I wish more Tier 1/2 GMs would realize this. It sickens me every year to see people who volunteer for 7-10 slots, yet either show up completely unprepared, are unwilling to help out as needed, or don't bother to show up all together.
Seth Gipson wrote:
Sorry Seth, Kristen and I already have plans.
If you had your 5th star, you'd have your schedule already. BOOM!
Lou Diamond wrote:
but to give them a challange.
Never. Never. Never. As good of a GM as you or anyone thinks they are, there are a hundred other ways to "provide a challenge" or more importantly PROVIDE A FUN EXPERIENCE. All it takes is that one time you mistakenly do this and ruin PFS for a player. Not every scenario is supposed to be "challenging." Every scenario CAN, however, be a fun time regardless of "challenge."
In before never ending discussion begins.
An evil act is determined by your GM. It will vary at every single table you play at based on your GM, the other players within the party, and the details of the exact situation.
In short, there is no answer to your last question, but that player is correct that a GM can remove a PFS character from play by performing too many egregious evil acts.
Hey Damalon, as one of the co-authors, I want to thank you for the feedback. Whether positive or negative, every data point is welcome.
1) scrolls and potions. every bad guy seemed to have one or the other, usually stuff outside of their normal ability to cast ie summon monster 3 when the guy in question is clearly not capable of that level of spell. I think this is a cheap and nasty way to get around the level limit to make the encounter harder. Ive been in enough games as either GM or player to know the advantages of consumables, especially as a GM since you dont need to worry about the replacement of your resources, so I feel comfortable calling this an overuse of consumable items and therefore an unfair power gameing tactic. I wouldnt tolerate that sort of shananigans at my table.
I'm sorry that you felt this was a cheap tactic, but I want to put yourself in their shoes, or more specifically in the Cult of Lissala's shoes. (do they wear shoes?) You're the head of your local chapter and you're planning the biggest heist/event in your history. It includes dozens of followers, covering a wide range of ability (i.e. your followers range from level 3-10 give or take). Would you not arm them with the best stuff you had? Thinking more out of character, I want to say two things about this encounter.
1) The most powerful "damaging" spells any of these cultists had were Summon Monster and at higher levels Black Tentacles. Everything else they had access to was control. And that's the point, they weren't there to kill you. They were fodder so the thief could get away. (as another aside,
2) The chase scene: So we chase the baddy and theres obstacles and I get that, I also get that the baddy is good at getting through those obstacles. My problem is this, why are the DCs the same for the low tier as they are for the high tier? My group of lowby characters got through with a few stumbles but I heard after the fact that the high tier group got through easily.
Again a couple of points (I like bulleted lists, must be the engineer in me):
1) The original turnover had a sliding scale for the chase DC's. This was not supposed to be a difficult chase. There are two schools of thought on this, however. Some believe that the DC's should slide and move with the tier that's being run. Others believe that a pile of rubble, is just a pile of rubble and it shouldn't be more difficult for someone who's higher level.
My group came in second place at the Con, the high tier group beat us by 3 'Key' points. Geuss where they got those points. By the way we were winning until the cathedral act began, I wonder why that would be? Could it have been because at high level you have more options and resources to overcome scenarios?
I'm sorry but this sounds more like a whine than feedback. I'm sorry you didn't "win," but as long as the Society retrieved the Key, then we all won, didn't we? To try to argue that higher level groups have an advantage is ridiculous. The higher tiers are penalized throughout this scenario in that it always takes longer complete encounters at higher levels. I'll admit this was a major failing of RftRK. The whole way the auction was run turned a cooperative event into a competitive event and it was bound to cause hurt feelings for players who feel like they "lost."
3)Catching the baddy: So we catch up to the baddy at the end of the chase and we fight it. Its diffecult but we manage it. However its a struggle, two potions of invisibilty got used for gratuitous backstabs or to avoid getting ganked. Darkness got used, which the baddy was conveniently immune to btw, to buy time. Reinforcements arrived to provide flanks and distractions. In short the fight is HEAVILY tilted in the favour of the baddy. Wanna know how we won? Baddy failed a save against a colour spray...Lame...Im pretty sure at least a couple of us would have died if we didnt get lucky there. Maybe all of us. i believe Players shouldnt have to rely on luck to survive an encounter, otherwise skill and preparation have no meaning.
