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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Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

Or you can do an apples to apples comparison. You don't just compare [1 con] vs [1 game day] you compare [x tables of conning] vs [x tables of game days]. Its the prerequisite of having the games all bunched in together that seems incredibly arbitrary to me.

And if I compare as you are suggesting, then some game days will take 3 years reach the same amount of tables that one convention does in May, and a similar convention in the same region does in September. Surely, you aren't asking me to make the very unfair comparison of a game day with one game table on a Saturday with five players to one day at a convention that runs 75 players. If that's the case, then sure, I will compare the two. Contact me when that game day has completed 75 Saturdays.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dread Knight wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Dread Knight wrote:
Paz wrote:
Nyhmboi wrote:
Just the fact that you have to acquire some weird boon by doing a con or at random to play something unique and fun and have a more characterful choice besides a elf or a dwarf feels like a huge back step for me.

So what do you propose the race boons, that are used to reward those volunteering at PFS events (worldwide and online) for their time, be replaced with?

I'm not afraid of change, I just think that the current system works very well, and nobody has proposed a better solution.

I would maybe suggest boons that open up other options that are locked out such as classes or archetypes that aren't currently legal like what they had for the Assassin maybe a boon to have access to the Blackfire Adept, the Siege Gunner or Undead Lord archetype, maybe a boon that lets you purchase 1 advanced firearm, or one that allows access to not currently legal item like a Blade of the Sword-Saint
So, if we do that, then we remove the items we like to use for charity auctions. What do you suggest we replace the charity item boons with?

Keep some of the things for charity auctions? Just because you change where some of them are doesn't mean they all have to go there.

Such as open Drow to people but have a rare con/charity boon where they can gain the Drow Noble feats, have Undead Lord be a con boon and Synthesist Summoner a charity boon, open Ifrits, Kitsune, and Goblins but have the Kasathe, Wyrwood, and Trox still be boons for cons/charity auctions.

Have a con boon for Blackfire Adept and a charity boon for a CN Anti-Paladin, a con boon for a single advanced firearm and a charity boon for a pistol of infinite sky, etc

Just as an aside, Drow aremt going to become legal.

Also, taking your example as a hypothetical, a year after we offer those options for charity, then we get someone coming to the message board advising those options should be open to all, just like you have done from last year's charity auctions.

There is never a point when people are going to stop asking for us to continue to open up more and more. We have to draw a line somewhere and we have.

Edit: We aren't adding boons for options we've removed from society play. They were removed because they weren't a good fit and introducing them back in creates more problems.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Michael Brock wrote:
BNW, I'm trying to understand what exactly you are arguing for.

An alternate path to the race boons besides convention play. Probably one far less efficient than convention dming. While I'm not attached to any particular solution the types of possibilities I would like considered include 1/star, or 1/ every other star, or 1/50 games or something along those lines.

Quote:
Are you asking for anytime anyone GMs, they receive a boon?

No.

Quote:
Are you advising even home game GMs, that never GM outside of their living room for the same five players rceive a boon everytime they GM a game?

Every time? No. Once every 20, or 100 times? Maybe.

Quote:
Are you arguing for argument sake because you are bored?

Not on this forum. *hides other window*.

I genuinely believe people when they tell me they feel excluded by not being able to hit the conventions to get these things.

Quote:
Did you receive your GM race boon at Dex Con this past weekend?

Nope. Was dashing for the train.

I put CG on the sheet. That means that when you get yours, you don't stop looking out for the other people who haven't.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

GM Lamplighter wrote:

So some people will only GM if they get "paid" (in boons), but are happy to play PFS just for fun... While taking advantage of the kindness of someone else? Interesting. I wonder why your GM does it without getting paid? Maybe GMing is also fun?

One thing I learned from LFR, which was an environment where you could always play if you wanted to because of the unlimited replay rules, was that less than 1 in 7 participants preferred to GM rather than play. So, yes, incentives are necessary to bring that number up to at least 1 in 7, if not higher.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we usd to incentive con GMs? I have clear numbers that show when a new, desired race is offered as a con boon, tier 1 GMs for Gen Con go up from 90 to 163 tier 1 GMs. If those same people can get that same boon at home. What incentive do we provide so they volunteer for 8 slots instead of 7? If it isn't good enough, then those people remain tier 2 to get a hotel room and badge and I'm left with an additional 163 tables to fill.


Michael Brock wrote:


So, if we do that, then we remove the items we like to use for charity auctions. What do you suggest we replace the charity item boons with?

What about options to allow story feats or even more ways to gain mythic abilities? As of right now, these both from two hardcover books that are of limited use in PFS play.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Michael Brock wrote:
So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we usd to incentive con GMs?

A new model car. Use whatever was in season last year for home games/ small meetups and use the newer model for con dming?

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

Tarma wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:


So, if we do that, then we remove the items we like to use for charity auctions. What do you suggest we replace the charity item boons with?

What about options to allow story feats or even more ways to gain mythic abilities? As of right now, these both from two hardcover books that are of limited use in PFS play.

Both of those are bad options for OP, with the exception of a once off mythic boon for that scenario only. And. My suspicion is the bidding would be much less for those than race/class options, which is the opposite of what we are going for in charity auctions.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we usd to incentive con GMs?
A new model car. Use whatever was in season last year for home games/ small meetups and use the newer model for con dming?

