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So you want to play Pathfinder RPG: A comprehensive guide for Dungeon Masters and Players


Advice

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Silver Crusade

11 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Staff response: no reply required. 46 people marked this as a favorite.

So you want to play Pathfinder RPG

A comprehensive guide for Dungeon Masters and Players.

---

First off, welcome on the Pathfinder RPG community !

This guide is intended to help Dungeon Masters ("DM") and Players alike to understand how to make sure everyone is having fun around the table, a task well-suited to a roleplaying tabletop game.

Maybe your DM sent you a link to this guide.
This is a good indication that you currently have a comprehensive DM who wants you to have fun in his coming game, and is wanting to take his time to build adventures which will give you a good time.

This DM is thinking about you, player. He wants you to have fun, and wants you to know it. He also wants to make sure everyone understands how to behave in this collaborative, social game. By showing you this thread, he wants you to understand what are it's duties, it's rights, and what are yours.
While he plays any and every foe you will meet in the adventure, and while your life always depends on his will ; he is also the one who makes sure you will want to play again next time with a smile on your face, and to talk again about your upcoming adventures in the years to come.

Or, maybe you are a DM having difficulties to deal with your role, and are searching for answers or advices to make the game more fun for everyone - you included.

In any case, this guide will provide you with important rules of conduct when it comes to play roleplaying games that one normally acquires through experience - and most often, BAD experiences. Please read it carefully.

"Brain-in-a-Jar" Maxximilius

---

Table of content :

1. Pathfinder : a collaborative game
- The Most Important Rule
- The 5 Pathfinder Rules

2. FAQ
a. Do you have advices for a new DM ?
b. My DM isn't letting me play X/do X !
c. How to deal with difficult players ?
d. How to deal with difficult DMs ?

---

1. Pathfinder : a collaborative game

Pathfinder RPG, before anything else, is a game. Simple and stupid.
A game is something people do to have fun. The only way to play this game wrong is by not having fun, not because the rules aren't followed exactly as written.

It is thus important to emphasize this statement : the DM and the players are playing with each other.
The DM isn't here to kick player's asses. He's here to challenge them with deadly situations, and provide them with fun and memorable adventures. But with great responsability come great powers, and, as written on the Core Rulebook :

The Mighty Pathfinder Core Rulebook(c), page 9 wrote:

The Most Important Rule

The rules in this book are here to help you breathe life into your characters and the world they explore. While they are designed to make your game easy and exciting, you might find that some of them do not suit the style of play that your gaming group enjoys. Remember that these rules are yours. You can change them to fit your needs. Most Game Masters have a number of “house rules” that they use in their games. The Game Master and players should always discuss any rules changes to make sure that everyone understands how the game will be played. Although the Game Master is the final arbiter of the rules, the Pathfinder RPG is a shared experience, and all of the players should contribute their thoughts when the rules are in doubt.

Read it.

Then read it again just to be sure.

Pathfinder's N°1 Rule :
Dungeon Masters have all authority on their game, and are the final deciders on any topic ever brought on the table.

Players, DMs, there is no "in our group, the DM must" ; "explain yourself or I don't accept it" ; or "but you are doing it wrong, you are DOING IT WRONG AND SEE I SAY IT LOUDER SO I'M RIGHT OK" argument to have. If the DM says "no", it's f%%!ing "NO". Stop b~%+!ing around. Don't be a spoiled, immature, stupid, childish and ridiculous brat peeing himself. The DM is god at his table, he is using his time to provide you with a game, and this means you have to follow his rules, deal with it. BUT, thankfully for everyone, you can...

Pathfinder's N°2 Rule :
Talk to each other.

One of the most ignored, and simplest solution for DMs and players when it comes to arguments, is to talk to each other. DMs, players, do it before playing. Do it during the game. Do it between sessions. DMs, check if your players are having fun, ask them what you could make better. If you aren't having fun, explain them why and ask for change.
Players, talk to your DM about what you would like to see happen in the game, what kind of dilemmas you would like for your characters to deal with, what could be fun to happen to a fellow player as to encourage roleplay drama, talk to him about what you don't like and could be changed.
While the DM is God in his game, he is also a human being.
He is here for you to have fun. You are here to have fun.

=> Talk. To. Each. Other.

Pathfinder's N°3 Rule :
There is no fun if someone in the group isn't having fun.

