I'm a children's librarian who regularly runs gaming programs. I am not incredibly familiar with what's out there for PF, but Monte Cook Games has a great product called "No Thank You, Evil," that has some good advice for running games for kids - even if you don't use that rules system (I think it's a variation of their Cypher System).
I think anything you do would need to be modified based on the children. I have run for groups of kids that wanted to commit no acts of violence. Then I had a group containing an adorable 4 year-old who wanted to go murder hobo on surrendering goblins.
You just never know.
I went ahead and took the plunge and ordered the Core Rulebook and Bestiary. I'm glad I did. They're a joy to read, beautifully produced. I wasn't on board after the playtest, but I'm definitely curious to give it a try now. Thanks for the advice.
If I did have a gripe from the cursory look at the Bestiary, I feel that NPCs are a crucial part of the game that should've been included. I am aware that the Gamemastery Guide will address this, but I feel that guards, bandits, etc., are such a core part of any GM's arsenal that they should've been included in the Bestiary.
I'm coming from a group that has been mostly following 5E for years, though we've occasionally played other systems, including Call of Cthulhu and Savage Worlds.
A subset of my group and I tried the playtest for PF2E (as well as a few convention playtests), and we found it not exactly to our liking. I'm aware that the final version has been released, but it's going to be a tough sell to the group to try it after the bad experiences they had with the playtest.
So buying the core book and bestiary isn't really an option at this stage until I get some group buy-in.
Is the SRD enough to play the game?
Also, are there any good starter adventures? I wouldn't mind shelling out a little for a PDF for an adventure if it's a good experience. (I heard the demo adventure recently released doesn't do the system justice. And that it's not really a "system-seller.")
Thanks in advance!
I'll state my bias up front: I don't like the resonance system. While I understand what you're trying to address, it's merely putting a bandage on the wound. There's a deeper mechanical issue with the game that I think would be better addressed by removing the dependence on magic items.
Our group's appraisal is that Paizo has changed too much for Pathfinder fans and not enough for gamers who have left PF for other games. There's so much obvious streamlining that could be done to simplify play or even to allow for more meaningful depth in other places.
My friends and I played Lost Star today (I GMed). I'll try to find more specific threads to comment about the specific issues we had, but for now, here's our general observations.
First, we had 2 players that each controlled 2 characters (goblin monk, half-orc alchemist, dwarf druid, and halfling ranger). [We couldn't find 4 players on short notice and wanted to get the playtest started in earnest.]
After three combats, the characters were spent on nearly all resources and HP. We found that they would have to rest for several days to recover HP naturally - so the druid spent all healing spells to get them up to speed and then they rested again. [Perhaps a quicker recovery of HP during rest would help?]
The game dragged on pretty long. Granted we were not familiar with the new rules, but we were looking up stuff all the time. We had to get the rulebook out on nearly every turn. The dying condition was confusing, even after reading it a few times.
Counting diagonal movement slowed the pace. (Full disclosure - we're predominantly 5e D&D players.) Firing past other party members and enemies was a little confusing - "blocking" and "screening" seemed like similar concepts and got swapped around.
Could just be me. I was a little confused if conditions stacked. Like if a character was poisoned and then got poisoned again by a second attack - did that move him to a second stage of the poison (I ruled it did not).
I also was confused about shield proficiency. Do you also add proficiency bonus like you do with armor proficiency? (One player argued that you do not. It actually did not come up in play, as no one used a shield.)
We had a TPK in the final boss fight, but it was a close one. Additional healing resources would've helped. (The group found none of the healing treasure items.)
Overall, the players liked character creation and thought the whole game experience was an improvement over PF 1e. It was still slower than 5e and it seemed a little over-concerned with minutiae. (We have played some crunchy games including Shadowrun and 4e. This somehow seemed more bogged down.) There are many conditions to keep up with, weapon traits, different critical failure and success effects for most actions - and it's unlikely players will be able to remember them, so you will always have to refer to the rulebook.
Some of the design and layout choices didn't work for us. The icons for what kind of activation and the number needed were a little hard to read. (Just writing out "2 actions" would be sufficient instead of looking for two red boxes slightly stacked over each other.) Also, having to flip through hundreds of pages to find relevant information really slowed the pace. For example, having the death and dying rules on a page, then needing to look at a chart of sample DCs to find what the recovery DC should be was inconvenient. (Perhaps just have the DC be 10+ the monster's attack bonus?)
