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Kydeem de'Morcaine's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 3,706 posts (7,162 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 6 Pathfinder Society characters. 12 aliases.

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Laurefindel stated it pretty well.

I agree your wife needs some time 'off' to be herself and have some fun. But so do you.

There was a time when all I did was eat, sleep, work, house work, yard work, and maybe a little bit of homework with the kids. Notice how much of that is work? Notice how little of it is fun? I was trying so hard to be a good everything, that I became a not very pleasant person much of the time and was actually not doing very well as a spouse or dad.

I eventually learned I had to make the time to do something fun to remain a sane person. But I had a job, wife, 3 kids, etc... So I had to schedule it. At first it seemed impossible. So I started really looking at it as a technical problem to be solved. (Can you tell that I'm an engineer?) Travel to, game time, and travel home should be about 6 hours. Is there really no way I can find 6 hours once a month for something I really want to do? That's less than 1% of the time in 4 weeks. That can certainly be worked into any schedule.

Talked it over with my wife and we just worked it in. The 2nd Saturday of the month I went gaming. The 4th Saturday of the month she went out with her friends. The 1st and 3rd Saturday we did something together.

All the crapola that I been doing on Saturdays had to be worked into the other days of the week. So I'd do laundry while watching the kids or mow the yard instead of watching another sitcom that I don't really like. Some of it was just dropped altogether. I decided I really didn't care if my yard didn't look as nice as the rest of the neighborhood. I'll mow the yard, but I'm not going to kill myself making it look perfect. I also stopped sleeping in until 10 on the weekends.

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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

"Jock was a strapping young lad...!"

Strangely, I never got any further when delivering this background to my group. : /

Damn You! Now I have to do this just because...

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Another thought to add on the power creep new stuff overpowered discussions.

A friend of mine finally got fed up with how over powered all the new stuff was because he was needing to go to APL+3 to even start to challenge the party. So he started the new campaign as CRB only. What happened? They still stomped all over his APL encounters. We looked at it together some with examples of what had happened. Turns out, the players have just gotten better at building characters and using effective tactics.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the newer spells, feats, and classes are a bit better than much of what is in the CRB for some things. But none of them are better at all of it than everything in the CRB. If you see what I mean.

The other change is that he has been allowing the good ideas, clever approaches, excellent role playing, and things like that to have larger and larger circumstance bonuses to non-combat situations. He also doesn’t (or at least rarely) set the non-combat DC’s out of reach of the group. The result has been that, all of the players are now optimizing totally for combat. Since all their social and investigative skills are low, he sets the DC’s pretty low. Since he gives them big bonuses for non-build stuff, they still succeed.

I am certainly not saying the way he is playing is wrong. They are having fun and he will probably not be changing his style of play.
What I’m saying is that, he is confusing causation with correlation. Every so often the group would add more books allowed. Over the same general period he started having more problems creating challenging encounters. Correlation. They both happened at the same time. But the books did not cause his problems.

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I don't think they were planning on the vampire lord fighting alongside them as a merc. It would just kill/spawn the provided victims who would then be placed in the towns and villages before they even rise as spawn.

In this GM's world, I think the PC's are already considered pretty high level. There will be some higher level, but not huge numbers of them. Though yes, that should be a threat they will eventually need to deal with. Fighting off an avenging team of inquisitor, paladin, and clerics could be really tough. Even if not substantially higher level.

I don't think some/most/many of the spawn having little effect would even bother them. Vampire spawn showing up (even if easily defeated) all over the place would still be something the authorities would almost have to do something about.

From what he has said, the PC's are being extremely paranoid about covering their tracks. They have been that way over their entire careers anytime they are doing something even slightly shady. Bluff, disguises, and anti-divination stuff is standard. My guess is they would try to set someone else up to take the blame.

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TimD wrote:

I disagree with pretty much everything Taku has said.

I've found an outright ban on PvP is generally more common amongst less experienced GMs or newly formed groups who are not able to deal with multi-dimensional planning & conflict. Which is fine, it's a learning curve, but implying "you’re doing it wrong" because someone else can't handle it is almost as insulting as it is laughable.

** spoiler omitted **


I will agree with you that saying any one that allows PvP is doing it wrong is taking way too extreme of a stance.

I am quite willing to say that in most groups, allowing PvP is probably not the best choice.

You are also correct in that it can be excellent. I have been in 2 groups that handled it very well and we had a blast.
But only if the entire group is ok with it (and I would say it should be clearly stated in the beginning that it will be allowed). If even one person in the group does not handle the PvP situations well, it tends to harm the player group. Sometimes slightly. Sometimes greatly. Other than those 2 groups, every time PvP was allowed it caused problems. Sometimes to the point of breaking up the gaming group or at least the campaign. Once destroying several long term friendships.

I also wish people would stop using 'adult' and 'mature' for this topic. It has nothing to do with age or maturity. One of the groups that did it well was when we were ~14. We were not adults and I guarantee you we were not mature.

I also know many well aged and very mature players that do not deal well with allowing PvP in their game.

It is a mindset. A way of looking at things. The ability to separate player vs PC feelings. The ability to take a mindset and personality that is alien to your own. And accept that others can and are doing the same. Not everyone can do that.

Then there are some people that can handle it, but just don't want to deal with that much hassle. I am sometimes in that group. This pastime is an escape from the reality and is intended to be entertaining. Fairly often, I don't find paranoia in guarding myself from murder by my closest colleagues to be entertaining.

Most groups I have played with have at least one person (usually several) that can not handle it well or doesn't want to deal with it.

When I am GM, I will not allow PvP with my current primary group even when they have asked to include it. We have at least 2 people out of the 7 that don't deal well with the situations when it even comes close to looking like PvP is likely. One gets nervous and agitated. The other gets quiet and withdrawn. But they are definitely not having fun in those situations. Just coincidentally, 'stuff' comes up and they are rarely able to make it to the next couple of gaming session. I'm not sure the one guy is even coming back. I don't think most of the other players or the GM at that time have even noticed since they won't say anything.

TimD wrote:
... We've found that the opposite "there is no PvP, so you can't actually stop Bob the Moron (appropriate apologies to those who share the name Bob) from ruining everything because he's had a bad week and now has decided to run his mouth or attack the +10 CR NPC" is far more destructive. Doubly true if you have new players. ...

This I very much disagree with. Passive aggressive in-game punishment does not solve out-of-game personal issues. Talk to the player out of character. If it is an in-game problem (which is not what you described) the group can in-character decide there is no reason to continue traveling with someone that makes things worse. Murder is not necessary.

I especially think that is a very jack-hole thing to do to new players that aren't doing what you think is right.

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
... At some point in the campaign, there's a contrived scenario where the entire world ends if monster X eats person Y. ...

I would have been very tempted to pre-emptively disintegrate person Y so there was not a body to eat.

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Hmm... Yes and no.

If it is out of balance to the point where 1 PC is like Superman, the rest are Lois Lane, constantly being saved, and just there to express admiration of the superman PC? Then I think that is a problem and most of the group will not be having fun. The lack of balance is not acceptable.

If the party is the Justice League except for one PC who is Joe Schmoe Average, can't contribute anything, and only survives because they other protect him? Then I think there is a problem and at least 1 player will not be having fun. The lack of balance is not acceptable.

If each PC has enough 'stage and shine' time to satisfy the players and contribute something to success? Then I think all is good even if not balanced.

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I doubt I would consider running away evil. However, it is entirely possible that it would be cowardly and disloyal. I don't know how bad the situation actually seemed at that point. I wouldn't let a paladin attack a person for that. On the other hand it might be reasonable for the paladin to never work with that person again.

I would find it very hard to justify caving in the only known entrance when my allies were not yet known to be dead. I have hard time saying that is not an evil act. You might have perceived it as necessary (the classic lesser of two evils) but still evil. I don't have too much problem with the paladin attacking you at that point.

If you had gone to the cave in point and waited to see if allies or undead came up then only caved it in if necessary, that would have been (in my opinion) a neutral to possibly slightly good act.

