"Chronicle fishing". What is it, and why it is a bad thing?


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Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Now, I am going to have a drink.

I need to step away.

I will be back to address this.

4/5 5/5 Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

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blackbloodtroll wrote:

I just don't see how when looking at a Chronicle Sheet, I can say "wow, when I play through this, I should run X PC through this. It seems perfect for them", and that makes me a bad guy.

On my summoner character I have a boon for an intelligent longsword, piecemeal heavy armor, and an improved familiar that requires a particular alignment that is almost diametrically opposed to the alignment of the character I ran. I'm not sure on the familiar, but I'm sure with the other two boons you can't gain them without the appropriate chronicle sheet.

I expect there are a lot of other people that have unique rewards that don't fit the character they were earned on.

I'm not upset that those boons are 'wasted' on the character because I expect this to happen occasionally.

If you never have a boon on the wrong character, can't you see how that would be perceived by others?

On the other hand, I would be much more willing to play with you than the guy I talked about above. You say that you don't use meta knowledge, whereas he does.

Grand Lodge 2/5

Mike Eckrich wrote:

People who look at chronicle sheets ahead of time are the same players who go peeking into their Christmas packages a month early*. Play the darn scenario and then if you want to cherry pick, GM a game and place the new sheet on a new character. The sheet can also give hints on the play of the game and give the player knowledge ahead of time. Going into games blind is more more fun, exciting not knowing..... my personal opinion is that chronicle fishing is a lessor form of cheating.

With that said a GM might during the mustering phase give the players an idea of what kind of an adventure is coming**. A player with both a bard and a barbarian is going to probably make a different choice with a title like Blackrose Matrimony vs. Assault on the Wound.

Also the new seasons do give hints on the factions being addressed.

*Yes, let's make silly over-generalizations

**How is this any different from any of the other cheating you're talking about?

Dark Archive 5/5 5/55/5

I think it is worng to preread ONLY to get information about the chronicle but at least in our region the Gm will sometimes say: "This scenario would be great for you ..." This might be because of an recurring enemy, an boon or the general theme so it does not spoil anything but helps to get the rewards to the right characters (sideffect the chars fit the scenario much better.)

Sovereign Court

BBT, look at it this way. If you were to run an AP, and your players read through the material solely for the purpose of see what loot they got, would you have a problem with that? I would guess the answer to be yes as it diminishes the surprise factor and gives players insight to what they may encounter for any given part of the AP.

Now if one of those players had thought about running the AP and had read through part of the AP, but let you know ahead of starting to play, would you have a problem with that? I would guess probably not. Granted, they probably have insight to the AP, but if they informed you ahead of time, they are basically saying "I know more about this AP than other players, but I still want to play" and typically will not spoiler anything for other players.

It is a similar situation for PFS. Yes, those who GM gain insight to the scenarios we play, but we are expected to hold up that barrier between player knowledge and PC knowledge AND are expected to let the GM know we have run or prepped the scenario before. Players who solely seek out "teh be$t l00tz" are typically more in line with that first category in that they are gaining insight into the scenario without the intent of adding to the gaming experience of others (by actually running the scenario).

4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Tennessee—Nashville aka Wolfspirit

"Chronicle-fishing" is one of the gray areas of PFS. It's officially frowned upon, but very difficult to enforce. Beyond a simple gut-reaction of "it's metagaming" or "it's wrong", here are a few reasons it's discouraged:

*It breeds metagaming. In general, Chronicle sheets are fairly generic, but offer hints about the contents of the scenario. If you look at a chronicle sheet and see a boon of:

Fictitious Boon:

Gullykin-friend
- After your befriending of the Gullykin-tribe, you have been inducted in their rites. You gain a permanent +1 bonus to fortitude saves against nausea.
you're much more likely to try and play along with their antics, even if it requires your character to eat garbage. Same thing goes for magic items, especially some of the "unique" ones that aren't easily identified, like some of the Season 6 Technological Items that you might not have a way of identifying otherwise.

*It disrupts game- mustering. Ideally, when setting up a table, you should do what's best to have a balanced table of classes and levels. If there's a 1-5 scenario that has a boon that you want for your level 4 character, but the rest of the table is 1-2, it's *probably* best to play it with another 1-2 if possible.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

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If you have a good store coordinator, they'll do it for you. I schedule the games for my store, and run the majority of them. I have a rough idea of what characters people have at various levels, and try to pick games that will have nice things for those characters. At my store, this unfortunately takes 2nd string in scheduling, (First string is making sure everyone can get credit, due to some players having done most scenarios) but I try.

But then, I also have no problem with people metagaming to use the character they will have the most fun at the game with. A player taking his Negative Channeling Cleric into a scenario that is full of undead is not going to have a good time (been there, twice). A druid who spends their time as a huge creature is not going to have fun in narrow dungeon hallways. So I really don't mind people skimming the book a bit to pick who they want to play, as long as they don't let that knowledge seep into their gameplay.

