2 months in... PFS - The good, the bad, the ugly...


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So... I enjoy PFS it has been really helpful to me...

That having been said, nothing is perfect...

The Good:
Thanks to online play I get to play a lot more, the wheelchair makes it hard to get around so I rely on online play most of the time. The discord server is great.

The Bad:
This may come down to area variation, but there have been players I don't want to play with ever again. On the discord, it is really simple, I keep a list of names and if they are in for the same game I am looking at, I don't sign up. Be it because they are rude (has happened) or simply because their playstyle and mine doesn't mesh well. In real life, this is harder to manage, and I gather I will just have to grin and bear it.

The Ugly:
Some of the PFS rules are... Silly. This comes down to certain items being made legal, but then the standard house rules of PFS make the item borderline useless. This one I ran into today, and while there is a cheaper alternative to get the same mechanical bonus... It begs the question of why make something legal if you, at the same time, make it impossible to use.

The bottom flaw can be remedied but it would take extra work on PFS's end for some kind of blanket errata on the item cost. (Something like, divide the cost by 10, or give such items a number of uses like we do with wands.)

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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Glad to hear OP, especially online is giving you an outlet to play. I'm sure the Jeese and his team of online VOs are happy to know it and you can always reach out to them if you are experiencing problems with any specific players. Style conflicts aside, if someone is being rude or displaying other inappropriate behavior, we would rather address the issue than allow it to continue and possibly ruin the experience of other players in the future. Our community is only as strong as the people in it.

Rules in our campaign do not always make sense to everyone's preferences. For the most part we have to deal with that. Its especially problematic if the perceived problem stems from the rule as written in the published book. OP tries not to change the fundamental material of a game mechanic, moreso just how it interacts with OP. So, we would tend not to change the cast of an item. That kind of problem lies more with the design team and not the development team working specifically with OP.


Bob Jonquet wrote:

Glad to hear OP, especially online is giving you an outlet to play. I'm sure the Jeese and his team of online VOs are happy to know it and you can always reach out to them if you are experiencing problems with any specific players. Style conflicts aside, if someone is being rude or displaying other inappropriate behavior, we would rather address the issue than allow it to continue and possibly ruin the experience of other players in the future. Our community is only as strong as the people in it.

Rules in our campaign do not always make sense to everyone's preferences. For the most part we have to deal with that. Its especially problematic if the perceived problem stems from the rule as written in the published book. OP tries not to change the fundamental material of a game mechanic, moreso just how it interacts with OP. So, we would tend not to change the cast of an item. That kind of problem lies more with the design team and not the development team working specifically with OP.

Like I said I mean, not all players gel, so that isn't a big deal. Happens everywhere.

I dunno, some of the rules are weird... I ran into one...

Like, today I was prepping to do a 3 story arc in Tian Xia - And since I knew they'd all be there - I got a cool idea. I bought a Courtier's Outfit, spent gold on jewelry to negate the penalties with nobles, then I was going to buy fashionable accessories to get bonuses to diplomacy because...

Well... Paladin... Skill points aren't my thing :P

I was informed that such doesn't work, because PFS wipes out any bonuses that carry past the session, even if in a story line. Following those rules means there are a lot of cool fluff items that aren't as good as much cheaper consumables that accomplish the same, or similar, end goal.

I would think that something like that would have been covered, but it isn't. Seems odd to have items that are listed as legal, but you can't actually use.

Its not a big deal though, I'm still loving PFS.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Courtier's Outfit is legal, and is not a one time use item.

4/5

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Nefreet wrote:
Courtier's Outfit is legal, and is not a one time use item.

There is even a module out there that gives you a free one, which I thought was a pretty cool boon when I found it.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I love the yellow shoes, personally.


Nefreet wrote:
Courtier's Outfit is legal, and is not a one time use item.

Nah the Cortier's Outfit with Fashionable Accessories from Street Heroes.

The Fashionable Accessories grant a +2 to Diplomacy for that region for 2d4 months. That's the part that's not PFS viable.

Venture-Agent, Utah—Provo aka Chess Pwn

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HWalsh wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Courtier's Outfit is legal, and is not a one time use item.

Nah the Cortier's Outfit with Fashionable Accessories from Street Heroes.

The Fashionable Accessories grant a +2 to Diplomacy for that region for 2d4 months. That's the part that's not PFS viable.

true, it's that an eternity of time passed for all pfs people in an instant between missions and thus the effects wear off after the mission. The trade off of having time to naturally heal all wound and ability damage and downtime and all the stuff that works by ruling this way.

And for 20 gp they are cheap enough to buy whenever you want them for a mission, just the price of a decent day job.
Which consumable is cheaper than 20gp for this effect?

Scarab Sages 5/5

It's a static bonus. There is no consmae about it. The GM is flat out wrong on this.

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

I think he is saying it doesn’t last for months — only one scenario.


