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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Michael Tracey wrote:

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

We're still looking at creating a framework for an event mode and Linda has written up a proposal of what that will entail that we need to review as a team before we can take any further steps, but it is still under consideration and something that we're looking to continue working on as we're able, with as much priority as we can give it.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 *

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Michael Sayre wrote:
We're still looking at creating a framework for an event mode and Linda has written up a proposal of what that will entail that we need to review as a team before we can take any further steps, but it is still under consideration and something that we're looking to continue working on as we're able, with as much priority as we can give it.

Thanks so much for the update, I look forward to seeing what you all come up with.

Grand Lodge 4/5 *

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I don't comment much on the Interwebs, but ya'll dropped the ball on this one. A chronicle per chapter would have sufficed perfectly with the time and effort a GM would have to put into a module of this size.

And, if you want things to succeed, then you will give as much priority as is warranted.


I haven't been GMing long, and I am relatively new to Pathfinder. Since I am newer I hope to shed some light on my perspective of the Chronicle Sheet allocation.

I think the system they have started is a good idea. It does allow newer content to be played. As a GM, you can take the Fall of Plaguestone and strip down what you need to fit a certain session window. It just means all the work they use to do on our behalf we would have to do on our own. It feels like a shift of perspective which I enjoy. My players during their sessions have enjoyed the increased flexibility. As a storyteller, every story is shifted and modified to fit the audience whose ears it befalls.

There is still tons of ways to take these sheets and apply them to your pfs character and still enjoy your character. That way you arent playing content over and over again with a plethora of different characters waiting for additional content. Also, let's say you want to branch out and try a new class but dont want to sacrifice all the time and effort you spent into your character, you could try it under this new system.

Again, I am relatively new to Pathfinder and I am looking forward to many years as a GM as well as a player. Paizo, you guys rock!

Dark Archive 4/5 ** Venture-Agent, Finland—Tampere

If there is gonna be "event mode" for cons and such(I can't really imagine running AP modules in cons outside of the low level ones, and even then they kinda cut most of fun story stuff from them, but I don't mind people who want them getting them. Locally I have tried to occasionally recruit PFS tables for APs I've already run in campaign mode, but most people haven't been too keen on them in case they get chance to play campaign mode later on without being spoilered), I just hope its seperate thing from campaign mode chronicles so that sanctioning them doesn't take forever :/ I liked the new idea of just campaign mode chronicle for faster sanctioning.

***

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

Has Age of Ashes been sanctioned yet? Or are we still waiting?

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 *** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

It is sanctioned. There is a link at the top of this blog that directs you to the document.

2/5 5/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Massachusetts—Boston

"Age of Ashes" has NOT be sanctioned yet. Only Fall of Plaguestone.

However now that book 6 is out I think there's an increased chance of seeing sanctioning "soon" TM.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 5/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Indiana—Martinsville

Hello, all.

I just want to chime in here. The difference between the PF2 and PF1 is something that should be looked at a bit more.

See, when PF1 started, Modules was typically one level of play, shorter and most low level ones could be done in one session (or a long session)
Then the format changed with Dragon's Demand. Now, there was more pages, more adventure, and tiered sections for the character to go through.

The PF2 module, thus far with Fall of Plaguestone, is a three tiered adventure with obvious points as to when to level the character.

When Dragon's Demand actually dropped, there was some concern and question on how to sanction it and what Chronicles to give for the character. The eventual solution did take some time to approve the sanction of the module, and it is mostly inline with how the module should be played.

The question for the overall group here is how should PF2 be.
The current solution is fine for those that can find a home game, or have a dedicated slot at a store to use for the multi session game. As a PFS alternative though, the overall want is to play one's own characters instead of making a stand in or using a pregen.

Should each section be sanctioned instead, either sanctioned one at a time, or we wait until all three can be sanctioned?

Should their be a way to play a PFS character through the whole module, with adjustments for the level tier of the characters for the later sections of the module?

Can there be a chronicle for this that gives EXP according to what has been played of the module and other exp can be added for additional play within the same chronicle? (Givin after the first session of play)

I am not sure that Campaign mode for all modules/AP's will end up being used by the PFS organized play within the stores and in the conventions. Likely, it will be a transition to home game gatherings for the purpose of getting done with the module for the PFS cred.

Thoughts?

Dark Archive 4/5 ** Venture-Agent, Finland—Tampere

I do think there is one really big problem with PFS mode idea in 2e:

The way encounters are balanced, it wouldn't really work out super well. Either pcs are underleveled and get critted all the time, or there are six max level pcs making everything kinda easy. That or they sanction only one part in each book restricted to one level :p

Whatever is the case, I hope they don't get rid of the "one chronicle for playing the thing normally" idea because I personally haven't really benefited from PFS mode chronicles for APs. So while I don't oppose there being something you can play in cons(even if I don't think most APs are good for con games in first place and I say that as someone who has run first two rotr parts in online cons), I don't think they should get rid of faster to sanction version in favor of them.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

Everyone I talk to agrees that the direction Leadership has chosen gives groups less incentive to do Modules:

• More work for the GM, less reward
• More time for the players, less reward
• Players can't use their real characters
• Not viable for Conventions

From the short-staffed perspective of Paizo, they're desperate to try anything that will lessen their workload.

