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Pathfinder Society Community Survey Data and Results


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

Qadira ***

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Greetings Mortals--

Who's ready to crunch some data?!!!?! w00t!! Data!! w00t!!

::crickets::

I said: Who's ready to crunch some data?!!!?!

::crickets::

*sigh*

Anyhoot, here you go: Survey Data and Quick Stats

Note:
This data has been order-randomized. IP addresses, date information, & comments have been removed to ensure anonymity of the responders.

The two tabs of stats are the 501 PFS players who said they played PFS and the 32 people who are not PFS players yet took the survey anyway.

As far as surveys go, that was a pretty good response rate. The raw data might not tell us much, but we've have some amazing PFS Community members working on cool data analysis right now.

That link should be to a easily downloadable GoogleDoc wherein you can take the data and perform what rituals that you must.

Here's what I ask of you:
1) Feel free to play with the dataset and identify neat things that we have in common (or striking comparisons).
2) Describe what data set you're using (all submissions, GMs only, those who play more than once a week, etc.).
3) Post your statistical conclusions.
4) Post how you've massaged and managed the data openly and clearly.
5) Post statistical reference, as necessary.
6) (Optional): Post what conclusions you think can be reached.

Here are the *comparisons of groups* that I'd like to see and invite youse guys to help make it happen (in addition to whatever interests you):

1) Judge vs. Not Judge
2) Frequent PFS Board reader vs. Does-Not-Read the PFS Boards
3) 'Hardcore' GM (judged 30+ scenarios) vs. Medium Judge (judged 1-29 times) vs. New-Player/Non-Judge
4) New player (About 1 year and less) vs. Crusty ol' grognard (2 years+)

The Most Important Part of Pathfinder Society Play Fix:

I would appreciate a 'fix' of the "The most important part of Pathfinder Society play" question, however it makes sense to do so.

Not everyone did it backwards and it should be easy to identify those entries who probably did it backwards. I know this might require a line by line review, but I think we can clean up this question by looking at the responses and seeing who both liked "Organizing Pathfinder Society" (answers = 1 or 2) and hated "Hanging out with friends playing Pathfinder" (answers = 4 or 5).

Check out the data and see what you think works. If you want to ignore this question altogether, please do. I know we have Community member tackling this issue right now. And he's good.

As usual, I respect and appreciate constructive debate and thoughts...both for me and other respondents in this thread.

So...any questions? Thoughts?

Show me your data/conclusions!

-Pain

* * *
Below are the commentary threads from the survey, by question. They have been anonymitized and grouped by answer. You can find their corresponding questions on the Survey Data Link, Results Pages.

If you play Pathfinder, why don't you play in the Pathfinder Society?:

Areas where offered are too far to be regularly played.
I only have time for my regular group.
I used to be very active, the OP got much more restrictive and elitist as changes were made
Looking to join online play
no place near me that i know of plays it.
Played but got tired of rules changes and too many factions.
The continual rules changes without opportunity to rebuild characters reminded me too much of the worst GM's I've ever played with

What would get you to play in the Pathfinder Society?:

Campaign management that didn't come off as arbitrary and capricious. (Not for following question "would I recommend", you do not allow an answer of "No, from my experiences in the society, I would not recommend it to others.")
Getting rid of GM star rankings and changing venture captains from VC "leaders" to "organizers" would help
I only play at conventions.
If i could find a place near me that played it.
More free time
Quit adding extra rules and pare down the factions.

Where do you usually play Pathfinder Society?:

all of the above
All of the above
both Cons and Gamestore
Cafe
Close split between my home and conventions
combination of homes, game stores, and conventions.
Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop
Gamestores, conventions and gaming clubs
Good mix of FLGS & conventions
I play at homes, gamestores, Conventions, and local businesses and public locations.
Local RPG club

What got you involved in Pathfinder Society play?:

4th Edition Refugee
Am deployed, and wished to give it a try via PbP
boyfriend introduced me
Business reasons (marketing PFRPG). Very quickly, I became passionate about the game, itself, and have stuck with PFS since.
Con goer trying something new
Couldn't convince my gaming group to switch from D&D 3
Desperate need to escape my horrible job.
found my VC via paizo's site
Free RPG day's We Be Goblins module
Got bored with LFR so I switched to PFS
Heard about it on a podcast.
I am a public play organizer at a local game store and offered pathfinder about 6 months ago.
I had played AD&D way back when... I wanted to play again and I learned about PFS at the local store.
I hate D&D 4.0, but miss playing D&D
I saw a post about it on the Fantasy Grounds Forum and liked the idea of playing pickup games with different GMs that linked together into a progression system that was independent of a consistent game. It suits my schedule.
I used to play D&D and wanted to get back into an RPG
I wanted to increase traffic to my friend's game store and loved playing Pathfinder.
I wanted to try a living campaign.
Internet advertised public location monthly gaming
It offered online play
It was a natural thing to follow after Living Greyhawk ended
Learned about it when D&D 4.0 came out but wanted to continue using 3.5 rules.
learned from forums
Living Greyhawk died along with D&D
Looking for something better than D&D 4.0 and this was what our gamestore was running.
Mark Garringer introduced me
my boyfriend brought me
My husband owns <<redacted>>. He plays PFS and asked me to join him every now and then. I play in his home games, so thought it would be fun.
Needed my gaming fix and family etc does not allow for a regular gaming group
Paizocon 2009
PFS good for uncommited monthly play
Played all possible computer RPGs, pathfinder was something new
Promised I wouldn't buy 4e and Pathfinder wasn't 4E so I was able to buy its products
Rand dragged me in.
Read about it on Paizo's forums.
Started in 2009 to support Pathfinder
The onset of 4th edition.
volunteering to GM at GenCon
Want to play more; looking for gamers to play with outside of PFS; played in previous living campaign (4E FR) and liked the idea but not the implementation
Wanted a chance to play Pathfinder, no local games.
Wanted to go back to a 3.5-ish structure and leave 4e
Wanted to meet more players and thought this was the way to do it!
Wanted to start playing PF (transition from 3.5), but had no group to play with.
Was a full time home game GM...wanted to be able to play
We're a relatively large group of friends that make consistent players for a particular campaign a bit difficult. Having Pathfinder Society allows for easy combinations of players where it doesn't matter if a particular person cannot make it on a given day
Your fault Yep. Totally my fault.

In general, do you wish Pathfinder Society scenarios included:

A Balance of combat and roleplaying
a challenge that scales to the table size
a good mix, with multiple paths towards achieving goals
A little less DR, or more gold to spend on DR penetrating weapons
Additional sidebars regarding how violence might creatively be avoided
As a GM I see the summary, It would be nice to be able to convey it to the players in someway so they understand the full scope of what they are doing.
Be more descriptive in mods
Combats should have an effect, either in terms of story or making players spend resources. Easy combats only waste time.
depends on the class of character i am playing
Detail and knowledge about the advenure, Details!
Encounters to be unique, interesting, and thought provoking. Moral dilemas.
fewer but harder fights
Hard to generalize this - every scenario is different. A balance is desirable to me.
hard to say. Many senerios are great and some are just crap but its all relative to the characters played. A lot of games were made prior to books like the Ultimate(s) and need to be updated. Otherwise, those senerios are quite weak against better characters. Modules also need to be left alone and not based off of a character if forcing players to use pregens.
i like high rp incounters but also would like more complex problem solving
I like it when different scenarios have different combat/RP ratios, so I don't know what I'm going to get each week.
I would like more "intensity" less formulaic encounters
It depends - at cons in loud rooms it of often hard for good roleplay. Good roleplay takes time and when it takes 45 min to muster it is hard for good roleplay. since there isnt loud con mods and other mods I guess they are good as is
less "save or die/suck" mechanics
Less logical flaws and plotholes
Less of both, due to the 4 hour slot time at most cons.
More *tactical* combat, with tough RP choices
more agency (or at least the illusion )
More challenging combat
More challenging options within subTiers: for example, asking the table if everyone want to play without kid gloves.
More Combat and More Roleplaying
More combat. Less time on roleplaying, plot, story, & immersion... the stories are God awful, with zero stakes and zero edge...
More contiguous plotlines, double / triple sessions
More drama.
More Heroic Theme
More optional encounters so GMs can speed up the game when needed
More over-arching plots.
More puzzles. and riddles :)
more roleplaying that allows players to take alternate routes to achieve the plot goals
more time
More time to complete Scenarios
More variety encounters and styles. Horror, Intrigue, and less Bard and Rogue specific focused stuff. One other major aspect I think PF really fils at is not advncing a world storyline. Not having the world change. That gets very annoying, and honestly, boring, very fast.
More year of the shadow lodge and larp eventsa
Ok as is, but would be nice to have some more RP every once in awhile
Real Life Strippers
Regional play as with LG
Simple Clear Stories
Some scenarios are good, but then there are the bad ones. A good scenario is balanced between roleplaying, plot, story and believable combat opportunities.
Stat blocks even for core assumption monsters
Totally depends on the GM I'm afraid. That said, tough battles are consistently fun across different judges.
Variety is good. Scenarios that can go either way depending on the group of adventurers.

