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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Tags: Organized Play Pathfinder Society
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Scarab Sages 4/5

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Certain AP parts, I should say, are far more common than others. Generally the level 1-2 replayables get run frequently either at conventions or as normally scheduled games when a longer slot is possible.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 Venture-Agent, Georgia—Atlanta aka The Masked Ferret

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We run Starfinder AP legs in 2 4-hour slots at a store, and I was at a convention this past weekend where they scheduled a bunch of APs and modules for play.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Jib916 wrote:
Michael Tracey wrote:


Yes. We've run individual books of APs

Awesome. Yeah I meant individual AP books, though marathoning a whole AP over a weekend sounds... interesting lol

Ferious Thune wrote:


Losing the flexibility that modules provided is pretty huge, though.

Doesn't having bigger modules in 2e change that flexibility too?

Not if they are broken down into multiple chronicles like the last several PFS1E modules. Then you can offer Part 1 as its own thing. That was part of the flexibility that the more recent modules added, not something that having a longer module took away.

EDIT: To clarify, things went from a single 32 page module, to a 64 page module with (often) 3 parts. Which meant when you scheduled Part 1 (or 2 or 3), you've actually got less content to get through than in a 32 page module, so you can fit it into an even shorter space. With Plaguestone, for the time being, we've got a long module that you can't divide up (or can divide up, but you don't get your chronicle until the very end, so have to make a commitment to play the whole thing).

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Jib916 wrote:

I'm curious.

Do people run AP's and 32+ Page longer adventures at conventions?

The 32 page format was great for an all day game at a con. I have ran Ruby Phoenix Tournament and played in Fangwood Keep and Murder's Mark. All were fun. I have not seen an AP ran at a convention however (Though I have not been around past few years, so not sure if that has changed) I have seen people playing APs at the shop in "Campaign mode, however (Over multiple sessions or weekends)

As it stands on the schedule right now, the 2 modules have a page count closer to an AP rather than the 32 page module. Is it even feasible to run (An AP or current module) at a convention without cutting a large portion? Do people run these at conventions?

While running single modules as an all day slot at a Con is more common, I have seen Cons that run parts of APs (usually the first parts). In some cases, when the Cons are organized by the same people and only a few weeks or months apart, I have seen running an entire AP spread out across multiple Cons.

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

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I don’t think I have ever seen an AP run at our conventions. Thornkeep was the only module I recall. Most of our module play has been limited to game days dedicated to it.

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Ohio—Columbus aka Cirithiel

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Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I don’t think I have ever seen an AP run at our conventions. Thornkeep was the only module I recall. Most of our module play has been limited to game games dedicated to it.

Ok. That’s your experience. Yet many people in this thread are saying that their experience and needs are different.

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

Yes, agreed.

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Online—VTT

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The modules which offered 3-4 full levels for completing them in PF1 had rewards vastly out of proportion to the time and amount of story involved in almost every case in my experience. If a GM chose to include a ton more roleplaying and story and stretched them out then perhaps it might possibly last long enough to justify that much rewards but I think that would be an outlier rather than the norm.

We've had APs sanctioned the exact same way as this forever and its never been an issue, somehow we've managed to apply chronicles from those to characters and everything seems to have worked out pretty well. Whilst it may not be the perfect way to do it it's certainly a pretty good one from my point of view, players and GMs get the chance to experience the full story, they also get a nice boost to a PFS character.

Should a player exclusively want to play their PFS character... let them, bill it as a chance to see how the feats they were planning on taking work in actual play, maybe it will let them find something they'd much rather take with the character. No, they obviously don't get to keep the 4th level version they ended up with, be it an 'alternate reality', a dream, whatever, they can have an in game explanation if they want. Perhaps the efforts just took an exceptional strain on them and they're recovering, hence only getting one level from it.

Scarab Sages 4/5

To bring a different perspective to things, I did a search on pathfinder on Warhorn, not limiting by location. There are 735 1st edition PFS games listed.

On a quick scroll through the first 100 listings, there are 22 modules or AP parts. That includes shorter free rpg day modules. Only 1 is obviously listed as campaign mode, but I didn’t drill down into them so others might be. All are listed as Pathfinder Society.

