Pathfinder Society 2: Replay, Rewards, and Rebuilds

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

There's been a lot to follow, not only with the twice-weekly preview blogs for Pathfinder's second edition, but also in the many discussions about how these might affect Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild. If didn't already see it, check out our earlier blog about Pathfinder Society in Second Edition, where I laid out some of our preliminary thoughts and inspirations with the invitation to give us feedback, brainstorm ideas, and help build an even better campaign.

Over the past few weeks, the team's been discussing some of the trickier topics with our venture-officers, and I'd like to share some of the ideas we've been batting around as well as some of the prospective challenges.

Three Competing Interests

The transition to the second edition campaign has to balance three competing interests: old player loyalty, new player accessibility, and ease of implementation.

Established Player Loyalty: People have put a lot of effort into the first edition campaign, from building characters to earning GM stars to seeking out rare race boons. There's a lot of investment, and many have a strong desire to hold onto those investments indefinitely—or at least have them mean something in the new edition.

New Player Accessibility: The announcement of second edition is driving a lot of interest. With an outwardly easier level of entry (one book as opposed to hundreds) and an opportunity to join a new campaign on equal footing, we can attract many new players. The campaign needs to remain accessible to these players and GMs, and that includes not locking a huge number of rewards behind having played in the first edition.

Ease of Implementation: Our team's larger than ever before, and there's a lot of time between now and the second edition's release, but we're not kidding ourselves; there's a lot of work ahead, and a lot of that depends on the playtest and what the final version of the game looks like. We have to consider the ease of implementing each change, including the resources required from the development team, the technological requirements to implement a solution, the burden placed on the venture-officers, and the effort required of the individual players.

For some topics, these three interests see largely eye-to-eye. For others, they're in opposition. Collectively, they all contribute to the health of the campaign and are part of our assessment about how to build the second edition organized play experience. With that, let's look at some of the tougher decisions that lie ahead and what the team's currently thinking.

GM Stars

When Starfinder Society started up, we recognized that five GM stars wouldn't necessarily correspond to proficiency with the Starfinder rules. Certainly GM stars conveyed dedication to organized play as a whole and comfort "behind the screen," yet we needed a separate means of tracking one's Starfinder Society accomplishments. As we look toward the second edition of Pathfinder RPG, we're seeing similar indicators.

That means a few things. First, it means that we're looking to introduce an additional means of tracking GMs' efforts in second edition games. Second, it means that first edition GM stars aren't disappearing; their principle impact is on the first edition campaign, and they remain the celebrated badge of honor for a GM's contributions. Third, we recognize that this may disappoint some folks, and we're looking at ways to balance this by making players' experiences and GMs' ongoing efforts relevant in the new campaign. We've been following the conversation in several places, and we're opening another thread that focuses the discussion—let us know your thoughts in this [">GM Stars thread.

Option 1—New Metric: Everyone retains their GM stars, which correspond to the first edition campaign. For the second edition campaign, we introduce another 0–5 scale metric that's similar to stars/novas. We've tossed around several names for these, including glyphs and sigils, but there's no final decision on this matter. Glyphs/Sigils would have a fairly similar role to GM stars but be specific to the second edition campaign.

Option 2—Subsidized Metric: This functions as Option 1, but the GMs stars reduce the number of games required to earn glyphs/sigils. Two stars reduces the number of games run to earn one's second glyph/sigil by 10. Likewise three stars reduces the number of games run to earn the third and fourth glyphs/sigils by 10 respectively. Finally, a five-star GM reduces the number of games needed to earn the fifth glyph/sigil by 20. It ends up looking like this for a five-star GM.

  1. 1st Glyph/Sigil: 10 games
  2. 2nd Glyph/Sigil: 20 games (10 less than normal)
  3. 3rd Glyph/Sigil: 40 games (20 less than normal)
  4. 4th Glyph/Sigil: 70 games (30 less than normal)
  5. 5th Glyph/Sigil: 100 games (50 less than normal)

Basically, having a bunch of GM stars conveys that you're already an accomplished GM, so attaining a similar rank in the second edition would be easier.

Option 3—New Metric with Reward: This functions as Option 1, but the GM stars provide a carry-over benefit as a thank you for a GM's efforts in the first edition campaign. Assume that the benefit is something interesting and flavorful but not something that grants an overtly significant power boost. This might be a special character background, fancy item, title, or the like.

Option 4—Something Else: We can, of course, explore other options. As noted in the "Three Competing Interests" section, there's a balancing act between old player loyalty and new player accessibility—ensuring that GMs feel they're getting their due without locking too much away from newer players who never had the same opportunity.

Where We Are Now: Our discussions so far have brought up sundry variations on the Subsidized Metric and other models. That's sparked ongoing conversations with our tech colleagues to assess what's possible and with what required resources. We can cook up clever ways to connect GM stars and the glyphs/sigils, but ultimately we need to ensure that our solutions work for our co-workers. In the meantime, we're continuing to debate the merits of each approach, and we're interested in your feedback.

Character Rebuilds

As we stated in the Pathfinder Playtest FAQ, we are not converting first edition characters into second edition characters. This may be the toughest decision we've had to make. There are a bunch of participants (like many of us, no doubt) who have tons of character folders and Chronicle sheets, and that also translates to some characters who won't reach especially high character levels.

Fresh Start: The news of a second edition is causing a lot of buzz, including in groups that haven't tried Pathfinder before because of the large perceived buy-in. Avoiding character conversions means everyone starts at (or very near—see the playtest credit section) the same level, and that means that newer participants aren't perceptibly "punished" for having joined now rather than years ago.