What is the one thing you would change with the Pathfinder Society?:

"active" communities cross communication and involvement in scenarios( like 'pen pals')possibly culminating in convention scenario team-ups
1st A guide that states which scenarios in the season directly contribute to the story arc. 2nd not sure how to add anything, but unless you play or Gm all of the scenarios in a season you miss much of the story.
A continuous story line is not a priority for me. I'm more interested in achievements for my character, and some way to achive more than simply leveling up.
A little more connection with results of other scenarios would be good as well as more potential for negative consequences of actions.
A longer term storyline would allow me more time to get truly interested in what is going on. At the same time, a *single* multi-year plot could be boring to many. I'd suggest two main storylines, one on-going (unknown duration), one "Year of..."
A recognizable, long term, serious adversary - Aspis Consortium
Although I would like to see more role-playing/storyline focus, I also like the amount of combat in the average scenario, so, for now, I'm fine with the way things are. Although I haven't really played too many Season 3 scenarios, so I don't really know how the mix is currently.
An ability to gain and earn more boons through an arching story set. (part 1-3 ect.)
Basically more options for those that play many characters for the flavor. One of the problems is the inability to replay a scenario with another character you play. With more short stories it would give more play options. Or create scenarios that CAN be replayed.
Better GM most of the GMS are not very experienced or they don't know their material for the mod very well.
Better tie ins. Often the story line connection is not noticeable.
Boon awards
Can't say yet.
Can't think of anything right now
Continuity between scenarios is very rare, sometimes we will meet characters we have before but it's unlikely unless they are a faction leader. Boons that say "+2 bonus to X when you encounter this type of person in this place" always cause groans with players they know it's unlikely to ever be back
Crafting Rules. Lack of those makes it extremely hard for me to play the pure casters that I like.
Create a unique interactive of some sort for PaizoCon that has direct impacts on the end of the previous storyline in addition to the new storyline "kick off" interactive done each year at multiple conventions.
Create more recurring and very special NPC's that personify the storyline. These NPC's should BREAK the rules, setting them apart from usual monster and usual PCs
Don't know enough yet to comment
Don't revolve the storyline around a module. It may seem like a good idea but between Living Grayhawk's Castle Greyhawk, and the Ruby Phoenix, neither came off well. Also, we can't expect the same PFSOP coordinator for more than 9 months.
Easier to mesh new characters' backstory with known lore
Encounters are too easy and because its PFS people want/expect to play as written. It can be boring.
encounters need to be adjusted for table size, combats should be a challenge for 4 players and 6 players alike, not shy of impossible for 4 and a cakewalk for 6
Faction interactions and classification of information and membership. Internal Faction relations and interactions.
Faction missions are sometimes unclear or misleading (not that they are hard, but rather unsure how to apply, DM "misses" where it fits during course of play, etc.).
Faction rewards being tracked and counting towards something global.
Feed in from DM reporting on line playing a part.
fine as is.
focus on something the players want to see
For me as a foreigner, the English language is not so easy to follow. The vocabulary is very rich which makes it hard to follow, especially when the story is told and could not be read as well. Some changes in that would be great.
For the Blackros museum to not be so caught up in terrible occurrences
For the most part PCs were outside looking In instead of being part of the action
Frankly, I just can't wait to get out of Asia theme season.
Frequent updating and editing of scenarios. All scenarios be PFRPG. The free intro scenarios - they are really bad in my opinion.
Get real storylines built upon NPCs that we care about rather than marketing/product forced storylines. Find ways for players to actually care about the Pathfinder Society. (the Golarion one.)
Get rid of factions! They fragment groups and make the PFS's goals meaningless as everyone runs around doing side quests for prestige.
Harder combats, or more wiggle room for the GM to increase the difficulty of the combat due to more players without getting into a higher tier. The difference between 4 average characters and 6 optimized ones in combat turns things from a struggle into a breeze.
Have different ramifications in different parts of the world! FI if in some areas, under some venture captains, the Shadow Lodge remained separate and rival.
Have impacts from previous modules carry over into new ones and get more direct feed back on story from players.
Have it be more interesting and epic (like an Adventure Path), and make our PC decisions more meaningful (and harder to make). There's nothing wrong with one-shot missions that have nothing to do with an overall storyline!
Have more multipart scenarios with rewards for completing all parts (but not completing them directly one-directly-after-the-other).
Have some unattainable goals. You can't win all the time unless preparation and forethought: ie A McGuyver tax: carrying certain equipment (a 10'pole or non-cleric PC with holy item).
Have something devoted to Azlantians or Runelords, a season plotline wrapped around either of those would turn out VERY well in my mind.
have the faction make a bigger difference in the current world.
Have the results from early season scenarios impact the stories of later season scenarios. For instance, the question could be asked: "Was XX NPC saved from the rabid monkeys?" If more than 50% of reporting tables said no, then that would impact what happened in a future scenario.
Having regions like Living Greyhawk!!!!
I came in during the middle of Season 2. I feel like I can't find out how the plot went unless I find and play very specific scenarios. I'd like that to not be the case.
I can't say due to the fact that I have not played much society, I like the amount of combat and conflict in the story, I just wish there was more emphasis on RP at the game table.
I don't know enough to make suggestions. And furthermore, as a player and not an employee of Paizo, I cannot possibly make any kind of suggestion as I am by definition missing overarching information and planning that Paizo has done for the story.
I don't like to meet kobolds who are opera fans.
I don't love the Runelords Storyline with all the 'sins' and whatnot. I'd like to see more to do with the Gnome history and the magical worlds.
I enjoy the story, but I understand that I can't influence it. I far prefer scenarios that relate to previous scenarios but don't require me to have played the previous one. Just little Easter eggs for the lucky ones who have.
I have only played 15 or so games, but I haven't seen any interaction with groups like the green faith or red mantis. This might help tie the games to the setting better. While I think that adding the festivals as boons is ok, I'd rather have games centered around one or more.
I know almost nothing of the over arching storyline, and don't particularly care one way or the other. I never remember recurring characters names, cities, locations, etc. I'm not interested in the world or it's storyline, other than how it affects each specific game session.
I know this would not work for society play and will not happen but I would love to see the rebel scum crushed once and for all. Cheliax needs to put their boot down the necks of the so called Andorans. find out more about the Decemvirate & y they deserve loyalty. Secret agenda to make own nation?
I like how the scenarios have an overarching story, but I wish Paizo would give us a reference for how and when all the scenarios interconnect.
I like story, but not metaplot. I'd prefer individual scenarios to have stories which are mostly self-contained. Storyless dungeon crawls bore me.
I like the current system that the players do not impact the campaign setting. That being said, I would like to see more immersive storylines like a year (not a mod) about the upcoming change in power of Irrisen. I mean Baba Yaga FTW!
I really like those aspects of Greyhawk and Living Arcanis, where clues to Big Things are dropped in small obscure places, and there's a lot of Easter Eggs for people who know what to look for. For example, it would be nice if the errands a faction leader requires all add up to a secret.
I saw in Legend of Five Rings that sometimes they introduce a big event that influences the whole world. Something akin to that would be cool but I do realize its a huge pile of compications for the developers and writers..
I think a little more cuase and effect for players would be nice. Both good and bad.
I visit the Paizo website daily but I seem to miss the big story arcs. Making it more obvious would be nice unles of course the idea is that the plot is only revealed to he/she who buys every relevant scenario.
I want interactives. I am aware we are not hoing to recreate past living campaigns, but one shot con specific interactives give PC's the chance to immerse in the game world. They also draw players from farther away to cons for the one shot experience and story line.
I wish there was more quality control on encounters. We have played in several adventures now that were WAY to easy and did not challenge us at all. Like really simple fights followed by a day(s) to rest (after every encounter in Quest for Perfection II) I enjoy the combat and want it to matter.
I would be excited to visit Numeria, Nex/Geb, Jalmeray, Tian Xia, Vudra, Sarusan, Arcadia, and Lost Azlant. Oh yeah, I just really like exploring and adventuring.
I would change it so that there was a coherent, overarching story that ran through the majority of the scenarios. I would also like the Society to engage in less mercenary/more heroic deeds.
I would discourage or eliminate the evil-aligned factions.
I would encourage more two-part scenarios. They allow a story to be developed much further within the context of one day's sessions.
I would Ike to see more direct interaction of the players affecting the outcomes of the storyline ... More like the old LG model making it more "living".
I would increase the page count of PFS scenarios to a point where the modules have all the room they need to tell a solid story. It's a PDF; page count does not need to be a constraint.
I would like a better guide to which scenarios contribute to the metaplot, as well as more standalone (not multi-part) scenarios that tie in.
I would like faction quests where not everyone could succeed (i.e. Taldor wants to reclaim the artifact, Cheliax wants it destroyed. This leads to party infighting, but it also makes for great roleplay opportunities. There are too many "pick this flower" faction missions.
I would like for some character options that are not allowed for more limited 4 to 5 hour game play allowed in less limiting online play. Also, maybe we should be allowed to do house rules. My group had a few ideas.
I would like it to be more engaging and involved in the scenarios. At the moment, it seems like The scenarios have nothing to do with the "outside" world (the living game world) and the actions of characters have no consequences at all.
I would like more faction choices and storylines or paths more centered on factions
I would like the storyline to lead to access to other planets in Golarion's system. Oh, and Numeria....
I would like to cause and effect. What I mean is the results from earlier mods shoud play into later mods. Thanks Painlord this is useful you should pass the results to Mike Brock
I would like to see a subset (or alternate campaign) where the focus was on heroic deeds, making the world a better place, etc. Doing things like affecting the Worldwound, changing the government of Cheliax, smashing the guillotines of Galt, etc.
I would like to see both Mwangi and Thassilon featured more. I also love traditional monsters like orcs and giants and think they have been underrepressented for the entire extent of the campaign.
I would like to see more cooperative secret missions, like the Andoran/Osirion mission in #49 (Among the Dead)
I would like to see more done with the relationships between factions and faction leaders!
I would like to see the society come into direct conflict with the Aspis Consortium.
I would like to see your faction choices be able to effect your character more, Aka more traits or feats or special boons granted as you gain levels. Those boons or such would be different for each faction.
I would like to stop going to the sewers of Absalom (or almost any city). I want interesting story arcs, the current ones are all old hat and getting tiresome. I would like the mid to high mods to be MORE challenging!
I would make sure that the storylines are obvious to various characters. I would also run the different scenario parts back to back, so that all players can enjoy the scenario.
I would make them more personal to the individual players. Less focus on what the PFS is accomplishing and more on the impact to the PC
I would most like to reduce the number of faction missions to 1/scenario. I enjoy having an extra side quest for flavor, but I feel like they tend to intrude upon and distract from the overall story when everyone has 2 that they have to follow up on.
I would put in more dilemmas. This way the pc's would get in more roleplay as they talk amongst themselves to resolve the situation.
I would remember Pathfinders roots and add more stories involving the monsters of the game system. Most of the campaign has been a political story, it needs a good Orc invasion every once in a while.
I would remove/modify prestige award - they feel (at times) 'dropped' into the scenario without any real benefit to the story
I'd like it more interactive, less convention based. If possible, have an option where all games played by X date count as "votes" to what happens, so even non-convention goers can feel like they change things. And have the occassional LARP "gathering" to have guilds talk.
I'd like to see faction points affect the next year's story.
I'd like to see fewer cliche' cookie cutter style adventures being released to the community.
I'd like to see more connection between the various scenarios and less in the way of one off games. I've played and GMed 12-15 scenarios and see little if any continuity. I hate the faction McGuffin side quests; they are pointless.
I'd like to see more thematic sequels rather than part 1-3 stories, like Tide of Twilight/Morning and Among the living/dead/gods
I'd like to see somewhere on Paizo's website a spoiler section for Pathfinder Society scenario plot outlines, so those of us that missed certain adventures can get a clue as to what's going on. Also a basic synopsis/history of what each faction does and has done, and what the Pathfinders do.
I'd like to see the option to link characters together. Have them be related to each other.
I'd like to see true interactives. Where the actions of one table impact all other tables. In this way, everyone recognizes and celebrates the successes of each table. I'd also like to see more done to flesh out hostile organizations, like the Aspis. They seem like generic, cardboard villains.
If I could, I would expand upon the enmity between the Aspis Consortium and Pathfinder Society, making them a more commonly recurring thematic villain in future adventures.
