|Derek Vande Brake|
Trying to make a decision, and since I'm pretty ticked and don't want to make decisions while angry, thought I'd ask some advice before I did something, which also gives me time to cool down.
Since I moved to my current area, I have been running a RotRL game for some friends back where I came from using Roll20. They are all in the same physical location (but using different computers). This is the only game I'm involved in right now, while they had other games going as well.
Although the Game Master is the final arbiter of the rules, the Pathfinder RPG is a shared experience, and all of the players should contribute their thoughts when the rules are in doubt.
We are all experienced roleplayers, so of course we hit our fair share of corner cases and rule ambiguities. In general, of course, they always take the interpretation that is most favorable to them. We'd have to keep stopping the game to lawyer out a given interpretation. Now, I'll admit I can be a bit stubborn. However, I also don't hold to the "rule of cool" and I'm disinclined to allow them to easily bypass every single challenge. After they started complaining about how long things were taking, and how things were getting bogged down in rules arguments, I basically instituted the following policies: One, if you don't like the way I run the game, quit, because I'd rather not sacrifice a friendship over a game (it really was getting that bad with arguments); and two, if it comes to it in the game, I'm going to make a judgement call, I have final say as the GM, and we can discuss it between games.
Now, this seemed to work well. We still had rules ambiguity. Sometimes I'd call it in their favor, sometimes not. Sometimes I'd find out I was wrong later and apologize; sometimes I'd find out they were wrong and tell them so as not to establish a rule precedent they kept using. TBH, I might be biased in my memory, but I remember many more times I was right than they were.
The problem is, apparently they were still complaining, just behind my back. Remember where I said they were all in the same location? They were complaining about it during the game, and I didn't know it. Apparently one person (we'll call him Bob) was running interference and convincing the others not to bring up this stuff. Except that, since it never got brought up, it just caused hurt feelings behind the scenes. I think Bob meant well, but now I just had a bunch of players who felt I was playing "Dictator GM". One of them has made comments that we aren't playing Pathfinder, we are playing "Derek's Game". This came to a head last night, when I made a ruling that adversely impacted Bob. He decided he was fed up, and ragequit. We played a little longer, finishing up the current fight, and then ended early.
I'm kind of feeling like their attitude is, "Don't argue during the game, and don't make judgement calls against us without research afterwards," which, really, means they are doing the rules arbitration during the game.
Add to this I found out after we started that Bob actually had a copy of the adventure path I was running (he claims he isn't metagaming) and at least at one point they were double checking monster stats on d20pfsrd.com during the game.
Now, because of my job situation, I was already going to put the game on hiatus - I was spending hours prepping for the game that could have gone to job hunting. But now I'm not even sure I want to pick it back up. Should I just drop it completely?
For the record, here are a few of the judgement calls I have made that prompted argument (or made to avoid argument):
- Since landing properly is as much a part of the jump as jumping, you'd need Spring Attack to make a melee attack on a target on a platform several feet above your head, since the attack is in the middle of the move action.
- If there is a shooter almost directly above you, firing down at a prone person, there's no adjacent place you can stand where you'd be in the firing line to provide soft cover. You can drop prone on top of the person (sharing space) but in that case, since the person underneath can't effectively move and avoid attacks, he's now helpless. He can try to avoid you dropping prone on him, as with a grapple.
- A small earth elemental can understand pantomime, allowing an ally of the summoner to get him to drink a potion (actually an infused extract) of Comprehend Languages. However, his Earth Glide doesn't displace any material, so he can't dig a hole underneath a Minor Artifact to drop it into the ground.
- Yes, revolvers exist in Golarion. (Later discovered Golarion doesn't use Advanced Firearms rules, but didn't retract it because it would have created major problems.)
- An ally doesn't provide soft cover to enemies. (This is what they said, I later discovered it was wrong.)
- You can't create a custom item identical to one in the book, but with race, class, and alignment restrictions, in order to get a discount on creating it.
- The move action part of a paladin's detect evil requires the normal version to already be on. It's a modifier to the ability, not a separate way of activating it.
- Yes, an eidolon does take attack penalties when multiattacking with three limbs.
- Feats/traits that affect spellcasting can't apply to a summoner's spell-like ability. (Later retracted, and I apologized.)
- Readying an action out of combat is basically making plans to act during the surprise round. If the other side is aware of you, then there is no surprise round and standard initiative applies.
- Using the downtime rules, you cannot just blow a load of money and have a new structure up and running in a few days or even a week. There's a limit on how much capital is available each day.
- Based on your location, and the local economy, you can't spend more than X amount on a single piece of equipment. I'll allow one item to exceed it, but it still can't be more than Y. The only other exception is when buying from this specific list of treasure the party has already found. (Replacement character creation, spending gold for initial equipment at higher-than-1st level WBL.)
- The material and technology doesn't exist to allow a flexible straw to reach from your backpack/helmet to your mouth. Anything flexible enough would collapse under the vacuum of sucking, since vulcanized rubber and plastic haven't been invented.
- A successful bluff doesn't mean they believe you are their god. It means they believe you *think* you are their god.
- You cannot, in one round with two move actions, run over to dropped items in two adjacent squares, pick both up, and return to your original position. I'll generously allow you to pick up an item in the middle of a move action so you can retrieve one per round, but it'll still take two rounds.
- I don't care what your diplomacy check is. The poor, uneducated, superstitious farmer who is nearly dead of ghoul fever cannot be convinced to follow you back to the nest of ghouls who gave him the most terrifying night of his entire existence and left him to die tied up in a field. Sweet reason isn't going to work, here.
- A ghoul's paralysis is Ex, not Su.
- "Presenting" a holy symbol means more than just having it out, so you cannot channel energy while paralyzed. Even if you just channeled last turn, since you have been hit (and presumably shifted to try to defend yourself) in the meantime. (This is the one that made Bob ragequit last night.)