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Jeff Merola wrote:
What intelligence score denotes Sentience? 2, 3, or higher? 5 is the lowest a PC could possibly have, so somewhere between 1-4 is okay to eat, but 5+ is right out. Torturing sentient creatures is certainly evil, and I could see ruling that hunting sapient creatures is evil, but eating dead flesh is no more evil than eating dead plant matter. If we weren't meant to be part of the food chain, we wouldn't be made of food.
As for the desecration of dead bodies, desecration is a crime of intent, and the intent determines the alignment. Carving a cow into different cuts of meat is not desecration of the dead cow, unless you are doing it to purposely offend someone, or to express your hatred of cows in general or that cow specifically.
I declare knee-jerk reactions in alignment threads to be evil. I'm making a notation on all of your chronicle sheets. :P
Speaking as a GM, I would rather someone point out the correct rule every time. That way I learn to do better, the player learns to do better, and I learn to be on the lookout for other people using that rule incorrectly. New players are the perfect ones to correct, because you need to get them playing the right way before their mistakes become bad habits, which then become "I know it works this way. I can't find it, but that's how we've always done it."
Everything else, I'm pretty much right with you. In combat may not be the best time to tell your epic tale of victory (unless you're a bard). Contributing nothing to the scenario from fear of spoiling it can be just as bad as spoiling it if the players are truly stuck and your character could come up with a solution.
7th level Kyra killed Rodrik, my 8th level Invulnerable Rager, in one hit! (And it was awesome!)
Two weekends ago at Play On Con, I had the privilege of playing my dwarf barbarian at a table of 5-13: Weapon in the Rift. It was the most entertaining round of PFS I've had in quite some time, which is saying something since I had said the same thing about my first ever session of The Confirmation that I had played the night before. All in all, it was a great weekend.
The party was hopelessly outclassed by everything we encountered. From the very first hallway, to the very first puzzle, through the very first encounter took nearly about 3 hours of slapstick fit for a Three Stooges film. I was brought below 0hp 3 times that fight, while everyone else tried to keep the other [redacted] away from our only healer, the traitorous Kyra, curse her very name.
Skipping ahead a bit, my barbarian has had some... bad experiences with haunts in the past. So when he walked into a room and felt the temperature drop, he advanced to the rear as quickly as he could manage. It turned out not to be a haunt, but instead a dastardly [other redacted]! As his companions stood there, transfixed by it's arcane mumbo jumbo, he took it upon himself to unlimber his bow and fire upon the creature with specially prepared arrows. Clearly no marksman, the arrow went wide and he drew another hoping for a clear shot. The next round, I threw caution to the wind, and had him charge in wielding one of the specially prepared arrows. After a direct hit for what seemed like fairly low damage, I realized that I had not remembered to RAGE! (I'm telling you, the whole thing was a comedy of errors.) The next round (remembering that I had Ghost Rager, and no need for those silly arrows- hey, I don't get to play very often. Cut me some slack), I punched the [other redacted] in it's face with my cestus, dropped my bow and drew my "real" weapon, a dorn-dergar. We traded blows for about three rounds total, while most of the party either babbled incoherently or smacked themselves in the face. It was just me and the monk, toe to trailing ectoplasmic vapor against this seemingly unkillable thing! Each time Rodrik took a hit, I could feel his sanity cracking. After the third hit, my Barbarian was on the ground, unable to form a coherent thought (some would say that was no great change). It was then that Kyra revealed her true colors...
She claims that she confused my prone form with the enemy that had been trying to kill all of us. Seeing "it" helpless on the floor, she did the only thing she could: A coup-de-grace*! Seeing the mistake, the monk easily disarmed the cleric. That didn't stop her, though. She reached down and snapped poor Rodrik's neck! (Well, in actuality she only managed to deal 1 point of damage past my damage reduction, but it was enough to force a Fortitude save.) As I rolled the dice, I said the magic words "I can only fail on a 1." And sure enough, I look down to see a 1 staring back up at me. It was glorious.
And that is how an 8th level "Invulnerable" Rager was killed by an unarmed, level 7 pregen Kyra. And yes, I paid for an atonement to clear my "Ex-Barbarian" status after that scenario. The cleric and monk eventually brought down the [other redacted] at which point they decided it was better to cut their losses than to go on without my help (such as it was). Even after being brought back with a breath of life, Rodrik was unconscious with 12 Wisdom damage and Kyra didn't have a Restoration prepared. It was a failed mission, but for me it was worth every second.
