Announcing Upcoming 2017 PBP Conventions and Gamedays


Online Play

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

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Hello All! Mark your calendars for a number of PBP events coming up in 2017:

Blood Under Absalom, a multi-table special PbP gameday
Overseer GM: Shifty
Starts: Friday January 13th, 2017

Cosmic Captive, a multi-table special PBP gameday
Overseer GM: TBA
Main Contact: GM Hmm
Starts: Friday June 9th, 2017

PBP Gameday VI
Starts Friday, August. 25th, 2017
For this gameday, we'll be running a wide variety of scenarios and modules, as well as the multi-table special Siege of the Diamond City
Main Contact: GM Hmm

Have questions? Comments? Feel free to post here or inquire via Paizo PM.

Hmm

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Here's More Information on Blood Under Absalom including signups and more!

Hmm

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber

I see that Blood Under Absalom is again going to be run in the 6 weeks pace, which myself I've found unworkable for a PbP gameday. (I know it works for some other people. And I made it work for me once. The second time... I got through, but it was incredibly stressful.)

Any possibility that the Cosmic Captive gameday will be run on a different schedule? I'd like to see if we as a community could think about ways of having a PbP special work other than forcing all tables to run at the fastest conceivable PbP speed. There is this issue that if you go too slow, some tables either get way too many victory points (or whatever the scenario is considering), or spend time idling and twiddling their thumbs. But, if you go too fast, tables get left behind, or they don't accomplish as much as they could have, or people get very stressed. The problem is that "too slow" and "too fast" differ from GM to GM. I know lots of people complete a PFS scenario in 6 weeks. Myself, 2-3 months is more reasonable; if one takes more than 3 months, then I think it's been slow. (And, yes, some of the ones I've run have been slow.)

Honestly, I'm not sure what the answer is myself.

Sovereign Court

rknop wrote:
Any possibility that the Cosmic Captive gameday will be run on a different schedule? I'd like to see if we as a community could think about ways of having a PbP special work other than forcing all tables to run at the fastest conceivable PbP speed.

What about counting in terms of actions? For example, a table gets X number of combat rounds in the scenario and Y number of skill checks for non-combat encounters.

Also, I'm interested in GMing for both CC and GDVI.

1/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
GM Granta wrote:
rknop wrote:
Any possibility that the Cosmic Captive gameday will be run on a different schedule? I'd like to see if we as a community could think about ways of having a PbP special work other than forcing all tables to run at the fastest conceivable PbP speed.

What about counting in terms of actions? For example, a table gets X number of combat rounds in the scenario and Y number of skill checks for non-combat encounters.

Also, I'm interested in GMing for both CC and GDVI.

To be fair and honest, that feeling of 'running slow/running fast' is not just a Play By Post phenomenon. It happened at the live running of Captive at GenCon at SKALCon, too.

Not quite sure what could be done to fix that, though?

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

Rob, you probably noticed that I haven't listed end dates for Cosmic Captive yet. That's because we're still discussing what we can do here. The standard conversion rate for specials is 5 minutes = 1 day of gameplay. For older specials, I actually think that works pretty well. There's less going on, and it easier for a GM to keep up with the frenetic pace. The pace is intended to mimic the high speed and high stress of these specials when played in person. They're scenarios designed to be pressure cookers for GMs and players alike.

As you noted, the big challenge with PBP multitables is that we all move at different speeds. If we go too slow, we run the risk of fast tables faltering because they get bored with nothing to do. If we run too fast, we risk leaving tables behind, confusion and GM burnout. The last special, Sky Key Solution, had supremely high stakes and a ton of complexity. We had a lot of very stressed GMs throughout, and I think that contributed to the GM burnout towards the end of the last PbP gameday.

If anything, Cosmic Captive is even more complex. To that end, I decided to put it into its own game day rather than embed it into PBP Gameday VI. I'm going to be asking the GMs who sign up for it to GM fewer games alongside it than they normally would. In fact, I'm hoping that most of our Cosmic Captive GMs choose to make the game their sole focus this time around. We're still discussing the timing of this extremely challenging special.

We're going to be instituting one change with Shifty's Blood Under Absalom special: backup GMs to cover GM vacations, illnesses and absences and seeing how this works. I'm also looking at a way that we can address GM expectations of how much they're supposed to be finishing. In Sky Key Solution, there were times when it was possible to skip encounters, and there was an optional encounter that offered no victory points. In face to face specials, most GMs don't finish everything. So in the PBP versions, maybe we can help GMs that are falling behind figure out what they can skip, and how they can focus their efforts moving forward.

