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Players using additional resources they do not own


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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I've occasionally had a player turn up to the table with an obscure feat, trait or item that is legal, but that they do not have the requisite printout/book at the table, and that I suspect that they do not own them.

What is the correct procedure to deal with this? If it turns out that they do not own the resource, can I allow them to replace the feat/trait with one from the Core Assumption, or from a resource that they do own?

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka CRobledo

I believe the correct course of action would be to of course educate them that they need to be able to provide a copy of the legal source (book, watermarked PDF, photocopy) in order to use the said feat/spell/trait.

For the given scenario, I would just say the feat/trait is "shut off" and he can provide said resource next time he plays.

*

Mekkis wrote:

I've occasionally had a player turn up to the table with an obscure feat, trait or item that is legal, but that they do not have the requisite printout/book at the table, and that I suspect that they do not own them.

What is the correct procedure to deal with this? If it turns out that they do not own the resource, can I allow them to replace the feat/trait with one from the Core Assumption, or from a resource that they do own?

Is your concern that they're using something you're unfamiliar with, and you want to check the rules to make sure to everyone is using it correctly? Then they need to provide the rules.

If you're familiar with the resource, and know how it works, and you're using the rule to punish the player for some reason, that's not really the spirit of PFS. "In short, don’t be a jerk" applies equally. (This doesn't stop many GMs from enforcing the rule in a punitive manner, however, and it's unlikely to result in sympathy if escalated to a VC)

PFS Guide to Org Play 4.2 wrote:
In order to utilize content from an Additional Resource, a player must have a physical copy of the Additional Resource in question, a name-watermarked Paizo PDF of it, or a printout of the relevant pages from it, as well as a copy of the current version of the Additional Resources list.
In order to use these additional resources for your character, you must bring a physical copy of the book with you or printouts of the appropriate pages detailing cost (if any) and explanations for each feat, item, spell, prestige class, and so on that you use. (If you're bringing a printout of the pages, it must be from the actual Paizo PDF and not text copied and pasted into a blank word processing document).

Note that there's nothing about proving ownership, just having a legal copy. It doesn't have to be his book, just a book. While neither resource lists photocopies of a book as legal, many GMs (and VCs) will accept them if they're legible.

As to what to do if nobody has the resource available, the guide doesn't specify. Personally, I would just let the player not use that feat or ability, but I could see a GM simply not allowing that character at the table.

Side rant: I think it's silly that the PRD doesn't count as a legal resource, since it's automatically updated with errata, while my books still have many incorrect rules. Yes, not everyone has access to the PRD in places with no network connection, but if you do, I don't know why it shouldn't count. Especially since it's core assumption for GMs.

*

Ideally you want to encourage players to own the material that they are using for their characters. However, PFS does not require that the player own the source, just that a source is available somewhere for the GM to reference.

Mark's own words regarding this issue wrote:
As long as the GM can reference a legally obtained copy of the original source material should she wish to see a rule with which she is unfamiliar, I don't think anyone is concerned about who actually owns it or whose iPad the information is stored on. That said, the rule as printed in the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play is phrased as it is to encourage all players using Additional Resources to take responsibility for providing their own reference material at every game instead of hoping someone else has it on hand should the GM question it.

*

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Keep in mind that the purpose of the rule is to make use that the player has a way to show the DM any potentially unfamiliar options that a character has. The point of the rule is not to deputize the DMs as the "give money to Paizo police", which would be stupid and poor form from Paizo.

I agree with Steg that enforcing this rule in a punitive way is not appropriate from the DM. Were I the DM in question, if and only if I did not know the additional resource in question, I would point that out to the player and tell them that if I actually don't know what something does they can't use it. If I knew the resource in question or I could easily look it up I would just let them go ahead.

Grand Lodge ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I own most of Paizo's products on PDF, and if a player has something on his sheet I'm not familiar with, and if he can't provide the printed rule, I offer to look it up for him at the table, provided he can tell me the book and page number to save time. If he can't do that, then that resource can't be used at that session.

