Improvements Are A-Comin'

Monday, November 17, 2014


Illustration by Taylor Fischer

Over the past several months, there have been some growing concerns with Pathfinder Society Organized Play. As we would like to take action to correct the concerns instead of let them grow and fester, we reached out to all 395 Venture-Officers a month ago to receive their feedback on what was wrong with the campaign, what was good about the campaign, and what we could do to improve or correct things to make Pathfinder Society even more awesome. Even though there were some difficult opinions expressed, most were true and it caused us to take a hard look at the organized play program.

After receiving feedback from the Venture-Officers, we formed a team of Paizo employees to work on solutions for the concerns that were expressed. This team included Lisa Stevens and Erik Mona, Mark Seifter and Mark Moreland, John Compton, and me. There were 327 responses from our VOs regarding thoughts and feedback on the current state of PFS. I went through each and every post and listed every one of the concerns expressed on a large white board in our conference room. The meeting took upwards of six hours, and through debate, discussion, and some give and take, we came up with some solutions to most of the concerns that were expressed.

The Venture-Officers are aware of many of the initatives we have set forth to accomplish the goals. There are still other topics we are continuing to discuss on the Venture-Officer message board to make sure they are the best we can make them for the campaign at large. I wanted to write this blog to bring the player base up-to-date on some of the initiatives we have set into motion with the awesome collaboration that took place between the VOs and the Paizo team.

Factions

First, let's talk about factions and their roles. After much discussion here at Paizo, specifically on some problems that were brought up in the long discussion with all of the Venture-Officers, we agree that factions currently don't play as important a role as we would like them to. We want factions to have meaning and substance. We think our factions help to set PFS apart from other organized play campaigns. We have strategized a four-pronged plan of attack which we think will help return factions to a more important role in the campaign.

  • The five new factions are receiving a professional makeover for their faction symbols. Grand Lodge and Silver Crusade faction symbols will remain unchanged. If you have suggestions on what they should look like, please start a different thread. The target goal for this to be implemented is by the end of 2014.
  • There will be revised and improved write-ups of each faction for both the PFS landing page at paizo.com and the Guide to Organized Play. We plan to implement these write-ups by the end of 2014.
  • We will be adding "The Story So Far" type of pages to the PFS landing page at paizo.com. John is assembling a team of writers to help him accomplish this goal for all past seasons. These will be spoiler-lite and help to sum up each season for new and old players alike. The target goal for this is end of February 2015.
  • We will be producing Faction Journal cards, similar to the PAXPort or the quests cards we provide at Gen Con. There will be one Faction Journal card for each of the seven factions.
    • The front of the card will list a series of goals (likely 10) to complete for the current season. These goals will be generic enough that they can be accomplished from playing not just the current season, but past season scenarios as well. For example, the Dark Archive Faction Journal may have one of their 10 goals be to find and recover five named manuals to bring back to the archives in Absalom. These could include the Inward-Facing Circle book from Silent Tide, the dozen black vellum scrolls in Voice in the Void, and any other documents or manuals that are found in sanctioned adventures. Each time you accomplish a goal, the GM will check off or initial a box on that particular goal.
    • The back of the card will include three award thresholds for accomplishing a set number of these goals. For example, if a PC completes three of the 10 goals, they will receive a small favor from their faction or a unique, faction-specific item. If they complete six of the ten goals, they could possibly receive a unique title that provides certain benefits or a better unique faction item. If they complete all 10 of the faction goals, their clout with their faction is sufficent to extend benefits to other PCs at tables where the character is present, while making their presence (and that of their faction) important to every character at the table. As a working example, a Silver Crusade PC who has completed all 10 of her faction's goals on her card might be able to use the her renown to call in a favor and reduce the prestige point cost of any PC's raise dead by 4 so long as she's there to flex her faction's muscles. Although this might not be the reward that appears on the Silver Crusade faction card when we finish this project, it gives a good example of the type of reward we're aiming for.
    • To reward GMs, we are considering adding an 11th optional goal that would be applied to the three different thresholds of rewards. For example, we may list 10 check boxes and for each scenario GMed in the current season, one check box could be completed. Once all ten are filled, one goal toward the a reward threshold would be met, leaving only two more to complete through playing the character.
    • The back of the card will also feature a form of the revised write-up of the faction described in bullet number two above, as well as a summation of season-long goals in descriptive text. This descriptive text will explain why the PC is trying to achieve the 10 goals for the faction and how it will aid the faction in the future—likely in the form of the faction head letters.
    • We realize that we are introducing this half way through the current season so everyone may not be able to complete the card for this season. On day one of Gen Con 2015, no more faction goals may be checked off from the Season 6 card. On the same day, a new Season 7 card will become available that may include a bonus reward depending on if the character completed five or more goals from the previous season. We hope this fresh approach will help to build the excitement in factions for future seasons as we plan to introduce updated faction goal cards every season at Gen Con.
    • These Faction Journal Cards will be provided as a free download on paizo.com, so anyone can print one off for a new or existing character at any time.
    • Every character may have one card assigned to him. If the PC changes factions any time in the future, he would lose all benefits from the card.
    • The Faction Journal card would not override the primary and secondary success conditions set forth in the scenario. Those are still in place to continue enforcing the importance of being a Pathfinder. The Faction Journal card will allow for more depth by adding greater meaning to the factions.
    • Use of the Faction Journal card is optional. A PC never has to take one, use one, or try to complete one.
    • The Faction Journal cards should be available by the end of January.

