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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

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Pathfinder Society


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game


Occult Society Revisited

Monday, December 1, 2014

Almost a week has passed since the Occult Adventures playtest closed, and I've heard very positive feedback from the Design Team about the playtest contributions of Pathfinder Society players. Thank you for participating in the playtest and helping us tweak the classes and make Occult Adventures the best Gen Con release yet. Note that as of the playtest's conclusion, creating characters using the playtest versions of the Occult Adventures classes is no longer legal; only those who unlocked the ability to play a psychic character can continue to use that PC before the book's publication and inclusion on the Additional Resources page.

This year we put together something different for Pathfinder Society: we offered a four-part boon to incentivize playtesting and reward those who ran a lot of tests across a wide range of levels. The Chronicle sheet addressed a few concerns we have had during past RPG hardcover playtests, such as limited higher-level playtest reports and a glut of playtest characters running around the campaign between December and August using non-final versions of the classes. Mark Seifter and I worked together to build an incentive to assist the designers while also keeping the impact of the playtest to a minimum after it wrapped up. We also knew that unlocking that fourth and final boon would be difficult but that we wanted to reward anyone who was so dedicated to the playtest process.

I'm certain there are ways to improve the process even further, and I would like to hear your feedback on what went well and what could be better in the organized play playtest. Did this Chronicle sheet inspire you to try a class and provide feedback? Were you more inclined to test just one character to unlock as many boons as possible, or did you try out several classes? Did you or anyone you know unlock the third boon (6 play credits) or the fourth boon (9 credits)? Did the boons strike a good balance between being attractive and not being game-breaking? Did you find the Chronicle sheet easy to use and understand? These are just a few questions on my mind, and if you have related feedback about some other aspect of how we handled the playtest for Pathfinder Society, let me know here.

John Compton
Developer

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Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Society Playtest
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Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Michigan—Alma

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I did like how the PFS playtest was handled for the most part. Unfortunately, I was able to only start one character during the playtest. I was a little disappointed we couldn't use GM credit for starting one. It was understandable since credit babies don't give feedback. I'm looking forward to playing my Kineticist more, but playing isn't usually that likely for me.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Lieutenant, Florida—Tampa aka MattCaulder

7 people marked this as a favorite.

I love the multi-tiered boon John, but if I'm honest, I feel the playtest window was too short, or at a weird part of the year. I know personally I wasn't able to devote any time to reading the playtest rules, let alone play 9 or more games with a playtest character.

Paizo Employee ***** Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
I did like how the PFS playtest was handled for the most part. Unfortunately, I was able to only start one character during the playtest. I was a little disappointed we couldn't use GM credit for starting one. It was understandable since credit babies don't give feedback. I'm looking forward to playing my Kineticist more, but playing isn't usually that likely for me.

Yeah, GM credit toward a playtest boon is a really tricky thing to design. Can one apply any GM credit (even from pre-playtest events)? Does one get playtest credit if there are no playtest characters in the adventure? Would that led to some strange situations in which a GM demands that somebody has to play a playtest character so that the GM can receive the appropriate credit? Is GM feedback about a playtest class—especially when the GM has to split her attention between 2–6 other players—equally valuable to the designers?

There are certainly some design obstacles that make this hard to implement, but there may be a way to do so that Mark and I haven't considered. If you have a solid idea, let us know!

*** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

One of the things that kept me away from doing a playtest character in PFS was the worry that the final versions of class would move away from how I tried to build it. For instance, I considered starting up an Occultist archer, but it didn't have the oomph to make it an attractive option compared to other classes. I was not at all sure that the final version would be any better, or even that it wouldn't get worse.

I think to make it more attractive, I'd like to see more generous rebuild options (for instance, free retraining into new archetypes introduced in the final version, or reduced-cost retraining into another class if I don't like the direction it took).

*

i was lucky enough to get 3 characters through the playtest, but the only reason i was able to hit the 4 game boon on one was because we were playing through emerald spire... in future playtests i would appreciate an extra week or two to get some games in to make hitting some of those boons possible, as no one i know of in my area was able to get even the 6 game boon.

Paizo Employee ***** Developer

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MattCaulder wrote:
I love the multi-tiered boon John, but if I'm honest, I feel the playtest window was too short, or at a weird part of the year. I know personally I wasn't able to devote any time to reading the playtest rules, let alone play 9 or more games with a playtest character.

