Changing Sanctioned Module Play

Monday, December 12, 2011

A year ago, Pathfinder Modules were sanctioned for play in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. As Atlanta Venture-Captain for a year, I appreciated the fact I could offer the sanctioned modules to local players, especially those who had played every scenario that had been released. But the rules that were established bothered me. No negative effects carried over from module play, even death or consumable use. Many players I talked with felt that sanctioned module play was not as good as it could be because of the rules put into place. One of my top goals when hired as Campaign Coordinator was to reevaluate sanctioned modules and see if we could change the way they worked to make them a more valuable part of the Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign.

What I would like to see in the comments to this blog are what you do and don’t like about the below proposal. How will this proposal affect your game in both a positive and negative way. Once I review feedback over the next few weeks, the Venture-Captains, Venture-Lieutenants, and I can decide what changes we want to make in the upcoming 4.1 update to the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play.

Spoiler:

Pathfinder modules are produced for a wider audience than just Pathfinder Society Organized Play. Because modules are structured differently from scenarios, the specific rules changes needed for playing sanctioned modules in Pathfinder Society Organized Play are presented below.

How to Play

Sanctioned modules are generally three times the length of a standard Pathfinder Society scenario and will likely take players two or three 4—5 hour sessions to complete. They do not contain Pathfinder Society faction missions, nor are they tiered for play by characters over a wide range of levels. Thematically, modules do not assume the characters are members of the Pathfinder Society. GMs and players are encouraged to create a reasonable plot hook for their characters’ participation.

Legal Pathfinder Society Characters

Players have the following three options when playing sanctioned modules for Pathfinder Society:

  • A player must use an existing Pathfinder Society character (without modification) within one level of the module’s starting level.
  • For modules below 9th level, a player who does not have a character in the correct level range may use a Pathfinder Society pregenerated character available on paizo.com. In this case, the chronicle sheet must be linked to an existing Pathfinder Society character and applied when that character reaches the level of the module. The linked character must be declared before play begins and recorded on the scenario reporting sheet.
  • As mentioned in Chapter 5 of the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, if you have already played the sanctioned module and wish to play it an additional time for any reason, you must inform the GM that you have already played the sanctioned module. If you spoil the plot for the other players at the table, the GM has the right to ask you to leave. You are free to replay the sanctioned module in order to meet a minimum PC requirement (see Chapter 7), but if you already have received a player Chronicle for this sanctioned module for any of your PCs, you do not earn any additional rewards beyond having a good time. The Tier 1 exception still applies for Tier 1-—2 modules.

Conditions, Death, and Expendables

Whether playing your own character or a pregenerated character, all conditions (including death) not resolved within the module carry beyond the end of the module. Likewise, any wealth spent or resources expended during the course of the adventure are tracked and must be recorded on the Chronicle sheet.

If you are using a pregenerated character, calculate the cost of any consumables used and mark this cost on the Chronicle sheet. Any remaining conditions are applied to the linked character when the Chronicle sheet is applied to that character.

The one exception is when a character remains dead at the conclusion of the module. In this case, the linked character is permanently dead and removed from play immediately. In resolving any conditions on a pregenerated character, Prestige Points and gold from the linked character may be used to pay for the cost of the raise dead or resurrection spell.

Applying Credit

All players receive a Chronicle sheet unless, at the GM’s discretion, they are replaying the module for no credit. If a player uses an existing Pathfinder Society character for the adventure, he must apply the Chronicle sheet to that character immediately. A player who uses a pregenerated character must apply the Chronicle sheet to his linked Pathfinder Society character when that character reaches the starting level of the module.

A GM who runs a module may likewise apply the Chronicle sheet to one of her Pathfinder Society characters. The GM must decide which of her characters will receive the Chronicle sheet when the module is completed and the Chronicle sheets are filled out. Playing a module from beginning to end earns a character 3 XP and 4 Prestige Points if that character is on the normal advancement track or 1.5 XP and 2 Prestige Points for characters on the slow advancement track. There are no day job rolls when playing a sanctioned module.

If a character dies and is brought back to life, the GM must determine the rewards for that character. The minimum possible reward is 0 GP, 1 XP and 1 PP on the normal advancement track or 1/2 XP and 1/2 Prestige Point on the slow advancement track. If a character participates in more than 2/3 of the module, he should receive full rewards. GMs and active players are encouraged to hasten the return of a character waiting to be raised from the dead.

Players who do not complete each game session earn 1 fewer XP and Prestige Point for each session missed. This also applies to players who join later sessions; they receive 1 fewer XP and Prestige Point for each session missed. In both cases players earn a minimum of 1 XP and 1 Prestige Point (or 1/2 XP and 1/2 Prestige Point on the slow advancement track). If a character earns more XP than she needs to reach her next level, she may not choose to switch advancement tracks at the new level earned.

As always, each player may receive credit for each module once as a player and once as a GM, in either order. Players must accept a Chronicle sheet for their character the first time they play a module. A player may replay a module at the GM’s discretion, but the player may not receive more than one player Chronicle sheet per module. The only exception is Tier 1—2 modules. A player may only play a Tier 1—2 module for credit once with a 2nd-level character, but may use additional 1st-level characters to replay the same module for credit.

Running Multi-Session Modules

Since sanctioned modules can be multi-session events, Pathfinder Society characters may not be used in other Pathfinder Society events until they receive a Chronicle sheet for the module. This does not apply to a player using a pregenerated character until the linked character reaches the starting level of the module.

GMs are advised to work with players who miss the final session of the module in order for those players to receive their Chronicle sheets.

Retirement and Beyond

In the interest of allowing Pathfinder Society characters to extend their adventuring careers, and to utilize sanctioned Pathfinder Modules to their fullest enjoyment, I would like feedback on allowing Pathfinder Society characters to advance past 12th level for sanctioned module play only.

