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deusvult's page

FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 1,606 posts (2,138 including aliases). 7 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 21 Pathfinder Society characters. 3 aliases.

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Sovereign Court

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Lyrics for songs from bands like ManOWar and GWAR make for good "Praise Gorum" material.

Sovereign Court ****

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I didn't realize that PFS brass was the source of the conflating griefing with the rules change.

All I can assume is that they see something I (and apparently several others) haven't. Since they have access to reporting numbers, I suppose they've seen enough 1st chronicle perma-deaths reported more frequently than other perma-deaths that they felt retroactive pregen assignment was the best explanation and addressed it accordingly.

I still like the change. It just rubs me as abusive to be able to sign in to get credit for an invested PC, then retroactively change your decision later on if you don't like the outcome of the adventure. IMO doing so to avoid paying off a death is as "wrong" as to re-assign a boon/magic item availability to another pc after seeing the chronicle.

I heartily agree with the calculus voiced upthread that when playing a pregen your choice of "risk" or "no risk" being something you have to make ahead of time is a fine and appropriate mechanic. If people refuse to play because of it.. well people will always refuse to play over rules to which they sufficiently object. I refused to play PFS for over a year (partially) because I didn't want to play with the glut of Kineticists going though the level pipeline at the time. People do what people do.

Sovereign Court ****

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TimD wrote:
If I decide I want to play Mirisiel as Suzzie Suicide to the detriment of the party, how does the rule change stop me?

Well, from my point of view is the question is a non sequitur. Rules about sign-in/credit assigning don't HAVE to cover this topic, since other rules already do.

PFS provides limitations on what GMs are allowed to do, and everyone is aware of this. I suspect that matching limitations on what players are allowed to do is being overlooked in this thread. If you're playing Merisiel as Suzie Suicide you are NOT playing her in accordance with the motivations/background provided to you on her NPC pregen handout. You don't "get" to play her as Suzie Suicide, and if you try you're likely violating the "Don't Be a Jerk" rule and imo subject to being booted if your behavior is sufficiently detrimental to the other players' play experience. Like getting their invested PCs killed from afar by pregen death.

Seriously... look at what players are required to do with their roleplaying in PFS:

1) Not allowed to be evil
2) Required to play a Pathfinder field agent (or a prospective one, in scenarios like Confirmation and MotFF)
3) Required to play a COMPETENT Pathfinder field agent (or a field agent with the potential to become competent, in scenarios like Confirmation and MotFF)
4) Required to play a character that wants to be 1-3.

Some scenarios toss these assumptions aside and let you play things like Goblins or Aspis agents, but in my experience those have cautionary sidebars for the GM to explain to the Players that the game is still a PFS game, and still subject to all the other rules... especially those regarding player behavior.

Sovereign Court

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I'm a fan for just giving npcs a "take 10" on stealth checks. I don't do it all of the time, but I do use this approach often.

Sovereign Court

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Ink and magnifying glasses are exorbitantly expensive for the same reasons.

Sovereign Court

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The spells are deceptively light on details like "does delivering a touch spell provoke an AoO?" because such rules are given once so thay each spell doesn't have to restate them in their own descriptions. Certainly review the beginning of the chapter... it answers lots of questions, probably even a few you didn't know you had!

So yeah, as mentioned above, usually it's just one roll deliver a Bad Touch spell: the melee touch attack itself.

In the event you can't cast and then step up, it's still only two rolls. Either:
1) you cast defensively and then make touch attack
2) you take your chances with the spellcasting provoking an AoO, get hit, and then make a concentration check.. then make the melee touch attack.

Sovereign Court

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people talking about "builds" does truly rankle me because it makes it sound like the mechanical choices made about what abilities to select are the most important aspects of a roleplaying game persona.

I may be old fashioned but I still think background stories and motivations are instead the most important aspects of a character.

Sovereign Court

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I'd expect that I'd enjoy playing with anyone through which I've slogged through a spirited "forum discussion". It'd be healthy for most of us, I think, to be able to have some personal experience with our verbal sparring partners beyond a faceless, "this guy who doesn't know how wrong he is AGAIN" internet persona.

Sovereign Court

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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
swoosh wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
An important thing about Asmodean contracts... The cleric and/or devil who's putting up the contract is only doing their job if the contract ultimately winds up to the detriment of the signer. Fairness is a sign of inept negotiation.

Which is sort of funny given that Asomdeus is an embodiment of lawful evil and trustworthiness, honor and reliability are core tenants of the lawful alignment.

But given his strongly NE tendencies just emphasizes how hard it is to skirt along as an LN follower.

Please explain where trustworthiness and honor come into play for Lawful Evil, as opposed to iron-clad adherence.

