Edition Change Anxiety and Other Stuff?


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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I'm not exactly sure where to put this thread, especially because I don't wanna be rude, but I've been having this stuff rattling around in my head and my gut and it's driving me crazy. I feel like I need to discuss this with SOMEONE here, especially since a lot of this involves stuff only people on these boards are really going to get, but at the same time, as I said I don't want to clog up my boards with my angst/negativity.

Shall I explicate further, or is this not the right place to discuss this stuff?

Sovereign Court

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Everything can be discussed constructively. Its ok not to like things, just dont be offensive.


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If it's driving you crazy you should discuss it.

Me, personally, I'm becoming one of those people who doesn't want to switch due to a burn-out on having to read new rules. Pathfinder 1 works for me, and when it doesn't I have other systems.

Silver Crusade

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Thank you.

I actually don't really have a problem with Pathfinder 2's rules and stuff. It seems pretty well-put-together, and some of those new things look pretty cool (I like the Champion's variations, for example!).

No, what's been bugging me is the updates to the Campaign Setting and more broadly speaking anytime anyone brings up something that happened in a PFS module that gets referenced later in a sourcebook. I feel like I "missed out" on that part of the story, and now that the Setting's "moving on" to new stories, I feel like I'm never going to get "the whole story" of 1e Pathfinder.

And rationally I know that's nonsense. I have most of the 1e books, they dominate an entire shelf in my room. But who's going to want to play those old stories? A while back someone was going to run a Mummy's Mask game and incorporate PFS modules that were taking place in that area of Golarion at the time, but only people who had Scarab Sage PFS characters were allowed to even apply, and since Scarab Sage had been discontinued, I couldn't even make a character. I was really upset about that. I'm in a few play-by-posts with APs, but they all shard off in such wildly different directions that I can't really make them into a unified "Golarion Cinematic Universe" headcanon.

And the reason I want to be able to have that is so I can do things in Golarion around them. To have games that AREN'T AP's that react to things that happened in the APs, and have the freedom to tell stories anywhere, instead of "anywhere the APs haven't touched yet." I don't want to play a game set in, say, Varisia, and then have someone say "Um, actually, this is what happened here in Shattered Star." And it will always be something better than whatever I came up with.

Besides that, I have all these books, I need to USE them or I've wasted my money.

And I feel like, because I didn't do PFS and ignored singular modules in favor of the continuous narrative of APs, and fell behind on the novels, that I'm PATHFINDERING WRONG.

Sovereign Court

Well that really has nothing to do with a new edition as far as I can see.

I never played PFS, and I just follow the general changes in Golarion lore. Personal stuff is, personal.

Sovereign Court

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Ah, severe Pathfinder FOMO. I'd assume you have two options, try and conquer all your PF1 material and experiences before moving on to PF2, or trying to stay on top of PF2 while going back to complete PF1 when able.

When I was younger I had a terrible habit of finishing any book I started. Some where absolute chores like the two towers and return of the king, but I plowed through them no matter how bad they were. At some point that all changed, I am now able to toss aside something I dont enjoy and the lack of completing causes zero anxiety.

I guess you have to prioritize your needs and adjust accordingly. You may have some uncomfortable months ahead of you, or you could just try and relax. I hope you have success in any case!

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Honestly, I've ALREADY had some uncomfortable months because of this, especially as some of the play-by-posts I'm in have died, including a couple that I'd been in for YEARS. I feel like all that time and creative energy was wasted.

I feel like I can't play cool concepts or stuff because it's already been addressed in the canon, like:

Various SPOILERS!:
"I wanna play a lost scion of House Virholt and rebuild Ustalav!"

"But Prince of Wolves clearly shows that the last surviving Virholt is Radovan, and he's got no interest in pursuing it."

"I wanna play a half-Ulfen ninja for Reign of Winter who's one of the last surviving Frozen Shadows after Ameiko and friends beat them in Jade Regent!"

"Sorry, but in the Jade Regent game I ran, the Frozen Shadows were all wiped out."

"I want to find out what happened to the Good Elemental Lords!"

"Ranginori was already freed in a PFS module."

"Heroic dhampir vampire hunter?"

"How are you going to be more interesting than Bloodbound's ANTIhero, Larsa?"

And then there's things like Krune getting killed, the whole Shadow Lodge thing, slavery getting abolished in Absalom, the Mwangi overthrowing Sargava's colonial rulers and founding the new, free land of Vidrian (good for them!).


Every time I read one of these things in a new book or encounter someone on these boards referencing them I'm like "What?! When did THAT happen?!" I thought I could safely ignore PFS, that it wouldn't have any impact on the setting's metaplot that I needed to take into account. I feel like I MISSED all of these events and I'm forever barred from having "the whole story" since these are disparate events that span years and aren't collected into a single, narratively consistent progression, and who'd want to run years-old modules for no PFS credit and do all that work just so one insecure nerd can feel better about himself?

To say nothing of the fact that if I was SERIOUS about this, I'd have to GM, and that means I can't play any of the cool character concepts I want to explore these stories as, and I can't trust other players to see the same narrative flow and connections I'm seeing (especially since everyone seems to want to play APs with gestalt characters or strange 3rd-party classes and stuff that don't have any connection to the narratives). More than one person has told me "It doesn't sound like you actually WANT to play Pathfinder; what you WANT is to write Adventure Path fanfiction," which is a statement that terrifies and infuriates me both because fanfiction scares me (I understand that it can have a transformative effect and is a way for people to express themselves, and that's wonderful, but at the same time some twist the original source-material into something wholly unrecognizable or get just plain gross) and because I'm starting to wonder if they're RIGHT.


Maybe you want to play Pathfinder.....but maybe you don't want to play Golarion.

Hopefully I didn't just say something too obvious/annoying, but if I were in this position (and, as a geek, I've obviously been in something like it) I'd dump Golarion and find another setting that doesn't have this issue. At the very least maybe change some names and details and say it's your "inspired by" homebrew.

Really, if you're getting obsessive about this to the point at which you're uncomfortable the best thing to do is to cold-turkey separate yourself from it until that calms down.


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This is inevitable in any setting that has any kind of coherency. Unless all the adventures are completely self-contained. Even if you'd been playing PFS all along, you'd have played sessions with characters who'd played the same scenarios but done something entirely different in them.

Or if you'd played all the APs, some of them wouldn't have turned out the same as the official result and more wouldn't have ended the same way if you play in a different group that's also played them.

There's no way around this. The only alternative would be for Paizo to never address any of the cool things they've put in the setting, because anything they did would mess up someone's head canon or what they'd done using it in a home game. Even new setting books that go into more detail could mess things up for some.
Paizo actually abuses this less than some companies/settings I've seen in the past.

And you really can't play it all: There's too much. Very few people have the time to play all the APs and all the PFS scenarios and the other random modules.
This doesn't really have anything to do with PF2, though I can see how it brings it to the fore. They've formalized a bunch of changes for the setting releases, but they've been doing that on a smaller scale all along. You were never really going to be able to play all the published adventures you missed, but moving to new edition means you kind of have to accept that.

That's okay. The only way I've ever found is just to muddle through. Play the APs/modules that interest you. Play PFS if you want. Don't worry too much on what's happening elsewhere. Everything else, from other adventures or novels or even campaign material, is in an indeterminate state until it's introduced into your own campaign. If you want to allude to something in another adventure, then it's happened off screen. If no one brings it in, then maybe it has and maybe it hasn't happened yet. That way you can still play it at a later date, if you want.

And specifically, I'm really not fond of GMs who shoot down cool character concepts based on obscure details from supplemental materials or past events in their campaigns. Make it work. One of the Frozen Shadows could have been away or only partly trained and stayed in hiding. A lost Virholt bastard even Radovan didn't know about - if anyone even cares about enforcing novel continuity, which is usually a mistake. It's easy. Make it work.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:

Maybe you want to play Pathfinder.....but maybe you don't want to play Golarion.

Hopefully I didn't just say something too obvious/annoying, but if I were in this position (and, as a geek, I've obviously been in something like it) I'd dump Golarion and find another setting that doesn't have this issue. At the very least maybe change some names and details and say it's your "inspired by" homebrew.

Really, if you're getting obsessive about this to the point at which you're uncomfortable the best thing to do is to cold-turkey separate yourself from it until that calms down.

That's something I've been attempting recently, playing things like Android: Shadow of the Beanstalk and Legend of the Five Rings on a Discord server my friends are running, but I don't want to abandon Golarion, especially since I'm still playing in a few play-by-posts and I refuse to be the reason they die.

