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deusvult's page

FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 1,431 posts (1,826 including aliases). 6 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 19 Pathfinder Society characters. 3 aliases.


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Sovereign Court

Birthright vs Kingmaker, part II

Birthright is generally more about being the Nth regent of an existing realm that's potentially a thousand years old rather than carving a new one from scratch. However, there are parts of the continent that are sparsely inhabited/developed and if the game is set in those kinds of places, then kingdom building can become a bigger focus of the game.

Mythic and Ultimate Campaign

Birthright already has a complete rules set on running a realm. While one could use Mythic and UC to recreate a Birthright style campaign, I don't see any reason to reinvent the wheel.

That being said, like any good GM I consider myself open to shamelessly stealing from good sources. I'd consider those to be potentially on the table at this point in the interest check.

Magic

As Dragonofashandflame mentioned, "full" arcane magic is only possible by elf blood or the divine energy of a bloodline. Since I plan for everyone to be the latter (even if noone is the former) Cerilia's unique arcane magic rules should be a non-issue. Realm Magic is going to be much more relevant to the campaign anyway than the "run of the mill" arcane/divine magic common to D&D games.

I don't plan on adapting the setting-specific Magician class; any NPC arcane types will just have levels in Adept, only level-dipped in Wizard/Sorcerer, or simply be blooded scions without a domain of their own. (and thus potentially able to go snatching at unclaimed resources..)

The only arcane magic consideration that's leaping immediately to mind is that Summoners are not thematically appropriate to the setting. Speaking of:

Classes

Dragonsofashandflame also identified a potential issue that's particularly applicible to Pathfinder: what classes will be allowed. Birthright was created before multiclassing was what it is now, and the 3rd edition fan conversion didn't properly address it to my satisfaction. What classes can apply divine power to what sorts of domain actions is a big deal in Birthright, and as is there's little disincentive to level dip in all the classes you need to do everything. I'll be coming up with something.

Pathfinder poses a particular challenge: that's a system that is all about providing options and lots of them. But Cerilia isn't the cosmopolitan "we have everything!" setting that Golarion is; lots of things in Pathfinder will have to be banned for a Birthright game. I'm not sure if it'd be shorter to make an "allowed" list or a "banned" list.

Cerilia basically has the following cultures:
England/France (Anuire)
Celts/Scandinavians (Rjurik)
Dutch/Germans (Brechtur)
Moors/Arabia (Khinasi)
Turkics/Rus (Vos)

If some "thing" isn't appropriate to that culture, it shouldn't be there. By the setting rules, Anuireans can't be Druids and and Rjuriks can't be Paladins, for example. I'm not sure if I want to keep that sort of 2nd edition mindset or not. What do you think?

At any rate, I like Gunslingers and Oriental stuff but those are all utterly foreign to the setting. There won't be any of that, sorry :(

Classes, continued:

In a birthright campaign, much of the game balance that goes into the classes designed for conventional adventuring is thrown out of whack. Skills and social abilities are far more valuable than normal, as thunderbeard noted in a similar campaign. Another consideration is that in a Birthright campaign your domain is pretty much a surrogate character.. the ins and outs of the thing you rule is often more important than your character sheet. The divine bloodright linking your character to the realm pretty much does make the realm an extension of your character.. often the more important part when the regent isn't adventuring.

Sovereign Court

Birthright vs Kingmaker:

I'll admit I've never looked into Kingmaker. I suppose I always assumed it was Paizo's ripoff/homage to Birthright.. At any rate I can't speak in an informed manner as to what the difference would be.

I intend to run a sandbox.. you do what you want to do. I do anticipate leaning more towards the intrigue/diplomacy angle of things as players do so rarely decide to go adventuring together in a birthright campaign.. so any adventures that do occur are going to have to be short and sweet.. especially so for the PbP format.

Existing domains vs created ones:

Undecided. For my own sake just handing out the pregen domains is easiest, however I am toying around with an Anuirean campaign set about a generation after the canonical presentaion.. one where Anuire has re-gelled into two or three powerful archduchies vying for final domination and the Iron Throne, and the players are all vassals in the same one.

