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Stone Giant

Doug Miles's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber. FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit. 1,687 posts (2,426 including aliases). 57 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 19 Pathfinder Society characters. 1 alias.


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The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

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I think you have the right idea; explain that curing the Pallid Plague requires a specific treatment and anti-plague won't alone suffice. Without the threat of the disease, this scenario becomes pointless. You have raised a good question. I bet that some GMs have come up with more inventive solutions that simply saying anti-plague won't work. I hope they share their ideas. Antiplague is relatively expensive at low levels, but giving that the title of the scenario is The Pallid Plague you are wise to expect it to show up.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

In Metro Detroit we have 8 venues that run PFS games on weekly, bi-weekly or monthly schedule. We organize via a Warhorn page and communicate via a Yahoo! Group. 2014 YTD we have passed 600 tables run locally, so we need a tool like Warhorn to keep things managed. Each venue has a dedicated organizer who selects the scenarios. How this is influenced is different from venue to venue. Most organizers are diligent about posting the schedule well in advance, but sometimes, usually at the beginning of the month, there’s some anxiety as the game date approaches and there’s nothing posted.

I think that Detroit is an outlier in that most (90%) of our games are scheduled on a weeknight. This means that sometimes people arrive late, or the game is scheduled later in the evening. We have a relaxed, roll-with-the-punches stance. Mustering is pretty simple. There’s almost always multiple scenarios offered when we have more than a single table going off. Walk-ins are accommodated the first time, but are strongly encouraged to join the Warhorn page and sign up in advance in the future. Players who sign up on the waitlist understand they may not be accommodated. If we know in advance that a scenario has greater interest than can be handled, we’ll request an additional GM via the Yahoo! Group. If we get a volunteer, great. If not, waitlisted players find something else to do.

Only one of the eight venues charges for the PFS games. I’ve never run there since they began this policy—not out of any type of protest, it’s just way out of my area. There’s another venue that is actually a billiards hall/night club. On Wednesday nights business is slow so our PFS group & the venue have a mutually beneficial arrangement. The expectation is you’ll order a few drinks or an entrée over the course of the game. The food is excellent.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

We executed a scorched earth plan after the failure of Operation: Dragnslayer about a year ago. There's nothing left up there except the tennis courts and Kolossal Ego's "whine cellar" of aging gamer tears (he waaay overpacked and we had to draw the line).

If you want to stay up on The Mountain, the extraction team will have to pick you up after sundown. There's almost no cover from You-Know-Who's prying eyes. If 5-Star Island is compromised, then our fall-back is 5-Star Time Share Condominium :( We are still way behind production of 5-Star Space Station despite the approval of our 501(c) application.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Well done, Rachel! Thank you for your service to our campaign. Welcome to The Island.

Does this announcement mean Rachel is the 100th 5-Star GM in PFS?

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Welcome to The Island, Linda. Thank you for your service to our campaign!

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Bienvenue à l'île! Thank you for your service to our campaign.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Check out the local site

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Welcome aboard, Zak!

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Since he started appearing on these boards, he struck me as someone with a serious case of the PFS virus. No doubt he's infected others around him. Here's to all of us with weak immune systems! Welcome to The Island, Andrew.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Paul Maplesden via the Asheville Lodge provides these character background sheets on their website. Pass these out to your group and tell them to complete them for the next game. I think many players have an idea about what their character looks and acts like, but they go with the flow at the table. I agree with blackbloodtroll; in most cases when I sit down with players his statement is the status quo. I find it very frustrating, but I also believe that Pathfinder Society scenarios foster this behavior. There is no reward for role-playing, so why are we put out when it doesn't happen? There is a ray of hope. When one player at the table begins to role-play well, it can inspire and elevate the rest of the players to follow suit. Kind of like when a player is talking with a French accent it begins to infect the speech of other people at the table.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

