I have some issues with recent changes to Pathfinder Society


Pathfinder Society

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Dark Archive 4/5

I own a store in Philadelphia that has been running Pathfinder Society for the last year or so. In that year, we've run over 100 mods, so we're averaging around two per week. We schedule PFS once per week, but sometimes we have impromptu sessions, run more than one table simultaneously, or just play two mods back to back.

A few months ago, when PPP was updated to allow credit for replaying mods, it couldn't have come at a better time for us. We were just getting to the point where seating people was proving difficult. You never know who's going to show up to play, and you have to make sure that mods are read thoroughly and prepared before people start showing up, but when you prepare mods X and Z and people show up who've played both already, there isn't much you can do but turn them away unless you have access to some sort of replay options. And this is exactly what we were beginning to encounter each week.

Additionally, when you're playing two sessions per week and only two new mods are coming out per month, it doesn't take long before you run out, and quite frankly we have some customers that show up pretty much every time we play PFS. Without allowing for the option of replay, we're going to be turning these customers away en masse, and frankly it's probably going to ruin Pathfinder Society at our store.

I realize that 1 player credit and 1 GM credit makes a lot of sense at conventions where many different mods are being run, and I realize it makes a lot of sense for home games where there's a steadier crowd showing up each week, but for stores who have less predictable crowds and fewer resources (not to mention smaller turnouts than conventions), losing the option of replay is literally a death sentence for the program. As for the option of replaying without receiving credit, my question is to what end? The only reason at all I can think to disallow replay is to stop players who have already played from ruining the plot hooks for everyone else. But receiving credit isn't what makes that a risk, it's replaying the mod at all that gives you the opportunity to spoil the ending. Replaying without receiving credit just feels like a punishment, since there doesn't seem to be any reason to deny credit but still allow replay. And frankly, the ability for a GM to deny credit to someone who spoils the plot actually better incentivizes people to stay in line. I would think people for whom nothing is at stake would be more likely to ruin the fun (not that I've ever known plot-spoiling to be a problem, at least at my store).

The PPP section of the GtPFS has always emphasized that it's never right to turn a player away and that the bottom line is fun, but disallowing replay is going to force us to turn people away and allowing replay without granting credit is going to ruin people's fun (because it feels like a senseless punishment, and nobody likes playing without gaining XP) and effectively turn them away. Either option seems really, really bad for PFS at stores.

This is not to mention that there simply aren't enough mods in existence to maintain more than about one and a half characters without replay. If your 8th-level character were to die and be unrevivable, you'd likely hit a point where you just couldn't level up your new character until a new low-level mod came out, which means more turning away players. And hell, every player should have a low-level character on-hand at all times just in case not enough high-level character-holders show up any given night, but without replay options you just can't have more than two characters. There aren't enough mods.

And that leads into my next complaint, which is that the retirement of mods is getting really out of hand and seems really premature to begin with. I've already explained that in only a year of running this, we have multiple players who have played just about every available mod (especially with so few lower-level mods available), and though I agree that some of the older mods are not very good and should be retired at some point in the future, I think it's crazy that retirements began before season 2 had even started. I realize writing adventures is time-consuming and the process can't really be sped up all that much, but seriously: it's hard enough as it is to run this program with the already highly-limited number of available adventures without those adventures disappearing before critical mass has been reached. And I don't have access to the mods from home to do any number-crunching, but I assure you (as somebody who's been running eight games a month for the last year) adventure critical mass has absolutely yet to be reached.

Please, please reconsider retiring any further mods (and if possible please unretire those retired... we don't have enough adventures to keep running PFS), and please, please reconsider disallowing replay. These two decisions, especially in tandem, are going to put an end to Pathfinder Society at my store (and I'd wager at many others like it), and not out of some sort of childish protest, but because they actually make successfully running the program functionally impossible!

Thanks for running a great program otherwise, though, and I hope this came across as optimistic pleading and not whiny complaining!

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Baltic

Benn Roe wrote:


Additionally, when you're playing two sessions per week and only two new mods are coming out per month, it doesn't take long before you run out, and quite frankly we have some customers that show up pretty much every time we play PFS. Without allowing for the option of replay, we're going to be turning these customers away en masse, and frankly it's probably going to ruin Pathfinder Society at our store.

As you correctly calculated if you play Pathfinder Society more than twice a month you will eventually run out of adventures. So if you want to play twice each week you should probably consider also running some Adventure Paths. Yes, you don't get an Adventure Chronicle when you play those, but playing really should be it's own reward.

If you want more Pathfinder Society scenarios then:

Report your sessions (I guess you're doing this already!)
Write reviews for adventures you played or ran.
Write and submit new adventures.

PPP was meant as a last resort to help out new players, but people abused the system only to help themselves. By only giving credit twice (once for playing, once for running) it's clearly about helping others as it was always meant to be.


Quote:
This is not to mention that there simply aren't enough mods in existence to maintain more than about one and a half characters without replay. If your 8th-level character were to die and be unrevivable, you'd likely hit a point where you just couldn't level up your new character until a new low-level mod came out, which means more turning away players. And hell, every player should have a low-level character on-hand at all times just in case not enough high-level character-holders show up any given night, but without replay options you just can't have more than two characters. There aren't enough mods.

I actually think this is the best argument available for a "Replay after time has passed" rule. While a few people would manage to abuse even that, if the time limit was set to something reasonable (six months would be the absolute minimum, a year probably much better) they would likely still have to earn their second session. And only a few Season 0 mods would be eligible for a third replay, assuming someone got in on the ground floor.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Texas—San Antonio aka Dragnmoon

One good thing though, Starting next month and every month after that they will always release at least one low level Scenario, though that won't fully help you it will at least give you one you can always run every month.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

After moving back to my small hometown more than three years ago, I finally have a very solid home group together. We play lots of games, but our strongest long-term campaign is Rise of the Runelords. I love it, the DM loves it, all of the players love it, but...

Adventure Paths do not lend themselves to play in a store environment where different people might show up for any given session; as opposed to Society scenarios which are great for this.

