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Congratulations Kristen. 5 stars is quite a feat considering you have to deal with Seth not only at conventions and gamedays, but at home as well. To overcome that handicap and achieve the success you have is a testament to your dedication and perseverance.
I hear construction of the women's dorm on five-star island is coming along ahead of schedule. The wet bar is being stocked as we speak and the two-way mirrors in the locker room are being removed. Nice try Baird ;-)
I have an unpopular opinion and one that Seth has picked up on. Based on my interpretation of the RAW*, as Steve quoted, the rules specifically prohibit KILLING another player. It says nothing about hitting, spelling, combat maneuvering, etc. them. Because they repeatedly reference KILLING, I assume it is for a reason.
First, we have to assume by Player vs. Player, they meant Character vs. Character since we are playing a game after all and the former is quite illegal.
There are two rules involved here; the one concerning PvP and the (don't be a) Jerk rule. I do not force players to retract their actions even if they involve friendly collateral damage unless it directly results in a character's death. Players should never have to gain the permission of other players to perform in-game actions. It may be considerate, but short of required. I also do not interpret collateral damage as PvP.
That being said, it is usually fairly clear when a player is being a jerk. There are times when most/all of the actions people have posted above have their place in the game. There is some amount of table variation with this issue. However, if the player is being a jerk, I will address that directly and out of game as it has no place.
There is also a lesson to be learned by some players. Don't play intentionally confrontational PCs, especially if you are doing it just to get the GM or other players attention. Cooperate is a focal point of the campaign (IMO, the most important) and you should be actively doing things to further it. If your PC is such that it will often want to rage-kill NPCs or will be provoked by other characters, please use it in another campaign.
*since sooo many like to shove RAW down my throat as a justification for their actions/opinions, I feel it is only fair I am permitted the same
Thank you for being a mentor, a master GM, and a friend. Your exquisite maps, dedication to storytelling, and player-enabling style has inspired us to push our GM skills to the limit and beyond.
Watching Doug run Mists of Mwangi cold, and without any printed material (completely from memory) at Origins 2010 was awe-inspiring and proof of his awesomeness.
Thank you for showing us the best ways to organize a local/regional convention. Your methodology is the foundation of how most conventions are coordinated. It is always amazing to see the things convention organizers do and think, "Doug did that first." The methods were shared by the lucky few of us who worked for Doug at a con he organized to others who attended our cons or who we had discussions with. Even GenCon has been impacted by the things he pioneered.
Doug, words fall short of the thanks you deserve. Congratulations on 500 and best wishes for 500 more!
Folks, let's not get all bent out of shape over the .5 thing. Players have very little choice when it comes to playing up/down anymore. I don't think it hurts anything to grant them the minor boon to choose which way to round X.5. Just don't pre-round to get to X.5 and then round to an APL. Try to remember that its not about trying to kill the PCs, so don't be too quick to push them up. Just have fun!
Explore! Report! Cooperate!
I have seen some re-rolls being granted at local cons for various reasons. Buying a convention t-shirt, buying a goblin plushie from a vendor at the con, donating to whatever charity is being supported by the convention, etc. are all things I've noticed.
These types of things are by no means "official," but not a problem, IMO, as it supports the convention or a good cause. A table GM is, of course, within their right to deny said re-roll. Technically, I have never found anything in the rules that would preclude a GM from granting a re-roll (or a circumstance bonus/penalty) using whatever logic they deem appropriate.
Of course, sometimes players are confused by what is official and what was table variation. It can make for some uncomfortable situations at future games. Organizers/GMs have a responsibility to notify a player whenever they are granting an unofficial re-roll.
Question, I think most of us would like to have a forum like that, but to be honest, I would rather the designers spend their time coming up with more cool content. It would be a full-time job to answer all the questions that come up in forums. That being said, they do monitor the forums, especially the rules forum and the "Ask James Jacobs" thread. You can often find answers there.
True, the answers are not technically binding, but it can help your own understanding and adjudication to get the thoughts and analysis from other players. We have to remember that PFS is only a portion of the Pathfinder world, and there are quite a few rules that are intentionally left vague so GM's in non-PFS games do not feel bound by the specifics. The designers have essentially said that on quite a few occasions. Sure, it causes some inconvenience for us in PFS, but most rules issues can be worked out if both the player and GM approach it appropriately.
To the GMs out there, BE NICE! Don't make the player feel like its a you vs. them relationship. We are there to facilitate their fun. Sure, sometimes you have to rule "against" the player to maintain the bounds of reasonable gameplay, but that doesn't mean wielding the rules heavy-handed. Try to let the player do as much as possible to fulfill their character's schtick while maintaining some sense of consistency.