Sometimes, however, this can be tricky if the player is using an outdated resource. This happened to me last weekend when a player had the Serpent Lash feat from the Osirion book. Fantastic feat, and obviously over powered, but as I didn't have access to the Addition Resources page I had no idea if it was even legal. I guessed it wasn't but when in doubt, I allowed its use at the table since I had the rules for it. After the game when I once again had an internet connection, I discovered the feat was allowed, but only the updated version from the Rival Guide.

So I'm now making sure I have a pdf copy of the Additional Resource page on my laptop.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Michigan—Alma

I had this come up at GenCon. Player was going to use a feat I had never heard of before, (lets you use ride check for mount's will save?) so I asked to see it. All he had was the prd. Said he had pdf at home, but leveled up at GenCon so didn't have it with him. So I just didn't allow him to use it. Turns out the feat wasn't even in the book he thought it was since I looked it up after GenCon.

Shadow Lodge *****

I am currently no longer a fan of PDF's ... I purchased a book specifically for a feat to make a character legal (on PDF) ... then the character got the ban hammer

IMHO .. get the physical books... you can at least resell them if the characters get nailed

Silver Crusade **

Eric Clingenpeel wrote:
I had this come up at GenCon. Player was going to use a feat I had never heard of before, (lets you use ride check for mount's will save?) so I asked to see it. All he had was the prd. Said he had pdf at home, but leveled up at GenCon so didn't have it with him. So I just didn't allow him to use it. Turns out the feat wasn't even in the book he thought it was since I looked it up after GenCon.

Yeah that was my friend and I. I agree with the ruling, I was the one quoting the book but it was "Cities of Golarion", not "Inner Sea Campaign Guide." That was my fault. However by the next session he got it on his phone so it didn't come up and showed it to the GM before the game.

Here is the feat Eric

Quote:


Indomitable Mount (Combat, Local)
Your skill at riding helps your mount avoid attacks.

Prerequisites: Mounted Combat, Handle Animal 5 ranks, Ride 5 ranks, Lastwall affinity.

Benefit: Once per round when your mount must make a saving throw, you can make a Ride check as an immediate action. Your mount makes its save if your Ride check result is greater than the DC of the opponent’s attack.

Personally, I think a person should have to own the material to use the abilities. The splat books should be bought because they add something that you are not otherwise allowed.

Taldor *** Venture-Captain, Oklahoma—Tulsa aka Rob Duncan

I generally ask if anyone at the table or con has a copy.

If they do, and if we borrow it for the scenario or have the ability to make fair use copies (and destroy them afterwards), then I'll let it go and mark on the Chronicle Sheet a little extra note.

I generally will have the material to reference, so I'll let it go ONCE.

"You receive a threatening note from a mysterious courier. 'Bring the books or else!' Attempts to detect magic reveal that it is a powerful spell inhibiting certain abilities. [OOC effect: x ability does not work if y rulebook is not in possession]"

If I can't get a copy of the book or make a copy, then SOL.

My thought is they had to see it /somewhere/ to put it on the sheet and I'm only asking to see what they were looking at when they wrote it down.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

As someone who have bought several books just to use one thing from it I have no sympathy for this.

Players know the rule, it is up to them if they want to use any given rule. If they do, then they need to get the book.

When I GM I actually enforce the rule.

If you use some obscure thing, then have a copy with you.

Grand Lodge *****

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

According to the rules, the player must also have a current copy of the Additional Resources list if they use anything on it.

Also, enforcing the rules is not punishing the player. It is not being a jerk. It is maintaining the integrity of the campaign.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Don Walker wrote:
Also, enforcing the rules is not punishing the player. It is not being a jerk. It is maintaining the integrity of the campaign.

This.

Andoran *****

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

I don't Agree...

Rules are there as a guide, not to be enforced and stifle players.

If a rule enforced causes a player not to have fun it should not be enforced. We should be striving for fun, not rule enforcement.

Andoran *****

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

It is opposite day!


