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A Challenge to Other Pathfinder Society Game Masters


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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There's good advice in the GameMastering 101 workshop about the best way to deal with the emergencies of little-to-no-prep with a scenario. (What to look for if you only have five minutes before the players sit down at your table, that sort of thing.)

But I feel we're losing sight of the awesome experience that Pathfinder Society can be, if the GM is really prepared and firing on all cylinders at the height of his/her powers.

So, I'm posing the following challenge.

Choose four adventures available for Pathfinder Society, either modules, short "Free RPG Day" modules, or PFS scenarios. For the purpose of this challenge, any scenarios should be from different seasons. For the purpose of this challenge, these should be adventures you have never run before, or have run only once.

Prepare them as thoroughly as you can. Play them first. Pre-draw or copy all the maps. Get all the handouts and art ready. If the opponents have spells, read up on the details. Know the rules for chases, or mounted combat, or magus class abilities, or haunts, or whatever the adventure entails. Work through each of the combats with the iconics. Read up on the formus to see what issues and recommendations other GMs have found.

Then run each of them, at least three times between now and GenCon 2013. After each run, evaluate your performance and analyze what worked well, and what could be improved.

My Choices
I'm going to hot-dog the challenge and pick 6 adventures.
Season 0 - King Xeros of Old Azlant
Season 1 - Jester's Fraud
Season 2 - Under the Silver Tarn
Season 3 - Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment
Season 4 - Scenario 4-17. Don't know what it'll be, but I know I'm going to master it.
Modules - Carrion Hill

Grand Lodge ****

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Interesting idea. I`ve been gravitating towards running scenarios at least twice and more often 4 times, in part because you get better, and in part to make more use of the terrain I make.

I rarely play, but other than that, your list is pretty much how I prep every scenario I run. I don`t do an after-action report, though, so a lot of the learning probably gets lost. Challenge accepted. (Guess now I have to come to GenCon 2013!)

Now to find stuff I haven`t run from each season!

Silver Crusade ****

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

So mine is actually a binder now, of adventures I don't mind running cold anytime. I have more Season 3 loves because of the fact that I started playing Society in Season 3. I don't even care if I get credit for them at this point.

Season 0-Among The Living

Season 1-Among the Dead, Citadel of Flame, Assult on The Kingdom of Impossible.

Season 2-Shadows Last Stand Pts. 1+2, The Penumbal Accords, Below the Silver Tarn

Season 3- God's Market Gamble, The Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment, The Immortal Connundrum, The Ghenett Manor Gauntlet, The Goblinblood Dead.

Season 4--None yet, but they will present themselves in due time.

Modules: Crypt of The Everflame, Masks of A Living God, The Midnight Mirror.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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(nods to Lady Ophelia) That's cool.

See, it looks like you've got a portfolio of solidly prepared adventures. That's not what I think most people mean, when they use the phrase "running cold". The way I've understood it, they mean "running the adventure while reading two pages ahead of the PCs".

And running without prepwork is a valuable skill. I don't mean to denigrate it. But I think that PFS has put more emphasis on running under emergency circumstances than on preventing emergencies in the first place.

(Why do I think this? Because some GMs are choosing to run (1) at conventions, for paying gamers, (b) without prepwork even though (c) they have prep time, and this isn't considered a scandalous insult to the players.)

Lantern Lodge ***

Well, while we're sharing, my portfolio that I always have with me that is no problem for me to 'run cold' is listed below.

My List:

Season 0 - Among The Living, Mists of Mwangi

Season 1 - City of Strangers, Among the Dead, Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible

Season 2 - Before the Dawn, The Penumbal Accords

Season 3 - God's Market Gamble, The Icebound Outpost (run it four times now!), The Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment, The Golden Serpent (a bit harder given the map)

Season 4 - In Wrath's Shadow

Modules - The Godsmouth Heresy

It's a pretty good list for me and they work well hence the reason I chose them. All of them can be run on pretty short notice and I hardly go anywhere without at least two of them in my folder.

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber
Robert Beasley wrote:

Well, while we're sharing, my portfolio that I always have with me that is no problem for me to 'run cold' is listed below.

