Solstice Scar Update

Friday, February 23, 2018

At PaizoCon 2017, Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild launched a new form of multi-table interactive special (usually shortened to just “a Special”). In doing so, we changed up two big assumptions from past Specials. First, other Specials traditionally kicked off a new season and included integral plot developments that really incentivized playing that Special as soon as possible. Second, those Specials were each built to be self-contained, to portray snapshot events that never evolved, and needed to be built from the ground up each time. As we explored new ways to provide Specials to more conventions—particularly to those taking place between January and May, by which point many people have already played the big Special that debuted at Gen Con the previous year—we developed Pathfinder Society Special #8–99: The Solstice Scar, a modular Special comprised of numerous 90-minute-long parts that can be swapped out over time to tell an evolving story.

How does “The Solstice Scar” work?

The Solstice Scar consists of three 90-minute chapters, called parts, and each time we swap out an older part and add a newer one, we release a new version of the adventure. At PaizoCon 2017, we released Version A (aka #8–99A), which consisted of Parts 1, 2, and 3. About a month ago we sent out Version B, which consists of Parts 1, 3, and 4. Each new version's repeats that process, removing one older part and adding on a new part. That means that if you play all versions of The Solstice Scar, you'll experience some parts several times while also experiencing new content.

“Season Agnostic”: One of the key design goals was to create a story that could stand on its own. The Solstice Scar does not interact directly with any of the season storylines, instead telling its own epic narrative.

Replay: Playing The Solstice Scar multiple times does suggest that someone can play it multiple times, right? That's right, specifically each version of this Special is considered a separate adventure for the purpose of reporting. That means you can earn credit once as a player and as a GM each time we release a new version. What's more, that also means that the same character can play and earn credit for each version; there's even a boon with a niche cumulative award.

Restrictions: This Special is playable in any venue that can field the minimum 3 tables. That makes it an excellent fit for everything from large conventions to smaller local events.

Retirement: Each version of The Solstice Scar is only playable for a limited time (approximately 6 months). Once a new version of the adventure's released to the public, the previous version is retired from play. There is a possibility that we'll release a combined 6-part version after Part D is out in the wild for a while.

Exclusivity Windows: Each version has approximately a 6-month life cycle. When a new version is first ready, it's available only to spotlight events for a window of about 1–2 months; you won't be able to buy it during this time, and during this period, people can play both that version and the previous version. After that, the new version's available to the public and playable for another 4–5 months. I've provided more exact dates in the Timeline section below.

Access: If your event would benefit from running The Solstice Scar, particularly during the summer exclusivity window for Version C and the January exclusivity window for Version D, contact your Regional Venture Coordinator.

Authors: This modular structure also allows us to bring in several authors over the course of the storyline. Andrew Hoskins wrote Parts 1–4 when we first outlined the story, and Kalervo Oikarinen is concluding the narrative with Parts 5 and 6.

Versions: There are four versions of The Solstice Scar scheduled.

  • Version A (Parts 1, 2, and 3)
  • Version B (Parts 1, 3, and 4)
  • Version C (Parts 3, 4, and 5)
  • Version D (Parts 4, 5, and 6)

Timeline

Here's how the dates break down for The Solstice Scar. The exclusivity window for Version D includes some approximate dates that we'll be locking in over time.

May 28, 2017: Version A launched at PaizoCon, beginning the exclusivity window.

August 4, 2017: Version A featured at Gen Con, after which the exclusivity window ended. The Special became available for any qualifying events.

January 12, 2018: Version B features at numerous conventions worldwide, beginning the exclusivity window. During this time, Version A is still playable at all venues.

February 21, 2018: The exclusivity window for Version B ends. Version A is retired.

May 27, 2018: Version C launches at PaizoCon, beginning its exclusivity window. During this time, Version B is still playable at all venues.

August 6, 2018: Version C features at Gen Con, after which the exclusivity window ends. Version B is retired.

January XXXX, 2019: Version D features at numerous conventions worldwide, beginning the exclusivity window. During this time, Version C is still playable at all venues.

February XXXX, 2019: The exclusivity window for Version D ends. Version C is retired.

Feedback

The Solstice Scar is a neat experiment that's worked out fairly well so far, and we're always open to feedback on how we can adapt the model to continue providing great multi-table experiences. Let us know what you'd like to see and where the Society should go for its next big story.

John Compton
Organized Play Lead Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Conventions Organized Play Pathfinder Society Pathfinder Society Scenarios
1 to 50 of 61 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I love Solstice Scar and am very interested in what will happen when you have all 4 done on the same character. It pushed me to build a character JUST for it.

