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You are correct, and those other people are wrong.
The Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, page 32 wrote:
Tiers are a level restriction for play. If a PC’s level does not fall within the level range of a scenario’s tier, that character can not legally play in that scenario. For example, a 5th-level PC is legal for play in scenarios of Tiers 1–5, 3–7, and 5–9; a 1st-level PC can only legally play in a Tier 1 or Tier 1–5 scenario.
They may be confused because some Season 0 - 2 scenarios covered Tier 1-7, so level 1s could play in sub-tier 3-4 with level 7s. It does make sense when you read the Guide, but I can see where the misunderstandings arise.
Read 'Tiers and Sub-Tiers' on page 32 of the Guide, then come back here if you still think it's not enough to convince those 'other people' :)
I suggest that you don't use the organized play system. Run it how you feel comfortable, just don't present it as Pathfinder Society sanctioned. If these kids don't plan on playing with other organized players at PFS sanctioned gamedays or conventions, then there's no need to make them adhere to the PFS rules. Put on the kid gloves and let 'em have fun. When they are ready for the next level of difficulty, introduce them to PFS.
No. That's taking it too far. There's an unspoken contract between you and the players when you all sit down to play. Part of that is they have to trust that you are being fair and not just making stuff up. If they don't trust you, they need to find a different kind of game to play. If you don't trust them, give them more credit.
It's your job as the Game Master to use your imagination to describe the environment, the grotesque monster, the chaotic thrill of battle. Instead of saying to the player "I'm sorry, an attack roll of 12 misses the goblin warrior. You needed a 15 to hit his armor class.", you could say "The nimble goblin ducks under your whistling greatsword, not even needing to raise his shield to avoid your attack."
Gregory, on these messageboards you will find that if there's a way that something can be blown out of proportion, we will find it :) The campaign leadership understands this, so don't worry about anyone getting in trouble.
Your feelings are valid. The best way to make sure that this GM doesn't make the same mistakes over again is to first talk to them after the slot is over. That's not a time that we are always at our best. At that point we are frustrated and want to be anywhere else. The next best way is to contact the organizer of the event. If you still are not satisfied, then contact the local Venture-Officers.
Bringing a negative experience to these messageboards has unintended consequences, as you have seen. You can't turn back time though. I hope you play again. If you keep at it you will meet some pretty awesome people that you'd never run into in a home group.
GM Lamplighter wrote:
I assumed he was being sarcastic :)
Being sick of bad GMs in organized play inspired me to volunteer for the first time. I started LG in January 2006 and by March I was GMing at conventions. Gregory Connolly, you have the experience and you know what it feels like to be let down. Would you rather this happen to another table, or will you pick up the gauntlet that has been laid before you?
I ran this last night for the first time. Knowing how confusing all the NPCs are with foreign names & motives, I made handouts with some portraits from the scenario and other images from Google. There are 8 key NPCs to keep track of. I wish we were allowed to share work like this, but it is not covered by the Community Use Policy.
I fortunately had a table of 4 players. Having more face-time to share with the GM helped to keep them engaged. It was 3.5 hours of role-play before we ever rolled init. They enjoyed themselves but it is tiresome to think on your feet that long.
When I played this scenario, we straight-up murdered Shirin outside of the tomb. We were convinced that she was behind it all and would have ended it sooner had the GM not stopped us and explained how the plot was supposed to go. We were so frustrated by the time we got to the graveyard, we didn't give her a chance to talk. We ran up and started hacking her to pieces. We laughed about it afterward--what if she turned out to be innocent?
It made me think about how to avoid a replay of this when I ran it last night. First, don't put down a flipmat and place minis on it. That is like ringing the bell for Pavlov's dog. Players are going to go right into tactical mode. Just keep the atmosphere casual like the graveyard is a red herring and you're going to read them boxed text to lead them to the next clue. Describe "Umut" dragging herself away from the opened tomb looking like death warmed over. Let the players accuse her or make threats, but don't tip your hand. Have a good story rehearsed so it sounds smooth and natural. Every good lie contains a kernel of truth.
Umut: [moans] "Don't come closer! .... You have to get away, warn the others .... she's in there!"
In my game there were two inquisitors and a cleric of Sarenrae. Thanks to some favorable rolls, the encounter worked like the author intended. They did consider she was setting them up, but there was enough doubt in their minds they ended up getting hit from behind after they went down to fight "the necromancer in the tomb".
