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Earning the right to play?


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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Grand Lodge *****

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

This sentence - read in a different thread - got me thinking.

I'm a relative novice to organized play compared with quite a few players and GMs around here. I did start playing D&D basic nearly 30 years ago - with several years hiatus inbetween as well as different systems.

When I joined PFS 3 years ago my gaming got a fresh breath of life. I loved to play a whole day long doing more than one scenario. I loved the welcoming atmosphere of the players and GMs and I made a lot new friends by taking part at conventions.

There was only a single event early on where I was pretty much taken aback three years ago. I was organizing PFS for the a convention in London (we aimed for 2 tables PFS, Erik Mona was doing a special competing with us and ended up with 3 tables total).

It was my very first scenario as GM - having played 2 scenarios before - and I was also organizer. And yes - I was new to the scene, didn't know anyone apart of the GMs I had met during my first scenarios (it was a slot zero event for another convention).

So when I advertised the event on a forum and told people to let me know if they are coming to reserve a place (and giving me peace of mind I actually would have players) I was shot down and flamed by a non PFS player.

For some reason he took offence in what I had written as. He accused me I was preferring people who visited the forums, would only take people who knew the secret handshake, members of a close brotherhood - people who had earned their right to play. And all this in favour of new players who would just wanted to give it a try.

Call it a warm welcome to a new GM and organizer who didn't knew the etiquette and innocently had stepped on someones toes by trying to be helpful.

Especially as I was new, naive and had never ever been part of a RPG convention before I felt it was completely off the mark.

Luckily this didn't end my involvement in PFS play. The event went down well. In the first slot we managed to get just enough players thanks to Erik sending someone over to my table. In the second slot Rob Silk - Venture Leutenant now - came to the rescue when he stepped in whitout prior notice when suddenly had a waiting list that was too long.

The bad memory did fade slowly as I became more and more a member of the community and my experience tended to be just the opposite of what I had been accused when I started organizing.

This brings me to the now and three years later. I noticed a few bits at the last convention where I was with my son. Organization was sometimes chaotic. The oldd guard of players - players who had 'earned the right to play' seemed not to bother too much.

You know the GMs, you know your fellow players, you will find a place even if somewhere there is a short term change in program. Someone knowing less or starting on the other hand could be easily left on the side.

My son had signed up for 4 scenarios ahead of the time they should have started - not a single one happened as groups had formed who had full tables - leaving a few single and less experienced players on the sideline.

Having a four star GM as father has it advantages. He knows people, he can organize stuff, he can run something spontaneously. He is a member of the brotherhood by association.

He got his games. I just took care to round up everyone left out and then found at the table a valid scenario for everyone. But it caused me to think back to the event when I started. The people at my table had been stragglers, outsiders and probably the only novices needing a new PFS number at the event.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want to criticize PFS or the organizer. This is a great community and I have seen great sacrifices by GMs to enable players to get a seat at the table.

But this - and the sentence - earning the right to play - got me thinking. Is PFS maturing and are we still as welcoming to new players as we have been in the beginning.

Or are these some aspects towards a more competitive landscape. Are we now big enough to have our gaming secured - and new players unable to play the high tier are now a nuisance.

Well - we certainly still want dedicated players who make the effort. But are there signs we need to look out for - so that what I was accused for 3 years ago never happens for PFS.

There is dicussions about Scenarios that are getting more deadly.
There are check lists you need to fulfill at level x to be able to pull your weight.
As pointed out here in another thread - play, play, play got removed from the guide a while ago (but I hope not the spirit behind it)
Are Casual players dropping off because they feel it becomes too competitive.

Please let me end by saying that PFS is a great and welcoming community and it has enriched my life. So when I point out a few observations then these don't represent the overall scene.

But I don't just want to be schtumm

*****

The context in which the phrase was used was in reference to lvl 7 pregens being played by players that had never played pfs and were hindering the progress of players that had played all the scenarios required to be at that level and to play that scenario. In essesce the real characters at earned the right to be at that table, while the pregens were there by happenstance. I don't believe it's use was intended to become a reference to the society as a whole.

I don't think it's indicative of the society as a whole as you are trying to make out in your post. I think that there are closet cases where lvl 7 pregens being used are a great thing, and I think there are also closet cases where lvl 7 pregens have been a bad thing (I have my own example of them being bad if you want, but I won't reiterate it here).

I think overall that the attitude of the society is till one of nclusiveness and openness that we have alll strived to acheive over the short tenure of our game. I think the fact that a recent convention I was at gave out tons of new pfs numbers and we had tier 1 and lower level scenarios running for the entire con proves that.

