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PFS judges changing scenarios. A polite discussion.


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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Andoran *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Drogon wrote:
I agree completely with Dragnmoon

This should be a given, and everyone should aspire to this... ;)


Dan Luckett wrote:
james maissen wrote:


I guess I've seen too many organized play GMs decide to make house rules and miss-run modules that spoiled the table's fun to think that this is a good thing to encourage. Mercifully these were always few and far between.. but the memories remain and are quite unpleasant.

-James

Just out of curiosity, how many PFS scenarios have you run and/or played? I'm reading what you're saying and trying to get a feel for your experience level.

PFS? About 30/12 or so.

Blackmoor? 60+/30ish?

LG? I couldn't begin to count. I traveled A LOT playing LG. A good number of people did as there was a regional system there.

LFR? I try to forget...

A few other Organized campaigns that were less popular.

Does in matter Dan? Basically since 2001. And at least in respect to LG, in most corners of the US & Canada.

-James

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
I really need to convince Mike to make me a VC
Hopefully, there isn't enough scotch in the entire world for Mike to make that mistake? ;-)

hmmmmm.... does he drink?... ;)

Silver Crusade ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
james maissen wrote:


PFS? About 30/12 or so.

Does it matter Dan?

-James

Yes, it matters to me. I can weigh what you say and know that it's not something you're blowing out of someplace unpleasant. I've had too many people tell me and act like they're an "authority" on something when they're nothing more than a base charlatan. I could not tell where you stood because you have no stars (See below), and I obviously can't see what you've played.

On a secondary note, if you have run 30 PFS scenarios. You're failing in 1/3 of your duties as a pathfinder. You should have 2 stars.

Shadow Lodge ***

What, because he hasn't tied his PFS number/characters to the forum profile he uses? Maybe he doesn't like showing off.

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

Mystic Lemur wrote:
What, because he hasn't tied his PFS number/characters to the forum profile he uses?

As far as I know the only way to do that is not to register your character. Otherwise, you would need to have two separate Paizo accounts and that is not legal according to the powers that be.

Shadow Lodge ***

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Mystic Lemur wrote:
What, because he hasn't tied his PFS number/characters to the forum profile he uses?
As far as I know the only way to do that is not to register your character. Otherwise, you would need to have two separate Paizo accounts and that is not legal according to the powers that be.

I'm just going by what I see when I click the man's name, unless there's some way to hide your aliases/characters.

Silver Crusade ****

Mystic Lemur wrote:

I'm just going by what I see when I click the man's name, unless there's some way to hide your aliases/characters.

There isn't, thus why I asked. I've been curious about James for a while because of the way he words his posts. My curiousity finally got the better of me.

Qadira ****

Dan Luckett wrote:
james maissen wrote:


PFS? About 30/12 or so.

Does it matter Dan?

-James

Yes, it matters to me. I can weigh what you say and know that it's not something you're blowing out of someplace unpleasant. I've had too many people tell me and act like they're an "authority" on something when they're nothing more than a base charlatan. I could not tell where you stood because you have no stars (See below), and I obviously can't see what you've played.

On a secondary note, if you have run 30 PFS scenarios. You're failing in 1/3 of your duties as a pathfinder. You should have 2 stars.

I was not going to chime in on this, but I guess I missed the Will save (curse you d20!).

I've judged... oh, 20 to 30 I think, and played maybe twice what I've judged so my numbers would be 25/50 maybe?

and many years of LG, and a lot of just plain RPGs...

Ok, now that I have established that I am an old fart, but kind of new to PFSOP, I'll give you my take on this topic.

I'll say the ratio is about 1 to 1 for judges that can "modify on the fly" and actually produce a working product. And even then, problems occure when you factor in other issues.
Judge is tired - mistakes creep in.
Judge doesn't know the PCs as well as he thinks. ("what do you mean you only have a CON of 8? who builds a PC with a con of 8?)
Judge has a different picture of what is a "fun" game to the player. (I for example, can have a great time and NEVER take/give a HP of damage. Combat is not what I play for. I can have a wonderful time and never touch a dice during a game... really.)
We have some great judges. We have some ... less then great judges. Often these people are the same person (yeah, I lump me in there too).

