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It's my pleasure to announce West Virginia's first 5 star GM. This time it was for Andrew Shumate who is know on the forums as Netopalis. I had the pleasure of GMing his first RPG table ever at Charcon in October 2012. He has since become a stalwart part of the Pathfinder Society community and one of the pillars that keep the West Virginia lodge standing. He has run more than 250 tables in that time. He was in this year's top 32 in RPG superstar. Andrew as become a master GM whose skill has far surpassed my own. He pays attention to the game's pacing and ensures there is time for combat and role-play for each player, yet still ends on time. He has great rules mastery, not only handling obscure combinations with little effort, but also using the flexibility built into them to provide a fun and balanced game for the unique characters that come to the table.
I could go on for awhile, but I also have some comments from others who have played with Andrew.
"I had the privilege of being a part of Andrew’s fifth-star table, though I have at least twenty other sessions over the course of the past two years, with Andrew at the helm, to draw my opinions from. Andrew’s rules mastery is outstanding, and his preparedness at the table, even during game days he is not scheduled to run, is reflected by the high-caliber sessions he performs for his players. Andrew relishes the opportunities for role-play in scenarios, gives combat-minded players ample opportunity to shine, and is able to balance the two so expertly that it is rare that his slots go over the suggested duration. Away from the table, Andrew makes himself open to questions and constructive criticisms, and is always requesting from his players ways to improve. Andrew’s “capstone” session, Encounter at the Drowning Stones, is a scenario I have run before, and proved to be another quality session that I have come to expect and enjoy from his tables."
"I have played at Andrew Shumate's table and he does an excellent job running the Pathfinder Society scenarios. His knowledge of the rules is at a very high level and this provides for a very smooth flow to the game. He doesn't stray from the parameters set fourth by the scenario. However, when the G.M. is given the chance to use his discretion, he handled things in a very creative, fair, and fun manner. Even when the scenario is challenging, it is a great experience. He is an excellent G.M. and deserves his fifth star."
It's an honor to make this announcement, and to have Andrew as a friend. Congratulations!
It is a privilege and an honor for me to announce the certification of a new 5 star GM for Virginia. Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to present to you, Venture-Captain Adam Swinder of Blacksburg!
I recently had the pleasure of sitting at a table run by Adam to judge if he qualifies for his fifth star. He ran The Hellknight’s Feast which featured heavy role play, challenging combats and opportunity for creative solutions. I was able to see the broad range of his abilities. I am happy to report that he absolutely qualifies.
Adam’s rules knowledge is excellent. His players research every nook and cranny of the rules and he handles them with aplomb. He is able to improvise very well, adjusting the dialog of important NPCs with the mere mention of a player character’s backstory and previous interaction with the NPCs. His preparation was good. He was able to handle all the curves our group threw at him and knew exactly how to interpret them using the tools proved in the scenario.
I’ve known Adam for a few years, and sat with him at a number of tables. None of this was a surprise to me. His enthusiasm for Pathfinder and PFS is contagious, and he provides a fun, fair game to all who come to him. He is one of the best of us.
We cannot judge him on just one or even a few tables to determine consistency so I also asked his players. Those people who sit with him week after week. The praise was similarly glowing:
"Because he's very dedicated to his players, and about running an enjoyable experience for all involved. He's willing to give his time, effort, and money to make Pathfinder better for all involved. He's never too busy to make time to help you out, and he's always interested in what you want to do."
"Adam selflessly puts the fun of the community of game players, and the growth of that community above his own playing constantly. He spends hours of his own time helping the players who need help, especially new players who don't know what they're doing and struggling. He sits down with first timers to build characters so that they don't have to settle on pregens, nudges inexperienced players towards character choices that will work better for them, and gradually nudges everyone with the aptitude towards trying GMing so that the community keeps growing. Adam's not just a guy with a pile of PFS GMing credits, he's someone who deeply cares for the community of PFS. He should be a 5 star GM because if all that's not what makes you one, I don't know what would."
"Without Adam I wouldn't be in Pathfinder Society today, as my first ever experience with PFS was at Mysticon 2013, which he organized. He was also one of the first GMs I played under in PFS regularly, as I joined his Shattered Star AP group soon after I joined PFS in general. And it was his encouragement to start running games that resulted in me becoming a 4 Star GM within about a year of starting to run games. Beyond that he's always willing to talk with new people and help them with whatever problems they have, even when he probably should be paying more attention to his own problems."
Congratulations, Adam! This is a well earned accomplishment.
