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Members of the old Osirion faction could take "The Risen", which allowed them to pay 8PP for a raise dead (instead of the usual 16 PP), at the cost of not ever being allowed to change factions.
When Amenopheus was on the outs with the Ruby Prince, this started to bother me, since if the Ruby Prince didn't want to be involved in Pathfinder business, why is he allowing his personal guard to go gallivanting off with them? Now, of course, the Ruby prince supports *no* factions in the Society, and so even those former Osirion members who stay in the new "Scarab Sages" faction have no connection to the Ruby Prince. Are they still not allowed to change factions?
I'm sure this is already decided, but I would just like to throw out a few thoughts on the coming r/evolution of factions.
tl;dr: The Sczarni and Cheliax factions are evil and self-serving entities that violate the fundamental team basis of the campaign, and should be removed as legal player options.
(Expecting a bunch of flames from members of those factions, of course. All I ask is that you read my arguments and think about them from a campaign perspective before writing.)
Let me first declare my allegiance to the Society above any political allegiance (even the Grand Lodge, which is after all dedicated to a political organization - the Decemvirate). I lobbied for the minimization of faction missions as soon as I realized Paizo actually listened to its audience. So overall, I have been very happy with the turn of events so far. But, over the past year I have had several issues related to factions, despite their less-dominant role in the rewards earned by characters. These issues revolve around two specific factions which will surprise very few:
On the Sczarni: Why are they a legal player choice when an evil alignment is not? The Sczarni faction are a group of people who basically are telling us, "I'm just here to make money, screw you guys." This is the textbook definition of a neutral evil outlook. I understand why they want to be in the Society, and even why (in-game) the Society allows them in (because of their vast intelligence network). I fail to see why they are a legal player option, though, given the group nature of the PFS play experience. They were accomplices in the biggest betrayal of the Society we've seen in five season of play. Their older faction missions are about stealing from the Society, extorting people while on duty as a Pathfinder, and lying and cheating their Society comrades at the table. Now, many factions have secrets, and many occasionally ask their agents to do questionable things, but the Sczarni routinely top the list in terms of "un-Pathfinder-like behaviour".
On the Paracountess and Cheliax: First, fanboi out of the way: one of my favorite NPC's ever! BUT - her stated goals for Season Five should get her executed for crimes against Golarion, and any agents that actually help her advance them should be thrown in irons as traitors to the Crusade and the Society. I don't really see how any non-evil PC can willingly be a member of her faction anymore. (I know John and Mike must see this, too, so I can't wait to find out what they've got in store for us... )
While both of these are great in-game story lines, I suggest that by their nature the Cheliax and Sczarni factions pose a major problem for Organized Play. As PFS grows and new players join without knowing the setting or the campaign background, they see these legal player options and are totally misled about the nature of the campaign. The Guide tells us "..when you find yourself doing everything in your power (...) to undo everything [another] character is trying to accomplish, you’ve probably lost sight of the purpose of Pathfinder Society Organized Play". Both the Sczarni and the Cheliax faction missions in past years, as well as the Paracountess' goals for Season Five, do exactly this, and tell their followers to do it, too.
This is not just theoretical: Of the four new-ish players I've had to talk to about alignment, PvP, and team-play recently, both FtF and online, three have been Sczarni and one has been a Cheliax faction member. I've had Sczarni players argue that since "no PvP" specifically defines itself as "don't kill another PC", that it is legal for them to intimidate, punch, or knock out other PCs, so they can do some Sczarni stuff without being caught. I've had Sczarni (and one Chelaxian) argue about the exact line where things become "evil", and use faction goals as evidence about what "must be legal" since it's a faction goal. I've had members of both factions withhold healing from anyone who disagrees with their Neutral Evil-style actions. I've had to invoke "don't be a jerk" several times on these characters.
I contend that, no matter how much "fun" they are to the members of these two factions, the in-game goals and outlooks of the Cheliax and Sczarni factions are at odds with the stated campaign goals of no evil PCs and no player-versus-player combat. We are setting up new players to run afoul of the campaign rules by giving them in-game permission to be evil (usually spelled "chaotic neutral" on the character sheet). To work in the PFS OP campaign, both factions need to be completely revamped or removed.
I hope that some of these issue can be resolved before Season Six. I'd love to find a way for both factions to become more in keeping with a group-based game, but given the Paracountess' recent actions I can't see any way for her to live except as a fugitive.
I'd love for someone to change my mind with additional evidence or show me what I'm missing in my thought process here!