Anyway, I probably rambled enough here. Just wanted to post while everything was fresh.
I am planning to run a weekly event at the LGS. I am using the pregenerated iconics for players who do not have their own characters. The iconics are presented at 1st, 7th, and 12th levels.
Is there a quick rule of thumb to convert - on the fly - a character from 1st to 3rd level or so? I think I have read it before somewhere.
So I am meeting with the owner of the LGS in a couple of days to discuss the future of PFS at his store. I've run 3 games on a trial basis to great success (having to turn away players so many want to play).
He has reimbursed me for the cost of downloading the three scenarios.
He thinks that to continue doing this could be an extra expense on his business with little payoff. His experience is that gamers don't buy product (and he's right). Most of the players at PFS are sharing rulebooks or buying PDFs from Paizo (which is not bad - but it doesn't help the LGS).
So I suggested a fee of $1 per player to cover the expense of the adventure. He thinks that will kill the program - what do you think?
How do other places handle this?
I know this is a strange topic, but I hope you'll see the purpose after reading my post.
I have GMed three biweekly PFS sessions at my local gaming store. The game has been a huge hit already. We had 7 players last time, and I had to turn away three others.
Sounds good so far, right?
1) Well, the owner of the gaming store hates that I am turning away players (and I do too). I am the only GM willing to run PFS who has volunteered at the LGS.
2) With the hours I work and the hours of operation for the LGS, it is a challenge to find hours they are open long enough to allow the 4-5 hour sessions required for PFS.
3) Over half of the players are completely new to Pathfinder (and tabletop RPGs in general). The regimented nature of PFS sometimes seems a rude awakening to them.
4) Some of the players have refused to register their characters for PFS.
So allow me to ask: Is it necessary that I should run PFS? It seems that many of the complications I have come from the PFS format. Considering that we are having mostly the same players week after week, would it be better to have a regular campaign?
So the first session of the new campaign no one else was willing to take the obligatory cleric, so it fell to me. [The player who had originally planned to take the cleric had to drop out of the campaign due to changes at work.]
8th level; 20 point buy; 33,000 gp worth of equipment. I raced make a character so the group could begin play and I ended up with an effective healer: Healing and Protection Domains, Extra Channel, Selective Channel, and a Phylactery of Positive Channeling to do +2d6 on channel bursts.
Unfortunately, with the exception of decent HP and AC, this guy is a dud in combat effectiveness. He's a cure wand on legs, and compared to the character (that I now cannot play)I had obsessively designed for weeks before the game, he's a boring, one trick pony ("heal my comrades").
We are facing monsters that he cannot hope to hit with his paltry +9 attack bonus, dealing a pathetic 1d8+3 damage against creatures with DR two times higher than his average damage. In the only fight of the session, I stood behind the barbarian and healed him every round while he chopped away on a demon.
I am a much more active player than that. I want to think strategically, do creative things, and accomplish something in the encounter. Being able to do only one type of thing will become incredibly boring in very short order.
So what is your advice? How do you keep clerics from becoming boring heal-bots?
Okay, so I am pretty new at organized play in general and PFS in specific. Let's say that out of a table of 6 players, I have only 2-3 who actually want to register and advance a PFS. The others might be casual gamers who just dropped in or even repeat attendees who don't want to be troubled to register.
1) Is the table still considered legal with 2 registered players if the others will not register?
2) What do I do with players who refuse to register and keep coming back?
I'm working on next week's adventure. There will be a complication against sleeping that may activate a curse on several party members.
I can find no rules about sleep being necessary in the Core Rulebook for any class other than a wizard (who needs 8 hours to prepare spells) [but since there is no wizard in the party it is kind of a moot point.]
The best reference I could find is under the Endurance feat, which states that a character who sleeps in heavier than light armor (without the feat) is fatigued the next day. So I would assume that a character who gets no sleep at all should be at the least fatigued the next day?
It seems that there is no need for sleep at all from a spellcasting point of view (except for the wizard).
Should there be saving throws or skill checks to stay awake for long periods of time?
Is anyone aware of an official ruling on the subject?
Back in the glory days of 3.5 there were numerous modules from great companies like Necromancer Games (Tomb of Abysthor), Green Ronin (Freeport), Goodman Games (Dungeon Crawl Classics), in addition to some of the good WotC adventures such as Sunless Citadel and Red Hand of Doom.
