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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.
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.
Robert Carter 58 wrote:
Another option I've used in place of a CdG is having a monster drag the unconscious PC away. Works best in pack fights, especially in cases like ghouls and such. It wastes the monster's attack in a plausible manner without immediately killing the down PC, and has the added bonus of a worrisome air of desperation to save the comrade.
Of the few times I've run Halls of the Flesh Eaters, my favorite memory is a literal tug of war over the unconscious body of a fallen pathfinder.
I kept my example somewhat abbreviated for the sake of coming to the point. But since you're curious about the veracity of my conclusions, I'll answer these questions. I don't want to get into TOO much detail to spoil the scenario in question, but I'll do my best to explain what was going on.
N N 959 wrote:
The nasty had been down in the pit for a couple rounds and already unsuccessfully tried climbing out by the time the meatsack dropped in. It could do several things well, but making a climb check wasn't one of them.
Additionally, it had a highly circumstantial ability that it could only perform on a recently dead corpse. Taking a single attack was in truth a softball (and as I pointed out, probably my mistake to "go easy" in the first place) but I justified it to the table as a test nibble. No, it didn't know if the fighter was dead or alive, but a Test Nibble is a great way to find out while giving at least a flimsy in-character justification for a softball.
I didn't intentionally sucker them, but from that side of the screen I can see how they might come to that conclusion. As I said, it was a mistake to NOT just CdG at the instant it became both possible and plausible. I thought (wrongly) that I was doing the player a favor.
And not that the players knew my ulterior motives, but I was perfectly prepared to have the nasty wrongly assume that since the fighter didn't flinch after being bitten that he was already dead.. and I was going to have the nasty waste her ability on the "only mostly dead, which is different from ALL dead" fighter. Obviously the players didn't know they'd be undoing my unnecessarily contrived plan to avoid a CdG when they dropped a healing critter in the pit.
For the record, they weren't upset about having wasted the summon monster spell. They were upset because like so many other PFS players, they confused SHOULD NOT CdG with CAN NOT CdG. That's the larger point of the thread: Hell yes, the GM can CdG. The point of my post was "take it from my example, holding back on a CdG is not doing yourself or the players any favors".
When the fighter was healed, he was above 0 hp. (3 to be exact, iirc) I customarily allow players to roll bluff checks to attempt the "possum strategy", and I did in this example as well. The fighter (understandably) didn't have any real investment in bluff, and the nasty blew him away on sense motive. It knew he was alive when the fighter gasped and his eyes slammed open, or some similar line.
So, when it came back to the nasty's turn, who do you attack? The suddenly back-in-the-fight fighter, or the healer who just recuscitated him? The nasty's calculus had the following considerations:
The nasty was a spellcaster of notable ability, and I did indeed roll a spellcraft for the s&g's on behalf of the nasty. She knew it was summoned, but that still didn't factor into the calculus since the summoned critter was going to end up sticking around at least as long as the pit exists (same PC cast both spells, and would be highly unlikely to have changed caster levels in the interim).
So, once the first attack re-knocked the fighter below 0 hitpoints, the rest of the attacks kept coming to make sure he stayed down.
It's not much of a decision.. even a stupid nasty knows which one to attack in that situation.. let alone a smart one.
It's something I have indeed done in the past (I vividly remember swarming a hapless level 2 with stirges in a certain swamp based adventure) and you're right, it probably would have played better than "well, here's to hoping you come up with a miracle... Ooh, no, that attempted miracle isn't gonna work out.."
I'll reiterate: I brought up the example as a case of what not to do. Don't shy away from appropriate CdGs. Embrace them and take them. Just don't abuse the "Don't Be a Jerk" clause of PFS that still applies to GMs.
If you have to think this hard about coming up with an excuse why you're NOT taking the CdG... you should be taking the CdG.
Another "this one time I killed a helpless PC" story:
I had a fight where a main nasty had 3 ranged mooks for support. The party put the nasty in a pit and focused on the mooks. The party's fighter stood on the edge of the pit, confident he could keep making the reflex saves... only the ranged mooks dropped him unconscious and he subsequently failed his ref save and fell in the pit with the main nasty.
The main nasty, unable to escape the pit and with literally nothing better to do than attack the dying fighter, used a single attack. Not even a full attack, certainly not a CdG. I just decided to throw a softball so as to give the PC a plausible shot at living through the round. I felt bad that they were having such a hard time with the scenario.. I succumbed to a case of the softies.
He did indeed prove to live through the damage, and a teammate summoned a flying, heal throwing azata to get into the pit and save the fighter.
