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Given the problem of astronomical triggers in an environment rife with astronomical triggers, maybe borrow a line from vampirism and say that lycanthropy is an invasive, alien mode of reproduction? That way, you retain the "dread at loss of control, self, and identity" than is the hallmark of the transformative curse.
For example, you have an alien species which infects a host, but only gets expressed when the host is in a good position to infect another - maybe the trigger is low population density (alone with someone), or proximity to some other kind of trigger which is conducive to infection (a certain environment - moonlight can become a special case!)
Perhaps the werewolf's initial draw of blood "samples" the victim, which then guides whether the monster leaves infected survivors, or simply kills its victims.
This is an argument as old as Organized Play (at least - it's probably as old as cooperative gaming).
It's related, of course, to arguments about play style (role vs. roll), but much of what we have here can be illustrated by an analogy.
We decide to host a basketball game. We secure a court, and we invite anyone to attend, up to the random completion of a team roster (however many that it - I'm not a basketball fan - but let's call it 8). This invited team will be playing against Team GM, themselves a group of fairly randomly, just-happen-to-be-available folks.
Now, on both sides, we get a mix of everyone from NBA professionals to folks playing basketball for the first time, all on the same court; the probability of one player being eclipsed by another is fairly high. What can we do to mitigate this?
Well, we can try to narrow the player types within a given game (all beginners, all NBA professionals, etc), but if we're already often struggling to fill courts, that may present an unrealistic mustering management problem.
I can tell you what I do (well, have done, as I seldom play or run lately) to mitigate the table-variation problem: I simply don't leave tables to chance. I have certain people I play with, and certain people I GM, and as a group we're kind of mutually curated based on preferences in play style, power level (high, in our case), and so on. And that's a very valid approach, placing emphasis on the "Organized" in Organized Play. I won't even play at conventions unless it's a pre-arranged table, right down to selecting the GM - I just don't waste time on pick-up groups. Problem solved (for me).
As for solving table variation at a system level, I can only think of one pretty surefire mechanism: add competition to the game. If you asymmetrically reward a certain mode of play, you'll herd the playerbase into that play style. There are certainly examples within PFS of punishing players who do "too much damage" or are "too effective" (the retirement arc comes to mind). Add a need for delicacy to scenarios to tone down damage, or have social-only solutions to certain problems, etc - and most importantly, never give a heads-up about it or hint at it in scenario titles - and you can cultivate a timidity in players.
Or, swing this 180 degrees and reward power - if everyone is comfortably high-toned, scenario difficulty can simply be elevated to match it without worrying about steamrolling laggers.
On the whole, though, it's simply a feature of d20's linear mechanics that power can vary sharply within a level (you can probably model this as "slope"), compared with more "statistical" games.
The simplest solution is simply to pick and choose your tablemates, though.
I assumed mine would be culled - one week lead time, on the road during that time, didn't fully process the "terms and conditions" (I had designed a weapon, a staff, AND a ring, and was surprised that I couldn't submit more after the weapon... doh!), and (in my haste) formatting mine incorrectly.
So, mine was doomed... DOOMED!
But, I did submit, and it was my first go at the Superstar process. Next year, readier (one hopes), I'll make a more determined effort.
(And I can use my designed items in home games...)
If I can just edge up one category per year...
I think just about any level of fluff is fine so long as the player doesn't try to leverage it for mechanical benefit. As a GM, if i sit down with such a player, at least I know he's familiar with the world or has read up on it, or possible has some awareness of story lines, all of which implies that he's that finest of all players: one who pays attention.
Without divulging spoilers (directly), I have a character who's a member of a certain far-northern aristocratic family - a member of which was (possibly) spared in a Year Zero scenario, thus granting the favor of that family. My logic was that one of my high-level characters had that year Zero boon, and when I retired the character, it happened that she took on a young ward - a member of said aristocratic family - and said ward is now a PC. So it's a background which played logically from my characters' lives, even as it's bound to "in game" specifics.
