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A thought on the Advanced Race Guide


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

No, this isn't another "please hurry and make stuff legal!" thread. Anxious as I am for news, this post is intended to be constructive.

First, let me attempt to mind-read a bit:
I'll wager a guess that a lot of people think it would be awesome to open up some of the non-Core races for PFS play once the ARG hit.
I'll further wager a guess that there's a risk of the Society suddenly being overwhelmed with exotic races to the point of straining credulity, and I'll further wager that most of us (including Mike) don't want that to happen.

So what if non-Core races (if not granted by a boon) were built with a 15pt buy instead of 20pt?

That way, people wouldn't be mindlessly jumping in on the "new shiny" and flooding the society with bizarre and exotic characters until the Grand Lodge looks like a petting zoo. You'd have to consider carefully whether the exotic race was really worth it.

Of course, if my mind-reading is off, then this idea is meaningless. :) But I just wanted to throw it out there.

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

You'd get people arguing that if the PFS leadership allowed non-core races, and if they were supposedly balanced against the core races, giving them 5 fewer points for ability scores was unfair to those players who had envisioned a specific character concept that, for role-playing reasons, could only be built with one of the non-core races.

Also, people who built a 15-point tiefling would point to the 20-point tieflings built using convention boons and point out the unfairness of it all.

Shadow Lodge ****

Ugh, sounds like a horrible idea to me.

I see the 15pt buy solution as: if you want this flavor you have to let the rules hit you with a hammer a few times while you sleep.

I could see differing point buy be used as a solution to help balance different powered races, but that's likely well beyond the complexity PFS wants or should have.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Well, it's just a crude brainstorm. Trying to find solutions ahead of time for the "everyone wants new races but we don't want them to flood the society" issue.

This thread would be a great place to suggest other ideas as well. :)

Shadow Lodge ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Personally I don't mind the exotic races at all, but I understand it bothers some people.

I was under the impression that Mike's solution was to continue using racial boons and to cycle out old races and bring new ones in.

---

This has the problem of saying convention players can have exotic races and non-convention players cannot.

---

Related to that is something I've learned from Playing PFS in the SF Bay-Area compared to playing in Iowa.

In the Bay Area I had 3+ games a week I could drive to in 40minutes or less, however conventions were fairly rare and expensive*.

Here in Iowa there's about 1 game a month 40 minutes away and another 2+ hours away. However if I'm willing to drive 2-4 hours I can find a cheap* convention several times a month.

If I had only played in Iowa, I feel I wouldn't understand the difficulty of attending conventions for some, and if I had only played in the Bay Area, I wouldn't understand the ease of attending conventions for others.

*note the cheapness/expense of the convention mostly comes from the hotel/food expense which is astronomically higher in the bay area than in Iowa.

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

A maximum of one non-core race character per player (excluding those built using convention boons).

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Pirate Rob wrote:
Personally I don't mind the exotic races at all, but I understand it bothers some people.

To be clear, they don't bother me, I just don't want them to become more common than the common races. Trying to go for "available but rare", you know?

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Paz wrote:
A maximum of one non-core race character per player (excluding those built using convention boons).

That would have the kind of effect I'm talking about, but would be hard to enforce.

Additionally, you run into the issue of "I don't like my existing character and want to make a new one from scratch, but I can't".

Silver Crusade ****

I don't personally like this rule. I feel that Mike is on the right vein of thought with limiting the special races to conventions. We all forget that PFS is a marketing tool, and the way to entice people to your biggest marketing events (conventions) is to offer something "special" at them. That's where the boons and special races come in. Is it 100% fair, probably not. Is it fair to the majority, I feel so. Is it the end of the world if you decide not to go to a convention for whatever reason, nope.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Daniel Luckett wrote:
I don't personally like this rule. I feel that Mike is on the right vein of thought with limiting the special races to conventions. We all forget that PFS is a marketing tool, and the way to entice people to your biggest marketing events (conventions) is to offer something "special" at them. That's where the boons and special races come in.

So it wouldn't be sufficiently "special" to get a race boon that let you play that race at a full 20pts when anyone playing it "from the book" had to make do with 15pts?

Part of the reasoning behind my idea was that it would simultaneously open up races for everyone AND let the boons stay special.

