Scenarios cause Gameplay and class railroading?


Pathfinder Society

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Paizo Employee 5/5 Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

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I appreciate your responding. I'll start by addressing the individual points.

ChaosTicket wrote:

Okay #1 how about an actual reward from trying?

Right now scenarios are basically all about finishing them to get the final reward. You can get some additional special rules or an extra prestige point, but actually being inventive or going for self-imposed achievements like trying to kill every enemy possible gives little. Rewards dont scale to the difficulty so a scenario full of cannibals and ghouls gives the same reward as exploring an ice cave. It illogical to actually go for the more difficult scenarios.

A few things jump to mind based on this first concern.

The first is a baseline understanding about the organized play campaign. A significant design premise for Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild is that everyone (worldwide) should have as even a playing field as possible when playing adventures. That is to say when someone in Germany plays Silent Tide and someone in California plays the same scenario, there might be some variation based on character choices, GM preparedness/proficiency, and other factors, but the players in both games have basically the same odds of doing well and earning the scenario's rewards. That means neither group can, for example, rob a wizard's tower not included in the scenario, coerce a wish, and walk away with a +2 vorpal greatsword in a Tier 1–5 scenario—especially because those players could then play with a different group that never had that custom opportunity. Likewise, it means the GM shouldn't impose long-term penalties on a character beyond the scope of the scenario, unfairly punishing that player for something the scenario should never have inflicted.

So it protects players both ways.

That's the difficulty with rewarding self-imposed goals. Because they're self-imposed, they're self-invented. Because they're self-invented, the GM has to devise the reward. Once GMs are devising individual rewards, there's a very substantial philosophical range of what's appropriate, to say nothing of how that invented reward could impact other people when you take your custom-rewarded character and play at a different table with a different GM. In a home game outside the organized play structure, it's absolutely wonderful for a GM to devise a custom reward for a custom goal because she is the one who must live with that decision, and it is also she who is empowered to retract, revise, or design around that reward during future sessions. In an organized play program, that practice can quickly unbalance or utterly break players' faith in the system.

To an extent, the factions and Faction Journal Cards (see the hyperlinked text) are one way to express personal goals because they lay out a selection of goals associated with a faction (each modeled off a classic adventurer trope like "the freedom fighter," "the scholar of lost lore," or "the social butterfly/political savant"). As you fulfill those goals, you unlock rewards. Are these custom rewards? No, though Linda Zayas-Palmer (Pathfinder Society developer) and I often look to these messageboards to help understand what people would like to see more of every time we update these cards.

And when we're considering where to set the next adventure, what to turn into a boon, which NPC we should bring back in a scenario, what adventure formats people enjoy, etc.

Introducing the Pathfinder Society team:

You mentioned not knowing who anybody is, so let me briefly introduce folks.
  • Tonya Woldridge is the organized play coordinator, making her the face of Pathfinder Society and the head of the entire volunteer corps. Tonya handles a lot of the on-the-ground logistics with numerous volunteer teams for our biggest conventions and directs our new initiatives to reward GMs, promote play, and just make the campaign bigger, better, and stronger.
  • I'm John Compton, the Pathfinder Society Lead Developer. That means I outline and assign all of the adventures that appear in the campaign (starting in early 2013), manage the sanctioned content, make a lot of rules-oriented calls, determine a lot of the creative direction of the campaign, and develop (edit, revise, improve, rules-check, and if necessary, rewrite) a bunch of the scenarios.
  • Linda Zayas-Palmer is a developer who works almost exclusively on Pathfinder Society. More and more, Linda's been doing the backend development of scenarios I mentioned above, ensuring that each adventure is as fun and fair as possible. Virtually everything I do, Linda also does in some capacity.
  • I would include Mark Seifter as an honorary member. He's principally a designer and so works on our hardcover RPG books, but he's a seasoned Pathfinder Society GM, helps us brainstorm ideas, and keeps us apprised of RPG design developments that might impact us.

    Each of us has GMed at least 600 hours of Pathfinder Society and played even more, so we're well-versed in where the campaign restricts flexibility in some places, how that plays out at the table, and how ultimately those points of inflexibility rarely impact a table's fun.