Jeff Merola wrote:
The official ruling on the matter is that Spellcraft can be used to identify SLAs.
Oh? That one's new to me! If you could post a link, it would be much appreciated.
(I've had three 5-star GMs rule against my use of Spellcraft to identify SLAs! I want to be rules-equipped next time...)
1. Well, yes, there is a rule against changing the scenario - the PFS Guide advises GMs to run scenarios as-written. There are some mechanics to add to the diplomacy check (bribery, bawdy lyrics, etc), so you could be liberal in suggesting these to the players. If the PCs are pretty bad at diplomacy, you could permit assists as well - all told, you should be able to finagle a +14 bonus for the diplomacy check, if a time limit is forcing you into a state of mercy.
2. The quasits? Well, their intent is less to kill the elves than it is to split the PCs up as some rush over to save them - so they should deploy in a manner to require maximum travel (lots of boggy terrain between the PCs and the elf, etc.) Every table I've run, PCs have sought to counter the quasits... players worried about prestige points suddenly stop being pure murderhobos for a few minutes when that prestige is threatened!
The main time savings is simply not bothering with the fungus queen (optional encounter), which can take a while.
PFS is in its 6th season (and, I think, 7th year), and some parallels can be drawn between it and another major campaign which lasted 7-8 years, Living Greyhawk.
There are a number of things which happen as a campaign matures, and most of these affect publicly-observed play of PFS:
1. Pathfinder, as a game, has become very cumbersome and bloated. I know I don't like GMing it any more, because there's just no way for me (a busy person) to meaningfully master the rules. I feel like I'm playing RIFTS at times! I know this has driven players away, as well. This happened in LG as well (the infamous 3.5 bloat.)
2. There's a natural phenomenon which occurs in long-lasting organized-play campaigns: groups of players, brought together by game days, get to know each other and eventually move their games out of public venues, running privately at homes. Less fuss, no time limits, even non-PFS house rules are possible in such a scenario; I know I prefer playing in a home. This does have the effect of reducing the *visible* play population, though.
3. Other campaigns. Obviously, Adventure League is here (D&D 5). Honestly, if I had Wednesdays free, I'd pretty much switch to AL (for reason #1). That's not to say I'd quit PFS, though - I have room for a few games, in theory.
4. I think over the long term that lack of meaningful campaign continuity - allowing so many characters, for example - causes loss of interest in the actual campaign or story; it's pretty obvious that folks play PFS to play characters and builds, and that very little concern is given to actual story lines. The fact I can play a Year 6 at 9am and then a Year 1 after lunch - with the same character - illustrates that PFS scenarios are "instanced", not "serial", with a few rare exceptions rewarded by special chronicle boons (like playing Rats of Round Mountain 1 and 2 in order). The most immersive organized play campaign BY FAR, "Heroes of Rokugan" (now in it's 3rd campaign), is "storied" enough that players want to play the same character through all of them, in as close to "order" as possible; it's uncommon to have more than a main and a backup character in the campaign. Such heavy investment in a character (the stories run 5 years, and usually about 100 scenarios) builds a small but very devoted following.
5. Serious players grind through scenarios at a rate exceeding production, and simply run out of play. Steam lost, they drift away. I know I went from playing/GMing scenarios 5+ times per month, to my current playing of about 1 scenario monthly and maybe GMing one scenario every 2-3 months.
Basically, in Atlanta we have slight net growth, since we seem (lately) to have brought in quite a few *young* players (college-age). We've also lost almost all the "original" crew, and a number of committed players simply finished *everything*, and have moved on to AL.
I'm trying to remember the last time I ran a table for players who weren't already basically familiar with a scenario - must be refreshing!
That said, no, I really don't advise players outside of a blurb: PFS characters have enough options and ability-buy points that there's simply no reason not to have a degree of versatility. I'd be more worried about the team as a whole (say, three enchanters, or some other redundancy) than a particular character's suitability for a scenario.
If players ask, I'll certainly tell them if a scenario has something for their particular faction, so they get a crack at whatever faction boon is there and can enjoy the relevance of their faction during the scenario.
