New players and what classes/races are right for them
Thanks for all the input. Please accept opinions from others. This isn't black and white !!
Advantage of Fighters and simple builds: they are quicker to pick up. A player more easily gets closer to the potential that this build represents
Advantage of all goes: a player has the opportunity to chose what he really likes
Aspects to look out for:
Complex vs simple builds: Ideally a player will read more in immerse himself/herself. The more he wants to do that / is capable - the more complex a build could be. But you also have the opposite - players who like to role play and only like to pick up a minimum of rules. They might spend 5 hours on a back story but will flip only through a rule book if they are forced to (aka make a character, upgrade it).
So there is no single solution. A solution needs to be tailored to the player.
Robert A Matthews wrote:
Never buy adamantine ammunition. 100 GP for an adamantine weapon blanch gives you 10 pieces of ammunition, as opposed to 60 GP per missile.
If you don't have the books in which weapon blanches are then adamantin missiles is your only available option to overcome hardness.
Weapon blanches are NOT in the CRB. And I would assume that >50% of players don't have the books.
Edit: just checked the source - it's APG - so might be less as 50% missing the book. . But we have to be careful to suggest options that are not available to everyone and state these are a must have.
Yes - these lists are very good. I know that some of my players won't like them (feels too much as a tick list exercise) but they are good for someone like me trying to help them to ensure I covered all the bases and don't forget anything.
Something that also helps - if you GMed a lot before you can try to select a scenario that has one new challenge that the group is unprepared for.
These are thoughts I started to write down at least 2 month ago. Recent threads about the difficulty of season 4 have urged me to finish the contribution and actually to post it. I hope to get some good suggestions back - and that other GMs/players/groups who have weaker players around might also benefit from this discussion
This thread tries to stand in a little bit for some of the silent players whom you never see here around. The idea for the thread came when one of these players died twice in a row during a convention - and a third death was prevented by a four star GM sacrificing his character to prevent a party-wipe in the third game.
So let’s start to define a weak player.
For frame of reference lets define a weak player as someone who’s characters power wise are on par with the pre-gens - or even below. In addition such a player might apply basic tactics (flanking) but isn’t aware of / hardly ever uses complex tactics. There can be multiple reasons why a player is below average
Reasons for weak players:
1) New to playing, possibly this is the very first character in a RPG ever. You only need 36 hours playtime to reach level 4. Some players who reach this level haven't spend more than 50 hours total on RPG - this includes learning rules, playing and generating a character.
2) Prefer to 'play' as to develop a character. I've seen multiple players - even some experienced GMs among them - who don't care much about the forward planning. This can result in a character updated just 10 minutes prior to the game or a lot of wealth not spend. Items not updated to keep up.
3) Lack of game mastery. Capable of playing a hack&slash but easily hampered by aspects like DR / hardness / SR / terrain which needs an alternative approach to succeed.
Is there power creep over the seasons?
I would definately say - YES. Take a 4 person party with Valeros, Ezren, Kyra and Merisiel at level 4 and 7 or a 6 person party with 3*Valeros, Ezren, Kyra and Merisiel at level 4 or 7. In some of the recent adventures they will just be slaughtered.
Reasons why PreGens have issues on higher level:
I generated a table - and I bet it won't survive the formatting. But the bottom line is - the pregens have no way to overcome several very common challenges. These are DR caused by Cold Iron, Silver, Undead Skeletons (bashing), Hardness (Valeros doesn't even have Power attack) or Good.
4 Kyra Merisiell Ezren Valeros
Cold Iron no No No no
Silver no No No no
Slashing yes dagger No yes
Bashing sling No Cane no
Hardness no No No no
Magic melee melee Oil melee
Good no No No no
7 Kyra Merisiell Ezren Valeros
Generating the table was an eye opener to me. Not a single of the 4 characters can overcome hardness in a meaningful way. And these are meant to be all purpose builds made by developers (a few seasons ago).
But we expect from a weak player to be better with his build as the developers deemed good enough not too long ago. That shows a lot how expectations have risen.
Why weaker players have issues at higher level
Simple - we ask them to generate a character that is better as the Pre-Gens - characters designed by experienced developers. Without help they will fail.
What can be done?
Help players to become better by educating them. This can take several different forms. One is to help them generate a good character. Beware – this can be time consuming. Teach them tactics – this works for both GMs as well as fellow players who can point out useful advice. And Paizo itself has done a great job in generating the First Steps – adventures that help to educate a player from basic level.
Don’t take over
But I don’t want to ruin the fun. What can be done to get casual players interested in the character build process. There is a close line between teaching someone and taking over. I refuse to update a character to the next level that isn’t mine – even if that would result in ‘better results’ and save me time.
Issues that make it harder
The death of characters also adds to the burden. Weak players have an increased change to die. So they spend resources on resurrection – and fall further behind.
Good players and weak players separating
What I want
I'm not sure if 'inclusive' or 'exclusive' is the correct discussion.
