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RPG Superstar 2015

Am I the only one annoyed by constant Aid Another?


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew

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(This is about Aid Another when used for a skill, not an attack)
(Also, I'm posting here because it's more of an issue in PFS, where you get larger groups and you can't house-rule)

*** PROBLEMS WITH AID ANOTHER ***

P1) Anybody can help an inspired expert and push him further. Good points have been made elsewhere about the notion that a journeyman can help an expert at times. Sure, when he underperforms. But what if the expert excels?

P2) It's risk-free. Shouldn't totally clumsy PCs hamper the expert?

P3) It destroys the balance of hard DCs in those specific skills where you can use it (e.g. diplomacy) relative to the others (e.g. knowledge).

Example 1: the half-elf bard does a brillant speech, rolling 30... and not only can the rude dwarf barbarian actually improve that result, also there's no way he can make any misplaced comment or rude noise.

Example 2: nobody's good at Intimidation in the party, but don't fret: even the skinny wizard and the bland cleric can help push the bard into Difficult DC territory, risk-free.

Result= seasoned players always ask for Aid and the "everybody roll for Aid!" drill becomes dull and involves no planning nor reflection whatsoever. Also, tasks where Aid is possible become a joke.

Simple maths shows you that Aid adds on average at least 5 to the check result for a 5-PC party, which is a very large bonus. The average level 2 party can succeed on "difficult" DC20 at least 80% of the time. Worse is the fact that it is independent of the DC. So that the obtuse fighter can actually help see through elaborate lies, for example.

*** SUGGESTIONS ***
Here are fix ideas. The problem is the RAW leaves little wriggle room

Fixes that don't involve rule change:

F1) Put drastic limitations on the number of aiders. Flaw: doesn't address P1 nor P2.

F2) Forbid Aid and use Group Checks (take the best result) instead. Prevents P1 and is easy to apply. Flaw: doesn't fully prevents P3. Doesn't address P2.

Fixes that involve rules change:

F3) D&D4 style. Failing the Aid gives -2 to the expert. Advantage: minor change, simple to use, self-regulating. Flaw: requires some GM oversight. Doesn't really address P1.

F4) Group Checks with Hamper. Make a group check for all active participants, but substract 2 to the best result for each result under 10 (min=worst result). Good for e.g. Diplomacy checks. For e.g. stealth checks, use Weakest Link with Help: take the worst result, but add 2 for results above 10 (max= best result). Self-regulating, still allows constant usefulness from decently-skilled PCs, but does not imbalance the challenges, while allowing risk-taking ("I'll try and help anyways!"). Flaw: longer to explain and resolve

What do you think? What's your experience with aid?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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First and foremost, there's this:

FlorianF wrote:
P3) It destroys the balance of hard DCs in those specific skills where you can use it (e.g. diplomacy) relative to the others (e.g. knowledge).

Let's get something clear: you're talking about a Core mechanic. Something that's been in the game a good long while, is not the result of unforeseen combinations of splat books written by different authors, and was deliberately made/kept a part of the game as a conscious decision by people more capable than you or me.

The intended balance of the game includes Aid Another. As a general rule, if a Core mechanic breaks your sense of game balance, then it's your sense of game balance that is wrong, not the Core mechanic in question.

That said, you also need to make sure you're running the Aid Another rules correctly - after all, that's part of the intended balance of the game as well. Consider this:

PRD wrote:

In many cases, a character's help won't be beneficial, or only a limited number of characters can help at once.

In cases where the skill restricts who can achieve certain results, such as trying to open a lock using Disable Device, you can't aid another to grant a bonus to a task that your character couldn't achieve alone. The GM might impose further restrictions to aiding another on a case-by-case basis as well.

When Mal is talking up a deal and Jayne is just standing there behind him, he's not Aiding. If the PC actually does something that could potentially be helpful (as decided by you, the GM), then they can make an Aid Another check. "I aid", followed by rolling a d20, is not sufficient.


Even in PFS, I think you have permission to leverage circumstance bonuses and penalties.

Each player should specify how his or her character is aiding, and what they're saying if it's a Bluff/Intimidate/Diplomacy check. If they can't think of anything useful to contribute, or worse yet they're actively disruptive, you can penalize them appropriately.

The key there is appropriately. Aid Another is in the rules. They're free to use it. Doesn't mean you can't make them work for it a little.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
The intended balance of the game includes Aid Another. As a general rule, if a Core mechanic breaks your sense of game balance, then it's your sense of game balance that is wrong, not the Core mechanic in question

Do we really need to get this personal, Jiggy? We generally don't rejigger these kinds of basic core mechanics for PFS and try to run games per the RAW; we all know that but Florian might not.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Alex Greenshields wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
The intended balance of the game includes Aid Another. As a general rule, if a Core mechanic breaks your sense of game balance, then it's your sense of game balance that is wrong, not the Core mechanic in question
Do we really need to get this personal, Jiggy? We generally don't rejigger these kinds of basic core mechanics for PFS and try to run games per the RAW; we all know that but Florian might not.

