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Cosmic Captive PbP Gameday GM Thread


GM Discussion

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Event Name: Cosmic Captive PbP Gameday
Event Number: #94,366
Begins: June 9th-July 21st

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INTRODUCTION

Hello GMs!

Thank you for being awesome and volunteering!

This is going to be the place for all of us to gather, ask questions, and give advice as we go through Cosmic Captive in PbP. Cosmic Captive is a huge special. Your players will have a choice of three routes. Fast groups will have the opportunity to switch routes, or do more than one route if they wish.

If you've never done a multi-table PBP Special before, you should know that the Overseer will be posting Overseer Announcements across all threads. Think of them as tinny announcements coming straight from Mistress of Spells Sorrina Westyr to all your pathfinder teams, keeping everyone updated.

We'll have a set schedule that I will post shortly that will measure when and how we move forward. For now, assume that 5 minutes of F2F gameplay equals approximately one day of PbP. You'll want to encourage everyone in your group to post at least once a day if not more frequently.

PREP-O-MANIA

As you may have noticed, there are a lot of encounters in this Special. If your players go Earth, you could wind up with an absurd number of encounters. Like all specials, there is little setting description or box text for these encounters. All GMs will have to do a lot of heavy lifting throughout the special so I recommend that you get started early.

Learn what is happening in your tier. Study all three potential routes. Pick out images to serve as minis, and learn more.

PREP THAT OTHERS HAVE DONE

I love, love, love PFS Shared GM Prep! There are lots of useful things in the Cosmic Captive Folder there that can help you get oriented to Cosmic Captive.

  • GM Organization Tools -- A list put together by Jen McTeague of all the different conditions and successes.

  • IAMMARS Big Pile O' Prep -- A tier by tier break down of every monster stat courtesy once again by the awesome Jen. Be sure to grab yours. Also look at those condition cards she made. You might find them helpful, even it you cannot hand them out directly to players.

  • The handy-dandy GM Slideshow. Make your own copies that you can use for your tables.

The thread is now open for GM discussion, celebration and occasional moments of panic.

Yours,
Hmm

The Exchange ****

First? Or Second?

Doesn't matter, I actually have a question.

Should we entertain the idea of agreeing ahead of time with the players at the table on what path they'd like to take? The special is MASSIVE. Like, headache-inducing massive and the number of encounters that must be prep exceeds the number of encounters your party will have by a 2:1 ratio. Easy. I speak from the experience I had running this at Temple Con 2016.

However, player agency is what we specialize in. I am aware of that too.

What are everyone's thoughts?

Lantern Lodge ***

It might also help players with making some choices about consumables they want to buy.

BTW, I'm down for a Core table, but am happy to trade for a classic if any of you classic GMs wanted core but missed out.

The Exchange ****

I'm working on getting some raw pictures for some of the bad guys. I'll be sharing it ASAP. I'll be focusing on my tier (7-8) but there's some overlap.

**

A very practical question, first off. Should I have the scenario in my Downloads already? I don't, and also don't see any way to get it myself.

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Dotting in

Liberty's Edge **

Dot.

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GM Iff wrote:
A very practical question, first off. Should I have the scenario in my Downloads already? I don't, and also don't see any way to get it myself.

Iff --

Your response the questionnaire indicated you were a Venture Officer, which meant that it should have been in your downloads already, so I did not put you on the support request. (We're supposed to leave all the VOs off the form unless requesting modules or something they would not ordinarily get.)

Let me find your email and drop a note to Tonya.

Hmm

Sovereign Court *

Need advice and possibly help. The game is starting on 9 Jun, right? This is quite last minute, but I just booked a vacation over my school holidays and would be returning on 16 Jun. Where I'm going, I think internet would be unreliable so I don't want to bank on running the game while I'm away. Should I withdraw from GMing altogether since it is still relatively early in the recruitment, or could someone help to cover for the one week that I'm away?

Sovereign Court ****

Dotting in. I found the mail in Spam lol.

****

This is probably a good time for me to mention that we have three noble GMs who volunteered as Back-Up GMs.

GM Cwethan
James Martin (aka Our Mysterious Benefactor)
GM Chie

You could ask one of these to help cover for your first week, or... You could trade with one of them and become one of our backup GMs. It does feel weird that you would miss the whole first week. Do you want to trade?

Hmm

Dark Archive *

Dot dot

The Exchange ****

Still working on those pictures. But not to belabor the point, does anyone (especially Hmm) have any thoughts on my earlier post?

Dark Archive *

I would also like to know. Having the players pick the path beforehand would really make prep easier.

