Ratfolk and Catfolk and Race Boons Oh My

Monday, June 3, 2013

Of all the feedback I receive about Pathfinder Society Organized Play, whether it be in person when I am visiting different regions, through emails, or on the messageboards, what I hear most is that non-convention-goers have little to no chance to obtain some of the convention-only boons that are offered at regional shows. The most popular of these boons are the racial boons, which open up the player's options to choose a unique race. I have thought long and hard on how we can even out things for those players who are not able to attend a convention for whatever reason.

First, let me clarify that we will always have special boons that can only be obtained at conventions. These will consist of a multitude of various options, from extending the range of the Day Job earnings chart to unique races. Our regional and national conventions and larger game days are where we garner the biggest PR for our game. But that doesn't mean I don't want to offer the chance of getting cool boons, especially racial boons, to members of our player base who don't attend conventions.

At these regional conventions, players only receive approximately a 10% chance to receive any boon that is provided at the convention. I don't think it is unreasonable to offer a similar chance to non-convention players.

One tool that has finally been opened to me is I am able to filter play of individual scenarios, and to see every reported table and every Pathfinder Society number that was at that table. I am also able to filter dates so I can see exactly how many tables of a specific scenario were reported over a specified time. Playing around with this new tool got me to thinking about how I could utilize it for the benefit of the entire Pathfinder Society player base.

My initial thought is that when a scenario presents something unique, such as helping a race like ratfolk, catfolk, or dhampirs (and no, I am not advising one way or another whether either of these races will make an appearance in Season 5), it might be possible to offer these races (or whatever races were aided in a specified scenario) via a lottery type of system. While I certainly don't want to flood the OP with a zoo of races (such as making them available on a Chronicle sheet for everyone who plays the specified scenario), I don't think it is a bad thing to occassionally give a limited pool of players the chance to play a new race, similar to the Grippli boon at Gen Con this year, as long as we control the flow of how many become available. With that said, my thinking is that after the first month or two of a specified scenario, I would randomly select from all tables that reported success in the specified scenario. All the players and GMs of the randomly selected tables would then have the unique Chronicle sheet sent directly to them.

Maybe this is or isn't the best way to offer unique boons to the entire playerbase, especially those who can't or won't attend conventions. However, it is the start of a working idea I am still toying with that would offer an equal chance to everyone who plays the specified scenario in a specified time limit. If you think this is a horrible idea, please offer a solution for how we can make it better. I would very much like to hear your feedback on what you think of the above system, or hear your thoughts on any other suggestions you might have for how to best utilize this new tool I have been given. As always, your feedback and comments help to strengthen the community at large, and without your feedback and participation, Pathfinder Society wouldn't be as awesome as it is today. I look forward to reading all of your comments.

Mike Brock
Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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5/5 Venture-Agent, Australia—NSW—Sydney aka lastblacknight

I can see how tying a boon to a story arc would be a neat idea but we also need to limit the valid complaint of 'how do we inspire those who have just missed the party?'

The solution might be to offer a teaser of what next race boon might be coming up or offer a speculation thread... and also limit the boon to one per person (GM or player.) Other boons could be fine as well.

What are your thoughts Mike on Boons or Race rewards being unlocked at GM Star Levels?

Grand Lodge 5/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I like the idea of boons, races, etc.. being opened at GM Star levels. However, we currently don't have that code written to send out Chronicles automatically.

Scarab Sages 5/5

Even though it _currently_ isn't an option to have boons, races, etc being linked to GM star lvls, I'd like to add my support to have this an option in the future ;)

And an other thought I had, if we want to prevent rare races from flooding certain area; what about instead of sending the race boon to for example 10 tables of 4-8 people (including GM) we send it to 60 random people who played that scenario and all other people in the same session as those persons get a different boon (maybe instead of getting to play that race they get a boon which gives them a +2 bonus to diplomacy, bluff and sense motive vs that race)?

Scarab Sages

Phillip Reed wrote:
Even if it's completely unrelated to how Paizo decides to handle race boons, I think it'd be really neat to have a "Reincarnate" boon that could be used to bring a character back from the dead as a random PFS-legal race.

Closest to that was the Aasimar with its d100 table of alternate stuff instead of a 1/day Daylight spell before it was not legal for PFS usage. Then again a lot of things from the table were a tad strong.

Quote:
#73: If your body is placed on consecrated ground and prayers to your deity are recited continuously for 24 hours, you return to life as if by a raise dead spell. This ability works 1d4 times in your lifetime.

In addition the archetype for monks, although not a race, Monk of the Four Winds Level 20 perk was being able to reincarnate if slain. It has two requirements which are easy to fulfill and reuse if you should experience dying a lot.

===BACK ON TOPIC===

I personally believe it depends on your area. Most players I know at my LGS for PFS rarely play the more rarer races or the expanded three (Tengu, Aasimar, Tiefling). I've seen 1 Goblin Bard, 1 Aasimar Monk, and 1 Tengu Ranger as the largest extent of "rare" races over here.

I do however think for a brief time their might be large influx of any particular rare race for a short time when more people start receiving race boons, then people will have had their "fill" of playing a unique race before going back to playing humans, dwarves, elfs, and whatever else is usually the norm.

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

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Michael Brock wrote:
I like the idea of boons, races, etc.. being opened at GM Star levels. However, we currently don't have that code written to send out Chronicles automatically.

Isn't that why you have Venture officers?

*ducks*

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

Phillip Reed wrote:
Personally, I'd rather play with a party of aasimar, kitsune, and catfolk who love their characters and are really into roleplaying them than a party of humans who are human because they wanted an extra feat. I can understand restricting races in some circumstances, such as the desire to use them as convention prizes or making sure they fit in the lore, but I don't think that making them rare just for the sake of ensuring their rarity really makes the campaign better overall.

This. Heck, I've held on to the boon that was generously gifted to me for a contest that no one entered :-( because I can't think of a good kitsune idea, and haven't found a good reason to gift it.

2/5

Michael Brock wrote:
I like the idea of boons, races, etc.. being opened at GM Star levels. However, we currently don't have that code written to send out Chronicles automatically.

There was a job posting a web developer for the longest time under Paizo's career opportunities (it was up for almost a year). Was that position filled or did they just give up?

Silver Crusade 2/5 Venture-Captain, Online—ACG aka cartmanbeck

Whoever mentioned the idea of giving a boon out for completing a whole season... that is an EXCELLENT idea. Finishing all of season 2's scenarios (as either a GM or player) might send you a Kitsune or Vishkanya boon, etc. Obviously this would only be for the normal scenarios, not the Specials or "-EX" ones, since those can only be run by certain people. But yeah, that's a seriously great idea. I would specifically try to organize and run scenarios that I needed to finish up, and it would be a great incentive for players to request specific scenarios of their GMs.

Silver Crusade

Matthew Morris wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
I like the idea of boons, races, etc.. being opened at GM Star levels. However, we currently don't have that code written to send out Chronicles automatically.

Isn't that why you have Venture officers?

*ducks*

Well, from a technical standpoint, manually pulling a list of GMs who have earned a new star should be an easy database query. That shouldn't be more than an hour's work for the IT folks to write the query. Then it would only take 2 minutes to re-run the same report to give Mike that list every few months. Maybe this could be done quarterly or something, rather than as soon as someone earns the star.

