Impassioned plea to scenario writers...


Pathfinder Society

The Exchange 3/5

I have played 8 scenarios with a wizard character.
7 of these same scenarios had plot constructions that REQUIRED the the scenarios to be completed in one day. AKA No resting.

In contrast, I have encountered ZERO scenarios that have required fighters to to fight without weapons.

I get that spellcasters are supposed to be nerfed. I get that judges want to speed the game.

But really its getting to the point where it becomes black humor. Guess-the-idiotic-plot-hook-that-will-require-you-to-finish-it-in-24 hours-THIS-time. Its like a 24hrs the Fantasy RPG.

Puhlease!


cp wrote:

I have played 8 scenarios with a wizard character.

7 of these same scenarios had plot constructions that REQUIRED the the scenarios to be completed in one day. AKA No resting.

In contrast, I have encountered ZERO scenarios that have required fighters to to fight without weapons.

I get that spellcasters are supposed to be nerfed. I get that judges want to speed the game.

But really its getting to the point where it becomes black humor. Guess-the-idiotic-plot-hook-that-will-require-you-to-finish-it-in-24 hours-THIS-time. Its like a 24hrs the Fantasy RPG.

Puhlease!

Uhm, you do get that this is supposed to be a balance point between the Wizard and Sorcerer right? Wizard gets a better choice and a chance to plan for any opportunity, the Sorcerer can be a little more free with the spells he does get. Honestly, I was surprised to hear recently that most people do stop in the middle of adventures and somehow don't get repeatedly smacked down by their GMs for going to bed somewhere so blatantly stupid.

Scarab Sages

Chris Kenney wrote:
cp wrote:

I have played 8 scenarios with a wizard character.

7 of these same scenarios had plot constructions that REQUIRED the the scenarios to be completed in one day. AKA No resting.

In contrast, I have encountered ZERO scenarios that have required fighters to to fight without weapons.

I get that spellcasters are supposed to be nerfed. I get that judges want to speed the game.

But really its getting to the point where it becomes black humor. Guess-the-idiotic-plot-hook-that-will-require-you-to-finish-it-in-24 hours-THIS-time. Its like a 24hrs the Fantasy RPG.

Puhlease!

Uhm, you do get that this is supposed to be a balance point between the Wizard and Sorcerer right? Wizard gets a better choice and a chance to plan for any opportunity, the Sorcerer can be a little more free with the spells he does get. Honestly, I was surprised to hear recently that most people do stop in the middle of adventures and somehow don't get repeatedly smacked down by their GMs for going to bed somewhere so blatantly stupid.

While I don't have too much experience with PFS modules, I don't think the OP is asking to be able to rest in the middle of a "dungeon". I expect that he's asking for an occasional scenario that involves some travel between scenes or some downtime (perhaps a day or two) to wait until the next scene happens. If I had to guess based on what I've heard of other scenarios, I think he's just gotten unlucky (though I confess I could be *completely* wrong on that guess).

On the subject of the difference between the sorcerer and wizard; if modules lack any downtime at all then this does, in fact, harm the wizard far more than the sorcerer. The wizard's advantage is that they have "versatility" when they know something about what they need. This advantage goes away completely if the only time they get to prepare spells is before learning anything about what they'll need. Not that this is automatically makes a scenario bad. Classes, especially caster classes, have pretty clear advantages and disadvantages over one another. In my experience they get exaggerated when a group tends to play the same style of game.

I'd be very interested to know if there is a wide variety within the PFS scenarios as I'll be starting a group shortly and would like to vary the adventures to highlight class features (and flaws). But I just thought I'd note that downtime can be something other than taking an 8 hour nap before opening the next door of the dungeon.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

I'm currently writing a scenario, so I'll try and keep this in mind. I generally look for ways to weave small breaks between scenes in an adventure's storyline anyway. But, the limited number of scenes you generally get for a PFS scenario is about 6-7 with one of those being (optional) if the GM has time to run it.

Of the remaining 5-6 scenes, they're not always combat-oriented. So, from a PC resource perspective, as long as the designer assumes one or two "lower than APL" CR encounters, a couple of "equal to APL" CR encounters, and then one or two "higher than APL" CR encounters (which typically includes the primary villain at the end), you should be able to spread your resources over that entire grouping of scenes and still have enough to remain an active participant.

Regardless, because of the theme and storyline progression of the scenario I'm writing, I think room for a "restock and resupply" break is likely warranted. So, I'll try and make room for that so the final battle isn't made all the more difficult because wizards ran out of spells in the past 24 hours.

--Neil


Interesting point, has anyone tried coverting the slave lord series?