So 21 out of 100 doesn’t feel like a small percentage. Obviously the sample size could be larger, and when I have a little more time I’ll try to figure out pulling all of the listings into a spreadsheet so I don’t have to manually count. But 1/5th of listed games would be pretty significant. It was not majority shorter modules, either. There were maybe 5? Which still leaves it at 15%. Like I said, this was an initial glance to see if looking in more detail would be worthwhile. I’ll do that when I have more time. For now I’m going to sign off for a few hours for my own sanity.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Alaska—Anchorage aka Dragnmoon

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I would say the vast majority of Modules/APs run in Campaign mode are not out up on Warhorn since most would be home games or casual games not needing warhorn.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Steven Lau wrote:
I would say the vast majority of Modules/APs run in Campaign mode are not out up on Warhorn since most would be home games or casual games not needing warhorn.

Haven’t quite signed off yet. :)

The point is not to compare campaign mode to non-campaign mode. The point is that the claim is that modules run in game day or convention slots are rare. Not all game days are listed on warhorn. But a lot are. And if a significant portion of the games being offered are modules or APs in PFS mode, that would seem to be useful information to have.

Edit: in other words, I didn’t point out that there’s only 1 listed in campaign mode to say campaign mode is rare. I pointed that out because I excluded it from the total that the other numbers are based on. There may be more that I’ll only find by looking at the full descriptions, and I wouldn’t count those in the calculations either.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Alaska—Anchorage aka Dragnmoon

Ferious Thune wrote:
Haven’t quite signed off yet. :)

I am going between this and playing Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. I would be playing The Outer Worlds but I am waiting on them to fix not being able to play it in 4K on the PC.

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

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I think Ferious Thune may be on to something.

The percentage of runs of a particular module that's run in event mode may not be so high.

But the percentage of runs of that module compared to other things offered at conventions can still be high.

I am though, again skeptical about something: the prevalence of level 1-2 replayable modules, with the obvious aim of powering through level 1 as fast as possible. I'm not sure this is something that we should really go out of our way to enable. I'd much prefer looking for ways to make level 1 something that you're not trying to avoid playing.

5/5 5/55/5

Ferious Thune wrote:

To bring a different perspective to things, I did a search on pathfinder on Warhorn, not limiting by location. There are 735 1st edition PFS games listed.

On a quick scroll through the first 100 listings, there are 22 modules or AP parts. That includes shorter free rpg day modules. Only 1 is obviously listed as campaign mode, but I didn’t drill down into them so others might be. All are listed as Pathfinder Society.

So 21 out of 100 doesn’t feel like a small percentage. Obviously the sample size could be larger, and when I have a little more time I’ll try to figure out pulling all of the listings into a spreadsheet so I don’t have to manually count. But 1/5th of listed games would be pretty significant. It was not majority shorter modules, either. There were maybe 5? Which still leaves it at 15%. Like I said, this was an initial glance to see if looking in more detail would be worthwhile. I’ll do that when I have more time. For now I’m going to sign off for a few hours for my own sanity.

I will point out if you are counting hours you need to multiply the modules by 3. So in hours you are talking 63 to 79 hours in your count. That's 44% of the time.

5/5 5/55/5

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I would like to add PF1 module/AP play in my area has gone way up since they stopped releasing PF1 scenarios.

1/5 5/5

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Adam Yakaboski Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking wrote:

How do you know its been unproven and unpredictable? Its not like the people working on the rules weren't you know experiencing these "issues" first hand.

Having had the experience of playing a couple of the repeatable L1-2 modules in PFS mode, it is very easy to see how mostly unrestricted Campaign Mode could be much worse, in particular when GM/player bias and history comes into play.

As far as 'unproven and unpredictable'? If this was tested out 'in-house' a la Ultimate Wilderness, then it is proven(at least on a microlevel) but still unpredictable.

If it was NOT tested out 'in-house', then it would be unproven and unpredictable.

Lau Bannenberg wrote:

I think Ferious Thune may be on to something.

The percentage of runs of a particular module that's run in event mode may not be so high.

But the percentage of runs of that module compared to other things offered at conventions can still be high.

I am though, again skeptical about something: the prevalence of level 1-2 replayable modules, with the obvious aim of powering through level 1 as fast as possible. I'm not sure this is something that we should really go out of our way to enable. I'd much prefer looking for ways to make level 1 something that you're not trying to avoid playing.

