Pathfinder Society Playtest Scenarios

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

One of the advantages of this team's creating organized play scenarios for the better part of a decade (it surprises me that I can truthfully say that) is that we're now very familiar with how Pathfinder Society scenarios are laid out, how we word certain things, and countless other nuances. Introducing Starfinder Society gave us (especially Thurston Hillman) lots of opportunities to tweak our models to fit a new game system, and in many ways it prepared us for the changes we've made in Pathfinder's Second Edition. Sure, some of these are editorial minutiae like no longer splitting whether we use the preposition "on" or "to" when referring to bonuses on rolls versus bonuses to static values (e.g. AC or CMD). Others are more apparent, such as how we arrange encounters, where we place tactics, and how we calculate treasure. Learning these new styles and adapting them to organized play has been an experience, and we're hoping that this is a first step toward presenting great scenarios in the upcoming campaign.

One of the most unexpected updates for us was how Second Edition shapes those Knowledge checks that appear at the beginning of most scenarios (right after the adventure briefing). In the current edition's Pathfinder Society scenarios, these provide increasingly specific, esoteric, and/or useful information based on the result of a PC's Knowledge check. Some of Second Edition's underlying math, the different levels of success, and other factors make it so that this start-of-scenario tradition has to evolve, and Michael, Linda, Mark, and I brainstormed lots of different approaches to handling these opening skill checks to learn more. We found that there's not one perfect solution in theory, so we've used a different model in each of the playtest adventures releasing in August. As we launch these scenarios, we'll also be posting survey links to solicit your feedback. As you can imagine, we're eager to hear how each of these information-gathering systems worked for your table.


Illustration by Kenneth Camaro

But hey, that's enough nuts and bolts. If you'd like to know more about the Pathfinder Society playtest process, check out the Organized Playtest blog. Let's dive into the stories!

The early public previews of Pathfinder's second edition have relied on two particular adventures. Most of our playtesters so far have experienced our demo, in which the PCs clash with a cruel Asmodean zealot and his small army of undead. Beginning at PaizoCon, we also debuted Pathfinder Society Playtest #1: The Rose Street Revenge as a lottery event that's also appeared at Origins and PaizoCon UK. In the wake of Absalom's grand manumission event(kudos, Liberty's Edge faction!), the city's former slaves have found new homes there as the newest free citizens. However, someone seems to hold a grudge. Known as the Rose Street Killer, this villain has systematically killed or abducted these freed people, and the latest victim is a recent recruit of the Pathfinder Society. In this series of four quests for 1st-level characters, the PCs follow exciting leads in order to unmask the killer and put an end to the attacks once and for all. Not only do these adventures involve a visit to the Society's unlikely kobold allies beneath Absalom, but there's also a chance to explore the Puddles, a flooded district where volunteer Muckrucker guards (like the one illustrated here by Kenneth Camaro) keep the peace. We expect this quest series by Leo Glass, Thurston Hillman, Joe Pasini, and Linda Zayas-Palmer will be many players' first and fun introduction to Second Edition.


Illustration by Josef Kucera

Linda took the lead on our next scenario, so let's hear from her directly.

The first of our offerings for 5th-level characters is Pathfinder Playtest Scenario #2: Raiders of Shrieking Peak, by developer Luis Loza. When Pathfinder agent Inisa Ardaali recovered a relic from Iomedae's ascension, she took every precaution to get it back to Absalom safely. Instead of sailing directly into Absalom's harbor, she landed in nearby Diobel and hired a nondescript caravan to cover the rest of the distance overland. Despite her preparations, however, her caravan did not reach its destination. They fell prey to an unexpected group of bandits, leaving the survivors to limp back to Diobel empty-handed. The PCs pick up the robbers' trail and set off into the perilous wilderness. Will they forge new alliances with those they find along they way or let their blades do the talking? It's up to you to decide. How would you respond to this fellow swooping down out of the sky, as illustrated by Josef Kucera?


Illustration by Javier Charro

Want more 5th-level adventure possibilities? Look no further than Pathfinder Society Playtest #3: Arclord's Envy by Lyz Liddell. This adventure does many things we've always dreamed of: it's a story that takes place in Nex, resoundingly reflects its setting in the encounters, and at long last shows off the Nexus House (the oldest Society lodge outside of Absalom)! What's more, we've introduced the lodge's three caretakers, most notably the esteemed gnome Sebnet Sanserkoht (illustrated here by Javier Charro). The 5th-level PCs are in charge of a daring whodunit that hinges on a recently discovered text written by the archmage Nex himself. This is no mundane investigation, though—not in a capital city run by wizards, maintained by elementals, and guarded by a pair of titanic golems! Because it's possible to replay these playtest scenarios for credit, this scenario includes some flexibility for the GM to vary parts of the investigation and the culprits themselves in order to keep players on their toes every time.

And don't forget that we'll also have a 10th-level scenario coming out in September! In the meantime, get ready for three great adventures to kick off the playtest at Gen Con in style!

(And surveys. Don't forget the surveys!)

John Compton
Organized Play Lead Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Javier Charro Josef Kucera Kenneth Camaro Organized Play Pathfinder Playtest Pathfinder Society
Grand Lodge *

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Boom! Super cool!