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

nosig wrote:
I was not going to chime in on this, but I guess I missed the Will save (curse you d20!)

Too bad you can't take 10...ROFL!

Qadira ****

I tried - I tried... but, you know, some times the Judge is so "old school" ;)

Shadow Lodge **

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thank you all for your comments - they are most helpful! I appreciate them.

Now that the 'powers' have recognized there is a problem and are ramping up the season 4 mods to account for that I have a minor suggestion/question.

For season 0-3 mods: When you have 6 or 7 player tables, what about allowing the judge to add the advanced template? I'm not talking about changing the scenarios in any other way - just ramping up the difficulty slightly to account for the large number of players.

It's what I've done in the past when faced with a large number of players - often who are already playing up - when they are walking through the scenario. It's a mild enough change that it does not dramatically affect the outcome - though it can lead to an increase in expendables used.

What do people think of that idea? If the 'powers' approved such a change, would you weep openly or embrace it as reasonable?

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Euan wrote:
For season 0-3 mods: When you have 6 or 7 player tables, what about allowing the judge to add the advanced template? I'm not talking about changing the scenarios in any other way - just ramping up the difficulty slightly to account for the large number of players.

How would you apply the advanced template to a creature that advances with character levels (ie. a 0 HD creature), a trap, or a haunt or other hazard? I'm not being facetious, just raising some of the development questions that come up when trying to scale adventures up using a simple set of guidelines across the board.

****

Mark Moreland wrote:
Euan wrote:
For season 0-3 mods: When you have 6 or 7 player tables, what about allowing the judge to add the advanced template? I'm not talking about changing the scenarios in any other way - just ramping up the difficulty slightly to account for the large number of players.
How would you apply the advanced template to a creature that advances with character levels (ie. a 0 HD creature), a trap, or a haunt or other hazard? I'm not being facetious, just raising some of the development questions that come up when trying to scale adventures up using a simple set of guidelines across the board.

Answer - You wouldn't. There is no simple and elegant method to improve the balance on all of the scenarios equally across the board.

However Euan's suggestion sounds workable, and I would certainly like to have the option to use it when I GM larger tables with the season 0 - 3 scenarios.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
How would you apply the advanced template to a creature that advances with character levels (ie. a 0 HD creature), a trap, or a haunt or other hazard? I'm not being facetious, just raising some of the development questions that come up when trying to scale adventures up using a simple set of guidelines across the board.

I think each encounter deserves its own very brief description on how to handle it for a 4 person table. Something quick, boring and to the point. This type of thought process needs to go into the design of each encounter by the author.

[4-Person Modification] Replace Riding Dog with Dog (Bestiary pg X)

[4-Person Modification] BBEG has used all 6th level spells for the day. Reduce HP to 173.

[4-Person Modification] Apply Young Simple Template (Bestiary pg X) to one T-Rex. ;-)

[4-Person Modification] Reduce trap perception and disable device DC's by 2. Change damage dealt to 5d6.

etc.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Kyle Baird wrote:
I think each encounter deserves its own very brief description on how to handle it for a 4 person table. Something quick, boring and to the point. This type of thought process needs to go into the design of each encounter by the author.

That's how we plan to implement it. I was referring more to retroactively providing guidelines to ramp up 4 seasons worth of existing scenarios designed for 4 PCs.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Don't forget sometimes it will be: [4-Person Modification] None.

Qadira ****

Kyle Baird wrote:
Don't forget sometimes it will be: [4-Person Modification] None.

Kyle - I just figured you'd says "Modification for 4 PC: increase damage to each PC by 50% to account for the fewer targets"

*****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
I was referring more to retroactively providing guidelines to ramp up 4 seasons worth of existing scenarios designed for 4 PCs.

Ask for volunteers from your pool of contributors?

Cheliax ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Kyle Baird wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
I was referring more to retroactively providing guidelines to ramp up 4 seasons worth of existing scenarios designed for 4 PCs.
Ask for volunteers from your pool of contributors?

Which is vast and eager to do things like this! And they'll do it for free.

I realize that, after that, there is development, lay out, etc. I get it. But you can at least start the process using the huge resource you have available to you (VCs, VLs, 4- and 5-star GMs). Just try it. You might like it...


