Let's distinguish between a couple of similar situations:
* Three or four jerks at a table, with two or three players who want to play.
I have few problem with the "0 XP, 0 prestige, 0 gold" solution for the second category, but it seems unfair to hand a "you lose" Chronicle to people just because they sat down at the wrong table.
PFS Coordinator: "What are you going to do for the next four hours?"
* Players who want to pay attention, but who are playing "screww the authority" characters.
The ideal situation is to get the players fired up about playing PFS and focused on success. The first type might already be there. Having the in-game Venture Captain put them on potato-peeling duty for the next month might just be the right response. They get to register their iconoclasm, and then the party gets down to bugbear-bashing and treasure-swiping.
The second type might wake up if we punish them for childish behavior, but maybe not.
GM: "Drengle Drang sighs, puts away his papers, and excuses you. The adventure is over. Give me a minute and I'll pass out your Chronicles."
It might be better to STOP THE GAME and level with them.
All you guys can just weep with envy. I've got the super-rare "dead guy" race boon, where I can play a corpse.
Granted, I don't do much during most adventures, unless the party also includes a necromancer, but I add a poignant note to most Venture Captain briefings. Another bonus: I don't need to eat, drink, or breathe; it's like a free ioun stone.
In the dim receses of time, the gods did gather, and they saw before them the world of mortals, long before the elves built cities or the men knew language. And the gods decided that mortals would need some help, and they held a contest to see which among them could bestow the greatest gift.
"I will give them laws," said Asmodeus, "so that they might know order."
"We shall give them the seasons," said Gozreh, "So that they might come to know the passing of time, and see beauty in change."
"I will give them fire," considered Sarenrae, "so that they might have warmth in the winter, and collegiality around the hearth."
And so it went, with each god placing a gift among the mortals. Some, like Gwlaunder's gift of pestilence, were more woe than weal, but even in those, mortals could learn from adversity and advance. Some, like Nethys' gift of arcane languages, would take the mortal races some time to discover, but even they were welcome.
From the humblest -- Naderi's fish-hook -- to the most subtle -- Silvanah's invention of riddle -- the gifts of the gods grew myriad and wondrous.
Finally, after all other gods, Chaldira Zuzaristan stepped forward, out from the shadow of Desna.
"And how is this, lady of the kinderfolk?" asked Moloch, a mocking tone at the corners of his words. "What might you bestow upon the world, that mortals might know and remember you?"
"Or even notice you? Take a care that you're not stepped upon!" spoke one of Gorum's militant godlings, barely containing a snicker.
She smiled, having no feel for the indignities the other gods bore her, and breathed upon the world below. "I give mortals the knowledge that we are with them, that we watch over the world and offer our guidance, our power, our protection. I give good fortune, a second chance, to all those who know of me and give homage. I make this restriction, not because I am more vain than you, nor hungrier for worship. But I do this because the minds of mortals will sometimes see the gift and forget the giver. Through this endowment, I remind mortals that all things are gifts from the gods. And so, I give them the touchstone for all faiths."
"Cunning," spoke Asmodeus, with something approaching admiration.
"Wise," agreed Pharasma.
"Beautiful," sang Shelyn.
Desna said nothing, but a sheen of deepest indigo rippled through her wings, shimmering with delight.
Mike and John,
The playtest versions of the new classes are, by their nature, in flux. After they get nailed down, they may not be what a player thought she was signing up for.
I would suggest that it's reasonable to allow a partial "rebuild", into either the hybrid class or either of its parent classes. (So after the playtest, I could take "Mama Vikya," my 4th-level Shaman, and settle her down into either the eventual Shaman class, Oracle, or Witch.) No change in attributes, no change in race or bloodlines, no full-price refunds for equipment. But a settling out of class / archetype, feats, skill ranks, traits.
I think that a policy such as this would encourage players to try out one of the hybrid classes, knowing that he can shift over to a related class if it ends up not working to his satisfaction.
Patrick Harris @ MU wrote:
So have the level 5 play a level 1. There's no such thing as not having a level one available because you can alway start a new one.
