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IMO, when dealing with a player and a master's degree in Pathfinder rules theory, attacking his build and trying to find ways to nerf it will not work. I'm relatively sure he can pass an audit and everything is legit. If you try to manipulate the minor loop-holes to nerf his build it is be perceived by the player (and others) as a personal attack and that is not healthy for the community.
However, it certainly seems that he is using his system mastery to disrupt the table and his ancillary actions certainly points to a NOT "nice guy."
Four-five hours is a large amount of time to invest in something you are not enjoying. IMO, you have an obligation to the local community to take action in whatever form you, your organizer, and Venture-Officer feel is appropriate.
...what you're disagreeing with is math
No, what I disagree with is inconsistencies in the application of our rules. IMO, subjective and perhaps arbitrary decisions using "over-powered" as a baseline creates a lot of strife in the campaign. I am simply expressing that the perception of what is/not over-powered should not be a basis for deciding what is/not legal for the campaign. I happen to think most alchemists are broken, but I stop short of asking for their banning (not that it is necessarily relevant).
Also note that with the release of Unchained, it would seem to suggest even the designers have decided that some aspects of the summoner, perhaps including archetypes like master summoner were in fact OP and need to be re-balanced. So, with regards to this particular topic whether or not master summoner is OP is moot.
First let me address one of the things you said in the initial post. "The player is argumentative to the point of making me consider if I want to run the subsequent sessions." If that is true, you have grounds for banning him from the table. Without all the details, I am not going to say whether that is/not the best decision, but I encourage you to consult your local organizer and/or Venture-Officer. Banning a player even for a single session can have far-reaching ramifications and should only be done when warranted. However, you are entitled to have a good GMing experience and do not have to tolerate disruptive players.
I disagree with doing anything punitive to counter a player's OP build. You may not like it, but if it has been properly vetted (audited) and is legal, forcing said player to pay additional fines/fees like body recovery simply because you do not like the build is not embracing the cooperate portion of our tenets. IME, sometimes its better to just let the player have their curb-stomping fun and move on.
That being said, you are certainly within your rights to express your concerns with said player and impress upon them your apprehension. In your estimation if the PC can solo the scenario, it will not be enjoyable by the rest of the players. That in of itself can be considered disruptive. So, if he refuses to cooperate with you, see my above comments about banning him from the table.
One point to remember. Bonekeep was designed with the intention of killing PCs. It encourages players to bring their most broken builds to try and survive the gauntlet. You kind of have to expect things like this. Fortunately for you, it sounds like you are very familiar with the build and what it can do. Perhaps it would save your sanity if you just focused on the encounters that can challenge the PC and let him squash the others.
As far as to the theme and story about the memory loss, you are not obligated to explain how/why that happens to the players. The scenario simply says they start with amnesia, period. If the player chooses to play his familiar as the primary character, then it also has memory loss, period. In a home campaign you could always create a much more immersive story and have the freedom to deal with the nature of the build more organically. However, in PFS, due to its episodic and rigid RAW expectations sometimes the reason is simply, "because I said so."
EDIT--an additional question. Has the player in question played, GMd, or read the scenario? His decision to play this character could be based on meta-knowledge which could also be considered disruptive by some and grounds for a one-on-one conversation.
Because a regular old caster can't spam summons like a master summoner can.
Perhaps not but that is a philosophical objection based on your opinion of where the line exists between acceptable and OP. IMO, the line between an acceptable amount of summoning and OP is beyond both the master summoner and the druid or conjurer. That a master summoner is even more past the line is not relevant. This coming from someone who likes both builds and recognizes the potential for OP.
In my experience, the reason why most wanted it banned was because of unprepared players either not knowing what to summon, not having the stat blocks prepped, or simply the length of a turn due to excessive actions. None of those concerns are alleviated by banning the master summoner. Virtually every summoning-focused character presents the same problem. So the only logical conclusion is that it was singled out for banning because of a perception of OP. That creates a very real inconsistency because everyone can posit examples of just as (or more) powerful builds that render the rest of the player superfluous.
