Tiers & Level Gain


Pathfinder Society Playtest

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Dark Archive **

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I mainly want to see scenarios offered for higher level characters. The reason that we cap out at 12 is because higher level play bogs down for the time allowed, correct? What I am most hoping for in PF2 is that higher level play is more streamlined so that we can have PFS scenarios all the way up to level 20. That won't happen right away, of course, but I think a goal should be to have PFS support the full level range of the game.
On a similar note, I would love to see the APs more PFS playable. Make it possible to run an entire AP within PFS, advancing characters all the way up. This would likely entail multiple chronicle sheets for every book and the release of the chronicles upon the release of the AP.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Captain, Germany—Aschaffenburg-Würzburg

jon dehning wrote:
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.

Good idea, a quest could highlight what a faction represents, and it sounds similar to certain parts of the recent multiple scenarios, and that part was very well received.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Indiana—Martinsville aka thaX

I suggest having the tighter tiers as Starfinder, then have single level tiers for high level content. (like what modules are done) So an 12th level scenario can be played by an 11th, 12th or 13th level character. Perhaps make the scenarios at 13th level, 14th level, and even levels after that. (16, 18, 20)

What this will do is have one set of monster stats, be more focused on the level of play, and it won't have a wide range of character levels that play from different tiers.

We could also have single level scenarios for lower levels for more focused story elements and for the evergreens.

Lantern Lodge ****

Not that I like high level play... but I would have thought given the very small number of truely high level characters, that you would want the level bands after 12th to be wider, not narrower.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Indiana—Martinsville aka thaX

It is more to do with how Prep is than it is for the tier for the character. Having tighter reign on the encounters and not having to produce two tiers of higher level content could ensure better quality and have room for exposition for the scenario for the GM/Characters to pursue.

I also think that higher level (Beyond 11 or 12th level) content will likely not be introduced until after the first season except with sanctioned content for modules and AP's.

My hope is that there is room for higher level content and that it could be something that goes beyond the character's career within the Pathfinder organization. Having a "Single" level (For a tier with three possible levels for the characters) like for a module could also make for a better challenge for the group without having it get out of hand for a lower leveled group.

The disparity in 4th season in particular (and some for 6th season) is of a particular concern for me to not repeat with this new changeover. King of the Stoval Stairs still needs to be retired, in my honest opinion, and I hope never to have the TPK heavy type of scenario to be a concern for this new edition and the upcoming seasons with it.

Liberty's Edge ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Fairview Heights aka Freedom Snake

I think the tiers should be ability based. In SFS, 4-level tiers make perfect sense for a few reasons.

Weapon proficiency in SF at level 3 is a complete game changer. Factor in additional feats at 3 and 5 (4 additional feats in the case of the soldier) and having even a single level 5 at a tier 1-2 table becomes completely broken and pointless. The 5 at a table with levels 5, 1, 1, 1 (APL 2), 5, 3, 2, 1, 1 (APL 2.4), 5, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1 (APL 2.3) or a 5, 3, 3, 1, 1, 1 (APL 2.3) will hit everything on a 4 or 5, probably one-shot most NPCs, obliterate skill checks, and make the whole game no different for the low level players than it would be if they were to just watch someone else play and listen to the story. A level 5 in tier 1-2 would be obnoxious and ridiculous in terms of SF scaling.
If PF2 scales like SF does, then the tiers need to progress like SF does.

Second, if you care about new players and omission of unnecessary complication as a design aspect, adding a sandwich tier between the tiers doesn't seem to be value-added or help your case.

Frankly, limiting the sub-tiers to one increase per feat universally obtained is one of the best things Paizo did with SFS. Limiting the tiers to a maximum of 2 complete sub-tiers per tier that every player neatly fits into also makes great sense.

Anything larger than two sub-tiers should be reserved for multi-table specials.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Indiana—Martinsville aka thaX

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Yeah, I think the closer tiers like in Starfinder should be the norm for the beginning levels. My suggestion is to narrow it down further with higher level play, beyond 11th or 12th.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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I think there's merit in that.

I also think that there's merit in some of the following ideas:

1) No more out of subtier gold - you always get the gold appropriate for your level, regardless of whether you play up down or in the middle. No more angst when you're constantly one level ahead of your friends. And simpler chronicle filling in - just give someone the gold for their level at all times.

2) If there's going to be a jump between levels as pronounced as the 1-2 jump, maybe that's worth a tier split between 1 and 2. A character just about doubles in HP between level 1 and 2 in PF1 and SF, and also about triples in gear. Monsters that challenge level 1 characters often have trouble scratching the paint of level 2 characters.