I mean thats supposed to have the PCs locked up and have to escape without any of their equipment if memory serves this may not be an official pathfinder game as such but its what this posting reminded me about.

Unless that wizard has spell mastery he/she would have to use whatever scrolls they can get their hands on until they can find a replacement spellbook unless they find their own and no self respecting bad guy's going to leave that around with the PCs valuable magical items...

I remember a 3.0 fighter I had generated based in greyhawk and his background as a kind of failed barbarian, he had improved initiative, improved unarmed attack and combat reflexes never got to run him but it did make another player try and design a character with the same feats.

Has anyone tried that kind of character?

I think I'll go back and check on this, I wonder if the new rules on wizards makes this kind of impossible after all an arcane bonded item might avoid being detected as such but a pet might be caged up... i recall their wizard master does share their senses, mainly empathy initially haven't looked closer at that, still thanks for this its an interesting idea even if I'm not answering your main point.


aptinuviel wrote:
While I don't have too much experience with PFS modules, I don't think the OP is asking to be able to rest in the middle of a "dungeon". I expect that he's asking for an occasional scenario that involves some travel between scenes or some downtime (perhaps a day or two) to wait until the next scene happens. If I had to guess based on what I've heard of other scenarios, I think he's just gotten unlucky (though I confess I could be *completely* wrong on that guess).

I've run nine scenarios, and gotten a distinctive break period twice. There were a few more where the GM invested a sense of urgency in matters, but it would have been possible, but somewhat risky, to stop. Sounds about right.

Quote:
On the subject of the difference between the sorcerer and wizard; if modules lack any downtime at all then this does, in fact, harm the wizard far more than the sorcerer. The wizard's advantage is that they have "versatility" when they know something about what they need. This advantage goes away completely if the only time they get to prepare spells is before learning anything about what they'll need. Not that this is automatically makes a scenario bad. Classes,...

You get a briefing before most scenarios start, and many or most of them allow you to ask questions and make adjustments to your prepared spell list. You can usually make an educated guess at at least some of the foes you'll be facing from what your objective is and where you are. I have yet to fail to encounter, say, undead in an Osirian adventure. If you're not taking advantage of that, it's your fault.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

I think one thing to keep in mind is that a) if you're playing a wizard, invest in scrolls and a wand or two so that you don't have to worry about running out of useful spells or not having the right spell for the job, and b) there's only 5 enocunters in a PFS scenario - so you should be able to pretty easily ration out your spells for the whole scenario. Don't use all your best spells in the first encounter. Use your daily ability based on school as well as cantrips if you're low level. By the time you're hitting 3rd level you have a few more spells to play with. Also, do you have a bonded object or a familiar? Bonded object gives you another spell per day and the versatility to pick it as needed from your spellbook. Finally c) you don't have to prepare all of your spell slots at the beginning of the scenario. Save an open slot and spend 15 minutes to prepare it with whatever is appropriate for an upcomming encounter. You should always have enough time for that, even if you don't have time for a full overnight rest.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

I'm adding a 108 minute countdown clock to the scenario I'm finishing up this week.


Very few scenarios have to be completed on a timer. For those scenarios that do, I endeavor in development to make sure found items and encounter balance is favorable to folks who need to rest to reset their cannons. For the OP, are you running with the same GM or with different GMs? In my experience, if you need a rest, then most GMs will figure out a way for that to happen unless, of course, you're in one of the few timed adventures.

The Exchange 3/5

Joshua J. Frost wrote:
Very few scenarios have to be completed on a timer. For those scenarios that do, I endeavor in development to make sure found items and encounter balance is favorable to folks who need to rest to reset their cannons. For the OP, are you running with the same GM or with different GMs? In my experience, if you need a rest, then most GMs will figure out a way for that to happen unless, of course, you're in one of the few timed adventures.

Thanks for responding Joshua;

Four adventures at cons, three different judges.
Remainder at game days, three different judges.

The refs and the adventures both during play and after seemed deliberately slanted to require no resting.

To answer some of the other comments:

I play a bonded specialist. 20 int, getting the bonus specialist spells, the bonus int spells, the bonus item spell. Fourth level

So, I have roughly around a dozen spells plus 8 acid arrows. We have 5-6 combats totalling something like 28 rounds. Yes this module is rated as a killer - but I'm playing with a bunch of power gamers as well.

At the end of the mod, I am out of spells, scrolls, acid arrows, tanglefoot bags.

It isn't a question of squandering resources. 28 rounds of combat means that *any* wizard character is out of useful resources, well before the end.