  • As for scenario difficulty, Linda and I develop scenarios with the aim of making each one in a given tier (i.e. level range) roughly equal in difficulty. There are definitely some outliers! A few we've called out with a rarely-implemented "hard mode" option, and others are just hard because of a confluence of tricky circumstances or rarely-seen challenges. The community's collective memory is well versed in what are some of the hardest and easiest adventures from a combat or skills perspective, and folks are usually quick to chime in so long as a person isn't trying to get serious spoilers that would provide an unfair advantage at the table. Although one's motivations can blunt this concern considerably, it would be seen as uncouth to inspect which scenarios are easiest yet give the best reward in order to maximize one's risk-rewards profile. The community often chides attempts to go "Chronicle fishing" for the best rewards because that behavior can cheapen the experience of others at the table.

    The fact of the matter is that scenarios rarely have a difficulty rating because when everything works as intended, scenarios should be about equal. As developers, we want players to have a general sense of what they're getting into so that they can sit down, play an adventure that provides their characters some challenge, and have fun.

    Quote:
    #2 No additional level capping over Pathfinder. There is an actual rule that you have to basically kill off your character once it reaches level 12. Its called "retirement". Why would anyone want to intentionally diminish their characters potential?

    Ah, you're delving into some historical footnotes. For several years, Pathfinder Society had a true level cap; beyond a single multi-part "retirement arc," there was no way to play beyond 12th level. As the campaign began sanctioning (approving and adapting for organized play) Pathfinder modules and Adventure Paths, campaign staff lifted the level cap. It's true that the low-level play opportunities are more plentiful than the high-level play opportunities, but there are still enough options out there to get several characters to level 17+. Heck, just a few months ago we published a new series of Tier 12–15 adventures to revitalize high-level play and tell some seriously epic stories.

    If you want to play beyond 12th level, you can. You'll find there are fewer adventures, but there's nonetheless 150+ hours of high-level content for which you can earn credit!

    Quote:
    #3 No railroading. I see no reason to have unavoidable anything or have skills locked because the script says something like "character [blank] cannot be [blank]ed".

    I think KingofAnything said it quite nicely: "Sometimes you can't do some things. That doesn't mean that alternative solutions don't exist."

    If you can beat every threat over the head, the game becomes nothing but combat. If you can talk your way out of every problem, you'll get into a rut. Stories build tension, conflict, and drama by throwing the occasional twist in what's expected. You might have the world's finest negotiator and talk your way out of several fights (kudos), but that won't work against a mindless construct—better find an alternate solution! Tabletop roleplaying games share the agency, as the players should help the GM tell the story she's prepared, yet the GM must also accommodate the players' contributions and adapt the story and challenges based on their actions. Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild provides a little less flexibility in that regard, but a substantial majority remains.

    If you're looking for a carte blanche sign-off from the developers saying that your character can get away with anything, I think you'll be disappointed. What you'd likely hear from each of us, though, is "Your character can get away with nearly anything so long as he's got a plan of action, has the skills to back it up, and isn't stealing the spotlight from the other players for too long."

    Quote:

    Make up your mind. Some people basically say I should quit the game. Then when I say I am I get responses saying i should answer 20 questions about why I am quitting. At least one person actually insulted me about it. Sigh, well thats is what i get for using a forum. Its badgering that this has gone WAY off topic.

    Does anyone actually agree the Pathfinder Society is limited? If not please just stop responding. I have a hard time quitting things. Ive played Pathfinder Society Campaign way after I found major limitations. Ive played World of Tanks from 5 years and long since lost any enjoyment until I reach the point where I cant go any further without paying cash. And I keep responding here when I am getting baited, badgered, and trolled.

    Yeah, Pathfinder Society imposes some limitations because the campaign presents a common ground that facilitates 70,000+ players worldwide playing pick-up games with complete strangers but walking away as friends. In sacrificing some flexibility, you gain the ability to take your character(s) anywhere and have every other community say, "Oh, we'd be happy to have your 3rd-level bard [built using the same guidelines as we use and having advanced in a fair fashion compared to how we've advanced our characters] join us! Take a seat, and we'll start in a few minutes."

    —————

    So let's do some takeaways.

