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An Incident at Gen Con with a Pig


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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**** Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco aka AxeMurder0

It's too bad that this table didn't work out. Here are some thoughts from this yahoo:

Playing games is about having fun, if you think you won't have fun at a given PFS table get up and walk away, go do something else, in the short run it might offend people but I'd much rather have a player tell me they weren't having fun and leave my table then slog through it and not have fune.

Re-skinning has been labeled as a no-no repeatedly for PFS, in some ways this is good and in some ways this is bad. Not allowing a player their magic bacon making machine bad, having a player re-flavour their swords into lightsabers I'm not so excited about.

The problem is there's no good way to make a rule that allows pleasant reflavouring without allowing unpleasant reflavouring.

At the moment the rule says no reflavouring and I'm a very strong proponent of: if you're playing in an organized campaign you must follow the rules.

Msybe we should change the rules, maybe PFS would overall be more fun with extra pigs? I'm not sure.

P.S. I hinted at this earlier but the civility here very much impresses me.

*** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Richmond aka thunderspirit

I really can see both sides to this discussion. I understand why Chris ran it the way he did -- the rules are there for a reason -- but I also understand why the players left the table -- the purpose of the game is to have fun.

To throw in my two coppers, I think I would have come down on the side of letting the pig stand, since mechanically it's a riding dog and allowable by the rules. (Had I come up with the "these goblins are bacon-crazy," I might well have used it...and I agree that it might well have been hysterical to play out that way.)

I also think I might have approached the player after the slot about the rules violation and worked to help the player correct it, but pretty much have left it at that.

Osirion *

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Chris Mortika wrote:


kwixson wrote:
There's nothing in the rules that says that no character can under no circumstances ride a pig, is there?

I don't believe so, no. However, mounts (of all sorts, from a class ability or simply purchased) need to be at least one size caegory larger than their riders, so that would make it a wild boar (Medium) instead of a domesticated pig (Small). Which is, unfortunately, not available until 4th level.

This seems like a great rule of thumb, but I'm failing to find where it actually states this in the rules. I think a pig would have a hard time carrying a gnome (though Golarion gnomes are quite a bit lighter than even other small creatures), but I can't find in the rules where it says that a creature *must* be a size category larger. Perhaps I'm just missing it?

**** RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Aside: This isn't sized medium? Really?

Qadira **** Venture-Captain, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Thorkull

aptinuviel wrote:


This seems like a great rule of thumb, but I'm failing to find where it actually states this in the rules. I think a pig would have a hard time carrying a gnome (though Golarion gnomes are quite a bit lighter than even other small creatures), but I can't find in the rules where it says that a creature *must* be a size category larger. Perhaps I'm just missing it?

I know it was a rule in 3/3.5, but I can't seem to find it in PF. :( One of those things that got missed in the re-write?

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Thorkull wrote:
I know it was a rule in 3/3.5, but I can't seem to find it in PF. :( One of those things that got missed in the re-write?

I have commented on this in the past. If you look in the descriptions of certain animals in the CRB, you find language that says, "is a suitable mount for a [X]."

While this helps to determine what is an appropriate rider for that mount, I can find no text that defines the size relationship between mount and rider. The concept of "one sized category larger" is a hold over from v3.5

If you are a strict RAW-lawyer, there is nothing preventing medium riding medium, although I think we all know that RAI is exactly that.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I haven't been as thorough as Bob. But the rule keeps getting referred to in other places. The kind of eidolon can serve as a summoner's mount, for example. The way that "an animal companion roc is limited to Large size —- still large enough for a Medium druid or ranger to use ... as a mount." Or lance damage.

And, as Bob notes, when allowable mounts are specificed, they are always at least one size category larger than the rider. Without exceptions.

As I say, I haven't looked through the entire rules system yet. But I'm comfortable making that ruling.

**** Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco aka AxeMurder0

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Isn't the medium donkey listed as a mount for the medium dwarf?

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Where, AM0?

Osirion RPG Superstar 2013

In my experience, PFS judges are fairly top notch, and can handle cosmetic changes to same mechanics. If there is an enforcable rule about reskinning mounts, it is from some need for control and not in the interest of gaming.

Great gaming is about saying yes to your players while challenging them. There's nothing broken or unfair about the change, and enforcing the rule stifles roleplay and causes an awkward exit of players. Also, more players is better than less players, so ending up with a table of 3-4 other characters isn't as much fun, either.