Scenario Length

Over time, scenarios have become longer, both in terms of word count dedicated to the adventure (rather than to faction missions, for example) and in terms of run-time. To an extent, it's also tied to the increased number of lengthy role-playing scenes and tougher combats intended to match the six-player assumption (i.e. more PCs means more enemies means more time spent in combat). In most circumstances, the longer scenarios are, the harder they are to schedule and run.

We are taking the following steps to address this issue and bring the expected run time (time from mission briefing to the resolution of the final encounter, not including set-up and paperwork) to four hours:

  • Cut one encounter from Tier 5-9 and Tier 7-11 scenarios. These higher-level scenarios run over most often, and it's mostly a matter of high-level combat taking longer.
  • Revise encounter expectations for Tier 3-7 to minimize long, drawn-out encounters resulting from especially high challenge ratings. If necessary, we will cut an encounter from Tier 3-7 scenarios, but preferably these can still work under approximately the same model.
  • There are no changes expected on this front for Tier 1-5 scenarios, which generally fit the four-hour model without much trouble.
  • You should start seeing these changes implemented in scenarios in December 2014 or January 2015.

Scenario Difficulty

We have heard your feedback that scenarios have become harder to just pick up and run. In part this is due to a large number of scenario-specific subsystems that require the GM—and sometimes the players—to learn a new set of rules during the scenario. In part, it's also a result of the reliance on the Pathfinder Reference Document when providing only short stat blocks for encounters. There's also the matter of the increasingly involved stories that scenarios are telling.

We are taking the following steps to mitigate these issues:

  • Provide an appendix that includes the full Bestiary and NPC Codex pages referenced in the adventure as well as an un-tagged copy of any custom maps that appear in the scenario.
  • Cap the number of required GM resources at four books per scenario (including the Core Rulebook). This should be relatively easy if the Bestiary pages are already included in the back of the adventure, as in most cases approximately half of the books referenced are Bestiaries.
  • Include full stat blocks for creatures modified by the advanced, giant, or young simple templates. The exception to this would be modifications that appear in the "Scaling Encounter XYZ" sidebars. For example, if the adventure says that there should be an advanced otyugh, the full stats for an advanced otyugh will be there and ready to go. If the scaling notes say that a four-person group should instead face a young otyugh, those stats would not appear. This should at least cover the essential modifications and reduce the amount of on-the-fly adjustment that a GM needs to do.
  • Limit the number of rules subsystems in scenarios. Subsystems aren't going away entirely, but we need to avoid relying on subsystems and simply save them for the times that they'll have the greatest impact. Should an especially large subsystem such as mass combat appear in a scenario again for whatever reason, it would be advertised on the product page. Simple point-tracking mechanics that only the GM sees (for example, keeping track of how many clues the PCs uncover) are likely to show up a little less often but are still a useful tool.
  • You should start seeing these changes implemented in scenarios in December 2014 or January 2015.

Season Plotline

Over the past four seasons, the Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign has based its season-long plotline on the most recent Adventure Path products. In some ways this has worked well due to the new campaign setting content available to players, GMs, and authors, but nearly as often, this decision has caused problems—either by binding the story of the campaign to that of a different product (and the continuity difficulties that can arise), driving the Society to do things that don't necessarily fit its mandate, or subjecting the community to a long storyline when many participants begin losing interest after the first several months. As the list of scenarios grows longer, the list of metaplots grows as well, providing a barrier to newer players getting involved.