Of course, that would require Mike to manually send out all the boons to the people on the list, but as you said, isn't that what VOs are for? ;)

Personally, I like this idea more than the random boons to players. Anyone can sign up to be a GM, so it's not like it would limit the availability much. And those who really want the boons would have an additional motivation to try GMing, so it might help in the areas where they're having trouble finding enough GMs.

Of course, random boons for players AND boons as rewards for GM star levels would be even better, but then you start to run into issues of whether or not you're sending too many. Of course, we're not talking just race boons here, so probably 80-90% of the boons will be the less popular non-race stuff.

Venture-Captain, Germany–Hannover aka Hayato Ken

Something nice about Kitsune I imagine my Kitsune Lotus Geisha a bit similar...in parts hehe. Realistic Likeness and Fox Form are keys there for me. Else they could make good ninjas, sorcerers or druids (from a roleplay perspective). Too bad there is nothing like a fox shaman hehe.


I'm glad that the boons are being opened up to non-convention goers. I've gone to a convention before, and I could go to another one this weekend if I wanted to. However, I can't afford to throw around hundreds of dollars in hotel costs to do this stuff all the time.

However, I don't like the time limit on doing these scenarios. I'm in the Northern VA/Washington DC area, and the PFS presence here is somewhat weak. I don't think that we will be able to run through an entire scenario within one or two months of it being released just so that some of us have a chance at getting something in the boon lottery.

Perhaps it would be better to do a lottery for the applicable scenarios every few months, and simply lower the chance of winning in the later months?

Scarab Sages

Fromper wrote:
Well, from a technical standpoint, manually pulling a list of GMs who have earned a new star should be an easy database query. That shouldn't be more than an hour's work for the IT folks to write the query. Then it would only take 2 minutes to re-run the same report to give Mike that list every few months. Maybe this could be done quarterly or something, rather than as soon as someone earns the star.

Just writing a database query to pull a list of GMs and their stars would probably only take a few minutes... but doing thing the "right" way would take a lot more effort that that. Paizo would also want a way to track which boons are eligible prizes for GM stars and track which GMs have claimed prizes for their stars, both of which are probably new database tables. They'll also want a GUI that campaign coordinators can use to manage which boons are available, plus an interface for users to see which ones they're eligible for and then claim them, and it would also need to provide a mechanism for users to download them. You've also got to factor in time to test all of the new GUIs and database queries, since you don't want to put them on the production systems until you're sure they work right, and you also have to consider the cost of taking the production system offline while you upgrade it.

Without any knowledge of Paizo's internal structure, I'd probably estimate that as three or four days of work for one developer. It could definitely be more, depending on how flexible their system is. That's not a whole lot, but the budget for that still has to come from somewhere. (in the real world I do software development, mostly web & database stuff nowadays, coincidentally)

Anyway, as a venture officer, I wouldn't mind tracking this kind of thing manually. I think a reasonable interim solution might be to provide access to the star boons to VOs and have GMs who've earned stars go to their local VO to request a copy of a boon. To be fair, in my local area, even if every GM came to me right away and wanted all the boons they could claim, I might only have to give out a few dozen; I'm sure there are other VOs who would have to deal with a lot more paperwork.

On an unrelated note, I've really been thinking about making a kitsune mysterious stranger gunslinger. I've already got a kitsune sorcerer, though, so I might go with a half-elf musket master instead...

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Michael Brock wrote:
I like the idea of boons, races, etc.. being opened at GM Star levels. However, we currently don't have that code written to send out Chronicles automatically.

What about the code that makes the specials available/unavailable by star levels. It wouldn't send out the boon, but it would enable someone to "buy" the chronicle sheet and add it to their downloads if they had the requisite number of stars.

The Exchange 5/5

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you know what kind of a boon I'd like to see given to judges?
.
A boon to share - that you can only give to someone who was NOT at the CON, or that did something you liked in your game, or whatever.

Talk about causing a stir... you could even call it "someone went to XXX-CON and all I got was this masterwork T-shirt" or something like that.

5/5

nosig wrote:
someone went to XXX-CON and all I got was this masterwork T-shirt" or something like that.

Oh, that's just brilliant. I want that t-shirt!

Grand Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Michael Brock wrote:
I like the idea of boons, races, etc.. being opened at GM Star levels. However, we currently don't have that code written to send out Chronicles automatically.

I floated the kernel of this idea, but it was sort of a two parter, giving out boons, or allowing boons to be bought, for participating. Where participating included not only just playing, but also replaying scenarios to fill out a table instead of going home. This was so everyone could get something for being a part of the society, the carrot to GM was to say, if you got one "participation point" as a player, you would get two as a GM.

Silver Crusade

I think it's a great idea. I love the idea of getting a suprise boon I wasn't expecting. I also think it would be a good idea to give boons to the Game Masters. At least in my area it's hard to get enough GMs. It would encourage players to run games if by doing so they had higher odds of getting nifty boons.

Grand Lodge

Michael Brock wrote:
I like the idea of boons, races, etc.. being opened at GM Star levels. However, we currently don't have that code written to send out Chronicles automatically.

Are GMs earning stars at such a rate that having to wait for an automated system to be put into place keeps this kind of thing from being implemented? Could it be done manually (Someone at Paizo do it themselves) until such a system is put into place?

Those are meant simply as questions, no snark, no sarcasm, no accusatory tone. :)

Grand Lodge

Michael Brock wrote:
I like the idea of boons, races, etc.. being opened at GM Star levels. However, we currently don't have that code written to send out Chronicles automatically.

You could also have the GM send in a request email after earning a star. It would be an easy thing to check the account and see how many table credits they have earned. Of course you would need to someone to receive and verify the emails.

Shadow Lodge

An hour job to start a semi-automated process! No QA needed! Go go!

-- add column to track GM rewards handed out

alter table paizo_pfs_member add column awarded_gm_star_rewards int default 0, last_award_time datetime;

-- query run periodically returns GMs whose stars exceed the awards they have for current star level

select u.name, u.email_address, u.society_id, m.gm_stars, m.awarded_gm_star_rewards from paizo_pfs_member m, paizo_user u where m.gm_stars > m.awarded_gm_star_rewards and m.society_id=u.society_id;

-- update PFS accounts to indicate award has been sent

update paizo_pfs_member set awarded_gm_star_rewards=awarded_gm_star_rewards+1, awarded_time=now() where paizo_society_id=111111;
update paizo_pfs_member set awarded_gm_star_rewards=awarded_gm_star_rewards+1, awarded_time=now() where paizo_society_id=111112;
.. etc ..

Oracle/PLSQL syntax available on request, too. :)

The Exchange 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
wakedown wrote:

An hour job to start a semi-automated process! No QA needed! Go go!

-- add column to track GM rewards handed out

alter table paizo_pfs_member add column awarded_gm_star_rewards int default 0, last_award_time datetime;

-- query run periodically returns GMs whose stars exceed the awards they have for current star level

select u.name, u.email_address, u.society_id, m.gm_stars, m.awarded_gm_star_rewards from paizo_pfs_member m, paizo_user u where m.gm_stars > m.awarded_gm_star_rewards and m.society_id=u.society_id;

-- update PFS accounts to indicate award has been sent

update paizo_pfs_member set awarded_gm_star_rewards=awarded_gm_star_rewards+1, awarded_time=now() where paizo_society_id=111111;
update paizo_pfs_member set awarded_gm_star_rewards=awarded_gm_star_rewards+1, awarded_time=now() where paizo_society_id=111112;
.. etc ..

