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Guide 4.2 and Changes to Pathfinder Society Organized Play

Monday, August 6, 2012

With Gen Con just 10 days away, I wanted to release the new and improved Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, Version 4.2 today so everyone has an opportunity to review it and discuss it before Gen Con. With the help of the Venture-Captains and Venture-Lieutenants, and specifically the tireless efforts of Boston Venture-Captain Don Walker to help me with wordsmithing, we have added several much-needed changes that we think will improve your experiences in Pathfinder Society play.

Most notably, the following changes will go into effect on August 16 when Season 4 kicks off at Gen Con:

  • We added three new races to character creation for all players to choose from: aasimar, tengu, and tiefling.
  • Scenarios and sanctioned module now have one unified set of rules for applying Chronicle sheets to pregenerated characters.
  • Added all hardcover rulebooks to the Core Assumption for GMs and advised that GMs can refer to the Pathfinder Reference Document for rules from any books they don’t own.
  • Updated text so GMs are now allowed to take boons when they are offered on a Chronicle sheet.

There are quite a few more changes not mentioned above, so keep an eye on the Pathfinder Society General Discussion messageboard, where we’ll be posting a complete list of changes from version 4.1 to 4.2.

As for other changes to Pathfinder Society play, over the past 6 months, I have taken a keen interest in various things that don’t fit Golarion thematically or that cause confusion with power imbalance in the context of the Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign. I have talked with players that frequent the messageboards, as well players at the various conventions I have attended. I have discussed the topics below with Venture-Captains and Venture-Lieutenants, as well as with members of Paizo’s design and development teams. While some of these might work well in a home game (and I have some players that use them in my home game), they simply are not a good fit for organized play.

With that said, the following archetypes and equipment are being removed from Pathfinder Society Organized Play as legal options effective August 16, 2012:

Archetypes

Gravewalker Witch (Ultimate Magic 84)
Master Summoner (Ultimate Magic 80)
Synthesist Summoner (Ultimate Magic 80)
Undead Lord Cleric (Ultimate Magic 32)
Vivisectionist Alchemist (Ultimate Magic 20)

Equipment

Arcane bonded items must be listed as Always Available (thus, no firearms)

Added to the Additional Resources on June 20:

No Large or larger firearms available for purchase at any point.
Double hackbut (Ultimate Combat 138)
Culverin (Ultimate Combat 138)

Obviously, these changes do not reflect every problem, or cover every potential problem, in the Pathfinder Society, and we will continue to monitor, discuss, and evaluate material as it affects the format and as new material is released. We do not intend actions like this to be a regular occurrence. We did not make these changes lightly and recognize that many of you will feel like this is either too much or too little or somewhere in between. But I feel that these changes are necessary for the health and well-being of the campaign.

With that said, I understand the time investment and care put into a character’s background and the planning that goes along with making sure the character fits exactly how you envision him. If you have a character affected by the changes above, I am offering a rebuild along the following guidelines:

  • You may rebuild any class levels affected, to levels of other classes as necessary. (For example, if you have a 10th-level character with one level of rogue and nine levels of the synthesist summoner archetype, you may rebuild the nine summoner levels into any other class or another summoner archetype).
  • You may retrain any feats that directly apply to the changes above as necessary.
  • You may sell affected equipment for the full price paid when you purchased them (as listed on past Chronicle sheets).

However you feel about these changes, I ask that you remain respectful of the feelings of others when commenting below. We are a community and we all know players who probably have a beloved character affected by the changes above. Please keep discourse civil and appropriate.

I look forward to seeing folks at the show and am looking toward a bright future for the campaign. I sincerely appreciate everyone who provided feedback, whether it was for the changes to the Guide or the options being removed above, in working together to make our organized play the best it can be for the player base and GMs. Feel free to pull me aside at Gen Con to chat about any or all of the above changes.

Mike Brock
Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Society
1 to 50 of 737 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>
Silver Crusade *****

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Zomg! 3 new races!? Gonna make my Aasimar paladin!

Grand Lodge **** Regional Venture-Coordinator, South aka Thorkull

Finally! Yay! :)

Sovereign Court ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

D'oh!

My vivesectionist got banned. Good thing he only had GM chronicles on him, I guess...

*****

16 people marked this as a favorite.

Thank you Mike for listening to your player base and following through with everything you promise. Well done.

Grand Lodge ****

Some of those changes were kind of expected, but I'm surprised to see Vivisectionist on there. I hadn't heard about any problems with them, but then I've not seen many alchemists. At any rates, thanks for the concise update!

