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Tarquin

Peter Kies's page

FullStarFullStar Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park. 92 posts (140 including aliases). 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 7 Pathfinder Society characters. 1 alias.


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The Exchange

RAW states that: "A wizard also selects a number of additional 1st-level spells equal to his Intelligence modifier to add to the spell book".

From this sentence alone, it seems clear that
- the INT based spells are 1st level only
- if INT changes, the number changes

But the sentence uses the words "also" and "additional" which refer you back to the previous sentence, which starts with "A wizard begins play with". This language is somewhat unique and in context it could be interpreted to mean "At first level a wizard gets a spell book with a number of 1st-level spells equal to 3 plus his INT modifier at the time he takes his first wizard level."

The question is whether the unique wording suggests something unique in the RAI or it is just leftover language that wasn't cleaned up. The 3.5 language isn't significantly different, and IMO the intent was to represent a pre-adventuring lifetime of study where a wizard with high INT could leverage it to get a slight advantage at first level.

I think the hang up with "all means all" here (I'm not the only one) is that spells in a spell book represent something physical and tangible that a character would otherwise have to pay and spend time to have (and might seem difficult to abstract away if the bonus goes away). But if you get free spells when levels increase then why not also when INT increases?

The "begins play" in the first sentence leads one to believe this is a something unique that you only get at 1st-level. If you interpret that the language simply didn't consider later INT increases, you could argue that "1st level spells" in the second sentence should be "spells of the highest level you can currently cast, or lower".

I guess for simplicity's sake I'll consider the list of spells in the book to be an abstraction which moves up or down with INT and/or level. And to match RAW the extra spells from INT will be 1st-level, even though they weren't much to gain at levels 8-10 when INT modifier increased. That will net the character 3 more spells or the equivalent of 45 gp in borrowed spell books and inks it would otherwise cost for those spells.

The Exchange

I am not adding the INT increase-derived free spells unless I receive confirmation that Hero Lab follows an official ruling in this case.

One thought against adding spells due to INT increase is that the increase already affects your chances to learn new spells. But at this point spellcraft modifier is such that checks to learn are already automatic.

The Exchange

Blackfoot wrote:

For the purposes of PFS play and the like, a more official answer would really be desirable.

This is coming to light as Hero Lab (who manufactures a rather nifty PF character generator) has added a new feature to track spells known vs spells purchased in spellbooks. Since the logic for this functionality isn't clear... they have assumed one method as opposed to another. Right or wrong... it would be good to know which it is actually supposed to be. The FAQ would suggest that they are doing it right. The Rules as Written.. I don't really know what they suggest... I think maybe they suggest something else.. but.. that's not really important... assuming we can get an official ruling.

I was just using Hero Lab this evening and happened upon this new feature. My wizard started with 18 INT and now has 24 due to 2 points of increase from level advancement and 4 points from a headband. Hero Lab indicates a free spell total that corresponds to the higher INT number. It also does not seem to track whether your free spells of any given level exceed the maximum number of free spells you can have for that spell level.

I know I should ask LWD about this, but I'm wondering if they got some new official rule on this from Paizo. Furthermore there is a question of whether or not extra spell book spells from increased INT need to be 1st level spells or could be of any level the PC can use at that time. The 3 spells you "begin play" with when you have your first wizard level are clearly 1st level, but the part about more spells in books due to high INT is a completely different sentence. The cost of 3 first level spells is not a big deal, but if the PC can have 3 more spells of 4th or 5th level, the cost savings is no longer trivial. Generally INT is not going to increase until you are already capable of casting spells higher than 1st level.

Note that this is not just a temporary bonus question, as some of the INT increase is due to advancing in character levels - which is permanent unless you are unfortunate enough to get permanent negative levels. If you choose to get smarter, learning an additional free spell of a level you can cast would not be an unreasonable reward. It really isn't a huge deal for a PC that between free and purchased spells has well over 100 spells in her books. If you get any free spell at higher levels, it seems like it should be something of value to your character. The two free spells per level and the optional favored class bonus spells track with your current level (highest spell level and one level lower respective maximum levels). I think the same should follow if you are spending ability score increases or item purchases on INT. By the time you can afford that, you may have learned for free or purchased all the 1st level spells you care to have.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Thanks for setting this up.

Added Rockford / Loves Park and DeKalb IL

The Exchange

Thanks skizzerz!

I decided to redeem it myself as that gives me the option to hand out 4 different codes so multiple people can win something.

Now I just need to decide how many sets I want to have to distribute at the event...

The Exchange

One more clarification:

If you want to gift the items, do you need to click the gift link on the Humble site, or can you do that when you take the codes to the Paizo site?

My thinking is that I want to get the certificates into my Paizo account ASAP and assign them later from there. But I'm not sure if one option or the other makes it easier for me to present the gift. As I don't have a humble account I guess Paizo would help me keep track of where these get distributed.

The Exchange

TriOmegaZero wrote:

There is a single code, and Vic has said they will be good for quite awhile. But if you want the physical Beginner's Box, that may not be in stock if you wait too long to redeem.

Source.

Thanks for the quick reply and the source, TOZ!

And thanks to Match_stick for the clarification.

Here comes Santa Claus...

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm not sure if this would help traffic but I'm thinking about paying for bundles now and distributing codes later as convention prizes to be redeemed a few months from now.

