Is pathfinder Society suppose to be a Dungeon crawl?


Pathfinder Society


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Hi, there my name is ʇɥɐʇ ɓnʎ.I'm new to this pathfinder society thing, but I have played Pathfinder before and found my self in one of these games. Note I have played & loved DnD 5E, Numenera, Gurps, and Pathfinder. I also have seven sessions worth of XP as a GM, so when I heard my game store was hosting one of these I was looking forward to the first session. The first session was alright most of my teamm8s didn't do any RPing. I think overall my GM talked 50% of the time then I would talk like 25% of the time and my teamm8s had the rest. I was trying to interactive with him to keep the flow of the game smooth and interesting. so the session overall was not bad... The second session was two combat phases and an evil elf. I remembered it so well that I could have been home playing CS:GO and nothing interesting would have happened. it was the worse it was you go into a labyrinth, Find the Minotaur prince and rescue him... no RPing, Nothing, Zip!...

Is that suppose to happen?

The Exchange 4/5

that one is. some later ones focus more on role play.

Dark Archive 4/5

I found it took me a little while to get comfortable with some of the various backstory of different seasons to help my own RPing at the table, but scenarios can vary significantly in amount of RP vs. combat and the players and GMs can also make a big difference.


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Don't expect a lot of meaningful roleplaying in PFS unless you're fortunate enough to have a regular group of players. Hard to have character development when nobody knows each other from session to session.


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You’re also pretty pressed for time in my experience. PFS sessions at my FLGS are completely wrapped up within 3 hours. There’s not a lot of time for chit chat unless it’s goal oriented and moving the scenario forward. It’s one of the reasons I stepped away from organized play. I always felt too rushed to enjoy the game.

Dark Archive 5/5 Venture-Agent, Ohio—Columbus aka Cirithiel

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PFS scenarios have a wide variety of themes. Some scenarios are dungeon crawls. But there are also wilderness adventures, investigations, infiltration missions, social events, rescue operations, diplomatic missions, and many more. Almost all of them have the opportunity for role play. The plots are generally more well developed after season 2.

But roleplaying isn’t really about the scenario. It’s about the GM and players at the table. I disagree with blathers that role playing only happens with a regular group. Some of the most fun roleplaying tables I have run/played were at cons where everyone had just met. Ive also had tables where the GM have done 95% of the talking since I was the only one interested in roleplay and everyone else just wants to roll dice.

People play PFS, and Pathfinder in general, for a variety of reasons. Some of them just want to throw dice and slaughter things. Others want to explore their characters and the world around them. Some people come to RPGs after playing video games and expect it to be the same kind Grind and Level experience. It sounds like the group you played with is more of the “just throw dice” kind. But maybe they just don’t know any other way?

If there are multiple PFS game days/location in your area, I encourage you to try one of the others. Maybe you will find people who have a more similar style to what you are looking for. But if you are in an area where this group is your only play option, maybe you could try to show them that roleplaying is fun? Be the roleplay you want to see! Teach them that there is another way to play.

Side note for born_of_fire:

Three hours is VERY short as a scheduled play time. Scenarios are written to be 4-5 hours. Games locally usually run 5 hours, sometimes six. I don’t even think it’s possible to complete a high tier (7-11) scenario in 3 hours!

Are there no venues you can find where you can have longer sessions? Gaming doesn’t necessarily have to be at a LGS. One of our local groups had a standing reservation for the “community room” at the local Panera bread, for example.


Cirithiel wrote:

Side note for born_of_fire:

Three hours is VERY short as a scheduled play time. Scenarios are written to be 4-5 hours. Games locally usually run 5 hours, sometimes six. I don’t even think it’s possible to complete a high tier (7-11) scenario in 3 hours!

Are there no venues you can find where you can have longer sessions? Gaming doesn’t necessarily have to be at a LGS. One of our local groups...

Oh, I have a regular game. I married the GM 25 years ago so I always have game ;)

A couple of years ago now (season 6 IIRC), husband and I decided to try organized play. We wanted to expand our social circle with an eye towards possibly find some new players since our regulars are starting families so becoming less available. We only got one character each to level 6 so I can't comment on how the higher level scenarios play out in the allotted time. I did enjoy meeting new people but the overall experience was unfortunately not very rewarding, most likely because I am spoiled by the existence of my established group.

3/5 Venture-Agent, Illinois—Peoria

It really does vary scenario by scenario.

There are definitely a bunch (a few per season at least) which are almost straight up dungeon crawls.

There are also ones that have some investigation that then leads to a dungeon crawl.

But there are scenarios that you can get through with no combat at all.

