Tiers & Level Gain


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Scarab Sages 3/5 Venture-Agent

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I support the tighter tiers, 3xp per level, and high tier play.


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I like the 3XP Rule for leveling up. It is great for ones like me wo are playing casually.

Second tiers:
I liked the range, but:
it is absolutly sufficient to support tier -1 and +1.
I.e. if the Adventure is designed for Level 5, it would be Tier 4-6. Adventure Level 1 would bei 1-2, and so on.

3/5

TheFlyingPhoton wrote:

I do not recommend using the Starfinder tier system as is.

My LGS has enough players to support one table every other week, and an uncomfortable gap is spreading between people who can make it every game and those who can't. This was made worse by 3-6 scenarios coming out very early in the first season - when one of those gets scheduled, players that are still level 2 on their -701 just don't show up. So those that were level 3 when a T3-6 came out (and was the only scenario that could be scheduled) just played with a table buddy, widening the gap. And we just don't have enough players to reschedule previously played scenarios.

I completely get why Season 0 had Tier 1-7 scenarios.

That is a fair point. On the other hand, a normal scenario is tier 1-4, then a that does not preclude creating a few 1-6s to help with exactly the issue you raise (and I would think that 1 1-6 is a lot easier to design than a 1-7, purely because it is not crossing an extra spell-level boundary).

_
glass.

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

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Please for the love of Cyth V'Sug don't bring back 1-7 tiers. While there might have been a scheduling demand for wide-open tiers, it led to grossly imbalanced scenarios. Because it's basically not possible to write a scenario that is balanced and makes sense for both level 1 characters and level 7 characters.

Anyone who thinks this isn't a problem is invited to play up in The Dalsine Affair.

2/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think the issue with the tight tiers is more a function of how they elected to roll out the adventures.

It takes 6 XP to get to level 3 in PFS/SFS.

Not including the Quest or the AP, there were 5 1-4 scenarios released and then a 3-6. That means you had to play every single scenario and the Quest to be ready for the 6th scenario released. SFS also released 1 scenario per month. This left people hungry.

If you release 2 scenarios per month and get 8-10 out before releasing a 3-6, so there's plenty for people to catch up on without having to play every single scenario to be eligible for the 3-6 tier.

...and nobody would have out leveled the 3-4 subtier in the tier 1-4s that were being produced.

EDIT: I also think they did not factor in alt-itis for SFS's scenario release schedule.

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

Blake's Tiger wrote:

I think the issue with the tight tiers is more a function of how they elected to roll out the adventures.

It takes 6 XP to get to level 3 in PFS/SFS.

Not including the Quest or the AP, there were 5 1-4 scenarios released and then a 3-6. That means you had to play every single scenario and the Quest to be ready for the 6th scenario released. SFS also released 1 scenario per month. This left people hungry.

If you release 2 scenarios per month and get 8-10 out before releasing a 3-6, so there's plenty for people to catch up on without having to play every single scenario to be eligible for the 3-6 tier.

...and nobody would have out leveled the 3-4 subtier in the tier 1-4s that were being produced.

EDIT: I also think they did not factor in alt-itis for SFS's scenario release schedule.

I think you're on to something here. I got active in SFS a couple sessions behind the earliest adopters and had some trouble catching up at first, until my AP credit kicked in.

As I understand it, SFS heavily counted on people also getting AP credit; I'm not 100% sure that's accurate. Not that I'm saying it's not - just that this is an assumption that really needs to be tested by Paizo if it's going to be used for PFS as well.

Silver Crusade 5/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Colchester

It might be tricky to know what the best system for setting tiers is until we have a better idea of the disparity between levels. It makes sense for Starfinder to have subtiers 1-2 & 3-4 at tier 1-4 as level 3 characters get a pretty big power boost from weapon specialization (I have no idea about higher levels though, we're still naturally at the level 1-3 range), but that might not be the case in 2E. With low level disparity, we might want actually want broader tiers.

I would like to see a revision on how tier is determined. APL works for the most part, but sometimes the results can be weird. A system of addition could be a little more balanced as adding more PCs will only increase the difficulty of the scenario. With this, the 4-player adjustment could be rebranded and you'd have four distinct subtiers: Low Easy, Low Hard, High Easy & High Hard. Using Tier 1-4 as a quick example, T1-2 Easy is for parties with a combined level of 4-6, T1-2 Hard is 7-10, T3-4 Easy is 11-14, and T3-4 Hard is 15+.

Sovereign Court 2/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

I concur that the current tiers are too broad. A L5 character has no business adventuring with a L1 character, but really shouldn't be in the same adventure as a L9 character either. Both cases end up with higher character(s) dominating everything and/or lower character(s) unable to contribute at all.

Advancement of one level per three adventures is fine. Ability to play slow track is also fine. Well actually I think advancement at level 1-3 is too slow, but I solve that by GMing (effectively making my character gain a level per one or two adventures).

In my view the current retraining rules are also fine. I'm not a fan of systems that would allow you to largely and arbitrarily change your build between sessions (except in case of errata).

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

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Blake's Tiger wrote:

I think the issue with the tight tiers is more a function of how they elected to roll out the adventures.

It takes 6 XP to get to level 3 in PFS/SFS.