Either way, I plan on the domain process being handled on my end. Possibly to include assigning bloodline strength values as well, rather than letting the dice muck things up. ;)

Regents vs "Small Folk"

I plan on everyone being a regent.. in a game of Archbishops and Kings, those PCs simply have too much power relative the adventuring cleric or fighter. Their power is to vote with their feet and GTFO to a nicer place.. which isn't a great option for party dynamics.

Races allowed
That's a potential issue. Birthright is a much more human-dominated setting than most D&D worlds. The typical Pathfinder racial freakshow isn't appropriate here. I'm not sure exactly how I'd handle it, but I do certainly want most if not all characters human. (and I'm reserving elves as campaign antagonists, if we do Anuire ;)

PC creation & Bloodlines
I don't plan on anyone playing an extant NPC, but I am leaning towards extant domains (potentially modified somewhat for party balance, especially if I do the altered Anuire setting I'm contemplating). If you end up the regent of the Barony of Roesone, for example, your PC is not Marlae Roesone but her heir that you create. She's dead or retired now; such specifics will be determined during character generation.

Rolling is part of the fun, but having bloodlines (or attribute scores) of varying relative strength among the players is not fun. At least not in my opinion. I plan on allowing rolling for derivation and specific powers, but I plan on assigning actual bloodine strength scores.

Level of teamwork?
I plan on leaving that completely up to the players... encouraging them to work together however by the occasional menace that threatens everyone.

Sovereign Court

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Are you a fan of the political shenanigans involved in claiming the Iron Throne?

Are you intrigued by a setting where dragons are historical fact but now presumed to be extinct?

Would you love to be part of a game where you lead a powerful family against its rivals?

I'm not talking about anything by GRRM... this isn't A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones.. but the old AD&D setting: Birthright!

In Birthright you play the heads of powerful factions: Kingdoms, Churches, Thieves' Guilds, etc. It's a game much less about the usual concerns involving adventurers but moreso about, well, a game of thrones :)

I've run two Birthright campaigns in the past; I think that PbP would actually be a brilliant format to revisit the game for a third go.

If you're interested in participating in a PbP Birthright game here, let me know your thoughts about:

What edition you prefer.. it's written for 2nd/AD&D and WOTC never supported it once they took over, but it's got fairly significant fan support. An entire 3rd edition conversion has been fan-written, and that can in turn be used to adapt the game for Pathfinder. And there's always 5th edition D&D as well, which I keep hearing great things about.

What part of Cerilia you'd like the game to be set: Both campaigns I've run were set in southern Anuire.. It'd be neat to see different parts of Cerilia that don't quite resemble Westeros so much, but then again I don't mind going for the trifecta, either.

Sovereign Court

Sepherum wrote:
pachristian wrote:

City State of the Invincible Overlord.

The first, and still great. Necromancer Games published a D&D 3.5 version of it (now at frogged games.com)

Yeah Bro I ran an epic adventure in 2nd ed City State years ago-it was the best campaign we ever did; lasted like 3 real-life years.

I too have fond memories of the City State...

particularly because the GM put casinos in the Goblin Reservation. Many good times, there!

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

Jiggy wrote:
deusvult wrote:
...I generally agree with the sentiments above about "bad GMing" when the monsters/NPCs use the GM's OOC knowledge ICly....
If not for the first sentence of your second paragraph, I seriously would have thought you had gotten your browser tabs mixed up and replied to the wrong thread, because replying to "GM is dodging class features via metagaming" with a list of a bunch of unrelated things you don't like is just totally coming out of nowhere. What was the connection there?

I was saying that I agree that for the most part it's shoddy GMing to fail to seperate OOC and IC knowledge. However, there are certainly times it's appropriate to, as the OP put it, "ignore the immunities".