I support replay for credit.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

The replay for credit issue is a pretty touchy one as feeling seem to be pretty polarized. For every person saying how much the modified replay rule is hurting their game, you have another saying that replay is what killed Living Greyhawk for them.

Personally, I like the new rule. From what I understand, those abusing the system was beginning to get out of hand, and the rule does not state you can't play at all, just that you receive no chronicle and rewards. Conversely, I think the recent slate of retirements was ill-timed and even with the new "one low level scenario per month" rule, the whole thing could have been handled better.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Baltic

MisterSlanky wrote:
you have another saying that replay is what killed Living Greyhawk for them.

I think you mean Living Forgotten Realms. In Living Greyhawk you never had replay at all (no DM credit either).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 4

Benn Roe wrote:
I own a store in Philadelphia ...

Copy, Paste, change "I own a store in Philadelphia" to "I organize at a store in Raleigh" and this is my situation.

Dark Archive 4/5

MisterSlanky wrote:
Personally, I like the new rule. From what I understand, those abusing the system was beginning to get out of hand, and the rule does not state you can't play at all, just that you receive no chronicle and rewards.

This is sort of exactly my problem with the rule. What is the justification for allowing people to replay, but not to replay for credit? If they're replaying, they already have the potential to ruin the game for others, which I agree is kind of a bummer, but with so few mods available it seems like a necessary risk. If and when somebody steps out of line, it seems like action can be taken (denying them a chronicle, kicking them out, etc.), but otherwise what choice is there? There either needs to somehow be twice as many mods (seems unlikely), or some sort of replay needs to be possible. And if some sort of replay is possible, it just seems mean spirited not to grant credit for it. It's just discouraging for people who play really, really often. "Hey, so I know you're really enthusiastic about this program and you show up every week, but it's probably going to be six or seven more sessions before you can level up, because you're too supportive. Sorry!" I just feel like my customers aren't going to put up with this, which is a shame because right now the program is really popular.

MisterSlanky wrote:
The replay for credit issue is a pretty touchy one as feeling seem to be pretty polarized. For every person saying how much the modified replay rule is hurting their game, you have another saying that replay is what killed Living Greyhawk for them.

This is why the old system of replay was so perfect, though. At conventions, where you could hold a great number of tables, and slots could naturally work themselves out based on what people had or had not already played, you simply denied people the right to replay stuff and sent them to a different table since they didn't need to play your slot to play. At home games, you always have the option of just saying "we're not going to replay mods, because replaying cheapens the experience for us," since it's your home game and not open to the public. But for stores with reasonable-sized Pathfinder Society scenes full of enthusiastic, supportive customers, but only enough interest to run between one and three tables simultaneously, the replay rule was all that allowed us to PLAY, PLAY, PLAY. For those players who didn't like replay, they had the option of just not going to such stores, but for a great many store players, replaying was the only way to make legal tables just about every week. And that's not abuse of the system, it's the facts of an otherwise good situation with so few mods available.

I know this problem isn't unique to Philadelphia, and I suspect it's a situation most stores can relate to (as indicated by the fellow from Raleigh). We even had a player come in on a business trip from Florida a few weeks ago, who mentioned that where he's from the situation is similar. Replay just became a necessary evil after so long playing with so few mods. I really, really think it's preferable to loss of interest, which is going to be the alternative for many people.

Dark Archive 4/5

Dragnmoon wrote:
One good thing though, Starting next month and every month after that they will always release at least one low level Scenario, though that won't fully help you it will at least give you one you can always run every month.

You're right! This is absolutely great planning on their part, and I was ecstatic when I read the blog about it. But the demand for how often we play at our store is just too great for this to be enough.

Dark Archive 4/5

Auke Teeninga wrote:
PPP was meant as a last resort to help out new players, but people abused the system only to help themselves. By only giving credit twice (once for playing, once for running) it's clearly about helping others as it was always meant to be.

I appreciate your help and suggestions. As somebody else mentioned, the adventure paths don't make much sense for the more unpredictable store environment, and I am already reporting my sessions. I'll happily write reviews if you think that'll help, and if I had more time to lay them out I promise I'd have already submitted some mods for use by PFS.

As for abuse of the system, I think I must just be naive. How exactly were people abusing it?

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

Auke Teeninga wrote:
I think you mean Living Forgotten Realms. In Living Greyhawk you never had replay at all (no DM credit either).

Correct. To my knowledge, there was never any replay allowed in Living Greyhawk, Living Arcanis, or any other Living campaign prior to 4E. In fact, these campaigns also had a "time unit" rule, further limiting how many scenarios you could play in a given year, even if there were scenarios you hadn't yet played.

I think that replay has created this expectation that players can play again and again, but as stated above, replay was only ever intended as a last resort measure to help reach minimum table size. However, the demand for play you're describing doesn't suggest you're having trouble meeting minimum tables size.

It's awesome that Paizo provide such a successful organised play program, many other game companies provide no such support for their game products. That players are coming back week after week, burning through scenarios as fast as they're released, is a clear sign of the success of the campaign.

Players who have played through all the available scenarios really should be offering to GM some of the scenarios they've enjoyed so much instead of replaying.

Hard-core fans who have burned their way through Pathfinder Society scenarios are precisely the players you should be encouraging to purchase Pathfinder Modules or Adventure Paths to take home and play instead of replaying.

Cheers,
DarkWhite

Dark Archive 4/5

Stephen White wrote:
I think that replay has created this expectation that players can play again and again, but as stated above, replay was only ever intended as a last resort measure to help reach minimum table size. However, the demand for play you're describing doesn't suggest you're having trouble meeting minimum tables size.

You're right, we're having no trouble meeting minimum table sizes. What we're having trouble with is running minimum table sizes where all of the players are eligible to play the available mods. And since we never know who's going to show up (and even with a preregistration system in place would likely still have people show up who hadn't preregistered and certainly wouldn't want to turn them away), it's really difficult to plan accordingly.

Stephen White wrote:
It's awesome that Paizo provide such a successful organised play program, many other game companies provide no such support for their game products. That players are coming back week after week, burning through scenarios as fast as they're released, is a clear sign of the success of the campaign.

