.

Level 1 (10pts): Pick one of tengu, aasimar, or tiefling.
Level 2 (30pts): Pick one of the above races, or kitsune.
Level 3 (60pts): Pick one of the above races, or one of nagagi or wayang.
Level 4 (100pts): Pick one of the above races, or one of ifrit, undine, sylph or oread.
Level 5 (150pts): Pick one of the above races, or one of dhampir, orc, ratfolk or suli.

Note #1: Any PC created and having received a chronicle prior to XX/YY/ZZZZ of one of the above races still remains legal.

Note #2: Any new player, as part of creating their first PC (their XXXX-1 character) could select to play a tengu, aasimar or tiefling. They would need to wait until 10pts in order to create additional characters of that race.

Addendum: Certain scenarios (say Rats of Round Mountain), once completed, could allow the race to be unlocked earlier. For example, for someone who has Rats of Round Mountain Parts 1 and 2, the second chronicle could indicate the ratfolk race is now available as a selection when someone achieves Level 3.

Further note: I don't think this cheapens existing boons that allow these races, since if you have an ifrit boon this means you still value that boon and would use your level 4 unlock for undine, sylph or oread.

Silver Crusade ****

calagnar wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So, from reading comments thus far, I assume no one really cares for the current GM boon we've provided for all 5 GM stars and we should consider something else? Is that an accurate assessment? It was specifically created for GMs who run consistently, earn stars, but can't get to a convention.
That is more then correct. The boon is worthless I have yet to see any GM use it at all.

I was away from PFS for a few months, and I don't even know what boon you're talking about. Is this something I should already have as a 2 star GM (nearly 3)?

***

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Michael Brock wrote:
So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we usd to incentive con GMs? I have clear numbers that show when a new, desired race is offered as a con boon, tier 1 GMs for Gen Con go up from 90 to 163 tier 1 GMs. If those same people can get that same boon at home. What incentive do we provide so they volunteer for 8 slots instead of 7? If it isn't good enough, then those people remain tier 2 to get a hotel room and badge and I'm left with an additional 163 tables to fill.

Pick a race specifically as a GM reward and make it evergreen. Set a realistic but challenging bar (3 stars?) and tie it to the GM's PFS number. Save the "über cool" racial boons (like Goblins) for major convention level play in order to continue providing incentives to those GMs who go above and beyond.

However in this day of sanctioned online play anyone can earn a racial boon by running at least one game at one of the regularly scheduled PbP or VoIP "virtual cons." My only two racial boons were earned in this way; as one whose days of attending any sort of convention are long gone I was thankful for the opportunity to earn them.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Chester aka Paz

Fromper wrote:
I was away from PFS for a few months, and I don't even know what boon you're talking about. Is this something I should already have as a 2 star GM (nearly 3)?

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Silver Crusade ****

wakedown wrote:

If this theory is correct, does that mean that PFS is losing out on players all the time because the prospective participant can't make a dhampir for their very first PC? Or they can't make a ratfolk or catfolk for their very first PC?

I once had a first time PFS player show up to my table at a convention with a kitsune PC (not entirely built, actually - he was still creating the character as we were starting). He got upset that he wasn't allowed to play it, and left without playing. I don't know if he ever tried PFS again.

That said, I'm ok with the campaign leadership not opening up every race to everyone, and saving some of them for boons to make them special. It doesn't surprise me that these things happen occasionally, but we can't cater to everyone all the time.

I don't really understand why tengu were added to the list of always available races - they didn't strike me as that popular. Kitsune, on the other hand, seem to be just about the most popular non-core race, and the one that lots of people still ask about, even when there are plenty of boons floating around for them these days.

But taking away an existing option is always going to piss somebody off. In the case of tieflings and aasimar, it's even worse, because some players bought entire books (Blood of Fiends and/or Blood of Angels) just to have more options while playing those races in PFS. If you're going to take away an existing option, you'd better have a damn good reason.

Shadow Lodge ****

Fromper wrote:
I once had a first time PFS player show up to my table at a convention with a kitsune PC... He got upset that he wasn't allowed to play it, and left without playing. I don't know if he ever tried PFS again.

I updated my most recent post above this one with a v2.0 of the proposal that makes an exemption for players on their XXXXX-1 character (based on Jeff's feedback).

I also have seen someone come to a store with a kitsune for their first PC, so I agree it's probably the most popular unavailable choice today. Not every new store has convention GMs with extra boons to gamble on a newcomer to satisfy this demand.

Feedback on the v2.0 spoiler is appreciated. I know limiting something already available is a rough sell, but it's something that feels like a possible compromise to put new toys at the tail end for every single participant in organized play (versus just convention GMs) and combine that with an incentive to GM to ascend the list quicker (even more quickly for convention GMs).

Please note that in the case of someone who bought a tiefling book, they are happily playing a tiefling as their XXXXX-1 on their first day of organized play or as soon as they've reached level 4 on their XXXXX-1 for their next character, so it's not a very long wait.

