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Kobold

Jiggy's page

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32. RPG Superstar 6 Season Marathon Voter, 7 Season Dedicated Voter, 8 Season Dedicated Voter. FullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 20,158 posts (23,972 including aliases). 17 reviews. 4 lists. 1 wishlist. 13 Pathfinder Society characters. 35 aliases.


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Krensky wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:

I don't see how I was "holier then thou"

It's all true. I'm very happy having quit. Anyone can do it.

ERIC: Can anyone answer some questions about this means of quitting smoking?

YOU: Just go cold turkey like I did! Aren't I awesome?!

... You didn't answer Eric's questions, you just bragged about your own success.

The hell? He didn't say anything about how awesome he was or do anything remotely like bragging. He said what he did, asked if the OP had considered it as an option, and gave it his recommendation. Given that the OP was the one who explicitly brought up the topic of quitting, offering/suggesting an option that one has personally found success with is completely reasonable. Just because it didn't work for you doesn't mean that the person suggesting it is looking down on you; just because you didn't find success in a given endeavor doesn't mean that anyone who mentions their own success is trying to rub your face in it.

If someone expresses an interest in quitting smoking, then other people saying "I did X, it worked, I highly recommend it" is completely appropriate.

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Squiggit wrote:
Anyone else ever encounter anything similar?

Yep, and it's one of the major reasons my melee cleric was a lot more powerful than folks on the forums tend to assume, and why the warpriest isn't that much better at fighting than the cleric is.

My cleric needed a single standard action for buffing at the start of a fight, so I would typically cast my buff (divine favor) and then walk forward and draw my weapon, ending far enough forward to be a target but far enough back that the enemy would have to use a move action to reach me.

People keep trying to dismiss the combat potential of the cleric with ideas like "Sure, if you want to spend forever buffing first, but by then the fight's basically over anyway," but as you noticed, round 1 is the "meet and greet" of the melee combatants, so spending that round buffing will often actually be a stronger move than getting in that first attack.

It's a peculiar quirk of the system, to be sure. If it bothers you, 5E did away with the "moving reduces your attacks" thing, so you might look into making adaptations (unless we're talking about organized play, of course).

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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Apparently, I'm not anti-optimization, and neither is anyone else...
I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
KarlBob wrote:
...If I feel that I'm less effective in combat/social interaction/skills than the rest of my party, and I'm looking for help with feat choices that will improve my success rate, then the "you must be a munchkin" attitude isn't helpful.
If the latter attitude is at all something that actually happens, I've never seen it - I've certainly never said it. I think that's a strawman for when people object to something completely different, namely a contemptuous/dismissive attitude toward anything that isn't number-crunching...

It's not a strawman; it does happen, and in fact happens so frequently in some communities that it contributed to my abandoning PFS organized play. For example, I watched a conversation in the PFS GM forum touch on the topic of PCs with a high armor class, and someone commented on the high AC of their own character. A multi-star PFS GM then declared—based solely on the knowledge of how high the character's armor class was—that the PC was "a spreadsheet, not a character", and said he would boot such a character from any table he was running without hesitation.

Things like that are/were actually so common that eventually someone started a thread titled "Not at MY table" to try and address the issue that multi-star PFS GMs (including plenty of Venture Officers) were frequently responding to discussions of well-performing builds (or elements of builds) with the declaration that they intended to violate PFS rules by banning it from their tables.

So it does happen, and plenty.

But you already know this, because you do it yourself. Heck, I've even watched you criticize people for making effective gameplay choices in games that aren't even role-playing games. I'm seriously considering saving a link to this post of yours, and then posting it every time you display anti-optimization attitudes and saying "This is what you said is a strawman that you've never seen happen."

And speaking of strawmen...

I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
There ARE people who hold imagination in contempt and only want to build big numbers ("because that's what GROWN-UPS do! Make-believe's for KIDS, and kids are STOOPID! And actors! EWWWW I HATE actors they're all stupid sluts say did you seeThe Avengerswasn't that AWESOME brah...?")...

Though there are certainly people whose interests lie solely with building big numbers, your characterization of them as "hold[ing] imagination in contempt" and as seeing themselves as more grown-up/intelligent/sexually responsible than those who enjoy the play-acting part of RPGs is something you made up yourself.

That means that either (A) you're the one who's full of contempt, making things up in an attempt to demonize the people whose preferences you don't share; or (B) you saw people who seemed to only care about the numbers and somehow used that as a premise from which to draw the conclusion that all that other stuff must go with it, which is a truly monumental failure of reasoning.

This is why people don't trust you and you keep running into conflict. Do something different or expect to keep having the same experiences. As one of my professors back in college liked to say, "If you keep on doing what you're doing, you're going to keep on getting what you've got."

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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
So why have people kept telling me I was way wrong (and worse) when *I* said this stuff? If this is all there is to it, then where has all the conflict come from?

