Play-by-Post Gameday VI: Ask the Organized Play Team Panel


Online Play

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Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Manager

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Do you have burning questions about Pathfinder Adventure Card Guild, Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, or Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild? This thread is your opportunity to ask the organized play team (John Compton, Thurston Hillman, Tonya Woldridge, and Linda Zayas-Palmer) anything about these programs—narratives, characters, seasons, inspirations, favorites, clarifications, and more.

The fun begins on Wednesday, September 27th at 4 pm Pacific Standard Time and goes until Saturday, September 30th at 4 pm. This thread will be locked until that time.

There are a few ground rules and expectations we’re observing. If posts consistently start violating these rules, we may request moderation.

  • Please include no more than 1–3 questions per post. It’s far easier for us to respond to a couple questions at a time than it is for us to respond to wall of text.

  • Please use spoiler tags when referring to significant scenario spoilers. If you’re unfamiliar with how to make a spoiler tag, check out the “How to format your text [Show]” button right underneath the text box where you can type.

  • This is a thread for us to answer your questions. It may be tempting to start a conversation about a topic or begin answering other participants’ questions, but those are things best saved for other threads.

  • We don’t mind questions about our gaming habits, favorite character options, our PCs, or our convention best practices. However, we’re not looking to answer prying questions about our personal lives. If your question delves too far beyond our public-facing comfort zone, we’ll let you know and decline the question.

  • While questions about the Additional Resources and Campaign Clarifications pages as a whole is fine (like how they’re arranged or how we approach the review process), we’re not interested in answering granular questions here about why a particular character option is or is not allowed.

  • We’ll be answering these questions periodically and roughly in the order that we receive them. If your question’s not answered before another question, there’s a good chance that whoever’s active at that hour is saving it for a different member of the team to answer. Your question might also be one that we need to confer about before posting an answer. If you want to ask a question of a particular team member, please preface it with their name.

    Until Wednesday - Explore, Report, Cooperate!

  • Grand Lodge ***** ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

    Welcome Tonya, John, Linda and Thursty to the first ever Convention panel done for a Play-by-Post Gameday!  Welcome also to anyone in the audience who wandered in for the fun of it. I'm sure everyone else has questions, but I'll start off with two of my own.

    Question one:

    What was the impetus of SFS Dataphiles Digital Presence Boon?
    This was something that made me overjoyed when I saw it, because it was a fun recognition of the growing online community.  Will we be seeing anything like it on the PFS side of things?

    Question two:

    Have any of you played in a Play-by-Post?
    What did you play?  Did you have fun?

    Hmm

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Manager

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    I played in GM Silberg's Scars of the Third Crusade scenario and enjoyed it so much I jumped into his Consortium Compact game. I haven't had a chance to do any recently, but I'm not ruling it out. Just have to get a bit more caught up.

    *** Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

    What is your favorite non-d20 RPG?

    It is always interesting finding out about other systems. Some sort of call-out for what you liked about it (setting, rules mechanic, etc) would be great.

    Can you say anything about good surprises in the scenario tracking?

    As an event organizer, it would be cool to hear about how it has shaped the story and how far back you look. I’ve heard that it created a new antagonist to the Society, and would like to hear of something on a more upbeat note.

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Manager

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    I love FASA's Earthdawn. The setting compels me to learn more. They fleshed out the different components with fantastic attention to detail. I ran my first game using Barsaive as a backdrop.

    I leave John and Linda to talk about the scenario tracking. I just pull the numbers :)

    Starfinder Society Developer

    Out doing some family chores, but I'll be chiming in in a bit!

    *

    I keep hearing rumors that there may be a digital character database from a popular software maker in the works geared to work with PF/SFS. Can you confirm or deny? If able, what information are you able to share? I'll hang up and listen for my answer...

    Paizo Employee ***** Developer

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    Hillary, I haven't tried play-by-post yet, but I'm looking forward to changing that in the near future :)

    My favorite non-d20 RPG is probably FATE. I've mostly played it through the Dresden files RPG. I like the way that FATE puts the characters' personality, beliefs, and experiences front and center, giving them light mechanics and strong storytelling power. It leads to some really satisfying character growth.

    As for an upbeat example of scenario tracking mattering, it probably doesn't get much more upbeat than good-aligned planes, which brings me to the scenario I'm developing right now, #9–06: The Shores of Heaven. The fact that Pathfinders are going to Heaven at all is a direct result of the reporting data at the end of another scenario.

    That scenario being:
    #7–17: Thralls of the Shattered God, where reporting data showed that more PCs suggested for Valais seek answers in Heaven than suggested that she track down and slay the babau demon. Depending upon how well the PCs handle things in The Shores of Heaven, Valais could wind up with a wonderful new lease on life. Don't mess it up, PCs :)

    Sovereign Court

    Is it considered bad form to play a second character of the same class? My first inquistor died a couple times, and I want try again with a different build.

    What do you think is main advantage of a play-by-post?

    How intently do you track spending? Do you track it down to the copper or just treat everything under 5g as basically free?

    Lantern Lodge ****

    I'm curious about your favourite scenarios... and why.

    And slightly different but on the same track - your favourite PFS season.