I believe I was the GM at this table, and that is exactly the judgement call I made. There was no 4 player adjustment, they were all playing pregens, and had started playing Pathfinder that con. I will say that this was an awesome table and one of the most fun I had at the Gencon. They learned fast, and had great attitudes, and I never expected to laugh so much running Bonekeep.
The pregen characters were:
Through a combination of skill and dumb luck they made it through 5 of 8 rooms. (If you are familiar with the scenario, they turned right in the front room.) They read their character sheets, and used all the gear and abilities on them, and the ACG pregens are noticably better than the older ones. In one case, a player remembered how to deal with a hazard from D&D. In another case, a full attack from a bad guy that would have killed one of them rolled 1,1,1,2.
They played smart, used teamwork, and earned their success with a little luck. They paid attention to every resource on their character sheets. If they were experienced pathfinders, I might have turned up the time pressure a bit and that would have caused them to make more mistakes. If these guys came back with their own characters after a year of PFS, I know they would take the place apart.
The next room would have really taken a toll on them and the last encounter would absolutely have destroyed what was left.
Michael Eshleman wrote:
In order to use an additional resource, you are required to own the book. It is assumed that you start from the book and then look up something cool in it. I realize that this does not help if you are trying to look something cool that you see online or in herolab, but it will help you ask better questions. At least one website I know (Archives of Nethys) includes the page number in their listing for an item.
Regarding the eidolon's rune: "The eidolon also bears a glowing rune that is identical to a rune that appears on the summoner's forehead as long as the eidolon is summoned. While this rune can be hidden through mundane means, it cannot be concealed through magic that changes appearance, such as alter self or polymorph (although invisibility does conceal it as long as the spell lasts)."
A rogue with the carnivalist archetype may be a better choice for the character concept though.
Pickpocketing is a thing that you can do for RP, but be gentle with it as it can derail a game and turn completing the scenario into the party members being forced to testify against you as you get hauled off to jail. PFS GMs have permission to bring in the guards and punish characters who go off the rails by wantonly committing crimes and acts of great chaos or evil.
As to alignment, pickpocketting is more of a chaotic act than a good/evil act. Good and evil can apply if you are either being Robin Hood or stealing the last food from a poor orphan. Like all alignment questions, talk to your table GM, it's not regulated from on high.
The main thing as far as annoying players is going to be the time involved. Doing it once or twice for flavor, or to get a macgiffin for the group should be fine. Spending more than 5-10 minutes on it during a 5 hour session might be too much.
There is a cap on how much gold you can leave a scenario with, but in the case of a player who had a character like you describe, I have let him use his ill-gotten gains for buying drinks and paying bribes. Again, don't assume this, it's up to the GM. Communication is good. The guide does instruct us to reward creative solutions.
Mummy's mask details the relationship between the two, but it's not sanctioned for play currently, and not every GM can be expected to know that speakers of the two languages can understand each other. In PFS I suggest you treat them as two different languages unless you have an approved additional resource than explains that you can understand the other language if a GM questions you about it.
In 2011, on the heels of a successful Charcon, a group of interested parties gathered and put together a plan. On January 15, 2012 we held the first open Pathfinder Society game at the Rifleman in South Charleston, WV. It’s hard to believe that we are almost at the second anniversary of Pathfinder Society at the Rifleman. I have met so many amazing people and we've grown much more that I ever could have imagined. We’re not just a bunch of people who play the same game, but a real family of life long friends. I think this calls for a celebration!
On Saturday, January 11th, 2014 we are renting the American Legion Hall in St. Albans, WV and we will be running games starting at 10:00 AM and going all day and night. We will be offering full length modules and scenario series that cannot be easily finished in the normal 5 hour limit at the store. We will have at least six tables but we will expand as we need to. If you want to reserve a spot, use the Event Registration link on WVGeo.com. There is no admission fee, but we do ask that you bring a donation to help pay for the site and snacks, drinks or a dish to share with everyone else. The site has a kitchen that we can use.
Due to the generous donations from your fellow players a few unused convention boons are up for grabs and a few prizes available.
So far we have the following events lined up:
If you would like to play or run, you can contact me by IM here, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WVPathfinder/.
This is something that we are dealing with in my local group at the moment, as we have a number of people starting to enter mid-level play. Our experienced players are well honed teams at this point and it's intimidating to try to hold your own beside them. They often just rise to the challenge of just beating the encounter without helping explain what to do, or how they did. Everyone learns differently, and not everyone can make a couple forum searches and buy things from a list. Bullying is never acceptable. The process of encountering challenges, and overcoming them is one of the big parts of the game. Those bullies are wrong. How can you be used to something that you have never encountered?
