Scenario or Table?


Pathfinder Society


Inspired by the threads over there years that ask people to list their favorite scenarios, I want to flip the question:

Have you ever walked away from a table and thought of the scenario as one of your favorites despite having a *bad* GM and/or *bad* players at the table?

e.g. I've played at a table with great players and a bad GM before. While I certainly enjoyed myself, my thoughts on the scenario remain very indifferent since I haven't run or played it since.

I'm sure there's examples of going back and GMing or replaying and enjoying a scenario, but what I want to know is if you really hated the GM and/or the players at the table, have you ever walked away thinking, "wow, that was a great scenario!"

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Bad DM good scenario: not the favorite

Good Dm Bad scenario: still fun

Good DM Good scenario= favorite.

Sovereign Court

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Bad DM good scenario: not the favorite

Good Dm Bad scenario: still fun

Good DM Good scenario= favorite.

Add in fun players = very favorite!

Shadow Lodge

If I played a good scenario under a bad GM, how would I know it was a good scenario? Word of Mouth? And then, how could it be one of my "favorite" scenarios if I knew it was spoiled by a bad GM?

Or are you asking if we've ever played a scenario so good it made up for a bad GM/Players? No. I can honestly say that I haven't.


I wouldn't say the players (we were all individually pretty solid) or the GM (he was great) were bad, rather the environment (PaizoCon 2012, noisy!) was bad... Rats of Round Mountain Part 1.

The group felt very disjointed. I didn't see a lot of teamwork, buffs weren't passed around very much, and we stepped on each others' toes a lot. I'm glad we played 7-8 instead of 10-11.

The scenario was really good, though. I do wish I would have gotten to play it in a quieter environment and up to 10-11, like I got to on Sunday morning under the tent for Round Mountain Part 2. That was edge-of-my-seat awesome.

Thing is... most of my play experiences (at least the ones worthy enough to be remembered) have been with a pretty stable pool of players and GMs, so it takes an outlier (like, say, a really noisy table at PaizoCon) to perhaps have an unusual situation to compare to the personal-norm.

-Matt


Mystic Lemur wrote:
If I played a good scenario under a bad GM, how would I know it was a good scenario?

This is my point. When people list their favorites or least favorites, how much of that is GM or players at the table related versus quality of the scenario?

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I've had a couple of situations where I have sat at a table with competent-but-uninspired GMs, where the session was 'meh' but I could tell that there was a potentially really good scenario peeking through that wasn't really getting its due. I then mark those down on my 'I should GM that someday' list. (Which is something I seldom do if I play through a *great* session with a *great* GM -- if I feel like any game I run will be worse than what I experienced as a player, there's not much incentive for me to GM it.)

Which is different than having an actively *bad* GM run a great scenario -- a truly bad GM can ruin anything.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

This is not intended as a slam on Josh, but a serious question - I've been consistently disappointed by one author's writing in PFS, and want to find an adventure of his that shines...

So, I'm curious, in tangential relation to this, if anyone can point me to an actually good adventure that Joshua Frost wrote.


TetsujinOni wrote:
So, I'm curious, in tangential relation to this, if anyone can point me to an actually good adventure that Joshua Frost wrote.

Ummm...

Well, it's definitely not Red Revolution, if that helps at all. Was City of Golden Death any good?

Here's a list if it helps the search.

-Matt

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Kyle Baird wrote:
Mystic Lemur wrote:
If I played a good scenario under a bad GM, how would I know it was a good scenario?
This is my point. When people list their favorites or least favorites, how much of that is GM or players at the table related versus quality of the scenario?

It matters a great deal. I had a very difficult time enjoying The Frostfur Captives, which I'm told is quite popular, because of a number of relatively minor issues between other players and the GM. I'm hoping to run it myself soon and see if I enjoy it better that way, but for the moment, my opinion of it is soured.

TetsujinOni wrote:
So, I'm curious, in tangential relation to this, if anyone can point me to an actually good adventure that Joshua Frost wrote.

Myself and my tables have thoroughly enjoyed both Rescue at Azlant Ridge and Shades of Ice parts I and II. While we haven't yet run part III, I'm fairly certain that we'll run it this weekend. Should we do so, I'll be sure to give you my opinions on it.

Shades of Ice, Part 1: Written in Blood:
I very nearly killed my venture captain with a pair of critical hits from thrown chairs in the Horned Helm. He's had a bit of a hard time living that one down.

Shadow Lodge

I also enjoyed Shades of Ice 1 & 2 both as a player and a GM. The third part I could take or leave (don't know who was the author). I didn't care as much for Rescue at Azlant Ridge, but not really for any reason related to the story itself.