The major problem I see with new players playing lvl 7 pregens is that they don't know the gaming system -- they may have gamed for years, but let's face it PF is different while still being similar. The new player doesn't undestand all the feats, traits, etc., and while trying to play the scneario is also trying to learn the characater and the game. This causes frustration for the new player, causes frustration for the "seasoned" player, and causes frustration for the GM. All of which lend itself towards a not fun game for everyone involved. And is that frustration really what we want to convey as the norm to a new player.

I get that there are circumstances where a new player playing at a high tier is necessary to keep to the all inclusive atmosphere that we as PFS players try to foster. However, I do believe as someone that has spent quite a bit of time behind the GM screen that the use of the high-tier pregens for new players should be kept as an absolute last resort -- even behind trying to put together a low tier table specifically for the new players vs. having them play at a high-tier table.

Silver Crusade ****

I know that up here we are definitely consciously trying very hard to be very welcoming to new players as well as experienced ones. But maybe we're too new a location (PFS has been going for about a year now) for any potential problems to surface.

I think that the emphasis on building near optimal characters on these boards is somewhat overdone. In the vast majority of scenarios even most of the pregens are sufficiently effective to contribute to the party.

One minor issue that I have is with L1 pregens playing in tier 1-2 adventures. The difference between a L1 character and a character 1 or 2 levels higher is arguably more significant than at any other level. The difference between a character with no missions under their belt and one with even 1 can be huge (500 odd gp goes a long way as does 2 prestige points). There are times when the L1 pregen can seem almost like a sidekick to the higher level character (ESPECIALLY true if there happens to be a L3 playing down).

Taldor **** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

4 people marked this as a favorite.

As someone who was also involved in the other thread, and who has also only been playing for a month,I will say yes and no I have found my local group and the convention where I started playing to be *extremely* welcoming. My VC and the VC of an adjoining region have been great about answering questions, letting me GM, helping me get on my feet with the game and generally being supportive.

On the forums, I got an entirely different feel for things. I found GMs bragging about character deaths and criticizing players who are slightly non-optimal. I found GMs who were callous about the impact that player death has on people, and who feel that high-level play should be restricted to the secret club. GMs who were apparently of the mind that the casual gamer or the newbie need not apply.

I have been told that this attitude rarely carries over into real life. I could believe it. One person I spoke to who has been involved in PFS for a while told me that the forums are entirely unrepresentative of the populace a whole, and I hope that is the case.

*****

Netopalis wrote:


... and who feel that high-level play should be restricted to the secret club.

This bothers me if you're referencing the other thread...

I can't speak for Kyle, but I'll speak for myself in saying that I do not think high-level play is for a secret club. My involvement in the other threads was purely with the intent to provide everyone the best possible play experience, and a new player with a highlevel pregen is not the best possible play experience for anyone involved.

Taldor **** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Well, I'm just saying that it's how it sounds to me as a new player. Again as I said in the other thread, when you combine high fatality rates with a lack of pregens for that level, it serves to essentially shut new players out frrom being reasonably able to play higher level scenarios for a very long time - potentially years, depending on how often your group plays and just how fatal levels 1-5 and 5-7 are.

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber
Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:

The context in which the phrase was used was in reference to lvl 7 pregens being played by players that had never played pfs and were hindering the progress of players that had played all the scenarios required to be at that level and to play that scenario. In essesce the real characters at earned the right to be at that table, while the pregens were there by happenstance. I don't believe it's use was intended to become a reference to the society as a whole.

I don't think it's indicative of the society as a whole as you are trying to make out in your post. I think that there are closet cases where lvl 7 pregens being used are a great thing, and I think there are also closet cases where lvl 7 pregens have been a bad thing (I have my own example of them being bad if you want, but I won't reiterate it here).

I think overall that the attitude of the society is till one of nclusiveness and openness that we have alll strived to acheive over the short tenure of our game. I think the fact that a recent convention I was at gave out tons of new pfs numbers and we had tier 1 and lower level scenarios running for the entire con proves that.

The major problem I see with new players playing lvl 7 pregens is that they don't know the gaming system -- they may have gamed for years, but let's face it PF is different while still being similar. The new player doesn't undestand all the feats, traits, etc., and while trying to play the scneario is also trying to learn the characater and the game. This causes frustration for the new player, causes frustration for the "seasoned" player, and causes frustration for the GM. All of which lend itself towards a not fun game for everyone involved. And is that frustration really what we want to convey as the norm to a new player.