If you really think this is an in-game problem not a player issue, your only real possibility is to continue to apologize, try to make it up to them, and prove future loyalty.
Possibly a reasoned discussion along the lines of, "Look all the evidence said that we would all die an the undead would be loose on world. Is that what you really would have wanted to happen? I may have evaluated the situation poorly (please feel free to tell me where the error was in my reasoning) but there was no malicious or betrayal intended."

Totally meta-game, but did you have any fore knowledge that the GM would just let them live? Part of this needs a talk with the GM. If you make decisions based on what the GM has presented, then he just changes things after that decision has been made... Well, he is at least partially responsible for the incorrect decision.
Just one of the reasons I don't like GM's fudging things to make sure the party wins.

Virellius wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:

I must say - pulling stuff like that is why I never allow CN characters in home games that I GM.

Player: I want to completely hose the rest of the group!

GM: Wait - what?

Player: It's okay - because I'm Chaotic Neutral!

GM: *facepalm*

CN implies that you are not bound to any moral or legal obligations save for those you consent to. You do good, generally, unless you choose survival over friendship. You act free, not bound to organizational ties or laws, but don't necessarily act destructive. You must have bad CN players.

I agree, but almost everyone I've seen playing a CN character plays it like that.

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Zalman wrote:

... kind of player myself, I am curious about how the other half goes about it. For those of you that start with a character concept based on fighting style, preferred class, etc., do you ...

then seek a campaign where your character fits? or ...

find a way to wedge it into any campaign through creative backstory? or ...

already know what campaign you'll be playing in, and so that part's assumed for you? or ...

something else?

I make lots more characters than I will ever get to play. When we get to new campaign time, I get the background info and an idea of what the others are playing.

Usually that narrows it down to just a few of the builds I already have.

I pick one then modify it some to fit even better with the campaign or group.

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Liranys wrote:


How can a GM be more upset by a short story that can easily be expanded upon than "nothing" or "amnesia"? How is that exciting and/or rich?

Since it isn't me, I can't be sure. But I believe the reasoning (such as it is) goes something like this.

With 'nothing' the response seems to be, "Ok this player won't participate in this part of the game. At least I'm free to make something up and use it as I see fit."

With 'simple, short, boring' the response seems to be something like He's throwing my reasonable request for a story in my face, That gives me nothing to work with but still limits me from coming up with something, and/or If you're not going to take it seriously and do a worthwhile job just forget it.

I think it is mostly a matter of being offended by not taking a particular aspect of the art as seriously as they do.
On the other hand. If

Liranys wrote:
... "I was born on a farm to some farmers who worked really hard, but I was born with a black thumb and everything I tried to grow or tend seemed to die. So my parents sent me to my uncle to train as a guard and I realized I was really good at sword work. About the time I was going to graduate from the academy, a caravan came along needing guards and my uncle gave me a good recommendation. I've been adventuring ever since and I'm looking for my next gig." ...

is good enough, I can see the point of people who say "Why should I even bother coming up with a back story if something that simplistic is good enough? It doesn't provide the GM with anything of any useful significance."

I don't get the GM's that expect a full, exciting, and rich history before 1st level. Ok, that just doesn't make sense. First; pre-teens don't topple governments (except maybe in Harry Potter). Second; if their history was that full, rich, and exciting, why aren't they back home managing their full rich and exciting life rather than investigating why a few horses are missing on the edge of town (remember adventures that 1st level PC's can handle).
Almost every time I read one of those 'ideal' full, rich, and exciting back stories I have 2 responses. Why are you not 7th level? And why are you here with us 1st level inexperienced puds?

Don't get me wrong, I try to come up with an at least moderately detailed backstory. (Though I do tend to come up with it over the first few play sessions as I decide on a personality rather, than before I create the character.) I usually try to throw at least a couple things in there that a GM could hang something on if he chooses. Only very rarely has a GM made use of any of my backstory.

When I am GM and a player comes up with something fairly unique I will try to make use of it. But if the player only puts together something very bland that's only 3 lines long, I don't feel any real drive to try and include something that obviously was not a central to the player within the campaign.

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Loren Pechtel wrote:
Xabulba wrote:
1 million gp in a vault that only can only be entered and exited once and all of them are gold bugs.

I wasn't that nasty. The treasure room contains a bunch of magical equipment far beyond their level. However, only living matter could be teleported to/from the treasure room--they couldn't take any of the loot away from there. (And they weren't of a high enough level to teleport out on their own.)

It never occurred to them that knowledge could leave--they could study the spellbooks.

I would have sold treasure maps to the place.

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Klaus van der Kroft wrote:

I leave the XP rewards for roleplaying in the hands of the players, not myself.

The system has evolved over the years and taken many forms, but currently it goes as follows:

-At the start of a session, every player gets a number of XP rewards (we call them "tickets") equal to twice the number of players sitting (so if 4 people made it that session, each gets 8 tickets).

-Players can dish out 1 ticket to another player whenever they feel they have roleplayed well enough, as a reward for a clever idea, or when the player does something that greatly improves the game.

-At the end of the session, tickets are tallied and converted to XP. The XP value depends on the number of players and the Average Party Level, recalculated so that the total number of tickets a player can give out equals 10% of the experience needed to get the next level (so in a game with 4 people with 8 tickets and an APL of 3, each ticket would be worth 50 XP, and a character who was awarded 5 tickets would get 250 XP for roleplaying that session).

I've noticed it really makes people more committed to both their characters and to paying attention what everyone else is doing, since being able to give out rewards seems to entice them. It also seems to feel more rewarding to them, since it's their peers the ones who are rewarding them for playing well, rather than the DM. Of course, it also takes some work off my back.

I actually kinda like this. I'll see what the guys think. Since I'm not using the xp system though, I'll probably do it as hero point rewards. Say each ticket is worth a 1/8 of a hero point. I'll still give them away for things I particularly like though.

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Pan wrote:
Grey Lensman wrote:
An 87 page (single spaced) backstory for a character that had yet to be played, with the player expectation that multiple elements from the novella would be in the campaign and rather quickly.........

I recall a hilarious story I once read on a different forum. The player handed the GM about 20 pages of backstory. After the game had started the players made some pretty bad decisions which got the PC with the 20 pager killed. The player announces that, in fact, his PC is not dead because on page 17 paragraph 4 the PC was cursed to only be killed by a red dragon.

GM then said a red dragon comes out of the horizon breathes only on his PC and flies off into the distance. Then ripped his 20 pager in half and tossed it into the rubbish bin. :)

I would have just said, "What amazing luck! You managed to escape your awful Destiny."

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Hmm... At the risk of proving someone right, I've dropped xp. Most published material has the 'expected level' right in there. The stuff I make up, I know what level I'm planning on the PC's having reached. So every so often when a bunch of stuff has occurred or at a convenient break point, "Everyone is now level 7."

However, the groups other GM does still use XP for his campaigns. He calls it RP XP. But really it is XP for anything 'special' that came up during the session that really was in-character for the PC. J's lore warden came up with a really kool tactic. D's cleric managed to convert the heathen rather than kill them. M's sorcerer bluffed the dragon into backing down. Etc... It is usually pretty minor amounts of XP, but some people do like it as an acknowledgement of something unique or memorable that they have done.

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Poldaran wrote:
You know, it took me three mentions of 20 page backstories to realize that you all were saying that they were too long. I kept thinking "Yeah, that's kinda short." :P ...

Uhmm... I think you would be sadly disappointed in 90% of the people with whom I've played RPG's. I think I've only known 2 guys that regularly go over a page. One of those is because he hand writes it very messily.

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Lamontius wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
Lamontius wrote:
you are not
Ah, but if I were to phrase my statement "I pick a class and race combo, I make it as powerful as I can, and then I double back and come up with a story that explains said combo" I would be derided as a rollplayer, power gamer, etc.

by who

thread people?
as above, who cares?

