Its all fine and dandy that you can create a character that can trivialize every encounter. It's even legal. Until you've been behind the screen as a GM in those situations, you can't understand the abject hatred that GMs have of those PC tactics/abilities when we cannot change anything about the scenario. DC23 Will save at level 1 or die? Congrats. You win at Pathfinder.
Do I allow that and simply sigh to myself and die a little inside each time it happens? Absolutely. Do I consider adding that person to the list of people for whom I'd rather not GM for? Absolutely. I do this for my enjoyment as well, not just players.
I have no fun as a GM when this happens at my table. GM fun is at least 4x greater than player fun, since without a GM, there is no game. Consider that when making characters. Enough bad GM experiences, and people stop wanting to GM, since the 4+ hours of prep will be for not.
And as far as written tactics go, as soon as they're invalidated by PC actions, they go out the window.
I do agree that damage from falling down stairs is a bit of a stretch.
If they're new to the genre, I'd suggest something more akin to 5-08 The Confirmation as an introduction to Pathfinder. There is only a bit of introduction to some lore that you don't need to fully understand to 'get' whats going on.
If a raucous time is what you're gearing for, then it's hard to go wrong with We Be Goblins.
Wands, wands, wands.
There are so many good level 1 wands, even if you're not able to cast yourself:
- Cure light (or Infernal, if you're so inclined)
Plus the above mentioned scrolls and potions.
Upon reading the scenario blurb, I was initially really excited about this scenario. I enjoy seeing previously introduced characters returning. It gives the campaign more of a real-world feel. After reading through it and prepping, my excitement waned.
Prepping this one, it reminds me a lot of
3-17 Red Harvest. Though unlike this scenario, you were made aware of both parties well in advance of the final encounter.
I, too, have many of the same questions as aboyd. A poorly-worded skill check/hazard interaction that isn't fully flushed out. In previous scenarios, where a bonus is to be given out from a sufficiently high skill-check, it is called out under the relevant knowledge DC. Strange, unique swim rules specially designed for the scenario, where the normal rules should have been used, with circumstance bonuses given out. An altered sleep-aura of Confusion which is infinitely more dangerous than Sleep, though their slam attack still causes Sleep (especially since the PCs elemental ally is likely to be friendly enough to rouse them, as explained in the scenario. The elemental remains on the fringes of the area to observe, so could potentially be a valid target for "Attack Nearest". The emissary is not immune to Confusion, so if they go to rouse a PC who happens to be in the Confusion aura..... that could end real badly. What if the fight moves their way and are trapped in the aura of Confusion? A 20' aura is huge especially considering the extremely tight quarters for this encounter.
I'm going to go even a bit further here. Both the elemental emissaries have knowledge planes, so they would know the basics of humanoids. In the Meeting section, both elementals are given ignorant characteristics that they would know, especially living on Golarion and having a long association with Osirion where most humanoids are human: Elsharon's not knowing that destabilized grounds would have an effect on humanoids (where a DC 11 would be enough to know that the movement abilities of most humanoids are severely hampered by poor terrain); Iyasset's supposition that creatures trapped on the lower ledge would simply Fly up to talk (again, pretty much the same DC to know that most humanoids do not have the innate ability to fly).
Like many new scenarios that attempt to not railroad players by providing choices and different paths (since there were complaints). It's PFS play, you need to finish in 4 to 4.5 hours, so there will be railroading), it does a lackluster job of doing so and again, further complicates prep (for no consequence). Granted, this is not the same amount of detailed prep required as full-on, totally separate encounters (I'm looking at you, 7-25 Orders from the Gate. Great scenario with check boxes for future development and possible consequences of choice), it still makes prep more difficult, and makes the choice of allied-party a literal coin-toss. High-road or low-road. I'm running it in a few days, and can see that choice going that way. To top it all off, there are no check-boxes to report which side you chose. So it truly is irrelevant which path or side you choose. The addition of different emissaries is unnecessary and simply pads word count and serves no purpose.
Scenario in which choosing a side is done well:
5-01 The Glass River Rescue. This should be the gold standard for choosing a side between two factions. It provides ample roleplay opportunities for PCs to interact with the NPCs, each providing an argument based in facts, feelings and possible previous interactions with the NPCs
Absolutely not. I GM because I enjoy GMing. Which is the main reason why a person should GM. You'll provide a much better experience to your players if you do. It shows, and they notice.
Drawbacks would be similar to the unlimited replay argument and its detrimental effect on the campaign as a whole.