The level cap for the campaign is still 12. There are no current plans for us to publish any Pathfinder Society scenarios of 13th level or higher. However, there are more modules on the schedule that are 13+ levels. We do have some stand-alone, Tier 12 scenarios on the radar for those that do not wish to play Eyes of the Ten, but wish to play three additional scenarios at 12th level and then retire. Just as with every other Pathfinder Society Scenario, Eyes of the Ten is not open for replay and that isn't going to change. So, the addition of more Tier 12 scenarios, or another retirement arc, allows for players to have options.

This part of the proposal would allow people to play a “retired” character through higher-level sanctioned modules, receive credit, and not have to play an artificially leveled character. This also helps to balance the wealth-by-level curve as presented currently at the end of Eyes of the Ten that presents 13th-level wealth for 12th-level characters. Right now it is difficult for us to plan special retirement events for 12th-level characters mentioned 3 years ago because characters’ wealth-by-level is so imbalanced.

Mark and I have discussed this and here is how I plan to incorporate advancement for 13th level and higher. This will open up the extended career of Pathfinder Society characters if people want to utilize modules in that manner.

Spoiler:

Once you reach 12th level, it would require 3 XP to advance to 13th level and beyond as normal. We will adjust the Eyes of the Ten arc so you receive 2 XP after Part 1 and 1 XP for Parts 2, 3, and 4. Once you complete Parts 1 and 2 of Eyes of the Ten, you may advance your character to 13th level. Mark and I reviewed Parts 3 and 4 and all CRs are higher than 13 so there shouldn't be a significant effect on the play of either of those. Once you complete Eyes of the Ten, you will still be 13th level and one XP short of advancement of 14th level. This will allow you to roll right into playing Academy of Secrets at level for the module. Any character who has completed Parts 1 and 2 of Eyes of the Ten may advance to 13th level.

At 13th level, you can then play your Pathfinder Society character in Academy of Secrets and receive full credit as normal, but you may play it at 13th level. We will be adjusting the gold received at the end of Academy of Secrets.

Upon completion of Academy of Secrets, the character would receive 3 XP and be one short of 15th level.

At the end of Tomb of the Iron Medusa, the character would receive 3 more XP and be one short of 16th level.

In the future, Paizo will release additional high-level modules that will also be sanctioned for play. We will eventually sanction The Witchwar Legacy once it is possible for someone having played everything to reach 17th level. We will make gold adjustments accordingly for those Chronicle sheets.

To help GMs and players use their Pathfinder Society characters in retirement and beyond, both the wealth and Fame tables will be extended beyond their current limits.


The above changes would not go into effect until version 4.1 of the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play is released. Also, I am very aware that people might be in the middle of a multiple-play session for a sanctioned module, or be involved in a play-by-post game that takes months instead of one or two game sessions.

If these changes were to go into effect, I plan to grandfather in modules caught in the middle of multiple sessions when this goes live. I also plan to assign a Venture-Captain as the coordinator for this endeavor. Players and GMs will have a month to register their games as "grandfathered" games. After that time, no new module play should begin under the old rules. These registered "grandfathered" games have until the start of Season 4 to complete their games and report such to the Venture-Captain.

So there you have it. This is a proposal to modify play of sanctioned modules to bring them more in line with standard scenario play, as well as open options for players to extend the life of their Pathfinder Society characters. As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I would like to hear what you do and don’t like about the above proposal, and how this proposal would affect your game in both a positive and negative way if put into place.

Mike Brock
Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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The Exchange

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Michael Brock wrote:
Mattastrophic wrote:


We are not running out of things to play; we have simply realized that we enjoy the sanctioned modules very much, and we are able to enjoy them because under the current participation rules they are very accessible.

-Matt

Scenarios are the heart and soul of PFS, not modules. Sanctioned modules are a bonus thrown onto PFS that allowed people who were running out of scenarios to play an additional option. What happens if we don't sanction any more modules for a year so we can focus on other areas of PFS?

How much focus does sanctioning a module take away from scenario play? Modules can't typically be played on game nights, they're too long. And they're produced by another department. Most of the preamble seems templated at this point for the pdf accompanying modules.

Manhattan seems to have a similar problem that Dragonmoon does. New players constantly come in. Its an open muster, whoever is available and can play a game is free to come play at the usually two tables we've got available. I missed a lot of high level games because I didn't have a character of the right tier to play and because of my schedule. Its not possible to schedule 4-6 new players together for a few weeks, because they might not be available to play every week.

We've definitely got enough people to keep 2 tables a week going. But the churn of players that are available on any given week usually means we can't offer high tier games because we'd alienate the newer player. We'd need to offer three tables a week. which we don't always have the gms or the space for.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Pirate Rob wrote:

So lets say you've got 4 players that have been chugging along and 3 of them have level 4 characters, and one has a level 3 character. Along comes a new player. Rather than have the new player play up at tier 4-5 (something discouraged by the guide) The 4th level players are responsible and make brand new characters. The player with the 3rd level character thinks hmmm I'm going to be playing with a bunch of lvl 1s I might as well make a new character as well instead of playing down.

These players have a jolly time for about 2 months (say 8-9 scenarios) with little bobby only showing up half time. Then another new player shows up. The original players now have 2 lvl 3/4 characters, the previous new player has a 4th level character and little bobby has a 2nd level character. Well little bobby can keep playing his character but the other players make new 1st level characters to play with the new players.

At some point you need to cater to the higher level players, it's frustrating to have to perpetually reboot and see a pile of 3-5th level characters stacking up (I have a big stack myself). So you schedule higher level games and stick to your guns on it to help those players advance. If your group is small maybe that means some nights you don't have a low level table.

If you are always catering to low level characters and never to your higher level characters you will never advance past 5th level. You will also find your players grow frustrated and bored and leave your game eventually (the revolving door Dragonmoon referred to).

Grand Lodge 4/5 Premier Event Coordinator

Vincent Colon-Roine wrote:
Some of the pregens suck

IMO, this is not the thread to discuss the playability of the pregen builds. We should start another thread for that.

However, that being said, it sounds to me like a lot of the references to pregens is with regards to 3-player tables and the pregen being used to fill a legal table. IMO, that is not a good way to evaluate the build of the pregen since no one is really actively playing the character. The GM is too busy with running the scenario to adequately play the pregen using all the skills players have to adapt and overcome challenges by going "outside the box" of the mechanical numbers on the page.

