Playtesting the Game

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Welcome to the Pathfinder Playtest! Along with all the other members of the Design Team and the rest of the Paizo staff, we'd like to thank you for your time, dedication, and enthusiasm. Without you, we could not hope to make the best possible version of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Your feedback, thoughts, concerns, and criticism are vital to our process—we literally can't do it without you!

So, let's talk about all the ways you can help us playtest the newest version of Pathfinder! Starting on Thursday, August 2, make sure to grab the free PDF of the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook and make your first character. If you are planning on being your group's Game Master, download the free adventure Doomsday Dawn and start reading through Part 1 of the adventure. Make sure to also grab the free Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary PDF, since it contains all of the adversaries you will need to run the adventure.

Once you've gathered a group together, plan on playing regularly over the next few months as we make our way through all seven parts of the adventure. Doomsday Dawn is broken up into seven distinct chapters, each of which tests different levels and different aspects of the game. Make sure to set aside some time to give us your feedback as well. We are including surveys this time around to collect your thoughts and help you get your feedback to us as quickly and efficiently for you as possible, so taking part in the playtest could not be easier!

Playtesting with Doomsday Dawn

  1. Before play begins, make sure to download the Playtest Tracking PDF (which will be available starting Thursday, August 2) to help you keep track of a few important pieces of information that we'll ask about later in the surveys. Note that the PDF contains a sheet for GMs and a sheet for players.
  2. Play a chapter of Doomsday Dawn. We highly recommend you start with Part 1 and play the adventure in order so that you fully experience the story, but if you can only play some of the parts, that's OK!
  3. Fill out the surveys that correspond to the chapter you just played (either the GM survey or the player survey, plus general feedback if you want to give some free responses). You'll be able to find links to the surveys at pathfinderplaytest.com starting on Thursday, August 2. Surveys for Parts 2-7 will go live as we progress through the playtest (see the playtest schedule below). We recommend filling out each survey soon after you play the chapter so the memory is fresh, but don't worry about memorizing any fine details; that's what the Tracking PDF is for!
  4. Go back to Step 2 and play another part of the adventure until you're done with Doomsday Dawn! We'll be focusing on each part in order, according to the playtest schedule.

Playtesting with the Pathfinder Society

  1. Before play begins, make sure to grab the Society Playtest Tracking PDF (which will be available starting Thursday, August 2) to help you keep track of a few important pieces of information that we'll ask about later in the surveys.
  2. Play one of the Pathfinder Society playtest scenarios.
  3. Fill out the survey corresponding to the scenario you just played (the player or GM survey, plus the general feedback survey if you want to give some free responses). We recommend filling out any surveys soon after you play the scenario so the memory is fresh, but don't worry about memorizing any fine details; that's what the Tracking PDF is for.
  4. Go back to Step 2 and play a different scenario. You can also replay any of the scenarios to try out a new class, ancestry, or other combination!

Playtesting with Custom Adventures

There aren't any step-by-step instructions for playtesting using your own adventures. You're in charge! Use the rules in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook and Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary to create any sort of adventure you want. To make sure your data are as strong as possible, try to keep to the guidelines in the rulebook and avoid setting any house rules, as these limit what we can learn from your responses. For instance, if you run a monster much stronger than the guidelines and then report that the PCs were easily defeated, we can't tell how they might have fared under normal conditions. Other than that, the sky's the limit.

General Surveys

In addition to the adventure-specific surveys, we will also be releasing general surveys that we would like everyone to complete, focusing on ancestries, character classes, play mechanics, and more! We want to give you a chance to playtest a bit before we launch those surveys, but when they go live, you'll find the links with the other surveys at pathfinderplaytest.com.

Discussions

In addition to responding via the surveys, you can engage with other players and designers over on our forums, discussing the rules of the game and possibilities for the future. While we want to focus on actual play feedback, we also want to hear your ideas about the game.

