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I need your feedback and advice please


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

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At Gen Con, I received quite a bit of feedback, both positive and negative. One of the things that came up a large majority of the time was access to new things. People were unhappy I had not opened up the specific named magic items from the Ultimate equipment. People were angry I had not opened up Hellknight Signifier PrC. I also heard that Chronicle sheets are worthless and people want us to make them count and mean something and be desirable.

With Hellknight Signifier, I originally wanted to have it as a boon reward on a Chronicle sheet and thus did not open access to it when Paths of Prestige was released. I saw the perfect opportunity later in season 4 when the PCs will spend the vast majority of a scenario in a Hellknight compound to actually earn the PrC. If a player didn't earn it during the playing of the scenario, it would give him incentive to GM the scenario and earn the boon. Nothing like putting a carrot in place to recruit new GMs. I thought it was a win for the players and a win for coordinators.

Subsequently, I've learned that a good number of players don't trust in me or the system and would rather just be given cool stuff instead of earning it through play. Not only had I envisioned earning PrCs through play, but also earning unavailable equipment such as the specific named items in UE, the acquiring of new improved familiars such as the faerie dragon, and the like. I hadn't come out and said these things before because I didn't want to spoil some of the cool things we had planned for Season 4. But, I have also learned if I don't share these, there is vitriolic feelings toward me that I am just ruining everyone's fun.

So, I need your feedback and advice. Do you just want me to go back to the old way of doing things and open everything that is not broken to be accessible as soon as the book is released? Would you rather earn cool things through play and have it as a reward on a Chronicle sheet? What is it that you want because it can't be both ways? I've asked in the past for people to trust me to make things better for PFS, but from a fair number of reactions and feedback I received this weekend, about the Hellknight Signifier's current unavailability specifically, I still have a lot of work to do before people trust me to do right by the campaign and see that I actually have a plan in place.

Please let me know what you think. I want to thank you ahead of time for any input you provide, whether that be positive or negative.

Qadira ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

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Keep the lid on the cookie jar as long as you can. I think that one of the mistakes that Josh made was to open up everything early in the campaign and not control access. It's hard on the players to take stuff away once it is given, as we saw with the recent bans. Keeping the cookie jar on top of the fridge is a policy I am completely behind. Delayed gratification will keep PFS healthier in the long run.

*

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Short answer: I strongly like the idea that there will be some things in the campaign that will only (or predominantly) be available through actual play (i.e., through Chronicle access). That, and in the 8 months that I've been involved (once again) in PFS play, I've come to have a lot of respect for the judgment and decision-making process which you and Mark undertake for the campaign.

Longer answer: back when I was heavily involved in RPGA play, there was a saying -- "give an RPGA player a donut, and he'll complain about the hole." No matter what you do as a campaign administrator, there will be those who feel it isn't good enough, or isn't the right decision.

Many players have a very difficult time understanding that a particular decision is the right thing for the campaign; they can only see their own personal desires, and if it's their own ox being gored (i.e., the special familiar I really want, the borderline-cheese feat that'll make my character so much more fun in combat, etc.), they're going to complain.

The things that I think *can* help with that are, in large part, things that I think you're already doing:
- Quick decisions on inclusion (or exclusion) of new rules items
- When a particular rules item is disallowed, a reasonable (though not necessarily lengthy) explanation (e.g., advanced firearms don't fit the campaign setting, race X should be rare, etc.)

*** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Richmond aka thunderspirit

Full disclosure: I don't pretend to speak for anyone else in my PFS group -- only myself.

I would prefer the chronicles be meaningful and contain stuff that's not "open." I like getting those.

Fair or not, you and PFS are paying for the sins committed by the Ghost of Organized Campaigns Past. Trust is something not lightly given, and by some people not at all. If it's a campaign you'd like to play in, you're actively encouraging feedback, both constructive and not-so, from your boots-on-the-ground Venture officers (which must include an atmosphere that allows for dissent), and you're willing to consider concerns raised from people outside that circle, it's my opinion that you're doing what can realistically be done.

At the same time, you have to know that some people will never be happy with the decisions, nor with the decision-making process; and some will be happy with neither. In the not-quite-immortal words of Ricky Nelson: "Ya can't please everyone, so ya gotta please yourself."

Osirion **

Our groups here were just wondering why some of the PrCs weren't allowed since there are archetypes that are very similar. (Ex. Signifier, Razmiran Priest) I like the idea of having to earn some of the special stuff, but I'm also one of those people that doesn't want everything handed to him in real life. Thanks for letting us know what the reasoning was behind not allowing the PrCs. I know it's hard to do, but the more openness and communication between you and the people playing will help keep the majority of the complaints down since it seems that most of the complaints were "why isn't this available?".

**

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Players don't like not knowing. If you say, such-n-such is not available but may be available on a Chronicle sheet sometime this season, I think that's a win-win. You limit some items and thus make them 'special' and you make the Chronicles meaningful. If you don't tell us what you're doing and all we see is that you're limiting cool stuff, we don't understand and we get frustrated/angry.

Communication is the key.