** spoiler omitted **

It's a pretty good list for me and they work well hence the reason I chose them. All of them can be run on pretty short notice and I hardly go anywhere without at least two of them in my folder.

I am a fiend for picking at least reasonably representative minis for my encounters. So much of a fiend that I *hate* running something I haven't had a couple hours to prep.

That changed at GenCon when they handed me the beautiful box of cardstock. I can have my Rockstar Prep scenarios, (reference: Golden Serpent pics, mild spoilers) and still be able to grab a flip mat and give a good scenario run on no notice.

I suspect you prep more deeply and judge better than I, Chris, but I certainly try to hit the majority of those. Now that I picked up the good rotary cutter, I may go for spell cards for the spells I don't know cold. (elemental body II, eh? I really need to do a summary better than what's in the PRD for that chain....)

** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I'd actually prefer to see PFS mods written entirely as bullet points rather than prose, as it would make finding things easier and speed up prep time. It would also help when running cold, assuming the bullet points were reasonably succinct, and negate the reliance on box text.

Making a scenario up at random:

- Jake is a Pathfinder who seems to be pursuing his own agenda.
- He's holed up in an ancient tower on the outskirts of <place>.
- Some of his experiments are rumoured to have escaped and attacked townsfolk.
- A powerful Lord called Bob has threatened to strike at other Pathfinder assets in retaliation.
- Adram Hestram tells the PCs to get to the tower and end the experiments, one way or another.

Encounter 1
- Edge of the village of <name>. Cold, wet, dark, houses have no lights on, deathly silence, strange flickering light visible at the centre of the village 100 yards away.

etc. The GM can spin that into box text without too much difficulty.

Taldor **

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Stormfriend wrote:

I'd actually prefer to see PFS mods written entirely as bullet points rather than prose, as it would make finding things easier and speed up prep time. It would also help when running cold, assuming the bullet points were reasonably succinct, and negate the reliance on box text.

Making a scenario up at random:

- Jake is a Pathfinder who seems to be pursuing his own agenda.
- He's holed up in an ancient tower on the outskirts of <place>.
- Some of his experiments are rumoured to have escaped and attacked townsfolk.
- A powerful Lord called Bob has threatened to strike at other Pathfinder assets in retaliation.
- Adram Hestram tells the PCs to get to the tower and end the experiments, one way or another.

Encounter 1
- Edge of the village of <name>. Cold, wet, dark, houses have no lights on, deathly silence, strange flickering light visible at the centre of the village 100 yards away.

etc. The GM can spin that into box text without too much difficulty.

That's a reasonable idea for someone who's experienced with running stuff cold. But a lot of people rely on the flavor text and other bits and pieces to inform them of mannerisms and other details that improve the scenario.

** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Flavour, mannerisms and 'details that improve the scenario' can be included in the bullet points.

- Adril Hestram, a big bearded bear of a man with an easy smile, faint whiff of beer and a twinkle in his eyes for the ladies, tells the PCs to get to the tower and end the experiments, one way or another.

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber

Bullet pointed adventures are good for *really* talented table judges. Our threshold is necessarily lower than only having table judges who can do amateur improv for *all* of the NPC interactions and *all* of the description of the room. Especially at a large con.

I am very much against the notion of moving this much of the writing from the writing and development process into the hands of the table judge. Missed details in the briefing would go way up because the table GM missed a bullet point, failure rates would follow, and it'd be *NOT* the problem of the scenario.

Also, I disagree with reducing prep time. It'd increase it vastly as you figure out how to play this guy with a skeletal improv script instead of having box text that sets the stage and describes areas.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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TetsujinOni wrote:
I suspect you prep more deeply and judge better than I, Chris, ....)

Naw. This is as much a challenge to myself as to anybody else. I'm always looking up spell effects -- I still play in a 3.5 campaign at home, and I've given up trying to remember the particulars for each game system -- and critter stats at the table.

If you want to see real prep-work, find Thea at some convention and have her show you her marked-up scenarios.

One result of deep prep for a scenario is that it bleeds over into similar scenarios. Once I really look at how haunts work, for "Haunting of Hinojai", I can better adjudicate them in any other scenario. Same with magus abilities. And mounted combat. And dragons.