Playtest Schedule

The playtest officially gets under way on August 2, 2018, and runs through the end of the year, closing on December 31, 2018. During that time, we will be focusing on various parts of the Doomsday Dawn adventure, making our way toward the dramatic conclusion in mid-November. Check out the following schedule so you can plan your games accordingly.

Doomsday Dawn, Part 1: 1st-level characters, playtest begins 8/2/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 2: 4th-level characters, playtest begins 8/27/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 3: 7th-level characters, playtest begins 9/10/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 4: 9th-level characters, playtest begins 9/24/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 5: 12th-level characters, playtest begins 10/8/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 6: 14th-level characters, playtest begins 10/22/18
Doomsday Dawn, Part 7: 17th-level characters, playtest begins 11/5/18

Watch Us and Chat Live

You can also follow along with the playtest on the Paizo Twitch stream. Once the playtest is underway, we will be hosting a live stream every week where we play the game and talk about the results of the playtest so far. Videos from that stream will be archived on our YouTube channel if you miss the live broadcast. We will also be doing a playtest wrap-up every two weeks as we move from one part of the playtest adventure to the next. Expect to hear all about the results of the playtest and what changes are being made based on your feedback and comments!

How do you plan on participating in the playtest? Do you have any other questions about the process you'd like to ask us? Let us know in the comments below!

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest
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You'll excuse my excitement to get ahold of these rules as soon as possible.
but.
what rough time can we expect to have these rules ready to download? (Central Standard Time, I mean)
follow up, a couple of buddies and myself are going to make a podcast out of our experiences with the game. Is there any additional information or regulations I should be aware of while doing so?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

So... I have a game going on currently, that will probably take about a month to wrap up. I really want to run Doomsday Dawn, but I won't be able to start until my current game ends. Will my group still be able to provide feedback on the playtest if our surveys are in a month or so late? Or will the devs already have moved on to the next round of surveys by the time we get ours for the previous period in?

I guess what I'm asking is, how strict are these two-ish week windows? If we start doing the 1st-level character segment 9/3, will our feedback still be taken into account, or will the devs already be focused on the surveys for the 8/27 4th level character segment?


Staff have said that the PDFs will be available for download at 9 am EDT Thursday


Eek squeel yay! I'll be overseas and away from my group for Oct Nov, buuut that just means we'll be playtesting the PF for 1 player version. Of that exists, it's one lucky player with 5 sheets to enjoy.

Much happys.


Dun dun dun!

Very excited for this.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I didn't know there would be PFS scenarios too. Very cool.

Holy cats, this is happening tomorrow. At around 10 am EDT, someone please take a picture of the smoking crater where Paizo's servers once stood.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
GrayGriffon wrote:

You'll excuse my excitement to get ahold of these rules as soon as possible.

but.
what rough time can we expect to have these rules ready to download? (Central Standard Time, I mean)
follow up, a couple of buddies and myself are going to make a podcast out of our experiences with the game. Is there any additional information or regulations I should be aware of while doing so?

I believe that since it would be 9AM Eastern, that would make it so that the rules are available at 8AM Central.

And yes, that means 7AM Mountain, and 6 AM Pacific.

I think that means it would be around 11 AM in London.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
GreyWolfLord wrote:
GrayGriffon wrote:

You'll excuse my excitement to get ahold of these rules as soon as possible.

but.
what rough time can we expect to have these rules ready to download? (Central Standard Time, I mean)
follow up, a couple of buddies and myself are going to make a podcast out of our experiences with the game. Is there any additional information or regulations I should be aware of while doing so?

I believe that since it would be 9AM Eastern, that would make it so that the rules are available at 8AM Central.

And yes, that means 7AM Mountain, and 6 AM Pacific.

I think that means it would be around 11 AM in London.

For some reason I cannot seem to edit my post, that was supposed to be 1PM in London...not 11 AM.