To the players, BE NICE! Don't surprise the GM in the middle of a heated encounter. If you know there is something about your character that is ambiguous or unclear, approach them before the game starts. Give them time to review the printed material and any online support so they can make a reasonable decision. And remember, not all GMs have the same level of comfort, so if s/he rules a bit more strict than you like, don't freak out, thrown a tantrum, etc. A GMs job is challenging enough without having to deal with an unreasonable or pi$$ed-off player.
In general, John's comments should be the way all of these issues are resolved. I encourage everyone to approach rules discussion that way. And remember, while its not the best solution, if a player or GM is just being an unreasonable jerk, walk away from the table. This is a game and suppose to be fun. If you're not enjoying it, do something else. I like strategy board games, miniature wargames, and long walks on the beach ;-)
Another fantastic con! Thanks to all the GM's that made my experience a good one.
And special thanks to Chris Bonnet and Jim Crase for organizing the event. Great job guys!
An honorable mention for the other volunteers who helped Chris/Jim with coordinating HQ and for Cactus Jack (Mike Costello) for overseeing the Diamond City special.
I especially enjoyed the author's seminar with Mike Shel, Mark Garringer, and James Wilbur. Getting insight directly from the minds of those who are providing us the very content that dazzles our minds is soooo cool!
Patrick Harris @ MU wrote:
Whatever. You can nitpick all your want, but the reality is Bonekeep is now more available that it was before. No longer will you be required to attend a convention with 50+ tables to enjoy it. That is bonus. Period.
And there is now a boon available that was not available before. Clearly that is a reward to the hard working GMs who provide YOU the fun experience YOU have come to expect. Or else why would anyone keep playing?
Of course no one is "running down that chronicle," it just came out and it was pulled down to correct an error.
I am just a narrator, telling the story and mediating the combat encounters. As such, I have never killed a single PC. Those pesky monsters and their evil NPC handlers, on the other hand, are brutal and seem to really enjoy killing as many of your innocent characters as possible. Its very troubling to be honest and I am considering a change of profession. Observing all this death and destruction is very depressing.
It is my great honor to announce Seth Gipson as our newest five-star GM, earning it this past weekend at Winter War gaming convention in Champaign, IL
Seth is not only a great GM, always providing his players an awesome experience with challenging encounters and fun role-play, he is the Venture-Lieutenant for Southern Illinois in Carbondale, IL. His tireless efforts are an inspiration to all organizers. I had the pleasure of first meeting Seth a few years ago at one of his local events and despite his "newness" as an organizer and PFS GM, it was a great experience. Ever since, it has been an honor to be among his friends.
I encourage anyone traveling through the Carbondale area to attend one of his events. You will have a great time. And if you see him on the GM roster of a convention, sign up to play at his table. It will be a memorable experience.
Thank you Seth for your continuing commitment to the Pathfinder Society and congratulations on earning your 5th star!!!
Shades of Ice I:
Running this a few years back at a regional con, the group entered the bar looking for Hjort Fastaxe and were surprised to find him just sitting there at the bar having a drink. They were sooo surprised at their luck, they didn't seem to have a plan of action. So the player with the child-like halfling just casually walked up to him and screamed, "DADDY!"
I was sooo floored by the action, I had to call a 5-minute table break to gather my thoughts on how to proceed. Hilarious moment and one I will never forget.
Not sure if it helps, but I evaluate the question of control from the perspective of the caster or the spell itself. Might sound weird, but spells like command, charm person, dominate, etc. allow the caster to exercise some level of control over the target by giving them instructions which they are, in varying degrees, compelled to follow. Hence, prot evil or the ioun stone will block those effects. Other spells like confusion, fear, etc. allow the spell to exercise the control. The caster is not the one influencing the target's decision making and therefore the wards do not function. My 2cp and YMMV :-)
Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber
A spell-like ability has a casting time of 1 standard action unless noted otherwise in the ability or spell description. In all other ways, a spell-like ability functions just like a spell.
As Diego stated, the bolded text is the important part of the query. The "unless noted" part is pretty clearly refering to the stat block/description of the monster.
However, by adding "spell description," you are referred back to the original spell description in the CRB which sets summoning as a 1 round cast. This is the point of contention. There is a significant difference in the usefulness of an outsider's summoning power if they have to give up an entire round of action to use it. Players already have an advantage with action economy. If, however, the outsider can summon a friend in the surprise round...well, the challenge just got significantly harder.