Sovereign Court *

GM Hmm wrote:

This is probably a good time for me to mention that we have three noble GMs who volunteered as Back-Up GMs.

GM Cwethan
James Martin (aka Our Mysterious Benefactor)
GM Chie

You could ask one of these to help cover for your first week, or... You could trade with one of them and become one of our backup GMs. It does feel weird that you would miss the whole first week. Do you want to trade?

Hmm

Thought about it and I agree. The start of the game is probably the most important part, in setting the tone, etc of the game. So I think it's best for the players if I trade. If any of the current backup GMs would like to take over a tire 1-2 table, please PM me? I'll then follow up with the players currently signed up at my table. Thanks!

**

Dotting

Dark Archive ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

Picking the path would be easier but it would also take the majority of the difficulty away from the scenario allowing the players to steamroll through it. Say by purchasing several protection from whichever element and choosing that path. That is just my thoughts though.

I know it has you choose a path right away and isn't entirely clear on what elements are on each path but really as PbP we will have plenty of time once chosen in the scenario to set up the remainder of the path.

On another note. Syrinscape has a nice soundpack built specifically for this special with sound sets for all overseer posts. Not sure if you want or even can incorporate those at all.

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Pleasure to be here.

***

Standby GM, Standing By!

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Red Five, standing by!

***

I wouldn't give players the explicit choice of path before it comes up, but you could use some roleplay to get an idea of the direction the party will go. Have NPCs ask them their specialties and interests. Whether or not they will choose Earth is pretty straightforward. Groups interested in secrets and history will likely choose Water, and groups interested in natural challenges or dungeon exploration might go Fire.

In any case, you should have at least a few days of notice to finalize preparations while you run the first encounter.

****

Three things:

ONE: I thought about having everyone muster by route, but it was pointed out to me that part of the purpose of Cosmic Captive was player agency and choice. They'll have one encounter, and then they'll get to choose. However, feel free to sound them out with NPCs in pre-game chatter.

TWO: GM Chie and Kuey will be trading places.

THREE: I moved some players around on Tier 1-2 to make three legal tables instead of two full and one empty.

Grand Lodge *

It looks like I have a full table before I even checked in. At least I don't have to do mustering.

****

Yes, I rebalanced several tables so that they would make. Glad you're happy about it.

Hmm

**** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka Zoomba

Right now I seem to have a pair of level 4s at my 5-6 table (and I think there are still slots in at least one 3-4 table if I'm seeing it right). Should this be fixed?

****

I just fixed it and moved those two. There may be some tables with an out of tier player when we're done, but I hope that most of the tables will be completely in tier.

Hmm

Sovereign Court ****

I just looked. I found more players then I have mustered....

Actually I haven't mustered yet......

****

If any of you have mustered separately and have discovered that you now have more people signed up than seats, let me know IMMEDIATELY so that I can move GMs around.

Hmm

Sovereign Court ****

I think the Guys at RPG Geek has more players then GMs..............

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I know that. I am actually working on that as well.

Hmm

**

I've given the scenario a first read-through. There's a couple of things that left me wondering. Figured I'd put them up for answering (or discussion) here.

Mustering and part 1
The scenario includes a part 1, where the mustering of tables doesn't have to be complete yet. Is it intended that we start this part before June 9th, so that the scenario properly kicks off on the 9th?

Time keeping in-game
The scenario makes quite a number of references to in-game time keeping, with number of minutes to move from one location to the next, several encounters that can cause players to get lost, etc. However, I didn't see consequences attached to the time keeping. Is it only to keep track of running buffs and to give players a sense of urgency, or it there any impact? Similar, what would happen it the players want to take a short break to study for extra spells, or to mix a new mutagen?

Clues
I understand the function that these clues hold, but they seemed a little 'abstract' and 'gamey'. I'd like to give the players actual clues, although I fear that they might read too much into it. Does anyone have some ideas? On a similar note, do the NPC's know that they share details to the Opal's prison? Or do they just share tidbits of planar lore, that later happen to be useful?

Encounter E1
This one has me stumped, I guess I'm just reading it wrong. There's two checks needed to make progress, with each check taking 10 minutes. A failed check means 10 minutes pass without progress. Then, there's a haunt with a reset time of 5 minutes. Does that mean the PC's encounter the haunt before each check, and encounter it twice on a failed skill check, back to back?

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GM Iff wrote:

Clues

I understand the function that these clues hold, but they seemed a little 'abstract' and 'gamey'. I'd like to give the players actual clues, although I fear that they might read too much into it. Does anyone have some ideas? On a similar note, do the NPC's know that they share details to the Opal's prison? Or do they just share tidbits of planar lore, that later happen to be useful?