Maybe it's because when *you* say it, you refer to other people's ideas with terms like "parasitic meme" or "evil mind-plague"? Do you think maybe that could be why you keep encountering conflict?

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tonyz wrote:

The other thing with optimization is that it's possible to theorycraft for maximum effectiveness in _something_ -- but at the expense of some necessary or useful features. Usually this results in glass cannons, powerful but very vulnerable characters.

Playing in a campaign with a variety of threats may require a variety of defenses. The fighter that optimizes one-strike one-kill melee combat gets dominated. The archer is shut down by the maze of 10' little passages, all alike. The sorceror with hyper-DCs for his charm spells is powerless against the mindless foe. The AC-of-doom defending cleric can't DO anything other than stand around unhit (until his enemies get around to wrestling him). The paladin who can do more damage in one blow than any creature in the Monster Manual can survive but can't figure out the murder mystery. Et cetera.

Optimization in excess of practicality is not necessary.

(Sometimes one's friends can fill in roles. Sometimes they can't.)

/facepalm

Glad I went to all that trouble to try and help people have more productive conversations.

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Okay, so about the term "optimization". There are three key things to understand: the term's real meaning (and how that plays out in practice), common misconceptions about the term's meaning, and the term's social baggage.

The Real Meaning
The actual meaning of "optimize" is easily verifiable with a dictionary. Basically, it means to take [THING] and take steps to make it the most effective [THING] possible. Now, some folks make a mistake here and assume that this means that there are only a couple of "optimal" character builds. (I'll talk more about this in regard to common misconceptions and social baggage.) However, this is false, because it's based on a faulty assumption: the idea that [THING] is always "character". If [THING] is "character", then to optimize means to make the single most effective character possible. That probably results in something like a gestalt cleric20/wizard20 with ten mythic tiers and 99 point buy and so forth, and then everything else is sub-optimal.

The problem is that [THING] isn't always "character". Sometimes, [THING] is a particular concept, such as "magical swordsman" or "thief who's good at sneaking around and getting past locks and ambushing people". In such contexts, to "optimize" means (according to our above definition) to "make the most effective magical swordsman possible" or "make the most effective thief-who's-good-at-sneaking/locks/ambushes possible". Obviously, the answer to "what is optimal?" is going to vary wildly between these different contexts. Similarly, you'll get different "optimal" results if [THING] is "this particular class" or "this particular race using this particular weapon" or whatever else.

Sometimes, this causes confusion. One classic example is when someone makes a thread in the Advice forum asking for help with making "a rogue because I want to be good at sneaking and traps and bluffing". What is [THING] in this case? Is it "rogue"? Or is it "character who's good at sneaking/traps/bluff"? Because (at least in Pathfinder) those are very different things. Thus, you get three types of posts in such a thread: the first are the wisest, from folks who recognize the issue and seek clarification by asking what specifically their goal is and whether using the rogue class is an absolute requirement.

The second type of response is from those who read the OP and latch onto "because I want to be good at sneaking and traps and bluffing" as being [THING] and make suggestions accordingly. This generally involves abandoning the rogue for a more effective skill class (like bard or investigator) in order to optimize [THING]. They're truly trying to help based on their understanding of what the poster asked for.

The third type of response is from those who instead interpreted [THING] to be "the rogue class". (This usually involves a false belief that this will also cover the OP's other desired results.) Naturally, these folks see all the other folks' suggestions to simply not play a rogue at all and are extremely affronted on the OP's behalf. This is where you get the stories of "people ask for help with their X and the [insert pejorative here] come out in full force to tell them to just not play it at all" that I'm sure you've heard multiple times.

So as you can see, while the definition of "optimization" may seem simple at first ("make the best [THING] you can"), the context and the identity of [THING] makes a world of difference and is vital for clear communication.

Common Misconceptions
In addition to the context-based confusion described above, the term "optimization" has picked up some genuinely false "definitions" over time as well. The most common "false meaning" of optimization is "specialization".

Now, sometimes, an optimized character will be very specialized, because in some cases that just happens to be the way to make the most effective character of the intended type. For example, take the traditional wizard's ability scores. All of a wizard's class features are based on his INT. Meanwhile, he's going to be terrible at swinging a weapon and doesn't have much gear to carry, so there's very little value in his STR score. Some of the other stats are similarly unimportant (to varying degrees). As a result, the "optimal" set of stats for a traditional wizard will tend to simultaneously be "specialized".

Given examples like the above, it's easy to see how one might draw the false conclusion that "optimized" means "specialized". A great many gamers hold this wrong belief, which has led to no small amount of confusion in discussions (especially when you consider that this misconception exists in both the pro- and anti-optimization subcultures). For example, you'll see an anti-optimizer (or so they think) complaining about one-trick ponies, and then a pro-optimizer tries to correct them about how a hyperspecialized character who falls apart when his one and only schtick doesn't apply is not actually a well-optimized character. But the anti-optimizer can then point to other pro-optimizers who themselves bought into the "optimal=specialized" trap and use them as evidence that that's what's meant by "optimization".