Something that my group of friends came up with as we were playing through 3.0 was the 'never again list'. Periodically you run into things that just make things hard and you have to completely change your tactics to deal with them. The first time you deal with incorporeal creatures, the first time an invisible opponent comes your way, etc. When these situations happened, our characters promised each other that never again would we be surprised by them. Learning by explerience caused us to have a number of interesting tricks, and we remembered them because every one had a story behind it.
The first time we fought shadows our group was in a world of hurt. We had no magic weapons, our spells were mostly used up and we were taking a beating. The only means we had of doing much at all was my ranger's wand of cure light wounds. We used it and eventually prevailed but it was very close. We said, "never again." When we ran into a ghost in the next adventure, it didn't last long.
You don't have to be prepared for everything, but prepare for what you or your character knows about. Encountering and overcoming new challenges is a big part of the game, and it is what makes your character's story. Listen to other players, look at the advice you find here on the forum. Browse through the books and look for neat things in the equipment and magic chapter and think of how they might be used. If you come up with your own tricks, you can remember to use them better.
I noticed that at least one of your characters is a spellcaster. Spellcasters have it a lot easier than most in dealing with unusual situations. You can learn new spells that can help deal with these situations. You can get a lot of mileage out of asking the group advice on which spells to prepare, and there will be times where you can seek out new spells to teach to your familiar once you know where you are going.
Higher level play is the reward for making it past level 6. At this point your characters start feeling realy strong. They are like superheroes compared to the average NPC, but even Superman gets beaten up pretty bad before he figures out how to overcome the villain. Improvise, Adapt, Overcome. If it doesn't kill you, (or cause you to run out of prestige) you can learn from it and your character has another "You want to know how I got this scar" story to tell as it shows off its new cold iron sword. Don't get discouraged, just try to learn a new trick every time and you will be awesome.
CharCon is THE West Virginia Gaming Convention
Charleston Civic Center
Charcon is growing and expanding and offering 50 tables of Pathfinder play. Join us for the convention interactive Blood Under Absalom and the only chance to play the Ruins of Bonekeep in the state this year.
Registration and lodging information can be found at CharCon.org.
Charleston is conveniently located within easy driving distance of several major metropolitan areas:
Columbus, OH 3 hours
I hope to see you there!
I'd like to congratulate Netopalis for reaching his 100th game this last weekend during our Year of the Shadow Lodge game day in Princeton, WV. This impressive feat is made even more so in that he accomplished this 10 months. His first role playing game ever was at Charcon last year on October 19th.
Well done! Thank you for all your hard work and enthusiasm.
Venture Lieutenants do not get the same rewards as Venture Captains. They have to abide by the legal agreements that Venture Captains agree to, and they have responsibilities assigned to them by the Venture-Captain that recruits them. They get access to some Pathfinder Society related material, and the ability to run the -EX scenario each season. That's about it.
In my area, I look for people who are already doing the work that I need a Lieutenant to be doing. (That's how I got my job, so it works) I ask them to organize a regular event in their assigned area, GM at least once a month at that event and run games at local conventions. Every Venture-Captain will have their own requirements.
Oh, and you have to fetch drinks when the VC's glass is empty. That's very important. :)
GMs are not required to have a copy of the book and they are not guaranteed to have internet access, so the Guide to Organized play asks that you provide a copy of the book or a print from it if any rules questions arise. While many GMs will not bother to ask for it or have their own copies of the book, a GM is within their rights to deny you the use of the item if you cannot show them the rules for how it works that come from a Paizo book or document.
NOG the Demoralizer wrote:
I read his message too fast, and I apologize. I also thought to offer one, but I am out right now because I tend to give them away to my players in similar circumstances and I was a victim of bad luck not getting any at Origins this year. That said, if he had played far enough into the scenario I would still consider offering him the chronicle sheet for it. Don's idea of emailing Mike Brock is a very good idea.
Encouraging a pool of GMs is the way to go. I am fortunate enough to be in an area where I have a good number of people willing to GM, but there are things you can do to make it better. I usually have things ready for when when someone makes a comment that they would maybe like to GM sometime. I grab a copy of a scenario that I have already run and let them borrow it. I let them prepare it on their own time with the agreement that they will have it ready for emergencies. You can ask them which scenario they would be interested in running, or maybe offer the one you just finished running so they can get GM credit also. There are many lists of scenarios on these forums that are good for first time GMs.