I don't have much sympathy over people who use options and then don't bring the source material. The one exception for me is material that used to be in the Core Assumption that was subsequently removed (e.g. Boon Companion).

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
hogarth wrote:
The one exception for me is material that used to be in the Core Assumption that was subsequently removed (e.g. Boon Companion).

Yeah I can see how that would be annoying... that said..

PFS Guide wrote:
The Core Assumption...Pathfinder Society Organized Play assumes that every player has the following resources.

Though you did not have to have the book at the table, it was assumed you owned it, if you did not own and still used resources from it you kind of went against that assumption.

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

I have to say if a player wants to use something and is asked about it, he/she must show proof of ownership one way or another. This can be showing the book, printed pages of their pdf, or even just showing the Paizo download page for your account. It's not hard to do, and should be available if questions arise.

PFS is wholly playable with just the minimal core assumption. If you want to you use something interesting, you have to cough up the money for a pdf or book. It's a win-win really; you get to make your PFS cooler or have the options you want and it supports Paizo or your LGS so they can keep on providing the products/services you want.

Grand Lodge ****

Sorry, Dragnmoon, rules aren't there as a guide, the Guide to Organized Play is there as rules. If you don't have the book/PDF there, the GM is within their rights to not let you use the option.

EDIT: fixed typo.

Andoran *****

Dragnmoon wrote:

I don't Agree...

Rules are there as a guide, not to be enforced and stifle players.

If a rule enforced causes a player not to have fun it should not be enforced. We should be striving for fun, not rule enforcement.

I generally assume the player is on the up-n-up and have the resource with them. If, however, I ask to see the rule, because the use seems strange, suspect, or misunderstood, and the player doesn’t have the resource with them, then I won’t let them use the ability.

As was said above. The players know the rules. If they refuse to follow them, they have nobody to blame but themselves, not the GM who is enforcing the rule. Lets take some responsibility for our actions folks, and not enforce accountability on other people.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

13 people marked this as a favorite.

I have better things to do than spend time on random audits. But if I have to ask, be ready to answer.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Scott Young wrote:

Sorry, Dragnmoon, rules aren't there as a guide, the Guide to Organized Play is there as rules. If you don't have the book/PDF there, the GM is within their rights to not let you use the option.

EDIT: fixed typo.

I guess people missed my humor...

Dragnmoon wrote:
It is opposite day!

*****

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragnmoon wrote:
Scott Young wrote:
Sorry, Dragnmoon, rules aren't there as a guide, the Guide to Organized Play is there as rules. If you don't have the book/PDF there, the GM is within their rights to not let you use the option. EDIT: fixed typo.
I guess people missed my humor...
Dragnmoon wrote:
It is opposite day!

I don't think we missed it. It just wasn't funny.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Kyle Baird wrote:
I don't think we missed it. It just wasn't funny.

Like a good dry wine, so is my humor...

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Dragnmoon wrote:
Like a good dry wine, so is my humor...

It's really old and too much of it will make a grown man vomit?

Andoran *****

Jiggy wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
Like a good dry wine, so is my humor...
It's really old and too much of it will make a grown man vomit?

It tastes like you are licking an oak tree?

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Dragnmoon, at least you can inspire humor.

Jiggy wrote:
I have better things to do than spend time on random audits. But if I have to ask, be ready to answer.

I regret that I can only favorite this once.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

For me, it depends on when I notice that the source in question is missing.

When we're running through opening paperwork at the beginning of a session, I'll ask about something odd, and if the player doesn't have the resource, we'll see if there's a work-around. (Again, when I rejected the magus of a player who had illegal photocopies of the pages from UM, his girlfriend went on-line to the Paizo store and bought him a copy of the pdf, before the session even started.)

In the middle of combat, if somebody pulls a Feat or an Archetype Class Feature out of his butt, and it sounds wonky, I am much more willing to accept a clear but illicit source.

Call up a spell on d20pfsrd? Have a third-party "summon card" of the stats for summoned monsters? When an umber hulk is chewing on your character's leg, that's good enough.