Oracle/PLSQL syntax available on request, too. :)

LOL!

"... No QA needed!..."
This is why I have the job I do. I'm a QA tester - I get brought in after the above statement costs the company more than it costs to bring me in after the fact.
"We always seem to have the money to fix it AFTER we brake it.... we just loose a few customers is all."

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.
nosig wrote:

you know what kind of a boon I'd like to see given to judges?

.
A boon to share - that you can only give to someone who was NOT at the CON, or that did something you liked in your game, or whatever.

Talk about causing a stir... you could even call it "someone went to XXX-CON and all I got was this masterwork T-shirt" or something like that.

I've wanted to see the VCs and VLs have 'community building boons.' to give out to people for contributing to the society in some way.

  • Store closed unexpectedly and you offer your home to strangers? Wow, here's a boon good for one raise dead.
  • First time stepping up to GM table? and you has to put up with Matthew as a player? Here's a boon for a free Exotic Weapon proficiency.
  • Went the extra mile by making a 3d map of the opera house, and loaded the blueprints to the shared GM folder? Here's a boon for one auto-success on a skill check.
  • Brought two new players to the community? Here's a boon giving you a +1 luck bonus on saves when either of them are at the table.
  • Ran Quest for Perfection II without any innuendo? Here's a boon for a +1 on will saves for one character.

    Ok, the last one is a bit spurious, but you know what I mean. Nothing game breaking, nothing whine-inducing, but something to allow the Venture Officers (and you trust the VO's not to abuse it, right?) to reward people building the gaming community.


  • Matthew Morris wrote:
    Michael Brock wrote:
    I like the idea of boons, races, etc.. being opened at GM Star levels. However, we currently don't have that code written to send out Chronicles automatically.

    Isn't that why you have Venture officers?

    *ducks*

    I had that same thought, but combine it with the later...

    Seth Gipson wrote:

    Could it be done manually (Someone at Paizo do it themselves) until such a system is put into place?

    Those are meant simply as questions, no snark, no sarcasm, no accusatory tone. :)

    I dinnae know if VOs can see a list of all their GMs, and if so what their stars are, but an email to your VC saying 'hey put me on your watch list for Bonus Boons' sounds less complicated than tracking who has played which scenario & I know some VOs do that.

    I still want to say I appreciate the lottery of the Blog for non-con-goers, & Mike's willing participation in this thread/discussion as a whole. :)

    Dark Archive 5/5

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    MisterSlanky wrote:
    You just mentioned catfolk to deflect my utter disdain for Kitsune didn't you? Something else for me to focus my murderous GM tendencies on.

    I thought yer murderous tendencies were reserved for certain human rogues?

    So, if I make a kitsune summoner and there is a catfolk bard at the table I'm safe? What if it's a table of my kitsune summoner, a catfolk bard, a wayang guntank/samurai, and a nagji paladin? I'm still safe, right?

    The Exchange 5/5

    jon dehning wrote:
    MisterSlanky wrote:
    You just mentioned catfolk to deflect my utter disdain for Kitsune didn't you? Something else for me to focus my murderous GM tendencies on.

    I thought yer murderous tendencies were reserved for certain human rogues?

    So, if I make a kitsune summoner and there is a catfolk bard at the table I'm safe? What if it's a table of my kitsune summoner, a catfolk bard, a wayang guntank/samurai, and a nagji paladin? I'm still safe, right?

    wait! "... a wayang guntank/samurai...", have you been looking in my unplayed PC folder? And I thought I had a unique character idea....

    at least you didn't mention the Dwarven Magus/Dawnflower Dervish/Shadow Dancer!

    Dark Archive 5/5

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    nosig wrote:
    jon dehning wrote:
    MisterSlanky wrote:
    You just mentioned catfolk to deflect my utter disdain for Kitsune didn't you? Something else for me to focus my murderous GM tendencies on.

    I thought yer murderous tendencies were reserved for certain human rogues?

    So, if I make a kitsune summoner and there is a catfolk bard at the table I'm safe? What if it's a table of my kitsune summoner, a catfolk bard, a wayang guntank/samurai, and a nagji paladin? I'm still safe, right?

    wait! "... a wayang guntank/samurai...", have you been looking in my unplayed PC folder? And I thought I had a unique character idea....

    at least you didn't mention the Dwarven Magus/Dawnflower Dervish/Shadow Dancer!

    After a convention weekend, we tried to think up the most outrageous Wayang character concepts we could. This was my favorite.

    Just to upset Mr. Slanky's delicate sensibilities, I think I will go ahead and create both the kitsune summoner AND the Wayang guntank samurai. Because nothing brings joy quite like hearing the long, loud *sigh* come from one end of the table.


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    Hi, clueless newbie here.

    So, I guess I'm weird for not liking any of the core races that much (except gnomes) and vastly preferring the characters and designs of the advanced races. I'm not sure why people don't like them, but eh.

    Looking through this, some of the explanations against allowing race boons seems to boil down to "I don't want people to play as these races because I don't like them." That seems kinda rude and selfish. While I do believe that the kitsune is overrated, and that there are too many bloody angels in the field, I would also love, love, LOVE the opportunity to play as a kobold. I've loved the little dragon-halflings ever since I started reading the Order of the Stick, and there are surely ways to get around their weak stats.

    Anyway, I digress. Not wanting other people to play as a race just because you don't want them is kinda like getting mad at someone for liking something you don't. It's all a magical thing called "personal opinion." I may not understand why people play elves, since I don't like them much myself, but it's their opinion if they do like elves, and I won't fault them for it.

    But yeah. I'm all in favor of race boons. I personally think that the core races are somewhat boring and overdone, and variety is a wonderful thing.

    Hopefully I didn't offend anyone.

    Shadow Lodge 1/5 ⦵⦵

    Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Voyd211, most of the people who are talking down the non-core Races are pointing to the "Human-centric" base for the Pathfinder setting.

    The basic set up is that, even in an exceptionally diverse location as Absalom, the non-human core races are fairly rare, the two half-humans uncommon, and the more exotic are almost non-existent.

    Now look at PFS tables in those locations/areas that are lucky enough to have 'big' gaming Conventions. You get tables that approach the 'zoo' that some alarmists are worried about.

    -
    --
    ---
    To the topic...
    ---
    PaizoCon has a random Boon system, you play and earn rolls for boons, then roll to see what boon you get.

    This as well as the other distribution methods at the other Cons, lead to the 10% chance for race boons.

    I like the random boon idea, it helps promote community, at least in trading for boons you want, and it should keep from flooding an area with a single Boon..

    If you want to highlight/promote a Scenario, you can make it worth +1, same for GM'ing.

    It keeps the highlighted Scenarios important and gives an added incentive to GM and report.

    The random boon list also allows for periodic change to keep things fresh.

    One thought to the Star idea, as long as it is a new track, it would be fine, otherwise it would be unfair to those who have already GM'ed a lot, and should probably go beyond the current 5* limit.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    I seem to recall Golarion lore supporting quite a large number of Aasimar. I mean, the World Wound we're going to has a big monument built to the -masses- of aasimar that have come and died there, and more still come, fighting the good fight. I don't think they're really all that rare.

    Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West aka JohnF

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    Tempest_Knight wrote:
    Now look at PFS tables in those locations/areas that are lucky enough to have 'big' gaming Conventions. You get tables that approach the 'zoo' that some alarmists are worried about.

    I've yet to see one, and I live in an area that has three fairly big conventions a year (over 100 tables; maybe not as big as PaizoCon or GenCon, but still quite sizable). I GM at all those conventions, too.

    I do see the occasional Tiefling or Aasimar, but I probably see just as many wild-shaping druids. But about the only time I see more than one non-core-race character at a table is when my wife and I are playing our kitsune characters. And, for the most part, the only reason I know that a character is non-human is because it says so on the character sheet; I've rarely seen a character played in a way that makes a big deal about what race it is (with the exception of a certain gnome spellcaster, and a lizard I've adventured with a few times ...) I don't really count Tieflings using a prehensile tail as a kind of third hand; those characters are quite often chosen just to get that ability, not because they want to be Tieflings for any other reason.

    Admittedly kitsunes haven't been around all that long, so there aren't that many of them that are high enough level for it to make that much of a difference. I do know of one other player with a kitsune built much like mine; from about 5th level onwards things might get a bit more interesting ...

    Lantern Lodge

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    I very much like the kernel of the idea, but would probably advise some adjustments to the initially proposal.

    Lottery / Random Distribution

    Whether people are aware of it or want to admit it (or not), even 21st century society has a surprising problem with innumeracy, both in terms of the depth (in any given person) and breadth (percent of the population) of the problem. I don't know whether RPG players deviate from the general population in this quality. (There might be no difference at all, and there might be a significant difference. I don't think there has been much in the way of research about this within the gaming community. Even if there is a significant positive difference in our community, the problem is STILL likely to be higher than any of us expect or dare to think!) That means that there will ALWAYS be hard feelings about random perks, no matter how it is implemented. Yeah, our game has inherent randomness at its very core with dice determining virtually everything, and yet the math behind probability is still not that well understood within our community, counterintuitive as that may be.

    I'm not sure that this is enough reason to completely avoid random means of distributing rewards. I guess it depends on PFS leadership's stomach for complaints of unfairness, especially unfounded or ill-informed complaints.

    As a personal example, over a 6- or 7-year period I judged at a dozen (+/- 2) major WotC-sponsored conventions. (Yeah, that's a different company, and a different game, but they are similar organizations with similar goals and objectives within the same industry and were mostly the same big conventions that Paizo/PFS attend/sponsor.) At each one I was slotted to work 7-10 times (usually just 7-8). In each game slot the senior GM / HQ gave away a "stack o stuff" randomly to 1 GM, and sometimes more than 1 stack was given away. (How many prizes were distributed in any slot depended on how much free product arrived from WotC, how many slots were left in the convention, whether the product arrived on time, and sometimes stacks were assigned to the player pool, too!) So, I had somewhere between 50-100 chances to win as a judge, and many chances to win as a player (which was both far less common and had steeper odds for winning - roughly 5-6 times steeper). I never won anything. Over the same period there were people who won multiple times yet had significantly less service time. There were those who won at their 1st, and sometimes only, convention, or even their only slot working! GMs who only signed on for 4 or fewer slots won quite often.

    On the surface, that seems grossly unfair or unlucky, and at times it felt to me that one, the other or both must have been true. In actual fact, those results are not that out of line with the statistical/probabilistic expectations, variability and other measuremes. The perception of fairness is extremely subjective, and can depend on how much fun, stress and/or effort a person has experienced/committed at the convention! If someone who is trained to work with numbers on a daily basis (teaching high school mathematics, tutoring university/college level computer science, and/or programming computer software for a living) and should know better can get sucked into that perception then people with less comfort and familiarity with numbers are going to be that much more susceptible to a perception of unfairness. (Which of optimism, pessimism and 'realism' is closest to a person's default outlook will also have a large effect.)

    Again, if disgruntlement is something with which leadership is OK, at least when the dissatisfaction is not supported by in depth analysis, then a lottery system is a great way to go! If leadership is worried about losing players and/or GMs to bad feelings regardless of whether they are merited or misplaced then another system would be better.

    If lottery/random assignment is chosen going forward, I would advise that the 10% rate used at conventions is too high for non-con play. If conventions and the biggest game days are Paizo's best bang for the marketing buck then they should receive a higher rate of reward. Also, I strongly suspect that the number of tables that occur that are currently NOT eligible for rewards vastly outnumber the ones that are getting boon access! Applying the same rate WOULD flood the OP with boons. I'd propose that the rate of rewards for non-con play be capped at 5%. This helps reduce the size of the flood effect and still makes conventions more attractive in terms of better boon access.

    Non-Lottery / Participation-Based Distribution

    I like the idea of a "star" system or any sort of rewards system being implemented. Once upon a time (and maybe still, since my affiliation ended many years ago) the RPGA tracked player and GM participation for various types of rewards. Rewards ranged from boons (once-per adventure use reward cards) to free product (acetate AoE templates, modules, special paint pre-painted miniatures, etc.) They weighed their points system in a way that promoted convention play and placed a premium on certain campaigns / play types over others. A high priority event at a convention could earn 8 points with non-convention, lowly valued events earning the minimum of 1 point.

    For Paizo, this type of system is easily implemented. The reporting system can differentiate between many types/sizes of events and could probably be expanded to differentiate even more categories — Paizo-sponsored conventions, other conventions, game days, store events, private games, and maybe others. Similarly, we already have many kinds of PFS-sanctioned games — scenarios, specials, exclusives, quests, modules, adventure paths, Free-RPG Day releases, and introductory titles. It also tracks party success in the form of prestige points, though that system is changing and the new method may change the difficulty of implementing a rewards system using any method. Assigning weights or values to these would be something that leadership would have to evaluate and discuss. "What do we want to promote the most, and what gains the most return in terms of sales and PR?"

    The next step is to implement the tracking of these values for GMs and players, quite possibly as separate values. If the data structures and data storage methods have been implemented in a professional way, implementing new functionality should be possible with very little churn. If things have been hyper-optimized for minimizing the storage space and bandwidth requirements for the company servers, expanding functionality won't be as simple but can still be done relatively cheaply, including testing / QA.

    Once a system is in place for earning and tracking points, a system for cashing in those points for rewards is relatively easy, depending on just how deeply it has to be integrated with other computerized systems (i.e. inventory control, watermarking by PFS-# or PFS-character-#, etc.).

    Whether leadership and corporate / IT decide to implement a lottery-based system or a merit- / participation-based system they should be able to further their own goals:

    * receiving more data input in the form of higher report rates and more timely reporting;
    * tracking rewards chosen / distributed / applied;
    * promoting Pathfinder and PFS-OP;
    * increasing sales & profits;
    * increasing member satisfaction as people gain more ability to cater their own play experience;
    ...and likely in many more ways.

    GMs & Player Access

    I definitely think that non-con boons NEED to be tied to reporting. As has been pointed out by others previously in this topic boon access promotes reporting both directly AND indirectly. Paizo wants to capture as much information as possible about PFS play and this will help increase the rate of reporting.