I feel sometimes more important is tolerance and trust.
As a player I accept the ruling of the GM. I trust him to do the best. I don't mind if he is experienced or a new GM and if I would rule differently. The only exemption is if a GM asks me for my opinion - or if it is a matter of life or death for a character.
And I hope players at my table can accept my rulings. I do ask if I'm in doubt, I do listen and I do take care in matters of life or death. But I also make decisions to keep the game moving. That's my job as GM.
There are threads in the rules discussion area with 500+ postings. This implies to me that it is sometimes difficult to ascertain what RAW really is.
There is also a third option - I know the scenario and try to avoid having to pull punches by doing the 'right' scenario with the 'right' group (or at least avoid doing the wrong one). The below is mainly done locally here. My house is the local PFS group. So I know all players and characters.
Many of the earlier scenarios are easier. Build up characters level 1 with simple tier 1-2. Do the really tough ones when they have an APL of 2.2 and not 1.2.
Do the easy ones when you only have a small table (3 players plus Pregen, 4 players) and do some of the rough ones when you have a stronger table.
I also try to help utterly underprepared groups to be able to rectify any short comings. I was doing Dawn of the Scarlet Sun for my 150/151 credit. At the start of the scenario there was only a single character at the table able to overcome DR of the BBEG.
But part of the scenario involves figuring out what is happening. I took a lot of care to play this out, not to rush it, give opportunity to be prepared. They didn't get it all right - they barked up a few wrong trees - but once we reached the last encounter it wasn't a choice of - do I pull punches or it's TPK - the group had evolved during play.
One very important aspect here is - allow to get equipment during an adventure. The right scroll, oil, etc. can make a huge difference.
If in doubt - allow knowledge skills. Even prompt them if you have a weak group that should know better but is walking to their slaughter just because they are not prepared. Here is another example:
Knowledge local if you are on the way to the Chelaxian Embassy - Cheliax are Devil worshippers. Knowledge planes - the two most common weapon types against these critters are x and y. You are going into the Andoran woods - they are full of fey and lycanthropes, etc.
And yes - there is a market just 5 minute detour on your way. and Btw - do you have enough healing with you.
This avoids later necessities to pull punches. And yes - if they got the 'wrong' type of weapon - guess they will need it a few scenarios down the line.
I never try to give more away as one of the VCs in the first steps when they try to give advice. And I even ask to roll appropriate knowledge skills - albeit some of the above DCs are very low.
Edit: everything below is my personal opinion
Rule 1: Ask for permission - it isn't PvP if it is consensual.
Rule 2: PvP is how it is perceived. As such it is akin to acts of evil. No rule ever will be able to clarify every situation.
Rule 3: you have a GM at your table - it's his remit to find solutions - even in unclear situations.
Problems only arise if players and/or GM perceive actions differently. One player might perceive it as PvP while the other one thinks it is for the best of the group.
The best I can do as GM is to try to rule fairly and in non partisan way. I will listen to voices at the table - but I will make a decision in a timely manner for the sake of keeping the game running.
This might include that one player feels I allowed PvP against him. In this case I surely perceived it differently or perceived most people at the table are of my opinion and I felt it was justified. I you feel I did a wrong decision - talk to me - after the game.
As GM look out for the weak player, the new player, the young one and ensure that they also have their moment to shine. They need special attention and nurturing - or you will lose them.
The weaker players might cost you resources and money as player, they prevent you from playing up and for a GM they make the play slower. But sometimes they also add and reward in surprising ways.
GM a table of kids and astonishingly often you have to ask yourself - why have I never seen this solution at an adult table.
Oh yes - they also get it wrong - often. But kids and new players aren't yet afraid to get it wrong. They still learn what works and what is foolish.
An old veteran and GM himself told my 8 year old daugther in a very asseretive manner on her first game that it was a bad, very bad idea to removed the gem stones from the pyramid.
"I've experience with this - this is a trap and nothing good comes from it."
Too bad that the removal of the gem stones was key how you destroyed the Penumbral Accord.
Mist of Mwangi:
A group of noobs came up with the best idea I have seen so far to fight the idols.
[b]"I scoop the idol up and put it into a sack."[b]
I think there CMD is 4 or something similar ridiciolous. I had GMed this scenario 7 or 8 times before and none of the experienced players came up with this solution. It even makes role play sense - this is how they got there from the Mwangi.
And as society we need them to grow.
I know how much time it takes each year just to get back to normal life after Dragonmeet - and this convention is 10 times smaller. And you not only managed to report everything in record time - you even generated a Fantastic write-up on the Paizo Con UK site for the whole of conception.
In case you don't work it out:
Rob Silk - aka Angel Gabriel is the ONE STAR shining above them all here in the UK
* star isn't the same as star rating in this case
Congratulations to Crispy who has reached four-star status last week at Conception. I know he is originally American - but we now claim him for us. He is only the fourth GM to reach this level in the UK and the fifth (as far as I can tell) in Europe.