Not knowing the tricks for the companion is the player's bad, but I think it's easy to see how you can edify the palyer by saying "Okay, it uses dog stats, but you want to call it a pig. That's funnny. But it has to be treated like any other mount, so it needs tricks. Can you assign tricks to the pig or do you need a hand briefly?"

The goal of the PFS is for players to have fun and build a brand. And if you aren't doing the former, you aren't doing the latter. Not that what you did isn't okayby the rules, but that in this case, the palyer should take precedence over the rules. The rule doesn't make sense and you can easily ahndle any imediate problems. Also, by other GMs allowing the pig skin, the PFS has given tacit authority to continue to allow the pig.

I wouldn't have let it slide, I'd have encouraged it and the game would have been richer for it, not jsut at that table,but whenever this player talks about her cutesy halfling and her pig mount somewhere else.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Steven,

Would you feel the same way about someone who wants a little dragon instead of a little boar?

Qadira ***** Venture-Lieutenant, North Carolina—Raleigh aka Omega Man

The paladin entry implies that a medium rider needs a large mount, same as a small rider uses a medium mount.

Additionally, the Horse entry in the equipment section has this to say...

Horse: A horse is suitable as a mount for a human, dwarf, elf, half-elf, or half-orc. A pony is smaller than a horse and is a suitable mount for a gnome or halfling.

***

Chris Mortika wrote:

Steven,

Would you feel the same way about someone who wants a little dragon instead of a little boar?

Personally, as long as the item has a mechanical basis that is legal (for instance, a dog or wolf), I'd let it go. It makes no difference to me whether they want to call it a dragon or a "gigantasaurus rex" or a banana peel. I would simply treat it as its mechanical equal in all cases (even for the goblin bacon issue described above).

I see the issue as one where a player was attempting to roleplay but was refused that opportunity. Why are we getting in the way of that if it provides no mechanical advantage?

I'm surprised that we have PFS GMs that are so particular about such minutae.

Rubia

P.S. I'm particularly surprised, since, once this character reaches 4th level, it's a moot point anyway.

**** Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco aka AxeMurder0

I must have been imagining that.
I did find these tidbits from Frost though:

For the sake of riding, however, I'd say that to be a "suitable mount for riding" (as loosely defined in the Ride skill) the mount generally has to be a quadruped one size category or more larger than your character. It would be pretty silly if your medium-sized human paladin rode a medium-sized boar, for example. :-)

He takes a -5 on all Ride checks since a boar isn't a suitable mount for a dwarf (it's the same size category).

http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/pathfinder/pathfinderS ociety/general/paladinMountOptions&page=1&source=search#13

Osirion *

Well, I was trying to politely point out that the rule doesn't exist anymore, but I suppose I could have been a bit more blunt. It's a good rule of thumb, but it's not a rule. The reason it's not a rule is because we don't need a rule that says that. If a creature can carry another creature then you can mount it. Most medium creatures would have a hard time carrying another medium creature (though I'll note that a pony *could* carry a small human without a lot of gear).

In this case a Pig has a strength of 11, meaning it's light load is 38 pounds or less. (Small quadrupeds just multiply carrying capacity by x1). The average female gnomes weighs 35 pounds. She can't have much gear before the pig gets to it's medium load. She's a Cavalier, so I'm guessing it's was *at least* pushing the top end of it's medium load. But keep in mind almost all light horses being used as mounts are perpetually at a medium load. Especially if they're carrying anyone in armor or just most of the 6+ foot, 200+ pound adventurers.

The problem I see here is that there is no rule that says her character can't ride a pig, just a couple of good reasons why it may not be a great idea. Don't get me wrong, I dislike people that disregard rules because it doesn't let them do something "cool". This includes encumbrance rules for both characters and mounts. But if you're going to be a stickler for the rules in a pathfinder society game, and push an issue with a player whose character was approved by another GM, you might want to be very sure your call is correct.


4th level in Society Play is 9 gaming sessions. That's certainly no moot period.

The GM made the right call.

Without consistency organized play is a diminished experience.

Mechanical advantages can be subtle and situational, such as the example that illustrates the problems with having goblins interact with a pig/dog. The GM shouldn't need to figure out how to handle things like this because of a re-skin.

If I'm a player that has built my character according to the rules, I'm going to be very dissatisfied if and when someone receives advantages for their rules exceptions.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

organized wrote:

Mechanical advantages can be subtle and situational, such as the example that illustrates the problems with having goblins interact with a pig/dog. The GM shouldn't need to figure out how to handle things like this because of a re-skin.

