Young Master

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Goblin Squad Member. ***** Pathfinder Society GM. 1,633 posts (1,647 including aliases). 1 review. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 11 Organized Play characters.

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Lantern Lodge 4/5

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William Ronald wrote:
So, is there any word if this is legal for Pathfinder Society?

Hi! After carefully weighing a variety of factors (such as the burden on GMs still grappling with a new set of rules), the Organized Play team has decided that it's not in the best interest of the campaign to have playtest characters participating in official Pathfinder Society games at this time.

If you're interested in earning Pathfinder Society credit for participating in the playtest, I highly recommend playing Fall of Plaguestone and downloading the free sanctioning document for it on the adventure's product page. You can play a playtest character through the adventure and then apply the credit to a Pathfinder Society character of your choice when you're done.

Lantern Lodge

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Red Pandas MUST be available as familiars/companions. Owlcats would be cool too.

Lantern Lodge 4/5

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I seem to have had the misfortune of any character I create, their faction gets retired - Shadow Lodge, Lantern Lodge, Scarab Sages.

If PFS2 characters could have a main faction but flirt with other factions ala SFS, then retired factions, or completely new factions perhaps in response to a current Adventure Path, could make cameo appearances for specific missions.

Minor factions wouldn't play any more than an occasional role in the ongoing campaign, but would throw a bone to characters who were built around these themes.

Endorsing a small number of major factions, while entertaining occasional minor factions, would support one of Pathfinder 2nd Edition's stated goals of "more customisation".

Lantern Lodge 4/5

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I couldn't agree more with MisterSlanky!

As someone who studied Indonesian language for five years in high school, I was really excited to see Wayangs included as a Pathfinder race. We're so used to seeing Japanese and Chinese cultural influences in our fantasy gaming "Oriental Adventures" (ninja, samurai, tengu, white-haired witch etc), but so rarely those of other asian cultures.

Wayang are Indonesian shadow puppets and have a long theatrical and storytelling history. Troupes would travel from village to village, with performances starting at sundown and continue throughout the night, telling stories of an epic nature until sunrise. And while some Wayang do appear as the hunched, twisted characters portrayed by the Pathfinder race, they can equally be strong and noble heroes. An Indonesian friend created a Wayang hero inspired by Arjuna.

Characterising Wayang as a differently flavoured goblin without doing some rudimentary cultural research (eg Google) into stories told by Indonesian shadow puppet shows, is missing the point of this race.

I'm really looking forward to playing (reading / GMing) this scenario.

I'd like to see Wayang, Tengu and the other "always available" PFS races receive more representation in PFS scenarios and Pathfinder Battles miniatures. These races should be as iconic to our campaigns as Warforged and Dragonborn are to others, and should take a step forward.

Lantern Lodge

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This looks interesting :-)

Any plans to release a Print/PDF bundle for purchase here on the Paizo store?

Lantern Lodge 4/5

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Maybe one or two. As there are already a range to choose from, I haven't found the need to produce them as often as I used to, usually only if I'd like to promote an upcoming convention with a fresh look, or usher in a new season.

I'll have a look tonight and see if I have any to upload.


Lantern Lodge 4/5

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I've noticed some decline in Melbourne, Australia, in recent weeks due to a few reasons:

We've just run two large conventions within the same month.

PAX Aus was the largest PFS event ever run in Melbourne:
- 8 tables per session over three days
- between 200 and 300 pregen character sheets handed out
- over half of players were visitors from interstate
- most players were completely new to PFS and played a single 2-hour Silverhex quest
that's a lot of players.

This was a great result, and we have welcomed new players sign up for our weekly gamedays in stores. However, preparing for events like these takes a lot of effort. For example, to be able to run so many tables of 2-hour Silverhex quests, we had to slot-zero two tables of GMs in the weekends prior to the event. Similarly, we slot-zeroed GMs through new scenario releases leading up to Unicon. While slot-zero sessions are the fastest way to prep a solid number of GMs for new release scenarios, they take six GMs out of public play for those weekends. If you don't have the number of additional GMs required to keep public games running over those weekends, there will be player drop-off. It only takes a week or two with no scheduled games, and players find something else to do with their weekends - it can take a few weeks of scheduled games for attendance to rebuild.

This time of year is also leading up to exam time in Australia, then you have Christmas/New Year break, which slows things down considerably.

I've also noticed a sudden up-take of privately run Adventure Paths, which is actually great that players who met through publicly run Pathfinder Society sessions, now have the friends and connections to join privately run Adventure Paths. This is a success condition! even though it reduces the number of available players for our weekly public store gamedays.

