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From my very limited experience, skills will come up and be useful but not vital. It won't be skills you have every module though and combat is in all of them, so I wouldn't totally suck at it.
To date the only person I've seen use disable device in PFS has been a Paladin so yeah, you can live without it. Diplomacy is really nice, though usually only one person needs it. If you mostly play online like I do though you never know who you will be adventuring with, so being the person with it is nice.
Marbles/caltrops are a possibility too. Sort of like a very poor man's grease. They don't break the bank like alchemists fire does either. Even if yours GM doesn't let you reuse any of them, 1 sp/gp isn't unaffordable even at level 1. The encumbrance can be a pain if you have a huge amount though.
Michael Brock wrote:
The problem with hinting that an unavailable archetype, PrC, magic item, et al... might be available sometime in the future as a Chronicle sheet item, is that every month when the new Chronicles release, I receive several hundred emails asking when the unavailable items will become available. If I don't answer each of those emails, then people think I'm ignoring them. If i tell the, in the future, they think im blwoing them off. It's a catch 22 I am trying to find a resolution for.
People in positions of authority have been dealing with that forever, so I am afraid you are probably out of luck there. Welcome to life as a public figure!
I've not played that many games, but I'd love to see more interesting/useful items on sheets. At the first tier most of them seem to let me buy things on the always available list for full price, which is not really interesting. PrC's seem a little more dubious to me. If people don't know what they will get in advance it seems like people getting it for a totally unsuitable character will be more common that being able to use it. For items that's not so big a deal since there are a lot of toys to go around and many items are on more than one sheet. But a one of a kind PrC? I'm guessing that is going to be an unpleasant surprise to as many people as not. Maybe I am wrong, I am far from the most experienced player here.
Osirion should get some. :P
You can ride cows (and water buffalo) People still do. I don't know about horses being cheaper, it would depend on location but in general they are a rich man's toy.
But horses are faster IRL. In RL that's sort of a big deal.
As far as magnuskn's thing goes, somebody who crafts items will have more money (or value) available that one who does not, thus throwing off the WBL table. That does indeed seem pretty 'objective' and I think that's what he means by the word.
Saying this is necessarily 'broken' I think ignores the opportunity costs though. Sure, your gold moves up on the WBL chart, but how much gold is the +4 init that feat could have bought worth? Is a character with more gold and no feats stronger? For that matter, how much gold does CWI save exactly? The answer to all that is a massive 'depends'. Which is why different people in different campaigns feel differently about its being balanced. I've played fewer games than some people have years so I won't set myself up as an authority on whether it is in fact balanced, but it isn't really 'free' gold, you are as treeantmonk's guide put it 'selling your feat slots'.
I'm not going to go on with this because I don't take well to insults to my family or others close to me, and I don't want to poison this more than your rantings have already.
But I do feel obligated to tell you some things I have learned the hard way. Don't take your Holy Crusade too far. I know some of what you feel, because I am the same way, even though my Crusades have been far different, even opposed to yours. But you have to moderate your language and pick your fights. Look back at this thread. This is a highly sympathetic environment and you have made enemies, discouraged people from posting and generally won no support. If you tried this rant to the people you so hate, whom I suspect you don't understand half as well as you think you do, you would alienate everyone, as people tend to react badly to being called cancerous cockroaches and told they need to be removed from society to die out. I know this because I was you once, albeit from a different background and with different values. Much of me still is. I love a cause in which I can sink myself. To some degree it is better that sinking into sybaritic apathy like so many do. But even in the most Holy Cause, you need to pick your fights, understand your opponent and moderate your language. To do otherwise is worse than a crime, it is a mistake. The most terrible revenge is when you become that crime which you crusaded against. Have I not seen it times beyond count?
I know you won't listen to me of course, because I wouldn't have listened to me either. I still have a hard time listening to me sometimes. Oh well.
I live in a conservative area and be aware that in my ears you are calling for the murder of most of the people I know, male and female alike. Probably you are a young and foolish zealot who has never seen a corpse rather than the mass murderer you pretend to be but be aware of what you say.
Lincoln Hills wrote:
Pretty much. Thanks for all the advice guys, but I've read treeantmonk's guide several times and I know I'd be mechanically better off dumping CHA, WIS and probably STR to get high DEX and CON. I could probably pick more powerful feats than cosmopolitan too, but I want to make a mage who is a master of disguise and trickery so I am making one even though he isn't as mechanically powerful. I appreciate people wanting to be helpful, but in this case I do know about optimizing stats, I just don't really care.
