Are the Venture Captain and Lieutenant allowed to schedule private PFS sanctioned games?


Pathfinder Society

Venture-Agent, Arkansas—Fayetteville aka GingerBeardMan

As in do a PFS sanctioned game but only invite who they want at the table.

Scarab Sages 2/5

I would assume yes as anyone is welcome to run a private sanctioned game.

The Exchange

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Venture Officers can have private home/store games just the same as any other player can have private home/store games. They can also play PFS scenarios during these private events as well.

The problem with this would come in if they were doing the private invite-only games in lieu of public games. As long as they are still supporting public games there should be no problems.

Scarab Sages 5/5 Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

Yes. Everyone is free to do so if they want.
If you want to run a PFS sanctioned game from your home for just your buddies, no one can stop you.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

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Venture-officers (e.g. venture-captains and venture-lieutenants) are volunteers helping to promote Pathfinder and the Pathfinder Society Organized Play program. Our venture-officers have certain GMing and participation expectations that accompany their titles, but so long as they are doing what they can to grow the hobby, how they spend their free time is their prerogative.

That includes running private games as their schedules permit. Some venture-officers run "Slot 0" games, where they run a closed-door rendition of a new scenario before those players go read and prepare it to run the scenario for others. Other venture-officers run the occasional reward game for GM volunteers as a way of thanking those GMs. Others still just enjoy gathering a private group to play through an Adventure Path.

As Thea notes above, it can be an issue if the private games are occurring at the expense of public play. After all, Pathfinder Society aims to welcome new players, and it's hard to be inviting with invite-only events.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

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There may be what works out to act like an occasional "invite-only game" at public game days as well. It is not uncommon for a group of friends to get together and ask a particular person to be their GM for a highly anticipated scenario. That GM may happen to be a VO.

Quote:
Bob! Me and Jane and Chris and our wives are dying to play The Sealed Gate in high-tier hard mode! We saw you put it on the schedule for next month. Will you GM for us please?

Don't fret if this happens every few months. However if it becomes a regular occurrence speak to the Venture-Officer and let them know you think they should share their skills instead of sticking to the same people

Edit: just saw John's post. I am currently running Slot 0 games as new scenarios are released. They are scheduled during regular game days but are not open to everyone. They are, however, open to anyone who signs up to GM a scenario within a month of the Slot 0. So I guess they are "private" but the invitation is to "anyone who wants to GM. New GMs especially welcome!"


GingerBeardMan wrote:
As in do a PFS sanctioned game but only invite who they want at the table.

Yes they can, but it would not count towards the requirement of the number of public games they need to sponsor.

Silver Crusade

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Thea Peters wrote:

Venture Officers can have private home/store games just the same as any other player can have private home/store games. They can also play PFS scenarios during these private events as well.

The problem with this would come in if they were doing the private invite-only games in lieu of public games. As long as they are still supporting public games there should be no problems.

Completely off-OP Topic, but...

Wow... visited the forums for the first time in ages, and saw the VC title next to Thea's name. I already knew of it, but it really just sunk in. You guys gave a VC-ship to a rabbit. :P

*Don't kill me Thea!

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Some of the confusion may come in that there are 'living' campaigns that specifically prohibit such an action and require that all games be at least publicly accessible to prospective players.

Fortunately (or not? Mileage may vary) PFS isn't tied to that concept, which makes it a lot easier to grab three or four friends and run something, just make sure it gets reported.

Now, if you've gone to the (F)LGS and there's only the 'private' table that was unannounced (or worse, announced as public and then you were told it's 'private' after getting there at personal cost), raise that concern with the local leadership and take it up the chain of command?

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

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I currently run one private game a month. But that is only because I am not quite ready to unleash my 4 year old daughter on the local players. :).

"What was your favorite part of the game?"
"I threw fire at the bad guys!"

(Having just played Yoon through lightning, and saved one of the other PCs with a well timed crit.)

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

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In our region, private games are usually the following:

1) Slot 0 GM Appreciation Days;

2) Eyes of the Ten groups, scheduled and organized by the players and GM -- it's the endcap of a society career, and you want one group to go through the whole thing;

3) 'Deadly' Scenarios where the players want just the right group to maximize party survival;

4) Special Request Tables. For example, I'm GMing in the next month:

  • A core-only table for a family with two very young high energy children. If someone else wants to join in, they have to be someone who likes short people with short attention spans.
  • A 'Pet Stomp' -- A scenario for a bunch of people who normally GM, where they all get to play their pet class characters at the SAME time. This is a one-off, but it's a chance for everyone to have a good time and be ridiculous. It's a private table so we can take more time if they need it, and so that we don't annoy others with this experiment.

