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The biggest change that the ACG has done is made it impossible for someone who doesn't devote hours per week into study to know all the rules. Whether this is a bad thing or not is still up in the air...
It's not cheating.
It's still not cool. As I see it, if it happens, it clearly falls into an organisational failure, up there with running scenarios cold. It can generally be avoided with good regional coordination.
Out of the 110 or so tables I've ran, four of the worst five tables have had at least one person who had read the scenario previously on it. This may be a coincidence.
Actually, the guide is pretty clear that you can:
Guide p20 wrote:
I'm also unconvinced. The name on the box has little to do with the name referenced in the code. Also the implication that Microsoft is worried about code 16+ years old from 3rd party programmers, as others have pointed out, is pretty hilarious. When has Microsoft EVER shown that kind of concern for users/3rd party publishers?
Microsoft's concern for maintaining compatibility with legacy code goes back since at least 1983. MSDOS 1.0 maintained calls that allowed CP/M programs to run on it with little or no modification. TWO BYTES were all that was required to port Wordperfect to MSDOS 1.0.
Joel Spolsky highlights it best:
Windows 95? No problem. Nice new 32 bit API, but it still ran old 16 bit software perfectly. Microsoft obsessed about this, spending a big chunk of change testing every old program they could find with Windows 95. Jon Ross, who wrote the original version of SimCity for Windows 3.x, told me that he accidentally left a bug in SimCity where he read memory that he had just freed. Yep. It worked fine on Windows 3.x, because the memory never went anywhere. Here's the amazing part: On beta versions of Windows 95, SimCity wasn't working in testing. Microsoft tracked down the bug and added specific code to Windows 95 that looks for SimCity. If it finds SimCity running, it runs the memory allocator in a special mode that doesn't free memory right away. That's the kind of obsession with backward compatibility that made people willing to upgrade to Windows 95.
Pretty much the only reason people use Windows these days is because it allows them to run pretty much any Windows program on it, without recompiling or anything like that.
Force people to get new programs, and they'll either keep using Windows 7, or jump ship. I hear linux, BSD and OSX are all happy to cater for them.
Silhren Rilbahn wrote:
I would think that the "excess baggage charges" would be a perfectly good reason not to bring books to a convention.
I daresay that in the last convention I attended, I would have very few characters available to play had they enforced the rules to the letter.
It would largely prevent me from attending any international conventions.
Rereading the as-written rules, it seems that there are a lot of holes in the current system.
A player could have a watermarked PDF on a nonfunctional device, and I would be - as written - able to use that resource.
Yet a photocopy out of the hardcover Advanced Class Guide that's in the boot of a player's car would not be.
I would much rather the latter case to occur on my table.
GM Lamplighter wrote:
There are some reasons why the entire book would be a good thing to have. However, the current additional resources rules don't require it:
Additional Resources wrote:
n order to utilize content from an Additional Resource, a player must have a physical copy of the Additional Resource in question, a name-watermarked Paizo PDF of it, or a printout of the relevant pages from it, as well as a copy of the current version of the Additional Resources list
I think we can agree that the only difference between a printout of the relevant pages of a watermarked Paizo PDF and a photocopy of the relevant pages of a Paizo book is the possible ambiguity in ownership.
Ah, it's this time of year again.
It's been thirteen months since this has come up previously, and what I said then still applies.
Basically, we need to prove ownership and to make rules available for reference.
A photocopy will satisfy the latter, and the former should be satisfiable by some form of VO affirmation.
How many times did the following occur?
I didn't hear that happen two years ago.
I understand that given that it's acknowledged that the masterpiece is considerably more powerful that it was intended, and given that it's Paizo policy to refrain from issuing errata until a second printing of the book, removing it from the list of additional resources appears to have been the only solution.
Generally, when a situation arises where several people dislike (or outright refuse) to be on a table of a given, 'legitimate' quality, it does highlight a serious problem.
I've played bonekeep 1, I've run it, and I've prepped it several times.
