Modifying PFS Scenarios and / or Sanctioned Modules


GM Discussion

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5/5

I have a real actual experience story time that is relevant.

Once upon a time I was running a PFS scenario that featured a centipede swarm. I had taken some time before game to think of a particularly creepy description of them crawling up whatever unfortunate PC triggered the encounter.

In game this happened, and the player started freaking out and I thought it was great roleplay and played it up for about 2 more seconds before they started hyperventilating.

We stopped, learned the player had a centipede phobia. We took a 5 minute break, got some fresh air and came back to a spider swarm, statblock unchanged. The rest of the session went off without a hitch.

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

The simple answer is "change it and change everything." If it's a spider phobia change everything to centipedes, including the figurine of wondrous power (slate spider) you find, but leave the stats the same. If it's a description of a kidnapped child make it a missing bunny rabbit.

The slightly more complex answer is that in some cases you may need to say (privately, of course) "I'm sorry but I don't think PFS is the right game for you. I understand you have nightmares about the D-word but the entire nation of Cheliax worships them and there are players who have them as familiars. You are going to run into them over and over." Similarly with fire, most spellcasters use it in some way so you're going to see it often.

But if they still insist on playing and having you change everything for them...:
then it gets to how involved the overarching organization is and what their "reasonable accommodation" definition is. If the organization says "well if someone has a phobia of dogs but wants to go to a kennel it is the responsibility of the kennel to clear out all the dogs before they get there" you may need to find alternative sites. I highly doubt this would happen though.

Relating to these cards:
I've heard of other organizations trying things like this. As long is they are used genuinely it can work. The issue is when people use the cards themselves maliciously. Sometimes as a means of entitlement using the card to shut down anything they think might reflect negatively on them (or cause their character harm in this case). Or claiming all kinds of boundaries as a means of griefing. It's rare but some people can try to take advantage of the "don't need to be justified" clauses to try to disrupt other people's enjoyment. But these cases are usually fairly obvious.

Remember that you always have the option to refuse to seat a player or ask one to leave. Could that cause friction? Yes, but if the organization is truly trying to do the right thing it's possible to explain how this person is causing harm to everyone else at the table. Uncomfortable for you as the GM but it should be doable.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber

Without quoting, because it is all in spoiler text, I agree that griefing might be possible, but I'm not to worried about that, I mostly just concerned that the stated purpose won't truly be achieved, and that in the end we are enabling people to their own detriment. One of the therapeutic advantages of fantasy roleplaying is it allows us to imagine ourselves in situation that we would all probably crumble in, but instead heroically rise to the challenge. I acknowledge that not every players sitting down at a table grants me the right to "treat" their issues, (nor would I want that responsibility) but by bringing their external fears into the gaming situation we enable them to be scared of their fantasies as well, and that doesn't sound altogether healthy.

I'm also conflicted about the time and enjoyment of all the participants. While I don't think anyone is unduly burdened by making a change, it is a distraction to the emersion if that change has to be ad-libbed in. If players are playing this game for the enjoyment of emersion, I'm not sure this x-card approach is fair to them. I like others suggestions of talking with the game master in advanced, but that feels equally unfair to the individual who is forced to share their own private issues.

I'm very close to siding on the side of asking people to approach fantasy with detachment and maturity, and if you can't overcome that, than perhaps gaming in a public / organized play system isn't the most appropriate. I just don't like the exclusion feel of those words either.

Alright I'm rambling, I poked this particular issue not because I wanted answer, but because I wanted to hear others thoughts on the matter, and I think I'm glad that the issue is both open for discussion, and that gaming communities are trying to tackle these things head on, and not bury them.

Grand Lodge 4/5

What about not allowing classes from later Paizo publications when running scenarios that were designed long before those classes came about? It is my opinion that some of the newer classes are too powerful for the earlier scenarios and adventure paths. My group is getting ready to begin Rise of the Rune Lords and we agreed to limit classes, spells, etc. to CRB and APG.

There is an argument going on a FB forum that we would have to allow any PF class. I vehemently disagree with that. Also, this is a group of new players including the GM. Most of us are long time AD&D players, but moved everything to PF because we liked PF.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Virginia—Richmond aka Slothsy

You cannot ban legal options for public pfs games. For private games, you can work with a private group to determine self-imposed limits. Search this forum for banning legal options; it's been discussed several times.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Indiana—Northern

The Additional Resources Document tells you what is legal for play, and in some cases, what is not. If it is legal for play, you may not prohibit it.


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If it's legal on the Additional Resources document, you cannot ban it. If it is illegal on the Additional Resources document, you cannot allow it.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Indiana—Northern

There is one additional point I'd make - if you are running the Runelords AP in campaign mode, as a private group, for PFS credit, you CAN pretty much do what you want. But you cannot do what you want with scenarios, stuff you run publicly, etc.

Not sure if that helps, but seeing your note about Runelords made me want to bring that up.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Well, that settles it. I won't be GMing Society. I am watching one Society flail about for players right now because of the problems associated with class imbalance. I will stick to my homebrew campaign and have fun instead of fight with people.

Dark Archive

Legal to run Rise of the Runelords (Anniversary Edition) with Pathfinder Society Core?