That being said, I would love to see a similar story in Tien Xia or going through the Elemental Planes (maybe in a few years after we get removed from season 8 a bit more).


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have a character that actually worships the Deity represented in the scenario. Totally didn't know when I sat down. But I enjoy that role-playing aspect.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

Thanks, as always, for the update!

The only major complaints I have heard from players in my neck of the woods is that they wish they had known going in to Part A of Solstice Scar that there was a benefit for playing all 4 parts of this on the same character (many of them played this at tier 10-11 and had they known may have played it at 1-2 or 3-4 instead to ensure they could play all 4 parts on the same character).

That said, all of the other feedback has been very positive. The increased emphasis on the narrative in these, especially compared to previous specials, has been very welcome. There is a bit of a curve in getting tables to realize that that's the case and to break their expectations but there being multiple parts is REALLY helping with that.

Dark Archive

I appreciate letting us know which parts will be used for version C and D. I will miss Nigel getting yelled at though.


When we played this last night there were several players bothered by the repetition of part one, at least in how characters who've already played that part have to kind of sit bank and pretend they hadn't meet these people before. Ruining the latter parts wasn't as immersion breaking for them, but the mystery part and introduction to the characters involved fell flat on its face.

Sovereign Court

I've really enjoyed this as a player and GM. The fact you can play different tiers and choose different routes means the parts can be somewhat new even on the same PC.

I do wish the last encounter was maybe 5 minutes longer...but I blame everyone at my tables spending the first 10 minutes buffing once they realize it's the final boss.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

John, thank you. This answers most of the questions that I had about timing, contents and future of Solstice Scar. This is exactly the information that I needed to help me plan my PBP specials & conventions.

Hugs,
Hmm

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Actually, a lot of folks are saddened by not getting he chance to play act 2 again. Most folks I have heard from thought that it was the most fun part. Act 3 can be... rough.

That being said, I have found it to be the least involved in the story.

Grand Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Act two was my favorite too. So much orcish goodness! It was a delightful section.

Hmm

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Is there any chance of making the later parts go slightly higher in level? Then those of us who started with a high level character can still get all the parts on one character.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Jack Brown wrote:

Actually, a lot of folks are saddened by not getting he chance to play act 2 again. Most folks I have heard from thought that it was the most fun part. Act 3 can be... rough.

That being said, I have found it to be the least involved in the story.

When first planning out the story arc, I recognized early on that I wanted a solid Belkzen chapter. It’s just so rare in Pathfinder Society that we clash with orcs, and this was a great opportunity for exactly that. As you note, though, Part 2 is the least involved in the story.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Christine Bussman wrote:
Is there any chance of making the later parts go slightly higher in level? Then those of us who started with a high level character can still get all the parts on one character.

Adding additional subtiers represents increased work on the author for later parts (to whom this has already been assigned and contracted), additional time in development, and additional complexity for coordinators when juggling which subtiers their GMs need to prepare. While I acknowledge that it is nice to be able to play all four parts with the same high-level character, the logistical cost in making that happen is significant.

What I can do, assuming we create another modular special in the future, is provide clearer messaging about how many versions to expect.

Grand Lodge

Although Act 2 was the least story required, I too found it rather fun, and my favorite, as a player during PaicoCon2017 with my rather shenanigan-ed Half-Orc, who was adopted by dwarves. It presented a very interesting Roleplay back and forth between my GM and myself at the table that had the entire group laughing.

When I brought it to my local store and ran Version A as the Overseer everyone who played loved every minute of it. When it was over everyone, and i mean everyone of them, asked me immediately when I was planning to Run Version B to which I had to tell them that "I do not know when but soon, I hope". Now that you have layed out the time frames for us John, thank you very much btw, I feel relieved that I made a good choice for the Special for my first ever Convention (Konocti-Con) and wanting to run Version B at my local store. It will be ran sometime in April or May I am thinking. I have already had four wonderful people who volunteered to GM the next one.

Thank you again for everything you and those involved with Organized Play due for us.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm a bit disappointed that it's the museum coming back again, and not the orcs.

Because now it's like the story is on rewind, with the same "surprise" happening in the museum. Which doesn't make any sense.

