Pathfinder Society 3: Organized Playtest

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The past few months have been busy for the organized play team, from many of us traveling to give fans sneak peaks of the Pathfinder Playtest to our developing a huge number of scenarios to launch at PaizoCon, Origins, and Gen Con (more on those Gen Con adventures in several upcoming preview blogs). We've also been discussing many of the features in a Second Edition Pathfinder Society campaign, as we introduced in our initial playtest blog as well as the blog that followed. We'll be getting into some of our ideas—including some possibilities for incentivizing special events without gating material—and takeaways from your feedback shortly after Gen Con.

In the meantime, I want to confirm and reinforce what you'll be seeing at Gen Con and beyond for the Pathfinder Society Playtest.

1: What to Play

Paizo has created 11 different adventures for you to playtest, and we're including them all in the organized play playtest.

Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn (August 2nd): The biggest playtest adventure resource by far is this series of 7 adventures that span a wide range of levels. Some of these are "traditional" adventures, whereas others are designed to stress-test different parts of the game. A common estimate is that each of these adventures runs about twice the length of a Pathfinder Society scenario, though it will vary by your group, play style, and familiarity with the rules.

Pathfinder Society Playtest #1: The Rose Street Revenge (August 6th): This is a series of four quests (short adventures intended to take about 40-;60 minutes each). Explore Absalom, clash with a variety of foes, catch a murderer, and emerge as heroes.

Pathfinder Society Playtest #2: Raiders of Shrieking Peak (August 6th): This is a scenario (about 4-;5 hours) for 5th-level characters, taking the PCs into the Isle of Kortos's wilderness to rescue a missing comrade and recover a lost relic.

Pathfinder Society Playtest #3: Arclord's Envy (August 6th): This is a scenario for 5th-level characters that takes place in the wondrously arcane nation Nex. Solve a murder in the capital city, where mages, golems, and elementals rule.

Pathfinder Society Playtest #4: The Frozen Oath (September 26th): This is a scenario for 10th-level characters, taking the PCs into the frozen Crown of the World. There they'll fight with all manner of arctic menaces while uncovering an ancient ruin. We'll have a product page up for this scenario soon.

Beyond that, Paizo's also excited to receive any homebrew adventure data. Just keep in mind that 1) that style of game doesn't earn any organized play credit (see below) and that 2) one big advantage of having printed adventures to playtest is that they control for more variables in the playtest process and thus provide information that's easier to process and compare.

Valeros is pumped and ready to playtest!

2: Characters

The playtest experience is distinct from the current Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild campaign. That means you aren't bringing your existing Pathfinder Society characters to the table—at least not directly. There are two different ways we're handling player characters.

Build Your Own Character: In Pathfinder Society, you have to play a certain number of times to reach a particular level. In order to playtest a wide range of levels, we're not using that organic character growth model in the playtest. Instead, each of these adventures is made for characters of a particular level, and you get to build a character of that level and just show up.

Play a Pregenerated Character: The organized play team is providing a set of pregenerated characters (we're currently working on six of them with a possible seventh character) at both 1st and 5th levels. That's perfect for Pathfinder Playtest Scenarios #1-3, especially when running The Rose Street Revenge as a demo or when playing these adventures at conventions. You can also use the 1st-level pregenerated characters for the first Doomsday Dawn adventure with some minor modifications—or your own home games, if you like.

Doesn't that leave plenty of adventures in which there won't be a pregenerated character option? Yes. We're providing a good array of pregens for our first few adventures, but creating pregenerated characters for all of the levels represented isn't practical. Paizo's also really interested to hear about the character-building process—if it was easy, intuitive, hard in places, et cetera. This does make it important to factor this into your playtest schedule, though (see the General Advice below).

3: Earning Credit

Back in March, we introduced a "prize table" method of earning playtest credit (see the end of the linked blog). The more we discussed and refined the concept, the more we liked it.

Playtest Points: At the back of each Pathfinder Society Playtest scenario, you'll find a pair of half-page tracking sheets. Each asks you to record the adventure you played, the date completed, the GM's organized play number, the GM's initials, and a reminder to fill out that adventure's survey (see below). That means that instead of receiving a different Chronicle sheet for each adventure, you'll just fill in a single line of information. If you fill up your tracking sheet, just grab a new one and starting filling it in, too. Just keep these sheets together, much like you would your character's Chronicle sheets!

