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PaizoCon 2014!

Reporting GMs, both Good and Bad


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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Silver Crusade **

After attending Gen Con, I have to say that I ran the gambit of GMs. For the majority of the Con I had some great GMs. Who ever ran Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment on Sat, I was the cleric of Sarenrae and my buddy was the halfling summoner with the silver Dragon mount. You did the best job out of all the GMS I played with and I was really blown away at how well you knew your scenario.

That being said, is there a way to report poor GMS, ones who don't know the rules, or make poor calls that end up getting people killed. I will be the first to say that dying is apart of the game, but not when a GM guns for a character.

I had a GM run a chase scene but didn't allow us to know the DCs for the options on them, or which option was easier, because that is "meta gaming". For the record I LOVE CHASE SCENES, however, the problem with withholding that information is he is able to see which is easier for the NPC, and thus he is doing what he doesn't want us to do. Which is hypocritical and poor Gming

On another note, I try super hard not to meta-game since I know almost every freaking creature in this game, but when the GM acts like his creatures know every class ability, that is poor GMing, esp if the end boss has no knowledge skills to speak of.

I know in LG there was a way to report poor Gms so they weren't able to judge, is there any system like that in PFS? Or for rewarding awesome GMs like the one I talked about earlier in my post?

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Ill_Made_Knight wrote:
I had a GM run a chase scene but didn't allow us to know the DCs for the options on them, or which option was easier, because that is "meta gaming". For the record I LOVE CHASE SCENES, however, the problem with withholding that information is he is able to see which is easier for the NPC, and thus he is doing what he doesn't want us to do. Which is hypocritical and poor Gming

Though I personally did not do this, to this GMs credit, if this was the Special, it was encouraged in the scenario to run the Chase scene this way.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

For what it's worth, Ill_Made_Knight, here's how the scenario reads:

Quote:
Immersion: While some GMs may wish to describe obstacles exactly as they’re presented on the card, describing obstacles and possible ways of overcoming them in more details will enhance the immersive and cinematic feel of the chase. Additionally, if possible, GMs are encouraged to keep the exact skills required and the associated DCs from the players, as this will go a long way to improving the chase experience.

It seems fair, after reading that section, for your GM to keep the skill check DCs to himself.

--+--

The best way to express concern or kudos about a particular table judge is to write mike a private note.

Silver Crusade **

I appreciate your comments, you're both high level GMs and I respect your words and thoughts. However, I am not talking about the special, even though whoever ran that one should never run games in general.

I am just looking for a way for GMs to have strike policies or something. When our group was fighting the BBEG and the eidolon is bashing away and you turn to the Summoner and kill him because you know from previous fights that you can't hit the eidolon is pure meta-gaming. After 3 rounds I can understand but after the first round is cheese weasel.

As a GM, I know we have to make tough calls and we can't be perfect but this type style is the worst offenders, we don't need to put our egos in bosses or monsters because a character is pushing the scenario. If we do, players that know the rules will make characters that break scenarios even more because they don't want to get killed by that type of GM.

Sczarni **** Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Pullman aka Coraith

Ill_Made_Knight wrote:


I am just looking for a way for GMs to have strike policies or something. When our group was fighting the BBEG and the eidolon is bashing away and you turn to the Summoner and kill him because you know from previous fights that you can't hit the eidolon is pure meta-gaming. After 3 rounds I can understand but after the first round is cheese weasel.

Perhaps the BBEG noticed the glowing rune stamped on the forehead and was like "Hmmm, Summoner, well if I kill the master I kill the pet."

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

6 people marked this as a favorite.

I agree with Coraith. When PCs see a weak semi-caster and a weird brute, both with the same glowing sigils on their brows, they put extra effort into immediately killing the caster.

I don't want to deny your point, Ill_Made_Knight: there are some people in Pathfinder Society Organized Play who are table judges because they are willing to volunteer, rather than because of any innate competence, but in this particular, your experience may be a case of NPCs understanding witha those runes mean and acting accordingly.

The reporting, though, doesn't go to where you want it. If I have a stinky table GM, I don't really care if Mike Brock knows about it. I want the people organizing the next conventions to know about it, so that those people can make an informed choice about whether to accept that guy's offer to judge.

And it might be the case that, rather than outright banning the GM in question, the organizers can suggest something like Game Mastering 101.

Taldor ** Venture-Captain, Canada—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I actually think this is an excellent point. I don't think we need anything complicated. Maybe a note on the table tent that your comments are welcome and comment cards at HQ that Mike can review.

I run a service business and use a similar system. It is useful because, even though individual comments should be taken with a grain of salt (even good GMs will sometimes have unhappy groups such as the chase card example above), larger patterns can be easy to detect. As long as the comment cards list the slot and table number it should easy to identify those who need more training in the future and/or those GMs who should be assigned to important events.

I know this idea has been met with some skepticism in the past but I think it is needed for one important reason: it makes people feel better to feel like they have been listened to!

I had a bad GM experience (woefully underprepared, didn't know basic rules) but I did not feel comfortable whining to Mike about it when he was putting out fires left and right. I also had a great GM experience that I would have loved to praise to the HQ so they could encourage him to return in the future (as he was a first timer).

Every table I GMd on Saturday thanked me because they had a good time that made up for a terrible earlier experience. I have no illusions of being a great GM so this was more worrisome than anything else. I suggested they talk to Mike but none of them wanted to do so. If they had been able to write it done, they all would have done so.

Instead they went away feeling that PFS was a crap shoot when it comes to the quality of GMs. We do not want that reputation.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
The ShadowShackleton wrote:
I had a bad GM experience (woefully underprepared, didn't know basic rules).

Yeah sorry about that! ;-)

Grand Lodge ****

The ShadowShackleton wrote:
Instead they went away feeling that PFS was a crap shoot when it comes to the quality of GMs. We do not want that reputation.

You should contact these people directly and have a chat with them. Maybe we could help improve their experience in PFS.

Taldor ** Venture-Captain, Canada—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

Kyle Baird wrote:
The ShadowShackleton wrote:
I had a bad GM experience (woefully underprepared, didn't know basic rules).
Yeah sorry about that! ;-)

Ha! Not that bad GM experience. I expected that one! And no one has ever accused you of not knowing the rules.

You will be pleased to know my "raised for the third time" fighter got the Cinder Lands boon that gives them endure elements and a resistance bonus to fire. Experience is the greatest teacher.

Taldor ** Venture-Captain, Canada—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

sveden wrote:
The ShadowShackleton wrote:
Instead they went away feeling that PFS was a crap shoot when it comes to the quality of GMs. We do not want that reputation.
You should contact these people directly and have a chat with them. Maybe we could help improve their experience in PFS.

