Season 9: The Year of Research?


Pathfinder Society

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Is my proposal for a nickname. There seems to be a preponderance of reading and organizing info sources this year. How many times have we been in "stacks"? Not that I'm knocking it, with at least four professional librarian characters I've enjoyed it immensely! But it seems ubiquitous this year. Any thoughts?

**** Venture-Agent, Tennessee—Chattanooga aka ZenithTN

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It's the year I stopped putting ranks in knowledge skills, even on knowledge-heavy classes. The game goes by so much quicker and smoother when you can file the first 33-50% of the game session off and get to the good stuff. It's like skipping the warmup comedian, and getting to the headliner. It's like eliminating wild card playoff games, and only letting those teams that WIN their division play. It's like PFS without commercials. It's like a family picnic without relatives or ants. It's been cathartic. I recommend it - if only for the look on everyones face when your wizard doesnt even roll a die when the knowledge planes check comes up.

I'm 3-for-3 at this strategy not affecting outcomes even one little iota this season. Im loving season nine now that i have adapted my character build style. Its glorious!

Shadow Lodge *****

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...

Scarab Sages *****

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Harold Ervin wrote:
It's like...

playing World of Warcraft and ignoring the narrative. Way to participate in the roleplay and cooperate with the other characters.

***** Venture-Captain, Georgia—Savannah

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Harold Ervin wrote:
The game goes by so much quicker and smoother when you can file the first 33-50% of the game session off and get to the good stuff. ... I recommend it - if only for the look on everyones face when your wizard doesnt even roll a die when the knowledge planes check comes up.

While I'm not going to get involved in a #WrongBadFun argument here, please don't encourage other people to follow your example of ignoring a large portion of what being a Pathfinder is all about. The in-game Pathfinder Society is a group of people who, ultimately are seekers of knowledge.

To purposefully not only ignore but utterly dismiss a significant portion of that mandate does a disservice to the other players, the GM, the developers, the campaign coordinators, and ultimately the game itself.

The Exchange ***** ⦵⦵⦵⦵

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Harold Ervin wrote:
It's like...

"a legendary league of explorers, archaeologists, and adventurers dedicated to discovering and chronicling the greatest mysteries and wonders of an ancient world beset by magic and evil" ?

_

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Agent, France—Paris

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Harold Ervin wrote:
It's the year I stopped putting ranks in knowledge skills, even on knowledge-heavy classes. ...

I like hack'n'slashes myself, but I absolutely won't advocate this because what is PFS ?

Shadow Lodge ***** ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

More accurately, it's the year of townsfolk. Nearly every episode is about winning over townspeople in some way or another.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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“Winning hearts and minds”.

Grand Lodge *****

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From the public job description:

Venture Agent Tasks wrote:
* Acknowledge different styles of role-play and their presence in the Pathfinder Society.

There used to be a line about being a good ambassador for the game system, but that doesn't seem to be in the Venture-Agent job description. Maybe it should be.

Liberty's Edge ***** ⦵⦵⦵

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
“Winning hearts and minds”.

Comes back with a still beating heart and *shake shake shake shakes*

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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Scott Young wrote:
There used to be a line about being a good ambassador for the game system, but that doesn't seem to be in the Venture-Agent job description. Maybe it should be.

I can only speak for myself, but I don't necessary need that language in the list to have the expectation. If a VA demonstrates a consistent lack of good ambassadorship, I'll just have them removed. Fortunately, it is not a problem I have needed to address.

Scarab Sages ***

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I'll admit, sometimes I do what Harold does. If I get the slow GM and want to finish before the store closes it's tempting, but not my favourite way to play. i love the story and setting, and have been enjoying the RP more and more, but I'll take a complete adventure over not getting a PhD in *place of the week*

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Agent, France—Paris

If it takes two sessions to complete the scenario, I'll take the time. But if the scenario could be reasonably finished within the timeframe of one session and the players not doing so, I'll skip some things if the players played properly, but if they suffered some delays due to their actions, nope I won't rush and accomodate them.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Terminalmancer

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Well, I guess chalk one up for "Ignorance is Bliss." It's not my cup of tea, personally. I'll take a fantastic setting and tons of knowledge checks over ignorance any day, but that's just me.

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

Variety is a spice.