Crispy is among the most active GMs on the local convention circle. I remember that I beat him (just barely) 2 years ago at Conception when I trumped his 9 slots with one more (yes - I was crazy that year). I guess by now he often is doing more slots than I do.
And he brings the whole family to conventions with his wife and son GMing as well.
And that's not all. Last year saw the first installment of Crispy CON - a convention for Pathfinder players that can't get enough. It was a very well organized con - maybe a little bit deadly. It had a great mix of classic scenarios and new season ones.
And if this still isn't enough - he also has a weekly group at his home where he is among several GMs who run society games and regularily have 2 tables in attendance. I've had the priviledge in the past to play at his house and to enjoy his hospitality. The only drawback for me is that he lives to far away which makes travelling there for an evening too much of a hassle.
Congratulations again - well earned !!
The Masterwork transformation is primarily to allow someone with a Heirloom weapon proficiency to turn that weapon into a MW weapon as he can't buy a MW replacement.
MW weapons are even always available. Go and buy them as long as you have gold.
Hitting a helpless person should be done with great care. I had players 'play dead' when the odds seemed overwhelming and I rewarded this by looking for other targets.
But there can't be a fixed and hard rule as it always is circumstantial.
I think in all my many games in PFS I only 'coup de graced' a character once - and this was slow motion and took 3-4 rounds - slowly eating his brain.
The reason it happened was circumstances (group triggering multiple encounters at once, half the group incapacitated due to own fault, the victim failing his save) and the utter failure of his remaining comrades to take out that monster (fast enough).
This was a monster that I don't think ever survived combat round 1 before. Once it had started eating the brain of the helpless victim there was no reason at all (apart of it being dead) that it should stop.
It was tragic comical as one player threw a net over it - keep on munching brains - yeah - and then tried to trip it - keep on munching - yeah - before changing tactics.
This was a situatiuon where I felt hitting the helpless was the right thing to do. And the player of the dead character felt the same way. The only time in PFS when I was thanked after the game by a player for killing a character as having created an epic death moment.
Off course it helped that the dead character was played by an experienced player and wasn't his first (or second) character and the hapless bystander 'causing' the death was a brand new player - learning that PFS can be deadly.
I'm back - and it was a fantastic convention once again.
I managed to GM 7 slots, play 3 slots, used the very first one to settle in and actually have time to chat with people and one slot to relax with family.
A big thanks to the organizers and especially Rob. He was always there if something was needed - and GMed most of the time as well.
There have been many other helpers who deserve praise as well but having been 'on show' in the trade hall cuts you off a little bit from what is happening elsewhere. Not that I would truly notice once I start GMing.
Next - Thanks to Russ (2*) and my second GM (John?) - I had three very enjoyable games.
That leaves one last THANKS to all the great players at my table.
I will be around from tomorrow onwards.
I have a personal table in the trade hall. I tried to have a schedule with at least one free slot each day - well - we will see how this works out.
I have enough DwarvenForge with me to build up most scenarios and enrourage anyone wanting to use it to fill up the slots that I don't GM. Just approach me.
Here is a link to a thread about Children and PFS play that I started nearly 3 years ago.
At the time my son was 9 and my daughter 7. I was on the way to a child friendly (according to the advertisements) convention that also did some PFS play.
My son did play and had a lot of fun. I didn't let my daughter play at the time as I felt she wouldn't enjoy it for long enough.
Forward 2 1/2 years. My son is a keen player and is well known and respected at conventions. He tends to know at least one or two players at a table - so I no longer feel he needs daddy or mummy to sit at the same table.
A week ago he GMed the Accursed Halls - Thornkeep level 1-2 for a group of 7 adults, including 3 4-star GMs. He GMed for approx 8 hours (with breaks) and got very good feedback from all players around the table. He will need 3 more credits to get his first star as GM.
I'm glad I wasn't discouraged two and a half years ago to let him play at a convention.
I'm still very selective when, what and with whom I let him GM. But he gets all my support and his most prized procession is a core rule book he got with signature from Mike and the VC UK at PaizoCon UK.
This is to show it can work very well.
Now I should also mention my daughter. She is less interested. I take care to book her for max 1 slot / day at a convention and I ensure either myself or my wife sit at the table to keep her focussed.
She is probably closer to the boy in the shop. I allow her to play when she shows interest - but I'm fine to find alternative ways to keep her occupied.
Bits that help in my opinion
But in the end you have to talk to the parent to work out how best to handle it. A ban for young players is not constructive.
So there needs to be a solution somewhere in between.
1d) I'm unfamiliar with the Stormtrooper Archetype. I politely ask the player to show me his watermarked copy. If he can't produce one then I have to apply the rules as best as I know from memory. Aren't stormtroopers from the D6 system? He will therefore have to use a d6 for attack rolls and skill checks. In addition - if he is a gnome I will remind him to apply the bleaching rules to his character.
