Guide 4.2 and Changes to Pathfinder Society Organized Play

Monday, August 6, 2012

With Gen Con just 10 days away, I wanted to release the new and improved Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, Version 4.2 today so everyone has an opportunity to review it and discuss it before Gen Con. With the help of the Venture-Captains and Venture-Lieutenants, and specifically the tireless efforts of Boston Venture-Captain Don Walker to help me with wordsmithing, we have added several much-needed changes that we think will improve your experiences in Pathfinder Society play.

Most notably, the following changes will go into effect on August 16 when Season 4 kicks off at Gen Con:

  • We added three new races to character creation for all players to choose from: aasimar, tengu, and tiefling.
  • Scenarios and sanctioned module now have one unified set of rules for applying Chronicle sheets to pregenerated characters.
  • Added all hardcover rulebooks to the Core Assumption for GMs and advised that GMs can refer to the Pathfinder Reference Document for rules from any books they don’t own.
  • Updated text so GMs are now allowed to take boons when they are offered on a Chronicle sheet.

There are quite a few more changes not mentioned above, so keep an eye on the Pathfinder Society General Discussion messageboard, where we’ll be posting a complete list of changes from version 4.1 to 4.2.

As for other changes to Pathfinder Society play, over the past 6 months, I have taken a keen interest in various things that don’t fit Golarion thematically or that cause confusion with power imbalance in the context of the Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign. I have talked with players that frequent the messageboards, as well players at the various conventions I have attended. I have discussed the topics below with Venture-Captains and Venture-Lieutenants, as well as with members of Paizo’s design and development teams. While some of these might work well in a home game (and I have some players that use them in my home game), they simply are not a good fit for organized play.

With that said, the following archetypes and equipment are being removed from Pathfinder Society Organized Play as legal options effective August 16, 2012:

Archetypes

Gravewalker Witch (Ultimate Magic 84)
Master Summoner (Ultimate Magic 80)
Synthesist Summoner (Ultimate Magic 80)
Undead Lord Cleric (Ultimate Magic 32)
Vivisectionist Alchemist (Ultimate Magic 20)

Equipment

Arcane bonded items must be listed as Always Available (thus, no firearms)

Added to the Additional Resources on June 20:

No Large or larger firearms available for purchase at any point.
Double hackbut (Ultimate Combat 138)
Culverin (Ultimate Combat 138)

Obviously, these changes do not reflect every problem, or cover every potential problem, in the Pathfinder Society, and we will continue to monitor, discuss, and evaluate material as it affects the format and as new material is released. We do not intend actions like this to be a regular occurrence. We did not make these changes lightly and recognize that many of you will feel like this is either too much or too little or somewhere in between. But I feel that these changes are necessary for the health and well-being of the campaign.

With that said, I understand the time investment and care put into a character’s background and the planning that goes along with making sure the character fits exactly how you envision him. If you have a character affected by the changes above, I am offering a rebuild along the following guidelines:

  • You may rebuild any class levels affected, to levels of other classes as necessary. (For example, if you have a 10th-level character with one level of rogue and nine levels of the synthesist summoner archetype, you may rebuild the nine summoner levels into any other class or another summoner archetype).
  • You may retrain any feats that directly apply to the changes above as necessary.
  • You may sell affected equipment for the full price paid when you purchased them (as listed on past Chronicle sheets).

However you feel about these changes, I ask that you remain respectful of the feelings of others when commenting below. We are a community and we all know players who probably have a beloved character affected by the changes above. Please keep discourse civil and appropriate.

I look forward to seeing folks at the show and am looking toward a bright future for the campaign. I sincerely appreciate everyone who provided feedback, whether it was for the changes to the Guide or the options being removed above, in working together to make our organized play the best it can be for the player base and GMs. Feel free to pull me aside at Gen Con to chat about any or all of the above changes.

Mike Brock
Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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NP :) Everyone can make knee-jerk reactions now and again ;)

Shadow Lodge

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Daniel Luckett wrote:
I won't give specifics, but I will say definitively that no game feature was banned based on one single factor. Every feature was debated, measured, and weighed. The discussions to these were not done lightly. I'm sorry if anyone feels we are wrong, and I have yet to hear a point that wasn't raised in our private discussions.

A quibble, while I might not participate in Pathfinder Society anymore, it bothers me that a "Venture-Captain" (and the Campaign Coordinators) would be unwilling to clarify upon the criteria used for their shared decision yet be willing to openly include quips such as "I won't go into specifics" or "I've yet to hear a point that wasn't raised in our private discussions." Neither of these comments add to the discussion and do little in the way of presenting a positive face towards those members who view this decision as "arbitrary" and "authoritarian at best."

So, as a repeat of similar posts, are there any members of the decision making team who are willing (and able) to properly defend the decision made and elucidate for us the criteria that was used to judge the now banned archetypes?

[Edit Notes]
>:V Grammar!

Grand Lodge 5/5

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The decisions were made after a lengthy discussion and debate on the VC message board. Sometimes, it actually became rather heated because there are VCs and VLs who were passionate about losing their own characters. Everyone with access on that board is bound by an NDA and is not permitted to discuss the contents of the discussions.

Also, I am not going to explain or defend every decision made. Not only would it be difficult to provide a brief of a discussion that is more than 600 posts long over the course of several weeks, but it would also lead to endless arguments here on the general message board.

All I can do is ask you to have faith in the decision making process, and that any decisions we made were not done so lightly, but were done with the long term health of the campaign in mind. We all understand how this affects some people's characters. In truth, even VCs has some characters that were affected and now have to rebuild. All of These decisions were far from arbitrary or authoritarian.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Baka Nikugaja wrote:
I won't go into specifics" or "I've yet to hear a point that wasn't raised in our private discussions."

