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I agree with Jeff (you can voluntarily subject your PC to a sightless condition at the beginning of each game, but the rules don't allow such a condition to carry over from one adventure to the next) and with Imbicatus (make sure the rest of your party is cool with the idea).
I think andreww has a good idea.
Because that's the person who would like the privilege of using non-Core materials at the table.
I suspect you really don't want to go down the "legal receipt" road. Right now, if you want to use a spell out of Ultimate Magic at a convention, and you don't own the book, you can borrow my copy for the convention. You can use a book you received as a gift. You can borrow a copy from the local library, for that matter. Players don't have to have "paid good money" and don't have to have a receipt. Think twice before you suggest that the campaign switch to requiring that.
The proof of ownership Paizo is requiring is above and beyond that required by law, thus the burden of responsibility falls on Paizo, not the customer. As I stated earlier, as loyal customers, we are willing to shoulder some of this burden as long as it is reasonable. But we should not be required to as it is not our responsibility. It is Paizo's.
Which law are you referring to? I mean, really: which law? Intellectual property law? (Irrelevant; nobody's disputing Paizo's copyright.) Local municipality and state laws regarding theft? Do you seriously think that thee's a law somewhere on the books governing what a game company has to allow in its organized play campaign?
To every one of your arguments, I keep coming back to the simple answer: play Core. Period. No books. No worries about pdfs. Just come with a character sheet, Chronicles, ITS, dice, and a miniature. People have a good time; sit down and join them. Play in a Core Mode scenario, or just play a Core PC in a Standard Mode scenario.
And quit waving "U.S. law" around. You look ridiculous.
BNW, they can have both, but as you say, different GMs will rule differently on whether they can use both in combat.
At my table, a player picks one other critter to be in the initiative order and to act in combat. (Summoned critters are a spell effect; they don't count.) I'm willing to have 6 players with 12 initiative rolls at my table. But not 18.
(And yes, it's not hard to build up a familiar to be survivable in combat, and still have an animal companion. I play in a home campaign with an arcanist PC that has both. And yes, it can really slow things down.)
I'm going to raise a hand in favor of MotFF. It does a good job of introducing the Pathfinder RPG, the island of Kortos and the city of Absalom, and the Pathfinder Society. It also casts the PCs as heroes (rescuers!) rather than errand children. UndeadMitch is spot-on about it being a dungeon crawl, and since "To Delve the Dungeons Deep" was retired, thee are damn few of them left.
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 turned away. (I play this out: "Tell us who you are, and where you come from, and why you want to be a Pathfinder agent." "All right. And you (pointing to another player) explain why he gets rejected." All around the table.)
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 ....) Suddenly, 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.
I think both sides of the issue present reasonable viewpoints. I don't think there's a slam-dunk here for either side. So I am going to play it safe. I won't allow any 2nd-level characters play it at my table, but I'll treat it as a legal Chronicle sheet on 2nd-level PCs I audit.
I admit, that doesn't make much sense, but I'll ask John to consider: if MotFF is designated Tier 1, that we grandfather in any characters who have played it at 2nd level, even if that ruling is considered a clarification.
Talonhawke, the answer is yes, PCs "get to" let one another die on missions.
I ran a table once where the gnome cleric used up all her channel positive energy uses out of combat before the first encounter, just to be silly. That led to two PC deaths when combat got hairy. She was allowed to do that.
Taja the Barbarian wrote:
"Can" is the right question. Due the fact if I can't do it, and I do it then invalidate the session. This is along the lines of a player buying equipment they can't have invalidating their character till they fix it. This is not a "May I" question at all.
Sorry, we've misunderstood.
The answer is unambiguously yes. Of course he can.
pH unbalanced wrote:
With respect, if the inquisitor is required to keep the necromancer alive, then this stern talking-to falls on deaf ears.
"I'll save you ... this time. Next time, I'll leave you to ---"
"No, you'll save me every time. It's required. If you don't, it would be player-versus-player, and that's not allowed in this campaign."
You believe that changing the location of the final encounter is a significant change. What makes it significant?
Here are some things that might change: moving an encounter from a large room to a small room might interfere with some charge lanes. If the party includes a mounted PC who wants to charge, it's significant.
Moving an encounter from a room with no furniture to a room with a priceless and fragile tapestry might make area-effect fire spells more difficult. If the party includes a fire sorcerer, that might be significant.
Moving an encounter from an area with high winds and rain to an indoor room might make it easier for archers. If the paty has any archery characters, that might be significant.
Moving the encounter from one big room to another big room is probably not significant. Moving an encounter from a hillside to a forest clearing is probably not significant. Moving an encounter from the center of an arena to one end of the same arena is probably not significant.
