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Should there be an organised play alternative to Pathfinder Society?


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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

Fromper wrote:
Yeah, I'd like to see warning labels on the more difficult scenarios, too.

This is very tricky to pull off. I would gather that Mark expects most scenarios to be challenging otherwise he would send it back to the author for changes. Too often, the difficulty of a scenario is based on the part mix, not necessarily the base difficulty of the encounters. As said above, a party of four sorcerers is likely to have a much wider play experience than a well-balanced part with all the iconic roles filled. That is not to say that one is better than the other, just that there is likely more risk involved with the former. The nature of organized play makes this more frequent than in home games because you rarely know who is going to sit at the table with you.

Release of new material also changes the challenge rating of scenarios. There are a number of season zero scenarios that were plenty challenging, when the CRB was virtually the only guy on the block. Now that we have Ultimate stuff and all the splat material, there is at least some level of power-creep and that results in increasing the frequency of the "cake-walk" effect. Labeling a scenario as "hard" can become misleading a year or two down the road. And I'm sure Paizo is not interested in having to go back and update the difficulty of older product since the amount of revenue received steadily declines the older the material becomes.

I think since this is a community play campaign, it falls to the community to make these assessments. Post your thoughts in the GM forums so others can decide if a scenario is appropriate for their local group to play and convention attendees can get an idea of the deadliness of them by reading the reviews.

Silver Crusade **

Fromper wrote:
Mike Lindner wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Actually, my group just played one yesterday that very nearly resulted in a TPK.
Which scenario was it?

Below the Silver Tarn.

Like I said, I'm really surprised we haven't seen more posts on here about all the PCs that died in this scenario. Our group got spanked the first time we faced the final fight. And even knowing what we were up against and coming up with a VERY specific plan the second time, we still just barely managed to win and avoid any deaths.

I ran that scenario, and I didn't have any moments where I felt the PC's were in any mortal danger. Granted, it was my first time GM'ing a higher level table, so I perhaps did not run things as optimally as possible (and I was running it cold. Thank you Abadar for those tactics boxes!), but I felt like it was pretty well tuned. What combat was it that gave you fits? I'd like to take a look, see if there was something I missed.


As a 3PP I know that we at LPJ Design have been talking about and developing our own PFS variation for our NeoExodus: A House Divided campaign setting. This would be similar to what Paradigm Concepts' Living Arcanis with the RPGA. Solid adventures that are connected thematically and storywise and where what players do will effect the campaign world. We thought it made no sense to play all these amazingly epic adventures but they have no real effect in the world you are playing in. What players do SHOULD matter, not just to the players but to the campaign itself.

The Exchange *** Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

LMPjr007 wrote:
As a 3PP I know that we at LPJ Design have been talking about and developing our own PFS variation for our NeoExodus: A House Divided campaign setting. This would be similar to what Paradigm Concepts' Living Arcanis with the RPGA. Solid adventures that are connected thematically and storywise and where what players do will effect the campaign world. We thought it made no sense to play all these amazingly epic adventures but they have no real effect in the world you are playing in. What players do SHOULD matter, not just to the players but to the campaign itself.

Yar, this sort of thing intrigues me.

I want story. I want impact. I'm nearing my limit with all fetches and errand scenarios.

While I hope Season 4 is a step forward, I do expect to check out NeoExodus.

I would love to have one recurring NPC that I cared about...or a storyline that got me involved.

-Pain

Silver Crusade ***

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Fromper wrote:
Knowing what we were up against, we had a very specific plan the 2nd time, which didn't work quite as planned, but got us far enough along that we were able to win in the end. But that second fight still resulted in two PCs hitting negative HPs, both within 2 HPs of death.
That sounds like an absolutely perfect level of difficulty.

Umm...no. I know what you mean, and our final fight against the main enemy probably was about perfect in difficulty level. But that fight shouldn't have happened. It was only a good difficulty level because we had already learned every detail of the enemy's tactics from the first fight, and went in with a detailed plan for how to win the second time, which didn't go quite as planned, but managed to work eventually.