One aspect of the Season 5 faction missions is that players want their, say, Taldor PCs to play the Taldor-mission scenarios. (There aren't that many chances to do something for your faction; let's not squander one, especially if your PC is in the right tier.)
This isn't new: there has always been pressure to, say, play a series of linked scenarios with the same character. But it is more manifest now.
I'm trying to picture an all-goblin team on "Dalsine Affair".
GM (in character as the Venture Captain): "Oh, no! It's the city guards. Quickly! You must flee down the tunnels."
Netopalis, my position stands. Changing out Monster X for Monster Y in an encounter is against the rules.
And so is the decision to fudge dice rolls at this point, before even meeting the party. Soluzar isn't trying to save characters who are having a hard time, but rather to merely neuter a major encounter. (It looks like a wight, but I've replaced it with a wight-shaped humanoid that can't hit...) In that case, yeah, I recommend the GM find a different adventure that he can throw at the party, one where he can stand behind every encounter.
This past weekend, I watched a gunslinger at my table restore balance to the class by rolling nothing above a '2' on the die, all session. And yes, he was using paper cartridges.
If I had to take a guess about the visceral reaction against gunslingers , I'd say that ...
it has less to do with the mechanics of the class and more to do with the American West flavor. "Grit". "Mysterious Stranger". "Pistolero". "Bushwacker". "Gulch Gunner". Even the class name itself. Those are all evocative of the wrong genre, the wrong tropes.
It's the same reason other people are opposed to any psionic class that uses terms like "id insinuation", "aura alteration" or "synaptic tempest".
It's not that these genres are different from Renaissance / early Enlightenment culture and society, but that they're incompatable. It's already a stretch to suggest that magic and superhuman skills and abilities wouldn't alter a renaissance culture, that clothing styles, for instance, would look like those of Earth history. But gunslingers throw an Old West sensibility into a place where the American Old West doesn't make any sense.
At least, not to the people opposed to the class.
Late to the party. My apologies.
My contention with the original post is not so much "I don't like Gunslingers." We all have elements of the game mechanics, or types of players, we don't much care for, and there's a reasonable argument between "suck it up and GM, you little booger" and "if it's wrecking your fun, I draw your attention to how much you are getting paid to GM."
My contention is with the title of the thread. Not "How Should I Handle Gunslingers at My Table?" but rather, what's the "Best Way to Handle Gunslingers at Your Table?" The original poster doesn't just want to kill off characters, he has positioned himself to get them out of the game entirely.
And really, I don't understand the motivation behind provoking a whole lot of people to tell him that he should stop GMing. "I'm going to poison my city's water supply, killing thousands of people; or else I'm going to stop GMing Pathfinder Society. Which do you think I should do?"
Unless the point of this thread is to gather evidence that we're all mean and want to throw him out of PFS.
Oh, and Kinevon, Discount Poker Supply has a great little set on clearance.
I use poker chips for a variety of purposes.
1) I indicate how much damage NPCs have taken with a pile of poker chips next to them.
2) Tracking rounds for spell effects. If a PC is going to be nauseated for 3 rounds, I give the player three chips. "Give me one of these at the end of every turn you take. Once you are out of chips, you can act normally."
2b) At small tables without time pressure, I do the same with dying PC. Rather than have the player announce to the table that is at -6 and has seven rounds left, I give him seven chips. "Hand me one of those at the beginning of your turn until you stabilize. As long as you can keep handing me a chip, your character's not dead."
It helps avoid everybody at the table metagaming.
The first time Mark Moreland tried to pronounce the feat, he bit his tongue and was bleeding for two hours. It put him in a sour mood and he hasn't been reasonable about it since then.
At the time, there was all sorts of official "concern about the oral health of the playerbase" excuses, but it seems rather clear that it was nothing but spite. Spite, I tell you! From a man whose pride was wounded more deeply than his tongue.
Is Destroying a Fellow Player's Raised Dead / Commanded Undead an action that Constitutes PVP in Society Play?