I don't think that those are quips so much as a way of telling people their concerns were addressed.

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

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Michael Brock wrote:

Also, I am not going to explain or defend every decision made. Not only would it be difficult to provide a brief of a discussion that is more than 600 posts long over the course of several weeks, but it would also lead to endless arguments here on the general message board.

Thank you Mike,

I don't see an issue with asking 'will you tell us how you decided this?' as long as we're willing to accept 'No' as an answer. :-)

Grand Lodge

Michael Brock wrote:

The decisions were made after a lengthy discussion and debate on the VC message board. Sometimes, it actually became rather heated because there are VCs and VLs who were passionate about losing their own characters. Everyone with access on that board is bound by an NDA and is not permitted to discuss the contents of the discussions.

Also, I am not going to explain or defend every decision made. Not only would it be difficult to provide a brief of a discussion that is more than 600 posts long over the course of several weeks, but it would also lead to endless arguments here on the general message board.

All I can do is ask you to have faith in the decision making process, and that any decisions we made were not done so lightly, but were done with the long term health of the campaign in mind. We all understand how this affects some people's characters. In truth, even VCs has some characters that were affected and now have to rebuild. All of These decisions were far from arbitrary or authoritarian.

I am curious, Could you not have "nerfed" these guys instead of just straight banning them?

just some examples that came to mind for me were. If one of the reasons for the master summoner was time. How about you limit the max amount of summons to 3-4 at a time? and/or making the summons last rounds instead of minutes like typical summmon spells?
and for the synthesis summoner, couldn't you make the eidolon only give half its stats/armor/resist as contribution instead of full. this would force a equilibrium of stats that might balance it out more.

I imagine you had this discussion as it only seems logical to me to nerf instead of ban. So what were reasons for not doing so or at least attempting a nerf before an outright ban? Because I would have been more than happy to have a limit put on my master summoner as I found myself 90% of the time limiting my own amount of summons to spare the group from taking up more than my share of time during combat.
Thanks for all your prompt responses to questions.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Spellbane wrote:
I am curious, Could you not have "nerfed" these guys instead of just straight banning them?

Pathfinder Society tries to keep as close to the written rules as possible.

It's a lot more work for players to have to reference a rulebook and the Society special version of it, and then every GM has to be aware that "Oh, this class doesn't work by the standard rules."

It's a lot easier for the players, GMs, and staff if we just remove the option from play than if we try to jury-rig something that will maybe fix one problem but hasn't been playtested.

Silver Crusade

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Baka Nikugaja wrote:
I won't go into specifics" or "I've yet to hear a point that wasn't raised in our private discussions."
I don't think that those are quips so much as a way of telling people their concerns were addressed.

This. I was attempting to say that we brought up and discussed every angle to the potential changes that someone has brought up prior, and we could think of before we did anything. I couldn't go into specifics due to my NDA, even if I wanted to.

Grand Lodge

Jonathan Cary wrote:
Spellbane wrote:
I am curious, Could you not have "nerfed" these guys instead of just straight banning them?

Pathfinder Society tries to keep as close to the written rules as possible.

It's a lot more work for players to have to reference a rulebook and the Society special version of it, and then every GM has to be aware that "Oh, this class doesn't work by the standard rules."

It's a lot easier for the players, GMs, and staff if we just remove the option from play than if we try to jury-rig something that will maybe fix one problem but hasn't been playtested.

Theres alot I would like to respond to what you said, but I don't want it to appear that I am looking for an argument. So I am simply going to respond with:

I guess I don't get whats the difference between Errata and what you call jury-rigging? I run into errata often enough and errata on an archetype like this would be well known by GMs.

Grand Lodge 5/5

"Errata" fixes mistakes in print; nerfing is redesigning a class without playtesting, which may give a cure that is worse than the disease.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Society doesn't control errata, or how the rules work. We only get to pick what we want in the game and what we don't.

"We" being Mike and Mark.


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Spellbane wrote:


I am curious, Could you not have "nerfed" these guys instead of just straight banning them?
just some examples that came to mind for me were. If one of the reasons for the master summoner was time. How about you limit the max amount of summons to 3-4 at a time? and/or making the summons last rounds instead of minutes like typical summmon spells?
and for the synthesis summoner, couldn't you make the eidolon only give half its stats/armor/resist as contribution instead of full. this would force a equilibrium of stats that might balance it out more.

1) There could have been many reasons for banning the classes other than other than power level. The Synthesist, for example, was a complex class with a lot of confusing abilities. Without the ability to houserule how these worked, it caused a lot of headaches for Society GMs.

2) Even assuming the reason for the ban was exclusively how powerful the classes were, M&M do not have the power to change the Pathfinder RPG as a game solely for the sake of PFS. They can't simply nerf a class in PFS and leave the rest of Pathfinder untouched; changing the Synthesist would requite a complete rewrite of the class, which takes a lot more development time.

3) It's much, much easier for GMs to run PFS when they can say:

"Oh, you're playing a Synthesist? I'm sorry, but that class isn't legal for play anymore. Here, have a pregen"

as opposed to:

"Oh you're playing a Synthesist? Let me audit your character so I can be certain that you have correctly applied the latest adjustments to all of the required abilities, and are up-to-date on the definitions of the class as defined in the errata as opposed to the ones printed in Ultimate Magic."

EDIT: Ninja'ed by Daniel on point 2.

Shadow Lodge

Bleh, keeping quotes is making my post too long and I don't know the specifics of the (this?) NDA so I'm not sure what I've said runs afoul of it...
*sigh*

Michael Brock wrote:
The decisions were made after a lengthy discussion and debate on the VC message board. Sometimes, it actually became rather heated because there are VCs and VLs who were passionate about losing their own characters. Everyone with access on that board is bound by an NDA and is not permitted to discuss the contents of the discussions.