-Swiftbrook
Just My Thoughts

Qadira *****

I think that up to now you've had to go back and realign rulings and things to make the society as a whole more cohesive and more streamlined. With that streamlining is going to come the dissenters who now have to give up a cool new toy or have to change the way they organize, etc. Those people are going to be the first to complain when they aren't getting their way or you've now made their game life harder for them.

The one thing I think people forget and weren't maybe completely prepared for is a campaign coordinator with a military-esque background. In your former job you had to be somewhat hardnosed depending on the situation and I'm sure that you've fallen back on some of those mannerisms in dealing with all of us whiney ones on the boards. Different campaign organizers are going to have different styles and while I'm not saying that the styles of previous organizers were bad, yours is different and something that we're all going to have to get used to as, so far, you seems to have broken the Gencon curse and you're still hanging around.

My personal opinion is that I would rather see super awesome kewl stuff on chronicles, give me a chance to feel like I've earned the item instead of just giving it to me. Since I judge so much I want to feel that the limited time I get to play has some value at the end other than just another piece of paper.

As far as making annoucements and the streaminglining -- there were (in my opinion) some obvious changes that had to be made and for me knowing that the VOs and M&M discussed it was enough. The VOs and M&M have been charged with nuturing PFS and fostering it up to be the best it can possibly be, that is not going to come without some changes and without some discussion.

While I don't want to see the whole discussion (who needs 600+ count threads), perhaps next time major changes are coming like this open it up for forum discussion for a week like you did when you first started. I think people would feel less like this has been sprung on them and the ones that have super strong feelings and feel like they were allowed to have their say before the decision was final.. if the decision doesn't change then so be it .. but people always want to feel as if their words have meaning and can affect change.

Taldor ***

I would much more prefer to see more worth in the chronicle sheets, be it newly available prestige classes or previously banned magic items.

...all I wish for is a graphical revisioning of the chronicle sheet. ;)

Taldor ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game Subscriber
Swiftbrook wrote:

Players don't like not knowing. If you say, such-n-such is not available but may be available on a Chronicle sheet sometime this season, I think that's a win-win. You limit some items and thus make them 'special' and you make the Chronicles meaningful. If you don't tell us what you're doing and all we see is that you're limiting cool stuff, we don't understand and we get frustrated/angry.

Communication is the key.

-Swiftbrook
Just My Thoughts

This in a nutshell. You've been more open and outspoken on these boards than the previous society leaders IMO, however, this time I think it might have been better communicated if it wasn't for the GenCon push.

Withholding items for cool chronicles, to make them truly count is an excellent tool, again IMO. However, since this is completely different than how it was done in the past, the expectation was that what was withheld was not going to be made available at all.

Note, I was not one of the folks who gave feedback at GenCon, or otherwise, but I know until I first saw your quick post about releasing these things in relevant scenarios I was a little put off by the lack of some of the archetypes.

I agree with the decision you made, now that the explanation was made. I don't want/need spoilers as to where to look for these things, but just knowing that they can be discovered is something truly to look forward to as the scenarios release over the year.

This is just my take on the situation.

****

Some thoughts:

  • I think "this class from our brand new book is not available and we won't tell you why" and "this class from our brand new book is not available for the moment but there will be access later, don't worry, I've got plans" are two different statements. Maybe you could adapt the Additional Resources list to say something like "This class and these items are banned unless allowed by a chronicle sheet," which tells people they can get them, but they have to work for them.

  • People want to know that their money is well spent. When a book (UE, ARG) comes out and huge chunks of it can't be used for official play, people get sad. I personally trust that you guys have a plan, but I still want to play a Kitsune Zen Archer who goes by Robin and wears a green pointed hat, but that isn't going to happen any time soon because I don't get to big cons. My point is it's difficult to balance and it can leave people in remote areas holding an expensive new hardcover and feeling really burned.

  • You guys are occasionally reluctant to comment on the causes behind a decision, which leaves people free to speculate ... and, not to put too fine a point on it, there is a very vocal subset of RPG players who take everything personally and don't know how to express their disappointment in socially acceptable ways. I'm not recommending transparency in every matter, but you do have to remember that the decision to keep things private has repercussions, especially in this crowd.

  • Speaking strictly for myself, I don't think a prestige class is necessarily the right choice for a chronicle boon unless it's a separate boon that can be applied to a different character, which in turn makes no sense as a reward from a scenario. A PrC is something you work towards with your entire character concept; randomly having it dropped on a PC who had no idea is not necessarily going to make any sense. Now, named items, on the other hand ...

    Finally, not for nothing, people are always going to complain. And lots of them are going to make it personal, and do so in person. My honest advice, my really-from-the-heart advice, is to just punch them in the face. Since that's out, I think you should consider publishing a statement that says "If you come up and insult my mother and tell me I'm ruining PFS, I'm going to roll my eyes and make sure your proposed rulings NEVER HAPPEN." Print it up on business cards and hand them out at cons when people are getting rowdy.

    ... or just carry a spray bottle and train them like you would an errant pet. :D

  • Grand Lodge ****

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    I'm all for having us earn things. And getting new people to GM is an excellent added bonus to present PFSers a carrot.