But if someone is SO specialized that they're unable to function in a given scenario, well... we all know that's a risk of specialization; it just balances the extra fun they got in another scenario which they were able to trivialize!
[PFS] Survivability of Fullcasters at level 1? Or is it impossible to make your first PFS character a fullcaster without getting some GM or pre-gen credit first?
I've played a number of full casters through level one with no problem, including a "flavorful" kitsune. No details, because I'm pretty sure you'll say "but I don't want/like that."
A couple of things to consider, though:
1. There really aren't any "meat shields" at 1st level; stop lamenting your lack of one and build for survivability.
2. How you actually play matters. When you're a 1st level caster with 8-11 hit points and meaningless AC, your defensibility is a matter of play: strategy, positioning, relative deployment.
My arcane casters, at level 1, typically have either 8 or 11 hit points (the latter if they're human) and AC 10, but I play them well; none have died. Indeed, it's pretty rare that they're ever injured.
Play trumps build in this case.
I'm not sure it's the most dangerous (simply because it's 7-11; there are some 1-5 scenarios which are really deadlier - Citadel of Flame comes to mind), but in the hands of a clever GM, it can be very nasty indeed.
I don't think I would run a pick-up group through it: I'm very confident that I'd TPK such a table. When it comes up eventually at a game day, and I elect to GM it, I'll request that the table (we pre-muster everything in Atlanta via forums) coordinate resources and talk strategy (buffing, who does what, and so on) via PM or email (or whatever) prior to play.
When I played it, I had signed up for it about 6 weeks in advance, and I sent a PM to all the other registered players saying "hey, what's up"; by the time we sat down to play, we had thorough knowledge of each other's characters, we'd coordinated consumable purchases (like, ahem, Goz masks for everyone), and we had a primary strategy, a secondary strategy for when that was countered, and a tertiary strategy for when THAT was countered... so, a strategy onion. Of course, we had pre-determined that we would run hard mode (well, I may have just declared it so, and everyone agreed!)
That's the kind of deep prep I'd recommend to a table planning on a hard mode run.
It's an event!
Game Master wrote:
I sympathize, but in PFS, you're kind of bound by RAW.
First, you'd still need to target the bottle (hard, in the smoke), and second, you'd need to replicate a 9th level spell (interplanetary teleport), which a wish can't do (it's limited to 8th level spells).
What I would probably have done would have been to wish a greater planar binding to bring in two efreet, who would then use their three wishes each to also cast greater planar binding three times, so I'd have a total of six elder air elementals. They'd clear the air nicely, as well as provide some nice melee support.
I'm the first to admit that an all-Goz party deserves the symmetrical cheese of six elder air elementals!
Unless a GM has full control of a game and abilities to modify on a whim, Goz mask+eversmoking bottle, makes 95% of games easy, even ones with hardmode.
Exactly so, which is why it was the "core" strategy.
(Leveraging the rare situation that 5 out of our 6 players had a boon on their character granting use of an 8000gp item for one scenario... coincidentally, the cost of a Goz mask. None of us actually owned one!)
I can certainly think of a number of ways for Krune to counter it, though.
Our group over planned this big time (if you play Shadowrun, THAT kind of over planning); we had layered strategies, contingencies, you name it.
(I developed our strategy, but I was ignorant of the scenario beyond "it's really deadly and there's a hard mode.) Fortunately, everyone complied with strategy and stayed focused. We had no deaths, we disabled all traps and killed everything, and did it on less than the four hour slot.
The BIG advantage was that I made sure everyone had a Goz mask (except one of us who we kept echolocation on); we walked around with an open eversmoking bottle, so we had a perpetual 100' radius cloud of smoke around us: impossible for Krune to target us with his horrid wilting.
We all had life bubble, freedom of movement, a couple had magic circles vs evil. My wizard kept analyze dweomer up so I knew all of Krunes active spells (especially the spell turning, which was a problem). After a few rounds, we managed to get a dimensional anchor on him: the end.
