[DM Poll] Faction Missions, old or new style?


Pathfinder Society

Shadow Lodge ****

I was just curious. I see some people love the newer style Faction Missions and Secondary Success Conditions and others not so much. Interested in seeing just how many prefer one style over the other, particularly if you have had the opportunity to utilize both.

I’m going to have to separate polls. One designed to ask from the PLAYER’s side of things and the other from the DM’s. Each will have 3 posts. Simply “favorite” the one that applies, both for the DM and the Player question. Please do not favorite more than one answer in either the DM or the Player poll.

First let’s start with FROM THE DM SIDE ONLY.

Shadow Lodge ****

11 people marked this as a favorite.

1.) I Like the older style Faction Missions where each Faction had a small side mission each scenario.

Shadow Lodge ****

68 people marked this as a favorite.

2.) I like the newer (Season 5) style of Faction Missions with the Secondary Success Conditions that are the same for everyone, but some Factions get a little bit extra.

Shadow Lodge ****

4 people marked this as a favorite.

3.) I really don’t care or do not have a particular preference of one over the other.

Shadow Lodge ****

LINK to Player Poll

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.

GM GM GM GM GM! :-p

Scarab Sages **** ⦵⦵

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I like the older faction missions in all ways except that they sometimes require a skill that an adventurer of most classes that would fit with the faction is unlikely to have. Silver Crusaders using Disable Device, what?

Liberty's Edge *****

I like the new style system much better. I see three big advantage. First, the primary focus of the Pathfinders on the mission is being Pathfinders. Previously, players wanted their additional (or, in some earlier seasons, even both!) prestige point, and so became focused on their side mission (which was sometimes interesting, sometimes a dippy little side mission) and not focused enough on the main mission. This bothered me because not only are these supposed to be missions for the (in-game) Pathfinder Society, but also because they made the game kind of schizophrenic as everybody was distracted trying to do their own little thing. I like getting your primary rewards (prestige points) for doing Pathfinder Society things... and, then, if your faction happens to be involved in a given mission, getting a little extra boon if you help them out.

Second, too often the extra missions in previous seasons seemed tacked-on. "Find this random thing or this random guy you're going to run into." With what I've seen of the Season 5 missions, they more often are interacting with and dealing with the primary characters or story of the mission. They are things that make sense. There's no need to have some dippy little thing for every faction to do, but, hey, if you're in Andoran, and you're playing Stolen Heir, you'd better believe that the Andoran faction is going to have some particular things it wants to pay attention to. There are still some tack-ons in Season 5, but overall they make more sense and flow better with the story.

Finally -- and this is why I'm posting it in the GM thread -- it's nicer to GM the new version, because there's less to keep track of. There aren't five to ten extra little missions that you've got to check out and make sure that people got for their factions, there's just a couple. And, because they are things that (for the most part) make sense with the scenario anyway, they're less distracting and annoying and fiddly to keep track of. No, it wasn't a big deal in earlier seasons, but the whole thing is cleaner and more organic now.

I really like not having to worry about all the extra faction missions from seaons 0-4, many of which were just gratuitous. I really hope they don't go back. And I really like the way the factions now seem more meaningful and tied in to the story, rather than "oh, yeah, and to get more prestige roll an extra skill roll at some random point".

***

number 1 by far

Dark Archive

1 - keeping track wasn't all that hard.

Shadow Lodge ****

One of the interesting things I've always found about this sort of debate, is that people seem to use the same arguments for one style that others use for the other.

Shadow Lodge ****

I like the old style, but I think there was too much effort put in to making a mission for every faction. I think the handouts remind players better what to look out for than a faction letter at the beginning of the season.

Grand Lodge *****

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Personally, I think that both styles have their advantages.

New Style -
Feels more streamlined (one faction isn't off trying to accomplish some secondary task while others are trying to do something else).

Makes everything more Pathfinder Society centered where the overall goals are more important (but this can make everyone feel like they joined Grand Lodge Faction not whichever they may have chosen)

Less dependent on a single skill or perception check to accomplish, leading to higher success rate.

Less to track/print as a GM

Old Style
Hand-outs made you feel more involved/connected in/to individual factions

Gave more roleplay opportunities - especially concerning factions or getting non-faction members to help accomplish so secondary goal

I'd honestly like to see a mix of some of the elements of both

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.