I'd love to have suggestions and ideas, because I want to make the process for this better for everyone.

Hmm

Liberty's Edge Venture-Agent, Online

rknop wrote:

I see that Blood Under Absalom is again going to be run in the 6 weeks pace, which myself I've found unworkable for a PbP gameday. (I know it works for some other people. And I made it work for me once. The second time... I got through, but it was incredibly stressful.)

Any possibility that the Cosmic Captive gameday will be run on a different schedule? I'd like to see if we as a community could think about ways of having a PbP special work other than forcing all tables to run at the fastest conceivable PbP speed. There is this issue that if you go too slow, some tables either get way too many victory points (or whatever the scenario is considering), or spend time idling and twiddling their thumbs. But, if you go too fast, tables get left behind, or they don't accomplish as much as they could have, or people get very stressed. The problem is that "too slow" and "too fast" differ from GM to GM. I know lots of people complete a PFS scenario in 6 weeks. Myself, 2-3 months is more reasonable; if one takes more than 3 months, then I think it's been slow. (And, yes, some of the ones I've run have been slow.)

Honestly, I'm not sure what the answer is myself.

I sympathize and I know we've discussed this on Myth Weavers, but here's my take on it. You're supposed to feel that way with a special. Part of a special, is that constant feeling of being under pressure for time, wondering if you've done enough to carry your share of the load. It's not for everyone, and it's not supposed to be. (Just like Bonekeep isn't for me.)

The issue here is that Myth Weavers tends to run games at a slower pace than Paizo. One observation I've made is that on Myth Weavers, posting tends to almost halt over the weekend, where that is not the case on Paizo. At best we might get the same activity over a weekend that we would during a single weekday. So while tables on Paizo might take advantage of 40 days of activity or so during those 6 weeks, that might only equate to about 30-35 days of activity on Myth Weavers.

I'm not sure there is much we can continue to do other than set expectations going into it. Make sure that people who sign up know that the expectation is that they will be able to post all 7 days each week.

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

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What if every 30 minutes of gameplay were considered a week for PbP? That would be like having a 6 day work week with a day off. Would that be enough to make up for the expected downtime seen on MythWeavers? I know that there are some days that are certainly busier for me than others!

Although I've played it, I don't know the timing for Blood Under Absalom. I know there were timed sections, but not how long they were.

I do know how important it is for that one that the GMs be well prepared and efficient though!

Lantern Lodge 4/5

I like the idea of the newer specials (not sure exactly when something counts as newer here but...) getting a few extra days in the PBP format.

One of the differences between PBP and convention timescales is that the PBP pressure cooker lasts for weeks, while round the table is is just 1/3 of a day. So you get more of a break.

I'll echo Granta in that I'd be keen to GM these when they come up.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber
Michael Hallet wrote:
I sympathize and I know we've discussed this on Myth Weavers, but here's my take on it. You're supposed to feel that way with a special. Part of a special, is that constant feeling of being under pressure for time, wondering if you've done enough to carry your share of the load. It's not for everyone, and it's not supposed to be. (Just like Bonekeep isn't for me.)

Re: being supposed to feel that way with a special, I've played enough specials in person and via VTT to know that it's supposed to feel high-pressure. (I think I've GMed Siege of Serpents and Sky Key Solution four times each. Both of them I've GMed at PaizoCon, at a local con, on a PbP gameday, and I think at a VTT con (I know at least one of them). I've also played a slot 0 pre-GM session for a local con.) The last PbP gameday (with Sky Key Solution) was worse, far worse, than even the hectic pace you get at PaizoCon. About 3/4 of the way through it, it had become a painful thing that I had to keep up with, one more source of unhealthy stress in my life; I was feeling ready to swear off PbP PFS altogether once the games I was GMing have finished. (The last one -- which went slow because of having too many other things at once -- finished a couple of weeks ago. I haven't started another yet....) When you're hobby is doing that to you, you're doing your hobby wrong. This was beyond the normal tension you're supposed to feel in a Special.

(Sky Key Solution has a particular problem that the most interesting (by far) roleplaying encounter is one that I think a lot of groups either don't get to, or don't get to do much with. The only time I've seen it happen at a table I was involved with was a "slot 0" table where the GMs were playing through it ahead of the convention as part of a planning process -- so the same time pressure wasn't on.)

It may just be that I personally am not cut out for GMing (or even playing) specials on PbP, but I don't think I'm the only one who was more overwhelmed than you're supposed to be by the last gameday special. It's worth thinking about, anyway.

