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Andrew Christian's page

Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 2013 Dedicated Voter. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber. FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka. 1,768 posts (5,751 including aliases). 3 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 13 Pathfinder Society characters. 1 alias.


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Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Guide 4.3 reworded it. Even if it is a non-con damaging affliction, the Society will not send you on a mission if you are diseased, have a poison wracked body, or are cursed in some way that makes you nearly non-functional or potentially dangerous to your team.

You must clear these afflictions before the end of a scenario, or you are reported as dead.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Dhjika wrote:
keerawa wrote:
) I realize that in PFS the AC will automatically appear with max tricks and bonus tricks learned, but that's just the basics.

I thought ACs appeared with JUST the bonus trick and you had to train the other tricks after games.

Only if you are replacing an AC.

If its the first iteration of the AC, they come fully loaded.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

awesome! Congrats John!

Andoran Dedicated Voter 2013

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here is something to contemplate as a player:

A bit of my history
I was once a GM who ran games in a GM vs. Player kind of way, where the monsters, traps, plot, npcs, et. al. were my characters, and I had to do everything humanly possible to keep them alive. I would create encounters specifically to mess with the players while they were at their weakest.

When I started GM’ing for Living Greyhawk, and indeed was one of the co-coordinators for Living Dragonstar as its developer, I learned a huge lesson. The job of a GM is to tell a cooperative story with the players, and the job of the monsters, traps, plots, and npcs is to be beaten by the player characters.

GM Perspective

If a player is playing in a style that players often play with when the dynamic is GM vs. Player, I will often try to direct that player back to the cooperative storytelling attitude. It does break some of the tension and/or verisimilitude to say things like, “don’t worry, you’ll figure it out, or you aren’t screwed,” when they start freaking out like I’m out to get them. But sometimes you have to calmly let them know that this is just the angst part of the story, and eventually they will figure it out and have a good shot at surviving and being the heroes of the story.

So while I do write very tough encounters (or modify existing encounters—I have to anyways, as I’m running 8 players with 25pt buys through Kingmaker), and sometimes the players have to think of unique ways to survive, they don’t have to twist the rules and intent of spells and/or items to do so. How should I respond to a player who wants to use a camping item outside of its intended use to completely derail an entire campaign? “Hey, ok guys, you win. Who wants to GM the next one?”

So saying all that, if I write into the plot (or the AP or module I’m using already has it, and it makes good sense and ties to the plot well) a camping ambush, then it isn’t me as the GM trying to screw over or screw with the players. And any over-the-top actions the players take to make such a thing impossible (setting guards or alarm spells should be SOP, so I’m not considering that), is playing with the attitude that they are trying to win or beat the GM rather than play a cooperative story telling venture. Over-the-top actions would be anything above and beyond what they would normally do. Spells like rope trick and the various magnificent shelter/mansion are not what I’m talking about.

My players can be very creative. But generally they don’t go over-the-top with their creativity because they know I’m not out to get them. And unless the dice are just unfriendly, I won’t create situations specifically to off one of their characters. That isn’t to say that I haven’t killed a character or two, here and there, but overall I take care of the characters for plot purposes, and they know that (don’t read this as I softball. I don’t.)

Player Perspective

I don’t want things to be easy or without danger. I want to sit on the edge of my seat and wonder if my character is going to survive, and then somehow pull it out at the end.

I only ever start making over-the-top creative use of items, when I’m playing with GM’s who feel they need to beat the players (i.e. when there is a GM vs. Player dynamic).

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:

Glad you liked Aroa, Mead, and that you got the Polynesian flavor. Aaack, do you know I'm not sure there is one reference to coconuts...though the atolls weren't always where they are now, and coconuts probably weren't indigenous. Heck, sure, add in coconuts! I'm pretty sure those suckers float between islands for years before washing up on some beach and sprouting. I know coral trees could do that. Hmm, how could I have overlooked coconut AND coral tree based vegepygmies.... (begins scribbling furtive notes)

And yes, Terminus Island and Murder, Fathoms Below totally rock. But that is just some of the awesome that awaits in Journeys... Also deatailed are a horrific Mythos inspired isle, a living island, a dread realm of undead, the Burning Shores, and the time-twisted Isle of the Morphoi await, as well as a range of different level adventures and more pirates than you can shake a pegleg at...

Glad you liked Terminus Island. That one was a lot of fun to write!

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Andrew Christian wrote:
So, I know there are a ton of names I forgot on that list, so if there is anyone who met me, and wants to share that moment so I remember, that would be fantastic!

Ack! How do I forget Kyle Baird and Ogre!

We had a fantastic conversation Saturday evening and ate lunch/dinner together Thursday evening. Those two getting together and chatting about writing and playing and GM'ing is a masterclass in exactly that!

I briefly also met Pirate Rob, but didn't get much of a read on him as he was playing in a game at the time I think.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Well even in the olden times, there were ways to change hair color. You could use dye or a wig or whatever.

As for eye color, roleplaying wise, I'd like to see you have a reason for it. Like your horrific experience being eaten by a dragon and then resurrected. Or perhaps just a simple teleport spell didn't sit well with your body chemistry.

As for sex?

I don't know. I guess I am a bit of a purist. Unless there is a roleplaying reason for making fluff changes to your character, I'd prefer to not see it. But there is nothing in the rules that says no. As long as class/level/hit points/skills/feats/traits et. al. all remain the same, I wouldn't stop you from doing it in PFS. In a home game, probably.

However, an explanation could be as simple as.