So, one of the best way to prepare for "running without prep" is to run a few scenarios with thorough prep-work. It's like, one of the best ways to learn to play jazz is to practice classical music.

Cheliax ****

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It seems like a good idea. I'll definitely pick Temple and You Only Die Twice; I'll have to look through the rest to find a couple I want to really work on.

**

Stormfriend wrote:
I'd actually prefer to see PFS mods written entirely as bullet points rather than prose, as it would make finding things easier and speed up prep time.

100% agree. And I don't see how it would hinder beginner GMs - quite the contrary as the most important info would be highlighted.

I myself have to include in my prep routine to make such a bullet-point summmary of the whole scenario.

Also, I don't understand why the NPCs stat blocks are not simplified, and include more of the spell/SA/SD effects. Way too much clutter, not to mention stuff and spell that's not going to be used. That's one area where 4E fares way better. Having to go through the details of each NPC, taking notes on the secondary attack effects, special defenses, etc. is just nonsense.

Andoran **** Venture-Captain, Washington—Seattle aka The Great Rinaldo!

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This is exactly how I approach GMing. I'm not sure I would run a scenario truly "cold" even if asked (it would take a serious emergency).

I like having the scenario in prose, so that it reads like a story, with background details in the appropriate places. I also need a good summary to actually run from, so my prep work goes something like this:

My Process:

1. Read it through once.

2. Screenshot useful graphics (pictures of NPCs, the "Where on Golarion" map on the first page, things like that) and print them onto cardstock (I typically do four to a page and cut them out, then either stick them to the front of my GM screen, or pass them around). I also find graphics for things that could use physical representations (such as puzzle items) to help my players.

3. Print the faction missions on cardstock and cut them out, so that they last longer in the field.

4. Make sure I have flipmats or prepared maps for all encounters that would take a long time to draw, or that have details it would be difficult to draw. For dungeons, I like to make each room its own piece, so I can lay them down as they are discovered (and so that I can remove rooms that have been left behind to make room on the crowded table).

5. Copy each NPC/monster that might be involved in a combat onto a separate page (2 or 3 to a page, if the text is short enough) for easy reference. This is especially important for monsters that are just page references from the books (and with the changes to GM core requirements in 4.2, more of those monsters will be this way) and for spellcasters with spells I don't use a lot. While I'm doing this, I calculate the variable-by-level effects so it's already done.

6. For encounters with multiple possible results based on skill checks made by the PCs, I make a bullet point list so they are easy to find when I need them.

This is an evolving process, and I need to go back and improve my earlier preps to include things I've discovered along the way.

So far I've applied this to:
First Steps (all three parts)
3-8 Among the Gods
3-11 Quest for Perfection, Part 2
3-18 God's Market Gamble

I'm working on 3-25 Storming the Diamond Gate, 3-5 Tide of Twilight, and 3-6 Song of the Sea Witch. I hope to have those done in the next month.

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

Like Lady Ophelia and the honorable Tampa VC, I have a handful of scenarios I usually carry with me that I've run and for which I think (hope?) I can do a fair amount of justice when running without pre-prep. I have run scenarios cold before and will avoid it if at all possible; "well, I haven't read and prepped that one, but I could run one of these...?"

I agree with TetsujinOni regarding the preference to have somewhat-representative minis for a scenario. That's part of my prep.

All that said, I can always, always improve as a GM; my trip to PaizoCon this year reminded me of that again. I like the challenge, Chris -- while I may not make Gen Con in 2013, I can still try this out, right?

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Heck, yeah. Just pick four scenarios (that amount is only a suggestion) that you'll add to your pool of fallback adventures.

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

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Chris Mortika wrote:
If you want to see real prep-work, find Thea at some convention and have her show you her marked-up scenarios.

I suspect my wife may give Thea a run for her money.