When I took off the kid gloves and had the nasty full attack the barely-above-0 HP fighter, I touched off a rules argument.
"Why isn't the nasty attacking the healer?"
Even when you're completely in the right, players with skin in the fight can and will pitch a game-derailing fit. If anything it was probably a mistake to show mercy and not CdG at the first opportunity (in this example, I mean).
TL;DR recap: If you CdG after having shown mercy earlier, expect the players to wail. If you're gonna do it, do it rather than pussy footing with the PC's life. Just be sure that you're not looking for excuses to "get away with killing a PC".
Andoran missions are more commonly problematic, and those are the ones Silver Crusade maps to in Season 0-2.
+1 to that. Because of the antics Andorans were put up to in the early seaons, 'round these parts they're still called "terrorists" and were considered the more evil faction than Cheliax was.
I'm forever convinced there are two rival factions among the pathfinder society:
Those who say it was founded at Pig's Paunch, and those who say Wounded Wisp. Obviously we know where Shane and Dreng's allegiances lie. Janira Gavix is clearly a spy for one side, but who's is any guess.
It amuses me to imagine the rival gangs snapping their fingers and rumbling at every Grand Convocation.
joe kirner wrote:
Thats what makes it deadly and challenging.
Exactly.. he's able to strike the entire room from cover of water so unless the PCs want to jump into the water with him, you're free to give him his bonuses to AC and Reflex saves. Even if you choose to omit that, you can have him use his ink ability for free concealment.
Andrew Christian wrote:
...What book are those out of? Check the additional resources from that book to see if they are available for play. If not, then they aren't...
Andrew, that's (one of) the problem right there.
Take that same attitude and change the situation to a human PC.
Someone wants to play a really dark skinned human. Darker than the dark pastel blue drow are commonly depected as in paizo art. Mwangi are legal, Osiriani and a few others are legal where that skin color is common.
You're saying that you HAVE to play one of those ethnicities to be dark skinned. No, you can't play a dark skinned Chelaxian. Hell no, you can't play a dark skinned Skald, those guys are like vikings and stuff!
Look at what you're saying. You're saying a background where a viking married a dark skinned person (from wherever) bore and raised a dark skinned child in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings is not appropriate for PFS.
And before you protest, yes you are saying this. Not directly, but by extension.
I am still amazed at how often I have to remind people they can't full attack in the same round they took a move action.
In all fairness, it's rather counter-intuitive if you play other RPGs besides PF/3.X.
People need to ease up on raw a little bit.
BNW, I'm going to take your quote a little out of context and segue it into my own recurring pet peeve with special relation to PFS:
Just because a player insists a certain reading of the rules is RAW*, it doesn't mean the GM has to agree with that reading if his differs or if he believes that RAI indicates something else.
*=obviously I'm talking about situations where no FAQ or clarification is had from Paizo people.
I have another "back in the good old days" tale of not so much terror, but complete failure.
Me and some of my gaming pals tried out the then-new Call of Cthulu game in the 1980s. Now at that time I had not yet read any of the Lovecraftian stories and only had a vague idea of the gist of the mythos. Of my pals however, the one who claimed to be best versed in the lore volunteered to GM.
The GM created our characters for us, and I received a WWI vet with some kind of magical machine gun. It was psychically awakened by the horrors of trench warfare or some such- I honestly don't remember the GM's explanation at this point. Nor do I remember what anyone else played, as the session devolved into anarchic failure in only one session.
The other players successfully goaded the GM into throwing monster after monster at us, which my magical machine gun just kept cutting down. Again, I didn't know all that much about Cthulu, but I was pretty sure that hack-n-slash was not at all the correct playstyle for the genre. Either way, I was a pawn/spectator in the battle of wits and wills between my pals.
Eventually the GM was sufficiently exasperated by my trolling friends to throw Cthulu itself at us in toe to toe combat. My friends then engaged in spurious logic to convince the GM that the Elder Gods would appear and kill Cthulu on our behalf.
It has gone down as the most surreal experience in my long career as a gamer, which I suppose is a sort of success for the Call of Ctuhulu game, but not at all in a way that should have been appropriate.
I suppose the moral of my story is while it was hands-down the worst case of GMing I've ever seen, it required jerk players to occur. So let's remember there's two sides to every terrible GM story....
What's worse about Combat Expertise:
It's a feat tax
It doesn't let you dump Int on a martial
I suspect alot of the hate in the thread is about the latter. I don't share any of it. I consider it less of a mistake to put points in intelligence than to dump the stat. If you don't have 18s in your other stats it's not the end of the world, afterall.
