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My general feelings about PFS so far


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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Grand Lodge

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Hey there, I just wanted to know if anyone here feels the same-

I find PFS to just be incredibly restricting (and mind you, I highly respect PFS for what it does. I think Organized Play is a wonderful concept, and I really applaud Paizo for the effort they've put in to really decentralize and make sure anyone can run PFS stuff), and more and more I've just grown frustrated with the inability to basically be the GM of my own game.

Things we've "broken the rules on" have been stuff like letting new players re-stat their characters, GMs altering encounters because they were too easy or too hard, general GM fudging of dice, and the usual not playing game mechanics as RAW (after all, things can get hectic and crazy in battle sometimes). The other big thing is the way Prestige Points and Factions work - Factions as a concept are a wonderful thing in PFS, but the fact that players always feel compelled to complete their missions and always get derailed trying to achieve all their points (not to mention that GMs here hate to "deny" players maximum PP) has overall really hurt the quality of many of the PFS scenarios we've lead here at our RPG Group.

In the end, it looks like we're poised to give up on PFS, and instead just use the materials and rulings and banlist (the "Additional Resources" page) as a Guide for our own RPG Group. But to really follow through with everything PFS mandates has just really been taxing on our fun, and we've broken the rules of PFS on more than one occasion to the point where I just would not feel comfortable saying we're "PFS sanctioned" anymore. In the end, when came time for Reporting Day, we decided not to report anything, and instead just continue to have our fun and run things as a sort of pseudo-PFS campaign, where we follow the structure of PFS, but just don't actually play sanctioned. That way, we don't feel so bad when we tell a new player that they have to keep the sub-optimal build they made, or tell another player that they were the only one to not get their Faction Point for this scenario, or tell that GM that they can't adjust the power level of things to accommodate variance among player power level.

I really admire PFS, and I only wish the very best for it. But for ourselves, it looks like we may just move on. Maybe.

Grand Lodge

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To give context, I'm in charge of an RPG Group that regularly gets about 4 tables going every Saturday.

Also PFS was what made our group so big in the first place (when I told a bunch of people we were gonna play a "really big super Pathfinder campaign" everyone got really excited and started coming back to our group), so please don't misunderstand this post. I really, really, really, really like PFS. It's just that for our own purposes, we've had to stray about 15% of the time, and it's a shame that by straying just a little bit, we can't actually be a part of the larger Organized Play system. I do not in any way resent PFS for this, and I understand fully why it has to be this way. Still, I just wanted to know if anyone on this board has had a similar sort of experience.

***

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It is my understanding that PFS is intended to introduce people to pfs first, being a campaign environment second. The rules and stipulations revolving around the organization are meant to provide a balanced environment for those players. The reason you're chafing is most likely because you and your players are beyond the play environs.

congratulations, you've graduated to big boy(girl) pants. You may as well set up groups to play outside of PFS, in adventure paths, modules or home brew campaigns.

the hard part you face now is the fact that anything's possible, and you will have to deal with power creep, random fudging and manipulation behind the scenes, and everything else that can get into a private play group.

It sounds like you've already got a good start, using PFS rules as guidelines, and it isnt like you have to completely drop playing PFS, just establish a game that functions outside of PFS.

Qadira ***

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zean wrote:
Things we've "broken the rules on" have been stuff like letting new players re-stat their characters, GMs altering encounters because they were too easy or too hard, general GM fudging of dice, and the usual not playing game mechanics as RAW (after all, things can get hectic and crazy in battle sometimes). The other big thing is the way Prestige Points and Factions work - Factions as a concept are a wonderful thing in PFS, but the fact that players always feel compelled to complete their missions and always get derailed trying to achieve all their points (not to mention that GMs here hate to "deny" players maximum PP) has overall really hurt the quality of many of the PFS scenarios we've lead here at our RPG Group.

Thanks for your thoughts, zean.

To be honest, you're not the only group that struggles with those issues.

As a local coordinator, our group (and myself) have gone through similar thought processes. We want the best for our players and we want our players to have fun within the structure. And sometimes they come in conflict...especially in debating RAW vs. RAI.

You're not alone on this. I and many others have chosen to work within the system a bit longer to address the changes that need to be made (some of which you addressed above) rather than leave completely.

I hope that you'll stick with it a bit longer, keep reporting, and keep an eye on future changes.

There is no reason that the PFS campaign and environment cannot grow to meet the needs of our playgroups. We need to be around to help steer and encourage those changes.

-Pain

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My suggestion if you want to keep something like PFS for the future is to stick with all the silly rules for PFS, and supplement that with the odd home game so that you don't go crazy.

