Bob - I appreciate the reply, but it doesn't help and fails to address the necessary scope.
What stops you (or anyone to whom I have reported this problem) from sending a request for 5 minutes of Paizo engineering time to migrate the DB sessions for the 2017 special from 2016->2017 where they belong (since it seems likely that all the special sessions were misreported, not just mine, and where, obviously, the "request to regional leadership" would not be a very effective approach to fixing the problem for the many GMs it affects)?
It is a very small request that should easily address this problem and requires no more than a moment of your (or anyone's) time and subsequent inclusion in site maintenance the next time there is down-time.
So, instead of deferring, please take responsibility for this issue and apply the very minimal effort it would take to fully resolve it, like sending a 1-line email to engineering that says something like:
"Please migrate all sessions of 'Assault on Absalom' in event #82290 (GENCON 2016) to 'Assault on Absalom' in event #153572 (GENCON 2017) during the next planned site downtime, including adding the scenario to the 2017 event and updating any necessary/related fields (scenario ID, session ID, etc.)."
Feel free to copy and paste.
If Organized Play isn't going to ensure the accuracy of the game reporting (especially at events that they host), then what's the point of Organized Play with related online tracking?
Or, from another perspective, if, as GMs, we can spend our valuable time advancing the cause of Paizo (not to mention the high level of commitment for GENCON), Paizo should be able to take a few moments to fix its errors in basic data entry affecting many GMs in a system that is supposed to accurately reflect the play history of its members.
Thanks for listening.
Auke - thanks. I appreciate your looking into it. Sorry you weren't able to help. The Paizo site tends to be on the slow side, even for US queries. If you are more distant, you could be looking at significantly increased packet delays - probably at least on the order of 250-500+ms. It could make certain types of accesses very challenging.
But, if someone in authority is willing to temporarily delegate me for events #82290 and #153572, I will be happy to review and attempt resolution, at least as far as it relates to me. I have organized and reported small CONs, coordinated PFS across multiple gaming stores and run and reported many games (300+ personal credits + other site-specific reporting). Hundreds of games, 0 outstanding reporting complaints. Also, there is an (ex) OP/VL agreement on file with Paizo for me, and I made this same offer to Paizo last October in my original email in the event that they did have the necessary time or resources to address my request for reporting corrections.
Alternately, as before, this is a simple problem for Paizo to fix and should not be an incredible burden on anyone's time. The fastest way to fix this problem (if it affects all GMs for the 2017 special) is probably with a back-end DB query to extract/migrate the sessions.
Given that Paizo provides an Organized Play campaign with related online tracking, it should be easy enough to ensure that the reporting is correct at the marquee events that they host, such as GENCON. Other reporting errors are usually handled at the local level and are rarely an issue and easily and quickly resolved.
Further, the best way not to have reporting errors is not to make them in the first place -- for example...when entering data for GENCON, make sure you are accessing the event for the correct year, and do have a system in place so that you don't misplace or mishandle any GM session sheets, the critical resource for OP reporting. However, if/when there is some issue and you have the documentation (as in this case), do your best to provide excellent customer service and handle the resolution in a timely manner for an integral component of the OP PFS campaign.
From an enterprise service standpoint, if it takes this much discussion and time to try to address the simplest, at-fault reporting/data entry errors, it is an organizational red flag.
This commentary is neutral feedback. I support Paizo and, as a GENCON GM, I want my OP session history to correctly reflect my participation, as it should without the need for any extended discussion.
What if they don't have a DBA/engineer on staff?
And what if Valeros wore a spandex panda suit under his armor and cried out "Let's have a panda party!" after every battle?
They obviously have access to one and any basic web engineer should be able to fix this problem in minutes. And, it is mystifying to me how these very simple (and necessary) data corrections persist for months or years without any remedy.
Hi Bob -
Thanks for the reply. Respectfully, this issue does not require searching for missing records or sheets, and is easy enough for Paizo to correct.
