Ah, okay. No, I am not trying to say it is okay to treat them worse. What I am trying to say is there is a greater need to hold on to both people even when they have a problem working together and not take the easy way out by simply getting rid of one of them. Now, from appearances, this desire may have been handled poorly, but again, we are only hearing one side.
I am glad you didn't see that as a justification, as I had clearly stated I wasn't trying to justify anything. But, then again, you decided to edit that part out of your response.
What I was trying to do was explain why things in a volunteer situation don't necessarily work like they do in a normal employment position. So comparisons between the two are not 100% accurate. And just because I sympathize with a desire does not mean I agree with a decision.
Delbert Collins II wrote:
Del, I have been debating whether to respond to this publicly because I really don't want to add to the drama that has been on these boards lately, but then it occurred to me that maybe that is exactly why I should, as this goes very much to the heart of volunteer morale, and morale is a public issue, not a private one. Also, while I have likely met you in my long history of organized play, I apologize if I do not specifically recall ever working with you.
But to the heart of this post. I made a post indicating my area was struggling. I would have expected a reply from my RVC to be helpful, either directly offering some assistance, offering suggestions/advice, or, at the very least, offering words of encouragement. Instead, what I got was a casual dismissal of my problems with a response that came across as, “Well, that sucks for you, but since other areas are doing well, I don’t really care.” To say the least, I was very disappointed at your response. And if this is a typical response to issues in your area, I am beginning to understand why there appears to be a morale problem amongst the volunteers. I am hoping your response to this will dispel both my own apprehension and those of others reading it. Thank you ahead of time for your response.
I am not going to attempt any form of justification for any actions involved, partly because I don't want to promote this type of activity, but mostly because I am not going to weigh in on a one sided argument, which is exactly what this post is. What I will say is that the fact that this is a volunteer job and not a paid one is very much part of the problem. Unlike a paid job, there are not a hoard of job seekers who will happily replace anyone Paizo dismisses from the position. Volunteers, especially those with actual authority, are hard to come by and because of that, I can sympathize with the RVC's desire to keep you both on board and hope you can work together.
Bear in mind the following:
1) Unlimited replay appeals more to the casual and new player than the invested player. Invested players try to get as much out of each gaming experience as they can, and many feel that unlimited replay cheapens this. This is actually somewhat paradoxical since invested players are the ones who play the most and would logically get the most benefit out of unlimited re-play.
2) D&D 5E is a simpler system than Pathfinder. Simpler systems also appeal more to the casual and new player than the invested player.
In other words, just because Unlimited Replay may work for AL does not mean it will work for PFS because they don't have the exact same fan base.
Yes. This was a major pain for the PCs when running part 2 of Dead Suns. Poison in Starfinder seems exceptionally harsh against PC, especially considering the rest of the system isn't. One of the bigger problems is the high Attack bonuses most monsters have. In most SF battles, the high PC HP/SP and the high monster attack bonuses tend to wash. But not when it comes to poison. Especially considering the party doesn't have easy access to Remove Affliction until level 7. Poison doesn't just lay low PCs for a few encounters. It can lay them low for days. Quite frankly I am hoping they errata the Curing an Affliction section of the rules for poisons and drugs.
To add to my previous statements. I did not see a huge number of people quitting LFR solely because of their unlimited replay rule, but I did see plenty that listed that as one of the factors. Now what I also saw was a lot of dedicated LG players that simply refused to play LFR because of the unlimited replay rules. Now I can't say how much of that was bluster, or how many may have eventually relented and played anyway, but I can think of at least a dozen people I new in LG who either stuck to their guns and never played it because of that stated reason, or who tried it and didn't like it enough to compensate for the fact that it offered unlimited replays (which they didn't like). Most of these people were generally of the opinion that replays ruin the experience for everyone at the table. I partially agree though I would use the word 'lessen' rather than 'ruin.' Regardless, most of these people pretty much went to PFS as soon as it came out.
I am running the Dead Suns AP with a large table (6-7 players). In order to compensate for the AP being designed for 4 people, I have upped the DCs on most skill checks and increased the number of monsters where appropriate. The biggest problem is that increasing the number of monsters isn't always appropriate. I have looked at the Templates in Alien Archives to make solo monsters tougher, but all of the templates seems to change the basic nature of the monster. There just does not seem to be an Advanced Template like in Pathfinder. So unless I missed this, what do you recommend for making solo monsters tougher?