She's running her 4th and 5th tables at Pacificon (she started off with one part of the First Steps at our FLGS, and has since run a couple of groups through We Be Goblins!). Her copies of the scenario are marked up with highlights, notes, &c. She's also got printouts of all the monster stat blocks, spell descriptions for any spells used, index cards for all the major opponents complete with all the important numbers (the cards just go into the initiative stack when she's running that particular encounter). Cross references between the cards and the scenario are all colour-coded. Miniatures and/or pawns for all the encounters get checked off a list and go in a box all ready to be used, and if we don't have the appropriate flip-mat she'll draw out everything on a blank the night before.

She took my baseline (some highlighting; scenario in a report cover, and a two-pocket folder for printed stat blocks, faction missions, chronicle sheets, and additional GM aids such as crib sheets of notes, detail maps, etc.) and improved on it considerably. If she's prepped a scenario I'll just grab her copy :-)

At present she's only done the simpler stuff (single-tier scenarios, and no faction missions), but I don't see her having any problems handling the more complicated ones once she feels she's ready.

I suspect that most of the time somebody who'd never seen the module before could read the introduction, grab my wife's GM kit, and run the module without the players ever knowing this was a cold run.

Sczarni * RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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This is actually a reason I stopped playing PFS so much... I enjoyed running a game when I could prep it like crazy (hand-drawn maps, colored and coded), but I really disliked the expectation that a "good" GM was one who could run any scenario given a five minute warning.

Similarly, as a player, I want to play with a GM who knows the module inside and out. Everything about this game is made better when people get invested and care about the writing and story and dynamics of play. Especially when we're looking at battles. A well-thought out encounter is significantly more difficult for even strong players to handle.

Anyway, before falling off the wagon as a new GM in Season 3, the ones I'd focused on were:

short list:

3-09: Quest for Perfection #1
3-12 and 3-14: Wonders in the Weave #1 and 2
3-16: Midnight Mauler

Besides creating maps and reading (and re-reading!) stat blocks and abilities, it was nice to know the major plotline and how the faction missions tied into the story. I knew how enemies would react to different motivations or actions, and I didn't have to spend too much time reading notes or text blocks to do it. If I owned minis, some of the ideas above would hit my list as well.

Regardless, I'm going to have to do some major research to figure out what kind of scenarios I really want to learn! This is an interesting challenge, and I really want to get it done. Excelsior!

*

I do this with all of my scenarios, which is why it takes so much time. It blows my mind how some GMs could run 6 scenarios during Gencon.

I usually only run a scenario once. Sometimes things Improve the 2nd time I run something, but that's only if I screw something up the 1st time. Sometimes the 1st time is best (for me), because it's "new".

Runs are usually more/less fun depending on the players. As GM, you can bring roleplaying fun to the table, it's up to the players if they want to add to it.

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

Here is my list of favorites. These I could run anythime, some of them without ever having to look at the statblocks.

Season 0 - Mists of Mwangi, Among the Living
Season 1- Among the Dead, Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible
Season 2 - The Penumbal Accords, The Dalsine Affair
Season 3 - Sewer Dragons of Absalom, Haunting of Hinojai
Season 4 - In Wrath's Shadow, no others yet
Modules - Masters of the Fallen Fortress

Add to this The Cyphermage Dilemma, which I have now ran 10 times; 5 of those at GenCon. And it looks like I'll be running it again at Little Egypt Wars.

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

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I accept your challenge!

And I raise you unpopular by review scenario's! Believing it is the GM far more then the scenario that can make or break the game!

So with that...I shall master the following scenario's in the next year:

Season 0: The many fortunes of grand master torch.
Season 1: Echoes of the Everwar: Part IV (I have run many in my region through echoes 1 through 3 thus far...so this is a bit of cheating, but I want to make this scenario a proud and shinning cap to a very awesome set of scenarios!)
Season 2: Shadows Fall on Absalom (I'd pick shadows last stand, but I already have that one memorized)
Season 3: The Goblin blood dead
Season 4: In Wrath's Shadow

These will be my scenario's to perfect for this upcoming year...on top of these, I will also perfect and run the season 4 mass table special at least 3 times in an attempt to become an expert at that! (Eat your heart out Baird!)

Let the battle begin! IPON!

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Arkos wrote:

This is actually a reason I stopped playing PFS so much... I enjoyed running a game when I could prep it like crazy (hand-drawn maps, colored and coded), but I really disliked the expectation that a "good" GM was one who could run any scenario given a five minute warning.