    Starfinder Society Developer

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    What was the impetus of SFS Dataphiles Digital Presence Boon?
    Back at PaizoCon, John and I (and a half-conscious Tonya, because it was 4am by that point) really cemented the Boon Slot idea for Starfinder Society. Weeks later, we started fleshing out which faction would get what boons, and we came up with the idea for the "Meta Boons" that you see in the Guide. The Digital Presence Boon really showed up from me keeping a fairly active presence in the fan-run Organized Play Discord Channel, and wanting to work something in that would promote online play. So it was really a "perfect faction meets ideal boon type" situation!

    Have any of you played in a Play-by-Post?
    No I have not! I'm interested, but time is such a huge issue for me lately (something, something, more freelance, something something).

    What is your favorite non-d20 RPG?
    Prior to joining the Org Play team, I was running a 1/month Dark Heresy (from Fantasy Flight) campaign. I ran 12 sessions, and it was one of the most memorable campaigns I've run in many years. So right now, Dark Heresy is running at the top of the non-Paizo RPG list.

    Obviously, Dread is another contender.

    Can you say anything about good surprises in the scenario tracking?
    Can't quite say much yet... but I will say that I've really been enjoying the responses to Starfinder Society #01-03: Yesteryear's Truth, which I've been getting a lot of varied feedback in terms of which reporting conditions got checked!

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

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    Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

    What was the impetus of SFS Dataphiles Digital Presence Boon?

    This was something that made me overjoyed when I saw it, because it was a fun recognition of the growing online community.  Will we be seeing anything like it on the PFS side of things?

    As Thursty mentioned a bit earlier, the boon slot idea really came into being one late night at PaizoCon (it was something I had pitched as a what-if during a chat with Linda at Gen Con 2016 but never acted on). It was there that we brainstormed the idea of "meta boons," which were a rare category of reward activated by out-of-game activities like recruiting a player or trying the game in a different medium. I think the Dataphiles one was the arch-example that we kept using during that conversation.

    Quote:

    Question two:

    Have any of you played in a Play-by-Post?
    What did you play?  Did you have fun?

    Hmm

    I've played a decent amount of play-by-post, but I've been out of the loop for a while. I jumped into a few short-lived games before joining a Council of Thieves game in...I think it was June 2011 run by the excellent DM Are. I got to meet two of the players (Feral and Painlord) in person at the following PaizoCon, and we concluded the game in eearly 2015. It was a great experience.

    I tried including a bit of Pathfinder Society PbP in there, but I've found that the more writing I'm doing for my day job and freelance assignments, the more I seek low-writing diversions in my free time.

    Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Rhode Island—Lincoln aka Upaynao

    What does a typical day at work look like for each of you?

    What class or type of class is your favorite?

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

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    BretI wrote:

    What is your favorite non-d20 RPG?

    It is always interesting finding out about other systems. Some sort of call-out for what you liked about it (setting, rules mechanic, etc) would be great.

    Like many of my coworkers, I collect more RPG books than I can realistically play. More often I spend 4–8 hours just devouring an RPG book, its setting, and its mechanics, always half-thinking that I might just convince somebody to run a short campaign of it.

    I find Shadowrun delightful. The mix of quasi-professionalism, low-violence-if-you-did-things-"right," moral ambiguity really hits a good tone with me, and the setting makes a compelling read for me.

    Jason Keeley recently concluded a 6-session Unseen Armies game (by Atlas Games) for some folks at the office, and it was positively charming. Our trigger-happy arson detective (Bob), firefighter who was institutionalized and could use fire for divination (me), insurance auditor and conspiracy blogger (Diego), and part-time barista with a potential archetype resonance (Joe) combined forces to thwart the ghost of a serial arsonist from setting the Hawaiian islands ablaze.

    Beyond that, I occasionally devour RPG books tied to Legend of Five Rings, Warhammer Fantasy, and more.

    Quote:

    Can you say anything about good surprises in the scenario tracking?

    As an event organizer, it would be cool to hear about how it has shaped the story and how far back you look. I’ve heard that it created a new antagonist to the Society, and would like to hear of something on a more upbeat note.

    I'm working on #9–07: Salvation of the Sages, which involved confirming the state of a particular Jeweled Sage from Season 7. Especially with Season 9 regularly picking up some old plot threads, we're finding lots of opportunity to check on all those reporting check boxes.

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

    Wicked Brew wrote:
    I keep hearing rumors that there may be a digital character database from a popular software maker in the works geared to work with PF/SFS. Can you confirm or deny? If able, what information are you able to share? I'll hang up and listen for my answer...

    From that description, it's not ringing any bells. I try to keep up to speed on as many of Paizo's licensed/partnered products as I can, but there are invariably some that I miss.

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

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    Alyssa Branch wrote:
    Is it considered bad form to play a second character of the same class? My first inquistor died a couple times, and I want try again with a different build.

    Nah, play what you like. I love bards and think little of playing another one so long as I'm coming up with a different concept and build each time. A friend in Georgia's Pathfinder Society scene was locally renowned for playing a huge number of oracles, each a different mystery.

    Quote:
    What do you think is main advantage of a play-by-post?

