Fall of Plaguestone and Sanctioning

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Greetings everyone! I have some good news, some neutral news, and a general conversation that I’m pretty sure is also neutral (or at least not actively evil), so I’m going to open up with the good news- Fall of Plaguestone is sanctioned! Assuming the technology gods have not conspired against me once more, you should find those sanctioning docs on the Fall of Plaguestone product page. But wait! I know you’re eager to start clicking so you can collect your Chronicle sheet, but there’s a bit more to this conversation.

Cover art from the 'Fall of Plaguestone' adventure: Ezren and Amiri, the Pathfinder iconic wizard and barbarian, face off against a pack of snarling wolves.

You’re going to notice that this Chronicle sheet is a bit different. It doesn’t specify a Tier, and the rewards are a bit different than we’ve structured them in the past. There’s also only a single Chronicle sheet, which is a hair different than you may have seen in past modules. So, here’s the explanation for all of that. We want you to have more stuff that you can play and use in PFS, and we want to get it to you quickly. We also want you to get sanctioned materials faster than has happened in the past.

Flashback to when I joined the organized play team two years ago. At that time, additional resources sanctioning was 15 months out and we had 10-year-old adventure paths that had never been sanctioned. Priorities always focused on scenarios first, convention items second, and sanctioning third. A lot of my early work in the department involved shrinking those numbers and getting materials in player’s hands faster. That was going pretty well right up until around June of this year, when the mad dash towards Gen Con began. The triple hit of increased scenario production, launch of a new edition, and John Compton moving to the Starfinder team took its toll on our workflow. Linda stepped up as organized play lead developer, which meant that she has less bandwidth to help me out with scenario development and so sanctioning slowed down. But it’s important to note, it never stopped. The team spent chunks of our weekly meeting since mid-August looking at ways to get materials sanctioned for use faster and let GMs and players take the shiny modules and Adventure Path (AP) volumes they’ve been buying and use the treasures presented therein with their organized play characters. We also fielded some concerns from other departments about the way we had been sanctioning modules and adventure paths, and those concerns happened to sync up with some of our own scheduling and production issues.

Traditionally, the sanctioning process for an AP or module required a developer to read the entire adventure path or module, figure out a way to cut the material down to about 12 hours per module or volume without making the story indecipherable, and then create the guidelines for that new play window and the various Chronicle sheets that go along with it. This is a pretty time-consuming process and must wait until all publication of all volumes in the Adventure Path. It’s part of why you’re getting Fall of Plaguestone before the final two PF1 adventure paths (which we’re absolutely still working on sanctioning for those of you still enjoying the PF1 organized play campaign). Fall of Plaguestone represents a new adventure sanctioning model that we hope is going to be something you’ll enjoy, and which will allow us to sanction much faster than we have in the past. The Chronicle sheet gives you access to all of the approved treasures and other goodies presented in the module, one level’s worth of experience for a character of your choice, and gold appropriate to a character of that level.

“One level?” you ask. Yep. This Chronicle is set up so that you can play Fall of Plaguestone as it was intended to be played, with a non-PFS character of the appropriate level, level up with that character when the module expects you to, and then when the adventure is complete, take that Chronicle sheet and apply it to any of your Pathfinder (second edition) organized play characters, giving them a level up, a hefty bag of loot, and access to all kinds of uncommon goodies. If this works, we’re going to do the same thing for Age of Ashes, and it’ll mean we can do it a lot faster. We need your feedback on our system to know if this will be the model going forward, so please post commentary below for our team to review.

We realize that this might not be the ideal solution for everyone. Some of you want that streamlined adventure with bits cut out to make it fit in a two or three-block convention schedule. Our current understanding of our player demographics is that those of you looking for thus trimmed versions are both a very small percentage of the player base, but also some of our most dedicated players. Ideally, we’d like everyone to get the full adventure experience as the author intended, but we also don’t want those of you who enjoy those convention marathon playthroughs to feel like you got the short end of the stick. Our potential solution involves adding a section to the organized play guide discussing convention play and providing tips to GMs and organizers on how to run these adventures in a way that fits into your slots and would still allow you to receive and issue Chronicle sheets for completing the playthrough. If that feels like a solution you think will work for you and the way you play, please let me know in the comments below! This program exists for you, our community, and we want to find the version of this that works best for everyone. We cannot do this without comments, so please add your viewpoints on our sanctioning ideas to the thread below.

Next week, join us for scenario previews for both Pathfinder and Starfinder. Thank you all, and until next time, Explore, Report, and Cooperate!

Michael Sayre
Pathfinder Society Developer

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1/5

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

I've only interacted with modules/APs in Campaign mode: I've run the Dragon's Demand (excellent module), and am currently playing Rise of the Runelords. For Dragon's Demand, I felt like it was a nice bonus for me to GM a home game and have GM credit and chronicles for doing so; I feel the same way for Rise of the Runelords. They both have very satisfying stories, and I feel like Campaign Mode is really a better way to interact with modules / APs, as you get the whole story, and not just a subset of encounters and story. So personally, I'm fine with Campaign Mode being the option offered for this one.

I get that people are chomping at the bit for more play opportunities for their PFS characters, and that this doesn't really do that for them. That said, if you have a new PFS character in mind, this lets you "kick the tires" on them and play 3ish levels of a new character, then when you apply the chronicle you have a new 2nd level character that you have a sense of how they play at 2nd and 3rd level. And if it takes 4ish sessions, you haven't played that much longer than the 3 sessions it takes to get a 2nd level character, anyway.