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Virginia—Richmond aka Slothsy

Yes, you can run anything in core campaign mode. APS are mostly private PFS games, which have slightly different standards than public games.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Virginia—Richmond aka Slothsy

In addition, you can run any PFS legal game/scenario/module/AP with Core Campaign mode.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

gloine36 wrote:

Well, that settles it. I won't be GMing Society. I am watching one Society flail about for players right now because of the problems associated with class imbalance. I will stick to my homebrew campaign and have fun instead of fight with people.

Let me just talk about two things here;

1) The "you have to allow it" thing may sound annoying at first, but it's there for a good reason. PFS aims to be a global campaign. That means everyone plays by the same rules, and if what you do is legal in one place, you can be sure it'll also be legal elsewhere. So you can go on holiday and slide up to a table in a different country, and play with no problem.

So there's a filter to make sure not everything gets in, but once stuff gets in, people can be assured that if something is allowed, it really is allowed and they can count on it when making characters.

2) In my experience, class imbalance isn't so bad in PFS. It's a matter of perspective though. In the core rulebook some classes are really strong, some are really weak, and most are in the sweet middle ground. Most of the newer classes are also in the sweet middle ground. So if you take this middle ground as a measuring stick, class balance is generally OK. It's just a few classes that are "hard mode".

If instead you take those weak classes as the measuring stick, suddenly 85% of the game seems OP. But that's clearly a sign that the point you're measuring from isn't really the middle, don't you agree?

Grand Lodge 4/5

I don't see some of these classes as being part of fantasy, but that varies from person to person. I think some of this has to do with my background in RPGs stemming from 1979. I saw the introduction of new classes to AD&D and they just seemed to be a way to put overpowered variants of the existing classes into play.

When I originally set up my Zaroznia! campaign, I went with 1st and 2nd Edition AD&D, but I created my own Player's Handbook with playable races and classes. That's when I ran into Pathfinder. After our first campaign session, we discussed migrating the whole thing to PF because much of what I was doing or wanted to do was really in PF. (I missed out on 3.5 as I was not able to play much for 15 years. Kids!)

So we did migrate, but as we were all new we decided to stick with the CRB and APG. We are glad we did because we place the story and player enjoyment as the main objectives of our sessions. I build these things from scratch and I am really appreciating the balance that existed in the older rules.

What is amusing is how I thought the Society players would know the rules better than we did. It turns out they don't. I think our homebrew is actually following the rules better than the Society in most cases.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Indiana—Northern

gloine36 wrote:
What is amusing is how I thought the Society players would know the rules better than we did. It turns out they don't. I think our homebrew is actually following the rules better than the Society in most cases.

I'm not certain I follow you here - what rules do you know better? Certainly, on the question of whether or not you can ban gunpowder or Gunslingers and what not, that isn't the case (other than the exception I noted above.)

I will say, in full disclosure, that I agree with you about some things that don't seem like they belong: guns, Gunslingers, technology, androids, etc. I don't like those things in my fantasy game, but as a PFS GM, I cannot ban them. So, when I GM games, I try to avoid scenarios that have them (it's not always possible, but I try). Now and then I'll have a player with a Gunslinger or what not, but those are tapering off.

I might suggest you give a look to the Core Campaign. That is an option you might like - the only allowable things for character creation would be the Core Rulebook, the Traits Web Enhancement, and the Guide to Organized Play. Things found on chronicle sheets outside of those things are allowed, but those would be earned by playing scenarios. That might be a PFS option for you to consider.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Mark,
I just found Core Mode a few minutes ago and it does address my concerns quite well. I wish I would have seen that yesterday as my entire argument is rendered moot by its existence.

As for rules, mostly about combat and some multi-classing issues. It seems like few of them had played a MC character and they decided to do so in my campaign. So the lack of knowledge resulted in doing some learning which I did by perusing the boards here.

A lot of it is minor, but it adds up.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Indiana—Northern

gloine36 wrote:

Mark,

I just found Core Mode a few minutes ago and it does address my concerns quite well. I wish I would have seen that yesterday as my entire argument is rendered moot by its existence.

As for rules, mostly about combat and some multi-classing issues. It seems like few of them had played a MC character and they decided to do so in my campaign. So the lack of knowledge resulted in doing some learning which I did by perusing the boards here.

A lot of it is minor, but it adds up.

Give CORE a try - you might well find it more to your liking. How popular CORE is relies mostly on the area where it's played. Some areas do quite well and it's very popular; other areas, not so much.

At any rate, I hope you give CORE a try and find that it's more of what you're looking for.

Good luck!

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

gloine36 wrote:
What is amusing is how I thought the Society players would know the rules better than we did.

It is a big, complicated rules set, which means that nobody is going to be correct 100% of the time. There have also been six printings of the Core Rulebook plus the Beta, so even within the Pathfinder RPG the rules have changed significantly over the years. If you played 3.x then you have even more rule changes to keep straight.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Michael,

I understand the complications the come with releasing new products and rules all the time. I saw this happen as AD&D kept releasing new products and over time the 1st Ed rules got pretty messed up. So eventually along came 2nd Edition. Then 3rd, then 3.5, then 4th, and now 5th. I have no doubt that Paizo will eventually release Pathfinder 2.0, but I don't think that is going to be during the rest of this decade. It is possible they could release a supersized CRB that clears up rule changes instead and brings in all the classes and races, etc.

Nothing in the business world of RPGs, either print or online MMO surprises me any more.

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