Can that be done, or do the bundles need to be redeemed within the promo period?

Also, do you get a single code with each purchase, or is it broken up into different codes for the items included at each different award level?

The Exchange

Diego, nice catch on the confusion mechanic.

I thought it seemed wrong that they would be immediately confused and lose their actions, and you found the only place that clearly confirmed they would get to complete an action before the full effect of the confusion set in.

That makes it a little more survivable, and more or less matches how it played out. The PCs killed one in the first round while the other two kept making two party members try to kill each other, and the rest of the group had to split actions between protecting their friends from each other and actually going after the monsters.

The Exchange

Is there a rules source that explains this?

Seems to be game breaking if you have a circumstance where you have to succeed on multiple saves in the middle of your action (or lose it) due to an effect that doesn't require line of sight and could be concealed to prevent detection.

The chance of succeeding on multiple saves gets exponentially more difficult with more creatures, so the encounter CR should not go up simply in proportion to the number of creatures. Especially if the aura radius is beyond your range to perceive and identify the threat.

As an example I refer to 3 or more Seugathi all concealed in a fog filled room with auras that extend beyond the only entrance to the room. Unless the party is prepared with a way to clear the fog from a distance or blasts spells blindly into the room, this is a likely TPK unless the party numbers several greater than the monsters. The chance of succeeding at 3 DC 20 will saves at the same time is minuscule for most PCs, so while the monsters control 3 party members and remaining party members have only a 1/4 chance of acting normally, the party almost surely destroys itself or goes insane before it can take out the opponents. The only good chance for the party is if the GM decides the creatures start with aura down and must get to their initiative to use a free action to activate it. They need a chance to take out one of the creatures early because 3 aura saves stacked together is just too powerful if it catches them by surprise. Probably a dumb move to enter the room here, and PCs might not notice immediately if a fellow party member is confused. Of course the group was bold about the lack of good visibility as they did have a telepathic bond, which in hindsight might have had some weird effects or chance to identify the cause when others began to get confused.

The Exchange

As a follow up for that creature, text says it can suppress or activate aura as a free action.

That might suggest that it has to take a turn before it can have its aura active, but it could be just as likely that it normally has it active and needs its first turn before it can deactivate it.

Which brings me back to the original question - what happens if the aura is up when you charge into it?

The Exchange

Say a PC sees a bunch of baddies and decides to charge in and slash at one with his sword.

If during the move to close he encounters the perimeter of an aura, does he have to stop there and make a saving throw, potentially ending his move action and denying his attack action?

It seems to me the aura should only take affect once you start your turn within its boundaries. Most say save each round which suggests you need to be in there for the better part of a round before it can affect you.

If it can immediately interrupt turns I think closely spaced groups of creatures with auras could be easily overpowering; multiple chances to fail before you get a chance to do anything to reduce opponent numbers.

Yes colony of Seugathi I am looking at you - if I can even see you before I stumble into the range of your auras.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

@ GM Lamplighter: Thanks for that reminder. I am giving this careful consideration as the space is limited.

We only have to contend with the noise from a small number of our own tables, but the space is only 700 sq ft. I think we can squeeze in 4 or 5 small round tables without noise being a big issue, but 6 would put too many too close to each other IMO.

Ideally I like to have all participants at a given table be closer to each other than they are to anyone at a neighboring table.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Thanks for all of the comments!

If others have experience running these, please continue to reply with run length info.

The only module on the list which I saw advertised as a 64 pager was Tears at Bitter Manor, which for PFS shows two separate chronicles so I was already figuring it could be 5 or 6 sessions to run the pair.

We are not completely restricted on time (private space and 24 hour rental rate) but we may be limited by player and GM endurance. I read a review that indicated folks started to tire of the Harrowing after a couple dozen cards and figured folks probably found a way to wrap before all 54 cards came into play.

Part of the draw for our events is that we do dare to try things not done at other conventions, which our players haven't yet had an opportunity to play. Many players seem to like scenario story arcs, modules and even AP sections. So I want to put a few offerings out there which can completely fill an entire day with exciting action. And we usually have super GMs who are willing to make that happen if we provide enough time for them to do it right.

I am also planning to put an open gaming slot at the end of the event in case someone really needs the overflow time, but a one-day marathon event is often easier for people to commit to than returning to finish on another day. If most people say the high level mods will take at least 4 slots, I may have to rethink those as possible choices, but they sound absolutely awesome if we can fit them in.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am planning to offer some modules again at an upcoming convention.

We have no problem triple-slotting modules that need it, but would some of these typically finish in less time and be better suited for 2 slots in the schedule?

We will have 5 hour slots or 4.5 with breaks.

How many hours have you seen the following modules take to play?

1-2 The Godsmouth Heresy
3-5 The Midnight Mirror
5-7 Tears at Bitter Manor, part 1
6-8 Tears at Bitter Manor, part 2
8-10 The Harrowing
8-10 Doom Comes to Dustpawn

The Exchange

DM_Blake wrote:

For climbing, "perfectly smooth" does not mean "smooth as mirrored glass". It does not require good dwarven stonework, magical construction, polish or sheetrock.

