More Sanctioned Adventures

Monday, May 19, 2014

Convention deadlines love to monopolize my time, but I can't ignore some of the other great adventures published over the past several months. It's high time we sanction another Pathfinder Adventure Path and Pathfinder Module!

Mummy's Mask opens with "The Half-Dead City," in which the heroes explore numerous abandoned sites in a sealed Osirian necropolis. It's a classic task for Pathfinders, and as a result, I made sure to sanction this as a Tier 1–2 adventure that players can enjoy again and again. Of course, one cannot expect the disturbed dead to remain quiet, and they strike back in "Empty Graves," sanctioned for levels 4–6.


Illustration by Francesco Graziani

Of course, Osirion doesn't have a monopoly on intrigue and adventure. "Tears at Bitter Manor" begins in Cassomir on Taldor's coast and travels deep into the countryside. You may find some similarities to "The Dragon's Demand" in how it is sanctioned, such as the multiple Chronicle sheets that each grant 3 XP and 4 Prestige Points; however, this time the entire module is sanctioned for play—not just a large part of it. “Campaign mode" is still an option, of course, and there's a little something extra for players who are willing to go the extra mile when they play through the whole adventure. You may find the module's campaign cards particularly useful in that regard.

What? No, don't peek! Go play it! You can find the Chronicle sheets on the Additional Resources page or on the respective product pages.

While we're on the topic of sanctioning adventures, let me give you an update on other projects. "Wardens of the Reborn Forge" has gone through several revisions and is almost done, and we'll add that to the Additional Resources page soon. More of Mummy's Mask will also be appearing between now and Gen Con. When these update, we'll post an update on the Additional Resources Updates thread. Also, we wouldn't forget about "Risen from the Sands," which is this year's Free RPG Day module set to debut on June 21, 2014.

What about that Emerald Spire Superdungeon? Yep, the plan is to sanction it, though I'm still in the earlier stages of that process. There's too much dungeon delve goodness for us not to share this with the Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign.

Finally, I'd like to thank Nathan King for his hard work behind the scenes to help me sanction these and other adventures. Nathan's been a volunteer author of numerous boons dating back to Gen Con 2013, and he's also contributed to numerous other sanctioning projects. Much appreciated, Nathan!

Happy gaming!

John Compton
Developer

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Tags: Francesco Graziani Mummy's Mask Pathfinder Adventure Path Pathfinder Modules Pathfinder Society
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Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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I don't think it actually requires any more work from the development team to allow campaign mode, except for adding in the paragraph about how campaign mode is allowed.

Campaign mode being available doesn't mean you can't run a module at a game day or con. It may be impractical to run campaign mode for a long module at a con; so just run it in module mode. If players don't want to do that because they're playing it in campaign mode somewhere else, that's OK. Run something else at your con. Those players are having fun the way they prefer, and they're buying products. Mission accomplished.

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

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Why don't we allow all PFS scenarios to be played in campaign mode and credit put back on whatever PC we want?

</sarcasm>

5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northeast aka Shivok

I also think its going to be like Thornkeep.

I think it would be cool if some of the organizers with numerous cons throughout their areas could organize an Emerald Spire series for every convention covering 2-4 of the levels for PFS play. As for the 16 levels and reaching 13th level it could be broken down like this:

Levels 1-6 - you get 3xp, 4pp for each level
Levels 7-16 - You get 2xp and 3pp for each level

You would go through the dungeons at the following levels for someone who exclusively played through the entire dungeon:

Emerald Spire /PC Level
Level 1 /1
Level 2 /2
Level 3 /3
Level 4 /4
Level 5 /5
Level 6 /6
Level 7 /7
Level 8 /7
Level 9 /8
Level 10 /9
Level 11 /9
Level 12 /10
Level 13 /11
Level 14 /11
Level 15 /12
Level 16 /12

Also introduce a mechanism that allows a group to get an additional PP for the 1st six levels of the dungeon for meeting some goal. Like Secondary Conditions. This will alleviate the Fame/Prestige deficiency a PC would have if they played most of the Emerald Spire compared with a PC who has played other PFS scenarios.

The Exchange

Charlie Bell wrote:

I love campaign mode, and I am more likely to want to run/play modules when campaign mode is available.

Bottom line is many players like it, and it's no skin off the back of those who don't to make it available. More options > fewer options.