And yes, it's frustrating to play something and wind up with a boon you can't use. That's where GMing comes in. Play through the scenario without reading the chronicle first, get whatever reward comes with it, whatever. THEN GM it, and apply it to a character who can actually benefit from it.

3/5

I don't think 'metagaming' is the correct term here, unless you're talking about someone who reads what needs to be done to get a boon (or extrapolates from the chronicle text). If you're just choosing a character to play from the information, then it isn't metagaming, because metagaming is using Out-of-Character knowledge to influence In-Character choices. Choosing which character you will use in a scenario is using OOC info to influence an OOC choice/action. You're not metagaming as long as you're not using the information from the chronicle sheet to determine if you use diplomacy or intimidate, if you save or kill someone, etc. I'm not saying that using this information is right or wrong, but I don't like seeing the term Metagaming being tossed around in such a cavalier and incorrect fashion.

3/5 5/5

thistledown wrote:
Play through the scenario without reading the chronicle first, get whatever reward comes with it, whatever. THEN GM it, and apply it to a character who can actually benefit from it.

Just because I am evil and like challenging peoples' ideas: how is this situation different from choosing what scenario to play based on the boons? Are you not still selecting the scenario based on foreknowledge of the chronicle and deliberately using it to gain said boon for a specific character?


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Let's use Quest for Perfection PtIII as an example.

Quest for Perfection PtIII:

After playing all three parts, the PC gains access to a Axe Beak companion (if they have a mount or animal companion). The Chronicle also has a unique item, the Braid of a Hundred Masters, that is tailor suited for Monks (at the time, now Brawlers as well).

Both are unique options that are only accessible via chronicle sheet.

Both are only useful to specific characters (characters with Flurry of Blows and characters with a mount or animal companion but without access to the Axe Beak).

One requires playing three scenario with one character.

This is where the problems come up.
On one hand, yes it is meta-gaming and can give a character a superior advantage in the scenario. As pointed out, some scenarios have boons based on NPC interactions, so that would be a HUGE meta information dump.
On the other hand, what's the point of having cool things on a chronicle if you're never going to use them?

I really stopped playing/running PFS after season 4, so this *may* have been addressed in some level, but at that time there was serious discussion about the execution of chronicles. Why bother with them at all if you never benefit from what's listed? If you run a cleric through Quest For Perfection PtIII, you're missing out.

Yes, your DM can guide your character choices when you're playing at a local store or with a regular group, but that really falls through at convention play.
"Hey Twitch, you're REALLY going to want to play your Hellknight in Blackrose Matrimony. Just sayin".
vs
"Hey there,this is what everyone else is playing." "Guess I'll play my Osirioni wizard." *sits through an entire session thinking 'Man, my Hellknight would have so much better story connection here!'*

There's the problem.

So, we know the problem exists. The real question is, how do we fix it?

Grand Lodge 2/5

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Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:
If you run a cleric through Quest For Perfection PtIII, you're missing out.

Which is exactly (i.e. I had a cleric) what I did and it's why I sometimes cheat (as others have put it) so it doesn't happen again. It really is just insulting to be given a unique reward that you can't use.

And just in case anyone doesn't like my wording. Yes, I do feel insulted by it. I don't care if you don't. I do.

If I know there's going to be a unique boon at least I can make an informed decision as to whether or not I care about it or if I'd rather just play the character I feel like playing.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

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I really wish that scenarios had a big splash on the cover that said things like "Make sure your favorite monk plays all three of these in a row!" or "Like mounted combat? Then you'll love this scenario!"

I understand that reading a chronicle in advance spoils the surprise of who and what will be encountered, and how you need to influence folks. On the other hand, I can't stand playing scenarios, seeing a boon that would be amazing for a different character, and then remembering that there's no replay. It's just a missed opportunity, and most of the table feels the same way. BEST CASE is that one person starts screaming wildly about the new cool thing they can do, but I can't even recall the last time I saw this without knowing about it in advance.

The best result is that this almost forces plays to GM the scenario so they can get the boon on a character of choice, and more GMs are always good.

A boon-switching boon would be AMAZING.


Its only, or at least should only, be frowned upon when people choose to play less equipped characters or characters that dont benefit party makeup because they want the boon. This was also a problem with faction specific missions where people only played their faction character even when they had another character in tier who would benefit everyone.
I do find it slightly annoying that my two handed fighter has a talking sheild and longsword she will never use, and my bard has access to really cool familiar and mounts he will never qualify for but it is what it is. I have no problem with people looking for rewards so long as it doeant remove enjoyment from the game im playing.


Michael Donley wrote:

...