It simply means there is nothing to hold onto. A simple plaster and lathe ceiling, or stucco, or wood planks, gives nothing to hold onto and counts as "perfectly smooth" (unless there are big gaps between the planks). If you can't put your fingers and toes into cracks, crevices, crannies, holes, whatever, enough to get a grip, then it is "perfectly smooth".

Even a natural slab of rock could easily be "perfectly smooth" enough for this definition unless it has holes like swiss cheese or lots of cracks.

Most structures could conceivably hold his weight, but that doesn't necessarily mean there is something for him to cling to - he doesn't hang from the ceiling with suction cups or with magic; he needs to actually have something for each of his feet to grab onto.

Do you have a rules source that defines "perfectly smooth" this way? It is a big deal to increase the DC from 20-30 to infinite. Realistically, if the surface imperfections just need to be significant in size compared to the grabbing appendages. Real geckos can move on a typical "flat" ceiling. The bumps need to be larger for an 11' long version, but rafters or stone blocks would do. Also, the bigger the room, the less likely that the ceiling will be a single surface with no exposed beams.

The Exchange

Thanks. I missed the bold bit about it being the same opportunity, which makes sense. The straight line limtation, if imposed, limits the usefulness of the tactic significantly if you want to position for a party flank. I will look at the other maneuvers to see what they imply about unintentional movement. Footnote for feather fall suggests falling provokes if it moves you out of a threatened space.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Actually the two ki powers replace slow fall 30 and high jump, so would have to ditch one of those to take elemental fury, or give up another feat to get elemental fist (which isn't really worth it without the archetype).

Also I missed that you now need to obtain ki powers for sudden speed and furious defense before you can use ki points for movement or AC (unlike the standard monk). Sudden speed is +30 instead of +20 and lasts a minute instead of a round. The monk has to be 7th level before he can take furious defense, although formless mastery appears to be a better choice if the monk doesn't have a style feat (of course the current version does).

But he would also get to add a style strike.

We will have some things to talk about...

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

My son has a monk character and we are considering a rebuild. The original is a Monk of the 4 Winds archetype, which won't be allowed with the rebuild. He would still take elemental fist as a feat, but it looks like there is no way to get the damage progression (or extra uses) on the elemental fist attack once you lose the archetype?

Is there another way to boost that ability that is unchained legal?

(edit) I guess elemental fury ki power is the obvious replacement. Doesn't allow the damage to get an extra 1d6 per use at 5th level, but for a ki point could add (at 6th level) 1d6 to every attack for a 3 round period. That could be 9 attacks with flurry or 12 if he spent 3 more ki points (or more attacks adding AoO).

So instead of 2d6 six times per day with elemental fist feat he gets 1d6 for all attacks in 3 rounds whenever he spends 1 ki point, but he gets back stunning fist which he had given up for the archetype. Have to expend 2 ki to get similar elemental damage in a day.

And of course he gets better BAB, no flurry attack penalty, and a couple of ki powers instead of slow fall 30. Slow fall any distance is now available as a ki power choice, so he gets a bonus to falling distance as well as another power. The only other downside is reduced will saves.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Cao Phen wrote:

You can also run a the Skulls and Shackles Adventure path in Campaign Mode. When running that, just inform when you reach the section for PFS credit. Just have their characters mirror the ones used for PFS

You can also run it in PFS mode, where PFS characters run the PFS specific portions of the Adventure Path.

The Plunder and Peril mega-module can also be an option. And if you are running both Plunder and Peril, as well as Skulls and Shackles, you can intertwine the two games.

But remember that this would be a heavy commitment in terms of playerbase, since this can take weeks to complete.

In terms of scenarios, I just recently played Slave Ships of Absalom, and though it had a nice finish of piracy-like themes. Part two of the Quest for Perfection chain is also nice.

Do you have an estimate, for PFS mode, of how long it would take to play the sanctioned content in Plunder & Peril? e.g. could each of the 3 parts be played 5 hours or 6 or 8 or 10? For a 3 day event, we probably have at most 35 hours of gaming (7 slots of 5 hours each).

If we wanted PCs to start at lower levels (playing some scenarios and then part 1 of the Skull & Shackles AP first), I'm sure we could NOT get though all of Plunder & Peril at the same event. Although maybe it would be better to just open it to PCs of the requisite level and run it campaign mode with one level per day. The other option would be to build PCs up from level 1 during this weekend, and try to have them ready to play Plunder & Peril at a future event.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

DesolateHarmony wrote:

No clerics of Besmara? Or inquisitors and warpriests, either? Many in a pirate crew might be rogues, as well. I usually think of a single swashbuckler as a pirate leader, with cutthroats and ne'er-do-wells working with him.

"It is, it is, a glorious thing, to be a Pirate King!"

It's more of a gimmick idea, to not have a "balanced" party, but instead to have too many pirate leaders, each trying to show up the rest with bravado and derring-do. What happens if everyone wants to be the pirate captain, and nobody wants to have a different role in the crew? Perhaps one stands out and becomes the pirate king, or maybe it just turns into general silliness and mayhem with a crew that knows swashbuckling and nothing else.

If I did this with a higher level game, I think I'd relax the restriction to allow some amount of multi-classing; it might too severely limit the chance of success in some scenarios if the party lacks diversity.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

I'm considering having a pirate themed event, and possibly a session that is only open to swashbuckler PCs.

Any ideas on what might be some of the best choices for the latter?

