Musings from the Organized Play Manager

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Wow. What a week! In a typical year, this week would’ve been a trip to Reno for GAMA trade show. My days at GAMA mean lots of meetings with industry folk, talking to retailers, and generally spreading the word about Paizo’s organized play programs. But this year is anything but typical. I’m not one to get flustered about epidemics – lived in England during Mad Cow and in South Korea during the last SARS outbreak – but even I’m finding the information overload surrounding Covid-19 overwhelming. This morning, half my emails were from companies talking about the steps they are taking to contain and protect from the virus. I’m glad everyone’s taking steps to minimize the footprint and restrain the outbreak.

Which brings me to what organized play is doing. Staff are practicing hygiene and social distancing techniques. We suspended travel to events through the end of May, which caused us to withdraw from a number of conventions. Paizo leadership is looking at PaizoCon and evaluating options. Many of the conventions we withdrew from have now cancelled or postponed their events and others are following suite. The Washington state government banned gatherings over 250 people. This is the first governmental restriction in the US, but I don’t expect it to be the last. Europeans in many countries have limited travel and some are in lockdown status. I expect directives from other nations as well as we all step in to combat the spread of the virus.

What does this mean for our players and the communities that support the events? Fortunately for us, several years ago we established an online region under the direction of regional venture-coordinator Jesse Davis. We are working closely with Jesse and the online team to look at moving physical games to online space. We ask that any GM willing to run online games let their local coordinators know. We are still processing event support for those events that have not cancelled. We ask organizers to drop us a line to update their event status at organizedplay@paizo.com.

These are trying times and we appreciate our communities stepping up and doing their part to limit the spread of the virus. We thank you for your assistance and will let you know more when we have the information.

Until next time—Explore, Report, Cooperate!

Tonya Woldridge
Organized Play Manager

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Organized Play Pathfinder Society

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While this is sad news, personal health and safety should always be the number one priority. Don't be afraid to extend the hiatus if you think it would be best.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Tonya Woldridge wrote:
Until next time—Explore, Report, Cooperate!

And wash your hands!

Scarab Sages 5/5 5/55/55/5

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We're all safe as long as Urgothoa doesn't branch out into computer viruses...

How to get started with roll20 If you can do this, you can start playing in 15 minutes.

How to make a roll 20 table .. and run a game with it. Play a few games first.

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

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Nefreet wrote:
Tonya Woldridge wrote:
Until next time—Explore, Report, Cooperate!
And wash your hands!

... like you just convinced your husband to murder the true king of Scotland!

3/5

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Flutter wrote:
We're all safe as long as Urgothoa doesn't branch out into computer viruses...

Someone who's better at writing adventures than me (preferably someone at Paizo) needs to write that down, because that's a really good idea for Starfinder.

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

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I know that Jesse and the Online VCs are working on something more detailed and full of information, but just for now whilst that is being finished here's a repost of what I sent to my local lodges FB page for those struggling to find out how to get started online. All credit goes to the inestimably awesome Flutter for writing the guides (two of which are also in their link above!), any errors are entirely my own.

-*-*-

With everything currently going on I thought it might be useful to provide some links to resources for online gaming in case people are interested, if you have any other questions or need help the best resource is probably the Online regions Discord server HERE (You can find me there under the nickname 'Stunt Monkey')

Beyond that, virtual tabletop online games primarily take place using the Roll20 website HERE (free), or the Fantasy Grounds system HERE (GM has to purchase), and voice chat over Discord HERE (also free) or your favourite voip program like Teamspeak or Mumble, etc (Discord is probably the easiest to use as it has both a browser and an app version.)

For those new to Roll20 one of our members wrote a guide to help people get the hang of it, it really can be very quick to pick up! How to Start playing with Roll20

There is also a guide on how to make a Roll20 table for GMs. How to make a Roll20 table

And one on how to fill out chronicles in pdf format for your players (it uses Starfinder as the example but the process is almost identical for PF games). How to fill out a chronicle as a pdf

Hopefully everyone stays healthy and can get back to the local hangouts soon but until then if anyone feels the desire to try out online gaming them I hope this helps, we're always happy to answer questions or offer whatever help we can at the Online region discord!