Mutual obfuscation...

The limitations of businesses sucks...

Quote:
Also, I am not going to explain or defend every decision made. Not only would it be difficult to provide a brief of a discussion that is more than 600 posts long over the course of several weeks, but it would also lead to endless arguments here on the general message board.

I take issue with the last sentence but that's a personal matter, so I won't discuss it further. In any case, even if it causes some flare ups (such as the weekly Monk Day on GitP), offering an explanation for divisive decisions, while not required of an authority, should at least be striven for. Even if this information is "vague," in the sense that it covers scenarios not specifically covered by the decision making team, it would help to ease the minds of those directly affected (in much the same way that sympathy is expressed when a tragedy occurs).

Spoiler:
But, the solution to the apprehension exhibited in the second sentence would be to either create a blog post or a thread with the broader explanations (the ones that are predicted to be necessary) and have either the community link back to smaller, more focused, posts or to have a staff member aggregate them personally.

To the last paragraph, even if members of the decision making team are affected, is that what is necessarily seen by the greater community? As others have said before, when rules change existing characters (and existing character options), they often see it as an attack against themselves and would, most likely, be consoled by a proper explanation (woo, reiterations!).

------

Spoiler:
Sean H wrote:
1) There could have been many reasons for banning the classes other than other than power level. The Synthesist, for example, was a complex class with a lot of confusing abilities. Without the ability to houserule how these worked, it caused a lot of headaches for Society GMs.

Couldn't an extra sheet or simple house rules (much inline with the "no being Evil" restriction) be used for any of the banned archetypes? As an example, an extra sheet or an "Evolution Chart" much like Magic of Incarnum's Essentia Tracker would help to simplify the system. Similarly, a "house rule" that specifically dictates what can or cannot be done for a Corpse Companion (such as, "a Corpse Companion may never be made from allies,their associates, or the corpses of either") would prevent confusion as well.

Quote:
2) Even assuming the reason for the ban was exclusively how powerful the classes were, M&M do not have the power to change the Pathfinder RPG as a game solely for the sake of PFS.

I know that others across the Paizo forum have said this, but the common misinterpretation of "a higher floor equates to a higher ceiling" is not the same as actually possessing a higher ceiling. Yes, it gives more leeway for those who choose to take advantage of such benefits, but it doesn't mean the class (or archetype) is necessarily capable of outperforming the original when looking at the upper end of optimization possibilities (a higher floor but lower ceiling or a higher floor and an equal ceiling) or can compete with those classes who can actually break the game.

Quote:
3) It's much, much easier for GMs to run PFS when they can say[...]

The former is being lazy, the latter is solved by including an "Evolution Tracker" and making it a free download.

[Edit Notes]
Grammar!

Shadow Lodge

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I'm relatively new, so I have to ask: Does this kind of thing happen every year? It's a little off-putting to have to read all the whining/arguments that have crept up since the new guide came out.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mystic Lemur wrote:
I'm relatively new, so I have to ask: Does this kind of thing happen every year? It's a little off-putting to have to read all the whining/arguments that have crept up since the new guide came out.

There is always complaining whenever big decisions get put out that change or alter the status quo. People are passionate about the game and when you affect their favorite character they get upset.

Dealing with complaining is far better than letting known problems fester year after year.

This will blow over after gencon. This is arguably the biggest change to PFS since the switch from 3.5 so it's bound to stir the pot a bit.

Shadow Lodge

Baka Nikujaga wrote:
I take issue with the last sentence but that's a personal matter, so I won't discuss it further. In any case, even if it causes some flare ups (such as the weekly Monk Day on GitP), offering an explanation for divisive decisions, while not required of an authority, should at least be striven for. Even if this information is "vague," in the sense that it covers scenarios not specifically covered by the decision making team, it would help to ease the minds of those directly affected (in much the same way that sympathy is expressed when a tragedy occurs).

No disrespect intended, but why would it not be required? Sometimes it seems as though certain people are under the impression that fans work for them and they don't need to be polite or respectful, but mandaite it from others, rather than the other way around.

For one, saying that you can't talk about it because of an NDA is goes a long way than simply ignoring any pertinent questions on the matter, but honestly, it took 13 pages to get even that response. It also does not do a thing to help out DM's who are going to have to explain this to their players, (particularly when any flavor only reasons may not even apply).

Also, breaking it down to "we had a secret meeting and you where not invited but we can't talk about it because we signed an NDA" really doesn't foster trust, in my opinion, but rather a very elitist and arrogant "do what I say, not do what I do" sort of attitude, again leading back to the fact that the V-C's, M & M, etc. . . work for us, not the other way around.

Dark Archive

Only with the really big changes like this guide, normally there isnt as much comment about the contents as its just an update and revision of the previous rules.

Most the comments this time were directed at the new things (races, 1st level retraining, class option reduction), and alot of the responses are actually positive but due to the number of large changes your going to get a very large mix of replies.

Silver Crusade

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Yep, I think I'm checking out of this thread. Doesn't matter what I say. I'll still get complained at. There were complaints before we changed stuff, and there are complaints after, and more complaints when I say something in regard to the changes, and probably will be complaints about my comments regarding said complaints.

We can't make everyone happy, and so I'll endeavor as a VC to make as many people happy as I can within the limitations of my role.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Speculation time. Being able to speculate like this is one of the reasons I didn't put in for VO...

Beckett, my understanding of the VO NDA is that they get early access to a variety of information through the private VO board.

