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Players using additional resources they do not own


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

I'm not sure how or when the idea that you can use a photocopied page from a book came into use, and I'm sure that someone can point us to a forum post where Mike/Mark indicated you can use such, but IMO, that goes against the spirit of the ownership expectation. If you go back and review all the threads that pertained to additional resources, a lot of the flexibility came into effect to accommodate issues like a couple or parent/child playing. We decided it was unfair to require both to own a separate copy of the material. Then it was expanded to couples/friends playing at different tables, and so on. IMO, the rules regarding what is/not a legal table copy are so muddled and exception's-based, they carry little weight. Any GM who bans a character or a character's ability due to lack of "official" documentation is considered a jerk.

Quote:
In order to utilize content from an Additional Resource, a player must have a physical copy of the Additional Resource in question

This is pretty easy to deal with. In my experience, most players like their physical books and seem to welcome any chance to use them. Of source, as digital media continues to dominate our lives, I expect this will continue to decrease.

Quote:
a name-watermarked Paizo PDF of it, or a printout of the relevant pages from it

This is the part that I think should be enforced. If you want to use a printed copy of a pdf page, IMO, the pdf must be yours. No sharing of pdf material. As far as I understand copyright, you cannot use someone else's legally obtained digital material for personal gain and I would argue that using it to make your character legal is personal gain. AFAIK, possession of pirated material is just as illegal as providing it in the first place. But, I accept that not everyone agrees.

Quote:
as well as a copy of the current version of the Additional Resources list.

I find that this is extremely rare. Most players have a copy of the material, but do not have a copy of the AR. It might be reasonable to expect that the GM, or other players, will have it, but technically, *you* must have a copy to use said material.

Quote:
It is considered courteous to inform the Game Master that you plan to use Additional Resource material before play begins, so he has a chance to familiarize himself with the new material.

I have GM'd over 200 sessions of PFS and I do not recall ever having a player volunteer that their character is using AR material at the outset.

I am a volunteer. GM's are volunteers. Players are volunteering to play. Etc. It is not my job to be the copyright police. OTOH, I expect every player I come in contact with to play by the rules. I don't have the time, nor the inclination, to review every player's character sheet for errors (intentional or accidental) plus ensure they have legally obtained material to support every option for said character. I buy everything Paizo produces for Pathfinder, both because I am a collector, but also so I can use it in PFS. If you play to win, and you cheat to achieve said winning, congratulations, you win. I have been told that karma is a b++#$. What goes around, comes around. If you are intentionally cheating, I believe that eventually, you will be discovered and hopefully, the players and GM's you game with will shun you for violating the integrity of the game. If something comes up during the game that I think might be questionable, I will might make a note of it and try to do an audit and/or question the player after the session is complete, but that is few and far between. If you are unintentionally cheating, and perhaps cheating is the wrong word in this case, then you'll know for next time.

*

Chris Mortika wrote:
"I'm sorry, but if you don't have access to the rules for your class, you can't play that character. But I do have a terrific Kyra pre-gen you can play."

I guess that is a fair response if no one at the table has an "official" source of the rule in question. Personally I would accept a photocopy from the book or the PFSRD at that point rather than force someone to choose between having to use a pregen or walking from the table.

Grand Lodge *****

"It is considered courteous to inform the Game Master ..."

I've suggested that this phrase be changed to:

"You must inform the Game Master ..."

But no luck yet. I think I've had just 1 person tell me, without being prompted, since Additional Resources were added to PFS.

I ask players when starting if anyone is using non-core material and if yes, verify they have access to a valid source and copy of the AR.

Usually, those who do, don't, but we are able to produce a valid source among everyone at the table - though I'm usually the only one with a copy of the AR. Everybody gets one "pass" as I explain the rules, but if I remember they've heard me say this before, my copies are not available to them. I don't like to be this much of a jerk, but I also don't want them saying, "well my previous GM let me" to their next GM.

On the other hand, if a player surprises me with something during the game and doesn't have access to a valid source - it suddenly doesn't seem to work.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Don, I'm curious:

What kind of repercussions has that policy had, inside the game? Have characters died because their spell or feat or class feature didn't work?

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

Bob Jonquet wrote:
I have GM'd over 200 sessions of PFS and I do not recall ever having a player volunteer that their character is using AR material at the outset.

I've notified a couple of GMs that I'm using something from Ultimate Equipment (the Daredevil Boots), and I've heard at least one other player mention an uncommon feat before we get started. I have a printed copy of the relevant page (from my watermarked PDF) in the folder with the character sheet, chronicles, &c., and offer that to the GM, much as I will do with the boon when I finally bring my Kitsune to the table.

I'm working on extending each portfolio in that way for all the items, feats, traits, ... that I use from any additional resources (beyond APG/UC/UM), but I'm not there yet.

Taldor *

Traits pretty much suck when it comes to this rule. There are no traits in the core rulebook, many traits are spread across many different books, and you need two of these things at Level 1. I spent $8 for Extremely Fashionable, so I sure hope my character sticks around for a while.

