Scenarios cause Gameplay and class railroading?


Pathfinder Society

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Since I started playing In the Pathfinder Society Ive had problems with the numerous house rules limiting me. I want to make some difficult but rewarding characters like A Sorcerer and Bard but scenarios often are combat heavy. Characters I like become redundant and ones I dont I have to play so I can win.

Combat heavy scenarios are an uphill battle to survive for a small reward. Players cant keep anything. Economically I want to either have easy games or big rewards for difficult ones.

I like social scenarios as I can be something other than a beatstick and actually have fun.

I think about using warriors class as a multiclass crutch but retraining rules in the Pathfinder Society means I have to use all my Prestige to do so.

Scarab Sages

A sorcerer and/or a bard should be doing fine in PFS. They both can contribute well in combat, as long as they aren't the only ones there (and a sorcerer can be real good, as they are full casters). Plus, they can handle social situations when they come up, have versatility, and more!

Is there any scenario in particular, or a season that you've been having difficulty having fun with? Many scenarios try to balance social situations with combat, some more so than others, so it may be just a selection thing.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

What seasons have you been playing? Some seasons the scenarios get a little harder and there are always outliers but, in general, PFS shouldn't be that difficult.

It is definitely important in PFS to have a character who can contribute to combat. But you most certainly don't need to be a "beat stick" to do that. I've played quite a few bards and they contribute just fine to combat while being well rounded enough to contribute to many other parts of the game as well.

Without seeing your characters one can't know but it is possible that you're making characters that are a little too unfocused and general. This is particularly easy to do with a bard. While the class itself is insanely versatile and a bard can be built to fit just about any role in the party (including beat stick) any one character is MUCH less flexible and needs to have a focus or two. The Jack of All Trades is, in Pathfinder, truly the Master of None.


Well every character in the party needs to fight. Its not like "hmm this is too tough, lets withdraw". That could be a particular detail with the group I play with.

Here are something classes Ive made and want to play compared to what is more expected.

Sorcerer/Wizard Vs Magus, better strength, armor, and weapons
Cleric Vs Warpriest, better strength, armor, and weapons
Druid Vs Hunter, better strength, armor, and weapons
Bard Vs Skald, better strength, armor, and weapons

Skills, social ability, and magic are secondary to winning every fight through brute force.

Dark Archive 5/5

ChaosTicket wrote:
Well every character in the party needs to fight. Its not like "hmm this is too tough, lets withdraw". That could be a particular detail with the group I play with.

It's not that every character needs to fight, it's that every character needs to contribute during the fight. The easiest way to do that is with damage. But if you color spray/sleep/glitterdust/whatever and take out 2-3 goons, or Inspire and give everyone +1 to hit and damage, then you are contributing as much, if not more, than the guy smacking the thing with his sword. Hell, my investigator goes into combat if needs be and aids the main fighters or rogues by giving them flanks and using the aid another action. No one turns down a +3 to hit (Helpful trait).

There are lots of ways to contribute in combat without swinging a giant sword around.

1/5 5/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Keirine, Human Rogue wrote:
ChaosTicket wrote:
Well every character in the party needs to fight. Its not like "hmm this is too tough, lets withdraw". That could be a particular detail with the group I play with.

It's not that every character needs to fight, it's that every character needs to contribute during the fight. The easiest way to do that is with damage. But if you color spray/sleep/glitterdust/whatever and take out 2-3 goons, or Inspire and give everyone +1 to hit and damage, then you are contributing as much, if not more, than the guy smacking the thing with his sword. Hell, my investigator goes into combat if needs be and aids the main fighters or rogues by giving them flanks and using the aid another action. No one turns down a +3 to hit (Helpful trait).

There are lots of ways to contribute in combat without swinging a giant sword around.

There's a reason my ranged expert carries around supplemental gear on the off-chance the party runs into something that's immune to his particular armaments via ranged.

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

My Kitsune Mesmerist spent the entire Hall of Hungry Ghosts doing nothing more useful in combat than "I stand 10 feet behind A and use my whip to aid another his AC."

Between knowledge skills and diplomacy, anything with Bard in it should be more than pulling their weight just in number of combats avoided.

ChaosTicket wrote:


Sorcerer/Wizard Vs Magus, better strength, armor, and weapons
Cleric Vs Warpriest, better strength, armor, and weapons
Druid Vs Hunter, better strength, armor, and weapons
Bard Vs Skald, better strength, armor, and weapons

Umm... you are getting *very* bad advice.

Magus: Hi, you are a front line fighter with d8 hit points...
Warpriest: Yeah, war priests are cool, but Clerics get a *lot* of cool powers and domains.
Hunter: I personally *like* hunters better than druids, but have you seen what a wild shaping druid can do in combat? Built right, you can tear enemies apart.
Skald: Again, you don't actually have enough hit points to survive front line combat, but have to stay close to the front. Also, you give your friends +2-+3 damage, and in exchange they cant use any concentration feats, and it does nothing if they are melee based combatants. And only works within 30 feet. Bard, you can give +6 to hit and damage to every character in sight.