    **

    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    An additional thought:

    I think it would have been cool when Ultimate Magic came out that the spells from the book were not "always available" and then on the season 3 Chronicle sheets the spell books were detailed with many spells from UM even if the caster didn't use them in the scenario. Again, this make the chronicles more meaningful.

    Taldor

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I would like to see 2 things. Well... 3..

    1) I enjoy getting boons on a chronicle sheet. I don't really care if they are essentially worthless. If I get a boon that gives me a +1 bluff bonus with Tengu then I am happy. Basically I like stuff that makes it look like I actually accomplished something and someone appreciates my characters work.

    2) Magic items on chronicle sheets need to be better. Examples: in scenario 27, Our Lady of Silver, one of the 2 tier 8-9 items is a scroll of invisibility and in #3-26, Portal of the Sacred Rune, one of the tier 7-8 is a potion of Cure Moderate Wounds. Things like that IMO are kinda silly. I don't want vorpal weapons in there, but something better then that.

    3) I think there should be transparency yes, but at the same time there should be surprises. Maybe hint that certain things will be opened up sometime during the season?


    PFS play has gotten large enough that regardless of what you do or how you do it, there will be a vocal minority compaining about how it destroys their ability to have fun. This is part of dealing with a large number of Americans anymore, regardless of the setting.

    Put the story first. State clearly, publicly, and often that the story comes first. Remind people that PrCs were identified by the original game designers as a way to tie characters more closely to the story and setting. They were never meant to be options as freely avaialble as equipment choices.

    Remind people that their Chronicle Sheets tie their characters to specific aspects of the story, and that this connection identifies that certain rewards (or penalties) are available to those characters as part of the story, not as part of the system.

    Making announcements at Gen Con/Paizo Con/wherever con feels good, but is pretty much worthless. The majority of the player base simply will not get the information that way or as a direct result of that announcement. They will get the information through the standard electronic rules updates.

    Be aware that a significant portion of your customer base views PFS as nothing more than an alterante to sitting at home and playing games on the electronic system of their choice. A portion of that group doesn't care about the story, they care about getting their carrots. For some those carrots are levels. For others they are toys.

    The chronicle sheets are STILL the best way to communicate the availability of such rewards based on the story presented. The practice of filling in the empty chronicle space with a listing of "always available" goods actually HIDES the presence of such rewards from players who are not intimately familiar with the PFS specific rules. The earlier request for aredesign of the Chronicle sheets hadn't occurred to me, but such a redesign COULD allow for a section that clearly identifies the reward of new access only. That in and of itself wouldn't take much work at all, really.

    Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

    The problem with hinting that an unavailable archetype, PrC, magic item, et al... might be available sometime in the future as a Chronicle sheet item, is that every month when the new Chronicles release, I receive several hundred emails asking when the unavailable items will become available. If I don't answer each of those emails, then people think I'm ignoring them. If i tell the, in the future, they think im blwoing them off. It's a catch 22 I am trying to find a resolution for.

    Taldor

    In the case of the catch-22, I would put out something in the beginning of the season annoucement that certain would be released during the upcoming season but under no circumstances would you say when or what scenario they would be in. That would perhaps solve the problem for at least those who read the boards.

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

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    Speaking only for myself, I appreciate the restraint so that we can have nice things on the chronicle sheets and as boons. I think cool named magic items and prestige classes can be particularly awesome on chronicle sheets. I do like the idea (not sure if you're using it, since I wasn't at GC, but I like it none the less) of having boons earned during play that you can apply either to that character or to a new one.

    "While recounting tales of your adventure at XXX, you inspire a trainee to focus on YYY. This boon may be applied to any new character created within the next 6 months. When that character has been created, fill in the number below and mark off this boon by date "today+6months". Or some such.

    I agree that people like to know things, but sometimes it's just so cool to get something you never expected.

    *****

    Perhaps a tag line of: said item may be made available in the future but the certainty and date is unknown at this time and we're unable to foretell if and when they might be made available.

    perhaps this would negate the majority of the emails sent to you each month .. and for the ones that are you can simply copy and paste the tag line

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

    Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:

    Perhaps a tag line of: said item may be made available in the future but the certainty and date is unknown at this time and we're unable to foretell if and when they might be made available.

    perhaps this would negate the majority of the emails sent to you each month .. and for the ones that are you can simply copy and paste the tag line

    you might even add an additional line of, "please don't ask, because time spent telling you I'm not telling you keeps me from being able to move forward on things I could tell you if only I wasn't telling you I couldn't".

    except, perhaps, you know, not so goofy.

    Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

    Hi, Mike. Thank you for asking.

    I regret you received a lot of vitriol. I know, I know, it comes with the job, you have Big Boy pants, and all that. But it's not fun, and I regret that some folks need to show you how riled up they are.

    I think Swiftbrook has the heart of it. Now that we know that some cool choices will be available through Chronicle sheets, we can stand relieved and vigilant.

    But yeah, about that vigilance:

    --+--+--

    I don't like using the term "meta-gaming". A lot of time, it means "using common sense." (For example, yesterday, a GM who decided that intelligent opponents would attack a summoner instead of his eidolon was accused of "metagaming".) But I'll use it here.

