PFS2 1-00 Origin of the Open Road


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5/5 Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka Pirate Rob

Protoplasmic Extruder.

This creates oozes, this is pretty cool.

Unfortunately their stat blocks are not included in the scenario, and the PRD bestiary lacks rules on their attacks as well.

Gelatinous Cube Example.

Silver Crusade 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

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I played this one yesterday and will run it soon... that first ooze encounter is brutal, mostly because 2 of the currently available 6 pre-generated characters are relatively useless.

Combined with our group activating the trap, it felt more like Serpent's Rise than a quick and easy scenario for beginners.
The GM's cursed dice did not help with secret checks either.

The first encounter felt pretty good though.

2/5

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Ran this at GenCon, table felt like they had fun. However none of them had significant ties to PFS/Golarian lore so it was harder to motivate this as an exciting adventure. 'We're tracking down old books in a library' wasn't a great hook for them.

The first encounter worked pretty well, especially as it typically will be triggered with the party somewhat spread out. However it did have a bit of a 5e feel in 'it doesn't matter what class you are, your rolls matter more' -- our higher AC fighter with shield raise kept getting crit, while the lower AC wizard tanked one for 3 rounds with no hits getting through.

The skill check portion at the beginning is structured a little oddly IMO with the red herring 'there's nothing left to find here' before some of the good/required results. Not sure how GMs are running that. I was letting all simultaneous checks happen and then tallying the results, so we jumped over these problem areas due to the way the dice fell. But if they had gone wrong I think the PCs lose the primary success condition for no good reason.

The black pudding is brutal and I can see it causing tpks indirectly later in the fight -- depletes a lot of resources, a couple of people lost armor/weapons.

The pacing felt a little off for a 'new to the game system special'. There will often be a fair bit of rules explanation/questions about characters. I try to keep it brief, as I believable in learn by playing, not by lecture. But with level 5s people had a lot more questions than they did with the level 1 pre-gens. The skill checks were harder for me to add interested role-play to (felt I did a better job in 1-01 with all the NPCs) so its just a set of checks to make until the combat is triggered. And then winning the combat only means you go back to the same checks. Once you exhaust those checks it back to more skill checks to gather information/etc. I could tell my group was itching for combat and the scenario delays.

Scarab Sages 3/5 Venture-Agent, Nebraska—Bellevue aka JohannVonUlm

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Sebastian Hirsch wrote:

I played this one yesterday and will run it soon... that first ooze encounter is brutal, mostly because 2 of the currently available 6 pre-generated characters are relatively useless.

I ran this one in the Thursday night slot at GenCon. Two of the veteran players felt pretty frustrated with both the black pudding and the final fight. At first I was concerned that set of 6 pre-gens available weren't well tailored for it.

But after some thought, I realized that as a GM I missed something important. For the most part, I treated the scenario as a tutorial. It was the first PF2 game for all of us. But I clearly didn't emphasize well enough what the players find in the library and in their investigation.

- All the missing books are on Oozecraft - the making and use of oozes.
- The suspected thieves are from an area that specializes in oozes.
- The hidden trap door obviously leads to the sewers.

And finally, you're in one of the bigger towns in Golarion with plenty of time on your hands for an investigation.

If I had footstomped the obvious ... you may see oozes? Allowed a knowledge check or two. Maybe the rogue stops to buy a light mace (finesse, 2 sp) and the Barbarian stops to buy a great club (1 gp). For 1 gp, 2 sp, they would have changed the fights altogether. Both those pregens have plenty of cash on hand for that.

Kicking myself for not emphasizing that part of the story.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Australia—NSW—Newcastle aka Tim Schneider 908

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How does one do downtime work for this one?

Guide suggests that pregens can do a dayjob, which is fine, but combined with the special allowing you to put it on a level 1... the amount of gold that a level 5 pregen can get on a dayjob is somewhat inappropriate for a level 1 character.

Is this an oversight that shouldn't be allowed, or just a windfall for those who put the special chronicle on a level 1?

4/5 Venture-Agent, Massachusetts—Southcoast aka JDDyslexia

John Brinkman wrote:

I ran this one in the Thursday night slot at GenCon. Two of the veteran players felt pretty frustrated with both the black pudding and the final fight. At first I was concerned that set of 6 pre-gens available weren't well-tailored for it.

But after some thought, I realized that as a GM I missed something important. For the most part, I treated the scenario as a tutorial. It was the first PF2 game for all of us. But I clearly didn't emphasize well enough what the players find in the library and in their investigation.

- All the missing books are on Oozecraft - the making and use of oozes.
- The suspected thieves are from an area that specializes in oozes.
- The hidden trap door obviously leads to the sewers.

And finally, you're in one of the bigger towns in Golarion with plenty of time on your hands for an investigation.

If I had footstomped the obvious ... you may see oozes? Allowed a knowledge check or two. Maybe the rogue stops to buy a light mace (finesse, 2 sp) and the Barbarian stops to buy a great club (1 gp). For 1 gp, 2 sp, they would have changed the fights altogether. Both those pregens have plenty of cash on hand for that.

Kicking myself for not emphasizing that part of the story.

My table at GenCon was fantastic with the oozes. Once they identified the weapon damage problem, Ezren pulled a "yeah, I can hit things with a staff" and proceeded to charge into melee. Eventually, Amiri took it from him and the rest was history. They had the pieces they needed.