You don't need to input the session, but you do need to register for the Pathfinder Society and get a membership number if you haven't already. You'll want to download and read the first few chapters of the Guide to PFS Organized Play. That will clear up a lot of your questions. Email me pfs.rc.detroit@gmail.com and I can send you some helpful documents and links tomorrow.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Contact Michael McNerney (ohiopfs@gmail.com)

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

You don't have to stat it out. You can simply not call it in the first place. There is no requirement to use the class feature.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Eldest is probably Wes Nicholson. I'm not saying he's old, but if he were an AD&D red dragon he'd have 88 hit points. Youngest probably one of the online 5-Stars, Arthur Perkins or Steven Fresques, but that's an assumption not based on knowledge.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

1 person marked this as a favorite.

No disrespect to Horseman, but it doesn't matter if the death was reported or if he received a Chronicle. We play under the honor system. Just because there may have been a bureaucratic mistake doesn't mean he gets a do-over. Carlos knows he played the scenario. Splitting hairs about how much he actually absorbed from 2.5 rounds of participation is a distraction. Fortunately he's earned a GM Star (thanks for your service, Carlos!) and can burn it to play it again for credit.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Scenarios are typically released at the end of the work day on the West Coast. Don't even bother checking until 9PM EDT. It is risky to plan to run new releases on the weekend following their date of availability. We usually don't know if there is going to be a delay until the day of release. Products have to pass through an editing pipeline at Paizo, so often delays are out of the hands of our campaign staff.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

After being put through the wringer running The Beacon Below, it was a pleasant ride to run Slave Ships this weekend. The players' every move was predicted and covered by Mr. Garringer's fine authorship. We were done in 3 hours. The longest fight was on the main deck, which took over 10 rounds. During that time, the dwarvern investigator managed to fail every Climb check to get up the rope ladder and onto the deck. He came close, but couldn't make two checks in a row before failing one by more than 5. He was repeated dunked in the drink. If not for Zigil, the dwarvern pilot, taking a shine to him he would have drowned. Despite the risk, she stuck around and hauled him out of the water time and time again. The investigator's player went through a number of d20s...

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Elbedor wrote:
Out of curiosity, is this written down somewhere? I've looked around and didn't find it anywhere. Hence posting the question here.

It's not written down anywhere, mostly because people gimping their characters is not a big issue in this campaign ;)

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

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You can refuse all except for XP.

Edit: Damanta, he could waste the PP the same way he wasted the Gold. The Fame he would be stuck with, I'm thinking.

The reason you can't defer XP is because it could skew the wealth-by-level curve intended for PFS. Let's say you accept the Gold but not the XP when you play. You could end up as a 1st level character playing in Tier 1-5 scenarios wearing the gear of a 10th level PC. Taken to the extreme, it would be unbalanced.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Please join me in congratulating William “Xath” Jones, Venture-Captain of the Detroit Lodge, in earning his 5th Star! A veteran of ‘the world’s oldest fantasy role-playing game’, Xath discovered Pathfinder Society a mere two years ago. Like many of us, he caught a fever and the only prescription was “moar Pathfindr!”. He served a brief stint as a Venture-Lieutenant before the opportunity arose last year for the VC position. He has reinvigorated the Detroit Metro area and made bringing together Pathfinders from across the state his priority. Xath is a great GM, able to make adjustments on the fly and never misses a beat at the table. He’s passionate about this game we play and never shy about sharing his position on hot-button issues in the campaign. He earned his 10th Special this past weekend at TavernCon in Ithaca, MI running Blood Under Absalom. Congratulations Xath, and welcome to The Island!

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Congratulations guy-who-has-to-put-up-with-Dragnmoon! ;)

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

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You are correct, and those other people are wrong.

The Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, page 32 wrote:
Tiers are a level restriction for play. If a PC’s level does not fall within the level range of a scenario’s tier, that character can not legally play in that scenario. For example, a 5th-level PC is legal for play in scenarios of Tiers 1–5, 3–7, and 5–9; a 1st-level PC can only legally play in a Tier 1 or Tier 1–5 scenario.