    That being said, I'm not sure whether there should be differential treatment for GMs and players. A higher reward rate for GMs might encourage more GMing and it might not. It also might encourage people who really shouldn't be GMing at all (and know it) to GM by catering to greed. Is that a valid concern? Do bad GMs get adequately identified and either straightened or weeded out by the current VO and customer service system? If so, then this risk is manageable and shouldn't be a considered factor. If not, then maybe there shouldn't be a difference?

    My instinct is that there should be a difference since players in any "community" always seem to outweigh GMs by far more than a ratio of 6-1 and any tool to reduce this imbalance should be welcome and tried. (It can always be discarded or adjusted later if it proves problematic.) It would be a way to combat the incentive to judge things exactly once, since the second chronicle sheet access currently seems to be the exclusive motivation for many capable GMs (and also many not-so-capable ones).

    So maybe a 5% rate for non-con GMs and a 2.5% rate for non-con players will suffice? After a while, if the rates seem too low they can easily be raised later without ruffling feathers.

    Boon Types

    I can see how and why people feel that race access has become a bit of a Pandora's Box. I have no difficulty believing that in some communities PC Aasimar (I've always preferred using the word for both the singular and plural) and Tieflings outnumber human PCs. Even if you discard the scarce boon race PCs and the new open race access that arrived this season, the Pathfinder agent roster of PC dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings and halvesies probably outnumbered humans in terms of PCs. That isn't supported by Golarion canon, yet people don't complain about it, so I'm not sure whether expanded options via boons makes for a strong or even valid reason for complaints.

    IMHO, in general people are far too concerned with what other people/characters have or are doing. Why should anyone's entertainment factor be in any way eroded (or augmented for that matter) by what my character is or has? If my PC is being social/sociable, explores, reports and cooperates, fulfills a needed role for the group and/or makes others better at fulfilling their role, lets others have a chance to share the floor and/or shine, and I'm not cheating to do it, why should that adversely affect anyone? Are RPGs supposed to be collaborative activities or competitive ones? I really don't get it!

    On the other hand, I completely understand how one player/PC can erode or even preclude the entertainment of others. I don't think this has anything to do with PC race or anything else tied to crunchy rules. Lone wolves and/or antisocial PCs can be a problem for some. Comic relief PCs can be a problem for some (though they quite often start off as entertaining). PCs that do not place any value on, or commitment to, 'the team' can be a problem for some. Evil and/or over-the-top chaotic IC behaviour tends to bother most people and tends to be against PFS rules. Intentionally hopeless PCs can be a problem for some. Cheating, rules-lawyering, rudeness and other player behaviors also tend to be a problem for many. None of these things have anything to do with boons, races or any other rules options, so I don't see how they are pertinent to this discussion. Overpowered, solo-level PCs can certainly be a problem for many but this can be accomplished completely legally, without boons, and sometimes even without much in the way of exceptional luck (though that makes things worse!

    That said, perhaps boons should be tiered somehow. Race boons might be at the top of the list in terms of potential game balance. Trait boons, Day Job boons, item boons, and whatever else that has ever been handed out or even considered for distribution might be less influential and easier for the campaign to absorb in larger quantities, though I imagine each boon may vary widely/wildly. If boons are accessed randomly then assigning them a hierarchy and distributing them proportionately might be difficult depending on the (tech) tools, (tech) talent and time available to leadership. Further, if boons become more common, it might be worth considering some sort of cap to the number of non-scenario-based boons that can be assigned to a single PC. This limit might be tied to character level, fame, some other measure, or may not scale at all at the discretion and wisdom of campaign staff.

    Timing

    I think that the initial proposal of a 1-2 month period is probably not going to work very well. I figure that the intent here is to only watch the most recent releases, just as the "Faction Contraction" data pull only watched Season 4 scenarios. I didn't like that method there any more or less than I like it here.

    What is the intended purpose for applying an 'active' period in the first place? I'm not certain, but the proposed period sounds like it was meant as a way to limit the number of boons that get generated by play. I would argue that a longer period and a lower reward rate would be more equitable and accomplish the same ends. If there is another reason then I guess your mileage may vary.

    Different communities will always have different access to scenarios. The differences aren't necessarily strongly tied to anything that Paizo or PFS leadership should care about. The size of the community (in terms of players or GMs) and the age/maturity of the community (in terms of the average time playing PFS or total number of units played rather than the average chronological age of the PFS members) are going to have complicated and unpredictable effects on when scenarios are played. The amount of $ investment in Paizo products, and the loyalty, experience & devotion of individual PFS members is not well-tracked by the speed at which they access newly released scenarios.

    New scenario access depends on many things which vary from community to community.

    a. The lead time for event planning. Other have mentioned that their current lead time of two months would completely preclude them from being able to access new scenarios in the 'active' period.

    b. The reliability of the Paizo/PFS release schedule. Way of the Kirin and Rivalry's End, the 2 scenarios that could be considered test cases for this new access (given that their special boons have similarly short windows of access) have both suffered delays and for completely different reasons. How often have other scenarios and/or modules / APs been delayed from their initially announced release dates?

    Any kind of flux can have fairly large and fairly long-term consequences for a community. Some are so large, so new, or experiencing sufficient growth that they will have no qualms whatsoever with changing a scenario at the last minute and still being able to attract a player audience with whatever older substitute they use. Others will be unable to make a late substitution and expect to field tables. Assuming that communities that use the long lead time method of scheduling events use the release schedule to try to work in adventures in their 2 month active period they would have 3 choices: they could pushing ALL their scheduled events by a week, month or whatever the delay requires (i.e. massive churn for a community that thrives on stability and predictability); they could make a last-minute substitution for the late release when it initially fails to appear and then again to swap it back in at some unknown future date when it finally appears (significant churn); they could pull it for the week it isn't available and add it back into their first unscheduled slot, which we already know is outside the proposed 'active' period (least churn). None of these are great options for the community leaders if they want to promote the health of their community.

    The amount of spare time people have varies regardless of community, so their personal flexibility to commit to events with short notice varies and has nothing to do with anything that Paizo/PFS should care about. The preference for planning vs. spontaneity will also vary and affect schedules, both individually and in terms of communities.

    c. The number of GMs in the community that attend conventions. Many communities rely on 'seeders' to get things rolling locally. Some communities are lucky enough to be close enough to many urban centers and have frequent access to conventions for people with many socioeconomic circumstances. Others may not be that close to events but have enough people with enough disposable income to fly virtually anywhere — as often as once a month or even once a week! These gaming communities will have a much better chance to access scenarios in the active period since conventions always feature plenty of opportunities to sample the most recent releases.

    In communities that do not have many (or even any) GMs that travel often, they will generally access scenarios more slowly. They may have lots of players that travel, but they aren't interested in GMing for their local communities for whatever reason. Yes, it is completely true that anyone can GM anything before they've had the chance to play it, but the fact is that the vast majority of gamers prefer to play events before they have meta-knowledge of the adventure. For some, this means wrinkling their noses and sucking it up for the good of the community (and a 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' dynamic) and for others it means putting things off until they've gotten their game on, no exceptions! There really isn't a lot that can be done about that.

    d. The regional variation in the player-to-GM ratio. Some communities are rich in GMs, and others aren't. Some communities have lots of GMs, but their free time is scarce enough that they are simply unable to satisfy the wants/needs/desires of the player base. Converting players to GMs is probably the oldest 'disease' that gaming has known and to the best of my knowledge no one has ever found any significant and reliable remedies, let alone a panacea.

    e. Geography, geography, geography. Rural, international and online players are going to miss out on boons most of the time with such a short 'active' period.

