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Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Hi Folks,

I've been reading threads like "You Used To Play PFS, But Now..." and it's got me wondering something.

What can we do to help?

And I don't want to disparage that discussion, I think it's fine. Enlightening even. Nevertheless, it (if just by the way the discussion is framed) emphasizes the negative with a side order of mourning. That's why I decided to start a brand new thread.

I'm also NOT posting in any official capacity, other than a concerned member of the community- just like all of you.

So I'd like invite people to post what they would like to have in their PFS experience going forward.

Here's some suggestions:

1.) If you have a list, jot them down in order of importance. The first being most important to you.

2.) Say it in a brief opening statement or phrase (like "Faction Missions That Matter". Then, if you want to explain it in depth, go right ahead! But that brief summary phrase will help you focus your point, and really drive it home to the rest of us.

3.) Keep it positive. We got lots of threads saying what is wrong. Take it as a challenge and say what you want, not what you don't have. Try to avoid making it personal. We all care, but we're different people with different styles and different ways of communicating. Please give it a shot; we're all smart enough to flip the question around into something negative like, "I want other people to stop being stupid", but that's not positive. There's always a way to express what you want without going hostile. For example: 'I'd like more guidelines on table etiquette, or character creation.'

SO....... We all know what's wrong, let's move past that. What would you like to see in the future? Or-

How can we help?
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Who the heck am I, and why do I care?

Spoiler:
I'm an author, but I'm not writing as one. I also have no official rank in anything. But I enjoy writing PFS Scenarios, and I'm considering starting to GM in Season 4. This is not meant to be self-promotional, I just want to help. I think we can spend a lot of time dwelling on what's wrong, but sooner or later we need to look at the solutions. So let's talk about what would make each of us excited and interested in PFS again!

Qadira ****

Please improve ... mission briefings.

Mission Briefings - wall of text:

I realize at this point that it is sort of traditional to sort of toss a few rough facts at the PCs and have them pitched into the adventure, but it has often bothered me. It always seems to go like this:

Venture Captain informs you that you are to go to location "A" and do "B". Along the way you way you will encounter "C".
Any questions?
The Judge is presented with 5 or 6 sample questions that the players might ask - if they think of them. We now enter the time where the players wrack their brains to think of anything hinted at by the breifing they have heard so far - realizing that it was across a table in a ball room with about a bazillian other noises in the room, read by the judge who may have a great command of accents, but ... well, let's just say they have missed several things.

For once I would like get a briefing kind of like in the movies. You know, the team inter a briefing room with a set of desks facing a raise platform where two or three aids prepare a seat and some flip displays for the Venture Captain who rushing in and looks the team over. "Your team is the best available from the pathfinder agents in town." Be that good or bad...

"Here's what we know of the situation." Hand out for the players detailing the instructions "to go to location 'A' and do 'B'. Along the way you way you will encounter 'C'".
The judge now looks over the party and makes a note of what types of characters he has available. Checks his additional notes and says
"Your team has been assigned Sigmond as we are expecting you to need someone adapt at the arcane arts. Grod and Tarrick the Bazerk should supply any... forceful backup you need, and Lord Patterson should be able to get you thru any Diplomatic entanglements you encounter. Jane the Knife was assigned - well Jane why don't you tell them what your special skills you bring to the group are?" Perhaps have each of the players supply why they think they were assigned this mission.
"Blackson here" pointing to one of his aids "from Scrolls can provide our current update on the situation"
The Judge then provides the answers to expected questions. Now we can get to all the off the wall questions that the players will ask. And perhaps let the players do some Knowledge rolls to see if they know anything the Society might not have on file.

That's much better than haveing the players fumble with "Ah... can we have some magic stuff to help us get to whereever it is we're going?"

or the classic "I now ask all the questions on your page that we have not yet asked... cause my character is much better at this and knows more than I do."


I have just barely started playing in PFS, so take this with a grain of salt. I may be way off on this.

But I think it would have helped if there were more play level options.

The first one I went to, I was seated with a group that was a bit more powerful than the senario expected (6 PC's average about level 2.2 I think). As we understood it, we could either play up at level 4-5 or down at level 1-2. We felt 1-2 would be to easy and boring. But we got trounced on 4-5.

Yes, if we had played better as a team it might have been possible. But most of us did not know each other and didn't know what to expect each other to do.

I think it would have been more reasonable if we could have played at 2-3 or 3-4.

I don't know if this was common type of occurance or not. But it really seemed to bother a couple of the other players to fail the mission. It didn't actually upset me though.

Sczarni *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Fewer swarms

Spoiler:
Seriously. They tend slow things to a halt.

