A popular PFS "abuse" I'd like to see gone from PFS2


Pathfinder Society Playtest

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I've travelled a bit, and across four continents where I've played PFS, there seems to be a popular opinion amoung experiences players and GMs:

"I typically use GM credit to skip level 1"
"My group speedruns evergreens to get to level 2"
"I don't like level 1 play"

I believe that this is bad for the campaign. The end result is twofold:
New players are typically seated together, and don't get guidance from more experience players. In the occasion where a more experienced player does play, they're outshining the new players by playing a higher-level character.
Scenarios, typically written by people with experience, tend to not be balanced (even at tier 1-2) for a table full of level 1 pregens. This causes obvious issues and is a big discouragement for new players.

I'd like this to not be the case in PFS2. There are some ways to handle this:

Giving an immediate level-up after the first scenario a character plays to bring everyone to level two quickly might be an option.
Requiring everyone to play their character at least once each level.

I understand that this stance might be very unpopular due to the number of people engaging in this.

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

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What about: making level more 1 fun?

Dark Archive **** Venture-Agent, Australia—QLD—Brisbane aka YogoZuno

From the one playtest I've played of PFS2 so far, which took place with level 1s, characters are a little more resilient than previously at level 1. With a group of 5, things should be a lot less dicey than previous. The progressions is also more linear than geometric, so the stepup to level 2 should be less jarring than before.

Also, from my own PFS games...we've played plenty of games at level 1, and several with nothing but pregens (mostly Quests). Yes, a level 2 in amongst the 1s will outshine, but most of the time, if the table is largely level 1s, I've noticed the other players play level 1s to match.

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

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Mekkis wrote:
"I typically use GM credit to skip level 1"

I agree

Mekkis wrote:
"I don't like level 1 play"

I also agree

Mekkis wrote:
"My group speedruns evergreens to get to level 2"

This is where we disagree. I am sure this happens in some areas, but generally speaking it is not my experience. I simply see GMs converting all their higher-level chronicles to 1st levels ones and using them to avoid playing at 1st level. I typically do not see intentional efforts to speed-run evergreens to farm 1st level chronicles. YMMV

Mekkis wrote:
I believe that this is bad for the campaign

This is also where we disagree. I do not need to be 1st level to mentor a new player with a 1st level PC. I am just as capable of doing so with a 2nd or even 3rd level PC. In fact, I see that as an advantage as I have more resources that can be used to help the new player to survive the scenario. I believe I have more ability to impact and mentor a new player as an organizer and a GM than I do as a player.

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
What about: making level more 1 fun?

^^^THIS^^^

**

I enjoy Level 1.

I sometimes use my GM credit to skip Level 1 on my more fragile (low Constitution) or relatively more valuable characters (GenCon race boons).

I GM more than I play, so I have to put that credit somewhere.

I can mentor new players just as well as the GM.

Silver Crusade ***** Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Toronto aka pauljathome

Bob Jonquet wrote:

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
What about: making level more 1 fun?
^^^THIS^^^

While I vehemently agree with the basic idea that level 1 should be fun and not the trial that it often is in PF1 there is sometimes another factor.

Many characters just aren't right, mechanically, until higher levels.

The clearest example is when I'm playing a multiclass character. Its only at level 2 (at the earliest) that this is even a possibility.

I'd like to see that possibility in PF1. Give EVERY class a class feat at level 1 (most classes have it anyway, sometimes hidden behind Muse or the like) so everybody can multiclass even at level 1

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Agent, Colorado—Denver aka roll4initiative

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
What about: making level more 1 fun?

Did you mean to say "making level 1 more fun"?

Am I misinterpreting something?


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Are you certain you want to tell your regular GMs what they can and cannot do with their GM credits?

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

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Christian Dragos wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
What about: making level more 1 fun?

Did you mean to say "making level 1 more fun"?

Am I misinterpreting something?

Some people go to great lengths not to play at level 1 because they don't enjoy it. While a level 1 barbarian plays just fine (Strength 18 just works), a level 1 wizard only feels like a wizard for half a minute and after that he's a dude with a crossbow.

And I have to say, game balance is about the wonkiest at low level; anything made to challenge a level 2 character can be far too much for a level 1 one and anything that's appropriate for a level 1 fresh face can be a snoozefest for a level 2 character.