    Basically, I think that the 'active' period either has to be longer, or there needs to be 'waves' as proposed by others. Waves sounds like it would entail more work, unless things could be completely automated! The third possibility is that timing not be a factor at all. Is there a real value in promoting the latest Season 5 scenario more than one a few months older, one from Season 4 or even earlier? If the goal is to push product, perhaps the boons themselves could be designed to accomplish that end? Boons could key to recently released rules sources or to older, less popular (in terms of residual sales or lifetime sales) releases. People need to own the sources to use rules items, so giving them a neat rules item they might not have chosen or been able to choose could move books and pdfs directly.

    Pre-order & Subscriptions

    I think Paizo and PFS leadership have done a pretty good job keeping player wealth/power from directly affecting character wealth/power. (I don't know whether this has been a conscious choice, or completely coincidental.) Abadar knows that isn't the case in MMORPGs (especially 'free-to-play' games) and hasn't always been true in other OP campaigns, past and present. Requiring source ownership for any PC rules access ensures sales are promoted and steady. Tying 'perks' to small relative differences in disposable income is a tried and true method for pure commerce but doesn't always make a lot of sense once social factors are considered. Getting a little extra scratch here and there from those can afford to spend without thinking twice boosts the margin in the short term, but may have deleterious effects to the size and satisfaction of the player base as a whole.

    Tying boons to pre-orders and subscribers would do the same thing. I understand the allure — the profit margin on printed matter is vastly higher than the margin on PDFs. At present time, there are no subscription options for people who only want PDFs and PDFs can't even be pre-ordered. I personally feel that I have far to much clutter in my life already and LOVE the growth of the paperless society! I cannot be alone in that feeling. Others may choose to only purchase PDFs for their own reasons, including but not exclusive to economic reasons. Still others have made the decision to support their grass-roots, brick-and-mortar game stores and buy as little as possible (or nothing at all) via the Internet. Is that not still considered a noble and necessary part of keeping the hobby healthy and vibrant?

    Should all of these people be excluded from the expanded boon access? If so, why? How is that any different or better than the current practice of accessing boons exclusively at conventions? Is the idea to reward different people, or to give more rewards to largely the same group of people? If the goal is to find a way to make rewards possible for the greatest number of loyal patrons/customers, tying them directly to pre-orders and subscriptions does not accomplish that goal. Honestly, if that's the way Pazio/PFS wants to go, then they should just start selling in-game gear, gold, property, titles and even experience points for US-dollars a la MMORPG.

    Scenario- / Series-Based Access

    In general, I do not like the concept of strongly linking scenarios or series to boons. It pre-empts many of the things that PFS wants to promote in its player base. I can't tell you how often I've seen tables cancelled, crippled or at the very least delayed and then rushed due to people being adamant about their choice of PC for scenario X. Whatever the specific reason or specific effect, very few people had fun or had far less fun than they wanted or hoped for. Most often this is due to a meta-reason like series-based access. Literally everyone has seen this, if not done it themselves.

    "I played the first Y scenarios with this PC and I don't want to give up the boon at the end, so I'm NOT bringing any of my other in-tier PCs."

    "This scenario has {boon, spellbook, unique item, etc.} access that is great for {insert class or faction here} so, I'm not going to flexible on this, end of story! I don't care that you're all L1-2 and I'm L6-7!"

    "I don't want to give up my maxed out Day Job roll (with or without DJR boon substitute) so I'm not bringing a pregen, even though we all want/plan to bring low-AC rogues (or diplomats, or whatever)."

    "This GM interprets the 'pregen plays for Grand Lodge' as anyone playing a pregen for any reason gets Grand Lodge prestige instead of the faction prestige for the PFS-PC# to which the chronicle is being applied, so I refuse to play a pregen." (This is still not crystal clear and table variation is still large.)

    "I have an in-tier PC so I'm not allowed to play a pregen." (Is this true for scenarios or only modules and APs? Even if the PC is already locked into a multi-session event?)

    "This is my only in-tier PC, I have no choice." (Sometimes this is true, sometimes it isn't.)

    "Well, I guess {I am / were are} not playing then. That means there's only 2 of you left and no one gets to play. Serves you right, jerks."

    There are already enough reasons for people to be selfish and inflexible and in the process negatively impact the fun of others, or outright deny them the chance to play. Let's not introduce any more of them, please and thank you. If this has to be incorporated then please make the rules regarding pregen use crystal clear and less draconian. I get that we want people to make and play real, defined PCs. I get that this ultimately promotes product sales. I get that we don't want people somehow 'abusing' the system. I assume that the pregens are designed to be fairly pathetic to discourage their use. I assume that after all this time the pregen errors have never been changed to further discourage their use. (I can't believe that this is a cost-related choice as there must be a line of volunteers willing to bring things up to professional publication standards for nothing — not even public acknowledgement / credit — a league long!) Still, at some point the negatives outweigh the positives and changes have to be made.

    On the other hand, soft-linking scenarios to boons is perfectly fine, IMHO. I played/judged scenarios X, Y and Z during the last reward period and I somehow earned/won a boon. The choices available to me are dictated by having played scenarios X, Y & Z (regardless of how, or with what PC I played or GMed them). Scenario X is associated with a ratfolk race boon, scenarios Y is associated with a (type of) extra trait boon, and scenario Z is associated with a (specific) Day Job boon. The boon I receive for this period can only be one of those three. Whether it amounts to random selection, player choice, or whether I must be able to pay the specific number of 'reward credits' required to purchase any of those boons (e.g. the ratfolk boon costs 30 credits, the trait boon costs 20 credits, and the DJR boon costs 10 credits, and with only 18 credits my only options are to take the DJR boon or to take none of them and maybe be allowed to and bank the credit balance) is entirely up to PFS leadership and Paizo IT staff to decide.

    I'm sure there's more that needs to be considered and more will come up as time is devoted to the topic by leadership and membership alike.

    Thank you very much for thinking of those of us who aren't traveling as much as we used to (or not at all), haven't yet discovered the attraction of traveling to game, or cannot for whatever reason travel as easily as we'd like! (For those who haven't thought about it, in addition to the obvious economic reasons, health, disabilities, responsibilities and even a person's culture/religion/philosophy are compelling and valid reasons that can keep people from traveling even short distances, from being able to cope with moderately large crowds or many other subtleties that most of us never even considered could be significant barriers for people.)

    Grand Lodge 5/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

    Thank you for the well thought out post. The many points presented give me much to think on and process and consider.


    Getting in on this a bit late; but I'll throw in my two cents: no matter what system might be decided on, I hope GMs will also be able to benefit. I personally love catfolk, and whereas I don't know if I'll ever be able to play at a con, I'd really want to be able to have a PFS legal catfolk character on 'standby'. On that note, if opening race boons for GMs outside of cons comes to be, I'm also hoping that it won't be limited to high-Star GMs. I work a lot, and at the moment I can only run PFS one Monday a month. Which means it'll take near forever for me to get my Stars. I'm fine with that; just saying, throw some fishies to the penguins in the shallow pool too. :P

    Venture-Captain, Germany–Hannover aka Hayato Ken

    I thank you too for that big post Mistress Ashley the Sage. You write a lot of interesting stuff there. One thing i did not understand that good was the point of 10% flooding the OP and tables not eligible. I´m of the international base and have no clue about U.S. conventions. Could you please elaborate that some more?