First encounter: "In the higher subtier, a pair of skeletal hodags also emerges from the woods as the zombie owlbears turn to attack the PCs." A suggestion: since the hodags have a burrow speed I start them underground and out of sight. After the melee types have engaged, I have the hodags approach the back ranks of the party like the gopher in "Caddyshack", leaving a channel of disturbed earth in their wake. It makes for a suspenseful encounter when the PCs don't know what's coming until it bursts from the ground.
Kyle never asked for a goblin boon, but he couldn't let something so precious go to waste. He loved Garble like only a father could (despite Kolossal Ego's inexhaustible jealousy), and in his heart he knew that this was going to be Garble's fate. He just had to come across the right GM armed with the right opponent. An epic death should be celebrated. [cue slow-motion montage of Garble Facechomper chewing on various foes scored to Carly Simon's "Nobody Does It Better".]
What were Garble's last words, Harold?
Doug Miles wrote:
Inquisitor, I know who killed Dancel and Johan. Two nights ago I was on the north road when I heard such a frightful noise that I dove in the ditch to hide myself. Soon after I heard strangely accented voices speaking of ‘completing a ritual’, needing ‘more flesh of innocents’ and that ‘the stars will not wait’. From my concealment I witnessed two dwarves and a halfling pass going north, away from Dawnton. They were covered in blood and the dwarves carried a large bundle between them wrapped in canvas. I thought them hunters until I heard what happened to Dancel yesterday. Like other decent folk here I try to keep my nose out of other peoples’ business. I needed to be certain before I leveled an accusation. When I found out those three were Pathfinders, I became even more fearful. That nefarious organization has a far reach and those who cross them always weep bitter tears. By happenstance I again came across the three of them in the village last night, just after word of the second murder. They were at the Heath & Harvest. The halfling appeared angry and the dwarves anxious. Considering the mood in the common room, this behavior did not seem amiss. However, I knew they were the ones behind the killing. I listened in as the dwarves asked around if anyone had seen who committed the murder. People said that Oleg didn't get a good look at the guy. They all seemed to relax. I heard the halfling say that they'll 'try again tomorrow'! As I write this I know my life may be forfeit if I make my knowledge public. By The Inheritor, these Pathfinders must not be allowed to get away with another murder! I know you have the courage to stand up for Dawnton. Please protect our village!-A Concerned Citizen
I'm working on the 3rd letter, but wanted to post this for critique:
Jorsal of Lauterbury at the Starrise Spire:
Pathfinders of Nerosyan,
I had some trouble wrapping my head around the omissions in this scenario. Likely the author had included the details but they were removed by the editor for the sake of word count. A lot is left up to the GM to pull out of thin air when the players start asking questions. There's nothing about who the victims were. The evidence against the accused Pathfinders is laughable. Why wait so long to hang a trio of murderers if the case was so open-and-shut? It should help to play up the village residents as prejudiced and unconcerned about that 'cityfolk' concept of a fair trial. Here are some ideas I jotted down:
Day 1 Ekira arrives in Dawnton
Day 7 Krunne arrives in Dawnton
Day 14 Krunne sends letter to VC Jorsal
Day 17 VC Jorsal receives letter, summons first PF team
Day 19 PF team departs Nerosyan
Day 21 Krunne commits first murder
Day 22 PF team arrives in Dawnton and begin to survey the environs, Krunne places victim's body on Otto's farm,
Day 23 Tovril steals dagger from Dakota Spire, Krunne commits second murder, drops Spire's dagger on the scene, Krunne sends anonymous letter to Ekira, PF team arrested
Day 24 PF team tried & sentenced to be hanged, Krunne sends next letter to VC Jorsal
Day 27 VC Jorsal receives next letter, summons PCs
Day 29 VC Jorsal briefs PCs, PCs depart Nerosyan
Day 32 PCs arrive in Dawnton at dusk, begin to investigate
Day 36 First PF team executed at dawn if not cleared of the murders
Dancel Parsipp, farmer, 20 years old. Was returning home from Dawnton in the early evening when killed by Krunne. Skinned in a hidden location, then carried to Otto's farm where he was hung up within sight of the farmhouse. His body was identified (dental records?) by his family and buried on their land a mile away from Otto's Farm.
