Quick Question: Running out of Scenarios


Pathfinder Society

Dark Archive

My local lodge has a rough capacity of about 5-6 tables every Monday for PFS night. However, several local players also play on the alternative night with other scenarios. We keep a census at the store of what has been played and given the current trend, the event coordinator has begun having issues running tables for people to play in for credit. (Given the fact that you can only GM and play a table once for a character.) And I do know that there are more scenarios being created at a good pace, but at the rate that everyone is chewing through them I worry about what will happen down the line. The other issue we are having is that many of the local players like to branch out and try different characters, which in of itself is not a problem, other than the fact that they are beginning to run out of low tier adventures to run for credit. Any advice fellow Pathfinders? I'm getting worried about the future of our local lodge...


5-6 tables every week is actually a lot (or, I guess maybe not? I guess depends on your region's population) if it's the same players every time.

Honestly, there is not much you can do to fix it. This topic comes up every few months on the forums and my suggestion remains the same: If you are playing PFS so much that you are literally running out of scenarios to run for credit, then maybe it's time to explore other options. My suggestion, run some Adventure Paths instead.

Get a few of the super regulars and a GM and 1-2 tables each week can play through adventure paths, which should take a few months to complete each. That is another 5 years of content that players can go through, and more are being printed every day. Not only that, but if you play them in backwards order chronologically, you may be able to get some PFS credit for your players. So a win-win.

Dark Archive

I never thought of that, that's brilliant. Thank you!


Hey there Kevin!

There are a few options for your players that are running out of scenarios to play.

Thornkeep: Thornkeep is a 5 level mega dungeon that, if slimmed down, can be ran in 1 sitting. These offer 1 PC level per level of the dungeon.

Modules: Paizo has been releasing more and more modules that range from level 1 through level 14. These modules span from as short as 1 night to spanning over 3 nights (as you get into the higher levels).

Adventure Path - Module "Chunk": Recently Paizo has been picking out sections of Adventure Paths that can be used and played modules. These pieces usually don't have a lot of the AP's storyline in them so they can be played without the PC actually being in the Adventure Path.

Here in St. Louis, we have a mix of scenarios and modules. This month, we are offered Thornkeep Levels 1, 2, and 3 and then a fellow GM will be running "Cult of the Ebon Destoryer" next week, which is a module for players between the levels 7-9. We also have a lot of players that are running out of scenarios to play. However, with mixing in modules, those players are able to play modules and our new players can still play the older scenarios!


You can even offer a few different APs instead of everyone running through the same one. Some people can go play pirates (Skulls and Shackles) and others may want some gothic horror (Carrion Crown). Let people split out. Currently only Rise of the Runelords, Shattered Star and Reign of Winter are legal for PFS credit, but the devs have already stated that as much as possible they would like to sanction as many APs as possible, going back chronologically from Skulls and Shackles.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Nathan, who's running "Cult of the Ebon Destroyers" and when?


My spreadsheet shows ... 134 scenarios, including the rest of this season, and specials. Have you been running 5-6 tables of the same scenario, and everyone plays it, every Monday for two and a half years? Or have you been running 5-6 tables of different scenarios? Because if it's the latter, you can circle around and start running the ones you started with, and this time a different set of your player base will play them.

If it's the former, well, I am impressed.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, West Virginia—Charleston aka Netopalis

Patrick Harris @ SD wrote:

My spreadsheet shows ... 134 scenarios, including the rest of this season, and specials. Have you been running 5-6 tables of the same scenario, and everyone plays it, every Monday for two and a half years? Or have you been running 5-6 tables of different scenarios? Because if it's the latter, you can circle around and start running the ones you started with, and this time a different set of your player base will play them.

If it's the former, well, I am impressed.