3/5 *** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro

Jared Thaler wrote:


Umm... you are getting *very* bad advice.

Magus: Hi, you are a front line fighter with d8 hit points...
Warpriest: Yeah, war priests are cool, but Clerics get a *lot* of cool powers and domains.
Hunter: I personally *like* hunters better than druids, but have you seen what a wild shaping druid can do in combat? Built right, you can tear enemies apart.
Skald: Again, you don't actually have enough hit points to survive front line combat, but have to stay close to the front. Also, you give your friends +2-+3 damage, and in exchange they cant use any concentration feats, and it does nothing if they are melee based combatants. And only works within 30 feet. Bard, you can give +6 to hit and damage to every character in sight.

Ehhh... The Magus is a perfectly good and if not borderline ridiculous front line fighter. One of the builds I was contemplating was a full plate magus whose AC is 24 at level 2 and does 2d6+7 damage. In fact I'd argue the tankiest classes are the d8. The primary issue is that the Magus gimmick isn't the same as the Wizard or Sorcerer.

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

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MadScientistWorking wrote:
Jared Thaler wrote:


Umm... you are getting *very* bad advice.

Magus: Hi, you are a front line fighter with d8 hit points...
Warpriest: Yeah, war priests are cool, but Clerics get a *lot* of cool powers and domains.
Hunter: I personally *like* hunters better than druids, but have you seen what a wild shaping druid can do in combat? Built right, you can tear enemies apart.
Skald: Again, you don't actually have enough hit points to survive front line combat, but have to stay close to the front. Also, you give your friends +2-+3 damage, and in exchange they cant use any concentration feats, and it does nothing if they are melee based combatants. And only works within 30 feet. Bard, you can give +6 to hit and damage to every character in sight.

Ehhh... The Magus is a perfectly good and if not borderline ridiculous front line fighter. One of the builds I was contemplating was a full plate magus whose AC is 24 at level 2 and does 2d6+7 damage. In fact I'd argue the tankiest classes are the d8. The primary issue is that the Magus gimmick isn't the same as the Wizard or Sorcerer.

A well built Magus can be terrifying. A not well built Magus dies very fast...

I would not be advising a player who wanted to play a sorcerer to play a magus. And yeah, wizard vs magus is kind of like suggesting someone wants to play an archer should instead play a two-weapon melee fighter.

Dark Archive 5/5

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
There's a reason my ranged expert carries around supplemental gear on the off-chance the party runs into something that's immune to his particular armaments via ranged.

Probably not what you're talking about, but there's a reason why I have a character in core who carries around 60 Blunt arrows, 60 Adamantine Blanched arrows, and 60 Cold Iron blanched arrows. I got them on certs, so I may as well help my Ranged friends be more prepared.


The things ive read here would be normal if this was about a regular campaigns, not Pathfinder Society scenarios.

Scenarios used Pathfinder Society are mostly dungeon crawls. Almost everything right now comes out based around Hit Chance, Damage, and AC.

Long-term goals like making a tier 9 Sorcerer that can cast Wish 7 times a day dont work when the scenarios are level 1-8 and you character has to retire by level 12, if you can even reach that.

Short-term decisions like multiclassing to have armor and martial weapons are more effective than planning to to make a Druid that transforms into a Giant and summons more Giants. Hybrid classes are short-term compromises. They can reach 18 strength at level 1 or 4, and have martial weaposn and armor removing the greatest reason to pick a Fighter or Barbarian. You dont have to worry about spells much as you wont reach the higher tiers.

So every decision becomes short-term. I personally design my characters in Roleplaying games as long-term so 60% of the character levels are out of my reach and this results in limited character options. I really dont fit in the Pathfinder Society campaign, but its all I have.


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Bards are amazeballs in PFS! I don't play one myself yet, but I love seeing one when I sit down.

Every +1 to hit you give is worth an extra 5% of a character's damage. Even at level 1, that adds up.

My level 1 Barbarian expects to do 10.31 to a CR 1 foe while raging, Inspired it goes up to 11.75. Now do that four more times, since you're buffing everyone at once. That's an extra 7 damage a round, and you did it using the party as your weapons.

2/5

ChaosTicket wrote:

The things ive read here would be normal if this was about a regular campaigns, not Pathfinder Society scenarios.

Scenarios used Pathfinder Society are mostly dungeon crawls. Almost everything right now comes out based around Hit Chance, Damage, and AC.

That's not entirely true, there are scenarios more social (the blackros matrimony, p.e) anothers you don't even enter in a dungeoun (I've explored a jungle), an so on. But in most of them combat happens, I only know of 2 which can be completly resolved without combat at all.

ChaosTicket wrote:

So every decision becomes short-term. I personally design my characters in Roleplaying games as long-term so 60% of the character levels are out of my reach and this results in limited character options. I really dont fit in the Pathfinder Society campaign, but its all I have.

You can try to think the game is designed only up to level 12 and desig accordingly. Yes is not the best solution, but as you said that's all you have.

