RPGA, Pathfinder Society and Adventurer's League - why are they all so terrible? - Page 2
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  1. #11
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    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    I don't Con much anymore but I've always preferred tourney style con gaming with Pre-gens to living games. Gives me a chance to play a strange PC, often one I don't normally play. The two tourney games at GaryCon were like that and a lot of fun,though we didn't advance in either.

  2. #12
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    Enchanter (Lvl 12)



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    Two reasons:

    (1) It takes a lot of iteration to get good at writing adventures for a given system. You need experience with the system, and experience with writing, (and experience with writing adventures which is a subset). While the organization as a whole may ascend the learning curve over time, each individual author is only one micro-component of the organization, so they ascend the curve very... slowly....

    This means that from the time the game system launches, to the time you get good adventures for it, may be years.

    On the plus side the good adventures tend to be very good indeed, as they drawn on everyone's learnings over the years. The LFR years 4, 5, and 6 Epic-tier adventures are fantastic, for example. (That's roughly "years since launch of 4e as a system" for a sense of how long it takes.)

    (2) Many people are horrible in general (lazy, stupid, etc.) but as a convention organization you cannot turn down volunteer DMs. Thus, like Sturgeon's Law for D&D, 90% of all DMs are crap.

    = = =

    Now that said, I had 6 mostly great years of 4e Living Forgotten Realms (the RPGA / organized play campaign). Basically, my non-lazy-and-stupid-people friends and I took over the FLGS and locked out the horrible DMs, establishing ourselves as a benevolent dictatorship. Like everything else in life, you get out of it what you put into it.

  3. #13
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    Titan (Lvl 27)



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    Edit: I can't believe I passed on such low-hanging snark-fruit:

    RPGA, Pathfinder Society and Adventurer's League - why are they all so terrible?
    Because they're all running some form of D&D!


    Quote Originally Posted by der_kluge View Post
    This will probably be long, and ranty, so you've been warned...
    Thanks, I'm just going to pick out one of the more cogent, bits...

    During the open we got frustrated that our GM was constantly flopping through loose leaf notes trying to find an answer to a question. Unlike a regular game, these GMs can't just make something up - they have this whole umbrella of rules hanging above them, and it has to be "by the book" so to speak.
    Yes. 5e does run much better with a confident DM who's hands aren't tied by 'official' rulings. It's just not so RAW- or player- centric as 3e or 4e were.

    You could also play with idiots, and technically die, so then you get to what - reroll a brand new one and start from scratch again?
    In early-AL encounters seasons, you were all Raised between sessions by your 'Faction' - so death meant missing the rest of the current session.


    I can't help but wonder if a slightly different model would be better. Instead of letting players take a character from game to game, each game comes with a set of pre-gens that players could choose from.
    There are pre-gens in the basic pdf, and IMX, con games - of any sort, not just organized play like AL - very often offer pre-gens. It's just a good idea. As the DM, you get characters tailored to the adventure, and no wierd surprises.
    Last edited by Tony Vargas; Thursday, 6th June, 2019 at 07:25 PM.

  4. #14
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    I have not played RPGA or AL. I played a bunch of Shadowrun Missions as well as StarFinder from the Pathfinder Society, and what was said here that it's very good for new ppl I can only repeat. It was the best way for me to return to Shadowrun after not playing three editions. And as an intro to Starfinder, I found the games also very good.
    In the Shadowrun missions, there was much more roleplaying happening. SF was very basic in what I played. But I must have also had good luck with all of my GMs.

  5. #15
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    Greater Elemental (Lvl 23)

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    I think the common point of your expereiences is the venue - a convention. I've played plenty of AL as regular events at FLGS and while it is never as good as a home game, the DMs are regulars who are running because they truly like to DM (there's little enough other incentive), and the player base is more stable - some turnover with new players and people not able to make it but at least enough for continuity.

    Now, I might be an outlier that has a statistically-improbable FLGS. And this was before the ridiculous-to-me-as-a-player treasure points model. But I think there's a world of difference between regular DMs with a sort-of-stable regular crew playing at a FLGS vs. whatever DMs they could get at the convention who have never met the players who likely haven't met each other in a tightly controlled and timed environment.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue View Post
    I think the common point of your expereiences is the venue - a convention. [..] But I think there's a world of difference between regular DMs with a sort-of-stable regular crew playing at a FLGS vs. whatever DMs they could get at the convention who have never met the players who likely haven't met each other in a tightly controlled and timed environment.
    I think you're right.

    All of my "horrible DM, F----, would like him to die in a fire" experiences have been at conventions.
    On the other hand I've had some amazing experiences in organized play at conventions.

    I've had some "meh" DMs at the FLGS, but none that were really terrible.

    Moral of the story: if you're going to do Organized Play, do it at an FLGS... unless you're willing to risk convention lows and highs.

  7. #17
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    Cutpurse (Lvl 5)

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    Quote Originally Posted by AriochQ View Post
    I had to chuckle about your adventures being 'weird' comment. I couldn't agree more. Nothing annoys me more than some of the convoluted story arcs some designers put into a module. We have 4 hours to play an entire adventure. Not a single character is going to figure out that the cousin of the Baron's brother has been manipulating the stable hand to convince his girlfriend to sneak the pendant into the Baroness' jewelry box to frame the visiting ambassador (or some equally overly complex plot). Oh, and they usually include several fail points with incredibly high DC's, grinding the adventure to a halt.
    This dude gets it! Yes, that's exactly it. When I sit down to play a game - especially at a convention, I just want to chill, roleplay my character to the best of my ability, and kill some trolls (or whatever). Don't come at me with all this convoluted crap that I'm going to get a headache literally trying to understand.

    Designers for convention games: K.I.S.S.

  8. #18
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    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



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    @der_kluge
    "Really, it was a puzzle game for the players (not the characters) to solve. "

    Back in ye olde rpga days (and on and on in other venues of von gsmes) events were built this way intentionally. Its because these were *competitive* events and so you needed to score the results. Tests of *character* are a bit rockier to score but "tests of player* get yo the toot think of grading one group vs another.

    I have seen it in other con games, anytime its "for something" the push is opposite the usual motivators for playing.

    But honestly, for short, open table games, you gotta figure the most "roleplaying focus" will be like choosing between two different paths yo your goal. Maybe one is rescue the weaponsmith's family and the other is wreck his forge or killing him.

    So, having played in some over those, seen the older modules tskrn from them, running noth campaigns snd oprn tables- some degree of what you describe goes with the different objectives.

  9. #19
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    Lama (Lvl 13)



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    I've had some pretty dreadful PFS and AL experiences at conventions. Mostly these were based on the players who show up - rules crunching, min/maxing jerks with binders of characters they are trying to level to MAXIMUM POWER!!! Or they're playing a one-shot and don't care how ridiculous their actions are, because there are no consequences.

    I hated running and coordinating PFS. So many restrictions on being a GM, so much paperwork. The adventures were also of varying quality.

  10. #20
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    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)



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    I have not played AL myself by a couple friends of mine have and they have, each time theyĺve played, mentioned the Ĺinflexibilityĺ of the DMs.

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