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

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Organized Play Pathfinder Society
351 to 400 of 407 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | next > last >>
Scarab Sages 4/5

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
the point of the module isn't to play it but to get the chronicle sheet.
Is that wrong?
We've all occasionally played some adventure because you need 1 more XP to be in tier for something else. But when you start thinking "I've played it before and I know the story by heart and it's kinda dull by now, but it's the most efficient way to go straight to level 2 in one slot", you're crossing a line.

As far as I can tell, everyone asking for the flexibility to cut down on content has also said that they are willing to get rid of the replay ability of modules. How is wanting to get to the boss fight instead of fighting a random encounter when there is a limited time in a slot just wanting to get a chronicle sheet?

Campaign mode is more about getting the chronicle for doing something you would already do than PFS mode is. Anyone who is going to play campaign mode could have done that as soon as the module was released, if they didn’t care about the chronicle. You can’t play it in PFS Mode at all until they tell us that we can.

It’s about being able to schedule sessions for PFS events and having the flexibility to do that in different ways, because different areas have different requirements.

Yes, locally we might be able to schedule a whole weekend for a module. But doing so also excludes a large number of our players who can only make one day a weekend. Or one day a month, even. The problem gets worse when people with limited schedules overlap in the same module. Without being able to split the chronicle and give them something when they walk away from the session, we’re excluding the people who have less availability in their schedule from being able to experience the content at all.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
the point of the module isn't to play it but to get the chronicle sheet.
Is that wrong?
We've all occasionally played some adventure because you need 1 more XP to be in tier for something else. But when you start thinking "I've played it before and I know the story by heart and it's kinda dull by now, but it's the most efficient way to go straight to level 2 in one slot", you're crossing a line.

How so?

(this is starting to come across as one of those "badwrongfun" discussions again)

1/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've 'only' played ES1 twice. Both times the experience was new and different.

I've played and run the Confirmation about ten times in total. Each time was a new experience.

Even with veterans who've played before, the experience has been different each time.

I do not believe it is the 'evergreen'/'replayable' tag that is the problem here...

Scarab Sages 4/5

To put it another way, under the PFS 1 rules you can show up to a game, play half of the content, walk away from the game (even if the rest of the table is still playing), and get a chronicle sheet with full rewards. So for Plaguestone, if PFS2 follows the same rule, someone could show up for 1 day, and as long as they get halfway through the module, they get full credit. If they miss the next session, they can’t ever go back and play it again as part of PFS (they could obviously do so in a home game/campaign mode game where they aren’t getting credit). They will have gotten full rewards for half of the content. If Plaguestone requires completing the whole thing, then they would get no chronicle, but potentially still get reported as having played in the session, and therefore be unable to play it again. Or, GMs will have to know not to report people who didn’t play the whole thing.

If there are 3 chronicles, and they have to leave after part 1, then they get a chronicle for part 1 with 1/3 the rewards of the module. They can play parts 2&3 at any point in the future and get subsequent chronicles with 1/3 the rewards each. They might play with a different group entirely, in a different city, with a different character. Whatever the situation, they are contributing to more PFS play happening. Where in the first situation, if it’s play 1/3 of the module and the entire module is locked out for you, in the future, they are unable to contribute to future PFS tables of the module.

Under campaign mode, a GM can already make decisions about what content to cut. So if a GM decides they want to trim out half of the module in order for everyone to get credit faster, they can already do that.

Having guidelines for PFS mode to trim down content within reason is not abusing the system. It’s finding a way for the content to work for a game day slot when it otherwise wouldn’t, while trying to preserve as much of the story as possible. Paizo has indicated they don’t have time to make those decisions for every module. So we’re asking them to trust their GMs to make them, like they already are with campaign mode.

Scarab Sages 4/5

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

I've 'only' played ES1 twice. Both times the experience was new and different.

I've played and run the Confirmation about ten times in total. Each time was a new experience.

Even with veterans who've played before, the experience has been different each time.

I do not believe it is the 'evergreen'/'replayable' tag that is the problem here...

It might not be. As I said earlier, I haven’t seen speed runs in a long time. Even if replay were the issue, going from you can replay it as many times as you want to you can’t play it in PFS mode at all isn’t the solution. If the choice is remove replay for modules (which only exists for a few anyway) or remove PFS play for modules, I’d rather lose the replays.

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I have never used Campaign Mode to cut out 'half the content'. I have used Campaign Mode to cut out encounters that do not enhance the story, and to occasionally add encounters that will enhance the storyline.

The other thing I do with Campaign Mode is bring out details that hook into the backstories and motivations of my player's characters. So I might customize an element to build in or reinforce an existing storyline.

Getting rid of a 'meh' encounter to allow more room for a boss fight? Absolutely. But when I play campaign mode, it's not to speed run an AP. It's to deepen the story and make all the time we're playing more meaningful.

