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As others have stated, I think the biggest problem by far is that there is just way too much material to get through. Maybe it works at Gencon with 5 hour+ slots and, by definition, nearly everybody being very dedicated gamers but at smaller cons with shorter time frames there is just too much happening.
Locally, we often just decide ahead of time what things to cut. But with all the overhead we still go over time :-(.
The other issue at local cons is the extreme variation in player ability one gets. The high tier tables have experienced players, the low tier tables often have complete newbies. Makes coordinating things difficult.
Prep time for the more recent scenarios can get quite extreme. Which is going to translate into significant differences in how prepped the GM actually is at any specific table.
So, my suggestions would boil down to:
At SkalCon currently, played 2 scenarios today with pregens. One went straight to a "presumed dead" and the other I was willing to risk on a character who had a level before it would be applied. I didn't feel particularly detached, but I did worry strongly about the one I risked.
In retrospect, was that worrying a good thing or a bad thing? Did it enhance your play experience to have that increased stake in the fate of your character?
I've played good characters in PFS for a long time. Sometimes I've had lots of fun roleplaying the conflict with another character who is Evil (I don't care what is on the character sheet, the character IS evi), sometimes it gets aggravating.
In my experience, the best weapon by far is to just say to the player "Look, sorry, I'm tired right now and its probably my fault but could you PLEASE just done down the "I am evil nyah hah hah" stuff for tonight. Thanks"
Sometimes coupled with
Well, I did say "at low tiers" :-).
We were running a module in Campaign Mode once and somebody was playing L7 Harsk. Given that it was Campaign Mode, we took about 10 seconds to swap his xbow for a composite long bow and change his feats a little.
Way more than doubled his usefulness (the next session, the player insisted on running Harsk with Xbow :-()
I still think people are overreacting.
Sure, in theory there is a problem.
However, in practice, there is likely somebody at the Core table who knows about Pharasma and tells the player what she is about. The player then decides to go along with it or switch dieties.
If the player has chosen Pharasma and, sometime down the line, finds out that his domain choice is less than ideal then he gets to switch dieties and/or domains. He made an honest mistake due to a lack of information, when that mistake is revealed he gets to fix it as painlessly as possible.
Or maybe it really is a Core group where everybody is Core and nobody knows nothing about nothing. In which case, he happily plays his illegal cleric of Pharasma because nobody realizes there is an issue.
In any of the 3 cases above, its just no biggy
At low tiers, Harsk isn't actually THAT bad. He maybe shoots his xbow once an encounter and then just uses his axe.
He is only REALLY bad if you insist on using the Xbow :-)
GM Eazy-Earl wrote:
An experienced player tells him.
Lets be honest, a significant chunk of PFS rules exist in forum posts, private questions, blogs, consensus, players experience, etc. While this is less true in Core it is still true.
It is essentially impossible for a new player to find out all the rules on their own.
Heck, I don't think ANYBODY actually knows ALL the PFS rules
I think BNW is being too restrained in his praise :-).
Thank you very much for this, it is much appreciated. I also think that this is absolutely the right thing to do. It encourages GMs to GM at the local level which is a wonderful thing.
For the computer geeks out there :
for(unsigned int i = 0; i >= 0; i++) printf("ThankYou WellDone YesYesYes ");
Aragorn, Gandalf, Sam, Frodo, Gimli, Legolas.
D'artangan, Athos, Porthos
Pathfinder isn't a particularly good game system to replicate most fantasy fiction.
Kevin Willis wrote:
I think that, for PFS, you are far too strictly interpreting Lawful. In a home game the group can come to some form of consensus on what kinds of acts are alignment infractions but in PFS that consensus cannot occur. Which means that I think that an alignment infraction has to be very clearly very egregious to warrant being changed. And this doesn't even come CLOSE to meeting that standard.
Lawful/Chaotic is even worse than Good/Evil in terms of reasonable people disagreeing on what it means in general and in particular cases.