3) Hopefully we won't see as strong a jump in power in PF2 as we see in SF between level 2 and 3 (weapon specialization, soldier gear boost, better trick attack). Because right now there's these big jumps between levels 1,2,3 and that makes it feel like anyone playing up or down is very off.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Indiana—Martinsville aka thaX

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1 -- I believe the mid-tier gold compromise should be kept, keeping the WBL (if there is such a thing in PF2) closer to what the character should have.

The reason for mid tier gold was that there was a fantastically huge amount of Higher tier gold that was given out to lower level characters (specifically, levels one or two most of the time) to a certain subset of players that always want to play up specifically for the gold reward it entailed. This also punished those who ended up playing low some of the time to make the table or having limited characters they could play, ending up with less gold than what they should have.

Mid Tier gold, as it is in PF1, makes it so that the WBL curve is not abused or that those playing low are not punished for doing so.

2 & 3 -- Looking at what we have thus far in the blogs and the info sparsed out, I don't see as big of jump as we did in Starfinder. A part of the balancing of higher level play could be a part of the playtest that would be fettered out and adjusted before the final release.

Another thing I should like to see is how Evergreens are done and perhaps the single level tier (for a level range above and below that level) could ease the development of those multiplay branching/alternate play scenarios.

Sovereign Court ***** Venture-Captain, Ohio—Southwest

Adventures League goes to 20. I don't see why we can't. Obviously, not until season 3 or 4.

Keep the Starfinder tiering so we don't have to worry about being between tier. 3 exp per level. Maybe instead of prestige, we get downtime days so we can apply those to crafting or retraining.

Set the rule so you get the rewards for the tier you are, not the tier you played. There'll be no power leveling, no gaming the system to try and get more rewards and be slightly more powerful than other people at your level, and it won't punish folks who are forced to play down because of the influx of new, lower level people into that particular game.

**** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Southcoast aka JDDyslexia

I'm not sure if I'd want to go much further than level 12. Tables with higher-level characters can have a harder time fitting into the 4-hour slots most game stores and conventions operate in. You already run into this issue with some 7-11s.

I feel like if we push that all the way to 20, you'll be spending two game slots just to get through one scenario for 1 XP, and that will get really annoying after the third or fourth time.

*** Venture-Agent, Canada—Alberta—Grand Prairie aka DM Livgin

Joe Bouchard wrote:

I'm not sure if I'd want to go much further than level 12. Tables with higher-level characters can have a harder time fitting into the 4-hour slots most game stores and conventions operate in. You already run into this issue with some 7-11s.

I feel like if we push that all the way to 20, you'll be spending two game slots just to get through one scenario for 1 XP, and that will get really annoying after the third or fourth time.

I feel like PF2 will play faster at higher tiers than PF1. But I only made it to lvl 7 with the playtest so the is just speculation.

*

I know the following isn't exactly PF2 related

I would suggest the idea of fast start chronicle sheets for PF1. The sheets would available to anyone. They have to be applied to new character numbers. They would come with preset amount of prestige, fame & gold. The amounts wouldn't be as good as actually working a character up each level, but still good enough to make a viable character.

PF1 could have a couple of different levels of available sheets such as level 4 and level 7. Mid and upper level will still be commonplace for the first few years of PF2 while low level play will drop off. It will allow people to participate when they might not be able to level up new characters

*****

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I talking about this a little before back on page 2. After seeing PF2 playtest I like the total level scaling idea even better. Revised thoughts below:

At the moment PF adventures come with 4 versions (low/high and 4/6).

That's potentially a lot of different versions of encounters to prep.

I've talked about this before but getting this down to 2 or 3 would be nice.

To this end I like the thoughts of level adventure +/-1. This helps make it clear what level you should be, especially since lvl 1 vs 5 seems like an even bigger gap in PF2 due to +level to everything.

--

How to scale in a way that takes into account both number of characters and level.

Add the total level of characters and consult chart.

For a level 2 Adventure (playable 1-3) Assuming a table of 4-6 players our total character level ranges from 4 to 18

So have
4-8 give monsters threats a -1 penalty to everything that we're adding level to.
9-13 Normal
14-18 give threats a +1 bonus to everything that we're adding level to.