I'm gonna start GMing, and I'm actually making a guide to good traits that come from the big 3 books (APG, UC, UM).

Shadow Lodge *****

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
You cannot have photocopies of the book, period. If he owns the book, he should bring it instead of a photocopy. If it is a watermarked printout, it's obvious when they tell you their name and it doesn't match the watermark.

Yea, I have a problem with that. I own all of the hardcover books and a significant number of chronicles, companions, and campaign settings. I'm not packing my library into a massive duffel bag or rolling suitcase to go to a convention where I might be walking around for hours before/after playing PFS (note - this would be the case even if I didn't have a messed up knee).

If it's one I don't also own the pdf to (and thus could print a watermarked copy), I'm probably bringing photocopies of the relevant pages.

The purpose of making sure players have the rules for the things they use isn't to be the copyright police, but to make sure that the GM can, on request, be shown mechanics he or she may not be familiar with that a PC is trying to use during a game they are running. That's it.

Lantern Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Australia—Melbourne aka DarkWhite

vonFiedler wrote:
Traits pretty much suck when it comes to this rule. There are no traits in the core rulebook, many traits are spread across many different books, and you need two of these things at Level 1.

The Guide to PFS Organised Play contains traits for each faction. It's free to download, and as it's part of the Core Assumption, all players should have their own copy.

But faction traits are campaign traits, and you can't select two traits from the same category. So download the free character traits PDF from the Pathfinder RPG Resources page, these were later reprinted in the APG, and selet your second trait from among those. Just check the Additional Resources page that they're available to PFS characters (some aren't).

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

A relevant post from Mike Brock

Michael Brock wrote:
If they are at the same table, they could share a book. If they are at separate tables, one would need a photo copy or print out of the relevant pages that apply to their character.

Note that this thread was about two family members using the same book.

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Stephen White wrote:
So download the free character traits PDF from the Pathfinder RPG Resources page, these were later reprinted in the APG, and selet your second trait from among those.

I think the point was that as the Traits Web Enhancement is in Additional Resources, every single PFS character in existence is using something non-core, even if it's only one trait. By the campaign standards, every player should have a copy of Additional Resources with them, plus a print-out of the trait itself.

Personally I'd be fine with the traits web enhancement being moved to the core assumption.

Grand Lodge *

Stephen White wrote:
vonFiedler wrote:
Traits pretty much suck when it comes to this rule. There are no traits in the core rulebook, many traits are spread across many different books, and you need two of these things at Level 1.

The Guide to PFS Organised Play contains traits for each faction. It's free to download, and as it's part of the Core Assumption, all players should have their own copy.

But faction traits are campaign traits, and you can't select two traits from the same category. So download the free character traits PDF from the Pathfinder RPG Resources page, these were later reprinted in the APG, and selet your second trait from among those. Just check the Additional Resources page that they're available to PFS characters (some aren't).

Furthermore, there are free PDF download Players Guides to most Adventure Paths that contain traits. Again, please check the Additional Resources page before selecting these traits for your PFS character, and keep in mind that faction and Adventure Path traits are both campaign traits for the purposes of choosing from different categories.

Yes, the Adventure Path traits are great value, being free to download. The Shattered Star AP has the Pathfinder Society traits as well, which are GOOD traits.

Lantern Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Australia—Melbourne aka DarkWhite

Helaman wrote:
Yes, the Adventure Path traits are great value, being free to download. The Shattered Star AP has the Pathfinder Society traits as well, which are GOOD traits.

Except I probably shouldn't have recommended those before heeding my own advice, and checking the Additional Resources page :-(

(previous post edited to remove reference to Adventure Path Players Guides)

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
You cannot have photocopies of the book, period. If he owns the book, he should bring it instead of a photocopy. If it is a watermarked printout, it's obvious when they tell you their name and it doesn't match the watermark.
Mike Bramnik wrote:
Yea, I have a problem with that. I own all of the hardcover books and a significant number of chronicles, companions, and campaign settings. I'm not packing my library into a massive duffel bag or rolling suitcase to go to a convention where I might be walking around for hours before/after playing PFS ... If it's one I don't also own the pdf to (and thus could print a watermarked copy), I'm probably bringing photocopies of the relevant pages.

Mike,

So far as I can tell, nobody's telling you that you have to bring any of those books to the table. You can come up with a terrific PFS character with the Core Rulebook -- and the traits document, as Paz points out.

If I'm judging a game and you (the rhetorical "you") sit down with a Wayang witch with feats from Ultimate Combat and several spells out of Ultimate Magic, though, you need to make sure that there's relevant documentation at the table. That might involve three or four books. But that's no surprise. When you made those character choices, you knew that you were going to need to bring that information, the same as you knew you were going to need a race-boon Chronicle.

With me so far?

So, if you have the PDFs of the relevant pages, bring them on an iPad or print them out. If you don't, bring the books. If you don't do either, then either (a) hope somebody else at the table did bring the books, or (b) play something else. (So, if you have the "Dragon Empires Gazetteer, but you don't have a PDF of the APG and you don't want to bring the book, then you could have made a Wayang bard instead.)