That idea won't work. When I debated opening up elemental races for season 6, I was told more than a dozen times how it would cheapen the GM boons we gave out in season 5.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Michael Brock wrote:


There have been at least 8 conventions this year that have given out at least 75 new PFS numbers over the course of the three day show. How much more rationale do you need that a regional convention attracts more new players than a local game day?

I haven't kept track but I'm reasonably sure that at least 75 players had their first session at the store I coordinate for over the last year. Note that a significant majority of these had their PFS numbers BEFORE coming to the store.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Michael Brock wrote:
So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we usd to incentive con GMs? I have clear numbers that show when a new, desired race is offered as a con boon, tier 1 GMs for Gen Con go up from 90 to 163 tier 1 GMs. If those same people can get that same boon at home. What incentive do we provide so they volunteer for 8 slots instead of 7? If it isn't good enough, then those people remain tier 2 to get a hotel room and badge and I'm left with an additional 163 tables to fill.

Mike,

During the year you give out several different race boons at Cons. How about pick 1 race for a year that is only given out as a reward based on GM stars or, better yet, tables GMed over a given period? You can still reward people that go to Cons with plenty exclusive race boons. Meanwhile, you are still rewarding people for GMing who don't/can't attend cons. Make it exclusive based on tables GMed in a give period and you will reward people for doing something other than just GMing at cons a couple of times a year. I don't see why it has to be all or nothing. BNW isn't asking that you give him the entire cake you are giving con GMs. Just a slice of it. I am suggesting you give them their own cupcake.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

pauljathome wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:


There have been at least 8 conventions this year that have given out at least 75 new PFS numbers over the course of the three day show. How much more rationale do you need that a regional convention attracts more new players than a local game day?

I haven't kept track but I'm reasonably sure that at least 75 players had their first session at the store I coordinate for over the last year. Note that a significant majority of these had their PFS numbers BEFORE coming to the store.

So it sounds like with that many new people combined with existing players, 15 tables over three days shouldn't be too difficult!

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Michael Brock wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we use to incentive con GMs?
A new model car. Use whatever was in season last year for home games/ small meetups and use the newer model for con dming?
That idea won't work. When I debated opening up elemental races for season 6, I was told more than a dozen times how it would cheapen the GM boons we gave out in season 5.

I think there's a big difference between opening the flood gates entirely and handing out the boons to people on a more limited basis.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

trollbill wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we usd to incentive con GMs? I have clear numbers that show when a new, desired race is offered as a con boon, tier 1 GMs for Gen Con go up from 90 to 163 tier 1 GMs. If those same people can get that same boon at home. What incentive do we provide so they volunteer for 8 slots instead of 7? If it isn't good enough, then those people remain tier 2 to get a hotel room and badge and I'm left with an additional 163 tables to fill.

Mike,

During the year you give out several different race boons at Cons. How about pick 1 race for a year that is only given out as a reward based on GM stars or, better yet, tables GMed over a given period? You can still reward people that go to Cons with plenty exclusive race boons. Meanwhile, you are still rewarding people for GMing who don't/can't attend cons. Make it exclusive based on tables GMed in a give period and you will reward people for doing something other than just GMing at cons a couple of times a year. I don't see why it has to be all or nothing. BNW isn't asking that you give him the entire cake you are giving con GMs. Just a slice of it. I am suggesting you give them their own cupcake.

Because my experience is that if it isn't something the person has an interest in, it doesn't solve anything. How would it be received if I advised, anyone who earns a second star during season 6 gets a wayang boon? I just don't think many people would care.


Michael Brock wrote:
Tarma wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:


So, if we do that, then we remove the items we like to use for charity auctions. What do you suggest we replace the charity item boons with?

What about options to allow story feats or even more ways to gain mythic abilities? As of right now, these both from two hardcover books that are of limited use in PFS play.

Both of those are bad options for OP, with the exception of a once off mythic boon for that scenario only. And. My suspicion is the bidding would be much less for those than race/class options, which is the opposite of what we are going for in charity auctions.

Fair point. Although they are options.

I seem to remember at last year's Gen Con there were some unique items in the charity auction. What if that were to be expanded to items that couldn't normally be acquired in lower level play, for example: A scroll of limited wish? Access to a cohort or the leadership feat? A shark with Shadowdancer levels? :)

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Michael Brock wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we usd to incentive con GMs?
A new model car. Use whatever was in season last year for home games/ small meetups and use the newer model for con dming?
That idea won't work. When I debated opening up elemental races for season 6, I was told more than a dozen times how it would cheapen the GM boons we gave out in season 5.

There is a difference between opening them up for everyone and simply rewarding a limited subset of additional people with them.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we use to incentive con GMs?
A new model car. Use whatever was in season last year for home games/ small meetups and use the newer model for con dming?
That idea won't work. When I debated opening up elemental races for season 6, I was told more than a dozen times how it would cheapen the GM boons we gave out in season 5.
I think there's a big difference between opening the flood gates entirely and handing out the boons to people on a more limited basis.

So where do you draw the line? I did at 15 tables. If you say 2 stars. One star GMs will complain. If you say one star, people who can only GM once a month complain they only get a boon once every 10 months. Where is that line?

