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I think that one facet to it is regional variation. I'm probably less travelled than some of you here, but the power level and table size differences between Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Singapore are clear, and that definitely affects the difficulty of a scenario.
Regions with a 'culture of powergaming', especially where most tables have the full six players, will naturally have an easier time at scenarios than those without.
Erick Wilson wrote:
Erick, I feel that this is not your original issue. Yes, there is an issue of powergaming, but your original post wasn't referencing this.
I agree that errata-based rebuilds should be more flexible, and that sort of thing, but going massively off-topic here won't help at all. This is something you should start a new topic regarding.
Matthew Morris wrote:
I know that PFS is an honour system. I personally do ask to see certain PDFs for certain obscure items (Adventurer's Armoury, for instance). That being said, I don't - and I can't - expect to be able to view every previous character sheet that a character has used previously, to ensure that they haven't been rebuilding without remit.
Even if I had suspicion that it had occurred, it would end up being my word against theirs.
I definitely don't advocate people rebuilding their characters as such, but in these circumstances, I can understand why it happens.
Matthew Morris wrote:
The fact is, a death occurs ingame, according to the rules of the game. If a character is made ineffective due to a rules change, the player really has no real control over that happening.
Matthew Morris wrote:
We saw this attitude a lot - "You got caught powergaming when a rules change occurred. Now you're being punished and those hundreds of hours you invested in your character are useless." I can't see how that makes the campaign better.
I personally have issues with the level of powergaming that we see in PFS (it has indirectly caused quite a few character deaths locally, due to that sector's insistence that 'PFS is easy'), but 'punishing' those who are caught out in a rules change is not the solution.
GM Lamplighter wrote:
Perhaps. Or the fact that as they have more experience, the loss of a single character would not hamper their ability to play scenarios with their friends, due to not having an effective character at a given level.
I have a 8th level character who is built around using Spirited Charge. Were they to errata that feat to be less effective, and not permit a significant rebuild (including ability scores and prerequisite feats), that character would effectively be shelved. This would as not be much of a problem for me, as I have several other characters in that level range, compared to a newer player who now has his only high-level character made ineffective, and as a result, is unable to participate in scenarios with the characters his characters has built up a roleplaying relationship with.
The crux of the matter is that unless you happen to have GMs with the memory that Andrew Christian claims, the rules preventing a small rebuild are near unenforceable. If a local player decided that his most recent feat wasn't useful after having it for a session and quietly changed it, it is very unlikely that he would be caught.
That being said, and I applaud Erick Wilson for doing this, rules should be followed, and bad rules should be amended, not ignored. He could have quietly modified his character, and pleaded ignorance if the question was raised, but instead is coming out with a well thought out, reasoned post.
This sort of thing has happened previously, when the synthesist was banned (although it seems that there have been some edits to both the blog post, and Mike Brock's comments). For a few hours (possibly before significant backlash), Campaign Leadership was fine with 'punishing' players who might have been abusing certain classes, by forcing them to play ineffective characters. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and the ruling was overturned.
At the end of the day, even without allowing rebuilds, the player who has planned his character out to be the most powerful, and planned every feat and class level from level 1 will end up with a more streamlined character than a player who levels his characters up as they come, in a more organic fashion. Disallowing character corrections due to errata hurts the inexperienced player much, much more than the experienced player. And that class of player is really where the future of PFS lies.
I am cursed with a rather good memory for scenarios - I still remember the plot, enemies and complications that occurred when I played my first scenario, back in 2009.
I have always been of the opinion to play a scenario before I GM it, or if I'm required to eat a scenario, to not play it subsequently. Until around 2011, I believe that this was official policy, although now it's been degraded to a 'strong recommendation'.
Recently, a situation has arisen where I have been assigned to GM a scenario at a local convention, literally one hour after playing it, and I'm unsure about how to handle this situation. I can either read it prior to playing it, thus spoiling it for myself, and possibly the rest of the table, or I can avoid reading it, and end up running the scenario on one hours' prep, which given the complexities of Season Five scenarios, seems to be a bad idea.
What should I do in this situation?
PSA: GM Star Replays Do Not Renew (and if you think they do, you probably have the wrong version of the Guide)
Patrick Harris @ MU wrote:
With all due respect, the fact that it keeps coming up is the definition of a Frequently Asked Question.
Unless we really think that the FAQs are nothing but a place for stealth-errata, this fits right in.
