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The Future of Pathfinder Society Organized Play Part III: The Rules that Govern the World

Monday, April 4, 2011

Continuing our series of Monday blogs on the future of the Pathfinder Society, today let's talk about the campaign documents that outline the rules of the campaign.

The Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play has seen several incarnations since the campaign began in summer 2008. Currently in version 3.0.2, it has grown to a dense, 38-page PDF including the basics for players, GMs, and coordinators, as well as many explanations and clarifications of rare corner cases. While most of these rules are staying the same, the nature of any campaign is that it evolves. And the current document is simply too unwieldy for us to continually update, re-layout, and re-edit (not to mention print, for all of you following along at home). Today, we'll be updating the document to version 3.0.3 with a few revisions noted below; this will be the last revision to this document until we release version 4.0 in July.

A few months ago we moved the list of Additional Resources to their own page on the website where we can more easily update them without needing to redo the entire guide every month. This has worked out really well for us, and we plan to keep updating it here. This table of information has been removed from v3.0.3, replaced with instructions to find this information on paizo.com instead.

Additionally, we replaced the old replay rules section on page 18 with the new rule implemented on the messageboards in October outlining the 1:1 player/GM credit rule. We've clarified the Play! Play! Play! rule on page 17 to try to eliminate the misconception that the rule should negate every other rule in the book, while maintaining its intent of encouraging people to find creative solutions in order not to have to turn people away. Finally, we clarified a rule that was incorrectly interpreted in past versions of the guide regarding animal companions with Intelligence scores of 3 or higher (page 20).

So what's in store for campaign documentation in the future? Great things!

In July, we'll release not one but three new campaign documents, each with a different target audience. The first will be a 4-page introduction to the campaign with only the basic overview of the campaign and how someone can get started right away. This will be aimed at people new to the campaign who wander up at a game store or convention and just need the bare minimum to get started right then and there. We'll also have a longer, more detailed version of the player's campaign guide with extended information on additional options and explanations of factions, traits, day jobs, spending Prestige, and so on. The third book will be a GM- and coordinator-oriented information about creating sessions, reporting, and other organizational elements of the campaign.

Many of the specific corner cases and campaign specific rules that don't really belong in something everyone's expected to download and print before participating in the campaign will be moved to an online FAQ instead. This will allow us to more quickly address rules clarifications in a single, easy-to-find location instead of continually bloating the PDF campaign documents. We will have the FAQ up and full of information by the time Season 3 kicks off, and maybe even sooner if the deadline gods smile upon us.

Check back here next Monday for a glimpse at the first of next season's 10 factions—the freedom-loving nation of Andoran—and see what changes they've brought about in the last three years of dominating Pathfinder Society Organized Play.

Mark Moreland
Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Abadar Pathfinder Society
Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this small update to the guide.

I bow before your glory.

Silver Crusade

Awesome! Thanks so much.


Mark and Hyrum, sounds good to me! :) But just make sure that the new version of the Guide specifically states that the material that has been moved from the pdf to online is official and legal and that as soon as any updates are done to the Additional Resources or the online FAQ, they become legal, or you will still have those people saying that if it is not in the Guide then they do not have to follow it.

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

I plan on making sacrifices to the deadline gods to appease them and ask them to allow Paizo to follow through with these ideas in the time frame they seek. I would like everyone to join me in my daily ritual.

My first offering: George R. R. Martin.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am still seeing the 3.02 guide...

And Thanks!

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Dragnmoon wrote:
I am still seeing the 3.02 guide...

Relax dude, sheesh! He said today, not right now!

:-)

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am interested in how you changed the wording of the Play, Play, Play! rules since I have been tagged as the champion for having that changed.. ;)


Dragnmoon wrote:
I am interested in how you changed the wording of the Play, Play, Play! rules since I have been tagged as the champion for having that changed.. ;)

I am hoping they are just listing the specific situations where is it allowed and saying that otherwise it does not apply.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Keep in mind that if the catch all regarding inclusion being the #1 rule, then the rest of the rules will still have a shadow of doubt and open to be over-ruled by GM/organizers

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

That's right. You see that word? Dominating. Three years of it, baby. ANDORAN! ANDORAN! ANDORAN!

Andoran ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—St. Paul

3.0.3 is now up

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
hida_jiremi wrote:
That's right. You see that word? Dominating. Three years of it, baby. ANDORAN! ANDORAN! ANDORAN!

Not just dominating - we're WINNING.

Osirion **

Is it Ironic to say that Andoran is dominating?

Cheliax *

Joko PO wrote:
Is it Ironic to say that Andoran is dominating?

That's just propaganda/idle talk/hearsay/urban myth/crashed weather balloons.

Cheliax *

You know a Blog is official when Vic is standing guard next to it, crossbow in hand.

Oh and thanks Mark and Hyrum.

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

When many of the GMs/Organizers compared numbers in another thread, Andoran did, indeed, appear to be winning. I was surprised as they dont seem all that popular to me. YMMV.