Not including the Quest or the AP, there were 5 1-4 scenarios released and then a 3-6. That means you had to play every single scenario and the Quest to be ready for the 6th scenario released. SFS also released 1 scenario per month. This left people hungry.

If you release 2 scenarios per month and get 8-10 out before releasing a 3-6, so there's plenty for people to catch up on without having to play every single scenario to be eligible for the 3-6 tier.

...and nobody would have out leveled the 3-4 subtier in the tier 1-4s that were being produced.

EDIT: I also think they did not factor in alt-itis for SFS's scenario release schedule.

I think you're on to something here. I got active in SFS a couple sessions behind the earliest adopters and had some trouble catching up at first, until my AP credit kicked in.

As I understand it, SFS heavily counted on people also getting AP credit; I'm not 100% sure that's accurate. Not that I'm saying it's not - just that this is an assumption that really needs to be tested by Paizo if it's going to be used for PFS as well.

I am getting AP credit, and it is a bit of a mixed blessing. How happy you are about tier 3-6 scenarios highly depends on your style of play or rather if you want to play just one character (thus being at the mercy of bad group compositions, or if you want to have a bit of choice - thus forcing you to split your advancement.

While running a couple of scenarios and the AP I now have 2 level 4 characters, which is nice, but I really have to create a new level 1 character in the next couple of days... but I am going to wait a bit since the description of the upcoming Pact Worlds book sound rather promising.

2/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Tangent: Yes, I'm very excited for the Pact Worlds book (but then it needs sanctioning! *groans good-naturedly*).

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Eastern Eurasia-Africa

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Blackavar wrote:
With new tier design, I'd really like to see an end to the "stronger teams get weaker tiers" problem. For example, If four players with levels 5,6,8,9 want to play a tier 5-9 scenario, they have to play the low subtier. If a level 5 character joins them, they now have to play the high subtier. Add another level 5 character, and they're back to the low subtier.

Tier determination should indeed not be based on average character level, but on the sum of the character levels.

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

Auke Teeninga wrote:
Blackavar wrote:
With new tier design, I'd really like to see an end to the "stronger teams get weaker tiers" problem. For example, If four players with levels 5,6,8,9 want to play a tier 5-9 scenario, they have to play the low subtier. If a level 5 character joins them, they now have to play the high subtier. Add another level 5 character, and they're back to the low subtier.

Tier determination should indeed not be based on average character level, but on the sum of the character levels.

Might even save us a subtier in the process. Right now most scenarios don't have 2 subtiers, they have 4, to make up for smaller table sizes. (Granted, it's usually stuff like "remove 2 goblins from this 7 goblin encounter" but it's still effectively a subtier. Just a simple one.) I'm just baselessly speculating, but it might be possible to drop that down to three subtiers (low, medium, high, with no 4-player adjustments) if you're already collapsing the level range down by a level for most tiers.

Plus, it would occasionally save a table some awkwardness. One of the worst ways to learn that you've forgotten long division is at the gaming table while trying to calculate the party's APL!

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

Designing tier rules is pretty difficult. Especially because they should be easy to use (so that people use them correctly, and make well-informed decisions). Making something simple is often hard. Here are some things I want a new tier system to have:


  • Monotonicity: adding party members doesn't go the tier to go down nor does removing party members cause it to go up. Any change to the party that makes it weaker doesn't raise difficulty and vice versa.

    Switching from average to sum of levels might help here.

  • Transparency: players signing up on Warhorn should be able to easily see which tier the game is likely to be, so that they can make good decisions about which character to sign up with.

  • Distinguish properly between a difficulty adjustment for a higher-level party, and one for a bigger party with lots of action economy. If the formula for tier calculation works properly, scenario writers can more accurately write adjustments that do what they're supposed to do.

I'd like to dwell on that last point a bit. What makes a good adjustment for an actual 4P group at the high tier, doesn't necessarily make a good adjustment for a 6P group that barely gets to the high subtier. For example, if the high-tier encounter has a boss with high stats and some flunkies to help his action economy, removing some of the flunkies makes for a good 4P adjustment, but it doesn't help the gang playing up, whose problem is the boss' high stats (can't hit him, or can't survive his hits).

Figuring this out is also going to depend on how powerful companion creatures will be. In V1, a group where each PC brings a well-equipped companion is considerably more powerful.

---

After some napkin math, I think a good candidate system might be to take the tier which has the most in-tier PCs, and then just pick the 4/6P version depending on party size, possibly adjusted for companions. (Maybe even apply an inverse 4P adjustment for parties with obscene numbers of companions.)

Liberty's Edge 3/5 Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

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TheFlyingPhoton wrote:

I do not recommend using the Starfinder tier system as is.

My LGS has enough players to support one table every other week, and an uncomfortable gap is spreading between people who can make it every game and those who can't. This was made worse by 3-6 scenarios coming out very early in the first season - when one of those gets scheduled, players that are still level 2 on their -701 just don't show up. So those that were level 3 when a T3-6 came out (and was the only scenario that could be scheduled) just played with a table buddy, widening the gap. And we just don't have enough players to reschedule previously played scenarios.

I completely get why Season 0 had Tier 1-7 scenarios.

What we are doing with the 3-6 adventures is the players who are not 3rd or higher (there is only one character in level, that being mine) is have them play pregens. That way, when they get up level the then quickly join catch up to me.

