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A suggestion - A "My Realms" PFS equivalent


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

Grand Lodge

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One rather interesting thing I found about Living Forgotten Realms (one of 4E's Organized Play groups) is that they have templates for creating your own scenarios. GMs are allowed to create adventures set in the Forgotten Realms world, provided that they abide by certain Gold and Experience Point budgets.

If it works for their group, what about for us? I know that some GMs in my group sometimes want to create adventures of their own, but also want to benefit from the network of PFS that creates a stable and large player base to play their ideas. It's gotten to the point where we have some GMs run pseudo-PFS games which don't count for anything at all, but let players play with the characters that they've enjoyed building up in other sanctioned PFS scenarios.

Here's some more info from the LFR page: http://www.livingforgottenrealms.com/adventures.html#myrealms

Osirion

zean wrote:

One rather interesting thing I found about Living Forgotten Realms (one of 4E's Organized Play groups) is that they have templates for creating your own scenarios. GMs are allowed to create adventures set in the Forgotten Realms world, provided that they abide by certain Gold and Experience Point budgets.

If it works for their group, what about for us? I know that some GMs in my group sometimes want to create adventures of their own, but also want to benefit from the network of PFS that creates a stable and large player base to play their ideas. It's gotten to the point where we have some GMs run pseudo-PFS games which don't count for anything at all, but let players play with the characters that they've enjoyed building up in other sanctioned PFS scenarios.

Here's some more info from the LFR page: http://www.livingforgottenrealms.com/adventures.html#myrealms

I loved the My Realms idea in LFR. As a GM I got to really explore scenario construction while following a set of architectural guidelines. Were there learning experiences? Yes there were, and I'm glad I had players who gave me honest feedback.

-Perry

Grand Lodge ***

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Umm, no thank you.

PFS has attempted to set a standard for quality, something that drops pretty hard with 'My Realms' style adventures.

Frankly, this is what home games are for.

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

+1 to Clint. And really, there is nothing stopping you from playing your PFS characters in a homebrew game. It just doesn't count towards PFS.

Silver Crusade ****

There is a system to write your own PFS scenarios in place. Just need to send in your adventure concept in through the PFS Open Call. That's as close as we're going to get to writing our own adventures. I personally know at least one author this has worked for.

Osirion

Clint Blome wrote:

Umm, no thank you.

PFS has attempted to set a standard for quality, something that drops pretty hard with 'My Realms' style adventures.

Frankly, this is what home games are for.

Clint,

Could you share your My Realms experiences?

-Perry

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, West Virginia aka Marack

In principle I like this idea. In practice I don't think its workable. I played Living Greyhawk in the day and the quality of the scenarios was a lot more inconsistent. Paizo has pretty high standards for what they put their name on and I think that is a good thing. I would not want anything taking away from that.

That said, I like the idea of the occational GM generated scenario, but not as a means of completely ignoring the existing campaign. For me to buy into the idea I would want them limited, possibly in the following ways.
- Only usable during game days or conventions. Possibly limited so that they may only be run at the one event ever.
- Only usable by GM's with a minimum number of stars (2 or 3), VC's or Convention organizers. (The last because I live in a region with no VC or VL)

The real trick with this would be how we would ensure quality scenarios of the sort that Paizo would put their name on without talking resources away from Paizo. A poory written custom scenario could leave a very bad first impression to someone playing their first PFS game.

I've thought about it and even with a community staff of volunteers for reviewing and editing of these we would still need a Paizo employee to serve as the ultimate judge, which would take away from their already limited time.

One possibility that would serve to limit casual abuse and offset some of Paizo's costs would be to charge for the privilege, although I'm not sure that would be acceptable to either Paizo or the community.

The more I think about it, the more complicated it becomes. When I think of myself being able to write a story that would suit the goals and development of my players, it sounds amazing. When I think of subjecting my favorite character to a scenario written by that annoying guy I played with at that one convention... I am very fearful. I know that other campaigns make it work, but I'm not sure what I would want to give up in this one to make it work here.