If you are not going to make a deep RP campaign, at least add more puzzles, more attention to details and skill DC's to compensate for the excessive combat. Or heck, the more open sandbox/roleplay adventures the better.
If you don't play the Mods regularly and not involved with a group you don't really know what's going on in the story.
In the near future I'd like to clash with the Aspis as mortal foes more. Later I'd like to see Inner Sea World War.
In the previous living campaign, there were scenarios which gave the table options of playing "bare-knuckled". If everyone at the table agreed (unanimous), instructions to the GM for encounters were different - "bare knuckles" meant the encounter pulled out all the stops - better tactics, etc.
Inclusion of Aspis Consortium, et. al., in organized play to allow me to play evil-aligned characters. I'm NOT an homicidal arsonist/torture-friendly rapist. I just prefer the option to kill [NPC] people who thwart my goal of world domination. :)
Inclusion of the Shadow Lodge as a faction and the spoiling of that Season 2 story arc within the Field Guide.
Insert SHORT blurbs into each event for casual players that summarize the current plot line so far. People who play multiple games or only once per month may need refreshers to draw their PC into the plot.
It is a tie between more scenarios and region play (like Living Greyhawk).
It needs to be more interactive. Also, in the future, do not dumb down a story concept to make a faction playable for characters.
It was, perhaps, an error to make a level 11 sanctioned module the centre, not the ending, of the Year 3 storyline.
It would be nice if characters were more capable of affecting the storyline. Example: If people could choose between one or two paths in a scenario and GM's reported which one they took... then the one people chose most had an effect on the game world.
It would be nice if instead of randome stories and "missions", there could be more continuity within the scenarios ... the blackrose scenarios is a good example of this ... we've gotten to go into the museum proper twice, seen the basement and now the attack. Everyone is familar with the story :)
its all good so far.
It's not that interesting to me if there's story that's all just background (and PCs aren't actually impacting things as they unfold). I'd prefer well written individual modules that allow me to roleplay my character and build her/his idiosyncratic story along with my regular group.
Its pretty hard to follow. Maybe have a free players guide for each season, like you do for adventure paths?
It's really easy to miss information due to the different tiers throughout the season. So my character who found out really important info about the Shadow Lodge in one scenario couldn't play in the next. I'd try to make it mores seamless for character.
Keep embracing the "fun" and "people of the campaign. Keep doing what you are doing.
Keep recurring characters like Grandmaster Torch, the Blackros family, etc. More about the Aspis Consortium.
Later scenarios having summaries of the events in prior scenarios that are necessary for storyline continuity.
Less bureaucracy and better online tools please.
Less but more interesting (and do-able) faction missions. Each scenario needs 10 faction missions of which 50% of them are interesting while the rest are humdrum or impossible for a given PC. Clumping different factions missions together might solve this.
Let the players have a way to find out more info from the scenario's backstory and place in the story arc (if it's related). As a GM I see a great history that players never learn.
Lose the Asian influence. Make it a set of sourcebooks (a la Oriental Adventures) for home games.
Make boons meaningful to further parts of the storyline. Granting +1 on diplomacy rolls against eels encountered in the dark on Tuesdays after you've made an attack of opportunity the previous round while flanked is not a boon. It's a bureaucratic nightmare.
Make it an integral part of the up-to-date Pathfinder Society character creation guide.
Make it easier to engage with even if scenarios are played out of order (for example have more scenarios set in the same place so boons etc are actually usable)
Make it less contrived.
Make it more transparent o players who do not play scenarios in order.
Make it something the average adventurer would be interested in.
Make the game more skill focused and roleplay oriented, and de-emphasize combat a bit and some of it's game mechanics.
Make the NPC names a little easier to pronounce
Mission successes in a season affect the game world or next season. So if Taldor has the most completions maybe they rise up. Paizo might be reluctant to do timelines in the official campaign world setting, but I think PFS could fill that void. Advance the world and its story based on PFS missions
More access to lower level characters to the final event.
more ancient history
More and varied prestige awards. Almost everyone buys a title, or squire, or property,etc.
More diverse chronicle/storyline locations, i.e nordic lands, desert lands, eastern lands.
More faction interaction involving alliances with possible grouped factions missions.
More focused on the problem of Golarion. World Wound, etc...
More influence on the campaign world as a whole, make a significant difference to the world.
More linked stories. So far my favorites have been the scenarios set in the Mwangi area, honestly, or in the museum.
More local control.
More open endedness to the outcome of the scenario to give us more of a reason to role play the characters.
More opportunities for higher-level play. A lot of people I know would rather not retire their PCs at level 12.
More optional solutions, more "gray area" morality
More recurring characters amongst multiple story lines. Very few or no mods would be "stand alone" but all would contribute to a couple of story arcs
More recurring NPCs other than Venture Captains.
More scenarios linked together, but released close enough together that one character can play the entire story arc. Maybe a story arc covering all the level bands. Recurring bad guys, too. The certs should unlock access to something special, not items already available.
More should be included with the player material. There tends to be more for the Judge than the players and that background is often quite interesting and should be shared.
More story. More "Oh ****!" moments, like, "Holy smokes! They killed Eddard Stark!" Could be narrative, combat, or interactive RP. Less mundane escort caravan or recover Macguffin.
More ties to the Adventure Paths that come out... give as feel that the various Pathfinder lines (APs, Modules, and Scenarios) are interconnected.
More world-changing scenarios, like The Dalsine Affair.
Most of my concerns were addressed in the latest update to the PFS rules (as of 02/02/12).
My opinions of the storylines so far, is that while they are getting better, they are still not very good at all. I've been playing for quite a while now, hoping they get better but the improvements I've seen aren't enough. At this point, my enthusiasm for pathfinder is nil and nearly dead.
no swarms. they are dumb
Not having the key module be for 11th level characters, and therefore unplayable by most PFS players.
Not much, the story arc doesn't get too much air in our games. We have a range of new players for whom many are playing out of order. But it's nice for the guys/gals who expect it (I like the deeper storyline).
Notes on chronicle sheets regarding storyline
Nothing
Nothing
Nothing off the top of my head, I'm quite happy with things as they are now!
Nothing so far, I like it well enough.
Nothing, really. I just wish I had time to play more so I could understand what's going on. I didn't find out about the Shadow Lodge until it was over.
Nothing. I think it is going quite well.
Pathfinder Society is about acquisition of Rare objects and being a secret society. Sometimes secret societies do off activities. It's these odd activities that interest people. I wouldn't change the nature of things.
PC's actions need to matter more & influence the story. PCs, as it is, mostly feel like they are just along for the ride in any given story arc. PCs actions in one mod should in theory alter another mod significantly.
Perhaps introduce the idea of opening a lodge back up in Cheliax or have a few missions where pathfinders are trying to impress cheliax to the point where they would want a lodge.
Player's actions have little or no effect on Golarion. Little danger of character death/resurrection is too easy. Power creep needs to be diminished.
Players should be able to contribute to the story, (as I believe the intent was in the early days?).
Please put in BOLD letters a section encouraging DMs to depart from the story however they feel they need to to make it fun for the players. The wordiness of the scripts these DMs end up reading is pretty terrible...
Probably nothing. I really like the idea of having a year-long meta-plot and a number of adventures that don't involve said meta-plot.
Provide more opportunities for characters at different tiers to have a meaningful contribution to the story. Maybe low tier and high tier sub-stories. Find more ways for the background information within scenarios to make it to the players. GM's often get more of the storyline than the players.
Rather than writing something vague, I'll just decline to provide anything useful here.
Reduce the Fame/GP limits, so that the items that you gain access to during scenarios is more meaningful - and so that people cannot make weird optimized builds because that rely on extremely rare gear. Nerf the Eidolon - it is overpowered with the power and action economy of the summoner/eidolon.
Retcon back the original idea of the Society metaplot changing the face of the Inner Sea politics. Have people interested to see their faction win, again. It was a huge disappointment for me to see that none of the faction interplay really had an effect. In word, it turned me off the campaign.
Some of the repetitive skill/saving throw checks are just annoying. I can see wanting to involve the players more but most of the situations are not from the rules.
Somehow having the year's theme clearer. i.e. How exactly did the Shadow Lodge and the other new factions come to be. Maybe a memo or something from the lodge which goes out to all pathfinders regarding the state of things at the close of the year.
Sometimes I think the faction goals are silly. Why not make them optional, or have generic goals?
Stop adding Factions.
Story arcs should be able to be played sequentially from low-level characters through high-level. Release order and tiers currently seem a bit haphazard.
Story arc's should be short enough so that a starting PC will not level out of the system before it is finished.
Story arcs that cover a wide range of tiers so that I can play the same character throughout the entire arc. And, since characters play in multiple arcs its easy to 'level out' fairly quickly before all the arcs are completed.
The Aspis Consortium should be more involved as rivals and enemies.
The concept of a community nominated and voted Hall of Fame for Retired Characters where HOF characters could have a scenario written for them is something I've been talking about with a few people for a while.It would help create a real "Living World" for PFS
The fact that PFS doesn't give any recognition nor special access to organizers of large events (ie Cons) and seems to want to centralize all that in VCs and not in people that have done it for years.
The faction missions. I find that the missions we get seem rarely to coincide with the goals of the faction (for example, one mission had me fetching tea for the para-countess, another had me trying to have my half orc barbarian negotiate with an official.) Maybe a choice of faction missions?
The focus needs to return to an over-arching plot. We have heard that the Andoran faction are ruling the Society but this has had no effect on Golarion. The Ruby Phoenix plot line is interesting but is a distraction from the more realistic threats that the PFS would be concerned about.
The lodges should have rivals, and opposing quests.
The modules I have played in were all well done, and provided a wide array of locales and "themes," so I'd say Paizo is doing a pretty good job so far. That being said, I've played in less than a dozen modules, so my sample size is lacking.
The plot feels too "set in stone". Living Greyhawk plots progressed depending what most adventure groups decided to do when given important choices. In Pathfinder all those choices are missing, players are just listening to the story instead of writing it.
The storyline is too naive make it more realistic! Also if i'm playing as a Taldan high noble i want GM-s to roleplay according to my choice which they don't :( ...
The storyline unfolds for a GM much clearer than for a common hero. The scenario's contain much more information about the storyline than is given to the players.
The tie-in with Tian Xia seems artificial to me.
The yearly storyline should have an overall reward for playing all scenarios/mods(perhaps 2pts for each scenario) within that storyline and only able to be awarded during that storyline year.
The YotSL was sad. The entire time the SL was a member of the Society, just with a different goals and idea. Then they became about healthcare.
There is (so far as I have played) insufficient opportunity for clear-cut conflict between nations. Tensions are... un-tense. Hydra's Fang seems the best sort of status-quo-ante adventure that I've seen, and it's scenario 0-02...
There is a storyline? Are you confussing AP's, PFS, and non-PFS Golarion, or maybe talking about 3 part adventures? I would ditch it, and start one that evolves the world. Besides that, I would start stepping outside of the box with the basic game elements? Variatons n, <out of space already. . .>
There needs to be an overview of the overarching plot line for each season on the website.
There should be more story arcs.
There's a story line? I stopped playing PF because every event that I played felt disconnected from everything else. It was sooo generic it just got to be too boring.
They storyline and scenario background needs to be worked into the story more. At times players don't know the back story and it would be more fun (IMO) if they did know more.
Think of some ways to expand the sandbox a bit and remove the optional (or 1 additional) encounter. For the most part I am very satisfied with PFS and wish I had the time to play more!
Three combat encounters, and two role playing encounters seems like a good mix for a scenario. Possible changes: 1) 2-3 hr scenarios offered and 2) unique magical items / spells / feats you gain access to by playing a particular scenario
tie faction missions to the Season arc story
Tier the metaplot scenarios so that they form a natural 1-12 exp progression when played in story order.
To have a clearer idea of how my characters involvment affects the meta-story.
Too many DM's with barely enough knowledge about DM'ing, story telling, and competency to run the game. In my experience they have flaked, been late, come ill prepared only skimming through the adventure, no insight to improvise when stumped by the game. And lack of equipment like mini's and such.
use critical event summaries for new modules run during the 1st two weeks of availability like in Living Greyhawk kinda
When Players making those choices they do changes the outcome.
While I like the scenarios, I'm not a big fan of the overarching treasure-hunting theme. It puts a lot of limitations on character motivation and play. I wouldn't mind seeing a series of war-driven stories (Orc invasion, civil war, etc.) but that's probably too big of a change.
Would like to see the impact that factions have affecting the storyline.

