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How can the Messageboards be Rules Legal?


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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Grand Lodge *

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Like the title says, how can this be realistic? I can see this leading to more than a few problems at a table between GM's and Players. What happens if a player is aware of a ruling that changes something that their character does but the GM isn't? What happens if the GM is aware of something that NONE of the players are aware of?

This is one of the WORST things that I've ever come across in a organized play campaign.

If there's a rule that the campaign staff feels needs to be changed or clarified in any way it should be in the FAQ.

There's also the situation of less than honest players that become "aware" of messageboard rulings from campaign leadership that give them an unfair advantage. What happens then?

Bottom line, if we're all supposed to be playing by the same rules in PFS there needs to be one document that both players and GM's can print out and take with them (or at least bring an e-version along) to use as rules clarifications. If not a official FAQ, then something along those lines.

Andoran *****

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

Here is your answer...

PFS Guide pg 5 wrote:
GMs are not required to read every post on the messageboards, but GMs familiar with rules clarifications made by the campaign leadership (which have not been superseded by the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play or FAQ) must abide by these clarifications or rulings. If it is a significant clarification, it will be updated in the FAQ, and later in the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play if necessary.

So in other words GMs are not held to rules clarifications made by the campaign leadership on the message boards unless the read them or become aware of them.

****

Also, not for nothing, it's 2012. If the GM wants proof that the campaign leadership made a ruling, take out your phone--or have someone else at your table take out their phone--and look it up.

I actually have some threads saved as PDF on my tablet for ease of reference.

Grand Lodge *

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Having access to the Internet should not be assumed, while my phone can technically do it I wouldn't want to stake a life on it's ability to do it. There are a lot of people who do have some way to get online but phones are not the most reliable or fastest way to do it. Then there's the time it takes to search through the forums to find something. A FAQ document that is both online and downloadable would be a preferred option.

It's also the way that this is worded that kind of irks me. A GM just has to be "aware" of the rule. They don't need to be able to show a player the ruling, the GM just needs to say "I read it on the boards so it's true, who cares if it contradicts the RAW". Players could do this as well, "I read this or that ruling on the boards so this is how I'm going to play my character".

These are extreme situations but possible. It's also possible for a GM who feels that characters aren't being challenged enough to use this as a way to make things harder for them by changing how class abilities or such work, or players who try to bend the rules to better suite their wants.

Andoran *****

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

If you are not going to Trust your GMs then what is the point of playing?

Assume trust until they prove other wise then do something about it.

Grand Lodge *****

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

One bit I learned quickly as PFS game master - try to avoid looking up a rule during the game. It drags out game play, interrupts the flow, leads to chatter between Players not part of the ruling - well - as I said - I just try to avoid it.

What does this have to do with the OP.

Well - it doesn't matter that much if a obscure rule is on the board or in a splat book. I will listen to a player and then derive a ruling and ask the player to accept it. I'm happy to look it up afterwards.

Do I always get it right - no!

But experience shows that in 80% it is in favour of the player. As GM I can live with the fact that occasionally players derive advantages from a ruling. In exchange I ask them to accept the occasional disadvantage.

It seldom is a question of life and death. And if a wring ruling leads to a fatality then I will correct it. It has happened to me once. A BBEG had 21! Spells prepped as buff. I wasn't aware that one of them prevented him from casting.

When it was pointed out later to me (how did you get all the stats up that high?) I found a solution.

Issues on these boards are often cornet cases. In most cases they can wait until after the game.

Grand Lodge ***

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
DarkKnight27 wrote:
rule ... changed

These are clarifications, not changes. If a GM is not aware of that clarification, then they're no worse off than before. If they are, then rather than an arbitrary ruling on an unclear issue, a GM now has something they can base a ruling on.

This is the first time I've seen someone complaining about Paizo staff posting too many rules clarifications.

Silver Crusade **

6 people marked this as a favorite.
DarkKnight27 wrote:
What happens if a player is aware of a ruling that changes something that their character does but the GM isn't?

The same thing that happens if the player is aware of a splat book feature that their character is using and the GM isn't. If the player wants to rely on a ruling from the message boards for something that relates directly to their PC, they should print it out and bring it with them.

Shadow Lodge **

Dragnmoon wrote:

Here is your answer...

So in other words GMs are not held to rules clarifications made by the campaign leadership on the message boards unless the read them or become aware of them.

