Pathfinder Tales: Plague of Shadows Sanctioned for Society Play

Monday, February 28, 2011

A short while ago we sanctioned the Pathfinder Modules Godsmouth Heresy and Cult of the Ebon Destroyers for use in Pathfinder Society play. This was a needed change to help expand play options for players and to strengthen the entire program. As we roll into March it's time for another change: the sanctioning of Pathfinder Tales novels for use in the Pathfinder Society.

Winter Witch
Illustration by Darren Bader

The Pathfinder Tales novel Plague of Shadows has now been incorporated into the Pathfinder Society. This new option provides fans of the novels with an additional way to use content from the book in a sanctioned format. Because of the differences between reading a novel and playing a game, there are specific rules needed for using sanctioned content from a Pathfinder Tales novel during play and we'll be providing a Chronicle sheet for players to use with their characters. You can download this Chronicle by going here.

Sanctioned novels you ask? How do you sanction a novel? Because Pathfinder Tales novels are stories first, there is no easy way to sanction items, spells, feats, or other special abilities whole cloth. Therefore, Plague of Shadows Chronicle sheets use the following rules.

1. Only items, feats, boons, or abilities found on the Chronicle sheet are legal for play.
2. Each player must have a copy of the Chronicle sheet with his or her character at all times.
3. In order for the Chronicle sheet to be considered legal for play, the player must show to the GM a copy of Plague of Shadows, either in printed or digital format.

GMs are advised to work with players to make the sanctioning of Pathfinder Tales Chronicle sheets easy and fast. As long as the player has a copy of the book, she should be able to use the Chronicle sheet just like any other.

If you would like to learn more about Plague of Shadows or other novels in the Pathfinder Tales line, please visit paizo.com or your local bookstore. Other novels in the line include Prince of Wolves by former Dragon Magazine editor Dave Gross, Winter Witch by New York Times best-selling author Elaine Cunningham, and the forthcoming The Worldwound Gambit by gaming legend Robin D. Laws.

I'd love to hear your comments on this update to Society play. Please post them in the comments!

Hyrum Savage
Marketing and Organized Play Manager

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Howard Andrew Jones Pathfinder Society Pathfinder Tales Plague of Shadows
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Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

Hyrum Savage wrote:
We're completely revamping the document and changing it into 3 separate files

I really like this idea, but would request that there is also a consolidated version. Similar to how the downloads are now, have pdf's of each 'chapter' separate so GM/coord's can hand out just what is needed to new players, but also maintain a 'whole book' pdf.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Michael Brock wrote:

I will reiterate what Hyrum has said:

- For those of you that are upset with this we hope you'll stick around.

If not, good luck with whatever game you choose.

No one's going anywhere. My only beef is the obvious waste of resources being perpetrated by one hand, all while the other hand is saying, "Resources are precious. We'll get there."

As ever, I will patiently await the Fabled Day That All Is Fixed. In the meantime, I'll cobble together the pieces and continue to do as I do: play.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Michael Brock wrote:
Skeld wrote:


If we want, we can come up with a hundred fluffy reasons to justify it in-game with some off-screen action by the character. The root of the issue for me is that nothing happened in-game to grant the boon. What happened was out-of-game (the player purchased the boon). If there's a boon, I want the player/character to earn it in game with some action. If something is going to by gained by the character, something should also be risked by the character.

So, by this logic, Paizo needs to discontinue the sell of the faction t-shirts and declare that no one can use them any longer to get a re-roll?

You can't have it both ways. There is something gained by the character and nothing risked to get a re-roll in every game. Nothing happened in game to grant the re-roll.

How do you think the t-shirt issue should be handled then?

Using logic? I didn't say anything about putting the faction t-shirts in the crapper and telling people that can't have rerolls. I said I don't like things that give in-game rewards for out-of-game actions and that I like characters to risk something in order to gain something.

For the record, I don't like faction t-shirt rerolls and I never have liked them. I didn't like them from the beginning for the very reason I stated above. I begrudgingly accept their existence because they are part of the rules. However, because they're part of the rules does not mean I think it's a great idea to continue adding paid-for out-of-game benefits.

The t-shirts started out in Season 0 as a way to promote the PFS. The idea being that people would see you wearing a t-shirt and would ask about it and, in return, you got a little in-game benefit for promoting PFS. We're in Season 2 now and the PFS is much more mature and doesn't need the kind of promotion that the t-shirts provided as it did a few years ago.