Sure, under the old system where most modules / AP chapters that included tier 1-2 were replayable for 1st level characters, I'd say this ought to have been replayable in the same manner. But now the replayable tag means that any valid character can replay this, eventually we'll have enough replayable content to get characters to 5th level. And I'm not in favor of having modules that people can blitz through in 4ish hours to gain a full level. First, I think 1st level play in PF2 is more fun than in PF1, and its unnecessary to need to speed run through level 1. Second, I feel like starting a 2nd level character would be a good reward for Achievement Points, just like it was for Playtest points. Likely, the people tired of playing first level characters will be the ones with plenty of achievement points.

I haven't put a lot of thought into the Keepsake thing; it seems to not be all that popular. What if this *was* replayable, but you only go the keepsake the first time you played it (and the first time you GMed it)? How would people feel about it then? Just an offhand thought; I totally get it if PFS staff has no desire to make this module replayable.

4/5

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Add me to the list of folks who are not a fan of 3 levels of play being compressed into 1 level of credit, especially for the GMs who must put forth the time and effort to prep and run this. Also, why are common items on the Keepsake list?

Scarab Sages 4/5

It makes sense that people who only ever played campaign mode are fine with this system, because almost nothing has changed for you. But this does not do anything for people who can’t commit to 16 hours of gameplay. I have partial module credit on several characters. I’ve got ES1 on a few, but even my full ES character is missing about 4 of the chronicles, because I couldn’t make all 16 sessions. I’ve still never had the chance to play Gallows of Madness 2 or 3 (though I’ve GMed them a couple of times each). I’ve got Ire of the Storm 3, but not the first 2. Because I don’t really care about the bonus chronicles. I care about being able to show up at a game day and having something to play, then being done with it when I leave so I can move on to something else whenever I have the time. I can always go back and ply earlier parts. Either with the same character or a different one if I level out. Sure, I would like to get the full story from start to finish on the same character, but guess what? I don’t have the luxury of doing that most of the time, because my schedule is all over the place. That’s the reason I’m not in a home game in the first place.

There is precious little PFS2 content right now. People have been posting that they are struggling to hold game days because there is nothing they can play. This does not address that problem, because this does not fit into a game day format unless everyone can commit to making every game day. And at that point it may as well be a home game, because it’s not going to be publicly listed anymore and there won’t be an opportunity for new players to join future games.

So as a bonus to help Paizo sell a few more modules, this is fine. That’s pretty much what campaign mode has always been, and no one is suggesting taking that away. It does not help scheduling or attending things for PFS. Just because that doesn’t affect you, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect a lot of people. Most of which are casual players who are likely not hanging out on the forums to complain.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Asheville aka mogmismo

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Ferious Thune wrote:
If modules and APs can’t be played in PFS mode, then they aren’t additional content for PFS. The biggest benefit of sanctioned content was that it made more things available to play with your PFS characters.

As an organizer for a convention (Seekerpalooza) dedicated to long-form content, with full-day slots only, and some games lasting 2, 3 or even 4 days, I agree entirely. This isn't PFS, this is a way for a home-group to claim a small amount of PFS credit for some post-game bureaucracy.

This change makes my event unappealing for most PFS players, as well as much more work for the GMs. Players will have to roll up new characters based on the desires and restrictions of every GM they plan to sit with on the long weekend. That's a lot of work for a convention organizer, connecting 80+ players with 15+ GMs before the convention weekend to roll up characters, as well as quite a bit of game-time verifying that the characters are created up to the GM's standards. Basically an untenable situation for convention play.

Michael Sayre wrote:
...but we also don’t want those of you who enjoy those convention marathon playthroughs to feel like you got the short end of the stick. Our potential solution involves adding a section to the organized play guide discussing convention play and providing tips to GMs and organizers on how to run these adventures in a way that fits into your slots and would still allow you to receive and issue Chronicle sheets for completing the playthrough.

People who like playing modules at conventions are choosing to play them at conventions. They choose which way to play, and fully know the consequences. As far as adding some guidelines and tips for convention play, I would have to see this section to adequately discuss this topic further. But I feel it is premature to ask the community's input on a direction without fully fleshing out the convention play section first.

Please reconsider your stance on this form of sanctioning, and give us both a PFS mode and a home-game mode.

Scarab Sages 4/5

One more point on Emerald Spire. I missed more than 4 sessions with the local group. I was only able to keep pace and rejoin them later, because I could go online and join a specific part that I needed in order to level up enough to play the rest. And I can still go back now and play the other parts I missed with a different character. That flexibility is gone now for PFS2.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Ferious Thune wrote:
It makes sense that people who only ever played campaign mode are fine with this system, because almost nothing has changed for you.

I've played and ran Curse of the Riven Sky, as well as ran Carrion Hill and played Realm of the Fellnight Queen.

3/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking

Ferious Thune wrote:

It makes sense that people who only ever played campaign mode are fine with this system, because almost nothing has changed for you. But this does not do anything for people who can’t commit to 16 hours of gameplay. I have partial module credit on several characters. I’ve got ES1 on a few, but even my full ES character is missing about 4 of the chronicles, because I couldn’t make all 16 sessions. I’ve still never had the chance to play Gallows of Madness 2 or 3 (though I’ve GMed them a couple of times each). I’ve got Ire of the Storm 3, but not the first 2. Because I don’t really care about the bonus chronicles. I care about being able to show up at a game day and having something to play, then being done with it when I leave so I can move on to something else whenever I have the time. I can always go back and ply earlier parts. Either with the same character or a different one if I level out. Sure, I would like to get the full story from start to finish on the same character, but guess what? I don’t have the luxury of doing that most of the time, because my schedule is all over the place. That’s the reason I’m not in a home game in the first place.