(He wished for a prismatic wall, so he used that to define a safe zone.
I petrified the lash mistress, so she folded instantly (persistent flesh to stone).
The visibility advantage was crucial, obviously.
Still, a fun mod, cool display of the power of preparation, and hard mode won in three hours and change.
I look VERY forward to running it (mwahaha!)
Well, it was just badly written, and then the source was never edited (or edited poorly).
Hey! A game book!
As a GM, I'd rule it by the actual, correct uses of action types: aggression a free action, defense and warning immediate actions.
There is no "RAW" because the action types for defense and warning are simply not compatible with free actions, so if it's PFS, you'd just have to deal with table variation.
It's an infrequent-enough ability (I think at max PFS level you can use it 4 times a day?) that it shouldn't pose too much of a problem; it's worth bringing up to the GM prior to play, though, to get a head's-up as to his or her ruling.
I think you'll see them at the more "major" cons.
I have one - I think maybe I got it at Dragon Con?
I'd expect them to be at Origins, for example... cons like that.
Maybe Scarab? Probably if you contact the gaming organizer at a con, they'll have some idea of the kinds of boon available (though often those are only finalized days prior).
Yes, I use this spell often (my PFS ranger always takes it).
I played a scenario in which the BBEG was incorporeal, invisible, stationary, and hiding inside (improved cover) the top of a 100+ foot tall tree: essentially +58 to stealth.
My ranger, with acute senses cast, rolled a 71 perception check (+52 perception, rolled a 19), spotted the BBEG, and then - courtesy of improved precise shot, favored enemy undead, a seeking, holy bow, and arrows treated with ghost salt - proceeded to annihilate said BBEG with a full round of attacks.
Very, very nice spell!
I see no reason to require some kind of punitive fix ("sorry, you'll have to retrain - how much prestige do you have?")
Just fix all the stuff that's wrong with as few tweaks as possible, then maybe sign off on it on the most current chronicle ("fixed character: DCH").
The one place I'd be a little less magnanimous is equipment or magic items the character bought "based on" what he thought his character was; if he can no longer use the Hat of OMG, or the Scorpion Whip of Ouch! +2, he still has to sell it per PFS standard rules - he can't "cash it in" for full value. Or he can keep it, and try to work towards using the items legitimately after he gains a level or two. There is some small value in learning the PFS specifics prior to play!
Having played PFS for six years (since Season 1), and having brought a number of characters up through the ranks (levels 18, 12, 12, 11, 11, 7, 7, 4, and a handful of 1s), I can say I don't ever remember needing "more weapon options", even one time.
Home game? Sure. But in PFS, there's pretty much never a wind wall, fickle winds, or much in the way of disarmers or sunderers. Yes, I can think of some scenarios I might be able to finagle some weapon-snatching as a GM (and I have done so a couple of times), but it's pretty rare. As I say, I've never had it done to me as a player.
It's my main objection to the switch-hitter ranger (that darling of ranger guides) in PFS: it's just not necessary.
Levels 2-3 are pretty much "if you die, you stay dead". Take care at those levels!
As for applying chronicles to a dead character: no, you can't do that. Clever way to eventually "afford" a raise dead for the character, but... No!
If you don't want to waste those 6 or so scenarios you played with the character, you can always use his death as a "brother" backstory when you reroll!
I start all my characters at the minimum age for their class (per CRB), and then I add the Season # to determine their age in a given scenario - kind of my own private joke about the lack of continuity in a PFS character's life.
Of course, this makes my PFS 18th level sorceress, at most, 22 years old (Season 6), which is a pretty terrifying notion.
I haven't really kept track, but I'd say I have a PC death about once every scenario? That's an average, though, and the pattern is more realistically a large number of scenarios with no deaths, and then one with many (or a TPK).