Scarab Sages 4/5

The suggestion, I think, is that people are using PFS mode on replayable modules in order to speed run (ES1, Gallows, etc) I was just pointing out that that is already possible with campaign mode (other than replays) or what we’ve been given for Plaguestone, so I don’t understand why it’s a reason to avoid offering PFS mode for it.

If someone wants to cut down to the minimum in order to just get credit, they can do that however they are running the content.

2/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

One question on the keepsakes -- these are custom items from the module, and the item stat blocks are not reprinted on the chronicle. Is every player expected to have a copy of the module? Or does this need an exception written in for that?

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm worried where this conversation is going.

Some people enjoy speedruns. Some people are motivated by Chronicles. I'm one who enjoys both.

I *also* enjoy sitting down to a full session with an engaging story.

But it's not healthy to say that one is "crossing a line".

Shadow Lodge 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

And it's not like rules are going to stop people from cheating. They just give us leverage to justify when we have to tell people to stop breaking them. I could write up chronicles and report tables that were never actually played if I wanted.

Grand Lodge 4/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The benefits of the campaign mode outweigh the alleged benefits of the more restrictive mode. As Nefreet has pointed out, this is starting to become a conversation where one group of people demand their mode of play be the primary way over that of another group of people.

With campaign mode we get faster sanctioning. In the more restrictive mode we do not.

We can't favor one style of play over another, but we can make it to where everybody can choose what style of play that want and that's through campaign mode.

Those that want to run the modules at cons and events can tailor them as they see fit.

There is no way to stop speed runs. They can be done live as well as online. An unscrupulous GM and a batch of players can report whatever they want to gain XP so as to avoid low levels. There is no way to stop that from happening.

I am hoping that the mythical and still missing in action AcP (D-Day + 90) will one day be implemented, but at this rate I don't expect to see them until PF3 gets released. Supposedly, they could be used to bypass low levels, but then again I don't know for certain as they have never been revealed to us. As far as I'm concerned they're nothing but a rumor like the NDA.

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

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Xathos of Varisia wrote:
We can't favor one style of play over another, but we can make it to where everybody can choose what style of play that want and that's through campaign mode.

I don't think anyone is favoring one mode over another. I *like* campaign mode for a homegroup, and have personally done it multiple times. It just doesn't work in public spaces, especially with strangers. We are asking for both modes, in as simple of a way as possible to not slow down sanctioning.

I feel we've enumerated the reasons that Campaign Mode doesn't work in public spaces well, especially in larger events, but if you feel that it would help to have us explain our reasoning concisely again, please let me know here, or even private message me.

We want this to work for everyone, in every setting, and with just a little more work, I believe it could.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Xathos of Varisia wrote:
The benefits of the campaign mode outweigh the alleged benefits of the more restrictive mode. As Nefreet has pointed out, this is starting to become a conversation where one group of people demand their mode of play be the primary way over that of another group of people.

Ah yes, that's why you demand there only be rules for one.

Grand Lodge 4/5

TOZ wrote:
Xathos of Varisia wrote:
The benefits of the campaign mode outweigh the alleged benefits of the more restrictive mode. As Nefreet has pointed out, this is starting to become a conversation where one group of people demand their mode of play be the primary way over that of another group of people.
Ah yes, that's why you demand there only be rules for one.

As usual, you miss the point and keep making false claims. You ignore the reality that what you want already exists. You just want to deny players the ability to make choices so that they are forced to follow your demands.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Nope, every run of modules I have done has been in campaign mode, save for the ones that didn't have it.

When I run Plaguestone, it will be in campaign mode as well, even if they do add another option to the rules.

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Xathos of Varisia wrote:


As far as I'm concerned they're nothing but a rumor like the NDA.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Why don't you think it doesn't exist?

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

Xathos of Varisia wrote:
You ignore the reality that what you want already exists. You just want to deny players the ability to make choices so that they are forced to follow your demands.

Xathos, please take a minute and consider this from the point of view of an Event Organizer. Can you imagine running a convention with 6 tables running modules in Campaign Mode? Now imagine that each of those GMs has a separate set of rules they want to run their module in, and further, that they don't personally know the players?

You, as the organizer, are trying to balance the desires of those 6 GMs and 24-36 players. It may be easy to just say that the players and the GMs can work it out when they sit down to play, but in practice, in the first 10 minutes of mustering for an event like this, it would be complete pandemonium. The amount of shuffling around, when we are all playing in PFS Mode is already intense, but adding Campaign Mode to a convention makes management even harder.