The only reason we survived the first time is because the GM went easy on us. It wasn't a fight. It was a slaughter, and we were on the wrong side of it. The GM had the bad guy switch targets instead of going for a killing blow (which would have killed more than one party member at once) at least once, and allowed some questionably legal tactics for us to try and pull our allies out of being trapped by the bad guy. And even with the GM charity, we came damn close to not escaping alive. And we didn't come anywhere near winning that first fight.

I really am surprised that I haven't seen any posts around here about that scenario causing TPKs. Without GM charity, I don't see how any group can survive tier 7-8 of that one.

*** Dedicated Voter 2014

Fromper wrote:

Actually, my group just played one yesterday that very nearly resulted in a TPK. I'm shocked that we managed to escape without anyone dying. And I mean escape literally - we had to run away from the final bad guy, and I'm still surprised that we were even able to do so. We healed and rested for a night to recover spells and powers, and tried again in the morning.

Knowing what we were up against, we had a very specific plan the 2nd time, which didn't work quite as planned, but got us far enough along that we were able to win in the end. But that second fight still resulted in two PCs hitting negative HPs, both within 2 HPs of death.

Like I said, we were shocked that nobody actually died in the whole thing. Between the two fights, every member of our group except for my barbarian ended up in negative HPs at least once, including a familiar and animal companion. And my barbarian only stayed positive because of the bonus HPs from raging - I took more damage than my non-raging max HP before I even started getting healed.

I was along on this ride- My character actually never hit negative hit points, but that was maily because I was trying to accomplish a different objective away from the first combat. When we returned in the morning...

Spoiler:
I was immediately hit with 12 points of strength drain on the first round... rendering me unconscious. I ended the second combat conscious, but with 3 hit points at the end. As an arcane spell-caster, faced with concentration checks and SR22 for every spell cast, the fight was very tough due to monster abilities and our chances of success felt bleak...

But I digress a bit. Was it a challenging scenario? Yes. But part of that challenge came because the PCs didn't get all the info needed before the final fight (in fact, without that info, I believe the fight is somewhat intended as unwinable). As Fromper pointed out, even after we had the info upon our second try, it was very close. One of the things he left out is that the GM running the adventure is probably our best rules-mechanic knowledgeable one who could run the fight to the advantage of the bad guys- and even afterward was telling me "well, I did forget to do X too... well, all GMs forget *something*."

Crystal Frasier did an excellent job on this scenario- I do recommend it highly. I don't know if I would advocate putting "warning- killer module" labels on it, though.

* Star Voter 2013

Fromper wrote:
I really am surprised that I haven't seen any posts around here about that scenario causing TPKs. Without GM charity, I don't see how any group can survive tier 7-8 of that one.

You should write a review, even if you don't put the # stars beside it.

*** Dedicated Voter 2014

Fromper wrote:

The only reason we survived the first time is because the GM went easy on us. It wasn't a fight. It was a slaughter, and we were on the wrong side of it. The GM had the bad guy switch targets instead of going for a killing blow (which would have killed more than one party member at once) at least once, and allowed some questionably legal tactics for us to try and pull our allies out of being trapped by the bad guy. And even with the GM charity, we came damn close to not escaping alive. And we didn't come anywhere near winning that first fight.

Sorry, didn't see your later post before I made my post above. Yes, I think if the GM wanted to we definitely would have TPK'ed the first time we did that encounter. Again, we had no hope of completing that encounter without the key info we were missing anyway.

At some point, every group will run into an encounter they cannot beat or need to run-away and re-think what they are doing. I think we did that- probably later than we should have, but if we had stayed it definitely would have been a TPK.

This particular encounter reminded me of boss fights in MMOs where there is a key to beating the encounter outside of just "tank and spank". We didn't have that key the first time. The second time we fought, we did- we had a plan and executed it and barely beat the encounter. This second encounter is what we should judge the scenario on.

***

Painlord wrote:

Yar, this sort of thing intrigues me.

I want story. I want impact. I'm nearing my limit with all fetches and errand scenarios.

While I hope Season 4 is a step forward, I do expect to check out NeoExodus.

I would love to have one recurring NPC that I cared about...or a storyline that got me involved.

-Pain

+1,000,000

Grand Lodge **** Dedicated Voter 2013

Yeah, chiming in to agree with Painlord and Tangaroa here. Got high hopes for the storylines of the next season.

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