The Morphling wrote:
This kind of reasoning is why we have so many "neutral" enemies dominating, and so many evil ones simply using confusion.
This clear spindle abuse should not be encouraged.
Of course factions are on the wane. Characters now have very few opportunities to actually serve their faction.
My Silver Crusade sorcerer, for instance, formerly had 52 faction missions available for him to perform, to get recognition for serving his faction, depending on which scenario he played. Now he has five. Assuming he's in tier.
My Osirion summoner had over 100 opportunities to get recognition for his efforts. Now he has three.
I am an avid supporter of the faction system. I feel that it gives less active players some spotlight time, and rewards players for roleplaying their faction.
I have tried to keep an open mind for what's happened in Season 5, but I when there are so few ways to get recognition for what you've done for your faction, it's easy to see why many players don't bother with it.
Personally, I'd like to see the secondary success conditions for seasons 0-4 removed, and a return to those faction missions. I can understand that creating eight new faction missions per scenario might be an issue for new scenarios, but a new player's not going to be playing season 5 exclusively, and there's no reason to deny them the opportunity for faction recognition.
It's unlikely that faction missions for seasons 0-4 would require much additional development time.
I don't have too much of an issue with a judge who believes that I'm not roleplaying a 'good' alignment with a character. If a judge informs me that I've been violating my alignment, I'm more than happy to use this as an opportunity to have the alignment corrected, and the infraction recorded on the chronicle sheet.
I'm all for organic alignment changes, due to ingame events.
My biggest issue with the rogue is the massive disparity between a new player's idea of what a "rogue" should be able to do (sneak up behind an enemy and slit their throat, then swing away with noone aware of them), and what a Rogue is actually able to do (when the stars align, they might be able to pull off a full-attack sneak-attack - doing about as much damage as a two-handed fighter. Then get killed when the monster you're attacking turns around and full-attacks you.).
I've seen this lead to significant disappointment on the part of many new players, some of whom are now ex-players.
I would personally like to see the Rogue class moved from chapter 3 of the Core Rulebook to chapter 14 of the Core Rulebook (Creating NPCs) - after all, when an NPC rogue has the power of Plot to be placed in the correct position, it still able to present a significant threat.
Slightly off-topic, but spell resistance is always up, unless you spend a standard action, which lowers it for one turn. Otherwise it will affect helpful spells targetting you.
Doesn't this kind of preorganisation that seems to be 'required' with Season 5 scenarios go against the whole spirit of organised play, where one can sit down at any table, anywhere in the world, with any appropriately-levelled character and not suffer a disadvantage?
I thought that campaign leadership strongly discouraged the 'cherry-picking' of scenarios in order to have the 'correct' chronicle (with the most advantageous boon) applied to the 'correct' PC. We refuse to disclose whether a certain item is available on a given chronicle sheet, for instance.
Has this policy officially changed now?
Putting things in perspective, I have just finished my sign-ups for a convention, and it turns out that - out of the nine characters I have - none of them have the 'correct' level and faction in order to even attempt a faction mission.
So my options are either to be 'missing out on interesting extra bits of story', or refusing to play at the convention until I have characters with the correct faction/level combination, and hope that those scenarios will be rerun.
Firstly, as has been explained above: yes, the spells it eliminates are fun. Have you considered a petition to ban the Enchantment school? Perhaps to ban "save-or-die" effects?
Secondly, the spells it eliminates are actually easier to disrupt than many other spells (For reference, Dominate Person has a 1-round casting time, and short range - if you make your spellcraft check, it is often quite easy to avoid, simply by instructing the fighter to attack the spellcaster, or even just running away or getting behind total cover.)
Finally, do not forget that the GM is a player as well - if the combination of characters and scenarios is not fun for the GM, we will end up with fewer GMs.
So you're suggesting that not only do we invalidate a significant proportion of existing scenarios, but we also remove the effective viability of that kind of effect from new scenarios which are written?
A pervasive item that invalidates thousands of man-hours of work is probably not the kind of item we want in PFS.
Regardless of what options a caster might potentially have, if their tactics state that they "Start by casting 'charm person' on the person in the heaviest armour", then no, they don't have options, and have just wasted a turn.
Given that the enemy is already outnumbered six actions to one, losing their first action effectively gives everyone else another free turn.
I'm of the opinion that they should be used for taking credit a second time when GMing, rather than for replaying - renewable each year.