If the PCs are optimized/munchkins, it may not be inappropriate for the GM to use optimized/munchkin tactics. Some people like games where players try their hardest to see how badly they can "break" the game. If the group's idea of fun is to beat encounters as quickly as possible and with as little risk as possible, then they shouldn't mind the GM using that same mindset to challenge the players at their own game. When players game the system they are literally asking to be challenged to the utmost.

Having the monsters act on OOC knowledge is just another option for challenging over-the-top PCs if dice fudging or throwing encounters far beyond APL aren't the group's idea of fun.

I think it's actually a swell idea in another case: when the monster has superhuman or godlike smarts. As the GM I'm only a human. How do I do justice to determining the life or death decisions for something smarter than I will ever be? Sometimes a great way to approximate superhuman intuition/mentalism/deduction/smarts is using OOC knowledge ICly.

Sovereign Court

Val'bryn2 wrote:
Expecting the GM to not ignore what you're trying to build your character into is not expecting them to use kid gloves. If I wanted to play a pyromancer character, took nothing but fire spells and abilities to enhance using said fire spells, I would be pissed if the GM started throwing nothing but fire immune creatures. Sometimes, it would be appropriate and I would have to find a new way to deal with them, but when suddenly they are all immune, to where there's not a white dragon, troll, or even a basic goblin left in the world, it's a problem

As I said, with most groups, I'd agree with you. However with some groups, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

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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The TV incarnation has been trolling the book readers with regards to the Stark kids=Wargs angle..

It gave us the teaser of Arya "seeing" Ned's beheading through the eyes of the birds flying overhead. Yet we never got the scene where she sees her mother's corpse through the eyes of Nymeria. Now that she's blind, it remains to be seen if she'll

Spoiler:
see through cats.
I'm really not sure if I should expect it or not.

So, TV Arya (and by extension TV Jon) are either not Wargs, or the writers are successfully playing book knowledge against itself.

Sovereign Court

Some players may not like hearing "No, you may not decide to take that course of action." from the GM.

But constraints about what sorts of things you may decide to do are already programmed in. For example, since you're running an AP, the players already don't get to decide to toss the AP and follow whatever tangent strikes their whim. You can maintain the illusion that they may by clarifying "Ok, fine. You go chase that, and your character is NPCd. The party is following the plot instead. Make a new character if you wanna join in on the continuing adventures."

Its all another clause in the social contract between players of the game. "Don't be Dicks to each other" is something that can, and imo should, be included.

Sovereign Court

I'm a fan of using GM fiat to disallow dick moves in the first place.

Assuming of course, it's a "normal" game. Professional adventurers trust one another to have each others' backs. If a player can't roleplay that while still roleplaying your character's "unique" individualism/chaotic alignment, then that player needs to grow up.

OTOH if the campaign is deliberately set up as a betray-before-you're-betrayed kind of a game, naturally that's a tiger of a different stripe.

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).

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

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

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

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

Sovereign Court

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A slightly different tack to the discussion:

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

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

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

Sovereign Court

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

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

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

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

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

Peace.

Sovereign Court

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Jiggy wrote:
deusvult wrote:

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

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

These statements are contradictory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sovereign Court

Jiggy wrote:
I very frequently watch a movie and think, "Wait, why don't they just do X? Wouldn't that solve the problem?"

People like what they like. So I want to stress that I don't think there's anything wrong with how you like to play RPGs.

I also agree that surprise capabilities brought out solely for dramatic effect are poor storywriting practices. (Wait, why didn't R2D2 just use his rockets to fly in all those other movies, then?) Deus ex machina isn't automatically a lazy, ill-thought-out practice, however. It's problem is it's just much easier to do poorly than do well.

I think there's a divergent preference to what I think you're expressing. (I picked that one quoted line as what I think is the essence of your view..)

I happen to enjoy conventions being observed in RPGs. If one is playing a slasher-murder/horror type RPG, what fun is to be had by doing what you'd scream at the characters in a movie should do? 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. Like that Geico commercial says, "It's what you do".

To expand this point to RPGs across the board: Story structure exists for time-tested reasons. The way I like to run (or play) RPGs is where a good story is told. To accomplish this, I trust the instincts of a GM more than I do the dice.

