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Just in general, to the players out there: if your PC wants to do a morally ambiguous action and you feel you have to come to the boards to ask about whether or not it's okay, you probably just shouldn't do it to begin with.
Playing PFS at home with friends in a private setting is one thing, but remember, it is a PG13 game, there are times when you don't know the people you are sitting with, and it's just good gamer etiquette to be aware of your actions. GenCon is in two days and PFS will be put on display for the masses of serious and casual gamers alike. We owe it to the campaign and the company to show the game in a good light :)
The Fourth Horseman wrote:
See, I'm not okay with someone who paid money to visit a convention and donate their time to run a game to not get anything for it. Especially at a convention such as GenCon.
From the perspective of someone who gets asked to audit characters regularly, the ITS is a great addition because instead of having to go through each chronicle sheet tracking expenditures, there is just the ITS to look over and review.
From a player perspective, I forget what items I have quite a bit and so I use the ITS to track my consumables better than if it were written on the back of a character sheet or amongst my binder of chronicle sheets.
From the perspective of a GM, I haven't seen it take more than 5 minutes to fill out at the end of a game. I think most people spend more time writing a post on these forums than it would take them to fill out the ITS.
I'm going to try and come at this question from a global angle. I have been a member of 5 Organized Play campaigns: Living Greyhawk, Living Forgotten Realms, Living Arcanis, Legends of Arcanis and Pathfinder Society.
Going from memory of the rebuild rules, Living Greyhawk didn't allow any, Living Arcanis allowed some, Legends of Arcanis allows it until you stop playing Intro scenarios, Living Forgotten Realms allows a rebuild every level and PFS allows a rebuild until your level 2 and then has implemented rules for limited retrains through errata or Ultimate Campaign.
In terms of what is allowed from sourcebooks, LFR and Legends of Arcanis allow pretty much everything, Living Arcanis marked in the book what was allowed and Living Greyhawk and PFS have FAQ/Errata/Other documents that explain what is allowed.
Out of all the campaigns, Living Greyhawk was extremely restrictive with the large campaign "document" (I say document, but I really mean small book), PFS has a much smaller campaign rules document, followed by LFR and both Arcanis'.
In terms of overall campaign document complexity, rebuild rules and additional resource allowance by far the most restrictive campaign has been Living Greyhawk > PFS > Living Arcanis > Legends of Arcanis > LFR
Now take a look at the success of these campaigns. I don't think it's too far of a leap in logic to assign a strong level of correlation between the level of restrictiveness of a campaign to its overall success.
To the OP, there is one option that you forgot to add to your list of options to the campaign (which is also the most restrictive): no rebuild whatsoever.
Scott can correct me if I'm wrong, but the vitriol he is referring to is in general on the boards. For those of us who started on the boards playing when the Beta was out, the boards have become more sarcastic, less helpful and definitely more angry/depressing. It's probably why you see so many of the Old Guard trying to derail threads with wacky humor.
Necromancy is perfectly fine in Society play.
The table you sit at may not be perfectly fine with you playing a necromancer.
If you're playing with the same group of people every time, it won't be an issue, but I would suggest you make an additional character to sub in just in case the table isn't cool with it.
I make the same suggestion to Paladin players, FWIW :P
What's the purpose of PFS if you are only going to game with the same people every time?
Conventions are one of the reasons for having an Organized Play system in the first place. So that no matter where you go in the world, if you follow the rules of OP, you can play at local conventions.
The same is true for traveling to local game days, but really, not very many people spend money for only 4-8 hours of gaming. They spend that money to travel to conventions to munch on the feast that is PFS. 24-72 hours of PFS at one location over the course of one weekend. A busy person who can't make a game day every week may even find it easier to take time off for one weekend of gaming.
Speaking of spending money, conventions also help the local gaming economy. That FLGS that everyone in the area knows now has lot more people from out of town who can buy their products. Lesser-known game companies can have their games demo'd by people who may not have known that the company existed. Many conventions have charity auctions that can raise more money than a single game day could.