    It's sooooo much easier to convey one's thoughts and motivations in play-by-post. Not only can I write a flash-back behind a spoiler tag, but I can then italicize text to show the character's thoughts and use the ooc function to share a bit of insight with the group to make extra clear where I'm going with a scene. At the table, this would require everyone to listen to me blab for 5–10 minutes while they sit there. In PbP, It's more easily processed and appreciated because of the different pace and format.

    Quote:
    How intently do you track spending? Do you track it down to the copper or just treat everything under 5g as basically free?

    I tend to be much more granular about how much I've spent when first building a character, and after that I try to purchase equipment in "lots" that allow me to drop an easily-tracked amount of gold. For example, my character tend to have 1 cp items in lots of 10, and those usually come with enough 1 sp items to equal a gold piece.

    The main difference is if I'm the party accountant for a long campaign, in which case I do a whole lot of number crunching and take very detail notes about how my math worked.

    ***

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    3 questions... I'll go with 1 site qn, 1 rule qn and 1 opinion qn. =)

    1. Are there plans to restore the website feature that enabled you to check what scenarios have been reported for a character by clicking on the 'sessions' tab from your profile?
    (We used to be able to, and I found it really handy! But currently clicking on it invariably yields a 'no sessions were found' result. )

    2. Does a sorcerer with an esoteric dragon bloodline count as a psychic caster as well as an arcane caster?
    Can he undercast his spells from the psychic spell list or enhance his spells with a Recondite Rod from Psychic Anthology?

    3. Catfolk, Kitsune, Ratfolk, Vanara, Gripppli, Rougarou, Tengu, Vishkanya or Skinwalker?
    Love em/hate em? Which is your personal favourite? Why do you think many/some players like to play as animal-like humanoids?

    The Concordance ***

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    How many distinct plots/subplots within the campaign are you developing at any given time? How far ahead do you outline the overall story arc?

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

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    GM Aerondor wrote:

    I'm curious about your favourite scenarios... and why.

    And slightly different but on the same track - your favourite PFS season.

    *Low whistle* That's a tough one. I don't think I have a favorite scenario so much as I have lots of adventures that I really enjoy for different reasons. For example, I love scenarios with fun plot developments, and I love running those for people who I know are excited about setting lore.

    Sometimes what makes a favorite is just having the right situation for the right character and the right group—a perfect storm that makes a cherish memory.

    Scenario #3–04: The Kortos Envoy:

    I played this at Gen Con in 2011(?) along with my friend Josh, and we had brought our witch (Josh) and bard (me). As mustering continued, we got a sorcerer, a universalist wizard, and a druid with a tiger. We were sweating a little about part balance and trusting the tiger to keep us safe from, well, everything. Then a sixth person showed up, and all of us rushed around him to inquire what he was playing.

    "Summoner," he said.

    There was a second of silence before I hesitantly asked "what kind of summoner."

    "Is often size Huge with a bastard sword and 40 Strength."

    The rest of us glanced at each other than eagerly shouted, "You're hired!"

    "Team Arcane and a Druid" utterly steamrolled the scenario. The GM was briefly flabbergasted, but he rolled with it really well. By the second encounter, he had mentally recalibrated his expectations for that session more to just make us feel like rock stars than to really challenge our bizarre pick-up group. When we faced the harpy leader, the witch pulled off a suffocate spell against her, and my bard flew over to the throne and shouted, "I'm the new queen of the harpies! If the old queen has any objections, let her speak now or forever cede her kingdom!" The harpy leader just made choking sounds as the rest of the PCs hailed the new Queen of the Harpies.

    The scenario's fun on its own, but it was the right set of events and people that just made it precious to me.

    As for PFS season, I fall in love with the current season each year for different reasons. I think Season 7's going to hold up really well, and it has a special place in my heart because it's the first season that I got to design from the ground up (Season 6 still operated under the guiding principle of borrowing themes from a current Adventure Path). As advertised, though, I'm really excited about Season 9.

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

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    Gregory Rebelo wrote:
    What does a typical day at work look like for each of you?

    I typically take a little time to really spin-up mentally and socially, so my work day usually starts with a little reading over the past day's work to re-orient myself and remind myself of any ideas I had spinning the previous day that I didn't quite finish. There's often also a quick check-in with Linda and Thursty in turn to confirm that everything's on track with them.

    From there, the work day varies a little based on where we are in the production cycle for that month's products. I might be doing any number of things (in no particular order).

  • Redlining (aka marking with a red pen) a Pathfinder society scenario
  • Redlining an Adventure Card Guild adventure
  • Redlining an adventure author's expanded outline or milestone text
  • Redlining text for some other document I'm preparing
  • Doing any of the above outside to take advantage of Seattle's warm summers
  • Outlining an adventure
  • Brainstorming scenario concepts with Linda or Thursty
  • Reviewing books to update the Additional Resources
  • Writing art briefs for upcoming products
  • Contacting authors about upcoming work
  • Sending requests to customer service or finance so that freelancers can receive files and contracts respectively
  • Checking the messageboards
  • Copyfitting (the process of adjusting text so that it fits on the pages nicely) scenarios
  • Performing final quality checks on scenarios
  • Sending outline and milestone feedback to an author
  • Planning an organized play season
  • Meetings about organized play or org-play-adjacenet issues

    And probably some other stuff I'm forgetting for now.

    Quote:
    What class or type of class is your favorite?

    I really enjoy playing support characters like bards, skalds, clerics, and the like.

  • Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

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    FiddlersGreen wrote:

    3 questions... I'll go with 1 site qn, 1 rule qn and 1 opinion qn. =)

    1. Are there plans to restore the website feature that enabled you to check what scenarios have been reported for a character by clicking on the 'sessions' tab from your profile?
    (We used to be able to, but currently clicking on it invariably yields a 'no sessions were found' result. I found it really handy!)

    I'm not as tapped into the reporting functionality as others, so I'll let them handle that one.

    Quote:

    2. Does a sorcerer with an esoteric dragon bloodline count as a psychic caster as well as an arcane caster?

    Can he undercast his spells from the psychic spell list or enhance his spells with a Recondite Rod from Psychic Anthology?

    This is based on my quick reading, and it would be a candidate to have clarified (ideally first by the book's developer and perhaps afterward in Campaign Clarifications before it's taken as gospel): It looks like you'd be a psychic spellcaster only when casting those additional spells. My examination of undercasting is that it's tied to the spell itself, not to the state of it being a psychic spell or psychic spellcaster, so this seems like undercasting would be an option.

    Quote:

    3. Catfolk, Kitsune, Ratfolk, Vanara, Gripppli, Rougarou, Tengu, Vishkanya or Skinwalker?

    Love em/hate em? Which is your personal favourite? Why do you think many/some players like to play as animal-like humanoids?

    I really like gripplis, having identified them a while back as one of our under-included species in the setting. Since then I've written outlines that show a bit more of what they do int he Kaava Lands, and I wrote the grippli section in Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Beast. I'm rather pleased the the fiend keeper concept has resonated with folks, and I'd enjoy one day looking more at the gripplis in the Valashmai Jungle.

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

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    Wallbanger7110 wrote:
    How many distinct plots/subplots within the campaign are you developing at any given time? How far ahead do you outline the overall story arc?

    We usually have about 6–12 scenarios (just for Pathfinder Society) in some state of production at any given time, and although some of those connect to each other, many of them represent pieces of the metaplot or stand-alone stories that need to fit within the setting as a whole. On top of that, there are about half a dozen threads that Linda and I are following at different times that we know we won't have a good chance to resolve until later (e.g. a scenario that I know we will do, but it won't be assigned for months yet). With those long-range plans combining with Starfinder Society and Adventure Card Guild, there are around 15–20 storylines that I'm juggling in some capacity at any given time.

    Fortunately I have Linda and Thursty to help keep track of most of that.

    *****

    Yarrr.

    Can you talk a little bit about the process of coordinating this season's PFS scenarios with the War for Taldor AP and the PACG season.

    I've recently gotten back into the ACG after a 2 year hiatus and am excited for future links.

    Dark Archive ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

    Tonya Woldridge wrote:
    I played in GM Silberg's Scars of the Third Crusade scenario and enjoyed it so much I jumped into his Consortium Compact game. I haven't had a chance to do any recently, but I'm not ruling it out. Just have to get a bit more caught up.

    Awww.. shucks!

    It was truly my pleasure. FYI - I have never run a game quite like that again. You are always welcome at my table... virtual, PBP, or otherwise!

    Tonya:
    you liked it so much you granted me an additional "r"!!!

    Hee hee


    1. Which class(es) do you recommend for a new player and why?

    2. Have you ever played a Hellknight? If you have did you enjoy the experience and what order did you choose. If you have played multiple then what was your favorite order to play as?

    3. Can you give us some tips for creating memorable characters?

    Dark Archive *

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    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Thank you all very much for taking time from your exceptionally busy schedule to approach these questions.

    I cannot recall any other Organized Play experience I was involved with that had this sort of access, so it is hoped the following questions follow spirit and letter of the guidelines above.

    New Material Question: Will Leshy be a playable character option immediately upon release of Ultimate Wilderness, perhaps with proof of purchase of the source material?

    General Question 1: What lessons have you learned during your time in Organized Play, and how would you try to impart them to others?

    General Question 2: Is there any method or process for motivated persons within the campaign to submit possible re-builds for Retired Scenarios to make them viable for bringing out of Retirement?

    Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Southwest aka Lawrence Smith 2

    Can we get a sense of when the backlog of V-O nominations will be resolved?

    Is there anything we V-Os can do to help ease the technical burden or broaden the bottleneck?

    Special kudos to Hmm for introducing me to the wide, wide world of PbP. She's a V-L worthy of a V-C position, organizing, coordinating, posting, GMing and playing like a demon-possessed gnome in a French bakery. The PbP world seems as vast as some entire regions.

    Much love to you all, for all that you do.

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

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    Pirate Rob wrote:

    Yarrr.

    Can you talk a little bit about the process of coordinating this season's PFS scenarios with the War for Taldor AP and the PACG season.

    I've recently gotten back into the ACG after a 2 year hiatus and am excited for future links.

    Coordinating War for the Crown is a collaboration with Crystal Frasier that began in earnest around the beginning of this year. The org play team had several ideas of how to give the Sovereign Court a big pay-off for the resources they've acquired over the past several years, and as we zeroed in on a best option, I remembered that Crystal had been pitching something along the same line in Adventure Path meetings for a while (and was about to need to come up with the next AP). She was full of ideas, and she's a delight to work with on these projects. Organized play spent several years mirroring the themes of the Adventure Paths, and this collaboration has been an excellent opportunity to shape that narrative together rather than follow in its wake.

