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deusvult's page

FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 1,178 posts (1,335 including aliases). 5 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 18 Pathfinder Society characters. 1 alias.


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Sovereign Court ****

I almost hesitate to post this as I don't want to provoke a new argument. So, if you don't like what I'm about to say, take it as my own opinion that needn't be rebutted. You won't be convincing me to change my opinion anyway.

To Paizo:

At least this customer is happy with your decision to reverse your decision to allow SLAs to qualify for early entry. I thought you got it wrong in the first place, and am satisfied you now have it "right".

I hope the angst from vocal minorities rolls like water off a duck's back rather than causing you to avoid addressing problems like this in the future.

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Andrew Christian wrote:
Making your half elf, half drow is not allowed per the reskinning restrictions.

That's true, but so long as you gain no mechanical benefit from being drow there's nothing stopping you from making your half elf have coal-black skin and shocking white hair or using a Drow mini on the battle mat.

In other words, +1 to what Paladin of Baha-who? said.

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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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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Mergy wrote:

I disagree on the 20 stat aspect because it's so costly. In a 20 point buy you're spending 17 of your points on a single stat. If you're going to say options are a good thing, then don't reduce your options in this matter.

At most, I would suggest a 19 to start, because that lets you up it to 20 at level 4.

Seconded.

Generally only classes which should start with a 20 (unless a super high point buy I suppose) are wizard/sorceror/witch etc.

Of note - if you go bard, you may consider going elf. That way you get longbow proficiency. (And all the secondary advantages aren't bad either.)

Fourth-ed.

20 in any stat at 1st level is generally a bad idea due to over-specialization. In Core there are less options to compensate for the glaring weaknesses you build into your character by such a strategy.

You don't need to min/max to complete PFS scenarios successfully. +3 bonus in your primary stat is plenty at 1st level, no matter what kind of character you're building.

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You might consider reworking the character idea to fit the prerequisites for dazzling display.

It gives you the ability to inflict a save-proof shaken condition complete with the -2 penalty to their will saves, and can last for multiple rounds. Do a dazzling display, then cast Fear. Profit.

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My own advice/opinions:

1. If you fall in, you still get pheromone'd.

2. Potentially. I'd either say "No", or if I'd allow it I wouldn't allow a PC to think to cast it unless someone identified the pheromone & it's probable reason for being in the trap. I'd call it a knowledge/nature check and probably set the DC to the same Disable Device DC for the trap. (in effect, allowing Know/Nature to be substituted for DD to "disarm" the effect of the trap).

At any rate, as a 0 level spell, the spell shouldn't do anything that regular cleaning couldn't do. If you're prepared to say that bathing and washing one's clothes won't remove the traces of the pheromone, then neither should the spell.

3) I'd say it just doesn't focus on someone in particular.

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Finlanderboy wrote:
nosig wrote:

sigh....

PFS is not all about combat. There are a LOT of scenarios where having a large cat will cause issues.... And even if we only consider the combat, there are still issues. Let's check out the first dozen low level adventures and see how many you can use that big cat in...

#0-01, In town - going to have problems getting a loose lion thru the streets.
#0-02, In boats - sometimes small boats...
#0-03, In town, then riding across the desert (camels really like big cats right?)
#0-04, In town again
#0-05 - hay what do you know! this would might just work! Running thru the street to get there might be an issue... but you are doing it in the middle of the night right?
#0-06 - Town - and then 5' wide tunnels
#0-07 - Town - in an opera/theater.... yeah, this is going to get past the ushers..
#0-08 - Town - and why are you bringing a big cat to the Slave Market? How'd you walk it past the guards again?
#0-13 - Sewers and 5' wide walk ways.
#0-14 - Gotta love a big cat in the Puddles district. Hay, maybe GM Torch will like the fact that you brought a lion to his bath!
#0-17 - Other than being a guest on a boat, this one might work.... maybe...

