PFS Changes i'd like to see


Pathfinder Society

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Kalindlara wrote:

HWalsh:

Could you list the source scenarios for those alignment examples in a spoiler or PM, please? I'm really interested to see how/if the alignment decision is justified in the text.

I'll PM you, it will be slow, I'm currently playing in the TPKon special.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
HWalsh wrote:
I'll PM you, it will be slow, I'm currently playing in the TPKon special.

No hurry! Whenever you've got a moment. ^_^

4/5 5/5

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Add a campaign mode to both The Emerald Spire and Thornkeep.

Grand Lodge Venture-Lieutenant, Nevada—Cold Springs aka Gorignak227

Neriathale wrote:

My wished for change would be a reworked pregen sheet that looks more like the beginner box character sheet, and includes all the frequently used skills.

I've played a fair bit with new players at cons, and it's unnecessarily fiddly trying to explain that "yes you can make a Stealth check, even though stealth isn't listed on your sheet, but it's your Dex modifier, which isn't given in the stat block either..."

Agree, this would be awesome and be a good intro into building their own character as well.

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

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My first choice for change would be more timely convention support and updating of VO status.

Although I wouldn’t mind adjusting the replay, I don’t support something based on when something was played. People have enough problems already just tracking if they have played something without having to remember when. I suspect anyone who has hosted games for long enough has already had to deal with a player that suddenly realizes they had played something before. I would rather not add to that the question of ‘When was that?’

That said, I must admit that I like SFS’s replay policy a lot. If something is replayable, it is replayable at all allowed tiers.

I also support the idea to include the outer dimensions on maps. That will allow me to more quickly determine if two maps can fit on the same mat or not.

I would like the multi-story replayable scenarios to include multiple chronicles —one for each story path. Anyone who has GMed Tome or Halflight Path knows how much crossing out of chronicle items it requires. It would be a lot better if we could just select chronicle by story.

On scenarios with randomly selected treasure packages, I would like the items from the different packages grouped together on the chronicle. That way I can more easily cross out the packages that weren’t in that play through.

If we can’t get chronicles by story, a reasonable alternative would be to group item listings by story. Once again, I want it to be easier to select what items they did not come across because of the plot chosen.

——

Having given the requests for improvements, now I would like to say there are some changes that have happened over the last year or two that I’ve really liked.

Although I complained about the chronicles above, I really like the new 3-7 replayable scenarios themselves. I hope they continue to do things like that both for tiers 3-7 and 1-2.

I like the more open upgrading policy for magic items. Being able to upgrade light fortification to moderate or shadow to improved shadow is a very nice change!

I like that they have changed the rules so as to allow us to use electronic copies of chronicles now.

I also think each season the faction journal cards have improved.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Baltic

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Kalindlara wrote:
Selvaxri wrote:
Why not expand the rebuild buffer to lvl 3?

I'll admit that it'd be nice to not have to be a rogue until I can have my Dex-to-damage.

Seriously though, if this is something that you think would be a good fit for the campaign, I recommend putting together a full thread looking at the various ramifications of such a change. ^_^

Why does the 1st level rebuild buffer exists?

It's so people new to Pathfinder Society aren't "locked in" by poor descisions when they first start out.

It's also meant for people to try new classes, but still have the option to switch if that class doesn't agree with them.

I know it's (ab?)used by veterans to get past the 'weak' levels of certain classes, but that is neither its primary or secondary purpose, but a(n unwanted?) side effect.

I myself don't see expanding the buffer to benefit the primary/secondary targets that much, but benefit the side effect greatly. Therefore I would vote against such a change.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

That was the point I was going for with the rogue bit, for the record. I forget that sarcasm doesn't really work on the Internet. ^_^

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Baltic

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Kalindlara wrote:
That was the point I was going for with the rogue bit, for the record. I forget that sarcasm doesn't really work on the Internet. ^_^

Although my reply did quote you, it wasn't my intention to direct it at you, but at the issue. Leaving your quote off would have prevented the potential misunderstanding, but the point you raised about having its own thread was important enough to repeat it. :-)

Grand Lodge Venture-Lieutenant, Nevada—Cold Springs aka Gorignak227

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BretI wrote:

On scenarios with randomly selected treasure packages, I would like the items from the different packages grouped together on the chronicle. That way I can more easily cross out the packages that weren’t in that play through.

This would be really nice.

5/5 5/55/55/5

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Statblocks on the same page

I know white space drives publishers nuts, but flipping back and forth for 3 pages for the stat blocks of a fight drives the DM nuts.

And that is walking distance.

