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Don't worry about it. I've run it over 20 times.
Mists of Mwangi:I didn't penalize either group for their atypical solution. The author can't cover every angle. If your players head right for the final encounter and you want to use your locked door idea, I think that's an appropriate solution if you feel that the game experience will suffer as a result of an early ending. The players in the sessions I mentioned above were proud they did something outside of the norm and remember the session fondly.
One time the players never entered the museum, destroying the idols from the windows. One other time the players did it the way you anticipated.
I think most players will stay on the rails. I should say, rather, I know most players stay on the rails in this one. I've put over a hundred of them through Mists. The more experienced ones will meta-game and fool themselves into believing they need to explore the closer rooms first because there's probably a handy tool or helpful bit of info that's vital to the mission's success in there.
Congratulations on the 5th Star and welcome to The Island! Alex is one of those GMs who is so smooth when he improvises he fools the players into believing it's all part of the author's script. Only when you read the scenario afterward do you realize that side track your party went on was never covered, but Alex was able to get you back on the tracks without anyone being the wiser. He truly belongs in the ranks of the 5-Stars.
Alex is also a great organizer, managing one of our showcase PFS locations for over 30 months now. Twice this year he has organized the multi-table Specials on a Wednesday night no less. In 2014 he has organized exactly 150 tables at Mainstreet Billiards (they average 3 tables a week) and he's GMed 41 out of 50 weeks (the last two Wednesdays of the year were waived due to the holidays). That's the amount of dedication he has as a GM and as an organizer. What a guy!
I think you have the right idea; explain that curing the Pallid Plague requires a specific treatment and anti-plague won't alone suffice. Without the threat of the disease, this scenario becomes pointless. You have raised a good question. I bet that some GMs have come up with more inventive solutions that simply saying anti-plague won't work. I hope they share their ideas. Antiplague is relatively expensive at low levels, but giving that the title of the scenario is The Pallid Plague you are wise to expect it to show up.
Paul Maplesden via the Asheville Lodge provides these character background sheets on their website. Pass these out to your group and tell them to complete them for the next game. I think many players have an idea about what their character looks and acts like, but they go with the flow at the table. I agree with blackbloodtroll; in most cases when I sit down with players his statement is the status quo. I find it very frustrating, but I also believe that Pathfinder Society scenarios foster this behavior. There is no reward for role-playing, so why are we put out when it doesn't happen? There is a ray of hope. When one player at the table begins to role-play well, it can inspire and elevate the rest of the players to follow suit. Kind of like when a player is talking with a French accent it begins to infect the speech of other people at the table.
No disrespect to Horseman, but it doesn't matter if the death was reported or if he received a Chronicle. We play under the honor system. Just because there may have been a bureaucratic mistake doesn't mean he gets a do-over. Carlos knows he played the scenario. Splitting hairs about how much he actually absorbed from 2.5 rounds of participation is a distraction. Fortunately he's earned a GM Star (thanks for your service, Carlos!) and can burn it to play it again for credit.
Scenarios are typically released at the end of the work day on the West Coast. Don't even bother checking until 9PM EDT. It is risky to plan to run new releases on the weekend following their date of availability. We usually don't know if there is going to be a delay until the day of release. Products have to pass through an editing pipeline at Paizo, so often delays are out of the hands of our campaign staff.
You can refuse all except for XP.
Edit: Damanta, he could waste the PP the same way he wasted the Gold. The Fame he would be stuck with, I'm thinking.
The reason you can't defer XP is because it could skew the wealth-by-level curve intended for PFS. Let's say you accept the Gold but not the XP when you play. You could end up as a 1st level character playing in Tier 1-5 scenarios wearing the gear of a 10th level PC. Taken to the extreme, it would be unbalanced.
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."
Here's my answer (expect table variation):
2. & 3.) I'm going to disregard the scenario instructions because they don't make sense. I'll present it organically, meaning I'll try and present the situation as it might have developed rather than putting minis down in illogical positions:
The author probably had either a different map or different creatures when the scenario was turned over. I don't much like how cramped the fight is in A2.
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."