There's the first dozen scenarios - I see one where you could actually use a big cat, and another where you might be able to pull it off... maybe. And ten where it would be a problem - and perhaps some RP oppertunities!
PC: "I tell you officer, he's a shape changed druid friend of mine - really!"
Judge: "roll me a bluff...."

Sorry - I'm not seeing this as an issue.

So you use these rules against anyone with an animal companion?

I'd expect that most GMs would. I daresay I'd go so far as to opine that they should. Large sized companions are supposed to have a downside, afterall. And if the forum posts are at all representative of reality (which is dubious, but that's another issue) cavaliers are given a hell of a time being allowed to bring horses into places. If GMs are stopping horses from getting into fights, they damn well better be stopping tigers, too.

And "using the rules against" players is the wrong way to look at it. The rules are the rules. Especially in PFS, as the "RAW IS LAW" peanut gallery likes to point out so vocally and repeatedly. Of course, classes that come with ACs tend to be able to manage logistical challenges posed by having large sized ACs. Characters using trained animals, they may prove to not be able to surmount those challenges as easily or as often.

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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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Mike,

I'm pretty sure the OP was being passive/agressive sarcastic. He wasn't actually trying to get the GMs to cry or to compile exploits but to point out that compliling exploits has been incentivized by the FAQ. I believe he wanted to get someone (You) to address how giving Wizards easy access to noncore resources is unfair/biased towards what he (and presumably, others) consider is a class that is OP yet still allowed in Core. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest you completely missed his point.

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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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1 person marked this as a favorite.

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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Arachnofiend wrote:
deusvult wrote:
Tim Statler wrote:

No, it keeps them guessing. Did I make the check or not? Is my 20 good enough or is the DC a 24?

I should clarify. That is only if they fail to spot a trap or one is not there.

You're a big softie if you even let the players roll their perception checks to search for traps.

That's a test that was designed to be rolled behind the GM screen so the player has no idea what his result even was when you say "You don't see any!"

It's less about being soft and more about not wanting to have to bother keeping track of the skill bonuses of everyone at the table. I have enough things to keep track of already.

I don't bother keeping track either; I just ask "What's your bonus?" and then clatter the die behind the screen. Easy peasy.

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Tim Statler wrote:

No, it keeps them guessing. Did I make the check or not? Is my 20 good enough or is the DC a 24?

I should clarify. That is only if they fail to spot a trap or one is not there.

You're a big softie if you even let the players roll their perception checks to search for traps.

That's a test that was designed to be rolled behind the GM screen so the player has no idea what his result even was when you say "You don't see any!"

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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
deusvult wrote:

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.

There are advantages to this method - but to play devil's advocate - the disadvantage is that the players can game positioning by knowing what their initiative for the next fight will be. If the rogue knows he rolled a 27, he's more willing to go off on his own as he can always retreat before he's pinned down. The wizard who rolled a 4 is going to hang back further since he'll be flat-footed for the first round and won't have time to cast short duration buffs before he's swung at. Etc.

(Not saying it's not arguably worth the disadvantages. Just pointing out that they exist.)

That's a fair criticism. There are ways to deal with such metagaming, like having the next fight come from behind (putting the rogue and wizard exactly in the opposite of where they were trying to be), deciding that any stressful scene or challenge constituted a "crisis situation" and merits new rolls, or even better, just surprising them by having them re-roll initiative at the beginning of the fight.

Fear and ignorance! those are GM watchwords that still apply to Pathfinder :)

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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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Charon's Little Helper wrote:

I'm generally a believer of "The best defense is more defense.". :P

For example - my next PFS character is going to start at level 4 (been doing an AP) and will have an AC of 27, 43HP, Fort:+12, Ref:+12, Will:+11. His offense will be only be middle of the road - but good luck trying to hurt him.

Total tangent, but I am not a sharer of that philosophy.

If you can't hurt the monster, why should they focus on you? They'll just give you your AoO and go around to kill the damage dealing threats. An unhittable tank can be grappled, pinned, and coup-de-graced at the monsters' lesiure after the threats are neutralized.