Our lodge has a very archetypical group of pathfinders, but by circumstance we ended up with a low level group that was very short on social and knowledge skills. We blundered through the ancient long hidden ruin not comprehending any of the ancient history we found. We had a blast, we have no intention of making it a habit but it was fun.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

I have seen just that kind of party succeed. I think it is a testament to the writing of the past few seasons that a wide range of party types can succeed. I also don't think it should be a goal to do that to every adventure. We have plenty of early season adventures that skimp on story over combat.

*

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Being a bit of a 'tool' and realizing they were effectively the 'knowledge expert' for a few missions for the PFS inspired my barbarian to invest in a Headband of Vast Intelligence (to get his INT from 8 to 10), as well as buy every single 'named' Pathfinder Chronicle out on the market.

They are currently on track to become a

Spoiler:
Scarab Sage
, provided their luck holds out...

I prefer a nice blend, and I prefer when it's not 'only this skill beaten into the ground repeatedly' but 'any skill that would have a reasonable application here is valid'.

***

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Harold Ervin wrote:

I recommend it - if only for the look on everyones face when your wizard doesnt even roll a die when the knowledge planes check comes up.

I'm 3-for-3 at this strategy not affecting outcomes even one little iota this season. Im loving season nine now that i have adapted my character build style. Its glorious!

Plase. Please no. Don't do this to me. I already struggle at areas where people mostly play fightmans in the 1-5 tier, and every other character at the table looks like a solid stone slab with the words "Power Attack" etched into it. I struggle with selecting a character when my choices are between "thing I wanted to play specifically for this faction/adventure but we'll be missing out in several obviously necessary skills" and "thing I don't want to play but they have diplomacy and spellcraft and knowledges." I don't want my fun to come at the risk of the group succeeding; that isn't very fun at all.

Please consider investing in knowledges.

Grand Lodge

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Harold Ervin wrote:

It's the year I stopped putting ranks in knowledge skills, even on knowledge-heavy classes. The game goes by so much quicker and smoother when you can file the first 33-50% of the game session off and get to the good stuff. It's like skipping the warmup comedian, and getting to the headliner. It's like eliminating wild card playoff games, and only letting those teams that WIN their division play. It's like PFS without commercials. It's like a family picnic without relatives or ants. It's been cathartic. I recommend it - if only for the look on everyones face when your wizard doesnt even roll a die when the knowledge planes check comes up.

I'm 3-for-3 at this strategy not affecting outcomes even one little iota this season. Im loving season nine now that i have adapted my character build style. Its glorious!

Reminds me of when I had played Birthright Betrayed with a wizard specializing in Magic Missile (it was either that or a BSF). My wizard had the big 5 knowledges tailored for monsters, not for figuring out "whodunit" or "whydunit". Now imagine how I felt when I was told at one point, "You can make a Knowledge (Geography), (History), (Local), or (Nobility) check.", FOUR out of five knowledges I didn't have. I would've been banging my head on the table if it didn't disrupt the session. That was pretty much how I felt throughout 3/4 of that night, and I've been dreading season 9 scenarios (or any skill/dialogue marathon scenario) ever since.

What bothers me the most about it is that Pathfinder is a high fantasy setting; with magic, mythical creatures, and a world where the sky's the limit on what writers can create within it, not entirely restricted by real life conventions as a direct result. But nope! We gotta go around the city to figure what this random, obviously evil dude did in Dicey Museum #627 in a setting that might as well be in a realistic fiction game for all it accomplishes.

I don't mind some skills or dialogue in a scenario, but not if it comes at the cost of watching one skill monkey at my table stealing the show and turning it into "Let's listen to him and the GM talk back and forth for 3 1/2 hours straight!". Now I'm half-tempted to make a joke character investigator to push myself through these kinds of ordeals.

*** Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Boston Metro aka MadScientistWorking

I spot a contradiction. If you had the ability to identify all monsters you had the ability to make those skill checks. Remember it's not the big five. Why do you think dungeoneering is more relevant than local?

Dark Archive ****

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One doesn't have to be a skill monkey. It is one of the many great things about the diversity of scenarios, they punish hyper specialists which is a nice way of helping to keep things balanced. Being able to take 10 for a 40 on a skill check in a 5-9 is much less valuable then being able to have a reasonable chance of hitting a DC 25 on 3 or 4 distinct skills. The newer scenarios almost always give you multiple skill options. In short even a low skill class can be able to give themselves a chance by investing a little bit in a few different skills instead of maxing perception

Sovereign Court *

At zero experience, I had no difficulty in contributing in that scenario, including being influential in the final confrontation. Just don't hyper-specialize.