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

trollbill wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we usd to incentive con GMs?
A new model car. Use whatever was in season last year for home games/ small meetups and use the newer model for con dming?
That idea won't work. When I debated opening up elemental races for season 6, I was told more than a dozen times how it would cheapen the GM boons we gave out in season 5.
There is a difference between opening them up for everyone and simply rewarding a limited subset of additional people with them.

People want the newest. It's human nature. If I offer a boon that has been a available for 1-3 years, I have a suspicion it will be lackluster at best and will receive suggestions we give out what currently is offered in season.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Michael Brock wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we use to incentive con GMs?
A new model car. Use whatever was in season last year for home games/ small meetups and use the newer model for con dming?
That idea won't work. When I debated opening up elemental races for season 6, I was told more than a dozen times how it would cheapen the GM boons we gave out in season 5.
I think there's a big difference between opening the flood gates entirely and handing out the boons to people on a more limited basis.
So where do you draw the line? I did at 15 tables. If you say 2 stars. One star GMs will complain. If you say one star, people who can only GM once a month complain they only get a boon once every 10 months. Where is that line?

Do you have an easy way of telling how much someone has GMed over a given period of time? Seems to me rewarding people for that rather than total games GMed might work better as a motivation for local game days.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
GM Lamplighter wrote:
So some people will only GM if they get "paid" (in boons), but are happy to play PFS just for fun... While taking advantage of the kindness of someone else? Interesting. I wonder why your GM does it without getting paid? Maybe GMing is also fun?

Or maybe they WILL GM without getting "paid", but are tired of being considered "second tier"?

I, for one, am financially unable to travel to conventions, and the one time I have tried to volunteer to GM for an online convention, they gave my table to another GM who had volunteered after I did, but also volunteered to run part two of the series the following day; despite the fact that I volunteered over a month in advance, I didn't find out I was being preempted until the day I was supposed to be running, and only then because I asked why I hadn't heard anything about the players being assigned to me; obviously, by this point I had already put in HOURS of prep work setting up maps and creating macros for every single creature, and it was far too late for me to find something else to run. Needless to say, the experience has put me off of trying again for the near future.

So despite my efforts, I have still been unable to run a "convention" table, and the only race boon I've gotten my hands on I traded for (and I was only able to do THAT because of a single lucky roll); and yet I still keep volunteering to run at our local game day (because I see it as "returning a favor", because I prefer playing), usually twice a month. I advertise our event local, I help out new players get started, and just generally try to help our local player base grow. And yet still I'm treated as a second-class citizen behind the convention-goers in one of my favorite aspects of the game: character building.

I don't think I'm alone in this, and it frustrates me when I see people on these boards dismiss these concerns out of hand out of the belief that if we can't jump through the hoops it must be something wrong with US. Every time I see a post like what I just quoted, it makes me wonder just how out of touch you are that you think that ANY mention of rewards for the countless hours we spend keeping this campaign running on a local level is somehow tantamount to us demanding "payment" like a bunch of ungrateful wretches.

Yes, I know you weren't trying to be offensive, but you were anyways.

GM Lamplighter wrote:
BNW: i think you are correct, there should be a way to recognize those GMs running game days... But how? As in, "How, without also just giving boons to every regular home game run privately?" It's a huge tracking issue, and Paizo's tracking system isn't their forte right now.

Why is that such a bad thing? Yes, the intent is to reward public play, but why is inadvertently rewarding another style of play such a bad thing that it must be avoided at all costs, even at the expense of those that work their butts off to support the local public play scene? Despite what you may have heard, I have it on good authority that no one actually kills any kittens when you play privately.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Michael Brock wrote:
trollbill wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we usd to incentive con GMs?
A new model car. Use whatever was in season last year for home games/ small meetups and use the newer model for con dming?
That idea won't work. When I debated opening up elemental races for season 6, I was told more than a dozen times how it would cheapen the GM boons we gave out in season 5.
There is a difference between opening them up for everyone and simply rewarding a limited subset of additional people with them.
People want the newest. It's human nature. If I offer a boon that has been a available for 1-3 years, I have a suspicion it will be lackluster at best and will receive suggestions we give out what currently is offered in season.

Well, that is why I think giving them their own special cupcake works better.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Mike Brock wrote:
o where do you draw the line? I did at 15 tables. If you say 2 stars. One star GMs will complain. If you say one star, people who can only GM once a month complain they only get a boon once every 10 months. Where is that line?

But 1 star DMs can become 2 star DM's eventually, under more or less their own power. 15 tables takes space and organization that's simply out of reach for many. The table requirement isn't just a matter of degree its a matter of kind.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

trollbill wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we use to incentive con GMs?
A new model car. Use whatever was in season last year for home games/ small meetups and use the newer model for con dming?
That idea won't work. When I debated opening up elemental races for season 6, I was told more than a dozen times how it would cheapen the GM boons we gave out in season 5.
I think there's a big difference between opening the flood gates entirely and handing out the boons to people on a more limited basis.
So where do you draw the line? I did at 15 tables. If you say 2 stars. One star GMs will complain. If you say one star, people who can only GM once a month complain they only get a boon once every 10 months. Where is that line?
Do you have an easy way of telling how much someone has GMed over a given period of time? Seems to me rewarding people for that rather than total games GMed might work better as a motivation for local game days.

Unfortunately no. Manual counting is all I've got currently.

3/5

Michael Brock wrote:


Because my experience is that if it isn't something the person has an interest in, it doesn't solve anything. How would it be received if I advised, anyone who earns a second star during season 6 gets a wayang boon? I just don't think many people would care.

