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The Dawn of a New Era: Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, Version 4.1

Monday, January 30, 2012


Illustration by Kevin Yan

When I arrived back in late September as the new Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator, I had hundreds of people requesting hundreds of changes to the way Pathfinder Society Organized Play was run. It was definitely enough to make my head swim with all the different requests and it took me a few weeks to get a grip on the way change should be handled. Pathfinder Society has some very good things going for it, but there were some rulings and fundamental practices that needed to be looked at to see if we could make organized play better.

The first step was to talk with Developer Mark Moreland. He was the current institutional knowledge on all things Pathfinder Society. I rolled of out my list proposed alterations and requests and we talked for the first few weeks about what could be changed, what should be changed, and what should remain the same. After quite a few hours-long meetings, we finally knew what improvements we wanted to focus on. I also want to take a quick second to thank Mark for all of his help, not just on the guide but with everything, in helping me to transition into this position. Without his help, thoughts, insight, and advice, this job would be a tenfold more difficult than it has been. Mark was the caretaker for a long while for Pathfinder Society and I appreciate everything he did to bring it up to the level it is today. He has more love and has poured more heart and soul into the campaign than anyone else I know and I thank him for that.

After my list of goals and changes was completed, I approached the Venture-Captains and Venture-Lieutenants for their input. I felt it was important to get more ideas and different perspectives from the leaders of Pathfinder Society. There was much debate and discussion. Changes and tweaks were made to refine the direction I wanted to take Pathfinder Society. After a week or so, we finally decided that most changes were in good working order. However, we felt, as a group, that it was important to hear what the fanbase had to say about such sweeping changes to organized play. We knew that there would be people who were outright opposed to some of the changes while others would wholeheartedly agree with them. Whatever the outcome, we still felt it important to allow folks to have their input heard. So, I listed a series of proposed changes on the Pathfinder Society General Discussion messageboard.

After a week or so of listening to input from players, GMs, coordinators, and store owners, we brought all the discussions back to the Venture-Captain messageboard. We held firm to some of the changes we believed in, but altered other proposed rules changes where all of you made very good points. Once we had all the rulings in place for after a final review, I wrote them into the new Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, Version 4.1.

I will post a complete list of changes, additions, and deletions that vary from version 4.0 to version 4.1 on the Pathfinder Society General Discussion messageboard. However, I did want to list some of the bigger changes here.

  1. We added all current Paizo shirts as available for a reroll.
  2. We have changed the way pregenerated characters work. Gone are the days when playing a pregenerated character in a scenario for the first time left the player empty-handed. Now, if the player is playing a non-1st-level pregenerated character, he or she may choose instead to apply the Chronicle sheet to a newly created 1st-level character.
  3. We added a new chapter titled, Chapter 6: Sanctioned Modules. There are big changes to sanctioned module play. Gone are the artificial leveling up or down of a character. Now, the sanctioned modules must be played by a character within one level of the module’s starting level. I know this is not a popular decision for some. However, campaign leadership feels this change is what is best for the campaign. Death and use of consumables now have consequences. New Chronicle sheets have been completed for all 15 sanctioned modules that adjust the wealth received to be in line with wealth received when playing the equivalent number of scenarios. These Chronicle sheets are available for download on their respective product pages.
  4. We have opened up play beyond 12th level. While there are no 13th-level or higher scenarios on the schedule, a retired Pathfinder Society character may play and continue to advance in levels utilizing the sanctioned modules. To facilitate the higher-level advancement, the Fame and Item Purchases chart has been expanded to an upper limit of 99 points of Fame and 800,000 GP. Guidelines for purchasing scrolls of levels 7, 8 and 9 have also been included.
  5. A section on alignment infractions has been added.

There are a few more changes and those will be detailed in the post on the Pathfinder Society General Discussion messageboard. I want to thank Mark, the Venture-Officers, and the fanbase for input into the new guide. I think the changes are what is best for the campaign, will help to strengthen the campaign for the future, and make the overall organized play experience a better one for new and veteran players alike.

On a side note, the guide’s numbering system is off due to the first season of Pathfinder Society Organized Play being labeled Season 0. At Gen Con this year, we plan to align the guide’s version number with the current season. Instead of listing the Season 4 guide as version 5.0, it will be titled Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, Version 4.2. Once Season 5 is upon us at Gen Con 2013, the guide will then be titled as version 5.0 and we will move forward from there.

Mike Brock
Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Kevin Yan Pathfinder Society
1 to 50 of 97 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Qadira ****

I'm excited!

Silver Crusade **

Most interested in the section on alignment infractions. Can't wait to read up!

Cheliax ***** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Suck up!

**

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Most interested in the section on alignment infractions. Can't wait to read up!

I AGREE!