Grand Lodge **

All freedom loving people join in the Andoran celebration!

"I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men." - Emiliano Zapata
"It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" - Emiliano Zapata


Well, Play, Play, Play is still fairly vague, but going from "Never turn away players!" to "Try not to ever turn away players" is an improvement and takes some of the burden off the GM for making that decision.

Andoran

The flags of freedom shall rise. The hearts of Men shall soar. And freedom's light shall brighten the world. Rise, Andoran.

Osirion *

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Awesome! Keep up the good work! :)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Looks like positive developments. Kudos on the upcoming changes.

Andoran **

I am looking forward to reading through the document that I just downloaded. It seems that it may be slightly shorter than the previous version.

I like the thought of multiple documents as it may make things easier on the players. I would have loved to have had the short document to give out to players at one event that I GMed back in February. (We had a few people new to Pathfinder Society, so I would like to see a commitment to make things easier for new players.)

As for the news on Andoran, I am not surprised. I have often seen a good number of Andoran players besides me when I play and when I DM. At one recent table, four of the players had characters from the Andoran faction. Fortunately, I have seen little open hostility between characters of different factions. (There is some humor, but it is good natured. In the end, we are all gamers who want to have fun. Also, the Pathfinder Society in game does have rules on cooperating with people from diverse backgrounds.)

One way that we can help avoiding turning players away is to have a player or two in a group who can step aside and run some adventures. My group sometimes has a primary GM, a second GM and a back up GM.

I hope that the guide will answer some questions. Thanks to the folks at Paizo for the hard work!


William,

It is shorter because the several pages of Additional Resources are now found online instead of in the Guide.

Also, hopefully turning away players because of a lack of GMs, or breaking the rules by running tables larger than 7 players, should happen less and less the longer the PFS is around. I am sure there are lots more GMs now than two years ago, or even one year ago.

Andoran **

Enevhar Aldarion wrote:

William,

It is shorter because the several pages of Additional Resources are now found online instead of in the Guide.

Also, hopefully turning away players because of a lack of GMs, or breaking the rules by running tables larger than 7 players, should happen less and less the longer the PFS is around. I am sure there are lots more GMs now than two years ago, or even one year ago.

Thanks. I will make a point to print up the Additional Resources adn add them to my print out of the guide.

As for GMs, I only started playing Pathfinder Society about a year ago after a lull in gaming. So, I would like to encourage any player reading this to consider stepping up and being a GM -- even if you just do so occasionally or just make sure that you can run an adventure in case you need to have a second, third, or fourth table. Organized play can only work if all of us are willing to contribute our time and talents as we see fit.

**

hida_jiremi wrote:
That's right. You see that word? Dominating. Three years of it, baby. ANDORAN! ANDORAN! ANDORAN!

Meh. Andoran is like McDonalds: Not very good, but everywhere.

;-)

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

Training up more GMs could become the downfall of us Andorans over the next seasons.

I just trained up a Taldoran GM. that happens if you are good hearted ...

Thod

Qadira ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

hida_jiremi wrote:
That's right. You see that word? Dominating. Three years of it, baby. ANDORAN! ANDORAN! ANDORAN!

The higher you climb, the farther the fall. Way to make yourself a target, Andoran!

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
Well, Play, Play, Play is still fairly vague, but going from "Never turn away players!" to "Try not to ever turn away players" is an improvement and takes some of the burden off the GM for making that decision.

My Biggest Issue with the Play, Play, Play! rules was when people used them as a reason for playing out of Tier or playing up incorrectly, If that was fixed I would be happy.

Cheliax ****

bugleyman wrote:
hida_jiremi wrote:
That's right. You see that word? Dominating. Three years of it, baby. ANDORAN! ANDORAN! ANDORAN!

Meh. Andoran is like McDonalds: Not very good, but everywhere.

;-)

THAT, sir, is some funny stuff! I'll have to remember that! Maybe they should be called the "McEagle" now?! (just joking)

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dragnmoon wrote:


My Biggest Issue with the Play, Play, Play! rules was when people used them as a reason for playing out of Tier or playing up incorrectly, If that was fixed I would be happy.

Talking about Playing-up, I wish they fixed that language in this update, since as written it is not even close to being clear.

****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Dragnmoon wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:


My Biggest Issue with the Play, Play, Play! rules was when people used them as a reason for playing out of Tier or playing up incorrectly, If that was fixed I would be happy.
Talking about Playing-up, I wish they fixed that language in this update, since as written it is not even close to being clear.

You know we agree on that ;)

Taldor ***

Mark Garringer wrote:

All freedom loving people join in the Andoran celebration!

"I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men." - Emiliano Zapata
"It's better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!" - Emiliano Zapata

Hrmmm. Congratulations on earning the freedom to live in anarchy and starve in the streets. At least in the great empire the coaches ran on time!