    The handful of Pathfinder Society scenarios for the Sovereign Court are not a true series but are being published in fairly quick succession. They're also showing some events in which the Pathfinder Society plays a significant role in setting up the Adventure Path, and Crystal's adopted a few of the organized play characters who appear in the upcoming campaign. I think both stories are going to be the stronger for it.

    As for the Adventure Card Guild, we've been incorporating Roleplaying Guild tie-ins since Season 3, the Season of Plundered Tombs. The consideration here is less about how to collaborate on an upcoming project and more on how to make optimal use of a base set's cards while telling a compelling story with cross-campaign connections. Season 3 really told a fun portion of the Scarab Sages story, and Season 4 is allowing us to tell part of the Muhlia al-Jakri narrative while saving that story's bigger conclusion (?) for later Roleplaying Guild adventures. After all, this character came from the RPG side of the program, and it should be those players who get to finish the story.

    One of the big considerations with these Adventure Card Guild connections, though, is that their stories provide a deeper narrative experience for these particular plot threads without strictly being necessary to enjoy that plot thread. For example, you can enjoy the Scarab Sages ongoing tales entirely in the Roleplaying Guild, but if you want to see the full story, I strongly recommend experiencing the Adventure Card Guild side.

    Being able to oversee all three of our organized play campaigns has really helped to make these connections.

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

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    NexusNova wrote:
    1. Which class(es) do you recommend for a new player and why?

    I typically recommend something that can do well without a lot of nuance but has a few extra tricks available that allow a character to develop mastery gradually and approach problems creatively. Classes like the barbarian, ranger, paladin, and monk are pretty nice for this, as most of them have some form of limited-use resource (e.g. rounds of rage or when to use the smite evil ability) that allow the player to turn on and off certain functions. As a general guideline I tend not to recommend classes whose abilities make them easy to bully out of the spotlight (e.g. "Hey, go play a healer. Don't do anything unless I need healing.") New players should get an equal or slightly greater share of that spotlight.

    In the end, everyone's different, and a class that might be a good fit for one person might not be right for another.

    Quote:
    2. Have you ever played a Hellknight? If you have did you enjoy the experience and what order did you choose. If you have played multiple then what was your favorite order to play as?

    I had a hellknight character for a while, though I barely got to play her. She belonged to the Order of the Gate, was originally an urban ranger, wore glamered mithral hellknight armor, and enjoyed a -0 armor check penalty while appearing to wear robes and a mask. I also find the Order of the Pyre endearing on a "Oh, this intrigues me for story possibilities" level.

    I have a recent character who also is a bounty hunter figure for the Order of the Chain, which is loads of fun.

    If you like hellknights, I strongly recommend reading Pathfinder Tales: Hellknight, which deals with one of my other favorite orders.

    Quote:
    3. Can you give us some tips for creating memorable characters?

    That's a tough one.

    Sometimes you can just start with a catch phrase and see where it goes. Sometimes you just need to play a character a few times, throw some behaviors at the figurative board, and see what sticks; I do this regularly and still find that a lot of character personalities fall flat.

    Catch Phrases: A friend of mine has a samurai focused on sundering others' weapons, in the process inducting them into the "Order of the Broken Daishyo." On each successful destruction, he grimly tells the target "welcome to the brotherhood" and sometimes ignores them unless they keep fighting. That's cool, but what really serves as the character's personality anchor is his being perpetually unimpressed by most of what goes on around him--an experience he describes with his real catch phrase: "Tedious..." Someone tells him to do something? "Tedious." Some exuberant party member starts mouthing off about the glories of Desna? "Tedious." And it works well.

    One of my characters is a cleric of Irori who's a med school drop-out and largely wings it while insisting he's a doctor (while also channeling negative energy). He's only played in two scenarios, but he begins most attempts to solve a problem with "Well, I *am* a doctor..." It happened to fit with several scenes, and despite his being a mechanically sub-par build (he's built to maximize Heal and the use of treat deadly wounds) he's hit one a good one-liner that's worth pulling out a few times a session.

    Defying Expectations: I admit, I like being that person who plays the "different" thing. I enjoy taking classes and building something that seriously upsets its expected class role, such as mesmerists who claim to be paladins, witches who claim to be clerics of fictitious deities, et cetera. Sometimes just coming up with a fun twist on a common expectation is the starting point for a memorable character.

    What Others Say About You: One of the best ways to create a memorable character is to have assistance, and sometimes the best assistance is in the form of a companion creature. My companion creatures typically disrespect, ignore, or outright loathe the main character, ranging from my first character ever (a dwarf ranger with barely any Handle Animal and a crocodile named Boots that bit him as often as it attacked enemies) to one of my most recent ones (a Hellknight of the Chain who has a phantom that calls itself Paravicar, insists it was one of the founding hellknights, and speaks only in brashly lawful axioms). These characters wouldn't be half as fun if they didn't have that companion.

    And there are plenty more possibilities. What works depends a lot on your style and with whom you play scenarios.

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

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    Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

    Thank you all very much for taking time from your exceptionally busy schedule to approach these questions.