Conversion Options: For practical purposes, the second edition Core Rulebook will have a limited number of pages, and that means that there's space for only a fraction of the classes and races present in the entire corpus of first edition books. While the Core Rulebook will contain lots of cool options, it won't present contain the full breadth necessary to adapt a player's ganzi bloodrager or merfolk kineticist. For some of those class + ancestry combinations, those options might not even be available in the first year or two. On top of that, there are plenty of character builds reliant on combos that might function differently in second edition. Even with the characters who would convert into the new edition fairly cleanly, there's a lot of messiness involved in making these changes.

Publishing Schedule: The odds are good that Pathfinder Society's second edition release will look a lot like that for Starfinder Society's first year, albeit with at least two scenarios per month. Namely, we're hoping to provide a bunch of low-level scenarios right out of the gate and gradually expand into higher and higher tiers over time. Allowing character conversion would leave us with numerous characters ranging from levels 1–20. We'd either have nothing for the higher level PCs to play for a long while, or we'd be releasing content that's exclusively for first edition conversion characters (and that assumes that everyone converted characters that fall in the same tier).

First Edition Boons

There are a lot of convention boons out there, and the common perception's that there's not enough time left to use them all—much less provide much incentive for earning more of them. There are a few approaches we've considered, and from that have spun at least a dozen sub-variations.

Option 1—No Transfer: In this model, first edition boons would apply only to first edition. Use them now while there's still a good opportunity. From the perspective of new player accessibility and ease of implementation, this option's very good. The "clean break" nature of it makes it tougher for established players.

Option 2—Boon Currency: In Season 4 there was a convention boon called Xenophobia that allowed someone to irrevocably sacrifice race boons to it in order to gain favored enemy benefits. We might be able to use this model to let players use First Edition boons—perhaps only those of certain types—gain some kind of long-term reward based on the number of boons used (for the sake of discussion, let's say 10 boons maximum). This would allow someone who doesn't want to use her remaining boons in First Edition to still enjoy some payoff in Second Edition. That's certainly nice for an established player, particularly for someone who made it to lots of conventions. It's not great for newer players, and it requires a modest amount of design work.

Option 2 Variant—Expanded Boon Currency: This is really more of a variation on the Boon Currency mechanism, not a new way to make use of first edition boons. Specifically, the Expanded Boon Currency model takes everything above and allows someone to trade in specific second edition boons to qualify for whatever rewards we would present for this system. This variant could also be applied to any of the other Boon Currency options that follow.

Option 3—Rotating Boon Trade-In: This model resembles the Boon Currency option. However, instead of being able to use a pile of boons to purchase a variety of benefits, the first year or two would have a few rotating second edition boons that one could secure by expending any one first edition boon of a similar style—most likely exchanging any race boon for an ancestry boon. This would let us keep any boon conversion limited but interesting. It seems to strike a respectable intersection between established players, newer folks, and staff resources—particularly if boons available in this way were eventually released through other channels that didn't require this exchange.

Option 4—Boons for Benefits: This model also riffs on the Boon Currency option. However, instead of opening access to options that only established players can access, this allows players to expend boons in order to secure temporary/instantaneous benefits that could benefit any number of characters at the table. Conceptually, compare it to the Retail Incentive Program, where rewards focus more on giving everyone a little boost or averting a catastrophic stroke of bad luck. The venture-captain who pitched this variant referenced the benefits of breath of life at the cost of a first edition race boon, calling it "Life for a Life." This is a pretty charming approach because it allows players to carry over some benefits to the new edition, but it does so in a way that nobody's really holding exclusive options over newer participants.

Legacy Boons: During Seasons 9 and 10, we're including some legacy boons on Chronicle sheets. Each of these presents some combination of a fun carry-over benefit and/or a lasting narrative repercussion for having done something important. You've already seen one in a Season 9 scenario, and we expect more in the coming months as appropriate.

When I presented this remark about the legacy boons to our venture-officers, I received a few remarks that the one legacy boon so far seems underwhelming. I can see where that comment's coming from; that particular boon is more a feel-good acknowledgement of selfless action than it is an awe-inspiring boost in personal power. I would keep one key thing in mind: the final Second Edition rules don't exist yet, and they won't exist until after our community's been able to playtest the system. While we're able to design some boons based on the current rules, we're cautious about laying out boons that could prove incompatible or disproportionately powerful, diminished, or even invalidated based on the Core Rulebook's final text. That means that the more rule-oriented components of legacy boons would need to appear in a supplemental document in the final days leading up to Second Edition's launch at Gen Con 2019.

Where We Are Now: As I mentioned above, folks have pitched a lot of variations on these ideas, each of which aims to balance our goals in different ways. Each one—including the No Transfer option—has merits for the short-term and long-term health of the campaign. This topic really brings another dynamic to the fore: cosmetic rewards (e.g. titles and fancy wayfinders) vs. mechanical rewards (anything granting a notable edge, such as free gear, bonus gold, or stat boosts). Just as we're examining the means by which to address first edition boons, so too are we looking to what rewards feel the most worthwhile and the impact of not having access to those rewards—either ever or at a later opportunity—as would be the case for a newer participant. Let us know at our First Edition Boons thread.

Replay in First Edition

We've seen several threads regarding replay in the first edition campaign. This seems to stem from two different attitudes.

"There won't be enough new scenarios to finish my favorite characters' stories."

"Paizo has taken the stance that unfettered replay damages campaigns. Once Paizo moves to Second Edition, they will have already ended the first edition campaign. There's nothing to lose."