I am wondering how the "player-friendly" nature of these books interfaces with the knowledge skill checks to identify creatures? By RAW, to identify a creature in combat and to know specific information, I would need to have and make the appropriate Knowledge skill check in combat. But what about the more general information? For example, can my PC already be assumed to know "Five things everyone knows about demons" from the Demon Hunter's Handbook if I have that book? What about the list of demons in the "Know your demons" section of the book? Can I "know" for example, that a babau's slime will damage my weapons because it is in the designed-for-players DHH, or do I need a Knowledge check for that?
As a GM, I usually allow players to "know" that stuff for free, since I am a huge proponent of the "more lore" idea. My question is really a general one, but I'd like to know the implications for PFS as well.
Assuming this AP gets sanctioned for PFS, I would urge the PFS team to consider sanctioning the first section, Ankhetepi's tomb, instead of something deeper into the book.
In my mind, Anketepi's Tomb is a *perfect* introduction to the Pathfinder Society and its creedo of, "Explore, Report, Cooperate". There are combats, traps, and puzzles, a huge amount of history and discovery, and rewards for being well-prepared and balanced characters (in other words, realistic Pathfinder Society members).
It also lends itself well to the approach in The Confirmation where players/characters are expected to take notes. There could be even a minor boon for people who put together all of the tidbits of history into a coherent report, or who decipher a set number of nuggets of history.
I know some of the later stuff might seem "sexier" for PFS as well, but I really love the first tomb for this. Just a suggestion.
Sharing best practices for the other side of the screen...
As a player, I am impressed when a GM gives permission to roleplay. Many players will roleplay if the tone is set, or play "d20s and Simpsons quotes" if that's the direction things start. A GM who sets the tone and roleplays gives the players permission to do the same, and generally leads to a very immersive game.
I am also impressed when the GM has made maps, handouts, or terrain ahead of time. Even a simple map, pre-drawn so the lines are straight, makes a big impression compared to sketching it on a battlemap room-by-room. (Caveat: as long as the rest of the game is also good... I have been at (and perhaps run) tables with great terrain but where the GM has barely prepped the actual scenario!)
Finally: I am impressed when the GM is willing to be corrected on rules mistakes, and when they are willing to tell rules lawyers to sit down once they've heard the arguement and rejected it. It is a fine line between being open to examining a mistake, and letting an arguementative player try to get their way after you've alrady said no. I am always impressed when someone can draw that line in the right spot.
What can GMs do to impress you?
To catch the other side of the coin from this thread, how about some ways for players to impress their GMs? Not just by knowing the rules or whatever, but ways that help streamline the GM's job?
One of our players plays a drunken master/white-haired witch/something else that basically has 5 attacks, each with grab and constrict, on a full attack. (Don't ask me about the build, I don't know.) I've seen builds like this take five minutes for a player to resolve all of the attacks, rolling each attack and doing the math one-by-one.
Rene is different. He's gotten one of those segmented plastic boxes, and put each die, colored-coded, in the grid of little boxes. Every attack, damage, CMB, and constrict damage are in its own column. To make a full attack, he shakes the whole box and plops it down on the table. All the dice are visible, with the appropriate damage, CMB for grab, and constrict damage all laid out. It takes him perhaps 20 seconds to resolve all 10 damage rolls (less once he knows roughly what the "hit" numbers are from a previous round). *HUGE* time-saver.
What other ways can players help the GM?
Following discussion on the FB page... it looks like vehicles in Ch. 4 of Ultimate Combat are not called out as illegal for purchase in PFS. Now, siege engines are NOT legal, so the vehicles would be unarmed, but as it stands a PC could buy an airship (say). Correct? And if so, how should GM's handle players who want to use said vehicles at the table? Just as flavour, or are GM's required to utilize the vehicle combat rules in the situations which would allow them?
My name is Scott Young, and I'll be running this "table" of Pathfinder Society scenario #3-01, The Frostfur Captives. Thanks for signing up!
A few housekeeping things:
We'll start on the 5th or slightly before (if we're allowed to by the PbP powers-that-be).
This game is part of the Official Pathfinder Society PbP Game Day. For more information please visit: http://PbPGameday.com
Tasked with escorting a group of goblin prisoners from their camp to civilization for interrogation by the Pathfinder Society, you must protect them not only from the beasts and hazards of the wilderness, but themselves. Written by Jim Groves.
After three years and three months of wearing the red shirt, I have announced my retirement as the Venture-Captain of the Manitoba Pathfinder Lodge, effective Monday, January 27. It has been a wild ride, and I have learned a huge amount about so many things, in-game and out of it. I'll spare you the long speeches here; you can find them on our Manitoba Pathfinder Lodge Facebook page if you want.