And I actually track my encumbrance if the GM does or not. That's why I bought a pack mule at level 1. Alchemists fire and such are cool but a little pricy for the first adventure.
Again, expectations. I play(ed) ADOM and Dungeon Crawl and in those games escape items are valuable. Part of being a good roguelike player is knowing when to run because the mobs are brutal and death is forever. My character invested in a scroll of Vanish at level 1 and I'm planning to upgrade his escape item as time goes on. It's just my roguelike background I guess, with all this magic around you should never go into a fight without an escape plan in case it all falls apart.
Like I said I'm not technically an Illusionist, I'm a Mage of Veil so my school powers are going to be out-of-combat only pretty much. Daze looks good though and with cantrips and marbles I can at least look like I am contributing.
I didn't realize you could aid another in combat, I thought it was just for skill checks. Looks like I should read that part of the rules again. I also didn't know you got your favored class bonus at level 1, so thanks for pointing that out. Shoot, I have a level 3 bard who didn't take his, I wonder if I can retroactively add a hitpoint. :P
Wands can be awesome but won't be in play for a few weeks RL, at level 1 they are out of my price range.
Thanks again for all the help everyone, I'm happier knowing I haven't overlooked anything obvious. :P
I'll just go ahead and post the character sheet so people don't have to speculate. Thanks for all the advice too btw.
EDIT: Oh, and to forestall a wave of questions from people not used to PFS, since item crafting is not allowed wizards get to take a free spell focus in exchange for the Scribe Scroll fear.
My character is an Illusionist (Mage of the veil, actually) so I have color spray for the school slot but mostly non-combat powers. I've got a dagger and some acid. 1d3+1 is better than 1d4 though, and I just have to make a ranged touch attack, so acid splash seems better than rushing something nasty with a knife, IMHO.
A wand might be nice down the road, but for my first game it isn't really an option cost-wise. Concentration spells are interesting, I may have to consider prepping silent image.
EDIT: Unfortunately, item crafting doesn't exist in PFS, so it is a non-issue.
Not really any advice other that just talking it out with them like a grown-up, but this thread amuses me. My only RPG background is in roguelikes. I've won ADOM 3 times and Dungeon Crawl twice. Those games are totally merciless and only one in a thousand characters make it if you are good. Truthfully I find most pathfinder games to be too risk-free to really hold my interest and this sort of attitude rather amuses and baffles me. It's all in your expectations coming in I guess.
I played the goblin alchemist in We Be Goblins and it seemed to fit pretty well, with lots of throwing fire and burning and fire and burning and fire and oh, yeah, where was I? I am pretty sure you can use melee builds with that class if you want to play a fighter type but I'm never had one outside that module so I'm not a good person to ask for general alchemist advice.
I'm still pretty much a newbie and am starting my first wizard over the weekend. I've need even seen one played much so I'm looking for ideas on what to do when I'm not unloading a spell. I only have the 4 slots and at least one will probably be for mage armor and such. That leaves me with a lot of rounds of combat, and I'd rather not be totally useless 4/5 rounds of a fight, even if a well placed spell at the start can change the battle.
So far I'm thinking about loading up on marbles. They are dirt cheap and not totally useless. They weight 2 pounds a bad though so while it gets a few more rounds a 7 strength wizard can't have many.
For cantrips Daze looks alright for what it does. Granted I am using my turn to get a chance at making him loose his, but in PFS the party usually seems to outnumber the foe anyway, so it isn't as bad an idea as it sounds. Acid splash for 1d3+1 with an acid focus is pretty bad but at least it is easy to hit.
Then there is the crossbow, but it seems like a lot of money and encumbrance for plinking on the off turns. I'd probably rather invest in a new spell of the spellbook...
Have I pretty much covered the options, or am I missing something obvious?
Hm? I'm not saying you can't ever sell spells, but making a steady 280 gp a day might be more than the market will really want. I'm not saying your idea for a wizard school is bad, I think it could be interesting. I'm saying you might not have infinite students, particularly in a rural setting.
