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A Challenge to Other Pathfinder Society Game Masters

Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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Shadow Lodge ***

Jiggy wrote:
Thanks for sharing your analysis! Can I ask you for more specific information on what the "rules lawyer" was doing that needed to be "slapped down"? All you really said was that your patience was fraying - more specifics might be helpful to us readers. :)

I had two almost new players (1 session each) who I was dealing with, as in getting them to understand movement, figuring AC, purchasing rules etc. So, I was helping them with that and doing everything else I've talked about I was giving them rules explainations that were short and sweet but did not cover every detail or exception to said rules.

He wanted to get into every nuance....and it was fatiguing. I guess it says something about my priorities as a GM. I think my first job is to entertain, then keep pace (in this case), then referee. To prep I had every spell, ability etc printed out at my fingertips and labeled by act, so I was pretty good, but I don't always know what they're bringing to the table.

By the end I was tired and making a couple stupid mistakes and he jumped on them, not agressively, but enough so I was gritting my teeth.

Hope that helps.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Kerney wrote:
He wanted to get into every nuance....and it was fatiguing.

Heh, I can do that sometimes. And not just with gaming stuff - just ask my wife. :/

By the end I was tired and making a couple stupid mistakes and he jumped on them, not agressively, but enough so I was gritting my teeth.

But if you were making mistakes, then wouldn't it be helpful to have someone at the table to help you out/for you to fall back on?

Shadow Lodge ***

Jiggy wrote:

By the end I was tired and making a couple stupid mistakes and he jumped on them, not agressively, but enough so I was gritting my teeth.
But if you were making mistakes, then wouldn't it be helpful to have someone at the table to help you out/for you to fall back on?

I was partly annoyed that I was making the mistakes because of being fatigued from dealing him among with more than the usual amount of stuff both in and before game, I'd had a hard day at work. In addition I was trying not to let it show.

It was one of those things where your last shreds of patience is slipping and the person in front of you might be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

That's human, it's not my best side, but it's something I need to watch. But this is what this thread is about.

One thing I want to be clear on, going further into this would get into personal interactions and I may give harsher impression than I mean to. The player, by normal standards, was fine.

The Exchange ****

yeah, we've all been there before.

Learn from it, and move on. Try to do better next time (and there is always a next time, unless you die).

(my 2 cp.)

Silver Crusade ***

I don't really GM enough to do that many of the same scenarios that many times. Or to pick my scenarios. I just moved to a new area, and the one group I've played with so far has a weekly schedule set up a month or more in advance, with the organizer picking the scenarios for each week.

But I do make a point of prepping pretty thoroughly whenever I GM a scenario. I refuse to run anything without at least a week to prepare. I did have a couple pre-prepped and ready to go at a moment's notice, in case another table was needed, but that was before moving. I may have erased the maps to free up the blank grid maps for other adventures, and I also would want to refresh my memory on the details of those adventures I haven't looked at in 3+ months since running them last.

I will say that I've got First Steps parts 1 and 3 down cold at this point, though. I've played part 1 twice and GMed it three times. I think I GMed part 3 twice in July, after having played it as my very first PFS scenario a year ago. I think I may even still have the part 1 maps drawn and ready to go in case I'm ever at an event that desperately needs another table.

Dark Archive ***


Where are we with this folks? Check in and be honest with it!

For me...

Season 0: The many fortunes of grand master torch.

Ran it once to great raves...but I need to run it more, I don't feel I made enough of an impact to make this a stellar remember when moment. I know I can do better on it.

Season 1: Echoes of the Everwar: Part IV (I have run many in my region through echoes 1 through 3 thus this is a bit of cheating, but I want to make this scenario a proud and shinning cap to a very awesome set of scenarios!)

Haven't gotten the groups together, but I prepped the @*^! out of it.

Season 2: Shadows Fall on Absalom (I'd pick shadows last stand, but I already have that one memorized)


Season 3: The Goblin blood dead

Haven't even looked at everyone in my region has played through it but me :(

Season 4: In Wrath's Shadow

I have run this 3 times now, and I love it every single time. This is such a beautiful...beautiful...thing :) I don't know if I would call it mastered, but I feel I'm super close on this one.

My report card would be...a little disturbing, but hey...I haven't given up yet!

Where are the rest of ya?

Shadow Lodge ****

Chris Mortika wrote:
The players are almost exactly the wrong people for the GM to ask about his performance during a scenario. For hours, the players have been listening to the GM, trusting him, trying to do their best in the adventure and not be critical of him And suddenly, the GM asks if they have any advice for him?

I disagree. In writting having your friends, work associates, and family read your work and give opinions editing suggestions is usually a terrible idea, because they have an attachment to you and give "less hurtful" advice, not wanting to discourage or anger you, and really being less helpful. I think it would be the exact same thing among GM's.