Why do you GM for the Pathfinder Society?:

A combination of giving back to BAPs, trying to improve the gaming runs as best I can with more detailed RP of the NPC characters with the players and the enjoyment of telling a story.
beacuse i'm good at it
because i like running adaptibeles
Because newer players refuse to judge scenarios
Because no one else will
Become a better GM
Conned into it by local store owner :)
Free GenCon badge & Paizo Stuff
I am the regular GM for our group
I enjoy teaching the game, seeing how other will react, and honestly, it is hard to find someone that will both each and GM. I am mostly in PbP games due to deployment, and wih limited resorces, I just stepped up and do it. I enjoy playing and GMing, but honestly have never gotten to actually play a PFS character, yet.
I enjoy the challenge of trying to present a scenario's backstory to a group of players and make it matter.
I have been lucky when I have DMed at cons that I have had good tables(my best table was with 7 and it was a good time all around-PaizoCon 2011), I have sat at bad tables as a player and I wouldnt want to be the DM there.
I have to so we can play.
I know what it's like to never get to play, and I want to give the GM a break.
I love teaching brand new players
I own a gamestore and use PFS to promote the products.
If I don't gm we have a whole less games and as a results less players
If I don't run, there is very little PFS in my area
It helps me learn the rules.better.
It helps me work on my role playing
Love GMing, not enough availability on Home campaigns
No one else will GM
Nobody else will GM
Not enough experienced players to GM yet.
Often, if I don't run, nobody will
our gaming store has too many players
roleplay
rotate gms so people can play too
So bad at keeping my characters up to date, DMing is less work to be prepared for.
So impart my love of the world and passion for the game on my players.
Someone has to do it
Sometimes a GM is needed, but another player isn't.
Sometimes no one else can/will do it.
Spurs ideas for NON-Fantasy campaigns I GM
Support Pathfinder at my FLGS
Suspect I like being the centre of attention
Take my turn in our regular table
Take some of the GMing load
the event needed another GM
to give my normal GM a break.
To give others GMs a chance to play
To harvest better players
To help my venture captain
To Help PFS grow
To keep the games going when others aren't running. I like that I have the opportunity to earn xp while running.
to lead by example
To make sure the scenario is run correctly, with the proper amount of danger and full knowledge of the rules so that things are played fairly. I honestly use the opportunity to edit my fellow players and catch them in character creation mistakes, or booking keeping errors. I don't know how many people have been "surprised" to find out that they are actually carrying a heavy load.
To take my turn
Too few new mods.
Wanted to be guiding principle in the region - giving a different voice to the community than the one that has been presented for several years