Thomas Hutchins wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Courtier's Outfit is legal, and is not a one time use item.

Nah the Cortier's Outfit with Fashionable Accessories from Street Heroes.

The Fashionable Accessories grant a +2 to Diplomacy for that region for 2d4 months. That's the part that's not PFS viable.

true, it's that an eternity of time passed for all pfs people in an instant between missions and thus the effects wear off after the mission. The trade off of having time to naturally heal all wound and ability damage and downtime and all the stuff that works by ruling this way.

And for 20 gp they are cheap enough to buy whenever you want them for a mission, just the price of a decent day job.
Which consumable is cheaper than 20gp for this effect?

Eh... Kinda?

If you get a disease it can persist, from what I understand. If you get negative levels, they persist until you pay for them to get taken off, etc.

Oh Perfume.

Does nearly the same thing, +2 to Diplomacy checks, for 1 GP/Dose. 1 dose lasts 24 hours, which is the length of most PFS scenarios.

Scarab Sages 4/5

A negative level is one of the very few things that persist beyond the scenario. Diseases don’t persist. Diseases must be cured at the end of the scenario or the character is marked dead.

There are a few permanent effects that persist, but most don’t.

That particular item feels out of place because it’s an odd duration for PFS. Most scenarios, as you said, will resolve in a day. There are some, though, that take place over the span of a few days. Also, you can play modules and adventure path parts for PFS credit, and some of those may include traveling to several parts of the same region. So the item would be potentially useful in those situations.

The indeterminate time between scenarios creates a few small issues like this. It also allows retraining that could take months or crafting or scribing of spells without having to track all the time each of those things would take.

Removing an item just because it doesn’t mesh in an ideal way with pfs rules often seems to result in someone asking why it was banned. Something this small doesn’t create any kind of imbalance, so they probably just left it legal for the rare instances where it would be preferable.

It’s not a perfect system, but it’s a choice of simplicity in an organized play environment over eliminating all the little odd corner cases.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

HWalsh wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Courtier's Outfit is legal, and is not a one time use item.

Nah the Cortier's Outfit with Fashionable Accessories from Street Heroes.

The Fashionable Accessories grant a +2 to Diplomacy for that region for 2d4 months. That's the part that's not PFS viable.

I can see how a GM could rule it that way. If you want to get the same effect, spend 50gp for a masterwork tool for diplomacy and call it jewelry. That is perfectly legal and permanent.

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

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Bob Jonquet wrote:
I can see how a GM could rule it that way. If you want to get the same effect, spend 50gp for a masterwork tool for diplomacy and call it jewelry. That is perfectly legal and permanent.

Ultimate Equipment clarified that a masterwork tool should either have a limited number of uses or a limitation so it only applies to some uses of the skill.

I could see limiting it by area, so it only applies in LingShen as an example.

Dark Archive 1/5

HWalsh wrote:

Oh Perfume.

Does nearly the same thing, +2 to Diplomacy checks, for 1 GP/Dose. 1 dose lasts 24 hours, which is the length of most PFS scenarios.

According to the item description the common 1 gp and the rare 10 gp versions do nothing mechanically. The item description specifies that the exotic variants give that bonus, but those cost 100 gp per dose, and are sold in vials containing ten doses. So you need to pay in 1,000 gp increments for ten days of bonus.

This is another case where item descriptions can be a bit misleading.

Silver Crusade 5/5

HWalsh wrote:


The Fashionable Accessories grant a +2 to Diplomacy for that region for 2d4 months. That's the part that's not PFS viable.

The problem here is that there is already WAY too much bookkeeping in PFS. Recording when and where you bought items is just (in general) far more hassle than its worth.

Personally, if I was running back to back sessions of linked Scenarios and somebody asked I'd do more or less what Bob suggested above : Buy this as a M/W tool, I'll use my GM license to allow it to work on all diplomacy checks in Tien, do NOT expect other GMs to necessarily allow it as it is definitely an edge case not covered by the rules.

Scarab Sages 5/5

here's another thread where several of us discuss "Fashionable Accessories"...

LINK.

as I said over there...

If I was the table judge and you said you had this item for city XXX and you had bought it in season 6, and the scenario was set in city xxx and it was a 6-XX scenario, heck yeah! I might even give it to you for a season 5 or 7 scenario.

And after all - all circumstance bonuses are under the control of the judge and should be cleared thru them. The person running the table get's to decide if a circumstance bonus applies, so whenever you use something that gives a circumstance bonus you need to mention it them. That's one reason that circumstance bonuses are almost the only kind of bonus that stacks with itself. two different circumstance bonuses stack - as long as the judge says it does. SO even if you were to buy it at the start of the scenario you are in, in the correct city, the judge would STILL have to say it applies ... or not.

anyway - mention it to the judge -

"Hay, I got Fashionable Accessories clothing from Geb when I was here two games back! So, would that still give me a +2 on Diplomacy with the Count here? It's a total Bling necklace of ghouls teeth..."