Even once Second Edition launches, we're not interested in opening up unlimited replay. However, we are interested in providing folks a chance to explore a favorite character's story to its fullest. There are a few ways forward.

Option 1—No Further Replay: There are already some replay options out there, and everyone would be able to fill out a new Expanded Narrative boon (i.e. "recharge the GM stars' replay" boon) each year. However, there wouldn't be any additional allowances for replaying beyond what already exist.

Option 2—Favored Character: This model allows each participant to select one Pathfinder Society PC to ignore all replay restrictions. That could mean playing a new PC all the way from 1st level to 20th, or you could make an 8th-level PC your favored character in order to play through all of the Tier 7–11 and higher adventures. Whatever the case, everyone would be able to fulfill that limitless story with another PC.

Option 3—Heightened GM Star Recharge: In this model, the Expanded Narrative opportunity continues but has some capacity for more recharging than normal. That might mean someone could instantly begin a new Expanded Narrative Chronicle sheet the moment she fills out the first one, not waiting for a new season. It might instead mean that there's a limit of one sheet per season, but the sheet grants more than one replay for each GM star. There are likely other variations on this approach.

Option 4—Unlimited Replay: As noted above, we're unlikely to institute unlimited replay in First Edition, even after the new campaign launches. If that's something you'd want to see anyway, go ahead an say so, but please also convey what you'd want to see were unlimited replay not selected.

Where We Are Now: We're still in internal discussions about the right way forward for replay, balancing the health of communities, the desire to wrap up a few select characters' stories, and ways to transition toward the second edition. We're interested in hearing your take on what replay considerations would be best for the organized play campaigns and community at our First Edition Replay thread.

Earning Playtest Credit

We intend to incentivize playtesting, much as we have incentivized playtesting new character classes in the past. The especially tricky consideration in this endeavor is that we won't have a finalized Chronicle sheet format, wealth-per-level expectation, or any number of other key variables until after the playtesting has concluded. As a result, you won't see a Chronicle sheet for each playtest scenario, as it would be full of IOUs. What's more, the playtest scenarios and the printed playtest adventure Doomsday Dawn cover a wide range of levels, which would be strange to array in any meaningful way—much like assigning a new character a Tier 16–18 Chronicle sheet.

Instead we're looking at more of a "prize table" model. Much as one could redeem tickets at a pubic arcade for prizes, players and GMs alike would earn points for special options in the second edition. Each quest played or run would earn 1 point, and each time someone plays or runs either a Doomsday Dawn chapter or one of the scenarios, they'd earn 4 points. Prizes might include a special background, a special wayfinder, the ability to start the campaign with a single character at 2nd, or the ability to start with a single character at 3rd level. The catch? A player can only select each prize once.

This comes with a few considerations. First, this does strain the Ease of Implementation goal somewhat, as it represents another thing the organized play team would need to design. Second, there is the possibility of giving everyone who earns a handful of points (let's say up to 10 points) an additional one-time point boost equal to (or double) their number of GM stars as a modest way of rewarding GMs in the past campaign.

Where We Are Now: So far, this approach has been going over well. There are still many details to work out, but the system is equipped to advertise our playtesting incentives in a clear way, finalize the exact mechanics for the rewards once we have the final game rules in hand, and let people playtest as much or as little as they like and still have options for what they earn.

John Compton
Organized Play Developer

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Tags: Organized Play Pathfinder Playtest Pathfinder Society
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***** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston

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Interesting to see the early and tentative thoughts on PFS transferring from First Edition into Second Edition. I will weigh in that I am fine with starting over completely I think the best solution is to just start fresh. I am honestly not a fan of people who have stars getting a discount of any sort on their way to whatever Second Edition will use. With the sole exception of being able to trade some of the older race boons in for that same race in the new edition I am not interested in trading out boons. However if it is not possible to trade in old race boons for ones in the new edition, I will not be upset.

Dark Archive

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Lets have less gating of new races (or ancestries in this case) behind Special GM certs.

I'd far rather have "GM's get a cert for the +10 bazooka of infinite god-slaying" than "Only people who GM'd at GenCon 2014 can play the cute froggies, only Bob Thulglflorp who bid $1,000,000 in a charity auction can play a catfolk".

Silver Crusade **


Grand Lodge *****

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Instead of “glyphs” or “sigils”, how about “runes”...?

Liberty's Edge ** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Very interesting.

And Hmmm ninja me!!!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

What's the reasoning behind not allowing replaying scenarios with different characters in PFS? Often the order you do scenarios in makes little cohesive sense anyway, and each repeat would be in its own little alternate timeline, as are all plays between different players.

Grand Lodge ***** ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

Blog wrote:
We've been following the conversation in several places, and we're opening another thread that focuses the discussion—let us know your thoughts in this [">GM Stars thread.

Psst. John! You have a broken link to fix.


** Venture-Agent, Ohio—Hudson aka Blue Moose

In reference to Legacy Boons, why not just build them like the Spoils of the Siege boons from Serpent's Rise, i.e. have a 2nd ed boon reference the legacy boon and gain an additional bonus if you champion that faction on that scenario?

Scarab Sages *****

There are a couple different situations where having played a certain number of scenarios in one plot line grants you a series of nebulous boons. A future scenario then says you get a bonus of +X for each of the nebulous boons this character has earned.