DM, you are not a writer working on a novel. The players are individuals, and have characters with free will. While banning some classes for roleplay and setting reasons can make an universe more interesting, saying to a player what he HAS to play, or suggesting him in a forceful way is a no-no. It's up to you to make the sessions challenging whatever the group's composition, not to the players to absolutely "have a cleric" or "play a rogue". Railroading the adventure is also a big no. Do concessions, and if your player wants to do something strange, make sure it would work and the player is able to use this opportunity.
Players, don't optimize so much your characters that they are overshadowing the group. You wouldn't want to be the Robin of their Batmans, don't make them suffer the situation. Play what you want to play, in the limits defined by the DM. Don't be a jerk by playing voluntarily an antagonist to another player's character (like a Chaotic Evil necromancer with a paladin), it never ends well, except if you talk to each other beforehand to make it work in a fun and mature way during the adventure.

Pathfinder's N°4 Rule :
Roleplay. Lots of it.

DMs, use your player's characters to create interesting and stimulating situations. A player's NPC brother is a roleplay goldmine, and you will make sure that everyone around the table is interested and implicated in the story.
Players, always explain your characters, how they became what they are. Provide a minimum informations to the DM so he may create a story just for you. Don't scuttle the roleplay occasions just for the fun of it, you will lose at this game, your adversary (which it shouldn't be) is God. Play your character as he is on the sheet, have the character on the sheet be what you play.

Pathfinder's N°5 Rule :
You love it, or you leave it.

DM, your players are bullying you ? They take your advices or fiats for s%@!, play non-legal characters, refuse your limitations, argue the N°1 rule, then have the nerve to use the Rules As Written (but badly read) as an argument afterhand ? They argue during hours your decisions despite your will to be open-minded ? They physically assault a fellow player or yourself ? They are overly lacking respect to you, your neighboors ?
Players, your DM is the insufferable jerk who railroads the story, makes rocks fall, cheats rolls when it makes him "win", follows the rules only when it arranges him, and seems like he is in a power trip with his Alpha Male position of all-powerfulness ?

Call the police if necessary, say goodbye, take your pack, and leave.

This is a GAME.
When you don't have fun with a game, you just leave it and do something better. Remember this. Pathfinder is no exception. There are a lots of nice groups out there or even the Play By Post, don't stick with the stinky group when it comes to RPGs ; especially when they are your friends and your experience could ruin this relationship.

2. FAQ

a. Do you have advices for a new GM ?

Well, as a rule of thumbs :

- Stick with the least amount of rules possible. Even try grabbing the Pathfinder Beginner Box, to enter into the system with a convivial and simple version of the rules !
- If you play in a new group, try being a player during several sessions before being a DM, so you know better what style of game and characters the group likes.
- The DM must always warn players of the rules he wants or doesn't want to use in his game before the game begins, including any houserules. Suddenly changing the rules during the course of the game is both bad form and bad DMing, and should be avoided.
- Your should ALWAYS have your players's character sheet accessible both in paper, and numerical form to check on when needed.
- Don't hesitate to search on the Paizo Messageboards if you need an advice, if you have a rules question, or if something looks fishy and overly powerful in a player's build - like someone double-wielding bows with a four-armed race from an obscure supplement in alpha playtest you don't have access to ; a druid/monk flurrying with natural attacks plus unarmed strikes plus a lot of damage bonus ; or a sorcerer/monk/arcane archer casting several spells per round.* Paizo Messageboards are like Skynet, if Skynet was made of rules-lawyer whose favorite hobby was to play with a complicated RPG with each potential loophole acknowledged and toyed with.
- Do concessions for everyone's fun. But accept no lack of respect, nor argumentation over your decisions.
- You have to know the rules you use ; or to have someone around the table you trust and who knows the right rule at the right time (often called a "rules lawyer"). If during the course of the game a rules argument appears, use the short rule provided in the Core Rulebook : a +2 or -2 to a roll usually is enough. Your duty is to check on the rule for the next time this situation occurs ; your player's duty is to keep the game rolling, not to interrupt it and begin an endless argument about it. YOU are the rulebook once the game begins.
- The Pathfinder Game Mastery Guide provides a lot of deeper advices about how to run a campaign. Grab it when possible on Paizo Store or your local dealer.
- Send this thread to your players. ;)

b. My DM isn't letting me play X/do X !

- Anything you want to play is subject to DM fiat and approval, including AFTER inclusion in the game. If the DM says no to your character or is using a houserule, refer to Pathfinder's N°1 Rule.
- If the DM banned a rule/supplement/class/concept/spell, DON'T argue.
- If you really want to use this rule/whatever, ask him why he banned it.
- If you REALLY want to use this rule/whatever, propose to play with the banned rule, with the condition that your character may be retired at any time if he breaks the balance of the game and makes the game less fun for others. You are signing a social contract of "not being a dick", and it is better for everyone's fun if you don't abuse it.

c. How to deal with difficult players ?

