Character Options for Pathfinder Society and Guide Updates

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Building a Legend

In the square of a chilly town, a girl stares at a board so covered in pamphlets and cutouts that she can scarcely see the wood underneath. “Protect a caravan from troll attacks, slay a dragon, guard the baron’s son from assassins at the summer ball… I don’t think I’m up for any of these.” In her pocket, a painted metal egg flaps filigree wings, flitting to the bounty board and knocking gently at a worn paper barely visible under an advertisement for a wandering circus. “Retrieve a missing necklace, last seen in the town sewers…” the girl reads with a note of confidence, “I think I could manage this!”

“If you’re going into the sewers, be sure to watch out for otyughs. Nasty fever,” a strange voice echoes from the girl’s ankles. When the girl sees its source—a small humanoid plant that appears to bleed red sap from a dozen cracks on its uncanny wooden body—she spins around in fright, sending a pulse of frosty magic into a nearby abandoned barrel. The discarded object rushes to life, scrambling on newly grown fowl’s legs to put itself between the girl and the plant.

“No need for that,” the leshy says, “Name’s Hau. Doctor of Pharmacology.” He opens the gourd that serves as his head and retrieves a certification and several vials. “In any event, I was looking at that job too, and thinking I could use a partner. Care to join? I can inoculate us against the otyughs ahead of time.” He squeezes an extract into one of the vials with a fizz.

The girl looks at the array of tools and substances that the small doctor measures before her with wonder, “Where did you learn such advanced techniques?”

“Oh, you know,” Hau says, “I studied for a time in Rahadoum, under a brilliant scientist.” He eyes the objects still dancing strangely around the girl. “And where, pray tell, did you pick up such unconventional magic?”

“Oh, you know,” Ivy says, letting the flying egg land in her palm, “from my grandmother.”

We were happy to release the sanctioning for the Advanced Player’s Guide a few weeks ago, but we have another Gen Con release to sanction for you all today, Lost Omens Legends! Please see the updates to our ongoing Character Options blog for these newest additions.

While many of these options are uncommon or rarer, as they represent the signature teachings, items, and ability of legendary figures, we wanted to release the sanctioning now to give everyone a chance to see what new options might inspire their characters. In the future, be sure to keep an eye out for Pathfinder Society adventures that feature these legends and their legacies for further chances to gain access to these options


Guide Updates

Today marks the first day of Gen Con Online, which means the launch of Pathfinder Society Year 2: Year of Corruption’s Reach. A new program year means a new guide. This year, instead of dropping the guide the first day of Gen Con and hoping people can access and incorporate the information into their characters, we are going to release the guide updates next week. There are no major changes to the program, just some streamlining of processes and adding clarifying language around sections that seemed to cause some confusion for our players.

The same holds true for the Starfinder Society guide. Unfortunately we weren’t able to issue this one when the Year launched in June. It’s ready now and will be available for download next week. The new version incorporates new Faction goals and an updated Story So Far. The big program change in Year 3: Year of Exploration’s Edge is the phasing out of boons on chronicles. We are using this year to prepare for the launch of Achievement Points in Year 4.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Society guide changes involve adding adventurer’s decks to the guide. Other than that, the program is continuing the same as we start Year 7: Year of Reborn Strife.

The biggest change is a revamp to how we are titling the guides. To avoid confusion with the upcoming Lost Omens: Pathfinder Society Guide (releasing in October) and to add cohesion to the Paizo Organized Play program as a whole, the guides will now be Guide to Organized Play. We are also dropping Roleplaying Guild from the names of the Pathfinder Society and the Starfinder Society. These are small naming convention changes that bring cohesion to the idea of Paizo Organized Play and society play as a whole! We’ve included links to each of the guides below and plan to have them updated by next Thursday’s blog.

Guide to Organized Play: Pathfinder Society (second edition)
Guide to Organized Play: Starfinder Society
Guide to Organized Play: Pathfinder Adventure Card Society
Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Guide (first edition)

Until next time, Explore! Report! Cooperate! And enjoy Gen Con!

James Case
Organized Play Developer

Tonya Woldridge
Organized Play Manager

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Organized Play Pathfinder Adventure Card Society Pathfinder Society Starfinder Society
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Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Zachary Davis wrote:

Not liking the way this is going. More and more things are being opened up to reporting error.

Guess we are moving away from "paper is king" and the honor code of playing, where we trusted the players to have integrity when building their characters.

