Upon mention of the aranea, V moves into the front hallway to check on their prisoner. She comes back with the rope in one hand and a grim expression. "I should have known better than to let the shapechanger out of my sight. Perhaps he'll think twice before tangling with us again though. Sakura, Momir, should we press onward, or head back into town? I am still in fighting shape, and I have no particular need for supplies...but I defer to your arcane energies."
V unfolds the hand-drawn map that the group had pieced together. "If I recall correctly, there is still some sort of...ghost north of us, and then some kind of tomb to the northwest of that."
There are a lot of things that have an impact on difficulty...it's way more than just builds and gold. It's impossible to account for them all, but I'll give it a vague stab:
Basically...there's an infinite amount of permutations. Some of them the campaign has control over. Most of them, they don't.
You say that playing up is too easy. If you're talking about seasons 0-3, then are you suggesting that the campaign go back and rewrite all of them? If you're talking about season 4, then I suggest that it's a plethora of other factors that is giving you that experience, as many others do not share that opinion.
I have a cleric of Urgathoa with the in death domain, so I completely get where you are coming from. Here's a couple tips that I have from my experience:
1) Some GMs or players will object. Just be sensitive to people for whom it's a problem. Lets just say making undead shouldn't be the only thing your character can do. However, having played my cleric for 12 levels, I have found that its much more important that you act nicely about it. Don't do stupid/jerking/bullying things because "that's what my character would do". I have found that by playing nicely, often a player will not object, even if their character does :)
2) Animate dead is actually not really worth it. Remember, it doesn't persist past the end of a scenario. It's expensive, plus your skeletons have a tendency to get munched in their first combat. I did it a few times for the novelty, but then really I went back to what my character is actually good at: negative channeling.
Okay, that's my 2cp!
I totally get what you're saying. Sure, lore on Golarion is everywhere, but it can be kind of hard to figure out the "Pathfinder Society Storyline". Each season (well, okay, mostly starting with season 2) has a story arc, and many of the scenarios tie into it.
The problem with publishing some sort of "The Story So Far" for PFS is that it kind of spoils big points in the scenarios. And if you're a really avid PFS story fan, you would much rather play scenarios and get the story that way.
If you're interested, you can ask on these board for people to pick out the scenario highlights of the storyline, specifically on seasons 3 and 4. Then you can attempt to play those (Like The Disappeared and Fortress of the Nail).
However, the #1 way to get storyline for the season is to GM. There's all this lovely background information that is in the scenarios. Try as we might, sometimes it's just really hard to get it out during a game session. But GMing will give you a much better understanding of the plot. Barring that...find an active GM and pick their brain. :-)
Everyone is going to have a different play experience. A scenario that seems like a cakewalk to one group might be an absolutely devastating experience to another. There are so many different variables that it's difficult to make generalizations like, "Never play this scenario".
My suggestion to players is to build good, effective, and flexible characters; practice teamwork and sensible battle tactics; learn from good and bad experiences; and come to PFS with a positive attitude. Character deaths are never fun...but one of the reasons we play PFS is for the challenge and the risk. People don't quit playing basketball, Starcraft, or chess because they've lost one game :-) PFS is like anything else...it's something that YOU the player has a great deal of influence in. Of course sometimes it's due to a bad scenario, or a bad GM. But sometimes it just takes a little bit of change on the player's part to turn the tide.
Personally, I'm almost completely with Whiskey Jack. I think I've allowed some dude with a dice rolling program before at a con, but he asked me beforehand if I was cool with it and it just wasn't a big deal. But true randomness or no, I vastly prefer real dice.
Personally, I keep all my books on my tablet, but I tend to run all my characters from paper (with the exception of my level 15). I try and keep a word doc copy of my characters, however, as you never know when you might get into a pickup game.
My husband, on the other hand, religiously keeps everything on his tablet, including all his purchases and gold earned. He likes spreadsheets though. :-P
N N 959 wrote:
I'm going to say something that PFS will not like, but, all four person groups are not the same. A party of four Sorcs with Obscuring Mist and Endure Elements are not going to perform like one with a Paladin, Druid, Ranger (archery), and Cleric. Alternatively, give those Sorcs Color Spray and Sleep and you may be coup de grace'ing your way through every encounter.
Haha...why would "PFS" not like that?