Qadira ****

a few random thoughts...

combined faction missions:

I'd love to see some "combined faction missions" - something where you are assigned to aid a different faction "as we are returning a favor" - If both factions are present, they get thier briefing together (same note), if not, the faction present at the table get's thier briefing from the other faction head.

revisit old sites:

the scenarios where your PC goes back to a location again are cool... meeting someone you know, even in a silly way. It would be cool to have the same NPC show up in several scenarios - perhaps a ship captain you take from Absalom to the site of the adventure.

More dig sites!:

a couple adventures take place at the site of an active "dig" - the Indana Jones type adventure. Hey, sure it's been done - cause it's fun! Let's do it again!

recurring bad guy:
a villian that keeps showing up. Someone we meet at the Society that we learn to hate. Just one step ahead of us on several adventures... Can't kill him, he's a Pathfinder. And he never DIRECTLY attacks us, just leaves us notes directing us to "hurry along, I might need someone to carry the heavy stuff back". Kind of like the session 2 Shadow Lodge was, but not as aggressive and much more personal (he's a NPC, not a group). Kind of like the movie bad-guy. And if at some point the PCs kill him... ha! Death is only a Temp. setback!

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Ontario aka Feegle

What would I like? I'd like to play more often, and GM less. :)

In seriousness, though, here's my top four. (They're the only ones that I've actually thought through, which means that they're probably the only ones I really care about.) :

1) Scenarios that give the players a chance to learn more of the background as they play through them. There's so much rich story to the scenarios that are given in the first three pages, and normally the GM is the only one that gets to see it. Some of the more recent modules have lines in them like "NPC X can reveal any of the information in the initial background of this scenario." It's a simple thing to add in, but to my mind, an important one.

2) Chronicle Sheets that really matter for more than just XP. I'm not going to rehash this argument, as there are a few threads that are addressing this issue, and frankly, I don't have a solution on how it can be done, but I think it's important to have the sheets be more valued to the player.

3) Older scenarios that are updated to fit the new "setting" and factions. First off, I know that this is a time-intensive process, and so I don't know how realistic a request this is - after all, we already have a very slow process on updating the Season 0 scenarios to Pathfinder RPG rules. However, with the change starting in Season 3 - the addition of new factions and the reveal on the Shadow Lodge - a lot of the Season 2 scenarios don't make sense any more. Again, it has the potential to be a small change, but an important one for immersion in the storyline. Take Shades of Ice, for example - it's no longer a Shadow Lodge cell; now, it's a Rogue Shadow Lodge cell, meaning that Shadow Lodge members have an even more important role in the takedown. These are things that individual GMs can do, but it'd be nice to get some official adaptation. (When there's time...)

4) Faction missions that not everyone in a given faction can get. Okay, now that your blood pressure is up, hear me out. I dislike the fact that faction missions are effectively a gimme; if I don't have the skill, I just ask someone in the group to help me, and bingo, done. Frankly, I'd like to see helping cross-faction outlawed - but this only works if the majority of the faction missions are either given multiple methods to succeed, at least one of which is a "doesn't have to be trained" skill.

Anyway, just my thoughts. I suspect the fact that I'm a V-L might suggest that I'm not going anywhere: I enjoy GMing and playing, and have fun with the game, but these are a few of the things I'd like to see in the future.

Qadira ****

Jeff - I really liked your 1 thru 3... and didn't like 4.

and I really liked your post.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

Good topic. I will be watching with great interest!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Michael Brock wrote:
Good topic. I will be watching with great interest!

How can you watch with great interest when your helmet doesn't have eyeholes?

:P

On to my one and only gripe about PFS: Pass or fail faction missions. If nobody in the party has the requisite skill to pass the mission, there is no possible way to work around it. In essence I agree with Jeff's number 4.

I completely agree with nosig's mission briefings. Why does the Venture Captain have to give all the information to the PCs? Why can't the Venture Captain have experts? There's just not enough time to ask questions a lot of the time, plus some places (Gen Con) are too loud to hear any of the briefing anyways.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
rpgsavant wrote:
On to my one and only gripe about PFS: Pass or fail faction missions. If nobody in the party has the requisite skill to pass the mission, there is no possible way to work around it. In essence I agree with Jeff's number 4.

This Subject is interesting, seems to me that Half of PFS wants Missions to be more difficult and the other half wants them to be easier..

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

rpgsavant wrote:
On to my one and only gripe about PFS: Pass or fail faction missions. If nobody in the party has the requisite skill to pass the mission, there is no possible way to work around it.

GM's are supposed to reward creative solutions to the scenario's challenges.