Bob the Knight was really a woman disguising herself as a knight because she was afraid of prejudice against women in that particular order. But now that she's a Knight-Captain, she reveals she's a woman and really named Bobina.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

So, I know there are a ton of names I forgot on that list, so if there is anyone who met me, and wants to share that moment so I remember, that would be fantastic!

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

I met so many cool people: Excellent players, GMS, V-O's, and Paizo Staff.

First:

I dabble with patronage to Open Design/Kobold Quarterly stuff, so I had some meetings and such with Open Design folk Including:

Richard Pett (guest of Open Design)
Wolfgang Bauer
Christina Stiles
James Thomas and his Wife and son (his Son had a really cool idea for a new adventure, maybe one day we will have a new scenario author in that one)
Jim Groves

Second:

I always like to chat with Paizo staff when they have 30 seconds to let me say hello:

Sean K. Reynolds (great guy, fun to talk to)
James Jacobs
Eric Mona
Mark Moreland
Mike Brock
Liz Courts
And of course Gary Teter who got me a box for my 8 new Paizo shot glasses
And the other Paizo employees at the dealer room who were all fantastic.

Third:

My fellow venture officers were fantastic to meet and put faces to the names that I constantly converse with here and other places:

Nani & Kyle Pratt were both very gracious to meet me, and although we didn't get much chance to chat as we were all very busy, I could see would be fun to talk to, GM for, or play for. They both had roles at the Convocation and I felt did a fantastic job.

Matthew Starch (or was it Benjamin? Why did the Wisconsin V-L's have to have the same first name?) Who ran me through a fantastic session of Rats of Round Mountain Part I. I also roomed with Matthew, and because he chose to sleep on the floor, I got one of the double beds all to myself... yeah!

Alistair Rigg who I got to play Rats of Round Mountain Part I with. I had a fantastic time playing at the same table as Alistair, and we seemed to riff really well off each other's roleplay, which was fun.

Jason Leonard who I mostly just chatted with as we fell asleep or woke up in the mornings as I was rooming with him. Great guy, fun to chat with. Wish I'd had a chance to be at a table with him though (although his guy was one of only two first prize winners at the event I ran at the Convocation!)

Sean Hanlin was also one of my roomies and someone I've worked with before at Con of the North. Sean was awesome on Friday when he did a food run for Alistair, Matthew and I, as Rats of Round Mountain Part I ran really long due to our character's inability to deal with one of the obstacles. Otherwise Matthew, Alistair, and I would have gone like 9 or 10 hours without food (or on vending machine crap).

Michael Azzolino: just got to say howdy and bye at the last minute as we were heading out the door Sunday evening. Seems like a great guy though!

J.P. Chapleau: He is fun to chat with when he's tossed back a few beers. I hope all the fires and such get fully contained and there are no more worries for you and your family J.P.!

John Compton: Very nice guy and got to have a good talk with him about all kinds of cool PFS things.

Todd Morgan: He did a lot of work helping the game room registration desk for GMs. I didn't really get much a chance to chat with him at all though, which was a shame, as the initial plan was that he, Bob Jonquet and I were going to drive together to Seattle. As it turned out though, it ended up being cheaper for us to fly since Bob ended up not being able to go.

Ryan Bolduan: Who is this crazy cat!

Alex Greenshields & Todd Tepper: Got a chance to play Chasm of Screams with both of them. Go trignomvirate Go! (although Alex wasn't playing a gnome, so he didn't get to participate in the wonder triplet powers activate) I didn't fault Alex for not having a gnome... much.

David Woodfin: Really nice guy. Didn't get to talk much about pathfinder stuff, but since I lived in Austin for a year, we did get to chat about how the city has changed since I lived there.

Walter Sheppard: Very nice guy, and very genuinely helpful. He seems to bring the same excitement to pathfinder society that I try to bring everytime I play or GM a table.

Chris Jarvis: Is a very much larger than life personality and unfortunately I didn't get much of a chance to chat with him. But he seems like a guy I'd really get along with and have a blast at the table as GM/Player or Player/Player.

Kyle Elliot: This man was running crazy in helping to pull off the event itself and the Grand Convocation. He also helped to coordinate picking folks up from the airport. Kudo's goes to Kyle Elliot for a good job.

I'm sure there are one or two V-O's that I met that I forgot that I met... but I'm still in the Monday after haze.

Fourth:

I wanted to give a special shout-out to the GM's I played under.

Matthew Starch - Rats of Round Mountain Part I - Fantastic GM, I had a lot of fun at his table.

Trevor Burroughs - Rats of Round Mountain Part II - Fantastic GM. As a matter of fact, Trevor gave me one of my best experiences at Paizo Con, and is a GM that I would LOVE to play at a table with where there were no real time restrictions. He did a fantastic job of keeping the game on task and on time, but his roleplay and characterizations were so spot on and interesting, that I'd love to enjoy a table with him as the GM where we weren't worried about 4 or 5 hours. Plus he gave us chocolate dice! Won some brownie points from the Fiancee with those! Thanks Trevor!

Ryan Bolduan - Chasm of Screams. He's my V-C so I get to play at his table or GM for him all the time. We had fun with the trignomvirate giving him a hard time!

Fifth:

Other players. I met so many new faces as a GM and as a player, that there is no possible way that I can remember all the names. So I will touch on a few that stood out to me.

Painlord bought me a beer and we chatted for quite some time! He's a fantastic guy and a really nice fellow. Thanks for the beer!

Shivok and I had a lot in common with our history, so we had a bit to chat about over that beer that Painlord bought me.