Back to the thread topic:

GM DarkLightHitomi is completely correct. The d20 dropping for initiative is a completely meta factor that does not retroactively impact the actions taken ingame that occured before that point.

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Ilper'aja wrote:
Any comments, anyone?

I award you Classy Player points for eschewing the dualblooded archetype.

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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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Xexyz wrote:
Curious, what drawbacks would there be to taking a ring or amulet as a bonded item?

Early on: eats a slot that can't be filled by something else.

Later on: when you've got the wealth/power to upgrade the item, having a staff on the cheap is way more powerful (in the hands of a wizard) than what ring or neck slots tend to do.

baradakas wrote:
Metamagic rods do not have to be held in order to use their ability.
CRB wrote:
Possession of a metamagic rod does not confer the associated feat on the owner, only the ability to use the given feat a specified number of times per day.
If the rod is in your backpack, it is in your possession.

You made a DC 30 on your acrobatics to make that leap! Consider:

CRB, Rods wrote:
Activation: Details relating to rod use vary from item to item. Unless noted otherwise, you must be holding a rod to use its abilities. See the individual descriptions for specifics.

Sovereign Court

Bard spells are often Verbal only and thus not require any hands for casting.

A bard can get away with tying a hand up with a shield and wielding the rod in the other hand. It doubles as a beating-stick when you're not casting, to boot!

Sovereign Court ****

ElterAgo wrote:
Genuine wrote:

...

Please notice the low bar that's being given: Using aid another helps. That's all.

Aid another

Give someone a piddly +2 to their AC or attack for a round. Is that really so hard?
...

Well, honestly I think that might be setting the bar too low for a high tier table. At low level tables it is fine as long as everyone isn't doing it. It's even ok a mid level tables occasionally. But I think at a high level table you should usually be able to contribute more than that. But certainly, not less than that.

PFS scenarios often have enviornmental considerations factored into the encounters. They're usually ignored or not realized, but they are often there regardless. If you're struggling to come up with something more effective than Aid Another, there's a decent chance there's something you can do about the environment that was specifically anticipated in the programming of the encounter- to either remove hindering effects on the party or to add hindering effects to the bad guy(s).

Sovereign Court ****

I have absolutely no problem saying that RAI trumps wierdly written rules in PFS, so I'd allow it to work as intuitively intended for a player at a table I run.

Since it's benefit to the character, I don't see a player laying the rules lawyer card down. But if he did, you can play RAW game one step deeper than you are.

Fort saves are based on Constitution, ergo a fort save is a type of Constitution check.

Now as a player, if you take the trait, sadly you'll have to expect table variation.

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The wizard is not so much screwed as experiencing the downside that should come with the advantages of having a staff (or other hand-held item) as a bonded item.

The wizard could instead have taken a ring or amulet, but those are choices that have different drawbacks.

If the choice of staff has no drawbacks, it's not a fairly balanced choice.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
deusvult wrote:


A player in PFS doesn't have the right to be uncompromising with the rest of the table.

What kind of compromise can you make?

You (probably) don't see other peoples character sheets so its hard to judge how optimized people are

You don't see how much other players care about the optimization gap.

You don't see how good the other players could be/if they're holding back.

You don't know if someone is so unoptimized you're going to HAVE to carry the table.

You're kind of expecting people to be mind readers and thats a bad expectation to build a social contract on.

Once the characters at the table its a little too late. What may have been the right optimization at one table may not work for another

PFS encourages character introductions for a reason. It's not zone out and check your iphone time, it's how people who never played before get to feel each other out for their styles.

If you're of the school of gaming where anything less than tearing through NPCs like wet tissue paper isn't fun, you should be realizing whether or not the other players share that view before the VC brief even begins.

As a related thought: There are conventions to restrain GMs. A player should also restrain himself. Just because something is legal or possible doesn't mean it's always appropriate.

One specific commment of yours I think bears repeating because I view it as so blatantly wrong:

Quote:
... if someone is so unoptimized you're going to HAVE to carry the table.