The expected (and relatively simple) resolution requires 1 of the following corrections:
(nb. I think the special at Gen Con 2016 was #8-00: Cosmic Captive, rather than Assault on Absalom.)
So, whether #1 or #2 above, it would be nice if Paizo would fix this error so that the online session data correctly reflects the year and event where the games occurred. I think you would agree that the GMs who ran games deserve to have their sessions reported correctly and accurately for the Organized Play events they attended.
Thx. I hope someone there can correct the OP "Assault on Absalom" error.
Hi Robert - Thanks for the reply and extra explanation and update. Glad to hear things are moving forward! I hope everything works out with the process changes!
On session #2, my comment about prestige was mostly just something to check or certify to make sure it wouldn't cause a problem. The hypothetical failure mode in this case would be to have no character assigned and a number in the prestige box (perhaps with the vestigial field). Certifying that prestige is never added unless the session is assigned to a valid PC is one way to prevent this kind of bug (if present). Before my earlier post, I noticed that there was a prestige entry in session #2 (even though no -x assigned), so I deleted it since it didn't belong there. Then, I mentioned this test case above. I didn't check to see if it actually affected prestige or not, but I guess it would be easy enough to test.
Also, regarding the issue of the vestigial/tracker entries, it's certainly possible that I reassigned the credit for session #2 to session #1 (then deleted the session #2 -x assignment) so that the credit would be applied to the 1st GM run. Also, I could see why you might want the assignment change history for certain types of verification or GM monitoring, but it probably shouldn't be shown in the customer-facing UI. Consider filtering it for normal users and maybe put any vestigial entries at the end (in red) when users with escalated privileges access the sessions.
I guess the vestigial field explains the other bug (that I think you fixed previously) where the UI was failing to show the correct PC name for a reassigned GM session.
I will do the prestige test now and let you know. Thanks again.
In October 2018, I emailed corrections for GENCON 2017 reporting errors for my sessions to GenConLeads, including all session sheets, and I have also followed up via email and cc'd Tonya and Customer Service, but the reporting errors still remain.
So - I guess my question is: what is the expected wait time for Paizo to process my request to fix the GENCON 2017 reporting?
Also, notably, the reporting for GENCON 2017 (for me, at least) shows the "Assault on Absalom" special as session #83,141 (??) of event #82290 "Pathfinder Society at Gen Con 2016" instead of something tied to event #153572 "OPF at Gen Con 2017" (or whatever the 2017 special should have been). That error may affect everyone or just me. I'm really not sure, but regardless, I doubt there were 83,141 tables. Is the high session count some kind of reporting or DB corruption?
Generally speaking, as a Paizo supporter, it would be great to see Paizo be able to provide better and more timely customer service, and I hope someone can resolve the GENCON 2017 reporting errors for my sessions sometime soon.
Also, based on reporting errors and dropped sessions for me across multiple GENCONs, it is a possible process red flag that there needs to be a better and more accountable/trackable reporting system (if my experience is typical of that of other GMs). I know the HQ staff works very hard to enter the games as quickly as possible, which we all appreciate (!), but it seems like there is also a high error rate.
So, maybe there is room for process review and improvement. For example, it has seemed to me at various GENCONs like there are in/out baskets for session sheet handling that are identical/similar and easy to mix up. Given the sometimes hectic pace and personnel swapping at HQ, maybe some sheets are finding their way into the wrong basket(?). If so, one small change that might help would be to use a slotted/sealed outbox for sheets that have been reported online so that in/out never get mixed up (where the result of new sheets accidentally ending up in the outbox would be dropped sessions in reporting).
The other possible point of failure I wonder about is, at the end of the CON, during the rapid tear-down, is there a clear chain of custody or hand-carry process for any unrecorded sheets? If not, they could be: lost, put in a box somewhere and/or generally misplaced and not entered for a long time (or not at all). It may be another point of review to ensure that someone always hand-carries and enters the remaining sheets at the end of the CON instead of packing them up in a random box (or just losing track of them).