Now that I've caught my breath from having run PFS at two large conventions in the same month, I GMed my first in store gameday again for a while. We all commented at how we used to run three tables per week at this venue, but after the con season, we're down to one. By scheduling more public games, more players will attend once more, but attendance often occurs in seasonal cycles, I've seen it happen year after year. It takes some dedicated effort to keep things running, but it's not something I'm necessarily concerned about - I'm looking forward to attendance building once again. I know the PFS release schedule isn't slowing down any time soon.

Lantern Lodge 4/5

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I think these are a high priority - they were being used at GenCon, so they're on their way. Just a little more patience may be required.

Lantern Lodge 4/5

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Which is exactly why groups should use Warhorn ... everyone knows what to expect before they arrive, and can choose not to sign up if it's a game they've already played.

Lantern Lodge 4/5

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Public gamedays really should use Warhorn to help organise your events.

If players aren't consistently using Wahorn to sign up, try mentioning the signup process at the beginning of each game, or occasionally reminding players on your Facebook group, and even hand out cards with your Facebook group, Warhorn page, and a local PFS organisers contact email address (these could be those of the store you're playing in), so players can't claim ignorance.

Once the policy is in place, players can't complain if they're turned away from a table because it's full - that's what Warhorn is for! They'll soon change their habit and sign up if they're turned away more than once.

Waitlisting helps identify if another table is required. Assign an extra GM before the gameday arrives, if there are enough Waitlisted players to warrant a second table.

In our region, we limit low-tier scenarios [Tier 1-5] table sizes on Warhorn to 5 players max. This way, a spare 6th seat is always available at the GM's discretion for an unexpected new player who might not have signed up on Warhorn yet - because regular players should already know the signup system, but you never want to turn away a new player.

Setting up a Facebook group for your local PFS region is a great way of communicating with your players between gamedays. Contact your local Venture-Captain or Venture-Lieutenant, as there may already be one for your area.

Lantern Lodge 4/5

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Pathfinder Society has been growing at a rapid pace here in Melbourne, Australia. Nowadays, there's hardly an empty day on our calendar in which a PFS session isn't running in a store somewhere across metropolitan Mebourne.

I'm very proud of our community, and even moreso of the GMs whose effort makes this possible.

One such person is Jena Wills, who has been an active member of our Society for 12 months now. Recently, Jena offered to check out a new store, Next Level Games in Dandenong. Although Jena regularly attends games at our other PFS venues, she has quickly made NLG Dandenong her home turf, which has been fantastic, because it extends our Society to a corner of Melbourne that neither myself nor VL Andrei could hope to cover ourselves. NLG Dandenong is now hosting up to three PFS sessions per week.

As Melbourne's player-base and scheduled sessions continues to grow, I know Jena will become a valuable member of our team. I hope some of you will have an opportunity to join Jena at a PFS game in Dandenong or one of our many other gamedays and events across Melbourne.

Pathfinder Society Melbourne: Warhorn | Facebook

Lantern Lodge 4/5

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Back in the days when players were allowed to temporarily level up an existing character to play sanctioned modules, we had a lot of problems with players not advancing their low-level characters to high-level properly, so we started requiring character audits before confirming a player's registration to high-tier Modules.

Example: we've run the Ruby Phoenix Tournament PFS sacntioned module for 11th-level characters three times now, and each time my (then) VL RyanK required a character audit before confirming a player's registration to the table. In almost every case, those who built their characters in Herolab were built correctly, while those who built their characters by hand were riddled with errors and incorrect rules assumptions.

The clear message here is that human error occurs much more frequently than Herolab error.

Based on this experience, I wholeheartedly recommend Herolab to all Pathfinder players. Just remember to bring your sourcebooks or PDFs with you to the table - Herolab on it's own doesn't qualify your character as PFS legal.

Lantern Lodge 4/5

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Avatar-1 wrote:

That's a pretty amazing feat.

500 Tables
You can keep GMing after you should be dead.
Pre-requisites: 5 stars, 500 tables of GMing, must have previously or currently been under the effects of Madness
Benefit: Once per day, you gain insane braggings rights, mad respectz from every Pathfinder within long range (400ft + 40ft/level).
Normal: You can't help but gasp in awe when someone with this feat walks into the room.

I live in Melbourne Australia, and Doug lives in Michigan USA, so I'm pretty sure mad respectz extends far further than long range, more like extreme range (9900mi or 16000km).