Mark Moreland wrote:


That's how we plan to implement it. I was referring more to retroactively providing guidelines to ramp up 4 seasons worth of existing scenarios designed for 4 PCs.

While its nice to have 4-6 versions or 'tiers' rather than fewer.. why not just use what's there but get rid of the APL system entirely? APL is not a good judge of what the party at the table is capable of handling.

Why not let the table decide?

This way the table can choose what level of challenge that they think that they can face.

All the scenarios would need to do would be reasonably consistent/ accurate with their difficulty level. If you think that the prior seasons all meet this, then they would be fine without any adjustment. If your data says that certain tiers are more deadly (or less deadly) than their tiers would indicate then the labeling of those tiers could be changed to what is determined to be more appropriate.

The table would know 'hey it's a season 3' so it's not geared for 6 person tables like the current scenarios are... then they would assess their party and make their choice based on that and the tiers the scenario covers.

If they are 'under' challenged or 'over' challenged in that scenario then it's a result of their choice. The GM could give a warning one way or the other to help out as well... but in the end it should be the table decision.

In the end you would have a simple process:

1. Writers right challenges to a static power level.

2. Players play modules based on their table's power level.

Then everyone gets to play the game that they want to play and face the level of challenges that they'd like to face. As new material comes out, if power creep occurs, then it just gets factored in at step 2 which means that earlier seasons don't need to be adjusted at all.

As an upside you would fairly standardize expected player wealth and focus the decision on the table enjoyment where it should be.

-James

Qadira ****

james maissen wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:


That's how we plan to implement it. I was referring more to retroactively providing guidelines to ramp up 4 seasons worth of existing scenarios designed for 4 PCs.

While its nice to have 4-6 versions or 'tiers' rather than fewer.. why not just use what's there but get rid of the APL system entirely? APL is not a good judge of what the party at the table is capable of handling.

Why not let the table decide?

This way the table can choose what level of challenge that they think that they can face.

All the scenarios would need to do would be reasonably consistent/ accurate with their difficulty level. If you think that the prior seasons all meet this, then they would be fine without any adjustment. If your data says that certain tiers are more deadly (or less deadly) than their tiers would indicate then the labeling of those tiers could be changed to what is determined to be more appropriate.

The table would know 'hey it's a season 3' so it's not geared for 6 person tables like the current scenarios are... then they would assess their party and make their choice based on that and the tiers the scenario covers.

If they are 'under' challenged or 'over' challenged in that scenario then it's a result of their choice. The GM could give a warning one way or the other to help out as well... but in the end it should be the table decision.

In the end you would have a simple process:

1. Writers right challenges to a static power level.

2. Players play modules based on their table's power level.

Then everyone gets to play the game that they want to play and face the level of challenges that they'd like to face. As new material comes out, if power creep occurs, then it just gets factored in at step 2 which means that earlier seasons don't need to be adjusted at all.

As an upside you would fairly standardize expected player wealth and focus the decision on the table enjoyment where it should be.

-James

I would like to point out that often when I sit down to play, I do not know the other PCs at the table.

I started an indepth example but it was turning into a wall of text, so I'll just say:

There is no way a group of random players inside of 5 minutes at first meeting at a convention table, will be able to do this. "Hi, I'm Nosig - I always take 10 - I vote play down." "Hi, I'm MadDog Hackmaster, I'm hear to kill things - I vote to play UP!!!" "Hi, I'm Suzie, I'm MadDog's GF and I vote with him" "What are we talking about?" "I do not discuss anything about my PC before the game starts" ....

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Drogon wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
I was referring more to retroactively providing guidelines to ramp up 4 seasons worth of existing scenarios designed for 4 PCs.
Ask for volunteers from your pool of contributors?

Which is vast and eager to do things like this! And they'll do it for free.

I realize that, after that, there is development, lay out, etc. I get it. But you can at least start the process using the huge resource you have available to you (VCs, VLs, 4- and 5-star GMs). Just try it. You might like it...