***** Venture-Captain, New Jersey aka Shivok

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I'm in the same boat as you Zean, we have an active group that meets bi-weekly and plays PFRPG AP's. And I have a steady PFS groups in Jersey and in NYC. This after 10 years of on and off again rping with my regular high school group of 20+ years

For many folks PFS is the only way to 'get a game'. For some its a bit difficult to have that steady rp group especially as you get older and life (i.e marriage, kids, school, work, etc) happens to call more than once and free time becomes something of a luxury. So its a way for players to simply game.

PFS is not perfect by any means and even I find it restrictive at times, but it's greatest assets are Flexibility and Stability. This Flexibility is the key when Joe Gamer moves from state to state and is able to continue on gaming with his character as he never left. With stability he can enter the game knowing the rules are the same as where he came from and puts him a little at ease, and more importantly it keeps him gaming.

But PFS at its core is also a marketing tool to get players playing PFRPG. In this I say based on your statements that it worked. It got you interested in the game and now your off playing AP's and using things that PFS wouldnt allow but that are allowed in a regular home game. In essence you're buying more products, enjoying the game, and bringing more and more gamers into the fold.

A win, win situation for You, for Paizo and the Gaming Industry as a whole.

***** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Indianapolis aka Red-Assassin

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Well, my take on this. For every rule I don't like there are about 25+ that I really like. Which I really can live with. The longer I play the more I find myself likeing the rules.

Campaign management listens to player feadback on rules discussions. I think the best thing about PFS is the group dynamic. For me it is meeting new people at different game days and conventions. The idea 5 random people can go on a 4-5 hour adventure is great.

I would suggest running a home game, perhaps the newer AP.
I am not sure about optimization, or if there is a right build for anyone as opposed to a wrong build.

Now all these are my own personal opinions, but I do like clever players. The players that take make decisions that while small can really turn a scenario on it's sides. My favorite games are the ones where simple decisions and roleplaying make the scenario more fun for everyone. Instead of the X damage someone does. I tend to remember the bard wearing a hat of disguise sneaking through an encounter only to discover while he looks the part he can't speak the NPC's languages. Or the player who choose to rush a monster only to find he ends up almost swallowed whole in a couple rounds barely escaping needing a 18-20 suceeding with a 19.

Grand Lodge

I definitely hear you Zean. I enjoy playing a PFS game every once in a while, but it really can't compare to a game with friends and the same people playing every week. Before I'd actually played in a PFS game, I was considering being a GM. I've much more experience GM'ing games than playing, actually. But after seeing it for myself, there's no way I could ever GM a PFS game. It's far too restrictive. I would have no problem running the game "by the book". I would just have a hard time with having no control over who sits at my gaming table. There are just certain behaviors I find unacceptable and disrespectful to the GM, but there's really nothing a PFS GM can do but put up with it. My hat is off to all those who do GM them. Honestly, I don't know how they do it.

Sczarni ***

Mergy wrote:
My suggestion if you want to keep something like PFS for the future is to stick with all the silly rules for PFS, and supplement that with the odd home game so that you don't go crazy.

I agree with this. There's no reason why a group who's feeling stifled within the rules as set out by the Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign shouldn't also participate in home play.

What I would do is convert one or two of your tables to longer-term campaigns like the APs. The best reasons to keep Pathfinder Society around, for your group (edit: any group, actually), would be that it provides character portability between venues, as a backup in case an AP or alternate setting table doesn't come together some week, and because it's a proven way to introduce new players to the system and get them familiar with the game and the setting in which it takes place.

Where and when you run PFS, stick to the RAW. Sure, it's stringent, but you've already expressed that you understand why it is so and needs to be so.

Shadow Lodge ****

Lex Starwalker wrote:
I would just have a hard time with having no control over who sits at my gaming table. There are just certain behaviors I find unacceptable and disrespectful to the GM, but there's really nothing a PFS GM can do but put up with it.

Actually this is one of the things you do have control over as a GM, even in PFS. While you can't take your public table and I say I don't like gnomes nobody can play them.

You can tell your players not to use dice towers, of refuse to GM for players who won't shut up or refuse to GM for players who don't bathe or whatever behaviors you find unacceptable.

There are several players I won't GM for, although I'm lucky enough to have excellent coordinators who have helped make sure I haven't had to GM for them.

Andoran ***

Lex Starwalker wrote:
I definitely hear you Zean. I enjoy playing a PFS game every once in a while, but it really can't compare to a game with friends and the same people playing every week. Before I'd actually played in a PFS game, I was considering being a GM. I've much more experience GM'ing games than playing, actually. But after seeing it for myself, there's no way I could ever GM a PFS game. It's far too restrictive. I would have no problem running the game "by the book". I would just have a hard time with having no control over who sits at my gaming table. There are just certain behaviors I find unacceptable and disrespectful to the GM, but there's really nothing a PFS GM can do but put up with it. My hat is off to all those who do GM them. Honestly, I don't know how they do it.