In addition, for each of these adventures you will earn a number of Playtest Points (PTP). 

  • Earn 1 PTP for each playtest quest played. It's absolutely fine to play all of The Rose Street Revenge in one sitting and record it as a single event.
  • Earn 4 PTP for each playtest scenario played.
  • Earn 4 PTP for each chapter of Doomsday Dawn
  • For every 4 PTP someone earns by being a GM, they'll receive 1 bonus PTP.

As we approach the launch of Pathfinder Society's Second Edition campaign, we'll post the different ways that you can redeem these points for special character options. These aren't intended as major power upgrades but rather as fun tools, backgrounds, and other options to thank you for contributing to the playtest process.

Replay: You can freely replay these 11 playtest adventures for credit; in fact, you'll likely learn something new about the game each time you play an adventure. Just be sure your foreknowledge of any story and encounters doesn't ruin the experience for others at the table. We expect there will be plenty of playtest rewards, so by replaying some adventures and gaining extra PTP, those points aren't going to go to waste.

Reporting: How are we tracking how many PTP you've earned? Although your tracking sheets are a handy record, you'll be purchasing rewards using your accumulated PTP reported on paizo.com. Yep, reporting is important. Think of this as a trial run for how we can provide ongoing rewards once we launch the new campaign, so help us report events dutifully so that we might distribute, say, ancestry boons in the future.

But what's your character name? Your character number? Your faction? Go ahead and make up a name used in playtesting. For your number, use XXXXX-15XX (for example, 11300-1501 for a first character, 11300-1502 for the second, etc.). It's easy to go overboard in creating characters by making loads of characters, so you might want to stick to just a few numbers or one character number per playtest class. Whichever strategy you choose, the playtest points you earn are cumulative to the campaign; you don't need to assign credit to the same character.

4: Surveys

Surveys are going to be a major vector for soliciting feedback during the playtest process, and that includes the organized play events. In addition to several general-purpose surveys, each of the playtest adventures will have associated surveys—often including a different survey for the players and for the GM—that seek scenario-specific information. Once the playtest launches at Gen Con on the first weekend of August, you'll be able to find these surveys at paizo.com/pathfinderplaytest. Keep in mind that Paizo will periodically add more surveys to that site to secure more information and better pace the playtest feedback.

In particular when running chapters of Doomsday Dawn, keep in mind that there might be specific numbers to track during gameplay. If you are the GM, please take a look at the survey beforehand so that you can record these values and report them accurately later.

5: General Advice

Plan for Building Characters: In the Characters section above, I noted that there will only 1st- and 5th-level pregenerated characters available. This comes with a really important consideration: plan for building characters AT or BEFORE your playtest events. That might mean gathering your group together the day before the event to run a character-building session. It might mean scheduling the event to start an hour earlier to build in time for this process. If someone shows up without a character for Pathfinder Society Playtest #1, 2, or 3, they can always grab a pregenerated character. For #4, though? It's important to have that character ready to go. Work out with your group, your store, or your community what makes the most sense.

How much gold does your higher-level character start with? Each PC should be built using the character wealth numbers for their respective levels found on page 348 of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook (see Table 11-2).

Plan for Teaching Rules: I've now run many hours of our convention demo and the Rose Street Revenge quests, and I've found it's possible to convey a nice overview of the rules in about 10 minutes. However, I could readily stretch that out to three times that length, especially in answering questions. As with planning for building characters, you'll want to schedule a little time for teaching the rules.

Assess Your Area's Needs: Just figure out what's best for your region, your gaming space, or your home group. It might make sense to run a few big events, meet regularly to run part of a scenario at a time, or create temporary playtesting groups to tackle the larger Doomsday Dawn adventures. Take the time to discuss it with your community. There's no one right answer.

We're excited to see what you think of the new edition and our excellent new adventures! Next week we'll provide previews of the upcoming July and August Pathfinder Society and Starfinder Society scenarios, and the following week we'll preview the increasingly imminent Pathfinder Playtest scenarios.

John Compton
Organized Play Lead Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Organized Play Pathfinder Playtest Pathfinder Society
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Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Lead Developer

ThePuppyTurtle wrote:
Are you allowed to tell us what levels the Doomsday dawn scenarios are? I'd like to know so I can plan on running everything, including the non-doomsday stuff, in order of ascending level with my group using a single party.