Taldor *****

Dayne d'Arco wrote:
bugleyman wrote:
hida_jiremi wrote:
That's right. You see that word? Dominating. Three years of it, baby. ANDORAN! ANDORAN! ANDORAN!

Meh. Andoran is like McDonalds: Not very good, but everywhere.

;-)

THAT, sir, is some funny stuff! I'll have to remember that! Maybe they should be called the "McEagle" now?! (just joking)

OK, Andoran is McDonalds, but I guess that makes Taldor Burger King, ever seen their shirts. Yech.

:-)

Shadow Lodge **

Todd Lower wrote:

OK, Andoran is McDonalds, but I guess that makes Taldor Burger King, ever seen their shirts. Yech.

:-)

And Cheliax is clearly Taco Hell.

Taldor ****

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

That's Toxic Hell.

As for Taldor being Burger King, we do have a creepy inbreed guy for our King.

Is Quadira 7-11?

****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Then I as sure as hell don't want to know what Osirion is.

**

hida_jiremi wrote:
That's right. You see that word? Dominating. Three years of it, baby. ANDORAN! ANDORAN! ANDORAN!

Does anyone else feel oppressed by the Andorans?

****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
hida_jiremi wrote:
That's right. You see that word? Dominating. Three years of it, baby. ANDORAN! ANDORAN! ANDORAN!
Does anyone else feel oppressed by the Andorans?

We prefer to be called Andoren, if you please!

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Paraphrased from a related thread...

I've just read today's blog (or in my case, yesterday's blog, since I'm 9 hours out of synch with most of you).
This does seem to be what the community has been asking for.

I believe this will work best if there is a 'last updated xx/yy/zzzz' statement, and a 'last checked xx/yy/zzzz-no change'. Those allow a player to log on, and see that there's been no change since their PC was last levelled.

I also propose the idea of flagging the upcoming changes, with a countdown of the amnesty period.
A lot of the exasperation has been due to posters feeling the changes have been sprung on them.
Either they feel it cripples their PC, or they hate the idea of sitting down at the con, being pulled up for an illegal PC, and having all eyes on them as they try to frantically rewrite it.

A section should be set up, to hold messages in the form 'On xx/yy/zzzz, [rule A] will change to read [rule A2], all PCs will need to comply by that date.'.
This allows players to get some games in, or run games for GM credits, so they can level up, buy the skill ranks and feats they didn't need before, learn an alternate spell to replace one that no longer stacks, etc.
I think if this were done, most of the negative posts would be moot.

Andoran

And, "GO Andoran!"

Andoran ***

Andoran! Free those dirty slaves!

Osirion *

As the sun has risen quickly over the Nation of Andoren, so will it set in such a speedy way. Freed slaves with no knowledge on how to use their power wisely or to govern their future with the wisdom of the ancients can be likened to a house built by a man that knows nothing of architecture. As such, so will the the Nation of Andoren crumble apart as quickly as it rose.

Their fall will lay the groundwork for the return of the ancient nation of Osirion. From the ancient sands of the desert, a nation will rise up with the power and wisdom of the Ancients and govern the world with a mighty, but just hand, tempered with secrets that have only thought to have been lost.

Andoran *****

Tarrintino wrote:
Their fall will lay the groundwork for the return of the ancient nation of Osirion. From the ancient sands of the desert, a nation will rise up with the power and wisdom of the Ancients and govern the world with a mighty, but just hand, tempered with secrets that have only thought to have been lost.

And then they will fall as a moderate wind comes by and blows all the sand away.


Andoran, FRAK YEAH!
Here to save the mother frakkin' day now!
Andoran, FRAK YEAH!
Freedom is the only way now!

If that hadn't been done already it should have been!

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

[QUOTE="DM Doom"
If that hadn't been done already it should have been!

You look awful familiar to me. Hmmm...


TwilightKnight wrote:
DM Doom wrote:


If that hadn't been done already it should have been!
You look awful familiar to me. Hmmm...

I don't know, but nice duds man, who's your tailor?

Andoran

Is there any way to delete an old Guide PDF out your downloads box? (It prevents me from downloading the same-named update.)

(Also: any word on whether or not the PrC Chevalier from P14:Children of the Void will ever be legal? IMO it isn't overpowered, and has great roleplay appeal in that it permits melee fighters other than paladins to have a use for charisma besides diplo checks.)

Grand Lodge **

Mike Schneider wrote:
Is there any way to delete an old Guide PDF out your downloads box? (It prevents me from downloading the same-named update.)

Mike, I'm not sure I understand your question. When the file is updated and you download it again from your 'My Downloads' page it's always the most currently available version.

Andoran

Oh. (That's not obvious, btw.)

Grand Lodge **

Mike Schneider wrote:
Oh. (That's not obvious, btw.)

Maybe it was older version of the update notice, or maybe my brain is just inventing it. I thought it said something to that effect on the update notice emails, but going back and checking this update the email does not make it clear. I'll pass that feedback along directly as well, as I agree it is slightly non-obvious :)

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