Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

Monte Cook's advice for playtesters


Mythic Adventures Playtest General Discussion

Designer

9 people marked this as a favorite.

Monte isn't involved in the Mythic Adventures design or playtest, but he is doing playtests for his own game and posted some good advice for playtesters. It's worth a read, no matter what you're playtesting or who it's for.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Monte isn't involved in the Mythic Adventures design or playtest, but he is doing playtests for his own game and posted some good advice for playtesters. It's worth a read, no matter what you're playtesting or who it's for.

Thanks for posting this. I know I am totally looking forward to trying these rules out with my group, and will do my best to be a good playtester.

One thing worth pointing out though is that we are not testing a complete ruleset like Numenera here. We are testing out a set of optional rules that are meant to append onto an existing ruleset. The GM section in the Mythic Adventures acknowledges this by stating that there are different types of mythic games (rare, limited, uncommon, common) and groups can decide to what extent the mythic rules will be used. As a result it is inevitable that the playtest feedback will be uneven as different groups will choose and pick different pieces of the rules they like best and want to use in their games.

For example, I posted in the GM section a plan for an upcoming campaign that will be using the mythic rules (Totally pumped to be running Shattered Star by the way!). However, I've never liked tracking xp and always leveled my players by fiat, and in a similar fashion I am not keen on using the trials rules. I'm sincerely hoping that my feedback will still be valued even though I am not using 100% of the ruleset as presented.


I'm ambivalent.

Pro: It's unambiguous guidance.

Con: I feel like I'm not welcome to talk about anything not specifically in the playtest document.

Monte's wasn't snarly, however, so I'm hopefully being paranoid again.

Designer

AlgaeNymph wrote:
Con: I feel like I'm not welcome to talk about anything not specifically in the playtest document.

I think it really depends on how you phrase your feedback and your awareness that this is only about 1/5th of what'll be in the book; there is room to add more, and part of the intent of the playtest is to hear ideas about stuff we may have missed.

"I would like to see more class-specific mythic abilities, like modifying smite and wildshape" is helpful and good feedback.

"There's nothing here for [my favorite class]" is not helpful and not good feedback.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
AlgaeNymph wrote:
Con: I feel like I'm not welcome to talk about anything not specifically in the playtest document.

I think it really depends on how you phrase your feedback and your awareness that this is only about 1/5th of what'll be in the book; there is room to add more, and part of the intent of the playtest is to hear ideas about stuff we may have missed.

"I would like to see more class-specific mythic abilities, like modifying smite and wildshape" is helpful and good feedback.

"There's nothing here for [my favorite class]" is not helpful and not good feedback.

Sweet we've been doing it right so far :)


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

"I would like to see more class-specific mythic abilities, like modifying smite and wildshape" is helpful and good feedback.

"There's nothing here for [my favorite class]" is not helpful and not good feedback.

So if I say "here're some ideas for mythic enchantment spells" then that's helpful and not violating 3. Be a playtester, not a designer?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

AlgaeNymph: to a point, I believe.

But I think the real idea isn't to make stuff up and tell them "This is a good thing that you should consider.", but rather, "We came across this problem, and here's our solution to it." So, to use Sean's examples, "My player with Wildshape abilities didn't really find much use out of the current suite; perhaps more options would be good?" and/or "My player with Wildshape abilities didn't really find much use out of the current suite; I gave him such-and-such ability, which he loved, and it didn't seem to break the game." (Replace "Wildshape" with "Smite" to cover both of his examples!)

Anyway, I could be wrong, but that's my understanding of how it works best.

Cross-posting from here, because it seems relevant enough, and I missed this being under General Discussion instead of GM Feedback:

me wrote:

I'm interested in playtesting (and giving feedback for) the mythic rules, but the games I'm currently able to run or play in tend to be peculiar.

In the Kingmaker game (I'm a player here), we started out using 3.5 rules (as we didn't know Pathfinder was so different), and the character I have is rather preposterously powerful as a result (if comparatively low on hit points).

