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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Tags: Pathfinder Society
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Grand Lodge

Curaigh wrote:

College life

We always seemed to find a few student loan dollars to go towards "keeping our sanity", and thus deemed it an educational expense. :)

Not necessarily wise, but sometimes wisely necessary.

Silver Crusade

Lakesidefantasy wrote:

I hate to ask, but are bastard swords considered always available equipment?

I was told exotic equipment is not considered always available. Is that true? What about whips and nets?

I have a wizard who took a bastard sword as his bonded item, is he legal?

Tetsu is right about it being always available, but just remember...a bastard sword, in and of itself, is not exotic. It is, in fact, quite common. Merely the ability to use it one-handed is considered exotic for combat purposes.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
zohaletha wrote:
Lakesidefantasy wrote:

I hate to ask, but are bastard swords considered always available equipment?

I was told exotic equipment is not considered always available. Is that true? What about whips and nets?

I have a wizard who took a bastard sword as his bonded item, is he legal?

Tetsu is right about it being always available, but just remember...a bastard sword, in and of itself, is not exotic. It is, in fact, quite common. Merely the ability to use it one-handed is considered exotic for combat purposes.

Bastard sword is a 1-handed exotic melee weapon, with specific rule text that allows it to be used as a 2-handed martial weapon. It is, in and of itself, an exotic weapon.

Liberty's Edge

TetsujinOni wrote:
zohaletha wrote:
Lakesidefantasy wrote:

I hate to ask, but are bastard swords considered always available equipment?

I was told exotic equipment is not considered always available. Is that true? What about whips and nets?

I have a wizard who took a bastard sword as his bonded item, is he legal?

Tetsu is right about it being always available, but just remember...a bastard sword, in and of itself, is not exotic. It is, in fact, quite common. Merely the ability to use it one-handed is considered exotic for combat purposes.
Bastard sword is a 1-handed exotic melee weapon, with specific rule text that allows it to be used as a 2-handed martial weapon. It is, in and of itself, an exotic weapon.

There is no mention of "exotic" equipment not being always available in the guide.

The only mundane equipment called out anywhere as not always available, as a category, are Firearms.

Lakesidefantasy was misinformed.


graywulfe wrote:
TetsujinOni wrote:
zohaletha wrote:
Lakesidefantasy wrote:

I hate to ask, but are bastard swords considered always available equipment?

I was told exotic equipment is not considered always available. Is that true? What about whips and nets?

I have a wizard who took a bastard sword as his bonded item, is he legal?

Tetsu is right about it being always available, but just remember...a bastard sword, in and of itself, is not exotic. It is, in fact, quite common. Merely the ability to use it one-handed is considered exotic for combat purposes.
Bastard sword is a 1-handed exotic melee weapon, with specific rule text that allows it to be used as a 2-handed martial weapon. It is, in and of itself, an exotic weapon.

There is no mention of "exotic" equipment not being always available in the guide.

The only mundane equipment called out anywhere as not always available, as a category, are Firearms.

Lakesidefantasy was misinformed.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Chris Mortika wrote:

So, my Undead Lord is shifting to some other type of cleric, or maybe an oracle of bones; that's fine.

Unless Mike or Mark object, I'm going to build that change into his history. That is, he still spent his first five levels as an Undead Lord, and then something happened, and he changed.

So, here's what happened.

Cut for self-indulgent in-character history:
I noticed that Cadavrul recently played "Pallid Plague". In that adventure, he had to confront and challenge a higher-level priest of Urathoa. His leverage was "You're being grotesque and public about this. You've bring down another Mendev crusade on the church if your plan to kill off thousands of people goes through."

Well, as it turns out, the Pallid Princess doesn't care for her priests fighting and killing one another like that, so the church hierarchy convened a trial and expelled Cadavrul. For a while, it looked like the cult of Zyphus was the only group that would take him in, but then he was visited by an inquisitor of Charon, who invited Cadavrul into the legions of the Ferryman.