Lex,

A GM is allowed to invoke the "Don't Be a Jerk." rule. If someone is cheating, or otherwise ruining the fun for everyone else at the table, and continues to do so after the GM pulls hir aside for a private discussion, then the GM is perfectly within their rights to not allow someone to play at their table.

If you are at a public venue, you may need to discuss your decision with the store manager, or, if you are not the organizer, with said organizer, but you have the right to say, "Having Joe Genero at my table makes for an unenjoyable experience for everyone at my table. In future, I would appreciate it if Joe no longer sit at any table I run."

A lot of the time, you may find that Joe didn't realize that his uber-optimized tripping build was ruining the fun of the table, and he will be perfectly happy to work out a modus vivendi with you and the other players. Sometimes, however, Joe won't take a hint, in which case you get to hit him with the ban-hammer.


zean wrote:

To give context, I'm in charge of an RPG Group that regularly gets about 4 tables going every Saturday.

Also PFS was what made our group so big in the first place (when I told a bunch of people we were gonna play a "really big super Pathfinder campaign" everyone got really excited and started coming back to our group), so please don't misunderstand this post. I really, really, really, really like PFS. It's just that for our own purposes, we've had to stray about 15% of the time, and it's a shame that by straying just a little bit, we can't actually be a part of the larger Organized Play system. I do not in any way resent PFS for this, and I understand fully why it has to be this way. Still, I just wanted to know if anyone on this board has had a similar sort of experience.

I basically agree with most of your comments. I don't think PFS makes for a particularly good home campaign (as you note, it's pretty inflexible), but it's a neat idea if you're into going to lots of gaming conventions.

Osirion

I just took my GF to her very first PFS gmae this past Saturday (her very first RPG game, actually). [It was Drow of the Darklands Pyramid.] There were times that she really enjoyed the game (for example, the DM asked her for help putting the dungeon tiles together while he ran other encounters, and the gamers were all nice to talk to and friendly to her), and some stuff that she disliked.
After the scenario, and we were on our way home, we talked about some of the impressions that she ahd about the game. One was that there was almost no resolution to the story, and no denouement whatsoever. As soon as the last encounter was over, the chronicle sheets were handed out, and everyone jetted. While I will point out that the scenario started about 30 minutes late, it also ended precisely 30 minutes late. So, it was still the same 4 hour slot that a PFS game is normally slotted to. She said that she wanted to know what the other rooms were that we didn't go into, what the other doors were, what the stange magical effect was, what happened to the badguys, and why they were doing the bad stuff to begin with.

I told her that she had hit upon one of the things that is intrinsic to Organized Play in general. I understand the reasons for the lack of RP in most scenarios, and that there's someRP that occurs, but, my GF asserts "that it's no more than 80/20" ... and I tend to agree with her. And that's not really a great mix to me. I love PFS, and I love playing. In fact, I just came back from an 11 month hiatus, to play in the PFS again. But, there's just this massive concentration on combat, and a great deal of time, even the boxed text gets skipped, and the mechanics of battle get emphasized. I often get strained looks when I want to describe my actions or motivations during gameplay. It's as if RPing is frowned upon.

I'm curious: what if a DM wanted to specifically run a PFS table that is more than four hours? For example: if a DM wanted to intentionally schedule a game that encouraged RP, and made it clear that he expected it to run 6 hours, would that be objectional/against the rules?

I, for one, would love to play in a game like that.

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Thanks for the feedback, Zean. We're always looking for ways to make Pathfinder Society as good as it can be and as appealing to as many different people and play styles as possible, and feedback such as yours goes a long way in terms of telling Mike and I what folks like, don't like, and want to see in the future.

Andoran ***

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W. Kristoph Nolen wrote:

I'm curious: what if a DM wanted to specifically run a PFS table that is more than four hours? For example: if a DM wanted to intentionally schedule a game that encouraged RP, and made it clear that he expected it to run 6 hours, would that be objectional/against the rules?

I, for one, would love to play in a game like that.

As long as you included that in the sign-up description: "Role-play heavy" "Extended for additional Role-Playing" etc., it shouldn't be a problem.

On the other issue, there are actually things that the players/PCs can do to enhance the environment, like running through some of the knowledge skills after the VC intro, and before getting down to business.

A lot of scenarios include about a page & a half or so of background for the GM, and much of that background would be something accessible to the PCs if they use some library time and knowledge skill rolls. And, as many of the scenarios start out at the Grand Lodge, or a local lodge, there should be a library available right there.

