Running a PF2 character generation workshop


Pathfinder Society

4/5 *

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So, I did this on August 1 at our FLGS to get PF2 going. We had 6 players who came out to build PCs and play "The Sandstone Secret" quest. Sharing my experiences and hoping to learn from others who've done the same.

I started with Lucas Servideo's awesome character worksheet - it gives you a place to track your ability scores as you build, and includes the ability boosts/flaws for all races, backgrounds, and classes for shorthand. I hope he posts it somewhere, it really is fantastic for those who already play PF1 and want to get their PCs built quickly.

Then I explained the ability building system and the feat system briefly. I got everyone to select their race and class, and gave them class-specific character sheets from the Character Sheet pack. (Wasn't planning on doing this, but I forgot the sheets I'd printed at home, and had to buy these as a last-minute replacement). They have all the proficiency levels pre-checked, which saved a lot of time.

Guided them through their choices, and told them about free rebuilding at level 1 (so no one fixated too much on weighing every possibility). Gave them the class-specific equipment kit. Those who had their own rules could work ahead and buy more gear. We skipped factions and Pathfinder training because the Guide was so new and we couldn't access it from our location. (Plus, rebuild. We did assign factions after the game so people got their reputation. No one missed the free consumable, though.)

Not everyone had their own copy of the rules at the table; expect this, and consider not letting someone without rules play a prepared spellcaster unless you have a rulebook you can hand them every five minutes. (Again, rebuild.)

Then I ran the quest using no secret rolls, but described where secret rolls would/could be used. We had a nat 20 and a nat 1 come up as the first two rolls (both to Recall Knowledge), so I got to explain those. Explained things as they came up, rather than in advance.

I'll do a lot of things differently at our Convocation event in a couple of weeks, where we're running a bunch of these... I think it's better to let people select a class/race and then help them build a "pre-gen"-like character so they can play and try it out. More people needed to learn the rules, rather than the details of character generation. Making some decisions for them in the interests of time, and then letting them change it later, is a good idea.

I'd like to hear other ideas - any GenCon experiences that help?

Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 ****

We have 4 full tables signed-up for a couple hours of character creation and playing 1-01 on Sunday. An easy to use character worksheet would be great to have. We may do a staggered start of running depending on when people show up and how long character creation takes. There's a couple things I plan on reminding people about upfront, but otherwise, I like the idea of talking about new rules as they come up in gameplay. Letting people pick factions after they get a chance to meet all the faction leaders is another good idea.

*** Venture-Agent, Washington—Tacoma

DrParty06 wrote:
There's a couple things I plan on reminding people about upfront, but otherwise, I like the idea of talking about new rules as they come up in gameplay. Letting people pick factions after they get a chance to meet all the faction leaders is another good idea.

What do you remind people upfront.

Doing this next week.

Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 ****

Puck35 wrote:


What do you remind people upfront.
Doing this next week.

I haven't run it yet, so not sure how helpful any of it will or won't be, but a few basics. Exploration mode is now a thing, perception/other skills have replaced initiative, 3 actions and 1 reaction per round of encounter mode including multiple attacks, no attacks of opportunity (at least not for anyone yet), include damage type after hitting in combat. Many of them will probably come up during character creation, but repeating things is a good way to learn them. I'm up for other suggestions on things people think are different enough that they should be brought up before they come up in game.

Scarab Sages 3/5 *** Venture-Lieutenant, Nebraska—Bellevue

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Puck35 wrote:
DrParty06 wrote:
There's a couple things I plan on reminding people about upfront, but otherwise, I like the idea of talking about new rules as they come up in gameplay. Letting people pick factions after they get a chance to meet all the faction leaders is another good idea.

What do you remind people upfront.

Doing this next week.