2d) I use the mob of beggars which you find in any market sqaure and apply the overbearing rules. Lucky me that I come prepared as an avid KODT reader.
3d) I tell him overpowered players are not welcome at my table. I just had Ezren lvl 7 single handedly prevent a TPK in my last scenario. I don't want this to happen again.
4d) I go into roleplay overdrive and describe how the black fetched arrow with the barbed iron tip enters through the left eye of the Kitsune, rips through it's body, severing an atery on it's way, gushing blood 5+d6 feet, blinding the fellow barbarian before piercing through the heart and being stuck in the spine.
5D) I'm an old fashioned GM. I can't think of a better example to apply the play, play, play rule.
6) Where is the open option? I throw my CRB at him. I have a +6 to hit, point blank, the GM screen gives me cover to prevent any AoO for him to retaliate. This will show him.
New - 7
You have a player at your table who wants to take 10 on attack and damage rolls.
A) The T10 rule is optional and isn't used in PFS at all. At my table we roll dice for everything.
B) Nothing wrong with it. I allow it as long as he has a T10 t-shirt.
C) He got the rule muddled up. I will allow it and then I will take 20 on the next attack and damage of the monster attacking him. This will teach him to learn the rules properly - if he survives that is.
D) none of the above - describe what you do yourself
The infamous Temple of Empyrial Enlightenment mission and how one player creatively solved it using diplomacy
temple Empyrial enlightenment:
The character was medium size and had no chance at all to get into the chamber.
But the player remembered that I had introduced the halfling family to them. One of the kids had been their 'guide'.
Nothing dangerous - just show them where the library was or tell them dinner was about to start. I had played the young halfling as inquisitive and looking up to these strangers - both afraid and fascinated. Also as a ploy to lure them into safety to show everything was just normal.
Half a game later - all is done apart the mission. The characters have defeated the evil and are heroes at the temple. The character remembers the halfling boy and bribed / sweet talks him with the added bit he could also have his small part of adventure by doing a favour fior him.
I hadn't expected that this mission could be solved by diplomacy, especially as I'm quite against sidestepping such problems by letting others do it.
But it was so well played - and the only NPC used who would have no problems getting in there - a young halfling - that it clearly deserved the PP.
Kyle Baird wrote:
What if we limited 7th level pregens to subtler 7-8 and maybe only 5-6 of the 5-9's?
This sounds very reasonable to me and I wouldn't object to it at all.
I would even throw in the following:
Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:
I'm thankful that despite heated discussions in this great community that someone starts up a thread like this to underline the great amd positive sides of the hobby.
Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:
I hope as the orignal poster of the thread I'm allowed to have my own opinion what is or isn't related to this topic.
Yes - it might not be related to certain derails in my absence.
This topic started about me feeling if PFS slowly becomes more of a closed environment with bigger hurdles for new and inexperienced players.
The problem about players not understanding (well) how to play their characters is related to this.
In the first two years this was much less of a problem.
1) the majority of players going up in levels belonged to experienced players and players who played a lot. Casual players with maybe 10 sessions a year wouldn't reach higher levels.
2) in the beginning there was only the CRB. Less options, less to screw up if you don't invest the time.
I'm in 100% agreement with you and Kyle. Giving an inexperienced player a high level pregen and let him lose on his own on a high tier scenario is a recipe for disaster and should be avoided wherever possible.
But how is the casual player - and with casual I would say someone spending 80%+ of time gaming PFS and 20%- reading boards how to get better, upgrading and planning his/her character, ever to learn higher level play? Do we ask him to die 5 times first before he/she is allowed to participate.
And here we come back to PreGen characters. I think they should stay as they give a base line. If a scenario can no longer be played by experienced players using the pregens then we are in danger that power creep and optimization had gone too far.
After all - these characters have been created by above experienced people (Paizo Staff) and if they are unable to create a moderately playable character - what chance to we give newcomers and casual gamers.
To reiterate: High level pregens should be avoided if possible. But banning them is another step into making our tables less welcoming. Not for new low level players. But to the less invested ones who stay on long enough to reach higher levels.
Preston Hudson wrote:
Netopalis, he was reminded to that very fact but was not concerned.
In this case he will have to live with the consequences. I'm writing on another thread about to ensure we don't loose our inclusivity in PFS. But there is only so far you can go.
PFS isn't a computer game with a reboot option.
But thanks for asking and looking out for that player.
This sentence - read in a different thread - got me thinking.
I'm a relative novice to organized play compared with quite a few players and GMs around here. I did start playing D&D basic nearly 30 years ago - with several years hiatus inbetween as well as different systems.
When I joined PFS 3 years ago my gaming got a fresh breath of life. I loved to play a whole day long doing more than one scenario. I loved the welcoming atmosphere of the players and GMs and I made a lot new friends by taking part at conventions.
There was only a single event early on where I was pretty much taken aback three years ago. I was organizing PFS for the a convention in London (we aimed for 2 tables PFS, Erik Mona was doing a special competing with us and ended up with 3 tables total).