I wasn't trying to get personal. Just stating a good rule of thumb. What part of my words that you quoted was personal (or otherwise offensive)? Help me understand.

The Exchange

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Jiggy wrote:
PRD wrote:
In cases where the skill restricts who can achieve certain results, such as trying to open a lock using Disable Device, you can't aid another to grant a bonus to a task that your character couldn't achieve alone. The GM might impose further restrictions to aiding another on a case-by-case basis as well.

Bolded section - I interpret that to mean that if the DC is too high for someone to hit by taking 20 then they can't assist.


Jiggy wrote:
When Mal is talking up a deal and Jayne is just standing there behind him, he's not Aiding.

But Jayne could certainly Aid Mal's Intimidation by just standing there and looking intimidating.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
if a Core mechanic breaks your sense of game balance, then it's your sense of game balance that is wrong, not the Core mechanic in question

Generally, when someone else tells me who or what I am, especially that I am wrong, I consider that presumptuous and a bit rude. I wouldn't call it offensive (that's too strong a word), but definitely over the line. That may just be me, however.

The Exchange

Bearded Ben wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
When Mal is talking up a deal and Jayne is just standing there behind him, he's not Aiding.
But Jayne could certainly Aid Mal's Intimidation by just standing there and looking intimidating.

Even in that situation an action is needed to get the bonus - taking off the hat his ma sent him ;)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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brock, no the other one... wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
PRD wrote:
In cases where the skill restricts who can achieve certain results, such as trying to open a lock using Disable Device, you can't aid another to grant a bonus to a task that your character couldn't achieve alone. The GM might impose further restrictions to aiding another on a case-by-case basis as well.
Bolded section - I interpret that to mean that if the DC is too high for someone to hit by taking 20 then they can't assist.

That too.

@Bearded Ben - Yeah. I was watching an episode recently where Jayne just sort of makes eye contact and shifts his weight backward a little, tilting his chin up. I immediately thought "Aid Another for intimidate!" ;)

Dark Archive Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber

Doesn't need your fixes. Adjudicating whether or not their aid attempt is actual helpful can be a circumstance penalty to the primary roll, within the existing guidelines of the rules.

"How are you helping them with that" should be good for a starting point. Especially for diplo, if I'm not hearing even a description of what they want their character to try to express, I don't know whether they have blown the mission or not by hitting one of the auto-fail-start-a-fight arguments.

So, really, it's a matter of "don't give an aid another roll without them having some idea how to help."

How do you "aid" a stealth check? If you can sell me on your method of assisting, sure, roll away. If you can't? Not gonna happen.

PRD wrote:

Aid Another

You can help someone achieve success on a skill check by making the same kind of skill check in a cooperative effort. If you roll a 10 or higher on your check, the character you're helping gets a +2 bonus on his or her check. (You can't take 10 on a skill check to aid another.) In many cases, a character's help won't be beneficial, or only a limited number of characters can help at once.

In cases where the skill restricts who can achieve certain results, such as trying to open a lock using Disable Device, you can't aid another to grant a bonus to a task that your character couldn't achieve alone. The GM might impose further restrictions to aiding another on a case-by-case basis as well.

So, adjudicating based on the scene you're running is within the RAW and your formalization is unneeded.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

P1 is not true.

Let's say the half-elf bard needs a Diplomacy result of 25 in order to move the surly crowd from Unfriendly to Neutral. Can the oafish dwarf roll a 25 on his Diplomacy -- does he have a +5 modifier? If not, then he can't Aid Another.

Grand Lodge

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Jiggy wrote:
Alex Greenshields wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
The intended balance of the game includes Aid Another. As a general rule, if a Core mechanic breaks your sense of game balance, then it's your sense of game balance that is wrong, not the Core mechanic in question
Do we really need to get this personal, Jiggy? We generally don't rejigger these kinds of basic core mechanics for PFS and try to run games per the RAW; we all know that but Florian might not.
I wasn't trying to get personal. Just stating a good rule of thumb. What part of my words that you quoted was personal (or otherwise offensive)? Help me understand.

Not to speak for Alex, but the bolded portion struck me as being accusatory.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Alex Greenshields wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
if a Core mechanic breaks your sense of game balance, then it's your sense of game balance that is wrong, not the Core mechanic in question
Generally, when someone else tells me who or what I am, especially that I am wrong, I consider that presumptuous and a bit rude. I wouldn't call it offensive (that's too strong a word), but definitely over the line. That may just be me, however.

Why is telling someone they're wrong rude? Is it just because I used the word "wrong"? Would it have been less rude to replace "is wrong" with "needs adjusting"?