Participation is definitely down in Florida and specifically my region of the Space Coast. I have been coordinating/co-coordinating Organized Play in my area since as early as 2004, starting with Living Greyhawk. At our peak around 2008, we were running 2 slots every Saturday with an average number of tables exceeding 3 each slot and we ran mini-cons at local game stores that ran 5+ tables per slot for 5 slots over a weekend. In 2008 we switched over to Living Forgotten Realms as our primary offering. While we lost some people because of the system switch, we also got a lot of enthusiastic newcomers, so this initially evened out. However, as time wore on, we started seeing problems. The people we lost due to 4E were primarily invested players which made up the bulk of the organizers and GMs. LG’s limited replay options had encouraged even casual players to occasionally GM, but LFR’s unlimited replay had the opposite effect and the same people ended up GMing all of the time. These two factors, combined with how long we had been doing this, lead to a lot of GM/organizer burn out. Participation had dwindled to less than half it had been by 2011 and I was left as the sole local organizer. This, combined with my, by then, frustration with Wizards of the Coast (I was the Regional Writing Director for the Southeast), led me to start offering PFS in 2012. Initially we saw a resurgence with PFS and a new co-coordinator joined with me at this time. Although we never reached our 2008 heyday numbers, we were still averaging over 2 tables per slot. My co-coordinator had to bow out due to family/job issues in 2015 pretty much leaving me to do everything by myself. While I continued to slog on, I am sure fatigue was starting to wear on my enthusiasm, which may have exacerbated things. By 2017, we were mostly down to single tables slots and half of those didn’t make. The introduction of Starfinder did help some, but not much, and we mostly are only offering Starfinder adventures currently. Had it not been for the timely return of one of our regular GMs who had moved out of the state, I probably would have stopped coordinating locally entirely due to fatigue. Even then, our current PFS/SFS gamedays are running on life support.
I have had several talks with our FLGS owners and they have confirmed this is not simply a PFS problem. Attendance in all forms of Organized Play, including tabletop miniatures & CTGs is down, though tournament participation is still high. So I can’t even blame 5E as it too is struggling as far as organized play is concerned. But book sales are brisk, so there are definitely lots of home games in the area. Just no one seems interested in public organized play events.
Philippe Lam wrote:
While I get your point, we aren't talking about the BOD here, which would require over 50%. We are talking sales figures and I pretty sure Paizo will notice a sudden, significant regional sales drop long before it reaches 50%. But, yes, it is going to take more than a few stalwart boycotters.
That is something else I've noticed - whenever there's a pot-stirring drama thread, they always get posted at the beginning of a holiday weekend or a major convention when the people whose job it actually is to deal with these things will be publicly known to not be in the office. It's really starting to look like the timing is intentional on these things, and it's starting to color the intent of the threads themselves as well - it looks like these types of threads are specifically intended just to cause drama among the community, not to resolve an issue with the help of leadership.
I would suggest that it is logical that issues that revolve around Conventions would most likely rear their heads during the middle of Convention Season (which is mostly late Spring to early Fall). Which, of course, is the time of year that's PFS's Leadership is busiest and most likely traveling or out of office.
Charlotte Halcyon wrote:
If we are talking total Pathfinder Attendees, I am pretty sure we didn't have 250+ for this last Megacon, maybe not even 100+. As has been pointed out, participation in the Southeast has been diminishing for several years. If you are talking total attendees (both gamer and non-gamer) then there are easily a dozen Wargamer, Anime & SciFi Cons in Florida alone that qualify. The only problem with the latter is that a dedicated PFS convention would get less attention/support than a random convention that offered PFS. Of course, it also matters if we are talking unique attendees vs. turnstile attendees.
The Masked Ferret wrote:
Not sure of all the details as this happened to a friend of mine, not me directly. I do know they had some buff time, but I do not know how much. Regardless, this resulted in 2 Con organizers getting involved to see if it was actually legal.
You know you are in trouble when you, as the GM, just put a nasty dragon on the table that you are looking forward to challenging the party with and one of the players announces he has used shadow projection + beastshape II to turn himself into a shadow octopus that gets 8 touch attacks for 1d6 strength damage each.