I won't be doing Modules due to the above listed bullet points. Chronicle rewards are the major reason why I play PFS over other systems. But maybe there are enough players out there that don't mind, and Paizo is gambling it's enough of a trade off to make it worth their while.

After enough time goes by and new PFS players filter through, maybe people won't look at this new system as "working harder for less". Or it will flop and PFS3 will go back to the old system.

Dark Archive 4/5 ** Venture-Agent, Finland—Tampere

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Hmm, okay, I know this is purely opinion based, but I think that statement provokes me enough that I feel like this is important thing to remember: Some people play PFS games only because they don't have time or can't find group for home campaign. (I play and run both because I'm weirdo who really likes running games despite already running too many at same time :P)

Idea of playing APs only for PFS chronicles is really alien idea to most AP players I've run games for <_< Some of my players don't even take the chronicles.

Like, I'm sure there are players to whom the organized play campaign is preferred way of playing, but I think its important to remember there are multiple perspectives to this. To me AP chronicles have always been nice extra bonus thing rather than must have. In local scene, people lot of time avoid playing AP modules with PFS characters in case they get to play it in campaign mode unspoiled.

The idea of "Working harder for less reward" is just weird to me since from my perspective, most players want to play in APs and long running campaigns rather than PFS, but can't afford the time or scheduling. Playing the AP itself IS the reward (or more accurately the experience you get from the "normal" way of playing the game)

Scarab Sages 4/5

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It’s also important to remember that:

1. Fall of Plaguestone is not an AP. It is a module.
2. From what people have reported here, it is a module that breaks down easily into three sections similar to the more recent PFS1 modules. *
3. We are discussing sanctioning for PFS. Concerns about how the content can be used to support PFS play are perfectly valid and should be a priority.
4. Modules (and eventually APs) were originally sanctioned in order to provide more play opportunities for PFS, because people were either running out of available scenarios, or scenarios did not exist at higher levels.
5. There is still a shortage of scenarios for PFS2. We have three locations running PFS2 now, and they are already overlapping in the content they offer.

If there doesn’t end up being a PFS mode/convention mode, then we are essentially saying that we don’t need the modules and APs as additional PFS content and are fine with the chronicle just being an extra reward for playing Pathfinder outside of PFS. Which might be how leadership views things. Past examples would seem to point to the need for the content to actually be usable at a PFS event in order to be useful to PFS.

* I do not own Fall of Plaguestone, so I don’t know directly how well it would lend itself to being divided up. I’m unlikely to buy it without PFS mode sanctioning, as my main incentive to do so would be to GM it at a PFS event.

Dark Archive 4/5 ** Venture-Agent, Finland—Tampere

Regarding how well it would divide up, weeeeeell, I actually thought for most parts that it would end up being three chronicle module since each of three parts cover one level and seem like wouldn't be too hard to split and all of parts do introduce some elements of the uncommon things exclusive to the book. Granted, while they could split uncommon rewards between three chronicles, it wouldn't really be as satisfying as having all uncommon rewards in single chronicle.

There is that though that if first part allowed 1-2 levels then level 2 would make it cake walk, if part 2 would allow levels 1-3, level 1 would be tpk, level 3 would be too easy and... You get what I mean right? If they were split between levels, it would kinda have to be single level pfs mode which pfs just doesn't do as far as I know.

There is also that if you are going to argue that Fall of Plaguestone should be three chronicles, you could make that argument regarding any single AP book to be honest. Either way, it definitely could be easily be split into three pfs chronicles even if I think it would require them making up more boons like what 1e had for modules.(item wise it wouldn't really give many options per chronicle though if they were split between three)

Just to add again, I have no problem with alternate PFS mode or convention mode, just that I don't like idea of it replacing system that I preferred. I do HEAVILY disagree with idea that "It would be too much work for too little reward!" since playing RPGs for "rewards" is just too alien idea for me, but that is just my opinion. Like, debate wise, its same either way, problem is that PFS players want more content to play, but I do think there is difference between "I want more PFS compatible content!" and "I want more rewards for my time!" as if RPGing was a job and not hobby. But again, not really much to say about that since its just difference of opinions.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 5/5 *** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

NielsenE wrote:

"Age of Ashes" has NOT be sanctioned yet. Only Fall of Plaguestone.

However now that book 6 is out I think there's an increased chance of seeing sanctioning "soon" TM.

I see I didn't fully read the question. Thank you for clarifying.

2/5 5/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Massachusetts—Boston

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I'm close to finishing up a run of FoP, and will be starting another one in Jan. Because players are asking for more content. Most of them have been accepting of the current campaign mode limitations -- they are happy they're getting credit. One group (more experienced PFS players) understands the difference between campaign/society play. The other group that's just getting started is having a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea.

None of them have been overly concerned (at least as expressed to me) about the 1 level of exp for ~3 levels of play.