Okay, I'm really sorry for posting w/o contributing anything particularly useful... but I just couldn't resist in this exact case, as I've been searching for weeks now trying to get a Wayang boon on the trade thread and I'm a couple of games from hitting my second star.

Again, sorry, but it was too perfect of a straight line not to chime in.

Okay... so I don't feel like a total jerk making a wasted post: I think that yes, a racial boon would be a nice perk for those GMs who may not run at a Con, and yet run week in and week out forgoing playing at their FLGS to make sure that games happen. Those people have a lot of GM credit to throw around, and if it makes their rare instance of playing more pleasurable, good for them. That said, I appreciate the double-edged sword here. I'd offer that perhaps someone on a more local scale (VC) may have an idea of who best deserves things, but then you'd no doubt see complaints of favoritism. This is obviously a complicated issue with passion on both sides, and no solution is likely to make everyone happy. Coming from an area with many cons (most of which I can't attend), my opinion too is skewed. I think that the 15 tables in 3 days and online options are both great ways to obtain the boons. I'd not known about either until recently though. Perhaps even publicizing the policy more (and organizing tutorials on how to best run online games... because that can be daunting... if that's not already done) would be a good way to start out.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Michael Brock wrote:
trollbill wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So if we give out race boons for home play and the like, what do we usd to incentive con GMs? I have clear numbers that show when a new, desired race is offered as a con boon, tier 1 GMs for Gen Con go up from 90 to 163 tier 1 GMs. If those same people can get that same boon at home. What incentive do we provide so they volunteer for 8 slots instead of 7? If it isn't good enough, then those people remain tier 2 to get a hotel room and badge and I'm left with an additional 163 tables to fill.

Mike,

During the year you give out several different race boons at Cons. How about pick 1 race for a year that is only given out as a reward based on GM stars or, better yet, tables GMed over a given period? You can still reward people that go to Cons with plenty exclusive race boons. Meanwhile, you are still rewarding people for GMing who don't/can't attend cons. Make it exclusive based on tables GMed in a give period and you will reward people for doing something other than just GMing at cons a couple of times a year. I don't see why it has to be all or nothing. BNW isn't asking that you give him the entire cake you are giving con GMs. Just a slice of it. I am suggesting you give them their own cupcake.

Because my experience is that if it isn't something the person has an interest in, it doesn't solve anything. How would it be received if I advised, anyone who earns a second star during season 6 gets a wayang boon? I just don't think many people would care.

I was thinking something more along the lines of anyone who GMed, say 10 tables, in a 6 month period. This would encourage GMing at all levels and reward people who don't go to Cons. It would provide special incentive to people who can't go to cons to GM more.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

DrakeRoberts wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:


Because my experience is that if it isn't something the person has an interest in, it doesn't solve anything. How would it be received if I advised, anyone who earns a second star during season 6 gets a wayang boon? I just don't think many people would care.

Okay, I'm really sorry for posting w/o contributing anything particularly useful... but I just couldn't resist in this exact case, as I've been searching for weeks now trying to get a Wayang boon on the trade thread and I'm a couple of games from hitting my second star.

Again, sorry, but it was too perfect of a straight line not to chime in.

Okay... so I don't feel like a total jerk making a wasted post: I think that yes, a racial boon would be a nice perk for those GMs who may not run at a Con, and yet run week in and week out forgoing playing at their FLGS to make sure that games happen. Those people have a lot of GM credit to throw around, and if it makes their rare instance of playing more pleasurable, good for them. That said, I appreciate the double-edged sword here. I'd offer that perhaps someone on a more local scale (VC) may have an idea of who best deserves things, but then you'd no doubt see complaints of favoritism. This is obviously a complicated issue with passion on both sides, and no solution is likely to make everyone happy. Coming from an area with many cons (most of which I can't attend), my opinion too is skewed. I think that the 15 tables in 3 days and online options are both great ways to obtain the boons. I'd not known about either until recently though. Perhaps even publicizing the policy more (and organizing tutorials on how to best run online games... because that can be daunting... if that's not already done) would be a good way to start out.

Actually, your post demonstrates why basing it on Stars earning during a give period is a bad idea. If Mike were to follow through with that idea, you would actually be incentivized to hold off getting your second star until Season 6 started.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

So, from reading comments thus far, I assume no one really cares for the current GM boon we've provided for all 5 GM stars and we should consider something else? Is that an accurate assessment? It was specifically created for GMs who run consistently, earn stars, but can't get to a convention.

Shadow Lodge

Michael Brock wrote:
So where do you draw the line? I did at 15 tables. If you say 2 stars. One star GMs will complain. If you say one star, people who can only GM once a month complain they only get a boon once every 10 months. Where is that line?

The difference in "drawing the line" based upon event size and based upon GM stars is that doing it based upon event size means GMs have to come up with a way to attend events, which is harder to fit in with our personal lives, and rewarding based on GM stars rewards continued involvement in the campaign. GMs can go YEARS without fitting in time to attend events, and until they do, the system doesn't care about their contributions on any meaningful level.

Even with higher goals, the GM star "cutoff", as you put it, at least gives people a goal to work towards.

Michael Brock wrote:
People want the newest. It's human nature. If I offer a boon that has been a available for 1-3 years, I have a suspicion it will be lackluster at best and will receive suggestions we give out what currently is offered in season.