Yep. I love campaign mode because I hate only playing part of the story.

5/5 ⦵⦵

I could be wrong but it looks like all of Tears for Bitter Manor was sanctioned, the entire module. That's awesome. I really don't like playing on campaign mode personally. I want to play my PFS characters not advance them without using them. (I also normally skip applying GM credits to characters for the same reason).

Sovereign Court 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Charlie Bell wrote:
If players don't want to do that because they're playing it in campaign mode somewhere else, that's OK. Run something else at your con.

I can't. I haven't had new modules that don't have campaign mode for almost a year. (Since Dragon's Demand which IIRC came out at GenCon.) Eventually I'm going to run out of modules. Sure I can run new scenarios, but if I hold them for too long, then the results won't count towards the general population, and besides the fact that while the new scenarios are a draw, the ability to play series in order consecutively/multi-part modules without weeks in between have been a bigger draw.

People who want to play campaign mode have 2 modules (and soon a third) that they can play that will count for credit. That's a lot of content right there. Let the conventions (and online play - thornkeep gets run a lot on the collective) get some love from a module format that has already proved itself conducive to this format.

4/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

From what I know of the Philly area, we've had 0 play of Dragon Demand in campaign mode. We've had at least 3 groups go through it in campaign mode.

Thornkeep's levels get run fairly often and is extremely popular for gamedays and Con play.

So I'd like to see Emerald Spire without campaign mode. Giving players an extra chronicle to not play it as sanctioned content would hurt it's use at gamedays.

We have a lot of avid PFS players in Philly that play multiple times per week. Anything that gives us more players at gamedays is important to me.

Shadow Lodge

Jeffrey Fox wrote:
Giving players an extra chronicle to not play it as sanctioned content would hurt it's use at gamedays.

I have yet to see anyone suggest that there needs to be an extra chronicle for campaign mode, just that there should be a campaign mode. If there's no difference in the number of chronicles, do you still have an issue?

Paizo Employee 5/5 Developer

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Dylos wrote:
Jeffrey Fox wrote:
Giving players an extra chronicle to not play it as sanctioned content would hurt it's use at gamedays.
I have yet to see anyone suggest that there needs to be an extra chronicle for campaign mode, just that there should be a campaign mode. If there's no difference in the number of chronicles, do you still have an issue?

I'll hazard a guess to say that the answer is yes, there would still be an issue. Carlos, James, and Jeffrey (and probably some others) are observing that when campaign mode is an option, people tend to play an adventure in campaign mode—often at home. This takes away options these organizers' toolkits, as those modules are no longer attractive options for convention or game day venues. I can understand how they would find this frustrating as campaign volunteers, especially since they're trying to promote Pathfinder Society Organized Play at [mostly] public venues.

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

Seth Gipson wrote:

First off, assuming you havent seen the thing yet, how do you know it needs anything to make the levels feel coherent?

Secondly, why do we need campaign mode for people to play non-PFS legal options? Thats called a 'homegame'. Make up whatever you want on your own, and have the players run through that.

The thing to take from this is that for their to BE a campaign mode for PFS to allow you to play through, it is something that would already have to be written into the book. Asking for it now, around a month before the thing comes out, isnt going to get you anywhere.

First, it is the difference in the promotion of play.

Campaign mode promotes doing the levels in order. PFS mode does not, and, given what I have seen of the only 5 level Thornkeep dungeons being offered, it can be difficult, if not nearly impossible, to experience the whole dungeon as an organized place.

I have played all but one level of Thornkeep, and still haven't run across it being offered at a time & place I can participate in. I have ruyn several of the levels, myself, but mainly the replayable level. YMMV.

John COmpton wrote:
I'll hazard a guess to say that the answer is yes, there would still be an issue. Carlos, James, and Jeffrey (and probably some others) are observing that when campaign mode is an option, people tend to play an adventure in campaign mode—often at home. This takes away options these organizers' toolkits, as those modules are no longer attractive options for convention or game day venues. I can understand how they would find this frustrating as campaign volunteers, especially since they're trying to promote Pathfinder Society Organized Play at [mostly] public venues.

To be honest, while I can see their concern, I would say the problem is not for promoting the Game Day to new players, since they wouldn't have any issues playing any of the older material for credit; but in keeping the longer-term players in PFS.