Probably due to extreme range, Doug has not yet GMed a scenario for me; however, I still feel connected to the Doug phenomenon. I'll let you all in on a little secret:

Back in Nov 2012, I received the following message:

Doug Miles wrote:
Hey Stephen, feel free to decline to answer this but I am wondering what your PFS session count is at currently. I suspect that we are the two highest, but I took the better part of a year off and I wonder how we compare now.

Doug needn't have worried. I may have been in second place, but even after a year off, Doug was still somewhere in the vicinity of 100 sessions ahead of me.

Without realising it much at the time, I was a prolific GM, simply because we had a lot of players and few GMs, so I was running tables every week or players missed out.

Nowadays, I'm pleased to report that our community has not only grown in players, but also GMs. As a result, I find myself doing more support tasks now, such as helping my GMs with maps, advice, scheduling, slot-zeros, organising cons, new player enquiries, maintaining various facebook groups, Warhorn, RSS feeds etc, a VC's work is never done.

I know others have overtaken me in session count, as I recently read of someone GMing their 300th session, but I don't mind, I do whatever I'm needed most, and sometimes that's supporting others to GM scenarios to help grow the community.

Nonetheless, I still GM frequently, and I'm only a few games shy of 250 - but that's still only half of what Doug has achieved.

Well done and congratulations Doug, I know how much effort this has taken over a number of years, you deserve the accolades, you're the King!

Lantern Lodge 4/5

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Join the discussion at the Pathfinder Society Melbourne Facebook group

Sign up to play at Warhorn: melbourne-pfs

Pathfinder Society Events around Australia in January 2014, include several conventions over the Australia Day long weekend:

Lantern Lodge 4/5

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Wow, this is a huge discussion topic.

One thing to keep in mind when considering various options, is that the challenges you face will change as your community grows. What might be manageable today, could become the source of the problem tomorrow. And most gaming groups experience seasonal ebbs and flows, such as a slow-down during exam time, or an influx of new players afer a pop-culture con. So it's best to keep an open mind and remain flexible to different approaches.

I think having a regular presence is really important, whether it's every Thursday evening, or the first Sunday of each month, something players will know and remember, so if they miss one session, they instinctively know when the next will be, and won't turn up one week to find that it's shifted to a different day.

Have somewhere players can sign-up to reserve a seat at the table they wish to play, will save you a lot of scheduling and organisational headaches, particularly as your community grows.

Warhorn v2 is probably the best at this, you can now manage multiple venues within the one ongoing Warhorn event! Meetup is another good option, as it has a discussion forum for each event. Though, personally, I think Warhorn for signups and Facebook Groups for communication is a good combination.

At a typical gameday, players will arrive, the store will be noisy, the scenario is run, chronicle sheets are handed out, and everyone is in a hurry to leave. Great game, but there's no time built in to actually communicate about the important stuff, like what are we running next week? who's going to GM? have players already played this scenario? and I'm away next week! etc.

Having a place to announce the next gameday, somewhere for players to connect with each other and provide feedback to your organisers, is a huge benefit.

Matthew Pittard wrote:
I'm often a little concerned when I see places which have sessions all the way through the week, week after week and I wonder to myself how long those players and GMs last. Do they burn out?

I'm concerned when two scenarios are run per gameday, or three per convention day, or when I hear of scenarios being run in 4-hours.

Quality over quantity. Less is more.

Provide a meal-break half-way through your session to allow gamers to network with each other, talk about character builds, Adventure Paths etc. If at all possible, try to avoid the arrive-play-chronicle-home routine. Friendships build a stronger community.

I used to run PFS from the same store every Sunday, week after week. I'd sometimes be asked why I don't run games at another store, or on another day of the week? I'm only one person, so to keep our schedule on track, I'll GM when it's convenient for me. Refer to my earlier post regarding each location needing someone to bite the bullet and organise gamedays. But early on I also realised that we were runninng four scenarios per month, while only two scenarios were published each month. It takes a while, but players do catch up, and then drop out, because there's not something to keep them engaged every week.

As our community has grown, we now run PFS sessions at two or three venues each week. Some of our new players are double-dipping, playing eight scenarios per month. At this rate, even with five years of back-catalogue, they're playing at four times the publish cycle, and when you add conventions in, will have hit the wall within 12 months.

Another problem we've found has been different players have played different scenarios, so when we schedule a range of scenarios each week, some tables are in demand, and others sit empty. We used to keep a spreadsheet of who has played what, but as our community grew it became too difficult to maintain.