I get that there are circumstances where a new player playing at a high tier is necessary to keep to the all inclusive atmosphere that we as PFS players try to foster. However, I do believe as someone that has spent quite a bit of time behind the GM...

Purple Fluffy Cat Bunny Gnome

This discussion isn't about level 7 pregens. The pregens should be discussed in a different thread. I have been thinking about this thread for a while - certainly since end of October. I could have titled it differently

"Are we in danger to become too elitist?"

I took the current title as it was the pregen thread that got me finally to take the time to write this down.

Some opinions did in that thread felt that way to me. They are a minority. I just wanted to voice that we should look out for these signs as they could scare away new players or GMs.

There are a lot of threads here that indicate what the 'right' way to play PFS is. Don't get me wrong - most of them are here to help new players, to educate them, to welcome them.

But are we still the same as we have been a few years ago.

Just take the example wand of cure light wounds. When I started - and not having been a convention or organized player before - I had never used them. There were potions for emergency - and the cleric.

It took me 1 1/2 years to get used to buy one early - and to spread this to new players. But if you read through some threads here you get the feeling that new players now wouldn't be allowed 1 1/2 years to change their style.

There are many more.

As I said in my original post - all in all PFS is still very welcoming and tries to integrate new players. But it is either just my feeling or the society gets more mature and it becomes harder to climb up the ranks.

I still remember when becoming a two star GM was something great. Are new GMs as motivated by the star system as we have been when they see all these more experienced GMs.

In my time there was Doug - and then nobody really anywhere close to multi stardom. Now new GMs and players can see this big huge established group of both players and GMs.

So maybe it has become harder on the society to be as welcoming as in the start. It might be part of growing up.

*****

Thod,

You took a phrase out of context and inserted a lot of assumptions. It's only fair to reference where it came from so that others can see it in the context in which it was intended.

I'll refrain from futher comments.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Is it elitist to only offer high-level play to those with "real" PCs?
Is it elitist to expect to be able to jump right into what others had to work for?

Taldor **** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Let me clarify...I don't have a problem with not playing, say, level 12 pregens. I have a problem with the fact that it is combined with this idea that PC death is a desirable thing. I was told in another thread that I should stop being so easy on players because if I "fudge the rules to save [a new player's] special little snowflake", I will cause problems for a "real" GMs who has the player at the table in the future. When the answer to questions like this is to just walk it off, it's not exactly a welcoming approach.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If anything PFS has become more inclusive and welcoming to new players. With the release of things like The Beginner Box Bashes, Quests, First Steps, Free RPG Day Modules, and the Kids Track, there are more options than ever for a new player to sit down and play anything from a quick rules-lite game to a full tier 1-5 scenario.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Netopalis wrote:
I was told in another thread that I should stop being so easy on players because if I "fudge the rules to save [a new player's] special little snowflake", I will cause problems for a "real" GMs who has the player at the table in the future. When the answer to questions like this is to just walk it off, it's not exactly a welcoming approach.

Just remember to balance that against the fact that the oft-rescued PC is not the only one at risk once the fudging stops. Someone whose character is only alive due to fudging can later turn a challenging scenario into a TPK, and then you've got PCs who are dead because a dangerous PC/player was given protection rather than guidance.

Is there a time to bend over backwards to save a new player's character? Yes. But the decision must always be weighed against the potential consequences down the road, and never taken lightly.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Netopalis wrote:
Let me clarify...I don't have a problem with not playing, say, level 12 pregens. I have a problem with the fact that it is combined with this idea that PC death is a desirable thing. I was told in another thread that I should stop being so easy on players because if I "fudge the rules to save [a new player's] special little snowflake", I will cause problems for a "real" GMs who has the player at the table in the future. When the answer to questions like this is to just walk it off, it's not exactly a welcoming approach.

If you're going to quote someone, quote them. Please don't stick words in their mouth. Here's the actual quote:

Kyle Baird wrote:
Hand-waving this and/or "construing the rules liberally against player death" only sets other GMs up for problems at a future table when the GM won't fudge the rules to save their precious snowflake.

I stand by that quote. Never did I say death was a desirable thing. Never did I say anything about a "real" GM.

Taldor **** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Fair enough. I didn't want to pick a fight, so I neither mentioned the full quote nor who said it, because that wasn't the point. What IS the point is the attiduce contained within. Of course, the more that I think about it, my opinion could be skewed by the fact that in my first game with my developed character, we had a TPK due to what the GM considered to be an overpowered scenario, some bad rolls and some misread tactics. Once the GM realized his mistake, he did go back and re-run that fight again correctly, which we won...but it did leave a sour taste in my mouth. Having no respect for the hours put into these characters and the months that it takes to get a character's level up is not really ideal, in my opinion.