  • The organized play campaign cannot accommodate GM-invented rewards for self-imposed goals because quality control wouldn't exist, resulting in power imbalances (and possibly unfair punishments inflicted by overzealous GM) that would threaten the campaign structure. I can imagine some system to let people create such rewards out of a set list of component "ingredients," but even that would feel limited and easily gamed compared to what I think you want. Linda and I do, however, look to the community to shape published rewards, so being a friendly and active member on our messageboards (or if I have the pleasure of meeting someone at a convention) can be a good way to help shape pieces of the story and mechanics.
  • Scenarios are designed to be approximately equal to one another in difficulty, and as a result, they also aim to provide approximately equal treasure for a given level range.
  • The level cap is a thing of the past. You might not be able to elevate 30 PCs to 17th level, but you can easily get 4+ characters to that point without even having to rely on GM credit. That represents a bunch of play time, and the team's periodically introducing even more high-level content.
  • Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild has some built-in limitations because it's trying to serve a certain need: fun, episodic adventures that play in 4–5 hours (increasingly 4 hours to accommodate community needs) and enable players to mingle and create new groups on the fly. This process pushes GMs to use published adventures with a little less flexibility at the table, but there's still a lot of room GMs and players have to solve problems in ways the scenarios don't anticipate. If you have a creative solution, work with your GM at that event to see if it's possible; there's a good chance it could work—or at least add to the story and introduce a new twist to the challenge at hand.

    Let me know if that answers your questions and concerns.

    John Compton
    Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

  • Scarab Sages

    ChaosTicket wrote:

    Spoiler:
    Okay #1 how about an actual reward from trying?

    Right now scenarios are basically all about finishing them to get the final reward. You can get some additional special rules or an extra prestige point, but actually being inventive or going for self-imposed achievements like trying to kill every enemy possible gives little. Rewards dont scale to the difficulty so a scenario full of cannibals and ghouls gives the same reward as exploring an ice cave. It illogical to actually go for the more difficult scenarios.

    #2 No additional level capping over Pathfinder. There is an actual rule that you have to basically kill off your character once it reaches level 12. Its called "retirement". Why would anyone want to intentionally diminish their characters potential?

    #3 No railroading. I see no reason to have unavoidable anything or have skills locked because the script says something like "character [blank] cannot be [blank]ed".

    Make up your mind. Some people basically say I should quit the game. Then when I say I am I get responses saying i should answer 20 questions about why I am quitting. At least one person actually insulted me about it. Sigh, well thats is what i get for using a forum. Its badgering that this has gone WAY off topic.

    Does anyone actually agree the Pathfinder Society is limited? If not please just stop responding. I have a hard time quitting things. Ive played Pathfinder Society Campaign way after I found major limitations. Ive played World of Tanks from 5 years and long since lost any enjoyment until I reach the point where I cant go any further without paying cash. And I keep responding here when I am getting baited, badgered, and trolled.

    I think I see your points, but I'm also unclear. Sounds like the group you are playing with (or the store you are playing at) doesn't meet your expectations of what an RPG should be. Might have this wrong.

    In general, seems like you see the game very "big picture." It's not about the journey, but the goal. Without a tangible goal for your character (like getting to level 20), the journey is pointless, and the RPG becomes lackluster. It feels as though the game is never completed.

    As for my lacking clarity, I don't understand the "Railroading" concept, as you see it. What are you referring to? I've heard that phrase used in several ways, but I'm not sure, contextually, what you are referring to.

    I do agree, there are limitations when playing PFS that are not encountered in "normal" Pathfinder play. That said, there are bonuses, as you've mentioned, in playing in PFS. The most obvious bonus is how easy it is to acquire a group to play with.


    This thread is bloated with multiple people giving the same general responses.

    I know a great deal of my experiences are actually based on limitations or lack thereof from videogames. Disgaea is a series where the level cap is 9999. Single player RPGs like Fallout has multiple options for each situation or possibly allow you to be able to do everything by yourself so you are self-sufficient.

    I did not expect a pen-and-paper RPG to be so limited and yes many of the faults are imposed by the Pathfinder Society Campaign and/or the scenario/module system.

