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Aren't we drifting a bit from the topic of forum moderation with this whole "who's offended and why" thing?
Yes, sometimes a person is legitimately offended and the speaker needs to adjust their behavior, so we can't just dump all the power in the hands of the speaker.
Yes, sometimes a person claims to be offended in an effort to silence the speaker's opinion, so we can't just dump all the power in the hands of the listener.
Yes, sometimes a person is offended and the speaker claims that the cry of offense is just an attempt to silence the speaker's opinion, but really it's the speaker trying to silence the opinion of the listener, so I clearly can't choose the wine in front of me.
Isn't that part of why we have moderators in the first place? Remember when this thread was about coming up with ways to improve the methods and/or tools of the moderation team on this particular forum?
There are expectations that mods should leave their bad day or personal likes/dislikes at the door and comport themselves professionally, but when it is suggested that posters do the same you'd think that we're asking for the moon.
Nobody's suggesting that it's unreasonable to ask posters to behave themselves. I'm suggesting that (at least a good portion of the time) they think they already are. I don't understand how you got "asking posters to behave is being treated like asking for the moon" out of "posters don't realize they're not already behaving".
Self-policing cuts down on their work, cuts down on misunderstandings and hurt feelings, and makes the place better overall.
It's generally not a matter of people failing to self-police, so much as it's a matter of people thinking that X is acceptable when it's not.
For example, there are folks who honestly believe that sarcastic hyperbolic metaphors are a normal, reasonable way to express your displeasure with something (i.e., "This book is a train wreck; who's getting fired over this?" instead of "There are some very serious issues in this book.") They then respond to people taking offense by assuming the listeners aren't open to "honest criticism" because (in their minds) that's all they gave them. This isn't even all that weird, really; plenty of families and tightly-knit friend groups communicate this way regularly, without getting hurt. But just because I know better than to bring out in public the same sass I give my brothers at a family reunion, doesn't mean everyone does. And if nobody tells them, how can they self-police?
Another example would be the all-too-pervasive "I'm just calling a spade a spade"/"If it quacks like a duck, etc" mindset (wherein the speaker honestly believes, for example, that if it's factually true that you started with both an 18 and a 7 on your sheet then you really are a powergaming munchkin and there's nothing wrong with calling you out on it). Speakers in such cases are already honestly self-policing, they're just wrong about what's actually acceptable. And if the only people telling them it's not okay are the ones they're calling a "spade"/"duck", then they think they're doing nothing wrong (and might even think they're doing some kind of public service).
"People need to self-police" doesn't help much when nearly every unacceptable post was written by someone who thought they were self-policing.
Chris Lambertz wrote:
I have some reservations about a public-facing "moderated posts" tab causing folks to start looking for problems on accounts for which the problems have been long resolved.
That's why the idea was that only the account holder would be able to see that tab. It would not be public-facing. Just like I can't go to your profile and look at your Private Messages tab, but it still exists.
Hope you feel better soon! :)
There's a reason that highlighting posts was listed under "Bonus Round" in my proposal. ;)
Seriously though, I don't think anyone's asking for a labor-intensive solution here (at least, on the part of the moderators). Even just adding the tab, once the feature is put in place, would actually reduce workload (albeit very slightly). Furthermore, switching the system from "click this button to remove the post" (or whatever the current moderator-side functionality is) to having two buttons (one for "remove as offensive" and one for "remove as reply") would produce zero extra work for the moderators.
Yeah, getting it set up will take some labor from the tech team, but you're never going to find a zero-additional-work solution for anything. At least the extra work in this solution would be upfront-only (rather than ongoing) and would just be a tweaking of existing infrastructure rather than building something from scratch. I think we could do a lot worse, you know?
Undyne the Undying wrote:
So what's your favorite anime?
That's a really broad question. Lately I've been keeping up with Re:ZERO (though it just finished), Orange, and Sweetness & Lightning. I've also previously enjoyed One-Week Friends, Sword Art Online I & II, Erased, Flying Witch, and (some seasons more than others) One Piece.
You'd probably like One Piece, SAO, and maybe Re:Zero; they've all got a good bit of action (Re:Zero a little less than the others). You might not be so crazy about Orange, Flying Witch, or Sweetness & Lightning, which have no sort of "action" whatsoever.