This is not new.

I have the impression that all of the content of that board is covered by their NDA and contract; I suspect that the officials that can release that information are designated Paizo employees and that Mike is probably one, but there may (read should) be an internal review process before releasing information from a higher privilege environment (where prerelease content can be discussed) to a public forum. This process may be politically expensive for M&M.

Further, your assertion that the VOs and M&M work for us. It's just not so.

M&M work for Paizo, and us indirectly by our purchases funding Paizo's continued employment of them. The VCs are un(der)paid overworked volunteers, from what I've seen. (Well, maybe excepting JP...)

Demanding an explanation from M&M is just not going to get you anywhere with allies among the fans, or results you seem to desire. I wasn't privy to the discussion, but I trust that it was discussed pretty thooughly and with an eye to the good of the campaign.

When you're making a decision that affects thousands of characters, special snowflake characters suffer sometimes. It will almost always be the outliers that get hammered down, since they're the ones who stick out.

Now to finish cutting out maps for 4-04 and 4-Special, bundle up our gear and hit the road. The GenCon of "No quickrunner shirts" is upon us.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

TetsujinOni wrote:
Now to finish cutting out maps for 4-04 and 4-Special, bundle up our gear and hit the road. The GenCon of "No quickrunner shirts" is upon us.

Reference art

I'd love to see some pictures. I was thinking about doing a cut out map for Pacficon, its suited to cut-out 3d terrain.

Shadow Lodge

*chases after red herrings*

Daniel Luckett wrote:

Yep, I think I'm checking out of this thread. Doesn't matter what I say. I'll still get complained at. There were complaints before we changed stuff, and there are complaints after, and more complaints when I say something in regard to the changes, and probably will be complaints about my comments regarding said complaints.

We can't make everyone happy, and so I'll endeavor as a VC to make as many people happy as I can within the limitations of my role.

Really, directing ire at you is only a byproduct of the overall unwillingness of Paizo's staff. Though, since you asked for it, it would be nice if you'd be willing to stand behind a position a bit more and cease this defeatist attitude. People are here discussing the changes you've helped to bring about because they care about the changes that were made (whether or not they agree with you doesn't matter). If anything, look on the bright side, at least the only "real" complaint has been to reveal the criteria used by the decision making team.

-----
Beckett wrote:
No disrespect intended, but why would it not be required? Sometimes it seems as though certain people are under the impression that fans work for them and they don't need to be polite or respectful, but mandaite it from others, rather than the other way around.

Granted,

Spoiler:
I tend to avoid the Paizo forums (largely due to its negative reactions to any who would challenge the staff, mechanics, or otherwise attempt to sway the plurality of the forum), I cannot comment on the specifics of the culture (as to whether or not Paizo's player base works for Paizo or not), but, if you're willing to accept a subjective, personal opinion (that isn't particularly defensible), I would say that, yes, Paizo does expect (just as many other companies do) the player base to work for them. This can be evidenced in the fact that Paizo isn't required to provide information upfront on mechanical revisions or decisions that they make, on the oddity of nice-fluff but bad mechanics (which are in turn defended), or the general atmosphere of this forum (Paizo forums, not PFS in specific, though it is part of it). But, like I said, these are all largely subjective and aren't particularly meaningful beyond a tangential point.

As to my opinion on required information, information such as the plotting of the Pathfinder Society story (arcs or not), while a positive thing if shared, isn't necessary for the public to know about. Similarly, mechanics for Pathfinder that are still being designed but are not yet ready for testing should also be kept from the public eye.

-------

TetsujinOni wrote:
Demanding an explanation from M&M is just not going to get you anywhere with allies among the fans, or results you seem to desire.

Since this wasn't directed at me...it's a bit improper for me to address it, but I'll do so nonetheless.

"Allies among fans" is subjective and refers only to those who actively post on this specific forum. Though, to be fair, it's why I'm here (because one such fan managed to escape from this corner of the internet).

Quote:
I wasn't privy to the discussion, but I trust that it was discussed pretty thooughly and with an eye to the good of the campaign.

Whenever someone presents a drastic change (whether it is for PFS or for something else), it is important that they present an actual case and provide the evidence by which they made their decision. Anything else is a blind deference towards the authority of the other party and does little good for the overall community. Remaining skeptical and not accepting things on faith is important (though that seems to run contrary to the request made of me...).

Quote:
When you're making a decision that affects thousands of characters, special snowflake characters suffer sometimes. It will almost always be the outliers that get hammered down, since they're the ones who stick out.

And this is why an actual presentation of the criteria is so important.

[Edit Notes]
Curtailing


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Beckett wrote:
Also, breaking it down to "we had a secret meeting and you where not invited but we can't talk about it because we signed an NDA" really doesn't foster trust, in my opinion, but rather a very elitist and arrogant "do what I say, not do what I do" sort of attitude [...]

I don't agree at all. Not in what you're saying, nor the way you're saying it.

People have gone out of their way to provide as much of a reason as they can - and told us that they can't really tell us much. It fosters trust in me, that bot M & M and the VC's and VL's have discussed this at length. This is M & M's JOB! They are allowed to say "do what I say, not do what I do" (even though I don't think that's what has happened here).

Paizo is doing a very very good job of listening to their fans and trying to keep us in the know. I'm personally very grateful for this. I think M & M is doing a very fine job indeed, and I'm thankful for the way they are handling things.

The Exchange

These discussions include a lot of ground work done by the Campaign staff and the VOs to get the opinions of the players. I know I've personally asked folks questions about "what do you think about the synthesist?" or "what do you think about different guns currently legal?" I never let it known that I'm taking these opinions with me in discussions with other VOs, but they do get expressed.