I don't care if this happens occasionally; in fact I appreciate it.
However, I am stating an opinion that it has been overdone - and joshua I can provide scenario numbers if that would be useful.

Obviously there is variance in tables, and geographically. However, in 8 tables, I have seen one other arcane caster.

I would be interested Joshua in the breakout by % of the registered classes, specifically straight classes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Morphing the discussion,

Wizards have been nerfed quite a bit:

a) There are several conditions that make spellcasting nigh impossible.
An archer readied; grappling; violent movement. The lack of a concentration skill renders a wizard useless, often. And while it may be good for balance it occurs too much to be really fun.

b) Increase in hp vs no increase in spell damage. (both increases in hitdice and increase in max neg for most people). Bonus hp due to favored classes.

c) Feats like step up; improved counterspelling.
d). Bonded item specialists spell failure without item in hand.
Disarmed. Asleep. In jail, etc.

These things are easy to write into encounters and so occur so frequently that they represent another defacto nerf.

I understand the requirement to balance wizards; however I would make a couple of assertions:

that the core arcane suffer especially in comparison to later additions such as witches, and oracles.

that the 'fill in' abilities of wizards, acid arrow for example, and or the 8th level abilities gained by some specialists are too 'light' to be of practical use; they scale insufficiently.

Some suggestions:
a). Allow an arcane (sorceror) to pick one spell two levels (one level) below his top spell, that he may cast freely.
b). Give a better special ability. For example, enchanters may cast charm person at will. At 9th level they may charm monster at will.
(if thats too strong, downlevel it somewhat, applying a -2 penalty to DC, or 1/2 damage or..)
c). Allow a caster to cast in an emergency, treating the pages of his spell book as a scroll
d). Incantationist feat: By taking 2xlevel of spell damage, and making a spell craft check, and incantationist can cast a spell using his body as a spell focus.
Either the spell isn't exhausted, or some other advantage such as may remove V, or S, or F. (or by paying 6xlevel, may remove all three).

etc.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Many of the later issues raised in the above email are not questions of Pathfinder Society, but rather the rules system as a whole. I'm not saying they aren't real concerns for game balance, but I don't know if this is the right place to air these grievances.


cp,

I tried looking through your sessions to get an idea of what scenarios you played and it appears that none of your GMs are reporting their sessions. Which is disappointing.

What scenarios did you play in? If every single one of them felt like the Wizard wasn't very good in them, that will give me a set of scenarios to re-read from a Wizard perspective.

My primary character for Pathfinder Society playtesting purposes is a Wizard--sure they run out of resources, but you can be very effective without resorting to just damaging spells. Invisibility + monster summons + augment summoning = amazing org play Wizard. :-)


yoda8myhead wrote:
I'm adding a 108 minute countdown clock to the scenario I'm finishing up this week.

Is there a button to push to reset the timer? :)


Yes, and I'm pretty certain you spend all 4 hours pushing the button, too.

Best. Scenario. Ever.


Tangible Delusions wrote:

yoda8myhead wrote:

I'm adding a 108 minute countdown clock to the scenario I'm finishing up this week.

Is there a button to push to reset the timer? :)

Joshua J. Frost wrote:

Yes, and I'm pretty certain you spend all 4 hours pushing the button, too.

Best. Scenario. Ever.

If you replace "hours" with "years", that sounds like grad school.

Good times...

The Exchange 3/5

Joshua J. Frost wrote:

cp,

I tried looking through your sessions to get an idea of what scenarios you played and it appears that none of your GMs are reporting their sessions. Which is disappointing.

What scenarios did you play in? If every single one of them felt like the Wizard wasn't very good in them, that will give me a set of scenarios to re-read from a Wizard perspective.

My primary character for Pathfinder Society playtesting purposes is a Wizard--sure they run out of resources, but you can be very effective without resorting to just damaging spells. Invisibility + monster summons + augment summoning = amazing org play Wizard. :-)

That *is* frustrating. I was told the dragon con reporting was done. Another thing to check on. whats the best place to email you a list of scenarios. Happy to oblige.

As for non direct damage spells - I couldn't agree more. Wizards are primarily crowd control or 'get out of jail free' specialists.

By which I mean - grease for the grappled fighter. Phantom steeds when you're in a hurry. Fly... etc.


Hahah yeah I greased James Jacobs's character on Saturday after he got himself grappled. His character's a neat freak, too, so that was doubly fun.

As for reports, they have all been reported, so I wonder if perhaps a hand-writing issue is at play here. Email me the list of sessions you played in and include the following information:

GM Name/GM Number
Time/Date
Scenario Name/Your Pathfinder Society #

Then I can go through the sessions and see if some numbers were transposed or incorrectly entered. I've corrected a few of those in the last couple of weeks, so I wouldn't be shocked if this was the same issue.