Steve Geddes wrote:
I have no idea how viable this is, but it does appear that there is often resentment when a long post has been deleted – especially when it isn’t a problem on its own but is rather buried within a problematic series of posts or quotes one. Since it’s possible to retrieve such length posts, I’m presuming that a “deleted” post is actually still visible to moderators. If it were possible to make it still visible to the person who posted it (but perhaps in green or something to save confusion) that would make it easy to salvage the lost material. I realise this would allow people to just cut-and-paste deleted posts back in immediately, however perhaps there could be two categories – hidden (from everyone but moderators and the poster) and deleted (as it exists currently) if you thought that was a risk? Or maybe this could combine with the earlier point and “green” users could see their deleted posts but amber/red users couldn’t?
Here's an alternative idea:
So, you know how people's profiles already have multiple tabs (Aliases, Posts, Favorites, Favorited by Others, etc)? What if there were another tab, called something like "Moderated Posts", wherein were listed all the posts that user had made that were later deleted by the moderators? (Obviously, this tab would only be viewable by that user, not by just any passerby who checked out their profile.)
This actually addresses several issues:
• "Casualty posts" (long, good posts that got deleted because of one line or because of being a reply to an offending post) can have their contents easily retrieved without having to contact a moderator to ask for the text. Less work for both parties.
• There's already an issue that folks don't always follow along closely enough to realize that their posts were deleted, and therefore they have no reason to alter their future behavior because they don't know anything's wrong. The presence of a "Moderated Posts" tab in their profile still isn't much, but it's at least an extra chance of discovering that there's an issue. Even better if the "(X new)" thing could be put on that tab.
• If issues have accumulated over time, the poster can't really claim ignorance or say that a suspension/email was out of the blue, when there's a seven-page list of moderated posts right there at their fingertips.
• If a poster gets surprised by moderator actions that they don't understand, they have the convenience of being able to re-read their exact words in an attempt to understand where they went wrong. Maybe they read it and realize they were coming off much more harshly than they meant to. Or even if they still disagree with the decision, at least their first email to Paizo staff can be more focused/specific (i.e., "I reviewed the post and the strongest language I used was [phrase], which doesn't seem that bad to me. Can you help me understand this moderation action better?") instead of a vague "I don't know why this was removed"/"It was getting too heated"/"I wish I remembered what I said" type of exchange.
Would something like this be feasible to implement?
Thanks for taking the time to give my posts a read-through. There is one point I would like to address further:
Tonya Woldridge wrote:
While I agree with the need for change, I also believe in "praise in public, reprimand in private". So I try not to call people out in a public forum unless it is egregious behavior that must be set right. But know that I do see what happens and am addressing it in a manner that hopefully results in improved behavior while not undermining PFS organization as a whole.
I recall the same policy from when I used to be active in PFS, under Mike Brock's leadership. Based on the same experiences that eventually drove me to abandon PFS, I really have to question the validity of that policy (or at least, of how it's being implemented).
For starters, what counts as "egregious behavior"? I recall a thread once in which some new piece of content or FAQ or something was being discussed, and a 5-star GM declared that he would not allow such a thing at his table. With the topic in question having been clearly affirmed by the Design Team as legal (as opposed to being a gray area), and being PFS-legal, I pointed out to him that he wasn't allowed to "rule" against it at a PFS table. A Venture Officer then stepped in with something along the lines of "I'm sure he's just reacting out of shock and doesn't intend to actually prohibit a legal build from a public table." The 5-star GM then explicitly stated that he absolutely intends to illegally ban such a character from his table, PFS rules be damned. There was no intervention against this. Apparently Mike Brock did not consider explicit assertions of intent to cheat as sufficiently "egregious behavior" to warrant any visible action at all.
Additionally, what impact does public silence on unacceptable behavior have on those who are newly learning the culture? Those who are just beginning to GM will often come to the forums for tips and advice, or just to hear from the veterans about how PFS goes. It's one thing if a bunch of nameless forumites has an argument on the internet, but if various toxic attitudes are coming from people with titles and emblems, that's something else. Whoever the seemingly "highest-ranking" poster is in a thread, their attitudes are the ones that new GMs are going to read and take as PFS-endorsed. As a result, if the only "ranked" opinions are the toxic ones, that's what newbies are going to learn PFS is about.
For example, suppose a VO recommends adding extra monsters to "deal with munchkins". If the Campaign Coordinator steps in and asserts that no, it's not okay to modify encounters like that; then the newbie GM's takeaway is that it's not okay to modify encounters like that. Or if there's at least other VOs challenging the first VO's recommendation, then the reader can at least see that there's some controversy there and at least some portion of leadership is against encounter modification, so they're likely to tread carefully. But if every member of leadership other than the errant VO remains silent, then the reader naturally concludes that the official PFS stance is that you "deal with munchkins" by adding monsters.
