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deusvult's page

FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 1,473 posts (2,005 including aliases). 6 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 19 Pathfinder Society characters. 3 aliases.

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Sovereign Court

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I lived for several years in the Alaskan interior. There's a VERY powerful ability to acclimate to local conditions. When -60 degree daytime temps are routine and -20F feels like too nice a day to waste indoors, you develop a whimsical view on the d20 environmental rules. At least on the cold end... under the high temperature rules 90+ certainly seemed lethal enough :D

(The last year I lived in Fairbanks, I remember being surprised at learning that an "unbearably hot" spring afternoon was actually 60 degrees...)

Sovereign Court ****

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So, having started this mess, here's what my evolved position has become with respect to using scrolls via UMD skill.

According to the skill description, there are only three contexts in which UMD is used with scrolls.

one: as an alternative option other than Read Magic or Spellcraft to decipher the scroll.

two: the main use; the use where you actually use the skill to unleash the spell out of the scroll. Doesn't matter what class you are and doesn't matter what level you are. The skill lets you just make it Go at the given CL for the scroll. This isn't casting a spell; it's making a skill check.

three: the tricky one as it's introducing "if-then" logic into the whole affair. IF the UMD-er doesn't have the appropriate casting stat, THEN an additional UMD check is necessary to emulate the stat. I synthesize that if this additional UMD check is relevant, you make the two checks but the timing between them is considered irrelevant and so should be considered simultaneous in-game.

Now here's where I'm taking the good discussion upthread in mind and this is how I'm now answering my own OP.

Even in the event that the "emulate a stat" UMD check is not necessary due to the UMD-ers stat already being high enough, for PFS purposes the stat still MUST be explicitly chosen by the player/character. This choice in turn allows the GM to reasonably determine whether the scroll is being cast as an arcane or divine scroll, and then in turn answer whether ASF is relevant.

Sovereign Court ****

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Brown mold encrusted mummies is one of my favorite encounters I've seen designed for PFS. Not mentioning the title so as to not spoil it, but that one had an even better chocolate + peanut butter monster combo near the entrance...

Sovereign Court

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Define "people".

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Arrgh time keeps slipping away from me.. apologies for that update taking almost a frikkin' week. Schoolwork is starting to overwhelm, heh. "I'll catch up tomorrow" needs to be stricken from my mental discussions with myself...

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I just spent a good half hour typing up the next post only to see my browser crash and the entire thing was lost. That's what I get for not doing it in word and just copypasta into the browser.

Rather than redoing at this late hour I'll get the post up lunchtime tomorrow... I have to get up early in the morning. Sigh.

Preview: There'll be a discussion about where to begin looking for the other masks Whisper sold. You'll be given a chance to recall some related clues offered earlier in the pbp game and impress the magistrates with your acumen.

So if you don't already have an idea where to look, search the thread for the hidden clues! :)

Sovereign Court

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Jiggy wrote:
So what are you really trying to say here?

You actually got what I was saying. I can only assume your difficulty is in assuming I didn't mean what I said when I said:

Deusvult wrote:
I was saying that I agree that for the most part it's shoddy GMing to fail to separate OOC and IC knowledge.

Once you accept that I agree that most of the time GMs should seperate OOC and IC knowledge, it shouldn't be that hard to wrap your head around my saying that there are additionally (and less common) instances where the GM's using OOC knowledge ICly may be actually appropriate.

To restate and clarify:

One example is a game where roleplaying takes a back seat to tactical wargaming. If the players don't separate OOC and IC knowledge, then it may be acceptable if the GM doesn't either.

Another is the phenomenon that optimized/munchkin PCs are more capable than those that are not.. and resultingly have punching strength above their APL. Maybe the group doesn't like the GM fudging dice. Maybe the group wants to run a published adventure without changing the encounters. Having the GM make optimized/munchkin tactical decisions is one tool that still remains if the group wants all that but to still be challenged.

I mentioned earlier the possibility of using OOC knowledge ICly for a human GM approximating a superhuman intellect.

There are potentially infinite fringe cases where it could be situationally reasonable. But, generally, yes MOST of the time it's poor form.

edit: I think this line might have given you trouble:
"When players game the system they are literally asking to be challenged to the utmost."

That doesn't mean players gaming the system deserve to be punished. It actually means what I said. I wasn't disparaging taking "roleplaying" out of the roleplaying game; it's well acknowledged that's how some people like to play. When they do, they're playing something akin to Warhammer: Not quite perfect knowledge of every capability of the opponent, but certainly a game where you don't deliberately make suboptimal tactical choices for roleplaying reasons. If one side is playing to win and the other side is "roleplaying", it's a fairly foregone conclusion what's going to happen. Yes, even in a tactical wargame version of a RPG the players are generally presumed to win, but if they have fun being challenged despite having made optimized/munchkin PCs then the GM should also dial up some "playing to win", even if he doesn't intend to actually defeat the PCs.

Sovereign Court

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The problem the OP has may have something to do with playstyle. If you want the GM to fight with kid gloves on, have you considered whether or not you're wearing them yet? It's not cool for the players to use and abuse the game mechanics to their advantage while expecting the GM not to.

I generally agree with the sentiments above about "bad GMing" when the monsters/NPCs use the GM's OOC knowledge ICly. That does not extend, however, to groups where roleplaying is subservient to the rules/mechanics. You don't get it both ways... if you want to use and abuse the rules to your greatest advantage, you don't get to demand fluffball treatment from the GM.

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Doji Oruku listens to your thoughts on the matters at hand. He says to Mirumoto Katsuyoshi:

"You are the only shugenja among us. Are you able to speak to the air kami, and find out more about who put them to use and for what purpose?"

to Shinjo Xiaoxing and Akodo Hideyoshi:

"It does indeed seem that plots are afoot that we do not yet understand. I feel frustrated and several moves behind. I have already dispatched Thunder Guard to inform Doji Tsumetsu-sama of the incident here and I expect his return shortly. Perhaps we might learn something of these plots from his investigation in my stead."