The Exchange 5/5

Wait! I know one... . but it's sort of a cheat.

First Steps Part 1.

so I'd played it before, and thus knew it was a lot of fun, in spited of the "people problems".

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Chester aka Paz

TetsujinOni wrote:
So, I'm curious, in tangential relation to this, if anyone can point me to an actually good adventure that Joshua Frost wrote.

I've both played and GMed Rescue at Azlant Ridge, and great fun was had by all both times.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Chester aka Paz

In terms of the topic, I played 'the Frostfur Captives' with a couple of annoying players (out of 7 in total) and a seemingly inexperienced GM. It was a bit frustrating, but I could tell that the scenario itself was of high quality.

5/5

Paz wrote:
TetsujinOni wrote:
So, I'm curious, in tangential relation to this, if anyone can point me to an actually good adventure that Joshua Frost wrote.
I've both played and GMed Rescue at Azlant Ridge, and great fun was had by all both times.

Both City of Strangers scenarios are some of my favorites...


Sniggevert wrote:
Paz wrote:
TetsujinOni wrote:
So, I'm curious, in tangential relation to this, if anyone can point me to an actually good adventure that Joshua Frost wrote.
I've both played and GMed Rescue at Azlant Ridge, and great fun was had by all both times.
Both City of Strangers scenarios are some of my favorites...

+1

Shadow Lodge

Don't know if this counts, but I've always thought The Darkest Vengeance was a terrible scenario when I played it, yet I've heard some people have good experiences of it "when run properly".

Our group played this as our second-ever scenario and our GM was relatively new to PFS at the time, but it's a scenario I've put on my never-run list because of it. If it has the value I've heard about it, I don't plan on risking my player's lives on it, GM credit be damned. Not like that.

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

I was so frustrated by Voices in the Void, when I played it, that I went and looked it up, only to find that it was an awesome scenario.

Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha aka downerbeautiful

Kyle Baird wrote:

Inspired by the threads over there years that ask people to list their favorite scenarios, I want to flip the question:

Have you ever walked away from a table and thought of the scenario as one of your favorites despite having a *bad* GM and/or *bad* players at the table?

e.g. I've played at a table with great players and a bad GM before. While I certainly enjoyed myself, my thoughts on the scenario remain very indifferent since I haven't run or played it since.

I'm sure there's examples of going back and GMing or replaying and enjoying a scenario, but what I want to know is if you really hated the GM and/or the players at the table, have you ever walked away thinking, "wow, that was a great scenario!"

I'll bite, sure. All three parts of Heresy of Man would be [among] my favorite if not for the GM. I played all three parts, in order, on the same character, and with no other scenario in between. A different GM ran the third part in the series, which helped it tremendously.

My atheist barbarian with scent ran through Heresy, and because of parts one and two, picked up

these things:
heartseeker and planar enchantments for his ax, as well as a dayfinder.
"-1", my barbarian's, experience in Rahadoum impacted him tremendously; no other scenario or series of scenarios has had such an impact on character and player direction. The table was memorable for the scenario itself, but also because of the strife several players at the table had with the first GM.

Heresy of Man was not run to its full potential, but, for my character at least, the scenario was so good that it still outshone the out-of-character experience. I loved it, but wish that the players and the GM had not been so adversarial (and that the GM had a better grasp on all the rules, or at least was open to learning the correct rulings).


Kyle you've seen me leave a table.

I think it is all DM. I have seen poor scenarios made very enjoyable with fun players.

For me to leave a table I need to feel cheated in someway. When I was at table noted above I was ignored for a long time. I acutally pulled out a book and started reading it after I made a 3 minute speech why doesn't the other half of the table get to play.

I have also walked away from a table about a Dm making horrible rulings at the table and refusing to look at the book to see ho whe was wrong. Ruling that enemies casting is never more then a standard and the spells that take 1 round costs only PCs that much time. He also starte dby saying he makes sure to kill atleast one player every time.

Silver Crusade

Finlanderboy wrote:

Kyle you've seen me leave a table.

I think it is all DM. I have seen poor scenarios made very enjoyable with fun players.

For me to leave a table I need to feel cheated in someway. When I was at table noted above I was ignored for a long time. I acutally pulled out a book and started reading it after I made a 3 minute speech why doesn't the other half of the table get to play.

I have also walked away from a table about a Dm making horrible rulings at the table and refusing to look at the book to see ho whe was wrong. Ruling that enemies casting is never more then a standard and the spells that take 1 round costs only PCs that much time. He also starte dby saying he makes sure to kill atleast one player every time.

Lol. What a class act there.

Shadow Lodge

I always insist my Sphinx's can cast legend lore as a swift action because it doesn't say they can't! Take that Findlander!