That is virtually never going to be the case. PFS scenarios are balanced so that a complete party of unoptimized characters can succeed. The thought "I have to carry the party" is a poisonous assumption that is not appropriate outside of corner cases.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Lamontius wrote:
something something social contract of organized play something
Theres a very vague definition in that social contract. Even if you accept its validity you have to agree on the terms. "Though shalt not overoptimize" is problematic because everyone thinks they're optimizing in the goldilocks zone.

I'll agree that PFS very much has a social contract. It's even more important than in home games because the nature of PFS is that you get random people that you don't know or with whom you share gaming preferences.

A player in PFS doesn't have the right to be uncompromising with the rest of the table.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
I was thinking more more the charm animal/dominate animal/wild empathy line of abilities. I consider controlling an animal companion or other animal that doesn't know you from adam table leaving level of rules lawyering cheese .

I agree with you; handle animal should never be used to issue orders against the owner's desire. Especially not on a combat trained critter.

I've actually seen players argue in a recent scenario that they should be allowed to try to hijack trained attack hyenas by beating the handlers' at Handle Animal checks.

If something is being done TO you, it's rules lawyery cheese. But if you're doing it yourself, it's just "system mastery".

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Sammy T wrote:

1) 'Munchkinism' is quite the pejorative term to be throwing around. Let's avoid that, shall we?

It's the same thing whether it's called "System Mastery" or "Munchkin". They mean the same thing, far as I'm concerned the two terms are completely interchangeable and if one is offensive, then so is the other one.

Quote:


2) I never said you should solo the encounter nor did I state you're horrible if you couldn't. I also did state you would not be alone.

Quote:
Remember, Fred is not fighting this monster alone. He has his fellow PCs at his side. But now, he actually fills the role of damage dealer versus thinking that he is one. While the both Freds would be absolutely fine for low levels, at higher tiers, Fred the Longsword fighter will become less and less effective (and probably less fun to play) while Fred the Greatsword fighter will continue to contribute in combat.

Fair enough, upon re-reading your actual advice appears to boil down to "if you're going to do one thing well, make sure that one thing keeps improving because the difficulties will get higher".

It's a little bit of a disconnect from the rest of your advice which was to focus on doing several things competently. But I think we'd both agree that you want to make sure you keep scaling your Go-To trick while simultaneously developing additional dimensions of capability.

My criticisms certainly outweighed my accolades, and that wasn't a fair communication of what I thought of your article. Aside from a few quibbles, (and any two people will always quibble over something) I think you deserve credit for writing it and making it available to the forum.

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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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David knott 242 wrote:

I suppose one way to handle a formal duel is to have a third "combatant" signal when to start fighting. In the first round, the signaler raises his hand, and the two actual combatants ready attacks for when the signaler drops his hand (since attacking before he does that would violate the rules of the duel). In the second round, the signaler drops his hand, and the two actual combatants take their readied attacks in initiative order. Since they have already acted in this combat by readying their attacks, neither one is flat footed.

Is there anything in the rules to prevent that from working?

It's perfectly within the rules near as I can tell, if unnecessarily convoluted.

I find it more elegant to just allow such combatants to start without being flatfooted.

You end up with the same result either way. But if you have some reason you don't want to (or can't) use House Rules, your idea is a fine way to legally come to the same result as house ruling against flatfootedness.

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Davor wrote:
...could I as a small sized creature mount the medium monkey...

While the ride skill does allow for riding "ill-suited" mounts at a penalty to your checks, I'm pretty sure there's also a caveat somewhere for riding that any mount must be "appropriate" to be ridden.

As such, I don't see many GMs finding monkeys as being "appropriate" for riding.

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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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Rhedyn wrote:
Barathos wrote:

I don't get why this forum values Perception so highly. I could see it being a good skill to have in a dungeon crawl for traps and detecting bad guys and such, but I'd much rather have bluff or diplomacy.

@Rynjin
M&M <3

Depends on the GM. Some GMs do not let you see basic things without a roll.