Qadira ****

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I've seen something odd with faction missions at a table resently. I DON'T think it was intentional, but after we had been handed the mission briefs and we had read thru them, on of the other players said something like "I have heard that there are Intellagent Undead in the area we are going to... I think we should all keep that in mind while prepareing spells and buying supplies"

At first I thought he was using "player knowledge", but then I realized he had seen something in his briefing about encountering undead... so I reread mine, with an eye to what I could tell the other PCs about what we would be facing. And found a tid-bit! Something else to share...

suddenly we all were very happy we had 5 different factions at the table...

I'd like to see some of this written into future mods...


Dragnmoon wrote:
rpgsavant wrote:
On to my one and only gripe about PFS: Pass or fail faction missions. If nobody in the party has the requisite skill to pass the mission, there is no possible way to work around it. In essence I agree with Jeff's number 4.
This Subject is interesting, seems to me that Half of PFS wants Missions to be more difficult and the other half wants them to be easier..

I don't mind them being difficult. I have a problem with there only being one possible way to complete them. This is the same "You can't go there the door is locked and you don't have a key no you can't pick the lock or force it" problem with computer games. Por ejemplo if I have a guy I need to get information out of, why must it only be a Diplomacy check? Why can't I tie the guy up and take him back to the pathfinders for credit? And if there's information I need to pass to someone, again why only a Bluff check? Can't I make a Sleight of Hand check or hell even pull the guy into another room? Rather than tell me how I'm supposed to pass the check, tell me what you want me to do and let the GM decide if I've succeeded.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

rpgsavant wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
rpgsavant wrote:
On to my one and only gripe about PFS: Pass or fail faction missions. If nobody in the party has the requisite skill to pass the mission, there is no possible way to work around it. In essence I agree with Jeff's number 4.
This Subject is interesting, seems to me that Half of PFS wants Missions to be more difficult and the other half wants them to be easier..
I don't mind them being difficult. I have a problem with there only being one possible way to complete them. This is the same "You can't go there the door is locked and you don't have a key no you can't pick the lock or force it" problem with computer games. Por ejemplo if I have a guy I need to get information out of, why must it only be a Diplomacy check? Why can't I tie the guy up and take him back to the pathfinders for credit? And if there's information I need to pass to someone, again why only a Bluff check? Can't I make a Sleight of Hand check or hell even pull the guy into another room? Rather than tell me how I'm supposed to pass the check, tell me what you want me to do and let the GM decide if I've succeeded.

As I stated above, GMs are supposed to reward creative solutions. From my perspective, when a mission note says "this requires a DC 20 Bluff check", I read it as "the required DC is 20 for any Bluff check to do this". It sets the bar; it doesn't define the only angle of attack.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

rpgsavant wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Good topic. I will be watching with great interest!
How can you watch with great interest when your helmet doesn't have eyeholes?.

If you play Eyes of Ten, part four will explain how :-)

Qadira ****

Jiggy wrote:
rpgsavant wrote:
On to my one and only gripe about PFS: Pass or fail faction missions. If nobody in the party has the requisite skill to pass the mission, there is no possible way to work around it.
GM's are supposed to reward creative solutions to the scenario's challenges.

As long as the solution would work.

Telling the Faction head that you did it, when in fact it wasn't done by you, and was only half done by another PC (half was not done at all)... maybe is a streach. "I'll roll a bluff, and get the rest of the PCs to assist me on this..." well....
What's the DC to pull the wool over the eyes of a faction head? DC 17? Nope. No cookie.

Please do not pout if you fail your mission.


Jiggy wrote:
rpgsavant wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
rpgsavant wrote:
On to my one and only gripe about PFS: Pass or fail faction missions. If nobody in the party has the requisite skill to pass the mission, there is no possible way to work around it. In essence I agree with Jeff's number 4.
This Subject is interesting, seems to me that Half of PFS wants Missions to be more difficult and the other half wants them to be easier..
I don't mind them being difficult. I have a problem with there only being one possible way to complete them. This is the same "You can't go there the door is locked and you don't have a key no you can't pick the lock or force it" problem with computer games. Por ejemplo if I have a guy I need to get information out of, why must it only be a Diplomacy check? Why can't I tie the guy up and take him back to the pathfinders for credit? And if there's information I need to pass to someone, again why only a Bluff check? Can't I make a Sleight of Hand check or hell even pull the guy into another room? Rather than tell me how I'm supposed to pass the check, tell me what you want me to do and let the GM decide if I've succeeded.
As I stated above, GMs are supposed to reward creative solutions. From my perspective, when a mission note says "this requires a DC 20 Bluff check", I read it as "the required DC is 20 for any Bluff check to do this". It sets the bar; it doesn't define the only angle of attack.

Sorry I hadn't seen your original post until after I posted. However I recall a thread about asking if GMs play the scenario straight or if they improvise and that's what got me thinking about this comment.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
nosig wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
rpgsavant wrote:
On to my one and only gripe about PFS: Pass or fail faction missions. If nobody in the party has the requisite skill to pass the mission, there is no possible way to work around it.
GM's are supposed to reward creative solutions to the scenario's challenges.