Sorry if I am sounding jaded, but have experiences to back up why I feel the way that I do

Not to mention putting still more stress on a part of Paizo (their web development skills and the speed and stability of their web site) that is, to put it politely, NOT their core strength.

I guess I'll wait to see what they're actually planning to do but I am not at all optimistic that I'll think it a good idea.

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

Zachary Davis wrote:

Not liking the way this is going. More and more things are being opened up to reporting error.

Guess we are moving away from "paper is king" and the honor code of playing, where we trusted the players to have integrity when building their characters.

Sorry if I am sounding jaded, but have experiences to back up why I feel the way that I do

If this is true, and I have not seen anything about it from an official source (feel free to point in the right direction), I don't see where we are going away from an honor code. Players will still need to show they have the experience/fame/gold whatever. It should make reporting more accurate as there is now more people looking at things and getting corrections made. We need a better system of getting changes made however.

Being predominately online play is changing the landscape and it will take years for us to return to the in-person model being the larger share of play.

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

Oh, I just assumed that Whitefang Wyrm had a Chronicle formatting error akin to Absalom Initiation, where there was no Fame section.

So do Bounties not grant Fame?

5/5 *** Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

Zachary Davis wrote:


Guess we are moving away from "paper is king"

We crossed that bridge back with playtest points.

4/5 **** Venture-Lieutenant, Maryland—Hagerstown

Gary Bush wrote:
Zachary Davis wrote:

Not liking the way this is going. More and more things are being opened up to reporting error.

Guess we are moving away from "paper is king" and the honor code of playing, where we trusted the players to have integrity when building their characters.

Sorry if I am sounding jaded, but have experiences to back up why I feel the way that I do

If this is true, and I have not seen anything about it from an official source (feel free to point in the right direction), I don't see where we are going away from an honor code. Players will still need to show they have the experience/fame/gold whatever. It should make reporting more accurate as there is now more people looking at things and getting corrections made. We need a better system of getting changes made however.

Being predominately online play is changing the landscape and it will take years for us to return to the in-person model being the larger share of play.

I should have made it more clear that it is my opinion or it is how I feel. Of course there is no one saying this officially. Even if it was fact, the only people who could say this probably would not. It would reflect poorly to the masses.

Just to explain where I am coming from. I feel it is unnecessary that even after we have a chronicle sheet saying we played the scenario, we have to now go to the website to confirm that, yes you did in fact play the scenario, to gain access to a boon, if there is one.

1/5 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Zachary Davis wrote:


I should have made it more clear that it is my opinion or it is how I feel. Of course there is no one saying this officially. Even if it was fact, the only people who could say this probably would not. It would reflect poorly to the masses.

Just to explain where I am coming from. I feel it is unnecessary that even after we have a chronicle sheet saying we played the scenario, we have to now go to the website to confirm that, yes you did in fact play the scenario, to gain access to a boon, if there is one.

IF the scenario is reported in a timely and accurate fashion. I have doubts that will be normal operating situation, particularly where conventions are involved.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mark Stratton wrote:
Wait. I missed something. Fame is being eliminated in Season 2?

Illustration why people complain. We are a month into the new season with three scenarios and a bounty already released and yet there is no official word on this very significant [stealth] rule change.

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
I have doubts that will be normal operating situation, particularly where conventions are involved.[/ooc]

Depends on the convention. For the major ones (Gen Con,etc) the reporting was completed faster than it ever has before. Less than a week in most cases. How all of this will affect "local" conventions is yet to be seen, but I can almost guarantee that if *you* are a convention organizer and are not prepared to report your event in less than a week, you should seriously consider recruiting reporting help. As more and more metrics become dependent on timely reporting, player/GM expectations are going to sharply increase.

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

I have been very impressed with the 4 online conventions I've been involved with so far in terms of speed of reporting. (And will have three more data points this month). It definitely should be the expectation to be fully reported within a week given the importance of reporting now.

For non-conventions, if your local region has slower practices, its time to start communicating up your VO chain to get that resolved.

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

I imagine that online Con reporting would be vastly quicker than physical Con reporting, since you're just copy/pasting cells of data into Paizo, whereas before, you had an entire team of one person reading chickenscratch and manually typing it into an iPhone 3 using dialup.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
Zachary Davis wrote:


I should have made it more clear that it is my opinion or it is how I feel. Of course there is no one saying this officially. Even if it was fact, the only people who could say this probably would not. It would reflect poorly to the masses.