W. Kristopher Nolan and I played at Matthew Starch's table of Rats of Round Mountain Part I. He was so excited that his Living Monolith died at the table, because then he had the chance to become a Risen Guard.

Stonecunning played at my table of Quest for Perfection Part I on his wedding day. Dude, are you crazy!?

Mattastrophic played at the Chasm of Screams table, and his taldan lady character refused to help dig out our friends from some rubble that was suffocating them. So the trignomvirate shunned her for awhile.

There was a player, who I think was named Sean or Shawn, that I played with at Trevor's table of Rats of Round Mountain Part II (and he may have also been the guy who took charge of the special mechanics in Quest for Perfection Part III that I ran) who I had a really, really fantastic time with. We seemed to riff off each other's characters and roleplay really well, and just wanted to give a public shout out to him on how much of a fantastic time I had with him.

Overall folks, Paizo Con was absolutely fantastic!

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Absolute blast so far meeting several fellow v-o's having fun playing and gming.

Painlord is right personality on the boards is different than in real life for many

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Waiting in MSP airport. Boarding starts in approximately 25 minutes

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Jiggy wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
It literally boggles my mind how you cannot consider creating a new trick with your own mechanics, that can change on a whim, as not creating something new.
And it boggles my mind that you think that's whathe'ssaying.

but that is what he said. He even created two new tricks that don't exist in this thread and then likened it to allowing creative uses of skills

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Chris Mortika wrote:

Andrew, I've explained the mechanics of the Handle Animal skill that allow for things like a Flank trick, or a Menace trick, as best I can. I don't see that as "a new thing requiring new mechanics."

What if we differed on the skill check necessary for riding a wild shark? Or sneaking past an ettin which has one of its heads in a bag? Or the Acrobatics check for running across a roof of wet shingles?

If that's the heart of your concerns, it's endemic in GMs ruling about the DC of any skill check. And I'll tell you, when I'm running a session, I would rather rule reasonably and quickly on a question like that, than pore over a collection of six rulebooks to find the exact RAW answer. So I may rule that Menace is a DC 20 one day, think about it, and then decide it should have been a DC 25 based on material in the APG or UC. (Or an example in one of the Adventure Paths.)

And with this, I take my leave. I've read the posts here, thought about the problem, and explained my position, perhaps badly but as well as I'm able; all I'd be doing now is repeating myself.

It literally boggles my mind how you cannot consider creating a new trick with your own mechanics, that can change on a whim, as not creating something new.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Jiggy wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:

And adjudicating something that's ambiguous or not explicitly stated is one thing.

Creating an entire new thing that doesn't already exist is completely another.

Getting warmer. Now just show why "if you want him to flank, you need to teach him a trick" doesn't fall under "adjudicating something that's ambiguous or not explicitly stated".

Until you can make that clear, all you have is an opinion, rather than an argument or a case.

Because I've already shown it.

Chris even actually helped my argument by "creating" a new trick with the mechanics of the train DC and all that.

It would be akin to creating a new trait or feat.

It is an element not already part of PFS, that doesn't exist, requires mechanics assigned to it, that are not already part of the CRB, and then you expect other GM's to abide by your creation.

Chris saying he wouldn't allow some trick that created the seige engine aiming is essentially opening the door to other GMs not allowing the flanking trick that he created. Or changing them to something else.

Anytime "common sense" and "reasonable" have to be applied to the creation of something new, then you open things up to abuse.

It becomes an actual game element the same as a feat or trait.

Allowing the heal skill to be used in certain ways, or allowing the handler to push an animal companion in a certain way are creative uses of skills. That's covered under the rules. But it doesn't create a new game element.

You can't create new spells, new feats, new traits. Why should you be able to create new tricks? They are as much a hard coded element in Pathfinder as those other elements.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Jiggy wrote:

Andy, a couple of things:

I don't think you're grasping some other folks' points of view here. Take Chris' for example: he was clearly trying to make the point that if a player asks how to do X, and it's not clearly defined in the rules, the GM must make the most reasonable ruling possible. If the question is "how can I get my AniComp to flank with me?", then one GM might say "you need to train it as a trick" while another might say "you need to make a Push HA check". Both are answerig the "how to flank" question. Both are applying the most reasonable skill (Handle Animal). Both are adjudicating something that's not explicit in the rules (nothing tells you how to get your AniComp to flank).

The only difference is the final answer. The reasoning to get there is the same, and they're both applications of the most reasonable skill in order to produce an effect not covered in the rules.

If you want to show that one is valid while the other is not, then you need to show how two applications of the same skill are different. You keep asserting that training a new trick is "creating new stuff in PFS" and comparing it to crafting. But isn't the application of the "Push" mechanic (which you have advocated) also creating something new? (I.e., a new function of the mechanic.)

That's what Chris' list of examples were supposed to show: any one of those situations could be described as a GM "creating new stuff" by applying a skill to a situation that the rules don't cover.

It's up to you to illustrate the difference between asking for a skill check to Push-to-flank and asking for a skill check to Train-to-flank. You haven't done that so far. You've asserted that such a distinction exists, but you have done nothing to show that there's a difference or what that difference is or how it works. You just keep insisting it's different without ever showing how.

This is why no one seems to be responding to you the way you'd probably like.

Relatedly, it hasn't been coming across in...

I totally get what he's saying.

And adjudicating something that's ambiguous or not explicitly stated is one thing.

Creating an entire new thing that doesn't already exist is completely another.

I'm actually surprised that people don't see the difference and actually advocate creating something new that requires new mechanics.

Chris...

