PFS influence of PF2 rules


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Paizo Employee Designer

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Kurik Grandhelm wrote:
I died in that one. Paralyzed by the crooning.

Ah, I had thought most people die in that one because of a mosh pit stampede of fans right at the beginning of the concert.


Darned low-budget security golems not doing their job. ;)


Naturally this is only my personal opinion on how I value game types.

First we have the groups who are making their own campaings. This is what I consider proper rpg and is what everything should be designed around.

Second we have the people playing ready made adventures. This is the kids table, yeah they are part of the family and you should listen to them, but you shouldn't put too much stock into it.

Third we have PFS or whatever other organized play environments. This is so far from the first group that the two are in practice totally worthless to each other as far as data from actual play is concerned.

With that set up, I don't think it comes as a surprise when my answer to the question is it shouldn't be considered a single bit. As to how much I think it will affect things? Way too much, I would even wager it will have majority influence and as such will result in massive screwups from POV of the home campaigners.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Wultram wrote:

Naturally this is only my personal opinion on how I value game types.

First we have the groups who are making their own campaings. This is what I consider proper rpg and is what everything should be designed around.

Second we have the people playing ready made adventures. This is the kids table, yeah they are part of the family and you should listen to them, but you shouldn't put too much stock into it.

Third we have PFS or whatever other organized play environments. This is so far from the first group that the two are in practice totally worthless to each other as far as data from actual play is concerned.

With that set up, I don't think it comes as a surprise when my answer to the question is it shouldn't be considered a single bit. As to how much I think it will affect things? Way too much, I would even wager it will have majority influence and as such will result in massive screwups from POV of the home campaigners.

Well, if your opening statement is "everybody who plays in a different way than I do is to be dismissed", don't expect anybody to take you seriously. I thought you might want to be aware of that before you type any walls of text :)


Funnily enough the older I get the more I use AP material. I suspect a lot of people migrate towards "the kids table" as they take on more responsibility and have less time.

Shadow Lodge

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Almost like it should be called the adults table, since only kids have the time to invest in making their own adventures.

(Blanket statements are bad, yo.)


Mark Seifter wrote:
Kurik Grandhelm wrote:
I died in that one. Paralyzed by the crooning.
Ah, I had thought most people die in that one because of a mosh pit stampede of fans right at the beginning of the concert.

The Beatles season was the worst, lots of casualties...


@Gorbacz: We have a saying over here that fits this. "Before noting about skidmarks on someone elses underwear, you should make sure you haven't soiled yourself." Considering your post history I think it applies rather well to you lecturing anyone about tone used.

If you care to actually try to justify how that hierarchy is not true, I would like to hear convincing argument otherwise. No matter what the terms used Homebrew campaign>Ready made adventure>PFS.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Wultram wrote:

@Gorbacz: We have a saying over here that fits this. "Before noting about skidmarks on someone elses underwear, you should make sure you haven't soiled yourself." Considering your post history I think it applies rather well to you lecturing anyone about tone used.

If you care to actually try to justify how that hierarchy is not true, I would like to hear convincing argument otherwise. No matter what the terms used Homebrew campaign>Ready made adventure>PFS.

If you knew my posting history you'd know that getting you into taking cheap shots is exactly what I wanted you to do, and that you'll lose because, duh, I'm better at this than you are.

As for your hierarchy of what is true gaming? There's no hierarchy, as there is no "wrong" way of playing the game. People who think that their way of gaming is The One and Only True One are usually gatekeepers. And gatekeepers are a pox upon the hobby, since they tend to drive newcomers away and attack people who think otherwise in order to defend their "true" opinions about gaming.

Which, by the way, you kind of exemplified, so thanks for playing along. :)


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Wultram wrote:

@Gorbacz: We have a saying over here that fits this. "Before noting about skidmarks on someone elses underwear, you should make sure you haven't soiled yourself." Considering your post history I think it applies rather well to you lecturing anyone about tone used.

If you care to actually try to justify how that hierarchy is not true, I would like to hear convincing argument otherwise. No matter what the terms used Homebrew campaign>Ready made adventure>PFS.

From a publisher's standpoint, Those Who Buy Our Stuff > Homebrew Who Buy Less of Our Stuff.


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Malk_Content wrote:
Funnily enough the older I get the more I use AP material. I suspect a lot of people migrate towards "the kids table" as they take on more responsibility and have less time.

Very much this. Adventure paths are a godsend to me and my group. Ever since I got a job, preparing a whole adventure just isn't in the books for me anymore.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Wultram wrote:
If you care to actually try to justify how that hierarchy is not true, I would like to hear convincing argument otherwise. No matter what the terms used Homebrew campaign>Ready made adventure>PFS.

As people start careers, potentially get married and/or have kids (including by adoption) they find that it is very difficult to find time for gaming. Schedules get complicated and time becomes precious.