Ward Davis wrote:
This is sooo true. The 5-6's will have finished the encounter before the 10-11s are even half-way through. Just played a special at 10-11 and never finished a single encounter. Unfortunately, I have seven 10-11 characters and get to play them so seldom, I just don't really have a choice.
World of Dim Light wrote:
No. It just means people need to pay attention. Your redesign project is full of flaws, and mistaken assumptions, and will do nothing to get the people who can't be bothered to read instructions to follow your instructions.
Dude! I read how to do it 3 times and I still got it wrong. I am not stupid and I have been dealing with Organized Play paperwork since the early 2000s. In addition, I am far from the only one to have issues getting this right. Simply telling people to pay more attention is trite and unhelpful.
To be fair, as an ex-WizO for Wizards of the Coast, it is standard operating procedure for most companies to attempt to have issues like this resolved behind the scenes. While I understand you are doing this because you feel it is not being handled, that has nothing to do with the policies the moderators are obliged to follow, i.e. the moderators aren't trying to shut you up, they are just trying to follow SOP for this kind of situation.
Philippe Lam wrote:
There's also the problem of having unreasonable expectations. *coughs*
Based on his statements, it appears the OP may not be well suited for Organized Play. But that doesn't mean we should discourage him from at least trying it to see if he likes it. We all know Organized Play has downsides. We overlook those because we feel the upsides outweigh them. Right now, the OP is focusing on one of the downsides. But if he actually tries PFS out, he may discover the same thing we did.
... and this discussion is reducing my interest in PFS.
In my personal opinion, you are making a bit too much of the whole Faction issue. But clearly, you feel it is important and I am not going to tell you that you are wrong. So since you have invested already in PFS, I would recommend simply playing a few games just to see if PFS is for you. If you find it as enjoyable as most of us, we can help you more with what you are looking for in factions.
Quentin Coldwater wrote:
"Go down swinging" indeed. Of the five times (I think, might be four) I've played The Confirmation, at least three times she ate a crit from that thing and went down hard. She's a crit-magnet.
Sounds like a perfect match for Ledford from First Steps. I crit with that Halfling Barbarian way too many times.
Thurston Hillman wrote:
I am willing to contribute to a source funded pool to get official artwork for the entire band.
HELL! Why the heck isn't Paizo selling official Star Sugar Heartlove tour t-shirts with a picture of the entire band on it!
The existance of a fan-made one without official artwork should have given you a hint. ;-)
SFS continues to write scenarios that seem to be written with my character in mind. I am not sure how that is happening, but the level of personal investment I am getting out of SFS so far has exceeded that of any of my PFS characters. Whatever you are doing, please keep doing it.
Also, does anyone else feel the same way?
Thanks! Still learning the rules.
GM Eazy-Earl wrote:
It is also not very cost effective to do this at 4th level. At 5th, when you get 4 free stat bumps, you can add a +2 to a 16 to make it an 18 and then get the MK1 personal upgrade to make it a 20. If you get it at 4th, then you have an 18 in your stat and you can only bump it up to 19.
High enough level operatives can take 10 just about all the time on skills they have skill focus in.
At 7th level, Skill Focus becomes irrelevant to Operatives as both Skill Focus and Operative's Edge provide Insight bonuses, so they would not stack.
Edit: Never mind. You are referring to the Operative's ability to Take 10 under any circumstances for skills they have Skill Focus in at 7th level.
Of course, that is somewhat irrelevant to this discussion as this specific exception to the rule would override any GM decision to say, "you can't Take 10 under these circumstances because..."
I think, over time, campaigns simply become more regimented.
This is one time where table variation in Organized Play might not really matter that much other than annoying rules purists. I can think of no character build that is invalidated or diminished by the lack of Take 10 in the SFS. Even in PFS, the only thing I can think of that would be diminished was a single trait that essentially let you Take 12 instead of Take 10. This is especially true if everyone knows there is going to be table variation on this.
I am assuming that any decision to alter the replay rules would occur prior to the end of GenCon 2019. I do not expect them to invest any addition resources beyond that date.
Not really a valid counter. A valid counter would have been, "4th Ed. (and LFR) didn't have an "all-in" commitment - and it succeeded.