The Exchange

The changes are a great move for consistency of the campaign and for encouraging what I consider to be essential parts of PFS play:

If implemented, they will:

*Encourage, rather than discourage, character choices to matter.
*Promotes rewards for play: you can 'earn' your right to play at the higher tier with a character you've built and played to get there.
*Offers reward in line with risk. I found the 'reward without risk' to be a reason not to even offer the scenarios to my players.
*Promotes the purity of a well run, first-time played module/scenario. I think the game is at its best when the players, characters, and GM are all aligned and in sync with rewards, risk, and results.

The last two are the biggest for me. I want every player to have an amazing opportunity to play every scenario with a character that matters to them, with a character that is taking a risk, wherein choices matter.

That makes this all worth it and I appreciate Mike Brock's strength of leadership to take this on and make it happen. (In my mind, this is nothing short of amazing.)

* * *

Like DougDoug, my area will see significant increase in Sanctioned Module play with these changes.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Texas—San Antonio aka Dragnmoon

Dennis Baker wrote:
If you are always catering to low level characters and never to your higher level characters you will never advance past 5th level. You will also find your players grow frustrated and bored and leave your game eventually (the revolving door Dragonmoon referred to).

Actually I am seeing the Exact Opposite, Because the players get to keep making new PCs and trying new things all the time they stay excited about PFS since they are not playing the same PC over and over again.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Texas—San Antonio aka Dragnmoon

Bob Jonquet wrote:


IMO, this is not the thread to discuss the playability of the pregen builds. We should start another thread for that.

However, that being said, it sounds to me like a lot of the references to pregens is with regards to 3-player tables and the pregen being used to fill a legal table. IMO, that is not a good way to evaluate the build of the pregen since no one is really actively playing the character. The GM is too busy with running the scenario to adequately play the pregen using all the skills players have to adapt and overcome challenges by going "outside the box" of the mechanical numbers on the page.

Bob, since our problem with the new rule hinges on the Pre-Gen part this is the perfect place to discuss how Crappy they are and not an option that can be used.

Though since most of the argument of ours hinges on the fact we still want to use the Modules for play in groups with a large disparity of levels and Mike wants to go away from that and won't be convinced other wise, it no longer matters.

Grand Lodge

I too think the pregens need an update to make them a bit more competitive.

I know everyone who works with the campaign is busy, but Id be willing to donate some time to help stat out the existing pregens or make new ones for the classes that are not yet represented. Just give me a set of parameters (what books to use, etc, and anything you definitely want out of the character) and when you want it by and I'll be glad to help.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Texas—San Antonio aka Dragnmoon

To tell the Truth, even if they Did "Fix" the Pre-gens I don't think it will change anything.

They won't or may not be the right level of the Module played and at least my players won't trust using the Pre-Gens they did not make to be linked to death to one of their PCs.

So pre-gens are still the killer for us at least. But like I said in my Prior post no use in continuing arguing this Since Mikes Vision of Module Use does not match ours and the Prior PFS Lead.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Dragnmoon wrote:

To tell the Truth, even if they Did "Fix" the Pre-gens I don't think it will change anything.

They won't or may not be the right level of the Module played and at least my players won't trust using the Pre-Gens they did not make to be linked to death to one of their PCs.

So pre-gens are still the killer for us at least. But like I said in my Prior post no use in continuing arguing this Since Mikes Vision of Module Use does not match ours and the Prior PFS Lead.

I think you are being a bit hard-headed and melodramatic here, don’t you?

You spend a whole bunch of time arguing against something, and give your reasons. When your reasons are addressed, you then turn around and say, yeah, but that won’t solve the problem because we want it our way…

That’s essentially what it sounds like.

Oh, and the world of PFS in your “7th largest US City” isn’t going to suddenly crash and burn because of this change. As much as your vociferousness makes it seem so.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Premier Event Coordinator

godsDMit wrote:
stuff

Perhaps, but the real issue with updating the pregens is not the mechanical builds. The vast majority of us can handle the building of the character, probably in the amount of time it took me to write this post. The challenging part is the technical development of the publication. From artwork, to layout, to editing, to a development pass to insure the character meets the "vision" of the iconic and is accurate mechanically, plus a background blub, personal quote, etc. This is all in addition to the normal production schedule which is quite hearty. A big portion of this process has to be completed "in house." Also, keep in mind that there is no financial gain for Paizo to invest huge amounts of time on creating/updating free material.

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

RE: Updating the pregens.

@Bob I think at least some of them can be 'tweaked' while still remaining their iconic artistic selves.

One example I can think of is pregen Kyra comes with cure light wounds memorized. Since she can dump spells to cast clw spontaneously, why should she have it memorized? It would be like if Ezren didn't have acid spash or ray of frost memorized, but had arcane mark.

The time/labor part I will agree with. But I don't think we're asking Ezren to go from old man to 'hip youngster with a goatee' We're just asking for a slightly better old man.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Someone commented that no one seems to have issue with the second part of the changes, aka the High Level Play/retirement play options. I've stated my desires for those options, even in limited numbers, a few times before for more 12+ play opportunities. Given this recent announcement, I am unimpressed with the solution of using adapted modules as a solution. It seems cheap, and uninspired, considering we were hoping for a few chances to play in a storyline with characters we have retired. And the argument that it was never mentioned is incorrect - at the beginning, special play opportunities were mentioned as a possibility for retired characters. 4 to 8 modules a year did not seem like much to ask for, but it appears that the campaign has no interest in possibly catering to those of us who would like to see campaign oriented and story driven opportunities, for whatever the reasons. I'm on character number 4, with two retired characters, and feel that it would be nice to play them again at higher levels a good thing, since the rules are for characters 1 to 20, not 1 to 12. Other organized play campaigns managed to support higher level play, and provide good stories, beyond 12th. I feel that not exploring a serious effort to expand play higher, even in a limited or minimal form that uses the campaign background and is story arc driven, is not utilizing the campaign setting of Golarion and the Pathfinder rule set more fully is a lost opportunity.