At that point, many look at the ready made adventures as a way to continue gaming. It saves them effort, and it is much easier to adjust something to your own likes than to invent.

PFS also makes it easier to adjust schedules because it is only your own schedule, not the schedule of the whole group, that you are trying to match.

So if you look at the time constraints, the hierarchy is the opposite of what you said.

———

I would want the designers to take data from everywhere they can, but keep the source in mind. As others noted, the short formalistic format of PFS scenarios have problems especially if people are inclined towards meta-gaming. You can’t know exactly what rules a home game really ran with. Much of the feedback needs to be checked against how the rules are actually written, and where the rules weren’t followed they should be reviewed for clarity in case there is a problem there. The FAQs are another source of information, demonstrating what areas of the rules people had problems with.

I would encourage home campaigns to participate in the Playtest. It is their best way to get feedback to the developers.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Wultram wrote:
No matter what the terms used Homebrew campaign>Ready made adventure>PFS.

Quite simply, you are wrong. Homebrew campaign = Ready made adventures = PFS. You don't fault someone for choosing the option that works for them just because you can choose a different option. It's the difference between renting, buying, and building. Sure, a home you had built to your specifications is going to perfectly suit you, but it isn't going to suit someone who needs a home next month.


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Homes built to individual specifications are generally much harder to sell to most of the general home-buying public.

Things that the built-to-spec buyer values highly others attach either minimal value to, no value to ... or are going to rip out and replace before they move in.

Some people absolutely must have a pool in their back yard. Most people won't buy a house with a pool because of the perceived hassle of maintaining a pool. A few, if they can get a good enough deal, will have the pool entirely ripped out to fill in and re-sod the ground so that they have a "proper back yard".

Similarly with how a home-for-sale smells when you walk in. If the property has a strong smell that isn't "food" (depending on the "food smell") many prospective buyers find it so off-putting they walk away.


Well I am going to ignore the a*&#~$& living under a bridge, as to the rest I am not gonna go without using quotes as the posts are generally the same.

Yes PFS and ready made adventures are easier. You get what you put in. For some it may not be worth it to put the effort in, for that increase in quality considering the increase in time and effort.

That doesn't mean that it infact isn't better. Seriously something that is custom made to that set of players, that set of characters, those builds etc. Assuming same level of competence in the maker, something custom fitted well will simply fit better. And as such is the superior choice for those spesific people.

The other ways of playing are compromises, perfectly understandable ones, but still compromises. And those compromises are about outside factors, such as forming a group or time available.

Regarding economics, yeah I can certainly understand why paizo would cater to those people that in adtion to buying the rules are buying additional material. That just makes for a worse game imo.

As to why the hierarchy is true? Simple, each step can do what the previous step could and more.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

More =/= better. The best 20 hours of gaming in my life were in PFS.


As an economist, I totally expect for the opinions of PFS regulars and adventure path consumers in general to be weighted disproportionately to the Pathfinder fan base at large as those groups probably produce more income for the company. As someone who doesn't generally play adventure paths, that kinda bums me out, but I would never begrudge Paizo for following the money to some extent.

Frankly, I think PFS peeps should get a game that works for them at the end of the day. Optimally, that some product should work for Pathfinder fans in general.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Speaking as someone who's played in my share of homebrew campaigns... a homebrew campaign isn't necessarily better just because the GM wrote it themselves. For one thing, in my experience, that's a good way to end up acting out someone's novel manuscript. And then you have the GMs who don't really know how to put together a campaign or create a story. I've known a good many GMs whose games would have been much improved by an Adventure Path volume behind the screen.


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ErichAD wrote:
PFS shouldn't have any effect on Pathfinder.

Been wanting to reply to this post for a couple of days now. You bring up some interesting talking points. But let's clear things something up, when you say, "any effect," I'm going to operate under the assumption that you feel Paizo should totally ignore the needs of PFS, which is separate from using PFS outcomes as data in evaluating if PF2 works the way they want it to.

Quote:
The focus on direct AP running, irregular group composition, lack of focus on the social pillar, item shop access, and strict rules following allowing for edge case absurd optimization all work together to require a very tight character by character power tuning. If you make something for PFS, you'll have a product that's closer to a video game than a system made to support a DM telling a story.

This is a valid observation. But it suggests PFS is the cause, rather than the result of a gradual and persistent change to the D&D RPG genre started long before PF.

The question is why do these iterations of D&D feel more and more like video games? The only answer can be because it sells. There are a litany of reasons why this is true,, but ultimately the product managers in this industry have decided or determined that the more idiot-proof the game is, the more it will sell. And idiot-proof may be too narrow a term, because it's not just about making the game easier to play, there's also tremendous value for Paizo and WotC as content publishers, to have the game operate within a more predictable range of outcomes

Quote:
You can't really use a system designed for the character group to organically grow together and learn to support each other's weaknesses, because every character needs to be an island able to hold their own. It's similar to requirement in more modern MMOs that each class be capable of playing solo.