I certainly hope that's all it is. Nobody ever gets better at anything if we can't tell each other when we're wrong.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Why is telling someone they're wrong rude?

Because that is how I feel. I don't know if Florian feels the same way, but I was simply giving you my impression, since you asked me for an explanation. Sadly, most feelings don't have a better explanation than "because that's how I feel".


Thanks for your arguments, but what's your experience? Never felt annoyed?

@brock and Mortika

brock, no the other one... wrote:
I interpret that to mean that if the DC is too high for someone to hit by taking 20 then they can't assist.

That would work indeed, but alas it has already been clarified as NOT being the actual RAW in another thread.

@Jiggy
That it's been written by Cook and Williams twelve years ago doesn't mean it's perfect and *I* should try to make it work. And I don't believe the DC balance is so good you can hang your head on it. E.g. why is it as hard to know all of a Bebilith's powers and weakness than... kowing the price of a backpack?

@redward & others
I think that's a good strategy to ask the Aider for a description of their actual aid attempt, but it's often just too hard to adjudicate and also time-consuming. You might end up, as a GM, making a judgment call that could frustrate players.
This taps into the old "player actions vs. PC actions" touchy subject... I don't want to require of the *player* to have great idea for his great PC to make great things (including aiding...)

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

Here is a help another incident that had a fellow GM nearly exploding.

Player A rolls faction mission - rolls low

Player B - I assist, I assist

Problem: Player B had NO clue what she was assisting. Only out of character she noticed a dice roll that seemed not good enough.

The (nearly) failed skill check was for a secret faction mission. The same player did this now more than once. I know the next time it happens that the GM will be unable to control himself having told off the player every single time not to assist just any skill check.

There are times you should assist - thre are also times you better don't. The secret faction mission of another player falls into the latter.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

brock, no the other one... wrote:
I interpret that to mean that if the DC is too high for someone to hit by taking 20 then they can't assist.
FlorianF wrote:
That would work indeed, but alas it has already been clarified as NOT being the actual RAW in another thread.

Cite, please?

The Exchange

FlorianF wrote:


@brock and Mortika
brock, no the other one... wrote:
I interpret that to mean that if the DC is too high for someone to hit by taking 20 then they can't assist.

That would work indeed, but alas it has already been clarified as NOT being the actual RAW in another thread.

Wrong again :) Do you have the thread title or a link so that I can go and read up? Thanks.


brock, no the other one... wrote:
thread title or a link so that I can go and read up? Thanks.

Here: http://paizo.com/forums/dmtz3czi?Aid-Another-in-Skills#45

But you'll see I'm wrong in that there's no actual clearcut clarification and opinions vary on the interpretation of the rules. So I might be using your interpretation, as I think it would indeed help.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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FlorianF wrote:
I think that's a good strategy to ask the Aider for a description of their actual aid attempt, but it's often just too hard to adjudicate and also time-consuming. You might end up, as a GM, making a judgment call that could frustrate players.

Adjudication will get easier with practice, as will the timing (it doesn't need to be a drawn-out performance). And generally (in my experience), once asked, the player knows whether their answer makes sense or not and won't get upset (in fact, if they can't think of a legitimate assistance, they usually just withdraw their attempt to AA).

Quote:
This taps into the old "player actions vs. PC actions" touchy subject... I don't want to require of the *player* to have great idea for his great PC to make great things (including aiding...)

You are wise to be cautious, but I think you should be safe here. As long as the skill check decides whether they get the bonus or not, you're not really letting/making the player perform in place of their character. Besides, it doesn't even need to be verbatim what the character says. It can be "I'll try to help Bob's Get Date check by being his wingman" without detailing exactly what words he uses (this also helps with your concern about time).

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2015

I'd apply a -2 or -4 to the check in a heartbeat if someone aiding made a total faux pas or specified an action that would hinder, not help.

I'd also demand to know what they're doing/saying to assist. If they can't be bothered thinking up what they're doing, I wouldn't apply their +2, no matter what they rolled.

I love this game because of GM discretion.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
FlorianF wrote:

Thanks for your arguments, but what's your experience? Never felt annoyed?

@brock and Mortika

brock, no the other one... wrote:
I interpret that to mean that if the DC is too high for someone to hit by taking 20 then they can't assist.

That would work indeed, but alas it has already been clarified as NOT being the actual RAW in another thread.

@Jiggy
That it's been written by Cook and Williams twelve years ago doesn't mean it's perfect and *I* should try to make it work. And I don't believe the DC balance is so good you can hang your head on it. E.g. why is it as hard to know all of a Bebilith's powers and weakness than... kowing the price of a backpack?

@redward & others
I think that's a good strategy to ask the Aider for a description of their actual aid attempt, but it's often just too hard to adjudicate and also time-consuming. You might end up, as a GM, making a judgment call that could frustrate players.
This taps into the old "player actions vs. PC actions" touchy subject... I don't want to require of the *player* to have great idea for his great PC to make great things (including aiding...)