Rich

VL - Online

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Columbia aka Xathos of Varisia

The Organized Play Manger?

I have Spring Break hitting on the 19th. Depending on whether or not I have to start building online lectures (or even can do it if they shut me out of the main campus) I plan to run a lot of PFS2 sessions online. Roll20 is pretty easy to use and we run some great games there. Online Gaming is fun and highly enjoyable. So come online and get your PFS2 gaming in!

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Manager

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Jimmy Dick wrote:

The Organized Play Manger?

Whoops! That is a complete typo on my part, albeit amusing. I've asked Web Team to fix it!

Grand Lodge

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Sweet! I may have to join a few games. I've been meaning to dive into online gaming but just haven't gotten to it. Now I really have no excuse.

The Concordance 4/5 Venture-Captain, Missouri—Kansas City aka Wallbanger7110

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Our lodge recently started up a Discord server, and while it was slow to get off the ground, recent events — including the area’s largest game store announcing they were closing their game room for the rest of the month — saw a surge in interest. I’ll be sharing these links, very helpful!

Shadow Lodge 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

KingTreyIII wrote:
Flutter wrote:
We're all safe as long as Urgothoa doesn't branch out into computer viruses...
Someone who's better at writing adventures than me (preferably someone at Paizo) needs to write that down, because that's a really good idea for Starfinder.

It'd be Ghlaunder, not Urgathoa.

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

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I just want to say I'm really proud of my online play gaming community.

Hmm

Second Seekers (Jadnura) 5/55/55/55/5

We're looking to move our weekly sessions online. It looks like most folks are keen to that idea and we have done it some, so now we just need to make it more routine.

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

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Ooh is that a shiny new nova, John? Congratulations!

Hmm

Grand Lodge 4/5 Premier Event Coordinator

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If you are one to always try to find the silver-lining in any situation, one thing that may come outr of the corvid-19 problem is that online gaming will become much more popular. The accessibility of online gaming vs live gaming could result in overall growth of organized play.

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

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Richard, Online Team, and Flutter, your guides are amazing.

In less than an hour of effort, I was able to sign up for a new roll20 account and get a scenario set up and ready to go for tomorrow for our local group.

THNAK YOU!

4/5

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Flutter wrote:

We're all safe as long as Urgothoa doesn't branch out into computer viruses...

"Urgathoa, Urgothoa, Urgothoa, I'm ... hooked on a feeling ..."

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

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Bob Jonquet wrote:
If you are one to always try to find the silver-lining in any situation, one thing that may come outr of the corvid-19 problem is that online gaming will become much more popular. The accessibility of online gaming vs live gaming could result in overall growth of organized play.

Bob, were you talking to me? I got a sense that you were talking to me. :)

Hmm

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Rich, thanks for posting all the help, and BNW, thanks for the guide you wrote. Maybe I'll see you guys online again sometime soon.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Also, you can find Fantasy Grounds here to play online as well...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgrX9MT8CR0

Sovereign Court 3/5

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
John Godek III wrote:
We're looking to move our weekly sessions online. It looks like most folks are keen to that idea and we have done it some, so now we just need to make it more routine.

I've done so for three F2F campaigns. The players were pleasantly surprised. We use Google Slides for the map and FB messenger phone call over wifi for audio.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I've been trying to get going with Fantasy Grounds for a while, and just today bought in to the Unity Beta. My local PFS group used R20 on Monday for our first Online session, primarily because of the virus, but also cause we've been wanting to give it a shot. It was great and I can't wait to start running and playing more online!