Taldor **** Venture-Lieutenant, Indiana—Northwestern Indiana aka VanceMadrox

Does this mean that the Eyes of the Ten Series now grants XP?

IE will a character level to 13 after playing the 3 parts of it?

****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
VanceMadrox wrote:

Does this mean that the Eyes of the Ten Series now grants XP?

IE will a character level to 13 after playing the 3 parts of it?

Yes

Shadow Lodge **

Now, the sanctioned modules must be played by a character within one level of the module’s starting level. I know this is not a popular decision for some.

-The problem there is getting everyone who wants to play at just the right level at the same time and then getting them there for either 8 hours or for two consecutive sessions.

Silver Crusade **

Having read the new guide, I like the changes. It provides a fair and balanced approach to alignment, and solves some of the issues with sanctioned modules.

Andoran ***

I've been running Sanctioned modules almost exclusively for the past 4 months and the response from players in Toronto has been extremely enthusiastic. Anything which enhances their sense of continuity and reward for this sort of play is to be encouraged, in my view.

Now, if we only had more modules to run ...

Cheliax *

And of course, the inevitable barrage of questions...

1) Previous Module Play & Wealth Adjustments

Discussion has been had about adjusting the wealth components of Sanctioned Module Chronicle Sheets to bring it closer in line with changes to the new risk level. Two questions:

1a) Do Chronicle sheets for these modules as played with characters predating these changes remain "grandfathered" in?

1b) If so, I would highly recommend a small section noting that these changes were made as of Date/Guide Version and any Chronicle Sheets for Sanctioned Modules played prior to said Date/Guide version will be different. This will avoid a lot of headaches in auditing characters further down the road, so GMs don't think a Chronicle sheet has been forged or altered.

If not, what are the procedures for making the changes to the "new" Chronicles.

2) Clarification on "Tier 1" Scenarios: I presume this means any scenario that is only for 1st level characters (First Steps Series)? Just making sure this isn't confused as "any scenario where you can play a level 1 character".

3) Level Cap: What are the procedures for players whose PCs have played "Eyes of the Twelve" and/or sanctioned modules which would level their character to 13 or higher under the new rules to update their characters to the appropriate level?

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

Robert Trifts wrote:


Now, if we only had more modules to run ...

Patience. It will happen.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

bdk86 wrote:

And of course, the inevitable barrage of questions...

1) Previous Module Play & Wealth Adjustments

Discussion has been had about adjusting the wealth components of Sanctioned Module Chronicle Sheets to bring it closer in line with changes to the new risk level. Two questions:

1a) Do Chronicle sheets for these modules as played with characters predating these changes remain "grandfathered" in?

1b) If so, I would highly recommend a small section noting that these changes were made as of Date/Guide Version and any Chronicle Sheets for Sanctioned Modules played prior to said Date/Guide version will be different. This will avoid a lot of headaches in auditing characters further down the road, so GMs don't think a Chronicle sheet has been forged or altered.

If not, what are the procedures for making the changes to the "new" Chronicles.

2) Clarification on "Tier 1" Scenarios: I presume this means any scenario that is only for 1st level characters (First Steps Series)? Just making sure this isn't confused as "any scenario where you can play a level 1 character".

3) Level Cap: What are the procedures for players whose PCs have played "Eyes of the Twelve" and/or sanctioned modules which would level their character to 13 or higher under the new rules to update their characters to the appropriate level?

1a) Any Chronicle sheets currently assigned to a character remain the same and are not swapped out for the new Chronicle sheets that are now available for download.

1b) Thanks for the advice. I will consider it.

2) Correct. That applies to First Steps as they are our only Tier 1 scenarios at the moment.

3) Yes, if Eyes of Ten has been played, the character would level up to 13th level (essentially after part 2) and then once finished with all four parts of Eyes of Ten, would be 13th level with 2 XPs.

Qadira *** Venture-Lieutenant, Australia—Sydney

Well thats exciting :)

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

Changelog for Guide 4.1 can be found Here.

Grand Lodge ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Peoria

I'm really looking forward to the updated guide. I think the section on alignment infractions is going to be an interesting addition, and may help provide guidance for dealing with some situations that can arise during a game. I also think that allowing continued play after 12th level will be a welcome change for some.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So do I lose my 5th star this Gen Con, or next (assuming I don't meet the qualifications next year)?

Paizo Employee ** Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kyle Baird wrote:

So do I lose my 5th star this Gen Con, or next (assuming I don't meet the qualifications next year)?

Despite my being tempted to take it from you right now just for asking, you'll have a full season under these rules to maintain the star, so the rest of this season is a freebie.

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

Kyle Baird wrote:
So do I lose my 5th star this Gen Con, or next (assuming I don't meet the qualifications next year)?

Slacker!