I don't mean this as an invalidation of your preference, Jiggy. But personally, when I want a game where crunch, strategy, and dice rolls determine the outcome.. I'll play a wargame rather than a RPG.

Sovereign Court

WITNESS THE PLOT OF FURY ROAD:

THE ENTIRE PLOT:

I KID BECAUSE I LOVE.

I AM AWAITED IN VALHALLAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!

Sovereign Court

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

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

That is assumption is false.

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

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

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

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Jiggy wrote:
...Huh? What about canon? How is this a reply to me?

Walls of text obfuscate. That's why I try (but often fail, I admit) to keep posts succinct.

That bit was directly irt:

Jiggy wrote:
"seriously, people don't describe rules with terms like "sanctity" or "holy scripture" unless they're on a mission to demonize."

I was pointing out that my use of "sanctity" and "scripture" is exactly like the generally acceptable use of "canon".

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.

Quote:
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 ;)

Quote:
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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Jiggy wrote:
deusvult wrote:

It depends on what you view the GM's role is.

If the GM is nothing more than an anthropomorphic computer that lays out the holy scripture that is the rulebook(s) without regard to circumstances (aka, the "Player, May I?" paradigm), then cheating is pretty harmful to the game on either side of the GM screen.

I personally don't subscribe to that view. I think that almost nothing done on the GM side of the screen is cheating (aka, the "GM, May I?" paradigm).

In my experience, the former has often led to headscratch moments and sometimes slightly boring games. The latter has produced the most infuriating, un-fun, will-actively-avoid-that-GM-in-the-future games I've ever played.

The former is less than ideal. The latter is terrible, something akin to a disease within the hobby.

The most fun games I've played in are ones where everyone at the table is equal, acting like normal people playing a game together instead of one side or the other needing to feel empowered by having someone else ask their permission to do things.

With healthy people, you get neither of the situations you described. My condolences that you've not yet found such a group.

You're equating "cheating" with doing detrimental things to the game. Obviously GMs can abuse their power, and that's not even what I was talking about. GMs can abuse their position whether or not they "cheat" in ways the players may not. Bad GMing is a completely distinct concept from methods of GMing.

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.

My condolences to YOU that you've never found such a group.

Sovereign Court

It depends on what you view the GM's role is.

If the GM is nothing more than an anthropomorphic computer that lays out the holy scripture that is the rulebook(s) without regard to circumstances (aka, the "Player, May I?" paradigm), then cheating is pretty harmful to the game on either side of the GM screen.

I personally don't subscribe to that view. I think that almost nothing done on the GM side of the screen is cheating (aka, the "GM, May I?" paradigm). With special regard to Pathfinder, page 402 of the CRB even addresses the appropriateness of GM "cheating". So I'll focus my comment upon cheating done on the player's side of the screen.

Not every instance of doing things the GM forbids is a deliberate, insulting act against the GM. I've GM'd for some 34 years now and one of the universals that apply to every game, not just Pathfinder, is that most cases of player cheating aren't "deliberate" in a willful sense. Once someone has a vested interest in something, they see it a different way. It's human nature, and should be expected.

For example, when someone says they "forgot" that you can't stack same-type bonuses, they usually did actually forget. They'd remember if someone else does it (as did the OP in his example) but they deluded themselves into honestly thinking they found a way to stack these bonuses. A simple correction is all it takes in these cases; it doesn't have to become a federal case. (this is one of the advantages of the "GM, May I?" paradigm: rules arguments are short and settled with "Because I said so.")

Same is true, by the way, of "misreading" dice results. Players will rationalize a reason why they get to reroll a die (it was "cocked") or magically report a "5" as a "15" result, and so on. It's less malice than self-delusion. However misreading dice is pretty black and white stuff, and is harder to give the benefit of the doubt. Proactive policy is the best medicine in this arena: require all (player) die rolls to be out, wiiiide out, in the open. It's not as important that the GM sees it as it is the other players. A GM doesn't need to be the "bad guy" and question the integrity of a roll when the other players at the table will leap to do so.