After a stint of running 4E and other various systems, I'm trying to get (back) in to Pathfinder. I am running an Adventure Path for my regular group (Legacy of Fire, if you're interested), but I'm also looking for shorter, self-contained,and more straight-forward adventures to run for pick-up games, things to run on off-weeks, etc.
So where are the good ones these days? Are there any companies (Paizo or otherwise) that are making great, more bite-sized adventures in the spirit of the classic 32 page adventures of yore? I noticed that the spiritual successor of Necromancer Games, Frog God Games, is producing mostly massive $100 adventures, and that Goodman and Green Ronin are not making Pathfinder compatible products.
I have looked at a couple of Paizo's Pathfinder Modules, but they seem to not get the praise the Adventure Paths do, as far as being truly excellent. (Not a jab at Paizo ... just wondering where to begin.)
So I'm looking for an AP to run for my group. And it's pretty specific. The group doesn't work well with groups, patrons, etc. (they tend to make enemies and let people down or just assume that their sponsors will 'take care of the problem themselves')
We have already played through most of Kingmaker, as well.
The last complication: one of the players is recently widowed (several months ago). She really wants to get back into gaming with us. Out of sensitivity,I'd like to avoid Paths with themes of undeath, death cults, etc. A few zombie fights are okay, but something like Age of Worms probably is not.
So I am contemplating starting a new adventure path. I am wanting one where the PCs are kind of "on their own" because the group has a habit of messing things up, not taking responsibility, etc.
We tried Shackled City, and it fell apart after about the 4th adventure. Shattered Star took 1.5 sessions into the 1st adventure before the group angered every group in the campaign, completely botched every mission, etc.
I have the 1st adventures already for AoW, ST, and Jade Regent (though that one doesn't really appeal to me).
Which one is more "you guys are on your own to take care of this" themed? Or is there a gem of an adventure path for this theme that I'm missing?
So the group went in to the ruined building to recover the first shard and chaos ensued. The group ended up appealing to Natalya's pride and bluffed their way in to an audience with her. The group's fighter tried to pommel her into unconsciousness with his greatsword - thinking he could drop her in a surprise round. Unfortunately, he did not succeed. The rest of the group, in trying to keep up with the charade, turned and attacked the fighter with lethal damage, nearly killing him.
Everything is a mess. The group ended up fleeing the ruined structure. They completely gave away to Natalya that the Pathfinders are looking for her. Perhaps worse of all, they no longer trust each other and the Pathfinders are ticked off.
They also threatened the Scarzni and brought them down on them as well.
How to salvage the campaign? Should Natalya run off and have to get tracked down again? Should the Pathfinders pull their support (at least temporarily)? I want them to learn that there are consequences to their failure (especially when it is because they do not work together).
They started with characters from the Beginner Box - which I think does not have the +1 BAB requirement for Weapon Focus. Obviously, he is mixing and matching with some stuff from the Core Rules now and the Advanced Player's Guide. I don't know if I should say to him (considering he's already Mr. Grumpy Pants about Pathfinder) "it's all Beginner Box or Core Rules - no mix n' match."
I think he's also trying to show the "gloriousness" of 4E's healing surges by nerfing his cleric's healing capacity.
I really don't care one way or another what system to use, but the group voted and Pathfinder beat out 4E (and we've played both). I just want all of the players to be positive about it or stay home.
It's not that I don't know how to challenge him. I can hit him with all incoporeal monsters, swarms, spells, etc. I'm just wondering what I should throw against him in a typical fight. Are we looking at monsters with +6 or +8 BAB for a reasonable challenge to hit.
And to answer the question above, the players are enjoying it, but I am not enjoying the AP due to not being able to challenge the players appropriately. I feel like the encounters are jokes.
Str 18 AC 19 melee: war hammer +5 d8+4 (x3)
Domain: toil (artifice)
Ok. I have a 1st ldievel cleric who has a 19 AC who has sacrificed his Wis and Cha for great defense. He is played by a guy who greatly prefers 4e and continuously points out the disparity between classes in combat ability. It feels like he is deliberately trying to "break" the system.
So I am a long time DM/GM (20 years) but have taken a year or so off the hobby, and prior to that had not had a successful game for a few years. Finally we have gotten some new blood into the gaming group, and I'm going to try to run Pathfinder.
So I picked up the first couple volumes of the Shattered Star AP. I have a potentially large group coming to play. A few of those players are new to Pathfinder (and d20 in general).