    One of the failings of some other OP campaigns are traced to out-of-character (and indeed, supposedly out-of-player) knowledge about modules. There are people who have chosen to play through the "Quest for Perfection" series because they heard detailed scuttlebutt about some reward or another. They've decided which PC to play, based on which of their characters could best use that reward.

    A little of that attitude is inevitable. But I would rather it not become pervasive. I foresee a problem with your plan: some early players might end up getting the "Hellknight Signifier" boon with the wrong PC, and word gets around, and then players self-select which PCs to send through that adventure.

    You suggest that these rumors will encourage people to step up and GM the adventure, in order to get the boon. I don't think that will go as well as you hope. It's possible that many people will be encouraged to get behind the screen and will be surprisingly good GMs for bad reasons, but that's not where I'd place my money.

    Osirion ****

    Patrick Harris @ SD wrote:

    Some thoughts:

  • People want to know that their money is well spent. When a book (UE, ARG) comes out and huge chunks of it can't be used for official play, people get sad. I personally trust that you guys have a plan, but I still want to play a Kitsune Zen Archer who goes by Robin and wears a green pointed hat, but that isn't going to happen any time soon because I don't get to big cons. My point is it's difficult to balance and it can leave people in remote areas holding an expensive new hardcover and feeling really burned.
  • I can only dream of a day where Robin can adventure with the yellow Tengu druid, Big Bird, and his mastodon animal companion, Snuffleupagus.

    I think the main issue with story-based boons is that they often get stuck on the wrong characters. I'm sure more than person who knocked out the Quest for Perfection series wishes they did so with a different class. In the original example where there's a Hellknight compound maybe the player could get a boon that could be applied to a different PC. In that case the PC's backstory would be tied to the setting and not to the random nature of which scenario someone played.

    Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

    Just as a point of clarification, since I can't guarantee that Hellknight Signifier will 100% be added to a Chronicle later this season, I've already updated it to go into Additional Resources in September. I was using it as an example. Everyone will have the Hellknight Signifier prestige class As an available choice in the middle of September.

    Andoran *****

    Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

    As usual I think I am going to be the only dissenter in this thread... Though I will strive to be constructive instead of destructive.. ;)

    So In general I think this is a Good idea, Though I think you have to be very careful on what you hold aside for Con Boons or Chronicle Boons.

    I will use Hellknight Signifier as an example, I don't think this is a good example of something that should be held back. This Prestige class fits very well in Golarion and really there are no mechanical reasons or 'Campaign" reason to hold it back.

    Stuff that should be used as Scenario Boons or for Con Boons are those things that are either extremely rare in Golarion, (Musketeer, Holy
    Gun, Spellslinger Archetypes as examples) or Unique Items that are not usually available in PFS due to the possibility they may be "Broken" (Though these should not be on chronicles but rare Con Boons) or limited by the rules (items of above min caster level). A great example was the auction boon that opened up more poisons, that was an awesome Boon and would love to see more of that. Also Unique items not found in books just made for the scenario.

    Stuff should not be held back just to Push Scenarios as an incentive, It should be something special beyond just the normal.

    Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    Mike,

    You're doing a stellar job. This is rapidly shaping up to be the biggest and best year of PFS yet, which means more people, more voices, and more opinions. That's great, but I'd expect a lot of flak to go hand in hand with the praise. And flak isn't always polite.

    So I'll just say that you're awesome. You listen to what the public wants and try to deliver on it, as best you can. We wanted more races, we got more races. We wanted challenges, we got challenges. Everyone in my area is elated at the changes, and can't wait to get into the meat of Season 4. There are times when we need you to be the rules hammer, and you follow through on that like a champ. And sometimes the rules hammer is a ban hammer, and for that, I shed zero tears to see the synthesist go. You haven't been bully, condescending, or otherwise rude in any of your responses and you're excellent bar company.

    I look forward to catching up with you soon.

    - Walter

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

    I had a discussion about this with my players on Sunday while talking about changes to the Guide. Overwhelmingly they were in favor of what it takes to make the chronicle sheets better, even if it means fewer things are available right away. We approve of what you have done and want to see more of it going forward.

    I have a player who is really hardcore pro Cheliax. His goal is to become a Hellknight. While he was dissapointed not to be able just take the prestige class, the opportunity to earn it in game will make it that much more valuable and awesome.

    As a GM, one of the limitations in PFS is the ability to tailor your scenarios to your players. Adding things like Prestige class access and more interesting items to chronicle sheets gives us a chance to do so by scenario selection. If I have a player who wants to be a Hellknight? I put that scenario in the queue. If a particular item would be useful, there it goes.

    My experience with my players is that as long as they understand why the decision was made, they are good with it. They just want fun scenarios and good loot on the sheets. None of these players participate on the forums. I can barely get half of them to register their characters. They aren't the sort to send harassing emails.

    The short version is there are about 15 regular players here in WV that are happy with your changes and hope that they continue.

    Osirion ***

    I love the idea of earning extra special rewards and boons on chronicle sheets. Scenarios like Rats of Round Mountain and Quest for Perfection are fun, and then when you find out your extra work of playing the whole story is rewarded it makes it more worthwhile.

