Dr Lucky

Mike Mistele's page

Goblin Squad Member. Organized Play Member. 681 posts (775 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 9 Organized Play characters.



I've played a lot of Pathfinder and PFS, but I'm new to Starfinder, and I'll be playing SFS for the first time at Origins next week.

I'm putting together my SFS character: a Mystic, with the Healer connection. As I've not played Starfinder nor SFS, I'm not certain of what would be good / useful choices for my spells. I get Mystic Cure from my connection (and I would have chosen it anyway), but any advice from SFS vets on which spells are particularly useful (or useless) in Society play would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

I'm about to begin running Shattered Star for one of my home groups -- we're blessed with a large group, and we will have 8 PCs for the campaign.

My search-fu is failing me -- I haven't been able to find any definitive information on the party size (number of PCs) to which the AP is written. I strongly suspect that it's fewer than 8, and I know that PFS scenarios are written for a base assumption of 5 PCs.

I plan on trying to scale rewards (and number of opponents) as appropriate for the larger party, but I need to know what the baseline assumption is before I start that.

Any information would be greatly appreciated!


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I'm fully prepared for being flamed, and accused of being a whiner, for starting this topic. Nonetheless...

Let me start with a little background. I'm a veteran RPG player -- I've been playing D&D and other RPGs for 31 years. I have been fairly active in various Organized Play campaigns (as a player, GM, and, in one case, campaign staffer) for the past 12 years.

I like to think of myself as a reasonably good gamer -- I'm pretty good at rules mastery, even if I don't know (or pursue) every edge for my characters. I enjoy creating characters who aren't one-trick ponies, can contribute well both in combat and outside of combat, and have backgrounds and flavor which make them fit well in their campaign worlds. I'm not the guy who's going to come to the table with a tricked-out combat monster, but I'm also not the guy who's going to come to the table with a character whose best option in combat is the Aid Another action.

I started out playing PFS at "opening day" at GenCon 2008, but spent a couple of years away from the campaign, until trying it again in early 2012. Over the past year-plus, I've become a pretty big fan of PFS, and Pathfinder in general.

I just got home from a local convention at which I played in a PFS scenario, and GMed another PFS scenario. I've now played or GMed in five different Season 4 modules, and every single one of them have had one (or more) truly brutal combat encounters. In every single one of these, there has been either (a) one or more PC deaths, or (b) a situation in which there would have been multiple deaths if the PCs had been just a little less lucky.

My understanding, in talking with other players and GMs locally, and reading these boards, is that this sort of experience has become very common in Season 4 scenarios. In the last two adventures I've played (Fortress of the Nail and Blakros Matrimony), we failed at our overall mission, due to having to retreat from / surrender in combats which were extremely challenging -- out of 8 PCs in those two sessions, we had three dead PCs, and could very easily have had TPKs in both.

Despite all this, I very much enjoyed the stories in these scenarios (and, for that matter, in most PFS adventures). I find Golarion to be an interesting, well-detailed campaign setting. I generally like what Paizo does as a company, and I think that Mike Brock and his team are, generally, doing great things with how they run the campaign.

I've been fairly active on these boards over the past year or so. I've seen a lot of comments about earlier seasons' adventures, along the lines of "PFS isn't challenging" -- and, frankly, from what I've seen of the earlier adventures, I think that, in a fair number of cases, that was a fair criticism. At the start of Season 4, I read here, "things will be more challenging now". My concern is that things have now swung to the other extreme, and PFS adventures have gone from cakewalks to bloodbaths.

From what I've experienced and heard, it seems like Season 4 requires you to have at least two of the following:
1) A table of players with very strong tactics
2) PCs who are strongly combat-optimized, and/or
3) Very good luck with dice.

At the convention this weekend, I spoke with a Venture-Lieutenant, and a 4-star GM (both of whom are friends of mine, with whom I've played in several earlier OP campaigns). Both of them said pretty much the same thing:
1) Yes, you're right, these adventures are crazy-tough
2) We won't run Season 4 adventures at the game stores (where there are a lot of new players), for fear of driving them away
3) If you think this is tough, just wait for Season 5

Please don't get me wrong -- I don't generally enjoy playing adventures in which the characters face no risk of failure. I understand that part of fantasy RPGs is the threat of character death. But, it feels to me that PFS has now listened too much to the power-gamer, the character-optimizer, and the player who likes his RPGs "grim and gritty". The threat of PC death is one thing; the strong probability is another. I don't mind if my OP campaign has some scenarios which are extremely challenging; if most (or all) scenarios are that way, it becomes evident that the campaign isn't appealing to me as a player.

At this point, I have to say that I have very little interest in playing any more Season 4 scenarios. I'm attending both Origins and GenCon this summer, but, right now, I'm thinking that I'm going to avoid playing PFS.

I'd like to understand if it's the intent of the campaign to have, as its core constituency, those who want "hard mode" as the norm. If so, I'm not sure how much room there is in the PFS tent for the player like myself, who wants a more balanced approach (or, for that matter, the novice player).

I'm very curious to hear others' takes on all of this. Am I the only one who feels that things have swung too far to the other extreme?


I'm running The Jester's Fraud (#56) at a con this weekend. The older scenarios don't have the sign-up sheet at the back of the PDF -- the sheet on which one has the players record their character's names, PFS numbers, and factions, and on which the Judge records the number of Prestige Points earned. Is there a generic one lurking around somewhere that I should use when I run this? Or, should I just repurpose said sheet from a newer scenario?

Cool dice bag...and already apparently sold out. Are more expected any time soon?


I'm just getting back into playing PFS, after playing a bit during Season 0, and am interested in seeing what options are out there for software for creating a character and character sheet. (FYI, my intent is to create the character on my computer, and print out a hard-copy character sheet for play.)

I've been a big fan of Heroforge for my 3.5 games, and found two different Pathfinder "sheets" on the Heroforge site. I downloaded both of them, but wasn't thrilled with either of those. Are there other options out there that folks like?