Bimonthly Releases and Your Personal Gaming Schedule


Dead Suns


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Every group plays at a different speed. How fast do you think your group will move through Dead Suns?

I've never had the opportunity before to play a Pathfinder AP, so I'm quite uncertain as to how quickly my group will play Dead Suns. How fast have you moved through Pathfinder APs in the past? Assuming Dead Suns contains an equivalent amount of content per volume, are you concerned about playing the game faster than it is released?

If so, what's your plan? Are you going to schedule fewer sessions? Play something else halftime? Run some Starfinder one-shots, or try to slip additional material into the Dead Suns campaign?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jimbles the Mediocre wrote:

Every group plays at a different speed. How fast do you think your group will move through Dead Suns?

I've never had the opportunity before to play a Pathfinder AP, so I'm quite uncertain as to how quickly my group will play Dead Suns. How fast have you moved through Pathfinder APs in the past? Assuming Dead Suns contains an equivalent amount of content per volume, are you concerned about playing the game faster than it is released?

If so, what's your plan? Are you going to schedule fewer sessions? Play something else halftime? Run some Starfinder one-shots, or try to slip additional material into the Dead Suns campaign?

Just ballparking, and every group is different, but it seems to take about 30 - 40 hours or so of gametime for most groups to finish a chapter of an AP.

So... if you want to "be on track" to run this AP in a year, you have to get in about 15 - 20 hours a month at the table.

That's pretty challenging for a lot of people as it is. Now, if you are in college or high school or a retirement community or something like that where you have plenty of free time, well... that's more than manageable.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The group I'm going to play it with plays every other week for about 4 to 5 hours per session. Occasionally there will be a weekend day for a long session.

Based on the Rise of the Runelords progress they made before I joined in (I took over from a player that left), it will take about 2 years for us to finish.


Given my experience with GMing APs, I think bimonthly would work just fine, even if we moved at a pretty fast clip.


I'm thinking bi-monthly will work out great for my group. We will probably be a little bit behind even on that schedule though.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The one and only AP I've so far finished (I ran Second Darkness) was done in just about right on two years. The second one, Mummy's Mask, we've been a little slower, and are only most of the way through Book 4 after 2 years. Strange Aeons, we've managed to get through the first book and about a third of the second in about 3 months. Each of these are with nominally fortnightly 6 hour sessions, often rescheduled due to Real Life.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

There have been many APs over the years where knowing stuff in the later books makes a significant difference to how you run the early issues.

Paizo have got much better at anticipating such things and providing DMs with guidance early on - nonetheless, I have a Pathfinder policy of not running an AP until I've read the whole six issues. I will continue that in Starfinder.

I know with my group there is no way the first PC they come up with is going to satisfy them a couple of months in. They'll pick cool sounding options, get disappointed in how it plays and have a bit of a "grass is always greener" period before we learn what the various classes actually mean.

Any Starfinder games we play in the first year will be homebrew and cobbled together with SF Society scenarios. I figure there'll be a fair bit of PC-switching in the first few games anyhow, so I'd rather play around with the system a little as we learn it before trying to run a full "serious" campaign.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Bimonthly would probably work well with my schedule. Pathfinder AP usually last about 2 years for my groups, plus/minus a few months. However, the Starfinder Adventure Path instalments are probably significantly shorter than their Pathfinder counterparts, as the books are only 64 pages and will also contain additional articles about the setting. So we will have to see.

I'm not, as a GM, though, a fan of starting out on an adventure path but not really knowing where it will go.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Quote:
There have been many APs over the years where knowing stuff in the later books makes a significant difference to how you run the early issues.

This is still a very valid point, and applies equally to Strange Aeons and Hell's Vengeance.

Still...waiting for perfection is not a good reason to not play at all. And none of my regulars have the time to build homebrew adventures these days, so Society and APs are going to be important.


Yakman wrote:

Just ballparking, and every group is different, but it seems to take about 30 - 40 hours or so of gametime for most groups to finish a chapter of an AP.

So... if you want to "be on track" to run this AP in a year, you have to get in about 15 - 20 hours a month at the table.

That's pretty challenging for a lot of people as it is. Now, if you are in college or high school or a retirement community or something like that where you have plenty of free time, well... that's more than manageable.