So your players are the kind to argue a lot. Like, all the time, while not being the cleanest when it comes to see how they built their character by forgetting some "details". Despite you applying all this guide's advices so everyone can enjoy the game, they don't even apply the N°4 rule. Or they don't listen to you, or make the rules pass before anything else - including your parole. Maybe they made a list about what the DM can or cannot do. Well, they are f!~@ing wrong, as the Most Important, the N°1 and the N°3 rules already explained.

Use °2. Discuss with them. Make them understand you don't have fun, and would like more respect for the work you originally provide so everyone can have fun around the table with a good ambiance. You're their friend in this game, not their enemy, and this implies that everyone knows it's place.

If this simple thing doesn't work after one or more sessions, use rule °5 as soon as possible.
Some people are just stupid and you will change nothing to this fact. You just have to leave and find better players. Dump them, walk without looking at the explosion. Don't give them a childish "rocks fall, everyone dies", you'll feel much better once you're out and ready to play again with better people.

d. How to deal with difficult DMs ?

So your DM is sometimes dickish, or really doing a lot of things that annoy players around the table. Changing rules on the fly, playing an overshadowing DMPC, trying to kill the PCs as his principal objective before "putting a good experience and adventure for everyone". You wish things would change. You don't have fun because another player is way more powerful, or because the DM seems to hate your character so much that there are only barbarians to fight with your rogue, or antipaladins attacking your paladin by surprise.
Try rule N°2. Explain your problems in private, your current griefs, and what you suggest so everyone can have a better experience during the game. You could even send him this thread as a friendly advice. You just want to have fun, like everyone else, without impairing your fellow players's.

If this doesn't work after some more sessions, use rule N°5. Simple. You don't have to play when you don't have fun.

(*These are real-life examples of players stupidity and munchkinism, not exagerations to make a point. I let you think about them.)


Mods, please sticky this thread.

Silver Crusade

e. But I'm totally right ! See, in the book it is said that...

Read again the Most Important Rule. Then, the N°1 Rule.
If this still isn't enough, turn the Core Rulebook to pages 402-403 :

The Mighty Pathfinder Core Rulebook(c), pages 402-403 wrote:
GM Fiat: The GM is the law of the game. His reading of the rules should be respected and adhered to. It's easy to get hung up on complicated aspects of the game during play, but the game is never enhanced by long, drawn-out arguments over these complications between players and GM. When complications involving rules interpretations occur, listen to the player and make the decision as quickly as you can on how to resolve the situation. If the rule in question isn't one you're familiar with, you can go with the player's interpretation but with the knowledge that after the game you'll read up on the rules and, with the next session, will have an official ruling in play. Alternatively, you can simply rule that something works in a way that helps the story move on, despite the most logical or impassioned arguments from the players. Even then, you owe it to your players to spend time after the game researching the rule to make sure your ruling was fair - and if not, make amends the next game as necessary.

Read it. Read it again to be sure.

Now that you understand the situation, you may try the N°2 Rule, and talk to the DM in private to convince him.
If you still disagree after all of this, don't be "this player" that everyone warns about and gangrenates the roleplaying community : use your right to apply the N°5 rule.

Silver Crusade

Kelsey, by the way, or any GM out there, do you have any "beginner" problems that this guide doesn't provide answers for ?

As a reminder, this isn't intended to be a guide to be a perfect GM, just a guide about what every player and GM around here should know about each other before even sitting around and rolling characters.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

In Pathfinder, it's "GM" - "DM" is a WotC trademark.

Silver Crusade

Lamplighter wrote:
In Pathfinder, it's "GM" - "DM" is a WotC trademark.

To be honest, I wrote "DM" and "GM" half the time during the 4-hours course of writting the guide, and just took the first one that I wrote to correct the rest of the text.

I honestly didn't know about this trademark thing, in my "real" language it's pretty much "MJ", "Meuj" or "Meujeu" for "Maître du Jeu", litteral traduction of "Game Master" since WoTC's D&D.

If it is really a problem, I thank any moderator who could copy-paste the formated text, search/replace the words and copy-paste it back. Shouldn't take more than a minute clock in hand since I can't edit myself the first posts.


Stick with the least amount of rules possible. -Maxximilius.

This is terrific advice. I have recently taken this to the Nth degree by switching to Dark Dungeons, a clone of BECMI and RC D&D, and we are surprised at how much fun it is to have a small number of straight forward rules and leave the 'rulings' up to the GM (me). I must say, I haven't had this much fun gaming since the '90s, when I was playing AD&D 2E.