It was my very first scenario as GM - having played 2 scenarios before - and I was also organizer. And yes - I was new to the scene, didn't know anyone apart of the GMs I had met during my first scenarios (it was a slot zero event for another convention).
So when I advertised the event on a forum and told people to let me know if they are coming to reserve a place (and giving me peace of mind I actually would have players) I was shot down and flamed by a non PFS player.
For some reason he took offence in what I had written as. He accused me I was preferring people who visited the forums, would only take people who knew the secret handshake, members of a close brotherhood - people who had earned their right to play. And all this in favour of new players who would just wanted to give it a try.
Call it a warm welcome to a new GM and organizer who didn't knew the etiquette and innocently had stepped on someones toes by trying to be helpful.
Especially as I was new, naive and had never ever been part of a RPG convention before I felt it was completely off the mark.
Luckily this didn't end my involvement in PFS play. The event went down well. In the first slot we managed to get just enough players thanks to Erik sending someone over to my table. In the second slot Rob Silk - Venture Leutenant now - came to the rescue when he stepped in whitout prior notice when suddenly had a waiting list that was too long.
The bad memory did fade slowly as I became more and more a member of the community and my experience tended to be just the opposite of what I had been accused when I started organizing.
This brings me to the now and three years later. I noticed a few bits at the last convention where I was with my son. Organization was sometimes chaotic. The oldd guard of players - players who had 'earned the right to play' seemed not to bother too much.
You know the GMs, you know your fellow players, you will find a place even if somewhere there is a short term change in program. Someone knowing less or starting on the other hand could be easily left on the side.
My son had signed up for 4 scenarios ahead of the time they should have started - not a single one happened as groups had formed who had full tables - leaving a few single and less experienced players on the sideline.
Having a four star GM as father has it advantages. He knows people, he can organize stuff, he can run something spontaneously. He is a member of the brotherhood by association.
He got his games. I just took care to round up everyone left out and then found at the table a valid scenario for everyone. But it caused me to think back to the event when I started. The people at my table had been stragglers, outsiders and probably the only novices needing a new PFS number at the event.
Don't get me wrong. I don't want to criticize PFS or the organizer. This is a great community and I have seen great sacrifices by GMs to enable players to get a seat at the table.
But this - and the sentence - earning the right to play - got me thinking. Is PFS maturing and are we still as welcoming to new players as we have been in the beginning.
Or are these some aspects towards a more competitive landscape. Are we now big enough to have our gaming secured - and new players unable to play the high tier are now a nuisance.
Well - we certainly still want dedicated players who make the effort. But are there signs we need to look out for - so that what I was accused for 3 years ago never happens for PFS.
There is dicussions about Scenarios that are getting more deadly.
Please let me end by saying that PFS is a great and welcoming community and it has enriched my life. So when I point out a few observations then these don't represent the overall scene.
But I don't just want to be schtumm
Killing your own character is not a good idea !
There are now level 1 rebuilding rules. The player should have carried on with the character as it was and could have just rebuild it to a character he feels more happy with.
By killing his own character he placed the GM in an awkward position and strictly can't use the chronicle. Not knowing the details I can't comment on any circumstances. But it seems a drastic action from the player and if he loses out on a chronicle now, then he can only blame himself.
Sometimes open roles really add adrenaline and you feel you got away.
I had one such roll today - my son - down to 20 hp - facing 10d6 acid damage. CON 16 - so I needed to roll average or below.
10 d6 go into the dice tray at the same time - moments of silence followed.
One bit I learned quickly as PFS game master - try to avoid looking up a rule during the game. It drags out game play, interrupts the flow, leads to chatter between Players not part of the ruling - well - as I said - I just try to avoid it.
What does this have to do with the OP.
Well - it doesn't matter that much if a obscure rule is on the board or in a splat book. I will listen to a player and then derive a ruling and ask the player to accept it. I'm happy to look it up afterwards.
Do I always get it right - no!
But experience shows that in 80% it is in favour of the player. As GM I can live with the fact that occasionally players derive advantages from a ruling. In exchange I ask them to accept the occasional disadvantage.
It seldom is a question of life and death. And if a wring ruling leads to a fatality then I will correct it. It has happened to me once. A BBEG had 21! Spells prepped as buff. I wasn't aware that one of them prevented him from casting.
When it was pointed out later to me (how did you get all the stats up that high?) I found a solution.
Issues on these boards are often cornet cases. In most cases they can wait until after the game.
Greg Hurst wrote:
In PFS play there wouldn't really be a way for the monk to ever get ahold of his one item of note since you can't pick up things along the way and everything must be purchased with money. The monk would probably just hold a few gold on him, such as the 10gp that Robert suggests. The rest is "given" to the monastery and when such time that he receives his ancient Amulet of Punching Hard from Sun Chi of the 3rd Tien Dynasty as a sign of his extreme piety he basically cashes out. In terms of gameplay he simply can't access that money (like a 401k) and if did he'd be breaking his Vow.