As long as the solution would work.

Telling the Faction head that you did it, when in fact it wasn't done by you, and was only half done by another PC (half was not done at all)... maybe is a streach. "I'll roll a bluff, and get the rest of the PCs to assist me on this..." well....
What's the DC to pull the wool over the eyes of a faction head? DC 17? Nope. No cookie.

Please do not pout if you fail your mission.

Naturally. The phrase is "reward creative solutions", not just "reward". There needs to be a "creative solution" in there. ;)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

nosig wrote:
Please do not pout if you fail your mission.

Easy nosig, easy.

We're all doing good here, staying positive. Let's not blow it now. :D

We're going to have differences of opinion. Let's explain why we feel the way that we do- rather than projecting something on to the other guy.

And we're cool! I know you love the PFS! I just want to keep the discussion light and friendly. I would appreciate and thank you kindly.

Qadira ****

Jiggy wrote:
nosig wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
rpgsavant wrote:
On to my one and only gripe about PFS: Pass or fail faction missions. If nobody in the party has the requisite skill to pass the mission, there is no possible way to work around it.
GM's are supposed to reward creative solutions to the scenario's challenges.

As long as the solution would work.

Telling the Faction head that you did it, when in fact it wasn't done by you, and was only half done by another PC (half was not done at all)... maybe is a streach. "I'll roll a bluff, and get the rest of the PCs to assist me on this..." well....
What's the DC to pull the wool over the eyes of a faction head? DC 17? Nope. No cookie.

Please do not pout if you fail your mission.

Naturally. The phrase is "reward creative solutions", not just "reward". There needs to be a "creative solution" in there. ;)

Oh! I agree. It's just the expectation that there is a solution to a problem - the problem being that the PC did NOT do what was required. (the task was to Intimadate a monster and then kill it). After the fact, the player of said PC was disapointed that he could not come up with a "creative solution" to the problem and tossed out the issue to the other players. One of more of them suggested to just lie. "How's he going to know? We'll all back you up." So.... I ask the player if he is going to try a Bluff on the Faction Head... with aid from all the other players. Rolling of dice (he did not take 10 on the bluff - I offered to let him). Result is 17. and everyone at the table expected me to give it to him. My biggist problem with this is the part in the bold.

(edit) - please realize that I would have given it to him with a better roll. the DC I had set (in my head) was 25 - meaning very hard. And it was a great group, no bad feelings (my wife even spoke to me on the way home! ;)), it was just the fact that everyone EXPECTED success...

Qadira ****

Jim Groves wrote:
nosig wrote:
Please do not pout if you fail your mission.

Easy nosig, easy.

We're all doing good here, staying positive. Let's not blow it now. :D

We're going to have differences of opinion. Let's explain why we feel the way that we do- rather than projecting something on to the other guy.

And we're cool! I know you love the PFS! I just want to keep the discussion light and friendly. I would appreciate and thank you kindly.

No jim, you got me wrong! was a funny pout (one of the pouters was my wife...). No, it's just the fact that players are coming to expect that any "creative solution" will be good enough. and to not "get the cookie" is almost as bad as dying...

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

nosig wrote:
So.... I ask the player if he is going to try a Bluff on the Faction Head... with aid from all the other players. Rolling of dice (he did not take 10 on the bluff - I offered to let him). Result is 17. and everyone at the table expected me to give it to him. My biggist problem with this is the part in the bold.

.....Wow.

Shadow Lodge ****

All I need is more games nearby to go back to 4x a month instead of 1x a month.

Andoran **

1) More puzzles or social/role play encounters. Don't get me wrong I love combat, but 4 or 5 back to back encounters of combat with a one or to skill checks in between gets very dull very quickly. I know this is a bit of hyperbole but some of the modules are very close to this.

2) Rescue missions where we do exactly that, rescue someone. It's become a standing joke with the people that I play with that we, our characters, place bets on whether the person we're supposed to go find is dead or not. More often than not they are dead and now we must find out why.

Andoran ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—St. Paul

Dragnmoon wrote:
rpgsavant wrote:
On to my one and only gripe about PFS: Pass or fail faction missions. If nobody in the party has the requisite skill to pass the mission, there is no possible way to work around it. In essence I agree with Jeff's number 4.
This Subject is interesting, seems to me that Half of PFS wants Missions to be more difficult and the other half wants them to be easier..