As a GM, I'm a little interested in knowing how it tracks as table credit. (Is it 2 tables like in PFS1, is it more/less? I don't think I've seen a statement on that yet). I am expecting my first group to finish in 5-6 sessions (session 5 is this week, and I'd be very surprised if we finish, but there's a possible path through that goes quick, I just don't think they'd find/choose it).

I think had it been sanctioned in 3 parts (each of the chapters) with a guideline that each part is two sessions, that would have been a pretty reasonable calibration. (However I do know at least two convention groups that finished it in a total of three slots, but had to skip a fiew things and highly railroaded part 1.)

1/5 ** Venture-Agent, Online—PbP

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Even if a module could be easily divided into parts to play within the 4-5 hour time slot usual for PFS, this does not make it necessarily suitable for PFS play. I may be reading it differently than others but I received the impression from the sanctioning announcement that while it may not be suitable for PFS they wanted to provide a PFS thank you reward for playing this non-PFS Paizo content.

Reputation has it that this is a challenging and potentially more deadly than usual game. If played strictly within PFS rules it may mean a lot more dead characters and result in even more complaining.

I, for one, would rather my OP team remain focused on OP content being published in a timely manner and continue to improve the systems and support rather than feel obliged to rework other content to meet PFS standards.

I will happily play and GM this module when I am able and gratefully accept the chronicle sheet for doing so. I was willing to play and GM it without the chronicle sheet, so for me, it is just a bonus.

Grand Lodge 4/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Missouri—Columbia

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Having run Fall of Plaguestone for our monthly PFS Smackdown, we have now used approximately 16 actual play hours to complete it (anticipated completion hours. We still have about a third of Ch3 to complete in January). The experience has been first rate. The players love it because it is easily the most challenging PFS2 experience they've had. In fact, it is also more challenging than most of the PFS1 experiences I've had.

This needs to be played in campaign mode to run it as written. The characters need to advance a level between chapters if they begin at L1 or L2. I do not think it warrants 3 separate chronicle sheets with 12 XP per chapter though. It could be chopped up into three separate parts awarding a chronicle sheet with 4 XP on each which would address the desires of those who want to run it at cons and such.

Personally, I don't like that idea as it killed the story lines in modules like Dragon's Demand and would disrupt the continuity of Plaguestone.

Let's also keep in mind that this is the first and so far only PFS2 module that has been released as of yet. I am willing to venture that this will be a learning experience for the Org Play team. As for developing actual modules, they are not designed specifically for Org Play. They really target the wider audience beyond Org Play. Org Play tends to chop the modules up into manageable chunks, but in doing so removes too much of what makes the module so interesting, but that's my opinion.

As for my players, we talked about this a bit this weekend because we are making plans to incorporate Dead God's Hand into Smackdown. Until we see the actual module, we can't make definitive plans, but we definitely intend to run that module for sanctioned play.

5/5 5/55/5

My opinion is still- when Paizo sanctions modules for PFS play like they did in PFS1 is the day learning all the new PF2 rules are worthwhile to spend any time on. Until that day passes I'm stick to playing SFS, PF1 AP's in home games, as well as RPG's from other companies. I long ago got burned out on the PFS scenario format. No one in any of my home games wants to jump to PF2.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Xathos, I’m glad that your players had fun. That’s a good thing, and if having a chronicle sheet helped make it fun, that is also good.

What you are describing is a home game run in a public space. Not PFS. If you’ve run it over 3-4 sessions when you would have otherwise been running PFS, it has replaced PFS at your location for those 3-4 weeks. Part of being a public PFS event is that signups are open to anyone. That is not the case when it is the same module week after week with the same set of players pre-signed up. That would, at my local venues, essentially stop any momentum we’ve had with attracting new players.

Having 3 or 4 or however many chronicle sheets that divide it into smaller pieces allows it to be offered in an open signup situation (like a normal game day or convention) where the players don’t have to commit to returning on another day. Maybe the module really isn’t suited for that. If not, then it shouldn’t happen. I don’t see mentions of that in the blog, though. Nothing in the blog calls out this particular module as being different so as not to work under the previous mode for sanctioning modules. It’s all about not having the time to do so.

The short version, it’s great that it works for you. That doesn’t mean that it works for everyone else.

Michael mentioned that they’re looking into a PFS mode and how that might happen without taking too long. I’m guessing that’s somewhere behind sorting out the additional resources, so it’s probably best to wait until after the new year before pressing for an update.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

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Ferious Thune wrote:
What you are describing is a home game run in a public space. Not PFS.

I believe this succinct distinction could have saved us ~200 posts in this thread.

I think I'll link to it going forward to save time and effort.

Grand Lodge 4/5

I direct you to Redelia's PbP run of Emerald Spire as counterpoint. Neither game was a 'home game'.

Scarab Sages 4/5

Private game is the better terminology. Sorry. I'll refer you again to Mike Brock's and Mark Moreland's definitions.