That's how toxic attitudes spread: by letting them be presented to the public, with the voices of authority figures, and be completely unchallenged. Even if we're optimistic and guess that after enough "private reprimands" the original offender changes their tune, what do you do about the dozens of GMs who have already adopted the original toxic attitude and begun applying it at their games (and spreading it to others)? Do you have an action plan for cleaning up that mess? How do you plan on putting better ideas into the community's heads to counteract what was disseminated, unchallenged, at the hands of the VOs/GMs that you didn't want to contradict in public?
Now, let me be clear: I'm not calling for you to figuratively crucify offending parties, or in any way "get after them" or whatever one might call it. I'm just saying that toxic attitudes should not be allowed to have the loudest public voice; that's where the damage comes from. If a VO advocates cheating or belittles the creators of effective characters or whatever else, you wouldn't necessarily even have to address the person directly; you could just post something like "It is absolutely not allowed for a PFS GM to add monsters or otherwise tamper with an encounter; see the Guide for more details." That way, you haven't directly confronted any given person in public, but you've still stepped in to keep the toxic voices from being the strongest in the thread. But when you (and other, fair-minded VOs/GMs) say nothing in response to toxic assertions, the toxic assertions are left with all the authority.
Look, I'm going to go ahead and say something uncomfortable here. My degree is in psychology, and as such I have some familiarity with dysfunctional relational systems (such as families). And unfortunately, the PFS leadership culture bears a chilling resemblance to the classic image of the family of an alcoholic.
First, at the root of it all, you've got the person with the drinking problem. This role is analogous to the leaders spreading toxic attitudes (such as through verbal abuse, elitism, advocacy for GMs-are-above-the-rules mindsets, etc).
There's usually one or more family members who then minimize the alcoholic's problem, by saying things like "He's not as bad as he used to be" or otherwise downplaying the issue. This is the folks who respond to disillusioned players with "I swear, actual PFS games aren't like this; it's just the internet".
There's also usually someone who tries to ease intra-family tension by keeping people laughing. You've got these folks in your ranks as well: when an issue comes up and starts some heat, certain VOs/GMs will come in and start joking about beards or bacon or whatever else they can think of (to "defuse the tension"), ultimately derailing the discussion until people stop trying to talk about the issue.
Then there's the "quiet one", usually one of the alcoholic's children, who just sort of doesn't engage and tries to silently distance themselves. These are the VOs/GMs whose solution to the PFS forum's famous toxicity was to just not visit the forums anymore (which I suppose includes me, since I left altogether).
There are other common roles as well, but I think you get the idea. While the person engaging in the toxic behavior continues unabated, all the people around them try to keep things running smoothly on the surface (such as by easing the tension with laughter or assuring the public that things aren't that bad), but fail to actually address the root of the problem. As a result, all these behaviors that look like a good idea to the people involved (because defusing tension is good, right?) actually end up perpetuating the problem; the sociological term is "enabling", because all these coping mechanisms serve to take away the consequences of the alcoholic's behavior, thus making it feasible for him to continue doing it.
I hate to make such a serious analogy, but the dysfunction in the PFS leadership culture really is that deep and systemic, and appears to function according to that model: everyone trying to direct attention away from what's going wrong, thus keeping it from ever getting fixed.
If you want to change for the better, you're going to have to throw out whatever methodology isn't working and try something else. Or as one of my professors used to tell his clients, "If you keep on doing what you're doing, you're going to keep on getting what you've got."
I hope this helps, and I'd be happy to do anything else I can.
Meh. Yes and no.
Most aspects of my life are going great. My wife is happy, my lifestyle is reasonably comfortable, I'm gaming in some form or another somewhat consistently (PbP helps here), etc.
On the other hand, I'm more than two months into an extreme diet trying to find solutions for chronic digestion problems I've had for nearly ten years. The diet is so restrictive that I have to cook literally all my food from scratch, which means that a LOT of my previously-free time is devoted to cooking and shopping. I haven't been to my meatspace D&D game since starting the diet, as it's a weeknight and I'm always either cooking, shopping, or resting up from all the cooking/shopping (with "resting up" including things like "actually talking to my wife, about something other than food"). So that sucks.