*closes eyes* La la la la can't see you la la la....

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.
DarkKnight27 wrote:
Players could do this as well, "I read this or that ruling on the boards so this is how I'm going to play my character".

For this part at least, note that the GM has to be aware of the clarification themselves. I don't think "the player claims to have read it" counts as being "aware of a clarification".

-------------------

If a GM is aware of a clarification and the player isn't, who cares? I have to correct my players all the time, just on CRB stuff, let alone messageboard clarifications. Why should this be any different?

If a players is aware of a clarification and the GM isn't, then it's just like any other resource: bring a printout. For example, I was recently in a thread where someone cautioned about bringing a wand of infernal healing to a PFS game because he'd encountered a GM who declared that any spell with the evil descriptor was automatically an evil act to cast and was therefore banned in PFS. So I was able to link the post where Mike says that it's fine, and advise the player to keep a printout of it handy.

That seems like a *good* thing, yes?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What happens when the rulings by Brock or Moreland contradict those on the developer team?

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Cheapy wrote:
What happens when the rulings by Brock or Moreland contradict those on the developer team?

First of all, the Guide only makes Mike/Mark's clarifications binding. Secondly, they try to avoid "rules questions", clarifying only campaign-specific things.

So in theory, this should be a non-issue.


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

And if it does happen?

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Then there will be 1d4+1 massive 10-page threads among this forum and the Rules forum squawking about it until it gets fixed. ;)

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

Cheapy wrote:
And if it does happen?

Then you should probably follow the campaign leadership ruling?

This already happens. Developers say Wizards get Scribe Scroll at level 1. PFS Leadership says Spell Focus.

*

Jiggy wrote:
Cheapy wrote:
What happens when the rulings by Brock or Moreland contradict those on the developer team?
First of all, the Guide only makes Mike/Mark's clarifications binding. Secondly, they try to avoid "rules questions", clarifying only campaign-specific things.

As Jiggy pointed out, whatever Mike says is binding for PFS. That said, there are already plenty of rules in PFS that deviate from RAW, and it is usually not that much of a problem.

*****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DarkKnight27 wrote:
What happens if the GM is aware of something that NONE of the players are aware of?

The GM should talk to their players and resolve any inconsistencies like human beings. Why is that so hard?

Player A: "I use X spell to blast the bad guy."
GM: "I'm sorry player A, but that spell was recently banned by campaign leadership because it's super evil and smelly. It isn't hasn't be updated on the additional resources page yet, but according to the official message boards it will be when the next update goes live later this month."

Why is this so foreign to some people?

If it escalates for some reason, like:

Player A: "My entire character concept is built around that spell!"
GM [example 1]: "Well, we're half-way through session now, so let's just play it as is for now, but after this scenario let's work together to revise your character concept so it's legal for future sessions."
GM [example 2, probably Mortika]: "Unfortunately according to the GtPFSOP page 5, Mike's clarification on the message boards is official. I'm going to have to ask you to not use that spell any more this session. You're free to unlearn that spell and replace it with a new one. Mike has not provided any guidance on rebuilding characters because of this change, but I will ask on your behalf."

Both of these responses are acceptable (of course they are, I made them up!), and if the player doesn't want to accept them, that's their choice. Unfortunately if they don't want to accept these options, they're making a choice to no longer play (that character, that day, ever, whatever).

Andoran *****

DarkKnight27 wrote:

Like the title says, how can this be realistic? I can see this leading to more than a few problems at a table between GM's and Players. What happens if a player is aware of a ruling that changes something that their character does but the GM isn't? What happens if the GM is aware of something that NONE of the players are aware of?

This is one of the WORST things that I've ever come across in a organized play campaign.

If there's a rule that the campaign staff feels needs to be changed or clarified in any way it should be in the FAQ.

There's also the situation of less than honest players that become "aware" of messageboard rulings from campaign leadership that give them an unfair advantage. What happens then?

Bottom line, if we're all supposed to be playing by the same rules in PFS there needs to be one document that both players and GM's can print out and take with them (or at least bring an e-version along) to use as rules clarifications. If not a official FAQ, then something along those lines.