Mike's Post:
"If you are GMing in a private setting, such as your own home or apartment, you have the discretion to invite whom ever you want to participate in that game; we can not tell you anymore who to invite into your home than we can tell you what to watch on tv. With that said, if you plan to report that session or distribute Chronicle sheets as an official PFS session, you are required to follow the rules as outlined in the Organized Play Guide.
In a private game, because of the tacit agreement between the GMs and players to participate at all in the private environment, you may place whatever additional restrictions you want on the game because everyone who is present at the private event is understood to have agreed to those restrictions. To clarify, if a player wishes to impose additional penalties or restrictions on his or her character, that is the players prerogative.
This DOES NOT mean you can run an official PFS game with fewer restrictions than are outlined in the Organized Play Guide or other campaign documentation. For example, you can not run an evil character, you can not use Words of Power or Hero Points, or any other specific rules that are not permitted in the campaign."

Mark's Post:
"If, however, you put up a posting on paizo.com, the Pathfinder Society Online Collective, meetup.com, warhorn, or the LFG board at your FLGS, saying, effectively, "we'll be running an official Pathfinder Society game at [insert location]. Contact [insert email] to join" and then you add other restrictions to who can and can't play, that's where Mike and I draw the line. If you want to apply additional restrictions to your game, whether that means you won't GM for a summoner or that you don't like playing with people who wear glasses, you need to either 1) not run that restrictive game as an official Pathfinder Society game or 2) not open it up to the public."

Mark's post is trimmed. I quoted the full thing a couple of pages ago. If signups aren't open, then it's not a public game.

Emerald Spire can be run in a series of public games, because Emerald Spire has multiple chronicle sheets. We did that locally. 4-6 players agreeing to all run the same module over 4 weeks without an opportunity for anyone else to join is a private game, even in the case where it's using PFS rules/scenarios. (EDIT: and even if it's taking place in an otherwise public place).

Grand Lodge 4/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Missouri—Columbia

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Ferious Thune wrote:

Xathos, I’m glad that your players had fun. That’s a good thing, and if having a chronicle sheet helped make it fun, that is also good.

What you are describing is a home game run in a public space. Not PFS. If you’ve run it over 3-4 sessions when you would have otherwise been running PFS, it has replaced PFS at your location for those 3-4 weeks. Part of being a public PFS event is that signups are open to anyone. That is not the case when it is the same module week after week with the same set of players pre-signed up. That would, at my local venues, essentially stop any momentum we’ve had with attracting new players.

Having 3 or 4 or however many chronicle sheets that divide it into smaller pieces allows it to be offered in an open signup situation (like a normal game day or convention) where the players don’t have to commit to returning on another day. Maybe the module really isn’t suited for that. If not, then it shouldn’t happen. I don’t see mentions of that in the blog, though. Nothing in the blog calls out this particular module as being different so as not to work under the previous mode for sanctioning modules. It’s all about not having the time to do so.

The short version, it’s great that it works for you. That doesn’t mean that it works for everyone else.

Michael mentioned that they’re looking into a PFS mode and how that might happen without taking too long. I’m guessing that’s somewhere behind sorting out the additional resources, so it’s probably best to wait until after the new year before pressing for an update.

Thank you for being glad we had fun. We enjoyed playing the PFS2 sanctioned module at PFS Smackdown. That being said, while this doesn't work for everyone else, it will work for the majority of PFS2 players. Those who wish to use it at Cons can work out whatever arrangements they want with Org Play while those of us who have found a good method to run it as PFS2 sanctioned sessions will do so.

While I realize this is not going to make some folks happy, they are just going to have to accept that they are not running Org Play and therefore are not defining what is a home game or not. Neither am I. In the case of PFS Smackdown we are running multiple tables in two time slots with different scenarios, so no one is left out due to the running of this module. We are adding new players continuously at both lodges I oversee and now it appears a third lodge may be getting off the ground.

PFS2 is a tad bit different than PFS1. It is time we adjust and make some changes to the way we do things. I think that people can do whatever they want with the module due to the way it is sanctioned and I hope that method remains. It allows for more freedom for everyone and that's a very good thing.

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

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However it might feel, it's absolutely not a private game if the initial sign ups were open to everyone at the shop, it is a Pathfinder Adventures game that is played over multiple sessions exactly as described in the all the various guides to organised play.

Just because a game takes multiple sessions to run due to length, due to limited time available at the location to play, etc. before the players receive the chronicle sheet for it has no bearing on whether it is private, home, or anything else. How sign ups were handled (open for anyone) and whether it is being run in PFS mode or campaign mode are what determine if the game is a Society game and what sort of rules are legal.

Whilst I don't know the specifics of it, if Xathos game had open sign ups at the shop, which it sounds like it did, and followed the rules for PFS/campaign mode then it is definitely a Society game whether it takes 1 session or 10 sessions to get through all the content. Some places may have very limited hours and even a regular scenario intended for 4 hours takes 2 sessions to complete, these people aren't playing home games and the guides have always allowed for that as an option to encourage and support those groups.

Edit: Fixed for better language.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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But a public event was not being run on the subsequent days. Again, the point is that the material can't be used as additional content for a normal public gameday/convention while it only grants 1 chronicle sheet for 16 hours of play. That is impractical for the majority of PFS game days. Public signup or no, it's being organized like a private game after the initial listing. I'll quote the part that I left out of Mark's post:

Mark Moreland wrote:
Whether online or in meatspace, a game is private if it's not open to the public. Whether that means its at your home and you only let in your friends, in a game store where you and your friends play cause no one has a big enough dining room table, or on the internet where you use a virtual gaming table that only you have access to, if only a select few know about it or have a chance of getting into that game, then it's private.