As for the former; I do agree. The rules don't need both Fighting Defensively and Combat Expertise. For that matter, the game doesn't need what could/should be universal attack options reserved to feat slots (looking at you too, Power Attack)
if they're written in a language the looker comprehends and he sees them, the way language centers in the brain work is the looker cannot "not read" them.
If you see it, the brain automatically processes it. You can NOT turn it off and see "I prepared Explosive Runes" as a series of nonsignificant scribbles if they are in fact the written form of a language you can read.
Mexican Standoffs are indeed hard to adjudicate if you ignore everything that isn't RAW.
That's just another example of why you shouldn't limit the rules to (what you say is) RAW.
I can definitely see a role for Bluff and Sense Motive in resolving whether you can get the jump on someone you've been interacting with in a non-combat manner.
When Han Solo shot first, Greedo clearly failed his Sense Motive and gave up the Surprise Round.
How's this for a wrinkle?
I make players roll initiative immediately after each fight or crisis situation. That way initiative scores are already generated for the next fight, as well as everything that occurs outside of combat before that point.
Why do you need initiative scores outside of combat?
I find them useful for avoiding spotlight hogging. You get to do one thing, then I go on to the next person, and so on. Initiative gives some sensible order other than clockwise/counterclockwise around the table.
I'm also big on GM tradecraft. If you declare "roll for initiative" players abandon diplomacy and just begin shooting. Players feeling their characters' ambiguity as to whether or not combat is about to begin is hugely beneficial.
I will +1 this.
12 is the bare minimum a character should have, and that's if you're considering CON a "dump stat".
If you can't get your 18s or 20s in your prime stats if you're keeping that 12 or 14 CON, so what. It's PFS; you don't need an 18 or 20 in your prime stat to be successful.
With respect to the OP, his document has great advice but it advocates too much munchkinism for my palate. Forget what he said about being wrongbad if you can't solo the entire encounter by yourself in 3 or 4 rounds; you still have an entire party to help. And their players will be bored/resentful if you DO build a character that can solo the fights.
Focus instead on his good advice about being prepared and not falling into the trap of being one dimensional.
When both parties are wary of combat that about to begin, neither should begin the combat flat footed. Both are expecting combat, but as TOZ points out the structuring of a combat round doesn't interact well when both sides are banking held/readied actions.
In the case of both parties expecting the action (and the action does indeed prove to be on those expected terms) the rules don't make alot of sense. For example, if two teams of gladiators are waiting for the start bell to begin their match, whoever goes first shouldn't be catching the other side flatfooted. Fights don't happen in nice orderly turns, the combat is all simultaneous. Initiative order only serves to see what is resolved first. But Komoda is correct in that rules rules say exactly this. The only time such a scenario (both parties expect combat, and the combat begins as expected) makes sense starting combat flat-footed is in formal duelling where one is actually standing there being as still as possible prior to the action, like a gunfight at noon in the wild wild west or a samurai iaijutsu duel. Yet some other formal duels, like jousting, make absolutely no sense at all if the 2nd party is considered flat footed when taking the first attack.
The rules about initiative & flatfootedness really only make sense in the scenario of two parties encountering each other and neither was expecting the fight as it actually occurs. Of course that's a really common scenario, but it's awkward that the rules presume that's how EVERY fight starts.
Having played & GMed pen and paper RPGs since 1981, I've been exposed to more than a few different styles of game, not to mention rules engines.
With that in mind, my complaints with Pathfinder include:
#1: The player empowerment paradigm. I'm not just old school, my favorite game is Paranoia where the players aren't even allowed to know the rules. I don't enjoy "Player, May I?", I'm all about the "GM, May I?" approach that so many Pathfinder players object to. And yes, this includes whichever side of the GM screen I'm on. When I'm playing, I want the GM to run the game. I don't want to tell a GM his business, and I especially don't want my peers to dictate the game to the GM. Pen and Paper roleplaying games are gems because of the uniqueness that non-computer, human GMs bring in presentation. GMing is an art form; let the artist work. If you cajole the GM into doing things the way "you want", then you're cheating yourself of the unique presentation you otherwise could have enjoyed.
#2: Characters' capability being tied to magic gear. Having played plenty of other games where one's power is not defined by one's lootz, it's a bitter pill to have to swallow in Pathfinder (or any version of D&D). Paizo (and 3.0) made an admirable effort to diminish this quality, but it goes all the way back to D&D's core. You can't get rid of it without a complete break from tradition, which Paizo is probably unlikely to do.