I'm 100% in agreement. Paizo does a great job, and this is a great program. There's no other company in the world I'd rather have behind the reigns, which is exactly why I felt comfortable coming on here to make a complaint, fully believing that my complaint will be heard. That isn't to say I expect them to follow my requests to the letter without hearing the opinions of others, but in the end I know my vote will be tallied. Paizo runs a great business.

And the campaign has been successful, in large part because we've never had to turn people away. My fear is that with the recently instituted changes, that will change. I'm trying to speak up now before the program is permanently soured for my customers.

Stephen White wrote:
Players who have played through all the available scenarios really should be offering to GM some of the scenarios they've enjoyed so much instead of replaying.

You're totally right, and many of our customers do GM for us fairly regularly. But we can't force them to GM. And if a customer isn't comfortable GMing, or just flat doesn't enjoy the experience, it's bad for business and it's bad for the players for whom they GM to try to coerce them into doing so.

Stephen White wrote:
Hard-core fans who have burned their way through Pathfinder Society scenarios are precisely the players you should be encouraging to purchase Pathfinder Modules or Adventure Paths to take home and play instead of replaying.

And we do, but many of them want to be playing their PFS characters, with the people who show up to play PFS, in the environment we provide for PFS. Not to mention that whereas take-home sales are fine, the real goal of a game store (at least one that seats nearly 100 people like ours does) is to keep customers in the store where they can be enthusiastic and have fun together. That enthusiasm is what ultimately pays the bills and keeps us in business.

I'm still not following how it could possibly be the intent of the program that people not play it as often as possible. When you go into your favourite pizza place and ask for green peppers, is it okay for them to say "I think you've had enough green peppers, why don't you try mushrooms this time?"

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Stephen White wrote:
Auke Teeninga wrote:
I think you mean Living Forgotten Realms. In Living Greyhawk you never had replay at all (no DM credit either).
Correct. To my knowledge, there was never any replay allowed in Living Greyhawk, Living Arcanis, or any other Living campaign prior to 4E. In fact, these campaigns also had a "time unit" rule, further limiting how many scenarios you could play in a given year, even if there were scenarios you hadn't yet played.

It's not the living world that's important. It's the fact that for every person who's complained about the change, there's another who loves it. Having played neither, I'm hardly an expert.

Quote:

I think that replay has created this expectation that players can play again and again, but as stated above, replay was only ever intended as a last resort measure to help reach minimum table size. However, the demand for play you're describing doesn't suggest you're having trouble meeting minimum tables size.

It's awesome that Paizo provide such a successful organised play program, many other game companies provide no such support for their game products. That players are coming back week after week, burning through scenarios as fast as they're released, is a clear sign of the success of the campaign.

Players who have played through all the available scenarios really should be offering to GM some of the scenarios they've enjoyed so much instead of replaying.

This is particularly important. If you go back and read Josh's original tone regarding replay, it was clearly indicated that it was supposed to be used in "emergency" situations only, not as an everyday occurrence. I've already witnessed a couple of players believe the replay option was a normal everyday thing, not something that should only be implemented in extreme cases. This does mean that running games two times a week for the same players isn't feasible; however, if half those players were to GM for one of their regularly scheduled scenarios, maybe it wouldn't be the problem it is. I think Paizo is trying very hard to make this a community where players give back to each other, why not promote that at your store?

Quote:
Hard-core fans who have burned their way through Pathfinder Society scenarios are precisely the players you should be encouraging to purchase Pathfinder Modules or Adventure Paths to take home and play instead of replaying.

There are other alternatives as well. Some groups like to meet in public places to play, even for APs. Society was never meant as a replacement for the traditional home game, in fact, as Paizo has mentioned on numerous occasions, the APs are their flagship products that keep them afloat, so it would be in their absolute best interest to use society play to promote that, not just promote society play.

Scarab Sages

I'm still not conviced that the changes given to replay aren't an undue burden to game store owners.

Replay might be distastful to many, but PFS is a game being played around a table, its not a professional sport.

There three elements to PFS, Players GMs and Game Store owners. I'm sure that while comments on replay might be going 50/50, I doubt that many game store owners have posted their thoughts on the change.

Most of my players enjoy once a week PFS and play an adventure path on the side. So the PFS scenarios are doing what the are supposed to do and making sales happen in othe product lines.

But given the state of the economy, going easier on the game store owners IMHO would help everyone in the long run.

The Exchange

Greetings Mortals--

I actually do consider myself an expert on LFR and 4e (I was heavily involved before I switched to PFS) and I believe that replay for credit is one of the biggest nails in the slowly dying LFR game coffin right now.

Sadly, it has to do with the nature of gamers and how they, as a whole, respond to rewards. The first thing that will change is that the judging pool will slowly melt away ("I'm not going to re-judge unless I get credit too.") and then the roleplaying will go away ("I just want to get through this so I can get credit.").

As soon as you allow replaying for credit, each individual PFS mod will no longer be a treasure to be fully enjoyed and savored (as one only gets to play it once), but something that played by players who know what is going to happen, when it is going to happen, and exactly what rewards they want to get out it.

For the love of whatever God I pray to, please do not let this happen to PFS. Let's find other solutions.

Also as a game day coordinator, I understand the need for more modules to be released. A previous post talked about this. While I hope that as the community builds up the Paizo staff bulks up their ability to review and release more modules, I don't think it's ever going to be to the point wherein two mods are released every week. That would be insane. (I would be happy with 40 new mods per season.)

-Pain

The Exchange

MisterSlanky wrote:
Stephen White wrote:
Auke Teeninga wrote:
I think you mean Living Forgotten Realms. In Living Greyhawk you never had replay at all (no DM credit either).
Correct. To my knowledge, there was never any replay allowed in Living Greyhawk, Living Arcanis, or any other Living campaign prior to 4E. In fact, these campaigns also had a "time unit" rule, further limiting how many scenarios you could play in a given year, even if there were scenarios you hadn't yet played.

It's not the living world that's important. It's the fact that for every person who's complained about the change, there's another who loves it. Having played neither, I'm hardly an expert.

As someone who played LG and watched people abuse the system, I can say that limiting replay will get just as much abuse as not limiting replay. You just need to pick one and stick with it.

