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In general, I support your position regarding how hard-core to make a scenario, but in this instance I'm half-way between your position and finlanderboy's. Please take the following notes in the spirit of inquiry rather than accusation.
1) Finlanderboy is right, when he says that a character playing above his tier needs to be ready for whatevern the scenario throws at him. That's exactly the situation where I don't choose to softball encounters. (Probably because I have too much experience with players always wanting to play up out of greed, expecting that I wouldn't want to "wreck the session" by dropping their PCs.)
1a) Did the party discuss letting that player run a pre-gen, maybe Valeros, and apply the credit to the 2nd-level PC when he reached 4th level?
2) Were other characters helping to take blows from the monster? Were casters summoning in meat shields for him?
In any case, the character was in a tight position, and a critical blow would have cost him his life. Were the other players likely to pay for that character's raise dead? If so, it might have been a great PFS experience for the new guy, to realize that, in terrible circumstances, the party would have his back and make sure he'd be ready to advanture another day.
But, in the end, you know what? I wasn't there. I wasn't reading the players' attitudes. You were, you made a call, and I'm not going to try to second guess you.
Making sure that everybody at the table gets a chance to shine.
This is sort of basic, but it takes conscious effort. For me, this happens in two parts:
1) When the players introduce their characters at the beginning of the game, I look for elements that will interface well with the scenario plot. We're going into Belken and Zack's playing a half-orc barbarian? Cool. There's going to be a bunch of traps, and Susan's character just got some equipment to help with Perception? Good.
2) About halfway through the adventure, I just look around the table and take a mental inventory of who's already gotten to do fun things, and who hasn't. The bard has done nothing but buff her colleagues? Let's see if there's any way I can give her a chance to shine against the shriekers or the harpies. The gunslinger has misfired every single time he's tried to fire his weapon? That's a great story, though, and I'm thinking he'll either finally get a shot off at the flying tentacle monster, or else I can give him a chance to club somebody over the head.
Funny. I had a conversation with a newer GM about this subject, just this weekend at a convention. I'd spoken with her before, and told her that, when all was said and done, it's the story that's paramount. People will talk about cool stories for years, but they'll forget weird die probabilities within a couple of hours.
Vrog Skyreaver wrote:
Ultimately, it's up to the GM to make a table/adventure/campaign exciting and fun. As long as all players are having a good time, everyone has a chance to contribute, and the DM gets to tell the exciting story they wanted to tell, everyone wins. And isn't that the point of this whole thing?
(I bolded the relevant part of this.)
But, I continued on, the GM doesn't get to determine the story. The GM facilitates the players telling the story.
Here's an example. A couple years ago, during a scenario I'll not mention, a PC at my table saw a warship coming up, fast, on the party's boat. The PCs set sail away from the pursuer, but it was a losing proposition.
So, one PC made short work of things with a spell of invisibility, a potion of levitate and a feather token: anchor. Now, I could have announced, "Fine, but there's another ship coming up, right behind that one." But why do that? Why rob a player of a great story, that we're still telling, years later? Because it wasn't the story I had in front of me?
The problem with the GM fudging die rolls towards the mean is that, in the end, you get average adventures. You get the stories that the scenario authors decided to tell, rather than the stories that the players -- who can take advantage of the GM's low rolls -- want to tell.
PSA: GM Star Replays Do Not Renew (and if you think they do, you probably have the wrong version of the Guide)
So, get a bunch of friends together and play those adventures again, Zach. Have fun seeing the scenarios play out with different characters. Nobody says you can't replay scenarios. The restriction is on replaying them for credit.
I say this, and it sounds so basic. If I were to read this on the boards, I'll roll my eyes and say "Duh."
But I have seen, over and over, PFS players turn down amazing opportunities, such as playing scenarios with the author as the GM, because they couldn't get a Chronicle sheet out of it. I am convinced that, as a community, we're over-emphasizing those things.
A lot of suggestions here are about how to change the rule system for the Pathfinder RPG. I have another rules suggestion for the PFS Organized Play campaign.
I state this, knowing that I'm suggesting more work for the campaign staff. So it may not be practical.
There is this category of adventures called "quests". Right now, there are only two of them, "Ambush in Absalom" and "Urge to Evolve". They don't offer much in the way of rewards.