I think the disconnect is as follows:

First: prior to the Season 3 Guide with the new factions and the new Field Guide, each faction indicated which classes were most appropriate for that faction, and which were least appropriate. As such, you would have fighters that would tend to gravitate toward Taldor, and then a heavy preponderance of Taldoran faction missions were in trained only skills that a Fighter probably would have no business taking. In season 3 this lightened up a bit, but for some, faction missions remained impossible, rather than just difficult. And this isn’t discussion those who gimped their characters attributes to min/max or uber-optimize. This is a well-rounded character who can’t make the DC 25 diplomacy check at 1st level, because they only have 1 rank, not a class skill, and a +2 Charisma bonus. So the complaint about needing them to be easier, is really about not making the faction missions so specific that they are only doable if you have so many skills that you aren’t really good at any of them, thus making the missions themselves harder.

Second: You have many faction missions that are often Diplomacy or Sleight of Hand or some other skill that people tend to take a lot of ranks in, and the DC’s are always a static 20, thus they auto succeed half the time.

This is a serious dichotomy, and balancing out the faction missions a bit better I think is a worthy goal.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Dragnmoon wrote:
rpgsavant wrote:
On to my one and only gripe about PFS: Pass or fail faction missions. If nobody in the party has the requisite skill to pass the mission, there is no possible way to work around it. In essence I agree with Jeff's number 4.
This Subject is interesting, seems to me that Half of PFS wants Missions to be more difficult and the other half wants them to be easier..

Discounting difficulty, in what other ways would folks like to see faction missions improved? We had a 3.5 hour meeting yesterday on the topic and have a plan to revamp the system, but I'm curious what changes the community would make if put in our shoes.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

rpgsavant wrote:
I don't mind them being difficult. I have a problem with there only being one possible way to complete them.

If this helps: in the instructions and guidelines I get from Mark, I'm told to avoid this sort of trap. Specifically, if the skill required is a trained skill we are supposed to provide an alternative method solution or skill option.

That may not be the case with an untrained skill, where you at least have a shot based upon your ability score.

I've been trying to provide multiple solutions in most cases, and clearly its a concern to continue to watch in scenario development.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

nosig wrote:
No jim, you got me wrong! was a funny pout (one of the pouters was my wife...). No, it's just the fact that players are coming to expect that any "creative solution" will be good enough. and to not "get the cookie" is almost as bad as dying...

Then please accept my full and complete apology! You are exonerated!

I'm just being cautious. We got an opportunity here, and I'm hoping for an easy conversation where we all talk as friends.

My bad! Please continue with your awesome feedback!

Andoran **

Mark Moreland wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
rpgsavant wrote:
On to my one and only gripe about PFS: Pass or fail faction missions. If nobody in the party has the requisite skill to pass the mission, there is no possible way to work around it. In essence I agree with Jeff's number 4.
This Subject is interesting, seems to me that Half of PFS wants Missions to be more difficult and the other half wants them to be easier..
Discounting difficulty, in what other ways would folks like to see faction missions improved? We had a 3.5 hour meeting yesterday on the topic and have a plan to revamp the system, but I'm curious what changes the community would make if put in our shoes.

I think that having all the faction DCs or their occurrence be the same would help. For example, I've seen faction missions which were literally kill this person and they are an encounter in the module. Whereas another pc, in the same module, had to seek out an unknown npc in a certain time frame that, other than the players wanting to go there for the faction mission, they occur nowhere in the module. I think that if one faction's mission is part of the story then the other factions' missions need to be part of the story. I think that making this more universal for everyone will greatly help.

Further many faction missions have different DCs. If you're going to have a skill check then everyone's DC needs to be the same across the board. I know we've started to see this as a trend with the season 3 modules and I hope it continues.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Mark Moreland wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
rpgsavant wrote:
On to my one and only gripe about PFS: Pass or fail faction missions. If nobody in the party has the requisite skill to pass the mission, there is no possible way to work around it. In essence I agree with Jeff's number 4.
This Subject is interesting, seems to me that Half of PFS wants Missions to be more difficult and the other half wants them to be easier..
Discounting difficulty, in what other ways would folks like to see faction missions improved? We had a 3.5 hour meeting yesterday on the topic and have a plan to revamp the system, but I'm curious what changes the community would make if put in our shoes.

I'd make success mean some sort of in-game benefit rather than a Prestige Point. Maybe the mission to Diplomacize NPC X gets them to lend you a hand/offer you a potion, or the mission to find Document Y gets you privy to some immediately-relevant information (like weaknesses of a monster you're about to encounter).

Make the reward for a success be in-character instead of out-of-character. (I think Prestige and Fame feel very OOC, since they involve buying stuff and that's almost always done "off-camera".)