1/5

Hmmmmm. Count is from Ustalav, is into the primitive gothic scene but not specifically called out...

"Dahling, the molar look is SO last season!"

Scarab Sages 5/5

GM Wageslave wrote:


Hmmmmm. Count is from Ustalav, is into the primitive gothic scene but not specifically called out...

"Dahling, the molar look is SO last season!"

LOL! so, if we were playing a scenario from last season, would it be ok then?

But, like I said... It's a judges' call. It's a circumstance bonus after all...

Shadow Lodge 5/5 RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8 aka WalterGM

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Getting away from the specific fashion thing...

I want to say that I really like the "2 months in" format for your review of PFS because it means you actually played it a few times. There are a lot of threads and posts out there from people that played once or twice and have reached a verdict, without really exploring the meat of the OP environment. And they're hard to have a conversation with, because the first thing I want to say is "try it again, table variation is a thing." So thanks for playing a few times and letting us know how you feel about things. This is the kind of feedback that helps us grow.

I think you've hit upon the core of PFS exactly. PFS is always there and ready to play which is nice, but there are some folks you'd rather not play with and some rules you sometimes rather weren't there.

And I think a lot of the die-hard PFS fans (like myself) got spoiled with a regular group of people that kick ass. I've had a few negative table experiences throughout my years with PFS, and if I imagine getting those tables at the start of my time with PFS instead of in the middle, I'd probably not be so enthusiastic about it as a whole. It's a matter of perspective. Given enough time the good far outweighs the bad. So I'm betting future experiences will be better than the negative ones you've had thusfar.

And as far as PFS specific rules go, I've adopted a "whatever" outlook on them in general. Follow the rules as best you can, correct folks that aren't aware of rule X, Y, or Z. If some weird case comes up in a game, I'll hash it out with my players/GM then. Otherwise, it often boils down to a "huh, neat," or "huh, that might have been overlooked." Just another odd landmark of the PFS landscape. Every now and then that really is a mountain up ahead, most of the times it's just a molehill. In the end this is a game, and if everyone at the table is having fun you are doing it right, so have fun.

So thank you for your earnest review of our OP environment and I hope you keep enjoying what PFS has to offer, which is in my mind a consistent platform for gaming. And it sounds like you're having fun already, so I'm speculating your enjoyment will continue to grow as you explore the various PFS storylines and high-level content it presents.


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Walter Sheppard wrote:

Getting away from the specific fashion thing...

I want to say that I really like the "2 months in" format for your review of PFS because it means you actually played it a few times. There are a lot of threads and posts out there from people that played once or twice and have reached a verdict, without really exploring the meat of the OP environment. And they're hard to have a conversation with, because the first thing I want to say is "try it again, table variation is a thing." So thanks for playing a few times and letting us know how you feel about things. This is the kind of feedback that helps us grow.

I think you've hit upon the core of PFS exactly. PFS is always there and ready to play which is nice, but there are some folks you'd rather not play with and some rules you sometimes rather weren't there.

And I think a lot of the die-hard PFS fans (like myself) got spoiled with a regular group of people that kick ass. I've had a few negative table experiences throughout my years with PFS, and if I imagine getting those tables at the start of my time with PFS instead of in the middle, I'd probably not be so enthusiastic about it as a whole. It's a matter of perspective. Given enough time the good far outweighs the bad. So I'm betting future experiences will be better than the negative ones you've had thusfar.

And as far as PFS specific rules go, I've adopted a "whatever" outlook on them in general. Follow the rules as best you can, correct folks that aren't aware of rule X, Y, or Z. If some weird case comes up in a game, I'll hash it out with my players/GM then. Otherwise, it often boils down to a "huh, neat," or "huh, that might have been overlooked." Just another odd landmark of the PFS landscape. Every now and then that really is a mountain up ahead, most of the times it's just a molehill. In the end this is a game, and if everyone at the table is having fun you are doing it right, so have fun.

So thank you for your earnest review of our OP environment and I hope you keep enjoying what PFS...

Oh yeah, no I plan on continuing. It is a lot of fun, I am enjoying it, and the community has been amazing. Much more than I could have reasonably expected.

It is a great thing.

Right now I'm at level 4 and have done:

1 Dungeon level (didn't really like that one.)
1 5-part quest chain thing (that was really fun.)
6 scenarios. (Varied.)

My comments on those are as follows:

1 - The Dungeon -
I hated it with a passion.

Spoiler:
It felt completely unfair and I totally wasn't prepared for what I faced. It was (name omitted) and I understand that table variation may be the cause. This was right after I had spent 2 PP on an item I had gotten in another scenario that had a heightened continual flame cast on a gem and I had set the gem in my Miner's Lantern. I specifically did all of that, including spent the PP to avoid specifically darkness spells. The first area I run into has a darkness that violates the general rules of darkness making that item totally useless.