Not enough specialness, then?

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Louisiana—New Orleans aka waltero

How about noncore races available after you retire a character?

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

I think the current method is working fine. Non-standard races are only available in limited quantity from attending events where they are provided as rewards. The error is that most think this means only attending large, expensive conventions. The truth is that you can earn the boons as rewards for nearly any special event. Consult your local Venture-Officers to see what can be done if you are having a hard time getting to a larger event where they are provided. This method also allows for the retirement of a racial boon so it remains somewhat special for those who earned one through gameplay.

I don't want to see a proliferation of non-standard races in PFS, but the ARG is supposed to include other crunch as well. While there may be a restriction on the additional races, we could open up the alternate traits, feats, etc that will likely be in it. That would serve both sides. Paizo would sell books (the point of PFS in the first place) because we would want access to more options, while protecting PFS from the Mos Eisley effect.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Bob Jonquet wrote:
I don't want to see a proliferation of non-standard races in PFS, but the ARG is supposed to include other crunch as well.

Definitely looking forward to the other options as well. :D :D :D

Quote:
the Mos Eisley effect.

Ooooh, I like that term. I'll have to start using it!

Silver Crusade ****

waltero wrote:
How about noncore races available after you retire a character?

That would be a neat retirement arc reward. Like a choice between these "X, Y, and Z" races at the end of an arc. So, few have been able to retire a character that it wouldn't "flood" the waters with them. Heck, my highest character is only level 7.

Lantern Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Australia—Melbourne aka DarkWhite

I kinda like Mos Eisley, but then I liked Eberron too.

I also like Jiggy's 15-point buy suggestion. A local PFS player reached 6th level before he realised he'd mistakenly built his character using 15-point buy instead of 20.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I would like the 15-point buy to be the standard, but that's a topic for another thread. I would not want to see two different sets of character creation rules with one applying to non-standard races. If it is needed to balance the race, then it is probably not suited for PFS in the first place.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Bob Jonquet wrote:
If it is needed to balance the race, then it is probably not suited for PFS in the first place.

Note that this thread is talking about races that would be balanced with 20pts being available only with 15pts. The idea was that rather than not have access to a race at all (outside of boons), the option would at least exist, but at a price: you get 5 fewer stat points. If you want a "full-powered" nonstandard race, you need a boon.

I thought that way the people with great concepts who really want to make a character work still can, while the floods of "because I can"/"because Core is boring" characters would be stopped because players wouldn't be willing to take that hit unless they were really into the concept.

A couple of people have sounded like they thought I was suggesting the use of a smaller point-buy as a balancing mechanic to let in more powerful races. That's not what I'm getting at.

Take Tiefling for example. Want to play it out of the ARG? Have to settle for 15pts. Want to play it with 20pts? Find yourself a boon.

*

Jiggy wrote:
So what if non-Core races (if not granted by a boon) were built with a 15pt buy instead of 20pt?

I like your idea, but we all know gamers are big babies, and they'd complain (or cheat) until they got their non-core races and a 20pt point buy.

So I'd prefer to leave the non-core races as boons at this point.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Jason S wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
So what if non-Core races (if not granted by a boon) were built with a 15pt buy instead of 20pt?

I like your idea, but we all know gamers are big babies, and they'd complain (or cheat) until they got their non-core races and a 20pt point buy.

So I'd prefer to leave the non-core races as boons at this point.

Probably the best rebuttal so far.

Qadira ***

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Jiggy wrote:
Probably the best rebuttal so far.

huh huh heh huh huh...you said "butt"...huh huh eh heh heh heh...

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

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm with Jason on this one. There's already been a few threads over the past six months or so with people posting that it's not fair that they can't get a Race Boon for their home game, or without attending a convention.

I watch these posts with interest. As a high school teacher, I've had tremendous success in decreasing the amount of whining in my classrooms by retraining my students to say "I don't like that," when their first reaction is "That's not fair." More often than not, the former is what they really mean anyway.

At one point, one group of students got me so pissed off that I interrupted their whining with, "You know what's really not fair? You get a free education and a full meal every night when there are people on the planet who have to walk five miles every day just for clean drinking water. That's horribly unfair, don't you think?" Harsh, perhaps, but it shut them up.