Aaaagh.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Oh good. I only run my own campaigns. However, this set up is very much in tune with plans I have made in the past....so I am looking forward to downloading the playtest stuff in a week, after Paizo has it's servers fixed.


Is there any chance that we will get to see the criteria that we are supposed to playtest the game against? Or are we to playtest it to try and find out which parts are fun and which ones aren't?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
GreyWolfLord wrote:


For some reason I cannot seem to edit my post, that was supposed to be 1PM in London...not 11 AM.

Aaaagh.

Close 2 Pm


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Kevin Mack wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:


For some reason I cannot seem to edit my post, that was supposed to be 1PM in London...not 11 AM.

Aaaagh.

Close 2 Pm

I thought that would be in winter months rather than summer in the US. Weird Daylight saving time things tossing timing off.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

In order to schedule players, I need an estimate of how many 2 or 4 hour sessions are required for each Part of Doomsday Dawn. Can we do one 4-hour session every 3 weeks, or will we need weekly play of our typical 3-hour sessions?

I mean, hopefully this info will be in the PDF tomorrow, but getting a group together and scheduling is hard - I can use all the time I can get. Anyone have a good sense for the timing?


Mekkis wrote:
Is there any chance that we will get to see the criteria that we are supposed to playtest the game against? Or are we to playtest it to try and find out which parts are fun and which ones aren't?

That can technically be gleaned from the surveys. I do, however, seem to recall that they actually wanted people NOT to look at the surveys beforehand (players anyway, I believe it was quite OK for the GM), so as to not "taint" the result too much.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
kogarou wrote:

In order to schedule players, I need an estimate of how many 2 or 4 hour sessions are required for each Part of Doomsday Dawn. Can we do one 4-hour session every 3 weeks, or will we need weekly play of our typical 3-hour sessions?

I mean, hopefully this info will be in the PDF tomorrow, but getting a group together and scheduling is hard - I can use all the time I can get. Anyone have a good sense for the timing?

I think each section is meant to be roughly 8 hours or less total playtime, so 2 4-hour sessions during each two week schedule.

I'll see if I can scrounge up the quote.

EDIT:
I'll continue searching (although I'm afraid that it might have been in one of the Friday live shows it was mentioned), meanwhile here's something to give an idea:

Mark Seifter wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:

It's been mentioned that we'll have about two weeks for each segment of Doomsday Dawn in the playtest. Is there going to be maybe an extra week at the start to allow GMs time to read the adventure 1st?

Personally, I plan on running playtests for several different groups if possible, but I like to read adventures at least 3 times before I run them, in order to really do it justice.

Ah, I didn't remember the two week thing had been mentioned, and that was what I was dancing around before. It's not a hard limit by any means; it's sort of Jason's best guess for a good pacing to give most weekly groups time to run it and then we all (by which I mean the designers as well as all of you) talk about how that chapter went in particular as a group, but if your group marches to the beat of a different drummer (either faster or slower), you will absolutely still be able to do your thing and send in your survey results, you just might be off-synch with our most direct discussion focus or videos.
Thanks for the clarification, Mark! I was wondering if it was going to be a "pencils down!" situation. Now it sounds like that won't be the case, which is likely to make my scheduling much easier!
Not in any way a pencils down situation. Now, if your group can manage to do some of them in the windows, we're hoping we can make it sort of a cool shared experience situation where it's even more fun because of the feeling of doing something simultaneously with so many other people, but if not, no problem! You will still have the same ability to participate in surveys and other feedback as the groups that do :)

Also:

James Jacobs wrote:
Catharsis wrote:

So apparently Paizo will «focus» on one of the seven playtest scenarios every 3 weeks... are we supposed to play the scenario during that window, or is that only important for the feedback and discussion?

I'm having enough trouble drumming my players together over the summer months without an external schedule on top... :Þ

In particular, is it OK to play through the scenarios more quickly than that 3-week rhythm?

Should a scenario correspond more or less to a single session?

