Level-Up & Shopping: Between sessions or during sessions?


Advice


Do you like to linger over the “bookkeeping stuff,” or do you think that it’s better left to emails and forum posts and between-sessions play? Does the answer change if you're on Roll20 vs. a PBP forum vs. an IRL table?

Comic for illustrative purposes.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Between for leveling unless there some coordination you want to do with the party for crafting (or teamwork feats from 1e).

Shopping varies.


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These topics feel like click bait to get people to hit up your web comic. Like, there's a lot to be said about these particular questions you pose, but it doesn't feel like an earnest attempt at discussion when the topics are made so frequently, always link to your web comic, and then you don't post a lot of specific thoughts or answers in the topic.

I'm not sure it breeches any forum rules, and I guess if it is working more power to you... But it feels pretty gauche to me, and I'm personally less inclined to read your webcomic if it seems you're trying to hoodwink me into doing so.

Anyway, to answer the question... I think the more of this can be done away from the table the better, but as a GM there's only so much you can do to encourage your players to browse the treasure options in their free time if they aren't interested in that. (And I've found few of my players are.) If you're lucky like me, you'll have one player who is good with spreadsheets and can help the party track and spend its filthy lucre. But even that still usually winds up happening at the table.

Sometimes you can get a good session for it though. Last Sunday, we were down a player and the group didn't want to go into the big important meeting with the ruling council without them, so they used it as an opportunity to sell loot, upgrade and swap runes, and so forth. It still wasn't as much fun as I'd like, but it got done.


I do shopping in-session, and my players definitely like to have a "shopping day" once in a while where there's not a lot of combat or plot progression but they get to roleplay with each other and shopkeepers a lot.

I only hand out experience at the end of a session, so that's when level ups usually happen. Some players prefer to get my help deciding what to pick (as I know the system the best) and others do it on their own. Either way, I tend to do it at the end of the session because if we don't my players tend to forget to level up in the time before the next session. And unlike 5e, which we used to play, it might take you more than a couple minutes before the session to pick out what you get.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

When my players are close to levelling I let them know and ask them to have a levelled up sheet on hand (or if they like to rub out, written down their choices so they can quickly amend their sheet in tea break) so we dont have to wait to level. The characters level up the next time they rest, as we feel that time makes sense for "that spell I've been working on" etc to come together.

Horizon Hunters

I play primarily by PbP and we do it basically immediately. It takes no time at all in Pathfinder 2e, compared to 1e!

Shopping, we do in downtime whenever that occurs and I provide my players a list of everything they have found, ask what they want to keep and auto sell the rest, work out how much money they split and then ask what they want. Some of them like to RP this out in thread but some just use the time to chat and rest with the shopping happening off screen.


I only hand out exp at the end of the session, so we don't level mid-play. That being said, once exp is dolled out, most of my players level up right there at the table before packing up. If they don't do it right there it usually means they will walk up to the table the next week and then they level up right there before we start.


I usually lvl up my players at end of session. Since all of them are new to RPGs we have yet to do a "shopping" session but I am looking forward to seeing how they react. I plan to do it just before next downtime.


Both. It is so easy to level up mid session in pf2e that I would do it with any group who is organised and knows where they are going with their characters. Anyone who cannot would be talked to outside of the game ;)


Salamileg wrote:
I only hand out experience at the end of a session, so that's when level ups usually happen. Some players prefer to get my help deciding what to pick (as I know the system the best) and others do it on their own. Either way, I tend to do it at the end of the session because if we don't my players tend to forget to level up in the time before the next session. And unlike 5e, which we used to play, it might take you more than a couple minutes before the session to pick out what you get.

I'm always startled when I encounter tables that do hand out XP for every monster slain. Maybe if you practice it gets faster, become a natural part of combat. But for my money that's always felt like an abstraction too far.

Some of the dude on the comic have mentioned that they let level-ups happen mid-combat, bouncing downed players back to life when a monster drops and they suddenly have another HD worth of life. I guess that could be a neat moment, but I can't imagine stopping a combat to watch somebody choose feats.


DomHeroEllis wrote:

I play primarily by PbP and we do it basically immediately. It takes no time at all in Pathfinder 2e, compared to 1e!

Shopping, we do in downtime whenever that occurs and I provide my players a list of everything they have found, ask what they want to keep and auto sell the rest, work out how much money they split and then ask what they want. Some of them like to RP this out in thread but some just use the time to chat and rest with the shopping happening off screen.

I'm gearing up for my first PbP thread (a crimson throne game that's been on hiatus for over a year) so I'm curious about this process.

PbP is an asynchronous experience, right? Like... You post throughout the day rather than sitting in chat simultaneously. Do you mean that it "feels" instantaneous? Are you tracking individual XP and leveling up mid-combat?


