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The HQ leads (myself, along with Jon Cary and Todd Morgan) very much appreciate your feedback. It is invaluable for knowing what went right and what needs to be improved. I am currently working on a summary report of things that were well-received, or not, to present to Mike Brock. Between word-of-mouth, the post-convention volunteer feedback session, and this thread, we have received a ton of great ideas to consider for next year. Please keep this thread going!
My highlight is always the people. It was great to meet new friends and re-acquaint with old ones. The staffers at PFS HQ were fantastic and the GM's were outstanding. The level of enthusiasm, even on Sunday was inspiring. The list is very long so I'll just thank everyone who made this my best GenCon to date. Next year's show has some large shoes to fill.
CDG is definitely a no-no unless it's specifically called out in the tactics
I do not recall this being a hard rule. It is certainly accepted, and logic dictates, that it should rarely occur, but it is a legal, and occasionally, valid tactic. Most would agree that targeting an unconscious or incapacitated target while there are still viable ones trying to kill you is generally illogical, if not vindictive.
In many cases, the printed tactics either don't apply or they cease to be viable based on player's actions. Tactics are a dynamic part of the game and a GM is empowered to examine the current state of affairs in the game and determine if and when a deviation from the tactics is warranted.
Chris O'Reilly wrote:
What I see people forget the most is that creatures with evil intent detect as evil potentially leading to a lot of ineffective smites
If a creature has evil intent that is strong enough to ping from detect evil, IMO it would be a jerk move to not allow smite to work against them. Either you're evil or you're not. You don't get to walk like evil, talk like evil, smell like evil, taste like evil, but not be vulnerable to affects that specifically target evil.
Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Tales Subscriber
Okay, I want a post that can be FAQ'd and puts these questions in one place. I encourage everyone to tag this FAQ.
So with respect to swarms...
(1) What type of damage is a swarm attack?
(2) Would two swarms (fine/diminutive) be able to damage each other?
(3) If two swarms wish to attack the same medium (or smaller) sized target, can they? Essentially entering the same space (square)?
(4) Assuming the answer to #3 is yes, do the two swarms continue to function as two separate creatures each with their own attack, resolved normally?
Personally, I just think that some tweaking should be done by the designers to "fix" a few of the glaring issues with a few of the classes, but that would require a not-insignificant amount of time investment with little return as it would not lead to increased book sales, just FAQ/errata.
In my experience, the most "hated" classes are alchemists, gunslingers, summoners, and witches. All have what abilities that break fundamental game rules and therefore lend them to OP builds. Originally, the designers developed rules that seemed necessary to maintain the balance of the system, only to later develop classes that specifically broke those rules. That makes it extremely difficult to produce ancillary content that is "fair" for core classes, without being manipulated by "advanced" classes.
Other classes like paladin receive some hate, but that is more due to the way players interpret/implement the alignment rules and less to do with the class rules.
IMO, the biggest challenge is the player/GMs attitude. Too many players want to argue the minutia of the rules, often taking a lot of table time to do so, and then throw a tantrum or act like a jerk for the remainder of the session if the rule does not go their way. OTOH, I have seen plenty of GMs that immediately jump to a defensive position whenever a player questions their ruling, often dialing-up their attempts to kill the PC to punish the player.
Mark Stratton wrote:
that person should not remain a VC.
I will go further and say that IF* the comments are accurate and represent the actions both the player and the VC intend to do, then both of them should be banned from organized play. I have neither the time nor the patience to deal with people who both know the rules and blatantly intend to cheat.
*in reality, I believe that the player is grandstanding or just having a tantrum because the campaign intends to limit their favorite race option. I also think that the reference to the VC is either, made up, or a gross misrepresentation of what the VC knows and intend to do about it
There are thousands of aasimar and tieflings out there already, why do you care if there are a few more? How does it affect you? Its not like a player suddenly banking a dozen aasimars is gonna make your character or play experience any different than it was last month.
Do I personally think a player should bank a stack of a/t? No, but that kinda feels like accusations of badwrongfun and we need to stop short of that. At this point, there is no harm, no foul. Just let people play as they see fit.