That's the entire point, and the joy and risk of PFS...getting a different play experience everytime you sit down. Of COURSE every table is going to be different. Sometimes, you're going to have a laugh-out-loud buddy cop movie, complete with a blooper reel. Sometimes, you'll be at the edge of your seat, and everything between life and death comes down to the Hail Mary play. It comes down to who's in your party, who's your GM, what class combos you have, how the dice fall, and a million other unnamable factors.
Of course you don't know what the outcome is going to be. And there's going to be risk. Because if there wasn't risk, then the GM might as well hand you the chronicle sheet right after you sit down.
I'm sorry if you had a bad experience. Sometimes they just happen, for a whole lot of reasons. But please, don't think that one bad experience will mean all bad experiences. There's a lot of us who love the game and the community, and come back week after week. We can't all be wrong, can we? :-)
Well, Andy, first of all, remember that a diplomacy check can only move someone 2 degrees more friendly towards you. So it would never be as extreme as you describe :-)
Graypark, these are the factors I would personally consider:
1) Is the NPC of a type/subtype that would reasonably find the PC attractive? If the PC is a human, I would say it's unlikely that a goblin would find him/her attractive. Usually if it's a standard PC-race, then I would say yes. Note: just because a dwarf does not want a human to be their marriage partner, does not mean they couldn't find them attractive, and respond well to their diplomacy. See Lord of the Rings.
2) Would the NPC culturally be inclined to see the PC as sexually attractive? In general, if the NPC lives in a city and have reasonable exposure to other races, then probably yes. But if the NPC lives in some sort of culture of extreme xenophobia, it might exclude it. But as the previous example, I could see a situation in which the highly insular dwarf, having a culturally conditioned standard of sexual attraction, would NOT find the human PC to be attractive.
3) Does the NPC have some sort of lifestyle choice that would prevent them from finding the PC attractive? As mentioned above, do they have some sort of vow of celibacy?
4) Lastly, sexual orientation. I would actually categorize this into more of a "table reading" deal. What orientation does the PC making the diplomacy check seem to be? How well would your current players respond to this? I had actually not head of the "all npc's are bisexual" comment before, but I can certainly see Paizo saying as such. To be quite honest, that's not how I play my NPCs. They are mostly heterosexual, but not always, as the situation and table requires.
In the end, the vast majority of the time it comes down to what the first reply said. Is it an NPC of the opposite gender...or the gender that the PC seems to be attracted to?
I'm definitely going to go with Dragnmoon here. I know that there's probably no chance of persuading people who disagree, but I'll sum it up, thus:
1) Lissala has been called out by Mark as NOT LEGAL. He's even asked players to point out where it says it's legal, so he can excise it.
2) The Blog is legal, yes. The blog gives subdomains for deities, IF YOU HAVE ACCESS TO THAT DIETY.
Here's the converse of what you're arguing. If the Blog made everything therein legal...then does it make it it so you do not need the additional resource of a non-CRB god? Of course not.
Most likely, it was simply an oversight that they didn't say "except Lissala" in the additional resources.
In Georgia, we once had a Bard-o-rama table. Intentionally. It was advertised and people signed up to play in it. Everyone was a 1st level bard. It was such a hit that there was subsequently an all-rogue game.
Part of the joy and wonder of Pathfinder Society is encountering these kinds of tables, and coming up with creative solutions. Of course, if you have an alternate character, then by all means, consider it. But sometimes you should just play what you want to play.
Undead, constructs, oozes, and vermin get it for free.
Knight, I do not mean to be silly, but obviously they looked at it just now. They don't need to come in and say "this item is okay" in forum post for every item that someone has a complaint about. That's what additional resources and the FAQ do. Which is what they just did.
Whoa dude. That's a pretty strong accusation*. I'm not sure you're really furthering your point by starting with something like that.
Lots of GMs have different styles. And that's okay. Some GMs prefer different levels of transparency, and it even varies depending on the table. That's not out of some sort of malicious intent.
*Yes, I realize the inherent irony in this.