If you bring out PDF pages with somebody else's name that you (again, rhetorical "you") downloaded from a bit-torrent site, or if you Xeroxed off pages from somebody else's book, it's very unlikely that I'd catch you -- I'm not the border guard -- but if I do happen to notice that, I'll ask you to hand over the illegal copies or leave the table.

Even if you're a Venture Officer. Especially if you're a Venture Officer.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Unless it's been changed, the last I'd heard was rhat the character must be forcibly changed t be in compliance on the spot. No option to walk from the table, share with a stranger, or otherwise avoid it. If a player tries to walk, mark the chatacter "dead" and move on.

...if it hasn't changed. that was a few coordinators ago.

Grand Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Chris Mortika wrote:
bring the books

What if this hypothetical player with photocopies of all the info they need from Additional Resources says that their spouse has all the books in the other PFS room at the convention, and shows you this thread where Mike Brock said it was OK?

*

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Chris Kenney wrote:

Unless it's been changed, the last I'd heard was rhat the character must be forcibly changed t be in compliance on the spot. No option to walk from the table, share with a stranger, or otherwise avoid it. If a player tries to walk, mark the chatacter "dead" and move on.

...if it hasn't changed. that was a few coordinators ago.

Even if the rule hasn't changed the DM should never do this for reasons which I hope are obvious. A player should always have the choice to walk from the table for whatever reason without the DM threatening to kill their character. To me the DM threatening to do so is the height of unacceptability, and quite frankly I have a hard time believing that any coordinator past or present would encourage that sort of thing.

It is unlikely, but if this were to happen to me I would hope that Mike would overturn the death on appeal.

*

It seems that the issue of what is and is not a correct source is very GM / table dependent. The rules are written in a way that insinuates/hints that players should own legal sources and bring those sources for their characters. However, this topic has been hashed out multiple times and we all know how both Mike and Mark feel in regards to the rule.

If there is a legal source available (or a seudo legal source, ie. a photo copy of a book) for the GM to use then the players should be able to use their character. The rule is not for the GM to play copyright police or enforce ownership of sources but so that the GM can see a true rule and not a paraphrased variation (ie. d20pfsrd).

Sources I accept:
Books / pdf's at the table (whether owned by the player in question or another)
Books / pdf not at table but accessible for me to read (this may be a single copy of a book among 5 tables at our LGS)
Photo-copies of an actual book (We have no way of knowing whether they own the book or not and Mike / Mark have said it's acceptable)

Not acceptable:
Lack of source
d20pfsrd (though well proofread and edited I have seen errors and some of it is slight paraphrasing / taken from 3.5 rules)
Non-watermarked pdfs (Although a true source that I can reference to understand the rule, I draw the line with this and try to let the player know that they are wrong in what they are doing.)

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Saint Caleth wrote:
Chris Kenney wrote:

Unless it's been changed, the last I'd heard was rhat the character must be forcibly changed t be in compliance on the spot. No option to walk from the table, share with a stranger, or otherwise avoid it. If a player tries to walk, mark the chatacter "dead" and move on.

...if it hasn't changed. that was a few coordinators ago.

Even if it hasn't changed the DM should never do this. A player should always have the choice to walk from the table for whatever reason without the DM threatening to kill their character. To me the DM threatening to do so is the height of unacceptability, and quite frankly I have a hard time believing that any coordinator past or present would encourage that sort of thing.

That would have been Joshua Frost. He was very harsh on this issue, to put it mildly. Once a character was found to not be in compliance with the Additional Resources rules, they were illegal and the resources had to be stripped from them and the character changed, period. If the player refused, the character was still never legal again, and the only way to indicate that I've been able to find is the "dead" box. There's just no other way to enforce it.

At the time, his ruling was also "no sharing whatsoever." Spouses/family members needed two copies, PDFs needed to have your name and no one else's. Essentially it was Zero Tolerance, with everything that implies.

That's why I emphasized the "if it hasn't changed" or at least tried to. That's basically the rule as it stood two years ago, and a lot else around it has changed, including multiple people stepping up to and down from the coordinator spot.

This is actually one of the reasons I stopped GMing in general, along with a few other things like the monk rulings that made me really uncomfortable being in the position of having to enforce them. It's just too hard to know where things stand in this campaign a lot of the time.

*

Chris Kenney wrote:
Saint Caleth wrote:
Chris Kenney wrote:

Unless it's been changed, the last I'd heard was rhat the character must be forcibly changed t be in compliance on the spot. No option to walk from the table, share with a stranger, or otherwise avoid it. If a player tries to walk, mark the chatacter "dead" and move on.

...if it hasn't changed. that was a few coordinators ago.

Even if it hasn't changed the DM should never do this. A player should always have the choice to walk from the table for whatever reason without the DM threatening to kill their character. To me the DM threatening to do so is the height of unacceptability, and quite frankly I have a hard time believing that any coordinator past or present would encourage that sort of thing.

