Old-Mage Jatembe

Gary D Norton's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber. FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. Starfinder Society GM. 30 posts. 6 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 26 Organized Play characters.


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Mikko Kallio wrote:
Gary, the platform is 15 feet higher than the PC's starting area. I'm aware this means the PCs are unlikely to see much of the hierarch unless we assume the jinsul and PCs are both very tall. However, I don't think that should get in the way of things.. if you think it's too much to ignore, move the hierarch closer to the PCs before it start talking if that makes more sense to you.

Mikko, I ran the scenario yesterday (without a lot of opportunity for you to respond prior to running the scenario). We played low tier, barely, with a 7-player party (three 9th level, three 8th level, and a 7th level).

I decided to place the platform 5' high to facilitate the conversation. A 5' platform does make the stairs seem odd. In tier 7-10, I expect the majority of the PCs to have flight capability to easily access the platform.

The PCs decided to try the Stealth route to approach the command center. The 9th level technomancer cast Invisibility on 5 of the 7 PCs. Since the journey only takes 5 minutes, they still had 3-4 minutes remaining on the Invisibility spells.

As a result, the Hierarch only sees two PCs and is quite astonished to see such a small group and insults the PCs. I gave the invisible PCs a round (2 move actions) to move their characters. Then I rolled the Hierarch's perception against the Stealth rolls (including the +20 bonus for invisibility); the Hierarch noticed the PCs presence and that precipitated combat. Sadly, the Hierarch went last in the initiative order and died before getting a chance to act (suffering from 3 operative trick attacks and arcing surge).

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In the Jinsul Command Center (area C), the map suggests that the jinsul and statue are on a raised platform. Additionally, the description of the stairs counting as difficult terrain adds to that concept.

However, I don't see any description of the height of the platform. Can you clarify? [Note: If the platform is too high, then Hierarch Kraaton and the PCs cannot see each other to even have the conversation alluded to in the Creatures section.]

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I also ask that Reputation be tracked with Starting/Gained/Final spaces. The two-space format in Starfinder has not worked; many times, I find players & GMs haven't been tracking reputation at all. Please make it easy so everyone can do it correctly.

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It works if you enter the event ID in the search bar:
Event ID Tier
15735 Level 5-6 Soldier
15736 Level 7-8 Soldier
15737 Level 10-11 Soldier
15738 Level 12-13 Soldier
15739 Level 15-16 Soldier
15744 Level 5-6 Champion
15742 Level 7-8 Champion
15741 Level 10-11 Champion
15743 Level 12-13 Champion
15740 Level 15-16 Champion

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This problem seems to come out of nowhere. In scenario 1-28, it seems that the Master of Stars is just about ready for service.

It Rests Beneath wrote:
The repairs to the Master of Stars are almost complete, and although a few rings of scaffolding remain visible around sections of the ship, its armor-plated hull, powerful engines, and sleek lines are almost complete.

One possibility, I suppose, is that they took the Master of Stars out of dock (after 1-28) and then discovered that the old drift engine doesn't work.

Even so, I don't understand why a specialized Gideron Authority drift engine is required (other than to get the plot moving for 1-37) when Pact Worlds engines should suffice. Perhaps we'll get an explanation in a future scenario.

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Thurston Hillman wrote:
Under review (wow, weekend) because I have some reservations about a particular boon that I don't necessarily want people to access by GMing a Tier 1-4 table of the interactive. This might be something that gets a unique call-out in the special. But I'll figure that out when I'm back in the office.

I recommend against gating a boon behind the tier that is run. That is bound to cause issues when GMs don't get to choose their tier. (For both Origins and GenCon, I was assigned a tier.)

As an alternative, you could place the boon behind another gate such as being a 2-Nova GM (for example). [I see this as similar to limiting a race boon until a specific faction reputation tier is reached.]

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Ticketing is similar to GenCon (both in format and pricing).

I like what they do for generics. They use tokens (similar in size to OPF boon tokens) and each token is worth $2. If you buy too many tokens, you can exchange them for full value at the end of the convention.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

As long as I have people, how flat/hilly is the area? I may be walking to the hotel and whatnot and "seeing eye donkey" to carry my geek bag doesn't fly well with the bus.

The immediate area around the convention center is flat and easy to navigate. It is similar to the area around the Indiana Convention Center.