+1

let me give you a scenario---player 1 has a fighter with 7 cha and great fight stats---the player himself is very charasmatic and smart unlike his character

player 2 is playing a sorcerer with great charisma but the player himself is not good at "roleplaying" and thinking how he uses that charisma.

now if you make the "player" instead of the character give descriptions of how they help--the fighter will be a better diplomat--that is not right

would you do the same for physical things--ie strength based? what if the person playing the sorcerer was a weightlifter and the person playing the fighter was a 90lb weakling. would you ask both of them to lift 150 lbs as players to support what their character was doing?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

a better solution is to limit how many people can help. trying diplomacy and the whole party is talking at the merchant? the merchant may feel threatened or overwhelmed. Maybe say two people max can help without alienating the merchant.

trying to intimidate someone in a dark alley? are 6 people "really" that much more scary than 3? when they already had you outnumbered?

Grand Lodge Star Voter 2013

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

In my games, if someone wants to aid another they actually have to do something that helps, not just say "I aid him!". I also do the same for diplomacy and bluff, using what they say to judge the DC of bluff or if they are very compelling, lowering the DC for diplomacy. In fact the same goes for all skills. The thing that really started this for me was stealth. I got tired of players saying "I use stealth" when they should be saying "I creep alongside the wall staying in the shadows trying to remain unseen."

And yes, the "I aid him" thing bugs the crap out of me.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kovok wrote:

In my games, if someone wants to aid another they actually have to do something that helps, not just say "I aid him!". I also do the same for diplomacy and bluff, using what they say to judge the DC of bluff or if they are very compelling, lowering the DC for diplomacy. In fact the same goes for all skills. The thing that really started this for me was stealth. I got tired of players saying "I use stealth" when they should be saying "I creep alongside the wall staying in the shadows trying to remain unseen."

And yes, the "I aid him" thing bugs the crap out of me.

so to use their character skills--their player has to do something? how do you have your fighters use their combat skills? wrestling match on the floor? Kind of unfairly punishes people who have skills instead of combat.

a fighter with 7cha, 7int and 7 wis could downplay those weaknesses by using "player" knowledge and talking. Could actually be better at diplomacy than a bard or sorcerer played by a "player" who is socially more reserved.

so if the sorcerer player at the table is athletic and strong but the fighter "player" at the table is weak---do you let the "players" do athletic things to give the sorcerer get extra bonuses on their physical skills?

players and characters should be kept separate


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

at it this way

jay has a sorcerer with 3 skill in diplomacy and a 16 charisma for +3
John has a fighter with 3 skill in diplomacy and a 10 charisma for +0

they both try to assist a different charcter and both roll a 10, you ask them to say what thier character would do. John is very eloquent and has good ideas. Jay has a hard time exmplaining.

So you would let John assist and not Jay?

so what would you do later in combat. John is trying to hit with a dagger and Jay is trying to hit with a dagger. both are at +1 BAB and have the same to hit number except for strength.

John has a 16 str for +3 and Jay has a 10 str for +0. do you have them do pushups? and if jay can do 30 pushups and john only 10--jay the sorcerer gets the bonus?

you are punishing people who put points into skills or charisma by making them justify their rolls with their toons. Why put any points into skills, int, cha or wis at your table--I will shove them all into physical traits and just play a fighter and have my "player" do all the stuff requiring skills or charisma. Why not put my cha, int and wis to 7?--I can just "describe" the ideas that I as a player came up with and succeed anyhow.

I understand the frustration of the "me too" assist thing. But making someone have "real world" things to back up their character is not the answer. How many of us could do the physical things our characters can or have to physically ourselves justify them? Now you take a player who may be awkward or not as good at explaining social things and make him as a player "justify" his character, who he rolled up as socially skilled?

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

If the game mechanics say a player can Aid Another, then I'm not going to make that aid dependent on how well the player role-plays or describes the action. I don't make my fighters act out their swordstrokes, the bards make inspiring speeches, or the rogues spell out in detail how their acrobatics enable them to get behind their opponent.

Of course it's more dramatic if Bjorn the fighter says "I turn and face the largest of the gnolls, raise my axe above my head, and take advantage of his being distracted by Nils to drive my axe deep into gnoll flesh" rather than "I attack gnoll #1. With 15 on the die, plus 2 for Nils flanking, my strength bonus of +3, and my +2 greataxe, that's 22 to hit" (or even just "does a 22 hit gnoll #1?"). But I'm not going to impose an in-game penalty such as disallowing the attack or adjusting the gnoll's AC for out-of-game actions.

Remember, this is the PFS forum. If you adjusted the DC on my Diplomacy or Bluff check purely based on my playing style (rather than on my character offering a genuinely creative alternative to the direct check) you're treading on dangerous ground.