I'm not sure what you mean. I spoke to the players in person and encouraged them to email Mike. Unless you mean I speak to the GMs? I do not think it is my place to do so.

** Venture-Lieutenant, Croatia—Zagreb

1 person marked this as a favorite.

@Ill_Made_Knight
Did you at least say this to the "bad" GM, it's not quite nice to talk bad about someone behind their backs.

And don't get me wrong. I am/was maybe one of worse/average GMs but that doesn't mean I should get banned immediately. Every day I learn more about the system.

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

@Chris Mortika: since Mike is the event coordinator for Gen Con, he's the best one to receive comments (both positive and negative) on GMs for the events run there. Just don't expect we'll be able to address the issue at Gen Con as we we're scrambling to find enough GMs every slot. I had HQ personnel fill in as table Judges on several occasions just to get players seated.

There are two things everyone can do to improve the play experience at large cons:

1) Notify the event organizer (in this case, Mike Brock) if you have a specific complaint about a specific GM.
2) Volunteer to run a few slots yourself. (This is in general, I know Chris already spends most of the con running games.)

Grand Lodge ****

The ShadowShackleton wrote:
sveden wrote:
The ShadowShackleton wrote:
Instead they went away feeling that PFS was a crap shoot when it comes to the quality of GMs. We do not want that reputation.
You should contact these people directly and have a chat with them. Maybe we could help improve their experience in PFS.
I'm not sure what you mean. I spoke to the players in person and encouraged them to email Mike. Unless you mean I speak to the GMs? I do not think it is my place to do so.

I thought you were talking about a specific set of people that complained to you. Perhaps you could clarify what happened. Your OP was talking in hypothetical until the very last sentence which had me confused as to if you were talking about specific individuals or a general feeling you got from everyone based on your business skills.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Canada—Winnipeg aka NoStrings

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Malag brings up a good point. I forget who said it first, but I've heard that "You can't be a good GM without being a bad GM first." Everyone is always learning, and hopefully improving. This is a very complex game, with so many variables that it can be hard for even an experienced GM to get everything right.

In addition, GMing at a major con can definitely raise the level of nervousness. You're GMing for a bunch of random players and you don't know their play style. They very likely use different class abilities/feats/spells than you are used to. Sometimes a group just doesn't mesh well, or isn't on the same wavelength as the GM, leading to a poor experience.

Also, at an event like this all the GMs are volunteers. Of course, the hard-core, experienced GMs are going to make up a large chunk of the total number, but there are going to be newer, less skilled (yet) GMs as well. Especially when there are 50 players standing in the hall waiting for a chance to play anything, the organizers might have to throw a scenario at someone and say "I need you to run this - you have 5 minutes to prep". This isn't an ideal situation, but it's better than turning people away.

In a perfect world, every GM would know every rule, have the scenario prepped so well that they don't need to look at the pages, every player would play their character well, and in sync with the rest of the table, and every game would be awesome! Unfortunately, this rarely all comes together. We should all just try to have fun anyway.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

sveden wrote:
The ShadowShackleton wrote:
sveden wrote:
The ShadowShackleton wrote:
Instead they went away feeling that PFS was a crap shoot when it comes to the quality of GMs. We do not want that reputation.
You should contact these people directly and have a chat with them. Maybe we could help improve their experience in PFS.
I'm not sure what you mean. I spoke to the players in person and encouraged them to email Mike. Unless you mean I speak to the GMs? I do not think it is my place to do so.
I thought you were talking about a specific set of people that complained to you. Perhaps you could clarify what happened. Your OP was talking in hypothetical until the very last sentence which had me confused as to if you were talking about specific individuals or a general feeling you got from everyone based on your business skills.

I think he was saying that he ran multiple tables, and at each one, multiple players said they'd had a bad experience with another GM earlier.

But that's just a guess, as I'm not him. ;)

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I have a tremendous amount of empathy for Ill_Made_Knight. I feel like events like GenCon provide a major opportunity for PFS and Pathfinder in general to grow. I just finished reading a post that noted that something like 500 new PFS numbers were issued at the Con.

When a player has a really bad experience during their first expereince with PFS/Pathfidner, why would they give it another shot? I've had some fantastic DMs including Mark Garringer, Doug Miles, and James Engle to name only a few. At the same time I've had some DMs who were underprepared or took tremendous liberties with encounters.

I had a particularly negative experience when I was introducing 2 friends to the PFS at GenCon. We all created brand new level one characters. The GM played fast and loose with the rules, avoided drawing encounter maps, and structured battles to disadvantage our group of players. This included having us fight a creature in a five-foot wide hallway (that does not actually exist in the PFS scenario we were playing) that was filled with a stinking cloud that lasted longer than it should have. This encounter left us without resources and terribly injured (remember, no 2 prestige CLW wands for first-time characters). We were easily dispatched by the scenario's final encounter. A seven-person table comprised of brand-new characters and people new to society TPKd due to DM behavior. One of my friends said that if I had not been there to convince her that sometimes the game is fun, she would never play another game in the society.

All of that said, the DM was a really nice guy... he just lacked some valuable DMing qualities.

This is a long-winded way of saying that I am inclined to agree with the OP. Some system for tracking solid DMs and weak DMs would be great. Sure, some folks may get their feelings hurt, but maybe corrective feedback would encourage them to adopt alternative DMing styles that create a more enjoyable experience. The star system is nice, but I don't think the star system is indicative of good DMing until you reach the fifth star. After all, the aforementioned DM earned his 3rd star on our TPK.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I think it's important that we not think of topics like this in terms of "good GMs" and "bad GMs". I'd wager most bad experiences are the result of a good GM getting something important wrong. One good GM has a bad habit of metagaming based on knowledge of the PCs' respective armor classes; another good GM is pretty shaky on rules for Topic X; yet another good GM is uncomfortable as a storyteller and reduces scenarios to strings of combat; another good GM tends to underprepare and spends a lot of time looking things up; and still another good GM fails to rein in his distaste for certain builds and guns for them.

I'm going to go out on a limb and posit the following:
There are no bad GMs, just good GMs with flaws and varying degrees of willingness to acknowledge and overcome them.

Andoran

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Jiggy wrote:

I think it's important that we not think of topics like this in terms of "good GMs" and "bad GMs". I'd wager most bad experiences are the result of a good GM getting something important wrong. One good GM has a bad habit of metagaming based on knowledge of the PCs' respective armor classes; another good GM is pretty shaky on rules for Topic X; yet another good GM is uncomfortable as a storyteller and reduces scenarios to strings of combat; another good GM tends to underprepare and spends a lot of time looking things up; and still another good GM fails to rein in his distaste for certain builds and guns for them.