For the record: I feel that the secondary success conditions are independent of the faction missions. Tying the old faction missions to Fame was a mistake. But I believe that the old style gave PCs a better identity. I'd like to see these two things reconciled.

Liberty's Edge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

2

Grand Lodge *****

I vote for option 4. Factions are dumb. We should all be working towards the advancement of the Society and not having personal side agendas that detract from our true purpose.

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

This poll appears to be going the way I hoped and expected, but I'm still surprised by the large margin currently (82% to 12%).

Shadow Lodge ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

@ Cire: I absolutely disagree. I actually find the Pathfinder Society to be stupid, while the Factions are much more interesting, and would honestly rather ditch the PFS as anything but a minor background element, and shouldn't even be a major one compaired to others, (just there to give players an "in" into the game).

But thats my opinion. For the purposses of the poll, I think "option 4" is probably better as Option 3 (which should probably be more along the lines of "I dont care either way, for whatever reason".

Shadow Lodge ****

Paz wrote:
This poll appears to be going the way I hoped and expected, but I'm still surprised by the large margin currently (82% to 12%).

On the DM side, Im not really that surprised, but I also realize that this is really only involving the people that already frequent the boards and have stated an opinion. Im a bit more surprised about the Players side being less 50/50, but its the same ussue, really, and a lot of people that voted one way here, did the same there last time I checked.

**

As a GM, I prefer the new style.

When I first started GMing during season 4, I tried to be concious of the missions to ensure I didn't miss any of them while running. In the midst of running the game under a time crunch, I sometimes would miss them despite having prepped to not do so. Between combat and making sure we move quickly enough to leave the store on time, I would occassionally miss the little text indicating a faction specific piece. And when I realized that at the end, it put me as the GM in a bad predicament; I could either just give them the Prestige, which they didn't exactly earn or short them on it due to a mistake on my part. Neither of these situations seem particularly good.

With the new season 5 faction specific pieces, you only have to keep track of possibly 3 items rather than 7 at one point. This makes it much easier to accomplish, and if you somehow missed it, you're just crossing off a minor boon rather than directly impacting the potential of the character that sat your table.

My only complaint with the new season is in scenarios that they do not make it clear what the faction is supposed to do. I played in one where the faction is supposed to ID weaknessess of a fort. But there is no indication that this is a goal, and the season goals for the faction doesn't exactly call out that as a particular agenda. So it's easy to miss out on the boon. Fortunately, later in season 5, I've noticed the majority are much clearer with the addition of missives and NPCs. I think continuing with some direction of faction specific goals is a good thing to help out those players who may not be aware of the Metaplot of the campaign.

**

DM Beckett wrote:
Paz wrote:
This poll appears to be going the way I hoped and expected, but I'm still surprised by the large margin currently (82% to 12%).
On the DM side, Im not really that surprised, but I also realize that this is really only involving the people that already frequent the boards and have stated an opinion. Im a bit more surprised about the Players side being less 50/50, but its the same ussue, really, and a lot of people that voted one way here, did the same there last time I checked.

I know I voted the same in both, but each had a different reason because when I'm playing, I'm thinking on one side of the screen and when I'm GMing, I'm thinking on the other.

Scarab Sages ***** Venture-Captain, Texas—Austin aka SetonAlandel

I prefer the season 5/secondary condition method. Players aren't getting 6/6 fame per level as much any more. While the early season 5 missions can be a little obtuse, the last half has been very good about telling the factions "hey, I have my eye on you, do this if you can"

And not having to narrate a character's search through every dumpster in a city to find their mission or attempt to fold paper is very much appreciated.

Scarab Sages ***** RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

#2 new, new, new, new! - for all the reasons that rknop sited above in his post.

I also agree with Drogon that tying fame to faction missions was problematic.

***

*bump*

I miss the old way. I wish PFS would have at least kept the old style in place in Seasons 0-4. I really enjoyed expanding on and personalizing a small bit of material for specific players.

-Matt

*****

10 people marked this as a favorite.

Is there a blue flower here? How about here? I'm going to ask around about a blue flower. Can I roll Knowledge (nature) and go looking for blue flowers? Does that shop sell blue flowers? What was our mission again?

*****

Matt, I think I do agree with you on one point - I like the faction messages and involvement the old style gave. i just think they were poorly executed in terms of making them fit the Pathfinder missions. Some were great ("For Taldor!") but a lot were distracting for most of my tables.

If there was a way to have the best of both worlds (more faction involvement without distracting from the team effort) I could see that working.