It's been suggested that the solution is just the players and GMs coming to an agreement about consequences at the table (I'll voluntarily mark my character dead, or remove consumables! See we have PFS Mode!). Already our Event Organizers and Venture Officers try to help quell disputes that arise between players and GMs. We have a rule set (PFS Mode) to fall back on to determine if the scenario was run correctly and tactics were followed. There is also the ability to escalate issues to Venture Captains, RVC's and finally the Organized Play Coordinator, if the situation is that serious. That's why PFS Mode works, it is a standard set of rules that is written down.

Settling these kind of debates in the current Campaign Mode with an gentle-person's agreement at the table to play in PFS Mode isn't really PFS Mode. It leaves that whole system of Organized Play as irrelevant. There is no real way to apply the rules of PFS Mode to the table if there is a disagreement of any sort. The event organizer can't step in and help quell a debate, they were not there when the agreement was made.

In summary, the wide use of Campaign Mode at conventions and public spaces doesn't work well, as it's not PFS Mode, no matter what agreement the GM and players make table-side. We need a PFS Mode if we expect modules to be run at public spaces frequently.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Michael Tracey wrote:
Xathos of Varisia wrote:
You ignore the reality that what you want already exists. You just want to deny players the ability to make choices so that they are forced to follow your demands.

Xathos, please take a minute and consider this from the point of view of an Event Organizer. Can you imagine running a convention with 6 tables running modules in Campaign Mode? Now imagine that each of those GMs has a separate set of rules they want to run their module in, and further, that they don't personally know the players?

You, as the organizer, are trying to balance the desires of those 6 GMs and 24-36 players. It may be easy to just say that the players and the GMs can work it out when they sit down to play, but in practice, in the first 10 minutes of mustering for an event like this, it would be complete pandemonium. The amount of shuffling around, when we are all playing in PFS Mode is already intense, but adding Campaign Mode to a convention makes management even harder.

It's been suggested that the solution is just the players and GMs coming to an agreement about consequences at the table (I'll voluntarily mark my character dead, or remove consumables! See we have PFS Mode!). Already our Event Organizers and Venture Officers try to help quell disputes that arise between players and GMs. We have a rule set (PFS Mode) to fall back on to determine if the scenario was run correctly and tactics were followed. There is also the ability to escalate issues to Venture Captains, RVC's and finally the Organized Play Coordinator, if the situation is that serious. That's why PFS Mode works, it is a standard set of rules that is written down.

Settling these kind of debates in the current Campaign Mode with an gentle-person's agreement at the table to play in PFS Mode isn't really PFS Mode. It leaves that whole system of Organized Play as irrelevant. There is no real way to apply the rules of PFS Mode to the table if there is a disagreement of any sort. The event organizer can't step in...

I organize two events every month. It's called planning. We have an abundance of communication tools at our fingertips that I would have killed for back in 1979. Why are they not being used? There is no excuse in the 21st century for a lack of communications in organizing events.

If you want a PFS mode, good. Enjoy it. I don't want sanctioning held up because some folks want the more restrictive mode. So develop your mode and wait for sanctioning while the rest of us play in campaign mode.

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

8 people marked this as a favorite.

Do you have any idea how much planning and communication effort could be spared by simply having a PFS Mode option to post alongside Campaign Mode?

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Nefreet wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
the point of the module isn't to play it but to get the chronicle sheet.
Is that wrong?
We've all occasionally played some adventure because you need 1 more XP to be in tier for something else. But when you start thinking "I've played it before and I know the story by heart and it's kinda dull by now, but it's the most efficient way to go straight to level 2 in one slot", you're crossing a line.

How so?

(this is starting to come across as one of those "badwrongfun" discussions again)

May I direct your attention to the various hidden bunkers stockpiled with level 2 Aasimars, forever languishing.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

20 people marked this as a favorite.

Just popping in to say that when we said

The Blog wrote:
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!

We were specifically soliciting feedback and I believe that a common set of event-mode guidelines is a fair ask in line with the solution we proposed. Linda's looking at some possible text for an event mode option that would work as a framework for any module sanctioned in this manner but would ensure that convention organizers would have something they could point to and say "We're running this event to Event Mode standards", or something of the like. I suspect that if this avenue ends up looking like a viable solution, we'll be reaching out to our volunteer leadership and coordinators for feedback to hammer out fine details of phrasing and structure so that everyone has the tools they need to properly support their communities, but that's looking farther down the road than where we're at right now.

Beyond that, I'll just say that I've read every post in this thread and we've taken every piece of feedback under consideration and will continue to do so as we move forward with shaping the best campaign experience possible for the largest number of people. Thank you to everyone who shared your insights on how these changes affect your communities and suggestions on what we can do to improve the campaign.

5/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka Pirate Rob

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Michael Sayre wrote:
Lots of Stuff

Thanks for taking a moment to acknowledge our feedback. I know not all of the discussion was pleasant but I'm looking forward to seeing solutions to the issues brought up here in the future.

