Who pays $$ for the fun?


Pathfinder Society

Silver Crusade

I am a new player to PFS. I'm about to hit level 2 on my first PC and I'm really having a blast at the events. I'm curious who pays for all the materials that is needed to run the event? Does the GM generally buy all the required stuff? No one has ever asked me for money or to help financially. Is there a common rule of thumb the community goes by? I purchased the core rulebook and now I just show up to the events and the GM has everything needed to run it. Just curious how its handled cause I don't like to be a freeloader.


Welcome Yeebin,

As a player, how much you spend is totally up to you and what character options you want to have. As a rule, you are expected and required to own a legal copy of any book you want to use material from. So for example, if you want to make an Alchemist, you need a copy of the Advanced Player's Guide, where the rules for the Alchemist are printed.

And so on and so forth with all the other books.

PFS is entirely playable with only the Core Rulebook, and you can make very efficient characters with it.

After that, it's all up to you on how much you want to invest.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Its different for different venues. I have one where no one pays anything to play. A new venue I'm looking at building up is thinking of asking a couple of dollars that will then become store credit. Another is part of a club, and they have dues as well as $2 member fee per game or $4 for non-members.

Others I know take collections for the GMs to buy the scenarios with, or raffles to raise money for prizes/scenarios. Generally its $4 to purchase a scenario to run. There are ways to get some cheaper (VO's get them for free, if you run at a convention that gets prize support, you get your scenarios for free usually, they've started selling season bundles though I don't know if those are actually cheaper or not).

Generally its really up to the game organizer whether or not to charge anything.


If you are looking for other ways to contribute, ask around on how scenarios are obtained by your GM. Scenarios themselves cost $4 to purchase from Paizo. Most of the time (at our local area anyway) either the GM or the store organizer eats up the cost of the scenarios to purchase them. If that is the case in your area as well, see if you can contribute towards that.

I have heard of other areas where every player chips in $1 every game, to account for things like scenario purchases. I can see that being quite common for PFS players playing at home as well.

But at the end is up to you and your local area's policies.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

It varies in different places.

One store I play at charges each person at the table $2. The GM gets half of that back in store credit, the rest goes to the store (and some of that gets used to buy the scenarios they provide the GM and to pay for printing stuff.)

Another store, the GM gets %10 of anything the players buy that night in store credit, but he has to pay for his own miniatures/maps/printouts. (I think that the modules are provided by the VC at that store, not sure about that.)

Silver Crusade

Cool, I'll ask the GM at the next event. Maybe I can toss him a few bucks to help me sleep at night. :)


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One item to mention as well...

If the events you are playing in, OP, are being held at a hobby shop or local gaming store, a good way to contribute to the event is to buy something from the store while you are there.

Even if it is just a couple dice, some pre-painted miniatures, a folio, etc...showing appreciation to the venue in a lot of cases means just as much to many of the GMs involved as if they had gotten a couple of bucks themselves.


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At the very least you can see what s/he drink/snacks on while GMing table and make that purchase.
Thanks for asking and Welcome to PFS :)

Sovereign Court

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Most the stores here collect $2/player/game, which pays for a gift certificate for the GM's. The GM's in most instances are expected to purchase the scenario on their own ducat, so the gift cert is meant to alleviate that a little. While it won't help for purchase of scenarios, it does help them get minis needed, maps, markers, GM screens, new dice, etc etc as a thank you. One store even has a cafe/coffee shop, so it helps for caffeination and relaxation as well. This is the organizers' policy to help give back. Any overflow typically goes to prize support (GM's who run so many games get a shirt or something) and covering the cost of gift cards when a table only has 3 or 4 players. It's a solid system and you know you're giving back to your GMs.

Still, speaking as a GM, it's super-awesome when players show appreciation, such as buying the GM a bevvy or running to grab wet towels to erase the map so the GM doesn't have to climb over their Fortress of Solitude created by miniature cases, map rolls, and dufflebags. We like feeling wanted! And a happy GM usually leads to happy players (YMMV, especially with Kyle Baird or John Compton at the helm, haha)

In some cases, I've seen people gift scenarios to GMs, whether to convince them to run it for them or simply to thank them for a job well done in a past scenario. You can do that here on the site if you know their screen name.

Many options. Cashy money is also an option, but is not guaranteed to save your character from being eaten by hellhounds...

Liberty's Edge 5/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Alaska—Anchorage aka Dragnmoon

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Some GM appreciate when players buy them beer... ;)

Scarab Sages 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Washington—Spokane

Yeebin, a lot of the time, the event coordinator covers all the costs of getting PFS events going. Sometimes. stores will assist with offsetting some of those costs as the PFS events do bring business.

I am not aware of any rule of thumb but, if you are concerned about giving back, I am sure any contribution will be appreciated. Even GMing if an additional table is needed or to offer and additional table will be welcomed as well.

Thank you for thinking of your GM/Event Coordinator!!!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Typically when we run, we pay out of pocket to buy the scenarios and modules and to rent table space at places like Mage Gaming in the City. It generally winds up being an ongoing expense that we budget for.