Race Table Reward System Proposal v2.0:

Go through your chronicles and tally them all up. A chronicle as a player counts as 1 point, a chronicle as a GM counts as 2 points. Certain chronicles may count as more (GMing a special counts as 4 points). Modules are worth 2X a scenario.

Based on your points, you achieve certain levels where you can unlock playable races. At each level pick a playable race. You can now create PCs of that race whenever you create a new character.

Level 1 (10pts): Pick one of tengu, aasimar, or tiefling.
Level 2 (30pts): Pick one of the above races, or kitsune.
Level 3 (60pts): Pick one of the above races, or one of nagaji or wayang.
Level 4 (100pts): Pick one of the above races, or one of ifrit, undine, sylph or oread.
Level 5 (150pts): Pick one of the above races, or one of dhampir, orc, ratfolk or suli.

Note #1: Any PC created and having received a chronicle prior to XX/YY/ZZZZ of one of the above races still remains legal.

Note #2: Any new player, as part of creating their first PC (their XXXX-1 character) could select to play a tengu, aasimar or tiefling. They would need to wait until 10pts in order to create additional characters of that race.

Addendum: Certain scenarios (say Rats of Round Mountain), once completed, could allow the race to be unlocked earlier. For example, for someone who has Rats of Round Mountain Parts 1 and 2, the second chronicle could indicate the ratfolk race is now available as a selection when someone achieves Level 3.

Further note: I don't think this cheapens existing boons that allow these races, since if you have an ifrit boon this means you still value that boon and would use your level 4 unlock for undine, sylph or oread.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Fromper wrote:


But taking away an existing option is always going to piss somebody off. In the case of tieflings and aasimar, it's even worse, because some players bought entire books (Blood of Fiends and/or Blood of Angels) just to have more options while playing those races in PFS. If you're going to take away an existing option, you'd better have a damn good reason.

How about something like this:

Beginning 8/14/2014 aasimar, teifling, or tengu races will no longer be considered available PFS content and you may no longer create characters of these races without a boon. If you have an existing aasimar, tiefling, or tengu character whose first Adventure Chronicle is dated prior to 8/14/2014 you may continue playing that character as if you had a boon for it.

This would allow people who have already invested in these characters to continue playing them, and over time would cut down on their abundance (some would say over abundance) and increase the number of races available as boons. Sure we would see a mad rush for people trying to get their aasimar, tiefling or tengu character concept played so they can grandfather in, but it will eventually have an impact.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

calagnar wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So, from reading comments thus far, I assume no one really cares for the current GM boon we've provided for all 5 GM stars and we should consider something else? Is that an accurate assessment? It was specifically created for GMs who run consistently, earn stars, but can't get to a convention.
That is more then correct. The boon is worthless I have yet to see any GM use it at all.

Seriously? Most people out here think it is awesome. I do wish it applied to more PCs, (I.E if you could have one of each of the three instead of just one of the three.)

**

FLite wrote:
calagnar wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So, from reading comments thus far, I assume no one really cares for the current GM boon we've provided for all 5 GM stars and we should consider something else? Is that an accurate assessment? It was specifically created for GMs who run consistently, earn stars, but can't get to a convention.
That is more then correct. The boon is worthless I have yet to see any GM use it at all.

Seriously? Most people out here think it is awesome. I do wish it applied to more PCs, (I.E if you could have one of each of the three instead of just one of the three.)

I know I mentioned it before, but it could use repeating I think. Another player saved my character from death with the boon. For that I'm grateful.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Michael Brock wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we usd to incentive con GMs?
A new model car. Use whatever was in season last year for home games/ small meetups and use the newer model for con dming?
That idea won't work. When I debated opening up elemental races for season 6, I was told more than a dozen times how it would cheapen the GM boons we gave out in season 5.

Mike, what if you opened race boons from 3 years previous. Over that span, most of the GM boons from the con will likely be used and retired.

(Obvious counter argument to this is of course that it means you won't have those race boons two years from now when you are having a dry year and need to recycle them for con boons...)

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Chester aka Paz

Michael Brock wrote:
But we already have a boon for GM stars and gives a new reward with each new star. My current perception is that, even though it is exactly the type of system you are asking for you don't like it. Is that incorrect?

I like the GM reward boon. The only issue is that its high value means that I can't decide which PC to attach it to, or which version to take!

Shadow Lodge ****

trollbill wrote:
Fromper wrote:


But taking away an existing option is always going to piss somebody off. In the case of tieflings and aasimar, it's even worse, because some players bought entire books (Blood of Fiends and/or Blood of Angels) just to have more options while playing those races in PFS. If you're going to take away an existing option, you'd better have a damn good reason.

How about something like this:

Beginning 8/14/2014 aasimar, teifling, or tengu races will no longer be considered available PFS content and you may no longer create characters of these races without a boon. If you have an existing aasimar, tiefling, or tengu character whose first Adventure Chronicle is dated prior to 8/14/2014 you may continue playing that character as if you had a boon for it.