We're starting with character creation using the Beginner Box this Sunday. I might try to run them through a few of the beginning scenes of Shattered Star ... or maybe a couple of test combats so they can get their feet wet.
Any advice you can give ... either about Shattered Star or in general about getting this group excited and having fun (several of the longtime members of the group - myself included - are just now trying to overcome some recent personal tragedies, which is part of the reason this is seeming so challenging to me).
Hi. First, I'm really excited to announce that my old gaming group from college is reuniting! (Yay for me.)
In our individual groups, splintered across several cities, we each have played several of the APs: Shackled City, Rise of the Runelords, Council of Thieves, and Carrion Crown.
I'm looking for the one to try next. It's not essential for it to be PF (I can convert from 3.5), but it would be great if I can purchase print copies.
I did pick up the first volume of Jade Regent, and I was a little disappointed that it seemed to have a long "wait period" to get to the "good stuff." It seemed from the outline that the first several adventures are just collecting information before the party gets to the exotic locales and really experiences the adventure.
So I'd like an AP that starts off really strong.
Any good sources for pregenerated characters? I need some 6th or 7th level characters with appropriate wealth/magic items ASAP for an impromptu game. Don't have time to make the characters (and neither do the players) since I will also have to create the adventure. I have less than a week or so to get it all together (and I'm very busy on top of it).
I know that some of the Adventure Path modules have pregens. I have the Kingmaker series, but the pregens are "weird" (druid, monk, dwarven ranger, etc.) I want pretty standard, pick up and play type characters.
Thanks in advance.
This Saturday I ran the Beginner Box Bash adventures at my FLGS. Things did not go that well. Out of the four adventures we had the following results: a good fight, a run-away impossible fight, and two TPKs.
Ultimately, two of the four players were soured on Pathfinder from the experience of playing the adventures; (the other two were diehard Pathfinder fans seeking to meet new players.)
Had I thought things through, I would have made adjustments to the adventures, considering they are targetting new players with new characters in - likely - a new group that hasn't found cohesion yet.
So I just wanted to post a word of advice for DMs looking to run these adventures: Tone them down a lot.
Each time I open the Beginner Box and thumb through it, I am amazed at this product. I am already organizing a Beginner Box day at my FLGS to introduce players who have thus far been too intimidated to try the core rulebook.
I wonder if I am so impressed by the Beginner Box because it has removed (or otherwise mitigated) those parts of the game that have caused problems for my groups: additional attacks, Combat Manuevers, game-spoiling spells, druids, animal companions, polymorph, etc.
It seems that every 3.x or Pathfinder campaign I've been involved in (whether DM or player) seems to fall apart around 6th level. Campaigns as diverse as Necromancer Games' Tomb of Abysthor to the Speaker in Dreams by Wizards of the Coast; even Paizo's Shackled City and more modern Adventure Paths like Council of Thieves and Kingmaker.
There is a oxymoron in my take on the game: just as the rules begin to get too complex, campaigns start to feel stale to me after around 6th level. Maybe for me the levels in the Beginner Box represent the "sweet spot" of the d20 system.
If this is the case, I may try running just the first two modules of various adventure paths, limiting character creation options to the content of the Beginner Box. I know this is contrary to the desires of the Pathfinder designers, but my experience is that the game is awesome to around level 6 - and then after that - not so much.
I'm preparing a Pathfinder Beginner Box Day with a series Of Bash demos at my FLGS next month. Has anyone already created flyers or other promo material I could tinker with to promote this event? (Layout and design are not my strengths.) It's not until Feb 25, but would like time to properly promote.
Everybody, thanks again for the appreciation and advice.
It's been 4 months since I've tried to run Society. I know that several of the players have "moved on" and don't hang around the store anymore. The one guy who was stalking me and following me to my workplace (didn't even get to that situation in my rant), I've told the owner that he's cut off from my games - and the owner agrees.
Maybe one day I can try to run a session at GenCon (since I'm there every year anyway).
Doug's partially hit the nail on the head. I did need to vent. But I'm also looking for some encouragement to run some sessions of Beginner Box (which I've found here - thanks, everybody).
Maybe after a few sessions of Beginner Box, something else will develop. Perhaps Society, perhaps not. Only time will tell.
