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Tier 1 Blues


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

Andoran *** Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Montreal aka Ryan. Costello

Early this year I started running regular PFS events at my FLGS, Chimera Games. The store supported the program with discounts on Pathfinder products for participants and there was enough interest initially to fill two tables. It’s been four months now and interest has dropped off. Based on feedback, this is largely because players feel like characters only get interesting and feel heroic around level 3, and that at this pace they will only reach that after six months of play if they make every session.

I know players can use pregens and put that credit towards new 1st level PFS characters, but that doesn’t solve the issue my players are having. Is there another option that I am missing?

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Run scenarios or modules for lower-level PCs on the off weeks?

Silver Crusade *

I feel your pain. Interest has dropped of in our area as well. I take it you guys are running only once a month? Aside from just straight up player enthusiasm, you may have to look at increased frequency of game sessions to get past the tier 1 hurdle.

What scenarios have you guys ran so far? Something we've tried to do is find themes/continuity with the scenarios so it feels like a connected adventure. It works for most of our players to keep them interested (some like the episodic feel since they can't always show up). This season has been very nice, especially the Quest For Perfection scenarios. We've got a lot of positive feedback from new and old players. Sprinkle in some of the scenarios from Blakros in between "arcs" as things the Pathfinder team does in Absalom when not in the field.

Also, are your players rolling multiple PC's? We've had that problem with some players trying out multiple characters, but then they complain about not playing any higher level scenarios. Try to kindly point out the obvious. Failing that, I recommend a swift smack to the back of the head. Just kidding...mostly...

Shadow Lodge ***

There is no way to jump ahead in levels.

If it's taking 6 months to reach level 3, it sounds like you're playing once a month. It can feel very slow to level if you're only leveling once every 3 months (or even slower if you have to miss a session).

Possible solutions that come to mind (I have no idea if any of these can work for your specific situation, but they might be helpful)

Run more often: Run twice a month instead of monthly.

Run double headers: Especially if you're on a weekend run an afternoon slot and an evening slot.

Run a sanctioned module (will require all day or 2 long days) like Crypt of the Everflame which should be good for lvl 1-2 characters.

*

In four months, aren't they level 3 by now or close? Have you had deaths or TPKs? People re-rolling PCs?

If you played pregens with a module, you could get past level 1 at least, with only 3 sessions to level 3.

I think "being heroic" is a state of mind.

Andoran *** Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Montreal aka Ryan. Costello

We are running once a month. The players have expressed an interest in running twice monthly. I'm not able to run more often but have told them that should not stop them from meeting without me. So far they haven't. Similarly, the store's hours do not allow for two sessions to be run. As it is they stay open late for us to finish when the scenarios run long.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Pirate Rob wrote:
Run a sanctioned module (will require all day or 2 long days) like Crypt of the Everflame which should be good for lvl 1-2 characters.

Nice idea...sanctioned modules give 3 XP, so you can jump an entire level with one adventure. They do, obviously, take longer than a one-round PFS adventure, but I suspect that most of them don't take longer than two "normal" sessions. We played Feast of Ravenmoor (for levels 2-4) at a convention over the weekend, and it took around 6 1/2 or 7 hours of play, with plenty of time in there for role-playing and a quick lunch break.

Shadow Lodge ***

Ryan. Costello wrote:
We are running once a month. The players have expressed an interest in running twice monthly. I'm not able to run more often but have told them that should not stop them from meeting without me. So far they haven't. Similarly, the store's hours do not allow for two sessions to be run. As it is they stay open late for us to finish when the scenarios run long.

Alright, here's my next idea for you. I think you can organize an additional game day a month even if you can't attend personally.

It sounds like you have other people willing to GM, since you talked about being able to seat two tables, but it sounds like you don't have anybody else who wants to organize. That's fine, you should be able to get stuff organized for a day that you won't be there.

Extra things you might need to do/things that might need to be done differently:

Pre-muster the tables.
A very popular tool for mustering is Warhorn although you may already have some sort of alternate signup tool.
Of course you'll have walk-ins and they should be seated if at all possible. Meaning you'll probably need somebody to be in charge of dealing with new players. Make sure they are well stocked with at least one copy of the OP guide and with a stack of level 1 pregens.

I'm sure there are a lot more details that need to be figured out, and it will be a lot of work, but ultimately it can be very rewarding.

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

Ryan. Costello wrote:
We are running once a month. The players have expressed an interest in running twice monthly. I'm not able to run more often but have told them that should not stop them from meeting without me. So far they haven't. Similarly, the store's hours do not allow for two sessions to be run. As it is they stay open late for us to finish when the scenarios run long.

Just a suggestion, but people respond better to directed instructions than they do open ended suggestions. It's like when giving CPR, you don't say "somebody call 9-1-1" you look at an individual person, use their name if you know it, make eye contact and say "You, you there, in the blue shirt, Bob, Go call 9-1-1. If you don't have a cell phone, borrow from Sally." So I guess what I'm saying is, you do not have to run more, but instead of leaving it open ended, start tapping the likely suspects, maybe use Painlord's Tips on coordination, and get some buy-in that way. I work with an AWESOME Co-coordinator (Thanks Ogre) his wife, my husband, and a handful of others (actually, thank you all!) that keep things going when I'm not there.