I think this is slightly inaccurate. The game absolutely can provide what you're talking about, but the question is to what degree and to what effect and at what level of system mastery? As a designer/engineer, you can create a system where convergence/resonance means huge power gains and huge deficits with a high system mastery, or you can try and design system that has more moderate peaks and valleys with adequate system mastery? Which do you think is going to have more appeal to the general public? I can tell you that the more complex and difficult a game is, the harder it will be to get people to keep playing it or play it correctly. You touch on that yourself.

Quote:
You also can't necessarily use a system where it is tuned to be competitive only with combats per day carefully managed.

In this case, I would say you're wrong. PFS encounters are limited based on the need for scenarios to be completed in 4-5 hours. I would bet that 4-5 hours is a valid time limit for any groups, certainly any group who doesn't live at home. As others have remarked, there are real life constraints on the time people have to play games. While AP's and extended campaigns may be what everyone aspires to, it's not always possible. A solid adventure that can be completed in 4-5 hours is a valuable product for Paizo, regardless of PFS.

Quote:
I don't feel that ensuring balance between characters will ever produce a game that feels all that great. You quickly run into the five colors of damage style gameplay that video games end up hitting.

I agree with this in theory. But the industry has gone away from it, long before PFS. My first indication was when I saw that in D&D 3.0 everyone had the same experience table. The idea that everyone would advance at the same rate was a sea change in party dynamics and mindset.

Quote:
It's hard to balance adventure paths when numbers are all over the place and you don't have a DM who can...

I think this might have been the critical driver. The obvious reason is that if the GM can't run a competent game, it isn't going to be fun. But there is another (no, not Leia).

Every RPG publisher needs to sell product. In order for these game to really flourish, they require a community. You can't play Pathfinder alone. A "community" is defined by a group of people with something in common. For an RPG, that thing in common must start with the rules i.e. the game itself. The more people who play under the the same rules, the more likely a community is going to flourish and that will spark product sales. If the rules are so complex/ambiguous/open ended that no one can interpret them the same, you create an impediment to community formation. The very reason I play PFS is because I got annoyed with the constant house ruling of random GMs. I don't want to play GM Bob's version of Pathfinder, I want to play Pathfinder as it was written. PFS is the closest I can get to RAW week in and week out. It isn't perfect, but there is no other option.

So to get back to your observation, yeah, these D&D iterations seem to be making the game easier to GM and providing a more consistent outcome, which has another important effect which you touch on below.

Quote:
They could write APs with dynamic story lines and play options allowing for a diverse power level, but they'd be a pain to DM consistently.

Bingo. Then the AP's would get lots of bad reviews and few would buy them.

Again, Paizo is a content company. Paizo created/took on Pathfinder out of necessity when WotC decided to dump 3.5. So Paizo's business model is about creating playable content. That means it becomes a necessity for Paizo to have a game that supports content development and for which the content they provide is perceived as high quality. It's a LOT easier to create content if you know what rules someone's playing under than if you don't. It's a lot easier to manage the player experience when you're not completely reliant upon a non-professional GM to guide the players through the experience.

I think you've hit the nail on the head when you recognized that Paizo and WotC have tried to reduce the dependency on the GMs system mastery necessary to provide players with a quality experience. And it's not just the GM, it's all players. So while you might prefer a more unbounded experience, I believe that this would undermine Paizo's ability to produce satisfying content and most likely appeal to a player base much smaller than the one they currently enjoy.


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Kalindlara wrote:
a homebrew campaign isn't necessarily better just because the GM wrote it themselves.

I don't think either is inherently bad/good. I think the non-PFS game has the advantage in that the DM can adjust the game [homebrew or AP] to suit the group. Some builds can be either far too good OR bad for the adventure and a bit of behind the scene adjustments can do wonders.


ErichAD wrote:
because every character needs to be an island able to hold their own.

I wanted to address this separately because I think you're just off the mark, but it touches on something that I think has totally undermined the game. Multi-classing.

First off, however, PFS doesn't design the game for players to solo or anything close to it. It designs the game because an organized play system can't expect a party of random players to play any specific classes. I used to play D&D Online. I recall, on several occasions, waiting for an hour for a Cleric to show up so we could run some missions. And even though I absolutely loved the division of labor in AD&D, it would seem modern players chaff under the functional role model.

Personally, I think 3x's removal of the constraints on multi-classing was a huge mistake. But ti's clear that a large percentage of PFS players, if not the majority, multi-class. I think this presents an ever growing problem for Paizo. I had to smile when Jason B. addressed this in a pod cast: a bunch of players who had no idea who was doing what because they had no idea what functional role the other multi-classed players were suppose to fill. The game is built on a party being competent at a few key mechanics: combat, skills, and buffing (which includes healing or the ability to obviate the need for it). A vocal contingency of posters on the forums have eschewed the idea that they need to focus on at least one of these. So to the extent Paizo supports this mindset, it has to reduce the bar on scenarios even further, making them nearly solo-able by some min/maxed builds (looking at you Crane Wing monk!).