But "Ambush in Absalom" is accidentally made for "Sewer Dragons of Absalom". The benefits that "Ambush" does give, are very helpful in "Sewer Dragons".
So, I would suggest that there be several more quests (see? That's the extra work.) and that they be keyed to upcoming adventures.
Because I can run "Ambush in Absalom" in an hour, as a demo, for new players. And when I hand them the Chronicle sheets, I can indicate that we're running an adventures set in Absalom's sewers, where they might fight kobolds again, and that if they do, they will have an leg up on everybody else at the table, becuase of their work.
This is getting to be a long thread, but there's an attitude whose merit I want to underscore:
Let's say you like the iconic monk's back-story and you decide to build a character who's always looking for a lost relative. That's the big deal for your PC. Or let's say you build a character and give him the backstory that he's a "lost prince" of Brevoy, exiled for his own safety by ruthless relatives and now the rightful heir to the vacant throne.
Those are great character hooks, and if this were a home campaign, the GM could run with those and help your PC fulfill that quest. But it doesn't really work in Pathfinder Society. This is a campaign with a different backstory.
Likewise, a character built for a nautical campaign, or built to navigate the labyrinthine politics of Egorian, is playing in the wrong storyline. There might be the one ship-board adventure here and there, and there might be the odd covert political mission, but they'll be few and far between. Better to play "Skull and Shackles", or "Council of Thieves."
Likewise, you can build a crusading paladin, or cleric of Pharasma, who seeks to destroy all undead, and is a zealot and unwilling to compromise. That's a great character hook, and if this were a home campaign, the GM could work with that, and maybe run something like "Carrion Crown". But that character concept doesn't really work in PFS, because the campaign sets you up as an agent of a multi-national, multi-ethos organization. One day, you'll get assigned a team-mate who runs a slavery business on the side The next, a couple of Zon-Kuthon worshippers. And they're expected to cooperate with you, and vice versa.
So, be a paladin. Be righteous. But if you want to play in an on-going campaign, it's your job as a player to build a character who conforms to the campaign.
Under a Bleeding Sun, as I understand the rulebook, you "know" an attack hits or a saving throw fails when the GM announces it, and not before. So a natural 20 is almost certainly going to be a successful attack, but until the GM says so, there might be some extenuating circumstances that the player doesn't know about. "Before you know the answer" means "before the GM announces the results."
I'm going to make a suggestion.
Does every game-store group spend time in older seasons? Perhaps not, but a lot do. By my reckoning, conventions see most of their game play as recent scenarios, and game stores are still supporting Seasons 0 through 4, as well as Season 5. (There's just not enough recent material to give players enough adventures.
Are people still playing Season 2? Yes. In all it's Shadow Lodge-itude. (AJust as, at other tables, the Aspis Consortium is still trying to take over Magnimar and Riddleport.) Nobody is suggesting retiring all of Season 2, even though it's "a little outdated."
So, here's to a new Seeker / retirement arc. Let it be wonderful, and not tied in to any particular season's plotline. Erik wrote for the first one; could we get James Jacobs to write for the second one?
But don't retire "Eyes of the Ten", any more than you'd retire any other Shadow Lodge scenario. Those players who don't spend a lot of time in the crimson and blue seasons would find it sort of weird ("Who *are* these people?") and unattractive, so they'd play the second arc.
But I don't see anything wrong with giving people options.
There has been an impression among many convention coordinators that people playing pre-gens are very, very likely to end up with dead characters characters in Bonekeep, for several reasons. And when they do, they usually bring down the rest of the party with them, shrug, throw away their pre-gen corpses, and leave the rest of the party to put itself back together with what prestige and gold they can scrape up.
That's why some experienced coordinators aren't allowing players to sit down to play Bonekeep with a pre-gen.
Oh, I'm pretty sure my paladin knows how many times a day he can Smite Evil, or Lay on Hands.
This topic abuts into another, about table etiquette. Let's say that Kyle has a witch that feigns being a paladin. He gets caught telling a lie, or breaking his word, and Kyle decides he won't use any more of his powers until he buys an atonement. Let's say Todd is playing at the same table, and pretends that his character doesn't know how many channel positive energy uses he has per day.