I don't want to start an alignment thread. But my vague metric is something like
Note, I often pose a question "So, why does your lawful character think freeing legally owned slaves is acceptable?" but if the player has an even vaguely reasonable answer I'd accept it
I agree that there are occasional mechanical benefits but most of the time the benefit is far more fluff than mechanical (yes, I'm speaking as a player who has raised an animal companion AND a familiar neither of which were anything at all special mechanically. Flutter would love me :-))
Lets keep in mind that there is still the cost for the two restorations so even if the raise companion is very cheap its hardly free.
Most Romani and related groups find the term insulting. You can argue to your heart's content that "gypsy" invokes colourful wagons full of fun-loving people, but over here, it invokes stereotypes of "unwashed car thieves who refuse to integrate with our glorious Slavic societies and chose to live in ghettos full of grime and crime". And it gets worse in Slovakia and Hungary, trust me.
Thank you for that (sincerely). I hadn't realized that it had that strong a meaning. The Roma aren't very common up here in Canada and, while I certainly knew that there was a lot of prejudice against them in a lot of places I did not know that they saw "gypsy" as an inherently pejorative term.
As an aside, is there any reason to prefer Roma over Romani or vice versa?
How would you suggest I introduce the culture to players new to Golarion? As I said above, in PFS when dealing with new players I find it very convenient and effective to do so with a short pithy real world analogue. Would "The way Hollywood shows Romani" work? I'm not 100% sure that everybody would recognize what I mean by Romani. But I'm an old fart and maybe completely out of touch :-(
Hmm. Two of my favourite operas are La Boheme and Carmen. Now I know why :-) :-)
e.g mountain fatigue
If you mean altitude sickness then no, a thousand tines no.
One thing that I absolutely loved about this scenario is that they had the PCs intelligently get aclimated to the altitude almost as if they were experienced adventurers or something.
[Aside]one thing that amuses me is that Paizo almost always ignores its own rules for altitude (the rules really are very silly). They almost always just collapse the multiple rolls into a single near guaranteed failure.[/aside]
There is immense value in quickly describing a culture, country, etc to a newcomer as a close analogue to the real world.
So, I'll often say "Ulfen, the not-vikings" or "Osiria, not-Egypt".
With Varisians specifically I usually say
I definitely agree with you, it starts at the starting daily value.
There are LOTS of spells that last more than a day that, reasonably, would already be cast or at least have a chance of being cast that, in PFS, are uncast. You can no more start with the reservoir filled than you can start with a Changestaff spell cast or an endure elements cast the night before, etc.
I agree with Ryzoken that one key difference is that stave charges last until used. The other key difference is that the Guide explicitly lists staves as being charged at the beginning of the scenario.
Given the post above (from somebody talking to John Compton IIRC) makes it clear that the most likely ruling is to make bardic masterpieces even more useless I'm kinda OK with them never answering this FAQ.
Currahee Chris wrote:
I may be just picking up on a flaw in the example, but this seems wrong to me. The player who made the 22 would probably know that there is a FALSE rumour that a green dragon lives deep in the woods. At the very least, he'd know that "almost everybody has heard of the green dragon, but only a few people know about the Red Dragon".
Ask your GM is STILL the correct answer.
Rightly or wrongly, there are GMs out there who feel that 2 full powered animal companions are just too much (too much power or too much table time) and will disallow it.
For example, PFS has disallowed it. And there are home games which basically play by PFS rules.
Its a sufficiently powerful and, to many, annoying edge case that you can pretty much expect some GMs to decide to house rule against it.
I want to encourage player engagement with the game. So, I'll allow the player to roll a risk free aid to diplomacy as long as he tells me what his character is doing to aid the diplomacy and as long as what he is doing is vaguely rational (doesn't have to be brilliant, just rationale).
Not necessarily realistic (lots of people talking probably hurts) but seems more enjoyable to me.
I'll only very occassionally roll for the players. I trust my players to try and not metagame but, being human, they can't do that perfectly. Sometimes it is just better if the player DOES NOT KNOW that he just failed a will save, or a Fort save, or whatever.