That model could be used for the Legacy Boons. So don't tie a mechanic to the legacy boons at all currently. As Garon above mentioned, have a 2nd edition boon (a few could be created right out of the gate) that references a bonus per number of legacy boons you as a player have earned.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
John Compton wrote:
Publishing Schedule: The odds are good that Pathfinder Society's second edition release will look a lot like that for Starfinder Society's first year, albeit with at least two scenarios per month. Namely, we're hoping to provide a bunch of low-level scenarios right out of the gate and gradually expand into higher and higher tiers over time. Allowing character conversion would leave us with numerous characters ranging from levels 1–20. We'd either have nothing for the higher level PCs to play for a long while, or we'd be releasing content that's exclusively for first edition conversion characters (and that assumes that everyone converted characters that fall in the same tier).

You need to must produce three a month at least for the first year. As you stated, your staff is bigger than ever, but so is the player base. At two a month you are going to starve the player base. You need to convince the powers that be that more scenarios are needed. If you do, you wont be disappointed.

Note: I can't find the GM Star thread. There is no link or it's broken.

Scarab Sages ***** Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

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Thank you for keeping us informed John.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Online aka Magabeus

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Thank you John for this blog. I will let it roll around in my head while I sleep.

Dark Archive ***

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I'm not a huge replay fan, I am not deathly opposed either but I'd rather see not just the rest of the Adventure Path be sanctioned under 1E, but also how about going back and sanctioning the old 3.5 modules? We already have Season 0, its a relatively easy way to add some content in and if you have a sane mechanism where as a player there are a few things that you could still earn that could apply to the 2E campaign it would give an on-going incentive to keep playing 1E. I'm thinking something modest like the trade-in X number of boons model for players. This would be similar to the idea of reducing the table number required to earn Glyphs based on GM stars. Presumably this would stay active after the transition, so that if I earned my 4th star after 2E started I'd still see the same carry over as someone who earned it just before.

Dark Archive ****

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Very excited to see what season two brings! Hard reset is no worries for me. PFS in PF1 was a great time, and we'll have the same in PF2 I'm sure.

As for my votes for the systems moving forward: Starting fresh is fine, and pick the option which gives you lot the most design space to give Pathfinder Society players the most fun ongoing. We trust you, and having space to breath and make cool stuff is an important resource.

I like PFS subsystems which have been introduced along the way: faction boons you purchase, the boon slots, things which we can do *because* we're society characters. That's a personal preference though, and I know that the #1 thing I want is a thriving PFS.

**** Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

The link for Replay in First Edition doesn’t bring me to a thread. Instead it just brings me to the Playtest forum.

You might want to check all the links.

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I had an idea for the rewards. How about, when the 2nd Edition starts, players with more than X number of characters or Y total levels of characters (Say, 30+levels of characters) get to start a certain number of characters at 2nd level. GMs get to start one character at their # of GM stars for their level (so a 3 star GM would get a 3rd level character). Alternately, GMs would get an additional (X*2)00 gold on their first character, where X is their GM stars (So a 3 star GM would get an additional 600 GP at character creation for their first character)

Having lived through a couple of conversions (Living City, Living Death, Living Arcanis) I think that the clean start is the best option, but there should be some reward for people who put a lot into the system beforehand, both GMs and players.

Venture-Lieutenant, Florida—Tampa aka SphereRunner

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I've never been a fan of unlocking races via boons. For playing special races I think if the player has bought the resource and legally have a physical copy present with them, whether it be the book or the PDF page printed out then they should be able to use that content for society play.

If you wanna make awesome convention boons there are other ways, like a one time use outer planes creature summons, or some fun potion of random spells that has 3 charges on of it and every time you drink you roll on a percentile chart for a personal spell. ^These are some fun janky examples.

If you have to make race specific boons why not actually make them race/ancestry specific boons. For example if the player has a character that is the same ancestry as the boon they can use it, or you can apply it to a character of that ancestry in the future you could make like 2 or 4 different ancestry specific boons a con. Something like that would be awesome, and much desired.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Rather than deciding which particular things qualify you to start at anything above L1, I would like effort focused on improving the L1 experience so people aren't so eager to skip over it.

Liberty's Edge *** Venture-Agent, Malaysia—Kuala Lumpur aka Batpony

While it's a ways away, it's good stuff like this that helps us understand and contribute to the changes coming. It's much appreciated and looking forward to see what comes of it.

The Exchange ***** ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

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Re: replay, I would like to see unlimited replay instituted for a couple of reasons. This might not become apparent at first, but there will come a time where scheduling 1e content at all will become a challenge, while there are only a few players/GMs for whom limited options are a problem at the moment, after there is no more content being produced more and more people will arrive at that point.

I would like to see 1e content remain to be easy to schedule to help me be able to maintain a full games offering ESPECIALLY in the first year or two of the new campaign, especially since Starfinder still hasn't really caught on very much locally.

If you really see this as a bridge too far for some reason, then I think there HAS to be some way for players who do not often GM to be able to get replays. The favored character option is from that perspective my favorite of your favored options, but I think it could use expansion - maybe the distinction can be changed every 6 months/year?

Regarding boons, I think rotating boon trad-in is probably the most sensible option but I think there SHOULD be initial options that differ from the normal ancestry boons you offer to GMs. The people who are sitting on a stack of race boons are probably going to be the same people who are earning new ancestry boons so they probably shouldn't be the same or else it won't feel like much of a reward.

I think Xenophobia/philia are fine, but it feels like it would be sort of useless unless you came up with some new way of implementing it. If I trade in my grippli/aasimar/dhampir/samsaran boons for Xenophobia and none of those races even existed in PF2 for the first year then that seems sort of lame and weak.

I also notice that this ONLY covers race boons but I think there is potential for some non-race boons to be converted pretty neatly, especially the faction related ones we saw the last two quarters.