2 more months have elapsed and the previously reported problems are still occurring:
1. Incorrect chronological display order for mixed GM/player sessions on the summary tab when showing character sessions
2. Vestigial/double entries on the sessions tab (filtered for a specific character)
If there's any confusion about how to reproduce or see these issues, please see my -1 character and/or feel free to contact me.
For bug #1 above, if you look at the Summary tab and click on "show sessions" for my -1, you will see that the GM sessions are appended at the bottom instead of included in correct chronological order. It is a simple SQL task to pull, merge and sort qeury data in the proper order. This kind of merge-sorting usually only takes 1 line of code.
For bug #2 above, if you go to the Sessions tab and click the filter checkbox for my -1, you will see that the 1/30/2015 session (#2) of Dalsine Affair, event #55946, (a session not assigned to my -1) is showing up in the filtered list (and it shouldn't be). Session 55946.1 is assigned and also shows up (correctly). So, there is obviously some parsing issue, either because I have 2 sessions in event #55946 where session #1 is assigned to my -1 and session #2 isn't, or maybe it's an issue with vestigial DB data. It's should be easy enough to check on the back-end. At any rate, if there is no -x PC designation for a session, it should never be shown in the filtered list (or included in any prestige calculations even if, for example, a reporter accidentally puts a value in the prestige field -- just something else to check, perhaps, to make sure it's not an issue). Basic data certification usually only takes 1 line of code.
Also, can you please confirm that you have entered these bugs into your bug database and are tracking them? They have gone 6 mnonths without any formal resolution, which is typically a development process red flag. Thanks!
Unfortunately, the session problems have not been fixed. The code is still failing to sort sessions properly on the summary tab and double-listing games on the sessions tab. Were the problems entered into a bug database and assigned to an engineer? They should have been relatively easy to fix.
As far as development process, it sounds like things are moving in the right direction over the current situation where bugs in core functionality remain unfixed for months (still). The more responsive and agile Paizo can be in its development process, the better it will be for all concerned when any problems arise.
In terms of reliably anticipating bugs, from experience, that can be difficult. The best way to have a solid product and reproducible development process is to: code defensively, have engineers unit test their changes before handing off to QA, have a good product/change spec (including human factors input), prototypes where needed, an accurate test plan (based on the product/change spec, UX, etc.), a well-maintained bug database, assiduous QA and a back-end infrastructure that supports regression testing, including DB clones for each context (as needed). And finally, have a good beta test program (possible with a well-designed back-end server architecture) and ensure that you have tracked and regressed all reported bugs (and rolled in anything from beta).
Good luck with the next set of changes!
It looks like various problems still persist in this basic OP functionality. Below is some additional info that may help resolve the problems more quickly.
*Please refer to my event #55626. There are 3 sessions (sort of). This game was also showing up twice in my -1 PC history, and when I looked, the original session only had 5 players instead of 6 and the 6th player was in a session by itself (I didn't do that - so what code split off that 6th player and created a new session?). I put the 6th player back in the original session and tried to delete the strange session #2. But, it won't delete, and after trying to delete it, the edit button is now gone, leaving a vestigial entry in the session list for this event. Also, both session #1 and session #3 are showing up in the history for my -1 character, even though only session #1 is assigned to that PC.
This duplication only happens on the "Sessions" tab. It does not happen when clicking on the sessions link from the "Summary" tab (but those lists are not sorted properly in chronological order, as I have previously reported above). Perhaps there is an off-by-1 loop iteration bug that is manifesting when an event has more than 1 session listed? I suggest you compare the implementation between the 2 tabs, since the Summary/session link version doesn't show this problem.
Robert Brandenburg wrote:
We are planning to add sorting options to the sessions list in a future update, along with various other fixes and improvements.
Thx for responding. Just to clarify, my comments above refer to the sessions link on the Summary page. It does not sort properly and tries to show/hide in the same window with full refresh instead of just pulling up the specific PC list quickly and simply in a new target window that shows me just the information I want. Also, trying to click on the link and use "Open link in new window" results in other incorrect targeting, wrong pages, etc.