Explore! Report! Cooperate!
Well if they are late upwards of an hour and you are scheduled to be the GM, I would just leave. The GM puts WAAAY to much effort into preparing a game to be disrespected like that. Maybe showing up a few times only to find the game is cancelled because of them will have an impact.
In the meantime, I would discuss this issue with the organizer and or primary GMs. Behavior like this should not be tolerated. Additionally, discussions should be had with the players concerned. If they do not correct their behavior, the organizer should take action up to and including banning them from play until they can adhere to the "don't be a jerk" rule.
If the organizer fails to take action or is in fact one of the culprits, you should consult your regional coordinator (Venture-Officer) for assistance.
If none of that helps to your satisfaction, you might have to seek out another group to game with.
Pirate Rob wrote:
If you've got some extra time, do you have any other examples...
Only in so far as it not being resolved at the table by the GM and the players. In an ideal world, the players and the GM would discuss whatever issue they are having and come to a solution. Sometimes that would just be the GM saying, "that's the way it is. move on."
But, in the real world, not everyone can compromise. In just about every walk of life, there is a hierarchy of leadership which you can escalate appeals. Both players and GMs deserve somewhere to go for arbitration. Brock cannot possibly directly oversee 40,000+ members, so he appointed Venture-Officers to be his buffer. Organize games, answer questions, direct new players, expand into new play-spaces, and yes, arbitrate disputes in your region.
I'm not a search-fu guy, but I know that Brock has said in the past for issues, like PC deaths, to be escalated the Venture-Corps. It may not be specifically called out in the Guide, but IMO, it shouldn't have to be.
And in the end, if you don't like what the VO decides, you can still appeal it to Brock.
Sometimes, I just think we get too bent out of shape over the exactness of the text on the page. Some things should be intuitive. If people would just remember that this is a game and we're all just here to have fun, we wouldn't have nearly the complaints we see.
Explore! Report! Cooperate!
The most important question is did the players have a good time? If the answer is yes, then you did fine.* Sure dying is part of the game, but at the same time, you are responsible for providing a fun gaming experience. Fudging die rolls is (arguably) a legal tactic used by many GMs.
OTOH, the players stern refusal to retreat in the face of a situation that was clearly in favor of the enemy was not the best idea. Personally, I would have had a hard time not letting a tpk happen. If players insist on pushing forward despite the apparent risks, let the dice resolve the situation.
In general, it can be a challenge balancing the needs of RAW and let the dice decide vs. allowing the players to "win" and be heroic. All you can do is what you feel is right and hope that the players are adult enough to understand that in a game of randomness, sometimes things don't work out in your favor.
*Note: I am not saying that fun trumps rules, but in this case, I see nothing that I would consider cheating
For the GM's, why not just pre-roll the initiatives of your monsters during prep? It might help your descriptive text at the outset of combat to know when the bad guys are acting with respect to the players.
For players, do you use the initiative order to plan your targets? If you see that monster #1 will be acting before your companion, but monster #2 will be after, do you target monster #1 first? How would your PC know that? Meta-knowledge is a powerful thing.
There are a lot of opportunities for both sides to take advantage of the initiative system. In most cases, especially with low-power minions, I don't think group initiative is as evil-bad as it is portrayed.
Which is exactly why groups should use Warhorn
...some places this just does not happen
Despite being off-topic of the OP, I wanted to comment on this. Why do players feel it is appropriate to disrespect the efforts of the organizer to provide them a good experience? Why do organizers tolerate and passively encourage bad behavior?
If your area has a pre-registration system in place (warhorn, facebook, etc.) then it should be used by everyone. Organizing is a hard job, especially with larger groups or frequent sessions. The registration system is the only way the organizer will know who is coming and what they can/want to play. GMs need to be identified, table count, etc. GM's are a great group, but even the nicest doesn't like to spend hours prepping only to see their table not make. Nor do they like to be blindsided by having to run a table cold either because they planned to play and had to GM do to extra players or having to run something other than what they prepped.