Yup. If you check up top I have most of my build at least partially fleshed out before I even start working on the personality. Then I have most of the personality before I try to figure out what happened in his backstory to make him the way he is.

And yeah. I've had people tell me I'm not role playing that way. They're full of something smelly and unpleasant.

I have fun playing my character. He's nothing like me. he's almost always quite memorable. Rarely has a group not liked my PC's inclusion. (The few times that were otherwise it was because some mechanical build aspect did not work as well as I thought it would.)

I've tried doing it the way some people insist is 'the one true way' of backstory, personality, then build. I just get a boring, unmemorable, soldier number six type of PC that I grow to hate. It just doesn't work for me.

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Liranys wrote:
KenderKin wrote:
"Let's go squish some guts!"

Because that is totally well spoken...

I've never actually played a game with a Kender in it, but I used to know someone who told me some hilarious stories about his Kender and their party.

I've also heard horror stories about parties with Kender in them. I'm guessing it really depends on the person playing it, right?

Very much so. If you've ever read the books, think about if a co-worker did all that stuff to you. Would you have kept working with him? Probably not. The author of a book can keep them together, but when it is actually separate persons...

If the player realizes that less is more, it can work. Pull pranks only occasionally in ways and at times so it doesn't always risk a death or mission fail and not constantly. Then it can be comedic.

But many players tried to do it all them time, no matter the consequences, picking on one fellow player, and without the authors ranks in humor. It would end up funny for about the first 15 minutes, then I'd be ready to start looking for a new group to play with.

I only saw one player who did it well. Yes, it was hilarious and highly entertaining.

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Triphoppenskip wrote:
... I tend not play pure casters, not because I don't like to but because I'm not good at it and the rest of the party tends to start giving me the stink eye after a few combat sessions. ...

As one of our group keeps telling me, "You'll never get better if you don't try to get better!"

About half the time I reply, "I don't want to get better cause then all you posers will leave me stuck with it all the time!"

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Gendo wrote:
For me creating a character is based upon my desire to explore some facet of my own beliefs or personality traits. ...

I have heard this from some other people.

I'm usually the opposite. If I focus a build on a belief or personality trait, I try to make it one that I don't have much connection to in RL. For me this is an escape from the worries and stresses of RL. If it starts to become too much like RL it stops feeling like an escape to me.

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Something is weird here.

First, although I let the players run their cohorts as they see fit (within reason), I build the cohort. They give me the generalities of what they are looking for (or sometimes they hire someone they've encountered). And I build to that but I use 5 less on the point buy unless they want an NPC class. I build a decent character, but I don't optimize it to the absolute limit.
This cohort is already in play so you're kinda stuck with it. But consider this for the future.

Second, there is no way a cohort at least 2 levels lower (even with extra buffs) should be making the entire party look bad. In PF, 2 levels is such a bump in power that it is sometimes difficult to keep someone 2 levels lower alive. Let alone out shining multiple characters 2 levels higher. That doesn't make sense unless the rest of the party is really poorly made.
Sounds like the rest of the party needs help building an effective character? Maybe come to the advice forums for some build advice and give them a discount on the retraining rules so get their PC's up to snuff.
{{ Note: I don't see anything in the OP that says he is making the other players buff his cohort. I see that first in chbgraphicarts' post. }}

Third, is the grievance really combat effectiveness or is it spotlight time. If it is spotlight time, it can probably be handled best by a private conversation with the player. "Hey with 2 characters you're using a bit to much of the table time and it's bothering some of the others that can't get enough table time for their character. Try to have both sets of actions planned out a faster so they don't have to wait twice as long."
Also you as GM can make a point of asking the other players what their characters are doing and asking for more details.

Fourth, maybe you need to talk to the other players and find out whether 2 or 3 really applies (or maybe both).

Fifth, Please, please, please do not intentionally kill off the cohort, have it betray him, or have it run away! This sounds like one of the very few players that is really doing a good job of role playing with his PC being kind and loyal to his cohort. That behavior should be rewarded not punished.

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fel_horfrost wrote:

So if i am a crossblooded bloodrager abyssal/dragonic

Would i be considered having the sorcerer bloodline abyssal/dragonic when i got to first level in dragon disciple thus going up in both like a crossblooded sorcerer would?

That is one of the major things people are unsure of. Many of us think it will be eventually ruled yes. But that isn't certain.

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Ok, this isn't on the level of some of those above, but I was pretty proud of it at the time.

Party is sleeping in the woods (yes, one was on guard). But they are all awoken by something large roaring and crashing through the woods. They have 2 rounds to prepare. They are getting ready to flatten the giant whatever before it can attack them.
Then the one with darkvision can see an ugly old female hobgoblin rushing toward them surprisingly fast carrying a squirming blanket wrapped bundle in her arms.
Sudden "Stop! Damsel in distress!" (Even if old and ugly.) Obviously we have to get whatever is chasing her (they can just see the shadow of something very big at the edge of the darkvision pushing trees aside) and somehow protect her (which means much more care with the AoE spells). They all move forward to stop whatever is pursuing her.
She rushes straight through their campsite and throws the bundle into the remains of their fire on her way past.
"Wait what?!?"
Cleric rushes back grabs the bundle... And takes 1 point of damage as the singed, howling, bear cub swipes at his hand. "A WHAT?!?"
Momma dire bear crashes into the clearing to see a line of blocking humanoids and behind that another humanoid holding her cub that is howling in pain.

Just to add insult to injury, several sneaky hobgoblins start throwing paper wasp nests into the clearing around the party.

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Eltacolibre wrote:
Something worth noting...Bloodragers are full casters can make bloodragers liches, just saying at level 11.

That just might be truly awe-ful to encounter

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My dissatisfaction with leadership is not all encompassing and prohibitive. But I do have some specific issues with it depending upon the group.

1) Time in combat. We already have several players that have difficulty keeping track of what their PC can do and what the effects are. Ok, I've got a +1 from his bless, then blessing of fervor with the +1 to hit, I drank a potion of bulls strength but it only gives me a +1 to hit and +2 to damage because I have the belt, etc... I already get to spend way too much time watching people do math. I don't want to double it.

2) Party size. We sometimes have 6 players with PC's at the table. Especially indoors or underground we have issues with some not being able to get into the fight. You make it 12 characters and a lot of people may spend time doing nothing.

3) Fragility. Sometimes I find it difficult to make an encounter that will challenge 12 characters that are up to level 10 without just wiping out the characters that might be as low 6-7.

4) Nonsensical builds. Some of the builds that players want only make sense within the context of it being his particular follower. The character is very nearly non-functional otherwise. It doesn't make sense that someone would go into an incredibly lethal profession the only work on skills that are useful to one particular teacher. With anyone else he will die in his profession.

5) Magic item factory. This one kinda bugs me. I was at a group for a short while where 3 of the 5 cohorts were basically sweatshop slave workers.

On the other hand I do allow them sometimes. When the group was small because people moved, they got a front line tank cohort.
The group currently has a cohort samurai/expert that is their ship captain (with a secondary skill set of lawyer). They wanted that so they could have someone they trust taking care of that rather key post. But the cohort does not normally adventure with them.

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Sorry, lost access.

TheJayde wrote:

... but then I have a really good group that I've played with for 20 years now. Though I do play with a group that has a trouble player that I would assume... well I know that he does this sort of stuff.

I just enjoy the PvP aspects as it allows for more.. uh... realism when dealing with mature players. ...


Skeld wrote:
The core players of my group have also been playing together for 20 years, but that's mostly irrelevant. It's a question of playstyle, not experience. Some groups are going to like PVP, while other groups won't. ...

I've played with a fair number of groups over the various incarnations of the game. Two of them could well handle PvP, Evil mixed in a Good party, wildly conflicting goals, etc... Most of them could not.

I think that is because of the numbers. For a group to handle it well, every single player (including the GM) need to be the type that handles it well. If even one of them doesn't handle it, there will likely be problems.