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Xathos of Varisia wrote:
I organize two events every month. It's called planning. We have an abundance of communication tools at our fingertips that I would have killed for back in 1979. Why are they not being used? There is no excuse in the 21st century for a lack of communications in organizing events.

I'm glad that Campaign Mode would still work for your two events, and you have many tools and platforms that you, your players and your GMs all use. Most organizers have to fall back on the lowest common denominator: email. A single player, who you may not know personally or have other contact information for, not responding promptly to an email may tank a table.

Having a PFS Mode alongside Campaign mode makes these kind of issues non-existent. It also allows you to sign up for any module table at any public venue anywhere that OP is offered and know you'll have a (relatively) consistent experience.

Is your fear that doing a PFS Mode, even with all the suggestions on this thread for making it easier on Paizo staff, will slow down sanctioning for your gaming group? If PFS Mode chronicle sheets and rules could be streamlined as to not delay release, would you have any further complaints?

I believe people here have asked you to step into their shoes as players, GMs and Organizers and see how this would affect their gaming communities. I've tried to do the same for you and your desire for fast sanctioning. Is there any room for a compromise Xathos?

EDIT Ninja's by Michael Sayre! Thanks for popping in and letting us know Paizo is reading this.

Scarab Sages 4/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Robert Hetherington wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:
Lots of Stuff
Thanks for taking a moment to acknowledge our feedback. I know not all of the discussion was pleasant but I'm looking forward to seeing solutions to the issues brought up here in the future.

Yes, thank you, Michael! That post is much appreciated.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Michael Tracey wrote:
Xathos of Varisia wrote:
I organize two events every month. It's called planning. We have an abundance of communication tools at our fingertips that I would have killed for back in 1979. Why are they not being used? There is no excuse in the 21st century for a lack of communications in organizing events.

I'm glad that Campaign Mode would still work for your two events, and you have many tools and platforms that you, your players and your GMs all use. Most organizers have to fall back on the lowest common denominator: email. A single player, who you may not know personally or have other contact information for, not responding promptly to an email may tank a table.

Having a PFS Mode alongside Campaign mode makes these kind of issues non-existent. It also allows you to sign up for any module table at any public venue anywhere that OP is offered and know you'll have a (relatively) consistent experience.

Is your fear that doing a PFS Mode, even with all the suggestions on this thread for making it easier on Paizo staff, will slow down sanctioning for your gaming group? If PFS Mode chronicle sheets and rules could be streamlined as to not delay release, would you have any further complaints?

I believe people here have asked you to step into their shoes as players, GMs and Organizers and see how this would affect their gaming communities. I've tried to do the same for you and your desire for fast sanctioning. Is there any room for a compromise Xathos?

EDIT Ninja's by Michael Sayre! Thanks for popping in and letting us know Paizo is reading this.

There is always room for compromise, Michael. As a history professor I point out the value and importance of compromise practically every day. I think Michael Sayre's post has answered all of this for us.

Grand Lodge 4/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Michael Sayre wrote:

Just popping in to say that when we said

The Blog wrote:
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!

We were specifically soliciting feedback and I believe that a common set of event-mode guidelines is a fair ask in line with the solution we proposed. Linda's looking at some possible text for an event mode option that would work as a framework for any module sanctioned in this manner but would ensure that convention organizers would have something they could point to and say "We're running this event to Event Mode standards", or something of the like. I suspect that if this avenue ends up looking like a viable solution, we'll be reaching out to our volunteer leadership and coordinators for feedback to hammer out fine details of phrasing and structure so that everyone has the tools they need to properly support their communities, but that's looking farther down the road than where we're at right now.

Beyond that, I'll just say that I've read every post in this thread and we've taken every piece of feedback under consideration and will continue to do so as we move forward with shaping the best campaign experience possible for the largest number of people. Thank you to everyone who shared your insights on how these changes affect your communities and suggestions on what we can do to improve the campaign.

Thank you, Michael!

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo) 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

I have never used Campaign Mode to cut out 'half the content'. I have used Campaign Mode to cut out encounters that do not enhance the story, and to occasionally add encounters that will enhance the storyline.

The other thing I do with Campaign Mode is bring out details that hook into the backstories and motivations of my player's characters. So I might customize an element to build in or reinforce an existing storyline.

Getting rid of a 'meh' encounter to allow more room for a boss fight? Absolutely. But when I play campaign mode, it's not to speed run an AP. It's to deepen the story and make all the time we're playing more meaningful.

There is a perfect example of this in Book 2 of Signal of Screams.

There is a part where you get jumped by street toughs on your way from point a to point b only to get....jumped by identical street toughs when you arrive at point b.

So yeah...I cut one of the redundant jumpings!

Liberty's Edge 1/5

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Douglas Edwards wrote:

There is a part where you get jumped by street toughs on your way from point a to point b only to get....jumped by identical street toughs when you arrive at point b.