What I will sometimes do is say "Roll me a D20 and pass me your character sheet".
Player not rolling gets even stranger when dice rerolling mechanisms come into play
Terry Thambipillai wrote:
I'unclear on the point you are making. You might have cared more if you assigned the credit to character 99 deady mcdead ?
Hilary explained it well, but in a nutshell
Prior to the ruling : Nothing to lose, something to gain. I was well engaged with the character.
After the ruling : Nothing to lose, nothing to gain. I found it much harder to get engaged with the character, especially in terms of caring about the Secondary Success Condition
I am NOT trying to reopen the discussion as to whether these rules should be changed. We know that the rules stay as they are for at least 6 months.
But the Blog certainly implied that the PTB are interested in feedback. So, I'm starting this thread to give actual feedback from experience, not theory crafting.
I played in The Serpent's Ire yesterday. Having heard that this could be fairly deadly and having seen how questionable my character build was I decided to assign credit to a brand new PC.
I was the only player out of 5 to do so. The other 4 were assigning it to real characters.
The one thing that I really noticed was that I found it very, very hard to care about the secondary prestige for the character. I wanted to complete the mission successfully and I enjoyed the little bit of role playing the character that the scenario allowed.
But I almost completely ignored the "mission letter" and its hints as to what I was supposed to do. I just couldn't bring myself to care when there was NOTHING on the line for me and it seemed like an in character diversion (my character was supposed to put the main mission first).
Knowing that there was NOTHING on the line made character engagement worse. So, for me at least, the attempt to make me care by putting character resources on the line had the exact opposite effect.
Edit: I should explicitly point out that I have experience with other scenarios where I have played pre-gens (eg, Serpent's Rise) and so am comparing actual play experiences before and after this ruling
I agree that the primary fault for that particular scenario was the scenario itself. But it is just a particularly egregious example of the basic problem.
As to people saying "It is a player issue". Of COURSE it is. And OF COURSE one cannot come up with rules to completely solve the problem.
But the problem is significantly exacerbated by the rules system. When the rules allow such a HUGE power discrepancy between two characters that, on the surface, are essentially functionally identical (lets say mid level characters designed to blast their foes into oblivion with area of effect damage) there is a fundamental problem in the rules.
Andrew Christian wrote:
[Total Aside and Rant]I REALLY wish that Paizo would consult that chart more often when assigning CR numbers to monsters. There are SO many outliers where the listed CR is just obviously wrong. In a recent scenario the CR 12 monster was in almost all ways weaker than the CR 10 monster. And they were both monsters of the identical type published in the same bestiary.[/Total Aside and Rant]
I agree with all the above.
Take the time where the scenario had an absurdly over complicated end boss using all sorts of rules that I don't know well. I spent well over an hour (likely over 2 hours) preparing that encounter.
And it was a complete cakewalk by the players. Other than knowing Initiative and AC all my preparation was irrelevant.
Maybe you enjoy wasting 2 hours of time but I don't
Andrew Christian wrote:
One comment to the OP. It isn't table variation (up to how a GM rules) or a GM being pedantic, for them to follow the rules. That's simply not a fair statement to make. Especially in PFS.
I think its fair to expect table variation. How wild armor applies to shields is VERY badly written, sufficiently badly that I think it quite reasonable for a GM to read it as "obviously, wild armor on a shield preserves the shield bonus. Anything else is ridiculous". I also think a GM is quite within their rights to say "No, it is ridiculously overpriced but a shield only adds the enhancement bonus, despite that being impossible"
One idea that conceivably could help would be to have GUIDELINES stating where approximately characters "Should" be at various levels for various kinds of builds.
Something to at least allow players a chance to self police themselves if they were so inclined.
Not enforced. Just rules of thumb.
At least some of the time the problem is that the player doesn't know whether a +10 to hit at level 7 doing 1d8+6 damage while maintaining an AC of 25 is poor, decent, good, or massively overkill.