Per TriOmega's comment, the Sessions tab does show all the adventures in newest-to-oldest order. I hadn't looked there (since it was previously omitting all the GM sessions). Unfortunately, it is also double-listing GM sessions and the load-time was on the slow side at about 20s.
Glad to see that the Sessions tab is a little better, and I hope things continue to improve. The best option for me at this point looks like copying and pasting into Excel. I probably have to do that anyway, since I want to include a printed audit sheet.
Please add this issue to the CRB FAQ. It came up in our game last night and the poor wording relating to the skill penalty at full movement rate w/o fast stealth has still not been formally corrected (@6+ years). Also, there is no indication for what happens beyond the max normal movement rate, such as with haste.
The ARG has better wording for the Shadowy Dash feat.
Normal: When moving at more than half your speed and up to your normal speed, you take a –5 penalty on Stealth checks.
IMO, the order should follow chronicle order, oldest to newest, or ascending by date. There's no reason why we should have to reverse map while we're going through our chronicles (that are ordered and numbered from oldest to newest). The newest adventures should be at the end of the list.
But, whatever the decision, ascending or descending, it's still broken. If you're doing 2 queries, then you need a union followed by an order statement (as one possible solution). It's a simple change and not more than a few lines of code.
What's the ETA to fix this issue?
For example, I'm trying to audit a PC approaching seeker with 40 chronicles, where the non-GM chronicles are all jumbled in the list. I guess I just have to start using Excel to track and sort everything manually. But, I would prefer to rely on the OP web functionality.
Again, I am very glad that the session link is back. Is it possible to take a moment to complete the restoration of the sessions functionality to sort the data chronologically so that it is easily usable?
Currently, it looks like you are showing the GM sessions first, sorted chronologically, followed by other unsorted player sessions.
It should be simple to modify the query so that it pulls or merges all of the sessions as one set, if it doesn't already, then add something like:
SELECT * FROM pc_session_data ORDER BY reporting_date ASC; (or whatever is appropriate for your environment)
Hopefully, it's not more than a few minutes of work at the easiest level of difficulty for someone who knows the code.
It looks like the 2 2018 tables are still missing (or maybe entered incorrectly/misattributed). So, I guess I will send in the images of the sign-in sheets. I am also missing at least 1 table from GENCON 2017 and the 2017 Starfinder Slot 0.
On the 2 tables for this year, I submitted my sheets well in advance of the close (if this issue happens to relate to what happened to the sheets on the last day or other end-of-CON HQ handling issue).
Chris - Just checked in on my characters and noticed that the sessions link on the character page is back! Great use of a feather token! Thanks to you and team for fixing this issue! I appreciate it, as I'm sure others do.
In addition, I have a couple of other minor requests:
Thanks again for rescuing us from the Hao Jin Session Cataclysm! ;-)
Thanks for the explanation of improvements that are on the To-Do List. That info is helpful, as alaways.
However, another 2 weeks have passed (we're up to about a month now, I think) and the issue with not being able to see assigned GM sessions for our PCs still exists. I am concerned that this issue is going to stretch into months again as it did last year. I hope that's not the case. It's really inconvenient for all GM users.
Also, I agree with Ferious Thune that the current session search interface is very cumbersome/slow. I am not looking forward to a change that requires me to grind through options on that page in order to see the play session histories for my characters. I think the typical wait for me to do anything via that interface is something like 1.5 mins per set of queries (disable one, enable another, etc.). If the session tab is destined to become the primary interface, then it would benefit from some human factors treatment and code/query profiling.
From a development process standpoint, I keep hoping that Paizo will change from the "break first-fix later" development model to something more worthy of its enterprise status. For example, whether or not Paizo has the perfect enterprise development server architecture, it should still be possible to implement good engineering process that doesn't cripple user access to their data and that puts a high priority on continuous user access and uptime. There's always room for continuous engineering improvement, no matter what the issue may be.