Our group as it is has to often cut material from Adventure Paths when we run them, because we split our campaigns so we spend maybe 8 hours a month average per Adventure Path. For example, we've been running Hell's Rebels for two years as of this August, and we will open Book 6 in a week. (!!)

So with Dead Suns being bimonthly, We may actually have time to use all material. :D

Grand Lodge

My groups tend to finish an AP in 20-24 months. Lately we've been taking longer recently due to scheduling. I feel like Wrath went faster due to PC's curbstomping demon lords but I could be mistaken.

The every other month release is OK for those wanting to play it right away. I'd like to have the whole thing before I start running. At least half anyway.


Fastest AP run for me is 18-20 months. I've run Book 1 of an AP in a single month once, but overall bimonthly would be very reasonable.


It seems fine to me, I don't think many groups will hit a dry spot with this release schedule. Then again, my group plays 3-4hrs a week and moves at a snails pace. We can complete two AP books a year.

This also encourages people who already have a Pathfinder AP subscription to not drop it in favor of the new shiny game!

Dark Archive

Bi monthly is very good for my wallet, but kinda bad for my groups schedule.

See, I run games in roll20 and we are able to play weekly, only reason I run games bi weekly at all is to avoid overloading myself since I run three campaigns at same time. Roll20 games progress much faster than live games, so if books are already shorter than Pathfinder APs... Well, I guess it depends on whether its 3-4 hour sessions or those 4-6+ , but yeah, bit afraid that I probably can't run this weekly if I don't want to run out of material and then force players to take break for a month. And since its bi weekly, waiting for whole ap to be released first would take a year yeah :'D

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

We started Runelords in the fall of 2013, and are now about halfway through book 3, so 2.5 books in 4 years = approximately 10 years for an entire AP.

Dark Archive

Okay, I think I have to open up and be more detailed about how long my group takes with aps <_< I always feel awkward in these threads because long campaigns stagger my mind.

RotR took roughly a year to run and that was with taking break from it to run Moonscar for several sessions for "backup character party" and otherwise taking breaks once a while. Iron Gods' I've been running partly bi weekly partly weekly(but mostly bi weekly) for about 7 months and I'm starting book 4 next session.(RotR sessions were about 6 hours, Iron Gods sessions about 3-4 hours) I think its quite feasible to run APs way under a year in Roll20 on weekly games, so I have hard time comprehending how people playing in live campaigns that take years remember stuff since my players keep forgetting stuff in weekly games...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Rise of the Runelords = 3 years
Skulls'n'Shackles = 4 years

Ongoing:
Reign of Winter (2 years in)
Hell's Rebels (0,5 year in)
Strange Aeons (0,5 year in)

Yep, good value for the money, not concerned about release schedule at all. Will take light years before any slot opens :)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My group is on book 5 of Strange Aeons and we started last December. I figure about 1 year in we will finish. With this progress, the bimonthly release schedule will barely cover us. We play 3.5-4 hours weekly.

Scarab Sages

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The APs that I did complete took over 2 years each. And that was playing weekly (more like 3 out of 4 weeks) for about 4 to 5 hours.

However the first book for Dead Suns is only 64 pages instead of the 96 of other APs. I have not gone deep in to the book to see how much there really is.

The latest 64-page modules take between 4 to 6 sessions to play. Now I don't expect to start this anytime soon, so for the few groups that are very efficient in play, they may get ahead of the release scheduel


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It takes my group six to eight months to complete a single volume of an AP.

At this point, I already have more adventures in my collection than I will ever be able to run in the rest of my life.

I keep buying them because they're fun to read, and because I often steal bits and pieces of published adventures for my own creations.


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Wow I guess me and my S.O. are real outliers. We tend to complete full APs in 2-3 months, I guess it helps that we live together and play a few nights a week.

We're planning on taking Starfinder real slow to keep up with the release schedule. Lots of extra side quests and playing once a week (Sundays, for Dead 'Suns').


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'll be running Dead Suns fortnightly so I have more time to do better prep, and if we still catch up the the release schedule I'll just run a side game in a more loose, Guardians of the Galaxy style with no overarching plot and mostly oneshot type adventures.