Andoran ***

Jiggy wrote:
I have better things to do than spend time on random audits. But if I have to ask, be ready to answer.

I don't tend to do audits, but if I don't know the item, and would like to see it so I, as GM, can understand what you want to do, you either have the rules text for the item, or you won't be able to use it.

Remember that the core of this rule is that it is there so that a GM who doesn't own every possible PFRPG book can still see and read about the options that a player is using on his PC.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

I do perform random audits, and I usually catch somebody missing points.

But sometimes, it's disheartening. "I needed to keep the Chronicle sheets?" Yes, you did; you can't play that character today, but I have a lovely Kyra pre-gen for you.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Mesa aka TriOmegaZero

Just to check, having the PDF available does count, right? *has his library on his iPad*

***** Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka CRobledo

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Just to check, having the PDF available does count, right? *has his library on his iPad*

It does. But extra points for you if you have the page written down/ready, as the one downside of PDFs is they are harder to search for something specific.

At least on my iPad, large PDFs just take a while to load/pan through pages.

Andoran *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

ezPDF is a great tool for finding things, works better than Acrobat reader on the pads.

Lantern Lodge **

I got 3 related questions,

1) What if someone turns up at the table with a character that has an illegal race/item/feat...etc.

For example, someone brings the Advanced Race Guide and made an Oread, without realizing that he needs that race to be unlocked via a Chronicle sheet that opens the race as a legal option. When questioned, he said he played it in a previous game and the GM allowed it...

2) The player brings print outs from the PRD or d20pfsrd.

3) If I'm a player at a table and realized that GM is allowing an illegal option... (the GM is not clear on the rules, etc)

What should 1 do in the above situations?

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Secane,

1)
"Mom lets me stay up and watch Letterman" doesn't cut it with baby-sitters, and "My last GM let me use it" doesn't cut it in PFS.

Having said that, I play a 7th-level dhampyr cleric and a 6th-level oread monk, and I have never had a single GM ask to see the race-boon Chronicles for them. So it's quite possible that the previous GM just thought the player was being honest.

2)
If legal copies of the material exist elsewhere at the table, I let d20pfsrd pass. I confiscate illegal (non-watermarked) hard copies from the book.

If I'm performing a quick audit at the beginning of a session, I won't let PCs use materials they don't have stats for. If it's in the middle of combat and I realize that someone's using a spell or a feat without legal support, I'm much more likely to let it pass, because I don't want to leave them suddenly in the lurch without the resource they might have been relying on.

3)
Ask the GM if he would like help with the official rules.

If so, briefly explain campaign policy, once, while being sympathetic to the other player.

If not, mind your on business, roll dice, and have a good time.

*

Deleted my own thread and replaced it with this.

Chris could you expand upon your comment of confiscating illegal copies? Edit: Find my own question too open ended. How do you approach this civilly? Wouldn't this cause a huge scene if the player refused to hand them over? I find this a unique time to pick the brain of a five star.

I find them very common in play (every book is out their in an un-watermarked pdf) but I have never gone as far as to confiscate them. I have told a player that it is an unacceptable source and that what they are doing is stealing / wrong. My last resort (have not had it happen yet) is to ban a player from my table if I see them using it multiple times.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If a player brought illegal copies -- pdfs with a stranger's name, or Xerox copies from a book they don't own -- to the table and refused to hand them over, I would ask them to leave. That's as big or little a scene as you want to make of it.

*

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Chris Mortika wrote:
If a player brought illegal copies -- pdfs with a stranger's name, or Xerox copies from a book they don't own -- to the table and refused to hand them over, I would ask them to leave. That's as big or little a scene as you want to make of it.

How would you know that it was a stranger's PDF though? Or that someone with a photocopy does not own the book? Because borrowing a PDF or book from a friend is not illegal as per what the campaign leadership has said in the past.

I think that this sort of involuntary audit for the purpose of being Paizo's copyright police erodes the culture of PFS, and is both futile and counterproductive.

