Organized Play Thoughts

Thursday, February 27, 2019

Three-day US holiday weekends brings a plethora of conventions, especially in inclement weather months when indoor hobbies reign supreme. I just got back from GenghisCon in Aurora, Colorado, and leave tomorrow for Mace West in Asheville, North Carolina. The advantage of attending mid-sized shows comes in having time to focus on the community and interact with attendees on a personal level. Some of my favorite moments come from running games. Watching a player succeed at a skill or discover a bit of lore energizes me! Talking tips and tricks with other GMs allows me to take bits for my own toolbox. There are many facets of our organized play program that I enjoy working with, but interactions with our community usually tops the list.

Speaking of the Org Play programs, our current focus involves working through our to-do checklist of items for Pathfinder Society 2 and work towards making decisions based on our surveys from last fall and the finalized version of the Pathfinder rules. If your curious about the checklist, you can read about it here. We've pretty much wrapped discussion on factions. We look forward to introducing them to you once the art we ordered for them makes its way to the office. We are working to get decisions on replay.

One of our ongoing discussions is the Guide to Play. Looking over the survey data, a quick start guide received overwhelming support. Before the team starts their discussion, I want to delve deeper about what our community thinks of a quick start guide. As a baseline, I envision 4-10 pages in an easy to read format, compressing dense paragraphs into charts and examples where possible. Given the limited page count, what do you think is the most important information to include in this guide? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

On the subject of guides. We decided not to change the format of the Starfinder Society guide this year. We think tackling one guide from the ground up poses enough of a challenge. It is our intention to update the SFS Guide for Year 2 to reflect the minor changes needed to bring it up to date before we launch the year at Origins. Once we have feedback on the new Pathfinder Society, we will look at how we can integrate changes in the Starfinder Society Guide for Year 3.

Next week will be our monthly Organized Playroundup. Join us then for stars, conventions, and other news!

Until next time—Explore, Report, Cooperate!

Tonya Woldridge
Organized Play Manager

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Organized Play Pathfinder Society
Silver Crusade ***** ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

I am very much looking forward to all those neat PFS 2 news ^^

***

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My thoughts on a quick start guide to PFS:


  • Skip the factions. At most, one paragraph description of each faction totally one page.
  • Skip purchasing anything above 'always available' and what's on the chronicle sheet.

  • Include the requirements for building a PC.
  • Include traits and any other special PC rules.

Just my quick thoughts.

Sovereign Court **** ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Georgia—Atlanta aka The Masked Ferret

Interesting...

* RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

2 people marked this as a favorite.

  • Basic steps to get started (which is awkward as you can't download the guide unless you have a Paizo account)

  • Overview of character creation

  • Summary of what items you need to play

  • Mention Additional Resources and Campaign Clarifications pages

    Or use existing cheat sheets as inspiration, such as the Chronicle Sheet #0.

  • Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Eastern Eurasia-Africa

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Cyrad wrote:
    Or use existing cheat sheets as inspiration, such as the Chronicle Sheet #0.

    I'm wondering, has anyone created a Starfinder Chronicle #0?

    ***** ⦵⦵⦵

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    best quickstart guide i could come up with

    Scarab Sages ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Netherlands aka CptJames

    4 people marked this as a favorite.
    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    best quickstart guide i could come up with

    Looks great!

    I would just change "gentlemen explorer archeologists" to be a bit more inclusive of everyone, gentlemen explorer or not that's all!

    Apart from that, super easy to read and gives a nice background plus the colours, humourous tone is fantastic!


    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    I’ll have to see if this will be useful for my non-PFS players too!


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Should include:

    * Overview of character creation (but also mention pregens)
    * Overview of the setting
    * Overview of the chronicle sheet process from a player's perspective
    * Pointers to places to find games! Warhorn, pfschat.com, Flaxseed Lodge, etc. This would have been a huge help to me as a new player. Not everyone has an easily accessible PFS branch nearby, or one that's good at passing along institutional knowledge like this...

    Should not include:

    * Details of GM reward programs
    * Details of the reporting process
    * Much detail about fame and PP
    * Basically, anything not relevant to someone who just wants to get to a table and play for the first time

    *

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    The biggest impediment that new players face is knowing where/how to start. The see a large pile of books, know nothing about web resources and can have several people trying to tell them things at once.

    A quick start guide needs to be as concise as possible. Have to realize that you have limits on how much to include otherwise you have a rulebook.
    A QSG needs to draw online/book information into a starting point but show them where to proceed with more in depth.