I've presided over the TPK of 10 scenarios (Murder on the Silken Caravan, Our Lady of Silver, Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible, Citadel of Flame, The Heresy of Man I, The Flesh Collector, Dalsine Affair, Among the Gods, The Immortal Conundrum, Elven Entanglement) and 2 modules (Feast of Ravenmore, Cult of the Ebon Destroyers), so just those TPKs account for probably 60-70 character deaths (most were full tables). Since I've run 70ish games, those alone figure an average of 1 death/table.
However, if you remove the TPKs from the data pool, total PC deaths, on average, greatly drop. I can't remember them all, but I'd ballpark it around 10-20, so let's call that about 15, or one per four tables.
So average PC deaths/table? About 1.2/1
Beware of averages!
I'm in Jiggy's camp - you just have to trust in an honor system.
It was the same issue with 3.5 organized play campaigns when the system got bloated - there's just no way for one person to meaningfully grasp all the rules and character abilities, so you just assume the player's know what they're doing (and aren't malicious).
And that's probably 90% accurate, which is good enough to keep a sustainable campaign.
It's more of a problem for GMs when running high-tier scenarios, because it requires far more prep, looking things up and reviewing unfamiliar abilities and spells (and planning for their strategic application). The option is simply to not run high-tier.
I'm ready for Pathfinder 2, myself, but until then, I'm just going to let my players do their thing.
René P wrote:
Unknown reason as to why he read it before hand. He has extremely limited GMing experience to my knowledge so I doubt it was for GM prep.
Well, in this instance, it's reasonable to assume he simply wanted foreknowledge of the scenario. Perhaps he wanted to see if it "fit" his character - who knows. But it's cheating, flat-out.
That said, PFS obviously does allow people with foreknowledge to play the game - namely, those who've GMed it or (in less common circumstances) will be GMing it soon, and just had to read it already (maybe they're running it tomorrow). Now, there are GM-star replayers as well. The Guide is pretty strict that these players have to play "dumb".
I'd prefer the person simply not play at my table - I loathe a cheat - but if somehow that wasn't an option, I'd completely forbid any kind of in-scenario prep (no purchases), disallow spell selections and other preparations which implied a knowledge of the scenario, and simply block any attempt to use knowledge of the scenario ("nope, there's no secret door in this room" "No, the cleric has no wands on him - why do you ask?") If this inconveniences the other players, I'd make sure they understood that it was a consequence of someone having read the scenario.
Cheating needs to be shameful. It really needs to be harshly punished, but the nature of PFS makes that challenging (it's hard to really ban someone from play, for example). I've seen Organized Play campaign in which it became "the culture" (Living Forgotten Realms) to seek out scenarios with favorable items and so on based on foreknowledge, and that's a very slippery place. LFR was so bad that people would publish spoiler lists of scenarios with listed items and boons so that folks could plan their farms (oops, I mean play schedule) accordingly.
I certainly hope this new player at least felt stupid, if not embarrassed.
If a GM feels comfortable revising the faction missions to accommodate current factions, I'd say "do it" - a major aspect of part IV is illustrating how "corrupted" the Society has become by internecine intrigues, and the need for "true Pathfinders" to transcend it. It just has to be meaningful.
Of course, this violates the PFS edict forbidding scenario rewrite. I'm chaotic neutral, though, so...
Here's how I'd handle it:
(i) "Guys, factions are a thing in this, so do you mind if I rewrite the faction missions accordingly?"
(ii) If "yes", do I feel comfortable rewriting them? In other words: can I write? do I understand game balance? do I feel I can retain the existing difficulty of the scenario doing this?
(iii) if "yes", rewrite.
Yes, well, blood money is strength damage, which is sometimes a bit scary for (strength-dumped) casters!
Good idea to have a wand of lesser restoration on hand, and the ability to use it.
Unless the scenario has weather impacting encounters - that is, written in - it's simply a mechanical layer which slows things down, anyway. Home play? okay, I guess, but in a 4-5 hour game, you just need to keep things streamlined!
That said, I mention non-mechanical weather to set atmosphere (meaning no fogs, etc) as needed.
I think what the OP is asking is "now that we have some new classes, will we get access to some new races? Ideally, those well-suited to certain of the new classes; orcs, for example, seem thematically suited to the shaman class."