Scarab Sages

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
FlorianF wrote:
brock, no the other one... wrote:
thread title or a link so that I can go and read up? Thanks.

Here: Fixed Link.

But you'll see I'm wrong in that there's no actual clearcut clarification and opinions vary on the interpretation of the rules. So I might be using your interpretation, as I think it would indeed help.

So a few things about that particular linked thread since I am the one that started it.

So although there are strong arguments in that thread to support how I now think that line in Aid another means, You can't Aid another in a trained only skill if you don't have the skill, it is still just an opinion.

It still can be read either way, it has never been clarified by a developer.

That is an example of an unclear rule that I am good with a GM ruling it either way.

Another thing about that thread, it is a perfect example of one of the things I hate about how people interpret rules. There was a poster in that one that was taking an example from one place and using it to confuse a rule where it does not belong. In this example taking how skills worked in 3.5 and applying it to their opinion on how it works in Pathfinder.. grrrr...


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Hakken wrote:
Kovok wrote:

In my games, if someone wants to aid another they actually have to do something that helps, not just say "I aid him!". I also do the same for diplomacy and bluff, using what they say to judge the DC of bluff or if they are very compelling, lowering the DC for diplomacy. In fact the same goes for all skills. The thing that really started this for me was stealth. I got tired of players saying "I use stealth" when they should be saying "I creep alongside the wall staying in the shadows trying to remain unseen."

And yes, the "I aid him" thing bugs the crap out of me.

so to use their character skills--their player has to do something? how do you have your fighters use their combat skills? wrestling match on the floor? Kind of unfairly punishes people who have skills instead of combat.

a fighter with 7cha, 7int and 7 wis could downplay those weaknesses by using "player" knowledge and talking. Could actually be better at diplomacy than a bard or sorcerer played by a "player" who is socially more reserved.

so if the sorcerer player at the table is athletic and strong but the fighter "player" at the table is weak---do you let the "players" do athletic things to give the sorcerer get extra bonuses on their physical skills?

players and characters should be kept separate

The player decides to have their character move into a flank or take the high ground? The character gets bonuses. The player gives an explanation of how they are helping in an Aid Another? The character gets bonuses. I don't think anyone is saying they were looking for inspired roleplaying or real-life charisma to convince the GM that they should be able to aid, just a simple explanation of how they are helping:

"Uhh...I don't know...uhh...I guess I would back up his Diplomacy by showing my Wayfinder and saying we're Pathfinders or something" is more than fine--it doesn't have to be a masterpiece.

Giving a reason to assist being compared with doing push-ups or actually sneaking up on the GM for a surprise round are false analogies. The analogue would be things like thinking of taking the high ground for +1 to hit in combat or thinking to take cover for +2 or +4 AC or maybe dropping prone against ranged fire.

Grand Lodge Star Voter 2013

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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Sorry, should have been more specific. My usual style is to ask them how they aid someone. I don't do this for combat, but for social skills, I'll ask them what they say. This doesn't determine success or failure, but if the answer is "I don't know, I just use the skill" I have a problem with that.

Hakken: I don't ignore character stats, for example there's no way people with low scores are having an easier time of it by roleplaying their way out of a scenario, the roll still reflects that, I just require my players to accompany their bluff roll with a little bit of roleplaying. However, sometimes no matter how hard you push, some people just don't want to do it.

I've only adjusted the DC for a society scenario once, in fact I gave him a bonus instead, and that was because it was an ingenious solution to a very tough problem.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

As GM I have experienced two extremes:

a) Someone tries a check - fails by 1 - everyone around the table just ignores it.

As GM - who has the advantage to know the DC - this is often the time where I encourage aid another.

b) Someone tries a skill check and across the table a player rolls a dice - shouts - I assist - I rolled a 15 - not even knowing what skill, what the circumstance, etc.

It is the latter that is annoying to a GM. Someone who isn't paying enough attention to realize what he/she is supporting shouldn't be able to support.
I gave the example with the secret faction mission for a reason as in this case aid another becomes PvP. A player who insists on assisting someone else in his secret mission just blew the mission for that player.
To make it even more interesting - in this case the Taldoren player wanted to help the Chelexian to undermine the Taldorens ...

Aid another is useful and powerful. But both extremes - an always help another as well as a never help another do in my view deter from the roleplay.

Help another should not become a reflex to do whenever someone rolls a skill check. This devalues the overall experience.

A player should look at the situation, look at his character - and then should decide is it sensible for him to support and is it in character.

There is nothing rules can do here - this is educating players about roleplay.

Dark Archive Dedicated Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Keep in mind that Aid Another is still a standard action and that you must also perform the same action (meaning at least 1 skill point for trained-only skills and some danger involved when aiding trap disabling). Any number of people can usually aid because they're consuming their standard action - out of combat you just need to make sure they can all still normally perform that action.