    Games like these are an exception to an otherwise full schedule of public game offerings.

    Hmm

  • Dark Archive 5/5

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Dan Luckett wrote:
    Thea Peters wrote:

    Venture Officers can have private home/store games just the same as any other player can have private home/store games. They can also play PFS scenarios during these private events as well.

    The problem with this would come in if they were doing the private invite-only games in lieu of public games. As long as they are still supporting public games there should be no problems.

    Completely off-OP Topic, but...

    Wow... visited the forums for the first time in ages, and saw the VC title next to Thea's name. I already knew of it, but it really just sunk in. You guys gave a VC-ship to a rabbit. :P

    *Don't kill me Thea!

    Holee Sheet! A Dan Luckett sighting!

    You should totes come visit MN in September for our little charity con.

    Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Florida—Jacksonville aka Kyrie Ebonblade,

    Well I know we have a mostly rigid policy on Seeker arcs.. it's not 'VO's making private games' but simply that we ask players to ask around with folks they mesh with and build a group of 4-6 players to do the Seeker arcs.

    that is as close as we go, aside from Slot 0's for Cayden's Crawl and MegaCon

    Silver Crusade

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    While not a VO, I do this all the time. Primarily because I'm simply not willing to invite total strangers into my home and/or our faculty rooms at the university (because if something breaks I will be responsible because I let strangers in).

    I also encouraged my brother and my girlfriend to run a few games in such a private setting because it makes them feel more comfortable as opposed to "Let's play at the FLGS where everybody can show up and everything can go horribly, horribly wrong!"

    It's easier for introducing friends to the hobby because it's less a "Hey, come over to FLGS and play this game you don't know the rules of, though we have tight time constraints and you won't know anybody!" and more a "Hey Alice, I invited Bob and Clarice to play Pathfinder Society, care to try it out? We can explain the rules on the way and there will be pizza and beer!"
    Also we can be much more inappropriate when we are alone and not in a public space.

    Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

    Dan Luckett wrote:
    You guys gave a VC-ship to a rabbit

    ...and a purple one that throws around waaay too glitter at that ;-)

    1/5

    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Bob Jonquet wrote:
    Dan Luckett wrote:
    You guys gave a VC-ship to a rabbit
    ...and a purple one that throws around waaay too glitter at that ;-)

    I really need to get invited to more of *those* kinds of parties!


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    Bob Jonquet wrote:
    Dan Luckett wrote:
    You guys gave a VC-ship to a rabbit
    ...and a purple one that throws around waaay too glitter at that ;-)

    PFFT

    covers the thread in purple glitter


    Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
    Bob Jonquet wrote:
    Dan Luckett wrote:
    You guys gave a VC-ship to a rabbit
    ...and a purple one that throws around waaay too glitter at that ;-)
    I really need to get invited to more of *those* kinds of parties!

    They're nothing compared to the Paracountess' sessions of "Papers and Paychecks" or "Settlers of Absalom".

    Hey... they've got to do something to amuse themselves in the Pathfinder Society's version of Warehouse 13.

    Shadow Lodge 5/5

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
    Hmm wrote:

    In our region, private games are usually the following:

    1) Slot 0 GM Appreciation Days;

    To be clear though - this is half coordinated by a non-VO.

    Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Indiana—Northern

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    One of the things I try to be very clear about is avoiding using a public venue for a private game. If I am going to run a private game for PFS credit (for example, my home Rise of the Runelords campaign), I wouldn't run that in a public venue - I would run that at my home, or that of one of the players.

    I struggle, honestly, with folks who choose to take up space in a public venue for private play. Private play is exclusionary (I don't mean that in a bad way - most of us have a private group we like to play with); organized play is meant to be open and inclusive. But, I also acknowledge that even a private group can bring new players into a game if those new players see people gaming and think, "hey, that looks cool! What game is that?"

    So, for the games that the VOs and I organize around here in game stores, etc., those are not private games. Sometimes other players will get a group together (a private one) and run at a store, and report that under their own event number. There isn't anything against the rules about that, it's just that it is my preference that private groups, generally, should play at a private venue. Again, just a preference on my part.

    I will say, as VC, I did run a game at a store that was mostly for a private group (5 relatives) who wanted to get into Society play, couldn't find a GM. I opened up the 6th slot to a public player, but the group was ostensibly a private one. And I certainly am okay with specific situations that might lend themselves to go against my general opinion.