I don't understand why that's hard. As a player, you have certain responsibilities and duties. As the GM, you have others. One of the jobs of a GM is to give the players a fun time.
Some GMs use their discretion to change inconsequential details to give players a better time. Others don't. Either is correct.
GMs get into trouble when the changes aren't inconsequential.
There are a whole host of Tier 1 and Tier 1-2 scenarios, quests and modules. There seem to be a web of old board posts and piecemeal rulings that sort of address each as a special case.
I would request that somewhere, the campaign leadership posts a collection of such products and explains
I admit, if I took a look over a PC's Chronicle sheets and saw a collection of different Beginning Tier adventures, it would take me a while to disentangle them, and I'm not sure I'd do it correctly.
Detailed discussion of in-character analogies will not help solve an out-of-character issue.
We don't know how the agreement to steer clear of "raise dead" was handled.
We don't know the tenor of the interaction when the necromancer raised the dead guy. We don't know if it was the rogue. Did the necromancer's player talk to the inquisitor's player out-of-character and seek compromise?
So, let me turn this around and ask: if you were playing the inquisitor, how could you have chosen to defuse the situation?
If you were playing the necromancer, how would you have defused the situation?
If you were the GM, or another player at the table (the dwarf, maybe) what could you have done, to help get everybody a Chronicle and get them to leave the table as friends?
Sin of Asmodeus wrote:
If I was in that group and I did everything I could to save that necromancer, I honestly would have full out wrecked that pharasma inquisitor and then turned my character over to the gm. Least the necromancer wouldn't have been the only person having to cough up prestige and gold to come back.
This is also, literally, impossible in this campaign.
Hey, folks, could we back up a little bit and take a breath? Sin is talking about GMs declaring characters dead and daring Venture Officers to overrule that decision... and other people are calling out one player or another for evil actions, or player-versus-player. People are advocating rewriting the campaign rules so that characters must cast healing spells when other people demand it ...
Let's back up.
There was a conflict. It was at least an in-character conflict. The way the OP describes things, it was an out-of-character conflict, as well.
(One doesn't have to follow from the other. I've had rollicking good times with friends when our characters were getting all sorts of angry with each other. We all knew that it was only in-character.)
Pirate Rob's advice is sound: deal with the out-of-character issues. Don't amke rules about one character having to heal another, or declaring characters dead, or anything else in-character.
I have no idea who these players were, so I'm going to name them Inky (playing the Inquisitor) and Nethro (playing the Necromancer). Nethro's PC is dead, and that's a problem. Inky was ready to walk away from the table some time earlier than that. That's a problem, too. Neither player probably felt happy about the game.
What can people do about that?
I agree that Inky set himself up for problems by building an Inquisitor of Pharasma in a game environment where there will eventually be conflicting PCs, without an escape clause. (My friend plays a nagaji Paladin who is very strict on his Paladin Code, but he cuts the rest of the party a break. "Mammals," he sighs. "Ever hot-blooded. Ever mercurial. Can't even keep their mind on lunch for more than five minutes." ) So, if you build a PC with that kind of strict moral code in PFS< you, too, should have some way to get the other PCs out, in case they offend your character.
I agree with people who say that Nethro takes a good amount of the blame upon himself, by first agreeing not to raise the dead, and then doing so. If your character's schtick is raising the dead, then don't agree to any limits on that. If you do, and if you need to raise dead later on, negotiate that change in the agreement. "Hey, Inky. It looks like I'm going to need to raise this skeleton. I know your character has some problems with that. Can we figure out a compromise?"
When Inky wanted to walk away from the table, that was probably a good idea. The GM should have let him, or perhaps stopped the game and sought to resolve the conflict.
Don't look for blame. Look for solutions.
By the way, the word is "tenet".
LazarX, I'm pretty sure that's not the case. If anything, Pathfinder agents are expected to put the good of the Society above their personal interests, but certainly not the team. If it comes down to a choice between rescuing a team-mate or recovering a doobis, I know which one earns prestige.
If the Venture Captains were all that gung-ho about making sure your team got home, there would never have been any need for the Shadow Lodge.
If we're getting all rules-lawyery on this subject, please note that the Additional Resources page requires that a player bring "a name-watermarked Paizo PDF of it". It doesn't say anything about a requirement for the PDF to be viewable.
This thread makes me sad, and comments like this make me even sadder. If this is the attitude of people who can't be bothered to print out a PDF of the pages their character uses, then I am really not interested in discussing the matter further.
Bring a book. Bring a watermarked PDF. Play Core. Those are your options.