*If* we look at our 'play opportunity' as a finite resource, and we only have so many chances to play, then we will want to eventually get *out* of the starting zone and into other play brackets.

We can then boil down that less time spent playing content at a given level is beneficial to the needs of some who have limited 'play opportunity'.

This becomes particularly important when a new edition/game is announced and the options to advance one's character in a timely yet enjoyable fashion are likewise heavily limited.

Life is short, and some of us don't have the ability to go to two or three conventions every month, play online (both play-by-post and VTT), and hold down a paying job/go to school/whatnot at the same time.

Mileage may vary, I've just keenly been feeling very mortal lately...

:>

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Ok, I made some progress. A few games dropped off on the second pull, because of conventions that were running today and the end times of the games passing. A few games added on after I did the copying of data, and it was too much of a pain to try to pick them out of the schedule, since I can't get everything onto 1 page.

I also removed all listings that did not have a specific game. So interest checks, TBDs, and things like that. That left me with 648 sessions.

I also separated out the 1XP modules, under the assumption that if something similar comes out in the future, we might still get a complete sanctioning including PFS mode. (EDIT: These are included in the total sessions number, but are not counted as "modules," so I treated them like a normal scenario).

Combining APs and Modules, and excluding the 1 marked as Campaign Mode, there were 105 sessions out of the 648 listed, or 16.2%.

Some sessions were obvious continuations of the same AP part/module. Taking out all but the first listing for each reduced the total by 22 giving:

Total Sessions: 626
AP Parts: 13 (2.1 %)
Modules: 70 (11.2%)

I could not spot any additional sessions that were advertised as Campaign Mode, but I did not click through all of them. I tried to get all of the ones that I know have campaign modes available, though. So if they are being run that way, they are typically not being advertised that way when they are listed. Many of the AP parts listed Sanctioned Content, but I think that might just be part of their description on Warhorn and included by default.

Make of the numbers what you will, but I don't consider 16.2% or the smaller 13.3% of the listed sessions on what is likely the largest registration site for PFS worldwide to be a small percentage of games played. Maybe that label is justified for APs, which by themselves and excluding multiple sessions is only 2.1%. But even with that restriction, modules are at 11.2%, and that is significant to me.

I hope that it is significant to Paizo.

Yes, modules are probably seeing a higher amount of play as people start to run out of PFS1 content. But there is an even bigger shortage of PFS2 content right now, and it would have been nice to have the module available to schedule to help the situation.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 Venture-Captain aka TwilightKnight

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Michael Sayre wrote:
This is an area that we actually hope to address through the ACP system.

No offense, but we seem to be placing a lot of expectation on the ACP system, yet after three months it’s no more functional than it was when it launched. We still cannot download and print basic chronicle boons. Seems like every scenario that is added to the database does so with an error. It’s listed as repeatable and shouldn’t be, or should be and isn’t, etc. it’s not instilling us with a lot of confidence. Knowing that the needs of OP are WAAAY down the priority list for the Paizo staff (outside of the actual OP team) means this is going to be a problem in perpetuity. At this point you’re probably better off simply posting the boons as free pdfs independent of the tracking system and just track our points spent as it does now instead of trying to tie access to expenses. This would leave it up to the local communities to police authentic boons and address cheaters as necessary.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5

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Jacob Rennels wrote:
It seems weird to me that the mentality is that playing something that is neither written for nor intended to be an OP scenario entitles you to OP credit.

I’ve been saying for years we should stop trying to shoe-horn material that was not intended for OP. The easiest solution is to stop sanctioning APs and modules and focus on adventures/scenarios/quests specifically written for OP. If you want to play an AP or module, then play it. Nothing is stopping you. It does not provide a chronicle sheet but that does not reduce the enjoyment of the game in the least. Sanctioning problem resolved.

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

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
Adam Yakaboski Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking wrote:

How do you know its been unproven and unpredictable? Its not like the people working on the rules weren't you know experiencing these "issues" first hand.

Having had the experience of playing a couple of the repeatable L1-2 modules in PFS mode, it is very easy to see how mostly unrestricted Campaign Mode could be much worse, in particular when GM/player bias and history comes into play.