As the servants and samurai of the house begin to try to restore order to the estate, you learn that Doji Usija is indeed among the survivors. He's not pleased to learn of the fate of his wakizashi, but he thanks you heroes for saving his life once again.

Additional honored guests surviving the incident at the estate include a Yasuki merchant and her yojimbo (potentially our new PC) and Doji Tsukimi's (maternal) elderly grandfather, Kakita Ukidanu. He's in town to visit his granddaughter on the occasion of the Festival and is well past normal retirement age, perhaps by twice over. He seems senile but harmless.

Outside, people are starting to leave their houses to come out into the streets in droves. Children scamper while holding sparkling lights, laughing while they dart about their elders.. all dressed in costumes and masks.

About 5 minutes later (almost the beginning of the Hour of the Dog) Doji Tsumetsu arrives with his bodyguard detail. The hatamoto is quite heavyset; his belly visibly makes rolls inside his kimono. His clothing is garish: colors as bright as possible with no apparent regard to sublety or complimentary color schemes.

He seems worried about the state of the estate and once the main parlor is made presentable he chooses to receive Doji Ochiba there first, ahead of Doji Oruku or his Captain of the Guard or any of you. You hear the matron tell a tale of the terrible Oni and the spell it wrought over the household. She stresses all of your bravery and valor in combat.

The Tai-sa, Daidoji Naigotai, bows next before kneeling before the hatamoto, admitting his failure to remain awake or to protect the estate. He asks to be released from his shame by being granted permission for seppuku.

Doji Tsumetsu replies:

"No, Naigotai-san. Evil maho magic was at work here. You are blameless, any shame belongs to the vile sorcerer responsible."

With this proclamation, the servants mutter fearfully to themselves and make signs of protection in the air, begging the Fortunes to take mercy on them all.

Tsumetsu turns to face each of you:

"You have defended my house and protected my daughter's life. In return, I owe you a reward for your valor. Please accept the hospitality of the Crane, and allow me to give you a gift."

He commands one of the guards to bring forth a satchel that he had been carrying. When he retrieves it, he pours out four tokens into his meaty palm. He explains:

"These are tsangusuri, or magical fetishes created by my Asahina kin. They are magical, but can only be used once! The first is my favorite: This little Ebony Fan will cause those listening to the bearer to be struck with awe and respect!

This next one is an Ivory Key: It can open any door, even if locked or magically held shut by the kami!

The next is a Golden Pomegranate: consuming it will purge any poison from your body and speed the recovery of your wounds!

The last is most special, the Jade Sun: When used it creates a globe of true sunlight, lasting a quarter of an hour Reminder, Rokugani hours are 120 minutes long, so the sunlight lasts 30 minutes! and unlike the other fetishes, can be used three times before losing its power!"

This is our campaign's first gift giving scenario, so I'm giving a freebie reminder/clarification: It is impossibly rude to accept a gift immediately. A gift should be given three times, which means you should refuse it twice. Any of you may roleplay a refusal: all 4 tokens are consided "one gift" and the gift is to all of you as a party. If someone roleplays accepting the gift before the customary two refusals are given, we're looking at some social consequences ;)

Additionally, if there's something you wanted to accomplish in the 15 or so minutes before the Hatamoto returns, just clarify that with ooc text to differentiate it from what you do after he returns.

Sovereign Court

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Jiggy wrote:

As I talked about before, it's as simple as this: whatever the group agreed (explicitly or not) was going to be happening is "fair", while any deviation from that is "cheating".

So, for example, suppose the players build their characters under the impression that encounters will be CR-appropriate, or X level of challenge, or whatever. Maybe they lowball their optimization because they want a gritty meatgrinder that forces them to think tactically, or maybe they optimize highly because they want a fun roflstomp of carnage-joy, or maybe they go somewhere in between with an understanding of a sandbox world where they'll be constantly gauging their own power against that of potential obstacles.

If the GM then goes outside that group agreement by providing encounters that are different enough as to provide a different play experience (such as turning the meatgrinder into something easier, or the roflstomp into something harder, or the open sandbox into "everything is a level-appropriate encounter no matter where you are"), then the GM has betrayed the other people at the table. Maybe you use the word "cheating" or maybe not, but either way, the GM's being a selfish jerk.

I can agree with the entirety of the above post.

Jiggy wrote:
DonKeebals wrote:
A terrible GM is one that allows the players to run the table.

That's not mutually exclusive with what I said, you know. There's a whole lot of fun to be had in the ENORMOUS space in between "GM is god" and "players run the table". That's where the good GMs are. The terrible ones populate the two situations you and I have now identified (and probably some other spaces as well).

And yes, GM's are the gods at their tables. What they say goes, period.
Unless of course the GM is a healthy, high-functioning adult. In that case, the GM makes adjudications where needed but listens to complaints/rebuttals and is willing to accommodate reasonable requests.

That one, not so much agreement from me. Just because a GM's word is final doesn't mean the GM has to be deaf to players' concerns.

Yes, it's possible to be a tyrant jerk with that attitude. But it's not integral/inevitable. As I said before, a happy medium where wants/desires from both sides of the screen are communicated and respected is best.

But humans will be humans, and despite the best of intentions it periodically breaks down. In those cases where you can't maintain communication and respect, there are two options. Players laying down the law, or the GM. I think the GM avenue is better for the same reasons that chains of command in emergency response/military organizations aren't committees.

Sovereign Court

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A slightly different tack to the discussion:

Is it cheating/fudging to give PCs CR-appropriate encounters?