Personally, I like that they’ve codified this. Too many times arguments would spring up about this or that function of Pathfinder Society. Someone would always say, “But Josh Frost said in 2009 that bla bla bla.” Many folks (myself included) would say something like, “I’m not going to go by some obscure ruling hidden on the message boards from 2009, when I didn’t start playing until 2011.”

Then there came the rule that nothing on the message boards counted, only if it was in the Guide or the official FAQ would it count. Mark made this ruling before Mike came on board to help him while he was the interim campaign coordinator. So Mike or Mark would make a clarification on the board on some ambiguous rule (PFS specific, or how something interacted with something PFS specific) and you’d always have the same smart alecs pointing out that rule, basically spitting in Mike/Mark’s face with a “haha, we don’t have to do what you sa-aid.” It came to a boiling point regarding some very important stuff that hadn’t fully been clarified, and thus hadn’t made it to FAQ land. Essentially it was confirmed during this time, that if a GM wanted to—or didn’t want to—use a clarification that was only on the message boards, it was their call. Players didn’t get to decide for the GM whether these corner case clarifications were used for the GM or for the Players’ characters.

Finally, Mike came on board and within a few months of having people throw that back in his face, he said on the message boards that if as a GM you are aware of a rule that only appears on the message board, that you should follow it, and that this would be codified in the next version of the Guide. Guide 4.2 did just that.

Since they don’t update the FAQ constantly (they get a few items and update the FAQ with those items all at the same time), nor should they, any rulings on the message boards that haven’t made it into the FAQ or Guide yet, should be followed if you know about it. Most of the time, if it is a significant issue, it will get into the FAQ quite quickly. The guide takes more time, as only two get put out per year (and not sure that will still happen, might only see a new one every Gen Con).

All that being said, anything that remains a message board clarification is probably so obscure or corner case-ish that it won’t affect your character most of the time.

In this case, being that I am quite familiar with XXX III, if I saw a message board ruling that I knew directly affected the way you play your character, and I was going to GM for you, I would have it ready to show you BEFORE the session started. It would behoove a player to do the same. To have the post ready to show the GM BEFORE the session started, that way the session itself doesn’t get bogged down in rules arguments.

Ultimately, for the sake of expediency, especially with PFS when we have time limits set upon us, and especially with season 4 scenarios taking more time by and large, a player should limit the amount of time they are willing to argue a point. Especially if it isn’t a character life-threatening issue, but rather just whether a spell works a particular way or something. If it could mean the death of a character, I’ll take a few moments to look things up.

So I wouldn’t get worried that this will lead to players bringing up obscure message board posts out of the blue during a session. As a GM, if I wasn’t already aware of the post, they’d have to have the post ready to show me when/if the issue showed up during game play. If they can’t show it to me, and I don’t already know about it, it doesn’t exist. Pure and simple. And as a GM, if it is an ambiguous or vague rule to begin with, that needed clarification because of table variance issues, then the player has to accept my ruling on it, whether they like it or not. Whether or not I am using a message board post to inform my ruling really has no bearing on the issue.

It really is about trust. If a GM abuses or breaks your trust by lying or making stuff up, then you know what to expect from them, and you can choose not to play at their table anymore. But before jumping to conclusions, you should probably discuss it with them, because it may have been a simple error or misremember as well. I like to trust all players that sit at my table, until they prove me wrong. And if they keep pulling unsubstantiated stuff outta the blue on me, my trust level is going to go down.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

Cheapy wrote:
And if it does happen?

You follow the ruling by Mark and I.

Then bring it to my attention. I will be happy to address it. Developers usually clarify a rule as it fits in most, not all, home games. We try to follow the Core Rulebook (and rules clarifications) as much as possible. However, there are going to be a few deviations due to the nature of organized play.

Since you were insistent on this point, what was your specific question?

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

DarkKnight27 wrote:

Like the title says, how can this be realistic? I can see this leading to more than a few problems at a table between GM's and Players. What happens if a player is aware of a ruling that changes something that their character does but the GM isn't? What happens if the GM is aware of something that NONE of the players are aware of?

This is one of the WORST things that I've ever come across in a organized play campaign.

If there's a rule that the campaign staff feels needs to be changed or clarified in any way it should be in the FAQ.

There's also the situation of less than honest players that become "aware" of messageboard rulings from campaign leadership that give them an unfair advantage. What happens then?