I've seen quite a few PFS scenarios with pirates or ships, but I suspect there are several other good options out there which I've yet to consider.

The Exchange

I found the answer after searching some other posts - it's in the combat section of the PRD:

combat wrote:
Supernatural Abilities (Su): Using a supernatural ability is usually a standard action (unless defined otherwise by the ability's description). Its use cannot be disrupted, does not require concentration, and does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

and for rage:

barbarian class wrote:
While in rage, a barbarian cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skills (except Acrobatics, Fly, Intimidate, and Ride) or any ability that requires patience or concentration.

So the supernatural ability doesn't require concentration and it's not a skill. As long as the GM rules that it doesn't require patience (can't see that this one would) - I should be good to go.

The Exchange

I'm looking at a build taking a 1-level dip in barbarian (savage technologist) and a wizard with air elemental school.

The initial thought was to get the fast movement and extra HP and to not suffer AC penalties if the character runs out of spells and has to rage.

But can the supernatural ability Lightning Flash be used while raging?

I'm imagining the character charging into the nearest crowd of baddies and explosively discharging electricity all around.

If this can't be done, I'm a bit at a loss to come up with the build. I had not really planned for any great skill with a weapon - thinking of something more like Marvel's Storm, unleashing wind and electricity when she loses her temper.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

The PC I'm considering actually already has a level of Cavalier, but it will take a while to get 5 ranks in perform (which are required for Ensemble).

The character also has some prestige, which I'm willing to spend on the vanities. I'm looking more for something I can do right now, versus waiting several levels to build a certain game mechanic. It isn't so much about having bonuses to bardic performance as it is having followers that are PFS legal and match the concept.

If there's something out there of this type that also grants a little bonus, then that would be, well, a bonus.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Ensemble might be interesting when he gets high enough level to take it. The downside on harmonizing armor sounds a bit scary.

What I'm really looking for is whether there are sources for vanities other than the Field Guide. The followers in the guide aren't exactly a match for what I'm envisioning, nor are the businesses. Theater and Concert Hall are close for the latter, but I'd rather have a business that's a roving band.

I could (for no mechanical game effect) have followers that are heralds, porters, seneschals, etc. and just say they can sing and play instruments I summon for them, but I'd rather check first to make sure there isn't a better fit in another resource.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

R2D2TS wrote:
Flagbearer is a feat from The Inner Sea World Guide.

Thanks. I just got that book last month. I guess I need to give it a thorough read.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Geoffrey Griffith wrote:
Try to recruit party members. They can make perform (sing) checks untrained. I have a friend who's bard is wildly popular. He has the flagbearer feat, and carries the flag of his band, and offers party members the opportunity to be roadies and what not and everyone seems to enjoy the chance to participate.

I like this from a role play aspect, but I don't think there's really a game mechanic for it. If the other PCs don't have a level in bard, they can't aid a bardic performance. But they could aid to a general perform (sing) check to get the crowd's attention. But in organized play I think the general performance can only be used once per session as a day job check, and you can't get help with those. Where is this flagbearer feat? Do you mean cavalier banner?

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

1 person marked this as a favorite.

For my next character, I plan on making a Bard, and I'd like him to have a troupe of back up singers. Is there a vanity that would best fit this concept? I suppose I could have them be a bunch of heralds, but am wondering if there is something more specific.

I also plan to have a signature song for each spell or ability that requires perform (sing), and have an audio clip on my phone that I can play when it is his turn to act. With the small number of spells known, I might need to cycle through a couple of song choices per spell or ability to keep this fresh with repeated use.

The initial focus for spells known will be enchantment/charm spells, and I already have a few clips teed up. I'm sure I'll get a few other spell/song suggestions in response to this post. If I use your idea, I'll try to give you credit in game.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

We are thinking about adding one weekend a month to our local play schedule, focusing on the Emerald Spire.

I'd like to know what folks are seeing for typical run time for each of the levels. Can you make it through the sanctioned content in most levels in 4-6 hours, or should we plan on extended or split sessions?

Of course, I'd like to complete levels without having to split them up over multiple sessions (and all the keeping track of people who attend one session but not the next). But if levels run much longer than 4-6 hours it would require me to make special arrangements with the hosting gaming stores or move the games to private venues.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Has anyone seen anything recently about upcoming holiday boons?

I've happened upon a few of these in the past and am wondering if anything might be planned that coincides with an upcoming convention.

I did find this wiki of Golarion holidays, but they obviously all don't result in boons.

What I'd really like to see is some temporary boons that only apply during the feast day or festival week, if the occasion is celebrated in the region where you are adventuring (or, if a religious holiday, if you follow the corresponding deity). Granted that would limit when and where or by whom the boons could be used, but the upside is they could all be created one time and re-used year after year only when, where or with whom they apply.

Of course, the expiration idea might require sort of the opposite of the current boon usage - you'd have to receive the boon as you are seated at the table, because your next session might not be until the festival is over. Or it could just be a convention-only thing: after you play one session you receive a boon that just lasts until the end of the holiday or for the weekend or for one week.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Majuba wrote:
Would the flatter distributions be attributable to being more prone to influence by the individual GM than the scenario itself?