As far as 'unproven and unpredictable'? If this was tested out 'in-house' a la Ultimate Wilderness, then it is proven(at least on a microlevel) but still unpredictable.

If it was NOT tested out 'in-house', then it would be unproven and unpredictable.

Ooo what I'm saying is a very polite Linda knows about your complaints. If these problems ever actually existed then she knows about them.

Envoy's Alliance 4/5 5/55/55/55/5

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The Inimitable Bob Jonquet wrote:
Knowing that the needs of OP are WAAAY down the priority list for the Paizo staff (outside of the actual OP team) means this is going to be a problem in perpetuity

This is me, taking off my VC hat., and just posting as me. (That is why I am posting as Pip, my first PF2 character.)

I agree with Bob here on the concern of ACP being something that goes through the Paizo site. I applauded us moving the Guide to Organized Play to the off-site Organized Play Foundation page, where OP Leadership could update it frequently. Having so many of our boons be dependent on the ACP system on the Paizo site makes me nervous. There was a boon for retraining that no one was able to take advantage of before it expired, because ACP boons never went live. We have so much hanging on this, and it really worries me for the future of Organized Play.

Hmm

Scarab Sages 4/5

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I think for AcP it's likely an issue of the data that they are based on being on Paizo's site. So either technical work is done to make sure the OPF site can read that data in order to implement the system there (which I think brings up privacy concerns again), or technical work is instead done to implement the system on Paizo's site. There don't appear to be resources to do either thing.

The alternative is to come up with a different system, and I don't know how willing they'll be to just abandon the plan.

Dataphiles 4/5 5/55/55/55/5

Well, we could add scenario and rewards tracking to the OPF site...

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Hardware the Tech wrote:
Well, we could add scenario and rewards tracking to the OPF site...

I would be all for that, but volunteers having access to that information is what raised the privacy concern and got VO’s access to look up records removed (at least I think that was the end result, not having access to the system myself). Paizo is caught between needing volunteers and the OPF to be separate for one set of legal concerns, but also not being able to release the information outside the company for a different set of legal concerns. At least as far as I understand the situation.

EDIT: If they are going to bring in outside tracking through volunteers, I’d suggest they consider pfstracker, since a lot of the work is already done there. But then I’d also hope they would pay Simon for his efforts.

1/5 5/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Adam Yakaboski wrote:


Ooo what I'm saying is a very polite Linda knows about your complaints. If these problems ever actually existed then she knows about them.

To characterise them as 'my complaints' is to change the dynamic. It changes the discussion from a thing that several people have noticed to something that only I have noticed, and I know based on this threat that is not the case.

They are concerns that should probably be addressed at some level, and Linda may not know about said concerns, nor some of the other staff if they haven't had the institutional experience dealing with them.

There is 'hearing about something third- or fourth-hand" versus "being in the hot seat making the decisions" that can have a dramatic impact on how one interpets information in context.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

Lau Bannenberg wrote:

I think Ferious Thune may be on to something.

The percentage of runs of a particular module that's run in event mode may not be so high.

But the percentage of runs of that module compared to other things offered at conventions can still be high.

I am though, again skeptical about something: the prevalence of level 1-2 replayable modules, with the obvious aim of powering through level 1 as fast as possible. I'm not sure this is something that we should really go out of our way to enable. I'd much prefer looking for ways to make level 1 something that you're not trying to avoid playing.

Agreed 100%.

I had a conversation with one of my players because I couldn’t fully understand the upset over this. We have never really used a lot of modules or APs locally for game days or conventions and I like the new style of chronicles personally (minus the errors). I do see from others here that there are some areas where this could cause some scheduling issues, but that is not my own experience.

He explained that the people it hurts the most are those (like him) who play online and prefer to “burn through” a few one hour runnings of the low level modules so they can start their characters at 3rd level.

Honestly I would rather see the back of that. Not only does it feel against the spirit of OP, but it robs our legions of new players from the opportunity to play at low tier tables with experienced players at the same level as them.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

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As far as the direct levelling with the modules, I think it makes sense for some modules (emerald spire) and doesn’t make sense for others. If a module can be completed in 12 hours of gameplay or less (same as three scenarios), a single level makes a lot of sense.