Pirate Rob's suggestion about modules is a great one. We tend to run them on our 5th weeks, but they can be done in multiple regular sessions if need be. There are even rules for those that only make part of a module, but I heartily recommend encouraging full attendance.

Cheliax *** Venture-Captain, Washington—Seattle aka Big Kyle

Hey Ryan

I would recommend a few options.

I doubt it's because they are level 1 that it is a problem...I think it's more they don't feel like they have connected with the character yet or they have enough time to play the character yet.

1. Do a weekend marathon to get them up there. Solve it by dedicating one long weekend, run a few scenario's back to back for them.

2. Run some of the non standard scenarios...such as We Be Goblins, or other scenarios that have different flavors to them that level 1 or 2 characters do different things in besides rely on their stats. Some of those are things like Murder on the throaty mermaid, Rescue at Azlanti Ridge, Quest for Perfection part III...things that have little mini games inside of them that detract from the lack of things to do as level ones.

3. Do you have a VC or VL anywhere nearby that can provide some support? We are great resources to help new locations build up and maintain them in troubled times.

Andoran *** Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Montreal aka Ryan. Costello

I’m strongly considering running Crypt of the Everflame for the group, I just need to work out the logistics in my head and then see if they jive with Chimera’s schedule. Has anyone estimated the running time on that one? Warhorn looks like an interesting option, I will definitely try it next time regardless of the scenario we play. Thank you Pirate Rob.

Tier 1 is a big part of the problem for two reasons:

1. There are a lot of new players to Pathfinder and PFS in the ground and only a few established players. Right now we can only play a higher tier adventure if all three established players show up. When they don’t, like last session, they have to use their lower level secondary characters. Anyone can play a Tier 1 scenario. These guys have earned the right to play Tier 3 scenarios, which are scheduled only to settle for being bumped down. Effectively they are being punished for having played longer than the rest of the group;
2. It’s hard for first level characters to hit the DCs of faction missions that require successful skill checks, even when the character has ranks in the skill. Players have expressed discouragement that their faction missions have felt impossible.

There are two other possible GMs, one of the store owners and a player new to Pathfinder who offered to GM after the first session. He wants the opportunity to play too, though. Last session when we saw we had to cancel a table, he and I both would have preferred I run the scenario I planned and he play in it. Because I prepped for the Tier 3 table, however, we had no other choice. It doesn’t help that he’s run Parts 1 and 2 of the Quest for Perfection and there are a lot of expectations now that he run part 3 next.

Montreal doesn’t have a VC or a VL, unfortunately. Actually, there isn’t one for the entire province. JP Chapleau is probably the closest person we have to that and he did arrive for our inaugural event to show support. I will be in touch with him for ideas if the decline in attendance continues.

Thanks guys.

Shadow Lodge ***

Good luck, let us know how it goes or if we can offer any more advice.

Shadow Lodge **

verdigris wrote:
Just a suggestion, but people respond better to directed instructions than they do open ended suggestions. It's like when giving CPR, you don't say "somebody call 9-1-1" you look at an individual person, use their name if you know it, make eye contact and say "You, you there, in the blue shirt, Bob, Go call 9-1-1. If you don't have a cell phone, borrow from Sally." So I guess what I'm saying is, you do not have to run more, but instead of leaving it open ended, start tapping the likely suspects, maybe use Painlord's Tips on coordination, and get some buy-in that way. I work with an AWESOME Co-coordinator (Thanks Ogre) his wife, my husband, and a handful of others (actually, thank you all!) that keep things going when I'm not there.

This is why when Verdigris is around I've learned not to make eye contact and feign hearing loss.

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

0gre wrote:
verdigris wrote:
Just a suggestion, but people respond better to directed instructions than they do open ended suggestions. It's like when giving CPR, you don't say "somebody call 9-1-1" you look at an individual person, use their name if you know it, make eye contact and say "You, you there, in the blue shirt, Bob, Go call 9-1-1. If you don't have a cell phone, borrow from Sally." So I guess what I'm saying is, you do not have to run more, but instead of leaving it open ended, start tapping the likely suspects, maybe use Painlord's Tips on coordination, and get some buy-in that way. I work with an AWESOME Co-coordinator (Thanks Ogre) his wife, my husband, and a handful of others (actually, thank you all!) that keep things going when I'm not there.
This is why when Verdigris is around I've learned not to make eye contact and feign hearing loss.

Yes, but we have plenty of things to prove you can *read* and I'm not averse to writing up signs.

Qadira *****

I know the crowd you are dealing with... (Heck I play with some of them online on a semi-regular basis)...

SO, use reverse psychology... Start talking about something that is NOT for 1st levels, where they should play characters... Like "Sewer Dragons" (3-7) on one table and something for 1st levels at another.

Call it "the Big Kids' table" and the "little kids' table"... it works.

JP

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Any plan that involves Sewer Dragons is full of win.

:D

Andoran *** Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Montreal aka Ryan. Costello

Dennis Baker wrote:

Any plan that involves Sewer Dragons is full of win.

:D

Sewer Dragons was the first scenario we ran.

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

I knew I liked you.

Now if only I could get you to split your podcast into sections ;)

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