Andoran ***

Marack,

Gotta disagree about some of your suggestions.

Limit it to 2 star minimum? Not really a good judge of GM innovation. I am, hopefully, going to get my second star in the near future. Howeever, I know that I am pretty much the kind of judge who shouldn't try sandboxing.

Perry, though, the poster right above you, has no stars yet (not sure why, I know he has run several PFS scenarios...) but is known in the localk area as being one of the best and most innovative GMs, including for his LFR MYREs.

As a matter of fact, I think he is rerunning a 6 part series he has run once before starting this coming Game Day. I am, once again, going to regret missing out, but I had already signed up to play PFS before his MYRE hit the list. :(

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Perry Snow wrote:
Clint Blome wrote:

Umm, no thank you.

PFS has attempted to set a standard for quality, something that drops pretty hard with 'My Realms' style adventures.

Frankly, this is what home games are for.

Clint,

Could you share your My Realms experiences?

-Perry

I never played a My Realms adventure as I saw it counter productive to a Organized Play Campaign. I hated the idea from the start. Several My Realms adventures were run locally with mixed results, but generally bad. I think it's safe to say that the number of people who can put out an adventure like this of quality is far lower than the number of people who think they can.

My Realms was certainly an interesting idea, just never one I was interested in pursuing. Paizo has kept a tighter hold on PFS and, in my experience, it has led to a better result. Your mileage may vary. Instead of trying to copy all the things that LFR did (many of which drove a lot of us out of LFR) I'd rather Paizo followed its own path.

I certainly don't have the power to say one way or another on this matter, but it's one I couldn't support.

Qadira ***

Clint Blome wrote:

Umm, no thank you.

PFS has attempted to set a standard for quality, something that drops pretty hard with 'My Realms' style adventures.

Frankly, this is what home games are for.

This seems like an odd argument to make to me.

The LFR region that exists around me does have some, but not tons, of My Realms play. I've seen both the good and bad with it, but I think it's been a positive innovation.

Yes, Clint, some My Realms are good, and some are bad. Same is true with the current PFS mods? So what?

I believe the local community should be able to appreciate them for what they are. If they suck, the players and GMs will stop running them. If they are good, well, then I hope that continues.

Daniel Luckett wrote:
There is a system to write your own PFS scenarios in place. Just need to send in your adventure concept in through the PFS Open Call. That's as close as we're going to get to writing our own adventures. I personally know at least one author this has worked for.

Yeah there is Open Call in place...And?

If you're applying to that, then you're quite limited in the story you can present (another errand mission?) and are forced into shoving a bunch of silly non-nonsensical faction missions into it.

While I recognize that Open Call exists, the truth is that one in (some large number) actually gets the go ahead.

Not sure this is a good argument against My Realms.

* * *

I'm not for or against My Realms, btw.

I know there are good arguments against My Realms (like Mike says he doesn't want to), but these ain't it.

-Pain

Cheliax ***** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Actually, I think that Paizo's designs make sure that all scenarios have X level of quality. The problem with a My Realms sort of adventure is that there is NO quality control on what can be written and it may not fit in at all with canon.

The quality of work has always been Paizo's greatest asset. I don't think we want to risk that so that people can make their own adventures. If you want to do that, it would be GREAT as a home game, but not for Organized Play.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, West Virginia aka Marack

kinevon wrote:

Marack,

Gotta disagree about some of your suggestions.

Limit it to 2 star minimum? Not really a good judge of GM innovation. I am, hopefully, going to get my second star in the near future. Howeever, I know that I am pretty much the kind of judge who shouldn't try sandboxing.

I agree with you, I was just grasping at a way to gauge experience in running games. The star system is all that is provided here and we already have a precedent with scenarios that require 4+ stars to run. That was where I first thought to put the limit, but I am sensitive to those who have no VC's or 4+ star GMs in the area. *waves*

If this type of system were to be allowed there would have to be some method for maintaining quality. That would either through an approval process or some sort of gate to entry for those who don't have the required skill. I'm not sure that either is feasable.