Personally I don't see a problem with this, but that's because my home games tend to run shorter, so in either case I'll never have the opportunity to play such sorcerer. If you had home games in which you can play so high level characters, great for you, but until then, forget level's 13+ exist.

P.D. I'm not telling the whole truth, there are enough PFS modules to reach level 20, but nowadays its only possible for one or two characters, so it's a hard option.

Silver Crusade 1/5

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You seem to be under the impression that everything but a martial class is useless in combat and that you get ostracized if you dare to pick anything with less then a d10 as a hit die.
Nothing could be further from the truth, in my opinion.
Pathfinder classes are (by design) all useful in combat. This is not Shadowrun or The Dark Eye where characters can be completly aimed towards something non-combat related (a Face in Shadowrun, a courtesan in TDE). Sure, not every character get Min-Maxed to hell, but as long as you don't turn up with a Wizard 1/Fighter 1/Cleric 1/Ranger 1 equipped with a dagger and nothing else you should be fine.

While it is true that most scenarios feature combat and are quite...let's call it guided, my groups never had that many problems with the combat. There were problems, however, when the whole group consisted of beatsticks, only wanted to flatten a few monsters, had no ranks in Diplomacy, Bluff, Intimidate or any Knowledge not needed to identify a monster and so on.

And even if it's a combat heavy scenario - the most effective sorcerers and wizards I've seen were the ones going at the problem creatively. Sure, on first level the wizard will probably not out-damage the fighter with a few magic missles. He can, however, turn the tide of battle with a simple Enlarge Person or Color Spray. And don't get me started with invisible enemies when nobody is able to cast Glitterdust...

Strength, Armor and Weapons is not all. It helps on the lower levels, sure. But they are pretty much useless outside of combat and even in combat not all that's important.
And I want to see the player who voluntarily plays a character that won't get useful until level 8 in a normal campaign. "See, I'm playing a druid - he's gonna be useless for the next one and a half years, but watch me afterwards!"

If you don't mind me asking, how many scenarios have you played so far?

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 ***

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I can say that my batttlefield control sorcerer probably did the least direct damage of any character in the last scenario she played. Despite this, she was the single most effective character in the combats she experienced, helping her team win.

She gave the party a protective perimeter against an evil summoned swarm with Magic Circle vs Evil; took out an entire cadre of drow archers with a stinking cloud; hasted the martials, blinded a drake with glitterdust and provided endless cover and support to bring an epic fight into manageable levels.

There's an interesting essay out there called the Forge of Combat about how to balance parties for win. The basic idea of it is that the ideal combat party mix has people who can fight, people who can control the battlefield and people who can provide support (bards, life oracles, etc) and help everyone fight better and longer.

In PFS, it's best to have a mix. Everyone should contribute to combat, but contributing to combat does not have to be picking up a weapon. Sure, a party of all sorcerers is likely to die pretty quick. But the same can be said for a party of all martials facing a fight that includes nasty magic and is tilted against them.

Every class, built right, can contribute. You just have to know from the start what you have to offer and be very creative about it.

Hmm

The Exchange 4/5 5/5

I think you're confronted with two issues.

First, it sounds like you are very low level at the moment. You are correct that casters do have it rough until they get 3rd level spells. Very rough until they get second level spells. Because when all you have is 3-5 spells a day, you can't take a "powerful" action every round. Believe me, I know. I play an arcanist and levels 1-3 were painful as I just used "aid another" actions 90% of the time.

So see how you like them once you get higher level spells. Don't try to multiclass and take even longer to get those spells.

ChaosTicket wrote:

...Long-term goals like making a tier 9 Sorcerer that can cast Wish 7 times a day dont work when the scenarios are level 1-8 and you character has to retire by level 12, if you can even reach that.

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So every decision becomes short-term. I personally design my characters in Roleplaying games as long-term so 60% of the character levels are out of my reach and this results in limited character options. I really dont fit in the Pathfinder Society campaign, but its all I have.

Expectations/Desires.

It sounds like that's a big issue. You won't be able to get the "most powerful" abilities of casters so you are thinking in the back of your mind "it's not worth it." But casters are useful for far more than just the top level spells. Much of the time haste is the most useful combat action anyone can take. Lower level spells like glitterdust win an amazing number of combats.

So if you want to play a martial character and be in the thick of things every round, that's fine. But don't dismiss casters because they aren't going to be winning every fight at first and second level.

Dark Archive 4/5

Hi there! my first character was a sorcerer... who starting at level 8 needed to always hold back - hence an "arrogant" play style of not alpha striking. He played with a bard who played a dumbed down wis 8 just to keep things interesting - but in combat was a terror his entire career. (for the record at 18th level these guys are still a ton of fun)

Then there's my pacifist who will not voluntarily fight except against undead. Just for a nice twist.

PFS scenarios are not particularily difficult in general - and every class can be played effectively. Social scenarios are the best and there are plenty of great ones. Bronze House Reprisal was the greatest game I ever played and there was only one single d20 rolled in combat (a counterspell) the entire scenario.