What if as a GM I determine the DC of training Menance should be 25? But you determined it as 20?

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Chris Mortika wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
2) That the rules really aren't ambiguous as to creating a new Trick. I believe the rules quite explicitly disallow such a thing in PFS.

Here's where we disagree, my friend. First, the Guide doesn't explicitly disallow tricks that aren't on the list. You probably meant to say "implicitly".

Second, we have a different understanding of what tricks are. The way I understand them, they aren't something an animal (AC or otherwise) does. They're something the PC does with the skill Handle Animal. And PCs are always trying to pull stunts with skills.

For example, a lot of GMs allow a PC to use the Heal skill to tell how badly injured / poisoned / diseased an NPC is. That's certaily a reasonable use of the skill, but it's not explicitly allowed in the skill description.

Let's say the party's in a dark room, and the PC archer wants to draw her crossbow and nock a bolt without being heard by the alerted guards. You might ask her to make a Stealth check; that's a reasonable Skill to use, but it's not covered in the rules.

Underwater, a PC is attacked by a shark, and the character grabs on to the beast as it races away. A GM might ask the player to make a Ride check to stay secure, because Ride is a natural skill to use even though you won't find "stay attached to swimming shark" in the skill description.

The party breaks through the webbing and stands on a shallow ledge, overlooking a drow work camp. Which tent holds the treasures they've been stealing from the dwarves? A player might ask to make an Appraise check, since it allows a character to determine the most valuable item visible in a treasure hoard. Does that sound plausible to you? Or would you suggest Knowledge (local)?

A rogue PC wants to train his pet boar to adjust its position in a fight so that it sets up a flank with him. Handle Animal seems to be the right skill to use, and "teach trick" seems to be the right action, even though that's not an explicit trick.

Does that...

So Chris, let me get this straight.

Boiled down to brass tacks.

You feel that creating a new trick that has no mechanics or rules to back it up (essentially creating new rules and mechanics) is ok in PFS?

Because that's what you are doing. What DC should training the AC to do this new trick be? How long doesn't matter in PFS, but that is another variable that would normally need to be considered.

How exactly does this training work? And where do you draw the line?

If you allow training for flanking, are you going to allow a special trick to command your AC to reaim a siege engine, or intimidate someone? I'm sure there is a list of a hundred different ideas a Player could come up with that would break the game. And who's to declare what is reasonable and what isn't?

Sure, you and I could probably do an ok job of allowing only reasonable new tricks. But what about newby GM who's also new to Pathfinder and maybe even roleplaying? Or Golarion God's forbid, what about that GM/Player combo that is a bit unscrupulous and they create something new that's ridiculous?

Do you see where I'm coming from with the creation of new tricks?

It isn't just about the Flank thing. If you allow that one, you have to allow the consideration of any new trick.

What happens if at Gen Con you allow someone to create a Flank trick for his Boar. And you set the DC at 25. You write this on their chronicle sheet.

But the guy goes home, his AC dies, and now he has to retrain his AC. So his GM's at home (or any other GM that isn't you) would have to abide by the new mechanic for training the AC to flank that you created? Does that seem like a good idea for PFS to you?

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Seth Gipson wrote:
redward wrote:

Eye for Talent: This alternate racial trait allows you add 2 to one of the abilities of your mount. Adding it to Intelligence allows you to select more advanced Feats. And you can use one the mount's skill points to learn a language, so it can understand (but not speak) Common.

Just to point out, even if you raise your Animal Companions Intelligence score to 3+, you still MUST make Handle Animal checks to get it to do something. You cannot simply speak to it.

Definitely. Just because it understands your language and what you are saying, doesn't mean it understands your instructions.

I got my black belt in Karate a few years ago, and I pick up Kata fairly quickly. It always amazed me though, how some folks would consistently forget how to do a Kata or get steps wrong. And these are intelligent people with capacity to think like people.

So just because your animal companion understands what you are saying, doesn't mean it will automatically know how to apply it in the heat of combat.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Player 1: Dag-nabbit! Fred, you were supposed to bring piece 4!

Player 2: Sorry Hubert, I forgot, jeesh!

Player 3: But Fred, without his head, we won't have a game today!

Player 2: Fine, I'll go home and get Kyle's head!

Player 1: Be snappy about it, the store closes at 6pm and its already 12:30!

Player 2: Fine! But if I get in a car accident, its your fault! Especially if I kill Kyle's head!

Player 3: Just put a seatbelt on him!

Player 2: ?!

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Saint Caleth wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Mike Mistele wrote:
harmor wrote:

No, I wanted to know if a Sorcerer, Oracle, or Bard could research a spell and add it to their Spells Known between Scenarios, but that doesn't look like that's possible.

As I understand it (and if I'm wrong, I'm sure that someone will correct me :-) ), the only* way that spontaneous casters, like sorcerers, "learn" new spells is through the additional spells which they gain as they go up in level. That's not a PFS rule; that's a core Pathfinder rule.

* - short of some feat or something which I'm not thinking of at the moment.

You are correct Mike, that's how I answered it in the first response to this thread.

Spontaneous Casters cannot research spells. They get what they get when they gain a level.

Well spontaneous casters would use the research rules to make a custom spell when they level up, which you cannot do in PFS anyway.

That is true. And as you stated not allowed in PFS.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Jonathan Cary wrote:

I think this thread has gotten past the point where continued discussion will produce anything useful for the campaign.

Andrew, you seem to feel pretty strongly about this subject. Why don't we take it to the VOs and campaign staff and see if it's worth addressing in the Guide or FAQ?