Also, I'm not saying libraries don't exist. Like I said their were dozens of public libraries in ancient Rome, although you couldn't take books/scrolls out. There would have been many more private ones. Literary works like Homer have been found in villages of around 1000 people in Roman Egypt. You won't find a huge library willing to buy up your whole output in every small town and village you come across though. It's all about the setting and that is up to the GM. I don't mean to discourage you, actually I think a lot of your ideas are interesting. I'm just trying to point out that you may not be able to sell all the spells you would be able to produce in a given amount of time, so don't count on infinite demand.
Since it says "Or tree bark" I assume it is the same sort of rice/mulberry bark paper used all the time in the orient. It works just fine for writing. But yeah, it isn't going to fundamentally change the economics of libraries which will exist only in large cities or the homes of rich men. It's less the cost of the writing materials than the cost of writing things out by hand that kept books relatively scarce. The ancient world had some pretty impressive libraries eg Alexandria or Pergamous. Rome had several dozen, IIRC. But only in large, rich cities. By PF standards you'd find them in Absalom, Katheer, Sothis etc. As far as your plans go, you won't make a fortune selling to them.
Truthfully, that's just economics and it depends on how rich your area is, which depends on the GM. The market for magic schooling will depend on it too. In traditional, rural societies even children's labor was valuable and many couldn't afford to have them off the farm that long. That's why we have summer breaks in the US, traditionally people just couldn't spare the labor. How many of yours spells your student could bu again depends on the wealth available to them. Good deal or not, only so many people will want to spend that sort of coin on magic.
If you are looking for cheap writing material, rice paper is only 5 cp a page. Pretty trivial usually but if you are ording the stuff by wholesale it is a mere 1/8 the price of regular paper and a quarter that of parchment.
"I believe the proper proclamation is 'sneak attack, b+~+%'".
And I can't see why you couldn't come up with a decent story for a paladin using a goblin weapon. It's just a curiously shaped bit of metal, there isn't anything intrinsically evil about it that I know of.
Sorry, I wasn't very clear. In that case I was talking about a party member who specialized in trap-clearing rather than a rogue as such. The person I was talking to used a ranger archetype. I've played fewer games than some of you have years so I won't set myself up as an authority on which class makes the best trap-clearer but the value of one pretty obviously depends on how many traps there are.
I'm with treeantmonk. I always made the character concept before I made the stats and I'd rather use point buy so I can make the concept actually work rather than hoping the dice let me do what I want to do. I want to get to make my character rather than having a bunch of random numbers.
Blue Star wrote:
The current game I'm in, we run into traps about as often as combats, and the module is based on a video game. to make things worse they are becoming magical. I've been forced to become a ranger with the trapper archetype because of it. Which I don't mind entirely, I've been wanting better armor and weapon proficiencies
I think most of us agree that these things depend heavily on the campaign. In the games I have played traps are rare and not very dangerous, so you are better off just having the wizard or somebody use a spell when they do come up. If the game regularly involved lots of traps then you would need a specialized trap-finder though I'm not sure an archetype wouldn't be better.
Based on my very limited experience just dealing with traps isn't worth giving up a lot o other things. In pathfinder I've played a total of 6 sessions, all PFS modules. I can think of exactly two that had a trap. One was set late because the GM forgot about it and the other was and the other was disabled by the level 2 Paladin of all people. Fights happen 3-4 times a module and traps once every 3-4 modules. For that reason alone it isn't worth giving up much combat ability for traps unless your setting is quite different.
I don't know Prestige classes outside the APG so I can't comment on those. I have made similar characters though and my answer is that the Bard probably has the best potential, but the wizard gives up the least.
If you get the Bard's Int up he can certainly be the best of the classes I've seen with Bardic knowledge and taking 10/20 on knowledge rolls. High int doesn't do much else for him though so you'll be giving up quite a bit for it. Wizards knowledge monkeys have a much lower opportunity cost since they use Int a lot anyway and don't need a lot of skill points used elsewhere to shine.
I'm not really worried about the monetary cost, but they take 2 pounds each which for a low-level caster adds up fast. You can't always run to a store between encounters to pick up more. Asking the Gm would be the obvious solution except that I mostly do online PFS play so I don't really have one consistent GM.
I like the magnet idea though. The AA has a magnet for 5 sp I could swing around with mage hand. The image of running a big magnet over the battlefield vacuuming up marbles and caltrops is rather amusing...
Not really sure if this is an advice or rules question so feel free to move it.