*To be clear, the coup de grace was actually my idea. The GM said he was fine with it, and the player of the cleric thought the idea was hilarious enough to give it a shot. I don't want anyone to think this was some jerk GM or player who "did this to me".
Thinking on this a little further, I'm not sure I support the rule change. I don't like the idea of preparing after the fact. I don't like the idea of being pressured to solve other people's problems.
Another character's lack of planning should not be an emergency that I have to solve. "But it's okay, I'll pay you back" just doesn't make up for you not being prepared in the first place.
Michael Brock wrote:
Two points and I'm going to let this go.
I appreciate the reply, and the confirmation of what I had already figured out on my own. As I said, my gut reaction wasn't rational and I've had a chance to think things through. Keep doing the good work you've been doing and don't let posts like mine discourage you. :)
Well, I pride myself on being able to see issues from the "other side" so with that in mind I've waited a while before I replied. There are a lot of comments I'd like to discuss in more depth, but I know that discussion doesn't really belong in the PFS section. The posters who thought I needed to calm down, or wanted to make sure that I wasn't offended by their replies were particularly amusing. Maybe we can revisit the issue on the General boards?
As for the original issue, on the advice of PFCBG and Mike himself, I've taken another look at Mike's post to see if there wasn't something else that prompted my reaction. First of all, Mike, you clearly said
Michael Brock wrote:
Please do not bring any form of firearm to a PFS session.
You may not have meant that as a Ruling from the Global Organized Play Coordinator, but that's what you are. Your word is law as far as PFS is concerned. Even when you think you're posting your own opinion, the weight of your position makes people take your opinion as a ruling. It's not much of a stretch to imagine someone pointing to your post at saying "Mike said so." even if that wasn't your intention. But is that what provoked such a strong reaction from me? If I really stop and thing about it, no.
Over the last few years, you've done an amazing job as Campaign Coordinator. You've grown PFS into something huge, something that I was thrilled to be a part of. I never really "got" organized play until I was introduced to PFS, and it's been a pleasure to help my local VC grow his events while also getting my home group involved, many of whom were brand new to tabletop gaming. But lately you've made some rulings that seemed to me to be knee-jerk, where other issues that could have been resolved quickly were left to linger. As Sior mentioned, perception is reality, and my perception of some of your recent decisions left a sour taste in my mouth that apparently clouded my understanding of your post. To add to that, the fact that you posted in a closed thread struck me as someone who "had to have the last word." Looking back, I'm certain that is not what was intended, but that is what I read into it at the time.
To add to the issue, it seems I'm not immune to stereotyping. Speaking quickly of stereotypes, I actually own a light pick-up that gets a respectable 20mpg. I have a college degree, and still have all my teeth. ;) Sadly, it's been my experience when it comes to the private ownership of firearms, that law enforcement officers like to cite their experience and training as a reason that only they should carry. I brought the weight of my prior experiences and unfairly applied a stereotype to Mike based on his former profession. When I responded to him, I was really responding to every police officer I have ever seen post an unfavorable opinion of gun owners. It caused me to read far more into his words and tone than what was actually there. For that alone, I owe Mike an apology. And speaking of apologies, as an aside to The Fox, I apologize for saying that your thread was in poor taste. I had no right to make assumptions about your intentions. After reading your post, I intend to send you a message regarding your local issues. If you don't hear from me soon, hold me to it.
So, after taking a step back and recognizing the faults in my original post, I'm left with the core of my post. I want to emphasize that I've never made an issue out of my firearm at a PFS event. When I carry to a game session, it's because I was already carrying. I don't think to myself "I'm going to roll some dice, better strap up." I agree that would be ridiculous. As Brandon Cecil points out, bad things happen to good people, and they tend to happen when least expected. I don't carry because I think the people I game with are "out to get me", I carry because I can't know what will happen to me from the time I leave my house in the morning to when I get back. If I was able to predict when and where I would need a gun, I wouldn't need one at all. I just wouldn't go to that place at that time.