And let's say you're at the table, too, and your sorcerer gets seriously wounded. Kyle's witch won't cast cure light wounds on you, until he gets an atonement. Todd's cleric decides that, rather than casting cure light wounds on you, he'll try to channel positive energy, but he's used up all his daily uses, so the attempt fizzles. Your character dies.
I'm sure you would be cool with them role-playing their ignorance of game mechanics. But a lot of players would see this as rude behavior.
Erick Wilson wrote:
As long as everybody who sees the weapon recognizes it as a scimitar, as opposed to an Elven Curveblade, nobody has any problem with that. Call it a hammer, if you want.
(I've seen players like this. "He pulls his (airquotes) 'katana' --which looks much like a bastard sword with a decorative pommel-- and readies to attack if an opponent draws near." Everybody's cool with that.)
But since the early days, the campaign leadership has not allowed players to claim that one thing in the game (animal companion, equipment, spell) is apparently something else in the game world that has seperate statistics. Your magic missile doesn't look like icicles. (Or at least, Spellcraft still identifies it as magic missile, with no penalty.) Your dwarf can't say that his mount "is a bear" that uses the horse statistics. Your sword does not look like a light-sabre. All of that is "re-skinning" with a mechanical effect.
You can absolutely play a character who makes exotic claims. Maybe he is bluffing everybody he meets. Maybe he's deranged. (I play a summoner who claims that his eidolon is his dead wife. On his bad days, he doesn't even notice that she's 9'-tall, blue, scaled, with insectoid features, wings, and pincers.)
The concern I raise about people playing Class X and claiming it's a paladin is that, against Erick's claims, a Paladin really is a thing in Golarion. The typical stoneworker may not know her as much more than a knight who fights evil and has some magic powers, but more sophisticated people would have a pretty good idea what a paladin is. Certainly, anybody who has fought besides one knows that a paladin can heal people, that people near her have an easier time finding their courage, and that she is the wrath of heavens against undead or dragons.
And one remarkable thing about paladins is that they cannot lie or break their word, and then carry on as if nothing has happened. So paladins make great diplomats under the right circumstances, because they are often persuasive, and because they are trust-worthy.
If my battle oracle is passing herself off as a paladin, she can trade off that reputation, and her lies will be all the more believable when she casts a minor spell afterwards. Surely, no paladin could maintain her powers after speaking false.
And when her honeyed words are revealed as so much dross, she sullies the reputation of all real paladins. I would imagine that thee are some holy warriors out there who would wish to have a word with such a character.
I'm playing a nagaji.
Which of those sentences strikes you as fantastic?
So, Snip, let's say you needed to find that information for yourself. Where would you look?
My recommendation would be to consult the "Archives of Nethys" at http://www.archivesofnethys.com/ . This is a fan-run compilation of Pathfinder stuff, but it's very thorough.
(Why not the Additional Resources document? Because AR oftentimes says "all spells from pages 101-120 are legal" without specifying which spells are on those pages, so you won't necessarily find the words "Infernal Healing" on the page.)
(Why not the PRD? Because the PRD has a really odd search interface. (Infernal healing turns up a lot of matches, none of which are the spell. "Infernal Healing" with the quotation marks turns up no matches.)
(Why not the d20pfsrd? because it's a for-profit 3rd-party site, and so it's not allowed to use a lot of reserved Paizo-trademarked terminology. Lots of Golarion-specific terms are changed out for generic placeholders. So, while wou will find infernal haling there, you won't find the Knights of Ozem. The trait "Qadira princess" is listed as "prince". However, if I can't access the Archives of Nethys, the srd is my next choice.)
So, we know that infernal healing is a spell, so we set up a custom search for spells containing the word "infernal". And we find what we're looking for. (infernal healing)
David, we might have had this discussion before.
What you're suggesting is something like this:
Player: Excuse me, GM. I believe you're making a mistake.
Now, let's say that the player cannot satisfy the GM. The player might be referring to a FAQ answer, but didn't think to bring a hard copy. Or the player might not be able to find the right rule in a book. Or the GM might recall an FAQ that over-rules the player's citation. Or the player and GM are coming down on different sides of a gray area. (Or the player might just be mis-remembering; that happens a lot.)