The problem with your argument is that outside of Gallows of Maddness I've never seen modules that take 4 hours like you say you do. Ire of the Storm Part 3 is two sessions long if your not rushing the plot and combat encounters. Two sessions is still really tricky to fit in for a lot of people so it was always a compromise in the first place.

Scarab Sages 4/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:
It makes sense that people who only ever played campaign mode are fine with this system, because almost nothing has changed for you.
I've played and ran Curse of the Riven Sky, as well as ran Carrion Hill and played Realm of the Fellnight Queen.

I don’t know what point you’re trying to make. I have played Campaign mode, for an entire AP (Reign of Winter), at a point in my life when I had the time. I didn’t do it because there were chronicle sheets. I did it because I wanted to play Reign of Winter. Now that I don’t have time for something like that, I’ll never be able to play all of the APs campaign mode. But I’ve played sections of them PFS mode, so I still get some of the content.

I also played about half of Rise of the Runelords and elected not to take chronicles even though others were so that I still had the option to play it PFS mode later. Because being able to play my PFS character is important to me.

You may have done both as well and still be ok with this change. That’s your own decision to make. Several people have posted that they have only played campaign mode, so they don’t care about the change. Maybe that’s good information for Paizo to have, but those people are also ignoring that others are affected even though they aren’t. People have been waiting for these to be sanctioned so that there is more PFS2 content available. That didn’t happen. Campaign mode is affected less if the chronicles take longer to be created, because you can apply them retroactively when they finally are.

I’m not suggesting campaign mode go away if we can’t get PFS mode, too. I’m suggesting that if that’s all we’re going to get, then things that affect PFS play more, like clarifying the guide and making resources available, should be higher priorities.

Scarab Sages 4/5

Adam Yakaboski wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:

It makes sense that people who only ever played campaign mode are fine with this system, because almost nothing has changed for you. But this does not do anything for people who can’t commit to 16 hours of gameplay. I have partial module credit on several characters. I’ve got ES1 on a few, but even my full ES character is missing about 4 of the chronicles, because I couldn’t make all 16 sessions. I’ve still never had the chance to play Gallows of Madness 2 or 3 (though I’ve GMed them a couple of times each). I’ve got Ire of the Storm 3, but not the first 2. Because I don’t really care about the bonus chronicles. I care about being able to show up at a game day and having something to play, then being done with it when I leave so I can move on to something else whenever I have the time. I can always go back and ply earlier parts. Either with the same character or a different one if I level out. Sure, I would like to get the full story from start to finish on the same character, but guess what? I don’t have the luxury of doing that most of the time, because my schedule is all over the place. That’s the reason I’m not in a home game in the first place.

The problem with your argument is that outside of Gallows of Maddness I've never seen modules that take 4 hours like you say you do. Ire of the Storm Part 3 is two sessions long if your not rushing the plot and combat encounters. Two sessions is still really tricky to fit in for a lot of people so it was always a compromise in the first place.

2 sessions can be scheduled on a single day. Even if it isn’t, you can still get credit for doing half of the section, and someone else can still join halfway through and get credit. Currently neither of those things are the case in PFS2 (though potentially those rules are coming based on what Michael said).

Edit: For the record, I played Ire of the Storm 3 in a single session. We might have gone a little past 5 hours, but it definitely wasn’t 8 hours long. Maybe the GM rushes some parts. I don’t know. I still had fun, and my other option would have been to never play it. So I’m good with that.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Ferious Thune wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:
It makes sense that people who only ever played campaign mode are fine with this system, because almost nothing has changed for you.
I've played and ran Curse of the Riven Sky, as well as ran Carrion Hill and played Realm of the Fellnight Queen.
I don’t know what point you’re trying to make.

That I am not in the group of people you mentioned. You may notice that my comments have been positive. Make of it what you will.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:
It makes sense that people who only ever played campaign mode are fine with this system, because almost nothing has changed for you.
I've played and ran Curse of the Riven Sky, as well as ran Carrion Hill and played Realm of the Fellnight Queen.
I don’t know what point you’re trying to make.
That I am not in the group of people you mentioned. You may notice that my comments have been positive. Make of it what you will.

Fair enough. Then my statement wasn’t directed at you. You’re allowed to like the system, just like I am allowed to be disappointed in it.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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And it makes sense that people who have played both are fine with this system, yes.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Mike Bramnik wrote:


Seeing that Plaguestone is not repeatable under this new format, though, is rather disappointing especially given how the Keepsake mechanic is presented. Not everybody likes to GM. As such, some players will only get access to a single item from this book, ever, and that isn't a choice that can be revisited through retraining options.

This is an area that we actually hope to address through the ACP system. ACP will ultimately give us a tool to allow players to access additional options on Chronicle sheets, or even introduce options that we couldn't/didn't approve up front later once errata or other changes have modified the field.

Similarly, it's very likely that going forward we'll be focusing on only having repeatables that were actually written to be repeatable. This season has already seen a big bump in the number of repeatable scenarios that we produce, written to have rotating elements that keep the adventure fresh and relatively unpredictable.

Quote:


Also, this document does not appear to give any guidance for partial rewards if a party isn't able to make it through the whole adventure. As written (Applying Credit), it seems to suggest that a party that does not "complete the adventure" in full will not receive any rewards at all.