The game is what you and your table compatriots make it.

4/5 5/5

There is a Season 7 scenario (I'll let the peanut gallery identify which one I'm talking about) where there is exactly one combat, set right at the beginning of the game. The next 2 to 3 hours involves social gaming at a series of dinner parties where the Pathfinders have to use their skills to influence a variety of personalities in order to complete the mission.

Needless to say, it really helps to have a bard or two in this scenario. If you show up with a party of min/max'ed "axe potatoes" that dumped all their charisma, you're probably not going to have a very good time.

So it really depends on which scenarios someone is talking about. Some are almost exclusively combat, some are focused on social interaction and most (in my opinion) try to be a mix of both.

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

Also, even in those dungeon crawls, you can easily fail your second prestige if you don't have the right knowledges to get all the clues.

What scenarios have you played so far?

Scarab Sages 5/5 5/5 * Venture-Captain, Netherlands

Color spray saved my behind SO many times...


Those are some general tips, but many of them are not related to the Pathfinder Society Campaign. The limitations are major. You cannot sleep to regain spells/special abilities(by choice), run away from encounters, use diplomacy to avoid fights or acquire loot permanenetly.

Thats why its railroading.

3/5

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ChaosTicket wrote:

Those are some general tips, but many of them are not related to the Pathfinder Society Campaign. The limitations are major. You cannot sleep to regain spells/special abilities(by choice), run away from encounters, use diplomacy to avoid fights or acquire loot permanenetly.

Thats why its railroading.

Literally none of this is true.

Dark Archive 4/5

I think your definition of railroading is pretty broad. The Pathfinder Society as an in game entity has a well defined set of goals and motivations. It is fair to say that as a result that some combinations are more conducive to the organization, as one focused on exploration and the unknown it places more of a premium on generalist characters that can do a mix of skills, magic and combat. So Bards, Investigators, Alchemists tend to be easy to build into society play but from a roleplaying perspective that makes a ton of sense. That said in the 80 or so scenarios I've played at I've seen a large variety of builds and people come up with all manner of entertaining combinations and justifications. The above mentioned Bronze House scenario turned out wildly different for example when I played it, and Andrew and I are in the same area. In some scenarios you can actually sleep, actually a decent number, I see diplomacy used frequently to avoid fights. In fact there is another season 7 scenario (having DMed it now) that in the text gives both combat at non-combat options for the entire scenario. When I played it we ended up in combat for everyone because we didn't have any diplomacy specialists. Whereas when I DMed it they only ended up fighting 1 thing.

You might be having local play issues moreso then a campaign issue, different players are more or less likely to try strategies besides kick the door in and loot the place.

Dark Archive 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
ChaosTicket wrote:

Those are some general tips, but many of them are not related to the Pathfinder Society Campaign. The limitations are major. You cannot sleep to regain spells/special abilities(by choice), run away from encounters, use diplomacy to avoid fights or acquire loot permanenetly.

Thats why its railroading.

Why is it that you believe these things? A notion of what scenario's you've played, and what leads you to these beliefs, might help us seem like we're listening to your concerns rather than dismissing them.

I will say that the last one is definitely both true.... and false. And part of the organized play abstraction that some "bad old days" explanation can clear up.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Ryzoken wrote:
ChaosTicket wrote:

Those are some general tips, but many of them are not related to the Pathfinder Society Campaign. The limitations are major. You cannot sleep to regain spells/special abilities(by choice), run away from encounters, use diplomacy to avoid fights or acquire loot permanenetly.

Thats why its railroading.

Literally none of this is true.

Virtually all of it is true for some scenarios. Now a lot of it is difficult to avoid while constructing scenarios for the organized play environment, but not all of it - "You have to go straight from the briefing into the mission with no prep time" for no good reason is pretty common.

That said, most of what the OP said about classes is way off base. Literally all of those classes listed as not good enough are actually quite powerful. (Magus does some stuff Sorc/Wiz don't, but they fill very different roles.)

Dark Archive 5/5

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ChaosTicket wrote:

Those are some general tips, but many of them are not related to the Pathfinder Society Campaign. The limitations are major. You cannot sleep to regain spells/special abilities(by choice), run away from encounters, use diplomacy to avoid fights or acquire loot permanenetly.

Thats why its railroading.

99% of the people in this thread play PFS, and are telling you what works in PFS. A good majority of them GM, and a fair number organize games or work in some other capacity to make sure people have fun.

So, to be 100% crystal clear, in PFS you can:

  • Sleep to regain spells and abilities
  • Run away from encounters
  • Use diplomacy to circumvent combats
  • Acquire loot permanently (You do have to purchase it, but the gold you earn on your chronicle sheets is generally enough for almost anything you want)

Now, you may not always be able to do these things - for example, the GM probably won't let you rest if you're on a strict schedule - but you are allowed, and in some cases encouraged, to be more than just a murderhobo. I know this, because I have done each and every one of those things over the course of my PFS career.