It doesn’t seem like anyone has mentioned the obvious. The faster they allow characters to level up at this stage, the sooner people will be clamouring for high level play that we don’t have the scenario resources to support.

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Ohio—Columbus aka Cirithiel

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Glen Shackleton wrote:


I had a conversation with one of my players because I couldn’t fully understand the upset over this. We have never really used a lot of modules or APs locally for game days or conventions and I like the new style of chronicles personally (minus the errors). I do see from others here that there are some areas where this could cause some scheduling issues, but that is not my own experience.

He explained that the people it hurts the most are those (like him) who play online and prefer to “burn through” a few one hour runnings of the low level modules so they can start their characters at 3rd level.

No, you and your player are wrong. Why would you ask a random person why people are upset instead of reading what people here are saying they are upset about??

The people this is hurting are those that want something “special” to put on the schedule at conventions or occasional game days to draw in players for our events. This thread is filled with Venture Critters saying “This hurts my scheduling.”

If the problem is people speed running repeatable adventures — and don’t fool yourself to think it doesn’t happen with scenarios too — the answer is to not to stop giving correct* XP for modules, it’s to stop making them repeatable.

Other than a few modules that were written inappropriately short for the amount of XP given, modules generally give about 1 XP per hour. Emerald Spire is a perfect example of a module that gives too much XP for the time it takes to play each level. The very fact that these power-levelers you speak of used ES to do it only reinforces the fact that most modules did NOT over-award XP for the time spent. You are seeing the exception and making a rule.

When I scheduled modules for our local game days they were always done in 10-12 hour “slots.” At conventions, modules typically get 3 slots or 12-15 hours. And at the end you get one level. Exactly on target for 1XP per hour.

In fact, the 12XP currently being given for Plaguestone is significantly less than your 1XP per hour standard. It’s perfect length for each chapter to run in about 12 hours, with a bit of roleplay. All that is needed here is to do like the other 64 page modules have done: One sheet with 12 XP per chapter. If creating individual sheets is the problem, then make the sheets like quest sheets where you tick a box for every part played, and only get the keepsakes and boon(s) once you complete all parts. That is literally a few minutes additional work (to put checkboxes on the chronicle) than the current plan.

* I use the term “correct XP” to mean XP rewards as written in the adventure.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Glen Shackleton wrote:


He explained that the people it hurts the most are those (like him) who play online and prefer to “burn through” a few one hour runnings of the low level modules so they can start their characters at 3rd level.

Honestly I would rather see the back of that. Not only does it feel against the spirit of OP, but it robs our legions of new players from the opportunity to play at low tier tables with experienced players at the same level as them.

This is not an accurate characterization of how the modules are most commonly used or of online play. Honestly, this take on online play is part of why the region feels like it is being treated as less than other regions. Please don’t do that.

I have not seen a speed run like you are describing online in many years. It is not the majority of how modules are run. If it was, the online VOs would step in and say something.

Yes, the amount of XP granted makes the modules more popular. But they are primarily run because they are additional content and it’s hard to find something everyone can play. That’s especially true online, but often true locally as well.

What online has that local doesn’t is a large number of pick up games. Meaning players show up and hang around in discord hoping a game will start. Eventually someone steps up to GM. The number of times where the only thing that all of the players present had in common to play was a repeatable is high, because people quickly run out of content that they have in common. Even with hundreds of scenarios available. All it takes is one player who has played almost everything and suddenly you’re either playing a repeatable or you’re leaving someone out (or in some cases don’t have a table at all). Having PFS mode sanctioned modules makes that situation less likely to happen.

That problem is not limited to online. Locally we have 3 players with 4-digit PFS numbers. There’s nothing from seasons 1-7 or so that they can play. I’ve got a 5-digit PFS number and there’s barely anything from those seasons I can play. Several players attend Paizocon and GenCon from my area, so even recent scenarios are tough to schedule. Modules and APs greatly expanded the available content for us.

Getting back to the numbers. Of those 83 unique games of modules or APs listed on warhorn, how many do you think were online? 1. Those numbers don’t show online abusing the replayable modules. They show local game days and conventions that are scheduling modules and APs consistently, because people need more content.