This would allow people who have already invested in these characters to continue playing them, and over time would cut down on their abundance (some would say over abundance) and increase the number of races available as boons. Sure we would see a mad rush for people trying to get their aasimar, tiefling or tengu character concept played so they can grandfather in, but it will eventually have an impact.

How about limiting the ban to non standard Assimar/Tieflings like Azata Blooded and Pitborn? That way, the race dosen't suddenly vanish (and it's more in line with Golorian cannon) but the "choose the variant that most suits you" that leads to a ton of these characters vanishes.

Also, how about some boons that encourage players to see the core races in a different, more exotic light might be good. Ftree for example, a boon that lets you pick a race trait from Bastards of Golorian and add it without dropping a racial ability would make your half elf/orc more exotic (I'm a Snow half elf--and mums the witch I ran far far away from and joined the pathfinder society to avoid) would be rewarding without giving us a ton of cantina creatures.

At the same time, it's written in such a way that if you hold it til 8/15, you can instead do something cool with your cool new channeling boon that will be available then.

All the best,

Kerney

EditLast sentence got cut off in original posting.

Grand Lodge ****

wakedown wrote:
Jeff Merola wrote:
My first ever PFS character was a Tengu... I couldn't unless I put in time in a campaign I wasn't even sure I was going to like, I probably wouldn't be here now

You're saying the only reason you're playing PFS (and have 4 stars, congrats) is because your first character could be a tengu? The system I proposed would've meant you'd needed to have played 10 games as a core race before you could've played a tengu.

If this theory is correct, does that mean that PFS is losing out on players all the time because the prospective participant can't make a dhampir for their very first PC? Or they can't make a ratfolk or catfolk for their very first PC?

That's not what I said. I said that if I had joined and it turned out that if I'd started earlier I could have, but now couldn't. There's a difference for me between "Sorry, you can't play that without a boon" and "Sorry, but you can't play that, but you could have if you'd started a week ago."

Grand Lodge ***

1 person marked this as a favorite.
trollbill wrote:


How about something like this:

Beginning 8/14/2014 aasimar, teifling, or tengu races will no longer be considered available PFS content and you may no longer create characters of these races without a boon. If you have an existing aasimar, tiefling, or tengu character whose first Adventure Chronicle is dated prior to 8/14/2014 you may continue playing that character as if you had a boon for it.

This would allow people who have already invested in these characters to continue playing them, and over time would cut down on their abundance (some would say over abundance) and increase the number of races available as boons. Sure we would see a mad rush for people trying to get their aasimar, tiefling or tengu character concept played so they can grandfather in, but it will eventually have an impact.

Do this and I will make 10 level 1 Tieflings and Aasimars, this is a bad idea...

My suggestion for race boons is to tie it into a reward system. It could be linked to the GM star system, or simply be a reward for playing multiple games. For example, play 50 games and get one race unlocked.

Liberty's Edge

What if:
A certain campaign for a certain event (like free RPG day, for example) gives a temporary race boon that expires after a little bit.

You can get the more exotic races from cons (I don't like it, because I can rarely get to cons, but whatevs)

If you play enough games and earn enough fame, you can spend that fame to buy whichever race you want (that way, you can pick up a boon for the EXACT race you want, and it's available as long as you're playing the game)

The lottery system is decent, I guess. I don't like luck-based things though...

AND... The optional completion idea was genius. If you meet a certain prereq, as well as complete a specific campaign, you can gain a race boon. I LOVE this idea.You never know if and what that prereq is, so you just have to go the extra mile. That way, going the extra distance pays off, and it also makes sense from a RP standpoint.
"Oh, thank you kind adventurer." The Ratfolk said, his small eyes watering with tears of joy. "You have saved us."
"Perhaps you would be willing to repay me. I have done something good for you, why not do something good for others? The Andoran are always looking for worthy heroes!" The Hero responded with swagger and dignity.
"Oh, what a wonderful idea! I will begin packing right away!" The Ratfolk bowed shortly and scurried away, full of energy and new found excitement.

IS ANYONE ELSE AS EXCITED ABOUT THAT IDEA AS ME???

*

Reading this it sounds like "GM at cons=get race boons." But I know this certainly isn't enough to do it. I have GMed at Phoenix Comicon 2 years in a row with no boons. Ultimately this irrelevant for me now since I just moved to a very Pathfinder light area and my free time has dropped dramatically. But I do think it still a relevant point for others.

Also Brom, I suggested something very similar probably close to a year ago and it never got much feedback.

Grand Lodge ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

Sitri wrote:

Reading this it sounds like "GM at cons=get race boons." But I know this certainly isn't enough to do it. I have GMed at Phoenix Comicon 2 years in a row with no boons. Ultimately this irrelevant for me now since I just moved to a very Pathfinder light area and my free time has dropped dramatically. But I do think it still a relevant point for others.

Also Brom, I suggested something very similar probably close to a year ago and it never got much feedback.