Happy Gaming all, however you do it, but something must be said for simplicity.

Sam


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am Master Arminas and I fully endorse this message.

MA

Silver Crusade

master arminas wrote:

I am Master Arminas and I fully endorse this message.

MA

Obligatory meme.

Edit :

Sam McLean wrote:
This is terrific advice. I have recently taken this to the Nth degree by switching to Dark Dungeons, a clone of BECMI and RC D&D, and we are surprised at how much fun it is to have a small number of straight forward rules and leave the 'rulings' up to the GM (me). I must say, I haven't had this much fun gaming since the '90s, when I was playing AD&D 2E.

How dare you have badwrongfun and a lot of pleasure playing with another game ? Shame on you, shaaaaame oooon youuu ! *Shakes fist*

Edit 2 :

Also, it should be known that I personally played characters who were walking frankenstein monsters, made of every Paizo supplement's pieces. So the "stick with the least amount of rules" is especially directed to people who don't have enough mastery of the rules without in addition put hundred of rules to what they have to deal with in the Core. ;)

Lantern Lodge

I will suggest one more suggestion/rule to add:

LISTEN and Understand

Listen to what each other is saying. Don't ignore or try to "out-talk" each other. There is usually a reason why a (sane)person speak up, listen to what he or she has to say. It could be he is unhappy the way the way his character is treated, or how her ideals are being ignored.

So try to listen to each other at the table and understand WHY.

More then often, animosity is generated due to people NOT listening to each other. So please, listen to your fellow player/DM and understand.

Silver Crusade

Secane wrote:

I will suggest one more suggestion/rule to add:

LISTEN and Understand

Listen to what each other is saying. Don't ignore or try to "out-talk" each other. There is usually a reason why a (sane)person speak up, listen to what he or she has to say. It could be he is unhappy the way the way his character is treated, or how her ideals are being ignored.

So try to listen to each other at the table and understand WHY.

More then often, animosity is generated due to people NOT listening to each other. So please, listen to your fellow player/DM and understand.

Indeed. Talking to each other implies that you have to -listen- after you have finished talking, as obvious it may sound.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Seconded on the sticky-ing of this thread.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Great Thread - now for some glue...


I have one thing to add to the GM advice, something that is often overlooked.

"Say YES or ROLL THE DICE."

Gm's can say "no" to lots of things out of game, feats, spells, builds, ect. In game, they do NOT have that authority. Players choose their actions. The only thing in the entire game they have control over is the their character and what their character does. A GM should never tell a character "you cannot do that". What they can do is inform the player of the difficulty of the action (even if it's practically impossible) and let the player decide if that's really what they want to do.

Saying "no" leads into the "jerk GM" territory mentioned above. Setting a difficulty and explaining why it is as hard as it is fosters communication, gives Players the final say in their actions and helps to better share the GM's vision with everyone in the game.

Silver Crusade

Doomed Hero wrote:

I have one thing to add to the GM advice, something that is often overlooked.

"Say YES or ROLL THE DICE."

Gm's can say "no" to lots of things out of game, feats, spells, builds, ect. In game, they do NOT have that authority. Players choose their actions. The only thing in the entire game they have control over is the their character and what their character does. A GM should never tell a character "you cannot do that". What they can do is inform the player of the difficulty of the action (even if it's practically impossible) and let the player decide if that's really what they want to do.

Saying "no" leads into the "jerk GM" territory mentioned above. Setting a difficulty and explaining why it is as hard as it is fosters communication, gives Players the final say in their actions and helps to better share the GM's vision with everyone in the game.

I guess it's part of the "do concession" and "don't railroad" mottos and of the game in itself, but it's always worth reminding.

Shadow Lodge

Listed.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Maxximilius wrote:
The DM is god at his table, he is using his time to provide you with a game, and this means you have to follow his rules, deal with it.

Whenever someone types something like this, I am unable to read any more of their post.

Also, the paragraph from the book that you use to support this interpretation, pretty much doesn't support this interpretation.

I agree, GM's are the final arbiter during a session. Having a method of dealing with rules disputes quickly and efficiently during a session is a good gaming practice. Being that arbiter does not make you the god/tyrant of the table though.

This kind of sentiment leads to bad gaming in my experience, it becomes a top down process, the GM dictates, the players listen. Plots become sacrosanct and his favorite NPC is probably unkillable. Removing the "god complex" often solves a lot of these problems.