    Ive stated it before in this thread. Theory crafting of characters is more interesting than the gameplay. I like designing things, and limiting the actual reality of that removes the fantastic element.

    At least you could let me earn money outside scenarios. My characters could earn 7.65g hourly for a 20-40 hour work week between adventures.

    Liberty's Edge 5/5

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Chaos ticket, the restrictions and limitations you are seeing areveryone expressing are not unique to PFS or Pathfinder. You are going to find those same sets of restrictions in any table top RPG. I've played darn near all of them, and I've played Fallout 3 and New Vegas for many, many hundreds of hours.

    You are right when you say a table top RPG is limited in level (20) as compared to Fallout. But PFS is not more limited than Pathfinder, in that you can still get a legal PFS character to 20. 12 has not really been the cap for several years.

    You are right when you say that table top RPGs are limited in the solo adventure aspect when compared to Fallout. This is a game of cooperation and is a social activity, and thus is a different style of game. I wouldn't really call it a limitation. More that it's straight up a different game. It is possible to create a Pathfinder character that is at least passable, if not awesome at all the things, but then you'd be soloing the game. That's not what table top RPGs are about. Many have already said it, but let me pose a question to you. What's every other player supposed to do for fun while you are soloing? Watch you have fun? Sound like watching paint dry. They want to also experience the things thier characters are good at.

    You are wrong about the limitation of options to solve problems when compared to Fallout. Fallout often has a single option for many encounters. Kill the enemy. Sure, you can be sneaky, use ranged or melee, and sometimes other methods. But Fallout usually has a hard coded Finite list of ways to solve any problem. These are not limited to what your character can do, but by what the computer code says is possible to do. In Fallout, you solo things and will often choose the option that appeals to you in spite of or maybe because of how good or bad you are at something. In table top RPGS, the ability to solve things in multiple ways is a function of teamwork and a well rounded party. Let the experts do what they are good at when you hit those obstacles and revel in thier success. Your time will come soon, and your teammates will revel in your success.

    Finally, you can earn money outside a scenario. It's called a day job check. And if you continue to improve your performance, profession, or craft skills, you can start earning hundreds of gold between scenarios.

    Tl;dr: your problem is not the limitations of table top RPGS, but rather your expectation of a table top RPG to provide the same kind of experience as Fallout. The are fundamentally different games. Primarily one is a solo game with no social interactionsecurity with other living beings. Table top RPGs are mainly a social cooperative game. Think the difference between Monopoly and the cooperative nature of Pandemic.

    Dark Archive

    ChaosTicket wrote:

    This thread is bloated with multiple people giving the same general responses.

    I know a great deal of my experiences are actually based on limitations or lack thereof from videogames. Disgaea is a series where the level cap is 9999. Single player RPGs like Fallout has multiple options for each situation or possibly allow you to be able to do everything by yourself so you are self-sufficient.

    I did not expect a pen-and-paper RPG to be so limited and yes many of the faults are imposed by the Pathfinder Society Campaign and/or the scenario/module system.

    Ive stated it before in this thread. Theory crafting of characters is more interesting than the gameplay. I like designing things, and limiting the actual reality of that removes the fantastic element.

    At least you could let me earn money outside scenarios. My characters could earn 7.65g hourly for a 20-40 hour work week between adventures.

    Dayjob checks exist to give you this. Also most workers are given like 2 silver a day for unskilled labor. Just get a perform skill which is excellent for a bard and you can do this.


    Andrew Christian wrote:
    You are right when you say a table top RPG is limited in level (20) as compared to Fallout. But PFS is not more limited than Pathfinder, in that you can still get a legal PFS character to 20. 12 has not really been the cap for several years.

    And the level caps aren't really comparable. 9999 levels in one game doesn't necessarily mean any more than 20 levels in another. Or even 12.

    Generally it means you just get less with each level - level inflation. :)

    3/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking

    Andrew Christian wrote:

    You are wrong about the limitation of options to solve problems when compared to Fallout. Fallout often has a single option for many encounters. Kill the enemy. Sure, you can be sneaky, use ranged or melee, and sometimes other methods. But Fallout usually has a hard coded Finite list of ways to solve any problem. These are not limited to what your character can do, but by what the computer code says is possible to do.