Just to explain where I am coming from. I feel it is unnecessary that even after we have a chronicle sheet saying we played the scenario, we have to now go to the website to confirm that, yes you did in fact play the scenario, to gain access to a boon, if there is one.

IF the scenario is reported in a timely and accurate fashion. I have doubts that will be normal operating situation, particularly where conventions are involved.

Amongst my concerns is that the more that we expect from our GMs the less people will be willing to step up and GM.

Yes, GMs were always SUPPOSED to report sessions in a timely manner. But now it matters a lot more that they do. Which is raising expectations.

One thing that I hope (but really don't expect) is that when Paizo gets around to officially telling us what the new rules are they will ALSO give us a detailed explanation of WHY they are changing things. This has a significant cost on Paizo's part (Web team development time, increased server load) and on OUR part (change always involves at least some cost). I'd like a CLEAR and COMPLETE explanation of what they hope to gain for this cost.

From my point of view, the only obvious thing they're gaining is potentially reducing cheating. And I see that as a very, very minor problem and I'm not at all convinced that these changes will address it in a meaningful way anyway.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, France—Paris

pauljathome wrote:

Amongst my concerns is that the more that we expect from our GMs the less people will be willing to step up and GM.

Yes, GMs were always SUPPOSED to report sessions in a timely manner. But now it matters a lot more that they do. Which is raising expectations.

One thing that I hope (but really don't expect) is that when Paizo gets around to officially telling us what the new rules are they will ALSO give us a detailed explanation of WHY they are changing things. This has a significant cost on Paizo's part (Web team development time, increased server load) and on OUR part (change always involves at least some cost). I'd like a CLEAR and COMPLETE explanation of what they hope to gain for this cost.

From my point of view, the only obvious thing they're gaining is potentially reducing cheating. And I see that as a very, very minor problem and I'm not at all convinced that these changes will address it in a meaningful way anyway.

Even more basically, the base fact of ACPs is twisting the expectations towards the game in a negative way. It was way more simple in the past when players and GMs were around the table only because they liked the game. I already started to see several years ago that some were around only for the chroncicle sheets and the boons.

The risk is that will be amplified further. This is not to say they're doing a bad move, it was needed. It's just not what I think the OP should be.

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.
pauljathome wrote:
I'd like a CLEAR and COMPLETE explanation of what they hope to gain for this cost

Considering that our community has been generally, unrelentingly critical and harsh whenever they explain why they have made many of the decisions in the past, I would not expect it. Given that Paizo leaders have suggested in the past that at least some of their staff are especially sensitive to public bashing of their work, I would encourage them not to share the specifics of why and stick to the standard, "we think this is in the best interest of the campaign. We will monitor the response and readdress if we are not getting the results we intended."

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Philippe Lam wrote:
ACPs is twisting the expectations towards the game in a negative way

I would not agree. Perhaps some of the specifics can be tweaked, but the intention and over-all program is an improvement over our past boon program.

Philippe Lam wrote:
started to see several years ago that some were around only for the chronicle sheets and the boons

Its been going on almost as long as we've had boons. The horse is out of the barn, but I wish we could go back and never start any of the boon programs just to avoid all the crap that comes with them. Unfortunately, we have a good portion of the community that is more interested in the that piece of paper (printed or digital) than they are the experience of the game itself. Sad really.

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

Nefreet wrote:
I imagine that online Con reporting would be vastly quicker than physical Con reporting, since you're just copy/pasting cells of data into Paizo, whereas before, you had an entire team of one person reading chickenscratch and manually typing it into an iPhone 3 using dialup.

The website does not copy and paste well. It is more work to try and do so. The advantage that online reporting has is the ability to clearly read the numbers. Players writing can be really horrible!

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

TwilightKnight wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
I'd like a CLEAR and COMPLETE explanation of what they hope to gain for this cost
Considering that our community has been generally, unrelentingly critical and harsh whenever they explain why they have made many of the decisions in the past, I would not expect it. Given that Paizo leaders have suggested in the past that at least some of their staff are especially sensitive to public bashing of their work, I would encourage them not to share the specifics of why and stick to the standard, "we think this is in the best interest of the campaign. We will monitor the response and readdress if we are not getting the results we intended."

As I said, I don't expect it either.

But this (losing fame) is a pretty major change and one that I see NO benefit to. So I do hope they at least give us some crumbs more than the standard "We know best" answer.