To combat these trends, we are taking the following steps:

  • Stop tying the campaign's story to those of the Adventure Paths. Player responses suggest that the Destiny of the Sands model of using a current Adventure Path as inspiration for a three-part series is about right, and even then it's not mandatory that every Adventure Path receives this treatment.
  • Provide Pathfinder Society its own storyline using its own existing plot threads and creating new ones.
  • Expand the number of stand-alone scenarios that explore a wide variety of locations rather than get tied down in one location with an ongoing story that is tough to follow if one misses a few pieces.
  • Provide a "The Story Thus Far" handout that provides a low-spoiler summary of each season's storyline so that a player can quickly catch up on the critical plot concepts when sitting down to an adventure that deals with ongoing metaplot elements. The working length for each handout is about four paragraphs or 300-400 words. There would be one such document for each season and perhaps one for a few of the most complex ongoing metaplots (Grandmaster Torch, for example).
  • You should start seeing these changes implemented at the beginning of Season 7, though some like "The Story Thus Far" handouts are likely to appear sooner.

Quests

From our feedback about the success of the Silverhex Chronicles quest line, we are aware we need more Quests and Quest-like events. Since we already have nine different Beginner Box quests broken up into parts one and two, this was topic was a no brainer.

We have added two Chronicle sheets to the development schedule for the Beginner Box Demos. One will be for the four demos in part one and the other will be for the five demos in part two. These should allow for you to draw more interest from players wanting to try the system out, as well as give you another two sets of quest-style adventures to run, bringing the immediate total of quests to three sets with the inclusion of the Silverhex Chronicles quests. Look for these two Chronicle sheets by the end of 2014.

We have quite a few more changes and additions in the works, and I can't wait to tell you about them. However, some are more ideas than polished action plans, so we need a bit more time to make sure we get the other exciting changes to PFS in order before we release the rest of this information publicly.

As always, we look forward to trying to create the best Organized Play experience we can for all of you. Please read our collected thoughts above and let us know what you think, how we might improve upon the ideas, and what we could change to make them better. Thanks again for being the best fanbase any game company out there has. Without your input, as well as that of the awesome Venture-Officer corp, we certainly could not make PFS the best organized play campaign available anywhere in the world.

Mike Brock
Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Factions Pathfinder Society Pathfinder Society Quests Pathfinder Society Scenarios Taylor Fischer
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Sovereign Court 4/5

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Blog wrote:
We will be adding "The Story So Far" type of pages to the PFS landing page at paizo.com.

I think this is an excellent idea, but only if they are accompanied by Carry On Wayward Son.

5/5

That's pretty funny.

5/5 ⦵⦵

Arthus wrote:
roysier wrote:
N N 959 wrote:


THIS SCENARIO USES A SUBSYSTEM - DO NOT GM THIS COLD

On the front cover. This way GMs can know to avoid this scenario if they aren't prepped.

A GM should never not be prepped with the very rare exception they stepped in with no time. Saying this would send a message it's OK not to prep.

Unprepared scenario playing always sucks, either the GM misses most of the details and makes crap loads of mistakes leading them to be unable to run as written or they read everything as they go and the pacing slows to a slow miserable crawl leading to excessive player boredom.

I was in a game that the GM was cold and a bit tactic heavy in the beginning. Yet, being the cool players that we were, we instead chatted amongst each other in character while he was readying himself and prepping the encounters. I was playing out of teir, so my character was teaching the new pathfinder barbarian how to fight a bit smarter and how to get weapons earlier on that would suit his fighting style better. (In my character's opinion of course)

I'd be much more in favor of a warning sign on the GM's forehead that said "I run things Cold, I did not bother to prep anything." In that way I can decide if I want to play the only chance I can play this scenario with a unprepared GM who will likely screw it up or if I will wait for another time.

1/5

I wish the campaign was more restrictive when adding supplementary content, but made more normally off-limits items be available via chronicles. Doing so would cuts down somewhat on option bloat and make chronicles more important -- both improvements IMO.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

Warwick Cailean wrote:
Blog wrote:
We will be adding "The Story So Far" type of pages to the PFS landing page at paizo.com.
I think this is an excellent idea, but only if they are accompanied by Carry On Wayward Son.

Exactly what I was thinking.

Liberty's Edge 2/5

Wild speculation due to another post I saw awhile back.

Ban. Multi-classing.

It would be pretty crazy!

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 aka Netopalis

6 people marked this as a favorite.

If a designer wishes to fix PFS combat, simply apply the following template to each creature:

+20 CMD
+10 Will Save vs. hexes
Entropic Shield is always up
Enemies gain DR 10/NotBarbarian

Sczarni 5/5

*continues to eat faces regardless*

MNARRRRR!

Scarab Sages 2/5

Well......if the powercreep inferno can somehow be brought down to a dull roar...

There is hope

Sovereign Court 4/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:

That's already in the works Deussu.

Huh, I've missed that.