Here are a few things I have made a point of:

- Crit Success/Success/Fail/Crit Fail mechanic. Both the +/- 10 threshold and what a nat 1 or nat 20 mean.
- Aid. Very different now. It's a DC 20. Crit Fail can hurt. It's a typed bonus (doesn't stack).
- Treat Wounds. Needs healers tools. Must be trained in Medicine. Invaluable in post combat recovery. Removes the Wounded condition.
- Attack of Opportunity is not universal.
- Only one reaction. A fighter who relies on a reaction to raise shield can't then use shield block (which would be a second reaction).
- Explore mode. Utility of Scout, Search, Investigate. Initiative bonus from scout doesn't stack (it's typed). BTW, the initiative bonus the Barbarian pre-gen gets at 5th level doesn't stack with Scout. Same bonus type.
- Explore mode. Look for opportunities to stack. Rogue with Trap Finder doesn't need to Search. So effectively the Rogue gets a second explore action. At higher levels both the Rogue and Ranger get access to Scouts Warning - a free scout action.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 **

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I GMed my first session of PF2 on Wednesday at my local store, Dreamers. We decided on a combination character making workshop plus doing the new Sandstone Secret quest that Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote.

★ --- ★ --- ★ --- ★

I brought a lot of materials with me.

  • Perram's two page landscape character sheets (available from Know Direction.)
  • DM Livgin's print out on Pathfinder Training with all the available first level gear detailed out. You can find it on PFS Prep.
  • A print out of legacy backgrounds from the guide.
  • A print out from PFS Prep of all CRB backgrounds by attribute and skills.
  • I also asked everyone who was going if they could bring their copies of the core rulebook if they had them already.

    I also had Flite's amazing spreadsheet to help me figure out level bumps so that we could get encounters scaled correctly.

    ★ --- ★ --- ★ --- ★

    This part cross-posted from Facebook.

    Character generation was easy in part because everyone had ideas for PF2 characters that they were really excited about. Kyle brought his frost goblin wizard who had discovered that writing was the best super power of all, and even had a prop of a book for his Arcane Thesis. Russ played an awesome melee dwarf druid named Moldy Log who let his familiar do all of his chores for him. Dave played an anxious razor tooth goblin barbarian who could not help chewing on stuff -- including the chairs at the venture meeting. Courtnie brought her ever curious halfling cleric of Norgorber who had to pry into everything. Andy went for a monk accountant who wanted to make certain that the lodge's library was organized correctly, and that all the accounting numbers for our expedition tallied correctly. Bryan brought a delightful half-orc redeemer champion who just wanted to help get people on the right track.

    My party role-played a one hour quest into 2.5 hours, having the time of their lives with each other and just playing around with what they could do in the system and as a team. At one point I had to tell my party that I did not want infamy as a GM for running over time while GMing a quest! Thank you to Jared Thaler for a spreadsheet that made it easy to calculate level adjustments so that I could give this party a tough but satisfying fight!

    During the playthrough, my party was so enthusiastic for the new system and the fresh possibilities. When someone asked us how similiar PF1 was to PF2, one of my players said, "Tomatoes and Apples are both red fruits that are delicious, but you use them in different ways. Liking one does not exclude the other!"

    Looking forward to hearing about your first experiences. Were they fun?

  • 3/5

    GM Lamplighter wrote:
    I started with Lucas Servideo's awesome character worksheet

    Where can I find this?

    Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 ****

    Swiftbrook wrote:
    GM Lamplighter wrote:
    I started with Lucas Servideo's awesome character worksheet
    Where can I find this?

    Here.

    Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 **

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    And here is the direct link to Lucas Servideo's character building sheet.

    I love how many people have created useful material right out of the gate!

    Hmm

    Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

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    Lucas also updated the play test reference sheet to include some minor changes to a few of the conditions. Not sure if he shared that yet, but I can poke him. It’s a good reference during game play.

    Also, the GM screen is an excellent investment for player and GM alike. Roughly 3 of the 4 panels is info useful to both

    *** Venture-Agent, Washington—Tacoma

    OMG! Super helpful!

    Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 **** Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

    I agree with Bob, the GM screen is really important and you can likely use the space you don't need in PFS for other things.

    4/5 *

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    A few other items players didn't discover until mid-game:

    - every PC gets HP from more than one spot - so do pets. Animal companions get their "hp" listed under type, *plus* 1d8+Con bonus per level of the PC. 6-hp wolf AC's were quite fragile until they player caught this!