As an aside, I am NOT complaining about ACP in general. I think that opening up various boons to non con going GMs is a fine idea. But I don't see why that means that everything should be handled through that mechanism.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

2 people marked this as a favorite.
TwilightKnight wrote:
Unfortunately, we have a good portion of the community that is more interested in the that piece of paper (printed or digital) than they are the experience of the game itself. Sad really.

The boons programs can also enrich the game by making characters richer and more vested in the background.

Because of the chronicle boons I was able to have my PF1 Cavalier actively try and rise in the nobility of Taldor. That certainly made the character much more "real" to me and hopefully that facet of his personality also amused at least some of the other players at the tables he played at.

Similarly, the fact that my druid had what ended up being a fairly significant estate was I think a good thing.

Yes, I could have just "made it up". But its better if the campaign agrees with my background :-)

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

Gary Bush wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
I imagine that online Con reporting would be vastly quicker than physical Con reporting, since you're just copy/pasting cells of data into Paizo, whereas before, you had an entire team of one person reading chickenscratch and manually typing it into an iPhone 3 using dialup.
The website does not copy and paste well. It is more work to try and do so. The advantage that online reporting has is the ability to clearly read the numbers. Players writing can be really horrible!

I literally select the cell with the Player's ID#, hit Ctrl+C, mousetap the cell on Paizo's reporting page, and hit Ctrl+V.

How is that "more work"?

1/5 *

I would not expect any clear answers to why right now. Leadership has lost their most community facing voice right after GenCon for the second consecutive year. While other team members have their strengths, Micheal was the one most likely to give us answers.

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

Nefreet wrote:
Gary Bush wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
I imagine that online Con reporting would be vastly quicker than physical Con reporting, since you're just copy/pasting cells of data into Paizo, whereas before, you had an entire team of one person reading chickenscratch and manually typing it into an iPhone 3 using dialup.
The website does not copy and paste well. It is more work to try and do so. The advantage that online reporting has is the ability to clearly read the numbers. Players writing can be really horrible!

I literally select the cell with the Player's ID#, hit Ctrl+C, mousetap the cell on Paizo's reporting page, and hit Ctrl+V.

How is that "more work"?

I find doing that to tedious and a lot more work then simply typing the number, hitting tab, typing the next next number, repeat as needed. When I do reporting, I am looking at paper and not on a screen. I like to keep the reporting sheet in case I need to go back and look at it again. I have almost all of the reporting sheets I have entered over the years.

Our preference is likely a product of when each of us started using computers. I started before a mouse was a thing and learned how to get around the screen using a keyboard. People who are young, and learned using a mouse, find that easier. There is yet a new generation of computer user who has grown up using a laptop and touch pad. I found those things very aggravating.

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

I don’t find reporting digital sheets to be any quicker than live sheets with the exception of the legibility factor. So if your event does not have a process such that someone verifies the readability when sheets are submitted, then I could see digital sheets having a distinct advantage.

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

EDIT: was replying to Gary.

If it helps you out, I'm maintaining the same sign-in sheet for my online event, and simply creating a new tab for each game. Each tab is dated. After reporting, I lock the tab so nobody else can edit it.

This will allow me to save my sign-in sheets forever, in case I need to fix something, without maintaining a stack of paper.

Presumably, if in-person gaming ever resumes, players could even fill in the sheet on a tablet or phone.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yes I definitely appreciate the no more deciphering hard-for-me-to-read handwriting. I continue to hope that AcP will encourage more character registrations. I still have a few routine players who don't seem to register and it makes it harder to confirm everything is correct when reporting.

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

Nefreet wrote:

EDIT: was replying to Gary.

If it helps you out, I'm maintaining the same sign-in sheet for my online event, and simply creating a new tab for each game. Each tab is dated. After reporting, I lock the tab so nobody else can edit it.

This will allow me to save my sign-in sheets forever, in case I need to fix something, without maintaining a stack of paper.

Presumably, if in-person gaming ever resumes, players could even fill in the sheet on a tablet or phone.

I do something similar. I don't keep the same Google sheet with different tabs however. Since I am managing several GMs, I had a "Base" Google sheet that they can go make a copy of to make the Reporting/sign-in sheet.

And I am kinds of old school and like to keep paper around. Since I don't delete what is on my Google account I have that as backup to paper.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, France—Paris

pauljathome wrote:

The boons programs can also enrich the game by making characters richer and more vested in the background.

Because of the chronicle boons I was able to have my PF1 Cavalier actively try and rise in the nobility of Taldor. That certainly made the character much more "real" to me and hopefully that facet of his personality also amused at least some of the other players at the tables he played at.