Highly evil characters can simultaneously be highly honorable. There's no contradiction there. The caricature of the "Black Knight" is predicated upon this being so. See also basically every samurai villain, ever.

Sovereign Court

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My -1 character is a Cavalier. I didn't particularly build around mounted combat, focusing on being a hybrid fighter/party buffer that happened to have some niche bonuses while mounted. So I was happy to leave my horse (anyone who makes a cavalier with any mount other than a horse or camel is a filthy munchkin ;) ) behind on entire scenarios.

with this "meh" level of enthusiasm for mounted combat I didn't get my first oppprtunity for a mounted charge with a lance in hand until level 7. By then I had enough to-hit bonuses that a hit would be all but assured, to boot. I also had the rare occurance of getting to charge something that wasn't already engaged in combat with buzzkilling partymates, which was a big deal for my Order of the Cockatrice challenge bonus.

Of course, I rolled a nat 1.

Sovereign Court

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I can see it either way.

1) Death in Pathfinder is afterall, basically an affliction. Like formal afflictions, it carries negative effects but can be magically removed. As written, (actively working) Regeneration simply renders you unable to gain the Dead condition, kind of like Death Ward renders Negative Levels moot while that is up and in effect.

2) Alternately, the rule saying "cannot die" is overly simplified and poorly worded. "Clearly", the RAI is "cannot die due to HP loss".

In my rules-lawyerly view, both arguments are 100% valid. And since they're opposite outcomes, I'd agree that the Devs owe us a FAQ on this.

Sovereign Court

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I think your GM's position is technically sound.

He doesn't have to rule that way (i.e. he COULD choose to see it your way instead) but from a rules-lawyer perspective the "no line of effect" ruling can't be attacked on basis of "you COULD have chosen to be accommodating instead".

Personally, I'd probably allow spellcasting through a murderhole big enough to permit missile fire but it'd be invoking Rule Zero.

EDIT: Actually, if Talonhawk quoted the PRD correctly (and I don't suspect he's in error) I'd have to concur with what he said. Fireball appears to explicitly allow for a "loophole" in the Line-of-effect requirement exactly matching your context.

Sovereign Court

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Only the shoddiest of rules lawyers would attempt to stretch that RAW to extend to penalties not relating to wielding a shield, particularly those coming from hostile effects.

Sovereign Court

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You need 1, 2 (either version), and 3.

Sovereign Court is a PFS thing. The New World Order for Golarion, basically.

Sovereign Court

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Bloodrealm wrote:
I don't know what Galt is, but if you can't think of ANYTHING to do with just official material for your character, you've been using the wrong Third-Party stuff.

Galt = Les Misérables.

Sovereign Court

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My personal rule on allowing evil PCs in a campaign could also apply to a Calistrian PC who potentially feels the need to take revenge on her comrades.

"You may play an Evil/Calistrian PC at my table, but I still require that you be a good teammate to your fellow players. It is YOUR responsiblity to come up with a rationale for why your PC does not indulge in evil acts/revenge upon your fellow players' PCs. If you cannot imagine such a rationale, then you're not ready to play an evil/Calistrian PC at my table. I never tolerate "But it's what my character would do!" as an excuse for inexcusable behavior."

Of course in a campaign where PvP is encouraged/permitted, your milage on such a rule will certainly vary.

Sovereign Court

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My opinion is that a GM can't cheat any more than the author of a novel can cheat in creating his script. Of course the BBEG is going to lose at the climax of the story, because noone actually wants to read a story where the hero goes through trials and tribulations just to come up short and fail at the end.

Now yes a RPG has more give-and-take in creating the story than the author of a novel does... since the characters in the story told by a RPG have voices in the players at the table! But, perhaps unlike some/many players of RPGs in these contemporary times, I still view RPGs as being cooperative storytelling events closer to sedentary games of Cops-N-Robbers than computerized (and imo misnamed) "RPGs" like World of Warquest and Elder Scrolls. Slavish adherence to the metaruleset is imo anathema to Role Playing Games. That's the realm computer games are designed for, and if I had my way never the two would meet.

In playing RPGs (on both sides of the GM screen) for about 40 years now, my opinion on how much fudging is appropriate has waxed and waned, and with no small influence on the game system that happened to be played at the time. If you're NOT fudging in Paranoia, for example, you're demonstrably GMing it wrong...