Thanks to the folks at Paizo who I've gotten to work with over the years: Hyrum and Josh, my first two bosses, before I even had the title; Erik Mona, whose Eyes of the Ten installment is still the best scenario I've ever run; Mark Moreland, developer extraordinaire, from whom I learned to love Golarion lore (and also learned, a moment too late, to rein in my big mouth and not bash developers when I disagreed with them... ;), John Compton, from whom I learned deviousness of plot and character; and of course, Mike Brock. It was Mike who first offered me the job as V-C, doing what I was doing already; Mike who expanded PFS to be the huge campaign it is, reaching around the world with active groups everywhere; Mike who believes in this campaign so much that he keeps things on track sometimes through shear force of will. I hope Paizo realizes what a great team they have running PFS now, and how much promise the campaign still has ever after five and a half seasons.
I will still be around, just as "GM Lamplighter" instead of the formal title. If you're ever in Winnipeg, drop by, and we'll run a game for you.
I'm very pleased to announce that James Hood has accepted the position of Venture-Lieutenant for Brandon, Manitoba. Brandon is about 3 hours west of Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba, Canada and my region. While it's a small city, it hosts the largest gaming con in the region every June, and has a very active PFS scene. I'm looking forward to working with James in the coming year.
BACKGROUND: Some Chronicles have adjustments that need to be made by GMs before they can be given to players, because the item as listed doesn't exist.
For example, Season 0 Chronicles have some old v3.5 items. Per this post (by an old campaign coordinator but recently confirmed by Mike), if the old item has a PFRPG equivalent, the GM crosses out the item listed and write in the PFRPG item instead. Any item that no longer exists under PFRPG is crossed off and not replaced.
For most things, this is fine: the 3.5 cloak of charisma +2 becomes a headband of alluring charisma +2 - same effect, same price, so you swap the old one with the PFRPG version. (So it is now a headband slot item and not a shoulder slot item.) Items like the old gauntlets of ogre power are functionally and price-wise the equivalent of a belt of giant strength +2, so they get replaced on the Chronicle as well.)
Now, there are items on Chronicles that don't exist in the Pathfinder rule set; however, in most cases these are called out as unique, or have their full item description printed on the Chronicle. These are clearly intended to be special items available only through that scenario. (Side note: I love Chronicle access to unique items!)
However, there is a recent Chronicle which lists a +1 keen longbow. This not only does't exist in the Pathfinder rule set, it *can't*, since the keen weapon property can only be applied to slashing or piercing melee weapons. The item is either a mistake by the rules, or an exception to them. It's also not covered by the post in the "Examples" above, since it's not a Season 0 conversion issue. So, the short-term question is, what happens to that item on the Chronicle?
Rather than case-by-case rulings, it's probably better to have an overall policy for GMs to refer to, so here's an idea.
PROPOSAL: Any item listed on a Chronicle sheet that does not conform to the Pathfinder RPG ruleset must be removed from the Chronicle sheet. If the item has a Pathfinder equivalent (same function, same price) it is replaced by the Pathfinder item. Items which do not have a Pathfinder equivalent must have their full item description printed on the Chronicle sheet. Any item which does not meet one of these two criteria is crossed off the Chronicle sheet without replacement.
Even if an item is "available" via a Chronicle sheet, if it breaks the rules it isn't legal to use at the table, unless the Chronicle actually provides the rules for that item. RAW, I could buy the keen longbow, but it would not work at the table because it violates the rules. It must be a mistake - if it were intended to work, it wouldn't be called "keen", but a new weapon property which is the equivalent for ranged weapons, which would be stated out on the Chronicle. OR, it would have a note calling it out as a unique item.
(There's probably an extension that if an item like the +1 keen longbow can't go on the Chronicle sheet because it's illegal, then it probably shouldn't be used against the players in the scenario, either... but that's a development question and not a "how do I as GM fill out the Chronicle?" question.)
Please FAQ this so it can get some official attention. The current example of the longbow is a pretty big game-changer that shouldn't be subject to table variation.
Everyone is invited to JimCon, Nov 15-17, 2013 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - the Lodge closest to the geographical centre of North America. We're close to everyone!
We have 35+ tables of PFS scheduled, including some introductory games, regular scenarios of all tiers, Part 1 of Eyes of the Ten, and other fun stuff. But more importantly...
... our special guest this year is none other than Mike Brock, Paizo's Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator! He'll be bringing both levels of Bonekeep with him, and this will be the only chance to play these exclusive (and deadly!) scenarios on the Canadian prairies in the foreseeable future.