Nevertheless, I'd do it better! *needless boast*

Silver Crusade 4/5

Netopalis wrote:

If a designer wishes to fix PFS combat, simply apply the following template to each creature:

+20 CMD
+10 Will Save vs. hexes
Entropic Shield is always up
Enemies gain DR 10/NotBarbarian

You forgot Resist: gunfire 10.

Immune: Sleep wouldn't be a bad idea either.

And all solo BBEGs should get summon minions 1/day. :-)


roysier wrote:
N N 959 wrote:


THIS SCENARIO USES A SUBSYSTEM - DO NOT GM THIS COLD

On the front cover. This way GMs can know to avoid this scenario if they aren't prepped.

I'd be much more in favor of a warning sign on the GM's forehead that said "I run things Cold, I did not bother to prep anything." In that way I can decide if I want to play the only chance I can play this scenario with a unprepared GM who will likely screw it up or if I will wait for another time.

That -to me- seems a bit harsh, I know where I play that some GMs who run scenarios cold are the best kind of people. The reason? They are standing in for someone else, or else more people turned up than was planned for and in either case these GMs will step up and offer to run something cold so that players can still have a game.

I'm not saying GMs should run a scenario cold if avoidable, but I do think its overly harsh to assume all GMs running a cold scenario are doing it out of lazieness.

5/5 ⦵⦵

CathalFM wrote:
roysier wrote:
N N 959 wrote:


THIS SCENARIO USES A SUBSYSTEM - DO NOT GM THIS COLD

On the front cover. This way GMs can know to avoid this scenario if they aren't prepped.

I'd be much more in favor of a warning sign on the GM's forehead that said "I run things Cold, I did not bother to prep anything." In that way I can decide if I want to play the only chance I can play this scenario with a unprepared GM who will likely screw it up or if I will wait for another time.

That -to me- seems a bit harsh, I know where I play that some GMs who run scenarios cold are the best kind of people. The reason? They are standing in for someone else, or else more people turned up than was planned for and in either case these GMs will step up and offer to run something cold so that players can still have a game.

I'm not saying GMs should run a scenario cold if avoidable, but I do think its overly harsh to assume all GMs running a cold scenario are doing it out of lazieness.

Yes I agree last minute stand-ins are unavoidable, having time to prep and not doing it is laziness.

1/5

And if the lazy GMs, as you put it, were forewarned which scenarios they should avoid, I can't see that as anything but a positive.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder 2.0!

jkjk

*Actually, I really do think that's coming. I think that Pathfinder Unchained book (or whatever its called) thats coming next summer with new versions of the Barbarian, Rogue, and Summoner is atest to see if players would be interested in this new version. If it is, they'll move forward with 2.0.
This is purely speculation on my part though. Being a VC has garnered me no extra info on that.*

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

CathalFM wrote:
roysier wrote:
N N 959 wrote:


THIS SCENARIO USES A SUBSYSTEM - DO NOT GM THIS COLD

On the front cover. This way GMs can know to avoid this scenario if they aren't prepped.

I'd be much more in favor of a warning sign on the GM's forehead that said "I run things Cold, I did not bother to prep anything." In that way I can decide if I want to play the only chance I can play this scenario with a unprepared GM who will likely screw it up or if I will wait for another time.

That -to me- seems a bit harsh, I know where I play that some GMs who run scenarios cold are the best kind of people. The reason? They are standing in for someone else, or else more people turned up than was planned for and in either case these GMs will step up and offer to run something cold so that players can still have a game.

I'm not saying GMs should run a scenario cold if avoidable, but I do think its overly harsh to assume all GMs running a cold scenario are doing it out of lazieness.

Reminds me of when Wizards announced they would be allowing unlimited replays for LFR scenarios. People were suggesting that replayers be required to wear shirts that clearly announced they were replayers and hang a bell around their neck like lepers.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, Florida—Orlando aka Shane M.

trollbill wrote:


People were suggesting that replayers be required to wear shirts that clearly announced they were replayers and hang a bell around their neck like lepers.

Don't give Mike and John ideas, Bill. :)

Dark Archive 2/5

Shane Murphy wrote:
trollbill wrote:


People were suggesting that replayers be required to wear shirts that clearly announced they were replayers and hang a bell around their neck like lepers.
Don't give Mike and John ideas, Bill. :)

Heh. Would give me an excellent excuse as a PC to offer ALL KINDS of bad advice. (Of course I already do that...)

Grand Lodge 3/5

Poimandres wrote:
Shane Murphy wrote:
trollbill wrote:


People were suggesting that replayers be required to wear shirts that clearly announced they were replayers and hang a bell around their neck like lepers.
Don't give Mike and John ideas, Bill. :)

Heh. Would give me an excellent excuse as a PC to offer ALL KINDS of bad advice. (Of course I already do that...)