I recommend Origins to all of my PFS/SFS friends. There's a large enough OPF presence to participate in a lot of games but small enough that you can get to know people over the duration of the convention.

Additionally, Origins is large enough to have a large exhibition hall with lots of opportunities to try out other games (if you want to).

I strongly recommend getting advance tickets as it takes some time to non-ticketed people to get seated.

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Actually, Thursty correctly listed the map that is used. Unfortunately, the scenario labels the map incorrectly.

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How about Player Points (since GMs are players as well)? Then would could, in the short term, use PPP (Pathfinder Player Points) and SPP (Starfinder Player Points).

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GM Ewok, you did well to get 1-34 five times. I wish that I had that schedule.

1-34 is a very interesting and complex scenario. If you can possibly run it prior to PaizoCon, I strongly recommend that you do so. You'll benefit from the practice.

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FRIDAY
Friday AM (7:45 am – 1 pm): SFS 1-16 (Dreaming of the Future)
Friday Noon (12:45 pm – 6 pm): Free
Friday PM (6:45 pm – 12 am): SFS 1-16 (Dreaming of the Future)
Friday Overnight: Sleep

SATURDAY
Saturday AM (7:45 am – 1 pm): SFS 1-38 (The Many Minds of Historia-7)
Saturday Noon & Evening: Going into downtown Seattle with my wife
Saturday Overnight: Sleep

Sunday AM (7:45 am – 1 pm): SFS 1-36 (Enter the Ashen Asteroid)
Sunday Noon (12:45 pm – 6 pm): Off
Sunday PM (6:45 pm – 12 am): PFS Special (levels 5-8)
Sunday Overnight: Sleep

Monday AM (7:45 am – 1 pm): SFS 1-36 (Enter the Ashen Asteroid)
Note: 5-Nova Observation game presided by Hilary Moon Murphy

I am also looking for other Venture-Captains who are willing to preside over another 5-Nova observation game in any of my other SFS slots. Please PM me if you are interested.

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The Origins Game Fair Event Grid is showing Tier 11-12 for the special (2-00 Fate of the Scoured God) on June 16th (Sunday) instead of June 15th (Saturday). (The time is correct, only the day is incorrect.)

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Jack Brown wrote:
Gary Bush wrote:
Gary D Norton wrote:

I don't have any time either before or after PaizoCon. I do have time before and after Origins. I also have time before and after GenCon.

I will be at GenCon and would be available. I do have experience with Starfinder.

But I will be jealous the whole time. :)

I will also be at GenCon. :)

And available at some point.

For GenCon, I am flying in on Tuesday (scheduled to arrive 5:08 PM). I set Wednesday aside for bonus gaming. In the past, I have gone to Scotty's, but sadly that is no longer an option.

I would be delighted to run a Starfinder game or two on Wednesday for Gary & Jack & others.

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I am not advocating that the standard be someone you "know". For example, I know Jack. I went to his house last year for the pre-SkalCon get-together. However, we are not friends. We do not game together regularly (or at all). Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable that Jack observe my 5-Nova game.

I acknowledge that my standard is idealistic to some extent. The reason for the standard is to allow the Venture-Captain to be completely honest in their assessment, especially if the prospective GM deserves to be failed. That is much harder to do if the prospective GM is a friend or someone you game with regularly.

Just increasing the requirement from one Venture-Captain to three Venture-Captains is going to make it more difficult for prospective GMs. Ideas #2 and #4 are attempts to make it easier to sync up GMs with Venture-Captains. I encourage feedback on my other ideas (since it seems like we are stuck on who the GMs know).

Another possibility, as mentioned up-thread is for online or PbP gaming. I am personally not interested in either of those options, but I am also fortunate to be able to travel to conventions outside my area. Others may need to use those options.

I encourage feedback. It may well be that the community doesn't like any of my ideas and I can live with that. But I felt strongly that we needed to have a conversation about it.

