JP On Gaming

Thursday, January 29, 2015

[Rant] JP vs PFS Core Campaign

I cannot say that I am surprised at people’s reaction to the announcement from PFS-HQ that there will be a “parallel” campaign called “Core” where the players will only be allowed options from the Core Rulebook. There are a number of rules about starting in one campaign then changing to the cheesy one. Read all about it on the Paizo blog.

I spoke to a number venture officers and their belief that this is awesome is getting usual. However, the player base is much more divided on this. Speaking and reading their comments on facebook groups, I can see a very varied reactions and a lot of false deductions.

This is a good idea at a number of levels:
     -      It limits the number of books people need to “buy-in” to the campaign.
     -      It will allow GMs a new chance to run games without having to worry about too many things.
     -      This is NOT an open, free replay.

It will also have a number of negative effects:
     -      Mustering for smaller will become more complicated.
     -      It’s open replay season (kinda).
     -      The difference between the two will require policing, the simpler rules are easy to follow. This is not a simple change of rule. Be prepared for arguments and MORE campaign-rule-lawyering.

Overall, a lot more good than bad happens with this. I have been talking to other players, most of whom are quite excited about this change. As for me I think that a lot of their reasoning is simply fallacious, and outright wrong, one both sides of the coin.

We’ll finally be able to be challenged by the early PFS adventures. I laugh at you if you think this is true. There was a time when all we had was the CRB and we blasted through these adventures. Trust me, we did. The Year 0-3 adventures are still as simple and easy (there is something of a challenge bump around level 5+ but not much). What happened is that later products made the cheese so easy and took out the thinking out of character building with options that make everything super easy, spell options that make everything swift actions and the like. We just got lazy

Vanilla characters are boring. That is the farthest thing from the truth. A character is not “just” a series of feats and spells. There is a story behind, likes and dislikes. All these can be influenced or not by the stats. A character based on a bossy matron, or a warmish brown-noser can be any class and race. Good characters are based on interesting ideas, not on their math.

Now I can replay with my friends. While this is true, replay for no-credit has always been an option. Of course now you can request and push away a player who has never played.

This will bring in a large number of new players. No. It will not. It will make the step for those who are thinking about it MUCH easier, but I still think that right now, 5e/ Adventurer’s League with its “shiny/new” wrap will get the large piece of the new players coming in. Expect a lot of replayers at tables of CORE games. For the foreseeable future.

A number of people have commented on my own characters, I never give out my builds publicly, except to a GM who asks (in which case, I readily hand him my character sheet). Most are built off the CRB, with the occasional dip into other books. Whatever they are or do is not just a product of their math. In fact most of them start as ideas. If you read this blog, you know how much I try to play different characters with different wants, different goals and usually different accents.

For myself, I have seen a lot of people really enjoying their characters, regardless of their class or stats with the “more limited” options found in Legacies. Do I see that as a bad thing? No! Quite the opposite. Limiting options generally means that players use options that are better known by everyone. And *THAT* limits the amount of arguing. By a lot. By a HUGE lot.

As a conclusion, let’s not think this is the best thing since sliced bread, but neither is this a bad thing. I see a lot more positive in this than bad. But let’s not make this what it is not either. Let’s see how this rolls out and how it plays out in the end.

It’s odd to rant at players as a whole and not at a game.



  1. Hey JP !

    Interesting rant, as usual, except...

    You wrote: It will allow GMs a new chance to run games without having to worry about too many things.

    I don't think so. From Paizo's blog post: "GMs may utilize whatever books a scenario, module, quest, Adventure Path, or other sanctioned adventure utilizes."

    Which means a Season 4 scenario that uses weird fungi from MM3 will still uses weird fungi from MM3 and the DM will have to either buy MM3 or look it up on the PRD, but in either case will still have to deal with those rules (that's when I came across one of those "we just released a new book, you MUST include it!" flavor-of-the-month scenarios that I decided to quit DMing PFS).

    Too bad. I liked DMing, but I couldn't keep up with all those books and rules.

  2. To Daniel, you hit the nail on the head with why many GMs were finding it challenging to prep for games. However, another change that is coming with Season 7 is that full stat blocks will be provide in scenarios. This is something I've harped on since before my VC days. I don't want to have to spend 3 hours preparing to run a game by searching for various stats of the creatures in a scenario. Luckily with the new scenarios, this will be changing. I'm not sure, but we might even see this in the recent Season 6 games.

    As far as JP's rant goes, I agree on most points. There is good and bad to any change. The Core will be awesome for some, and avoided by just as many. I think having options is never a bad thing though, so I love the idea of having the option to run a table for Core players. I agree I don't think this will bring a sudden massive influx of new players, but I do think it will make Core tables MORE new player friendly. I also think it is a great avenue for our younger players. In the end, its an option. I have several PFS characters that are Core but play in the original campaign, so the idea of a base character isn't a new concept.

    All in all, the thing I feel this brings to the table the most is replay. This has its upsides and downsides. Most players are mature enough to play an adventure twice and not be an asshat and spoil it for everyone. However, there are a select few that this will be a problem for, and I'm not looking forward to those tables. Luckily I feel I run games in an area where the players are all mature and able to separate IG and OOG knowledge.

    Good review though!

  3. I think the Core Campaign is a great idea and I hope it encourages more people to play the character rather than the mechanics.

  4. I think its good. More options for play, and less things to worry about while running. I can focus solely on the monsters without worrying about obscure characters. Time will tell how this plays out