PFS an new guys perspective.


Pathfinder Society

Grand Lodge

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PFS is a great thing, if one truly understand what they are getting into. The record keeping was a bit confusing to me at first, as I got some conflicting answers. One of my local GMs help set me straight, and now I am off and running. That is one of the best facets of PFS, is the community - at least locally - seems quite eager to help new players out. (I think it has something to do with wanting more GMs :) )

At any rate, there are a couple things I have noticed when playing the few sessions that I have. Note, this is not meant to begin yet another argument for or against min/maxing or optimization. It is simply one guys opinion, that may help out some other new players out there.

Optimization (not an argument)
PFS, at least in my opinion, lends itself to optimization. This is not my preferred style of play, but I understand why it happens. Since the scenarios have to run as written, the dice mechanics become even more important than in a homegame. When you sit down at a PFS table, odds are one or more of the players have min/maxed or optimized their characters. If this is not your play style, don't worry about it. Have fun with your character, and play they way you want to play. We had a lot of fun in my last scenario with an awesomely played optimized monk, right up until we fought a swarm. That was almost a TPK.

Character Builds
Oh my, this is something that blows my mind. I sat down at a table once where my dwarf was the ONLY non Tiefling or Aasimar. WOW! Add on top of that, the builds were crazy combinations the likes I had never heard of. Don't as for specifics, I can't actually remember. What I do remember, was the that virtually everyone in the group, with 2 exceptions, had 5 CHA. So much for those Diplomacy checks right? In PFS, you have the ability to create pretty much whatever you want, and level it fairly quick. Keep that in mind. I liken it to playing a video game. There is no doubt you are going to come across some crazy stat heavy builds, made for a specific purpose. My advice? Go crazy! Have fun with it, and maybe you can get some good ideas for your next Homegame!

GMs
In PFS, the GMs are fairly restricted on what they can do. There is some wiggle room, but not much. As such, sometimes they will make mistakes. Remember, we are all human - despite what our characters say - and we are all at the table to have fun. If your GM makes a mistake, don't call him out and ridicule him. If it is not overly severe, then maybe let it slide and pull him/her to side after the game. Remember that sometimes these guys and gals are running a game for a table full of strangers, and that can be unnerving in and of itself. We all have different experience levels of gaming, but end result is still the same. We are all here to have fun.

So, if you are new to PFS - like I am - you are no doubt going to see and hear somethings that are going to make you scratch your head. Don't sweat the small stuff. Do your best to have fun, and try to keep it positive. Who knows, you might end up having the time of your life!

Oh, one more thing. I heard this the other night, and it cracked me up. You know what the best thing about PFS is? You can always just make another character! :)

Bael

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Very nice write up Bael. Thanks. Oh, and welcome to the Society! :D


Bael Hefthammer wrote:
PFS is a great thing, if one truly understand what they are getting into.

Yes. There was a bit of an adjustment period for me as well.

Quote:

Optimization (not an argument)

PFS, at least in my opinion, lends itself to optimization...

GMs
In PFS, the GMs are fairly restricted on what they can do..

As I played, I realized that these two things are more related than you'd think. After about two years, the biggest factor in party success is the GM. Based on my playing and reading of scenarios, there is a wide range of difficulty that is possible in a scenario. Some are ridiculously easy and some, you wonder what the developers expected. But all of that is almost insignficant to how your GM decides to play it. IME, GMs do a LOT of softballing. Many times I've seen GMs set aside the rules to let characters live who should have died. And though I've yet to come across one, I've seen posts about GMs who try and take out players from time to time.

My advice to an early player is try and find GMs you enjoy playing with and you trust. You won't find someone who's perfect, but do pay attention to someone who you get along with and can communicate with.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northwest aka WalterGM

Bael Hefthammer wrote:
Oh, one more thing. I heard this the other night, and it cracked me up. You know what the best thing about PFS is? You can always just make another character! :)

This is what I was reminding my players last night as we went through Wrath of the Righteous. By the end of the session we had 5 character deaths. I've gotta say, those demons get pretty nasty.

Anyway, glad you're enjoying it Bael, it only gets better from here!


I actually disagreeb about pfs lending itself to optimization. That is strictly speaking a case of your social contract being with a PDF and thevinability of dm to say no. Its notvremoyely required as pfs over all is easy.

Essentially its a construction of players having very few limits.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Bael Hefthammer wrote:
I sat down at a table once where my dwarf was the ONLY non Tiefling or Aasimar.

For what it's worth, my first party included only one non-halfling. More than once I've been in parties with only 1 (or even 0) non-humans. I've also been in at least one party where the highest STR was tied with the lowest CHA and we had to use a hired porter to carry meat down a ladder. :D

5/5

Welcome to the campaign - you are seem to have it sussed out pretty well. I have noticed a huge number of aasimar and tieflings lately, especially with the demon theme of Season 5. But this varies by region and by time - we have had periods when everyone was human, or everyone was planetouched, or everyone was non-human. Some of this changes with the new options available, or what race boons have just come out, or with the season theme. As you say, play your PC and have fun, you don't need to be optimzed but you should at least be able to pull your weight and contribute.

Again, welcome!

Shadow Lodge 4/5

Recently had a party consisting of 2 nagaji, 2 gnomes and 1 wayang, so there's definitely a lot of variety going around.

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka Yiroep

I think that's part of the fun of PFS. Crazy party combinations can make it memorable. I remember when we had 3 halflings and a human in a party, 2 of the halflings were dervish dancers and the human was a cleric of Sarenrae (he described himself as "Male Kyra"). Our characters ended up in jail, and with our free time we formed a Halfling gang for Sarenrae. We let the cleric join since he was halfway there, but we couldn't get the non-dervish Halfling to join. We completed the look with do-rags and a Sarenrae "S" gang sign you make with your hands.

All of us were pretty optimized characters. Playing optimally and being a great role player are mutually exclusive. You can do both!

And in the end, if everyone had fun, that's really what it's all about. PFS is great because all sorts of people with different play styles can play in harmony.

Scarab Sages 5/5 RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Hi Bael and welcome to Pathfinder Society!

I think the best thing about society games is that one session can be completely different from the next. As others have said, character builds and optimization can vary widely from regoin to regoin and even table to table.


Welcome to Society play! I do want to reiterate what Andrew said. Optimization does not preclude role playing. One of my favorite characters I've played with was a min-maxed barbarian who made poor decisions but had the hit points to back those decisions up!

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