And, at least locally, I have noticed a small upswing of lore-based PCs, Lore Wardens, Oracle fo Lore, etc. Heck, I need to remember to do this more often with my Lore Warden...

Spoiler:
I played one game online with my Lore Warden, and we had 5 PCs, and only one of them didn't have moderate to good knowledge skills. Almost every combat started with 4 people rolling knowledge checks and passing the word on the critters to the poor Sorerer. ;)

Andoran **** Venture-Captain, Missouri—Cape Girardeau aka Arnim Thayer

Lex Starwalker wrote:
There are just certain behaviors I find unacceptable and disrespectful to the GM, but there's really nothing a PFS GM can do but put up with it. My hat is off to all those who do GM them. Honestly, I don't know how they do it.

I have had to "expand my comfort zone" as a PFS GM and even more so as a Venture-Lieutenant, so I understand how you feel. This, though, is one of the few things you have control over. If you find a player too disruptive, you can "invite him not to return." I have been lucky though, the host store I ran games at had courtesy rules for players to be involved... if you broke those, you would be asked to leave; three incidents, and a player would be ejected for Organized Play.

Even today, I have this issue come up at conventions I organize PFS for. Just a few weeks ago, I had a fairly new player ask if she could be switched to another table because of another player at a PFS event hosted at a convention. I was happily able to comply, knowing the player in question could be kind of an "attention hog".

If you have disruptive players, you have the right to protect your events from those who will drive out other players. You have to look at both the "fun factor" and growth; any player causing either of these to fail with for your group, might not be a fit for Organized Play.

*

Painlord wrote:

I hope that you'll stick with it a bit longer, keep reporting, and keep an eye on future changes.

There is no reason that the PFS campaign and environment cannot grow to meet the needs of our playgroups. We need to be around to help steer and encourage those changes.

+1

Some things are broken, but they seem to be getting fixed in seasons 3/4. If you're running scenarios in seasons 0-2, you take what you get.

zean wrote:
we don't feel so bad when we tell a new player that they have to keep the sub-optimal build they made

It would be nice if PCs could be changed in levels 1-2, especially for people new to PFS and roleplaying. I agree.

zean wrote:
tell another player that they were the only one to not get their Faction Point for this scenario

Hopefully everyone's a big boy/girl and they can handle it. :) I mean, rea life is a lot tougher than not getting a faction point. I have no problems not giving or not getting a faction point, if it's fair.

There's ways around it too, everyone could pick the same faction and/or help each other. Both are fine.

zean wrote:
tell that GM that they can't adjust the power level of things to accommodate variance among player power level.

No comment, but things are getting better like I said above. Some fights are maybe overtuned (too hard) now.

zean wrote:
general GM fudging of dice

You're allowed to fudge dice within reason. It's preference really. I prefer not to do fudge dice (I can usually tell a TPK when I prep), but not everyone is like that.

zean wrote:
not playing game mechanics as RAW (after all, things can get hectic and crazy in battle sometimes).

Not sure why you wouldn't want to play the mechanics RAW.

Sometimes GMs have to do things to speed up a session, if you've simplified combat somewhat in these circumstances, it's better than skipping (handwaving) entire encounters, which I've seen before.

zean wrote:
The other big thing is the way Prestige Points and Factions work - Factions as a concept are a wonderful thing in PFS, but the fact that players always feel compelled to complete their missions and always get derailed trying to achieve all their points (not to mention that GMs here hate to "deny" players maximum PP) has overall really hurt the quality of many of the PFS scenarios we've lead here at our RPG Group

They're reworking factions somewhat is season 4.

But like I said, you can work around this by picking the same faction.

Just stick with it. I think over the long term it would be better for your play group if it was sanctioned, especially as people's interests in attending conventions elsewhere increases. I think it would really stink if your guys were level 6-8 and wanted to attend other conventions, and then you couldn't. YMMV.

Good luck.

Grand Lodge

Michael and Kinevon,

Thanks for the information. I didn't realize the GM had that ability. Maybe I will run a PFS game some time after all... I would love to run a more RP intensive game as was discussed. IMO if you boil Pathfinder down to tactics and moving your mini around on the battle mat, it gets dreadfully boring. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

Lex Starwalker wrote:

Michael and Kinevon,

Thanks for the information. I didn't realize the GM had that ability. Maybe I will run a PFS game some time after all... I would love to run a more RP intensive game as was discussed. IMO if you boil Pathfinder down to tactics and moving your mini around on the battle mat, it gets dreadfully boring. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way.

As a player who loves good role play, I would strongly endorse this. Here are some suggestions I can offer for running these:

1. Do not simply sign up to GM a table on the regular open game day at your FLGS and hope for the best. Instead, send out an ad regarding your intentions and solicit requests to play. Based on who responds, you can hand-pick who will play at your table. Then run closed game sessions with these people.