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AS MUCH AS I ENJOYED THE REVIEW THAT WAS DONE IN ALL CAPS, THE REVIEW DONE BY A 70 YEAR OLD WOMAN MAY NOW BE MY FAVORITE REVIEW.

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magnuskn wrote:

VALHALLA!

Visually definitely the greatest movie I have seen in years. The plot is nothing to talk about, but it was solid enough to provide the framework for all the very impressive action.

The ideal of self-determination was well-served by this movie. Furiosa, played very well by Charlize Theron, pretty much was the star of the movie, not Max.

THAT'S THE NATURE OF THE COMPLAINT OF THE "MEN'S RIGHTS" GROUPS. FURIOSA IS THE ACTION STAR RATHER THAN MAX.

THEY MISS THE POINT ENTIRELY. AS BADASS AS THERON IS AS FURIOSA, THE REAL STAR OF THIS MOVIE IS THE PRODUCER. I DON'T WANT TO LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE THIS MOVIE DOESN'T GET AN OSCAR.

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I SAW THIS MOVIE AND I'M HERE TO SAY IT IS MOST APPROPRIATE TO DISCUSS THIS MOVIE EXCLUSIVELY IN CAPS LOCK.

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Chris Lambertz wrote:
If you haven't received an email, please also confirm that you're checking the email account actually tied to your paizo.com account.

I think it's more likely there's an issue on the Paizo end.

I say this because in my case, I've been a 4 star for some time now (3-4 months?) and I still don't have access to any 4-star exclusive Paizo downloads.

However, as suggested upthread, I have indeed contacted Benjamin.

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Pathfinder really ought to capitalize keywords.

One-Handed weapons != one-handed weapons.

Your friend is right.. in the context of the wording of the feat, it's more plausible to assume the rules-writers intended to be describing a formal category of weapons (One-handed) as opposed to any weapon that can be wielded in one hand. This is because, thanks to interactions of other rules, pretty much anything can be wielded one handed, if you try hard enough.

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Sooo..if there's no email, not even in the spam blocker, do we keep waiting or does it need to be addressed?

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LazarX wrote:
There is absolutely NOTHING in chapter 5 which refers to natural blindness or natural handicaps or any of that "born with it" crap.

It does explicitly refer to curing/removing qualifying conditions only when they were acquired during the session. It doesn't get any more simple or black/white than that, really.

Quote:
The text is clearly written with the assumption that characters are not starting the scenario with what would be described as a crippling handicap, of which blindness is clearly defined as in regards as conditions that must be fixed at the end of a scenario if the character is not to be removed from play.

Says you. I say that since character audits are not only legal but expected, it is audits that are intended to catch conditions that weren't satisfactorily bought off. You're presuming that you know what they meant even when they said what they said. And you're presuming that your opinion trumps their words that are in your opinion "in error".

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You have provided NOTHING which says that a character can begin a scenario with a career ending condition.

You say "cite me a rule that says you can". I say the rules don't work that way; "cite me a rule that says you can't". Prove to me that in PFS I may not make a character with a birth defect. Only in cases where the rules diverge from real-world analogues do the rules become restrictive rather than permissive.

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Sniggevert wrote:

GM: OK. [fills out game report] check, character dead.

Being bull headed either does either side any favors. It's supposed to be a communal game.

You'll (in this hypothetical example) be hearing from VOs after they overturn the death. I may have been a bull-headed jerk, but now you're on record as maliciously (and falsely) reporting a character as dead.

Quote:
And I don't know where you're coming up with the reading for the bolded part as to what constitutes resolved.

resolved != cured.

resolved = 1)check to see if qualifying condition(s) exist. 2)If so, check for rules on addressing what action(s) are required. 3)If none are required, then you're done. "Resolved" is accomplished.

I'm looking at step 2 & 3 to explain why a naturally born-blind condition can be "resolved" as being left alone. The rules for how to address blindness explicitly state it only has to be cured/removed if it was acquired during the session.

if there's concern about blindness having been acquired durning a previous session w/o being properly bought off, then auditing the character fixes that.