Thus, confusion and arguments.

Social Baggage
As if the context-based confusions and the false definitions weren't enough, discussions about optimization also have to contend with the term's rather unpleasant history, and the baggage that comes with it.

In any game (or really any other field where there are multiple paths of unequal effectiveness toward a given goal), there will be an element of skill. Some skills are simple (like knowing that a wizard wants a high INT score) while other skills are more advanced (such as ranking the relative power of similarly-leveled cure, blasting, and debuff spells). Naturally, in any community of people who share a skill-based interest, there will be people of higher and lower skill levels. As a result, you'll have skilled players producing more effective characters while less-skilled players produce less effective characters.

Now, nobody likes feeling inferior, and unfortunately this means that some gamers, upon discovering that someone is having more success than they are, will feel threatened and need to "defend" themselves in some way. That is, they think they will be judged unworthy (or perhaps judge themselves as such) due to having less skill, and therefore feel driven to find a way to attribute other gamers' fun/success to something other than skill, and/or make themselves seem morally superior.

For example, in a CCG, a player who keeps losing might try to claim that the game is so unbalanced that folks with enough cash can simply "buy" wins through overpowered cards (thus divorcing success from skill, allowing the unsuccessful player to seem like the more skilled of the two); or they might claim that the purpose of the game is not to win but to create an original deck, and point out the moral inferiority of all those "net-deckers" who simply copy existing decks (thus creating a correlation between winning and moral wrongdoing).

Similarly, with practice-oriented games (such as Guitar Hero or many other video games), a less skilled gamer might suggest that the only reason someone else is better is because they spend exorbitant amounts of time playing, to the point of ignoring other obligations (work, school, family, etc). This creates an image of "anyone more skilled than me only got there by being a worthless layabout".

It's no different with tabletop RPGs. Over the years, some of the less-skilled players felt the need to paint it as a strength rather than a weakness. That's where we get expressions like "ROLEplay not ROLLplay", or other instances of people trying to assert that characters more effective than their own are somehow the result of wrongdoing. Such assertions are typically nonsensical, such as the idea that a mechanically effective character somehow proves that the player has no interest in roleplay or immersion in the game world, or is otherwise "missing the point" of the game.

As a result, the term that truly just means "doing a good job of making your character" came to be used by some as shorthand for "playing the game wrong by focusing on morally inferior aspects of the gaming experience" in an attempt to make a less-skilled player feel better about themselves. Thus, the term "optimization" teeters on the edge of being a generally-accepted pejorative, which further complicates any discussion on the topic of character creation.

Conclusion
So there you have it. A simple word with complicated context, usage, and history. I don't know if this directly answers this thread's questions, but hopefully it will be helpful to future discussions in some way. :)

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DM Jelani wrote:

I have a player who successfully pinpointed a creature under greater invisibilty during one round (due to the invisible creature casting a spell with a point of origin), and shot it twice with his longbow, successfully overcoming the miss chance. Now the player is insisting that his arrows should be visible, and that he should be able to visually track them in order to automatically pinpoint which square the invisible creature is in. Furthermore, he is asking that it negate/mitigate the miss chance from total concealment. I know that this is wrong, but I don't know how to articulate the reason it's wrong using the rules. Can anyone spell out exactly why, per RAW, the arrows shouldn't be visible?

I know I can just say, "I'm the DM, too bad bub." But I don't like doing that unless I have to. Thanks in advance for any advice.

The invisibility spell description wrote:
...items picked up disappear if tucked into the clothing or pouches worn by the creature.

Those arrows are visible until the creature spends the actions to hide them behind his invisible clothes. (Perhaps this is why wizards wear those flowing robes? In fact, I think I'm adopting that as headcanon now. But anyway, moving on...)

Strictly speaking, the rules are silent on what effects result from having visible arrows sticking out of an invisible target, so that's a GM call. However, any sense of internal consistency for your game world is shattered if the visible, seemingly-floating arrows don't tell you anything (and you'll probably lose any sort of trust from your players and be branded an adversarial GM who just wants to "win", deserved or not). Personally, I'd let it reveal the caster's position, but not mitigate the miss chance.

Hope that helps!

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CBDunkerson wrote:
...then you do 4 points of (bludgeoning) damage ... BECAUSE it is ALWAYS B&P.

*blinks*

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The paradigm of equipment as part of character progression annoys me as well, and was one of the factors in my switch to 5E.


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captain yesterday wrote:
No, she's just being insulting and hiding it behind a veneer of ignorance.

Don't worry, I'm sure things will be better if I give her some LOVE!


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Tacticslion wrote:
Sad TOZ wrote:
You try to explain yourself, and this is the thanks you get.
N00bl3ts, my friend. She really doesn't understand Paizo board culture, so, for that, it makes sense that she finds it creepy - she's just wrong due to ignorance and misunderstanding.