I've run into a lot of this as a Gm and as someone whose Cavalier tends to make use of the Aid Another system:

If they want to Aid Another for Diplomacy they must talk and say something that is new and relevant to the conversation... not just say "yeah! what he said!" For Intimidate this can just be beating their fists and making menacing gestures - strength in numbers can be intimidating. But if the party all wants to make a Know (Arcana) to identify the dragon, then each aider needs to use their Standard Action to make the assist and needs at least 1 rank in the knowledge; I view this a collaboration about the monster: "Red dragons are immune to the flame" "I also heard they eat maidens and breath fire!" "And I'm certainly not gonna be able to Sleep them!" etc.

Aid Another can be used for saving throws as well (something that is forgotten), and a lot of people don't understand how that works. You know the AoE is coming, so you ready your standard to push your buddy out of the way; you make a Reflex DC 10 to give them a +2 before you both make a reactive Reflex save. For a Fort save versus a poison you could be sucking the poison from the wound, and a Will versus a Hold Person could be a slap across the face and saying "get a hold of yourself!" (And thus play out the scene from Airplane until they can act again)

My point is that Aid Another is only really broken when the GM isn't questioning what activity they are doing to Aid their ally - and we as GMs then get to say whether or not that action would logically help them. Push your players for creative and logical responses and actions.


Justin Riddler wrote:

Aid Another can be used for saving throws as well (something that is forgotten)

Can you point me to where it says that? That would be very good to know.

Grand Lodge

I think some of the DCs in the modules are unreasonably high, and the ONLY way to have a better than 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 chance of meeting a faction mission (all detiremed by an arbitrary single die roll) is aid another.

Case in point, I had a character with +6 Dip in a T1-3 game - not optimised up the yinyang but not suck either - there was character investment there. The DC to get the NPC to deliver a message to Lord McGuffin was 19... 24 if you included the 5 need to change him to helpful.

A 24 DC for a level 1 character?! (to be fair it could have been a 2nd or 3rd level too but even so, thats damn hard).

Adding 20gp to the pot made it +2 to my roll. That dropped it to a 16+ need.

While I am all for the 1.5 pp per game average, a 25% chance seems a bit sucktastic for a faction mission. It was only an Aid Another that got me across the line. If someone faced 2 or 3 games in a row with these sort of DCs and failed, they'd fall behind the curve... and this impacts on equipment available. At mid levels being 2 levels behind the 1.5 average could be significant.

That said, I think there needs be context and there needs to be roleplay and not just "ok, I aid him... Look, I got a 10"

The Exchange

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Hakken wrote:

you are punishing people who put points into skills or charisma by making them justify their rolls with their toons. Why put any points into skills, int, cha or wis at your table--I will shove them all into physical traits and just play a fighter and have my "player" do all the stuff requiring skills or charisma. Why not put my cha, int and wis to 7?--I can just "describe" the ideas that I as a player came up with and succeed anyhow.

I always have trouble with this aspect of the game as dice rolls for social interaction are such a new mechanism. I do see your point though.

It's not the quality of the explanation that's important, but as a GM I want at least a brief, out of character if necessary, explanation of how it is possible to help.

It's obviously absurd to expect the fighter player to do pushups before allowing him to swing a dagger in the game, but if he wants to storm a keep then I'm likewise going to ask 'how'.

Now, counterpoint: There are players of characters with high charisma scores who put no effort into roleplaying and always speak out of character and in game terms. That's fine in PFS, we have to be accepting of anyone who might turn up at the table. However for me it's as painful as fingernails on a blackboard and completely immersion breaking. How can we encourage such a person to dip a toe into roleplaying?

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Cards, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Thod wrote:
Someone who isn't paying enough attention to realize what he/she is supporting shouldn't be able to support.

Well, someone who isn't paying enough attention to where his miniature is on the table to spot that he's in a flanking position probably shouldn't be able to provide a flank, either. But that's not how the game works.

Thod wrote:
I gave the example with the secret faction mission for a reason as in this case aid another becomes PvP. A player who insists on assisting someone else in his secret mission just blew the mission for that player.

Not necessarily ...

I've actually seen a player who needed to make a skill check he was incapable of achieving, and to do it secretly, talk another player into making the check for him. The second player thought he was doing something completely different (related to the overall scenario objective), and had no idea what his character was actually achieving.

Thod wrote:

Help another should not become a reflex to do whenever someone rolls a skill check. This devalues the overall experience.

A player should look at the situation, look at his character - and then should decide is it sensible for him to support and is it in character.

There is nothing rules can do here - this is educating players about roleplay.

All very desirable, and I'd encourage everybody to do whatever they can, out of game, to encourage more roleplaying. But, at the end of the day, in-character roleplaying is not a requirement for playing at a PFS table.