If I'm a player that has built my character according to the rules, I'm going to be very dissatisfied if and when someone receives advantages for their rules exceptions.

Someone's not reading. "Treat it exactly like a dog/wolf" provides zero mechanical advantage, as has been pointed out multiple times. You say the GM shouldn't have to figure out how to handle a re-skin, but given that "figuring it out" takes approximately 1.3 seconds, I'd wager that any GM who needs protecting from such decisions probably shouldn't be GMing at all.

I too would be very dissatisfied if a player received advantages for their rule-breaking. But no one is suggesting that they should.


Who is not reading?

Has it not been well established that re-skinning is not allowed in Society Play? I'm fairly certain those types of situations are the reason why.

Shadow Lodge ***

Steven T. Helt wrote:


The goal of the PFS is for players to have fun and build a brand. And if you aren't doing the former, you aren't doing the latter. Not that what you did isn't okayby the rules, but that in this case, the palyer should take precedence over the rules. The rule doesn't make sense and you can easily ahndle any imediate problems. Also, by other GMs allowing the pig skin, the PFS has given tacit authority to continue to allow the pig.

I wouldn't have let it slide, I'd have encouraged it and the game would have been richer for it, not jsut at that table,but whenever this player talks about her cutesy halfling and her pig mount somewhere else.

These are the best two paragraphs in this entire thread because it points out the underlying purpose of PFS: To build a brand. It basically matches my attitude. And if it is a little dragon, as long as they are using riding dog stats, it should be supported and encouraged.

AxeMurder0 wrote:

For the sake of riding, however, I'd say that to be a "suitable mount for riding" (as loosely defined in the Ride skill) the mount generally has to be a quadruped one size category or more larger than your character. It would be pretty silly if your medium-sized human paladin rode a medium-sized boar, for example. :-)

He takes a -5 on all Ride checks since a boar isn't a suitable mount for a dwarf (it's the same size category)

And there are pig species would be defined as medium (they vary rather like dogs), and with a bit of imagination, ride able for a small creature, so there is not a problem using riding dog stats.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

organized wrote:

Who is not reading?

Has it not been well established that re-skinning is not allowed in Society Play? I'm fairly certain those types of situations are the reason why.

It has been established that any re-skinning that actually changes anything is not allowed. You have failed to distinguish between functional and non-functional reskinning. Actually, it's more like you've failed to acknowledge the very possibility of nonfunctional reskinning. As a result, you've responded to arguments for the validity of nonfunctional reskinning as though they were arguments for functional reskinning, citing things (like consistency) that are affected by the latter but are irrelevant to the former.

Shadow Lodge ***

organized wrote:

Who is not reading?

Has it not been well established that re-skinning is not allowed in Society Play? I'm fairly certain those are the reasons why.

Your answer.

aptinuviel wrote:
Well, I was trying to politely point out that the rule doesn't exist anymore, but I suppose I could have been a bit more blunt. It's a good rule of thumb, but it's not a rule.

It was Josh Frost's preferance to not reskin, but it never made it into offical rules for good reason. There are lots of good reasons reskining is harmless in many cases and sometimes even required (read my Throaty Mermaid example).

And yes, I get and support some the need for GUIDELINES that allow GMs to disallow absurdities like reskinned lightsabers and phasor 'wands'. But pigs are reasonable.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Folks, a note here before things get heated: Pathfinder Society doesn't allow for re-skinning, whether it changes game stats or not. As I told the player, she could call her animal a pig, and she could run an insane character who thought her mount was a pig, but she couldn't use her cavalier class ability to have a pig, and everyone else could see if for what it is (a pony or a wolf).

That's not my call. If you think we should have Thing One and reskin it as Thing Two, talk to Mark and see if he'll change PFS policy.

People have asked about her just buying a (Small) domesticated pig and leaving her cavalier's mount home. To be honest, that would have been such a terrible choice (AC 13, 6 hp, -5 to ride checks for it being too small; almost certainly heavily encumbered so move of 20'; no empathic link; no extra skils or feats; no tricks; no combat training; no light armor proficiency ... ) that I didn't even consider it.

In retrospect, I should have considered that and offered it.