Of course, that would only really be valid if the above statement were true, but it isn't.
The fact that 4E had an all-in-commitment and failed does not negate the possibility that an all-in-commitment is needed for success.
The AD&D was released in stages, with the Monster Manual being released in 1977, the Player's Handbook in 1978, & the Dungeon Master's Guide in 1979. You literally HAD to play both versions at the same time.
Don't know whether to be happy these are finally coming out, or ticked-off that they are coming taking so long to come out?
Also, Ninja Division had about a dozen Starfinder minis available at GenCon 2017 that I failed to pick up and I have never seen since. Clearly Ninja Division had the ability to produce these for GenCon. Was there never a second product run made on these?
I seriously doubt there will be any official support for PFS1 from Paizo after GenCon 2019. From a business standpoint, they need to fully support their new product and not funnel anymore resources into the old one. It also doesn't behoove them to essentially be competing with themselves for two campaigns. They will want every PFS1 customer they can get to move on to PFS2, which means they will be at least quietly trying to discourage even grassroot attempts at continuing PFS1.
Thank you, Bill, that is very thoughtful and helpful. I am curious if this same phenomenon is being experienced in AL. Since AL has a similar replay system to LFR has it persuvied in the face of unlimited replay or has the constant influx of CCC meant that there is less need to worry about people replaying since there is enough content for them to not need to.
Locally, I can tell you that AL is not getting the same level of dedicated support that PFS gets. However, there are a lot of people who want to play AL (I attribute a lot of this influx in players to things like the very popular Critical Roll). AL manages to get GMs mostly only because people want to play 5E so badly some begrudgingly step up who never did before so that everyone gets to play.
Would PFS experience the same issues since there is con boon support and RSP for GMing incentivizing GMing even in the face of more expanded replay.
Putting limits on things allows PFS to offer rewards at little to no expense to them. This can mean limiting races, rules access, and can include replay. Also, I find the invested players are more likely to avoid the metagaming pitfalls of replay than the casual players. Thus, limiting replay not only allows Paizo to reward people with more replays but limits the negative aspects of the metagaming replaying can cause.
It's been my recent experience that it's been a lot harder to get players at conventions than GMs because of the boon rewards.
If we are talking PFS - if you offer players a limited boon and GMs a much better one, this shouldn't be a problem.
If we are talking AL - AL is much more appealing to the casual player than PFS. And casual players are much less likely to go to Cons, so I am not surprised.
I was both a Triad for Living Greyhawk and an Adventure Coordinator for Living Forgotten Realms. So I have some inside information about both.
Living Greyhawk was heavily focused on the invested player and did not really cater to the casual player. It also supported conventions over local gamedays. It allowed absolutely NO replays. You couldn’t even play it if you GM it first. This discourage metagaming but required a lot of dedication. From what I saw, it’s primary benefit to the campaign was that it encouraged GMing, as if you went to a Con and they weren’t offering anything you hadn’t played in a slot, you would be inclined to offer to GM for it.
Living Forgotten Realms did a flip flop on this. They focused heavily on the new and casual players and just assumed the invested players would engage even after WotC stopped giving them a return on their investment. They also focused more on gamedays than conventions. The only replay restriction was that you could not play the same mod twice with the same character. While it had the major advantage of you always new you could play something when you went to an event, I witnessed two major problems. The first was that some people just can’t avoid metagaming to the point of diminishing the experience for the rest of the players at the table. It’s not like they did it deliberately, but they didn’t try too hard to avoid it either. The second, and more concerning to me as an organized, was that, if people always had the option to play, they almost always took that over the option to GM. This led to serious GM shortages the meant the remaining GMs suffered from a lot of burn out. I saw an entire huge group (5+ tables every gameday) of LFR players in a major city implode overnight because their GM base was tired of no one else stepping up to GM.
After those 2 experiences, it became clear to me that, in order to have a maximally successful campaign, you need to cater to both the invested and casual player (which, unfortunately sometimes means you can only make one happy at a time). So when I went to PFS, I was happy to see they were trying to tread the middle ground.