The jump from 0 to 1 XP tends to bring: triple your starting wealth, meaning you can buy a masterwork weapon (+1 to hit) and a breastplate (+2 AC) and a wand of cure light wounds (full healing between encounters). Going to level 2 you might pick up a second wand (no longer running out of spells to use in encounters), almost double your hit points and pick up another class ability (bonus feat, rogue talent etc.), and you double your skill ranks so probably a lot more class skills unlocked.

Sovereign Court ****

Mekkis wrote:

I've travelled a bit, and across four continents where I've played PFS, there seems to be a popular opinion amoung experiences players and GMs:

"I typically use GM credit to skip level 1"
"My group speedruns evergreens to get to level 2"
"I don't like level 1 play"

I believe that this is bad for the campaign. ...[snipping to the OPs observations] ...

"I typically use GM credit to skip level 1" - this is an outgrowth of the rule allowing players to assign credit from play of a higher level Iconic to a beginning (1st level) character. If we want to alter this, we would need to alter that rule, perhaps by putting in the note that it can't be used on "GM Credit CRs". But altering it would be removing a "GM perk" - which is always problematic. Hard to get people to remove privileges once they are granted.

"My group speedruns evergreens to get to level 2" - this is an issue at any level. (IMHO) It comes from allowing replays of evergreens. If (when?) the players are/were allowed to replay a scenario, they loose interest in the story and tend to just rush thru it. I've started to see it for the higher level Evergreens now... ("Need to get a couple XP on my guy to get him to Xtn level - we need to run Halflight and that other one next Tuesday night. If we push, we should be able to get them both in in one slot... and that get's me the XP before the Gameday this weekend."

"I don't like level 1 play" - This is personal preference. My son hates playing a PC in single digits, believing that a PC really isn't much fun until they are at least 10th level. In his words, "They don't even get 5th level spells until then!" My wife on the other hand enjoys 5th level play the most... and I really enjoy a PC at 1st or 2nd, and tend to loose interest in them by the time they hit 7th. Different Players have different tastes.

It's just the only (easy) mechanism we have in the current rule set that allows players to "bypass" levels was actually put in place to allow a Beginner Player to get credit for a game played before they actually have learned how to build PCs - or even learned how to play at all. "Here's an Iconic you can try out! (later) Like the game? here's a sheet detailing what you earned, it's called a Chronicle and it shows what rewards you get...".

Shadow Lodge ***** ⦵⦵

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You want to remove the abuse because.....its popular?

Its not like higher level players don't mentor lower level ones in 1-5s.

Sovereign Court ****

BigNorseWolf wrote:

You want to remove the abuse because.....its popular?

Its not like higher level players don't mentor lower level ones in 1-5s.

well, I don't think they actually want to remove it because "it's popular" - they stated:

I believe that this is bad for the campaign. The end result is twofold:
New players are typically seated together, and don't get guidance from more experience players. In the occasion where a more experienced player does play, they're outshining the new players by playing a higher-level character.
Scenarios, typically written by people with experience, tend to not be balanced (even at tier 1-2) for a table full of level 1 pregens. This causes obvious issues and is a big discouragement for new players.

so, braking that down we see:
"New players are typically seated together, and don't get guidance from more experience players."
and
"Scenarios, typically written by people with experience, tend to not be balanced (even at tier 1-2) for a table full of level 1 pregens."

I actually DON'T see these things that often - at least no more at 1st level than at higher level play. And I play at 1st level a lot (It's the level I like the most).

So I do disagree with their observations.


Honestly, no matter how you set up the game, munchkin maxers are going to find ways to break the system directly in twain. Trying to remove perks purely to smack down said munchkins kinda hurts the rest of the community. In this case, it penalizes newbies as there's not as much incentive for them to try out PFS unless they've been playing regular pathfinder or D&D edition of choice for a while. One of the regulars in the group I play with only recently put together an actual built character; they'd been playing Iconics since level 1, and the group's now consistently flirting with the 6-7 tier. Forcing newbies to spend however many hours to build their own character only to have it nearly die during the very first session or two is going to chase people out of Society play.

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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

First off, I do not think the problem is as bad in PF2 as it is in PF1. Level 1 characters are decently hardy and level 2 characters do not have that much more HP (50% - 75% more) a +1 addition to basically everything. In addition all casters can get a useful cantrip usable an unlimited number of times.