I knew several people who gave their cat or dog a RPGA number, and let them "run" the mod so that their character could get credit and they wouldn't have to "eat" the mod. Or if you were short players to make a legal table, Jr. would have a RPGA number and character that could be played. (Jr. was usually 1-4 years of age)

My point is that no matter what is decided you will have people who will "abuse" the system to get what they want. I guess those who are in charge just need to decide which they would rather have: Tommy who has run the scenario once and played the scenario 5 times with 5 different characters each from a different faction, or Tommy, his cat, his dog, his little sister and brother, all of which have played and ran it each once.

Grand Lodge

Benn Roe wrote:
I'm still not following how it could possibly be the intent of the program that people not play it as often as possible. When you go into your favourite pizza place and ask for green peppers, is it okay for them to say "I think you've had enough green peppers, why don't you try mushrooms this time?"

Ok, I think I see it now. The forum ate 1 post already and I didn't want to recreate it. I think it's awesome you have such a large community and hopefully soon a Venture-Captain to help out!

What I'm reading is that you don't want to make more of an effort to use more specific scheduling because you don't believe it will help your issue. Inaction is 100% guarantee of undesirable results. But without making an effort to proper scheduling your players are going to continue to take the 'all you can eat' approach and play themselves into a corner. It's not all you can eat, it's 2 trips a month. Offering schedule AP runs or even home-brew one-shot type events I think will help your players self moderate and still give them reasons to come into the store and play. It's easy to sit on this end of the internet and arm-chair, so I don't want to come across too strongly on this.

However the quote here strikes at the heart of the matter, and I do not believe that 'play it as often as possible' is a goal, if it were then free-unlimited replay would have been a rule out of the gate. It's unsustainable. If all your customers show up at the pizza place and everyone orders extra green peppers there is a very real possibility of demand overrunning supply. Worse yet if continue to offer free extra green peppers with every order when you already know your supply won't support that, then you are setting yourself up for failure. The fact of the matter is that if you (as a player) play at a rate that exceeds the publishing rate you are going to cause yourself problems.


So I am confused, I am not trying to flame or be a jerk I am just having a very hard time understanding why these rule changes are bad. As it currently stands...Any one player can Have 4 6th level characters with the Current Amount of low tier play adventures (this is not including the 5+ tier mods, and it is omitting all the retired season 0 mods). It of course requires that the player steps up and GMs/plays the mods that are currently available.

Let me continue with this, my FLGS in my area runs Pathfinder every two weeks...the game nights are on Mondays and a game day on Saturdays. Mondays is always 3 full tables (diffrent mods) with new players every week, and Saturdays is usually 4-6 full tables (diffrent mods) again there are always new players, at these tables. So in a month an average of 16 mods being run. Not a single player has complained about running out of things to play, nor have we run into PPP more then maybe half a dozen times.

Have the same mods been run? Yes they have but without fail, if a player has played the mod they bow out and allow a new player or a some one that hasn't yet played the Mod to sit at the table. We have weekly sign ups handled via a yahoo group (soon to move to Warhorn or so I am told), and a very good Event Organizer who handles all the sign ups. They pull from the entire play community to get GMs and make sure to do their best that no GM has to run the same mod too many times.

The PFS community here as a whole steps up to the plate and makes sure everyone can have a good time, new and old players alike. So my confusion stems from how is it that you have run out of MODs? However if a player knows what MODs are gonna be run and he has run and played why would he show up and take a spot from a player that hasn't, to me that is selfish behavior, and not being a part of the playing community.

I fully understand not wanting to turn customers away from your store. Your in business to sell games, and turning away a customer is a terrible thing. But you are equating PFS players to being a customer every time they walk in the door. I am a gamer, I play at home and I play at my FLGS, and I know for a fact every time I play at my FLGS I don't always plunk down money to buy something. So really some nights, I am a freeloader for 4ish hours. However because my FLGS provides me a place to play, I will support my store with all my gaming purchases (books, dice, other kick butt stuff my store offers), I am not always a customer. And EVERY single gamer is in the same boat as me I think in this regard.

Going forward you should tap your community, because now you can play/run a PFS Mod in any order. Reach out to you base...ask the "Hardcore" guys to run some mods. They can Play and Run a MOD for credit...so if these guys have all played but never run, tap them to do that now. Grow your community by getting everyone involved, old and new players, to contribute to the continued success of PFS at your store. That is what has happened at my FLGS. Unless I am way off base and your player base is super small, but being in Philly I can't see that. Denver is much smaller and we have about 6 very active FLGS running PFS regularly and the player base bounces around to all the stores to play. And were still not losing players, nor are we running into situations were we run into replay. Heck sometimes I have to sit out for a night. I am okay with that because I want PFS to continue to thrive. Take what I said with a grain of salt, I might be off base.

The Exchange

For me, I don't want to sit down at a table, as a player or GM, with 4-5 others who have played through the mod half a dozen times.
As a GM I can no longer challenge them as they know exactly what is being thrown at them and I'm not allowed to change that.
As a player, I couldn't sit through several hours of, "Ok, this is going to happen next and we need to do this to counter it. Oh, what faction were you? Your mission goal is in this next area as well".

Yeah, pass.
Do. Not. Want.

Paizo Employee CEO

Benn Roe wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
One good thing though, Starting next month and every month after that they will always release at least one low level Scenario, though that won't fully help you it will at least give you one you can always run every month.
You're right! This is absolutely great planning on their part, and I was ecstatic when I read the blog about it. But the demand for how often we play at our store is just too great for this to be enough.

What if we sanctioned Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Adventure Paths? Would the addition of those longer adventures help to fill in the gap for those who are so committed that they blow through the new scenarios faster than I can blink?

-Lisa

Grand Lodge

Lisa Stevens wrote:
What if we sanctioned Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Adventure Paths? Would the addition of those longer adventures help to fill in the gap for those who are so committed that they blow through the new scenarios faster than I can blink?

Only until they too are consumed :(

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Lisa Stevens wrote:

What if we sanctioned Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Adventure Paths? Would the addition of those longer adventures help to fill in the gap for those who are so committed that they blow through the new scenarios faster than I can blink?