EDIT: I'll add this also; it won't be hard for the PCs to undermine the evidence against the arrested agents. The key will be proving it. Likely no one in the village will accept the PC's 'expertise' until they can prove who DID in fact commit the murders. Throw the Pathfinders' reputation as murderhobos in the players' faces. Refer to the massacre in Ravenmoor as an example. The point is that Dawnton is not under the same laws as a modern country. They had a village meeting, an Inquisitor of Iomedae spoke passionately to the Pathfinders' guilt, the villagers had a vote and the majority believed the accused were guilty. To these people, that's justice. Now they wait twelve days to hang 'em ;)
Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Give it another 10 days. PaizoCon is next week and is the main focus for Paizo right now. I'm down over 100 sessions and I'm not worried. Granted, my stars are still intact so my deficit is invisible to most. Be patient, my friend. Think about the many ways you have been blessed, rather than dwelling on matters that are outside of your control. Spend a few minutes imagining what life is like in Syria or Iraq right now, then consider how silly our First World problems are.
Have you ever written an angry-but-unconstructive message, felt better, then deleted it without posting? I think you forgot that last step.
It's a dayjob. It's off-screen. You don't need to describe it, you just need to roll it. Sometimes I don't even ask what a PC is doing, they just roll and give me the number for their Chronicle at the end. Considering the things the campaign allows PCs to do, I personally couldn't care less about an "evil" day job. It's just another tired-out "Let's define what is evil" argument waiting to happen. People, let this one go.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Be patient. Your sessions aren't lost, they just aren't weighted quite right yet. You know how many sessions you have earned. Grousing at Customer Service isn't going to get the problem fixed quicker. It'll get done when the higher priority tasks are completed, and the Paizo IT dynamo puts his crosshairs over the glitch and obliterates it. Let's not make Customer Service's job any more difficult than it already is.
Would it surprise you that the Pathfinder Society has lots of agents that detect as evil, with the same intensity (or even greater) as the mayor? There are probably over a hundred clerics of evil deities working alongside the barbarians and paladins of the Society. Should they receive a greatsword to the face if they tell a lie? I'm just saying; if the barbarian is serious about cleansing the world of evil, he should start at the Grand Lodge :)
Wow, your group takes their murderhoboing serious! ;)
You may not have known this, but only part of the villagers were cultists. Looking at it from the villager's viewpoint: A group of Pathfinders came to their festival, played some games, shared their food, then suddenly one of them pulled out a big sword and for no good reason killed their mayor. Naturally, every able-bodied man acted to protect the women & children from these blood-thirsty maniacs. Even Desna reached out to protect them, drawing an aspect of herself from their mayor's dying body. It was a confusing battle, there may have been a big spider and strange monkey-looking thing trying to drive off the murderous Pathfinders. In the end, it was a massacre. The Pathfinders slaughtered all who opposed them. After the villagers fled into the forest, the mayor's home was ransacked and the treasury was stolen. Ravenmoor has been devastated. May Desna protect us from psychotic Pathfinders!
The effigy is put away in the daytime. It is only out at night. Unless you went into the Chenowicz home you probably shouldn't have fought it. I think that Yottsu hoshi above is being harsh, but I agree that you missed some fun roleplay & plot by a single player deciding that suspicion of evil is a death sentence.
If you haven't already, I suggest that everyone post a review of this scenario on the product page. Although Paizo staff do read these messageboards, the product reviews are where you can make your voice be heard the best.
I reported 3 new tables yesterday and retained my stars. I think that SCPRedMage is correct.
The only persons who are 'in the know' are John Compton & Mike Brock. John is the one crafting the Chronicle. I am sure he's aware of the eligibility questions and hopefully we'll have an answer today when he releases the Chronicle.
As far as 3) goes, I would trust you to make that decision. I ran all the tough encounters as mock combats using the pre-gens and they don't hold up well for some of them. The pyramid encounter killed two of them. However, a simple tanglefoot bag would turn the tide of the battle. The pre-gens aren't equipped with any, but if six 4th level PFS characters come to the table then you may want to take off the kid gloves.
Everyone please understand that your session credit will be restored, eventually. In the big picture at Paizo, this bug is not a high priority. They have product release schedules, turnover deadlines, PaizoCon, PFS Season 6, GenCon, etc. A lot of irons in the fire right now. Mike & John have no control over website bugs. Feel free to make jokes and share your mock dismay. Just be patient and realize that it may not be fixed today or even this week.