*****

While I'm sad to see my Dhampir master summoner getting wacked ... now I get to try out a high level witch w/out having to do the annoying firstish levels hehe...

oooo dhampir witch .. should be interesting

**yes I have a boon

I like the GMs can now select boons .. makes getting GM credit a little nicer


I knew that Synth Summoner would get the axe, but the new races were unexpected. Everyone be ready for tables flooded with aasimar, tengu, and tieflings.

Grand Lodge **** Regional Venture-Coordinator, South aka Thorkull

@Ninjaiguana: As many, if not more, of the changes have to do with campaign flavor rather than the perceived or real balance issues.


Awesome.

Love the changes.

Scarab Sages ***

Anyone have any insight as to why the GraveWalker Witch got the axe?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I'm really bummed to hear about the Synth Summoner going away. While I'd only played him to 2nd level he was a blast. Now what to rebuild him to...

Lantern Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, South Dakota—Rapid City aka Black Powder Chocobo

Many interesting things in here. Good thing I already have all of the hardcovers!

Dark Archive ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

Joko PO wrote:
Anyone have any insight as to why the GraveWalker Witch got the axe?

The flavor text doesn't fit with PFS and/or Golarion

*****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

so my master summoner got banned---but the gunslinger with two dual pistols doing 8 shots a round and about 200 dpr is still allowed. ANd archers who can do 30 damage with every arrow by level 5 are still allowed? Guess the squeaky wheel does get the grease.

*****

OnceUponFire wrote:
I knew that Synth Summoner would get the axe, but the new races were unexpected. Everyone be ready for tables flooded with aasimar, tengu, and tieflings.

I highly doubt this will happen. I know plenty of players who had these racial boons that never even started a character with them.

One part of me hopes they do increase in popularity and by extension they cause a rise in sales of their associated companion book. :)

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Alaska—Anchorage aka Dragnmoon

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Though I have no issues with the archtypes being banned because I understand why, I am not going to have fun telling my players.

Wait.. I don't have to.. I will let my New VLs do that! ;)

*****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Hakken wrote:
so my master summoner got banned---but the gunslinger with two dual pistols doing 8 shots a round and about 200 dpr is still allowed. ANd archers who can do 30 damage with every arrow by level 5 are still allowed? Guess the squeaky wheel does get the grease.

Master Summoner is more about the game getting slowed down.

Dark Archive *****

Joko PO wrote:
Anyone have any insight as to why the GraveWalker Witch got the axe?

Probably something to do with the flavor, as noted from the text in the PRD.

"Spell Poppet: Each gravewalker carries around a gristly, inanimate poppet stitched from human skin and stuffed with shards of bone, fingernails, and grave dirt. A gravewalker's spells come from the will of evil spirits residing in the poppet, and its ability to hold spells functions in a manner identical to the way a witch's spells are granted by her familiar."

Dark Archive ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

Don't you have to now have the fame to purchase those double firearms?

*

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So do full-level rebuilds get to change their ability scores or are we going to have a bunch of ex-synthesists running around with hilariously dumped physical scores?

Grand Lodge *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Todd Morgan wrote:
Don't you have to now have the fame to purchase those double firearms?

Yes

Grand Lodge *****

15 people marked this as a favorite.
Take Boat wrote:
So do full-level rebuilds get to change their ability scores or are we going to have a bunch of ex-synthesists running around with hilariously dumped physical scores?

Yes, people can change ability scores.

Grand Lodge ****

Jonathan Cary wrote:
@Ninjaiguana: As many, if not more, of the changes have to do with campaign flavor rather than the perceived or real balance issues.

Was vivisectionist that far out in flavour terms? I get gravewalker and undead lord, certainly. I just ahve a soft spot for vivisectionist because one of my local players has (well, had now, I guess) a vivisectionist pirate - he was basically embalming his organs to become the Ghost Pirate LeChuck (or as close as you can get in Society play). Still, I'm sure he'll come up with a new spin on the character.

*****

Kyle Baird wrote:
OnceUponFire wrote:
I knew that Synth Summoner would get the axe, but the new races were unexpected. Everyone be ready for tables flooded with aasimar, tengu, and tieflings.

I highly doubt this will happen. I know plenty of players who had these racial boons that never even started a character with them.

One part of me hopes they do increase in popularity and by extension they cause a rise in sales of their associated companion book. :)

While it's true that I have an aasimar boon and was saving it, when there isn't really a limit, there's no reason to save. The other two races might see an increase for novelty, but I expect to see the powergamers bringing lots of aasimars for the favorable racial abilities.

*

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I imagine the Synthesist gets the axe for confusion reasons?

Silver Crusade *****

Michael Brock wrote:
Take Boat wrote:
So do full-level rebuilds get to change their ability scores or are we going to have a bunch of ex-synthesists running around with hilariously dumped physical scores?
No, people do not get to change ability scores.