The table I ran last weekend opted for the poisonous spores and did fairly well at it.

Both tables roflstomped the final encounter. My GenCon table snuck up on the alchemists. I rolled crud initiative and they just wiped the floor clean with them. The table from last weekend needed a couple of rounds due to coming in single-file through difficult terrain, but Merisiel won initiative and got a crit success for the Disable check on the trap.

Dark Archive 1/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, Michigan—Warren

We had a TPK on this one last night. The team had done a general knowledge check on oozes before heading down to the sewer, but that didn't pick up the piece of knowledge that a specific type of ooze (black pudding) splits under certain circumstances. In the encounter, the first PC split the pudding into three puddings and the creatures then devastated the team. With three actions, going toe to toe with these things can be catastrophic! I totally agree with John Brinkman's comments suggesting finding ways to feed more information.

Except for the collective bummer of the TPK, the players seemed to enjoy the plot and new rules. Be prepared that this one has a decent risk of going long, especially with new players involved.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

We also very nearly TPK'd on this one Friday night. The first encounter was fun and relatively easy/straightforward, but Fumbus blew through almost all his bombs and then used up all his reagents making more before we went into the sewers, and with the rest of the party being Ezren, Amiri, and Valeros, we were hard up for healing. It did not occur to us to buy more appropriate equipment before we went down into the sewers, even though we all bloody well knew what oozes meant, so Valeros and Amiri were severely handicapped, and that was after they both crit-failed against the trap at the beginning, so when we wandered into the poisonous spores and Valeros again crit-failed, that player was done. He walked back through the acid trap on purpose to kill the character and went home early, with the strong implication that he had no intention of ever playing PF2 again. The rest of us narrowly managed to "defeat" the alchemists by triggering their retreat morale condition and disabling the ooze extruder.

Overall, while I still had fun playing Amiri, I feel like this was really spectacularly poorly balanced for the pre-gens we ran it against and the equipment they were provided with. It just felt like a meat grinder, and not a fun introduction to the system.

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

When I ran this at Gen Con, the players did pick up on all the ooze-lore. As such, they assumed that the black pudding was some sort of ooze.

This didn't help Merisiel, who got critted, grabbed, and spent the rest of the encounter learning about the death and dying rules. Once they took a moment to recall knowledge, they did get some basic things (though not before Valeros managed to split it).

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Australia—NSW—Newcastle aka Tim Schneider 908

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My group almost died on the black pudding splitting it 6 times, but right before the 6 puddings obliterated them Ezren fireballed the whole party to kill them! We got to try out all the dying rules haha.

Whole party walked in stark naked into the final encounter (ooze dissolving gear) where I had them scream that they'd never stop their research and was about to call initiative when a player shou1ted "Wait! We dont want to! We just want the open road book, you can keep the ooze books!"... the players actually thought the ooze research was cool & didn't want to stop them. Plus they did enough research earlier to know they were having no luck selling the open road stuff. After the initial more confusing than threatening entry of the naked party, a few diplomacy checks and a promise to help with the research matters calmed down... and when fumbus and Ezren both crit craft checks to help with their research they made such good friends I decided they were ok with the party making a copy of the ooze research so long as they kept the original.

All in all great fun.

Still trying to work out how downtime checks work for this though... for now I didn't give the players the downtime as giving it at level 5 to a level 1 char seemed broken and anything else seemed house rule. I've promised to fix it up once I know the rules, if anyone can help me here it'd be great.

Dark Archive 3/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Colorado—Denver aka masterslate

Tim Schneider wrote:
Still trying to work out how downtime checks work for this though... for now I didn't give the players the downtime as giving it at level 5 to a level 1 char seemed broken and anything else seemed house rule. I've promised to fix it up once I know the rules, if anyone can help me here it'd be great.

Short answer: It depends.

Long answer:

Guild Guide v0.04 wrote:
You can apply credit from a higher-tier adventure to a 1st-level Pathfinder Society character. When doing so, you gain only the gold appropriate to a 1st-level character. You do not benefit from any boons until your Pathfinder Society character reaches the minimum level listed on the Chronicle sheet, unless otherwise noted.
If they're applying it to a level 1 character, my understanding is you would use the dayjob of the character the chronicle is being applied to. If that character is not yet built, I think you're just SOL on the downtime, since downtime must be used at the end of the session in which it was earned.
Quote:

Special: This adventure was designed for use with pregenerated characters. You can assign this Chronicle sheet to any character of

levels 1–5 who does not already have a copy of this Chronicle sheet.

However, there's also the rule that says:

Guild Guide v0.04 wrote:

You may apply a pregenerated character’s Chronicle sheet to one of your Pathfinder Society characters once your Pathfinder Society character reaches the level of the pregenerated character used to play through it. For example, if you played a 5th-level pregenerated character, you would apply the credit once your character reaches 5th level.

...

Downtime: Pregenerated characters can use Downtime.

So, you could use the pregens downtime roll, which would be available when the PC reaches level 5. In this case, they would get all the boons at level 1, since the chronicle says level 1-5.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Earn Income is not a boon, so it's not covered by the delayed gratification clause.