Sovereign Court **

As I've only played a couple of season 5 scenarios, I can't really speak to how well the faction missions are working out. As a naive observer, I was a little nervous about the difficulty of coordinating my characters where I could actually get faction boons (I tend to play one character until I can't play it anymore), so I concluded early on that I would just not worry about them at all. But at some level I think that's a little disappointing.

I am more fond of the secondary success conditions, especially in seasons 0-4. I think John did a really good job creating sensible conditions that tied in well with the scenario and the goals of the society in general. Although there are some I was looking over that I thought the party would only achieve out of luck or by complete accident.

Some of the old faction missions were notoriously ridiculous, such as the one where you have to find that Eagle Knight's tattoo, or of course "I do this for Taldor" and I'm glad that those are gone.

I do however miss the faction missions in that I hear less from my faction leader, so the factions feel a little less important in season 0-4.

***

IMO, moving to ten factions was the fatal mistake. There were just too many for authors to support. I'd say four-five factions with one task each was perfect.

It's also interesting to see that a lot of people mention Taldor when they talk about great faction missions. Having played entirely Taldor PCs since the beginning, I wonder if I just have a different, happier starting point in this discussion.

-Matt

Scarab Sages ***** RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kyle Baird wrote:
Is there a blue flower here? How about here? I'm going to ask around about a blue flower. Can I roll Knowledge (nature) and go looking for blue flowers? Does that shop sell blue flowers? What was our mission again?

Kyle, the next scenario you write should be "Quest for a Blue Flower", Seeker level of course. :)

Shadow Lodge ****

Drogos wrote:
DM Beckett wrote:
Paz wrote:
This poll appears to be going the way I hoped and expected, but I'm still surprised by the large margin currently (82% to 12%).
On the DM side, Im not really that surprised, but I also realize that this is really only involving the people that already frequent the boards and have stated an opinion. Im a bit more surprised about the Players side being less 50/50, but its the same ussue, really, and a lot of people that voted one way here, did the same there last time I checked.
I know I voted the same in both, but each had a different reason because when I'm playing, I'm thinking on one side of the screen and when I'm GMing, I'm thinking on the other.

Oh, that's perfectly fine. I just meant that I'm not as surprised that the DM side is pretty one sided. I'm a little more surprised the Player one is not as split, (even with people that voted one way here likely voting that same there), but I also expect that les of the general player pool votes in general.

Shadow Lodge

Interestingly, I have yet to find someone who I personally know who voted for preferring the season 5 faction missions over the season 0-4 faction missions as a player to actually remember the details of a faction mission they undertook/completed/failed as a player in season 5.

As a GM, I totally understand that not having to print and cut out a lot of hand-outs and then wrap you arms around those details (10 times!) is much more preferable than having to do so. :)

I'm not sure if the poll is asking:

1) Do you prefer not to have faction missions at all (especially when they are for a skill your character lacks)?

vs.

2) Were the faction missions (and secondary success conditions for earlier seasons) provided in season 5 better quality than the faction missions provided in season 0-4?

I gave my example that the Sczarni faction mission in Destiny 1 or the Andoran faction mission in Stolen Heir was not particularly that much better to me than the fairly typical season 0-4 "fetch a blue flower" faction mission, except in prior seasons you had a hand-out that gave you a touch point with your faction leadership and at least explained what you were supposed to do.

***

The new faction missions I feel are lazier versions of the old ones.

Which is sad because they are fewer of them. They all feel forced into the scenario. I just played the stranger within with my sczarni character and felt there was nothing pushing me to do anything for my faction. Just beat the mission.

Fetch the blue rose is now, go check your email and the board for the hint about your faction mission. In cairn of shadows the DM had to tell the guy he earned his faction things a while back becuase he bothered every NPC about it. The same hassel Mr. Baird alerts to.

SO they made a new faction thing to make it worse with the same problem.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

The really interesting thing I took away from the poll is that we have about the same number of people arguing on both sides, but almost a 8-1 margin in the votes.

Liberty's Edge *****

The poll is, of course, highly unscientific and not well-controlled. Still, the comparison FLite mentions suggests something about the value (or lack thereof) of drawing conclusions about community opinions by observing message-board posts....

Sczarni *****

Kyle Baird wrote:
Is there a blue flower here? How about here? I'm going to ask around about a blue flower. Can I roll Knowledge (nature) and go looking for blue flowers? Does that shop sell blue flowers? What was our mission again?