I can see where you're coming from, especially as I'm one who prefers planning out game days several weeks in advance. I imagine we would get plenty more playtest data with a longer playtest window, and that would also make the organized play's playtest experience a little less hectic.

On the other hand, I also recognize that the playtest process needs to serve the Design Team's criteria first. Keeping up with a month-long playtest period while also handling ongoing projects is quite a handful, and doubling that window (for example) would be exhausting. If a one-month period provides them the appropriate feedback, then that's the right length for both departments. It's up to the Pathfinder Society campaign to find sound and fair ways to adapt to that.

Shadow Lodge ****

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I provided some feedback based on the playtest, but given the structure of the playtest and its short window its almost impossible to provide information on anything but level 1-3 play. You might consider a boon allowing someone to make a level 1 4 or 7th level occult character and use them in place of a pregen with the same rules.

Lantern Lodge *

2 people marked this as a favorite.

What I'd really like to do is have permission to re-order my GM credit for a playtest.

For example, right now I have a GM baby with 13 credits stacked up that I haven't ever played.

It would be cool to start a playtest character, play him once as a level 1 character, then apply two of my GM credits, play him once as a level 2, apply two more and play him as a level 3, and so on until I had caught up with my credit.

Then I could take advantage of my stack of GM chronicle sheets while still playing through the playtest gradually.

I also wouldn't mind seeing more generous re-build rules for playtest participants.

Shadow Lodge ***

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I mentioned it elsewhere, but I'll reiterate:

I know it was hinted that reduced PP costs for retraining may be in the offing for PFS playtesters, but I hope going forward that an incentive like that is put out at the beginning of the playtest. PFS folks are burning their one-time plays of scenarios to test a work-in-progress class and PP are a very limited resource. I know a couple of players who limited their playtesting because they didn't want to eat hefty retraining PP costs when the finalized classes come out. Even though the players get to try something new and shiny, the opportunity cost of scenario-loss and PP retraining cost may actually decrease PFS playtest participation.

***

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In an effort to organize my thoughts, I'm going to start by comparing this playtest to the ACG--the last and only other playtest I've participated in.

For a variety of reasons, I wasn't able to get any playtesting in within the window last year, though I did make two characters using the playtest rules after it ended--a multiclassed investigator-monk and a warpriest. The investigator would have been playtested but her GM credit blob was tied up in a PbP. Her first played game wasn't until the end of the year. The warpriest first got played in February.

So the limited window for character creation was certainly an impetus to make a character immediately rather than wait. It also forced me to think in terms of single-classed characters rather than getting distracted with multi-classing. I playtested one class in OA twice (along with a gross amount of analysis) and tried to squeeze another in last minute but couldn't get the game together in time.

So I'd call the boon a success on those fronts. I also like how this limits the influx of the new classes and rewards those who are actually helping the designers test the class.

---

I feel that the design team got a lot of negative feedback over scaling the power level back on some of the ACG classes between the first playtest and release. It seems to me they erred on the side of making the occult classes relatively underpowered to avoid this problem.

I think that's a sound strategy, but they may have overshot (undershot?). Most of the occult classes currently seem to require a great deal of system mastery to be effective. With the ACG, the roles of the new classes were fairly easy to pin down (perhaps with the exception of the Shaman). They were borrowing design language from well-known concepts, so it was relatively straightforward to make the characters work.

With the OA, the Occultist, Medium, and Spiritualist in particular feel very unfocused. Which is okay for testing, but a little hard to swallow when you know your choices are locked in for PFS. With no revised ruleset and no indication of class direction, I honestly have no idea if the Spiritualist I built for the playtest will end up playable under the final rules.

With that in mind, I'd like to echo RDN's concerns regarding rebuilding, both from my experience with the ACG and the Occult. I waited on the 2nd ACG round because I was wary of rebuilding restrictions. For the Occult, I was incentivized to jump in and I feel like I got burned. I bought into the Spiritualist thinking I was getting a less martial version of the Summoner and ended up with the equivalent of the Antagonize Feat and a pair of Gloves of Reconnaissance as my only real class features.

---

What I'd love to see next time around is some way to encourage and allow higher-level playtests. Maybe allowing Playtest classes to be played as if they were pregens--under a very limited set of circumstances to try to minimize abuse. Perhaps a similar boon to this one, but for each line you fill, you can also play a leveled-up version as a pregen.

