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8-14 To Seal The Shadow GM Thread


GM Discussion

101 to 139 of 139 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Grand Lodge *** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

Stephen Wight wrote:

The best thing I did for this was to add an encounter at the beginning. (I know, but...just read.) This module is short, so doing so was no big deal.

...

Is adding an "encounter" legal? Strictly speaking, no. But does this dry run carry any of the risks that a normal encounter carries (death, conditions, consumption of resources)? No. So I think it's a good practice, and I suggest it.

Easy work around: Run the encounter before the briefing. Now it is not actually *part* of the scenario, it is just a fun bit of warm up before the scenario starts.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

Jared Thaler wrote:
Stephen Wight wrote:

The best thing I did for this was to add an encounter at the beginning. (I know, but...just read.) This module is short, so doing so was no big deal.

...

Is adding an "encounter" legal? Strictly speaking, no. But does this dry run carry any of the risks that a normal encounter carries (death, conditions, consumption of resources)? No. So I think it's a good practice, and I suggest it.

Easy work around: Run the encounter before the briefing. Now it is not actually *part* of the scenario, it is just a fun bit of warm up before the scenario starts.

Lol actually, that's exactly what I did. The briefing takes place in Tian Xia if I'm remembering my Golarion geography correctly. We had the "warm up", as you call it, before the characters left.

**** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Lowell

I don't know if anyone else has created a playing aid for the Verbal Duel, but after I GMed it I wished I had. The players spent most of their time going through the 10 tactics and figuring out what skills they could use, so the first items is a table they can use. Since the opponents use Knowledge (Arcana) for Logic, I have the PCs use it too.

It's a Word doc uploaded to Google Docs, so you can copy and edit it.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B73TEH1lqCGzbzluSWNYOE01YjQ

Or if you just want a PDF to print
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B73TEH1lqCGzVy1hMFNhOVJjYmM

Sovereign Court *****

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You should visit pfsprep.com. It's a really helpful site where people put handouts and the like up.

**** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Lowell

Will do Iammars. Thanks for the tip. I'd heard of that site but forgotten about it.

Grand Lodge *** Venture-Agent, Maryland—Hagerstown aka Z...D...

Other than the obvious verbal duel fiasco. The scenario was pretty good and fun. I am not going to beat a dead horse on the encounter.

The worksheets on the PFS prep site made the changes to the skills slightly less painful. So thank you to whoever set it up.

I had a 2 fighters, 2 barbarians and a swashbuckler. They won the duel, but knocked out the brawlers so they walked away with both prestige.

Came across something, one of the fighters could not contribute to the debate since he did not have a rank in any of the associated skills for the duel.

Did I do the right thing excluding him from the duel? Did I not read something I should have?

***

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Zachary Davis wrote:
Came across something, one of the fighters could not contribute to the debate since he did not have a rank in any of the associated skills for the duel.

I only excluded the skills that are trained only -- such as knowledges. I see no reason to prevent someone from using bluff, diplomacy, sense motive and other such skills untrained in a verbal duel.

Sovereign Court *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Is there a picture for Old Pak anywhere? And if not, can we get one? That would be great since he's not the VC for 3 missions IIRC and I would like to show a face card or something for him each time he shows up now. (Helps cement him as a recurring quest-giver in PCs minds.)

The Exchange ***** Venture-Captain, Iceland

Plus he´s also one of the best new npc´s. I hope to see more briefings from him.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Toronto aka pauljathome

So finally played this tonight. I actually had a fairly good time DESPITE the absurd mechanics but the debate mechanics were at least as bad as I thought they'd be. And given how awful I thought they'd be that is pretty damn bad :-(.

I'd prepared to run this before so I understood the mechanics going in so it was fairly simple to game the rules so at to minimize our rolls. But the whole thing was a completely absurd exercise in gaming rules to achieve a desired outcome DESPITE the rules trying to force us to succeed.

Note to players : Just grab the skill where you have 1 rank (ideally in a non class skill) and ALWAYS use that regardless of anything. Totally silly, very effective.

As others have pointed out, there isn't enough information to actually role play much of this, people didn't really feel like it after having spent some time figuring out how to game the rules. It was a mostly silly exercise in rolling dice and spouting silly nonsense.