Even as I PC, I sometimes ignore what the know-it-alls tell me..... It's only backfired twice so far! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

5/5

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Great news.

My one suggestion is that the faction cards be made in the same physical size as a chronicle, 8.5x11in, so that they can seamlessly be kept with chronicles in binders or whatever. Half or quarter sheets of paper are too easy to lose. Maybe even use a general chronicle/boon design, just without the right or bottom portions.

3/5

Netopalis wrote:
+20 CMD

Screws martials, no effect on casters.

Netopalis wrote:
+10 Will Save vs. hexes

This one actually hits the intended target.

Netopalis wrote:
Entropic Shield is always up

Screws martials, modest effect on casters.

Netopalis wrote:
Enemies gain DR 10/NotBarbarian

Screws martials, no effect on casters.

One out of four isn't bad....no wait, one out of four with the other three actively making Pathfinder's balance issues worse is really terrible.

This is exactly what I was talking about in my previous post. To fix the balance issues you have to understand the balance issues, and anyone who thinks there is anything in the supplements (with the possible exception of the Witch) that holds a candle to a core-book Druid...doesn't.

glass.

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 aka Netopalis

Frankly, I find that it's the martials, not the casters, who throw the power balance off. Zen Archers and well-built fighter types wreck scenarios, and Tetori Monks are literally impossible to beat.

Grand Lodge 4/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
shadram wrote:
Possibly off-topic, but where can I find this 'part two' of the beginner box quests? I've got some new players that are enjoying the beginner box at the moment, so some new quests would be excellent.

It's not referring, is it, to the 3 adventures in the Beginner Box itself plus one in the GM Kit? I hasten to add that I haven't played or looked at any of these.

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

Starglim wrote:
shadram wrote:
Possibly off-topic, but where can I find this 'part two' of the beginner box quests? I've got some new players that are enjoying the beginner box at the moment, so some new quests would be excellent.
It's not referring, is it, to the 3 adventures in the Beginner Box itself plus one in the GM Kit? I hasten to add that I haven't played or looked at any of these.

I don't believe so.

The Beginner Box Bash was a set of four short adventures, still available here
Relics, Ruins, Terrors, and Tomes.

The other was a set of 5 quests, used at Gen Con and some other cons, which does not appear to have gone out to general access, as of yet.


Demoyn wrote:
I hope the next announcement is about how gunslingers, swashbucklers, and summoners will not be legal after season 6. The power creep is definitely the biggest problem I've noticed with society play.

"Power Creep"? I doubt Paizo would EVER ban a Class! Any Class of a PC can be powerful, depending on how you build it from 1st level. All Classes have their weaknesses though. for example, a Swashbuckler cannot get back Panache if it can't crit or land a killing blow on a non-helpless target with it's light piercing weapon. Summoners are not good in close range combat. They rely on their summoned monsters and summoned ally to do most of the fighting on their part. Gunslingers break their gun if they fail their shot bad if they don't spend a point, and run on limited ammo. So when they run-out of shots, they are not as helpful to the party. Antipaladin only got banned because you had to be evil to play it. Otherwise, Paizo never bans Classes, which I am thankful for. What Paizo DOES ban though, is certain Races, few Feats, and some other stuff. Not Classes, unless if the Class could not work of a PFS PC, like you can't play Antipaladin because they are always evil.

5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A number of years back, four of us agreed to play with self-imposed character limitations. No dump stats, no pet classes, no min-maxing - we all built PCs that were pretty good at several things, instead of experts at one. We also did so without knowing the details of the other players' builds (other than basic role, to prevent doubling up). We then played Godsmouth Heresy, and almost died abut a half-dozen times, but had so many epic moments it was unbelievable.To this day it is still my favorite PFS experience outside of the Grand Convocation.

Not everyone likes that style of play, to be sure. I like letting the story come out to the fullest, which often doesn't happen when you drop the BBEG in the surprise round. Yet I know that some people enjoy the challenge of making the best PC they can under the rules, and see the game as the "test" of that PC. That's fine, if that is what everyone sits at the table for, but often it is not a view held by everyone at the table. (Just like mine isn't.)

Banning classes, etc. isn't really the solution. If we played PFS using Core only, we would just see those same players using druids and rage-pounce barbarians and ranger archers instead (and probably getting bored and leaving the campaign eventually). Nothing would change.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

While I partially agree with some of what DM Lamp said, I tend to find the issue is when other people bring in those classes/builds, and it ruins it for everyone else. I run games more than play so that is the largest complaint I tend to hear about this, but my observation is that its also very annoying/unfulfilling when there is just no challenges. So some more strict bans would very much help that.

5/5

I really don't see signs of power creep that much, most PCs I see are about as powerful as Amiri, a core book character build.