2/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Pregens are always the solution to playing out of your own personal tier, but it is well understood that most people want to play their own characters that they built rather than pregens.

So the angst is understood.

However, I'll just reiterate that I don't believe the problem was the narrower tiers. It was the way the scenarios were rolled out in SFS.

I mean... even if they were 1-5s, you'd still have the same problem with when the 3-7 was released. Having a wider tier for the first set of scenarios released doesn't help you level faster. Having five 1-7 scenarios when the next tier up is released doesn't help that either. Having more introductory tier scenarios than is necessary for one character to level into the next tier up of scenarios is necessary.

And the next tier up has to be released before everyone out levels the introductory tier, but hopefully they known that.

I dislike the broad tiers (e.g. 1-7) because that makes it harder to balance when random people show up to play. So a 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, and a 6 walk into a Delsine Affair...

Grand Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Texas—Austin aka Partizanski

Throwing in that I support 3xp per level and the starfinder tier system.

it makes it easier to not have to worry about the APL falling in between tiers since that concept doesn't exist anymore.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Rhein-Main aka GreyYeti

Auke Teeninga wrote:
Blackavar wrote:
With new tier design, I'd really like to see an end to the "stronger teams get weaker tiers" problem. For example, If four players with levels 5,6,8,9 want to play a tier 5-9 scenario, they have to play the low subtier. If a level 5 character joins them, they now have to play the high subtier. Add another level 5 character, and they're back to the low subtier.

Tier determination should indeed not be based on average character level, but on the sum of the character levels.

I am not so sure about that.

That means that 4 lvl 11 (44) get an easier adventure than 7 lvl 7 (49).

What might work is some sort of APL and then add or multiply a factor based on the number of players.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Lau Bannenberg wrote:

Distinguish properly between a difficulty adjustment for a higher-level party, and one for a bigger party with lots of action economy. If the formula for tier calculation works properly, scenario writers can more accurately write adjustments that do what they're supposed to do.

I'd like to dwell on that last point a bit. What makes a good adjustment for an actual 4P group at the high tier, doesn't necessarily make a good adjustment for a 6P group that barely gets to the high subtier. For example, if the high-tier encounter has a boss with high stats and some flunkies to help his action economy, removing some of the flunkies makes for a good 4P adjustment, but it doesn't help the gang playing up, whose problem is the boss' high stats (can't hit him, or can't survive his hits).

There's something in this, though an adjustment by lowering the difficulty of checks also helps a smaller party who have less chances to gain the required number of successes (which might be the required number of attacks) or who are less likely to have a specialist in a particular check.

Liberty's Edge 4/5

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Tiers
I prefer the SFS tiers. Much better. A 1-4 scenario with 1-2 and 3-4 tiers is superior to a 1-5 with 1-2 and 3-5 tiers in my book.

A) It's easier to write modules with the closer levels. Obviously mechanics are different between PF1.0 and 2.0 but a module using a "young" template at one tier and the "advanced" or "giant" at the other can use exactly the same creature for both cases rather easily. Many times it seems like the low and high tiers are vastly different experiences due to using completely different monsters. Doesn't mean that templates should always be used, but it makes it easier to do so in many cases.

B) 5th and first level characters at the same table are vastly different. I don't know how many times a 5th level wizards with fireball or haste was at a table I played or GMed with level 1 foes. Or 3-7 modules with 3rd level characters playing up against foes with iterative attacks and throwing around 5th level spells. It's just nicer to bring that gap in, even if it's just one level.

C) I hate being in between tiers with characters. I also think the elmination of in between tiers make calculations of playing up or down far easier. Playing up vs playing down isn't quite as much of a factor of deathtrap vs cakewalk when all the players are in between.

D) I think 3-6 tier modules should not be rolled out as early as they were in SFS. The AP gave an extra 3

XP Per Level
I'm in favor of moving away from the 3 XP/Level. I do want to divide this into two different components though.

A) Scenarios per level - I'm not opposed to changing things to be more scenarios per level. (I kind of actually like 4 per level over 3, slowing advancement slightly, but I certainly wouldn't stand on a mountain to defend that position.) I think the general agreement I'm seeing is that most people like the 3 scenarios per level system.

B) XP calculation system - This is where I believe we have an opportunity to "improve" the system. I would like to see us change the calculation system to accomodate quests better. I believe basing the system on 1 hour quests being worth 1 xp will create a much better system. This also can more easily accomodate slow track, if that's going to be included, by giving enough space to not ever require 1/2 xp measurements. I actually proposed a strawman for discussion in another thread based on a 12 xp/lvl system so that 4 quests (1 xp each) is equivalent to a scenario (4 xp each).

Evergreens
I feel that evergreens are a huge boon to the system. They give something that everyone can play. They can serve as great introductions. Modular evergreens can really let GM's inject creativity.

One thing that would simplify things A LOT. A module/quest/scenario should be evergreen or not evergreen...period. I HATE the current evergreen definitions of "replayable with level 1's, but play once with X level characters. Draw a line of "this is replayable" or "this is not replayable" and it is far easier to explain to people. New players seem to have issues with this often early on, and I'd like to just eliminate the potiential for issues.