Yes, that is an issue. It will always be an issue. At least, until that third scenario per month decides to become feasible... ;)

Current situation:
Scenarios are one-offs, although some are small series (Destiny of the Sands, Rats of Round Mountain, Eyes opf the Ten, etc.)
Older modules are one-shots, although they may take multiple sessions or longer sessions.
APs, while they offer a module mode for sanctioned content, tend to promote home game mode, so players can experience the whole story, not just fragments, and home game mode allows leaving the PFS legal PCs at home.
Newer modules are bigger, and offer the home game mode to experience the whole thing, rather than just bits and pieces; along with the option of non-PFS legal PCs in play.
Thornkeep was sanctioned as set of 5, barely related, modules. Understandable, but it breaks up much of what little background story there is for the place.
Emerald Spire, if sanctioned as 16 stand-alone modules, will also break up, to greater or lesser degree, any background story for why these 16 levels are a single place, rather than just a single area stuck off any old place. With campaign mode allowed, it would help let the GM get the background story for why the p[lace exists and hangs together out, assuming there is any such background.

Stand-alone promotes playing the whole thing with different PCs, rather than running a single PC through it. It also allows playing it "out of order", if indeed there is an order to it.

Just my thoughts on it.


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kinevon wrote:
Stand-alone promotes playing the whole thing with different PCs, rather than running a single PC through it. It also allows playing it "out of order", if indeed there is an order to it.

Which is how PFS scenarios work anyway, and I think that for a lot of people that play PFS that is what they want.

I'm going to take a wild guess that you can split people that play PFS into two main groups:
A) Players who can't/don't want to play in home campaigns so they play PFS instead
B) Players who play PFS in addition to home games with regular groups

The thing right now is that campaign mode helps a lot of players in group B, but end up hurting players in group A because usually there aren't enough players in group A by themselves that can make tables for a campaign mode run.

When a module doesn't have campaign mode, both groups A and B want to and get to play it. We fill tables, and game days make. We have been clamoring for more content (i.e. more than 2 scenarios a month) for quite some time. Older players (myself included) ARE running out of scenarios to play, even more now than older scenarios are not being run because of the advantage of reporting fresh scenarios. Yes, this is a very small percent of players, but they are there, and they tend to be highly loyal.

This is a great chance to get an influx of 16 new pieces of content in one swoop. That's like 2/3 of a season right there, bonus, for the low low cost of writing up the chronicles.

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Chicago aka thunderspirit

Carlos Robledo wrote:
kinevon wrote:
Stand-alone promotes playing the whole thing with different PCs, rather than running a single PC through it. It also allows playing it "out of order", if indeed there is an order to it.

Which is how PFS scenarios work anyway, and I think that for a lot of people that play PFS that is what they want.

I'm going to take a wild guess that you can split people that play PFS into two main groups:
A) Players who can't/don't want to play in home campaigns so they play PFS instead
B) Players who play PFS in addition to home games with regular groups

The thing right now is that campaign mode helps a lot of players in group B, but end up hurting players in group A because usually there aren't enough players in group A by themselves that can make tables for a campaign mode run.

When a module doesn't have campaign mode, both groups A and B want to and get to play it. We fill tables, and game days make. We have been clamoring for more content (i.e. more than 2 scenarios a month) for quite some time. Older players (myself included) ARE running out of scenarios to play, even more now than older scenarios are not being run because of the advantage of reporting fresh scenarios. Yes, this is a very small percent of players, but they are there, and they tend to be highly loyal.

This is a great chance to get an influx of 16 new pieces of content in one swoop. That's like 2/3 of a season right there, bonus, for the low low cost of writing up the chronicles.

+1 to everything Carlos said here.

I like campaign mode for APs very well. However, I would much, much prefer the Thornkeep model for products like Emerald Spire.

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

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Great job guys! Looking forward to running these for some players and giving them PFS credit while I'm at it.