2. Make certain that you schedule more time for each scenario. The "problem" with good role play is that it can chew up time. However, if you schedule the game for six hours, you should have plenty of time for RP, faction missions, and even the main mission itself. As a GM, you also won't feel crunched for time, which can make things less fun.

3. Try to run scenarios that encourage good role play. The Blackros Museums scenarios,Frostfur Captives, Sewer Dragons, Murder on the Throaty Mermaid, and Immortal Conundrum all immediately spring to mind as great options. I'm sure there are many more.

Finally, play in open games! One of the best ways to elevate play is to set an example that others will want to emulate. Role play in every scenario. By doing so you change the parameters of the game. Once folks realize that enjoying your character is a victory condition in and of itself, more people may join you.

Grand Lodge ****

Jason S wrote:


zean wrote:
we don't feel so bad when we tell a new player that they have to keep the sub-optimal build they made

It would be nice if PCs could be changed in levels 1-2, especially for people new to PFS and roleplaying. I agree.

+1 to this.

I would be surprised if there wasn't a number of GMs who allow common sense stat swapping to occur at low level with inexperienced gamers with a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy.

Sczarni ***

KestlerGunner wrote:
Jason S wrote:


zean wrote:
we don't feel so bad when we tell a new player that they have to keep the sub-optimal build they made

It would be nice if PCs could be changed in levels 1-2, especially for people new to PFS and roleplaying. I agree.

+1 to this.

I would be surprised if there wasn't a number of GMs who allow common sense stat swapping to occur at low level with inexperienced gamers with a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy.

Well, truthfully, it's not our job to keep track of any minor changes on a character record sheet. This is a matter for the good faith system.

All I know about my players' characters is that their stats add up for the characters' levels and races, that they have the appropriate number of skill points and feats, and that they've calculated their hit points appropriately. If I wanted to, I could probably put in an hour to make sure purchases and sales add up properly... I frequently remind ranged attackers to tick arrows off their inventory, but I suppose I could keep track myself, too.

Consequently, does anyone have a decent system for quickly checking characters over to ensure that they're on the level?

**

zean wrote:

Hey there, I just wanted to know if anyone here feels the same-

I find PFS to just be incredibly restricting (and mind you, I highly respect PFS for what it does. I think Organized Play is a wonderful concept, and I really applaud Paizo for the effort they've put in to really decentralize and make sure anyone can run PFS stuff), and more and more I've just grown frustrated with the inability to basically be the GM of my own game.

More restricting than a home game for certain, but I've found PFS to be the least restricting of the several "living campaigns" I've participated in over the years. While there is certainly room for improvement I contend that PFS is currently the best option available for RPG Organized Play.

zean wrote:
Things we've "broken the rules on" have been stuff like letting new players re-stat their characters, GMs altering encounters because they were too easy or too hard, general GM fudging of dice, and the usual not playing game mechanics as RAW (after all, things can get hectic and crazy in battle sometimes).

While no one should advocate breaking the rules, we all know that Paizo collects precious little information on the details of each character; and in my eyes there is a huge difference between a 7th level Ranger that turns into a Zen Archer overnight and has about 2k more gold than he should, and player deciding after the first adventure that he or she wished they had picked one feat over another. It is for this reason that I strongly advocate the idea of an "early reroll" becoming a part of the official PFS rules.

zean wrote:
The other big thing is the way Prestige Points and Factions work - Factions as a concept are a wonderful thing in PFS, but the fact that players always feel compelled to complete their missions and always get derailed trying to achieve all their points (not to mention that GMs here hate to "deny" players maximum PP) has overall really hurt the quality of many of the PFS scenarios we've lead here at our RPG Group.

My understanding is that improvements are forthcoming in this area. Time will tell if they actually improve anything. 8-)

zean wrote:
In the end, it looks like we're poised to give up on PFS, and instead just use the materials and rulings and banlist (the "Additional Resources" page) as a Guide for our own RPG Group.

Awesome. Since the point of PFS is to encourage people to play Pathfinder it looks like its doing its job with your group whether or not you choose to report your events.

You are lucky to have a solid, dedicated group of players that (from the sounds of it) plan to be a part of your gaming group for a long time. Others are not so lucky; the only chance they may get to game is at conventions and in-store events. What PFS allows this person to do is to have a uniform system of playing the game and advancing his or her character no matter where in the world the gaming table might be.

Taldor ***

To the Original Poster:

Don't give up just yet. Especially not until you've had a chance to play with some new people/cliques/groups.. not that there's anything intrinsicly wrong with playing with the same group of people, but it sure does color PFS.