Finally regarding character conversion, I was just thinking that some form of legacy boon might capture that nicely - some kind of increased status with the faction you were with to reflect your new character having some connection with a favorite PFS1 one. A title like you suggested or perhaps to use starfinder terminology increased influence (either via rate of acquisition or just simply starting at a rank or so higher) with the faction.

Silver Crusade ***** ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Aschaffenburg-Würzburg

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Rather than deciding which particular things qualify you to start at anything above L1, I would like effort focused on improving the L1 experience so people aren't so eager to skip over it.

Same here, I already see how in SFS (thanks to AP credit) players already have to start their 3rd character.. too many characters above level 1 might cause more complications, and focus on the experience of new level 1 characters would make a lot of sense.

I am kinda hoping for a quest style product at release that caters to level 1 characters.

*** Contributor aka Alexander Augunas

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I'm enjoying these spitball-style blog posts! Here's my take on the topics.

GM Stars
A bunch (albeit not all) of people in my Lodge are sort of salty about the GM Star mechanic because in theory it SHOULD denote the quality of the GM, but in practice it really only amounts to time spent playing. (Blizzard's Overwatch has the same problem with their portrait system; having a lot of stars doesn't actually mean you're a good GM / player.) As a result. I'm not super invested in what avenue you guys end up persuing, but I personally think that based off of what the Design Team has shown us, Pathfinder 2 is a new game that will require GMs to relearn most of the rules and mechanics. Since your PF1 gameplay knowledge won't completely transfer over to PF2, I don't think that GM Stars should transfer in any capacity either. But then again, I'd much prefer the GM Star system to do a better job of showing quality, not quantity.

Character Rebuilds
So, this might be me personally, but I don't have a huge problem with rebuilding characters I had in PF1 in PF2 at 1st level. Some neat benefit saying that my character was an old-timer (like a boon or something) would be cool, but there's no point in having a high-level PF2 character in Organized Play if there's no content to actually play them with.

First Edition Boons
I'm glad so much talk has been going around about PF1 boons with the heads! The tricky thing about boon currency is that not all boons are created equal. Comparing something like 1/day elemental blast to an aasimar boon to the Thaneguard Mantle sort of emphasizes this. I think that the rotating race-to-ancestry boon sounds pretty sweet, but that runs the risk of PF1 players holding onto their boons forever, trying to find the "perfect" trade-in. If you were going to do that, I would make sure that boon swapping is never the only way to gain a given ancestry.

Since I'm all about giving ideas as well as commenting them, what if the PF2 Retail Support Program card had a special rule that allowed you to "trade in" up to five boons per year, counting sealed boons (any boon with an official OP seal, like the ones you guys give out at conventions) to count as 3 games run, a race boon to count as 2 games run, and any other boon to count as 1 game run? That way boons could be "traded in" for something that really doesn't put the veteran player at an extreme advantage over a new player; the new player just needs to run more games, which makes sense as a requirement because newer players should have more experience behind the screen anyway.

I'm sure you don't want to hear this, but as soon as PF2 comes out, there's really no reason for you guys to keep regulations like this in place any more. In my opinion, you guys should make all of the boon-ified races always available and make replaying those scenarios easy. They'll be out of date at that point, like someone going back and dusting off their N64 to play Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. If what makes an OP program "alive" is the fact that it gets new content frequently and actions the players do affect the world, then the second Pathfinder 2 comes out Pathfinder 1 OP effectively becomes a dead campaign, so why keep tons of rules in place? Anyone continuing to play PF1 OP is basically doing it out of interest for the story, so why make it harder to access that story?

I know it's not the answer you wanted, John, but I think it's the most sensible one personally. Leave the rules and restrictions to the living campaign.

Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

The discussion threads were created and hidden prior to this blog's publication. I'm checking with someone who can activate those now.

UPDATE: Okay, they should be active now.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

There are a lot of potentially good options in here. Thanks for letting us know what you're considering.

Grand Lodge ***** ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

John Compton wrote:

The discussion threads were created and hidden prior to this blog's publication. I'm checking with someone who can activate those now.

UPDATE: Okay, they should be active now.

The GM Stars link is still broken in the blog!

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Asheville aka mogmismo

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't think we really need boons to transfer, if there is an occasional easter-egg in PF2 for players that played in PF1. If there are a few 2e boons that say, "If you played _____ in 1e and the have the chronicle applied to any 1e character, this bonus is increased", I suspect that older players would cherish those moments, and because they would just be minor additions to existing boons new players would not really be penalized.

Also, I'd love to finally see something done about those that Gnoll Boon in "Slave Pits of Absalom", and I don't care if it's in season 10, or PF2 society.


I like the idea of the subsidized metric for GM stars. Experience in the world of Golarion and as an organized play GM in general should help. I think that Option 2 is a good option, though I'd be happy with another subsidized approach.

You seem to have said all you want/not be presenting options for character conversion. I'd actually agree it's a good idea to force everyone to have a "fresh start".

First edition boons: I'm not going to be upset if I loose my 15ish boons I currently have in 1st edition, though being able to cash them in is not the worst idea either, and I'd support it. I'd assume a simpler approach is better, as I'd prefer more work be put into the gaming system itself rather than how I get my goodies :).

Replays is probably the hardest subject. I was one who lead the drive to expand replays (and I think lead to Expanded Narrative being a GM boon rather than a Con boon). Enough people have said unlimited replay is an issue, so I'm certainly not going to suggest that. I'll definitely say that multiple evergreens in season 1 is probably a good idea, particularly 1-5 and 3-7 if possible... Beyond that, I think I like the idea of guaranteeing everyone the Expanded Narrative boon yearly, or possibly even just giving everyone a number of replays each year equal to their current star level (resets automatically). I don't think the "Favored Character" options is a good one, however. I don't see it really solving long-term problems for the many people who are regular players.