    I cannot recall any other Organized Play experience I was involved with that had this sort of access, so it is hoped the following questions follow spirit and letter of the guidelines above.

    New Material Question: Will Leshy be a playable character option immediately upon release of Ultimate Wilderness, perhaps with proof of purchase of the source material?

    *Realizes that there's no way to hide this question from Linda*

    Leshys have come up in our discussions about what races we're likely to see in play in Season 9 or beyond. Nothing confirmed yet, but it wasn't swept off the table immediately.

    Quote:
    General Question 1: What lessons have you learned during your time in Organized Play, and how would you try to impart them to others?

    I've learned a lot, and there's stuff that I've learned but don't have a good way of implementing.

    Really, a lot of the lessons are things that don't come up more than a few times a year, so it's hard to make a list. These are things like:

  • Players respond well to XXXX...but not if we do it too often, in which case they feel it's overused.
  • Players tend to respond negatively to YYYY, so let's avoid doing that unless the story really supports it.

    There are tons of examples and layers of nuance to it, so applying these lessons is more often a discussion in which I'm speaking with Linda, Thursty, and/or Tonya and helping assess a particular issue to decide whether a particular lesson applies.

    To give a more concrete answer, though, I've learned to be very careful about a creature's defenses based on its CR to assess whether or not it will make for a good experience in an organized play setting. Hardness, such as that featured in parts of Season 6, helped drive that home.

    Quote:
    General Question 2: Is there any method or process for motivated persons within the campaign to submit possible re-builds for Retired Scenarios to make them viable for bringing out of Retirement?

    Not really. We've explored some avenues for doing that at various times, and the overall assessment is that if we're going to provide major revisions to a Season 0 adventure, we'd still need to afford it ample development time both to ensure any volunteer efforts checked out mechanically and that the scenario as a whole could more closely match our current production standards (in style and layout). Between updating scenarios and getting other play-enhancing tools out there (like more sanctioned Adventure Paths), revisiting Season 0 scenarios is just not something to which we're currently able to dedicate the necessary resources--outside help or not.

  • Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    A trio of scenario questions.

    1. Are you ever going to bring back the nautical Venture-Captain Retief VanSchuyver, or has that upstart Benary entirely plundered his role?

    2. The briefing for King of the Storval Stairs says that the reason they're sending caravans through there is the society has teams in the ruins of Xin-Shalast. That was 5 years ago... is the campaign ever going to visit Xin-Shalast on-screen?

    3. Any plans for Arcadia?

    Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

    Tonya: Was I able to appropriately convey Tabris' creepiness in Eye of the Crocodile King at the LV Open? And Able's arrogance in Abducted in Aether? :)

    Starfinder Society Developer

    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    What does a typical day at work look like for each of you?
    Since I work remotely, I've got a pretty set routine.

    -Wake-up
    -Start coffee / morning bagel
    -Shower
    -Sit @ computer, read forums / emails
    -Meetings as necessary
    -Work on current tasks (John provides an awesome summary above with way more specifics)
    -Make time to cackle with John about Future Plans™

    What class or type of class is your favorite?
    I'm a really big fan of the mesmerist, and have been since I got to see the pre-playtest version during my work on Occult Adventures. Several of the class mechanis really appealed to me, and I find it's got a lot of cool situational abilities that work as both a PC or an NPC. So yeah, mesmerist!

    Catfolk, Kitsune, Ratfolk, Vanara, Gripppli, Rougarou, Tengu, Vishkanya or Skinwalker?
    Grippli. They taste delicious when consumed by festrogs.

    How many distinct plots/subplots within the campaign are you developing at any given time? How far ahead do you outline the overall story arc?
    With Starfinder Society, we've got the awesome position of spending a lot of our time establishing several new plots. Right now, I think we're juggling just about a half-dozen "noticeable" plots within the campaign. One of my goals with Starfinder Society, is to provide players with a wide variety of different "plot hooks", so that as we advance past the initial Scoured Stars storyline, we have a pool of potential new plots to investigate. Ideally, we'll eventually have the playerbase deciding on what plots to explore, perhaps even through the role of a newly elected First Seeker!

    Can you talk a little bit about the process of coordinating this season's PFS scenarios with the War for Taldor AP and the PACG season.
    As the author for the first adventure in the AP, I know that Pathfinder Society integration was pretty high on my mind. It might have had something to do with John and Crystal's machinations of getting me to write the intro adventure, since I have a fair bit of Pathfinder Society-related knowledge and could incorporate that information. I will say, it was really enjoyable to include a few "See Pathfinder Society Scenario #XX-XX for more information on this topic" style references in a printed adventure path!

    Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Thurston Hillman wrote:
    Grippli. They taste delicious when consumed by festrogs

    Oh, that's evil. I hear there are players in therapy after your torture of their PCs at SkalCon last year.

    Paizo Employee ***** Developer

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    I keep hearing rumors that there may be a digital character database from a popular software maker in the works geared to work with PF/SFS. Can you confirm or deny? If able, what information are you able to share? I'll hang up and listen for my answer…

    Are you talking about Herolab online? If so, they have a FAQ here which has the publicly announced information. If not, I’m afraid I’m not sure what you’re talking about, but I can ask around.

    Is it considered bad form to play a second character of the same class?