    The answer to the OP's question is yes, it's okay for venture-officers to schedule private PFS sanctioned games.

    Shadow Lodge 5/5

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
    Mark Stratton wrote:
    One of the things I try to be very clear about is avoiding using a public venue for a private game. If I am going to run a private game for PFS credit (for example, my home Rise of the Runelords campaign), I wouldn't run that in a public venue - I would run that at my home, or that of one of the players.

    Disagree wholeheartedly. Gaming at its heart is a social activity. Who are any of us to deny a group of friends the ability to play in a public place where they may see other friends? Maybe this originates from being able to play in a region with upwards of 6-7 major game stores with multiple tables and what is designed to be a hugely social atmosphere with on-site food and in at least one case, dozens of tables. If I see friends playing "private" games in a public space though, it means they're inviting any of us to interact with them, maybe not at the level of the game they are playing, but certainly as friends.

    In the case of trying to pull in PFS characters it even means being able to say, "well this is a private game, but on <insert day here> there's a great public game for you to try.

    So for me, I'll always welcome private games in public spaces.

    Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Indiana—Northern

    MisterSlanky wrote:
    Mark Stratton wrote:
    One of the things I try to be very clear about is avoiding using a public venue for a private game. If I am going to run a private game for PFS credit (for example, my home Rise of the Runelords campaign), I wouldn't run that in a public venue - I would run that at my home, or that of one of the players.

    Disagree wholeheartedly. Gaming at its heart is a social activity. Who are any of us to deny a group of friends the ability to play in a public place where they may see other friends? Maybe this originates from being able to play in a region with upwards of 6-7 major game stores with multiple tables and what is designed to be a hugely social atmosphere with on-site food and in at least one case, dozens of tables. If I see friends playing "private" games in a public space though, it means they're inviting any of us to interact with them, maybe not at the level of the game they are playing, but certainly as friends.

    In the case of trying to pull in PFS characters it even means being able to say, "well this is a private game, but on <insert day here> there's a great public game for you to try.

    So for me, I'll always welcome private games in public spaces.

    I appreciate the fact that you took only a portion of my post, rather than to include the part where I talked about the advantage that even a private group playing in a public place can have. Or, was that part not at all important?

    Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

    MisterSlanky wrote:
    Who are any of us to deny a group of friends the ability to play in a public place where they may see other friends?

    Generally speaking its not a problem, but this thread is regards specifically to Venture-Officers who's primary function is to organize events, expand the player-base, and GM. In that capacity, rather than just organize a private event in a public venue, it would be better to organize a GameDay type event. Take the take of "private" play and re-arrange the players/GMs. Then offer some more play for others in the community who might be interested in playing. Not only does the private event get what they want, but the community as a whole gets a chance to play, and the FLGS get more opportunity to sell product. You are after all using their space for free (presumably) for your private game. Be responsible and give back to the store.

    That is not to say having a strictly private event at a game store is wrong or illegal or anything, just that there may be a "better" way to utilize that time, space, and effort. YMMV

    It might sound innocent enough to say, "this is a private game..." but it can sound very elitist and unwelcoming to some players. As VO, we should err on the side of caution and inclusion when dealing with potentially new players

    Dark Archive

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    I think there are two situations: private-private and public-private. I think anyone would be fine with a VO running a private table in a private setting. I have my private group for out of state friends whom I can't play with on a regular basis, but when everyone is in town, I want to be able to throw some dice with them. If we wouldn't be doing PFS, we'd be playing something else. In fact, PFS is what has kept us from taking up 5e when they visit. On the other hand, when it comes to my role as a Venture-Agent, I believe the private table should supplement, rather than replace, public offerings. My local lodge has bi-weekly public sessions, and we're up to 2-3 tables each session. To reach this point, and to prevent the local VO's and other regular gm's from burning out, I offered a private GM table as a thanks to anyone who would step up and gm within a given quarter. I selected the date to prevent any conflict with the biweeklies. I have a private event code. I am not listing it on our FLGS's social media like our other game days as to prevent confusion. It'll just look like a normal group playing pathfinder back in the dungeon. As long as they are not a detriment to those public games, nor are they designed solely to exclude other players, I don't think there is much harm in a private table. I'd even make the argument that this one private table has improved the public offerings.

    Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West aka JohnF

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    I have a nice game room in my house, which I'm happy to offer to our local GMs if we're running a "Slot 0", or a seeker arc, or things like that which we don't want to throw open to all comers. But I also have cats, which means that some of our community can't play there. Fortunately we have a bunch of local game stores who are only too happy to offer the use of a table, often free of charge, for anyone who wants to play.