What changes is if an average would hit on an 11 at first level it would be a 10 at second or 50% chance to a 55%. You have another 1st level spell slot if you are a caster and another 1st level cast per day. Also you have a class feat allowing you to do a trick of your class.

So I think it has gone from level 2 being completely blowing away a level 1 to being simply more powerful. I would need to playtest some games with a mixed party of level 1 and level 2s to be sure, but on the surface it does not look that bad.

If turns out to be worse than I think then there is a relatively simple solution to the issue, stealing an idea from Living Greyhawk, make intro scenarios. Level 1 only scenarios. In addition I would either make them short 1-2 hour play time or 3 xp if a full slot. Either allow the scenarios to fill the roll that quests play now, or get a 1 and done setup to level 2.

--Chris


ProfessorC wrote:

First off, I do not think the problem is as bad in PF2 as it is in PF1. Level 1 characters are decently hardy and level 2 characters do not have that much more HP (50% - 75% more) a +1 addition to basically everything. In addition all casters can get a useful cantrip usable an unlimited number of times.

What changes is if an average would hit on an 11 at first level it would be a 10 at second or 50% chance to a 55%. You have another 1st level spell slot if you are a caster and another 1st level cast per day. Also you have a class feat allowing you to do a trick of your class.

So I think it has gone from level 2 being completely blowing away a level 1 to being simply more powerful. I would need to playtest some games with a mixed party of level 1 and level 2s to be sure, but on the surface it does not look that bad.

If turns out to be worse than I think then there is a relatively simple solution to the issue, stealing an idea from Living Greyhawk, make intro scenarios. Level 1 only scenarios. In addition I would either make them short 1-2 hour play time or 3 xp if a full slot. Either allow the scenarios to fill the roll that quests play now, or get a 1 and done setup to level 2.

--Chris

Intro scenarios? You mean like the ones we have now for L1-2 play? Honestly, 90%+ of the characters played in Confirmation and Wounded Wisp are L1, and I'd expect PFS2 to have similar scenarios.

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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
RealAlchemy wrote:


Intro scenarios? You mean like the ones we have now for L1-2 play? Honestly, 90%+ of the characters played in Confirmation and Wounded Wisp are L1, and I'd expect PFS2 to have similar scenarios.

I was suggesting level 1 only.

--Chris

Dark Archive ****

ProfessorC wrote:
RealAlchemy wrote:


Intro scenarios? You mean like the ones we have now for L1-2 play? Honestly, 90%+ of the characters played in Confirmation and Wounded Wisp are L1, and I'd expect PFS2 to have similar scenarios.

I was suggesting level 1 only.

--Chris

so like First Steps and Masters of the Fallen Fortress then?

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

I think this is currently less of a problem in the Playtest since level 1 is a bit more interesting (though I personally would want it to be even more so, skill feats and general feats - maybe even give everyone an extra class feat to multiclass so their character can play with the class combination from level 1....).

Make level 1 more fun seems to be the best option.

⦵⦵

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:

I think this is currently less of a problem in the Playtest since level 1 is a bit more interesting (though I personally would want it to be even more so, skill feats and general feats - maybe even give everyone an extra class feat to multiclass so their character can play with the class combination from level 1....).

Make level 1 more fun seems to be the best option.

I agree with the make level 1 more fun option, but I disagree with the make level 1 more complex option. Level 1 is the gateway for new players and as such characters must be simple enough that you aren't going to overwhelm the new player in the process.

I think as long as you can make level 1 feel heroic it will be more fun. I do not know what the answer here is but in general the system has to be fast, simple, and the PCs have to be able to do cool things. It needs to be able to hook new players and make them excited for more.

Level 1 will eventually become a slog for veteran players, because in a world where almost all PCs start at level 1 you will spend most of your time there. No matter how exciting you make it, it will get to the been there done that point.

--Chris

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

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My experience with level 1 of the Playtest rules is limited, but I have found it to be more fun than PF1E. It could just be the newness of the system, but maybe my aversion to level 1 play will be lessened and that is exciting to consider.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Agent, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

Lau Bannenberg wrote:
What about: making level more 1 fun?

Well, that's up to the product development team.

I don't want to bog this topic down with how down I am about PFS 2, but this isn't something the OP team can do much about. If level 1 isn't fun it isn't fun.

What to do about it becomes a conversation the OPF can have.