Paizo Employee ***** Developer

redward wrote:
What I'd love to see next time around is some way to encourage and allow higher-level playtests. Maybe allowing Playtest classes to be played as if they were pregens--under a very limited set of circumstances to try to minimize abuse. Perhaps a similar boon to this one, but for each line you fill, you can also play a leveled-up version as a pregen.

I'm having some difficulty understanding your last sentence. Are you suggesting that the leveled-up pregenerated character would be available for use as a pregen after the playtest period?

Dark Archive *** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Chicago aka DaveFrahm

I'll admit: I liked the boon. The structuring, the window, all of that. I understand it.

I'll also own that it also dissuaded me. I didn't have the ability or time to come up with a character who could meaningfully utilize these rules in that time, and actually play. It wasn't worth it to me to make a character for the one time I would be able to play.

***

John Compton wrote:
redward wrote:
What I'd love to see next time around is some way to encourage and allow higher-level playtests. Maybe allowing Playtest classes to be played as if they were pregens--under a very limited set of circumstances to try to minimize abuse. Perhaps a similar boon to this one, but for each line you fill, you can also play a leveled-up version as a pregen.
I'm having some difficulty understanding your last sentence. Are you suggesting that the leveled-up pregenerated character would be available for use as a pregen after the playtest period?

Sorry, I meant within the playtest window. Kind of a tit for tat. For each play of a playtest character at their actual XP/level, you can also play them as a leveled up pregen in a subsequent scenario (prior to the end of the playtest) that must be applied to that same character.

Not sure if that's any clearer.

Sovereign Court ***** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 aka Netopalis

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Personally, I think that adding 1-2 weeks of playtest would have encouraged more PFS participation. The short time frame made it very difficult for me to get my 2 games in.

****

I probably speak for a minority here, but I generally had a hard time justifying spending what remaining unplayed scenarios I have on these characters. That's not to say that I didn't participate as I made an occultist and a psychic. None of them made it to 3rd level. I wanted to get them to higher levels, but generally found myself holding back on the what-ifs concerning any future playtests.

The playtest window was really short too. Online play wasn't much of a problem. Locally, however, I only saw a couple people try the classes out. None of them made it to 2nd level as far as I'm aware. I thought the boon was a good incentive, but realistically, the window was so small that it trivialized any relevance concerning it.

I'll keep a lookout for any additional playtests in the future.

Shadow Lodge ****

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John Compton wrote:

I'm having some difficulty understanding your last sentence. Are you suggesting that the leveled-up pregenerated character would be available for use as a pregen after the playtest period?

Say Bob wants to try the Spiritualist. Bob makes their own Spiritualist, Carmine Croquet and plays him at level 1, 4, or 7 depending on the scenario. Credit from Carmine Croquet would act like credit from a pre generated character, striking a balance between letting the character play at higher levels but not being as good as credit on a "real" character due to delayed gratification.

***

1 person marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
John Compton wrote:

I'm having some difficulty understanding your last sentence. Are you suggesting that the leveled-up pregenerated character would be available for use as a pregen after the playtest period?

Say Bob wants to try the Spiritualist. Bob makes their own Spiritualist, Carmine Croquet and plays him at level 1, 4, or 7 depending on the scenario. Credit from Carmine Croquet would act like credit from a pre generated character, striking a balance between letting the character play at higher levels but not being as good as credit on a "real" character due to delayed gratification.

Right, and while the credit would likely not be applied until after the playtest, they're only able to play as a "pregen" within the playtest window. With any additional restrictions deemed necessary to avoid some poor player sitting down at a 7 - 11 table with 5 hastily assembled Mediums (Media?) with no skin in the game.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Toronto aka pauljathome

I barely participated in the playtest, and dropped out completely when it became clear that the playtest wasn't going to be updated.

It was very obvious that the playtest characters were underpowered and in dire need of supporting feats, magic, etc. While they were playable at low levels they were going to become very problematic very quickly.

So I decided not to play past level 1 and lock in the character. Rebuilt the character completely.

I wasn't paying very close attention to all the classes, but from what I saw there was almost no mid to high level playtesting occurring. I'm quite frankly amazed that the design team got sufficient feedback. And, to be brutaly honest, appalled.