What we've found works for us currently, is scheduling the same scenario across multiple tables at different venues in the same week. It gives players a choice of venue, but prevents double-dipping. This way, we know that particular scenario has been played out, and we can archive it for 18 months, until we've acquired another wave of new players. This only works if your GMs across different venues are involved in the planning and in cooperation with each other.

Last convention we ran a GM101 session, and starting next week, we're launching a formal slot-zero program for our new-recruit GMs. They'll each take turns preparing a new-release scenario, and run it for the others, with VC or VL or another veteran GM playing at the table.

After the game, time will be set aside for everyone to have an opportunity to look through the scenario and discuss and offer feedback. Thereby, our GMs each get to play new release scenarios before running them publicly for players at their various store locations the following week. I'm hoping this will lead to better prepared scenarios and encourage a closer support network between our GMs.

Lantern Lodge 4/5

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#1 requirement - Each location needs someone willing to bite the bullet and start organising gamedays and GMing sessions. Without someone to start things up, shout it out, and keep it going week after week, there's no event.

There are still cities without regularly scheduled, open-to-the-public PFS gamedays ... I know, hard to believe, right? If you're in one of those cities, first thing you need to do is download the Guide to Organised Play, and a few Scenarios, read up and approach your local game store, library or other suitable location.

That's exactly how many of our current Venture-Captains and Lieutenants got things started in their local areas, including myself. Build it, and they will come!

Lantern Lodge 4/5

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Yes, I play a First Worlder Summoner, originally for our Kingmaker campaign, but duplicated now for PFS play.

If you'll indulge me for a moment, here's my Summoner/Eidolon (Yeah, I've been watching some Brokeback Mountain and Sixth Sense).

Emmerson, felt there had to be more to life than the comfortable existence of a noble's son, and so left to explore the lands that his family laid claim to. That is where he met the charming, but simple Kobe, a Kellid fisher/hunter/trapper living off the land. They soon developed a closeness as you do when the only thing protecting you from the freezing winter nights, ever-hungry wolves and other dangers of the forest is a dependence on each other.

And so it was one frosty morning when the wolves caught the two unawares as they were packing up their campsite. Dropping everything where it lay, the two ran as fast as their feet would carry them to the nearby river where they knew the wolves wouldn't cross.

Finding a narrow stretch, Kobe leapt with all his strength to reach the opposite bank, hearing Emmerson panting close behind. But as he landed, he disturbed a nest of geese who flew in panic directly into Emmerson's path as he lept, throwing him completely off-aim, and he fell through the frozen crust of the river.

Kobe, not stopping to check if the wolves had given up their chase, scrambled down the bank to the ice, to pull his companion from the waters, but the waters had already washed him beneath the ice, where he was caught by a submerged branch. Using his hunters knife, Kobe desperately tried to break through the ice. Eventually, he was able to pull Emmerson's limp wet body from the river, and attempted to rescussitate him.

Several weeks later Kobe heads out with a group of other adventurers to defend an outlying trading post.

"So why have you taken on this mission again?"

"I dunno, really. Emmerson said reclaiming the Green belt was important".

"Yeah, this Emmerson, your travelling companion? Where is he, when can we meet him?"

"Emmerson can be kinda shy, but he should catch up with us shortly. Let me see if I can find him ..." Kobe stands and walks off into the forest.

About a minute later, Kobe returns with a figure lurching along a couple of feet behind. Clothes and hair all dripping wet, leaving puddles of water behind him. His skin pale and blue, almost translucent, and frost emmanating from his mouth with every breath. The travelling group exchange shocked, nervous glances at each other. Kobe and Emmerson take their seat on a log away from the fire.

"Damn, what happened to you? There are no rivers or lakes nearby, at least not within walking distance!" Korzan stands up walking toward Emmerson "here, take my blanket and sit closer the fire, or you'll catch your death of cold!"

Emmerson wraps his arms about himself and shivers "Nn..nn..oo, I am ff..ff..ine, you all the"

"But you're dripping wet!"

"He is not" Kobe replies with genuine bewilderment on his face. "If this some kind of joke, we don't appreciate it!" turns to his buddy "Don't listen to him, Emmerson."

Emmerson turns his head and suddenly vomits what appears to be a bucket or more of water from his lungs! Everyone leaps to their feet.

"Kobe! There's something seriously unhealthy about your friend!"

The Witch and the Wizard in the group turn to each other and speak in Elven so Kobe wouldn't hear "Do you have Detect Undead prepared?" "Nope, not me, how about you?" "Sorry, maybe tomorrow".

