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RPG Superstar 2015

New scenarios too difficult?


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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Silver Crusade **

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Regardless of what some people might say, seasons 3 and 4 are a step in the right direction. Venture captains should be helping new players or suggesting that they get help from experienced players. With the free rebuilds available any time during, say, First Steps, there are now reduced excuses for characters that can not contribute in a meaningful way.

I would like to point out that the season 4 scenarios I have played I would only consider "average" difficulty with a full party of balanced characters. Broken combat machines still break the scenarios. The difference is that dead weight characters are much more burdensome. But if people think that season 4 requires completely minmaxed characters, they are incorrect.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

Amber Dreiling wrote:

The latest scenario I played in Society was really interesting... <snip>

Disease

Spoiler:
Ghoul Fever has an onset time of one day. Unless you spent the night, nobody should have been suffering from it.
Sczarni *** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Take Boat wrote:

I think the difficulty is about right for a full party of decently-built but not necessarily optimized characters. There's usually at least one player who can't pull their weight, though.

I agree 5-player tables are really tough. Maybe the scaling sidebars have space enough to fit in some guidelines for those? Especially in the harder fights.

I think you're right. Well-built characters will probably manage, but it will be tough. If anyone has a character that isn't up to snuff, though, or even one not well-suited to a particular adventure (such as the sorcerer with mostly mind-affecting spells in a scenario full of undead), it can quickly get deadly.

I think the solution to the 5-player problem is simple: allow the table to choose whether they want to play the four-player or six-player version of the scenario. If they want a hard game, they can play the six-player version; if they'd rather take it easy or aren't feeling confident, the four-player game can be just as fun.

**** RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter 2013

Having run in Wrath's Shadow I didn't mind the brutality. :-)

Now that said, I am a 'thematic' gamer. Dex is 4th level and just (with GM credit) got his mithral acrobat's breast plate and his masterwork katana. His next 'big ticket' item will be to get the katana made of mithral (why? I like the theme of matching weapon/armor). He's broad but not exceptionally deep in skills. He's really a "Jack of all Trades" Inquisitor. He's also a hoot to play, but don't expect him to keep up in the DPR game. (situational, if he can flank and get a few buffs up, then he can surprise you)


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Kyle Baird wrote:
hogarth wrote:
As I've said many times: Some people like "easy mode". Some people like "hard mode". You can't please everyone.
You know what I hate about this statement? It comes across as "because we know you can't please 100% of the population, we shouldn't try." I'm a firm believer that just because you can't please 100% it doesn't mean you shouldn't try to please 99.999%. There ARE things we all can do (players, GMs, organizers, authors, Paizo staff) to make this campaign better. Saying that we can't please everyone does nothing to help please anyone.

If you can tell me someone who likes "easy mode" (like me) and someone else who likes "hard mode" (like a number of vocal posters on these message boards) can both be seated at the same table, playing the same scenario with the same GM, and both be very happy with the result, I'll stop saying it. Until then, I'll repeat it whenever I see a thread that degenerates into people saying "if only players would create better PCs, then they wouldn't complain about hard modules".

Personally, I think it's fine to say (for example) that Pathfinder Society adventures are challenging. But that implies that they may not be for everyone, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I think we can both agree, however, that the best result for the campaign would be to cater to as many people as possible.

Silver Crusade **

Kyle Baird wrote:
Ill_Made_Knight wrote:
Thus we have, "It's not my responsibility mentality", which leads to TPKs. We all need to have an answer to every one of those things. That's the point of being a Pathfinder.
Am I in the wrong for purposely having characters NOT be able to deal with ALL of those things themselves? I prefer to have some challenges that I'm not prepared for.

Kyle you are not, because you are actively looking for a challenge , you're not the one screaming "ZOMG this is impossible". Ignorance isn't the issue here, which it is most cases. You are also one of the people that won't hate PFS because it is "too difficult". There is a categorical difference between "I know this but I am choosing not do anything." v.s. "I didn't know this and it is your job to pick up the slack".

David Bowles wrote:
I would like to point out that the season 4 scenarios I have played I would only consider "average" difficulty with a full party of balanced characters. Broken combat machines still break the scenarios. The difference is that dead weight characters are much more burdensome. But if people think that season 4 requires completely minmaxed characters, they are incorrect.