In a game like Pathfinder, I see fudging as a way to ensure a good story is being told. Hell, I see the entire CR mechanic as fudging. Why is it "fair" that the PCs mainly/only face CR-appropriate opposition? That's not realistic at all, and certainly not fair to the NPCs of the setting. If fair's fair and let the dice fall where they may is the order of the day, then why shouldn't low level PCs simply have to face the occasional rampaging Red Dragon or such? In my view, the answer is because that'd be a terrible story where the heroes abruptly end up as dragon poop. The CR system is ensuring that the heroes only face opposition that allows them to be heroic (and almost always victorious). It's a mechanism for telling a good story.

OTOH, if the Dragon rampages the PCs village when they're low level and the plot intends for them to live through the event, gain experience, and then go back and confront (and defeat) the dragon when they're up to that CR challenge... that's a fine (if perhaps trite) campaign story, is it not? BUUUUUT... that early razing of the village where the PCs were intended to survive... what is that if not fudging?

Sovereign Court

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Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

Thanks! I like the GMG version better than the CRB's. That there are multiple schools of thought on the matter is important to note.

Can someone confirm my suspicion that PFS is at the "no fudging, period" end of the spectrum?

PFS uses all the rules in the CRB excepting what they specifically exclude (e.g. crafting feats, cohorts, etc). The rules cited above on pg 402 of the CRB are not excluded in this way.

Of course, it's just as impprtant in PFS as in a house game for the gm and players to have compatible expectations. While a PFS GM has every right to invoke dice fudging, he needs to be cognizant of whether the players are used to having GMs that never do so. Much like invoking Rule Zero, a wise GM picks his battles. Just because you're right, it doesn't mean it's the wisest thing to do.

Sovereign Court

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I play 2 cavaliers in PFS... one is retired @ lvl 12 and the second is lvl 7.

Both are medium sized and ride horses. I get a ton of fun out of both of them. Various tricks I've used:

How to get your horse through dungeons where you can't ride it?
1) Invest in UMD. Then you can use scrolls of Carry Companion, Spider Climb, and etc to handle logistical challenges until you can afford Hosteling Armor.
2) Hosteling Armor ;)

How do you get a charge off at a table full of non-teamwork oriented comrades?
1) Wheeling Charge is a feat from Cities of Golarion and pretty much so good to be a must-buy if you qualify (your PC is from Lastwall). What's so good about it? You can charge through allies, AND you're allowed to make one turn of up to 90° during the charge. That feat alone solves 80%+ of problems with getting a charge off. However, see also:

2) It's not that big a deal to get a charge off. I consider myself happy to get one such charge in the entire night. Other players, the GM included, are here to have fun too and usually watching you solo the fight isn't much fun.

3) Related to 2: you can fight without charging, you know. If you stand still/5 foot step, you get all your attacks PLUS your horse's 3 attacks. And players in my area call my Cavaliers' mounts Murderhorses. It's an apt and earned nickname. Also don't forget your higher ground bonus to hit vs many opponents on foot, too. A cavalier on horseback can be super dangerous even without a charge that turn.

So what do you do when you can't fight from horseback?

1) pick feats that work whether you're mounted or not, so you can always use them. Power Attack chain is a great option, esp for 2h cavaliers. This is the route my seeker cavalier went; he never even picked up Mounted Combat!

2) variant on 1. My 2nd cavalier is a sword/lance and shield TWF combatant. While mounted, I get to dual wield a 2h reach weapon (lance) AND a bashing shield. On foot, that PC still TWF's but with sword and shield, and gains the ability to double up on challenge bonus damage!

Sovereign Court

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It's one thing to be creative. Trying to have one's character use your real world knowledge of genre-inappropriate topics (especially science/physics in a swords n sorcery setting) is another thing.

With regards to the OP, the player wants to "invent" a taser. What in-universe reasons would a character have to a) be inspired to even try to replicate such a device and b) try to do such a real-world gadget rather than use something "tried and true" like a Reach metamegic effect on the touching grasp?

I like to facilitate creativity, but it's still a roleplaying game. Players are not playing characters that are transplants from 21st century earth (well.. unless they ARE playing exactly that in your campaign...). Be creative by working with the campaign genre rather than against it.

Sovereign Court ****

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If you bring a character that can't contribute for the given table tier, you're forcing the rest of the players to compensate for your character's lack of ability. Having to carry a PC that can't contribute to success fosters real-world resentment.

For example, if you join a table that had 3 players with your wizard that can't cast spells, you're denying those players the Ezren NPC, for example. If you bring a featless fighter of a fallen paladin to a 6 player table, you're (potentially) denying a seat to a player who'd be playing a more helpful PC.

There's a fine line between "non-optimized" and "gimped" and its precise location lies in the eyes of the beholder... but straight-classed single-digit Int Wizards are an example of one that'll make you look like an ass to defend. As a PFS GM, I'd certainly reserve the right to deny a player from even taking part under authority of having violated the "don't be a jerk" rule. The rules don't let you bring a level 1 to a tier 5-9 adventure... I'd potentially view a character so non-optimized as to not be able to contribute as having no more place at the table than a PC too low level to participate.