A part of me is glad master summoner is banned because of the potential for table disruption, but at the same time the justification does not hold water when compared to similar player options. Your reality may vary.
I only commented as I was pleasantly surprised to see that comment from an RVC and felt that some positive feedback might have been a nice change
Just because we 100% fully support the decisions made by Paizo and the OPC does not mean we necessarily agree with all of them. I try to be as clinical as possible on matters like this.
Kevin Willis wrote:
Is your opinion that they were correct in boosting the monk and rogue but wrong to tone down the summoner?
IMO, Unchained is more akin to a massive errata. I do not have a problem with obsolete material being replaced with new. That was not what I was referring to. I just don't like the idea that someone (or someones) even with the play experience the OPC, developers, or RVC have to ban something based on its perceived power level. The designers of the game are the arbitrators of what is/not balanced. Sure they make mistakes sometimes, but its up to the them to fix it.
Remember, once you start talking about balance issues, it is easy to show how even a core character can be "broken." It reduces all arguments about what is OP to personal preference. I think its one of the reasons why we tend to hide behind the "not appropriate for PFS" justification even when it is clear a banning occurred because of a perceived OP condition (see synthesist)
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
It's still not nearly the same...
My point is that many of the advantages a master summoner enjoys in a non-PFS session is mitigated by the nature of how PFS scenarios are developed and the limited number of encounters you have to plan for. I would argue that in the cast majority of cases, my conjurer is just as powerful as a master summoner. Perhaps I cannot use all my spells to summon nothing but the highest level monsters for minutes at a time, but I posit I don't need to in PFS.
IMO, the power-level of a master summoner being OP or not is not a justifiable reason to ban it. However, I can see how someone with an underdeveloped knowledge of the game could have more easy access to the same abilities that can easily become disruptive at the table. It is with that consideration in mind, I can see the justification for the banning.
I am certainly interested to see if my conjurer is as "broken" as some other builds that seem to be acceptable. To be honest, with all the options available to players these days, banning any single option or rule seems to be very selective and has little impact on the over-all play experience. There is simply a massive laundry-list of builds that can either curb-stomp encounters in solo fashion or are soo complicated that they slow down play to the disruptive level either because it takes a long time to perform all the necessary actions or because the player has to keep explaining to the rest of the table how they are doing what they suggest.
Kevin Willis wrote:
It's what made the Master Summoner such a slowdown machine
I can see your point with respect to inexperienced players. I guess my issue is that the problem does not rest with the archetype, it rests with the players using it. We really should never ban options because someone feels they are too powerful because that opens a can of worms we really don't want to deal with. In most cases, the reason things are banned is because they do not fit the campaign dynamics. Things like drow, evil PCs, etc certainly warranted. There are only a few because they are considered disruptive and I guess master summoner would fall into that category.
Disk Elemental wrote:
A Master Summoner has far more uses of their Summon Monster ability than an equivalently leveled wizard. For a conjuror dropping 2 Summon Monster V in a single fight is a huge investment of resources, usually saved a special situation. For a Master Summoner it's an average Tuesday.
At some point the number of uses is no longer relevant because you have enough for the encounters within the scope of a PFS scenario. The same can be said for duration. There isn't really much difference between 10 rounds and 10 minutes considering encounters in the typical PFS scenario are not happening is such a short period of time.
I am currently playing a Thassilonian conjurer with Acadamae Graduate, a scroll-case full of buff spells like haste and a hand-full of pearls of power. With that load-out I find I have plenty of summoned creatures to cause as much havoc as a master summoner would. At the same time the master summoner gains access to summon monster V, I will have access to four summon monster V, five SMIV, 6 SMIII, and at least seven of the lower level SM. That does not account for pearls of power or other magic items that can store or recharge spell slots. Since a wizard does not have the same expensive needs for weapons/armor like a martial character it leaves much more available for expendable resources like scrolls of haste, bull's strength, animal growth, etc. that can boost a summoned creature from a lower list to equivalent to a higher level one.