This is where the "Our potential solution involves adding a section to the organized play guide discussing convention play and providing tips to GMs and organizers on how to run these adventures in a way that fits into your slots and would still allow you to receive and issue Chronicle sheets for completing the playthrough" bit above comes into play. We can look at guidelines for fitting these playthroughs into tighter blocks, but we want to know what tools are you going to help you all out the most when doing so.

Scarab Sages 4/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
And it makes sense that people who have played both are fine with this system, yes.

it makes sense that some people who have played both are fine with this system, because people have personal preferences. My original comment didn’t say otherwise. So I still don’t know what point you are trying to make. There are several posts in this thread stating that they are fine with it because they have only played campaign mode. I am addressing those people with my comment so that maybe they will consider that there might be another side to it. You’re obviously aware of that and have made up your mind, which is fine.

What we have now takes something away from players who can’t play/don’t like campaign mode. Several people (not you) have essentially said they don’t care, because it doesn’t affect them. I’m just pointing out to them that they may want to try to understand the other side of things.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Dustin Knight wrote:

I like this quite a bit!

The only complaint is that players can lose lots of gold if they are already mostly through a level of experience. An obvious solution would be to wait to apply the chronicle, but when a convention comes calling many players will find themselves panicking to stay in tier with their friends.

I do understand this could also happen in 1e, but with Earn Income being tied to level and partial quest XP, it can cost a character in this edition far more wealth.

For example, a character with 34 XP* will earn 121 gold. If they just completed 2 more quests, they'd earn 204 gold. That's 83 gold! That's 20% of a 4th level character's wealth!

Currently the document states:

Quote:
[...]30 Treasure Bundles appropriate to a character of that level (before adding the level from this Chronicle sheet)[...]

It could instead say:

Quote:
[...]30 Treasure Bundles appropriate to a character of that level (applied in batches of 10 Treasure Bundles at each 4 XP interval)[...]
(34 XP is how much you'd have right now if you used the "start at level 2" playtest boon and played all the currently sanctioned material for PF2, sans Plaguestone.)

Noted!

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Michael Sayre wrote:
Quote:


Also, this document does not appear to give any guidance for partial rewards if a party isn't able to make it through the whole adventure. As written (Applying Credit), it seems to suggest that a party that does not "complete the adventure" in full will not receive any rewards at all.
This is where the "Our potential solution involves adding a section to the organized play guide discussing convention play and providing tips to GMs and organizers on how to run these adventures in a way that fits into your slots and would still allow you to receive and issue Chronicle sheets for completing the playthrough" bit above comes into play. We can look at guidelines for fitting these playthroughs into tighter blocks, but we want to know what tools are you going to help you all out the most when doing so.

It is very difficult to judge whether or not that will be effective without seeing the details of it, and you’ll have to excuse me if I have very little confidence in those specifics appearing anytime soon, given the backlog of tasks that the team is facing. If those will essentially be a PFS mode allowing anyone to sign up for a single slot with a PFS character, get credit, leave and go play something else, then play the rest of the content later, then that would satisfy what PFS mode is doing now. I don’t really care if a GM has instructions to cut a specific encounter or if they have general guidelines like try to limit it to 3-4 fights. What I care about is that the sanctioning adds play opportunities for PFS. Not only getting credit for home games.

3/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking

Ferious Thune wrote:


Edit: For the record, I played Ire of the Storm 3 in a single session. We might have gone a little past 5 hours, but it definitely wasn’t 8...

I ran it. Your GM cut corners like I did which isn't a bad thing but I definitely felt that 8 hours would have better served each section of the module. And you have plenty of time if your complaining about not having any and your response is to dedicate more time to it. I don't even have 8 consecutive hours to devote to RPGs on a day ever.

Scarab Sages 4/5

Scheduling 1 free day is a lot easier than scheduling 3-4 or more free days over the course of a couple of months (or in the case of an AP half a year or more). My issue is that I don’t know week to week what my other commitments are or when, so I can’t make a regular game day. But I can, for example, have an entire Saturday free and want to get in a significant amount of PFS.

Liberty's Edge 1/5

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Personally I really like the new format for modules, though I do hope for APs it is still 1 book=1 sheet.

I'm also aware I'm likely a weird niche of "the market" though as I have a tendency to buy "all the things" but typically the largest majority of my play time is through Org Play. My own personal "wish list" basically comes down to "get the new book, want it sanctioned ASAP", and this system feels like it should do That for Modules and APs.

(Now I'm just looking at the Lost Omen books and fidgeting until they get sanctioned I guess!)


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Michael Tracey wrote:
This isn't PFS, this is a way for a home-group to claim a small amount of PFS credit for some post-game bureaucracy.

This is also how I feel. I was looking forward to having my players use the same characters throughout Adventures, Adventure Paths, and PFS Scenarios.

However, considering the level of effort it would take to make this feasible, I understand why the developers took this route; it seems we're lucky to get a sanctioning model at all this go-around.

This model does have a bright side, though: Players who typically play in home games don't have to start from scratch if they decide to play PFS; I would certainly find that alienating. This somewhat bridges the gap between players who only play private games and players who are actively engaged in organized play!

Scarab Sages 4/5

Adam, what I’m getting from our back and forth is that people’s schedules are different. For some people, scheduling a shorter session, but meeting regularly is workable. When I was in Rise of the Runelords, we met for about 2-3 hours on a weeknight after work. Same night every week. Occasionally we had to skip because enough people couldn’t show, but that worked because we were all on relatively stable schedules and knew we had that time. We could take our time with it and finish when we finished.