Golly! She must be so confused. Someone needs to show her how things work around here! ;P

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Having access to only a small pool of gamers does not cause their traits to be the norm for what players are like, it just means you have to make decisions about whether to settle for sub-par or not. Skills you decide to develop in order to cope with your own situation in life are not automatically standard GMing skills that just come with the territory, they're just extras you had to learn in order to make up for a reduced amount of selection.

EDIT: Oh, and I spent decades of my life in a small town without internet access. Sorry, but don't get to conveniently dismiss me as just another internet-brained millennial, so if you want to discuss something, you're going to have to actually discuss it.

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HWalsh wrote:
The problem was that I made a bad call.

No, the problem is that you play with the kinds of people who would respond to character option disputes with "a literal standoff" (whatever that means) or deliberately trying to "destroy the game".

Despite your constant assertions to the contrary, things like that are not normal behaviors for players. It's not a given, not something that GMs just need to learn how to work with as part of the standard GMing skillset. It's not the norm to have players like that. By the time you have people of that caliber in your group, something's already gone wrong.

The skill you lacked during that story was not "the skill of how to work with players' antics", the skill you lacked was "the skill of how to be the kind of person/GM that would attract people of quality rather than the riff-raff".

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Sissyl wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:

And yet people are explicitly demanding gratitude from players here.

You are also ascribing things to me that do not hold true.

No. He showed where you wrote exactly what he claimed.

Actually, I think we're seeing a miscommunication here.

The cited post of TOZ's states there's no need for "gratitude". How I'm seeing people interpret this statement is that there's no need for "respect".

Could it be that TOZ is treating those as two very different things, while you and others are treating them as effectively interchangeable? Perhaps he's not really saying what you think he's saying.

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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Why is that character an adventurer at all? It seems like their current character should become a lackluster NPC and they should start playing an adventurer.

To be fair, you could have said the same of Luke Skywalker at the start of Star Wars. Could be that the player was waiting for the GM to drop the smoking, bloody remains of his only family members onto his lap. That's why I was asking earlier what pre-game agreements (if any) had been made about character creation and the premise of the adventure.

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GM 1990 wrote:
In PFS do you just fall in on an open chair or do you typically game with the same table?

Since there are rules about minimum/maximum table size, PC levels for a given adventure, and so forth; there's generally some amount of scheduling/mustering that happens. For example, my area uses MeetUp.com to schedule events, announce tables, and get RSVPs. Then the coordinators of a given event put people at appropriate tables as best they can. My understanding is that this is fairly typical.

With a medium-sized local PFS scene, this means that there will be "regulars" whom you'll game with repeatedly (though not necessarily consecutively) mixed with newbies and once-in-a-whiles.

Quote:
The fact that someone like that would continue to run games, seems to reinforce that there are lines of players looking for a GM and as long as you're setting up a screen (no matter how bad you are), you can get some walk-on's that'll play, even if only for 1 session.

Yep. That's why I was saying upthread that "vote with your feet" is BS.

Quote:
Hopefully the Pauls are at an extreme end of the bell-curve, even if they get more press than the good GMs.

He's definitely one of my most extreme examples, but on the other hand, I didn't quit PFS over one person.

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GM 1990 wrote:
Hopefully "Paul" was just having a bad day and let it slip out there.

The next time I shared a table with "Paul", he was GMing. He was visibly irritated that my 4th (5th?) level bard was succeeding on Diplomacy checks with DCs in the neighborhood of 12-14. When Paul the GM announced that the party was now opening such-and-such a door, a player said he wanted to be standing a certain place before we opened it, and Paul interjected with "There's a time to optimize, and there's a time to play the game" (he didn't let the player stand there). When a PC was going to reach the BBEG sooner than anticipated, what had previously been stairs suddenly became very steep stairs. When that didn't reduce the PC's movement enough to keep them from getting to the BBEG that turn, the freshly-steepened stairs morphed into a ladder (quartering the PC's speed, per the Climb rules).

Things like that permeated the entire session. Even my wife (who didn't really get the rules and was therefore playing a character I built for her) could tell he was twisting things and generally trying to screw the PCs at every opportunity. At the end of the session, she immediately got up and made a bee-line to the other end of the store. Once I'd packed up our stuff and caught up with her, she explained that she just desperately needed to get out of his presence because he was so palpably nasty. We then spent the next hour playing a random demo game off the store's shelf just so she could go on with her day. :/

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Harleequin wrote:
TOZ wrote:
I have no need or interest in convincing you of anything. No one has suggested players shouldn't show gratitude, so I don't know why you would expect that reasoning.

I think you logged in under the wrong username ;))

TOZ = TriOmegaZero

Hmmmmm.....

That's his alias for when he's speaking with a certain tone. You get used to it after a while.