All I'm saying is that there are other ways to simulate a master summoner such that it renders the ban mostly unnecessary.
Kevin Willis wrote:
Exactly! The problem is that you just described 90%+ of the players
If that is the case, then why aren't the other builds that can summon large numbers of creatures also banned? Master Summoner is probably the easiest to break, but summoning druids, wizards, etc. are just as problematic and legal
Michael Meunier wrote:
Master summoners are banned for good reason
Meh. The only real problem exists when the player is unprepared with the monster stats especially when augmented summons and templates are applied, but this is still a problem with a summoning wizard, especially one with access to the Thassilonian archetype and/or the feat Acadamae Graduate
If you are going to represent us as gamers...you're going to have to accept our criticism of your performance in your position and just deal with it
Um, NO. Neither Del nor any of the Venture-Officers are employees of Paizo. This is not our job. We are VOLUNTEERS. Meaning we give of our valuable and often limited personal time to help provide YOU with an enjoyable gaming experience. Constructive criticism is certainly welcome, but what happened in this thread and what seems to be an ever-growing trend is viscous personal attacks towards individual campaign organizers/GMs/leaders. No, you are not entitled to blast another player just because they happened to be a Venture-Officer and they just have to "deal with it."
Perhaps you meant your comments to be "softer" than they appeared, but its hard not to assume the worst in a thread as escalated as this one.
Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
Players should build whatever type of character they desire...
Not exactly. First, your character should thematically work with the Pathfinder Society. Meaning that you have to have some skills/abilities that the organization would be interested in utilizing. Otherwise, you never would have been permitted entry into the training program (or received a field commission) in the first place. Having a character that is at least moderately effective is clearly a rule as intended even if the RAW for character creation does not come straight out and say it. If, for example, your gimped character's most effective contribution is using aid another and flank, you are not PFS material and have no business going on missions (technically being a legal character notwithstanding).
Sure, players are encouraged to be creative and build unique characters. There is no requirement to min/max or "uber-"optimize your PC, but there is a reasonable limit to how much you can intentionally create an effectively "useless" character without breaking the "don't be a jerk" rule.
Personally, I do not think the intention is that you can completely ignore the module/AP as written. It gives the players the freedom to create any PC the GM will allow. A nice option for those who feel the standard PFS rules are too heavy-handed. It also allows the GM to use whatever rules s/he wants to run the material. Want to use alternate systems like spell points, disadvantages, Hero Points, etc., go ahead. Want to ban gunslingers or allow drow, fine. However, I believe it still requires you to run the module/AP that you have signed up to play. It seems to allow for the addition of encounters and/or material and the GM is certainly permitted to run encounters schematically, but you should still run what was written. Otherwise, what's the point? Why not just make up your own campaign and randomly select sanctioned chronicles to award under the guise of campaign mode?
Guide p.11 wrote:
"Campaign Mode: For sanctioned modules and Adventure Paths, GMs are allowed to use their own rules for character creation and running the presented content"
IMO, that means there are no restrictions on character creation and the GM can use whatever RULES they want, but must still "run(ning) the presented content"
I would love to hear an official clarification on this
I don't see why we couldn't add this back into the list
Technically speaking, the sihedron was never approved for re-rolls, though I can certainly understand your interest in having it added. The creation of the new approved re-roll reference list should reduce/eliminate the occurrences of people using unapproved items for re-rolls.
For the Friday special we sat directly under the screen so I had a crick in my neck Saturday morning. If there was a way to have a screen on the other side as well that be awesome
Unfortunately, the convention center does not have an option to the screens as they currently exist. Thus we do not have a workable solution for the few tables closest to the back wall that cannot see the presentations. We continue to explore options, but so far, nothing is workable.
I was hoping that we would be seeing a change toward 4 hour blocks. I would be fine with 8pm to midnight for the specials.