Silver Crusade 4/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
glass wrote:
Netopalis wrote:
+20 CMD

Screws martials, no effect on casters.

Netopalis wrote:
+10 Will Save vs. hexes

This one actually hits the intended target.

Netopalis wrote:
Entropic Shield is always up

Screws martials, modest effect on casters.

Netopalis wrote:
Enemies gain DR 10/NotBarbarian

Screws martials, no effect on casters.

One out of four isn't bad....no wait, one out of four with the other three actively making Pathfinder's balance issues worse is really terrible.

This is exactly what I was talking about in my previous post. To fix the balance issues you have to understand the balance issues, and anyone who thinks there is anything in the supplements (with the possible exception of the Witch) that holds a candle to a core-book Druid...doesn't.

glass.

Change DR/10 to Hardness 10, that'll slow down casters a lil bit.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Maryland— Baltimore aka Qstor

DM Jeff wrote:
Just wanted to chime in with a big two thumbs up for not tying PFS Scenarios to the current Adventure Path. My group seriously began missing the days of exploring the world in new locals.

I'm HAPPY with the way replay is now. There's tons of scenarios. They're no retiring the older scenarios MOST of which are low level. Plus the modules and adventure paths are open to play. I'd like to see why there's an argument for MORE replay.

I strongly dislike the 4e LFR/5e method of..oh I've played this I'll just make another PC. People I know (long time players and authors..I've never experienced this) have complained about people using this to their advantage during play. I think 2 credits 1 as player and 1 as GM is FINE. Of course 1-2nd level scenarios/mods can be played with a new 1st level PC which of course encourages new players to join.

Are numbers down? Are players vocal about NOT enough play? What's the hard arguments for more replay? Just my 2 coppers...

Mike

1/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Personally, I'm totally fine with the replay rules as they exist. However, I'm not nearly as active as some people. I have a friend, for example, who has something like seven scenarios he hasn't played in total.

One change I would like to suggest in support of those avid players is to allow free replaying for no credit. To me that seems to remove the incentive for folks who just want a chronicle while keeping things as open as possible for people who just want to play. After all, isn't that the point?

Dark Archive 2/5

Qstor wrote:

Are numbers down? Are players vocal about NOT enough play? What's the hard arguments for more replay? Just my 2 coppers...

Mike

For level 1-5 scenarios I think that I can play Quest for Perfection 2 and 3, and Devil We Know 4. I like playing each of my characters -- albeit sixteen PCs might be a bit much -- but I am now kinda stuck when it comes to playing rather than GMing low level adventures.

Mind, I do like GMing (though I only have one star so far). But having used my one allowed replay and not seeing GenCon as do-able, I am basically out of luck when it comes to playing low level characters whether I apply GM credit to them or not.

Sovereign Court 2/5

bugleyman wrote:

One change I would like to suggest in support of those avid players is to allow free replaying for no credit. To me that seems to remove the incentive for folks who just want a chronicle while keeping things as open as possible for people who just want to play. After all, isn't that the point?

This is the point of view that we tried to advocate in a previous discussion about replay for no credit. As much as I respect campaign management, I'm still convinced that it was an unhealthy decision to ban replay for no credit. It's easy to manage in such a way that you're not alienating people who can get credit for people who cannot (because really, letting someone who can't get credit consume a seat for someone who can makes no sense anyway), and all it does is punish people who are highly active, which are incidentally people who are highly loyal to the gaming group and the campaign.

1/5

Acedio wrote:
bugleyman wrote:

One change I would like to suggest in support of those avid players is to allow free replaying for no credit. To me that seems to remove the incentive for folks who just want a chronicle while keeping things as open as possible for people who just want to play. After all, isn't that the point?

This is the point of view that we tried to advocate in a previous discussion about replay for no credit. As much as I respect campaign management, I'm still convinced that it was an unhealthy decision to ban replay for no credit. It's easy to manage in such a way that you're not alienating people who can get credit for people who cannot (because really, letting someone who can't get credit consume a seat for someone who can makes no sense anyway), and all it does is punish people who are highly active, which are incidentally people who are highly local to the gaming group and the campaign.

I have to disagree with this perspective and agree with the PFS staff. I'm sorry, it's been my experience that when you allow players to replay scenarios, they invariably degrade it for those who haven't.

Based on my experience and perspective, PFS is better served by preserving the integrity of scenario virginity for all involved. Really, they shouldn't allow you to GM it first, but that's probably not practical since that would really screw over GMs.

Speaking from the PbP setting, before the ban, I was frequently seeing players jumping on musters for scenarios they'd already played to team up with friends and squeezing out players who hadn't played it.