I must be a member of an ever-decreasing minority who don't need any extra incentive to attend a convention. Having a good time, getting a lot of condensed play, hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones, helping provide others with a good experience, etc. is reward enough. I'm sorry, but if you require something in addition to those things and the normal rewards for playing (level advancement, chronicles, etc) then maybe you should take stock in how you view your gaming experience. And no, I'm not saying you're doing it wrong, just saying that your expectation for "extra" rewards for playing might not be reasonable.
I find it funny (odd not comedic) that some people seem to think Paizo owes them something extra for attending a convention or that they owe it to the rest of the players that could/would not attend the convention to get the shiny as well. I did not get a goblin boon from GenCon despite GMing both the first and second parts of the special, nor have I attended PaizoCon where some exclusive boons have been released. Neither of those, nor anything else I've missed out on, has negatively impacted my experience with PFS or my enjoyment of it.
Just my 2cp
...your PC is the jerk, and not you.
I won't go as far to say that you should not play "jerk" characters, but I will say, "that's just what my character would do/say" is NOT an excuse for the player to act the "jerk." Whether the character would/should be a jerk does not exempt the player from being responsible and not negatively impacting the fun of the other players.
Remember, YOU created the character, YOU control the character. Therefore, if the character is a jerk and hurting the table, YOU are the jerk. Please be mindful of this.
This seems to happen waaay too often. One of the core tenets (and IMO the most important) of PFS is "cooperate." Why do sooo many players seem to want to create/play characters who's primary function seems to be driving inter-party conflict, whether it be in- or, sometimes, out-of-character? I just don't get it. IMHO, we all CHOSE to play this campaign. We all CHOSE to gather together, often times with people we've never met before. Why CHOOSE to play in such a way that you intentionally sabotage another player/s fun? Some characters are just not suitable for organized play. Please keep that in mind.
Explore! Report! Cooperate!
If the players openly display disdain towards the VC or primary NPC, even vocalizing death threats, bodily hard, or threatening to intentionally fail a mission, feel free to end the session. Think about it for a second, would an important, even iconic, NPC tolerate such behavior? Of course not. Would a VC send them on an important mission? Doubtful.
Of course, that is an extreme reaction and should be reserved for times when the players persist despite numerous warnings.
Also, keep in mind that the trend with some of the VCs may warrant such behavior. It is no secret that the perception of Sheila Heidmarch is she cares very little, if at all, for the agents whom she sends out. That may not be how she really feels, but it is the impression everyone has gotten based on her actions.
In earlier season scenarios, it was common for the VC to make a derogatory comment towards the PCs. something like, "We have a very important mission and need the best agents available. Well, I guess you'll have to do." Say that often enough and players will begin to treat the NPC/VC as a jerk and you'll get the comments you describe.
I am sooo glad we finally have an NPC that is not a jerk, evil double-agent, or a demon-in-sheep's-clothing. I hope this is a trend. If you want to have a scenario where the plot hinges on the PC's and moreso, the players, believing that the NPC is benign, but turns out to be a baddie, it can't be the thousandth time they seen that meme. It makes it next to impossible to run the scenario as intended. We need A LOT more of these to clear away the bad feelings players have towards NPCs.
Per the Guide...
That would seem to indicate you could not since the boon chronicle was received after the session chronicles. However...
"...you do not need to build the character until you actually play it."
Which would give you the needed exception. So, yes, go ahead.
Explore! Report! Cooperate!
And here we go again with the pregen hate. STOP IT!It has been said ad nauseum, the pregens are not optimized and players need to stop evaluating them as such. Be grateful that there is even the option to play at higher levels with a pregen. The pregens are not worthless. They function just fine.
Derek, I would encourage you to pick whichever pregen sounds interesting or is a class you have yet to experience. If the party you will be joining is an uber-optmized one, none of the pregens are going to measure up statistically so don't try. Alternately, you can select the pregen based on any missing aspects of the party.
Don't give up the chance to have fun just to play a sheet of paper with numbers written on it. I also encourage you to give the pregen some "character." When I play Kyra, she is patterned off Paula Deen. When I've played Damiel (alchemist) he was like Spicolli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I've played Ezren like Chrisopher Lloyd from Back to the Future or like an old curmudgeon like Walther Mattheau. The point is, have fun and don't get caught up with the pregen bashing or overly focused on the specific numbers on the page.
The "should" doesn't come from simply using the alignment system; it comes from picking your alignment first instead of letting your character determine what your alignment is.