A) Introductory Evergreens - Quests and scenarios like first steps, Confirmation and Wounded Wisp are a great way to bring in new players, as well as a great way to start out new characters for players who already have characters. Some of these have some modularity, but I wish they had even more to be honest to keep things fresh and give some variety, as well as allow GM's to have some freedom within the adventure. I personally think the perfect 1st level scenario for me would have been Fallen Fortress if it had been built more modular like the 3-7 evergreens. Confirmation, Wounded Wisp, and Consortium compact did have some random monster tables and some puzzle variation which I greatly applaud, but I would have liked to have seen the customization go further with multiple endings and plot twists to throw in as well. Fighting the same monster at the end of every confirmation makes it feel more the same, even though each of the fights leading up to it may have been different.

B) Modular Evergreens - The two 3-7 evergreens from season 8 and 9 have become my absolute favorite things to run in all of PFS. They give me a toolbox to customize and tweak the adventure so that I can tell a different enough story each time that even those who have played it before are kept on their toes and get a fresh experience. I would love to see more toolbox style adventures offered right from the start.

Quests
I think quests need to be a bigger focus in PFS2.0. Embrace it early, and make it a staple of the system. Although PFS1.0 flirted with quests, I think it was one of the biggest missed opportunities the last couple of years. They are easier to write. They are easy to run. They are easier to find play time for. They can be created to promote concepts. They are bite sized to grab attention of new players. They make good demo games. They were a bit clunky in PFS1.0 due to the xp system and trying to balance 1 hour quests with a system built around 4 hour scenarios.
1) Make sure the xp system supports quests to EASILY be tracked, and not require running multiple quests from the same set in order to get rewards. This makes scheduling quests in tight windows and running demo tables much easier to do.
2) Although quests are smaller and can't support as much modularity as a scenario, I think quests with some modularity are a good thing. Not all quests need to support this, but a number of them certainly can, and for any evergreen, some degree of modularity helps keep them from getting stale as fast.
3) Quests are perfect for teaching concepts, both for GM's and Players. I have been sitting on a number of quests for what seems like forever that I was waiting for another open call to submit. The underlying premise was to teach concepts and mechanics, in an easy way. One had a chase scene, and gave hints for the GM on how to run one. One had library research mechanics along with hints to make it work. Another was based around social challenges (the party mechanic) and another was about collecting influence points. All of these are mechanics that show up in other scenarios (often multiple scenarios) and being able to give an easy introduction to them can help prepare players and GMs alike for how to run them when they come up. There are things in some of the evergreens already that are along these lines including basic puzzles (Wounded Wisp is great for this) and some specialized combat mechanics like how to fight a swarm (very common thing to learn in Confirmation).

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

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Starglim wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:

Distinguish properly between a difficulty adjustment for a higher-level party, and one for a bigger party with lots of action economy. If the formula for tier calculation works properly, scenario writers can more accurately write adjustments that do what they're supposed to do.

I'd like to dwell on that last point a bit. What makes a good adjustment for an actual 4P group at the high tier, doesn't necessarily make a good adjustment for a 6P group that barely gets to the high subtier. For example, if the high-tier encounter has a boss with high stats and some flunkies to help his action economy, removing some of the flunkies makes for a good 4P adjustment, but it doesn't help the gang playing up, whose problem is the boss' high stats (can't hit him, or can't survive his hits).

There's something in this, though an adjustment by lowering the difficulty of checks also helps a smaller party who have less chances to gain the required number of successes (which might be the required number of attacks) or who are less likely to have a specialist in a particular check.

Ah yes. Skill challenges and 4P.

A 4P party is not rolling as many dice as a 6P party. Even if they can handle the DCs the adjustment they need is to require fewer successes. (Also, to accommodate less diversity in skills, it helps if the skill challenge doesn't require a very narrow range of skills but allows multiple options.)

A 6P party playing up isn't having too few dice to roll, but it might be in trouble with DCs. What they need is a break on DCs.

---

What I'm arriving at is that I think in many ways, using the 4P adjustment for a 6P party playing up is not really a good thing. Altering the tier structure so that people play up less, would be a better thing. Reserve the 4/6P adjustment for actual 4/6P situations.

3/5

Just of the top of my head, how well would something like this work for subtier determination:

If there are at least X characters in the higher tier, play that. Otherwise, play the lower tier. X would either be 3 or 4, I think. Dead simple, and monotonic.

I agree that number of characters is somewhat independent of subtier calculation. One possibility is to simply write the encounters along the lines of "2 goblins plus 1 per PC" or something. Would not work for every encounter, but it would for most IMO.

_
glass.

3/5

Proposed tier calculation scheme:

For each character, add level + 1 - minimum_level_allowed.

If the total is:
4-9: 4 player, low tier
10-14: low tier
15-19: 4 player, high tier
20+: high tier

Assumptions:
adventure is written for a 4-level band
A PC gets twice as powerful every 2 levels

Silver Crusade 3/5

Please make leveling up quicker, or at least include a fast-track option. I hate that I basically can't play 7 to 11 scenarios because no one at my group has a high enough level character for them. Please make level UPS happen every other scenario instead of every third, so high tier content can be accessed by a reasonable amount so high chair content can actually be accessed by people like me who want to run it but can't.