That would have been Joshua Frost. He was very harsh on this issue, to put it mildly. Once a character was found to not be in compliance with the Additional Resources rules, they were illegal and the resources had to be stripped from them and the character changed, period. If the player refused, the character was still never legal again, and the only way to indicate that I've been able to find is the "dead" box. There's just no other way to enforce it.

At the time, his ruling was also "no sharing whatsoever." Spouses/family members needed two copies, PDFs needed to have your name and no one else's. Essentially it was Zero Tolerance, with everything that implies.

That's why I emphasized the "if it hasn't changed" or at least tried to. That's basically the rule as it stood two years ago, and a lot else around it has changed, including multiple people stepping up to and down from the coordinator spot.

This is actually one of the reasons I stopped GMing in general, along with a few other things like the monk rulings that made me really uncomfortable being in the position of having to enforce them. It's just too hard to know where things stand in this campaign a lot of the time.

Well I hope that it has officially changed, because that is a rule I would not enforce even if I were still the case.

My main problem with it is the threatening the player who wants to walk from the table bit, not the change the character bit.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Chris,

I think you're mis-characterizing Josh's position. He did come across that way for a day or two, and then some of us convinced him to soften his stand. So while it is possible to find posts from Mr. Frost advocating such a hard-line position, you can read another 30 posts or so in the same thread and see he relented. He allowed that family members could share resources.

(Even so, I don't believe he ever said that a character needed to be marked "dead". Just that it couldn't be played, at any table, until it was compliant. If you can cite him as advocating declaring the character dead, I'd like to see that.)

None of that matters now, of course.

***

Paz wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:
bring the books
What if this hypothetical player with photocopies of all the info they need from Additional Resources says that their spouse has all the books in the other PFS room at the convention, and shows you this thread where Mike Brock said it was OK?

I'm still interested in peoples' opinions on this, since this is what my husband and I would have to do if we ever played at a large convention like GenCon.

Qadira ***

every time I read the title to this thread I think:

PCs using something they don't own.
(my PC passes a Haunt Siphon to someone who doesn't own the source document, and he uses it.)

I know that's not what it's about, but that's what keeps popping into my head.

Can your PC use something (like a wand of Air Bubble) that you do not own? something he does not have access to? (you don't own a copy of Ultimate Magic, but my PC hands your PC a wand of Air Bubble... can he use it? Is it even on his spell list?)

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Jen, Paz, then I would take the player at his word.

nosig, I presume that the player of the character who brought the wand of air bubble has the rules for the spell, yes?

Lantern Lodge **

Chris Mortika wrote:
If not, mind your on business, roll dice, and have a good time.

That's usual my take on such matters. But ever since I started PFS... my mind is going like RULES! FAIR PLAY! DON'T SCREW UP! MORE RULES! lol :P

Qadira ***

Does anyone actually ask to see everything a PC uses from Additional Resources before the game start? Every one of my PCs use stuff from there...
My bard for example uses over a dozen different things. (and she's only 9th level!) Most are things she'll never use during a game. Equipment like a Spring Wrist Shieth, spells like Aura of the Unremarkable, Boons from Pathfinder Tales Chronicles, Masterpieces like Dance of Kindled Desires,... altogether 20 or 30 pages of things. Heck, her Archtype is from a different book. Most of these will never come up during a game. If some judge asked to see all this before the game started, I would be able to pass it over to him, but... at 30 seconds per thing this is 10 minutes reviewing these things? For each of 6 players? I've never seen anyone do this.

During play, if my PC is going to utilize something out of the ordinary (or if the Judge asked to see the writeup on something), I happy to pull the page (printed from my PDF) and pass it over. Normally, if it's something strange (like the Dance of Kindled Desires) I'll pass it over and ask how it works for him before my PC uses it, passing him the write-up. If it's something common (spring wrist shieth) I'm likely to just use it. He knows how it works at his table, and I think I know how it works for him.

Qadira ***

Chris Mortika wrote:

Jen, Paz, then I would take the player at his word.

nosig, I presume that the player of the character who brought the wand of air bubble has the rules for the spell, yes?

Sure Chris! or someone at the table. If it were me, I normally have the PDF page, but I might have to get the "tablet" from my wife. My point was, the guy using it doesn't own it. Not that someone at the table doesn't have it.

It sounds like some people here are going to say "you don't have a copy of UM with you? Yes I know that the other 5 players and I all have our copies here, but YOU don't? so you need to look up the drowning rules... the spell doesn't work for you."

Grand Lodge ****

The onus is on the *player* to provide the rules for their character's options. The GM does not have time to look up the rules for your PC - they have a dozen monsters and NPCs and a story line and a bunch of faction missions to deal with.

If you choose to satisfy this rule using shared property, be aware that some GMs will take issue if they have to access a rule and you don't actually have it with you. Some GMs will be harder-lined on this than others; it is part of your choice to share resources.

If you choose to satisfy this rule using stolen property, be aware that many GMs will not allow it, and may or may not allow you to play that character or at their table at all.

Remember, a GM is not being a jerk by enforcing the campaign rules. If you want to play with things you don't own, you may encounter issues.

