I am new to Pathfinder Society play. The local comic shop wants me to GM PFS for them (they have one table of 7 players right now with more people wanting to play). I am GM'd several systems so I know how to run games, but it seems to me there are lots of restrictions on what GM's can or can't do in running their games?
What am I missing?
Paz really breaks it down to the core things. As so long as you stay within the guidelines in the Guide and keep to the intent of the modules, that's all that really matters. Are there specific concerns you have? If so feel free to post them here and/or PM me and I/we will be more than happy to help.
Have you gotten in touch with your local Venture Captain/Lieutennant? They might also be able to help.
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you are expected to play the module to the letter with little flexability
You can't change anything detailed in the scenario unless the PCs interact with it and cause it to change. So if a mcguffin was on the top of a smooth pillar with a DC 20 climb check to get to it, you could do the following:Allow the PCs to use fly spells if they have them.
Allow the PCs to use Spider Climb if they have it.
Allow the PCs to use Adamantine weapons to bring the pillar crashing down.
Come up with an Acrobatics DC for the PCs to create a human pyramid.
Come up with a touch AC if they want to throw up a grappling hook and pull the mcguffin down.
Come up with a touch AC or skill DC for them to get the grappling hook lodged on top with a knotted rope attached.
What you can't do is change the pillar to a rough finish to lower the DC. Nor can you decide it was highly polished to increase the DC. If they climb the knotted rope in the last example then the DC would be appropriate for the knotted rope.
I'm excited to hear you are considering this. We need a lot more GM's running PFS tables. To answer your question, pretty much what people said above me. In running a PFS scenario, I do my best to run it as written, and keep improvising in any way that changes the encounters down to a minimum.
You will want to familiarize yourself more with the Pathfinder Society Guide. Organized play does have a few caveats that you need to be aware of and ready to explain to players (such as the fact that a found magic item 'disappears' at the end of the scenario, but may be bought with gold).
If you run multiple sessions, especially with repeating players, you'll want to review the FAQs. Also, you may want to keep the additional resource website handy to help you in evalutating player builds and answer questions. It's not unusual for a player to see a piece of equipment in a supplimental PF/Paizo book and ask me if it is legal for play.
You can, as always, reach out to friends and gamers here on the forums. The community is VERY supportive. But, definately take the time to review the recources that are available. You'll be glad you did!
Check the contact sheet and see if your local venture captain or lieutenant can offer help as well.