Actually, it's kind of hard to find. It's actually in the Polymorph Subschool. I highlighted all the things you asked in the text:
Polymorph: A polymorph spell transforms your physical body to take on the shape of another creature. While these spells make you appear to be the creature, granting you a +10 bonus on Disguise skill checks, they do not grant you all of the abilities and powers of the creature. Each polymorph spell allows you to assume the form of a creature of a specific type, granting you a number of bonuses to your ability scores and a bonus to your natural armor. In addition, each polymorph spell can grant you a number of other benefits, including movement types, resistances, and senses. If the form you choose grants these benefits, or a greater ability of the same type, you gain the listed benefit. If the form grants a lesser ability of the same type, you gain the lesser ability instead. Your base speed changes to match that of the form you assume.
If the form grants a swim or burrow speed, you maintain the ability to breathe if you are swimming or burrowing. The DC for any of these abilities equals your DC for the polymorph spell used to change you into that form.
In addition to these benefits, you gain any of the natural attacks of the base creature, including proficiency in those attacks. These attacks are based on your base attack bonus, modified by your Strength or Dexterity as appropriate, and use your Strength modifier for determining damage bonuses.
If a polymorph spell causes you to change size, apply the size modifiers appropriately, changing your armor class, attack bonus, Combat Maneuver Bonus, and Stealth skill modifiers. Your ability scores are not modified by this change unless noted by the spell.
Unless otherwise noted, polymorph spells cannot be used to change into specific individuals. Although many of the fine details can be controlled, your appearance is always that of a generic member of that creature’s type. Polymorph spells cannot be used to assume the form of a creature with a template or an advanced version of a creature.
When you cast a polymorph spell that changes you into a creature of the animal, dragon, elemental, magical beast, plant, or vermin type, all of your gear melds into your body. Items that provide constant bonuses and do not need to be activated continue to function while melded in this way (with the exception of armor and shield bonuses, which cease to function). Items that require activation cannot be used while you maintain that form. While in such a form, you cannot cast any spells that require material components (unless you have the Eschew Materials or Natural Spell feat), and can only cast spells with somatic or verbal components if the form you choose has the capability to make such movements or speak, such as a dragon. Other polymorph spells might be subject to this restriction as well, if they change you into a form that is unlike your original form (subject to GM discretion). If your new form does not cause your equipment to meld into your form, the equipment resizes to match your new size.
While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form. You also lose any class features that depend upon form, but those that allow you to add features (such as sorcerers that can grow claws) still function. While most of these should be obvious, the GM is the final arbiter of what abilities depend on form and are lost when a new form is assumed. Your new form might restore a number of these abilities if they are possessed by the new form.
Say, I'm a 4th level human druid with str 14 (+2) dex 14 (+2), and I turn into a medium cheetah. I have BAB +3. What do I get?
Stats: As per the spell Beast Shape 1, my stats are now str 16, dex 14.
Special Abilities: Okay, now I look at what is listed on Beast Shape 1
and I look at what the cheetah has: low light vision, scent, sprint, trip. I compare the two lists, and I see that I get scent and low light vision. I DO NOT get anything that is not on that Beast Shape 1 List. Looking at the Beast shape spells, I see that I can get trip at Beast Shape 2 (druid level 6) and I never get sprint.
Hope this helps!
EDIT: Darn, you mean I didn't have to type all that?
If a GM's fun relies solely on crushing players' hopes and dreams, then they are probably being a jerk.
Mike Mistele wrote:
There would be a 5-hour roleplaying section that would require players to have an elaborate Golarion based backstory that is both compelling and feasible (adopted by anything gives you an auto-fail), pronounce and spell their Faction correctly, solve a murder mystery, and answer a series of cunningly devised riddles.
Then, there would be an incredible urban dungeon complex which starts with trap that disintegrates any character with more than 2 classes or that didn't participate in the roleplaying (no save). All of the enemies in the complex would be undead, aberrations, spell casters, or outsiders, with devilishly clever tactics and unfair advantages. The players would be required to display extraordinary teamwork, courage, and the ability to adapt under pressure. Then, finally, they would face the final boss, who has the epic sword and probably a fortune witch cackling from a mile away.
Still want to play? :-P
Oh wait, I just described Cult of the Ebon Destroyers but without the triple gold. Darn. I guess I'll have to come up with something else.
Just to throw something out there...a great deal of thought, discussion, and effort goes into the Additional Resources list. Think about it...every time a resource comes out, someone, or a bunch of someones, comb through the book to figure out what might be appropriate or not appropriate. Mike, Mark, John, and the various VO's are human. Mistakes get made. Things change. People disagree.