Players wanna play, but they have to respect the efforts of the GM/organizer to do their "job". As an organizer, yes I have turned a few players away. Not noobs mind you. There has been occurrences where a player refused, for whatever reason, to participate in the prereg process. After numerous warnings (and accommodations), I refused to sit them and sent them home. In all but one case, the player began to use the system after that, and in that one case, the player was sooo unreasonable, they were "good" loss to our community.
New players are a special case assuming they are not accompanying an existing player. They should be afforded some leeway until they understand the expectations.
All I'm saying is that everyone has a responsibility to help make the Gameday the best it can be and that doesn't just mean having your butt in a seat like we should treat it as some sort of honor to have you there.
Raymond Lambert wrote:
Did you not notice the example of play early in the book versus skeleton on a horse and several stNdard skeleton mentions the Gm rolls one for the big bad and once for hid minions? Kind of hard to blame GMs for following the example.of play
That is CRB p13
Thanks! I knew that example was in there, but couldn't find it.While I agree it could be used as an "official" example of grouped initiative, it could also be dismissed as descriptive (of fluff) text and that the rules on p.179 (the crunch) trump them. YMMV and just goes to demonstrate table variation.
Human Fighter wrote:
I was asking that you clearly admitted that ignoring this initiative rule was indeed not playing by the rules...
I don't think its relevant for people to admit to breaking the rules. Your passion is commendable, but your posts DO feel like pressuring people into admitting they are cheating. That may not be your intent, but that is how it reads. Your posts "feel" like a rant fueled by a recent(?) experience where grouped initiative worked against you.
Have/Do I use grouped initiative? Yes, when the situation warrants/allows it. If it makes anyone feel better to label me a "cheater" then so be it. Every decision I make as a GM is with the intention to maximize player enjoyment.
Clearly, there is a large group on both sides of this topic. In the vast majority of cases, grouping initiative does not have a significant impact on the game. However, there are circumstances where grouped could be a major advantage. Regardless, there is supposed to be a certain level of trust that the GM will make decisions that support fair gameplay and maximize player enjoyment. Remember, that core rules are written with the assumption (and encouragement) that GM's use whatever rules they like and ignore those they don't. Obviously, that is a bit too "free" for organized play, which creates some problematic cases where the rules themselves can be a detriment to play (see the example of 32 mooks).
You have said you don't want this to be an advice thread, but what else are we supposed to do with it? Do you just want people to post a list of anecdotal stories attempting to demonstrate when grouped initiative was/not a success? Do you just want to create a list of self-admitted "cheaters"? Please help us understand your intentions.
Obviously, with generic tickets there is no guarantee that you will get into the event. This is even moreso with the popularity of the PFS Specials. However, since one of our core tenets is cooperation and we strive to be as inclusive as possible, there is a chance.
My advice is that you arrive to the event early (at least 30 minutes). If there is any opportunity for generic ticket holders, it would be on a first-come, fist-serve basis. We may have a designated area for generics to wait. Once all the ticketed players are mustered, any empty seats may be allocated to generic ticket holders.
And just a reminder to those with real tickets...arrive to you event early, at least ten minutes prior to start. If you arrive after the slot start time, you risk forfeiting your seat to a generic player.
Please be responsible and respectful. Mustering/Marshaling is a VERY intensive and chaotic process. We are trying to seat 900+ players in a (relatively) small room, often in 10 minutes or less. Remember that those working for PFS headquarters are doing so FOR YOUR BENEFIT! They are volunteers who gave up the chance to play the game/s they love to help you get to, and play, the game/s you love. BE RESPECTFUL!!!
Explore! Report! Cooperate!
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!
Sometimes, if the player is just being unreasonable, you have to address it out of game. If the actions are clearly jerkish and impacting the other players with little to no in game justification outside of insanity or evil, the GM should not feel compelled to whip out a bunch of stat blocks and further derail the scenario. Either just stop the game and have a conversation with the player or just cinematically describe the local law enforcement coming in force and in waves until the PC is over-whelmed. The severity and/or repeated nature of the incident will determine if the player needs to be kicked from the table or the PC reported dead.
Remember, RAW does not mean the GM is prevented from taking appropriate action at the table to address unacceptable gameplay.
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!!!