After all that's the entire point of Pathfinder's CR system- to ensure that the players generally can win. Whether or not the GM fudges a will save for the BBEG to a "nat 20" so the climactic fight is not over in 1 round, or if the GM fudges a crit down to a normal hit so he doesn't kill a PC.. these are tangential discussions about the underlying paradigm:

The game doesn't even pretend to offer truly fair fights. The PCs are presumed to win (at least in the end, if not in every single fight).

Sovereign Court

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Jiggy wrote:
Either way, stop it. There's no culture that produces BBEGs whose HP might or might not spontaneously double depending on how fast they're losing a fight.

You know, you're doing exactly what you're accusing me of doing: Saying the extreme is representative of the whole.

Of course I never said bad utilization of fudging (or literary devices such as deus ex machina) was a good thing or even culturally relative. In fact I even acknowledged that deus ex machina in particular is more easily done poorly than done well.

I was saying that what's strategically optimal given the circumstances isn't optimal given the needs of the game. In my opinion. I think it's great roleplaying to go ahead and do things that you know are "strategically bad" but appropriate to the game/genre. Like hiding in the cemetery in a horror RPG or not using sanitary practices in a medieval RPG or asking for permission for seppuku in a samurai RPG. It's not "what I would do in that situation", but it's what the character in that genre would do. Wanting what you want from a game isn't bad. I want it too sometimes.. but because we have different opinions I indulge in those wants in a wargame rather than in a roleplaying game.

If you can't hear about a divergent opinion without taking it as a personal attack, then I suppose I should go ahead and be done trying to talk with you. You seem to only want to be talked at so you can argue.


Sovereign Court

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Jiggy wrote:
deusvult wrote:

Of course you're going to split up, visit the creepy cemetery, and by all means find ways to forget to call for the police.

The way I like to run (or play) RPGs is where a good story is told.

These statements are contradictory.

A story that leaves you wondering why in the world a character would do X instead of Y is not a good story. The fact that such situations have shown up in a lot of stories does not make them any less terrible.

Hiding from a known homicidal psychopath but then leaving your hiding place alone just because you heard footsteps, doesn't stop making for a stupid story just because it's been done a lot.

Just because something is common enough to be a familiar trope does NOT mean it's an ingredient to a good story.

Looks like we also disagree on what makes a "good" story. Which is fine and natural, as what is "good" is pretty vague and dependent upon the individual. If coherent logic is a crucial component for a story to be "good", then one is going to miss out on a lot of the fantasy genre, in my own opinion.

What is "logical" is going to be different not just person to person, but culture to culture. Samurai drama, for example, pretty much has to include the hero suffering (if not dying) over points of principle/honor. Wouldn't it be more logical for the hero to compromise his honor and get the bad guy, ala the Hollywood-esque individualistic action star?

Not always. In the genre of samurai drama, the "good" story has the heroes doing what is culturally appropriate, even if its not what you would do from your own mindset.

Leaving your own mindset aside and entering another is what makes RPGs grand. I like to embrace the conventions of the genre. Bringing your real-world notions about what a character in a dungeons&dragons, tolkienesque world should do is missing the point of roleplaying, in my opinion. Personally, I don't care what a human from the post-industrial world would do in the position of an elfin wizard facing down some challenge. What would that elfin wizard that never heard of our world do?

Sovereign Court

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Jiggy wrote:
The Fox wrote:
Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
One other point re: OP; it's the GM's job to adjudicate. If you think a fellow player has something wrong, I would speak to them privately or speak to the GM privately. Calling them out in middle of a game or in front of the table is pretty obnoxious. So is cheating. But one does not invalidate the other. Discretion is always a good a choice.

A lot of players operate under the assumption that it is solely the GM's job to catch any rules mistakes the players might make, either intentional or not.

That is assumption is false.

Wait, do you mean the assumption that catching rules mistakes is the GM's only job, or the assumption that the GM is the only one whose job it is to catch rules mistakes?

I presume he means he's saying it's ok for players to call each other out on perceived shenanigans.

I totally agree, at least in the case of die-rolling. I think it's possible to cross the line and become be a bit over-zealous/presumptuous in players auditing each others' modifiers, but generally I view such cross-checking as a healthy thing.

Sovereign Court

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Jiggy wrote:
deusvult wrote:
If you've never found a GM who was able to prioritize your own enjoyment of the game experience over the sanctity of what's written on pages of text, then you truly haven't enjoyed everything the RPG hobby has to offer you.
Where did you get the idea that I've never found such a GM? Why does the fact that I don't like GM cheating mean that the only GM's I've found are treating text as sacred? There are lots of GMs who are NEITHER the "GM, may I?" type you described NOR trying to preserve the sanctity of the text. The fact that you seem to think those are the only two types of GMs is mind-boggling.

Well, in order to keep posts from becoming gigantic walls of text, I leave most assumptions as being "safe to assume". In this discussion, I thought that one of those was:

Games where everyone is mature and treats each other with respect are the best. There's an agreed-upon ideal middle ground between "Player, May I?" and "GM, May I?". But when the balance can't be kept, which is the better resolution? I say GM fiat.

So, yes, I totally agree with you there. We disagree, apparently, about what should be done in those situations where the ideal is not met.

You really haven't been the same since that dhampir paladin ruling didn't go your way. It's as though that one experience of what you thought was an airtight rule in your favor getting overturned, shattered your rules-oriented worldview and convinced you that the final sovereignty of the GM is the only way to go, and launched you on some kind of crusade to show everyone the evils of RAW (seriously, people don't describe rules with terms like "sanctity" or "holy scripture" unless they're on a mission to demonize).

Well, since they did actually change the rules to say what they say they meant, there's nothing to be sore about anymore. I was sore about the hypocrisy, which has now been addressed. If anything I take a perverse pride in their changing the rule as an admission that I was "right" in the first place.