Now I’m in a different job. I have a lot of flexibility most weeks, but I also have a lot if things that come up last minute and mean I have to be somewhere else. And then I have periods of time where I have zero free time and am working 12-16 hour days 6 and 7 days a week. That makes a regular game impossible and it makes it unfair on my part to the other players for me to commit to a campaign knowing I’m going to be missing a lot of it.

That’s why online has worked for me. If I end up with a few hours free, I can jump into a game. It doesn’t matter where I am, and I don’t have to drive the 45-60 minutes to the nearest shop.

Every once in a while, though, the stars align and our local group can get together for a slightly longer piece of content (we’re doing that Saturday with Unleashing the Untouchable, which should really have a 6 hour slot).

What is best about PFS for me is that it is flexible. That flexibility is missing from the current system. What works second best for me is that the rules are spelled out ahead of time and I know if my character will fit before I join the game, even if I’m making that decision 5 minutes before it starts. That part also appears to be missing from the current solution.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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“superhorse” wrote:
This model does have a bright side, though: Players who typically play in home games don't have to start from scratch if they decide to play PFS; I would certainly find that alienating. This somewhat bridges the gap between players who only play private games and players who are actively engaged in organized play!

Other problems are introduced, though. A new player shows up to game day. Great! Welcome to PFS. We’re about to start a new module. Have a seat. Can you also make the next three weeks at this time? No? Oh, sorry...

Liberty's Edge 1/5

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ferious Thune wrote:


Other problems are introduced, though. A new player shows up to game day. Great! Welcome to PFS. We’re about to start a new module. Have a seat. Can you also make the next three weeks at this time? No? Oh, sorry...

Not trying to be cheeky, just legit wondering though, do you guys schedule modules to run in open slot "game days" for PFS? O_o

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Asheville aka mogmismo

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superhorse wrote:
However, considering the level of effort it would take to make this feasible, I understand why the developers took this route; it seems we're lucky to get a sanctioning model at all this go-around.

In my opinion, no sanctioning is better than bad sanctioning. I can still run unsanctioned content at my conventions and have a note on our signup system that this is a home-game. This method of sanctioning will come with a bunch of rules, guidelines and tips that don't have it dovetail into PFS, but PFS organizers will still have to follow. It adds to the overall bureaucracy, but with very little value to the GM and Players; Just a single chronicle sheet to represent what they did as a home-game.

We are not lucky to get a sanctioning model at all this go-around. We get a partial system that's easier to implement for Paizo. Switching over to the Organized Play Foundation should theoretically provide volunteer help in sanctioning, if Paizo wants it. The passion in this thread on this issue shows me that people care, perhaps enough to help out on the sanctioning front. A new system at the same time as PFS moves more to the volunteer OPF model may offer solutions that are better than just settling for so-so sanctioning that we feel lucky to get.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Nighttrace - Parts of modules, yes. Absolutely. There are times when those have been the only games that can make, because we can’t figure out a scenario that everyone can play. Most single parts of the lower level three part modules work out to around a 5-6 hour slot, which is workable for a game day. Even Dragon’s Demand I think ran that way (though I wasn’t involved in that one).

1/5

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Having a repeatable does NOT need to be as 'clunky' as PFS2 1-01.

5-08, 7-10, and a few other scenarios come to mind as 'smoother' for a repeatable from PFS1.

1-01's complexity was enough to drive me away from GMing PFS2 for the forseeable future.

It's possible to have 'repeatable' without a gazillion options and permutations. As a benefit, not writing such a monster means that more time is freed up for both players and GMs.

As far as sanctioning and repeatables, to bring this back in line with original aspect of the thread, the lack of repeatables/condensing of rewards/experience is negatively impacting my desire to play in the new system (which has been a hard sell to begin with).

With limited play options and the older standbys being condensed like this, it means I have to hold off as a player until the play options I want are available.

*IF* they become available.

If PF2 is not successful because there are many people who are in the same boat as me (I strongly prefer to play a thing first to get a feel for it before running it) that won't help sell the new material to get the options desired.

As currently presented, it almost feels as if there's a subtle encouragement to play more PFS1 than PFS2, which does not feel... right if one is trying to encourage PFS2 play?

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Chicago aka thunderspirit

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Ferious Thune wrote:

If modules and APs can’t be played in PFS mode, then they aren’t additional content for PFS. The biggest benefit of sanctioned content was that it made more things available to play with your PFS characters. The chronicle is now just a bonus for playing the content if you would have anyway. It’s really only of benefit to people who have time for a home game, which means it’s not of benefit to the majority of PFS events.

Low level modules, and especially the repeatable 1-2s, get run A LOT in PFS1E, because many of the individual parts fit into a single slot. Gallows of Madness, Emerald Spire, Ire of the Storm... without those, there would be far, far fewer games running online. They are go to content when there’s not something else players can all play.

If you only get a chronicle for playing it outside of PFS, and the reward isn’t important, then why does it need sanctioned at all? There’s no more content available for PFS now than there was before it was sanctioned. Just a reward for people who have time to play outside of PFS.

Count me in the group that sees this as a step backwards.

Cosigned to all of this.

superhorse wrote:
...it seems we're lucky to get a sanctioning model at all this go-around.

Yes, this very much feels like we should be happy we got anything at all. In this case I'd frankly rather not sanction it at all than to slap a single level on it and say "here ya go!", since it feels very much rushed to "get it out the door."


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ferious Thune wrote:
Other problems are introduced, though. A new player shows up to game day. Great! Welcome to PFS. We’re about to start a new module. Have a seat. Can you also make the next three weeks at this time? No? Oh, sorry...

