Why Retire at 12th Level?


Pathfinder Society

Lantern Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Maryland—Frederick aka Azarius2010

I am fairly new to Paizo and PFS, having tried the whole 4E LFR experiment (Arghhhhh) (but was a veteran LG gamer). I have but one question, why was 12th level chosen for character retirement?

5/5 Venture-Captain, Massachusetts—Central & West aka Harley Quinn X

I believe it was chosen to be around the level where you're no longer sent out on "grunt" missions. If you look at the stats given for some of the Venture-Captains and faction leaders, they are around that level generally.

Also, now with Sanctioned Modules allowing PFS characters who are retired to play above, you can keep your character going.


I believe also that level 12 was where the action economy of a full table of players started to break down and scenarios went past their allotted timeframe. So to avoid complaints about table timeframes and such, the decision was made to cap the retirement level.

I’m sure there is a hugely better answer if you search the PFS forums for retirement or lvl 12.

Silver Crusade

On top of what PFCBG said, it's also the point in time where it becomes increasingly difficult to challenge a table appropriately where as a regular table with a regular GM can tailor it to them in a home game.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

It's also a matter of campaign resources. The wider range of levels we produce Pathfinder Society content for, the less there is at any given level. Sanctioning Pathfinder Modules allows players to play beyond 12th level without putting a strain on Pathfinder Society campaign staff or lessening the number of scenarios released for lower levels, which is where we find most people are playing the campaign.


Mark Moreland wrote:
It's also a matter of campaign resources. The wider range of levels we produce Pathfinder Society content for, the less there is at any given level. Sanctioning Pathfinder Modules allows players to play beyond 12th level without putting a strain on Pathfinder Society campaign staff or lessening the number of scenarios released for lower levels, which is where we find most people are playing the campaign.

I was about to post this! This was what I thought was the biggest reason. Yes, you could try to "scale" them more, but advance templates and additional class levels only go so far.

(related topic for a discussion at some other time: Am I the only one that thinks that tier 1-7 scenarios are horribly balanced in relation to 1-5 and 3-7s?)

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

CRobledo wrote:
(related topic for a discussion at some other time: Am I the only one that thinks that tier 1-7 scenarios are horribly balanced in relation to 1-5 and 3-7s?)

Note that we haven't done any Tier 1–7 scenarios since the start of Season 3...


Mark Moreland wrote:
Note that we haven't done any Tier 1–7 scenarios since the start of Season 3...

Indeed. And I for one thank you for it.

Lantern Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Maryland—Frederick aka Azarius2010

I see that there are a few 12+ mods. Are there any plans for more? IMHO the sweet spot for PCs is 12-16th level.

Silver Crusade 3/5

You are in a minority Azarius. Most people prefer to play below 10th level and sales reflect this.

I'd hazard a guess but I reckon the level 1-5 modules have sold a heck of a lot fewer copies than the level 11+ ones. That's why Paizo produces more low-mid level modules than high level ones.

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Chicago aka thunderspirit

FallofCamelot wrote:

You are in a minority Azarius. Most people prefer to play below 10th level and sales reflect this.

I'd hazard a guess but I reckon the level 1-5 modules have sold a heck of a lot fewer copies than the level 11+ ones. That's why Paizo produces more low-mid level modules than high level ones.

+1 to this. Sweet spot for me has always been levels 6-10. YMMV.

Silver Crusade 3/5

That's not to say you are wrong Azarius. It's just an explanation for why things are how they are.

(I'd like some mods at that level too)

Grand Lodge 5/5

My personal sweet spot is in the 5-9 range.

And I suspect that sales don't drive the level of modules that PFS offers.

From my convention experiences over the last 4 years in the UK, I've found that PFS gaming always, always skews towards the low levels whenever you get a big group of people in one place. There's just more low level characters around than high level, so more low levels mods are needed.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

The game starts to get a little insane and nonsensical after level 10.

The Exchange 5/5

as several other people chimed in with theirs, I felt the need to say my "Sweet Spot" would be levels 1-7... perhaps 2-6 really. but that's just me.

Thank you!

Grand Lodge

I really like the 4-12 range myself, but I also enjoy the low level play. It depends on my mood mostly. And I look forward to playing some modules with my level 13 Paladin, but I'm in no hurry.

Silver Crusade

It seems to me that the main reason for stopping at 12 level is a time constraint. 12th level + missisons take longer than 4 hour slots that are allocated for conventions. as far as making 12th level senarios
pushing out lower level senarios I can see that from Pazios POV why
dosent Pazio take submissions for high level senarios from 4 star GM's
or Kyle and Dragoonmoon this would not tax PFS senarios of lower level and you only need 4 to 6 senarios per year and make them 8 hour senarios.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've removed a post and the response quoting it.