Really, though, the setting was what I love about this game (that's why my worries about the new edition don't come from the ruleset changes, but from the updates to the setting). I may have started by picking up Pathfinder as a D&D substitute when 4e was grinding to a halt, but I quickly became much more invested in Golarion as a setting. Each new book I picked up, Adventure Path or main sourcebook left me wanting to learn more, to the point where I actually subscribed to Paizo to keep up-to-date! If I wanted any old fantasy setting, I can just play old-fashioned D&D. Golarion isn't just any old fantasy setting, though. It's special!


I know that this is off-topic, but I can't get into the "general discussions forum". All I get is a comercial for the new edition - what's happening?!

sorry for derailing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I think the thing is to just accept that RPGs are not a novel series, TV show, or movie series. "Canon" doesn't exist outside of the specific game you are playing and the GM's interpretation. Play what you want...if you are worrying about going against alternative canon, just shrug it off and consider it an alternative timeline.

And if that is not possible, just don't invest as much thought into building characters so that there backstories depend on setting esoterica. It's fine to make a more generic character and flesh it out in relation to the developing storyline.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber
GRuzom wrote:

I know that this is off-topic, but I can't get into the "general discussions forum". All I get is a comercial for the new edition - what's happening?!

sorry for derailing.

[derail]Links on the pages are randomly redirecting to the homepage since Friday afternoon. It will hopefully be fixed today when staff is back in the office.[/derail]


Joana wrote:
GRuzom wrote:

I know that this is off-topic, but I can't get into the "general discussions forum". All I get is a comercial for the new edition - what's happening?!

sorry for derailing.

[derail]Links on the pages are randomly redirecting to the homepage since Friday afternoon. It will hopefully be fixed today when staff is back in the office.[/derail]

Thanks, Joana. I'll just have to be patient

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
MMCJawa wrote:

I think the thing is to just accept that RPGs are not a novel series, TV show, or movie series. "Canon" doesn't exist outside of the specific game you are playing and the GM's interpretation. Play what you want...if you are worrying about going against alternative canon, just shrug it off and consider it an alternative timeline.

And if that is not possible, just don't invest as much thought into building characters so that there backstories depend on setting esoterica. It's fine to make a more generic character and flesh it out in relation to the developing storyline.

That is something I've been told before, even and perhaps especially by the devs themselves on these very forums.

But "playing what I want" doesn't get me into play-by-posts. That's why I try to cleave as close to canon as possible, so I can have a well-written backstory that will convince GMs who are recruiting to pick me as a player. I always get so worried when I "audition" in one of the recruitment threads because I feel like if I haven't written a final draft beforehand, I won't have time to hammer one out before the recruitment closes. One of the first games I played on here was one where I asked if a GM wanted to run it for me. And that's the one that died recently, and I feel like it's my fault for wanting it in the first place. A GM got burned out because of me. And I'm worried it's happening again in other games I'm in.

And this feels like the only place where I CAN play these games. No one on that Discord server wants to play Pathfinder or Starfinder. They want to play stuff like World of Darkness and Exalted (or a World-of-Darkness-and-Exalted-hybrid), and I don't feel I can play those games in good conscience anymore because guys like Matthew McFarland and Zak S worked on them and I don't know how much of their toxic attitudes seeped into the games' writing (except for Beast: The Primordial, which I KNOW was basically McFarland projecting his abusive nature into a game and trying to rationalize it in writing, and should therefore be avoided like radioactive waste!). And on other forums for games I feel like I've burned too many bridges.


Don't people sometimes advertise for non-Pathfinder games on this forum?


While McFarland worked on a lot of stuff it was pretty much all Demon the Descent, Beast the Primordial, and Promethean the Created (2e, which is a shame because 1e was received so well). Though people seemed to like Demon a lot, most of the complaints being that the demons don't resemble media depictions of demons (its technognostic robot demons, rather than sin and batwings).

Games like Vampire the Requiem and Werewolf the Forsaken were developed by different people (Rose Bailey and Stew Wilson, respectively) with nice groups of freelance writers from all over. And seem to like the stuff that's come out since he left, like Changeling 2e (I preferred 1e) and Geist 2e (massive improvements over 1e).

Also Zak S was hired by White Wolf to make some visual-novel type games for old World of Darkness stuff, and didn't actually work on books like Vampire the Masquerade.

All that said, regarding the 'metaplot' you could always find a thread with people who are focused on that stuff (pathfinder society and adventure paths seem to be the things with changes) and ask for a synopsis. It's how people have managed to get back into oWoD stuff, though I'm sure the companies would be pleased if you just bought pdfs of every first edition book there was.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Archpaladin Zousha, you are not the only one who feels that way. Check out this thread.

Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
And this feels like the only place where I CAN play these games. No one on that Discord server wants to play Pathfinder or Starfinder. They want to play stuff like World of Darkness and Exalted (or a World-of-Darkness-and-Exalted-hybrid), and I don't feel I can play those games in good conscience anymore because guys like Matthew McFarland and Zak S worked on them and I don't know how much of their toxic attitudes seeped into the games' writing (except for Beast: The Primordial, which I KNOW was basically McFarland projecting his abusive nature into a game and trying to rationalize it in writing, and should therefore be avoided like radioactive waste!). And on other forums for games I feel like I've burned too many bridges.

I am surprised that people on Discord are not playing Starfinder. :(

In other news, I have no idea who this McFarland person is, or why his work should be avoided.


I've always felt a few years behind the curve on new rules content and new setting material/events in Pathfinder. I was one of those people who continued to play 3.5 when 4E turned out to not be my thing. I didn't get into Pathfinder right away because it meant investing time and money in a new system, when I had such a huge 3.0/3/5 library. I also prefer to run homebrew campaigns, so I've never been a huge consumer of commercially published settings.

(The one exception is Green Ronin's Freeport, where I *am* a completist. Part of that was getting in at the very beginning with the original Freeport Trilogy, which catered to my Mythos obsession. To be perfectly honest, the immediate impetus for me exploring Pathfinder was when GR announced that their Freeport Kickstarter would support PF.)

I also didn't get into PFS until a couple years after I started running/playing PF, so there was already 6 or 7 seasons to catch up on when I started. Between that, and my collection always being a few hardcovers behind "state of the art" for the system, I long ago decided that it was impossible for me to collect or experience everything--or even remotely close to it. Most of what I know about Golarion comes from the Gazetteer and what I've played in PFS, with occasional dives into other sources when I find some shiny new thread that I want to tug on a bit more.

I have no particular interest in PF2 at this time because there is still so much of PF1 that I haven't done yet. In the past year or so, my wife and I are finding that we do sometimes have to work a little harder to find PFS scenarios that enough of the local players haven't already done. (And it's a bit weird that we've been around long enough that *we're* the sticking point more and more often.) OTOH, we're finally starting to see some potential interest in Core games in our circle, now that PF1 PFS is wrapping up and a lot of us aren't sure about wanting to learn PF2. Ideally, we'd like to use Core to go back and replay certain plot arcs, so they feel more like a coherent campaign, with more character continuity.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:
Don't people sometimes advertise for non-Pathfinder games on this forum?

While this is true, Pathfinder and Starfinder stuff is what I'm HERE for. I just feel frustrated that a lot of the recruitment stuff isn't what I want to play: it's either PFS stuff that I can't join because I don't have a PFS character right for it, or it's an AP I'm already playing on here, or it decides to inject weird things like Gestalt or Path of Whatever, or they decide to basically rewrite the AP's plotline to the point where it doesn't seem like the original anymore when what I want is the vanilla experience.

Atavist wrote:

While McFarland worked on a lot of stuff it was pretty much all Demon the Descent, Beast the Primordial, and Promethean the Created (2e, which is a shame because 1e was received so well). Though people seemed to like Demon a lot, most of the complaints being that the demons don't resemble media depictions of demons (its technognostic robot demons, rather than sin and batwings).

Games like Vampire the Requiem and Werewolf the Forsaken were developed by different people (Rose Bailey and Stew Wilson, respectively) with nice groups of freelance writers from all over. And seem to like the stuff that's come out since he left, like Changeling 2e (I preferred 1e) and Geist 2e (massive improvements over 1e).

That's...reassuring, I guess?

Quote:
Also Zak S was hired by White Wolf to make some visual-novel type games for old World of Darkness stuff, and didn't actually work on books like Vampire the Masquerade.