When Mike and other VOs state that they are no new points in this thread that weren't already brought up in private discussions, it is very true. And it isn't like these topics are recent, the community has discussed these topics among the general boards ever since the material released. Those discussions happened well before we ever talked about them amongst the VOs. And that's these sorts of changes happen. If you want more clarifications on the topics, just do a search of the Pathfinder Society boards and read the threads and I guarantee you that you'll find the same discussions assessing the pluses and minuses of these rule changes.

/I am sad myself that I have to scrap my level 14 Undead Lord cleric, but such is the nature of the beast.
//I got 14 levels to rebuild, I wonder what I will do!

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

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I for one appriciate the work that M&M do.

Look at the arguments about including the new races we had on the boards. We got three (in a more generous method than I was expecting). Does anyone really think that or any other decision was made in a vacuum?

Let's not forget, Mike and Mark (and all the VCs, VLs, VPITAs and what other V's you want to think of) are/were us.
<grognard>Way back when dinosaurs (and Loraine Williams)* walked the earth. There was a cheer in the usenet community when our very own 'Veggie Boy' was hired on as the TSR Net Rep. Why? Because he was one of us. He'd dueled the dreaded Repp, and we knew he'd fight for us. Heck, it was (IIRC) his efforts that put Ivid the Undying out there for us to download.</grognard>

Three guesses where Veggie Boy is now.

Mike and the VCs** do a very difficult balancing act. Keeping PFS fun, growing, and (for Paizo) profitable. Do I agree with *all* the decisions? No (I really want a Changeling rogue. tal es muerte.) Have they earned enough 'cred' that I can believe them when they say that the decisions were made after much debate? HELL YES.

*

Spoiler:
Early morning shower coversation in my head.
Ego: If she's Aunti-Lisa, who is Anti-Lisa?
Id: Lorraine Williams.
Superego: Good point.

**
Spoiler:
Not to be confused with Mike and the Mechanics, even if both do Silent Running Over Dangerous Ground.

Scarab Sages

Matthew ... Not only do I agree with every single word you typed, but I got a delightful little impish chuckle, of the kind one only hears from a DM sitting behind his screen.
Not too long ago, I made a joke on Facebook to our "Veggie Boy" about that particular nickname.
And the Vegepygmy is, indeed, a great advocate for us, and he is a great guy. He made a point of introducing *himself* to *me* in the Banquet buffet line at PaizoCon this year, because he only had time to shake my hand briefly when we first met, and he wanted me to know that he had time to speak to the fans.

Shadow Lodge

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Derwalt wrote:

I don't agree at all. Not in what you're saying, nor the way you're saying it.

I think your adding a context or "tone" that i did have or mean in there. Im not writing angrily or insulting anyone. I am saying that a lot of questions have been asked and they where not explained a little, they where ignored. Paizo is a company known for having very good and open discussions with its fans, butit took 13 pages for someone to mention that there was an NDA and they couldn't talk about it or explain. That and other things can easily lead people to the conclussion that PFS people are unwilling to talk to fans at all and just ignor issues. :)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Beckett wrote:
That and other things can easily lead people to the conclussion that PFS people are unwilling to talk to fans at all and just ignor issues. :)

Only people who are willing to draw such conclusions about PFS without spending any significant time on the actual PFS boards reading about PFS. In the last several months, Mike Brock personally started something like a dozen threads with no other purpose than to get community feedback in the interest of influencing future campaign decisions. The final stages of the decision-making process were bound by NDA, but it's always started with talking to the community.

But if someone wants to sit outside that community and then judge that community for not doing what it is doing, that's their problem.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Quote:
That and other things can easily lead people to the conclussion that PFS people are unwilling to talk to fans at all and just ignor issues. :)

This is rich.

The vast majority of people applaud these changes as a sign the Paizo PFS staff are actively addressing issues with the campaign.

Shadow Lodge 2/5

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Wow, this discussion has turned a bit sour.

I guess my position is that I'm pleased that the VOs are being asked their opinions, and I respect that they aren't going to drag every little detail of those discussions to the public boards.

The fact is a decision was made by Paizo for the betterment of PFS play. Some of us might disagree that it is 'better', but certainly that was the intent. The fact that they consulted any of us at all in that decision is a wonderful thing.

They listen (and respond) to the common folk through the boards and at conventions.
They listen (and respond) to our volunteer coordinators (the VOs) through their own boards and private communications.

Then they make decisions.

I think that's a great way to do things, and I thank Paizo for listening to us and not ignoring us. We might disagree with the outcome, but I think we should more appreciative of the process.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Beckett wrote:
That and other things can easily lead people to the conclussion that PFS people are unwilling to talk to fans at all and just ignor issues. :)

Only people who are willing to draw such conclusions about PFS without spending any significant time on the actual PFS boards reading about PFS. In the last several months, Mike Brock personally started something like a dozen threads with no other purpose than to get community feedback in the interest of influencing future campaign decisions. The final stages of the decision-making process were bound by NDA, but it's always started with talking to the community.

But if someone wants to sit outside that community and then judge that community for not doing what it is doing, that's their problem.

This.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Dennis Baker wrote:
Quote:
That and other things can easily lead people to the conclussion that PFS people are unwilling to talk to fans at all and just ignor issues. :)

This is rich.

The vast majority of people applaud these changes as a sign the Paizo PFS staff are actively addressing issues with the campaign.

And This.


Thank you for elaborating Beckett :)

5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Colorado—Colorado Springs aka Hakken

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I do appreciate a little feedback on why they banned certain classes. I played a master summoner. When I thought they banned it just because people thought it was too powerful, I thought it was unfair. There are many classes which are even more powerful--and basically one shot every mob.