So if the folks that are running you are asking for 2 bucks a head, they generally won't be getting rich off of it. Some player groups go as far as to buy food for who ever is GMing.


Well also take into consideration the Gm usually prints out materials and buys the maps as well. When I Dm I usually spend 3 times as much as the players to makie sure the game is run well.

I honestly feel that if you choose to never DM you should support the GMs. This can be something as simple as bringing in food to help buying materials for the adventure. In my experience brining them food is a huge compliment. But this is just my opinion, and it is cheap.

The largest compliment a player could do for me is to ask to GM an adventure for me.

The Exchange 5/5

when we play at someone's house, we change the VC briefing to be over lunch (or some meal) and I bring a "spread". Fruit tray, crackers and cheese, lunch meat - finger food. Then we do the briefing during the meal, with the VC waving cheese sticks around like pointers. Gives a new view of Amara Lees Tea Ceremony...

This doesn't work at most shops - esp. if they sell food. But try bringing the Judge a water bottle next game. Even if he just uses it to clean maps...

4/5

Gonna be honest, a lot of great reponses to this thread.

Keep in mind, while having to buy scenarios is relatively constant, I know that personally I end up GMing something over and over again, so there's no cost to that. As well, a lot of these things could vary from GM to GM or region to region, so become familiar with how it works where you play!

It's appreciated that you want to help, though, for sure! I, personally, am just glad to have the players at my table. The best thing someone can do for me when I'm GMing for them is to not cause problems at my tables.

Edit: I also love when people question my rulings, because it has the potential to become a learning experience for both of us! But not all GMs will appreciate that as much.

Silver Crusade

Yeebin, it's awesome that you're stopping by to get some input on how to be a better player. Most of the advice others have shared is right; show up with a good attitude, be willing to toss in a few dollars for either the adventure itself or snacks for the GM, and that covers most of it. It's not outright required but it is a good idea.

GMs love this sort of thing. Even a $1 to $5-ish gesture like this per player shows you appreciate the time they're putting into the event; it's at least 2 hours (likely to be 3 to 5 hours) table time, plus the half hour to 3 to 5 hours spent doing their 'GM Homework' on reading up on each creature, thinking about what to do if the players send the story well off its expected course, and so on. A simple "thanks for hosting this, I had fun" at the end goes a long way too. So long as the GM feels they were treated as a person rather than a 'RPG session factory', they'll probably feel it was time well spent.

As others have mentioned, you are expected to pay for and bring PC-oriented stuff you're using. You might, maybe, get away with not doing so for the first session or two ("I wanted to see if Burst of Radiance in Champions of Purity was as fun as it looks before I go tossing more money at the game!"), but after that it's expected both on a "You need to bring your own rules materials so the GM doesn't have even more stuff to keep track of" perspective and from a "support Paizo" aspect as well.

4/5

Just wanted to add one more thing.

The coolest thing I ever have is someone I was not too familiar but remember I had GMed for before had requested me to GM for them. I've had it happen a couple times now. For someone like me, as a person who is always absolutely critical of myself (and sometimes I feel like an awful GM...occasionally it's justified) (I also know I'm not the only one who thinks this way), it goes a long way into boosting confidence as a GM. And confidence = more GMing from them. So if there's a GM you like... :)

Must echo Celestial Pegasus to the n-th degree. Thank the GM! Then, thank him/her again!

Shadow Lodge

I'm in the same region as Sior but a different store. We usually just pay our GM's directly in crucial distracting moments. Our store offers the GMs free sodas and snacks and 15% discount on purchases on the days they gm so that usually helps them out and the store.

Scarab Sages

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I think, the best reimbursement you can give a thoughtful and prepared GM is to actually purchase a sanctioned scenario or module and allow that GM to play from time to time <33 I bet he/she will even let you borrow things like maps! Mine did!

Grand Lodge

Yeebin you are a wonderful person <3
As a GM I always appreciate it when people offer to run a game for me.

Scarab Sages

Andrei Buters wrote:

Yeebin you are a wonderful person <3

As a GM I always appreciate it when people offer to run a game for me.

But I'm not? T.T -sulks in a corner- jkjk

Shadow Lodge

Sior wrote:
In some cases, I've seen people gift scenarios to GMs, whether to convince them to run it for them or simply to thank them for a job well done in a past scenario. You can do that here on the site if you know their screen name.

Just wanted to point out that if you don't know your GMs screen name, just go to your reported sessions. The GM name should show up as a link to his or her profile. Problem Solved.

The Exchange

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I always offer to buy the GM a snack or drink when we play at a store. For home games I usually bring beer. The best gift I could come up with was a Kinkos giftcard for our most regular GM as he does full size maps for all our scenarios, but I keep forgetting to give it to him (don't look xebeche).

If you have a favorite GM you could get them a gift certificate.

Sovereign Court

Conman the Bardbarian wrote:
I'm in the same region as Sior but a different store. We usually just pay our GM's directly in crucial distracting moments. Our store offers the GMs free sodas and snacks and 15% discount on purchases on the days they gm so that usually helps them out and the store.