I have heard many of these arguments over the years, complaining about game rules and advancing positions that I do not hold. So I am reluctant to grant them as postulates.
For example, the first rule there, about realism? Well, we are creating a fantasy world, yes, but that doesn't mean that "anything goes". Tolkein's Middle Earth has trolls, but day-to-day life in a hobbit community is analogous to day-to-day life in a medieval agrarian community in England. With lower shelves in the kitchens, and fewer cobblers.
If a campaign world is to make sense at all, it starts with the real world and adds some magic and some cinematic adventure, and proceeds to develop along those lines. I think that most people who assert a fantasy world needs to be "realistic" are requesting that it be internally consistent, rather than it be historically accurate.
Here's a couple of rules I'd like to add:
Recipes are Not Food -- The game involves friends sitting around a table, telling stories. The rulebook, and the dice, are tools to that end. Rulesets that inspire great stories and fun times around a table are better than those that don't. Since different people like different things, this can mean that a ruleset is better among some people than others.
Corollary: Discussing recipes can be fun, too. But it's important to keep the two in perspective. There are rulesets that, as written, are *terrible*, but evoke the spirit of a game that generate great times. (Amber, I'm looking at you.)
I am reminded of this when people spend any amount of time at all talking about the relative merits of Pathfinder PCs at 18th - 20th Level.
Another Corollary: Play is rarely set in featureless planes. Balance depends on context. One of the most important things that I learned from essays in game design is that players use their characters to vote on how they want to see the campaign develop. As a simple example, a player indicates a direction she wants to go by filling her character's skill ranks with Profession: Sailor. A PFS group that plays Investigators, Bards, and Rogues is voting for a different style of campaign than one which chooses Warpriests, Barbarians, and Magi.
The extent to which one mechanical choice contributes to the game (or dominates other choices) depends on how strongly the GM is willing to accommodate those votes.
Voltron's Right Arm -- Don't make class or race comparisons a competition. When the Enterprise gets in a space combat, Sulu is getting more hits in against the enemy ships than Scotty or Bones, but that doesn't mean he's a Tier 1 crew member.
So, it seems that you are unhappy with those classes that have only two skill ranks per level. As you say, most people have picked up something of geography and medicine and so on.
Have you taken a look at the Lore Warden archetype for fighter? Have you considered dipping a level in Bard, to help build a well-rounded character?
Otherwise, it strikes me that you have an issue with the Pathfinder game system, rather than a question for the organized play campaign.
Two other notes: ix-nay with the azi-nay references. The folks maintaining our boards are members of the community who have to deal with all the unpleasantness that a community this size might generate on delicate subjects. And you won't find official responses to general rules concerns by posting on the PFS boards and asking for them. Rather, I'd recommend going to the Rules section, asking a question, and seeing if you can get the folks there to agree that an official answer is needed.
And welcome to PFS. It's great to have you.
I ran a workshop for very new Pathfinder Society players at a convention this weekend. Here's the advice I gave:
1) Worry more about how your character supports team play than solo play. Develop a character that other players are happy to see at their table. (For example, a fighter or monk designed around supporting other fighters, sucking up enemies' Attacks of Opportunity, and so on.)
2) In terms of optimization, try to get a sense as to how optimized the other players at your tables are, and aim to match that. A group of heavily overclocked characters is fun. A group of people playing the iconics can be fun. The fun is harder to come by when the party is split between the two.
3) Worry more about how your character interacts socially with the other PCs than with the NPCs. It's possible to vamp on playing a crusty old gnome for minutes, but does that help the other players have fun? Develop a play style that other players are happy to see at the table.
4) Look around when the game starts. Try to find some way during the adventure to help every ally shine, either mechanically or through role-playing. Be the player that other players are happy to see at the table.
Just a question, Gary: what do you think should happen if, two hours into a game, the local WIFI drops and the Hunter's player can no longer access the SRD on-line?
Right now, that can happen, if a player comes to the table with only PDFs (no print-offs) and the laptop loses power. Under those circumstances, the player no longer has access to the character, so I give him his Chronicle sheet (with whatever rewards the party has earned) and send him on his way. But your proposal makes the player much more dependent on technology.
It makes it much more likely that the GM will have to handle the player's laptop / tablet / phone. That strikes me as a substantial downside.
If the players significantly deviate from the path, the best solution is to try to carefully guide them back. If they remain off course, the GM then needs to carefully consider whether any of the encounters can legitimately be shifted, without directly contradicting the scenario and also without changing the difficulty of the encounter.