Paizo's module and scenario writers are my boogeymen to blame for the overvaluing of perception. Maybe the blame is more fairly laid at their editorial/creative staff. Either way, perception is used all the time to recognize plot clues.

Challenge: Notice the significance of the house crest on the NPC's signet ring. Perception DC X.

WTF? Perception? That's a knowledge/nobility test right there if there ever was one. They misuse Perception to "see" clues that are better served by other skills when the test is actually about recognizing the importance/relevance rather than actually perceiving.

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
deusvult wrote:
Well if you consider those two examples to be the exhaustive list of everything that can go wrong, you'd right.
What examples? I just said that any accidents happen, and then the character continues taking 20.

I didn't realize it at first, but after re-reading your post I replied to I think we actually are on the same page.

Potentially, a GM may say that a PC using take 20 on disable device or perception can get both a success result AND suffer some failure on the same Take 20. Obviously it wouldn't make sense to say disable device jammed the lock permanently unopenable and then you succeeded to open it, or to say that perception triggered a trap if the take 20 result finds the trap. But a GM is within his rights to improvise some logically coherent "failure" to go along with a potential success on disable device or perception Take 20. If he found it beneficial to the game to bother to do so, obviously. As opposed to doing it solely to justify a "gotcha".

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Alright, so there are no described penalties for failure, so the GM can rule in any accidents that happen, but does not mean the character cannot take 20. They just suffer the consequences, much like taking 10 can incur something going wrong.

Well if you consider those two examples to be the exhaustive list of everything that can go wrong, you'd right.

Either way, the writers screwed up. Take 20 can't be used when there is penalty for failure. Disable Device always carries penalties for failure (even if they neglected to say what that penalty is, mechanically, for picking locks). Take 20 uses Disable Device as an explicit example of what you can use Take 20 on.

It's a "does not compute" that the GM has to wrangle.

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TriOmegaZero wrote:


I don't see that in the Disable Device description.

I quoted it. Here it is again, bolded for emphasis.

Disable Device wrote:
The DC depends on how tricky the device is. If the check succeeds, you disable the device. If it fails by 4 or less, you have failed but can try again. If you fail by 5 or more, something goes wrong. If the device is a trap, you trigger it. If you're attempting some sort of sabotage, you think the device is disabled, but it still works normally.

The bolded portion is relating to the skill in general terms and not just specifically when used to disable traps. It even gives an example of how it can "have something go wrong" when using disable device in a manner that is not disarming a trap.

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bookrat wrote:


Disable device is one? Wait, that's just for locks. Still can't take 20 on disabling traps because there is a penalty for failing by 5 or more.

It's a little tricky, since something goes wrong no matter what you were attempting if you fail your disable device check by 5 or more. Obviously that's hazardous in the event of trying do disarm a trap, but even picking a lock has "something going wrong" if you fail by 5 or more.

Disable Device wrote:
The DC depends on how tricky the device is. If the check succeeds, you disable the device. If it fails by 4 or less, you have failed but can try again. If you fail by 5 or more, something goes wrong. If the device is a trap, you trigger it. If you're attempting some sort of sabotage, you think the device is disabled, but it still works normally.

Unless of course you subscribe to the notion that a list of examples of what "can go wrong" is actually an exhaustive list of the only things that can go wrong. For example, breaking one's lock picks isn't on the list of things that can go wrong. But then again, there isn't any example given of what might constitute "going wrong" on disable device when picking a lock.

Take 20 is particularly inelegant on disable device and perception, but it does have the explicit call-out with regards to perception and traps, as pointed out upthread. I suppose you can take 20, but you can still have something go wrong.

Take 20 wrote:
Taking 20 means you are trying until you get it right, and it assumes that you fail many times before succeeding. Taking 20 takes 20 times as long as making a single check would take (usually 2 minutes for a skill that takes 1 round or less to perform).

"You fail many times", but will any of the failures ever be by 5 or more? It's a question the GM will have to answer.

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Komoda wrote:
No, they can't. Combat starts at the same time for all members (at least those present when the fight started).