Care Baird wrote:
I always insist my Sphinx's can cast legend lore as a swift action because it doesn't say they can't! Take that Findlander!

AUCK i am dying now. Card Bard has found my weaknesses swiftly.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My theory is that if a scenario can't be run adequately by an average-bad DM then its bad.


Here's my personal list:

1) GOOD SCENARIO, GOOD GM, GOOD PLAYERS
2) AVERAGE SCENARIO, GOOD GM, GOOD PLAYERS
3) GOOD SCENARIO, GOOD GM, AVERAGE PLAYERS
4) BAD SCENARIO, GOOD GM, GOOD PLAYERS
5) AVERAGE SCENARIO, GOOD GM, AVERAGE PLAYERS
6) BAD SCENARIO, GOOD GM, AVERAGE PLAYERS
7) AVERAGE SCENARIO, AVERAGE GM, GOOD PLAYERS
8) GOOD SCEANRIO, AVERAGE GM, GOOD PLAYERS
9) GOOD SCENARIO, AVERAGE GM, AVERAGE PLAYERS
10) NOT PLAYING

Paizo Employee 5/5 Developer

Kyle Baird wrote:

Here's my personal list:

1) GOOD SCENARIO, GOOD GM, GOOD PLAYERS
2) AVERAGE SCENARIO, GOOD GM, GOOD PLAYERS
3) GOOD SCENARIO, GOOD GM, AVERAGE PLAYERS
4) BAD SCENARIO, GOOD GM, GOOD PLAYERS
5) AVERAGE SCENARIO, GOOD GM, AVERAGE PLAYERS
6) BAD SCENARIO, GOOD GM, AVERAGE PLAYERS
7) AVERAGE SCENARIO, AVERAGE GM, GOOD PLAYERS
8) GOOD SCEANRIO, AVERAGE GM, GOOD PLAYERS
9) GOOD SCENARIO, AVERAGE GM, AVERAGE PLAYERS
10) NOT PLAYING

I am confused by the order of numbers 7 and 8. Why must you hate good scenarios, Kyle?

The Exchange

good scenario's suck, GMs have to read for them to make sense.

Shadow Lodge

Kyle Baird wrote:
This is my point. When people list their favorites or least favorites, how much of that is GM or players at the table related versus quality of the scenario?

I try to look at the scenario itself rather than who played with. Often, after a game, we will either discuss the scenario, and I will also read it afterwards to see how things worked.

When I GM, I try to ask about midway for criticism on my style, and then again afterwards, what things the players liked or not so much. I do this partially to improve as a GM, but also because I realize that the GM's experience with a scenario is generally different than the players, who do not have a the details, and often neither do they have all the backstory and flavor.

For me personally, the only thing that a GM can do that will ruin a scenario/play experience is to either rush the game, or miss something important in the text (you only need to make a DC 30 Linguistics check if you can't read Tien), which robs character(s) of their chance to do anything, or more often to do something well when they should be able to. Now, people make mistakes, it happens occasionally.

A "good" GM might take a scenario that might otherwise be meh and make it more interesting, but I think that has more to do with what individuals find interesting and want from the game. So I would think it pretty well evens out.

I can see players saying something along the lines of "The story was okay, but we had a blast because we all meshed so well and could joke around a bit" or "the scenario seemed like it had a lot of potential, but I think the DM just wasn't feeling it", especially if they hear other groups experiences with the same adventure.

Now, one thing that I think makes a scenario terrible, and not even a great GM can help is when it requires a specific skill, especially in order for the players to understand what's going on, and no one has it, or the one that does fails.

My two personal experience are Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment and Severing Ties. For Severing Ties, I wasn't digging the way it was being run, but I think it was the scenario itself that was just bad, and ruined itself. Every single player was under the impression we where going in to cause a rift, not to do specific things. We also lost a player from the get go of the temple due to a single poor roll, and by the time we might have gotten him fixed up, he's already quite, and the whole party just wanted it to be over.

Now with Empyreal Enlightenment, we had a great DM (TOZ), and a good party, and it just wasn't fun. The most memorable thing was the boss fight, and that's because despite being at full strength, we nearly got TPK'd and in the end NPC's came and saved us. Turns out the scenario suggested that the DM secretly roll things for us, which lead to no one knowing what was going on, (we would see we rolled high, and obviously think that we could trust the answer/explanation we got, but turns out that I roll for us was a bit different). Complete confusion, and it also robbed us of things like our reroll options.

But in both cases, I blame the scenario. The other players and GM had a part, but it was the scenario itself.

Community / Forums / Organized Play / Pathfinder Society / Scenario or Table? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Pathfinder Society