I've also heard people talk about playing it, and running it, and have witnessed it being run by other GMs.
One thing that I've noticed is that it seems that there are some rulings and effects that don't appear to have been consistent between these runnings.
In the interests of providing "an even, balanced experience to all players" (as stipulated on p32 of the Guide), can someone please explain the meaning behind these effects, and how it should be run?
I'm a little late to the party, and I don't really want to get involved with the whole copyright side of things. But.
You see, about a month ago, my computer WAS hacked. As far as I can tell (from the various logs he left behind), all that the hacker did was attempt to start mining cryptocurrency, but it's impossible to be sure.
Other than removing the intruder's access and rebuilding the machine, does Paizo want me to inform them that a small subset of the PDFs that I have (I don't think the machine had that many Paizo PDFs on it), might be in-the-wild?
Are there channels for this?
I feel that replays of any sort aren't particularly good for PFS. I would definitely be fine with allowing additional GM credit chronicles each season, however.
Of the five worst games I've run, four of them had at least one person replaying.
I am very happy to see the aasimar and tiefling go - Once Blood of Angels/Fiends was released (and made legal) - the population increased significantly.
Several local players have remarked that there is no reason to have anything else.
In addition, the prevalence of these Native Outsiders invalidated several NPCs tactics. (throw away your Charm Person, Hold Person, Dominate Person spells).
I'd like to add that what really annoys me about the new style faction missions was that they threw away the season 0-4 faction missions for those scenarios.
I can accept that for the new scenarios, it might be a good idea to add new faction missions, but to throw away five seasons' worth of faction missions in exchange for - what seems to be - watered down 'secondary success conditions' seems to be folly.
What I'd like to see would be the reinstatement of the old faction missions when running season 0-4 scenarios.
I am bumping this thread, partly because there hasn't been an official ruling on this, and partly because of a worrying conversation I had with my local VC, who claims that:
"If a monster is uniquely described in a scenario/module, it's extremely rare."
To the extent that a 32 on a knowledge check would be insufficient to garner any information about the (weakened) CR10 monster at the end of Carrion Hill.
And, on another occasion, that a knowledge check in excess of 30 would be required to get information about the monster described in Bonekeep 1.
Bonekeep 1 monster:
The CR7 rat demon
I think that some guidelines - even something like "unless specified in the scenario, the knowledge DC of a monster cannot exceed DC 15+CR" - would help improve consistency.
Hmm... Looks like I represent minority Prestige Classes here..
Arcane Trickster 5
It was the GM's opinion. The VC and PFS management didn't contradict it. It happened late last year.
I have had the misfortune to experience a rather severe case of a GM significantly changing a scenario, not only making it a lot harder and resulting in a failed mission, but making what we played so different from the printed scenario that I felt we didn't really play the printed scenario at all.
The way this was handled ("you didn't die, suck it up, the chronicle stands") has coloured my views of Pathfinder Society ever since.
I'll add Aquatic Druid with an Inquisition to the list.
Chris Sharpe wrote:
Wishcrafter is definitely bad, unfortunately I think it'd be hard pressed to tell my players to use a racial boon to make a terrible character in Pathfinder Society
I would be willing to mail an Ifrit boon across the Tasman if someone wanted to use it for this purpose. Just give me an address.
Mark Stratton wrote:
So the player knows that GMs have a problem with his character, and you yourself were frustrated by it. Yet he plays the character anyway.
Seems like 'jerk' behaviour.
Shouldn't the player show some responsibility and consider how the GM feels about this?
I find that the existence of a 'hard mode' is counterproductive: it gives powergamers a 'justification' for powergaming. In organised play, a character who intends to play on 'hard mode' will not always be in a 'hard mode' scenario, playing with other players of similar disposition.
I am not in favour of increasing the difficulty of encounters in PFS scenarios.
Pathfinder Society is now mature, with a large catalogue of scenarios to draw from - which are still (for good reason) sanctionable and reportable.