Shadow Lodge

Funny that you add the word 'tyrant' in there, when it was not mentioned in the quote you provided. I think that may be your own perspective coloring things.

Silver Crusade

Taking out of context a 30-words long sentence out of a text made of 2747 isn't paying much homage to the real message of the thread.


Maxximilius wrote:
Taking out of context a 30-words long sentence out of a text made of 2747 isn't paying much homage to the real message of the thread.

Enjoying this. Thank you for writing it.

Mind if I borrow some of it for a community guide?

Silver Crusade

Ruggs wrote:
Mind if I borrow some of it for a community guide?

Go for it as you wish, there is no copyright on good manneers. ;)


Maxximilius wrote:
Ruggs wrote:
Mind if I borrow some of it for a community guide?
Go for it as you wish, there is no copyright on good manneers. ;)

Thank you very much.

Silver Crusade

Ruggs wrote:
Maxximilius wrote:
Ruggs wrote:
Mind if I borrow some of it for a community guide?
Go for it as you wish, there is no copyright on good manneers. ;)

Thank you very much.

You're welcome !

Silver Crusade

Thread bump.

Shadow Lodge

I don't think Irontruth was looking for dialogue. He just wanted to defecate his opinion all over.

Silver Crusade

He still makes a point about the importance for a GM of not going in a power trip. Being God doesn't mean being an all-powerful jerk who doesn't understand he's playing a game where the players change things, not a grinder where they have to follow his awesome plot exactly how it is written on his notes.

Shadow Lodge

Sad it is that such a thing need be called out instead of being obviously understood.

Taldor

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Tales Subscriber

dotted

Silver Crusade

Well, I suppose you can understand it with the original post, if you at least go through the "BUT" written in bold caps as to express that there is some kind of, like, super important thing to also know. But this supposes to not stop reading... which is also a bit why there was a word in bold caps to begin with...


2 people marked this as a favorite.
TOZ wrote:
Funny that you add the word 'tyrant' in there, when it was not mentioned in the quote you provided. I think that may be your own perspective coloring things.

Yes, my perspective does color how I see things. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.

When someone is giving advice and very early the give me advice that is extremely contrary to my goals and desires, it colors my ability to listen to the rest of it. IMO, the statement "GM is god" has no place in roleplaying advice and doesn't need to be added. If other people are fine with it, so be it, but don't expect me to approve of it.

If someone was giving driving safety advice and their third statement was "never buckle your seatbelt" would you pay attention to them? I wouldn't until this statement was addressed and possibly retracted.

Shadow Lodge

And yet you still need to listen to them to correct them. After all, if you walk out the moment they say that, you give up the opportunity to do so.

Silver Crusade

Because doing an analogy about an advice that could be read as totally retarded and life-threatening is helping to higlight your point of view about how a roleplaying game should be handled.

Yes, the GM is god at the table.

He's the final arbiter, the world creator, he's every enemy and ally you will meet, he's your death and life, the GM is your universe.
And by sitting on his table, you agree to follow his rules (don't forget that some GMs out there didn't even take this obvious statement for granted and were right out bullied by slimy players, so such advice don't fall in deaf ears) ; while by sitting on the table, he agrees to make a fun time for everyone, to be fair and knowledgeable, to work for everyone's pleasure, and not abuse his power.
He's great, but he has the sacred duty of making good use of this omnipotence ; and if he ever was to be a dick, the player can leave and find a better GM whenever he wants.

Do you still refute this statement ? Because these lines resume pretty much the entire post you didn't want to read.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Maxximilius wrote:
The DM is god at his table, he is using his time to provide you with a game, and this means you have to follow his rules, deal with it.

DEAR NEW PLAYERS:

This is not the only perspective in GMing. If you find a GM with this perspective and it is obnoxious to you, find a different group. There are groups where everyone understands that the game is owned by all the players equally.

Shadow Lodge

Maxximilius wrote:
Do you still refute this statement ? Because these lines resume pretty much the entire post you didn't want to read.

I do. As AMiB points out, this is not the only way to view the role of the DM. You say he's the world creator, but he doesn't have to be. The players can contribute just as much as he does, if he lets them. If he uses published material, he's accepting other players contribution to the world. All he has to do is ask, and if the players are so inclined, they can take off some of the workload.

A DM that hoards all the work required to run the game, without asking for help, does not get exaltation for it. Only if the players abstain from helping out should his effort be considered worth more respect than others.


The GM is a player like all the rest. He has the most important role, a kin to a goalie or pitcher in sports, but a player none the less. If the GM wants to be a god, then he's not playing with the others anymore.