Not quite yet. We'll be announcing those levels in the future.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Lead Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
GM Aerondor wrote:

Any word on when the ability to make playtest characters will actually work? When you do this online at the moment it dies at the "pick a faction" stage and you are left with a weirdly named character that sounds like an android.

-Anonymous Visitor 592 160

There are a few pieces still queued for the next website update before Gen Con. We'll let you know once that's in place.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Manager

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Enlight_Bystand wrote:
Bret Indrelee wrote:

Does it require an Organized Play number in order to participate?

I have some friends that do not play Pathfinder or Starfinder. I doubt they have any interest in joining the boards here just in order to provide feedback. On the other hand, they have played a wide variety of different RPGs over the years and are likely to provide a different perspective than the people that visit these boards.

Can I run a playtest for them and get credit? Will there be a way for them to provide playtest feedback?

They'll be able to play, and will be able to do the surveys (those are not PFS specific). They won't be able to get credit, but it's unclear if you'll be able to get Gming credit for running for them.

We set up Org Play number 99 as a holding account for all those non-org play Playtesters. When filling out the chronicle, start with 99-1501 and use the character numbers in succession, one for each person at the table that doesn't want or have an organized play number.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Manager

First World Bard wrote:
ryric wrote:
My wife and I are looking forward to playing Rose Street Revenge at Gen Con! We will likely use pregens, as I'm not sure we'll have the free time to build characters before our session. Would I be correct in assuming that the pregens will be some of the iconics? Can we find out which ones ahead of time?
Everyone should check out ENWorld, since it looks like they are getting to spoil the pregen sheets. To answer your questions, it looks like the 6 are Fighter, Rogue, Cleric, Wizard, Paladin, and Alchemist. No idea what the bonus 7th would be, if we get it.

These pregens are the versions we used at UK Games Expo and Origins. We took feedback and are doing a revision before Gen Con. At this point, we are trying to coordinate what day they will become available on paizo.com.

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Australia—NSW—Sydney aka sanwah68

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Tonya, are you able to answer if the tables count towards GM stars or glyphs

Scarab Sages 4/5

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

This may have already been addressed elsewhere, but what's the viewpoint on a sort of "community library" of unofficial player or organizer created pre-gens? While there will be plenty of individual postings and discussions of various character creations, these are often scattered among multiple locations and posts, which can be difficult to easily review quickly. As not all communities or groups will have the means to allow for additional character creation time, it seems like having a somewhat centralized place of reference would be a helpful community resource to fill in the level gaps around the official Level 1 and Level 5 pregens.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Manager

Sandra Wilkinson wrote:
I have a question from my community: Does GMing the playtest tables add towards either the PFS1 or PFS2 tables for GM star/glyphs etc?

Not directly, but it may play into the conversion in some way. We have the data and that is a decision we haven't made yet.

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Australia—NSW—Sydney aka sanwah68

Tonya Woldridge wrote:
Sandra Wilkinson wrote:
I have a question from my community: Does GMing the playtest tables add towards either the PFS1 or PFS2 tables for GM star/glyphs etc?
Not directly, but it may play into the conversion in some way. We have the data and that is a decision we haven't made yet.

Thanks for the answer.

Just to clarify, my reading of this is that it will not count toward the current star system, but it is yet to be decided if there is any effect on the PFS2 system.

This one is mostly personal, as I have 18 tables til my fifth star :)

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

Ooh, those 18 tables take so long to arrive too! I became the worst pest of my organizers in Minnesota. "Have you reported my table yet?" And woe betide any convention that did not report my games... Good luck, Sandra! May you join the 5 star island soon!

I am hoping for a conversion to Glyphs, personally.

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Australia—NSW—Sydney aka sanwah68

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

Ooh, those 18 tables take so long to arrive too! I became the worst pest of my organizers in Minnesota. "Have you reported my table yet?" And woe betide any convention that did not report my games... Good luck, Sandra! May you join the 5 star island soon!

I am hoping for a conversion to Glyphs, personally.

Thanks Hmm...

I am swimming my way to the island, it is just that the playtest will make me tread water for a while til I can continue on :)

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

You’ll get there and we’ll all cheer you on when you do!

Silver Crusade 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West aka Wendy-Ann

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. (I have 8 to go)

2/5 Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Toronto aka Engineremy

Can someone clarify why the blog post is titled "Pathfinder Society 3", emphasis on the "three" part? What am I missing here?

Scarab Sages 5/5

either because it's the third blog for the PFS playtest, or a typo. Or perhaps because season zero being 3.5, perhaps they are considering that PFS1.