But, a lot of the social stuff it will give a way to use skill roles- so if the table and the GM don't put in the extra effort to role play it can become a dice rolling exercise as well.

Liberty's Edge 1/5

born_of_fire wrote:
You’re also pretty pressed for time in my experience. PFS sessions at my FLGS are completely wrapped up within 3 hours. There’s not a lot of time for chit chat unless it’s goal oriented and moving the scenario forward. It’s one of the reasons I stepped away from organized play. I always felt too rushed to enjoy the game.

I am going to have to dispute this. I went to Origins and played PFS in five slots. I was done with each of these games in three hours or less, despite the fact that they were all scheduled for five hours. When I left the game hall, most of the other tables were still going strong, which made me scratch my head, so I asked my local VC about it (he was also there). He told me that the earlier season's modules were often that short. The later the season, the more likely you would need the full five hours.

Note that there was a fair amount of roleplay at all five tables I played.

If you are rushing to get finished with a module because that's all the time you have, I suggest that you look for a PFS venue that schedules more time.

1/5

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

In my experience, the amount of roleplay very much depends on the GM and players. I have been fortunate to find a local group that includes many who bring great roleplay to the table. They provide inspiration for those of us who for whatever reasons are less inclined. (I, myself, am shy and introverted so initially just making it to the games and joining in was pushing my limits, now I am starting to bring a little more flavour to games occasionally.)

I have also recently found Play by Post PFS and SFS. This is a wonderful medium to bring more character, flavour, and roleplay into games. It eliminates some of the time pressure plus allows a level of expression that some may not be comfortable with when face to face.

I hope you find one or more groups that will bring the level of play you are looking for. I definitely invite you to check out PbP and/or other online options.

1/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've actually found that in some cases roleplaying SPEEDS UP scenarios, without cutting corners, because of either things that the players bring up or whatnot that could edge a situation into the 'change the tactics' area that GMs are allowed to use in PFS.

Those tend to be much more memorable, as well, imo.

4/5

Early season scenarios had "faction missions" written in which are no longer applicable in later seasons. As far as dungeon crawls, some scenarios are, and some aren't. I made a dwarven dungeon specialist a few years ago to deal with ones where that is what's going on.

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

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blahpers wrote:
Don't expect a lot of meaningful roleplaying in PFS unless you're fortunate enough to have a regular group of players. Hard to have character development when nobody knows each other from session to session.

Some of the best roleplay that I’ve had has been in Organized Play. Almost every table that I have been in — including the dungeon crawls — has had a ton of roleplay. I disagree with the idea that it’s hard to have character development in PFS. You just have to have a strong idea of your own character, and a willingness to interact with everyone else in a way that helps them bring out their characters.

One thing that you can say about PFS is that it is very dependent on local culture. In a venue with lots of roleplay, people will keep upping their roleplay game. In a venue without that local culture, you’ll have to be the one that brings the roleplay early on, and encourages everyone else to join in.

Hmm

1/5

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I have to second the viability of Play-by-Post (Pbp). I have found that with the window of time available 'in person', most players I have encountered want to keep pushing forward. It was hard to play the 'stealthy' guy who would go up and scout ahead as that leaves four or five people with nothing to do. There is pressure to finish so as not to miss out on Prestige/Fame.

I have also found that in the moment, some players struggle to find a 'voice' for their character. Not an accent (though this would be fine), but an actual mind-set and/or personality that adds depth to their character; and thus their role-play.

However, in pbp, I feel I have been liberated from the anchor of time. I can construct and edit my character's response, whether by action or dialogue. It seems players are also more patient, imaginative and daring when unchained from the dreaded five hour clock. ROLE-play increases, interaction increases, and feelings of dungeon-crawls tend to dissipate. When playing with strong players and GM's, this gets even better.

I invite anyone to take a look at just about any of GM Hmm's Pbp games and say its a dungeon-crawl. I had the opportunity to play in her run of Salvation of the Sages, and it was amazing! I don't know that my contribution would have been as well thought out in person. I would add the link to the game it, but it would obviously spoil the whole scenario.

It might just be me, but I think ʇɥɐʇ ɓnʎ and spouse may enjoy Pbp. It would also allow you to keep your established group more intact, as they can post when possible without the need for a five our block of time. Just my two coppers.

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

The roleplay quotient goes up as your familiarity with the players increases. I recommend getting to know your fellow players and their characters as best you can and use that knowledge to draw it out. When you can reference past adventures you shared, it increases the depth of your interactions. The best gaming I ever had was the original Seeker arc with a crew I built up through 10th and 11th levels together. They had history in game and out and had been introduced to some of the elements of the arc in previous scenarios. It was the most fulfilling experience I have yet had.

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