What I mean is, if someone is playing in a regular home game, they may be more likely to attend PFS if they have a few chronicle sheets from sanctioned Adventures and Adventure Paths under their belt, instead of just starting from scratch with a 1st-level PFS character.

It sounds like the situation you're describing is if an event coordinator decided to run a sanctioned Adventure or Adventure Path in PFS, which doesn't seem possible under the new sanctioning model. Though I do agree; what a mess that would cause!

Michael Tracey wrote:
In my opinion, no sanctioning is better than bad sanctioning ... This method of sanctioning will come with a bunch of rules, guidelines and tips that don't have it dovetail into PFS, but PFS organizers will still have to follow ... Switching over to the Organized Play Foundation should theoretically provide volunteer help in sanctioning, if Paizo wants it.

Eloquently put, and I still largely agree with you! However, all this new sanctioning model really seems to do is reward extra chronicle sheets for home games. I don't think a player bringing a couple extra chronicle sheets to the table would cause too many issues.

The biggest flaw I see in this sanctioning model is the inability to play sanctioned Adventures, Adventure Paths, and PFS Scenarios with the same characters. Being forced to play non-PFS games to get PFS rewards doesn't track very well. And is definitely a good argument for preferring no sanctioning over this new sanctioning model.

Now, volunteer sanctioning through the Organized Play Foundation is a fantastic idea! Hadn't even thought of that! And it seems to fit perfectly within their mission statement.

Liberty's Edge 1/5

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

:-/ I know tone doesn't always translate well over text, but I'm surprised to see Venture officers take anything about this blog from a tone of hostility/antagonism/consider yourself lucky.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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superhorse - what you describe was already the case under the old sanctioning model. Being able to apply the chronicles to any level character might help that work better, but the idea that someone could be brought into PFS via a home game already existed.

I’m not saying that an event coordinator is trying to schedule things under the new system into a game day slot. I’m saying event coordinators have been scheduling modules (and sometimes AP parts) under the old system into game day slots, and they can’t do that with the new system as presented so far. And that is a problem.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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I'm personally okay with this, although Dustin's comment about smoother treasure bundle to XP matching is a good one.

I've always preferred to play in campaign mode over PFS mode. In particular, some non-campaign-mode modules had ugly points where you're basically expected to be level up by then, but PFS rules don't let you do that mid-module. So you get some over the top bossfight that would be much better balanced if you'd had your level-up.

Slicing away whole bits of the adventure to stuff it into a 12-hour slot seemed awful to me.

---

However, that's my preference. If other people want to do things that I'd run screaming from, okay. This system is giving me what I want, although it doesn't look like a big change; all the recent PF1 modules had a campaign mode option too.

---

But apparently the choice isn't whether campaign mode or PFS mode is the best, but rather, between:

A) having sanctioning happening at some speed, but only campaign mode.

B) getting both campaign mode and PFS mode along with a selection of sanctioned content if playing in PFS mode, but the whole thing will take longer to get sanctioned.

Obviously I prefer option A.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
NightTrace wrote:
:-/ I know tone doesn't always translate well over text, but I'm surprised to see Venture officers take anything about this blog from a tone of hostility/antagonism/consider yourself lucky.

I think the tone of the blog post sounds more "here is what we are able to provide with our current resources" than "consider yourselves lucky."

Scarab Sages 4/5

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NightTrace wrote:
:-/ I know tone doesn't always translate well over text, but I'm surprised to see Venture officers take anything about this blog from a tone of hostility/antagonism/consider yourself lucky.

Venture Officers have to organize PFS games. Losing PFS mode makes that harder. It’s certainly understandable that they might be upset about it.

2/5

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

More thoughts after sleeping on it/catching up with all the posts:

1) While I've primarily played campaign mode, I've played/gm'd three modules/ap chapters in society/sanctioned mode. Two of those three fit into a single 4-hour session, and I think they shouldn't not have been worth 1 full level of experience as a result. So I can understand the difficulty that Organized Play has in trying to extract a smaller set of content that keeps a story (not even 'the' story') coherent, sometimes you'll end up short, sometimes you'll end up long. And if you're planning to have a constant amount of exp, you'll have some that are more efficient than others. I miss the society mode option, even if I'm unlikely to use it often. It did help for getting a second opinion on 'does this module/ap chapter fit into N-convention slots'. I definitely feel that its unhealthy for the campaign to have super-exp/session efficient repeatables.

2) I liked the suggestion upstream for boonless/keepsakeless chronicles per level of a module, with a capstone no-exp Boon that has the boon and keepsakes on it. It does feel like that would be close to the same amount of work for OP as the current system. And that would make it much easier to fit into normal society play for groups who wanted to.

3) I'm glad to see progress on the outstanding list of things to sanction/todo list of OP supporting 2e. However it does feel like it was one step forward (yay chronicles) and many steps back(needs update to guide for convention/society play supports, needs ACP interactions, needs ACP to be released, etc)

4) The argument against it being repeatable from the 'we have so much repeatable content' feels off to me. We have 1 repeatable scenario and one repeatable quest, with 1 more scenario on the way very soon, IIRC. Now its possible there's a lot of repeatable content _planned_ for season 1, and we don't see it. I feel its been communicated that there will be, but without precise figures. It not being repeatable because it fares poorly as a repeatable (especially part 1) would make total sense to me.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ferious Thune wrote:
superhorse - what you describe was already the case under the old sanctioning model.

Oh shoot, really? I had no idea! I wasn't aboard for PF1, so I only know what bits and pieces I've read about the old sanctioning model.