So, he no longer has his corpse companion (Good bye, Coleg.) He does have the Knowledge domain, and I was able to apply come GM credit when I revised the character, so he has risen a couple of levels and -- through Eldritch Heritage -- has a cacodaemon familiar.

Sovereign Court 5/5 5/55/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Just a question regarding the Resource books. I really love paper copies and as such own all my books as real physical books, bought in game stores, at conventions and from amazon UK to avoid postage from the US.

Obviously I can take copies of pages to take to a convention/game, but those will not be watermarked. Instead of hiring a Porter (with or without Statblock :) ) to carry all my books, or invest in a trolley, I was wondering if it was Ok to do the following....

Take a picture of the book with you're ID on a corner and use this as proof of owning the required resource....obviously you need to have the pictures on you :)

Obviously this could give problems with people taking pictures of other people's books, or even photo-shopping in and ID....I'm just looking for a valid way to not having to bring source books for a single page I need to be able to show....without having to buy all the books again as PDF.

Silver Crusade

Unfortunately, that is not legal at this time. You either need the book or need a watermarked pdf, photocopies are not acceptable as they do not prove ownership.

With that said, campaign leadership has promised to revisit this issue (perhaps to see if there's some way ownership could be proved once and then photocopies used afterwards) once they come back from Gen Con.

There's a very long thread on it if you want to see it HERE.

Dark Archive

Sighs, my only question of Paizo is why give options to players that you then ban them from using. More, if it is because of balance issues why not have the issue fixed and then unban was was disallowed?

It is how Paizo handles their own rules that I haven't had much interest in Pathfinder Society, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth how some issues dealt with.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I wanted to have a character with a zombie thread minion, I wonder if the undead lord cleric is legal in PFS?

Dark Archive

This was the thread I was pointed to when doing a search on what as legal for Pathfinder Society... I could have perhaps spend a bit more time searching for the most up to date thread where I might voice thoughts.

I apologize if I posted in the wrong thread, can you point me to the right thread?

Liberty's Edge 5/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Indiana—Martinsville aka thaX

1 person marked this as a favorite.

There is this button... "Make a new thread..."

Dark Archive

... I didn't think I should when it comes to a subject such as this. I thought, as a blog, is was open for commenting since it was made by Paizo staff at that I should post in the most up to date on the subject.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

...you think a 2012 blog post is the most up to date source?

3/5

RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE!

Dark Archive

It is what a quick search brought up, it may seem silly but this thread came up first and I didn't pay attention to the date... I made a mistake.

The Exchange 3/5

Hey, if you have the 16 PP to spend go ahead and bring this back from the dead.


it seems to be a perfectly sensible place to bring it up to me

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

tuypo1 wrote:
it seems to be a perfectly sensible place to bring it up to me

Not to me. I am not sure what issue the OR (Original Resurrector) of this 700+ post thread is referring to in his comment, so...

Several archetypes being removed from the campaign over two years ago? Not being able to make photocopies of your hardcovers? Something else mentioned during this thread?


oh i have no idea what aspect he is resurrecting im just giving him the benefit of the doubt that its something relevant


JonathonWilder wrote:

This was the thread I was pointed to when doing a search on what as legal for Pathfinder Society... I could have perhaps spend a bit more time searching for the most up to date thread where I might voice thoughts.

I apologize if I posted in the wrong thread, can you point me to the right thread?

here you go the complete list

http://paizo.com/pathfinderSociety/about/additionalResources

2/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Got me all excited , I saw the new art and the words bringing back the Aasimar adn Tiefling

Dark Archive

Mainly my issue is that PFS bans certain resources they create/bring out instead of going back and fixing the issues they have with these resources.

For example, the Synthesist Summoner and Master Summoner or the Leadership feat... really the feat is what gets me, what was the point of carrying leadership over from D&D if one can't use it. Also, Brew Potion seems to be an odd and annoying ban.