In this particular case, since the GM can see the text of the scenario and the player can't, maybe it's something like "We're 3rd level. We can't be fighting a Mi-go with class levels." Or "We're 6th level. We can't be fighting a CR 13 encounter."
So, the player has raised an objection. The GM has listened, overruled the objection, and moved on. If by "grinding the table to a halt *right then and there*" you mean that you won't accept the GM's ruling, then you have to understand that the situation has changed on a basic level. It is no longer a rules issue. You want to stop the game. The GM and every other player wants to play the game.
If I'm the GM, I'll ask you to set your objection aside and play. If you refuse, I'll ask you to leave the table, and we can sit together ovr a beer that evening and discuss the matter.
nosig, that's my understanding as well. After the adventure, they would each need to buy a copy of the scroll.
During the adventure, they would need to come to some agreement. I don't believe there are any rules as to how that comes about -- Alex's suggestion of flipping a coin seems reasonable -- and I hope that the rules of the campaign never get minuscule enough to provide one.
Hi, snickersimba. Welcome to Pathfinder Society; it's great to have you.
Rather than just answer "yes" or "no", I'm going to walk you through my research to make sure I'm correct.
Step One: Where is Millini described? Well, I check my copy of the Inner Sea World Guide and I find out that (a) her name is 'Milani', and (b) she's listed on pages 229 - 230, under "other gods". Terrific. I keep that book and the page numbers in mind, and then I head over to the document you always want to use when checking to see if something's legal.
(If she hadn't shown up there, I would have checked "Gods and Magic". If she didn't show up there either, I'd grow suspicious, but I'd check "Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Chronicles of the Righteous", since that book details dozens of good-aligned godlings called the "Empyreal Lords," who don't show up anywhere else.)
Step Two: What does the Additional Resources document say? There's a printable version that I carry to game days, but I much prefer the on-line version.
Look to the left of the screen, and click on the "Pathfinder Society" icon. Then, look above the messageboards, for the "Player Resources" section. Click on the link for "Additional Resources", and you'll be sent to a massive list of all the products that Paizo has published for its game world, and what's legal for play in Pathfinder Society for each.
After the Adventure Paths, there's a section headed "Pathfinder Campaign Setting". Most of the way down that list, between "Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Magic" and "Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Lands of the Linnorm Kings", you'll see the list for "Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea World Guide". And it tells you there which gods are legal.
Remember: if you bring anything to the table as a player that's not in the Core Rulebook or the Pathfinder Society Guide to Organized Play (for example, Milani's domains), you have to bring either (a) the physical book, or (b) a pdf (electronic or print out) with your name watermarked on it. Otherwise, the GM is within his rights to disallow that aspect of the character.
I admit, I have no idea what this position means.
Let's say that, in February, the development team realizes that a particular two-feat combination is drastically overpowered and ends almost all fights. Lots of players are building characters with the combination, and several Venture Captains are observing that it's having a negative impact on play.
So, you think that ought to be changed.
But you don't want to be ambushed by the change. You want to see it coming.
So, would you be happier if the development team made an announcement that, coming in May, they were going to change the way one of those feats worked, to bring it back in line with what the rules team intended? Would you be happier if there were another three months of bad builds, trivialized encounters, and wrecked games?
When the development team sees a problem, they fix it.
There have been rules changes in Pathfinder Society since Season 0. There will continue to be changes to what's allowed in Additional Resources, to the way certain feats or spells work, and to the expectations of the environment.
Sometimes, these have been gifts to the players, and everybody's happy.
Sometimes, these have been new restrictions (goodbye, my undead lord; goodbye, my ranger with bracers of falcon's aim) or "clarifications" (goodbye, my gorilla animal companion with greatsword; goodbye, free-action weapon cords) and some people are sad.
Finlanderboy, I'm sure you realize that, in every case, new restrictions are put in place because the campaign leads felt that the (items / game mechanics) weren't working in the Organized Play environment. In the case of Crane Wing, I think they were right -- that's an argument for a different thread -- but even if they were not, it's their call to make. I'm not telling you anything you didn't know.