At the moment, from the user perspective, when things are broken and we can't access basic/necessary functionality, it doesn't seem like there is high urgency to restore access, especially given that the fixes seem relatively easy. So, there's certainly room for improvement with respect to timely releases and overall process. If it's really necessary to shut off user data access, then prioritize the quick-turn fix to restore critical access as an ASAP turn.
In this case, as above, the change to filter/certify the privacy of the previous session link by login token on the PC summary page is likely an extremely minimal php code change in the character display iterator to ensure that the logged in user = account owner (blocking non-owner, outside access per the GDPR or other privacy requirements). Not the page owner? You won't see the link.
It would be great if Paizo could restore the session link functionality on the Player tab (with simple filtering) until there is a working solution to replace it, whether or not it includes the other planned changes. Quick turns with limited scope have much higher utility when dealing with critical web data access.
Finally, to avoid any faceless misinterpretation, my comments above represent abstract engineering and process feedback and are intended as supportive and positive with respect to this issue and Paizo's web development process, in general. If you agree, great. If you don't, great. Take the feedback and use it as you see fit, or ignore it if you don't think it is useful.
Whatever the case, I hope this problem can be resolved quickly.
TOZ: I have led enterprise web development teams. The fact that we (again) can't see our GM session data leaves me wondering why. From a QoS standpoint, continuous user access to data associated with required site/campaign functionality should always be the highest priority. As an IT guy (and based on your stated interpretation), you seem to have a good understanding, and I'm sure we must share a similar mindset on many of these issues. Thanks for your comment above.
Interesting...I guess it doesn't matter if PFC PCs want to "play up" into RPG without converting, but it probably requires additional back-end support on reporting (which needs to change anyway). It shouldn't be an issue for the RPG GM, and is unrelated to 1 play each in PFC/RPG.
I would be in favor of that kind of change, since it would also facilitate player mobility and help games fire off at the game store without PFC players being forced to use a pregen or convert if they didn't want to.
And, as you say, it would fix the forced reporting PFC->RPG conversion.
Respectfully, it's difficult to accept that this issue required completely disabling the session link or crippling access for thousands of users. It is usually easy (and quick) to resolve access/privacy issues via basic ACL or other simple cookie parsing to disable the outside access (rather than the primary user's access). They could also theoretically add a one-time pop-up dialog on next login (+ supporting preference fields) to ask/save the user profile preference for outside OP Foundation volunteer/VC access, where a dialog is not immediately essential to fix owner access.
If (user_owner_token || op_access_approved)
Why was it necessary to remove the link instead of just filtering the access with login data (typically easy)?
Also, doesn't Paizo have a responsibility to provide regulatory transparency and to email their userbase about this issue to help ensure good communication about compliance- and privacy-related matters? Has the userbase been notified (GPDR or otherwise) regarding any compliance or privacy issues? I don't recall seeing anything other than Playtest announcements, but have been busy and may have missed it. The GPDR deadline was last May.
Ultimately, it is probably in the user's best interest to allow VC access, since it gives users the option to ask for help from their local VCs (off-loading part of the support burden). If the VCs can't see the sessions or other necessary user data, then they may not be able to help resolve certain types of issues without the user having to go through customer service (where response times may be slower).
I support Paizo, realize there is a lot going on, but hope this issue can be resolved soon with a better fix that doesn't remove the functionality we need to access our character session data.
I agree with Ferious Thune. The change to remove the session links from the PC tab of the private OP pages is a significant inconvenience to all users. Also, the UI and functional implementation of the OP GM/Player session search tabs is somewhat cumbersome, as others have pointed out.
If the issue is really one of privacy, then why not make the player tab of the "My Organized Play" section private (or do in-page ACL filtering to show the session links to the page owners only)? You have the login cookie info for the ACL, right?
Please don't inconvenience thousands of users for a handful of VCs or other individual regulatory issues that are easily managed with implmentation of basic user privileges...or even a new private PC tab (if one is really needed).