    Have book/web resource abbreviation references with page number, use a Resource Key at end of the guide, this teaches new players how to understand PFS speak.

    Briefly explain PFS. Where/how to join, PFS cooperative play, alignment rule, PFS legal races, that there is & where to find additional resources guide.

    Basic PFS Character creation system, include traits. Starting HP & gold chart/rule.

    Both Factions & Traits, try to keep to one or two sentence(s)in descriptions.

    Character sheet, utilize front and back of the CS. Even if all is printed on the back is a Journal Entry & Mission Goal, get players thinking to keep notes.

    Suggestion of starting book(s) to move along in PFS play. Nothing worse than a new person buying the wrong book to start with and getting discouraged.

    If the QSG can be formatted two ways, normal PDF layout and in a 11 x 8.5 booklet front and back print layout. If it can be done on one or two pieces of 11 x 8.5, easy to be made into a booklet. Make it look good for black and white printing.

    Dark Archive *****

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Auke Teeninga wrote:
    Cyrad wrote:
    Or use existing cheat sheets as inspiration, such as the Chronicle Sheet #0.
    I'm wondering, has anyone created a Starfinder Chronicle #0?

    I think we have something similar for our new starfinder player folder. I’ll need to look on Monday though...

    ***** ⦵⦵⦵

    Leg o' Lamb wrote:
    Auke Teeninga wrote:
    Cyrad wrote:
    Or use existing cheat sheets as inspiration, such as the Chronicle Sheet #0.
    I'm wondering, has anyone created a Starfinder Chronicle #0?
    I think we have something similar for our new starfinder player folder. I’ll need to look on Monday though...

    the starfinder quickstart

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Manager

    Thanks for the great ideas/examples! Please keep your thoughts coming :)

    *

    Had thought about something else. If you could send a pack of 25 of the QSG in a convention support package and had the pack of 25 available for Society purchase, maybe at near cost. This could help support groups and those that can not or choose not to print their own.

    Grand Lodge **** Venture-Agent, Colorado—Denver aka roll4initiative

    Final pages should consist of a Welcome to Society/Chronicle #0 boon and a PFS specific character sheet.

    It was awesome meeting you and playing at your table at Genghis Con, Tonya!

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

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    Every lodge is organized a little differently. I've been thinking our lodge should work up it's own chronicle zero explaining which websites we use (paizo, which warhorn event, session tracker, mailing list), and print that on the back of the Welcome to Pathfinder boon, as a one-sheet on-boarding handout.


    Including the welcome boon would be a great idea. There's another thing I didn't know about until well after I joined. :-(

    A few words about the encouraged play style would be good too. Part of that would be explaining what "Explore, Report, Cooperate" means in-world, but another part is setting expectations for people used to home games. Like emphasizing that the party as a whole gets a group reward for completing the scenario, regardless of how they complete the scenario.

    *

    3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Definitely need to emphasize the *cooperative* style of play vs. the *competitive* style of play (that is prevalent in a significant chunk of other living campaigns).

    If everyone has a chance to earn access/whatnot to items, then it really cuts down on 'lewt angst'.

    Also need to emphasize the fact that the game is supposed to be fun with no One Solution.

    Encourage creative solutions from the beginning, both for players beginning to play and GMs running games, and it will pay forward into the culture of the on-going campaign.

    Silver Crusade *** Venture-Lieutenant, Online—PbP aka Redelia

    Please make sure to include at least as much about factions in a quick start guide as in the normal guide! Picking a faction is a significant part of character building, even for a first character.

    ***** Venture-Captain, Ohio—Northern aka GinoA

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    Please include something similar to the Pathfinder Society After Scenario Reference Sheet.

    This reference has been invaluable.

    Silver Crusade ***** ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

    Gino Melone wrote:

    Please include something similar to the Pathfinder Society After Scenario Reference Sheet.

    This reference has been invaluable.

    I have printed that one a couple of dozens of times, though after SFS I would be very happy not to have to look up a table for something like day job checks since I am usually preppy busy when those are rolled.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I honestly can't wait for organized play for PF2. You guys have really knocked it out of the ball part with this one.

    Grand Lodge ****

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Pathfinder Society 2nd Edition Quick Start Guide

    The first thing we need to define is what is a Quick Start Guide (QSG) meant to do and what will it not do. It is meant to provide new players a basic introduction to Pathfinder Society so they can begin playing PFS sessions in under 30 minutes with either a character they built themselves or with a pregen. It does not replace the Guild Guide which is the definitive guide to Pathfinder Society gameplay. As such, creating a QSG should follow the KISS principle with the goal of providing a new player the basic information so that they can begin playing a PFS session in 30 minutes or less. They may transition from that first session or sessions in their understanding of PFS gameplay by then using the Guild Guide. Also, keep in mind that this QSG is for use with Pathfinder 2e.