Silver Crusade **

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I'm all for a completely fresh start

Shadow Lodge *

New rules and new system? Fresh start. However, I have no problem with a subsidized system as outlined in Option 2.

New rules and new system? Fresh start. In fact, while I look forward to creating new characters and forging new adventures, I'm sure when PF2 materials support more options I'll recreate my PF1 favorites and will want to play them from L1.

I'm sitting on a lot of unused boons. Again, I'm all for a fresh start...but I would absolutely support Option 4: Boons for Benefits--but only if they were communal for the entire table and only one boon total could be burned (i.e. only one player could contribute their boon). I'd be more than glad to burn an old Boon to grant 1 floating re-roll to the entire table to be used by anyone at the table, 1 floating point of resonance, or other team-based benefits that don't skew the game too much in the players' favor.

I'd be fine with unlimited replay in PF1 when PF2 launches because support for PF1 will stop (be phased out?). Option 2 with a favored character seems like a fine compromise.

Works for me--but I hope you open up the prize table to consideration before you lock it in.

Silver Crusade ***

I don't have many concerns regarding most of the topics here (my collection of boons mostly serves to cushion my character binders, and I play rather than GM seldom enough these days for replay to be irrelevant), but I had a thought regarding the star system.

The switch to a new ruleset is a great time for newer players to make the transition to the GM seat, since we're all going to be new to the system. That might be tricky if members of the 'old guard' are clamoring to recover whatever may be considered lost in the transition.


GM Stars – Let your 4 and 5 star GMs pick whatever option they like, they’re the ones that make it happen, they’re the ones that matter. I think keeping the star system as it is right now and making version 2 additive should be an option. Stars aren’t about system mastery, it’s about their contribution to the community, and we’re still the same community.

Boons: Option 1, no transfer.
1) Hopefully all ancestry options in the core are available to everyone, and nothing gets held back for boons.
2) Please don’t do option 4, in theory it sounds good, in practice everyone is just going to recirculate boons to do breathe of life every scenario. At least my character would be guaranteed to live to level 4??
3) I’d rather see Paizo working on important things, rather than boons.

Replay: Option 4. I don’t feel like players will replay scenarios for the “rewards” or because they have nothing better to do. It makes no sense. I do think that version 1 tables will be limited eventually and that to make tables, people will need to replay scenarios. Version 1 scenarios will be offered less and less, so I don’t see this as a problem. If GMs have a problem that one player at their table is replaying a scenario, they should stop offering to GM version 1 tables, it’s simple.


The best thing would be a clean start for both boons and characters. PF2 is a new game with new rules and should be a clean reboot of Organized Play.

On the GM front, I see the benefit of the subsidized metric since it is a mostly clean start but still recognizes the skills of GMs who have run many games.

Shadow Lodge ***

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Carrying boons over would just mean extra accounting to do for characters in PF2. Less accounting = more fun, so go clean slate for those.

Option 2 sounds fairest for the GM stars. Really dislike option 3. GMing is hard work and recognition is important.

Scarab Sages ***

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GM STARS: I like option 2 or 3. A discounted star track is nice, but it is a fairly new system from what we've been seeing. Rewards of a background or title or special wayfinder sound good too - something like being a Scion of the Society or a handed down wayfinder from our 1E characters sounds cool but I'm not sure I like making GM stars more present in the game instead of being a background thing.

*Instead of stars or glypsh, I like RUNES seeing as how they are a big thing in the setting. Heck, I'd even be down for 7 levels of GM recognition to use all of the Thassilonian runes.

BOONS: I think a currency for non-race boons that can be spent on in-session stuff is good and a trade in for race boons would appeal to me the most. Race boons are where I want to keep my stuff, those weren't easy to get and a chance to trade it for an equivalent sounds pretty good.

REPLAY: I like the idea of a favoured character, seems fitting.


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To repeat a thought I’ve seen here already; please don’t use boons to lock races behind walls. I understand wanting to incentivise GMs and convention attendance, but it’s really disheartening. Imagine being at a table and seeing one of the regular GMs pull out a really cool character of a race you haven’t seen before and thinking “wow, that’s so cool, I want to try a build built around that racial ability”. Now imagine getting really passionate about how you could make that build, imagining all the fun rules interactions you could use to make it work. Then finally, imagine realising that you will never be able to try that character, because it’s a GM boon and for you PFS is a casual commitment and you’ll never have the time to earn that boon yourself (assuming that race boon is even still available). What I’m trying to say is that race boons are disheartening, there have got to be better ways to reward GMs then locking entire character concepts away from people who don’t have enough free time.


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I just want to see another way to get race boons than going to cons. Myself, and most of the people I play with, can/will not likely ever get to Paizo/Gen/Whatever-con, but we still play PFS. So missing out on those bennies is really a disappointment.

So honestly, I'd be happy just to see three things (I know it doesn't really address this article, and I'm sorry about that, but...)
*Easier access to race boons.
*Race boons for GMs.
*And for the love of gods.. we obviously like catfolk. And yeah, proceeds went to a good cause.. but can't we have a Catfolk book again, that there's a better chance of acquiring?

(Sidenote - Or just get me a ratfolk boon and I'll stop complaining about things...)


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Mathota wrote:
To repeat a thought I’ve seen here already; please don’t use boons to lock races behind walls.

...Actually, I can get behind this, too. For being a diverse world, and putting out so many awesome races as you did in PF1E, it does really suck that some of them get locked away..

Wow, great blog post! I hope the next class preview will be something along this line.