3/5

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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

He is one item that I am most passionate about: Release more PFS scenarios per month for at least the first year after 2.0 is released!

I started in season 1. There were fewer than 10,000 players. Within a very short period of time, players were asking for three or more scenarios to be released a month. It didn't happen and as a result it took years and some replay rule changes to relieve that pressure.

With PFS 2.0 you will be starting with a player base of over 100,000, maybe 200,000. Everyone will be starting at level 1. Even with four or six scenarios being released at GenCon 2019, it really wont be enough. I understand you will probably be releasing one or more replayable scenarios, but that's not the same. We just will need more scenarios - a lot more scenarios.

Liberty's Edge 2/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Tighter subtiers are awesome. I definitely support that.

I strongly encourage using the same XP system as the core rules, though - at least, with an option to go with 2000/level for a "slow track" choice. There's no reason to use two different XP systems when the only difference between them is scale, and you can easily set up a system that handles quests just fine. A flat 360 XP per scenario keeps the usual advancement intact (close enough, anyway), and quests can grant 60 XP each. And new players don't have to learn two different XP systems!

The Exchange 1/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Gary Bush wrote:

I see lots of folks asking for very high level content. Keep in mind that encounters at those high levels are very long and complex. It would be almost impossible to scale an encounter at high levels that can be completed in a 4 to 5 hour slot, let alone 3 encounters plus an optional.

If you have ever played a tier 10-11 special at a Con, you will understand what I am saying.

If the campaign was to go past the current 12-15 tier in 2.0, we as players will have to accept longer adventures that may take up to 10 hours to complete and multiple sessions for the same rewards.

Or, perhaps the new action economy and other evolutions in the new rule set will fix the things that bogged down high level play and actually make it truly viable? (hope springs eternal.)

The Exchange 1/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Swiftbrook wrote:

He is one item that I am most passionate about: Release more PFS scenarios per month for at least the first year after 2.0 is released!

I started in season 1. There were fewer than 10,000 players. Within a very short period of time, players were asking for three or more scenarios to be released a month. It didn't happen and as a result it took years and some replay rule changes to relieve that pressure.

With PFS 2.0 you will be starting with a player base of over 100,000, maybe 200,000. Everyone will be starting at level 1. Even with four or six scenarios being released at GenCon 2019, it really wont be enough. I understand you will probably be releasing one or more replayable scenarios, but that's not the same. We just will need more scenarios - a lot more scenarios.

I agree with Swiftbrook! I realize that SF/SFS was a gamble for Paizo, and that they wanted to dip their toe in the water gradually, hence the 1 scenario a month at the start. PFS2 will not have that because as Swiftbrook said there is already a HUGH community/player base waiting to play all the new shiny goodness!

I like the tighter tiers, I like 3XP per level and the slow option if you want to take it. DO NOT want a fast track in PFS2!

Want to go faster play and GM more. I know I may be in the minority, but I often play pregens/play without credit to make tables go off and personally haven't noticed any drop in my enjoyment of the game.
YMMV

Sovereign Court 3/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Shisumo wrote:

Tighter subtiers are awesome. I definitely support that.

I strongly encourage using the same XP system as the core rules, though - at least, with an option to go with 2000/level for a "slow track" choice. There's no reason to use two different XP systems when the only difference between them is scale, and you can easily set up a system that handles quests just fine. A flat 360 XP per scenario keeps the usual advancement intact (close enough, anyway), and quests can grant 60 XP each. And new players don't have to learn two different XP systems!

I think 400 XP per scenario and moving to 5 scenarios per tier, rather than 3 scenarios per level is better than having folks do 360s.

I like that 1000 XP per level would be consistent with the core rulebook.

Liberty's Edge Venture-Agent, Online

I do like the idea of tighter tiers.

I don't think total levels will really work for subtier calculation.

I suggest designing encounters for 5 PCs.

For 4 players, always round down the calculated APL.
For 5 players, round half up.
For 6-7 players, always round up.

No more 4 player adjustment needed, no 6 player adjustment needed, just run as written for the calculated subtier. Adding a PC shouldn't cause the subtier to go down, removing one shouldn't cause it to go up (I didn't check every possible combination, but a quick look at the pattern appeared to indicate this was the case.)

Liberty's Edge

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Tiers and subtiers are an unnecessary layer of complexity. Players know what level their characters are, so calling the difficulty of adventures "levels" works just as well.

A level 1 adventure, a level 7 adventure, etc.
And rather than an "out of tier" rule, it's just a rule that if you're more than +/- 1 level from the level of the adventure you get reduced rewards (or something).

Thinking on levels, level 1 is a tough level, and is hard when your choices are often adventures aimed at 2nd level characters. There's a big jump between level 1 and level 2 (or was...)
It might be good to have more focused level 1 adventures.

So adventures could have level bands of 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13.
With a "Level 3 adventure" being acceptable for characters levels 2 to 4.

Dark Archive

James Anderson wrote:

As far as level one evergreens go, please model it more on First Steps and less on the other evergreens. Or a mix of the two and some of Paths we Choose. This should probably be spun off to its own thread, but I'll try to summarize.

First Steps One (and to a lesser extent the others) takes the party around Absalom and introduces people to the factions. Factions which play a major role in shaping your character.