I'm not sure the rules do leave you totally powerless, though. If the mindless "Aid Another" does get to the point of devaluing the overall experience, it could well be subject to the "Don't be a jerk" directive. And if there's a good reason to inquire how the aiding character can get into a position where aid would be possible, or overcome some other obstacle, asking for an explanation provides a way to engage and encourage the player. But I'd be very cautious about exercising GM prerogative to allow or disallow the aid attempt based on whether the player answered using in-game or out-of-game terminology.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

JohnF

What I resent is

Dice roll - I rolled a 12 - I assist

Can you tell me what skill it is and what I assist please

This scenario - unfortunately - is how one of my local players is doing it. Trained skill checks, secret skill checks, skill checks where the character is on the other side of the map - no matter. She ALWAYS rolls and assumes she aids.

And this really annoys other players and GMs.

Dark Archive Star Voter 2013

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber

You seem to have a different understanding of Aid Another than can be garnered from my reading of the rules.

Justin Riddler wrote:

Keep in mind that Aid Another is still a standard action and that you must also perform the same action (meaning at least 1 skill point for trained-only skills and some danger involved when aiding trap disabling). Any number of people can usually aid because they're consuming their standard action - out of combat you just need to make sure they can all still normally perform that action.

In combat for Aid Another's Attack or Aid Another's Defense, it is a standard action. I don't hear this use of "I aid" *ENOUGH*. (For example, it would've been a great way for the frustrated folks (kinder term than my first choice) playing Dawn of the Scarlet Sun to actually get some damage onto the BBEG).

PRD, again wrote:

Aid Another

You can help someone achieve success on a skill check by making the same kind of skill check in a cooperative effort. If you roll a 10 or higher on your check, the character you're helping gets a +2 bonus on his or her check. (You can't take 10 on a skill check to aid another.) In many cases, a character's help won't be beneficial, or only a limited number of characters can help at once.

In cases where the skill restricts who can achieve certain results, such as trying to open a lock using Disable Device, you can't aid another to grant a bonus to a task that your character couldn't achieve alone. The GM might impose further restrictions to aiding another on a case-by-case basis as well.

For skill use, it's the same duration as the skill check you're aiding, because it's the same type of skill check being made. That could be a 1d4 hours Gather Information or a survival check to follow tracks. (skill check per mile traveled rather than a set duration).

Justin riddler wrote:


If they want to Aid Another for Diplomacy they must talk and say something that is new and relevant to the conversation... not just say "yeah! what he said!"

This implies that you have a "improvisational theater is required" expectation of play. This is not an appropriate requirement for Pathfinder Society. Having an in-world representation of *some* kind for how a character is assisting when it's unclear what they are doing is certainly appropriate, as is requiring them to at least reference what kinds of statements they're making, but giving more than a +2/-2 (or auto-fail if specified in the scenario only) is *not* appropriate .

Justin Riddler wrote:


Aid Another can be used for saving throws as well (something that is forgotten),

From a quick search, this is only true for Order of the Dragon cavaliers of level 2 and higher. It is not true of the combat Aid Another action, which specifically calls out its potential uses.

Justin Riddler wrote:


My point is that Aid Another is only really broken when the GM isn't questioning what activity they are doing to Aid their ally - and we as GMs then get to say whether or not that action would logically help them. Push your players for creative and logical responses and actions.

Please ask, don't push. Bear in mind the noise level and confusion level and timing of your slot. Bear in mind the possible variances in player comfort level.

But sure, absolutely, 100% agree, find out a "how" of how they help if it's something that's not inherently obvious how they could.

Dark Archive Dedicated Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Justin Riddler wrote:

Aid Another can be used for saving throws as well (something that is forgotten)

Can you point me to where it says that? That would be very good to know.
Aid Another wrote:


You can also use this standard action to help a friend in other ways, such as when he is affected by a spell, or to assist another character's skill check.

I'll agree that it does not explicitly say so, but the phrase "such as" does heavily imply it - doubly so since the first example is for aiding against a spell.

The Exchange

Justin Riddler wrote:
Aid Another wrote:


You can also use this standard action to help a friend in other ways, such as when he is affected by a spell, or to assist another character's skill check.
I'll agree that it does not explicitly say so, but the phrase "such as" does heavily imply it - doubly so since the first example is for aiding against a spell.

Difficult to think of what other roll that text could be referring to modifying if it isn't a saving throw. That's a can of worms though. There is no DC for the roll that you would make. How does one go about aiding another defeat mind altering magic? Yuk!

Dark Archive Dedicated Voter 2013

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
brock, no the other one... wrote:


Difficult to think of what other roll that text could be referring to modifying if it isn't a saving throw. That's a can of worms though. There is no DC for the roll that you would make. How does one go about aiding another defeat mind altering magic? Yuk!

It's tag-lined at the end of Aid Another, so the DC remains 10... which is the DC for all Aid Another actions

As for how... that's up to your creativity ^_~


Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Justin Riddler wrote:

Aid Another can be used for saving throws as well (something that is forgotten)

Can you point me to where it says that? That would be very good to know.