As long as the players try to lose and don't have too many bards in the group (you certainly wouldn't want to bring social characters to a social scenario, would you?) they'll almost certainly lose. The whole time spent is almost certainly a total waste of time.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Knoxville aka tchrman35

Paul Jackson wrote:
Note to players : Just grab the skill where you have 1 rank (ideally in a non class skill) and ALWAYS use that regardless of anything. Totally silly, very effective.

There are specific rules to prevent that, actually. I don't have them here in front of me, but you have to lose in good faith.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Toronto aka pauljathome

Stephen Wight wrote:
Paul Jackson wrote:
Note to players : Just grab the skill where you have 1 rank (ideally in a non class skill) and ALWAYS use that regardless of anything. Totally silly, very effective.
There are specific rules to prevent that, actually. I don't have them here in front of me, but you have to lose in good faith.

Well, there are contradictory rules that may be intended to stop it.

You must apply your best skill bonus to a tactic. But, you can only apply one skill bonus to any one tactic. These rules directly contradict each other. So, I assume that you can use your bluff (say) on one tactic and then "have" to use your knowledge Nobles on another tactic.

And as far as I can see there is no prohibition on what tactic one chooses to use.

Scarab Sages ***

The rules for the event itself, not the verbal rules but the ones under the scenes heading in the scenario, state that the Players are expected to compete in good faith and still lose. This effects the tallies for the final battle and ticks for prestige gain.

There was a list of 3 or 4 things they had to do on top of the normal duel rules or they are considered to have failed the event. One was they must always use their skill with the highest bonus, another was hey couldn't just surrender immediately on the first volley, etc.

So if they use a tactic with bluff and sleight of hand and their bluff is higher, they need to use it, and that's the only skill they can use on that tactic once it's assigned. It's been a while since I ran this, but I think it locks out the skill for use with other tactics as well. So they've assigned bluff, if they later try to use a tactic that requires knowledge(nobility) or bluff then KN is their highest available skill since bluff is taken and they use that instead.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Toronto aka pauljathome

Sir Godfrey wrote:


So if they use a tactic with bluff and sleight of hand and their bluff is higher,

To repeat myself (since you obviously didn't read my previous post) the rules are completely contradictory.

You have to use your best skill for each tactic. You can only use one skill once and NOT for multiple tactics.

Sovereign Court *** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It just drops the players in a Knapsack Problem.

Friends don't force friends to deal with NP-Hard problem in a gaming session.

Scarab Sages ***

I read your post, my point was (Since you apparently didn't read my whole post, or maybe the end wasn't clear) the way I read it is once a skill is locked in then for other tactics it effectively doesn't exist. So you use the highest of the other options available on that tactic.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Toronto aka pauljathome

Sir Godfrey wrote:
I read your post, my point was (Since you apparently didn't read my whole post, or maybe the end wasn't clear) the way I read it is once a skill is locked in then for other tactics it effectively doesn't exist. So you use the highest of the other options available on that tactic.

My apologies, I'd misunderstood you.

Yes, that is also my best guess as to how to resolve the contradiction.

Which leads to a fairly easy path to come up with an optimally bad tactic :-).

Note - I feel absolutely no guilt in gaming the system. I feel that Paizo has put me in the absurd position of HAVING to game the system if I brought a character who is actually competent to the table.

Ignoring rules for a moment, I think it is completely silly that a Cha 7 fighter makes worse arguments than a skilled debater who is deliberately trying to lose. The latter should be able to come up with truly horrendous arguments if they so wish.

Shadow Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have discovered that in my opinion this is a really good scenario, that requires a really good GM to pull off successfully (I think of it like I do Twisted Circle, where GM quality is the #1 indicator of how much fun you'll have). I heard some solid after-action reports from Paizo Con that a number of the tables had a spectacular time because the got a top-notch GM.

Stephen Wight wrote:
Jared Thaler wrote:

The best thing I did for this was to add an encounter at the beginning. (I know, but...just read.) This module is short, so doing so was no big deal.

...

Easy work around: Run the encounter before the briefing. Now it is not actually *part* of the scenario, it is just a fun bit of warm up before the scenario starts.

Lol actually, that's exactly what I did. The briefing takes place in Tian Xia if I'm remembering my Golarion geography correctly. We had the "warm up", as you call it, before the characters left.