Similarly, the fact that my druid had what ended up being a fairly significant estate was I think a good thing.

Yes, I could have just "made it up". But its better if the campaign agrees with my background :-)

I have that boon, but although it was useful I didn't really need it. Most of the background effort is on how the player portrays it session by session, whether it's good or bad. If I feel the need to have a boon to feel more invested in the character, then something is amiss. I do get the logic though on why many others think otherwise.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Philippe Lam wrote:
I have that boon, but although it was useful I didn't really need it. Most of the background effort is on how the player portrays it session by session, whether it's good or bad. If I feel the need to have a boon to feel more invested in the character, then something is amiss. I do get the logic though on why many others think otherwise.

A small counter point, sometimes a boon is required to make a character concept work.

Paizo Employee 3/5 * Organized Play Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.

We finalized some choices and are working on a blog for next Thursday that talks about Year 2 changes.

As someone pointed out, Michael is no longer on the OP team, having transferred to design. We gained Jenny, though. So the team is at full strength from a personnel standpoint. We are still fighting a Covid-influenced work environment and a move to online events, both of which take time and focus to navigate. Being less communicative is not a position we like to have, but when it comes to the event happening or the scenario finishing production, we have to make hard choices.

I apologize for the lack of communication. It was never our intention to be silent this long.

**

Zachary Davis wrote:
More and more things are being opened up to reporting error.

If I ever have to report a live game myself, I'm just logging into Paizo on my phone and asking players to put their PFS numbers directly into the reporting sheet. There's only one transfer of information - from the player's brain directly into my phone - and they get instant feedback because the name autofills. No more lost reporting sheets, no more "convention organizer has 85 games to report" excuses, no more "VA switched two of the numbers" transcription errors, etc.

When I report my own PbP games, it takes me generously 5 minutes to report it. That's combining the time it takes to request the information, copy and paste it into the forms, double check the autofilled name and faction, and maybe 10% of the time there's a mismatch somewhere so I try a few minutes of guessing (trying to guess their character number based on the aliases of their profile, switching the last two digits of their PFS number, etc) before resorting to PMing them. The average is dragged up by a few outliers; the median is under a minute.

That it takes weeks to get games reported from live events is a testament to the inefficiency of the current system. It's a handwritten piece of paper that gets passed around until someone inputs it, and if your credits don't show up after a few weeks, it's unclear what stage the reporting is stuck at. It's not a great system even when it works as intended.

I agree that the way things are going is opening up a lot of reporting errors. I don't agree that it needs to be this way.

Every time I think of the paper system, I think about the first time I got an "e-fax". It was meant as an interface so that people from the 1990's could send electronic files to people in the 2000's. In practice, it just meant that paid third party was sitting in an office with a fax and a scanner, and would print out the fax and then scan it to make a PDF (and both the sender and the receiver hated it). The transition from "occasionally pick up the phone and hear computer noise" to "E-mail me a PDF" was not smooth, but once people stopped treating PDFs like fancy faxes, it was way more efficient than the old system.

Zachary Davis wrote:
Guess we are moving away from "paper is king" and the honor code of playing, where we trusted the players to have integrity when building their characters.

I actually agree that it does seem like we're moving away from that trust system.

But, on a practical level, if the reporting is quick and reliable (and I concede those are both big ifs), then there's really no difference between "paper is king" and "paizo.com is king". The only reason "paper is king" is a thing is because of the frequent mismatches between paper and the website, and the likelihood that the paper document (generated close to the source, immediately) is more accurate than reporting (generated far from the source, after a time gap). Once that gap disappears - with or without online reporting - "paper is king" won't be a thing any more.

4/5 ***

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Since I am sure it is about to be asked.

We have been working steadily away at the guide, making a variety of improvements while we wait for Tonya and the Team to finalize those decisions.

I anticipate that the Guide will come out sometime within the next week to next month, depending on how much editing and word crafting is needed to explain those decisions.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 **** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Southern

Online Guide Team Lead - JTT wrote:

Since I am sure it is about to be asked.

We have been working steadily away at the guide, making a variety of improvements while we wait for Tonya and the Team to finalize those decisions.

I anticipate that the Guide will come out sometime within the next week to next month, depending on how much editing and word crafting is needed to explain those decisions.

We appreciate the work you all are doing!

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

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yes, thanks for everything you do!

Hmm

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