The one time I would take action would be if someone brazenly shows me an unwatermarked PDF because that is both obviously fishy, and stupid to show it to the DM.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Mesa aka TriOmegaZero

Saint Caleth wrote:
How would you know that it was a stranger's PDF though? Or that someone with a photocopy does not own the book?

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.

Shadow Lodge *****

so lets take this a step Further

you and a friend go to a Con ... your playing at different tables ... your using material out of one of his Books (or visa verse) and he has the book at his table and lets say you have no Idea where he is

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Mesa aka TriOmegaZero

I do not believe you can share like that.

*

TriOmegaZero wrote:
I do not believe you can share like that.

I'm pretty sure that Mike said that it was ok for two people to share books between tables. Maybe not optimal, but you can do it if you need to.

Shadow Lodge *****

Saint Caleth wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:
If a player brought illegal copies -- pdfs with a stranger's name, or Xerox copies from a book they don't own -- to the table and refused to hand them over, I would ask them to leave. That's as big or little a scene as you want to make of it.

How would you know that it was a stranger's PDF though? Or that someone with a photocopy does not own the book? Because borrowing a PDF or book from a friend is not illegal as per what the campaign leadership has said in the past.

I think that this sort of involuntary audit for the purpose of being Paizo's copyright police erodes the culture of PFS, and is both futile and counterproductive.

I understand the intent ... and I dont mind owning the books

but PDF Copies (which are easier to use between Friends or your group) have their own drawbacks ... and people who have experienced those particular drawbacks (or in some cases know ppl that have) are unlikely to purchase or use PDF's in the future (Post Content Release Ban Hammers)

I am one of those (I bought a PDF specifically for a character that got ban hammered - NO it was not Synthesist)

smaller Cons wouldn't be an issue .. however PaizoCon and GenCon this becomes a serious consideration as there is no way to Prove / Disprove the validity of the Claim ...

and I again know that this is the catch 22

but IMHO penalizing someone who Chose to buy the books (and thus pay a higher price)Being Prevented from shareing books with his close friends at a convention is Wrong .. especially since established Groups Generally only buy 1 set of supplements ( Core Book being an exception)

Grand Lodge *

I have bought a PDF for every out of core option I use (and more besides) but even so I think Wraith and St Caleth nailed it. You want to encourage players to have the information on hand for rulings and at the same time encourage them to buy the pdf etc but not with an iron fist.

Shadow Lodge *****

Helaman wrote:
I have bought a PDF for every out of core option I use (and more besides) but even so I think Wraith and St Caleth nailed it. You want to encourage players to have the information on hand for rulings and at the same time encourage them to buy the pdf etc but not with an iron fist.

heh you misinterpreted me ... I am not an advocate of the PDF's ... I am an advocate of the physical books

Grand Lodge *

Even so as long as the book, PDF etc is available if not from the players hand then at least at the table or readily (ie 30 sec' 'Hey Bob, throw me over the inner sea primer') then I don't see there should be an issue. I don't believe its the PFS GM's job to be the Product Police for the game.

Now admittedly I am not a PFS GM so my opinion carries little weight here.

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

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Wraith235 wrote:
you and a friend go to a Con ... your playing at different tables ... your using material out of one of his Books (or visa verse) and he has the book at his table and lets say you have no Idea where he is

Then you cannot use said ability/feat/spell/etc. It is the player's responsibility to provide the material from a legal source to the GM upon request. If you are depending on your friend's copy to fulfill that requirement, and you are unable to locate said friend, then you are out of luck.

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

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Saint Caleth wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
I do not believe you can share like that.
I'm pretty sure that Mike said that it was ok for two people to share books between tables. Maybe not optimal, but you can do it if you need to.

AFAIK the only explicit approval of sharing between tables was in a post that was discussing whether a married couple could share a book. Friends at the same table were allowed to use the same reference, but if they were at separate tables they were supposed to have their own copies.

*

What happens if the ability is something used for balance, such as the Oracle curses in BoFiends and BoAngels? "I'm sorry, but I can't allow you to use your curse." sounds really strange, if amusing.

Qadira ***** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

2 people marked this as a favorite.

"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."

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