You made a judgment call. Not all GMs are alike. We shouldn't try to be. At the end of the day, this is a game. It's your job to help them enjoy the game. If they don't enjoy the game, you are wasting your time. Sure, you can't please everyone all the time but in general if players are walking away from our tables feeling regret we should ask ourselves why we continue to GM.
What makes me curious is why you chose to come onto the boards and ask the question, 'was I right'? You won't find a consensus here; more like acrimony and dissension :( I have knocked some numbers off the damage dice myself, but my general rule is the dice kill the characters and I shouldn't try and help them.
I am curious why Janira's last name was changed to Gavix. On Monday's Blog the picture indicated her name was Janira Longburrow. Obviously "The Confirmation" was edited to change the name to Gavix because on page 7 her Wayfinder still has her original initials, "J.L.".
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
Unfortunately I didn't read the beginning of this thread prior to running The Kortos Envoy for the first time on Saturday. The Unfinished Hall's description says it is 25 feet wide (length not specified). The map Benchak suggested is 40 feet wide. That makes a big difference. At the high tier there is one Huge creature and eight Large creatures (5 minotaurs and 3 centaurs). Combine that with the PCs and it's one big traffic jam. The monsters in the back can't move anywhere. My players had great fun dropping fireballs and walls of fire into the gridlock.
The Shrine to Baphomet was very nice to draw, there are some great details to bring out. However, it again suffers from scale for different reasons. Dahroon the elder(ly) minotaur has a 20 foot movement speed. It can take him 2 rounds of double-moving to get to where he can actually attack when the PCs enter. The poor old goat took it on the chin before he actually had a chance to swing at someone. It was my misfortune to have a table of fireball-happy casters... Should I even mention what happened to Jerevyx's frost drakes?
Anyway, I'm crying over spilled milk. This scenario was released two years ago; this is just food for thought if anyone reads this before learning the hard way.
Eric has been doing the job of a VC for quite a while. He's quietly grown Central Michigan and has been a frequent sight as a supporter of conventions state-wide, as well as GenCon. Also, he's always been welcoming and inclusive on the messageboards. A well-deserved promotion! So when is Central Michigan's convention? At the winery, hopefully?
I think it is a joke, he still only shows 4 Stars. Nevertheless, we knew this day would come. Those incendiary charges I planted during the latest 'remodeling' phase are being triggered. All y'all at 4-Star Basecamp enjoy the fireworks! Apologies to the newcomers... See you guys at 5-Star Island! Check your e-mail for the secret location. Also included, your rotation schedule through the shark lab. We'll be surgically attaching anti-Dragnmoon laserbeams to some of the local hammerheads.
In all seriousness, congratulations Steven. You've been a good sport.
It would have been cool if there was a campaign rule that in order to get your 5th Star you would have to GM a table of challenging players in front of a select panel of senior GMs. You could only attempt it once a year. The panel criticizes you afterward then votes on your 5th Star. In the event of a tie you must lipsync for your life.
If you were to be judged by a panel of GMs, who are the five GMs you would choose?
I think most of you are spot-on with your assessment of the issue.
-GM feedback only helps GMs who care about quality improvement. Of the GMs in your area, how many fit that description?
-In many local areas you don't have much choice about your GM. You can play or you can sit out. Beggars can't be choosers.
-Paizo isn't going to back a GM feedback system. The cost versus benefit of creating, implementing and maintaining such a system isn't worthwhile.
-The feedback that I'd be most interested in would come from my peers, GMs who have run the same scenario multiple times before. Although player feedback would stoke my ego, 5-Star GM feedback would be more insightful and critical.
I asked a sociology professor friend of mine about a feedback system in 2012 when the subject has its last go-around on the boards. Here's a snip of what he said:
Here are some items I thought of while looking through your list of general topics [Preparation =1, Storytelling =2, Role-play =3, Rules =4, Fun =5]:
Opening statement: Using this sheet, please evaluate the GM's performance for this session only. On a scale where "0" represents Strongly Disagree and "4" represents Strongly Agree, please indicate in the grid below how much your agree or disagree with the following statements. Please be honest in your assessment of this session's GM so we can work to improve your PFS experiences in the future. [Note: this section should also include some info about how their responses will be handled and reported once that is decided.]
Response Categories: (0) Strongly Disagree, (1) Disagree, (2) Neither Agree or Disagree, (3) Agree, (4) Disagree (5) Strongly Agree [Note: five response categories work well for evaluations as they are like a GPA/Grade scale: A(4) through E(0). Means are roughly equivalent to GPAs.]
Our GM did not present the plot and/or story of the module in a way that was easy to follow. (Topic 2 - reversal)
Our GM did a good job of role playing during our game. (Topic 3)
Our GM appears to have a good grasp of the game rules. (Topic 4)
Our GM made playing this session fun. (Topic 5)
Multiple items measuring the same topic, if included in the evaluation, can be summed or averaged to create a scale measuring the same thing (i.e. Rules) in somewhat different ways. Multiple measures of the same thing often create a more robust measure and become less subject to influences of specific wording in specific questions.