Does your regular Pathfinder Society playgroup offer GM rewards outside of GM chronicle credit? If so, what do it offer?:

10 dollar gift card every one pitchs in
10% discount day of judging
A pat on the back from my players
Free convention entry
Gamestore gives us play passes for GMing
GM boons - I only GM at cons
GM rewards apon reaching new star by our Venture capitan
GM star certs, binders, compass, shot glass
I am the local home game and can't offer benefits myself
I don't know
I have spent lots of my own money buying mini's and props for my players and GM's for games that I don't run.
Liaison Shirts
Like, what??
My friends sometimes gives me cake if I gm :P
My VC is working on a reward program.
No
No
No Game store but when we had one it gave GM rewards
No regular group
No Regular Group
No rewards, we play at home.
No, and I'm ok with it
No, I do wish that there where something special (more pertinent) to deployed PFS players/GMs as well as better rules for that style of play.
No. We run a home and PbP game.
nope just help the group
Nothing organized, just some occasional perks
Occassional free bottle of soda
occassionally
one of the players usually buy's me lunch
Our region offers some Pathfinder swag (shirts, mugs) for earning stars
Reduced con fee/ free food
Sodas and play passes
Some offer a djscount, most dont
Special discounts the day of, and free snacks.
The players by my drinks on occasion
There are rewards but I am not familiar with them
trinkets
VC scenario gifts of scenarios to be judged.
We are considering it
we get fed
We normaly play at someone's home and everyone brings something to eat/drink

Why don't you GM Pathfinder Society?:

Annoying paperwork
combination of lack of time and lack of experience
Dont have the Gear and No one has asked me yet.
Group doesn't need another GM.
How do I even start - 4E makes it more clear on website how to start/join
I hate gunpowder, and don't want to GM a gunslinger
I play. I will never GM, as that is a time allotment I cannot make in my life.
I'll GM sooner or later - currently I'm GMing an Adventure Path for my friends, while they GM Pathfinder Society
I'm just not a very good GM. I'd like to be better.
Im let's say reserve GM :)
Just getting started and my FLGS is just getting started ramping up doing PFS so the player count doesn't warrant multiple GMs per session
Not creative in that way
not my strong suit
Our PFS randomly assigns players to GM's. Some of our local players are people I would never want to GM for.
Rules are too complicated to learn to GM
Running multiple other RPG campaigns. PFS is a way for me to get to play instead of run.
Still learning the rules, need more experience, don't have necessary items, and unsure how to start
Stopped playing the campaign.
There are enough GMs in my area.
Time constraints, I rarely play much less GM
to much thinking and keeping track of things.
Was going to put no time, but that's not quite right. I would enjoy doing so but with work I have limited free time and to do a good job GM'ing is just too much time to invest (and I would hate to do a half-assed job and ruin it for all the players).

Would more (or different) GM rewards induce you to GM?:

"GM ONLY" port on web to discuss with game designer, OP incentives (patches, pins, t-shirts, registration/advertisement materials) public not
A free Pathfinder-friendly gametable online
Didn't even know there were rewards. Tempt me.
extra PC options? Funky races and class options?
I have no knowledge about the rewards. I'd do it for the game once I was able to. I'm more familiar with 3.5 D&D than PF.
I think rewards should be there ...minor rewards that can be applied when playing as opposed to GMing
maps and minis
Society modules discount
Some prep materials
The GM has more to do, but I'm not sure what you could give them as additional compensation. Maybe you have to GM so many games in order to have more than one character. Also limit the XP any one character can have from GMing.
This is just to emphatically state the rewards now are great, I mean, an engraved stein, you people are awesome!
To even know what the rewards are (see previous answer)
to learn what rewards there are first
u tell me
Would need a group current group GM's meet the current need.

Taldor ***

Hi, everyone. The data has been crunched, the bones spit out, the fat chewed...

I've resolved the 'Most Important' issue:

I identified fifty instances of conflicting behavior in responses.

First, I checked for whether the "reversing the 1-5" problem was significant. The aspect of PFS rated as most important by the respondents was "Hanging Out With Friends," with the most common response being a "1," and the average response being 2.18. Fifty-nine respondents gave this one a "5," responses which severely bucked the trend. This told me to investigate further.

I then found a control question. I used "How important it is to you that the Pathfinder Society Organized Play have a strong, interesting, immersive storyline told through the scenarios?" I then identified respondents who rated this question as "Extremely Important" or "Very Important" and gave "For the Story" a "4" or "5," and gave "Hanging Out With Friends" a "4" or "5."

There were fifty responses which met this criteria for conflicting behavior. I then "re-reversed the 1-5s" of these fifty sets of responses (Corrected Response = 6 - Given Response).

I may have flagged some responses in error, and I may have missed some, but I am confident that the issue was largely corrected for, and that the survey data was improved by my work.

In the end, though, the rank-order of the responses for which parts of PFS are most important did not change very much.

So, some results:
Note: 1 = Most Important, 5 = Least Important

The most important parts of PFS play are:

-Hanging out with friends - average rating: 1.83
-Opportunities to roleplay my character - average rating: 2.17
-For the story - average rating: 2.21

The least important part of PFS play is:

-Achieving the goals of the Decemvirate: average rating: 3.39

Some other, humorous results:

Pathfinders are more loyal to gold (avg rating: 3.01) than the Decemvirate (avg rating: 3.30).

The Shadow Lodge plot is more interesting than the Ruby Phoenix plot. We might just have a picture of where all this money-seeking disloyalty is coming from.

There must be some XP-skipping going on out there. You guys place more importance on leveling up (2.76) than on the XP needed to level up (3.01) and the monster-killing needed to get that XP (2.97).

Ratio of respondents who desire less combat to respondents who desire more: 14 to 1. Not only are Pathfinders just in it for the money, but they don't want to work for it, either!

72% of you GM! That's great!

However, only 61% of you GMs find PFS fun on both sides of the screen. What's wrong, you other 39? You can't all be in the 31% of GMs who can't be bothered with giving back to your PFS community! Maybe it's all about the stars, baby (13% of GMs). But it's more likely to be simply a matter of cold, hard cash (21% of GMs). Sounds familiar...

So, the moral of the story: It's all about the money.

-Matt

Silver Crusade **

I'll see what I can glean from the data tomorrow (today?). Should be interesting to see what comes out of it. Thanks again for putting all this together.

*fails fort check against exhaustion*

Cheliax *

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I’m going to take a crack at the subjective data gathered by the survey. I’m working through any category with at least 25 responses. This decision was made to avoid massive confidence intervals within the total response sample of 501 players for each category, giving us at least partially accurate generalizations that can be made about these 501 players (and in turn, with a grain of statistical salt, may be true of PFS at large). If you’re cringing at some of the higher confidence intervals, know that I’m right there with you, but think some of this information is too good to dismiss even if it may not be empirically sound. ‘Other/Uncertain’ categories will have no confidence interval as it serves no real purpose, the category is to show responses I am unable to objectively place anywhere else or are unique.
All percentages are rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. Listed confidence intervals are calculated using this website (www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm) and a confidence level of 95% because I’ll be damned if I’m doing that math by hand.
In layman’s terms, if I list “25%, +/- 10” for the category percentage of the 501 who we can generalize as being in this category as part may actually be between 35% and 15%. The confidence level means I’m 95% sure this particular bunch of numbers didn’t actually occur at random.
Being subjective data and my subjective attempt at objective interpretation of what the respondent meant, please feel free to speak up if you feel any given response is in the wrong category/my summary is inadequate. I’ll make edits as appropriate. I’ve included the specific groupings of responses in spoilers with each category.

What got you involved in Pathfinder Society play? (45 Responses Total)

Rejection of 4th Edition (7 Responses; 15.56%, +/- 10.11)
Responses in this category are explicit dissatisfaction with 4th Edition and/or viewing Pathfinder as the more viable successor to 3rd Edition.