This.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
hogarth wrote:

If you can tell me someone who likes "easy mode" (like me) and someone else who likes "hard mode" (like a number of vocal posters on these message boards) can both be seated at the same table, playing the same scenario with the same GM, and both be very happy with the result, I'll stop saying it. Until then, I'll repeat it whenever I see a thread that degenerates into people saying "if only players would create better PCs, then they wouldn't complain about hard modules".

Personally, I think it's fine to say (for example) that Pathfinder Society adventures are challenging. But that implies that they may not be for everyone, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I think we can both agree, however, that the best result for the campaign would be to cater to as many people as possible.

First, I'm not looking for you to stop saying it. Just wanted to express my opinion about the statement and perhaps we can frame it differently to make it a helpful statement.

Second, I have run a ton of tables that had both players who like easy mode and who like hard mode. I'd like to believe that I was at least somewhat successful at showing both players a good time most of the time. Is it hard? Hell yes. The trick is getting them to like 51% of the experience. Have enough elements that player A likes and enough that player B likes so that they both come away with a positive experience.

Sczarni *** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

hogarth wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
hogarth wrote:
As I've said many times: Some people like "easy mode". Some people like "hard mode". You can't please everyone.
You know what I hate about this statement? It comes across as "because we know you can't please 100% of the population, we shouldn't try." I'm a firm believer that just because you can't please 100% it doesn't mean you shouldn't try to please 99.999%. There ARE things we all can do (players, GMs, organizers, authors, Paizo staff) to make this campaign better. Saying that we can't please everyone does nothing to help please anyone.

If you can tell me someone who likes "easy mode" (like me) and someone else who likes "hard mode" (like a number of vocal posters on these message boards) can both be seated at the same table, playing the same scenario with the same GM, and both be very happy with the result, I'll stop saying it. Until then, I'll repeat it whenever I see a thread that degenerates into people saying "if only players would create better PCs, then they wouldn't complain about hard modules".

Personally, I think it's fine to say (for example) that Pathfinder Society adventures are challenging. But that implies that they may not be for everyone, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I think we can both agree, however, that the best result for the campaign would be to cater to as many people as possible.

I think it is possible. It's really hard to pull off, but it is possible.

The main problem is that in a PFS game, the GM is hobbled in terms of what he can do to massage things so that they appeal to both players. Obviously, there isn't much we can do about that. But I still feel that it is better to try and have a balanced campaign where both types of players *can* have fun, rather than only going really easy or really hard and leaving the others behind.


Kyle Baird wrote:
Second, I have run a ton of tables that had both players who like easy mode and who like hard mode. I'd like to believe that I was at least somewhat successful at showing both players a good time most of the time. Is it hard? Hell yes.

It would be cool if you shared some tips and tricks, then!

Kyle Baird wrote:
The trick is getting them to like 51% of the experience.

Maybe we have different definitions of "very happy". If I like 51% of a scenario and I don't like 49% of it, I'd consider that a mixed success, at best.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Why get hung up on the arbitrary % numbers? That helps nothing.

Kyle Baird wrote:
Have enough elements that player A likes and enough that player B likes so that they both come away with a positive experience.

***

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Is there a two handed fighter, gun slinger, or other high damage dealer that can cut through the ubiquitous damage reduction? I know that a lot of the flavor of the pathfinder society is indiana jones, but a lot of what they actually do can be more conan the barbarian SMASH.*

One of these will get you through a scenario. two or three will hack it to ribbons.

This has been my experience in Tiers 1-2 and 3-4, as long as you have just one character with a two hander (or an archer) and big strength, you're fine. If you have one character with a two hander and 20 strength, the rest of the party is just along for the ride, and if you have more than one character like that, it turns into a game of "who can one shot the bad guys first?"

At 1-2 and 3-4, my experience has been that you can get away with having a non combat character as long as there's a BSF in your group. A lot of those non-combat characters actually add a lot to my enjoyment of the scenario because they actually lead to more interaction and roleplay, rather than just killing everything and looting the bodies.

Does this change as you get to higher tiers, and is this where people are having problems? Can you no longer get away with having only 1 person swinging a two hander, or does scaling mean that the barbarian who was one shotting CR3 bad guys at level 1 is no longer very powerful?