Thank you for this idea. I ran this at Paizo Con in the afternoon slot and did a set-up where as part of their trip to Tian Xia, they needed to convince a bartender to start importing Taldan Ale for all the Pathfinders exploring in the area. During tear-down, we discussed and agreed that having a quick run-through for rules where the players each got a chance was worth it. The biggest reason for me was flow, I didn't have to completely stop the game to explain rules, as everybody already knew them to a point. I think keeping the action moving is a big part of making this story work and likely a big part of why this scenario gets low marks.

Paul Jackson wrote:
As others have pointed out, there isn't enough information to actually role play much of this, people didn't really feel like it after having spent some time figuring out how to game the rules. It was a mostly silly exercise in rolling dice and spouting silly nonsense.

I disagree. There's exactly as much information as the GMs provide. This scenario is one that I don't think falls into the trap of "great backstory but no place for exposition of that backstory" that so many scenarios fall into. It's easy for the GM to explain what happened historically and that information can go a long way to setting up the narrative of why the PCs are there. When I ran I was really impressed by how the PCs ran with allegory and logical rules given the backstory, which was all them, so I know it can be done. I also believe this is tied to the flow argument I made above; it's hard for PCs to stay engaged with the story when they have to stop and learn new rules for 30 minutes.

Sovereign Court *** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

MisterSlanky wrote:
I disagree. There's exactly as much information as the GMs provide. This scenario is one that I don't think falls into the trap of "great backstory but no place for exposition of that backstory" that so many scenarios fall into. It's easy for the GM to explain what happened historically and that information can go a long way to setting up the narrative of why the PCs are there. When I ran I was really impressed by how the PCs ran with allegory and logical rules given the backstory, which was all them, so I know it can be done. I also believe this is tied to the flow argument I made above; it's hard for PCs to stay engaged with the story when they have to stop and learn new rules for 30 minutes.

Eh, I dunno. I would have really liked a one-page story handout that the players can read, with like a paragraph each about their masked personages and what sort of things happened. It could be written more "suggestive" than "clear hard fact" style, to give lots of room for creative people to fill up. But as-is, I think there's too little.

Shadow Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Eh, I dunno. I would have really liked a one-page story handout that the players can read, with like a paragraph each about their masked personages and what sort of things happened. It could be written more "suggestive" than "clear hard fact" style, to give lots of room for creative people to fill up. But as-is, I think there's too little.

Normally I'd agree about backstory requiring notes between NPCs, or "discoveries" for the players to read about the scenario's background. One of my biggest pet peeves of scenarios are those with spectacular motives and background history that the GM reads in the scenario background, but never is given the opportunity to provide (either due to story, mechanics, or a group of murder hobos killing the bad guy before they can talk).

In this case, we have a scenario with a perfect opportunity to provide that GM write-up. We have the role play moments when the masks are delivered. It's fairly easy to have the mayor, or your liaison tell the lore of what happened back in the day when they met the first tall folk from the mainland. Any description of how the Wayang's first encounters were bloody, until they learned to communicate. How after they finally met, the mainlanders didn't want to help, but had to capitulate to the superior reasoning of the Wayang. It's all there, and it's one of the few scenarios that provides us an open opportunity to tell it all to the players as lore.

I believe as GMs it's our job to provide backstory whenever possible, and in this case I don't believe a player handout is needed because all of it is outlined in the scenario outline on page 1. If anybody is struggling with getting players involved with becoming involved in the debate, the key is to give them the tools they need to provide arguments.

Sovereign Court *** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

You can do all that yourself as GM, sure. If you're good at doing that as a GM.

If you're already a bit lost with the debate mechanics, it's rather easy to overlook while prepping the scenario that "hey, right here I should totally invent a bunch of stuff to add to the box text because it's kinda sparse".

Grand Lodge **

Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Greetings all, I played in this scenario at PaizoCon; it was being run by a GM who'd been running it all weekend.
As a player, having a handout to explain the tactics of the social duel really helped.
The party [playing low tier] consisted of: my 3 [unleveled 4] Gunslinger/Warpriest, 3 Rogue (Acrobat), Cleric, Hunter, Magus, & Vigilante (Warlock), and none of the debate lasted for more than a couple exchanges as the party took advantages of the penalties incurred with various strategies.
I wanted to build up the last exchange then completely blow it; because conceding just didn't feel right.

none of the combats were especially difficult; the Acrobat of the party was overjoyed to use his insanely high acrobatics to maintain the performance during the shadow play while the rest of the party just beat the shadow beast to submission.