As I said before, I always follow the laws of my state, and the policies of the owners/managers of the properties I visit. Thank you, Mike, for trying to save me the trouble of gathering the policies of the cons near me. However, I was already aware. I make a point to find out those sorts of things before I commit to going somewhere so that I can make accommodations. For instance, if I were to ever fly out for PaizoCon I would find out first the laws of Washington, including whether they reciprocate Alabama's permits (for the record, they don't), whether they offer a non-resident permit (they do), if Seattle has any more stringent restrictions, if they are allowed at PaizoCon (they're not), at the hotel I would be staying at (if not, I would pick a different hotel). That is all part of being a responsible adult, much less a gun owner. If a store owner, or the game day coordinator wants to allow or disallow firearms at their store/event then that should be their independently reached decision. As ShakaUVM rightly pointed out, this has nothing to do with playing Pathfinder. I just object to the idea of this going from being one person's opinion, to being a requirement of PFS play. "I'm sorry, we can't sanction your event because you didn't include the firearm disclaimer." It sounds silly, unless you've seen that sort of thing happen. Then you learn to expect it.
In conclusion, I've decided that my first instinct was right. I probably should take a break from PFS public play. I've been getting unduly frustrated about things that don't really matter, and I've lost some of the drive that I originally had. Maybe some time away from the boards will do me some good. :)
I know, I know. Big whoop. But for anyone who cares, here is my reason.
User "The Fox" just made a thread asking if/why anyone would bring a firearm to a PFS game. I thought the thread was in poor taste and was not intending to reply until I noticed Liz had locked the thread (as I'm sure this one will be). Right after that, Mike Brock posted that he didn't want anyone to bring a firearm to any PFS event at all, ever. And cited his experience as a law enforcement officer as to why he didn't trust us to act as responsible adults around firearms. I can only assume that a rule so far reaching will make it into the next version of the Guide, and that is why I will no longer associate with official PFS events.
I don't know that I have ever carried my personal firearm to a Pathfinder Society event. I carry my firearm so often, to so many places, that I really couldn't tell you for sure "Yes, I had it on that date." I follow the laws of my state regarding open and concealed carry at all times and the wishes of property owners who make their policies known to me. I have never once been disruptive nor been asked to leave a location, and I certainly have never whipped it out and started playing with it or showing it to anyone. Quite frankly, Mr. Brock, you don't have the authority to tell me where I can and cannot carry my legally owned firearm. But, in the interests of cooperation, I will follow your wishes by no longer hosting or participating in a public PFS event. If you want to come to my home or my privately hosted events and tell me that I can't carry there, I will ask you to call first so that I'm expecting company.
With sincere regret,
If they would rather kill themselves than do what their "friend" is asking, I think it sufficiently meets the definition of harm so that there would be no chance of them doing it. Succeeding at a Charisma check should not make a charmed person do without question something that a dominated person would get a new save against (Kill your family) or flat out wouldn't do (Kill yourself instead).
Lower level spell should be weaker than their higher level equivalents, or you're doing something wrong.
Every question that has been asked in this thread can be answered by downloading and reading the most recent copy of the Guide to Organized Play. For someone who focuses so heavily on the RAW in any Rules Forum thread I've seen you post in, I'm blown away that simply reading the current rules never occured to you.
He was wrong*. That dichotomy (kill your loved ones or find a way out of it) has never been how charm worked. That would make it stronger than dominate which only allows a new save against things contrary to the creature's nature and flat out can't make them kill themselves.
*Obviously, he's the lead designer so he can't be "wrong." But I feel it was a bad ruling that caused more confusion than it solved.
What would your friend do for you? If I asked my friend to help me murder his other friends, best case he laugh it off and tell me I needed to see a shrink. I could try to convince him (opposed charisma check) that it really was a good idea, but even if he fails the check, he's just going to be convinced that I'm nuts.
At least that's how it would go at my table.
A GM cannot force you to not use a legal part of your character. A GM can force you to actually follow the rules for your character if he finds you are not doing so. A GM can refuse to run for problem players.
I'm not saying you are a problem player, SIRHITMANHEART, or that you aren't following the rules. I wouldn't know, because I can't understand you.
If I'm ever in the situation of playing under a GM who abuses and misuses the rules, I'm going to be a "rules lawyer" and tell them how its supposed to be. They may overrule me, but at least my obiection was made. If even one other player looks at the rule themselves instead of just blindly taking someone's word for it, then it was worth it.
If that means I'm not welcome at your table, then please let me know that up front. It will save us both time better spent elsewhere. But I will say it makes me... nervous? It doesn't sit well with me that someone with a "Venture" position would make such broad sweeping generalizations about who he considers "jerks" and that aren't welcome at his tables. Maybe PFS is expanding too fast, and needs more quality control in who they let be the face of organized play.