Another difference between this a t-shirt rerolls is that the rerolls didn't exist so that Paizo could sell t-shirts as part of their ploy to break into the clothing business. However, the boons exist so that Paizo can sell more PF fiction into to increase its market share in the fantasy fiction business.

As for how I think the t-shirt issue should be handled, that's easy: nothing. It's been the way it is for 3 years. It's thoroughly ingrained into PFS at this point. Removing it is more trouble than it's worth. That doesn't mean we need to add more stuff like it.

-Skeld


Dave the Barbarian wrote:

Instead of making the original game that we all fell in love with better, we are going to give you a free cookie for buying a book. Instead of fixing items that need fixing, we will give you a boon for buying a book. I don't get it.

This is yet another step in the wrong direction. You guys have access to a few dozen Venture-Captains that hopefully are being honest about what to do with the OP, so please listen to them.

Replay is eliminated due to potential abuse, but then this gets tossed out there.

Like Painlord, I do not have the energy today to go ballistic, I will merely state that I am disappointed. Again.

I appreciate your comments Dave and to let you know I did talk to the Venture-Captains. They were informed of this last week and we spent the weekend talking about it. I did ask them to stay quiet until today though.

Hyrum.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Eastern Eurasia-Africa

It might just be that by reading the book you'll get more Golarion knowledge which will benefit more than those one-off bonusses...

I'll go and read the book now, before this thread has a higher wordcount than the novel itself! ;-)

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Michael Brock wrote:

I will reiterate what Hyrum has said:

- For those of you that are upset with this we hope you'll stick around.

If not, good luck with whatever game you choose.

No one's going anywhere. My only beef is the obvious waste of resources being perpetrated by one hand, all while the other hand is saying, "Resources are precious. We'll get there."

As ever, I will patiently await the Fabled Day That All Is Fixed. In the meantime, I'll cobble together the pieces and continue to do as I do: play.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Skeld wrote:
stuff

So, I'll ask again, do you own a faction t-shirt?

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
TwilightKnight wrote:
As a subscriber to 'Tales' and an owner of all five faction shirts, I ask that the re-roll NOT go away.

Do you wear all five shirts to the table and strip them off one at a time as you go through re-rolls?

Liberty's Edge

Michael Brock wrote:

It is obvious that we are not going to agree on much of anything. So I will reiterate what Hyrum has said:

- For those of you that are upset with this we hope you'll stick around.

If not, good luck with whatever game you choose.

I don't remember Hyrum saying, but damn Brock if that ain't a fine piece of marketing.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Michael Brock wrote:

It is obvious that we are not going to agree on much of anything. So I will reiterate what Hyrum has said:

- For those of you that are upset with this we hope you'll stick around.

If not, good luck with whatever game you choose.

Slow down, guy! Maybe I missed it, but has anyone even said they're going to quit playing PFS because of this?

I've seen people say they don't think it's a good idea, that it seems like a thinly veiled attempt to sell fiction, that it annoys them, and that they think it's a turn in the wrong direction. I haven't read any posts saying anyone was planning to take their ball and go home though.

I think you're ready waaay more into the non-positive comments people are making. Also, I think you're being awfully dismissive of other players over such a small issue.

Am I going to quit playing? No. Do I like this idea/promotion? No. Since you've brought it up several times, do I like the faction t-shirt rerolls? No. Am I willing to live with it and play the game? Yes. That don't mean I have to like it.

-Skeld

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Michael Brock wrote:
Skeld wrote:
stuff
So, I'll ask again, do you own a faction t-shirt?

No, I don't. What are you getting at?

-Skeld

Grand Lodge 5/5

Skeld wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Skeld wrote:
stuff
So, I'll ask again, do you own a faction t-shirt?

No, I don't. What are you getting at?

-Skeld

What I am getting at is that people that hate this idea also own at least one faction shirt, if not multiples. They certainly don't mind the re-roll they get from their shirt, even though their character did nothing in-game to earn it. It is the same with this chronicle sheet. It is something bought out of game, with no tie to your character, that you are allowed to use with the character in-game. You can't argue for faction shirts, which are permanent by the way, and against these one-shot boons.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

MisterSlanky wrote:


Do you wear all five shirts to the table and strip them off one at a time as you go through re-rolls?