We'll have a LOT of info about how to do this by this time next week. Just a few more days and all will be revealed!

The short preview version is: Playtest as much as you want/can. Even if you only play a few parts overall that's important info for us to know, not only in the category of what feedback you can give us but meta-feedback on how long it takes groups to play through various types of encounters.

Full details will be out in a week though, so stay tuned!

This isn't the exact quote, but I think the estimate was deduced from this piece of information:

Quote:
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.

Found in this blog post.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Joe Wells wrote:

I didn't know there would be PFS scenarios too. Very cool.

Holy cats, this is happening tomorrow. At around 10 am EDT, someone please take a picture of the smoking crater where Paizo's servers once stood.

Not to worry! Eager pugwampis are volunteering to "help"!


where I need to go to download the playtest?? I can´t find it :(


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Will be available Thursday 02/08/2018 @ 09:00 EDT on paizo.com or paizo.com/pathfinderplaytest pages.


I am hype even if I really don't care for running adventure paths.


GentleGiant wrote:
kogarou wrote:

In order to schedule players, I need an estimate of how many 2 or 4 hour sessions are required for each Part of Doomsday Dawn. Can we do one 4-hour session every 3 weeks, or will we need weekly play of our typical 3-hour sessions?

I mean, hopefully this info will be in the PDF tomorrow, but getting a group together and scheduling is hard - I can use all the time I can get. Anyone have a good sense for the timing?

I think each section is meant to be roughly 8 hours or less total playtime, so 2 4-hour sessions during each two week schedule.

I'll see if I can scrounge up the quote.

EDIT:
I'll continue searching (although I'm afraid that it might have been in one of the Friday live shows it was mentioned), meanwhile here's something to give an idea:

Mark Seifter wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Shadrayl of the Mountain wrote:

It's been mentioned that we'll have about two weeks for each segment of Doomsday Dawn in the playtest. Is there going to be maybe an extra week at the start to allow GMs time to read the adventure 1st?

Personally, I plan on running playtests for several different groups if possible, but I like to read adventures at least 3 times before I run them, in order to really do it justice.

Ah, I didn't remember the two week thing had been mentioned, and that was what I was dancing around before. It's not a hard limit by any means; it's sort of Jason's best guess for a good pacing to give most weekly groups time to run it and then we all (by which I mean the designers as well as all of you) talk about how that chapter went in particular as a group, but if your group marches to the beat of a different drummer (either faster or slower), you will absolutely still be able to do your thing and send in your survey results, you just might be off-synch with our most direct discussion focus or videos.
Thanks for the clarification, Mark! I was wondering if it was going to be a "pencils down!"
...

Thank you so much! This is extremely helpful information, and very much puts my mind at ease.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Master Pugwampi wrote:
Joe Wells wrote:

I didn't know there would be PFS scenarios too. Very cool.

Holy cats, this is happening tomorrow. At around 10 am EDT, someone please take a picture of the smoking crater where Paizo's servers once stood.

Not to worry! Eager pugwampis are volunteering to "help"!

One option, if Paizo planned ahead (and budgeted for it), is if they have a short-term contract with a cloud service provider* to provide an extension of their front-end web servers (and possibly some other resources) that can auto scale and load balance to handle the increased demand. Seriously, this is one of the reasons for cloud computing in the first place: to be able to bring up resources quickly and on-demand in an automated fashion.

Sorry for the tech speak, but this is something that I need to be aware of in my job as an IT professional.

*- such as, say, Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, to name two big ones that are active in the Seattle area.


Oh hey, it's working. Hello!


I'm glad to have a jumpstart on this with a borrowed book! Once the servers 'rise from the dead' I'll download everything. ;)

Liberty's Edge

I ordered Doomsday Dawn, but my PFS group only meets every two weeks for five hours. We will do some playtesting, but will my players be able to get any credit if I have to run parts of Doomsday Dawn after the playtest? (Our greatest limitation in my area is lack of playing space.)