So yeah...I cut one of the redundant jumpings!

The jumpings will continue until morale improves!

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Thanks, Michael ^^ personally I like the reduces leveling rewards from the original proposal and I am looking forward to the suggestions for event mode ^^

Scarab Sages 4/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Aside from things that have already been suggested, here are some quick thoughts on how to divide content, when there are no guarantees how it is going to be divided in the module.

One of the challenges is that you want whatever you play to feel like a complete piece of the story. That is part of why we want to be able to cut pieces. Not to avoid playing them, but so that we get to the end of the story or the end of that part of the story.

The way most 64 page modules are structured, that typically happens at the end of a part/act/chapter, or whatever the sections are called. So that makes for an easy way to divide things conceptually.

But then you run into a situation like House on Hook Street, where chapter 1 is much longer than chapters 2&3. It took us twice as long as those two parts combined. Rightly so, there aren’t separate chronicles for chapters 2&3. Just a single one. And a separate chronicle for chapter 1. While you could divide chapter 1, and at least from our play through there seemed to be a logical place to do so, it wasn’t the end of the world having it as a single chronicle. We still managed To get through chapter 1 in two sessions, so conceivably it could have been scheduled for a single day, especially if there’s freedom to trim a little.

House on Hook Street:
Were I to divide chapter 1, I’d do everything up until finding the house as 1 chronicle, and everything in the house as a separate chronicle. But I think the issue there was that there was mostly roleplay and fewer fights in the first half of the chapter.

Here is how I propose to divide things:

Base it off of how the module divides itself, but also the page count. If the chapters are roughly the same size (around 20 pages give or take maybe 4, so 16-24 pages), then create 1 chronicle per chapter, each granting 4XP.

If one chapter is longer, like in HoHS, and is closer to 32 or 40 pages, then create 2 chronicles for the module, but make the rewards on the chronicles scaled according to what portion of the module it covers. Both chapters around 32 pages? The new XP system allows for a 6XP chronicle. One section closer to 40, and the others closer to 20 combined? Do one 8XP and 1 4XP chronicle. If a chapter is less than 16 pages, combine it with another chapter as long as that combination doesn’t exceed 40 pages.

By keep them based on chapters, if the module writers are doing their jobs as storytellers, you should still be ending at a point that feels like a natural stopping point, even if you haven’t gotten to the end of the story.

How long a section will actually take to run is always going to vary based on who the GM is, but we can recommend a longer session and use the same kind of breakdown for that recommendation. 1 hour per XP may still feel a little rushed. 1.5 hours per xp feels more reasonable. So for a 4XP part, which is essentially 1/3 of a book, plan for 6 hours. 8XP section, plan for 12. 6 XP, plan for 9. Etc.

The goal in that situation would be to run all of the content. But the GM should have some latitude to cut encounters if things are running late or if they are repetitive to try to keep from exceeding that time.

In the event that you are running in a situation where you can’t spend more than 5 hours for a 4XP section (a normal convention slot), then the GM can make cuts in order to fit into that time, but they should try to preserve as much of the story as possible. They should not cut the boss fight. They should cut duplicate encounters first, and when encounters are similar, keep the one with the higher CR. They can use their judgement shortening roleplaying of non-story critical things. But largely leave it up to the GM. This is more or less how scenarios work now for roleplaying encounters, where a GM that doesn’t roleplay much is already running those sections faster anyway.

Recommend that modules not be run in a 4 hour slot, but there will inevitably be a module part that could fit into 4 hours. So if a whole module part can be run in 4 hours without cutting an encounter, that’s fine. If you have to trim a little, use the same guidelines as with a 5 hour slot. Even then, you are still satisfying the 1 hour per XP general rule of PFS2.

In as much as you can stop someone from doing it, keep module parts from being scheduled in a slot less than 1 hour per XP. Instruct VOs that they should not schedule a 3 hour slot for a 4 XP module part. There will still be people who run things that way, and there’s no practical way to stop it from happening, but we should at least not see public game days or conventions scheduling a module part into 3 hours (unless a 3XP chronicle is ever issued, like for a module with 4 equal chapters).

How to break things down/estimate time could be put into a chart so that it’s consistent and codified. And what those numbers should be would obviously be up for discussion.

What would be incredibly useful to have beyond that are examples from Paizo about what is appropriate to cut and what isn’t. Douglas’s example of two identical ambushes is a great example of something that could be cut down to one encounter.

Then largely leave it up to the GMs, who are used to running scenarios and should be empowered to make decisions that are right for their table.

Make it clear, however, that a GM cannot ADD anything to the scenario in the way of fights (excepting things like players going off the rails and the city guards having to step in or something, which has been called out before as possible).