The entire area being difficult terrain was a real let down. Not only did I have to guess where enemies were, I was barred from attacking almost anything because my only option was to double move so I could see anything. This lead the group to using me as a portable light source so I could reveal enemies and they could fight them.

I will never touch (name omitted) again, even though it is an evergreen, unless I have Darkvision and am playing a ranged combatant.

2 - 5 Part Quest Chain -
This was amazing, and I loved it.

So far this was the best PFS game I have had. There was plenty of combat, a good mix of skill rolls, it had some puzzle solving, a bit of dungeon diving, and was generally unique.

3 - Scenarios -
These have been mostly positive.

In no particular order:

A - One of these wasn't fun because of a certain player, so I can't hold that against the scenario. It was season 4. We had one player (not to be confused with character) who was openly hostile to Paladins and was making kind of side comments the whole game about them. Which wasn't pleasant as I was the Paladin. The scenario itself was pretty interesting. The only part of it that felt not fun was a chase scenario, where it was literally impossible for me to complete one of the steps, fortunately we had someone who could. The step in question called for a DC 15 Acrobatics Check (Dex +0, 0 Ranks in Acrobatics, and a -7 Armor Check Penalty at the time. That wasn't physically possible.) or a DC 20 Ride Check (Dex +0, 0 Ranks in Ride so... Yeah...) after that though the dungeon crawl segment was fun, had good combats, and I could do my job as a tank so huzzah.

B - This was kind of a let down. It was a season 9 scenario that dealt with something my character was really into. Long story short. Lots and lots of skill checks aside from a few Diplomacy and a few Religion checks I couldn't really do anything. The fights were super easy and our total number of combat rounds between both fights was a whopping 4. Three in 1, 1 in the other. Was disappointing.

C - This was another season 9 scenario that, again, I couldn't do much in. Everything required skill checks, I could contribute to diplomacy but that was about it. There were 3 combat encounters. Two lasted 2 rounds, the other one lasted 1 round. Between all 3 combats I got to make 1 attack roll.

This seems to be a season 9 issue. The combat encounters start far enough away that those of us who are melee focused and wear Heavy Armor are completely marginalized between difficult terrain, or just large starting areas. The enemies are so weak compared to the damage that players dish out from ranged characters, who also tend to have higher skills, that we don't get to do much.

D - This was a season 3 scenario that was great. My first time playing my character at 4th level and it was a blast. A good mix of combat and skill checks. Again they were skill checks I couldn't make, sadly, but we had work arounds. There were 3 combats in this one. The first I couldn't do anything in. The second though I was able to do my job... Tank! The third we faced a smaller group and also drew a boss onto us, which again, I got to do my job... Tank! I had to actually blow multiple LoH's and burn Hero's Defiance. I was QUITE pleased.

E - This was a season 6 scenario and it was fun, but it suffered from the same issues as the season 9's. It was a ton of skill checks, and then a very short combat. I only remember one, so if there were two then one of them was so short that I don't remember it. The skill challenges here though were mostly Perception so I could contribute, there were also a few knowledge religions. I think the final combat encounter was 2 rounds. I only got to make 1 attack the entire scenario.

F - This was my very first scenario. It was from season 8 and it was a heck of a lot of fun. We did a dungeon crawl. It had a few skill checks, but also a bunch of combat. I got to make a good number of swings, took a bunch of damage, and I couldn't have asked for a better intro adventure. I even got knocked into the negative HP 3 times. It was a challenge, it was difficult, it was a lot of fun.

-----

Feedback:

Scenario F was my first PFS experience, and the people were amazing, I posted my experience in these forums. The community was super welcoming and that does a lot to cement loyalty. I am pretty sure I was hooked then.

I got invited to a party after that which I went to, which is phenomenal. I don't go anywhere, my social anxiety since everything that happened is that bad. I especially don't go anywhere alone and for the holiday party I actually went to a store, twice, alone, just to get supplies (a miniature in one case, because the ones I ordered haven't come in yet :( and paints as well as food for the pot luck in the other) my counselor actually calls this a breakthrough... So yay... PFS has legitimately helped with my mental health.

The scenario itself was great. I didn't feel useless. I probably would have stayed regardless, seriously the people of the "My Parent's Basement" PFS group are that awesome, but the scenario making me feel useful to the group, even as a level 1, when we had a level 5 with us, was awesome.

The Holiday party was terrifying. I am pretty sure everyone who met me could feel the weaponized awkward that was coming off of me. Regardless it was a lot of fun. The scenarios were... Lacking... I would have had more fun as a Bard or something who had a lot more skills to roll.

So far I am actively avoiding season 9 scenarios. They are too skill heavy and my Paladin, even as a human, only has 3 skills. His main deal is that he can take a tremendous amount of damage and remain standing while having good damage (1d8+13 at level 4 ain't nothing to sneeze at) and a high diplomacy (+10 without shenanigans) with a decent perception (+7) allow him to participate in a narrow focus. In the things from the other seasons I have been much more useful with the exception of season 6, but I have only had one season 6 scenario so I can't comment.