Other evergreens explore the world and what pathfinders to a bit, but none of them really introduce SOCIETY like First Steps does.

Basically I'd like to see an evergreen version of Paths We Choose. A little thing for each faction, and the GM picks the factions based on what the table sounds interested in. Start off with a briefing by the 3 deans.

I too really liked the First Steps scenarios and was sad to see them go. I would like to see them brought back or something similar to them. I especially loved how they started off introducing new players to the world and setting and factions. It eased them into things and what their place in it is. It wasn't just a replayable level 1 adventure, it was a really introduction and first steps for a new member of the society.. both for the character and the player.

Lantern Lodge 4/5

I like the tighter tiers in SFS over PFS. That said, I've not had the joy of playing one out of tier before.

I also agree with the comments above about how the 4 player adjustment is made. This appears quite arbitrary in a number of scenarios. Especially when it is used with a larger party taking on a challenge that is a little above their capability. I tend to agree that scaling challenges for a five person party with a scale up/down mechanism might be a better way to do this. But Paizo probably has some really good stats about average party size in PFS and SFS reporting now. so if the vast majority of tables are six person, then maybe that is still the smarter way to go.

I like 3xp per level, but I also really, really like the slow advancement option. I was disappointed not to see it available in Starfinder. I'm hoping that in season 2 it comes in - I do get that gong slow xp when there are very few scenarios available seems an odd choice.

That of course takes us on to advancement. I'm going to opt with the - actually I don't mind most scenarios stopping at level 11. If we are honest about it, higher level play is generally quite broken in RPGs. Characters are both too tough, and too brittle. Maybe this is just my opinion, but both as a player and GM, I really like the lower/middle levels a lot more. I'm not saying never put out high level content, but there is no need for a lot of it, nor a need to rush it.

PFS 1 typically had about 30 scenarios a year. If you played every one of them, running at normal xp, with a single character, you would only just be getting toward the top tier toward the end.

I like how all the initial SFS scenarios were now tier. We are starting to see some 3-6 now, but at least in PBP there are few takers for them, as very few have characters high enough to quality, let alone to require such scenarios yet.

Dark Archive

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The King In Yellow wrote:
I would love for xp to be slowed down. Even something as simple as requiring 2+current level to get to next level. (So going from 1 to 2 still takes 3 xp, but going from 7 to 8 takes 9.) Perhaps even 3,3 then current level xp. (Which would be 3,3,3,4,5,6, etc...) Or whatever formula desired, but let us -play- the characters for a while. Not just churn through them.

I am not a fan of this idea. It makes sense for people who have the time to play every week, or even a couple of times a month. I play 10-12 scenarios a year; I started playing my 9th level character in 2011 and just made 9th level at GenCon last year.

If I have to play 6 scenarios to make 4th level, it's going to take me the better part of a year to level mid-tier characters and I'm never going to get to play high level characters. PFS is the only time I get to play upper-mid tier characters, I would much rather see them keep the 3 modules per level and the slow option.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

I prefer wider tiers to accommodate more players. Nobody wants to play a pregen, plenty of players walk away instead. I'd much prefer unbalanced tables to excluding people.

I like the 3XP system, it's simple, and a satisfying rate of leveling.

For APL, if I recall, living greyhawk you divided by 6 no matter how many players you had, instead of having a 4 player adjustment.

Liberty's Edge 3/5 Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Michael Hallet wrote:

I do like the idea of tighter tiers.

I don't think total levels will really work for subtier calculation.

I suggest designing encounters for 5 PCs.

For 4 players, always round down the calculated APL.
For 5 players, round half up.
For 6-7 players, always round up.

No more 4 player adjustment needed, no 6 player adjustment needed, just run as written for the calculated subtier. Adding a PC shouldn't cause the subtier to go down, removing one shouldn't cause it to go up (I didn't check every possible combination, but a quick look at the pattern appeared to indicate this was the case.)

This is a pretty good idea but would only work with tighter tiers.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵ RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 aka GreySector

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Monotonicity: adding party members doesn't go the tier to go down nor does removing party members cause it to go up. Any change to the party that makes it weaker doesn't raise difficulty and vice versa.

The problem with that is that it is a qualitative judgement, and any tier system will by necessity be a quantitative system.

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

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Michael Eshleman wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Monotonicity: adding party members doesn't go the tier to go down nor does removing party members cause it to go up. Any change to the party that makes it weaker doesn't raise difficulty and vice versa.

The problem with that is that it is a qualitative judgement, and any tier system will by necessity be a quantitative system.

It's not a subject judgment, there are obvious mathematical defects to the formula

Take a party of 2,2,2,2,2,5. That's an APL of 2.5 and they can choose to play the low tier (and probably should). Now one of the L2 people has a family emergency and can't make it. APL becomes 2.66 which rounds up to 3, which means they have to play the higher tier with 4P adjustment. But the majority of PCs really has no business playing in the high tier.

This is not a qualitative judgement about the party getting weaker. It's entirely quantitative: there's one fewer person than before adding to the effort, but the party gets a higher difficulty in return.

This issue often gets dismissed as being unlikely, or "just tell the L5 player to take a pregen", but it's a real flaw. If you look at scenarios with reviews that are much lower than the rest, many of those have parties with badly composed tiers. So people do play them, and they ruin games.