Yet despite all the sacrifice and hard work, I'm no less sick. Like, maybe you've heard of an "elimination diet", where you cut your meals down to really basic stuff and then add one thing to see if it makes you sick, then remove it again and introduce something else, and repeat until you've identified all culprits? Well, even that functions on an assumption that the baseline diet that you're adding things to is one where you're not getting sick. The whole point is that you see if a given food item moves you from "not sick" to "sick. Trouble is, in over two months I still haven't found a diet on which I don't get sick. That makes it a lot harder to figure stuff out.
It's like trying to do laboratory experiments without a control group. While sick.
I've been following along for a while, and haven't wanted to comment since I don't know Ashiel very well and wasn't part of the thread from which all this originated. However, within the context of the discussion of moderator actions and people's experiences with them, I'm seeing some meta-issues that I think are getting in the way of productive discussion on certain points. Maybe I can help enable some more satisfying communication here? Or maybe not. But I'm going to try anyway.
Let's talk about experiences and interpretations.
Your experiences are the events and actions which you directly and personally encountered, as well as your own emotions and actions arising in response to those events.
Your interpretations are the conclusions you draw based on your experiences in an attempt to understand those experiences. They are not the experiences themselves, but rather the beliefs you form about your experiences.
Let's look at some hypothetical examples:
Example of an experience:
Example of an interpretation:
See the difference? In the first example, it's all about the events and my feelings: the rent increase and lack of renovations are specific events that happened, and the feelings are owned up to as being my own. By contrast, the second example (despite still referencing the experience) is talking about things I can't know: the landlord's motivation and the bigger picture of events that I've extrapolated from the limited data of my experiences.
This distinction is important. Why is it important? Because of the ethics of responding to experiences and interpretations of others. If I share my experiences, then it would be very rude and dismissive for someone to deny them. It's generally not considered okay to deny someone's experiences. However, if I share my interpretations of those experiences, it's a different story. Nobody is morally obliged to accept my interpretations as valid. Once I've crossed from experiences to interpretations, I'm just another commentator just like anyone else, and folks can contradict me all they like.
This is where the conflation of experiences and interpretations seems to be short-circuiting communication in this thread. Folks are telling stories in which they deliver a mixture of experiences and interpretations (or in some cases, deliver interpretations and refuse to relay the exact experiences even when asked). Then when listeners question the interpretation parts of these posts, the authors react as though their experiences are being denied. This triggers a downward spiral of miscommunication and hard feelings, with each side becoming more and more convinced of the other's wrongdoing.
Please, let's be clear and explicit about when we're talking about experiences and when we're talking about interpretations and be fair and honest about which ones our listeners are replying to. This thread will go much better that way.
Sure doesn't seem that way when used by folks who don't self-identify as such. But I'm glad to see this thread is going in a more positive direction than I first feared when I saw the thread title.
Carry on, then.
Uh, the exact terminology isn't the issue. It's the assumption of a threshold between tiers of maturity at the age of 30. Those same friends I mentioned earlier who are under thirty but are raising kids and nurturing marriages while working successful careers, are also not missing engagements due to hangovers. Meanwhile, here at work I'm surrounded by dozens of folks aged 40-65 whose primary recreational activities mostly center around just sitting at home drinking.
The grievance I have is not the use of the word "adult", but the use of ageism as a lazy alternative to the legitimate assessment of people's actions.
At low levels, alchemist's fire. At levels where 1d6 damage is no longer relevant, you've just got to hope your flying wizard buddy who's not threatened by the swarm in the first place still likes you.
Or if you have the right splatbook, dropping a chunk of your WBL on a swarmbane clasp will let you damage swarms normally with weapons.
Also what are the rules on attacking a swarm with a weapon? I've had GMs go both ways, in that you only attack a single creature in the swarm, dealing up to a set amount of damage, never being able to destroy the swarm even on a massive dice roll. I've also seen where a swarm is just a "normal" enemy and dealing damage can cut out multiple creatures inside the swarm.
That's in the Bestiary. Here's a LINK to the PRD page.
"Swarm Traits: A swarm has no clear front or back and no discernable anatomy, so it is not subject to critical hits or flanking. A swarm made up of Tiny creatures takes half damage from slashing and piercing weapons. A swarm composed of Fine or Diminutive creatures is immune to all weapon damage. Reducing a swarm to 0 hit points or less causes it to break up, though damage taken until that point does not degrade its ability to attack or resist attack. Swarms are never staggered or reduced to a dying state by damage. Also, they cannot be tripped, grappled, or bull rushed, and they cannot grapple an opponent.