This seemed to be the general consensus at the Holiday Party as well. Other players referred to Season 6 as the "Year of the Skill Roll" and were jokingly calling Season 9 "The Skill Roll Strikes Back" which, I guess, is fine, but it helps me know what to avoid.

More experienced PFS players who have a multitude of characters who can tailor the character they bring to a given scenario based on the scenario may not encounter this, but right now, I just have the one so I have to take what I can get.

If I were able to give feedback to the team writing the scenarios it would be this:

"Ease up on the skill rolls."

Assuming that you have a party of 5 players one of these scenarios had (if I remember right) 27 skill checks. That is a lot of skill checks. The combat encounters were super fast, generally 2-3 and took an average of 2 rounds. This is made doubly fast by Kineticists and Archers with Gravity Bow who were just doing insane levels of damage from range.

But if we assume combat rolls (each attack) vs skill roll we see, if we count each player getting a combat action each round (not always the case) a maximum possible 15 combat rolls in the entire session to 27 skill rolls.

That is 42 rolls in one session, putting skills at 64.28% of all the content in the game vs a maximum possible 35.71% combat, if we count all of the rolls together.

If we count the number of potential times each player could have rolled that number looks really bad. How bad? Well in the mentioned 27 skill rolls I was able to attempt an aid action or the skill roll itself 13 times. I was able to make a grand total of 2 attack rolls. That means 86.6% of my actions were skill based while only 13.3% were combat based.

That number should probably, I would think, be closer to 50/50 given then only some classes can make certain skill checks (due to requiring trained skills) while every class has a way, built right in, to participate in every combat.

Anyway, that is my feedback and analysis.

Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

Glad to hear things are going (mostly) well!

If I'm guessing correctly on that dungeon level...:
a lot of local players specifically bring characters with darkvision to that one for the very same reason you discovered. It's not really designed for PFS, so it doesn't have all the same assumptions that a PFS scenario should, and those can be more challenging.

On the skill checks...:
Some of the early Core Rulebook classes, like Paladins, Fighters, and Sorcerers (among others) are seriously challenged for skill points. So yeah... your paladin is going to be seriously disadvantaged in some of the skill scenarios. The skill point problem is a shortcoming that's been addressed in many later classes--compare the sorcerer to its divine counterpart, the Oracle, to see what Paizo might build the sorcerer like now. But since there are a ton of classes that aren't so limited, a skill-heavy approach that puts skills on par with combat is much less of a problem than it would have been in season 0 or 1.

That doesn't help you now, and there aren't a whole lot of immediate solutions. You'll probably have more fun if you mix in some other character types, and your paladin will probably start feeling more useful when you either get him/her up into the 5-9 scenarios--or they start adventuring with some weaker PCs. A strong combat group should trivialize combat and have difficulty with skill checks, when you think about it. And since a lot of classes don't start dealing significant damage until later levels (4 or even 5!) the tier 1-5 stuff is rarely a challenge for a two-handed weapon user with 18 strength. You might have more fun with the 5-9s and you'll probably love some of the more recent 7-11 tier stuff, though.

Grand Lodge

To address the "Table Variation" on that Dungeon:

Spoiler:
From your other post about it I can assure you it was far more than "table variation". The GM straight up ran it incorrectly.

You can always see within 5 feet there with any lightsource even without darkvision, can use dancing lights to give yourself 3x3 squares of vision, the trap does not do nearly that much damage, and you can always retreat if you'd like to come back more prepared with a potion of darkvison for 400 gp which will easily last you the entire dungeon.


Terminalmancer wrote:

Glad to hear things are going (mostly) well!

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

Yeah I was originally thinking of going straight Paladin, going the full Lay on Hands route. I am considering now, at level 5, instead of Weapon Focus (which was going to be 1 of only 2 combat feats) going Deific Obedience: Iomedae for not only the sweet +4 to Knowledge Nobility and +4 to Diplomacy but also to qualify for the Evangelist at 6th.

Going Evangelist for 4 levels will cost me effectively 1 Paladin Level (including 1 BAB), a few HP, but just 3 levels would grant me like +16 skill ranks?

In PFS that could give me a load of more options. I currently have:

4 ranks Diplomacy
4 ranks Perception
1 rank of Nobility
1 rank of Planes
2 ranks of Religion
1 rank of Spellcraft

(Used 1 of my FCBs for an extra skill point)

At 5 I plan to have:

Spoiler:
5 ranks Diplomacy (+16)
5 ranks Perception
1 rank of Nobility (+8)
1 rank of Planes
4 ranks of Religion
1 rank of Spellcraft

But, if I go Evangelist at 6...