I wouldn't share details of the prison. The examples are a Terran poem/passphrase, whispers from Ranginori, and fragments of information from the oracle. Knowledge(religion) is the only Average knowledge check, so I would give clues a religious flavor that might encourage PCs to try solving the puzzle with that skill. While using the clues in that encounter has no direct effect, having the clues contributes to success, so I would definitely give PCs an indication of free "successes" if they repeat the passphrase or similar.

Sovereign Court ****

GM Iff wrote:

Encounter E1

This one has me stumped, I guess I'm just reading it wrong. There's two checks needed to make progress, with each check taking 10 minutes. A failed check means 10 minutes pass without progress. Then, there's a haunt with a reset time of 5 minutes. Does that mean the PC's encounter the haunt before each check, and encounter it twice on a failed skill check, back to back?

A successful check takes 5 minutes; it's only the failed checks that take 10 minutes. And I interpreted it as the PCs encounter the haunt once per success, twice per failure.

The Exchange ****

GM Iff wrote:


Time keeping in-game
The scenario makes quite a number of references to in-game time keeping, with number of minutes to move from one location to the next, several encounters that can cause players to get lost, etc. However, I didn't see consequences attached to the time keeping. Is it only to keep track of running buffs and to give players a sense of urgency, or it there any impact? Similar, what would happen it the players want to take a short break to study for extra spells, or to mix a new mutagen?

It's purpose is to keep track of running buffs and the Planatary Adaptation that can be cast upon them at the beginning of the scenario. So beyond that, it won't affect them. I would urge to make it clear you can't really take a nap on the comet, unless they want to hitchhike back to Golarion.

The Exchange ****

As I said earlier: here are the tokens I will be using. I realize I'm the only subtier 7-8 GM but there might be overlap with others.

Look over here!

**

Just received my copy of the scenario in My Downloads. Glad I won't have to make do with the hardcopy I got from my Local VO. Thanks for the effort in getting this through, Hmm.

Scarab Sages ***** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Woran

GM Iff wrote:
Just received my copy of the scenario in My Downloads. Glad I won't have to make do with the hardcopy I got from my Local VO. Thanks for the effort in getting this through, Hmm.

Hey, a tree died for that insane stack of paper :P

**

Many Bothans died to bring us this information?

The Exchange ****

Are Bothans tree people?


Do common encounters count as successes for the area they occur in? Any advice around when to include the common encounters?

Also second the question about does June 9th mark the start of Part 1 or Part 2?

The Exchange ****

Common encounters count as successes in the area you run them in, yes.

I would get a "feel" for how capable your party is and how kind dicebot is to them and you and then you can splice them in. You can use them to make, say, the Earth zone less of a slugfest. Or so on.

Silver Crusade

Speaking as a first time special GM and also a GM who didn't sign up via the usual channels....

Where is the Overseer GM going to be communicating to us (the table GMs)?

Where do we report successes etc?

*

I have to ask if there is are label omissions on the first map? I don't see the A, B, C, D, etc areas identified on the large asteroid map. If so, does someone have a map which correctly identifies which areas are which?

Thanks.

Silver Crusade

N N 959 wrote:

I have to ask if there is are label omissions on the first map? I don't see the A, B, C, D, etc areas identified on the large asteroid map. If so, does someone have a map which correctly identifies which areas are which?

Thanks.

I have the same problem in my PDF

**

I think I might be able to answer some of these questions:

- The overseer GM will add announcements directly to everyone's gameplay thread. Any other communications from the overseer will go through this thread. For the reporting of success, Gmm will provide instructions. I assume she'll set up a shared Google doc somewhere, to add your table's progress.

- Indeed, the map doesn't show the areas. I pieced them together from the description of the various encounters: Map with labels.

Dark Archive *

Do we have clarification yet as to whether or not we are starting Part 1 on June 9th or beforehand?

*

GM Iff wrote:


- Indeed, the map doesn't show the areas. I pieced them together from the description of the various encounters: Map with labels.

Very much appreciated, thank you.

**

GM Turmoil wrote:
Do we have clarification yet as to whether or not we are starting Part 1 on June 9th or beforehand?

No, not yet. I assume Hmm will get to that when she gets back from PaizoCon.

Dark Archive *

If we have a player drop out from our table, should we pull someone from the top of the waitlist?

***

I thought I saw somewhere that Part 1 starts on June 9th, but should only last a day. I'd like to start the mustering portion earlier than that so characters have plenty of time to introduce themselves and interact before the event begins.

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