If the group doesn't allow intra party conflicts to get out of hand, there is a difference. If one guy could have handled those conflicts, it doesn't cause a problem, other than that one guy maybe missing this aspect of the game that he enjoys. But it doesn't break up the group or friendships.

I also wouldn't use the term 'mature player' since these issues have nothing directly to do with maturity. (People can and have made the case that no one playing the game is mature.) It is more of a way of playing the game, an outlook, or the type of game desired.
I know very immature people that can handle horrific PvP.
I know very mature people that can not handle (or at least don't want to handle) any PvP.

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TheJayde wrote:


Also I find inter-party strife to be something that can help get less active players more active in the environment, and help develop characters further. ...

I have usually found exactly the opposite. Two characters (or players)start arguing/fighting and everyone else gets quiet and uncomfortable. People shut down and don't roleplay anything at all because apparently, that just leads to arguments. If it happens very much, the group and maybe the friendships break up.

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Continuing the off topic side trek.

No where near all the schools have anywhere near enough computer hardware to skip teaching how to write in a legible manner.

Nearly every week I come into work and someone on the late shift has left a completely unreadable note on my desk.

Every work order packet on the shop floor has forms and signoff sheets that still have to be filled out by hand.

When some takes a phone message, it is almost always a hand written note. Most of which I can not read. If I'm lucky I can read the name or at least the number to return the call. Though often I can't even read the numbers.

Just a couple years ago I was volunteering at the high school and asked to grade some tests. They just had to write a single letter to indicate their choice. Almost 1/3 of the test had letters that I couldn't be sure what they were.

The technology that might someday make handwriting irrelevant is simply not yet pervasive enough.

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Bioboygamer wrote:
I'm relatively new to GMing, and I've been having some trouble with a few things. Of course, most of my players are also new to Pathfinder, but I still want to do the best I can. ...

Welcome and I hope you have a blast! Rarely is the situation as dire as we think it is.

Bioboygamer wrote:


Firstly, I've found that I have trouble with NPC dialogue. "Spontaneous" ... Does anyone have any advice on dealing with a lack of improvisational ability? ...

I'm not great at that either. A few things can help.

1) Use some PFS scenarios or other published materials. Either for the adventure or for ideas. I will occasionally pull an NPC and his dialogue straight out of some other published material.
2) Prep for it. If I have a significant NPC the players are probably going to converse with. I will try to imagine the conversation going in 3 different ways. Then figure out what he will say in each of those 3 ways. Usually what the players actually do is close enough to 1 of my 3 ways that I can use that prepared dialogue.
3) If it is a really minor NPC, who cares? Don't put in any significant effort and don't worry about it being 2D.

Bioboygamer wrote:


Secondly, I can't figure out if I'm being too easy on my players, or too hard on them. ...

This is actually the easiest. Ask.

"Hey guys, I thought the last 2 sessions most of the combats seemed to go pretty easy for you guys. Do you want more or less of a challenge or is it good like this?"

Bioboygamer wrote:
... and after I made the mistake of allowing him to make his own spell, he uses it almost exclusively. Annoyingly enough, it does more damage than any other cantrip, and apparently creates magical snow that can be eaten to regain 2 HP, but only once per day per character. He points out his 2 HP of healing incessantly, constantly argues that the cold spell should freeze or slow the enemy, ...

I rarely let players make new spells, weapon, magic items, etc... There are so many in all the published and online material that there is really no need. I would certainly never let a new player make something like that.

In this case...
"JimmyJoeBob, sorry I was wrong. That spell is horrifically overpowered for a cantrip. We're either gonna have to get rid of it completely or make it a 2nd level spell."

Bioboygamer wrote:
... constantly argues that the cold spell should freeze or slow the enemy ...

Nope. Spells that slow are specifically stated to do that. This is not a realistic simulation. This is an abstract approximation that is playable. Besides do you want every ray of frost, snowball, ice dagger, alchemical liquid ice, or cold thing that hits one of you to cause slow?

Bioboygamer wrote:

... Finally, and I save this one for last for a reason, is that one of the players annoys the heck out of me. He only ever uses cantrips, even against incredibly powerful enemies ... and his idea of roleplaying is to talk in an awful indian accent. He has almost no interest in doing anything himself in combat, placing more focus on his monkey familiar than his character who's backstory was directly ripped from a book series that the player had talked to me about at the time. His character's name is literally "Gandalf" wit one letter changed, he refuses to use an actual paper character sheet rather than fumbling with a PDF file that takes 3 minutes to load whenever he goes from one page to another, he seems to fail to grasp the concept of "Just because this creature shares a name with a creature from Harry Potter, it does not mean that they are the same creature", and he repeats things 7 or 8 times, even after people have told him that they understand or that they heard him the first time.


Careful. You are associating very different issues as one issue. If it really is that bad that everything adds up to an intolerable "YOU ANNOY ME" you just have to kick him from the group.

If it is not to that level and you want to try and improve things you have to separate the issues.

I've had people try to relate everything to Tolkien, never Harry Potter. But I'd handle it the same way. After about the second or third time they start to say "But orcs act like..." I interrupt with, "Sorry different legend..."

Many, many people have a hard time with any backstory or naming. I am often one of them. Deal with it. I don't know why so many people thinks it harms their game that my characters personality, backstory, name, or whatever came from a novel or movie. I'm not an author. So what. Most GM's and players are going to ignore (or possibly use just the tiniest bit of) my backstory, name, and personality anyway. I just can't see how it hurts anyone else's gaming experience. [/mini rant]

complete aside:
I usually find that almost everyone does this at least in part. Parts of their name, backstory, or personality are from a book or movie. Sometimes several. They may not realize it until you talk about it for a while, but usually the idea for their PC came from someplace. Sometimes I'm just more obvious about it.

Roleplaying is a greatly variable topic. There are groups that approach everything like a broadway musical. There are groups that sit around and mumble, while rolling a handful of dice, listening to screech metal, and smoking pot. (I didn't stay at either of those groups for even an hour.) Most are somewhere in between.
Most people will slowly learn by example and adjust. If you and the other players are descriptive on what your characters are doing and saying. He is likely to eventually migrate in that direction.
Personally, I won't try to speak in voices or invented accents. However, I know a lot of people love it.
I would give this significantly more time to see if he can adjust to where the group likes the game on the role playing spectrum.

Some of the personality issues may or may not be improvable. It could be his is just a bit nervous and acting out because of it. As he gets more comfortable that might ease up.
Or maybe not. That just may be the way he is. Give it a while and then decide if you can live with it.
We have a guy that we have to keep reminding to "use you inside voice" because he just gets louder as he talks.

Bioboygamer wrote:
... I'm aware of the fact that the vast majority of my posts basically boil down to "I'm a newbie GM, can you fix my problems for me?", but I just don't feel confident enough in my abilities to try to fix these kind of problems, given the possible consequences if I make the wrong move (people leave the group, my players start to resent me, etc.).

No problem. We've all been there. Even if it was bloody decades ago.

Several Paizo published adventures are free for download. That is a great place to start. HERE are several of them. They are pretty durn great learning tools for GM's and players.
I usually recommend brand new GM's use published material for a while before trying to build their own world.

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PF combat is a not terribly precise approximation. It is in no way a realistic simulation of combat.

There have been and probably still are more exact simulation systems out there. The problem is they all bog down horribly. You end up spending several minutes or more trying to figure out every single action and its results.

PF system is used, not because of its realism, but because it is 'good enough' while still being usable in a timely fashion.

What you are talking about is just basically ignored by the system. The skull of a bear, moose, or rhino is much harder to pierce than its belly. Doesn't matter. The creature has X armor class.
Same with the tortoise. It has AC 25 period. Doesn't matter where you are standing, how tall you are, or where you are shooting your arrow when you try to hit one.

It's not realistic, it is just a playable approximation.

If player really pushes, I'd say "The legs are the AC 25 and the shell is AC 60. The game just assumed you weren't stupid enough to try and carve through the shell."