I'm considering getting a war pony or two to act as a baggage animal for a weak character. They are medium so I should be able to get them where I want them and a lot more affordable for a level 2 character than a magic item. The war part makes them come with tricks, so getting them to stick around should prove easier.
What I don't know (having played all of 4 games) is how pack animals would respond in combat. Assuming they aren't directly attacked should I expect them to attack, run away or stay put? Attack isn't really ideal and I'd sooner not have to chase down my stuff after every fight if I can avoid it.
Thanks. This there a way to mark this for possible inclusion in the next errata? The (an) author of the book straight out said it was supposed to be the same as the Bard's 5th level power, so there can't be much doubt about the intent and it seems a shame to have all PFS archivists (I know I am not the only one) penalized for a typo.
Apparently I phrased my badly since while your answers are good, they aren't answering the question I tried to ask. My apologies. Take 2.
If I understand correctly, the Lore Master power gotten by the archivist at level 2 is supposed to be the same as the one received by the bard in level 5. It looks like this board doesn't automatically turn a URL into a link like the forums I am used to, so I'll do it manually this time. :P However, it seems this was transcribed in error, not letting the archivist take 10 on all knowledge rolls. Normally this would be a matter for the GM, but in PFS there is no single GM to appeal to, so I'm trying to figure out what the society rules are, thus my posting in this subforum.
Hopefully I made more sense this time?
What exactly are the errata RAW/RAI rules for PFS? Basically, I have an archivist bard whose second level power Lore Master* was miscopied** and I don't see a correction in the official errata. What are the rules here and how should I apply this power?
Thanks for the advice. I didn't look at darkwood. The masterwork backpack actually weights 4 pounds and with my current pack-animal strategy I've dropped the pack altogether. Even the masterwork one would just break even at my current strength. With PFS rules in place I can't buy most of the lighter armor until I could just get the muleback cords. And the minor bag of holding costs the same 1,000 gp as said cords and only increases capacity by 45lbs rather than the 70lbsish of the cords, so it just seems like a bad buy.
The pseudodragon seemed pretty absurd, thanks for the clarification. So many rule pages. :P
I don't have Handle Animal, and it isn't a class skill so teaching tricks would be a dicey process. I notice that you can buy war-trained ponies though, and as I looked over the Handle Animal skill it seems to me that they would have the attack, come, defend, down, guard, and heel tricks learned, correct? Between down and heel I could probably mostly keep it under control.
The main problem I see is that, again assuming I understand the rules right, I'd have to use a move action to give the command. Loosing a move action at the start of every fight isn't appealing, as much as I like the idea of a pack animal. Maybe I'll just go for riding a horse. Hmm, lots of stuff to figure out. :P
I was looking through the list of animals again in d20pfrd, and is this pseudodragon absurdly good or am I missing something? He might actually be able to just track the donkey for me since he gets +6 survival. He has telepathy so we can communicate, even if I have to learn Draconic. I have 9 new skill points, I can get one into linguistics. He has a lot of utility stuff into the bargain like darkvision, blindsense, +6 perception and +19 stealth. At this level 15 HP and 16 AC isn't very easy to kill either. Granted in combat it won't be much use, but for 200 gold it sounds like a steal. Not only will it help with the donkey, it gives quite an assortment of other options, particularly for stealth stuff. +19 stealth isn't even possible for a PC in PFS play. Am I missing something or should I make sure to get this guy on the team next time I am in Absalom? In PFS that won't be long.
EDIT: Apologies for the double post if that's not how you guys do things, I am not sure if you edit the OP or double post in these cases.
The archeologist gets a very similar ability, though he gets .5 of level added to all perception checks if I read the rules correctly. He can't disable magic traps until level 6, so it isn't quite identical, but pretty close. He even gets trap sense +1 as a class feature.
The sandman has a lot of anti-trap stuff but nothing really identical. The archivist also gets a small piece of the action as he can try to disable magic traps.
Well, I leveled up a character for the first time not that long ago and with a sizable pile of gold I'm looking over all the shiny new toys I can get. Unfortunately, I'm discovering I can't carry them. I only have a strength of 10 (archer bard) and when you count the 20 pound armor, bow and some arrows I have about 5 pounds of non-weapon equipment I can carry without going into medium encumbrance. Since I have a Dex of 19 I'd loose rather a lot doing so.