So you catch the guy who just assassinated the high priest of Abadar and you expect him to kneel down so you can slit his throat? To me it sounds like your final fight was pretty epic, but this is where I just have to say that your preferred style of play doesn't match this scenario, or most scenarios for that matter. It's very clear that you don't enjoy roleplaying games where there is a chance of character death and perhaps Pathfinder Society just isn't for you. Also, would you have been so upset that your darkness spell didn't have an effect on a dwarf or half-orc either? A very simple knowledge (planes) check would reveal the BBEG to be a tiefling.
By the way i also resent that I cant play a Tiefling unless I own the 'Blood of Fiends' book while the mod has that advantage at no cost, I certainly wont be falling for that particular brand of strong arm commercialism.
As others have pointed out, you only need access to the Bestiary to play a Tiefling.
If the BBEG had been a dragon, would you have been upset that you couldn't play a dragon in PFS? What if they were a giant or an aboleth? I don't understand why you think NPCs should be player races...
4)The payoff: So we survive. I geuss thats the payoff really, no one died. Somehow that feels empty. I get my sheet and i see the following: +500 gp, +1 xp, +2 pp and a one time half cost rescue/res along with a small bonus to intim check against a obscure cult ive never heard of before and may never face again. Heres my conclusion. I got more for doing Crypt of the Everflame and it was MUCH easier, why should I sign up for this hard stuff when the rewards for the easy stuff is better? I would gladly trade the one time half res for 1 xp or 500 gp or 2 pp (Im 2nd level I need resources now not promises of stuff I may never use), the intim bonus is almost completely insignificant and there are no magic items offered. I would even do the Cyphermage Dilemma again before doing this mod again, I got 32 more gold and I got some respect with my fellow Pir-Sailors! I mean Sailors.
Show me another scenario OR module that rewards you more than this scenario, especially at your level. Seriously. You got 500 gp, 1 xp, 2 pp and a half-cost raise dead or resurrection... So, effectively you either save 5525 gp or 16 PP on a resurrection or 2725 gp or 8 PP on a raise dead. You essentially earn up to 6,000 gp or 18 PP for a single first level scenario!
P.S. This "obscure cult" that you've never heard of and may never face again is in 2/3 of season 4's scenarios. So, really, not that obscure.
Again, thanks for the feedback. I'm hoping next time you can phrase it a little more objectively and perhaps you'll get more helpful answers and responses from the community.
Nosig, if I or any other GM wanted to be an ass about it we could point to the ineffective weapon entry and say if it's not a pick or a hammer, you can't deal damage to it. Period.
But seriously, where do you draw the line? "Most melee weapons."
Look down the list of melee weapons and ask yourself which of these would you want if you had to cut down a wall? Where do you draw the "ineffective" line?
Yes, not all of those can be adamantine, but I think we're pretty clear that adamantine simply means you can deal more damage per hit to objects with hardness less than 20.
Don't forget the adamantine rebar! ;-)
The best "overlooked" tactics I see at my table?
Have a new player at your table? Try this:
Tell them, "Don't worry about the rules, just tell me what your character is thinking, doing, and saying and we'll figure out how what you want her to do fits within the rules."
Then, when they say something like, "I want to hit the bad guy with my sword," you walk them through move actions, drawing weapons, possible AoO's, rolling a d20, adding their attack bonus, rolling damage, etc. All in bite sized pieces. If they seem flustered, repeat "Don't worry about it, just keep telling me what you want to do, and we'll figure it out. No need for the rules to get in the way of what you want to do and us having fun."
I could also quote Mike's post specifically stating "DO NOT CHEAT." That was a big post a while back that pissed people off.
I find that most people who get pissed off at the mention of cheating are the people actually cheating. YMMV
Unreadable dice, people actually moving a die after it's been rolled, people doing fuzzy math on their hit points, never running out of smite evils, spells, potions, scrolls, wand charges. I've seen it all, and mostly... I don't care. Why? Because that's what those people need in order to have fun. I can still have fun as the GM, especially when they're cheating and still not that good. :-)
Firstly – The encounters are ridiculously tough. I don’t believe that the last five mods that I have played at Tier 1-5 could be successfully completed with a team of 1st level adventurers. This is a problem because the new players play 1st level characters (often the iconics). It seem to me that games need to be playtested against a team of 4 (or maybe 5) iconics and the iconics should win 90% of the time. They don’t! In fact some of the games (the last five I have played) could never be completed successfully with a group of 1st level iconics. TPK in these mods ends up with the players not returning and GMs not wanting to GM games where they think they’ll just destroy another adventuring group. The GMs feel that they have responsibility for the outcome. It all just creates bad feeling in an environment where we want the players to have an awesome experience.