Silver Crusade ****

Jeff Mahood wrote:

I'm with Jason on this one. There's already been a few threads over the past six months or so with people posting that it's not fair that they can't get a Race Boon for their home game, or without attending a convention.

I watch these posts with interest. As a high school teacher, I've had tremendous success in decreasing the amount of whining in my classrooms by retraining my students to say "I don't like that," when their first reaction is "That's not fair." More often than not, the former is what they really mean anyway.

At one point, one group of students got me so pissed off that I interrupted their whining with, "You know what's really not fair? You get a free education and a full meal every night when there are people on the planet who have to walk five miles every day just for clean drinking water. That's horribly unfair, don't you think?" Harsh, perhaps, but it shut them up.

I like you.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Jeff Mahood wrote:
retraining my students to say "I don't like that," when their first reaction is "That's not fair." More often than not, the former is what they really mean anyway.

True that. <--- Said with a degree in psychology; the things people say in the high school called "Internet" make my head hurt sometimes.

/derail

Shadow Lodge *

I personally like the retirement idea; having a non-core race is still a sign of having done something special.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ninjaxenomorph wrote:
I personally like the retirement idea; having a non-core race is still a sign of having done something special.

Not that you are any way near retired...

But let me ask you, you don't think our area has enough chances for Racial Boons?...

Lantern Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Australia—Melbourne aka DarkWhite

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Dragnmoon wrote:
But let me ask you, you don't think our area has enough chances for Racial Boons?...

I think many areas do, but the these often fall into the hands of players that frequent these events, and the random draw of racial boons is such that some now have multiple racial boons, while others have none. While the current method has served well, I'm not opposed to other means of qualifying for these.

Taldor **

3 people marked this as a favorite.

This entire thread makes me sad, as I appear to be in the minority of loving the idea of non-core races being available to everyone in open play.

The pathfinder society is such an eccletic bunch of adventurers that to suggest they would turn down committed help just because the adventurer happens to be a Tiefling, does more to damage my since of the setting than allowing a Tiefling PC ever would.

Yes there should be limits (I suppose) on what races are available (perhaps no Goblinoid pathfinders running around), but the idea of a Tiefling working for the shadow lodge makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I certainly understand the campaign coordinators' right to dictate what is available as race options in PFS play. But limiting non-core races to convention boons is not going to get me to go to conventions (I haven't got the time), it just means I will sadly not get to try out my Tengu Rogue concept or Aasimar cleric. :-(

Osirion **

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

This may be a little self-serving, but how about they become a GM award for a certain starage of GMs.

It would encourage some players to GM while still allowing those for whom conventions are difficult to get to (at least until the kids get older) to feel valued in the overall PFS scene.

I currently feel (and yes, it is an emotional response), that only granting boons for convention play undervalues those people for whom conventions are not viable, for one reason or another. It makes me feel sad.

Silver Crusade **

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I myself am lucky to make it to a convention or two. Last one wasn't able to get racial boons. Granted, I already have more characters than I know what to do with, but I would like to be able to show off a "hey, lookie what you get for playing PFS a bunch" character. I love conventions. Unfortunately, it makes the disperal of race boons really uneven, so that the most dedicated of players might not ever get one. Multiple ways to get one would be *awesome*.

Shadow Lodge *

Dragnmoon wrote:
Ninjaxenomorph wrote:
I personally like the retirement idea; having a non-core race is still a sign of having done something special.

Not that you are any way near retired...

But let me ask you, you don't think our area has enough chances for Racial Boons?...

I haven't been around long enough (or been to enough conventions) to accurately say that we don't. But, with the ARG coming out, I think people should have a chance to use the non-core race part even if they don't have a convention boon. It would be nice as a GM reward, too.

Plus, my fighter is almost 8th level, so he's closer than my other characters :P

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I would remind folks that attending conventions does not, in and of itself, guarantee any racial boons. At GenCon last August, everybody at a table got a token. The token allowed you to choose one of several dozen keys and have a chance at opening a treasure chest. At that point, a big, honking d20 roll determined your prize. Eight of those were racial boons. Others were boons like "demon-slayer" or "keen senses".