Of course not...although, hmmmmm

I just like to wear the shirt associated with my character's faction. Guess those devils at Paizo dupped me with their marketing ploy.

And someday I'll have a Qadiran so I can justify wearing that ugly green. :-)

I wish the PFS logo was on the chest, like many business-style shirts, with the faction logo on the back. And I would have preferred polo's, but that's just me.

[/end threadjack]

Dark Archive

This kind of makes me sad.

I'm not a fan. The benefits look very focused and not overly powered by any stretch of the imagination, but still don't like it.

Just my opinion.

I hope it doesn't carry over to other products.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Michael Brock wrote:
Skeld wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Skeld wrote:
stuff
So, I'll ask again, do you own a faction t-shirt?

No, I don't. What are you getting at?

-Skeld

What I am getting at is that people that hate this idea also own at least one faction shirt, if not multiples. They certainly don't mind the re-roll they get from their shirt, even though their character did nothing in-game to earn it. It is the same with this chronicle sheet. It is something bought out of game, with no tie to your character, that you are allowed to use with the character in-game. You can't argue for faction shirts, which are permanent by the way, and against these one-shot boons.

It is certainly not the case that those who disagree with the decision own the faction shirt. I never bought one either. The Campaign T-shirt with bonuses has been around for at least 7 years if not longer. It is tradition at this point.

Besides, one or two of these aren't deal breakers. When it turns into buying unrelated or barely-related product (such as a Pathfinder board game) is where the line would be drawn for me.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Curn_Bounder wrote:


I don't remember Hyrum saying, but damn Brock if that ain't a fine piece of marketing.

I apologize if I overstepped and said something that came out the wrong way. It was not my intent and anyone who knows me, knows I work very hard to promote PFS as much as possible. Between two very frustrating topics on the message boards, and some real life frustrations at work, I probably should have refrained from even debating on this topic. I'll refrain from further conversation on this topic since I have voiced my opinion.

I apologize to anyone who took what I said the wrong way and was offended by it.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Michael Brock wrote:
I apologize to anyone who took what I said the wrong way and was offended by it.

I'm not offended, so no need to apologize to me. you might want to dial back the volume on your defense of this particular decision though. It's ok if people don't like this.

-Skeld

4/5

I don't really love this idea even though I own all of the Pathfinder Tales novels. I think that it is sort of neat and don't mind it that much, but if I wanted actual boons for my PFS characters, I would have bought a PFS t-shirt for myself.

As a PFS player, if I wasn't already going to get this book, these boons would not have changed my mind. I'm not sure of the person that would pay $7 for a book, not to read it, but for access to a very expensive magic item and a pair of boons that might come up once over a few dozen scenarios. I can see it popping up at a game table as someone asks how they got that special boon, but I can imagine it prompting an argument over the quality of the PFS/Tales connection that I just wouldn't want to have happen. I don't want to have a gaming session interrupted by arguments about whether this is appropriate for the game and after playing with the people that I have, I'm not entirely certain that this incentive would not prompt it.

I would have preferred to had gotten an updated Guide to Organized Play or updated pregenerated characters, but I don't really see this update interfering much with those things that I want because I can't see this taking that much time compared to either of those other things (in the same way I don't see blog posts, wallpapers, or forum posts as slowing progress on the updated guide).

I am hoping this this doesn't continue farther though. I son't really want a bonus from Grandmaster Torch for owning his mini.


At what point does it stop being Pathfinder and start being Munchkin? Offering in-game bonuses based on a purchase of a book definitely tilts the game towards the zaniness of the talismans that Munchkin provides more than it helps with the immersion into the PFS.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Michael Brock wrote:
Curn_Bounder wrote:


I don't remember Hyrum saying, but damn Brock if that ain't a fine piece of marketing.

I apologize if I overstepped and said something that came out the wrong way. It was not my intent and anyone who knows me, knows I work very hard to promote PFS as much as possible. Between two very frustrating topics on the message boards, and some real life frustrations at work, I probably should have refrained from even debating on this topic. I'll refrain from further conversation on this topic since I have voiced my opinion.

I apologize to anyone who took what I said the wrong way and was offended by it.

Despite our recent disagreements Michael, you are doing a heck of a job down there in Atlanta. Keep up the good work.

1/5

The people bringing up the shirt-based re-rolling option have a point; there are definitely some parallels.