Kezzie, I would hope that the horror stories which you're hearing are exaggerations, that there are no PFS GMs who "rip" on players for anything short of immediately-dangerous behavior. If there are, I would hope that coordinators or venture officers would intervene and curtail that kind of antagonistic interaction.
(Which is not to say that every GM allows everything. But rather, that table judges ought to be polite, explain the rules, and offer work-arounds in a spirit of helping people have fun.)
Patrick, I'd like to ask, what purpose do you think this would serve? Would it make fairer GMs, or more player-pleasing GMs?
I'm on record that the players are in the worst position to comment objectively on a GM's performance. Or, rather, any player who knows that she's supposed to evaluate the GM after the session, and takes that seriously, never jumps into immersive role-play with both feet.
You have student evaluations, true, but aren't you also evaluated by a dean, or a department head, or some other administrator, who asks to see your lesson plans, sits in your class observing your rapport, the attention you command, and how closely you stick to that plan?
(Yeah, I know: it's academia; that level of professional evaluation is not a given.)
Do you think that the teacher/student relationship is sufficiently analogous to the table judge/player relationship?
I'm also on record that a second judge, standing well off to the side, observing me run a scenario that he himself has already prepped and run, would be a valuable resource. That's the analog to the peer review or dean review.
Now, that observation analysis doesn't come with a quantitative evaluation, and I don't think it should. I don't need to know I'm a "3" on organization. I need someone to look at how I run a table and suggest that I print out individual pages from the bestiaries.
Is Destroying a Fellow Player's Raised Dead / Commanded Undead an action that Constitutes PVP in Society Play?
What if the paladin's player signed up first? What if the majority of the table is undead-hatin' good guys? I don't think those things ought to matter.
I have a paladin / Hellknight who detests humanoid undead on principle, and I also have a cleric of Charon who commands undead as a routine tactic. They both understand the rules of "cooperate" and they could probably work as allies. But the cleric would restrict himself to animating animal skeletons and zombies, and the paladin hasn't taken a Vow against undeath or anything.
Is Destroying a Fellow Player's Raised Dead / Commanded Undead an action that Constitutes PVP in Society Play?
There are character concepts that don't work in Pathfinder Society.
"Those damnable Foxgloves ruined my family and stole our fortune. Nothing matters except that I put them in the cold ground and dance on their graves as they slowly suffocate."
"I am a displaced prince of Brevoy, on my way to claim my kingdom."
"I thought we were playing Skull & Shackles. I'm a pirate."
And also on the list is:
"I hate that other kind of character who shows up in the Pathfinder Society, and who might be my ally."
I mean, seriously, the Society collects all sorts of agents. If you come up with a character concept that can't play nice with them, then you've made a PC along the lines of "I'm a pirate." Cool character, but it doesn't belong in this campaign.
Finlanderboy, that was perfectly true only when everybody was in a different faction. If you were one of three Taldor operatives in a party, thee was still the tendency to let someone else figure out the necessary thing or do the secret action.
But I agree with your point: everybody-working-together missions let you slide more than secret missions where the Sapphire Sage wants you to keep everybody else in the dark.
It strikes me that one aspect of the Season 5 Faction boons is that, because they're public (with the scenario blurbs announcing things like "This adventure advances the Grand Lodge story arc.") they attract PCs of the relevant factions. If I have a Taldor-faction PC and an Osirion-faction PC, and I know that 4-05 advances the Taldan cause, I'm more likely to play my Taldor PC. And so are you, and our other friends. So there are lots of Taldor PCs choosing to go on that mission. It lets us talk shop with one another.
And it counters some pressures to make a balanced party. A lot of paladins chose the Silver Crusade faction. If there are three paladins in a party already, it seems odd to bring in another, but that's what the faction-specific boons encourage.
It's easy to complain about things, and I wanted to give the secondary success conditions a fair shot, but...
1) Faction missions were better in several ways. The best of them highlighted new aspects of the scenarios and made them richer. Without faction missions, things seem ... flatter now. The secondary success conditions don't do the same job.