Is there (or had there been, in previous seasons) a jump in encounter difficulty, so that characters which were fine at 1-2 because combat only really needed one or two competent people, they're now suddenly a detriment to the party at 4-5 where you need 3 or 4 significant damage dealers?

Also, what do you consider a competent character build? Should a person playing a party face have +10 or better in social skills at level 1 (or level 5?) How much damage is enough? What about support characters? My cleric has an 43hp at level 4, swings a warhammer with 14 strength, and uses things like bodyguard, in harm's way, and shield other to keep his teammated alive. Is that not going to be enough in a couple more levels, and how will I know if I don't have experience playing at those levels?

I guess that's the real key, how does someone know if their character build will be useful at higher levels when they're new and haven't played the game before? Especially if you don't want to just play a barbarian or fighter with 20 strength and a falchion?

Liberty's Edge ****

Lab_Rat wrote:
Storval was my only Season 4 so far. We had a table of 6 and were playing at 10-11. We didn't find it a slaughter fest as some people had felt it was but we did find it challenging. Usually in a scenario your spell casters are worried about metering out their spells and making sure you have their good ones for the "boss" fight. Storval however is one of those scenarios were we threw it all on the table from the get go. It was definitely one of the more challenging scenarios for that lvl but not drastically outside the norm. What lvl did you play it at Feral?

We played it at 10-11.

My character and one other ended up basically sitting out the final encounter and let the level 7 cavalier and the level 10 druid solo the BBEG and his woman.

Yes, it was that easy.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

3 people marked this as a favorite.

The following is all purely my opinion:

Scenario difficulty should target an "average" party. Players who want a harder game should build less powerful PCs (didn't someone write some "hard mode" guidelines?) and players who want less challenge need to build stronger PCs.

If, theoretically, scenarios hit the approximate intended difficulty for average PCs, then anyone compaining that they're too hard would need to get better at the game and anyone complaining that they're cakewalks would need to practice some self-restraint.

In short: if you think scenarios are too easy/hard, build and play your PCs differently. If it's WAY out there, make note of it in a review. But in most cases, you should simply adjust your playing to give you the challenge level you want.

Liberty's Edge *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jiggy wrote:

The following is all purely my opinion:

Scenario difficulty should target an "average" party. Players who want a harder game should build less powerful PCs (didn't someone write some "hard mode" guidelines?) and players who want less challenge need to build stronger PCs.

If, theoretically, scenarios hit the approximate intended difficulty for average PCs, then anyone compaining that they're too hard would need to get better at the game and anyone complaining that they're cakewalks would need to practice some self-restraint.

In short: if you think scenarios are too easy/hard, build and play your PCs differently. If it's WAY out there, make note of it in a review. But in most cases, you should simply adjust your playing to give you the challenge level you want.

Yup!

Sovereign Court ***** Owner - Enchanted Grounds

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Feral wrote:
Lab_Rat wrote:
Storval was my only Season 4 so far. We had a table of 6 and were playing at 10-11. We didn't find it a slaughter fest as some people had felt it was but we did find it challenging. Usually in a scenario your spell casters are worried about metering out their spells and making sure you have their good ones for the "boss" fight. Storval however is one of those scenarios were we threw it all on the table from the get go. It was definitely one of the more challenging scenarios for that lvl but not drastically outside the norm. What lvl did you play it at Feral?

We played it at 10-11.

My character and one other ended up basically sitting out the final encounter and let the level 7 cavalier and the level 10 druid solo the BBEG and his woman.

Yes, it was that easy.

I think you play in a different reality than the rest of us, Feral.

In all seriousness, whether it is an absolute understanding of the rules, or a way with dice that transcends pure zen, I don't recall *ever* seeing a thread where you said you or a group you were playing with were challenged in any way.

*****

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Players who want a harder game should build less powerful PCs

In my humble experience, nearly all players who complain that scenarios aren't hard enough, don't actually want them to be difficult. They find their joy in 1) steam rolling encounters and 2) complaining or bragging about them not being difficult enough.

Again, just my experience.

Liberty's Edge ****

Heh, well to be fair I tend to play with some pretty egregious optimizers. I've joked with Mattastrophic along those same lines. My PCs tend to be pretty subdued but there's often at least one 'mod-breaker' character at my table.