Sovereign Court 2/5

Yes, I understand where you are coming from. However, making it clear to people that spoilering the content or abusing the out of game knowledge will result from a removal from the table goes a long way. It also helps to remind people that there are new people at the table that have not been exposed to the content, and really the scenario is being run for them.

Having spent a great deal of time playing at tables where at least one person had played the content before (or had been exposed to it), I haven't had ever experienced an issue where someone ruined the scenario for everyone with prior knowledge.

EDIT:

Quote:
Speaking from the PbP setting, before the ban, I was frequently seeing players jumping on musters for scenarios they'd already played to team up with friends and squeezing out players who hadn't played it.

This is certainly a problem, but the coordinator should step in and make room for the player who has not yet received credit. I've seen a lot of arguments where people suggest that this is an inevitability, but I feel that it can be mitigated with clear signup rules and coordinator oversight.

1/5

I wouldn't say that the experienced is "ruined" as a rule, but it is degraded. Consider a scenario that has a trap or puzzle. If I haven't played the scenario, I might spot the trap or help solve the puzzle. If I have played the scenario, what do I do? How do I know how much help I should give or warning? Typically a player in this situation says nothing, and that's not fair to the rest of the table either as they are denied assistance they might have otherwise gotten. What if that trap kills a PC or the puzzle requires expenditure of more resources than it should have because now there are three people solving it instead of six?

Yes, GMs who GM games face this same problem, so it doesn't help to add more people to the table who are in this dilemma.

Yes, it can be mitigated. But here is what happens:

GM: Muster open..one spot left.

Early Responder: Hey, I'd love to run this again if you've got room
.
Interested Person: Does not post because she doesn't want to be the *bad* guy

I support the ban on open replay. If an area really has that many people who can't find an unplayed scenario, they can always group them up into an AP, or play a table of entirely no-credit-only players and just not make it an official PFS game.

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

Acedio wrote:
This is certainly a problem, but the coordinator should step in and make room for the player who has not yet received credit. I've seen a lot of arguments where people suggest that this is an inevitability, but I feel that it can be mitigated with clear signup rules and coordinator oversight.

This opens the coordinator up to arguments and bad blood over table seating. Banning replay for no credit avoids that. Do the benefits of replay outweigh the downsides?

1/5

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Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
This opens the coordinator up to arguments and bad blood over table seating. Banning replay for no credit avoids that. Do the benefits of replay outweigh the downsides?

It seems to me that the campaign documentation could simply state that those playing for credit always take precedence over those who aren't. No rational person will blame the coordinator for something he or she has no control over.

...wait, I think I see the problem. ;-)

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

bugleyman wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
This opens the coordinator up to arguments and bad blood over table seating. Banning replay for no credit avoids that. Do the benefits of replay outweigh the downsides?

It seems to me that the campaign documentation could simply state that those playing for credit always take precedence over those who aren't. No rational person will blame the coordinator for something he or she has no control over.

...wait, I think I see the problem. ;-)

That would require some method of denoting replayers on organizational sites like Warhorn so that non-replayers know there will be room if they sign up when a table appears full. Otherwise, replayers would be bumping people off games simply because people wouldn't tend to sign up for full games and show up hoping someone is a replayer.

1/5

trollbill wrote:
That would require some method of denoting replayers on organizational sites like Warhorn so that non-replayers know there will be room if they sign up when a table appears full. Otherwise, replayers would be bumping people off games simply because people wouldn't tend to sign up for full games and show up hoping someone is a replayer.

Good point; I hadn't considered that.

Scarab Sages 5/5

Derek Weil wrote:

Wild speculation due to another post I saw awhile back.

Ban. Multi-classing.

It would be pretty crazy!

Just ban single level dips

I've never seen a 2nd level cross-blooded sorcerer

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

Dhjika wrote:
Derek Weil wrote:

Wild speculation due to another post I saw awhile back.

Ban. Multi-classing.

It would be pretty crazy!

Just ban single level dips

I've never seen a 2nd level cross-blooded sorcerer

I've seen plenty of 2 level dip Fighters, Monks, Barbarians & Paladins.

Scarab Sages 5/5 RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Dhjika wrote:

Just ban single level dips

I am curious how you would enforce that. As soon as you take your first level in a second class that is a "single level dip" until you take your second level in that classs. Do you make the player "promise" to take another level in the second class the next time he levels? What if the player multiclassed at second level? Then they have two "single level dips". It gets way to complicated to try and enforce such a rule.

Grand Lodge 2/5 RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Dhjika wrote:
Derek Weil wrote:

Wild speculation due to another post I saw awhile back.

Ban. Multi-classing.

It would be pretty crazy!