I will just search every post so let me know when we get to the blue flower, ok Kyle?

Silver Crusade ***** ⦵⦵⦵⦵

As a GM, I like the new ones over the old because, even though the older ones had tons of flavor, story, roleplay, etc - they *slooooowed* scenarios down, tons, in some cases. There are some scenarios I can run now in a 4 hour time slot that I would have needed a 5 hour time slot for prior to the change in faction missions.

However... I still fully plan on using my "faux faction missions" for my favorite season 0 scenario "Our Lady of Silver", to make the court room drama that much more fun to RP.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I *much* prefer the season five method.

Having said that, whenever I GM season 4 and older scenarios, I offer most faction missions to the players for flavor purposes. (I only exclude the ones I believe ruin the flow of the plot, through prescience on the part of the faction leader.)

Shadow Lodge

Mike Bramnik wrote:
As a GM, I like the new ones over the old because, even though the older ones had tons of flavor, story, roleplay, etc - they *slooooowed* scenarios down, tons, in some cases.

I'm totally on board with this. I'm both running and playing in old scenarios now that are ending in 2-3 hours instead of 4-5 hours, and that's because the faction missions aren't being run.

I think it would be great to use the comments on why folks prefer the faction missions in the older seasons or the newer seasons.

"My scenarios are over 1-2 hours quicker" is totally one of the top reasons that I as a GM would prefer not to run a faction mission. This doesn't mean Season 5 faction missions are better than Season 0-4 (they are arguably just as bland, albeit more obscure without a handout), just that because there are only 1-3 instead of 5 or 10, the game runs faster as the players are given less things to do.

Lantern Lodge ***

I would prefer faction missions to be done in some other way other then the 2 mentioned above.

GM Reasons:
1) The old style some times takes up way too much time. It also sometimes causes the players to refuse to work together, causing faction friction. It gives a "split the party" feeling to some tables.

As a GM, I feel like I not only have an extra number of things to track, I have to deal with a party that don't want to work together as well as they should.

2) The new style causes players to start "hunting" for scenarios. Aka, players start "picking" which scenarios they play, and rightly so as some scenarios just give much more to certain factions then others.
This reminds me of 4e, where I know some local players would play certain modules for the rewards that module gives.

As a GM, I get:
1- Unhappy players that don't know a scenario is made of factions that their characters are not part of, aka why am I not getting x reward on the chronicle sheet?.
2- Not enough players to run a scenario, aka, sorry I don't have a character of that faction.
or
3- Occasional confusion in newer players. Aka, So I CAN'T play this scenario? My character is not of the right faction, etc.

I hope that a newer refreshing take on faction missions can be made available in the new season.

Shadow Lodge ****

My two main beefs with the new style is that

1.) I know for a fact that I have hooked players on PFS based on the notion of how each faction was different, and had little side quests. That was one of the larger selling points, especially as would give a quick brief on each of the factions, and expand on them when they asked about ones they liked. It was also very nice to be able to relate examples in play of what sorts of thing those missions could be, or what I have seen or done with them in play.

2.) More on the DM side, I feel that all of the old complaints about the old faction missions have not gone away at all, they are just now carried over to other things in each and every scenario. Season 5 has gotten ridiculously complicated, to the point where scenarios are missing details that should be obviously included, are making vital mistakes to the information, are running super long, and are a lot harder to prep. With the SSC, players are still doing a lot of things to try to get that extra point. What's worse though, in my opinion, is that the Season 5 style has not only just carried over all of those things, it has amplified many of them to worse than they where to begin with.

On he DM side, I've noticed that there are a lot more specific things (making it harder for me to put my own spin on events within the context of the story and plot), that they include a lot more information/tactics/stats/etc. . ., but that info is all over the place in the PDFs. The more complex the plot or special rules, the more you will find a vital piece of DM need to know 4 or 5 pages later.

As a player, what few scenarios are supposed to be important to a Faction, for the most part I have found them extremely disappointing. I haven't played or run it yet, but Weapon in the Rift is really the only exception I can think of. Most of them are just meh. The SSC just are a poor substitute. Especially with a lot of the older scenarios, it basically is just a hand out. So far, I don't think any of them have been a challenge or cause any of my players to think.