Anyway, it needs a lot of refinement, but I think something like that can eventually become an almost automatic sanctioning formula when combined with the blank chronicle sheet idea from earlier (forgot who came up with that).

This would mean that a large module part, like HoHS 1, would never be scheduled in a 4 or 5 hour slot. Which is fine. Not every module needs to fit into a normal slot. But you could get it to fit into 10 hours or 2 convention slots, so it’s still better than trying to run all 64 pages at once.

Scarab Sages 4/5

I’ll note that APs may not divide up quite so easily, given that they are more likely to be a non-standard format for the narrative or gameplay.

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Ferious Thune wrote:

The suggestion, I think, is that people are using PFS mode on replayable modules in order to speed run (ES1, Gallows, etc) I was just pointing out that that is already possible with campaign mode (other than replays) or what we’ve been given for Plaguestone, so I don’t understand why it’s a reason to avoid offering PFS mode for it.

If someone wants to cut down to the minimum in order to just get credit, they can do that however they are running the content.

Nefreet wrote:

I'm worried where this conversation is going.

Some people enjoy speedruns. Some people are motivated by Chronicles. I'm one who enjoys both.

I *also* enjoy sitting down to a full session with an engaging story.

But it's not healthy to say that one is "crossing a line".

Urf. I'm away from the forums for half a day and a whole conversation develops around what I didn't mean.

To try to put it in broad strokes: I think adventures should be enjoyed for themselves, not as a quick stepping stone to something else.

A speedrun to see how quickly a party can do a particular scenario when everyone knows what's up? That could be fun. And it's enjoying the scenario for itself. Great.

A game of drunkfinder/Harskfinder Tome of Righteous Repose, where everyone has enough to drink and is playing Harsk pregens to see how long they survive? Also totally fine. I'm up for that.

But a run of straight to the top MotFF followed by a straight to the bull's throat Conf followed by a straight to the boss room ES1 to try to get to level 1.2 as fast as possible to stockpile some characters before some option gets grandfathered, that's different.

Yeah, that's an extreme example. Done in moderation, it isn't even bad, if you're savoring the adventures and trying to put an interesting spin on them each time.

---

What I want to advocate:
- Careful with declaring stuff evergreen. (Although a module that really has the "benchmark" or "graduation" feel to it can work okay even if it doesn't have variable components.)
- Strong guidance that modules should not be grossly shortened, especially not below the 1H per 1XP mark. If modules are not a hyperefficient way to level up, that removes the incentive for (what I consider) bad usage.
- Practical guidance for GMs on how to cut some content to make it a bit easier to fit into slots.
- Levelup milestones both as useful tool for campaign mode GMs and to guide where intermediate chronicles and leveling happens in PFS mode.
- "Intermission" leveling in PFS mode so that you don't face the BBEG of a long module at starting level.
- Sanctioning with an open mind about XP. There is really no reason why some chronicles couldn't be strange XP numbers; if one chapter is just big and 6, 7 or 11 XP seems appropriate, that's totally workable with our current XP system.
- Scheduling can be guided by XP: plan slots for a chapter worth about the amount of XP in hours, mostly rounding up. Don't try to put an 8XP chapter in a 5 hour slot. At that point you'd have to cut too much to make it fit.

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

Xathos of Varisia wrote:
I organize two events every month. It's called planning. We have an abundance of communication tools at our fingertips that I would have killed for back in 1979. Why are they not being used? There is no excuse in the 21st century for a lack of communications in organizing events.

Consider that the amount of work to coordinate this goes up about steepy with the amount of people involved.

If you have one table in campaign mode, as a Con organizer you need to facilitate conversations between about 6 people. If you have three tables and people might want to play with one GM's rules over another, that's facilitating negotiations between twenty people. This quickly becomes a really large amount of work.

Solutions that work for small conventions don't always scale up well.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Xathos of Varisia wrote:
I organize two events every month. It's called planning. We have an abundance of communication tools at our fingertips that I would have killed for back in 1979. Why are they not being used? There is no excuse in the 21st century for a lack of communications in organizing events.

Consider that the amount of work to coordinate this goes up about steepy with the amount of people involved.

If you have one table in campaign mode, as a Con organizer you need to facilitate conversations between about 6 people. If you have three tables and people might want to play with one GM's rules over another, that's facilitating negotiations between twenty people. This quickly becomes a really large amount of work.

Solutions that work for small conventions don't always scale up well.

You give people the options and the rules set that will be employed at each table. The nice thing about campaign mode is that the GM can set the rules before the session begins and post them. The players can choose to sign up or not to sign up.

This is not hard. It is about people making choices.

Now if people choose not to say anything until the last minute, that's on them. Those that choose not to communicate are like people who don't vote. They have to accept the consequences of their choice.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

You're talking about a private home game. I get that. That's different.

