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.
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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
Sometimes shooting little girls is justified.
Um, no its not...
No offense, but its reports like that is the reason I refuse to run that scenario. Players have to think like characters. If an NPC makes all the required checks to bluff, disguise, etc. and the party still refuses to accept them for what they appear to be, then why can't the GM just ignore all the same checks when the PCs try the same thing? You failed the perception, sense motive, or whatever check, so your character has no reason at that point to be suspicious or to treat said NPC and different than any other one that is encountered.
Also, shooting her in the foot or shaking her in a bag as described can easily be considered torture. There are plenty of players that seem to think that just because you have a healer, you are allowed to cause physical harm or even kill an NPC without an issue just because you have a cure spell or raise dead available. How would you feel if every time your full-plate wearing, greatsword wielding fighter entered a town, he got accosted by the locals and had to prove, somehow that he wasn't a devil in disguise? What if the townsfolk said, "let us shoot you in the face with this cold-iron arrow to prove you're not a demon." Or maybe the next time your bard rolls a 50 on his diplomacy check to improve the attitude of the guards, the GM just says, "nope, they still don't trust you."
That being said, it would be nice if there actually were some suspicious NPCs that didn't turn out to be demons in disguise. Maybe then, players wouldn't meta-game every encounter and perpetuate the murder-hobo persona.
If your objection to gunslingers is a mechanical one, as has been pointed out, there are plenty of other class builds that are just as "broken." They just seem to be worse because it seems to be a bit easier to build one that is uber-optimized. Not to mention that most players/GMs do not fully understand the way a gunslinger works and the challenges they face in the way of cover, reloading, misfires, etc.
However, if your objection is a role-play or theme-based one, its really something you need to get over or play something else. That is not to say "Get out!," I'm just saying that there are many PC themes that pop up from time to time and may not fit your idea of the setting. Heck, even zealot paladin/clerics can be problematic depending on what god they follow.
Or your concern could be with the player not the character. If the player is one who built a gunslinger because it lends itself more easily to disruptive play, and plays it such that the other players are relegated to minions and torch-bearers, then the solution is evident. Have a private conversation with said player and try to get them to understand how their style and attitude is negatively affected the other players. Most people will be receptive to that. In fact, most players in their earnest to play an awesome character and show what they can do lose sight of how that is affecting the others at the table.
Something players sometimes forget is that GMs are bound by Run-As-Written and some builds are just not something PFS is designed to deal with. Constantly destroying every encounter with neigh a HP of damage taken can trivialize the challenge of the game and cheapen the "win" condition. Talking about it constructively often corrects the problem before hard feelings set in or players begin to defect to Friday Night Magic :-)
Definitely play what you want. It has never been about classes, or races, or broken builds, etc. The real issue has always been with jerk players who try to be the center of the universe for the entire game session or the few who intentionally create conflict or try to ruin other player's (or the GM's) enjoyment. Just don't be that guy/gal and everything will be fine.
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I think I'm going to give him...
I see comments like this all the time in scenario threads especially with regards to season zero/one scenarios. Why do we have to "do" anything? Just run the creatures/NPCs as described. Why does there have to be a rules-compliant reason why he can do the things he does? It works that way because the author/developer/GM says so. Enough said. The players have no way of determining what minor customizations an enemy might have. If you absolutely have to have a reason that you can give, just call him a variant, a specific exception to the standard rules for this one occurrence and call it done.
Let's not get to ahead of ourselves. The schedule is not finalized and we will not be signing up/registering here. I'm not saying that Everwar won't be on the schedule, I just don't want someone to think that since they posted here they are assured of a seat at the table.
Please give me a few more days to a week to finalize the schedule, get everything submitted and approved by the convention, and a warhorn site set up to accommodate public viewing and mustering of the GMs.
Thanks for your patience!
Eric Saxon wrote:
your GM should have reported the actions of the PC and his alignment should have dropped to True Neutral
There is no reason to force an actual alignment shift. All the GM need do is record the violation on the chronicle and indicate an atonement is required to recover. Until then, the PC is a paladin with no powers. Simple and you don't have to have any alignment arguments with the player.
Sheesh, yet another circular argument about pregens. :sigh:
Chris explained the origins of the pregens very well and I do not expect Paizo is going to make significant changes to their iconic, yes ICONIC, characters. Harsk has a crossbow instead of a composite longbow. Valeros is a two-weapon fighter instead of using a greatsword or pole-arm. Sajan doesn't have maximized AC. Merisiel uses daggers instead of a bow. Deal with it!