If they don't need to personalize each one, they could store the actual files on a CDN (content delivery network) like Akamai, and just provide links via paizo.com, which would speed things up immensely.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Dave Skidmore wrote:
If they don't need to personalize each one,

They are personalizing each one, and staff have specifically asked that you not make copies for other people.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

8 people marked this as a favorite.

As of yesterday's website roll, all of our watermarking and downloads are being done via AWS.


It begins!

Now as much of a downer I've been, I do hope people have a level of fun with this.

First thing I'm probably going to do is grab the DMs in my circle and compare notes on what we think about the book then start running some scenarios.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Yeah I assume they want to track how many get downloaded!

Nice of a CTO to be communicating with on this. Thanks Vic!


Drops overnight for me. Hopefully the initial peak flurry of downloads will have passed and the servers are less taxed by the time I come to download it.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
William Ronald wrote:
I ordered Doomsday Dawn, but my PFS group only meets every two weeks for five hours. We will do some playtesting, but will my players be able to get any credit if I have to run parts of Doomsday Dawn after the playtest? (Our greatest limitation in my area is lack of playing space.)

Try looking through this blog post and thread to see if it's answered there. It's specifically about PFS and the playtest.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Excited!


Will the PFS modules be available with the rest of the stuff?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The PFS scenarios release on the 7th, after GenCon, iirc.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Download at 11pm here. I'm wondering if I should wait to the next morning. Probably be a lot of traffic then.


Dragonchess Player wrote:
One option, if Paizo planned ahead (and budgeted for it), is if they have a short-term contract with a cloud service provider* to provide an extension of their front-end web servers (and possibly some other resources) that can auto scale and load balance to handle the increased demand...............*- such as, say, Amazon Web Services

Here's hoping they didn't given how well working with Amazon has worked thus far ;)


That's a much faster schedule than I was expecting. That's actually a problem. I had been hoping to do the playtest proper, but it looks like I will have to settle for a home game.

Would it be possible to mix the two? Or does Doomsday make assumptions about the characters, that not fulfilling would be problematic?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
GreyWolfLord wrote:
Kevin Mack wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:


For some reason I cannot seem to edit my post, that was supposed to be 1PM in London...not 11 AM.

Aaaagh.

Close 2 Pm
I thought that would be in winter months rather than summer in the US. Weird Daylight saving time things tossing timing off.

You’re right that it will be 1pm Greenwich Mean Time, but London currently isn’t on Greenwich Mean Time, we’re on British Summer Time which is our equivalent of Daylight Saving Time

Liberty's Edge

Sounds good. Should work for my group, with character creation for Doomsday Dawn this Saturday, and then the game starting next week. We scheduled for this, taking a break from our Reign of Winter game to do it.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Is there a way to find groups in a given area (say Paris, France or Evreux, Normandy, France) that will playtest and would be open to a new player for this ?

A map would be perfect ;-)


My (online) FLGS has just informed me that although they have the Playtest Rulebook, they don't have the adventure book. I would have thought that both products would have been shipped together to stores.

Hope this doesn't mean that I will miss the first stage of the playtest.

The Exchange

I hope that Paizo can use a network disk like Google Drive, otherwise your potato server will explode in an instant.


Fate Baitai wrote:
I hope that Paizo can use a network disk like Google Drive, otherwise your potato server will explode in an instant.

Vic already posted upthread that they'll be using AWS for downloads.

Vic Wertz wrote:
As of yesterday's website roll, all of our watermarking and downloads are being done via AWS.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Only a few hours left but it's such a long wait!


About 80 minutes left!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This last half hour will be hard to wait.

It's my birthday and I want the playtest book NOW! What better present?

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Happy birthday! Hope you have fun today ^w^


sorry but it seems that the bestiary file isn't good the unzipped file is 0 k


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Aaaarghlblrlgbl... too much information! Brain overload! oO


I has its!

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