Every day after the first, there is no opportunity for anyone else to get into the game. You're not holding a public game day on those weeks if there are no signups and nothing anyone can show up and play if they aren't already part of the group in the module.

Compare that to Ire of the Storm, which has three chronicles. If it is offered over three days, each session can have open, public sign-ups. Players can receive credit when they leave the table and complete the parts they can't make later.

So sure, count it as 1 public gameday. But it's not 4, and it's taking those other 3 days worth of play opportunities away. In its current form, this should not be seen as a substitute for a regular gameday. Run it in addition, but don't replace your PFS days with it.

EDIT: Just a note that the PFS1 guide doesn't technically allow for a scenario to be played over multiple sessions. Though people do it, that rule only applies to modules and APs. Someone running a single scenario over two days is not hosting 2 public game days. They're hosting 1 and splitting the time.

Amending to address this:

Xathos of Varisia wrote:
In the case of PFS Smackdown we are running multiple tables in two time slots with different scenarios, so no one is left out due to the running of this module. We are adding new players continuously at both lodges I oversee and now it appears a third lodge may be getting off the ground.

That's good. Then you're offering a public table alongside the private one.

Grand Lodge 4/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Missouri—Columbia

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If Org Play wanted to break this down into three chronicle sheets with 4 XP each, that would be fine. It definitely should not be three sheets with 12 XP each.

However, when you do break it down you pretty much wipe out the story line of the module and end up running pieces of it for XP purposes.

Here's the thing though. It's still going to be easier to sanction in the current method. An easy way to solve the problem of multiparting for cons would be to for Org Play to simply say that there are three chronicle sheets with 4 XP each and the appropriate amount of gp on them. The items and boons on the CS can only be earned by playing all three parts. Players that only play one or two parts do not get any boons or items until they finish playing all three parts. The Chapter 3 CS can state that plainly and those who don't have all three sheets don't have the boons or feats. Fame and Reputation can be done as 1/1/1 with the fourth point being awarded upon completion of all three parts.

That way sanctioning would still be pretty quick. Campaign mode would still be sanctioned for PFS2 play as well and everybody should be happy.

Keep in mind that Dead God's Hand is coming up next year as a 128-page module. I am hoping it is sanctioned in campaign mode and that we can break it into smaller chunks. I do not know how it is structured as a module so until I see it I really have to just wait.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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I mean, the system that you just laid out is what a half dozen of us suggested at the start of this thread. So if you’ve come around to the idea that multiple chronicles might be necessary for some groups to be able to make use of the content, then that’s progress. Because that’s all most of us have been saying all along. There are details to be worked out about how much xp it should be and how to adjust for increased difficulty, but that can be figured out. (I’m setting aside the need to be able to list it as PFS only, actual PFS characters, etc. for now).

Where you’re seeing increased freedom in how you are allowed to GM the scenarios, I’m seeing reduced freedom in how I’m allowed to play them. Either I can make all four+ sessions, or I miss out on part of the content and part of the credit. Multiple chronicle sheets in some form would solve that side of the issue and not affect your side at all.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

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Ferious Thune, then would you say a scenario that is not completed in one session becomes a private event when the same six players return to finish it? I'm sorry, but your assessment of Xathos' event is not entirely accurate. It is perfectly acceptable for a public event to be based on an entire module or AP. For a location like yours that might have a negative affect on the community if you have limited play options, but something like Dragon's Demand does not require a reset of player registrations for each part for it to be considered an open, public event. With Plaguestone being essentially a one-part event, at least from the chronicle sheet's perspective it seems clear that you would not change players just because you ran it in smaller chunks than all in one continuous session.

Personally I am not a fan of the PFS-mode of play as I think it cheats the gaming experience, but I accept there are places where it is preferred, so I agree that we should have some reasonable method for running it for actual PFS characters in addition to campaign mode essentially with pregens. I prefer to GM in the later mode which gives me the freedom to explore the author's vision and to adjust character levels as needed to meed the demands of the module. The chronicle sheet is just a bonus on top of a fun game.

I admit I am not fully versed on the module rules for PFS(2) yet. Just looking into them now. Am I correct that Plaguestone is intended to be played by level ones without leveling during play? Given the encounters in part III, that seems especially challenging.

Grand Archive 4/5 5/55/5 *

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Semantics aside....

My biggest concern is the extra work burden on the writers and the org play staff in order to make a product, whose design was for the general Pathfinder player (not specifically Society players), 'more compatible' with society play modes. That they are sanctioned and give a chronicle is pretty cool. If it takes too much design effort to format it for Society, I do not consider that worth the effort.

If you want to run it at a local con, go for it. I'd be hard pressed to be interested in that myself but, it doesn't affect me so I really don't care what you do (nor should anyone else it doesn't affect in my opinion).