My two cents I can provide via my smart phone access currently, from a long time organized play player, judge, organizer, and author, who had very high hopes for the PFS early on, and is becoming more and more indifferent with the play as time passes.

Silver Crusade

I will attempt to post what I thought was the original point of this blog/thread, what I do and don't like about the proposal and how it will affect my games (positive or negative)? This is all my opinion, take it or leave it.

1) I'm cool with running a PC within one level of the module (makes most sense). I’m ok to an extent with running a pregen linked to a character (not something I would do). And I'm ok with the replay rules.

I do not like that you cannot "level up" to the appropriate level with an existing lower level character. From a consistent/simple/one set of rules standpoint I understand, and if it comes to that I'll either suck it up or quit playing OP. Just that simple. Speaking as a Player and GM in an area where we might have 12 players if they all showed up (which they don't), all who started at different times, modules gives us an opportunity for something different. Something out of the ordinary from the standard scenarios. Since most of us don't get a chance to play multiple home games but chose PFS instead, it gives us a chance to play other adventures/settings within Golarion. Most importantly it gives our local players a chance to play the character they wanted to play in a particular module. The point was for fun, and not let level constraints bar people from a table, which I'm sad to say we've had to do for the scenarios, which completely counters our efforts to generate interest. A point previously stated that I will not belabor, we also don’t have the luxury of multiple nights and multiple locations where we can differentiate groups of interested players. Overall how will this affect our little group? Probably not much at this point. Thankfully we're finally getting PC's within a similar level range that exclusion should not come up so often. If new players show up, well that's something my fellow GM and I will just have to plan for.

2) Regarding conditions, death, and expendables. I'm ok with tracking them and having consumables count. It never made much sense to me why there are not consequences to one's actions in a module. If you spend money on who you thought was a tavern wench, it's spent. If you drink a half dozen cure light potions with an antitoxin chaser, you drank them. If you died, guess what, you're dead. Again, grand scheme of things, how will this affect our player group? Well, it'll keep some players in line from exploiting the system, but overall it doesn't seem any different from a normal scenario. It will definitely make people consider long and hard before playing a module, which means we may not schedule them.

3) As far as credit goes, I’m not a huge fan. If it was simply, you play a PFS character of appropriate level, it’s like any other scenario. I got no problem there. If it’s a pregen, that’s where I get concerned. If for credit, you can’t apply it until the appropriate level when your character gets there, why does PC death have to be immediate? If you intend to enforce those conditions at that time, then give credit and appropriate wealth tiered as such at that time. Otherwise do the reverse, and not let the character death take effect until the PC is also of appropriate level. In some ways I like that, but I think is impractical to enforce. How will this impact the games ran in our area? More than likely no one will want to sign up for a module and will stick with scenarios. Running multiple sessions for a module hasn’t been a problem since we offer a signup sheet specifically for a module in advance.

4) Retirement and Beyond: I believe I’m ok with it. I honestly don’t know when I’ll even get a PC to that level. The highest I have is a 6 at the moment. As I read it today, it seems good to me.

Again these are my thoughts based on my opinions from the trends I've seen from the players we had play in the area over the last 9 months.

Scarab Sages

I’d like to start off by saying that I’m personally alright with most of the changes proposed. I like the idea of death and consumables being a concern for module play, particularly for consistency sake.

The only proposed change for module play that I personally have a problem with is not having the option to make a higher level version of an existing pc. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I just don’t understand why it would no longer be a viable option for players – make a higher level version of an existing pc, death/consumables still matter and take place. Just making the changes proposed for death/consumables apply to existing characters of the appropriate level, modified existing characters, and pregens - basically, the old character options but with consumables and death matter…ing? Why can’t that work?

I’m just struggling to see why this option was omitted and not just altered, as it was one of my group’s biggest draws to the occasional module. Granted, I haven’t had the time to read through all the responses here in this thread, but I imagine our group’s case is not singular.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Premier Event Coordinator

Astroliar wrote:
High level play

Keep in mind that modules were "never" going to be sanctioned at the beginning either. As Eric Mona has said, "never say never."

What is true is that there are no current plans to develop 13+ level scenarios, but that does not mean it will never happen. These new rule proposals give us an initial platform to permit "official" play beyond level 12 that did not exist before. Granted, at this point it is limited, but with more modules being released, more opportunities will arise.

Based on the feedback from this, and the ever-increasing number of characters in that tier, the chances of scenarios being developed for higher level play will increase.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Texas—San Antonio aka Dragnmoon

Andrew Christian wrote:
I think you are being a bit hard-headed and melodramatic here, don’t you?

No I think I am being Truthful.

Prior the Vision of one use of Module use was to allow anyone to play even if you did not have a character of the right level and still get credit for.

My arguments were based on that Vision trying to hold some of that in the rule provided to us.

But once Mike said this.

Michael Brock wrote:

Making modules playable and credit to be received by any level character is a joke and never should have been instituted. Making modules have no real death penalty and no worries about consumable expenditure are both jokes and never should have been instituted.

That is going to change one way or another. That is the direction I want to go.

He was stating no matter what he was going away from that Vision, so really there is no longer any point to continue arguing for it even if I am very disappointed the he is going away from that.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Premier Event Coordinator

Dragnmoon wrote:
Prior the Vision of one use of Module use was to allow anyone to play even if you did not have a character of the right level and still get credit for.

To be fair the original reason for sanctioning the modules was based on the perceived need for more opportunities to play. There were claims that there just were not enough scenarios. The leveling up/down rule was created to help facilitate the modules filling holes in the tier structure.

With more than 80 scenarios (including a new 3-7 tier) and 15 modules, that no longer seems to be the case. Hence the need to artificially create more avenues of play seems less important.

Also remember that one of the original concepts was that you had to earn the right to play higher level. The rules for artificially leveling for modules broke that intent. Sometimes, with respect to the great society, some rules will out-live their intended effectiveness/usefulness and need to be updated.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Texas—San Antonio aka Dragnmoon

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
Prior the Vision of one use of Module use was to allow anyone to play even if you did not have a character of the right level and still get credit for.

