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Mekkis's page

FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 315 posts (341 including aliases). No reviews. 3 lists. 1 wishlist. 15 Pathfinder Society characters. 4 aliases.


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This has come up before, and my opinion on it ( s-a-bit-over-the#60).

As has been pointed out elsewhere in this thread, the way the retraining rules are written opens them up to being able to create characters that are otherwise impossible. (eg. a second-level magus with power attack)

I doubt that this was the intention - it goes against one of the issues with D&D3.5 highlighted by Jason Buhlman in 2008 - that characters (especially multiclassed ones) were impossible to audit.

Given the potential for exploitation here, the reaction has been to limit this by making the costs for retraining "approximately suitable" when attempting to abuse the retraining rules in this way.

As a result, retraining poor character levelling decisions is prohibitively expensive.


Landon Hatfield wrote:

Mantis' Prey spoilers:

Torch admits (under a candle of truth no less, that the Shadow Lodge had gotten out of his control, and he'd never intended it to become what it did under the Spider. We're not saying he's an angel or a saint, but just that maybe, just maybe, he's not as much to blame as others seem to believe.


More Mantis' Prey spoilers:

It's actually an image of Torch there. Who knows whether the image is actually affected by a candle of truth?


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Kahel Stormbender wrote:
Then again, those stupid strong characters always have a weakness. Such as the combat monster who suddenly goes from decemating the enemies to either decimating their allies or just sitting in the corner after being Dominated/Suggestioned/Charmed. Or the skill monkey who focused so heavily on having Every Single Knowledge Skill that they can't fight very well, and an unheightened Grease causes them to faceplant regularly.

The issue is that "always have a weakness" doesn't matter when the "weakness to domination" comes up every one in ten scenarios. It doesn't improve the experience of the other players the other 90% of the time.


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Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I'm not going to argue perceptions.

Maybe you should.

Most of the PFS organisational rules are based on trust - they're very difficult to enforce, and if enforced to the letter, would result in players - in the words of Mike Brock - "finding a different hobby".

The more punitive and inconvenient rules are perceived to be, the more justified a player might be to ignore them.

The people at our tables aren't our employees or our students. If the rule doesn't pass the common sense test or doesn't seem fair, it degrades the community's respect for the leadership.

Once this is lost, people are more likely to abuse loopholes or flat out ignore rulings.

Maintaining a perception of balance and fairness is paramount.

Programs like Gimp and Photoshop are designed for image editing.

What you're trying to do is pagesetting - which is a different operation entirely. Sure, if pushed, Gimp could probably do it, but it's not designed for it.

When I print out maps, I use inkscape. You can create a 1" grid (file->document properties-> grids tab), then resize your image to fit it.

The advantage of using something page-based is that you can guarantee that no scaling will be attempted by your printer.


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Andrew Christian wrote:

Most spellcasters are SAD (single ability dependent) classes, and if optimized can get spell DCs that far outstrip the CR system. This is fine for the most part, if the balancing issues of action economy and diminishing resources is maintained. If you bypass either or both of these balancing factors completely, then the issue with SAD spell DCs becomes exponentially exacerbated by allowing the spam of save or suck spells and abilities that the monster will likely fail, and this is the crux, every single round of every single encounter.

Personal anecdote: had a player of a witch who's slumber hex was a really difficult DC, spam slumber every round, while his familiar used an ill omen wand, and made

** spoiler omitted **

To save to not fall asleep.

The problem isn't a spell that bypasses some of the balancing issues with a wizard, since it does require resources to achieve this mitigation. But rather the familiar that also bypasses the action economy built in to balance the spell.

The issue with Ill Omen on that monster is that it's at caster level 1. With that monster's SR of 24, it's impossible for the wand to have any effect.

It's interesting how you bring up the witch here: Channel the Gift doesn't really affect a witch's ability to spam save-or-suck effects with a DC equivalent to a top-level spell.

Ultimately, it appears that the Pathfinder Design Team, starting with the APG, decided that it was reasonable for classes to have at-will abilities with save DCs of this magnitude (see: witch, alchemist, shaman...). Unfortunately, I think the horse has bolted on this.