Just ban single level dips

I've never seen a 2nd level cross-blooded sorcerer

I've never seen a crossblooded dip without the orc bloodline. Ban that, solve that whole problem.


kinevon wrote:

The Beginner Box Bash was a set of four short adventures, still available here

Relics, Ruins, Terrors, and Tomes.

The other was a set of 5 quests, used at Gen Con and some other cons, which does not appear to have gone out to general access, as of yet.

Specifically, Gen Con 2013.

Wayfinder 9, 10, and 11 also have Beginner Box content by the excellent Mark Garringer, recently of the Iron Gods bestiaries and Slave Ships of Absalom. (EDIT: WF9 also has Beginner Box adventures by Alex Putnam and Matt Rupprecht.)

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

N N 959 wrote:
I support the ban on open replay. If an area really has that many people who can't find an unplayed scenario, they can always group them up into an AP, or play a table of entirely no-credit-only players and just not make it an official PFS game.

How about those areas, like mine, which have the problem of a few very experienced players (I have been involved, at different levels of participation, since 2008, Season 0) and an ever-changing roster of newer players?

Literally, my list of available, eligible-to-play, non-Evergreen scenarios for tier 1-5 & 1-7 consists of 8 scenarios, including the most recent Season 6 stuff.

So, what do you want me to do, in the following situation:
Someone else is GMing, and the scenario gets changed at the last minute due to new players, from, say, a 5-9 I could play, to one of the 1-5s I have already played?

Including the new players and myself, we have 1 GM and 5 players. GM does not have any of the few low tier scenarios I can play for credit prepped, I don't have any of my GM stuff with me.

Options: Have one of us run cold, possibly off a tablet, so everyone can play.
Send one of the GMs home, because he is in almost the same boat as I am.
Break out a different game entirely, so we don't have to send anyone home. but no one gets to play PFS?

Note: Add in to your equation that I, at least, am on public transportation, and that, as such, I am both limited in what I can easily bring with me, and that, for me, it is about 90 minutes riding & waiting, once I get the first bus, to get from home to store or vice versa.

So, what to do? Send me home? Send the other GM home so I can GM? Give up on PFS entirely?

I amn trying to start up Saturday PFS at the local game store, again. Week before last, I had no one show up. Last week, I had two players show up. This weekend, one of those two players is travelling somewhere else, and won't be back for a while. Not sure if anyone else will be showing up yet.

Only mitigating factor is, that on Saturday night at the store, they also have an open board night that is fairly well attended, so I (we?) can play some board games, if the PFS doesn't get enough players. Of course, this only really applies on Saturday nights, not, say, for the Sunday noon games we had for a while.

I am hoping that the new replay zone John & Mike referenced in an earlier blog post can address this kind of situation.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Forgive my ignorance, but where is this blog post that mentioned replay? I went back through some blog posts and didn't see it. I just thought it was strange, given the stance that has been taken by leadership on replay in the past.

1/5

kinevon wrote:

So, what to do? Send me home? Send the other GM home so I can GM? Give up on PFS entirely?

So if I'm PFS, the question I'm asking myself is how long can we expect to hold on to you if after spending 90 minutes to get to the store, you're reduced to replaying a scenario?

To the extent you represent a growing and important sector of the PFS customer population, then PFS needs to solve your problem so that you're not running retreads. Letting you replay scenarios would seem as if PFS was trying to sweep the problem under the rug.

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

UndeadMitch wrote:
Forgive my ignorance, but where is this blog post that mentioned replay? I went back through some blog posts and didn't see it. I just thought it was strange, given the stance that has been taken by leadership on replay in the past.

HERE:

Michael Brock wrote:
We've come up with an idea that we think can address limited replay. For those worried about replay destroying the campaign, don't worry. We are very cognizant of that. I believe every VO can attest to my vehemence against replay on the VO message board. However, an idea has been presented that I think could work very well, that changed my vehement opposition against replay into a very excited positive, and would open up replay in a way we think the player base will like and appreciate, but at the same time won't destroy the campaign or the play experiences of people sitting down to play the game with someone who is replaying.

Silver Crusade 4/5

As far as multi-class dips go, it would be possible to reinforce keeping all classes within a certain number of levels of each other. This would discourage the 1-level dip scenario. This assumes, of course, that 1-level dipping is really a bad thing to do.

I took 1 level of Fighter with a Cleric I have (10th level now) so that I could get the armor I wanted and extra feat. It turns out that Inner Sea Magic had my solution (mostly) wrapped up in the Mendevian cleric archetype. I basically gimped my Cleric out of an extra divine level.

I'm curious to know what are some of the more "insidious" and common 1-level dips. I see that Crossblooded Sorcerer is one.

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