⦵⦵

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Douglas Edwards wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
What about: making level more 1 fun?

Well, that's up to the product development team.

I don't want to bog this topic down with how down I am about PFS 2, but this isn't something the OP team can do much about. If level 1 isn't fun it isn't fun.

What to do about it becomes a conversation the OPF can have.

The OP team does have say about things like how long a PC stays in first level, or designing scenarios that are fun to play at first level. The fun does not have to come from mechanics as it can come from good scenario design.

I do think that the difference between 1 and 2 in PF2 is not the huge jump that it is in PF1, so I do not believe a level 2 character is going to so outclass a level 1 character like in PF1 that the level 1 character is not fun to play. So the "abuse" of GMs starting at level may no longer be an issue.

That being said, I have only played parts 1 & 2 of the playtest or levels 1 and 4, so my opinion on 2nd level play is only backed up my reading of the of rules and not actual play.

--Chris

*****

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I personally don't understand why anyone would consider advancing a character to level 2 through GM credits abuse. It is a reward for GMing, if someone wants to apply the chronicle sheets like that.

I personally have more of an issue with GM's starting characters at higher levels with all GM credit boons. I've seen characters start at level 7 using all GM earned chronicle sheets. I've also seen a player practically replace a killed character at level 5. Not because he couldn't afford a raise dead but by replacing the exact same build with with 15 GM earned chronicle sheets, he had more money and Prestige to spend by not paying for the raise dead or any other spent magic items on the original character(potions, wands, etc.).

Finding GM's is often difficult, there needs to be rewards for GMing or there won't be as many.

Dark Archive ***

It's not my fault that the Society wouldn't let me out into the field until I spent years reviewing field reports for Zarta...

I don't directly hate 1st level, but it is fun coming up with build and character ideas that only make sense at higher levels.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Agent, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

ProfessorC wrote:
Douglas Edwards wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
What about: making level more 1 fun?

Well, that's up to the product development team.

I don't want to bog this topic down with how down I am about PFS 2, but this isn't something the OP team can do much about. If level 1 isn't fun it isn't fun.

What to do about it becomes a conversation the OPF can have.

The OP team does have say about things like how long a PC stays in first level, or designing scenarios that are fun to play at first level. The fun does not have to come from mechanics as it can come from good scenario design.

I do think that the difference between 1 and 2 in PF2 is not the huge jump that it is in PF1, so I do not believe a level 2 character is going to so outclass a level 1 character like in PF1 that the level 1 character is not fun to play. So the "abuse" of GMs starting at level may no longer be an issue.

That being said, I have only played parts 1 & 2 of the playtest or levels 1 and 4, so my opinion on 2nd level play is only backed up my reading of the of rules and not actual play.

--Chris

I have conversely been bored out of my mind in parts 1, 2, and the 2 level 5 playtest PFS scenarios.

****

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With the extremely tight (aka inflexible) math in PF2, and the fact that a +1 is so valuable, I wouldn't be surprised if the level disparity becomes more of an issue.

I think the comment about 90% of characters doing level 1 on evergreens is telling. Because unless your venue runs evergreens every week, it's probably not the new player experience.

**

What if it's the Evergreens encouraging this behavior?

There's a limited set of scenarios & a limited set of PCs you get to play because of that. But you want to play your favorite PCs as much as you can and you want to advance them as high as possible. (Usually, I actually am one of the few in my area who's ambivalent.)

So you milk the Evergreens for as much XP as possible. I see most GMs use chronicles to skip low levels, but not so much 1st because that would be wasting Evergreen opportunities. So you do speed runs at the local diner. Fun is had, advancement happens, and the problem is...?
What? We'll see those Evergreens played again (and I know several people w/ dozens of PCs at 2nd from Evergreens). And the mid-level Evergreens, very useful for jumping that level 6 drought of scenarios!
It encourages more playing, not less, so is there anything actually wrong with this behavior? (Assuming newcomers are welcomed, even mentored.)

It's just going to happen. As soon as Starfinder had several Evergreens, people on the boards had a suggested order of play, recommended for every single PC. I expect PF2 will have exactly the same issues as PF1, compounded by the immediate paucity of scenarios. So much like SF, there will be an immediate recommended path. Low-level non-Evergreen scenarios will get chewed through immediately. Heck every non-Evergreen.
We may even need to start w/ several Evergreens just so newcomers can keep in the loop and have something to play that veterans will be willing to replay. I guess they'd best be extra fun scenarios!