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Wultram wrote:

Well I am going to ignore the a%#%*$* living under a bridge, as to the rest I am not gonna go without using quotes as the posts are generally the same.

Yes PFS and ready made adventures are easier. You get what you put in. For some it may not be worth it to put the effort in, for that increase in quality considering the increase in time and effort.

That doesn't mean that it infact isn't better. Seriously something that is custom made to that set of players, that set of characters, those builds etc. Assuming same level of competence in the maker, something custom fitted well will simply fit better. And as such is the superior choice for those spesific people.

The other ways of playing are compromises, perfectly understandable ones, but still compromises. And those compromises are about outside factors, such as forming a group or time available.

Regarding economics, yeah I can certainly understand why paizo would cater to those people that in adtion to buying the rules are buying additional material. That just makes for a worse game imo.

As to why the hierarchy is true? Simple, each step can do what the previous step could and more.

This is objectively wrong.

A bad GM running a campaign they wrote themselves is just as miserable an experience as a bad GM running a PFS scenario. A good GM running a campaign they wrote themselves is just as much fun as a good GM running a PFS scenario.

The quality of the GM and your fellow players will always determine the quality of fun you have, not the quality of the written material.


It is right there in the text you quoted. "Assuming the same level of competence."

And just for the discussions sake, you can assume the same in everything that is outside of what these spesific game style choices include in relation to each other.

And yes more =better outside of the fantasy land that not a single one of those additional choices increase enjoyment. Or to be more accurate it has more potential. If someone is incabable of tapping into that potential, yeah sure then stick to ready made stuff. That doesn't mean it isn't anything else than lackings of user, not the format. Be that due to lack of experience, time to invest or whatever else.


Wultram wrote:
The other ways of playing are compromises, perfectly understandable ones, but still compromises.

It might be useful if you would stop swearing and pontificating as if there is only one true way to play a game. It's simply not true.

What you enjoy in a TTRPG is obviously not what I enjoy in a TTRPG. So, you're wrong on that basis as well.

More than that, Paizo has a policy of removing posts with swearwords even if the software masks them., so you might want to tone it down a bit if you want to keep posting here.

Sara Marie wrote:
Removed a post. Please do not use profanity, even when its filtered with symbols.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Excaliburproxy wrote:
As an economist, I totally expect for the opinions of PFS regulars and adventure path consumers in general to be weighted disproportionately to the Pathfinder fan base at large as those groups probably produce more income for the company.

I suspect they're taking the opinions of the writers of PFS scenarios, modules, and APs into considerations more. Paizo knows what sorts of products it wants to make and what stories they want to tell, and they now have enough experience to know where the rules get in the way of telling those stories.


CrystalSeas wrote:
It might be useful if you would stop swearing

He wasn't swearing though: if you look at the sentence in context, the word is 'troll'. Please try to examine posts before you make assumptions.


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graystone wrote:
He wasn't swearing though: if you look at the sentence in context, the word is 'troll'. Please try to examine posts before you make assumptions.

Here's his actual post, complete with the forum software masking part of his sentence. Staff have asked people not to use profanity, even if the software masks it.

As you say, please try to examine posts before you make assumptions.

Wultram wrote:
Well I am going to ignore the a@+&++% living under a bridge, as to the rest I am not gonna go without using quotes as the posts are generally the same.


BobROE wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
As an economist, I totally expect for the opinions of PFS regulars and adventure path consumers in general to be weighted disproportionately to the Pathfinder fan base at large as those groups probably produce more income for the company.
I suspect they're taking the opinions of the writers of PFS scenarios, modules, and APs into considerations more. Paizo knows what sorts of products it wants to make and what stories they want to tell, and they now have enough experience to know where the rules get in the way of telling those stories.

Do you mean to imply that the AP designers know more about what PF Society people want than its consumers do? x3

That is potentially true. I know that is not exactly what you said but why make concessions for the AP developers if not to better serve their AP customers?


Generally the people who make stuff know what customers want more than customers do. Consumers just think they know what they want, people in general are better at ex post facto justifications for why they do or do not like something than actually predicting what they will or won't like.


If that were 100% the case then rpg designers wouldn’t need to playtest to the general public. Still, I do think the designers should trust their own judgement rather than bending entirely to public opinion.


CrystalSeas wrote:
graystone wrote:
He wasn't swearing though: if you look at the sentence in context, the word is 'troll'. Please try to examine posts before you make assumptions.

Here's his actual post, complete with the forum software masking part of his sentence. Staff have asked people not to use profanity, even if the software masks it.