We have tried it, on a number of initiatives, from redesigning pregens to updating 3.5 scenarios to Pathfinder RPG to retrofitting current campaign rules onto Season 0-2 scenarios. In every case, that development/layout/editing hurdle is simply too high to clear, or the volunteers' efforts die in the water. Turns out enthusiasm from even the most trusted and qualified volunteers only goes so far when what someone's doing is real work that we actually pay people for. I'm not opposed to using the community for projects like these, but we have still never found a system that works and doesn't just waste the volunteers' time and add to our already significant workload here in the office.

*****

nosig wrote:
james maissen wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:


That's how we plan to implement it. I was referring more to retroactively providing guidelines to ramp up 4 seasons worth of existing scenarios designed for 4 PCs.

While its nice to have 4-6 versions or 'tiers' rather than fewer.. why not just use what's there but get rid of the APL system entirely? APL is not a good judge of what the party at the table is capable of handling.

Why not let the table decide?

This way the table can choose what level of challenge that they think that they can face.

All the scenarios would need to do would be reasonably consistent/ accurate with their difficulty level. If you think that the prior seasons all meet this, then they would be fine without any adjustment. If your data says that certain tiers are more deadly (or less deadly) than their tiers would indicate then the labeling of those tiers could be changed to what is determined to be more appropriate.

The table would know 'hey it's a season 3' so it's not geared for 6 person tables like the current scenarios are... then they would assess their party and make their choice based on that and the tiers the scenario covers.

If they are 'under' challenged or 'over' challenged in that scenario then it's a result of their choice. The GM could give a warning one way or the other to help out as well... but in the end it should be the table decision.

In the end you would have a simple process:

1. Writers right challenges to a static power level.

2. Players play modules based on their table's power level.

Then everyone gets to play the game that they want to play and face the level of challenges that they'd like to face. As new material comes out, if power creep occurs, then it just gets factored in at step 2 which means that earlier seasons don't need to be adjusted at all.

As an upside you would fairly standardize expected player wealth and focus the decision on the table enjoyment where it should be.

-James

I would like to point...

Nosig, this is where actually playing the game and understanding how it works comes in handy before making suggestions on how to re-vamp a game that you don't play

Qadira ****

Sorry Purple - huh? I do play the game now. At least once a week, sometimes more. Often with strangers, about 1/2 the time as a judge.

I just see no way I can tell the strength of the party to be able to vote "play up" or "play down" the way James seems to think we should be able too. I'm sorry if I seem to have offended you in some way.

But I still stand by my earlier statement:
I feel that (IMHO) "There is no way a group of random players inside of 5 minutes at first meeting at a convention table, will be able to do this. "

*****

nosig wrote:

Sorry Purple - huh? I do play the game now. At least once a week, sometimes more. Often with strangers, about 1/2 the time as a judge.

I just see no way I can tell the strength of the party to be able to vote "play up" or "play down" the way James seems to think we should be able too. I'm sorry if I seem to have offended you in some way.

But I still stand by my earlier statement:
I feel that (IMHO) "There is no way a group of random players inside of 5 minutes at first meeting at a convention table, will be able to do this. "

Read your private message, I agree with you.. unless it's a constant group that you know, you cannot tell the party strength; which is why the APL system is in place.


nosig wrote:

I would like to point out that often when I sit down to play, I do not know the other PCs at the table.

I started an indepth example but it was turning into a wall of text, so I'll just say:

There is no way a group of random players inside of 5 minutes at first meeting at a convention table, will be able to do this.

Most of my experience in this comes from old LG days where many cons would muster en masse. You were able to sort things fairly quickly.. Chaotically for sure.. but it wasn't all that long.

Normally the only time that it would really take would be dividing tables so that every table had a healer, etc. to balance them.

Getting a sense of how everything is at your table isn't that hard at all. And if you're traveling to new cons, you meet new friends and get to know them pretty quickly. Funny thing about gamers is that they do tend to like to talk about their characters.

I'm curious when you play at a completely new table, do you not have any sense of who's at your table until say the first combat??

-James

Qadira ****

goodness james - it's been what, 4 years sense LG days? and that was in 3.5 days too.

Let's just say, the times they have changed.

A Player running a Cleric might not be able to heal, but one running a Wizard may be able to - as long as you don't mind it being "evil" healing. Your front line melee fighter might just be a arcane spell casting Magus, or a Bard, where your ranged archer may be a monk. Your trap specialist is just as likely to be a druid for detecting them, and a strait fighter for removing them. And that's just if they fit the standard modes.