And, contrary to many vocal opinions, a PFS scenario is not reduced to being a human-judged MMO instance. For example, the belief that PFS GMs may not fudge dice is common but demonstrably incorrect. (to head off any 'Nuh UH!'s from said believers, check CRB pages 402-403, then show where PFSOP says they are removed from OP rules in any potential replies.)

My advice on reconciling the 'straitjacket' that comes with organized play is this: While you may not customize the scenario itself, you're certainly still allowed to tailor the players' experience of said scenario.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Zean,
Wait for Season 4 to start, along with the new Guide to PFSOP that comes with it. You'll find some of your concerns are being addressed. :)

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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deusvult wrote:
My advice on reconciling the 'straitjacket' that comes with organized play is this: While you may not customize the scenario itself, you're certainly still allowed to tailor the players' experience of said scenario.

+1

The GMs I tend to admire the most are the ones who can provide a great experience while working within the rules instead of against them.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Zean,

Your feedback is awesome.

We're working on a few things for Season 4, and I think you'll find some improvements coming down the pipe. Everyone who is involved with PFS professionally has a much clearer and better handle on how to make this more fun.

I want to be more specific, but I can't at the moment. Needless to say though I'm writing a scenario right now, and some of these very issues are things that Mark and I have talked about in respect to this project.

We're listening, and thanks for talking!

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

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Hey folks. Mark and I are listening and appreciate feedback. As mentioned before, we will be adding 1st level retraining to Guide 4.2. You know we are working to improve faction missions. Things are happening to improve the campaign but it takes time to make changes and do it in a way it makes sense.

All I can do is ask that you continue to have patience, give us some time, and keep providing us feedback with what you want to see in your organized game play and we will continue to strive to make PFS the best it can be.

Qadira *** Venture-Captain, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Thorkull

I wanted to pop in and clarify something that gets missed alot. The campaign is balanced around the assumption that characters are getting about 3/4 of the PP available to them. If your players are expecting to get all the PP all the time, then you probably should do some resetting of their expectations -- I've had to do so with my local group, and I remind them of it every time someone doesn't get their full PP for a session. Just this weekend I played a scenario where I missed a PP -- in fact, we ran from the last encounter like scared little children!

In sort, zean, neither you nor your GMs should feel guilty because a player misses a PP here or there. It's expected that players will miss PP from time to time, or we'd just hand two PP to everyone for every scenario like we do with XP.

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

I'm just in the process of finishing my eights character - a Beastbrood Lore Warden from the far away New Oppara. Having made contact there with the Pathfinders for the first time she joined up as a protector for the Grand Lodge.
She might not fulfill the stereotype role of a fighter - her strength lacking compared to others. But she makes up with it through her high dexterity and her social skills.
While Honey Tongued if needed she also can let down her Monstrous Mask or become a Beast Bully that allows her to intimidate her foes if necessary.

Why do I write this?

Well - actually I didn't feel too much constrained at all generating a new and unique character. Yes - I do have a Tiefling boon that I finally use - thanks to the Beginner Bash.
But what is more important - I know the world and the circumstances where my character fits in. I know that the trait off to lower my strength (14) and instead to invest in some social skills (Diplomacy +7, Intimidate +6, +11 against Humanoids) will ensure interesting games.

So how much does PFS really restrict me as a player? Only as much as my fellow players at the table expect as 'fighter' I'm a max damage dealing machine and feel such a character doesn't properly fits his role. Luckily I seldom have seen this attitude at the table - rather here on the boards.

This leaves my role as GM

PFS makes my live easier in many ways. I don't have to come up with house rules. Good quality scenarios are in plenty supply - enough for a long evening of gaming. Chronicles allow me to have less book keeping - this is done by the players. No longer do I have to calculate XP, etc.

Do I lose something? Yes - I no longer have the freedom to make a rule to break rules as I see fit. Gone is the Paladin/Berserker that happened when one of my players got cursed to fall into a rage whenever he entered combat. It shaped the next year of gaming as he needed to get rid of the curse. I had house made rules how he slowly lost his Paladin powers the more he progressed as Barbarian and I even generated a specific adventure to allow him to get rid of the curse and become a full functional Pal/Bar.

But I think I gained so much more. Most important of all the PFS community. Until then my group had been very stale - the same players for 10 years with very few changes. Now there are ways to integrate new players, have them play even if they are not around every week. I go out to conventions to see other GM styles and player styles which has enriched the way I GM and made me a better GM.
When I visited the US on business I was able to leave a message here on the boards - and a GM (now VC) picked it up and organized a game in the closest game store on the only day I could make it - TWICE. And it allowed me to play my own character.

Yes - PFS puts restrictions on me. But taking a step back I feel I overall gain so much more from them being in place as I lose that I happily adhere to them.