That said, I played Storval at an out of town convention so it was more or less a group of strangers. I also played Dawn of the Scarlet Citadel at that same convention.


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Jiggy wrote:
Scenario difficulty should target an "average" party. Players who want a harder game should build less powerful PCs (didn't someone write some "hard mode" guidelines?) and players who want less challenge need to build stronger PCs.

I'm 100% in agreement. But defining an "average" party is easier said than done!

Kyle Baird wrote:
Have enough elements that player A likes and enough that player B likes so that they both come away with a positive experience.

Kyle, maybe I'm not being clear enough. I'm sorry if I'm not expressing myself very well. I'm trying to say that, if A and B are at the extreme ends of the spectrum, what player B considers fun might make player A miserable and vice versa. So there's no blend of what they each like that doesn't involve misery for the other.

But on the bright side, if you can still cater to the vast majority of players (and not just those on the extremes), then I think you're doing a pretty good job.

*

The problem with relying on one BSF to carry the slack is that at higher tiers bad buys have more abilities that can disable the BSF.

In Wrath's Shadow:
For In Wrath's Shadow my two-hander Paladin chopped everything up in short order. During the last fight I smote the BBEG for like half his total health but then got ghoul-paralyzed. The rest of the party wasn't really able to accomplish much and we probably should of died.

The big bads of Golemworks and Storval Stairs also have abilities that can take people out for multiple rounds on a failed save i.e.

Spoiler:
Black Tentacles and Stinking Cloud

Granted, those particular attacks are less likely to work on strong melee types, but they still work sometimes and they can shut down high-powered casters easily. At this level it might well be one of them the party is leaning on. Plenty of bads have Will save-or-stop abilities, too.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
hogarth wrote:
I'm trying to say that, if A and B are at the extreme ends of the spectrum, what player B considers fun might make player A miserable and vice versa. So there's no blend of what they each like that doesn't involve misery for the other.

I don't see the point in worrying about a situation that will never occur. These two individuals don't exist in my experience and if they do exist, they represent such a small portion of the Society it isn't worth discussing (since they'll likely not stick around PFS for very long anyway).

Hard mode and Easy mode only exist during combat encounters (my assumption/opinion). That's only a portion of the PFS experience. My estimate is that combat encounters are about 40% of the experience at my table. The rest is made up of story telling, role playing, player interactions, non-game talk, visual components, food, atmosphere and a bunch of other stuff. If I magically walk the line between both styles (hard and easy), then both of these mythical players end up losing 20% of their overall experience. That would mean I could still make them 80% happy with their overall experience.

Again these numbers are a bit arbitrary, but I'm just trying to illustrate a point that a table with pure hard mode and pure easy mode players can still have fun together playing PFS.

***

Tamago wrote:
I think the solution to the 5-player problem is simple: allow the table to choose whether they want to play the four-player or six-player version of the scenario. If they want a hard game, they can play the six-player version; if they'd rather take it easy or aren't feeling confident, the four-player game can be just as fun.

That's actually a really good idea, Tamago. Give the parties between the two difficulty levels a choice.

-Matt


Kyle Baird wrote:
Again these numbers are a bit arbitrary, but I'm just trying to illustrate a point that a table with pure hard mode and pure easy mode players can still have fun together playing PFS.

Please stop using percentages or else it will just tempt to make comments like "a meal that's 80% pizza and 20% motor oil is not a good meal". :-)

Tamago wrote:
I think the solution to the 5-player problem is simple: allow the table to choose whether they want to play the four-player or six-player version of the scenario. If they want a hard game, they can play the six-player version; if they'd rather take it easy or aren't feeling confident, the four-player game can be just as fun.

I agree that a lot of problems can be avoided by making sure that all of the players in the party are on the same page as to what level of difficulty they're looking for. For smaller groups of mixed players it's not quite as easy, though.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

hogarth wrote:
"a meal that's 80% pizza and 20% motor oil is not a good meal".

Pfft, maybe to you.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So use that analogy. If a place is serving me a dish of 4 pieces of pizza and a cup of motor oil, I'll be pretty happy to have the 4 pieces of pizza and will simply ignore the motor oil.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

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I play bards, so I find it humorous listening to all the scenarios people are complaining about.

For the most part, the reasons the new scenarios of season 4 and late season 3 are difficult is that the "standard tactic" of 5 guys clubbing enemies, while one person heals the five, doesn't work so well.