This...In my last home-game, the characters started with an "undefined" alignment, even the paladin. I, as the GM, determined their alignment based on their actions as the game progressed with occasional shifts. It was a bit cumbersome for me, but the players liked it because they could just act as they envisioned the character rather than trying to fit the specifics of what was written in the CRB. Of course, in a shared campaign that's not possible, but that fact results in alignment being an uncertain thing with table variation. Unless you are pushing the bounds of acceptability, you should incur no issues with alignment or GMs with differing opinions.
IMO, alignment does not determine actions, actions determine alignment.
From simply a mechanical view, and at the risk of sounding like a defiant Venture-Captain, if we were to create some intensive tracking method for good/evil/law/chaos points to monitor and enforce alignment shifts, I would not do it. I honestly have plenty to track already from various GM responsibilities, to organizing events, to administering to the expectations of a V-C, not to mention maintaining my own characters and their alignment challenges.
As has been said, this is an issue that has plagued RPGers since the beginning. We should/could easily add this to politics and religion as a topic that should never be discussed. There is never gonna be a consensus, which is exactly why it HAS to be table variation, at least in some form. The existing system, while not ideal, works just fine. There is no system that is not going to require the GM to adjudicate the "what ifs." I think in the VAST majority of cases, things as they are allow the widest possible creativity and fun at the table. It is only the very limited minority of times where it truly becomes a problem at the table and even then it is usually due a player (or players) being uncompromising. "That's just what my character would do" is not an excuse for being a jerk.
Is Destroying a Fellow Player's Raised Dead / Commanded Undead an action that Constitutes PVP in Society Play?
One key thing to remember is that just because a character is legal, does not mean it is suitable for the society. They don't just have someone detecting evil on initiation day and everyone who doesn't ping gets in.
And that applies to any extreme. It doesn't matter if you are a psychotic murdering barbarian, or a law-oppressive zealot paladin, or a society-hating hermit druid, or a necromancer that raises every fallen commoner as an undead. If you are unable to cooperate within the normal environments where the society operates without being in conflict with virtually every other agent, then you are not fit for service and realistically, the society would never accept you in the first place.
Well if evil and its associated game mechanics are such an ongoing issue that action needs to be taken, then the 'ol "sh*t or get off the pot" perspective may be required. Just ban evil in its entirety. That means no evil alignments, no worshiping evil aligned deities, no use of spells with the evil spell descriptor, ban negative channeling, and maybe even ban the use of blackmarket goods like poison, barbarian chew, etc.
I'm NOT a supporter of that position, but if a majority of players are demanding more rules to govern the minutia of alignment, then ya gotta do what ya gotta do. IMO, more stringent rules governing an aspect of the game that even the industry's most intelligent and accomplished designers cannot agree on is not in the campaign's best interest.
Because of the nature of PFS where the GM has less of a control over the ongoing campaign than they would in a more home-style campaign, I think the "evil spells are evil" needs to be hand-waived. We already allow divine characters to be neutral and worship evil deities. I think we need to be careful to allow the widest possible options for players to have their fun.
Despite what the designers have said about evil spell descriptions, IMO in most cases it is HOW a spell is used rather than the spell itself that should determine the impact on alignment. IMO, an evil spell is a tool like a greatsword, or a whip, or the intimidate skill, or a fireball. If used benignly, there should be no problem. If however, the spell is being used maliciously to inflict undue harm (outside of "normal" combat) or torture, etc. then the effects become more clear.
Also, if evil spells are evil, what about negative energy? Shouldn't the use of that also be evil?
Now individual characters can still view certain spells as evil, but that's in the game. Clerics of Pharasma may never except animate dead as anything but evil (ymmv), but other less anti-undead characters may not object. In the world of adventuring, sometimes its okay to break some eggs to make the omelette. :-)
Aside from all of this, I think it is a bit too late to start enforcing a hard-core line on evil descriptor spells. There are literally thousands of players that use the spells regularly and at least hundreds that have characters specifically devoted to their use as a central mechanic of the build. Generally speaking, players are respectful while playing their characters with "questionable" morals and as we know, you can't use the rules to stop the "jerks." That's a player issue, not a campaign or rules/mechanics issue.
EDIT--not to mention any system of tracking good/evil/lawful/chaotic spell use creates even more things for an already very busy GM to adjudicate. I would guess that even if there was a rule in place defining how to track, when to track, and how many occurrences constitute an alignment shift, most GMs will not do it anyway. my 2cp