Just to bring up an example. I have a local player who has a synthesist/paladin. He has dumped his stats to the point that his loss of synthesist and the inability to redo the stats would make him unplayable without a balancing of stats back to "normal" levels.

Silver Crusade ***

Hmm...I don't suppose we'd be allowed to get boons from games we GM'd before this change would we? My druid would like the companion from the Quest for Perfection series...

**

Any way to readjust stats for a synthesist? Otherwise I can bin mine right away.....

Dark Archive ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

Dazz wrote:
Hmm...I don't suppose we'd be allowed to get boons from games we GM'd before this change would we? My druid would like the companion from the Quest for Perfection series...

No, the changes are not retroactive. Only going forward from the 16th

Shadow Lodge *****

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Michael Brock wrote:
No, people do not get to change ability scores.

Interestingly...my synthesist can become a very effective bard or sorcerer with his synthesist scores (go-go not dumping physical stats!)

Grand Lodge *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The guidelines for rebuilds, if you have an affected character, are layed out in the blog. We won't be tweaking them today from what is currently there.

The Exchange ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

3 people marked this as a favorite.

So, my Undead Lord is shifting to some other type of cleric, or maybe an oracle of bones; that's fine.

Unless Mike or Mark object, I'm going to build that change into his history. That is, he still spent his first five levels as an Undead Lord, and then something happened, and he changed.

*****

Great Blog !

The Exchange ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Daniel Luckett wrote:
Just to bring up an example. I have a local player who has a synthesist/paladin. He has dumped his stats to the point that his loss of synthesist and the inability to redo the stats would make him unplayable without a balancing of stats back to "normal" levels.

Actually unplayable, Dan, or just not all that great?

Sounds like it's time to save up for a belt of physical perfection.

Dark Archive ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

Chris Mortika wrote:
Daniel Luckett wrote:
Just to bring up an example. I have a local player who has a synthesist/paladin. He has dumped his stats to the point that his loss of synthesist and the inability to redo the stats would make him unplayable without a balancing of stats back to "normal" levels.

Actually unplayable, Dan, or just not all that great?

Sounds like it's time to save up for a belt of physical perfection.

My idea is that it's the latter Chris, although I would think the players in question could view this as a challenge when playing, rather than a hindrance.

Silver Crusade *****

He breaks even if he smites to a +0 on AC and Attacks. His HP is unrecoverable.

Dark Archive ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

That sounds like a challenge to me, not a hindrance :P

*****

Daniel Luckett wrote:
He breaks even if he smites to a +0 on AC and Attacks. His HP is unrecoverable.

So his Charisma is 14 and his Str and Dex are both 7 (leading to a +2 to cancel the -2s)? Where did the other stat points even go?


Todd Morgan wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:
Daniel Luckett wrote:
Just to bring up an example. I have a local player who has a synthesist/paladin. He has dumped his stats to the point that his loss of synthesist and the inability to redo the stats would make him unplayable without a balancing of stats back to "normal" levels.

Actually unplayable, Dan, or just not all that great?

Sounds like it's time to save up for a belt of physical perfection.

My idea is that it's the latter Chris, although I would think the players in question could view this as a challenge when playing, rather than a hindrance.

He's playing a Paladin / Synth. Well, was playing. He was going for easy-mode, not a challenge ;)

Sovereign Court ***** RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Thank you Mike for opening up the Tiefling and Aasimar. (oh, and I guess the Tengu too).

Irony would be I just finished deciding on which build to use my Tiefling boon on :-)

I can't wait to get home and read all the changes.

Silver Crusade ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

*Tears up race boons*

*Tears up character sheet for my vivisectionist alchemist*

I have 3 race boons. Aasimar, Teifling and Tengu. They are now scrap paper. It would have been nice for people who support PFS at conventions to be offered an alternate boon if they have unused aasimar/teifling/tengu boons. Even a free vanity would have been nice.

As someone who has defended the special nature of convention boons I feel a bit let down by this. I'll get over it and I'm glad people get a chance to play these characters but I will say some of the specialness of my Tengu Samurai has been lost.

I respect the decision. I can't say I agree with it.

*

Michael Brock wrote:
No, people do not get to change ability scores.

Hi Mike - I really REALLY hope you'll change that ruling :(

My Monk lvl 7, Synthesist lvl 4 (one game away from lvl 5, and thereby becoming lvl 12), becomes seriously unplayable with this change. My physical stats are quite low, and there is no other class I can take that'll make sense, which will make the character playable. My stats are basically spellcaster stats - and my 7 monk levels are martially based. If I have to follow the rebuilding rules as stated above, I might as well throw out my lvl 11 character, one step away from the retirement arcs, which has taken me more than 6 months to play, build and get to know. That saddens me greatly, and I can't believe that that is the intention of this rules change.