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Certification of 5-Nova/Glyph GMs is something I take pretty seriously. I’ve worked for decades in jobs that require certification and I would like to share my thoughts on this matter.
Going to three evaluation games requires more planning and coordination than we previously had for one evaluation game. For my 5-Star evaluation, my local Venture-Captain emailed me when we I was getting close and we arranged for an evaluation game at an upcoming convention. That was pretty easy, but the job of finding two more evaluation games will require a lot more effort (especially for GMs in regions without other nearby Venture-Captains).
#1) A Venture-Captain performing the Observation role should not be someone who are friends with or regularly play together with GM under observation. They should be an independent reviewer.
Taking Hilary’s example posted above, I applaud the role that Jack, Keith, and Jon had in mentoring Hilary. Kudos to Hilary for accepting the constructive criticism in an effort to become a better GM. However, I find it inappropriate for Jack, Keith, or Jon to perform that evaluation since they are invested in the outcome. Prospective GMs should not be cherry-picking their observation Venture-Captains.
#2) We should incentivize the Venture-Captains in some way for performing observation games.
We need Venture-Captains to perform this function for GMs that they do not know. But they are forgoing other opportunities to observe the GM. I propose that Venture-Captains be given volunteer credit (as if they were GMing) when they formally observe a game at a convention. This gives the convention organizer a resource that they can use since a Venture-Captain should be able to volunteer for observation games in a manner similar to volunteering to run PFS (either 1E or 2E) and SFS events.
For observation games outside of a convention, perhaps we could have some sort of boon that the Venture-Captain would receive (though I have no idea what boon would be attractive to the Venture-Captains).
#3) The Venture-Captain should have reasonable familiarity with the game system under observation.
While I believe a large portion of evaluating a GM falls under generic GM skills, there is still a portion that is system specific. Otherwise, there is no point in requiring a GM to re-certify for different systems. I propose that an observation Venture-Captain must have a 2-Nova/Glyph level in the game system. That should be enough for a Venture-Captain to have a reasonable working knowledge of the rules set and what it takes to prepare a game in that system without necessarily being an expert.
#4) We should have some form of clearing house to pair up GMs and Venture-Captains.
Some people, as part of their regular life, travel to different areas. This could prove very helpful for helping GMs get their observation games. It is certainly possible that a traveling GM could contact a Venture-Captain in the area that the GM is traveling to, but I don’t know that there’s any way for a Venture-Captain to look to see if there is a prospective GM where they are traveling to.
#5) We should simplify to a simple Pass/Fail system
I am concerned about requiring GMs to Exceed Expectations in one or more areas. I expect a lot of table variation in determining whether the GM’s behavior is meets or exceeds. Additionally, do we really want to penalize prospective 5-Nova/Glyph GMs who are merely competent but not exceptional?

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I don't have any time either before or after PaizoCon. I do have time before and after Origins. I also have time before and after GenCon.

I asked for help since I expect some difficulty in finding some Venture-Captains. I expect that many are volunteering. I expect that many want to play high-level PFS (1E) games with friends they've made over the years.

In the past year, I traveled to seven out-of-area conventions with the goal of meeting and playing with new people. But I didn't really make new friends; that's not something that comes easily for me.

One difficulty is that the Venture-Officers tend to GM a lot of games at the smaller conventions; alternatively, they are busy with convention organizing duties. So we don't really get an opportunity to play games together.

As a result, I don't have particular Venture-Captains that I'm looking for.

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How do I go about obtaining Venture-Captain observation at a large convention?

I am volunteering at both PaizoCon and Origins this year and would like to obtain my three Venture-Captain observations at those events.

I should reach 150 tables by the end of PaizoCon. I should have 50 unique scenarios at or shortly after Origins. I have run 1-99 six times and 1-00 seven times; I am unclear on whether or not I have met the 10 specials requirement.

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GM Hmm wrote:
Yes, you have not run for me yet, Glenn! We'll have to work something out on that sometime! But here's the weirdness... Although I'm an active Starfinder GM, I'm far behind you in Starfinder experience. It seems odd that the first few people that I may be mentoring through Novas and Glyphs will likely have skills and experience that far exceeds my own in those campaigns. Yes, I'm a quality GM. But if I do an Observation game, you'll be more likely to be mentoring me than the reverse!

Hilary, I think you are fully qualified to judge a 5-Nova game session.

As a 5-Star GM, you already know what it takes to manage everything outside the scope of the rules set (preparation, managing the table, handling disruptive players, reporting, etc.).

As a 2-Nova GM, you have enough experience in the Starfinder system to provide a quality-control check on the GM's Starfinder rules knowledge. I don't expect anyone to have perfect rules knowledge, but an observation game should give provide ample evidence about the GM's general knowledge of the rules.