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Wondering out loud if, like the gunslinger, these classes will change into something unique or even morph into some low-level entry prestige classes. I mean, the Bloodrager seems like a more fully formed Rage Prophet, just to name one example.
There are boons in season 5 dependent on who you decide to back. Lots of different choices. If you pick a scenario based on which boon you want, you've already decided who you are going to get behind, regardless of their motives. This affects the faction war. I guess you are only spoiling things for yourself, but there is high probability that by doing this you will affect the outcome of your table. Just don't do it. Allow boons and the game to be a surprise for yourself.
Mystic Lemur wrote:
And if the source is downloading the chronicle sheets to boon shop? It's not verboten, and asking about it adds nothing constructive to the thread.
Well I look at it this way:
The guide says that a player has to tell a GM if they've played/GM'd a scenario before and that a GM is well within their rights to have that player seated at another table as we do not want foreknowledge to spoil the game for those who haven't played it yet. If the player DOES spoil it, they get kicked off the table.
A person reads the module chronicle sheets and sees a boon they want for a character. Since they already have knowledge of what the boon will be, they will play their character in the module with that knowledge in mind to try and get that boon, regardless of the flow of the game. It definitely goes against the spirit of the game (not to spoil the game for others, pg 20 of the guide), the same way reading a scenario before playing is against the spirit of the game.
IMO, things like "don't read the scenario/chronicle before you play it unless you are GMing it" or "respect another person's miniatures/dice if you borrow them" don't need to be written in the guide as they are basic rules to a table top roleplaying game. Heck, it saddens me that they had to include "Only play one character at the table" in the guide. That just seems so common sense to me.
Now, as I see it, there IS a difference between having the foreknowledge from GMing vs. foreknowledge from reading the scenario. One method uses that knowledge to contribute to the growth and fun of the players and the other uses that knowledge strictly for personal gain.
I'm not meaning to call MM out (especially if he has GM'd it), but I have heard other players comment that they read scenarios/chronicles before they play them and so I have to speak out about it on the boards.
Look at it another way: the Bonekeep scenarios cannot yet be purchased, so it cannot be read, except by a GM preparing it. The room at GenCon seemed more excited during these slots during normal scenario slots and I can't help but think it's because players have no idea what they'll encounter.
I also don't allow dice apps at my table, but it's not because of 'cheating' or 'bias' or any of that negative/mathematical crap.
Rolling physical dice has been a part of this game for what, 40 years? It's a physical manifestation of chance and I think it is both addicting to physically roll dice and group building. YMMV
I have been attending GenCon for 4 years each as a Tier 1 GM. Out of the 40 slots of games for those years, I believe I have done 36 of them (I could be wrong, my memory is a little shoddy atm...). Watching PFS grow over the course of these years, I am EXTREMELY happy to see how many female gamers and kids were at the event. I don't recall seeing this high a percentage of gamer girls/children in previous years.
Not only should Mike and John be given kudos to how well the games went (and they went well) or how many PFS tables were sat (holy crap there were a lot!) they should be given kudos for fostering a solid and safe community for gamers of all types. It was really awesome to see!
The level of negativity on the boards since the new guide was released has me quite concerned.
I have seen posts where every little word is nitpicked to try and break the meaning of its common sense intent. I have seen posts complaining about the PP cost of general retraining, ignoring the fact that in 5 seasons it has never been allowed before. There are posts complaining about the new inventory sheet, which was added to help both players and GMs keep track of their stuff in a more organized way.
About a year ago when some new material came out and a certain archetype wasn't allowed, people became very passionate and negative about it until Mike finally just gave in and allowed it. He revealed at that time that he was planning on it being a chronicle sheet boon(and a VERY cool one, I might add).
People, the new rules haven't even had a chance to be USED! If you keep up with the nitpicking, negativity and asking for more more more, I can almost guarantee that this is the last set of 'new rules' that will ever be attempted.