You will be seated at a table with up to 5 (maybe 6) persons you do not know, all of whom will be playing characters you have never seen. Quite possibly of races you didn't even know existed, let alone know PCs could be. You have 5 minutes in a noisy room, to introduce yourself and get to know your allies.

There is a chance that some of the players will be able to switch to other characters if it looks like you don't have a good level mix. You can hope for that, but often it just isn't going to happen. Normally players only have one character they can run at that tier, so you are stuck with whatever you get. Then there are the players who refuse to discuss anything out of character, and wont tell you what they are running before the briefing starts.

So, here you go... sitting down for a Tier 1-5 game.

Player A "Hi, I'm Nosig, I've got a bunch of different PCs I can run at this level, so I'm able to run a Tiefling Wizard with a touch of Rogue at 3rd, or a Bomb Throwing Chirurgeon at 4th or a Human 3rd level Knifemaster."

Player B "I'm Janet. I've got a 5th level Aasimar Cleric, or a 3rd level Dwarven adopted Elf witch, or a 2nd level Halfling Orical"

Player C "I'm Kevin. I've got my 2nd level Elven Wizard-transmutter at this Tier"

Player D "Bryan. I want to play my 2nd level Zen Archer, but I've also got Vincent, my 5th level Gunslinger with a double hackbutt"

Player E "I'm Erik. I've got my 5th level ranger, or I'm starting a Fay Bloodline Sorcerer".

Ok ... what Sub-tier do you play at? OH! and what do you bring to the table? What are they need (if you have a choice of PCs?

Shadow Lodge *****

nosig wrote:
Player E "I'm Erik.

Erik with a K? Get away from my table!

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My wife, Janet, doesn't have any of those characters......

She does have a human cleric that Kyle couldn't kill.

Qadira ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Michael Brock wrote:

My wife, Janet, doesn't have any of those characters......

She does have a human cleric that Kyle couldn't kill.

Yes, but those are my wife Janet's PCs available to play at Tier 1-5. The Aasimar is 5 month pregnant (no my wife is not pregnant - but her cleric does have a dex of 8, and she role plays the Pregnant cleric of Cayden to the max). The Witch is an Elf named Head Banger - she was raised by dwarves and the low tunnels you see.... The Oracle has the curse of tongues - and being fluent in Portuguese, when she's under stress you can tell she's saying SOMETHING, but ...

all the above players were people I regularly play with. Real examples work best.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Michael Brock wrote:

My wife, Janet, doesn't have any of those characters......

She does have a human cleric that Kyle couldn't kill.

Couldn't and didn't are two entirely different words, Michael. I felt sorry she had to play at the table as mentally challenged dwarven fighter.

Keep poking the bear everyone, eventually all that built up fury will be unleashed (on a certain Holy Vindicator Venture Captain)

Silver Crusade ****

I'd just like to note, that shortly after I joined PFS. I was told any experience prior to PFS didn't really matter in the scheme of things and only relevant recent experience mattered. I have found no evidence to the contrary yet, because when it's related to PFS, all my previous experiences have yet to help me. In fact, often hinders me. Curse you 3.5 rules memorization! Get...out...of...my...head!

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

Kyle Baird wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:

My wife, Janet, doesn't have any of those characters......

She does have a human cleric that Kyle couldn't kill.

Couldn't and didn't are two entirely different words, Michael. I felt sorry she had to play at the table as mentally challenged dwarven fighter.

Keep poking the bear everyone, eventually all that built up fury will be unleashed (on a certain Holy Vindicator Venture Captain)

More excuses....sigh. And for unleashing it on that one.....yawn.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Dan Luckett wrote:
I'd just like to note, that shortly after I joined PFS. I was told any experience prior to PFS didn't really matter in the scheme of things and only relevant recent experience mattered. I have found no evidence to the contrary yet, because when it's related to PFS, all my previous experiences have yet to help me. In fact, often hinders me. Curse you 3.5 rules memorization! Get...out...of...my...head!