Grand Lodge Venture-Lieutenant, Nevada—Cold Springs aka Gorignak227

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Statblocks on the same page

I know white space drives publishers nuts, but flipping back and forth for 3 pages for the stat blocks of a fight drives the DM nuts.

Yes! AND include the 4 person adjustment as well :)

The easiest format for me to use would actually have the statblocks grouped by encounter at the end including 4 person adjustments & tactics.

That way i can look at the monsters and all pertinent info alongside the room details. (Wouldn't mind if statblocks were omitted in the adventure to clean it up a little as well.

Sovereign Court 5/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Statblocks on the same page

I know white space drives publishers nuts, but flipping back and forth for 3 pages for the stat blocks of a fight drives the DM nuts.

And that is walking distance.

This is one of the reasons why I started making Prep Documents.


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Personally, I wouldn't mind if statblocks only appeared in the Appendix. That includes new ones, such as custom NPCs. In my opinion, it'd clutter the text far less (and give me more words to spend on adventure). But I don't know how well everyone else would like it. ^_^

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Iammars wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Statblocks on the same page

I know white space drives publishers nuts, but flipping back and forth for 3 pages for the stat blocks of a fight drives the DM nuts.

And that is walking distance.

This is one of the reasons why I started making Prep Documents.

Your prep has been invaluable in running complex scenarios.

Scenarios that say "reuse the stats from page X" drive me nuts. Putting all statblocks in the appendix, sorted by tier then by encounter, makes life sooo much easier.

And on the topic of statblocks: know which keywords need expansion. Obscure sorcerer bloodline abilities that tactics say get used for example.

---

As an aside on maps: I don't love 45 degree lines. I would like for every square to be clear whether it's available to stand on or not, and 45 degree lines tend to cover squares for 50%. There are several remedies: use 22 or 15 degree lines, or shift the 45 degree lines sideways a bit so they consistently cover 1/3 or 2/3 of the space. Then you can just say "any square that's mostly free is available to stand on".

5/5 5/55/55/5

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A denouement. A lot of scenarios just kind of end, and the very end of the game session when my brain is fried is the least likely time i'll make any good endings.

2/5

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Less skill check mini games. I’ve never had a player say, to paraphrase “Boy, I really enjoyed the sixth location to make a diplomacy check to gatherinfo”. The general consensus of players I’ve talked to is that they’re are too many skill checks in the scenarios now.

Less chase scenes. Most of the time I’ve been at a table with a chase scene there is a collective groan when a chase became evident. Less as in zero.

I know asked and answered but I believe a tweaking of replay rules is in order.

Overall I’d like to see the CR difficulty increase in scenarios. Possibly enable a hard mode challenge where players could get a small reward if all creatures got the advanced template or something similar.

Personally, I’ve always enjoyed haunts. They can provide a lot of dramatic flavor to a scenario.

Scarab Sages 5/5

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Dan Armstrong wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Statblocks on the same page

I know white space drives publishers nuts, but flipping back and forth for 3 pages for the stat blocks of a fight drives the DM nuts.

Yes! AND include the 4 person adjustment as well :)

The easiest format for me to use would actually have the statblocks grouped by encounter at the end including 4 person adjustments & tactics.

That way i can look at the monsters and all pertinent info alongside the room details. (Wouldn't mind if statblocks were omitted in the adventure to clean it up a little as well.

Agreed. One of the reasons given to me in 2011, I think, by Mark Moreland, was that Paizo uses the same publishing template across the board. In other words they want to use their same trade dress for scenarios they use for modules and APs.

Thing is, they've already broken that several times in small ways since John Compton came on. In all cases, this made scenarios easier to prep and run.

I'd like to see the short stat blocks in the encounters.

Worgs (3) CR 5
(See page 27)

Then have all stat blocks in the back, modified as necessary for tier, adjustment, and such.

The second argument I've heard, I think from John Compton, for not doing this, is to avoid having to flip back and forth. The problem is, the current format makes it at least as bad. Especially with the propensity to reuse stat blocks, but refer to a previous encounter to use it. But if all stat blocks are in the back, organized by tier and adjustment as separate appendices each, then you can print separate stat block packets.

Then there is virtually zero flipping back and forth.

Scenario layout can look professional and be laid out for maximum efficiency of use for GMs. In over 340 GM credits, I have probably complained about scenario layout over 300 times.

Scarab Sages 5/5

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Another thought to change scenarios, is to actually go back and make corrections to them when mistakes come to light. Yes, this creates some extra work. But when you have a scenario with a fun, but very complicated riddle, and the answer is wrong, don't depend on GMs finding the GM thread on that scenario to double check the veracity of the answer prior to the players getting upset

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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Popping in to throw out some further information.

As a GM, I can see the desire to have statblocks grouped by encounter in an appendix. There's a lot of cleanliness to that solution. I for one tend to run my games with web tabs/Realm Works tabs/Hero Lab stats in neat order. That being said, I know there's a lot of people who enjoy the current format, and based on conversations I've had with people, there are some out there who enjoy being able to read a scenario back-to-front without having to jump back/forth to check the appendix. I still get the occasional complaint from people about how we don't just take the current appendix statblocks and reproduce them inline.

As mentioned above, there are some reasons we handle things the way we do. For one, there's a measure of consistency between our products. As Tallow mentioned, PFS/SFS certainly have deviated from the norm, BUT, such deviation comes at a cost to our editors and layout folks who need to be cognizant of OP-specific changes. The more unique exceptions/changes we make to suit OP, the more room there is for something going amiss. Even in Starfinder Society, I've noticed a few of inconsistencies and have been slowly (due to our hectic schedule pace) working with our awesome editors to codify things that we do differently.

Another concern, which I hear a lot, especially from our less technically savvy non-forum dwellers, is that various reformatting attempts tend to end with blank space and higher page count. While to many people who own and run off electronic devices, this might seem a non-issue, there's still a lot of people out there who do run off of printed copies of scenarios. While it's not necessarily more ink spent, the physical size of a product can drastically increase depending on how much formatting and "dead space" is allowed to exist.

Not really siding either way on this, but just wanted to pop in and provide some additional context / angles to this discussion. I think resources like GM Prep are important to the community, because people do consume/run material in different ways. We're lucky to have people out there who recognize this and provide their tools to help others save time. That's one of the many reasons I like to think that we're a really strong community!

Scarab Sages 5/5

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Thurston Hillman wrote:

Popping in to throw out some further information.

As a GM, I can see the desire to have statblocks grouped by encounter in an appendix. There's a lot of cleanliness to that solution. I for one tend to run my games with web tabs/Realm Works tabs/Hero Lab stats in neat order. That being said, I know there's a lot of people who enjoy the current format, and based on conversations I've had with people, there are some out there who enjoy being able to read a scenario back-to-front without having to jump back/forth to check the appendix. I still get the occasional complaint from people about how we don't just take the current appendix statblocks and reproduce them inline.

As mentioned above, there are some reasons we handle things the way we do. For one, there's a measure of consistency between our products. As Tallow mentioned, PFS/SFS certainly have deviated from the norm, BUT, such deviation comes at a cost to our editors and layout folks who need to be cognizant of OP-specific changes. The more unique exceptions/changes we make to suit OP, the more room there is for something going amiss. Even in Starfinder Society, I've noticed a few of inconsistencies and have been slowly (due to our hectic schedule pace) working with our awesome editors to codify things that we do differently.

Another concern, which I hear a lot, especially from our less technically savvy non-forum dwellers, is that various reformatting attempts tend to end with blank space and higher page count. While to many people who own and run off electronic devices, this might seem a non-issue, there's still a lot of people out there who do run off of printed copies of scenarios. While it's not necessarily more ink spent, the physical size of a product can drastically increase depending on how much formatting and "dead space" is allowed to exist.

Not really siding either way on this, but just wanted to pop in and provide some additional context / angles to this discussion. I think resources like GM Prep are important to the community,...

Thanks for the insight!

One thing I'd mention is that inline stat blocks have a tendency to break across pages. It can be very confusing, especially at higher levels, to have to page back to a previous encounter for a mook that is re-used, have one stat block that starts on the bottom half or quarter of the right column of page 10, finish 3/4 of the way down the left column in page 11, and have another stat block start at the 1/4 bottom part of the left column on page 11 and finish in the upper quarter of the left column on page 12. Repeat this for any additional stat blocks. Then to add sometimes a short form stat block referencing a Bestiary entry (that may or may not be reproduced in an appendix) might be nestled between the two long printed stat blocks and either get missed in the wall of stat block text or be hard to re-find when necessary.

While I know that a quarter of a column of white space, aesthetically is not pleasing both professionally and for a user, for ease of use, making sure that large inline stat blocks don't break after 5 or 6 lines, especially when in large encounters with several stat blocks, is paramount.

If possible, if putting stat blocks inline, I think that professional layout aesthetics should be a secondary concern to ease of use. As such, they should follow these simple rules:

1) Always start a stat block at the top of a column.
2) If not possible/have a small stat block: make sure the stat block finishes at the bottom of a column.
3) Absolutely do not break a stat block across two pages.
4) Put any short form stat blocks incorporated into large encounters with one or more long form stat blocks first or last in the list of stat blocks.
5) Put in some sort of divider between stat blocks. Whether that be a dark bar or extra couple lines of white space doesn't matter.

My opinion, is that professional appearance and aesthetics should not trump ease of use when looking at organized play scenarios for a variety of reasons:

1) As much as I hate to say it, because I feel it should almost never happen: If someone has to run cold.
2) If someone has a limited amount of time to prep, easy to reference vs. professional aesthetics/ease of layout will always reduce the time to prep.
3) If someone is prepping multiple scenarios in the weekend prior to traveling to Paizo Con and/or Gen Con, because often scenarios (getting better in the last year) aren't finished and dropped into accounts until the Friday before the big convention. They need some way to reduce time for each scenario, and ease of reference does that for them.

5/5

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For me the issue seems to boil down to the idea that scenario's seem to be written/developed/edited to be read, as if they were a normal RPG line product. They are not written well to be used at the table. I would love to see some of the following:

1. Important information for each scene called out in a separate box to highlight it from the text. Burying DC's and key elements in the middle of the text just causes headaches.

2. Provide clearer information on encounter elements, including the four player adjust alongside the regular encounter.

3. Don't sit the stat blocks in the middle of an area description. If you wont move everything to the appendix then at least put them after the scene information, development and treasure sections so we don't have stat blocks split over multiple pages.

4. Please make maps easier to use, information on their size would be great and removing the annoying quarter square border would be even better.

5. I would love to see more art in scenario's for key NPCs and locations.

6. If you are going to include something like a clock provide a timeline, clearly set out from the rest of the text. Signs in Senghor is probably the most recent example of how this can easily go wrong, the text is confusing and unclear.

Scarab Sages 5/5

andreww wrote:

1. Important information for each scene called out in a separate box to highlight it from the text. Burying DC's and key elements in the middle of the text just causes headaches.

2. Provide clearer information on encounter elements, including the four player adjust alongside the regular encounter.

3. Don't sit the stat blocks in the middle of an area description. If you wont move everything to the appendix then at least put them after the scene information, development and treasure sections so we don't have stat blocks split over multiple pages.

I think sidebars are problematic for two reasons. A separately formatted section of the layout often gets missed in prep or during game play. At least for me, I tend to miss them unless specifically looking for them. Important information for the encounter should not be in a separate sidebar.

To your point though: I think creating a "stat block" for the encounter at the beginning of the encounter description could be useful.

Ceiling Height: 10 ft.
Doors: unlocked unless noted otherwise, Hardness: 5, Break DC: 20.
Searching: Perception (DC 20) to find hidden drawer in desk.

Then go on with the encounter description.

Also, do NOT put pertinent information about the encounter set up, how it runs, and how NPCs might act/interact AFTER the stat blocks in the Development section. That does not intuitively run like a flow chart, and makes it difficult to keep the flow of an encounter going (or to prep the encounter as you may keep getting caught at certain things like, "how is this possible? Why is this guy doing this? how does this tactic make sense?" until you read past in the development section.

1/5 5/5

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Minimize use of Custom Maps.

Especially 'fun' ones that require non-Euclidean map-drawing skills.

Not everyone has access to a printer to print them out, and it essentially forces 'draw some fuzzy lines and fake it' mentality for GMs, which destroys some of the 'clean-cut' 'semi-professional' appearance of Pathfinder.

There are Map Packs and flipmats out there that could have a portion of them used to produce the same map, and added bonus might promote sales of those lines.

Most of the time, and it is getting better.

#bringbackDarklandsflipmat

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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A good balance between types of scenarios. Sometimes I think we get a few too many scenarios that are too brainy and too deeply tied into the metaplot.

One of the things that makes season 0 so good for me is how very stand-alone the scenarios are. Sure, there are some loose links here and there, but each individual scenario makes sense to people who've just played in Golarion for the first time. In later seasons, it feels like you need to catch people up with "what came before in five other scenarios" to make them understand the relevance of the mission.

I"m not saying we should give up on metaplot, because I love the overarching storylines. But I think we should also have enough scenarios that can stand on themselves.

And that brings me to the other thing: too brainy. To Seal The Shadow for example could have been a good intro scenario, showcasing both some RP and some interesting combat. But it's too ambitious and more complicated than needed.

What Sleeps In Stone was also a bit of a letdown for me. I was playing a Slayer who'd gone through the previous scenarios on that mountain and deeply involved in the story, which was great. But mechanically, I might as well not have been there; every conflict was best resolved by talking, or treated more as a lethal puzzle than a fight.

I'm one of the people who does like that skills play a real role in PFS, especially when they unlock interesting things. I like how it's more Indiana Jones than Rambo. So yeah, there are people who like that :P But I'm not blinded by love.

Scarab Sages

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MY suggestion, on player handouts Please For The Love Of My Old Man Eyes!!!

Can we use a new font type for the 'hand written' notes from NPC xyz..

I have lost track of how many times I've had to spend 45-50 minutes spread out over multiple days to figure out what some of those squiggles are trying to say. Even more so when full of all the fantastical multiple syllable all vowel names some of them have.

Silver Crusade 1/5 5/5

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"For real! I had t' drink three cups of ale to read a note from that Amendomenophous guy the other day, and even then I had to stop repeatedly to make sure the letters weren't trying to escape the note!"

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

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Yuri Sarreth wrote:

MY suggestion, on player handouts Please For The Love Of My Old Man Eyes!!!

Can we use a new font type for the 'hand written' notes from NPC xyz..

I have lost track of how many times I've had to spend 45-50 minutes spread out over multiple days to figure out what some of those squiggles are trying to say. Even more so when full of all the fantastical multiple syllable all vowel names some of them have.

That is why as a GM I reformat almost all player handouts into more pleasing and legible fonts. And while I am at it, I increase the font size and usually include black and white images of the person writing the letter if the handout is from a known NPC. Or mini-maps if appropriate.

It is prettier, and infinitely more legible.

Hmm

5/5 5/55/55/5

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Fewer NPC flea flickers

I know a venture captain is supposed to give the mission, but when you have a venture captain handing the mission off to someone else its just one more name to confuse the guys with, and sometimes between the location you're at, the location you're going, and the thing that happened at said location you wind up with a LOT of random names. That is really hard on people who are hearing all of the NPCs for the first time.

Ser Jorsal of Canterberry got demoted to Sir Perfluous for just handing the party off to the much cooler Olystria....

Its okay. We'll go along with the NPC with a letter. Or the gold. Or just the gold really.

Grand Lodge Venture-Lieutenant, Nevada—Cold Springs aka Gorignak227

Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
Yuri Sarreth wrote:
Can we use a new font type for the 'hand written' notes from NPC xyz..

...And while I am at it, I increase the font size and usually include black and white images of the person writing the letter if the handout is from a known NPC. Or mini-maps if appropriate.

That is a great idea.

Is there a good resource with the images of the vcs and other npcs?

5/5 5/55/55/5

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Multiple checks or saves are far more brutal than scenario writers seem to think. Please use them with care after checking the math, if at all.

You would not put a dc 21 check into a level 1 scenario, but thats functionally what you have if you require 2 checks.

1 rank +3 trained +3 ability = +7 Reasonably proficient first level character.

Chances of making a DC 21 check: = 35%

Chances of making 2 dc 15 checks = .60 * .60 = 36 percent.

In a similar vein, raw stat checks are incredibly difficult even at low dcs. A person with an 18 strength has a 50 50 chance of missing a DC 15 strength check, even though that feels like a low DC and they have a high stat.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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If there is a "clock" in a scenario, don't start it until the players discover there's a reason to hurry instead of doing due diligence.

Beyond Azlant Ridge did it right. Treacherous Waves did okayish. Sign in Senghor made no sense in this aspect, there's no reason for the PCs to know they need to rush. Same problem with Scions of the Sky Key 1.

It's gotten so that meta-wise we know that if we have a choice to "do it right, and take longer, or do it fast", we know we need to do it fast because there's a clock out there our characters have no reason to know about.

4/5

The scripts in handouts have been flavorful on the whole. A few were downright unreadable.

Part of the issue is cost and size or height of the font at a given point size(1pt=1/72").
Publishers have to pay for fonts they use, usually a 1 time fee, so you'll see a lot of reuse.
Physical size and pitch can vary from font to font. Sadly you almost have to create a box 1 letter high by 5 letters wide to scale some fonts properly and that takes extra time. Yes, 16 point (16pt Font) height should be the minimum in a handout.
For simple advertising my eye test has always been to squint a bit and try to read the text. If you can't read it then it's not clear.

For a unique feel I would just write the text on notepaper or planning paper (blue lined). Scan it in as a png with transparent background and eliminate the blue lines. Splat it into onto the artistic paper background and see how it looks. I'll admit I also do calligraphy so I have good handwriting if I try (lol). Alternatively you print the text using arial or trebuchet, lay paper over it and have your scribe write over the block text to get the line width and baseline. You scan the top paper (no blue lines).

Scarab Sages

Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
Yuri Sarreth wrote:

MY suggestion, on player handouts Please For The Love Of My Old Man Eyes!!!

Can we use a new font type for the 'hand written' notes from NPC xyz..

I have lost track of how many times I've had to spend 45-50 minutes spread out over multiple days to figure out what some of those squiggles are trying to say. Even more so when full of all the fantastical multiple syllable all vowel names some of them have.

That is why as a GM I reformat almost all player handouts into more pleasing and legible fonts. And while I am at it, I increase the font size and usually include black and white images of the person writing the letter if the handout is from a known NPC. Or mini-maps if appropriate.

It is prettier, and infinitely more legible.

Hmm

I retype them as well after I manage to figure out what they say.. If I cant read it during my prep time I figure there is nearly no chance the players well be able to during the game in the middle of the often noisy LGS.

Though it sounds like Hmm goes above and beyond me by a wide margin.. lol

Silver Crusade 4/5

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Bruno, a handsome and beautiful Tetori, suggest there be more things to grapple—preferably solo bosses in small rooms. Thank you.

Scarab Sages 5/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Australia—NSW—Sydney aka sanwah68

I will add my name to the list of people that would like to see the Season zero scenarios undated, and more inportantly, First Steps updated and rereleased. I love the whole series and am sad that I can no longer run new players through all three.

Silver Crusade 1/5 5/5

"Breakbone! Grappler of All The Things! Want a beer?"

If this is the Breakbone that Amber was on a team with over the weekend, she fully insists on even more things for Bruno to grapple, for the Breakbone was almost looking *bored* at some of the things he was grappling!

5/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

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Bruno Breakbone wrote:
Bruno, a handsome and beautiful Tetori, suggest there be more things to grapple—preferably solo bosses in small rooms. Thank you.

This, so much this. I've had so many adventures where the fight was already over within one turn because of action economy. One guy three levels higher can throw some serious magic around, but he's still only one guy. One simple trip/disarm/grapple/whatever can put him out of commission and end up as an anticlimactic fight.

It's hard to implement with people possibly playing down or up, but I'd rather have one main guy at CR 6 and two CR 5 flunkies than one CR 8 guy. Hell, maybe even deviate from the expected CR system. Recent seasons have already stepped it up from earlier seasons, where 3 Goblins was a CR 1 encounter, but it always ended up as a cakewalk for my group. Lowering CR of each individual monster to increase the amount of monsters is terrible IMHO, because their power level decreases drastically. The numbers just don't add up. I run everything as written in PFS, but in my home game I've started to throw enemies at my party more by feel than by logic (I threw multiple CR 7 enemies against a party of level 6, and they did absolutely fine. Although I must admit my party was above the expected power curve). Again, this is hard to do in an environment where you can't control the level at which your players will encounter the enemies, but the CR system shouldn't be the be-all and end-all for encounter design.

I had more ideas, but they're gone for now.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Bad guys with a plausible plan on how to win the fights. This can be particularly bad with casters: sometimes they get lots of buffs and battlefield control and it feels scary to the players, but they just have 2-3 damage dealing spells and they simply cannot possibly down the whole party with that.

I don't want guaranteed TPK bosses, but if the boss couldn't TPK the party even if every spell lands and every save is failed, something is wrong as well.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

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Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I'll go on record as opposed to most everything Harold said.

I'll go on record that I have similar feelings.

Auke Teeninga wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
Selvaxri wrote:
Why not expand the rebuild buffer to lvl 3?

I'll admit that it'd be nice to not have to be a rogue until I can have my Dex-to-damage.

Seriously though, if this is something that you think would be a good fit for the campaign, I recommend putting together a full thread looking at the various ramifications of such a change. ^_^

Why does the 1st level rebuild buffer exists?

It's so people new to Pathfinder Society aren't "locked in" by poor descisions when they first start out.

It's also meant for people to try new classes, but still have the option to switch if that class doesn't agree with them.

I know it's (ab?)used by veterans to get past the 'weak' levels of certain classes, but that is neither its primary or secondary purpose, but a(n unwanted?) side effect.

I myself don't see expanding the buffer to benefit the primary/secondary targets that much, but benefit the side effect greatly. Therefore I would vote against such a change.

Have to agree with Auke, GM/pregen credit already allows you to avoid levels where a character would be absolute junk.. and I am not entirely sure that this is a good thing.

Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
Yuri Sarreth wrote:

MY suggestion, on player handouts Please For The Love Of My Old Man Eyes!!!

Can we use a new font type for the 'hand written' notes from NPC xyz..

I have lost track of how many times I've had to spend 45-50 minutes spread out over multiple days to figure out what some of those squiggles are trying to say. Even more so when full of all the fantastical multiple syllable all vowel names some of them have.

That is why as a GM I reformat almost all player handouts into more pleasing and legible fonts. And while I am at it, I increase the font size and usually include black and white images of the person writing the letter if the handout is from a known NPC. Or mini-maps if appropriate.

It is prettier, and infinitely more legible.

Hmm

I agree 110 %, even more so when I have to translate the handout while reading it.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Multiple checks or saves are far more brutal than scenario writers seem to think. Please use them with care after checking the math, if at all.

You would not put a dc 21 check into a level 1 scenario, but thats functionally what you have if you require 2 checks.

1 rank +3 trained +3 ability = +7 Reasonably proficient first level character.

Chances of making a DC 21 check: = 35%

Chances of making 2 dc 15 checks = .60 * .60 = 36 percent.

In a similar vein, raw stat checks are incredibly difficult even at low dcs. A person with an 18 strength has a 50 50 chance of missing a DC 15 strength check, even though that feels like a low DC and they have a high stat.

I agree and would like to add that the "everyone rolls, the highest counts as main check and the others as aid another if they qualify" is the best mechanic I have ever seen in PFS scenarios and I would like to see it everywhere.

Instead of that I see a lot of aid another, which among other things, makes some checks pretty ridiculously easier. The alternative method I mentioned above at least takes that into account to some degree.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

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Kwinten Koëter wrote:
Bruno Breakbone wrote:
Bruno, a handsome and beautiful Tetori, suggest there be more things to grapple—preferably solo bosses in small rooms. Thank you.

This, so much this. I've had so many adventures where the fight was already over within one turn because of action economy. One guy three levels higher can throw some serious magic around, but he's still only one guy. One simple trip/disarm/grapple/whatever can put him out of commission and end up as an anticlimactic fight.

It's hard to implement with people possibly playing down or up, but I'd rather have one main guy at CR 6 and two CR 5 flunkies than one CR 8 guy. Hell, maybe even deviate from the expected CR system. Recent seasons have already stepped it up from earlier seasons, where 3 Goblins was a CR 1 encounter, but it always ended up as a cakewalk for my group. Lowering CR of each individual monster to increase the amount of monsters is terrible IMHO, because their power level decreases drastically. The numbers just don't add up. I run everything as written in PFS, but in my home game I've started to throw enemies at my party more by feel than by logic (I threw multiple CR 7 enemies against a party of level 6, and they did absolutely fine. Although I must admit my party was above the expected power curve). Again, this is hard to do in an environment where you can't control the level at which your players will encounter the enemies, but the CR system shouldn't be the be-all and end-all for encounter design.

I had more ideas, but they're gone for now.

Encounters with single enemies... can turn out nasty in a number of ways and it really sucks the fun out of the scenario if the witch ends the fight with a simple slumber hex.

Lau Bannenberg wrote:

Bad guys with a plausible plan on how to win the fights. This can be particularly bad with casters: sometimes they get lots of buffs and battlefield control and it feels scary to the players, but they just have 2-3 damage dealing spells and they simply cannot possibly down the whole party with that.

I don't want guaranteed TPK bosses, but if the boss couldn't TPK the party even if every spell lands and every save is failed, something is wrong as well.

I sometimes feel that the authors and players live in very different worlds.. a tactic that is not invalidated when the BBEG can actually take his turn is pretty rare.

1/5 5/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:

I agree and would like to add that the "everyone rolls, the highest counts as main check and the others as aid another if they qualify" is the best mechanic I have ever seen in PFS scenarios and I would like to see it everywhere.

Instead of that I see a lot of aid another, which among other things, makes some checks pretty ridiculously easier. The alternative method I mentioned above at least takes that into account to some degree.

...which works fine until the party runs into the situation where there's a skill that requires being trained and only one person trained well enough in the skill (and anyone else that's trained in it can't hit the original target DC, as currently written).

I've seen entire tables 'shut down' from a 'cooperative play mood' with "What's your modifier? You can't assist, sorry." WHEN they've put ranks into a given skill.

...granted, I've seen the other, where 'obscure skill' is rolled out and the entire party goes "Got that at plus insane".

5/5

That requires a particularly restrictive interpretation of the aid another action which I see used pretty much nowhere.

Scarab Sages 5/5

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Since my initial post got borked by some weirdness...

While I realize this will most likely never happen:

I would like to see Automatic Bonus Progression used in PFS, so the Big 6 can be gotten rid of. I think this will help tremendously in two ways.

1) It will help reduce power creep
2) It will allow authors to create NPCs with cool magic items that also have big six bonuses without using up their entire treasure bank for the scenario. This means the NPCs will likely have better ACs, to hits, saves, etc. without having to ramp up their levels too much.

4/5

I'm using Automatic Bonus Progression in my home campaign, and through level 13 it absolutely does NOT reduce power creep. Stat bonuses come much faster and to more ability scores than I ever saw with the headband/belt system.

The concept is a good one - I used it because I hate the extra cost required and the idea of people sleeping with belts on just so they don't lose stat bonuses. However, the way it is implemented makes PCs more, not less, powerful in my (limited, at-the-table) experience.

Of course, this would be great for boosting NPC staying power, but goose and gander.

4/5

Back in the "old days", before there was as much clarity about what GMs could and couldn't do in terms of running scenarios, there was some discussion of simply giving monsters closer-to-max hit points.

Right now, everyone is average, which means the difference between a wizard and a fighter is 2hp per level (plus Con, etc). If Wizards took 5 on their hp roll instead of 4, and martials took (say) 8, the bad guys would last a bit longer without any format, layout, or rules changes required.

In the limited experience I know of, it basically gives the bad guys an extra round or two to either buff or do damage before going down. Really helped survive a low initiative roll or things like that.


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Things Iwould like to see more of in PFS:

1. Minions. I know it's more work for the ref to handle, but 3-4 goons who can occupy the party second rank combatants are more fun than one big boss who either dies in 6 seconds (if AM BARBARIAN wins initiative), or kills someone if he wins.

2. Fights that kick off at range, or where the party are in a position to sneak/spot the fight before it happens I've seen a few too many where the party and opposition are put on the map at 30' distance then told to roll initiative.

3. I like chases, debates and other sub-rules systems. Not every game, but trying something that isn't rolling to hit every so often is good, as long as the explanation of the rules is clear and quick to read.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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It's interesting to see a lot of posts about "BBEG fights" because it's a very tricky situation from the writing/development side of things. As people have mentioned, there are builds/set-ups that can wreck a final encounter in half a round. Building to counter these types of tactics is a bottomless hole of "IF statements" based on the variety of builds and character types that Pathfinder provides. Creating a take all comers encounter generally means gearing that encounter onto the higher end of things, which inevitably means that PCs who aren't as combat optimized will suffer. Conversely, as our good friend Bruno mentions, there's situations where entire character builds can be nullified by including something like a "ring of freedom." Still, there SHOULD be encounters that include a final BBEG in a confined space, so that the Bruno characters of the world actually get a chance to showcase their build. In that respect, final encounter (heck, even regular encounter) design can be a minefield of trying to make an encounter that appeals to such a wide variety of players.

I'm not saying any of these things because I disagree with sentiments here; I'm saying them because I think that it's a lot harder a challenge than people give it credit for. Sometimes a final encounter should be easy. Other times it should include some pitfalls that stop. Then again, there's some "one click, I win combat" builds that we don't necessarily want to counter, because in doing so we punish the people who aren't playing those builds.

Again, just some sideline commentary from my perspective as an author and as a developer. Carry on... :)

Scarab Sages 5/5

GM Lamplighter wrote:

I'm using Automatic Bonus Progression in my home campaign, and through level 13 it absolutely does NOT reduce power creep. Stat bonuses come much faster and to more ability scores than I ever saw with the headband/belt system.

The concept is a good one - I used it because I hate the extra cost required and the idea of people sleeping with belts on just so they don't lose stat bonuses. However, the way it is implemented makes PCs more, not less, powerful in my (limited, at-the-table) experience.

Of course, this would be great for boosting NPC staying power, but goose and gander.

After perusing when the ABP happens, and seeing when people usually get these benefits in PFS, I would say that the bonuses happen earlier in PFS as it currently works.

Based on my experience of playing through two (Reign of Winter & Skulls and Shackles) and GM'ing one (Kingmaker) AP, which are typically treasure lite in comparison to PFS, I would agree with you.

4/5

[side chat]

I believe as a PFS GM if the players trounce the combat in 2 rounds then we finish early. In this case min-maxing leads to possible boredom.
A GM gets his chronicle and has time to go have a snack.

Sure a balanced fight would be better and take more time. It would also challenge the less prepared and lead to more kills in scenarios.

In a game theory view there are two sides.
The scenario has set strategies and challenges and is to be run as written. It's basically static.
The players have skills and abilities to create different strategies. Purely marital is just one such strategy. The players can adapt their plans or tactics and change strategies whereas the scenario cannot. Some players are locked into a single strategy (highly min-maxed types).
So a game is really a meshing of strategy sets. If players have a poor set of strategies they will lose gold, maybe prestige or a lot of gold & prestige{aka death}.

Sovereign Court

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I think I'm one of the only people around here with a marital strategy. I'm still working on the 20PP part, though... apparently just saving the young man's life wasn't enough.

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