But, since you brought up that episode, I do indeed think it stands as a lesson about how "canon" isn't necessarily "right". Canon is generally acceptable for use to describe the rules, but you take issue with my use of "holy scripture" and "sanctity"? I don't mean to malign you, but, there's hypocrisy again. Please, take my pointing this out as just pointing it out rather than making some statement about your integrity, as none is intended ;)

I liked you better before. I'd like you even more if something would break you out of this new mold so you could settle into something more moderate and reasonable. :(

Well, I'm not so sure there's a "new" mold in play. I don't know you personally, but I'd wager it's likely I've been GMing various games (fairly continually, I'd add) since before you were even born. If that's not a correct guess, it's been a very long time at any rate.

As I agreed eariler, it's best if issues in the game are handled maturely and with respect. I suspect you didn't really get much past my post you had issue with beyond my saying "I think that almost nothing done on the GM side of the screen is cheating".

Just because chicanery isn't "cheating" doesn't mean it isn't harmful to the game. Nor do I condone any and all activities just because "they're not cheating". You appear to think that I WAS condoning the worst sort of behavior that you called "a disease upon the hobby".

I think we're agreeing on 90+% of how things should be done. When it comes to the corner cases is where we diverge. And I'll clarify that I think when reasonableness and respect can no longer resolve a rules issue, the GM not only can but should just solve it via fiat (the "I said so" resolution).

I said in my post that given decades of experience, GMs should give players the benefit of the doubt. I'll add in this post that when players and GM can't come to an agreed upon compromise in the heat of the moment, the best way to resolve the game is to just have the "I said so." put it back on the rails. If a player's dissent is THAT important, the GM should be mature enough to recognize coming back to the issue and re-addressing it outside the mid-game "heat of battle". GMs are just as human as players, and equally prone to deluding themselves into seeing what they want to see.

Sovereign Court

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Sovereign Court

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Feedback on actions declared:

Shinjo Xiaoxing: If you die today, at least you'll die honorably. You're clearly facing a "superior enemy". You're awarded 3 honor for your course of action. Unfortunately, your deft stroke proves no more effective than Chinatsu's bottle. The edge of your wakizashi simply slides along the rubbery, blubbery flesh of the Oni leaving only the tiniest hint of its passing. Everyone observing has heard that some Oni cannot be harmed by mundane weaponry, and it certainly appears this one is in that category...

Soshi Konming: Thanks to your advanced training in first aid, you can tell through a cursory examination that if Hakiku is to survive, she needs assistance now. She'll likely perish before you get her out of the Inn, much less to wherever the nearest healer is. I'll presume you spend your action stabilizing the peasant girl. Katsurou's wife tears the girl's kimono for you to make bandages to assist you.
Intelligence/Medicine, 5k3: 5d10 ⇒ (7, 3, 3, 10, 9) = 32 Exploding 10: 1d10 ⇒ 6 16+9+7=32
You successfully withdraw the timber and bandage her wounds. She'll survive in the short term.. she won't get any worse than she is now. She'll need proper care, including the use of magic or a medicine kit, to recover any further.
I thought about forcing you to spend a void point to assist the peasant girl b/c of your Insensitive flaw. But I decided against it, since it gives Konming a face-saving excuse to NOT throw himself under the Oni's claws..

Kitsuki Katsurou: I keep calling your wife "Your wife". Please get your background posted into your profile so I can easily find such details. This also goes for everyone who hasn't done so yet, please.

Mirumoto Katsuyoshi: Normally you'd be looking at an honor loss for conjuring a weapon where you're not supposed to have one (or your spell scrolls, for that matter). I'd call it "using false courtesy to gain an advantage over an enemy", which has pretty serious repurcussions to your honor score. However, this situation clearly calls for an exception. No loss of honor in this case.

Doji Himeko: You scoot behind Xiaoxing, helping her shield the hapless Crane who's much too slowly shaking off his panic-induced stupor.

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Those arriving in Ryoko Owari:
Those of you new to the city were perhaps surprised to see the city walls (Location 1) for the first time. You’ve heard that one of the city’s nicknames is “The City of Green Walls”, yet they are made of polished marble and anything but Green. Perhaps one of the locals may be able to explain it for you, but since most everyone where you’re from also calls Ryoko Owari Toshi “The City of Lies”, you’ll probably have to take the explanation with a grain of salt.

What no one mentioned, however, were the bizarre agricultural practices. At least from what you’ve seen on the road, you haven’t seen a single rice paddy tended on the outskirts of town; it’s been nothing but field after field of poppies..

You have arrived for an arranged meeting with meet each other at a nice inn catering to samurai clientele. The occasion: Celebrating the Bon Festival together. On this, the last night of the Month of the Dog, spirits of the dead walk Rokugan. Ancestors seek out the homes of their descendants to look in on them, but so too do malevolent spirits. On this night, families come together and set up two shrines: one where prayers give thanks to their ancestors that watch over them, and the second where offerings are given to the spirits who have no descendants to honor them.

In the City of Lies, the normally solemn festival has evolved to become a boisterous, party atmosphere. The whole city comes together to honor and appease the spirits of the dead. Costumes, fireworks, dancing, and parades will fill the night, straight through from dusk until dawn.

It is nearly the end of the hour of the Monkey (5:30 PM) and the excitement in the city builds as the sun recedes towards the horizon. The rising excitement of the city’s residents has an almost tangible quality as the shadows cast by houses and storefronts lengthen to drown the streets in darkness. A few costumed commoners can already be seen getting an early start on the festivities by chasing one another.

The Inn of the Orange Blossom is on the busy intersection of Saffron Street and Brass Avenue, located just about equidistant to the Gate of Condescension (Location 9), the Bridge of Drunken Lovers (Location 16) and the magnificent Dragon Gate (Location 10). This neighborhood is part of the Merchant Quarter, but is very wealthy owing to its proximity to both the waterfront and the Nobles’ Quarter.