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    GMs already get enough rewards.

    If a person is goaded into GMing because they get boons, I don't want that person to GM.

    Lantern Lodge

    Benjamin Falk wrote:
    One thing I did not understand that good was the point of 10% flooding the OP and tables not eligible.

    No problem sir! I'll address both to the best of my ability.

    The "10% flooding" idea is based on the belief that convention play constitutes less than half of the total number of PFS games played. I think this is probably true across all regions, but the exact proportion probably differs.

    I don't have the data, and if there is a problem with smaller events not being faithfully reported then even the data may not be completely reliable. It would most likely overestimate the rate for convention play since non-reporting is generally steeply skewed toward smaller events.

    If the same 10% reward rate is used across ALL PFS events then the number of boons in the hands of players will at least double.

    Pct. of PFS play generated by conventions vs boon effect
    cons = 50% of play ---> doubles the # of boons distributed
    cons = 33% of play ---> triples " "
    cons = 25% of play ---> quadruples " "
    cons = 20% of play ---> quintuples " "

    Doubling the number of boons might not be considered problematic, but increasing them 4-fold (or more) is likely to be considered a flood by most people, possibly even those that don't perceive certain boons as bad at any level!

    When I first referred tables not eligible I meant tables that are happening anywhere other than at conventions. Those are currently not eligible to receive boons, and Mike would like to make them eligible.

    I think I later referenced them in the context of conventions possibly ending up in a "double jeopardy" situation. By that I mean that convention play could be getting boon credit twice, first at the convention in the form of the current 10% 'live' / face-to-face distribution, and then again through the new system, whatever it turns out to be. If that happens, the "flood effect" will be even larger, unless the reward rate(s) is/are reduced.

    For what it's worth, I hope the new system doesn't replace the current system. I think that the feeling one gets when handed a reward/prize by a GM — or better yet, campaign leadership — is always going to be better than the feeling one gets for getting something via random electronic means. It's probably better than 'earning' a boon through weight of participation, too (meaning a non-lottery, points/credits system). Individual mileage may vary, but business decisions are usually made on the basis of large numbers, not individuals, and (I think) the point is to maximize Pathfinder promotion and Paizo goodwill.

    I hope that helps.

    Shadow Lodge

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    Mistress Ashley, your post was awesome!

    I would like to add a little bit about the concept of innumeracy, but make it a little more feelings based. I hope my description adds something. I see this a lot at my work, so I believe in it a lot.

    I suggest as a society we would be much better off making boon acquisition mechanical, like way of the kirin. You play it, with a Lantern lodge character, and something cool with happen. This is a win-win for everyone involved. I play the game, I get the boon, I have nice feelings. I am encouraged to play more pathfinder society games, which makes me more likely to buy more pathfinder stuff, so down the road paizo wins too.

    There are lots of ways of making this happen. You get could points like in the RPGA of old. You could track gm stars. You could play module x, y, and z which are all reported, and then send in a request. You could make this easy. You could make this hard. It's all good. If you give out boons to non-con goers, and you announce it, whether its a few or a lot, you will, imo, generate good will and expand the society.

    On the other hand, let's take my experience at gencon a few years ago. A group of people I knew played various PFS games and we turned in about 15 coins, which turned into what seemed like a lot of keys, which turned into a big fat nothing. People were pretty bummed. We saw lots of other people who got nothing, but we also saw some people got stuff. We were gripped by innumeracy, but it did not matter, the experience generated some sad feelings. No one said anything, but that was the last PFS for one of the people. Later, when I asked her about it, she explained, why would I use my spare time to play a game that will make me feel bad? When I explained the following year, she would be virtually guaranteed to get something, she said, let's do something else.

    I believe that this situation is somewhat analogous to the random giving out of boons (except you won't necessarily see the other people who won stuff): some people are going to feel bad. Bad feelings is bad for the society, because some people will stop playing, and this is bad for business.

    Grand Lodge

    Tim Vincent wrote:

    GMs already get enough rewards.

    If a person is goaded into GMing because they get boons, I don't want that person to GM.

    What rewards? You mean the chronicle? Are you suggesting that GMs shouldn't get credit for running games for you?

    Grand Lodge 5/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

    @David thanks for the reply and another point of view. What bothers me is someone you know quit because she didn't win what was essentially a door prize. I just don't understand that. I assume she received the full enjoyment from playing the scenarios she participated in, she advanced her character and attached Chronicle sheets, and she was able to spend five hours or more with friends making good gaming memories. She then gets put off of PFS because she didn't win the door prize above and beyond what she was guaranteed (a seat at a game for each event ticket she had).

    I liken this to the various swag people can receive in the dealer hall. If you get there too late, you don't get a giveaway. I guess what I really don't understand is why she felt so bad that the entire OP was off putting to her. I assume she is the type of person who doesn't buy scratch lottery tickets or play bingo either. Both of those are akin to the con giveaways, except you pay extra for those. The giveaways for PFS were above and beyond what was already paid for with the event ticket.

    So, what is Paizo to do? Not give away any books or other products or boons because they aren't guaranteed? And even when we do guarantee them (like last year at Gen Con), people are still put off. I am having a hard time understanding that. Hopefully you can come back and further expand on your above post so I can hopefully gain a better understanding.

    Shadow Lodge

    After reading and meditating on this further, I think I've arrived at an opinion.

    Everyone should get a boons in their PFS career. Who wants to be the guy with 100 games played and no boons sitting next to a guy who's excited (rightfully so) sharing that he picked up 2 at his first convention?

    A boon could be granted at each GM star and each "player star" (player stars coming at the same point in play as GM stars).

    When a person gets a star, they can come online to a "Get your boon" page on the website and click "Roll the dice" where a virtual d20 or d100 rolls away.

    Some random element is exciting (like opening a pack of cards for a CCG).

    Depending on the roll, there would be common boons (i.e. a trait giving a character a bonus to a particular saving throw, like the obedience benefits from worship of an empyreal lord), uncommon boons, rare boons and very rare boons (sound like a familiar system?)

    While this makes boons much more common - it doesn't make "really good" boons much more common - and it opens up a lot more boon trading at local stores between non-convention goers.

    Shadow Lodge

    Well, Mike, what you say is all true.

    She did (seem) to have a good time playing. Our table even got named during the special because we were the first group to finish the half-way point. I thought her reaction was weird, which is probably why I remember it so well. I think it was the bad feelings that got to her, but how could you prevent that? I am not sure. Maybe, make the whole thing more mechanical?? That way she would not have expectations that do not get fulfilled, and lead to bad feelings.

    Personally, I thought the plan last year of guarantee something, was way better. I know some people were put off, but again, it seemed to be due to the randomness/innumeracy issue....why not just eliminate it altogether?

    I have a guess, but this is only a guess, for eliminating the randomness, as much as possible.

    It could look something like this:
    Turn in 2 tokens, you get one boon, you can choose from boons 1-6,
    Turn in 3 tokens, you get one boon, choose from boons 7-8,
    Turn in 4 tokens, you get one boon, choose from boon 9-10,
    Turn in 4 tokens, roll for free product ???

    This way you would choose what you got. Seems pretty hard to get annoyed at this, unless you were someone who rolled lots of 20's or always got the right keys.