Back on topic(ish), Harleequin, what specifically do you mean by "ingratitude" in the context of your earlier statement that you see a lot of ingratitude from players toward GMs? What specific behaviors do you believe should be there that aren't (or shouldn't be there but are)? I want to clarify because I've seen people discuss the topic of "gratitude" toward GMs with meanings ranging from saying "thanks" after a session to questioning one of the GM's decisions. Don't want to assume what you mean. :)

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hasteroth wrote:
Heck I've even seen players get angry with GMs in PFS who stepped up at the last moment (since no GM signed up) to run a session, these GMs had no opportunity to prepare and in some cases were first time GMs... but the players set unreasonably high expectations for what is obviously going to be a less than perfectly run session.

I once sat down to a PFS table, and the GM announced that he has just started playing PFS very recently, and today was his very first time GMing, so he requested patience. We'll call him Gary the GM.

One of the other players is someone we'll call Paul the Player.

In one of the early encounters of the scenario, Gary accidentally skip's Paul's first turn in initiative—an error even the most experienced GMs still make from time to time, as there's a lot to keep track of. Immediately, Paul is on his feet, waving his arms in the air, rolling his eyes, audibly sighing, and reaching over and handling the GM's combat pad while explaining Gary's error.

Later in the same session, Gary is drawing out the map for another encounter, and suddenly Paul announces that—having run this scenario himself in the past—the door is actually one square over from where it was drawn. Again with the standing and eye-rolling and overreacting from Paul.

Sad part is, Paul is himself a veteran GM (across multiple editions, if I'm not mistaken) and even helped coordinate PFS game days at one of the local venues. A pillar of the local PFS community, as it were.

I wish I'd stood up to him and said something, but his belligerence was somewhat intimidating. I feel really bad for the GM. (I also feel really bad for Paul's teenage daughter, who was also at the table, and behaving much more maturely).

Anyway, the point is: Yes, give some slack to newbies and last-minutes (and really, to everybody). Don't be like "Paul".

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Jiggy wrote:


What's that got to do with my post?
You seem to expect the DM to get the right answer. I'm trying to point out that the ability of rational argument to get someone there seems rather limited.

Then you misunderstand what I was saying.

I was talking about when the GM doesn't even try to HAVE a rational argument (or even a polite dialogue) when questioned/corrected on a rule. The person I was replying to had noted that the middle of the game session isn't always the time to have such a discussion, and I was mentioning that, sadly, my experience of GMs not being willing to have a discussion has too often NOT been because we're in the middle of a game and not keeping things moving.

I said nothing of whether or not they arrive at the correct answer; in fact, in this whole thread, have I suggested such a thing even once? I haven't gone back and checked, but I don't think I have. Which would mean you're bringing that in on your own and ascribing it to me. Which would be pretty uncool. EDIT: Went back and checked all my posts. Never said a word even implying an expectation that GMs keep getting the right answers, and have made multiple statements in the opposite direction. So do you want to have a dialogue with ME, or am I a stand-in for some hypothetical set of beliefs you've got a beef with?

No, I was referring to things like the time I contradicted a 5-star VO in a rules thread and then received a multi-paragraph email cussing me out. Or the time I asserted that someone in the PFS GM forum got something wrong, and a different multi-star GM jumped in to tell me (and I wish this was hyperbole, but it's not) that I have no right to ever tell a GM that they're wrong. Or when a debate was already ongoing and another 5-star VO found the thread and popped in for no other reason than to name-call everyone who held a certain view (he didn't even address the topic or say why that view was wrong; he just called people names and that was the entirety of his post).

I'm not talking about needing GMs to arrive at the right answer. I'm talking about expecting GMs to at least acknowledge they might not already know all the right answers, and treat the dissenters as human beings.

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swoosh wrote:
Harleequin wrote:
I have only been playing PF for a short period of time but one of the things that I find most astounding is the staggering ingratitude shown towards GMs
You're playing a game. For fun. Why the hell do you need gratitude? That's pretty damn pretentious.

I disagree somewhat. GMing does involve a good deal of work, done largely for the enjoyment of others. It's worthy of gratitude, just like a good performance from an actor or singer deserves applause despite the performer (presumably) loving what they do for its own sake.

That said, I haven't seen this trend of ingratitude that Harleequin references. On the other hand, I'm not Harleequin, and could be misunderstanding what they mean by "ingratitude". Most of the times I've seen the term used on the forums it's been referring to when a player questions a GM's ruling or some such, but hopefully that's not what Harleequin means.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Jiggy wrote:


I wish my experiences with GMs chafing against being corrected were mostly due to being in the middle of a game and wanting to keep things moving. :/
How often do rules disagreements get settled with anything short of an FAQ on the matter? (even thats optimistic sometimes)

What's that got to do with my post?


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Teo Brissett wrote:
Since I'm in melee, I think I take a disadvantage so I should make two attack rolls IIRC.