Bottom line, if we're all supposed to be playing by the same rules in PFS there needs to be one document that both players and GM's can print out and take with them (or at least bring an e-version along) to use as rules clarifications. If not a official FAQ, then something along those lines.

See Andrew's post just above my post.

*****

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
DarkKnight27 wrote:
There's also the situation of less than honest players that become "aware" of messageboard rulings from campaign leadership that give them an unfair advantage. What happens then?

What advantage are we talking about here? More DPR*? Advantage over what exactly? This is a cooperative game. You're not playing against other players. You're not playing against the GM. You're working WITH everyone at your table to create a great story and experience.

*probably only the second time I've ever typed that idiotic acronym.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Kyle Baird wrote:
DarkKnight27 wrote:
There's also the situation of less than honest players that become "aware" of messageboard rulings from campaign leadership that give them an unfair advantage. What happens then?

What advantage are we talking about here? More DPR*? Advantage over what exactly? This is a cooperative game. You're not playing against other players. You're not playing against the GM. You're working WITH everyone at your table to create a great story and experience.

*probably only the second time I've ever typed that idiotic acronym.

And if a player wants to be less than honest in a role playing game, they have more issues than any of us can fix.

*****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Michael Brock wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
DarkKnight27 wrote:
There's also the situation of less than honest players that become "aware" of messageboard rulings from campaign leadership that give them an unfair advantage. What happens then?

What advantage are we talking about here? More DPR*? Advantage over what exactly? This is a cooperative game. You're not playing against other players. You're not playing against the GM. You're working WITH everyone at your table to create a great story and experience.

*probably only the second time I've ever typed that idiotic acronym.

And if a player wants to be less than honest in a role playing game, they have more issues than any of us can fix.

that could be said as true for a lot of things that happen on the messageboards lol

^ ^
O_O

*

Paz wrote:

These are clarifications, not changes. If a GM is not aware of that clarification, then they're no worse off than before. If they are, then rather than an arbitrary ruling on an unclear issue, a GM now has something they can base a ruling on.

This is the first time I've seen someone complaining about Paizo staff posting too many rules clarifications.

Because there are changes made. RAW you should be able to summon the elementals from Bestiary 2 by use of the Summon Monster spells, it has been "clarified" on these boards that you cannot. That isn't a clarification, it's a change.

****

Also, it's been working pretty well so far. Does anyone have any non-hypothetical examples of this creating a problem in real life, with real people, at a real event?

Note: That's not the same thing as having a problem with one of the rulings.

****

I'll take that as a no, then.

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

Wraithcannon wrote:
Because there are changes made. RAW you should be able to summon the elementals from Bestiary 2 by use of the Summon Monster spells, it has been "clarified" on these boards that you cannot. That isn't a clarification, it's a change.

I disagree. Technically, Mark stated when Bestiary II was released that there would not be any summoning list expansion unless the targets where specifically called out in the new material. Now, IMO, the alternate elementals should be legal using the RAW as justification, but to say that they changed their position on it is a misrepresentation.

Sincerely,
Organization to legalize all elementals for summoning, president :-)

*

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Wraithcannon wrote:
Because there are changes made. RAW you should be able to summon the elementals from Bestiary 2 by use of the Summon Monster spells, it has been "clarified" on these boards that you cannot. That isn't a clarification, it's a change.

I disagree. Technically, Mark stated when Bestiary II was released that there would not be any summoning list expansion unless the targets where specifically called out in the new material. Now, IMO, the alternate elementals should be legal using the RAW as justification, but to say that they changed their position on it is a misrepresentation.

Sincerely,
Organization to legalize all elementals for summoning, president :-)

The PFS "clarifications" are still mostly what in any other context would be called house rules.

I'm not sure why people are so willing to play that down or pass it off as an oversight.

Grand Lodge *****

Saint Caleth wrote:
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Wraithcannon wrote:
Because there are changes made. RAW you should be able to summon the elementals from Bestiary 2 by use of the Summon Monster spells, it has been "clarified" on these boards that you cannot. That isn't a clarification, it's a change.

I disagree. Technically, Mark stated when Bestiary II was released that there would not be any summoning list expansion unless the targets where specifically called out in the new material. Now, IMO, the alternate elementals should be legal using the RAW as justification, but to say that they changed their position on it is a misrepresentation.

Sincerely,
Organization to legalize all elementals for summoning, president :-)

The PFS "clarifications" are still mostly what in any other context would be called house rules.