The "wayang inversion" boon probably helped some people in the special, if they were aware of their boons... but still, with the possibility of a negative channeler boss still pretty decent, this boon will be very handy.

I will also say, that the pictures of the mayor and the escort changed my aspect of the Wayangs.
In the Inner Sea Races book, they look like scriveled angry gremlin. not very flattering- Fetchlings are from the Shadow Plane, and they look mostly humanoid. why not the Wayangs?

Shadow Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lau Bannenberg wrote:

You can do all that yourself as GM, sure. If you're good at doing that as a GM.

If you're already a bit lost with the debate mechanics, it's rather easy to overlook while prepping the scenario that "hey, right here I should totally invent a bunch of stuff to add to the box text because it's kinda sparse".

That can be managed with prep, which all good GMs should do too. ;-)

**

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
MisterSlanky wrote:
I disagree. There's exactly as much information as the GMs provide.
Eh, I dunno.

I dunno either. We asked my GM repeatedly for more info. He said he'd given us everything in the module, which wasn't much (or at least, wasn't enough for us to feel like we were fully informed).

I think MisterSlanky might just be a superior GM who can ad-lib amazingly, or who has the ability to find extra info lightning-fast. For the rest of us, this looks like a genuine weak spot of the module. My GM couldn't add extra, and I didn't find extra myself.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Toronto aka pauljathome

1 person marked this as a favorite.
MisterSlanky wrote:
I have discovered that in my opinion this is a really good scenario, that requires a really good GM to pull off successfully

At least locally, almost 1/2 our GMs are below average (as defined for our location, of course) and less than 1/2 are even above average :-) :

But seriously, any scenario that requires "a really good GM" to pull off successfully is NOT a very good PFS scenario. Especially if you're asking that GM to invent all sorts of stuff that isn't actually in the scenario.

Silver Crusade ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I don't always mind a scenario that requires a good GM to be a successful scenario. It's a little frustrating when it's a 1-5.

I feel like if they hadn't have added the new subsystem this could have been as good as Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment. ToEE lives in the same tier and suffers from basically all of the same structural problems except the addition of a new subsystem. Having all of those challenges for a GM and then adding just. one. more. pain-in-the-arse! just seems like overkill. The straw that broke the camel's back, if you will.

Shadow Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm really struggling here to understand this. I didn't ad lib or dig around in the scenario, I just presented the information within. There's no reason to hold the story back on this one. Frankly I have a good memory and try to be well prepared as a GM reading the scenario multiple times, which just makes me well prepared, not a "superior GM".

The parts I can identify right away are: The first two paragraphs in the summary of page can almost be read verbatim once they start telling the story. The background material in the Knowledge checks, and the rest of the detail on the Minatan heroes and their motivations: the distrust of the Minatans, and the strangeness/shadow nature of Wayangs (both of which explains why the Minatan's don't want to help). It doesn't take that much to fill in the blanks about the background.

It doesn't have to be a masterpiece, just enough information to let the players understand how they met and why they disagree. That little bit can go a long way when you let players loose with that info.

Not everything you provide to characters needs to be in block text.

As always though, I'd be curious how many bad player interactions with this scenario are from the zero-prep crowd. This one would be atrociously bad without prep. Which doesn't make a bad scenario, just a bad GM.

Silver Crusade ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It sounds like you are a good or very good GM, and it also happens to mesh well with your playstyle and strengths. My complaints were:

The new subsystem:

Like I've mentioned before, we often throw 1-5s at our newer GMs; this is not a scenario I'd want to give to a new or mediocre GM. The combination of complexity and tier is a problem.

The new sub-system rules are also very terribly organized and worded. It takes a lot more work to figure out than it really should; if someone were to rewrite it, it could be a lot easier to grok than it is now. It's just a pain. That's one knock against it.

Although the system isn't crazy-complex, it does have some unnecessary complications and challenges, particularly for people who can't reasonably prep--the players. We have some local players who struggle trying to figure out how to make an attack roll--asking them to recalculate stats in the middle of the scenario seems like madness! Can we work around it? Yes, we can, and we did, but it wasn't always pretty. That's a second knock against it.