To be fair the original reason for sanctioning the modules was based on the perceived need for more opportunities to play. There were claims that there just were not enough scenarios. The leveling up/down rule was created to help facilitate the modules filling holes in the tier structure.

With more than 80 scenarios (including a new 3-7 tier) and 15 modules, that no longer seems to be the case. Hence the need to artificially create more avenues of play seems less important.

Also remember that one of the original concepts was that you had to earn the right to play higher level. The rules for artificially leveling for modules broke that intent. Sometimes, with respect to the great society, some rules will out-live their intended effectiveness/usefulness and need to be updated.

That is all true, that was "Another" reason for modules, something that truthfully never affected me at the time since there are a lot of scenarios, though I understood it was an issue and I was seeing it recently with Low level scenarios.

Problem is there is Still a Problem in PFS where Disparity of Levels is a problem and our only thing that helped with that is now going away.

Dark Archive 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Gulf aka Dominick

Dragnmoon wrote:

To tell the Truth, even if they Did "Fix" the Pre-gens I don't think it will change anything.

They won't or may not be the right level of the Module played and at least my players won't trust using the Pre-Gens they did not make to be linked to death to one of their PCs.

So pre-gens are still the killer for us at least. But like I said in my Prior post no use in continuing arguing this Since Mikes Vision of Module Use does not match ours and the Prior PFS Lead.

That is why I suggested including four pregens with the Chronicles for each module. They would be exactly the right level. The players can pick one to run or use a copy of their own.

Shadow Lodge

Mark won't make 4 pre-gens for each character level/module play level. It's too much work and they have better things to do with their time.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Texas—San Antonio aka Dragnmoon

Andrew Christian wrote:
I think you are being a bit hard-headed and melodramatic here, don’t you?

Now if I was really being melodramatic I would have said..

Once Mike said that I felt like Mike stabbed me in the heart, twisted the knife, cracked open my chest to pull out my still beating heart. Then while cackling with glee ate my heart in front of me...

But Mike would not do that would you Mike?..;)

4/5 5/5

Painlord wrote:
*Promotes the purity of a well run, first-time played module/scenario. I think the game is at its best when the players, characters, and GM are all aligned and in sync with rewards, risk, and results.

I have to disagree with this point and really it focuses on the use of "first-time."

With the new rule changes, I would say that is much more likely that I will be running several modules (most likely the high level ones) outside of PFS as they are intended. In this case, I would suggest it promotes people to more likely play this within their own groups before playing in the module in PFS.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Premier Event Coordinator

Dragnmoon wrote:
But Mike would not do that would you Mike?..;)

Probably not...in public ;-)

He's a former law enforcement officer and probably has numerous way to make you "disappear."

The Exchange 5/5 RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Currently, there is no plan to write/develop 13+ level scenario as far as we know. But keep in mind that prior to this blog, there was no plan to allow characters an option to level beyond 12 either. So, never say never. :-)

I wasn’t referring to PFS scenarios for levels 12+. I was making reference to PFS events such as the Grand Melee from PaizoCon.

Now I’m not sure if there were ever play options in the Grand Melee event for characters either newly level 12 or fully retired level 12 characters (the ones who completed the Eyes of the Ten series).

If the Grand Melee did, in the past, allow level 12 characters, will similar events be adjusted to allow access for level 13+ characters in the future?

Grand Lodge 4/5

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I want to make sure that I am understanding what is actually being proposed.

To play a module, a player must

have a legal PFS character within 1 level of the listed start value (easy to comprehend)

or play a pre gen approproriate to the module's start level. The pre gen will be tied to another legal PFS character (presumably of lower level) with all benefits and consequences being applied to tied character. This includes items purchased, consumables spent, conditions gained/cleared up to and including death. All purchases and effects are applied to the tied character when they achieve the start level of the module. Death is the only effect that must be resolve immediately using the tied character's gold and PP (including what they may earn from the adventure?).

This is an extreme swing from where we are currently but I believe that I can live with it.

I do have a few more questions.

1) Am I wrong or do pre gens not have any real gold to purchase items with? Would you use money/PP from your tied character to equip the pre gen? i.e. purchase wand of cure light wounds I assume that the costs in gold and PP are applied immediately. Does the tied character get the purchased items in their inventory immediately at the conclusion of the module or after the chronicle is applied?

2) Is it the responsibility of the GM to track used resources that a character expends in a normal scenario? Should the players be listing "used 5 charges of Wand of CLW" or "used 2 alchemist fire" under the items sold section and the GM initial the note?

3) I think it has already been started that if a pre gen uses a consumable, the tied character does not get charged for its use. Is that true?

4) I further assume that the pre gen does not have access to the tied character's gear but does have access to gold and PP. Is that true?

5) Since there are no pre gens above 7th level, I assume that no pre gens can be used for a module with a start level of 9th or higher (currently the Harrowing and Curse of the Riven Sky). Is that true?

5a) Would there be plans to create 10th level pre gens? (I suspect the answer is no.)

4/5

Dragnmoon wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
I think you are being a bit hard-headed and melodramatic here, don’t you?

Now if I was really being melodramatic I would have said..

Once Mike said that I felt like Mike stabbed me in the heart, twisted the knife, cracked open my chest to pull out my still beating heart. Then while cackling with glee ate my heart in front of me...

But Mike would not do that would you Mike?..;)

If Mike were being meodramatic he would channel his inner evil cult priest...'Kali-Maahhhh, Kali-Maahhh..... as he pulls your heart out with his bare hand!

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dragnmoon wrote:
Dennis Baker wrote:
If you are always catering to low level characters and never to your higher level characters you will never advance past 5th level. You will also find your players grow frustrated and bored and leave your game eventually (the revolving door Dragonmoon referred to).
Actually I am seeing the Exact Opposite, Because the players get to keep making new PCs and trying new things all the time they stay excited about PFS since they are not playing the same PC over and over again.