Actually, since Naia got the creature to follow her out into the water, you're not in melee anymore. Unfortunately, your first roll misses anyway. :(

Wraith disengages, and Finlogan unleashes against his opponent! Both swords slide through the watery, luminescent coating of the creature and strike hard, nearly toppling it! I believe that puts us at 34 damage for that one.

Teo launches a spell at the other creature, but misses! Naia tries blasting it with concussive force! Don't worry, a 15ft diameter centered on you only reaches a few feet in any given direction, so you've given yourself enough distance. Also, you're always welcome to roll the damage yourself.

CON: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Thunder damage: 3d8 ⇒ (7, 8, 7) = 22
Cripes.

A near-deafening BOOM! explodes from where the creature was standing over Naia, and water goes everywhere. For a moment you can see the elf lying on her back in an indentation in the wet mud, before the surrounding bogwater rushes in to the space left by the water that was displaced by the blast. Disgusting, fetid water rains down in the entire area for a few long seconds. Meanwhile, the creature is popped in an arc through the air and land, wobbly but standing, right back next to Teo and Gwen again.

And I'll post for Gwen here.
Her target once more in reach, Gwen abandons her greatsword in favor of trying her maul:
Maul: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7, Bludgeoning: 2d6 + 4 ⇒ (2, 1) + 4 = 7
...but is perhaps distracted by the worst shower ever. Naia may now find her relationship with Gwen... strained. ;)

Naia's opponent seems unrelenting in its focus on her, and heads right back to the water to attack her, giving Gwen (and technically Teo, though I'm not under the impression she has a weapon out) another opening to strike!
Maul AoO: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10, Bludgeoning: 2d6 + 4 ⇒ (3, 4) + 4 = 11
BUT EVERYTHING IS ICKY

The creature then once again tries to grab Naia!
Death touch: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19, Necrotic damage: 2d6 ⇒ (5, 3) = 8
It grabs her by the neck, and she feels waves of pain shoot through her! With its other hand, it grabs her jaw and pulls!
STR: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
It forces Naia's mouth open, seemingly in a misguided attempt to drown her. D'oh!

The other creature retaliates against Finlogan!
Death touch: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24, Necrotic damage: 2d6 ⇒ (5, 5) = 10
Death touch: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21, Necrotic damage: 2d6 ⇒ (2, 5) = 7
It latches on with both hands, releasing waves of dark energy into his body! Then, it tries to pull him toward the water!
STR save: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Finlogan sees what the other creature did when it had someone in the water, and stubbornly refuses to budge!

Party up! Both creatures are heavily damaged at this point: 34 by Fin, and 28 by Naia.

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Sissyl wrote:
If a player points out an error I have made in the rulebook, I expect the player to have understood the rule in question. I expect him to state it clearly and accept my ruling of it. Like it or not, the rules are not always very clear, multiple interpretations are possible. Or there are conflicting rules. And if we are to have a discussion about it, that happens AFTER the game.

I wish my experiences with GMs chafing against being corrected were mostly due to being in the middle of a game and wanting to keep things moving. :/

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hasteroth wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Quote:
To what standard do you expect GMs to live up to?
Breathing with a pulse. Everything else can be improved on.
I like you. Mistakes can be made and people can learn from them. If nobody's being physically harmed or emotionally traumatized (or something similarly egregious), and the GM has learned from the mistake... there's no real problem right?

The part of your post that I've bolded is where I've run into the most trouble; that's why my posts upthread focused on "if they're willing to learn, everything else will follow eventually". You're absolutely right that as long as a GM is willing to learn, the rest will eventually take care of itself.

Unfortunately, it's been my experience that GMs who have truly internalized that concept enough that it actually affects their actions, are far more rare than I would like (at least, among the pool of GMs I've encountered). Everybody and their dog knows that "learn from your mistakes" is a wise belief to hold; far fewer seem to understand that acknowledging such a belief is not the same as internalizing it and acting on it, and that the latter is what matters.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
The DM isn't as personally as invested in his character,

In a specific character? Maybe not, but a huge number of the unpleasant experiences that drove me from PFS involved the GM being personally invested in something going a certain way (such as a certain fight being as difficult as they expected, or a certain monster getting to use an ability the GM thought was cool, or a scene playing out in a certain manner, etc). Heck, sometimes the emotional investment is in other people's PCs not getting to do a certain thing. Just because the GM doesn't have a PC doesn't mean they don't have just as much emotional investment in their side of things as the players have in their own.

Quote:
has a sort of kind of selective process in that if he's unfair to the players they'll vote with their feet,

This is total BS, at least in PFS. There are almost always more players than GMs, so a GM could be inflicting themselves upon a steady stream of new players, driving half of them away, and never really "see" how many foot-votes they've gotten. The notion that "If the GM is really doing something wrong they'll find themselves without players" is ridiculous. I did vote with my feet. Want to guess how much of a dent it made?