If you ever need another hand reading mods, or writing up and editing chronicles, just let me know :)

4/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
kinevon wrote:
John Compton wrote:
I'll hazard a guess to say that the answer is yes, there would still be an issue. Carlos, James, and Jeffrey (and probably some others) are observing that when campaign mode is an option, people tend to play an adventure in campaign mode—often at home. This takes away options these organizers' toolkits, as those modules are no longer attractive options for convention or game day venues. I can understand how they would find this frustrating as campaign volunteers, especially since they're trying to promote Pathfinder Society Organized Play at [mostly] public venues.
To be honest, while I can see their concern, I would say the problem is not for promoting the Game Day to new players, since they wouldn't have any issues playing any of the older material for credit; but in keeping the longer-term players in PFS.

Yes bringing in newer players is always a goal, and is actually something we do fairly well. One thing that helps keep new players around though, is experienced players. Experienced Players tend to become GM's for newer groups, especially the players that are pushing for more opportunities to play. They also tend to be the people new players look up to to learn from.

Every game day I go to I see new players learning how the campaign works from the experienced players. I always see them trying to help guide new players and suggesting things that help the new player build the character they want to play, that they might not have known how to do.

So yes, I do want this as a way of keeping longer term players at the PFS gamedays. I want to keep as many players as possible at gamedays rather then at home because gamedays are the way the brand gets noticed.

If someone walks into a gameday and sees a store's play area filled with PFS players they generally walk over to see what's going on. Now not all of those people will stay and play, or go on to play PFS later, but I've seen quite a few buy core rulebooks because of the fun PFS players were having with the game.

And every time a game store sells a book that's good for everyone in the community.

So if I can keep players in the store rather then at home, I'd like to do that. Because that's not just what's best for PFS in the long term. PFS, Pathfinder, and RPG's in general grow based on visibility.

I love AP's and longer modules for campaign modes because they give PFS players a different taste of a game, and those products aren't really the best products to squeeze into a gameday.

But if Emerald Spire is anything like Thornkeep then the 4-5 hour mini-dungeons are going to be a hit for local players at gamedays. But if campaign mode is an option (which doesn't carry the same risk of character death as PFS) then a lot of players will want to do it at home rather then miss out on a chronicle sheet.

Plus I love using local area seeker characters as the VC's for Thornkeep levels. It's a fun twist that players seem to enjoy.

The Exchange

roysier wrote:

I could be wrong but it looks like all of Tears for Bitter Manor was sanctioned, the entire module. That's awesome. I really don't like playing on campaign mode personally. I want to play my PFS characters not advance them without using them. (I also normally skip applying GM credits to characters for the same reason).

Well, sure, but the easy way to do that in campaign mode is play a campaign mode character who's exactly like your pfs character...


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Thanks for the shout out, John! Creating these boons was a blast and I can't wait to get started on the projects that are on the horizon.

Let me know what you guys think!

Thanks again everyone, I hope you enjoy them!

5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northeast aka Shivok

Okay now that I have my Emerald Spire maps and pdf, bring on the Chronicles sheets baby!!!!!


Regarding campaign mode, at least in our area, if the new module format did not have a campaign mode none of them would not be played at all. Weve had 2 groups of Dragons Demand, one of Wardens, and two currently on Bitter Manor, all campaign mode.

Rather than looking at allowing campaign mode for Emerald Spire as restricting play by lowering the potential playerbase look at it as increasing the potential GM pool if people have already played it in campaign mode.

I dont think there is any question that PFS is a marketing tool for pathfinder as a whole and campaign mode adventures fill a nice niche as kind of a bridge between organized and home play.

Shadow Lodge

Will you have a chronicle sheet for the Free RPG Day Module before it is released? I would love to have those available when we run the scenario next week.

Grand Lodge

John, do you have an estimate of when we might expect the first few levels of Emerald Spire being sanctioned or are you going to wait until all the levels are done? Is there any hope of something being done before GenCon? I dont get to go to GenCon. Throw me a bone!

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Cire wrote:
John, do you have an estimate of when we might expect the first few levels of Emerald Spire being sanctioned or are you going to wait until all the levels are done? Is there any hope of something being done before GenCon? I dont get to go to GenCon. Throw me a bone!

Here you go...

Tarrintino wrote:
Can anyone offer an informed comment on how soon this material will be available for use with the Pathfinder Society Organized Play?
As noted in several Pathfinder Society threads, I'm trying to get these out in a timely fashion, with pre-Gen Con being the goal for the first eight and soon after Gen Con being the projection for the other eight. That said, an earlier release might happen depending on how scenario development goes for Gen Con (which must take higher priority).

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