I will also note that when I've faced this issue as a GM, I find myself more willing to cut slack to a player who approaches this nicely than one who is confrontational and tries to "force" me into allowing their laziness to pass muster using forum posts and "jerk" comments.

Shadow Lodge *****

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Chris Mortika wrote:

So far as I can tell, nobody's telling you that you have to bring any of those books to the table. You can come up with a terrific PFS character with the Core Rulebook -- and the traits document, as Paz points out.

If I'm judging a game and you (the rhetorical "you") sit down with a Wayang witch with feats from Ultimate Combat and several spells out of Ultimate Magic, though, you need to make sure that there's relevant documentation at the table. That might involve three or four books. But that's no surprise. When you made those character choices, you knew that you were going to need to bring that information, the same as you knew you were going to need a race-boon Chronicle.

With me so far?

Since I'm "with you" so far, the Guide seems to have your example covered:

Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play Version 4.2 - August 16, 2012 wrote:
Additionally, a GM should have a physical copy of the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary and access to all books in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game line of hardcover rulebooks.

Seeing as GMs are supposed to have access to the hardcover books during a game, a player would simply have to ask the GM to reference the available information from Ultimate Combat and Ultimate Magic, in your example, since those resources would be at the table by the GM following the core assumption.

Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play Version 4.2 - August 16, 2012 wrote:
The content of these books can be found online for free as part of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Reference Document located at paizo.com/prd.

So, a printout from the PRD would seem to be acceptable, as well.

Chris Mortika wrote:

So, if you have the PDFs of the relevant pages, bring them on an iPad or print them out. If you don't, bring the books. If you don't do either, then either (a) hope somebody else at the table did bring the books, or (b) play something else. (So, if you have the "Dragon Empires Gazetteer, but you don't have a PDF of the APG and you don't want to bring the book, then you could have made a Wayang bard instead.)

If you bring out PDF pages with somebody else's name that you (again, rhetorical "you") downloaded from a bit-torrent site, or if you Xeroxed...

As long as we're being hypothetical, let's throw a few more into the mix, since not all players can afford iPads, and some players can't physically carry a large number of books with them wherever they go for a variety of reasons.

A player has photocopies from a book, and a receipt from paizo.com or a FLGS for said books. Would that be good enough for you (rhetorical "you", continued) than to confirm that the resource was legally obtained?

Chris Mortika wrote:
Even if you're a Venture Officer. Especially if you're a Venture Officer.

On this we agree. Venture Officers and Five Star GMs should be held to a higher standard in terms of following the rules from the Guide to Organized Play.

PS - Nice "flourish".

*

Mike Bramnik wrote:
A player has photocopies from a book, and a receipt from paizo.com or a FLGS for said books. Would that be good enough for you (rhetorical "you", continued) than to confirm that the resource was legally obtained?

It is pretty easy to spot a photocopy of a book vs a print from a pdf (looking at the binding offset and the distortion that causes when photocopying a book). Doesn't the fact that it's an actual photocopy mean that it came from a legal source that someone purchased? It seams to me that not accepting actual photocopies is not about a legal (purchased) vs illegal (stolen) source but about personal ownership vs shared ownership.

*****

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mike Bramnik wrote:
...Five Star GMs should be held to a higher standard...

Pfft.

***** Venture-Captain, Indiana—Indianapolis aka Red-Assassin

Mike Bramnik wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:

So far as I can tell, nobody's telling you that you have to bring any of those books to the table. You can come up with a terrific PFS character with the Core Rulebook -- and the traits document, as Paz points out.

If I'm judging a game and you (the rhetorical "you") sit down with a Wayang witch with feats from Ultimate Combat and several spells out of Ultimate Magic, though, you need to make sure that there's relevant documentation at the table. That might involve three or four books. But that's no surprise. When you made those character choices, you knew that you were going to need to bring that information, the same as you knew you were going to need a race-boon Chronicle.

With me so far?

Since I'm "with you" so far, the Guide seems to have your example covered:

Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play Version 4.2 - August 16, 2012 wrote:
Additionally, a GM should have a physical copy of the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary and access to all books in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game line of hardcover rulebooks.

Seeing as GMs are supposed to have access to the hardcover books during a game, a player would simply have to ask the GM to reference the available information from Ultimate Combat and Ultimate Magic, in your example, since those resources would be at the table by the GM following the core assumption.

Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play Version 4.2 - August 16, 2012 wrote:
The content of these books can be found online for free as part of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Reference Document located at paizo.com/prd.

So, a printout from the PRD would seem to be acceptable, as well.

Chris Mortika wrote:
So, if you have the PDFs of the relevant pages, bring them on an iPad or print them out. If you don't, bring the books. If you don't do either, then either (a) hope somebody else at the table did bring the books, or (b) play something else. (So, if you have the "Dragon Empires Gazetteer, but you don't have a PDF of
...

The PRD is not a legal option for a player, Ever. This tool is available for GM's specifically. For running a scenario.