Silver Crusade

A Man In Black wrote:
Maxximilius wrote:
The DM is god at his table, he is using his time to provide you with a game, and this means you have to follow his rules, deal with it.

DEAR NEW PLAYERS:

This is not the only perspective in GMing. If you find a GM with this perspective and it is obnoxious to you, find a different group. There are groups where everyone understands that the game is owned by all the players equally.

The funniest part about this, is that what you are saying is exactly how we handle our own game in which I play each week.

We have the most comprehensive GM we could have wished for, and we respect any ruling/restriction that could be established (though myself rules-lawyering when needed helps him a lot) ; but yet again we are playing between good friends, so the notion of "GM is god" is fully respected without for him to look like a tyrant. Ah, and we love to contest, argue or bargain his decisions. It just never lasts more than 10 seconds because we know how to talk to each other and make the game funnier for everyone, even if it implies to allow someone to do something he shouldn't be able to do (activating Celestial Armor when sent glying by a geyser during another's creature round ? Check. Jump to protect his NPC wife against a blow ? Check. Giving a morale bonus for an inspiring speech despite being a fighter ? Check. And it continues for a long time like this.).

Because, guys, Rule f@%%ing N°2. Reading more than the first sentence helps sometime.

Edit :

TOZ wrote:
The players can contribute just as much as he does, if he lets them. If he uses published material, he's accepting other players contribution to the world. All he has to do is ask, and if the players are so inclined, they can take off some of the workload.

I'm beginning to feel like I'm the one having difficulties to express myself.

Again, in our own game, I helped the GM flesh the homebrew world ; each and every player gets to create a part of the world with his character's background, or simply by saying "I know X person in the city which is pretty roguish and could give us information", even if such person enver came up before. It's not because the DM is god that he is the only one working on it. Cooperative game + use your players's backgrounds and ideas + don't railroad + ask to each other how to make the game better, it's all in the text.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Maxximilius wrote:
We have the most comprehensive GM we could have wished for, and we respect any ruling/restriction that could be established (though myself rules-lawyering when needed helps him a lot) ; but yet again we are playing between good friends, so the notion of "GM is god" is fully respected without for him to look like a tyrant.

I read the whole thing, and read the entire argument between TOZ, you, and Irontruth. Y'all can argue about GM/player agency and playstyles and whatever all you want, I don't care. I just wanted to make it clear that there's no reason to tolerate some jerk on a power trip.

Silver Crusade

Now that people are talking about it, I should have indeed written than the GM is a player like any other. This simple statement is both true and follows the guideline through the text that wants to say "GM has rights and duties, players have theirs, but the most important is to have fun and be open to anything without acting like a tyrant or spoiled brat".

I feel like I didn't express myself correctly on this one ; but yet again, this guide isn't made for full-on veterans which most people who posted previously are. It's more a tool you bring to a game with new players/GMs you don't know much and that you will discuss with them to make them understand that you are open... when you show your teeths before being cool and nice, it avoids having to show your teeths later for having been too cool and nice, if you see what I mean.


Maxximilius, I understand what you are trying to say. I think most people do. The problem, I believe, is the way you expressed your point.

Quote:

...Pathfinder's N°1 Rule :

Dungeon Masters have all authority on their game, and are the final deciders on any topic ever brought on the table.

Players, DMs, there is no "in our group, the DM must" ; "explain yourself or I don't accept it" ; or "but you are doing it wrong, you are DOING IT WRONG AND SEE I SAY IT LOUDER SO I'M RIGHT OK" argument to have. If the DM says "no", it's f#&@ing "NO". Stop b!~*@ing around. Don't be a spoiled, immature, stupid, childish and ridiculous brat peeing himself. The DM is god at his table, he is using his time to provide you with a game, and this means you have to follow his rules, deal with it...

I would imagine that if you were speaking in person to us, you would have said that with a humorus tone. You are being ironic and exagerating for empahsis. However, that does not come across well when typed without qualifiers.

The wording appears extreme. This was stated much more emphatically (and with masked profanity) then the rest of your most. It gives the impression that it is much more important than the rest of the post.

It brings to mind all the bad power trippin GM's that some of us have experienced. (There are some truly awful ones out there.) The other parts of your post show you are not proposing that, but the extremism tends to over shadow it.

I have participated in some (and lurked in others) of the threads that lead to this. I agree at least 99% with what you are trying to say. Always with thought that there are exceptions. Almost any sort of wierd, screwed-up, unplayable group dynamic you can imagine: there are people who will like to play that way.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Maxximilius wrote:
It's more a tool you bring to a game with new players/GMs you don't know much and that you will discuss with them to make them understand that you are open... when you show your teeths before being cool and nice, it avoids having to show your teeths later for having been too cool and nice, if you see what I mean.

