I’ve been involved with Paizo Publishing’s Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign since the start of their Season 0 (that’s the playtest season), launched last August. So far they’ve published 20 scenarios of which I’ve played 14, “eaten” 5 (that is, being the first local DM to run it thus not being able to play it myself), and DM’d a grand total of 22 game sessions. The experience has been a varied one. The quality of the modules varies considerably, with a few real gems, quite a few good ones, a lot of mediocre ones and a few that are absolute crap. Our local gaming scene has a player pool of around 30 players, of which around a dozen are very active, and a DM pool of about half a dozen active DM’s. I think Paizo’s response to the demise of WotC’s popular Living Greyhawk is off to a very good start, and once all the kinks (format and rules issues, some balancing issues in a few of the scenarios, etc.) get ironed out, and the game switches over to Paizo’s own baby, the Pathfinder RPG at the start of Season 1 come GenCon ’09 in August this might prove to be a very good organized play campaign indeed.
As I already mentioned it has been a busy role-playing weekend. First, there was my own home game on Friday (previous post). On Saturday I DM’d a Society scenario titled “The Trouble With Secrets”, a very lethal and difficult dungeon crawl labeled “Sword-Porn” by most of the local player’s who’ve had the (mis)fortune of playing the scenario. This was the second time the scenario was ran locally and both times the results have been the same: Lots of easy to semi-difficult combat encounters right until the end boss, which promptly proceeds to hand out a can of whoop-ass to the adventuring party, resulting in character deaths, near-deaths and a hastily beaten retreat. The end boss of this one is just way too powerful. There is no way in which a party averaging at the correct levels for the scenario could beat her, and in my opinion this is just poor scenario writing. I won’t be running this scenario again until I have a group of players with characters with sufficient oompah to actually take this monster down.
The third and final leg of my role-playing marathon weekend was spent in Tampere, where I DM’d two Pathfinder Society modules for the local yahoos. More on these scenarios later.