The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Both. It is so easy to level up mid session in pf2e that I would do it with any group who is organised and knows where they are going with their characters. Anyone who cannot would be talked to outside of the game ;)

This for me also, with PF2 leveling up is easier and faster, i have no problems in leveling them mid session and also any shopping also.


DRD1812 wrote:
Salamileg wrote:
I only hand out experience at the end of a session, so that's when level ups usually happen. Some players prefer to get my help deciding what to pick (as I know the system the best) and others do it on their own. Either way, I tend to do it at the end of the session because if we don't my players tend to forget to level up in the time before the next session. And unlike 5e, which we used to play, it might take you more than a couple minutes before the session to pick out what you get.

I'm always startled when I encounter tables that do hand out XP for every monster slain. Maybe if you practice it gets faster, become a natural part of combat. But for my money that's always felt like an abstraction too far.

Some of the dude on the comic have mentioned that they let level-ups happen mid-combat, bouncing downed players back to life when a monster drops and they suddenly have another HD worth of life. I guess that could be a neat moment, but I can't imagine stopping a combat to watch somebody choose feats.

Probably works best with players who'll have their next level already worked out. Since they'd know their xp before the session, it would be easy to guess whether they're about to level and could just pull out the new sheet and keep going when it happens.


Both of my current GMs are a bit old school and not real comfortable with the assumptions of just being able to find most (lowish price at least) magic gear, so our shopping sessions tend to take up game time. Not usually really roleplayed, except for special cases, but lots of "Can I find this?" "How about one of these instead?" Tedious, for my tastes.

Horizon Hunters

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DRD1812 wrote:
DomHeroEllis wrote:

I play primarily by PbP and we do it basically immediately. It takes no time at all in Pathfinder 2e, compared to 1e!

Shopping, we do in downtime whenever that occurs and I provide my players a list of everything they have found, ask what they want to keep and auto sell the rest, work out how much money they split and then ask what they want. Some of them like to RP this out in thread but some just use the time to chat and rest with the shopping happening off screen.

I'm gearing up for my first PbP thread (a crimson throne game that's been on hiatus for over a year) so I'm curious about this process.

PbP is an asynchronous experience, right? Like... You post throughout the day rather than sitting in chat simultaneously. Do you mean that it "feels" instantaneous? Are you tracking individual XP and leveling up mid-combat?

Well, I am in New Zealand, two of my players are in the UK and three are in the Americas so it isn't always instantaneous, but as well as the forum we have a discord which I generally chat to them on and there are times when everyone is online.

Usually when people level up (I wait for the end of the battle to dole out XP) I PM them to talk through their options (they are generally newish so not so sure of all the options where obviously I have read everything back to back) and it doesn't usually take long at all to get through, compared to PF1 where our GM would sometimes have to wait a few days for everyone.


thejeff wrote:
Both of my current GMs are a bit old school and not real comfortable with the assumptions of just being able to find most (lowish price at least) magic gear, so our shopping sessions tend to take up game time. Not usually really roleplayed, except for special cases, but lots of "Can I find this?" "How about one of these instead?" Tedious, for my tastes.

Seems like rarity should be a decent way to streamline things? Also, if they don't want to generally assume all gear is available, or at least using rarity, they should probably just make lists of available gear.


Captain Morgan wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Both of my current GMs are a bit old school and not real comfortable with the assumptions of just being able to find most (lowish price at least) magic gear, so our shopping sessions tend to take up game time. Not usually really roleplayed, except for special cases, but lots of "Can I find this?" "How about one of these instead?" Tedious, for my tastes.
Seems like rarity should be a decent way to streamline things? Also, if they don't want to generally assume all gear is available, or at least using rarity, they should probably just make lists of available gear.

You'd think, but nah. Old school.

Good in lots of other ways, but that bit is frustrating.


thejeff wrote:
Probably works best with players who'll have their next level already worked out. Since they'd know their xp before the session, it would be easy to guess whether they're about to level and could just pull out the new sheet and keep going when it happens.

I've heard about the Glass Cannon guys bringing backup characters. I guess I never put one and one together and thought about bringing a pre-leveled character. Seems like the same idea as far as time-savings go.


DomHeroEllis wrote:

Well, I am in New Zealand, two of my players are in the UK and three are in the Americas so it isn't always instantaneous, but as well as the forum we have a discord which I generally chat to them on and there are times when everyone is online.

Usually when people level up (I wait for the end of the battle to dole out XP) I PM them to talk through their options (they are generally newish so not so sure of all the options where obviously I have read everything back to back) and it doesn't usually take long at all to get through, compared to PF1 where our GM would sometimes have to wait a few days for everyone.

Thanks for breaking it down. I feel like I'm reinventing the wheel over here, trying to run PbP before ever playing in one.

Is there a good "PbP 101" resource for the Paizo boards? My google-fu has failed me so far.

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