However (and you knew that was coming), I'm not really a fan of this idea. To me, it's one thing to offer the player and out of game benefit, but another to hand out a chronicle (which conceptually reflects the experiences of the character. I think I understand the intent -- to encourage reading the novels, and to let players view the experiences therein as having happened through the eyes of their characters (at least in some vague, general way). To create a cohesive Pathfinder experience, so to speak. Still, it just feels...wrong. PFS should be about playing the game.

Not a huge deal, but not a good precedent, either (imo). I will, of course, wait to see the whole picture at Paizocon.

The Exchange

cblome59 wrote:
It is certainly not the case that those who disagree with the decision own the faction shirt. I never bought one either. The Campaign T-shirt with bonuses has been around for at least 7 years if not longer. It is tradition at this point.

And five years from now we may be talking about how this is tradition. You can't have a tradition if you don't start something.

I applaud Paizo for trying to come up with a new and inventive way to gain income through book sales. I kinda like the idea, but that's really only because I'm already a Tales subscriber and I don't have to do anything extra to get the chronicle/s.

From what I've been reading, my understanding is that those that don't like it are just that, they don't like it. Doesn't mean they will quit playing, take their action figures and stomp their way home. Just that they don't agree with the marketing ploy or OOC benefits for IC. That's fine.

I bought the shirts, mainly because I wanted something Paizonian to wear at the game table, but the free re-roll made the decision a little easier.

If you haven't noticed (*tongue in cheek), Paizo has been doing several things to promote sales of product through PFS. The biggest being the addition of modules for player credit. Like the modules, I hope everyone gives this a chance and calmly/diplomatically voices their opinion on how it effects gameplay and character development. Who knows, maybe a year from now they won't do it anymore because enough people have voiced constructive criticism against it? I think everyone here, including those who don't like the idea, are willing to give it a try. My guess is that it will rarely come up. With one out of three characters ever really getting a chance in their careers to use the boons or buy the ring. Just my opinion though.

On a thread jack line: Why does the Paizo spellchecker always suggest that Paizo is spelled wrong? Shouldn't that be added to the list of correctly spelled words?

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Blazej wrote:
I don't really see this update interfering much with those things that I want because I can't see this taking that much time compared to either of those other things (in the same way I don't see blog posts, wallpapers, or forum posts as slowing progress on the updated guide).

That's *my* argument in some of the other threads: It can't take that much time to update the pregens or Resource Page, or to reply to some of the concerns raised in those other threads where they promised they would reply. And, yet, they assure us that the reason they don't do these things is because all of that takes time that they don't really have. And, yet, here we have a two-page chronicle/rules supplement that has sparked even more debate and introduced even more rules that people are questioning and/or don't understand fully.

But, I agree with you, despite beating my dead horse.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shieldknight wrote:
And five years from now we may be talking about how this is tradition. You can't have a tradition if you don't start something.

It wouldn't be at all helpful to Paizo for fans to wait 5 years before telling them that they didn't like a decision Paizo made. That would be the wrong time to bring it up. Right now, while it's nice and fresh, is the right time to bring it up.

Paizo, the misspelled word:

Spoiler:
The spellchecker is part of your browser, not part of Paizo's website. Your browser thinks it is misspelled. Try adding it to your browser's dictionary.

-Skeld

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

Drogon wrote:
Stuff

Keep in mind that updating existing free material does nothing for Paizo's coffers. Adding a quick item like this could generate increased sales of the novels which could stimulate new subscribers. That is, after all, why Paizo is in business. Based on the current market position Paizo enjoys, I am inclined to give them a long noose regarding their time-lines.

1/5

Shieldknight wrote:
On a thread jack line: Why does the Paizo spellchecker always suggest that Paizo is spelled wrong? Shouldn't that be added to the list of correctly spelled words?

Is it possible that that your browser is doing the flagging?

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

TwilightKnight wrote:
Drogon wrote:
Stuff
Keep in mind that updating existing free material does nothing for Paizo's coffers. Adding a quick item like this could generate increased sales of the novels which could stimulate new subscribers. That is, after all, why Paizo is in business. Based on the current market position Paizo enjoys, I am inclined to give them a long noose regarding their time-lines.

Yes, I know. I'm usually even the first one to say, "You know, it sells product, that's why."