The closest VO to you is Pennsylvania—Lebanon VL Bobby Harring (Bharring@live.com)
Comic Store West in York for PFS Events Monday, Nov 25 is the next game.
There's also stuff going on in Allentown if you can drive a little further. Check out the PFS Events Page, scroll down to PA.
Many stores can pull this off. I haven't heard of any specific examples of a pay-to-play model resulting in PFS death. Locally there is a store where the policy is as follows:
-GM rewards. Instead of free concessions they shall be paid in $5 store credit/per game.
This encourages people to GM for store credit, and $1 isn't asking much. I can find that on the floor of my Civic.
I believe that in the Bay Area there's a store that charges $5 a slot to play. That $5 becomes store credit for things like drinks & snacks, stuff the player was probably going to buy somewhere else and bring with them. It helps support the store and keeps the welcome mat out for PFS play.
The question you should ask is how badly do the players want to play PFS and what are their options if they boycott the pay-to-play model. These game stores aren't getting rich--many are struggling to make ends meet every day. A dollar for 4-5 hours of entertainment is not asking a lot.
WinterCon is a local one-day convention sponsored by the Metro Detroit Gaming Guild. It is hosted by Oakland University in The Oakland Center. Registration is on-site, no online mustering will be used. You must arrive, register at HQ then sign-up manually at an events table. Each event happening in the upcoming slot will have a sign-up sheet and a spot for six players. Print your name on the sign-up sheet to reserve your seat, then report to the PFS room to find your game. Don't shoot the messenger ;)
December 7th from 8AM – 11PM
Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children.
Morning Slot (9AM-1PM)
Afternoon Slot (1PM-6PM)
Evening Slot (6PM-11PM)
WinterCon website: http://wintercon.webs.com/
There is a coffee shop and a Subway in the Oakland Center. There are ample restaurants off-campus, and many will deliver to OU. Ask at HQ for recommendations.
I think introducing them through scenarios is a good idea on the surface, especially coupled with RDN's idea to make it tough to qualify for one. Thinking about it more, I get pessimistic. A-la the Lantern Lodge & Shadow Lodge retirement scenarios, word will quickly spread on how one may acquire the boon. All a player needs to do is buy the scenario & read the success conditions in order to get what they want. They may as well make it open access.
Kyle Baird wrote:
Some day I'll swing through Colorado for some PFS. Oh, and after doing it at least 20 times (officially recorded), sitting at Doug's table isn't much of a reward! ;-)
I think of myself as the lesser evil when it comes to choosing your GM.
Just add in a description of it.
There's no DC for spotting the umbilicals coming out of Imrazad either. I don't describe them until the PCs advance close enough to see what's directly behind her. Anyway, I wouldn't make them roll a Perception, just mention the can sitting next to the archway. Odds are the players will be more interested in Imrazad and her minions.
The problem is most dedicated GMs have everything they need, so more crap for them to carry/store will not be a motivator. For two U-Cons I gave away plaster dungeon dressing to my GM volunteers, but I've never seen any of it used in an actual game--sadly not even my own. The incidental GMs aren't motivated by game props b/c they play way more often than they GM. Everyone has different likes/dislikes when it comes to boons, but unless the convention organizer wants to put down hard cash on Paizo gift certificates, exclusive boons are your best bet.
Personally I am motivated by coffee.
Perhaps if those organizers are reading this thread, they could explain it.
To add onto what Right said (which I agree with), having players transition into local coordinators has made the Detroit region successful. Over the past year we've added a hundred new players. I manage our Warhorn site and every week I get 'pinged' 2-3 times with new player sign-up notifications.
Three years ago the local PFS scene was centered around a single game store that ran games on the weekends, usually on a bi-weekly schedule. They'd fill the open play room. The toll was there was little diversification. The same small GM pool was being tapped again and again, and if you wanted to play you had to burn a lot of gas unless you were lucky enough to live locally. The organizers would get burned out also. Cat-herding is frustrating.
Two years ago PFS fell into stagnation. The VC resigned and play became sporadic. One location kept the fire burning every Wednesday night.
One year ago there was a new VC and a very successful convention. Some new blood came onto the scene and people got fired up. Players converted into organizers, something that just hadn't occurred before. New locations were sprouting like mushrooms after rain. These new locations have been the primary source of the new players. Old players drifted away, but the rate of growth has more than compensated.
So I agree with Righty, new players are a big part of our success. What they have done is pushed more people into GMing roles and created viable tables over a greater area of the region. I can't say enough about the gameday coordinators, too. These people are the ones who have the most thankless job, but without them we'd be right back into stagnation for lack of coordination.
Minis. No, I make my own using cardstock and chipboard, they pack flat and I can scale them to whatever size I need, and I can make as many as I need. Besides, I can slot them so they can be mounted or take riders. Can't do that with minis.
Jeff has been contributing to PFS since the very beginning. He was part of the core group that began local play in 2008. He's remained an active GM and player, part of the backbone that has kept Metro Detroit PFS upright for five years now. One of my favorite things about Jeff is his humility. He's not a guy who needs to toot his horn about his accomplishments. He just does his job, reliably and competently. He doesn't have to be in the spotlight to enjoy himself; he makes characters that help other party members shine.