More complicated version if 7 players tables are still a thing:

4-7: -1
8-13: 0
14-17: +1
18-21: +2

Include this as a sidebar in every adventure. It doesn't involve any division to determine average, it doesn't involve any rounding shenanigans. No ability to add a lower level character to manipulate the average down.

Also if you have a player leave early or join late it's easy to recalculate in a non-disruptive manor.

version for level 1 tables:

4-8: 0
9-12/14: +1

---

Adding/Subtracting a small number to everything is relatively simple. No different creatures/spells to prepare.

Sovereign Court **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Having seen some playtest adventures, I think PFS is going to have to really rethink tiers yeah. Rob's idea could work.

The thing I'm worried about: monster save DCs scale up quite fast - as fast as player DCs. That means that if you're punching above your weight, few of your spells are going to have full (regular) effect, which is disheartening. Conversely, if you're punching down, everything will be frail to you.

PF1 is written with a 4P party in mind, but PFS is often played with 5-6 people. It needs scaling to accommodate the party's bigger action economy. In some adventures, that's done with a heavier boss with bigger numbers. That's generally not fun in PF1, but I think it will be far, far worse in PF2.

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

I like the level gain idea at 1000 xp with a scenario granting 300.

Although I would prefer to divide the numbers by 100. That means you lvl at each multiple of 10, which is easy to calculate. The 'multiple of 3' system we use now is tougher for a lot of people.

Slow advancement could then be 1 xp and 1/3rd prestige and gold for scenarios, while slow advancement for APs and modules could be something else.

Silver Crusade ****

Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Disclaimer: Haven't read anything in this thread before Thursday's post.

I realllly like the idea of tier being a level +/- 1.

Obviously the advantage of having subtiers is being able to open the scenario up to more levels of players. But inevitably at game stores and conventions, I have sat down to find I couldn't in good conscious play my 5th level character with everyone else's brand new level ones, or show up with a that new level one I'm super excited about to find everyone else ready to roll their level 4-5s. I think it probably would force org play folks to do more planning to make sure the release of content with a +/- 1 model meet the needs of the player base. But I think it would be well worth it and you'll also find that this will make many GMs so happy, as they won't have to do as much prep. I know for me I'll still do the same amount of prep, but instead of reviewing all those extra monster stat blocks I'll spend time knowing the scenario better and knowing the monsters better and in the end the experience will be better for everyone.

Also, I really like the idea of making the scenarios for 4 characters and then providing an upward adjustment for 5, 6, 7 players. In my opinion it is far easier to prepare to scale up, than scale back. In games with 4 players, everyone gets more chances to shine and that is more fun...but it is nice to be able to accommodate 5, 6, or 7 if that is what you have.

Leveling and XP - keep the math simple and consistent is all I would ask.

Now something super exciting I read in Tonya's post was "Quest of the month" concept and I got to say it is pure love I have for this idea. I really like the idea of having mini adventures that can be run in small timeframes. For example, I have a weekly game group and we only meet for 2 1/2 to 3 hours on a week night, we play board games and RPGs, but have tended to not do society play as it doesn't really fit our timeframe...but with this I can guarantee we would include this "quest of the month" in one of our sessions for sure. I think it is really common nowadays to only have a couple hours to squeeze in some gaming and being able to play a quest like this would be awesome. Also I'm thinking about all the subtle tie-ins or lead-ins that can be crafted by this approach. I think it will make Golarion feel even more alive.


Tiers are to group together characters with similar levels of ability, and therefore need to recognize where there are major increases in character abilities. In PF2, with character level added to determine success with many actions, going from level 1 to level 2 is a major change. Other major changes are when characters receives the four ability boosts and when characters receive new levels of spells. It seems that a tier of three levels, with an adjustment similar to that suggested by Pirate Rob, would be the best way to enable all participating characters to have similar power levels and to adjust the scenario to compensate for different power levels.


I'm not excited about a Quest of the Month. We tend to cram each current quest series into a single 4-hour slot, which can be difficult at times with a five part quest. I'd prefer if Paizo continued to do these as quest series, but perhaps as a 4 part series. That will make it easier to complete in a standard 4-hour slot, and will facilitate playing these over a two or more shorter sessions.


I really like the 1000 XP.

Making slow advancement and quests both 100 XP alleviates some of my concerns about the 300 XP scenarios.

Rewards should primarily be in multiples of 100 XP, but I could see some chronicle boons that reward 25 or 50 XP for defeating a "hard-mode" or optional encounter.

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

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I want us to keep the 1xp per scenario.