Is it possible that the problem isn't in PFS, but in the local playerbase? If the local player base really like to play Bashie McCrushalots then yes, it's going to be harder to develop social/knowledge characters. Have you tried contacting your local VA/VL/VC to see if there are other PFS games in your area that you can try?

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

I can say that my batttlefield control sorcerer probably did the least direct damage of any character in the last scenario she played.

Hmm

I've got several high level characters who virtually never do any damage. My bard sometimes uses Blistering Invective but almost completely because its amusing as heck to me. My wizard (currently L13 going through Eyes of Ten) has, I believe, NEVER cast a directly damaging spell and only occassionally uses a wand of magic missile or stone call.

I assure you, they all contribute greatly even to the nearly pure combat scenarios. And, despite the OPs experience, there are a great many scenarios that are far more than combat. My social characters probably AVERAGE avoiding at least one encounter per scenario.

The only objection the OP has that bears any weight is that PFS is oriented to the low to upper middle tiers. Although the same can be said for a great many campaigns.

At higher levels (I'd argue the problem becomes quite noticeable at level 8 or so) the disparity in capability in different groups becomes so vast that it is nearly impossible for Paizo to create scenarios that are challenging to all when they have to be Run As Written. It just can't be done.

5/5 5/55/55/5

ChaosTicket wrote:
Since I started playing In the Pathfinder Society Ive had problems with the numerous house rules limiting me. I want to make some difficult but rewarding characters like A Sorcerer and Bard but scenarios often are combat heavy. Characters I like become redundant and ones I dont I have to play so I can win.

Do you mean a sorcerer and a bard or one character who is a sorcerer and a bard?

If its the former the sorcerer is a full arcane caster, one of the most powerful in the game.

If the later, bards do very well in pfs as the preponderance of melee, focus on knowledges, skills, and diverse abilities.

It's not a house rule that keeps the later from being far from optimal, the game mechanics just don't make it work very well. If however you figure out what you want out of a bard/sorcerer you can probably get the mechanics you want by archtypes abilities feats and items even if you're going to have to rent a munchkin.

Quote:
Combat heavy scenarios are an uphill battle to survive for a small reward. Players cant keep anything. Economically I want to either have easy games or big rewards for difficult ones.

You do keep things. Thats where you loot comes from.

PFS characters are usually well over WBL guidelines and the loot is custom tailored for their character thanks to the very magic mart nature of the game.

Quote:
I like social scenarios as I can be something other than a beatstick and actually have fun.

Right, but you don't need to be a bard to have social skills. Sorcerers make sick diplomancers on their own.

Quote:
I think about using warriors class as a multiclass crutch but retraining rules in the Pathfinder Society means I have to use all my Prestige to do so.

Usually easier to start a new character if it's getting that bad.

Paizo Employee 4/5 Pathfinder Society Lead Developer

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ChaosTicket wrote:

Those are some general tips, but many of them are not related to the Pathfinder Society Campaign. The limitations are major. You cannot sleep to regain spells/special abilities(by choice), run away from encounters, use diplomacy to avoid fights or acquire loot permanenetly.

Thats why its railroading.

To add to several other baffled members of the organized play community, you're presenting some strange suppositions.

  • Some scenarios have time limits based principally on the story (e.g. "We need to rescue these people before Bad Things happen!"), but most are fairly flexible when it comes to resting and regaining spells. In practice, I find most groups rest rarely, in large part because scenarios are designed to draw upon—but rarely exhaust entirely—the PCs' resources. This varies a little adventure to adventure.
  • Running away is an under-appreciated way to handle a tough encounter. In organized play, some encounters end irrevocably if the PCs decisively disengage, but the PCs can return to most encounters in a meaningful way to try again with a new strategy or new prepared spells. As with resting above, those exceptions are usually based on context (e.g. "The villain's trying to escape but is also really strong! This might be our only chance!")
  • The mechanics of loot acquisition are a little strange in organized play in large part because we want to ensure that everyone has a fair shot at acquiring a cool new item, not leave loot distribution to popular vote, aggressive dibs-calling, or attempting to carve out equal shares from an unequal pile of treasure. It's odd from a metagame sense, but it's a system that's proven very popular and reasonable with participants.
  • There are few strategies I enjoy more than applying Diplomacy to avert violence, having designed and played several such characters in both home games and organized play. I believe in it so strongly that a soft design principle for building scenarios since early Season 5 is to include an encounter that the PCs can overcome with guile, words, or other nonviolent means. Sometimes there are even more such opportunities, and rarely there are none.

    So take it from the guy who outlines, assigns, and (with invaluable help from Linda Zayas-Palmer) develops the adventures in which you say these tips don't apply: These tips apply.

  • The Exchange 5/5

    ChaosTicket wrote:

    Since I started playing In the Pathfinder Society Ive had problems with the numerous house rules limiting me. I want to make some difficult but rewarding characters like A Sorcerer and Bard but scenarios often are combat heavy. Characters I like become redundant and ones I dont I have to play so I can win.

    If you are out to "win" then you're possibly coming in with the wrong mindset. Try changing your mindset to "having fun" and "relaxing with friends" and see if that changes your attitude.