I've had GM's try to make house rules for called shots to different parts. It would work fairly well for a few obvious monsters. Then it always ended up devolving into arguments about whether you could reach/target X portion of the body from Y position with Z weapon or spell. Then it would start into well this type of weapon should do more damage to the knees because ...
Rarely ends well. We always ended up going back to the basic standard rule set for simplicity.

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Kazaan wrote:
... Disagree all you want; it doesn't change the inherent logic of my position. ...

I said nothing about changing your logic. I mostly disagreed with the exaggeration.

Kazaan wrote:
... Additionally, did you notice the negator "not" in my statement? "The GM is not your King, your Emperor, nor your God." That quite literally is the opposite of the claim you attribute to me. And I don't mean literally 'figuratively'... So I don't really see why you claim to disagree when you attribute a claim to me that I never made (moreover, I made the precise opposite claim) and then parrot my own claims back at me. ...

Ok... I will be a little more precise. When you make very exaggerated claims stating very emphatically that it is not X, you are implying that someone else made that claim that it is X. No one else made that claim. You are, in effect, attributing a claim to them that they did not make. So that claim came from you.

Kazaan wrote:
... You even repeated my very sentiments in saying that'd you'd be willing to compare the GM to a President/PM which is precisely what I put forth, ...

Yes, now you are also upset where I agree with you. ...

Kazaan wrote:
... The only place where you fall flat is in persisting in the claim that the GM "owns" the campaign (which, btw, goes right back to placing him in a position not unlike that of a "king") ... The game belongs to all players involved. ...

Uhmm... No... Owning something has virtually nothing to do with being a King. My wife and I own our house. That does not make us royalty over anyone else that may live in the house with us or that stops by for a visit. But yes, we are reasonably in charge of what happens at our house. If others don't like the way we run our house, we may be in it all by ourselves. which sometimes seems like it would be a nice thing. {sigh} ;) The closest example might be a party. If I throw a party at my house. It is my party. Even if a bunch of others help me. And even if it would be nothing without all the people that attend. Guess what? It is still my party. Doesn't mean I should be a jerk about it.

Kazaan wrote:
... just because he puts, "more time, money, effort, and responsibility into it." Well, a Politician puts lots of time, money, effort, and responsibility into the running of a country; does that mean he "owns" the country? Many may think that they do, but that is incorrect. ...

Well if we are going to be picky... I would say a politician puts a lot of other people's money, huge amounts of other people's effort, a fair bit of their own effort, and the impression of responsibility into getting and keeping the job of running a country. I have seen very little evidence of significant money, effort, or responsibility into actually running the country.

No a politician does not own the country. A metaphor only goes so far. Also a politician does not create and provide the country. I guess you are correct. The President/Prime Minister/politician metaphor is not very applicable.

Kazaan wrote:
... It is incredibly lop-sided to claim that the time, money, effort, and responsibility that the non-GM players put into their characters is somehow "less important". ...

Again you are implying a claim I did not make. I never said anything remotely similar to "less important" in my post. So again, that claim came from you.

Importance has nothing to do with ownership. I think the guy that made the smoke detector in my house has a vitally important job. That does not make him a joint owner of my house. The family that currently owns the company I used to work at does nothing important for the company. They meet twice a year to say either "you are doing a good job" or "make me more money." I don't think many people would call that important. But they sure as heck own the company.

Kazaan wrote:
... Without these players, the GM is just a single player sitting alone in the dark and his time, money, effort, and responsibility be damned. ... He puts forth that time, money, effort, and responsibility for the benefit of the group as a whole, including himself. If the GM wanted to tell a story in which the characters act completely in accordance with his own views, he should not be a GM; he should just write a book. ...

Agreed. That is why it would be a poor strategy to be a jack-hole about it.

Has nothing to do with ownership.

Kazaan wrote:
... The GM is an arbitrator of the rules. That quite literally means he is a referee contrary to what Marcus wrote earlier; his tasks in the game are to play the NPCs, narrate the parts of the story that need to be parceled out to the players based on the results of their checks, and referee the game. That's it. It may very well be a demanding job; I never said it wasn't. What I objected to was the attitude that the GM is "always right" and that the increased responsibility entitles the GM to "own" the game. The entire play group "owns" the game; the GM is just exercising stewardship over it. ...

Disagree. Ownership vs. responsibility/investment have a very nearly one to one correlation in standard usage of the terms. I believe it is very nearly exact in legal usage of the terms. I can think of very few instances where they are not very closely related.

However, there is also some lesser responsibility and investment on the part of the players. If you really want to get obsessive about 'ownership' of the event (which I wouldn't normally bother). I would put it approximately like this:
GM owns the game, world, and campaign (which includes the rule set).
Players own their PC's.
GM and players have joint ownership of the story produced in the playing of the campaign. But I would still say the GM is the highest percentage owner. Maybe in the ball park of GM at 40% and the rest split among the players.

Kazaan wrote:
... PS: Some people may associate 'job' only with paid employment, but there are other definitions for which pay doesn't enter the equation or is an irrelevant distinction. To GM a game is most certainly a job. It may or may not be a paid job, but that distinction is inconsequential to my position.

I just looked it up to be sure. Of the 7 basic definitions. The first 3 are directly related to paid employment. One is not applicable to this conversation. Two imply paid employment. Only the 7th is not related to paid employment.

So yes, you are technically correct that the word 'job' can be used in this context. However, it is always advisable for an author to consider how their creation will be received as opposed to how it was intended. I would posit that it is not unreasonable for the average person, without a dictionary open right in front of them, to assume the standard use of the word to indicate paid employment.

But you don't need to get so defensive about it. It was a very minor quibble about what I would do.

Because I am one of those people that associate the word 'job' with paid employment which I also consider to be very nearly a necessary evil. I would not put those negative connotations on the GM.

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As far as the GM is concerned, the questionable decision is at the start. I would very actively discourage someone from playing a paladin in a group that is trying to do an infiltration of an illegal operation. The way most people seem to play paladins just invites trouble in this sort of situation.

Other than that. Killing the other PC may or may not be an alignment infraction. If the GM is going to try and impose things like that for a divine caster, the 2 of you should define the limits of what your deity/religion/order/church/cabal/cult dictate for behavior.

Some GM's will say PvP is an alignment shift just to discourage PvP. If that is what is happening, I would say that the other guy exposing our operation is the start of the PvP situation.

Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:

You know that expression "When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail" ?

This whole issue in your party is a source of dramatic tension. This could be an incredible game in progress.

Try to step back out of the character's perspective for a moment and ask what the story needs, rather than what you want.

The dramatic tension between your investigation and another PC's actions is great for the story! Embrace it.

But just because your character sheet is a long list of killing powers does not mean that killing or even violence is the solution.

Interact with this conflict. Take action, but don't finalize it. Try to stop or work around the other PC, don't just draw steel and stab him.

But, as far as I can see, this isn't a "questionable call" on the GM's part -- this could be a great game happening right before your eyes. All you need is a little shift in perspective.

I like your take on this. It could really add to the campaign.

But it only works if everyone is willing. If one guy is just being a jerk and you try to make it part of the story, he wins. So he will almost certainly escalate the jerk-ish behavior.

I haven't been at this particular table, so I can't say in this case. I think it is pretty obvious that the OP thinks the person is being a jerk.

I guess I would suggest to have an out-of-game discussion with the guy about how the 2 of you can make it a part of the campaign without ruining the campaign.

If that doesn't work? Honestly, I'd just find a new game. A person that is trying to be a jack-hole will always succeed. I have too little leisure time to waste it dealing with something like that.

Kazaan wrote:
Marcus Robert Hosler wrote:
Regardless, the GM is always right from a rules perspective. The GM's words are the rules...
Incorrect. The GM is "the final arbiter when it comes to rules". That does not, in any way, form, or shape, translate to "he is always right" or "his words are the rules". His job in the game is to arbitrate. He is, in effect, President or Prime Minister of the game; he runs it, he doesn't own it. It belongs to the entire play group and he is only one individual among several in that group; maybe an individual with a very particular job, but an individual none the less. The GM is not your King, your Emperor, nor your God. He is another player in the game who has a specific job in the game. Period.