Isn't there a rule in the new Vampire the Masquerade called the "rubber hat" rule or something else relating to condoms? I heard the writing really leaned a lot more heavily into the "vampires as rape allegory" than previous iterations of the game, and part of that was due to his influence. I just worry that if I started getting invested in this stuff I'd metaphorically be stabbing his victims in the back by purchasing something he contributed to (and I've been feeling that way about Paizo stuff too for other reasons).

Quote:
All that said, regarding the 'metaplot' you could always find a thread with people who are focused on that stuff (pathfinder society and adventure paths seem to be the things with changes) and ask for a synopsis. It's how people have managed to get back into oWoD stuff, though I'm sure the companies would be pleased if you just bought pdfs of every first edition book there was.

I know this, but it's not the same as being IN the metaplot, feeling immersed in the world and feeling like my character is shaping it through their actions. That's why the changes introduced in PFS scenarios bother me so much. I feel like I missed out on being part of those changes and I'm stuck on the outside looking in.

I've been feeling like that a lot about gaming in general, lately, like people are out there having fun and getting excited about their games and writing wikis about their run-through of an AP or something and I'm left thinking "why can't the games I'M in go that well?!" or even to the point of "people are clearly enjoying this and feeling anticipation, so why do I only feel apathy and anxiety regarding this stuff? I should be happy, WHY AM I NOT HAPPY?!" :(

Lord Fyre wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha, you are not the only one who feels that way. Check out this thread.

I'm...confused by that. I'm not necessarily wanting to play the old APs using the new system. That could work with some of them, but some of the concepts I've had for characters don't currently work with the new system (can't play tiefling, changeling or dhampir characters yet).

Quote:
I am surprised that people on Discord are not playing Starfinder. :(

I didn't mean Discord in general, I meant the specific Discord RPG server consisting of me and about 5 friends left over from an RPG forum that's been hemorrhaging members over about 10 years.

Quote:
In other news, I have no idea who this McFarland person is, or why his work should be avoided.

Here's the skinny (Content Warning: Sexual Abuse/Assault). And as for why to avoid his stuff, it's got to do with how Beast: The Primordial's gameplay incentivizes player characters to behave abusively to NPCs and rationalizes it by saying the victims deserve it and the abuse will make them better people, which was basically McFarland projecting. And given the volume of works he's contributed to, who knows how much of it is tainted with his toxicity? If you were to purchase those games/books, you'd be metaphorically stabbing his victims in the back!

Tim Emrick wrote:
I also didn't get into PFS until a couple years after I started running/playing PF, so there was already 6 or 7 seasons to catch up on when I started. Between that, and my collection always being a few hardcovers behind "state of the art" for the system, I long ago decided that it was impossible for me to collect or experience everything--or even remotely close to it. Most of what I know about Golarion comes from the Gazetteer and what I've played in PFS, with occasional dives into other sources when I find some shiny new thread that I want to tug on a bit more.

I can't even claim THAT even after getting the relevant subscriptions to be "state of the art." :(

Quote:
Ideally, we'd like to use Core to go back and replay certain plot arcs, so they feel Ideally, we'd like to use Core to go back and replay certain plot arcs, so they feel more like a coherent campaign, with more character continuity.

That's kind of what I'd have liked to have done with PFS stuff. The other reason I didn't get involved with it apart from it primarily being focused on face-to-face con-based games when the majority of my RPG stuff has had to be facilitated through play-by-post for like, almost 15 years. It's why I was so interested in the people who were going to combine several PFS modules with Mummy's Mask that I wasn't allowed to apply for because I couldn't make an alias with the right faction since it was discontinued. >:(

I know not all of these things have to do with Pathfinder's new edition, but it IS something that's brought these things to the forefront and "HELP! I have ANGST about my hobbies and I need to talk it out with people who actually know things ABOUT those hobbies!" didn't seem like a good idea for a thread title.


Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
That's...reassuring, I guess?

Well, it means Matt McFarland he has nothing to do with the vast majority of books.

Quote:
Isn't there a rule in the new Vampire the Masquerade called the "rubber hat" rule or something else relating to condoms? I heard the writing really leaned a lot more heavily into the "vampires as rape allegory" than previous iterations of the game, and part of that was due to his influence. I just worry that if I started getting invested in this stuff I'd metaphorically be stabbing his victims in the back by purchasing something he contributed to...

You might be the victim of misinformation here. While I'm not much of a fan of Masquerade, there is no 'rubber hat' rule. There's an appendix in the back that deals with Considerate play, including a variety of approaches to it, from the 'Lines and Veils' system where you state out what you're willing to and not willing to deal with in the game, or the 'X Card' where there's a piece of paper with an X on the table and if someone feels uncomfortable they can tap it and things will stop, no questions asked, as well as others to avoid people getting into uncomfortable situations. They attributed the creators of them, too, apparently.

I understand that because of this they've taken a lot of flak about making the game 'too safe' or whatever from people angry about games trying to make themselves more considerate to their players, which might have been where a comment on 'rubber hat' rules came from.

Also, as an artist who worked on completely different projects (they're on steam, though I forget their names) and hasn't been hired by White Wolf since you wouldn't be supporting him by getting an unrelated game like VtM 5. But Zak S is a pretty vile person so I can appreciate wanting to avoid an association.

I got into this thread because we've had a lot of 'edition warring' over the different games, so the prospect of older editions getting updated has been pretty tense, especially with some things gathering more steam on the social-media front. It would be like if Paizo started publishing 3.5 stuff and Dungeon and Dragon and opening a section of the forum. Entirely different issues than the metaplot issue, but the only solutions I have for that (that don't involve breaking the bank and reading profusely) are reading up on 'canon' stuff in synopses like I mentioned. Though, really, if people are talking down to others because they don't know that that the ruler of one city is elected and not based on open succession they're gatekeeping, and probably best avoided.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Atavist wrote:

You might be the victim of misinformation here. While I'm not much of a fan of Masquerade, there is no 'rubber hat' rule. There's an appendix in the back that deals with Considerate play, including a variety of approaches to it, from the 'Lines and Veils' system where you state out what you're willing to and not willing to deal with in the game, or the 'X Card' where there's a piece of paper with an X on the table and if someone feels uncomfortable they can tap it and things will stop, no questions asked, as well as others to avoid people getting into uncomfortable situations. They attributed the creators of them, too, apparently.

I understand that because of this they've taken a lot of flak about making the game 'too safe' or whatever from people angry about games trying to make themselves more considerate to their players, which might have been where a comment on 'rubber hat' rules came from.

No, that's not what I meant. I relooked up what I was looking for when I started getting curious about these issues and I found it. It was "raincoat level" not "rubber hat" but same basic principle: in 5e Vampire for some reason they felt the need to specifically note how it's different for a vampire who has unprotected sex vs. protected sex, described as "raincoat level." Along with this there's apparently rules for dice rolls to "coerce someone into sex they aren't comfortable with" or "stealthing off a condom." As the great Olly Thorne put it, "What can I say but YIKES!"

Granted, this is 5e specifically, but you see why I have concerns? If THIS is what the devs felt captured the ESSENCE of Vampire: The Masquerade and updates it to the modern age...How much of this mindset was in the previous editions percolating under the surface, especially since these things were created BEFORE creepazoids like MacFarland and Zak S were finally exposed?

Quote:
I got into this thread because we've had a lot of 'edition warring' over the different games, so the prospect of older editions getting updated has been pretty tense, especially with some things gathering more steam on the social-media front. It would be like if Paizo started publishing 3.5 stuff and Dungeon and Dragon and opening a section of the forum. Entirely different issues than the metaplot issue, but the only solutions I have for that (that don't involve breaking the bank and reading profusely) are reading up on 'canon' stuff in synopses like I mentioned. Though, really, if people are talking down to others because they don't know that that the ruler of one city is elected and not based on open succession they're gatekeeping, and probably best avoided.

Honestly, since my copies of the first 2e books came early due to my subscription, I've had a closer look and I honestly can't find anything to complain about the new rules themselves. Granted that's because I'm still reading through them, but the whole thing seems pretty nice. There's a LOT more options right out of the box, with a lot of thought put into how to prepare the system for new material in the future, rather than how 1e feels like increasing amounts of new systems were nailed on to the original 3.5 D&D chassis. I don't really want to edition war. Part of me really likes how the new books recontextualizes stuff I already know from the first edition. I'm already finding myself imagining how some of my original 1e character concepts would work even BETTER as 2e characters!