I also don't think it's covered by the scale-to-L1 rule, that one seems intent on scaling the treasure bundles.

It seems like this one particular scenario is quite lucrative for lower level characters. For a level 1 character, that's about 30% extra gold. However, I don't think it's really cause for alarm. The scenario isn't evergreen. And it's only a lot of money relatively speaking; the advantage fades rather quickly as regular scenario awards quickly become bigger than that. By level 3 it's as if you had earned one extra treasure bundle, hardly reason for panic.

So I'd say just let people enjoy it this once.

Dark Archive 3/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Colorado—Denver aka masterslate

Regarding the research work section -- at 6 successes, they "are aware
they have exhausted all their research avenues in the Orrery Archive."

Yet there are 3 more successes. Is that a typo? or are players supposed to assume that there must be more?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Australia—NSW—Newcastle aka Tim Schneider 908

Yeah, I wasn't sure how to proceed there too - as if they stop at that heavy-handed GM "You're done here" they lose their primary success condition as the permit comes after it.

I read what it said to read, cause I felt like I should... but added "But you're seasoned pathfinders, and surely are aware it's worth double checking before you move on right?" (In my most 'this is the actual GM hint' voice I could muster). The party thought that info came from a crit-fail not the scenario until I admitted it after :P


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Doing some catchup on my paperwork, and I just realized that the Chronicle sheet from this one doesn't have space for Fame. Do we still receive the 4 Fame from this scenario? Or does this scenario provide Reputation but no Fame?

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

azjauthor wrote:
Doing some catchup on my paperwork, and I just realized that the Chronicle sheet from this one doesn't have space for Fame. Do we still receive the 4 Fame from this scenario? Or does this scenario provide Reputation but no Fame?

?

Fame is in the lower right corner, just like the other chronicles.

2/5

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

The chronicles were updated very early on after they dropped. If you downloaded the original they had no spot for fame. Within the first week they re-released it with the new form.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The GM who ran it likely pulled them as soon as they dropped. Thanks!

Certainly not the first time. I had a Starfinder repeatable Scenario that I played and ran a couple of times before I played it with someone else and found out they'd updated the chronicle to a different credit amount.

Silver Crusade 5/5

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We TPKed last night (later reversed by GM fiat for reasons that I found unconvincing).

The Black Pudding is just brutal. We knew we were fighting oozes but it never occurred to us that we'd need to go get better weapons. So, maybe our bad. But this is an INTRODUCTORY scenario and we were all concentrating on learning the rules, our characters, etc. And we've all been well trained to stay on the obvious railroad tracks in PFS. I guess a TPK will learn us :-)

An all but automatic grab on a creature with reach is just brutal. The check to get out isn't too bad but that takes 1 action, getting in reach takes a second, allowing only one hit. Which then splits the ooze. What happened to us seems quite likely. A character got grabbed early so running away was no longer a great option (you're leaving a character to die)

The scenario seems to assume that the wizard (who may or may not be along, of course) will make a knowledge check before the party splits the ooze into several component parts. Never happened since the wizard was slow and we'd already split the ooze into too many parts to handle by the time his initiative came up.

This would be hard with level 5 characters made by players. With pregens it really is over the top in how difficult it is. The pudding is fairly likely to crit whoever he hits and, depending on which character that is, fairly likely to put him unconscious in a single round (a full round attack starting with a crit does 6d8+28+6d6 damage, or 75 pts of damage on average).

And only one of the Pregens has in battle healing. We made the fatal mistake of not choosing to bring Kyra. Yes, PF2 has all sorts of ways to make a cleric no longer essential. Except none of the pregens had them.

This scenario brought me one step closer to deciding that PFS2 isn't for me (a lot of the issues I'm seeing can be handled by a decent GM. Except in PFS where GMs don't have the freedom to be decent :-().

If it was my first exposure to PFS2 it would definitely have been my last. As it is, it may well be my last.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

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It sounds like you just got some very bad luck with the ooze fight.

It's got a decent chance to crit, but not a likely chance as the AC of just about every PC is 22, requiring a roll of at least 14 on the die to crit on the first attack. Grab takes an action, as does constrict. The most likely turn for a black pudding is Attack, Grab, and Constrict for 3d8+14 bludgeoning plus 3d6 acid. If the PC doesn't escape it will most likely keep the Grab and Constrict the next round, costing it two actions for 1d8+7 bludgeoning plus 1d6 acid.

There's two ways to handle the split ability. One is to only use bludgeoning weapons and spells and the other is to deliberately split it as fast as possible and let Ezren and Fumbus deal with it (fireball and bombs). The second requires a lot more player coordination using delays and careful targeting to make sure you split it as far down as possible between its turn and Ezren/Fumbus. Unfortunately what often happens is that individual players pursue a mix of strategies and the end result is several barely damaged puddings.

It is a big problem that Amiri and Merisiel have no way to damage the black pudding by default.

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

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Our Amiri beat the pudding to death with rage-fueled, hasted fists. Admittedly, our team was experienced 1E players, so the idea might not occur to newer arrivals. Having Kyra and being able to throw spiritual weapon also helped.