I'm going to go out on a limb and posit the following:
There are no bad GMs, just good GMs with flaws and varying degrees of willingness to acknowledge and overcome them.

Hmm... I don't know. I feel like a lot of what you are describing are qualities that make up a poor GM. Now, I would agree that being a poor GM does not make you a bad person... but, having poor GMing qualities does, kind of, make you a poor GM. That's why I feel like they should hear that feedback so they can work to self-correct. I frequently elicit feedback from my players to improve. It requires a thick skin, but I feel like that, too, is indicative of a good GM.

** Venture-Lieutenant, Croatia—Zagreb

JeremyK wrote:
The GM played fast and loose with the rules, avoided drawing encounter maps, and structured battles to disadvantage our group of players.

While I don't defend the GM in question and I myself wouldn't really ever TPK lv1 group since those levels are hardest by my opinion do note that avoiding to draw maps can lead to improved experience and often isn't even necessary sometimes.

Not drawing maps can significantly speed up gameplay and remove the complicated mechanics of game often. I have one old timer GM who uses that approach and people love it. GMs do have often a time limit to finish scenario also.

That on side, it can't justify a lv1 TPK, altho we can't see through his eyes.

Andoran

Malag wrote:
JeremyK wrote:
The GM played fast and loose with the rules, avoided drawing encounter maps, and structured battles to disadvantage our group of players.

While I don't defend the GM in question and I myself wouldn't really ever TPK lv1 group since those levels are hardest by my opinion do note that avoiding to draw maps can lead to improved experience and often isn't even necessary sometimes.

Not drawing maps can significantly speed up gameplay and remove the complicated mechanics of game often. I have one old timer GM who uses that approach and people love it. GMs do have often a time limit to finish scenario also.

That on side, it can't justify a lv1 TPK, altho we can't see through his eyes.

I agree that the absence of drawing every map can be more immersive. However, in this situation, it felt as though it was witholding information. This absence of information led to a bottle-necked encounter in a space that was not actually a part of the temple in which the encounter occured. If you're going to avoid drawing maps, you have to be highly descriptive, and accurate, in my opinion.

Taldor ** Venture-Captain, Canada—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

Jiggy wrote:
sveden wrote:
The ShadowShackleton wrote:
sveden wrote:
The ShadowShackleton wrote:
Instead they went away feeling that PFS was a crap shoot when it comes to the quality of GMs. We do not want that reputation.
You should contact these people directly and have a chat with them. Maybe we could help improve their experience in PFS.
I'm not sure what you mean. I spoke to the players in person and encouraged them to email Mike. Unless you mean I speak to the GMs? I do not think it is my place to do so.
I thought you were talking about a specific set of people that complained to you. Perhaps you could clarify what happened. Your OP was talking in hypothetical until the very last sentence which had me confused as to if you were talking about specific individuals or a general feeling you got from everyone based on your business skills.

I think he was saying that he ran multiple tables, and at each one, multiple players said they'd had a bad experience with another GM earlier.

But that's just a guess, as I'm not him. ;)

This is correct. Note that I did not presume their complaints were justified. My point was that three separate groups on Saturday all felt they had a bad enough GM experience that they were upset about it. Their praise for the events I ran was more scary than satisfying.

I GMd seven slots and these three were the only ones where I heard such complaints.

I don't believe in good GMs and bad GMs as an innate quality. It is a learned skill, and as a skill some people are going to be more developed at it than others. in some cases you might just not want these GMs who get multiple bad reviews to be doing seven or eight slots at Gencon.

My main point was that these players needed an outlet for their frustration, and that alone would have made the situation better. I listened to them and encouraged them to speak to Mike but was not about to get into details about the who's and the whys of their situation.

Grand Lodge ****

So some passive aggressive PCs at your table that decided to praise you for not sucking like this 'other GM'.

They could email Mike or talk to him in person. Would having an anonymous comment box really change their attitude? Seems like they wanted to and succeeded in complaining to someone about the bad time they had. Anonymous comment deposited... in your mind!

Andoran

sveden wrote:

So some passive aggressive PCs at your table that decided to praise you for not sucking like this 'other GM'.

They could email Mike or talk to him in person. Would having an anonymous comment box really change their attitude? Seems like they wanted to and succeeded in complaining to someone about the bad time they had. Anonymous comment deposited... in your mind!

I do think a comment box may have helped. If someone feels like their concerns are being afforded legitimate attention, it can make a difference. For those folks like the new players at my table, it also demonstrates that the organization is interested in quality control. Ideally, this would help show that our time and money investment in the hobby is taken seriously.

Taldor

I think a comment section somewhere would def. be useful. One of my GM's in Gen Con had absolutely no idea what the rules were and also spent a good 1/2 hour of the scenario arguing with another player about something stupid. Another one stated he was chaging things as he went to make it "more interesting", which I am fairly sure you aren't allowed to do.

And before someone says I should've talked to Mike or Mark or whomever, it was 1 am when we ended and I was so ticked off I just wanted to go back to my room and sleep. Plus there was no one left at that point to talk to.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

I will say that sometimes Good GMs have Bad experiences and those experiences may not be the general experience you would normally get from the GM.

For example for myself I will say that this GenCon was one of the worse GM experiences I have had for myself.

Due to things out of my control my time I usually put into prepping my scenarios was drastically cut.

I had a new printer that was woefully slow in printing which I did not take into account when setting aside prep time which caused me to drastically cut out my quick review notes (Notes on cards on specific information of encounter).

My Job was taking up much of my time due to an unusual period of extended hours.

I also tried to do something new with having certain rules that would come up during the scenario printed up to have at hand so I can quick review, to include all the spells which actually in the end slowed me down because the notes ended up being so long it took me longer to go through them then just browsing for them in on my iPad. So making these note just ended up being a time waste I could have used to better use. In the future I am just going to book mark my App for quick reference.

Both times I ran In Wrath's Shadow I ran out of time and neither group completed the mission and lost GP and Fame/PP to include the last one I ran they barely got 1/2 the GP in the scenario and one player left the table with 0 PP.

For the Special I fully ran out of prep time and never got to print out my Initiative cards which not only usually have the Init mod for each opponent in an encounter but important abilities they have. In the end I had to hand write them and only included the opponent Name/Creature and init Mod.

I still did my best to GM with what I had and did not have an specific complaints about me, though I am still worried that some players may have left my tables less then satisfied which is disappointing. :(

This experience actually put a damper on my entire GenCon experience :(.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Massachusetts—Boston aka Rogue Eidolon

4 people marked this as a favorite.
JeremyK wrote:
Malag wrote:
JeremyK wrote:
The GM played fast and loose with the rules, avoided drawing encounter maps, and structured battles to disadvantage our group of players.