Responses:

•4th Edition Refugee
•I hate D&D 4.0, but miss playing D&D
•Learned about it when D&D 4.0 came out but wanted to continue using 3.5 rules.
•Looking for something better than D&D 4.0 and this was what our gamestore was running.
•Promised I wouldn't buy 4e and Pathfinder wasn't 4E so I was able to buy its products
•The onset of 4th edition.
•Wanted to go back to a 3.5-ish structure and leave 4e

Dissatisfaction With Other Organized Play Options (RPGA/LFR) (4 Responses; 9.89%, +/- 8.33)

These responses do not address dissatisfaction with Fourth Edition as much as they do finding Living Forgotten Realms to be inadequate or unsatisfying. Most interestingly, two of these responses specifically imply PFS is a natural next step from Living Greyhawk. On a personal note, the sheer number of veteran LG players I encounter playing PFS may speaks to this as well.

Responses:

•It was a natural thing to follow after Living Greyhawk ended
•Want to play more; looking for gamers to play with outside of PFS; played in previous living campaign (4E FR) and liked the idea but not the implementation
•Got bored with LFR so I switched to PFS
•Living Greyhawk died along with D&D

Alternative to Traditional Home Games/Groups (11 Responses; 24.44%, +/- 11.99)

For this category, “traditional home games/groups” is defined as a gathering of friends for a campaign that is run entirely by their own governance/social contract regardless of location with full GM control of the campaign world. This is the largest category of subjective responses by a wide margin. Themes here are that PFS is convenient for some schedules/situations, allows an alternative tabletop outlet to traditional home game/group, or substitutes for a traditional home game/group. At least one response (#6) here could be considered marketing, but the primary reason for joining PFS is identified as the appeal of the structure for scheduling reasons.

Responses:

•Couldn't convince my gaming group to switch from D&D 3
•Wanted a chance to play Pathfinder, no local games.
•Wanted to meet more players and thought this was the way to do it!
•Am deployed, and wished to give it a try via PbP
•Wanted to start playing PF (transition from 3.5), but had no group to play with.
•I saw a post about it on the Fantasy Grounds Forum and liked the idea of playing pickup games with different GMs that linked together into a progression system that was independent of a consistent game. It suits my schedule.
•It offered online play
•Was a full time home game GM...wanted to be able to play
•We're a relatively large group of friends that make consistent players for a particular campaign a bit difficult. Having Pathfinder Society allows for easy combinations of players where it doesn't matter if a particular person cannot make it on a given day
•PFS good for uncommited monthly play
•Needed my gaming fix and family etc does not allow for a regular gaming group

Friend/Loved One/Hated Foe Introduced It (4 Responses; 9.89%, +/- 8.33)
The title is pretty self-explanatory: these are responses which identify specific people who have introduced the respondent to PFS. Male significant others and at least two venture captains are to blame here. This category leaves me curious as to whether or not female players have been a factor in persuading their male significant others to join PFS at all (Do we have any female VCs/VLs?); but that’s a gender in gaming analysis for another time.

Responses:

•My husband owns <<redacted>>. He plays PFS and asked me to join him every now and then. I play in his home games, so thought it would be fun.
•Your fault Yep. Totally my fault. (Painlord)
•boyfriend introduced me
•Rand dragged me in.
•Mark Garringer introduced me
•my boyfriend brought me

Business Related (3 Responses; 6.67%, +/- 6.96)
This category surprised me, but makes sense. These respondents identify needing to market PFRPG for a local game store and using PFS to achieve this goal. This category is separate from Marketing Efforts as there is a financial stake involved for the respondent versus being attracted to the game by said efforts.

Responses:

• Business reasons (marketing PFRPG). Very quickly, I became passionate about the game, itself, and have stuck with PFS since.
•I am a public play organizer at a local game store and offered pathfinder about 6 months ago.
•I wanted to increase traffic to my friend's game store and loved playing Pathfinder.

Marketing Efforts (9 Responses; 20.00%, +/- 11.16)
Responses in this category include finding out about PFS via the paizo website, word of mouth online and offline, and special events like free RPG day and PaizoCon.

Responses:

•Internet advertised public location monthly gaming
•Free RPG day's We Be Goblins module
•Heard about it on a podcast.
•learned from forums
•found my VC via paizo's site
•I had played AD&D way back when... I wanted to play again and I learned about PFS at the local store.
•Read about it on Paizo's forums.
•Paizocon 2009
•Started in 2009 to support Pathfinder

Trying Something New/Different (4 Responses; 9.89%, +/- 8.33)

These respondents saw PFS as something different or new from what they have done before that they chose to give a try.

Responses:

•Played all possible computer RPGs, pathfinder was something new
•Con goer trying something new
•I used to play D&D and wanted to get back into an RPG
•I wanted to try a living campaign.

Other/Uncertain (2 Responses; 4.44%)

Everything else.

Responses:

•volunteering to GM at GenCon
•Desperate need to escape my horrible job.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Central San Joaquin Valley aka verdigris

Wow... simply wow. Tons of data there, especially in the googledoc spread sheet. Thank you, Pain, for putting this together and to all the number crunchers that have already responded. I'm looking forward to seeing what can be pulled from all of this.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Awesome job Pain and everyone else!


Does anyone know if it's possible to switch fonts to a monospaced one (such as courier new)? Without it, these cross-tabs are fairly illegible.

Warning: painful formatting:

How many Pathfinder |
Society scenarios | Character Death: How do you feel about it?
have you GMed? | Never Frequent Occasional Rare | Total
----------------------+--------------------------------------------+----
11 to 30 scenarios. | 3 15 64 38 | 120
| 42.86 29.41 33.86 34.55 | 33.61
----------------------+--------------------------------------------+----
31 to 50 scenarios. | 0 8 30 7 | 45
| 0.00 15.69 15.87 6.36 | 12.61
----------------------+--------------------------------------------+----
More than 50 scenario | 0 10 20 15 | 45
| 0.00 19.61 10.58 13.64 | 12.61
----------------------+--------------------------------------------+----
Under 10 scenarios. | 4 18 75 50 | 147
| 57.14 35.29 39.68 45.45 | 41.18
----------------------+--------------------------------------------+------
Total | 7 51 189 110 | 357
| 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00| 100.00

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

With nearly 15% of responders indicating either they are unaware that Venture Captains exist or they don't know who we are, we have some work to do to expand the visibility of the regional coordinators.

Qadira ***

E-G wrote:

Does anyone know if it's possible to switch fonts to a monospaced one (such as courier new)? Without it, these cross-tabs are fairly illegible.

E-G, download the document to your local application.

You can then manipulate things to your liking.

Let me know if there any problems with that.

-Pain

Qadira ***

Ah yes.

Just uploaded 3 sheets of comparisons to the Survey Results:

GMing by time (less than 10 scenarios vs. 11 to 30 vs. 31 to 50 vs. 50+)
Reads PFS forums vs. Not (surprisingly we had a lot more non forum readers respond to the survey than I expected)
and
Years Playing PFS comparison.

Enjoy.

Let me know what jumps out at you.

-Pain

***

Mattastrophic wrote:
Ratio of respondents who desire less combat to respondents who desire more: 14 to 1. Not only are Pathfinders just in it for the money, but they don't want to work for it, either!

It isn't that the players don't "want to work for it." They want (according to the data) tougher individual combats and more opportunity for RP. I would suggest that both are better than a string of easy combats and treating their characters as a collection of combat abilities, giving no regard to the backgrounds and values of the PCs.

I will admit that this addresses my greatest concerns with PFS play. Well, that and getting rid of the notion of a word count on products sold purely as pdfs. (I don't know what to say to people who think the box text is too lengthy; I imagine they have never played a Jeffrey Witthauer penned LA mod.)


Timothy McNeil wrote:
Mattastrophic wrote:
Ratio of respondents who desire less combat to respondents who desire more: 14 to 1. Not only are Pathfinders just in it for the money, but they don't want to work for it, either!
It isn't that the players don't "want to work for it." They want (according to the data) tougher individual combats and more opportunity for RP.

I think this looks about right. 39% of respondents (188/486) find the main missions "Too Easy", compared to less than 1% (3/486) who find them "Too Hard". This has an interesting breakdown as well. Of the 131 respondents, who have never GMed, only 24% (31/131) find them too easy. It's good to keep in mind that the survey sample is probably biased toward GMs (355 out of the 486 who also answered questions about mission difficulty).

That bias may also reflect playing experience as well as any GM-related experience. The three people who find the missions too hard have been playing for six months or less.


Painlord wrote:
E-G wrote:

Does anyone know if it's possible to switch fonts to a monospaced one (such as courier new)? Without it, these cross-tabs are fairly illegible.

E-G, download the document to your local application.

You can then manipulate things to your liking.
Let me know if there any problems with that.
-Pain

Thanks for putting this together. Lots of interesting stuff.

Cheliax ***

Initial trends from the "years playing comparisons":

Half of all PFS players started in the first year of PFS and then it has grown steadily by about a 30-40% a year since

New players are more likely to play at a gamestore or public location with fewer home games

Everyone plays on average less than twice a month, though newer players play slightly more often

A quarter of new players joined PFS because they were searching for a regular gaming group. This possibly suggests new players and players coming back into the hobby?

New players have more heroic characters than the old guard

The old guard claim to be less munchkinny (less about effective characters) than newer players

A steady 30% across all players want less combat, but new players are more likely to want more combat than the status quo - possibly suggesting new young players?