    With that parameter in mind, let us explore what should be in the QSG.

    1.1 A Welcome to Pathfinder Society introduction is mandatory. It should be brief and to the point. 1.2 Community Standards should be retained.
    1.2.1 Instead of the Do Not Cheat paragraph, a one sentence statement may suffice as part of the community standards.
    1.2.2 Keeping Good Records can be stripped down for the QSG.
    1.3 Types of Games is not needed for the QSG.
    1.4 Resources can be moved to the back of the QSG. Instead of listing multiple websites and taking up valuable space, the Resources section should direct players to a PFS area on Paizo.com that is specific to PFS2e and containing the website links.
    1.5 Pathfinder Society Forums are not needed in the QSG.
    1.6 Registering as a PFS Member has to be included but can be stripped down. Again, directing the player to the PFS website information can address this.

    2.1-2.9 I would eliminate this section completely. Move Creating a Character to a new chapter on character creation. Take Pregenerated Characters with to that same place. Make a single sentence for One Character per Adventure, and a single sentence for No Character-Versus-Character Combat. Move After the Adventure and Replaying Adventures to Chapter 4-Roleplaying Guild Basics. Drop Core Campaign (not needed in 2e) and Playtests and Errata.

    3.1-3.12 Eliminate the GM Basics completely from the QSG. The QSG is not about GMing. GMs will need the Guild Guide, not the QSG.

    Put Character Creation in the 3rd chapter.

    Character Creation Rules for PFS

    This is going to depend on how characters are created for PFS2.0. If the method follows the CRB, then there’s no real need to put most of this in it. The QSG would only need to cover what is different from the method or methods listed in the CRB. Available races, languages, banned feats or anything not allowed in PFS2.0 that occurs in the character creation would be needed here.

    The Faction section from Appendix 1 should go here as it is short. I do not know at this time if the PFS2.0 factions will have faction specific traits or not, or for that matter anything that impacts character creation at all. Hit Points should go here as well as Starting Wealth.

    4.1 This is the Specific Rules section for the PFS Campaign. What is needed for the QSG and what is not? Keep that and the KISS principle in mind in this section. If it does not pertain to level 1-2 characters, don’t put it in here. First of all, I would rename it to After the Adventure: Roleplaying Guild Basics.

    Let’s start by explaining Fame and Prestige, the benefits of Fame, and how to spend Prestige Points. Since the QSG only covers the first two levels, we only need an abbreviated table of what can be bought with PP. The same goes for the Fame table.

    Follow the Fame and PP part with the Conditions, Death, and Expendables.
    Follow that with the Purchasing Equipment and Spells section which should contain the abbreviated Fame table in the Where to Buy Gear subsection, the Always Available Items, Item Value, and Potions, Scrolls, and Wands subsections. As 2e is still defining magic item slots (I don’t think the extra item slot exists in it) the part about Magic Items and Companion Creatures can be left out as well as the Extra Item Slot subsection.

    Spellcasting services will probably need to be included but could be abbreviated. The Spells section itself can be trimmed back to a sentence as almost all of that does not affect 1st and 2nd level character.

    Appendix 1 has been moved to Chapter 3.

    Appendixes 2 and 3 should not be in the QSG. I would direct the players to the website for a broader picture of Golarion.

    Appendix 4 After the Adventure. I would include this in Chapter 4. Eliminate the Fame and Prestige part, and greatly reduce the Downtime step. A very abbreviated Day Job section is needed. Spoils of War can be cut down as well. Keep only what is necessary.

    Appendix 5 Character Revision. Mention Character Revision in Chapter 4 as well, but keep it to the basics. Most of the stuff in that subsection is not relevant to PFS2.0 anyway.

    Appendices 6, 7, and 8. Eliminate entirely from the QSG.
    Include the OGL if required. Include a Character Sheet on the back page.

    Notes: Consider what is needed for a QSG and what can be accessed online later and is not integral to the player playing their first session or two. Consider using the website as an information warehouse where the players can go to get more information AFTER they’ve played their first session. The idea is to streamline things so players can play. Get rid of every barrier to playing that session as you can.

    I strongly urge the development of a PFS2.0 section on Paizo.com that can be used to provide additional information on Organized Play including links to other places (including products: ESPECIALLY PRODUCTS-This is a great marketing area for all kinds of stuff for Paizo to promote their products. Dice, miniatures, rule books, t-shirts, comics, and everything Pathfinder should be here.)