My concern lies with a V-C who doesn't have some reasonable experience with the game system that the prospective GM is attempting to qualify for; that V-C won't be in a position to judge rules knowledge of the system by the GM.

I think this is an area that will grow more problematic as the number of game systems increases (especially if OPF expands beyond Paizo games).

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The chase seems like it could be exciting. I like the idea of the horde of jinsul trying a grab one of the characters.

Once a character is grabbed, the rest of the group needs to do sufficient damage to the horde (15 or 30 hit points of damage depending on tier), but I don't see values for EAC or KAC. Are characters assumed to automatically hit? Should area of effect weapons do extra damage (similar to a swarm's vulnerability)?

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James Hargrave wrote:

So page 14 lists the following:

"Damaging, but not destroying, isn't enough to prevent the lock mechanism from engaging again later, as described in the Creature section on page XX"

I can't seem to find that...is it actually the same page or the page after? I'm being blind as usual...

The text should refer to page 16 (subtier 3-4) and/or page 17 (subtier 5-6). The relevant text is under the Security Robot's Environmental Control special ability.

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Dennis Muldoon wrote:
Thanks Gary, that's what I was looking for. I wish they would include these things in the stat blocks. Sounds like it's basically the same as the PC version (Combat Tracking). Does it persist after the round, the way Combat Tracking does, or does it require a move action every turn?

Dennis, I use it in the same way that a PC's Combat Tracking ability works (i.e., persists until changing a target). I don't see any reason that the NPC version would be hampered. From my perspective, this is a simplified version of the PC ability and should function the same unless otherwise stated.

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Dennis Muldoon wrote:
Can someone point me to what the 'Target Tracking' ability is that Bargai has at tier 3-4? Is that the exocortex mechanic Combat Tracking ability (move action to designate target, then treat BAB as mechanic level vs that target)? I'm having trouble finding anything listed as 'Target Tracking'

I believe the intent is to use the Mechanic Special Rules presented in Alien Archive (page 138). Target Tracking has shown up a couple of times in previous Starfinder Society scenarios.

For a mechanic creature with an exocortex, add target tracking at CR 1 (see below), wireless hack at CR 5, twin tracking at CR 10, multitasking at CR 15, and quad tracking at CR 20.

Target Tracking (Ex): As a move action, this NPC can designate and track a single foe, gaining a +2 bonus to attack rolls against that target. Use this same bonus for twin tracking and quad tracking.

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I am taking Jack's cue and withdrawing from this discussion.

It was never my intent to call your honesty into question. I apologize for my poor choice of words that led to that conclusion.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:


Adventuring is dangerous and resources are not infinite is not making anything up. Accusing me of dishonesty for saying that is neither sensible, acceptable, or a reasonable counterpoint. Taking the time to deal with it is a reasonable decision. Telling players that their scientist characters are not scientists is not.

I agree that adventuring can be dangerous and resources are not infinite. My argument is that making a decision now is not warranted based on the current known facts.

If no decision is made now, then relevant scientific organizations can decide if they want to send some of their finite resources to study this unique organism. It is certainly possible that no one has those resources. Even if the scientific community decides that the greater good is to euthanize or inhibit the organism, then there are decades to find appropriate resources to send in a team.

If the decision is made now, then the Starfinder team has made the decision for the rest of the Pact Worlds. Making this decision now assumes that the team has all of the relevant information to make an informed decision. However, this isn't a straight-forward choice (like replacing additional parts while you are repairing an engine).

Your argument appears to be that because something bad could possibly occur (without any specific facts to support that assertion) that action must be taken now. I don't see any evidence to support that position; I'm certainly willing to entertain any evidence that you wish to supply. [It is not my intention to call you dishonest. But, perhaps, you are a bit zealous in defending that viewpoint.]

