Pathfinder 2E My Pathfinder 2e Post-Mortem

kenada

Legend
Supporter
This is why I get so nervous when things change on Foundry. For me PF2 is built on the deck of cards which is fan-made modules on Foundry. For what I'm able to handle as a GM, that system will dissolve and fade into the annals of history like 4e as soon as the online tools stop being supported.
The Pathfinder 2e stuff is now under the Foundry org on GitHub. I think the Foundry devs realize how important PF2 players are to their platform, so I doubt it will fall into neglect. However, I think it would be a good of Paizo to contribute something (financially) to the volunteers who are maintaining this system because it’s such an important part of PF2’s VTT presence.
 

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Retreater

Legend
The Pathfinder 2e stuff is now under the Foundry org on GitHub. I think the Foundry devs realize how important PF2 players are to their platform, so I doubt it will fall into neglect. However, I think it would be a good of Paizo to contribute something (financially) to the volunteers who are maintaining this system because it’s such an important part of PF2’s VTT presence.
I suggested that they offer to buy FryGuy's code to update PDF to Foundry just to keep the older adventures up, and I got lambasted.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
I suggested that they offer to buy FryGuy's code to update PDF to Foundry just to keep the older adventures up, and I got lambasted.
I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the contention at the time, but I’d really rather not relitigate that discussion. Anyway, v10 compatibility is supposedly going to be done. There’s another importer that has been adding PFS adventures and supports v10, but I’m not sure how it’s related to FryGuy’s work and whether it can import those old adventures.

The amount of churn in FoundryVTT ecosystem is a major pain point with using it. It would be one thing if Foundry stayed compatible, so your old plugins continued to work, but it doesn’t. When I set up a server for @Manbearcat to check out PF2, I had to find replacements for several modules I used to use because they were no longer maintained and compatible. And there’s talk of v11 …. 😩
 

Why does a social encounter require two pages and a combat encounter only a short description?

Here is an outstanding pair of social score adventures we had in Blades in the Dark: trick your rival into attacking another faction while your companions set up another faction to take the hit, so you tip off the Bluecoats and frame your rival for your crimes. That was an entire session. Lots of stuff happened, and it was awesome. I doubt @Manbearcat needed two pages of material to prep and run it. (In fact, I doubt he did much prep at all for it.)

Neither Social Scenes nor Exploration Scenes (or any brand of conflict really...I ran 2 x 4e games from level 1-30 and another 1-10 on the skimpiest prep possible...often none at all) should require anything more than the core engine stuff of the game. For the scene you're talking about, all I needed was the stuff what was already present:

* The broad flourish details of Charhollow (the working class district in the middle of Duskvol) and its Dots (in case we need them for a Fortune Roll).

* The broad flourish details of Barrowcleft (the "prairie/farm" district on Duskvol's far west flank) and its Dots (in case we need them for a Fortune Roll).

* Your Rival Stazia's details as we constructed them - Stazia (Rival - Apothecary) – Quality 3, Master, Mad Scientist, Connected, Volatile.

* The Tier of The Cabbies and Bluecoats and their particulars.

* The established fiction of the entire game, the touchstones of the game generally, and the Information Gathering for this Score in particular.

That is it. No prep needed. From recollection, that play loop featured like 6 different scenes?

1) The setup to get Stazia to the Barrowcleft eel-fisheries processing center via his nephew and brother.

2) The social showdown with Stazia (+ his bodyguards + his nephew/brother + the Bounty Hunter Casta - another PC's Rival - in an overwatch Sniper position due to a Devil's Bargain) to reach the agreement that would instigate the affair which would later implicate Stazia.

3) The Info Gathering Scenes for the Score at the Cabbie Garage (2 scenes and maybe 3 moves made).

4) The infiltration of the Cabbie Garage to successfully plant the bombs on the carriage and implicate Stazia as the culprit.

5) The Fortune Roll for the bombs to see if they successfully "did their thing" and/or if there were complications.

6) The forensic investigation by the Bluecoats and the attendant Deception Score where we discovered that the captain was corrupt and bought-off (in Stazia's pocket) and you had to resolve your planted evidence against Stazia and expose and counter the fait accompli nature of the corrupt Bluecoat investigation to ensure your own corruption won out!