As you say, please try to examine posts before you make assumptions.

LOL I read the post so I know what it has in it so I'm not sure what purpose reposting something you think shouldn't have posted in the first place. Doesn't Sara Marie's comment apply to reposts?

I think it's not forum software but someones intentional obfuscation on the posters part. A may be wrong, but it's not my place to police it if it is. This is where Sara Marie has said to 'flag it and move on'.


graystone wrote:
I think it's not forum software but someones intentional obfuscation on the posters part. A may be wrong,

Forum software. Try it yourself.

I can't figure out if you're annoyed because staff delete those kinds of things or because I alerted someone that staff delete those kinds of things.


CrystalSeas wrote:
Forum software. Try it yourself.

You CLEARLY aren't getting what I'm saying. I can MANUALLY type out symbols. As such, I can make the SAME stream of characters as the post in question. I can see now that it changes so I guess it is the software. I hadn't tried to quote it.

CrystalSeas wrote:
I can't figure out if you're annoyed because staff delete those kinds of things or because I alerted someone that staff delete those kinds of things.

Neither. I thought that #1 it wasn't the case and #2 those same staff have asked to 'flag and move on'. So either you shouldn't have posted as it wasn't needed or you shouldn't have posted as the staff asked you not to.

*shrug* this has already taken up more time than it should have so I think I'll move on from this.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
graystone wrote:

]Neither. I thought that #1 it wasn't the case and #2 those same staff have asked to 'flag and move on'. So either you shouldn't have posted as it wasn't needed or you shouldn't have posted as the staff asked you not to.

Or #3, you shouldn't have commented :)


Gorbacz wrote:
graystone wrote:

]Neither. I thought that #1 it wasn't the case and #2 those same staff have asked to 'flag and move on'. So either you shouldn't have posted as it wasn't needed or you shouldn't have posted as the staff asked you not to.

Or #3, you shouldn't have commented :)

Yes, I agree. You DO know that adding the number means that that "you" is directed at CrystalSeas right as the number means you're adding it to MY list? ;)


graystone wrote:
CrystalSeas wrote:
I can't figure out if you're annoyed because staff delete those kinds of things or because I alerted someone that staff delete those kinds of things.
...either you shouldn't have posted xxx or you shouldn't have posted yyy.

I see. I alerted someone when I shouldn't have.


CrystalSeas wrote:
graystone wrote:
CrystalSeas wrote:
I can't figure out if you're annoyed because staff delete those kinds of things or because I alerted someone that staff delete those kinds of things.
...either you shouldn't have posted xxx or you shouldn't have posted yyy.
I see. I alerted someone when I shouldn't have.

When someone does something against the rules, we've been asked to flag and move on. It would have been one thing if it was a warning in the hour window for editing: that would allow for a change and the moderator might not have to do anything. At the point you posted, a moderator would already have to do something and in doing so, would say the same thing you did. it just adds more background noise to the thread.

To be honest, I only posted myself because I though it wasn't the profanity filter. Since I did mistakenly think that and post, I'm passing on what has been posted before about policing the threads. I've got nothing against you or the dev's. *sigh* I really meant to not post anymore on this but I don't want it to seem like i have an agenda or anything.


I do not belive I have ever said that my way is somehow the only way to enjoy pen and paper. As to the off topic, didn't even register as profanity to me when typing it outm might be a tone difference between languages. Not that I agree with such policies, but their house so try to be cordial guest.

But since we are policing posts here. "WAAAH! X said a naughty word" Isn't excatly a great contribution to the discussion either. Especially when combined with misentrepting hopefully unintentionally what someone else is saying.

So to spell this out what I have at least tried to convey.

1) Tailor fitted games are superior all things being equal.
2) I prefer game systems to be built to support the play style(out of the 3 mentioned) I prefer. Especially when being built for it includes the other 2 playstyles functions into it. Where as the reverse isn't true.

If paizo decides to follow the money I won't fault them one bit as a company for it. I will judge them for it as game designers.


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Wultram wrote:
I do not belive I have ever said that my way is somehow the only way to enjoy pen and paper.

No, you didn't. But people don't tend to respond well when you're telling them that your way of playing the game is better than theirs.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

I'm going to tap into the "discussion here...and relate it to 4e.

WotC made some assumptions that the key to success was with the FLGS and the living campaigns they ran. It was one of the key cornerstones of 4e.

Now, Unlike many here, I'd actually advocate that 4e was a success. It sold well, but it did NOT sell as well as Hasbro wanted.

That said, basing their focus on living campaigns and gamers that strictly did FLGS gaming was the WRONG path.

So, they went an entirely opposite direction with 5e. Instead of looking at organized play as the key to success, they looked at the idea that Homebrew games > organized play...always.

That doesn't mean that they got rid of Organized play, it still is an integral part of their program, they simply recognized that a LOT more gamers play in homebrew games than organized play.