-Lisa

If some players wanted to play the APs for Society credit I personally wouldn't be offended. I'd never do it though and I'm very curious how it would work with something open-ended like Kingmaker. I'm not sold it could be done in a manner that's fair to the non-AP players. Modules are a different story though, they're usually straight-forward enough that you could create a chronicle sheet fairly easily. I envision them more as a multi-part PFS scenario.


Lisa Stevens wrote:

What if we sanctioned Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Adventure Paths? Would the addition of those longer adventures help to fill in the gap for those who are so committed that they blow through the new scenarios faster than I can blink?

-Lisa

The AP's are too long and too open-ended for this kind of thing - even the most railroady ones. However, the modules seem like they'd be easy to either divide up or give a 2-3XP chronicle sheet for completing.

Scarab Sages

Lisa Stevens wrote:

What if we sanctioned Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Adventure Paths? Would the addition of those longer adventures help to fill in the gap for those who are so committed that they blow through the new scenarios faster than I can blink?

-Lisa

Yes! Please! In fact, I know of a coordinator and venture captain that was talking about that exact issue last month.


Lisa Stevens wrote:

What if we sanctioned Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Adventure Paths? Would the addition of those longer adventures help to fill in the gap for those who are so committed that they blow through the new scenarios faster than I can blink?

-Lisa

Lisa,

Sanctioning published modules worked really really well in Living Greyhawk. The tricky part is making the XP/GP rewards work out right.

History is on your side.

-Matt

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lisa Stevens wrote:
What if we sanctioned Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Adventure Paths? Would the addition of those longer adventures help to fill in the gap for those who are so committed that they blow through the new scenarios faster than I can blink?

Hmmm. I think that would do a disservice to the APs as they are currently written when you consider the extra layer of rules and constraints placed on PFS scenarios. APs (and modules too) simply aren't written with those constraints in mind.

On the other hand, if Paizo were to somehow commission a conversion of older APs (like RotR, for example) into a series of PFS scenarios that preserved much of the story while at the same time molding it into something that could be played in scenario fashion (4-hour chunks, semi-serial, and assuming the same PC aren't always involved) that might be a real winner. Given the popularity of some of the older APs and given a single high-arcing storyline, they could be a real boon to PFS. You could probably convert a single AP into enough scenarios to cover a PFS PCs entire career.

That could be an awesome idea.

-Skeld

Grand Lodge

Skeld wrote:

You could probably convert a single AP into enough scenarios to cover a PFS PCs entire career.

That could be an awesome idea.

Pathfinder Society Adventure Path - The Road of the Venture-Captain :)

Dark Archive 4/5

Romulax wrote:

The PFS community here as a whole steps up to the plate and makes sure everyone can have a good time, new and old players alike. So my confusion stems from how is it that you have run out of MODs? However if a player knows what MODs are gonna be run and he has run and played why would he show up and take a spot from a player that hasn't, to me that is selfish behavior, and not being a part of the playing community.

I fully understand not wanting to turn customers away from your store. Your in business to sell games, and turning away a customer is a terrible thing. But you are...

Denver sounds awesome! And if we were getting the turnouts you're getting, we wouldn't be having the same sorts of issues we are now. With three to six mods being run simultaneously, the chances are much lower that everyone who shows up will have played all of them, but when you're consistently running one to three tables, the issue is more magnified. It's absolutely conceivable that multiple people will show up who have played all of them.

And we're not just the only local game store running Pathfinder Society; we're the only local game store. Period. We're the only store in Philadelphia city limits that offers gaming space and sells nothing but games. Weird, right? Weirder still, we've only been open for a little under two years.

Now it's true that we could be more organized about the way we're scheduling mods. We could offer advance sign-ups and we could schedule mods ahead of time, and we're going to have to start doing that now, but what we have is a small, ever-evolving, but relentless group of players. We only schedule mods for Monday nights (every Monday night), but we average two tables each Monday, and many weeks we'll have spontaneous games occur. Not all of our players show up every week, but some do, and other still show up only when it's convenient for them. The problems with scheduling mods in advance and not allowing replay are that A) it will decrease our attendance as a whole because the every week-ers who have played just about everything won't be able to show up, and B) it will mean that those who show up only when it's convenient will now sometimes have to deal with the fact that they're available but they've already played the mods being run that night, meaning again a net decrease in attendance. Given that some weeks we only get one table, and that whereas we usually average two, three is only occasional, I believe this level of organization (which I grant you is necessary without replay options) will leave us always running one table. And if we're only offering one table, not two, that leaves us even more limited because now we have to correctly predict whether or not low-level or high-level will have more support for that particular evening.

It just winds up a giant mess. And true, that giant mess is partially inspired by the fact that replay was ever allowed, but the mess is made way larger by disallowing it now. The only thing I can think is to have people sign-up in advance for which nights they can make it, without knowing what mods are being played, and then we as a store will have to maintain a database of who has played what mods already and make the mod choices based on who can play what, but that will require so many devoted person-hours, I doubt very much we'll be able to keep the program free, which will still likely screw our attendance. And it still doesn't guarantee that a mod or two mods exist that everyone who've signed up will be able to play.

Scarab Sages

Wolfthulhu wrote:

For me, I don't want to sit down at a table, as a player or GM, with 4-5 others who have played through the mod half a dozen times.

As a GM I can no longer challenge them as they know exactly what is being thrown at them and I'm not allowed to change that.
As a player, I couldn't sit through several hours of, "Ok, this is going to happen next and we need to do this to counter it. Oh, what faction were you? Your mission goal is in this next area as well".

Yeah, pass.
Do. Not. Want.

But look at what your saying. Yu would rather deny 4-5 others from having fun just so you could have fun your way.

I'd rather have a table of people looking to have fun rather than wondering if I'll get a full table.

Dark Archive 4/5

Mark Garringer wrote:
However the quote here strikes at the heart of the matter, and I do not believe that 'play it as often as possible' is a goal, if it were then free-unlimited replay would have been a rule out of the gate. It's unsustainable. If all your customers show up at the pizza place and everyone orders extra green peppers there is a very real possibility of demand overrunning supply. Worse yet if continue to offer free extra green peppers with every order when you already know your supply won't support that, then you are setting yourself up for failure. The fact of the matter is that if you (as a player) play at a rate that exceeds the publishing rate you are going to cause yourself problems.