While I don't defend the GM in question and I myself wouldn't really ever TPK lv1 group since those levels are hardest by my opinion do note that avoiding to draw maps can lead to improved experience and often isn't even necessary sometimes.

Not drawing maps can significantly speed up gameplay and remove the complicated mechanics of game often. I have one old timer GM who uses that approach and people love it. GMs do have often a time limit to finish scenario also.

That on side, it can't justify a lv1 TPK, altho we can't see through his eyes.

I agree that the absence of drawing every map can be more immersive. However, in this situation, it felt as though it was witholding information. This absence of information led to a bottle-necked encounter in a space that was not actually a part of the temple in which the encounter occured. If you're going to avoid drawing maps, you have to be highly descriptive, and accurate, in my opinion.

Heya Jeremy. I was your GM. I think you got the wrong idea from what I told you after the adventure. It's not that I moved the encounter. It's that the encounter did not have a set location. I'm placing the below spoiler to avoid spoiling the scenario for others.

Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment:
If the party starts leaving without going after Dakang, as was the case for you guys, he begins by summoning a dretch and sending it after the party. This encounter can happen anywhere. By the time I realized you guys were definitely leaving, as you had completed all four Pathfinder missions and all faction missions, you were through the statuary hallway and on your way to the library, following the mini-map I had given you. At this point, if the dretch waited to attack, it would have to fight you in the midst of occupied rooms, so it attacked at this point, opening with its Stinking Cloud ability. I immediately drew out the battle map at this point, and the fight began. Yes, the dretch started in a 5-foot wide corridor, but you guys could have retreated the other way and lured it to you (as I think you did, if you were the magus, but the other players went after the dretch in the narrow area), especially since it had no ranged attacks. What really did you guys in was the fact that you had no Wand of Cure Light Wounds among the table, due to being all brand new characters, and you were playing the hardest Tier 1-5 of Seasons 0-3 (in my opinion).

That said, I still believe that drawing a simple ball-and-stick for Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment until the fights break out can add to immersion, since it's an RP mod first and foremost. And I do my best not to "play fast and loose with the rules" but to rather run exactly as written. So please let me know anything I did that wasn't standard and I'll make sure to run it differently next time. As I told you at the Con, I'm terribly sorry for TPKing you guys, and I wanted you all to live. I even gave you guys two extra potential rerolls (from my Player Character Folio and my shirt). Temple is a very rough scenario. I talked to other GMs afterwards, as I was upset to have killed you guys, and they told me that it often winds up with multiple deaths. In the end, the one thing I wasn't willing to do was fudge the scenario, which if there were brand new players there, perhaps I should have. You had told me your group were experienced PFS players who were all on their second characters, so I rolled the dice as they came.

Taldor ** Venture-Captain, Canada—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

sveden wrote:

So some passive aggressive PCs at your table that decided to praise you for not sucking like this 'other GM'.

They could email Mike or talk to him in person. Would having an anonymous comment box really change their attitude? Seems like they wanted to and succeeded in complaining to someone about the bad time they had. Anonymous comment deposited... in your mind!

Yes but because I had no interest in naming and shaming another GM that anonymous comment is of no use to anyone and simply adds to the negativity on this messageboard. I have no idea who the GMs were and I was not about to ask and spread hearsay.

Thus the need for comment cards.

I played in 4 or 5 games and mostly had awesome GMs, as usual. Truth is there were probably only a small number of unprepared and/or inexperienced GMs that were the source of 90% of the complaints.

Edit: Let me put it another way. If you were in charge and one of your GMs had complaints from players at 90% of the tables he/she ran, wouldn't you want to know?

Lantern Lodge *** Venture-Lieutenant, South Dakota—Rapid City aka Black Powder Chocobo

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
JeremyK wrote:
Malag wrote:
JeremyK wrote:
The GM played fast and loose with the rules, avoided drawing encounter maps, and structured battles to disadvantage our group of players.

While I don't defend the GM in question and I myself wouldn't really ever TPK lv1 group since those levels are hardest by my opinion do note that avoiding to draw maps can lead to improved experience and often isn't even necessary sometimes.

Not drawing maps can significantly speed up gameplay and remove the complicated mechanics of game often. I have one old timer GM who uses that approach and people love it. GMs do have often a time limit to finish scenario also.

That on side, it can't justify a lv1 TPK, altho we can't see through his eyes.

I agree that the absence of drawing every map can be more immersive. However, in this situation, it felt as though it was witholding information. This absence of information led to a bottle-necked encounter in a space that was not actually a part of the temple in which the encounter occured. If you're going to avoid drawing maps, you have to be highly descriptive, and accurate, in my opinion.

Heya Jeremy. I was your GM. I think you got the wrong idea from what I told you after the adventure. It's not that I moved the encounter. It's that the encounter did not have a set location. I'm placing the below spoiler to avoid spoiling the scenario for others.

** spoiler omitted **...

My response with spoiler-rific goodness

Spoiler:

I ran this three times and all 3 times the groups completed the 4 primary tasks first (with the crypt being the last task completed). The first and third group went to the chapel beforehand and thus Dakang knew of their presence. For those groups, I had the dretch attack them in the garden immediately as they started to work their way out of the garden(since technically there's an exit right there, too, even if the parties was already suspicious of Dakang and were going to confront him). Both groups had all but 1 or two members hit with the Stinking Cloud for the monster's benefit of waiting to strike, but gives more room for battle options. This is of course if the crypt is the last primary goal room completed, but I think it's the best place to give a Tier 1-2 party Dakang's parting gift.

And to leave a couple of nice notes, malone ranger 130, your God's Market Gamble was one of the best sessions I have ever had period and I shamelessly stole a few of your antics for when I ran it the next day and my players loved it, too. And to the GM who had the laminated cutup map of Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment and let me use/have it for my last session, you rock and the players loved the semi-dynamic map-making.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Massachusetts—Boston aka Rogue Eidolon

Black Powder Chocobo wrote:


My response with spoiler-rific goodness
** spoiler omitted **...

Heya BPC. Interesting idea, but--

ToEE:
My group was intentionally going back through the inside. I forgot when I said they had all the faction missions down, but the Silver Crusade mission was actually incomplete because Zhuang refuses to leave until you expose Dakang. Thus, the SC character had them go back to the meditation room to talk to him on the way out.