Again, we are splitting the argument here: Getting new players to GM and rewards for GMs.
Allowing credit for every game run will not create incentive for players to start GMing. That's a specific incentive rather than a general incentive. My first argument to any player in hopes of getting them to GM will never be, "you know, once you run this scenario the 2nd time, you'll still get a chronicle."
We already have general incentives for GMing: You get a chronicle (which never used to happen) and you get to actually play the scenario after you GMed it (again, waaaaay back in the day), you get star rating which allows for your star level in bonus on your (item) re-roll, you get get access to the Star Reward sheet (regardless if you like the rewards or not, it is a general reward).
The latter are the types of rewards which we should be pursuing. Small things that add up the more you GM for the campaign (which we have). If the rewards are too large, they would be imbalanced.
Also, arguably, VOs on the average have more perspective than the rest of us. What they are saying is worth hearing, and there's nothing shameful about them expressing *their* opinions.
Indeed, there is no dismissal intended. We each bring a unique perspective to the argument.
Alexander Augunas wrote:
I thought the former was clearly indicated in the GOP. It isn't, or at least not that I could find. I'll message our Guide team to ensure this gets included in the next version of the guide.
And as for the rest, fair point. Introducing people to GMing is one of the biggest challenges we, as a collective group, face. The GM who won't GM the same scenario twice still contributes to the community as a whole (though IMHO a bit selfish). The bonus for running the same scenario more than once is that you know the scenario and prep is at a minimum. Allowing GMs to apply credit for every scenario they run will still not reward players for trying their hand at GMing.
On a bit of an aside, I am truly blessed with one of the best PFS communities in the world, in terms of player base who is willing to GM, as well as new players who wish to GM. I set the expectation with every player that they need to GM. Not right away, but after some time, it is expected that they give back to the community. After all, someone ran the scenario for them, so in time, they need to run the scenario for the next new player.
On that note, we run a modified GM101 frequently and have two new GMs running their first games in a couple weeks (yay!).
We've already given GMs the following benefits as people cried out that we needed to incentivize GMing:
- GM Stars boon sheet
How much more do we need? Unlimited GM credit, as previously posted, may alleviate a short-term GM issue, but will create long-term GM issues.
Prepping this today, I really like the mechanics. It makes more sense in understandable terms when it comes to a social encounter, making them reasonable realistic.
Think of it as going to a party. Even though you might be able to talk nicely to people, if you don't actually talk about stuff that they're interested in, the conversation will eventually wane. Find the person or people whose interests are the same as yours, and you'll have great conversations all night long, perhaps even making a friend. The anti-social wizard in the back of the room who likes to talk about history and local politics will only ever have a polite surface conversation with the barbarian who wants to talk about the gladatorial fights and weaponry. Once he finds a like-mind, its open season.
Disk Elemental wrote:
There is nothing wrong with the bolded above. Many people enjoy making powerful characters (myself excluded, as I personally prefer well-rounded for the most part).
PFS has always been, is, and should always be, written for the beginner to average player. It, (PFS), is an advertising medium for Paizo, specifically Pathfinder. It introduces players to other players like no other game before. From there, home games crop up as players find other players with whom they'd like to game, where the GM has free-reign. Many times, those games are APs.
As far as scenario difficulty goes, GM knowledge and preparedness is the single most important factor. The better prepared a GM is going in (knowing abilities of each and every NPC, knowing feats and their interaction, knowing spells, their effect and situation, etc, etc) the better chance they have to offer a challenging game. Far fewer GMs have system mastery compared to players. The same scenario in the hands of a GM who isn't tactically sound, can be a cake-walk, whereas in the hands of a tactically-sound, system-mastery GM, it could be a TPK.
After that, look at party composition as a basis for ease-of-scenarios. The CR system, though flawed, is based on a party with a tank/DPS, skill-monkey, a divine caster and an arcane caster, or to put it simply, Valeros, Merisiel, Kyra and Ezren. When you upset that balance, such as a party of 6 martial specialists, you throw off the actual party APL vis-a-vis the CR system. More often than not, tables are comprised of all-martial characters. If I had a nickel for each time someone said "Well, at least character X can use a CLW wand, so we're good."
As for the proposal of hard mode based on player vote, have you ever been the holdout? Have you ever watched a table come to that consensus when there is doubt? Have you ever been one who wanted hard-mode and even once tried to convince the holdout that they should? What type of social pressures do we want to put people under? They came out to enjoy a game, now they are being bullied to either buck-up and play hard mode, or be the party-pooper for 5 other people. Either that holdout walks away, not being able to play a game, and maybe leaving Organized Play, the holdout dies an avoidable death (and some sour-grapes) or you get 5 or 6 grumpy-gusses, who lament their only opportunity to play a scenario for credit.