The Inn is quaint (by local standards) and warm. There are colorful banners and flowers prominently displayed in honor of tonight’s Bon Festival. There are a few rooms upstairs, and tables downstairs where travelers and city residents gather. As it is customary in an establishment such as this one, you leave your katanas and scroll satchels in a special and discrete niche that exists for the purpose of denying sake-addled samurai the temptation of utilizing their most lethal instruments.

Perception/Investigation(Notice) TN 10:
There were already a few swords and a spear placed there before you added yours.

The master of the Inn is a jovial merchant named Hametsu. He is a Unicorn Clan member of the Heimin caste, and thus below samurai. The Inn’s popularity owes largely to Hametsu’s charm. He regales his guests with fantastical tales about the Clan’s adventures beyond the known world. Everyone knows he wasn’t alive to personally partake in these tales since the Unicorns have been settling back into their proper place in Rokugan for the past two centuries, but his improbable stories are popular nonetheless.

Hametsu recognizes those of you who are regulars. "Ah, welcome once again to my humble establishment! I have a private room reserved for your party, just as you asked!"

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*** Mad Cackle ***

Ah.. finished a 14 page paper in under 4 hours. Now my pretty little samurai.. my brain is a little overcooked and I think that makes it a perfect time to begin the game... may the Fortunes have mercy upon you all!

*** Mad Cackle ****

Sovereign Court

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The PFS rules about removing conditions only apply to conditions gained during that adventure. It does not say you have to remove conditions that happen to be there at the end of the adventure, which isn't necessarily the same thing. Being naturally blind would be the latter, not the former.

As such, there's a leg to stand on if/when a GM waves those rules at you.

With the debacle about potentially banning "dark skinned" characters, I wouldn't think Mike wants to touch banning playing blind people with a 10 meter cattle prod.

Sovereign Court

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Blackwaltzomega wrote:

Honestly, it makes sense.

The paladin's facing down an ancient red dragon and has so much divinely fortified courage they don't even need to save against its terrifying presence, and can shrug off the powers of a fear-focused wizard or bard or even the fricking Boogeyman without trouble.

You think some smelly thug in a dark alley is really going to phase them by giving them the stink-eye?

It makes sense for the Demoralize action under the Intimidate skill, yes.

It makes less/no sense for the primary ability (which is a coercive shift of attitude rather than an amicable one covered by diplomacy). Yes, you might use threats of force to do so, and that's perhaps arguably a fear effect if you roleplay the intimidate check that way.

OTOH there is no requirement nor should there be a presumption that the primary use of Intimidate entails direct threats from NPC to PC. A shopkeeper could use an intimidate check on a rogue to keep him from stealing from him not through threats of force, but by explaining that "Yes I see what you're doing. By the way, the chief constable is a friend of mine. You really don't want to do that." A successful Intimidate check by the shopkeep forces the rogue to be "friendly" and removes the option of thievery against that shopkeep from the rogue's player for 1d6x10 minutes.

The same should be true for paladins. The thieves' guild headmaster gets cornered in an alley by the party paladin. The NPC turns and says "You better not attack me. Here are the reasons why doing so will bring unpleasant repurcussions down on you.." Maybe the GM should say that even if the intimidate check was successful, the "friendly" paladin could still capture and deliver the NPC to his corrupt friends in the city watch who just turn around and let him loose. But my point is, the FAQ, if taken literally, says the Paladin is immune to persuasion by virtue of being immune to fear. It's a poor rules decision on the part of Paizo because this has very awkward and very counter-intuitive implications for Diplomacy and Charm Magic. The FAQ should have said "and use of the Intimidate skill to perform the Demoralize action".

Sovereign Court

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

Fear effects include spells with the fear descriptor, anything explicitly called out as a fear effect, anything that causes the shaken, frightened, or panicked condition, and all uses of the Intimidate skill. Intimidate, in particular, is a mind-affecting fear effect, so fearless and mindless creatures are immune to all uses of Intimidate.

The italicized portion would be an interesting twist if it were true. Where do you see that?

Fear effects doesn't list all uses of intimidate, and neither does the Paladin immunity to fear, either.

I'm not accusing you of making it up; I just don't know where you got that from.

nm, I see it in the FAQ. A bad ruling if you ask me, but noone is. Que sera sera.

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If the players are allowed to guide their boat around the net, they are denied the experience of the "choose your own path" programming to this scenario. It's even problematic: they show up at Dalun enjoying the benefit of having achieved successes with the Ulfen (ie, you don't have to fight the city guards)

Plus, taken literally, if they bypass the encounter they cannot defeat or go with the Ulfen, so in turn they cannot satisfy requirements to get full credit for gold for that chapter.

It makes more sense to just have the boat automagically caught and stopped with the players not having anything they can do about it. (other than making their ref saves to not go prone). The box text supports this.. there's a natural bottleneck the boat must pass through, right in the shade of the branches overhead. The way I choose to see that encounter, there's literally no room for the boat to avoid the net. You hit the shore to the left, or rocks to the right. The point being, you must roleplay with the Ulfen. And therefore must decide: Fight, or friends?

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If the PCs use magic to gain entry into an unknown space without the ability to magic their way back out, that's idiotic for any number of reasons. Whether the atmosphere is toxic is almost besides the point.

You do something THAT unwise, it's hardly "rocks fall, you die" territory. It's like complaining the GM isn't rolling dice for the damage dealt when you stick your head into a guillotine trap. "Player, May I?" only gives the player so much agency. The GM is still the GM, and when you do something that you shouldn't live through, you shouldn't. Even if you "had no idea what would happen". That almost makes it even worse.

If you didn't know the possible hazards, then what were you doing messing with them in the first place? Don't go sticking your head into holes in the wall, and for Gods' sake don't teleport blindly into a place you know you can't teleport back out of.