If you have to ask, you probably already know the answer.
That said, you seem to be doing the right thing, showing concern and restraint when impressionable or offended people are around. That's a mark in your favor. "Someone might complain, and then you'll be in trouble" is crap that people say when they don't have the spine to confront you on their own merit.
All that said, are you sure that these character concepts are a good fit for Pathfinder Society? Is their focus really to explore, report, and cooperate? Or would they fit better in a home game? That is the important question, after all, and it's up to you to find the answer to that.
I'm not familiar with "The Confirmation" itself, but isn't it the rule that any time you play out of tier, you get out of tier gold? It doesn't matter if the difference is 1 shiny copper, the rule needs to be applied uniformly so we're not giving people an excuse to be more confused about simple math than they already are.
I'll do you one better. If a Demon Hunter can face a level appropriate challenge for a party of four, and kill it on the first round by himself, the problem isn't the player, or the initiative, it's PFRPG itself that is at fault. Specifically, the idea of Challenge Rating and the desire/need to add more powerful, sometimes unbalanced, options in order to sell new books.
Challenge Rating is based on a party of four core book classes with no archetypes (think iconic pregens) with a 15-point buy. PFS is only just (starting in Season 4) coming to terms with the decision to allow 6-7 person parties (+1 APL) of optimized characters (+1-2 APL), 20-point buy (+1 APL), and higher than CRB wealth (+1 APL), who always start fresh and have a limited number of combat encounters. Except, because PFS only allows average hit points, you really can't throw those level 5 characters against EL 9 encounters all day long.
So it's no wonder that parties are stomping "level appropriate" encounters with Season 0-3's definition of level appropriate. Play some more recent adventures, try to keep parties to 4-5 players, try to keep the level variance within about 2 levels (no one lower than 3 playing with level 5 characters) and try to play the villains smarter than you normally would. These would help your issue more than a simple initiative cap ever would.
And drop it. It's not going to happen, plenty of people have given you good reasons why it doesn't need to happen. You need to open your mind to some of those suggestions, because you're starting to sound like a troll/broken record repeating the same (baseless) argument over and over, and over, and over...
While we all understand the desire for clarity, it's just not possible for anyone to be perfect all the time. As a non-native speaker of English, I'm sure it would be easier for you to read our writing if it was perfect. English has enough issues without trying to guess at what words the writer even meant to use in the first place.
But, as has been pointed out, your writing was rife with errors. There is a phrase "Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." Even though you meant well, the majority of people who read your post are going to think, defensively, "I'm supposed to take grammar advice from someone who can't even conjugate "to bother" in the past tense?" Pathfinder isn't engineering, and the posters here are not technical writers. These boards will not be peer reviewed and published. The standard of writing will reflect that. It is far more productive to ask for specific clarification on a point than it is to make a general statement of "everyone just do better".
Michael Brock wrote:
I think the wording posted by Carlos would work well, with the addition that the gold paid should be notated on the chronicle sheet. It might help to specify that the gold must be for the 1 day/level rate of 1,000gp/HD of the conjured devil. I think that's a minimum of 2,000gp for a Lemure, unless there's a 1 HD devil out there I don't know about. The gold was part of your original ruling, but if you want to remove that I won't argue. It just helps to have it documented. Maybe something like:
"Prestige Class: Diabolist; to qualify for the diabolist prestige class, you must conjure a devil using lesser planar ally, lesser planar binding or a similar Conjuration (calling) spell, and coax the fiend into performing a task lasting longer than one day. The spell must be cast by you, must be on your class spell list, and you must be of sufficient level to cast the spell. The cost of 1,000gp per Hit Dice of the devil bound must be paid by you and noted on your chronicle sheet;"
Michael Brock wrote:
Also, since it appears that it continues to be a confusing issue, we can also consider just removing the option of playing a diabolist from organized play.
That is certainly a simple way to resolve the situation. Another simple way to resolve the situation would be to waive the calling as a roleplaying requirement. I don't think either is a good option at this point, but they are certainly the most simple.
Michael Brock wrote:
And for clarification since I'm pretty sure it is going to come up, I'm not angry, frustrated, mad, etc.. I'm trying to make sure that we get a final clear version or do away with an option that continues to just be too confusing for use in OP.