Spoiler:
6 ranks of Diplomacy (+17)
6 ranks of Perception
4 rank of Nobility (+11)
1 rank of Planes
6 ranks of Religion
1 rank of Spellcraft

7...

Spoiler:
7 ranks of Diplomacy (+18)
7 ranks of Perception
7 ranks of Nobility (+14)
1 rank of Planes
7 ranks of Religion
2 ranks of Spellcraft

8...

Spoiler:
8 ranks of Diplomacy (+19)
8 ranks of Perception
8 ranks of Nobility (+15)
1 rank of Planes
8 ranks of Religion
5 ranks of Spellcraft

9...

Spoiler:
9 ranks of Diplomacy (+21) (assuming items of course)
9 ranks of Perception
9 ranks of Nobility (+15)
1 rank of Planes
9 ranks of Religion
8 ranks of Spellcraft

And hey, a +21 to a skill at level 9 isn't too shabby...

-----

Which might not seem like much, but it would make me more useful, but part of me also feels like it doesn't fit the character and I don't like making decisions solely for mechanics. I dunno, if the higher tier combats last long enough for me to do my job I may not need to bother with it.


Jurassic Pratt wrote:

To address the "Table Variation" on that Dungeon:

** spoiler omitted **

You assume that my Paladin can somehow cast dancing lights, or that we had someone who could. We did not. I didn't *have* 400 gp for a potion of Darkvision, though I could have (I suppose) spent 2 PP to do so. Even then you *shouldn't* have to do something like that on a quest intended for a level 1.

Grand Lodge

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HWalsh wrote:
Jurassic Pratt wrote:

To address the "Table Variation" on that Dungeon:

** spoiler omitted **
You assume that my Paladin can somehow cast dancing lights, or that we had someone who could. We did not. I didn't *have* 400 gp for a potion of Darkvision, though I could have (I suppose) spent 2 PP to do so. Even then you *shouldn't* have to do something like that on a quest intended for a level 1.

See, it's not a typical PFS scenario. First it's a module not originally written for PFS, but approved for you to play for in it if you wish, and secondly it's advertised as being a hard super dungeon. You should never be going into Emerald Spire with a fresh character. So I'll have to respectfully disagree that you *shouldn't* have to get that on a character without darkvision given that.

Glad to see that you're mostly having a good time with PFS so far though :)

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

Emerald Spire isn't the super hard one. You're thinking of Thornkeep which is bizarrely difficult. Emerald Spire part 1 just requires investment in torches.

Grand Lodge

MadScientistWorking wrote:
Emerald Spire isn't the super hard one. You're thinking of Thornkeep which is bizarrely difficult. Emerald Spire part 1 just requires investment in torches.

It's referred to as a "Superdungeon", "deadly super-adventure" and described as having "Lethal dungeon levels crafted by the creators of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and a host of fantasy gaming's greatest authors and designers".

I'd say that counts as being marketed as a hard super dungeon imo.

5/5

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It is great to see such thoughtful reviews of PFS from a new player's perspective. I encourage you to go and write reviews of the scenarios, which help authors see this feedback as well.

One of the issues with PFS as a campaign, is that it assumes that PCs are going to be "Pathfinders", which (according to in-game lore) are usually jack-of-all-trades who seem to be able to fight, complete skill challenges, and have just the right item at just the right time. But, not all classes can do all parts of that equally well. The early martial classes are severely restricted in skill points - I always use my favored class bonus for skill points for those.

The early skill-based classes are usually able to catch up on the combat side, due to the huge number of new feats, items, and ways to do damage that have been added to the game, but there is basically no way for low-skill characters to "catch up" in skills.

Consideration for Guide v10: All PCs, as Pathfinders, get a free skill point in one each of Int, Wis, Cha-based skills. (So, a Knowledge skill, something like Perception or Survival, and something like diplomacy or UMD). (Better yet, they also become class skills.) Sort of a Pathfinder template.

Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

Jurassic Pratt wrote:
MadScientistWorking wrote:
Emerald Spire isn't the super hard one. You're thinking of Thornkeep which is bizarrely difficult. Emerald Spire part 1 just requires investment in torches.

It's referred to as a "Superdungeon", "deadly super-adventure" and described as having "Lethal dungeon levels crafted by the creators of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and a host of fantasy gaming's greatest authors and designers".

I'd say that counts as being marketed as a hard super dungeon imo.

On the topic of dungeons and megadungeons...:
Seems like some of this stuff should be spoilered, but maybe I'm being too conservative.

Thornkeep's the brutally hard one.

Emerald Spire is reasonable, but most people who have played the first level before seem to go in with a character with darkvision and then rebuild out of darkvision afterward. At least around here.

Plus the dungeon says light only travels five feet, which... if taken literally, makes the dungeon WAY HARDER than I think it's meant to be.
It's supposed to read "Illuminates a 5' radius" instead, but the literal version sure makes for an interesting module.