Grand Lodge *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Tales Subscriber

Please - no fights here.

I'm off to a convention and maybe it was a bad time to start this thread as it is now linked to another.

But I wanted that people take back a step and observe. I didn't try to attack or criticize anyone here. That was the reason I opened a new thread.

Pregens at higher level are interlinked - but they only represent a very small part of the overall question that I tried to rtaise.

*****

Thod wrote:

Please - no fights here.

Lol .. it's a current controversial topic .. and you want no fights? should have started a different thread then.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Netopalis wrote:
in my first game with my developed character, we had a TPK due to what the GM considered to be an overpowered scenario, some bad rolls and some misread tactics. Once the GM realized his mistake, he did go back and re-run that fight again correctly, which we won...but it did leave a sour taste in my mouth. Having no respect for the hours put into these characters and the months that it takes to get a character's level up is not really ideal, in my opinion.

Wait a second...

So the dice are against you, it's a hard scenario, and after a TPK the GM not only admits a deadly mistake in front of the whole table, but even puts in the time and effort to re-run an entire combat, thereby going out of his way to give you a fair shot at survival... and then you call it "having no respect" for your PC?

What the hell would it take for you to think he did have enough "respect"?

*****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Inferring attitude from text on the internet is never a good idea. Misrepresenting a quote from someone to make it sound like something it wasn't is even worse.

Threadjack:
See Jiggy's post above. I have run around 80 tables at 5-9 and 7-11 tiers. I have dealt with players who have been saved by GM fiat dozens of times. "OMG my character was at X and had Y happen, but then the GM let me do Z and I got out of it." I sit there smiling, having read and run the same scenario, wondering what the hell that GM was thinking. Flash forward to my table and it almost always ends poorly. At high level, I expect the players at the table to know their characters and be seasoned adventurers. While I do reward creative solutions, I refuse to bend over backwards or fudge anything avoid player deaths at that level. I often find it's the players who have had generous GM's in the past who take their character's death the worst. I've had some nearly come to blows. I've had others grab their stuff and leave while the combat is still going on. I've had people cry, literally. I find it's the players who've had to struggle to make it to high level that handle a character death the best.

Taldor **** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Well, I apologize if you felt that I misrepresented you. That is how I took your post, and if that is not how it was intended, then I am sincerely sorry for the mistake.

I do think, though, that if you've nearly had a game come to blows that you might want to rethink whether or not you are providing an enjoyable experience for your players. That is what we are all here for, isn't it?

Andoran *****

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

Well, I apologize if you felt that I misrepresented you. That is how I took your post, and if that is not how it was intended, then I am sincerely sorry for the mistake.

I do think, though, that if you've nearly had a game come to blows that you might want to rethink whether or not you are providing an enjoyable experience for your players. That is what we are all here for, isn't it?

With Kyle I am more apt to believe it was the player overreacting then Kyle being a bad GM. I have seen many players overreact, even I won't cater to a player with a bad attitude. You see it more at conventions then home play.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Netopalis wrote:
That is what we are all here for, isn't it?

No.

Some players are there to be spoonfed some kind of affirmation, rather than to have a fun game of Pathfinder. Then when a fun game of Pathfinder tries to happen, they get upset, and there's not always anything the GM or other players can do about it.

Silver Crusade ****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Never fudge in favor for or against a player. You must be 100% fair. Otherwise, you're cheating someone of their true result. Some people want to die if the dice declare they've died. Others, don't deal with it so well.

In either case, I'm starting to be of the opinion new players should have a death early in their career. They learn to get over it.

I think GM's should kill a player early in their career to get over the fact that your player's characters will die. It's not the end of the world.

Kyle broke me of my attachment to my characters...for the most part. How do you think I took my first character death, Kyle?

Taldor **** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

With all due respect, I must disagree with this approach. Had the TPK stood and our party not had a chance, I probably would not still be playing Pathfinder. I would have found some other, more pleasant game. I wouldn't have made a scene or anything, but it isn't exactly my idea of a good time. Also, my statement about being here to provide a good time is really more for GMs than players. I am not saying to spoon-feed anybody - the games should be challenging. I have more of a problem with an attidude of head-hunting.

*****

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

More Threadjack:
Netopalis wrote:

Well, I apologize if you felt that I misrepresented you. That is how I took your post, and if that is not how it was intended, then I am sincerely sorry for the mistake.

