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Checking Rules


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

Qadira *** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington D.C. aka Grolick

I'm curious as to how other GM's handle this kind of situation. I'm pretty good with the basic rules, and even know a fair number of spells. But ever since the APG came out, and they introduced a bunch of different archetypes, I'm not able to keep up with all of them.

On Saturday, I had a player who had a Barbarian using two different archetypes, which I wasn't familiar with. As the scenario progressed, I was convinced he was doing things wrong, but wasn't sure. So I finally sat down, pulled out the APG, and read the archetypes and discovered they were in fact being run wrong. I corrected him, and he started playing it properly.

Do you all generally take a second in the middle of a scenario to read rules about a character you aren't familiar with? It seems like we should, since it's our job to run things properly, but I just wanted to see what others do.

Andoran ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—St. Paul

If actions don’t seem to be scenario breaking, then I usually don’t bother. I will look it up after the fact and do my corrections after the scenario (or before the next one).

But if the actions being taken are having a serious impact on the scenario, then yes, I will look it up and do the correcting on the spot.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I don't check a character's capabilities unless something seems fishy. I can correct most common errors off the top of my head (unless it's in an area that I haven't gotten to try out yet), but when someone brings in some crazy seven-book frankenstein, I'll just assume they've done their homework unless I have reason to suspect otherwise.

Interestingly, even in those situations it seems that errors tend to be based on the same fundamental misunderstandings that trip up much simpler characters.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, California—San Diego

Andrew Christian wrote:

If actions don’t seem to be scenario breaking, then I usually don’t bother. I will look it up after the fact and do my corrections after the scenario (or before the next one).

But if the actions being taken are having a serious impact on the scenario, then yes, I will look it up and do the correcting on the spot.

This

Sczarni *** Venture-Lieutenant, Connecticut—Manchester aka Cpt_kirstov

Very early in the scenario you can pick out the players who can help out with rules, if you arn't sure with something, you can look to them to see if they are similarly confused... If it is a player, don't be afraid to ask them to show you. That is why they are required to bring the books for the things that they use out of non core assumption.

Lantern Lodge **

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I usually request to look over their character sheets before the gaming session begins, then if I have any questions i can look it up or ask the person about it. Sometimes it is just a mistake in interpreting the information in the book.

Shadow Lodge *** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Silicon Valley aka JohnF

Cpt_kirstov wrote:
Very early in the scenario you can pick out the players who can help out with rules . . .

It's a lot easier nowadays when players often show up with smart phones or tablets. I'm one of them, and I've been asked to hunt down a particular rule a couple of times - it's a lot less disruptive than stopping play to check something that only has a minor impact on the storyline (and full-text generally search beats flipping through multiple rulebooks). My regular GMs also know that I'm trying to learn the rules well enough to be able to step up to the GM role myself.

*

Depends on time, but yes, I'll get a player to hunt down a ruling if I'm not short on time or running a 7 player table.

Andoran

I like to find out what a player's plans are for a character, so that I can try to familiarize myself with anything they may be trying to do (or at least create a handy cheat sheet for me to consult in case questions should arise.) I also know my players fairly well, so I know which one's are likely well-versed in their character abilities and which ones aren't, so that helps.

Shadow Lodge *** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Silicon Valley aka JohnF

Jason S wrote:

Depends on time, but yes, I'll get a player to hunt down a ruling if I'm not short on time or running a 7 player table.

We generally don't stop play while the rule is being researched (as long as it isn't a game-critical decision), and the GMs call for what happened stands even if this turns out to have been incorrect. In fact this is most likely to happen on a table with five or more players, where there's time to hit the books before it's your turn again. It's just a followup to clarify an uncertainty that arose during play, to make sure that the next time it comes up everybody is better informed.

Taldor

First I dont allow any books other than the Core book without me having a decent knowledge of what is in the book. Even as such if it seems the PCs are favoring one book over the other (i.e. all classes are coming out of the APG) I'll disallow it.

The second is I require all PCs to hand over their character sheets at the end of each session for me to update in HeroLab. That way I know that everything is correct. Yes I dont trust any PC simply due to powergamers miscalculating numbers, or outright cheating. When that happens I simply dont want to GM anymore (as increasing the challenge then becomes a whine fest of sorts).

If a game is going I'll stop it long enough to find the rule (under a few minutes). If it takes longer I'll put a rule in place and run with it until more research can be done at a later time.

(Just realized that this is under the Pathfinder GM Society, and as such my answer would not be valid. The best is to be familiar with whatever books are allowed, and look over the sheets prior to play. For a rule on the fly what I mentioned still stands.)

Qadira *** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington D.C. aka Grolick

Andrew Christian wrote:

If actions don’t seem to be scenario breaking, then I usually don’t bother. I will look it up after the fact and do my corrections after the scenario (or before the next one).

But if the actions being taken are having a serious impact on the scenario, then yes, I will look it up and do the correcting on the spot.

I'm a notorious rules lawyer (just ask my friends in non-PFS games), so it usually bugs me not knowing. That said, this particular instance was rather scenario breaking in that it seemed to give a huge combat advantage to the character. I actually let it go through the entire first scenario, assuming the player knew the rules, but after more thought, I looked it up in the second one.

I think also when you start playing a lot, you kind of know who to trust with rules and whatnot.

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