Other cons since have followed suit, in less elaborate ways. It is perfectly reasonable to attend a convention with prize support, spend several sessions playing PFS, and walk away with no prizes, or with a novel and a bookmark.

--

One of the nicest racial boons was the GM boon for running the Beginner Box Bash encounters. I'd point to that as an example to follow: run a scenario during Free RPG day, or otherwise proselytize the campaign, and earn a racial boon as a reward.

*

I see why it is completely reasonable for Paizo to specifically reserve things like race boons for those who are able to go to cons, since generally those people are the ones who spend the most money of products and so on and so forth.

That said, there should be another way to get the kinds of boons given out at conventions (racial and otherwise) for those of us for whom it is impossible (geographically in my case) to attend a convention. The only way that I can play in online over a VTT, and I am fortunate that there is an online PFS community. Someone mentioned tying the racial boon to DMing, which I think is an excellent idea, maybe allowing one race boon when a DM gets their third star. I think that is a good balance between allowing a potential way for non-con goers to earn a race boon and keeping non-standard races rare.

That way you can either work for your reward, or you can get lucky and win it, and perhaps there will be more people enticed to DM with a reward, which in a win for PFS as a whole.

Andoran *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Personally, I dont like the 15pt buy idea for non-standard races. I think those races should stay as special boons only.

I just want to know if the ARG will be required material for those who have one of the special boon races, or will the Bestiary still be good enough to show the stat block? Would either/or work?

Lantern Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Australia—Melbourne aka DarkWhite

godsDMit wrote:
I just want to know if the ARG will be required material for those who have one of the special boon races, or will the Bestiary still be good enough to show the stat block? Would either/or work?

I asked Mike this very question, as it had been put to me by a local player who received a Tengu as a racial boon who was considering purchasing Dragon Empires Primer or Dragon Empire Gazetteer for their Tien background - as both of these books now contain racial stat write-ups for the Tengu, and both contain much more player-relevant information the player would get more use from than the Bestiary. Mike said yes, this is perfectly fine. The intent is to ensure both player and GM have access to the new race information being played, and therefore I would expect the same to hold true for the Advanced Race Guide when it is released.

*** RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Put me in the 'open up the special races' catagory. While I have my own reasons.* I would like to see some of the 'convention exclusives' scenarios, boons, etc etc trickle out to the 'common folk'. Also from the buy the book viewpoint, you discourage people from buying splat book X if they can't use splat book X. I've been hoping that the ARG would be the 'gateway' book to the other races.

*

Spoiler:
Yes I'm self centred. I still can't handle crowds and haven't attended Origins in years because of it. Losing my anchor didn't help of course. That I'm able to run games is progress in and of itself. I'd love a tiefling sorcerer or Aasimar rogue or something to add to the folio

Andoran *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the info Stephen.

Im opposed to opening the floodgates, but I would be fine with a person earning one through GMing, playing a character through retirement, and maybe a few other things suggested earlier this thread.

What if someone could get access to a boon (of whatever type) by signing up for and keeping a subscription to 'Paizo product line X' for a year or so? Im not suggesting they wait a year to get the boon, but if they were to cancel the subscription early, the character could be marked unplayable on the site or something.

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

godsDMit wrote:
What if someone could get access to a boon (of whatever type) by signing up for and keeping a subscription to 'Paizo product line X' for a year or so? Im not suggesting they wait a year to get the boon, but if they were to cancel the subscription early, the character could be marked unplayable on the site or something.

Largely unenforceable without the waiting period, methinks. I don't know about your game environment, but in the months I've been coordinating, I've never audited a character, much less gone online to verify that that character hasn't been marked as "killed" in the database or other such problems.

Osirion **

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
godsDMit wrote:


What if someone could get access to a boon (of whatever type) by signing up for and keeping a subscription to 'Paizo product line X' for a year or so? Im not suggesting they wait a year to get the boon, but if they were to cancel the subscription early, the character could be marked unplayable on the site or something.

I think this is a nice idea...but I think that having a subscription for a year, then being able to get a boon, would be more workable. The other question would be ...what product line/s (not that it would bother me, unless it was for Planet Stories).