I agree. I don't know why I sometimes allow myself to get sucked into the tete-a-tete arguments that result in nothing useful.

I am completely open to taking this discussion to the V-O's and see if we can find a common ground.

However, interestingly enough, I'm not sure this issue warrants a FAQ or mention in the Guide. I believe the rules already cover everything that needs to be covered, and that the ambiguity that is there should result in table variance.

1) I feel that creating new tricks is clearly not allowed by the precedent in PFS of not creating new things with no existing mechanics to support them. Perhaps mention of this in the Guide along with no crafting is necessary. But not sure that it is.

2) I feel that what is, and is not allowed by the attack trick is too small of an issue to require even a FAQ entry, and should be up to GM discretion. If a GM wants to allow an AC to use all the tactics a PC can use, then that's up to that GM. But if a GM wants to insert common sense into what an AC can do, that is up to that GM. Neither of them is wrong, as the rule is not entirely clear here. I've simply stated on which side of the fence I would sit on this issue.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Saint Caleth wrote:

I mean I mostly agree with you. I have slowly come around to the fact that an AC out of the box might not be able to use tactics. I can even appreciate the logic of certain animals being able to flank while others cannot.

I overall don't think that it is that big of a problem since you can solve any conflict over this by just directing your AC to move to where you want it and then attack. Or you could raise it's Int to 3, or cast speak with animals.

I also disagree that this is ambiguous. There are plenty of huge ambiguous holes in the rules and this really isn't one of them.

We agree on two points here.

1) That you can manipulate tactics in such a way that you can in effect create a flanking situation, without commanding your animal to flank, or allowing the animal companion to use intelligent battlefield tactics.

2) That the rules really aren't ambiguous as to creating a new Trick. I believe the rules quite explicitly disallow such a thing in PFS.

And for the record, my rules interpretation is not about balance. Its about what I believe the rules support and what makes sense to me where the rules are a bit ambiguous.

I believe the rules are a bit ambiguous in what exactly an animal can do when you command it to attack. I believe common sense should apply, but everyone's opinion on what common sense is in relation to this issue, is apparently different.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

CRobledo wrote:

A other point (separate from scenario viability) is to PLEASE brush up and be very familiar with mounted combat rules when you bring a mounted character. Not all GMs are tippy-top about them and it can considerably slow the pace down if you have to constantly look rules up.

(This advice applies to many other things as well. Bottom line: know your character!)

THIS!

I made the mistake of applying mostly GM credit to an alchemist/cavalier. I played him like 3 times total between 1st and 6th level, and then 3 or 4 times between 6th and 9th. He's a very complicated build with a lot of fringe rules (mounted combat, splash weapons, etc.)

Took me too long to figure out how to play him. And now that I finally have, I'm burnt out on him.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Saint Caleth wrote:

I apologize. I am sure that many players enjoy your games, I do disagree with a lot of things that you say about the rules and DMing though, VL status nonwithstanding.

Allow me to rephrase wrote:
To me saying that only certain ACs can flank without XYZ investment of character resources, while logical, is a little too close to "I am going to correct this perceived imbalance by DM fiat" which is contrary to my philosophy of DMing and certainly not ok in PFS.

I don't require that you agree with me. Just that you respect that we BOTH have the right to disagree with one another on ambiguous interpretations without either of us being badwrong.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Mike Mistele wrote:
harmor wrote:

No, I wanted to know if a Sorcerer, Oracle, or Bard could research a spell and add it to their Spells Known between Scenarios, but that doesn't look like that's possible.

As I understand it (and if I'm wrong, I'm sure that someone will correct me :-) ), the only* way that spontaneous casters, like sorcerers, "learn" new spells is through the additional spells which they gain as they go up in level. That's not a PFS rule; that's a core Pathfinder rule.

* - short of some feat or something which I'm not thinking of at the moment.

You are correct Mike, that's how I answered it in the first response to this thread.

Spontaneous Casters cannot research spells. They get what they get when they gain a level.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

I also have a bone to pick here.

Just because my opinion differs from yours...

Can we please dispense with calling folks bad GMs because they choose to use their own opinion and interpretation of ambiguous rules?

I got the V-L spot partially because so far most people (can't please everyone) that I GM for enjoy their time. My job is to make sure players enjoy their time. So telling me that I'm a bad GM because you disagree with my interpretation of an ambiguous rule and enforcement of my interpretation is insulting.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Saint Caleth wrote:

So would any AC with an Int above 2 be able to flank and use tactics, or would you reserve that for only those ACs who have a feat which references flanking?

To me saying that only certain ACs can flank without XYZ investment of character resources, while locial, is a little too close to "I am going to correct this perceived imbalance by DM fiat" which is just bad DMing and certainly not ok in PFS.

I don't believe I'm correcting a perceived imbalance by DM fiat.

I'm interpreting the rules the best I'm able. Both RAW and PFS house rules.

And then I'm being nice by allowing certain tactics (pack hunters) where it makes sense. If a player can make a quick convincing argument why it would make sense for their animal to perform a particular tactic, then I'd probably allow it.

If you allocate resources (feat) to gain a particular type of tactic, then yeah, you can use that feat to its best facility with your AC.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Shifty wrote:

And that works along my earlier point:

Insisting on granular tactics in a game so abstracted as to remove matters such as facing seems a but...trite.

Not insisting on granular tactics.

Simply saying that an animal is not smart enough to use tactics (unless it is in their nature--pack hunter--up to GM discretion) at all.

If commanded to do something, it will use the most direct methods to do so.