The garden has windows that are open to a variety of rooms, so it seems like Dakang would not want the dretch to attack there, though obviously his hand is forced if they are planning to leave via the garden, so it works perfectly in that case. In my case, the SC character convinced the party to go the other way, and since there was no real reason not to that they knew of (nobody made any of the Religion or Planes checks), they decided to all go that way.

That said, the dretch didn't have a pincer on them or anything--they could have backed out at any time, and JeremyK wisely did so immediately, calling out to others to do the same.

The main reason it was a TPK on Dakang, rather than just 1 or 2 deaths and a retreat, was that the party did not want to leave a single man behind, and they returned for the unconscious bodies. It was good roleplaying of the good-aligned characters, but unfortunately it led to the total wipe, as Dakang specifically takes pains to ensure he retrieves at least one corpse or else his entire plan is ruined.

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
JeremyK wrote:
Malag wrote:
JeremyK wrote:
The GM played fast and loose with the rules, avoided drawing encounter maps, and structured battles to disadvantage our group of players.

While I don't defend the GM in question and I myself wouldn't really ever TPK lv1 group since those levels are hardest by my opinion do note that avoiding to draw maps can lead to improved experience and often isn't even necessary sometimes.

Not drawing maps can significantly speed up gameplay and remove the complicated mechanics of game often. I have one old timer GM who uses that approach and people love it. GMs do have often a time limit to finish scenario also.

That on side, it can't justify a lv1 TPK, altho we can't see through his eyes.

I agree that the absence of drawing every map can be more immersive. However, in this situation, it felt as though it was witholding information. This absence of information led to a bottle-necked encounter in a space that was not actually a part of the temple in which the encounter occured. If you're going to avoid drawing maps, you have to be highly descriptive, and accurate, in my opinion.

Heya Jeremy. I was your GM. I think you got the wrong idea from what I told you after the adventure. It's not that I moved the encounter. It's that the encounter did not have a set location. I'm placing the below spoiler to avoid spoiling the scenario for others.

** spoiler omitted **...

Rogue,

I'm really glad you stumbled across this thread. I don't want to hijack this thread and make it about my personal experience, but while I have your ear I do want to clarify a few things.

First, I really appreciated your use of the minimap. As we were exploring the temple I think it made perfect sense. My initial frustration was that when it came time to face the aforementioned encounter. However, as I began drafting this response, I caught a major error in my own understanding of the scenario. My understanding was that NO 5ft hallways existed in the scenario and that you had manufactured one as an impromptu encounter. However, after doing a little digging I found exactly where the encounter occured on the map.

I sincerely apologize for this mistake on my part. The one critique I have of the encounter was that I think the stinking cloud effect was used mistakenly. Stinking cloud lasts 1 round per level. A dretch is a caster level 2. That stinking cloud lasted an eternity causing our entire level one party to be unable to attack. At best we could stand in the hallway and soak damage without retaliating (or in the case of my Magus, stand in the corner and vomit.

Overall, the scenario did not make much sense to me. Why we fought the final encounter when I had virtually no idea who the guy was or why he was angry left us all a little baffled. My biggest frustrtation turns out to be an invalid one. I thought you had misrepresented the map and I now see that I was the one that was mistaken. Plus, as you pointed out, there were things that we could have done to more effectively navigate the encounter.

Thanks again for your willingness and openness here on the forums.

Best,
Jeremy

*****

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I did want to briefly comment on the nature of Good/Poor GMs.

I would like to think that I am a good GM. Obviously I have no way of definitely and quantitatively proving this, but a lot of people seem to think so when they stand up from my table. But I've had terrible tables. I've TPK'ed a first level table. I've had devastating forum posts on this very forum criticizing my games. I've been steamrolled by min-maxed players. I've made terrible rules calls. I've been utterly unprepared for slots before. But every one of those bad experiences has led me to be the GM that I am today.

I love the idea of having some sort of review/rating process for GMs here on Paizo, just like Products. But I have no idea if it's actually technically possible, and if it is possible, if it's feasible and a practical use of Paizo resources. Also, it brings up the question of...what do you do with that information? Can we say things like, well, only 3-star rating GMs are permitted to GM at Gencon. What if there are only 30 of them there at Gencon? Do we turn away a hundred other able-bodied GMs? What about new GMs, who will inevitably have some tables that are less than perfect? How will they ever get experience GMing if no one will play with them? These are just some things to think about.

I have always asserted that table variation is a pure fact of PFS. The only way to guarantee a consistent experience is to play with the same group all the time. And some people do, and that's great! But, for example, here in Georgia, we have built a community where everyone knows pretty much everyone, which results in 90% of games being a great experience.

Cons are always going to be a wrench in the gears. And the bigger the Con, the bigger the wrench. I've had both my best and worst gaming experiences at Cons, as a GM and a player. And honestly, if you as a player, do not find that kind of risk acceptable, then that's ok, you can play at your local game day. Personally, however, I get an incredible thrill when I sit down at a con and have a spectacularly unexpected game. And those moments make everything worth it. Cons are a special experience that I especially cherish...I might have a chance to give a group of players the best game they've ever had. I would have never gotten there if I hadn't taken that chance.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Massachusetts—Boston aka Rogue Eidolon

JeremyK wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
JeremyK wrote:
Malag wrote:
JeremyK wrote:
The GM played fast and loose with the rules, avoided drawing encounter maps, and structured battles to disadvantage our group of players.

While I don't defend the GM in question and I myself wouldn't really ever TPK lv1 group since those levels are hardest by my opinion do note that avoiding to draw maps can lead to improved experience and often isn't even necessary sometimes.

Not drawing maps can significantly speed up gameplay and remove the complicated mechanics of game often. I have one old timer GM who uses that approach and people love it. GMs do have often a time limit to finish scenario also.

That on side, it can't justify a lv1 TPK, altho we can't see through his eyes.

I agree that the absence of drawing every map can be more immersive. However, in this situation, it felt as though it was witholding information. This absence of information led to a bottle-necked encounter in a space that was not actually a part of the temple in which the encounter occured. If you're going to avoid drawing maps, you have to be highly descriptive, and accurate, in my opinion.

Heya Jeremy. I was your GM. I think you got the wrong idea from what I told you after the adventure. It's not that I moved the encounter. It's that the encounter did not have a set location. I'm placing the below spoiler to avoid spoiling the scenario for others.

** spoiler omitted **...

Rogue,

I'm really glad you stumbled across this thread. I don't want to hijack this thread and make it about my personal experience, but while I have your ear I do want to clarify a few things.

First, I really appreciated your use of the minimap. As we were exploring the temple I think it made perfect sense. My initial frustration was that when it came time to face the aforementioned encounter. However, as I began drafting this response, I caught a major error in my own understanding of the scenario. My understanding was...