You can say that the GM should have intervened and forced the L5 player to pick a pregen, but many people dislike being forced to play something else; and maybe this scenario was important to his character (part of a series?) and playing a pregen means he can't add the credit. So people don't do it.

And saying "the system isn't broken, people should just recognize its problems and work around it" is denying the obvious design problem.

It's not working well. We can work around it much of the time, but it's bad and it's hurting our game.

5/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka Pirate Rob

At the moment, scenarios have 4 difficulty levels, A 1-5 effectively being designed for APL 2(low 4) || 3 (low) || 5 (high 4) || 6 (high)

Lets look at a 1-5

Assuming each character is worth their level in power...

Instead of averaging we can just add levels and consult a chart.

We can have a party of 4-7 players be anywhere from Power 4 to 35.

If we split into 4 difficulties we can go...
4-11
12-19
20-27
28-35

---

I like this better than averaging, but probably also involves other changes to the reward structure (like separating rewards from tier played to make sense)

---

If we have smaller tiers say 1-4

Our power is now 4 - 28

We might even be able to squeeze down to 3 difficulties which would be one less thing to develop.

4-12 - Low
13-20 - Medium
21-28 - High

Grand Lodge

Jon-Enee Merriex wrote:

So, I don't like the fact that after a time, I can no longer play my character. No matter how cool he is, how much work I've put into him. At a certain point he's gone. The addition of high level play would help, however, I feel like, even with playing at half speed, I only get to play any character for 1 year before being forced to make a new character (I got to this calculation by saying if I play once or twice a week and need 33 XP to level 12 that would be 66 sessions when going slow. With 52 weeks in a year and a few conventions thrown in, in about a year the character is dead to me).

My proposal here isn't to make leveling a nightmare. No, it is more to say, that 3 XP per level below 10 seems fine. But maybe at level 11 it becomes 5. Or, maybe I can freeze my character level at a certain point an no longer earn XP/gold. I honestly don't know, but I know that at the moment, my second biggest concern with PFS is that my character's lifespan is so limited.

I agree that it really sucks to retire, aka "lose" a character after a certain level. However, I'm just not sure PFS can support high-level play, even with PF 2e. But now that I think about it, surely there wouldn't be too many people playing those high tiers.

There could be a few games going on with those high tiers and still have the masses playing the rest. Heck, the high tier scenarios could even be longer than 4-5 hours.

Also, I dunno what's wrong with the 1 XP per scenario, level at 3 XP system that it needs to be changed?

5/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I wasn't sure whether to post this thought here or in the slow track thread but I feel like it applies to tiers and level gain directly, while only tangentially addressing a concern raised re: slow track, so I'm dropping it here.

In order to alleviate the initial shortage of PF2S content, I'd like to suggest that the first Adventure Path for Pathfinder 2nd Edition receive the same sanctioning treatment as Dead Suns did, with chronicles releasing alongside (or even ahead?) of the actual Adventure Path installments. Dead Suns was a nice boost for SFS, letting me run bi-weekly SFS at my local game store even though there was only one scenario released a month (and out of deference to the local convention, sitting on 1-07 and 1-08 until after the con). The additional content lets players keep going even if they play at a rate faster than what PF2S can produce content.

I know Dead Suns was a unique case compared to PF1S Adventure Paths, because of the slower release schedule for SF content at the time. I'm guessing it probably wouldn't be possible to do this for all PF2 Adventure Paths simply because there's more volume to deal with, and that it won't continue for SFS now that SF content releases at the same pace PF content does. However, for the initial launch of SFS the additional content from a Adventure Path was awesome, and I'd be thrilled to see that again in PF2S.

Grand Lodge 4/5

I'm a big fan of the 3xp/level deal. It's not hard to figure out what level you are just by doing a little bit of simple math. This, I feel, is one of the "not broke, don't fix it" things of pfs 1e.

I would love a set of modular evergreens to take people through that's about factions. Heck, I'd even dig a module if that's what it came down to. Call it a collection of quests - do all 9, you get a wayfinder, a little bit of gold in your pocket, and a healthy appreciation for what all of the factions are about, what they require from you, and what they can do for you.

As of the moment, I've got maybe a character or two in dark archive, and that's strictly based off of what the faction journal cards give me as a reward for doing them. Do I know anything about the Dark Archive, above and beyond what's printed in the Roleplaying Guild Guide? Nope. I'm assuming they're a little dark and a little archive-y. About 2/3 of my static group dont even bother choosing a faction, because they don't know anything about them. I think a scenario/group of quests/module just about the factions would be a great boon for roleplayers in general, and the society in specific.

Thrawn, you're hawkin' that 4 xp/scenario deal like you already got it trademarked and you're lookin to get a nickel every time someone levels, man :D I admit, your idea has merits, and I do feel like in the long run a similar system to that could have some benefits, but let's be realistic. 1 xp scenario/3 xp for module/ x xp for a quest (who knows, cause nobody plays them) is easy to remember and easy to implement.

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

I want to speak out in support of loose tiers.

Tight tiers are scheduling nightmares.

The occasional "table full of 3s, 5s, 7s, or 9s" is worth dealing with if it means that I have more flexibility for seating players.