The five-hour blocks is largely a function of the length of scenarios. Feedback is consistent that scenario run-times average closer to five hours than to four. We are merely accommodating the standard game time. While it might be more convenient to schedule four hour blocks, it would have a negative impact on actual gameplay. Many GMs would be rushed to push through the material and many tables would run out of time. One of the "downsides" to having excellent authors, developers, and product is that they need to time to present an awesome story with interesting encounters. I hope most would agree that a little inconvenience on slot times and a slightly longer day is preferable to a poor experience at the game table.
Appropriate signage would have made that more apparent to the players. In general, better signage is a theme in our after-action notes and will be looked at closely for next year.
I'm sure they don't take "a single complaint" as a means to strike a GM forever. But if you feel that way, and I feel that way, and others feel that way, but we never make time to make our own single complaints, then the powers-that-be simply have no way of knowing if the person is unsound because no one speaks up.
This. All to often, players don't want to comment because it could be a one-off occurrence or a GM they don't know. Until we have a more robust feedback system, all we have are reports from the players. I can assure you no GM is gonna get "whacked" for a singular event. I am more interested in looking for trending. The more reports we have for a GM (good or bad) the better decisions we can make approving who will be volunteering for Paizo at future events.
Jeff Morse wrote:
did that many GMs have more than one time in which had to go till 1am and back in morning?
Just for clarity, for RPG we had151 GMs scheduled on Thursday night of which 91 were scheduled for Friday morning
160 GMs scheduled on Friday night of which 92 were scheduled for Saturday morning
152 GMs scheduled on Saturday night of which 102 were scheduled for Sunday morning
Additionally we had 56 GMs who were scheduled Thursday night, Friday morning, Friday night and Saturday morning.
There is a lengthy list of points to consider when assigning GM schedules and all are of different importance to different people. There is no "right" way to allocate the GM resources, but I continue to consider options. With over 1800 tables to assign I'm just not going to be able to give everyone the "perfect" schedule. In many cases, its up to the GM to review their schedule and determine how to address it. That being said, we are looking at the online application and what can be added to provide more useful information. With the number of events offered vs. the limited resources available, running the morning after an evening slot is going to continue to happen at a relatively high rate of frequency.
Keirine, Human Rogue wrote:
But I think what Torrquan is getting at, why should a new player have to look up that information up in the FAQ, when 99% of the rest of character creation is in the guide?
Very few class-specific rules rules exist in the Guide. It is a place for general rules as they apply to all characters. Specific rules such as companion HP, spellbooks, etc belong in the FAQ, IMHO. Even "simple" classes like fighters have questions regarding their builds. Again, all of that belongs in the FAQ
Maybe a big banner over the entry doors or something?
To date, Gen Con will not allow any signage outside the room. We have been able to skate that with free-standing floor signs near/in the doorways, but we moved away from that to create more open sight lines into the room and through the doors. Unless policy changes, the best we can hope for is the size and scope of "happenings" inside to draw people in as they pass the open doors.A side note, there were two of us in the hallway on Friday night directing people into the room. Although it was focused on getting ticketed players in the room (we did not close the room for the pre-event GM meeting this year) it was still bringing visibility to casual bystanders who could come in and observe.
Roy Lewis wrote:
I don't know and I highly doubt it but is there some way on the specials with the different maps could HQ provide them so maybe the GMS can spend more time prepping the other aspects of the scenarios.
I will certainly add that question to our after-action meetings and planning for next year. My initial thoughts are no, at least not with respect to flipmaps and map packs, since those are available for purchase from Paizo both in print and digitally. As far as custom maps go, I am looking into solutions to provide those to our GMs. We will be looking into the requirements needed to make it possible while still complying with Paizo's community use policy.