4e had a few million players. 5e has 9-12 million players...FAR more.

Looking at that, I'd say the numbers solidly state that homebrew games > organized play/PFS type gaming if one wants to appeal to the majority of gamers and garner sales.

Does that mean that this is the best way to play...No. I'm not saying that. Quality of the game does not depend on whether it is Homebrew or via organized play. Quality isn't even an effect of some individual campaign created world = AP/Module = Organized play in that arena. That is more dependent on the DM and the players on the quality of the game. A Homemade campaign can be the best or worst thing ever, and a bad DM can make an organized game dreary while a great DM can make an organized play game the best game ever. I'm not saying which is the best type of quality game.

I'm saying that a majority of gamers play in Homebrew games (though that would include those using modules to play or premade adventures, as well as those who run their own campaign worlds) rather than organized games at the FLGS.

The difference is what you see between how 4e was made vs. 5e, as well as how they were run and what the focus was.

I absolutely CANNOT STAND 5e, and hope PF2e is as far from it as possible, but I DO recognize that they went with a pretty good strategy in it's design and marketing.

I think it is obvious that PFS is affecting the designs of PF2e. The way Paizo has gathered data probably makes it so that they had to do this. I personally do not think this is a good thing.

However, what is the alternative?

We at least have a playtest coming and that hopefully is their way of getting as much of the public that wishes to be involved to hopefully leave feedback.

Of course, when WotC did 5e, they had a two year playtest in order to try to get the best appeal to the broadest audience possible.

PF2e is going to be more limited than that. I dislike 5e and how it ended up, but in regards to gaming, we'll see if PF2e ends up more like how 5e has gone with public appeal (and organized play with 5e is basically a small droplet compared to the lake of 9-12 million 5e players...organized play is excessively small in comparison), or more like 4e (where the focus WAS organized play and many of them spent the most money on 4e and it's gaming materials/online programs).

Each was successful (remember, I actually think 4e WAS a success in sales, just not 50 million dollars annually worth of success) in it's own way, just one garnered far more players (5e) than the other one did (4e).


GreyWolfLord wrote:

4e had a few million players. 5e has 9-12 million players...FAR more.

Looking at that, I'd say the numbers solidly state that homebrew games > organized play/PFS type gaming if one wants to appeal to the majority of gamers and garner sales.

I'm not sure how you can make that assumption.

I see more organized play with 5E than I ever did with 4E. If the system is good, it should work with homebrew and organized play. My former PFS group actually converted to 5E.

It's incorrect to believe that a system can only work with either campaigns or organized play.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Excaliburproxy wrote:


Do you mean to imply that the AP designers know more about what PF Society people want than its consumers do? x3
That is potentially true. I know that is not exactly what you said but why make concessions for the AP developers if not to better serve their AP customers?

More that the designers of the adventure based products at Paizo know what stories they have trouble telling under the current rules.

The design team has proposed rule changes to help with those problems. And now its up to us (and other playtesters) to see if those changes work/we like them/etc.


BobROE wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:


Do you mean to imply that the AP designers know more about what PF Society people want than its consumers do? x3
That is potentially true. I know that is not exactly what you said but why make concessions for the AP developers if not to better serve their AP customers?

More that the designers of the adventure based products at Paizo know what stories they have trouble telling under the current rules.

The design team has proposed rule changes to help with those problems. And now its up to us (and other playtesters) to see if those changes work/we like them/etc.

I would still say that is ultimately at the service of the final customers of APs. Like: who gives two swearwords if the AP designers can tell the stories that they want if no AP customers actually want to play those new kinds of stories.


GreyWolfLord wrote:
I'm going to tap into the "discussion here...and relate it to 4e.

First, appreciate the post and the opportunity to discuss the topic.

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4e had a few million players. 5e has 9-12 million players...FAR more.

I cannot affirm or deny any of your assertions, but I'll take them as verities for the sake of discussion. My concern with your analysis is that I fear you are confusing correlation with causation. Check the PFS Analytics website for a tutorial.

You say this,

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That said, basing their focus on living campaigns and gamers that strictly did FLGS gaming was the WRONG path.

But we can't normalize the design efforts. We don't know if 5e is more popular because it was simply executed better, or because players prefer the design goals.

WotC may have made the right call with 4e, but failed to execute the vision. Maybe the 4e team didn't understand Organized Play dynamics like they thought. They could have made the wrong assumptions about what makes Organized Play a success. Likewise, they could have made the wrong call about 5e strategically, but did a much better job of executing the vision they did have. It's really hard to know.

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Each was successful (remember, I actually think 4e WAS a success in sales, just not 50 million dollars annually worth of success) in it's own way, just one garnered far more players (5e) than the other one did (4e).