My question is: Why can I not find 'ready to go' Society Scenarios for either Platform? While I'm sure I can learn to set it all up, I was hoping for the convenience of 'what do you guys want to play next week?' and they say XX-XX! I buy it, download it and set it up and we're off to the races. It Would also make last minute "Hey, can you run a virtual table tonight/tomorrow because of this virus/snowstorm/hurricane/etc so people don't have to drive to a store or The regular GM is sick, can you run this?" situations easier. That and to be honest I don't have a lot of free time and would rather spend it gaming on the VTT rather than building in the VTT, ya know?

I found a thread at the FG boards from several years ago that looks like there used to be a sort of community driven 'sharing' thing setup, but that appeared to have been 'shutdown' by Paizo, citing only being able to share OGL stuff, and since the Society stuff is mostly non-OGL stuff, it seemed to have just...stopped. I don't know, it seemed odd. Especially since Paizo has official products with both R20 and FG, but nothing official for society. But there are several online conventions normally, and with Corona, there are a bunch that just literally swapped from Reality to Virtual Reality overnight, and I don't see how people are able to convert stuff over that fast. I mean, I still have trouble importing a Map image taken from an official PDF and getting the grid right on it, on either platform.

So, am I missing something like a website that has official scenarios, or are there 'templates' to make importing maps and tokens and all that easy and fast? Or is it just 99% of the VTT GMs have been doing it for 10 years and just make it look that easy?

2/5 5/5

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Kamicosmos wrote:

I've been trying to get going with Fantasy Grounds for a while, and just today bought in to the Unity Beta. My local PFS group used R20 on Monday for our first Online session, primarily because of the virus, but also cause we've been wanting to give it a shot. It was great and I can't wait to start running and playing more online!

My question is: Why can I not find 'ready to go' Society Scenarios for either Platform? While I'm sure I can learn to set it all up, I was hoping for the convenience of 'what do you guys want to play next week?' and they say XX-XX! I buy it, download it and set it up and we're off to the races. It Would also make last minute "Hey, can you run a virtual table tonight/tomorrow because of this virus/snowstorm/hurricane/etc so people don't have to drive to a store or The regular GM is sick, can you run this?" situations easier. That and to be honest I don't have a lot of free time and would rather spend it gaming on the VTT rather than building in the VTT, ya know?

I found a thread at the FG boards from several years ago that looks like there used to be a sort of community driven 'sharing' thing setup, but that appeared to have been 'shutdown' by Paizo, citing only being able to share OGL stuff, and since the Society stuff is mostly non-OGL stuff, it seemed to have just...stopped. I don't know, it seemed odd. Especially since Paizo has official products with both R20 and FG, but nothing official for society. But there are several online conventions normally, and with Corona, there are a bunch that just literally swapped from Reality to Virtual Reality overnight, and I don't see how people are able to convert stuff over that fast. I mean, I still have trouble importing a Map image taken from an official PDF and getting the grid right on it, on either platform.

So, am I missing something like a website that has official scenarios, or are there 'templates' to make importing maps and tokens and all that easy and fast? Or is it just 99% of the VTT GMs have been doing it for...

For FG I do see 1-00, therogh 1-04 as official offering for PFS2 and a scattering of SFS. Didn't look for PFS1.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Yeah, PF2 and SF seem to have a lot of support, which makes sense, they are the new shiny. And for non-Society stuff, FG has a ton of APs and Books available, so otherwise, I'm very pleased about the selection. Just a shame on the lack of Society 1 support for it.

I installed FGUnity and loaded up a map, and the Grid layer seems much improved so I'm pretty hopeful that I can build my own. I'll probably take one of the scenarios I currently own and break it down as an exercise, see how I do with it.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Organized Play Manager

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Removed a post and a few that referenced it. Please remember that not everyone finds gallows humor amusing. We need to uplift our fellow community members during this difficult time. Thank you!

2/5 5/5

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Kamicosmos wrote:

Yeah, PF2 and SF seem to have a lot of support, which makes sense, they are the new shiny. And for non-Society stuff, FG has a ton of APs and Books available, so otherwise, I'm very pleased about the selection. Just a shame on the lack of Society 1 support for it.