Paul Jackson wrote:
Mekkis wrote:

One thing that I find extremely worrying in this thread is the attitude that level 1 is something that should be skipped where possible, either by playing evergreens or applying GM credits.

I personally think that this is a very dangerous attitude - especially towards new players who do not have the ability to apply GM credits or similar. Without the more experienced players (and the people who are GMing on the other side of the screen) experiencing play at level 1 - especially with the recent scenarios can give GMs inaccurate readings of the table's capabilities at best, and can dissuade new players from sticking around at worst.

Unlimited GM credits will make this worse.


But so many characters just SUCK at level 1 that I don't want to play them there. I figure that level 1 is a combination of bad game design and making new players pay their dues. I've paid my dues :-)

So new players should 'pay their dues' due to some 'bad game design'?

Maybe we should instead look at changing the XP system: maybe allow players to get "triple credit" for playing a scenario with a new character at level 1 - allow characters to level to two after their first scenario?


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One thing that I find extremely worrying in this thread is the attitude that level 1 is something that should be skipped where possible, either by playing evergreens or applying GM credits.

I personally think that this is a very dangerous attitude - especially towards new players who do not have the ability to apply GM credits or similar. Without the more experienced players (and the people who are GMing on the other side of the screen) experiencing play at level 1 - especially with the recent scenarios can give GMs inaccurate readings of the table's capabilities at best, and can dissuade new players from sticking around at worst.

Unlimited GM credits will make this worse.

That being said, I'm all in favour of it being a real thing. The presence of PC Native Outsiders screws with a lot of NPC tactics that call for spells like Hold Person and Dominate Person.

The biggest question (I don't know if this has ever been resolved) is whether your spellcasting ability is lost as you project a shadow. Unfortunately, it's unclear what the intention of Shadow Projection is...

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I think the best use of the spellcasting would be planar binding/planar ally to get some divine being to put an end to this religious debate.

Dervish dance with spell combat might still work, but the only reason it does is Paizo's inane errata policy. I'm hoping that they'll correct it somewhere down the line.


I think the bigger issue is that it seems that whenever a new ruleset comes out, it seems that it gets shoehorned into a PFS scenario, even if the ruleset is ridiculous, broken, nonfunctional or unnecessary - take Mass Combat and Chase Scenes as other examples.

Expect to see a scenario about Kingdom Building in season eight...


Lau Bannenberg wrote:

I think there's a matter of degrees between a normal healthy fun story with a beginning and (intended) end, and a railroading monstrosity.

Mists of Mwangi:
One of the complaints about Mists of Mwangi is that if you walk straight down the hallway, you short-circuit most of the adventure. After defeating the boss everything else returns to normal so the other encounters disappear.

Mists of Mwangi: A good case to hand faction missions out.


Nefreet wrote:
You should probably tell your friends that their "gifts" are technically illegal. Not just in the PFS sense, but as in illegally distributing digital media under U.S. Law.

Unless you are versed in the ins and outs of US intellectual property law, avoid making blanket statements about whether or not this is "technically illegal". Fair Use, for instance, may cover this.

Accusing people of being criminals isn't a good idea in the first place.

Regardless of whether or not it is illegal, you can't use PDFs with other people's watermarks to satisfy the Additional Resources requirements.


Season 0: Asmodeus Mirage was memorable
Season 1: Hall of Drunken Heroes all the way
Season 2: Murder on the Throaty Mermaid was impressive
Season 3: Immortal Conundrum. Also First Steps 1 and 3.
Season 4: Sanos Abduction!
Season 5: Library of the Lion
Season 6 sucked. Especially the technology.
Season 7: So far it's been Bid for Alabstine


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Looks like we're back to native outsiders ruining scenarios.

I love it when all those humanoid-only spells are listed in tactics.


Murdock Mudeater wrote:

While I understand the point of the retraining rules are to limit players that swap character rules often, the PP costs seem like overkill, as the player is left with a considerably poorer and lower PP than their fellows. This, in turn, results in an unbalanced character when compared to other characters with the normal levels of PP and gold gains.

As this thread has probably shown, retraining rules are not used to make an unviable character viable. If your character is unviable, your best bet is either to get your hands on a free retrain boon (rare as hen's teeth), or hope that an errata comes along that allows you to retrain for free.

