From time to time, I hear the question come up: Why PFS? Why this game system and not another? Why Organized Play format instead of home games? Why put so much effort into this?
I suspect many gamers would have different answers, but I’d like to share mine as someone who has been gaming for a while and who has chosen to invest a lot of time into the crazy, wacky world of Pathfinder Society Organized Play.
The first, best and only reason that is really needed is easy: the people. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great home group as well and I know lots of cool gamer types to roll dice with, but public, organized play gives you a chance to mix it up. I have met countless people playing PFS that I simply would not have otherwise. Many are local, but the online world allows me to say that I have PFS contacts in Turkey, Croatia, Iceland and in every nook and cranny of the United States. That’s pretty darned cool.
Second, sometimes I like my adventure to be bite-sized. The writing for PFS is sometimes grand in scope, but it gets resolved in about 4 hours. It is nice to have a beginning, middle and end. With the epic train of many home games, especially if you are running one of Paizo’s very fine Adventure Paths, it is a nice change to have a satisfying (hopefully) conclusion to a day of dungeon-delving or relic-robbing. Sure, I’ll save the world, but only if I’m done in time for dinner.
There is a lot of variety in PFS adventures, especially when viewed over the breadth of all 5 seasons. A lot of really talented writers contribute some very unique characters and situations. Not everything works perfectly every time, but I know that when I sit down to play or run a game, it is not going to be the same as last time. Dragons today, angry monkeys tomorrow followed up by a nice bit of courtly intrigue to top it all off.
Lastly, there is a payoff. Advancing my character feels like it means something. There are vanities to be purchased, exploits to tell of, chronicles to write. Advancing in a home game is fun too, but not as many people get to see your hero in action. With a forgiving GM and fewer restrictions, sometimes leveling can be a little too easy. PFS provides some structure, and some variability, that makes getting there more of an accomplishment. I am really looking forward to taking my very first PFS character, a polearm-wielding barbarian on the Eyes of the Ten retirement arc soon. And then I am really looking forward to others from our local group getting to that same level so that I can run those scenarios for their storied heroes and see what they have accomplished.
So what do you think? Why do you PFS? Feel free to post a comment or start a thread!