A change in difficulty level invalidates this large asset, as the encounters are trivialised in comparison to the new, harder scenarios.
It is better for a concerted effort to discourage the playerbase from creating such characters that trivialise encounters and cause threads like this to be created in the first place.
Build your characters so that they ARE challenged by the scenarios; don't insist that scenarios are created to challenge your characters.
When a GM is running a scenario and is continuously having encounters trivialised, they start thinking 'Why am I here?'. This causes burnout, and I have experienced it.
We have a thread where a GM wishes to refuse powergamed characters from their table, with several responses amounting to "suck it up or leave". I contest that a cultural change against powergaming would be more useful advice.
I would like to note that Andrei and Stephen White have (implicitly or explicitly) put a lot of effort into curbing powergaming in their local area (Melbourne, Australia), and it is one of the best places I've played PFS. Continuing a power spiral will invalidate their work in this area.
So you 'want a DM to challenge you and the best builds you can make', yet you complain when a GM makes the combats harder? Even though a GM isn't ABLE to challenge 'the best builds' (without 'cheating'), due to being constrained by the scenario?
I don't see how you can have it both ways - unless you intend to encourage even more power creep in PFS...
The dangerous precedent is the fact that a player who creates a legal character in line with books he owns would be required to know every subsequent Paizo publication's content that *may* 'revise' any item/class/feat that he has taken, to ensure that his character remains legal.
You're suggesting that every PFS player should buy every Paizo publication (and read them cover-to-cover) on the off chance that they might change something they've already taken.
If a published item is incorrect, and a corrected version is available in a different book, then the incorrect version should be removed from additional resources. I will reiterate my point regarding the APG staves - their prices are about 50% of what they should be, so when UE came out, they were removed from the Additional Resources list. This does not penalise anyone, and removes an unreasonable onus from players.
A player is not required to have the most recent copy of a rule - there are at least four legal sources for the infernal healing spell, and if a player were to present me a copy of the Gods of Golarion version (which stipulates that for a sorcerer/wizard to cast it, they must worship Asmodeus), it would still satisfy the additional resources requirement.
As I see it, if multiple legal sources of a given option exist, any of them can be used.
This is the first time I've heard that the 'newer book has priority'.
In other cases, including the living monolith, and the prices of APG staves, the ruling has simply been "remove the incorrect item from the Additional Resources, then allow the old one to be grandfathered in."
In this particular case with the brass knuckles, I can see the case for not grandfathering in the old item.
Still, I think that a 'newer book has priority' rule would set a dangerous precedent, and require a player to keep up to date with everything Paizo publishes in order to continue playing a legal character in PFS.
I would hope that the scenario writer would have the statblocks that they intend to use written out /somewhere/, in order to develop, and playtest the scenario. Even if these were presented in a supplementary, less-polished PDF, it would be useful.
I believe that Paizo is releasing approximately two scenarios per month. Playing more than twice a month is therefore unsustainable. Luckily, if you're a relatively new player, there are a Lot of scenarios to keep you going for at least a few years.
I believe that the intention is for PFS to be a marketing opportunity to encourage players who can commit to such regular gaming to consider Adventure Paths.
The easiest way is with Polymorph Any Object, which, purchased as a Spellcasting Service, would set you back 1200gp.
If a Kobold is 'related' to a dragon, you will have a Duration Factor of +9, which is enough to make it permanent.
It seems that the VC and VL in my area are stating that Eyes of the Ten are to be retired soon, probably by the end of this year, and are encouraging local players to aggressively level up their characters in order to play it by then.
I have not been able to get any second source backing up this information, and would really like to know if there's something else going on regarding this.
My irritation with drawing boxes on reporting sheets to represent reporting conditions finally resulted in an evening of coding, and yielded an online reporting sheet generator that's more in line with the requirements of Season 5.
Assuming that the backend hasn't brought my webserver down, it should be accessible with a very minimalistic interface at http://nl.ti4200.info/sessionsheet.php
Any feedback would be appreciated.
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.