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
So do I lose my 5th star this Gen Con, or next (assuming I don't meet the qualifications next year)
Despite my being tempted to take it from you right now just for asking, you'll have a full season under these rules to maintain the star, so the rest of this season is a freebie.

You are way to Nice to Kyle, Mark. Kyle does not deserve nice!

Down with the 5 Star!

;)

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
So do I lose my 5th star this Gen Con, or next (assuming I don't meet the qualifications next year)?
Slacker!

And that is coming from Bob!

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

As a 5-star, I have access to the all-powerful Anti-Dragnmoon Sphere spell. You cannot hurt me with your piercing jabs sir. :-)

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Bob Jonquet wrote:
As a 5-star, I have access to the all-powerful Anti-Dragnmoon Sphere spell. You cannot hurt me with your piercing jabs sir. :-)

And as Venture-Captain you can pool the powers from the other Venture-Captain from the super secret Venture-Captain forums with all the complaints about me there!


While the Chronicle Sheets have been updated on the module pages it seems someone forgot to keep the How To Play pages, or was this intentional? Also, are the additional sheets for Ambush and the Pathfinder Tales updated?

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Nukruh wrote:
While the Chronicle Sheets have been updated on the module pages it seems someone forgot to keep the How To Play pages, or was this intentional? Also, are the additional sheets for Ambush and the Pathfinder Tales updated?

The How To Play rules should now be consolidated into the Guide instead of spread over all the modules.


Ahh alright, mainly the "Running..." portion of those pages had some helpful tips for the specific modules is why I asked.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

As Mark said, Sanctioned Modules now have their own chapter in the guide.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Quick question about 5 Star on keeping it.

The first point

"Attend at least two conventions (consisting of 5 sessions or more) as a GM."

Is that attend 2 conventions that consist of 5 sessions or more with at least GMing once?

or..

2 conventions GMing at least 5 sessions at them?

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

Dragnmoon wrote:
with all the complaints about me there!

You are not so important that we find it necessary to talk about you

*block...counter...jab...stick...move...* :-)


Still doesn't account for the fact that the "Running..." section isn't covered in it.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Anything will less than 5 sessions is now officially considered a game day and not a convention. This is part of concretely outlining different tiers of events so we know what level of support we can provide.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
with all the complaints about me there!

You are not so important that we find it necessary to talk about you

*block...counter...jab...stick...move...* :-)

*cough* ummmmm *cough*

Diego Winterborg
Diego Winterborg wrote:
... And yeah, if things do get too quiet on the super secret VC board we tend to pull out old Dragnmoon quotes and have ourselves a laugh.
Ryan Bolduan
Ryan Bolduan wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
Stephen White wrote:
Now where is the super secret VC board everone keeps referring to?
I have no idea, it is Super Secret!

It's not that secret:

www.wehatedragnmoon.com

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
Anything will less than 5 sessions is now officially considered a game day and not a convention.

One more question on this..

What is the definition of a session?

I always thought of it as a 4-5 hour block of time with 1+ tables.

So my Game day I run 2 Sessions, session 1 10am-3pm, session 2 3pm-8pm, 2 tables per session. My game day would be considered 2 session. correct?

But the convention I am running using the above description has 5 sessions with 3-4 tables per session so that would be considered a convention?

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

A session is one scenario. A sanctioned module counts for two sessions. It falls in line with the credit received toward GM ranking.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Michael Brock wrote:
A session is one scenario. A sanctioned module counts for two sessions. It falls in line with the credit received toward GM ranking.

Wow... so I am wrong... So my Game day is considered 4 sessions, and if I fit in 1 more session I could get the equivalent of Con support?

That is not what I thought...

Shadow Lodge ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bob Jonquet wrote:
*block...counter...jab...stick...move...* :-)

If one is trying to reach the Venture-Captain for IL, but finds that the email address listed in the v4.0 guide bounces... where might one try to reach said Hobbit?

Thanks!

Shadow Lodge ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also, a quick general question... for new GMs running first-time Pathfinder Society players through things - can characters created using the 4.0 or 4.1 guide still play in scenarios/modules printed from previous seasons?

I know there are adjustments posted for upgrading characters created during previous seasons to current rules, but if there's anything about running scenarios from old seasons with current rules/characters, I must have missed it...

Thanks very much!

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

CanisDirus wrote:
Bob Jonquet wrote:
*block...counter...jab...stick...move...* :-)

If one is trying to reach the Venture-Captain for IL, but finds that the email address listed in the v4.0 guide bounces... where might one try to reach said Hobbit?

Thanks!

One would only need to consult the shiny new v4.1 of the Guide released today :-)

pfs.illinois(at)gmail(dot)com

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

Dragnmoon wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
A session is one scenario. A sanctioned module counts for two sessions. It falls in line with the credit received toward GM ranking.

