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One thing I don't like about PFS is that there isn't an in-game rationale for the way treasure works. I love the rule system itself, but I find it occasionally jars me out of immersion during a session. I like my ruleplaying and my roleplaying to mesh, rather than conflict. So I've come up with an explanation.
I know that this is completely unofficial. I've never mentioned it when GMing, and never will. But thinking to myself that it works this way removes a small impediment to fun, and makes the game a little more enjoyable for me. I'm posting it here in case it might do the same for others.
When the Pathfinder Society sends an agent on a mission, those agents are required to turn over all loot recovered to the Pathfinder Society itself. The Society then rewards the agents in coin. As an extra reward, the Society's crafters make duplicates of turned in items available for purchase by the agents who turned them in.
The Society's motivation in doing this is information. Items recovered from tombs or enemy agents may provide historical information, clues to a vanquished enemy's past actions, or hints about who is supplying an enemy's equipment. This also lets the Society keep any truly dangerous items out of the hands of their field agents.
Of course the Society wants its agents to survive and complete assignments, so it encourages them to make use of resources they find in the field, including consumable magic items. The Society can sometimes glean information from the used remains of a potion, scroll, or wand, or even from broken items, so agents are required to turn in the remains of any consumed or sundered items as well, and the Society also makes copies of those items available to the agents who turned them in.
My understanding is that the rule about replaying Tier 1-2s for credit applies only to modules, not scenarios. With scenarios it's only Tier 1s that allow credit for replay.
Where I'm getting that is from two pieces of text in the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play version 4.1. Emphasis is mine.
Guide pg 16, under the Replaying Scenarios header:
You cannot receive more than 1 player Chronicle and 1
GM Chronicle for the same scenario, regardless of how
many times you GM or play the scenario. You are free to
replay a scenario in order to meet the minimum legal
table size (see Chapter 7), but once you have reached
that limit, you do not earn any additional rewards
beyond having a good time.
I'm reading that to mean that the base rule is that you only get 1 player credit and 1 GM credit per scenario. Modules haven't been mentioned yet, and replay is only allowed to make a minimum legal table.
Further down the same page, an exception is introduced:
There is one exception to these rules: All Tier 1
scenarios and Tier 1–2 sanctioned modules are available
for unlimited replay with a 1st-level character for credit.
The sanctioned modules can also be played with a 2nd-level
character once for credit. You may continue to
replay the sanctioned modules with 1st-level characters
after playing through them with a 2nd-level character.
GMs can receive another Chronicle sheet each time they
run one of the Tier 1 scenarios or Tier 1–2 sanctioned
modules. No character can ever have two of the same
Chronicle—the Chronicle must be applied to a different
character each time.
Which I take to say that the exception is that Tier 1 scenarios and Tier 1-2 modules allow replay for credit and multiple GM credits, with certain limitations.
Man, I'm impressed with you guys who can prep in so little time. Me, I have to cram like a college student studying for a final exam.
Though, at the risk of sounding a bit sith .... some lessons are best learned the hard way. As a group we've relied too long on too few people for GMing. If Zylphryx had been the only GM tomorrow, then I bet by the next meeting we'd have had a lots of folks clamoring to GM.
I only ever intend to be a part time GM. Every other session is the most often I'm willing to GM, but every third session is my ideal. If I could've gotten ready for this week, I'd have made a one-time exception
Oh and Eaghen, with that title, if I'm at your table, I will be humming Crosby, Stills, and Nash all evening.
Luth, any reason you don't wanna run the same scenario you ran at the last session? I assume you'd need a lot less prep time.
As for GMing, here's where I'm at. I never stopped prepping The Infernal Vault. I'll run it tomorrow as a last resort, but if anyone else can run anything, they probably should. Here's why:
- I'm only about 85% prepped to run it.
- The switch to DST has cost me a lot of sleep this week.
- I've only had time to finish my notes for subtier 1-2. So subtiers 3-4 and 6-7 wouldn't be an option.