1: Don't attack people for their opinions; that falls under the "don't be a jerk" rule on the boards.
2: If you see stuff like that, just flag it and move on.

Grand Lodge

Lou Diamond wrote:

... why

dosent Pazio take submissions for high level senarios from 4 star GM's
or Kyle and Dragoonmoon this would not tax PFS senarios of lower level and you only need 4 to 6 senarios per year and make them 8 hour senarios.

The amount of editting, layout, and art costs - not to mention payment to the writer - would certainly eat into Paizo's budget for PFS scenarios.

Just because a freelance writer - or even one doing it for free - is involved does not reduce the cost of everything else. And Paizo is not in the business of releasing mediocure products.


I'm a fan of the 6-12 level play myself, really hitting that sweet spot around level 9.


This all said, I would be in favor of a DIFFERENT retirement scenario as an alternative to EotT before we see lvl 13+ scenarios. I still have not had a chance to run a character to retirement, but I currently have 2 characters that am VERY fond of, and am having a really hard time deciding which one to retire with.

But that is also a tangent topic for possibly a different thread :D

Scarab Sages

I enjoy the 3-9 bracket myself. Characters start getting ridiculous past this point.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Big fan of 6. Characters really start to hit their stride but aren't disgusting quite yet. Put about a two level range around that

Scarab Sages

In my personal experience, the game is most playable between levels 3 and 12. Those are the levels where I plan to start and end my campaigns. In my most recent home game, the day the PCs hit 13 was the day the game broke in half. IMO, there's just a critical mass of ways that PCs can go too far off the rails. I have managed to keep the game interesting after 13, but it's quite a job. I would never want to do so at a convention, especially with a pre-written mod.


CRobledo wrote:

This all said, I would be in favor of a DIFFERENT retirement scenario as an alternative to EotT before we see lvl 13+ scenarios. I still have not had a chance to run a character to retirement, but I currently have 2 characters that am VERY fond of, and am having a really hard time deciding which one to retire with.

But that is also a tangent topic for possibly a different thread :D

Mike and/or Mark have said elsewhere that the number of people who have reported playing Eyes of the Ten is small compared to the rest of the play, so at the moment there is little incentive to release a different retirement arc - their resources are better spent on scenarios that are playable by more of the playerbase.

That being said, I recognize that for some people this is a real, earnest request - so all I can suggest is to encourage others to play Eyes of the Ten to completion. More reported games = More likelihood of a new retirement arc.

Scarab Sages

Lou Diamond wrote:
12th level + missisons take longer than 4 hour slots that are allocated for conventions.

I was recently told that the 4-hour guideline generally came from early seasons (which I was accustomed to Season 0), but that in more recent seasons, the general guideline for slots is that they are run in five hour increments.

Does anyone have any clarification for this, by any chance?

The Exchange 5/5

W. Kristoph Nolen wrote:
Lou Diamond wrote:
12th level + missisons take longer than 4 hour slots that are allocated for conventions.

I was recently told that the 4-hour guideline generally came from early seasons (which I was accustomed to Season 0), but that in more recent seasons, the general guideline for slots is that they are run in five hour increments.

Does anyone have any clarification for this, by any chance?

I think I first heard this in year 3 of LG... yeah, that would be 2003.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

Azarius2010 wrote:
I am fairly new to Paizo and PFS, having tried the whole 4E LFR experiment (Arghhhhh) (but was a veteran LG gamer). I have but one question, why was 12th level chosen for character retirement?

In addition to the responses given above, my answer to this question is always limited wish. When you are trying to run a campaign where everyone is playing by the same rules, things above 12th level get far too reliant on GM interpretation. (I call them the imagination levels - where what your characters can do is mainly limited by your imagination.) It's absolutely fun but also next to impossible to keep things standardized.


Belafon wrote:
In addition to the responses given above, my answer to this question is always limited wish.

If the problem were simply a few spells which didn't work in the OP environment, those would be easy enough to ban from play (the way that PFS currently bans spells like permanency and reincarnate).

To me, limited wish is just one example of the increased complexity of the game system once you get up into the teens. And, yes, it's particularly bad with spellcasting, but even non-spellcasting PCs can get pretty complicated. I can understand that some players only feel that their characters are beginning to come into their own at that level, but to me (a player and DM of 3E, 3.5, and Pathfinder since 2000), 12th level is about where the game becomes less fun, both to play, and to DM.

Community / Forums / Organized Play / Pathfinder Society / Why Retire at 12th Level? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.