    The only downside is now I need to do extra planning when I play scenarios so a melee PrC or named item doesn't get put on a wizard. =)

    **

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    Is there anyway you can show the players that there is actually a plan in place? For someone who is not active on the forums (like many players in the group I play in), what gets banned and unbanned often times can seem really random.

    Andoran ***

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    No insult or vitriolk intended, but:

    Named magic items, in general, would be fine as a pseudo-random item on Chronicles.

    PrCs, on the other hand, are not something, IMO, that should be locked to a random Chronicle, nor given without warning.

    My experience with this kind of thing, in a previous OP campaign, was for my fighter-archer, with one level of barbarian, who got access to a specialist barbarian PrC from an AR. While he had a level of Barbarian, he was not built with much of anything "right" for the PrC, and it felt like a waste of time to me for that reason.

    Another boon I received was a whole list of things, including special magic items, several PrCs, feats, etc.; with the option to choose ONE of them for my PC. Again, much of it felt like a wastem, especially since several of thew items to choose from were either ones I wanted for my PC, and this was the only source for all of them, or were "junk" from the POV of my PC. This gets frustrating.

    At least, in PFS, you don't have to worry about the boon you want being only available on ARs from a region you are not within any feasible method of playing games from...

    But, IMO, one of the potential issues is that, in some of these cases, it sounds like the best-case scenario is that only 2 of a player's PCs will ever hace access to the PrC, even if they have more PCs that it would "fit" for, or, even if they only have two, there is a possibility (probability?) that one of the boons for the PrC will get burnt by one of their characters for whom it is not appropriate.

    And we won't even go into PrC access boons on chronicles for scenarios of too high a tier, I am going to assume that PrCs won't be unlocked on Tier 7-11 or Tier 12 chronicles...

    Shadow Lodge ***

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
    Michael Brock said wrote:
    If a player didn't earn it during the playing of the scenario, it would give him incentive to GM the scenario and earn the boon. Nothing like putting a carrot in place to recruit new GMs. I thought it was a win for the players and a win for coordinators.

    +1

    Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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    Mourne, it's not just extra planning ("I need to avoid playing my hammer fighter today, so that he doesn't level out of an opportunity to play the scenario with the cool bashing-weapon enhancement...") but it's planning using information that the player shouldn't even have ("There's a boon in scenario 4-39 that bestows a cool bashing-weapon enhancement.")

    That's what I'm concerned about: if it's okay to cherry-pick a PC to get a boon, is it all right to cherry-pick a paladin for that adventure where the party is surprised to fight dragons, undead, and demons?

    Is it okay to ask around and find out what challenges and boons a scenario provides, before sitting down to the table and playing?

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

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    My personal opinion is that you don't need to explain anything Mike.

    Options from books are banned for four reasons:
    1. Doesn't exist in Golarion.
    2. It is too evil for PFS play.
    3. It may be a reward in the future.
    4. Mechanics affect PFS play in a negative way.

    Let the players expound on the reasons. In the past, you have been transparent in some of your decisions and in others you have held your cards close to your vest (even surprising Venture-Officers). It would be a mistake to be completely transparent with every decision because people would argue with you about it ad nauseum.

    As the campaign coordinator, you have done more than all three previous coordinators combined to be more transparent and make the campaign better.

    I think, going forward, you just need to say "I have weighed in on all the arguments already and I have made these choices for the betterment of the campaign. No further discussion is warranted"

    It's somewhat harsh, but you don't need to be hounded by people about it and they are taking advantage of your previous transparency.

    Gamers may not like 'not knowing' but in this case, they will have to in order to be surprised in future chronicles.

    Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    Mike,

    Regarding "Cool Chronicles vs Instant Access":
    An interesting situation. People want access to the stuff in their books, but also want to get relevant things on their chronicles. Seems people like the idea of chronicles giving them things they can't get any other way, and your plan would indeed grant that. Since that's obviously getting some amount of poor reception, perhaps a solution would be to reverse how you approach it.

    If the goal is for chronicle items to be unique, there are two options: take chronicle items and make them unique by removing normal access to them (your plan), or take items we already don't have access to and put them on chronicles.

    People assume that non-broken/non-canon-breaking items will be legal. Restricted access feels like taking something away. But things that are already accepted as inaccessible (like custom items) don't have that emotional stigma and can be added to chronicles to achieve that special-ness.

    I suggest letting all obvious stuff be available as expected, and use normally-inaccessible items as the chronicle rewards. We already know that partially charged wands or magic items at higher-than-minimum CL are popular. How about more of those, plus maybe a paladin-crafted wand of [spell that's L1 for paladins but higher for clerics], some higher- or lower-enhancement bonus versions of named items, maybe some custom and completely unique items, etc?

    This would make chronicles relevant without people feeling like things were being withheld.

    Regarding trust:
    I don't know about everyone else, but something I noticed was that most of the people saying they weren't getting sufficient explanation of goings-on were people who don't frequent the PFS section of the forums. Basically, people never bothered to look where information was likely to be provided, then complained that it wasn't provided when it was. I pointed this out to a few posters, assuring them that you went out of your way to get community feedback and even shared some NDA stuff (like the gunslinger damage math).