I disagree to a certain extent. I definitely disagree with your exaggeration. Nobody claimed he was King, Emperor, or God except you. With only slight hyperbole, I might not have problem with saying he is the President of the campaign. Whether some people want to admit it or not, the President is not an autocrat and his/her powers are severely limited. And if too many bad things happen under his/her watch, he/she won't be President too much longer.

Generally speaking the GM has significantly more time, money, responsibility, and effort invested in a campaign than all of the players combined. I have no problem saying it is his campaign and world. I think most good GM's get a lot of input from their players on what will happen, goals, house rules, etc... but it is their decision.

I would also use the word 'task' rather than 'job' unless of course you are planning to pay him/her. Most people associate 'job' with paid employment.

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Lamontius wrote:


and I stopped reading after the part about you all pooping on another character

Well I doubt we would actually do that (though with some gamers it's difficult to be sure). But if someone has an Oread so that he looks like a statue... All bets are off.

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Hama wrote:
You can try reserving the first hour and a half of the session to BS, and declare that after that you have to play.

One of our group likes to cook (I consider him insane) so he normally fixes dinner for the group. So we try and keep most of the BS and socializing contained within the 30 minutes or so while we are munching.

Triphoppenskip wrote:
Bacon666 wrote:
A mystery game is fun, but if it turns out to be a mystery between clowns in a circus... Expectations aren't met.
Yeah the story can and should dictate a lot of the characters' reactions. We are playing two different APs at the moment. We are starting Book 2 of Second Darkness and so far the lack of seriousness hasn't been a real issue. But we are well into Book 3 of Carrion Crown and that's the one that's really ruining my immersion. I'm a big horror fan and I love horror themed campaigns but I'm having a hard time enjoying this as much as I should because we have made it less Lovecraft and More Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein.

Some of this could just be related to the bolded part. I personally like playing a serious campaign, but to me horror themed stuff is just not serious.

I am not a big fan of horror movies/stories. Most of the things people try to do for horror; I just find to be annoying, frustrating, perplexing, or occasionally even childish.

Some examples I have run across in GM attempts at horror games.
1) GM described some foe in very exacting detail. Turns out he was trying to let us know it was the monster from some old horror movie and we had to kill it the same illogical way they did in that movie. None of the players had ever seen the movie.
2) The GM will use horror or insanity checks. Ok, I've been fighting undead for 12 levels but at the sight of this ghoul eating someone I don't know I'm suddenly going to run screaming into the night?
3) Haunts that you have to figure out what bizzare even led to their forming. I usually can't figure out how determine what happened. So there can't really be any horror. We put up a sign that there is a problem here and move on before it resets.
4) GM described how the evil figure was running his land. Eventually I said "So basically he has some power but acts like a spoiled 12 year old? Got it."

That doesn't even begin to get into the mechanics. Most of the things that seem like they could be horrifying actually aren't because raise dead, restoration, heal, and remove X are all so easy for even a mid level PC to get cast.

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Yeah, it always seems like the people who think casters need gear, and the people who think there's no martial/caster disparity, are also the people who don't really think too hard about what casters can really do if they forget about the school of evocation and instead start really looking at divinations and conjuration spells, and what their potential is.

I am perfectly aware that there is a disparity between casters and martials at high level. I am not convinced it is quite as bad as some people think unless the GM lets the players get away with more than I believe they should. But yes, it is clearly present in the system.

However, I also tend to not usually play to the highest levels. So that also mitigates the problem somewhat. I think the system tends to break down in many respects (not just the martial/caster disparity) at the highest levels. So we usually find ourselves arguing, bargaining, adjucating more than actually playing the game. Plus most AP's end at approximately level 15.

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Things like this are why I very rarely allow evil PC's. Most groups have at least one person that doesn't know how to handle it.

Unless you and every single one of the players seem to be having a good time, I would say, "Rocks fall everyone dies."
"Now make new PC's that are not at all similar to your current PC's.
No evil PC's.
PvP will not be tolerated."

If everyone is having fun, it's a different story. But from you description, I would guess that is not the case.

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Uncontrolled fire is still one of the most dangerous events for even modern mostly steel ships.

In WWII most gunfire destroyed ships were actually lost when the gunfire started fires that the crew could no longer control. It took something special or a really big explosion to sink a ship before it could burn.

An immovable rod place in the correct location would be amusing.

Ironclad's would be much more vulnerable to fire than modern ships.

Summoned monsters messing with the propulsion, drilling holes, or attaching sea anchors to the underside of the ship would be a good idea.

Bags of alchemical weapons.

Ramming would always do significant damage. Just takes a harder impact than plain wood. Adamantine tip on the ramming prow.

Spells that come quickly to mind are:

Fireball, flame arrow, or Scortching Ray (duh)
Shatter damages objects, so pick a weak point (keel or tiller) to keep hitting
Grease the controls
Pyrotechnics (especiailly if someone can infiltrate to the engine)
Returning Weapon on your adamantine ballista bolts
Flaming Sphere rolling around on the deck should start fires.
Confusion on crew
Magic Siege Engine (duh)
True Strike, Gravity Bow, Ricochet Shot, Reloading Hands, and Abundant Ammunition (decide if you rule that it can work on siege engines)
Dispel Magic on the engine
Water Walk on marines to board enemy ship
Tar Ball
Wood Warp
Quench on engine
Stinking Cloud (or even Obscuring Mist) through port holes to make conditions inside unworkable
Shrink Item on a hugantic adamantine returning ballista bolt
Edit: Can't believe I forgot Heat/Chill Metal

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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
I'm old enough to remember horror stories where DMs insisted that the players of bards had to actually make up and sing a song on the spot each time they cast a spell or used Bardic music; if they didn't then the spell/ability automatically failed.

Yeah, long ago I played one session with a DM that insisted bards real life sing (actually he assumed anyone playing a bard would have a bunch of songs ready to go) and casters had to chant in fake latin. He was seemingly amazed that he had a table full of only fighters and thieves.

I stayed the afternoon just to see how bad it got. Was pretty amazingly ridiculous.

LordSynos wrote:
Diplomacy Tangent** spoiler omitted **...

I nearly always appreciate a discussion with someone that is not doing the forum equivalent of foaming at the mouth. Thankyou.

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LordSynos wrote:
... So, if I was to say, "I remind the Baron of his duty to the people living in his lands, and appeal to his sense of honour to fulfill said duty" would that be enough for you? ...

Yup. Now if the player (not the PC) is capable of it, I encourage and think it helps the RP experience for everyone if more detail is given. But I do not require it, especially not for an introverted or socially-challenged player (I fit at least somewhat in both those categories).

LordSynos wrote:
... Relatedly, if said Baron was dishonourable, ignoble, and generally lousy (possibly Baron Von Evil), would the same argument be able to work, or would you give the character a penalty for the player trying to make that argument and failing to read their audience? ...

If it was well known that the baron had those traits, I’d say something like, “ You can do that if you want, but with 7 ranks in diplomacy, you know the baron doesn’t care a rats behind about honor and duty so the argument is likely to fail.” If the PC still takes that approach (maybe he just wants to be able to say he tried without succeeding) I’d give him some penalty like -4 or more on the check.

If it was not well known that the baron had those traits, I’d require a sense motive or knowledge local to figure it out.

LordSynos wrote:
... I'm going to bring it back to skills quickly, because Diplomacy is a skill. If someone says "I use Disable Device to disarm the trap" do you ask what tools they use? I don't imagine you do, because knowing the Disable Device skill lets your character know what the right tool for the job is, even if the player wouldn't. If they use Handle Animal, do you ask how they approach and attempt to control the animal? If they use Heal, do you ask how they treat the wounds? ...