*It disrupts game- mustering. Ideally, when setting up a table, you should do what's best to have a balanced table of classes and levels. If there's a 1-5 scenario that has a boon that you want for your level 4 character, but the rest of the table is 1-2, it's *probably* best to play it with another 1-2 if possible.

This is the only reason I've seen on this or any other thread that I would consider even slightly valid.

I do remember, a few times where at tables with a certain amusing reward, we would sometimes have an entire table full of wizards or sorcerer's with a specific bloodline wanting to play. That did cause some problems. But they were not insurmountable and mostly involved the PC's figuring out how to take care of things with a bunch of physically wimpy and taciturn wizards.

But consider:
We just coincidentally had tables of 5 and 6 wizards who just happened to want to play at the same time? Of course not. They all found out, in some manner, what was on the chronicle sheet and wanted it. So obviously they were doing what has been defined as "Chronicle Fishing." Same thing has happened with several specific boons on sheets.

But they are still some of the same people that will say chronicle fishing is bad and they never do it. Well yeah me and my friends talk about the scenarios and between us we have played most of them. But since I didn't make an organized list, it isn't really chronicle fishing. Really? Why not?

So all this disapproval and angst solves absolutely nothing. It still happens very often. The only difference is how successful someone can be at it based on how many talkative PFS players they know.

4/5

Reading any part of the scenario before playing it is something you're not supposed to do. If you do, you have to declare it to the GM in advance, and not use that knowledge to (for example) spoil a puzzle or prepare for something your PC would have no way of knowing.

We have the (necessary) fact that GMs read the scenario, often before playing it, and they are supposed to declare it and not deal with it as well. I tend to not read scenarios anymore until I actually am scheduled to GM them - I used to only GM, and so I'd read everything when it came out, but now that I play more often, I don't want to spoil the scenarios. Many GMs get a lot of practice separating in-game and out-of-game knowledge, since you basically have to do it every time you run a game. Still, it's not something that everyone handles equally well.

With the advent of Core Campaign, there is another form of Chronicle-fishing: choosing what scenarios to play based on what items are on the Chronicle sheet. This is a way to get all those non-Core items for your PC to win Core. To me, this is out-and-out cheating, as opposed to the issue of "I read a scenario and now have to forget that while I play it", which is just a reality of the way PFS works.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

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Since this thread was inspired by me keeping track of which Year 6 adventures have technology in them/on their AC (which so far has been the same thing) I will explain my reasoning for doing so and I why I feel this particular form of Chronicle Fishing/Cherry Picking is acceptable.

1) Many people create new characters for the theme of each season. I am aware of several players, for example, who created anti-demon characters for Year 5. So if these people kept ending up playing mods without demons in them, they would feel useless and pointless. Fortunately, the number of mods in PFS (not just Year 5) with demons in them is rather high, so these people are unlikely to be disappointed. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Year 6's theme. By my current count based on the adventures I am aware of, only 6 of 21 Year 6 mods have technology in them compared to 12 out of 22 Year 5 mods that have demons in them. Add in the fact that there is no technology previous to Year 6 (and likely none after Year 6) and you can see where people who built characters for Year 6 may feel especially frustrated when they miss playing one of the few mods with technology in them.
2) The rules restrict what you can do with technology if you don’t have the Technologist feat so many Year 6 builders took the Technologist feat only to find out it hardly ever gets used.
3) There are 2 Year 6 technology related GM boons out there, one that helps you with technological weapons and one that helps you with timeworn items. So far I have only seen one item on one chronicle that these boons can be applied to. I would hate to see someone miss out on another if they had these boons.
4) I have mitigated the metagaming of my list by only noting if an adventure does or does not have technology. No mention is made of what technology.

Normally, I eschew Chronicle Fishing, but in this case, I feel it is justified.

4/5 5/5 Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

claudekennilol wrote:

It really is just insulting to be given a unique reward that you can't use.

And just in case anyone doesn't like my wording. Yes, I do feel insulted by it. I don't care if you don't. I do.

If I know there's going to be a unique boon at least I can make an informed decision as to whether or not I care about it or if I'd rather just play the character I feel like playing.

Sounds like there is a problem then.

Reading the chronicle sheets will give spoilers. Going through the scenarios I've played I can find plenty of examples. Even if you don't pass the information you obtained out of character to others at the same table, you are cheating yourself in that you never gave yourself a chance to figure it out.

I believe you have also set your expectations too high if you feel insulted because a unique reward can't be used on the character you played. You still can get it on one character by GMing, or more if you have enough GM stars. I believe you should expect to occasionally receive some unique boons that don't happen to work for the character you went through the adventure with.

4/5

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trollbill wrote:
Normally, I eschew Chronicle Fishing, but in this case, I feel it is justified.

This sounds perfectly acceptable to me. I know folks who do the same thing, but for the opposite reason (to avoid tech scenarios).