Off course - this is only my own opinion - but I felt I should add it here.

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

A few thoughts...

First, you are only restricted to the four-hour session time if you are playing at a venue that requires it. Conventions, weeknight games, etc. usually have to deal with other games being scheduled or strict time slots. However, if you play in a "home" environment or at a FLGS on the weekend with nothing scheduled behind you, there is no reason you could not expand the role-playing opportunities and a single scenario could last all day, or multiple days. As long as you do not introduce additional resource-sapping encounters, or change the stat block info for the printed material, have fun.

Also, your local players need to understand the challenge level of scenarios and that the GM cannot deviate from the printed material. Personally, I feel GM's have more abilities to adjust for table variation through gameplay than some seem to indicate, but whatever. In any case, if the players build uber-optimized PC's they are going to have a much easier time. I'm not saying that play style is wrong, just that it tends to be incompatible with how PFS is structured. The power-creep from additional printed material encourages it, but you can increase the challenge of the scenarios with a little self-restraint in the PC creation process. If your players don't want to do that, then they should not be surprised when they cake-walk a scenario.

To the OP, I would suggest you have a conversation with the players so they understand this dynamic. Then you can stick with PFS. It has some great opportunities for social play, especially if you attend conventions or larger events. Aside from that, start a "home-game" where you can explore the deeper role-play aspects of PFRPG, like maybe an Adventure Path, where the GM/players are free to do whatever they want.

Sczarni ***

From all his or her posts on the messageboards, I'd already assumed this GM had decided to stick with PFS. :)

Silver Crusade *

PFS is what it is. I was initially resistant to the idea of giving up my beloved item creation feats, but I understand the reason for them not being present.

I've been in hardcore homebrew games, but these characters are impossible to interface with other homebrew game characters. Sometimes I wish that the PFS scenarios were a little more dangerous, but overall its pretty fun.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
David Bowles wrote:

PFS is what it is. I was initially resistant to the idea of giving up my beloved item creation feats, but I understand the reason for them not being present.

I've been in hardcore homebrew games, but these characters are impossible to interface with other homebrew game characters. Sometimes I wish that the PFS scenarios were a little more dangerous, but overall its pretty fun.

Check out the reviews, there are definitely some dangerous scenarios out there, especially when you start hitting the 5-9 and 7-11 scenarios.

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

Kyle Baird wrote:
David Bowles wrote:

PFS is what it is. I was initially resistant to the idea of giving up my beloved item creation feats, but I understand the reason for them not being present.

I've been in hardcore homebrew games, but these characters are impossible to interface with other homebrew game characters. Sometimes I wish that the PFS scenarios were a little more dangerous, but overall its pretty fun.

Check out the reviews, there are definitely some dangerous scenarios out there, especially when you start hitting the 5-9 and 7-11 scenarios.

Or if you just sit at Kyle's table.

Qadira ***

Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
Or if you just sit at Kyle's table.

Does Kyle still judge?

Last I heard, he was hiding behind behind his keyboard just dreaming up ways to kill PCs rather than actually doing it.

Joe Caubo was calling him "All thought, No action" Baird, last time I heard.*

-Pain

*:

I hear lots of strange things that are completely made up.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
Or if you just sit at Kyle's table.

Or that.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Painlord wrote:

Does Kyle still judge?

Last I heard, he was hiding behind behind his keyboard just dreaming up ways to kill PCs rather than actually doing it.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Kyle Bairdcave wgah'nagl fhtagn!

Spoiler:
"In his house at Bairdcave, dead Kyle waits dreaming."

He will rise again, Mister Pain!

Osirion

deusvult wrote:


My advice on reconciling the 'straitjacket' that comes with organized play is this: While you may not customize the scenario itself, you're certainly still allowed to tailor the players' experience of said scenario.

I'd be interested in seeing an expansion of this statement.

-Perry

Silver Crusade ****

Or if you visit Bairdcave, Kyle will convince you that killing yourself is a better option. Apparently he's lazy at his home, can't even dignify killing me himself, he makes me do it for him. :P

Shadow Lodge **

I went into PFS not knowing how Organized Play worked, and crafted a backstory and characterization arc, and then felt like I had to make the most out of those first few minutes while the GM was setting up and we got to introduce our group while we headed to the Grand Lodge's briefing room together.

I felt like PFS and home games both have trade-offs: in PFS, you have greater stability and get the money to buy whatever gear you want, leading to everyone upgrading their Cloaks of Resistance and Rings of Protection. Likewise, the varied character roster means that you can make more friends in-game and out. It's like PFS is a TV show, the various scenarios are episodes, and your team is the main character on this channel. (It's a lot of fun for me to think of it that way for my Detective Bard)

For home games, you have flexibility, unpredictability, and ongoing motivation with a group dynamic. You can't just reach the current session's goal and have everything else fall into place, and you can have a lot of fun with situational stuff like spider climb slippers or a sheath of bladestealth and the uses you can have for them (the latter is my favourite magical object to pronounce).