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

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My issue is when Evergreens turn brown and icky for me..

I nearly made it to Five Stars without running Confirmation once (GenCon tripped up that plan by scheduling me for a Confirmation game — but at least it was with a bunch of people brand new to Organized Play.)

I love doing Evergreens when they are stories that can vary with the players who play them, or when they are ‘build your own plot’ like 9-09 and 8-07. With PF2, I want the evergreens to be more varied and interesting.

I have never speed run an Evergreen. I want each run of a game that I do to be awesome and special and interesting. I want players to feel surprised, and discover new things even if they are playing it for the second time.

I like Evergreens but I need them to have a truly replayable plot for me to run them more than twice as a GM without getting bored.

Hmm


Skipping first level is weak sauce. It's a tactic used by poor gamers. The game has always been about building one's way up from humble beginnings to great things.

Dark Archive ***

I disagree I have a very weird entertaining concept for example that makes no sense as a functional character until 4th level. Narratively it makes a ton more sense for this character to develop off screen before playing. It's not about avoiding level 1. We'll see if I ever get around to get the character off the ground.


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Brother Fen wrote:
Skipping first level is weak sauce. It's a tactic used by poor gamers. The game has always been about building one's way up from humble beginnings to great things.

Skipping first level just means you have done a lot of GMing of low level scenarios, which helps support the local PFS community and should not be discouraged.

Scarab Sages ****

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For me it’s always been more about realizing the concept of a character. If my concept doesn’t come online until 3rd Level, then playing level 1 or maybe even 2 can almost feel like a chore. The first level rebuild helps with that some, but it can still be rough. Going back prior to the rebuild, I ran a two-weapon fighting finesse using feint build ninja. In order to get all of the feats I needed to actually do those things by 3rd level, that meant waiting to take weapon finesse until level 2 with a ninja trick. Level 1 was incredibly painful as a result, and worse, I was not terribly useful to the groups I played with. 2nd Level was fine. I didn’t Feint yet, but at least I had a hope of hitting and I could TWF. It’s less of an issue with rebuilding, but the character isn’t going to feel right until 3rd level. The alternative to GMing for credit is to play the same level 1 Fighter/Barbarian/whatever build for Level 1 then rebuild into something completely different, and I think that might be worse.

I haven’t had a chance to look over or play much PF2. My biggest worry is that it might make the level 1 problem worse by extending it through level 2. A lot of the early comments were around characters not really becoming unique and classes not really coming online until level 3. Characters may have more survivability and effectiveness at level 1, and the jump at level 2 may be smaller, but if there’s no uniqueness or variation in flavor to the characters I’ll likely be more inclined to skip early levels than I am now.

Shadow Lodge ***** ⦵⦵

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Brother Fen wrote:
Skipping first level is weak sauce. It's a tactic used by poor gamers. The game has always been about building one's way up from humble beginnings to great things.

You play the way you want to and don't insult people for playing the way they want to.

Yes. That is what you did.

Silver Crusade ** Venture-Lieutenant, Online—PbP aka Redelia

If they wanted to remove the 'problem' listed above, I would say the solution is for level 1 characters in PF2 to start out with more power, not less. I mean, if the 20 levels of PF2 were equivalent to levels 6-25 in PF1, then there wouldn't be the same need to skip the low levels.

This is why I'm so concerned with the statement that one of the design goals in PF2 is to make high level playable. I think that in PF1, high level is playable, it's low level that's almost unplayable.

Paizo Employee Customer Service & Community Manager

Removed a post, no need to get sarcastic. Additionally, please remember that other gamers might enjoy playing in a fashion that you do not and that's okay. Do not insult other gamers because you would not game in the same way or do not understand their motivations.

Dark Archive *** Venture-Agent, Finland—Turku aka Tomppa

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I think the problem is more with the evergreens being restricted to level 1 or 1-2 characters. I don't "aim" to skip the low levels, but I GM a lot, and I like to start my characters at a level where they can actually do their "thing", so I like being able to start characters at level 3 or 4.
I don't mind playing down in a 1-5 mostly made of level 1 characters with my level 3 or 4 goon, and I can take the back seat and let them shine, mostly giving advice or stepping in if things go south.