The intent of the 1st level pregen is to allow a new player the opportunity to sit down immediately and play with only a few minutes of explanation of the character sheet. And let's face it, the majority of the time, most characters at first level are not much different. All can die from a single hit or a single failed save. Essentially they are brittle, and are barely able to function in their role. Generally speaking, the difference between the pregens and an optimized PC is marginal at best.
Level 4/7 pregens are a stop-gap to help a player fill a slot. They are not intended to be used regularly. In my opinion, if you are playing a pregen more than 2-3 times per year, either you are mismanaging your character roster, or your organizer is not accommodating the player base (or a combination of both). As an organizer, I consider it a fail if one of my players is forced to play a pregen. The best way to avoid having to "suffer" through the experience of an un-optimized pregen is don't play one. Stick to playing your own PCs. And if you are seating new players at mid/high-tier tables where they have to use a higher level pregen...stop it!
Personally, I have played pregens quite a few times. Usually it is because I have an unexpected slot off from Gm'ing or organizing and didn't think to bring my PC binder. And in those cases, I try to do something fun with the pregen and not depend on their stat block for all my enjoyment. I routinely play Kyra as Paula Deen, minus the racism ;-). She's not the best healer around, but is usually requested.
I'm an old-skool gamer and personally, I dislike all electronic devices at my table-top gaming. However, like it or not, we're fully planted in the 21st century. Electronic gaming aids are only going to become more pervasive. People with dice rollers are just like the rest of us after we buy a new set of dice -- both want to "roll" their new shinys.
Before you ban them out of hand, try to consider why you are making that decision. If it is simply out of some Neanderthalian devotion to old-skool gaming, you might want to reconsider. If there is some question as to the "legality" of the dice roller, then sure, make a decision that is in the best interests of the table.
Remember, in a community gaming setting like PFS organized play, we want to be as inclusive as possible and players who embrace their electronic options are just as entitled to join the fun as the rest of us old farts. :-D
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I think a solution of sorts is to offer other events at the same time as a special event like Bonekeep, especially low-tier ones like they did this year, and to "encourage" casual players and/or generic ticket holders with pregen to play those instead. The lethality of Bonekeep is not a great experience for those who are weak in the rules as well as playing an unoptimized pregen. It is also likely a poor experience for the regular players who will have to make up for not only the player's lack of game-mastery, but also the power-level of the pregen/s, which becomes even more problematic if said pregens die and the remaining players are left to deal with encounters down both in usable resources and action economy.
...And BTW, I really hate it when people comment that the pregens "suck." Please stop it. They are fine for what they are intended to do.
@Chris, while there is no "official" rule stating you must play your level-appropriate, legal character whenever possible, it is encouraged and is the intention. No, we are not saying you have to, but its similar to the expectation that players not sell their awarded chronicle boons. There is a myriad of reasons why a player would choose a pregen instead of their own level-appropriate PC, most can be mitigated with other solutions.
I think one of the issues comes into play when someone choses to play a pregen and does not fill out the session tracker. Then at the end, once they have seen the results, wants to add their PC's info and apply the chronicle. Many regard this as "cheesy," and gaming the system. If the pregen dies, you can avoid having to apply that to your own PC. Also, since there will be no record you ever played the scenario, you can replay it without anyone knowing (except maybe in a regular local group who would be aware). Also, if you do not fare well with rewards, fame/gold/etc., you can avoid taking the "hit." Of course, we all know that cheaters gonna cheat and we cannot really stop it entirely, things like encouraging playing your own characters reduce the occurrences and don't really have a negative impact on the community.
I'm sure people can talk of numerous "one-off" situations/reasons where playing a pregen in lieu of your "real" character is effective, I'm just talking in general cases, so as always YMMV. In the end, as long as everyone is having fun, who cares!
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A lot of people are asking for more info to be given. The problem is that the information existed, it just sounds like *your* GM did not give it to you. I would have expected the GM to explain what the color codes meant, how each tier's efforts would affect the others, what each announcement meant for them, etc.
I did all these things for my table and they had a blast. At the outset, five of the players were just doing it for fun with pregens and did not complete the reporting sheet. By the end, they grabbed player numbers and we discussed who their area organizers were and how they could get into regular PFS play.