As long as people keep in-game and out-of-game information separate, and aren't trying to farm the system to gain certain items or boons, there is no issue as far as I'm concerned.

trollbill: you've been exceptionally up-front and have worked hard to avoid any conflict in this. Well done.

Grand Lodge

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What if it were possible to give one of your other characters of a same or higher level as the character played access to special items on chronicle sheets? It wouldn't fix the issue of boons etc, but at least we wouldn't have a mob of angry druids and monks after receiving a cool talking sword.

Grand Lodge 2/5

BretI wrote:
Reading the chronicle sheets will give spoilers. Going through the scenarios I've played I can find plenty of examples. Even if you don't pass the information you obtained out of character to others at the same table, you are cheating yourself in that you never gave yourself a chance to figure it out.

I'm only cheating myself if that's how I see it. I don't see it that way. So I'm not cheating myself.

You may have your feelings hurt because your views are different than mine, but I am in no way breaking any rules by knowing what may or may not be coming to me. I've done this for maybe 2 items after other people have already spoiled that such items exist. But even if I've done it for every one, if I get more enjoyment out of playing because I know I'm playing a character that this scenario is intended for (signified by a unique boon at the end that only works for said character), how am I cheating myself?


BretI wrote:
claudekennilol wrote:

It really is just insulting to be given a unique reward that you can't use.

And just in case anyone doesn't like my wording. Yes, I do feel insulted by it. I don't care if you don't. I do.

If I know there's going to be a unique boon at least I can make an informed decision as to whether or not I care about it or if I'd rather just play the character I feel like playing.

...

I believe you have also set your expectations too high if you feel insulted because a unique reward can't be used on the character you played. You still can get it on one character by GMing, or more if you have enough GM stars. I believe you should expect to occasionally receive some unique boons that don't happen to work for the character you went through the adventure with.

I do expect and am perfectly ok with even often receiving boons or items that don't work with my character.

But I've found it particularly disappointing that I have never gotten a chronicle a single sheet with something kool/interesting/useful/unique with a character that can use it.
New familiar option - inquisitor
Sneaky social skills item - paladin
Intelligent shield - kensai
Mythic weapon - sorcerer
The only PC's owned by anyone that I have ever seen that have the special thing on a character that can use it, knew it would be a reward and ran that character specifically to get it.

The only way, I can have any of those things on the PC they work for is to GM the scenario. I don't mind GM'ing. However my PC has it, but didn't win it.
I want to be able to say my PC has the Gauntlet of Zyfon because he wrested it from the dying grip of the evil Malignaton, nearly dying in the process. Three guys were unconscious, yet the team persevered and managed to save the princess... Nope. I GM'd the scenario for some other guys who played pretty badly and failed the mission, so I applied it to this guy. {yawn}

That just isn't the same thing for me.

5/5 5/55/55/5

VAST difference between chronicle fishing and experience (ie, jungle, tec scenario, social scenario, dungeon crawly scenario) fishing.

Sovereign Court

Course even worse is just printing the things out. Remember early Living Greyhawk, were every item had a cert? There was a great item in the Wisconsin Region (one per table), a certain current Paizo employee, who ran the Wisconsin region at the time and wrote the mod ended up running a table at a UK con where all 6 players seated at the table had this item somehow. None of them could remember a thing about the mod.

The item was banned shortly there after.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

I wrote a LG mod for the POU that had Potion Bracers on the AR. It would be like if Spring-loaded wrist sheaths weren't available in PFS unless you played this one mod. Needless to say, people went out of their way to play it and most people would buy 6 of them so that they could loan them out to anyone who didn't have one already.


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I really dislike the way people view "Chronicle Fishing." That someone even invented a name for it is... it makes me shake my head.

There's really only three ways to go about playing PFS with regard to chronicle boons and equipment. The first is to do your utmost to ignore any information you can obtain about the contents of chronicles, and maybe get lucky that the character you picked lines up with the rewards on the sheet. The second is to research what rewards might be out and about, and assign characters that might value that nifty reward at the end of the scenario. The third is to GM every scenario known to man, then play the stuff you GM'd, having perfect knowledge of literally everything the scenario has to offer.

To my thinking, Option 3 is the least entertaining, as there are no mysteries for you during play. You know when plot twist X is going to happen, you know who double agent Y is, and you know that secret door Z is behind that tapestry.

Option 1 isn't far behind, however, in terms of unfun. "Yay! We succeeded in our mission! Let's see what my Liberty's Edge barbarian gets! A stack of scrolls and potions, a metamagic rod, pearl of power, a weapon that's worse than his current one, and a quirky wondrous item that enhances that skill he has no ranks in. Well, maybe the boons... Dark Archive, Dark Archive, and Sovereign Court. Guess this chronicle's blank too, if only I'd played it on my Dark Archive Arcanist..." Events remarkably similar to this have literally happened to me and people I know. Which leads to...