I'd be a tired, under-prepared GM, so expect mediocrity. If I'm the last resort, I'll run. But I think it's only fair to give prospective players a choice of whether whether they want to play a so-so game.
To help folks plan ahead, I worked out our presumed meeting dates for the rest of the year, based on the assumption that we meet every other Saturday.
September 1 - Labor Day weekend
If we want to avoid conflicts with the winter holidays, we could alter the schedule to:
Upon reflection, I'm not gonna try to GM this time.
I'm really not sure I can be prepped in time for this weekend. I'd rather wait and run on the 31st than risk running a lousy session.
If we have too many players and too few GMs, I'll be the first player to bow out. I'm local and have been gaming since the stone ages. I'd rather folks who have a long drive and/or are new to gaming get a chance to play.
I'll be there.
I'm prepping The Infernal Vault at subtiers 1-2 and 3-4, but not sure I'll have it ready for this weekend. Even if I have it ready, it sounds like I'd be in third or fourth position to GM. If I don't run it this time, I'd like to run it for sure on the 31st.
If I play, I've got an archer ranger 2, a melee fighter 1, and a witch 1 to choose from, depending on what's most needed. Only the witch would qualify to play in First Steps.
Luth, you seem to be taking the lead on coordinating things this time around. Do you wanna create the event and handle the reporting?
Two possible suggestions:
- Master of the Fallen Fortress. It's free in PDF form, short, and set in Absalom. I've played it and it took between two and half to three hours.
- Pathfinder Society Scenarios. They're designed to be played in a single four to five hour session. For a home game, you'll need to do some adapting, since they're designed under the assumption the characters are members of the Pathfinder Society.
I don't have an e-reader or a laptop and don't have any plans to buy one, so I don't want to see any more books added to the core assumption because I don't want to have to carry any more books with me.
I wouldn't mind at all though if some scenarios were released that required a GM to have the APG or other books that aren't in the core assumption, so long as the scenario description mentioned which books are required.
That way scenarios could include material from the APG and other books, but GMs wouldn't be required to always lug around another heavy book, or have access to an e-reader. A GM could be like the players, and opt to only print the pages they actually need from their purchased PDF.
Remember that Citadel of Flame session I ran back in January? Well that is the session that keeps on teaching.
Discussions after that session raised some questions about rounding in APL calculations, in particular when the APL ends in a decimal of .5, and whether we were legally allowed to play up. So I asked about it in PFS General.
The rules have changed slightly between then and now. While I'm still not certain if we calculated the APL correctly for that session, Campaign Director Michael Brock did say that when an APL calculation ends in a decimal of .5, then it's up to the players to choose which way they wanna round.
The 4.1 Guide on pg. 25 says when calculating APL to always round to the nearest whole number. Thing is, every way I count it, .5 is exactly between two whole numbers. Which leaves me unclear as to whether .5 rounds up or down.
This isn't just theoretical rules-lawyering, it arose from discussions about a previous session I GMed and whether playing up was legal in that situation.
I ran a scenario back in January (under the 4.0 Guide) where the players opted to play up to rather disastrous results. In the wake of that session I was told the group didn't qualify to play up. I've spoken to several of the players, and they all believe it was legal for them to play up.
The party was three 2nd levels PCs and three 1st level PCs. Our APL calculation was thus:
9 total levels divided by 6 PCs = 1.5
The rounding is in question. We rounded 2.5 up to 3, thus allowing us to play up to subtier 4-5.
I did ask about APL before I ran the game. The Venture Captain who responded did specifically say to round decimals of .5 or lower down, and decimals of .6 or higher up. The VC's information is being questioned by at least one player, however, because there isn't any exact text saying that in either version 4.0 or 4.1 of the Guide.
The 4.0 Guide did say in one place to always round APL down. The example though, said to round up. That contradiction is why I asked. The 4.1 Guide simply says to "round to the nearest whole number". As mentioned previously, .5 is exactly between two whole numbers.
(To avoid any confusion, I did not purposely ignore the VC's information. In the stressful rush of prepping to run PFS for the first time, I completely misread it. Because we were later than agreed getting started, I also let the players calculate the APL without double checking it myself.)