I've mentioned that, in my opinion, the new sub-system isn't entirely unreasonable. In addition to the challenges above, though, it's also introduced in a manner in which the PCs need to try to convincingly lose the game they're trying to learn. Is it possible? Yeah. Is that the recommended way to introduce any kind of system? Nope. This could be a case study in how not to teach someone something. Can you imagine a math teacher saying, "Now, we're going to teach you how to derive the slope of a line. You figure out the change in X, and divide it by the change in Y. Now that I've explained it, let's practice this new formula on a parabolic curve so you see why this only works with lines."? I probably count this as two strikes against it.

Honorable mention to the unclear mathematical depths of needing to assign skills optimally. That language could really have been cleaned up.

Stuff Not Related to the New Subsystem:

The background. There's almost zero background for the wayangs at all--and while the scenario is a welcome addition to wayang lore, it only provides the barest of frameworks for even the key historical event you're supposed to be reenacting. Let alone anything else. You and your players may have been fine--that's great! Some people have very different improvisation styles than you seem to, though. I know I am a stronger GM the more background information I have when I prepare. Sure, you can make stuff up on the fly, but there's no guarantee any of it will be any good. In my opinion that's not a huge problem, but it's definitely a point in its disfavor. Maybe half a strike against it.

So... four and one-half strikes against? I haven't seen many scenarios that do so much wrong. There are some really good parts about it, it's true, but I'm not sure why you're surprised there are people who don't like it. :)

Silver Crusade ****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The situation may also be different given:
1. In our experience, we ran it without the benefit of hindsight, for example the recommended dry-run before the game officially starts. Most GMs never seem to read the GM thread around here (despite my heckling); I imagine that's true more broadly.
2. It sounds like some of the GMs at Paizocon got to run this a bunch (hooray Tier 1 GMs!), and practice makes perfect--but this is not necessarily true for conventional PFS play. You usually get to run something once (maybe twice) and then you're done. Hope you got it right the first time...
3. I suspect you get a vastly different cross-section of the PFS playerbase at Paizocon than you do elsewhere.

Given more expert players, more practice, and the benefit of institutional experience? Yeah, I could see this working well. I think that speaks more to its potential than it does the actual quality of the scenario as presented though.

Scarab Sages ***** Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

I have played it two times now (burned a star to play it under MisterSlanky), but both times I did not miss any background.
It might be that I am good in filling out blanks in my head. Both times I had enough general information that I could fill the blanks in myself. They dont need to be accurate, as what I imagine wont have any impact.

And I dont think about preparedness. The first time I played it the GM had to run fairly cold (he only had the afternoon to prepare. Not his fault.) And the only thing that had an effect on was the debate mechanics.

But I do realise putting information that is in sections players usually dont 'see' (like the summary section) is something that takes skill.

**

MisterSlanky wrote:
I'm really struggling here to understand this. I didn't ad lib or dig around in the scenario, I just presented the information within. There's no reason to hold the story back on this one.

Now that you've outlined what you presented, I would suggest that the detail you found would be charitably called "underwhelming." Just my impression.

As Lau said, a one-page handout with more info than is currently available in the module would make me feel better about it.

And I understand that you're probably hovering over the reply button so that you can say you don't understand why the information isn't sufficient, but that's just a decision each person makes for himself or herself. They get to have whatever crazy, unreasonable, irrational, subjective standard they wish. Whatever the reason, I deem the info provided to be not enough.

MisterSlanky wrote:
I have a good memory

I have a terrible memory and buckle under pressure.

MisterSlanky wrote:
I try to be well prepared

I'm poor, overworked, and feel lucky to have 2 hours free to prepare. As a slow reader, this means I get to read through the scenario once. I would quit to make room for better GMs, but my area has recently been turning away players because of a lack of GMs, so I guess PFS has to endure my poor performance until others fill in the ranks.

If I could summarize my post, it would be: people are different and have different needs.

I would really appreciate it if PFS would write modules that don't require great GMs. The rank & file GMs need to deliver a good game, and a truly good module will turn out just fine even with average Joes running them.

Shadow Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Terminalmancer wrote:
Stuff about the subsystem.

We can argue about the subsystem until we're blue in the face. I watched plenty of very successful tables use it. It's cumbersome (as the first go at a system usually is), but it's really not rocket science. I'd strongly suggest the idea of getting the players to try it out before the game begins. That in itself fixes 80% of the problem with the system. You mention recalculating stats in the middle of the game being a problem - well don't then.