Option 2, ultimately, is what happens not when you get someone who wants to powergame or somehow cheat the system. It's what happens when someone who's been screwed by blank chronicle after blank chronicle gets fed up and starts looking for proactive solutions to "I played this scenario on the wrong character, negatively impacting my enjoyment of the game as the chronicle sheet is devalued to the point of being worthless save for 1 XP, 2 PA, and X Gold." I am in this camp, having watched about a dozen sheets land on the 'wrong' characters early in my PFS career. Every time I saw the sheet land on a character that couldn't make effective use of it, I heard the same things: "If only I played with X." "That item would've been so cool on <name>." "I guess I can GM this so I can apply the credit to <name>." Put simply, that's disappointment. Which is about the last thing a player should be feeling at the end of a scenario, since it's likely that's what they'll remember.

With all that said, there is a genuinely valid argument against 'sniping' chronicle sheets: the issue of spoiling conflict resolution success conditions. When a chronicle says "You did X," it does inform someone how to act who has read the chronicle previously. A good solution for that would be to do the opposite of what people have been trying to do. Instead of demonizing people who research chronicle rewards, support them. A google doc of scenarios with chronicle reward information that's been sanitized of any spoiler content, for example, would do two things: it would reduce instances of challenge foreknowledge while reducing the number of instances of players coming away from a game with a sheet that might as well be blank. A win-win, so to speak.

EDIT: an example chronicle line:
Scenario # and name: [boon title] <effect>, [boon title] <effect>, ...
Gear by subtier: [list gear here]

I apologize for the lengthy post, but given that this issue is pretty important, with a lot of nuanced facets to it, it ran a little long.

1/5

GM Lamplighter wrote:

Reading any part of the scenario before playing it is something you're not supposed to do. If you do, you have to declare it to the GM in advance, and not use that knowledge to (for example) spoil a puzzle or prepare for something your PC would have no way of knowing.

We have the (necessary) fact that GMs read the scenario, often before playing it, and they are supposed to declare it and not deal with it as well. I tend to not read scenarios anymore until I actually am scheduled to GM them - I used to only GM, and so I'd read everything when it came out, but now that I play more often, I don't want to spoil the scenarios. Many GMs get a lot of practice separating in-game and out-of-game knowledge, since you basically have to do it every time you run a game. Still, it's not something that everyone handles equally well.

With the advent of Core Campaign, there is another form of Chronicle-fishing: choosing what scenarios to play based on what items are on the Chronicle sheet. This is a way to get all those non-Core items for your PC to win Core. To me, this is out-and-out cheating, as opposed to the issue of "I read a scenario and now have to forget that while I play it", which is just a reality of the way PFS works.

I disagree and my opinion is just as valid as yours regarding a hobby we take part in for entertainment purposes.

Silver Crusade 3/5

GM's point of view: I try to nudge my players with "character X might really enjoy/not enjoy this scenario" for various reasons, one of them being what might be gained from playing it, but I never tell them explicitly what they'd get. This I think is a nice balance between metagaming and not metagaming.

Player's point of view: We have such a small circle of active players here that almost everyone spends time on the same IRC channel/forum/bars/whatever. It's really difficult to keep some information spreading, when you know that some people played a specific scenario earlier that day and now they're all mysteriously discussing certain kinds of builds or just saying how they hoped they'd played certain character.

But I've never heard of people here actively going through chronicles to see what they contain and deciding what to play based on that.

4/5 5/5 Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

@Ryzoken Option 4, as option 1 except after playing the scenario you decide if you want to GM it and apply the chronicle to a specific character.

This allows you to hopefully get full enjoyment from the scenario while still allowing you to build a character around a unique boon.


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BretI wrote:

@Ryzoken Option 4, as option 1 except after playing the scenario you decide if you want to GM it and apply the chronicle to a specific character.

This allows you to hopefully get full enjoyment from the scenario while still allowing you to build a character around a unique boon.

Just as bad as Option 1, worse than Option 3. You're still potentially "wasting" a sheet, possibly two or three in the instance of scenarios like Quest for Perfection or Wonders in the Weave, the option to then GM the game in question to create a new sheet does nothing to alleviate the suck that is finishing a game to receive an effectively blank chronicle. That chronicle still gets burnt. It still sucks. I've done this, and it was nice to have ONE character that made good use of a chronicle, but the initial disappointment in receiving what is effectively a blank sheet was in no way lessened.

But you're right. I should've included Option 4 in my list despite it being worse than Option 3 and indistinguishable from Option 1 initially. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. (Sincerely. No sarcasm.)

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Ryzoken wrote:
BretI wrote:

@Ryzoken Option 4, as option 1 except after playing the scenario you decide if you want to GM it and apply the chronicle to a specific character.

This allows you to hopefully get full enjoyment from the scenario while still allowing you to build a character around a unique boon.