What I don't like, is being forced to play a level 1 pregen because the adventure is only for levels 1-2, forcing me to start a fresh new character, when I already have 11 characters on levels 3-9 and I would like to play and progress those. Especially since I already have a couple more GM blobs just waiting to be formed.

So, for me, playing evergreen with a pregen is like playing it for no credit. If I have played&GMed it already, it doesn't even offer any new plots or insights or surprises.

Evergreens, even on low levels, should be made more interesting. Aside from the possibility of running out of stuff to play, I don't really see reasons to GM or play low-level evergreens anymore.

The Exchange ****

Tommi Ketonen wrote:

I think the problem is more with the evergreens being restricted to level 1 or 1-2 characters. I don't "aim" to skip the low levels, but I GM a lot, and I like to start my characters at a level where they can actually do their "thing", so I like being able to start characters at level 3 or 4.

I don't mind playing down in a 1-5 mostly made of level 1 characters with my level 3 or 4 goon, and I can take the back seat and let them shine, mostly giving advice or stepping in if things go south.

What I don't like, is being forced to play a level 1 pregen because the adventure is only for levels 1-2, forcing me to start a fresh new character, when I already have 11 characters on levels 3-9 and I would like to play and progress those. Especially since I already have a couple more GM blobs just waiting to be formed.

So, for me, playing evergreen with a pregen is like playing it for no credit. If I have played&GMed it already, it doesn't even offer any new plots or insights or surprises.

Evergreens, even on low levels, should be made more interesting. Aside from the possibility of running out of stuff to play, I don't really see reasons to GM or play low-level evergreens anymore.

well, you had me all the way to the last line. Mostly agreeing, even if I do tend to have my PCs doing "their thing" from 1st level up... but you lost me with this statement... "I don't really see reasons to GM... low-level evergreens anymore."

O.O
Is it that you are running them for people who have played them before?
I have the most fun running something that I have well prepped. I have a bit of a reputation for running the Evergreens - I do run them a lot. And when I can run them when (most of) the players haven't played them before? That's just "Cake". Running them for Newbie players? that's "Icing" on that "Cake". Some of my best games have been First Steps...

* RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:
What about: making level more 1 fun?

This.

It's not just lethality either. Low level attack rolls and skill checks are a total crapshoot and it's much worse in the Playtest. Most 0-level enemies have an AC of 13-14 while your attack roll cannot get any higher than a +5 at 1st level. That means you're looking at 55% to 65% chance of succeeding at any check you're good at. This isn't fun because generally we like being competent at things our characters are supposed to be good at.

And if your character isn't trained, then it's not worth attempting the attack roll or skill check at all due to the -4 penalty and critical failure mechanics.

*

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Based on the four tables I ran at GenCon, folks started pretty much sitting on their hands if they thought they couldn't hit the 'magic number', and once players start thinking that they can't *do* anything they've lost their 'buy-in' to the system.

I know that I feel that way when I play, especially when *doing something* used to be rewarded with things like a 'bonus to assist' and the sort.

Now? If you can't hit the number, you sit and stare and pray someone WILL, because otherwise everyone is hosed.

And it is particularly prevalent at L1, which should be an *easier* spot where folks should get a feeling of being awesome to build on -- not incompetent idiots that shouldn't be let out of their farm village.

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

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I think it doesn't help that PFS 1-2 evergreens are only evergreen at level 1. So if you're running them, the only thing you can apply the credit to is level 1 characters. And presuming you don't only run the same evergreen over and over, that means you get a lot of level 2 GM babies.

Starfinder evegreens being evergreen across their whole level range makes this easier, and makes table mustering also easier.

If we decided a story is fit to replay, why not have it replayable at any level?

Dark Archive *

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

People say that the scenarios aren't threatening to a L2 character, that they aren't *dangerous*... but my sole experience playing a L2 in an 'evergreen' was pretty darn intense.

We pulled it out, but everyone that goes "Oh, there's no challenge involved/the threats are inconsequential" hasn't met an angry monstrous humanoid that's got a hankering for crits.