Here's a thread on it, it's fairly complicated, and no clear resolution was reached. There are some FAQ requests there if anyone would like to see it addressed.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Lest this whole topic get overanalyzed, I'll just scale back a bit and show you all how I handle Aid Another:

Player: I'll aid!
Me: How?

If the player has an answer that's not nonsense, they can make the Aid check. Simple as that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

At my table I try to clear this up before the session even starts. For "group" skill checks I ask the table to identify who is the primary participant and who is assisting. If the group doesn't identify these individuals, I may do so myself depending on the situation.

Diplomacy, for example: If none are declared when the encounter starts, the player doing the most talking is who rolls the check. Other players who have chimed in will be asked to roll aid another. I have NEVER run a diplomacy encounter without at least trying to engage one player in dialogue. If they come up with some creative ideas I reward them with a secret circumstance bonus ranging in value, but never so much to completely negate the challenge. There is a much smaller chance that I'll assign a penalty if the player says things that should make the situation worse.

I do have one nonstandard rule that I'm sure someone will blow out of proportion. If you attempt to aid another and fail by 5 or more you will impart a -2 penalty on the situation for all skills. This is most important when a 7 CHA character's player gets involved in a diplomacy situation and I require them to roll to aid another.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Kyle Baird wrote:
I do have one nonstandard rule that I'm sure someone will blow out of proportion.

Oh, oh, me! Pick me! ;)

Quote:
If you attempt to aid another and fail by 5 or more you will impart a -2 penalty on the situation for all skills. This is most important when a 7 CHA character's player gets involved in a diplomacy situation and I require them to roll to aid another.

So, did you require an otherwise silent player to involve their PC, forcing a check they didn't want to make and possibly penalizing the party? Or is it that when you say you require a roll, you mean the player already voluntarily got involved verbally and you just enforced a check to represent the effects of their words?

I would have to take exception to the former, but heartily approve of the latter.


Jiggy wrote:

Lest this whole topic get overanalyzed, I'll just scale back a bit and show you all how I handle Aid Another:

Player: I'll aid!
Me: How?

If the player has an answer that's not nonsense, they can make the Aid check. Simple as that.

My first thought as well. Their answer either makes me okay with their help or allows me to invent a negative circumstance bonus, usually greater than any aid they COULD offer.


Thanks for all the inputs. If I summarize, the #1 problem mentioned here is:

P4) Aid Another is too often used by Aid-monkeys who just scream "Aid! Aid!" with no actual involvment in the action. This is legit but unfun.

In concur. But that was not the issues I was putting forward.
Except for Kyle Baird, nobody here seems to mind at all for the fact that an ugly stupid fighter can help the brillant half-elf bard:

a) without ever risking to hamper her effort
b) even if she's doing an expert speech already
c) and can even push her above and beyond what she can normally do

There's a consensus on P4. But why does aid-monkeys exist? Because Aid Another is risk-free... so you can shout "Aid!" without thinking twice.
If using fixes F3 or F4, most aid-monkeys would vanish in a puff of smoke without requiring the GM to "manually" control them.


I play with large group ie 6-10 player here how fixed to help keep skill check in line.

1) To aid other you have to have a lest one rank in the skill you are aiding in.

You have to have some thing useful to add not just luck or theory of large numbers.

2) The first person that aid other is DC 10 and every person pass the first is DC 10 +2 for each person that tried. So second Person is DC 12 third is DC 14 forth is DC 16 so on and so forth.

The reasoning on this is so get same answer ie describe a fire truck and ask ten folk 9 of them all say it red.

3) If there is any type of negative out come it happens to all helped make check.

The idea is shared risk and shared reward.

4) The lead roller goes first and rest go in Initiative order.

This helps stop some of the well I auto aid. Or 9 checks when may one need 1 or none.

5) To aid You have be in the sceane to help.

If you are not there how in the hell can you help...

6) If you fail the aid other by 5 or more you then get -2 lead roller total.

Idea to many chiefs spoil the stew.

7) Some time there is just limt you have to impose on the amount of help you get.

It has to make sence to me.

8) In social encouter you have to add some thing Ie talk not just yell out "I aid other roll"

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

FlorianF wrote:

Thanks for all the inputs. If I summarize, the #1 problem mentioned here is:

P4) Aid Another is too often used by Aid-monkeys who just scream "Aid! Aid!" with no actual involvment in the action. This is legit but unfun.

Emphasis mine. I think you misunderstand the consensus here: people just yelling "I aid!" without being involved in the action isn't "legit but unfun", it's actually NOT legit. Aiding without actually doing something, or in a situation where you couldn't feasibly be of assistance, is in fact against the rules.

Enforcing the limitations that are built into the Aid Another mechanic will eliminate abuse of said mechanic.

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