I've sent boons to PCC the past two years. I'm not sure why you didn't receive any.

Grand Lodge *

I originally wrote this for this thread and accidentally posted in the rewarding local organisers thread.
Since I can't figure out how to link to the post on my phone, I figured I'd copy and paste it here.

Maybe the answer is simpler than trying to figure out by reporting who is giving the most to their community.

I'll explain. Each year Piano announces the volunteer (or this year co-volunteers) of the year.

Maybe what we need is a system to nominate as a community local volunteers of the year who are recognised with a boon. Each country/region/area/etc can nominate local volunteers of the year (through VLs, through VCs to Mike for his approval).
Any volunteers that are nominated by their community, supported by their VL&VC and approved by Mike (or to not pile more work on Mike, maybe an award community of VCs) These local volunteers of the year are acknowledged through the awarded of a boon.

Yes it sounds like the Paizo volunteer of the year, because I'm typing this as I think of it. The analogy I'm thinking of is in Australia we have an Australian of the year, but communities can also nominate local hero's of the year, they haven't done something to effect the entirety of the country but they have made a big impact on their local community.
Yes it could be abused, I'm hoping that 1: it would be big enough to avoid that 2: we are all sensible people.

That way Mike doesn't get stressed with us and we have a way of recognising those that do put a lot of effort into their local gaming store but don't necessarily appear on Paizo's radar.

Edit: Formatting

Grand Lodge *

Oh and as an aside, I really like the look of the GM boon and I intend to use it once I'm entitled to it.

My only quam with it is how long it will take until I can reuse it.

I would MUCH rather the current GM boon over a race boon.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Phosphorus wrote:
trollbill wrote:


How about something like this:

Beginning 8/14/2014 aasimar, teifling, or tengu races will no longer be considered available PFS content and you may no longer create characters of these races without a boon. If you have an existing aasimar, tiefling, or tengu character whose first Adventure Chronicle is dated prior to 8/14/2014 you may continue playing that character as if you had a boon for it.

This would allow people who have already invested in these characters to continue playing them, and over time would cut down on their abundance (some would say over abundance) and increase the number of races available as boons. Sure we would see a mad rush for people trying to get their aasimar, tiefling or tengu character concept played so they can grandfather in, but it will eventually have an impact.

Do this and I will make 10 level 1 Tieflings and Aasimars, this is a bad idea...

You would still have to play them all at least once before the dead line so I find it highly unlikely you would actually succeed at this.

Shadow Lodge *****

trollbill wrote:


You would still have to play them all at least once before the dead line so I find it highly unlikely you would actually succeed at this.

... that sounds like a challenge! :)

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

BigNorseWolf wrote:
trollbill wrote:


You would still have to play them all at least once before the dead line so I find it highly unlikely you would actually succeed at this.

... that sounds like a challenge! :)

I am not all together sure accepting it would be a bad thing.

**

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Fromper wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:

So it sounds like with that many new people combined with existing players, 15 tables over three days shouldn't be too difficult!

Seriously? I can just see how that conversation would go. "Store owner, would you mind cancelling your Saturday afternoon Magic: The Gathering tournament where you always sell 50+ booster packs every week, so that we can have more Pathfinder games with the same people who only buy a couple of sodas and a splat book when we're here every Monday evening?" Most game stores have other things on their calendar, and RPGs aren't exactly their cash cow.

May I suggest that there are other venues beside game stores that would probably be happy to rent space?

Here in Ottawa, for example, the last PFS game day (4 tables, 1 slot each) was at a gaming lounge, and had a $5 cover fee for players. The next game day will be at a curling club (5 tables, 4 slots each, split over 2 days) with a cover fee, for players, of $15 for both days or $10 for a single day, both of which include a drink ticket.

Yes it requires more organization, more lead time, and imposes a fixed cost on players, but conversely it frees you from the expectation of buying stuff to support the local store, and potentially allows for the event to grow larger over time.

Shadow Lodge ****

Atragon wrote:


May I suggest that there are other venues beside game stores that would probably be happy to rent space?

Here in Ottawa, for example, the last PFS game day (4 tables, 1 slot each) was at a gaming lounge, and had a $5 cover fee for players. The next game day will be at a curling club (5 tables, 4 slots each, split over 2 days) with a cover fee, for players, of $15 for both days or $10 for a single day, both of which include a drink ticket.

Yes it requires more organization, more lead time, and imposes a fixed cost on players, but conversely it frees you from the expectation of buying stuff to support the local store, and potentially allows for the event to grow larger over time.

I will also note libraries in most places will rent/offer for free a room for low cost. It's room for 1-2 tables usually.

Silver Crusade ****

Atragon wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:

So it sounds like with that many new people combined with existing players, 15 tables over three days shouldn't be too difficult!