A swarm is immune to any spell or effect that targets a specific number of creatures (including single-target spells such as disintegrate), with the exception of mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms) if the swarm has an Intelligence score and a hive mind. A swarm takes half again as much damage (+50%) from spells or effects that affect an area, such as splash weapons and many evocation spells."
So here's an interesting thing:
I just recently discovered that I have a "gift pass" available on my crunchyroll.com account, such that I could give someone a free two days of Premium membership (no credit card required, it tells me), so they could try out some anime streaming commercial-free.
If anybody has grown curious now that they realize Japan's animation industry produces more than just unrealistic martial combat, feel free to shoot me a PM and tell me what kinds of genres/shows you like, and I'll come up with one or more recommendations and (if I still have it by then) send you the "gift pass".
Somebody recruiting for a game says they want "adults", which they define as being 30+ years old. Though I myself qualify (yay?) I have friends who own their homes and have successful marriages, stable careers, and happy children; but who apparently don't count as "adults" yet just because they were born later than AD&D was.
Yeah, it was surprising to me too. In retrospect, I'm guessing that within the foods allowed in Whole 30, the things which provide a meaningful source of calories tend to be things that make you feel full, without any "extra" calories from sugars and starch. Thus, when you eat only the W30 compliant foods, the calorie math takes care of itself.
Definitely not PFS-specific, but I'm really struggling to see how "Here's a video where people break down dungeon design" resembles "marketing a third-party product".
But, whatever. Beside the point.
Anyway, the above is actually a five-video series, which I watched already. It is indeed very relevant to GMing, but moreso to homebrew dungeon design than to PFS scenario preparation.
Still, good stuff.
I also heartily recommend the Extra Credits channel on YouTube for anyone with even a passing interest in game design. Although some of their content is specific to video games, a lot of the design principles translate very well to tabletop gaming. One of my favorites was their video about the relationship between complexity and depth, in which they frame the former as a sort of "currency" that the designer spends to acquire the latter, hopefully while being as economical as possible and not going over budget, so to speak.
Okay, hopefully I can write something useful in the next few minutes here...
So! Above, I went over how a certain segment of the PFS leadership culture can feel justified in verbal abuse and other not-okay-on-the-forums behaviors as long as the target is (in said leadership figure's eyes) a munchkin/rollplayer/whatever, and therefore moderator action against such posts needs to be clear enough that those folks at least have a chance to learn that their own posts are part of the problem, rather than viewing moderator action as further affirmation of their superiority to those powergamers who keep getting and threads locked.
Although that moderation transparency is a good thing, it's still somewhat superficial: you can delete offending posts, but the toxic attitudes that produced those posts are still there, in the person behind the keyboard; the same person who's then going to their next game day and setting an example as GM/VO.
There seems to be this bizarre belief among active PFS forumites that "real games" are super different from the forums; every time leaders get toxic on the boards and a newbie says "Nevermind, I don't want this", other leaders will jump in and say "Wait! Real games aren't like the forums!"
Well, sure, if none of the people from the forums are at your table, then of course the game will be different. But those VOs/GMs are running games somewhere, and it would be beyond naïve to think that the attitudes that led so-and-so to berate and demean different player types online aren't also going to come out at that person's tables.
Unless campaign leadership thinks that when behind a keyboard their volunteers think they're better than XYZ player group but at the table they hold completely different opinions, then it's absurd to claim that "real games" with those people are going to be meaningfully different than online interactions with those same people.
The first "action step" for campaign management is to recognize that if your volunteers are being toxic toward a certain type of player online, they're going to bring that same toxicity to real games any time that type of player shows up at their table.
The second action step is to try and foster a culture that separates actions from people when discussing what's healthy for the campaign, in order to put your volunteers in a place where feedback can bear fruit.
Let me explain.
I'm a firm believer that everybody does both good things and bad things, and that those actions should be addressed as actions, rather than as data points with which to try and determine if the person is good or bad. I'd rather reserve terms like "good" and "bad" for specific behaviors and get those behaviors addressed, and just not even treat people as being valid targets for either word.
However, PFS leadership (or at least part of it) seems to function in the opposite manner. Nowhere was this made clearer than in a thread I once saw where someone told a VO that they should stop verbally abusing people, and the VO's response didn't mention verbal abuse at all. Instead, they just listed good things they were doing for the campaign, and announced their conclusion that they must be doing alright. Didn't even deny the verbal abuse; didn't address it at all. The only way I can think of to make sense of such a response to a specific, behavioral criticism is if the listener isn't separating actions from identity.