(And when IS the Pathfinder Society going to charter a lodge in the Hold of Belkzen? High time, if you ask me!) :P
Not an official answer: don't hold your breath for access to orcs!
It's not really an issue because Trade Prince is Qadira (Exchange) and Noble Title is Taldor (Sovereign).
Since you can't be a member of both factions, stacking isn't an issue.
Now, in the outlier case of "I was Qadira" (and got Trade Prince) but I switched to "Sovereign" (with access to Noble Title) then yes, you could have a nice string of titles.
In theory, you could have been Aldoran, taken Captain and Knight, switched in an earlier season to Qadira, taken Trade Prince, and switched recently to S.S. and taken a Noble Title, and be Knight Captain and Trade Prince Lord Velarrio the Faceless, Viscount so-and-so.
Yeah, the practice of "resetting" character knowledge from scenario to scenario is just laughably stupid - it's probably one of the main things I'd change about PFS's "GM culture".
It's two cardinal gaming sins rolled into one: it completely destroys immersion, revealing that the character is not, in fact, a character, but is simply a collection of abilities and skills which "reforms" anew from scenario to scenario and-
It completely invalidates player knowledge of the game and player attention TO games. Pathfinder actually *is* a game, and skill in the game and "paying attention" should be rewarded, not discounted.
In short, it makes PFS scenarios instances, not episodes.
(For the record, as a GM I will certainly respect the fact that your character encountered the oozes before, and "allow" them to have the entirely reasonable - since your character is a *character* with memories and experiences - strategic recollections.)
Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
Plus, if this was heavily exploitable how long do you think you would live if your GM was heavily opposed to it being possible?
Indeed, but the main issue with something like this - had it been viable - would be Pathfinder Society, in which GMs are bound by RAW and unable to customize scenarios.
And there's always the risk that further books will contains something which will change this argument in favor of spell batteries, and *boom*, there it is.
That's an interesting distinction, but no.
Stone Call and Ice Spears cause damage directly through the spell effect; something like Create Pit causes a fall, but the fallcauses incidental damage, not the spell.
Similarly, a Dazing Telekinesis will not allow us to toss someone in the air, only to suffer a dazing impact upon landfall - the spell causes the fall, and the fall causes the damage.
I never really thought about it, but it's a subtle distinction - good question!
(Basic semantic distinction between cause (directly) and cause (indirectly) - the former is required for Dazing... otherwise you could cast a Dazing Summon Monster, and have a Dazing Tyrannosaurus on the loose!)
I don't have the book yet, but just to clarify: even without Technologist, a PC (say, an inquisitor) could make a K: Engineering check and get the full range of identifying info, powers, and so on? (ie. not cap at 10 per untrained?)
That was one of the big complaints in an earlier thread.
It pretty much just impacts Disable Device and Linguistics, then?
Manyshot adds an arrow to the first base shot, and I'm assuming divine power rather than haste for the "haste shot", because this should be without external buffs.
Also, with keen edge, you're threatening 10% of the time, which effectively adds 1.2 "shots" (0.6 of your arrows are "trippled" to 1.8, is one way to model it)... so in essence your per-arrow damage, sans bane, is being multiplied by 7.2, not 5, which would bring *your* calculation to 360.
Pretty close to my 354.
"Your feat levels are low, your to hit is low" - I don't know what this means? If you could clarify, I'd appreciate it (possibly your confused about my two posts, but one was based on my "actual" character (15th level), and the other was elevated to 20 to compare with a theorycrafted build. Possible confusion.)
For an inquisitor? Well, assuming level 20 (even though, who plays level 20 characters?), there's the judgement of destruction (+9 with slayer), wrath (+3 morale), divine power (+6 luck), and bane (+2), so that's +20 from direct self-buffs.
He can cast GMW on his non-magical bow, making it +5. So we're at +25.
He can attack with Deadly Aim, for another +8 to damage, bringing us to +33/arrow, and I offset the attack penalty with heroism (self-buff) and attacking invisibly (greater invisilibility, a self-buff).