Once it was explained that it was

a. flooding the board with summons and slowing down play for master summoners

b. lack of rules understanding leading to too many non-legit synthesist or whatever---then it gets more understandable.

If they leave the players thinking "they just banned my class because others griped it was too powerful." Then the people with banned classes look at the other powerful classes (more powerful than theirs perhaps) and think it is unfair.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northwest aka WalterGM

Quote:
Whenever someone presents a drastic change (whether it is for PFS or for something else), it is important that they present an actual case and provide the evidence by which they made their decision. Anything else is a blind deference towards the authority of the other party and does little good for the overall community. Remaining skeptical and not accepting things on faith is important (though that seems to run contrary to the request made of me...).

They did -- to the VOs.

Think of the VOs as your representative to PFS. We are appointed by other VOs or by the campaign leadership because of our intent to do right by you -- the players and GMs. I'm not even kidding. That is our sole purpose. Maintaining and growing PFS into something greater. Read the application page. We are in those boring, NDA, "exclusive," meetings so you don't have to.

Now imagine PFS like a government. The main person in charge (Mike Brock) tires to pass a bill. That bill is then presented to congress, the parliment, whoever (PFS VOs) that then deliberate and decide what is best for everyone. They know that some citizens will feel excluded by their decision, and some will think that the bill was made to target them. But this is not the case. From everyone on down, the decision was made for the best of country -- but the citizens don't get to raise their hands every step and interject something. That's what the VOs are for.

I understand being nervous of trusting establishment -- color me a revolutionary as well -- but this is a government built by volunteers. So we truly do have your best interests at the forefront of our minds because, as others have stated, we're just like you.. We were all GMs and players before we were VOs. And we all have different backgrounds and insight to share when issues like this come up.

I'll say it one more time then be done: decisions are never made lightly and are always well thought out.

The Exchange

Euan wrote:

Wow, this discussion has turned a bit sour.

I guess my position is that I'm pleased that the VOs are being asked their opinions, and I respect that they aren't going to drag every little detail of those discussions to the public boards.

The fact is a decision was made by Paizo for the betterment of PFS play. Some of us might disagree that it is 'better', but certainly that was the intent. The fact that they consulted any of us at all in that decision is a wonderful thing.

They listen (and respond) to the common folk through the boards and at conventions.
They listen (and respond) to our volunteer coordinators (the VOs) through their own boards and private communications.

Then they make decisions.

I think that's a great way to do things, and I thank Paizo for listening to us and not ignoring us. We might disagree with the outcome, but I think we should more appreciative of the process.

Yes-this! +1

5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Colorado—Colorado Springs aka Hakken

Walter Sheppard wrote:
Quote:
Whenever someone presents a drastic change (whether it is for PFS or for something else), it is important that they present an actual case and provide the evidence by which they made their decision. Anything else is a blind deference towards the authority of the other party and does little good for the overall community. Remaining skeptical and not accepting things on faith is important (though that seems to run contrary to the request made of me...).

They did -- to the VOs.

Think of the VOs as your representative to PFS. We are appointed by other VOs or by the campaign leadership because of our intent to do right by you -- the players and GMs. I'm not even kidding. That is our sole purpose. Maintaining and growing PFS into something greater. Read the application page. We are in those boring, NDA, "exclusive," meetings so you don't have to.

Now imagine PFS like a government. The main person in charge (Mike Brock) tires to pass a bill. That bill is then presented to congress, the parliment, whoever (PFS VOs) that then deliberate and decide what is best for everyone. They know that some citizens will feel excluded by their decision, and some will think that the bill was made to target them. But this is not the case. From everyone on down, the decision was made for the best of country -- but the citizens don't get to raise their hands every step and interject something. That's what the VOs are for.

I understand being nervous of trusting establishment -- color me a revolutionary as well -- but this is a government built by volunteers. So we truly do have your best interests at the forefront of our minds because, as others have stated, we're just like you.. We were all GMs and players before we were VOs. And we all have different backgrounds and insight to share when issues like this come up.

I'll say it one more time then be done: decisions are never made lightly and are always well...

so brock and co are the decemvirate, you are the grand lodge and we are the shadow lodge? lol sorry just trying to pathfinderize it

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Hakken wrote:
so brock and co are the decemvirate, you are the grand lodge and we are the shadow lodge?

Let's figure out which one of these yahoos is Drandle Dreng and throw him in a cellar.

Silver Crusade

Jiggy wrote:
Hakken wrote:
so brock and co are the decemvirate, you are the grand lodge and we are the shadow lodge?
Let's figure out which one of these yahoos is Drandle Dreng and throw him in a cellar.

Mike Azzolino is Ambrus Valsin, all the way. Look at Valsin's picture in Seekers of Secrets. Then look at Mike Azzolino's picture. Little creepy, ain't it?

Grand Lodge 4/5

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Hakken wrote:
so brock and co are the decemvirate, you are the grand lodge and we are the shadow lodge?
Let's figure out which one of these yahoos is Drandle Dreng and throw him in a cellar.

Yeaaaaah. So, Jiggy, I'm going to have to ask you to come into the Grand Lodge on Saturday. We're really behind on cataloging these artifacts from the Tapestry, so we'll need you to come in on Suuunday, too. Yeah, that'd be greaaat.

Shadow Lodge

Jiggy wrote:

Only people who are willing to draw such conclusions about PFS without spending any significant time on the actual PFS boards reading about PFS. In the last several months, Mike Brock personally started something like a dozen threads with no other purpose than to get community feedback in the interest of influencing future campaign decisions. The final stages of the decision-making process were bound by NDA, but it's always started with talking to the community.