And that's the crux.

If ambushers (be they PCs or NPCs) detect victims approaching their kill box, they ready actions or delay until the victims are in the kill box. In effect, they're rolling for initiative even though there is no other party yet to have a fight with. (technically, there is, the other party just doesn't know it yet)

However many groups of 6 seconds it takes for the victims to stumble into the kill box, it's already that many combat rounds elapsed. Even though the victims haven't yet rolled initiative.

So, when they DO roll initiative, the ambushers have already been delaying/readying for X amount of rounds.

For that matter, the ambushers can even "jump into the combat order" ahead of the highest initiative order among the victims, since delaying allows you to do that.

If the victims fail to detect the ambushers laying in wait, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever (ruleswise or common sense-wise) for the first thing "in combat" from the victims' perspective to be anything other than the hammer dropping.

It's not just ambush situations. If party A enters a room and does things to alert party B to their presence, party B can "enter combat" and buff up, etc, and come into the room loaded for bear.

If it were as you say, that combat has to begin equitably, when party A and party B are fighting, there would have to be new initiative values rolled when party C comes to see what all the ruckus is and joins the combat some rounds after A and B began fighting each other. And that's demonstrably not the case.

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GM DarkLightHitomi wrote:

I have a serious issue with some of this, namely, why in the blue blazes should I be flat footed if I know of my enemy before they attack me?

For example, my character is facing enemies, she knows they are enemies, is in a defensive stance, is staring into their eyes, and is simply waiting for the bell to start fighting. There is no reason whatsoever why she should be flat footed.

In another case, my character is headed for some people nearby and is prepared for a fight, aware that the people may be enemies, and they start yelling, pull out bows, and start firing them, which isn't exactly surprising to my character.

In both cases, the GM has considered the first attack roll as the start of combat and made my character flat footed despite being fully aware of and prepared for the incoming attacks which directly contradicts the entire concept of being flat footed.

The combat doesn't always start for both parties at the same time. Just because its the characters' first round of combat doesn't mean it's also the monsters'. That period of time up to 6 seconds before the first actions after the initiative roll may not have been "combat" for the characters, but the monsters in ambush obviously were already delaying, and thus can be not flat footed even if they lose initiative.

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Jeff Merola wrote:
I hate to break it to you, but that's the a house rule. Taking any position not explicitly stated to be the case in the rules is a house rule. House rules aren't (inherently) bad, and everyone uses various house rules. But saying that you can trigger a trap just by looking for it is still a house rule.

I would actually LOVE to continue this with you for a PFS context, but in the context of this thread (PFRPG in general) we can agree to disagree about what's a house rule.

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MrTsFloatinghead wrote:

It's a houserule (and IMO a bad one) because you are making up all sorts of limitations that don't actually exist in the game. For example:

"You can't search for secret doors without tapping on the walls. You can't search a desk without opening the drawers. You can't search a bookshelf without flipping through the books."

What? I certainly can - I can look for places where the masonry doesn't quite line up, or scuff marks on the floor indicating a swinging door, or feel for an errant draft etc. I can examine the desk drawers to see if there are any signs of traps (such as hidden keyholes or switches to bypass them) before opening the drawers. I can scan the spines of the books to see there are any that seem to have magic runes etc, and I might even notice something "tucked" into a book without opening the book itself.

If something is hidden inside a drawer, and you don't touch (or otherwise open or see into) the drawer, you should logically have zero chance to find it on your perception check.

Taking 20 is game-speak for being as thorough as possible. If there are things that cannot be seen into/under without being manipulated, you're manipulating them to see into/under them if you're being thorough as possible, aka taking 20.

Quote:
In fact, I would go so far as to say that your conception of the perception skill is pretty problematic if your understanding of "I take 20 perception to search for traps on the desk" turns into "I start grabbing...

Never said and never implied that searching for traps precludes a sensible "once over" without touching it. Assuming you succeed on the check, you probably saw signs of the trap at that stage. Or felt the tension of the tripline as you began to pick it up and aborted before you triggered. And so on.