Being "canon-blocked" is admittedly an irrational fear. I don't know if I've described the feeling right: I like sifting through the lore and finding cool little connections and things to extrapolate out into cool characters, and my fear is that, at some point after I've made that character, Paizo will decide to use whatever little thread I've though was cool to use in an official release like an AP or a novel, and suddenly the canon conflicts with how I used it.

This happened in a Rise of the Runelords game I was playing in: I'd heavily tied my wizard's backstory to Elias Tammerhawk, one of the big-name Cyphermages in Riddleport. Since Tammerhawk was listed as a CE character at the time, I extrapolated from that that he'd murdered her master in cold blood over some piece of arcane information, using a spell to set him and his books on fire and forcing her to watch as a warning not to steal from him, which is why she ran away from Riddleport and went to Sandpoint. Fast forward a few years and the Adventurer's Guide comes out, and in its chapter on the Cyphermages it states that Tammerhawk has mellowed out and become CN, and now directs his energy to helping protect Varisia from awakening Thassilonian threats instead of to his political ambitions. I felt like my entire character's backstory had been invalidated, as while people DO change, a CE person who burns a man alive and forces their apprentice to watch is a different kind of CE than a person who abandons their aspirations of city-rulership and becomes nicer when the Runelords begin to emerge and he sees how dangerous they are. And then a little while later, the game ended up dying.

And all these changes in the new edition essentially feel like the same thing. I feel like I need to start all my characters over with the new information that's been provided to me, and I feel frustrated because I don't know how many of the cool plot threads I want to extrapolate on for my own characters have been addressed in PFS plot threads already. I want to have "the whole picture" before I start taking bits of it and making it my own, but I feel like every time I look away there's more picture I didn't see at first, and it ruins what I've already made.


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Ultimately, I think there are only two ways to avoid the issue you're having: play in a campaign setting that's not being actively supported, or play in a homebrew setting that's only developed at your table. No matter which setting you're playing in, if new stuff is being independently released, it will eventually contradict something in your head canon.

The other option is just to come to terms and be okay with it. I've been running a campaign set in Shadow-in-the-Sky-era Riddleport for years, and stuff that's been released since then has contradicted choices I've made about the city and NPCs. In my game, that stuff's just wrong (which, obviously, is easier to declare as a GM than as a player).


Archpaladin Zousha wrote:

No, that's not what I meant. I relooked up what I was looking for when I started getting curious about these issues and I found it. It was "raincoat level" not "rubber hat" but same basic principle: in 5e Vampire for some reason they felt the need to specifically note how it's different for a vampire who has unprotected sex vs. protected sex, described as "raincoat level." Along with this there's apparently rules for dice rolls to "coerce someone into sex they aren't comfortable with" or "stealthing off a condom." As the great Olly Thorne put it, "What can I say but YIKES!"

Granted, this is 5e specifically, but you see why I have concerns? If THIS is what the devs felt captured the ESSENCE of Vampire: The Masquerade and updates it to the modern age...How much of this mindset was in the previous editions percolating under the surface, especially since these things were created BEFORE creepazoids like MacFarland and Zak S were finally exposed?

It's because vampires have something called a blood bond. While traditionally transmitted orally (someone drinks a vampire's blood), it can be transmitted other ways (injecting like heroin, or sexually). There's no rules for stealthing off a condom, but there certainly are for convincing someone to do something they wouldn't normally want to do, and the sexuality of vampire has been something tied in with the game and the mythos of the creature since their origin, and people being uncomfortable about it is why they have things like X Cards. D&D introduced similar concepts in their 5th edition, as some people are known to take the violence inherent in the game to extreme levels. Though people taking things past the limit of their players consent is something that can appear in all games (notably someone got banned from the UK Expo for doing it with Things from the Flood, sort of a post-apocalyptic Stranger Things).

While you are obviously more than free to not play these games, most of them don't really delve into sexuality the way Vampire does, and that game is influenced by the fears of puritans from the time of Bram Stoker as much as they are Anne Rice and Laurell Hamilton.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Joana wrote:

Ultimately, I think there are only two ways to avoid the issue you're having: play in a campaign setting that's not being actively supported, or play in a homebrew setting that's only developed at your table. No matter which setting you're playing in, if new stuff is being independently released, it will eventually contradict something in your head canon.

The other option is just to come to terms and be okay with it. I've been running a campaign set in Shadow-in-the-Sky-era Riddleport for years, and stuff that's been released since then has contradicted choices I've made about the city and NPCs. In my game, that stuff's just wrong (which, obviously, is easier to declare as a GM than as a player).

So how do I get around this? While I have tried GMing before and can learn to do it better, GMing means I can't really use my player character ideas without committing the cardinal sin of GMPC.

I get that what I really want, interconnected campaigns where main characters from one can make cameo appearances in another (especially the Varisia and Cheliax APs) and actions in one campaign influence events in another, would pretty much lock me into the role of GM unless I can somehow persuade one person to run multiple campaigns on my behalf, which is REALLY selfish, but I feel like I can't trust other people to see the same narrative hooks I do and design characters who fit the APs' narrative. You see why people tell me "it sounds like what you REALLY want to do is write AP fanfiction?"

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Joana wrote:

Ultimately, I think there are only two ways to avoid the issue you're having: play in a campaign setting that's not being actively supported, or play in a homebrew setting that's only developed at your table. No matter which setting you're playing in, if new stuff is being independently released, it will eventually contradict something in your head canon.

The other option is just to come to terms and be okay with it. I've been running a campaign set in Shadow-in-the-Sky-era Riddleport for years, and stuff that's been released since then has contradicted choices I've made about the city and NPCs. In my game, that stuff's just wrong (which, obviously, is easier to declare as a GM than as a player).

So how do I get around this? While I have tried GMing before and can learn to do it better, GMing means I can't really use my player character ideas without committing the cardinal sin of GMPC.

I get that what I really want, interconnected campaigns where main characters from one can make cameo appearances in another (especially the Varisia and Cheliax APs) and actions in one campaign influence events in another, would pretty much lock me into the role of GM unless I can somehow persuade one person to run multiple campaigns on my behalf, which is REALLY selfish, but I feel like I can't trust other people to see the same narrative hooks I do and design characters who fit the APs' narrative. You see why people tell me "it sounds like what you REALLY want to do is write AP fanfiction?"

Even James Jacobs had to start somewhere ;-)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

The Raven Black wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Joana wrote:

Ultimately, I think there are only two ways to avoid the issue you're having: play in a campaign setting that's not being actively supported, or play in a homebrew setting that's only developed at your table. No matter which setting you're playing in, if new stuff is being independently released, it will eventually contradict something in your head canon.

The other option is just to come to terms and be okay with it. I've been running a campaign set in Shadow-in-the-Sky-era Riddleport for years, and stuff that's been released since then has contradicted choices I've made about the city and NPCs. In my game, that stuff's just wrong (which, obviously, is easier to declare as a GM than as a player).

So how do I get around this? While I have tried GMing before and can learn to do it better, GMing means I can't really use my player character ideas without committing the cardinal sin of GMPC.

I get that what I really want, interconnected campaigns where main characters from one can make cameo appearances in another (especially the Varisia and Cheliax APs) and actions in one campaign influence events in another, would pretty much lock me into the role of GM unless I can somehow persuade one person to run multiple campaigns on my behalf, which is REALLY selfish, but I feel like I can't trust other people to see the same narrative hooks I do and design characters who fit the APs' narrative. You see why people tell me "it sounds like what you REALLY want to do is write AP fanfiction?"

Even James Jacobs had to start somewhere ;-)

You mean that he is NOT a mythos creature?

I thought that he emerged fully formed from the dark between stars!

Liberty's Edge

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He is a being of such power that both origins are true, and a myriad others too.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
I get that what I really want, interconnected campaigns where main characters from one can make cameo appearances in another (especially the Varisia and Cheliax APs) and actions in one campaign influence events in another, would pretty much lock me into the role of GM unless I can somehow persuade one person to run multiple campaigns on my behalf, which is REALLY selfish, but I feel like I can't trust other people to see the same narrative hooks I do and design characters who fit the APs' narrative. You see why people tell me "it sounds like what you REALLY want to do is write AP fanfiction?"

I'm pretty sure I'm one of those people who once said that very thing to you! And I seem to recall the Directorsaur also suggesting to you something along those lines. What you are describing is writing a story, not an adventure.

Even if you were to try GMing a series of campaigns like what you describe (which would likely take more than a decade of real-world time to play out), the only way you'd be able to do the kind of intricate, top-down story-weaving would be to severely railroad your players into your plot. And that's not a particularly fun RPG experience.