One doesn't need to be min-maxed. One just needs to be prepared and flexible enough to adapt.

Your characters represent the best of the best. They are the troubleshooters sent to resolve problems that others cannot deal with. Does this mean they should all be cookie-cutter min-maxers? Heck no. It just means they should put on their big-boy pants and prepare to deal with whatever.

I'm loving it.

Shadow Lodge *****

Jiggy wrote:
hogarth wrote:
"a meal that's 80% pizza and 20% motor oil is not a good meal".
Pfft, maybe to you.

More motor oil please!

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Will Johnson wrote:
For the most part, the reasons the new scenarios of season 4 and late season 3 are difficult is that the "standard tactic" of 5 guys clubbing enemies, while one person heals the five, doesn't work so well.

Gods Market Gamble:
I ran this for my family at subtier 1-2. In the last fight, two PCs drop to the ground with arrows in their brains after two volleys from the BBEG ranger. The min-maxed, 20 INT wizard's first turn? "I use Force Missile for 5 damage, then end my turn without moving toward any of the abundant opportunities for cover in this crowded marketplace."

*ARROWTOTHEFACE*


Kyle Baird wrote:
So use that analogy. If a place is serving me a dish of 4 pieces of pizza and a cup of motor oil, I'll be pretty happy to have the 4 pieces of pizza and will simply ignore the motor oil.

So if I was playing The Dalsine Affair (say), and I decided the last encounter wouldn't be much fun, you wouldn't have a problem with my PC skipping out on it? As a GM, I would probably find that distasteful.

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka Yiroep

Will Johnson wrote:
I play bards.

Are you insinuating that bards can't extremely effective in combat? If so, my bard takes offense to that, as he is commonly the most powerful damage dealer in any party he's in.

He usually get looks when I say he's not the "party face," but when I start dropping the enemies they usually curb their opinion about him.

Liberty's Edge *****

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Will Johnson wrote:

I play bards, so I find it humorous listening to all the scenarios people are complaining about.

For the most part, the reasons the new scenarios of season 4 and late season 3 are difficult is that the "standard tactic" of 5 guys clubbing enemies, while one person heals the five, doesn't work so well.

One doesn't need to be min-maxed. One just needs to be prepared and flexible enough to adapt.

Your characters represent the best of the best. They are the troubleshooters sent to resolve problems that others cannot deal with. Does this mean they should all be cookie-cutter min-maxers? Heck no. It just means they should put on their big-boy pants and prepare to deal with whatever.

I'm loving it.

That sounds like awesome advice.

A good analogy I can think of is this:

I had my home mortgage with Chase. My monthly bill was due every 1st, but I had a 15 day grace period, so as long as the payment got made by the 16th of the month, I was not assessed a late fee. Additionally, I could make my payments online by clicking a couple buttons. And if I clicked those buttons on the 16th, they did not assess me the late fee (despite many electronic monetary transactions requiring that the entire transaction be completed before posting the payment to your account and thus charging a late fee if you don’t get it done with 2 or 3 days to spare). I recently refinanced with 5th/3rd, and unless I have an account with 5th/3rd I can’t do my payments online. They also charge a $17.85 fee for a phone transaction. Additionally, 5th/3rd does not have any branches in Minnesota, so I can’t go into a branch. So I had to adapt and set up an automatic payment monthly. I was able to make it work by being flexible, but I had gotten complacent with almost 4 years of doing business with my mortgage the same way.

I feel this is a similar problem with organized play campaigns. Because the same developer/authors are writing the scenarios/modules with the same formulas for several years, people get complacent with how these scenarios should be solved. Often hack-n-slash style works every time. So as players, we get complacent with what is required to survive/succeed at a scenario/encounter. That’s why comments like “lets Greyhawk the module” gets used.

What’s tripping folks up now, isn’t that the scenarios are too hard, but rather the tried and true method for years (what we got complacent with) is no longer sufficient for every encounter. The solution isn’t to dial back the scenarios, but for the player base (including myself) to become more flexible and versatile as players (and create more flexible, prepared and versatile characters).

Liberty's Edge

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Not the book version [of Conan]. Which is ironic because the book version would be VERY much a pathfinder , sneaking into places and getting out with the relic.