But, that "once over" and then thorough searching are rolled into one check. So, presuming you don't see anything suspicious, a thorough search then necessitates the physical manipulation.

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Jeff Merola wrote:
deusvult wrote:


However, I don't often have to deal with characters taking 20 though on searches. When I point out that a 2 minute search involves a 10' area that's relatively devoid of details, and when I figure out how much more than a move action it'll take to search an entire room/wall/whatever and remind them about the durations remaining on their buffs, they rarely want to take 20 times that amount.

A Take-20 on Perception covers everything you can see, with appropriate distance penalties, so the 10' area isn't quite right. The space limitation was something that 3.5 had that was not kept in the changeover to Pathfinder.

Now, yes, some things take longer to go over, and you're not going to be able to look in/behind things with that first check, but if I'm in a straight corridor with a DC 30 pressure plate 100 feet away from me with nothing else in the way (and no lighting conditions to mess with vision) and I get a 40 on my perception check (which results in a 30 to see the plate, due to distance penalties), I see the pressure plate.

You've, near as I can tell, been talking about passive perception checks while I was talking about active checks. So yes, you're right with regards to the example you used.

I was, more to the point, talking about the amount of time it takes to actively search something. By default it's a move action, but can obviously take more time than that based on the area and number of nooks and crannies that require peeking/feeling into.

Quote:
So a better roll, which is a more thorough search, doesn't set off the trap that the poor roll does? What?

Upon rereading my posts, I see it's possible to have misconstrued what I said as making the attempt at all might set off a trap no matter what you roll. That's a sort of "killer GM" tactic and not at all what I was saying. I hadn't thought it necessary to clarify but "obviously" if the searcher makes the DC to detect the trap, he shouldn't set it off despite having been poking/prodding/touching it.

As for:

Quote:
Point to me where in the rules it says that a poor perception check sets off a trap.

Obviously no such rule is stated, because it's too much of a blanket rule. Some traps will go off if the triggered item is poked/prodded/moved/etc. Some won't. Such a rule you're challenging me to provide would ignore that. So, obviously, it doesn't exist.

What does exist is the responsibility of the GM to adjudicate the rules as presented. Rule Zero/Common sense is presumed. The rules are meant to be situationally flexible as appropriate. As another Perception example, it's not a flat DC of -10 to "hear a battle", it's presumed to be flexible as to what constitutes "a battle" and whether the DC always has to be -10.

Rules that detail magical phenomenae that don't exist in the real world need to be explicitly spelled out. If the rule for a spell, for example, doesn't allow something, then you can't do it. That standard does not extend to the entire corpus of rules. Phenomenae that do exist in the real world don't need to be explicitly written because we have reality to tell us what happens. So, just because Perception (and trap) rules don't say a failed check can set off a trap doesn't mean it's a house rule to say it might. Common sense says it can happen, and Paizo left common sense to the GM rather than attempting to codify it. The CRB is already over 500 pages, if they tried to state how the real world works as well, it'd have been not only futile but economocially unfeasible to make a book that enormous.

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bookrat wrote:
For those arguing that a perception check may be able to set off a trap, does this mean that you can sometimes Take 20 on perception or that you can never Take 20 on perception?

That's an excellent point that touches on stage-craft for the GM. If you tell the player you're not letting him take 20, then he knows something is up. If you NEVER let him take 20, he's probably got a fair gripe with how you're running it. You have to adapt and overcome, if you're going to say that searching might set off a trap.

Personally, I'd probably make a secret roll on behalf of the character to see if he accidentally set off the trap in the process of taking 20 that included a trapped area/thing that would be plausibly set off by searching it. When he tells you his take 20 result, it's pretty easy to subtract 20 and figure out what his bonus is.

However, I don't often have to deal with characters taking 20 though on searches. When I point out that a 2 minute search involves a 10' area that's relatively devoid of details, and when I figure out how much more than a move action it'll take to search an entire room/wall/whatever and remind them about the durations remaining on their buffs, they rarely want to take 20 times that amount.