3/5 Venture-Agent, Illinois—Peoria

Enlight_Bystand wrote:
Bret Indrelee wrote:

Does it require an Organized Play number in order to participate?

I have some friends that do not play Pathfinder or Starfinder. I doubt they have any interest in joining the boards here just in order to provide feedback. On the other hand, they have played a wide variety of different RPGs over the years and are likely to provide a different perspective than the people that visit these boards.

Can I run a playtest for them and get credit? Will there be a way for them to provide playtest feedback?

They'll be able to play, and will be able to do the surveys (those are not PFS specific). They won't be able to get credit, but it's unclear if you'll be able to get Gming credit for running for them.

Couldn't GMs bring PFS id cards with them for people who don't have one like usual?


I'm looking forward to getting involved with organized play again and building my first playtest character. I think I'm going make a certain Cleric character of which I'm very fond for my first session. This might be a bit off topic, but is there any word yet as to if all the core deities are staying PFS legal in the new edition?

4/5 Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

Nathanael Love wrote:


Couldn't GMs bring PFS id cards with them for people who don't have one like usual?

Yes, but some people would need convincing to even try the playtest. Asking them to create a login on a website for a game they don’t regularly play really doesn’t make sense — there is no reason to use up the numbers in that case.

I will bring some cards, but having the 99- option is great when someone wants to try it with no strings attached.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Lead Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Jeremy Taylor wrote:
Can someone clarify why the blog post is titled "Pathfinder Society 3", emphasis on the "three" part? What am I missing here?

Here I thought I was being dutiful in numbering my blogs 1, 2, and then 3, yet I see that I labeled both of my previous blogs "2." There's no other signal intended other than my trying to convey that this was the third major organized play blog about playtesting and Pathfinder Society in Second Edition.

Dark Archive 5/5

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sandra Wilkinson wrote:
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

Ooh, those 18 tables take so long to arrive too! I became the worst pest of my organizers in Minnesota. "Have you reported my table yet?" And woe betide any convention that did not report my games... Good luck, Sandra! May you join the 5 star island soon!

I am hoping for a conversion to Glyphs, personally.

Thanks Hmm...

I am swimming my way to the island, it is just that the playtest will make me tread water for a while til I can continue on :)

The beachside tiki bar is still open and awaiting yer arrival.

4/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Southcoast aka JDDyslexia

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Sandra Wilkinson wrote:
I am swimming my way to the island, it is just that the playtest will make me tread water for a while til I can continue on :)

This is where I am. I'm hitting 4-stars at GenCon next month, and my lofty goal was to try to hit 5 stars by next year's PaizoCon or GenCon.

But then I remembered the playtest scenarios being released...

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

Do GMs get "points/credits" for running the playtest?

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

Joe Bouchard wrote:
Sandra Wilkinson wrote:
I am swimming my way to the island, it is just that the playtest will make me tread water for a while til I can continue on :)

This is where I am. I'm hitting 4-stars at GenCon next month, and my lofty goal was to try to hit 5 stars by next year's PaizoCon or GenCon.

But then I remembered the playtest scenarios being released...

Heh. Starfinder's release slowed me down by six months! It was not a terrible thing, though. I got to get a chance to have 5 star table the day before PaizoCon. It was a party!

Mike McKeown wrote:
Do GMs get "points/credits" for running the playtest?

Not only do they get points, they get bonus points!

Hmm

1/5

But not PF1 GM credit, right?

1/5

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
GM Wageslave wrote:
But not PF1 GM credit, right?

Right. They will accumulate Playtest points to later exchange for as yet to be determined rewards.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Lead Developer

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I have created a thread that lays out the rules for creating a Pathfinder Society Playtest character of 1st, 5th, and 10th levels.

3/5

John Compton wrote:
I have created a thread that lays out the rules for creating a Pathfinder Society Playtest character of 1st, 5th, and 10th levels.

Excellent, but what about the important levels (15 & 20)? :)

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Lead Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
TimD wrote:
John Compton wrote:
I have created a thread that lays out the rules for creating a Pathfinder Society Playtest character of 1st, 5th, and 10th levels.
Excellent, but what about the important levels (15 & 20)? :)

1, 5, and 10 cover the levels of play in the Pathfinder Society Playtest scenarios. Each chapter of Doomsday Dawn includes a clear sidebar detailing character creation expectations for that adventure.