The spoilered text probably muddies my question a bit, so to clear it up, I'm most interested in knowing whether to round .5 up or down under the current 4.1 Guide. However, it would be nice, but not strictly necessary, to also know if we miscalculated under the different wording of the 4.0 Guide.
Those times deserve to told in legend. You could, if you had friends who could write, go to your mailbox and occasionally find things there that were not demands for money. It was glorious I tell you.
Just to be clear, I wasn't singling you out for GMing duty. Your comments just reminded me to ask. :-) And I've got some minis I've started bringing along, so if I'm there you'd be welcome to use them.
Also, Aravandor, I think we've got the people to support playing in subtiers that are right for your 5th level character. Right now it just takes a little more planning and luck to get one of those tables to happen. As a few more folks level up, it'll get easier for those tables to make.
Though I'd also suggest that anyone who has at least a 3rd level character consider giving GMing a whirl. Having more GMs, even folks who only GM occasionally, will help keep this Lodge going.
I probably won't have a character anywhere near 5th level by the time you guys get enough players, but I'm a fan of the Modules in general. I'm also glad to see you thinking about GMing, QC. I think you'd be good at it.
Suggestion though. Ask all the players to bring a SASE to their first session of the module. Then if they can't make the remaining session(s), you have an easy way to get them their partial-credit Chronicles.
Welcome to Pathfinder Society, Val'Ross.
To add to what Alexander Damocles said, owning a business falls under a category called vanities in PFS. As Mr. Damocles mentioned, vanities cost Prestige Points. Most vanities grant some mechanical benefit. However they seem to be more about the cool flavor. Rules for vanities start on page 60 of The Pathfinder Society Field Guide.
To find out which rules are legal in Pathfinder Society Organized Play, you need to consult two resources. The free-to-download Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play includes information on which rules from the Pathfinder Core Rulebook are changed or disallowed. (Despite the similar sounding names, this is different than the book I mentioned in the previous paragraph. This book does not have the vanities rules in it.)
The Additional Resources Page provides information on which rules from books other than the Pathfinder Core Rulebook are allowed.
Another useful resource for is the Pathfinder Society page. The easiest way to get there is to click on the Pathfinder Society logo at the left hand side of this page.
Hope this helps.
Sgt. Dinketry's Lonely Hearts Club Band?
Does that mean we can use "a splendid time is guaranteed for all" as our Lodge slogan?
Thorynn, clever idea about the clothespins. Hillside's tables are a bit crowded for it, but at a venue with more table space, I can see it working well. I think I'd need to print out labels though. My handwriting with a Sharpie is usually illegible even to me.
It did get me thinking though. I wonder if it would be helpful to announce the next two players coming up instead of just the next one. As in "Joe, it's your turn. Jane's next, then Bill."
I think we too seldom thank our GMs.
I agree, and I'm bumping this thread because today, March 4th, is GM's Day.
PFS didn't get started locally until this past December. So far I've played with three GMs:
Thanks guys for running some great games. Also thanks to the other local PFS GMs whose tables I haven't yet had a chance to sit at:
Dinketry and Zylphryx have done the lion's share of GMing and deserve extra thanks.
I think Venture Officers are even more under-thanked than GMs are. Since VOs are in a sense "super GMs", I'm gonna bundle my thanking into GM's Day.
Our local Venture Captain, Del Collins, deserves thanks for the support he's provided. He GMed a table at our second session, and has been quick to jump into our very active Lodge thread when we needed some help and guidance.
I had fun tonight too.
Luth, welcome to the APL GM's club. I'd teach you the secret handshake, but no one's taught it to me yet.
Before I say anything else, someone left behind a purple d20. It's a darker purple on one side than the other. I have it, and will gladly return it to its proper owner.
To satisfy the curiosity of those who couldn't make it tonight, we had two tables, both I believe at Tier 1-2. I had five players and I'm pretty sure Luth had six. So 13 people total including GMs. No PCs at my table died. (Drat, there goes my reputation as a killer GM :-).