Terminalmancer wrote:
The background. There's almost zero background for the wayangs at all--and while the scenario is a welcome addition to wayang lore, it only provides the barest of frameworks for even the key historical event you're supposed to be reenacting.

Minor point: knowledge of the Wayang is actually detrimental in making your arguments. You are playing the Minatan heroes who only just met the Wayang in violent clashes. You are representing the same kinds of people the PCs represent. All you need to know is the barest of background to come up with something because it would be the same argument you'd use being asked to help in a task you'd rather not do.

Shadow Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tineke Bolleman wrote:
But I do realise putting information that is in sections players usually dont 'see' (like the summary section) is something that takes skill.

Tineke hit the nail on the head. Too many GMs blow past the summary and background to get into the methods of killing PCs. It's not so much me being a "good" GM, but rather the pool of "bad" ones.

Shadow Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
outshyn wrote:

I'm poor, overworked, and feel lucky to have 2 hours free to prepare. As a slow reader, this means I get to read through the scenario once. I would quit to make room for better GMs, but my area has recently been turning away players because of a lack of GMs, so I guess PFS has to endure my poor performance until others fill in the ranks.

If I could summarize my post, it would be: people are different and have different needs.

I would really appreciate it if PFS would write modules that don't require great GMs. The rank & file GMs need to deliver a good game, and a truly good module will turn out just fine even with average Joes running them.

The #1 biggest problem in all of PFS when it comes to poor experiences at the table is under-preparedness or "running on the fly" followed closely by GMs that believe in a Player vs. GM dynamic. While you would appreciate more scenarios that don't require great GMs, I'd prefer having people attempt to become great GMs. Every memorable game I've had has come from a great GM with great players. Every good game I've had has either had a great GM with good players, or a average GM with great players. I played two at PaizoCon alone that made me want to get up and walk away from the table though - and I could tell it was due in at least once case to under-preparedness, and once to misreading the table and turning it into a player vs. GM fiasco (a topic for another day). Becoming a great GM requires the same effort becoming great at anything requires, time, practice, and experience.

If you're struggling with the time you have, I'd suggest finding better ways to use it. To even reach average, GMs need to prepare. If you only have two hours a week, don't run a game every week, run one every two, or three, or four, or however long it takes for you to feel comfortable with the scenario. Look for quality over quantity.

While this scenario does need more prep than most, I've never seen a scenario that introduces a new subsystem take the "easy path". This is why back in the day new subsystems were VC specials (such as chase mechanics and Midnight Mauler). In two years, when this kind of mechanic is commonplace, we'll look back on this scenario and laugh; but it still won't make it easier for somebody that's chosen to pick it up an hour before game time.

Silver Crusade ****

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
MisterSlanky wrote:
Terminalmancer wrote:
Stuff about the subsystem.

We can argue about the subsystem until we're blue in the face. I watched plenty of very successful tables use it. It's cumbersome (as the first go at a system usually is), but it's really not rocket science. I'd strongly suggest the idea of getting the players to try it out before the game begins. That in itself fixes 80% of the problem with the system. You mention recalculating stats in the middle of the game being a problem - well don't then.

Terminalmancer wrote:
The background. There's almost zero background for the wayangs at all--and while the scenario is a welcome addition to wayang lore, it only provides the barest of frameworks for even the key historical event you're supposed to be reenacting.
Minor point: knowledge of the Wayang is actually detrimental in making your arguments. You are playing the Minatan heroes who only just met the Wayang in violent clashes. You are representing the same kinds of people the PCs represent. All you need to know is the barest of background to come up with something because it would be the same argument you'd use being asked to help in a task you'd rather not do.

As someone who, himself, perhaps overprepares--I'm really glad to hear how you prepare. I agree, a scenario will go MUCH better when the GM takes the time not just to read the thing, but also to do the background investigation to see how other people have experienced it, what steps you can take to improve the game, what the common traps are and how to avoid them, and that sort of thing. PFS needs more people like you.

However, I have played for a lot more people--by far--who prep like Outshyn does, and I usually have a good time. More preparation helps, and there are many GMs who I wish would prep more. But two hours is usually enough to run a competent 1-5 game and everybody has fun, and that's fine! PFS is typically short on GMs, and it also needs more people like Outshyn. I've played for quite a few GMs who I wished had prepped as much as he does.