"You want us to pick up a huge bowl, from the temple of Ibis?"

"Sure thing! What could possibly go wrong?"

**

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There have always been some hard mods, but I love season 4 so far. I like a challenge. I like having to think tactically. As a dm, I like being able to use control versus the players. Of course, dm quality can change this from a challenge to a easy tpk without a ton of thought in some mods.
A party which can play either tier should get dm advice on difficulty. Tiers are all out of character and its notfun to get completely stomped or walk a scenario. I played two year 3 mods back to back this way. The first was with a compentent group and we had a tpk in round 2 or 3 of the final fight. We never damaged the bbeg. The second was with some of the worst players I've ever seen, and we took 6 damage total in the scenario. Neither was fun. Dm advice on tier could have made both fun experiences


The obvious answer is to increase the difficulty of all knowledge / diplomacy / skill checks by 5-10.

Int 7 two-hander fighters as Pathfinders? Hired help, at best :-)

Dark Archive ***** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

hogarth wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
So use that analogy. If a place is serving me a dish of 4 pieces of pizza and a cup of motor oil, I'll be pretty happy to have the 4 pieces of pizza and will simply ignore the motor oil.
So if I was playing The Dalsine Affair (say), and I decided the last encounter wouldn't be much fun, you wouldn't have a problem with my PC skipping out on it? As a GM, I would probably find that distasteful.

How would you know which was the last encounter or whether it would be much fun?

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Todd Morgan wrote:
hogarth wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
So use that analogy. If a place is serving me a dish of 4 pieces of pizza and a cup of motor oil, I'll be pretty happy to have the 4 pieces of pizza and will simply ignore the motor oil.
So if I was playing The Dalsine Affair (say), and I decided the last encounter wouldn't be much fun, you wouldn't have a problem with my PC skipping out on it? As a GM, I would probably find that distasteful.
How would you know which was the last encounter or whether it would be much fun?

This and:

By that point, I would know you want it on easy mode. I can simply adjust how that encounter plays out so Mr. Hard Mode is challenged and Mr. Easy Mode can help the rest of the party out w/o being one-shotted.

Really, it's not as difficult to do as you keep making it out to be. Run a handful of PFS games and you'll see.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Todd Morgan wrote:
hogarth wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
So use that analogy. If a place is serving me a dish of 4 pieces of pizza and a cup of motor oil, I'll be pretty happy to have the 4 pieces of pizza and will simply ignore the motor oil.
So if I was playing The Dalsine Affair (say), and I decided the last encounter wouldn't be much fun, you wouldn't have a problem with my PC skipping out on it? As a GM, I would probably find that distasteful.
How would you know which was the last encounter or whether it would be much fun?

Once your PC is a smoking corpse in the surprise round, it's pretty much guaranteed it's at least your last encounter, and you probably have an idea of whether it was fun or not. ;)

Sczarni *** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Will Johnson wrote:

Your characters represent the best of the best. They are the troubleshooters sent to resolve problems that others cannot deal with. Does this mean they should all be cookie-cutter min-maxers? Heck no. It just means they should put on their big-boy pants and prepare to deal with whatever.

I'm loving it.

And I'm glad that you are! I'm not suggesting that the people who enjoy challenging modules should not get what they want. But not everyone knows how to be prepared to deal with whatever. There are plenty of inexperienced players who come to PFS not knowing what to expect, and they shouldn't get TPKed because their tactics are suboptimal.

As for the other group I mentioned, the role-players, they are not interested in tough fights. They are interested in having fun exploring, talking with NPCs, and oh by the way sometimes killing bad guys. Which is not to say that they shouldn't have characters capable of holding their own in a fight, but they aren't going to be optimized the way a dedicated, combat-loving gamer's PCs are.

I really think there is a happy medium here that can provide some challenge for the experienced players while not being too competitive.

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

Andrew Christian wrote:
So as players, we get complacent with what is required to survive/succeed at a scenario/encounter.

And, IMO, that's to be expected. That's what we have been taught to do, because a scenario has to be enjoyable for a random group of players who first met each other five minutes before the session started. If you have a well-rounded regular group of players, used to what everybody else can do, and with very little unnecessary duplication of abilities, then they're probably going to have an easier time overcoming the obstacles.