In the Serpent Skull game I GM (currently on hold) the PCs have several strange templates and rather extreme power already through other means.

In the current game I'm running, the only PC already has high ability scores and has just received minor bits of divine power (a lesser version of the divine rank system from Deities and Demigods).

In our two other PF-like games (currently on hold) we're using (3.5 as we didn't start off with Dreamscarred Press') psionics extensively.

In one of the next planned campaigns I have, I'm planning on basically running a solo Grecian-style campaign where the PC is a daughter of Dionysus, which would be perfect, except we've already got the framework and characters created, and I'm not sure how to retool things to make her mythic instead.

We may have an option, soon, of getting another game going, but its still likely to be strange, rules-wise, as we're down to just me and my wife, in our area currently.

So, in short, none of the games that we currently have going on really give a good picture of what a "standard" game might actually have going for it. So: should we still give feedback? What would you guys like to hear? I know you want information on high level play, but what about extreme, already-rule-bending - or at the least abnormal - play?

I know it's different than Monte's advice, as it's a bit outside of the basic system design, as-written, but that's why I'm asking before going whole-hog into this thing: would my feedback be valuable, or just a waste of your time (being so far outside the scope of normal games)?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And suddenly I feel my respect for Paizo diminishing.

Designer

And why is that, Peter?

Taldor

Because, OMG you regard Monte Cook as a human being, i presume. Some people hate that man for some reason. I get the hate towards Bill Slaviscek, but not towards Cook.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

That's weird, why would you hate Monte? I have nothing but respect for the man.

Taldor

Dunno? I know a guy who hates Monte because he ruined 2nd edition with the 3rd. Yep that is his argument.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Youch. Okay, I can understand disliking a man's game system, but disliking his generic advice when the developers of a game you actually play point it out as a good idea? That's wilful ignorance, and while I understand it, I think it's sheer idiocy.

Taldor

You miss the point. They hate the man, not his system.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Really? How many of them have actually met him, and sat down to dinner with him or had a beer with him? Because unless they've done that, they don't know the man enough to hate him.

Despise the direction he's taken for game development, sure, be my guest, but that doesn't make the man himself worthy of an emotion as extreme as hatred. At worst he deserves indifference.

You yourself said you know someone who "hates him because he ruined 2nd edition AD&D with 3rd Edition": is that really hatred of the man himself? Or the game he designed?

I hate terrorists, anyone who wants to kill me or innocent people, and the guy who used to beat up one of my ex-girlfriends. I don't hate people because they write games I don't like.

Hating a man for writing 3E because it's not 2E is incomprehensible to me. It literally makes no sense - 3E is a different game to 2E. Did writing it suddenly invalidate the entirety of 2E? Is there some worldwide ban in place that means it's no longer allowed to be played? Is anyone being prevented from writing their own adventures and supplements for it? How did he "ruin" it? Because WotC stopped development of it? The rules are out. 3E doesn't suddenly make them somehow illegal.

I'm just baffled that someone can hate a writer who writes books that nobody is forcing you to read.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I firmly believe Monte Cook made several very poor decisions when designing 3e - decisions that up to this day negatively affect all incarnations of the d20 system.

I also think his advice for playtesters that Sean linked here is pure gold. Monte may have ideas I neither share nor endorse when it comes to design, but he's also a consummate professional who knows how things work.

Taldor

Such as? The decisions i mean?


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

I took a day off before responding so I could cool off a little after reading this.

First, I have no problem with Monte. I've never met him, so there is nothing personal, and overall I'm fairly happy with the D20 framework he helped design. That said, having that playtesting 'advice' shoved in our faces had me spitting nails. Let me explain why.