Aieee.

This kind of "show your teeth" to put the players in their place attitude is not required to have a stable, healthy game, even with new players. I would go so far as to say that it's a dysfunctional habit that you'd need to unlearn if you want to avoid driving off players who aren't willing to tolerate that sort of nonsense. (People are willing to put up with a lot, though.) RPG groups are not a pack of dogs, where the GM has to assert his dominance and get the players to show their bellies before the group can proceed amicably.


Maxximilius wrote:
Yes, the GM is god at the table.

Yes, I refute this statement. I find it counterproductive and potentially even destructive advice. My own experiences serve me as proof. More than one gaming group I have been in has removed the GM, either completely or just chosen a new one and allowed him to remain as a player. When I was younger, GM's acted like gods and often behaved poorly. I no longer tolerate it.

The statement has no value as gaming advice. Some of the other text surrounding it is useful, but that statement itself is not. Your placing of it in rule 1 tells me that you consider it of prime importance to how a gaming group is run. Your defense of the statement would seem to corroborate that interpretation.

Lantern Lodge

Maxximilius wrote:
Your should ALWAYS have your players's character sheet accessible both in paper, and numerical form to check on when needed.

Awesome - I highly recommend DMs use Google Docs or another form of cloud sharing to make these available to players. It is as simple as adding your players e-mail to the share settings and viola - instant access. They can print them out and have them at the first session.

I know that if there is a new revision - I have them bring it - point it out, talk about it and answer questions if there are any (usually there are not because we don't up-rev the table rules unless the table is under complete agreement or understanding.

This would also be a great thread to copy and paste (with a link to this thread) as a prologue to the table rules.

+1 and great thread - I listed it :)

Lantern Lodge

Maxx - to be fair - when you first wrote this we were all a little up in arms about the shenanigans being pulled at a DM's table and posted about here on the forums.

I think that without context - the passion with which you posted is lost and therefore your intent is misunderstood.

For those who can look at the intention - and not word lawyer over what you intend to say versus weather or not they would express it in such a way - will try to add to this thread and clarify. The others will only try to detract. Astonishing how similar it is to the gaming table ;)

I simply recommend clarifications and letting those hellbent on disagreeing (even though they are saying the exact same things, just with different words) to disagree.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber

I thought the original post was very good and didnt see the same problems others did.

I havent read the other threads about GM shenanigans.

Re the Gm as god issue- I dont equate god with tyrant.

The fact that in many games the referee is the final arbiter of whether or not you committed a foul, scored a goal or hit the ball out or whatever doesnt mean that he is a tyrant. It is just a construct of the rules and the way it is played to resolve disputes.

sure in rpgs the role of referee is combined with the role of narrator, npc tactician etc but to me the gm is still the referee and deserves the same respect for that aspect of the game as any referee.

the advice to the gm to respect the players, that their job is to facilitate fun, talk to each other etc made it pretty clear imo that the intent of the advice wasnt to suggest the gm should behave like a tyrant- anymore than the advice in many games to the effect "the decision of the umpire is final" isn't intended to convey that the umpire should act like a tyrant.

Perhaps anyone who read the whole advice and took from it that when they gm'ed they were entitled to be a tyrant and stuff people around would be mischeiviously misinterpreting the post as a whole- and yes these people do exist but even if the god comment wasnt included they would probably behave the same way.

In other words saying the GM is God isnt what makes them act like a tool, anymore than it makes them act like a benevolent overseer of the world.

Lantern Lodge

Werecorpse wrote:

I thought the original post was very good and didnt see the same problems others did.

I havent read the other threads about GM shenanigans.

Re the Gm as god issue- I dont equate god with tyrant.

The fact that in many games the referee is the final arbiter of whether or not you committed a foul, scored a goal or hit the ball out or whatever doesnt mean that he is a tyrant. It is just a construct of the rules and the way it is played to resolve disputes.

sure in rpgs the role of referee is combined with the role of narrator, npc tactician etc but to me the gm is still the referee and deserves the same respect for that aspect of the game as any referee.

the advice to the gm to respect the players, that their job is to facilitate fun, talk to each other etc made it pretty clear imo that the intent of the advice wasnt to suggest the gm should behave like a tyrant- anymore than the advice in many games to the effect "the decision of the umpire is final" isn't intended to convey that the umpire should act like a tyrant.