But I'm in retail. I know exactly what kind of effect their time-lines can have on their vaunted "market share." Screw around too long, and people become frustrated and disenfranchised. Then that market share dwindles. I'd rather not see that happen.

The Exchange

Skeld wrote:


Paizo, the misspelled word:** spoiler omitted **

Not sure how to do this, but thanks.

Skeld wrote:


It wouldn't be at all helpful to Paizo for fans to wait 5 years before telling them that they didn't like a decision Paizo made. That would be the wrong time to bring it up. Right now, while it's nice and fresh, is the right time to bring it up.

I'm not saying we should wait 5 years to voice our opinions, I'm just saying that who knows? Perhaps 5 years from now, this will be considered a tradition. If they kept it.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Shieldknight wrote:


I'm not saying we should wait 5 years to voice our opinions, I'm just saying that who knows? Perhaps 5 years from now, this will be considered a tradition. If they kept it.

It may very well be. A good reason to keep an open mind on it.

1/5

Drogon wrote:

Yes, I know. I'm usually even the first one to say, "You know, it sells product, that's why."

But I'm in retail. I know exactly what kind of effect their time-lines can have on their vaunted "market share." Screw around too long, and people become frustrated and disenfranchised. Then that market share dwindles. I'd rather not see that happen.

This reminds me of something Josh once said to me (paraphrasing): Organized play is first and foremost a promotional tool.

While this is true, I think it sorta misses the point: That the best way to promote Pathfinder is to have an organized play program that is as enjoyable as possible. To me, that means Pathfinder Society should be about playing Pathfinder, not about cross-promotion. After all, we consumers can be a fickle bunch -- sometimes, when we perceive something to be overtly commercialized, we abandon it. To me, novel chronicles feel like a small step in that direction.


Hey gang, we're going to [insert obscure land in Golarion here]! What do you know about it?

Every single time I get blank stares.

I spend a lot of time reading about the areas these scenarios take us. I spend hours coming up with player hand-outs so they can be more informed about the lands they're adventuring in. PFS players (in general) are detatched from the world of Golarion, and I for one, find that saddening. Frankly, if this gets one PFS player to read about one single region of Golarion, I'm happy.

Besides, I'm still asking for a book report. ;-)

Sovereign Court

Kyle Baird wrote:

Hey gang, we're going to [insert obscure land in Golarion here]! What do you know about it?

Every single time I get blank stares.

I spend a lot of time reading about the areas these scenarios take us. I spend hours coming up with player hand-outs so they can be more informed about the lands they're adventuring in. PFS players (in general) are detatched from the world of Golarion, and I for one, find that saddening. Frankly, if this gets one PFS player to read about one single region of Golarion, I'm happy.

Besides, I'm still asking for a book report. ;-)

+1

Maybe it's just GM's that actually care to take the time to read the books. Players seem to just wanna come in, roll dice, and kill things. But in PFS, with the whole faction idea, one would think players would be more involved.

--HardVrock Cafe

Contributor

Hey folks! Thank you all for continuing to weigh in, and for doing so in a polite manner over what is admittedly a contentious topic.

While I'll leave the general discussion of Pathfinder Society to Hyrum and folks more qualified, I just want to point out that all the folks who've noted that this seems like a marketing move are exactly right. Pathfinder Society is, itself, a marketing expense--at least, according to our budgets. And that's not a bad thing. Let me explain why.

Pathfinder Society costs money. A LOT of money. We've got several staffers working part or full time at organizing PFS things, producing content, setting up events, etc.--all at no or minor cost to the gaming public. That's awesome, but somebody's got to pay the bills to keep the lights on at Paizo. By calling PFS a marketing expense, we can justify what would otherwise be called "setting fire to bales of money." PFS earns its keep by helping people be excited about Pathfinder, and that means ALL of Pathfinder--including the novels.

Now, Bugley has a very good point--if you market too hard, you alienate your community, and that's counterproductive. Which is why we're listening very, very carefully to what everyone has to say about things like this. If we can come up with a way to reward folks for supporting all our lines, we want to try it out--so long as it doesn't overly harm the spirit of the thing. Which, in turn, is why we've been careful to balance these boons the way we have.

There are also a number of benefits to this for PFS members. In addition to giving your players an incentive to read world information (as Kyle pointed out) and giving everybody a few more toys to play with at the table, it also helps PFS grow and expand. Helping the rest of the company succeed is the way PFS justifies its existence, and the more effective it is as a marketing tool, the more everyone involved here can justify to their inner businesspeople what we all want as gamers--more PFS resources, more content for the community, and more people playing the game.