I will say that my experience of playing under 4 and 5 star GMs at Origins has made me think that at that level, they do have what is needed for good encounter design. I knew they were good, but what they ran was much better than what I found in the printed scenarios, even though they used the same NPC's, strategies and maps. It really inspired me to turn my creativity up a notch.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Marack wrote:
If this type of system were to be allowed there would have to be some method for maintaining quality. That would either through an approval process or some sort of gate to entry for those who don't have the required skill. I'm not sure that either is feasable.

LFR, of course, has no such process in place. The only restriction for writing and running a MYRE adventure in LFR (other than following the rules for XP and treasure by level) is that only the author is allowed to run a MYRE adventure -- that is, you can't write a MYRE and then give it to someone else to have them run it (and any particular MYRE may have no more than two "authors").

As you note, it's almost undoubtedly infeasible to have someone at Paizo reviewing and approving these things.

MYRE also fills a couple of other roles in LFR, which probably aren't issues in the same way for PFS:

1) Particularly in the first two years of LFR, there was little or no campaign continuity from adventure to adventure. Characters might be in the East Rift on one adventure, and thousands of miles away in the Moonshaes in the next, with no overarching metaplot or storylines to explain this globe-trotting. MYRE gave the DM who was trying to run a more coherent, campaign-based game for their local players a way to create "interstitial" adventures which helped get the characters from Point A to Point B. (This was particularly the case for DMs who were using LFR adventures to run home campaigns.)

2) As anyone who has played LFR since Year 2 knows, the pace of adventure releases slowed to a crawl in 2010, and has never fully recovered. MYRE gave DMs a way to continue running games, even with no "fresh" LFR material for their groups.

Given PFS's better approach to story arc development, and regular adventure release schedule, neither of these seem to be good reasons for PFS to have something like MYRE.

ISTM that the only remaining reason for such a program would be groups of players who want to run their PFS characters through home-made adventures for campaign credit. Frankly, I'd expect that to be a small minority of PFS players / groups, and I'm not sure that there's enough of them to warrant the development of such a program.

Finally, note that MYRE is very bare-bones on what it allows the DM to give as far as awards...stock GP and XP for tier, no item access beyond the stock access that's in every module, and no story awards that tie back into any non-MYRE adventures. If you were to do something like this in PFS, you'd be looking at standard GP for tier, perhaps no second PP for faction mission completion, and no item access on the Chronicle.

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

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Given the number of people leaving LFR I don't think it's in Paizo's or the Player's best interest to model the campaign after LFR. It's modeled more closely after Living Greyhawk, without some of the problems (and also lacking the benefits) of the regional system.

Some friends of mine wrote and ran MYRE that were *excellent*, but they're people I'd been playing with on a weekly basis for over 10 years, we all knew each other, and the adventures were tailored to the PCs. They were also among some of the best LG authors in our region with literally decades of RPG experience going back to 1E/2E, so they were not new to creative endeavors involving adventure design.

Most players (and I lump myself in with them) are not up to those standards. I'd rather see the Society stay focused on the existing plotlines.

Andoran ***

Mike Mistele wrote:

2) As anyone who has played LFR since Year 2 knows, the pace of adventure releases slowed to a crawl in 2010, and has never fully recovered. MYRE gave DMs a way to continue running games, even with no "fresh" LFR material for their groups.

Given PFS's better approach to story arc development, and regular adventure release schedule, neither of these seem to be good reasons for PFS to have something like MYRE.

Actually, one of the issues that keeps cropping up, that sanctioning modules was designed to help out on, was that the release schedule, while reliable, is fairly slow for PFS modules. Two a month for 11 months, and four on that 12th month, for a total of only 26 scenarios in a year.

Even now, if a new group were to play a scenario a week, it wouldn't take them that long to catch up to all the published scenarios.

3 intros + 19 Season 0 + 28 Season 1 + 27 Season 2 + 22 Season 3 scenarios currently available = 99 scenarios, so under two years to catch up, and that is without any marathons or even two game days.