Grand Lodge *** Venture-Lieutenant, Ireland—Newtownabbey aka Ampersandrew

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GM stars: I'd like to see option 2, the subsidized Metric implemented. Folk with stars should know how to run games in Golarion and have put time into the Campaign, getting the new stars should be slightly easier for them. I also like Runes as the name for the new star. I'm less happy about New Metric with reward, either the option is bland and uninteresting or new players resent not being able to get it. If they complain and you open it up to them, now your established GMs are annoyed. Best to avoid these problems.

Character Rebuilds: New campaign, New rules, New start. Nothing about having characters in the legacy campaign should carry over to the new campaign.

First edition boons: If you do something make it bland and uninteresting or you'll create resentment from people who can't get it. I have no interest in it unless you put something cool on it, then I'm annoyed. Also not a fan of Race boons, please don't lock races in the new campaign behind a boon.

Legacy Campaign Replay:I've been listening to "unlimited replay is damaging to a campaign" for years now. I don't think I've seen anyone specify what problems replay causes in an organised play campaign. Since I don't know what problems you're avoiding I can't really offer solutions or point out that they no longer apply to the legacy campaign (if that happens to be the case).

So, with that in mind, I'm in favour of unlimited replay in the legacy campaign after we start the new one. it will ease table scheduling and allow people to play out the tail end of multiple characters. Failing that, some kind of Heightened GM star recharge. However we have some players who don't GM and heightened GM star recharge doesn't help us seat them at a table. Favoured Character again doesn't help much with scheduling issues, but might be better than the status quo.

If we don't add more replay options then scheduling legacy tables becomes more and more problematic over time. What I'd really like to see is unlimited replay with different characters, I'd be happy if this was phased in. Limited replay available starting August 2019, unlimited replay (as long as it's with different characters) starting August 2020 — a year after the new campaign starts. Hopefully we'll find that Pathfinder 2 is so much superior to Pathfinder 1 that this becomes a non-issue, everyone will want to be playing the new stuff. If that doesn't happen, we should do as much as we can to help people bring their characters to a satisfying conclusion, only the individual player can decide what that means for them.

Incentivising play testing: The prize table model sounds good.

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Oiy vey -

Ok -

1. PFS 1 Unlimited Replay - This must happen. Period. Maybe not immediately, but must happen. With no new content eventually people will be unable to play. Reasonably each person should always be able to play at least 26 games per year. Once every 2 weeks. As PFS 1 dies less games, less Ayers, less scenario adversity.

2. PFS 2 Publishing schedule - Do NOT pull a Starfinder Society. Do not start releasing scenarios so 5 months in people quit due to lack on content. Do not print so few adventures that a single character death stops you from playing again for months.

My recommendation:

Get 36 Scenarios out in the first year. 3 per month not counting Pregen adventures.

12 Tier 1-4
12 Tier 5-8
12 Tier 9-12

Enough to bring 1 character from 1-12 in year 1 without having to play funky games with specific road maps.

Nothing like SFS where you have to say:

"Well, I need to play the Pregen adventure first, then commencement, now I can do 1 other one, now I can do 2 more low level ones, but then I have to do Dead Suns 1, then I can do this to get to level 3..."

I shouldn't have to enter the Konami Code to play the game.

Furthermore - At least 3 scenarios from each tier need to be replayable. Nothing sucks more than being unable to play due to lack of content.

Furthermore - Make sure when PFS 2 launches the first 12 scenarios are front the loaded. Then 2 per month for the rest of the 12 months.

That isn't the most important part though...

In PFS 2 you need to be more aggressive with PFS 2 eratta and PFS 2 additional resources. PFS 1 takes far too long and this causes broken things (tumor familiar bodyguard) to be everyone else's headache for months/years. No! Bad designer! No biscuit!

* RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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I strongly believe GM stars should carry over. Knowing the rules is only one part of being a good PFS GM.

Scarab Sages *****

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The dangers of unlimited replay have been elucidated very succinctly in almost every "more replay" thread. The danger will still exist.

Dark Archive ***

GM stars: I'd like to see option 2, the subsidized Metric implemented.
No one starts off "ahead", but for those who have already done the slog once (and I use that term more in recognition that unfortunately some GMs do overextend themselves) they should feel that less in 2E.

Character Rebuilds: Definitely all fresh characters.

First edition boons: My going theme here is wanting to preserve 1E PFS for quite awhile. Allowing a very narrow trade-in of unwanted 1E boons is workable. If you don't like what you'd get in 2E you still potentially could use them on old 1E characters. On top of that there should be a special non-core race that you could only get by trading in unused race boons from 1E. Eventually the race might get opened up, after it actually gets published in another source. Overall if races are generally more permissive in 2E than 1E I think it is fine to have 1 or 2 options. Importantly this could still provide an ongoing motivation to run 1E content.

Legacy Campaign Replay: I concur with Tallow, the issues of unlimited replay have been listed. I can already start ticking off the scenarios that would be ridiculously over farmed.

Incentivising play testing: I would advocate something simple as there is plenty of meaningful work already and I'm confident you'll get enough play testers regardless.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Bothell aka Pinstripedbarbarian

I think the favored character option is a neat way to expand play options, but one character only might limit people with loads of characters they want to play. Perhaps we could tie the favored character option to gm stars? Maybe a gm reward boon like in the past that allows extra favored characters. Not necessarily one per star (I wouldn't object to getting 5 extra replays, but at that point it's almost the same as unlimited replays for practical purposes), but incorporating one or two extra characters' legacies into a gm's career is both fitting and helps address the first-edition-gm-star-reward problem.