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Sniggevert wrote:

That is Chapter 5, so no, you I'm not ignoring it. I'm pointing it out to you. You seem to have skimmed it.

You're the one who's saying RAW regardless of common sense...

Let's make it an exercise, then. I'll be the one playing a blind character, you're my GM.

You: Ok, scenario's over. You need to buy off blindness.

Me: Nuh uh.

You: Yes, you do. Look here: "When playing your own character, all conditions(including death) not resolved within the scenario or
module must be resolved by the end of the adventure." It's literally the first sentence under the chapter governing this stuff.

Me: Ok, fine. Let's look and see what it says about how to go about resolving it.

You: Well, you have to buy a Cure Blind...

Me (interrupting): Look here, 2nd paragraph, lines 1-6. My blindness condition is from birth, it does not qualify for mandatory buyoff since I didn't acquire it during this session.

You: But you can't end a scenario with blindness, per the line I already cited you. It's even got primacy since it's mentioned first.

Me: It doesn't say that at all. What it says it they "must be resolved". We go through the rules for resolving the condition, and it's explicitly clear that I don't have to buy it off. QED. Condition is addressed and discovered it can remain. It is thus "resolved", even if it isn't cured/removed. Here's my day job roll...

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LazarX wrote:
deusvult wrote:
LazarX wrote:
The rules citation is the Campaign Guide. The Society won't send out members that have a crippling condition that won't be cured, so it ends the career of a blind or otherwise severely impaired character. By that logic, it certainly means that a Venture Captain isn't going to be calling on the services of such an impaired Pathfinder in the first place.

That's not a citation; that's your own synthesis of what you say is "RAI".

I'm not disparaging your synthesis.. just pointing out when it comes down to brass tacks, RAW does not support you. And in that position, you'll want to think twice, then thrice, about telling someone they can't play their character because you say it's not allowed when RAW does not back you up.

It takes a very selective unreading of the Guide to say that a player can be allowed to run a character with an affliction which the GUIDE itself says would end his career if it is not corrected by the end of the scenario.

I won't say I like "RAW is LAW", but PFS is what it is. The most cherished idea behind the paradigm however is to keep GMs from banning characters they don't like. That's quite relevant to remember in this discussion. If you don't like a character/concept, you MUST have RAW firmly on your side to say "You can't play that at my table.."

Quote:
I would also argue that a player who is intentionally running a character that would be a liability to his group, falls under the category of being a disruptive player. And a blind character to the extent that the OP wishes to run is going to be a liability.

Well, I won't argue at all with the first sentence. But that's a seperate argument. A well built, relevant character that happens to be blind should be offending noone.

OTOH, a character that turns out to be less-than-par, for whatever reason.. is still legal to play. It's possible, through extreme multiclassing, to build a level 11 character that still has +0 BaB and no spells higher than level 1. Should that be banned, too?

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Sniggevert wrote:
deusvult wrote:
LazarX wrote:
The rules citation is the Campaign Guide. The Society won't send out members that have a crippling condition that won't be cured, so it ends the career of a blind or otherwise severely impaired character. By that logic, it certainly means that a Venture Captain isn't going to be calling on the services of such an impaired Pathfinder in the first place.

That's not a citation; that's your own synthesis of what you say is "RAI".

I'm not disparaging your synthesis.. just pointing out when it comes down to brass tacks, RAW does not support you. And in that position, you'll want to think twice, then thrice, about telling someone they can't play their character because you say it's not allowed when RAW does not back you up.

RAW:

The Guide wrote:

Conditions, Death, and Expendables

When playing your own character, all conditions
(including death) not resolved within the scenario or
module must be resolved by the end of the adventure.

First complete paragraph in the subsection. So, sure they start blind, but the very first scenario the condition MUST be resolved by the end of the adventure.

Note the paragraph doesn't say conditions gained or received during the scenario/adventure, it says ALL conditions. Blindness is most certainly a condition.