Creating a reasonable challenge for such a group, while at the same time not totally overpowering a group missing a critical role, is a tough problem to solve. It's OK for an Adventure Path to be crafted to require a reasonably competent spellcaster (or thief, or archivist ...), because players generally build characters specifically for that storyline. But with PFS there is (despite what scenario introductions may say) no selection of an appropriate party, and precious little information given to the players before they sign up for the scenario. Perhaps there does have to be some kind of difficulty rating, or an official way for a GM to give out a little more advice on which subtier would best suit the party. I've had everything from a GM explicitly warning against playing up as practically the first thing said, to a GM who, even when asked point blank, declined to provide anything other than the box text mission briefing.


Todd Morgan wrote:
How would you know which was the last encounter or whether it would be much fun?

Last encounter: I have never been wrong in guessing which is the last encounter of a PFS scenario yet.

Whether it's fun or not: Rumours or product reviews, I suppose.

Kyle Baird wrote:
hogarth wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
So use that analogy. If a place is serving me a dish of 4 pieces of pizza and a cup of motor oil, I'll be pretty happy to have the 4 pieces of pizza and will simply ignore the motor oil.
So if I was playing The Dalsine Affair (say), and I decided the last encounter wouldn't be much fun, you wouldn't have a problem with my PC skipping out on it? As a GM, I would probably find that distasteful.
By that point, I would know you want it on easy mode. I can simply adjust how that encounter plays out so Mr. Hard Mode is challenged and Mr. Easy Mode can help the rest of the party out w/o being one-shotted.

Would you or would you not have a problem with a player skipping part of a module because he didn't think it would be fun?

I can't comment on your GMing ability; maybe you could make a separate thread with some tips and tricks, like I suggested earlier.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I would have a problem with a player skipping part of a scenario because they knew what was coming.


Kyle Baird wrote:
I would have a problem with a player skipping part of a scenario because they knew what was coming.

Right, and that's as it should be. So it's not as simple as just being able to ignore the parts of a scenario you don't like as you suggested earlier.

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

If players are going to be asked to change the way they build characters, I'd hope we could come up with a better way than just tossing them into the deep end to see if they sink or swim. The "First Steps" series of scenarios offer a good introduction to PFS play, and showcase several skills and abilities that will prove useful in the scenarios to come (and, nowadays, you can even rebuild your character if you are made aware of a serious omission in your capabilities). Perhaps there should be some sort of "Second Steps" series that teaches a player about the additional challenges they will face once they venture beyond the safety of a tier 1-5 scenario. There's a lot of good information to be found here on the forums, but not everybody who plays PFS reads the forums.

Dark Archive ***** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

hogarth wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
I would have a problem with a player skipping part of a scenario because they knew what was coming.
Right, and that's as it should be. So it's not as simple as just being able to ignore the parts of a scenario you don't like as you suggested earlier.

He never suggested skipping parts of a scenario? That is ridiculous.

*****

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
JohnF wrote:
Perhaps there should be some sort of "Second Steps" series that teaches a player about the additional challenges they will face once they venture beyond the safety of a tier 1-5 scenario.

I'm intrigued by this.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Tamago wrote:

As for the other group I mentioned, the role-players, they are not interested in tough fights. They are interested in having fun exploring, talking with NPCs, and oh by the way sometimes killing bad guys. Which is not to say that they shouldn't have characters capable of holding their own in a fight, but they aren't going to be optimized the way a dedicated, combat-loving gamer's PCs are.

I really think there is a happy medium here that can provide some challenge for the experienced players while not being too competitive.

Here's the thing: things like "exploring, talking with NPCs", etc don't require much investment of stat points, gear, skill ranks, and so forth. Spending your time roleplaying and exploring is 100% independent of your stats. The uber combat monkey is not less equipped to spend time roleplaying than anyone else.

There is no such thing as "I'm less effective in combat because I'm more interested in roleplaying". The only reason someone is less effective in combat is either because they don't know better (newbie) or they chose to be. It has nothing to do with a higher prioritization of roleplaying.

If someone (who isn't a newbie) wants easier scenarios needs to build a better PC - and then keep right on roleplaying like they always have. Thinking they have to choose between the two is simply incorrect.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

JohnF wrote:
There's a lot of good information to be found here on the forums, but not everybody who plays PFS reads the forums.