Seriously? I can just see how that conversation would go. "Store owner, would you mind cancelling your Saturday afternoon Magic: The Gathering tournament where you always sell 50+ booster packs every week, so that we can have more Pathfinder games with the same people who only buy a couple of sodas and a splat book when we're here every Monday evening?" Most game stores have other things on their calendar, and RPGs aren't exactly their cash cow.

May I suggest that there are other venues beside game stores that would probably be happy to rent space?

Here in Ottawa, for example, the last PFS game day (4 tables, 1 slot each) was at a gaming lounge, and had a $5 cover fee for players. The next game day will be at a curling club (5 tables, 4 slots each, split over 2 days) with a cover fee, for players, of $15 for both days or $10 for a single day, both of which include a drink ticket.

Yes it requires more organization, more lead time, and imposes a fixed cost on players, but conversely it frees you from the expectation of buying stuff to support the local store, and potentially allows for the event to grow larger over time.

We're not talking about organizing a game day. We're talking about groups that already have successful game days on a regular basis, frequently in free space at a gaming store. But Paizo is telling us that because it's not a convention, they pretty much don't care.

Liberty's Edge **** Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Memphis aka Thrawn007

BigNorseWolf wrote:

This assumes that convention play is more likely to bring in new players, an assumption I can't see any rationale for.

I will say for our local PFS community (Memphis), of about 20 or so new faces I've seen at local store events, about 90% either started at a convention or free game day. So in our local area, I'd absolutely see rationale for it.

**

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Fromper wrote:
Atragon wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:

So it sounds like with that many new people combined with existing players, 15 tables over three days shouldn't be too difficult!

Seriously? I can just see how that conversation would go. "Store owner, would you mind cancelling your Saturday afternoon Magic: The Gathering tournament where you always sell 50+ booster packs every week, so that we can have more Pathfinder games with the same people who only buy a couple of sodas and a splat book when we're here every Monday evening?" Most game stores have other things on their calendar, and RPGs aren't exactly their cash cow.

May I suggest that there are other venues beside game stores that would probably be happy to rent space?

Here in Ottawa, for example, the last PFS game day (4 tables, 1 slot each) was at a gaming lounge, and had a $5 cover fee for players. The next game day will be at a curling club (5 tables, 4 slots each, split over 2 days) with a cover fee, for players, of $15 for both days or $10 for a single day, both of which include a drink ticket.

Yes it requires more organization, more lead time, and imposes a fixed cost on players, but conversely it frees you from the expectation of buying stuff to support the local store, and potentially allows for the event to grow larger over time.

We're not talking about organizing a game day. We're talking about groups that already have successful game days on a regular basis, frequently in free space at a gaming store. But Paizo is telling us that because it's not a convention, they pretty much don't care.

I seem to have mis-understood your post then. I took it to mean that you were too space constrained to run n tables in m days.

Shadow Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northwest aka WalterGM

Fromper wrote:
Atragon wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:

So it sounds like with that many new people combined with existing players, 15 tables over three days shouldn't be too difficult!

Seriously? I can just see how that conversation would go. "Store owner, would you mind cancelling your Saturday afternoon Magic: The Gathering tournament where you always sell 50+ booster packs every week, so that we can have more Pathfinder games with the same people who only buy a couple of sodas and a splat book when we're here every Monday evening?" Most game stores have other things on their calendar, and RPGs aren't exactly their cash cow.

May I suggest that there are other venues beside game stores that would probably be happy to rent space?

Here in Ottawa, for example, the last PFS game day (4 tables, 1 slot each) was at a gaming lounge, and had a $5 cover fee for players. The next game day will be at a curling club (5 tables, 4 slots each, split over 2 days) with a cover fee, for players, of $15 for both days or $10 for a single day, both of which include a drink ticket.

Yes it requires more organization, more lead time, and imposes a fixed cost on players, but conversely it frees you from the expectation of buying stuff to support the local store, and potentially allows for the event to grow larger over time.

We're not talking about organizing a game day. We're talking about groups that already have successful game days on a regular basis, frequently in free space at a gaming store. But Paizo is telling us that because it's not a convention, they pretty much don't care.

That's not what I get from Mike's posts at all.

When you have something like race boons that's are a highly sought after commodity, it makes sense not to distribute them to everyone that participates in a regular game day. Instead, they restrict them to conventions that have at least 15 tables over 3 days. I don't think this pushes them out of reach, it just means you have to put more work into getting them. Organizing 15 tables over 3 days is not that difficult to get together over a three day weekend. Especially when you have a group of such passionate individuals.

This is what Paizo is suggesting you do.

Quote:
As long as a smaller, local con runs 15 tables over three days,they receive the same boons as larger cons. They may only receive 4 different ones instead of 8, but they do receive the same exact ones, including race boons for GMs.

If your FLGS won't allow it, schedule the event elsewhere. If people can't commit to that many tables, run WE BE GOBLINS for a day then PFS scenarios for the others. It isn't difficult to get 15 tables together across a 3 day period. Just schedule it to include an existing game day and run modules on the other two days. I speak about this from experience, because that's how we were able to get boons in my area. With 20-30 players we are able to hit the 15 table limit each year at our own PFS Con we started, called Winterfest.