None of that was scripted or prepped in any way (beyond the elements/rules that were already in play above). That is easily enough done in Story Now games if you (a) have a sufficiently capable ruleset that organizes and propels play (including the conversation of such play) toward emergent story and (b) have sufficient experience/capacity as GMs and players with such play and ruleset deployment.

The situation for PF2e just seems to be that PF is so dependent upon its AP implementation (which features fairly intensive, if not total, scripting of play) and its player-base enjoys that brand of play. So, while you certainly don't need 2 pages of scripted encounters to produce your Rival Stazia's downfall in our Blades in the Dark game, if that is supposed to be a lynchpin of a long metaplot? In that case, you're going to need a lot more prep to ensure the script.

I'm certain that if we ended up playing PF2e (and who knows...maybe at some point), that we could resolve emergent Story Now play via their VP noncombat conflict resolution system in the same way that I did with 4e's Skill Challenges. It just seems like that is both (i) well outside of PF's player base' interests and (ii) certainly would make a dent in their moneymaking (AP) model (if tables don't need their APs to generate compelling, emergent story...that sort of puts a dent in their $)!
 
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kenada

Legend
Supporter
I'm certain that if we ended up playing PF2e (and who knows...maybe at some point), that we could resolve emergent Story Now play via their VP noncombat conflict resolution system in the same way that I did with 4e's Skill Challenges. It just seems like that is both (i) well outside of PF's player base' interests and (ii) certainly would make a dent in their moneymaking (AP) model (if tables don't need their APs to generate compelling, emergent story...that sort of puts a dent in their $)!
If Paizo is to be believed, more people buy adventures to read them than run them, so maybe it wouldn’t make that much of a dent. 😂

More seriously, assuming that’s true, then I think catering to such an audience creates an even worse incentive not to do anything to make adventures better or more diverse than whatever systemic mushiness PF2 has. I’ve run several of Necrotic Gnome’s adventures, and their keys are much more usable at the table than anything I have ever run by Paizo, but they don’t make very good reads on their own (following in the OSR trend of bulleted/concise keys).
 


payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
If Paizo is to be believed, more people buy adventures to read them than run them, so maybe it wouldn’t make that much of a dent. 😂

More seriously, assuming that’s true, then I think catering to such an audience creates an even worse incentive not to do anything to make adventures better or more diverse than whatever systemic mushiness PF2 has. I’ve run several of Necrotic Gnome’s adventures, and their keys are much more usable at the table than anything I have ever run by Paizo, but they don’t make very good reads on their own (following in the OSR trend of bulleted/concise keys).
I think some of this is taken out of context. The AP modules have about 1/3 setting material and fiction that provide color but dont actually have any direct impact on running the module. Thats been a very divisive topic for at least 10 years now. Folks who want only adventure material dislike it, and others are subscribers because of the color and fiction. The APs are very much tied to Golarion so if you want an agnostic adventure, the APs are a poor bet.

I have both found the excess of material on encounters to be beneficial and a detriment. Often, the write up helps you understand motivations, resources, and abilities of NPCs so you can react to the players choices and actions. This allows you to run the module in a less direct manner and open up the linear nature of the adventure. However, there are times where the writers use a shocking amount of space to explain why a monster is in a place where that monster typically shouldn't be. The kicker is that all that explanation is in a context that is difficult if not impossible to convey to the players. It can be real puzzling at times.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
I think some of this is taken out of context. The AP modules have about 1/3 setting material and fiction that provide color but dont actually have any direct impact on running the module. Thats been a very divisive topic for at least 10 years now. Folks who want only adventure material dislike it, and others are subscribers because of the color and fiction. The APs are very much tied to Golarion so if you want an agnostic adventure, the APs are a poor bet.
I don’t think I read them in the other APs I ran, but I did enjoy the short stories in the Kingmaker AP. However, while you make a fair point, I think the incentive is still there to make things nice for the readers at the expense of the GMs who need to run the adventure.