As far as the guy who gave up his seat, I would probably have offered him a choice of whether to take the chronicle sheet or not. Give him the option of replaying the scenario for credit at some later point. That can be more important to some people. I'd also consider grabbing a convention boon that I havent used and offer it to him if I have any.
Selfless behavior like this is to be encouraged. Those kids seeing him being rewarded for his selfless behavior will go a long way to creating the kind of group that we all want to have.
To be fair, the question comes up more during character creation and discussion of character concepts that it does in actual play in my area. When it does, I give the speech. I am very fortunate to have a great bunch of players who avoid a lot of this behavior. Maybe when people realize that they can't grief the good guys they decide not to, but I'm not complaining.
The only necromancer in my area that sees regular play is a bones oracle who was built with getting into interesting conversations with good characters in mind. She generally tries to create undead out of non-sentient creatures or summon evil souls to give them one last chance at redemption in the service of good before being destroyed. The player understands that undead are always evil, and enjoys being creepy, but allows for and relishes the RP opportunities for playing with good characters.
When I run into this, I explain that paladins (and all members of the Pathfinder Society *looks directly at the almost evil Cheliaxian types*) take an oath on their honor to uphold the three rules, Explore, Report, Cooperate. They are honor bound to work within those rules. Characters do not have to like other characters, they do not have to approve of their methods and they could be hated enemies that could want kill each other and be fully justified in doing so, but while working for the Society they are required to cooperate by that oath.
Deities are complex creatures who can see farther than characters, and would usually allow their servants to be in the presence of other people who do bad things. When you consider that Pathfinders will be the ones to encounter many great evils it seems obvious that a deity would want her servant to be in a place to deal with that evil when it arises. The Pharasman cleric should not be in any danger of needing an atonement for not immediately squashing the undead, especially given the arrangement to destroy them after. Pharasma wants that cleric to be in place so that when the big boss at the end of the season, who has avoided her judgement for to way too long gets his due, she can see it happen. There is no suspension of dispelief needed.
We have an example in the Death's Heretic novel where a priest of Pharasma was allowed to serve and represent her, even though he was going against doctrine for an extended period. She sent a servant to deal with him, she didn't suddenly change his spell list. GMs can be much more capricious than gods are, and need to remember the don't be a jerk rule as well. Paizo likes the morally ambiguous neutral ground where characters are challenged and that creates good stories. Both good and neutral-icky characters are necessary for that storytelling. We need to make PFS a place where they can coexist, even if it drives our characters (but not our players) crazy.
TL/DR: What BNW said just now.
The things that are recorded on your chronicle sheets are not necessarily positive things. Some are good things and others may cause penalties to be assessed in future scenarios. The effect of that item is still to be determined, and it may or may not be a good thing to have.
That said, the amount of money and items you find in the scenario is not changed either way. It's just a way to record how your story plays out.
Jewel City Game Con was created to bring a european style board game tournament to the Huntington, WV area. In its second year it has expanded to include miniature and role-playing games and Pathfinder Society will be a big part of that. We are looking for players and GMs. We will post scenarios in this thread once the schedule is finalized.
Friday, April 19
Pathfinder: 1-6pm (ballroom) and 7pm-12am (upstairs)
7pm: Ballroom closes...escape to the upstairs gaming areas (or face the VFW band at your own peril)
Saturday, April 20
7pm: Ballroom closes...escape to the upstairs gaming areas (or face the VFW band at your own peril)
Sunday, April 21
Everyone 10 and up:
Assumed is the word used in the Guide to Organized Play. It's not a very strong word. There are a number of places where a strict reading of this assumption does not seem to be absolutely necessary.
With the first level rebuild rules, if a player wanted to have a different faction they say "I am using the rebuild rules to make a character just like Valeros, but is a member of the Andoran faction. However you want to word it, the effect is the same. This would also apply when using a higher level pregen to start a new first level character, as faction for that character can be changed at whim until the character is played above first level.
In a situation where a person is playing a pregen at a higher level than an existing character, that pregen should be able to use the faction of the character that is going to get the credit, since that character has to deal with the ramifications of actions in the scenario.
In most practical circumstances I feel it's acceptible to use the Grand Lodge as a default and not change it unless the player wants to play a different faction. There are corner cases where someone may decide to eat a scenario in order use a low risk to chance to push their faction agenda. That small risk is not worth having to tell a player that they can't play the faction they like.