"Clarifications" have been worse than new restrictions, because they generally don't allow any rebuilds at all, but in every case, there have been characters who have been mechanically harmed by the new restriction. Unless the campaign staff were to allow complete rewrites of characters every time a new restriction is announced -- and I do believe that that level of chaos would indeed harm the campaign -- some players end up with characters who bear some scars. In this case, somebody might have given his character a feat (Crane Style) he didn't want, and not own Ultimate Campaign. In another situation, a player might have relied on those bracers to strike as accurately as he wanted.
I've been affected by this, several times. If you've seen my characters, you'll notice that I will often choose to play common, complicated builds, to familiarize myself with how the mechanics play, so that if a summoner or a magus hit my table, I know how the characters are supposed to work. And that means that I get caught in these rules revisions more often than someone playing a more baseline wizard. Some of my characters bear legacies of these changes; an odd attribute or a vestigial feat.
I still play the characters, and I still enjoy the campaign. If I thought a character were dinged beyond my ability to enjoy it, I'd retire that PC and play or start another one. I mean, hell, characters die, sometimes because of bad luck; sometimes because a GM has read a rule differently or because another player at the table messed up or refused to help the party. That risk is part of the game, which we all accept. We don't quit because a PC is gone, nor because a PC needed to be raised from the dead and is now "behind the curve" (whatever that means) on prestige. As players, we look forward to playing a new character, or the same old character back from the dead, at the next table.
And that's my advice to you. If the folks around the table are fun, then enjoy their company and stick around. If playing a new character, or the same old character with an odd feat, isn't going to be fun, then find something else to do: you'd have to play a new character sometime, eventually.
Be at peace. Do what gives you joy.
Or do as you please. BNW and Dhjika are right, insofar as there is a mechanical benefit to taking the Barbarian level first, but Kobold Cleaver's an old salt on these boards, and a smart cookie to boot. (Salted cookies? Bleaugh.) If he has reasons to start with druid, either mechanical or story-wise, I trust he knows what he's doing.
And I don't mean to disparage BNW and the other posters who provide their expertise and experience to newer, greener players. That's terrific, and they don't get the thanks they deserve.
Having said that, I have long advocated a policy of "make reasonable decisions that make sense for the character, rather than mechanically maximal decisions that you can live with." (Smart play with a reasonable character will be as effective as mediocre play with a character replete with a myriad of small advantages.
I'm not saying anything new. But every so often, I feel that some folks -- not the ones posting on this thread -- lose track of that.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Ouch. So I would have to buy a whole book to get rid of the feat? I mean, to be in accordance with PFS standards. I doubt anybody'd care about whether I owned the book for something that happened offscreen, of course. >.> <.<
That's the position you want to take? Really, K.C.?
So, that "lost feat" is going to bug you, but not enough to pay $10 to fix it?
Incidentally, while the retraining happens off-screen, you still need your next GM to sign off on any changes. And yeah, you could borrow somebody else's copy of Ultimate Campaign and claim it's yours. Or you could change out your whole character and not mention it at all. Nobody's likely to catch you. But is that really the sort of stuff you want to promote in this campaign?
Chris Mortika wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
How does one arrive at the conclusion that purchasing and retaining a slave as a slave separates a person form the immoral and evil act of enslaving an otherwise free individual?
Because the slave you own could be, like the 66 geased slaves in the Repository, condemned criminals. Or they could be indentured servants serving out their debts. Or they could be children, given to the PC by their parents in thanks for some heroic act that saved the family. That's three ideas I came up with, within 30 seconds. I'll bet you can come up with more.
(I recently ran "Broken Chains". The party bought some slaves in Katapesh, intending to examine and then free them. One or two slaves had been experimented on, and the party realized that releasing them into the public would likely result in many deaths. They sold the slaves to the temple of Abadar, where an NPC paladin had agreed to try to rehabilitate the slaves and save their lives, in return for their service to the temple for a year.)
The shtick with Andoran / River Kingdoms is that those people condemn all sorts of servitude, not just the abhorrent American model. They never ask, "Was this slave condemned for a crime? Maybe he's indentured?" They want the whole lot of them freed, and the Andorans probably want the owners run through for good measure. If everybody agreed that slavery were a universal evil, all the good-aligned kingdoms would condemn it, and that's not the case.
Remember that NG Sarenrae is the patron god of Qadira, one of the most active slave-trade centers in Golarion. Who are you to get more uppity than Sarenrae?