2/5

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Yup, its a doozy of a fight. I've GM'd it 7-8 times now (losing track), most groups split it ~1-2 times and typically at least half the PCs have wounded 1-2 by the end of the fight. I had 2 groups do knowledge checks before entering the sewers after all the ooze references -- both learned about the splitting, one bought blunt weapons for everyone, one decided on the 'intentional split and burn' both of those groups did much better, but even still often had 1 person emerge with wounded. Commonly Valeros or Amiri has lost some of their gear to the ooze's acid too.

It does feel a touch unfair to PF newbies just trying the game out at a convention (where 5 of my tables were). When you have experienced players (even if they've been taught the railroad), at least they understand what's happening after the first split.

2/5

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

We also had one table with Merisiel stealing bombs from Fumbus (skill checks and player permission), Amiri disarming Ezren (again w/ player permission(not character permission)) to get a staff to bludgeon the ooze), before Ezren used his hand of the apprentice to throw the staff and get it back leaving Amiri with nothing (probably not RAW, but the entire table was laughing and enjoying it)

Silver Crusade 5/5

Kevin Willis wrote:
Grab takes an action,

I don't think that is correct. I think it automatically grabs on an attack.

2/5

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

It has regular Grab not Improved Grab. That means after an attack that hits, it can spend an action to grab. Improved Grab makes it a free action.

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

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Grab wrote:

Action(s): one

Requirements The monster’s last action was a success with a Strike that lists Grab in its damage entry, or it has a creature grabbed using this action.

Effect The monster automatically Grabs the target until the end of the monster’s next turn. The creature is grabbed by whichever body part the monster attacked with, and that body part can’t be used to Strike creatures until the grab is ended. Using Grab extends the duration of the monster’s Grab until the end of its next turn for all creatures grabbed by it. A grabbed creature can use the Escape action to get out of the grab, and the Grab ends for a grabbed creatures if the monster moves away from it.

It prevented the first hit from grappling Merisiel in my run, as it was the last action the pudding took, so it had no action to Grab.

Silver Crusade 5/5

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NielsenE wrote:
It has regular Grab not Improved Grab. That means after an attack that hits, it can spend an action to grab. Improved Grab makes it a free action.

You're right. GM got it wrong (as did I when I looked up the monster) and it actually would have made a difference in the fight. I feel less bad for the armwaved "you didn't actually die"

But man is PF2 failing the "simpler" goal. It's just as complicated as PF1, just in different places. If I look up a monster and see an action that includes grab I shouldn't have to look up every word in its attack line. One of the stated purposes of the 1,2,3 action icons was to reduce lookup.

I know, learning curve. But when EVERYBODY at a table misses something it's pretty good evidence that things aren't being explained well.

Sorry for being so negative. Part of the problem is that I WANT to like this game, I'm just finding it hard to. I keep stumbling over several issues that really bug me.

2/5

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

No one else at the table is likely looking at the bestiary, so its not the best example.

However, it does help to approach it with a mindset of 'whoops I/we made a mistake, lets fix it and move on' not 'I can't believe we couldn't find it in the first place'. Once you're already in the mindset that its not easier, everything you see will just compound that feeling.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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pauljathome wrote:

We TPKed last night (later reversed by GM fiat for reasons that I found unconvincing).

The Black Pudding is just brutal. We knew we were fighting oozes but it never occurred to us that we'd need to go get better weapons. So, maybe our bad. But this is an INTRODUCTORY scenario and we were all concentrating on learning the rules, our characters, etc. And we've all been well trained to stay on the obvious railroad tracks in PFS. I guess a TPK will learn us :-)

I think to some degree the adventure is intended to shake you of PF1 railroad tracks. It takes an action to do Knowledge checks. The fighter can do that check, Valeros has Occultism. But it would stop him from moving forward and (disastrously!) using Double Slice. Most peoples' instinct is not to "waste" an action on knowledge and pile on the damage. This is a lesson worth learning!

pauljathome wrote:
An all but automatic grab on a creature with reach is just brutal. The check to get out isn't too bad but that takes 1 action, getting in reach takes a second, allowing only one hit. Which then splits the ooze. What happened to us seems quite likely. A character got grabbed early so running away was no longer a great option (you're leaving a character to die)

Note that being grabbed isn't quite as bad as it was in PF1. In PF1 being grappled prevented you using 2H weapons and spells. In PF2 you can still do most things while grabbed, you just need to clear a DC 5 flat check to do Manipulate actions (like spellcasting). It's a lot easier to cast spells in a PF2 grapple than in PF1.

pauljathome wrote:
The scenario seems to assume that the wizard (who may or may not be along, of course) will make a knowledge check before the party splits the ooze into several component parts. Never happened since the wizard was slow and we'd already split the ooze into too many parts to handle by the time his initiative came up.

After the first splitting you didn't pause to think about it? Also, Valeros also has Occultism trained - kinda like how PF1 fighters also had Dungeoneering as a class skill ("what did I just step into").

pauljathome wrote:
This would be hard with level 5 characters made by players. With pregens it really is over the top in how difficult it is. The pudding is fairly likely to crit whoever he hits and, depending on which character that is, fairly likely to put him unconscious in a single round (a full round attack starting with a crit does 6d8+28+6d6 damage, or 75 pts of damage on average).