Registration is cheap ($15 for the weekend, if you register before Nov 1), and I can recommend decent hotels near the venue.
Check us out here!
A fresh sea breeze wafts in through the open windows facing Lake Encarthan, lifting the embroidered curtains. Beyond the balcony, you can see a few small ships playing their trade, shuttling back and forth from the trade routes which crisscross the lake. Kerse, capital of the Kalistocracy of Druma and trade hub of all of Avistan, stretches off along the river.
The opulent parlor in the manor of Temel Passad is far more comfortable than a typical Pathfinder Lodge's briefing room. Rich mahogany paneling lines the walls, and intricately-inlaid tiles are visible between several lush carpets. Ornate furniture provides comfort for guests, and an impressive assortment of art and artefacts is calculated to occupy the interest of those waiting for the Master of the house.
There are six people in the room, presumably all called here for a common purpose. As you survey the others, each of you considers the letter which summoned you here.
“Passed Xer, paid our way, but attacked and overcome. Razmiri priests hold us for unknown purpose. We are held somewhere near the Glass River at…”
One of several possible places they are held is the Gray Revelation Inn, about thirty miles east of Xer—we suspect the Razmiri priesthood uses the site to interrogate prisoners. You must investigate and liberate the three dwarven envoys—if indeed that is where they are imprisoned—and then escort them to Mendev. Accompanying you are two other dwarves who will take the captured envoys’ places if you aren’t successful: merchant Metella Raugar and respected Pahmet mystic Amauhak. The Kalistocrat Temel Passad, a Druman with whom we have dealt in the past, has volunteered a boat to transport you north, and I see little reason why we should not take him up on this offer. Building a good working relationship with one or more influential merchants would be to everyone’s benefit.
My name is Scott Young, and I'll be running this "table" of Pathfinder Society scenario #5-01, The Glass River Rescue. Thanks for signing up!
We have a full party of 6 with 1 on the waiting list, so I'd like to get things started. Due to the level balance we're going to run just with 6 players, as a party of seven will be too much at the lower subtier.
At this point, please create an alias for your PC for this game, and fill in all the details in a character sheet format there. Here's a good example: Painlord. Then post here so I can find it easily. Also make sure you include your PFS number and Character number.
A few housekeeping things:
I will put up the gameplay thread later today and we can get started. If you have any private questions, please email me at vc dot scott dot young at gmail dot com; I don't always notice private messages on these forums right away.
I started serializing the Season 5 changes for my local Lodge, and thought others might find it useful as well. It has helped get people on board quickly with the rules updates while they get around the reading the entire Guide. I do one for players and an addendum for GMs, but here I'll just combine them into single posts.
I really like the new format for the reporting system, but there are a couple of minor tweaks I'd love to see...
Is there a way to put the pulldown calendar back on the PFS reporting site? For those of us non-US folks, writing a numeric date with the month first is just wrong, and results in ambiguity compared to the old calendar system or the "everywhere but America" ISO standard of year-month-day. In addition, when you try to save a session with an incorrectly-formatted date, the system also goes and removes other info you've previously typed in, like the GM's faction. It took me about 6 tries to report a single game today.
There are two tables of the entire "Eyes of the Ten" Seeker arc running at this year's GenCon! Completing this series with your 12th level PC earns *the* coolest boon (both mechanically and story-wise) ever awarded in Pathfinder Society. (Yes, even cooler than a goblin.)
Kyle Baird's table runs as follows:
Thu 8AM: RPG1343108 PFS #46: Eyes of the Ten Part I (2 slots)
My table starts the next day:
I can promise some neat 3D terrain for my table; Kyle can promise... well, I've heard that Kyle doesn't make promises, but I bet it would be an awesome table to complete my favorite character's Seeker arc!
Sign up now so I know it's worth hauling the terrain all the way to Indy!
The Manitoba Pathfinder Lodge is running a full series of PFS games at PrairieCon, Manitoba's longest-running gaming convention. GMs from across the region will converge at the Assiniboine Community Centre in Brandon for 3 days of full-on gaming. We have 16 tables scheduled already, with capacity to add more as demand warrants. PrairieCon will mark the first public presentation of this year's Exclusive scenario, "Day of the Demon" (previously offered in Manitoba only as a reward to the Lodge's regular GMs).
Other scenarios already scheduled include:
Details can be found on PrairieCon's website.