    So I will, occasionally, organize a private game in a public setting. I don't have any misgivings about this - I'm doing it for the good of the local PFS community as a whole.

    1/5

    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    MisterSlanky wrote:


    In the case of trying to pull in PFS characters it even means being able to say, "well this is a private game, but on <insert day here> there's a great public game for you to try.

    So for me, I'll always welcome private games in public spaces.

    True story:

    I used to frequent a LGS (when I had a bit more cash and could afford the trip).

    A different 'living' campaign had it posted that there was a game on a given day, with no indication of public/private/Slot 0/etc.

    So eagerly I went, with pile of hardcovers enough to cause back strain for the average person, with character ready for that 'living' campaign.

    ...only to be turned away because 'We're full, sorry, we forgot to take the notice down'.

    I would have left it at that, except for the snickering of the players who apparently thought it was a HUGE funny joke that someone showed up to play in their 'private' game, that they were only posting as 'public' so they could get the game space at the LGS...

    Liberty's Edge 5/5

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    The only reservations I have about private games, is when they are advertised on the public advertising software or Web app. If it's private, don't advertise it publically.

    Shadow Lodge 5/5

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
    Mark Stratton wrote:
    I appreciate the fact that you took only a portion of my post, rather than to include the part where I talked about the advantage that even a private group playing in a public place can have. Or, was that part not at all important?

    And I appreciate the fact that you automatically thought that the whole thing was about you, and didn't just think that, "hey, maybe he doesn't want a wall of quoted text". Nope...

    *Sigh, who do I ever even bother posting on these forums in general? I should know better* Seriously, thanks for again reminding me. Saves me a lot of time in my day.

    Silver Crusade 5/5

    Andrew Christian wrote:
    The only reservations I have about private games, is when they are advertised on the public advertising software or Web app. If it's private, don't advertise it publically.

    This sums up my position on private games, regardless of whether the person organizing is a VO or not. If you don't want random people coming in, don't advertise it. If you advertise it then be prepared to take all comers, room at the table permitting.

    Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Indiana—Northern

    MisterSlanky wrote:
    Mark Stratton wrote:
    I appreciate the fact that you took only a portion of my post, rather than to include the part where I talked about the advantage that even a private group playing in a public place can have. Or, was that part not at all important?

    And I appreciate the fact that you automatically thought that the whole thing was about you, and didn't just think that, "hey, maybe he doesn't want a wall of quoted text". Nope...

    *Sigh, who do I ever even bother posting on these forums in general? I should know better* Seriously, thanks for again reminding me. Saves me a lot of time in my day.

    Considering the post you quoted from was mine...

    At any rate, I do acknowledge that, in some limited fashion, that private games held in public can be advantageous. Andy, in a post upthread, addresses one of my other concerns, and that is the use of the public scheduling programs (Warhorn, Meet Up, etc.) for private games. That I absolutely frown upon because that pretty much says, "hey, here's a group that you aren't invited to!"

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

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    I really hope I'm allowed to schedule private games, otherwise I'm in BIG trouble.

    Dark Archive

    if its a home game they can invite and ban anyone they want...

    Liberty's Edge 5/5

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    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Mike Brock was a huge proponent of private games and while he was the VC in Atlanta he scheduled many of yhem. He always said that Paizo can't tell anyone, even venture officers, who they have to let into thier home.

    The only thing he stipulated was that you not publically advertise a private home game.

    Additionally, my opinion is, if a group of friends, privately, decide to get together at a public venue, and they hapoen to choose to play PFS, that's nobody's business but thier own. Even if a Venture officer is one of those people.

    Venture Officers are volunteers. They often had friends within the PFS community before becoming a VO, or made great friends as a result of starting games as a VO. We can't expect a no fraternization rule like most corporations or the military have. That's unrealistic to expect from a volunteer. And you can't expect a volunteer to refuse to play games with thier friends just because the are a volunteer. You'd find a dearth of volunteers if you tried to implement that.

    1/5

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    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Speaking from the perspective of someone who was in a campaign that *specifically* prohibited this sort of action save for 'module playtests' and 'judge qualifiers, PFS has a lot more... liberal perspective, which if utilized to the full potential will draw in more players -- a Good Thing.

    However, as has been noted above, don't abuse it or turn it into a clique-thing, because that's a Bad Thing.

    Those of us commenting are NOT saying goodwrongfun or badwrong fun, but... there are far WORSE solutions to organized play and the current arrangement is the most flexible by far of any organization I've seen.