Really, more and more that I read on Pathfinder Society play I more begin to see it in the same light as gaming tournament... I don't think I want anything to do with it.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Pathfinder Society is not run by the game developers. Mike and John are not responsible for writing the game rules, just the houserules that allow everyone in the world to play a character together. So PFS bans resources precisely because they DON'T create them and have to make judgements about what is good for their campaign. Just like any GM has to.

You can still use Leadership...in a home game with a GM that allows it. The GM of this campaign doesn't allow it. If that's a deal-breaker for you, then I hope you find another group that suits your preferences better. Organized play is a different style than home campaigns, and not every campaign is suitable for everyone. We certainly try to accommodate the widest range of players, but you can't please everyone.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 5/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Chester aka Paz

2 people marked this as a favorite.
JonathonWilder wrote:
Mainly my issue is that PFS bans certain resources they create/bring out instead of going back and fixing the issues they have with these resources.

Pathfinder Society Organised Play is a campaign set on the world of Golarion, which uses the Pathfinder RPG rules.

Some options in the Pathfinder rules are not suitable for use in a campaign set on Golarion, due to not fitting the canon (e.g. the spellslinger archetype).

Some options in the Pathfinder rules are not suitable for use when the majority of tables need to complete in 4-5 hours (e.g. those that rely on a large number of summons, like the master summoner archetype).

Some options in the Pathfinder rules are not suitable for use in a campaign trying to avoid the issues previous organised play campaigns have had with PC wealth spiralling out of control (e.g. crafting feats like brew potion).

Some options in the Pathfinder rules are not suitable for use in a campaign where a lot of play is in public and 'evil'/distateful options would potentially lead to bad publicity (e.g. vivisectionist and undead lord archetypes).

The options allowed in Additional Resources are still vastly more permissive than many home campaigns. I'm sure there are some GMs who allow their players to go hog-wild when building their PCs (including 3rd party resources) but I imagine they're in the minority. I'm sure they don't have to cater to 70,000 GMs and players with different preferences and opinions.

Quote:
more and more that I read on Pathfinder Society play I more begin to see it in the same light as gaming tournament

Nothing could be further from the truth. I suggest you give it a try before dismissing it.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hmm... I will take closer look and consideration Pathfinder Society.

Dark Archive 5/5 5/55/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Upper Midwest aka Silbeg

JonathonWilder wrote:
Hmm... I will take closer look and consideration Pathfinder Society.

That's great!

I will say that the 2.5 years I have been involved with Pathfinder Society Organized Play have been wonderful. I've been able to play a lot of fun games, but more importantly, have made some great friends! Hopefully you'll be able to do the same!

One of the things that the campaign management has tried to do is keep the campaign fresh, and always moving forward. Sometimes there are options in published Pathfinder materials, as others have said, that do not play well with their vision of what the campaign should have. This is just like what a GM would do for their home game.

There are also options that they are holding back as things that could be used in future rewards on boons and chronicles, such as races outside of the core races.

I have found that there are no shortage of options that you can use to create yourself a character that you will be able to have a lot of fun with!

Silver Crusade

Paz wrote:
JonathonWilder wrote:
Some options in the Pathfinder rules are not suitable for use when the majority of tables need to complete in 4-5 hours (e.g. those that rely on a large number of summons, like the master summoner archetype).

This also is why Leadership is not a good fit. I have one home game that has 3 players with leadership. One player not only has leadership but is a summoning druid with an animal companion, and the cohort is a ranger with an animal companion. Needless to say when the combats are not "6 seconds of death" they are long fights.

Six seconds of death:
The party is led by an arcane trickster. He casts Invisibility ten foot radius Sphere on the party, goes invisible himself they sneak (everyone either has stealth) into a room, get as set up as possible, then BAM. Last week the combat lasted 1.25 rounds. Once the Dex based two rapier weaponmaster gut full attacks the boss dropped and the mooks surrendered.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Colorado—Denver aka roll4initiative

I don't get it, Tamec. "They sneak (everyone either has stealth)" ?