We are excited to be running PFS again this year at KeyCon, Winnipeg's longest-running fantasy/sci-fi/gaming convention. We have an even dozen tables currently scheduled, with more to be filled in over the coming days (goal is 16 tables). The con is celebrating the 100th anniversary of HP Lovecraft, and so we've chosen scenarios with a darker theme:
Character Generation Workshop + quests
Convention details can be found at KeyCon's website.
Aram bin Kaleel, Pathfinder
Greetings, Pathfinders of the Shadow Lodge! I know that many Pathfinders are nervous of the tidings that are to be revealed tonight by the Ten. I am certain Grandmaster Torch is well aware of the details of this announcement, as his information network is unparalleled in Golarion. For the rest of us, we must wait and see what happens, and whether our patrons will remain welcome in the Society.
Despite its origins, the Shadow Lodge has done much to improve the Society since it "came in from the cold", so to speak. Your advocacy for the individual agents has made real progress in how the Ten utilizes "resources" such as you and me. Yet I feel we could do more, by encouraging Society members to become self-reliant and self-sufficient, rather than extreme specialists. I have been assigned to many missions without a healer, or arcanist, or other important role. Only my Lamplighter creed provided the tools I needed to come through unscathed.
The Lamplighters encourage Pathfinders to be able to handle any situation without relying on other specific team members. We hearken back to the days of Durvin Gest, who went alone into the wild and found glory and knowledge. Our aims are simply those of the Society, and we like you believe that the Society is built on the capabilities of its agents.
Do not despair of your decision to join the Society, and do not revert to the old ways of terror and subversion - they cannot succeed. Work with us from within for the betterment of all Society members. Join us!
For membership inquiries, please visit Kaleel's Imports in Absalom.
Aram bin Kaleel, Pathfinder
Greetings, friends in the Society! I know that many Pathfinders are nervous of the tidings that are to be revealed tonight by the Ten. In particular, the tribulations of the Paracountess has been seen by many as a portent of a dim future for those Pathfinders devoted to the law. Fear not that your faction leader may lose influence in the Society, for this is a blessing in disguise. Too long have we served political ends while working to fulfill our Society's goals. Now is the time to throw off the yoke of such political puppetmasters and chart our own course, for knowledge and discovery!
The Lamplighters will never ask you to deviate from your Venture-Captain's assignment to aid the goals of a single nation. We work for the Society as a whole, and the Society seeks to uncover new knowledge and share it with the world. The Lamplighters have only one cause: to support Pathfinders to be the best they can be, independent of outside influences who seek to corrupt and twist their efforts. Join us!
For membership inquiries, please visit Kaleel's Imports in Absalom.
A servant of the Law,
Aram bin Kaleel, Pathfinder
Greetings, friends in the Society! I know that many Pathfinders are nervous of the tidings that are to be revealed tonight by the Ten. Fear not that your faction leader may lose influence in the Society, for this is a blessing in disguise. Too long have we served political ends while working to fulfill our Society's goals. Now is the time to throw off the yoke of such political puppetmasters and chart our own course, for knowledge and discovery!
The Lamplighters will never ask you to deviate from your Venture-Captain's assignment to aid the goals of a single nation. We work for the Society as a whole, and the Society seeks to uncover new knowledge and share it with the world. Leave your masters' shackles behind and join us, and chart your own course within the Society!
For membership inquiries, please visit Kaleel's Imports in Absalom.
Yours in freedom,
I'm very excited to announce Kolby Sample's promotion to Venture-Lieutenant, joining Myron Pauls and I in handling Manitoba, Canada. Although we're all based in Winnipeg, Manitoba is a very centralized province population-wise, and we have a big geographic area to cover. Kolby is one of my most active GMs and a store coordinator already, and I've very pleased to have him on as V-L.
(And yes, I spelled it phonetically in the heading, since that's how we pronounce it in the Empire...)
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Hey Mike.. I am confused by this part..
Alternatively, if you are participating in a Pathfinder Adventure Path with an ongoing home group undertaking the entire campaign, you may receive credit for playing the sanctioned portions of the adventure as if you had played a pregenerated character. In this case, GMs running the Adventure Path are not bound to the rules of the Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign when running the campaign or the sanctioned portion of the adventure. Pathfinder Society characters and characters from an ongoing Adventure Path campaign may not play in the same adventure.
So is this part saying I can run an Adventure Path using the Normal Core Rules and EXP + Home rules and players and GMs can get credit for a PFS character not being played in the AP, similar to the old Module Rules?
Also you can use PFS rules throughout the entire campaign?
And I don't understand the bolded line at all... What exactly are you trying to say there...
Also so characters can play any part of the AP that has a chronicle for it in any order as long as the meet the level requirement?
And Thanks for this!