I just had my party fail to get their first one ever, and that was just because it started late and ran long, and because players had to go, they avoided the last fight in Empyreal Enlightenment. Sort of got robbed, but the kicker is that the majority of the old faction missions which they hadn't gotten, they accomplished/or discovered anyway. They didn't succeed at them all, but as they where designed to come up naturally in the scenario (as nearly all the old Faction missions where), it didn't alter the time at all, just robbed the players of cool side mission, extra background info, and feeling like their faction mattered.

I kind of think that the new style of Faction Missions/SSC is a lot of the reason that Season 5 is so bad. The main complaint I hear is that it's just boring, and I've been asked by my home PFS group to stop running them, (or to start inserting unofficial random encounters). Players lack a way to receive a good deal of flavor and background in these scenarios, and the room that was devoted to faction stuff is now devoted to making the DM's job a lot harder, but it generally doesn't make it's way to the players to fill the gap. Add that to the focus on diplomatic investigations with even more info not making it to the players, in my opinion the new style is all downside.

*****

Blue Flower:
Still not the blue flower you're looking for.

Shadow Lodge ****

Pretty much as I expected from seeing a lot of the other threads on the subject, :P, 5 days in and the numbers show
1.) 9
2.) 69
3.) 3

What most interesting so far, to me at least, is that the player's poll also has 3 for #3.

Please, players, feel free to point your DM's this way. I'm interested in seeing what it looks like a week from now. (not expecting much change, honestly)

Lantern Lodge ***

@ DM Beckett,
Thank you for making this poll. It really helps to see what others thinks about the new and old faction missions styles.

I must point out that I wish you had included a 4th option along the lines of:

4) I don't like the newer or older factions missions and would prefer to see something different for future seasons.

Currently your 3rd option is just a don't care/ no preference option and don't allow an option for GMs that don't like either the new or old styles.


Mattastrophic wrote:

*bump*

I miss the old way. I wish PFS would have at least kept the old style in place in Seasons 0-4. I really enjoyed expanding on and personalizing a small bit of material for specific players.

-Matt

My own personal idea of how this ideally should have been handled is to mix the old and the new (and therefore piss EVERYBODY off!).

Have the faction missions work as they currently are with a single secondary goal that avoids everyone having to ask the GM every 5 minutes "Is that the guy i'm looking for? No? How about him?". BUT to tie in the factions and to keep people feeling like the mission is more personal to them bring back faction handouts. These handouts would expand upon the main mission and explain how this could benefit your faction.

Example:
PFS mission is to stop a pirate from pillaging villages used to support worldwound troops. Obvious why you have to do it.

Faction handouts:
Cheliax - Little as I care about the dealings of sea brigands or the plight of fisherfolk, this matter is important to the Decimvirate and our greater plans mean we must be seen to show support.

Andoran - We also want this because these pirates are also rumoured to partake in slavery.

Silver Crusade - We feel among all pathfinders that this mission to bring justice and peace to the defenseless is close to our hearts.

Scazrni - These pirates have paid no "taxes" and are fishing without a license if you know what i mean.

This has the benefit of;
-Keeping the game streamlined, no individual missions.
-Ensuring players feel reconnected with their factions again
-Give the players something to read for a minute or two while the GM preps ;)
-Can be used to give clues to the secondary success condition (not blatant do this, so much as subtle hints as to how to proceed about your mission, ie "Please be respectful of the ambassador")
-Would not require much extra effort to add or incorporate to older scenarios. No success conditions change, its basically just flavour addition!

Shadow Lodge ****

Secane wrote:

@ DM Beckett,

Thank you for making this poll. It really helps to see what others thinks about the new and old faction missions styles.

You are very welcome. :)

Secane wrote:

I must point out that I wish you had included a 4th option along the lines of:

4) I don't like the newer or older factions missions and would prefer to see something different for future seasons.

Currently your 3rd option is just a don't care/ no preference option and don't allow an option for GMs that don't like either the new or old styles.

I had considered that. I sort of decided against it for two main reasons. 1.) most of us really don't know how it will work in Season 6. I'd like to believe that it sort of starts to go back towards the old style, at least to a point, but I'm not sure, and 2.) I really didn't want speculation about next season to be the focus of the thread. Or start any rumors/get people hopes up or down, etc. . .

Because we really don't know yet, I just decided to sort of keep it to 1, 2, and 3. I had intended option 3 to be more of a "I don't want to pick either option 1 or option 2" sort of deal, a catch-all for everyone else.

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