Why do we have to make it so complicated.
He leaves his money with the Society and similar to buying for prestige at some point he gets his single item.
This is either restricted heavily by the fame he has - or needs to come from a chronicle.
Hey society - for five years I have left all my money with you. We just found this nice item and I would like to keep it.
The gold is just abstraction to make running smooth.
I see this in the spirit of the vow.
This reminds me a little bit of Count Jeggare in the Pathfinder Tales.
He gets sick when he tries to read and prepare spells. He overcomes it using something called riffle scrolls.
Instead of a normal scroll you have the spell inscribed in many pictures - like one of these booklets as kids - if you riffle through them with your thump you generate seemingly moving pictures - and in this case a spell.
You find it in Inner Sea Magic.
Riffle scrolls should still work for you even if you can't read.
A question here is - do you have scribe scroll and are allowed to make some (at least using the spells still in your memory) or can you purchase some.
I sometimes wonder how many players have ever considered manacles instead of a coup de gras.
I had one slumber CdG combination in the last game I GMed. To bad for the player who did the hex - and cheered another player on doing the CdG - that they had just killed his mission.
Manacles would have saved him this embarrassment.
As a father of two children - likely the two youngest participants at PaizoCon UK this year - I first would like to thank organizers and players at the convention we have been at - you always have made us feel welcome at the table and I have never seen issues. And I think my two 'goblins' are now a well established part of the community and I'm grateful for it.
But some of the discussions here disturb me. There might be other examples - but so far I can only say that other parents seem to spend a lot of thought about having their children to participate or not. They are very conscious to ensure other players are not 'disturbed' by their children style of play.
What I haven't heard here yet is the view from a children's point of view. After all they are often hold to much more scrutiny as we would expect from an adult.
At the last mixed game with adults and children at the table I had to tell off an adult whom I know dislikes to play with children because of his bad behaviour. It was no violence, it wasn't sex - it was just childish behaviour. Childish behaviour that I knew if copied by any of the kids at the same table would him cause to walk immidiately from the table or at least cause complaints.
We expect and force children to behave at the table and be at their best for the privilege to share a game with adults. And if in doubt - we tend to pull them - aka they are the first not allowed a seat at the table.
I thought I share this different viewpoint. The children don't have a voice here to tell their story. But I heard it often enough now the one recurring complain - why aren't we allowed to play.
I can't believe this is still being discussed 85 comments later.
Someone mentioned early on the feat threatening illusion. The following part from the feat should have settled it once and for all:
Normal: Illusion spells do not threaten squares.
The full text of
Threatening Illusion (Metamagic)
You’ve mastered the art of making illusions that force foes to divide their attention in combat.
Prerequisites: Spell Focus (illusion), gnome.
Benefit: You can use this metamagic feat only on illusion (figment) spells.
A threatening illusion spell causes one target to believe your illusion is a threat. Choose one 5-foot square within the area of your illusion; that square threatens the target as long as it is adjacent. Thus, if you or an ally is on the opposite side of the target, it is considered flanking. Normally the area must contain an illusory creature of Small or Medium size. However, you can select one square of a larger illusory creature to threaten the target. For example, an illusory Large ogre takes up four 5-foot squares; you select one square to be the source of the threat, and its other three squares do not threaten anyone. If the target has reason to believe there is an invisible creature in the vicinity, even an auditory illusion with no visual elements (such as ghost sound) is sufficient to convince the target that the selected square contains an actual threat. As long as you maintain the illusion, you can change the location of the threatening square as a swift action. When you threaten a target with this spell, the foe may make a Will save to disbelieve (DC 10 + threatening spell’s level + your spellcasting ability score modifier). If the target makes this save, the threatening effect of this feat no longer applies to it.
Level Increase: +1 (a threatening illusion takes up a spell slot one level higher than normal.)
Normal: Illusion spells do not threaten squares.
Now the above has given me an idea to an interesting concept.
This would give you 'at will' threatening of a single enemy within 25ft + 5ft/2 lvl. The DC would be 10 + 1 (spell focus) + caster stat
Duration would be 1 round / level. Compared to Silent Image it has the disadvantage that you can't move it and it only affects a single target (as threatening) - but you also don't need to concentrate on it.
And I could envision this nicely as a roleplay opportunity as you chose sounds likely to affect the target and I think it would fit in nicely to a trickster type gnome.
The cost isn't cheap - 1 trait and 2 feats. But if you play PFS then you swap Scribe Scroll for Spell Focus - enabling the concept at level 1.
And yes - prior to posting I checked out the discussion (at least one of them) that discussed Magical Lineage and level zero spells enhanced by meta magic.
Mystic Lemur wrote:
Every player should know that you can't join a grapple. You can assist and give a +2.
So this proves dogs grappling in Pathfinder is illegal as other can join in.