The longer a player has been playing the easier he finds the overall mission

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Timothy McNeil wrote:
getting rid of the notion of a word count on products sold purely as pdfs.

Word count is limited because of at least these two things:

  • Authors are essentially paid by word count. More words = more expensive PFS scenarios.
  • Development time. More words = longer to edit and develop => less scenarios released or more staff required.

Taldor ***

Kyle Baird wrote:
Development time. More words = longer to edit and develop => less scenarios released or more staff required.

You really can't say that with certainty, Kyle. A less-restrictive word count also means less time spent editing the scenario to make it fit within a certain length.

-Matt

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mattastrophic wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Development time. More words = longer to edit and develop => less scenarios released or more staff required.

You really can't say that with certainty, Kyle. A less-restrictive word count also means less time spent editing the scenario to make it fit within a certain length.

-Matt

Actually Matt, I can.

Taldor ***

Kyle Baird wrote:
Mattastrophic wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Development time. More words = longer to edit and develop => less scenarios released or more staff required.

You really can't say that with certainty, Kyle. A less-restrictive word count also means less time spent editing the scenario to make it fit within a certain length.

-Matt

Actually Matt, I can.

I... don't understand, but okay, I'll... take your word for it.

That's really a bad sign for the campaign, unwillingness to budge on word count. It's such a big roadblock to quality content.

No, I'm not in the publishing industry, paying by the word seems like such an outdated model, especially when we're dealing with entirely-electronic product.

Perhaps PFS writers should be paid by the piece instead.

But none of that is drawn from the data,
-Matt

Taldor ***** Venture-Captain, Florida—Clearwater aka Magical_Beast

@ bdk86

Yes there are female VC/VLs! We may be a bit outnumbered by our male counterparts, but we are here!

Also, your analysis is impressive and interesting. I am still combing through to have more to add, but I couldn't let your question go unanswered.

/threadjack

Cheliax *

Kristie Schweyer wrote:

@ bdk86

Yes there are female VC/VLs! We may be a bit outnumbered by our male counterparts, but we are here!

Also, your analysis is impressive and interesting. I am still combing through to have more to add, but I couldn't let your question go unanswered.

/threadjack

Why thank you! (Both for answering my wayward questions & the compliment). I'm going to tackle a few more of the subjective questions (which are much bigger) sometime in the next day or so, which will hopefully give more light to some of the objective scenario questions.

Qadira ***

bdk86 wrote:
I'm going to tackle a few more of the subjective questions (which are much bigger) sometime in the next day or so, which will hopefully give more light to some of the objective scenario questions.

Awesome. Thanks BDK86.

-Pain

Cheliax *

In general, do you wish Pathfinder Society scenarios included:

I expected this question to prove challenging, and it was. Pathfinders want a number of things to be included in scenarios and/or altered as a part of this…or removed from scenarios. When doing the math on this category, it is important to note that none of the categories are mutually exclusive. Unlike the first question I tackled here, Pathfinder don’t all want one thing above all else to change about scenarios. This makes placing responses into easy boxes difficult. All responses which are appearing in multiple categories have a * at the end of them for quick reference.
There were 46 unique responses in this category. See my first entry here for an explanation of the methods used in determining percentages & confidence intervals. For purposes of discussion, an “Encounter” refers to any event in which the PCs must overcome an obstacle including (but not limited to) combat, puzzles, and traps. “Role-playing opportunities” are considered chances within the scenario to immerse yourself in the role of your character, independent of opportunities to explore plot. These are excluded from the “encounters” definition because combat and role-play are continually framed as mutually exclusive. If you see any errors, items you feel are miscategorized/interpreted, or any responses I listed twice but failed to mark as being in multiple categories, etc. please let me know.

Appropriate Challenges (10 Responses; 21.74%; +/- 11.37)

The largest take-away from this category is that for a rough twenty percent of pathfinders, encounters are not challenging enough in some fashion, with a few notes as the specific features of encounters proving inappropriate for the tier or failing to scale correctly. Players want encounters to count for something, either in resources spent to succeed or plot. This category is specifically aimed at the mechanics/crunch behind an encounter, as these often have the largest impact on how challenging it may be.

Responses:

•a challenge that scales to the table size
•A little less DR, or more gold to spend on DR penetrating weapons
•less "save or die/suck" mechanics
•Totally depends on the GM I'm afraid. That said, tough battles are consistently fun across different judges.
•hard to say. Many senerios are great and some are just crap but its all relative to the characters played. A lot of games were made prior to books like the Ultimate(s) and need to be updated. Otherwise, those senerios are quite weak against better characters. Modules also need to be left alone and not based off of a character if forcing players to use pregens.*
•More challenging combat
•More challenging options within subTiers: for example, asking the table if everyone want to play without kid gloves.
•Combats should have an effect, either in terms of story or making players spend resources. Easy combats only waste time.
•i like high rp incounters but also would like more complex problem solving*
•fewer but harder fights

More Plot/Immersion (11 Responses; 23.91%, +/-11.76)

A significant portion of pathfinders want more plot in their scenarios available to the PCs; both in the conveyance of actual information and feeling their actions have both impact and meaning for Pathfinder Society Play’s Golarion. This specifically refers to both the way scenarios are written and their ability to immerse the PCs in the story as part of their scenario. The largest presumed benefit from this appears to be larger investment on the part of the players in scenarios (more agency, more impact, more knowledge).

Responses:

•As a GM I see the summary, It would be nice to be able to convey it to the players in some way so they understand the full scope of what they are doing.
•Detail and knowledge about the advenure, Details!
•Be more descriptive in mods
•More contiguous plotlines, double / triple sessions
•More drama.
•More Heroic Theme
•Simple Clear Stories
•Less logical flaws and plotholes
•More variety encounters and styles. Horror, Intrigue, and less Bard and Rogue specific focused stuff. One other major aspect I think PF really fils at is not advncing a world storyline. Not having the world change. That gets very annoying, and honestly, boring, very fast.*
•More over-arching plots.
•more agency (or at least the illusion )

More/Improved Role-play Opportunities for PCs (8 Responses; 17.39%; +/- 10.45)

The large thing I see here is that like with plot, role-play is a factor of immersion. Players want the chances to “be” their characters, including the uncomfortable position of making moral and ethical decisions with the character’s mindset. Interesting enough, some of the respondents wanted both more roleplay and more combat.

Responses:

•Encounters to be unique, interesting, and thought provoking. Moral dilemas.*
•It depends - at cons in loud rooms it of often hard for good roleplay. Good roleplay takes time and when it takes 45 min to muster it is hard for good roleplay. since there isnt loud con mods and other mods I guess they are good as is
•i like high rp incounters but also would like more complex problem solving*
•More tactical combat, with tough RP choices*
•More Combat and More Roleplaying*
•more roleplaying that allows players to take alternate routes to achieve the plot goals
•Ok as is, but would be nice to have some more RP every once in awhile
•More year of the shadow lodge and larp eventsa

More/Improved Encounters (8 Responses; 17.39%; +/- 10.45)
This category addresses encounters as they are written into the module versus their raw mechanics. While a number of the requests here do ask for more combats or other encounters flat out, others just ask for a change to the feel of encounters; more “intensity”, “agency”, and “variety”. I’ve included the response asking for agency because I have seen encounters that created this feeling without making combat harder or even being a function of how the plot was written. “The Midnight Mauler” chase scene is an excellent example.

Responses:

•I would like more "intensity" less formulaic encounters
•Encounters to be unique, interesting, and thought provoking. Moral dilemas.*
•More tactical combat, with tough RP choices*
•More combat. Less time on roleplaying, plot, story, & immersion... the stories are God awful, with zero stakes and zero edge...
•More Combat and More Roleplaying*
•More variety encounters and styles. Horror, Intrigue, and less Bard and Rogue specific focused stuff. One other major aspect I think PF really fils at is not advncing a world storyline. Not having the world change. That gets very annoying, and honestly, boring, very fast.*
•More puzzles. and riddles :)
•more agency (or at least the illusion )*

Balance of Multiple Elements (6 Responses; 13.04%, +/- 9.28)

Some respondents stated the issue is not more or less of any one element, but striking a balance between combat, role-playing, and other elements are what they identify as the key to good scenarios. Given roughly 20% of responses each wanted more role-playing, more plot, more challenges, and more/improved encounters this category of responses may be onto something: Pathfinders want a lot of things and you’re going to have trouble pleasing one group without hurting another.

Responses:

•A Balance of combat and role-playing
•Less of both [role-play and combat], due to the 4 hour slot time at most cons.*
•Hard to generalize this - every scenario is different. A balance is desirable to me.
•a good mix, with multiple paths towards achieving goals
•Some scenarios are good, but then there are the bad ones. A good scenario is balanced between roleplaying, plot, story and believable combat opportunities.
•Variety is good. Scenarios that can go either way depending on the group of adventurers.*

Structural Changes to Scenarios (8 Responses; 17.39%; +/- 10.45)

The issue these responses raise is that the difficulty does not truly arise from the balance of elements, plot, or level of combat versus role-play within a scenario. Instead, it’s the way it’s structured. The largest of these is a focus on time; there isn’t enough to get through the scenario and do an adequate job. Other requests include putting all stat blocks (even core assumption) in the module, a LG-like regional system, a non-standardized XP advancement track, and helpful hints on non-violent ways for PCs to advance the story.