If, however, you're talking about rewarding GMs and organizers, then Mike has made it clear we need something else to incentivize them.

Quote:
So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we usd to incentive con GMs? I have clear numbers that show when a new, desired race is offered as a con boon, tier 1 GMs for Gen Con go up from 90 to 163 tier 1 GMs. If those same people can get that same boon at home. What incentive do we provide so they volunteer for 8 slots instead of 7? If it isn't good enough, then those people remain tier 2 to get a hotel room and badge and I'm left with an additional 163 tables to fill.

We already have GM boons, and there's a sister thread devoted to coming up with ideas for organizer rewards. Ultimately, race boons are going to be restricted to conventions because it's such a huge draw to get people to come out of the woodwork to participate. So either we come up with something else people are dying to get to restrict to Convention play, or you need to organize 15 tables over 3 days.

Silver Crusade ****

Atragon wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Atragon wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:

So it sounds like with that many new people combined with existing players, 15 tables over three days shouldn't be too difficult!

Seriously? I can just see how that conversation would go. "Store owner, would you mind cancelling your Saturday afternoon Magic: The Gathering tournament where you always sell 50+ booster packs every week, so that we can have more Pathfinder games with the same people who only buy a couple of sodas and a splat book when we're here every Monday evening?" Most game stores have other things on their calendar, and RPGs aren't exactly their cash cow.

May I suggest that there are other venues beside game stores that would probably be happy to rent space?

Here in Ottawa, for example, the last PFS game day (4 tables, 1 slot each) was at a gaming lounge, and had a $5 cover fee for players. The next game day will be at a curling club (5 tables, 4 slots each, split over 2 days) with a cover fee, for players, of $15 for both days or $10 for a single day, both of which include a drink ticket.

Yes it requires more organization, more lead time, and imposes a fixed cost on players, but conversely it frees you from the expectation of buying stuff to support the local store, and potentially allows for the event to grow larger over time.

We're not talking about organizing a game day. We're talking about groups that already have successful game days on a regular basis, frequently in free space at a gaming store. But Paizo is telling us that because it's not a convention, they pretty much don't care.

I seem to have mis-understood your post then. I took it to mean that you were too space constrained to run n tables in m days.

Mike was talking about running something over 3 (presumably consecutive) days. Our store lets us do whatever we want on Monday nights, to the tune of 4-6 tables every week, and occasionally 8-9 tables at once when we run one of the old GenCon specials. But that's just one evening per week. The store has a weekly calendar with lots of groups that have their own weekly time slot, just like we do. If we asked to meet any other weeknight or weekend, we'd be told that we can't, because the groups that always meet on those days take priority.

My point(s) are that: 1. A convention isn't as easy to just throw together as Mike seems to be saying, and 2. For groups running this many tables every week, a convention isn't always necessary or desired.

So why do people who play/GM PFS every week, bring new players in all the time, keep existing players engaged, etc not have access to the same rewards as convention goers? Mike has said it's because they need rewards to motivate people to attend conventions. And I can see using the latest and greatest boons for that.

But we've already heard from one GM in this thread who can't travel to conventions and would like access to the race boons, even if it's the older ones that con goes picked up years ago. I'm sure he's not the only one. I know some of the people that GM regularly at our store don't have any race boons, because they can't travel to conventions, despite the fact that there are several conventions held within 1-4 hours drive (only 3.5 hours drive to GenCon!) every year.

And in case anyone's forgotten, this discussion thread is tied to a blog post from more than a year ago in which Mike said he'd be looking for creative ways to distribute race boons to people who couldn't go to conventions. Hasn't happened yet, and Mike's posts here from the last day or two seem to be backing off that idea.

Shadow Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northwest aka WalterGM

I just wanted to mention that there are many online conventions that you can attend as well, in circumstances where travel isn't an option.
-------------------------------------
Fromper, for your current situation, since you have 4-6 tables on Monday already (8-9 with a special), I'd schedule the Sunday beforehand as "day 1" of a two day convention where you'd play a special on day 2.

Talk to the FLGS and try to find a Sunday that they'd be free. If they are unwilling or unable to work with you, ask around. You don't need to have your convention in the same spot both days. If all else fails, do the first half at a Denny's or something. On that Sunday run a game at noon and a game at 6. Hopefully, between the two time slots, you can get 6 or so tables. Then if you get 9 more with the special that following Monday you will hit your required 15.

While it isn't ideal, and it isn't a "real" convention in the traditional sense, it meets the requirements and will get people to show up. You will likely have increased attendance if you mention that you will be providing new race boons as rewards to GMs and possibly participants (your call there).

I would also coordinate with your nearest VO and see if he or she can get some more PFS regulars to come down during that time frame as well. When I do my conventions I have people drive as far away as Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Seattle to attend. That's about 1.5 to 5.5 hours of one-way travel time for people that don't know Washington. And we're usually only running a special!