I can't speak for others, but I can tell you that I certainly would NOT find them "lackluster"; some of the races I'd most like to play are ones that apparently you aren't handing out boons for anymore (and no, goblin isn't one I want to play).

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

SCPRedMage wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So where do you draw the line? I did at 15 tables. If you say 2 stars. One star GMs will complain. If you say one star, people who can only GM once a month complain they only get a boon once every 10 months. Where is that line?

The difference in "drawing the line" based upon event size and based upon GM stars is that doing it based upon event size means GMs have to come up with a way to attend events, which is harder to fit in with our personal lives, and rewarding based on GM stars rewards continued involvement in the campaign. GMs can go YEARS without fitting in time to attend events, and until they do, the system doesn't care about their contributions on any meaningful level.

Even with higher goals, the GM star "cutoff", as you put it, at least gives people a goal to work towards.

Michael Brock wrote:
People want the newest. It's human nature. If I offer a boon that has been a available for 1-3 years, I have a suspicion it will be lackluster at best and will receive suggestions we give out what currently is offered in season.
I can't speak for others, but I can tell you that I certainly would NOT find them "lackluster"; some of the races I'd most like to play are ones that apparently you aren't handing out boons for anymore (and no, goblin isn't one I want to play).

But we already have a boon for GM stars and gives a new reward with each new star. My current perception is that, even though it is exactly the type of system you are asking for you don't like it. Is that incorrect?

Silver Crusade 5/5

Michael Brock wrote:


So it sounds like with that many new people combined with existing players, 15 tables over three days shouldn't be too difficult!

I wasn't actually trying to argue that the current situation should be changed. Just pointing out that just looking at new PFS numbers at large conventions is flawed. I should have been clearer on that.

We do have enough local conventions that anybody who wants can get the race boons eventually. Although imperfect, the current situation is good enough for our region. People who want can get boons, there are incentives to attend con's, GMs do get some significant bennies.

From my perspective it would be nice if there were more incentives to attract GMs. Getting people to GM is an ongoing struggle. But, it is one that we almost always manage to succeed at. It is very rare that we have to cancel a table because of lack of a GM.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Michael Brock wrote:
So, from reading comments thus far, I assume no one really cares for the current GM boon we've provided for all 5 GM stars and we should consider something else? Is that an accurate assessment? It was specifically created for GMs who run consistently, earn stars, but can't get to a convention.

I think the answer is its not a race boon and that's what people want most.

My personal feelings on the current boon is that, since I GM a lot, I end up with a lot of GM credit babies so I have a corresponding large number of characters. So a boon that I can only apply to one character seems a little underwhelming, especially when I have a choice of 3 boons but can only pick 1.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

trollbill wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So, from reading comments thus far, I assume no one really cares for the current GM boon we've provided for all 5 GM stars and we should consider something else? Is that an accurate assessment? It was specifically created for GMs who run consistently, earn stars, but can't get to a convention.

I think the answer is its not a race boon and that's what people want most.

My personal feelings on the current boon is that, since I GM a lot, I end up with a lot of GM credit babies so I have a corresponding large number of characters. So a boon that I can only apply to one character seems a little underwhelming, especially when I have a choice of 3 boons but can only pick 1.

And the fact that people want a race boon the most makes it the perfect incentive for rewarding a GM who volunteers time at a con.

Shadow Lodge

Michael Brock wrote:
So, from reading comments thus far, I assume no one really cares for the current GM boon we've provided for all 5 GM stars and we should consider something else? Is that an accurate assessment? It was specifically created for GMs who run consistently, earn stars, but can't get to a convention.

I've played PFS for a bit over a year and a half, and I'm up to eight characters; something I can hand to one of my characters for a minor benefit but doesn't actually open up new character building options doesn't particularly interest me.

Seeing as I'm years out from reaching five star, at my rate of two tables a month, even if I can somehow fit in the extra requirements, and would need another fifth tables beyond that to be able to give one to another of my characters (which would be another twenty five months of gaming) I'm likely to only ever get to apply this to a single character, who will end up seeing far too little play to actually make me care about this reward.

Michael Brock wrote:
But we already have a boon for GM stars and gives a new reward with each new star. My current perception is that, even though it is exactly the type of system you are asking for you don't like it. Is that incorrect?

As I said above, it's far too limited in how much use I'd actually get out of it, and it doesn't open up new options for me to play around with, so I haven't felt motivated enough to try to figure out which of my characters to give it to.

Basically, for me to get excited about a boon, it has to be something I can build a character around: a race boon, an interesting new familiar option, etc. Anything else might elicit an "oh, that's kinda cool", followed by me forgetting about it five minutes later.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Michael Brock wrote:
So, from reading comments thus far, I assume no one really cares for the current GM boon we've provided for all 5 GM stars and we should consider something else? Is that an accurate assessment? It was specifically created for GMs who run consistently, earn stars, but can't get to a convention.

I like and appreciate it.

I also like the fact that it is NOT overpowered. I think you got it about exactly right

Edit: the star benefit that I like the most is the replay. I value that higher than most race boons. Please, please, please have that renew on an annual basis for ALL GMs. Or, at worst, make it a very easy to get Con boon. I can obviously speak only for myself but I will be seriously irked if renewal is restricted to 5 star GMs or tier 1 Gencon GMs or the like. It will FEEL like a statement that you don't value my contribution (I recognize that feeling is almost certainly factually wrong but we don't have complete control over our emotions).