Now, the section goes on to talk specifics about certain conditions you might gain during a scenario and some leeway for a few, but the baseline rule is you MUST resolve ALL by the end of the adventure.

That's called cherry picking your data.

As I acknowledged already, if you want to ignore chapter 5, you could read chapter 7 as applying to every condition in play at the end of the scenario rather than only those acquired during the course of the scenario. But as soon as someone points out chapter 5's reference, you see that natural blindness may be "resolved" by simply ignoring it. Actually, if you really want to go "RAW is LAW", Chapter 5 says you MUST ignore it as it wasn't gained during play.

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LazarX wrote:
The rules citation is the Campaign Guide. The Society won't send out members that have a crippling condition that won't be cured, so it ends the career of a blind or otherwise severely impaired character. By that logic, it certainly means that a Venture Captain isn't going to be calling on the services of such an impaired Pathfinder in the first place.

That's not a citation; that's your own synthesis of what you say is "RAI".

I'm not disparaging your synthesis.. just pointing out when it comes down to brass tacks, RAW does not support you. And in that position, you'll want to think twice, then thrice, about telling someone they can't play their character because you say it's not allowed when RAW does not back you up.

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Fomsie wrote:

If you want to mince words and go that way, sure, it does say gained conditions.

PFS is the natural home of the "RAW IS LAW" mentality. It's not just "the LAW" when you like it; it's universal or the entire paradigm is invalid.

Quote:
However, there is absolutely no rule that allows you to begin with a condition, as drawbacks are not legal in PFS.

With the exception of rules governing phenomenae that have no real world analogues, the rules are permissive rather than restrictive. In other words, in something like being born without eyes (a very real world applicable concept) there needs to be a rule prohibiting it rather than a rule allowing it. So, in this case: Yes. Since there's no rule prohibiting starting blind, you may do so.

To argue otherwise removes not only the CRB's presumption of GM common sense being applied to the adjudication of the rules, it raises very ugly questions about inclusiveness that I'm quite sure Paizo would rather avoid.

Quote:
This may not seem fair to some here, but you have to also consider the rest of the people at a table, you are forcing your limitations and hindrances upon them for the sake of your concept. And since this is PFS and not a home group that could all discuss it and agree with it, that would be unfair... and it is why the rules exist requiring you to clear conditions in the first place.

If the build is able to support the party, then what's the difference? Would you complain about a sighted support character that makes no direct offensive contributions too?

For that matter, what about a simply sub-optimal build? Is it so WrongBad to play a 2h weapon martial w/o power attack that the character should be banned for being a hindrance?

Quote:
But lets say you were allowed to play and the group has a cleric or oracle and they walk up and cast remove blindness on you... are you going to argue? Try and refuse the spell or save against it? At that point you would be actively disrupting a game for the sake of your concept. And that is not fair.

Let's say a cleric insists on trying to heal a naturally-blind character. Who's truly violating the "Don't be a jerk" rule? The cleric's player is trying to "fix" another person's idea of fun.

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LazarX wrote:
You can't end a scenario with one of those conditions and remain active. That certainly means you can't start with one either.

Prove it with a rules citation. Blackbloodtroll provided the citation from the PFSGOP, which I'll quote (in part) again:

"Chapter 5: All conditions gained during an adventure, except for...
"Chapter 7: At the end of a scenario, a PC may have been afflicted with any number of possible conditions.."

You might argue that Chapter 7 includes qualifying afflictions that were gained outside the course of the adventure, but Chapter 5 very clearly and inarguably clarifies that idea as false.

So, really, tell me how Chapter 5 means "all conditions gained at any time" rather than what it says.

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LazarX wrote:

It doesn't matter what shennanigans you pull, you can't run a PFS character with a condition that would force it's retirement. Blindness is one of them.

I said it before and I'll say it again.

Having a condition doesn't force retirement. Gaining a condition during the course of a PFS scenario then not removing is what forces retirement.

If a character begins the first scenario already having that condition, then the character cannot have gained the condition DURING the scenario. Mandatory buy-off/forced retirement rules do not come into play. The rules are perfectly explicit on that.