This is really a bad sorted argument, a GM should have acess to all the hardbacks since scenarios will use the spells etc from them, thus you can use the PRD to prep scenarios. The PRD has all the hardback info. A GM does not need all of the hardbacks at the table.

Players should not expect a GM to loan him any books at the table. Frankly he may not own all of them.

Players should come to the table with all legal references for their character.

Audits should happen regularly.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play Version 4.2 - August 16, 2012 wrote:
Additionally, a GM should have a physical copy of the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary and access to all books in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game line of hardcover rulebooks.
Mike Bramnik wrote:
Seeing as GMs are supposed to have access to the hardcover books during a game, a player would simply have to ask the GM to reference the available information from Ultimate Combat and Ultimate Magic, in your example, since those resources would be at the table by the GM following the core assumption.

Mike, I have access to that material at home, when I'm prepping and looking up game mechanics, but generally not when I'm at the table.

(In fact, I'm trying to move *away* from relying on a lot of books at the table.)

If this campaign requires GMs to have ready access to all the hardcovers at the gaming table, I'm afraid I need to stop attending conventions.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Jen Sweet wrote:
I'm still interested in peoples' opinions on this, since this is what my husband and I would have to do if we ever played at a large convention like GenCon.

You guys own the PDFs don't you? Mike has said it is fine for faimly members to share a PDF... That said bring... Wait... you know what I have never asked this...

Are you 2 married? ;)

Cheliax **

So, if me and my group of friends all want to play Chelish PCs, in order for us to take themactic feats or traits from the Cheliax splat book, each of us has to pay for a legal copy of the PDF (since the book is not in print)? We can't pool our resources and buy one copy of it to share?

I mean, having a trait where I get +3 to bluff convince people that "there's nothing to see here, move along" is pretty cool, but it's not worth $15 to $20 bucks per member of my gaming group.

And if I do have a copy of a paperback rule book with a page or two devouted to extra traits a character aspiring to hell knight can take, my friend at the table can't use that for his character without it breaking the official rules of PFS? My girlfriend can't use a legally purchased, printed out of a PDF with my name watermarked on it?

I go out of my way to make sure Paizo has been paid for the books that my play group uses, but demanding we each own legal copies of PDFs is a bit much, especially for sources where physical copies are out of print. I'd very happily spend money on a hard copy of "Cheliax: Empire of Devils" if that was possible.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Victor Zajic wrote:
So, if me and my group of friends all want to play Chelish PCs, in order for us to take themactic feats or traits from the Cheliax splat book, each of us has to pay for a legal copy of the PDF (since the book is not in print)? We can't pool our resources and buy one copy of it to share?

I'm speaking as somebody who's been paying attention, but certainly not in any official capacity. But your description matches my understanding, yes.

Victor Zajic wrote:
I mean, having a trait where I get +3 to bluff convince people that "there's nothing to see here, move along" is pretty cool, but it's not worth $15 to $20 bucks per member of my gaming group.

That's fine. Nobody says you have to take those feats. There are plenty of great character options in the Core book.

Victor Zajic wrote:
And if I do have a copy of a paperback rule book with a page or two devouted to extra traits a character aspiring to hell knight can take, my friend at the table can't use that for his character without it breaking the official rules of PFS? My girlfriend can't use a legally purchased, printed out of a PDF with my name watermarked on it?

If it's a hard copy that you own (as opposed to a PDF) I don't think anybody has argued that you can't loan the physical copy to your friend, as long as the two of you aren't trying to use it at the same time. (According to Amazon there are copies available.)

But, as I understand the campaign, your girlfriend should not be using PDFs with your name on them. There's all sorts of reasons why.

Victor Zajic wrote:
I go out of my way to make sure Paizo has been paid for the books that my play group uses, but demanding we each own legal copies of PDFs is a bit much.

You're asking what the rules are. I'm trying to tell you what the rules are, as I understand them: don't bring illegal copies to the table.

I'd agree that the rules would be onerous if you were required to use "Cheliax" to play the game, or to play a PC from Cheliax. If everybody in your group wants the supplemental rules material from that book, you should all obtain legal copies of it.

*

Victor Zajic wrote:

So, if me and my group of friends all want to play Chelish PCs, in order for us to take themactic feats or traits from the Cheliax splat book, each of us has to pay for a legal copy of the PDF (since the book is not in print)? We can't pool our resources and buy one copy of it to share?

I mean, having a trait where I get +3 to bluff convince people that "there's nothing to see here, move along" is pretty cool, but it's not worth $15 to $20 bucks per member of my gaming group.

And if I do have a copy of a paperback rule book with a page or two devouted to extra traits a character aspiring to hell knight can take, my friend at the table can't use that for his character without it breaking the official rules of PFS? My girlfriend can't use a legally purchased, printed out of a PDF with my name watermarked on it?

I go out of my way to make sure Paizo has been paid for the books that my play group uses, but demanding we each own legal copies of PDFs is a bit much, especially for sources where physical copies are out of print. I'd very happily spend money on a hard copy of "Cheliax: Empire of Devils" if that was possible.