I'll echo some of the concerns above. The playtest needed to be longer, there needed to be rebuild options (achievable ones), and there needed to be some way to encourage higher level play.

Locally the playtest was almost completely a non event. As opposed to the ACG play test which had much more local participation.

Paizo Employee *****

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redward wrote:
With any additional restrictions deemed necessary to avoid some poor player sitting down at a 7 - 11 table with 5 hastily assembled Mediums (Media?) with no skin in the game.

Medea?

**

I only played a fire kinitist but i have one suggestion.

Mundane utility

I would have like some minor boon, like be able burn my torch in a standard action or start a fire or having some sort of pyrotechnics for those who have immunity.

better i had to use a hand like a torch simulating the spell light.

**

Hey John, thank you for taking the time to set up an introspective thread for the Occult Adventures playtest.

First, let me just echo what I've said in every comment regarding the Occult Classes, which is that they're just bursting with flavor and are marvelously designed in that regard.

Second, let me reel that praise back and agree with some prior posters that the Occult classes seemed to suffer from some clinical underpowerment. On the one hand it's good to know that there's room for improvement (for example, the Mesmerist changes that were posted were a huge step up from the original class); on the other it's very nerve-wracking not knowing if my own Spiritualist will be playable in its final iteration.

As I only directly playtested the Spiritualist I'll just comment on that class specifically here. It was pretty awful having the rug "swept out from under me" on the Spiritualist, regarding the moving of Haste from 2nd to 3rd level. This has been listed as a misprint in the playtest, but it wasn't corrected until very late in the playtest as far as I can tell, such that I built my Spiritualist assuming that there was a shining light in the tunnel at level 4 which was sadly snuffed.

It seems a little unfair to hang so much of a class's hat on one spell, granted, but it's a VERY attractive spell; I was aware going in that the Phantom was not going to be the kind of combat powerhouse the Eidolon is (and okay with it!), but without access to Haste earlier on my options seem particularly feeble from both a spellcasting standpoint (I don't even have anything like the low-level oracle standby Bless to help out the party) and from a combat standpoint.

I do wish that the Spiritualist developer (and any other class that hasn't had such a preview) would offer some insight into planned upgrades for the class-- I was fairly green with envy over the treatment that the Mesmerist got, and Mr. Seifter's continual Medium announcements.

****

Quick question John. What happens if we're in a PBP game that started during the playtest period but has yet to conclude and it would be the first chronicle for the PC?

Can we finish out the game but no longer play that PC as an occult character?

Do we finish out the game and get one line on the playtest sheet from the date it started?

****

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

With only a limited number of games available in a month I picked a single playtest class and played as many games as possible with it. There were other classes I wanted to playtest, but I was unable to do so due to lack of games to play.

I think in future instead of tying the boon to a single character it could be fun and practical to have it fill able by multiple characters. That way players are not pressured to only playtest one class with their limited number of plays.

I think GM's who GM for a playtest class should be able to get a benefit too. They can provide an important perspective on the class from their side of the screen, and helps with organizing playtest games by keeping one person from having to bite the bullet and not be able to advance the playtest boon.

Liberty's Edge **

I went out of the way to make sure I made a new Occult class using the brand new races at least for me. I must admit I really enjoyed The Nagaji Spiritualist I played. Im trying to build for melee which is challenging. Im the only one locally who got in on the playtest and while I didnt think the playtest time period was to short time did get away for me and I got in just in time.

Grand Lodge **

David_Bross wrote:

Quick question John. What happens if we're in a PBP game that started during the playtest period but has yet to conclude and it would be the first chronicle for the PC?

Can we finish out the game but no longer play that PC as an occult character?

Do we finish out the game and get one line on the playtest sheet from the date it started?

From what I recall, the character can finish the game, but will no longer be able to be legally played as until the Occultist classes are released, as the chronicle has to have been completed by Nov. 24th, and signed by the GM at the table.

As for myself, I'm glad I got my Telekineticist in on the last day. Pew pew pew! (Not going to do anything more until it's released, so I don't have to spend anything retraining him)

* Venture-Agent, France—Paris aka 勝20100

For Advanced Class Guide, I created an Investigator and played a couple one or two scenario. Once the playtest ended, I preferred to wait for the book to be released before getting the character above level 1. I also played a Hunter in the Dragon Demand, and that game ended after the playtest was over.