Speaking as a GM with 30+ years' experience: No adventure plot ever survives contact with the PCs. I can nearly guarantee that three sessions in, your storyline will go right out the window. To me, that's the fun of GMing: Never knowing exactly where the story is going to go!

At this stage of the game, the Golarion/Inner Sea/Lost Omens Campaign World has been in active development for 12 years. There have been hundreds of published books and tens of thousands of pages written about the setting. A fair amount of earlier material has been superceded by later material, explicitly or otherwise. If you read the "Ask James Jacobs" thread, you can see that even the Creative Director can't keep everything straight beyond the broad strokes and/or the stuff he personally wrote. At PaizoCon 2018, I was chatting with Crystal Frasier, and she said that they used to keep a gigantic shared setting bible, but it got too big to be useful. The developers now use Pathfinder Wiki as the main source of keeping the VAST amount of setting lore straight.

Bottom line: It's beyond impractical to keep up with every plotline, adventure hook, NPC, and setting detail. Trying to do so is a fool's errand.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Haladir wrote:
I'm pretty sure I'm one of those people who once said that very thing to you! And I seem to recall the Directorsaur also suggesting to you something along those lines. What you are describing is writing a story, not an adventure.

Indeed, and you're still right, which is why I'm asking about this to try and get out of this state I've gotten myself into. RPGs should be FUN. They shouldn't be giving me some kind of anxiety attack!

Quote:

Even if you were to try GMing a series of campaigns like what you describe (which would likely take more than a decade of real-world time to play out), the only way you'd be able to do the kind of intricate, top-down story-weaving would be to severely railroad your players into your plot. And that's not a particularly fun RPG experience.

Speaking as a GM with 30+ years' experience: No adventure plot ever survives contact with the PCs. I can nearly guarantee that three sessions in, your storyline will go right out the window. To me, that's the fun of GMing: Never knowing exactly where the story is going to go!

How do APs even WORK, then? And why does there have to be so much lore in them that gets into the setting? I only started buying the AP books for the lore articles in the back and eventually got a subscription when they started referencing previous APs for essential context. If all I needed to get the history and context was the Campaign Setting books I would have been happy, but I feel like I've filled a shelf of books in my room with books that I'll never use properly because I don't GM (it TERRIFIES me because I am lazy) and have to deliberately ignore their content in the games I play in to avoid metagaming.

Quote:
At this stage of the game, the Golarion/Inner Sea/Lost Omens Campaign World has been in active development for 12 years. There have been hundreds of published books and tens of thousands of pages written about the setting. A fair amount of earlier material has been superceded by later material, explicitly or otherwise. If you read the "Ask James Jacobs" thread, you can see that even the Creative Director can't keep everything straight beyond the broad strokes and/or the stuff he personally wrote. At PaizoCon 2018, I was chatting with Crystal Frasier, and she said that they used to keep a gigantic shared setting bible, but it got too big to be useful. The developers now use Pathfinder Wiki as the main source of keeping the VAST amount of setting lore straight.

Honestly, I've been frustrated with a LOT of wikis lately, and Pathfinder's especially. Again, part of why I started going down the rabbit hole of buying supplementary Pathfinder books was because the stuff on the wiki was incomplete or frustratingly vague, necessitating me to go straight to the source material referenced to get the whole picture. I literally bought and read Wes Schneider's novel Bloodbound because the wiki article on it referenced the name "Graydon" and I wanted to make a PC from that family, but didn't have a plot synopsis so I didn't know the context of it. What if I made a Graydon PC who's mom was Aleidamor Graydon and hadn't read the book to know that Aleidamor Graydon was an adventuring companion of Ailson Kindler who ostensibly didn't have kids because she got herself killed on one of Kindler's adventures? I'd have to provide some b#**#%@@ excuse as to why no one knew she'd had a kid or why my character didn't know what happened to their mom. I know they deliberately only provide the back cover information to encourage you to read the whole book, but I just wanted THAT bit of information for character design purposes, and there's other stuff I could have been doing while I was reading that book!

Quote:
Bottom line: It's beyond impractical to keep up with every plotline, adventure hook, NPC, and setting detail. Trying to do so is a fool's errand.

But I feel like I need to have that info to get the intended emotional experience of the content. Imagine playing in Return of the Runelords if you haven't already played through Shattered Star, Rise of the Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, Second Darkness, Jade Regent and Wrath of the Righteous, and haven't read Lord of Runes and the preceding Varian Jeggare and Radovan novels, and played through the PFS scenario where they kill Runelord Krune?! ALL of those things have something that ties into the ultimate story of Return of the Runelords, and without them you'd have to insert a bunch of generic b$@~+*$$ NPCs and answers to cover the fact that you haven't crafted the setting through the actions of previous PCs that ultimately cheapens the experience.

There's a reason I keep referencing the Marvel movies when I talk about this: I stopped going to them because you needed to get context from OTHER movies that I didn't want to watch for various reasons. It's not like Star Wars where you can just watch the main trilogies and things like the shows and novels are cool supplemental material. I want to enjoy Pathfinder, but I feel like the barrier to entry is getting increasingly high, like I can't tell people about it without launching into a 3-to-4 hour history lecture. I'm hesitant to discuss this on other forums simply BECAUSE only people who regularly frequent these particular boards will have a chance of understanding what the hell I'm talking about!

It honestly feels like the reason you see so many recruitments for Rise of the Runelords as opposed to the other APs is because it was the first one, so it comes with the least amount of metaplot research you need to do beforehand. How do I start having fun with this again? How do all you people have fun without all this baggage?!


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I look at my Pathfinder and Starfinder books as more of a collection hobby, like collecting stamps or whatever.

Sure, there's probably no way I'll GM them all but they sure are fun to read and look at.


Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
How do all you people have fun without all this baggage?!

By considering each character's experiences and each AP/module/scenario played to be their own little microcosm or AU in the grand scheme of Golarion and its lore. My home group played Rise of the Runelords to completion so I know the plot there. I played the first two books of Shattered Star via PbP with a totally different group and with a character that had absolutely no connection to my Runelords character. One of the other characters had a backstory of where their dad had been one of the heroes of Sandpoint - and that was fine with everyone, including the GM. It was fine with me. In that particular AU where we were playing Shattered Star and Runelords had already happened, this character's dad had been a hero. There's another AU where *my* Runelords character and her companions were the heroes of Sandpoint - and where Shattered Star hasn't happened yet. In my mind both realities exist, if that makes any sense at all.

Another thing that I generally don't worry about - or even consider, to be honest - is anyone else's knowledge of Golarion lore when I develop a character background. I can't afford to purchase every single setting book, player companion, novel, comic, whatever, that gets published. I have to pick and choose and supplement with whatever I can research online. If someone has a problem with me not taking every bit of published material on a subject or setting into account, they're more than welcome to buy me whatever product I'm missing so I can get the most accurate and up-to-date information. Or they can be quiet, whatever suits them most :)


Archpaladin Zousha wrote:


But I feel like I need to have that info to get the intended emotional experience of the content. Imagine playing in Return of the Runelords if you haven't already played through Shattered Star, Rise of the Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, Second Darkness, Jade Regent and Wrath of the Righteous, and haven't read Lord of Runes and the preceding Varian Jeggare and Radovan novels, and played through the PFS scenario where they kill Runelord Krune?!

I've GM'd Rise of the Runelords, am currently playing PbPs of Shattered Star, Curse of the Crimson Throne, and Wrath of the Righteous, have never played Second Darkness, Jade Regent, or the PFS scenario, and I've never read any of those novels. I am currently running a Return of the Runelords PbP here on the forums, and apart from knowing how Rise and Shattered Star turned out, the events of everything else are completely unnecessary to player enjoyment. Indeed, Jade Regent isn't even referenced, there's an an off-handed reference to the PFS scenario, and the novels mentioned aren't referenced at all. All Second Darkness does is contribute one NPC for one part of one book, and the events of Curse of the Crimson Throne are used as backdrop for another part of the same book. Wrath of the Righteous only mentions Alderpash in passing, and you don't need to know any of the story of what happens with him in Wrath.

With the exception of Return referencing Rise and Shattered Star, all of the APs are designed to be run as though none of the others happened. That was one of Paizo's design goals, and they've done a pretty good job with it.