#3: Particular to Paizo's Pathfinder as it is today is rules bloat. Holysplatbooks, Batman! It was due for a reboot after APG, and it's only gotten criminally overdue since then. It's not necessarily a critique of Paizo... RPGs have lifecycles. They make money by issuing new books, and issuing new books introduces power creep and rules bloat. If they're trying some experiment to keep "everything you've bought can always be used!", I can point to other game companies' past attempts to avoid reboots. They always end up having to reboot. Paizo, keep your Unchained and give me 2.0 instead. I'd rather give you money to rebuy books than to keep a dying beast on life support.
I wanted to add, however, that (unless I'm mistaken) it was ruled for PFS (which is it's own and different creature) that they did not count as evil acts (and [good] spells did not count as [good] acts). Please do feel free to correct me if I mis-remembered, however!
I'm pretty sure that PFS ruling was more "house rule for this campaign" and less clarification about how it's supposed to work.
Inside or outside of PFS, however, forcing an outsider into your servitude isn't meaningfully different than slavery, which is difficult to argue as "good" under any circumstance.
To invoke a third example: Pathfinder isn't Amber Diceless Roleplaying, either.
I share most of the same goals listed upthread. As a GM I just make a point of ignoring the dice when the dice get in the way of fulfilling those goals. As a player, I expect the GM to know when to throw the dice (or even the rulebook) aside for the sake of the game. We're not playing a video game adjudicated by a computer, we're playing a Roleplaying Game run by and for real people.
* GM, and even player "Cheating" (i.e. ignoring dice rolls) is a highly debatable topic. Like all issues, discuss it beforehand, and come to a consensus on how your group views it.
Paranoia is a RPG where the dice are ultimately meaningless; the GM is not only allowed but expected to ignore them at his whim.
Hackmaster is a RPG where "the dice fall where they may". They are sacrosanct and not even the GM may fudge dice.
I'm not going to say that people who play Pathfinder like it was Hackmaster are doing it BadWrong, but I will say I don't subscribe to that mindset of "letting the dice fall where they may". Both Hackmaster and Paranoia have opposite extremes on that view and paradoxically end up in much the same place: the player has little agency.
I prefer to view Pathfinder as being somewhere in the middle of the continiuum on the "sacredness of dice". Players can't ever ignore them, of course, but the GM can. And Should, on occasion.
If a Pathfinder player has a great idea, it should work. It shouldn't be hostage to the outcome of a d20 roll.
When ACG first came out, my provisional opinion was:
We get classes that are essentially an X/Y multiclass? Well, what's the point, we could already multiclass X and Y. If they're no better than the multiclass, the book is a waste of money. If the gestalt hybrid is better than the multiclass, then we've got bloat. The book's very premise is a lose/lose proposition.
6+ months on, my opinion has become:
There's a few neat ideas, sure. IMO those gems would have been put to better use in a rebooted CRB. As it is, ACG is just another example of rules bloat.
Jeff Merola wrote:
It should be obvious that's not the scenario in the OP.
If everyone is having fun, who cares what rules or conventions are being followed and which are broken, ineed. I'd agree with MAD MAD World. The GM should strive to tailor the game to meet the preferences of the players.
I'm adding the thought that it goes both ways; it's a two way compromise not a one way accomodation.
Since a vigorous slapping wakes up the victim of magical sleep (spell or hex) it's not unreasonable to say that being submerged in water satisfactorily meets this threshold for waking.
Of course, if one was already asleep (close enough to unconscious for most people) when one's head slipped under the water, there's potentially that first constitution check to avoid instantly going to -1 hit point as the choking victim awakens (or not, as the case may end up being)
You see the problem, but you place the blame in the wrong place. The society doesn't want (or need) Neurosurgeons; an EMT fills the bill just fine, especially since they expect the EMT to handle other duties as well.
It's not the Society's fault that 4 agents are all carbon copies of an overspecialized build.
That goes for both OOC and IC. ICly, Agents are supposed to be well rounded generalists. OOCly, the encounters are balanced with the assumption that characters are not optimized.
You want to optimize anyway, and roflstomp the encounters? That's your kind of fun? Ok, but don't say it makes no sense when ROFLSTOMPERS get put on missions they can't handle.
And since writers are assuming a non-optimized stance for characters, making wider and better use of skills is the point of the thread.