If you only hear criticism as "Here's my case for why you're bad", then it makes sense that one way of responding might be to make a counter-case for why you're good. Unfortunately, if you have that same interpretation/response to every piece of negative feedback, no matter how precise or discreet, then you're never going to improve any of your behavior.
If every criticism is a case for personal badness, then as long as you have more pieces of evidence for goodness than badness, none of the unhealthy behavior gets addressed. If campaign leadership can work to change this paradigm, however, things can get better.
For example, suppose a player points out that "It's not okay to do X".
If this gets received as "You're a bad GM because you do X", then the listener isn't going to stop doing X unless/until that's the only way to get a long enough list of reasons they're a good GM.
However, if it can instead be heard for what it is (a critique of just one specific behavior), then the listener need not feel threatened and is free to address the concern directly.
How do we make this shift? Two things:
First, monitor the complaint end of the exchange. Sometimes people do criticize the person instead of the behavior (i.e., "If you're doing X you're being a jerk" instead of "Doing X is not okay"). In those cases, having either Tonya or a moderator or someone else step in and say "Hey, critique the issue, not the person" can help steer the player culture toward productive feedback while also making the GMs/VOs feel safe and defended.
Second, monitor the recipients' responses to criticism. If the complainer properly aims their concern at the behavior rather than attacking the person, but the listener responds as though it was the opposite, then that needs to be addressed just as directly. Something like "There's no need to dogpile someone for giving negative feedback; they kept it centered on the behavior rather than the person, so please respect their concerns."
I think doing those two things — consistently, and both of them — would go a long way toward a better future for PFS.
Now, there's a whole list of individual complaints I could mention about my experiences with PFS. But when you really think about it, they're just the details. The important part is (1) recognizing that there's a problem involving real people (not just some kind of online spectre) and (2) clearing the way for feedback to actually get received and addressed. If those two things can be improved, then that opens the door to fix literally everything else. And if those two things don't get addressed, then nothing else can be fixed.
I hope this post has been helpful.
Chris Lambertz wrote:
Just piping in quickly: let's not derail this into a debate about the online presence of our volunteer core. Tonya and I actually appreciate hearing feedback like what's been posted here. So as to not derail the discussion, but to if you'd like to kick off a different thread in Website Feedback or correspondence chain: what do you feel our forum policies or moderators could/should do in these cases? What do you want to see from Paizo and our staff?
Thanks for chiming in, Chris. :)
From a forum/moderator perspective, I'm not sure of any "action steps" to ask for. I mean, if a VO or multi-star GM over in the PFS forums gets verbally abusive, then presumably they're covered under the flagging system just like anybody else. The only thing I can think of is maybe a bit of information on which posts get removed and why.
For example, imagine this scenario:
If the only people ever making it clear to certain members of the leadership culture that their behavior isn't okay are the players whom they already regard as errant children whose reprimands are unfounded, then they just keep snowballing their sense of moral superiority and justification in their actions.
Fortunately, I've seen a bit of a trend that direction in the last year or two across the forums, with moderator posts being a bit more clear. Granted, it doesn't help if the offender doesn't look, but the moderators' responsibility has to end somewhere, right?
Stopping for the moment; more to come later...
** spoiler omitted **...
Here's a few suggestions:
1) Re-read the rules in the paladin and cleric class descriptions. Your post reads like you're under the impression that merely being in the presence of someone who doesn't act like a paladin themselves puts the paladin into a smite-or-fall predicament. It doesn't. Don't mix up which edition you're playing.
2) If roleplaying a clash of ethics to that degree isn't fun for you, talk to the other players. Tell them you'd have more fun if their flirtations with the neutral/evil boundary were a bit less flamboyant. If they're the least bit reasonable (and if you are too, and have followed tip #1), then the friction should be greatly reduced.
3) Remember that PFS is an actual campaign, not a string of random events. Like any other campaign, it has a premise. And like any other campaign, you as a player have a responsibility to build an appropriate character. Just like you shouldn't join a campaign that's billed as "righteous heroes face evil to save the world" and then bring a nasty mercenary who demands payment for everything he does; you also shouldn't join a campaign that's billed as "members of a neutral-aligned expeditionary organization get sent on missions with mixed teams" and then bring a character who wouldn't ever be in that role. Make a character to fit the campaign.
Hope that helps!
Steve Geddes wrote:
Jiggy, am I reading correctly that your recent PBPs have been some of your beginning forays into non-module DMing?