Actually I've seen especially Valeros use his shield effectively to deflect most of the ooze's attacks, but yeah, he also got critted a lot by it. It's a harsh encounter to be sure, but both when I played it and when I ran it, the pregens won through.

pauljathome wrote:
And only one of the Pregens has in battle healing. We made the fatal mistake of not choosing to bring Kyra. Yes, PF2 has all sorts of ways to make a cleric no longer essential. Except none of the pregens had them.

Well I guess again the scenario works to teach a lesson: always talk about your healing strategy when mustering the party.

pauljathome wrote:

This scenario brought me one step closer to deciding that PFS2 isn't for me (a lot of the issues I'm seeing can be handled by a decent GM. Except in PFS where GMs don't have the freedom to be decent :-().

If it was my first exposure to PFS2 it would definitely have been my last. As it is, it may well be my last.

At this point you're being a bit sour grapes about it. The scenario is surprisingly spicy for an iconic-only one, but it isn't as bad as you describe it. Both times I saw it in action was with a group with mixed experience as gamers, and they made it through intact. And both the other guy and me as GM didn't feel that the scenario got in our way while we tried to be a decent GM.

You guys had several chances to avert disaster:
- Think twice before not bringing any proper healing character. I mean, Medicine is nice but apparently you didn't even check if the other characters could actually do that.
- During the investigation in town, a critical success on asking about oozes warns you about oozes splitting.
- Both the library investigation and the investigation in town are rife with hints about oozes being a thing. You could have thought "hey we're likely to face oozes, maybe we should think bout what we could do to prepare for that".
- When you actually faced the ooze, both the wizard and the fighter have the skill to know more about it.
- When you first split the ooze, that's a damn good hint something is up. But you imply that you guys split it more than once. Why did you keep doing a thing that was working out very badly?

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

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The pudding fights were tough, since most of the pregens were built to use Pointy-Slashy Things.

But... in 2E, *everyone* is trained in unarmed attacks. Once the party splits the first one and realizes the Attack did no damage at all, the GM might need to give the party a hint on how to stop the things. The two best plans I have seen so far are to create as many puddings as possible and let Ezren roast em all like giant marshmallows, or for the melee characters to throw down their weapons and start punching it in the squishy bits.

As we all learn a new rule set, I think a few hints from the GM on better tactics is a good thing. I’m not advocating telling people how to play their characters, but I suspect that very few players will realize that everyone is now trained to punch things — this is a change from how we are all used to thinking.

Silver Crusade 5/5

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:
pauljathome wrote:

We TPKed last night (later reversed by GM fiat for reasons that I found unconvincing).

The Black Pudding is just brutal.

I'm not going to quote all of your response but I will reply to the gist of it,

I totally agree that we could have done some things better. Both the GM and players made some mistakes that contributed to the TPK.

But in an introductory scenario for a brand new game system I think it is just too hard. One can EXPECT the GM and Players to make mistakes. An introductory scenario shouldn't be so difficult that a failure to play smart (by looking for information on oozes BEFORE going in) combined with a bit of bad luck ends up in a TPK.

Quote:


I think to some degree the adventure is intended to shake you of PF1 railroad tracks. It takes an action to do Knowledge checks. The fighter can do that check, Valeros has Occultism. But it would stop him from moving forward and (disastrously!) using Double Slice. Most peoples' instinct is not to "waste" an action on knowledge and pile on the damage. This is a lesson worth learning!

I wasn't playing Valeros. I don't think that it even occurred to the player that Occultism would let him know something about oozes. Maybe the GM should have hinted.

Quote:


Note that being grabbed isn't quite as bad as it was in PF1.

Agreed, but it is also WORSE than in PF1 in one significant respect. As far as i can see you aren't pulled adjacent so given that you're grabbed by a creature with reach the fighter (assuming no reach weapon which is the case for pregens) can't even strike back.

Quote:


Well I guess again the scenario works to teach a lesson: always talk about your healing strategy when mustering the party.

It was an online game. The player who was going to play Kyra didn't show up. We briefly discussed somebody swapping into playing Kyra but it was pointed out that PF2 was designed to make the cleric no longer essential. So we believed the hype and nobody chose to bite the bullet and play Kyra.

Our mistake I guess. The lesson is to not believe Paizo? Yes, I know this is largely unfair. It IS true that other characters can take on the healing role. Just none of the pregens. But is it really good introductory adventure design to make the cleric so crucial a character? I'm going to say no.

Quote:


At this point you're being a bit sour grapes about it.

Not really, no. In my experience a very large number of new players take quite badly to character death, especially to what seems like unfair character death.

As to me, I didn't really mind the TPK per se (the chronicle was attached to a brand new character. No way I'm risking a real character on a Paizo pregen only scenario :-) :-)). One of my biggest concerns with PF2 is how limited and expensive knowledge skills are. And how crucial they seem to be. This scenario accentuated that concern. Big time.

I've got a knowledge monkey character. I'm getting very close to deciding that he is the only character I'll ever play in PFS because that role is so crucial and, in PFS, you can't rely on the other players.

I stand by my original position. This is too hard FOR AN INTRODUCTORY PREGEN ONLY ADVENTURE. Its acceptably hard with player built characters, its probably even going to be acceptable for pregens a year from now when the players and GM know all the rules. But it is too unforgiving for right now when the GMs and players are all making substantial mistakes.