Shrug. This is very dependent on the GM. I am happy to "play the ball where it lies" and let players wander off-book, if that's what they want to do. The PCs' decisions might change encounters ("you want to negotiate safe passage with the lizardfolk?") make encounters more or less difficult (of course, making them less difficult is a character goal...) or even add encounters ("you're drawing steel on the city guard?") IfI can jigger and poke the storyline back into the intended encounters, excellent, but that's not my primary goal. My primary goals are to make sure everybody has fun and to be fair.
Is that a physical copy. No.
Is that a print-out? No.
Is that a pdf I can read? Nope, because my iPad doesn't have an external port and I don't bring my laptop to conventions.
If the non-core material is an item, like a wrist-sheath or a resonant ability of an ioun stone in your wayfinder, you won't be able to use it. If it's a non-core class or race? See the nice people at the front table for a pre-gen.
Not "totally screwed." There are pre-gens you can play.
But yeah, if you come to my table with your angel-blooded aasimar Hunter with a wand of infernal healing in your spring-loaded wrist-sheath, and you didn't bring the documentation*, there's no way I'm letting you play that character**. Go get a copy of Kyra.
* I GMed "Pallid Plague" at a convention a couple of years ago, where four out of the five players were running aasimars. None of them had anything other than HeroLab. One of the five got to play his PC.
** A reminder: the player is also responsible for bringing an updated copy of the Additional Resources document.
Dave, with all due respect:
It is routine for players to use a combination of obscure spells, class abilities, feats, and magic items, pulled from different sources, to achieve serious combat advantages or hamstring opponents. A novice GM has to rule on them, based on FAQ posts and decisions that the PFS campaign leadership has posted, as well as the rules printed in the books.
This is indeed hard, and decisions can have fairly serious ramifications. If a GM wants to restrict himself to 11 of the simplest and most familiar classes, a shortened list of spells, feats, and equipment, that can spell the difference between a confident GM having a successful session, and a disaster.
Sebastian Schirrmeister wrote:
Steve, you're welcome to your opinion, but I think that Thornkeep is a classic "village of Hommlet" style adventure. It suffers from a very tight page-count, which keeps it from being brilliant, but it's still one of the best town-and-dungeon adventures Paizo has produced.
I'm not sure how this factors into Society adventures. As far as I know, there haven't been these kinds of "nice guy devil" traps.
Evil outsiders act on the material world with malice, trying to win souls for their own advancement in the lower planes. Evil dragons exrt such power on the world that bards sing of their terrible wrath for generations.
In either case, a paladin has been invested by her god with the strength of arm and the divine power to champion purity and justice.
Jack Amy wrote:
And good day to you, Jack. The way we look at surrender is a funny thing to some, and I didn't really understand it before I joined the church of the Forge-father. Here's what the prefect explained to me. (She had a pretty solid dwarf accent. Forgive me if I don't lapse into it here.)
"Surrender is an important part of civilized combat; it's the way we can end a fight before one or the other opponent lies dead. It's essential, if victory in the contest is our goal.
"But sometimes, our goal is different. Sometimes, we truly wish to end the life of our foeman. In that case, we would no sooner accept surrender -- even one offered honorably -- than we would accept a goat when shopping for a horse.
"In other circumstances, we are prudent not to believe an offered surrender. There are dark souls out there, and cowards too, who would offer surrender as a tactic, not intending to yield the victory. I liken those people to the dishonest merchants in the marketplaces down by the docks, selling horses riddled with disease or parasites."
It is always considered good form to refuse an offer of surrender clearly. If my foe throws down his sword, I should take a moment to insist that he pick it back up, and allow him to do so without fear of my seizing the opportunity. If he refuses, then my conscience is as clear as my duty.
If I choose to accept a surrender, then I have made a bargain. I have purchased victory, and the cost is my pledge to do no harm to my opponent. Torag holds us responsible for our decisions in this. Killing an innocent who has offered surrender is a serious thing, but so is accepting a surrender of a foe who later commits great crimes.
But no, accepting a surrender and thereafter killing the enemy, to say one thing and straight-way unsay it with a little dagger blade, is never our way. There is a vast right between choosing not to buy a goat, versus stealing it.
May your time in the Grand Lodge be pleasant, and may all your endeavors lead you safely back to it.
I stand by my opinion.
The instructions don't allow for any such thing, of course. What that document does is warn someone who is familiar with the Beginner's Box rules that Pathfinder Society uses a lot more rules but isn't too scary. It walks the player through CMB and CMD.
kinevon, I have that document. I've tried to use it with people who have played through the Beginner's Box ruleset and who want to start playing in PFS. It is not my favorite document.