Then maybe some of us should be handing out paper guides.

I'm not kidding.

Liberty's Edge *****

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hogarth wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
I would have a problem with a player skipping part of a scenario because they knew what was coming.
Right, and that's as it should be. So it's not as simple as just being able to ignore the parts of a scenario you don't like as you suggested earlier.

He never suggested skipping parts of a scenario.

The analogy was allegorical at best.

What he’s trying to say is, if you enjoy 80% of a scenario, and not 20%, then just don’t let that 20% bother you, because you had 80% fun.

Additionally, I think it’s ridiculous that we gotta play politically correct with how difficult/easy this campaign is, because some players want to play something other than what this campaign is.

This campaign is what it is. You either create a character capable of withstanding its challenges, or you don’t. If you don’t, then you don’t really have any room to complain.

Now if an average character, built specifically to be a good Pathfinder, is getting slaughtered despite preparation and average build, and the uber-optimizers are having trouble, then yeah, things are overpowered and need to be dialed back.

But I keep hearing arguments that those who want to just roleplay should be catered to.

This campaign includes combat. If you build your character to specifically not be good at combat and only good for roleplay purposes, and you end up with an entire party built that way (cause in OP that’s a possibility), then chances are your characters are going to die now that the scenarios are set to challenge a well-balanced average party of characters built to be good Pathfinders.

*

hogarth wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
So use that analogy. If a place is serving me a dish of 4 pieces of pizza and a cup of motor oil, I'll be pretty happy to have the 4 pieces of pizza and will simply ignore the motor oil.
So if I was playing The Dalsine Affair (say), and I decided the last encounter wouldn't be much fun, you wouldn't have a problem with my PC skipping out on it? As a GM, I would probably find that distasteful.

My cleric would have done EXACTLY this if I had not been stunned and forgotten about the withdraw action. I survived!! the initial assault (he somehow hit without critting, and my cleric is an Aasimar so 5 fewer electric damage). With the Travel Domain, I could have booked it and been 80 ft away in 1 round, then over the wall where we left the rope in another... (Of course, shocked and addled, I took a 5-foot step, healed myself and died the next round).

That's not quite the same as "Oheyguyz, I know what's coming so I'm just gonna wait out here..." but it's not altogether unlike tasting your glass of "cola" and finding it was carbonated motor oil, then leaving it at the table (with no tip!).

As for difficulty of Season 4, I've only played one scenario thus far...

Contains actual content of 4-01 so don't read if you don't want spoilers:
I was in a group playing this at 4-5 and the room with the Alchemist/bomb lobbing goblins almost TPK'ed us (after nearly losing 2 players to the slime mold trap in the previous hallway); I suspect the GM let us off as our rogue used (Gnome) Dancing Lights and a really good bluff roll with "I summon you angelic protector!" and they ran away into a small hole in the wall or something. The only death was my druid's animal companion (who took a crit bomb to the face), but the group decided to skip out on fighting the BBEG due to time issues and difficulty of the mod up to that point... 1 prestige vs. survival isn't too hard a choice.

Dark Archive ***** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Jiggy wrote:


Here's the thing: things like "exploring, talking with NPCs", etc don't require much investment of stat points, gear, skill ranks, and so forth. Spending your time roleplaying and exploring is 100% independent of your stats. The uber combat monkey is not less equipped to spend time roleplaying than anyone else.

This is actually incorrect. Fighter builds that have burned charisma and not invested in any 'roleplay' skills suck as Intimidate or Diplomacy will be next to useless at talking to NPCs.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Todd Morgan wrote:
Jiggy wrote:


Here's the thing: things like "exploring, talking with NPCs", etc don't require much investment of stat points, gear, skill ranks, and so forth. Spending your time roleplaying and exploring is 100% independent of your stats. The uber combat monkey is not less equipped to spend time roleplaying than anyone else.

This is actually incorrect. Fighter builds that have burned charisma and not invested in any 'roleplay' skills suck as Intimidate or Diplomacy will be next to useless at talking to NPCs.

I wasn't talking about trying to get them to do something, I was talking about being able to roleplay interactions with them. Making a diplomacy check is not roleplaying. An in-character demonstration of what your net -1 diplomacy check sounded like is great roleplaying - moreso than a less-thoroughly acted out high-CHA check.

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