Qadira ****

here's a different view on faction missions -

My wife often complains about understanding her faction missions. To such an extent that (one time in 3 or so) she will throw up her hands and just not bother. If someone else at the table has her faction too, they will often get to the cookie and say... "we need an XX skill here, 'cause we have to get YY." and she'll say "Oh, that's what that ment! sure, I got that skill, I take 10 and get ZZ". And she loves to help with other peoples missions, often having some unique skill (Knowledge Nobility anyone?). If there is no one at the table with her faction, maybe she turns to me and says "what the heck is this? can you explain what they want?". And with the noise and rush of the rest of the briefing she'll just say "never mind". and put it away. Last game she stated that she just "hate's the stupid faction missions - they just get in the way of the story".

Part of this is the habbit of handing out faction missions during the Judges briefing - so you either listen to the main mission briefing OR read your faction mission. and then players are asking for the Judge to repeat things they missed, cause they were reading the faction mission when he was talking...

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A few thoughts:

- Faction missions that combined a few factions and/or differed if members of multiple factions were at the table might be neat - but only if they aren't missions that are contradictory (i.e. I've seen a few older scenarios were missions were such that both factions can't both succeed - i.e. something like "kill NPC" vs "Bring NPC back alive"

- I really hate faction missions that only allow for one specific skill to be used to succeed (i.e. "slight of hand" being a skill I've actually yet to see anyone at a table I play with have). Better are missions that have multiple and creative ways to be solved.

- I love the idea that faction missions might give hints that can be shared with the rest of the party to help with preparation (especially for non-spontaneous casters)

- along a similar line I'd love to see more scenarios that don't have the 15 min adventuring day feel about them - scenarios that might span multiple days and allow players to exercise more aspects of their characters (and use resources that don't always come into PFS play - survival, tracking, non-combat spells etc)

- It might be tricky to do this but I'd also love to see UPDATES and/or ERRATA to older scenarios to bring them more in line with current seasons. This would include the following elements

1. Adding specific information to GM's about new factions in older missions (so a GM can run an older scenario without needing to look up elsewhere which missions to give to who)

2. Updating the CHRONICLE sheets for older missions to reflect the reward levels of current missions (handling this retroactively might be tricky - but some older season 0 scenarios for example are as much as 2000gp or more off in the rewards for the high tier in some 1-7 tier scenarios - meaning that playing those older scenarios really leaves a higher level character far behind on the wealth curve

3. Fixing some egregious errors in some older scenarios - stuff like maps w/o ways to get from one level of a boat to the other level or maps that simply don't make any logical sense (too big in many cases - far far too small in many others). Tactics for monsters that don't make sense is another big issue.

4. Including in PDF's ALL stats etc that are referenced in a given scenario - as a GM I'd love to be able to print out the module once and have all the relevant monster stats at my finger tips, have the detailed information about every obscure spell the BBEG has available or exactly what a given magic item could do (and if possible include helpful suggestions in the tactics about when a BBEG would use such items)

5. Chronicle sheets that offer REAL rewards for playing. Some select boons are actually nice - but almost no chronicle sheet I've seen (not even the ones from the most commonly played modules such as the First Steps series) have items that can't easily just be bought with an easily obtained level of PA. I'd love to see far far far more unique items, items that wouldn't otherwise be legal to buy (used wands, higher level potions or scrolls, heck even a spellbook for casters to learn from)

I'd also like to see some of the more "creative" boons actually come into play IN FUTURE SCENARIOS. In ways that aren't cheesy and which aren't just random (i.e. so players who have gotten one given boon can seek out scenarios where that would be helpful and relevant). Ideally some of these boons would be obtainable via multiple different scenarios.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Madclaw wrote:
I think that having all the faction DCs or their occurrence be the same would help. For example, I've seen faction missions which were literally kill this person and they are an encounter in the module. Whereas another pc, in the same module, had to seek out an unknown npc in a certain time frame that, other than the players wanting to go there for the faction mission, they occur nowhere in the module. I think that if one faction's mission is part of the story then the other factions' missions need to be part of the story. I think that making this more universal for everyone will greatly help.

But you do actually like having story based faction missions, don't you? Straight question.

The reason I ask, is the skill based ones are easier to write, but its tougher to make them feel interesting.

I get your point entirely, and its a fair one, but sometimes these odd mix of missions arises from the desire to make them interesting and not contrived.

You're right, the DCs should not be up or down, especially within the same sub-tier.

Grand Lodge ****

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

This may not have been meant for me since I'm still playing somewhat regularly, but off the top of my head:

1. unique, creative items on the chronicles (still to be purchased). Give me a masterwork diplomacy tool(bow tie) at half off because in the scenario we ran into a rag vendor in the puddles, or a monocle that adds to perception checks once a day (Maybe it smudges easily, needs to be cleaned thoroughly each morning and the odd Azlanti sea glass it's made from is resistant to prestidigitation) because you found it in the professor's study while searching for his lost ledgers. I'd like items on the chronicles that remind me of where and when I got it, even if I actually purchase it 3 scenarios later. I miss that sense of wonder when finding unique useful things while playing.