Even if 4 iconics only "won" 90% of the time, that's still 9% too low. If tables "failed" 10% of the time, there'd be a HUGE uproar.
Quite frankly, if your table of level 1's are dying in these scenarios, your GM is terrible. Sorry the truth hurts. There are many reasons why they could be "doing it wrong," from lack of prep, lack of rules knowledge, or lack of a simple understanding that the players are supposed to freaking win unless they are horribly unlucky or being purposefully stupid.
There are three main factors when determining if a scenario is difficult:
1) Scenario as designed/written.
1) This one seems pretty straight forward but it's really not. There are guidelines in place for authors that restrict the CR range for encounters. The problem is that the CR system doesn't work. Often CR is estimated for things like environmental conditions or terrain advantages. One author's CR 5 is another author's CR 1 (not me, I swear). Perhaps not as obvious is the way things are written or presented. The details and clues of the story can lead the PCs to follow a certain path, perhaps one that is more deadly than the author or developer can see when reading it (one that comes to mind is when the PCs routinely trigger more than one encounter at a time by following what the VC said to do)
2) Three big things here. How closely to the scenario as written is the GM running things? Often GMs think they need to change things to make it more "fun." Unfortunately this "fun" almost always changes the difficulty. Does the GM roll out in the open? GMs can affect difficulty by soft-balling from behind a screen. Heck, GMs can softball or hardball (i.e. cheat) without a screen.. Finally here, how tactically knowledgeable is your GM? Do they play the 18 INT NPC smartly? Do they overplay the INT 1 vermin? Do the NPC rogues 5-ft and then ready to attack when their buddy moves into a flank?
3) Easy to identify here is, "are the players new?" If they are, they're probably CR -1 or -2. ;-) Are the characters conceptual builds or optimized cheese-monkeys? Do the players know each other and the roles and capabilities of each other's characters?
The range here is amazing. If you have a GM who wants to make it fun by adding mooks, rolls in the open, is tactically cunning and running a table of n00bs, the easiest scenario will turn deadly. If you have a GM who refuses to kill characters by pulling punches, who isn't tactically sound, who doesn't understand the NPC tactics and is running a table of cheese monkey players who all know each other, it could be the hardest scenario every written and they'll still walk all over it.
I count five ways of getting a bonus in PFS that don't involve playing a Scenario, Module, or Quest. These have all been discussed individually in the past or are being discussed presently. I wanted to open a discussion on the comparison between them all and talk about what benefits each has to the Pathfinder Society Organized Play Campaign. Keep in mind, all of these benefits cost PFS development time with the exception of the t-shirts and folio.
Presented in order of appearance (I believe..)
The product cost is $0 because most of these boons are available at small conventions or large multi-day game days, some of which are free to play. I realize that going to most conventions is expensive. So what's really the cost? How much does it cost to organize a 15 table event? If you can get the space for 5 tables, you can run 3 slots in a single day. There's a lot of effort required here to make it "free." The other end of the spectrum is Wes flying from Australia to Gen Con. I think that costs a couple of dollars or so. Additionally, you're not even guaranteed a boon if you go to a convention, you usually get a CHANCE of getting one.
Pathfinder Online MMO
None of my statements are meant to be definitive or entirely objective. They can't be. I want to explore the benefits further and cost vs. deliverable. Please keep it civil.
It is the GM's responsibility to give the players some use out of their expended resources. For the example here, using charm person, it is the GM's responsibility to make it useful (except in extreme circumstances). It is the GM's responsibility to make other similar abilities, such as divinations, worth using. If I player is expending a 1st level spell, they should get a 1st level spell's worth out of it. If they're dropping a 4th level spell (like divination), that's not an open door to screw over the players. The same goes for charm (fwiw, I believe charm monster is exactly ZERO percent more powerful than charm person in regards to what you can do with the spell except that you can target non-humanoids).