Taldor

I don't know this whole thing keeps wobbling all around. First it's a dog that is re-skinned to be a pig when a dog isn't an allowed mount at level 2, then it's actually a pig that was bought and trained but is still somehow getting the bonuses of the mount feature even though its small the only comparable thing is still a level 4 mount. Then it's a whole, "Well it's not a tournament type game" when in fact it is pretty much like a tournament style game where the rules are the rules for everyone involved to make sure that things stay balanced and sane for the whole of the campaign players. What a convoluted mess.

Yeah right now I'm thinking Josh is right at this point and you just aren't allowed to re-skin anything seems the best option.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Kerney wrote:

It was Josh Frost's preferance to not reskin, but it never made it into offical rules for good reason. There are lots of good reasons reskining is harmless in many cases and sometimes even required (read my Throaty Mermaid example).

And yes, I get and support some the need for GUIDELINES that allow GMs to disallow absurdities like reskinned lightsabers and phasor 'wands'. But pigs are reasonable.

I understand where you are coming from, as reskinning is a great tool for home games, when each GM can make the individual call.

But for a game like PFS, I don't know how well it would work, since one GM's wardog-to-pig reskin could be another's longswords-to-lightsabers. For a shared world game like PFS, once you break away from RAW and start allowing GM opinion, I think it can create more problems than it solves.

Qadira **** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Amsterdam aka Seraphimpunk

+1 for taking the fun out of it.
seems to be a more natural progression if she can just keep the same mount throughout her career. if its a young boar, "growing up" into a boar by 4th level...

=P

***

Chris Mortika wrote:

Folks, a note here before things get heated: Pathfinder Society doesn't allow for re-skinning, whether it changes game stats or not. As I told the player, she could call her animal a pig, and she could run an insane character who thought her mount was a pig, but she couldn't use her cavalier class ability to have a pig, and everyone else could see if for what it is (a pony or a wolf).

That's not my call. If you think we should have Thing One and reskin it as Thing Two, talk to Mark and see if he'll change PFS policy.

People have asked about her just buying a (Small) domesticated pig and leaving her cavalier's mount home. To be honest, that would have been such a terrible choice (AC 13, 6 hp, -5 to ride checks for it being too small; almost certainly heavily encumbered so move of 20'; no empathic link; no extra skils or feats; no tricks; no combat training; no light armor proficiency ... ) that I didn't even consider it.

In retrospect, I should have considered that and offered it.

As a PFS GM, I feel like I could have interpreted the intent of the player in question. If it was powergaming, stop it cold. If it was a flavorful roleplaying option, I see the following "rules" apply to the situation:

1) Don't be a jerk.
2) Provide *NO* mechanical advantages for modifications.
3) Infer from "Reward creative solutions" that it also refers to rewarding creative (roleplaying) solutions.
4) The "table variation" section of the guide also suggests that one should not be "stiflingly oppressive", as long as the result is BOTH FUN AND FAIR. Fun should be part of your judgement call.

I know that the guide also says that one should not use these ideals to violate campaign rules, but reskinning (or not) is not part of the campaign rules as far as I can find.

Finally, I'd just like to say that I've played with several GMs who openly say that they "cheat" when running modules so that they can do more things with their boss encounters. Clearly, they're actually changing *mechanics* to make things both fun and fair. I've run several modules in which I've changed various elements for one reason or another.

I fail to see how "not changing mechanics" to make things fun and fair isn't an obligation for all PFS GMs.

In short, it is your call, at least at the moment. I personally feel you made an obviously wrong call. If that player had been more prone to having their feathers ruffled, you'd have lost a player that actually cared to roleplay. A tragedy, by any measure. YMMV.

Rubia

Shadow Lodge ***

Morgen wrote:
I don't know this whole thing keeps wobbling all around. First it's a dog that is re-skinned to be a pig when a dog isn't an allowed mount at level 2, then it's actually a pig that was bought and trained but is still somehow getting the bonuses of the mount feature even though its small the only comparable thing is still a level 4 mount.

1) Riding dogs are allowed.

2)Not all pigs in RL are small and depending on the breed be around 300 pounds. Using riding dog stats are logical and reasonable.
3) Paizo has done it. For example when the Witch Iconic came out with a fox companion there were no fox rules. The offical answer was to use the dog stats with the young template.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Hi, Kerney. You make some good points.

Kerney wrote:
1) Riding dogs are allowed.

At level 4.

Kerney wrote:
2) Not all pigs in RL are small and depending on the breed be around 300 pounds.