They may be confused because some Season 0 - 2 scenarios covered Tier 1-7, so level 1s could play in sub-tier 3-4 with level 7s. It does make sense when you read the Guide, but I can see where the misunderstandings arise.

Read 'Tiers and Sub-Tiers' on page 32 of the Guide, then come back here if you still think it's not enough to convince those 'other people' :)

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

I have run it seven times, and it's much ado about nothing most of those times*. On occasions that the PC succeeds on the Perform check the diva stands on top of the organ crooning along with the instrument until the song is over. Then I have her reminisce about the 'good ole days' at the opera and, if treated politely, eventually lose interest in the PCs. It doesn't need to be a combat encounter unless the PCs trigger it.

When the scenario doesn't cover those corner cases, use your judgment as the GM to improvise something. You can create some unique memories for players in these situations. Imagine if the bard and the diva hit it off and make a deal to take the act on the road after the mission is over.

*I did slap an inflict serious on a 1st level PC once and he failed his save against pretty hefty damage--dead right there. I was able to pull a Faction shirt out of my bag and he succeeded, sparing me from a lot of guilt! The other six times the diva doesn't have much firepower after delivering the inflict.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

The suggestion was to play a somber dirge on the organ. If the PC fails the save, he or she attempts to play a 'dirge'. The diva gets upset and attacks if the PC performs poorly. The suggestion has been fulfilled. The diva doesn't designate how long the dirge must be. After the suggested action is complete, the target may act freely. Roll initiative :)

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

No problem on this end. Check your link. The site has moved.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Thank you for your service to our campaign Lucas! Welcome to the Island!!

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Good show, Preston!

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

I would say congatrs, rather! ;)

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Welcome!

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I suggest that you don't use the organized play system. Run it how you feel comfortable, just don't present it as Pathfinder Society sanctioned. If these kids don't plan on playing with other organized players at PFS sanctioned gamedays or conventions, then there's no need to make them adhere to the PFS rules. Put on the kid gloves and let 'em have fun. When they are ready for the next level of difficulty, introduce them to PFS.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

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No. That's taking it too far. There's an unspoken contract between you and the players when you all sit down to play. Part of that is they have to trust that you are being fair and not just making stuff up. If they don't trust you, they need to find a different kind of game to play. If you don't trust them, give them more credit.

It's your job as the Game Master to use your imagination to describe the environment, the grotesque monster, the chaotic thrill of battle. Instead of saying to the player "I'm sorry, an attack roll of 12 misses the goblin warrior. You needed a 15 to hit his armor class.", you could say "The nimble goblin ducks under your whistling greatsword, not even needing to raise his shield to avoid your attack."

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Are you saying you want to give them a copy of the adventure you are running for them, so they can read along? Or give them a Core Rulebook so they can read how Perception works?

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

You're not going to find rules like you're looking for in a written format. Trying to do that would cause confusion because there are so many variables and exceptions involved. Use your best judgment, err on the side of the players, and try to have fun. Everyone is different. New players need more hand-holding and advice, while experienced players may want more challenge.

For example, if a new player has a pre-gen rogue and the fighter finds a chest he wants to open, I might look at the rogue's player and ask "Is there anything you'd like to do before he opens it?" I am less generous with established players. This weekend I had a player with a 6th level character meticulously search every door and object for traps through 4 encounters. Finally she forgot to search a locked door and I gleefully sprung a stinking cloud trap on her character. Everyone realized that was the first time she hadn't stated she was searching for traps and had a laugh. I could have gone the other way and said, "I'm going to let you make a Perception check for the trap since your character has an established pattern. Your character's memory is better than your own." It helped that it wasn't a lethal trap...

Another example; if a player is discussing which character they are going to play in a scenario and I know that there's something useful on the Chronicle for one of their available PCs, I'll make a recommendation. I don't say "There's a boon for a griffin animal companion on the Chronicle, so you should play your cavalier!". It's OK to be subtle.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Yes.

The Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, page 38 wrote:
A GM may apply credit for running a scenario, module, or Adventure Path in any of the same ways a player can, and must follow the same rules as a player when applying credit to a character.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Correct on all counts :) Here's a thread that you may find pertinent.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Here's my answer (expect table variation):
1.) Guards and Wards says "A dispel magic cast on a specific effect, if successful, removes only that effect." I take that to mean that an effect removed by a Dispel Magic is only supressed and will resume after 24 hours. I would set the DC at 26 to recognize a Guards and Wards using Knowledge (Arcana) because it is a spell effect that is already in place. Of course, the PC wouldn't need to know what spell it is in order to fire off a Dispel.

2. & 3.) I'm going to disregard the scenario instructions because they don't make sense. I'll present it organically, meaning I'll try and present the situation as it might have developed rather than putting minis down in illogical positions:


  • B obviously came up from the level below (B1) with the mummies and initiated the attack on S's turf. I'll add a 'first wave' of attackers that S already defeated.
  • Let's just say that S was initially in the chapel (A3) and fought through the first wave to get to A9 and summon a counterattack.
  • B sent in the next wave of mummies, hanging around the corner of A5 to watch how things progress.
  • S sends her elementals out from A9 and observes from there as the forces collide in A2. She doesn't speak any elemental languages so she must be giving the fire elementals instructions via the mephits, who speak Common. She has used the pools once earlier so I think it is safe to assume there have been waves of attackers on both sides.
  • Don't forget to describe the "Alcoves along the walls hold racks filled with scrolls filled with ancient poetry, but the cracked scroll cases are unable to resist the heat created by the elementals. If the PCs do not destroy the elementals or draw them out of the hallway within 4 rounds, the scrolls are reduced to ash, and the PCs lose 1 Preservation Point."
  • The important thing about setting up this fight is you want the players to see the opposing sides at the same time. If they look down the corridor from A1 (after figuring out the illusion) and see one side bottle-necked at the intersection, they'll just initiate their attack algorithms without further thought.
  • I haven't run this yet, but I anticipate that the players will just neutralize BOTH side--the elementals for the threat to the library, and the mummies for being undead.
  • If S's side wins, she'll approach to parley from A9. If she loses, she'll stay there unless she has a safe route back to the chapel.

The author probably had either a different map or different creatures when the scenario was turned over. I don't much like how cramped the fight is in A2.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

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Gregory, on these messageboards you will find that if there's a way that something can be blown out of proportion, we will find it :) The campaign leadership understands this, so don't worry about anyone getting in trouble.

Your feelings are valid. The best way to make sure that this GM doesn't make the same mistakes over again is to first talk to them after the slot is over. That's not a time that we are always at our best. At that point we are frustrated and want to be anywhere else. The next best way is to contact the organizer of the event. If you still are not satisfied, then contact the local Venture-Officers.

Bringing a negative experience to these messageboards has unintended consequences, as you have seen. You can't turn back time though. I hope you play again. If you keep at it you will meet some pretty awesome people that you'd never run into in a home group.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

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GM Lamplighter wrote:
The Fox wrote:
I run the scenarios cold.

Maps and minis are just add-ons, and not essential to play - some of my best games have been on blank battlemaps with pens and M&M minis. Running scenarios cold, though, is something to be avoided in my experience. It's often fine (or at least good enough) for hack and slash, but there is a lot of lore, NPC details, and plot that is hard to pick up on the first read-through.

I humbly suggest that some prep time reading the scenario is well worth the effort, not just for your own enjoyment but for those of your players.

I assumed he was being sarcastic :)

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

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Being sick of bad GMs in organized play inspired me to volunteer for the first time. I started LG in January 2006 and by March I was GMing at conventions. Gregory Connolly, you have the experience and you know what it feels like to be let down. Would you rather this happen to another table, or will you pick up the gauntlet that has been laid before you?