Ultimately, couldn't this issue be resolved through a simple, back-end DB query (with ACL filtering, as needed)? Or, if you had to make a new, private tab in the "My Organized Play" section to protect user data without compromising functionality as a short-term measure, don't you already have all the tab code with the session functionality built in?
From the user perspective, it's hard for me to understand why the best product quality and user satisfaction choice was to cripple thousands of existing users without making sure there was other equivalent functionality in place. Too many people depend on your online services and need them to support their gaming.
I hope that you can fix this problem very soon so that we have restored access to our combined GM/Player session data. GMs cannot properly manage their OP characters without this access. I was trying to do a build and update characters and am stuck without having to laboriously go through all my individual player and GM sessions and manually assemble everything.
Gotcha. Appreciate it.
If you could ping the responsible party, that would be great. I would like to restore my character to PFC as soon as it is convenient so that he is correct in the event that I play any upcoming CORE games. I also cc'd customer service.
It would be nice to know the expected ballpark turn-around time for this type of request/correction so that I can advise others who have the same problem.
Gallows of Madness is definitely replayable, and you can find the related info in the downloadable rules: http://paizo.com/include/PZO9552-Rules.zip
I still think it would be great if Dragon's Demand, Part 1 were replayable. Like Gallows of Madness, it is a 1-3.
Paizo - is there any major impediment to making Dragon's Demand, Part 1 replayable given the maturity of the campaign and burgeoning 2.0 release?
Thanks for the reply, Chris! Yes - GENCON is looming! Good luck with all the crazy prep!
Here is additional clarification - there are several distinct problems:
Recently, both of our local game store events have inadvertently reported PFC sessions as RPG, resulting in an (unwanted) permanent switch of all PCs at the table from PFC mode to RPG mode. It's a bit of a headache to address, generates errors for all future reporting, and there's no easy way to fix the resulting impact without posting help requests to email@example.com.
The following change should help address this issue:
Everyone wins, and it should be a very simple thing to add, requiring minimal code, most of which already exists, since it is used to pull and display the session list for individual PCs.
On that note, there are 2 issues with the session list:
Thanks - I hope these suggestions are useful.
Regarding the discussion above of the Flask of Reconcoction on the chronicle in this scenario:
If your players ask you if it's worth it to buy it or not, you can explain to them that it is similarly-priced to an equivalent Pearl of Power or Boro Bead, except that anyone can use it and put in any potion.
Pearl of Power/Boro Bead: 9000gp to recall a 3rd-level spell you previously learned once/day (limited to any spell known and class lists, etc.)
14th Level Bauble Price (max capability of the FoC): 9250gp to use any 3rd level potion once/day (usable by anyone, but only for potions)
It pays for itself after 12-13 uses at it's maximum price. And, because it scales in price and capability, it's useful at lower levels. For example, it's a daily 2nd level potion at 10th for 3100gp @ 300gp/potion (cost recovery in 11-12 uses, adding in the potion cost).
If you're an upper-level alchemist, you might get the most utility out of a Boro Bead because you already have Alchemical Allocation to reuse any 3rd-level potions, for example (@750gp/2PP). But, to gain out-of-class access, or for non-spell classes, it could be a great item offering the unobtainable - like a fighter who wants daily Heroism, Fly or Cure Serious Wounds; or a rogue or cleric who wants Displacement or Burrow to move around the battlefield more stealthily or safely; or for a reusable Barkskin at 8th-10th (~3.4K for the FoC 30-minute version and a free neck slot vs. 8K for an always-on +2 Amulet of Natural Armor)...or maybe even to get a Gaseous Form to sneak into the Decemvirate's hidden cranberry farm deep within the heart of the River Kingdoms.
Anyway, if your players ask, maybe the above will help. It definitely has some cool and cost-effective uses to get something a PC might not ordinarily have or to otherwise help with certain types of resource management.
Hi Erik -
It's been about 2.5 months since the above discussion. Can you provide any further, updated insight/guidance on when the problem with assigned PFS GM credits not appearing in character play histories will be fixed?
It is impossible for GMs to use the PFS/OP web interface to track their PFS characters.