The problem is, Patrick, we have a column-based structure of scenario tiers, when it should be a pyramid. This means that experienced players will sometimes have to replay older scenarios without credit, so that new players can gain access to the scenarios that the experienced players have not played. I have definitely seen this in my online group, which contains one very experienced player and 4 inexperienced ones - the experienced player is almost always replaying the 1-5s and 1-7s, but has never played the vast majority of the 5-9s or the 7-11s.

Silver Crusade

My local group gets 3-5 tables most Monday evenings. We try to offer 2-3 different scenarios each week, with multiple tables of the same scenarios, but enough variety for every character level. Our rule of thumb when picking which scenarios to put on the schedule is to not repeat a scenario within 6 months of the last time it was offered. It ends up being pretty rare that we can't find 4 people who haven't played a particular scenario, especially with the low level stuff.

Actually, I'm not sure how long our group has existed like this, since I've only been living here about 6 months. From the looks of things, I've actually played more scenarios than anyone else, and I'm only just starting to run low on lower level scenarios I can play, because I keep coming up with new character ideas I want to try out, so I keep playing new PCs at level 2 instead of playing the higher level stuff. I've found that skipping level 1 with every new character by GMing the First Steps adventures over and over helps with this.


Hi Kevin,

The other thing you may want to consider is slowing down the pace a little, and managing the expectations of your players. Even with the modules and APs there's a real risk of you running out of options again at that pace.

We only run fortnightly events and generally try to run only one or two scenarios across multiple tables. This gives also gives us a better overall picture of the scenarios our players have run.

As suggested above, maybe take a break, run some one shots with another system or break out the board games every once in a while.

2/5

Kevin M. Corrie wrote:
Any advice fellow Pathfinders? I'm getting worried about the future of our local lodge...

The solution is probably to get more organized. Unless everyone has six level 7 PCs and three level 12 PCs, there are still scenarios to play.

Maybe have the players petition the scenario/subtier they play next? They know a lot better than you what they've played or not played.

What about modules?

Maybe have some of them try GMing? That way you get GM credit that can help level PCs that need help. It also helps your organization in the long run and gives your GMs a break so they don't burn out.

Also, someone should really be pushing them to level up PCs to the level 7+ range. Tell them the consequences of that not happening. That should provide plenty of inspiration.

Lantern Lodge 3/5

One of my fellow players suggested that maybe the rules could be changed to that players can play each Sub-tier of a scenario once, instead of only each scenario once.
(With each Character still limited to playing each scenario once.)

That would help to expand more options for players.
While still preventing abuse.

5/5

The options are to run some adventure paths and modules or just play less. If you are going to do adventure paths it would be best to find a stable group of people that like playing with each other and organize a home game of it (even if run in the store). You'll get more out of it compared to just picking out the sections sanctioned for PFS play. You can still get PFS credit if it's a sanctioned AP, but you won't be bound by PFS rules and you'll get the full experience of it with all the role playing, combats, and other elements that aren't part of the sanctioned sections.

Scarab Sages

We are going through the same situation here in Southern Illinois. We have some players who literally only have 2 low level scenarios that they can play that are not in the current season. Unfortunately, there are only so many solutions to this never ending problem. The others have pointed out the fact that modules and adventure paths are amazing when it comes to players running out of what they can play.

The other options are schedule more of the high tier scenarios. You might only be able to make 1 table of high tier, but slowly players will have characters in the range. Always running low tier scenarios gaurentees that players will never have characters high enough level to play the high tier scenarios.

Don't meet as often. If you are meeting weekly, give biweekly a shot. Im sure players would rather play less often and actually play a scenario they can recieve credit for, then meet weekly and only get credit about half the time.

Ask players what are some sceanrios they would like to play through and make sure to schedule them. Players typically have a better idea of what they have played.

The last option is tell them to give GMing a try. If they say GMing isnt their thing, that is just fine, but you will not always be able to schedule something for them to play. Not GMing completely cuts out half of what players can get credit for.