What people are using the retraining rules for is to either end up with a character that would have otherwise been impossible to make (for example, Pirate Rob's D-dooring Horizon Walker), or to allow a character to make a short-term decision without worrying about the longer-term consequences (Cleave being an obvious example).

Whether this was what was intended, I don't know. But your understanding - looking at it from the context of 'swapping a character' is not how it works.

Lab_Rat wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
What I think isn't appreciated enough by the developers is the "change fatigue" caused by their drastic errata process. Every time you need to relearn which bits of a book were actually good enough to use leads to change fatigue. Every time your physical book becomes tragically outdated because a significant chunk of the stuff that's good and useful will change in the next printing.

Let's just say that Paizo did start to put internally driven changes into the FAQ to the point that the only thing new in an errata would be grammar issues. Don't you think that this would drive just as much fatigue?

Now rather than one big adjustment process, you are always having to check the FAQ for stealth FAQs. They change one item that effects your character and just when you are used to that change they do change something else. Then they decide after much uproar that maybe that change was too much and so they change it to something in the middle. And every time this happens, PFS rules change and poor John has to make a post regarding how you can sell back your items and rebuild your character.

In an ideal world, no errata would be necessary.

However, at the moment we have a couple of systems:

1. FAQs - these are split between Rules Clarifications, and stealth errata. There are a couple of cases where poorly thought out clarifications (often phrased as a certain interpretation rather than an overt errata) resulted in undesirable unforeseen consequences. An example of this would be the SLA ruling that was used for early entry into prestige classes.

2. Errata - these only get released when a new printing of a book is released, sentencing much of the Pathfinder Chronicle and Companion line to never receiving the errata it deserves. In addition, because it is set in stone when it is printed, Paizo tend to be very conservative about it. An example here would be the Bracers of Falcon's Aim, which was nerfed into uselessness.

The issue is that when an FAQ comes out, it still causes issues - sometimes it's unclear as to whether it was an actual rule change or not. Indeed, they are often worded as a "this is how it's always been interpreted" rather than a "this was printed incorrectly; it should have been different". Compare and contrast the SLA ruling with the Ring of Continuity FAQ-based stealth errata.

It is better to acknowledge that what is being done is errata, and mark it as such. I shouldn't need to refer to the FAQ to know what the rules are.


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Why don't we start rotating classes? ;)

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I believe that this is PFS related, because errata has a much more pronounced effect when one is required to abide by it. (If it isn't, feel free to move it).

This is a feeling that I've had for the past few years, and the recent printing of Ultimate Equipment finally made me post it.

Paizo staff are human, humans make mistakes.

When a published book has an error in it, errata is the only way to properly correct the error. An FAQ might 'clarify' the material (and even change it), and the Campaign Coordinator may choose to disallow it if it is a class or item, but the only way to really fix it is with errata.

And this is where the problems start occurring.

In my time playing PFS, the two most pronounced sets of errata have been the Ultimate Combat changes to various feats (like Crane Style), and these recent Ultimate Equipment changes.

Because of Paizo's policy of "we only errata when we reprint", many of the changes appear rushed, more for the purpose of ensuring that the rules are not abused than resulting in a balanced fix.

This also comes up with further issues with some of the fixes having unintended consequences, such as the Ring of Inner Fortitude negating polymorph spells. And since the second printing has already been typeset and probably sent to the printers, it's unlikely to be properly fixed in the next two years.

I understand that Paizo is not a large company, and that there are always development pressures, but as it stands, there is currently no good method to correct an error.

What we need is a revision of way the errata is issued. It should be decoupled from the release of new books, making it more easily modified and giving a better chance for it to be applied to less popular products. When a new printing of a book is needed, it can be applied and typeset.


meepothegreat wrote:
Mekkis wrote:

As a player, I don't want to be compelled to purchase a new book, just because it contains an updated version of a legal option that my character has been using for years. It's bad PR and breeds resentment.

It also affects my back and my luggage allowance.

I know it doesn't work for everyone, but the pdf's really helped me with this. Now I just carry a core rule book. (I actually gave it away recently to a little girl who was playing and didn't have one.)