As I said, the GM thought that he'd made enough mistakes that he retconned the TPK. Now that I know that he oops'd on the grab I almost agree with him. But mistakes like that are all but inevitable at this stage (I'm most certainly not blaming him in any way).

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

Can’t agree with you there. I have now run it 4 times and it has been a fun introduction to the game with a suitable challenge that forced them to really work to succeed but was achievable with some reasonable GMing. A few times characters have been put down but no one has died in any of those runnings.

There are a couple of points in the adventure when you can gather information and learn about split specifically., giving you a chance to prepare so you may have missed these clues as well.

One of my groups decided to split the pudding over and over again and then fireballed the whole room, friends and all, to kill the puddings.

Another group attacked it with their fists and slings to kill it.

The deadliest encounter for most groups was the trap and persistent acid damage.

It seems like you keep finding things that cause you to lose heart with 2e, only to find the rules weren’t followed or your initial assumptions were incorrect.

I have played at your tables and found you to be a lot of fun to play with so I don’t get where all this negativity on the boards comes from sometimes, but next time you think “this time my expectations that this game will suck have finally come true” I advise you to take a deep breath and check first that significant mistakes were not made in how the scenario was run before using that experience or an assumption to judge the system a failure.

Give it a fair chance! You might come to enjoy the new system if you don’t keep jumping to conclusions.

I say this with the friendliest of intentions.

Dark Archive 5/5

pauljathome wrote:

Agreed, but it is also WORSE than in PF1 in one significant respect. As far as i can see you aren't pulled adjacent so given that you're grabbed by a creature with reach the fighter (assuming no reach weapon which is the case for pregens) can't even strike back.

Core Rulebook pg. 475 wrote:
Sometimes part of a creature extends beyond its space, such as if a giant octopus is grabbing you with its tentacles. In that case, the GM will usually allow attacking the extended portion, even if you can’t reach the main creature.

Silver Crusade 5/5

DrParty06 wrote:
pauljathome wrote:

Agreed, but it is also WORSE than in PF1 in one significant respect. As far as i can see you aren't pulled adjacent so given that you're grabbed by a creature with reach the fighter (assuming no reach weapon which is the case for pregens) can't even strike back.

Core Rulebook pg. 475 wrote:
Sometimes part of a creature extends beyond its space, such as if a giant octopus is grabbing you with its tentacles. In that case, the GM will usually allow attacking the extended portion, even if you can’t reach the main creature.

I missed that. Thanks.

Too many versions of D&D floating in my head, all with fairly minor (but quite significant) differences. I'm an old fart, its hard to keep track of which is which :-(

Glen Shackleton wrote:


Give it a fair chance!

I am really trying to! One reason that I post has been to see if people can convince me that I'm wrong :-). Or to identify mistakes that have been made.

But I also do realize that not all games are right for all people. And, unfortunately, its becoming quite likely that PF2 (at least PFS2) is just not for me. I have NOT yet made that decision but I'm definitely headed in that direction.

Oh, and I AM giving it a fair chance. Played every PFS scenario out there so far, ran most of them. Played under a variety of GMs.

Sorry that I'm coming across as quite negative. Not my intent although I definitely see how I'm coming across that way.

Also, for what its worth, I'm NOT saying that PF2 is a bad game. I am saying that I'm not sure its the game for me, which is a very different statement.

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

Yep I can see that it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Perfectly ok with that but do wish more would give it a fair shake before deciding that arbitrarily out of the gates.

I was a huge skeptic but I now see it solves a lot of gameplay issues rather elegantly.

Grand Lodge 2/5

Wondering if there should be any 4-player adjustment on the research portion. Stinks to lose main fame/prestige for a failed series of skill checks?

Dark Archive 5/5

Bristor wrote:
Wondering if there should be any 4-player adjustment on the research portion. Stinks to lose main fame/prestige for a failed series of skill checks?

The assumption is that the provided DCs are for 4 players. If anything, the expectation would be an increase in DC for more players.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Australia—NSW—Newcastle aka Tim Schneider 908

You don't necessarily lose fame/prestige - as far as I recall there was no fixed time limit.

You can spend as long as you need there, you just make the later encounters harder if you take too long. Which if a series of bad rolls makes a later area harder... yeah seems fair.

2/5

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I just find weird that using a weapon against the black pudding take damage on the weapon...but not your fist.


So I need some input. What happens when the PCs never find the clue about where the twins are located? There are only two chances to learn about the Wishful Cures and there does not appear to be any other way to find the apothecary.

I'm tempted to just tack on another 1d4 hours (which won't make any difference) and let them stumble upon on it.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

There's three chances actually:

Crafting or Diplomacy (Gather Information) (DC 20) to ask about the Ohrlavis among the alchemical crowd, requires a simple success.

Diplomacy (Gather Information), Pathfinder Society Lore, or Society (DC 22) to ask about the Open Road Pact book, requires a critical success.

Society (DC 20), simple success to get Igrigi to remember that the Ohrlavis were based in Wishful Cures.

Now, going for lunch with Igrigi a second time doesn't make much sense, but I don't see anything stopping you from retrying the other checks. And asking around among the local alchemists is a fairly obvious thing to try again (hint hint).

The punishment for needing to try again is that the Ohrlavis get closer to finishing their device.