    That actually what I was getting at earlier. Fallout 3's ending is the perfect example of this where it is obvious they give you one choice and only one.

    Liberty's Edge 5/5

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Some more thoughts:

    Fallout allows you to pick a track for your character largely based on a morality track and which aspect of the storyline you want to interact with. Each of those tracks has a finite number of choices. Its like a choose your own adventure in a more dynamic way than a book, in which you get to actually interact with the obstacles on a certain level.

    Table top RPGs allows you to pick a way to interact with the world based on character personality and role. What does your character do to interact with the world? And the world interacts with you.

    Fallout is limited by the software code options. Finite. But if the end goal is to overcome the obstacles, gain all the badges, and win the game itself, then it can feel like an infinite number of choices because you can use almost any set of skills the game gives you to succeed at the end goal. Indeed you can keep playing the game to follow all of the tracks to earn all of the badges.

    Table top RPGs are limited by human creativity. Infinite. It may seem like a soul hindering finite list of options because you have a written adventure with written expected outcomes. But each individual obstacle can be overcome in different ways limited only by the creativity and ability to work as a team of the players and the creativity and improvisational skills of the GM.

    The infinite/finite options in Fallout are about the meta-game. Winning the game in as many ways as possible, or in any way possible that the game offers you to do so. This feels like a boundless set of options, because the game world is really, really HUGE. The ability to do and be anything you want within the scope of the game. Its a sandbox and you get to play with the entire world.

    The infinite/finite options in table top RPGs are about the individual encounters and the individual scenarios. A home campaign world can be a lot larger and closer to the sandbox paradigm. Whereas PFS is episodic. The infinite choices come in how you deal with each individual encounter on a creative level. A roleplay level. Who is your character and why does he act certain ways? The world is smaller, compressed into a mini-story with an expected outcome. How you get to that expected outcome can be as creative as you, your team (the other players) and the GM can come up with together.

    Fallout is a solo game. You play it by yourself. You are expected to be able to solve all problems by yourself.

    Table top RPGs are a team gamme. A cooperative game. You play it with other people. Social interaction is expected. Cooperation is expected. Allowing others to solve or help solve problems is expected. If you solo a table top RPG, you will often find yourself cast as an outsider and unwelcome in many groups.

    5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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    ChaosTicket wrote:
    This thread is bloated with multiple people giving the same general responses.

    Considering that we never agree on anything, take it as a sign.

    Quote:
    I know a great deal of my experiences are actually based on limitations or lack thereof from videogames. Disgaea is a series where the level cap is 9999. Single player RPGs like Fallout has multiple options for each situation or possibly allow you to be able to do everything by yourself so you are self-sufficient.

    You have to realize that leveling up 1000 times with a piece of paper run by a human isn't the same as one being done on a computer.

    Quote:
    I did not expect a pen-and-paper RPG to be so limited and yes many of the faults are imposed by the Pathfinder Society Campaign and/or the scenario/module system.

    You're handwaving at limitations, not enumerating them. And then complain that the advice is general rather than specific.

    People cannot give you specific responses to general gripes. It cannot be done. You don't know us? That goes two ways. i don't know you. I don't know WHAT limitations you're complaining about.

    Quote:
    Ive stated it before in this thread. Theory crafting of characters is more interesting than the gameplay.

    to you .

    Theory crafting of characters is more interesting than the gameplay to you

    And that's what I think is missing from a lot of your posts: the idea that you're one player in a campaign or group. you want the campaign (whether with 7 people or 70,000) to fit your ideas perfectly and that isn't a realistic goal. Other people at the table are there to play too, and what they want is just as important as what you want.

    Quote:
    At least you could let me earn money outside scenarios. My characters could earn 7.65g hourly for a 20-40 hour work week between adventures.

    That's the dayjob check. And characters have enough money.

    Scarab Sages 2/5

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    ChaosTicket wrote:
    This thread is bloated with multiple people giving the same general responses.