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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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chad gilbreath wrote:
I am making a character for rp sake and was wondering if i made her blind since birth just as part of her background not to give her any bonuses or anything would she be consider dead at the end of the first scenario i play her in? I meant to ask my VL this weekend but forgot

Don't listen to the nay-sayers. Plenty of PFS characters do little to nothing that's directly offensive and they (and their parties) flourish just fine.

Blinded is a condition that has rules governing it. There's no reason you can't say your character is blind. And if you play a decent support character, it won't matter. A bard is rarely useless, whether it can see or not. There are other avenues you could pursue as well.

I kind of like the idea of a blind conjurer, now that you got me thinking on the topic. You can use clairvoyance to see when you HAVE to, and you can conjure critters to do your damage for you. You'll just have to make your spellbook be in braille. (or be a sorcerer..)

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Cuuniyevo wrote:
The GM would have to be ridiculously lenient to rule in favor of the chain of events you described.

Not to mention, the entire ordeal would be of no benefit. Both rider and mount had to use both move actions to pull off the "free" 45' move. You could have gone much further if the rider just stayed astride the mount for two move actions.

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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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BigNorseWolf wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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Fun fact:

The primary ability of Intimidate lacks the language on Diplomacy that prevents NPCs from using it on PCs.

So paladins certainly can be forced to "act friendly", if only for 1d6x10 minutes.

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Let the player call his orc samurai's greataxe an Ono and all problems with genre appropriateness are solved. (with the weapon, at least)

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Cavall wrote:

I would love to hear "Yes I know you made a character to disarm traps. But I found a loophole. Get used to it. 14 hit points. "

But more than that, I want to hear the very justified response to that.

As I agreed with Kaouse, I agree with you that'd be a shabby sort of GM.

But my question remains unaddressed:

If a player wants to build a trap that can't be detected/disarmed by NPCs, do you 1) let him, 2) make him redesign it so it can be disarmed from inside the "kill box", or 3) let the NPCs magically use perception/disable device anyway?

And when you reverse the roles between NPCs and PCs, would your answer be different? Why?

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Shisumo wrote:


...if you start with the assumption that "nixing the ability" is the desired outcome, sure.

You appear to imply that's a bad thing.

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Kaouse wrote:
Rogues are bad enough without the DM intentionally trying to give them the shaft, IMHO.

I completely agree. I wouldn't support designing a trap so that it can't be detected or disarmed solely out of the motivation of denying a PC skill checks. But there are characters that make and set traps. Should they be "forced" to build them so any potential victim has a fair shot at detecting them? What if the trap-setter is a PC instead of an NPC? Does or should the calculus change?

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I'm not convinced that splash damage counts as "weapon damage".

It could be understood as an effect that causes damage, which if you want to get all RAW about it, is not the same thing.

I'm also finding the wrinkle about raging and bombing to be very intriguing. Unless the Unchained Barbarian rage changes the wording of "cannot use any ability that requires patience or concentration", then I think there's enough justification on that alone for a PFS GM to put a nix on the entire concept. Who is it up to to say whether using the Bomb ability requires "patience or concentration"? Why, it's the GM. And not the player who's character possesses said ability.

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I'm curious about how the player entitlement crowd would view another scenario:

an "alarm" trap that consists of a bell tied to a string that goes up through a hook in the ceiling and then is nailed to a nearby door. The door opens, the bell rings, and the trap is sprung. Basically, something like virtually every shop has to announce customer traffic, only on a solid door with no windows in it.

When the PCs come from the other side of the door, is there zero chance of detecting the trap via perception or trap-spotting? If not, why not?

Presuming magic is involved and sees the setup on the other side, would it be possible to use Disable Device through the door without opening it first? Perhaps on the trap as I just described one might effectively achieve the same thing as bypassing the trap by opening the door slowly and carefully... but what if the "trap" were different in nature, where motion of the door however careful is all it takes to set it off? Can you still discover or Disable Device a trap where the components are all on the other side of the trapped door?

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

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

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

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