That's generally something we try to avoid here in the NAGA groups whether it's Pathfinder, or LSJ, or whatever. We try to get the modules to our GMs days in advance. With the modules being digital there isn't that much excuse not to.

My Venture Lieutennat orders them and if I'm judging that module, it'll show up in my Paizo download page.

** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

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Arkos wrote:
This is actually a reason I stopped playing PFS so much... I enjoyed running a game when I could prep it like crazy (hand-drawn maps, colored and coded), but I really disliked the expectation that a "good" GM was one who could run any scenario given a five minute warning.

That was a pretty unfair expectation, because those are two different skill sets, even two different mindsets. It's the equivalent of asking a method actor to do improv comedy. It's unrealistic to expect people to excel at both.

An even bigger issue is that not all scenarios lend themselves to improv. Chaotic battles or straight dungeon crawling? Sure, I'll run something like that with a few minutes prep. But any kind of mystery or political intrigue plot requires thorough understanding of the characters involved and a really close attention to detail. If you miss the key clue or telling character detail, the whole story falls apart, and it's impossible to recover.

I think it's much more important for GMs to recognize what does and doesn't work for each scenario. And if a particular group or event requires improv-style GMs, then they should restrict themselves to improv-style scenarios.

Andoran *****

I accept your challenge, good sir!

To date, I have not GMed any of these ever before, and only played through 3 of them (the last 3).

00-02 The Hydra's Fang Incident
01-50 Fortune's Blight
02-13 Murder on the Throaty Mermaid
03-06 Song of the Sea Witch
04-04 King of the Storval Stairs

I also further challenge myself that I will run at least one of these 15 sessions I hope to complete before Gencon 2013 as a PbP, which I have never GMed a game of before.

Ready, and.......GO!

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Seth,

Get yourself a group of people who haven't played Hydra's Fang or Fortune's Blight, and we'll find you somebody to run you through them in the next couple of weeks.

Andoran *****

I picked Fortune's Blight because my local group is getting ready to run it locally, so I was already needing to prep it.

Storval Stairs I should be GMing in early November at Brewfest twice, and the others I have no idea when I will get to them lol.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

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Challenge accepted!

My Choices

Season 0 - Fingerprints of the Fiend (Never played or GMed)
Season 1 - Eyes of the Ten Parts 1 and 2 (GMed each twice but hey it is close to once)
Season 2 - Eyes of the Ten Parts 3 and 4 (GMed each twice but hey it is close to once)
Season 3 - 3-25: Storming the Diamond Gate
Season 4 - 4-09: The Blakros Matrimony (because Thursty is awesome)
Modules - Curse of the Riven Sky (Never played or GMed)

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

Okay, so I have picked two so far -- 4-02: In Wrath's Shadow and Dawn of the Scarlet Sun. I've played both but never run either.

I'm leaning toward adding 3-16: Midnight Mauler (which I've run once) in no small part because Kyle Baird ran it at PaizoCon 2011 and made it An Awesome Experience. So that'd be three.

Cheliax ***

I am going to accept a variant of that challenge - choosing 4 different tiers rather than necessarily different seasons. One of each tier 1-5, 3-7, 5-9, 7-11.

I have gradually been doing more and more prep on any new (to me) scenario I run - so my prep is now similar to above for at least the last 6 scenarios I prepped - but there is undoubtedly room for improvement - and better post scenario evaluation - which I generally have done by ad-hoc writing and updating reviews. I also need to master the highest tier scenarios.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

" I also need to master the highest tier scenarios."

You and me both!

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Challenge accepted.

My first mod will be The Midnight Mauler, since I ran that one cold at PaizoCon. Jack of Blades can tell you how that went.

Andoran *****

I posted a link to this thread on our local PFS FB page to try to get other GMs in my area involved. Got one taker so far, though he hasnt posted it here.

Osirion ***

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Since Seth mentioned it, I probably should post it here. So....

Challenge Accepted!