    The same genreal responces, yes. The same specific responces, no. WE are each giving you our own opinon of the subject as it pertains to your concerns. A PFS Developer came in to provide perspective on the campaign goals as they relate to your concerns. A lot of people are asking for specifics of your experience to try to provide a more customized, personal responce to you, something that specificly applies to your circumstances, but you talk in broad strokes and absolutes providing us little of substince to respond to.

    I want to give you some advice. If you want to convince me of your point, provide a detailed, specific, consistent point. And then, when people disagree with you, instead of dismissing everyone in a single sentence claiming they all say the same thing and that thing isn't applicable, address one or two posts. Quote them so we know who and what you are responding to (there's a handy quote button on each post). and then address their specific points and why you disagree with them. It produces a stronger argument that I am more likely to be swayed by.

    ChaosTicket wrote:
    I know a great deal of my experiences are actually based on limitations or lack thereof from videogames. Disgaea is a series where the level cap is 9999. Single player RPGs like Fallout has multiple options for each situation or possibly allow you to be able to do everything by yourself so you are self-sufficient.

    Disgaea and Fallout are self contained single player adventures. Fallout 1 & 2 notbaly have a very loose, very small story. Most of the game is in exploring the wasteland. And you are trying to apply your experiences in these games to team based cooprative storytelling adventures. They are apples and oranges. I ask you, can you name a video game with story based co-op multiplayer, that allows for braod customization and character types with widely divergent approaches to the game? I can't. Borderlands has levels and customization, but every character has the same basic approach - shoot it until it is dead. There are some multiplayer D&D-based games, but most are again centered on combat. Neverwinter Nights, a great game, but the multiplayer was all User based content, and the options availible to any given player were limited by what the writer of the module wrote into them, because things like dialog were not being created on the spot by a GM, but preprogrammed.

    Yes you can be self sufficient in Fallout, do everything yourself. If fallout were a multiplayer co-op experience, Your buddy is either limited to playing the game how you are playing it, or you both are failing to work towards a common goal. Lets say you are carefully sneaking through a nest of sleeping Deathclaws. But you buddy isn't built for stealth. He gets board waiting for you to win the encounter again and just fat boy's the whole lot. A few survive, a fight breaks out. You both survive. Who is having fun? He had to sit around and watch you solve the game with stealth a bunch. You got nuked, and didn't get to win by stealthing through an encounter. You two are built for different play styles, and so aren't cooperating. Its no fun.

    PFS adresses this by not allowing PvP, and empowering the GM to remove players being diruptive to the group. They also enshrined cooperation as one of the key tennants in the society. This is to encourage players to work together to solv solutions, rather then have one ubermensh who runs rampant on the entire scenario.

    Home games solve this by communicating between the Group and GM and deciding, together, what kind of game they want to play. But even then, a mix of the three types of gameplay - Combat, Social, and Skill based problem solving/puzzles - appear, so that diffrent people can take different roles and everyone can get a time to shine.

    That's not a PFS problem, nor is it exacerbated by PFS. Even if you went to 20, and could do everything, Someone who specializes is probably going to be better at some things than you. there are some challenges that might need a dedicated rogue, for example. its inherent in the pathfinder system where multiple characters exist and have different capabilities.

    You can do everything, and get to be pretty self sufficient. In fact, that's why we keep encouraging you to create a well rounded character that can socialize and fight in some capacity and handle some skills (depending of course on your particular character and number of skills). You wont be the best at everything (combat is a good example where not being 'the Best" isn't necessarily a bad thing), but you will be capable of a lot, making you genreally self reliant.

    You focus a lot on the number, and a lot less on its actual value. A level in pathfinder tends to be more meaningful then a level in disgaea. Most single player RPGs like Disgaea are a lot more limiting in what you can do than a single player RPG like fallout. In fact, the fact that you use them as examples, but dont acknowledge the severe limitations in the first.

    ChaosTicket wrote:
    I did not expect a pen-and-paper RPG to be so limited and yes many of the faults are imposed by the Pathfinder Society Campaign and/or the scenario/module system.

    Could you explore this broad declareatory statement? limited in what you can create? of course they are. You are limited to the character creation rules. yes PFS further restricts pathfinder compatible content. But that's not a problem inherent in PFS. People have pointed out that in the home games they play they use a stricter data set, not a broader one.