    I know a Guild Guide will be needed so GMs can reference it at live events. What we have currently can be addressed separately from the Quick Start Guide. They serve two different purposes and we need to keep that in mind.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Xathos of Varisia wrote:

    Pathfinder Society 2nd Edition Quick Start Guide

    So I deleted so that it wouldn't take up a lot real estate.

    I really like majority of what you stated. I always thought the Guide was WAY to big and some aspects were overly complicated. Then felt that some parts were really unnecessary. I really like the concept of a quick start guide. Something small to the point that new players can pick up read in 5 minutes and know the basics. A lot of the the GMing things should not be in a QSG.

    It should have all documents that a player would need such as a character sheet, tracking sheet. I really thing a specialized Animal Companion/Familiar sheet should be created right off the bat. A SIMPLE guide to filling out each document, if it is covered in the CRB like the character sheet. A simple sentence referencing where in the CRB it is.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    For the QSG, here are some things I would have liked to know/have.

    -Chronicle #0
    -Knowing that I can completely change my character up until it's level 2. I spent way to much time trying to make something I thought would be useful, but turns out it wasn't... at all
    -How to fill out / use a Chronicle sheet and knowing to bring/keep it
    -Character Creation rules: point buy, ancestries, classes, etc
    -list of what's banned or a link to one

    ***

    Kaelizar wrote:

    -Knowing that I can completely change my character up until it's level 2. I spent way to much time trying to make something I thought would be useful, but turns out it wasn't... at all

    I think this is important to emphasize. A first session is a learning experience and not all your choices need to be final.

    I would also like to see a couple friendly suggested defaults. Unsure which faction to belong to? Start with Grand Lodge and let your party members recruit you. Unsure what gear to buy? Here is a list of essentials.

    *

    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Since this is 'Organized Play Thoughts' and it roughly touches on things like the Quick Start Guide and the like...

    With the way previous editions have run, the 'free rebuild before 2nd level' was a nice small perk for someone who had system mastery and knowledge, or developed a different 'feel' for a given character.

    What would the possibility be of moving that to 'before 3rd level'?

    It doesn't change a lot, but the bigger important thing is that 'before 2nd level' is only 3 games of experience with a character (at normal speed in PF1). Sometimes it can take a half-dozen games before a character 'defines' themselves.

    A benefit would be that it'd be much less pressure on new players to 'pick the fate of their character' and feel trapped in it.

    A potential drawback would be those who would manipulate the system to make something work for 1-2, then 'rebuild' to the ideal character. However, I haven't seen a lot of this as a GM or as a player, so I don't think it's a real vector for abuse.

    This wouldn't apply to 'GM credit characters' (ie, those that are built solely on GM credit), obviously.

    Sovereign Court **** ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Georgia—Atlanta aka The Masked Ferret

    Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


    This wouldn't apply to 'GM credit characters' (ie, those that are built solely on GM credit), obviously.

    Unless they happened to be played before they were 3rd level...

    The Exchange *****

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Christian Dragos wrote:

    Final pages should consist of a Welcome to Society/Chronicle #0 boon and a PFS specific character sheet.

    It was awesome meeting you and playing at your table at Genghis Con, Tonya!

    If it has a PFS specific character sheet, please-please-please have it be a Portrait NOT a Landscape layout. Please...

    **** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

    5 people marked this as a favorite.
    Xathos of Varisia wrote:
    The first thing we need to define is what is a Quick Start Guide (QSG) meant to do and what will it not do. It is meant to provide new players a basic introduction to Pathfinder Society so they can begin playing PFS sessions in under 30 minutes with either a character they built themselves or with a pregen.

    For "new players" do you mean "people who play Pathfinder but not PFS" or "people who have never played Pathfinder"? I think those are two completely separate audiences--not to mention that second group can range from "I was in the original D&D playtest with Gary Gygax" to "I don't know what a 20-sided die is." (And yes, those are both actual, real people that I've done demos for at cons.)

    If you're focusing on "Pathfinder players who don't play PFS," your breakdown looks good.

    You might consider breaking the QSG into 2 parts: one for Pathfinder 2E rules and one for PFS-specific rules. That way, people who already play Pathfinder can ignore the first guide and focus on the second. And people who don't know anything about Pathfinder can start with the first guide, which will make the second guide make a bit more sense.

    Community / Forums / Organized Play / Pathfinder Society / Paizo Blog: Organized Play Thoughts All Messageboards

    Want to post a reply? Sign in.