Andoran ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—St. Paul

Jim Groves wrote:
Madclaw wrote:
I think that having all the faction DCs or their occurrence be the same would help. For example, I've seen faction missions which were literally kill this person and they are an encounter in the module. Whereas another pc, in the same module, had to seek out an unknown npc in a certain time frame that, other than the players wanting to go there for the faction mission, they occur nowhere in the module. I think that if one faction's mission is part of the story then the other factions' missions need to be part of the story. I think that making this more universal for everyone will greatly help.

But you do actually like having story based faction missions, don't you? Straight question.

The reason I ask, is the skill based ones are easier to write, but its tougher to make them feel interesting.

I get your point entirely, and its a fair one, but sometimes these odd mix of missions arises from the desire to make them interesting and not contrived.

You're right, the DCs should not be up or down, especially within the same sub-tier.

So far the Quest for Perfection series seems to be doing a bang-up job of creating interesting faction missions, at least to me.

QfP-P1::
The Taldan and Sczarni missions were really cool. Sure mostly fluff, and extremely easy to perform, but really cool.

but...

Qfp-P3::
The faction missions were all mostly wrapped up in the defense point mechanic for defending Nesting Swallow. But they were all written like a riddle. You had to figure out what they meant as you went along. This is fine. But the disparity in difficulty between some of them was pretty ridiculous. Andoran had to get 20 defense points out of a reasonable possibility of 23 (at tier 4-5, at tier 1-2 the reasonable possibility was 21). So their faction mission was dependent on having an extremely well-balanced party with all the correct skills, and everyone else making their rolls. On the surface, this sounds really really cool. Until you realize that other faction missions were DC 15 skill checks. That is patently unfair.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

verdigris wrote:
This may not have been meant for me since I'm still playing somewhat regularly

It's meant for everybody. :)

That is, anybody who has a suggestion on how their experience could be improved- whether they're active or not. Your suggestion is certainly valid. :)

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Ontario aka Feegle

nosig wrote:

Jeff - I really liked your 1 thru 3... and didn't like 4.

and I really liked your post.

Wow; I got a thumbs-up from nosig! :)

For the record, I'm aware of the fact that I'm either in the minority with my opinions on Faction Missions, or at the very least, there are a lot more vocal people on the forums who feel differently about the issue than I.

My biggest problem with faction missions right now is that it doesn't really matter what faction you are, or how many of your allies happen to be in your party - what matters is whether the group at your table is able to complete a given faction mission. You're a Chelaxian fighter who dumped Charisma in favour of Constitution but your faction mission has a DC20 Diplomacy check? No problem, the Andoran bard in your party can take care of that for you.

Now granted, this is an issue of culture more than mechanics, and I'm kind of on the fence as to whether a mechanical solution is the right kind of solution - but it seems to be that limiting the help that one can get from one's party - even if you say that the only help you can get is from Aid Another checks - would go a long way towards verisimilitude.

But then again, maybe that's just me. Anyway, I don't mean for this thread to turn into a discussion of Faction missions - there's a few threads for that already, so maybe I'll take the discussion over there so we can get back to answering Jim's question.


My advice, which I'm echoing, is to put unique items on the chronicle sheets or items still unavailable for PCs of that tier. They really need to mean something, and they don't when a PC can just go purchase items listed on the chronicle sheet.

More interwoven faction missions would be great into the story lines.


Jeff you hit the nail on the head for that. Factions don't even seem to matter. What in game benefit is there to foiling another faction? There isn't one. You don't get any extra prestige if you prevent a faction from succeeding, nor do you lose any if you fail to prevent them. I think that's why people help each other cross-faction, besides the idea that PCs should always work together.

Qadira ****

perhaps a discount on buying some of the items on the AR. say you save an alchemist... so he offers to sell you alchemical stuff at a 10% discount whenever you are in Oparra... or even in Taldor maybe.

you'd remember his name for sure... and the ar it was on.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

Beerwolf wrote:

My advice, which I'm echoing, is to put unique items on the chronicle sheets or items still unavailable for PCs of that tier. They really need to mean something, and they don't when a PC can just go purchase items listed on the chronicle sheet.

More interwoven faction missions would be great into the story lines.

Let me open up the floor for ideas about unique items. We have included them in the past (an intelligent ring and a braid). Unfortunately, it doesn't look like people are interested in buying them much. These are items you can't get anywhere else besides purchased from the specific Chronicle. What kind of unique items would be of a large appeal to a lot of players and make sense being put on a Chronicle sheet?