I will be around with Philip. I hope to get in a mix of GM and player. I will likely run older scenarios as I always hope to play some of the newer ones myself. And off course I can offer the Cyphermage for players who missed it at PaizoCon UK.
If a paladin mount starts with 18 or 20 tricks in PFS then you have to allow custom
This is enough for a level 20 Druid with a companion that has no Int increase.
6 + 7 bonus = 13
But if you get 3 extra tricks for every Int above 2 as was pointed out to me in the PFS FAQ then you need custom tricks to fill the slots.
I've started a different thread about the non PFS number of tricks in the rules area. But PFS seems clear.
I thought I summarize a few points being mentioned here or in other threads. This is especially in regard to the question - is online play worthwhile and does it serve a function in PFS.
In no specific order:
I hope this covers most posts over the last week and summarizes my opinion that PFS PBP definitely is worth it.
Can it improve?
Off course - which game or GM can't improve. And we have a community that is helping that this is happening.
First of all let me say - the Original Poster lists several very reasonable points. So let me try to take a step back and look at the options.
Option 1: Every GM runs each encounter 'as written'
For the reasons shown by the OP (and other ones I have read here on the boards) this options has many, many draw backs.
Option 2: You remove the tactics and give the GM free reign
There have been lots of posts and threads in the past that show how this has caused the death of characters - and players come here and complain.
So effectively we are in a catch 22 position here. If we look at the draw backs, neither option is without them.
So how can we solve the issue? GMs are not automatons. Tactics get interpreted and the world isn't black and white. Assuming you are talking of Shipyard Rats then the encounter says 'frequently' and not 'every round'. Frequently gives me a lot of leeway to interpret during a fight.
If my first channel takes down half the party then I don't have to channel two more rounds to ensure a TPK. It also mentions blindness/deafness on the toughest character as soon as battle starts which implies not channel in the first round of combat. It also mentions to use fear - which again can't be done the same round as channel. And it even says she might channel to heal her zombies.
Bottom line - as GM all of the below seem reasonable
So lets look at the positives of tactics
a) they ensure the table variation is mimimized
In my view - the benefits of tactics written outweigh the downsides.
I try to follow them as far as it makes sense. But I will depart from them the moment they start to make no sense because of what happens on the battlefield.
Actions of characters do have an effect on tactics. If it says BBE kills an enemy (and he plays dead - successful) then I stop hitting that character.
Does it mean I altered the tactics? Only the most hardcore reading of RAW would imply I keep pounding on the character.
An example from Shipyard Rats that changed the whole outcome of the fight
Shipyard Rats again:
So to special circumstances (the group went to the ship but walked up and down for half an hour instead of entering it) the Shipyard rats fight happened next to the ship. The only character of the group on board was a half-orc monk - scouting.
Knowing the whole scenario this is something that doesn't fit into any tactics. It seemed reasonable to me that the cleric might mistake the monk with one of her own crew. So I gave the cleric a sense motive check to identify the monk as enemy (failed). So she shouted to him - help me - only to get surprised by him later and dragged into the water.
There have been a few issues being discussed around PBP PFS games. This post tries to give some background. I hope it is useful for PFS players here who never have played but also for Mike to get a better idea what is going on.
To start with - PFS PBP is different to PFS at the table. In my view it is futile to try to give the same experience at the table as well as via PBP. But different shouldn't mean inferior or that a PBP is a non official game.
The differences are through the medium and the timing. There are aspects at a table that are difficult to impossible to recreate in PBP - but there are also options difficult to impossible to recreate at a table.
So lets start with areas I think PBP actually is superior to the table version.
Character creation and audit:
Explaining rules / mentoring new players:
Roleplay / getting into character
Rare rules / stacking of modifiers
But no all is good in PBP - and most is related to fast paced combat
Rolling out of initiative order and using meta-knowledge
I do follow initiative in my PBP. But this doesn't mean you roll in initiative order. You often know already a few results of actions that happen after yours. You have to be adult enough to not use this knowledge.
Doing an impossible action as the action of someone else just invalidated your own action
Here is another issue about the 'out-of-order' actions. You hit, you roll a critical - but actually the person in initiative order ahead of you just bull-rushed the enemy out of reach / killed it him/herself. This issues just happen in one form or another - and the best I managed to handle them is to try to modify actions as slightly as possible and to take dice rolls and intentions and interpret them. So if you write you attack the wounded enemy (and he is down by the time it is your initiative) I just transfer your rolls to the non-wounded, maybe even adding a five foot step. It is a compromise between letting the game run and altering actions of a player. I never try to put a player into danger because of such an action. But this is something I surely would never do at the table. Maybe I would say - you can't do that - do something else. But I wouldn't alter an action - even slightly.
Playing a character for a turn
Sometimes you are in a fight, it is the weekend - and a player - in real life - is off to a personal event. He then allows the GM to do his next turn - to keep the game running. I try to mitigate this by slowing down pace during certain times (a big game convention week with multiple players, etc.). I also never try to do something crucial that alters dramatically the whole combat or places a character in mortal danger. But yes - it happens - you sometimes do take control or roll dice for a character. Actually writing this I realize - I always roll the initiative for everyone - characters and enemies. It just speeds up game play immensly - but from a purist point of view I took ownership of a character.