I really like 3xp math. The simplification of it was one of the things that made me happy in Org Play. The newest quest packs are 4 per quest pack, which works fine in a gaming store slot. I hope we keep this format, as it works well for both conventions and for regular play.

Hmm

Grand Lodge ***

I like the adjacent level idea for scenarios, but I realize that's going to be difficult for a lot of people due to the numbers of people who have characters available for that idea.

Something that might help out would be if the scenarios were written for multiple tiers, but written in a way that a specific version of the scenario was written for a specific tier.

Take Wounded Wisp. It's written for a 1-2 tier. It could have alternate versions written for 3-4, 5-6, 7-8. or 1-3, 3-5, 5-7, 7-9, etc. The storyline stays the same, but the difficulty can be changed. Encounters could be retooled entirely for the tiers with different monsters possible, not just powered up versions of the same thing. It could be sort of like the Tome or Halflight Path where instead of modular construction along a linear line the modules are designed along a vertical line for tiers.

Then to alleviate the problem of writing a lot of scenarios and lowering the quality of them, allow replay of these new vertical modular evergreens with different characters in the different tiers. I still don't like allowing the same character to play the same scenario regardless of the tiers involved.

I would keep the 1 xp per session, but we could have some 2 xp sessions that are more difficult than a regular session. Not quite as long as a 3 xp module, but with enough twists for the specific scenario that 2 xp is warranted.

*** Venture-Agent, Canada—Alberta—Grand Prairie aka DM Livgin

I've always thought of the current version as adjacent levels.

1-5 can group characters from level 1-3 or 3-5 together easily.
3-7 does the same with 3-5 or 5-7.
5-9 becomes 5-7 or 7-9.
7-11 is 7-9 or 9-11.

And it has worked fairly well as long as you had a reasonable level distribution. Sub-tier 1-2 and 10-11 were a little unpleasant for level 3s and 9s respectively but that is just tuning. I've been in enough 1-2 sub-tiers where a level 3 saved the team.


Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

I want us to keep the 1xp per scenario.

I really like 3xp math. The simplification of it was one of the things that made me happy in Org Play. The newest quest packs are 4 per quest pack, which works fine in a gaming store slot. I hope we keep this format, as it works well for both conventions and for regular play.

Hmm

Hi Hmm!

My favorite parts of the 3xp system are that every level is the same and that multiples of 3 are easily recognizable. No tables to look at to figure when you'll level and it is easy to tell when you need to level up.

What do you like best about it?

I feel like the current quest format is largely a scenario by another name and could better serve a purpose. I would really like more flexibility to play a quest after a fast session or quickly in between con slots without feeling obligated to finish four or six more before playing the character again.

I'd like the option to play one or two at a time as well as being able to sit down and knock out four in a slot.

Are there challenges to collecting a monthly quest releases to play three or four in a game night slot?

⦵⦵

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

I want us to keep the 1xp per scenario.

I really like 3xp math. The simplification of it was one of the things that made me happy in Org Play. The newest quest packs are 4 per quest pack, which works fine in a gaming store slot. I hope we keep this format, as it works well for both conventions and for regular play.

Hmm

I have to agree with Hmm on this one. When I was a campaign administrator for LG we discussed moving to it due to modules never giving out less than full experience. In fact if a module did it would in general be blacklisted and not played, one I wrote got complaints as there was a decent likelihood of not getting full experience. The 3 XP system is simple, efficient, not really prone to math errors, and eliminates 99% of the complaints of that sort we had in LG.

GM OfAnything wrote:


I feel like the current quest format is largely a scenario by another name and could better serve a purpose. I would really like more flexibility to play a quest after a fast session or quickly in between con slots without feeling obligated to finish four or six more before playing the character again.
I'd like the option to play one or two at a time as well as being able to sit down and knock out four in a slot.
Are there challenges to collecting a monthly quest releases to play three or four in a game night slot?

So what it looks like to me is quests fill two roles. Role 1: Be an scenario that can be played in a standard slot. Role 2: Allow for short game demos at cons. I know that means that cons tend not to schedule the quests as full round slots, making it difficult to get the full quest in at a con. For a quest to serve the role you would like as something short to do while waiting for other things a rethinking of how the chronicle sheet system is managed would be required. Not only experience, but fame and gold become a problem. Not to mention a chronicle sheet is to be 100% complete before the next one is introduced.

I think what would serve the role better would be a series of shorter scenarios kind of like the 2 hour adventures for AL. Halving rewards is easy and you would not have to revamp the whole chronicle sheet system.

--Chris

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