That all being said, I too love novel characters. I don't even particularly like optimized characters (examples: my cavalier doesn't have Mounted Combat. My witch doesn't have the Sleep hex. My sorcerer doesn't have Haste. For all the same reason). You can do novel ideas without making a character that can't pull his/her own weight. You can do novel and non-optimized/non-munchkin without being a liability to have around.

Sovereign Court ****

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Well at risk of sending this thread into tired territory, INT isn't really the best measure of how "smart" you are, anyway. WIS is the stat that allows you to "not do stupid stuff". Conversely, doing "smart stuff" is having applied your Wisdom to find the best course of action to a given situation.

A Wizard can have high INT (learn new information quickly) whilst having WIS as a dump stat (too dumb to remember to pack food and shelter for the scenario mission...).

I kind of like explaining the three kinds of "smarts" in d20 thusly:

When your significant other asks you "Do I look fat in this armor?"

You use INT to determine whether or not she does indeed look fat.
You use WIS to anticipate the reaction to your answer.
You use CHA to give a wrong answer and yet avoid the consequences.

Sovereign Court ****

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I don't know if the OP is mischaracterizing the situation with his VOs perhaps even stretching the truth.

I also don't know if he's being 100% accurate. I don't see any reason to think the allegation that a RVC needs to be called to task is not true. When I see protestations that such allegations should have been handled privately (especially when made by other VOs), it's hard to not see an unspoken statement of "That can't be the truth of the matter" or "he's One Of Us and I refuse to believe that's what happened!"

I'm sure that there'll be resolution thanks to the OP having made the post. It might not work out in his favor with respect to getting to play 8-00 at the charity event, but I also expect that if the VOs in question actually have been overdue for an attitude adjustment it will now finally happen.

So I don't see any problem at all with the OP having made the thread. The issue will be worked out and those of us chiming in to support or condemn that decision to make the thread made are what threaten to turn this thread ugly.

Sovereign Court ****

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I've allowed a player to use Profession:Longshoreman to stand in for a Perception check during a scenario that had a scene in a warehouse full of crates to find the plot macguffin. If you stack and move crates all day for your day, you ought to know something about the cataloguing system used in relation to what sorts of cargoes go where...

Sovereign Court

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Something that might work is to switch the PCs to NPCs, and specifically the uber villain team for your ongoing campaign.

The players then make new characters seeking to right the wrongs their former high-level characters (perhaps inadvertently) wrought upon the realm. Some players would love that challenge or even seeing their own work coming to be the epic threat to the world.

Sovereign Court

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"Succubus in a grapple." Definitely a term long time forumites recognize.

Sovereign Court

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I've got a slightly divergent view about Golarion's inclusivity.

While it's a mish-mash of real world cultures, it's not a diverse selection. In the inner sea region, what's true of virtually every region? State-level social organization. This nation or that one may have superficial differences between them.. but strip away the superficial dressing and Nidal isn't that much different than Andoran and Andoran really isn't any different from Cheliax.

My complaint is most everyone identifies with a nation-state in what's "clearly" a pre-Westphalian world. Why is the beer-brewer from Almas considered an Andoran first and foremost? He "should" be self-identifying primarily as a Caylenite (or other appropriate religion), a member of a beer-brewing guild/society/sodality, or even a part of the community of Almas instead of thinking of himself foremost as a citizen of any nation. Focusing on the borders between this kindgom or that empire is not at all in line with a fantasy-medieval world, in my view. That doesn't correspond with the real world until the Renaissance and the "God and Country" sentiments that come with Nationalism.

There's a bit of recognition in the appropriateness of contrasting all this in the "backwards" peoples like the Shoanti and Ekujae, but imo the nations of the Inner Sea should be the exception rather than the rule.

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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Whatever semantic merits there may be in the argument that prestidigitation may not (or CAN not, depending on your view) light torches, I can't help but see insisting on such a position during actual game play as pointlessly being a jerk about the rules.

What is a GM actually accomplishing by telling a player her wizard can't cantrip her torch alight and has to dig out flint and steel like everyone else? That is a useful/productive use of the finite amount of time allotted for a scenario?

I don't buy "rules are the rules and you enforce the little ones and the big ones..." What is directly, objectively the case here is it's ambiguous and therefore up to GM discretion. You as the GM can choose to allow fun or say why fun isn't allowed. THAT is what this issue boils down to.

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.

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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).

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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.


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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?

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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.

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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.

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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".

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