Liberty's Edge

Do I think the bi-monthly release schedule - coupled with the reduction in adventure content - is going to prove a problem for many groups?

Yes, I do.

The reason why is that this is a new game, the "IT" Girl in town. People are going to be eager to play it. Given the genre of game that it is, there is a dearth of adventure material for it. It's not like we have hundreds of prior modules and stacks of old Dungeon mags to go through to whip out, quickly convert over, and run.

We don't have that at all. Detailed adventures of any kind in the Sci Fi genre was always a problem. Good adventures? More difficult still. Sci Fant inspired ones?

A bare handful.

Now, in terms of the Dead Suns AP, if you are in a weekly game and start the AP before August it out - perhaps even before September (or possibly even October) is out? I can foresee that you might "run out of game" to play during the course of the Dead Suns AP.

Not all weekly games are created equal of course. There are bare three hour sessions and there are lengthy six hour+ sessions, too. One is not equivalent to the other.

Still, YES, I think there is a good chance many groups will run out of game to play with Dead Suns because of its length and frequency of publication if they start "soon".

That said, Many != All. I am sure there will be many groups who will be just fine with it as written, too.

However, for those who may have a problem, I think that there is a way to fix that and I am aiming to do so for my own group and I am happy to share with others my finished material (when it is finished). I'll post links to the PDF; I promise.

My approach will be as follows:

Spoiler:

1) Move the XP Point Track from "Fast" to Pathfinder "Medium Track" in terms of XP

2) Modify Part 1 of the Adventure by tweaking the setup to the combat in Loading Dock 94, detailing out the balance of part 1 with additional roleplaying encounters, a combat, a chase and a few skill challenges in Part 1 of the Adventure up to the point where the plot requires the PCs to move off Absalom Station...

3) Modify (greatly) the entire premise of who asks the PCs to go to the Acreon and how, shifting the task from one assigned by the Ambassador of Eox (which stretches credulity anyway) to being approached by Steveadores in the Spike, who will ask the PCs to do it on behalf of Hardscrabble. (They are Hardscrabble, essentially).

ADD a Heist mission whereby the PCs have to STEAL The Hippocampus to get them to the Acreon. This will be a major new scene with map.

4) Add some more foes, generally; and

5) Add a new complex of an additional five or so rooms in the Drift Rock after D9 (Required: New Map) to deal with opening the gate so that the Sunrise Maiden can actually leave the grotto and reach space - and the next starship combat encounter at the beginning of Vol II. This new area will feature more combat with security droids and perhaps a skill challenge.

When I say "skill challenge" I suggest creating some obstacles using the new mechanics described by Alex Augunas. The rules are entirely portable to Starfinder and they are actually pretty damned great. Skill Challenge Handbook is available here, and it's mostly excellent:

Skill Challenge Handbook

End result: whereas the adventure puts the PCs into 3rd by adventures end on the Fast Track, the extra encounters and missions coupled with the use of the Medium Track should move the PCs to the same leveling point with another 3 sessions worth of play.

I think this will address any issues you might have in running out of material to play, especially if we keep up with the same premise as the Dead Suns AP unfolds. Importantly, this approach should not "break" any future installment in the AP, which would be "crossing the streams" levels of bad, imo.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Steel_wind, your spoiler sounds very cool. It would be great if you could share what you're doing. :)


My group tends to play every other week for about 4.5ish hours per session.

A bimonthly release schedule would be fine but, frankly, the book is too short. If we were playing Pathfinder, this would take us ~2.5 sessions. It's a new game so we're going to take a little bit longer to reference rules and we'll spend extra time exploring the setting so we'll take more than 2.5 sessions enjoying this book.

Having said all that, we're not starting until sometime in September and I still fully expect to have caught up through the published content between Books 3 and 4.

I love what we've got, but I'd rather pay the extra $3 that a Pathfinder AP charges for 32 more pages with more adventure and better connective tissue.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah when I got mine in the mail, I did notice that the book was noticeably slimmer. I hope they get fatter, but I don't want to fat-shame the dev's =)


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Michael Monn wrote:
Yeah when I got mine in the mail, I did notice that the book was noticeably slimmer. I hope they get fatter, but I don't want to fat-shame the dev's =)

Dead Suns, you really could use a sammich.