But if someone wants to sit outside that community and then judge that community for not doing what it is doing, that's their problem.

I actually have, and am both a PFS GM and Player. I'm making an observation and offering advice from within, not without the community because I have seen this other times as well.

That doesn't mean that I do not like, respect, or am thankful for the new guide or their work. I am, and if you had actually read my other posts, would have seen me thank them and show appriciation for other aspects. I did take part of some of these other threads.

Shadow Lodge

o.o/) Hallo, Commander Sheppard! I almost mistook you for another member of the Paizo forum with whom I had less than cordial relations in the past!

Walter Sheppard wrote:

They did -- to the VOs.

Think of the VOs as your representative to PFS. We are appointed by other VOs or by the campaign leadership because of our intent to do right by you -- the players and GMs. I'm not even kidding. That is our sole purpose. Maintaining and growing PFS into something greater. Read the application page. We are in those boring, NDA, "exclusive," meetings so you don't have to.

I realize that the sole purpose of your position is to "improve the campaign" and I have not attempted to argue otherwise; however, that does not eliminate the need for an actual explanation when drastic changes take place - especially for ones whose arguments may include mechanical balance (where one side is systemic of the base class) or flavor. Which is why, when it comes to matters of an "NDA exclusive meeting," I worry because the decisions don't follow the meta. So while I can sympathize with "doing right by the public -- the players and GMs," I find it difficult to agree with changes when the public views optimization to be anathema (as evidenced by the earlier jubilation in this very thread).

[Side Note]

Spoiler:
Though, I still don't understand why everyone keeps saying "right by me" or "for your benefit." I don't play anymore, I thought I said that in my first post. ;~;
(or is it because I used to play that makes it still apply to me? I'm never quite certain)

Quote:
Now imagine PFS like a government. The main person in charge (Mike Brock) tires to pass a bill. That bill is then presented to congress, the parliment, whoever (PFS VOs) that then deliberate and decide what is best for everyone. They know that some citizens will feel excluded by their decision, and some will think that the bill was made to target them. But this is not the case. From everyone on down, the decision was made for the best of country -- but the citizens don't get to raise their hands every step and interject something. That's what the VOs are for.

And when the people in power are wrong, the investigative journalists can demand answers! Or the people can bring the government (or, more specifically, particular entities within the government) to court.

Quote:
So we truly do have your best interests at the forefront of our minds because, as others have stated, we're just like you.. We were all GMs and players before we were VOs. And we all have different backgrounds and insight to share when issues like this come up.

:|

That's where I disagree, while you may be indicative of the rest of the community here on the forum, I would argue that you aren't representative of those who belong to the non-Paizo communities but still use Paizo's products (PFS included) and, similarly, you aren't representative of those populations who only lurk, of course, no one is. If anything though, the unwillingness of Paizo to allow only the criteria to be shared (not the exact discussion), the odd divergence from what is known by the rest of the internet and the Paizo forums, and the conflicting attitudes of the previously described, would result in a borderline schizophrenic attitude when it comes to such discussions (being openly anti-optimization while secretly pro).

Quote:
I'll say it one more time then be done: decisions are never made lightly and are always well...

And the prize of the community is a reactionary decision that seems to be rooted in laziness (until proven otherwise since anecdotes are anecdotes <:3) and an unwillingness to converse in regards to the actual decision. Pretty words may look nice when they are being typed or read aloud, but pretty words do little to change a reactionary decision when understanding the problem is what is necessary.

Spoiler:
Quote:
I understand being nervous of trusting establishment -- color me a revolutionary as well -- but this is a government built by volunteers.

:P

Hahaha, yes, "nervous" is probably an excellent description for my current trepidation, but, for the most part, I tend to silently agree with the decisions made in the past (though, the archetype bans of the past still irk me greatly). However, "being nervous" should not be conflated with "irrationally desiring workable answers." My desire to know "why the archetypes are being banned" and the "criteria behind the ban" is more or less indicative of "a need to be informed" (and a minor desire to get some of the changes reversed, but 'ey, I like them morally gray choices - especially when being morally gray is everywhere else in the game). As an example, in a business, if changes to the regiment were made by the top without explanation to the average worker, would the average worker be happy? The relationship between Pathfinder Society, the GM's, and the players should be looked upon in a similar manner. If the rules for PFS change and the GM's are without a proper explanation, the players will be unhappy (or the GM's may be unhappy, I don't know, it depends on your local table).

-------

Spoiler:
Joseph Caubo wrote:
When Mike and other VOs state that they are no new points in this thread that weren't already brought up in private discussions, it is very true. And it isn't like these topics are recent, the community has discussed these topics among the general boards ever since the material released. Those discussions happened well before we ever talked about them amongst the VOs. And that's these sorts of changes happen. If you want more clarifications on the topics, just do a search of the Pathfinder Society boards and read the threads and I guarantee you that you'll find the same discussions assessing the pluses and minuses of these rule changes.

Alright, search!

  1. Gravewalker Witch - Nothing outside of over exuberant Paladins desiring to hose those who disagree with their perspective.
  2. Master Summoner - As listed previously by Hakken.
  3. Synthesist - As listed previously by Hakken. Personally though, the problems are actually present in the Summoner class itself, it's just that the people here seem to ignore it.
  4. Undead Lord - Nothing outside of over exuberant Paladins desiring to hose anyone who disagrees with their perspective.
  5. Vivisectionist - Nothing outside of over exuberant Paladins desiring to hose anyone who disagrees with their perspective.

[Edit]
T ^T
Why can't I use some alternate color to express when I'm not being serious?

Grand Lodge

Dennis Baker wrote:
TetsujinOni wrote:
Now to finish cutting out maps for 4-04 and 4-Special, bundle up our gear and hit the road. The GenCon of "No quickrunner shirts" is upon us.