Cosmic Captive might work for me since it will be over the summer, when my real life tends to be less hectic anyway. (My fall semester was a particularly hectic one just because of Real Life, so the timing of the last PbP gameday was not good for me.)

Myself, I won't sign up for Blood Under Absalom; it's too soon for me. I'll GM one game for the gameday starting next August, but I won't GM Siege for that; it's going to be another busy fall semester for me, so I have to avoid committing to too many things, and I know not to commit to GMing a Special during that time. Maybe I will GM Cosmic Captive, depending on how things are looking as we get closer to mustering for it.

(Edit/correction: I've GMed Siege of Serpents and Sky Key Solution three times each. Sky Key Solution wasn't at PazioCon (that was the year that they had two interactive specials, which probably burnt the PFS team out as they didn't have an interactive special at all the next year at PaizoCon), and I haven't GMed a VTT version of Siege of Serpents.)

5/5 ⦵⦵

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I gave players an exit poll option for the last Multi I ran (Year of the Shadow Lodge, and the number of people who responded they felt it was 'too fast' was matched by those saying it was 'too slow'. I was surprised by tables who 'took the weekend off' and were sitting about waiting on the next Overseer announcement whilst picking over bodies.

After having a few cracks at the format, I think it's obvious that PbP is not the best medium for Multi-tables, but it is a workable one, and about the only option some people have of ever seeing these scenarios. There has to be some conversion from minutes to days, and the 5:1 seems about right for the bulk of people.

With that said, some scenarios will FEEL better than others.

Dunno, its a complex issue for something that would otherwise appear simple enough.

Sovereign Court 3/5

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I'm super excited for all of these offerings.

For Cosmic Captive specifically, I think there is some room to slow the pace a bit. Matt Duval and the PFS developers did a great job of providing a flexibility of pacing that can expand to accommodate both faster-than-average and slower-than-average play.

Silver Crusade 2/5 RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 aka cartmanbeck

Hey! I just found this thread, and am very excited about it!

I was considering running a table of Cosmic Captive for the CARD GAME on here, what do you guys think of that? We've been doing play-by-post playtesting of the card game with Keith and it's worked out well, so it could be very fun!

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

Cartmanbeck -- If you think that you can run a PbP table of the CARD GAME I will totally take you. We need to talk about how that would work. I was just finalizing my list of tables, so you are getting in right under the wire. Please send me the email address that you use for Paizo. Are you a VO anywhere?

PM me ASAP.

Hmm

Silver Crusade 2/5 RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16 aka cartmanbeck

Hmm wrote:

Cartmanbeck -- If you think that you can run a PbP table of the CARD GAME I will totally take you. We need to totally talk about how that would work. (I was just finalizing my list of tables!)

Hmm

Sweet! Yeah, I think I could make that work. Let me check with Tonya to make sure the PFS folks are okay with me doing so (since technically PACG organized play hasn't been allowed for online play in the past) but put me down as running a table and if we do recruitment before I get a clear answer, we'll just have to make it clear that it's a tentative arrangement.

EDIT: Just remembered that you need TWO tables of PACG to make the scenario work, which is fine, I can run both tables at once and only have my own character at one of them. :)

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

Where do you sign up to GM the August events?

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Online aka Magabeus

MadScientistWorking wrote:
Where do you sign up to GM the August events?

That will be communicated in due time. At the moment the Cosmic Captive special demands attention. I assume that at the end of July / early August you can sign-up for PBP Gameday VI.

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

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Revised Upcoming Organized Play PbP Special Dates

Cosmic Captive Gameday
Friday June 9th - July 21st, 2017

Overseer GM: Hmm

GenCon 2017 <-- Not PbP, but we need to schedule around it.
Thursday, August 17 - Sunday August 20, 2017

PBP Gameday VI
I anticipate that this will include a mix of PFS and Starfinder Society scenarios.

Session I: Friday, August. 25th, 2017 - Thursday, October 5, 2017
Solstice Scar
Overseer GM: Granta

PLEASE NOTE: ^ This is a change from Siege of the Diamond City. We wanted be sure everyone got a crack at Version A of Solstice Scar before the scenario's content changes in January.

Because this special is less complicated, so that other scenarios and modules can also run during this time. There will be a signup sheet coming up for this that we will announce here.

Session 2: Friday, October 6, 2017 - November 17, 2017
Single table specials (like Maelstrom Rift, Serpent’s Rise or Serpent’s Ire) and other scenarios / modules as offered by their GMs.

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