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So a conversation my local group was having was the idea that 2e has a chance to have a living world. The idea was that through orgamized play the DMs would submit a review pf their games and outcomes to Paizo and from their they could change the world. So say many groups failed to stop a demon lord Paizo would send out a bimonthly world update for players and DMs to update the world with. This obviously would be an optional patch for those who don't really want to change the world or those homebrewing, but we thought it would be something really fun for the rest of us. Have groups talking with eachother about their choices and trying to unanimously change the world. Thoughts on this idea? Thanks!
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This is very unlikely and, frankly, a bad idea. Having an ongoing metaplot of this sort forces a lot of people in home games who have nothing to do with it to keep track of it (since stuff is predicated on it), and having had to do that in other games (Old World of Darkness, I'm looking at you), I can assure you that it is often annoying and unpleasant, with such downsides far outweighing the upsides.
We are getting an updated timeline with the new edition, quite possibly including the results of PFS in 1st Edition...but I wouldn't expect another update until and unless we get a 3rd Edition.
Many Organized Play (Pathfinder and Starfinder Society) scenarios have a few checkboxes that filled in and reported after every game. These include things like; did the villain escape, did the group recruit this NPC, was the doomsday averted?
The cumulative results of these are then used to write future organized play scenarios. Except this happens over the course of years, not bi-monthly.
I recently played a scenario where we had a chance to make peace with a long time rival of the society, and it was fun to have IRL conversations with other players to see if made peace with that rival or rejected them.
It’s a reactive setup in which events are triggered solely by player actions rather than predetermined by the developers. It’s cleanest implantation would be the proposed “Node” system designed for EverQuest Next and now being developed by intrepid studios for Ashes of Creation. The Node system breaks the geography into cells or nodes that collect experience along with the players and develop as the players interact with it. Eventually growing in size and triggering hidden events. In theory it’s 100% player responsive and requires little or no NPCs to exist.
|David knott 242
PFS has annual updates to its campaign guide, so it could support something like this.
However, it would be a bit too much to apply anything like this outside of organized play. The PF1 assumption that only the adventures that your group has run have occurred should work well for standard PF2, with another general update applied whenever PF3 comes out.
L5R did something similar. While much of the basic plotlines and story were to varying degrees planned in advance, details were filled in by tournament wins, and certain player choices had quite meaningful impacts on the development of the setting and story. The fact that people had power over the development of the story was one of the selling points for the CCG.
Granted, that was CCG wins with a playerbase that I assume is smaller than PFS, and for a setting with much narrower scope than Golarion, and usually restricted to single player wins in various tournaments, but something of the sort in the way of a living world should be possible if people want it. In many ways, it should be easier to incorporate player choices in a Golarion living world since you don't have to balance 6+ player factions that are supposed to be more or less equal and are continually fighting each other.
Living worlds changing and evolving isn't an issue for home games - trust me, plenty of us altered or ignored official developments in our RPG games of L5R. Society games are already strictly controlled, and the world is big enough that not every change should impact every adventure thereafter.
The only feasible improvement I could see is what occurred in the living campaign for arcanis. One of the most incredible living campaign moments I’ve seen.
The season adventures culminated in a helms deep esque defense while the evil wizard summoned an earth shattering Titan. The first part saw the players defending the walls while NPC scribes divined how to defeat the Titan. For these two encounters GMs were given a few variations of wall maps to pick and a set CR for each party level. Using the provide data monsters for the wizard army, GMs built the attacking force. At the end of the event it made the thing truly feel like a battle because we had all defended different parts of the wall against different enemy compositions.
But the best part was the second half. The NPCs had determined how to defeat the creature but at grave cost. They asked for volunteers of high skill (those from the high tier tables). Six brave souls stood and proclaimed their character names and volunteered to the cheers of the crowd. They then went to a separate table on a podium. What we didn’t know was when they got there they were informed it was a suicide mission. They were to be transported into a pocket plane fueling the Titans energy and would perish upon destroying its heart. Our job was to hold out against the onslaught for as long as possible.
We were successful and the six volunteers had their character names PERMANENTLY added to the lore of the region and had statues erected in their honor. This was added in a future sourcebook. Incredible they were all hugging and crying and I thought holy cow what an amazing experience and reward for these guys who put in so many hours into their characters.
That kind of interaction at exclusive GenCon or Paizo Con events would make PFS even better than it already is.