This is nearly 180 out from my experience; most players I know love seeing their characters advance and 'grow'. Even if you do have some players who are in love with low level play they can enable that on their own simply by joining a low level table. If you don't offer high level tables you will never please the players who want to grow their characters.

The poster I was replying to was complaining about the difficulty in getting to higher level play.

If your players aren't interested in advancing their characters then why do they care about getting credit for modules? Since they don't care about advancing, just run them at higher levels for no credit.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Texas—San Antonio aka Dragnmoon

Dennis Baker wrote:


If your players aren't interested in advancing their characters then why do they care about getting credit for modules? Since they don't care about advancing, just run them at higher levels for no credit.

I did not say that either, all I said is the players enjoy making multiple characters.

Grand Lodge 5/5

1970Zombie wrote:


1) Am I wrong or do pre gens not have any real gold to purchase items with? Would you use money/PP from your tied character to equip the pre gen? i.e. purchase wand of cure light wounds I assume that the costs in gold and PP are applied immediately. Does the tied character get the purchased items in their inventory immediately at the conclusion of the module or after the chronicle is applied?

2) Is it the responsibility of the GM to track used resources that a character expends in a normal scenario? Should the players be listing "used 5 charges of Wand of CLW" or "used 2 alchemist fire" under the items sold section and the GM initial the note?

3) I think it has already been started that if a pre gen uses a consumable, the tied character does not get charged for its use. Is that true?

4) I further assume that the pre gen does not have access to the tied character's gear but does have access to gold and PP. Is that true?

5) Since there are no pre gens above 7th level, I assume that no pre gens can be used for a module with a start level of 9th or higher (currently the Harrowing and Curse of the Riven...

1) Buying consumables or other items for your pregen using gold linked from your PFS character should be recorded on the Chronicle sheet. The costs are tied immediately to your linked PC. As long as the GM notes the purchases, as well as remaining charges if applicable, then those consumables become part of your linked PC when the Chronicle sheet is applied.

2) It is the player's responsibility to track the use of all items and inform the GM at the end of the event. He can then initial beside the used items.

3) If the pregen has consumables listed on their sheet at the time of downloading and printing, they are free to use without any cost to the linked character. Any additional consumables not included on the pregen character sheet are paid for by the linked character.

4) The pregen does not have access to the linked character's gear, and only has access to the gold and PPs.

5) That is correct.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

@Dragnmoon — What exactly is the "Exact Opposite" of being frustrated and bored with low level play then?

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Missouri—Cape Girardeau aka Arnim Thayer

Thursty wrote:
If there are so many arguments for the abuse of Pre-Gens in modules, why not treat them like Pathfinder Tales? If you don't play through a module with your PFS character, and instead take a pre-gen, then all the module should offer is access to extra gear / maybe a boon down the line when your PFS character reaches the appropriate level. No XP, no extra gold. This way, players have some incentive to play a pre-gen, but the goal is always to get a group of PFS characters together where you'll get the biggest bang for your buck.

Actually, this isn't a bad idea either.

To be clear, I was okay with Module play before based on my limited understanding of the Sanctioning rules.

1) I was under the impression that the character played had to be a version of your PFS character (the one to receive the Chronicle, to be exact!), artificially leveled to the appropriate level for Module play. This was not the case.

2) I also thought that consumables cost and conditions (including Death) carried over to the character... eventually, giving you time previous to reaching THAT level to prepare to pay the Death Tax from having died in the Module. This was also not the case.

3) I thought the purpose of the pre-gens was for use as "filler"; a character to use because you did not have a character to play at the appropriate level or because you were donating time in an effort to help build a stronger player base. Another false assumption.

Having seen Module play at PFS events I did not coordinate or sponsor, I have seen the following, which I think is abuse of the allowed Sanctioning of Modules.

1) Players running "concept characters" through the module with no concerns because the cost of the consumables were incorporated into the build and neither that or Death had any effect on the character the Chronicle was going to be applied to... a character not even remotely an "artificially leveled up version" of said character.

2) Players using pre-gens as "meat shields" for PFS players, burning spells and consumables because they would just "respawn."

3) Players playing the Modules with a mixed table of pre-gens, "artificially leveled characters", and concept build characters, with only some of them playing for PFS Chronicle credit meaning half the table didn't care if they burned through their characters... they were never going to be penalized by that style of play since they were not going to report that Chronicle anyways.

The new proposal puts ALL of that to an end, bringing the Module rules in line with scenario play, and allowing an OPTION for PFS players looking for something with more commitment or challenge.

The idea proposed by Thursty also covers those areas of abuse as well, though. I am not against a compromise... as long as it looks at those areas where the OPTION of Module play can (and are) being abused.

4/5 5/5

Part of the concern I have for the updated rules for module play is that one sort of has to waste or ruin their PFS experience if they just want to play the module as a module rather than a PFS enforced scenario.

What about, if you play through a module with a non-legal PFS character of the module level and level appropriate gear, upon completion of the scenario, you can still get a chronicle applied to any of your characters (without punishment for conditions or death) but for 0 XP, 0 PA, 0 GP, and no additional gear from the chronicle.

So the only thing you would get from the chronicle would be the module boon at the top of the chronicle which would reward module play in a similar way as owning Pathfinder Novels, but more a reward for playing through the module and possibly helping any PFS characters in the group build a more solid table.

Edit: Or what Thursty suggested a while back.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Blazej wrote:

Part of the concern I have for the updated rules for module play is that one sort of has to waste or ruin their PFS experience if they just want to play the module as a module rather than a PFS enforced scenario.

What about, if you play through a module with a non-legal PFS character of the module level and level appropriate gear, upon completion of the scenario, you can still get a chronicle applied to any of your characters (without punishment for conditions or death) but for 0 XP, 0 PA, 0 GP, and no additional gear from the chronicle.

So the only thing you would get from the chronicle would be the module boon at the top of the chronicle which would reward module play in a similar way as owning Pathfinder Novels, but more a reward for playing through the module and possibly helping any PFS characters in the group build a more solid table.

Edit: Or what Thursty suggested a while back.

