As the Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign and the Pathfinder RPG itself has developed over the last several years, players have expressed increasing concerns about the availability of replay, new players being overwhelmed or overshadowed by over-optimized characters, Chronicle sheet rewards not having much meaning, and other concerns related to the sheer amount of information and options available to PFS players. With the help of our dedicated venture-captains, the team here at Paizo has developed a solution designed to solve all of these problems—and more. We call this solution the Core Campaign, a new mode of PFS play that utilizes all of the campaign's current scenarios and resources—only with a significantly lower barrier to entry. Here are some of the highlights:
- The current Pathfinder Society campaign remains unchanged with use of all of Additional Resources. It is still named Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The new option will be titled Pathfinder Society Core Campaign. Both campaign "modes" use the same scenarios, modules, and other sanctioned adventure resources.
- Every new and veteran player may participate in both the current and Core Campaign at the same time.
- For players participating in the Core Campaign, only the Core Rulebook, Character Traits Web Enhancement, and Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play may be utilized for character creation.
- At no time may any trait, feat, equipment, magic item, skill, animal companion, familiar, or any other character option come from a source beyond these three resources unless it appears on a Chronicle sheet. Race boons found on Chronicle sheets may not be used in the Core Campaign.
- If an item appears on a Chronicle sheet, a PC may purchase and use it regardless of the book it comes from, with the exception of a boon that opens up a different character race.
- Just like in the current campaign, a player may receive credit once for playing and once for GMing a scenario in the Core Campaign; this credit is independent of player and GM credit in the Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign. This means a player can play once in each of the two campaigns and GM for credit once in each of the campaigns (four credits total, two per campaign), not including any limited replay opportunities established in the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play.
- At any point a player wants to transition their character from the Core Campaign to the existing campaign, they may do so. However, they may not bring that character back to the Core Campaign. As set forth in the current rules, a character may not have two of the same Chronicle sheet assigned to him, regardless of whether it was earned in the Core or existing campaign.
- GMs may utilize whatever books a scenario, module, quest, Adventure Path, or other sanctioned adventure utilizes.
- The Core Campaign offers limited replay opportunities for players who have already experienced an adventure in the standard campaign. There have been comments that veteran players have limited opportunities to play with new players and "show them the ropes." Opening up every adventure for replay an additional time allows for veteran players to play a scenario with a new player and still receive credit.
- This initative allows for an immediate influx of four new play opportunities every month—two new senarios playable in the existing campaign and the same two scenarios avalable for play in the Core Campaign.
- Game mechanics outside of the Core Rulebook, such as reposition and dirty trick, are not allowed unless a Chronicle sheet specifically opens it as a character option.
- Retraining may be utilized as the rules currently allow, but only when a PC retrains to take an option from one of the allowed Core Campaign resources.
- GMs will receive star credit for GMing a game, regardless of whether it was an existing campaign or Core Campaign game.
- If a Core Rulebook option advises that something found in the Core Rulebook is clarified in the Bestiary 1, then the player uses that specific option out of the Bestiary 1 to meet the requirement set forth in the Core Rulebook. That would include, but is not limited to, animal companions, special abilities, summon spells, etc... Only the Bestiary 1 is available for these extra options outside of the Core Rulebook.
The next question I think people will ask is: when we will be able to start playing games in the Core Campaign? We're planning to have this system publicly available and ready for you to use later this week! When creating a new event, the new system will allow you to select if a scenario is being run in the existing campaign, Core Campaign, or both (for multiple tables of the same adventure). Likewise, when reporting data from completed sessions, the system allows the person entering data to choose to report which campaign the session was run in.
We hope that this new initiative, along with the new faction journal cards highlighted in last week's blog, will bring an exciting new energy to the campaign on a global scale. I look forward to reading thoughts about the new Core Campaign and how it will help your local Pathfinder Society community.
Global Organized Play Coordinator