Shadow Lodge **

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I would prefer the races were not concentrated in the groups of players who go to conventions. Some people don't like conventions or are in remote areas where conventions are less accessible. A person in the Bay Area could easily have 2-3 racial boons without making a lot of effort, while a people in Fresno or Bakersfield would have to either put on a beginner's bash (no longer available) or travel 3-4 hours to get to a convention. Others just don't have the money or inclination to attend a crowded convention.

I don't like the idea of having them as an always available option either, I would just like to see the boons distributed in a more democratic way.

*

godsDMit wrote:
What if someone could get access to a boon (of whatever type) by signing up for and keeping a subscription to 'Paizo product line X' for a year or so? Im not suggesting they wait a year to get the boon, but if they were to cancel the subscription early, the character could be marked unplayable on the site or something.

I have a few qualms about this solution. It seems an awful lot like changing the distribution of boons from "those who can afford to attend cons" to "those who can afford to keep a constant subscription". If there is a way to earn a racial boon, it should be just that, earning that boon by serving the community, not just purchasing that boon in a slightly different way. That is why the Beginner Box boon was the perfect way to distribute something like a racial boon, since it was tied to bringing new players to the game. That is what should be rewarded with cool boons.

Shadow Lodge *

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Maybe it could be a part of some sort of Boon Package that GMs get when they earn a star? Or some other increment, like every 15 games GMed or something.

Shadow Lodge **

Ninjaxenomorph wrote:
Maybe it could be a part of some sort of Boon Package that GMs get when they earn a star? Or some other increment, like every 15 games GMed or something.

I like this idea, but I'm not sure I want to play at a table where the GM is grinding through his obligatory 15 scenarios to get his tengu boon.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Michigan—Alma

Not that much different than those GMs that are grinding through scenarios to get the next star, is it?

Silver Crusade **

Not sure a bad GM would be able to seat 15 tables if they came across as grinding tables. Besides, if it encourages players to GM and see how the game is on the other side of the GM screen, I'm all for it.

Silver Crusade *

Bob, your crazy if you think a 15 point build is viable for most characters try building a 15 pt fighter that is a viable fighter w/o dumping stats you just cant do it. NPC's are weak as it is using a 15 point buy to build them. Instead I would use a 25 point buy for Player characters and a 20 point buy for most NPC's and a 25 point buy for tought NPC's

As far as Non Standard races they should be limited but not by forcing Pazios customer base to go to conventions to get boons to play them limit them to a percentage of a given placers active characters say 10% of a players active PC's.

Silver Crusade **

The game is balanced towards 15 point buys, and we get 20 points. Do we *really* need to make players even more powerful, when the most common complain is that scenarios are too easy as is?

Silver Crusade *

Alexander, I was just saying how I would do it I think that the 15 point buy for NPC's is to weak and they need to be beefed up as Huamn NPC;s tend to suck ass and present no chalange to to PC's. There are several Classes that you won't run into as NPC's because you can not build viable NPC's for them example the Inquistor or the Magus just would completly blow as 15 point buys so would Paladins.

Also he books the GM need to have access to needs t be up dated to expand what is availble to thse who bulid senarios for PFS.

As the reason I would up the point buy to 25 is to allow better builds for MAD Character classes.

Silver Crusade **

I could see 25 point buys for end of arc bosses at high levels. Other than that, just use creative level design. Anyways, that is neither here nor there, as it doesn't apply to this thread.

Taldor *

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lou Diamond wrote:

Alexander, I was just saying how I would do it I think that the 15 point buy for NPC's is to weak and they need to be beefed up as Huamn NPC;s tend to suck ass and present no chalange to to PC's. There are several Classes that you won't run into as NPC's because you can not build viable NPC's for them example the Inquistor or the Magus just would completly blow as 15 point buys so would Paladins.

Also he books the GM need to have access to needs t be up dated to expand what is availble to thse who bulid senarios for PFS.

As the reason I would up the point buy to 25 is to allow better builds for MAD Character classes.

Haven't checked his point buy totals but there is at least one Taldan Magus who is doing pretty well for himself.

On topic I would like to see race options be expanded beyond core + convention boon.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

I like some of the ideas being floated in this thread. I personally think the OP's idea of allowing extra races with a reduced point buy sounds fine.

I also like the idea of allowing racial boons for things like playing a character through to retirement, GM credits, etc.

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