We had synthesists, vivisectionists, and gravewalkers too.
Things get banned for a variety of reasons. You might not agree with those reasons, or know them all. But the line must be drawn somewhere.
Remember also that the lovely folks who write these books are NOT the ones who are in Pathfinder Society Campaign management. The rest of the books are written for anyone and everyone, for the wide world of people playing under some aspect of Pathfinder RPG or Golarion. It would be silly to ask them to restrict their books to PFSOP appropriate material, and it would be equally silly to ask PFSOP to accommodate everything published by Paizo.
And really, is it so hard to access an online, bookmarkable, downloadable, printable, constantly updated list?
Hi Thea! *hugs*
Hei Finlanderboy! It sounds like you had a bad gaming experience. I'm sorry that it happened. You might have had a terrible malicious GM who was out to get your character, whose entire reason for GMing a Pathfinder Society game was to sow misery upon your innocent character, just as you suggest. Or your could have had a GM who made a mistake. Or you could have had a GM who is inexperienced. Or you could have had a GM who had an unlucky roll of the dice. Or any of a myriad other things...but I don't know since I wasn't there.
What I do know is that GMs cheat. Yup. You're right. All of us are dang dirty cheating liars. And, as Jiggy so kindly points out, all of us think that we're exceptions to the rule and we are the East Asian mushroom. As the many posts on this thread has shown, we cheat at all kinds of things. We cheat to save player lives. We cheat to teach tactics. We cheat so that newbies will come back. We cheat to give players a higher level of challenge, because 1 round combats just aren't any fun, especially when your party is full of cheese monkeys. We cheat to deceive players when NPCs have a secret, to keep up roleplaying when it has momentum and everyone at the table is engaged in the story. We cheat to keep the game moving in a 4 hours time slot when everyone is hungry and tired on the 3rd day of a Con, and there's a 10 hour drive back home ahead of us. And yes, sometimes we cheat, and it doesn't go well. And you know what, sometimes we cheat not in the players best interest, to punish a player because we're tired of being slumber hexed, eidolon pounced, crane winged, play play played, ruled lawyered, whined at, and flamed on the boards.
So, now the secret is out. The question is, what are you going to do about it? Because if you condemn every single GM who has ever intentionally forgotten about a rule, used suboptimal tactics, fudged a dice roll or a modifier, ignored a scrap of difficult terrain, given kindly in-combat advice to a newbie, or targeted a player with out of game knowledge, then you might have a hard time playing a game. Ever. Your other choice is to just suffer under our maniacal rule, and play.
For the record, I am the East Asian Mushroom.
In retrospect, it's not as funny as I thought it was. I should have just said "poobah"
I have a Neutral Good character who sacrifices things to her ancestors all the time. And by "things" I generally mean small fluffy animals, but I don't see why she wouldn't dedicate a coup de grace on a clearly evil enemy as the same.
Humans have been sacrificing things to appease their gods and insure good harvests/healing/whatever for a long time. Even human sacrifices to gods that probably would not be considered evil.
Evil often has little to do with the action itself, and much more to do with context.
So, I wanted to echo Thea: I generally appreciate it if players point out a rules mistake that I make, even in combat. Usually my response is either "oh, right!" or "Uh, I'm not familiar with that, can you look that up for me, and let's keep it moving for now." Basically, normally it only takes a few seconds. Frankly, there are so many rules that we make mistakes all the time...not willfully.
On the other hand, there's a big difference between pointing out a rules mistake "He charged last round, and should have -2 AC!" and starting some sort of massive rules debate at the table. If things get convoluted, I am going to make a ruling and keep the game going...and I'm not going to retcon something that happened rounds and rounds before (unless there is a player death involved). No freaking out over a ruling that you don't like :-)
Kyle Baird wrote:
I hope to meet John Compton some day. I've only heard great things! Maybe Nani can introduce us at PaizoCon?
Someday, when you least expect it, when you think I've forgotten about all the slights and laughed them off as a friend, I'm going to achieve sweet sweet revenge. There will be glitter, Kyle Baird. Mark my words.
Jason Wu wrote:
I absolutely agree with this. There is an over-emphasis placed on building "optimized" characters, and many players seriously overestimate their effectiveness just because they can output big numbers. Clever tactics, creative problem-solving and teamwork are MUCH more important. Play smarter and better, not crunchier.