    I think the best thing here is not for you to do anything different, Mike (you're doing great as-is). I think the proper course of action is for all of us, who know how involved you are with your constituents, to be quick to vouch for you when people think you're sharing less than you are. If every time people say something wasn't explained or didn't involve the community enough, half a dozen of us pipe up with, "Actually, he did ask! Just search the PFS forums for 'blah blah' and you'll find the discussion threads. Stay tuned in PFS General Discussion and you can chime in on future topics, too!", then I think trust would start to develop. I really think it's a simple matter of awareness.

    Qadira *

    Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Mike,

    I think the reason people jumped in the manner they did, is that they had no reason to believe these would become available in Chronicles. I realize you didn't want to spoil the surprise as it were, but sometimes it is better to let people in on the plan. Not necessarily specifics, but just the idea that things that have not been available as boons before, would now become available as boons.

    When I voiced my agreement with the confusion at the Signifer's denial, I was not cursing you or anything like that. I was honestly confused because the PRC seemed a perfect fit for the Cheliax Faction.

    I know when I saw that Deadly Dealer was not available for Society use I was very disappointed because I had been inspired for a character idea for Society play when I saw that Feat. Now that I know that it could come up in a chronicle (Note: I am not saying that it will, just that there exists the possibility), I have hope for the concept and I can watch for what scenario might contain it and steer that character to that scenario at some point.

    Please don't take this as begging for a change in the ruling on that Feat (unless begging will change the ruling :P). I am just using my personal experience as a way of conveying my thoughts on this.

    For my part, I would like to know what Unique Items/Feats/PRCs/etc. are available in what Scenario, so that I can steer a character whose concept relies on, or even is just benefited by, a given Unique Item/Feat/PRC/etc. I know this encourages "Meta-Gaming" but on the other side if I build a character with a given concept, it would really suck to miss out on the one piece that was vital to the concept.

    You can't please everyone, all you can do is make the decisions that you think are best for the campaign as a whole, and make adjustments when you find thopse decisions to be in error. I trust that you will do your best in that regard. That other people, the Venture Officers, are part of the equation on how you rule on any given piece just adds to my trust.

    In short, your plan sounds like a good idea in general, now that I know there is a plan and a little of what it is.

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

    noswald wrote:
    Our groups here were just wondering why some of the PrCs weren't allowed since there are archetypes that are very similar. (Ex. Signifier, Razmiran Priest)

    I too was disappointed to see that Razmiran Priest was not allowed until I read it. It was then very apparent whily it is not allowed. Temporarily healing a party member can be tantamount to PvP. Especially if that player or character doesn't know that healing isn't the real thing.

    I play a "Razmiran priest" in society. He's really a bard. With a bluff skill that can break +40, he's rather convincing. If he tells you that you are good as new, you're likely to believe him.

    Shadow Lodge **

    If people don't know why something has been banned they don't necessarily know that its coming in a chronicle sheet. Once it becomes clear that the (non insane) named items are available somewhere, somehow, people will go for them. The same with prestige classes.

    Silver Crusade *

    I think the most obvious middle ground is to make more "chronicle only" equipment. I can understand how people want access to stuff from the books. However, I think for PFS, I would err on the side of making the chronicle sheets more interesting. I know that I myself have bought precious few things off chronicle sheets. Mostly partially charged wands, to be honest. Equipment comes from the fame chart or universal chart mostly.

    Andoran *****

    Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
    Jiggy wrote:
    Stuff I agree with

    Shocker!! I agree with Jiggy.

    As I mentioned stuff should not be left out just for the reason that It may be a reward in the future.

    Things included as rewards should be things PFS in "General" expect not to have access to.

    As you already said mike based on what some people told you people get disappointed with stuff left out that they expect to get based on what is already allowed, On the other hand people get Very excited to get access to stuff they normally don't expect to get.

    To be clear this is meant as a general statement, there will always be those that don't understand the reason certain things are left out of PFS (good examples are Todd's 1,2 and 4 points above).

    For example though I was disappointed I could not make my Spellslinger, I understood why it was left out (Extreme rarity in the setting), but there still will be those that don't care and still will think it should be allowed, setting or not.

    Cheliax *

    First off, that you're having this thread at all is great. This isn't something past Living Campaign coordinators have done much of: ask for direct and honest feedback in a public forum.

    Swiftbrook wrote:

    Players don't like not knowing. If you say, such-n-such is not available but may be available on a Chronicle sheet sometime this season, I think that's a win-win. You limit some items and thus make them 'special' and you make the Chronicles meaningful. If you don't tell us what you're doing and all we see is that you're limiting cool stuff, we don't understand and we get frustrated/angry.

    Communication is the key.

    -Swiftbrook
    Just My Thoughts

    In short, this. My own frustration with the Additional Resources setup is that I've been used to things one way in PFS, and that was something was legal or it wasn't. The end. When two PrCs I really wanted to play weren't legal, my concern was that they wouldn't be at all. That I had ordered this book for nothing. It is fairly rare for new toys to come out like that that your PC will probably automatically qualify for (Winter Witch), after all. We asked, and got no answer. While we as players began to speculate this will be a Chronicle/Boon issue, there was still silence on the matter. I can understand wanting to keep it a surprise.