In my previous reply above I addressed our store's system of organization (or lack thereof) and I agree that it's an issue, but it also circumvents issues as detailed above. I just don't buy the possibility of running out of green peppers. With greater demand, you supply more. And I'm not asking Paizo to pull off the impossible and crank out more mods than they currently produce. I just think that if players want to play really often, that shouldn't be held against them.

Lisa Stevens wrote:
What if we sanctioned Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Adventure Paths? Would the addition of those longer adventures help to fill in the gap for those who are so committed that they blow through the new scenarios faster than I can blink?

Lisa, this would very definitely be a step in the right direction, and I'd be 100% on board if this were the kind of thing Paizo might have interest in undertaking. For the regulars who show up every week, we could fix them up with one of the adventure paths, and for the more spontaneous players we could take advance sign-ups on particular Society mods.

Wolfthulhu wrote:

For me, I don't want to sit down at a table, as a player or GM, with 4-5 others who have played through the mod half a dozen times.

As a GM I can no longer challenge them as they know exactly what is being thrown at them and I'm not allowed to change that.
As a player, I couldn't sit through several hours of, "Ok, this is going to happen next and we need to do this to counter it. Oh, what faction were you? Your mission goal is in this next area as well".

Yeah, pass.
Do. Not. Want.

We've replayed a lot at the store and I've never seen anything like what you've described. Our players are in it for the fun of it and would never do anything like that. If players do behave like that where you're from, it would be no problem for people in your area to personally adopt a policy of not replaying, right? I don't understand why your needs need to be at the expense of others'.

Mark Garringer wrote:
Only until they too are consumed :(

Why is the idea that people are excited about playing often offensive to you? I feel like comments like this are meant to cheapen an otherwise sincere concern I have with the new policy.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Benn Roe wrote:
Our players are in it for the fun of it and would never do anything like that. If players do behave like that where you're from, it would be no problem for people in your area to personally adopt a policy of not replaying, right?

Boy, that sounds tough. "It's not against the OP rules for you to (replay / do something else), but our store has made special rules that don't permit you to do it."

Benn, why not just replay to your heart's content? There's no rule against replaying; the player's characters just don't get credit for it. If your local players are playing in Pathfinder Society for the fun of it, that shouldn't slow them down.

I personally haven't seen a whole table of people replaying multiple times to advance multiple characters, either. But I have indeed seen someone putting a particular character through a particular adventure, because he knew, from GMing it, that the chronicle sheet for the scenario offered a particular magic item that he wanted that character to own. That's an abuse, within the rules as they currently stand.

--+--+--

If older Gamemastery / Pathfinder Modules were to be sanctioned as Pathfinder Society modules, there are a number of good candidates that would fit well into a two-round time-frame.

  • W1 - Conquest of Bloodsworn Vale - if you could find a convenient place to stop halfway.
  • U1 - Gallery of Evil
  • J2 - Guardians of Dragonfall
  • J3 - Crucible of Chaos - absolutely; this is perhaps the strongest candidate
  • W2 - River into Darkness - with some judicious change of opening scene

I so very much wanted to include J1 - Entombed with the Pharaohs, but (a) the "J"-part of the adventure, the overland journey to find the pyramid, is a little light for PFS OP, and (b) there's no good way to cram the entire pyramid exploration into the second round of a two-round scenario.

In most of these adventures, the treasure is considerably more lucrative than the wealth-by-level guidelines to which PFS OP adheres; there'd need to be some modification.

Dark Archive 4/5

It does occur to me that it might be a reasonably hard sell getting players to play adventures where there are no faction missions, and thus no prestige. But then the one time we ran Master of the Fallen Fortress, I made a snap decision (upon sitting down to run it and realizing there were no faction missions) that I would award prestige based on roleplaying prowess and/or great feats throughout the course of the mod. I realize now, having read through some posts on the matter, that I probably was supposed to just award 0 prestige to everybody, but honestly announcing how prestige would be earned for that scenario right as we sat down really made the game extra fun, as people were playing their hearts out. And isn't that what this should be about?

Maybe if some system like that were introduced for the APs and other non-PFS mods that allowed prestige to still be awarded, even without faction missions, it would make everyone happy?

Scarab Sages

Lisa Stevens wrote:
Benn Roe wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
One good thing though, Starting next month and every month after that they will always release at least one low level Scenario, though that won't fully help you it will at least give you one you can always run every month.
You're right! This is absolutely great planning on their part, and I was ecstatic when I read the blog about it. But the demand for how often we play at our store is just too great for this to be enough.

What if we sanctioned Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Adventure Paths? Would the addition of those longer adventures help to fill in the gap for those who are so committed that they blow through the new scenarios faster than I can blink?

-Lisa

That's something I would personally welcome, especially the APs. I think the promise of playing sanctioned APs would allow me to draw several lapsed players back in.

Dark Archive

Definitely sanction the Pathfinder modules.

I play PFS and a home AP game, but those great modules slip through the cracks. I buy em but rarely get to use them. I do try and work the modules into APs when I can but it's rare. I, and it seems many others, plan on doing Witchwar to cap Serpent's Skull btw.

It'd be nice to have the option to do extended adventures especially when you have a regular(same people usually) PFS group available.

Liberty's Edge

Lisa Stevens wrote:
What if we sanctioned Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Adventure Paths? Would the addition of those longer adventures help to fill in the gap for those who are so committed that they blow through the new scenarios faster than I can blink?

This is a strategy that WotC took for Living Greyhawk late in the campaign. They provided adaptation documents for some published adventures to provide whatever adjustments were necessary to shoehorn the adventures into the campaign and folks could then play this as additional content.

It has the upside of providing the alpha players additional content to keep them involved longer. There is a segment of the gaming community that plays energetically, compulsively, with great fervor, whatever you want to call it. This segment is over-represented in organized play environments. They will play everything offered until there is nothing left. When there is nothing left, some of them will GM, others will move on to something else. Give them more to play, and you keep them with your brand longer.