However, if the demands to make it 'more compatible' with organized play affects the speed at which things are released, I do have a problem with that.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For those that may have missed it, "campaign mode" means you can run it however you want. Use exact replicas that are definitely not your PF2S characters if you want. It is "campaign mode", you can run it however you want. Did I mention that "campaign mode" means you can run it however you want? Maybe someone should...

Quote:
5. There is still a shortage of scenarios for PFS2. We have three locations running PFS2 now, and they are already overlapping in the content they offer.

*Dismclaimer: This is not specifically worded as a complaint, but I will address the common complaint that is rooted off of this..*

BECAUSE IT IS NEW!! WHAT WERE YOU EXPECTING?! Seriously, we've been dealing with this same thing with Starfinder. C'mon people! Deal with it buds, that is just how it will be for a bit. Paizo is coming out with 2 AP books and 4 scenarios per month! On top of that they are working on multiple hardcover books and a module or two. WHAT MORE CAN YOU REASONABLY ASK OF THEM?! The complaint that they are't coming out with things fast enough is truly toxic and I'm more than happy to shame anyone for making that complaint.

Fun Fact: Paizo staff are real people. Lovely people who do great work!

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

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Leomund, the issue seems to be that to some people, playing facsimiles of your character, no matter how identical, is not the same as playing said character. It is beyond my understanding as well, but it exists nonetheless and I therefore accept their premise. It should not be terribly hard to divide the chronicle sheet into three parts, one for each part of the module that roughly grants 1/3 the reward, then either have one "master" chronicle for those playing through the whole thing, and/or have an add-on chronicle for those who took the partial rewards and ended up playing all three parts such that the rewards are the same. That would allow us to cater to those who want to play it in parts and possibly not complete the entire module as well as people who want to play in campaign mode. If you prefer one methodology over the other, the fact the other one exists has zero impact on your experience. The beauty of this process is it tables very little additional development and that effort is nearly entirely the OP team which is writing the chronicle sheets anyway. The design team and the RPG developers don't need to be involved at all.

Scarab Sages 4/5

Bob - A scenario that is not finished in the time slot is supposed to be over. You aren’t supposed to split scenarios over multiple sessions. As noted, it happens anyway. But no, if you aren’t listing it for signups, and it is limited to a particular group of players, then it is not a public event. If you’re running the same module or the same AP for multiple weeks with the same players with no opportunity for anyone else to sign up, you are not running multiple public game days. You’re running a private game.

Mike and Mark are very clear in their posts that something publicly advertised and played in a public space can still be a private event if the registrations are restricted. Advertising for players for a module over multiple weeks, whether it’s granting PFS credit or not, whether the initial session is held at a PFS event or not, is advertising for players for a private game.

There are instances where for all practical purposes it functions like a public game. Multiple days of the same convention, for example. But when you’re talking about something stretching out over weeks or months with no opportunity for a new player to join, you’re not running a public game at that point.

And there’s nothing wrong with playing that way if you have a group that wants to do that. It just isn’t the same thing as holding a regular event that all of the local players have the same opportunity to join on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 5/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Indiana—Martinsville

Thank you, Bob. I am glad that a shared chronicle for different sections might have some interest. I was hoping for a level per section though, to coincide with the expected levels that the module would provide. My thought was to somehow have a PFS mode that the developers could sanction in some way without the detailed partitioning of convention/store play.

I also believe some of the difficulty is how the Module had been in PF1 before, where it was shorter and made for a single level (for the PFS tier of three levels that could play it, the level it was made for or a level above or below that) I believe some higher tiered scenarios should be written in this way myself, making so that only one tier of monster stat blocks would be needed.

Then the format changed. It made a module into an overreaching, self contained adventure that ranged into three levels. PFS adjustments made it so that each was divided into sections for each of those levels.

Now PF2 is using about the same format as the newer modules for PF1, though FoP is pretty nice as far as how it is layed out.

I know there is not any plans for the Modules to return to the smaller format (Except for Game Day modules), but for PFS, these worked out better than the latter ones.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

Ferious Thrune, well I guess we can just agree to disagree until/unless Paizo wants to make things more clear. I can only say that no where I have been involved with either locally or outside my home area has the interpretation been as you explain it. And yes, I have had numerous conversations of how we have done this both with current and former OPMs. So, as it seems to be on occasion in OP, YMMV.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

Hillis, I have not read though most of the module, only skimmed and read the sanctioning document so I admit I cannot fully speak to the appropriateness of maintaining a single level throughout. Just that a quick scan seems to indicate a level gain at some point, particularly by the start of part III seems to be in order. I don't know that any standard PFS team I have played with could survive the challenges in part III, but without actual play experience, I cannot say for sure.

Have I missed language somewhere? Is this a must-play at 1st level or can you play it at level two since that is within one of the target level? Again, I am just becoming familiar with the PFS(2) rules for module play and how it differs from PFS(1).