It is the Player's responsibility to not expect the world bow before you because you cast a spell. You should never EXPECT your use of a single spell to win the fight any more than the barbarian should expect to end it with the single swing of their ax. Can it happen? Yes. Should you expect it because you specialized your character so much? No.
Dominate > Suggestion > Charm > Command
It is ridiculous to EXPECT charmed wizard to blow up their own allies because you convinced them via a charisma check. Would you expect the same via the diplomacy skill?
Is it possible the wizard may blow up his own allies because he secretly hates them and sees that the PCs are the stronger choice for survival (and that sorcerer over there is pretty convincing)? Yep.
Advice for GMs: The players are supposed to win. The players want their moment to shine. If a player shines using charm spells, let them shine, but within reason, as in 1/Xth of the time where X is the number of people at the table. Be creative with their requests, but keep in mind the expectations of the player. They want their abilities to count for something.
Advice for Players: Come up with creative, but not overly powerful arguments when using charm or suggestion spells. GMs love it when players come up with funny things to do with charmed monsters. GMs hate it when you expect their minions to unload on the other minions. It's still possible to "win the day" without commanding the fireball out of the wizard. Asking a charmed NPC to "incapacitate" their allies in order to end the fight is infinitely superior to demanding a charisma check and expecting them to rain down death upon the people they were also friendly with.
With the release of The Moonscar and Sanctioned Adventure Paths, I present all of the options for your level 12+ PFS Character.
For the sake of this discussion, level X.0 is exactly at a given level, X.1 is 1 XP past level X and X.2 is 2 XP past level X.
Playable at any level 12+
*Only playable if the last chronicle you received was for the previous scenario in this series.
Garble did finally buy a "stick that makes goblin belly burn but makes blood go away" (wand of infernal healing). Unfortunately since buying it, he hasn't found another character that can use it. Bad luck I guess. Although I *did* toy with the idea of taking a few ranks in UMD. Being a non-class skill with a 5 charisma means that I need to get 3 ranks in there before I have a 50/50 shot of making the wand work before I roll a natural 1. :-)
He also has potions of makes teeth extra pointy (magic fang) and make goblin like giant so he can bite big things (enlarge person) and the list goes on..
I've also been working on his song, adding a line or two per scenario/module. By 12th level, character introductions are going to be really long...
I didn't think it was mechanically possible in Pathfinder rules to be illiterate.
It not. Stupid Zey make Garble look at stolen Pathfinder words. Says Garble have to or Garble get thrown into red blanket hanging from wall, never to come back. Garble not understand.
Quite possibly, but you won't know. I don't announce when I'm giving anyone a circumstance bonus for their role play. I may mention it after the fact to encourage more of it depending on the situation. But know this, if you're at my table, you're having fun, you're adding to the fun of everyone else at the table, you better believe that you're going to have bonuses for the things you're doing.
I want players to be more descriptive. I want players to come up with crazy things. I want players to BE their character. To think like their character. To think like a PATHFINDER. But am I going to give them a pass or make something trivial because they're acting up their character? Of course not (see the 3,744 posts about me as a "nice" and "easy" GM).
Options at my table:
1) Give me the basics of what you're asking for and we can just roll dice. No extra bonuses.
Garble talks! :-)
And then pretty lady tell Garble to be quiet. :-(
And then GARBLE BITE PRETTY LADY! >:-)
And then stupid longshanks with sword poke Garble. :-(
"GARBLE! SHUT UP!" "Porter! Put the blanket back over his cage. We've had enough of his singing for one adventure."
this is his first failure on a faction mission in all 27 of his chronicles
And here's the root of the problem. IME players stomach character death better than missing a faction mission. I think this makes some GMs feel as though they need to be generous with the handing out of prestige.
Personally I've played both ends of the spectrum. I played a Bard/Oracle of Lore specifically built to do everyone's faction missions. I also now have a goblin with 8 XP who has only succeeded ONCE at his faction mission and that was only because there was another member of his faction at the table (and they never bothered to hand the mission to poor little Garble in the first place).
I'm in favor of eventually doing away with factions. These side missions distract far too much from the real mission at hand. Instead, I'd rather have a unannounced secondary success conditions in each scenario.
Main Mission - Bring back the macguffin. Again.
That keeps everyone at the table working together. It also keeps everyone on the look-out for doing Pathfindery things. These things could be hinted at in the VC briefing, but they wouldn't necessarily need to be.