    Not at all. Play what you want :)

    How intently do you track spending? Do you track it down to the copper or just treat everything under 5g as basically free?

    In Organized Play, I track down to the copper for initial spending. I tend to round up to the nearest gp for later purchases and just say that my characters buy themselves a nicer meal now and again to cover the difference.
    In home games, I often wind up being the designated party inventory manager, so I work with the group for some shorthands, like not tracking basic arrows spent or found and always rounding the treasury to the nearest gold piece.

    I'm curious about your favourite scenarios... and why.

    Oh gosh, picking favorites is hard, because so much of great Society experiences comes from the GM and the players at the table. The three scenario-specific things that I’d say tend to make games great for me are compelling choices of how to approach problems, connections between the current scenario and past adventures, and interesting roleplay opportunities.
    If I had to pick one scenario, I’d go with Eyes of the Ten Part I. I’ve GMed it twice and played it once, and all three times have been excellent experiences.

    And slightly different but on the same track - your favourite PFS season.

    I’d have to say Season 7. I like the classic aspis-punching aspect combined with the intrigue behind the scenes.

    It’s hard to say how much of my view of the season comes from the fact that I got to be part of shaping the plot for the first time, and that by that point I felt that I had found my feet as a developer. That’s when I was first able to step back and think, “wow, people in the community are having fun with something I’ve helped build.” Pathfinder Society has been a real positive force in my life, and being able to take on a new role where I could give back to the community full-time was really incredible.

    Looking at what we have coming up, though, I think Season 9 may wind up becoming my new favorite.

    What does a typical day at work look like for each of you?

    My typical days are pretty similar to John’s, minus Starfinder and wandering under the daystar (or clouds, as the case may be). I tend to start by checking emails, forums, and any notes I left for myself from the previous day, as well as checking in with John. Where we are in the product cycle tends to determine a lot of what we do. Since we’re always managing multiple scenarios and there are so many other tasks, we typically have some options for what to work on next. I like to jump around a bit between active projects, particularly when I’m mulling over how to solve a particular problem. I typically stay at my desk all day, including for lunch, but then take breaks to wander the halls and chat with coworkers.

    What class or type of class is your favorite?

    I tend to have favorite characters rather than favorite classes. That being said, my favorite character to play mechanically was probably my battle oracle. She was built to hit hard, and her spells known were pretty much all dedicated to removing harmful conditions. It was fun to be able to smash things most of the time and pull out just the right tool when things got rough for her fellow PCs.

    Shadow Lodge *****

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    Bob Jonquet wrote:
    Oh, that's evil. I hear there are players in therapy after your torture of their PCs at SkalCon last year.

    You didn't hear him playing the Warden in Claim to Salvation.

    Paizo Employee ***** Developer

    7 people marked this as a favorite.

    Catfolk, Kitsune, Ratfolk, Vanara, Gripppli, Rougarou, Tengu, Vishkanya or Skinwalker?

    Ratfolk. What can I say, I’m a sucker for cheek pouches. It’s not 100% because of how cute hamsters are or that I had them as pets growing up. I’m happy to see ysoki as a core race in Starfinder :)

    How many distinct plots/subplots within the campaign are you developing at any given time? How far ahead do you outline the overall story arc?

    John and I bounce ideas off each other all the time to develop stories, so we have lots of threads and tidbits, from “wouldn’t it be cool if we brought back this NPC?” to “We haven’t done anything in this area in a while, and there’s a really awesome hook in this city."
    As far as things I’m actively working on, right now I’m managing four scenarios: one in development, one that an author is in the middle of, one that I just assigned to an author, and one that I’m in the process of outlining. There are also three scenarios that build off of the plots of those scenarios, so I have initial structures in place for those as well.
    For the overall story arc, we have a pretty good idea of the shape of Season 9, and we’ve started kicking around key ideas for Season 10.

    New Material Question: Will Leshy be a playable character option immediately upon release of Ultimate Wilderness, perhaps with proof of purchase of the source material?

    Linda looks at John with big, watery eyes, and then whispers hopefully, “ Can haz leshy?” Seriously though, as with any new race, we are exploring if and how to make it available for play. It would be unfair to give leshys special treatment just because they are bundles of adorable joy.

    General Question 1: What lessons have you learned during your time in Organized Play, and how would you try to impart them to others?

    John answered this question from the “time in Organized Play as your job” angle, so I’ll talk about it from the direction of being a Player/GM/VL. I could probably talk about this all day, but here are a few bits of advice that stand out.