I do think, though, that if you've nearly had a game come to blows that you might want to rethink whether or not you are providing an enjoyable experience for your players. That is what we are all here for, isn't it?

1) You can't apologize for someone else's feelings.

2) I've had all sorts of crazy reactions (good and bad) over the "handful" of tables I've run. Nothing I did or said would have caused any other right-minded person to nearly want to fight (and it wasn't directed at me, the player wanted to fight another player because of a "mistake" that player made).
3) Every single table you run, makes you a better GM. As long as you're willing to improve, are open to feedback and able review your table from a player's perspective, you can grow as a GM. It doesn't matter if it's the best table you've ever run, there's always something you can do better.
4) Providing an enjoyable experience for the players is not why I'm here. I'm here to provide an enjoyable experience for everyone at and around the table, including myself and those watching or gaming nearby. It's also my job as a GM to help the players become better players so they can help players and have better gaming experiences down the road.

Done threadjacking Thod. I'll quote what I said above:

Kyle the Magnificent" wrote:
If anything PFS has become more inclusive and welcoming to new players. With the release of things like The Beginner Box Bashes, Quests, First Steps, Free RPG Day Modules, and the Kids Track, there are more options than ever for a new player to sit down and play anything from a quick rules-lite game to a full tier 1-5 scenario.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Netopalis wrote:
I have more of a problem with an attidude of head-hunting.

And exactly where are you seeing that attitude displayed?

*

Jiggy wrote:
Netopalis wrote:
That is what we are all here for, isn't it?

No.

Some players are there to be spoonfed some kind of affirmation, rather than to have a fun game of Pathfinder. Then when a fun game of Pathfinder tries to happen, they get upset, and there's not always anything the GM or other players can do about it.

Well that player would be having fun being heroic and all. Then you come along with killer DMs, being a big meanie, ruining their fun game of PF.

Lets not pretend that there is an objective measure of fun here. I happen to generally agree with you as to why RPGs are fun, but don't try to pretend that the opposite is badwrong.

Now my 2cp about the actual topic.

Question wrote:
"Are we in danger to become too elitist?"

I don't think so. While PFS certainly has an elite and the culture on the forums is far more overly concerned with legalisms of the OP rules than actual DMs "on the ground" so to speak; I would say that PFS is still able to thread the quite remarkable balance between catering to those who have only restricted opportunities to play (eg online) and those who circulate on the con circuit with all the bells an whistles that that entails. So at the moment no, it is not elitist.

This is due to the high caliber of leadership overseeing the campaign as well as the attitude of the majority of the playerbase. However the very fact that we are having this discussion means that there is a very real danger of slipping into a cesspool of a more elitist culture for the campaign. Hopefully if that unfortunate change starts to occur it will remain confined to the forums and perhaps the larger cons.

Taldor **** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Having conferred with a forum-goer in PM, I will retract the statement about the attitude of head-hunting. I think that I misread a thread's intentions, and that there was more backstory there than I realized.

In regards to the no respect for the PCs (Sorry, you posted as I was posting), I wasn't referring to my GM (I thought he handled it well), I was wondering how other GMs would react to such a situation - I find it hard to believe that many of them would admit to such a mistake and "bend over backwards" as you said.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Netopalis wrote:
I was wondering how other GMs would react to such a situation - I find it hard to believe that many of them would admit to such a mistake and "bend over backwards" as you said.

Admitting to a mistake and fixing it is not bending over backwards, it's doing what's right. Heck I just had to do that at Dragon*Con. I killed a player with a harpy, but two rounds later when I started another harpy's song I checked the DC again and realized that I had used the wrong DC before and that player would have made the save and thus wouldn't have been killed. I stopped the table, told them all what had happened, we discussed some options of how best to handle it and *poof* the PC stood back up at full health and started participating.

*****

Netopalis wrote:

Having conferred with a forum-goer in PM, I will retract the statement about the attitude of head-hunting. I think that I misread a thread's intentions, and that there was more backstory there than I realized.

In regards to the no respect for the PCs (Sorry, you posted as I was posting), I wasn't referring to my GM (I thought he handled it well), I was wondering how other GMs would react to such a situation - I find it hard to believe that many of them would admit to such a mistake and "bend over backwards" as you said.

I think most GMs recognizing a mistake such as that would re-do... granted there are some that wouldn't... but I think it's also very situational based on circumstances at hand and would be hard to judge on the forums as to what I personally would do.

Taldor **** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Kyle: I was referring to the post made by Jiggy, not to you.