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

U-Con returns to the Marriott Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest again this year! Pre-registration is now open on the U-Con website. We have scheduled over 100 exciting PFS events. Naturally we'll be running this Season's Special "Legacy of the Stonelords". Our aim is to fill 15 tables! We're also offering all three levels of The Ruins of Bonekeep.

GM spots have been filling up fast, but if you would like to get a complimentary weekend badge you only need to volunteer for two slots. If you volunteer for five or more slots, your games for the rest of the con are all free. To volunteer, visit our GM mustering page.

Pre-registration rates for badges are good until October 31. A weekend badge is $25. Or free if you volunteer for two slots :)

Hotel rooms at the Marriott have been blocked off with a convention special rate of $89/night. More details here.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Disk Elemental wrote:
I believe it's called The Waking Tomb.

Correct

We'll have 3 tables of it at U-Con in Ypsilanti, MI on the same weekend as AetherCon, plus 100 additional slots of PFS.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

I would feel comfortable adjusting weather to enhance the scenario, especially if there's a PC at the table who has a class feature or spell selection that takes advantage of the environment. Or if I need to present the table with an obstacle to make an encounter more than a speed bump. Mike has commented about this adjustment before.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Thanks for the quick reply, John!

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Is there a description/blurb for Bonekeep 3 available? Can someone share it here?

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

So you are asking if it is OK to allow the party to play up to the 4-5 subtier despite the fact that their average level would not already allow them to do this? Or are they in between tiers and have the choice to play up or down?

Two issues here. Can they play up legally, and should they play up. Let's actually start with should they play up. You are correct that this adventure is pretty tame. The spot where I would feel leery is when the spriggans get large sized. They hit harder, have 10' reach and combat reflexes. It could go south quickly with a non-optimized party who get mixed up in melee. You know your players better than anyone, but personally I have a horrible track record when it comes to assessing the risk of playing up. "You guys should be fine" are the famous last words for many adventures where I encouraged the players to go for it.

I'm going to quote the Guide to PFS Organized Play just to make sure you understand the rules. "Determining Subtiers In order to determine which subtier a mixed-level group of PCs must play in, calculate the group’s average party level (APL). Divide the total number of character levels by the number of characters in the party. You should always round to the nearest whole number. If you are exactly at 0.5, let the group decide which subtier they wish to play.

"For scenarios written in Seasons 0 to 3, when the APL is in between subtiers, a party of six or seven characters must play the higher subtier. Parties with four or five characters must play the lower subtier. In the fringe case where there are no players that are high enough to have reached the subtier level (such as a party of six 3rd level characters), the group may decide to play down to the lower subtier."

Now can they play up despite the rules for Determining Subtiers explaining they cannot? I would say there's one exception. I would allow the party to play up under these conditions:
1) You get the appropriate gold & equipment access from the lower subtier. In other words, there is no greater reward for taking the risk at the higher tier. Whatever expendables they burn to defeat the high tier, that's the cost of taking on the challenge. This is like the Hard Mode in more recent scenarios.
2) Unanimous players decision. Everyone has to agree. If anyone feels this is a bad idea, it doesn't happen. They play the low tier.
3) No take-backs. If someone's PC dies as a result of the higher difficulty, they probably won't have the wealth at 2nd level to get Raised. Them's the breaks. You messed with the bull first, don't complain he has horns after you get gored.

I hope that helps you make a decision.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

I let my players run evil characters any time they like ;)

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

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Welcome to The Island, Art!

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Mike's on vacation until September 23. I'm not sure if he has to give the web monkeys direct instructions to award the 5th Star, but it is not automatically done in the system. We learned that after SessionGate earlier this year. Has Auke sent in the DNA sample to make sure that you aren't Dragnmoon in disguise? That could be the holdup ;)

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Yeah, I totally failed to understand the question but at least I pointed you to the Policy so you could find the answer yourself :/

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit

Congratulations & welcome to The Island, Vincent. I played Shipyard Rats under you at GenCon 2009. Thank you for your lengthy record of service on both sides of the pond!

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