I don't know if I'd say it doesn't matter, but it is certainly more valuable to be able to fall back on your depth and breadth of experience when thinking on your current experiences. Many of our most active GMs and event organizers are good at what they do because they've been doing something similar for a decade or more in any number of organized play systems. But ultimately, experience in only other systems is less helpful if it isn't combined with firsthand experience of Pathfinder Society. Otherwise it's like saying you can't stand unrealistic computer graphics because of how pixelated Super Mario Bros. was; that fact may have been true of the old game, but times have changed.

*****

Mark Moreland wrote:
Dan Luckett wrote:
I'd just like to note, that shortly after I joined PFS. I was told any experience prior to PFS didn't really matter in the scheme of things and only relevant recent experience mattered. I have found no evidence to the contrary yet, because when it's related to PFS, all my previous experiences have yet to help me. In fact, often hinders me. Curse you 3.5 rules memorization! Get...out...of...my...head!
I don't know if I'd say it doesn't matter, but it is certainly more valuable to be able to fall back on your depth and breadth of experience when thinking on your current experiences. Many of our most active GMs and event organizers are good at what they do because they've been doing something similar for a decade or more in any number of organized play systems. But ultimately, experience in only other systems is less helpful if it isn't combined with firsthand experience of Pathfinder Society. Otherwise it's like saying you can't stand unrealistic computer graphics because of how pixelated Super Mario Bros. was; that fact may have been true of the old game, but times have changed.

I know for me as a GM my rules knowledge does lack in some areas... a large part of that is that I never played 3.0 or 3.5 ...before pathfinder the last DnD I played was 2nd ed.

Not having that background I feel it's both my strong suit and my weak point. When I run games for people that have been playing for years can pull rules out of the memories that I didn't know existed.. They may have to amend them for pathfinders twist, but they have the basics. On the other hand, I don't get mixed up with the twists because the only system I know is pathfinder.

It's an odd dichotomy to play at a table of old gamers as they try and remember which edition a rule-set is from.

Qadira ****

Michael Brock wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:

My wife, Janet, doesn't have any of those characters......

She does have a human cleric that Kyle couldn't kill.

Couldn't and didn't are two entirely different words, Michael. I felt sorry she had to play at the table as mentally challenged dwarven fighter.

Keep poking the bear everyone, eventually all that built up fury will be unleashed (on a certain Holy Vindicator Venture Captain)

More excuses....sigh. And for unleashing it on that one.....yawn.

Mike is just upset he never got the chance to return the favor for what I did to his dwarven fighter. (Actually, he got me back for getting me killed by a frog, but whatever you know).

And why are we provoking the bear into more furious anger? I'm doing that well enough on my own!

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

Joseph Caubo wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:

My wife, Janet, doesn't have any of those characters......

She does have a human cleric that Kyle couldn't kill.

Couldn't and didn't are two entirely different words, Michael. I felt sorry she had to play at the table as mentally challenged dwarven fighter.

Keep poking the bear everyone, eventually all that built up fury will be unleashed (on a certain Holy Vindicator Venture Captain)

More excuses....sigh. And for unleashing it on that one.....yawn.

Mike is just upset he never got the chance to return the favor for what I did to his dwarven fighter. (Actually, he got me back for getting me killed by a frog, but whatever you know).

And why are we provoking the bear into more furious anger? I'm doing that well enough on my own!

Yes I did. You forget about the block of stone in LoF.

Qadira ****

Michael Brock wrote:
Yes I did. You forget about the block of stone in LoF.

LOL or the time I got stranded out in the middle of the ocean. Or the time that emkrah that I was engulfed by...

Shadow Lodge ***

deusvult wrote:

Here's another thought, before someone accuses me of wistfully missing the heady days of GMing Paranoia (because it's true ;)

** spoiler omitted **...

So, to sum up (and to make a spoiler-friendly recap for those who don't want to be spoiled):

I spent 10 hours playing the adventure under a GM who ran-as-written, as PFS says you should. Had some intrinsic fun, sure, but it was a pretty dissapointing experience. While on the other hand, players at the table where the GM scaled the opposition to be more appropriate, they had a blast.

Ran as written: 10 hours of ho hum.
BADWRONG Deviation: 10 hours of fun.