Possibly. The theory is that the table bias (due to GM, PC mix or player choices) should average out as more tables are included in the set of reviews. But the data sets are generally so small that I don't think you can say with much confidence that the scenario is prone to GM variation. More likely there were just a few people who had differing experiences (more due to the people than the scenario).

If you truly had two different ways the scenario might be run, which resulted in different levels of enjoyment, with enough reviews you might actually get a clearly bimodal distribution of ratings.

You actually can (and I did) calculate something called a bimodality coefficient for each distribution, and based on the result you can see if the distribution tends toward bimodal, unimodal, or uniform (equal values at all rating numbers). The flatter distributions most closely resemble a uniform distribution, which has no clear "typical" value(s) regardless of the result you'd get by calculating an average rating.

If there are a lot of responses and the distribution of ratings is still very uniform, then YMMV: your likely experience (and rating) with such a scenario might be nearly random. The scenarios that do have many reviews tend to NOT be like this; they tend to have a clear peak in the distribution of ratings and very few ratings far from that value.

Only a few scenarios have a highly bimodal distribution of reviews and more than a handful of reviews at the secondary peak: Library of the Lion, Murder on the Throaty Mermaid, The Elven Entanglement and The Waking Rune. It may be that these can go really well with the right PC mix and really poorly with the wrong mix. Other scenarios may be better balanced to work with a larger range of PC parties and capabilities.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Another way to look at it - the average isn't a great measure of typical value if there aren't a large percentage of responses near the average.

Many of the distributions of review ratings don't have a single clear mode (or two clear modes if responses are split). These distributions more closely approximate a uniform distribution than a unimodal, bimodal or normal distribution.

With more reviews, the most common ratings are likely to emerge, with counts at the peaks that exceed the counts for other rating values by more than just a couple or a handful.

10 reviews was a good cutoff to make sure the report could include a majority of the scenarios, but unless they are all tightly grouped you probably need more like 20 before the distribution of responses has a fairly clear shape. Unfortunately we currently only have a few scenarios that have received 20 or more reviews.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

DM Beckett wrote:
Two things to consider, is that he did specify scenarios with at least 10 reviews, and also that those numbers might have changed as people here have said "hey, I liked that scenario, but it's rated low, let me change that." or "wow, people didn't like that one, but that's my favorite, can't let that stand."

Understood. My point is that there is considerably higher confidence in the average for a scenario that has 30 reviews compared to one with only 10 reviews, and some meaning can be gleaned from sites with even fewer than 10 reviews, e.g. one that received 7 reviews and they were all 5 stars.

In terms of keeping up with the new data that comes in, that would be a daunting task, especially if it's done by scrolling through the reviews on the web pages to pick off the numbers for each one (both for changes and for new reviews). I'm not sure how often Kyle may try to update this, I'd guess not more than weekly.

It is also far from an unbiased system, as you point out. Everyone can look at all the other responses, and there is a tendency to not respond if you agree with the general consensus but submit a conflicting review if you disagree. That tends to flatten the distribution of responses (more near the extremes) and reduce the count of reviews for scenarios where there is close agreement on the rating.

There is still a lot of good data collected here, but folks should not be misled by averages reported to a precision of 0.01 stars. In many cases (even with 10 or more reviews) there isn't a lot of confidence that a more thorough polling would result in average ratings within half a star or even a whole star or more from the current values.

Of course, with more reviews, the confidence in the average ratings improves. But it is still just a one number rating system, so there is only so far you can go to improve the confidence without taking steps to eliminate bias and to separate the different aspects that go into creating a high or low rating on this scale.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

I found some minor errors in the season averages (the last scenario was accidentally left out of the calculations for seasons 0, 1, 2 and 4).

I also added some double-check calculations and some further statistical stuff to the "All Scenarios" tab, such as response range, standard deviation, skewness, excess kurtosis and 95% confidence intervals for what the true average might be if we had more reviews but the same standard deviation for the distribution.

This last item suggests a slightly different ranking, taking into account that the average for a scenario with a smaller number of reviews is less likely to represent what we'd get if more people submitted reviews, but a tighter grouping of ratings suggests a higher degree of confidence even if there are few reviews. Many reviews combined with a tight grouping suggests the highest degree of confidence that the results are reliable or repeatable.

Unfortunately I'm still a newbie to Google Drive, and I didn't want to modify Kyle's original or overwrite a shared file while others may be accessing it. I've downloaded it and made changes offline and will send to Kyle to figure out if and how he may want to incorporate it.

There really is no absolute best ranking with the small amount of review ratings we have for some scenarios, but with filter and sort controls in the Excel version it is easy to generate a variety of top 10 or top 25 lists (most skewed, most split, most consistent, etc.)

In the season summary, season 3 had the most reviews, the highest average, the most skew towards a majority of high ratings, and the closest to a normal distribution of results. Distributions of ratings for other seasons were flatter, with averages closer to 3.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Acedio wrote:

Ah, interesting. I admittedly did not try to submit a review with the -Select Star Rating- item in the combobox because I was afraid if it going through and then not being able to fix it. I'm still somewhat hesitant to try it.

Kind of unfortunate, it sounds like some "valuable" reviews were lost because of what amounts to a validation error. Perhaps this constitutes a bug report against the website?