I should probably say that, upon further reflection, I have had a succession of strange and unfortunate roleplaying experiences (mostly pre-Pathfinder, combined with the one TPK in PFS) combined with reading a few non-serious threads as serious. As such, I retract most of my statements, as I am probably not seeing things as they really are.

I still agree, however, with Gary Gygax that player death should be something rare, so long as the players are not acting stupid.

Silver Crusade ****

Netopalis wrote:
Had the TPK stood

Correcting a grievous error is NOT fudging. That's correcting a screw up.

Fudging is changing the results of the dice to fit a goal you want. Changing the rules to fit a goal you want.

There are GM's who will lessen HP damage to make sure they don't kill or drop a character into the negative. That is fudging.

Shadow Lodge *****

Mmmm... Fudge.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Netopalis wrote:
I was wondering how other GMs would react to such a situation - I find it hard to believe that many of them would admit to such a mistake and "bend over backwards" as you said.

For what it's worth (I see you've retracted some statements, but perhaps this can simply be encouraging for you), I too have corrected mistakes. I had two PCs die from a (poorly-worded, IMO) curse in a higher level scenario. A player (politely) challenged my interpretation of the curse, I did some research (even asked a Paizo staff member!) and discovered that the curse was intended to work differently than I thought. I happily reversed both deaths. And as I understand it, at least one of those PCs is now 12th level and waiting to play Eyes of the Ten. :)

Taldor **** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Well, fair enough.

To expand on what I said previously...I played at Dragon*Con 2 years ago in a non-Pathfinder game. To make a long story short, we started at 7 PM, it lasted until 3 AM, and in the last room, one player did something really, really stupid. The GM killed the entire party without a saving throw or any opportunity for any player to take an action. The more I think about what has been said in this thread, I do not think that this experience is really representative of what goes on in Pathfinder Society, both due to better-written scenarios and the fact that most GMs aren't quite that sadistic. I probably read too much into those posts that encouraged high levels of death, comparing it with that scenario and how I felt afterwards. For that reason, to those I have offended, I apologize.


Netopalis wrote:
On the forums, I got an entirely different feel for things.

I agree that half of what is posted on the PFS forums feels completely different from my personal PFS experience. And that's all I'll say on the issue.

Shadow Lodge *****

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Jiggy wrote:
And as I understand it, at least one of those PCs is now 12th level and waiting to play Eyes of the Ten. :)

Excellllent.

Cheliax ****

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber

Caleth: I have been "people aren't having fun at your table"'d a couple of times, you've been involved in one of the more publicly-discussed ones.

The objective measure of fun is: players saying they had fun.

The mechanism for getting them to the point they want to say it? That's super variable.

I don't have fun on softballed tables, and don't have fun when players expecting dumb actions out of smart enemies run themselves into the buzzsaw of 'competent' enemies.

I haven't yet resorted to 'hardball' tactics in PFS. (There's no power-attacking 2H wielders charging archers to sunder their bows on my tables, barring tactics blocks, for example)

I don't need to do so for a hopefully-fun challenge. For some tables I've been a player on, the GM perhaps should have started going for that kind of choice if it was available in the adventure... If this was common, though, we'd have new threads of whining.

I think that as a 5th-year campaign we should consider whether allowing pregen play beyond tier 1-5 scenarios is good for the campaign as a whole - it's much harder to present a fun game when you have 100-hour character investments at the same table as a "how do you read this attack line" new player. One does what one can, but ....

If there was no risk of and from death, you'd be playing a WOW instance. That didn't work out well for LFR in the "fun" department.

Andoran *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Netopalis wrote:

Having conferred with a forum-goer in PM, I will retract the statement about the attitude of head-hunting. I think that I misread a thread's intentions, and that there was more backstory there than I realized.

In regards to the no respect for the PCs (Sorry, you posted as I was posting), I wasn't referring to my GM (I thought he handled it well), I was wondering how other GMs would react to such a situation - I find it hard to believe that many of them would admit to such a mistake and "bend over backwards" as you said.

If I catch myself in a mistake (or have it pointed out to me), and I have several times, I will immediately make things right. This game isn’t about ego. There is no room for being “perfect” or “ego” for GM’s in organized play. Once a GM realizes that the scenario is there to be beaten, and all the creatures in the encounters are there to be defeated, then you can go on and just help the players tell the tale of their heroic characters.

Taldor **** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

TetsujinOni wrote:

Caleth: I have been "people aren't having fun at your table"'d a couple of times, you've been involved in one of the more publicly-discussed ones.

The objective measure of fun is: players saying they had fun.