    My first character is a sorceress, with the exception of a couple of spells, she is 99% pure CRB. She was challenging, enormously fun and had I made different choices when creating her wouldn't have been as fun. A lot of times it's about your feat, or spell or whatever choices that can make or break a character.

    I've seen bards played as pure support character and stood there in combat with a glass of wine and a guitar being support and helping that way. Not every character has to be the special snowflake that takes the spotlight. Sometimes it's nice to let others at the table shine instead of always having to be the special snowflake.

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

    Speaking of home games, my wife played a character who specialized in getting paid three or more times for the same job. "so, you want Joe the fence to leave town or die? Sure we can do that for you.". "hey Joe, we found out someone wants you dead. If you pay us,we will smuggle you out of town, grab your best loot and lets go." "(anonymously)Hey sherrif, I heard there is a reward for information leading to solving that diamond heist last month. I heard the fence got spooked and I on the run. You can pick him up in the culvert a mile outside town. Just drop the reward down the sewer grate at 4th and J.". (Technically, all of it was true, and all jobs were carried out as promised.)

    She hasn't quite pulled it off in PFS, but not for want of trying.

    5/5 *** Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

    There's at least one scenario where that sort of approach might be quite rewarding.

    Silver Crusade 4/5

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    As others have mentioned, I'd be curious to know what adventures the OP has played. There are plenty of dungeon crawls in the early seasons, but more recent adventures (especially season 7) have seemed to focus much more on skills and diplomacy than those early seasons.

    Yes, running out of spells for the day is always going to be a concern for spellcasters, especially at low level. Spend your first 2 prestige on a wand of Magic Missile, and your sorcerer will always have something to do. Actually, I recently saw a level 2 wizard dominate a 1-2 with a wand of Color Spray. You'd think DC 11 wouldn't work often enough to bother, but the bad guys had such low will saves that he was knocking half the enemies out to start every encounter, then running away while us beat sticks mopped up the remainder.

    And it's been a while since I've posted this, so here's my general character building advice that I post every couple of months around here:

    When I make a new PC, I try to answer 4 questions (used to be 3, but I ended up with a couple of boring PCs, so added a 4th):

    1. What's this character's specialty in combat? As long as the PC can do something that helps the party succeed in a fight, this can be anything, not just dealing damage, but make sure you're actually good at whatever this is. You don't have to be uber-optimized, but make sure you can contribute.

    2. What does this character do in combat when they're specialty isn't an option? This is things like having a ranged weapon even though your character is a melee beast, or an enchantment based character having something they can do when facing mindless foes. Also, everyone should try to get some splash weapons for use against swarms, though that might have to wait until after your first adventure to be able to afford it.

    3. What does this character do outside of combat? This isn't just for personality, this is also making sure you have something useful to contribute between fights. Sometimes, it's diplomacy or other face skills, even if it's just enough of a bonus to be the "aid another" guy behind the main face. Sometimes, it's knowledges, sense motive, or whatever other skills could come in handy between fights.

    4. What personality traits will you be able to actively portray at the table? The above 3 questions are designed to make a playable PC by giving them something useful to do in most situations. This question was added afterwards to make a fun character. I had a couple of PCs that were mechanically interesting, but didn't have a personality. Or they had a detailed back story, but that didn't really give me something to role play at the table. This is about giving your PC personality, whether it's a distinctive voice, an obsession that you can play up, or whatever other quirk makes the PC fun to play.

    5/5 ** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht

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    Note: This might seem as overly blunt, but I don't mean to offend. My apologies if I do so anyway. I've seen this guy post multiple times and it's always the same.

    ChaosTicket, I've seen you post several times, and most of them are complaints about PFS. Multiple people have asked you to provide information to help you out and you never deliver. Looks like you're a new-ish player who doesn't really have the system mastery to understand how the game works. It might be that you just play with a toxic group, but I assure you, most parties would jump at the chance to play with a Bard or Sorcerer. Sure, you can't be awesome all the time (you run out of spells really quickly at low-level if you're not careful), but if you're careful, you can contribute in every fight. Clerics get first-level domain powers they can fire off, Sorcerers have something similar, and Wizards have school abilities. Practically every spellcasting class has a backup method of contributing in a fight, even if it's just "I shoot it with my crossbow." There's no reason why you should blow your load in the first encounter and be useless thereafter.

    My advice to you is: listen to the posters here and learn from it. Either you educate yourself in this game, or just accept Pathfinder Society might not be for you. Continually whining about how you don't have any fun but refusing to change your behaviour doesn't solve anything.

    3/5

    man and here I thought this thread was going to be about fighters and other low skill point classes being biased against lol!

    the classes you list above are all amazing in PFS...I'd suggest making an advice thread for whichever one you want to run with, and rough concept. People will help you get there.

    1/5

    ChaosTicket wrote:

    Those are some general tips, but many of them are not related to the Pathfinder Society Campaign. The limitations are major. You cannot sleep to regain spells/special abilities(by choice), run away from encounters, use diplomacy to avoid fights or acquire loot permanenetly.