My Choices are:

0-14: Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch (because I have a love-hate relationship with Torch, so I'll gm him once for a change of view)
1-38: No Plunder, No Pay (never ran nor played it, but just the name makes it sound fun =) )
2-25: You Only Die Twice (played it, had a blast, and now I want to share the fun with others)
3-01: The Frostfur Captives (because I love Jim Groves's work, and this is his only one I haven't run yet)
4-01: Rise of the Goblin Guild (because goblins are always fun)

I want to add a module to this list, like many others of you have, but I know so little about them that I feel it warrants a bit of research before I just grab one. Although I will admit that I am probably leaning towards a higher level one for a chance of pace.

As a side note, did Mike Brock just let the name of an unreleased season 4 out? =)

Andoran *****

Mourne wrote:
2-25: You Only Die Twice (played it, had a blast, and now I want to share the fun with others)

IKR? I almost chose that one for the same reason.

Mourne wrote:
As a side note, did Mike Brock just let the name of an unreleased season 4 out? =)

No, that has been out for at least a week or so now. If you look at the list of Season 4 scenarios, on the unavailable list you can see the names and tiers for, I think, the next 6 scenarios to be released.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Challenge not-exactly-accepted:

My local PFS scene is such that trying to run the same scenario three times in a year isn't going to be very helpful to the players, just leaving lots of people saying "Played it; will there be something else offered?"

I could be wrong, but around here it seems the more helpful thing to do is to make time to thoroughly prep whatever scenario needs to be run. As such, the commitment I'll make will be to take whatever scenario I'm given and prep the everloving snot out of it.

Last time I GMd was Citadel of Flame (that reminds me, I have a PM to send...) and I spent about 8 hours on it: I wrote monster ID handouts, produced quick-reference versions of monster stats for myself, examined all the encounters for ways to tailor the challenge level without altering anything, and so forth. This will be my new standard for every scenario I run, whether I've run it before or not.

Shadow Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Chris, you get major points for GM outreach my friend.

Challenge Accepted - let's see if I can do six as well!

My choices:


  • 0-17: Perils of the Pirate Pact (I ran it once and my players loved it, plus it goes up to level 7)
  • 1-39: The Citadel of Flame (Never played or ran it but I bought it and it looks neat)
  • 2-13: Murder on the Throaty Mermaid (played/ran it once each and had an amazing time both games)
  • 3-EX: The Cyphermage Dilema (played it at Gen Con and loved it and think I'd be great at running it)
  • Intro: First Steps—Part III: A Vision of Betrayal (good to have ready for new players)
  • Full Module: Crypt of the Everflame

(The above being said, I wish I could get more people locally to get as interested in being a GM as I am - I haven't played one of my own characters since halfway through Gen Con.)

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

Chris

Thanks for the challenge and to foster better GMs and a better play experience for players.

So here is my modified version of the challenge:

a) Each scenario will be build up in 3D - DwarvenForge plus customized bits (Hirst Arts, self made)

b) For each scenario I will build a board 2*3 feet max size, max 2 boards per scenario. This allows transport to conventions

c) I will ensure that I make photos of each board / layout and post the for others

d) I will GM each of the scenarios once as PBP - using the photos as resource / maps

The above resctricts a little bit my choice.

So here is what I have so far:

Season 0: Black Waters. I have a great lake that needs some clear resin - with tinted black and the Ruins Set should work above ground. For this I cheat (GMed it twice)

Season 1: Infernal Vault

Module: Dawn of the Scarlet Sun - great for the new upcoming DF Catacomb set. Ruins set works great outdoors

I take suggestions for one or more season 2-4 scenarios

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

Full of good ideas... Now I want to print up some binders for my frequent GMs and tell them "prepare all of these, and be ready to GM any at a moment's notice"...

I had a hard time selecting, as I need to pick ones I know people in my area haven't done recently.

S0: Lyrics of Extinction (never touched)
S1: Drow of the Darklands Pyramids (this has some mechanics that are too fun to let a low rating dissuade me from)
S2: Wrath of the Accursed (ran this once, killed half the PCs so I never got to get into the good parts of it...)
S3: Kortos Envoy (played, but never GMd)

Module: Ruby Phoenix Tournament (might only get to do this once, but I'll make it good)

Andoran *****

CanisDirus wrote:
  • 3-EX: The Cyphermage Dilema (played it at Gen Con and loved it and think I'd be great at running it)
  • Cyphermage is the current 4-star Special, meaning for the first year of it's release it can be GMed by ONLY 4+ star GMs, VCs, and VLs. It should open up for the general public in the spring some time, so you can still get it, but it'll be awhile before you would be allowed to GM it.