    Something Greyhawk did was categorize access into three parts: Core, Limited, Restricted (not sure if the last one is right). Core was all the time. Restricted, you needed documentation from an adventure/meta-org/whatever to have it. There was no promise of when or where this access would appear, just that it could. Restricted wasn't ever going to happen; this was not for PCs in the campaign to play with. Just knowing something could be available was enough, though. It meant I should keep my eyes out for it. This didn't ruin any surprises for me, it just conveyed what that I'd need to find access opportunities.

    But you know what? We did talk about what adventures gave access to what. In length. I'm told there were lists somewhere, even. I was actually herded by fellow players very strongly towards a module that gave a deity specific PrC for Clerics that mine would qualify for. As Chris Mortika pointed out, this created self-selection for the scenario. My other fear with the GM-Carrot is that this will quickly become a scenario everyone has played to the point it's hard to get a table of it together at all.

    I certainly understand you can/do get bombarded with emails on when something will be available and where. I agree with an above sentiment that you make it a policy not to respond to these and cite that it distracts you from getting work done that would move towards getting these things into play. I might even create a small FAQ "Before You Email Brock...", were I you.

    Osirion ***

    Chris, I think the best respond to that is what kinevon said. I know that you shouldn't plan who plays a scenario depending on the loot. But on the same hand, if the reward is a PrC you really want to play, you're going to play the class for it you want. For example, if the Winter Witch PrC becomes a reward and I want to play it, I'm not going to play a fighter through that scenario. But if I don't care about Winter Witch and I do play a fighter or a rogue, I'd feel like I'm getting left out of the special rewards. Maybe giving an option would alleviate some of this.

    Also, lets be honest, when there's something really awesome and/or special as a reward, word spreads about it fast. I personally don't know anything about scenarios I haven't played or ran, and I don't want to. But when there's something cool on the chronicle sheet (like Quest for Perfection, for example), its hard to NOT hear what it is, either from the forums or from fellow players.

    Taldor

    Michael Brock wrote:
    Would you rather earn cool things through play and have it as a reward on a Chronicle sheet? What is it that you want because it can't be both ways? I've asked in the past for...

    Rewards... boons... both very cool. One of the uber neat things about LG was running into characters from other regions that had wacky stuff.

    Shadow Lodge **

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    I think I agree with most of the posters, so I'll just add one thing.

    Mike, you're doing a good job. Thank you. Please keep going with your instinct and continue heading in the direction your heading. With luck, you'll drag the rest of us (and a few Paizo staffers too) into the land of milk and honey.

    Or die trying.

    Silver Crusade **

    I like having cool stuff on chronicles, but PrC's don't make a huge amount of sense. While I want there to be stuff worth playing for, I don't want a player to sit down and map out what scenarios to play on a character based on loot. For example, if there is a scenario that gives out access to a unique holy symbol, and I play it with my Sorcerer, I'll feel like I wasted the chance for something cool.

    I see two ways to combat this:

    1) Cool stuff, that is outside the WBL curve, but not unique. I think some of this should be included, as it can appeal to a wide variety of players, but I don't think it is the appropriate answer.

    2) The unique items come on a different chronicle/boon that can be transferred *ONCE* to another character of yours of the appropriate level. If my Sorc gained access to a cool holy symbol, he'd pass it off to my cleric. I'm not sure how PrC's fit in, but this could also work.

    Qadira ****

    It does feel like something along the lines of
    Core - Legal.
    Limited - boons, chronicles only
    banned - until something changes nobody can use this "thing" for any reasons.

    I also would love to see scenario's with boons coming as a 2nd sheet, that could be applied to any of your characters. So that people don't have to meta scenario's.

    Unlocking race boons, I would like to be able to re-use that boon on multiple characters, I think it's a cool thing.

    The races aren't inherently imbalanced, in fact it's rarely better to be anything other than human from a raw optimization perspective.

    Andoran

    Mike,
    Freely opening most items and PrCs is my group's biggest issue with PFS. I have played in many Organized Play campaigns over the years and my favorite system had to be Living Greyhawk.

    PrCs were either Open(Always had access), Limited (Needed campaign documentation), or Restricted (Never available). Which PrCs were which was spelled out in the Campaign Sourcebook. Building a character with hopes of finding a limited prestige class was a gamble...and it brought great victory to you if you finally attained it.

    There was a select list of items that were always available (Magic Weapons/armor, Stat bump items, Rings of Prot, Cloaks of resistance, etc.) But other than that you needed campaign documentation much like chronicle access to get anything else. This also added suspense when handing out chronicles at the end of a session because it was like christmas with players going "ooooooOOOo What did we get access to?"

    As it is right now the only thing I am excited to see on a chronicle is partially charged wands.

    Do I suggest you mimic this? No. But I do think they are good ideas you might consider when going forward.