Now, with moving along to second edition, they are making canon several of the endings of those Adventure Paths. But, that doesn't mean that you can't go back and play those APs. And if the ending you get to doesn't match the "canon" ending? Then your group's personal world is different from the canon world's, and that's okay. It allows you to put your personal stamp on things, and feel like your characters have had a major effect on the game.

Here's an example. My one gaming group completed Kingmaker. Now, in the Stolen Lands, there is a kingdom called Erlosung ruled by the Immortal Wizard-King Aleron du'Morn, who has created a demiplane with gates to every major city (outside of Cheliax), allowing for near instantaneous trade across the world (for a small fee), completely revolutionizing the global economy. He's also making plans for an invasion of Cheliax in order to throw down the devil-worshiping Thrune regime.

Does any of this work for an in-canon setting? Of course not, and the only change that's going to be reflected in the new setting is the existence of a nation in the Stolen Lands. But that doesn't mean that, if we play future APs with that group in the future, we aren't going to include Erlosung and it's planar gateways for rapid travel across the world.


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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
I wrote:
I'm pretty sure I'm one of those people who once said that very thing to you! And I seem to recall the Directorsaur also suggesting to you something along those lines. What you are describing is writing a story, not an adventure.

Indeed, and you're still right, which is why I'm asking about this to try and get out of this state I've gotten myself into. RPGs should be FUN. They shouldn't be giving me some kind of anxiety attack!

. . .
How do APs even WORK, then? And why does there have to be so much lore in them that gets into the setting? I only started buying the AP books for the lore articles in the back and eventually got a subscription when they started referencing previous APs for essential context. If all I needed to get the history and context was the Campaign Setting books I would have been happy, but I feel like I've filled a shelf of books in my room with books that I'll never use properly because I don't GM (it TERRIFIES me because I am lazy) and have to deliberately ignore their content in the games I play in to avoid metagaming.
. . .
But I feel like I need to have that info to get the intended emotional experience of the content. Imagine playing in Return of the Runelords if you haven't already played through Shattered Star, Rise of the Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, Second Darkness, Jade Regent and Wrath of the Righteous, and haven't read Lord of Runes and the preceding Varian Jeggare and Radovan novels, and played through the PFS scenario where they kill Runelord Krune?! ALL of those things have something that ties into the ultimate story of Return of the Runelords, and without them you'd have to insert a bunch of generic b&@%*@#* NPCs and answers to cover the fact that you haven't crafted the setting through the actions of previous PCs that ultimately cheapens the experience.

Thanks for the clarification! I think I see what you're getting at here.

There are a few things to remember whenever you're playing in a published campaign world:

1) NOTHING outside of what the players and GM have confirmed at the table has happened in the campaign you're playing.

2) GMs regularly ignore and/or modify the published canon to suit the needs of their table. (I know I do!)

3) As a player: If you have a cool character concept, it's on you to work out the details with your GM. Most GMs LOVE this, because it allows them to write custom content for your character.

I think it's also important in a campaign's Session Zero to establish how closely the campaign is going to hew to published canon. For example, I would hesitate to GM a game where the players expect the world to be exactly like how things are presented in the campaign world supplements. I want to have the freedom to let the story go where it wants to go, and not be constrained by what's been published in books I haven't yet read (or have read and didn't like).

As for the "emotional experience of the content of 'Return of the Runelords'"... Don't worry about it! It takes an average group 9 months to a year to get through one volume of an Adventure Path. I can assure you that the number of people who have experienced running through RotRL, CotCT, Second Darkness, and Shattered Star before starting Return of the Runelords is exceedingly small. At the rate my group runs, getting through four APs would take us about 25 years of real-world time! I have never successfully run or played all the way through an AP, and my experience is typical. And even if you somehow did run through 24(!) volumes of APs with the same GM and other players, you can't run the same PC through mutiple adventure paths. Each PC is going to experience their personal adventures on their own.

TL;DR: To paraphrase Captian Barbosa from Pirates of the Caribbean: "...Campaign setting books are more what you would call 'guidelines' than actual rules."

ADDENDUM: These days, I'm mostly playing in "anti-canon" settings, where the world is merely outlined and/or painted in very broad strokes, with just enough setting detail to inform interesting and flavorful descriptions. The details come out in-play. What setting details that are in the books are often presented as "rumor tables"... which usually include contradictory entries. Which ones are true? The ones the GM and players think are most fun!

An example of an anti-canon setting would be The Ultraviolet Grasslands... which is where my current Dungeon World campaign is set.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
captain yesterday wrote:

I look at my Pathfinder and Starfinder books as more of a collection hobby, like collecting stamps or whatever.

Sure, there's probably no way I'll GM them all but they sure are fun to read and look at.

O.o

How do you not get the metaphorical feeling that they're staring at you disapprovingly from the shelves, silently reminding you that you aren't fulfilling their intended purpose, meaning you've wasted your money and time on them?

I also get a similar feeling from the rest of the books in my room too, though that's more along the lines of "You bought us and never read us," instead of "We are meant for GAMES, we should be PLAYED, not just read."

Again, metaphorical, I'm NOT hallucinating that the books in my room are literally talking to me!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

I understand what you're all saying about how the canon only matters insofar as actual play at the table, as well as how no singular group could play through all that material in a lifetime, and how each GM will take and leave anything and make the story their own. To be honest and frank it's an aggregate of the responses I've received when I've asked about it in the past. And rationally I know it to be true.

But then that makes me feel like all the APs, all the sourcebooks, etc. all takes place in its own individual vacuum, and there's no real way to get immersed in Golarion as a whole beyond the individual arcs of various characters, when it feels like Paizo doesn't necessarily WANT them to be in a vacuum like that, or they wouldn't include all these little connections and references to other parts of the setting in the first place. The plot of Return of the Runelords HINGES on your current PCs meeting PCs from Shattered Star with the iconic characters in it merely being placeholders for your group to insert your previous characters, and I feel like if I just played in Return and met the iconics, I'd be disappointed. The only iconic I can say I've ever really LIKED was Amiri because of her inclusion as a companion in the Kingmaker PC game, because it expanded on her existing backstory and grounded it much more in Kingmaker's specific story.

And what happens if I want to say something like "My Shattered Star character is the apprentice of the wizard I played Rise of the Runelords with," or "My Tyrant's Grasp character was a junior member of the organization my Carrion Crown character founded?" I want my characters to feel like they left a thread on Golarion for later characters I play to pick up, to get them REALLY REALLY immersed in the grand story of the Age of Lost Omens, while still remaining true to the specific narratives of the APs they're in. And I get frustrated because the APs I've been in have died before they can even REACH that stage. My Rise of the Runelords character never GOT to the stage where they could take on an apprentice because our healer had to drop out and the GM got burned out around two thirds of the way through The Skinsaw Murders. My Carrion Crown character may NEVER found an organization because we're still floundering in the first book which has had several party restructures through dropouts and rerecruitments and character rebuilds which makes me feel like the narrative is falling apart. And I know that's selfish and snobby, and I feel crappy for saying it.

I don't know. Maybe video game series like Dragon Age, Mass Effect and Neverwinter Nights have spoiled me into wanting all my RPG experiences to be grand interconnected narratives made up of smaller individual chapters that reference and play off each other?

I enjoy the game, but I've been feeling increasingly unsatisfied and ashamed that I'm feeling unsatisfied because it's not fair to the people I'm playing with, who are awesome, and I feel like I'm a parasite draining the fun out things for them because I'm not getting the experience I'm craving.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You should NEVER feel like a parasite!

I'm fairly certain the people who care about you have never felt that way.

My books can glare at me all they want to, I'm not getting rid of them. :-D

I used to feel guilty I wasn't able to play more but I decided life is too short to be guilted by books.

Also, finding ANYONE on my side of town that plays anything but D&D has been a futile exercise (going on five years of looking, no dice, literally) but I still play with my wife and kids, so I make do even if I'm the only one with even a slight grasp of the rules.

As far as narrative crossover, I've been playing members of the same halfling family since I started playing 1st edition in 1985, though in the last few years I've been trying to branch out to different ancestries with mixed results (one of my favorite characters is my elven medium for Hell's Rebels whose entire back story is "He tries to channel The Brightness, but only gets dead people" I've since determined he's from Galt and helping other people find closure is how he copes with how f*&$ed it is there).


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Zousha: I do hear what you're saying. I think you just have to let go of that feeling! (I know: Easier said than done.)