Families may prefer 3-row crossovers versus station wagons. In fact, the crossover outsold sedans for the first time in history back in 2016-17. But if the only crossover your company builds is a peace of junk, and the station wagon preforms a lot better, guess which vehicle you're going to sell more of? That might lead you to think making a crossover was a mistake, when it wasn't. It could have been your engineers and customer surveys just sucked at figuring how to build a crossover that people wanted to buy.

Assuming that the decision to focus on Organized Play is what made it crappy is kind of unprovable given the data you've presented. Not only that, WotC got to a chance to fix or better understand how the mechanic did or did not work. That pollutes the analysis. You'd need to have the same team build two versions of the game simultaneously to get even partly reliable data.

Another factor is that I can't tell how well OP in 4e was managed compared to 5e. I can tell you that certain policies can totally undermine OP, regardless of the game play. There is a huge debate on allowing replay of scenarios. Some swear that unfettered replay killed OP in 3.5. I know that PFS initially allowed GMs to change scenarios. They put stop to it after the head PFS said he was inundated with complaints about TPK's and deaths because GMs were screwing up encounters. He put a stop to it, and there's no telling what would have happened to PFS if he hadn't.

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Looking at that, I'd say the numbers solidly state that homebrew games > organized play/PFS type gaming if one wants to appeal to the majority of gamers and garner sales.

I think the nominal RPG player has visions of having a glorious home game with friends. I don't know that anyone who got into D&D outside of Organized Play dreamed about one day having an OP forum. I think most people who play OP embrace the idea of having their own home games, even if they know it just wouldn't work out.

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The difference is what you see between how 4e was made vs. 5e, as well as how they were run and what the focus was.

Maybe. Hard to know based on what you've shared.


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N N 959 wrote:
graystone wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
graystone wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
the data
I have to say, my experience doesn't match the data.

Now there's a shocker.... xD

I'm sorry I don't worship at the altar of PFS perfection: I didn't drink the kool-aid. But good to see you bring your usual flare to the discussion... :P
Except that mark isn't talking about PFS, he's talking about how the data says Crane Wing doesn't work the way you think it does, and it has nothing to do with PFS... :P

Our tables are able to transmit data back to Paizo?

Is that why my WiFi usage has been so weird?


MerlinCross wrote:
Is that why my WiFi usage has been so weird?

Yeah, their PDF's have micro-transmitters embedded in the covers.


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N N 959 wrote:
ErichAD wrote:
because every character needs to be an island able to hold their own.

I wanted to address this separately because I think you're just off the mark, but it touches on something that I think has totally undermined the game. Multi-classing.

First off, however, PFS doesn't design the game for players to solo or anything close to it. It designs the game because an organized play system can't expect a party of random players to play any specific classes. I used to play D&D Online. I recall, on several occasions, waiting for an hour for a Cleric to show up so we could run some missions. And even though I absolutely loved the division of labor in AD&D, it would seem modern players chaff under the functional role model.

Personally, I think 3x's removal of the constraints on multi-classing was a huge mistake. But ti's clear that a large percentage of PFS players, if not the majority, multi-class. I think this presents an ever growing problem for Paizo. I had to smile when Jason B. addressed this in a pod cast: a bunch of players who had no idea who was doing what because they had no idea what functional role the other multi-classed players were suppose to fill. The game is built on a party being competent at a few key mechanics: combat, skills, and buffing (which includes healing or the ability to obviate the need for it). A vocal contingency of posters on the forums have eschewed the idea that they need to focus on at least one of these. So to the extent Paizo supports this mindset, it has to reduce the bar on scenarios even further, making them nearly solo-able by some min/maxed builds (looking at you Crane Wing monk!).

You got the gist of what I was saying even though I wasn't all that clear.

When I say that characters need to hold their own, I mean every character needs to possibly fill every roll somewhat. This really raises the floor preventing characters from being very weak in some area. And you can't have a group of characters with complimentary strengths and weaknesses if the system prevents weaknesses. The player created tier system highlights this by pointing out which classes fill most or all roles. The PFS ideal is probably tier 1 or 2 so that all players can fill all roles, but the home ideal is probably 3 or 4 so that the players have some narrative reason to remain allies.

Regarding your other post.

PFS data is going to be suspect as it is skewed in a very specific way. I'm not sure what it could reliably report on in any situation where the DM can run the game.

Here are some alternative reasons for the video game transformation of table top games: It's easier to design, it's part of the current game design culture, hopes of supporting video games using the system, a focus on player versus player activities, or an over reliance on 1 to 1 modularity. I'm sure there are more possibilities, there certainly isn't only one.

If the goal of this design is to remove the DM from the picture, I'd expect to see very few DMs interested in getting involved without them being bribed into it. If that really is their goal, they should make the switch to a card game so all the players are on the same side of the table. As a group of rotating GMs, I'd have no use for a system like this.