Liberty's Edge ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Fairview Heights aka Freedom Snake

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Maybe I'm blind, but I have been unable to find the pregens mentioned in the blog post. Are those available somewhere? I know of some players who want to try the new mechanics in play before they commit to building a character when we run at the LGS.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Lead Developer

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Pregenerated characters were withheld from the website due to several corrections found by our volunteers that needed a developer in the office to make the adjustments. Those are going through art and editing now, and I'm expecting the pregenerated characters will be available for download on the website by the weekend.

Sovereign Court 4/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Georgia—Atlanta aka The Masked Ferret

Sweet! Thanks for your response!

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Lead Developer

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Pregenerated Character Update: All of the updates—both those identified by our volunteers from Gen Con as well as those caught in another round of editing—are complete. The only snag is that the folks who could upload these files to our website appear to be out today. We'll have to resume this process on Monday.

Dark Archive 5/5 Venture-Agent, Ohio—Columbus aka Cirithiel

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I just ran and reported The Rose Street Revenge. I did not get the expected number of playtest points.

Based on the info in the blog, I was expecting 5 (4 plus 1 for being the GM), since this was a scenario/4 part quest. But my GM tab shows that I now have only 3 Playtest points.

Did I calculate this wrong, or is the reporting system wrong?


You might want to have which spell list a class uses and whether they cast spells prepared or spontaneously in the class entry column. Readers unfamiliar with the game might get confused.

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Australia—NSW—Sydney aka sanwah68

Is there any timing for when the Doomsday Dawn adventures will be up for reporting purposes?

Dark Archive 5/5 Venture-Captain, Massachusetts—North Shore aka LackofFocus

Is there a Basic Rules Sheet coming with the PreGens as well.

Dark Archive

Why the swap of Barbarian for Paladin and Sorcerer for Wizard? Thought the characters from the sneak peek from EN-World were supposed to be the pregens. Not that I'm complaining I now have something to check my Sorcerer against to see if I built it right.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Lead Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

You can now download the pregenerated characters off the Pathfinder Playtest page (see the bottom of the page near the scenario download links on the right).

Silver Crusade

John Compton wrote:
You can now download the pregenerated characters off the Pathfinder Playtest page (see the bottom of the page near the scenario download links on the right).

This file only seems to include: Alchemist, Barbarian, Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Sorcerer. (Each at level 1 and level 5.)

Is that intended, or will we be seeing pregens for all classes?

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Lead Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Joe M. wrote:
John Compton wrote:
You can now download the pregenerated characters off the Pathfinder Playtest page (see the bottom of the page near the scenario download links on the right).

This file only seems to include: Alchemist, Barbarian, Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, Sorcerer. (Each at level 1 and level 5.)

Is that intended, or will we be seeing pregens for all classes?

These are the six to expect, though we might be adding another character later in the playtest period. The intention of these pregenerated characters during the playtest is to provide pick-up-and-play options that demonstrate an array of character options, including prepared and spontaneous spellcasters, numerous weapon fighting styles, and a wide range of skills. With six options, it means that everyone at a full table of six players can choose a different character.

Not only does this balance the resources needed to create and revise these pregenerated characters for the months-long playtest period, but I suspect it also encourages folks to create their own characters (an important part of the playtest data and experience), too.

Creating and publishing all 12 iconic pregenerated characters for the launch of Second Edition is much more likely.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
rasplundjr wrote:
Why the swap of Barbarian for Paladin and Sorcerer for Wizard? Thought the characters from the sneak peek from EN-World were supposed to be the pregens. Not that I'm complaining I now have something to check my Sorcerer against to see if I built it right.

The original pregens were designed to be the most efficient to explain to a group of new players, with intentional overlap. Ezren and Kyra were both prepared casters and could be explained in the same way, Valeros and Seelah were both sword and board users with an attack reaction so explanations for one would apply to the other.

With the release of the playtest book and players having more resources readily available, we felt that a different pregen lineup covering a broader number of subsystems suited the purposes of organized play better (thus one prepared caster swapped for a spontaneous caster, and one sword and board swapped for a two-handed combatant with rage.)

Dark Archive

John Compton wrote:
You can now download the pregenerated characters off the Pathfinder Playtest page (see the bottom of the page near the scenario download links on the right).

Is there a reason Seoni's Invisibility spell kept its Material action? Is that why she has a component pouch? Also what happened to her Familiar? Is Dragon ok?

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