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There's a reason canaries were brought underground by miners, and it wasn't to lighten things up with their singing.

If adventurers aren't savvy enough to survive the very environment they're delving, then they deserve to die.

Is it a "Gotcha" to fry PCs who plane shift to the Elemental Plane of Fire without fire-proofing magic, too?

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I'm putting feelers out there to see what interest there is in another Legend of the Five Rings pbp game.

About me:
I've played/ran L5R's RPG incarnations ever since the beginning. I'm pretty firmly set on running this game under the 4th edition (current) ruleset.

I've GM'd various other game systems for even longer, and some non-face-to-face GMing as admins on a few MU*'s back when they were A Big Thing. This will be my first PbP game, however.

I want to get my feet wet with a published L5R adventure, "Night of One Thousand Screams". And if it goes well, continue on with a sort of "The Shield: Ryoko Owari" campaign.

However, that desire requires the pre-Scorpion Coup timeline, and the common L5R fare of playing magistrates. I recognize this theme/locale might be trite for some players, or simply not suit their tastes.

Therefore I'm also willing to entertain the idea of a sandbox campaign that can be set whenever, wherever.

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Mark Seifter wrote:

That's not quite what Perception actually says. It says
Perception wrote:
Action: Most Perception checks are reactive, made in response to observable stimulus. Intentionally searching for stimulus is a move action.
with an absence of what area is covered by said move action to intentionally search for stimulus.

I'll repeat what I said upthread:

It's wiser to leave the rules as is than attempt to codify how big an area a move action covers. Let the GM determine circumstance by circumstance, even if it ends up meaning the RAW IS LAW folks get confused from time to time.

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Nefreet wrote:

One move action searches everything within line of sight, with DCs modified for distance.

It wasn't left out of the Core Rulebook at all. It's defined under the Perception skill.

Not so much search, as "perceive what is out in plain sight". Anything that involves looking inside chests, under rugs, and etc will take longer than a move action. You know, generally any time you look for traps/secret doors/hidden loots.

But how much longer? However long the GM says it'll take.

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Ramarren wrote:

'Humanoids' really fits. It's humano-centric, but I expect that's a matter of linguistics; I expect that the Dwarven translation of the term is 'Dwarfoids', the Elven 'Elfoids', etc.

Classically, the various Core races have been referred to as 'Humans' and 'Demi-humans', which really does sound racist.

'Sapients' sounds too modern to me.

To be Asmodeus' advocate here, cultural relativism is an awfully modern concept to be inserting into Golarion as well.

Afterall, "Halfling" is an awfully racist name, but it's fairly universally accepted. Even by the Halflings themselves. So long as Golarion is humanocentric, then human centric naming conventions are not inappropriate.

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trollbill wrote:
Akari Sayuri "Tiger Lily" wrote:
UndeadMitch wrote:
I disagree. I would rather combats not just become a game of "Who can one shot the BBEG first." I actually enjoy a bit of peril in my PFS, it actually makes completing a scenario feel like an achievement. You are correct, this is a social game, and I don't think someone racing to one-shot every encounter makes for a very sociable game.
This is an RPG, not a tactical wargame.

Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder's progenitor (in fact, the progenitor of all RPGs), was created by a group of tactical wargamers (Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson and several others). It's core mechanics were derived from a tactical miniatures game called Chainmail. And the company they formed to publish the game was called the Tactical Studies Rules, Inc. Even in the current version of the game you are playing, most of the rules are dedicated to combat, not role-playing. So to claim it isn't a tactical wargame is simply not true, especially when the only evidence used to deny this is the name of the genre the game belongs to.

Don't get me wrong. I happen to think role-playing is an important aspect of the game (one I personally happen to enjoy) and have no problem with people who like to focus heavily on that aspect. But since I have, unfortunately, seen this false claim made far too many times by elitist role-players trying to further their own personal agenda, I feel obliged to correct any misunderstanding of the game such comments may have engendered.

It's not so much a false claim as not being in step with your opinion.

Look at how LARPs work: are the bulk of the rules being about combat because the game is mostly about combat, or because those rules are necessary to resolve what occurs in the game outside of the give and take of roleplaying?

In the specific case of Pathfinder, you might look at the CRB and decide combat is what the game is about. The critique of this view is that it's akin to looking at a 4 legged, 1 mouthed dog and come to the conclusion that running is 4 times as important as eating. Maybe it is, but if so that's not exactly a great way to defend the view.

My own opinion is that the pathfinder CRB (and the D&D equivalents before it) focus mostly on combat because the game can allow roleplaying issues to be resolved primarily through the GM's/Players' application of common sense. Roleplaying is like a game of Cops and Robbers. When it comes down to who actually shot who first or who hit and who missed, or whether or not one's "bullet proof vest" actually saved you, more regimented rules become necessary.

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I have more problems with NPC atheists in the game world than real life atheists at the gaming table.

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If this must be made personal, then here's my personal opinion:

If there's enough room for enough PCs to assist the highest strength PC to succeed on a take 20 on the strength check to bust the door anyway, then it's a waste of everyone's time to worry about what kinds of weapons work and what kinds don't. Factor in crowbars & such and only in corner cases is it going to be relevant as to what kinds of weapons can replicate the effects of a successful strength check to break.

As far as the rules go, I think it's pretty well established that GM reading > Player reading. GM opinion > Player opinion. Making me a bad guy doesn't change that dynamic. So I stand by what I've been saying. If the GM doesn't want to give the PCs a bypass to the Strength Check, the players don't get to force him to give them one. Being clever and thinking outside the box is one thing, insisting one can force the door without a strength check isn't necessarily that.

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Matthew Downie wrote:
Player: I spent three thousand gold on this item specifically because by RAW it allows me to tunnel through anything with hardness below 20...