We're talking about public games at Conventions and game stores.

What you're proposing does not happen, and cannot happen.

If you have some miracle system in place, please share it, otherwise I'm calling b*@+*#$+.

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Xathos of Varisia wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Xathos of Varisia wrote:
I organize two events every month. It's called planning. We have an abundance of communication tools at our fingertips that I would have killed for back in 1979. Why are they not being used? There is no excuse in the 21st century for a lack of communications in organizing events.

Consider that the amount of work to coordinate this goes up about steepy with the amount of people involved.

If you have one table in campaign mode, as a Con organizer you need to facilitate conversations between about 6 people. If you have three tables and people might want to play with one GM's rules over another, that's facilitating negotiations between twenty people. This quickly becomes a really large amount of work.

Solutions that work for small conventions don't always scale up well.

You give people the options and the rules set that will be employed at each table. The nice thing about campaign mode is that the GM can set the rules before the session begins and post them. The players can choose to sign up or not to sign up.

This is not hard. It is about people making choices.

Now if people choose not to say anything until the last minute, that's on them. Those that choose not to communicate are like people who don't vote. They have to accept the consequences of their choice.

Like I said, just because it works well at an event with a few dozen people, doesn't mean it scales up well to an event with a few hundred people who don't already know each other. At that point the amount of prior communication required grows too rapidly.

You'd want some kind of shortcut to common ground on rules. Something you can refer to, that people are familiar with.

Like just having an official PFS mode.

Dark Archive 5/5

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Xathos of Varisia wrote:

You give people the options and the rules set that will be employed at each table. The nice thing about campaign mode is that the GM can set the rules before the session begins and post them. The players can choose to sign up or not to sign up.

This is not hard. It is about people making choices.

You say that, but how do you do that for 12 tables a slot, 3 slots a day, over 3 days? When not everyone has the same methods of contact, you have no idea until the last minute who is going to show up, not to mention the possibility of walk-ins?

Should we have individual listings on Warhorn with the rule sets each GM is going to use? Well, that means the GMs have to thoroughly read the module a couple times to figure out what they are going to cut and how they are going to change the fights well before the convention, which not everyone has an opportunity to do. And what happens when one of the GMs has to cancel at the last minute and someone else gets slotted to run? What if there are enough people to make an extra table and someone volunteers to run that extra table? Now we have people signing up for a table where no one knows the rules that GM will use, and no one had a chance to vote on them, but that's the only table left open to play.

Quote:
Now if people choose not to say anything until the last minute, that's on them. Those that choose not to communicate are like people who don't vote. They have to accept the consequences of their choice.

Except that they don't. If you have a walk-in, who hasn't had a chance to review each and every GM's particular ruleset and gets slotted at a random table because that's the only one with space, and something happens that they don't like, or vehemently disagree with, or whatever, they have the option to go to Campaign Leadership and have the table invalidated and whatever rulings overturned because the table did not follow PFS sanctioned rules.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Keeps coming down to choices, doesn't it? I reject your arguments.

Also, all of this is moot since Michael's post.

I will say that you have had the ability to implement all kinds of things in campaign mode. Note that what Michael said about VOs making decisions.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Let's also not forget that if you just ran the modules in campaign mode, most of your arguments about organizing for PFS mode would have no bearing. This keeps coming back to those who want a more restrictive mode advocating for their choice versus those of us who prefer the campaign mode advocating for our choice.

You know, you could always let the players decide what they want to play. I think many would prefer the campaign mode.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Meanwhile there are multiple players here telling you they prefer a different mode.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Xathos of Varisia wrote:

Let's also not forget that if you just ran the modules in campaign mode, most of your arguments about organizing for PFS mode would have no bearing. This keeps coming back to those who want a more restrictive mode advocating for their choice versus those of us who prefer the campaign mode advocating for our choice.

You know, you could always let the players decide what they want to play. I think many would prefer the campaign mode.

Do you see anyone advocating that campaign mode needs to be abolished? All I see is some people saying "campaign mode doesn't fit our use case, please also enable PFS mode like we used to have".

Grand Lodge 4/5

TOZ wrote:
Meanwhile there are multiple players here telling you they prefer a different mode.

Good. Go play it. The forums are not representative of the body of players at all. Forums never are.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm still waiting for that miracle solution.

No theorycrafting. You say you've done this before. How?

What software? What modes of communication? How many tables?

5/5 ⦵⦵

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Xathos of Varisia wrote:

Let's also not forget that if you just ran the modules in campaign mode, most of your arguments about organizing for PFS mode would have no bearing. This keeps coming back to those who want a more restrictive mode advocating for their choice versus those of us who prefer the campaign mode advocating for our choice.

You know, you could always let the players decide what they want to play. I think many would prefer the campaign mode.

I am going to disagree.