As I see it, encouraging GMs to GM scenarios multiple times results in a better experience for the players.
With the amount of emphasis on not replaying scenarios present, I don't see how allowing any replaying is a good thing.
I can't help but notice that your witch likely inflicts those same effects on NPCs.
Regardless, the existence of an item like this means that one of the four turns the average NPC caster will have will be to waste an otherwise powerful ability. Recall that PFS GMs are required to follow tactics.
We've already seen the trend of increasingly "Neutral" casters of domination effects, and of the evil enchanters instead focusing on Confusion-type effects, probably as a result of the Clear Spindle.
It seems that rather than giving you a blanket protection, it just reduces the scope of abilities scenario writers have to work with.
I would like to think that the problem here is that the chronicles are incorrect, not that they are 'custom'.
Seriously, we can all agree that chronicle sheets should be correct.
What's the point of this 'rule'?
Honestly, stop wasting everyone's time making pointless rules.
The original had an incorrect title: it said " Scenario #2–02: Before the Dawn, Part I: Rescue at Azlant Ridge"
It was also missing the "TIER" markings for tier 3-4 and 6-7.
The followup question is: Would you seriously disallow a player from playing at your table as a result?
Okay. I don't know why this is an issue. If the problem is that the chronicle sheets are incorrect, then we already have policy that requires chronicle sheets to be correct.
The last thing we need are more rules that don't help the game. I'd like to say, 'stop making pointless rules, and instead release more scenarios'
That being said, would this chronicle sheet, after being signed, be considered 'illegal'?
This has been raised before, but the FAQ response was 'question unclear'.
Here is the question I want answered:
Does the First World Summoner's Summon Nature's Ally ability have the same restrictions and durations as the Summoner's Summon Monster ability?
It's not clear whether the ability can be used while the eidolon is out, or whether the ability lasts rounds or minutes per level.
This actually touches one of the main criticisms I've had of the more recent Pathfinder scenarios - the constant emphasis on overarching season-spanning plot.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's not a bad thing, and I don't have a problem with it continuing.
But, it seems that it's encouraging us to play scenarios in a certain order, and, with the changes to faction missions, with certain characters, moving us away from PFS being 'bring any character, to any table' towards 'you CAN bring any character, but it's best if you bring THAT one': and all-in-all making it harder to find a scenario to play.
The early season 0 - 2 scenarios had less of an emphasis on location, timing or faction, which is something that's been deemphasised recently.
I miss the scenario where you're deployed to a far-off land with various idiosyncrasies, to do a short mission, and something that your faction leader had requested, and then return and report.
Season 2 managed to do this while (in some scenarios) also providing an overbearing nemesis, as the Shadow Lodge was everywhere.
Season 3 moved away from this, towards an emphasis on a far-off nation. Season 4 moved further, with even less non-story missions.
From what I've seen in Season 5, it's still very structured: "Get supplies to Nerosyan".
The challenges we face now are providing context to new players when we run older scenarios.
I imagine that writing scenarios to fit in with the storyline is one of the things that has been consuming development efforts, and constraining both existing and new scenario writers.
Why not open it up, commission more scenarios with less story constraints, and publish one additional, non-storyline-related, scenario each month?
Darkness can be dispelled by Any light-descriptor spell that shares the same target. This might be difficult for a creature unable to see in darkness.
Light descriptor spells and their levels are as follows:
Daylight|bard 3, cleric 3, druid 3, paladin 3, sorcerer/wizard 3, inquisitor 3, magus 3
Andrew Christian wrote:
Gnomes of Golarion p26 wrote:
I can't imagine a gnome sitting down in a tavern, announcing "Hey guys, this food would taste better a with a bit of a chilli-flavour, so I'll cast Prestidigitation to flavour it, so I won't be fireballing you. Chill, mates." every time he wants to do that.
I've fudged a few rolls in the past, in order to prevent killing PCs, and in retrospect, it feels really bad - that you're cheating the players out of the experience.
You know that when the PC comes up against a GM who doesn't fudge rolls, you are partially responsible for the outcome - the fact that the player doesn't expect that kind of outcome, and will likely have antagonistic feelings.
At the end of the day, I've felt that honesty definitely trumps out.
Thomas Graham wrote:
Sure, necromancy's universally despised, but it's allowed in play.
But trying to persuade that harbourmaster to get the location of a potential lead will be much harder if you're walking around with a bunch of zombies behind you is something completely different. It's foolish to think that you can walk around with animated skeletons and not have adverse NPC reactions.