Just Sayin'. :-)


Alright, I just finished reading through the entire adventure. In terms of my group- I'll likely be running the adventure for people who aren't very familiar to the pathfinder setting, or even tabletop games really. My first session is going to be in early September, and that's going to be solely dedicated to character creation and guiding them through learning the basics of a completely new system.

As for the AP itself, I have a few ideas on how to give things a bit of padding, and tend to run sessions more focused on role playing than on combat. I think I'll be able to run this for a long bough time to ensure the second installment of the AP is out.

Of course, this is just me. But I don't see myself having too many problems, and for that I'm greatful.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
sebastokrator wrote:

My group tends to play every other week for about 4.5ish hours per session.

A bimonthly release schedule would be fine but, frankly, the book is too short. If we were playing Pathfinder, this would take us ~2.5 sessions. It's a new game so we're going to take a little bit longer to reference rules and we'll spend extra time exploring the setting so we'll take more than 2.5 sessions enjoying this book.

Having said all that, we're not starting until sometime in September and I still fully expect to have caught up through the published content between Books 3 and 4.

I love what we've got, but I'd rather pay the extra $3 that a Pathfinder AP charges for 32 more pages with more adventure and better connective tissue.

I agree with you. I love setting stuff as much as the next guy, and the supplementary materials in the back of the book are really cool. I love having extra monsters and new items, and the lore is really great for setting, but the meat of the adventure is pretty thin. I have a hard time believing that most groups couldn't finish it in 12-16 hours unless they really just never got down to playing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

My big concern with this is the snooze delimma. I don't have time to write my own campaigns so I rely on the APs for my games. The two APs a year model meant I'd never run them all, but more importantly it meant if one didn't suit my tastes I only had to wait six months or less before I got a bite at something new. A year between APs (especially if they plan to cap them all at 13th level) means I may not run the game for a year or more waiting for a good AP which can choke interest in the game.

The Exchange

I think I should be ok with a two week game starting September 9, with players I have never met.


I must be in a different situation than most. My game group meets once every six weeks or so, and we play tabletop games as much as RPGs. Reading through Incident at Absalom, I feel like I could get the group through the whole module in one go. It ends at a good point, and I think playing the next one three months later wouldn't be a problem. In my case, lean is better.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

We played through the module in two 7 hour sessions.

Every other week meeting ~3 hours should be able to finish the module by the time the next one comes.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

What I think they should have done, is give us an alternate AP 'option' where they did two AP's consecutively, alternating on months. That way, we get the material, and if there are two GMs they can run the alternate APs for each other.

The Exchange

There's a solid chance the release speed on these APs will speed up if th game proves popular.

My experience with Pathfinder APs puts my group at two years for an AP. Bi monthly release may be an issue in lower levels, but once you start running high levels, one combat can take entire sessions in Pathfinder.

Nothing I've read in Starfinder makes me think that's going to change.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Wrath wrote:

There's a solid chance the release speed on these APs will speed up if th game proves popular.

My experience with Pathfinder APs puts my group at two years for an AP. Bi monthly release may be an issue in lower levels, but once you start running high levels, one combat can take entire sessions in Pathfinder.

Nothing I've read in Starfinder makes me think that's going to change.

well... doing away with the multiple attack is definitely going to affect that. far fewer rolls.


My group typically finishes a Pathfinder AP in about a year, so the Bi-monthly schedule might work out. We're running it concurrently with another campaign though, so it's not a big deal.

Although Dead Suns only takes the PCs to level 12, which makes it quite a bit shorter than most Pathfinder APs, so I suspect there would be points where we'd run out of material before the next book came out if we weren't only doing it every other session.


I don't expect to be having a problem with is, as my group get together every fortnight for only a few hours a session. The only downside to this is I generally prefer to run games with the pawn set for the AP, but since that won't be released until next year, I am without that particular resource - but that's more a nice to have rather than a need to have.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't have the experience you guys do and I think we might be running a bit fast. We started the 27th of August with an intro event, and I think chances are high we will finish book 1 this weekend. We're playing weekly 4 hour sessions. I think we are starting to slow down a bit. I am embellishing more, and they are investigating more, so I think a lot of speed through the adventure depends on the character of your players.

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