I keep records of what our players have played so it makes it easier when we decide what is going to be run on upcomming game days. With the players who have played through most scenarios, we try to make sure that there is at least 1 scenario that they can play on any game day (our game days are 2 slots). Also we dont burn through the new season so that gives players who go to cons scenarios they can play.

Silver Crusade

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Secane wrote:

One of my fellow players suggested that maybe the rules could be changed to that players can play each Sub-tier of a scenario once, instead of only each scenario once.

(With each Character still limited to playing each scenario once.)

That would help to expand more options for players.
While still preventing abuse.

The minute you do this, then people will start clamoring for unlimited replay which I think is a terrible idea. It's very easy to draw the line at no replay for credit. You are not the first (nor will you be the last) to suggest some form of replay, but so far that idea hasn't gained any traction (with the exception of 1st level modules and First steps).

There's already unlimited replay for level 1 modules and First Steps. That's enough to get you to level 2 an unlimited amount of times. Then there is GM credit. I've currently got 16 characters with credit on them and I still have over 20 games left to play, and more than that to take GM credit on. If anything, I am running out of high tier games rather than low tier to play.

The group I game with regularly has one person who only has 3 scenarios left to play and one who has none. However, with two new scenarios released every month, modules, and now adventure paths, we still seem to find something to play every time we get together (nearly every weekend). It helps that we all have multiple characters over different level ranges and we pretty much all GM to get additional credit on characters to get them where we want them to be.

It can be done, but you should realize that if you are playing more than 2 games a month, the possibility does exist that you will run out of things to play eventually (it's simple math after all)... if all you do is play (not GM) scenarios (and not modules or APs).

Lantern Lodge 3/5

Well... Here is Singapore, there are 2-4+ games ran each week for PFS...

It would be logical to run lesser games, but with PFS in Singapore still less then a year old, there is quite a lot of interest for games by players.

Hope a means to address this issue could be part of season 5.


Secane wrote:

Well... Here is Singapore, there are 2-4+ games ran each week for PFS...

It would be logical to run lesser games, but with PFS in Singapore still less then a year old, there is quite a lot of interest for games by players.

Hope a means to address this issue could be part of season 5.

This is something that has been an on-going problem for people since the inception of PFS. At one point, as a player, you could play each scenario multiple times as long as it was of a different faction that you'd played it with previously (garnering each player a potential for 5 chronicles for each scenario).

At this time, GMs were still not receiving credit for "eating" scenarios and were missing out on being able to play. This caused a glut of player character, and a reduction of GM pools. Let's face it, who wants to be the one having to eat scenarios all the time while your friends are getting to play.

The replay rules that we have now (1 player chronicle, 1 GM chronicle) is the fairest it has ever been. And while I understand the need to have replay as an option for players when one is starting a new lodge; the campaign as a whole cannot change to support one specific area and still have the rules remain fair across the boards.

I wish you luck and hope that there is a solution that you find that works for your area, however, trying to get open replay as that solution isn't something that is going to work.

Dark Archive

Callum Prior wrote:

Hi Kevin,

The other thing you may want to consider is slowing down the pace a little, and managing the expectations of your players. Even with the modules and APs there's a real risk of you running out of options again at that pace.

We only run fortnightly events and generally try to run only one or two scenarios across multiple tables. This gives also gives us a better overall picture of the scenarios our players have run.

As suggested above, maybe take a break, run some one shots with another system or break out the board games every once in a while.

I personally only play on Mondays, however a few locals play upwards of 3 times a week... I don't want to sound like a jerk and tell them to get another hobby, but... I may want to...

Scarab Sages

As noted by others a great way seems to be to "push" other Pathfinder modules and paths, perhaps even third party material. If they want to play more PFS, Pathfinder RPG is pretty similar ;) And will let them explore other aspects of Pathfinder.


Brett Cochran wrote:

As noted by others a great way seems to be to "push" other Pathfinder modules and paths, perhaps even third party material. If they want to play more PFS, Pathfinder RPG is pretty similar ;) And will let them explore other aspects of Pathfinder.