I wanted to try a mesmerist and a kinetisist this time. I didn’t have many opportunities, and I’d prefer to have the book to make the character rather than only the playtest material. I managed to play in a 1st level module so I made a new aerokinetisist and retrained it for something else for level 2. I didn’t want to keep the character, it was only playtest material. Concerning the mesmerist, I still have a concept I might use when the book is released.

I thought the Chronicle Sheet was a good incentive and reward for those wanting to invest time playtesting. I might have done it a bit more if I had been able to retrain the character out of the class somehow.
I would also have appreciated a way to play some pregenerated character from Occult Adventures. This might have provided a way for higher level playtest without having to level up a character from scratch. Not sure it was the kind of feedback the developers wanted thought.

***** Venture-Agent

I wish I had gotten to play my telekinetic more than I did. If only so I could give a bit more feed back. I will admit it having a "mage hand only remove the magic restriction" actually proved to be awesome.

Scarab Sages **

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Hate to join the bandwagon, John, but I have to agree that I also think that the playtest window for the Occult Adventures was way too short. I was only able to get in two games with one character (a kineticist) before the window had closed.

Is there any chance a revised copy of the rules will be made available for additional playtesting prior to the book's release at GenCon next year?

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Ontario—Toronto aka Galnörag

I felt the window was too short, or maybe that was more just a comment on the playtest. I liked in previous playtest the iteration on design, so we could test a little, change a little then test some more. With a single iteration, and a shor window, I was only able to play one game, I wrote my little play test report, and just never had a chance, nor incentive to revisit. That is, I knew I wasn't going to get 4 games in, and with no change in rules I had no reason to expect the second play through to elicit different results.

*

I think the boon definitely helped to accelerate things. I know I saw alot more playtest characters during the period, with the players wanting to satisfy the boon criteria. Problem is, we also had.a bolus of new playtest characters the last weekend, which is a bit counterproductive.

Paizo Employee ***** Developer

David_Bross wrote:

Quick question John. What happens if we're in a PBP game that started during the playtest period but has yet to conclude and it would be the first chronicle for the PC?

Can we finish out the game but no longer play that PC as an occult character?

Do we finish out the game and get one line on the playtest sheet from the date it started?

I understand that play-by-post takes a while to run and would otherwise be difficult to manage in a one-month playtest window. As a result, if the group has reached the point in a scenario when they would be able to quit and earn 1 XP (i.e. three encounters completed or more for a scenario), I'm fine with their receiving credit on the playtest Chronicle sheet. If they haven't completed that many encounters, please don't give playtest Chronicle sheet credit.

Either way, complete the adventure as normal using those characters, even if that means the game spills over into the next week or so. The players should still be able to have a positive experience and finish the adventure, even if they're not getting additional credit elsewhere.

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

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I would recommend one change.

I have not participated in the play test since Ultimate Combat due to the inability of rebuild when the book came out. Even now with rebuild rules it is too costly to change archetypes and use feats that work better that are released with the main book. I would reather wait for the book to be released then to participate in the play test.

I would suggest more emphasis on the play test with a reduction on when you are allowed to play the PC after the play test is over but to make up for that with allowing a full rebuild when the main book is released.

So you can play the PC only during the play test period and can not play it again until the book is released and added to additional resources. To reward those that only play the PC during the play test and not again until the book comes out give them a full rebuild for playing for the 2-4 weeks of the play test.

You can use the Boon process again and add the rebuild for playing in a few games, make it a reachable goal though.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Toronto aka pauljathome

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I was curious so I took a look at the number of posts for the ACG playtest as opposed to the Occult Playtest.

There were over twice as many posts for the ACG playtest.

3665 vs 1285 in General Discussion
1096 vs 448 in actual playtest feedback
17657 vs 6786 in class/rules discussion

Admittedly comments are still coming in for the Occult Playtest. But the rate is significantly slowing down now that the playtest is over.

Given that the ACG seems to be generally (and Paizo has officially acknowledged this) NOT considered a success story in terms of how well balanced, editted, etc the book is the fact that less than 1/2 the playtesting was done for the Occult Playtest speaks volumes.