Quote:
recognize that his primary goal is for everyone else at the table to be having fun.

Recognizing that your goal is for everyone else at the table to have fun (though that recognition is not a given) does not make you immune to any of the pitfalls we're discussing here. It doesn't make you sharper at reading comprehension, it doesn't improve your ability to remember what you've read, it doesn't magically improve your ability to de-invest yourself in things, etc. Having a goal of table-wide fun is necessary to be a good GM, but is also not sufficient to be a good GM.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
assuming similarly-competent human beings, who's more likely to know how a character's mechanics work?

All too often Players have a vested interest in a particular interpretation or rules oversight and go with that.

Trust, but verify.

All too often, GMs have a vested interest in a particular interpretation or rules oversight and go with that.

Trust, but verify.

EDIT:
To be clear, I'm not saying that a player won't be biased. I'm saying there's no difference in the likelihood of the player being biased versus the GM being biased. For every player misinterpreting the rules because he wants his character to be capable of X, there's a GM misinterpreting the rules because he doesn't think characters should be capable of Y. The mindset of "What I set up sounded really cool to me but now somebody says it doesn't work like that," which pushes people into a defensive posture that makes it hard to reason properly, does not play favorites between players and GMs. And frankly, the common misunderstanding of this principle (tending to assume that in a given debate, the player is the one twisting things to his advantage while the GM is the one able to act with disinterested impartiality and also knows the rules better) is one of the larger issues in this community and a major factor in why I left PFS.

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Tormsskull wrote:
The best railroads are invisible.

The best GMs have figured out their players aren't blind.

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Chess Pwn wrote:
Of course no one (should) expects GMs to know every rule of even 1 book.

I expect any GM who points this out after having been proven wrong, to also recite it to themselves before trying to assert that the player is wrong - especially if the topic is the functionality of the PC. Honestly, assuming similarly-competent human beings, who's more likely to know how a character's mechanics work? The person for whom that character is the sole focus of their study for the duration of the campaign, or the person trying to multitask all the setting details and NPCs and monsters and whatnot? I expect GMs to recognize and respect this reality.

-------------------------------------

More broadly, I expect new GMs to recognize that they've got a lot of learning to do and ways they need to improve, and I expect experienced GMs to recognize that this fact hasn't changed. I expect GMs to accept that their best teachers and guides for growth and development are their own players. The GM who meets these expectations will, eventually, meet all others.

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Headfirst wrote:

Here are two that really helped me:

A great way to run a campaign (for busy adults)

Oh hey, that's one I favorited! That was a good list; I'm glad you posted it. :)

Quote:
Stop trying to win (play a fun personality instead of a min-maxed stat block)

This one was kind of sad to read though, as it demonstrates an inability to cope with the idea that a character more powerful than yours might simultaneously have just as interesting of a personality as yours. So instead of seeing other people having fun and deciding to be happy for them, your response was to pretend that character power somehow implied an underdeveloped personality so that you could find an axis on which to be superior.

"Best Advice I Never Got": The above attitude exists in this hobby. Had I learned in advance that if the power of a character I played ever exceeded that of my neighbor's, then he's as likely as not to assume I'm trying to beat him or that I have no interest in my character's personality/motivations; then I might not have ever bothered with RPGs in the first place. In fact, it's part of why I quit PFS, though it's not yet bad enough for me to quit the hobby entirely.

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thejeff wrote:

"System Mastery" and character optimization.

I hate it. I think it's a horrible approach to game design.

What, the approach of designing an infrastructure within which players can customize according to procedural rules, instead of designing a list of self-contained menu options that don't intersect?

I'd say it's not so much a horrible approach to game design, but rather Pathfinder is a very poor implementation of it. I think it's a valid approach that can be done well if you begin design with that philosophy in mind and handle it proficiently. (Same goes for the "self-contained menu options" model, as well.)

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Corduroy.


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Vlaeros wrote:
The Silly Qlippoth wrote:
Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays! ^-^

TELL THAT TO MY MIND.

don't mind if i do

though the last time i did that, i was told to mind my own business
but i didn't pay them any mind

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F%@% tea. Not sweet enough. ;)

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1 person marked this as FAQ candidate. 12 people marked this as a favorite.

There's a difference between "clear" and things like "easy" or "obvious".

The functionality of Spell Combat and Spellstrike is completely clear. There is nothing ambiguous; the mechanics involved lead very precisely to one final result, and coming to any other conclusion involves having made an actual error. These mechanics are clear.

However, that does not make it easy or obvious, for this reason: The ability to look at multiple rules and examine the results of their interaction requires you first to believe that that's even what you do with rules. Let me explain: An awful lot of players/GMs seem to view the various PC options (classes, feats, spells, etc) as a list of allowed "end states". That is, every PC build selection is viewed as a discrete package that exists in a vacuum, rather than being an interactive piece of a larger whole. When a player claims they can do something, this type of gamer needs to see a rulebook entry that specifically says "You can do exactly this", and if even a single step of interaction/logic is required, then the result is automatically considered suspect and labeled as "unintended".