Unless the AC has an Int 3 and a feat that gives it a new tactic. Consider the feat a trick the AC can choose to use on its own if you want.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Matthew Morris wrote:

Re AC's and flanking.

Based on how I've read 'wolf pack' tactics, wouldn't an animal trained to attack/flank only flank if there's someone else to attack the target?

For example:

Wolf wins initiative over druid. Wolf attacks directly (I'm assuming the wolf was told to attack previously.)
On druid's action, druid moves alongside wolf.
Next round wolf moves to flank (possibly drawing AoO) because now it has a flanking buddy.

I guess my thing is are animals smart enough to set up flanking for someone who hasn't acted yet, or are they just going to take advantage of flanking opportunities when they open up?

It's not quite, "Fetch the stick" vs "Fetch the book we need from upstairs on the shelf with all the other books"

Since there's no facing in Pathfinder, telling the wolf to 'get behind' the target is mechanically difficult.

Exactly!

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

kinevon wrote:

@JohnF: You might want to recheck the AC rules, your first AC, when you initially gain it, comes fully trained. The training rules are for when you will need a replacement AC.

Int 3 gives it 9 tricks, 3 per Int point. Now, 12 is possible, if it gets 3 bonus tricks from your PC's effective Druid level.

@Andrew Christian: Is there an exhaustive list, somewhere in a Pathfinder source, of which ACs/Familiars/Summoned creatures/purchased animals can naturally flank?

Also, just FYI, there are definitely places in the RAW for PFS where the players are allowed, if not required to create things that are not in the standard rules.
Arcane Bonded items for Wizards & Bards
Alchemical items for Alchemists
Poisons for poison users
Black Blades for Bladebound Magi

@Chris Mortika: I suspect he is thinking of things like:
Ranger ACs, Paladin Mounts, and Magic Item Enhancements

There is not an exhaustive list of flanker animals. There isn't a list. It is up to GM discretion.

All those things you listed that allow for creation are exceptions to the rules that are explicitly allowed by the rules. They also come with mechanics for how they work, how much they cost, and mechanics for how to do the creation. You basically have a list of choices, and you add those choices to your thing. You do not have the option to create something brand new that doesn't have rules within the CRB.

Creating a new Trick is creating something new that doesn't have mechanics or rules within the CRB.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:

You can continue to take everything I say as a black and white statement and hyperbolize it to death if you want.

If as a GM you want to allow your players to use their animal companions as if they are tactical geniuses, that is of course your choice

Aren't you doing what you're accusing me of there? "Bite someone on the ass when they're not looking" is hardly tactical genius. Even if some players don't know how/aren't paying attention enough to do it its pretty obvious to all of the characters involved.

You wanted a trick for the animal to use step up. Since that trick does not exist, you're requiring a dc 25 check, which is is pretty much disallowing it completely at the lower levels. Especially since you would have had to make up a free action trick for it to work. There is NO way to take the raw and reach your conclussion: there is too big of a gap between "other tricks are possible" and "you must have other tricks for feats and strategic manuevers"

You must not read my entire posts.

I have said numerous times, that if the AC has a feat because of an Int 3, it should be allowed to make full use of the feat.

This is a different situation than a standard Int 2 AC.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Chris Mortika wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:


But the fact of the matter is, RAW in PFS indicate you cannot create new things that don't already exist. So you cannot create a new flanking trick.

Andrew, with all respect, we create new things in PFS all the time. My summoner's eidolon is pretty quirky. The rules allow for her, but she's a collection of feats, evolutions, and skills that probably didn't exist beforehand. The rules, as written, also allow for, explicitly, tricks that aren't on the list. It's not supposed to be exclusive.

Could you provide, perhaps, another situation where the rulebook says in black and white that its giving a non-exhaustive list of examples, but the campaign director has ruled that those examples are the only ones permitted in Pathfinder Society?

I've already given those examples 3 times. Those examples appear in the FAQ.

No Item creation.

No different mounts for Paladins/Cavaliers or AC's for Rangers (unless Archetypes allow) despite the list being non-exhaustive in the CRB.

There was another, but I don't remember what it was, its upthread somewhere.

There are mechanics for how to build an eidolon, and it is a class feature that isn't disallowed.

There are mechanics for what masterwork tools grant and how much they cost.

With a Trick, you are essentially saying a player can create their own thing that doesn't exist, and create their own mechanics for how that trick works. I'm curious what precedent you think would allow this?

Chris Mortika wrote:
Quote:
If as a GM you want to allow your players to use their animal companions as if they are tactical geniuses, that is of course your choice.
Perhaps there is middle ground?

Sure, and frankly I believe that I'm providing that middle ground. If it makes sense for the animal (pack hunter), it will probably choose to flank if able. If the AC has a feat that requires flanking, and it has a 3 Int to get that feat, then it will most likely try to flank to make use of said feat.

Otherwise, if you want your AC to do more than just run up and attack the creature in most direct way, you will need to push it.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Well, since a sorcerer cannot add new spells to their known spells until they gain a level, then I'd say no.

If you were a Wizard, you'd follow the rules for how to add new spells to your spellbook.

I believe there is a FAQ about it.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
But having a different interpretation of an ambiguous rule, and ruling at the table based on their interpretation or understanding of the rule, in and of itself, is not being a jerk.
No, but come on. NO ONE else is interpreting the handle animal rules the way you are. I think that should be a clue that you've gone off into left field here and well past the realm of interpretation. Its neigh impossible for someone to read the raw and show up at your table with an animal companion that can use their feats.

I'm not the only one arguing this particular stance.