Epic is a rule set that was originally put out in what I can only describe as a half-assed manner. It was broken to hell, poorly conceived, and lazily designed. I hate to say that, because as a whole I have a lot of respect for a couple of the designers involved, but it was just bad. I will say, in the defense of those designers that epic as a whole is something remarkably difficult to 'do right', especially on a limited time table. It is also the sort of thing that is intrinsically difficult to design because I suspect epic games diverge from each other much more than the majority of non-epic games. That is to say each table is very different. Epic also highlights the largest weaknesses of the d20 system in the form of higher end divergences between weaknesses and strengths (e.g. good saves vs. bad saves, attack bonuses on fighters vs. AC on low AC targets, ect). Basically, by the time you get to level 20 the math is as a whole starting to break down in a number of places unless you are playing in a very specific type of game.

You also saw in epic a very marginal amount of support. Many rules questions went unanswered, problems were ignored, and the 3.0 -> 3.5 update was awful. The tiny amount of material they occasionally stuck in the last 2-3 pages of a new release was both the exception and just sad. Many classes lacked not just new feats or abilities in epic, but a progression at all.

In any case, that entire paragraph builds towards the fact that those who have played with epic rules since their release ten years ago have had plenty of time to discover the problems in 20+ play, design options for classes outside of the Core Classes, and draw up monsters that don't look like they were built from copy / pasted stat blocks. I do not think it is unfair to say that many of the long time epic players and GMs have both more experience playing at epic than any designer here, but also more experience designing monsters and content.

This is not to call them better designers on the broad sense, but there is a real trove of experience available here and elsewhere with regard to epic design that could add a lot to the design process. People have seen some of the mistakes that have been made in the initial playtest document before. They've made them, worked around them, and designed fixes. Being told to basically shut up and just play then report findings is then a little bit insulting. This is especially true after seeing how some other playtests have gone - in which people whining the loudest on the forums about possible abuses have been focused on (I'm looking at you Summoner, which went from a really interesting and diverse class in the early incarnations to a boring brute in its final publication).

Let me head off the "Mythic is not Epic" response. I understand that - perhaps better than most. At the same time it is essentially going to fill the epic nitch, and it does expand a lot of the math in its present incarnation. As such, many of the same problems are readily observable - especially for those who have seen them play out over the last decade.

Giving some archtypes large bonuses to hit and damage while not giving similar increases to others is problematic. Giving +10 to any single ability score in addition to the existing scores is a problem. Basing mythic uses off one ability score is (probably) a problem. I don't have to bloody playtest that to see the problem. I've spent ten bloody years playtesting these same problems on a marginally different scale.

After waiting ten years for some acceptable basic epic substitute I'm just a little bit miffed to see the same mistakes being made. I want Mythic to rock my socks. I want it to be everything I'd ever wanted. Right now though I'd say it is the most unpolished playtest you guys have ever released. That's sort of a big disappointment.

TL:DR - I don't think Monte's advice applies as smoothly here. This may be a 'new' system, but it is not new in the sense that his system is 'new'. This is a stand in (in many ways) and attachment to a system people have played with for a decade. Ultimately I find it insulting.


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

Well said, Peter.

Given that I'm putting my long-running (as in it started in 2006) epic game on hold to playtest these rules (starting tonight), I know exactly what you're saying, I fully understand your concerns, and agree with a lot of them.

YES I know it's not "epic" but it is intended to scratch that itch, and I'm concerned about what might be percieved as a lack of attention to those sorts of details.

But I'll know better once we try to actually use the system, rather than just reading it.


Peter Stewart wrote:
Being told to basically shut up and just play then report findings is then a little bit insulting.

I kind of felt this way as well, thus my inquiry.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The problem that I see here is that the original piece was offered as a suggestion. Sean did not say that you had to read it, but that it gives insight on what is most helpful to them. It's not telling you to, as you put it, "basically shut up and just play then report findings." It's telling you that, the reporting is what they are looking for.

The internet is a faceless, soulless interface, and if you read that interpretation, it's likely because you read that into it. I doubt that was the intention. I give them all more credit than that.

I am sorry that you feel insulted, but I felt that the post helped me understand what they need from us. The simple fact that they are inviting us to help playtest this is one of the reasons that I love this company.