Home games are more fun for role-playing, ongoing narratives, getting away with more, and just having fun with friends. PFS is more fun for a new adventure every week, people who like to plan out character growth, and for those who want more experiences with new people. Plus, one can facilitate the other, which is helpful for the people who want to start a home game.

Grand Lodge ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I love the idea of Pathfinder Society being a weekly TV show, Mongoose. But I reckon it better resembles a pulpy radio serial from the 40s.

"In next week's exciting episode, find out what happens when our brave heroes travel to the icy Irrisen mountains... (snow crunching noises)
...to come face to face with a terrifying Remorhaz!
(Budget godzilla monster noise followed by a Wilhelm Scream)
How will they get out of this one! Find out next week in PATHFIIIIINDER CHRON-ICKLES!
(Theme tune plays on kazoo)

-Pathfinder Chronicles is brought to you by Dralneen whips! It ain't a whip unless it's a DRALNEEN WHIP!-

***** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Indianapolis aka Red-Assassin

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Awsome mention of the Wilhelm Scream. I may need to add it into play, having the scream play on my phone whenever a player goes into negative HP . :)

Silver Crusade **

Chris Bonnet wrote:
Awsome mention of the Wilhelm Scream. I may need to add it into play, having the scream play on my phone whenever a player goes into negative HP . :)

When not playing at a game store or convention, I tend to use my DnD soundboard for dramatic effect. The players tend to rather love it!

Qadira *** Venture-Lieutenant, Australia—Sydney

Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Chris Bonnet wrote:
Awsome mention of the Wilhelm Scream. I may need to add it into play, having the scream play on my phone whenever a player goes into negative HP . :)
When not playing at a game store or convention, I tend to use my DnD soundboard for dramatic effect. The players tend to rather love it!

I am intrigued by this notion of a DnD soundboard.

Silver Crusade **

Brendan Missio wrote:
Alexander_Damocles wrote:
Chris Bonnet wrote:
Awsome mention of the Wilhelm Scream. I may need to add it into play, having the scream play on my phone whenever a player goes into negative HP . :)
When not playing at a game store or convention, I tend to use my DnD soundboard for dramatic effect. The players tend to rather love it!
I am intrigued by this notion of a DnD soundboard.

I'll try to figure out where I got mine from. There are a bunch available over the internet.

Grand Lodge

One thing I think is pretty cool about PFS is I feel more free to try different characters. Every home game I've played in has been a campaign, so I'm very careful when choosing a character because I want to play a character I'll enjoy for a long, long time.

In PFS, I feel more free to try different characters. I realized the other day I've never played a druid in D&D. So maybe one day I'll roll one up for PFS just for fun.

The only down side is you play these new characters at level 1, which really isn't a good taste of what the class is like.

*****

Lex Starwalker wrote:

One thing I think is pretty cool about PFS is I feel more free to try different characters. Every home game I've played in has been a campaign, so I'm very careful when choosing a character because I want to play a character I'll enjoy for a long, long time.

In PFS, I feel more free to try different characters. I realized the other day I've never played a druid in D&D. So maybe one day I'll roll one up for PFS just for fun.

The only down side is you play these new characters at level 1, which really isn't a good taste of what the class is like.

Ahhh ... yes ... Now if you GM enough, you can create the new character at level 2 or 3 or heck with enough GM credit lvl 5

Qadira ***

2 people marked this as a favorite.

but you miss all the fun stuff! (yeah, I know, I'm a little strange that way. I like the lower levels - I get to learn my PC better and know what he is all about that way.)

Cheliax ***

zean wrote:
Hey there, I just wanted to know if anyone here feels the same-

Yup, I think you nailed it on all those points.

Quote:
I really admire PFS, and I only wish the very best for it. But for ourselves, it looks like we may just move on. Maybe.-.

Looks like you have found a great solution. Have fun.

Cheliax ***

W. Kristoph Nolen wrote:
I'm curious: what if a DM wanted to specifically run a PFS table that is more than four hours? For example: if a DM wanted to intentionally schedule a game that encouraged RP, and...

I actually saw that happen on Saturday. That FLGS offers a single session, so there was no time constraint for the table. The Judge asked if everyone had extra time, and since they all did, he went into extra heavy role play mode. He ran one of the intro scenarios for 6+ hours. Since one of the players was a V-L, I guess there was nothing blatantly wrong about it. Certainly the players all had a great time.

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