Just as bad as Option 1, worse than Option 3. You're still potentially "wasting" a sheet, possibly two or three in the instance of scenarios like Quest for Perfection or Wonders in the Weave, the option to then GM the game in question to create a new sheet does nothing to alleviate the suck that is finishing a game to receive an effectively blank chronicle. That chronicle still gets burnt. It still sucks. I've done this, and it was nice to have ONE character that made good use of a chronicle, but the initial disappointment in receiving what is effectively a blank sheet was in no way lessened.

But you're right. I should've included Option 4 in my list despite it being worse than Option 3 and indistinguishable from Option 1 initially. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. (Sincerely. No sarcasm.)

Why is option 4 worse than option 3? I'd always GM a scenario after I've played it, given my druthers. Having experienced it as a player means I'm better at GMing it.

3/5

GM Lamplighter wrote:
With the advent of Core Campaign, there is another form of Chronicle-fishing: choosing what scenarios to play based on what items are on the Chronicle sheet.

I was actually pondering CORE campaign and this perceived issue myself, though in something of the reverse of the way you were.

As CORE progresses and as it is intended as a lower barrier of entry for folks to get involved with Pathfinder / PFS you will likely see people who have played CORE characters through scenarios playing the same scenarios again with other (non-CORE) PCs.

All other things being equal (ie level/tier, valid party composition, etc.) would others perceive it as cheating for them to consider something other than a non-optimal character to put it on? Is the expectation that not only are you possibly screwed by choices you made in a scenario which was engineered for you to have no educated ability to discern your best option, but that you must for the second time make sure that you have made the least optimal choice because of some perception of "cheating via chronicle fishing" because you should act against your own best interest as others may not have the "advantage" you might in making that decision?

-TimD

Grand Lodge 2/5

BigNorseWolf wrote:
VAST difference between chronicle fishing and experience (ie, jungle, tec scenario, social scenario, dungeon crawly scenario) fishing.

Really? How do you justify that?

"I really want an axebeak mount" or "braid of a hundred masters"
vs
"I really want technology items"

Sovereign Court 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
claudekennilol wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
VAST difference between chronicle fishing and experience (ie, jungle, tec scenario, social scenario, dungeon crawly scenario) fishing.

Really? How do you justify that?

"I really want an axebeak mount" or "braid of a hundred masters"
vs
"I really want technology items"

Bad comparison - the better comparison would be

"I really want an axebeak mount" or "braid of a hundred masters"

vs
"I really want to play my ranger with favored terrain: jungle in his favored terrain" or "I really want to play my undine steam caster in scenarios involving bodies of water"

There's a fine difference between someone wanting technological items and someone wanting to play a character who is good with technology in a technology scenario. The latter is to be encouraged, as it benefits the play experience at the table. The former is not focused on the play experience, but on what happens afterwards.


pH unbalanced wrote:
Ryzoken wrote:
BretI wrote:

@Ryzoken Option 4, as option 1 except after playing the scenario you decide if you want to GM it and apply the chronicle to a specific character.

This allows you to hopefully get full enjoyment from the scenario while still allowing you to build a character around a unique boon.

Just as bad as Option 1, worse than Option 3. You're still potentially "wasting" a sheet, possibly two or three in the instance of scenarios like Quest for Perfection or Wonders in the Weave, the option to then GM the game in question to create a new sheet does nothing to alleviate the suck that is finishing a game to receive an effectively blank chronicle. That chronicle still gets burnt. It still sucks. I've done this, and it was nice to have ONE character that made good use of a chronicle, but the initial disappointment in receiving what is effectively a blank sheet was in no way lessened.

But you're right. I should've included Option 4 in my list despite it being worse than Option 3 and indistinguishable from Option 1 initially. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. (Sincerely. No sarcasm.)

Why is option 4 worse than option 3? I'd always GM a scenario after I've played it, given my druthers. Having experienced it as a player means I'm better at GMing it.

Case 1 (Option 4):

I sit down and play a scenario blind. I get a chronicle, which I have zero data on, on whichever character I chose to play. I then GM that scenario, getting a sheet that I apply to what could best use it. Net result: one blind sheet, one researched sheet.

Case 2 (Option 3):
I sit down and GM a scenario. I get a chronicle applied to whichever character uses it best. I then play that same scenario, with full knowledge of everything in that scenario, and chose an appropriate character for the sheet at the end. Net result: two researched sheets.

While Option 4 preserves the surprise factor in scenarios during play (valuable), it results in a less desirable chronicle sheet allocation scheme, as shown by the above case comparison.

That said, with my proposed Google Docs rewards sheet, it would become the best option, as you could then research the sheet rewards ahead of time, selecting the character you'd like those rewards on, while still having the surprises of the scenario intact.