Now, eventually that Handy Haversack will deal with it, but I won't have the gold or PP (PFS) for one of those for quite a while. Muleback cords are another magic possibility and I have been making sure I save enough gold to have the 1,000 the instant I hit 9 PP. That still leaves a few adventures though.
The solution I hit upon was the 8 gp donkey. While it isn't always easy to get to, it is affordable and can easily haul around camping gear and things I won't need in combat, like food. In my 3 games at least, I don't need such things indoors or underground much. However, playing through the first scenario where he really matters, PFS Intro 3, I realized that just dropping the rope and letting him wander in the middle of battle could cause problems. Namely, he could run away in the middle of the fight with all my stuff.
Here it wasn't a problem due to an NPC, but it got me thinking and I have spent a while trying to find a solution. I'm still undecided so I figured I would ask the veterans here what they do.
Have a piton/spike and rope to tie him. Unfortunately that means giving up a combat turn so I don't like it.
Hope he doesn't run away and track him down if he does. I could add bells and maybe some sort of hook to slow him down. Still, with a Survival of -2 (Bard) that's risky and could slow the party down in bad ways.
Tie him to me. Unfortunately, he is stronger, so if he runs, guess who is in trouble. Maybe a pack dog...
I looked through the spell list but nothing seems very useful, and I doubt I would use a spell slot for this if there were something.
Ride him. I'd have to upgrade the donkey to a combat horse, but that's not too unaffordable. I'm a little concerned about how this would level up though. At lvl 2 15 HP is respectable but pretty soon it won't be. Mounted combat sounds like fun but I have a Human in PFS so I hate to use feats on something I probably can't use half the time.
Anyway, I ask your collective wisdom here. I'm not sure how practical a pack animal is unless you have a designated holder, which is probably not worth it. I'm also not sure how well mounts hold up since I have yet to play a game about the 1st level. I'm also getting annoyed at not being able to have a buckler or cold iron arrows because I can't afford 8 pounds more encumbrance, so any help is appreciated.
I love how people are getting all worked up about targeting a spell book is or is not always an unreasonable move. There are so many possible situations I think it is rather foolish to issue a statement that it is 'always' wrong to target the book and also to say the book should always be targeted.
Is a Rogue “skimming” treasure as he finds it “Role playing” or is he stealing from his adventuring companions?
I think the key is making sure the players know and agree to this behavior ahead of time. If the actual players know it is happening and find it a fun part of the game, no problem. If the other people find out the hard way, that's when you get animosity and hard feelings. The convention seems to be that the GM is final judge of all disputes, so in this case the burden of deciding exactly what will happen if the feeling isn't unanimous is on his shoulders.
In other words, is the character stealing from other characters? As long as it is done with player consent, it seems fine to me. In-character retaliation should also probably be worked out ahead of time to avoid conflict and hurt feelings.
If it is a player stealing from other players, that's obviously not acceptable behavior. If the group disagrees then the GM pretty much has to work something out here like everywhere else there is a disagreement. Welcome to the burden of command.
I'm no expert on these games, but I've studied a lot of communities in RL and to make a very long story as short as possible, economic opportunity is the key. People will go into dangerous areas if there is a reward so long as the risk/reward ratio isn't out of whack. The easier people to grab for a new community are refugees, but they are often from fairly homogeneous backgrounds and might not be interested in running thing the way your cleric wants them run. Actually that's true whomever he gets. If this world has an agriculture based economy you could base it on the German settlements in the Middle Ages east of the Elbe, basically you offered peasants land on good terms, usually without any sort of taxes or feudal dues for a while (often a decade or more) until you were established. People then had a long-term view of land tenure.
Anyway, that's a short version. If there is any interest I can dig up a few books and give more historical details than anyone really cares about. :P
I'm trying to level up a Pathfinder character for the first time and I have hit a few snags. Question 1, are favored class alternatives allowed in PFS play? If my human bard could snap an extra cantrip instead of an HP it would be worth considering. Question 2, if a player takes the slow XP progression, does he also get less gold? I see the PP progression is reduced to keep him on the same level, but I don't anywhere where it says if treasure is also halved.
I guess while I am at it, if anyone wants to chime in about 1st level spells I'm still scratching my head about it. I have Grease and Silent Image and am divided between Hideous Laughter, Charm Person, Haze of Dreams and Touch of Gracelessness.