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

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Ryan Blomquist wrote:


In order to alleviate the initial shortage of PF2S content, I'd like to suggest that the first Adventure Path for Pathfinder 2nd Edition receive the same sanctioning treatment as Dead Suns did, with chronicles releasing alongside (or even ahead?) of the actual Adventure Path installments. Dead Suns was a nice boost for SFS, letting me run bi-weekly SFS at my local game store even though there was only one scenario released a month (and out of deference to the local convention, sitting on 1-07 and 1-08 until after the con). The additional content lets players keep going even if they play at a rate faster than what PF2S can produce content.

I am really not sure why this isn't standard practice to begin with other than there being too many fish to fry.

5/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Douglas Edwards wrote:
I am really not sure why this isn't standard practice to begin with other than there being too many fish to fry.

One plausible reason that pops into mind is the diminished value of PF1 APs because they don't neatly align with the playable levels the way the first Starfinder AP does. If the AP runs from 1st - 18th, but PF2S keeps PF1S' 1-11 level range (or imports Starfinder's 1-12), sanctioning an AP when only 1/3 the content applies to your campaign's target range is a lot of work for only a little gain. On the other hand, all six of Dead Suns' books link up nicely with a subtier of SF1S, so you're getting six playable adventures instead of 3-4.

I don't know that this is the reason, but it's certainly what came to mind when I was making my initial plea for sanctioning; that while it might not make sense to sanction all of the PF2 APs as they hit the street, there's a greater need (and thus greater value) as your campaign first rolls over editions in getting as much content as possible for a hungry player base.

1/5 RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I like 3 XP per level.

1 XP per regular scenario.

Allow 1-20 level play. Now that this game will be (hopefully) balanced across all levels of play.

Sovereign Court 3/5

Pathfinder Card Game, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'd just like to chime in about tiers. I suggest a level 1-2 group, then start the 4 level ranges - many above have commented about level 1 and level 5 being in the same group, and that being problematic, but even level 1 and 4 doesn't solve many of the issues. Therefore, a 1-2, 3-6, 7-10, and 11-14 (I believe that pathfinder, and its predecessors, pretty much tops out at level 13 or 14, degenerating into a series of save or suck checks and then death above that point). I do like the 1 xp per scenario and 3 (or 6 if going slow) for a level.

1/5

Gary Bush wrote:

I see lots of folks asking for very high level content. Keep in mind that encounters at those high levels are very long and complex. It would be almost impossible to scale an encounter at high levels that can be completed in a 4 to 5 hour slot, let alone 3 encounters plus an optional.

If you have ever played a tier 10-11 special at a Con, you will understand what I am saying.

If the campaign was to go past the current 12-15 tier in 2.0, we as players will have to accept longer adventures that may take up to 10 hours to complete and multiple sessions for the same rewards.

I think it should be up to the writer of the scenario to make it playable in the allotted time-frame. Instead of three combat encounters, maybe change the formula to one deadlier combat encounter and have risky social encounters, lethal chase scenes, etc. for the other encounters.

We need more content though.

Dark Archive 5/5

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dustin Knight wrote:
James Anderson wrote:

As far as level one evergreens go, please model it more on First Steps and less on the other evergreens. Or a mix of the two and some of Paths we Choose. This should probably be spun off to its own thread, but I'll try to summarize.

First Steps One (and to a lesser extent the others) takes the party around Absalom and introduces people to the factions. Factions which play a major role in shaping your character.

Other evergreens explore the world and what pathfinders to a bit, but none of them really introduce SOCIETY like First Steps does.

Basically I'd like to see an evergreen version of Paths We Choose. A little thing for each faction, and the GM picks the factions based on what the table sounds interested in. Start off with a briefing by the 3 deans.

I agree. I would love an evergreen wherein the players only have to meet with 3 of the 9 factions, with a fourth encounter being tailored depending on which factions they chose. You could replay it again and again to "meet all the factions", not to mention see what kind of common enemies (or themes) are present in the different factions.

First Steps was great, but in a semi-module evergreen we could have had more meat behind each of the factions' mini-quests.

Problem with this is that factions come and go; cf First Steps 2 and 3.

I and another VO had an idea several years ago wherein each faction had its own quest. The mini-adventure introduced you to the head and was tailored/written to highlight or emphasize the factions methods and goals. This would solve the problem of one faction going away; you simply remove that faction's quest from rotation. New faction? New quest! You could keep the XP, PP, and gold similar to how the quests do it now.

3/5

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RE: factional First Steps quests - I like that thought, but would also like to see something specific with differing VCs and for both "newly confirmed" pathfinders and "Seekers", especially to emphasize that differences in how those characters might be viewed by the Society as a whole and bring in some differences in missions from the different VCs / faction heads, etc. (ie "you've learned from you interactions with Drengle Dreng - you may cross this boon off of your chronicle sheet to recover from the effects of fatigue from lack of sleep" type of thing)

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

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My one table lodge has a few new players just reaching level 3. This means the next few games are going to be very easy or very hard. As much as a like the current sub-tier system with it's pseudo three level grouping, it does make things hard when a small group is clumped up.

Is there a benefit to having tight low tiers and looser high tiers. As we get into higher tiers the randomness of attendance spreads out the party level more, but at low levels we get big clumps (new player shows up, so all the other players make a new in tier low level character.)

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