I like this idea better than the weird split pregen concept in the proposal. I was considering proposing something similar. Play the module 'for real' or play with another character and get a chronicle similar to the ones you get from the Novels.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Captain, Ireland—Belfast aka heretic

OK

As several of us who are trying to build up PFS player bases have pointed out there is a problem. Players joining in dribs and drabs leads to endless low level play and only a small percentage become a dedicated regular....with the consequent poor lvl mix.

Modules being played over several shorter smaller sessions allowed a way for the core to play together regardless of level mix and at the end have made the level mix better. This allowing us to aim for the point where we can run not only multiple tables but different tiers at the all day scenario events.

Honestly when you are in that 1-1.5 table twilight zone modules with freely and instantly assignable XP are a godsend and I hope Mike will realise this. What is good for Atlanta with it's hundreds of tables does not scale comfortably to small potatos areas like mine.

Restricting the games day to the 4 ppl who can play above 4th is not going increase numbers and low numbers are the root of the problem. It will alienate those guys who are comming every time but don't have the right characters which is surely not desirable. And I am still confused as to the question I was asked about what to do if all the mods were used to smooth out disparate levels.... The same thing if they are all used for any reason surely....

Here's hoping for some enlightenment

W

4/5

I dont think we're going to make everyone happy here. We have to find the middle ground. I feel like im in Congress and everyone is sticking to their side.

Let's find some balance and compromise.


Shivok wrote:

I dont think we're going to make everyone happy here. We have to find the middle ground. I feel like im in Congress and everyone is sticking to their side.

Let's find some balance and compromise.

Heh, leave it to Team Taldor to look for balance and compromise...

I have begun a thread for just that purpose here.

I am confident that a solution can be found if we try.

-Matt

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Alabama—Birmingham aka Grolloc

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I was under the (mistaken) impression that the uncounted consumables and non-death penalty was to make up for the fact that modules were not balanced, playtested, or story-driven parts of the (in-game) Society. While I agree that the old rules were certainly inconsistent with scenario play and totally unrealistic, they enabled a balance of risk to reward that could be hand-waived.

TPK module? whatever. it doesn't count.
Easy-breezy Mod? eh, not a lot of reward anyways, and we got a story.

That lack of balance with no risk sits just fine with me. Either way, Modules never feel like REAL PFS adventures anyways. Motivations are iffy and if the factions aren't concerned enough to send homework, it just doesn't feel like a PFS game.

This change will probably discourage me from using mods as often in the future, but I'm not entirely sure that is a terrible thing. I will miss the ability to test-run builds, but I would never tie my character's fate to a pre-gen or a concept build. I would also not risk that fate in the hands of other's playing pregens or concept builds. If he/she dies on their own merit with real characters that share the same risk, that's fine, but I won't risk my character when the rest of the group may be linking to a non-played 1st level.

On the other (and possibly hypocritical) hand, I love the idea for high level play. Modules definitely feel like graduated Pathfinders looking for more glory and responsibility than the society can provide. I'd like to see more scenarios or mods for high levels, but I'm in no rush for them. I think they will become higher priority as the Society matures.


I have no real opinion on the retired characters change. I do not like the change to the module rules. If anything It should be an option and not a requirement. Simply because a bunch of people complained about something that I actually like about playing and running modules for pfs.
Why should I who liked that rule with modules have to play it the new way? Do I have to complain about it being hard to get it changed back? If I were to complain about that you in all reality would not change it back. You wouldn't care.
That's why I feel you should make it an option. If a player wants to make it harder on themselves then let them. Don't throw it on everybody simply because you've got some complaints.

Silver Crusade 3/5

See now I have the exact opposite reaction. These changes make me more likely to run the Modules because they make them more real for me. I see no point in playing a "Holodeck What If? Scenario". I want my players to feel there is risk beyond an "oh well slightly less gold" attitude to death.

You have my support on this one Mr Brock. Just leave WBG alone!

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Missouri—Cape Girardeau aka Arnim Thayer

Draelin wrote:

I have no real opinion on the retired characters change. I do not like the change to the module rules. If anything It should be an option and not a requirement. Simply because a bunch of people complained about something that I actually like about playing and running modules for pfs.

Why should I who liked that rule with modules have to play it the new way? Do I have to complain about it being hard to get it changed back? If I were to complain about that you in all reality would not change it back. You wouldn't care.
That's why I feel you should make it an option. If a player wants to make it harder on themselves then let them. Don't throw it on everybody simply because you've got some complaints.

The major reason for these changes have nothing to do with complaints (though, to be fair, I did list a few). They had more to do with bringing the Modules in line with the rules for PFS play, if they are to be used as a part of PFS play. This is much like the changes made to Raise Dead and negative levels in PFS, bringing it into line with the Core rules.

Grand Lodge

If it is to be brought more in line with the rest of PFS, then why does a pregen dying result in your character dying? And why, when playing a pregen of higher than level 1, do you even get a chronicle at all?

Shadow Lodge

godsDMit wrote:
If it is to be brought more in line with the rest of PFS, then why does a pregen dying result in your character dying? And why, when playing a pregen of higher than level 1, do you even get a chronicle at all?

Pre-gens for scenarios (and therefore core Society play) are to help new players get in the game without the need for making a character first. It only rewards a chronicle for a 1st-level pre-gen.

Modules use different rules and do not have tiers. As things stand now, pre-gens are used to provide a playable character at the level of the module. Therefore they receive a full chronicle no matter which level the pre-gen is.

Different purposes, different rules. As for the linked character dying with a pre-gen... no clue, sorry.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Grolloc wrote:
I was under the (mistaken) impression that the uncounted consumables and non-death penalty was to make up for the fact that modules were not balanced, playtested, or story-driven parts of the (in-game) Society. While I agree that the old rules were certainly inconsistent with scenario play and totally unrealistic, they enabled a balance of risk to reward that could be hand-waived.