I have both found the excess of material on encounters to be beneficial and a detriment. Often, the write up helps you understand motivations, resources, and abilities of NPCs so you can react to the players choices and actions. This allows you to run the module in a less direct manner and open up the linear nature of the adventure. However, there are times where the writers use a shocking amount of space to explain why a monster is in a place where that monster typically shouldn't be. The kicker is that all that explanation is in a context that is difficult if not impossible to convey to the players. It can be real puzzling at times.
Having a terse key doesn’t mean you can’t provide context, though it might discourage authors from providing too much (because it will become obvious as you try to fit all the parts together while respecting the format). Halls of the Blood King is a good example of a key that does this. There are several players with their own histories, and the adventure itself is pretty open-ended. Depending on what the PCs do, the adventure can go any of several different ways. I can quibble with it a bit (the section on the Princess of Blood could be a bit better organized), but I was able to use it without having to rekey or organize it except to put together a timeline of events, which is something I wanted to add (over relying purely on random event checks).

As an example of why Paizo’s keys cause trouble (and also as an excuse to include the obligatory Alexandrian link on the topic), I played in a The Emerald Spire game at Origins several years ago. The GM was a pretty good GM, and the game was fun. However, there were a few moments where he got stuck trying to find stuff in the adventure that he needed to reference. That’s bad! If your event GM is struggling, how many home game GMs have problems? I don’t think it should be necessary to rekey or create notes for a published adventure, but I almost always ended up doing just that (lest I couldn’t keep things straight). The published adventures are supposed to be tools to make things easier!

I can also remember running the first book in Council of Thieves and completely missing a scene that was supposed to introduce an NPC because it was buried in several paragraphs of text. Sigh. 😑
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I don’t think I read them in the other APs I ran, but I did enjoy the short stories in the Kingmaker AP. However, while you make a fair point, I think the incentive is still there to make things nice for the readers at the expense of the GMs who need to run the adventure.


Having a terse key doesn’t mean you can’t provide context, though it might discourage authors from providing too much (because it will become obvious as you try to fit all the parts together while respecting the format). Halls of the Blood King is a good example of a key that does this. There are several players with their own histories, and the adventure itself is pretty open-ended. Depending on what the PCs do, the adventure can go any of several different ways. I can quibble with it a bit (the section on the Princess of Blood could be a bit better organized), but I was able to use it without having to rekey or organize it except to put together a timeline of events, which is something I wanted to add (over relying purely on random event checks).

As an example of why Paizo’s keys cause trouble (and also as an excuse to include the obligatory Alexandrian link on the topic), I played in a The Emerald Spire game at Origins several years ago. The GM was a pretty good GM, and the game was fun. However, there were a few moments where he got stuck trying to find stuff in the adventure that he needed to reference. That’s bad! If your event GM is struggling, how many home game GMs have problems? I don’t think it should be necessary to rekey or create notes for a published adventure, but I almost always ended up doing just that (lest I couldn’t keep things straight). The published adventures are supposed to be tools to make things easier!

I can also remember running the first book in Council of Thieves and completely missing a scene that was supposed to introduce an NPC because it was buried in several paragraphs of text. Sigh. 😑
There tends to be a lot of perspectives on what exactly adventure modules are supposed to do. Some one dropped a clickbaity video about how modules should teach people how to play the game. I think there should be modules that do that, but I dont think its the point of modules themselves. Also, I dont expect a module to make running the game easier, I expect them to provide me the background and toolkit to run a good game. I still have to do my job as GM. Modules are not the PHB or DMG, you dont skim them for what you need. They need to be read in entirety and you need to prep your game as usual. Of course, all in my opinion.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
There tends to be a lot of perspectives on what exactly adventure modules are supposed to do. Some one dropped a clickbaity video about how modules should teach people how to play the game. I think there should be modules that do that, but I dont think its the point of modules themselves. Also, I dont expect a module to make running the game easier, I expect them to provide me the background and toolkit to run a good game. I still have to do my job as GM. Modules are not the PHB or DMG, you dont skim them for what you need. They need to be read in entirety and you need to prep your game as usual. Of course, all in my opinion.
For me, they’re a tool to save time. If I’m going to have to do a bunch of prep anyway to make the module’s material usable, the value of using a one drops considerably. I spent a lot of time prepping Pathfinder adventures, which is time I’d like to spend on other things.
 
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