Thanks - I hope that there can be a quick turn to resolve this issue!
John Compton explained the ambiguous wording of module bonus chronicles back in 2015 - see this post:
Method 2: 2PP only + boons and items, as applicable -- helps improve the prestige awarded by the module track without forcing you to level, as others have stated (but does not deprive you of boons/items)
My comments above represent abstract bug reports spanning months. Fix ASAP comments are an indication that the bug (session lists in this case) should be considered higher/immediate priority (failure to perform a basic or necessary function, but with an indication as to the source of the problem) and, from a quality perspective, do not carry any other implication.
For example, having been at GENCON, I assume that we all have the same post-GENCON recovery period. I, for one, am still a bit jet-lagged.
I also assume that Paizo fixes things whenever they can. The response time is often long, as shown above, but, again, that is an addressable and ongoing quality/resource issue that is not tied to any particular external event or point in time.
Beyond the posts above from 1 and 2 months ago, I have noticed that the scenarios that show up in the play lists for individual PFS characters are now missing multiple entries, even though they show up as assigned on the GM side. Maybe it's that the UI is failing to pull GM sessions assigned to PCs? Not sure.
Is there an ETA for a next major release that will hopefully fix the above PFS reporting issues and also address the incorrectly-diplayed/missing PFS character session entries?
This morning, I made a battle map and schematic from scratch for the final encounter to accompany (or replace) the paizo map. So, they should be OK to post. I hope you guys find them useful. If you think there should be any changes/additions, let me know.
Here is the link:
My run was 4 hrs. and was a fun time. The party chose to max out bluff and disguise with some very amusing bluffs. Extra time at the start ended up being offset, of course, by rapid encounter resolution with unbeatable bluff/disguise mechanics.
Advice: The introduction and multiple knowledge checks and Q/A make for a longer intro, regardless of party tactics. So, try to be as efficient as possible in the delivery and don't let the starting RP take too long, or you can easily hit 5 hrs.
For my run, I created modified maps with elevations printed at each step and also made a modified side view without the elevator and relocated throne glyph. I had no problems with the mechanics of the final encounter. The party leader opened with a bluff as a would-be invisible stalker, while Grasping gruffly commanded them to present themselves for its scrutiny (based on certain irregularities). Then, as the party began to comply, the out-of-tier rogue stealthed in and surprised with the horn (since 1 person in the party has played ToW) and blasted. Boss failed save, but got in some good hits, battle over in 3 rounds, slyphs surrendered, 1d4 electric damage was inconsequential, party disabled sigil, Silver Crusade redeemed the minions. Yada, yada, yada victory.
Having run it at 5-6 with an APL 5.3 party with 2 8th levels (and all flying), the final CR was not an issue for my game, and it was a short battle. YMMV for a pure 5-6 group with a mix of non-flyers, especially if people get air-blated against the wall and fail their wind saves.
Modified images linked below if anyone wants them:
Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
Thx for the extra description. But...still seems to need some additional detail (at least for me). Where does the elevator stop, exactly? The scenario and your text say it lands on a solid surface at the throne level. If it stops opposite D/E as on the map, there is nowhere for PCs to stand who can't fly (or who have used up their flying), except to jump down and start climbing by making subjective gravity checks or trying to run along the outer cylinder wall. If it stopped at the top, they could use the cylinder terrain as on the printed map to "climb" down.
So, I guess that means treating the terrain around the elevator as 5' so that PCs can at least use subjective gravity to use the cylinder wall as a movement surface, but having to make the fly check or use a standard to fight the hurricane (once and done, I guess - once/round seems unfair).
Trying to plan mechanics:
Given that the elevator stops at the throne level, it's probably more like a CR10 encounter at 5-6, since the sylphs count as CR7 (2x CR5) + CR7 grasping = CR9 + 1 for environment and terrain = CR10 minimally (perhaps on the high side for a party of 5th levels).
Anyway, trying to use your text...and running out of time until I have to run this...