Hmmm. If I am counting my played sessions correctly, I have credit for playing 59 scenarios, with only the First Steps ones being duplicates.... And that only covers 3 sessions, so 56 unique scenarios, out of 99 available at present. No wonder I keep seeing scenarios offered in the online group that I have already played.

Qadira ***

Jonathan Cary wrote:
Given the number of people leaving LFR I don't think it's in Paizo's or the Player's best interest to model the campaign after LFR. It's modeled more closely after Living Greyhawk, without some of the problems (and also lacking the benefits) of the regional system.

What? LFR's "problems" and the reasons for it's slowdown are numerous and varied. To think that we have nothing to learn from the new ground they covered and the things they tried is somewhat odd.

I believe if you ask the LFR player base, they would think that My Realms was, generally, a good thing.

While it might not be right for PFS, that's a different story.

Jonathan Cary wrote:
Most players (and I lump myself in with them) are not up to those standards. I'd rather see the Society stay focused on the existing plotlines.

This is the argument that I don't get. Because you don't feel that your area is up to the challenge, does that mean it's a bad idea? The argument seems to be: "I don't think my region would do it well so no one should be allowed to do it" seems very hollow to me.

Secondly, what plotlines? Ruby Phoenix is over. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about potential future plotlines, but at this time, I don't know what they are or why My Realms would affect them.

Again, I'm not sold on a PFS My Realms, but I think it shouldn't be brushed aside.

-Pain

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Painlord wrote:
Secondly, what plotlines? Ruby Phoenix is over. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about potential future plotlines, but at this time, I don't know what they are or why My Realms would affect them.

The Year of the Ruby Phoenix is in full-swing, and the plot therein doesn't wrap up until PaizoCon.

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

Mark Moreland wrote:
Painlord wrote:
Secondly, what plotlines? Ruby Phoenix is over. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about potential future plotlines, but at this time, I don't know what they are or why My Realms would affect them.
The Year of the Ruby Phoenix is in full-swing, and the plot therein doesn't wrap up until PaizoCon.

FWIW, Painlord, I made this assumption as well. The tournament itself marked the halfway point of the metaplot, it seems, and I missed it largely because I've been GMing scenarios from older seasons.

Check out the Wonders in the Weave two-part arc to see where the Ruby Phoenix metaplot goes in the second part of the season - then the Rats of Round Mountain, Icebound Outpost, and Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment to name a few.

I'd also like to take the opportunity to thank you for playing a respectful and mature devil's advocate in this discussion. It's a rationality I wish we saw more of on the boards.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
kinevon wrote:

Even now, if a new group were to play a scenario a week, it wouldn't take them that long to catch up to all the published scenarios.

3 intros + 19 Season 0 + 28 Season 1 + 27 Season 2 + 22 Season 3 scenarios currently available = 99 scenarios, so under two years to catch up, and that is without any marathons or even two game days.

And, of course, in the meantime, two more years of scenarios would be released. :-)

It's not a uniquely PFS issue -- a group who plays "hardcore" in practically *any* OP campaign will run into this issue, sooner or later. Most OP campaigns simply don't release enough material to support that level of play for a particular group.

** Contributor

Daniel Luckett wrote:
There is a system to write your own PFS scenarios in place. Just need to send in your adventure concept in through the PFS Open Call. That's as close as we're going to get to writing our own adventures. I personally know at least one author this has worked for.

Is it me? Because it worked for me!

I've played a bit of LFR, but not any "My Realms" stuff, so I can't say whether it's good or bad in practice. I do like the concept, though, and approve of exploring this idea in PFS.

Sczarni *** Venture-Lieutenant, Connecticut—Manchester aka Cpt_kirstov

kinevon wrote:


Even now, if a new group were to play a scenario a week, it wouldn't take them that long to catch up to all the published scenarios.

3 intros + 19 Season 0 + 28 Season 1 + 27 Season 2 + 22 Season 3 scenarios currently available = 99 scenarios, so under two years to catch up, and that is without any marathons or even two game days.

+ 19 modules (17 of which take as much time as 3 scenarios) so add (17*3)+2 = 56 to that number = 155 scenario lengths

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