Responses:

•I like it when different scenarios have different combat/RP ratios, so I don't know what I'm going to get each week.
•More optional encounters so GMs can speed up the game when needed
•more time
•More time to complete Scenarios
•Regional play as with LG
•Additional sidebars regarding how violence might creatively be avoided
•Less of both [role-play and combat], due to the 4 hour slot time at most cons.*
•Stat blocks even for core assumption monsters

PC Makeup Makes this Difficult to Answer (4 Responses; 8.70%, +/- 7.77)

These responses identified one of the great challenges of writing scenarios for a living campaign: dealing with an infinite number of potential party compositions and capabilities that can make it nearly impossible to adequately balance a scenario. Not necessarily something that can be changed about scenarios, but useful to consider nonetheless. A potential take away from this is to perhaps include “A combat focused” or “a role-play focused” or other statements about the type of adventure a scenario is within its blurb, to imply what kind of characters should be brought.

Responses:

•depends on the class of character i am playing
•Variety is good. Scenarios that can go either way depending on the group of adventurers.*
•hard to say. Many senerios are great and some are just crap but its all relative to the characters played. A lot of games were made prior to books like the Ultimate(s) and need to be updated. Otherwise, those senerios are quite weak against better characters. Modules also need to be left alone and not based off of a character if forcing players to use pregens.*
•Variety is good. Scenarios that can go either way depending on the group of adventurers.*

Miscellanea (N/A)

At least one of you needs to get out more.

Responses:

•Real Life Strippers

Qadira ***

Thanks bdk86.

I love stuff like that.

-Pain

***

Kyle Baird wrote:
Timothy McNeil wrote:
getting rid of the notion of a word count on products sold purely as pdfs.

Word count is limited because of at least these two things:

  • Authors are essentially paid by word count. More words = more expensive PFS scenarios.
  • Development time. More words = longer to edit and develop => less scenarios released or more staff required.

Did not know that pay was set at word count. But from my experience as an editor (both inside and outside the gaming industry), cutting a product down to a set count generates a fair amount of work in and of itself.

I am not going to even attempt to assume the staffing situation or duties at Paizo. If the need to keep word count in place is absolute then it isn't going to go away.


Painlord wrote:

Greetings Mortals--

Who's ready to crunch some data?!!!?! w00t!! Data!! w00t!!

::crickets::

I said: Who's ready to crunch some data?!!!?!

::crickets::

*sigh*

Anyhoot, here you go: Survey Data and Quick Stats

** spoiler omitted **

The two tabs of stats are the 501 PFS players who said they played PFS and the 32 people who are not PFS players yet took the survey anyway.

As far as surveys go, that was a pretty good response rate. The raw data might not tell us much, but we've have some amazing PFS Community members working on cool data analysis right now.

That link should be to a easily downloadable GoogleDoc wherein you can take the data and perform what rituals that you must.

Here's what I ask of you:
1) Feel free to play with the dataset and identify neat things that we have in common (or striking comparisons).
2) Describe what data set you're using (all submissions, GMs only, those who play more than once a week, etc.).
3) Post your statistical conclusions.
4) Post how you've massaged and managed the data openly and clearly.
5) Post statistical reference, as necessary.
6) (Optional): Post what conclusions you think can be reached.

Here are the *comparisons of groups* that I'd like to see and invite youse guys to help make it happen (in addition to whatever interests you):

1) Judge vs. Not Judge
2) Frequent PFS Board reader vs. Does-Not-Read the PFS Boards
3) 'Hardcore' GM (judged 30+ scenarios) vs. Medium Judge (judged 1-29 times) vs. New-Player/Non-Judge
4) New player (About 1 year and less) vs. Crusty ol' grognard (2 years+)

** spoiler omitted **...

Well that was humorous to read the statistics.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Timothy McNeil wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Timothy McNeil wrote:
getting rid of the notion of a word count on products sold purely as pdfs.

Word count is limited because of at least these two things:

  • Authors are essentially paid by word count. More words = more expensive PFS scenarios.
  • Development time. More words = longer to edit and develop => less scenarios released or more staff required.

Did not know that pay was set at word count. But from my experience as an editor (both inside and outside the gaming industry), cutting a product down to a set count generates a fair amount of work in and of itself.

I am not going to even attempt to assume the staffing situation or duties at Paizo. If the need to keep word count in place is absolute then it isn't going to go away.

Word count is indeed set in stone and won't be changing for the forseeable future. If we get in turnovers from authors that are overlimit it doesn't take extra time for us to trim them because we send them back to the authors to do so. While it might seem that adding words to a pdf product would be easy since we aren't constrained by physical limitation, every word need to be developed, laid out, and edited, and all that adds to the workload of the staff more than most folks realize.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
every word need to be developed

need or needs? ;-)

Paizo Employee ** Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kyle Baird wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
every word need to be developed
need or needs? ;-)

And every developer who comments on the messageboards on a Saturday from his cell phone doesn't need his typos nit-picked.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Out of curiosity, don't the PFS-enabled Pathfinder modules scratch the itch for those who desire longer content scenarios? Is it just that the modules aren't PFS-centric enough? If so, maybe it might be worthwhile to designate an actual Pathfinder module each year to specifically focus on helping to move the PFS metaplot forward in some way? Or, at least, support PFS organized play more directly...in essence, by becoming a super-length PFS scenario. But, obviously, the module would also need to stand strongly enough on its own to be played independently from PFS. Otherwise, you might get a bunch of Pathfinder module subscribers who have no interest in organized play up in arms.

Just my two cents,
--Neil

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
every word need to be developed
need or needs? ;-)
And every developer who comments on the messageboards on a Saturday from his cell phone doesn't need his typos nit-picked.

You're absolutely right Mark. Not *every* developer needs their messageboard posts nitpicked. Too much juice during Maze of the Open Road last night. ;-)

**** Venture-Captain, New Jersey aka Shivok

Neil Spicer wrote:

Out of curiosity, don't the PFS-enabled Pathfinder modules scratch the itch for those who desire longer content scenarios? Is it just that the modules aren't PFS-centric enough? If so, maybe it might be worthwhile to designate an actual Pathfinder module each year to specifically focus on helping to move the PFS metaplot forward in some way? Or, at least, support PFS organized play more directly...in essence, by becoming a super-length PFS scenario. But, obviously, the module would also need to stand strongly enough on its own to be played independently from PFS. Otherwise, you might get a bunch of Pathfinder module subscribers who have no interest in organized play up in arms.

Just my two cents,
--Neil

Neil,

Yes they do. I wouldnt change this at all. The PFS-Centric part is for us GM's to come up with.

I thought the Phoenix Tournamet did this for the current PFS year. I wouldnt mind if this was the case every year. I would make the mod lower level perhaps 8th just so its open to more PFS players.

I would also include the PFS-centric story parts as a downloadble pdf, something small like 2-3 pages of fluff along with the PFS Chronicle sheet. Included in the pdf would be some bonuses/penalties based on what the characters did in the regular pfs scenarios/if they completed/failed their factions missions etc. Something that creats different version based on previous player actions. Think of it as curveballs within the game.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Neil Spicer wrote:
If so, maybe it might be worthwhile to designate an actual Pathfinder module each year to specifically focus on helping to move the PFS metaplot forward in some way?

Neil are you Trolling for some freelance Module work?..;)

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Dragnmoon wrote:
Neil are you Trolling for some freelance Module work?..;)

Not at all. In fact, I already turned down another opportunity to write for PFS organized play. I was just following along with the statistical analysis of the survey results out of curiosity. Then, I saw the discussion around the wish for longer scenarios based on increasing the word count (which really can't happen for all the reasons Mark cited). And, I thought maybe the Pathfinder modules line really holds the answer to that. I mean, Master of the Fallen Fortress was kind of an example of a module especially tailored to be PFS-supportive. I'd think the Ruby Phoenix Tournament is along the same lines. And, by making the pre-existing modules eligible for PFS play, it seemed like that too would help alleviate the concern. Maybe the next logical step is to designate a 32-page module once per year to have a stronger tie to the overall PFS plotline for a given year? Essentially, it could be the capper or intro module for a given year's theme in Pathfinder Society organized play.

It's just an idea,
--Neil

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Neil Spicer wrote:
Maybe the next logical step is to target a 32-page module once per year to have a stronger tie to the overall PFS plotline for a given year?

You mean like tying The Ruby Phoenix Tournament to the Year of the Ruby Phoenix? ;-)

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

Yeah. I was just adding that above.

Clearly, if that's what you guys are already consciously doing, it's a moot point. ;-P

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