    Shadow Lodge *****

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    Seth Gipson wrote:
    CanisDirus wrote:
  • 3-EX: The Cyphermage Dilema (played it at Gen Con and loved it and think I'd be great at running it)
  • Cyphermage is the current 4-star Special, meaning for the first year of it's release it can be GMed by ONLY 4+ star GMs, VCs, and VLs. It should open up for the general public in the spring some time, so you can still get it, but it'll be awhile before you would be allowed to GM it.

    Good call - but yea, once it does come out for open GM-ing, I'll be all over that :)

    Grand Lodge *** Venture-Lieutenant, New Zealand—Dunedin aka dinketry

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    Alright, I'm down like a clown.

    I truly enjoy prep for scenarios, so I'm looking forward to prepping the Asmodean Kitchen out of these:

    My Choices:

    Season 0 - Black Waters
    Season 1 - The Devil We Know, Part 1: Shipyard Rats
    Season 2 - The Sarkorian Prophecy
    Season 3 - The Cyphermage Dilemma
    Season 4 - Scenario #4-13. Love the randomness.
    Modules - The Harrowing

    I'm going to get into Paper Model building this year (shout out to Dave Graffam!), so I'll report on how that works together with the prep of these scenarios. Thanks for the challenge.

    -Dink

    Grand Lodge ***

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Any thought to having a standard questionnaire people could fillout for the DM? It could be just for the DM not reported since we have an issue reporting...I find feedback helps me a lot because some times as a GM I see things a little differently

    Sczarni ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Pullman aka Coraith

    Walter Sheppard wrote:


    S2: Wrath of the Accursed (ran this once, killed half the PCs so I never got to get into the good parts of it...)

    Yeah ya did, but it was still a ton of fun!

    Shadow Lodge ****

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Interesting! Challenge accepted, then. :)

    I've already got a few that I would say I could run almost blind, since I've ran them multiple times and poured over the details for so long. Stuff like Crypt of the Everflame, Mists of Mwangi, Decline of Glory, Sewer Dragons of Absalom... But it would be good to get a few more under my belt! So, here we go.

    Season 0: The Frozen Fingers of Midnight (I've played and ran this once, but I love it and feel that I could easily make it an essential part of my repertoire.)

    Season 1: Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible (Again, played and ran once. I love the flavor, as well as the opening encounter, and could easily refine it to a top-quality level.)

    Season 2: Below the Silver Tarn (I just recently played this, and even retired a character on it. I loved everything about it and would enjoy running it, especially the finale, as close to perfect as possible.)

    Season 3: Portal of the Sacred Rune (I've already played this once, and ran it twice, so this is kinda cheating. However, it's such a complex and dense set of encounters, especially the end, that I'd love to run it without feeling that I accidentally overlooked anything. I almost nailed it on my second run, but I missed one spell that the BBEG was supposed to have active. Not a big deal, but still nags at me when I reflect on it!)

    Season 4: The Golemworks Incident (I also recently played this, and I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed it. The atmosphere and tension ratchets up so incredibly as the scenario progresses that I almost couldn't stand it. It didn't hurt that I had a great GM run it, but I want to make sure other players get to experience the same level of intensity that I felt when I went through it.)

    Module: Carrion Hill (I've played and ran this, but I would love to do it yet again. I've been running a Carrion Crown campaign for almost a year, and I've fallen in love with Ustalav as a setting. I know that next time I run this module, I have a lot more I can contribute in maximizing the atmosphere of Ustalav.)

    Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

    Slamy Mcbiteo wrote:
    Any thought to having a standard questionnaire people could fillout for the DM? It could be just for the DM not reported since we have an issue reporting...I find feedback helps me a lot because some times as a GM I see things a little differently

    Slamy, here's my take on things. I admit I might be quirky.