The crane wing criticism always struck me as funny. It's easily overcome by ranged attacks, grappling, fog/darkness/stealth, difficult terrain, other ways of denying dexterity, ignoring the cranewinger and attacking the rest of the party, and so on. Are PFS combats toe to toe brawls?


ErichAD wrote:
The crane wing criticism always struck me as funny. It's easily overcome by ranged attacks, grappling, fog/darkness/stealth, difficult terrain, other ways of denying dexterity, ignoring the cranewinger and attacking the rest of the party, and so on. Are PFS combats toe to toe brawls?

My own experience, PFS tends to be "For themselves". Yes if you go for someone else, you make it harder for the team to maybe succeed. But the mentality of "Not my character, not my problem" can't be something that is a rare instance.


ErichAD wrote:
When I say that characters need to hold their own, I mean every character needs to possibly fill every roll somewhat.

Yeah, there is definitely some of that going on in PFS, but it has nothing to do with PFS but what PF allows and thus PFS has to contemplate. The PFS scenarios are still written with the same paradigm of functional roles, but as we agree, the bar is set really low. It's probably the reason why parties routinely played up in the first couple of seasons.

That, or PFS intentionally made the scenarios easier to avoid killing off players in its first couple of seasons. I can tell you that in Season 4, the feeling was that PFS overcompensated. There are some doozies in Season 4. And then they introduced "hard mode" which was meant to push parties to the limit, but caster dominated parties pretty much trounced these as well.

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This really raises the floor preventing characters from being very weak in some area. And you can't have a group of characters with complimentary strengths and weaknesses if the system prevents weaknesses.

It was my experience that multi-classing actually lead to parties being far less capable. The thing with mult-classing is that you can kind of screw up your character if you aren't sure what you're doing, and, a lot of specific designs take more than a few levels to hit the sweet spot.

I think the real problem which follows from what you're saying is that multi-classing undermines the natural weakness that compel more teamwork. When a PC can only fill 1 of the 3-4 roles needed, it forces the players to relay on each other. You tend to pay more attention to who can do what and naturally appreciate the skills another PC has.

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The player created tier system highlights this by pointing out which classes fill most or all roles.

I actually exchanged a fair number of PMs with the guy who created the Tier system on Brilliant Gameologists. He claims he created the system as an aide for GMs to better manage their campaigns by knowing which Classes were tougher to GM aka most likely to break the campaign.

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PFS data is going to be suspect as it is skewed in a very specific way

But if you know how it's skewed, then you can normalize it. If you specifically identify what distorts the data, then can account for it, you can get pretty good data. In a random person's home game, you have no idea what is going on behind the scenes based on their anecdote. Players may not/do not always understand the influence of specific changes to the rules, or, what the GM is doing behind the screen.

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Here are some alternative reasons for the video game transformation of table top games: It's easier to design,

Yeah, I don't think a balanced game is easier to make into an actually enjoyable game because the classes are perfectly "balanced" when they are all the same. So finding that sweet spot is art, not science.

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If the goal of this design is to remove the DM from the picture

The goal isn't to remove the GM, the goal is to simplify GMing so you don't necessarily need a Ph.D to bring the game to life. Remember, PF sells scenarios and AP's to GMs. But in PbP PFS, where one gets to see a lot of players voice a desire to start GMing, it's clear newer players are intimidating by the rules bloat. In fact, there have been GMs who've turned to Core only games because explosion of classes and lack of ambiguity in the rules has made GMing too much of a burden.

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It's easily overcome by ranged attacks, grappling, fog/darkness/stealth, difficult terrain, other ways of denying dexterity, ignoring the cranewinger and attacking the rest of the party, and so on. Are PFS combats toe to toe brawls?

I think the point isn't that it couldn't be overcome, but the the extent to which it needed to be overcome on account of one feat.


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My concern with the raised floor is with the PF2 design, not multiclassing.

You're right about the difficulty of balancing character utility and avoiding them all feeling the same. Normally you'd do this by avoiding 1 to 1 parity in abilities, but with everything having identical feat costs, PF2 is straying dangerously close to looking bland on the face of it. It is an easier workload though. Just find a good line of progress, come up with a few good fit equations and then break the math down into a few different ability sets. Then you give the classes a reliance on some tactical situation and an ability that lets them easily achieve that tactical situation, and suddenly the game looks super dynamic until players start playing and nothing seems to matter.

For Crane wing. There are a bunch of abilities that need to be overcome. Crane wing isn't any worse than fairly common abilities like flight or invisibility. The argument that you should be able to challenge any character with any possible same CR encounter isn't followed consistently enough for it to be worth considering.

In my opinion, abilities like crane wing are ideal in that they allow a player to dominate a certain type of encounter without risk of being overshadowed by a player without that ability, while also not overshadowing all other players because of that ability. It's the opposite of the wizard problem, where one player can fill all roles better than those who aught to be specialized in them.

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