I'm not sure why people are so willing to play that down or pass it off as an oversight.

The proper term is: campaign rules.

While PFS tries not to deviate from the published rules, exceptions are necessary to provide a reasonably consistent experience on a global scale.

****

Saint Caleth wrote:

The PFS "clarifications" are still mostly what in any other context would be called house rules.

I'm not sure why people are so willing to play that down or pass it off as an oversight.

That's because most house rules are clarifications. "The rules aren't entirely specific on this, so here's how we play it." PFS clarifications fulfill the same function as house rules. They just try not to make house rules that actually override clear functionality in RAW, whereas a home game GM has that luxury.

*

But the elemental ruling DOES override RAW. Saying you're not going to include expanded summon lists with new monsters every time a bestiary comes out is one thing, circumventing the wording of the spell that allows new monsters of a certain type to be summoned is another.

This "hypothectical" situation is one that came up durng a session. My wizard summoned a lightning elemental during a PFS scenario. The DM looked at me kind of cockeyed and let it go.

After the session the DM emailed me and accused me of cheating, saying that it was stated on the boards that lightning, magma, ice, and mud elementals were forbidden.

How the heck was I supposed to know that? I don't cruise these boards on a regular basis, reading every thread, but now I'm expected to? I found the thread he was talking about and it turns out he was right, but again, no way for me to have known that since it changes the rules as written.

Andoran *****

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

The GM in question did not do that very diplomatically...

He should have just said...

For Future reference in PFS play... blah...blah...blah..

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

Wraithcannon wrote:
But the elemental ruling DOES override RAW

That is the part of the discussion that is contested. When the CRB was printed, the only options for summoning were through the Bestiary. The summoning spells were written directly with the Bestiary I in mind. I think it would be naive to think they did not consider more Bestiary releases in the future, it is likewise wrong to think they could exclude future summoning conflicts without knowing the names of the future creatures. It has been made clear that the intention of the original summoning table was that the elemental listing was only referring to the ones in the Bestiary I. Obviously, the CRB indicates the GM can grant expanded options, but the standard rules for PFS tend to stick to base lists/tables.

I'm not a fan of evaluating RAW in a vacuum without using common sense and applying typical resolution practices. The designers have a pretty good track record of specifically calling out exceptions to the standard intent of the rules. The standard rule is that the summoning lists are exclusive and specifically reference the Bestiary I.

Again, that being said, it would not be a huge stretch for Mike to allow additional elementals from the other Bestiary books. It would increase the functionality of the spell and the cool part is, technically, we don't even have to change the wording of the spell, i.e. create a house/campaign rule. All we need to do is post a clarification in the appropriate FAQ either by the designers (CRB/Bestiary) or Mike (PFS).

Andoran *****

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

Well there you go Bob...

Your last job as a VC should be to advocate your position on this in the VC forums!

****

Wraithcannon wrote:

This "hypothectical" situation is one that came up durng a session. My wizard summoned a lightning elemental during a PFS scenario. The DM looked at me kind of cockeyed and let it go.

After the session the DM emailed me and accused me of cheating, saying that it was stated on the boards that lightning, magma, ice, and mud elementals were forbidden.

That's not a problem with message boards being rules-legal, that's a problem with the GM being a jerk. You should talk to the local VO if you still have the email. Also, don't put up with that sort of thing in the future.

Andoran *****

Wraithcannon wrote:

But the elemental ruling DOES override RAW. Saying you're not going to include expanded summon lists with new monsters every time a bestiary comes out is one thing, circumventing the wording of the spell that allows new monsters of a certain type to be summoned is another.

This "hypothectical" situation is one that came up durng a session. My wizard summoned a lightning elemental during a PFS scenario. The DM looked at me kind of cockeyed and let it go.

After the session the DM emailed me and accused me of cheating, saying that it was stated on the boards that lightning, magma, ice, and mud elementals were forbidden.

How the heck was I supposed to know that? I don't cruise these boards on a regular basis, reading every thread, but now I'm expected to? I found the thread he was talking about and it turns out he was right, but again, no way for me to have known that since it changes the rules as written.

No, you are not expected to read the boards to find rulings that haven't made it to the FAQ.

But once you are made aware of said ruling, then you are required to abide by it.

The GM in question was wrong to accuse you of cheating.

