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PFS - Directory Structure, Maintenance, PCGen's role?

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PFS - Directory Structure, Maintenance, PCGen's role?

Postby LegacyKing » Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:56 am

Hi Folks,

I'm going to through this into a public discussion for some input, and designate issues, maintenance and other items:

DATA-2174: http://jira.pcgen.org/browse/DATA-2174

Comments:

STEFAN -

The data sets for Pathfinder Society Organised Play should be migrated to their own game mode.

Having two data set for most sources on the list of data sets on the advanced tabs is confusing and crowds up the display; and having PFS subfolders all around does not help with keeping a well-organised file tree.

PFS also uses its own experience point system which could better be served by its own game mode.

Rebuttal:
MARK -

So I'm the one that has been coding all the PFSOP sources. There are some facts about PFSOP that need to be considered.

1. PFSOP has a core assumption set and that is just the Core Rulebook and PFS Organized Play guide. The Organized Play guide has a few global changes that are defined, like no characters can craft magic items and whenever those feats are listed as prerequisites for any class or ability, the prerequisite is replaced with something else. The Organized Play guide also lists a few items and rules that exist only for PFSOP. These rules don't change from year to year, but Paizo occasionally might issue a FAQ to clarify something. The way I coded this in 6.4 has the Pathfinder Society Core Assumption as a multi-set and a prerequisite for all other PFSOP converted sets.

2. All other Paizo books may or may not be allowed in PFSOP. Currently Paizo has not authorized any third-party PF source books. However, there is nothing in the PFSOP rules that forbid them from doing it. It's their game system after all. Whatever other books are allowed to be used in PFSOP will be listed in the Pathfinder Society Additional Resources Guide.

3. The Pathfinder Society Additional Resources guide is updated several times a year. Each month a new Player Companion book is published by Paizo for general use by all Pathfinder players, but then the Additional Resources guide is updated usually within a few weeks for which items are allowed or not allowed in PFS Organized Play, including any items in recently published books. Some books are used as-is "all items in this book are legal for play". Other books have minimal changes "all items except x, y, z are legal". And other books have only a few legal things "only x, y and z are legal". This means that the additional resources guide may be updated 10 or more times a year! THough most updates will be very small, effecting a few items in previously published books, but adding items in new books.

4. In all cases, a PFSOP converted source cannot ever exist before a regular Pathfinder source exists in PCGen. In every sense, the PFSOP source is subordinate to the original printed book, the additional resources guide, and the guide to organized play.

Maintaining PFSOP sources

1. When maintaining the PFSOP sources I load up the current additional resources guide. Go through the guide comparing the sources in it to the sources in data/pathfinder/paizo/...

2. If there is a source in PCGen, I look for a pfs_ folder under the source and if it exists I apply any highlighted blue or red changes shown in the additional resources guide to the pfs_ specific lst files in the pfs_ subfolder. I can easily referring to the original sources lst file one folder up if necessary to find the appropriate keys, etc.

3. If there is a source in PCGen but there is not any pfs_ subfolder I know that this source has not yet been converted to PFSOP and needs to be completely coded.

Now, if there are two separate folder trees, then I have to have the player_companion tree in one folder window and a player_companion tree under pfs in another window, compare back and forth for any sources that occur in one and not the other, navigate into each of them etc. And with identical folder structures it is tedious and error prone.

Usability

1. PFSOP is a designed to sell books. Approximately monthly a new player companion is published by Paizo. PFSOP players that happen to have characters that could benefit from items or abilities published in the new book will buy the new book. Some may or may not be competent enough to add the items they need in homebrew. I suspect that most will not, or will simply not care to be. Anyway this is a prerequisite for using the item; a PFSOP player MUST own a copy of the book in order to use an item or ability or rule published in that book. If they are using PCGen to do their characters, then PCGen will also need to have this source or they will have to code homebrew. So any time this happens, there will always be PFSOP players that will be itching for using the new book source in PCGen if they have been using PCGen for their characters.