Also there are those saying it was just endless combat. Actually act two had fifteen different encounters and fully half of them were role-playing. Perhaps you just chose to do the encounters that resulted in combat. Dunno. I'm just saying there were plenty of opportunities for non-combat activity.
Now that the Year of the Demon is in full swing, it is clear that players will have ample opportunity to face said enemy in mortal combat. One of their most powerful abilities is spell resistance. Even lowliest fiend can have it. So for the benefit of all who cast spells, I pose this to the community in hope of saving PCs unnecessary pain and suffering.
To answer your question, no the GMs did not get to hand-pick the monsters. In one of the encounters there was a small list of semi-random monsters that would attempt to disrupt the attempts of the PCs to defend a tactically important position in the war vs. The demonic horde. Was a fiendish minotaur one of those "random" monsters? Yes. Is it a nasty baddie? Absolutely! As a comparative to your experience, my table of level four pregens, yes I said pregens, those oft-maligned characters also faced said baddie and did fine. There were two near deaths and Ezren had a really hard time penetrating SR, but they worked together and won in the end. And just as an FYI, the minotaur wasn't even the most challenging monster on that list. There were five other assault waves that would attack the PCs over the course of that encounter
I would just like to point out that some of us do have integrity.
I would guess that the "some" is more like "most," but that doesn't stop Paizo from copywriting their products. The is a small group who will break the rules no matter what. We can't do much about them. However, most law-abiding people will not adhere to a law if you stop enforcing it. ATM the rule is that you must bring documentation to the table. We can, and should, continue the discourse about possible alternatives as the Paizo library continues to grow. However, let's not lose focus on what the rules ARE and follow them.
As to some of the comments regarding VO/5-stars, as a group, we work very hard promoting PFS and encouraging not only sales that help both Paizo and retailers, but ushering in new players. Our passion for following the rules does not equate to any wish to see people go away. There is some truth to PFS not being for everyone and some people playing would be better served doing something else. However, that does not mean we want them to go.
At the core, there are two aspects of this discussion; (1) what the rules are, and (2) what the rules should be. Following #1 and expecting everyone else to do the same is not BadWrongFun. My comments earlier were with respect the current version of the guide. Whether or not I/you/we agree with the documentation rule is not relevant. You MUST provide documentation or that character is not eligible for play. I/you/we can also encourage leadership to consider some changes.
I just do not want anyone to refuse to bring the requirements and then blame the GM when s/he is just enforcing the rules.
Can I buy the book from Joe for a penny, keep it for the 20 minutes it takes to do the rebuild, then sell it back to him for a penny?
I surely hope you are kidding. It is ideas like this that force Mike to make rules that try to reduce the abuse of the system. Please do not try to "game" the system.
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Phillip Willis wrote:
Interestingly enough, we GMs have had this book carrying burden for some time. Save for those few with easy access to a copier, GMs generally have to carry about 5 or so books to run things smoothly...sometimes more. Add to that figures, mats, dice, markers, etc., and it looks like we're moving into an apartment. Some...
This! I'm sorry, but as a GM, I have very little sympathy for players who utilize every possible mechanic from every possible book and then complain about having to provide said books at the table. As a GM, I need to have all the books as well, if for no other reason than to be familiar with the contents, not to mention for my PC's, plus the scenario, maps, miniatures, visual aids/accessories, 3D terrain, etc. Can I get by without all the bells and whistles? Sure, but then I run a more "vanilla" game. The same can apply to players. You can play a fancy "rocky road" character, but then you need to provide the materials by rule. It is your CHOICE to play a complicated character with multiple book support.
Sheesh folks, the OP just needed to vent his frustrations. The point is not to nit-pick the post and go on a witch-hunt to punish the munchkin, the GM, or whatever. Listen and respond with some encouragement so s/he remains in the community. If additional, followup action is required, I'm sure the local organizers and/or Venture-Officers can handle it more appropriately than we can in a public forum.