Just remind them of the typical reaction that NPCs have when someone pulls out a firearm:
Inner Sea World Guide wrote:
Of all the forms of technology [...] from the lands of the Inner Sea, none are as universally misunderstood or despised as the firearm. [...] The appearance of a firearm suggests at once an outrageous expenditure of gold, a sorrowful impotence of limb, and an immediate threat of dishonorable violence.
That's certainly going to hurt diplomacy, and make "disarm, steal or sunder the gun" a high priority.
James Risner wrote:
Terrible Remorse would like a word with you....
I've noticed this issue a bit in the past, and I'm not really sure how the rules work with it.
Let's use a Hezrou as an example. He's standing next to Bob, the raging barbarian with an AC of 13 and a CMD of 24.
He starts his full-attack. His bite hits, doing some damage and grabbing him. He and Bob both gain the Grappled condition.
Question 1: Now that they both have the grappled condition, can he continue his full-attack? He still has two claw attacks he hasn't used.
Bob's turn comes up, and he (sensibly) quick-draws a longsword and full-attacks the Hezrou (at a -2 to all attacks due to the grappled condition).
It's now the Hezrou's turn. What are his options?
In the situations I've described, it seems that it's in Bob's best interest to remain grappled, simply because it prevents him from suffering three attacks.
Is this really what the designers intended?
As I see it, there are two issues here.
Firstly, the new "secondary condition" format as presented by Season 5 scenarios. I feel that it does have some issues, specifically mustering and encouraging cherry-picking of scenarios (which Campaign Leadership has, in the past, Strongly Discouraged), but it may help solve some issues.
Secondly, the elimination of all season 0-4 faction missions and replacement of them with a "secondary success condition". I feel that this is a horrible decision, a travesty, and I implore campaign leadership to rethink this decision.
We have yet to receive an explanation of why campaign leadership thought this was a good idea.
Countless man-hours have been invested in the writing of these faction missions, and they do help define a character. Of course there might be some poor missions, but the secondary success conditions aren't particularly flavourful either. And I'm sure that every player here remembers one or two great moments that arose from a faction mission.
It seems horribly wasteful to throw all of this effort out the window. We've had this system for three or four months, and it hasn't been getting any better. Please, give players a Reason for them to follow their factions. Let the already published faction missions be MEANINGFUL.
(I'd like to reinstate that the above four paragraphs refer to only seasons 0 through 4, NOT the season 5 format)
I think it's a travesty. I feel that factions are a significant part of Pathfinder Society, and faction missions give players the opportunity to take the spotlight, and show that their characters are part of something special.
Sure, there are some not-so-nice faction missions, but there are also some not-so-nice scenarios, classes, items and players. There was no good reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
The secondary success conditions replace a rich, workable and unique system with a pale imitation of it. It's an interesting trial, but I hope campaign leadership throw them out and return to the faction missions.
It's surprising how useful mundane stealth is at high levels. When every second enemy has constant See Invisibility, or True Seeing, your base +30 to stealth starts to look more and more useful.
Just putting it out there (I hope that this does not degenerate into another light/darkness debate), but a heightened continual flame will only increase the lighting level from "supernatural darkness" to "darkness", and will not "completely negate the darkness".
In combination with darkvision, it is effective, but other than that, your best bet is Daylight in conjunction with another light source.
My group has just finished the Devil We Know IV scenario, and my GM and the whole table were rather perplexed at the secondary success conditions: There is no point where it is even prompted or implied.
When I run this scenario, how can I prompt it?
It's been established that evergreening scenarios, unretiring scenarios, sanctioning APs etc, are just stopgap measures, and that the only real solution seems to be to release more scenarios.
I understand that Paizo does not want to release its financial commitments to us, but the question boils down to:
What will it take to increase the number of scenarios to 3/month over 2/month?
How much more would we be paying for scenarios? Would fewer books be released? How many?
Should there be a broader solicitation of scenarios from the public?
My solution is to hand out faction missions and encourage the players to do them.
I am yet to receive any complaints as a result of doing this, and, when I'm playing season 0-4, I still request the missions.
I feel that the loss of faction missions is a blow to PFS.
I've found the most important part of surviving PFS is the way that the characters are played. Buying all the unbalanced gear in the game's not going to help if you don't know that it's a bad idea to try and slumber vermin.
