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PF2e Game Concepts


Preferred Game Concept  

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  1. 1. Which game do you prefer

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I keep kicking around the idea of starting another PF2e game and I have 4 concepts that I'm having trouble choosing between. I want to know what the best investment of my prep time will be as I build maps, NPCs, and scour the interwebs for pngs. So please vote on what interests you! (I wish the poll allowed ranked choice voting, so you're welcome to respond that way and I'll add it in)


1) The Wild Trail: A 'river' style game with a setup that could be described as "Golarion Oregon Trail", or maybe something like The Banner Saga (wishful thinking). There's a wild, untamed land that must be crossed to get to the Coast of Dreams. Encounters with nature, wildlife, old ruins and crypts, and perhaps even indigenous peoples abound! Travel mainly by river boat and by covered wagon is planned, with a few fights and chase scenes involving those vehicles.

I have some background and several notional early encounters written, and I need to make some overall maps, but this is probably the most fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants one where I'll be trying to throw stuff together as the party chooses a path. I do need to write a bunch of NPCs that would be part of the wagon train.

2) Skylark Vale: An adaptation of a old crpg to PF2E, plus some significant additions. It involves a group of medical students and some other companions (we can't all be doctors, probably?) sent to a valley suffering from a severe plague. Don't worry, they gave you some cloth masksDisclaimer: N95 masks have not been invented yet. Neither have vaccines. The Empire takes no responsibility for your probable untimely demise.! The valley has been quarantined, and this group will be the last people allowed in or out until it abates. A variety of monsters can be found here; dragons, undead, brigands, and one very grumpy librarian.

This one probably requires the most prep. I have a world map made and will probably dig up most encounters maps from my stash, but I few I'll want to custom create. Most of the NPCs I have a good handle on already, though a few need some work to flesh out.

3) The Arena: This is a more out-there concept compared to what I normally see here. An Arena with (probably) 16 or more players. They'll be divided into teams of (probably) 4. There will be quarters for each group, training rooms, chances to interact with other groups in a common mess hall, and so many guards and magic wards preventing your escape. Rewards are given out for success, punishments for failures and escape attempts, and, at least early on, attrition determined by who stops postingHave I been burned by half my party stopping posting and all my prep work down the drain? Why yes. Yes I have.... Combat will be classic gladiatorial fare; party v. beasts (and monsters), party v. party, chariots, and heck we might even flood the arena one day for ship-to-ship combat. I plan to run the various encounters concurrently, whether the parties are fighting each other, fighting monsters as a party, or even in individual encounters. Will you rise to the top, a celebrity in a gilded prison, or will you try to escape?

This one really needs just a few battle maps as new hazards/terrain will be introduced to the arena occasionally. It should be relatively easy to handle. As a pared-down game it doesn't require a ton of writing prep or world-building, just a few NPCs to flesh out.

4) Some AP: Probably a 2E adaption of something like RotRL or Mummy's Mask (open to suggestions). While I'd love to play through those two (and many others) as a player first, games keep dying at level 3-5. Might as well try to get some momentum and get through them by running my own game.

This requires the least prep on my part, though I'd probably still need a few weeks to digest the chosen thing and get a game set up.

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9 minutes ago, CharmingSatyr said:

E. Any of the above. I'm just eager to get into my first PF2 game.

I appreciate the enthusiasm. I am looking for help deciding, so ranking the choices could help too. The Arena game should be a good one to get new players into a game.

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Here are my ranked choices, then:

#1 The Arena: just a thought, but I think it would be especially interesting to have something like a master/apprentice system that would allow more experienced players to play around with higher-level character builds.

#2 AP: I really, really want to play Ironfang Invasion, but I think I'm the only one XD I'd be game for any AP.

#3 Skylark Vale: Sounds like an interesting concept. I'd like to know how the plague interacts with the game mechanics / the rest of the story, but maybe that's for us to find out in-game.

#4 Wild Trail: Also a cool idea, but I'm already in a similar game.

Edited by Eagleheart (see edit history)
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For me, I would probably rank them as follows:

#1: Adventure Path: Rise of the Runelords is one I have never encountered but apparently there is a ton of good Golarian lore in that AP; Season of Ghosts super interests me (I know that one wasn't on the list, but still :p)

#2: Arena: Sand and Sandals! Count me in! It may be fun, depending on interest, to let folks make their four man team. That way there would be an internal cohesion, and even theme, for each small group. But that's getting way ahead of myself!

#3: The Wild Trail: Interesting settler concept, some neat invested stakes, such as traveling with family that we don't normally get to see in most Adventure Path play ...

#4: Skylark Vale: Another interesting concept, but a little constrained by the premise for my liking, only because most of the concepts would need to be medicine tangential which could make some build choices difficult.

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Feel free to borrow anything from my 4.5 year run of the Irorium Arena. It was Pathfinder 1e and it was quite a lot of fun. I'm not sure if PF2e has any performance combat mechanics, but it was fun to make extensive use them in a game.

I created a lot of house rules to govern downtime activities between matches. Various skills that aren't of much use during combat could be used to get information on who your next match will be against, nab some extra income or XP, or talk up your reputation.

We had a mix of PVP & PVE, but the players gravitated more toward the PVE.

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I also maintained a leaderboard with win/loss totals for everyone who participated as well as tracking their fame/reputation.

I didn't have much of any IC content outside of the matches, but I wanted a continuity for the characters so I organized the matches into a "season" (which ended up being way too long and ambitious, we never made it the full 16 matches). I wouldn't, as GM, focus on sundering, but if any equipment was destroyed in one match it wouldn't magically return the next one. Player death was something to consider too. I gave players an option with each match. They could pick from three lethality modes depending on what kind of risk/reward they could stomach (most people went for the namby-pamby, marshmallow combat).

I had a schedule in the game world where matches were always on Saturdays, Sunday was a mandatory rest day, and the other 5 days they could spend doing Downtime Activities. Since they weren't instantly healed after the battle, the players had to balance different downtime activities vs. their needs to heal up (obviously those with wands or spells had less of a problem). They could get discounts on new gear, bonuses for the upcoming match, and more. This was one of my favorite inventions (as a GM) in the game.

I had a standard arena size, but I would change up the terrain each match. Since the crowd was a real factor in the matches (with performance combat) I made sure the map included the seats for the crowd. The arena was large enough to permit some pretty large battles. The last match featured 21 (!!) player controlled gladiators (and 3 companions/eidelons/mounts) vs. my Avenger-style NPCs. The second to last set of matches had the players defend a walled city from invasion (11 players in each match).

I also let players control multiple characters (usually not in the same match though). I allowed players to enter at different level tiers (1st level and 4th level) and generally kept them in separate matches with appropriate difficulty opponents. We had some players start at 1st and make it up to 4th level, and some 4th level folks get to 5th, but I used medium progression. I should have started with fast progression instead. If the players lost the match they received less XP & gold than for winning, that slowed them down some.

Some other helpful links:

- Announcements
- Rules & Expectations
- Performance Combat & Reputation
- Match Types
- Google sheet tracking fame & XP for all the gladiators

Edited by OzzyKP (see edit history)
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