Creating any such guidelines would be difficult and filled with disagreements but I suspect the Collective could come up with recommendations. Including suggesting some things that should never be used (dazing fireball would be high on my list, for example :-))
I completely agree that over optimized builds are a huge problem. They cause lots of scenarios to be ROTFLstomp snooze fests. They have also caused Paizo to raise the difficulty of scenarios so that quite a few low tier adventures are far too difficult for new players (while still being easy for experienced players creating over optimized characters).
I have no clue what the solution is. Core IS a partial solution, I play it quite a bit online and it has made things much more challenging even with experienced players.
But, locally at least, new players don't like Core so it has died. New players want to play with all the toys from their new book. And who can blame them?
But this proposal isn't a solution. Far too many things to police, far too impractical to do so.
Svonar Djaeldsen wrote:
Oh no. Who will protect the Trees?
I think that this may have been addressed but, if so, I couldn't find it.
Serpent's Ire uses specified level 8 pregens. Which leads to two questions. Note, I'm not trying to reopen the whole pregen death issue, I genuinely don't know the answers to these questions. And I may have an opportunity to play Serpents Ire this week.
1) Is it still the case that the character that I apply this to must be L7 or lower? On the one hand, the guide says it must be applied to a lower level character. On the other hand, my 8th level character cannot play this scenario so the usual reason for that restriction doesn't apply.
2) If my character dies and I chose to apply the chronicle to a real character how much is that real character supposed to pay? The guide tells me what to pay for a L7 pregen but this is NOT a level 7 pregen.
Jeffrey Reed wrote:
Would level 21 even be a legal character level? Nothing in the normal rules allows that.
Well, you can create a L21 character however you want. Given that any audit as to its legallty will come when you try and PLAY him and that you can't PLAY a L21 character then I think the character is in a perfect Quantum Entangled state and is simultaneously legal and illegal.
I'm definitely not trying to discourage discussion and I didn't intend my posts to come off that way.
But I guess I strongly prefer discussion that is more than a glib "What is the problem?".
My intent was to get Jeff to give reasons for his opinion, not to dismiss his opinion. I guess I could have gone about that more politely and effectively (:-)) and for that I apologize
Edit: If I come across as even more grumpy than usual I'll point out that I have no air conditioning and the current temperature is 95.4 F ( Humidex of 108) :-(
Don't know, but I'm betting that it is related to
Andrew Torgerud wrote:
Only thing its missing is one of the newest gencon boons
I apologize. Arguments that seem to hold one readers interpretation of the words up to some holy RAW standard that all players MUST follow get me irked and I thought your post was one such.
I obviously misunderstood you and apologize. I had thought you were saying that one could NOT rule that one could set the targets at the beginning of the session. If you're saying that there will be table variance on whether you can or not then we are in violent agreement.
Jeff Hazuka wrote:
There are probably literally over a 100 posts (I haven't counted) explaining why people think this is an issue.
Just stating that you don't see a problem without explaining why at least some of those reasons are wrong isn't a positive contribution to this conversation. It comes off as just a dismissive remark, essentially saying that the rest of us are just being silly.
I have no idea if that is your intention, of course.
GM Lamplighter wrote:
Remember, the forums are not representative of the tens of thousands of PFS players. The campaign staff through the V-O's have much better data on this than we do here. If they say there's abuse, I'm willing to believe it's a problem.
I'm willing to believe that it exists. Less willing to believe its a problem.
I'm sure they've heard some anecdotal evidence. But I think that there is a very real chance that they've blown the problem out of proportion. Without very rigid analysis that is exactly what people tend to do, blow anecdotal evidence out of proportion.
And, of course, many of us think this solution won't fix the problem anyway.
There is one person (SinsofAsmodeus, I believe) who said that he has seen abuse.
I'll accept that there IS abuse but it seems clear that it is not common as we now have LOTS of people from LOTS of areas who have never seen any.