I hope that helps!

Sovereign Court

I'm pretty much neutral on the whole idea; I really like the idea of promoting the fiction line through PFS (after all, the more people who buy the books, the more books are likely to be published!) but when I first saw the title of the blog I thought "Wait, what? That makes no sense."

Having read the chronicle, it started to grow on me, but given people's negative reaction to the idea of buying the novel giving an in game benefit to a character, I'm not sure if it works all that well.

For those of you set against this, how would you feel if instead of the boons, the chronicle gave access to unique traits linked to the story for new characters (or possibly through the Additional Traits feat), and just the item access for established characters?


I really like this and hope to see more in the future.

5/5

You guys are crazy... but I'll admit I was just thinking that ring would be *mighty* cool to own...

Quite the touch.


For the record, here are the Paizo product lines, and how they interface with Pathfinder Society Organized Play:

Pathfinder RPG Line - The backbone for game. They are also the biggest way new material is added to the game.

Pathfinder Campaign Setting - With the exception of a few traits, feats or odd pieces of equipment, this product line is hardly used by PFS players. This is sad and I wish there was a good way to get the flavor from these books into the hands of the players. City of Strangers & #51/52 were an excellent combination that allowed GM's to add to the PFS experience (like taking the players to the White Lady..)

Pathfinder Adventure Path - See Campaign Setting above.

Pathfinder Player Companion - These serve primarily serve as crunch books for players, and in my opinion are only purchased by those players looking for overpowered or overly unique game components. They currently serve little positive value to the organized play campaign.

Pathfinder Modules - Until recently these had no connection to the Organized play environment. Now they serve as a new way to play welcomed by homegroups but not so much conventions. There are a lot of issues with how these have been introduced (death, consumables, etc), but it's early.

Pathfinder Miniatures - Besides the mini for Grand Master Torch, I'm not away of any tie in between PFS and the miniature line.
Pathfinder Tales - Fiction readers can now add some flavorful boons their characters if they get GM to sign their chronicle.

GameMastery FlipMaps/Map Packs - From early on, PFS scenarios have used these maps to promote the GameMastery line, reduce GM prep time, and save on cartography costs. Love'em or hate'em, they've been there from almost day one.

GameMastery Cards - While not officially connected yet, I've found great use for them in several scenarios. (NPC pictures, Sceptres of an Ancient Osirion Merchant, etc)

With the intro of the tie-in for Pathfinder Tales, the only thing not tied into PFS are the Paizo board games.

The Exchange

James Sutter wrote:
Really nice marketing stuff.

James, I appreciate your response but I think you misunderstand some of the criticism of this plan.

I don't think anyone, especially not me, doesn't understand the marketing and money of these things. No one argues against wanting our players to read more and be more invested in Golarion. I wish for that to be true...but moves like this do the opposite.

For me, I think the move is in poor alignment with what the PF Society should be promoting. In short, this could have been done better and in a way that promotes both your marketing interests and the whatever core tenets PFS has.

Many of us object to IC benefits to OOC actions.* It cheapens the PFS play, rather than enhancing it. In a short term, narrow view, some may feel otherwise, but in the long term, we want our actions and rewards aligned.

I think the program could have been equally or better received if the 'reward' had not been character rewards, but instead rewards towards another facet of PFS or Paizo life.

For example, there have been many references to an upcoming players and judge reward program. Why couldn't this benefit add to that? (Buy a book and get a extra judge point!)

Instead of a near-meaningless narrow chronicle, why couldn't it have been "Buy 10 of our books (real or pdf) and get a custom avatar or some other promotion (You get 5 Paizo points!)"?

Heck, this type of marketing would be above and beyond just applying Paizo players. I think you'd want to have more potential customers in this than lesser.

I hope that we'll find a better way to do this in the future. The game will grow faster when we have clear alignment and vision regarding things like this.

-Pain

*=Plz don't derail this back to TShirts.


Painlord wrote:
"Pain"ful stuff.

T-shirts.

The Exchange

Kyle Baird wrote:
T-shirts.

::shakes fist at Kyle::

I'll get you yet, Baird!