Exactly. PFS (or, honestly, any Organized Play campaign, past or present) simply doesn't put out enough content to keep up with players who are cranking through 3 adventures a week.

If those high-frequency players are willing to try other options while still playing Pathfinder (such as the Adventure Paths, especially now that some can be played for PFS credit, with more of that on the way), it'll ease the pressure of "running out" of PFS scenarios.

I also play in Living Forgotten Realms, which allows unlimited replay. While it can help make tables come together that might not happen otherwise, it leads to a number of other problems. Players who can resist the temptation to act on their foreknowledge of the adventure don't spoil things, but they also can be a drag on the decision-making and non-combat portions of adventures (imagine playing in a roleplay-heavy adventure, and 4 of your 6 players recuse themselves from the roleplay portion, because they know what happens). Then, there are the replayers who can't help themselves, and steer the party or spoil the adventure's secrets.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Kevin M. Corrie wrote:

I personally only play on Mondays, however a few locals play upwards of 3 times a week... I don't want to sound like a jerk and tell them to get another hobby, but... I may want to...

You won't have to. Ultimately, the problem will take care of itself, as they will run out of options relatively soon. Then you simply have to shrug and say, "Start GMing?"

There are a staggering number of things they can play for credit, and the list gets longer each month (at least two scenarios plus one Adventure Path volume). It'll be pretty hard to end up with absolutely NOTHING to play, even if they're trying very hard to achieve that. Eventually, they'll have to tone down and figure things out, themselves.

Of course, you could educate them about the concept of self control. If they slow down even a little bit they'll enjoy the games they do play that much more.


Kevin M. Corrie wrote:


I personally only play on Mondays, however a few locals play upwards of 3 times a week... I don't want to sound like a jerk and tell them to get another hobby, but... I may want to...

You don't need to be a jerk at all, we just need to manage the expectations of players and allow for a sustainable rate of play. Playing three times a week is not a realistic ongoing situation within Pathfinder Society.

Silver Crusade

Kevin M. Corrie wrote:

I personally only play on Mondays, however a few locals play upwards of 3 times a week... I don't want to sound like a jerk and tell them to get another hobby, but... I may want to...

You don't have to go that far either..

Here's how we solved this problem in SoYo:

1) If the issue is that players are running out of low-tier adventures, but they aren't playing anything higher, then the answer is to progress into higher tier play. Even if the community doesn't like it or not. Characters have to grow and evolve and if they are not doing so, then it's all bad. If this is the issue, then may I refer them to this blog post here: Entering, Understanding, and Embracing High Tier Play

2)Those who are going through Scenarios 3-4 times a week do really need to be considering an Adventure Path to play instead of Society. But some people have only one night to game, so they have to choose PSOP or AP's.

So what we did, is we took two members of the area, who were organizing the extra games and made them in charge of the "Impromptu" and the "Adventure Path" sections of our community. So if you are looking for a campaign, see this person. If you are looking for more pick-up games see this person. These two people manage and guide those players who are looking for more than just Society Scenarios to play multiple times a week. (Cause let's admit it, PSOP is incredibly addictive.)

3) We encourage GMing, and we allow players who may be too nervous to GM on our scheduled night, to GM on an Impromptu night. The person in charge, coordinates the names and dates, and then musters the people. Those who regularly GM, we ask to then move on to our more regular nights. This is so, we always have a base of players growing, and those who want play a little more, get their fix. And those GM's who want to get in, can get in on safer terms because we are able to give them the proper time and experience needed to grow.

So there are multiple ways to overcome this issue, but the mass trick here, is that you have to talk to those people who want to play 3-5 nights a week. Are they looking for more PSOP, so they can level characters, or do they want an actual campaign, but too nervous to evolve up or down?

Hope this helps, GOOD LUCK!

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