I installed FGUnity and loaded up a map, and the Grid layer seems much improved so I'm pretty hopeful that I can build my own. I'll probably take one of the scenarios I currently own and break it down as an exercise, see how I do with it.

I'm doing the same, if you find a work flow that works for you, please share. I'm finding it difficult to find tips/tricks for working with FG, w/o watching numerous long videos.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Colorado—Denver aka roll4initiative

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I'm so glad to have finally gotten the nerve a few weeks ago to try PbP games. I found an awesome "learn to play" session with an awesome group of helpful & patient people. Perfect timing to have found the group with what's currently going on in the world.

5/5

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Kamicosmos wrote:
My question is: Why can I not find 'ready to go' Society Scenarios for either Platform? While I'm sure I can learn to set it all up, I was hoping for the convenience of 'what do you guys want to play next week?' and they say XX-XX!

I run a lot of games online. I have dozens of 1E tables set up for gmes across all seasons as well as most of the PF2E games set up as well. If you would like a copy let me know and I can make one available.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
andreww wrote:
Kamicosmos wrote:
My question is: Why can I not find 'ready to go' Society Scenarios for either Platform? While I'm sure I can learn to set it all up, I was hoping for the convenience of 'what do you guys want to play next week?' and they say XX-XX!
I run a lot of games online. I have dozens of 1E tables set up for gmes across all seasons as well as most of the PF2E games set up as well. If you would like a copy let me know and I can make one available.

Excellent, thank you! I've asked my local PFS group for a few suggestions that they want to play. Once I have a couple picked out, I'll contact you.

Dark Archive

andreww wrote:
I have dozens of 1E tables set up for gmes across all seasons as well as most of the PF2E games set up as well. If you would like a copy let me know and I can make one available.

Is there any way this material could be shared more broadly? Perhaps posting links on pfsprep.com?

Or would that be a violation of copyright and we just have to wait for Paizo to start monetizing their scenarios in Roll20 format?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Columbia aka Xathos of Varisia

Roll20 had a community roundtable yesterday and they are not going to making PFS1, PFS2, or SFS scenarios any time soon. They are going to put out Extinction's Curse in its entirely in June, and then begin to put out the third PFS AP in regular monthly installments following that.

They said they are just now beginning to make and sell Adventurer's League scenarios and that Pathfinder/Starfinder Org Play is not something they are currently working on. I asked the question and got the answer from their spokeswomen in the roundtable.

I was and still am sadly disappointed. On the other hand, I've got table building for PFS2 down to a fine art.

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

Jimmy Dick wrote:

Roll20 had a community roundtable yesterday and they are not going to making PFS1, PFS2, or SFS scenarios any time soon. They are going to put out Extinction's Curse in its entirely in June, and then begin to put out the third PFS AP in regular monthly installments following that.

They said they are just now beginning to make and sell Adventurer's League scenarios and that Pathfinder/Starfinder Org Play is not something they are currently working on. I asked the question and got the answer from their spokeswomen in the roundtable.

I was and still am sadly disappointed. On the other hand, I've got table building for PFS2 down to a fine art.

Certainly is a business decision for them. Maybe if the PFS/SFS players leave in mass it might cause them notice? But from what I have heard, PFS/SFS is not a large part of their base.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

That is sad. Well, I'll just have to buckle down and learn to do it myself then! Does seem like a lost revenue stream, especially for SFS and PFS2. I can understand not moving on with PFS1 support.

(Oh, and Hi Gary and Jimmy! I'm in the KCMO Lodge)

5/5 5/55/55/5

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Kamicosmos wrote:
That is sad. Well, I'll just have to buckle down and learn to do it myself then!

How to make a roll 20 table

Scarab Sages 4/5

Jed Roach wrote:
andreww wrote:
I have dozens of 1E tables set up for gmes across all seasons as well as most of the PF2E games set up as well. If you would like a copy let me know and I can make one available.