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

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I suggested this a long time ago, but was there any tangible complaint to just temporarily offering a "generic" XP/Gold/Fame Chronicle until Leadership has enough time to update to a final version? For example:

Day 1 - Adventure drops; Generic Chronicles available
Chronicles signed by GM, filled out by players as usual
Awards just XP, Gold, Fame and Reputation
PFS Characters can play through entire adventure

Day 1+X - Final Chronicles available
Generic Chronicles get replaced
Awards Items and Boons

This way, content gets sanctioned immediately, AND Leadership has time to create cool boons and vet item access. For people who can't play until the adventure has been out for a while, they may never even notice there was ever a Generic Chronicle.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

Nefreet, it might be the problem of getting the updated chronicle to the original GM to make it "official," though I admit it would be easy enough to just attach the new version to the old, maybe even printing it on the back. That would be a simply fix IMO. Given that our gold system is much more consistent in PFS(2) than in 1E, it seems your idea is at least somewhat reasonable.

It might just be that Paizo's "process" requires almost as much development of a generic chronicle as a fully completed one. That in how they send it through art, layout, editing, etc. Dunno, we really don't have visibility into that aspect.

Scarab Sages 4/5

So if one of your Venture Captains had advertised for players for an AP in campaign mode and then ran nothing but that AP every week for a year with only those players, never advertising any other public signups, you would consider them as having fulfilled their commitment to organize two public gamedays a month?

Dark Archive 4/5 ** Venture-Agent, Finland—Tampere

Umm... This is getting off topic, but weren't lot of 1e sanctioned AP chronicles kinda impossible to run in one day?

I mean, some of them are single dungeon yeah which is doable(on lower levels) but some of them are straight up entire adventure.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

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Ferious Thune wrote:
So if one of your Venture Captains had advertised for players for an AP in campaign mode and then ran nothing but that AP every week for a year with only those players, never advertising any other public signups, you would consider them as having fulfilled their commitment to organize two public gamedays a month?

No, because IMO that would violate the "spirit" of the community. However, that does not mean I swing to the (IMO) rules-lawyery interpretation that you offer either. I would work with them to expand the opportunity for people to play in their lodge without specifically impacting their ongoing campaign. Maybe that means adding a table for scenario play at their gamedays. Maybe it means adding additional days of OP at the game store. There are plenty of solutions other than just saying no. Its the difference between being a tyrannical VO and working collaboratively to give the community what works best for them.

2/5 5/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Massachusetts—Boston

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Bob Jonquet wrote:

Hillis, I have not read though most of the module, only skimmed and read the sanctioning document so I admit I cannot fully speak to the appropriateness of maintaining a single level throughout. Just that a quick scan seems to indicate a level gain at some point, particularly by the start of part III seems to be in order. I don't know that any standard PFS team I have played with could survive the challenges in part III, but without actual play experience, I cannot say for sure.

Have I missed language somewhere? Is this a must-play at 1st level or can you play it at level two since that is within one of the target level? Again, I am just becoming familiar with the PFS(2) rules for module play and how it differs from PFS(1).

Its campaign mode only. Use a non-society character( but could be a clone of your society character) Start at level 1, level up to 3(either by true exp, or the chapter based milestones). Award 12 exp to an actual society character.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

CorvusMask wrote:

Umm... This is getting off topic, but weren't lot of 1e sanctioned AP chronicles kinda impossible to run in one day?

I mean, some of them are single dungeon yeah which is doable(on lower levels) but some of them are straight up entire adventure.

Yes. There are quite a few modules and APs that are very challenging to run in a standard slot even if you are only running the partial PFS-mode material. Because there are game stores that do not permit a full 4-5 hour block of gaming and because some material cannot be reasonably completed in a single slot time, it has ALWAYS been acceptable to hold PFS(1) play and finish it later. The only challenge really comes in if a player cannot come to a compromise with the rest of the group and cannot come back to complete the event. Then you have to treat them as if they left the event (which they technically did) and provide a chronicle based only on what they did complete.

Now, how that applies to PFS(2), I admit I am still learning, but my experience suggests that the "spirit" of the rules is to allow it. Of course, I will defer to the OPM/OPF for clarity if it is posted.

Scarab Sages 4/5

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:
So if one of your Venture Captains had advertised for players for an AP in campaign mode and then ran nothing but that AP every week for a year with only those players, never advertising any other public signups, you would consider them as having fulfilled their commitment to organize two public gamedays a month?
No, because IMO that would violate the "spirit" of the community. However, that does not mean I swing to the (IMO) rules-lawyery interpretation that you offer either. I would work with them to expand the opportunity for people to play in their lodge without specifically impacting their ongoing campaign. Maybe that means adding a table for scenario play at their gamedays. Maybe it means adding additional days of OP at the game store. There are plenty of solutions other than just saying no. Its the difference between being a tyrannical VO and working collaboratively to give the community what works best for them.

And that’s more or less what I’ve been suggesting. My point hasn’t been that people shouldn’t run the module. It’s that they shouldn’t replace their PFS days with the module, because as currently sanctioned, running it is not the same thing as running a public gameday. Both the spirit of what a public gameday is and the definition that we’ve been given. If you hold public signups once, and then spend the next four gamedays (which might stretch four months in some locations) running nothing but that module for those players, then you’re not fulfilling the spirit of what it means to hold a public game.

If we’re given multiple chronicles, then we can schedule a traditional public gameday using part of the module. We can’t really do that with what we have now.