I'd like to point out that a lack of GM prep seems as much an issue as any of those. When I hear that GMs are running a scenario cold and the players had a cakewalk I have to roll my eyes. GMs should be studying monster abilities and tactics for hours ahead of time. They should look up spell descriptions before the game starts. Before anyone points a finger at a scenario they should ask "Did I give myself enough time to prep this correctly?".
I hit 500 in March. 512 currently. I've slowed way down since getting married. Had I remained single, I would probably be around 700. Will I ever reach 1,000? The odds are against it, but if PFS is still active when they stick me in the old folks home, I will make up for lost time.
Kyle Baird wrote:
Endless chorus of the abyss. Pure chaos. I imagine it like trying to hear and understand a thousand conversations at once, slowly driving you insane as it's impossible to understand or focus on any one voice.
Ahhh, so it's like trying to listen to your GM read the Venture-Captain briefing at GenCon in the Sagamore Ballroom on Saturday night ;)
How's this? "You hear them before you see them. The keening noise of a thousand shrill voices surrounds you, manically shouting unintelligible phrases that make you want to tear off your ears. A swarm of diminutive beasties, bat-winged and shark-toothed, darkens the sky with their numbers."
The Architect's Special Attacks:
Aura A mummified creature gains a frightful presenceaura with a range of 30 feet and a duration of 1d6 rounds. I think the DC should be 14, not 12. DC = 10 + 1/2 HD + CHA modifier.
Burst of Vengeance (Su):
Dust Stroke (Su)
That's the stuff that the stat block in the module didn't address.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Creature stat block questions:
Looking at the Anubis guardian statues on page 10, they have spent a CP on an additional attack but their melee attacks are listed as mwk khopesh or slam. I think it should be khopesh and slam. Also, the 'haunted flaw' it has seems pointless. How are the PC supposed to guess "Hey, these statues might be harmed by positive energy, let's try it and see what happens!"? The GM needs to drop some hints with their appearance to provoke some questions on this, else it was just silly to write them up that way. Thoughts?
On page 6 the listed DC for The Architect's frightful presence should be 14, not 12 (DC=10 plus half HD plus CHA bonus), correct?
GMs need to read up on Mummified creatures. Since they're out of the Bestiary 4, the information is not available on the PRD. I have a feeling that some GMs are just going to shrug and ignore 'burst of vengeance' and 'dust stroke' since they are not included in the stat block.
Congratulations Josh! Who's region does Fresno fall under, Michael's, Brent's or Robyn's? Is someone going to induct you or do you have to paddle yourself while reciting the sacred oath? ;) And why are Fresno's municipal borders so worm-eaten? Are those holes all private enclaves or actual municipalities? Can't anyone draw rectangles anymore?
The Pathfinder Society exists as an organization because that's a better hook for organizing PCs of disparate backgrounds into groups of 3-7 individuals than starting every scenario with everyone hanging out in a tavern waiting for a shady-looking guy to come in hunting for some "adventurers" to take on a needlessly complicated task. I don't try and analyze it any further than that. It answers the question "So what's in it for me?" or "How much are you paying us to do this?". Beyond that the whole thing doesn't make any sense.
The Aspis Consortium is based in Cheliax. The Kortos Consortium is based in Diobel and is local to the Isle of Kortos. It was recently detailed in the Diobel section of Towns of the Inner Sea, although no symbol for the organization was mentioned. Gord42, I suggest you just make something up--no one will know the difference. A ship, some coins, something simple should do. An organization based on avoiding taxes and tariffs by smuggling goods into Absalom isn't really wise to advertise too conspicuously.
I think it all depends on the gamer culture in the area. Some areas have a strong independent streak in them and can be downright contrary when someone suggests they do it different. Some areas are ripe for an organizer to come in and give them guidance. Some areas have so much organization they have created an actual club with a board, meetings and dues.
When I read about what I perceive as a lack of leadership in an area, it just makes me grateful for my own region. I recognize that if you try and force a system on a relaxed culture they will likely revolt (see Boiling Frog metaphor), but if you allow them to make the changes in their own time it bears a better chance of success. What you need to get started is leadership with vision.
It has been said before and bears saying again, we live and die by Warhorn.