Is there any way this material could be shared more broadly? Perhaps posting links on pfsprep.com?

Or would that be a violation of copyright and we just have to wait for Paizo to start monetizing their scenarios in Roll20 format?

It's both a violation of copyright and not technically feasible. Pfsprep can't post anything that includes the actual maps from the scenarios, because those aren't covered by the community use policy. Maybe if all of the tables were set up with self-drawn maps. However...

Sharing a table on roll20 for another GM to use requires manual steps by the person who created the table. It's incredibly generous of Andrew to volunteer to do that for people, but it's impractical to post the tables somewhere public like pfsprep, because there's no way for someone to create their own copy. Whoever created the table would have to do so and grant the new GM permissions on it.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Columbia aka Xathos of Varisia

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kamicosmos wrote:

That is sad. Well, I'll just have to buckle down and learn to do it myself then! Does seem like a lost revenue stream, especially for SFS and PFS2. I can understand not moving on with PFS1 support.

(Oh, and Hi Gary and Jimmy! I'm in the KCMO Lodge)

Hail and well met!

It goes beyond just PFS1. They are not going to put any support behind Pathfinder First Edition at all. I understand that since the focus is on the new edition. The thing that gets me is that right now is the best marketing tool they will ever have to promote Roll20 to an audience that has nothing else to do. Instead of being proactive and building product that will make them money, they ignore the situation and plod on.

I realize that D&D 5e is the larger product, but it's not the only product out there. They could have built their share of the market up, but instead are not doing so.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Kamicosmos wrote:
That is sad. Well, I'll just have to buckle down and learn to do it myself then!

How to make a roll 20 table

I'm working with Fantasy Grounds.

But thanks!

I haven been watching videos and reading threads for FG, but it's weird it's like the newest stuff is several years old, and most of the videos are very long and only talk about using the UI, not actually [i]building[/stuff]. It's very frustrating. And, since I spent the money for an Ultimate license, it's irritating as well.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Jimmy Dick wrote:
Kamicosmos wrote:

That is sad. Well, I'll just have to buckle down and learn to do it myself then! Does seem like a lost revenue stream, especially for SFS and PFS2. I can understand not moving on with PFS1 support.

(Oh, and Hi Gary and Jimmy! I'm in the KCMO Lodge)

Hail and well met!

It goes beyond just PFS1. They are not going to put any support behind Pathfinder First Edition at all. I understand that since the focus is on the new edition. The thing that gets me is that right now is the best marketing tool they will ever have to promote Roll20 to an audience that has nothing else to do. Instead of being proactive and building product that will make them money, they ignore the situation and plod on.

I realize that D&D 5e is the larger product, but it's not the only product out there. They could have built their share of the market up, but instead are not doing so.

Oh I understand. After all, I am the one who has made the choice to stick with PF1.

But I agree it is odd the way they are managing things right now. And to build on your post, I think it goes bigger than just the VTT thing. I don't want to get this thread off track, but I just found the whole marketing and info-distribution for PF2 bizarre. It's like they totally forgot they had an audience right here on their own boards. That, or they intentionally only wanted New Players with how so much stuff was revealed on other platforms and sources, often with no links here till someone else found it. Very wierd, and a non-insignificant factor in my decision to not go with PF2.

2/5

If you want them to support PF2, just push through and make games. Make sure to flag it as PF2. I'm sure they are watching / monitoring. If enough people start playing there, they will start supporting it.

It's a two-sided market problem. You've got to be there for them to want to sell to you there.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Agent, Virginia—Hampton Roads aka Darius Silverbolt

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Flutter wrote:

We're all safe as long as Urgothoa doesn't branch out into computer viruses...

How to get started with roll20 If you can do this, you can start playing in 15 minutes.

How to make a roll 20 table .. and run a game with it. Play a few games first.

That is really good stuff here. I am going to share that on my discord and give proper credit.

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