Obviously, it explains some rules changes (don't roll hit points; don't roll starting funds) and it spends a lot of time warning that the full Core Rulebook (let alone the full Pathfinder PRG ruleset) has lots more options for spells, rogue talents, feats, and so on. It recommends sticking to the feats, talents, and spells of the Hero's Handbook, without indicating that there's any difference.
The problem is that the Beginner's Box isn't just a selection of the Core Rules; it's a simplification. I already mentioned attacks of opportunity. Spells don't have components and their ranges don't increase as a caster gains levels. Clerics don't need to be within an alignment step of their gods. Some feats are a little simpler. Concealment never affects sneak attacks. So on and so on and so on.
I don't want anybody to think I'm down on the BB rules. I love the game. I've demoed the heck out of the BB rules and I've gotten several groups of friends to run BB home campaigns. But. If you're building a character for PFS, you cannot be successful if you refer only to the Beginner Box Hero's Handbook. You have to refer to the Core Rulebook, the Guide to the campaign, and the Traits document.
(It is interesting to note that traits are optional in PFS. You don't need to take any traits if you don't want them.)
Mystic Lemur, it's my (anecdotal) experience that people get more fired up to play an AP if there ae Society Chronicles available for it. I'm aware of (a) a home campaign that switched from Wrath of the Righteous to Mummy's Mask, simply because the former didn't offer PFS Chronicles, and (b) a group who were planning to run Emerald Spire, and delayed the start of the campaign until the PFS Chronicles were available, One of the players said tha they "didn't want to waste" the first couple of dungeon levels.
So, in some cases, making Chronicle sheets available does make the corresponding product more profitable.
One of the nicer aspects of the PFS Organized Play campaign is that the leadership (Mike, Jon, venture officers) give us opportunities that could be abused, and trust us not to abuse them. (Until such time as some players abuse them, at which they are restricted.)
For example, if I were dead-set to check out boons ahead of time, "legally," I could organize a CORE Mode campaign" using pre-gen PCs, which would spoil the adventure (encounters, boons, everything). Afterwards, I could decide which "real" PC is best suited for the adventure.
Legal, but grotesque. And, if abused, probably no longer legal.
So, please, let's keep the topic on "what would best serve the community" rather than "what's the edge of legality, that I can get away with."
I would advance the position that we are best served by having as many players as possible go through a scenario and discover things about it as they go. The blurbs give a good idea about faction boons that crop up; that seems a good precedence here. If the campaign leadership wanted us to know about a cool animal companion boon available through an adventure, thenwe should expect to see that information in the blurb.
For the record, I, too, would think that "I ran this outside of PFS" is just as good a reason as "I ran this inside PFS."
And I am indeed sorry to disagree with you.
I wouldn't ask someone to leave for having foreknowledge. There are, as I say, good reasons for that. It's spoiling an adventure for no reason other than spoiling it, or to gain an advantage when playing.
I think we agree about a lot of other things, too. I like a game where the GM and players are all on the same side, having fun and telling stories. But have you ever run a table where most / all of the players have already played the adventure, and where they're all just going through the motions, waiting for the Chronicle to drop?
Sorry to disagree with you, trik. But I'll stand by my words. Reading a scenario in order to find out important plot points like boons or treasure and use that to your advantage is cheating.
You are required to tell the GM, when you sit at the table, if you're already familiar with the scenario. If I'm the GM, I'll ask you what the circumstances are.
If you have a good reason, I'll ask you to keep your plot insights to yourself. If you don't have a good reason, I'll ask you to leave the table.
I was going to say something here about players who only remember positive modifiers to their rolls, but that's a bit curmudgeonly for me today.
How strictly I enforce the rules depends on whether I've got new players at the table, who are still learning the rules, or if we're looking at folks whose third PC is already 5th level.
But Take 10 means "I voluntarily give up my chances of rolling a 20, in order to avoid rolling a 1." As other people have said, it doesn't mean an automatic success. Sometimes, people Take 10, and only then find out they needed something higher. Under those circumstances, I enforce consequences.
One rule I enforce in PFS is that a shirt or Character Folio is only good for a re-roll. It's a fine technical line, but I don't allow players to use the re-roll to reverse their decision to Take 10.
GM: You see before you a gorge, perhaps 15 feet across.
Jumping George: I leap across. I take 10, for a 19.
GM: You're in chain mail. Are you taking the -5 armor penalty into account?
Jumping George: Ah, no. So, it's a 14. I suppose I will have to roll for it.
GM: Good thing to remember next time. Now, you scramble to make the last foot of the jump, but your fingers can't gain purchase. ...