It has the upside of effectively providing an additional market for the product. I generally don't buy pregenerated content; I like the creative process. But I did buy WotC adapted products to run for LG. I fit the profile of the player who would be your additional market for your products were this to happen.

It has the downside of requiring allocation of design time to the adaptation effort. It isn't trivial, but it has the effect of leveraging your existing product. In your case, you have APs that are designed to be played past the campaigns level cap. There are ways to allow this to happen; it shouldn't be road block.

From the player community side, organized play of large products takes a lot of effort. But, frankly, it's done by those who thrive on that. It became a badge of honor in LG. I would expect the same here. It may not solve OP's problem, though.

There has been an element of discussion about abuse in this thread. There will always be players who abuse the system no matter what the system is. The more that the campaign rules build in exceptions, special circumstances, restrictions on how given adventures can be played, etc., the more abuse there will be. Gamers game the system.

Whether the abuse is important or not is a matter of corporate strategy. There is a adage in military circles that a commander should never give an order that the troops won't follow. My attraction to PFS is what I see as an organization having taken up the mantle of excellence in gaming that was cast aside by RPGA. That is a positive for me. I'm here because of it. RPGA responded to the abuse situation by eliminating the rules that they were unwilling to enforce due to market considerations. In doing so, they abandoned their core market, in my mind. You're reaping the benefits.

You're also reaping the cost. Living Greyhawk had a reptuation at one point for being elitist. RPGA consciously expanded it's program to a wider audiance. In doing so, I think they lost touch with the alpha gamers. And, while I think you've converted a lot of the alpha gamers, the organized play market has also changed from the LG days.

I cannot stress enough the need for you and your staff to look at this decision regarding how to address play session availability, whether via replay or via adapted content, within the strategic context of how you position PFS for excellent gaming, as appealing to the alpha gamers or the wider community, and how the complexity of the campaign rules generate abuse and whether you are willing to police it. It is possible that your market diversity generates incompatible needs that require multiple organized play products in the long run.

Grand Lodge

For those who feel that you cannot run an AP in a game store:

My FLGS was experiencing problems with PFS a few months ago... we were running 2 tables 2 nights a week, and the number of low-level adventures could not sustain the level of interest (especially when character death was a factor).

We have now taken some of the most rabid PFS players and started running 1 game of Kingmaker, and 1 which alternates between a GM running Council of Thieves, and 1 running Serpent's Skull. It is possible to do, but you must have sufficient dedicated players, and firm rules on how to handle player absence.

We have also always told the players that PFS will return when there is a bank of low-level adventures to make things more enjoyable again.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Lisa Stevens wrote:


What if we sanctioned Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Adventure Paths? Would the addition of those longer adventures help to fill in the gap for those who are so committed that they blow through the new scenarios faster than I can blink?

-Lisa

That would be outstanding. I currently host a Rise of the Runelords and Legacy of Fire campaigns on alternating Weds. for my home games. Some of the players are not intersted in PFS because they don't feel there is enough depth for character development. However, if they could take characters they play in APs and run them in side adventures in PFS scenarios, they would be all over that. I know that there has been some expressed interests in it from several of gamers at our game days here in Georgia but I have had to tell them that APs aren't included. If you decided to allow this, PFS would grow much faster, here in Georgia at least. I agree with some of the above that some balancing would have to happen regarding chronicle sheets and the like, but I think this is a terrific idea.

Grand Lodge

Benn Roe wrote:
In my previous reply above I addressed our store's system of organization (or lack thereof) and I agree that it's an issue, but it also circumvents issues as detailed above. I just don't buy the possibility of running out of green peppers. With greater demand, you supply more. And I'm not asking Paizo to pull off the impossible and crank out more mods than they currently produce. I just think that if players want to play really often, that shouldn't be held against them.

I guess we are going to have to see it differently then, as the current publishing schedule is fixed and finite. Paying at a rate greater than that schedule means you will burn the reserve.

Benn Roe wrote:
Why is the idea that people are excited about playing often offensive to you? I feel like comments like this are meant to cheapen an otherwise sincere concern I have with the new policy.

It is a little offensive to me. In part because I am jealous that I don't have that kind of time to play as much as I'd like. Sure, of course. Who wouldn't be? However, to me it just rubs me completely the wrong way. I see it in my area as well, I know the personality archetypes. I don't particularly feel the need to pander to what I see as greedy players who are gluttonously gorging on something. Then demanding replay, which I do feel will ultimately be abused and lessen the overall quality standard.

That's my take, others have different perspectives and it's good to hear them and try and see where they come from. I don't want to seem like I'm cheapening your valid concerns. They are very real to you, I just don't fully understand where they come from.

The Exchange

Michael Griffin-Wade wrote:
Wolfthulhu wrote:

For me, I don't want to sit down at a table, as a player or GM, with 4-5 others who have played through the mod half a dozen times.

As a GM I can no longer challenge them as they know exactly what is being thrown at them and I'm not allowed to change that.
As a player, I couldn't sit through several hours of, "Ok, this is going to happen next and we need to do this to counter it. Oh, what faction were you? Your mission goal is in this next area as well".

Yeah, pass.
Do. Not. Want.

But look at what your saying. Yu would rather deny 4-5 others from having fun just so you could have fun your way.

And I don't feel even a little bit bad about it.

Quote:
I'd rather have a table of people looking to have fun rather than wondering if I'll get a full table.

I'd rather have people having fun by experiencing something new and challenging. RPGs should never be about doing the exact same quest over and over again. That kind of entertainment belongs in the electronic realm.

The Exchange 2/5

In my quest to play or run 50 scenarios in 50 states, I've played in that Philly store. That was one of the best games I've had the pleasure of playing in. The regular Monday group is composed of rabid PFS fans, devouring content and going by the come in and play mindset. We had a new guy at our table and the GM and players just rolled with it helping the rookie out all the way through. Every player got it's moment to shine and moment to get laughed at. (Stuck in a window comes to mind) Anything that would dampen that environment is bad for the Society as a whole. I would gather that that store is singly handley responsible for PFS at the University of Pennsylvania and to top it off the owner stays on PFS forums. Some of your strongest supporters...