Playtests are often broken, as you have pointed out of this one, and that is the need for the playtest. The creative minds sometimes need to be reigned in, not only by themselves, but sometimes by those they expect to purchase their product.

Simply put, if you don't want to be a part of it, then don't. It just doesn't make sense for you to complain because one of the developers offered a bit of direction to those that might need it.

This is my opinion and I speak for no one but myself and no one else.

*steps down, picks up his soapbox and walks off* ^_^


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well thought out post, Peter. IMO, you have presented valid feedback there (especially on the point about ability score increases), but you've not fallen afoul of the temptation to try to design a better option. That's JB's job. Nor are you blanket-lambasting the design direction.

I approve of your message (meaningless though my opinion may be).

Osirion Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Politics, religion or gaming, I think we all have a proclivity to react to things and not to try to hear what someone means to say. Monte Cook does not mean "shut up and report your playtest games only", and certainly is not the type of guy to insult players. If you're here because you love Pathfinder, recognize you wouldn't have Pathfinder without Monte Cook.

Moreover, thanks to Monte, the third edition of the game is badass, and leads to the badass version of the game we have now. If great design minds from your favorite game company (mine, anyway) extend Cook's advice on being useful to the playtest, it's worth some read and heed.

How helpful is "well some people hate Monte Cook" for any reason? Does anyone imagine that discussion is going to bear fruit for Mythic Adventures? How about we read his advice and take what's good from it and refuse to grinch about the rest?

As far as the actual feedback, those points have been brought up in the correct places in the forums. Debate on mythic vs epic play, ability scores and save disparity is ongoing and comments should be welcome there.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Steven T. Helt wrote:
How about we read his advice and take what's good from it and refuse to grinch about the rest?

A-fricking-men.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Steven T. Helt wrote:
How about we read his advice and take what's good from it and refuse to grinch about the rest?

Well said, Steven.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
Peter Stewart wrote:
Ultimately I find it insulting.

Monte's advice is not insulting.

You know what's insulting?

This is insulting other people.

Glad to know where your double standards are at! :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
Peter Stewart wrote:
Ultimately I find it insulting.

Monte's advice is not insulting.

You know what's insulting?

This is insulting other people.

Glad to know where your double standards are at! :)

Har har, so clever.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The gist of Monte's advice, as far as I understand it, is to acknowledge there's a thin line between helpful playtest data and the "white noise" of things that might seem important to potential playtesters, but prove ultimately unhelpful to developers. I see nothing insulting about it.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
AlgaeNymph wrote:
Peter Stewart wrote:
Being told to basically shut up and just play then report findings is then a little bit insulting.
I kind of felt this way as well, thus my inquiry.

Weid, I thought that was playtesting was all about. Play, test, report findings. This is just a playtest, Paizo is not soliciting us as designers.


Zaister wrote:
AlgaeNymph wrote:
Peter Stewart wrote:
Being told to basically shut up and just play then report findings is then a little bit insulting.
I kind of felt this way as well, thus my inquiry.
Weid, I thought that was playtesting was all about. Play, test, report findings. This is just a playtest, Paizo is not soliciting us as designers.

Yes. I'm finding the threads more enjoyable overall, to read. Hearing about others' games and their experiences, then how they worked through (or didn't) elements of the proposed design is fantastic.


I didn't think there was anything insulting about the article, but I thought some of his advice was less than convincing.

Like #1 -- "Don't point out typos or awkwardly worded sentences or stupid ability names because that stuff will get fixed later by the editors and developers." Yeah, sure...


hogarth wrote:

I didn't think there was anything insulting about the article, but I thought some of his advice was less than convincing.

Like #1 -- "Don't point out typos or awkwardly worded sentences or stupid ability names because that stuff will get fixed later by the editors and developers." Yeah, sure...

Because it's ultimately a waste of time on your part.

The typo you point out may be in a paragraph that won't exist by the final draft. It may have already been found and cut from the next draft before you said anything.