I will say I was at the table was it wasn't the fights that made the table fun. It was a confusion spell that led to a Barbarian almost killing a Ranger rather than any monsters per sae. It was also tensions between players (Paladin vs Bone Oracle worshiping Roverug) and the Ranger being afraid of the Barbarian after he gutted him.

Cheliax *

I've seen it go both ways. The best PFS table I've played at the DM changed the scenario. Another time and table the scenario was changed and it actually hindered our enjoyment.

In the former the DM actually asked us before the game started for permission to alter things. In the latter it was done without permission.

Changing the scenario is definately advanced mode. You have to have the experience to know what you're doing.

Essentially it comes down to are you willing to sacrifice versatility on the altar of conformitiy. The "fast food" of rpgs is fine for some, but us veterans want to dine at a "restaurant" where the chef has the leeway to create what his experience tells him is right instead of shoveling the same stuff into the same prepackaged box over and over.

The option should be there, if not codified, at least with a gentleman's agreement. Despite you lawful types raving it's going to occur anyway.

Ya I know, but rules! Cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria. I could have my DMs license revoked!

Policy, doesn't need to be changed but certainly doesn't need to be villified.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Alex Draconis wrote:

Despite you lawful types raving it's going to occur anyway.

Ya I know, but rules! Cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria. I could have my DMs license revoked!

Well, guess it's time to take "A Polite Discussion" out of the thread title.

Qadira ****

sometimes it is best just not to say anything.

(made the will save that time)

Grand Lodge ***

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Alex Draconis wrote:
Essentially it comes down to are you willing to sacrifice versatility on the altar of conformitiy. The "fast food" of rpgs is fine for some, but us veterans want to dine at a "restaurant" where the chef has the leeway to create what his experience tells him is right instead of shoveling the same stuff into the same prepackaged box over and over.

Organized Play IS the 'fast food' of the RPG world. It doesn't matter where you go, you expect the food to match your expectations.

Wanting to flavor something up to 'fine dining' is a home game.

OP campaigns work best when everyone has the same expectations and experiences. It is absolutely AWESOME to sit around with people from across the globe and talk about this or that moment in a mod. Sure there will be some slight variation from how the players chose to approach things, but that is minimal. This is one of the most precious parts of playing an OP game. Letting GMs muck with things can rob people of this experience.

*****

Clint Blome wrote:
Alex Draconis wrote:
Essentially it comes down to are you willing to sacrifice versatility on the altar of conformitiy. The "fast food" of rpgs is fine for some, but us veterans want to dine at a "restaurant" where the chef has the leeway to create what his experience tells him is right instead of shoveling the same stuff into the same prepackaged box over and over.

Organized Play IS the 'fast food' of the RPG world. It doesn't matter where you go, you expect the food to match your expectations.

Wanting to flavor something up to 'fine dining' is a home game.

OP campaigns work best when everyone has the same expectations and experiences. It is absolutely AWESOME to sit around with people from across the globe and talk about this or that moment in a mod. Sure there will be some slight variation from how the players chose to approach things, but that is minimal. This is one of the most precious parts of playing an OP game. Letting GMs muck with things can rob people of this experience.

Of all the reasons given and all the arguements .. this has to be the clearest way of summing up the reason agains GM fiat....

+1

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:
Clint Blome wrote:
Alex Draconis wrote:
Essentially it comes down to are you willing to sacrifice versatility on the altar of conformitiy. The "fast food" of rpgs is fine for some, but us veterans want to dine at a "restaurant" where the chef has the leeway to create what his experience tells him is right instead of shoveling the same stuff into the same prepackaged box over and over.

Organized Play IS the 'fast food' of the RPG world. It doesn't matter where you go, you expect the food to match your expectations.

Wanting to flavor something up to 'fine dining' is a home game.

OP campaigns work best when everyone has the same expectations and experiences. It is absolutely AWESOME to sit around with people from across the globe and talk about this or that moment in a mod. Sure there will be some slight variation from how the players chose to approach things, but that is minimal. This is one of the most precious parts of playing an OP game. Letting GMs muck with things can rob people of this experience.

Of all the reasons given and all the arguements .. this has to be the clearest way of summing up the reason agains GM fiat....