That, and talking to your players after or during a game will both allow you to get more practicle advise from them (in relation to what just happened) and also allows for the GM to really concider what is said (good and bad) and implicate it or learn other ways of play than it would from other GM's. In my opinon, one of the best things that could be done would be to create a Player-only focused PFS scenario thread for each of the scenario's, one where GMs should really answer questions, but not contribute (as a DM), and a seperate 1-5 star rating system, as GM and Players, in my experiece tend to have a very different feel for the game, and it's less based on the quality of their GM as it is the content of the scenario and other built-in aspects based on personal tastes.

My choices:

Season 0: 0 - 1 Silent Tide or 0 - 4 The Frozen Fingers of Midnight
Season 1: 1 - 7 The Voice in the Void (so far my absolute favorate to run)
Season 2: 2 - 3 Rebel's Ransom
Season 3: 3 - 15 The Haunting of Hinojai
Season 4: 4 - 2 In Wrath's Shadow <originally was The Cyphermage Dilemma>
Mod: Dawn of the Scarlet Sun

My reasoning and findings:

Season 0: In both cases, as a GM I really liked how open these two scenario's are, how inclusive to allowing player's to accomplish things in different ways, but also how much both are written to utilize threats that are outside of the rules. Both have a very epic feel, that the player's really matter. I also like that with Frozen Fingers in particular, players can actually play matchmaker and/or redeem both the villian and the NPC involved. In both cases, my players responded that they really liked how open the scenarios where, left fairly basic so that the DM could fill in the flavor. They loved the idea of the overwhelming threat and that they where right there in the middle of it.

Season 1: Much like the previous case, this scenario is just so allowing of a lot of great RP flavoring on the DM's part. I'm running this as a PbP, and I have the added advantage of being able to incorporate each of the player's backgrounds into random visions and similar hauntings and unexplained phenomenon, all of which is purely flavor. It also allows me a very believable way of explaining to them in character what is going on, in a way that it will make a lot of sense in the end. Again, it leaves a lot open for the GM to insert small things. It's also a break from the overused dungeon or city/warehouse based scenario, and the fact that it is one of many that takes place in the same ongoing location really boosts the amazingness that is this scenario. Huge potentual for all playstyles, from RP, to combat, to investigation, to just sit back and let things unfold. So far, my players have loved it. I've already been told many times (while still running it) "thank you for doing ______, that is so awesome", "wow, I really love that you read and used ________ from my background", or "that's really cool that that was just a <insert common monster> but the description (which I didn't really need to play up much) really made it seem so much greater and new <as a threat>". They are also aware that there are a few other scenarios that take place here, and one of them has played in one of those, and absolutely love the NON-season-thematic continuation, but how it is also so much different. (And not in Varisia or Tian.)

Season 2: I chose this one as it seems like another really iconic and epic play experience, exactly what a Pathfinder should be doing; going out, rescuing their allies, exploring something new, and discovering a new and far off land. It also seems to be one that breaks from the normal mold and utilizes (and by that I mean kind of ignors) rules outside of the box to make a fantastic story experience. One that the player's are part of and a deciding factor. have not run or played it yet, so that is just my expectation.

Season 3: I have not read it at all yet, and despite being very (I presume) Tian-centric (many of my commn player base is not fond of those scenarios overall), it seems like it will stand out in that it both seems poised to actually highlight some of the better eastern flavor (as oppossed to realistically being able to be dropped anywhere) and also fairly open to allowing very descriptive flavor and RP with it's haunts, as well as showing some of the history, rather than just telling it. I have heard that it can go very overboard with certain threats, but we will see. Again, have neither played or run it yet, so at this point just my initial expectations. Unlike above, I haven't even read it at all, though nor looke at any advice.

Season 4: Again, seems like a distilled version of all of the above. This one seems a little more like the players would be more observers than doers, but still has a moderate epic undertone, as well as seems like it might allow the player's a little more understanding of the world's history and a glimpse of what this season is building up to. I missed playing in this one with my group, but still plan on running it soon. From my understanding they all had a blast with it, but I refrained from hering much do to not wanting to be spoiled. Originally, my plan was to do The Cyphermage Dilemma, but after having played it, I honestly feel that there was a huge amount of hype for this scenario which itself turned out to be very lackluster. Not terrible or bad, just not nearly as great as all the things I've heard. It also seemed the be one of the big ones that I can really see GM's loving it for all the extra story they get to see, but PC's having a different experience altogether. I could be wrong, and might give it a shot one day?

Mod: The name implies a very cool, very classic style adenture, and I also really like that it takes place in a location, or at least revolves around one that will very likely have a strong in-character influence on religious characters that are common on the player's side. A great deal of the time, PFS adventures that deal with lost or fogotten temples do so in a way that they are not really important to the PC's, either some strange NPCish cult, monsterous or evil faiths, or an uncommon deity not really intended for players. Being about a lost temple of Sarnrae, one of the most common PC's (and honestly in the world in general) patron deities really has the potentual to make this matter to those players which usually get the short end of the stick for personal interest or draw in many PFS overall missions. The idea that it can be so personal, but also allows for a very core Pathfinder experience (discovering, exploring, looting, and discovering mysteries of the past) make this one seem to stand out enough to choose it above others.

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