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

Andrew Christian wrote:
Wraithcannon wrote:

But the elemental ruling DOES override RAW. Saying you're not going to include expanded summon lists with new monsters every time a bestiary comes out is one thing, circumventing the wording of the spell that allows new monsters of a certain type to be summoned is another.

This "hypothectical" situation is one that came up durng a session. My wizard summoned a lightning elemental during a PFS scenario. The DM looked at me kind of cockeyed and let it go.

After the session the DM emailed me and accused me of cheating, saying that it was stated on the boards that lightning, magma, ice, and mud elementals were forbidden.

How the heck was I supposed to know that? I don't cruise these boards on a regular basis, reading every thread, but now I'm expected to? I found the thread he was talking about and it turns out he was right, but again, no way for me to have known that since it changes the rules as written.

No, you are not expected to read the boards to find rulings that haven't made it to the FAQ.

But once you are made aware of said ruling, then you are required to abide by it.

The GM in question was wrong to accuse you of cheating.

We don't know that he did. What we do know that that is how wraithcannon is interpreting the email.

In the situation described I'd be quite likely to:


  • Give the player a questioning (or 'cockeyed') look
  • Let it go at the table in the absence of any other proof
  • Check the rulebooks and messageboards afterwards
  • Let the player know (possibly by email) if there was a clear ruling that prohibited what the player did

It's not cheating unless the ruling is unambiguous, and the player was aware of the ruling at the time he took the prohibited action. Even then I wouldn't use that word - no good comes of it. The most I would say is that in future I would expect the player to abide by the ruling now that it had been brought to his attention.

Andoran *****

JohnF wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Wraithcannon wrote:

But the elemental ruling DOES override RAW. Saying you're not going to include expanded summon lists with new monsters every time a bestiary comes out is one thing, circumventing the wording of the spell that allows new monsters of a certain type to be summoned is another.

This "hypothectical" situation is one that came up durng a session. My wizard summoned a lightning elemental during a PFS scenario. The DM looked at me kind of cockeyed and let it go.

After the session the DM emailed me and accused me of cheating, saying that it was stated on the boards that lightning, magma, ice, and mud elementals were forbidden.

How the heck was I supposed to know that? I don't cruise these boards on a regular basis, reading every thread, but now I'm expected to? I found the thread he was talking about and it turns out he was right, but again, no way for me to have known that since it changes the rules as written.

No, you are not expected to read the boards to find rulings that haven't made it to the FAQ.

But once you are made aware of said ruling, then you are required to abide by it.

The GM in question was wrong to accuse you of cheating.

We don't know that he did. What we do know that that is how wraithcannon is interpreting the email.

In the situation described I'd be quite likely to:


  • Give the player a questioning (or 'cockeyed') look
  • Let it go at the table in the absence of any other proof
  • Check the rulebooks and messageboards afterwards
  • Let the player know (possibly by email) if there was a clear ruling that prohibited what the player did

It's not cheating unless the ruling is unambiguous, and the player was aware of the ruling at the time he took the prohibited action. Even then I wouldn't use that word - no good comes of it. The most I would say is that in future I would expect the player to abide by the ruling now that it had been brought to his attention.

I know both the GM and wraithcannon personally. They are from my area.

I don't know what the email contained. Frankly, I don't care. That is between the two of them.

While I did address the player specifically, my point was more general. I wanted to express that it is not appropriate for any GM (not this one specifically) to immediately jump to the conclusion that cheating occurs when an obscure message board clarification isn't being adhered to.

I'll start caring about their personal conflict if it starts spilling over into our public game days and affecting other players and GMs. This is not something I'm expecting to happen, however, as they are both professional in demeanor, and both good guys.


I don't think anyone has problems with rulings being made.

Just the location and accessibility of those rulings.

Traditionally, Organized Play rulings from previous campaigns would rolled up into scheduled, pre-set updates, excepting emergency stuff that needs to be fixed immediately. And they would be not official until they actually got put into a centralized source like a FAQ.

There is a reason for this. Accessibility. The rulings are in a easily located place and published at expected intervals.

It's not like doing so takes a huge amount of work.

-j

*

Jason Wu wrote:

I don't think anyone has problems with rulings being made.

Just the location and accessibility of those rulings.