  • Playing publicly gives you a chance to meet a lot of new people, but those first moments of sitting down with strangers can be awkward. I’ve found that starting every game as a GM with a few minutes for people to introduce themselves and say where they are from really helps, and it breaks the ice for people to chat with each other while I handle questions and other things that come up from individual players. It always surprises me how many people jump straight to character introductions if I forget to say “real names, please, not character names.” I’d recommend avoiding super-open ended things like “tell me something interesting about yourself”, as I know I’m not the only one who freezes and panics a little when I hear that question.
  • Tables run best when players are looking out for each other’s fun, not just their own. For example, taking the time to give credit to others for their contributions (like thanking the bard’s player for their buffs) helps make for a better gaming experience for everyone.
  • When welcoming new players to the game, it’s important to strike a balance between helping them enough so they don’t feel lost and over-helping. The best guide to how much help is best for a new player is the new player herself. In general, if someone else is making the decisions for the new player, it’s too much. These situations can be delicate, so when I'm GMing and see someone over-helping, I generally take the helper aside privately and thank them for their assistance in teaching the new player first before asking them to dial it back.
  • No one can possibly remember all of the possible character options that are legal in Pathfinder Society. As a GM, don’t be afraid to ask players how their characters work or check in on sources when you need to. One way to decrease the number of surprises with unusual mechanics is to ask the players before you begin the session if their character have anything particularly cool or unusual. That way, it becomes a chance for players to enjoy talking about their builds rather than a chance for you as the GM to have to quickly figure out what a character is doing in the middle of an encounter.

  • Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

    When can we buy Rhyol plushies?

    Paizo Employee ***** Developer

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    James Anderson wrote:
    When can we buy Rhyol plushies?

    If these became a thing, I would definitely add one to my growing army of desk plushies. :)

    Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

    For a large conventions (80ish tables) what do you think the best method of boon and credit distribution?

    Have you considered prizes for people who've completed every legal scenario as player and GM? (Besides GM stars)

    Wayfinders ***** ⦵⦵

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    A newly minted Starfinder slips into the room.

    "Hello, John and Thursty. Can you answer a question from a Wayfinder about First Contact Food? As a food service professional -- the Posh Kettle Tea Stand is located right across the corridor from the Lorespire Complex -- I hope to make contact with some cultures with higher culinary standards. Are we doomed to eating yucky things on First Contact missions?"

    Disappointing Menu Items:

    1-00 Sauna Mush -- Needed more color & spicing
    1-03 Kahlgee -- greasy smoky cheese has potential, but only as fondue.

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Charli Poshkettle wrote:

    A newly minted Starfinder slips into the room.

    "Hello, John and Thursty. Can you answer a question from a Wayfinder about First Contact Food? As a food service professional -- the Posh Kettle Tea Stand is located right across the corridor from the Lorespire Complex -- I hope to make contact with some cultures with higher culinary standards. Are we doomed to eating yucky things on First Contact missions?"

    What? You don't like consuming food flavor-balanced to appeal to radically different organisms? It had always been my understanding that the Wayfinders embraced post-processual methodologies that allowed them to experience other species's culinary culture directly. This does, of course, assume that you're consuming food consisting of the same protein types as your designed to digest, for other forms could prove toxic (lethally so, even).

    Either way, I'd encourage the Poshkettles and others to embrace a Space-Boasian mindset that while foods may be different, no one food is intrinsically superior in cultural value to any other; they all serve approximately the same purposes and are shaped by the cultures in which they arose—a culinary particularism, if you will. If we're to understand the culture, we must must eat as its creatures do.

    Some will have even tastier food than you know already. Others will basically ladle up a bowl of space boogers for you to enjoy. Not every venture is a winner.

    The Concordance ***

    John Compton wrote:


  • Redlining (aka marking with a red pen) a Pathfinder society scenario
  • Redlining an Adventure Card Guild adventure
  • Redlining an adventure author's expanded outline or milestone text
  • Redlining text for some other document I'm preparing
  • That's a LOT of redlining.

    How many red pens do you go through in a month?

    The Concordance ***

    Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
    James Anderson wrote:
    When can we buy Rhyol plushies?
    If these became a thing, I would definitely add one to my growing army of desk plushies. :)

    I would buy one. Playing Rhyol was one of my favorite role playing experiences ever.

    Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Lead Developer

    Wallbanger7110 wrote:
    John Compton wrote:


  • Redlining (aka marking with a red pen) a Pathfinder society scenario
  • Redlining an Adventure Card Guild adventure
  • Redlining an adventure author's expanded outline or milestone text
  • Redlining text for some other document I'm preparing
  • That's a LOT of redlining.

    How many red pens do you go through in a month?

    I go through about four red pens and two black pens per year in the course of developing scenarios and taking notes at meetings.

    Grand Lodge ** Venture-Captain, Russia—Moscow aka Maxim Nikolaev

    6 people marked this as a favorite.

    Hi, question to Tonya. When can we expect the next wave of VA appovals? I submitted four people since last year and there have been no news so far.
    It's hard to recruit new volunteers for the officer duties when we can't even tell them when or if they are getting the status.

    **** ⦵⦵

    Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

    Will there ever by Expanded Narrative Boon free download for Season 9, like it was for season 8 http://paizo.com/paizo/blog/v5748dyo5lj36?Familiar-Places-New-Adventures ?
    For earlier seasons?

    Scarab Sages ***** Venture-Captain, Netherlands aka Woran

    What was your biggest, "I did not expect THAT" in org play?
    (Its very open ended, but I would love the stories)

    Lantern Lodge ****

    A biggie here...

    Spoiler:
    Will Condria ever get out of the maze? I'd love to see a little closure on that one.

    Or how about a revisit of the maze? It almost feels like the maze was the prototype for the Hao Jin Tapestry sometimes.

    ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Online aka Magabeus

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    What kind of data-analysis do you perform on all the data you gather from the reported games?

    What surprised you most about the data?

    Did the reported data change anything (and what) in the future scenarios?

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