Regardless, compelling people to purchase a new book, even a PDF, is horrible policy.


As a player, I don't want to be compelled to purchase a new book, just because it contains an updated version of a legal option that my character has been using for years. It's bad PR and breeds resentment.

It also affects my back and my luggage allowance.

Jason Wu wrote:

There is a feat which allows multiple arms beyond the normal to add attacks, Multiweapon Fighting

This is incorrect. With multiple arms, you have a single "primary hand", and the rest are "off-hands". With the primary hand, you take -6 to hit, and the secondary hands take -10 to hit, similar to two-weapon fighting. This is in addition to attacks granted by your BAB.

For example, with a dex of 16, and a BAB of +7, your six-armed eidolon could attack as follows:

+4 (primary with -6) / -1 (primary iterative with -6) / +0 (secondary) / +0 (tertiary).

Generally, you do not get additional attacks from BAB to non-primary hands.


Before we do something like this, would it be possible to get data on how many level 5+ characters were reported as dead at the last gencon?

We may be blowing the issue out of proportion.


I think the problem here is the free/swift action teleports.


The way I look at "would that be okay by my alignment" discussions is "If you have to ask, it's probably okay". Alignment is designed as a roleplaying aid. No need to look to far into it.


Obviously it's a much-awaited sequel to Slave-master's mirror. (5-9)


My inquisitor (who dumped charisma) used it (and a shirt reroll) to get Holy Sword cast on his weapon. +5 holy makes a nice dent.

The concentration check DC would be 10 + the CMB of the person doing the tying, + spell level. However, if they're being questioned at the time, I'd give the PCs an action to stop them (treat as a readied action).

If you're feeling difficult, you'd call it a surprise round, roll initiative, have him 'start casting the spell' and allow anyone who beat him in initiative to take a standard action to stop him.

I would have no problem allowing that ring in my game. For 36000gp, doing 10d6 damage as a touch attack is not at all overpowered. I wouldn't allow it to be activated as part of Spell Combat (if that's what you have in mind). (Although that might be more because of my opinions towards magi rather than anything else).

Looking at the opportunity cost, you can pick up a +4 weapon for 32000gp, which in the right hands would do more than 35 average damage per round.

In all practicality, it'd be unlikely for the ring to be used more that 10 times a day. Probably closer to 4.


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Murdock Mudeater wrote:

Actually don't have any interest in playing an EVIL character. I just like the lines drawn as to what is what. When I build a character, I like to know what my options are, and what the options mean.

With something like "is this evil", I prefer that we don't draw lines in the sand: it's just adds fuel for arguments (as if the whole alignment system isn't flamebait enough). It's something where context is very important, and a hard and fast rule often does more harm than good.


UndeadMitch wrote:

BM has a much smaller investment and usually pays for itself with the first Raise Dead. And that's not even counting all the other spells with expensive components that BM takes care of (Stoneskin, et al).

The fact is, Blood Money + Raise dead comes online, at the earliest, at 10th level (which requires a significant investment in multiclassing). Otherwise an 11th level witch can handle it (although not dumping str in either of these cases is again an investment that doesn't bear fruit for most of a Pathfinder's career).

Regardless, at 10th and 11th level, the ability to raise someone for free isn't actually that powerful an effect: it's only useful after a party has already found themselves on the short end of the stick. How many pathfinders end up Permanently Dead post-9th level anyway?

If we're talking how Blood Money affects the economy, I think the biggest effect that PFS rules effect the economy is how most long-duration (often permanent) spells with material components (Symbol of Revelation, etc) don't carry across between scenarios. I'm not advocating that they should, but blood money makes these spells playable.


Lorewalker wrote:
rknop wrote:

Have people actually seen this abused in play?

If I were GMing and I had a player attempt to use a Heightened Mount followed by Alter Summoned Monster, I would say no. Even though nominally I'd be in violation of the PFS rules for doing this (strict RAW, etc.), it's so clear that the spell is not supposed to be able to do the Mount cheese that disallowing it is just an anticipation of an inevitable ruling. However, I'd certainly allow the spell for turning one Summon Monster III monster into another.