    You say that limited options to deal with things is a limitation of PFS and the "scenario/module" system. Firstly, those words mean someting. Scenarios are the adventures, the stories, written specifically for PFS and are designed to work within the campaign framework. Talking about problems with these will generally lead to improved PFS scenarios. Modules are random off the shelf adventures that sometimes are authorized for play within PFS, but are not PFS specific. Trying to prove a PFS point with these will fall on deaf ears, because they are not designed with the PFS design guidelines.

    The documentation for PFS and all the statements from Campaign management encourages creative solutions and not forcing the group onto one specific path. The campaign also discourages solo tactics, or the elevation of a single play style. This game is designed for a group to play, and you have been generally silent on what the group should be doing while you solve the adventure. PFS allows and encourages creative solutions, and scenario writers try to write alternative options. But you don't just have the writer to consider, you also have the GM and the other players. Scenarios run by strict or uncreative/uninspired GMs will be more restrictive, because they wont allow a broader solution set. That isn't a limitation of "Pen and Paper RPG"s, its not a limitation of Pathfinder, it is not even a limitation of PFS. it a limitation you will encounter through out your gaming career, that youve already experienced in your video games, and you seem not to realize it.

    Maybe I dont want to save the mutated residents of Vault 113 after they are captured. Maybe I'm angry that they are so useless and want to just nuke the whole oil rig. What do you mean that isn't an option in Fallout 2? Why are you limiting me? Do you see where that might sound kind of weird in such an open world RPG? That how your complaints of story lmitations sound. If you have a good GN that can expand the solution set, and are working with a group that agrees your solution is one they want to try, you have a lot more freedom of choice, becaues your option set is not limited by the need to have the solution set preprogrammed.

    PFS does require that your solution set be varied however. As a worldwide campaign allowing over half a million players to run cooperative storytelling experiences with pick up groups of varying in and out of game skill levels, a need to accommodate the 3 major play types and allow all of them to have their turn is essential. Ive pointed out how once you add multiplayer to the mix, things get complicated. If you want a single player experience, you will not find it in PFS.

    ChaosTicket wrote:
    Ive stated it before in this thread. Theory crafting of characters is more interesting than the gameplay. I like designing things, and limiting the actual reality of that removes the fantastic element.

    Yes you've mentioned before how not your sorcerer not getting 7 wish spells ruins spellcasting entirely for you.

    In a less sarcastic vein. Theory crafting is great. But even when theory crafting you need limitations. Wealth (Traditionally Wealth by Level). Stats. The fact that you are using Pathfinder RPG and not GURPS or Savage Worlds. not getting GURPS or Savage Worlds content in a Pathfinder Game. The monsters as presented in the rules to compare against. All of these are restrictions you need
    to create a character that can be compared to other characters in a meaningful way. As previously mentioned, most Gms have some limitations. Stat generation method is the most common, as it prevents you from just putting 18 in all stats and calling it a day. its again, a complaint that isn't limited to PFS play, and one you will have to deal with alot. You haven't been very specific about why the gameplay isn't fun, but those anecdotes you have told suggest it is a problem with your local groups and their play style that you are attributing to some nebulous PFS rules. or a natural consequence of PFS rules, and ignoring the mass of people who say that isn't true and have fun not adhering to the "requirements" you present.

    I need to continue to address the "limiting the actualy reality" comment. As ive said, there are already limits that exist. you've just drawn an imaginary line at which point you say that PFS is too limiting. But you admit you have a very small experience with Pen and Paper RPGs. So the boards have been, collectively, trying to tell you that, in the interests of the story being told or the whims of the GM, some limitations are a regular part of the Pen and Paper experience. This isn't a board game or a video game. You do not play PnP RPGs to 'win'. You play them to tell a story. Different GMs have different limitations. I tend to allow all Paizo content, but no 3pp. I find 3pp to be all over the map in terms of quality and balance. The game radically changes when you add them in, and I don't want to deal with that. PFS is a campaign with very open standards. You see PFS telling you you can't use *this* option and say you are being railroaded, despite the 3000+ options that are perfectly valid. There are well over 3000 feats available as legal character options. As long as you meet prerequisites. Which is another limitation inherent in Table-Top RPGs, and I have seen in Fallout.