It never told you anything of the sort. It's an assumption to think it does, and my point is that's a faulty assumption.

The ineffective weapon rule gives the GM trump power. Any object can be said to be undamaged by any weapon. Strictly by RAW, which I suspect you really enjoy, a waterballoon can be ruled invulnerable to an adamantine needle.

It's up to the GM's discretion to decide what's undamaged by what. And that discretion absolutely trumps anything and everything the player says. The rule allows a GM to say a given door is unlike "most" doors and a hammer or pick just isn't effective in this case.

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DominusMegadeus wrote:

Then a guy with a pick trivializes your doors "as the game intended".

Ineffective Weapons wrote:
Certain weapons just can't effectively deal damage to certain objects. For example, a bludgeoning weapon cannot be used to damage a rope. Likewise, most melee weapons have little effect on stone walls and doors, unless they are designed for breaking up stone, such as a pick or hammer.

When did they become "my" doors?

I've been talking about GM agency trumping Player agency.

If the GM wants to say the player can't hack a door down without risk of failure and instead has to succeed on a strength check to force the door open via violence, he can do so. He can say that "most doors" may be readily damaged by picks, sure, but not this particular one. It doesn't matter what the excuse is, but maybe because it has a thick veneer of iron that holds the wood behind it together. Likewise, hypothetically, a hammer might be said to be useless as well because the wood used has just the right amount of give to flex with the blows. These rules say that GM gets to tell the Player what's what, not the other way around.

If the GM wants to say possession of an adamantine pick/dagger/needle doesn't equate to infinite and permanent passwall spellcasting, he's allowed to do so under the rules. He doesn't HAVE to prevent adamantine picks from tunneling through city gates/bank vaults/entire mountains, but he MAY.

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The CRB doesn't describe rules for a cloak-n-dagger game. It describes a tolkien-esque fantasy game.

As such, if a cloak-n-dagger plotline comes up in an individual adventure, perhaps the GM will just allow a sense motive to get hints about who's the hidden spy in the current plotline. He might do this out of convenience because it's the closest rules already established that cover that out-of-genre territory.

OTOH, if the GM is actually running a cloak-n-dagger style campaign, the mechanics of sense motive (and bluff) deserve to be fleshed out in greater detail, and it'd be entirely inappropriate to suss out a mole simply by virtue of a single sense motive check.

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wraithstrike wrote:
thistledown wrote:

All right, I'll turn it into a real question. If you are riding on a mount with a lance and charging, is there a way to have both the mount and the rider make attacks?

Mounts rarely have reach of their own, so you'd normally have to stop 10' away for the lance and 5' away for the mount. Any way to deal with that?

Good question, and it should probably get its own thread. I allow it in my games, but I am not sure if it is supposed to work.

If Ride-By-Attack is in play, there's no reason the lance attack couldn't be performed from 10' away, then the movement continues per RBA. Then from adjacent square, the horse kicks/stomps. Then per RBA the movement keeps continuing on past the target.

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GM Koan wrote:

To those that didn't, I'm sorry. I know it's hard to find L5R PbP. Howeva, I am contemplating a second campaign, so keep your eyes on the PM button over the next couple of weeks.

Participating in this thread has made my L5R itch even worse rather than satisfying it.

I'm seriously thinking about running a L5R game as well. Probably springboard with Night of 1,000 Screams and see where the campaign goes from there. (actually, I know exactly where it'd go, but I suppose that's best kept secret..)

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It's not a question of how long has it been dead but was permits and permission acquired beforehand.

Indiana Jones had problems with his Research Designs.

If the OP is curious beyond the "gee I wonder" stage reading up on the NAGPRA laws is going to explain the difference in much greater detail.

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jtaylor73003 wrote:

Thanks to everyone's advice. I never intended to "publicly flog" the Game Master, although I can see how my actions could be interpreted that way. I honestly knew no where else to go, since I didn't know how organized this society is.

I do have to ask should I still contact the Venture Captain or Venture Lt. ?

I'd consider it a case of picking your battles.

As a player who's played PFS exactly once and had his character die in that adventure, that death really hasn't "cost" you much (mechanically).

It's free to register PFS characters and you're allowed to have as many or as few as you like. You can even make your -2 character the exact same build with the exact same name. So you can effectively (and completely legally) just mulligan that death and start over.

Mechanically, the only "cost" you suffered in that session was that since scenarios can't be replayed*, that's one scenario "burned". But put that in context: There are about 25-26 scenarios every year, and we're midway through year 6. One scenario may well have been ruined for you by the experience you had, but there's still about 150 more for you to play, and 2 more come out every month!

*= there are indeed arcane rules for replaying scenarios. But generally it's easier to consider it a rough rule of thumb that "scenarios can't be replayed"

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Andrew Christian wrote:

My view is this:

1) GMs should follow tactics as best they can, until something changes the circumstances so that tactic no longer makes sense. This is often subjective as to when this should happen.

2) GMs have the ability, and I'd go so far as to say responsibility, to "softball" things in the right circumstances (table with brand new players/characters). This is in the guide and has helpfully been posted above.

3) GMs should learn how to run their table based on the temperature of the team taking part that moment. Assume that there is a scale of 0 being cushy, smooshy softball and 10 being hard core. A GM can reasonably stick to written tactics and still make tactical choices for the badguys that are anywhere from a 0 to a 10. And as a GM, part of your responsibility is gauging what the players at your table want. Do they want a easy session with lots of RP, or do they want a tactical and strategic grind? Some GM's have the annoying habit of running on 11, all the time, regardless of who's sitting at their table.

4) In this case, the GM was following tactics as written, by having her channel over and over. But the GM deviated big time from tactics to have her take two AoO's specifically to catch your unconscious character in another 2d6 (almost ensuring death) channel. This is not ok.