Knowledge of things like Reach, Flanking, and various ways of avoiding being hit (knowledge of typical spell areas, high AC/HP, spells like mirror image and displacement) has contributed towards my characters' survival more than any amount of gear.
Regarding names, I recently had a player ask if it was permissible to have a character with the same name as the player. I responded that it was permitted, but Not Recommended.
My reasons were:
What are your thoughts on this issue?
Aside from one wonky Magus build (and really, there are so many of those that it's hard to keep track of them all), does anyone have any concrete examples of why the Spring Loaded Wrist Sheath is game-breaking? Certainly, it is useful, but game-breaking?
It's not really that it's :"game-breaking" any more than the Bracers of Falcon's aim is game-breaking. You are able to get the effect from other items (such as gloves of storing, or such), and it doesn't /break/ the game. But is does make the game less balanced for everyone.
The Bracers of Falcon's Aim as banned due to it being grossly undercosted. I don't see why the spring-loaded wrist sheaths aren't, and shouldn't be subsequently banned.
Since this seems to becoming a gripe about herolab, I had an unfortunate situation where a completely new player was given access to someone's herolab and was walked through creating a character.
The resulting character had a bunch of archetypes I hadn't heard of, was wearing four-mirror armour and using chakrams, and a bunch of other noncore stuff I couldn't verify.
I was in an awkward position of being forced to either allow him to play at the table, or bar him from doing so, which would probably lose him as a player completely.
Now I'll be required to explain why he needs to rebuild his character in order to make it legal, and I'm not relishing that...
Cao Phen wrote:
GM stars mean nothing relative to opinions. A 4-star GM could be someone who GM'd PFS 5 months straight. A person with no stars could be someone who has experience GMing for the past 35 years. If saying stars are everything, then it equates to a type of elitism that is set in a person's mind.
Given that we're talking about GMing PFS, I would think that those with more stars would as such have GMed PFS more.
I am by no means implying that stars are everything, just that the perspective from a player is rather different that that of a GM, especially when we're talking action economy.
Cao Phen wrote:
To respond to the simulationist point of view, PFS is high fantasy scenario. How does a ninja that makes mirror images of themself, a druid that shapeshifts into an octopus, and a devil-born knight of the god of beer and booze simulation of something? You are trying to place real-life into something that is supposed to invigorate someone's creative mind of diving into hidden dungeons to find magical treasure, fighting off hordes of goblins attacking a stable, and saving the kingdom to become a hero.
All of your examples are magical in nature. The spring-loaded wrist sheath is a mundane item, which, like a spyglass, sword or torch, is expected to, from a simulationist point of view, work as it does in real-life.
Cao Phen wrote:
To respond to the gamist point of view, spring-loaded wrist sheaths do not break action economy. They expand the action economy that every person has already availible to them. Does this mean a Tiefling with a tail is breaking action economy? A monk with Ki points is breaking action economy? An inquisitor using Judgement breaking action economy? A spellcaster with Feather Fall? Should they be banned because they break "action economy"?
All of your examples represent a considerable opportunity cost. The tiefling is required to trade out some racial traits. The monk has taken levels in monk rather than some other class. Similarly with the inquisitor. The spellcaster has eschewed the preparation or knowledge of another spell to have feather fall available.
The spring-loaded wrist sheath has no such opportunity cost, except for the metagame requirement of the player paying $US10 for Adventurer's Armory.
Cao Phen wrote:
Your third argument, stating that the "powergamer's argument" is that the SLWS make character more powerful, and they don't restrict or ban them ...
You seem to have read it incorrectly. My third point was illustrating another motive for argument on this subject, and seemed appropriate considering Jason Wu's views on the topic.
I believe Kyle Baird has already addressed the "if it's ubiquitous, it's not necessarily broken, but it can be an indicator" view.
Jason Wu wrote:
As my previous posts have stated, the Spring-loaded wrist sheath fails on both counts:
From a simulationist point of view: actual, real-world spring-loaded wrist sheaths pretty much need to be designed for the item they're going to hold, are complex and bloody dangerous.
From a gamist point of view: spring-loaded wrist sheaths break action economy, and are massively undercosted for what they provide.
The only argument that stands is the third argument - the powergamer's argument (spring-loaded wrist sheaths make my character more powerful! Please don't restrict or ban them).
It's an interesting observation that most of the people arguing for widening what can be put in a wrist sheath have comparatively fewer GM stars. Perhaps this is related.