The mechanism for getting them to the point they want to say it? That's super variable.

I don't have fun on softballed tables, and don't have fun when players expecting dumb actions out of smart enemies run themselves into the buzzsaw of 'competent' enemies.

I haven't yet resorted to 'hardball' tactics in PFS. (There's no power-attacking 2H wielders charging archers to sunder their bows on my tables, barring tactics blocks, for example)

I don't need to do so for a hopefully-fun challenge. For some tables I've been a player on, the GM perhaps should have started going for that kind of choice if it was available in the adventure... If this was common, though, we'd have new threads of whining.

I think that as a 5th-year campaign we should consider whether allowing pregen play beyond tier 1-5 scenarios is good for the campaign as a whole - it's much harder to present a fun game when you have 100-hour character investments at the same table as a "how do you read this attack line" new player. One does what one can, but ....

If there was no risk of and from death, you'd be playing a WOW instance. That didn't work out well for LFR in the "fun" department.

Well, let me pose a hypothetical to you, then. A level 4-5 party is playing a particular scenario. The scenario does not indicate where a particular monster will start combat. As the scenario is written, you could legally put the monster at the far end of the room, raining ranged attacks on the player as they approach, or you could put the monster close to the door so that it only gets off one or two ranged attacks. The party has had a rough time on the dice rolls and is hurting. Do you put the monster close to the door or far away from it?

This is the sort of discretionary question that I am really curious and concerned about.

Qadira ***

I would agree with your original statement about PFS maturing - and I would define that as being slightly less welcoming to new players.

I started playing PFS about two years ago (early season 2). In the local area there were maybe a dozen players who had high-level (7+) characters and everyone else was pretty new. What has changed now is that dozens of people have multiple high-level characters. So when I sit down at a low-level table now the odds are that at least half the players are extremely experienced players. The problems then are 30% attitude problem ("I just need to blow through these low-level scenarios to level up") and 70% scenario issues. Players who have several high level characters aren't challenged by the type of 1-2 scenarios they first encountered. The combination of disinterest and steamrolling can be offputting to new players.

It's becoming more like a recreational league. Basketball, tennis, baseball, whatever; people tend to gravitate towards others of their approximate skill level because that's where you feel the most comfortable and have the most fun. When the league is starting up and everyone's getting the feel of things the skill levels are wildly mixed with a few of the better players scattered in among the newbies acting as default coaches (GMs). Once you're a few seasons in the percentage of new players is much lower and it's difficult for new players to jump in unless they have previous experience from somewhere.

Now things like First Steps and the Beginner Box are a different beast entirely. They are MEANT to bring in new players, and I've had very good experiences with them. To stretch my analogy it's like adding a new level of play at the bottom of the league to give new players a chance to meet other newbies. But the percentage of people for whom First Steps is the "best choice" is pretty low.

Because I can't let an analogy go, the "right to play" comes in when your level 10 is getting ready to play a challenging scenario and someone walks over with a level 7 pregen having never played PFS before. It's like being in the tennis playoffs and the commissioner walks over and says "Hi, I'd like you to meet a new player. He's seen tennis on TV and wants to try it. We're an inclusive league, so you have to play him today." As you look at the guy wearing boots and blue jeans, carrying a squash racket, you can't help but groan.
And to bring it back around First Steps is like saying "We have a skills clinic on Tuesday evening, why don't you come play then instead?" The new guy wants to play NOW, he may not even be available when First Steps is being run. It's a balancing act. Maybe I'm elitist but I can't help but be annoyed by a new player at Tier 7-11. But I'll happily play First Steps (or We Be Goblins, or any 1-2 full of new characters) with that same player.

Andoran *****

Netopalis wrote:
Well, let me pose a hypothetical to you, then. A level 4-5 party is playing a particular scenario. The scenario does not indicate where a particular monster will start combat. As the scenario is written, you could legally put the monster at the far end of the room, raining ranged attacks on the player as they approach, or you could put the monster close to the door so that it only gets off one or two ranged attacks. The party has had a rough time on the dice rolls and is hurting. Do you put the monster close to the door or far away from it?

I put it near where I was going to put it before I knew how they would do in the scenario. if I thought it made more sense for it to be further in, then further in. If it made more sense for it to be by the door, then right up close.

*

TetsujinOni wrote:

I think that as a 5th-year campaign we should consider whether allowing pregen play beyond tier 1-5 scenarios is good for the campaign as a whole - it's much harder to present a fun game when you have 100-hour character investments at the same table as a "how do you read this attack line" new player. One does what one can, but ....