Which store is that? Have I been out of the local loop so long as to have missed this?? (To be honest, I've only played PFS at two stores. Schedule doesn't much allow any playtime. Not played locally since... way too long ago...)

Mystic Lemur wrote:
Sior wrote:
In some cases, I've seen people gift scenarios to GMs, whether to convince them to run it for them or simply to thank them for a job well done in a past scenario. You can do that here on the site if you know their screen name.
Just wanted to point out that if you don't know your GMs screen name, just go to your reported sessions. The GM name should show up as a link to his or her profile. Problem Solved.

Of course! Simple answer! Thanks for pointing that out.

The Exchange 5/5

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

From the GM's perspective (at least this GM), I have sunk bout $4000 in materials into PFS (every book (core rules, modules, AP, companion, and setting lines), every scenario, lots of the flip-mats and map packs, all the pawns, etc.). I print out color copies of most of the maps on my own dime before scenarios. I probably spend at least two or three hours in prep each week before the game, and I spend a good solid six hours at the actual table.

Now, I LOVE this game and this hobby, but after thirty years, I could probably have retired by now if I wasn't so busy giving all my money to Paizo, WOTC, TSR, Iron Crown, Steve Jackson, and Hero Games. These guys have had their hands so deep in my pockets they should have bought me dinner afterwards.

So for all of you players out there that take the time to donate a little something back to the guy at the end of the table, may Desna smile on your dice.


Zandari wrote:
Now, I LOVE this game and this hobby, but after thirty years, I could probably have retired by now if I wasn't so busy giving all my money to Paizo, WOTC, TSR, Iron Crown, Steve Jackson, and Hero Games.

You, too, huh? ;)

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

Mike Mistele wrote:
Zandari wrote:
Now, I LOVE this game and this hobby, but after thirty years, I could probably have retired by now if I wasn't so busy giving all my money to Paizo, WOTC, TSR, Iron Crown, Steve Jackson, and Hero Games.
You, too, huh? ;)

Me three. :-)

Liberty's Edge

I wasn't GMing long before I was given offers of free sodas and stuff. That surprised me a LOT. I GM because I enjoy it, I never thought that players would show a form of gratitude, but boy was I wrong!

I also offer people who are hesitant or considering DMing access to one of the scenarios I have, I will just bring it up on my tablet and let them run it. I have found a couple REALLY good DM's doing this.

Shadow Lodge

Sior wrote:
Conman the Bardbarian wrote:
I'm in the same region as Sior but a different store. We usually just pay our GM's directly in crucial distracting moments. Our store offers the GMs free sodas and snacks and 15% discount on purchases on the days they gm so that usually helps them out and the store.
Which store is that? Have I been out of the local loop so long as to have missed this?? (To be honest, I've only played PFS at two stores. Schedule doesn't much allow any playtime. Not played locally since... way too long ago...)

I've only played @TEG in Broomfield. My schedule doesn't allow me to really try any of the other stores in the area. Though I've been considering burning some vacation that I have to use up to try EG one of these days.

Dark Archive 5/5 5/55/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Upper Midwest aka Silbeg

Mike Mistele wrote:
Zandari wrote:
Now, I LOVE this game and this hobby, but after thirty years, I could probably have retired by now if I wasn't so busy giving all my money to Paizo, WOTC, TSR, Iron Crown, Steve Jackson, and Hero Games.
You, too, huh? ;)

He ain't the only one!

I have bookshelves that are screaming in pain due to all the books. I feel like I was keeping a couple of companies alive at certain times.

And to think of all the RPGs that I have bought, and never play (Stargate, I am looking at you!)

But, this discussion, in general, goes to highlight one of the realizations that I had a while back, when our local V-C sent me (a gift) of the scenario I was running that week. Didn't even occur to me to ask before that if he was paying for it out of his pocket, which he was.

Since then, I have not asked anyone to buy scenarios for me... I am more than capable of spending my own cash on them, if needed. I know others are not in the same situation, however (and I wonder if everyone realizes that V-Os and organizers are buying the scenarios with their own money).

And I will agree with many of the others here. A hearty "thank you" goes a long way. Even though I have been GMing for more than 30 years, I've only been doing it for about 7 months in organized play, so any pointers that players have to help me out are also appreciated.

One of the best comments I ever received, which was a congratulations when I earned my first star... this player said that I didn't GM like a 1-star! Best Comment Ever!


Silbeg wrote:


I have bookshelves that are screaming in pain due to all the books. I feel like I was keeping a couple of companies alive at certain times.

And to think of all the RPGs that I have bought, and never play (Stargate, I am looking at you!)

Heh, I have that sitting around waiting to be played one day, too :)

I ran out of space on shelves long ago. More than half of my books are now either in stacks in the spare room, or boxed up in the attic. If I hadn't sold my 2E collection years ago, I hate to think how bad it'd be.

On the other hand, then I'd still have my Forgotten Realms and Planescape
boxed sets, ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

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