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Michael Brock wrote:
So, from reading comments thus far, I assume no one really cares for the current GM boon we've provided for all 5 GM stars and we should consider something else? Is that an accurate assessment? It was specifically created for GMs who run consistently, earn stars, but can't get to a convention.

They are a little.. i think lackluster is a good word. Aram Zey not yelling at you is the best boon on there, but mechanically its a skill check you're probably going to fail anyway, 3-15 points of energy resistance for a round is ok, the breath of life filigree drinks activates too soon and will probably be wasted, one wand is nice (but at 7th level fame waaaay out paces gold)and the spell known is a little limited.


I think some of the frustration comes from the amount of playable races that actually exist in Pathfinder, compared to what's legal for PFS. There are at my count 47 total playable races in Pathfinder as a whole, but only 10 races that are playable without boons. That's only around 21% of what's available.

Yes, some of these races are clearly never going to be playable, like Drow and Orcs. But there are a lot of other playable races that don't seem overpowered that could be made available through other means.

I understand why the race boons are limited in the manner they are, but perhaps there could be tiers of race boons that are provided out. The more esoteric/powerful race boons could be kept for larger conventions and others be given out for game days, etc.

For example, the Lashunta and Syrinx could be for local games days, while the Trox and Ratfolk can stay for larger con boons. Something along those lines maybe?

5/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka Pirate Rob

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Michael Brock wrote:
So, from reading comments thus far, I assume no one really cares for the current GM boon we've provided for all 5 GM stars and we should consider something else? Is that an accurate assessment? It was specifically created for GMs who run consistently, earn stars, but can't get to a convention.

I have found it to be lackluster and completely uninspiring. It's not something that obviously sets your character apart. I haven't even assigned mine yet, I imagine a lot of people don't even know/remember that it exists.

---

That said, there's no way to win.

I'm a believer in the necessity of convention boons to get people to conventions.

I also hate feeling excluded and missing out on things.

There's no way to make everything work and everybody happy, heck, I can't even imagine a perfect balance that would make me happy all the time.

Shadow Lodge

Michael Brock wrote:
How would it be received if I advised, anyone who earns a second star during season 6 gets a wayang boon? I just don't think many people would care.

Actually, something like this would be of great help to stores like our local ones (which combined are maybe about 10 tables a month) to get some of the really good "up and coming GMs" motivated to fill in those last couple GM slots.

Probably not as you stated it exactly (as the benefit of going from 10 to 30+ tables during the time window of a season). But I could certainly see having the old races (kitsune, wayang, nagaji) unlocked for GMs as they earn each star being a motivator for them to step up. The chronicle we have for GM stars is pretty neat, but folks love to fawn over exotic, unlocked races.

I don't think this would hurt the convention draw, as these races have been out of play for quite some time, and folks who earned them have had years now to show how great they can be to the newer, up and coming GM crop.

Specifically, the folks who bring out the kitsune/nagaji/wayang have created demand from the newer players who are prospective GMs. Because this often affects the miniature put onto the table (where people say "wow, how'd you get that?") - it's much more capable of providing a virtuous incentive cycle than an invisible mechanic to skills, teamwork feats, etc that may or may not be readily visible to the other players (who are the potential GMs-in-waiting).

3/5

Some good points here. The current boon has saved my life (someone else had it on their character), but otherwise I never would have known it existed. I think the sometimes-useful perks it gives would be better if it could be applied on each character you had. Or, if you want something with bigger draw... a single-use boon that, as SCPRedMage said, defines a new character or option... those go the longest way I think. I'd guess that's why race boons and charity boons are so coveted, they spur the imagination and the ability to make your character stand out unique at a table. That said, it's hard to come up with much that isn't a race or class that would do that (and those are reserved for cons and charities, and we're looking for a third option). Hmm... any suggestions on that from those reading?

Also, someone else pointed out that a number of the racial boons haven't seen circulation in quite a long time. It's one thing to immediately open up a race to everyone just after some got their boon (that actually happened to me with the Tengu. It was sad.), but blowing the dust off of critters from years ago might be a viable solution still. Or if not, to throw them back in the mix with the con racial boons so they can circulate again.

Finally, and most importantly, I too think that the Replay option is the greatest perk to being a starred-gm (although the bonus to your rerolls is also nice). I've not yet used my replay for fear that they won't renew, but if they start renewing, I could see that being a big perk for many.

Shadow Lodge

Incidentally, I'd have no objection to certain races (tengu, aasimar, tiefling) being brought "back into the fold" - such that no character who hasn't had received a chronicle prior to a certain date could be created without some sort of unlocking boon.

And this boon could then be given out as a reward for players and/or GMs achieving certain session counts or something.

Aasimars are way too common. I've been part of tables where almost the entire party are aasimars... which is neat in some ways, but also eh in others.

Grand Lodge 4/5

wakedown wrote:

Incidentally, I'd have no objection to certain races (tengu, aasimar, tiefling) being brought "back into the fold" - such that no character who hasn't had received a chronicle prior to a certain date could be created without some sort of unlocking boon.

And this boon could then be given out as a reward for players and/or GMs achieving certain session counts or something.

Aasimars are way too common. I've been part of tables where almost the entire party are aasimars... which is neat in some ways, but also eh in others.