I don't know. I presume they chose to code it that way on purpose in case someone wanted to comment but not provide a star rating. It appears that the average ratings on the website exclude those responses from the numerical averages, but the comments are still presented for others to peruse. It is a small percentage in most cases.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Acedio wrote:
Peter Kies wrote:
I just noticed that it is possible to give a zero star rating
The review form does not provide 0 stars as a valid option, unless the form does not validate submissions where the star rating selector is left in the default position. It seems to me that 0 star ratings are indicative of bad data.

Kyle has about 1% of the reviews listed as zero stars - which I'd guess correspond to folks who wrote a text review but did not provide a star rating (the default choice, above "1 Star" is "Select Star Rating"). It could be that some of these were folks who neglected to provide a rating and some were those who though it didn't earn any stars. For 16 scenarios where this occurred, some had one "zero" and some had two. This ranged from 3% to 50% of the reviews for an individual scenario (avg. 7%).

I checked the ones that had 2 zeroes. In Rats of Round Mountain they were BS comments about Kyle's scenario killing players as well as PCs and destroying computers and setting fire to homes. In Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment they appeared to be omissions on positive reviews. In Sanos Abduction only one review appeared without stars (the total count also did not match the spreadsheet). That particular review was fairly negative, but it did not clearly show an intentional rating of zero stars.

Without checking the rest I would tend to agree that most of the reviews with zero stars were not intended to convey a zero rating. If you agree these are generally bad data, they should not count in any total of reviews that is used for statistical calculations. They don't have any impact on the "10 or more reviews" threshold as the scenarios in question either have under 10 reviews already or have more than 10 where a star rating was given.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Kyle,

I just noticed that it is possible to give a zero star rating, and in some cases that occurred. Your formula for averaging excludes the count of the zero star ratings in the denominator, so the averages where there were any such reviews are artificially inflated.

I am nearly done with the calculation of confidence bands for the averages (estimated +/- error on the averages considering number of reviews) and am correcting the average columns for the zero star ratings now. Would you like me to post an update or send a copy to you first for review?

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Kyle,

I've downloaded the spreadsheet and can add the info I mentioned in my email about the degree of confidence in the average ratings (based only upon number of reviews and making the huge presumption that these reflect a random sampling of participants).

Although top 20 are all likely excellent scenarios and bottom 20 are likely some of the worst, the relative standing of these and the ones in the middle (if we had responses from all who participated) could differ substantially. The "true" average rating could change by up to a star (or more) if you don't have a large sampling of reviews and the ones you have are not tightly grouped.

Another measure of a scenario's popularity would be number of play statistics. Granted, you'd have to look at replayable scenarios separately (yes, The Confirmation's popularity has a lot to do with that and you can't take all the credit). But if a player likes a scenario enough to want to GM it or a GM likes one enough to GM it again and again, that is meaningful feedback.

I don't have access to the Paizo stats on this, but we all can see the relative popularity of scheduled sessions in the Warhorn PFS Campaign Global Scenarios Listing. The top 25 include 2 replayables (Confirmation and We Be Goblins) and mostly season 5 stuff for the rest. Mists of Mwangi comes in at #25, and Trial by Machine is the only season 6 currently in the top 25. For an individual scenario, you can see number of past and upcoming plays as well as the total.

I expected the Destiny of the Sands trilogy would rate highly, but was surprised to see the Glass River Rescue, The Stolen Heir, Library of the Lion and the Wardstone Patrol right up there with those scenarios.

This is somewhat slanted as we didn't get the global scenario catalog up there until Jan/Feb 2014, and most folks had already played stuff from previous seasons using manually entered event descriptions (rather than picking from the global catalog). If you sort the information by season, you can see the relative (recent) popularity of scenarios within a specific season, or you can simply discount scenarios that were released after the global catalog went live as these will include a lot of the initial plays (there'll be a higher percentage of replays and lower totals for older games.) If you look at the top 50 you start seeing the most popular games outside of seasons 5 & 6. There are currently 271 offerings in the catalog, including scenarios, APs, modules and ACG Adventures.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Kyle,

You've obviously done a lot of work here. When I first started selecting scenarios for events, I looked at reviews to try to pick some good ones. But there are two problems with the system:

1) Reviews are voluntary, which may bias them. People with a really good or really bad experience may be more inclined to write a review, or the bulk of the reviews may just be from folks who have the time and inclination to write a review (which may not be a typical cross-section of players).

2) There are far too few reviews in most cases to really make an assessment with confidence. I can send you some reasoning about this; the statistical theory could be a bit lengthy and technical for posting in this forum. The number of reviews is a vanishingly small percentage of the number of times these scenarios have been played.

Some may cringe at the idea of adding a player review survey to the event reporting, but a rating scale selection against a small number of factors probably would not be hard to implement. A test run could even be done at a convention before promoting such an idea further.

The average alone is also probably not a great indicator. Your idea of the polarizing index is a great way to capture more of the "shape" of the responses, and a step in the right direction. Your next step of doing a count of reviews per month will also help explain the data better. The amount of play has grown each season, and I'd expect to see more reviews of newer scenarios for that reason.

There are also some great tools for pivoting and displaying the data with multiple filter, sort and group criteria. As the standard error of the mean varies with the number of reviews, it might be good to group and compare scenarios that have a similar age and/or number of reviews...