Grand Lodge ***

Going through Raiders right now. Looks like it is a very well constructed scenario meant to explore the game rules and how players use them. I am looking forward to running it at Gen Con.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Diego aka RAdeMorris

Excellent.


Umm... that kudos for Liberty's Edge feels like it's a spoiler for something some of us haven't played yet.

**

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sorry to say this, but I don't like the new style of the artwork (the cartoony harpy), I liked what we had previously. This is OK for PFS (I suppose) but I hope that's not the art style that pervades the Bestiary and PF2 in general.

Scarab Sages **** ⦵⦵

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Nekome wrote:
Umm... that kudos for Liberty's Edge feels like it's a spoiler for something some of us haven't played yet.

Spoiler:
They're killing our new level 2 characters. STOP THEM!
Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

3 people marked this as a favorite.

There's enough going on in that scenario that you won't mind that spoiler.

Silver Crusade ***

Rose Street Revenge sounds super awesome and gave me an idea for a former slave of my own.

* RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Will there be any other formatting changes? I would love it if modules finally moved away from 3.5e's format. I hate it that important information and DCs get buried in a wall of text. Creatures often get listed last despite them being the most important part of a room or encounter. It would be great opportunity to make modules work better as reference documents.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I get to Gm Arclord’s Envy at SkalCon, and have now discovered that it’s not only in Nex, but has a gnomish Venture Captain in it!

What a lovely post birthday present! I am really looking forward to this one!

Hmm

Scarab Sages

Paizo Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Jason S wrote:

Sorry to say this, but I don't like the new style of the artwork (the cartoony harpy), I liked what we had previously. This is OK for PFS (I suppose) but I hope that's not the art style that pervades the Bestiary and PF2 in general.

Don't pre-judge.

Different artists, different styles.
Some look like portraits, some look cartoonish and everything in between.
Some modules, player companions, campaign settings and even bestiaries have had cartoonish pictures to them.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

When/where/how will rules for the PFS non-first level scenarios regrading WBL/equipment be shared?

Scarab Sages *****

I'm guessing shortly before Gen Con 2019 when PF2 releases.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Cyrad wrote:
Will there be any other formatting changes? I would love it if modules finally moved away from 3.5e's format. I hate it that important information and DCs get buried in a wall of text. Creatures often get listed last despite them being the most important part of a room or encounter. It would be great opportunity to make modules work better as reference documents.

I believe it is Paizo's policy to _never_ list creatures in the box text because its possible that the PCs action cause the creatures to not be exactly where listed. This might be a little less the case in organized play than in modules/APs, but would seem like an editorial consistency they'd want to maintain.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Tallow wrote:
I'm guessing shortly before Gen Con 2019 when PF2 releases.

I believe NielsenE is referring to the Pathfinder Society Playtest Scenarios discussed in this blog post. There will be pregenerated characters, but players can also make their own 5th level PCs with the Playtest rules.

As for when the starting equipment/WBL rules will come out; I've got no idea.


NielsenE wrote:
When/where/how will rules for the PFS non-first level scenarios regrading WBL/equipment be shared?

Posted in previous blog:

Organized Playtest Blog wrote:
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).

Dark Archive

Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
When Pathfinder agent Inisa Ardaali recovered a relic from Iomedae's ascension, she took every precaution to get it back to Absalom safely ...

Given the PF Society's refusal to return the stolen Truecrown of Iomedae, hopefully any clerics/paladins of hers in this adventure will have the opportunity to not only recover the relic, but also keep it out of the hands of the society :)


What's with the first gm material not being released the same time as the rules? I would love the idea of hitting the ground running on trying to understand and be capable of running playtest adventures, but it seems like that's not a supported path for some reason?

Shadow Lodge **

My first reaction was: Yay! The kobolds are getting involved from the get-go! Also, those scenarios all sound like ones I'd want to play & GM.

Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Ben F 194 wrote:
What's with the first gm material not being released the same time as the rules? I would love the idea of hitting the ground running on trying to understand and be capable of running playtest adventures, but it seems like that's not a supported path for some reason?

You'll have access to all of Doomsday Dawn to prepare for some great playtest adventures.

In preparation for Gen Con, our GMs have been studying the rules and preparing to provide a great experience on the opening weekend. In a similar vein, we'd like people—especially Pathfinder Society GMs—to take the weekend to absorb the rules before running these quests and scenarios.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jason S wrote:

Sorry to say this, but I don't like the new style of the artwork (the cartoony harpy), I liked what we had previously. This is OK for PFS (I suppose) but I hope that's not the art style that pervades the Bestiary and PF2 in general.

Completely agree.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

I don't see a way to add playtest games to event listings.

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

I don't think they are in the database yet

Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

4 people marked this as a favorite.

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

**

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

(And surveys. Don't forget the surveys!)

Where can we find the surveys please?


Starfinder Superscriber

Will the Society playtest pdf's be free?


Starfinder Superscriber

Nevermind :P I found them on the store, and they say free! Huzzah!

Dark Archive ***** Venture-Agent, Ohio—Columbus aka Cirithiel

Anyone know where the Pregens can be found?

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