I hate to repeat myself, but the slavers that show up in D&D / Pathfinder adventures are the sorts of people / gnolls who kidnap otherwise free people and strip them of their rights. Everybody hates those guys, and they're universally legitimate targets for attack-on-sight, like hobgoblins and orcs.
Are you honestly saying that holding someone against their will and forcing them to work for you is not evil as long as you are nice while you do so?
No. "Nice" doesn't factor into it. I'm surprised that you read a post about social economics and came away with nothing more than "being nice".
[EDIT: Historical and economic discussion cut.]
Earlier games, such as AD&D's"Against the Slavers" modules, were pretty vague. It seems that everybody hates the guys who capture slaves, because they take victims who start out with rights, such as freedom, and strip them of those rights. But owning slaves is a different story.
So it's worth asking: what sort of model does Paizo use for slavery in Golarion? The abhorrent American model? Or historical medieval models? Or Robert E. Howard fantasy novels?
In the Grand Lodge commissary, you may have noticed a fellow named Gennadi. He fits in easily with conversations, and he's been quick to jump to another's aid when an injured pathfinder makes it back through the front door, or when rougher venture captains mock newer members for not measuring up to impossible standards. He's the kind of man you'd be glad to have at your side in a tavern, or at your back in a fight.
He's a paladin (of Torag, you'd find out with a little bit of investigation) yet you've also seen couriers come for him, with messages from a particular Chelaxian Paracountess. He's always grim after reading those messages. If you ask him, he'd have this to say:
"My children, Adrian and Tikkie, were taken from our apartments in Kaer Maga, almost three years ago now. My wife and I went after the kidnappers, of course, but they were too well-organized. My wife ... didn't make it. Eventually, they were traded, and re-sold, and came into the possession of some lesser nobles of Cheliax's House Thrune. And this ... woman ... promises me to keep them clothed, fed, and safe, in return for favors.
"Some of them I flatly refuse, but she's usually clever enough to send me on errands that prove innocuous enough. And I always keep my eyes and ears open whenever I'm around Cheliax. Until I have some decent intelligence about where they are and who's holding them ... I bide my time, and do her bidding, and endure her mocking promises of the carnal opportunities I'm missing. As if I would betray the memory of my beloved!
"But one day, I'll have my children safely home. And then," he adds, looking at the greatsword resting close at hand, "we'll see what kind of bite I have. And we'll see who's the 'flesh morsel'."
Let's not pile on Netopalis for being in different circumstances, or making different decisions with his time and money. We all do what we can, to achieve a balance between our goals.
I'm happy that there are new opportunities to run different adventures. Bringing Bonekeep to store game days may or may not be appropriate, given particular circumstances, but (a) it's good to have more options, and (b) maybe people who've already run 100 tables of PFS might have developed the discernment to decide when is, and when isn't a good time to run a killer dungeon level.
The scenario you're thinking of where the npcs tells you that you should use alchemists fire on swarms is The Confirmation I think. If I were GMing and you showed me the Chronicle sheet after asserting that you know that i'd be satisfied because I know that it happens.
I've been following your assertions, and I must ask: what right has a table GM to be satisfied or not, as to whether in a character's past, he or she has spoken to a colleague about silvered weapons and, say, werewolves?
The Knowledge skill allows a character to identify the monsters in the field. Most every Pathfinder agent knows that, say, devils are resistant to damage, but that can be bypassed. (Lesser ddevils, with silver or good-aligned weapons, tougher creatures might shrug off damage unless the weapon is both silver and good-aligned.) Devils are immune to fire and poison.
That's why, once a character correctly identifies a monster, the first thing she gets is the creature's item type and subtype, including all the information common to all of that sort of monster. Once you realize "hey, that insect-looking blue thing is a devil" all the previous information about devils that everybody learned in Pathfiner Academy automatically kicks in.
Your suggestions would imply that very bright fighters, with limited skill ranks, would be ignoring most of their training for their three years of study. Same with sorcerers. I disagree.
But more fundamentally, your words come across as if you think that table judges have some right to criticise a player for prudent purchases or wise play. Metagaming, as I understand the term is acting on out-of-game information that there is a gibbering mouther coming up in this particular scenario and preparing countermeasures that you normally ignore. That's different from knowing that gibbering mouthers exist and buying a vial of oil of grease just in case.