It's also worth noting that I do respect that GMing a game you've played is more fun in general, and it's how I prefer to approach PFS. I just wish there was better information available on chronicle sheet rewards so I didn't feel penalized for so doing.

James McTeague wrote:
There's a fine difference between someone wanting technological items and someone wanting to play a character who is good with technology in a technology scenario. The latter is to be encouraged, as it benefits the play experience at the table. The former is not focused on the play experience, but on what happens afterwards.

What happens afterwards: the player actually purchases the tech items on his sheet on his tech character, letting him actually do what he wants to do instead of staring at a list of tech items that are thematically inappropriate for his wizardliest wizard who ever wizarded. The next scenario he plays, the player now has a cool ray gun on his nifty technophile, making the other players at the table go "Ha, that's awesome!" (or not, if said players are the ones who can't stomach a bit of tech in their fantasy, but that's an entirely different thread.)


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First, There are way too many "boons" that are effectively blank. A bonus to killing dragons when there are no other dragon encounters in all of the rest of PFS and a way to regain prestige while on the Plane of Fire when no PFS scenario has ever sent anyone there to name two.

Second there are an large number that are one use. And those are often very minor or very situational. So they either get used almost immediately or they get forgotten about because they are never useful.

Then there is the rare scenario with a good boon. And even then it is often only good if you have an animal companion or some such. The boon that is simply universally good is almost unheard of.

Now there is no reason that every scenario needs a boon. But players would be less tempted to fish for boons if they received less useless ones and less of the ones that say "gotcha this would be a good boon if they had only been playing another character."

Grand Lodge 4/5

Jessex wrote:

First, There are way too many "boons" that are effectively blank. A bonus to killing dragons when there are no other dragon encounters in all of the rest of PFS and a way to regain prestige while on the Plane of Fire when no PFS scenario has ever sent anyone there to name two.

Uh, there is more than one scenario that has a dragon in it as an enemy, even before you get into non-PFS specific sanctioned content.

Edit: That doesn't invalidate the rest of your point, of course. That's just not a great example.

5/5 5/55/55/5

claudekennilol wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
VAST difference between chronicle fishing and experience (ie, jungle, tec scenario, social scenario, dungeon crawly scenario) fishing.

Really? How do you justify that?

"I really want an axebeak mount" or "braid of a hundred masters"
vs
"I really want technology items"

Its "I really want an axebeak mount" vs "I really want to play through this seasons theme" . The latter is both non specific and doesn't come with material rewards.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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The difference I see relates to my recent play of Test of Tar Kuata.

Spoiler:
I played it with Kalten because he is my dwarven monk/paladin who aspires to become a Champion of Irori. This is cool, everything I knew about the scenario came from the product page.

Had I played it because I read the chronicle and saw that it grants my PC a Holy Avenger Amulet of Mighty Fists, that would be pretty shady. It would be even worse if I read the module and learned exactly what steps to take to procure it for my character.

4/5

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James McTeague wrote:

Bad comparison - the better comparison would be

"I really want an axebeak mount" or "braid of a hundred masters"

vs
"I really want to play my ranger with favored terrain: jungle in his favored terrain"

This. In fact, in game you would think that VCs would try and select people useful for the scenario at hand. So, choosing a PC based on this sort of broad info makes sense.

In game, agents don't get to pick their missions - so why should players be allowed to do so, based on meta-knowledge to select an item that the PC and VC don't even know about?

Liberty's Edge 5/5

blackbloodtroll wrote:

I might not end up GMing though. If an event opens up, and a GM is running one of the Scenarios I own, I am playing. I am not sitting out just because I remember what's on a Chronicle Sheet.

I work real hard to not metagame, once play has started. I am the guy who doesn't refer to PCs in-game by their class name, or any other such nonsense, I don't let any out of game knowledge alter my PC's actions.

The Chronicle Sheet, in itself, seems metagamey to me, and as such, there is no real non-metagamey way to approach it.

It's not happening in-game.

I am just really lost on this.

I mean, if one knew a particular scenario gave out more than 1XP, and you wanted to run a PC that needed just the amount of XP provided, to level, would choosing said PC, be some sort of taboo?

Its largely an honor system. If you feel that you are doing your best to only purchase and/or read a scenario/chronicle because you might end up needing to GM, then I have no problem with that. And if you try to do your best not to metagame, then I have no problem with that.

If you use your knowledge, from prepping to GM, whether you actually end up GM'ing or not, to pick a PC, then that's sort of a reward for GM'ing.

Only you know if you are maliciously saying you are reading to GM when you really are just fishing for chronicles for your PC. And you have to live with a choice that is essentially cheating.

If you honestly feel you are doing it for the right reasons (being ready to GM should you be called on) then there is nothing wrong with it. Just don't use this as an excuse to cherry pick every scenario and then say, "Well I just read everything to make sure I'm ready to GM anything should I be called to." Because you and I both know that's not what's going on there.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

blackbloodtroll wrote:
thejeff wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:

I mean, what if I am running a game, and some player has some odd thing from a Chronicle Sheet, that I need to read, to know where he got it from?