In prior versions, it was very common for most GM’s to require things like that. “I look around the mantle for a hidden lever. I first toss the dog a piece of raw fatty meat, then approach without making challenging direct eye contact. First I will bind any arterial bleeding then look for discoloration around any wounds that might indicate poison. Etc…” Again, if the player (not the PC) is capable of it, I encourage and think it helps the RP experience for everyone if more detail is given. But few of us require it any longer (there are still a few old school GM’s that do). I would guess primarily because it burned a lot of table time with only once player AND it rarely had any effect on how the story would advance.

What you do (or don’t do) with diplomacy very well might have an effect on how the story advances. Did you flirt with someone who will be upset that you didn’t follow through? Did you convince the guildmaster that it would be to his own financial advantage, but his business is in ruins? Did you convince the duchess that it would make her famous, then bankroll a bard to write a play to help make sure she really did become famous? Those can all have very different long and short term effects that can’t be guessed at by “I rolled diplomacy.”

LordSynos wrote:
... In the above scenario, that's what my points in Diplomacy is supposed to represent. My character is trained, skilled, at the art of winning people over. A good Diplomacy check represents not only winning someone over, but knowing exactly what to say/do to win someone over. The warrior with 5 weapons needs to succeed at a Knowledge check to figure out which of their 5 weapons to use. For Diplomacy, Diplomacy is the skill to figure that out. And at that point, you'd be making them roll twice for the same thing. "I, the player, don't know what will appeal to this person, I roll Diplomacy to figure out how best to win them over", rolls well, "The Baron is a cruel and selfish man, appeal to his pride, or his greed over lost taxes", "Okay, I do that", rolls again. ...

No problem with that except that I think sometimes a sense motive or knowledge local might be more appropriate to know what approach to take. Seems like diplomacy would let you know how to appeal to the earl’s pride. But a sense motive might better tell you if an appeal to pride is advisable.

LordSynos wrote:
... Ah, I don't know. I wouldn't roll into town and say "I roll Diplomacy at the King!". ...

Some of us have had players do EXACTLY that. Then get very upset when asked for some thing more.

LordSynos wrote:

... But if I, the player, have to figure out exactly what approach my character needs to take (such as "this guy's a jerk, don't try and appeal to his sense of honour"), and then figure out vague terms for how to phrase such, to win someone over, I'll continue to avoid the face characters and charisma skills. I'm sure if I was the kind of person that could figure that out (A) I'd be able to argue my point here better and (B) I wouldn't be arguing my point here, because if I didn't have that issue, I wouldn't see the problem.

My main frustration with this comes from my own experiences in roleplaying, where saying "I attempt to win the [person of interest] over with charm" or "I buy the [person of interest] some drinks, and attempt to get them to spill the beans on [activity of interest] under the guise of sociable chat" is met with "But what do you actually say?" which effectively renders all points in Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and every other social skill, meaningless, because, if I, the player, cannot figure out what to say, all those points my character possesses, representing years of training and experience, are worthless. ...

I have had a couple of GM’s like that over the years. Wasn’t a lot of fun for me either. I would posit that very few of us are requiring that level of detail. Again, if the player (not the PC) is capable of it, I encourage and think it helps the RP experience for everyone if more detail is given. But I don’t require it. I do generally require more than “I roll diplomacy.”

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The point that some people make is that the huge bonuses that a bard can give seem a bit over the top for a performance.

Give green, terrified, broken, troops a slight increase in morale? Yes that is reasonable for an inspiring speech or commands. But it isn't going to do much other than annoy experienced elite veteran troops. And PC's (by mid levels) are supposedly beyond all but superheroes, but it is expected to suddenly make them perform better?

Have a war chant that throughout history has presaged great victories and the massacre of the defeated? Yeah ok, that might terrify raw green troops or even upset veteran troops that have experience with that foe. But JimmyJoe over there stands behind the fighters and he does a musical/martial kata so well that veterans (nearly as experienced as the PC's who are superheroes) suddenly lose all control of their bowels? Sorry, no I'm not buying it. It is just too far past my suspension of disbelief.

If the authors way back at the beginning editions had described it as a sound based illusion magic based on the caster level with buff effects and debuff effects with a saving throw, I'd probably be just fine with it. And I know some GM's and players refluff it as sonic based magic, but some of us can't stop remembering that it is still performance (dance) or performance (flute) that is supposed to have all these staggering effects.

I don't ban bards and I don't give them a hard time at the table. But I can't play them myself and internally I can only sigh when players describe all these amazing results of performance (comedy).

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LordSynos wrote:

I didn't think there was much room for diplomacy in wargames? Or back story, or world building, or unique personalities for the character you play, or, well, roleplaying? Because I enjoy all of those things.

But if you want to convince the local Lord to send aid to some hamlet about to be smashed by Orcs, or bluff the King of Thieves into breaking into some vault for you, GM's suddenly expect you to be some great orator, or spin a convincing yarn. The same thing can't be said for any other skill set.

If someone wants to pick a lock, do you get them to produce a set of lockpicks and pick the lock of something, or they get a -10? Climb something or a -10 to Climb checks? Be able to recite the Bestiary from memory or take a -10 on Knowledge checks? And if no, why then do you do so to Diplomacy?

This is why the famed "murderhobos" are so common. Charisma/Diplomacy is the only skill set where GM's punish you for not having those skills in real life. Of course no one is inclined to take them.

I won't speak for Hamma.

I don't require a player to be a skilled orator. But I at least want some sense of what they are trying.

"I'll use the parable of the witches and demons to show that cooperation will improve both situations better than the continual backstabbing."
"I will flirt with the baron and mention that real exciting men of power succeed rather than just complaining about having to do something."
"He's a pragmatic guy, so I will build an argument to logically show how supporting the villages will eventually strengthen his position with the council."

Would all work for me. No, the 40+ male doesn't have to successfully roleplay an adolescent female elf flirting with the baron. But it vastly helps me to know that is what the character is doing. (The first time that happened it was rich, since the PC's didn't know it but the baron was the town pedophile and the PC just became a target.)

The "I got a 27 on the diplomacy roll" gives me absolutely nothing to work with. I have had players that only roll with no information, then get upset at how I interpreted the actions. "What? No! I wouldn't tell stupid stories. I just use diplomacy!"

When attacking many players often do give more descriptive info. "I run him through with a spear thrust." At the very least they will tell what weapon they are using and full attack, charge attack, bull rush, flanking, etc...

Swinging wildly about the head or stabbing for the gut helps keep the feel of the game but are not strictly necessary, since it doesn't likely affect the advancement of the story. But I think most can see how whether the PC is using unfulfilled flirtation, logical persuasiveness, or an emotional appeal could affect how the story advances.

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Mark Hoover wrote:


Also I was getting backstory from this guy in pieces. That's one thing that irks me in games: I ask for a backstory. I hand out questions to new players and I work with folks who want my help. ...

Sometimes I have a really difficult time coming up with a personality and backstory until I've actually played a character for a while. I have a build concept I like, but I just can't seem to decide how he should behave or what his motivations would be. Then as I start to move him around, a personality develops. Then I start thinking "What in the past could have warped him to have those priorities?"

I had a GM in the past who wanted (and made use of) our backstories and personalities. But he would normally wait until we had adventured a little bit into the storyline before asking for them. Usually after the first mission or level advancement. It seemed to work out very well.

Other times it is the exact opposite. The backstory, leads to the personality, which leads to the build. Ok, this guy hates undead for devastating the village a couple generations ago making him grow up in poverty when his family used to be wealthy and powerful. He joined the church not because the is really all that devoted to Sarenrae, but because they are the most universally anti-undead group he knows of. Not really a priest type, he'll become an oracle. Ok most undead killing would probably be a channeling life oracle. Etc...

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Worst back story I ever saw was:
"Plane shifted from somewhere that taking all this stuff together makes sense."


Necromancer wrote:
I've seen so many Drizzt, Legolas, and Gandalf clones, I would be entirely justified in just randomly weeping. Some players handle it well and roleplay their ripoff to the hilt, but even then it just reeks of LOLJUSTSAWTWOTOWERSANDIMABADASSNAO+5BOWPLZ!!!!!1111!!...