My gaming bookshelf already has more adventure material than I will ever be able to run to completion in my lifetime. I have collected every volume of all the Paizo APs, and I have about 3 dozen Paizo modules. I also have hundreds of other adventures for Pathfinder and other game systems, in either print or PDF. Honestly, I could run games 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, and I would still never be able to run every adventure in my collection before I die... and that's assuming that I don't buy more (which I will.)

I also play many different RPGs: Outside of PaizoCon, I haven't played Pathfinder in about two years.

At this point, I use published gaming material as sources of inspiration that I mix-and-match for my own purposes. For example: I ran a sandbox Dungeon World game that was more-or-less set in Varisia for about six months. For that game, I used bits-and-pieces of a bunch of different adventures, including...

Murder's Mark (Paizo-PFRPG)
Hangman's Noose (Paizo - OGL/3.5)
Seven Days to the Grave (Paizo - OGL/3.5)
The Sanos Abduction (Paizo - PFRPG)
Tales of Old Margreve (Kobold Press - PFRPG)
Dark Waters Rising (Raging Swan - PFRPG)
The Croaking Fane (Goodman Games - Dungeon Crawl Classics)
The Sunless Citadel (WotC - OGL/3.0)
Something Stinks in Stilton (Undercroft Press - OGL/OSR)
Death Frost Doom (Lamentations of the Flame Princess - OGL/OSR)
The Darkness Beneath the Hill (Chaosium - Call of Cthulhu)
Death on the Reik (Games Workshop - Warhammer Fantasy Role-Playing)

I also looked to some setting material from sources including the RotRL Players Guide, Guide to Korvosa, and Towns of Golarion but also Parsantium: City at the Crossroads from Ondine Publishing, Zobeck Gazetteer from Kobold Press, and The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide from WotC. My version of Varisia varied greatly from the canonical version.

Other than Murder's Mark and Something Stinks in Stilton, I didn't run any of those adventures from start to finish: I cribbed encounters, maps, traps, and NPCs from those sources, weaving together our own story. Also note that I ran them using a completely different game system (Dungeon World) than what any of the adventures or settings were written for.

And as an Easter egg fro one of my players: at one point, the PCs ran across an old NPC from a GURPS: X-Files game I ran back in the early '90s.

So my advice is: Take what you want from the material, change what you don't like, and use those elements to craft your own story!

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:

I look at my Pathfinder and Starfinder books as more of a collection hobby, like collecting stamps or whatever.

Sure, there's probably no way I'll GM them all but they sure are fun to read and look at.

O.o

How do you not get the metaphorical feeling that they're staring at you disapprovingly from the shelves, silently reminding you that you aren't fulfilling their intended purpose, meaning you've wasted your money and time on them?

I also get a similar feeling from the rest of the books in my room too, though that's more along the lines of "You bought us and never read us," instead of "We are meant for GAMES, we should be PLAYED, not just read."

Again, metaphorical, I'm NOT hallucinating that the books in my room are literally talking to me!

Honestly, I just...don't. I don't know why. It helps that we are now running about three-four APs concurrently with regularly scheduled sessions. PFS scenarios are a LOT easier to schedule given their episodic nature. But it's always a 'we will get there' rather than 'oh no why haven't we got there?'


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The fact that you're calling Golarion's rich history "baggage" is quite telling. It seems to me that you don't want to play in someone else's world, and would likely be better off creating your own.

But that would mean GMing and not playing. That is what you need to come to terms with.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Haladir wrote:
Zousha: I do hear what you're saying. I think you just have to let go of that feeling! (I know: Easier said than done.)

And that's just it, I'm not sure HOW. Someone once said of me on another forum "Archpaladin Zousha plays out of compulsion, not for actual fun," and that's...stuck with me, for quite a while. DO I have fun doing this? What IS fun for me? AM I just trying to rationalize my purchasing of these books to myself?

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Honestly, I just...don't. I don't know why. It helps that we are now running about three-four APs concurrently with regularly scheduled sessions. PFS scenarios are a LOT easier to schedule given their episodic nature. But it's always a 'we will get there' rather than 'oh no why haven't we got there?'

O_O

...Just...HOW?! What sorcery did you employ that allowed enough peoples schedules to align regularly enough to achieve that?! The best I can manage is by deliberately asking for the day off from work that the game is scheduled for, and even then the GM can only run it once a month! (And even then it frustrates me because I don't feel like I have enough material to get a grip on my PC's personality and history or develop a rapport with the other characters, with the plot basically being one dungeon crawl after another in a broad-strokes setting that's basically a mashup of all the settings extant in the 80s, and I barely understand the 2e AD&D the GM uses to run things.)

That's why I largely depend on play-by-posts to get my fix.

Fumarole wrote:

The fact that you're calling Golarion's rich history "baggage" is quite telling. It seems to me that you don't want to play in someone else's world, and would likely be better off creating your own.

But that would mean GMing and not playing. That is what you need to come to terms with.

I'm of two minds with this. There's a lot of truth to that statement that my mind going to "baggage" when referring to Golarion's world is cause for concern. There's a lot to like in the setting, but I can't help but feel like the kinds of characters I want to make and play just don't fit in the stories the AP is trying to tell, and that's something I've always gotten irritated about when I see other players making PCs who don't seem to fit what the base AP expects the PCs to be, so that means I'm a hypocrite.

But on the other hand, if I wanted to go off and make my own world, I could have just done that with 3.5e or 4e D&D, or even really gone off into the weeds and learned an entirely different ruleset like Fantasy AGE or FATE, both of which are also currently sitting unused on my shelf, where the rules aren't as interconnected with the setting, something that's an explicit design goal with this new edition of Pathfinder. Pathfinder IS Golarion. And if I decided to create my own stuff with those, then I effectively wasted all the money and time I've spent on Pathfinder and should have never gotten involved with it in the first place.

And besides that, I've tried GMing in the past, since among the friends who could most consistently play back then I was the only one willing to try. They were uncoordinated, ad-hoc and immature slogs that had no real plot in mind and a lot of combat with randomly organized monsters for no real purpose other than "You fight monsters in D&D, so here are some cool-looking monsters to fight!" And when I tried GMing play-by-posts later on after I was more familiar with the rules, they'd inevitably fall apart after the first or second combat because I couldn't make a map and couldn't keep track of initiative order. The only games I ever ran that went anywhere eventually just dropped the pretense of playing D&D or any other tabletop system at all, becoming free-form roleplay threads that ended up a lot like this, but before Facebook really took off. You can imagine why I don't have a lot of confidence in my ability to craft a compelling narrative and keep it in alignment with the rules of the game?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Honestly, I just...don't. I don't know why. It helps that we are now running about three-four APs concurrently with regularly scheduled sessions. PFS scenarios are a LOT easier to schedule given their episodic nature. But it's always a 'we will get there' rather than 'oh no why haven't we got there?'

O_O

...Just...HOW?! What sorcery did you employ that allowed enough peoples schedules to align regularly enough to achieve that?! The best I can manage is by deliberately asking for the day off from work that the game is scheduled for, and even then the GM can only run it once a month! (And even then it frustrates me because I don't feel like I have enough material to get a grip on my PC's personality and history or develop a rapport with the other characters, with the plot basically being one dungeon crawl after another in a broad-strokes setting that's basically a mashup of all the settings extant in the 80s, and I barely understand the 2e AD&D the GM uses to run things.)

That's why I largely depend on play-by-posts to get my fix.

Roll20, honestly. A lot of trial and error in finding players. Not being limited to local communities and also being able to plug in from our own homes and roll over into bed once we’re done for the night is a big advantage. The APs give enough structure for our parties to be built together and participate in enough adventure together that relationships form out of the chaos. The structure of PFS means we have enough shared background that even subbing in characters that have never met before isn’t a problem as they can trust them enough as coworkers until adventure bonds them as companions. We are pretty lucky to have built a group of reasonably reliable people, mostly because the unreliable ones stop getting the invites.


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You just need to chill out, don't worry if you're spending too much money on it (as my wife likes to say "at least you're not gambling or spending all night at a bar") stop wondering if they'll eat you if you don't play them, understand that no one is a perfect GM (I'm terrible at it, I forget more rules then I remember, god knows how many times I've f+!+ed up the initiative order, and don't even ask me what spells do) and for gosh sake, have some confidence in yourself!

You can do it!


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

I actually think you'd enjoy PFS, Archpaladin Zousha. GMs aren't supposed to make changes to the story-as-written; as you've seen, a great deal of setting-advancement comes from it; and PFS PbPs are short enough that most of them seem actually to conclude rather than petering out when GMs or players disappear. Make yourself a PC that's all about advancing in the Pathfinder Society, and it sounds like your cup of tea.