    A few suggestions I do have:

    1) Revise the PA/Fame chart. PA is not a limiting factor in what you can purchase it still remains to be can gold. Even in our Year 0 party when we were actively trying to stop each other from completing faction missions we could still buy anything we could afford when we wanted to. PA has never been a limiting factor for any of my characters.

    2) In 3.5 PFS each faction had SPECIFIC magic items available at certain PA levels, maybe make more items unavailable and have factions give access to some of these.

    Reading most of these posts on here I have seen a few people bring up "I want to know ahead of time so I don't miss out on this PrC for my applicable character" keep in mind that a) you are not the only person at your table. Maybe you don't have use for that cool wizard prestige class but the wizard at your table might. Maybe you should just be happy for him? Would the fact that you don't have a use for ONE of the rewards change your game experience? and b) As of this time you can replay scenarios with different characters. So now that you know that adventure X gives access to PrC X, then just play it with your character who wants that class and call it a day.

    At the end of the day, Our group would very much like to see more restrictions on what is always available in this game. It makes the rewards more rewarding.

    Cheliax **

    Mike,

    As an avid supporter of Greyhawk, than a supporter of LFR, with a few modules to my name. One of the things I have to wonder is. How much better would everything be now, if WoTC had held things back, and not let the kids have everything in the store. (No shot at any campaign voulenteer, author (I've written three mods myself), etc. It's just that nothing is special, because everything is available)

    One of the things I feel helps grow a campaign, and make things meaningful, is the ability to not be allowed access to everything, to not be able to have every uber item or spell, or pclass.

    I will say this, the one thing I sort of noticed is at the Specials, the sheets dont scream special. The modules are unique, but there is nothing on them to scream accomplishment.

    Having unique curses, certs, named items. That gave the Hawk a lot of flavor, and I think PFS is going in the right direction, it's why every home game I play now, has changed from 4e to PF.

    Don't give away the house, and don't bow to pressure, people will e-mail you no matter what and whine and cry. But in the end by keeping things limited, keeping them special. you make them just that. Special.

    -Skip

    Silver Crusade **

    Chaosthecold wrote:

    and b) As of this time you can replay scenarios with different characters. So now that you know that adventure X gives access to PrC X, then just play it with your character who wants that class and call it a day.

    You cannot replay a scenario for credit. You can get credit for playing it once and GMing it once. After that...nope.

    Shadow Lodge *** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Silicon Valley aka JohnF

    Patrick Harris @ SD wrote:
    Speaking strictly for myself, I don't think a prestige class is necessarily the right choice for a chronicle boon unless it's a separate boon that can be applied to a different character, which in turn makes no sense as a reward from a scenario. A PrC is something you work towards with your entire character concept; randomly having it dropped on a PC who had no idea is not necessarily going to make any sense. Now, named items, on the other hand ...

    You're speaking for a lot more people than just yourself.

    In fact I'd say that some named items fall into that category. When I completed Quest for Perfection I was somewhat annoyed to see an item on the chronicle sheet that was of no great use to the character I ran in that scenario, but would have been ideal for another of my characters.

    Admittedly this does act as an incentive to GM Quest for Perfection - a GM can have foreknowledge of unique items on the chronicle sheet, and arrange to give those items to appropriate characters.

    Edit: Missed Chris Mortika's reference to Quest for Perfection upthread, talking about players meta-gaming based on exactly this foreknowledge.

    **

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Michael Brock wrote:
    Just as a point of clarification, since I can't guarantee that Hellknight Signifier will 100% be added to a Chronicle later this season, I've already updated it to go into Additional Resources in September. I was using it as an example. Everyone will have the Hellknight Signifier prestige class As an available choice in the middle of September.

    Mike,

    There are trust issues in PFS due to experience with past living campaigns.

    Giving prestige classes access as a boon is awesome, but ONLY if which prestige class is granted is clear before playing the mod. Putting these sorts of things in the available resources (e.g., access available as a boon in 4-10) as well as in the summary of the mod would be a good way to do it. That way people know to play their hellnight wantabes in the hellnight signifier mod. It shouldn't be a surprise at the end, as people will inevitably play it with the wrong characters.

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

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    I completely disagree Kender. That ruins the surprise totally. The way Mike envisioned it was even if they played the scenario with a non-Hellknight class, they could then go back and GM it to get the boon for their actual Hellknight. It was a win-win for both PCs and Coordinators.

    Taldor **

    Limited choices are good, closed access to specific limited classes and items are good.

    Say no first. Make common PrC's and Items available through More Resources, but rare restricted and broken items accessible via play or judging.

    Never say yes and then say no (Gorillas w/ Bastard Swords ring any bells) that will loose you players.

    Players will cope, make a lot of noise, true, but they will not turn away from the game.

    Granting access via Chronicles is a good thing. Watch what happens to play numbers see if it goes up or goes down (I would be surprised if your play numbers didn't still go up).

    I will echo that you may want strong hints as to which direction pc's who read the mod description may want to take, b/c it's great when your pc does the exact right thing and sucks when you are like me and discover that the mod series or award would have been great for character X.

    It makes play matter, story matter and probably choices matter.

    Deflect criticism by being confident that the system you choose works.

    PS:
    There was a goblin pc boon at GenCon! . . . I'm sad.

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