1b) There is now a stronger incentive to avoid the resource-draining side encounters and get to the identifiable threat. There's much less incentive to open side rooms on the way there.
1c) So, there is a rules issue leaking in: if a party completes the scenario, quickly and efficiently, but avoids all the other encounters -- going straight for the back room in the Blakros Museum if you will -- then do they get full gold and full access to items? (My answer is no: if you didn't even notice the undead in the path you didn't take, then you miss out on the gold they had, and you don't get access to the magic items they were guarding. I'm in the minority here: most GMs bestow full Chronicle rewards for a complete mission success.)
2) I have had new players at my table who don't know what faction their character is. (Answer: then you're Grand Lodge) Factions are now much, much less a part of the game.
2b) And sorry, but virtually nobody remembers what their faction's current Season 5 goals are. I've had Taldor players just breeze over their boon condition in a recent scenario, because they had no idea what Lady Morilla's current plans were.
3) Pathfinder Society has a history of discouraging "farming," choosing which characters to send on which missions based on gold or unique treasure. ("Which scenario can I go on, to find a wand of lightning?" "Sorry, we don't encourage that.") With the new faction boon system, that's changed. Picking a character for a mission based on the boon is expected, at least around here.
3b) At all three conventions I've attended this month, I've seen players turn down the opportunity to play in a scenario, because they had a different character who could receive one of the faction boons, and needed to level that character into Tier first. Let me repeat: the faction boons are creating situations which discourage players from sitting at a table with a perfectly good, suitable PC, in lieu of eventually playing the scenario with a faction-appropriate character.
In summary, the current situation isn't as much fun, doesn't get players as hooked on their characters, and acts as an impediment to play. I would advocate returning to the status of Season 4: one fame for mission success, one for faction success.
I should say no.
An important principle of the GM Chronicle is that there's never any impact between the game session and the GM credit. The GM doesn't benefit from the party's success, nor from the party's failure.
This would allow such an impact. "If the ninja and ranger die, then I'll be expected to help spring for their raise deads. So, of course, I'll make sure they don't die."
Kristie, my job keeps threatening to send me to work down in Florida. If it ever does, I'll look you up for a game.
Nathan King wrote:
Congrats Chris! Here's to many more! I'm catching up to ya! 215 so far! I'll have to sit at one of your tables soon.
Back at you, Nathan. I've heard nothing but great reports about your GMing talents. (You know, I've never actually played Thornkeep...)
Kyle Baird wrote:
It's funny that the person has the most combined games played and games GM'd finds it fun (often) when their PC dies.
That's not too surprising. If you only play once a month and never GM, that 7th-level PC represents two full years of play.
If you level a PFS character every month, and you have 5 PCs waiting their turns to see a table, then the death of a single character might well be less wrenching.
So, I'm trying to get my head around "how to run demon opponents". I suspect I'm going to have a lot of practice with this skill this year.
My understanding is that demons aren't nice, don't cut PCs slack, and are all about causing their opponents pain, misery and suffering, to the extent that their powers and Intelligence allow. That's the distinction between demonic outsiders and just nasty humans: humans have goals you can negotiate with.
If a PC drops one weapon to use another, or loses a firearm in a Disarm, it's not above a babau's tactics to pick it up, teleport to the center of the Worldwound, drop it, and teleport back.
If a PC is dropped unconscious or helpless, it's not above a schir's tactics to demand that her allies surrender or else it'll kill her, and then, after they drop their weapons and spell component pouches, kill her anyways.
All of the "don't be a jerk" advice gets a little caveat: "...unless it's in character for the demonic NPC." All the rules about "Don't set out to kill PCs" get the footnote: "... unless they're fighting an intelligent demon. At that point, do everything you can to cause the characters woe."
Which makes fighting demons distinctive and thrilling, but not much fun for a weak or inexpert party.
Thanks, Doug. You got to see me just when I was starting out. (Ezren? Still dead.)