Holy Shelyn! You're right--I wish you had told me about that. I thought it was minute per level. You can bet I would have ended it early and retconned if I had known!

To be fair, I believe you guys never lost an attack to the miss chance (whereas the dretch did) and only the paladin failed his save on the third round or later (the real doozie was the powerhouse fighter and barbarian both failing the initial save), but the paladin being active could have made the difference. You did have I think the rogue unaffected throughout, and thanks to that you managed to dispatch it. I think you would have still TPKed regardless, unfortunately, but only because of the attempt to get everyone out alive. If they had listened to you at the end and just run immediately, I think most of you would have lived.

ToEE:
Yeah, I'm with you on the bit about the final attack from Dakang. If you remember, I paused for a minute to reread carefully, as I also thought it was a bit absurd that Dakang would attack, when you guys still weren't suspicious of him at all in any way, and his attack at that point was stupid. The scenario insists that he attacks, though, and I couldn't find a way around it. I decided that he, being a paranoid and treacherous sort, convinced himself that you guys all figured it out and were going for backup while pretending not to have figured it out. I'm afraid the scenario demands that he attacks you. If I was running a home game, he would have totally done nothing, as you represented no threat to his scheme while attacking could blow it.

The scenario actually coheres really well only if the PCs figure out the bad stuff going on and then decide to be righteous and put a stop to it, with the problem there being that a lot of teams will just want to leave. One way the author could have avoided it was to make one of the four necessary locations be Dakang's private chambers.

JeremyK wrote:

Thanks again for your willingness and openness here on the forums.

Best,
Jeremy

Hey Jeremy, no worries! You guys were a great group, and I enjoyed running it for you. Thank you for voicing your concerns here--others might have been too shy to be potentially singled out, but at the very least it provides a great example of how each play experience has two sides to the coin, from both players and GMs. There is a fine edge to walk when it comes to making constructive criticism to a GM, and especially given the way some people in the community will demonize players who want to correct a GM or rag on a GM, it was good of you to come forward like that. The discussion is important, and while obviously reading your post made me feel bad to be singled out as your worst Gencon experience as a particularly bad GM, it's better to say it than to worry about feelings. Good GMs need thick skin, and from feedback from other players (including one group that told me I was their best GM of the con), I like to think I at least have some of the qualities of a good GM, thick skin included.

I myself often have to walk that line of whether I'll say something or not to the GM--in my case this Gencon, when I was playing a scenario I had already run, the GM was making lots of mistakes, and even though it was hurting the presentation of the scenario, it didn't make a life-or-death difference. It had an instant-death haunt in it though, and the GM had everyone roll a save (when I knew it was single target only) and said he was going to pick one of the people who failed to be the target of the attack. At this point I had to speak up, and I like to think I did my best not to come across as rude, but there's really no completely diplomatic way to say "I've run this and that's not how it works."

Andoran

Nani Pratt wrote:

I did want to briefly comment on the nature of Good/Poor GMs.

I would like to think that I am a good GM. Obviously I have no way of definitely and quantitatively proving this, but a lot of people seem to think so when they stand up from my table. But I've had terrible tables. I've TPK'ed a first level table. I've had devastating forum posts on this very forum criticizing my games. I've been steamrolled by min-maxed players. I've made terrible rules calls. I've been utterly unprepared for slots before. But every one of those bad experiences has led me to be the GM that I am today.

I love the idea of having some sort of review/rating process for GMs here on Paizo, just like Products. But I have no idea if it's actually technically possible, and if it is possible, if it's feasible and a practical use of Paizo resources. Also, it brings up the question of...what do you do with that information? Can we say things like, well, only 3-star rating GMs are permitted to GM at Gencon. What if there are only 30 of them there at Gencon? Do we turn away a hundred other able-bodied GMs? What about new GMs, who will inevitably have some tables that are less than perfect? How will they ever get experience GMing if no one will play with them? These are just some things to think about.

I have always asserted that table variation is a pure fact of PFS. The only way to guarantee a consistent experience is to play with the same group all the time. And some people do, and that's great! But, for example, here in Georgia, we have built a community where everyone knows pretty much everyone, which results in 90% of games being a great experience.

Cons are always going to be a wrench in the gears. And the bigger the Con, the bigger the wrench. I've had both my best and worst gaming experiences at Cons, as a GM and a player. And honestly, if you as a player, do not find that kind of risk acceptable, then that's ok, you can play at your local game day. Personally, however, I get an incredible thrill when I sit down at a con and...

You know, Nani, I've been pondering the same thing. I initially jumped on with the comment that we need an accountability system; however, after thinking about it, I'm not entirely sure how it could be used. I imagine there could be some mechanism in place to track complaints and if a GM has enough complaints from enough people he/she could be asked to stop GMing at public events. I'm really not sure. In Indy they've started a GMing 101 class which was also run at GenCon. It'd be cool to see that spread a bit. I really don't know.

On an unrealted note, I just finished my PhD and got hired on as a staff psychologist at Georgia Southern University. Moved to GA from Indiana. I'll be running a PFS game this Saturday at a local game store. There doesnt seem to be much pathfinder demand in this area of the state. Hopefully that will change in time. Good to know theres such a thoughtful Venture Captain in the state, though.

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Massachusetts—Boston aka Rogue Eidolon

Nani Pratt wrote:
I've had devastating forum posts on this very forum criticizing my games. I've made terrible rules calls.

I can't imagine it.

Nani Pratt wrote:
I've TPK'ed a first level table.

Now that I can imagine. Much thanks for your commiseration after I TPKed JeremyK's table, by the way. I was pretty bummed out in general at that point.

Taldor ** Venture-Captain, Canada—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

Nani: I don't disagree with you that the central question is what do you do with that information? The answer should be that action is only taken in extreme circumstances, period.

That being said, it would be valuable even as a PR excercise. It makes people feel better, and shows that we take their concerns seriously.

In my own business I do absolutely nothing with a single complaint other than respond to the customer who submitted the complaint. If there is a consistent problem identified I will sit down with that employee and share that feedback and provide them with the resources to correct the problem.

How is this a worse scenario than just sticking our heads in the sand and hoping for the best?

I mean no offense to you or other posters who may not think it is necessary. In fact I 100% agree with everything you said as a player from my own perspective and accept that risk at cons.

Andoran

Rogue Eidolon wrote:
JeremyK wrote:
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
JeremyK wrote:
Malag wrote:
JeremyK wrote:
The GM played fast and loose with the rules, avoided drawing encounter maps, and structured battles to disadvantage our group of players.