    Grand Lodge 5/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

    But most gamers like the randomness of rolling a d20 in my experience. I just don't think there would be as much excitement over choosing a boon instead of rolling for one. Maybe I'm wrong so I will keep watching this thread.

    The Exchange 5/5

    Wakedown asks above: "Everyone should get a boons in their PFS career. Who wants to be the guy with 100 games played and no boons sitting next to a guy who's excited (rightfully so) sharing that he picked up 2 at his first convention?"
    raises hand

    when they come around the tables to ask us to roll a d20 for boons - I ask to Take 10. Really. I given away most of the boons I've won over time.

    I have played over 100 games... and I very much enjoy "...sitting next to a guy who's excited ...that he picked up 2 at his first convention..."

    going back to the peanut gallery again now... just had to chime in a moment


    Kintrik wrote:
    Tim Vincent wrote:
    GMs already get enough rewards.
    What rewards?

    Please refer to Chapter 7 of the PFSGtOP.

    Sczarni 4/5 RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

    Michael Brock wrote:
    But most gamers like the randomness of rolling a d20 in my experience. I just don't think there would be as much excitement over choosing a boon instead of rolling for one. Maybe I'm wrong so I will keep watching this thread.

    If you wanted, you could have different boon "classes", and still roll for which boon in particular you get.

    For example, you could have a bunch of boons for a +5 bonus on a skill check, usable once. Which skill in particular could be determined by a die roll.

    For a greater number of tokens, you could get a free trait, or a permanent bonus to some skill or other. Roll for which boon in that class you actually get.

    For an even greater number of tokens, you could get access to a race. Which race could be determined by a die roll.

    I don't know if that would be too complicated, though.

    Silver Crusade

    Tim Vincent wrote:
    Kintrik wrote:
    Tim Vincent wrote:
    GMs already get enough rewards.
    What rewards?
    Please refer to Chapter 7 of the PFSGtOP.

    Did you read any of the Chapter your self? I don't see any rewards for GM stars. It's comments like yours that make me want to stop GM for my area(I'm not going to stop Kintrik). Like I get some kind of special reward for buying the scenario, reading it / and preparing it, and then running the scenario. No I get a chronicle sheet the same as if I hade played it. This is why I get up set with this type of comment's. Now if there was some kind of rewards system. And I feel there should be other then just bragging rights. As mentioned in other treads special rewards available only to GM's. I don't see this as a problem as it encourages players to GM. For every player you encourage to GM even if they don't like it. It helps make tables so that people that GM's can play. The only way to get people better at GMing it to have them run tables. You will not find many people that can GM well with out a lot of time in the GM seat.

    Game Master Rewards
    We reward GMs for volunteering their time to run such events. Any GM who runs a scenario gets full credit for that scenario applied to one of
    her own characters. “Full credit” means the GM gets the following: 1 XP for the scenario, 100% of the Max Gold for the subtier most appropriate to the GM’s character, and 2 PP. Then special rules on how you apply it to the characters.
    GM Stars
    In order to both encourage more reporting from GMs and event coordinators and to offer a “bragging rights” type of reward for GMs, Pathfinder Society Organized Play offers a GM ranking system.

    Grand Lodge

    Tim Vincent wrote:
    Kintrik wrote:
    Tim Vincent wrote:
    GMs already get enough rewards.
    What rewards?
    Please refer to Chapter 7 of the PFSGtOP.

    So exactly what I said in my original post. The full chronicle. That isn't anything above and beyond what players playing the scenario can get.

    So who do you think should be "rewarded" more. The person who pays the $3.99 for the scenario, spends time preparing it, and then running it for 3-7 people. Or the just the character player. One sure does seems to put forth alot more effort than the other, so why shouldn't they be included a race boon lottery from a scenario they bought and ran?

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

    Tim Vincent wrote:
    Kintrik wrote:
    Tim Vincent wrote:
    GMs already get enough rewards.
    What rewards?
    Please refer to Chapter 7 of the PFSGtOP.

    I did. Pages 32-38 are all about Game Master Responsibilities.

    Page 39 includes a section labeled "Game Master Rewards", 6 whole paragraphs long, which is basically a hedged-about statement that a GM can, once per scenario, give one of her PCs full credit for the scenario that they have run. Not as full credit as a PC who played through could earn, no Day job for instance, but no risk.

    While it is nice, and christened as a reward, it is NOT, repeat not much of an incentive for running PFS locally or online. Check these boards, you will find posts by GMs who don't take the GM credit either at all or for games over a certain level.

    Oh, and at 4 stars, you get the privilege of being able to run an exclusive scenario each year. More work, it looks like, to me, for the volunteers who spend their free time preparing and running scenarios, modules and APs. Takes longer to prepare even a scenario than it does for a Wizard to prepare his daily allotment of spells...

    I try to run PFS locally, because, other than the monthly Game Day, there is not much PFS visible locally. What do I get for all this? The expense of buying scenarios. Printing scenarios. Printing multiple copies of the Chronicle Sheets and faction briefings. Hand-drawing or buying premade maps for the game. Setting up, breaking down and transporting my GM materials.

    Spending hours preparing a scenario, and having a player either destroy an encounter in one round, or have a whole group of players not able to handle the encounter. When I ran Accursed Halls recently, the players were having to take rest breaks for their PCs after almost every room, they were spending so much of their resources to win what should have been easy encounters. Sigh.

    Do we even want to go into who has to choose what scenario or module is being run next? I have asked my players, and the best I have gotten was, "Can we start with the Season 0 stuff, and just work through them more-or-less in published order, tier permitting?" And that was from only one player.

    GM rewards? Yeah.

    Grand Lodge 4/5

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

    I personally liked the Gen Con 2012 token method better than the Gen Con 2011 key method. As far as I recall, Gen Con 2009 and 2010 did not offer any boons to players.

    The 2011 method gave you a chance to win something per game played plus there was a Tian Weapon Training boon that everyone got. I do not remember how many keys you received but I think it was two per scenario played and 1 per demo played. I think I played two scenarios and two demo. I would guess that was six keys. As it turned out, the Tian Weapon Training boon was the only boon I received.

    The 2012 method was easier, had shorter administration (and lines) and guaranteed you something for every two games played. I picked up Translator and Varasian Weapon Training boons.

    Assuming that Gen Con 2013 will be run the same as last year, I know that the four senarios that I am playing will give me a chance at two boons/product.

    I have also participated at a local convention, U-Con. There they used a star method. Each table received two stars. One was for the players and it could be handed out by random determination or table vote. The other went to the GM who could keep it or hand it to the players. In 2011, I was lucky enough to receive 3 stars (out of three tables played) and received two boons and a flip map. I received Trained Eye and Extra Trait for the boons. In 2012, I was lucky to receive a star again (out of two tables played) and received copies of the first two Pathfinder comic books.


    Michael Brock wrote:
    But most gamers like the randomness of rolling a d20 in my experience. I just don't think there would be as much excitement over choosing a boon instead of rolling for one. Maybe I'm wrong so I will keep watching this thread.

    Agreed.

    Incorporating that into David's idea it could be that: 2 tokens = 1d20
    and that 3(4/5/?) tokens = 2d20 choose one
    or that 1 token + one boon = 2d20 choose one

    But this thread is about non-con boons. :)

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