    - no attacks of opportunity. Few reactions. This is a MAJOR game-changed for most players - encouraging maneuver. But...

    - three attacks per round for everyone at level 1. Paizo sometimes seems to over-estimate the importance of accuracy, whereas most players in my experience will happily attack again at -10 if it means rolling another dice. This makes the game much more susceptible to dice-rolling swinginess (even moreso with the new system of critical hits). Most players took their larger number of hp and ability to heal easily as enough of a shield to wade into combat, and so by round 2 we had a big clot of creatures in a clot, all swinging ineffectviely at each other.

    Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

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    Having been on the receiving end of three attacks even with the -10, I’m not sure yet if it’s more effective to attack-attack-stride away than attack-attack-raise shield or even attack-raise shield-stride away. The latter might limit you to only one attack, but it gives you the shield bonus and makes the enemy move before they can attack you, combined minimizing their effectiveness. The problem is the often confined battlefield we are working with that results in the martials putting the other PCs at risk if they start moving around the battlefield. You don’t want to give the enemy reason to consider moving over to the casters, archers, etc. So far, I have not seen the dynamic battlefield we though would result from reducing AoOs. Maybe that will change as we gain levels and more powerful feats and class options.

    Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 **** Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

    The 3 action meta certainly changes once players get more class abilities, considering how precious flanking can be, actually moving into a flanking position can absolutely be worth it, and your friendly neighbourhood rogue will appreciate it.

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

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    So I ran a workshop like this yesterday. Was an interesting experience. I hadn't really gotten round to doing promo when I noticed the signup was full already. Some players we hadn't seen for a long time came out of the woodwork and some totally new people showed up.

    I used some stuff I'd found through this thread, especially the character creation worksheet. Some people had brought their own character sheets, but everyone found the worksheet useful.

    I also ran the quest, and shamelessly picked "random" enemies based on what characters I'd seen people build to let them show off.

    It was an interesting experience. I was a bit out of my depth, due to a Con last weekend I wasn't as thoroughly prepared, so I basically got everyone sat down and gave them materials and let them tinker while answering questions people had. Since people were all over the place with how much they already knew, that worked well.

    I made some notes on what I'd want to do differently next time:

    - Have some PFS-#s to hand out to totally new people that show up. Makes my reporting easier.

    - Have a list of talking points to cover. This is a meeting, it has an agenda to make sure we cover what we need to cover.

    - Set a timer 30 minutes before I want to start the quest, and another one to start it. I started later than was really comfortable because it took some time to help the newbie make a sorcerer. It was worth it though, because he actually understood what spells he had available and used them effectively.

    - I need a laminated sheet with on one side the basic Encounter actions and on the other side the basic Exploration tactics. A couple copies of that will make it easier to explain those two action economies.

    - Prepare the quest better. That one's definitely on me. I will do the ad-hoc enemy choice again though to set up the most interesting encounters for the party the PCs made. (In this case, the mummies were a good match for the alchemist and the gnome sorcerer that used his Fey Gnome heritage to grab disrupt undead when they determined with the Society check at the first room that this was most likely a tomb.)

    - Use table tents to help me remember everyone's names.

    - Have a reference sheet for Downtime and Treasure Bundle scaling.

    - Have a Pathfinder Society 101 briefing that quickly explains what the Society is, what they do, what venture captains do, what lodges and wayfinders are, what the three schools are and what the factions are. This is done a bit with the handout in the quest but I want it to integrate the faction and schools more so that I can guide them through that part of character creation.

    - Have a one-page summary of the factions, on the other side of the schools.

    I have to say, with schools, factions, chronicles and earn income, PFS does add quite a bit to the learning curve of learning Pathfinder 2E.

    One thing that is a bit missing in the quest is healing. Because there's only one encounter, there's not really a good opportunity to demonstrate how Medicine-based healing works, but it's something you really want to teach to people in a character creation workshop.

    Scarab Sages 5/5 5/5 * Venture-Captain, Netherlands

    Thank you for sharing

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