---

Also, the pregens are actually pretty decent at these skills.


Thanks for the response.

The pregens have good modifiers. The players don't have good rolls. The first check is a DC 20. When you roll a 2, you're going to miss it. The other problem is that Aid Another has a default DC of 20, so there's not a lot of Aid Another in PF2.

The Second check requires a 28, they didn't get it.

The third check requires that the actually know who Igrigi is and they needed to get five success in the Archive to learn that name.

It's definitely not clear that the Pathfinders can keep asking over and over, but I think that this makes the most sense in this situation.

Thank you again.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

That seems like a case of "failing forward," as mentioned on p. 491. Though I think I've heard this concept mentioned by Jason Bulmahn on both Oblivion Oath and Knights of Everflame, and in a few other YouTube videos discussing 2nd edition, this brief mention on 491 seems to be the only one. It doesn't look like the Society GMs are explicitly given guidance on when/how this is applied for Society play, but I would think it could apply here. As Lau mentioned, having the machine closer to completion would seem to be an appropriate consequence.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

N N 959 wrote:

Thanks for the response.

The pregens have good modifiers. The players don't have good rolls. The first check is a DC 20. When you roll a 2, you're going to miss it. The other problem is that Aid Another has a default DC of 20, so there's not a lot of Aid Another in PF2.

The Second check requires a 28, they didn't get it.

Yeah PF2 isn't so hot on Aid Another. But in this case, why would you use Aid Another in the first place? Why not send people out to do independent checks? For the Society check, Fumbus has a +11 and Ezren has a +13, why aren't they both trying the check? For diplomacy checks, why aren't both Fumbus and Kyra trying? For Crafting, both Valeros and Fumbus are good. For Occultism, both Ezren and Valeros are good.

N N 959 wrote:
The third check requires that the actually know who Igrigi is and they needed to get five success in the Archive to learn that name.

Why did they stop researching in the archive so soon?

N N 959 wrote:


It's definitely not clear that the Pathfinders can keep asking over and over, but I think that this makes the most sense in this situation.

Thank you again.

How else are you going to take 30 hours to get to area B5? It's assumed the PCs spend multiple hours in the archive, then a couple of hours gathering info on the streets. But to have it be possible to take 30 hours, you're going to have to repeat some things.

Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

Remember that if they spend enough time they may want to sleep.
Additionally, this enables them to recover many of the resources used in the fight with the statues.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
How else are you going to take 30 hours to get to area B5? It's assumed the PCs spend multiple hours in the archive, then a couple of hours gathering info on the streets. But to have it be possible to take 30 hours, you're going to have to repeat some things.

There are nine tasks in the archive. If the party does them one at at time, that is 9 hours. Then, there is lunch with Sebnet, which should take an hour. There are five topics of possible research. That could be a maximum of 20 hours. So it's possible to take 30+ hours without repeating any of the street searching if the PCs decided to wait an hour to heal before continuing in the archive.

I should also point out that I have never seen a scenario in PF1 that let the PCs keep rolling Gather Info checks. While I would assume that there is at least one, I haven't come across it as a GM or a player.

That having been said, I did find this point convincing that re-rolls were intended.

Quote:
Yeah PF2 isn't so hot on Aid Another. But in this case, why would you use Aid Another in the first place? Why not send people out to do independent checks?

Because as the GM, that is not my decision. I'm not going to tell the players how to search. I gave them the option of splitting up or traveling in groups. Most experienced players are reluctant to split the party and there is every reason to believe that any particular search might result in a combat encounter unless a GM were to tell them otherwise. In fact, the party found out about the Wishful Cures, but there is still more useful info they could acquire if they kept gathering info. So there is a real possibility a party could be separated going into combat. Not to mention that this is what happened in the archive.

Quote:
For the Society check, Fumbus has a +11 and Ezren has a +13, why aren't they both trying the check? For diplomacy checks, why aren't both Fumbus and Kyra trying? For Crafting, both Valeros and Fumbus are good. For Occultism, both Ezren and Valeros are good.

Because they didn't split the group initially. I'm of the opinion that two people can't search together using different methods given that they aren't going to any specific place and reduced to asking around the city.

The other issue is that a critical failure in the archive has made some of the PCs gun-shy. Now that Critical Failure is a thing in PF2, the players are less cavalier about rolling dice every chance they get.

Quote:
Why did they stop researching in the archive so soon?

They didn't. They simply failed to find the clues. You did see this, right?

p.7 wrote:
If the PCs succeed at a particular skill check, or if they fail or critically fail the check, they have received all the information they are capable of gleaning from that section and can’t attempt that particular skill check again.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Australia—NSW—Newcastle aka Tim Schneider 908

They crit failed every single section of the library? Wow... that's some seriously bad luck to crit fail every single section of the library - 9 critical failures before they got clues? Given they're often only crit-failing on a 1 if they used their best skills that's some seriously bad luck. Unless they just threw all their dice at each section & had barbarians trying arcana checks - in which case they earned the failures... but otherwise you've got an amazingly unlucky party.

As far as the aid being the only option to gather information together, I'd call that a bit of a harsh restriction you're placing on them. In a crowded city people can stay relatively close together without literally only talking to the same people as each-other. If we were in a rural farming area where you'd probably only find 1 person in any given 100 ft radius I'd agree, but in this setting it seems needlessly restrictive - especially when your players are already having trouble.