Yes, as I mentioned upthread, to use modern parallels the Linguistics skill (if used in a hypothetical Pathfinder Modern campaign) WOULD include mimicking anti-forgery technologies as appropriate to the setting. If your Linguistics check is successful, the forgery is successful. But in order to be successful, it logically MUST mimick those anti-forgery tricks (seals in faux-mideval times, what-have-you in modern times)
Bill Dunn wrote:
I'm not replying to you to quibble, I'm just pointing out that you appear to have missed my larger point of that quote (and you perhaps ironically helped me make it- alignment definitions vary from gamer to gamer)
Chris Mortika wrote:
There are a few grognards in my area that I'm hoping the replay benny will attract back to active play.
But what I'm more looking forward to is my expectation that more people will be willing to take a stab at GMing b/c of the shorter learning curve involved.
Players who learn to GM in Core are only going to benefit Vanilla PFS.
David Bowles wrote:
There is that rather severe "something" he quoted right from the CRB. (you don't get another AC to replace it, oh or any more spells either. Ever.)
It'd be easy enough to add appropriate languages as being always available in the PFSGOP.
If they want to get Core running before season 7 and the next guide, it'd even be easy enough to add an erratum to the current guide to that effect.
It's so obvious it should be done, and so easy to do, this should be a non-issue.
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
If a baby is still on fire despite being submerged in bathwater, it's clearly a demon baby and yes it should be thrown out.
But seriously, attempting to "fix" combos is an option that will please no one. Mike Brock was wise enough to see that, I think. All in or all out are about the only viable ways to adjudicate what's in and what's out.
I get that Paizo has to keep publishing products to stay in business, but I really don't like the creep the game has seen. New options doesn't expand variability; it just introduces a treadmill of a fairly static number of ever more powerful optimized builds/munchkin templates.
A thousand times yes for the option of a "Core Only" reset.
58. Have to talk like a Pirate.
closely related to the classic:
59. Have to talk in rhyme.
obviously both curses are most fun when the player is forced to deal with the curse even in OOC table talk.
Cursed PC's Player "Hey, does the door appear locked?"
GM: "I can't hear you."
Cursed PC's Player "..."
Cursed PC's Player "The door, present before me: Locked, seem it be?"
Sounds like your players are tailor made for railroad storyline adventures.
All aboard the Plot-Train! Whoot-whoot!
Once they begin to get bored of or chafe at structure limiting their options, you can begin to re-introduce decision points, and eventually maybe even getting them into sandbox style adventuring. But sounds like they're either not ready for it right now, or simply not interested in it.
My attitude is that a player isn't completely free in what he can do with his character.
The foremost and most unbreakable rule for character conduct is that the character's actions must be furthering the story of the party. No player has a right to break off from the party and hog the spotlight. No player has a right to use "but it's what my character would do" as an excuse for behavior that is detrimental to the party.
When you tell the players that you have those rules, even evil alignments can be rewardingly played.
N N 959 wrote:
You're convoluting the discussion. The GM can add circumstance modifiers when applicable. There is no rule about how you smell in Pathfinder, just as there is no rule that you are thirsty. When's the last time your character took a drink in a scenario? The GM suddenly decides your throat is parched and you get -2 penalty on Diplomacy...no.
That's what we call a logical fallacy. Specifically, the Non Sequitur.
Just because it makes no sense that being thirsty negatively impacts Diplomacy it doesn't mean it makes no sense that being Smelly negatively impacts Diplomacy (in certain settings. Heck, being CLEAN might negatively impact Diplomacy with Gully Dwarves..)
Yes, Pathfinder is a game and not a reality simulator. However, Pathfinder doesn't give rules to lots of common things (like what exactly are the effects of being thirsty, or unwashed, or not having had a bowel movement in a couple days, and an infinite number of other circumstances) and instead leaves such things to the GM to decide. PFS doesn't reverse that paradigm; to insist that a PFS GM can't decide circumstantial situations when the rules reserve that responsibility to the GM simply because PFS says the GM can't make up house rules isn't just living up to the worst stereotype of a rules lawyer... it's Bad rules lawyering as your argument isn't even valid.
And you'd do well to remember that the rules deliberately don't cover infinite circumstances that can plausibly come up in play and instead leave them to the GM's imagination to resolve. And the PFS Guide prohibitation against table GMs instituting their own house rules does not prohibit a GM from adjucating a circumstance that has no rule.
It's frankly ridiculous to argue that since the rules don't cover going to the bathroom that your character doesn't go to the bathroom, or that the GM cannot impose a circumstantial penalty to your Perception check during your all-night watch due to your bladder pains since you loudly and repeatedly insisted you never go to the bathroom.