+1

Indeed. In fact, Alex's restaurant analogy is a good one: tampering with the scenarios in organized play is like a chef getting a job at McDonalds and then thinking that all those people who got something different than they ordered are going to be happy about it. If you want to cook up something creative, do it in your own kitchen and without telling people it's a Big Mac.

Taldor ***

Jiggy wrote:
Indeed. In fact, Alex's restaurant analogy is a good one: tampering with the scenarios in organized play is like a chef getting a job at McDonalds and then thinking that all those people who got something different than they ordered are going to be happy about it. If you want to cook up something creative, do it in your own kitchen and without telling people it's a Big Mac.

I'm willing and more than happy to rebut within the restaurant analogy.

Yes, the cook at McDonalds may not substitute his own recipes, but neither is he required to fail to pick out the burned fries from the bin, put fresh(er) burgers under the heater waiting for purchase, etc. There are bad aspects of the fast food experience that are completely avoidable (he needn't give the 'traditional' loogie in the burger, for example) while still holding completely to the corporate ideal of profitability (this analogy's version of 'staying RAW')

You're assuming that someone who orders a Big Mac not only MUST get the loogie, burned fries, etc, that he knows it's coming and shouldn't expect not to get it.

I'm saying that the cook can actually take pride in his work and present a product better than the cook at the McDonalds up the street. Either way, you're still eating a Big Mac at either restaurant.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

deusvult wrote:
You're assuming that someone who orders a Big Mac not only MUST get the loogie, burned fries, etc, that he knows it's coming and shouldn't expect not to get it.

That's quite an assertion of what I must be assuming. Are you psychic, perhaps? ;)

See, removing burned fries and such is part of what the McDonalds guy is supposed to do ("by RAW"). The cooks who leave them in there are those other GMs who don't prep well, don't know how their monsters' abilities work, etc.

Totally not what I'm talking about. Every GM should be making the best Big Mac they can.

But the Big Mac needs to be beef (or whatever they use) and not chicken; it needs to have the toppings that the menu says it has, not the toppings that the individual cook thought would be best; it needs to be on a bun, not a ciabatta or in a wrap; it needs to be accompanied by fries, not tater tots or mashed potatoes.

Change any of that, and you haven't provided what you said you'd provide. That's adding monsters, changing spell lists, buffing defenses, etc.

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
deusvult wrote:
Yes, the cook at McDonalds may not substitute his own recipes, but neither is he required to fail to pick out the burned fries from the bin, put fresh(er) burgers under the heater waiting for purchase, etc. There are bad aspects of the fast food experience that are completely avoidable (he needn't give the 'traditional' loogie in the burger, for example) while still holding completely to the corporate ideal of service, sanitation, and most importantly, profitability (this analogy's version of 'staying RAW')

Those are things the cook is supposed to be doing anyway. The cook in this instance is following the rules as given. By not doing this he is failing at his job (being a subpar cook and judge). Everything you describe him going out of his way to do is following the RAW.

Choosing to swap mayo for Big Mac sauce? Choosing to give someone Onion Rings instead of the Fries they ordered? Thinking the customer would like his bruger rare? These are changing the mod.

When you substitute a player's expectation (I would say even with their permission) you are doing them a disservice. You are disconnecting them from OP. Yes, they may enjoy the game, perhaps more than any other, but you've warped the sense of community they could have and should have gotten. I've seen it happen over and over again.

There are plenty of ways to make your experience better without doing this.

Taldor ***

Jiggy wrote:


Change any of that, and you haven't provided what you said you'd provide. That's adding monsters, changing spell lists, buffing defenses, etc.

OTOH, I'd consider adding a mook or two to a lone BBEG who, given my experience with the players, their characters, and their demonstrated capabilities over the course of the scenario, will be blown away in 1 round of anticlimactic combat.. the same thing as picking out a burned french fry or withholding the loogie from their Big Mac.

it not only improves the consumer's experience, it's what you're expected to do.

Disclaimer: I'm not advocating that as a first option, nor am I arguing with being 'creative' without changing anything being a better way to go about it most of the time. I just won't shut up on the topic because I find it so ridiculous.

I feel like that McDonald's worker who's being told to 'leave the burned fries in there.. you're wasting company money by picking them out'. Not only that, you're denying the customers the full McDonald's experience by denying them the burned crisps. You're being serious!?!

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