Up til now my characters were all bunched into Tier 1-5, but now I have some spanning several Tiers. I was wondering what conventional wisdom was regarding choosing which Tier to play.
If you have a level 7 character, do you like/recommend to play the high subtier of a 3-7 or the low subtier of a 7-11? Any good rules of thumb, or is it entirely case by case depending on the scenario?
although technically a subtier 6-7 has less gold than a 7-8, the difference is not worth the headache to plan the perfect path and missing out on adventures because you want to max out your gold intake.
It is totally case by case, just go with whichever scenario sounds the most appealing if you have the option to pick either.
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see what the other players want to play...
basicly, see who's in the room to play, and find someone you like to play with. Go over and ask what he's playing - then play that.
Once you have the table picked (even if it's the only one), pick amoung your PCs by what the party needs. Check with everyone else about what they are playing. Is there 2 barbarians, a bard, and a Magus at the table? seems to me they need a Cleric... or maybe a Rogue. a 5th level cleric at that table (even at tier 6-7) would be better than another Barbarian (even a 7th level barbarian).
But the most important - play with the people you like to play with.
(in answer to your original question - if you are with people you like? play the higher Tier adventure for the reasons covered by Thod)
I'm one of the core GMs for our area, so I get to choose which scenario I run. When another GM is running I'll jump in with whatever character I have that's appropriate for the group. (And, of course, I enjoy playing with these people!)
I was mainly looking ahead for PaizoCon where I have to choose which slots to sign up for. I won't necessarily have the ability to jump over to another table.
Thod made a good point up above; lower tier scenarios are run more often than higher ones. To know which one you may want to play at, consider if you would rather play less often but have a few high-level characters, or if you don't mind playing more often but having a bunch of lower levels.
If you play the lower tiers, that 'uses up' those scenarios which can make it harder for you to find low-level games in the future, but there will be more high-level games you haven't played which make it easier to get to a higher level.
Conversely, by playing the higher tiers, you have more open low-level scenarios, and can thus play a larger variety of characters, but won't be able to get as many to high levels.
7-11 scenarios are GENERALLY going to have a much higher risk of death. They are designed assuming people have a lot of experience and know the capabilities of their character.
There are things that remain the same at both tiers. types of monsters used (usually) fewer special rules, random craziness.
if you want to see the difference in gold you can check out this sheet I made. (I was bored one day) Wealth Spreadsheet
for saftey's sake. It's basically always better to play in the lower tier scenarios, but as has been stated they get run more so play the higher ones when you can :D