Entering, Understanding, and Embracing High Tier Play

*blows dust off this blog*

So I write this blog with a mission in mind, to get players into the high tier mindset. Our area has grown a lot in the last few years, but as a result, we have an issue with players getting to a certain level, and not wanting to get into the big heavy tiers of 5-9 and 7-11. So they will create a second, third or even 4th characters instead of getting their number one character up to the high tier.

As you as a human being grow in life, it’s important to have that same  mindset in Pathfinder Society as well. To stay stunted and in the lower tiers, means you don’t meet your full potential as a character. That defeats the purpose in playing in a campaign that allows you to get to levels that most campaigns never even see in a year’s time. But I can understand the fear and reservations that come with entering high tier adventures. As such, this blog is here to help you prepare and deal with the big things ahead.

IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS BLOG MAY POTENTIALLY HAVE SPOILERS TO SEASON FOUR IN IT IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN FOLLOWING THE PLOT REGULARLY.

IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW, DON’T READ!

I STATE AGAIN: IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW, DON’T READ!

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Now that I have properly disclaimed, let’s be on shall we?

The Things You Need To Know About High Tiered Play:

Some Serious Monsters of awesome and danger! Season 3 and 4 alone has brought Yettis, Giants, Trolls, Ogres, Harpies, and even Basklisks! High tier is not lacking any of that. There have been even bigger rumors of Undead Dragons, and even real ones in the rest of the season to come. The mega short version: expect the seriously unexpected in high tier. Especially in the year to come!

Casters that are now scarier than any spell you can cast. At long last, you aren’t dealing with just a lame cleric or wizard that blows off one spell and therefore causes no trouble. These casters carry the one thing that ruins all Pathfinder Society Casters: Spell Resistance. Along with that, casters carry scary spells, that make even tanks incredibly nervous to just *make* their Will Saves. So those +1 Cloaks of Resistance? Time to consider upgrading them!

One-Trick-Ponies Need Not Apply! There are many who build amazing characters that are only good at one, maybe two things… And then they get hit with a situation that they cannot handle and all of a sudden they have no idea what to do. “Dumb” statting characters, now more than ever are paying the price for their terrible choices in life. This also applies to those who may have started a build, that they thought would be awesome in theory, but in execution ended up terribly. Everyone does it, or at least has one character that has this problem, so be aware of that as you move into higher tiers. But do not fret! We have an upcoming blog which we will talk about repairing bad builds.

You need the proper tools! I’ve been chastised by many leaders about telling people that they should have items for all occasions, because I may spoil adventures by telling you. But you didn’t come to this blog to be sugar-coated so let me stress the importance of: YOU NEED THE PROPER TOOLS.

That does mean investing in Cold Iron, Adamantine, Alchemical Silver, Mithril, Magical Weapons and Armor. But this also means you should consider in buying some other goodies, such as Alchemist Fire, Alkali Flasks, Tindertwigs, Soul Stimulant, Potions of Lesser Restoration, Soothe Syrup, Antitoxin, and ROPE. By gosh, do you need a rope. Don’t go into adventures unprepared, and if you do, make sure you have enough gold to pay for any resurrection costs that may be incurred! That +3 Weapon sounds sexy, but is rendered useless if you have so much Strength damage that you can’t even pick it up.

You can play up if you want to. But if you can help it, DON’T. Something many players do not realize in Pathfinder Society starting this season, is that in years past, the adventures were written for a table of 4 players,  and the APL is adjusted so for more than 4 players. But starting with Season 4 and on, the adventures are written for tables of 6 players. This means, that all the adventures in Season 4 are at least 1 CR higher than their past adventures. Short version: HARDER ADVENTURES. You can choose to play up if you want to, but I highly recommend players NOT to do that because the adventures are hard enough to begin with.

There are now more options to keep on going past Level 12! Although now, there are no scenarios that exceed 12th level, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything for the one who wants to keep on going and get to the top! There is a collection of adventures that players can run that allow you to just let your mind run wild and the gold payout? More than anything you could dream of in Pathfinder Society. Also, with the sanction of certain Adventure Paths being allowed for play (Currently: Rise of the Runelords, Shattered Star, and Reign of Winter) there are plenty of options to allow your characters to get all the way up to their greatest potential. Granted that they want to or even survive to that level. ^_*..

Don’t want to get there faster? Consider the Slow Advancement track. There are many, who do not wish to retire their characters as fast as others. Some want the option to develop their characters and build more of a story and adventure to them. For these tried and true PC loyalists, there is the Slow Advancement path. How it works is that you declare when you level that you are taking the Slow Advancement to your GM’s and they will do the XP, GP and PA adjustments. In slow advancement, you receive only 1/2 of the normal advancement which means than instead of leveling every three adventures, you level every six adventures.

 A Word of Caution: If you declare a slow advancement, you must keep that until the end of that level arc. So if you go into slow at level 10, you are required to completed 6 adventures before you can switch back at 11th. You cannot change mid-level, and you cannot change from normal to slow after taking your first level sheet.

It’s not about the gold, prestige, or  levels.. It’s about the journey. One of the biggest things I have loved the most about not only GMing high tier play, but playing in it, is the challenge I’ve received in them. I have seen faults in my character’s and GMing style that have grown me as a player and GM that I wouldn’t have seen if I kept on running 1-5’s and 3-7’s.

You grow when you enter these tiers because now, there’s just no excuse for not having that weapon that overcomes the proper DR. There is no excuse for you to NOT know what your character should do at its current level. You learn more about your play style, and your rules referring to when you get hit with that one situation that you never thought you would ever deal with. You remember the one rule in D&D that no one mentions: You should always have an exit strategy… High tier games are where some of the most memorable moments that grow you as a gamer are made. It’s the reason you take on the game to begin with.

If you are still scared. Embrace the journey. Because otherwise, why play?

Still have questions and comments? Leave them below.

Until next time, remember to tip your GM’s with sodas, snacks, and free Pathfinder goodies!

-Lady Ophelia

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