My players were, as always with PFS Asheville, excellent. Thanks to Forrest, Goon, Stu, and Zlyphryx's two nephews for being fun, cooperative, and easygoing players. A special call out to Stu for managing to (without being asked that I'm aware of) help with the other players' Chelaxian faction mission, while playing a paladin, without performing any act that was even close to being in violation of the paladin's code.
I feel tonight went well, and in large part because I learned a lot from my last GMing experience, from the feedback I received from the players, and from several GMing advice threads here at Paizo. In particular Painlord's How to be a Better Judge thread.
Some things that I did that I think made this session better:
- Predrawing the maps on a Flip Mat. This probably saved more time than anything else I did.
The only thing I have prepped is Citadel of Flame, and I've only prepared it for subtier 1-2. There's no way I can get another scenario, or even subtier 4-5, prepped by tomorrow. I'm just too rusty at GMing, and too new to GMing PFS, to pull off such a last-minute switch. Sorry.
Prepping subtier 4-5 for Citadel of Flame wouldn't salvage the 3rd+ level table anyway, since I've already run that scenario for about half of the folks who said they had characters of level 3 or higher.
I notice Asheville is in a larger point size than Pathfinder Lodge. Was that for space considerations, or were you trying to emphasize Asheville? I ask because I actually think Pathfinder Lodge needs the emphasis, not Asheville.
Jake's idea of using a script font just for the capital letters is something I'd like to see. The uppercase "A" in that font is really nice looking, and I'd hate to lose it, despite my previous comments about readability.
I think we're gonna have readability problems with all those choices. Script fonts have a lot of character, but they're hard to read.
I'm strongly of the opinion that the most important thing in choosing a font is readability. If you can't read the text, why do you even have text? On a t-shirt or bumper sticker, if people can't easily read the text, chances are they'll give up.
Gill Sans, if you have access to it, is one of the most readable fonts around, and in ultrabold it manages a decent amount of character. Course it gets a lot of logo use for precisely that reason.
For a good compromise that's readable and has character, you could use a serif font set in small caps. Serif fonts can have a lot of character, and small caps are more readable than lower case.
Edit: and as someone who absolutely despised critques, let me say thank you for being willing to put your work out there for all of us to comment on, and please understand that any criticims and suggestions come only from a desire to make the best logo possible, not from any desire to tear down you or your work. You have real talent, man.
I too will probably be there this week. My cold is mostly gone, and any residual coughing is really just a feeble attempt on the part of my lungs to escape my chest and go on spring break.
I'm hoping to play my 1st level quarterstaff wielder in Luth's game. I've also been prepping to GM The Citadel of Flame again, in case we need a 3rd table.
I get where you're coming from Thorynn. 20-year-old me would've been lighting his torch as fast as anyone else here. In fact as I was writing that post there was a voice in my head that kept saying "sellout".
Anyway, Dink, hope you have a good time in Charlotte. Assuming the Mayans are wrong, they'll be another GM's Day next year for you to enjoy.
BTW, if you still have that Chronicle sheet for me, is there someone else you could send it along with? Or can I meet you somewhere to pick it up?
Also, with Dink out of town, who's handling the event creation & reporting this time?
Guys, before we bring out the torches and perhaps accidentally burn a bridge, I'd just like to point out that as of right now, Hillside is pretty much the only place that can accommodate us.
I've seen a lot of game stores come and go over the years in Asheville. There's no guarantee this new store will last. In fact the odds are that it won't.
Hillside's been kind to host us. If we make a venue change in the future, I think it would be wise to leave on as good a terms as possible, in case we need to go back to Hillside at some point.
Here's my suggestion for March 3rd.
1. Thorynn GMs a "mid-level" table, with Aravandor, Dink, QC, and Zylph playing. Aravandor would likely have to play down with his 5th level character. If he's not willing to do that, Thorynn has the option to run with 3 players and a pregen, an option many people seem to enjoy.