    Thats why its railroading.

    Are you sure you're playing PFS?

    I've had parties sleep and regain spells both as a player and a GM.

    I've never seen a party run away from a combat encounter because they are all so easy.

    I've frequently used diplomacy to avoid combat.

    You seem to fundamentally not understand the loot mechanics. BTW on this topic wealth by level in PFS is far higher that it is in any home game I've run or played in in my 35 years of playing D&D and Pathfinder.

    Lantern Lodge 5/5

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    Blackbot wrote:
    Sure, not every character get Min-Maxed to hell, but as long as you don't turn up with a Wizard 1/Fighter 1/Cleric 1/Ranger 1 equipped with a dagger and nothing else you should be fine.

    Challenge Accepted.

    4/5 *

    ChaosTicket wrote:
    (...)so I can win.

    I don't understand this comment - you can't "win" Pathfinder. You also can't "lose" unless you do exactly what you are choosing to do: play characters you don't like.

    Silver Crusade 4/5

    Jeff Hazuka wrote:
    Blackbot wrote:
    Sure, not every character get Min-Maxed to hell, but as long as you don't turn up with a Wizard 1/Fighter 1/Cleric 1/Ranger 1 equipped with a dagger and nothing else you should be fine.
    Challenge Accepted.

    I'm not sure if there's a way to get a viable PC like that. Now, if you were allowed 2 daggers, then you'd be on to something.

    4/5

    Using diplomacy to avoid combat? You mean like my diplomat paladin walking to the front and taking 10 for a 30 to convince a metallic dragon we were not enemies? Or convincing a group of NPCs in the Worldwound that another NPC was trustworthy despite her partially demonic appearance? Nope, never happens in PFS, right?

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

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    Jessex wrote:
    ChaosTicket wrote:

    Those are some general tips, but many of them are not related to the Pathfinder Society Campaign. The limitations are major. You cannot sleep to regain spells/special abilities(by choice), run away from encounters, use diplomacy to avoid fights or acquire loot permanenetly.

    Thats why its railroading.

    Are you sure you're playing PFS?

    I've never seen a party run away from a combat encounter because they are all so easy.

    I have had PCs run twice now, at least.

    One time they got stuck in the middle of a fight between two CR +5 groups, and were like "Yeah, no, one of the 4 armed gorillas that killed our fighter twice in one round just got reverse pealed like a banana by a tree that is now ripping it's roots out of the ground to come after us, we are leaving. Now!"

    The other time the barbarian had grabbed a hostage, and then the fight started going bad. "What do you do" "First I rage." "Then what?" "Then I full withdraw, and head for the exit as fast as I can." (He was staggered, and needed to rage before he withdrew so he didn't bleed out. But in game, he *literally* rage quit.)

    Silver Crusade 4/5

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    Or there's the occasional possibility of using non-social skills to avoid a combat. I once skipped two encounters in a PFS adventure with a really good profession: sailor roll.

    Liberty's Edge 4/5 ** Venture-Agent, California—Los Angeles (South Bay)

    In a recent adventure, a player was able to use Bluff to avoid a combat.

    I think one thing we can do is make sure that our characters can do more than one thing. I have seen characters with low charisma scores make convincing arguments and try to aid another. I have seen characters learn the importance of not being a one-trick pony, and have back up weapons.

    Scarab Sages

    ChaosTicket wrote:

    Since I started playing In the Pathfinder Society Ive had problems with the numerous house rules limiting me. I want to make some difficult but rewarding characters like A Sorcerer and Bard but scenarios often are combat heavy. Characters I like become redundant and ones I dont I have to play so I can win.

    Combat heavy scenarios are an uphill battle to survive for a small reward. Players cant keep anything. Economically I want to either have easy games or big rewards for difficult ones.

    I like social scenarios as I can be something other than a beatstick and actually have fun.

    I think about using warriors class as a multiclass crutch but retraining rules in the Pathfinder Society means I have to use all my Prestige to do so.

    Might be an issue with the GM, but it could just be your party or your character build.

    Most scenarios can be resolved without combat, even if the scenario is designed so combat must happen at a certain point. To do this, you would really need to specialize in combat denial. Then you'd role play and use abilities that eliminate combat from the session entirely. This will really annoy the more bloodthirsty party members, but it can be done if you build the character for it.

    As for character rewards, most scenarios clarify to the GM that certain chronicle sheet items get crossed off if the party doesn't find them or gives them away during the adventure. Not meeting certain conditions means less prestige points. Some adventures also give less gold if certain conditions aren't met, too. So there is that in terms of the economics of adventuring.

    As for use to the party, every class can be just as viable as every other one, provided you use them in a manner that contributes. Even just being that party member that is just average at everything and doesn't die, can actually be very useful to have in the party.

    I'd go with high CHA if you want to avoid combat, with some of the best classes being those with Wild Empathy variants, as many of those offer non-combat methods to communicate with normally non-communicate-able opponents. Bloodline Sorcerers with the option to charm otherwise un-charm-able opponents can also be amazing for negating combat.