Ferious Thune wrote:
I’m not saying that an event coordinator is trying to schedule things under the new system into a game day slot. I’m saying event coordinators have been scheduling modules (and sometimes AP parts) under the old system into game day slots, and they can’t do that with the new system as presented so far. And that is a problem.

It does seem like a problem that event coordinators can no longer schedule sanctioned Adventures and Adventure Paths in PFS slots under the new sanctioning model, since that results in a lot of unusable content for those who primarily play PFS. Though it sounds like the old sanctioning model also resulted in a lot of unusable content simply because sanctioning took so long!

I feel I better understand the need for either a volunteer sanctioning workforce or an entirely different model.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Lau - I don’t want to quote your whole message. I just want to say that it is a good example of someone expressing why they are ok with the new system while also recognizing that will not be the case for everyone. I appreciate your openness to understanding the issue, even if the proposed system will work fine for you.

Scarab Sages 4/5 ⦵⦵

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

So I want to take a step back and ask: "How much new PFS playable content should be made available each month?"

At the end of PFS 1 we were getting two scenarios (8 hours) 1 AP (~12 hours sanctioned) and the occasional Adventure (4-20?)

Right now we get just the two scenarios and one quest (9 hours). So a big drop. Personally I was never a fan of APs for PFS play. In order to play them it required odd cuts and since you did not level though the book, you would play an AP then other things then back to the AP. With Adventures they were all over the place. Gallows of Madness gave you three levels. Ruby Phoenix Tournament gave you 1. At least you could play them with out interruption.

Personally, I like the newer model. But I do agree that it would be nice to get more hours of sanctioned PFS every month. Right now PFS2 is having the same starting pains of SFS. Everyone wants more now. But by next Gencon there will be a decent critical mass of scenarios and quests that playing once a week(ish) would be doable again.

Ideally I would like to see something the size and scope of Godsmouth Heresy every few months for PFS play

Grand Lodge 3/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Ireland—Newtownabbey aka Ampersandrew

Ferious Thune wrote:
Lau - I don’t want to quote your whole message. I just want to say that it is a good example of someone expressing why they are ok with the new system while also recognizing that will not be the case for everyone. I appreciate your openness to understanding the issue, even if the proposed system will work fine for you.

No harm, but the blog didn't ask us to express whether we thought you would like this. It asked if we would be Ok with this. Some of us are and we've been expressing our opinion, mostly with anecdotes about our play history and how this is likely to affect us.

You're not happy, you've said why. Fair enough. The campaign organisers have seen your posts and will be taking your opinion into account. There is no need to bash other people expressing a contrary opinion with their reasons why it's likely to work for them.

This system works for me, it looks like it's going to make modules a bit more useful for me in my situation. I would be happy to see a "real" PFS sanctioning done for any and all PF2e modules, but not at the expense of not sanctioning it in campaign mode.

YMMV

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

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Removed some posts and replies. Focus on providing your feedback, discussion of the blog's contents, and please avoid tone policing or arguing with each other.

Dark Archive 5/5

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I like playing my character. Playing in campaign mode doesn't do it for me in PFS, because I want to play my PFS character, not a made-up character.

I think it's good to have sanctioned content for those liking to play in campaign mode and wanting to apply chronicle sheet to a PFS sanctioned character. I even think it's a good thing that it give only 12XP for the whole thing and that it be able to be applied to any character of any level.
It's a good way to deal with campaign mode play linked to PFS.

But, in my opinion, it's not good for PFS players. As a PFS player, I want to play PFS with my PFS character... not random character X.
The way it was handled in PFS1 was a compromised between PFS play and Campaign Mode play (it has its flaws of course) but it gave the option to choose how to play an AP or a full module.

I understand why they've done it, but now we don't have any option. We need to play campaign mode and I understand why people could be angry for that.

Grand Lodge 4/5

I see that Fall of Plaguestone was created to be ran as a L1 beginning adventure. It's kind of an introductory module to PFS2. If it followed the PFS1 sanctioning method, this would have to be a L1-2 module at best. By using this new sanctioning method, the GM is allowed to beef up the challenge of the module while still using the content as a guide. To me, this allows great flexibility.

I like this system of sanctioning although I will say the APs are going to be a bit more different to accommodate playability.

I agree with some of the folks here who think this should be repeatable. I really think it should be repeatable for the 1-2 tier.

What is nice about this for cons is that GMs can work on it to make it fit in two five hour blocks or even two 4.5 hour blocks with an hour break for food.

I also think that this might not fit into everyone's favorite mode of play. Adapt it as you will. You have the flexibility to do so. Perhaps if we had a rule inserted into the Guild Guide section on how to run these about dividing modules/AP chapters into component parts and issuing partial credit chronicle sheets, we might be able to accommodate more play styles.

Let's use this opportunity to develop a good set of rules for governing modules/AP chapters for the future.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Andrew - I’m not meaning to bash anyone. I’m hoping that people who have only had one experience (campaign mode) might start to understand why the change is an issue for those who primarily use the content in a different way. It’s useful for Paizo to know how many people are affected. It’s also useful for everyone to understand what is being given up.

1/5

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
First World Bard wrote:
I've only interacted with modules/APs in Campaign mode: I've run the Dragon's Demand (excellent module), and am currently playing Rise of the Runelords.

I just realized this wasn't actually true. I've run Crypt of the Everflame and Masks of Living God for PFS characters. (I've also played/run FreeRPGDay mini-modules, but those might as well be scenarios, given their length). That said, my players made PFS characters for those scenarios with the understanding that they'd play those characters in other PFS games once we had finished the four module arc.(I had planned to run a Fangwood module to make the level bands line up correctly). Sadly, a couple of my players moved away, and we never got to finish the series.