Some not so good notes
Constructive GM criticism can be useful to improve future player experiences, but we do not want to hash out the specifics in the public forums. The Gen Con lead organizing team (myself, Jon Cary and Todd Morgan) would like to hear feedback (good/bad) on any GM (or any other volunteer) anyone experienced at the event. Please drop us an email. It is especially useful if you know the GM's name, but if you at least know the table number and/or the GMs society ID number it is helpful.
I am home from another fantastic Gen Con and want to give a huge THANK YOU to all the GMs, HQ staff, department heads, players, and my fellow HQ leads. Everyone did a great job! The enthusiasm and selfless willingness to provide players a great experience is amazing. Also, thank you to Tonya, John, and Linda who created/provided the awesome materials we used for the show. Everyone I have spoken to so far has said Pathfinder Society was the best it has ever been. From the marshaling, to the GMs and players at the table, to the overall experience, I have received nothing but good reports. What few problems and challenges HQ faced were largely invisible to the “public” which is exactly what we try to do.
As we all reminisce about Gen Con 2016, the HQ lead team has to start looking towards the future. Despite everything we got right this year, we know we can always improve. So, we would love to hear what you liked/disliked about your experience with Pathfinder Society and suggestions for improvement. Over the next few weeks, I will be accumulating all the commentary to be presented to the HQ Lead team (including Tonya/John/Linda) for evaluation and possible implementation. Gen Con is a huge event that takes many months to plan efficiently which means the process will be starting fresh in just a few months. I am already excited about the possibilities for 2017 and Gen Con's 50th anniversary!
EDIT--if you discover any errors in the reporting of events, like last year, Todd Morgan (Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest) is our point of contact. He is in possession of all the reporting sheets and has a direct line to Paizo if necessary. Please forward all errors to him.
Due to some last minute cancellations, we have a few available tier 1 GM volunteer schedules. Get a free hotel room, free convention badge, free Horror Adventures, GM boon, even free volunteer t-shirts. If you know someone interested, please have them email me ASAP.
Is the new version of Serpent's Ire going to be replayable for those of us who missed out on most of the story at PaizoCon? I know the majority of the tables were unable to finish, and most of those didn't even make it halfway through. We were having fun up until they kicked us out of the room, and it would be nice to be able to experience the whole thing!
While it is true many tables did not finish at PaizoCon, saying "most didn't even make it halfway through" is quite the exaggeration.
Mine all mine...don't touch wrote:
Any chance of seeing those kid friendly adventure here at some point? I for one know I could use them.
If you are referring to the Kid's Track adventures, the first two sets of quests are available as free downloadsBasic
The third series called "Transitions" will be debuting at Gen Con and are not yet available.
Due to some recent cancellations, we have a few opportunities for tier 1&2 volunteers. If you are interested in attending Gen Con 2016 and helping us provide an excellent gaming experience to the players, please click HERE to link to the original Call for Volunteers blog and scroll down to the bottom. Click on the Gen Con Questionnaire link, complete the information, and follow it up with an email to me so I can set your status send you a schedule. Tier 1&2 rewards include a free convention badge and (1/4) hotel room plus many other awesome rewards.
John, Linda, & Tonya are working diligently to get all new materials to the GMs ASAP. The hope is everything will be done by the 22nd. Of course, sometimes sh*t happens and its possible something could be later than that, but so far, they have been releasing scenarios a little at a time and a head of schedule so just keep your eyes on your email for that Paizo notice.
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
Keep in mind that Year of the Shadow Lodge was the first ever multi-table Special, so it's a bit experimental.
Actually it was the third. Betrayal in Absalom was at the launch of season 1, and another who's name eludes me was at the start of season zero. We called them interactives back then. Not that it really matters in regards to this conversation. Just sayin'
John Compton wrote:
Maps Appearing in #8–00: The Cosmic Captive:
13 different maps for the multi-tier special? Do all tiers need all the maps or are the encounter sites different depending on tier? If the former, is there time to visit all those maps? If the latter, can we get the map list broken out by tier so the GMs know which ones they'll need? Otherwise it could be quite expensive to obtain all the necessary maps.