Regarding scientific characters, I am saying that there is a distinction between exercising scientific knowledge (occurring in every SFS scenario) and performing the hard slow work of scientific research (which does not make for compelling storytelling). The Star Trek franchise, for example, has had a number of very smart science officers who are often called upon to make quick decisions that matter. While they are not engaged in long-term scientific inquiry, their actions are still important and meaningful. If a character wants to take Profession: Scientist (or similar field), then I'm happy to consider their character to be a scientist.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

It's not merely inconvenient. I know that it seems a bit skipped over because it's an every day occurrence to starfinders but between drift accidents, travel accidents, rapelling accidents, and monsters eating you doing the adventure twice is the kind of thing you want to avoid if you want to keep your field agents alive. Just because you went down here once and all you found were giant crayfish doesn't mean that the next field team isn't going to be eaten by whatever eats the giant crayfish if they have to come back.

Now you are just making up data to support your conclusion. You're right that this is fiction and anything can happen. But you don't know that the situation will get worse on the return trip; the situation could remain fairly static for centuries. Two can play at this game (of making up data).

Imagine: The respiratory system begins collapsing. Suddenly, the PCs are in a race against time to escape before being permanently trapped inside (insert skill checks to escape).

Imagine: We discover the hard way that there was a unknown symbiosis between the planet and Big Mina. Now the planet is no longer hospitable to the natives and world is now doomed.

Taking action can often be worse than taking no action. Science Fiction plots are full of unintended consequences from ill-conceived actions.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Gary D Norton wrote:


While many Starfinder Society field agents have scientific training, they are adventurers and not scientists.

..that the entire point of the society is to have adventurer scientists specifically to DO this sort of thing. Yes. Many starfinder agents ARE in fact scientists doing field work. They are capable of and qualified to carry out these kinds of operations and thats why the society sends them along with the beatsticks.

Quote:
A scientist would settle on Vabaimus with Dr. Motressi for years or decades to study this unique creature.
and its a bit of a thing in fiction that studies and experiments are done much MUCH more quickly than in real life. (maybe the scanners are really good...

It is a common SF trope that the heroes apply science to solve an urgent and critical crisis. However, that is not the case here; nothing is urgent. Applying scientific knowledge in a crunch doesn't mean you are performing good science.

Conversely, Starfinder Society scenarios have shown multiple instances of real scientists performing the slow hard work of real science (as opposed to adventurer science that needs to be completed within an episode). We already have evil scientists (Frozen Trove), archeologists on Eox, and Dr. Montressi's team.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Gary D Norton wrote:
It has always felt to me like a bad choice to even consider making. The characters know (or can know) that it will take hundreds or thousands of years for the organism to finish consuming the planet; there is no need to make a hurried decision. Wouldn't it be much better to give scientists time to study both the planet and the organism instead of making a rash decision? The only good answer I see is to leave it alone (for now). Any other decision is simply reckless.

Depends on your group. If you have 5 vesk soldiers then yeah, going back 30 lightyears to fitch, hashing it out, and having her send a team of biologists 30 lightyears back to the planet, fly them out to the rock, have them rappel down into the cave, fight off the carrion crawlers, and then take out the pituitary is probably the best course of action.

But if you ARE the biologist they would send anyway , you've already flown 30 lightyears out, driven out to the rock, rappelled down the side of the cave, fought off the carrion crawlers .. you're already there you may as well finish the job rather than doing it twice.

It sounds like you are justifying irreparable harm to a unique creature (the only one known to exist) that provides no immediate threat on the basis that is would be inconvenient to return later.

You are completely ignoring the scientific interest in learning more about this unique organism. (I'm aghast that Dr. Motressi would even suggest such a rush to judgment when ample time is available to make a more informed decision.)

While many Starfinder Society field agents have scientific training, they are adventurers and not scientists. A scientist would settle on Vabaimus with Dr. Motressi for years or decades to study this unique creature.

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It has always felt to me like a bad choice to even consider making. The characters know (or can know) that it will take hundreds or thousands of years for the organism to finish consuming the planet; there is no need to make a hurried decision. Wouldn't it be much better to give scientists time to study both the planet and the organism instead of making a rash decision? The only good answer I see is to leave it alone (for now). Any other decision is simply reckless.

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John Compton wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

The scenario actually uses a map from Map Pack: Village (not Village Sites).

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Fromper wrote:

I've still got 4 more seats available at all 3 of the PFS tables I'm playing:

1. Thursday afternoon 9-01 with Wei Ji the Learner (not sure which subtier)
2. Friday night special subtier 3-4 with another friend of mine
3. Saturday night special subtier 3-4 with the same friend as the other special

I'll play with you on Friday and Saturday night.