The Exchange

I'd also be interested to hear an official clarification. If it is ruled as a special type of overrun, then clearly it can be combined with charging. If the creature further has the power attack, improved overrun and charge through feats, then it's a no brainer as those allow you to overrun one target while charging another, even if the opponent is up to one size larger than you.

Trample gives the targets the chance to avoid or take AoO, so it isn't equivalent to improved overrun in that regard (which is a prerequisite for charge through, which allows you a free overrun of one target.)

I think the size differential would be my deciding factor in the absence of a ruling. If the squishies are only one size category smaller, they may not stop the overrun but they could be considered difficult terrain, thus negating a charge through without the feat. Anything smaller is not going to slow down a trampling creature.

A creature in the way stops a charge unless you have charge through or they are too small to have any chance of impeding your movement. But the same creature does not stop an overrun or trample at normal speed. For charge through to make any sense, it sounds like without it you have to be charging the target of the overrun to use charge and overrun at the same time. I suppose you could charge and trample the same target if there were no other interposing figures or barriers in the way. But otherwise, the trampling slows you down.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

We are going to run the trilogy in back to back slots on a Saturday at an upcoming convention. We have some copies of MA to give away per prize support (thanks!) but I know we will not have time to go through an intro to mythic and character build choices between parts 2 and 3.

So I am planning to create a PC mythic upgrade sheet before the con and ask players who either have the book or hope to buy or win it, to have this sheet filled out BEFORE the con if they want to play a full mythic build (using the PRD or a copy of MA they already own). I'm also considering disallowing Ultimate Versatility as a path ability - it just screams of something that will take too long to decide how to use.

One thing that could absolutely kill mythic in PFS is if it takes too long to figure out how the rules work. I want to have larger-than-life heroics (not long rules discussions), and we may have to make fast decisions on rules I haven't yet committed to memory.

Has anybody already put together something like the upgrade sheet I mentioned? If not, I'll whip something up tomorrow and can make it available.

There are so many options, especially if you throw in Mythic Spellcasting universal path ability (or mythic spell lore) and the Legendary Item universal path ability. There is no way a player with a new book can review and choose from all those options in the short break between slots. To quickly adjudicate all the mythic abilities that might come up, I think it will also be critical to have a good idea of the player selections before the game.

If the GM knows exactly how all those abilities should work, then they should be able to keep the story moving without having to make many references to MA or explaining rules a lot. They can encourage players to use mythic power without giving away the plot. I'd consider it a success if most of my players burn up all of their uses of mythic power and really get as much effect as they can out of this one-time power boost.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Looking at the differences between boots of elvenkind and boots of striding and springing, I'm wondering if there is an upgrade path between the two that would involve just paying the difference.

The effect of boots of Elvenkind is a +5 comp bonus on acrobatics checks "allowing wearer to move nimbly about in any surroundings". Would you rule that as +5 on all acro checks, or only moving through threatened squares and across narrow/uneven surfaces (not on falling or jump checks)?

Striding and Springing increases base land speed by 10', but also grants ability to jump with a +5 comp bonus on acrobatics checks.
Would you rule that the +5 only applies to jumping, and not other uses of acrobatics?

The basic question - are the uses of the two types of boots mutually exclusive (one for speed/jumping and one for other types of acrobatics), or is one simply a greater version of the other?

Boots of Striding and Springing are about twice the price of Boots of Elvenkind, and the increased speed enhancement might be viewed as an adder to the +5 acrobatics bonus.

But I think the intention may have been to have the effects be exclusive and only apply to different parts of the acrobatics skill. In 3.5 there were different skills for balance and jump, and elven boots didn't affect either of them (they affected move silently skill while an elven cloak affected hide skill - both now part of stealth).

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Rock-Con is THE annual regional gaming convention for players in Rockford, IL and the surrounding area. This year we welcome you to celebrate Rock-Con’s 40th anniversary October 25th-27st 2013! The convention features historical and fantasy miniature gaming, collectible miniatures, role playing, collectible card and board gaming events covering the entire spectrum of adventure gaming.

The Rockford Pathfinder Society is making its 2nd appearance at Rock-Con this year. We plan to have activities all weekend long, for all age groups and player experience levels. From the Pathfinder Beginner Box demos to the introductory scenarios released this year to Pathfinder Society Organized play scenarios and sanctioned modules, we'll have many ways for you to get involved in the exciting world of the Pathfinder RPG.

Friday night we are running the Year of the Shadow Lodge special.
Saturday we will have up to 8 tables of PFS in each of 3 slots, and Beginner Box demos all day.
Sunday (8 hours) we will offer a selection of modules for PC levels 1-8.
And all weekend we will be running levels of the Thornkeep dungeon.

You can check out Rock Con online here.

Also, the PFS schedule for pre-registration is on warhorn.

And finally, here is the PFS event #.

Come join us for some fun!

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

I think I know the answer, but can I get a quick clarification on the applicable dates: "between August 16, 2012 and August 15, 2013" - is this inclusive of 8/16/12 (first day of GenCon 2012) but exclusive of 8/15/13 (first day of GenCon 2013)?

I'm presuming that's the case, with the actual limits being something like 12:00 am on the listed dates (or possibly the starting time of the first PFS slot at GenCon).

