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deusvult's page

FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 1,387 posts (1,596 including aliases). 6 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 19 Pathfinder Society characters. 3 aliases.


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Sovereign Court

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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.

Sovereign Court

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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.

Sovereign Court

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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.

Sovereign Court

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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.

Sovereign Court

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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.

Sovereign Court ****

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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.

Sovereign Court

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

Sovereign Court

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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.

Sovereign Court

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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.

Sovereign Court

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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..)

Sovereign Court

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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.

Sovereign Court ****

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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"

Sovereign Court ****

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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.

Andy

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.

Sovereign Court

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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..."

Sovereign Court

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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.

Sovereign Court

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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.

Sovereign Court

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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!

Sovereign Court

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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.

Sovereign Court

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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".

Sovereign Court ****

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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.

Sovereign Court ****

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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.

Sovereign Court ****

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Boots of the Earth render wands of CLW obsolete. Heck, they render all out of combat healing obsolete. Drop 5,000 gold and pretty much noone has to buy any healing resources again.

Sovereign Court ****

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Robert Carter 58 wrote:

I've had a monster attack a paralyzed foe for example, but never do a full CDG, just enough to scare the hell out of players, like: "We better help our paralyzed buddy pronto!" Usually, though, it's a fairly stupid monster. If it was an evil intelligent NPC, and the PC had been a persistent threat, I MIGHT CDG the PC, but then I would give the PCs a heads up... "You realize by the look in the evil cleric's eyes that he means business, and intends to slay the paladin. What do you do?" Etc...

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.

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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:
deusvult wrote:
...only the ranged mooks dropped him unconscious and he subsequently failed his ref save and fell in the pit with the main nasty
How would the NPC know he wasn't dead? Did the NPC do a heal check or cast Death Knell? I can't speak for real life ancient warfare or the behavior of monsters, but from a fantasy perspective, monsters don't attack limp bodies because it's the only thing they can do unless they are hungry. However, it would have been far more plausible for the creature to try and climb out and completely ignore the limp body

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.

Quote:
Quote:
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.
To what end? How is that being soft if you know the character has no way to exit the pit and the party has no way to protect or heal the character. And if they did, you knew you could full round attack and shut that down. So in reality, you suckered the players in to expending resources to save someone and then you made an arbitrary decision to make sure that their rescue attempt did not work.

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".

Quote:
Quote:
"Because it's not dumb... it knows when the fighter is DEAD it can deal with your summoned critter, and making your critter spend its action healing rather than doing any offense is a win in the form of crowd control for the nasty."
How exactly did it know the fighter wasn't already dead? The 'main nasty" just pawed the fighter and the fighter did not move, how would it know the fighter wasn't dead? How did the "main nasty" even know the summoned creature could heal the fighter? Did the NPC do a Knowledge check on the Azata? Continuing to attack a possibly dead creature doesn't seem like a particularly smart tactic when you have a live one in your face.

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:
Fighter is currently prone, and easier to hit.
Fighter is currently unarmed, and thus better to try to kill him now before he rearms and gets a shot at a full attack on me.
Fighter can't possibly have that many hit points, he's bound to be within range of death and immune to future recuscitations on a full attack.
Who's going to hurt me more if left alive? The fighter or the azata?
Azata has demonstrated a healing ability as well as flight. Attacking that target w/o killing in one round would likely be a waste of time.

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.

Silbeg wrote:

Perhaps what the thing to do would have been for the BBEG in the pit to have yelled out "Surrender now, or your friend dies!! I want to hear your weapons hitting the ground NOW!" He could delay, waiting to CdG if they do not surrender. If they do not, then WHAM!

Give them a warning... and let the players make the choice. Then, make sure you follow through, right?

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.

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Another "this one time I killed a helpless PC" story:

Spoiler:
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?"
"Because it's not dumb... it knows when the fighter is DEAD it can deal with your summoned critter, and making your critter spend its action healing rather than doing any offense is a win in the form of crowd control for the nasty."
"You're not allowed to keep attacking the fighter after he's down!"
"Uh, yes I am. I'm only not supposed to go out of my way to do it.

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".

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Akerlof wrote:
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.

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6. Flumph Skates. (one for each foot)

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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.

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Chris Lambertz wrote:
Nope. We have no plans to adjust the filtering system.

If somebody starts a petition to ask Paizo to adjust the filtering system, I'll smurfing sign it.

Edit: Love what you did with the icons, however.

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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.

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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.

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trollbill wrote:
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.

BigNorseWolf wrote:
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.

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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....

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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)

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
icehawk333 wrote:
Explosive runes.
Requires reading, not just looking.

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.

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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.

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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.

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I think the critical point that the entire thread is ignoring is that the GM didn't inflict the Head of Vecna on his players.

He only allowed the players to inflict it on each other. He didn't even come up with it.

Hell yes I'd allow that, provided I was allowing PvP in the first place.

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Quote:
Quote:
What's a suitable CON score?
12 at the very least. I recommend 14 as your very least for a con score.

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.

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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.

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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.

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In my area there are about half a dozen game stores that host PFS. It's convention around here that each participant at a store-hosted session chip in $2 "entry fee", and the pot goes to the store in the form of credit for the GM.

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The problem with world peace is that humans would have had to have been changed into something that's unrecognizable. Or coppertop batteries living in a robot-run matrix. Or simply extinct.

Never read/seen Watchmen, but I'm guessing that's the gist it was getting at.

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A scroll of Darkvision.

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Tacticslion wrote:
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.

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Fergie wrote:
deusvult wrote:
If a Pathfinder player has a great idea, it should work. It shouldn't be hostage to the outcome of a d20 roll.
Do you apply that to opposed roles such as in a combat situation? Or is it a more general statement about dictating the story? Perhaps an example might help?

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.

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Fergie wrote:
* 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.

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A paladin "should" be roleplayed as being reluctant to accept Infernal Healing.

But if the paladin is not roleplayed that way, there is no sanction in PFS.

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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.

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