However I will point out that noting confusing language is part of it. If the writer uses some strange mutation of english in order to make a mechanic that makes it confusing then by all means point it out.


TarkXT wrote:
Because it's ultimately a waste of time on your part.

I don't know what to tell you. With regards the Pathfinder playtest, that wasn't my experience at all. Many errors of that type that were pointed out during the Pathfinder playtest got fixed, and many errors that weren't pointed out (or that weren't pointed out loudly enough) made it to the final product.


hogarth wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
Because it's ultimately a waste of time on your part.
I don't know what to tell you. With regards the Pathfinder playtest, that wasn't my experience at all. Many errors of that type that were pointed out during the Pathfinder playtest got fixed, and many errors that weren't pointed out (or that weren't pointed out loudly enough) made it to the final product.

I think we learn something new each and every playtest. What these experiences might suggest is that a separate section be maintained for these sorts of errors.

That is, the final editors are not always the designers, and it is the editors who need to see the information you're presenting, and to track it.

When speaking of typos, we're speaking to a different portion of the Paizo team. It would then make sense (in some, not all cases) for the host of a playtest to provide a separate area for that communication to occur. Mixing it with everything else can be helpful to the designers, though I imagine, also makes more work in the end as it risks turning them into a sort of "middleman."

That may also be why the errors needed to be presented "loudly." They were going through middlemen. This isn't deliberate obfuscation. It's one created by process.

Note, an editing submissions section may only be the most helpful on beta drafts, or a more polished alpha. It depends on the phase the document is at.


hogarth wrote:
TarkXT wrote:
Because it's ultimately a waste of time on your part.
I don't know what to tell you. With regards the Pathfinder playtest, that wasn't my experience at all. Many errors of that type that were pointed out during the Pathfinder playtest got fixed, and many errors that weren't pointed out (or that weren't pointed out loudly enough) made it to the final product.

The kind of open playtest that Paizo does has it's advantages over a more formalized form of playtesting usually employed.

One of them being, the feedback on spellchecking and minor stylistic mistakes can be delivered separately from the really important stuff, because everything gets sorted into forum threads.

In a classic closed playtest, the same information stuffed into your playtest report is just white noise. You know, just like you don't start threads in the playtest forum on the topic of "X looks like it needs to be toned down, also they spelled Y wrong".

It's still good advice, just not directly applicable to the kind of playtests Paizo's running.

Taldor

Peter Stewart wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Peter Stewart wrote:
Ultimately I find it insulting.

Monte's advice is not insulting.

You know what's insulting?

This is insulting other people.

Glad to know where your double standards are at! :)

Har har, so clever.

You could just go back to playing regular PF exclusively. Nobody is forcing you to play mythic.

Mythic characters are supposed to be badasses. The Oomph is appropriate.


I get ignoring typos and such. Who cares if they said wiedght instead of weight on a chart at this point, but one thing that Monte says not to mention that I'm not sure how you can NOT mention is "rules phrasing." Because, if by the phrasing I have no idea how a rule is supposed to work, how can I playtest that rule? I can play it how I THINK it works, but if I'm wrong then my report on that rule is completely worthless because I was doing it wrong.

Designer

Looking at Monte's post, I'm pretty sure when he means "rules phrasing" he's talking about stuff like seeing this rule:

At the start of a battle, each combatant makes an initiative check.

and your playtest feedback is

"I think it should say, Each combatant makes an initiative check at the start of a battle."

That's not playtesting, that's development and editing.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

Looking at Monte's post, I'm pretty sure when he means "rules phrasing" he's talking about stuff like seeing this rule:

At the start of a battle, each combatant makes an initiative check.

and your playtest feedback is

"I think it should say, Each combatant makes an initiative check at the start of a battle."

That's not playtesting, that's development and editing.

AH, OK yeah if that's what he meant rather than what I thought, then it makes sense. :)

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Older Products / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Mythic Adventures Playtest / General Discussion / Monte Cook's advice for playtesters All Messageboards
Recent threads in General Discussion

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.