Silver Crusade

that was a miss type... "everyone has stealth". I can't go back and edit that post.

Dark Archive

What I would like to see is Paizo coming out with a revision of Leadership that could be used in PFS, it is a feat with great roleplaying potential.

5/5 5/55/55/5

2 people marked this as a favorite.
JonathonWilder wrote:
What I would like to see is Paizo coming out with a revision of Leadership that could be used in PFS, it is a feat with great roleplaying potential.

If you want it for role playing there's all those follower vanities. We've had fun with the heralds

Liberty's Edge 5/5 5/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Chester aka Paz

JonathonWilder wrote:
What I would like to see is Paizo coming out with a revision of Leadership that could be used in PFS, it is a feat with great roleplaying potential.

I very much doubt that will ever happen, but take a look at the vanities in the Pathfinder Society Field Guide, in particular the followers (chronicler, herald, porter, etc.) on pages 60-61. They're pretty close to what it sounds like you're looking for, if roleplaying potential is your primary concern.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

JonathonWilder wrote:
What I would like to see is Paizo coming out with a revision of Leadership that could be used in PFS, it is a feat with great roleplaying potential.

Almost everybody has a laundry list it items, they would like fixed (I am quite interested in the new Summoner myself), and while the Leadership feat has some roleplaying potential, it really works best in a home campaign, where the GM has all the freedom to toy with it.

In an organized play campaign, where players and GMs can switch every week, that really does not work. Players are expected to adapt to the scenario, not vice versa.

The leadership (not unlike the Summoner) has the nasty effect, of making one player take up more time "in the spotlight"/in combat that the other players. Marginalizing the contribution of some of the players already happens way to often, maybe you could make this some kind of alternative to a mount/animal companion, but it would likely require much more investment than just one feat slot.

5/5 5/55/55/5

I have to admit i have enjoyed role playing having (and losing) an argument with my familiar.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

JonathonWilder wrote:
What I would like to see is Paizo coming out with a revision of Leadership that could be used in PFS, it is a feat with great roleplaying potential.

The main issue with Leadership, like the Druid, Summoner and casters with active familiars, is that it very easily eats up the time allotted, and more, while making the game less enjoyable for the other players.

Worst case scenario:
7 PCs
7 cohorts
7 ACs/active familiars/mounts
1d3+1 summoned creatures per PC.

20'x20' room.

Even without the cohorts, and a cap on ACs/Familiars/Mounts per PC, you can still getting into a situation where John Barbarian can never charge, or even get a melee attack off during most combats.

Especially for APs, modules, and Season 3 or earlier scenarios, which were written to handle a party of 4, it just turns it from fun into a game of who has the highest initiative each combat. Or a bunch of Diplomacy Aid Anothers added to a Diplomancer's roll.

Liberty's Edge

JonathonWilder wrote:
What I would like to see is Paizo coming out with a revision of Leadership that could be used in PFS, it is a feat with great roleplaying potential.

The relationship you're hoping for doesn't exist. Pathfinder is the dog, Pathfinder Society is the tail. Tails don't wag dogs. Pathfinder rules are not modified to suit the needs of PFS. PFS applies filters to Pathfinder rules in order to ensure the overall success of organized play.

Pathfinder players can affect Pathfinder rules via posts and FAQ requests as well as meeting and getting to know Paizo people at cons.

In this case, if you've got some idea for how Leadership could be modified to make it a less powerful yet still appealing feat, you should start a new thread and post your ideas. If people are excited in the idea, they'll reply and the thread might hash out a viable alternative that eventually ends up in the Pathfinder rules via some publication.

And then, if it's suitable for organized play, it might be allowed in PFS.

Now would be a good time to end these additions to this old blog's comments and make a new thread for whatever you want to talk about. Very few people will actually see what you're writing here.

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