For our first "convention" I ran an 18 hour Module marathon where we did 3 modules back-to-back-to-back, overnight in our FLGS. The following day we did a Year of the Shadow Lodge event with enough tables to break 15 and get boons. Of course I forgot to submit my convention support request to Mike in time, and just gave everyone my own boons, but you get the idea.

It isn't impossible, just something you have to commit to doing. I honestly think that with a bit of legwork and asking around, you could definitely make it happen.

Silver Crusade ****

I'm really not interested in planning a convention. We really do have enough in our area that we don't really need another one, even if they take some travel, so not everyone can make it.

My point, which seems to keep getting lost in the details, is that Paizo undervalues regular game days. Others in this thread and elsewhere have talked about having similarly successful regular game days to my local group, but not being able to attend conventions, so they don't have options to get race boons.

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, our store had to turn away players two days ago due to lack of GMs, despite me volunteering to GM at the last minute. We had 22 players and 2 GMs registered on our sign up web site, along with a table not using that site for signups that's currently doing Eyes of the Ten. So easily enough players for 5 tables, but only 3 GMs. I ended up giving up playing to GM at the last minute, and we still had to turn 2 players away. If everyone at a regular, successful game day like ours knew that every time they GMed, they'd have a 5 or 10% chance to win a race boon, do you think we'd have had that shortage?

Shadow Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northwest aka WalterGM

Does Paizo undervalue regular game days? If you mean they value them less than convention days, then yes, I'd agree that they do. Why they do that is entirely their decision, but the obvious answer would be that conventions generate more attention and more buzz, and are a more reliable way to entice new people to play Pathfinder. Mike supported this with his data earlier.

You don't want to plan a convention? That is fine, and totally your call. I'd just like to state again that race boons are only available to people that participate in convention play. So unless we are aiming to change this rule, there's no reason in discussing anything further regarding race boons for people that don't participate in convention play.

You have a store where people fail to step up and GM, and you think that providing race boons as an incentive will get them to step up? Possibly, I've never tried that approach myself. There are other methods you can use to cultivate a strong GM core for your game days, ones that have been discussed in great detail in this boards in the past. I don't suggest that those are the only options available to you, but I would use them as a starting point. If you're eager to try your approach, you can always put your own boons up as incentive for your players to participate. Since you have so many conventions in your area it wouldn't be difficult to attend one and grab a few boons.

***

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't see the problem with all this. Give players what they want but keep it simple and make them earn it. Just do something easy such as every 20 scenarios that you GM and/or play opens up a new race from the ARG just block naturally evil things like Drow, Goblins and Orcs. When the player adds that PC to his portfolio on the Paizo site it resets the total back to zero and the player has eo do another 20 scenarios to get another. That's what I would do anyway.

Liberty's Edge **** Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Memphis aka Thrawn007

Deane Beman wrote:

Pick a race specifically as a GM reward and make it evergreen. Set a realistic but challenging bar (3 stars?) and tie it to the GM's PFS number. Save the "über cool" racial boons (like Goblins) for major convention level play in order to continue providing incentives to those GMs who go above and beyond.

I'm in the minority here I know, but the only value a race boon has to me is the ability to trade it away for boons I actually do want to use. (I hate race boons, and I could also do without ever seeing a Tiefling/Aasimar/Tengu at my table again!) I actually have GMed at a con in the past and didn't get my race boons. Only reason I didn't follow up, is I knew I'd never use the race boon anyway. I didn't know boon trading was legal until later, or I might have cared at the time.

Silver Crusade ****

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Walter Sheppard wrote:

I'd just like to state again that race boons are only available to people that participate in convention play. So unless we are aiming to change this rule, there's no reason in discussing anything further regarding race boons for people that don't participate in convention play.

Did you miss the part where this entire thread is a response to a blog post about changing that rule? And despite that blog post from over a year ago, it still hasn't changed.

***

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Walter Sheppard wrote:

You don't want to plan a convention? That is fine, and totally your call. I'd just like to state again that race boons are only available to people that participate in convention play. So unless we are aiming to change this rule, there's no reason in discussing anything further regarding race boons for people that don't participate in convention play.

Walter, one of the great things about PFS and the forum community here is that anyone can state what changes they would like to see in organized play policy. I understand the pros and cons to these arguments, but hearing a VC attempting to shut a thread down by saying "...there's no reason in discussing anything further regarding race boons for people that don't participate in convention play." is the kind of "love it or leave it" response that makes organizers feel under-valued.

Having spent a fair amount of time in the corporate world- every time a company performs a culture survey (often to try to find out where the problematic areas are in the organization) there are always persistent issues that crop up that "the little people"* are unhappy about. In organizations where upper management are out of touch or just plain don't care, are shown this over and over again and their responses are very similar to what I am hearing from you- "well, that's not going to change so let's just move on as it is non-issue".

This is the kind of thinking that results in high-turnover, shoddy work by employees who don't feel valued and an overall malaise that undermines strategic goals of the company.