    The limitations of Pen and Paper RPGs are different than the limitations of Video games. But they both have limits, and in my play experience PnP RPGs have had few restrictions overall.

    ChaosTicket wrote:
    At least you could let me earn money outside scenarios. My characters could earn 7.65g hourly for a 20-40 hour work week between adventures.

    That's a very specific number, and , hey!, a brand new complaint! Keep that drift going buddy!

    The time between games in purposefully vague. If we allowed broad, unregulated craft or profession checks, players could be claiming months or years between scenarios and raking in the cash. So obviously we need some rules on it.

    PFS actually generally assumes you have a 'Day Job' that your character utilizes to pay for lodging, food, and other necessities. If you want to make more then subsistence wages, you make a 'Day Job Check". This is a craft or profession check (or with boons or vanities a handful of other skills). Craft or Profession checks normally assume a weeks work, but as we have said, PFS doesn't define the time spent in between scenarios. So the created a table, representing the money you made above subsistence earnings. The fact is is that your Wealth goes farther in PFS even if you don't roll for day jobs, because PFS does assume you have a day job to pay the bills. They give you higher wealth then the Wealth by Level table (which is designed to give GMs an idea how much wealth to give PCs), and then dont make you pay for lodging or food. How awesome is that? and they let you make extra money at that day job! awesome!

    But lets look at your assertion that you should be earning "7.65g hourly" and that you have a variable "20-40 hour work week". Craft and profession checks do not produce an hourly wage but a weekly one, and the game generally assumes that any day you spend working you invest 8 hours. So your assertion here sounds like you don't know the Pathfinder rules for this subject, which makes your assertion of how PFS should handle it baffling.

    Craft checks provide "half your check result in gold pieces per week of dedicated work" So, at say level one you have 1 rank, plus 3 for a class skill, plus 3 for your stat. Lets say you splurged and got masterwork tools for an additional 2. Total of a 9 bonus for your check. that means, at best, you earn 14.5gp (half of 29) in a 40 hour week, or 0.3625 gp an hour. So already we know your statement is wrong. But thats because it lacks detail of the underlying assumptions. so lets determine what those are. earning 7.65gp/hour requires earnings of 306 gp for a 40 hour work week. that mean you got a check of 712. meaning, assuming you rolled a 20, you had a modifier of 692. I can't begin to figure out how you got that bonus. Even if I assume that number came out of a 20 hour work week, youd still need a skill bonus of 286. I call shenanigans. But maybe profession checks have better math. maybe you assumed a profession roll. Well, no, its the same math.

    I dont know how you came up with that number. Perhaps you found a price point for crafting a specific item, a low cost exotic weapon probably creates the best cost/time ratio for mundane gear, and did that math purely on that item. And have now extrapolated what you could, in theory earn and claimed it as what you should earn. But I really don't see how your numbers work out at all.

    Perhaps you give, and i know im harping on this word, a bit more detail. Show me how you got this number. Otherwise its just another broad, unsupported, and easily disproven statement.

    4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

    ChoasTicket, honestly, I think you came to PFS (and maybe Pathfinder in general) with certain suppositions that I hope by now we've proven to be false. That's fine, not everything is as advertised. But instead of you changing your suppositions to match the game, and change your behaviour with it, you want the game to change to match your suppositions. To a certain extent, that's possible, as John Compton said multiple times he's willing to listen to your complaints, but it can't change to match your desires 100%.

    PFS is, as you want it to be right now, probably not for you. But if you're willing to change your attitude to match the limitations of the game, you'll have a lot of fun. Sure, it's not Fallout, but lots of things aren't. Doesn't mean they're not fun.

    Community & Digital Content Director

    6 people marked this as a favorite.

    Removed a handful of personally abusive comments (calling out others as "trolls" isn't helpful, folks), including some that are lengthy (if you would like those for your reference, please ping community@paizo.com). Understand that text is imperfect in portraying intent, and that while someones experiences and points of view may differ from your own, it does not inherently indicate that they harbor ill will.

    This thread, however, seems to be getting rather circular and it seems the OP has been provided with a number of resources and advice. For now, I'm going to close it.

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