A lot of people who play this game put very little time into learning about the campaign world, Golarion. They want to bend the Pathfinder Society to fit around their character concept, instead of the other way around. Jeff's first PFS character, Hekmenemok, is the only Pathfinder Chronicler I have ever seen. It's not a particularly advantageous prestige class, but it fits into the PFS concept and sparks interest from the other players wherever he played. Jeff certainly understands the game mechanics well enough that he could make much more powerful characters, but instead he'd rather seek challenges through principles.
So congratulations Jeff, you deserve it. Thanks for everything you have done for the Detroit region!
Remove tielfling and aasimar from the legal-for-play list and add in the elemental races. Of course, I would expect existing tiefling and aasimar PCs to be grandfathered in, and for there to be an "end date" where people could get a game in with a newly-built tiefling or aasimar so that they WERE grandfathered in.
This is agreeable. 40.
FLite, I think the error is expecting ANYONE is going to drop into negatives in this encounter. That gorilla is going to draw everyone's fire and go down like the Titanic. The idols are better off using deathknell on him then animating his body than waiting for a PC to drop.
Michael Eshleman wrote:
** spoiler omitted **
I have no evidence to point to, but I think for a lot of 5-Stars there's a general 'drive' to 150 sessions and then a 'coast' afterwards. I bet there aren't more than 6 GMs out there who have hit 300 sessions. Past a milestone like the 5th Star, there aren't many ways stand out. I think Chris is exceptional because he has both longevity and principles. He's been a PFS member since the outset and he's always been committed to not only improving himself, but encouraging others to do the same. So I see Michael's point about 'Are we really starting to celebrate the post-Five-Star milestones?' On the other hand, it's inspiring to see who's out there walking the walk--even if the scoreboard is frozen.
The down-side is that player will be constantly disappointed with the GMs that follow because they won't measure up to the standard set. There's nothing that compares to when you are new to the game and everything is exciting. Then you learn the system and the metagaming starts.
This is kind of an extension of what Thod identified; overhearing a player talk about an awesome moment at the table you GMed the day before. Bonus points if you hear the player talking about it at the same convention a year later.
Another 'win' is when someone tells you they drove over an hour out of their way to play at a game because they saw you're signed up as the GM. A similar situation is at a convention when the same scenario is running at multiple tables and players come to the slot early just to claim the seats at your table.
When you know a scenario so well that you don't need to reference it to GM it. You can do the whole thing from memory.
The last one, and probably the best, is when all the players at your table are standing because they're too excited/anxious to sit down. I've yet to accomplish this, but I have jealously watched GMs from across the room who have.
Why don't you run it first? Players will surprise you.
A metal weapon has hardness 10 so the damage dice would have to be 11 or 12 to actually give it the broken condition. It might scare the players, but it's not likely going to destroy their entire arsenal. There are other ways around its defenses. They might grapple & pin it, then acid splash it into oblivion for instance.
The past three years (2010-2012) I averaged GMing 7 games for every 1 that I played. This year I have tried to play more, and I'm at 2:1. For a long time it has been about the session count, grinding out scenario after scenario like a machine. It greatly helps to get out on the other side of the screen and see it from the player's perspective. Like Kyle, I feel I am better as a GM than I am as a player. However, what I find most interesting as a player (outside of combat) is when the NPCs interact with my character. Like many of you, I want my character to be relevant. That's part of what makes Lady Ophelia a cool GM; she gets it.
Large-sized tables (6-7 players) create a time/attention crunch. It funnels the game into a mechanical process to run the encounters and hand out Chronicles. I really enjoy playing at 4 player tables because it makes everyone's actions relevant--even the bad guys who get a chance to use more of their abilities. I don't mind my characters being threatened or killed, but that seems to go against the power-gamer mindset.
One of the other reasons that I think I enjoy GMing more than playing is that it is difficult to find the right conditions to make the game worthwhile as a player. I like 4 player tables. I like GMs who have run the scenario multiple times before I play under them. I like GMs who do prep work, pre-draw maps, use appropriate minis, describe the battlefield, role-play the NPCs, get enough sleep the night before and in general know what the hell they are doing. That's why I enjoy GMing more than playing, because I can't get what I want as a player. In other words, because I'm a Pathfinder snob ;)
I made the mistake of having the Kuthites harm themselves (just a quick pinch or cut) every time they spoke Zon-Kuthon's name. It became comical, not what I had hoped for.
One PC did come to the temple for aid and had to flog an unwilling subject ("His faith is weak"). The player was completely nonchalant about it as the victim cried for mercy, then the priest swabbed down his back with alcohol. I think we are too desensitized, or I just can't impress upon them the horror they should feel.
Questions never answered in the module often roll around my head:
How is Svilennius Tripe able to enter the catacombs, steal a body and leave without leaving tracks to his secret door?
No one ever went through the catacombs with detect secret doors up?
How did Svilennius get his glass vats and other equipment to his lair past the graveguards?
How many bodies are actually missing?
Has anyone concocted answers to questions like these?