Regarding retrying gather information in PF1 - it's actually explicitly allowed in the diplomacy rules. I'm sure there's probably a PF1 scenario out there that says you can't, and time very much is a limiting factor too, but in general you absolutely can if you have the time.


Tim Schneider wrote:
They crit failed every single section of the library?

You lost me.

Quote:
As far as the aid being the only option to gather information together

Not sure what you're talking about. The "aid?" The players have the option of splitting up or working together. They chose to work together.

Quote:
Regarding retrying gather information in PF1 - it's actually explicitly allowed in the diplomacy rules.

Yes, but these skill checks are frequently paired with Knowledge checks that explicitly do not allow rerolls.

PF1 Core rulebook p.99 wrote:
Try Again: No. The check represents what you know, and thinking about a topic a second time doesn’t let you know something that you never learned in the first place.

More to the point, I've never had a GM explicitly tells us we could keep rolling.

In this scenario, the Diplomacy check for the twins is paired with Crafting via Recall Knowledge. Does PF2 allow us to keep re-rolling RK without penalty?

In any event, I followed Lau's advice, so I'm not sure what your objective is here.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

@NN959:

I'm having a hard time understanding what your players did. I get the feeling either you had a distinctly different idea about how the scene should be run, or your players were stuck in a mindset with PFS1 tactics that don't work so well with PFS2 rules. And while I respect the autonomy of players, and I'll let them make their own decisions, if they're planning to do something out of ignorance that doesn't make sense in the new game's rules, I'll tell them and ask them if they want to reconsider.

To try to get us all on the same page, here's how I think it is intended to be run.

Each hour, each PC picks a section of the library to work on. I wrote the skills for each section on the map and had people put their mini on the part of the map that they were investigating. The skill check represents how well that PC does at investigating that part of the library. So if in the first hour Ezren attempts the Occultism check, the next hour Valeros can go to that section and see how well he can do it too. So at maximum the PCs can attempt 6 x 9 skill checks. In practice it's a bit fewer since on average 2 pregens are good at each skill, but that's still a lot of skill checks. It should probably take the PCs 2-4 hours to get everything. At my table last month, they had six pregens and it took them only 1 hour to get 8 successes due to a lot of crits. Each pregen attempting the skills they're best at is by far the best strategy.

Were I think our views diverged is that I think each PC can attempt each skill (but should only do so if they're good at it), while it seems you thought all of the PCs together could only attempt each skill once?

---

After the PCs are done in the library they have a meeting with the VC and then go into the city. Regarding "gather info" in PF1, it takes 1d4 hours to Gather Info using Diplomacy, but there's no limit on retries; trying to get the same info using Knowledge (Local) is instantaneous, but doesn't allow you to retry (unless perhaps you have a library that allows that). An example scenario where gather info retries are used is The Technic Siege, and in that scenario it really matters how many hours it takes you to find things. The obvious counterexample is gather info checks at the start of scenrios, where it's assumed that you can try only once. Although that might be more assumption than actual rule.

I know that "don't split the party" is a normal practice, but it's not a rule in the rulebook or anything. Most of the time, splitting the party is a bad thing because it's risky and because it doesn't make things go any faster in OOC time if the GM has to divide attention between groups. So when a scenario seems to want the party to split up for something relatively safe, such as walking around to gather info, I think it's good if the GM just tells the players that it's safe and useful to do so. Quantium is a civilized and fairly safe city, walking around and chatting to people is safe enough that you don't have to do it as a gang.

PF2 does in fact allow you to retry Recall Knowledge. It's intended actually: you tend to learn only one bit of information per attempt, but you can attempt multiple times to learn more. The thing is, that takes multiple actions. In combat, it's possible (and sometimes useful) for a highly knowledgeable character to spend multiple actions to get more information about a monster.

And since the skill checks here all take 1d4 hours and are described as "asking around", I would say that they're basically all Gather Info checks, just using specific skills related to the topic you're asking about. Use Crafting to talk shop with alchemists for example.

2/5

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Lau Bannenberg wrote:

@NN959:

...

Each hour, each PC picks a section of the library to work on. I wrote the skills for each section on the map and had people put their mini on the part of the map that they were investigating. The skill check represents how well that PC does at investigating that part of the library. So if in the first hour Ezren attempts the Occultism check, the next hour Valeros can go to that section and see how well he can do it too. So at maximum the PCs can attempt 6 x 9 skill checks. In practice it's a bit fewer since on average 2 pregens are good at each skill, but that's still a lot of skill checks. It should probably take the PCs 2-4 hours to get everything. At my table last month, they had six pregens and it took them only 1 hour to get 8 successes due to a lot of crits. Each pregen attempting the skills they're best at is by far the best strategy.

Were I think our views diverged is that I think each PC can attempt each skill (but should only do so if they're good at it), while it seems you thought all of the PCs together could only attempt each skill once?

...

I think I ran it/interpreted it the same way as NN did, and not as you did. Once a check has been attempted at a spot, that spot is closed unless the check was a crit success. If multiple PCs are independently searching the same section (ie not aiding), I have been rank ordering their rolls from best to worst.

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