Other than a disastrous 4E homebrew with my family years ago (making the phrase "orc cave" a bit of a taboo among them) my GMing experience has been entirely pre-written adventures up until I started GMing PbP games. That's why each campaign has been structured a bit differently than the last, in an attempt to find my groove.
Grievance time. Specifically, a painful irony.
So, occasionally I peek over at the PFS forums to see if the culture is showing any signs of changing in a way that I might consider going back. Today, I encounter a thread in which someone says that a GM is jerk if they enforce a particular campaign rule.
Someone in the leadership culture (either a multi-star GM or a VO, or both; don't remember) calls him out saying that it's not cool to call the GM a jerk just for being fair and enforcing the rules.
I totally agree!
He said that doing so is just a form of bullying.
I agree with that too!
He said that new GMs who face that type of bullying will sometimes not GM anymore (which hurts everybody).
Yep, I believe it!
He said that this is the most common form of bullying he sees in PFS.
Are you serious? I've seen it, like, maybe a couple of times in as many years. Even just as far as bullying toward new GMs, I've seen more instances of other types (such as a veteran GM who's run the scenario before flipping out at the first error), rather than specifically that.
But for bullying in general, the main form I've seen in PFS is actually the reverse of the style in question: when a player wants a rule enforced, and the GM bullies and name-calls. A well-intentioned player comes up with an idea for a character they think will be fun, they build it in good faith, they make sure they know how it works and that everything's legal, they bring it to a table intending to just have some fun... and if the GM doesn't like some aspect of it, then they call one or more of the mechanics a "gray area" and "interpret" that something doesn't work. Then the confused player comes to the forums to try and figure out what's wrong, and they're met with a chorus of multi-star GMs and VOs telling them how selfish and demanding and uncooperative the player is being. They get called jerks/munchkins/roleplayers, they get told that they've forgotten that the point of the game is to have fun or that they're being antisocial, and suffer all kinds of other verbal abuse.
If a GM wants the "reroll merchandise must be in use" rule to be enforced, the PFS leadership community will rise up to defend fair GMing against bullying, on the rare occasion it comes up. (As they should; I'm not denying that at all.)
If a player wants a class feature or sometimes even just a core game rule enforced, the PFS leadership community* will consistently rise up to shame the player into submission.
This is a large part of why I left PFS in the first place.
*No, not all of them. Just 99% of the ones who say anything at all. Silence is not innocence when you're watching your fellow leader attack someone who has no power or influence of their own.
Nope. Don't even know what the reference would be there (never played that game).
Glad I'm not the only one who noticed that.
The only commonality I can see between the three given examples is a clash between portrayal and reality, but that's not at all what the term in the thread title refers to.
Care to elaborate, OP?
Thanks to my crappy roll, I guess I'll go with the old standby of telekinesis. (Had I rolled higher, I might come up with some neat combos.) The versatility is near-limitless. It's useful for mundane daily life, such as ALWAYS getting my groceries up in one trip or picking up a fallen pen without bending over; but it's also incredibly powerful if I end up in extreme circumstances (partly because I've taken the time to think about how to apply it; for example, I'm the type of guy who, after watching A:tLA, thought, "You know, if this weren't Nickelodian, water and earth would be the most powerful types of bending, because bullets").
If, instead, you could be a gestalt of 1d2 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2 super heroes, who would you gestalt to be yourself? Why? Which comic universe would you run around in? Would you prefer to be in that one, or this one?
My knowledge of comics/superheroes is mostly limited to some of the big movies of recent years, and I know even less of the universes. Um... Maybe superman (because OP) and somebody with invisibility (because there's not much else left)?
On the other hand: BAM! You just gained 3d6 + 2 ⇒ (2, 3, 4) + 2 = 11 levels in a Pathfinder class (or classes)! Which class(es) do you pick, and why?
A caster of some sort. There's not much need for the martial skillsets in my real life, so I'd be all over the convenience of magic. I might actually go with Mystic Theurge, for more versatility and spell slots, since getting higher level spells probably doesn't matter too much in real life.
Incidentally, if you could spontaneously switch races, would you? And if so, to which?
That depends a LOT on how other people would react. I might be able to get away with elf, just telling people it's a really good costume. But it would have to be a 5E elf, as my CON's already so low that switching to a Pathfinder elf might just kill me outright.
Similarly, you won the super-lottery, and gained mythic tiers! 3d3 + 1 ⇒ (1, 3, 2) + 1 = 7 of 'em! (And you gain class levels to match; please feel free to change your previous answer if this does so for some reason.) What path do you take? (Alternate option: substitute a single tier for a simple mythic template.)