Edit: Sigh, my memory is pretty terrible. I've also done some Thornkeep and/or Emerald Spire at conventions. The format of 1 Level of a dungeon = 1 level's worth of XP on 1 chronicle sheet worked fairly well as something you could tackle in 8-12 hours of play. But in my mind, each dungeon floor was basically its own self-contained story; there didn't really seem to be any narrative disconnect by not playing the whole thing.

In any case, I feel like those are different beasts; I don't remember exactly but I think each module took about 3 sessions of 3-4 hours each to finish. You could probably marathon it in 8 hours if the players and GMs were onboard with that pace. The Dragon's Demand, as a super-module, was basically a mini adventure path; I believe the characters got to 7th level by the end. There were 4 Chronicle sheets issued (I believe the 4th was a bonus for running the entire thing in Campaign mode, perhaps?).

Going forward, what will modules look like? If we get modules designed for a certain level that take 2-3 sessions to do and grant them a level, they should probably be sanctioned to play with PFS characters. If they mostly look like Plagestone/Dragon;s Demand and tell a cohesive story for starting players, I personally am okay with campaign mode, with improvements that have been mentioned.

As an aside, all I'm doing is giving my opinions and experiences. I'm not intending to be dismissive to the experiences and desires of others; apologies if it comes off that way. I'm not seeing it, but text is hard.

5/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm torn on this new sanctioning idea. I'm all for faster sanctioning and more ways to play PFS, but am torn on this implementation.

It'll be the wild west for convention play with this system. Will GM's make all pregens for players, will players just play their pfs characters, or will convention GM's/players have to communicate before a convention to confirm characters? Any of this is possible, but puts more burden on the table GM/organizer to work out these details.

Keepsakes system seems limited. What if I'm applying the credit to a level 12 character, how does that level 1-5 item from the first module even effect the character?

Level free for any assigned level also feels bad. In pfs1, there were a limited number of ways a character could go 1-20. That made those high tier players feel that they had accomplished something. With the current proposal, play campaign mode modules and get to 20 with relative ease.

A final random thought: Since sanctioning seems like a time drain for developers, why not crowd-source it? There's lots of volunteers who are passionate about organized play that could be a resource/starting point for developing a sanctioning document.

Scarab Sages 4/5 ⦵⦵

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Ferious - I see it as two intersecting issues.

* Should everything printed be playable via PFS?
* And how much PFS material should be created each month/quarter to keep PFS healthy?

I found Godsmouth Hersey, the Emerald Spire, and Ruby Phoenix Tournament as good additions for PFS. The chopping up of APs and Dragons Demand did a disservice to the Adventure at the expense of creating more PFS playable content.

Right now the main thing preventing going back to the 32-page format is the editorial pipeline. So how do we find that happy medium?

5/5 ⦵⦵

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Just the door hitting me harder in the ass on the way out of organized play interest.

I always enjoyed playing modules in pfs mode over scenarios.

The point is I want to be able to use my organized play character in modules which I enjoy far more than scenarios. I want to be able to pull them off the shelf whenever needed for modules or scenarios.

Is this carrying over to SFS AP's also? very disappointing.

I was waiting to start up PF2 with the organized play sanctioning of the Fall of Plaguestone. No sanctioning in Pathfinder mode no interest in PF2. It's that simple.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Everything printed doesn’t have to be PFS playable. The evil Cheliax AP, for example, wasn’t a good fit. But things were made PFS playable for a reason, which was that there was not enough content, especially at seeker levels, for people to play. It was, at least at the time, much easier and faster for the team to sanction an existing module, with understood limitations, than it was to create an entirely new adventure. Maybe with the current setup that’s no longer the case. Certainly it hasn’t been happening regularly, so re-examining the process is a good thing.

The blog states that the belief is that modules running in short slots is an uncommon thing, and I don’t think that’s the case. Posts from others in this thread are helping to confirm that. Sure, I would love to get the full experience of every module or AP. But that’s not practical.

What is most definitely the case right now is that since PF2Es release, players have been looking for more content. They have also been waiting for the module and AP to be sanctioned, expecting them even, because of the way things have happened in the past. Instead, they’ve been given half of what existed before, which does not relieve any of the pain of not having enough content. If they wanted campaign mode, they could have already been running it that way and just apply the chronicles retroactively as is typically allowed. People (not all, but many) were waiting for the sanctioning so that they could schedule the games at their game days. Without warning, they’ve been told that can’t happen anymore.

Yes, SFS went through similar pains, and I’ll take the word of those who play it that it’s getting past that. But SFS also has sanctioned APs, right? Which helped it get to the point that it is at now. That is what people were expecting for PFS2, and what didn’t happen.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Roy reminds me that some of my most memorable PFS sessions occurred while playing PFS characters through high-level Modules at Cons.

That's something I don't want to lose, if possible.

How about this? People want APs/Modules sanctioned faster, and Leadership needs time to review them. How about just issuing a blank Chronicle "placeholder" when the content is released, maybe with a list of items found in the sanctioning document, and updating it later with Boons?

There'd still be a lag between getting the final version of the Chronicle, but people could play the games they want immediately and get the credit for it.

Scarab Sages

Please forgive me if I am overlooking something, I've only ever done modules in campaign mode.

What is stopping people from playing their PFS characters in Campaign mode? Just make an identical copy of your PFS character, call it your campaign character, and play that? Then assign credit to your identical PFS character after the game is over?

Is that not identical to playing it in PFS mode?

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