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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Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Michael Tracey wrote:


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

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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 5/5 Venture-Agent, North Carolina—Flat Rock aka akitayne

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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

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.

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