*by "little people", I refer to the people who are not in the top 10-15% of the org chart.

Yes, this is a tired argument (its been going on for a very long time by my reckoning). Race boons have been a sore-spot for people for a long time... especially those people who don't go to conventions (and the reasons for that are many and varied). Regardless of the argument, let's not try to shut it down with blanket statements... obviously PFS can't please everyone all the time, but it doesn't hurt to talk about possible changes.

Liberty's Edge **** Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Memphis aka Thrawn007

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I personally feel the biggest reward I'd like to see for GM's is renewable replays. Knowing that at 2 stars (which I should just about be at by the end of GenCon), I can GM the specials at GenCon, and then get credit at our local con for taking that experience and sharing it with our local gamers (for credit) means a lot. Without the replays I'm more incented to just play at the local con (or to play instead of GM specials at GenCon), which are both worse for the conventions as a whole. With our VC moving on by the time our local con season starts, I'm likely to be the only one experienced with the two specials next spring.

I know a lot of people want to see the boons, but I think that's a lesser factor overall.

**

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I'm totally in agreement that renewable replays (without needing to earn the renew via a convention... if not automatic, then perhaps by reporting 5 GM sessions a year or something. Nothing much, but something just to remain active...) are the best GM rewards.

*****

Renewable replays are a great idea.

1 replay per star per season would make life much easier.

I am not a fan of the current gm boon.

Shadow Lodge *****

Walter Sheppherd wrote:
You don't want to plan a convention? That is fine, and totally your call.

This canard needs to stop.

It is not our call. The simple fact is that many people CANNOT plan a convention that big. Between a small player base and an inability to lay out the cash there are many reasons why people cannot, not do not, plan a convention.

***

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Walter Sheppherd wrote:
You don't want to plan a convention? That is fine, and totally your call.

This canard needs to stop.

It is not our call. The simple fact is that many people CANNOT plan a convention that big. Between a small player base and an inability to lay out the cash there are many reasons why people cannot, not do not, plan a convention.

I have seen small one store special events get boons too.

I do not think it requires something huge.

Mr. Brock understand the value of special events as well. I am willing to bet if you organize a not so grand special event he would assist as well.

Silver Crusade ****

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Shifty wrote:
I am not a fan of the current gm boon.

I looked it over, and it's one of those things that looks cool at first glance, but I'll forget I have it and never actually use it. Kinda like most of the boons that are for specific circumstances - they're too easily forgotten, so a lot of people just forget to use them.

Like someone else already mentioned in this thread, I much prefer boons that give a permanent change to the character going forward, so you don't have to remember when it's the right time to use your boon. For instance, I got boons back in season 3 that gave a character the Tien language as a bonus language, and another that let me get a third trait on a character, as long as it was from the Dragon Empires Primer. Like the race boons, these are things that I can apply and have an interesting minor twist on my character, which always applies.

Scarab Sages ***** Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

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Walter Sheppard wrote:

I just wanted to mention that there are many online conventions that you can attend as well, in circumstances where travel isn't an option.

Looking at the online conventions, it seems pretty much of them are in North America.

It would be a great option for me, were it not that I am in a different time zone, and probably a lot of us are. And I do not mean a one or two hour time difference. Living in Europe, this could mean somewhere between 5 to 9 hours of time difference.

Lets not forget the fact that PFS is a global thing. Conventions as on the massive scale (to us) that happen in North America simply don't exist here.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Chester aka Paz

Woran wrote:

Looking at the online conventions, it seems pretty much of them are in North America.

It would be a great option for me, were it not that I am in a different time zone, and probably a lot of us are. And I do not mean a one or two hour time difference. Living in Europe, this could mean somewhere between 5 to 9 hours of time difference.

Lets not forget the fact that PFS is a global thing. Conventions as on the massive scale (to us) that happen in North America simply don't exist here.

The online events I've seen have run round the clock to make sure that all time zones are catered for. I GMed for an online con from the UK (evening start time) and received an Ifrit race boon for my efforts. The players I GMed for were from both sides of the Atlantic.

Grand Lodge *****

BigNorseWolf wrote:
trollbill wrote:


You would still have to play them all at least once before the dead line so I find it highly unlikely you would actually succeed at this.

... that sounds like a challenge! :)

I know in my area it is almost possible to do 10 events before Aug 14th for doing that... but why would you? To me it is a circumvention of the rules and a work-around. I just don't get why someone would feel the need to do something like this just to get what they want "within" the rules because they "can"

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Chester aka Paz

I can't remember if it was in a post or on a podcast, but I'm pretty sure Mike or John have stated that removing fully-legal races would be very unpopular and not something that they would consider doing.

Silver Crusade ****

Paz wrote:
I can't remember if it was in a post or on a podcast, but I'm pretty sure Mike or John have stated that removing fully-legal races would be very unpopular and not something that they would consider doing.

Yeah, I'm not sure why anyone even suggested it in this thread.

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