Well over that! I went to the county fair a couple weeks ago and some of the prize swine there were enormous. But in the Pathfinder ruleset, domesticated pigs are Small. (capital S; it's a game term) and boars are Medium.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Omega Man wrote:

The paladin entry implies that a medium rider needs a large mount, same as a small rider uses a medium mount.

Additionally, the Horse entry in the equipment section has this to say...

Horse: A horse is suitable as a mount for a human, dwarf, elf, half-elf, or half-orc. A pony is smaller than a horse and is a suitable mount for a gnome or halfling.

I do not disagree that RAI is that the mount must be one size category larger, but the RAW does not actually stipulate that. It just suggests that the horse is a suitable mount for some races. It does not state all the suitable mounts for those races.

For the RAW lawyers out there, this is an important difference and will be used to justify a dwarf riding a medium boar or a gnome riding a small pig.

***

organized wrote:

4th level in Society Play is 9 gaming sessions. That's certainly no moot period.

The GM made the right call.

Without consistency organized play is a diminished experience.

Mechanical advantages can be subtle and situational, such as the example that illustrates the problems with having goblins interact with a pig/dog. The GM shouldn't need to figure out how to handle things like this because of a re-skin.

If I'm a player that has built my character according to the rules, I'm going to be very dissatisfied if and when someone receives advantages for their rules exceptions.

1) No one is suggesting that a reskin should provide *any* mechanical advantage.

2) Certainly the question of "to pig or not to pig" is moot once the player reaches 4th level -- because they can then have a pig.

3) The GM made the call consistent with a rigorous interpretation of the "rules" (where there is no official rule about reskinning). Whether they made the right call is dependent on how much one ought to consider "fun" when making a ruling.

4) Without roleplaying, organized play is a diminished experience. Which do you want to choose?

5) GMs should be able to improvise on the fly to provide an immersive roleplaying experience for 4-5 hours. If it is a major chore for an individual GM to fix a reskin issue, it suggests to me that the GM in question should not be a GM for PFS.

Rubia

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Rubia wrote:


5) GMs should be able to improvise on the fly to provide an immersive roleplaying experience for 4-5 hours. If it is a major chore for an individual GM to fix a reskin issue, it suggests to me that the GM in question should not be a GM for PFS.

If there was wholesale reskinning going on, this would be a harsh evaluation. There are many mods where a reskinned creature could pose huge problems unless the GM completely ignores it. Not unlike a necromancer walking the streets of Absalom with a zombie minion. What's to stop an animal companion class PC to reskin his/her animal to look like a demon? Could cause havoc during role-playing encounters.

Not to mention that we are dealing with a limited-time event. With some prep time, most GM's can easily incorporate a strange side-case. But springing it on them and expecting the best response is not reasonable.

**** Venture-Lieutenant, Louisiana—New Orleans aka waltero

Not that it came up in your situation...

There are Druid Shaman archtypes that can use speak with animals of only particular types. Re-skinning or not, you need to know what the aninmal really is since it affects other characters.

Cheliax ***** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Can't we just all to agree to disagree on this? In the end, GM's who interpret this as 'Rewarding Creative Solutions' are correct and those who don't allow re-skinning are also correct. It is always a player's right to get up from a table just as it is a GM's right to boot a player from a table.

If a player chooses to do something like this or have some weird appearance, they need to know that not every GM will agree with it and should go into it expecting table variation amongst various GMs. They can be pleased when a GM allows it, but they shouldn't be mad if a GM doesn't.

***

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Rubia wrote:


5) GMs should be able to improvise on the fly to provide an immersive roleplaying experience for 4-5 hours. If it is a major chore for an individual GM to fix a reskin issue, it suggests to me that the GM in question should not be a GM for PFS.

If there was wholesale reskinning going on, this would be a harsh evaluation. There are many mods where a reskinned creature could pose huge problems unless the GM completely ignores it. Not unlike a necromancer walking the streets of Absalom with a zombie minion. What's to stop an animal companion class PC to reskin his/her animal to look like a demon? Could cause havoc during role-playing encounters.

Not to mention that we are dealing with a limited-time event. With some prep time, most GM's can easily incorporate a strange side-case. But springing it on them and expecting the best response is not reasonable.

I'm not endorsing it wholesale. I'm saying that when such situations come up in a convention environment (where time is limited and you're unlikely to meet that person for a long time), you deal with it on the fly in the interest of fun, as long as it does not violate fairness.