Someone who went to GenCon this year might have had 0 non-replayable content available 3 days into PFS2. With no new content until the end of September, they would have had nothing new to play for almost 2 months. 1 game day into October, they could have been out again. We want modules and APs for game day and convention play, because there is not enough content. Not to abuse the replay rules and cheat the system to avoid first level. There’s an easy solution to that. Don’t make the modules replayable. Just make them playable. Which for a lot of us, Plaguestone is not, as long as it remains a 12-16 hour commitment.

5/5 5/55/5

Ferious Thune wrote:

Ok, I made some progress. A few games dropped off on the second pull, because of conventions that were running today and the end times of the games passing. A few games added on after I did the copying of data, and it was too much of a pain to try to pick them out of the schedule, since I can't get everything onto 1 page.

I also removed all listings that did not have a specific game. So interest checks, TBDs, and things like that. That left me with 648 sessions.

I also separated out the 1XP modules, under the assumption that if something similar comes out in the future, we might still get a complete sanctioning including PFS mode. (EDIT: These are included in the total sessions number, but are not counted as "modules," so I treated them like a normal scenario).

Combining APs and Modules, and excluding the 1 marked as Campaign Mode, there were 105 sessions out of the 648 listed, or 16.2%.

Some sessions were obvious continuations of the same AP part/module. Taking out all but the first listing for each reduced the total by 22 giving:

Total Sessions: 626
AP Parts: 13 (2.1 %)
Modules: 70 (11.2%)

I could not spot any additional sessions that were advertised as Campaign Mode, but I did not click through all of them. I tried to get all of the ones that I know have campaign modes available, though. So if they are being run that way, they are typically not being advertised that way when they are listed. Many of the AP parts listed Sanctioned Content, but I think that might just be part of their description on Warhorn and included by default.

Make of the numbers what you will, but I don't consider 16.2% or the smaller 13.3% of the listed sessions on what is likely the largest registration site for PFS worldwide to be a small percentage of games played. Maybe that label is justified for APs, which by themselves and excluding multiple sessions is only 2.1%. But even with that restriction, modules are at 11.2%, and that is significant to me.

I hope that it is significant to Paizo.

Yes, modules...

I should also point out that only a few modules have a campaign mode option. (Dragons Demand and the Reborn Forge are the only ones). All 34 of the others only have PFS mode.

AP's are a different beast. all have them have a campaign or a PFS mode.

In my area we rarely see AP's put on an event schedule, because most people don't want to play them in campaign mode. Modules in PFS mode are scheduled at every large northern California convention (all 7 of them with the Bay Area and Sacramento) and are put on schedules at many local stores.

Not having modules for PFS mode is a major loss in my area. No doubt about it.

And Michael Knows this. I played the Witchwar Legacy(tiers 16-18) with him and we had 2 full tables for this module in Feb. 2019 at Dundracon in the Bay Area.

Grand Lodge 4/5

We do have a module for PFS play. Its title is The Fall of Plaguestone.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

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Xathos, you are not helping.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Neither are those who keep insisting that it can't be played in PFS mode.

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

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They are telling you that gentleman's agreements are not good enough guarantees for their venues.

Actual hard rules are what they want.

Grand Lodge 4/5

So why should everyone else be forced to follow their rules? The new system gives greater latitude which I and the players in the area I serve as a Venture-Lieutenant prefer.

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

Why can't you use campaign mode the same way you tell them to do so?

How are you being forced to follow their rules?

5/5 5/55/5

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Xathos of Varisia wrote:
We do have a module for PFS play. Its title is The Fall of Plaguestone.

You keep saying that and you have yet to provide a link to back your statement up.

Things changed it's not the same and it impacts a part of out community. If it doesn't impact you- well good for you. It impacts others if you agree or not.

Grand Lodge 4/5

roysier wrote:
Xathos of Varisia wrote:
We do have a module for PFS play. Its title is The Fall of Plaguestone.

You keep saying that and you have yet to provide a link to back your statement up.

Things changed it's not the same and it impacts a part of out community. If it doesn't impact you- well good for you. It impacts others if you agree or not.

Do you really need a link to the sanctioning docs? I can't help it if you refuse to accept basic facts. If you want to run it in PFS mode do it. If you can't do that, is it really that sanctioning doc that is the problem or is it you?

Shadow Lodge 5/5

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Right back to unhelpful.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:

Why can't you use campaign mode the same way you tell them to do so?