Traditionally, Organized Play rulings from previous campaigns would rolled up into scheduled, pre-set updates, excepting emergency stuff that needs to be fixed immediately. And they would be not official until they actually got put into a centralized source like a FAQ.

There is a reason for this. Accessibility. The rulings are in a easily located place and published at expected intervals.

It's not like doing so takes a huge amount of work.

+1

.
Let's get back on topic, the inanity of considering message board rulings binding until they're put in a FAQ or Errata.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I guess I don't see what the big deal is. As a GM I already choose to abide by whatever clarifications I find, so "officializing" it literally changes nothing for me whatsoever. Hard for me to see a problem there.


Wraithcannon wrote:
Jason Wu wrote:

I don't think anyone has problems with rulings being made.

Just the location and accessibility of those rulings.

Traditionally, Organized Play rulings from previous campaigns would rolled up into scheduled, pre-set updates, excepting emergency stuff that needs to be fixed immediately. And they would be not official until they actually got put into a centralized source like a FAQ.

There is a reason for this. Accessibility. The rulings are in a easily located place and published at expected intervals.

It's not like doing so takes a huge amount of work.

+1

.
Let's get back on topic, the inanity of considering message board rulings binding until they're put in a FAQ or Errata.

How about the inanity of ignoring fixes until they have the chance to get them into an official FAQ or Errata? Especially if they can only be done at expected intervals.

If it's supposed to work one way and it's causing problems and the solution is known, isn't it silly to wait?

Grand Lodge *****

Wraithcannon wrote:
Let's get back on topic, the inanity of considering message board rulings binding until they're put in a FAQ or Errata.

The clarifications are not binding unless you know about them.

If you are aware of the messageboard clarifications then you must abide by them. That is all the Guide is saying.

If a player reads the boards and knows about the clarifications and a certain one would affect their character, it would be to their benefit to bring a printed copy of the post with them to show the GM.

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

Wraithcannon wrote:
Let's get back on topic, the inanity of considering message board rulings binding until they're put in a FAQ or Errata.

It's a lot better than the alternative, which would allow judges to ignore rulings. Nobody is demanding omniscience, but once you are made aware of a ruling you are expected to abide by it.

But this shouldn't be a surprise; disrespecting campaign or developer rulings by deliberately ignoring them treads fairly close to the "don't be a jerk" line, as does any player who selectively quotes a ruling from a messageboard while knowing that the ruling has been reversed by a later decision.


My personal issue isn't with 'scheduled' updates, really. I just mentioned them because it was a common practice in earlier Organized Play campaigns.

I just wish the various rulings were aggregated in an easier to find location instead of having to read through all the various threads to locate them.

Perhaps a "New rulings" stickied thread, where if a ruling is being posted, a copy of the posting or link to the new ruling is placed. Or perhaps a dedicated "rulings" blog the message could be copied to. If you're posting a ruling, presumably it's been discussed with other admins and the VCs and it takes a few minutes to type. It should not be THAT onerous to take another 30 seconds to also append the post to a aggregate list.

Or, I don't know if the message board software is capable of this, a checkbox that an admin can click so the message he's posting also appears in a "rulings tracker" forum, much like many messageboards have "admin trackers" or "dev trackers" to collect posts made by specific people.

Just something centralized, because more than once I hear folks saying things like "Didn't so-and-so make a ruling on this?" with half-remembered, sometimes incorrect, notions on what was actually said.

An up to date collected list of rulings made since the last PFS Guide update that folks can print out to take to a game, that would be just nifty.

-k

Shadow Lodge **

To answer the topic question...

The boards aren't what makes something rules legal. Outside of the FAQ board posts are supposedly clarifications of existing rules: you're supposed to know what the posts say from reading the rulebooks.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Jason Wu wrote:

Just something centralized, because more than once I hear folks saying things like "Didn't so-and-so make a ruling on this?" with half-remembered, sometimes incorrect, notions on what was actually said.

An up to date collected list of rulings made since the last PFS Guide update that folks can print out to take to a game, that would be just nifty.

Does this help?

Grand Lodge ****

Jiggy wrote:
Does this help?

Yes, up until the point it becomes riddled with incorrect information posted by confused message board users.

*

I agree with you on that part. It would be nice though to have a stickied post that could always be edited by the original owner, culled for correctness, and kept up to date.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Well, hey, better than nothing for the time being.

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