Paizo Employee ***** Designer

If you look at it by threads, however, and divide out by the number of classes in each playtest, playtest feedback and rules discussion are about equal (especially impressive in the rules discussion subforum since last year had two official threads for each class). As one of the participants at the time, I can definitely confirm that in the case of the ACG's lengthier threads, not all of those posts were useful feedback, and I believe that this playtest had a significantly higher ratio of useful and insightful feedback to back-and-forth verbal sparring between forumites with different ideas on how the class should proceed than the ACG did. For instance, I read every post in the kineticist thread this time around as well as both swashbuckler threads last year, and I know that I found more useful feedback in the kineticist thread compared to the swashbuckler threads than the 3623:2631 post ratio would imply.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

pauljathome wrote:

I was curious so I took a look at the number of posts for the ACG playtest as opposed to the Occult Playtest.

There were over twice as many posts for the ACG playtest.

3665 vs 1285 in General Discussion
1096 vs 448 in actual playtest feedback
17657 vs 6786 in class/rules discussion

Admittedly comments are still coming in for the Occult Playtest. But the rate is significantly slowing down now that the playtest is over.

Given that the ACG seems to be generally (and Paizo has officially acknowledged this) NOT considered a success story in terms of how well balanced, editted, etc the book is the fact that less than 1/2 the playtesting was done for the Occult Playtest speaks volumes.

Now, to be fair:

1) Editing issues have nothing to do with playtesting or forum posts.

2) Lots of the things which are held up as being unbalanced (like Divine Grace Protection) weren't even part of the playtest to begin with, and so are not relevant to your comparison.*

Now, of the things that were actually playtested in the ACG, was there very much that would have benefitted from more playtesting? Because if not, then the comparison to OA shouldn't be that alarming.

*Whether the exclusion of supplementary content from the playtest is a good thing or not is an entirely different discussion...

Paizo Employee ***** Designer

Jiggy wrote:
pauljathome wrote:

I was curious so I took a look at the number of posts for the ACG playtest as opposed to the Occult Playtest.

There were over twice as many posts for the ACG playtest.

3665 vs 1285 in General Discussion
1096 vs 448 in actual playtest feedback
17657 vs 6786 in class/rules discussion

Admittedly comments are still coming in for the Occult Playtest. But the rate is significantly slowing down now that the playtest is over.

Given that the ACG seems to be generally (and Paizo has officially acknowledged this) NOT considered a success story in terms of how well balanced, editted, etc the book is the fact that less than 1/2 the playtesting was done for the Occult Playtest speaks volumes.

Now, to be fair:

1) Editing issues have nothing to do with playtesting or forum posts.

2) Lots of the things which are held up as being unbalanced (like Divine Grace Protection) weren't even part of the playtest to begin with, and so are not relevant to your comparison.*

Now, of the things that were actually playtested in the ACG, was there very much that would have benefitted from more playtesting? Because if not, then the comparison to OA shouldn't be that alarming.

*Whether the exclusion of supplementary content from the playtest is a good thing or not is an entirely different discussion...

In fact, the longer and more rounds the playtest is, the more different altered versions exist to confuse the freelancers for their turnovers for the other sections, and the less time we have to develop them (since we have to wait for the end of the playtest to finalize the classes, and we have to finalize the classes before we finalize anything else that plugs into them). So I would imagine that, all other things being equal, the non-class sections will look better with a shorter playtest.

**

I did not participate in the playtest this year.

The one person I know of who was going for the 9-slot boon was not able to get it due to tables failing to make and having to respec because they were unaware that they were not able to take a level dip and still get credit. I believe they did get to 6, however.

As has been indicated above, both the timing (between my two busiest holidays) and the short playtest duration did not help. There were several other chilling effects which resulted in my not playtesting these classes at all, but the main chilling point was the fact that most of my game play right now is in PFS and the structure of the chronicle sheet made me disinclined to sacrifice more time & effort.

recommendations for next playtest:

1. Find a way to allow higher-level playtesting without requiring GM credit.
I would recommend allowing re-play of existing scenarios, so long as the entire table is either re-playing or GM'ing with a static 500 GP, 1 XP, 2 PA max for a 1st level character like one receives for playing a pre-Gen. Call it a playtest replay and call it a day.

2. Find a way to encourage more play. Maybe unlocking First Steps II & III, but only for Playtesting, or some of the modified other scenarios which have been removed from Society Play. Maybe some of the 3.5 mods for static GP/XP/PA. Something which says "hey, this is special and limited time" rather than "hey, you know those rapidly dwindling # of scenarios you can play - why don't you burn through those EVEN faster!"