***** ⦵⦵⦵

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As a wizard you really should have 1 rank in all knowledge skills. Just pick up a book on it somewhere.

1 rank into a knowledge you've already maxed out is a 1 in 20 chance of being relevant to your roll.

1 rank into a new knowledge skill gets you 1 rank 3 trained your +4 int bonus and probably a +2 pathfinder chronicle as soon as you can afford a handy haversack. That's about a 50 50 chance to make a skill check

****

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I'm not going to tell someone how to design a character, but if you cannot do something normally expected of your class, it's a really good idea to let the party know ahead of time. If I'm an Eldritch Scion magus, I will say as part of the character introduction, "I am a charisma based magus instead of being intelligence baced, so I am a great diplomat but not so good at knowledges," or if I am an Empyreal sorceror, I will similarly say "I cast from wisdom. I am not going to be good at face skills, but I can do things like perception, heal, and survival." It's part of the cooperation aspect of PFS.

Grand Lodge

With the aforementioned wizard, I didn't try to specialize too much (Magic Missile aside). The problem is, I have this mindset in PFS: being a jack of all trades works about as well as hyperspecializing in something that isn't an immediate concern. For example, switch hitters are almost always going to be worse in both melee and ranged than if they primarily used one of the two, and against BBEGs, that becomes a problem. Skill DCs often have at least linear scaling with scenario levels, so I feel like I'm spreading my skill ranks thin if I dip into a skill.

Tying into what Davor Firetusk said, if that DC starts going over DC 25 (there actually WAS a DC 40 Survival check in a 5-9 scenario I played recently, no other skill option), that skill rank isn't succeeding at anything without other bonuses thrown in at the right time.

The "always someone better at the table" idea hanging over my shoulder along the way doesn't help matters either.

***** ⦵⦵⦵

Millenia Master wrote:
I have this mindset in PFS: being a jack of all trades works about as well as hyperspecializing in something that isn't an immediate concern. For example, switch hitters are almost always going to be worse in both melee and ranged than if they primarily used one of the two, and again

There's points of diminishing returns. 1 rank in knowledge nature vs a + 10 in knowledge history being one of them.

***

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RealAlchemy wrote:
I'm not going to tell someone how to design a character, but if you cannot do something normally expected of your class, it's a really good idea to let the party know ahead of time.

Few things are as disheartening as hearing a player say "I'm not that kind of (Class)!" Several hours into a scenario well after you locked in a character based upon what you thought the party needed.

*

Davor Firetusk wrote:
In short even a low skill class can be able to give themselves a chance by investing a little bit in a few different skills instead of maxing perception

Not really. At tier 8-9 the DCs are usually in the mid 20s. A +5 has a 10% chance of making a DC 24 check.

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

Rosc wrote:

Plase. Please no. Don't do this to me. I already struggle at areas where people mostly play fightmans in the 1-5 tier, and every other character at the table looks like a solid stone slab with the words "Power Attack" etched into it. I struggle with selecting a character when my choices are between "thing I wanted to play specifically for this faction/adventure but we'll be missing out in several obviously necessary skills" and "thing I don't want to play but they have diplomacy and spellcraft and knowledges." I don't want my fun to come at the risk of the group succeeding; that isn't very fun at all.

Please consider investing in knowledges.

I made a special character just for these situations: a Cryptid Scholar Investigator. His long-term goal is every Knowledge skill with the Chronicle books for the boosts. And he doesn't have a weapon.

He's specifically for when I sit at a table and everybody else around me wants to play their burly fight character and has no regard for party make-up.

I've played at one table, and when a couple of players got mad at me for making a character without a weapon, I pointed out to them that they all insisted on playing characters with no knowledge skills, so I had to fill that role and this is what they got. Though afterward, I re-tooled his stats and now he has a crossbow.

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

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I love all the library scenarios! They warm my heart!

Hmm

Dark Archive **** ⦵⦵⦵⦵

Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

I love all the library scenarios! They warm my heart!

Hmm

Half-orks go to the library always fun. Much reading and studying, and occasional confrontations with library staff. Also, half-orks go to museum fun, too. It all about attitude.

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