That is clearly in violation of the PFS Guidelines.

PFS Guide wrote:

"As a Pathfinder Society GM, you have the right and

responsibility to make whatever judgements, within the
rules, that you feel are necessary at your table to ensure
everyone has a fair and fun experience. This does not
mean you can contradict rules or restrictions outlined in
this document, a published Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
source, errata document, or official FAQ on
What it does mean is that only you can judge what is right
for your table during cases not covered in these sources."

You don't have to like an option, but table GMs are not in charge of what options are allowed at a table. Otherwise you are running house rules.

Your options for removal of an option are the same as your options for the addition of an option, petitioning on the boards.

This is not the removal of an option. This is a sensible interpretation of the printed rules. It is unthinkable to interpret that this second-level spell was intended to be able to turn a long-duration out-of-combat summoning spell (like Mount) into a creature that's balanced for in-combat short-duration fighting. If such a thing was intended, it would have been printed in there - it is so out-of-line from established expectations that its omission should speak volumes.

As I see it, Alter Summoned Monster was designed to allow a conjurer to switch between different summonable monsters, or even to upgrade numerous smaller monsters.

Not to turn Heightened Mounts into 9-hour-long Large Earth Elementals.

I generally don't believe that the removal of options should be based on theorycraft. After all, an injection of common sense into the game goes a long way - from both sides of the screen.


For the record, there is no reference to Rules As Written in the Guide.

It is simply: Do not contradict written rules, and run scenarios as written.

As a Pathfinder Society GM, you have the right and
responsibility to make whatever judgements, within the
rules, that you feel are necessary at your table to ensure
everyone has a fair and fun experience. This does not
mean you can contradict rules or restrictions outlined in
this document, a published Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
source, errata document, or official FAQ on


Bob Jonquet wrote:
It is unlikely that the resolution will be posted here (as is not typical) especially so if the decision is punitive.

That being said, I think we all would benefit from some general guidance about how to handle situations where a player or two are causing good players to stop attending sessions.

As I see it, the reasoning is that Invisibility clearly states:

prd wrote:

Items dropped or put down by an invisible creature become visible; items picked up disappear if tucked into the clothing or pouches worn by the creature. Light, however, never becomes invisible, although a source of light can become so (thus, the effect is that of a light with no visible source). Any part of an item that the subject carries but that extends more than 10 feet from it becomes visible.

There are a couple of things that can prevent this 'disparity' being blown out of proportion.

The obvious one is time constraints - if you're enabling a 'fifteen-minute adventuring day', it is obvious that spellcasters are benefiting much more than non-casters.

What I do in response to most of the theorycrafted arguments that seem to come up in discussions like these (blood money + simulacrum; various different ways of getting unlimited wishes, etc) is to take it ingame, and let the players know that if such an exploit was possible, other people would already be doing it. There is an in-universe reason why it's not happening (and if the player wants to find out what it is, then they're welcome to try and prepare for the consequences...)

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

Gotta disagree. How many classes did PF have in 2008? Eleven. How many does it have now? [checks] 11 core, 8 base, 3 alternate, 10 hybrid, 6 occult = 38. If you don't look at the endlessly proliferating list of classes, archetypes, spells, feats and options and see bloat then, shrug, well then I guess you don't. But most of the rest of us do.

Also four unchained classes, bring it to 42.

For the record, by the end of 3.5, it had 38 base classes - including obscure stuff from the Paizo-published Dragon Magazine.

With regards to classes, Paizo has leaped ahead of 3.5. I believe it is still lagging behind with regards to prestige classes, but it makes up for that with the literal hundreds of archetypes available.


Mike Bramnik wrote:

Obviously, if AR says that an older one is no longer legal, that's the rule (like with Armored Kilts and Scorpion Whips).

For the record, the OLDER version of the scorpion whip (the one in the Adventurer's Armoury) is the one that IS legal. The version in Ultimate Equipment is not legal.

Has anyone had issues where a player bought one from UE and was forced to buy AA in order to maintain a legal character?


Ascalaphus wrote:

There should never be the situation where you own an old but still legal resource, and have to refer to a new, different source that you don't own.