Meanwhile, the orc scene could have happened again, based on version A's argument that the dagger needs to be empowered by retracing its steps.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Pawns, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I'm sure we all have our favorite parts from part A. I'd probably guess there are as many fans of the museum part as the travel and roleplay in the 2nd part. Something had to be deleted and I'd guess that no matter which one was eliminated it would elicit a similar response. Keeping the museum part kept the scenario launch in tact which may have been a develop decision since it meant not as much background writing/rewriting for those who hadn't played 'A' at all. Personally, I like the museum act, but I can see how having knowledge at the table significantly impacts the encounter at the end. Part 3 can be very challenging to be sure, but I like the roleplay midway through and the latter encounter/s are interesting (IMO).

Regardless, I look forward to part C and how this progresses towards part D.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am sitting at a con right now as Overseer GM for version B. Have 3 tables running with a total of 13 players. Much merriment is being had by all.

We all enjoy this special and look forward to playing the other versions as they come out.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Had our run of Part B last night, five tables with 21 players. It's been a great success so far, and I can't wait to see the last two parts.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

It is actually nice to know that there is a "skippable" night at Gen Con this year (if one plans to pick up version D elsewhere eventually). Thanks for the info.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

I've missed earlier posts with schedule, so planned version A in April/May before paizocon (thought version B will be there) - so missed it. That is sad.

But, for example, our steady group of 15 players and 3 GMs started from version B and plays C and. That means that we will play parts 1 and 6 one time, parts 3 and 5 two times and part 4 three times. Seriously, for the third time players will know monsters better than GM! Having started from version A makes only 2 and 6 parts one-timer, adding one three-timer. Doesnt sound very interesting...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Febor, if you play at different tiers you will get a more varied experience, despite the redundancy of story. I've already played Version A twice (using a GM replay) and version B, but since I played at 5-6, 7-8 and 10-11, it still felt pretty fresh.

That being said, I'm definitely skipping or GMing Version C, since I don't need to play chapter 3 a fourth time.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I don't really see the point in encouraging people to play it with the same character 4 times when they might enjoy replaying it more at different levels, or with different characters.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Thank you for the info John.

Im also sad to see the Orcs go :(

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thank you for the update on how this is all going to work, I can't wait to schedule a night for the Solstice Scar for my players!

I only wish I had been paying more attention to the blog over the past several months, as my players and myself have completely missed the opportunity to play Version A. However, you did mention that there may be a version containing all six parts released after Version D has had its run, so hopefully we'll have the chance to go back and make that part up.

In any case, thanks again to you and everyone who made this experiment possible!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I'm not sure about a ~9 hour scenario, but I guess we could split it across two slots. :)

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Mimo, they way I understood it, there will be a boon at the end of all 4 for characters who completed all four. I assume it has to do with the special item on A.

Grand Lodge

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I'm not sure about a ~9 hour scenario, but I guess we could split it across two slots. :)

That or it could be a pick and choose type. GM picks three of the six options and then runs it with a final conclusion.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

Heofthehills wrote:
Mimo, they way I understood it, there will be a boon at the end of all 4 for characters who completed all four. I assume it has to do with the special item on A.

Spoiler:
I don't recall making that statement, but I don't have perfect recall of everything I've said or whether I may have posited the possibility of a capstone boon in non-definite terms.

There is a boon that appears on each Chronicle sheet that offers a scaling discount on a very pricy item. With all four boon, it offers around a 30% discount or so. The idea's that someone can apply all of these to one character to get a cheaper item that appeals to a limited range of characters, but I don't want to lock out a boon entirely to someone who missed out on Version A.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Gary Pepper wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I'm not sure about a ~9 hour scenario, but I guess we could split it across two slots. :)
That or it could be a pick and choose type. GM picks three of the six options and then runs it with a final conclusion.

Then it really IS a quest series. :D


John Compton wrote:
Heofthehills wrote:
Mimo, they way I understood it, there will be a boon at the end of all 4 for characters who completed all four. I assume it has to do with the special item on A.
** spoiler omitted **

In regards to this boon: any chance that version B, C or D could add extra options such as making the enchantment applicable to a different type of item? I mean, my cavalier or fighter could use this if it wasn't so.... short....


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Please, tell me, where were written that 8-99 A retires on 21 of February other than in 23 February post (here)? Where I missed my chance to run Part 2?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

This is the first announcement of the schedule publicly that I am aware of. The VOs have known the rough schedule for awhile and have been doing our best to communicate the approaching deadlines.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Lead Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
GM PDK wrote:
John Compton wrote:
Heofthehills wrote:
Mimo, they way I understood it, there will be a boon at the end of all 4 for characters who completed all four. I assume it has to do with the special item on A.
** spoiler omitted **
In regards to this boon: any chance that version B, C or D could add extra options such as making the enchantment applicable to a different type of item? I mean, my cavalier or fighter could use this if it wasn't so.... short....