    Stealth can work too, as can disguises, and bluff/diplomacy.

    Paladins, on the other hand, are one of the worst classes for avoiding combat, as they often are seemingly unable to peacefully interact with certain types of creatures. Barbarians too, though that is a player thing, not a mechanic.

    That said, still all depends role playing and the party. If you want to make a Scenario social, just try.

    5/5

    A ton of scenarios can absolutely be talked through, at least most of the way. It's not uncommon for there to be at least one basically unavoidable combat. I mean, gotta leave the beatsticks SOMETHING to do, right? There's definitely enough stuff to do in most scenarios for every type of character to have their chance to shine.

    Scarab Sages

    zefig wrote:
    A ton of scenarios can absolutely be talked through, at least most of the way. It's not uncommon for there to be at least one basically unavoidable combat. I mean, gotta leave the beatsticks SOMETHING to do, right? There's definitely enough stuff to do in most scenarios for every type of character to have their chance to shine.

    Those beatsticks can carry my gear...

    But yeah, even if you could think up a non-combat answer to every encounter, you'd still have to have it on your PC or in the party. And it can be done, but you'll probably end up with at least a few combats in every session.

    Scarab Sages 5/5 5/55/55/5

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    Fromper wrote:
    Or there's the occasional possibility of using non-social skills to avoid a combat. I once skipped two encounters in a PFS adventure with a really good profession: sailor roll.

    It's amazing how much damage to the local flora and fauna can be prevented with a tasty snack.

    And to pathfinders too.

    Scarab Sages 2/5

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    ChaosTicket wrote:

    Those are some general tips, but many of them are not related to the Pathfinder Society Campaign. The limitations are major. You cannot sleep to regain spells/special abilities(by choice), run away from encounters, use diplomacy to avoid fights or acquire loot permanenetly.

    Thats why its railroading.

    Im really confused where all my character's gear comes from. /sarc

    Really, I see plenty of sorcerers, and bards of all types and flavors. Neither is, on its face, particularly difficult to build or play and I had a level 4 sorcerer in PFS back when playing fit my schedule.

    You say all thinking is short term. Ive had entire campaigns that spanned a smaller level swath than pathfinder society. Moreover you claim that because you end at level 12 you are forced to make short term decisions. absolutely not. my rage prophet wasnt ideal for several levels, but was still fun to play and when it hit the ideal level of 7, it got even better. The ability to Two Handed Power Attack with an 18 strength is not "the best reason to be a fighter or barbarian", and only short term thinking would conclude that. In fact, id argue that your real problem is pathfinder itself. you see the system in general in very two dimensional terms.

    Just looking at your class comparisons, you focus on one aspect of the character and hyperspecialize. Even your "long term" goals that you talk about are about being able to do one thing. but classes can fill lots of different roles,, and some classes fit some roles better than others. A wizard is good at things a magus isnt, namely utility. A sorcerer is better at flexability. You think that in pathfinder brute physical force is all that matters. but its all in how you build, and in how good your gm's are. Unless its a custom campaign, you will keep running into these problems. Published campaigns might get you to level 17 for those wish spells right at the absolute end, but you certainly arent getting 7 of them. Yes as a caster you sometimes need a weapon based combat role, but you are seriously over emphasising the focus you need to put on it. A light crossbow is a perfectly fine way for your scorcerer to fill out a low level spell slump. And at high levels arcane casters are more about utility than blasting. but if you plan you'll be Ok.

    As for giving 9th-level casters unfettered access to more optimal weapons - Why would we need the other classes than? Same with arcane classes and armor - the tradeoffs are there for a reason.

    Really, your hangups about winning are railroading you far more than the houserules. Over all your complaints are pretty broadly applicable to pathfinder and dont come down to any PFS houserules.

    Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

    Fromper wrote:
    Jeff Hazuka wrote:
    Blackbot wrote:
    Sure, not every character get Min-Maxed to hell, but as long as you don't turn up with a Wizard 1/Fighter 1/Cleric 1/Ranger 1 equipped with a dagger and nothing else you should be fine.
    Challenge Accepted.
    I'm not sure if there's a way to get a viable PC like that. Now, if you were allowed 2 daggers, then you'd be on to something.

    I'm pretty sure that you also need a spell component pouch, holy symbol AND loin cloth :-)

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

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    Paul Jackson wrote:
    Fromper wrote:
    Jeff Hazuka wrote:
    Blackbot wrote:
    Sure, not every character get Min-Maxed to hell, but as long as you don't turn up with a Wizard 1/Fighter 1/Cleric 1/Ranger 1 equipped with a dagger and nothing else you should be fine.
    Challenge Accepted.
    I'm not sure if there's a way to get a viable PC like that. Now, if you were allowed 2 daggers, then you'd be on to something.
    I'm pretty sure that you also need a spell component pouch, holy symbol AND loin cloth :-)

    Eschew Materials, Holy Symbol Birthmark Trait.

    Can't help you on the loin cloth.

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