Don't know enough about mythic. Probably something to supplement my earlier answer about levels.
Yet another query: you monster. Specifically, you CR: 1d30 ⇒ 3 (or less) monster! Which are you?! ... and would this have been your first choice? If not, which would be?
I guess I'd pick an incorporeal undead of some sort. That way, since there's no magic in this world, I'm literally invincible, even if I meet a 100th-level fighter.
Alternatively, a PC race. ;)
But the wheels of fate-time have spun again, and your everything has been transposed into that of someone else! You've just become a prepublished NPC from an official source! Which prepublished NPC is it?
Can't say I've met many that I've liked (as a person). Maybe one of the Decemvirate, so I can start to straighten things out?
What campaign setting do you run around in? Why?
Oh, this would actually change some of my above answers, if this all goes together. That said, I usually run games in homebrew settings (usually somewhat generic, as I prefer event stories over milieus), so I'd probably do the same. Plus, that means I get to make the rules of the universe. ;)
Top two priorities are the awareness and utility: the ability to know what's up, and the ability to do something about it. So, some sort of expanded cognitive awareness (at minimum, something like spider-sense; preferably closer to One Piece's "observation haki") plus some sort of flexible/versatile power (such as the above-mentioned telekinesis). Some other conveniences like endure elements would be nice as well.
Also a lack of chronic digestion issues would be nice.
Oh, and one more thing: if you lived through a Legend of Zelda (as one of the Links); which would it be, and why?
Anything but Ocarina of Time, because f~+% the water temple.
So Jiggy, a question that may seem like a tangent but really isn't - would you allow someone to say they don't like japanese FOOD without calling them a a bigot or stupid?
Before we get to that question, it appears that a couple of facts need to get straightened out.
First, I haven't, won't, and don't call people bigots or stupid (or anything else). I've criticized certain actions and beliefs and thought patterns, but I am fundamentally against the practice of jumping from a critique of a specific action/idea to the labeling of an entire person. If you know of a place where I slipped up and actually did label a person rather than an action/idea/practice, feel free to link/quote the post in question and I will publicly apologize to the victim. But if instead it's just a matter of you (or other listeners) not differentiating between criticizing an idea and criticizing a person, then that's on you/them, not on me.
Second (since you obviously intend to draw a parallel with your question), I also have not at any point criticized the dismissal of anime. What I have criticized is certain means of arriving at that dismissal. In fact, I have even specifically mentioned the example (more than once, IIRC) of someone dismissing anime because they don't like the art style (which, before you get down to nuances and outliers, is fairly consistent across the medium), and that being totally okay.
So please, if you're going to challenge me, at least demonstrate the maturity of challenging me accurately.
Now, as to your question:
But if they have a general list of dishes/ingredients they legitimately don't like (as many people do), and portions of that list happen to knock out the bulk of Japanese food (unlikely, but possible), then sure, nothing wrong with the shorthand of "don't like Japanese food".
Mummy, along with a gas mask and a question.
... and why?
Because I like terrible puns (especially when combined with referential humor), and because he knows.
Also, Psychic or Psionic? Why?
I know basically nothing about either. So... I'll pick psychic, because it's my favorite pokemon type. ;)
arnt you a twin cities guy? Any favorite haunts?
My wife and I like to grab a game or two (usually some version of Ascension) and go out to the Fantasy Flight Games Event Center. Used to be we'd sometimes get a meal there as well, but we can't do that lately. In fact, even getting out there at all has been difficult lately.
Any video games you like?
Plenty, but mostly older ones. I've generally not had the budget (or the time to justify the budget) to keep up with new consoles, powerful computers, or new releases.
One of my old favorites is EarthBound, an SNES-era RPG with a lot of quirky humor and some touching moments. The end made my wife cry.
More recently, I'm a big fan of Undertale, an indie game that plays with a lot of video game tropes and is full of memorable characters, chilling darkness, great humor, and a freaking awesome soundtrack. Oh, and a really well-developed setting that's refreshingly original.
Ironically, I haven't actually played Undertale, but I've watched several different "Let's Play" videos of it, plus lots of fan content.
There's plenty more video games I like, but I'm not going to try to list them all.
This issue is exactly why posting expectations should be explicit in the campaign's recruitment thread. If someone applies, they've agreed to whatever's in that thread, including posting expectations. If you don't follow through on what you agreed to, you have no right to complain about the consequences. That's like filing a complaint with your city's transit system after you failed to get to the bus stop on time and the bus left without you at the exact time it was scheduled to.