Kobe glares at the two. He doesn't understand Elven, and has no idea why, but he thought he recognised a word or two .. "Undead?"

"We don't have to put up with this rudeness! C'mon, Emmerson, I've already set up our tent, let's retire and see if any of their manners have returned by morning."

Before too long, the familiar sound of Kobe's snoring can be heard, and the sound of a splash, as Emmerson dematerialises leaving nothing behind but a pool of water.

Kobe genuinely believes he saved his buddy's life that fateful morning on the river. Whether by some fey trickery, or denial in his own mind, he still sees Emmerson as his living, breathing friend.

Emmerson uses the Undead model from Ultimate Magic starting with Undead Appearance and Unnatural Aura. Kobe has the First Worlder Summoner archetype applied from Inner Sea Magic. Emmerson's type changes to Fey (extraplanar), his hit dice drop from d10 to d6 - a serious nerf. Kobe has ranks in swim, Emmerson doesn't but he has developed gills since his transformation, allowing him to remain underwater indefinitely.

Something went horribly wrong on that cold winter's morning. Some strange fey influence not only returned Emmerson to some semblance of life, albeit a fey undead kind of life, but has also affected Kobe in ways he doesn't yet understand, such as now understanding the Sylvan language, and having creatures of the forest fight at his side.

We were having breakfast at a cafe before our first Kingmaker session, and were talking about our characters and the campaign. Someone asked what deities each of us followed? I hadn't given it much thought, but I had read from the player's guide that Gyronna and Hanspur were local dieties that held some influence in the region. My only knowledge of Hanspur was the boat named "Hanspur's Luck" from the scenario Perils of the Pirate Pact, so I knew Hanspur had some association with rivers in the River Kingdoms, so I thought that might be appropriate.

Imagine my horror when Deluge looked up Hanspur on his iPhone wrote:

Legends claim he was a priest of Gozreh who was drowned by a traveling companion then raised by Gozreh as a guardian of the waterways.

Hanspur is considered to be a forbidden God and his worship is banned in many nations because of one of his faiths rituals. His worshippers travel with a lone companion and then one night drown them in the Sellen river, their gods domain. The legends of Hanspur's beginning may explain why Hanspur demands observance of this morbid ritual.

OMG! I could never have written a more fitting character background if I had tried! But now all the players think Kobe deliberately murdered Emmerson in Hanspur's name! Nothing could be further from the truth :-( Well, it makes for some great roleplaying!

I set myself a few guidelines when building Kobe and Emmerson. I wanted to portray them as regular hunting buddies - most players think Kobe is a Ranger, as that's how I've skilled and equipped him, though they're not too sure what to make of Emmerson. We look out for each other, fighting together, and provide each other flanks. Neither Kobe nor Emmerson have stats above 16, the Eidolon stats don't compensate for my Summoner's weaknesses, nothing game-breaking here, just some really cool (if disturbingly creepy) roleplay flavour!

We both have the Fey Foundling feat, +2 per dice on healing, +1 damage from cold iron weapons. This also helps to offset the Eidolon's hit-dice drop due to First Worlder Summoner archetype.

Lantern Lodge 4/5

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Congratulations, Chris, that's quite some achievement.

Doug Miles wrote:

I have no evidence to point to, but I think for a lot of 5-Stars there's a general 'drive' to 150 sessions and then a 'coast' afterwards. I bet there aren't more than 6 GMs out there who have hit 300 sessions. Past a milestone like the 5th Star, there aren't many ways to stand out. I think Chris is exceptional because he has both longevity and principles. He's been a PFS member since the outset and he's always been committed to not only improving himself, but encouraging others to do the same. So I see Michael's point about 'Are we really starting to celebrate the post-Five-Star milestones?' On the other hand, it's inspiring to see who's out there walking the walk--even if the scoreboard is frozen.

While I don't think I'm "coasting", I think a few things happen once you pass 150 games (or 230 games) that you're now part of a much larger community with more gamedays, conventions, travel, tables, players and GMs to coordinate. Some of these GMs have aspirations of their own. Many times now, I've wanted to run a favourite scenario for a group of new players, but thought, you know what? let GM Fred run this one, he's keen and he'll enjoy it! :-)

I'm still GMing far more than I play, and GMs like Chris definitely inspire me to aim towards 300, but helping other GMs reach their potential and sometimes handing the script to someone new also has its own rewards.

Lantern Lodge 4/5

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