2. Luth GMs a low-level table, and figures on it probably being a full one unless someone else GMs too.
3. If one or more of the other GMs (besides Dink or Zylph) wants to prepare a low-level scenario, that would be wise.
Dink could then GM part 3 of his trilogy at a later date.
I hope this is workable, because March 4th is GM's Day. Seems fitting to me to show appreciation for the folks who GM the most by letting them play for a change.
I guess my mentality on this falls in line with "What's so boring about Golarion that people already want to get off from it?"
It's not that I find Golarion boring at all. I love it. There's all sorts of areas of Golarion I want to see more about. Vudra (despite my slight dislike of psionics) and anything related to the Ulfen peoples and the places they live are at the top of the list.
For me though, I love planets. Real world and in fiction. This dates back to at least second grade when we did a study of the solar system. Maybe before. In Star Wars, my single favorite book ever published is The Essential Atlas, which is a big book of planets. Every time there's a big news release about a new real world planet that's been discovered, I'm excited. Until I realize that no human being will ever visit any of these places within my lifetime.
So that's part of why I want a planets AP. It's wish fulfillment for something I'd love to be able to do in real life but never ever will.
There's also the issue of getting players. I used to play Star Wars Saga Edition. It wasn't easy to find players. With Pathfinder, there are at least 20 people locally who play PFS who I could potentially recruit as players.
It will be a whole lot easier to recruit those players into a planetary campaign if I've got a Paizo AP to work from. I could homebrew something. I've been working on ideas for an interplanetary campaign since I first came across info about Castrovel. However, Paizo's adventure-crafting skills are known and respected, especially among PFS players. That makes it easier to convince players to try a campaign idea that is not a typical Pathfinder campaign.
To top it off, the planets in the Golarion system are just freakin' cool. They fire my imagination, like Jamelray and Vudra do. Like the Land of the Linnorm Kings, Irrisen, and the Land of the Mammoth Lords do. Like the Eye of Abendego does. Like the Worldwound does. Like tales of lost Azlant do.
So it's not that I find Golarion boring and want to leave it behind permanently. I just want to expand my options a bit.
I want a planets AP. I want it so bad I'd subscribe to it, and I've never subscribed for any AP (although Skull & Shackles has me tempted).
But I want a real planets AP. As in the PCs are off Golarion within the first hour. I've heard Jade Regent, the eastern AP, takes half or two-thirds of the AP to get to the east. A proper planets AP that's gonna spend any significant time on all of the interesting planets can't afford to wait that long to get off Golarion.
I don't have Distant Worlds yet, so I don't know what options it presents regarding portals vs spaceships. But I'd love it if the AP allowed groups to choose between the two. For the folks who wanna downplay the sci-fi and space elements, they could go the portal route. For those of us who prefer to play up the sci-fi elements, we could go the space ship route. (Though I'd prefer more Spelljammer-esque spaceships than sci-fi style.)
I worked with Dudley to get the Fallen Fortress chronicle sheets to people at this coming PFS venture this Saturday. I should have them moving forward from here, Nansen, and I'm happy to get them to people.
Awesome, Dink, thanks!
I'm gonna skip this week though. I figure you folks don't want this cold I have. Hopefully it'll clear out in time for me to pick the sheet up from you at the next session.
Oh and Jake, doing placeholder Chronicles was a clever idea.
Hope you folks have fun.
Jake Dodd wrote:
That's what I was afraid of. The last e-mail I got from Dudley it sounded like he thought the reporting of the session replaced the need for a Chronicle. I was hoping my reply had cleared that up and that he had gotten Chronicles out to some folks.
I'm not playing this weekend but I do hope we can get this dealt with by the next session. The character I played in that session was intended to be my main PC going forward.
The scenario I ran a couple of weeks ago raised a question about Prestige Point awards. I wound up asking our Venture Captain, Del Collins, for clarification. Del was kind enough to clear up the confusion, and I thought it might benefit the entire Lodge if I passed along what I've learned.