While I don't defend the GM in question and I myself wouldn't really ever TPK lv1 group since those levels are hardest by my opinion do note that avoiding to draw maps can lead to improved experience and often isn't even necessary sometimes.

Not drawing maps can significantly speed up gameplay and remove the complicated mechanics of game often. I have one old timer GM who uses that approach and people love it. GMs do have often a time limit to finish scenario also.

That on side, it can't justify a lv1 TPK, altho we can't see through his eyes.

I agree that the absence of drawing every map can be more immersive. However, in this situation, it felt as though it was witholding information. This absence of information led to a bottle-necked encounter in a space that was not actually a part of the temple in which the encounter occured. If you're going to avoid drawing maps, you have to be highly descriptive, and accurate, in my opinion.

Heya Jeremy. I was your GM. I think you got the wrong idea from what I told you after the adventure. It's not that I moved the encounter. It's that the encounter did not have a set location. I'm placing the below spoiler to avoid spoiling the scenario for others.

** spoiler omitted **...

Rogue,

I'm really glad you stumbled across this thread. I don't want to hijack this thread and make it about my personal experience, but while I have your ear I do want to clarify a few things.

First, I really appreciated your use of the minimap. As we were exploring the temple I think it made perfect sense. My initial frustration was that when it came time to face the aforementioned encounter. However, as I began drafting this response, I caught a major error in my own understanding of the scenario. My

...

As much as I think everyone in my group, myself included, likes to think that our frustration with the scenario was unrelated to the way it ended (a TPK), I think its undeniable. For my part, after realizing my erroneous assumptions, I feel a lot better about the entire thing. I think my irritation with the outcome caused me to look for something to blame. Given that you were behind the DM screen, you were the first to be targeted. I really did belive that the 5ft hallway was something you added (and this is one way in which not having a persistant map caused a bit of confusion). Now that I realize that my assumption was off here... I don't feel so bad. The stinking cloud was a goof, but again, as a group, we could have handled that diffrently.

While I can't speak for my group, I can say for my part, I harbor now ill feelings about the game. Especially after realizing that the thing that had me up in arms was a misunderstanding on my part. For what its worth, I'd absolutely game with you again (if I have a wand of cure light wounds :P).

Taldor ** Venture-Captain, Canada—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

One thing I should be clear about: I don't believe there should be any sort of grading system on these comment cards for all the reasons others have identified. I had a player storm out on one of my sessions because of a ruling I made (which on further investigation was correct) and I can imagine a scenario where they would give very low marks out of anger.

Just a general suggestion box style comment card where 90% of it is just quickly looked at but at least big problems (such as GMs leaving halfway through the adventure) can be identified and looked into. I trust Mike to know the difference.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
JeremyK wrote:
In Indy they've started a GMing 101 class which was also run at GenCon. It'd be cool to see that spread a bit.

You know, different GMs have different strengths. Why not have GMs start offering advice/training/whatever on their own areas of expertise to other GMs?

For example, my local VC is a great organizer/preparer. I'm sure folks could learn a thing or two from him on organizing games or prepping scenarios. My local VL is great with voices, getting in character with the NPCs, and smoothly bringing the organic parts of a scenario to life. What if he wrote a Top Ten Tips sort of thing for that particular skill and posted it on the boards?

Conversely, how about if we started asking each other for help with our weaknesses? Everyone seems very ready to be the first to admit their imperfection, so how about we start saying "I'm not just generally imperfect, I actually have a specific weakness in area X; who can help me get better?"

What would folks say to that?

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

The ShadowShackleton wrote:
I actually think this is an excellent point. I don't think we need anything complicated. Maybe a note on the table tent that your comments are welcome and comment cards at HQ that Mike can review.

I've suggested this as well. As a GM, I want to know what I'm doing wrong so I can fix it (and what I'm doing right, so I can do more of it). As a player, I want to do what I can to prevent other players having a bad experience, so I want a way to notify the event organiser of poor GM performance (or of exceptionally good GM performance).

It should be handled at the event organiser level initially. They are the people who arrange GM benefits, so they have some leverage in controlling GM behaviour.

Edit: added the following

As to how to handle it: nothing confrontational. But if a GM racks up a bunch of negative comments perhaps an observer could wander by his next table to see how things are going. If everybody around the table is having a great time, then it was probably just a one-off. Everybody is allowed an occasional bad day (well, except for Kyle Baird ...)

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Massachusetts—Boston aka Rogue Eidolon

JeremyK wrote:
As much as I think everyone in my group, myself included, likes to think that our frustration with the scenario was unrelated to the way it ended (a TPK), I think its undeniable. For my part, after realizing my erroneous assumptions, I feel a lot better about the entire thing. I think my irritation with the outcome caused me to look for something to blame. Given that you were behind the DM screen, you were the first to be targeted. I really did belive that the 5ft hallway was something you added

I totally understand. It's human nature and unavoidable, as I'm sure you can explain even better than me with your CogSci degree. Our group has also complained way more about the one mistake that the GMs that killed us made rather than the five mistakes that the GM that nobody died and we got full treasure made. I think everyone does. I do think at least that the mistake didn't add to the deaths, unlike that one time my group's GM made a monster's poison do Con damage when it should have been Cha damage and killed two characters (grumble grumble). In fact every GM I had at Gencon made at least one mistake, as the scenarios this year were in general much more complicated (but also awesome), and there was almost bound to be something eventually. Usually those mistakes didn't matter.

Quote:
Now that I realize that my assumption was off here... I don't feel so bad. The stinking cloud was a goof, but again, as a group, we could have handled that differently.

You are an extremely good tactician. Pretty much every time something bad happened to your team in a scenario, your magus told them all the exact right thing to do on round 1 and they all just ignored you. It made me inwardly grimace to see this, but I had to keep a poker face and let the choices be made as they were. The characters who wanted to pick the other choices generally had higher charisma, so they were in-character to ignore you, but it was a bit sad, as I think you guys could have survived through it with your tactics.

Quote:
While I can't speak for my group, I can say for my part, I harbor no ill feelings about the game. Especially after realizing that the thing that had me up in arms was a misunderstanding on my part. For what its worth, I'd absolutely game with you again (if I have a wand of cure light wounds :P).

Thanks! And yeah, that first scenario without out of combat healing is the toughest, for sure. With a wand, you guys would have at least been able to escape, and probably you could have saved on the cleric's channels and just ran Dakang out of his ranged attacks (as happened to my other group) and forced him to come down, thus clobbering him (you took him below half before he could even climb up, so I know you guys would have destroyed in melee). I generally only play First Steps now for first levels and First Steps 1 can still be a TPKO in the last encounter for sure.