My concern right now is with the new faction letters. Up until now, I've had copies of all 8 faction letters from Season 5, that I can hand to players at my table.
"You're an Andoran, and your friend's an agent of Qadira? Here are you overall faction missions for this season. Does this particular scenario advance either of your factions? Just keep your eye out. Something might come up, or maybe not." (The player might know; these things are public knowledge, or might not. It's not my business to tell them, and it's a better atmosphere for role-playing if the character doesn't know that, woot, we're in Mendev, goin' on demon-huntin' patrol; it's a perfect opportunity to dig up dirt on organized crime figures. Keep your eye out. Advance the cause; sometimes opportunities come when you wouldn't expect them.)
Now, I need two sets of faction letters, depending on whether the scenario is from the first half or the second half of the season. Starting in August, I suspect I'll need a third set, and so on. And at this point, it's no longer incumbent on the player to keep track of faction letters; that's my job, because the player shouldn't have to keep track of which half of which season a scenario falls.
So, instead of three pages in the back of a scenario, giving particular faction missions, I now have 16 letters to keep track of and hand out. In August, that'll be 24 pages.
Tell me again how this is simpler.
What can we help with, Andros? It's one of my favorite adventures.
For PFS I start by asserting that the PCs are *not* Pathfinders yet. They're all hopeful applicants at the gates of the Grand Lodge, having come from Desna knows where. And they all get rejected.
So, they're sitting in a bar in the Coins district, trying to figure out where they should go from here. (The Aspis Consortium might be hiring ....) When there's a tremor. Five minutes later, a fellow in a hap-hazard guards uniform comes in, asking if anybody's seen guard captain Antaroth. Seems that one of the formerly-sealed siege towers has partially collapsed, and the guard needs to secure it by morning.
And the PCs always take the bait and light out, hoping to prove themselves to the Society by exploring the tower.
So, when they rescue the bard at the end, and return to Absalom, their admission into the Society is the resolution of an arc.
G-Zeus, there is a sense in which the hybrid classes act as alternate classes for each parent class. So Bloodrager is to Sorcerer as Samurai is to Cavalier. In lieu of the Core rulebook being prescient enough to predict the Bloodrager alternate class, or even alternate classes in the first place, I'm going to extrapolate the rules as I understand them to apply to this new situation.
You say, "the class counts as Sorcerer." I'm inclined to agree.
If you sit at my table with a Bloodrager / Dragon Disciple, I'll expect that the bloodrager bloodline is Draconic. If not, I'll ask you whether you want to play a different character (perhaps one of the lovely 7th-level pre-gens we have available) or change the bloodline (permanently).
-- Larger Issue --
Whenever I make a ruling that is not deferential to a player's reading of the game, I am accused of all manner of things. Bullying. Arrogance. Just wanting to wreck somebody's fun. When I enforce explicit rule limitations, I'm told off for using legalisms or trying to "play 'gotcha'.".
In fact, I try to run a game that's responsible to all my players, and to the PFS community at large. If there's a gray area of the rules -- and the Advanced Class Guide is an enormous gray area, as all we have is the Beta-test versions of the classes, which we know are reduced in scope, and none of the "Chapter One" material that will address global issues like this -- I am inclined to rule conservatively. This addresses my responsibility to the other players at the table. (You say that "the reach [powers of the Abberant bloodline are] just too good," and I'm inclined to agree with you.) It also addresses my responsibility to the rest of the PFS community.
So, you'll allow an Abberant-bloodline Bloodrager / Dragon Disciple at your table. So will Patrick. I won't, and neither will Andrew. A player should understand, going into a convention, that the character is borderline, and that some GMs will not allow it.
If we're all lucky, a player with such a character will sit down and immediately explain his character, show us all the relevant paperwork, and ask for a decision. What's hard is when we're already in the second fight of the scenario, and the character starts to use something that the GM doesn't think is legal. (I once ran a table where one player was playing a monk with both the Maneuver Master and Master of Many Styles archetypes, and another was playing a fighter with two extra feats. We were already well into the game when I realized this.) That's a mess, and is miserable for everybody involved.