I'd love to see AP's and Mods converted to PFS for more content. Even in our little group back home we frequently run into overlap adventures. - MORE CONTENT, MORE CONTENT! =)

The Exchange

Benn Roe wrote:
Wolfthulhu wrote:

For me, I don't want to sit down at a table, as a player or GM, with 4-5 others who have played through the mod half a dozen times.

As a GM I can no longer challenge them as they know exactly what is being thrown at them and I'm not allowed to change that.
As a player, I couldn't sit through several hours of, "Ok, this is going to happen next and we need to do this to counter it. Oh, what faction were you? Your mission goal is in this next area as well".

Yeah, pass.
Do. Not. Want.

We've replayed a lot at the store and I've never seen anything like what you've described. Our players are in it for the fun of it and would never do anything like that. If players do behave like that where you're from, it would be no problem for people in your area to personally adopt a policy of not replaying, right?

Our players have never abused the PPP rules to begin with so your attempted jab is meaningless. But since a PFS rule change applies to everyone including Con players/GMs it's not as simple as looking at your or my microcosm. I do play and GM at Cons, so I couldn't 'close my eyes and make it go away' if I wanted to.

Quote:
I don't understand why your needs need to be at the expense of others'.

And I don't understand why your needs and desires should come before others, including the organizers of Society play.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Benn Roe wrote:
But then the one time we ran Master of the Fallen Fortress, I made a snap decision ... that I would award prestige based on roleplaying prowess and/or great feats throughout the course of the mod. I realize now, having read through some posts on the matter, that I probably was supposed to just award 0 prestige to everybody, but honestly announcing how prestige would be earned for that scenario right as we sat down really made the game extra fun, as people were playing their hearts out. And isn't that what this should be about?

Kinda, sorta. But will it be just as fun for them when the next GM checks their sheets and either (a) docks them the prestige points they thought they had, or, worse, (b) rules that entire adventure illegal, and takes away the XP as well? Or are you assuming that nobody's going to check that the players have illegal characters now?

How did you report the prestige?

In short, there's lots of things that are fun, in the short term. I can give players twice as much treasure, and that's fun. I can fudge dice rolls so that nobody dies, 'cause paying for a raise dead wouldn't be fun. But you see where I'm going with this.

My advice: track down the players (since you reported the session, it should be easy) and level with them, that you'd made a mistake and they need to adjust their characters to make them legal.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, New York—Manhattan aka Natertot

Lisa Stevens wrote:
What if we sanctioned Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Adventure Paths? Would the addition of those longer adventures help to fill in the gap for those who are so committed that they blow through the new scenarios faster than I can blink?

I think you should definately look into this possibility. I am sure the Modules would probably be easier to adapt, so you should probably start looking at those.

Nate
NYC

Shadow Lodge 5/5

From Paizo's perspective, the whole point of PFS is to grow interest in the game and promote players to buy the APs, because as they have stated, the APs are their bread and butter product (with the core rulebook now closing in). PFS makes them money because it promotes the purchasing of other Pathfinder products, brings in new players, and makes them want to purchase more and varied products. So getting your players to play more games is better for both Paizo, and for the game store.

To me though I have a question which requires that I address the 200 pound gorilla in the room.

Are you upset with the replay rule because your players are honestly upset and can't find an alternative, want to play PFS specifically/aren't willing to GM/<fill in the blank with a reason your players may be unhappy>, or are you unhappy with the ruling because you specifically are a game store owner and have a differing vested interest in Pathfinder Society play and how it affects your bottom line?

This isn't meant to be snarky or trollish, I'm honestly wondering how much of what you're saying can honestly be attributed to your players, and how much is you projecting your own fiscal desires upon the replay rule. It may be a difficult question to step back and answer honestly, but I think it's a fair question to ask.

Contributor

Please keep the conversation civil, everybody.

Also, Master of the Fallen Fortress is a PFRPG introductory module legal for Pathfinder Society play.

Did I mention that the PDF is free? :)


Thanks for your comments everyone. We're definitely keeping an eye on this thread and talking about ways we can address the concerns raised and meet our goals for the program.

Hyrum.

The Exchange

I would be happy to see the one-shot modules added to PFS play. Not so sure about AP's. Especially since I think these would be very difficult to implement and it doesn't make much sense (to me) to offer an AP for PFS when the character would only play that AP and then retire. Since there is currently no rewards for PFS play outside of in character benefits, why would you do AP's?

Individual one-shot modules would be a welcome addition to PFS play for myself and my group. I think they would add the extra scenarios people are looking for so that replay becomes a rarity. I am one of those that remembers LG when WotC added modules to the list of what could be played, and it opened up a whole new world for characters and play opportunities.

1/5

Shieldknight wrote:

I would be happy to see the one-shot modules added to PFS play. Not so sure about AP's. Especially since I think these would be very difficult to implement and it doesn't make much sense (to me) to offer an AP for PFS when the character would only play that AP and then retire. Since there is currently no rewards for PFS play outside of in character benefits, why would you do AP's?

Individual one-shot modules would be a welcome addition to PFS play for myself and my group. I think they would add the extra scenarios people are looking for so that replay becomes a rarity. I am one of those that remembers LG when WotC added modules to the list of what could be played, and it opened up a whole new world for characters and play opportunities.

Agreed. This seemed to work out well in LG. I'd love to see some of the adventures converted for one or two slot play.

1/5

Lisa Stevens wrote:
Benn Roe wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
One good thing though, Starting next month and every month after that they will always release at least one low level Scenario, though that won't fully help you it will at least give you one you can always run every month.
You're right! This is absolutely great planning on their part, and I was ecstatic when I read the blog about it. But the demand for how often we play at our store is just too great for this to be enough.

What if we sanctioned Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Adventure Paths? Would the addition of those longer adventures help to fill in the gap for those who are so committed that they blow through the new scenarios faster than I can blink?

-Lisa

Mods...yes please. I don't play enough to be in danger of running out of content, but I do play with some people in that boat. Plus, more options are always good.

I don't think Adventure Path Volumes would fare so well, at least not beyond the first.

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