Moreover, it seems clear that in this particular case, there was no wanton disregard of the status quo, like reskinning ghouls as fair maidens with long hair or something. It was a pig. Pigs do not kick ass. Pigs are fun.

Rubia

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rubia wrote:

Moreover, it seems clear that in this particular case, there was no wanton disregard of the status quo, like reskinning ghouls as fair maidens with long hair or something. It was a pig. Pigs do not kick ass. Pigs are fun.

Rubia

I agree and would have probably allowed the pig. But what we have to consider is that every GM will have a different threshold for skirting the rules. In this case, the player went beyond what Chris was willing to accept. He was following the rules as he understands them and for that I respect his decision.

I equally respect Kevin's (and his wife) decision to walk away. I wish more players would take this action rather than play in a game they will dislike and possible (albeit unintentionally) sabotage the fun of the other players.

It is also a good opportunity for a GM to consider if they are giving the maximum fun to a the widest audience and if they need to adjust their style at all. If over time, players continue to leave the table, you'll find yourself without the ability to GM. In some cases that may be for the best. YMMV.

Please refrain from flaming Chris or Kevin as they both made the decision they felt was right. EDIT--this was not directed at anyone, just a general request :-)

Andoran ****

I would have played along and gone with it for that mod and then taken few minutes to explain the nuances of PFS to her after the game. On the plus side, she's already level 2 and she's only 4-5 more games away from 4th level when she can have a legit pig mount.

In the past the campaign administration has been decidedly anti-reskinning and I have to admit I'm in the same camp. There's a definite 'flavor tax' in PFS for some things. I've paid in the past, I pay it now, and I expect others to pay it going forward.

***

Todd Morgan wrote:

Can't we just all to agree to disagree on this? In the end, GM's who interpret this as 'Rewarding Creative Solutions' are correct and those who don't allow re-skinning are also correct. It is always a player's right to get up from a table just as it is a GM's right to boot a player from a table.

If a player chooses to do something like this or have some weird appearance, they need to know that not every GM will agree with it and should go into it expecting table variation amongst various GMs. They can be pleased when a GM allows it, but they shouldn't be mad if a GM doesn't.

I think we did agree to disagree, in the sense that we believe it was a table GM's call on whether or not to allow reskinning the pig.

I think the underlying issue is in trying to ferret out how to negotiate the line between "fun" and "fair" when the two are at odds. I merely indicated surprise that PFS GMs chose "fair" over "fun". It hasn't been my experience at most tables. In addition, it probably flies against the goals of PFS to make decisions that result in a mass exodus of players from tables because of GM calls.

In the few situations I've played in where a GM was choosing to implement RAW as a hammer, he was completely wrong (and on very simple basic rules, even). We as players let the issue drop in the interest of "fun". If we'd wanted to, we could have forced the GM to follow RAW, but then that individual may not have had fun.

If we're talking about avoiding table variance, then we need to also insist that GMs know the rules for what they're running. That is a very difficult standard to adhere to, and so I thought that defaulting to "fun" handles many of these issues without burdening the campaign.

Rubia

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Rubia wrote:

If we're talking about avoiding table variance, then we need to also insist that GMs know the rules for what they're running. That is a very difficult standard to adhere to, and so I thought that defaulting to "fun" handles many of these issues without burdening the campaign.

Rubia

True. For GM's, it should be expected that you are familiar with the rules, but not reasonable that they memorized all of them. I often rule "on the fly" with what I believe to be the rule, but I have been playing since OD&D and sometimes I get system-confused :-)

It is just as much a player's responsibility to keep the game within the rules as it is a GM's. But it can be time inefficient to have the GM look up every rule. It is easier on the player who often has "off turn" time to research while others are performing their actions.

***

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Rubia wrote:

Moreover, it seems clear that in this particular case, there was no wanton disregard of the status quo, like reskinning ghouls as fair maidens with long hair or something. It was a pig. Pigs do not kick ass. Pigs are fun.

Rubia

I agree and would have probably allowed the pig. But what we have to consider is that every GM will have a different threshold for skirting the rules. In this case, the player went beyond what Chris was willing to accept. He was following the rules as he understands them and for that I respect his decision.

I equally respect Kevin's (and his wife) decision to walk away. I wish more players would take this action rather than play in a game they will dislike and possible (albeit unintentionally) sabotage the fun of the other players.