**

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I foresee several problems with this:

1) You're going to see a lot of negative reviews and very few positives. The title of your post is "...Both Good and Bad", you start off praising some anonymous GMs, but the meat of your post, and your reason for posting in the first place, is that you want to punish the GMs who "ran it wrong." Unless the GM does a transcendant job, people are rarely going to jump online to chip in a positive review. But anytime they feel they're getting the short end of the stick, they'll be looking for any outlet to vent.

2) Do we really want to discourage volunteers? GMing is already a pretty thankless job. I know I'd be less likely to step up and GM if I knew I was getting a performance review for my hobby.

3) I worry about GMs pandering to avoid bad reviews. I suspect you'd see Faction mission completions go way up and player character deaths go way down if such a system were implemented. I know there's disagreement on this, but for me as a player, there's not much fun if failure isn't an option.

For gross misconduct, there's already a system in place: contact your event organizer, your Venture Officer(s), or Mike Brock, preferably in that order. If they agree that the GM is abusing their power or simply inadequate for the task, they can speak to them privately to address the issue.

For everything else: talk to your GM. Give constructive feedback. I welcome rules corrections and clarifications when I run, and I'm happy to listen to ideas on how I can improve as a GM. Ideally in a non-confrontational manner, and in private when possible.

All that said, I'd love it if there were a standardized feedback card that GMs could hand out to players so they can evaluate themselves.

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

redward wrote:
I worry about GMs pandering to avoid bad reviews. I suspect you'd see Faction mission completions go way up and player character deaths go way down if such a system were implemented. I know there's disagreement on this, but for me as a player, there's not much fun if failure isn't an option.

So if you think your GM is softballing you, put that on a negative review.

*****

Shadow, believe me, I am not saying its not neccesary :P I'm simply saying its a process that really changes from situation to situation.

I take GM feedback very seriously, and I consider it a major part of the job as an event organizer. At local game days, it's often easy for the organizer to observe and step in to problems where neccesary. If there is a problem with a GM or with a player, it's often a simple matter of giving a rules clarification, chatting with an upset player for a minute, or shuffling tables to everyone's satisfaction. Our store liaisons know their players, and know which players shouldn't be put at the same tables, etc.if the issue cannot be resolved at the local level, that is when players/GMs should take their appeals to the Venture-Officers, etc.

In general, this tends to work fairly well at smaller cons as well. There tend to be a bit more conflicts, but in general, situations can be resolved on the spot. Of course, there are exceptions, but a good event organizer can cover 90% of any problems.

The problem comes with massive cons...like Gencon. When you require a hundred or so volunteers and a thousand players, unfortunately some problems are going to fall through the cracks. What I can say is that the Gencon staff welcomes this kind of feedback, and that we have a meeting about improving the con, and that we are dedicated to improving the con. Keep the feedback coming :)

My educational GM experiences:
Rogue: Boy do I have some stories. The session I speak of in particular involved a highly deadly 7-11 scenario, and some players who (I believe) played mostly at home games and were unaware of some of the accepted rules and rulings in PFRPG (not just PFS). They were very displeased with the challenge of the module and the tactics of a highly intelligent very deadly creature. It would have been merely a poor game, but then they brought their complaints to the public forums, as they perceived me as an intentionally malicious GM who was out to ruin their play experience. Now, I look back on it as both an interesting example of forum culture (as shortly, most of the members of the forum came to my defense in a very kind way) and as a highly valuable GMing experience. But in the moment, I remember being completely devastated and feeling like the worst GM on the planet :) As I said however, it really shaped me as a GM. I've never had a game that has been so negative since, and I aim to have my players always step away from the table with a positive experience.

My 1st level TPK is probably the funniest and most embarrassing GM experience I've had, and I tell it at every GM101 to demonstrate specifically that mistake happen. It happened a week after teaching my first GM101, during which I told the new GMs to NEVER EVER TPK a first level party. Then, I get to this session of First Steps part 2, and I accidentally paralyzed the entire party. I literally stood there dumbfounded, in complete shock at what I had done. My players, with a lot of joking, all "made a second character" that was exactly the same as their first, and we continued the session. Fifteen minutes later, Mike Brock (who had just moved to Seattle), walks in the door and goes "So I hear you TPKed a first level party?" and the entire game day bursts into laughter (Mike was in town and planning on stopping by the game day anyway).

Taldor ** Venture-Captain, Canada—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

Agreed- my suggestion was intended for bigger cons only where the personal touch is not necessarily always possible.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
You know, different GMs have different strengths. Why not have GMs start offering advice/training/whatever on their own areas of expertise to other GMs?

You mean like GM 101?

Taldor ** Venture-Captain, Canada—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

Kyle Baird wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
You know, different GMs have different strengths. Why not have GMs start offering advice/training/whatever on their own areas of expertise to other GMs?
You mean like GM 101?

I filled out a comment card about Kyle killing my character but he burned it and laughed. :(

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

Jiggy wrote:
JeremyK wrote:
In Indy they've started a GMing 101 class which was also run at GenCon. It'd be cool to see that spread a bit.

You know, different GMs have different strengths. Why not have GMs start offering advice/training/whatever on their own areas of expertise to other GMs?

For example, my local VC is a great organizer/preparer. I'm sure folks could learn a thing or two from him on organizing games or prepping scenarios. My local VL is great with voices, getting in character with the NPCs, and smoothly bringing the organic parts of a scenario to life. What if he wrote a Top Ten Tips sort of thing for that particular skill and posted it on the boards?

Conversely, how about if we started asking each other for help with our weaknesses? Everyone seems very ready to be the first to admit their imperfection, so how about we start saying "I'm not just generally imperfect, I actually have a specific weakness in area X; who can help me get better?"

What would folks say to that?

I believe it was Nani (or maybe Kyle/John) that asked that exact question at the GM 101 seminar I attended at PaizoCon this year. "What questions or concerns do you guys have? What areas of GMing do you want help with?"

There was a ton of Q&A and people were even taking notes on improving their various GM weaknesses. I know I got a lot out of it, and I can't imagine that anyone walked out of there with nothing useful to add to their proverbial "GM toolbox."

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Kyle Baird wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
You know, different GMs have different strengths. Why not have GMs start offering advice/training/whatever on their own areas of expertise to other GMs?
You mean like GM 101?

Well, I did post that in response to someone saying he wished GM101 was more widespread. ;)

The intent of my was that, since not everyone has GM101 going on, maybe some folks can share their talents on the messageboards. That way we can keep the advice flowing to people who don't have anyone running GM101 in their area.

*****

Like Painlord's Guides? :P

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