No, for those reasons, we should not have a blanket hard-mode option.
We still host lots of Core games. We have 1 venue that holds the vast majority of them, as it suits those players best, myself included. I love the challenge of Core INSOFAR as the limited resources I have at my disposal. My favourite items from UE not allowed, but some Core items that can do something close enough to get out of a jam. Never have Feather Token Tree been so useful. Or a wand of Hold Portal, that prevented TPK.
Regardless, GMing in general, is something nobody is good at the first time they do it. So when the first time they GM for PFS, they will (most likely) feel intimidated. I GMed and played 3.5 and Pathfinder for years before I joined PFS, and I felt.....not intimidated, but hesitant might be a better word. If in my home game a royally screwed up, I could cover for my mistakes, with at worst, Deus Ex Machina. I can't do that in PFS. The gravity of my errors became clear.
When I first joined PFS back in 2012, I felt similar to yourself, Alicorn. GMing is GMing. What's the big deal? I would read the forums where people would make claims that PFS is different, and you just have to trust me because I've GMed a hundred games, I dismissed out of hand. I was an experienced GM. I've run my own campaigns and played in numerous others though various systems (I still love Runequest). I knew that they were wrong.
It was an eye opener. Sometimes, once the evidence is laid before you in terms of experience, it is humbling. GMing in PFS is different.
Regardless, the game needs more good GMs and GMs who can teach other GMs. Experience is best shared as a group. If you haven't been involved in PFS much, perhaps you might consider joining up in your local area. There's amazing stories being told, tons of fun and great new people to meet. And perhaps you can help that newbie GM though their first scenario, regardless of campaign.
The Average Player Level for that game is now 6th level. This means that new players are excluded from any Core game within the same region.
Why not ask the more experienced players to start a new character to include the new player?
Players should always have characters in multiple ranges to accommodate new players regardless of campaign.
Eric Ives wrote:
1. Most of our players have at least 1 Core character, as the expectation we place on all our players is to ensure tables go off. With lots of weekly games, taking one for the team happens and is expected of all players at some point in time.2. Warhorn does a great job for keeping things straight. Sign ups are done well in advance. As in i need to get December schedule up ASAP to allow time for signing up.
3.yes. though properly explained is not a problem for most people.
4. Kinda but it's manageable.
With the scenarios you have listed here, the trouble exists in that they have minimal exposure to the characters and theme of Eyes. They have no 'skin in the game' and no 'flavour of the story' if you will. They have no who, what, where, when and why of the most important story of their lives (Eyes is SO awesome!).
And I would never, ever, recommend running Eyes for more than 4 people. I've played with 4 and run it with 5. No more than 4.
If you're looking for some other general story arcs, yours does have a good flavour to it and is quite cohesive.
The following list is thanks to Lucas Servideo, V-L of Boston and Michael VonHasseln, V-C of Missouri:
Masters of the Fallen Fortress (Module)
5-08 The Confirmation
6-10 The Wounded Wisp
0-01 Silent Tide
0-02 The Hydra’s Fang Incident
0-04 Frozen Fingers of Midnight
0-05 Mists of Mwangi
0-03 Murder on the Silken Caravan
0-06 Black Waters
0-07 Among the Living
1-35 Voice in the Void
1-33 Assault on the Kingdome of the Impossible
0-14 The Many Fortunes of Grandmaster Torch
1-45 Delirium’s Tangle
1-49 Among the Dead
2-11 The Penumbral Accords
1-29 Devil We Know 1
1-30 Devil We Know 2
1-41 Devil We Know 3
1-48 Devil We Know 4
3-08 Among The Gods
0-2- Kin Xeros of Azlant
0-22 Fingerprints of the Fiend
1-40 Halls of Drunken Heroes
1-36 Echoes of the Everwar 1
1-42 Echoes of the Everwar 2
1-44 Echoes of the Everwar 3
1-53 Echoes of the Everwar 4
2-08 The Sarkorian Prophecy
2-10 Fury of the Fiends
2-20 Wrath of the Accursed
5-17 Fate of the Fiends
2-18 The Forbidden Furnace of Forgotten Koor
1-46 Eyes of the Ten 1
1-54 Eyes of the Ten 2
2-05 Eyes of the Ten 3
2-22 Eyes of the Ten 4
Lord Fyre wrote:
It was my first GenCon and was finally able to put more faces to names, including Painlord, who asked for some feedback. I met many new folks and many familiar faces from my three visits to PaizoCon.