If I'm interpreting it right, one of my PCs barely failed to qualify. He earned 2 PP at GenCon on Thursday, but that won't count against the Year of the Risen Rune. On the flip side, he got an early start against any similar boon that might come out for the Year of the Demon.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

I created a game day event for our local group, for a day where I unfortunately was unable to attend. I gave the GM a tracking sheet prior to the event, including the event number. The plan was for him to give me the sheet so I could enter it - but there is a time crunch and we may not meet to exchange the information at the previously planned time.

Can the GM view that event number and report his own session under it, or do I have to do the online reporting if I want it to appear under than event number?

If not, I'm sure I could get the info via phone or email, but I'd like an answer to this anyway. I don't know what the event options (online screens) look like for anyone other than myself.

Another option would be for him to create his own event and enter it there - but that doesn't give me an immediate check to make sure the reporting was done.

If I start the reporting and assign him as GM, would that affect his ability to report the remaining results of that session?

The Exchange

If the resources in in the PFS core assumption change, it would be nice if Paizo provided an "upgrade" price (discount) to those who already purchased the core materials. But that would probably be impossible to track unless the items were bought at Paizo's online store - e.g. PFS Core "maintenance" subscription.

It sounds like this book is going to combine some of the better material from Seekers and the Field Guide and probably some new things as well. I certainly hope so. I am still building my PFS library and would like to have the good stuff all together versus buying separate older books.

It seems that the value of the books really varies depending upon whether you are new to PFS or a veteran who has already purchased older material. The campaign absolutely needs a resource like this and needs to keep if fresh, and the new material is always worth something - I would not expect it all to be rolled into the PFS Guide to Organized Play for free. But requiring folks to pay full price when much of the material exists in something players and GMs already paid for is not likely to be met with a high level of satisfaction.

Still, folks should keep in mind that Paizo's done a good job of making sure we get continued use out of our CRBs. I bought a 3rd printing version, and to update that to 6th printing was a free (and small) errata download. The same goes for Bestiary updates (but not new Bestiaries with new types of monsters). The annual "dues" to maintain CA materials for PFS (if the "PFS Primer" or equivalent is updated every year or two) really don't amount to much, compared to the price you pay for scenarios, modules, APs, other PFS setting material, accessories and additional resources. If you buy this new resource, please write a review at that point and let others know what you think about the price/value ratio. I don't think the inclusion of older material is a problem as long as the price takes that into account.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

Robert A Matthews wrote:

The idea was that you gain prestige for completing missions for your faction and in return they returned the favors through prestige points. You gain the xp for the main mission and prestige awards for the faction missions. I was a little disappointed by the faction missions in this one however. I don't think your players will have much trouble at all getting full prestige.

** spoiler omitted **

There are a few missions where, if the PCs don't have the requisite skill (or they don't act at the right time), they're going to be SOL. I guess that's not so different from other scenarios.

I also had to improvise for a 3.5 game mechanic that is done completely different in PFS.

Spoiler:
There is no "turn undead" with a chance to fail, so I assigned CRs (and thereby hit points) to the haunts as follows:

tier 1-2: CR 2, 4 HP, effect silent image spell, duration concentration (or 4 rounds if not being manipulated by the sorcerer)
tier 4-5: CR 4, 8 HP, effect major image spell, duration concentration plus 3 rounds (or 8 rounds if not being manipulated by the sorcerer)

Basically there is a chance that the 1st channel energy doesn't neutralize the haunt, and at higher tier the higher CR is reflected by the addition of sound/temperature/smell effects and extended duration.

It doesn't mean a lot because the effect is not damaging, but the possible persistence of extra targets beyond the first channel attempt may add some confusion about who the PCs should attack - just as they would if the cleric failed a turning attempt against HD 3.

The ghouls (and ghasts) could definitely be tough if the PCs find themselves outnumbered and unable to even the odds prior to all of those attacks. I'm still trying to decide if I should go 3.5 here or PFS. Although the same CR, the PFS ghouls are tougher (better attack rolls, claw damage, fort save, paralysis DC). Similar for the ghasts, although I think PFS CR is 2 instead of 3 (lower HD & HP), which would mean I couldn't use those and maintain the listed CR.

The Exchange ** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Love's Park

I'm running Black Waters in a couple of weeks, and I have a question about the prestige awards.

The Guide to PFSOP says that scenarios with 2 faction missions allow one PP for each faction mission successfully completed. This scenario does have two faction missions for each faction.

Does that mean that the primary mission is unimportant for purposes of prestige? (I suppose there is some chance to fail to complete that)

Perhaps the thanks of VC Drandle Drenge is reward enough, even if it doesn't equate to faction prestige.

This is the first one I've run with dual faction missions, and I just want to make sure I have it straight so I can emphasize it to my players. It looks like it will be a little bit harder for everyone to earn full prestige on this one.

The Exchange

I'm organizing some PFS events for a fall convention.

The schedule on Sunday is short, only 8 hours, and a bit tight for trying to fit in two scenarios back to back.

I was thinking about the following module choices to cover a variety of PC levels. Are any of these likely to get us in time trouble if we only have 8 hours? I could require that GMs come with maps pre-drawn if that will significantly reduce the time or help keep it within the limit.

(1-2) The Godsmouth Heresy
(2-4) Feast of Ravenmoor
(3-5) Fangwood Keep
(4-6) Carrion Hill
(5-7) From Shore to Sea

Any advice or run time experience would be appreciated.

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