It is also a good opportunity for a GM to consider if they are giving the maximum fun to a the widest audience and if they need to adjust their style at all. If over time, players continue to leave the table, you'll find yourself without the ability to GM. In some cases that may be for the best. YMMV.

Please refrain from flaming Chris or Kevin as they both made the decision they felt was right. EDIT--this was not directed at anyone, just a general request :-)

I want to state up front that I wasn't ever intending to flame anyone. I simply stated that I was a) surprised by the ruling based on my observation of the culture of PFS GMs, b) pointing out that reskinning a pig on the fly should be well within the capability of a GM, c) if it's not, perhaps there are other more serious issues at hand than reskinning.

As far as players walking away from a table, I have some comments. It's easy to say that a player can simply get up and walk away. However, in many cases, there are real consequences for doing so:

1) In a convention environment, that player may have paid to play in that spot. They are now being forced to waste $X due to a table variation.

2) In a local environment, that GM may be one of a very few GMs. Stepping out of an individual game may mean stepping out of most or all games offered in that area.

3) An individual player boycotting a GM will not necessarily result in a GM with empty tables. There are many more players who wish to play than players who will boycott an individual GM. GMs that travel to conventions, for instance, don't often know the players in advance. Those players, even if they boycott that judge, will have little to no impact on the size of that judge's tables.

For these reasons, it's somewhat missing the point to say that players can enforce their will upon the campaign by leaving a table. There are certain constraints that keep those players more docile than they might otherwise be in such a situation.

Rubia

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Bob Jonquet wrote:


True. For GM's, it should be expected that you are familiar with the rules, but not reasonable that they memorized all of them. I often rule "on the fly" with what I believe to be the rule, but I have been playing since OD&D and sometimes I get system-confused :-)

It is just as much a player's responsibility to keep the game within the rules as it is a GM's. But it can be time inefficient to have the GM look up every rule. It is easier on the player who often has "off turn" time to research while others are performing their actions.

I can think of at least one case where the player had the rule in hand, and was attempting to show it to the GM. The GM said simply that he didn't care what the rule said.

I'm not suggesting that GMs should know all rules. I'm also not suggesting that they should look up all rules questions. I've certainly made rulings in the past to keep things moving and delegated a player to check it in the background (if they cared to do so).

Adjudicating in favor of "fun" is something that GMs do all the time, and in many cases, they do this while blatantly ignoring or delaying the application of PF rules. This practice is both well-accepted and desirable for the flow of the game. I don't see the reason to get all "squealish" over the pig issue.

Maybe I'm just entreating GMs to be gentle in such contexts. Doing so only grows the player strength and makes this game better.

Rubia

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Rubia wrote:
I can think of at least one case where the player had the rule in hand, and was attempting to show it to the GM. The GM said simply that he didn't care what the rule said.

I truly hope this is an isolated incident. It is an extremely rare occurrence that I am notified of bad GM play under my organization. But it has happened once and I had a talk with the individual involved.

If the GM in question continues this course, I hope you have an alternative GM to use or an organizer who is receptive to your complaints.

Shadow Lodge ***

Bob Jonquet wrote:


Not to mention that we are dealing with a limited-time event. With some prep time, most GM's can easily incorporate a strange side-case. But springing it on them and expecting the best response is not reasonable.

Actually, it's par for the course that things will be 'sprung' on the GM sometime. If it's not the pig it will be an underage player and morally questionable content, a new player not knowing the rules perfectly, someone using the rules in unexpected ways which may or may not be legal (and which you should check afterwords or during the game depending how obnoxious they are), someone's kid or parent interrupting, a medical emergency or a player hitting on other players/the GM.

Things are sprung on a GM all the time and it is their job to work, with, through, and around it on the fly in that limited time.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Kerney wrote:

Actually, it's par for the course that things will be 'sprung' on the GM sometime. If it's not the pig it will be an underage player and morally questionable content, a new player not knowing the rules perfectly, someone using the rules in unexpected ways which may or may not be legal (and which you should check afterwords or during the game depending how obnoxious they are), someone's kid or parent interrupting, a medical emergency or a player hitting on other players/the GM.

Things are sprung on a GM all the time and it is their job to work, with, through, and around it on the fly in that limited time. If they are making an issue of reskinning to me it is not proof, but a warning sign that this person is maybe shouldn't be GMing in PFS.

Most of what you describe are uncontrollable or acceptable adjustments. A player knowingly coming to the table with a character that either skirts the rules or outright violates them creates additional adjudication on the part of the GM. Taken as a single issue, not a problem, but added to the laundry list of things the GM has to deal with, it is unnecessary.