1/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Alternatively, all classes that have 2+INT are treated as 4+INT to reflect Society Training as the following Trait(Available only at character creation to all factions):

Trait Suggestion:

Trait:

Educated Pathfinder:

Prerequisite: INT 8, must be taken at first character level by a Pathfinder Society Agent.

By virtue of the in-depth training provided by the Pathfinder Society, you have a broader base of skills than one would typically expect for your class. Pick two Knowledge/Social Interaction skills. They are now both treated as Class skills. Gain two additional skill points each time you level in the initial class only to reflect this training.

Only classes that start with a minimum of skill (2+Int bonus) allow for this additional advanced education, and should one branch out their training, this bonus does not apply to other classes.

Just a thought, probably would need a lot of work, but at least having something to start from...

Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

HWalsh wrote:
Terminalmancer wrote:

Glad to hear things are going (mostly) well!

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

Yeah I was originally thinking of going straight Paladin, going the full Lay on Hands route. I am considering now, at level 5, instead of Weapon Focus (which was going to be 1 of only 2 combat feats) going Deific Obedience: Iomedae for not only the sweet +4 to Knowledge Nobility and +4 to Diplomacy but also to qualify for the Evangelist at 6th.

Going Evangelist for 4 levels will cost me effectively 1 Paladin Level (including 1 BAB), a few HP, but just 3 levels would grant me like +16 skill ranks?

In PFS that could give me a load of more options. I currently have:

[...]

Which might not seem like much, but it would make me more useful, but part of me also feels like it doesn't fit the character and I don't like making decisions solely for mechanics. I dunno,...

I love the Evangelist class myself--I have a cleric who plans on going that route, for much the same reason (2+ skill points per level is awful!). It's not for everyone, though. And I tend to lean toward skill points more than most people--like I almost always spend my FCB on skill points. It's usually a good decision in PFS, which rewards well-rounded characters.

I couldn't tell you what fits the character or not--I'm usually reluctant to break type, just like you are. An alternative might be to move your FCB into skill points from here on out, and you can also take the Cunning feat if you'd prefer not to miss out on a level of paladin (or the full base attack bonus that goes with it, which might be more important). Requires the Villain's Codex in some form, so it's not a cheap pickup, but Cunning solves a surprising number of problems I've found. And if your paladin is a two-handed weapon user, you might have the feats to spare?

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

GM Lamplighter wrote:

It is great to see such thoughtful reviews of PFS from a new player's perspective. I encourage you to go and write reviews of the scenarios, which help authors see this feedback as well.

One of the issues with PFS as a campaign, is that it assumes that PCs are going to be "Pathfinders", which (according to in-game lore) are usually jack-of-all-trades who seem to be able to fight, complete skill challenges, and have just the right item at just the right time. But, not all classes can do all parts of that equally well. The early martial classes are severely restricted in skill points - I always use my favored class bonus for skill points for those.

The early skill-based classes are usually able to catch up on the combat side, due to the huge number of new feats, items, and ways to do damage that have been added to the game, but there is basically no way for low-skill characters to "catch up" in skills.

Consideration for Guide v10: All PCs, as Pathfinders, get a free skill point in one each of Int, Wis, Cha-based skills. (So, a Knowledge skill, something like Perception or Survival, and something like diplomacy or UMD). (Better yet, they also become class skills.) Sort of a Pathfinder template.

Paladins have the most support in terms of being a skill monkey class out of the earlier classes. The problem is that you have to know that such mechanics exist before you build the Paladin.

Shadow Lodge

Some work arounds for a melee character.

Always have a composite long bow as a backup, even if you have no feats to archery. Your smite is nice at a distance.

You're a paladin. You have lay on hands. Put that favored class bonus into skills.

Potion of fly, boots of striding and springing.

Dip a level in a skilled class, then concentrate the skill points in 1-2 skills. My best on this concept is my fighter 7 rogue 3 (intimidate build).

Think about 2-3 work arounds for different situations.


GM Lamplighter wrote:

It is great to see such thoughtful reviews of PFS from a new player's perspective. I encourage you to go and write reviews of the scenarios, which help authors see this feedback as well.

One of the issues with PFS as a campaign, is that it assumes that PCs are going to be "Pathfinders", which (according to in-game lore) are usually jack-of-all-trades who seem to be able to fight, complete skill challenges, and have just the right item at just the right time. But, not all classes can do all parts of that equally well. The early martial classes are severely restricted in skill points - I always use my favored class bonus for skill points for those.

The early skill-based classes are usually able to catch up on the combat side, due to the huge number of new feats, items, and ways to do damage that have been added to the game, but there is basically no way for low-skill characters to "catch up" in skills.

Consideration for Guide v10: All PCs, as Pathfinders, get a free skill point in one each of Int, Wis, Cha-based skills. (So, a Knowledge skill, something like Perception or Survival, and something like diplomacy or UMD). (Better yet, they also become class skills.) Sort of a Pathfinder template.

That would be cool and would help a LOT with issues like this.

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

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I just want all of us to get the background skills from Pathfinder unchained.

Hmm

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It'd be nice, but I think that might make things too complicated, which was why I recommended the above Trait possibility.

Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

I just want all of us to get the background skills from Pathfinder unchained.

Hmm

This is exactly what I would support!

3/5

I have found that PbP is the only way that I get to play PFS. There is a group here where I live but the group is very insular. The same people are the only ones that sign up for stuff and not room for new people.

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

On the topic of Paladin skills:

You could invest your FCB into another skill rank for a total of 4 per level. I have done that on my paladin.

If you own Villian's Codex, you could pick up the Cunning feat to get an extra skill rank per level. I did that on my Cleric (same problem, 2 skill ranks per level) and it really helped.

Lastly, early season scenarios tend to have less skill checks than later season ones.

That said, I generally prefer the later season scenarios because of the stories.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

From my experience and what is described above it isn't so much that everyone needs skills so much as.. make the combats better to bring them up to par and give everyone a chance to shine in the same scenario. The stories being told have gotten pretty good in recent seasons. The supporting combats in general aren't so challenging. Why limit it to one style of play or the other?

Scarab Sages 4/5

I think a lot of that has to do with season 5. Season 5 started to experiment more with story, but kept the number and challenge level of the fights the same. As a result, there were some very long scenarios that season. Port Godless, for one. I think the 7-11 Tier was adjusted last season to feature fewer combats, because that tier was running long in seasons 6 and 7.

Some of the season 8 and 9 scenarios have ended up very short. Some I felt like the roleplaying could run long. On the Border of War has run long both times I GMed it. But for the most part, i hink the combats could last longer and they would still fit in 4-5 hours.


Ferious Thune wrote:

I think a lot of that has to do with season 5. Season 5 started to experiment more with story, but kept the number and challenge level of the fights the same. As a result, there were some very long scenarios that season. Port Godless, for one. I think the 7-11 Tier was adjusted last season to feature fewer combats, because that tier was running long in seasons 6 and 7.

Some of the season 8 and 9 scenarios have ended up very short. Some I felt like the roleplaying could run long. On the Border of War has run long both times I GMed it. But for the most part, i hink the combats could last longer and they would still fit in 4-5 hours.

The Season 9 evergreen is freaking AMAZING and they need to do more like it. I had a ton of fun in that one. It was light on skills (thought not completely without them) and had a bunch of HARD fights. (I played it at level 4 in a high tier.)

Liberty's Edge 1/5

I thought the point of Evergreen modules was for repeated play of character levels 1 & 2? What's a level 4 character doing in one?

1/5

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Last Season and this season they've rolled out two 3-7 scenarios that are 'evergreen' to help address 'the Level 6 gap' that comes up due to the way tiers are laid out.

1/5 RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

The biggest problem I had with online play is that no one runs regular games and it's rare to find a 1-5 tier game.

I have a friend who's new to PFS and it's impossible for us to find a game because there's a huge reliance on pick-up games and almost everything that becomes available is a 3-7 or 7-11.

Scarab Sages 4/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

HWalsh - I’m looking forward to playing the new evergreen. I haven’t had the chance yet. I liked From the Tome of Righteous Repose a lot (the season 8 3-7 evergreen). The combats in that are generally on the tougher side compared to other scenarios in that tier. Though a lot depends on which options the GM chooses. My sense from the blog about the new one is that there are more variable story elements as well, and I’m really curious to see how that works.


Cyrad wrote:

The biggest problem I had with online play is that no one runs regular games and it's rare to find a 1-5 tier game.

I have a friend who's new to PFS and it's impossible for us to find a game because there's a huge reliance on pick-up games and almost everything that becomes available is a 3-7 or 7-11.

There is an awesome Discord for PFS that runs 1-5 games *constantly*

I am not level 5 yet.

I have played 8 different adventures, all 1-5

In 2 months give or take.

There is a 1-5 going on at least once every other day, some days I even did 2 in a row...

PFS Discord Link!

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Cyrad wrote:

The biggest problem I had with online play is that no one runs regular games and it's rare to find a 1-5 tier game.

I have a friend who's new to PFS and it's impossible for us to find a game because there's a huge reliance on pick-up games and almost everything that becomes available is a 3-7 or 7-11.

Have you tried requesting a tier 1-5? There are GMs that accomodate requests.

Hmm

5/5

Cyrad wrote:

The biggest problem I had with online play is that no one runs regular games and it's rare to find a 1-5 tier game.

I have a friend who's new to PFS and it's impossible for us to find a game because there's a huge reliance on pick-up games and almost everything that becomes available is a 3-7 or 7-11.

Low level evergreens and 1-5 scenarios are very common offerings on the Organised Play Discord.

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