How are you being forced to follow their rules?

They can already run it in PFS mode. Here's a question. Why can't they do that? Is it because the players don't want to? If so, this is about them trying to force their players to play in PFS mode when the players don't want to.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

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Not answering the question I see.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Already did. I can't help it if you don't like my opinion.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

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I'm on YOUR SIDE and this is how you react? And you wonder why none of them are happy?

Scarab Sages 4/5

From the sanctioning document, “ Players must decide which character to apply credit to when they receive the Chronicle sheet and the GM signs it.” That is the line that keeps it from being PFS mode in the traditional sense. If the player can assign it to any character at the end of the game, then none of the normal restrictions of PFS play apply, because you can’t mark their character dead if they can just assign it to a different character.

That situation (except with tiers applied) is what led to problems 8 years ago. That situation is what led to issues with pregens and required the pregen rule to be changed so that you had to assign a character to receive credit before the game starts and your character has to contribute to removing conditions off of the pregen. If that situation doesn’t create problems, then why did those rules need to be changed?

All of that is also ignoring that a 16 hour module does not fit into a 5 hour game slot, or even 2 5-6 hour game slots. So claiming that it can be used exactly like previous modules is just not factually true.

There also seems to be some impression that people asking for a PFS/Event mode are also asking that campaign mode be removed, and that is decidedly not the case. Not for me, anyway. I want more play options, not fewer. If having campaign mode allows more people to experience the content, that’s fantastic. Not having Event mode means fewer people will experience the content or have opportunities to play, and that is disappointing.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Xathos, I don't think you're listening to what is being said, and stubbornly claiming you are when people are telling you different is unhelpful.

Try looking at it like this:

Can I offer to run a Campaign Mode module using only PFS legal options? Yes.

Can I have players use proxies of their PFS characters? Yes.

But that's where the similarity ends.

Can I, as a GM, mark the player's PC as dead? No.

Can I, as a GM, ask the player to pay to remove conditions? No.

Can I ask that consumables used in the module be marked off the player's sheet? No.

Can a player sign up for a Campaign Mode module with the security that their GM will run the game using only PFS legal options? No.

Can a player sign up for a Campaign Mode module with the security that their otherwise PFS-legal proxy will be accepted? No.

And, perhaps the biggest differences, can I as the GM give the player's PC full experience, as modules thus far have granted? No.

If four players sit down to a Tier 1-4 module with Level 1 PFS proxies, that's going to be a very unhappy group by the time they're fighting encounters designed for Levels 2+.

Does that help you understand the differences we're talking about?

Shadow Lodge 5/5

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I mean, you can ASK the players to mark of consumables and pay to remove conditions.

They can just flip you the bird and not do it of course.

Scarab Sages 4/5

TOZ wrote:

I mean, you can ASK the players to mark of consumables and pay to remove conditions.

They can just flip you the bird and not do it of course.

Which is part of what the original issue was. Players not having restrictions, or GMs not having restrictions. Players were doing unusual things at tables, because there was no risk to their character. GMs we’re denying players a seat at their public games, because they were using whatever option that the GM didn’t like (which wasn’t legal then, but still happened). It invites conflict and affected the experience for the other players at the table. If PFS were a single-player game and the answer was just impose the restrictions on yourself, there wouldn’t be a problem. The issues were around the restrictions not being in place for other players at the table.

Grand Lodge 4/5

So basically it comes down to you shoving what you want down the player's throat.

I'll stick with the freedom of choice that the new sanction doc gives.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

2 people marked this as a favorite.

You can have both. And you know it.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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It comes down to me wanting to know before I go out of my way (sometimes driving multiple hours) to go to a game day to play PFS, that I will be playing PFS and not whatever the GM has decided their house rules are. And that everyone else will be playing PFS. I can see something listed as campaign mode and decide not to go if I don’t want to. Right now there is no option for something to be listed as PFS mode, because that is not enforceable by anyone. Which means that is less content available to schedule for PFS than expected or than we have had available in the past. And the way it is available is not the same type of gameplay as in the past, nor can it be used to schedule slots in the same way as in the past.

As long as campaign mode is available, no one is forcing anyone to play by PFS rules. As long as PFS/Event mode is not available, we are being forced to play by campaign mode rules or not at all.

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