Can I read it?

Can I play the Scenario, from which the Chronicle Sheet I just read came from?

Just like you can play a scenario that you've GM'd, but you're expected not to use knowledge from GMing/reading it to your advantage, if you have knowledge from a Chronicle, you're expected not to use that for your benefit.

Of course you can check the player's chronicle. Of course you can play that scenario later. You just shouldn't decide to play it, or what character to play it with, based on what you saw on the chronicle.

Is this really that hard?

Not exactly. You see the Chronicle Sheet. It has something Monk specific on it. Now, you have a chance to play through it. Both your Ranger and Monk PCs would be perfect for the Scenario, and group dynamic. Now, however, you have to deal with the Taboo. Suddenly, you have to choose run a PC who will not benefit at all, from the special boon/item the Chronicle Sheet provides, or choose the PC who will benefit, but suffer social mistreatment, for "cheating".

Nah, if you prep to GM, or you see a chronicle through the act of GM'ing, don't worry about it. Play the PC that you want through that scenario. That's part of the benefit of GM'ing.

But as another poster said above, just don't start reading chronicles with the intent to cherry pick.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Dave Baker wrote:

If you are looking at chronicle sheets to decide which character you should play for any given scenario simply because of the rewards, that would be metagaming.

If you're not using the information in that way, don't worry about it.

In the same way choosing to run a Paladin, instead of a Monk, for "Day of the Demon", or some other Scenario that "might have evil outsiders" is metagaming?

Who would have said that? Many folks made paladins and other types of LG characters specifically to play through Season 5, because it was the Year of the Demon.

If your intent is to cheat, don't do it.

If your intent is to be an asset to your community, don't worry about it, and play what you want.

Only you know your true intent, and you are the one that will have to live with it if you are cheating.

5/5 RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

blackbloodtroll wrote:
I have to attend to unwritten rules, that no one cared to mention.

The rule for this appears in the Guide. If you read the scenario, which the chronicle sheet is a part of, before you play it. You are suppose to inform the GM that you have.

There are several community expectations that aren't clearly stated in the campaign guide, but they are on the forums.

Anytime this topic gets posted to the forums. The community quickly expresses their expectations that it should not be done. Because it can impact the fun had at a table.

Another expectation that only appears on the forum is the no cash for boons. Which again is pointed out very quickly by the community when the topic gets posted.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I keep hearing many suggesting that reading through a scenario, to use that information as an edge in how one plays through a scenario.

I agree.

I am not talking about that.

I am also not talking about using information on a Chronicle Sheet, to do the same thing.

That is metagaming, as it effects how one acts in-game, through outside game knowledge.

Choosing which PC one will play in a Scenario, is not an in-game decision, or in-game action.

I just don't see the difference between choosing a Scenario that has many of your Ranger's Favored Enemy, and choosing a Scenario, that has a Boon/Item on the Chronicle Sheet, that benefits the chosen PC.

If one is running a PC, in the exact same manner, whether they know what's available on the Chronicle Sheet, or not, then where does the "cheating" and "metagaming" come into play.

If one is not using out of game knowledge, to adjust how a PC acts in-game, then how is it metagaming.

Is this not what metagaming is?

Did I miss the note on a change of what metagaming means?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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If you're not doing the thing that everyone is saying is bad, what are you worried about?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
If you're not doing the thing that everyone is saying is bad, what are you worried about?

Well, the extent of what that thing is, seems to change, from poster, to poster.

I will still play a Scenario, even if nothing on the Chronicle Sheet is beneficial to any of my PCs, as I still want to play, but I don't like the idea that I could become some kind of social outcast, amongst the PFS community, if something on the Chronicle Sheet is especially beneficial to my PC.

In fact, just to avoid such a thing, I would almost feel inspired to make sure a Chronicle Sheet, is not beneficial in any way, just to avoid the possible accusations, and persecution.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

What am I going to do about CORE?

Will I have to go out of my way, to make sure nothing on the Chronicle Sheet is particularly beneficial, lest I face shaming amongst the community?

This is all very troubling.

If one is not metagaming, in-game(where metagaming happens), and not creating overtly optimized PCs, that are disruptive, then how is a problem?

How does it suddenly become "cheating"?

In a home game, I can talk to my DM about getting some thing that is beneficial to my PC. He/She can alter loot, or create a sort of boon, that helps out.

That's not an option in PFS. The entire way loot is available, through purchasing what is available on a Chronicle Sheet, and not just keeping what you find, is a sort of "metagame" concept.

I find the whole gnashing of teeth, and harsh accusations, to be completely out of line with the friendly, and inviting environment, that I hoped, and expected, PFS to be.

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