I sorely miss the way the boards used to be back in Seasons 0-1. Back then people were a lot more positive and polite, digging through the rules together and being helpful. Now it seems every other post is written by an 'Internet Tough Guy' who has his opinion on the rules and won't brook any criticism (positive or negative) about it.
And what's almost worse is that I see this negativity growing from the Old Guard as well as the people who have joined the boards in the past few years.
Here is how the past few days should have gone:
Respect how busy the Paizo PFS worker bees are right now, a week out from GenCon. They are trying to create the same quality scenarios in a very short amount of time AND trying to get them out in time for GMs to be well prepared to run them. Criticizing the Guide right now takes their time away from this, and I know that if a rule is seriously broken, it will NOT ruin the Campaign between now and when GenCon is over.
When you post on a thread, pretend as if the person you are responding to is right there next to you, face-to-face with a squirt gun pointed at your face. That may engender more polite responses from everyone.
Finally, before you reply to break down what I said sentence by sentence to prove me wrong and how much smarter you are than I, know that you are part of the precipitate, not the solution.
I have a question, that may or may not be valid in light of the amount of alcohol in my system:
What type of player brings a herd of bison to the table? Is it the type of player that cooperates with his teammates or one that usually tries to 'break the game' and solo encounters? In my experience, those that try to 'break the game' by running such options have been jerks, and I do not like to play with them or run them at a table. An argument could be made that the majority of players who build encounter-breaking builds are typically those you don't want to play/GM with.
There comes a point where a GM has been burned too many times by a single build/option that they 'know' no matter who the player is, it won't be fun for anyone to play with them. At that point they generally have two options:
The last option of 'Grin and Bear It' isn't valid because it WILL lead to GM burnout. If you GM too much (without playing) or run players who play legally "broken builds" everytime you WILL want to stop GMing.
Andrew Christian has been very vocal against builds that may encounter 'Table Variation'. It isn't because he wants to be right, or he wants to ruin someone's fun. Far from it. It's because he (like myself) doesn't want players to get in a situation where the character they've been playing becomes unplayable due to such variation.
The same logic applies to these 'encounter-breaking' characters. If you don't want to burn out your GM or your fellow players, don't play these types of builds. It may be legal, it may be fun for you, but this is a TEAM game, with the GM being a part of that team. Please, think of more than your own enjoyment when you sit at a table.
Every player has a right to leave the table for whatever reason they may have, good or bad. A GM has the same right. In both instances, the person who leaves will have to deal with the possibility that their actions may label them as a 'jerk' or a 'whiner' in the eyes of the community.
However, I believe there are more polite ways to ask a player to play a different character or pregen if the GM is uncomfortable with it. Just like there is a polite way to disagree with a GM ruling at the table (discuss it over a table break or after the game).
Reading over this thread, I think I disagree that it is only the GM who has the responsibility make a table fun, as some have claimed. I think it's up to the players, too. Others have repeatedly stated that it is not builds that are the problem, it's the players.
The type of player that dominates combats with 4 armed dual greatsword-wielding Ragechemist/Barbarians is going to disrupt tables even if they play a standard monk or rogue. Players need to police themselves, it can't all be up to the table GM. If you've built a unique character who has powerful abilities, don't use them every encounter (unless party survival depends on it, of course).
No matter what side of the GM screen you sit on be polite, be respectful and help everyone at your table.
If even one player at my table is iffy about playing up, I won't let them do it. I'm not sure where this "majority rules" idea came from, but PFS is an autocracy, with the GM being final arbiter of these types of decisions. I'm there to run a level-appropriate story for my table, making it challenging for everyone. I also won't let peer pressure go on at my tables. It's not bullying, but it's a step down that road.
However, I won't tell another GM that they have to do it my way; if they are following the rules in the Guide, I'll back them up to the utmost of my ability.