With a +40 Perception (+/- depending on wisdom and feats), he can plausibly be aware of enemies with enough notice to buff up for 3 rounds, enough to cast his 3 short-term buffs.
Obviously, this depends on spell selection, although it's hard to imagine an inquisitor forgoing those I've mentioned.
In any case, it can be fairly routine for an inquisitor to add +33 damage per shot, plus 4d6 from greater bane, so ~+47/arrow, not factoring in crits (doubled in frequency courtesy of keen edge, of course); at 20th level, factoring in threat probabilities, damage output is in the neighborhood of 354/round. Build does have clustered shots, of course, important given no special materials or DR-bypassing judgements in-use.
Again, this is assuming no magic items - mundane items only.
In terms of actual play, especially from 1st level, it's pretty hard to beat a ranged inquisitor for crazy damage output, and they can also do so many other things: casting spells, skill monkeys, self-buffing, and so on.
In a home game, I currently play a 15th level ranged inquisitor. We're restricted to CRB/APG only, and we're "low magic" in that we have no magic mart, and only use what we find - part of the reason I played an inquisitor was knowing of these restrictions: I wanted self-sufficiency and versatility.
Buffed up and with judgements and greater bane active, and with no magic items, he can reliably output an average of 290 damage/round (+32*/+32/+32/+27/+22; *manyshot - 1d8+24+4d6/19-20(x3))... add in magic items and the whole Pathfinder ouvre and this can rise considerably.
(If he cast greater invisibility on himself, add +2 to all of those to-hits, and make the target flat-footed for even more reliable damage output.)
Just a very versatile character with high DPS.
It's certainly the case that, traditionally - and in the US - the market for pen/paper RPGs has been heavily male/white. My comments will focus on the US.
I've gamed for 35 years, and in that time I've seen a considerable increase in female gamers, and have sat at plenty of 50/50 tables, but it's certainly an area which can be improved further. As for people of color, they are grossly underrepresented in pen/paper gaming - even here in Atlanta, which is demographically 54% black, I know three (serious) black gamers, which is almost crazily skewed.
This is interesting, because representation of minorities in online gaming is much greater - what gives?
Relevant aside: Many years ago I was a director at Borders, Inc, and served on its Diversity Board. One thing which puzzled us was why did our share of minority customers, and especially minority employees, trail US demographics? The basic answer turned out to be that we weren't building stores in minority neighborhoods: the retail marketplace reflects proximity. In the digital world, online sales would seem to obviate this, but retail placement still serves a marketing function which can drive online sales, so proximity of in-store displays, face-outs, and so on can affect the online retail environment.
Looking at Atlanta - again, a city whose greater metropolitan area is 54% black - I note that there are no game stores in predominantly black neighborhoods. I mean none - and we have about 20-odd game stores. So, there's basically no proximity marketing of pen/paper RPGs to black consumers in Atlanta. There are other sales venues, like Barnes & Noble, but again, mostly those are in "white" neighborhoods. The driver of RPG sales to black consumers (and I'm focusing on the black market share because I'm familiar with Atlanta) just isn't present.
Now, I have been the CEO of a publishing company, and I considered - being a gamer - launching a game publishing division, so I looked into the realities a bit: game publishers are uniquely at the mercy of physical outlets - game stores, book stores, conventions - to market their products. Paizo, too, is dependent on this framework of market proximity, and so its "target market", realistically, needs to reflect its market reach - and that's where game stores are, which is "white" neighborhoods.
That said, Paizo itself is pretty amazing in featuring - through its iconics - great variation in race and gender, so it's actually well-positioned to market to a very wide segment, demographically. The physical reach just isn't there.
Hence your "privileged white" GenCon environment.
(Internationally, you have plenty of demographic variety in gaming, because you have proximity to those groups in those nations - the Turks, for example, who are quite mad about gaming! If you go to Istanbul, I'm confident you will find game stores in Turkish neighborhoods...)
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