-Pain

Contributor

Thanks for the ideas, Painlord! I think you've presented a good way to frame the conversation--not a question of *if* PFS can be used to market (because we all know that selling things is necessary to keep Paizo running), but *how* it should be best done to maximize effect while minimizing player aggravation. It's possible that the new idea might not work out, but in the meantime, this discussion is invaluable.

So let's talk about it! PFS and the Paizo messageboard/subscriber community are our two biggest allies when it comes to helping Paizo grow. What things can we do in the context of PFS that will help us bring new people into the fold (not just playing, but buying/subscribing) while continuing to sell to our core supporters?

In specific, I really want to hear ideas about PFS and the Pathfinder Tales line, because it turns out that, as our newest product type, we really need some help getting the novels off the ground and helping them succeed--they haven't had the years of run-up and anticipation that the RPG had. I believe that these novels can eventually be every bit as important to the game world as the campaign setting line, but for now we just need to get them into people's hands. And we already know that PFS players like our setting, so it's only sensible that we'd try to cater to them.

If you don't already read the novels but you play PFS, what could we as Paizo do to get you to check them out? What sorts of tie-ins or promotions would you like to see?


Let me preface this by saying that there's little Paizo could do to get me to read Pathfinder Tales. Sounds harsh, but I don't even have enough time to read my current subscriptions. I love Golarion and wish I had the time, but I bet there's a lot of people who have the same problem. Not exactly sure what you could do to fix that*. :-)

As far as how we could further merge Tales and PFS, what about tying information in the Tales with rewards within the Scenario? The tales could be the backdrop for Pathinder Society Chronicles (not hand-outs, the real thing in Golarion). Certain "unlockables" within the PFS game could come from the Tales. I would caution that these unlockables be obtainable by other in-game things (like high-DC knowledge checks). It could open up an item on the chronicle, a small boon, or maybe a third PA. (just spitballing here)

*making Tales available in all sorts of digital formats would help, as I do kill time on planes every other week...

Grand Lodge

Ok, first I want to say that I am not in the least way opposed to this idea one bit. It makes absolutely do difference to me at all. It's affects on me as a PFS player and fan of Paizo products is so minimal that I just don't see the issues here.

It's marketing, yeah okay... *shrug*

Now, what will get me to buy novels? This won't do it. Sorry.

I did buy one book and started it. I got a few chapters in and thought "I would have really liked this book back in high school, but that was over 20 years ago." It felt to me that the target audience of the book was in their teens. The language was simple and short, descriptive words were simple and short, and what I read felt simple and short.

I prefer more complex books. I like stories with complicated plot lines, and prose that challenges me as a reader. I did not find that in the one book I (partially) read. It felt... lacking. Let's just say it was no Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones.

If you want me to read the novels, the novels must target more mature (by mature I do NOT mean adult or pornographic) readers. If you want to target teens (which is a GREAT idea really- as it gets younger people involved in the game to carry on the legacy), then as someone outside the target audience I won't be buying them. I don't feel any grudge or anything, no bad feelings in any way what-so-ever.

BUT as to this particular marketing plan... yeah okay, works fine. I say leave it like it as is and promote both the Tales and PFS together.

The only casualty I have seen mentioned is in game verisimilitude. And let's face it, when we are sitting around a card table, choking down Mountain Dew and Cheetos, wearing a Superman or Batman shirt, and cracking Monty Python jokes, that does more to break the illusion of fantasy than this does. :) (and for the record I don't own a Batman shirt, but do wear my superman shirt- sized XXL- thank you!).

It's a game. Just have fun...

Grand Lodge

Kyle Baird wrote:
*making Tales available in all sorts of digital formats would help, as I do kill time on planes every other week...

just checking here, cause I don't really follow all the formats out there, but doesn't nearly every device out there support the eDoc format? And is there a format that does a better job? I honestly have no idea at all. Heck to be honest I wasn't even aware there were other formats :) lol damn technology keeps rolling over me! lol

Liberty's Edge 4/5

Painlord wrote:

Many of us object to IC benefits to OOC actions.* It cheapens the PFS play, rather than enhancing it. In a short term, narrow view, some may feel otherwise, but in the long term, we want our actions and rewards aligned.

-Pain

*=Plz don't derail this back to TShirts.

Not a derail to t-shirts, other than to mention I don't own one.

However, I want to object, seriously, to your statement above. "Many of us object to IC benefits to OOC actions." I call shenanigans on you for that statement.