You have expressed confusion as to why people don't like this scenario when you can do all of this extra work to make it great. I've not been trying to start an argument so much as explain why, to me, this is a problem scenario, and I think this is the crux of the issue. Yes, it takes a fair amount of prep and effort to run this one. For a 1-5, that's suboptimal. If you put in the average PFS GM's usual amount of prep time, it seems quite likely to turn into a disaster, and that's really bad. In my opinion we should be trying to make it easier to GM something with a reasonable amount of prep time, and I don't think this is a step in the right direction.

As an aside, like I said above, we need more people like Outshyn. Please don't discourage them! I mean, he reads the GM forum, and that's better than at least half of the GMs I see.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Toronto aka pauljathome

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MisterSlanky wrote:
Tineke Bolleman wrote:
But I do realise putting information that is in sections players usually dont 'see' (like the summary section) is something that takes skill.
Tineke hit the nail on the head. Too many GMs blow past the summary and background to get into the methods of killing PCs. It's not so much me being a "good" GM, but rather the pool of "bad" ones.

I would politely and respectfully urge you to very much tone down the

"All of you have different GMing styles than I do are BAD GMs" argument.

I'm not sure that you realize that is what you are doing but it most certainly is coming across that way to me.

Shadow Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Paul Jackson wrote:
Quote:
Tineke hit the nail on the head. Too many GMs blow past the summary and background to get into the methods of killing PCs. It's not so much me being a "good" GM, but rather the pool of "bad" ones.

I would politely and respectfully urge you to very much tone down the

"All of you have different GMing styles than I do are BAD GMs" argument.

I have not said that people that have a different style of GMing are bad GMs. I have never once said that I'm a "good GM", and in fact when offered up the opportunity I did not take it because I don't consider myself nearly as good as the GMs I really respect.

I was very clear that people that blow past the background of the scenario, or choose never to prepare for their games are not bad GMs. And will continue to stand by that statement. Nearly ever horrible convention table I've sat at was a GM that felt that they could prepare the scenario at the table, so in my experience that is the truth. Our GM pool isn't going to get any better if we don't share this very important lesson learned.

Scenarios like this really drive that message home too. Prep is everything. In this case, everything is right there in the scenario - and for the purposes of a GM thread, trying to get GMs to figure out how to run it well, that is my advice - read the background and be ready to tell the story.

And that's where I'll leave it.


I've got a few questions after how the ritual interacts with the last encounter:

1. The PCs receive a +2 bonus on a certain number of checks based on how many Trust points they have. Which checks do these apply to? Do the players get to decide? Would the GM apply it randomly? Would it apply to the first few checks?

2. What type of action is it to make a check to contribute to the ritual? I assume it's a standard action.

3. Is the ritual supposed to use the Occult Ritual rules in the Occult Adventures book? There's no description block for the ritual anywhere in the scenario...

4. Are there any consequences for the PCs failing checks? I know it says that the PCs need 6 checks to succeed at the ritual, but without a time limit or penalty for failure on the check, is there a reason PCs can't just take 20 after the fight's over? Is there a reason to have 1 PC continue the ritual instead of contributing to fighting Eynemb/the shadows?

***

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
MasterGeese wrote:

I've got a few questions after how the ritual interacts with the last encounter:

1. The PCs receive a +2 bonus on a certain number of checks based on how many Trust points they have. Which checks do these apply to? Do the players get to decide? Would the GM apply it randomly? Would it apply to the first few checks?

2. What type of action is it to make a check to contribute to the ritual? I assume it's a standard action.

3. Is the ritual supposed to use the Occult Ritual rules in the Occult Adventures book? There's no description block for the ritual anywhere in the scenario...

4. Are there any consequences for the PCs failing checks? I know it says that the PCs need 6 checks to succeed at the ritual, but without a time limit or penalty for failure on the check, is there a reason PCs can't just take 20 after the fight's over? Is there a reason to have 1 PC continue the ritual instead of contributing to fighting Eynemb/the shadows?

1. I allowed the players to decide.

2. Standard action is the simplest answer. Depending on the skill, some of them should be able to be done as a move action (such as acrobatics) but if you want to have the same sort of action for all ritual actions just say that the specifics of the ritual make it a standard action.

3. No.

4. The consequences for failing the checks is that the threat continues longer.

Pg. 12 wrote:
Succeeding at six skill checks, regardless of any failed attempts in between, completes the ritual.

I think of it more as reward for success -- completing it causes you to go to the developments section on pg. 15.

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