Liberty's Edge ** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

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Great comments but we should be posting in the specific threads, not here. So please repost in the other threads as requested by John.

*** Contributor aka Alexander Augunas

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Tallow wrote:
The dangers of unlimited replay have been elucidated very succinctly in almost every "more replay" thread. The danger will still exist.

Yes, but all of those points apply to living campaigns. When PF2 launches, PF1 will be a dead campaign. There is no reason to keep heavy restrictions on an old OP system when the focus will be on the shiny new thing.

Scarab Sages *****

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Alex Augunas wrote:
Tallow wrote:
The dangers of unlimited replay have been elucidated very succinctly in almost every "more replay" thread. The danger will still exist.
Yes, but all of those points apply to living campaigns. When PF2 launches, PF1 will be a dead campaign. There is no reason to keep heavy restrictions on an old OP system when the focus will be on the shiny new thing.

As long as people have games to play, and you can get tables to play those games (which will be necessary, nearly mandator, to maintain a stable lodge for at least 2 years until PFS2 gets its legs under it), then PFS1 will not be dead.

Just because no new content is being created does not make the campaign dead.

Unlimited Replay will certainly ensure the campaign will die, and quickly. Sure, there will be the few replay addicts hanging on to the campaign, maybe for years to come. But for all intents and purposes, PFS1 will simply stop being viable for conventions and will lose a huge chunk of its player base if it goes to unlimited replay.

And maybe in 2 or 3 years once PFS2 gets its legs under it and has a ton of material to play, PFS1 will organically die. Rare tables will be scheduled and it just won't see much play. You know what? That's ok.

Dark Archive

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Another thought that occurs to me: It seems to me that, generally, the logic behind BoonGating races was that they were in some way "Complex" or had features that would be "Disruptive" to play, and by gating them to dedicated GMs theoretically they were kept in the hands of people who wouldn't cause a problem.

In PF2, depending on how Ancestries work, and ancestry feats, would it not be possible to take a race with "Disruptive features" and either JUST BAN those AncFeat options, or Gate JUST those powers with a boon?

Like (and this is just a crazy made up example) say Ifrit somehow got unlimited fireballs. Just ban that. Say a winged race got a feat for fly speed (at low level). Boon Gate JUST THAT.

Just. Don't lock/ban EVERY new race. Or MOST races. Make 90% of races available, and don't BoonGate things you KNOW are going to be super popular.

Silver Crusade ***** ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Aschaffenburg-Würzburg

TiwazBlackhand wrote:

Another thought that occurs to me: It seems to me that, generally, the logic behind BoonGating races was that they were in some way "Complex" or had features that would be "Disruptive" to play, and by gating them to dedicated GMs theoretically they were kept in the hands of people who wouldn't cause a problem.

In PF2, depending on how Ancestries work, and ancestry feats, would it not be possible to take a race with "Disruptive features" and either JUST BAN those AncFeat options, or Gate JUST those powers with a boon?

Like (and this is just a crazy made up example) say Ifrit somehow got unlimited fireballs. Just ban that. Say a winged race got a feat for fly speed (at low level). Boon Gate JUST THAT.

Just. Don't lock/ban EVERY new race. Or MOST races. Make 90% of races available, and don't BoonGate things you KNOW are going to be super popular.

I am looking forward to your suggestions when it comes to incentivizing convention GMs.

EDIT: I unfairly quoted once a person who suggested it, but the question also goes out to everyone how has suggested restricting fewer races for GM rewards.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Brain-musings from the excited synapses after reading the blog (and some responses).

GM Stars
I'll advocate for Option 1. This is a new campaign, and just like with SFS experience in PF1S should not give you a boost in PF2S. I also consider it unfair that someone new could be joining the campaign, "At ground level," when it first launches at Gen Con 2019 and yet already be on unequal footing with another player by virtue of that player's participating in a different campaign. Strikes me as not equitable, and so I'd prefer there be no benefit for PF1S stars in PF2S.

PF1S Replay and Boon Races in PF2S
Backs away slowly...

First Edition Boons
You'll notice a theme here; I'm all for a clean slate. First edition boons should, in my opinion, have no effect on 2nd Edition. That includes, sadly, the very cool Legacy boons that are now floating around in PFS scenarios. As much as I'd like to see that legacy carried over to give the world the illusion of persistence and our characters some illusion of agency, that also creates a situation where content for PF2S is gated behind playing PF1S. Anything that does so should be avoided like unlimited replay. New campaign, clean slate please.

PF2 Playtesting
For figuring out appropriate bonuses, one idea that comes to mind is a PF1-style chronicle sheet with event name | event ID | date lines, similar to the Expanded Narrative boon. Every time you run a PF2 Playtest event at a sanctioned PFS event (and do the associated reporting) you fill in one line, just like you fill out the Expanded Narrative boon.

Then, when PF2 comes out (or at least when it's solid enough to be circulated internally), write up a boon that scales based on the amount of PF2 Playtest credit the player has. Based on the number of events reported on the sheet, the player can claim a single scaling benefit. The benefit applies one time, to one character, and is non-cumulative; if you ran (for example) 10 tables of Playtest, you can claim the rewards at 1, 5, or 10 tables of Playtest on your PF2S boon, but [b]not[b] 1, 5, and 10.

I wasn't sure if this is what you meant by a, "Prize pool," system, but it follows something many PFS players are already familiar with from existing PF1S boons, both Expanded Narrative and others, and would let players/GMs begin tracking credit from launch while you wait for the PF2 ruleset to be concrete enough to assign benefits to the prize pool.
I've snipped the relevant bits and posted them in the corresponding threads.

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