Do you own and use any material for ANY of your PFS characters that comes from anyplace bsides the Core Pathfinder rulebook?

If you do, you are using OOC actions, and frequently money, to benefit your character IC.

I admit it, I do that, myself. My primary PFS character uses material from the APG, Adventurer's Armory and other sources. My secondary character is using an item from Classic Horror Revisited, and will be taking a feat from the Cheliax book. Indeed, one of my other characters is using material that isn't even in print yet, the Gunslinger alpha material.

All this is doing is offering an incentive to PFS players to purchase Pathfinder Tales. Looking at the Chronicle, I might go so far as saying a minor incentive. It also offers a small incentive for Pathfinder Tales subscribers, who are not yet PFS players, to join the Society. Cross-pollination, I think they call it.

To be honest, here, Pathfinder Society is not a Living campaign, just an Organized Play campaign. The upside and downside of this are almost identical: Player & PC actions do not, really, affect the "real" universe of Golarion. If you play or run Scenario 1: Silent Tide, and the PCs fail, is there any real effect on Absolom for the campaign? No. :( I would love having some follow-up adventures available based on consensus events, sometimes. End side track.

Shadow Lodge

Kyle Baird wrote:

Hey gang, we're going to [insert obscure land in Golarion here]! What do you know about it?

Every single time I get blank stares.

I spend a lot of time reading about the areas these scenarios take us. I spend hours coming up with player hand-outs so they can be more informed about the lands they're adventuring in. PFS players (in general) are detatched from the world of Golarion, and I for one, find that saddening. Frankly, if this gets one PFS player to read about one single region of Golarion, I'm happy.

Besides, I'm still asking for a book report. ;-)

I'm not super happy about the idea for a lot of the reasons mentioned above but for this one reason I think it's worthwhile.

I'm not sure it will really promote reading too much, but some people might go through the motions. I like your book report idea :D


Kyle Baird wrote:

Hey gang, we're going to [insert obscure land in Golarion here]! What do you know about it?

Every single time I get blank stares.

I spend a lot of time reading about the areas these scenarios take us. I spend hours coming up with player hand-outs so they can be more informed about the lands they're adventuring in. PFS players (in general) are detatched from the world of Golarion, and I for one, find that saddening. Frankly, if this gets one PFS player to read about one single region of Golarion, I'm happy.

Besides, I'm still asking for a book report. ;-)

To solve this, I would like to see the new Inner Sea Primer added to the Core Assumption list, though we can see how well adding Seekers of Secrets did to the number of players owning or even reading that one. *some sarcasm included in previous statement* Or perhaps replace Seekers with the Primer in the Core Assumption so the outlay of money does not change.

Maybe having a requirement that all players always carry a print-out of the FREE Guide, or the new player's section when it releases, with their characters to show that they have, hopefully, read the OP rules and the basic info on the world and the Factions found within.

Oh, and on topic, I do not see anything wrong with something this minor. Will I use it? I have no idea yet. Will there be scenarios written in the future that will make use of these boons? Maybe.

1/5

James Sutter wrote:
I hope that helps!

Actually James, it does. I can't overstate the value of your candor, or just of knowing you guys are listening. Thanks!

James Sutter wrote:
If you don't already read the novels but you play PFS, what could we as Paizo do to get you to check them out? What sorts of tie-ins or promotions would you like to see?

I picked up Winter Witch at the FLGS. I thought it was...OK. Not great, not bad, just OK. However, for me it's all about the writing. If, for example, you get Liane Merciel (Certainty) to write a novel, I'll give the line another try.

But as for tying the novels into PFS...that is really hard. They're not a natural fit at first blush, but I'll give it some more thought.

1/5

Enevhar Aldarion wrote:
I would like to see the new Inner Sea Primer added to the Core Assumption list, though we can see how well adding Seekers of Secrets did to the number of players owning or even reading that one. *some sarcasm included in previous statement* Or perhaps replace Seekers with the Primer in the Core Assumption so the outlay of money does not change.

Since I've made the same suggestion in the past, this is a bit self-serving, but: +1.

;-)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I feel a few books could be added to Core Assumption for Season 3: Inner Sea Primer, PFS Field Guide, and the APG. Maybe Bestiary 2.
By GenCon, the APG will have had a full season of play, and people really should be able to handle having it as part of the Core (especially as it is part of the PFSRD).

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