As far as what killed LFR? Well, my personal take is that unlimited replays was a contributing factor but not the cause (it was more of a symptom). Originally, WotC was very supportive of the invested players, i.e. the GMs, the coordinators, the organizers and the dedicated fans. They sent out free minis to dedicated GMS and players; gave out limited boons to Con goers, sent free Con packets with lots of goodies, and paid their adventure writers. But after about 18 months they started withdrawing that support. Free minis became, free boons, and then nothing. Limited boons became unlimited (and thus were not longer a reward). Con support diminished. And they abruptly stopped paying adventure writers and asked them to volunteer.
As such, I am in favor or anything that incentivizes invested players, especially GMs. So either option 1 or 3, but NEVER option 4.
I picked up the Free Captains Affiliation Boon last GenCon and use it regularly with my Lashunta Icon Envoy. So I decided to incorporate this into her background in a cheesy romance novel way. Essentially, the starliner she was on was attacked by space pirates and she was kidnapped to be held for ransom. But she fell in love with the ruggedly handsome Captain and they had a brief, torrid affair before he set her free. She refers to him as her Ex-boyfriend, but that’s mostly because they can’t really maintain a relationship, what with her being a rising star in the Pact Worlds gaming/media industry and him being a pirate in the Diaspora. But they are still on very good terms.
So, I have been looking at various sources trying to find a Free Captain that might fit the bill. Unfortunately, I have only found 2. One from the Pact Worlds, and one from the third book of the Dead Suns series. Both are female (which isn’t necessarily a deal breaker) but one is 88 years old and both don’t seem to have appropriate personalities for what I was looking for.
So does anyone else know of any other specific Free Captains and the source?
I will be attending GenCon this year and want to play The Scoured Stars Invasion special. The problem is, the character I really want to play this with is 5th level, but my friends won't have anything higher than 4th. Can I play the 3-4 Tier with a level 5-6 character? I realize I will get less rewards, but we would at least all be able to play together.
GM Lamplighter wrote:
This goes back to the issue of judges being able to reliably judge the 'brokenness of a character,' which, BTW, isn't nearly as important as the brokenness of the party as a whole. It is essentially the same thing as letting GMs modify encounters based on their judgement of the party's power level. As stated before, this is fine in a home game but doesn't work so well in the inconsistent format of Organized Play.
If you run a mod as written and it is too easy, there may be some mild disappointment. If you run an easy mod and decide to make it hard and misjudge the strength of the party, there can be some serious negative reactions. As such, I am opposed to any form of difficulty adjustment in organized paly that relies solely on the GM’s judgment. If the mod offers a hard mode and the players opt to play it in hard mode, well, that was their choice.
I realize you are trying to come up with a list that would be more objective, but just because someone has a broken class, feat, magic item, etc. does not mean their character is broken. Brokeness usually relies on a combo of things that creates a powerful gestalt. Overall, I think the type of thing you are shooting for would be over-complicated as there are too many variables. The last thing we want for the new campaign is a Guide that is twice as thick as the current one.
Sorry, but as an adventure writer, I have to take these comments to task.
1) In a home game, where the GM knows all of his PCs’ abilities, you could argue an easily trounced encounter is the GM/author's fault, but the adventure authors cannot build for every possible PC/party build combination that may play their adventure. This isn't poor design. It's reality.
2) Some encounters are deliberately designed to be easy. When every encounter becomes a near-death experience, the game becomes both stressful and depressing. Throwing in an occasional easy encounter keeps up PC self-confidence, eases tensions and keeps them guessing on the next encounter.
3) Adventure writers have to write with the consideration that all types of players may be playing their adventure; from inexperienced casual newbs to highly experienced, heavily focus power gamers. Building an encounter to challenge the latter will TPK the former. So, if a PCs Nova-wipes an encounter designed to challenge the average party because he built an uber-cracked-out character that he never throttles back on, then it is very much the player’s fault.
4) Difficulty changes over time, while encounters are stagnant. New rules always inch up the potential power level of PCs but seldom help old encounters. You can’t write an encounter to deal with what is currently a common spell when that spell didn’t exist when the encounter was written.
I realize some of these comments might be considered a reason to let GMs modify encounters, but I have covered this issue previously. Because Organized Play GMs may not know their group very well for any given adventure, they are much more likely to misjudge the level of competency of the individual players, the group as a whole, and the effectiveness of their characters. And this misjudgment can easily lead to a bad gaming experience.