Time and commitment
PFS PBP often means more time and commitment as a table game. As GM it takes my many more hours to run a game. As player you commit yourself and your character for a long time.
I hope this gives some ideas about the pros and cons of PFS PBP games. They are all related to time and timing. PBP can shine when you have additional time to do something non important that you just can't justify to spend time on during a table game as you need to fit it in. PBP falls short when it needs quick interactions and a fixed order of actions.
In summary - PFS PBP is different - there is no denying it. But with responsible players and GMs PFS PBP is no more or less valid as a table game. Some aspects shine, some are inferior.
This is by no means complete and also is my personal view - so if you are a PFS PBP GM or player - please add your point of view.
As a follower of Sarenrae you should be fine.
As a follower of Torag - assuming the kobolds are your people's enemies - you are even supposed to kill them.
As a follower of Shelyn you would have clearly broken the code as she belief in everyone can be redeemed. Remember her brother is Zon Kuthon and she still hopes for his redemption.
Faith of Purity is quite interesting in this respect as it gives a paladin code for the most important gods. And yes - in some cases what lets you fail for one got wouldn't cause an issue with another one.
Please don't get me wrong - my play style is different and you need to build a character the way you enjoy most. And I have seen enough players here with a similar mindset. But I though I give you my thought on this thread.
Is planning alignment changes ahead of time turning a character development upside down?
During your leveling up
You meet other adventurers,
With everything planned ahead you have to ensure that the experience that your character has will fit into your build. You can't allow an experience of the character leading to him changing his path as it is already predefined - regardless which scenarios he plays.
Just give it some thoughts and build at least a minimal amount of flexibility into your character. Every character I play comes with a vision how I think this character will develop. But none of these visions survives multiple levels as events open up alternative choices or I realize some other aspect of my character is more important then envisioned.
Let him GM - provided:
a) There is a rules savy player at the table who can answer rules questions
b) He is willing to listen in regard to rules questions to the player
c) He did play what he GMs before - so he knows better what to look out for
d) Problem players and rules lawyers are kept away from his table
I guess this is my long winded way to say - he needs mentoring. He shouldn't be stoped but rather encouraged as long as this is done in a controlled environment.
This was one of my early games. I played my Wizard in Citadel of Flame. I was one of the lower level characters - as I had just started.
We got pestered by a sorcerer. We finally manage to break into his hide-out after having taken some damage. Being early in Initiative - but without useful spells to burn off - I throw a thunder stone - making him deaf - which let him promptly fail his next two spells.
Our main fighter moves in, later more of our melee characters pile in. Three or four rounds later - the sorcerer is still up and defending himself (a string of very poor dice rolling). The sorcerer is about to escape as I shout out (both in and out of character)
"I can't watch this any more."
The Str. 7 wizards comes charging in - his quarterstaff held high above his head.
A critical later and the sorcerer is finally out.
Embarrassed silence around the table. Meta-gaming I knew he was low on HP - but I also knew my chance to hit was close to zero and even then I needed to follow through with an above average damage roll just to do more as 1 HP damage. But I just couldn't stand on the site any more - watching the fighters throw insults - followed by poor dice rolls.
The only other monster I had taken out in melee until this day had been a wounded mite.
I once was in the situation to cast a fireball to save the party - we risked TPK and it looked very badly for us - and the only chance was to target it in a way that also included the paladin.
The player of the paladin was okay
This was the most difficult decision I ever made. We had at least 5 min (at least it felt long) ooc discussion. In the end the decision of the majority of he group was to overrule the one objecting player. The paladin went down - but made his save. He lives and can tell an epic story of sacrifice.
This is probably as extreme as it gets.
I can't say if we would have all died otherwise. In RPG you can do a save game now and come back. This is partly what makes it interesting. But it can lead to decisions you can't reverse.
Here is a help another incident that had a fellow GM nearly exploding.
Player A rolls faction mission - rolls low
Player B - I assist, I assist
Problem: Player B had NO clue what she was assisting. Only out of character she noticed a dice roll that seemed not good enough.
The (nearly) failed skill check was for a secret faction mission. The same player did this now more than once. I know the next time it happens that the GM will be unable to control himself having told off the player every single time not to assist just any skill check.
There are times you should assist - thre are also times you better don't. The secret faction mission of another player falls into the latter.
There is only one answer I can give to the concerned player:
This is the Pathfinder Society. In a society the aim is to work together towards a common goal - players AND GM for the common goal to have a good time at the table.
In a well functioning society you slowly built up trust in each other. Once you have trust in your GM and your players any concerns about the ruling will disappear.
So then the question then becomes - what can we do to ensure the player develops the trust in his GMs that this ruling shouldn't concern him any longer.