And if someone has a 3 INT AC, and they've taken a feat, then of course the AC will make full use of the feat. A feat is greater than a trick, and as such, they would be assumed to know how to make full use of the feat.

However, if they have a 2 Int, and the only way for the master to get them to attack is the Attack Trick, then flanking is not part of that depending on of course circumstances or the creature in general (i.e. wolf vs. boar).

You can continue to take everything I say as a black and white statement and hyperbolize it to death if you want.

But the fact of the matter is, RAW in PFS indicate you cannot create new things that don't already exist. So you cannot create a new flanking trick.

If as a GM you want to allow your players to use their animal companions as if they are tactical geniuses, that is of course your choice.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

nosig wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Shifty wrote:
The GM disagreeing isn't a conditional factor making them a jerk, but being a jerk might be a conditional factor in them disagreeing with you :)

But having a different interpretation of an ambiguous rule, and ruling at the table based on their interpretation or understanding of the rule, in and of itself, is not being a jerk.

And yet Nosig has implied on more than one thread, that if a GM wants to interpret things that aren't in agreement with his interpretation, that they are a jerk.

Sorry andrew - I can see I have offended you in some way.

If you could be so kind as to give examples of times I have stated that someone is a jerk for "interpreting things that aren't in agreement with my interpretation" I will address them here. Implied or stated.

Your "aside" conversation with Shifty about GM's being Richards, was directly a result of your and my conversation about our differences in interpretation of the Handle Animal rule.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

nosig wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Nosig, I don't see your point on the squeezing rules. Nothing there says that I can't take the mount on the skinny cliff trail.

** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
Your judge did not run the mountain trail correctly. There were no acrobatics checks necessary while walking along the trail, as long as you actually found the trail.

Not all mounted characters charge. Mine is a Luring Cavalier, so actually prefers to stay at range with the archers.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Shifty wrote:
The GM disagreeing isn't a conditional factor making them a jerk, but being a jerk might be a conditional factor in them disagreeing with you :)

But having a different interpretation of an ambiguous rule, and ruling at the table based on their interpretation or understanding of the rule, in and of itself, is not being a jerk.

And yet Nosig has implied on more than one thread, that if a GM wants to interpret things that aren't in agreement with his interpretation, that they are a jerk.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

nosig wrote:
Shifty wrote:
nosig wrote:

everyone, try this.

go back and read some of the AC posts, and replace "Attack Trick" with "perform trick". now replace "Flank" with "Shake Hands", and "Not Flank" with "Play dead".

Cool, and next time your AC goes to attack, I will ask 'with what?', and when it attacks with its bite it will now only be able to attack with its bite from here on out, as you didn't take another trick for it to be able to use its claws or trip.

Getting down to granular levels really wont solve this debate.

EITHER we keep a simple system and just roll with it, or we get really granular, but it we get really granular then expect a lot more posts bemoaning how much an AC now slows down play for the rest of the table as it now takes longer for the Handler to take his turn.

Simple and abstract > Granular.

Other than flanking, what other issues are causing concern?

How much of a gamebreaking concern is flanking?

Sigh. Shifty, if the judge is going to be a Richard, he's going to be a Richard.

Yes, when a spell caster gives a command "attack" to his AC and the Judge says "well, your AC runs around behind the monster, herding it against you so that your PC can get a flank - and the Monster attacks you. By the way? are you armed?" This is an example of the Judge being a Richard.
When the ranger says "Attack" and the Judge says "Your AC moves to here and attacks defensively" blocking the ranger from flanking and providing the monster with cover vs. any other PC... this is a Judge being a Richard.

My point was that the best person to know HOW the AC is trained, to know what the ACs tricks do is the player. BUT, we do need some realism too. If a PC commands the AC "Fetch" so that it goes upstairs into the second room the party searched, and gets the volume "Donkey thru Goose" from the set on the shelf (whichever shelf it is on), this is pushing it a bit.

If a Guard dog is trained to attack a monster, and block it's approach to the handler, it is trained...

Just because a GM disagrees with you on how to interpret an ambiguous rule, does not make them a jerk.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Nosig, I don't see your point on the squeezing rules. Nothing there says that I can't take the mount on the skinny cliff trail.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

nosig wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:
Andrew, I think your GM was being kind to you and your large mount in Among the Gods. A couple of encounters are inaccessible, and if I were running the table, and you left it alone when you went into [redacted] it would be dead when you came out.

I played Among the Gods at a table with Chris, and I would agree with his assessment.

** spoiler omitted **

Among the Gods:

1) The path is fairly wide (definitely wide enough for a large creature) and only narrows to "two arm spans" for the 1st trap. Now two arm spans is kinda ambiguous. If my recollection is correct, one arm span is from finger tip to finger tip when you hold your arms outstretched, which is roughly 5 to 6 feet. two of them is roughly 10 to 12 feet. Even so, a mount can squeeze, and there isn't a fight until there is a 20 foot by 40 foot alcove. Sure, you can't charge, but the mount can be there.

2) The first major fight is not on a cliff side trail, but rather in an area where while charging may have been difficult to say the least, a large mount could easily move about. The fight with the ghouls and the Berbalang is in an area that can be moved about in fairly easily.

3) The mausoleum, sure, the mount probably won't fit down there to fight. So you leave it outside. Not sure that the main badguy is going to get his ghouls killed trying to kill a full grown large axe beak. But even so, the creature could squeeze down and be standing inside the mausoleum somewhere, even if it is at the top of the 5' wide staircase.