I agree that there needs to be GM judgement on the issue, but I'm also a strong advocate of risk in PFS games. If players choose to play up, they get an increased reward because of an increased risk. That is something that they need to understand and learn, sometimes with hard lessons. Hopefully those lessons will also teach them to play smarter too. Knowing how to best teach that lesson is one of those truly aspirational GM skills.
Again: "Adventuring is tough. Wear a cup." Kristie Schweyer, VC Florida*
*And you know when two Lady VCs are saying it, it must be true *wink*
Miss Feathers wrote:
You said it, girlfriend. MMMMMhmmmm.
For the record, both Larry Wilhelm and my husband play a spectacular Miss Feathers.
All of your questions come down to one question...what do you do about players who are not quite on the same page as you when it comes down to rules compliance?
First of all, auditing characters is very time consuming, and I almost never do it at cons. For local play, quite frankly a lot of times these things are not a big deal if they are one-time occurrences. I've forgotten my chronicle sheets before to a game day after work. But it sounds like you perceive these to be chronic occurrences with a certain few players.
It's a hard balance to strike, and you don't want to be perceived as a jerk or have all of your games sucked up by time-consuming audits. I would begin by telling your players, kindly, what the rules are, and how you expect them to be enforced. I wouldn't ban players or force them to use pregens, but remind them every time. Again. And again. Set up an expectation at your games. And use your fellow GMs (if you have them) to try and set up a consensus about rules.
Hope that helps!
For the record, if you needed to be a Venture Officer and needed stars in order to start doing a game day...then how did they get started in the first place? LOL
Basically all of the VOs started in this way...we saw a game we loved, wanted to perpetuate it, and just...started a game!
Macon Bacon, Esquire wrote:
To the best of our knowledge, one of the two of us will be the First Lady (5-star) :-P And that's really looking like Thea, though I hope to be the 2nd!
Since I made my mad dash to 4, I'm taking it easy though! To all the people above, you've gotta take some time and play and spend some time having fun :-) Otherwise you'll burn out...and that's not what's the best for PFS. Sometimes, you can further the game just by being a player. I especially recommend being a player for some new GMs...it'll give them a great experience and a confidence boost!!!
Think you're a hotshot PFS GM? Take Nani's Ultimate GM Test! Please reply with your own questions to this test. They can also include short answer format.
1. You are GMing a game and a player describes his character as wearing full plate painted white, complete with a face helm with breathing slots. He describes his favored weapon as a plasma blaster that makes pew pew noises (but it's actually just a composite longbow +1).
2. Your players run into a town market square and immediately decide to rough up all the little old ladies and hungry orphans.
3. A new player shows up at your table in a 7-11 scenario, as there wasn't room in any other game at the Con.
So, a 3-star GM volunteered for Dragon*Con, and asked if we would be willing to accept him. This is what I sent in reply.
V gives her armor straps, sword baldric, shield, and gear a thorough check, tugging on them sharply. She grunts in displeasure as the Lucas boy returns, accompanied by a rugged war dog that she eyes suspiciously. It happily barks, delighted to be off its leash. It does seem rather interested in V's pack, however. "Stay away from my sausages, mangy mutt," she mutters under her breath. When Sakura looks at her strangely, V coughs self-consciously. "What? Lucky Bjorc gave them to me!"
After her routine, she nods to the group. "Lucas, I'll take point, just tell me where to go. Momir, bring up the end with your eyes in the sky." A long glance to Momir follows, Keep him in front of you.
Bluff to pass secret message (take the better): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26, dice] 1d20+7[/dice]
My comments are purely in context of PFS. We are on the PFS boards after all :) My opinions on how alignment can work in a home game are completely irrelevant. Because in my home games everyone is a fluffy bunny who loves and cares for everyone!!!*
While I find your idea to absolve PFS of all alignment to be interesting, you must realize that it's an impossibility. PFS attempts to adhere to the PFRPG rules, and alignment is far too integral and far reaching. It permeates class choices, spells, feats, and the organization of the planar cosmos. there would have to be far too much changed. Additionally, you will probably find the the majority of players are in favor of keeping an alignment system in place. We are merely expressing different ways that it can be handled by individual GMs.
*Not even close :P