2. If PFSOP were to be kept its own game mode it would not be possible for a player to choose a source added to PCGen and yet to be converted. Thereby barring users from using unconverted books in the interim until the book is eventually converted to PFSOP.

3. PFSOP players are used to using the printed books and enforcing the PFSOP rules themselves, so allowing an unconverted book to be used as a source in PCGen for a PFSOP character is not a hardship. In fact it will be beneficial to most players.

4. The normal release work of Pathfinder sources should not be requiring DATA to have PFS converted sources for every new source, and if PFSOP is its own game mode, PFSOP players will want this to be true.

Conclusions

1. Keeping these in a separate folder tree hampers continuing support for PFSOP.

2. Making PFSOP a separate game mode is antithetical to the fact that PFSOP is always subordinate to the full Pathfinder rules.

3. I completely disagree with Stefan's assertion that PFSOP should be it's own game mode.

4. And concerning his last issue, PCGen already has an easy user choice for PFS xp, etc. There is no need to redesign the wheel, so to speak, as it has no practical benefit.

Mark
--


Issues:
We need to marry PFS to the main book - this is cause the data is practically identical, except when a rule excludes something. (I'm fine with this, unlike certain other sets, the modification is handled well)

PFS does have it's one rules to be LEGAL. Mark's assertion is PFS player's do not need our intervention to make legal characters, that they prefer unfettered access. My question then becomes why are we bothering to maintain any semblance of PFS legality, when it is not necessary to do so?

Let's break that down that further: If I only need minimal support for PFS, then we don't need anything beyond the XP table, which does exist in Pathfinder. Which makes those extra folders, and tethered PFS sets kinda moot. We could spend that man power on working on those Player's Companion manuals and not bother about PFS rules.


Now, by introducing a new gamemode, we are indeed doing at least two things:
1) Stating we support Pathfinder Organized Play
2) Making it implicit that choosing that gamemode that you will only be allowed to make a legal PFS character.

The drawback is, we can't backport characters to that gamemode - well, we can but James doesn't like PCG file modification. We don't have a Transfer to X Gamemode either.

As Mark has said, 3rd party isn't supported... today. Could change, who knows.

I'm left wondering by the contradictory statements wondering what PCGen's role should play in this. I've always been of the opinion that when we support a system we do our best to support it, enforce its rules to the best of our ability, and ultimately make the user consciously aware if they are stepping outside the normal rules. NOTE: We support working outside the rules, but you normally have to enable options in the preferences to break the rules.

As it stands, I have officially 41 sources that are marked "PFS", a system set up that piggybacks on the main books, and no way to know what is legal or not for PFS beyond a few TYPEs that may or may not be displayed somewhere.

On top of that, I've been told we have issues supporting the grandfathering of items forward but removing them for new characters. I have one maintainer, and no vision or plan forward for handling these constant updates. This is a very bad thing to me. Cause now we have sets with data being removed with the "new" season, and older characters losing things... Or what have you.

Now, nuts and bolts. I really don't care where the pfs copies of stuff resides. I would rather it be contained in either the PFS data directory, or contained centrally in the organized play folder, since that makes more sense to me. However, I'm not actively maintaining it, those that actively work on things have a bit more say in that regard. I'm about efficiency and making it make sense to those who come after.

What I do care about, with the statements of maintaining, and the fact we're not spot on in actually enforcing a single Pathfinder Society Organized rule, is the effort to continue worth the effort and headaches incurred?

I would like some thoughtful replies to the following questions:
* Are we serious about supporting PFS Rules, or not? By serious, I mean using the existing PFS sets, and denying access to items considered not LEGAL for PCs. I understand NPCs are different and break those rules.
* Are we going to make a plan and implement it to handle the constant updates for the monthly/yearly PFS updates?
* If the answer to either is NO, then I have to ask, why not and why are we bothering with PFS subsets if the intent is not to actually support the rules in a serious manner?


Cheers,
Andrew


Andrew Maitland
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