Taking back a legal option in order to give it as a "gift" later isn't something that would go over well at all.


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Those of us who GM at cons quickly find ourselves swimming in boons (race and otherwise), especially here in the south-east, where there are cons all over the place. I don't want race boons easier to get. I like the idea of having something in my folder I can toss out to make someone who can't get to conventions feel special.

I encourage those of you who have excess race boons to spread 'em around. Don't make 'em feel less special. I'm having a small event (8 tables) next weekend, and the GMs who went with me to Play On Con in Birmingham are donating their GM boons to pass out to players and GMs.

Anyway, that's just my two cents. Take it for what it's worth.

Shadow Lodge

Jeff Merola wrote:
Taking back a legal option in order to give it as a "gift" later isn't something that would go over well at all.

I'm not convinced it would be that bad.

If you're of a group of people who are not affected by the change, you might actually like the change better. If each of these races unlocked at 10 sessions, 30 sessions and then 60 sessions (whether as a player or a GM... perhaps GM sessions count double towards these unlocking points), then a lot of the vocal audience would have already achieved their unlocking points and then see that they have earned something special that newer players haven't earned. These folks would potentially not only be indifferent, but may also like the idea of having something exclusive as a reward for their commitment.

If you're a player who has only played like a few sessions, you're either in a "hooked" camp, or a "casual" camp. Casuals would probably shrug at the change. The "hooked" camp will soon unlock the races anyway, so while a minority might grumble, their first unlock would come fairly soon.

If this is done with 5 unlock points (10,30,60,100,150), and the 5 races are 3 that are pulled back and 2 new introduced - it's actually all upside for the most engaged (and vocal) players/GMs since they perceive a massive head-start in the reward track.

Rough System:

Go through your chronicles and tally them all up. A chronicle as a player counts as 1 point, a chronicle as a GM counts as 2 points. Certain chronicles may count as more (GMing a special counts as 4 points).

Based on your points, you achieve certain levels where you can unlock playable races. At each level pick a playable race. You can now create PCs of that race whenever you create a new character.

Level 1 (10pts): Pick one of tengu, aasimar, or tiefling.
Level 2 (30pts): Pick one of the above races, or kitsune.
Level 3 (60pts): Pick one of the above races, nagagi or wayang.
Level 4 (100pts): Pick one of the above races, or X or Y.
Level 5 (150pts): Pick two of the above races, or Z.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

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Michael Brock wrote:
trollbill wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
So, from reading comments thus far, I assume no one really cares for the current GM boon we've provided for all 5 GM stars and we should consider something else? Is that an accurate assessment? It was specifically created for GMs who run consistently, earn stars, but can't get to a convention.

I think the answer is its not a race boon and that's what people want most.

My personal feelings on the current boon is that, since I GM a lot, I end up with a lot of GM credit babies so I have a corresponding large number of characters. So a boon that I can only apply to one character seems a little underwhelming, especially when I have a choice of 3 boons but can only pick 1.

And the fact that people want a race boon the most makes it the perfect incentive for rewarding a GM who volunteers time at a con.

I don't question that they are perfect incentives for con volunteers. I question whether con volunteers are the only volunteers worthy of such an incentive.

Silver Crusade

Michael Brock wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:


There have been at least 8 conventions this year that have given out at least 75 new PFS numbers over the course of the three day show. How much more rationale do you need that a regional convention attracts more new players than a local game day?

I haven't kept track but I'm reasonably sure that at least 75 players had their first session at the store I coordinate for over the last year. Note that a significant majority of these had their PFS numbers BEFORE coming to the store.
So it sounds like with that many new people combined with existing players, 15 tables over three days shouldn't be too difficult!

Seriously? I can just see how that conversation would go. "Store owner, would you mind cancelling your Saturday afternoon Magic: The Gathering tournament where you always sell 50+ booster packs every week, so that we can have more Pathfinder games with the same people who only buy a couple of sodas and a splat book when we're here every Monday evening?" Most game stores have other things on their calendar, and RPGs aren't exactly their cash cow.

Now, if you're talking 3 non-consecutive days, then we can make that happen with no problem. We've got 4-6 tables of PFS every Monday evening at our store, so if I can call "every Monday in July" a convention, then 15+ tables is easy. I wouldn't even ask for a race boon to give to every GM, or for the newest race boons. If stores like ours with an active PFS scene could give out 1-3 of the older race boons to random GMs every month, that should help recruit more people to GM, while also giving people like SCPRedMage a chance at those boons even if he can't attend conventions.

Given that I had to GM at the last minute last night, and we still had to turn 2 players away because we didn't have enough GMs, we could use the additional incentives.

3/5

Nick Greene wrote:

Those of us who GM at cons quickly find ourselves swimming in boons (race and otherwise), especially here in the south-east, where there are cons all over the place. I don't want race boons easier to get. I like the idea of having something in my folder I can toss out to make someone who can't get to conventions feel special.

I encourage those of you who have excess race boons to spread 'em around. Don't make 'em feel less special. I'm having a small event (8 tables) next weekend, and the GMs who went with me to Play On Con in Birmingham are donating their GM boons to pass out to players and GMs.

Anyway, that's just my two cents. Take it for what it's worth.

This.