    Game responsibly, folks!

    Grand Lodge 3/5 Venture-Agent, Washington—Bellevue aka Divvox2

    Thralls of a Shattered God...

    Spoiler:
    I don't know how someone doesn't die in the first (sometimes second) encounter unless they get really lucky or have a specialized party. It's likely that someone will go down (dead) in the first or second round, without much else to do about it. The party can recover from the first rounds, but there are a lot of ways that fight could go to a TPK if it's ran wrong or the party just eats an opening save.

    That said, it's still an amazing scenario. Remember to bring your A-Game!

    Grand Lodge 5/5 Contributor

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    Sam King wrote:

    Thralls of a Shattered God...

    ** spoiler omitted **

    That said, it's still an amazing scenario. Remember to bring your A-Game!

    Well...

    Thralls of the Shattered God:
    I find that the puzzle is often run incorrectly, due to some semi-ambiguous rules that GMs could interpret super-deadly. I have offered my recommendations for tactics in the GM thread, and Linda (PFS Developer) has offered a recommended ruling on how the mechanics work.

    I HIGHLY recommend GMs review that thread, particularly regarding the puzzle.

    I'm really glad you liked the scenario! Feel free to leave a review talking about what you liked and didn't like about. Constructive criticism is always welcome.

    Grand Lodge 5/5 Contributor

    Also, we do private games occasionally. These are usually for Slot-0 games, but are sometimes for PFS sanctioned modules that we don't have time to run at a game store.

    I think it's fine as long as you're not being obnoxious about it, such as talking about the private game during a public game.

    Just follow Wheaton's Law: Don't be a dick.

    5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

    Sam King wrote:

    Thralls of a Shattered God...

    ** spoiler omitted **

    That said, it's still an amazing scenario. Remember to bring your A-Game!

    There's a lot of table variation in how some of those abilities chain off of each other or don't.

    Grand Lodge 5/5 Contributor

    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    Sam King wrote:

    Thralls of a Shattered God...

    ** spoiler omitted **

    That said, it's still an amazing scenario. Remember to bring your A-Game!

    There's a lot of table variation in how some of those abilities chain off of each other or don't.

    Probably one of those 20/20 hindsight sort of things. When writing it, it seemed clear to me. That's why I recommend the advice in the GM thread, so it doesn't turn into a TPK instantly. That certainly wasn't the intention.

    Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Houston South aka Lord Valstaff

    As a VA, I frequently post and schedule public games at my local game store and help to include passers-by. I have been congratulated by a few local players for some of my role play antics of npc conversations and they wanted to bring their friends into the fold. As this directly relates to branching out and sharing the world of pathfinder I am more than happy to schedule something private for new players, to showcase our beautiful world (usually we be goblins).

    In 2 other cases, another VO and myself have a private scheduled Dragon's Demand game... but we had an open call for local players to join before closing it. And the second, I am currently GMing for my local players Iron Gods AP via online.

    Everyone has already mentioned that it's perfectly fine to run private games. I think so as well... as long as it falls within the lines and responsibilities of an VO.

    I will admit I do like the sound of a private game for the local officers at the local brewery.

    Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

    Did this Thralls discussion jump over from the 16PP thread?

    Or is it the new "private game" scenario where you try to kill your VC's PCs?

    Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Houston South aka Lord Valstaff

    Lau Bannenberg wrote:

    Did this Thralls discussion jump over from the 16PP thread?

    Or is it the new "private game" scenario where you try to kill your VC's PCs?

    I'm GMing it Saturday... low tier I believe. Still hope my VCs have a funny bone by the end of it.

    Grand Lodge 5/5 Contributor

    Jordan Agudelo wrote:


    I'm GMing it Saturday... low tier I believe. Still hope my VCs have a funny bone by the end of it.

    Spoiler:
    If they're very unlucky, it will get cut off...
    Grand Lodge 3/5 Venture-Agent, Washington—Bellevue aka Divvox2

    Lau Bannenberg wrote:

    Did this Thralls discussion jump over from the 16PP thread?

    Or is it the new "private game" scenario where you try to kill your VC's PCs?

    I may have conflated the two when I had multiple windows open. >_>

    Sorry OP.

    Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Washington—Seattle aka Taenia

    I know our boards have a spot specifically for home games to organize and keep in contact. Most of those are for APs or Modules that take the same group through an adventure over the course of weeks or months. I know right now I am running a group through Emerald Spire, Tomb of the Iron Medusa and Eyes of Ten (second time I am running) so we use the boards to set up initial contact and get together then to schedule times for play.

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