Lantern Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Asia-Pacific aka DarkWhite

Whenever your mission involves saving someone, there is an implied urgency to keep moving, lest you arrive too late and they meet an untimely ending.

FWIW, here's a list of low-level scenarios with time restrictions (warning, may contain spoilers):

Spoiler:
  • 01 Silent Tide (save Absalom)
  • 02 Hydra's Fang Incident (chase bad guys before they get away)
  • 05 Mists of Mwangi (save Museum staff)
  • 07 Among the Living (lock-down - though could rest if you found a secure place?)
  • 08 Slave Pits of Abaslom (rescue mission)
  • 15 Asmodeus Mirage (strict time limit!)
  • 17 Perils of the Pirate Pact (rescue mission)
  • 35 Voice in the Void (rescue mission)

OTOH, here's a list of low-level scenarios with relaxed time restrictions (warning, may also contain spoilers):

Spoiler:
  • 03 Murder on the Silken Caravan (many opportunities to rest along the way)
  • 04 Frozen Fingers of Midnight (investigative - could rest if required)
  • 06 Black Waters (treasure hunt - no urgency)
  • 09 Eye of the Crocodile King (exploratory - could rest if required)
  • 10 Blood at Dralkard Manor (overnight stay - can recover spells overnight)
  • 11 The Third Riddle (exploratory - no urgency)
  • 13 The Prince of Augustana (exploratory - no urgency)
  • 33 Assault on the Kingdom of the Impossible (opportunities to rest - no urgency)

These are the scenarios I'm most familiar with, I've left many out either because I haven't played/GMed/read them yet, or because my recollection of them is somewhat hazy.

Some of those listed as time restricted may only be "implied" - eg, if you spent a night resting, you won't fail, and the scenario won't break - but the character's don't know that and should act with a sense of urgency.

Likewise, a lenient GM may allow opportunities for the players to rest, and still complete their mission, eg the bad guys are slow to get away, or the target you're trying to rescue is still alive the next day - but as I mentioned above, the character's don't know that, so should still act with a sense of urgency - and of course not all GMs will be that lenient.

The Exchange 3/5

Joshua J. Frost wrote:

Hahah yeah I greased James Jacobs's character on Saturday after he got himself grappled. His character's a neat freak, too, so that was doubly fun.

As for reports, they have all been reported, so I wonder if perhaps a hand-writing issue is at play here. Email me the list of sessions you played in and include the following information:

GM Name/GM Number
Time/Date
Scenario Name/Your Pathfinder Society #

Then I can go through the sessions and see if some numbers were transposed or incorrectly entered. I've corrected a few of those in the last couple of weeks, so I wouldn't be shocked if this was the same issue.

Er I'm actually fairly novice on the paizo boards. How do I email you?

Lantern Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Asia-Pacific aka DarkWhite

Try Paizo's Contact Us page ...


Don't know the viability of it, but could Scenario writers get away with a "Briefing" write-up? "You might find the following useful:" lists? Speaking "in-character", you'd have some briefing and idea what you're walking into so as to be prepared, unless said preparation is a trap to disorient you and leave you ineffectual. A short list of appropriate spells & items would let players make some choices, either take them under consideration along with a handful of other spells they expect to prove useful, or say "I'll prepare nothing but!"; its up to them, but at least they would be forewarned enough to pack the right assortment. Knowing when to use said recommendations is the question.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

Nate Petersen wrote:
Don't know the viability of it, but could Scenario writers get away with a "Briefing" write-up? "You might find the following useful:" lists? Speaking "in-character", you'd have some briefing and idea what you're walking into so as to be prepared, unless said preparation is a trap to disorient you and leave you ineffectual. A short list of appropriate spells & items would let players make some choices, either take them under consideration along with a handful of other spells they expect to prove useful, or say "I'll prepare nothing but!"; its up to them, but at least they would be forewarned enough to pack the right assortment. Knowing when to use said recommendations is the question.

You do get a mission from both your venture-captain and your faction head at the start of each scenario. While they might not say "you should prepare hide from undead because there are zombies in the cellar" they may hint that there are rumors of undead lunking on the property, or your faction mission may be to retrieve some piece of an undead creature should you encounter one. In most cases, you can justify prepping things based on this information because it either comes as a flashback to being told days earlier or comes with traveling time assumed before the scenario starts.


It's important to remember that you won't always know what you're heading into when going on an assignment from a Venture Captain (that would be boring over time) and that you're not expected to get every faction mission completed every time.

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