Also, I plan to adjudicate the center of the cylinder as the "eye" and tranquil territory for 15' diameter (area around the sigil). For example, a rogue could hail mary jump and feather fall down there (maybe chased by sylphs). This distinction is also critical to help the sylphs use their Cloud Gazer ability and obscuring mist to maximum effect to hide while using call lightning (which would otherwise be quickly or instantly blown away by the wind effects). If within 5' of the wall is hurricane, then within 10' should probably be severe, within 15' = moderate and the middle is the eye, hypothetically (and consistent with Control Winds). Also, the eye facilitates unimpeded perceptions of the sigil, where the storm might otherwise interfere.
In terms of the movement checks, the pre-check Fort Save DC is missing, but looks like a CL11 (+3 wind increments) cast of Control Winds (druid 5), so 10+level 5+stat 2 = DC17.
And, finally, the scenario text says that grasping "immediately knows what's going on," but the PCs are told at the start that the expected mercenaries are elementals. If they bypass the middle encounter and make use of this briefing info and disguise all of themselves as elementals to try and sneak in, then there won't be immediate combat and will be a chance for RP or ambush, presuming grasping fails the perception.
This encounter may warrant a scenario revision. It appears to lack a certain amount of necessary detail and clarity, and the options in the opening encounter could probably be stream-lined a little. The extra comments help, but I still think it would benefit from additional treatment. But...looks like fun! After this exercise, I think I know how I will run it and what options I can offer creative players.
Is there any time estimate to fix the above problems?
Also, to the above list, you can add:
#4: The new search and filter interface for GM and Player sessions doesn't correctly handle basic search for scenario names. With no filters selected and everything displayed (default view condition), I should be able to enter a part of a scenario name, hit search and see the result, if present. Currently, the search returns nothing for valid name search strings.
For example, if I know that "Sewer Dragons of Absalom" is in my GM history and I type in "Sewer" and hit the Search button, the search finds nothing instead of finding the scenario.
This functionality needs to work, especially since the recent changes force the scenario listings on to multiple pages. It is now impossible to quickly find if I have run a scenario. When everything was listed on the same page, I could at least use the browser find to locate things quickly. Thx.
My advice to GMs for this one would be to include some minimal information or a warning about a tyrannical beast in the opening encounter from the ratfolk if the PCs succeed in negotiating with the ratfolk guards. It's still not a guarantee that the PCs will defeat the dragon, but it is, at least, a necessary clue to choose combat over diplomacy vs. auto-failing the manufactured secondary success condition. The scenario offers no other clues to the supposed hundreds of years of tyranny over the ratfolk and need to kill the dragon. That info really sounds like something the ratfolk would offer to their new friends as a warning (or request for aid).
Joe Schmoe wrote:
We haven't had much gold or loot...
I realize you aren't playing PFS, but, for comparison, by the start of 12th level, a typical PFS character has earned around 100K-125K gold (depending). If you are L13 and you aren't finding much gold or loot, you may want to discuss Tables 12-4 & 12-5 on p. 399 of the CRB with your GM to see where things stand relative to your campaign. If you are not receiving commensurate rewards for encounters & PC level, at some point, it is going to be difficult to keep up with the power curve of high CR encounters (if they occur). Otherwise, you're going to be fighting a lot of low CR creatures to gain enough XP to keep leveling.
Maybe there's something unique about your campaign where gold & loot are less important and the balance is more task-based with lesser emphasis on monster CRs. But if not, better hope for a gold bonanza and a trip to the shopping mall sometime soon. ;-)
No. The damage is prescribed by the spell and you get neither bonuses nor penalties associated with strength. You only add strength to damage, as follows:
Combat PRD wrote:
When you hit with a melee or thrown weapon, including a sling, add your Strength modifier to the damage result. A Strength penalty, but not a bonus, applies on damage rolls made with a bow that is not a composite bow."
So...strength applies to melee weapon, thrown weapon, bow (penalty only), and composite bow (bonus up to the max rating...or penalty), but not spell (or ranged machine weapon, like crossbow).
Here is the link: