PFS Changes i'd like to see


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Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
My Life Is In Ruins wrote:

[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.

More seriously, I've been in this position before. Ran Ancient's Anguish for a druid who wild shaped into an air elemental and used some sort of thing with whirlwind to drag the enemies into midair and basically solo every encounter. I was at a convention, GMing every slot, so I didn't have a lot of time to work out the details.

It was really boring and unsatisfying to GM, but I got "paid", I guess.


Thurston Hillman wrote:

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... :)

What about having some if/then modular encounter design Thursty?

Not for every encounter, mind you, but for some. IE a situation of, "The heroes are bashing their way through my fortress, I have plenty of time to observe them and come up with counters for some of what they are doing."

This could be used to spot-clean problematic character classes without crippling everyone.

Example:
"If the players are observed to use the Grapple combat maneuver, or Black Tentacles more than once then Zormund the Evil will arm himself with a Ring of Freedom."

"If the players are observed to use X element frequently, then Zormund the Evil will cast Resist Energy (Energy Type) prior to the beginning of the final encounter."

"If the the players are observed to rely on an animal companion/Eidolon/etc, Zormund the Evil will use one of his open spell slots to prepare "Dominate Monster" prior to the players reaching him."

Or just give some GM freedom:

"Zormund the Evil leaves 1 spell slot of each spell level he can cast open. He will be observing players as they make their way through his fortress via various scrying tools and informants. Before the players reach him Zormund will set up these slots by selecting the spells he finds appropriate to counter them from the following spell list at your discretion."

Liberty's Edge 1/5

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I would like to see more casters prepared to stop themselves from being one rounded by a Gunslinger :p

4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

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Okay, beforehand: I have strong emotions and thoughts about narrative. What I say might be completely false, and if that's the case, please tell me so.

I remembered something I think could be improved, and it's mentioned earlier in the thread (by Lau): storytelling.
First of all, the metaplot seems like it's trying to serve two masters. On the one hand it wants to connect scenarios together, which is fine for hardcore players, but on the other hand, some scenarios lean so much on each other that people not in the know need a crash course into Pathfinder (or the Society's) history to understand what's going on. My main complaint is how all of season 7 seems to be set up for the All for Immortality arc, rather than AfI neatly fitting into the metaplot. When I finished playing it, a lot of random story threads suddenly fell into place. It's fun to see everything come together, but "locking" it away in such a special trilogy feels like a waste, because not everyone will experience it. I recently GMed a scenario that had multiple references to it, and all I could say was, "this is a reference to something you'll most likely not play in a very long while, and I can't explain it or I'll spoil it." I have a suggestion: put the twist/reveal/conclusion to a scenario in multiple parts, preferably different tiers, though not actually labeled as a Part X of Y. Just standalone adventures. I love the book Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, because it does something I've never seen anywhere else: it gives characters incomplete information. Three individual groups piece together part of the puzzle to reveal the big twist. I'd like something similar to happen in PFS. Now it's three-quarters of a season muddling about with the plot, and one or two scenarios actually dealing with the conclusion (see Unleashing the Untouchable, for example). I'd like to see see several tiers working together, possibly revealing a vital part (but not the whole part) of the plot and striking their own blow, rather than locking the plot in one big climax (similar to how the Siege of the Diamond City special had tiers performing different tasks). That's difficult, I can imagine, and maybe I'm just talking out of my ass here, but I'd like to at least see it tried.

As a second point, I dislike direct followups because they presume knowledge you might not have. Seeing returning faces is fun, but you can't guarantee everyone will have the same reaction or knowledge. There are a few spiritual sequels with fun callbacks, that don't rely on heavy interconnection to tell their story (the "Among the" and "of the Fiend" series, and the Gloomspires, for example), where a single location or NPC is the thing that connects them, but I feel like more and more scenarios start to lean on the metaplot too much. The aforementioned All for Immortality series gives context to a whole season, and the whole Concordance of the Elements plot is only in a very few scenarios, one of which is a hard to play special scenario (or a multitable special, in general). Playing them out of order (because you're signed up for other tables, or because the GM doesn't know they're connected and runs others first) can really impact your enjoyment. And on the other hand, like Lau said, I've had great fun with season 0 and 1 scenarios, because they don't feel as constrained, narratively speaking. I really disliked a scenario I otherwise should have liked, Call of the Copper Gate. It had a nice callback, but instead annoyed me to no end that it was blatantly teasing the possible sequels, all the while giving us no satisfying conclusion about what those orbs actually are. The metaplot shouldn't determine the direction or form the adventures should take. There are enough scenarios in a season that don't deal with it, but still, I'd rather put individual enjoyment before serving the greater good.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

HWalsh wrote:

What about having some if/then modular encounter design Thursty?

Not for every encounter, mind you, but for some. IE a situation of, "The heroes are bashing their way through my fortress, I have plenty of time to observe them and come up with counters for some of what they are doing."

This does occur in adventures, but rarely. The more contingencies you put in, the more word count it eats up. Usually the choice is "resistance to energy type players most commonly used" or something very similar.

Quote:
Or just give some GM freedom:

I like this in theory, and sometimes it works out quite well in practice as well but sometimes it results in wildly different experiences. There's an older scenario where an NPC wizard has a spellbook containing "all conjuration spells of 4th level and lower." Since he has a bonded item, he can cast any of those. I've seen some GMs just go... "pull out CRB... 4th level conjuration...OK, black tentacles." Others spent hours searching the far corners of Campaign Setting books during prep and pull out some really nasty spells perfect for destroying that particular party. And don't get me started on the higher level stuff that might contain limited wish. . .

There's also a time element. There's one 4-star GM I know who, when given an NPC with shadow evocation will pause the game for 10-15 minutes trying to find the most perfect spell for the PCs.

The Exchange 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

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Kalindlara wrote:
My Life Is In Ruins wrote:

[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.

More seriously, I've been in this position before. Ran Ancient's Anguish for a druid who wild shaped into an air elemental and used some sort of thing with whirlwind to drag the enemies into midair and basically solo every encounter. I was at a convention, GMing every slot, so I didn't have a lot of time to work out the details.

It was really boring and unsatisfying to GM, but I got "paid", I guess.

It really depends on the context. At a normal store game it will probably bum me out because it means we're getting done in 2.5-3 hours and then I won't have anything to do the rest of the day.

At GenCon, it can be an amazing godsend to have things sort of organically go really quickly as it gives me precious time off to 'enjoy the con'/go to the dealer hall/go play BattleTech down the hall/nap.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

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Douglas Edwards wrote:
At GenCon, it can be an amazing godsend to have things sort of organically go really quickly as it gives me precious time off to 'enjoy the con'/go to the dealer hall/go play BattleTech down the hall/nap.

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

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“It's not Pathfinder with Space Golems,” says James L. Sutter, Techfinder’s creative director. “But, yes, there will be a TechFinder Society.”

For additional information, visit paizo.com.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

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*golfclap*

Dark Archive 1/5

"It *is* a logical extrapolation of the continuity points. Nav Point Aleph, reached."

5/5

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My Life Is In Ruins wrote:
[side chat]... Purely maritalmartial is just one such strategy. ...

lol...

2/5

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One comment on the encounter design would be "better use of traps"

Too often traps are nothing more than a "CLW wand charge loss" because they very rarely kill someone, and nothing happens if you trigger it that affects the scenario.

If the trap triggering alerts the next encounter, perhaps making them buff and/or stealth, or if the trap is part of the encounter, people will actually care about the rogue more.

The simple example is a certain end boss who gloats at you from behind a pit trap. Charge him and fall into it. (But be sure to give such a boss enough athletics to jump it)

I also really like it when enemies take advantage of the room they are in for combat. Hidden passages, height advantage, a stash of emergency supplies, alarm spells, doors that can easily be barred from one side, a hole in the floor where you can drop some alchemist fires through...
Most factions would know a chance of a raid exist, and prepare in some way. That sort of thing makes fights a lot more memorable.


I would like to see encounter design that sometimes hinders accepted "better" forms of movement.

So that these don't become the flat out default.

Example:
I was in a game where the flying Eidolon charged everything. Flight pretty much was better than anything else. Even against air elementals.

I'd have loved to see some kind of mechanics that targeted flying movement rather than normal movement.

-----

The same with Darkvision.

We have an entire Super Dungeon level that bends over characters without darkvision. Why not sometimes hinder those who do have darkvision for once? Some kind of situation where those with Darkvision find that their vision is blurred due to (insert reason here).

-----

I also want to second SanderJK above.

Have traps that mean something other than some healing, or maybe a lesser restoration. Give us traps that alert bosses. Give us traps that do things like drop a dispel magic so that it blows off current long-use buffs.

And stop relying on Haunts. Haunts are great where they are appropriate but they should not be a trap replacement.

2/5

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Larger Areas for Encounters

Combination of physical distance and or terrain (buildings, difficult terrain, cover) between where party and opposition start - makes weapon and spell ranges, sneaking up to scout, being mounted, time to cast buffs etc all more relevant

2/5

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

More NPCs that react to the party's appearance (with modifiers to social skill checks, reactions)

e.g. is it the weirdest collection of boon races ever?, can they talk the local language or do they shout loudly in common)
Are they hugely tooled up ? (Not just the difference from no weapons to armed, but a difference from chain shirt and a longsword to someone in full plate with a polearm, three greatswords and a bandolier full of alchemists' fire)
Are they trailing hungry looking animal companions with them?

Not saying bonuses should go one way or the other - looking really dangerous could be a bonus to scaring off trouble as much as a barrier to winning trust.

2/5

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Exploring new places

Would love to see some scenarios taking pathfinders to somewhere not so well known to build a new lodge and start to learn about a new area that hasn't previously had much published on it

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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Kevin Willis wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

What about having some if/then modular encounter design Thursty?

Not for every encounter, mind you, but for some. IE a situation of, "The heroes are bashing their way through my fortress, I have plenty of time to observe them and come up with counters for some of what they are doing."

This does occur in adventures, but rarely. The more contingencies you put in, the more word count it eats up. Usually the choice is "resistance to energy type players most commonly used" or something very similar.

Quote:
Or just give some GM freedom:

I like this in theory, and sometimes it works out quite well in practice as well but sometimes it results in wildly different experiences. There's an older scenario where an NPC wizard has a spellbook containing "all conjuration spells of 4th level and lower." Since he has a bonded item, he can cast any of those. I've seen some GMs just go... "pull out CRB... 4th level conjuration...OK, black tentacles." Others spent hours searching the far corners of Campaign Setting books during prep and pull out some really nasty spells perfect for destroying that particular party. And don't get me started on the higher level stuff that might contain limited wish. . .

There's also a time element. There's one 4-star GM I know who, when given an NPC with shadow evocation will pause the game for 10-15 minutes trying to find the most perfect spell for the PCs.

Two things I wanted to pop in and discuss here. Sorry for my continued butting into the discussion, but I feel some of these points are important to get out in the open so we can have a constructive discussion on them!

1) For modular encounter design, this goes back to my earlier comment about "IF statements." The more stuff we feel mandated to include in a particular encounter, the higher the word count required. Such an approach is also a near bottomless hole of exploration; IF the PCs possess a grappler THEN... IF the PCs possess someone with fickle winds THEN... IF the PCs use all their gold to buy a scroll of Gate to bring in a Solar THEN.... etc, etc, etc.

Often times, as with how we currently handle encounter design, it's an ongoing battle of picking what we (as authors and developers) feel is the most poignant information for an encounter. Obviously that will NOT apply to all gaming groups, and specific regions can have very specific situations based on character builds. Then we trust GMs to extrapolate what they need in order to run the encounter.

This leads us to...

2) "GM Freedom."

*takes off developer hat for a moment*

I'm all for GM freedom. I think the more power we can put in the hands of the GMs without breaking player trust, the better the campaign will turn out. Shocker, I've been known to break rules when I run scenarios, because it works in the exact context of what I'm running and gives the players a better experience. I'm not changing statblocks or relevant DCs, but if player actions necessitate a change in an encounter (like PCs using their starship to preliminary bombard the adventure site before arriving) then I'll adapt.

*quickly shoves dev hat back on*

That being said, it's very tricky to empower some people in an environment where people strive for everything to be equal. Take a peek at the SFS boards for the threads entitled: "Bring em back ali...oops." or "To Full Attack, or Not Full Attack, That is the Question."

... yes I read all the posts. I AM ALWAYS WATCHING, even if I don't reply.

But if you read those threads there's a large difference between how people interpret the game being run. In the former thread, several GMs have difficulty with the option of GM discretion in how to handle nonlethal damage / NPCs surviving death. In my mind, I have an entirely set way of how I'd handle things (such as my grenade vs. kneecapping comment in the thread.) For other people, there's too many variables and without a concise all-situation-encompassing developer-backed ruling, they'd be more comfortable with leaving it to a "coin toss." It's situations like this that make empowering GMs difficult, because every GM reacts in a different way. In a lot of cases, GMs DON'T want to have that kind of choice when running a game (and that's not necessarily a bad thing.)

In a lot of cases there's an ongoing discussion of the merits of RAW (Rules as Written) vs. RAI (Rules as Intended.) A recent event from another tabletop game I follow closely somewhat highlights this: During a game, which took place in a highly a competitive environment, one player called out another player over a minor rules infraction which cost his opponent the semi-finals game of a major tournament. This minor infraction was technically RAW (it was an order of operations error that led to a player losing a critical portion of his turn) but it had no actual bearing on the mechanical side of the game, and if the game were a casual thing played by any reasonable people, the infraction would not have resulted in the game effectively ending.

And yes, the above statement is about a competitive event, but... While I like to think that Organized Play is more of a cooperative experience, I know there are some GMs out there who still view it as a "me vs. them" scenario, or even as a "I must run entirely RAW because the experience needs to be the same and I assume that all GMs run RAW in the same manner." So anytime there's discussion of empowering GMs, it becomes a tightrope of "hey you're just giving us permission to ignore the rules" vs. other GMs who think "I'm just going to keep running this RAW." An example of the latter would be the situation in Starfinder where one of our scenarios had a misprinted EAC of 1 instead of 14. Some GMs checked Alien Archive for the correct AC or just guessed the actual AC based on nearby stats, others were adamant to run that RAW because they didn't feel empowered to change the rules, and some ran it RAW because they wanted to "stick it to Paizo" and run it with an EAC of 1 to help force change in the printed product.

So yeah, there are LOTS of different factors and reaction on how one can expect GMs to handle situations, which is why empowering GMs and keeping gameplay consistent is an eternally moving target.

Wow, that turned out a lot longer of a post than I was intending. Anyways, sorry to pop in again. Just wanted to provide some additional insight on those particular discussion points and some views I have on them!

Silver Crusade 3/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Online—PbP aka Redelia

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Thurston, please do not feel like you are 'butting into' the discussion here. I believe that what you are providing is a very helpful addition to the dialogue. All we know is our own experiences, and you are providing a very helpful perspective on why things are the way they are.

5/5

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Thurston Hillman wrote:
... yes I read all the posts. I AM ALWAYS WATCHING, even if I don't reply.

*blink*

3/5 Venture-Agent, Canada—Alberta—Grand Prairie aka DM Livgin

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HWalsh wrote:

I would like to see encounter design that sometimes hinders accepted "better" forms of movement.

So that these don't become the flat out default.

Example:
I was in a game where the flying Eidolon charged everything. Flight pretty much was better than anything else. Even against air elementals.

I'd have loved to see some kind of mechanics that targeted flying movement rather than normal movement.

Played a scenario that did this. It was great, climbing was far safer than flying. It completely screwed all our high level characters that only invested in the ability to fly (because it is generally a superior mode of movement), made a great encounter but I don't want to see a consistent theme of that.

The variety in PFS is my favorite part of PFS.

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

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Hillis Mallory III wrote:

Changes?

- Update 0 season scenarios to PFS like Mists of Mwangi was.

- Bring back/update the First Steps evergreens.

- Retire some of the 4th and 6th season scenarios that have out of tier/hard monsters and situations. (King of the Stovial Stairs) The "TPK" scenarios.

Figured I'd quote this post.

Definitely update the season 0s would make me a happy Hermit. (The Devil We Know and Among the Living are good ones with the new AP coming out)

Likewise, depending on the fall out of YoFF, updated First Steps would be nice. The Consortium Compact seems a nice 'replacement' to part three, but part II's dungeon crawl is something I sorely miss in the evergreens. At least with part one, I still get to do my "Carol Burnett from Annie" and my bad Godfather impersonations.

I'm not keen on retiring the 'lethal' scenarios. I think a good challenge is certainly a part of any game. That or my running of Storval Stairs must have sucked, as everyone survived. Well... we'll always have Bonekeep.

What I'd like to see is in the product descriptions warnings when some weird mechanic is used in the scenario. "Warning! This scenario uses the performance style rules out of ultimate combat! Make sure you read this before you GM/buy the scenario!" "Warning, this scenario uses the social combat rules out of ultimate intrigue! You'll likely never use them again, so be prepared for a 15 minute discussion on how they work from your GM!"

Again, we'll see more fall out from this season, but I'd like to see more flavor for the factions. One of my favourtie parts of the Stolen Heir was watching the Andoran faction players squirm between their faction's ethics and the Society's needs.

Oh and for the love of Desna... cut back on the "this map would be great, but lets make it a pain by rotating it 45 degrees so GMS have to suffer with angles!"


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Thursty -

Never apologize for engaging the player base. That is a good thing. We live that thing.

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Play experience is different for each table.

For every table that goes "Oh, this Season 0 is a cakewalk" there's another table that goes "How the HECK did we survive that??"

There have been a few Season 0 scenarios I've played where the dice were determined to try and kill the party, on both sides of the screen.

I suspect 'gating' is a thing that may need reconsideration over time. There's a lot of premium content out there that players have never seen (and may never see) due to the restrictions of GMs (via stars).

While it makes them special, it also can be alienating to a good chunk of the campaign that can't get to a convention/VO that can run them.

Second that First Steps rebuild -- Really want to play the three-parter for credit someday.

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

HWalsh wrote:

Not for every encounter, mind you, but for some. IE a situation of, "The heroes are bashing their way through my fortress, I have plenty of time to observe them and come up with counters for some of what they are doing."

This could be used to spot-clean problematic character classes without crippling everyone.

The problem is that it just doesn't work. The amount of rules interactions makes it impossible to stamp out behavior. Freedom of Movement doesn't necessarily negate grappling. Energy types are easy enough to switch out at a whim. Dominate is easy enough to negate with what are relatively early powers and abilities.

Scarab Sages 5/5

Wait... how does freedom of movement not negate grappling?

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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Tetori.

Silver Crusade 4/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Tetori.

Bruno, a handsome and beautiful Tetori, would like point out that burly and beautiful Brutal Pugilist Barbarians also have Spell Sunder and Strength Surge.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

That doesn't make freedom of movement not negate the grapple, it instead negates the spell. Important distinction.

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


I suspect 'gating' is a thing that may need reconsideration over time. There's a lot of premium content out there that players have never seen (and may never see) due to the restrictions of GMs (via stars).

Wanted to quote this for something similar. Stop making scenarios chock full of world or character info that the PCs will never get to know. I'm thinking specifically of Destiny of the Sands where you find out why <redacted> is the way he is by reading it, but the PCs really don't have any way to put 2&2 together until one scenario this season.

I like world building. I hate it when it's all behind the scenes and locked out for the players.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

<redacted> had his story revealed at the end of #2-26.

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
<redacted> had his story revealed at the end of #2-26.

Ah, I stand corrected, having never played that one.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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I recommend it, as it has aged as well as can be expected, and the characters actually get told the story, not just the GM.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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Related Note: It's really hard to present all the scenario background information in a way that PCs can access and yet still provide all the information that a GM needs to know. I admit, I get really upset when I read two full paragraphs of beautiful background on an NPC and then see "The NPC immediately attacks and fight to the death." as the follow-up.

That being said, there's sometimes that additional background is necessary in order for a scenario to make sense. In some cases, we're establishing story arcs that might cross seasons, so including a piece of background information on an NPC that might not be PC-facing tends to happen, if only to give the GM some indication of an NPC's motivations or the background events that led to the scenario.

But yeah, this is good feedback and something I try to watch out for. I know for sure that some of the Starfinder Society metaplot intensive scenarios provide some GM-facing context that the PCs get clarified as they keep playing, but we're doing our best to have the story reveals show naturally to both sides, when we can line it up!


It's definitely tricky to pull off. ^_^

Scarab Sages 5/5

Thurston Hillman wrote:

Related Note: It's really hard to present all the scenario background information in a way that PCs can access and yet still provide all the information that a GM needs to know. I admit, I get really upset when I read two full paragraphs of beautiful background on an NPC and then see "The NPC immediately attacks and fight to the death." as the follow-up.

That being said, there's sometimes that additional background is necessary in order for a scenario to make sense. In some cases, we're establishing story arcs that might cross seasons, so including a piece of background information on an NPC that might not be PC-facing tends to happen, if only to give the GM some indication of an NPC's motivations or the background events that led to the scenario.

But yeah, this is good feedback and something I try to watch out for. I know for sure that some of the Starfinder Society metaplot intensive scenarios provide some GM-facing context that the PCs get clarified as they keep playing, but we're doing our best to have the story reveals show naturally to both sides, when we can line it up!

Once the scenario is over, unless we are talking about a multi-parter where giving info might be a spoiler for a sequel, as a GM, I often share the beautiful NPC background information as part of the "debrief" at the end of the mission.

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

Matthew Morris wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


I suspect 'gating' is a thing that may need reconsideration over time. There's a lot of premium content out there that players have never seen (and may never see) due to the restrictions of GMs (via stars).

Wanted to quote this for something similar. Stop making scenarios chock full of world or character info that the PCs will never get to know. I'm thinking specifically of Destiny of the Sands where you find out why <redacted> is the way he is by reading it, but the PCs really don't have any way to put 2&2 together until one scenario this season.

I like world building. I hate it when it's all behind the scenes and locked out for the players.

That scenario hits you over the head with that revelation with a sledge hammer.

4/5 Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Thurston Hillman wrote:
Related Note: It's really hard to present all the scenario background information in a way that PCs can access and yet still provide all the information that a GM needs to know. I admit, I get really upset when I read two full paragraphs of beautiful background on an NPC and then see "The NPC immediately attacks and fight to the death." as the follow-up.

Yesterday I GMed The Golemworks Incident, and there's a sidebar with <redacted>'s history. A friend wrote diary entries and put them in the scenario, rather than give them the abridged version. They got a peek into the mind of the villain, and they really liked that. I think the scenario would've been even better if it had included actual handouts, rather than summarised them. I guess I'll post them in the GM forums (don't have an account on GM Prep). But yeah, back on track: more believable villains. Golemworks is such a stand-out because so far, it's the only one where the villain is introduced early and believably, rather than pop up in the end out of nowhere. To Seal the Shadow had some of it, but that didn't have the finesse Golemworks had.

2/5

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Kwinten Koëter wrote:
Yesterday I GMed The Golemworks Incident, and there's a sidebar with <redacted>'s history. A friend wrote diary entries and put them in the scenario, rather than give them the abridged version. They got a peek into the mind of the villain, and they really liked that. I think the scenario would've been even better if it had included actual handouts, rather than summarised them. I guess I'll post them in the GM forums (don't have an account on GM Prep). But yeah, back on track: more believable villains. Golemworks is such a stand-out because so far, it's the only one where the villain is introduced early and believably, rather than pop up in the end out of nowhere. To Seal the Shadow had some of it, but that didn't have the finesse Golemworks had.

He's not a real villain, just sensitive.

One other thing I really like about The Golemworks Incident is ...

Spoiler:
Black has a plan to get away. When I ran it, it worked, and he did escape. I'm firmly convinced that Black glued some cheap costume elf ears on his head, created a new identity as Nigel Aldain, and now runs the Blakros Museum.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

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Thurston Hillman wrote:
Often times, as with how we currently handle encounter design, it's an ongoing battle of picking what we (as authors and developers) feel is the most poignant information for an encounter. Obviously that will NOT apply to all gaming groups, and specific regions can have very specific situations based on character builds. Then we trust GMs to extrapolate what they need in order to run the encounter.

I think you mean "pertinent" because otherwise...

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TACTICS
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During Combat Insanitus the Mad Mage has been monitoring the PCs' progress via his Arcane Eye. His tactics reflect the how the PCs comport themselves in the mansion in relation to his own heart-rending history.

-Intimidate: if the PCs use this skill in or out of combat, Insanitus remembers being bullied by the older children in the orphanage. This led to crippling self-doubt and an unconscious need for power (to assure he'd never be hurt again). Insanitus will target the intimidating "bully" PC with both a Quickened and normal disintegrate in the surprise round.

-AoE damage: if the PCs use area of effect abilities or spells that damage objects in the Mad Mage's mansion, this incenses Insanitus--when he was adopted by the Cuddlehuggs (see haunt area A3), they greatly restricted what he could own "to build character". Insanitus, finally with a home of his own, has crafted almost all the items in the mansion via his own hands or spells; to see them destroyed so carelessly makes him wroth. Insanitus will target the most damaging PC with both a Quickened and normal disintegrate in the surprise round.

-Cruel Words about Adora: if the PCs say anything negative about Insanitus' deceased lover Adora (see ugly painting area B5), it only reminds Insanitus how the only woman he ever loved ghosted him at the end of their relationship (see ghost encounter B6). Insanitus will target the cruelest PC with a Quickened Reach silence to shut their disrepectful mouths and follow up with a normal disintegrate in the surprise round.

Morale Insanitus is feeling pretty down on himself lately. Agresso the Arcanist did not invite him to his conjuration jubilee. If severely hindered by magic or reduced to half hit points or less, he sighs and spends a full round of self-pitying speechifying before surrendering. Those who hear this speech must make a DC 18 Will save; those who succeed may act as normal, those who fail must spend their turn consoling Insanitus as he relates more of his pathetic history (see Appendices A, B, D & E).

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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Sammy T wrote:
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Often times, as with how we currently handle encounter design, it's an ongoing battle of picking what we (as authors and developers) feel is the most poignant information for an encounter. Obviously that will NOT apply to all gaming groups, and specific regions can have very specific situations based on character builds. Then we trust GMs to extrapolate what they need in order to run the encounter.
I think you mean "pertinent" because otherwise...

Sure.

Glad to see one incorrect word choice led to you spending the time to put that 350 word short story here? :P

Shadow Lodge 4/5

It passes the time ;)

5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

There is NEVER enough word count. Every word in a scenario is needed for things that will happen, not wasted on something that might happen.

Besides, if an enemy has been scrying on the PCs, you already have "permission" to modify the tactics if the PCs have done something to invalidate them.

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

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Let me echo what others have said about appreciating when members of the Organized Play Leadership team come in here and talk to us. I miss the presence of John Compton as a forum regular, even though I recognize that he is probably writing and developing more adventures for us.

It is great when you guys engage with us, answer questions, and show us that you are listening to all that we say. It is NEVER an imposition to have a visit from one of you.

Hugs
Hmm

1/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Now I want to see the Later Adventures of Insanitus the Mad Mage.


Matthew Morris wrote:
What I'd like to see is in the product descriptions warnings when some weird mechanic is used in the scenario. "Warning! This scenario uses the performance style rules out of ultimate combat! Make sure you read this before you GM/buy the scenario!" "Warning, this scenario uses the social combat rules out of ultimate intrigue! You'll likely never use them again, so be prepared for a 15 minute discussion on how they work from your GM!"

Every time I see 'product descriptions wants' I want to ask people to write more product reviews. Reviews help not only GMs preparing (read up on haunts, not to be run cold, use your best Kate Winslet voice) it also helps the developers know what works. Popularity by star is helpful. A review can also help in terms of story (not another sparkling Ustalov story) and mechanics (best chase scene I've ever seen).

I say this knowing full-well I have not made but a few myself. Perhaps...

A change I would like to see is every that chronicle sheet have a line that says, "Did you like this adventure? Did you hate this scenario? Write a review on paizo.com/pathfinder/pathfinderSociety/pfsrpg/scenarios."

Grand Lodge 4/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

Curaigh wrote:
A change I would like to see is every that chronicle sheet have a line that says, "Did you like this adventure? Did you hate this scenario? Write a review on paizo.com/pathfinder/pathfinderSociety/pfsrpg/scenarios."

We could do this ourselves. Using Foxit Reader or some versions of Adobe Acrobat, you can add text to the chronicle file. I do this myself to pre-complete the GM info at the bottom.

Also, for boons we issue at conventions we add "This sheet is valid only if the raised seal is present" at the bottom to help secure the boon from being photocopied

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Sammy T wrote:


I think you mean "pertinent" because otherwise...

wiki

poignant:
(comparative more poignant, superlative most poignant)

(obsolete, of a weapon etc) Sharp-pointed; keen. quotations ▼
Incisive; penetrating.

His comments were poignant and witty.

Neat; eloquent; applicable; relevant.

A poignant reply will garner more credence than hours of blown smoke.

Evoking strong mental sensation, to the point of distress; emotionally moving. quotations ▼

Flipping through his high school yearbook evoked many a poignant memory of yesteryear.

(figuratively, of a taste or smell) Piquant, pungent.
(figuratively, of a look, or of words) Piercing.
(dated, mostly British) Inducing sharp physical pain.

Thats how i see it used far more often than your meaning (which i'd never seen before today)

Scarab Sages 5/5

I've actually seen, and used it, both ways.

EDIT:
If I use it in the "relevant" way, I'm usually referring to something that is powerfully or emotionally relevant.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Society Developer

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So, on the subject of "reasons why community interaction can get hindered." It's pretty intimidating to know that if (as a freelancer/dev) you make one questionable word choice and the entire thread gets derailed because of it?

Yeah. That can be a pretty good indicator why people might not want to post a lot :P

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Sorry! :X

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