I wouldn't have thought so until you mentioned it. ;) Thank you for working when you shouldn't be. Sometimes I forget just how much time you put into this whole shebang. It is appreciated, even if it sometimes seems otherwise.
Michael Brock wrote:
No offense, but that's not what "on your class spell list" means according to the rules. If that were the case, Rangers/Paladins couldn't use cure wands until 4th (they can), wizards/clerics/etc. couldn't use wands of higher level spells (they can). Additional Resources as written now allows early entry at 5th with just one level of a casting class and a scroll. If that's not your intent, it needs to be re-written.
Lets try this another way. You're making a claim that all sanctioned modules can be played with a "home game" character. Since you're the one making the claim, maybe you could cite your source? As has already been pointed out, the Guide to Organized Play doesn't allow "home game" mode, unless it is a sanctioned AP, or one of the new modules like Dragon's Demand.
And when the fireball takes out everyone in the tavern, the lone survivor says "He told me he was casting a spell to clean up a spill!"
Cars are more dangerous than guns. More people die every day from automobile accidents than from gunfire. Cars are considered "safe" because we use them every day. Spells aren't "safe". They're flashy, intrusive, destructive things that only certain people can understand or use. That's not something the average commoner is going to feel "safe" around, even though nothing happened "this time". Your assumption that the average Joe will be okay with random spellcasting doesn't take into account basic human nature, the fear of the unknown. Look at all the people in the world who don't trust modern technology, modern medicine, modern science... And yet you continue to think that magic would just be commonly accepted? Please.
In someways, I view casting spells as modernday firearms on Earth. Some people wear them openly and no one bats an eye (police, military, etc.), while if you draw a weapon while waiting in line at Star Bucks or at a recpetion with VIPs, then the reaction may be a wee bit different.
I think that's a decent analogy. In some parts of the world, civilian ownership of firearms is completely forbidden, just as the Laws of Man prohibit deity-granted spellcasting. In the US, civilian ownership of firearms is very high, but even in some parts of the US it is illegal (or practically so). Even in the parts of the country that embrace firearms, the majority of people hide the fact that they are armed. As someone who regularly openly carries a firearm, I can tell you from personal experience that the majority of people won't notice or care that you have a gun. However, the ones who do care, care very deeply and aren't afraid to vocalize their support or derision. If a spellcaster walks through your typical marketplace, most people won't notice or care that they have a spell component pouch. But those who do care probably care very strongly. Magic has probably affected them very deeply, for better or worse. There are probably large portions of the population who would support measures to curb magic use. None of that is likely to come up in your typical PFS scenario, so it gets glossed over.
As for casting magic at or around NPCs, lets continue the gun analogy. If I see you from across the room pull a gun and point it at me, I'm not likely to stop and think "Is that a tazer? Is that loaded? Are they blanks, or rubber bullets, or live rounds?" No. I'm going to take cover and draw my own gun before I take the time to ask you your intentions. Spellcasting is the same way. At best, casting magic without warning is rude, akin to fondling your gun in the checkout line. At worst, even casting detect magic could be enough to put you into initiative in an otherwise friendly encounter.
Thanks for that, Eric, but how do you mesh that with Jason's statement that the "ship has long sailed" on subbing out any of these classes?
On first blush most of these classes look really good, but some strike me as "meh" at best. It's a little off putting that even if the playtest response is universal dislike, the class will still make it to print.
Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.
I don't see that eating flesh or drinking blood meets the definition for evil established by the game. I wouldn't mind seeing an explanation as to why this was arbitrarily defined as evil enough to be banned, but other established evils are still fair game.
If blood transcription is verboten, why not animate dead? Summon Monster and Planar Ally/Binding used to summon evil creatures? The Diablolist prestige class? The spells infernal healing, death knell, enervation, magic jar, etc.? Why are we even allowed to play Neutral characters when requiring Good characters would simplify so many gray areas?
Please note that I'm not asking these things to be banned. I'm simply requesting that the idea of "cannibalism" and the specific mechanics of blood transcription be put into perspective. If you want them classified as evil acts, that's fine. Instruct us to warn players and to make the appropriate notations on chronicle sheets. Whatever happened to "it's not the spell, it's how it's used" that was used to justify keeping animate dead and infernal healing as legal options?
More importantly, if a character dies, they are reported as dead immediately. You cannot keep playing with them.