To some gamers, it's not that the rules are unclear in how they interact, it's that the gamer believes they're not even supposed to interact at all and therefore how they do so is irrelevant. Until you can get them out of this mindset so they can see the rules as they are (mechanisms fully intended to have effects on one another, rather than pre-packaged results), no amount of clarity will ever get them to accept even the most irrefutable of answers.

Additionally, just because the rules are clear does not make them easy. After all, you can have an incredibly complex mathematical equation that is 100% clear (all the required information is present and none of the operations are ambiguous in how they work) but is still very difficult (you have to already know how all the involved operations work, and every step in the process is another chance for error). Although the magus might not be quite that bad, the topic at hand does still involve multiple overlapping mechanisms in mind at once and fitting them together.

You have an action conversion (full-round and standard into full-round), an action production (casting a touch spell generates a free action), and an attack modification (touch replaced with weapon); all happening alongside other mechanics that come into play in practice but aren't part of this particular interaction (the –2 to hit, the concentration check manipulation, the possibility of non-touch spells, etc). That's a lot to hold in your head all at once, and if you drop a piece before you get to the result, you'll draw the wrong conclusion. Not everybody has the mental capacity to get from start to finish without dropping anything, just like not everybody can get from point A to point B without getting lost or get from "list of ingredients" to "dinner" without poisoning anyone.

The Spell Combat/Spellstrike interaction is completely clear, but it requires that the reader/listener believe it's okay for rules to interact and produce new results AND be sharp enough to do the necessary mental juggling. And unfortunately, an awful lot of gamers are loathe to admit having either of those two things not be the case. :/

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wraithstrike wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
I would want more and better talents for rogues and slayers.

Uh... Do you realize this is a 5E thread?

-------------------------------------

I didn't. I should have noticed when I saw "PHB 2", but I think I automatically converted it to "book with more classes".

I figured it was either that, or there was some 5E Slayer class I hadn't heard about and was about to be enlightened. I find myself mildly disappointed that it was the former rather than the latter. ;)

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thejeff wrote:
Especially with the split into a "serious" group and a "silly" group and the "silly" player joining and disrupting the "serious" group.

I missed that the OP had later come back and added that story (all the posters without avatars kind of start blending together after a while). Yeah, that's not cool.

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thejeff wrote:
Even beyond that, it's common courtesy to stay within the bounds of the campaign style you've agreed to play. If you don't want to play like that, say so up front. Don't join the game then warp it to what you wanted.

Totally agree. Nothing in the OP suggested that the players had agreed to a grimdark game and then did a 180 on him, but if they did, then that definitely changes the scenario.

EDIT: Zhangar, would you have the same stance if it was the players who were trying to be "grimdark" while the GM was constantly trying to steer the game into something goofy and 4th-wall-breaking?

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Zhangar wrote:
So if the players are trolling the GM, the GM is the one at fault. Got ya.

If you want to define "trolling" as "having fun outside of how the GM dictates", then sure.

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Zhangar wrote:
@ Jiggy - Have you never had to deal with a deliberately disruptive player or players?

I have. Sometimes, that person has been the GM.

Want to know how to tell who the disruptive person is? You look around the table full of people having fun, and find the one person who's not okay with it. That person is the disruptive one.

Now, re-read the OP (yeah, I know, I said I quit reading; that was hyperbole to make a point, and apparently I failed) and look at who's having fun and who wants to put a stop to it.

See where the disruption is?

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I read the title, got as far as "How to cope with PCs finding fun," and gave up. :(


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Alyksandrei wrote:
I'm still around - just not so good at all the talking, so I usually let everyone else handle that. I don't even have any snarky comments like Gwen. I prefer to remain silent and inscrutable.

Unfortunately, "silent and inscrutable" doesn't get communicated by a lack of posts. Instead, it sort of just makes you disappear from the story altogether.

Remember, a post doesn't have to include direct speech (or even internal monologues). Even simply describing how you're standing, where your attention is, or what you're looking at, can still contribute to the story and put you in the scene (in addition to making it clear you're still involved). Think about reading a book with a silent and inscrutable character: failing to mention them doesn't portray that character type, it just leaves them out of the scene entirely. But a description of how this silent and inscrutable character responds to (or even ignores) their surroundings will get that persona across much more clearly. :)

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stormcrow27 wrote:
A) Should ... is a suggestion

should

/SHo͝od,SHəd/

verb

1. used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions.
"he should have been careful"

Quote:
Then I will adjust my statement to my suggestion is playing this way has led me to greater enjoyment with clerics/divine casters

This is a different message entirely, as it speaks only of your own experience rather than trying to enforce anything on others. Much better. :)

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