This is the second or third post I've seen suggesting modules are somehow less developed, playtested, etc... than PFS scenarios. The previous poster pulled up a post from James Jacobs saying that Paizo didn't playtest modules to back up his comments, but I can assure you that whether it's a scenario or a module, playtesting is in the hands of the author. Sometimes Paizo makes changes to the scenario or module after they are submitted, but I don't imagine the process is any more or less intrusive for modules than scenarios. If anything I suspect modules get more scrutiny than scenarios because they are far tougher to modify after the fact because they are in print.

In my experience modules are a bit tougher than PFS modules, the fact that you have a much bigger playground, a less predictable story arc, and semi-predictable encounter locations patterns is a big change for many PFS players who aren't used to dealing with multi-day adventures.

That they are tougher means the reward should be greater and from what I've seen the chronicles for modules do tend to be nicer than scenarios even if the gold is a bit lower. Under the existing setup, there is no risk so module difficulty is completely irrelevant which is the big problem.


I am going to, again, ask for a clarification from Mr. Brock as to what has been determined to date from this discussion. I do not want to re-hash concerns that have been settled and/or addressed. Normally, I would not ask for this, but as this is a rather lengthy thread filled with not a few long posts, I feel it would help catch me (and possibly other people) up as to where the discussion is at.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Read the blog. That covers most points.

Some points of clarification:

1) Buying consumables or other items for your pregen using gold linked from your PFS character should be recorded on the Chronicle sheet. The costs are tied immediately to your linked PC. As long as the GM notes the purchases, as well as remaining charges if applicable, then those consumables become part of your linked PC when the Chronicle sheet is applied.

2) It is the player's responsibility to track the use of all items and inform the GM at the end of the event. He can then initial beside the used items.

3) If the pregen has consumables listed on their sheet at the time of downloading and printing, they are free to use without any cost to the linked character. Any additional consumables not included on the pregen character sheet are paid for by the linked character.

4) The pregen does not have access to the linked character's gear, and only has access to the gold and PPs.

5) Since there are no pre gens above 7th level, no pre gens can be used for a module with a start level of 9th or higher.

Grand Lodge

@ Mike,

I think what Timothy McNeil meant was how has the discussion so far affected what was originally put into the blog? Has your position on anything you originally posted been changed by whats been posted in response to it?

And if he isnt asking that, then I am. :P

Grand Lodge 5/5

Just like the four rules topics from several weeks ago, I take this discussion back to the Venture-Captain message board and discuss with them about the direction of the campaign. Ultimately, it is my decision. However, they know their players better than I do so I like to get their counsel on matters of importance such as this before I make any final decisions that go into the Guide.

The Exchange

Dennis Baker wrote:
This is the second or third post I've seen suggesting modules are somehow less developed, playtested, etc... than PFS scenarios. The previous poster pulled up a post from James Jacobs saying that Paizo didn't playtest modules to back up his comments, but I can assure you that Paizo does not playtest PFS scenarios internally either. Whether it's a scenario or a module, any playtesting is in the hands of the author. Sometimes Paizo makes changes to the scenario or module which affect balance but I don't imagine the process is any more or less intrusive for modules than scenarios.

I've noticed these posts too, 0gre, and don't feel they fit the topic well. The point that Sanctioned Modules are tougher than PFS scenarios is a weak argument...and yet to be proven.

I know that this post won't keep people from saying or thinking that, but I like to opine.

A (PFS) scenario or (Sanctioned) module's apparent difficulty (or lack thereof) is a combination of lots of factors:
1) Party composition
2) Party levels (high or low side of APL)
3) The Judge (his prep time, his knowledge of encounters/effects)
4) Party size
5) Good/bad luck, aka the Dice Gods
6) Gear/equipment/WBL of players
7) The author's skill in building balanced encounters
8) Playtest feedback (was testing done at all? where they 'average'?)
9) ...more that I'm failing to think of now.

I guarantee that for every scenario/module at every tier that there is a TPK, there are several parties that survived.

Now, since Paizo doesn't release death data on scenarios (or does it? I have yet to see it), nor modules, how can any claim that some are more difficult than others? There is no data, there is no proof (that I've seen...would love to be proven wrong). We only have hearsay...and I don't buy it.

If you combine all the factors above, all scenarios/modules will eventually fall onto a line (from easier to harder) with a fair distribution of scenarios and modules mixed along the line.

There are some very tough scenarios out there (we had another TPK with Rebel's Ransom at our gamestore last week...not to mention what happens if you put that scenario into the hands of PURE EVIL).

Are there tough Sanction Modules? Of course. And some will be easy.

Here's what I have a hard time swallowing:

1) That PFS players, as a group, aren't prepped or good enough to take on Sanctioned Modules. With PA being what it is, PFS players (in general) have higher WBL than "normal" characters. In addition, PFS characters pretty much have open access to just about everything Paizo makes. In general, I'd put some local players in any scenario/module with fair confidence that they'd find a way to survive.

2) That even if Sanctioned Modules were considerably more difficult that we should have a separate process for handling rewarding them. Again, we don't have proof that modules are more difficult, but even if that were true, why would it matter? Do we also need a separate process for difficult PFS scenarios?

In short, I'm just not sure the "Sanctioned Modules are hard" canard has any merit or backing or foundation.

And if it was true, so what? What does that matter? There are going to be easy and difficult challenges for PCs everywhere based on a lot of different factors.

-Pain

Dark Archive 5/5 5/55/5

Data for Doug-Doug

Short version: Played 8. GM'd 7.

Details:
Master of the Fallen Fortress: Played 1 GM'd 3
We Be Goblins: Played 1 GM'd 3
Godsmouth Heresy: Played 1 GM'd 1
Cult of the Ebon Destroyers: Played 1
The Harrowing: Played 1
Feast of Ravenmoor: Played 1
Crypt of the Everflame: Played 1
Carrion Hill: Played 1 [GMing in January]

Liberty's Edge

I have been busy as hell at work and this is the first opportunity to post since the blog came up.

I wholeheartedly approve of every proposed change.

My only exception to this would be the observation that the award of 3XP to players and only 2 Table credits to a GM remains inexplicably incongruous. That is the only matter left which could benefit from further adjustment.

Other than that, I think the proposed changes are well thought out and easy to implement.

Well done Mr. Brock.

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