Concerning the illegally downloaded PDFs - I did say something. Not only is it wrong for Paizo and their authors, it's also a disservice to our host (the FLGS). I pointed them in the direction to the online SRD if they wanted the rules for free, but encouraged them to support their local store.
About the "ridiculous" character design I mentioned - I don't have a problem if someone wants to bring a unique character to the table so long as it's following the rules of Society. My problem was that they were deliberately (and said as much), trying to break the game and to create a character that would limit the fun of other players. (Such as "I'm a pacifist character; if you do damage to that monster, I won't heal you later in the game.")
The late-comers were a boyfriend/girlfriend pair who overslept until 2:00 in the afternoon. Boyfriend left his character sheet at home. Boyfriend had to be at work at 4:00, so took his girlfriend and left at 3:30. This was half the party. Now, I can understand work commitments (I do have a job), but he had pre-registered for this event and knew the starting and ending time for the game. It was just rude. (Plus, I'd be more forgiving if he hadn't been a jerk the whole time he was there.)
I ran the first two of the Blackrose Museum scenarios (Mists of the Mwangi and another one I forgot the name but it was about an aberrant sorceress). I had spoken to the players before the game, and they were new to Society, so they hadn't played the adventures before.
Ok. I've been holding this in for about 4 months, and I just wanted to blow off some steam. I'm not intending to offend anyone. Just want to make myself feel better.
I was asked to volunteer to run Society sessions at my LGS. I scheduled on the site here. Created packets for the players. Purchased and printed scenarios, printed the guides, purchased all the necessary supplemental material. Created a Facebook page, homemade flyers to distribute.
I read reviews of which adventures to run. Printed out custom maps, monster tokens, etc.
In short, I put in a ton of work attempting to bring organized PF play to my area. This was because the owner said there was a lot of demand for Pathfinder.
I ran a total of two games, populated by unappreciative jerks who arrived late, left early, insulted the choices of adventures, tried with every opportunity to break the game with ridiculous character ideas, never registered with society, used illegally obtained PDF printouts at the table, and rules-lawyered the game so much, John Grisham could've written a novel about it.
In part due to this experience, I've not only given up on trying to run Society events, I've also put away my PF books since September. It was such a terrible, traumatic experience that my hobby gaming now consists of boardgames and D&D 4E style skirmish battles.
I didn't post this to complain about the structure of Society or those who enjoy it. I guess I need to feel some hope. The game store owner has given me a copy of the Beginner Box as a delayed thank you gift for trying to run Society there. There was a little bit of implication that I might run a Beginner Box demo there.
I've been been hesitant to agree due to my past experiences. Understandable?
I haven't found that archery characters are THAT powerful, IMO. Especially if you're limiting it to a level 1-5 game like the Beginner Box does. No extra attacks. Damage is pretty much capped at 1d8 (there are no composite bows in the BB, so no Str bonuses). And the characters probably won't get the ability to take a lot of feats to nulify the -8 penalty; certainly they won't reach 11th level to take improved precise shot, so their friends will always be blocking their shots. And it takes two out of the five maximum feats a human fighter archer will get to merely reduce this to a -4 penalty.
In regular, core PF, I could understand the -8 penalty. In the Beginner Box, it seems an unfair limitation of ranged attack characters.
I was given the Beginner Box from my FLGS owner to run some events at his store. (He's desperate to get some PF games started to balance the abundance of 4E play opportunities.)I had run two sessions of Society at his store, but the rules proved a little tough for the players.
I like the basics of the Beginner Box. It's a good start to appeal to players who are overwhelmed by the size and scope of the PFRPG Core.
However, I'm wondering if I changed a few things, would it completely destroy the balance of the game?
1) 1 for 1 movement. (No 5 ft/10 ft. diagonal movement)
Anything else you can suggest to streamline?
After our first session, we are nearing the cusp of maximum table size. We haven't started promoting it at the FLGS beyond our weekly D&D Encounters group. If we do, I think we will have too many players. No one else will run Pathfinder in our group. I'm afraid that the Society adventures (and the rules behind Organized Play) are a little intimidating to new GMs (particularly a guy who just shows up to play.) Then there are the supplies, printing adventures, etc.
Can you think of a way around this?
My first Society session is in about a week and a half. People have been expressing a lot of interest in it.
Then last night at the game store, 19 people showed up to play Encounters. More are on a weekly basis asking about Pathfinder.
Has anyone ever had to split a table three times?
Any tips on accomodating this many players?