To sum up this whole thread....YMMV

Some GMs / gaming groups only require a single legal copy be accessible to the GM for players to use it. Thus, in our St. Louis group we usually have a few people that bring all of their books or have pdf's available for reference but more than those people utilize characters with material from these books. More than likely they own these books and just don't want to lug their library to each game night. As long as their is a copy available for the GM to read and understand the rules if need be we are cool. With this system you could end up using something weird and no body has that book. In that case you are SOL and should have brought your copy. We are not really interested in enforcing ownership just in enforcing a correct ruling on alternative material use and rules.

Cheliax **

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Since your understanding of the rules is going to discourage everyone in my play group from spending money on splatbooks to add variety and flavor to our characters, I'm curious if it is supported by actual campaign staff. Requiring us to either pay 50 dollars (not to Paizo) for a used copy of an out of print book, or $120 so that everyone has a copy of the PDF with their individual watermarks on it, is a huge financial burden to access 3 pages out of the PDF that we want to use.

Are we required to use said additional resource? No.

Does it make any bit of sense to discourage people who wish to purchase a copy of the material from Paizo so that their group can play with additional resources? Also no.

But if we're all blood relative, then it is legal for us to share watermarked PDFs that one of us purchases? Or is it only photo copies of the books one of owns? What will Paizo employees or overzealous GMs be accepting as proof of who is in a family or not? Should we be bringing goverment issued IDs and notarized family trees?

I'm actually curious about the "all sorts of reasons why" my GF using material I've legally paid for is a bad thing. I mean, I could lend her a hard copy of a book instead of a water marked PDF (assuming the hardcopy is available), but I guess there is no way to prove she didn't steal it from me. I have my name written on the inside of the hard binding, should that prevent anyone else from using it?

What if I included a signed release form on every copy of PDFs with my name watermarked on them, listing my permission for this person to be borrowing the property I own?

Look, I understand that piracy is a real problem and Paizo has a right to profit off their intellectual property. But there has to be some reasonable limit on the enforcement of anti piracy policies or it will backlash against the company. So maybe we should be thinking of how our actions as non-employee volunteers reflect on Paizo. Because if me and my friends sit down to a table you run at a convention and you tell us that PDF copies with only one of our names water marked on them isn't good enough for you, we're probably going to leave the table, demand the money for our game tickets back, and rethink if we're going to bother playing PFS again.

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

@Victor: And you're fine to do that. But there are some ways to go and handle this:

1. Just buy the PDF. If playing a character with those rules are that important to you, then the investment should be worth it. As noted from your previous post, if you're looking at the Cheliax, Empire of Devils book, $8 is a pretty good price for the PDF. There are few PDFs that go over the $14 price. Regardless, ownership of the material is noted in the Guide to PFS play and, now knowing it's effect for you, you should abide by its rules.

2. Keep your group together if you only have that single copy of the book. It's been generally noted here in the thread that it's allowed to share the books at the table for a resource. Most GM's don't have a problem with it and if you guys are all going gung-ho Cheliax as in your example, then I imagine you'd want to have fun pushing your Chelish agenda together in the same missions anyway :)

3. Play a different character. If statements 1 or 2 don't pan out, it's pretty easy to make fun characters just using the Core Rulebook (which everyone should have, even if it's just the $10 PDF). Maybe do a complete reversal and now play a paladin of the Silver Crusade for that mission instead! Be proactive in this and prepping a backup character just in case. Save you and the table some trouble!

4. Be proactive with your situation. I imagine most GM's would be appreciative of a heads up about the use of Additional Resources (as noted in the rarity of Chris and Bob's posts above) and, if combined with statement 2 would go far in accepted use of the splat book.

Otherwise, just remember to have fun. If you want to walk up and leave and try to demand a refund, that is your call to make. But wouldn't it more fun overall to accept the DM's enforcement and enjoy your characer sans the feat/trait?

EDIT: Reordering and clarified a statement upon a comment from Dragnmoon

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

One thing you need to be careful with "Sharing" PDFs with friends, It is ok to Share your PDF reader with them (iPad, Kindle Fire), it is not ok to share your PDF with them by giving them to you friend.

Exceptions of that are made for family members in the same household (Husband, Wife, Daughter or Son).

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

Chris Mortika wrote:
If everybody in your group wants the supplemental rules material from (a) book, you should all obtain legal copies of it.

Again, I'm not in any way an official voice. But I believe that's a little stronger than I've seen posted. IIRC, even Mike Brock has suggested that a group of friends who always play at the same table can share a single copy of a book (although, naturally, Paizo would prefer it if everybody had their own copies of at least the main rulebooks). It's only if they play at different tables at the same time that multiple copies would definitely be required.

Grand Lodge *****

Chris Mortika wrote:

Don, I'm curious:

What kind of repercussions has that policy had, inside the game? Have characters died because their spell or feat or class feature didn't work?

First, I've only been well versed in the PFS campaign rules for about a year now. Before that I was never on the boards and only had a basic understanding of the PFS Guide. So my enforcement of this rule has only been in place for about a year.