4) Final fight, Axebeak can easily take part.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Chris Mortika wrote:
Andrew, I think your GM was being kind to you and your large mount in Among the Gods. A couple of encounters are inaccessible, and if I were running the table, and you left it alone when you went into [redacted] it would be dead when you came out.

You do know that Large creatures can squeeze right?

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Just because you don't consider them mount friendly, doesn't mean that they aren't. Additionally, I have first hand experience with a large mount in Among the Gods, and I had no issues.

And non-mount easy does not equate to non-mount friendly.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Real good question.

Typically, any animal not in the CRB that is available for an animal companion, lists out that little stat block under the animal in question.

Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the Ape is the animal companion version of the Ape, Gorilla.

As such, reach at large size is reasonable to assume.

However, all special abilities that the AC's get are noted in the AC's mini-stat block. So as such, it would also be reasonable for a GM to not allow 10' reach for a Large Ape AC.

I hate to say it, but this may be a table variation issue unless something gets clarified.

I personally would lean toward allowing the 10' reach.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

You could choose a camel, that would be awesome.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

I'll be flying out tomorrow, so I'll do what I can to give a running report of my activities.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

I think atheists are more anti-theist...

However...

Consider an ancestor-worshiping Barbarian who thinks that Gods are poppycock, that its really one's ancestors that grant magic.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Michael VonHasseln wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Walter Sheppard wrote:
The RAW allows the invention of such a trick -- where's the issue?
Never ever leave behind something on a character sheet/chronicle sheet that you couldn't reasonably presume would be honored by most/all other GMs around the world.

Does this mean you wouldn't honor the "Poop on Command" trick that one of my St. Louis players wanted listed on his Chronicle? He used it as a "push" the whole session to great (comedic) effect, and asked if he could teach it to his Animal Companion as a permanent trick. I set a DC of 25; one natural 20 later, I felt compelled to sign off on it on his Chronicle.

I know the "Expect Table Variances" line gets thrown around a lot (usually by me!), but I would also expect that a GM would take into consideration a GM signing off on something on a Chronicle also.

That would be great, and if a GM signs off on something on a chronicle, and the rules support the signing, then yeah...

But if my interpretation of the rules does not support what that GM signed off on, then I can't consider it.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

hogarth wrote:

My two cents on the animal issue:

Life (generally) and PFS sessions (specifically) are too short for me to dicker with a player about whether a wolf will naturally attack from behind when using the Attack trick. As long as the animal companion isn't doing anything really crazy (e.g. nosig's example of the 2 Int animal browsing through the books on a shelf) and the player is using an appropriate trick, I'll let the details slide.

Some people consistently complain about how things are way too easy in PFS. And some people complain consistently about how Animal Companions are way too overpowered.

Its an easy enough solution to actually go by the rules as written, and adjudicate how animals act in combat based on common sense and rules.

If the AC is a wolf, I'd probably let it flank. If it is a boar, most likely not without a push.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Walter Sheppard wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
Would people like it better if we asked Mike for a short list of additional "PFS-approved" tricks? Not that he's likely to have the time, but this latest iteration of "how much does the GM get to decide about the definition of 'et cetera'?" doesn't seem to be getting anywhere.

While I agree that such a post would curb further spiraling discussions on this subject, why would we need a list to resolve this problem?

The skill states that other tricks exist, and that the list provided is not comprehensive. No one here doubts the ability for animals to flank, only that perhaps they require further instruction to do the task. Isn't further instruction teaching your pet a trick, so why not have "flank" or "flank attack" just be a trick? The RAW allows the invention of such a trick -- where's the issue? If the pet doesn't have the trick, then push them to perform the action. As simple as that.

The issue is creating new things in PFS. Precedent has been set that you can't do it.

Whether you agree on animals being able to be commanded to flank with the existing list of tricks or not (and Nosig and I wholly disagree here)...

You can't create new things that aren't in the book in PFS. Precedent has been set on this with no crafting rules and no GM discretionary mounts, must choose a Deity if you are a divine caster that depends on a deity, etc.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

I have a gnome cavalier on a large mount.

I have had a couple scenarios where I've had to leave the mount behind.

But I've also had several scenarios where I was able to use the mount quite effectively.

Wrath of the Accursed, not many problems.

Among the Gods, some, but not many problems. Actually worked out well when all was said and done.

Realm of the Fellnight Queen, through 90% of the module, no problems. Couldn't use the mount for the final dungeon.

Lost at Bitter End, Mount very effective

Frostfur Captives, some mounts can be very, very good, see Nosig's spoiler above for what problems might arise.

Perils of the Pirate Pact, disagree with Nosig.

Among the Gods, disagree with Nosig.

I would say its roughly 75% of the scenarios where you'd have trouble if your mount wasn't medium, and then there will be some issues if your mount is medium and climbing is required.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Jonathan Cary wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
There is a universal rule. If you want your animal companion to flank, you gotta push it with a DC 25 or 27.
Respectfully disagree. For a pack hunter, flanking and even "aid another" is inherent in attacking. You don't see trained animals doing that in real life, because usually they're trained to attack independently (i.e., in a K-9 police unit the handler doesn't close to melee range until the dog has brought the target down). I'd be willing to debate the issue with dogs, as they are so domesticated that they've lost a lot of their predatory instincts, but not so wolves.

As a GM, I would certainly allow for some real life knowledge to seep into animal tactics.

But if you have a bear, lion, or chimpanzee, chances are they won't be flanking unless you push them to do so.

One example of a pack hunter and allowing certain actions on a circumstantial basis does not a rule make.

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