3. Longer playtest period, with better scheduling - we had a game day scheduled for Black Friday with 3 slots running. It would have been great to NOT end a play test just before lots of folks had a long weekend during which they may have been able to contribute.

4. Don't require GM credit to get a boon. I already burned most of my GM credit over the summer trying to "lock" aasimar's & tieflings. The timing between that and the playtest requirement was a huge deterrent to me.

5. Do something which encourages folks to GM for play-testers. Giving the GMs the additional headache of learning new rules which they will have to unlearn once the book comes out should have some acknowledgement and getting their feedback would also be useful (possibly even more so than the player feedback in some cases).

-TimD

Liberty's Edge **

3 people marked this as a favorite.

For playtests like this I wish there was a build-a-pregen option. Where could show up with a character at level 1, 4, or 7 with a single class and simmilar restrictions.
Let us test at higher levels and apply credit to other characters. So we can see how the classes play at levels beyond 3.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Jester David wrote:

For playtests like this I wish there was a build-a-pregen option. Where could show up with a character at level 1, 4, or 7 with a single class and simmilar restrictions.

Let us test at higher levels and apply credit to other characters. So we can see how the classes play at levels beyond 3.

Considering Level 7 is where "the sweet spot" of pathfinder begins that would be valuable data indeed.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Jester David wrote:

For playtests like this I wish there was a build-a-pregen option. Where could show up with a character at level 1, 4, or 7 with a single class and simmilar restrictions.

Let us test at higher levels and apply credit to other characters. So we can see how the classes play at levels beyond 3.
Considering Level 7 is where "the sweet spot" of pathfinder begins that would be valuable data indeed.

If we could have played at higher levels by effectively generating our own pre-gens then I would have partaken in this playtest even if you WEREN'T allowed to apply the credit if the playtest character was used this way.

As it is I knew I would not get more than a game or two and did not feel like wasting them playing a level 1 character and being able to provide very little feedback.

***** Venture-Agent

Well I know there were people with enough GM balls of credit they sort of could do that.

****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

One thing I'd like to see is a more direct avenue for the GM to give feedback on "that weird occult character" that was playing on my table.

Would be good to see how the presence of one of the new classes affected the game from the GM's perspective.

Dark Archive ***

TimD wrote:

I did not participate in the playtest this year.

The one person I know of who was going for the 9-slot boon was not able to get it due to tables failing to make and having to respec because they were unaware that they were not able to take a level dip and still get credit. I believe they did get to 6, however.

As has been indicated above, both the timing (between my two busiest holidays) and the short playtest duration did not help. There were several other chilling effects which resulted in my not playtesting these classes at all, but the main chilling point was the fact that most of my game play right now is in PFS and the structure of the chronicle sheet made me disinclined to sacrifice more time & effort.

** spoiler omitted **...

I got to the 6 boon but ran into the issues Tim mentioned between the very strange multiclass restriction (I didn't really follow as not working out dip impacts of new classes is perhaps more damaging then straight classes (see MoMS)) and just the amount of scenarios available. I even went to try and find online games but it was just hard to come by. I also realized that burning that many scenarios on a character I may not want to play to seeker was not a great tradeoff. I was essentially trying to get people round up for things I didn't want to play on my more preferred characters. Lastly, trying to play a single character with no room for GM breaks or other flavors of character inside of a single month was starting to burn me out.

Sovereign Court

I played a single PFS scenario with an OA character and did not wish to proceed when I found out there would be no second round to fix the myriad issues with the class (Medium). Low-level play with several of these classes who only start getting their meat of class features at 3+ is pretty unbearable, so I wasn't interested in playing any more than that in organized play where'd I'd be stuck there for 6 sessions.

****

I also like the suggestions for allowing one to build an Occult Adventures class to play within PFS but receive credit as though you played a pregen. The only non-first level occult classes I saw during the playtest were when I ran an module outside of PFS.

We ran one extra game in order to include the playtest, but that was the goal for those low level games was less about playtesting and more about a few people really wanting getting their playtest character that they really wanted to play in PFS in before the playtest window ended. Even if they had a number of GM chronicles to apply to them I suspect both would have refused them given they wanted to play their characters in society from start to end (and not cut that life short).