Yeah, I can do voices. (Hint: listen to books on tape.) The trick is to know when and why to do voices. At least for me, the goal is to get the players immersed enough so that they can talk to the NPCs in character. Ever' so often, I catch myself trying to speak in odd voices just to entertain the players. That's not so good.
jon dehning wrote:
Well, I've gotten better at time management, at guessing when to let players have fun and when to get the storyline moving. (Hint: just ask the players what they want.)
Honestly, I learn more from playing than GMing.
Karal mithrilaxe wrote:
actually a haunted oracle. Since any item I drop moves 10 feet away. Now when I drop the morning star to cast--the cord keeps it from going 10 feet away--still there.
Mileage varies, but at my table, the same spirits that skitter your weapon away when you let go of it also untie the weapon cords. The gods are not so easily mocked.
Thod brings up a good point:
As time goes on, faction leaders will be sending out new briefings. If we play 5-08 in the middle of Season 6, the Season 6 faction briefing won't cover the assignment needed to obtain the boon in early/mid Season 5. It will be very difficult for a player to know what's expected of her, and equally difficult for a new-ish GM to track down all those old faction missives.
John, can the relevant two or three faction leader letters be included in the text for the scenarios? Maybe where the five/ten faction assignments used to go in earlier adventures?
If he has at least +1 BAB, he can draw the crossbow on the move, and I've always been willing to assume that players' crossbows are loaded by default. Where's the problem?
Whereas I assume that nobody is foolish enough to have a crossbow bolt under 150 lbs. of pressure, stored on her body, pointed gods-know-where. That's just insane. If anybody insists that her PC does indeed pack away a crossbow, loaded and under tension (with the bolt held in place somehow), I'll remember that when she falls and takes damage, or needs to make a Reflex saving throw.
It's like stowing a lit lantern in your backpack.
Holding a loaded crossbow, sure. Not a problem.
Hi, Matthew. I'm not a venture officer, and I never have been.
I'm not sure what you're expecting to see. Mike has stated his policy that successes are celebrated in public, while errors and issues are addressed in private. If you want VCs and/or VLs to be called out, by name, in public, I think you're going to be disappointed.
If the campaign leadership needs to distance the official campaign position from that of an officer's judgement or post, Mike or John (or Mark before them) have done so, with respect for the person's service.
This is that post, the one where we talk about mountain retreats, and well-stocked larders, and yeti being tormented by men wearing Dragnmoon's colors.
I look forward to playing at your table at some point.
Tell us a story: who's the best GM you've seen, and what made him or her so good?
Hey there, Morphling. That's a terrific question. I can't speak for everybody, but as I see it, there are good reasons and bad reasons for deviating from the tactics that the scenarios outline for the opposition.
Good reasons include: the PCs' tactics provoke different responses from the villain, like stealing an archer's bow. The PCs' actions start the combat closer, or farther, than the scenario writer expected. The party impresses the opposing guards that it is far more powerful than they are.
Bad reasons include: the GM thinks it would be more fun if the bad guys were tougher. The PCs have already blown through two encounters without raising a sweat, and they have to be challenged by something. The PCs have already cast resist fire outside the bad guy's awareness, so it's stupid to lead off with a fireball.
Which category seems more in line with what you're thinking?
"You there! Guard!"
It's well known that having a pig around with you makes you more persuasive, charasmatic, and suave. You can buy your sweetie any amount of choclates or jeweled baubles, but that can't hold a candle to the seductive power of a man with a pig.
Under ideal circumstances, hee's how it goes at my table:
If I've got a new-ish player...
Player 2: Is he dead?
And, yeah, NN 959, if Player 2 wants his oracle to cast a spell, Player 1's rogue can either make a Spellcraft check or else ask Player 2 what the spell is. In which case, all the bad guys within ear-shot might get that information as well.
Include them as an appendix in the Guide to PFS Organized Play.
Barring that, make sure that they're available as a packet at conventions.
Also, players do have to take some responsibility for their world knowledge and character.
I disagree, with respect but also vigor. A player needs to do those things which the campaign tells players to do. "Read the Guide. Own the Core Rulebook. Keep your paperwork in order."
A player isn't responsible for searching out information the campaign doesn't tell her about.