5) Typically, even with mistakes like this, I err on the side of sticking up for the GM. GMs need to be able to make decisions at the table without constantly being called front and center to explain themselves or be chastised. That being said, given the circumstances, I'd also be tempted as a Venture-Officer to overturn the death due to the specific circumstances. That isn't to say I would, but I would be tempted.


I think this post not only warrants being favorited but quoted to refresh its immediacy in the discussion. Points 1,2,3, and the sentiment expressed in 5 could have come out of my own mouth. Only reason I didn't include 4 is because I'm not familiar with the specific scenario in question, but I suspect I'd agree with Andy here as well if I was.

A GM's most important role is not to impartially apply the rules but to administer a fun experience. That's true even in PFS. Especially in PFS. A table for beginners is not the same thing as a table for experienced players, and if the GM isn't adapting for that reality he's not doing his job.

You don't call a blitz when someone is playing quarterback for the first time.

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This thread reminds me of 6 minute abs.

"You heard of this thing, gestalt characters? What I got is gonna blow that out of the water:

Triple Gestalt characters!"

"Yeah, that'll work just until someone comes out with Quadruple Gestalt..."

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alexd1976 wrote:

I find that some people take the approach of "If the rules don't explicitly say so, I can assume my character is allowed to do X"


The rules don't explicitly say that you DON'T start with a fly speed of 10, therefor all characters must have it.

Why is it that people make assumptions like this?

I keep running into things posted on here where people are basically saying that they think the rules work a certain way, and ask if someone can disprove it...

I offer this suggestion:

If you think something needs to be interpreted, don't ask if someone can disprove it, show why you think it is a certain way!

I don't know if I'm being clear, but I will check back and clarify after a few posts...


If the premise is changed slightly, the entire discussion is changed immensely.

If the player is instead saying "The rules don't explicitly say I can't, then I can assume I can" is actually basically right. The only time "The rules don't say I can't" is trumped by "They don't say you can, either" is when the topic is a fantastic element of the game. "real world relevant" aspects of the game use the assumption that the rules are only a framework and not intended to cover every possible thing.. recognizing that GMs exist to apply common sense rulings on things that aren't explicitly said.

So, the absence of an allowance is generally not a prohibitation. "It doesn't say you can, therefore you can't" only applies to rules discussions about things like spells, monster abilities, and so on.

Of course, as Rhedyn said, the entire train of thought is moot when the GM throws rank, anyway.

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Nefreet wrote:

Can your Axebeak understand your spoken words?

Usually there's just Handle Animal. You issue the command to attack, and charge.

You'd need another command to get it to stop.

Why would it have to?*

If you don't give it the command to attack, it shouldn't attack. It doesn't automatically attack everything that comes in reach while you ride around afterall. Not if it's properly trained, anyway.

If the rider intends to charge some target and doesn't give his axebeak the command to attack (verbally or otherwise) its reach should be irrelevant, and from a meta-view is reach should objectively NOT prohibit the rider from coming into his 5' reach since it's not an option for him to come up short. 10' reach is irrelevant when the declared charge attack is 5' reach, is it not?

It really is, in my opinion, the same rules interaction as charging when armed with a lance and shield. If you want to charge someone with your shield bash, you don't have to stop as soon as the lance's reach is achieved.

*= additionally, handle animal doesn't even come into play. Issuing orders to one's mount is completely covered by the Ride skill, but that's a whole different tangent.

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Snow_Tiger wrote:
Oh so part of the fluff has been carried over from D&D, interesting. Has anyone played them different than RAW then?

I think it's less "fluff carrying over" than a proactive decision to streamline horses for pathfinder. No need to balance pros and cons; one is just simply better than the other now.

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The Toe Taker Tribe:

A semi-mobile tribe that found a niche within the Chelish hinterlands: preying upon halfling slave encampments.

Halfling slaves are ideal prey for numerous reasons:

1) Halflings aren't any more physically powerful than the goblins themselves.
2) Halfling slaves aren't permitted formidable weaponry!
3) Preying upon slaves brings much less hostile attention from the Chelish powers-that-be than upon the longskin peasantry.
4) Through natural selection, the Toe Taker Tribe has leaders that understand to "git when tha gittin's good" and relocate to quieter grounds before anyone is sufficiently upset to unleash the Hellknights on them.
5) Pickled Halfling Toes are the best!

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The most eloquent explanation for Chaos is that it's not a pit, it's a ladder.

Granted it's arguably got an evil slant on the interpretation, and by extension that view would view Lawfulness as stagnation.

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Up until Pathfinder, the Cure series of spells were Necromantic. Necromancy is the magic of life and death, afterall.

I still say writers got it wrong to change them to "conjuration".

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Jack of Nothing wrote:
...Is dabbling in GMing worth getting into just for the boons?...

Unless you plan on GMing at Conventions, you're not likely to get a race boon by merely "dabbling" at GMing.

So I'd answer that quoted question as probably being "No."

However, I'd add that it is worth dabbling behind the GM screen because of the positive benefits it brings to your PFS circle.

1) Any game you GM, a regular GM gets to play.

2) Seeing other people's ways of doing things is a great way to learn how to GM better, yourself. Even veteran GMs will learn how to GM better by watching you, even if it's your first crack at it.

3) If nothing else, you get a risk-free, full reward chronicle to assign to one of your characters.

4) Try it. You might find out you like it.

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I decided to accept this thread as a challenge to come up with ridiculous but apparently legal ways to exploit gold.

Off the top of my head I came up with:

Having lots of babies, and selling them all as slaves.

I think that's technically legal (you can say you largely do whatever you want between adventures..), but reprehensible enough to count as moving your character to Evil and thus ineligible for continued PFS play. You could theoretically keep buying Atonements, but you'd have to have sold quite a few of your children for that to turn a profit.

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