If I get to change my stats, I can rebuild into a playable character, and follow my 8 friends into playing the retirement arc and/or the high level modules in our PFS home group.

May I ask for the reasons behind not allowing a stat change? I know you normally don't provide the reasons, only the ruling, but I really don't see why this cannot be allowed in a case as this.

Sigh. Either way I'm glad that the campaign keeps changing, living and growing. And I totally understand why the Synthesist has to go. I just don't see why I can't rebuild my char - including his stats - so that I can actually get to keep playing with my friends.

Sovereign Court ***** RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

FallofCamelot wrote:

*Tears up race boons*

*Tears up character sheet for my vivisectionist alchemist*

I have 3 race boons. Aasimar, Teifling and Tengu. They are now scrap paper. It would have been nice for people who support PFS at conventions to be offered an alternate boon if they have unused aasimar/teifling/tengu boons. Even a free vanity would have been nice.

As someone who has defended the special nature of convention boons I feel a bit let down by this. I'll get over it and I'm glad people get a chance to play these characters but I will say some of the specialness of my Tengu Samurai has been lost.

I respect the decision. I can't say I agree with it.

See, I'm in the opposite boat. I'm happy to have them opened up. I feel for your vivisectionist, but opening up the three* races in a fashion that was broader than I was expecting doesn't make your character any less special. Dex is still a special character to me. And now I can actually build Tiyet. :-)

Silver Crusade **

Looks like I'm no longer special.

*sniffle*

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Todd Morgan wrote:
Joko PO wrote:
Anyone have any insight as to why the GraveWalker Witch got the axe?
The flavor text doesn't fit with PFS and/or Golarion

Same for Undead Lord... if you want to be freaky, you don't play with dead things, you sign up to be the BDSM slave of whoever scrawls the Chelaxian missions.

Silver Crusade ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber
Matthew Morris wrote:
FallofCamelot wrote:

*Tears up race boons*

*Tears up character sheet for my vivisectionist alchemist*

I have 3 race boons. Aasimar, Teifling and Tengu. They are now scrap paper. It would have been nice for people who support PFS at conventions to be offered an alternate boon if they have unused aasimar/teifling/tengu boons. Even a free vanity would have been nice.

As someone who has defended the special nature of convention boons I feel a bit let down by this. I'll get over it and I'm glad people get a chance to play these characters but I will say some of the specialness of my Tengu Samurai has been lost.

I respect the decision. I can't say I agree with it.

See, I'm in the opposite boat. I'm happy to have them opened up. I feel for your vivisectionist, but opening up the three* races in a fashion that was broader than I was expecting doesn't make your character any less special. Dex is still a special character to me. And now I can actually build Tiyet. :-)

I'll not cry myself to sleep over it :). It's a bit of a shame but not a disaster. I am somewhat comforted by the fact that people are excited about this so good for them.

I feel more sorry for people like Derwalt frankly. 1 game away from your retirement arc and suddenly you can't play. That's harsh.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

Good Call on the no changing ability scores! Folks rigged their scores to take advantage of the system with a obviously OP class. They got caught and now they get to keep their scores :D

Grand Lodge **** Regional Venture-Coordinator, South aka Thorkull

FallofCamelot wrote:
As someone who has defended the special nature of convention boons I feel a bit let down by this. I'll get over it and I'm glad people get a chance to play these characters but I will say some of the specialness of my Tengu Samurai has been lost.

I'm fully in support of keeping the convention boons special, too. You did get the opportunity to play your Tengu for [unspecified amount of time] before it was opened up to the general playerbase.

This is the best compromise between the "open every race to everyone" crowd and the "keep races special" crowd. Compromises, as usual, leave everyone less than satisfied, but everyone gets something they want.

*****

Keovar wrote:
Todd Morgan wrote:
Joko PO wrote:
Anyone have any insight as to why the GraveWalker Witch got the axe?
The flavor text doesn't fit with PFS and/or Golarion
Same for Undead Lord... if you want to be freaky, you don't play with dead things, you sign up to be the BDSM slave of whoever scrawls the Chelaxian missions.

as it should be, by golly

Silver Crusade *****

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Frankthedm wrote:
Good Call on the no changing ability scores! Folks rigged their scores to take advantage of the system with a obviously OP class. They got caught and now they get to keep their scores :D

I understand your viewpoint, but at the same time this rides that line of accusing someone of performing bad/wrong fun. Some people really like to play with Godmode on. It doesn't make them wrong, just different. In this instance it just doesn't line up with the direction PFS is going.

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