Like most things, there is a golden mean. I would like to play in world with the GM as 'referee' sort of thing, where the world is believable and there are reasonable consequences for your actions. Throwing a constant stream of totally random monsters at you seems silly. So does expecting to be able to kick down the door of a bandit fort and fight a series of perfectly balanced encounters where they always attack in groups of 5 for no obvious reason. If you have a wizard has a bonded staff he is useless without, don't be shocked if an enemy fighter tries to sunder it. That's not a cruel GM, that's your foe not being an idiot. (The White Witch will back me up on this) To me this seems less about being too 'easy' as such and more about it being too 'gamey' where things work out because that makes things fit into traditional RPG encounters best. Basically, some common sense is always nice for the nitpickers out here. :)
As far as GM authority, the GM can do anything he wants except force players to the table, as far as I am concerned. That's enough of a check. If he regularly offends the players he won't be a GM for long, which negates the problem. Without willing players you aren't a GM at all, you are a nerd sitting in the corner with a stack of rulebooks.
What bothers me isn't that some people don't mind fudging or that they do it, it is that for PFS purposes you will have different GM's and you won't know if they are loading the dice. That's off-putting to me since I don't really want to play that sort of a game and unless it is made clear in advance I'm not sure if the GM is playing the game I think he is. As long as all the players agree I have no moral problem, but if I don't have a chance to know I have a practical one.
I like the sound of this. Just to nitpick though, up here putting out the campfire at night is not such a good idea most of the year, you'll be waking up as an icicle. And with all the cold and wet you'll be lucky to start any fire, you'd need a plane load of napalm to start a forest fire. So these things are fairly circumstantial. :P
Again, I'm new so I don't know all the 'unwritten conventions'. As long as everyone understands going in that the GM either will or will not fudge I don't think there is any ground for accusing anyone of acting in bad faith or cheating. Cheating usually implies breaking rules agreed to without the consent of the other people playing. If ignoring die rolls is recognized as a prerequisite of the GM by the other players, it can't be reasonably called cheating. Now if the GM said he wouldn't fudge and then goes ahead and does it, that would be lying and probably cheating.
I think the key disagreement is it usually isn't agreed explicitly in advance if fudging is a legitimate GM right or not. People understand different things and feel they are being duped when their assumptions turn out wrong. If this becomes a bone of contention I would strongly advise being open about the fact that you 'fudge' (even if not on which rolls) since making sure everyone has a clear agreement on the rules in advance helps a lot in avoiding disputes. Here I suspect different people thought they signed up for different things.
That said, if it is that common it is a serious turn-off for me and I'll probably be seriously reconsidering PFS play, though maybe if I can find a group where it is understood no such thing will take place it won't matter for me.
I'll probably be ignored since I'm not personally attacking anyone, but oh well. :P
I've played a grand total of 3 d20 RPG sessions in my life, so the implicit rules are new to me. I am a veteran of many strategy games and rougelikes (ASCII games where 99% of characters die with no reload or resurrection chance) and I wouldn't want to play a game where the die rolls are fudged to save me. If it made clear, formally or otherwise, in advance where this is being done so I can avoid it, I don't have a "moral" problem. If I don't get this chance I will feel cheated and if it happen regularly I'll probably stop playing in the genre.
That may be part of the problem when organized play is involved. In a friendly group either way is fine as long as everyone agrees on the rules in advance. In a group with different GM's I could have somebody 'fudge' and change the rules on me in ways I never agreed to and I would feel cheated and deceived. I doubt I would bother playing if the result is just GM fiat.
This is supposed to be an adventure, you are trawling dungeons full of God-knows what, it is going to be risky. Death isn't always glorious and you can die from a random arrow as well as in a climatic boss fight. That is the world I mentally live in and somebody mucking with reality to make it fit the fairy-tale he wants to tell would not make an interesting game for me.
Obviously other people want other things, and so long as the rules are clearly spelled out in advance with everyone consenting I see no problem. The problem comes when the GM fudges 'secretly' and I never get a chance to know he does it, which to me means I'm not getting to play the game by the rules I signed up to, I would see it as a deceitful bait and switch which would quickly sour me on the whole genre. I can play chess or Age of Rifles or Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup where the rules are understood if sometimes harsh and anything can happen, not just what the GM thinks makes a good story. I'm playing a game and a contest against the elements and foes, not listening to Cinderella with a guaranteed 'they all live happily ever' before you read the first word.