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Jeff Merola wrote:
That, uh, is exactly what your bolded portion is saying.

There's a difference between "can" and "always". If you're going to willfully ignore that, then I think we're done trying to have a fair-minded conversation.

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Jeff Merola wrote:
Perception is also "spot" and "listen." And seriously, your argument means that just checking for traps at all sets them off.

Would you argue that "I search, but don't touch anything" said as part of the perception check should not impose a serious penalty for a potential object or trap element that is not in plain view? Heck, I'd say it even makes the attempt impossible and dice irrelevant.

And I didn't say checking for traps at all sets them off.. read it again.

Deusvult wrote:
Depending on the nature of the trap and trigger in question, the very act of performing a perception check can provide sufficient stimulation to set it off. If the skill roll under those circumstances wasn't high enough to detect the trap, there's no reason to say the trap doesn't go off.

Bolded for emphasis.

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Jeff Merola wrote:
Because "perception" is not "search."

Ever since 3.5, yeah, searches are Perception checks.

As for:

Quote:
And because there's nothing in perception that says a failed check sets off a trap on its own.

That's that player empowerment paradigm I don't agree with. It's a roleplaying game, not a video game. Common sense still applies. If you pick up an object to check out the underside, but whoops it was on a trigger and you didn't realize this as part of your search, you just set off the trap.

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Jeff Merola wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Nicos wrote:
I think you can't take 20 to look for traps.
I agree.
Well, you're certainly within your right to institute that as a houserule, but that's not the default.

Why would it need to be a houserule?

You can't search for secret doors without tapping on the walls. You can't search a desk without opening the drawers. You can't search a bookshelf without flipping through the books.

Depending on the nature of the trap and trigger in question, the very act of performing a perception check can provide sufficient stimulation to set it off. If the skill roll under those circumstances wasn't high enough to detect the trap, there's no reason to say the trap doesn't go off.

So, yeah. Searching for traps IS something that can have harmful consequences for failure, and as such can fairly be ruled as not qualifying for take-20.

Edit: Ninja'd by Albatoonoe.

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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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Finlanderboy wrote:

Now a level one character with 2 prestige can buy a combat trained CR 4tiger. With little investment be able to control it to attack things as a move action.

Now it is illegal to have an animal companion more than 1 hd greater than you with the expense of feats and/or favored class bonuses.

So you can severely exploit what was meant to be fix for 2 PP at low levels?

As a player I hate games where a level 1 players brings in a pet that can kill the entire group. Why is my PC there? Part of me wants to get up and walk off the table as a player and DM when my 1-5 scenario has 1 or as i have seen recently four 4cr tigers.

Why is a player capable of using a device far beyond his power at such low levels? This is no fun and makes me want to stop playing low level games until these things stop wrecking it.

I believe it was a mistake for PFS to set the upper limit of Animal companion power at one HD higher than class level; the bar should have been the effective druid level can never be higher than total character level.

Combat trained animals, on the other hand, really are a completely different issue despite superficial similarities. Animal Companion classes tend to come with mechanics that allow the critters to be logisitcally managed outside of combat. A combat trained tiger might plow a low level fight, but good luck having a non-animal companion class character getting his combat trained INTO the fight.

Furthermore, 500gp is a bad investment for a combat trained tiger. If you're so low level that it'll carry you in combat encounters (assuming you can get it to the fight in the first place), that's 500gp you're not saving towards your must-have magic items that will necessarily have to come later. If you're high enough level that 500gp is not a noticeable chunk of your WBL, the tiger probably isn't that big a combat asset. Nor will it scale with you as you progress. Come level 3 or 4, the thing is just waiting to die or be retired to your menagerie- either way it won't contribute.

edit:

Dorothy Lindman wrote:
Very often when things seem overpowered, it's because the players aren't following all of the "downside" rules.

Quoted for truth. However, players in PFS can be fairly reliably counted upon to "conveniently" omit such things; if the GM doesn't enforce downsides, usually noone will.

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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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