I had a player that always wants to play Drizzt's cousin, nephew, brother, uncle, etc... Of course he never actually wants to deal with the problems of being a drow. Never hides what he looks like - but they should like me cause I've got a 12 charisma. Get's upset if there is any drow assault trying to take him back. He actually said once, "But after Drizzt everyone should know they can be good and the matrons would stop trying to get back the runaways."

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Just read the article.

Wow. Just wow. That guy A.A. George has some Hang-Ups that... Shall we say over filter his perceptions.

I just read a blog about a folks playing PF with kids in Uganda.

My wife is trying to start a PFS/Beginner Box group at her school. She is one of about 4 white people in the building. Our local PFS group has as high or higher minority participation than I think are the percentages in the community.

Let's see...
The 2 PFS tables I played at GenCon included 2 black guys (I think African American is currently the correct term but one was clearly not American), as least 2 maybe 3 Hispanics, a woman, at least 1 homosexual (possibly 3 since I'm bad at that identification), I guy that is of Jewish decent (at least based on the name), and a guy from the middle-east (couldn't tell you which country).

Out of 13 people I would say that's a pretty decent list. There was no persecution because of race or gender or anything else. Neither I nor anyone else seemed to have any problem with any of them. Heck, I'd say almost everyone at the table* was a better RPG'er than me. I learned quite a bit.

*Except for the annoying 13 year old kid. Most 13 year olds are annoying. I know I certainly was.

Were all the GM's and PF event staffers white? I honestly don't know, but I would agree that most of them were. Were all of them male and straight? No, but I would guess the majority were.
But here's the thing. They were all volunteers online. The folks selecting for the positions would have no way of knowing race even if they wanted to discriminate for that (no I don't think any of them would).
You want more African Americans / Hispanics / Orientals / transgender / homosexual / female / etc... in those volunteer positions? Talk some more into volunteering.

Is Racism a real thing that sill happens? Heck yeah!
But I saw no evidence of it at GenCon or in my local PFS community. Anyone that showed up and paid the entrance fee got in. There was no one pressuring people of color to not come in the door. Every 6 people that showed up with a ticket got seated at a game table. No persecution, no turning away, no problems in the game that I ever saw.

Is there still a socio-economic problem in the US. Of course. At least 3 people I know in minority groups wanted to go to GenCon and couldn't afford it. (I also know 4 wasp that couldn't afford to go.) But that isn't the fault of the organizers of GenCon, nor is it anything that they can do anything about.
That is a local society/community issue.

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DrDeth wrote:


Right. And what's interesting is when they want a radical change- like dumping alignments or Vancian casting (not just having a few other spellcasting methods, but "Vancian has to go") or wanting a classless system- in other words, changing Pathfinder into something it's not.

But I ask then- there are plenty of great FRPG without Vancian or without alignments or that are classless, etc. Why not play one of those? Why the NEED to change Pathfinder to meet your particular wants? ...

Actually, even though I do really like PF I have tried to use a different game system. I was completely unable to get a group going. I would find 1 other person that would agree to give it a try. Great, that makes 2 of us. By the time I would find a 3rd, the other guy had moved on to something else.

That's why I said the huge following that PF has is one of the things I most like about it.

Kthulhu wrote:

Disclaimer : it's been years since I played a PFS game.

For all those who say "play Core only / Ban the [insert splat here] / etc", that isn't an option in PFS. Neither the GM nor any of the players can disallow any of the official PFS-endorsed material.

Agreed, but as a player I can (and have) played a CRB only character. Very simple to run. Only 1 book to lug around. No weird combinations to memorize/interpret. He is still effective and fun.

You are correct, that a PFS GM doesn't have that option. However, it is perfectly reasonable to expect that the player that uses umpteen splat options will have researched it an understands it correctly. It is unfair to expect that the GM can know every single published thing in its entirety and double check every single thing the player does.

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Chaotic Fighter wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
Everything can be improved. To be complacent is to be obsolete.


However, many of the complaints on here are so vociferous, angst ridden, completely negative, and even hate filled that I can't understand why they still play the game.

I like PFS, PF, and PF with houserules quite a bit.

There are things I don't agree with completely, but I know they are unlikely to change because enough people do like it the way it is.

I have seen some game systems that I think I might like better, but...
None have the following of PF. I can't get a group going. I've tried.

The huge following is one of the things I like about PF. I can find players.

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Rather than saying no. Say "Ok as long as we do it like this ..."

I didn't handle it real well with my group either. So here is what I will be doing the next time we restart.

If you want to make a new race, we can work together on it. You do not get to do it by yourself and surprise me with it on game day.

You will have to help create a functioning sustainable race and society not just cherry pick the few abilities that are perfect for your particular Flying/Fey/MoMS/Necromancer.

You are not going to be the only representative of your race in the world. If I'm going place them in the campaign, I need to know all about the race. Which country(ies) are they most commonly seen? Do they rule anyplace? What languages do they speak? How do they relate to the other races and why? How do the other races relate to them and why? What are their personalities like? What is their society like? Basically, you will have to do a full write-up on the race.

If you show up game day with a snowflake race point conglomeration that has no society or write up and we didn't work on together, you get to play a pregen.

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I prefer to not use the background music. Most of the time when I have been at a group that does this, they set it fairly loud so it is immersive. Then I really struggle to hear what is being said and have to constantly ask people to repeat things. I like the concept, but it usually seems to get in the way.

I use Herolab to make my PC's (when player) and NPC's (when GM). But it won't work on my android tablet yet. So I have to have printed sheets.
One guy uses PCGen on his laptop.

Not bad, but both programs have a few mistakes (or can't handle house rules) so we have a tendency toward some common errors because it is what the program shows us.

I almost always use my tablet rather than printed books. Except the bestiaries. For some reason, I like having a printed copy of those to page through.

One of our PFS GM's tries to do everything from his small tablet. Unfortunately, that seems to result in a lot of time with us waiting while he pages back and forth and it has to reload pages. He tries to show us pictures that are too small for us to see across the table. He also sometimes wants to use it for the maps rather than draw them. So he shows us the map then it is gone while he is looking up other stuff. So we are constantly asking him to show us the map again, then he finally gets frustrated and scratches out a bad one very quickly. If he would just draw it out ahead of time, it would work much better.

I know of one guy that is really into using the tech. He has a sensor so that when someone is talking the background mood music drops in volume. He has a PC connected to a flat screen that he actually uses for the game table (large sheet of thick lexan to protect it). So he can display maps and images that everyone can see very clearly.
Then he has another computer for the GM game info. And a tablet for the rules and dice roller.

I think I would use it more than I do if my tablet was a bit more capable. If it had the memory to not constantly need to reload pages. Would load new pages faster. And I would also prefer the battery to last longer. I only get about 1.5 hours before I need to plug it in again which kinda defeats the purpose of the tablet in the first place.

I'm also going to need a faster hot spot access for rules look up.

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Davor wrote:
OP, you need to stop scrubbing up when it comes to bard. NOBODY I've EVER met plays a bard like that...

About half of them that I see are exactly like that.

If it had been initially described as sound based magic that has these lingering effects, I (and some others) probably wouldn't have nearly as much problem with it.

But it's not. It is a performance. So the bard sings, dances, acts, or tells jokes so well that everyone fights better. That doesn't make sense.
And that's what almost every player and GM I've seen says. "I start my performance flute. Ok, JJ is over in the corner playing with his flute."

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Hama wrote:
Ah, putting players down when they think they are on the top of the world. It can be fun.

On their way in at the end of the previous session I received the comment, "It's just another wizard. Not a problem. It will be over before he can cast 2 spells."

After that challenge, I spent the weekend on some major re-writing.

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To the OP, nope.

I think it is mostly a case of Look at my shiny new toy! rather than them being all that much more powerful.

I see a lot of them being very good for very specialized builds. After all, they are hybrids. So it could be thought of as a specialized multiclass build.

But if you want something other than those particular specialties, you might be better off going back to one of the parent classes.

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