First I need to define players. I'm not talking about people who play home games. I'm talking about people who play organized play at events (convention and stores). And I am only talking about my experience in my area. (and so should you).

The first item is most people want to play the whole thing. In PFS AP's the sanctioning did not provide for this. I 44 of 46 PF1 modules and Stafinder AP's the entire book was sanctioned.

If the whole thing can be played in my area I can think of 2 players who prefer the freedom of campaign mode and a few dozen who will only play them in a organized play mode.

It's already been stated multiple times. Players who do not want campaign mode want to play their characters not a copy of their characters. And some people includeing me want to play the organzied play rules because GM fiat can sometimes be heavy b#&$$#+~ that most players don't agree with. PFS mode insures GM's stay in the guidelines.

Let me give you an example. This one situation caused 2 players from my home game to quit playing organzied play forever. A GM at a convention all weekend was bragging to other GM's he was going to kill all the players at his table when he ran a particular scenario. When we started playing and he couldn't do that in the first 2 encounters he bumped up the tier of the scenario wihtout telling anyone and right in front of everyone rolled a dice picked it up real quick and stated he rolled much higher then he actually did. In campaign mode this behavior is just fine the GM can be an a$&@!%@ and kill the players because the GM sets the rules. Even rolling a 12 and saying he rolled a 20 is in his perogitive. In organized play this table was nixed. No one died and all the players were allowed to replay the scenario. Did this ruling by VO's help. It did a little but it also stopped this BS from this GM happening anymore. He could not do that in organzied play. Because of things like this happening every once in awhile I will not sit at a table with a GM i didn't know with an ongoig organized play chararter and let the GM change whatever rule they wanted to kill characters.

Scarab Sages 4/5

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Michael dropped into this thread to further clarify what they are looking for, including help in defining what an Event Mode might look like without impacting the speed at which content is sanctioned. We will have campaign mode going forward. We will have the chance to define a workable event mode. Can this thread please focus on what Michael asked for going forward, and further discussion about whether or not it’s necessary, how to manage a convention, or who is doing things wrong move to its own thread? I would start a new thread for discussing event mode, but I know Michael is following this one and they’ve asked for that feedback here.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Ferious Thune wrote:
Michael dropped into this thread to further clarify what they are looking for, including help in defining what an Event Mode might look like without impacting the speed at which content is sanctioned. We will have campaign mode going forward. We will have the chance to define a workable event mode. Can this thread please focus on what Michael asked for going forward, and further discussion about whether or not it’s necessary, how to manage a convention, or who is doing things wrong move to its own thread? I would start a new thread for discussing event mode, but I know Michael is following this one and they’ve asked for that feedback here.

I am all in favor of that.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Stop arguing with each other about your different preferences, feedback, and observations. One person's perspective is not invalidated by someone else having a different opinion about how they prefer to run or play games. Be respectful of other folks in the community.

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

roysier wrote:

And some people includeing me want to play the organzied play rules because GM fiat can sometimes be heavy b*@%@!~$ that most players don't agree with. PFS mode insures GM's stay in the guidelines.

Its easier for me to TPK and vindictively kill off players by following Society rules than just to quietly shove them to the side and start whistling. Like I don't think you understand how wonky the rules can be at the start of a new system and how easy it is to kill off players just following the rules RAW are.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ferious Thune wrote:
Can this thread please focus on what Michael asked for going forward, and further discussion about whether or not it’s necessary, how to manage a convention, or who is doing things wrong move to its own thread? I would start a new thread for discussing event mode, but I know Michael is following this one and they’ve asked for that feedback here.

Someone in this thread is claiming they have a miracle answer to this question.

I want to hear it.

If there is such a thing, I would think they'd be proud to share it, and I'd be happy to implement it.

I'm sure Michael and all of Campaign Leadership would be interested, too.

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

Michael Sayre wrote:
Linda's looking at some possible text for an event mode option that would work as a framework for any module sanctioned in this manner but would ensure that convention organizers would have something they could point to and say "We're running this event to Event Mode standards", or something of the like.
Tonya Woldridge in Pulling Back the Curtain on Organized Play wrote:

For modules and adventure paths, we wish to encourage players to try them out or play them as home games. Depending on the scope and content of the adventure, they may not fit well within the organized play environment. As a thank you for trying out other Paizo products, we’ve created chronicles that do fit within the campaign and may be applied to your Pathfinder Society character.

Latest blog post

Michael,

Thanks for clarify things in this thread, can you further clarify how we can expect Event Mode to work, in light of Tonya's statement? Should we continue to expect Linda to work on text for an Event Mode, or is that currently shelved with all the other work Tonya has highlighted?

Thanks for your time, as usual

351 to 400 of 407 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Organized Play / Pathfinder Society / Paizo Blog: Fall of Plaguestone and Sanctioning All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.