    The players are almost exactly the wrong people for the GM to ask about his performance during a scenario. For hours, the players have been listening to the GM, trusting him, trying to do their best in the adventure and not be critical of him And suddenly, the GM asks if they have any advice for him?

    I've given a standard spiel: "I'm always trying to improve as a GM. If there's something that you've seen other Game masters do that you think I might be able to learn from, or if there's something you think I just did badly, I'd be interested in knowing, so that I can improve." I think I've gotten a useful datum three times, out of over 150 tables.

    What has helped is having an uninvolved GM sit and watch the game from a discrete distance. How long do I take to look up a monster or a spell? Does a player ask a question that I never hear or never bother to answer? At any given moment, how many players are actually paying attention? Are players confused about something? Do I slip in and out of character for the NPCs? Is there prep-work props, like face cards or item cards, that I forget to use?

    So, what I'm hoping to implement at a couple of cons this year is a reciprocal observation. You and I agree that we're both going to prep Scenario 4-14. I watch you run it, and you watch me run it. Or three GMs, each observing one peer and being watched by the other. And then sitting down for a meal with notes and observations.

    That sounds much more useful to me than asking players as I'm handing out Chronicles. (And questionnaires would be even worse, I imagine. There would be a lot of "fine" or "I don't know" answers.)

    Taldor *****

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    Season 0-Slave Pits of Absalom
    Season 1-Sniper in the Deep
    Season 2-The Sarkorian Prophecy
    Season 3-The Goblinblood Dead
    Season 4-The Blakros Matrimony

    Have not played or ran any of this. I will be running Goblinblood dead a few times soon. We see how that goes.

    Shadow Lodge ***

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    Season 0: Slave Pits of Absalon (1-5)
    Season 1: Hall of Drunken Heros (7-11)
    Season 2: You Only Die Twice (5-9)
    Season 3: Frostfur Captives (1-5), because I'm signed up to run it latter this month.
    Season 4: Whatever I'm assigned at Genghis Con in Febuary (Probably a 1-5 or a 3-7)
    Feast of Ravenmoor

    All of these I've played but not GM'd. I'm doing this because I'm a whore for GM credit. Also, the seasons 0,1 and 3 I thought, in retrospect, I could do better. Therefore I will find out. Season 2 and Feast were run very well, so I want to see if I can match them. Also, all of these seem fun.

    Shadow Lodge ***

    Finished first running of Frostfur Captives:

    Challenges: 3 of 4 players Golorian-Fu was weak, so I had to put in a lot of effort explaining Irrison/Land of the Linhorn Kings. When I mentioned Baba Yaga as a starting point I got a question from a player "who's Baba Yaga?". From there I started using 'Slavic Narnia, only darker' references.

    3.5 hour slot. Not a problem as long as I kept the game on task. I had prepped the optional encounter but didn't use it. We finished at 3 hours, 38 minutes.

    Those I handled well, the one I didn't handle well was rules lawyer player who came in a couple minutes late. Part of it was that I was spending so much energy keeping it on time and filling in background info I wasn't at the top of my game. 3 hours in, my patience was starting to fray. I wasn't rude, but I wasn't engageing as much and my RP in the last 3 scenes suffered.

    What I did well: Prep was awesome. Initial RP was great. The goblins had a lot of fun making puppets from the severed heads of the enemy goblins killed in the first encouter, complaing about food etc. Ice Troll proprositioned the Monk. Kept game running. Everyone had fun. Other thing; other than printing off some more chronicle sheets, I could run this on the drop of a hat and do better.

    Needs to be Better Keep up energy and don't be drained by circumstances. Have superior rules fu in order to slap down the rules lawyers quicker. Basically, I had enough hesitation to encourage him. Must control body language to control him and show less hesitation.

    My grade for myself(and I am harsh)--C.

    Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

    (nods) That's one of the reasons that the challenge asks you to run scenarios more than once. Each run is a learning experience, and I commend you for the analysis you need in order to improve.

    Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    Thanks for sharing your analysis! Can I ask you for more specific information on what the "rules lawyer" was doing that needed to be "slapped down"? All you really said was that your patience was fraying - more specifics might be helpful to us readers. :)

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