It's also why I wondered if giving a couple to VC's to hand out in similar situations would be a good idea or not. My first racial boon was given to me in a similar fashion to what you're saying, and it made me really appreciate PFS as a community rather than just as a bunch of people playing a game. The fact that when I used the boon, it ended up becoming a playable race on its own a week later didn't diminish the good-feelings and respect generated by this deed one iota.

To you, your donating GMs, and also to Chris Mortika (the GM who gave me my first race boon in this manner), I thank you for helping to make PFS strong, welcoming, and a community rather than just a collection of gamers.

Grand Lodge 4/5

wakedown wrote:
Jeff Merola wrote:
Taking back a legal option in order to give it as a "gift" later isn't something that would go over well at all.

I'm not convinced it would be that bad.

If you're of a group of people who are not affected by the change, you might actually like the change better. If each of these races unlocked at 10 sessions, 30 sessions and then 60 sessions (whether as a player or a GM... perhaps GM sessions count double towards these unlocking points), then a lot of the vocal audience would have already achieved their unlocking points and then see that they have earned something special that newer players haven't earned. These folks would potentially not only be indifferent, but may also like the idea of having something exclusive as a reward for their commitment.

If you're a player who has only played like a few sessions, you're either in a "hooked" camp, or a "casual" camp. Casuals would probably shrug at the change. The "hooked" camp will soon unlock the races anyway, so while a minority might grumble, their first unlock would come fairly soon.

If this is done with 5 unlock points (10,30,60,100,150), and the 5 races are 3 that are pulled back and 2 new introduced - it's actually all upside for the most engaged (and vocal) players/GMs since they perceive a massive head-start in the reward track.

While exclusivity can be a reward, telling people "Hey, you know that option you had? Well, it's gone now unless you put in extra time to earn it back, as our thanks for running more games!" is going to generate a lot of negative feedback, even from people who would already unlock them due to previous credits. That's not a reward for GMing more, that's a punishment for people who don't.

(And before people compare this to the current race boons, I feel that there is sufficient difference between revoking a currently legal option vs an option never having been legal to begin with.)

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

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A note regarding boons.

From a personal standpoint, the best boons to me are ones I don't have to keep track of. This usually boils down to boons that provide a permanent adjustment to your character such as race, archtype, feat, item, stat bump or even something as simple as adding a new language. Circumstantial boons, say like a +2 bonus to charisma based skill checks when dealing with members of the Taldor royal family, are only good to me if I can remember I have them when the circumstance arises.

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

SCPRedMage wrote:

I, for one, am financially unable to travel to conventions, and the one time I have tried to volunteer to GM for an online convention, they gave my table to another GM who had volunteered after I did, but also volunteered to run part two of the series the following day; despite the fact that I volunteered over a month in advance, I didn't find out I was being preempted until the day I was supposed to be running, and only then because I asked why I hadn't heard anything about the players being assigned to me; obviously, by this point I had already put in HOURS of prep work setting up maps and creating macros for every single creature, and it was far too late for me to find something else to run. Needless to say, the experience has put me off of trying again for the near future.

So despite my efforts, I have still been unable to run a "convention" table, and the only race boon I've gotten my hands on I traded for (and I was only able to do THAT because of a single lucky roll); and yet I still keep volunteering to run at our local game day (because I see it as "returning a favor", because I prefer playing), usually twice a month. I advertise our event local, I help out new players get started, and just generally try to help our local player base grow. And yet still I'm treated as a second-class citizen behind the convention-goers in one of my favorite aspects of the game: character building.

I don't think I'm alone in this, and it frustrates me when I see people on these boards dismiss these concerns out of hand out of the belief that if we can't jump through the hoops it must be something wrong with US. Every time I see a post...

This. Exactly this.

Shadow Lodge

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wakedown wrote:
Incidentally, I'd have no objection to certain races (tengu, aasimar, tiefling) being brought "back into the fold" - such that no character who hasn't had received a chronicle prior to a certain date could be created without some sort of unlocking boon.

The only way I could get behind a plan like this is if they were to rotate which races are available; ie, aasimar, tengu, and tiefling get rotated out, and (as an example) kitsune, nagaji, and wayang get rotated in.

Of course, I only use those three as an example because of the "triple race boon"; I don't really have any interest in nagaji or wayang (although that might change if I can come up with a decent concept that grabs my interest), but similarly I don't have any interest in tengu (although I do have a couple of aasimars and a tiefling).

Nick Greene wrote:
Those of us who GM at cons quickly find ourselves swimming in boons (race and otherwise), especially here in the south-east, where there are cons all over the place. I don't want race boons easier to get. I like the idea of having something in my folder I can toss out to make someone who can't get to conventions feel special.

So your position is that we shouldn't make it easier for people who can't go to conventions to get race boons, because you hand out the race boons you get to "make people feel special"?

You do realize that there exist regions where philanthropy-based boon distribution means no boons at all, right? Not to mention the fact that you're advocating withholding rewards so that you can feel good about yourself (and no, I'm not saying you shouldn't feel good about yourself, just that it's a poor reason for the campaign to do something).

I'm not saying getting race boons should be quick, and I'm not saying it should be easy, but I am saying that for people who put in the time, it should at least feel "inevitable". Until I managed to find the time to volunteer to run at an online "convention", I honestly felt I would never be able to get my hands on a race boon (which is why NOT getting to run that table was so incredibly upsetting), despite the time and effort I put into the campaign.

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