Either the old book is no longer a legal source for the item, or every legal source is a stand-alone source for the item.

I want to expand on this and state that there should never be a situation where the release of a new source forces a player to buy it in order to continue playing their character - either allow a full rebuild, or grandfather it in.


I find it interesting the selection of scenarios your GM is putting you through, and there might be a reason for this.

From one perspective, it seems to be a combination of two factors:
You have a GM who wants to provide a challenge to the party; and
You have a character who is trivialising most challenges.

I can see that this would cause an escalation of a GM vs Player mentality, which would explain why the GM keeps running scenarios that are not trivialised by your character.

I would suggest speaking with your GM and coming up with an agreement where you all start over with new characters, and provide a bit more balance for everyone.

Very interested in the bulk discounts for poisons. I hope there's the crunch to back it up.


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A couple of reasons: Firstly, it's never considered a 'good' act, so there aren't people arguing that. Secondly, it's pretty difficult to pull off: you need serious levels of wizard or cleric to do it, so it doesn't come up much. Finally, it seems that trying to negotiate a deal with a devil in a summoning circle is so fraught with dangers (the kind of Definitely Table Variation dangers), that they're dealt with pretty quickly.


One of the ways to speed up animal companions in combat is to allow them to act on their masters' initiative. It does give them a small advantage, but it prevents a player being required to handle multiple actions at multiple different times in a round.

When Brock GMed for me, that was how he ran it.

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One thing that I would like to see is errata being issued independently of a new printing. This allows a few positive results:

- FAQs can remain as rules clarifications, and can be separated from actual changes.
- It allows community feedback of errata to be taken into account after errata has been released but before the next set of books is sent to the printers.
- After the first set of Ultimate Combat errata, several abilities needed to be recorrected to actually work. This could have been corrected prior to the release of the second printing had errata already been released.

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I generally have a very open policy. In the game I run, I allow everything from the core rulebook, and I will generally allow anything from any other books (including third-party publications), but I will read over them before I allow them.

I don't buy into the argument that Paizo's publications are necessarily more balanced than third-party stuff.


Joe Ducey wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
TClifford wrote:
is it okay for a Paladin to case Infernal Healing on themselves

If you can give me a good reason why, sure.

I can't think of one off the top of my head, though.

Fighting in the worldwound and you're running out of resources but know how to turn the blood of the demons you've slain into healing for you and your comrades?

Infernal healing requires devil blood. I shudder to think what substituting it with demon blood would result in...


Andrew Christian wrote:
Mekkis wrote:

As far as I can tell, you're saying that the potential for punitive measures on the off chance that Paizo FAQs or erratas something is an effective deterrent to creating overpowered characters.

I said nothing of the sort. I'm not about creating a system to try and stop rule abuse.

That and not wanting to allow more opportunities for such are completely different concepts.

And John and the rest of campaign management and Paizo as a whole has done a great job of allowing great options. So I'm not seeing how any actions they have taken are punitive.

Maybe I read your previous comments incorrectly, I apologise.

Could you clarify that you believe that opening up rebuilding in the case of errata would cause a rise in powergaming? Or does your opposition to the idea stem from something else?


Benjamin Falk, Andrew Christian:

As far as I can tell, you're saying that the potential for punitive measures on the off chance that Paizo FAQs or erratas something is an effective deterrent to creating overpowered characters.

The presence of overpowered characters under these current measures is evident that this is not effective.

I have asked several of the munchkins in my local community if they are concerned about this, and they general response ranges from "It's a good way of getting Paizo to fix their mistakes", to "I'll worry about that if it happens.". (There was also one player who expressed that they "made this character to get back at Paizo for banning the vivisectionist.")

We should also take into account the other people who are inconvenienced by these measures. The policy is not only punishing the powergamers.

Another more insidious measure that the current policy causes is the view that the PFS leadership does not respect the players affected by the changes. This leads to resentment, and a lack of respect for both this policy, and other policy. When a player self-justifies an unsanctioned rebuild, they are more likely to (for instance), self-justify other unwarranted behaviour.

To conclude:

I feel that the use of punitive measures in response to errata is ineffective as a deterrent to powergaming, and does considerably more harm than good.

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