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

Well, to be fair evergreens like other scenarios are significantly less deadly when you know what’s coming. Granted they typically have encounter tables now to mix it up so you can play multiple times with new material, but the story is generally the same. The encounter locations are generally the same. Makes for an easier challenge when you know when the encounters are comin and how many of them there are. You can plan resource management much better. When we’re replaying whether or not it’s an evergreen, most players like to say things like “I’ll hang in the back so I don’t ruin the story for the others” but it is exceedingly rare for us not to use our metaknowledge for own character even if it’s not shared with the rest. It’s nearly impossible not to.

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

I agree with Lau, making evergreens replayable at all levels should have significant advantages (scheduling to name just one).

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

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Bob Jonquet wrote:
Well, to be fair evergreens like other scenarios are significantly less deadly when you know what’s coming. Granted they typically have encounter tables now to mix it up so you can play multiple times with new material, but the story is generally the same. The encounter locations are generally the same. Makes for an easier challenge when you know when the encounters are comin and how many of them there are. You can plan resource management much better. When we’re replaying whether or not it’s an evergreen, most players like to say things like “I’ll hang in the back so I don’t ruin the story for the others” but it is exceedingly rare for us not to use our metaknowledge for own character even if it’s not shared with the rest. It’s nearly impossible not to.

That's all true, but it works that way for level 1 characters too. A person replaying with a level 1 character also has this previous meta knowledge. So I don't really think it's a reason not to open up their replay to level 2 characters.

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

You’re right, but I’m generally opposed to any expansion of replay so my bias is going to influence my evaluation

Dark Archive *** Venture-Agent, Finland—Turku aka Tomppa

nosig wrote:
Tommi Ketonen wrote:
-snip-

well, you had me all the way to the last line. Mostly agreeing, even if I do tend to have my PCs doing "their thing" from 1st level up... but you lost me with this statement... "I don't really see reasons to GM... low-level evergreens anymore."

O.O
Is it that you are running them for people who have played them before?
I have the most fun running something that I have well prepped. I have a bit of a reputation for running the Evergreens - I do run them a lot. And when I can run them when (most of) the players haven't played them before? That's just "Cake". Running them for Newbie players? that's "Icing" on that "Cake". Some of my best games have been First Steps...

Okay, I may have exaggerated on the "don't see a reason to GM evergreens".

It's a bit of a combination - It's rare to have an all-newbie party, but if we did have one consisting mostly of new players, then sure, I'll run an evergreen for them because, for example, confirmation is a really good introduction to the core values of the society and teaches a lot about how scenarios may work. However, if you have 1, or 2 new players tops, and the rest are people who have already played confirmation and have level 5+ characters, I don't really see the point. I'd much rather run a new 1-5 that hasn't been played before in our lodge. Of course, this is partly because our lodge is still relatively new (about one year old) so we still have plenty of scenarios to run that have never been run before.

I do agree with you - I too do enjoy running a scenario I have prepared well, and I have a couple of favorites. Obviously, the ideal situation is to have prepared something new (to get credit for the adventure yourself as well), but I'd much rather run, say, Dead Man's Debt (my favorite scenario, I've ran it... Five times already?) if there's a mix of low level people, instead of running a 1-2 or pure level 1 scenario and force those couple of level 2-4 people to start a new character.

In any case - I really like Beyond the Halflight path - ran it twice so far - and I really enjoyed from the Tome of Righteous repose (though I haven't GM'd it yet nor have I read it - just played it... thrice?) - I hope there were 1-5, or even 1-4 or 1-3 level evergreens like those.

Main point: I don't see why evergreens should be limited to level 1, or why the scenario itself has to be tier 1 or 1-2. Include more seasoned characters too!

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

At the end of the day, *you* should just do what works best for your local community. For some, the evergreens work fantastic and even after a number of times being offered, they are still an effective go-to. Other areas do not benefit from evergreens and for them running “regular” scenarios fill the need. The scenario system we have is generally soo effective that we have reached a state of diminishing returns and could risk creating problems we don’t currently have the more we try to tweak them. That is not to say they are universally effective. Nothing is. We’ll never get to a system that is 100% effective everywhere. There needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.

Dark Archive *

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Idea:

Instead of just race boons at a convention, why not offer a 'level up' boon?

Will make suggestion in Boon thread as well.

Shadow Lodge ***** ⦵⦵

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

Idea:

Instead of just race boons at a convention, why not offer a 'level up' boon?

Will make suggestion in Boon thread as well.

Because you're trying to attract DMs. Dm's can already level up a character whenever we want by applying credit we're probably not using anyway.

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