The Long Version:
Every scenario has the opportunity to earn 2 Prestige Points. However, scenarios differ in the ways you can earn them. We've mostly played Season 3 scenarios here in the Asheville Lodge. For those scenarios, each faction has one faction mission available. Completing the faction mission earns 1 Prestige Point. Completing the main scenario mission also earns 1 Prestige Point.
Season 1 and 2 scenarios have two faction missions per faction. In those scenarios, you do not receive Prestige Points for completing the main scenario mission. Rather, each faction mission is worth 1 Prestige Point.
Season 0 scenarios are even more confusing. Some of them only have 1 faction mission. Those Season 0 scenarios work like Season 3 scenarios. Other Season 0 scenarios have two faction missions. Those scenarios work like Seasons 1 & 2.
I find the long version a bit wordy and still mildly confusing. So here's a two sentence summary:
If a scenario has two faction missions, then the only way to earn Prestige in that scenario is by completing faction missions.
If a scenario only has one faction mission, then you can earn 1 Prestige Point by completing the faction mission, and 1 Prestige Point by completing the main mission.
Besides what Dragnmoon posted, there is an additional piece of text that I think contributes to the Prestige Point confusion for non-Season 3 scenarios.
PFS Guide page 18 wrote:
In each scenario, you have the opportunity to earn up to 2 Prestige Points, 1 for achieving the overall scenario mission and 1 for achieving your faction mission.
That's in the Player's part of the Guide, and reads in a rather absolute way. For some players, it seems to set up the expectation that all scenarios work the way Season 3 scenarios work.
In each scenario, you have the opportunity to earn up to 2 Prestige Points. For scenarios with two faction missions per faction, you earn 1 Prestige Point for each faction mission completed. For scenarios with only one faction mission per faction, you earn 1 Prestige Point for completing your faction mission and 1 Prestige Point for completing the overall scenario mission.
7th Son wrote:
we can always ask for a 'variance' and see if they'll allow it.
Unlikely. I think I remember Vic Wertz having expressed something to the effect that they don't make exceptions because if they make one exception then they risk getting flooded with other requests for exceptions. Imagine the time involved for Paizo staff if 100 Lodges all ask for special exceptions.
My 'play the character YOU want to play' met with frustration and I hope to give better advice tomorrow.
I don't give that advice anymore. Players who will follow it and be happy about it don't need to hear it anyway. Players who won't, sometimes blame me for their choices.
The big thing I've learned for PFS is to avoid over-specialization. It's okay to have a "main shtick", but in situations where your shtick won't work, be able to contribute in some other way.
In combat this mostly boils down to not being so over-focussed on either melee or ranged attacks that you're totally useless at the other one. It can also apply to not optimizing around a single skill, class ability, or tactic.
I had a blast last night. Best session for me since Dink ran Frostfur Captives the very first week. I hadn't gamed with anyone else at the table before, and once again it was a great group of players, and an excellent GM.
The quality of players and GMs in this group continues to knock my socks off. If I'd gamed with folks this good for my entire gaming career, I wouldn't have drifted in and out of the hobby so many times.
For Eaghen and Aravandor, who've expressed interest in getting on the GMing train:
Master of the Fallen Fortress looks like a promising module to run for new (or rusty) GMs. It's shorter than a scenario and only has one tier to contend with. Looks like a great way to get your GMing feet wet. It's now at the top my list of things to run whenever I GM again.
I wonder if there's some clubhouse/community center-type place out there we could latch on to. Not saying I have a specific place in mind...just wondering if the group thinks this angle might be worth looking in to...
I've looked into community centers a little. Asheville Parks & Rec runs about half a dozen of them. Here's a list. Thing is, for a group our size, and at the time we usually play, we'd probably have to rent the place. I've tried a few times to find out how much that would cost, but can't ever manage to get a live person on the telephone.
One thing I'm unclear on with Hillside is whether they would have room for us on a regular basis, or if we happened to catch them on a weekend where they were less busy than usual.
In general though, I think having a variety of venues available to us is a good thing. The more places we can choose from, the less likely that a Magic release tournament or Bele Chere leaves us with no place to game on a weekend that we'd really like to.