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

Michael Brock wrote:
What kind of unique items

Charged items like wands and scrolls with non-standard caster levels and/or limited charges (for a reduced price) are always going to be well received.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As a player (and a DM) I would strongly DISAGREE with the idea of having faction missions that are designed to force the players to work against each other - that is very counter to why I play PFS.

I play PFS to have fun with folks - to enjoy time with some friends and to make new friends via a shared game.

I don't play to fight other players or to work against them or to succeed while they fail. In fact since we count on each other to complete scenarios successfully I definitely want the other players in our group to succeed at their faction missions so that they have the best access to resources possible in future scenarios.

I think if anything faction missions should be more designed to accomodate people helping each other - especially in the same faction (but potentially in other factions).

For the most part however in my groups we have played generally that members of the same faction help each other and the party as a whole doesn't hinder folks from completing a faction mission - i.e. someone may say "I need to take some time searching here" and we'll wait. This of course doen't always prevent us from causing someone to fail a mission via actions in combat (for example we once burned a key artwork someone needed to save)

Generally however we don't take the key action that someone needs - we might aid someone (if the action allows for that) and we try not to hinder/prevent success but we also don't generally fulfill a mission requirement for someone directly.

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

I don't want to see faction missions in conflict, but at the same time, I like the idea of an underlying political struggle to lead the society. That means an interesting dichotomy between the general tenets of cooperation being at odds with your faction trying to get ahead of the other factions. I would like to see mission success drop back to the 1.5 or even less target. One way to do that is not to encourage assisting other faction members with their missions. That doesn't mean to interfere or sabotage their efforts, just don't go out of your way to assist. And especially not to do their mission for them. Just my 2cp.

Qadira ****

Michael Brock wrote:
Beerwolf wrote:

My advice, which I'm echoing, is to put unique items on the chronicle sheets or items still unavailable for PCs of that tier. They really need to mean something, and they don't when a PC can just go purchase items listed on the chronicle sheet.

More interwoven faction missions would be great into the story lines.

Let me open up the floor for ideas about unique items. We have included them in the past (an intelligent ring and a braid). Unfortunately, it doesn't look like people are interested in buying them much. These are items you can't get anywhere else besides purchased from the specific Chronicle. What kind of unique items would be of a large appeal to a lot of players and make sense being put on a Chronicle sheet?

I would love to see a Continual flame as a boon. Placed on an item of your choice. Yeah, some people will ask for it on thier head... and some on thier, ah, mule, but you can detail that it has to be on a mundain piece of equipment. This would just be cool, and wouldn't upset game ballance (I think) and would be nearly unique to each character. When I draw my "Flaming" Masterwork rapier... (that only does 1d6 damage) heads will turn at the table! Bahahahaha....

to say nothing of the guy who rides into town on a flaming ... mule.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Rycaut wrote:

As a player (and a DM) I would strongly DISAGREE with the idea of having faction missions that are designed to force the players to work against each other - that is very counter to why I play PFS.

Faction missions are not going to be designed to work against other factions. We've got other plans in place such as to allow them to.......&$^*&#^&^(*@&

Ugh...I almost spilled the beans. You will have to wait until Season 4 to see what direction we are going with in regard to faction missions. But, after our 3.5 hour meeting yesterday, I believe Mark and I have found a way to make faction missions matter, make them important for each PC to accomplish, how to make them have a visible, apparent, and lasting effect on the campaign, and overall, how to make them better. We are discussing not only how to make them better in regard to having an affect on the campaign, but also how to succeed or fail a faction mission and the numerous options that go with that.

We've got a system in mind. We've got several more meetings scheduled to work out the system and any kinks, and to actually put our plan in motion to make it work starting in Season 4. Please be patience while we work toward making that campaign goal come to fruition.

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Ontario aka Feegle

Potentially really really unbalancing, but building on nosig's idea of Continual Flame: how about boons that allow for a single casting of a permanent duration spell for a character?

Qadira ****

unique magic items are hard to place on an AR. The very nature of the game we play means much of the stuff we get access to everyone will get ac`cess to, all they have to do is play that gdventure.

In order for an item to be unique, it will have to have some input from a unique player/judge. This is hard to also keep balanced and "fair". My example of the Continual Flame above would be one such "unique" item. Input from a player - he only gets to do it once - and IMHO not overpowering. And there are LOTS of opinions on what would be a good thing to put it on.

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

Michael Brock wrote:
We've got a system in mind

Let me be the first to offer to play-test it, if necessary, even if it requires another one of those damn NDA's. :-)

Qadira ****

Jeff Mahood wrote:
Potentially really really unbalancing, but building on nosig's idea of Continual Flame: how about boons that allow for a single casting of a permanent duration spell for a character?

(LOL! somebody liked one of my ideas) - just live in fear of the BBE with Dispel Magic! EEEEK! as bad as opening a door and finding a rust monster!

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