Perhaps anyone who read the whole advice and took from it that when they gm'ed they were entitled to be a tyrant and stuff people around would be mischeiviously misinterpreting the post as a whole- and yes these people do exist but even if the god comment wasnt included they would probably behave the same way.

In other words saying the GM is God isnt what makes them act like a tool, anymore than it makes them act like a benevolent overseer of the world.

This is important - and the crux of the matter IMHO.

I guess it comes down to God concepts and how people view what a God is like or should be like. To me any God that is worthy of attention is just and benevolent. So when the statement the "GM is God of the game/table" is made - I infer that they should hold the above stated qualities.

YMMV.

To each their own - but:

Personal opinion mixed with sarcasm:
it is sad to me when we associate "deity" with "tyranny." Perhaps it is the letter "y" creating the association.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Lex Talinis wrote:
wordswordswords about God

I don't know about you, but I find being told to "deal with it" amid a profanity-laced tirade the objectionable part.

Lantern Lodge

A Man In Black wrote:
Lex Talinis wrote:
wordswordswords about God
I don't know about you, but I find being told to "deal with it" amid a profanity-laced tirade the objectionable part.

I take no offense to it, it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. Reasons included below.

We've gone way off topic:
It seems that perhaps you have missed the intention and the context of this thread and why it was created (this is understandable as it has been a while.. Furthermore it seems as though you may be missing the many times he encourages DM's and players to have an open and honest dialogue - but if it is not longer a value added dialogue then instead of yelling at your DM - understand that they are the final say. Sure it could be more eloquently worded - but eloquence is just as subjective from one person to the next as what people consider "good art."

The thread that created this was very emotionally charged - so take it in context with a grain of salt.

If I was presented with a group like what spawned this thread - I would have told them all to deal with it or get the hell out. It was an extreme example and fortunately one I have never had to deal with - and frankly I don't think I ever will have to.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Lex Talinis wrote:
Furthermore it seems as though you may be missing the many times he encourages DM's and players to have an open and honest dialogue - but if it is not longer a value added dialogue then instead of yelling at your DM - understand that they are the final say. Sure it could be more eloquently worded - but eloquence is just as subjective from one person to the next as what people consider "good art."

This is quite on topic.

He encourages a GM to assert control of the group, then entertain a dialogue with the players within that framework of absolute control. The GM is in charge, and cedes control at his whim to the players, and their recourse if they disagree is to leave. That's better than the attitudes of the ironfisted my-way-or-the-highway types, but it's not the only framework or relationship to have. It's not even a healthy framework: it only functions when the GM is a dominant person willing to do most of the work or take on the job of delegating the work, and when the players are willing to be subject to that dominance. That doesn't describe all players or GMs; I would submit that it doesn't even describe most players or GMs.

I assume the thread that spawned this is the "How do I discourage dipping?" thread? Because that is just a dysfunctional group. If one player was the problem, everyone can eject that player; you don't need an all-powerful GM exercising jus divinum to do that. If everyone was the problem and bullying a GM who was made uncomfortable, that GM needed to just leave, because that group was treating him like crap. Bullying the group right back wasn't going to fix that dysfunctional group, just perpetuate the same problems.


Lex Talinis wrote:
It seems that perhaps you have missed the intention and the context of this thread and why it was created (this is understandable as it has been a while.. Furthermore it seems as though you may be missing the many times he encourages DM's and players to have an open and honest dialogue - but if it is not longer a value added dialogue then instead of yelling at your DM - understand that they are the final say. Sure it could be more eloquently worded - but eloquence is just as subjective from one person to the next as what people consider "good art."

I'm sorry, I just came across this thread by itself. The OP is presenting itself as a guide for new entrants to role-playing, this is how I am approaching this thread. When writing a guide, it should be assumed that the reader does not have whatever context is floating in the author's head. Good writing provides context, not providing it is an example of bad writing.

He does encourage GM's and players to work out their issues. Gods don't do that though. Gods make decree's from on high and punish people when they don't follow them. If that isn't a GM's role at the table, then why imply it? It serves no value.

I agree, every gaming table should pick one person to be the final arbiter of rules decisions. 99% of the time, the most obvious choice is the GM. In the interests of actually playing, the arbiter's decisions should be adhered to instead of endlessly debated.

GM's aren't gods. They can be kicked out of a group just as easily as anyone else. Why waste time in a "guide" trying to imply they are? Especially when more words are used to describe how communication is more important than on-high-decree's, arguing and shouting.

Silver Crusade

... let's just destroy/flag this thread. I forgot way too much important informations in the process of taking them for granted - a somewhat unwise assumption for what is supposed to be an advice thread.

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