Differently sized item:

It's unlikely. Not only is the boon based on the story's dagger, but the dagger is Vildeis's favored weapon. There's also another boon out there (high-level content) that allows some variety in holy avenger forms.

Nonetheless, I'll keep that in mind in considering future boons.


:)

Thank you. Right now, I love the scenario, but the item is very, very niche... so niche that I can only see my paladin with River Rat trait ever taking it... but he's not the PC playing that scenario... :P

Edit: wording on letting any of your PCs access the item perhaps!? O_O

:) :) :)


So, if I understand this properly....

Version A is retired, it can no longer be run/offered.

Version B is no longer under exclusivity? Does this mean I could reach out to my RVC and ask for permission to offer it at my store some weekend before August 6th when it's retired?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Correct. Request scenario access the same way you would for a convention, only just for Solstice Scar.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
This is the first announcement of the schedule publicly that I am aware of. The VOs have known the rough schedule for awhile and have been doing our best to communicate the approaching deadlines.

Not a word from our local VO`s :-( But our Captain business-tripping all around the world, Leuteunant moved to another state and Agent got promoted month ago after year of confirmation waiting - just nobody to blame :-)

Liberty's Edge

How do VOs get part B?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Submit a scenario request to Tonya and your RVC.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

I'd much rather have seen A (1,2,3) at PaizoCon/GenCon 2017, and then B (4,5,6) at PaizoCon/GenCon 2018. As it is, I'll likely skip the special this year. Even with two-third new, I wouldn't want to spoil a chance to play the last part eventually with two-thirds old material. Being season-agnostic makes the rolling cycle particularly pointless - there's nothing being tied in by the progression, it's purely arbitrary.

+1 to Part 2 being the most memorable by the way, if perhaps too short.

Overall, not to be a downer, but I just don't see how this is good storytelling. Good for organizing, and publishing, but not storytelling.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sorry for the necro, but I'm not interested in re-running specials, especially when the specials have become bogged-down combat that can end suddenly due to time even though both sides are still fighting. Necro-ing this because I'm registering for GenCon and see this is the only PFS game offered for Thursday 800pm.

Sad to see no other scenario offered. With no Starfinder game for Thursday night, it'll be my first GenCon in a long time not spending Thursday night with Paizo games.


You're not the only one disappointed. I'm not sure if it's just the result of bad experiences with the adventure but it's just left a bad taste in my mouth and I'm not at all looking forward to it. I dunno, maybe I'm burnt out with it after playing thrice and running it twice. If I don't end up running in that slot I'll probably find anything else to do instead.

Silver Crusade

Having played parts A and B now, I can't help but feel this would have been better as a module, or as two linked scenarios (Solstice Scar Part 1 and Part 2).

The story is shaping up nicely, but I'd rather that the multi-table specials be unique. I don't enjoy the repetition.

Grand Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I agree. This should have been just parts A and D. But the experiment was interesting.

Hmm

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

One interesting thing about replaying certain parts is seeing how different GMs interpret the same material so vastly differently. And where one GM was willing to lock down our entire party with certain tactics that were obliquely (quesionably?) allowed by the scenario and another GM wanted us to actually experience the encounter (which was still quite difficult, but instead of being locked down and not experience it and almost dying, we almost died while experiencing it.)

Silver Crusade

supervillan wrote:

Having played parts A and B now, I can't help but feel this would have been better as a module, or as two linked scenarios (Solstice Scar Part 1 and Part 2).

The story is shaping up nicely, but I'd rather that the multi-table specials be unique. I don't enjoy the repetition.

Agreed. I'm skipping this one at Gen Con this year, because I'm just not interested. I'll play the final version to see how it all ends, assuming I have the chance.


What is the status on C?


Too much repetition in the scenarios :(


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
GM Wageslave wrote:
What is the status on C?

It's scheduled to premiere at PaizoCon on Sunday, May 26th at 7pm.

I'm presuming that Part A will be unretired when Part D's exclusivity ends. No?


Meant as far as the maps for Part 5?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My family and I played A at Gen Con last year and had a blast (partly due to our fantastic GM, who had traveled from Australia for the con). We’ve all missed B, but I just got us tickets for C at this year’s Gen Con. If we didn’t play the second part, is there enough new material to be worth it?

1 to 50 of 61 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Organized Play / Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild / Paizo Blog: Solstice Scar Update All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.