Just like the GM has a responsibility to provide players with a fun experience, the players have a responsibility to not intentionally block the GM from providing that fun.

In the case this thread refers to, I respect both parties for what they did, but they both share in creating the situation and how it was resolved.


I remember my first time running a game at a "convention" style event, ah it was grand. It was 1978.

Sorry for not reading all the fiddly posts about rules and enforcement, advantages and game control.

Public event or not, if you cannot try to allow a player to have fun (even if that breaks the "rules") you aren't trying hard enough to play Dungeons and Dragons (or whatever we are calling it this week).

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

Terquem wrote:
Dungeons and Dragons

**looks around for the copyright police**

"Nothing to see here. Move along."

*

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Chris Mortika wrote:
Would you feel the same way about someone who wants a little dragon instead of a little boar?

A dragon is a dragon, a pig is an animal. A dragon has innate abilities, a pig has no abilities. Cavaliers may only have animal mounts. The gnome was trading an animal for an animal (wolf for a pig).

A pig has even less abilities than a wolf (which she was legally allowed), she even said the pig never attacked or had scent (a very useful ability), so she was even getting less than normal!

I like my players to use their imagination. Some of you just want to crush a player's creative spirit. You'd actually prefer powergamers that follow the rules, but twist them to end up running around with synergist Summoners with 50 AC and 38 Str. It makes me kind of sad, for roleplaying in general, a hobby where we're supposed to use our imaginations. That player wasn't powergaming, they were ANTI-powergaming (with a weaker mount). They are *exactly* the kind of player I want at my tables.

Everyone says they don't want to be a rules lawyer, yet few GMs follow the creed. Would you rather play with an anti-powergamer who doesn't follow the rules completely, or a powergamer who follows the rules to the letter (but is annoying overpowered)? Here's the line in the sand. Pig gate.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2013

I think maybe I should be more clear.

I don't fault Chris for running the game as the rules are. I fault the system for being set up to poke holes in someone's fun on the usually errant assumption that a Pathfinder Gm can't handle a simple cosmetic detail.

I would certaily not allow the dragon, even as a cosmetic change. The dragon represents something wholly different. You can't threaten to have a pig breathe fire and such. Totally different case.

Shadow Lodge ***

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Steven T. Helt wrote:

I think maybe I should be more clear.

I don't fault Chris for running the game as the rules are. I fault the system for being set up to poke holes in someone's fun on the usually errant assumption that a Pathfinder Gm can't handle a simple cosmetic detail.

I would certaily not allow the dragon, even as a cosmetic change. The dragon represents something wholly different. You can't threaten to have a pig breathe fire and such. Totally different case.

***Goes off to make a mounted halfing summoner with a flying, fire breathing, pig eidolon.***

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I am known as a Stick to the Rules GM when it comes to Org play, I am not in anyway a "Casual" GM, because it provides a basic consistent set of rules that everyone knows and with little variation, except for unclear rules, you can expect the same thing no matter where you play based on the rules as written.

That said, there is no rule in any book that allows for Re-Skinning of Companions/Mounts what have you, there for I don't allow it and would not let my PFS players back home do. Rules like that are for Home games only and should be left there. If a player says "Whine! you are stifling my roleplaying!" I will tell them you can easily roleplay and have fun withing the rules if you feel that you can't maybe you are playing the wrong game. I don't take kindly to people who try to go around the rules that everyone should be expected to play so there is a some what consistent system. It keeps it fair for everyone and an even playing field all around.

That said, I neither have the time or want to start an argument with strangers at Cons so mostly I ignore it at Cons even though my Brain is screaming to do otherwise.

This happened at PaizoCon a player *A VC no less!* had a companion that was an Ape the he re-skinned as a Charu-Ka, not only is a Charu-Ka not an animal but it is not even the right size category! My brain was screaming, but I decided to ignore it.

Re-Skinning is not a rule, it is a made up rule to appese players that feel that the rules restrain them, when that restraint is only made up in their mind. Because it is not a rule it should not be allowed.

Next someone is going to tell me that it is ok that a player re-skins his race! it is basically the same affect. *I know some of you will have no problem with this*

For Org play we need to stick to the rules so we all know exactly what we will be dealing with and we need to stop making up rules!

Shadow Lodge *****

I love bacon.

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