Second, I'm the first to admit, I'm not a killer GM. I've never had a TPK and only come close a couple of times. One was while running We Be Goblins where 1 goblin got away. And that was during a period where pregen deaths in modules meant you still got credit for your PC.

So to answer: No. PCs have not died because their powers have suddenly not worked. This has only actually occurred a few times. It's been more a case of the BBEG lasting a full round or two rather than dropping before half the table has had a chance at him than any PC being in dire peril. I suspect that this may change as I begin to run season 4 scenarios, but I am educating my players and the issue comes up less and less.

Also, if I am actually familiar with the rule, I tend not to stop play to ask for the source to review it.

To paraphrase Jiggy: I don't audit PCs just because, but if I ask, you better have the info.

***

Dragnmoon wrote:
Jen Sweet wrote:
I'm still interested in peoples' opinions on this, since this is what my husband and I would have to do if we ever played at a large convention like GenCon.

You guys own the PDFs don't you? Mike has said it is fine for faimly members to share a PDF... That said bring... Wait... you know what I have never asked this...

Are you 2 married? ;)

LOL are you still being opposite? :) Yes, despite having different last names, we are in fact married. And I was more referring to if we had to photocopy a book...like Ultimate Equipment, which we have the hardcopy of, but not the PDF, and if we're playing at different tables. Some GMs, like Chris, said they may not accept photocopies from books, so I am glad that he would make an exception in the case of family members.

*

JohnF wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:
If everybody in your group wants the supplemental rules material from (a) book, you should all obtain legal copies of it.
Again, I'm not in any way an official voice. But I believe that's a little stronger than I've seen posted. IIRC, even Mike Brock has suggested that a group of friends who always play at the same table can share a single copy of a book (although, naturally, Paizo would prefer it if everybody had their own copies of at least the main rulebooks). It's only if they play at different tables at the same time that multiple copies would definitely be required.

Doesn't enforcing this just make life harder for organizers by encouraging groups of friends to insist on playing at the same table if that is the only way they can share sources. Either that or it just consistently shafts groups of players who share books and are not blood relations. Its kind of a catch 22 since both of these things are bad.

Also, I might have misunderstood, but some people earlier seemed to be advocating the DM refusing to allow a player to reference the DM's book that is sitting right there on the table. I just want to point out that if that were truly the rule, the correct thing to do would be to disregard it because it seems unacceptable to me from a "being a decent human being" standpoint. This leads me to think that I misunderstood, and I apologize to anyone I might have misunderstood, I just wanted to get my thoughts out there.

Shadow Lodge **

So how does one tell the xeroxed pages of my ultimate combat that i left at home because my lead minis are pushing my encumberence limit, from the xeroxed copies of ultimate combat that i never bought?

*

2 people marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
So how does one tell the xeroxed pages of my ultimate combat that i left at home because my lead minis are pushing my encumberence limit, from the xeroxed copies of ultimate combat that i never bought?

Honestly, caring about that would be a colossal waste of the already too short time in most slots. I'd be happy enough to have the text of the rule close at hand, since DM's are not copyright police.

Even if copyright policing were the intent of the rule, I could never conscience being someone else's copyright police, or deputizing someone else to rat on suspected infringers. So either way, no, I wouldn't care.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Clearly we need exacting rulings from Brock here.

We have five star GMs and Venture folks completely disagreeing, and IMO some unneeded rudeness on display.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Chris Mortika wrote:
If everybody in your group wants the supplemental rules material from (a) book, you should all obtain legal copies of it.
JohnF wrote:

Again, I'm not in any way an official voice. But I believe that's a little stronger than I've seen posted. IIRC, even Mike Brock has suggested that a group of friends who always play at the same table can share a single copy of a book (although, naturally, Paizo would prefer it if everybody had their own copies of at least the main rulebooks). It's only if they play at different tables at the same time that multiple copies would definitely be required.

Agreed. If Victor's group all plays at the same table -- either in a home PFS campaign or always plays together at a convention, then the owner of the PDF is always there, and I don't believe that's a problem at all. I apologize for overstating that. I was under the impression that Victor wanted to print out multiple copies and give a copy to all his friends to use, and that's what I was identifying as an abuse.

*

Winter_Born wrote:

Clearly we need exacting rulings from Brock here.

We have five star GMs and Venture folks completely disagreeing, and IMO some unneeded rudeness on display.

Both Mike and Mark have chimed in on this specific issue in the past. Read the thread...people posted links to those quotes. Both Mike and Mark are on the lenient side of the fence.

Cheliax ***

Mike Bramnik wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:
Even if you're a Venture Officer. Especially if you're a Venture Officer.
On this we agree. Venture Officers and Five Star GMs should be held to a higher standard in terms of following the rules from the Guide to Organized Play.

Seriously? The volunteers who give the most are being given less slack than everyone else. Shouldn't they be given way more slack?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
ZomB wrote:
Seriously? The volunteers who give the most are being given less slack than everyone else. Shouldn't they be given way more slack?

Then again, they are supposed to be the shining examples of doing it right...

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