The only way I could have fit more PFS games in with the playtest characters would have been to drop the one high level module I ran. That would let me run a couple more scenarios in the window letting me see occult characters only at 1st and 2nd level.

The chronicle sheet was easy to understand, but people locally gave up on anything but the first level of the boon immediately. Since no one had more than a couple GM credit it would have been a virtually impossible task to get more than the second boon. We didn't run enough PFS games in the period to get to the second boon. The only two people who playtested got their one credit they needed to keep playing their character.

There was interest in playing higher level occult characters, but it was impossible for people to get characters to that point within PFS.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Captain, Germany—Aschaffenburg-Würzburg

I have not been able to participate with a playtest character in PFS, but to be honest, the fact, that I had no GM credit to test a higher level version was a big factor.

For future playtest, it would be very nice to get some customizeable pregen options (like a kineticist with set stats/race, but the choice to choose the element).

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

2 of us in our region got to 6 games played and several others got at least a game in.

I actually got to 6 games played on a kineticist with GM blob so it is almost level 8 with slow play. I also played one session with a level 1 kineticist. I played more games in this period than I had the rest of the year combined. (I like to GM a lot)

I like the idea of bringing your own character built to pregen levels and then getting credit the same as a pregen.

I also liked the restriction on multiclassing. The new rules are complicated enough with how they interact with various existing rules already. Having to try and figure out a whole set of strange interactions based on class abilities could be a nightmare.

Working in a way for GM to gain credit or get something for dealing with the new rules.

Paizo Employee ***** Designer

Michael Thompson wrote:

2 of us in our region got to 6 games played and several others got at least a game in.

I actually got to 6 games played on a kineticist with GM blob so it is almost level 8 with slow play. I also played one session with a level 1 kineticist. I played more games in this period than I had the rest of the year combined. (I like to GM a lot)

I like the idea of bringing your own character built to pregen levels and then getting credit the same as a pregen.

I also liked the restriction on multiclassing. The new rules are complicated enough with how they interact with various existing rules already. Having to try and figure out a whole set of strange interactions based on class abilities could be a nightmare.

Working in a way for GM to gain credit or get something for dealing with the new rules.

That's fantastic! Any chance that you have any playtest data for levels 6 and up?

If so, this isn't the right thread probably, but I'm always interested in more.

Paizo Employee ***** Developer

Sebastian Hirsch wrote:

I have not been able to participate with a playtest character in PFS, but to be honest, the fact, that I had no GM credit to test a higher level version was a big factor.

For future playtest, it would be very nice to get some customizeable pregen options (like a kineticist with set stats/race, but the choice to choose the element).

That's an intriguing variation on the pregen idea, as I'm not really comfortable with everyone designing their own pregenerated characters free form and plopping down in high-level Society games. It's too much of a strain on the organized play system for several different reasons. I could imagine providing a few (for example) kineticist chassises that have set ability scores, race, and maybe a handful of pre-selected feats, skills, and items. The player could then fill in a few of the blanks, choose which element to use and with which powers, and go from there. This wouldn't be a good test of wild character designs at high levels, but it would be a fairly consistent test of high-level function.

I don't know that this is how we would operate a future playtest, but it's something to think on.

Paizo Employee ***** Designer

John Compton wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:

I have not been able to participate with a playtest character in PFS, but to be honest, the fact, that I had no GM credit to test a higher level version was a big factor.

For future playtest, it would be very nice to get some customizeable pregen options (like a kineticist with set stats/race, but the choice to choose the element).

That's an intriguing variation on the pregen idea, as I'm not really comfortable with everyone designing their own pregenerated characters free form and plopping down in high-level Society games. It's too much of a strain on the organized play system for several different reasons. I could imagine providing a few (for example) kineticist chassises that have set ability scores, race, and maybe a handful of pre-selected feats, skills, and items. The player could then fill in a few of the blanks, choose which element to use and with which powers, and go from there. This wouldn't be a good test of wild character designs at high levels, but it would be a fairly consistent test of high-level function.

I don't know that this is how we would operate a future playtest, but it's something to think on.

I honestly considered something similar before the playtest. In the end, I decided it wouldn't have helped me too much, since by the point I built the standard character chassis, I could just run playtests with that build, probably more than the number of people who would post playtest results. What I personally wanted, and this may be different for me than the other designers, was to see people finding things I didn't expect.

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