The Sagamore Ballroom room is very large and when full of Pathfinders, quite impressive. I prefer the more intimate feel of PaizoCon. Odds are I wouldn't come back to GenCon, as the event is too large for me and I am not a fan of the 3 slot format, there is too little time for anything else. IN what is now retrospect, I am glad that Mike's persistent, interrogation-like prodding at PaizoCon for us to attend GenCon was successful.
I had some great characters at my tables: An archaeologist who was playing an archaeologist, a Wayang Prince, Taldan nobility (Baron and Baroness), a Goblin (a personal highlight, being able to GM for one of the few Goblins in PFS) who was hauled into Society HR for let's call them, incidents, with other NPC Pathfinders during the Siege Special. Good times. So many great characters and players behind them all. I was quite pleased that I did not run into a single player whose character was simply a set of numbers. Each and every one of them had a good story which created depth and made it easier for me as GM to play off of them.
As all good things end, we said goodbye to not only a great Campaign Coordinator, but also a great person in Mike. (His only flaw, his hyperbole in continuing to describe what was only 5cm of snow on the ground as though it was an Apocalypse only rivalled by the falling of the Star Stone).
I've been half-paying attention to this thread since it (and another just like it) once again have reared their heads on the forums.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Not to be smarmy or insulting, but why do we continue to have this fruitless discussion time and time again because a handful of people don't want to carry their books, or their PDFs on a tablet or their water-marked printouts of their PDFs around?
Yeah, Books are heavy. Yeah, taking the bus is tough when you've chosen to build each character using 20 resources. Been there, done that. Yeah lugging them all from the airport, or wherever is a pain. Cry me a river. I to the same when I GM, and I have to bring a heck of a lot more material.
But at no time did I consider that some business change their rules simply for my convenience. It was my choice the entire time.
I am not wasting mine, my VO team's, or my 4&5 star GM's time to hold a session simply to satisfy the handful of people who don't play by the rules. RAW is king for everything else, why not this? This is RAW. Discussion over.
As Dorothy said, you could play Silverhex, then both Wounded Wisp and Confirmation.
As for the current season, it really depends on what story you want to tell. The earlier seasons introduce a lot of characters and elements that may be missed by simply playing the latter seasons. Who the villains are, their motivations, etc, etc.
I cannot take credit for this story arc path, but it will take them through Eyes of the Ten (though if you're able to play it before you run it somehow, it would be best. Lots of major spoilers otherwise). Eyes is the retirement arc and these scenarios are handpicked to ensure you've played all the scenarios that add flavour and backstory to Eyes.
When I ran it last night, PCs heavy roleplayers had a great time with Haltani, gaining many influence points along the way. The party escaped from the border guards and arrived peacefully at the gates of Dalun.
I had the guards state that they had to perform a routine search of goods and assign taxes as per regulations, but then the Lieutenant received "the message" and allowed the party to pass without search. This confused the PCs a bit and made them start wondering who was their mysterious patron. Discussion went well with the Baroness. When the PCs find out that the Baroness isn't their well-meaning patron, their confusion (and paranoia) continued/surfaced.
Journey to Naldak's Point was without major incident, as PCs were prepared with several wands of Endure Elements (always a great 2PP purchase).
We had a 3, 4, 4, and 5 with no full-BAB. Rigrory took a good long time before combat eventually broke out, as the party was very uncertain on what do go. It was great time as a GM, as I could walk away and grab a drink, not being needed at the table. Probably 10 to 15 minutes of in-character discussion on what they should do, with the party split on giving her up. Fight was tough, as breath weapon is still real dangerous at that level. Did drop it as it was retreating, though very concerned about the rest of the pack coming after them.....
Discussions of Hao Jin came up as they surveryed the room and the 'damage' done. not quite dismissed, so it was satisfying on my end when the big reveal came shortly thereafter.
Vagrim (The Revnant) left one dead and the party on the verge of a TPK (he is a real jerk). Poor rolling didn't help, but nonetheless the confined location and footing conditions proved to be the PCs real undoing.
After a fight in which the PCs pulled out all the stops to stay alive, they were crestfallen when they went to leave and there was a small army waiting for them, demanding their surrender and arrest. Thankfully, with the true ally they made in Uliana, they convinced the witch not to arrest them.
All and all, a great scenario with great options and super fun to run.