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Something that was proposed to me by a couple of players recently was adjusting the start time of the session by one hour (earlier) and that time be used to do character audits. The GM/s and organizer would randomly select a PC to audit, or perhaps select the most complicated builds. The rest of the players would pair up and audit each other to make sure everything was recorded on the chronicle sheets, everything selected was legal, and no math errors existed. Maybe even create a short checklist of things to check. Since the GM/s or organizers would be "extra" eyes, the player/s with the weakest grasp of the game rules could be exempt from being an auditor. Then those with legally audited PC's would be permitted to play in the game session. This would eliminate the issue of the GM singling out a player and avoid in game delays and conflict. It sounded interesting.
Sounds like I've had a few more PC deaths and even tpk's at my tables than most have. I only hope that is due to more sessions GM'd and that my ratio is in line with others.
Anyway, IME, all the tpk's I can recall, and most of the PC deaths have been due to the players making bad decisions or "forgetting" their character's abilities. In some cases, I have not soo subtly advised the players to run away, but they rarely want to leave a fallen comrade. I guess Pathfinder agents are all former US marines :-)
I don't understand when anyone uses greater challenge as the argument to play up. If you want a challenge, don't build uber-optimized characters. If you want to challenge your gameplay skills, and you (or the GM) cannot control the environment in which you play like you can in a home game, then it would seem logical that you would build average or perhaps even slightly hindered characters. And the beauty of that is no one will complain when you have to play at the tier your level/APL suggests. Just a thought
I am soo glad I had the epiphany that I hope all GM's eventually have. My fun is based on the fun my players have. It is why I spend soo much time building 3D terrain, draw maps, paint minis or buy multiple, sometimes expensive minis, read reviews, study stat blocks, etc. It's all so I can give the players the best experience possible. My fun does not derive from challenging players or killing PC's, that is the job of the authors and the developers. If your favorite PC dies, its not my fault, I merely provide a world for you to interact with and sometimes, it will be deadly.
If you want to take 10 or build your uber-optimized super min/max ape riding barbarian/rogue/witch/gunslinger, go ahead. I'll treat you the same as an under-developed melee wizard with a dagger and no armor. If you curb-stomp all the encounters and the game is over in an hour, congratulations, you win! If that makes you happy, then I am happy and did my job.
Just remember, there are players out there that will not enjoy that experience and may not want to play with you again. If you have a small local community, it could become problematic to find games in the future. This works the same for GM's who "cheat" their players. Other players tend to go elsewhere and who can blame them.
So in response to Nosig's original query, its all about table variation and not some over-encompassing conspiracy to ambush PCs or marginalize your character builds. People are what they are and will make mistakes. Or maybe they just have a different philosophical perspective on the game and do not understand how/why you enjoy the game you do. No worries. You are already ahead of the game as you are aware of these issues and can therefore be perceptive of them see what I did there :-). You can adjust to the style of GM's who won't adapt to you. My hope is that more will allow you to do what you want than won't.
One thing I will say is, please "lose" the t-shirt. Pointing out the rules in the core rulebook and having a quick conversation about your understanding of take 10/20 is fine, but going to the extent of a t-shirt is obnoxious. TBH, personally, I could care less. If it bothers me, I'll just ignore it, but a good number of GM's I have spoken to who have had the pleasure of you at their table were, well, offended is a bit strong a word but it gets the point across. Of course if you can petition Brock to add it to the additional resources, I might think differently. :-)
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FanaticRat, just remember that the messageboard is only a VERY SMALL minority of the most vocal gamers. In the vast majority of games, players have fun and soo many of the complaints you see here never occur. Don't stress about party mix, etc. Just don't be a selfish jerk or misrepresent your character and you'll be fine.
I'm glad these are major decisions and will impact your entire life, otherwise, arguing about playing up/down and who is the bigger jerk would sound like adolescent pettiness ;-)
The reality is that the decision to play up or down is waaay too circumstantial to have a single, hard n' fast solution. Anyone who uses absolutes, "I will never play up," or "I will never play down," etc. are no better than the "jerks" who oppose them. This game is supposed to be cooperative not competitive. Sometimes, you will need to play in a tier below your level. In that case, have respect for the other players and don't squash everyone else's fun by dominating the game. OTOH, if you are the only one pushing the sub-tier down, then maybe you should walk away, play a different PC or pregen, or maybe you'll need to be extra careful with your character.
In my experience, it is extremely rare for conflict to arise from the question of up/down unless someone at the table is being an inflexible jerk. Even a mediocre GM should be able to assess what the majority of players want to do and determine what the best course of action is, even if s/he disagrees with it. This ain't rocket science folks.
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