Grand Lodge 4/5 ***** Venture-Captain, Missouri—Columbia

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I think when you get down to it, you will find that not everybody has the same version of what a public game day is. There will be differences between lodges due to many factors.

I only stated the multiple chronicle sheets the way I did as a compromise so as to end this argument. The reality is still that we don't have to have three chronicle sheets. We can use one and be fine. It is only those that insist on a diehard PFS mode that won't see reason. To be honest, it shouldn't be done in PFS mode like before.

It is meant to be ran in campaign mode. If the diehards don't like it, then they don't have to run it or play it.

Plaguestone should not ever give out more than 12 total XP for the entire module. The individuals chapters are not equal to 12 XP each.

As for playing this at PFS events, I wish to point out that I am doing this at PFS Smackdown in Columbia, Missouri. I was told it was not possible and I have proven those people wrong. Claims have been made and clearly proven to be nothing more than shortsightedness by some who insist that PFS2 be ran their way and only their way. Those people need to realize that change is occurring and that we are not running PFS2 the PFS1 way. Things have changed and I think for the better.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

Ferious Thune wrote:
more or less

Only if you have more than those six players wanting to play, which of course is more the rule than the exception. This is more a terminology exercise so much as a rules issue. Offering a module that will require multiple sessions to complete, but only allowing signups from the start, is still a public event. The point is the players are not pre-selected. Its just a first come-first serve for six players. I also agree that it would be a d-bag move to do that for a long period of time essentially locking out the rest of your local community from play. I believe that this is one of the reasons very few lodges offer module or AP play, especially in campaign mode as part of their regular OP scheduling.

At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what we call it, the result is what we're after. So if you want to schedule a module over multiple sessions, feel free to do so, but be aware of offering options to those not included in that event so they are still able to participate in OP. Do that, and you will always be a winner. :-)

Explore! Report! Cooperate!

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Xathos - You are running it the same way someone running it as a home game would be doing it. You're just running it in a public space at the same time PFS is happening and found your players through PFS. That last part has always happened. We've had several home games come out of players coming to PFS. And that's where a lot of our PFS1 players have turned now that is slowing down.

In order to do what you're doing you need a group of players willing to commit to being there every session until the module is done. No one ever said you couldn't do that. You seem to think that campaign mode and pre-organized groups for modules are new with PFS2. They aren't.

But that type of game play leaves out the casual players and the hardcore PFS players who can't make every session and who make up a very large portion of the PFS community. That is part of why PFS is popular with players (myself included) who don't have the time in their schedules to commit to that many sessions.

Sure, a player could just skip a session, but then they aren't getting the full module experience, and a player needing to get the full experience seems to be one of the major arguments to only having campaign mode.

What is lost in this is the ability to mix and match parts of modules. You don't want to do that. Fine. You think that's a poor way to experience the module. That's fine, too. But that flexibility was incredibly helpful both in scheduling sessions for a group of players that don't consistently make game days and as a player who has an inconsistent schedule myself. For some reason, PFS seems to have both recognized that there needs to be more flexibility by making quests standalone instead of having multiple tied to a single chronicle, but also has gone the other direction for modules by tying more content to a single chronicle.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

Xathos of Varisia wrote:
If the diehards don't like it, then they don't have to run it or play it

That's a bit tyrannical don't ya think? Just because you don't like PRS-mode doesn't mean it shouldn't be an option. Remember, styles differ and we should be as accommodating as possible to as wide an array of play styles as possible.

Dividing up the chronicle such that you can earn 1/3 the rewards for each part of the mod, would have zero impact on your gameday where you are running it in campaign mode with the chronicle being issued at the end.

[edit] I admit I would never play just part of a module, either starting and not finishing or jumping in later, but its heavy-handed for me to tell other people they can't do it. Makes no nevermind to me as long as they aren't able to "cheat" and get more reward for partial play than I do for complete play.

Scarab Sages 4/5

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Ferious Thune wrote:
more or less

Only if you have more than those six players wanting to play, which of course is more the rule than the exception. This is more a terminology exercise so much as a rules issue. Offering a module that will require multiple sessions to complete, but only allowing signups from the start, is still a public event. The point is the players are not pre-selected. Its just a first come-first serve for six players. I also agree that it would be a d-bag move to do that for a long period of time essentially locking out the rest of your local community from play. I believe that this is one of the reasons very few lodges offer module or AP play, especially in campaign mode as part of their regular OP scheduling.

At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what we call it, the result is what we're after. So if you want to schedule a module over multiple sessions, feel free to do so, but be aware of offering options to those not included in that event so they are still able to participate in OP. Do that, and you will always be a winner. :-)

Explore! Report! Cooperate!

Bob - The complaint in this thread is that we've had the ability to schedule module parts in a single session taken away in PFS2. We only have campaign mode, and only have a single chronicle for 16+ hours of gameplay. At a time when there is already a limited amount of content available. We've gone backwards, not forwards, in terms of making games more accessible to players. We're back to the sanctioning style we had with the 32-page modules, but with much larger adventures. Instead of what PFS1 modules and sanctioning had evolved into, which was pretty close to a single session per chronicle sheet, even if some of those were long sessions.

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