Wow... so I am wrong... So my Game day is considered 4 sessions, and if I fit in 1 more session I could get the equivalent of Con support?

That is not what I thought...

I'm currently in the process of getting a Convention Support Policy approved. The bottom level of support where we will send product, special boons and the like is most likely going to be set at 15 sessions. This is subject to change so please don't hold me to it. But, it will be higher than 5 sessions.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

CanisDirus wrote:

Also, a quick general question... for new GMs running first-time Pathfinder Society players through things - can characters created using the 4.0 or 4.1 guide still play in scenarios/modules printed from previous seasons?

Of course!

Silver Crusade **

15 sessions seems a bit high. If one assumes 4 sessions a day, for 3 days, you only get 12 sessions. And most areas can only do 3 sessions a day. This rather crushes the chances of smaller conventions of ever getting special boons, which might help PFS grow in that area.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Alexander_Damocles wrote:
15 sessions seems a bit high. If one assumes 4 sessions a day, for 3 days, you only get 12 sessions. And most areas can only do 3 sessions a day. This rather crushes the chances of smaller conventions of ever getting special boons, which might help PFS grow in that area.

If they're only running 1 or 2 tables a slot, sure. But to get 15 sessions over a two-day convention (let's assume 5 total slots for the show), you only need to run 3 tables each slot.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Dragnmoon wrote:
Bob Jonquet wrote:
As a 5-star, I have access to the all-powerful Anti-Dragnmoon Sphere spell. You cannot hurt me with your piercing jabs sir. :-)
And as Venture-Captain you can pool the powers from the other Venture-Captain from the super secret Venture-Captain forums with all the complaints about me there!

Nah. [Joke]you aren't important enough to register a complaint [/joke]

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Michael Brock wrote:
I'm currently in the process of getting a Convention Support Policy approved. The bottom level of support where we will send product, special boons and the like is most likely going to be set at 15 sessions. This is subject to change so please don't hold me to it. But, it will be higher than 5 sessions.

Will it be announced publicly once you work it out?

I have a convention coming up in April I am coordinating PFS so I have an interest in this.. :)

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Andrew Christian wrote:
Nah. [Joke]you aren't important enough to register a complaint [/joke]

Look again!! Muhahahahahaha...;)

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

Dragnmoon wrote:


Will it be announced publicly once you work it out?

I have a convention coming up in April I am coordinating PFS so I have an interest in this.. :)

Once all the details are worked out, then yes, it will be made known what the Convention Support Policy is. But it will take some time to make sure all the working parts are moving in the same direction so we set it up right.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Michael Brock wrote:
Once all the details are worked out, then yes, it will be made known what the Convention Support Policy is. But it will take some time to make sure all the working parts are moving in the same direction so we set it up right.

In other words It may not be before my Convention... Thanks mike for the Info!

I will continue to work with the Local V-C on this.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

Dragnmoon wrote:


In other words It may not be before my Convention... Thanks mike for the Info!

I will continue to work with the Local V-C on this.

As I said on Friday in the query about the Ruby Phoenix Module posts, I am not going to give any firm deadlines. If I miss a deadline by a couple of days for whatever reason, some people may become upset that I missed a "deadline." Once the Convention Support Policy is ready, and all the moving parts are in place, it will be made public. Until then, please work with your local Venture-Officers for convention support.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Michael Brock wrote:
As I said on Friday in the query about the Ruby Phoenix Module posts, I am not going to give any firm deadlines. If I miss a deadline by a couple of days for whatever reason, some people may become upset that I missed a "deadline." Once the Convention Support Policy is ready, and all the moving parts are in place, it will be made public. Until then, please work with your local Venture-Officers for convention support.

This may be surprising Mike ;), But I was not criticizing no deadline date I was just commenting that it may be awhile still.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

Dragnmoon wrote:


This may be surprising Mike ;), But I was not criticizing no deadline date I was just commenting that it may be awhile still.

No criticism taking. I was just stating the facts in case anyone missed my stance on Friday about setting deadlines.

**** Venture-Captain, New Jersey aka Shivok

Michael Brock wrote:
As I said on Friday in the query about the Ruby Phoenix Module posts, I am not going to give any firm deadlines. If I miss a deadline by a couple of days for whatever reason, some people may become upset that I missed a "deadline." Once the Convention Support Policy is ready, and all the moving parts are in place, it will be made public. Until then, please work with your local Venture-Officers for convention support.

What do you mean you're gonna miss a deadline! huh! NOoooooooh for the love of god ahhhhhhrgh.uh..nng..actually I...I think we'll survive.

Besides you guys have been doing a bang-up job with the PFS Support so I'm a happy camper. Good Job Mike!

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