Reference art

I'd love to see some pictures. I was thinking about doing a cut out map for Pacficon, its suited to cut-out 3d terrain.

His maps were awesome! Played on them in Golden Serpent. GMing @ table was great as well.If you can get on his table, do so. Thanks for a great game, TetsujinOni.

Silver Crusade

Hakken wrote:

I do appreciate a little feedback on why they banned certain classes. I played a master summoner. When I thought they banned it just because people thought it was too powerful, I thought it was unfair. There are many classes which are even more powerful--and basically one shot every mob.

Once it was explained that it was

a. flooding the board with summons and slowing down play for master summoners

b. lack of rules understanding leading to too many non-legit synthesist or whatever---then it gets more understandable.

If they leave the players thinking "they just banned my class because others griped it was too powerful." Then the people with banned classes look at the other powerful classes (more powerful than theirs perhaps) and think it is unfair.

The master summoner is stupid powerful in PFS because the PFS combats are weak enough that the small army of summoned monsters can roll them. I've hear horror stories of master summoners with skill-monkey eidolons that can solo entire scenarios.

I consider a master summoner to be literally a "PFS special" problem, because I think for a home brew, at least one I run, they will suck because my NPCs will curb stomp summoned critters. PCs want to run with str 18 two handers with cleave? Well the NPCs can have that too, and the summoned monsters don't stand up to real encounters well at all.

Silver Crusade

I might also add that the regular summoner and any class with access to animal companions still make out like bandits in PFS, as the encounters in most of the scenarios are custom made to be owned by pets.

5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Colorado—Colorado Springs aka Hakken

2 people marked this as a favorite.
David Bowles wrote:
Hakken wrote:

I do appreciate a little feedback on why they banned certain classes. I played a master summoner. When I thought they banned it just because people thought it was too powerful, I thought it was unfair. There are many classes which are even more powerful--and basically one shot every mob.

Once it was explained that it was

a. flooding the board with summons and slowing down play for master summoners

b. lack of rules understanding leading to too many non-legit synthesist or whatever---then it gets more understandable.

If they leave the players thinking "they just banned my class because others griped it was too powerful." Then the people with banned classes look at the other powerful classes (more powerful than theirs perhaps) and think it is unfair.

The master summoner is stupid powerful in PFS because the PFS combats are weak enough that the small army of summoned monsters can roll them. I've hear horror stories of master summoners with skill-monkey eidolons that can solo entire scenarios.

I consider a master summoner to be literally a "PFS special" problem, because I think for a home brew, at least one I run, they will suck because my NPCs will curb stomp summoned critters. PCs want to run with str 18 two handers with cleave? Well the NPCs can have that too, and the summoned monsters don't stand up to real encounters well at all.

actually the summons are working real well then. If he summons 2-3 mobs withh each summon--and you spend 3-4 of your attacks killing them, then you are not killing party members.


"But then I just go for the players and not the summons!"

Well then the summons are doing pretty nice damage against your enemies, dropping them faster and blocking movement.

"But then I just go for the summons and not the players!"

Well then...

Silver Crusade

Hakken wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Hakken wrote:

I do appreciate a little feedback on why they banned certain classes. I played a master summoner. When I thought they banned it just because people thought it was too powerful, I thought it was unfair. There are many classes which are even more powerful--and basically one shot every mob.

Once it was explained that it was

a. flooding the board with summons and slowing down play for master summoners

b. lack of rules understanding leading to too many non-legit synthesist or whatever---then it gets more understandable.

If they leave the players thinking "they just banned my class because others griped it was too powerful." Then the people with banned classes look at the other powerful classes (more powerful than theirs perhaps) and think it is unfair.

The master summoner is stupid powerful in PFS because the PFS combats are weak enough that the small army of summoned monsters can roll them. I've hear horror stories of master summoners with skill-monkey eidolons that can solo entire scenarios.

I consider a master summoner to be literally a "PFS special" problem, because I think for a home brew, at least one I run, they will suck because my NPCs will curb stomp summoned critters. PCs want to run with str 18 two handers with cleave? Well the NPCs can have that too, and the summoned monsters don't stand up to real encounters well at all.

actually the summons are working real well then. If he summons 2-3 mobs withh each summon--and you spend 3-4 of your attacks killing them, then you are not killing party members.

I agree in that respect. However, they are not racking up the actual kills like they can in PFS.


Hey all,

I wanted to thank everyone in the PFS community, especially those who have put your trust and support into the decisions of the campaign. I hope you understand that it's really not some sort of bizarre mind washing conspiracy that goes on behind closed doors. The VOs all have different opinions, just like you. Some of us are min-maxers, some of us are lore junkies, some of us are rules lawyers, and some of us are happy carebears. We run the gamut of alignments and classes and backgrounds. But the thing we have in common is a great love of PFS. We don't live in bubbles. We have characters that we play and love. We have home games, and game days, and cons. We GM and spend long hours poring over the latest books and we do crazy stuff for the love of the game and the community. And to reflect what some posters said above, we do it because we love you*.

Thank you to everyone who has given constructive feedback on this thread. I really believe these changes will make the maximum amount of players have the best play experience. I know some people will disagree, and that's ok. I think, however, that from the support from this thread, I'm not alone :)

*I'm a girl so it's not creepy when I say it, NYAH!

Silver Crusade

Nani Pratt wrote:
Some of us are min-maxers, some of us are lore junkies, some of us are rules lawyers, and some of us are happy carebears.

Some of you are even BunnyGnomes.....


Pfffft, that's only Thea. I'm too tall to be a gnome.

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