I'm going to push back a little on your assertion that there's an "intended emotional experience" that APs are designed to deliver and if the GM alters the plot or the PCs don't have the expected motivations, you're doing it "wrong." A bag of pancake mix may picture a stack of pancakes with syrup, strawberries, and blueberries, but if I don't add fruit to the pancakes I make from it, that doesn't mean I made them "wrong." Maybe I just don't like fruit. Or I ran out. Or I used the pancake mix to make something else instead. (Damn, I'm going to have to try those brownies.)

I don't think anyone at Paizo cares very much whether people playing their adventures learn the appropriate amount of Golarion lore or side with this or that NPC. They just want people to have fun playing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Joana wrote:

I actually think you'd enjoy PFS, Archpaladin Zousha. GMs aren't supposed to make changes to the story-as-written; as you've seen, a great deal of setting-advancement comes from it; and PFS PbPs are short enough that most of them seem actually to conclude rather than petering out when GMs or players disappear. Make yourself a PC that's all about advancing in the Pathfinder Society, and it sounds like your cup of tea.

I'm going to push back a little on your assertion that there's an "intended emotional experience" that APs are designed to deliver and if the GM alters the plot or the PCs don't have the expected motivations, you're doing it "wrong." A bag of pancake mix may picture a stack of pancakes with syrup, strawberries, and blueberries, but if I don't add fruit to the pancakes I make from it, that doesn't mean I made them "wrong." Maybe I just don't like fruit. Or I ran out. Or I used the pancake mix to make something else instead. (Damn, I'm going to have to try those brownies.)

I don't think anyone at Paizo cares very much whether people playing their adventures learn the appropriate amount of Golarion lore or side with this or that NPC. They just want people to have fun playing.

This, all of this!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Joana wrote:
I actually think you'd enjoy PFS, Archpaladin Zousha. GMs aren't supposed to make changes to the story-as-written; as you've seen, a great deal of setting-advancement comes from it; and PFS PbPs are short enough that most of them seem actually to conclude rather than petering out when GMs or players disappear. Make yourself a PC that's all about advancing in the Pathfinder Society, and it sounds like your cup of tea.

I'm more of a coffee person, myself. While what you describe does sound nice, I'm not sure about how to "break in" so to speak, when a lot of the PFS stuff (Runelord Krune getting killed, the stuff with the Blakros people whoever THEY are, the abolition of slavery in Absalom, etc.) seems to be already over (on a less-related note, was the overthrow of Sargava's colonial overlords and the founding of Virdian in its place something that happened in PFS or was that just something the devs decided to advance on their own, I think it's a good decision either way, but that would have been cool to play through, maybe even if I had a character who'd completed Serpent's Skull they could have participated in it?). I can't imagine someone would want to run old PFS modules for no credit just to soothe my anxiety. And besides that, don't the modules follow no consistent order, where if you went through them you'd effectively have one character teleporting back and forth across the continent rather than a logical progression of a story with a beginning, middle and end.

Quote:

I'm going to push back a little on your assertion that there's an "intended emotional experience" that APs are designed to deliver and if the GM alters the plot or the PCs don't have the expected motivations, you're doing it "wrong." A bag of pancake mix may picture a stack of pancakes with syrup, strawberries, and blueberries, but if I don't add fruit to the pancakes I make from it, that doesn't mean I made them "wrong." Maybe I just don't like fruit. Or I ran out. Or I used the pancake mix to make something else instead. (Damn, I'm going to have to try those brownies.)

I don't think anyone at Paizo cares very much whether people playing their adventures learn the appropriate amount of Golarion lore or side with this or that NPC. They just want people to have fun playing.

You ARE right about this, but I take a certain amount of satisfaction by trying to analyze the narrative structure of the AP and the themes it wants to explore, and then trying to make a character that just sort of clicks into that setup perfectly. Take Council of Thieves for example:

Spoilers, of course:
One of the most obvious themes the AP has is the duality of light and darkness: the shadow monsters and their vampiric masters opposed by the PCs and Children of Westcrown, representing Iomedae's light. Westcrown is called the City of Twilight, emphasizing the limbo-state it's currently in at the start of the campaign, with the PCs pushing back that darkness to make Westcrown a better place, at least until the Glorious Reclamation attempts to go even further and brings House Thrune's wrath down on it in Hell's Vengeance. It also is reflected in how the powers of the major McGuffin only activate when it's split into the Morrowfall and the Totemrix, but the problems it causes can only be stopped if the pieces are reuinted to form the Aohl, which deactivates its powers and allows it to be destroyed for good.

Then there's exploration of what makes one evil, since there's a LOT of tiefling NPCs in the AP, from the titular Bastards of Erebus in the first book all the way up to Eccardian Drovenge, the Big Bad. The Player's Guide specifically calls out tieflings as an excellent choice for a PC's ancestry, and a PC tiefling will naturally be contrasted with the tiefling NPCs in the AP, and if they're suitably heroic, they become a natural foil to Eccardian, who essentially gives in to his infernal heritage. I myself REALLY wanna play a tiefling to exploit this.

But then there's contrast with non-tieflings who make bargains with evil beyond their control and the consequences of those actions: the Lord-Mayor's estate being powered by an imprisoned pit-fiend that causes a critical meltdown when he begins to break loose. The events that set the AP in motion are Eccardian's father making an infernal bargain to advance his position in the Chelish court, of which Eccardian is the unexpected fruit. It exposes the national conceit that "Hell Serves Cheliax" for the delusion that it is, as every time someone attempts to exploit Hell's power for their own gain, it blows up in their face, sometimes quite literally, and only advances Hell's agenda at the expense of mortals.

I really, REALLY want to play in this AP, in case that wasn't clear. I do have a craving for pancakes and pancake-mix-based brownies as well. You're right that you can do a lot more with pancake flour than just pancakes, but what happens when pancakes ARE what you want, since pancakes are awesome (and most likely the earliest and most widespread cereal food eaten by our prehistoric ancestors!)?


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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
You ARE right about this, but I take a certain amount of satisfaction by trying to analyze the narrative structure of the AP and the themes it wants to explore, and then trying to make a character that just sort of clicks into that setup perfectly. Take Council of Thieves for example:

In most cases though, players wouldn't know those spoilers when building a character for an AP, so normally they won't be in a position to make that character that fits perfectly.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
You ARE right about this, but I take a certain amount of satisfaction by trying to analyze the narrative structure of the AP and the themes it wants to explore, and then trying to make a character that just sort of clicks into that setup perfectly. Take Council of Thieves for example:
In most cases though, players wouldn't know those spoilers when building a character for an AP, so normally they won't be in a position to make that character that fits perfectly.

A PC's backstory tells the GM what the player is interested in doing, and how the player intends that character to interact with the world. Backstory is very important, but I find it's also important for that backstory to have a sufficient amount of flexibility.

When I GM, I prefer having characters whose backstories are painted in broad strokes, with just enough detail to inform both player and GM of the PC's motivations and golas. The details can get fleshed out in play. Honestly, seeing how a a PC's backstory gets filled in by how the game plays out is one of my favorite parts of GMing. If everything in the PC's backstory is fine-tuned and documented in detail, that takes away part of my fun as GM. Too-detailed backstories can also be a crimp on the freedom of the GM to take the story where they want it to go, without stepping on facts established before the game even started. And I've found that many players object to retconning their PCs' backstories.

When I run published adventures, I always tinker with the plotlines, motivations, and backstory. I regularaly make my own changes to the campaign world as well: sometimes subtle, sometimes huge. (e.g. In the last campaign I ran set in Golarion, the capital city of Taldor was Castorhage: the setting of the Frog God Games' setting/AP The Blight.)

A PC backstory that was so carefully fine-tuned to mesh perfectly with established Golarion canon would be a red flag for me. I would take that as a signal that the player expects me to hew perfectly to canon as well. And I don't. Such a backstory would tell me that the player is looking for a gaming experience that I'm unable and/or unwilling to provide, and that they would likely not be satisfied with my game.

If this character was a submission to a PbP that I was running, I would likely offer the slot to a character that wasn't quite so on-the-nose.


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I start with a sentence about the character and build out from there as the adventures progress.

A method I got from my wife.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

So what you're saying is my Bachelor of Arts (English with an emphasis in Literature) degree is actually HURTING my chances of getting recruited rather than helping it because I'm so focused on tearing into the APs like pieces of literary fiction?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes.

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