If there was no risk of and from death, you'd be playing a WOW instance. That didn't work out well for LFR in the "fun" department.

I was talking more about no objective standard of what a player should find fun at a PFS table. It was in response to the fact that any discussion of players who "don't want a challenge" is generally phrased as an attack on that player.

I agree with your standard for a successful table, it just means that the expectations of what is fun line up between the DM and the players

I also kind of feel that I don't really belong in this particular discussion since high tier play by inexperienced players is not something that goes on in my particular play venue. I would, however, rather walk from an entire event rather than be forced into a table where I have to play a pre-gen at a level range above where I have characters. I can only play each scenario once, why would I want to waste that chance to experience the story stuck with someone else's character? I obviously have essentially no sunk cost to consider in attending a game though since I always play online.

PS: If the incident you are referring to is the one I think that it is, I would say that it was caused by skewed expectations about class roles, not mismatched expectations of fun.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Netopalis wrote:

Well, let me pose a hypothetical to you, then. A level 4-5 party is playing a particular scenario. The scenario does not indicate where a particular monster will start combat. As the scenario is written, you could legally put the monster at the far end of the room, raining ranged attacks on the player as they approach, or you could put the monster close to the door so that it only gets off one or two ranged attacks. The party has had a rough time on the dice rolls and is hurting. Do you put the monster close to the door or far away from it?

This is the sort of discretionary question that I am really curious and concerned about.

It's exactly that: discretionary. Part of the GM's job is to fill in that which is unspecified. Part of being a good GM is, in those situations, to make the call that you think will be the best for your table's experience.

Grand Lodge ****

Thod wrote:
Original Post

You went to a convention that had either poor planning or poor usage of tickets by players which resulted in your son not having a table during a slot and... what?

What does this mean to you in regards to your dislike of a phrase(earning the right to play) in a different thread? Please elaborate on the lessons to be learned about your anecdote.

Grand Lodge ****

Netopalis wrote:

I found GMs bragging about character deaths and criticizing players who are slightly non-optimal.

I found GMs who were callous about the impact that player death has on people, and who feel that high-level play should be restricted to the secret club.

GMs who were apparently of the mind that the casual gamer or the newbie need not apply.

Could you please link to the sources for these three statements.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Seth Gipson wrote:
Netopalis wrote:
Well, let me pose a hypothetical to you, then. A level 4-5 party is playing a particular scenario. The scenario does not indicate where a particular monster will start combat. As the scenario is written, you could legally put the monster at the far end of the room, raining ranged attacks on the player as they approach, or you could put the monster close to the door so that it only gets off one or two ranged attacks. The party has had a rough time on the dice rolls and is hurting. Do you put the monster close to the door or far away from it?
I put it near where I was going to put it before I knew how they would do in the scenario. if I thought it made more sense for it to be further in, then further in. If it made more sense for it to be by the door, then right up close.

This. I try to understand the NPC and/or monster motives before ever starting a scenario. "If I were a crazy drug-addicted alchemist in this room, where would I most likely be?" To answer your question more directly, why would the archer be in a tactical position? Do they hear the PCs coming? If they do, then it'd be standing in the best defensible position from where it believes the PCs are coming. If it doesn't hear them coming, why else is it in the room? Is there something it's working on? Plans, maps, etc?

** Contributor

TetsujinOni wrote:
I think that as a 5th-year campaign we should consider whether allowing pregen play beyond tier 1-5 scenarios is good for the campaign as a whole

It's funny to think that 5 years into this, you're suggesting rolling back around to the start, where high-level pre-gens weren't available (because they didn't exist). No value judgments one way or another, just an observation.

Taldor **** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

(This post was removed by request. Anybody wanting to know the situation may feel free to PM me.)

Taldor **** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

sveden wrote:
Netopalis wrote:

I found GMs bragging about character deaths and criticizing players who are slightly non-optimal.

I found GMs who were callous about the impact that player death has on people, and who feel that high-level play should be restricted to the secret club.

GMs who were apparently of the mind that the casual gamer or the newbie need not apply.

Could you please link to the sources for these three statements.

If you will note, I later retracted these statements. They were largely based on a particular thread that I read, which I was informed was a joke and was not to be taken seriously.

Grand Lodge ****

Netopalis wrote:
sveden wrote:
Netopalis wrote:

I found GMs bragging about character deaths and criticizing players who are slightly non-optimal.

I found GMs who were callous about the impact that player death has on people, and who feel that high-level play should be restricted to the secret club.

GMs who were apparently of the mind that the casual gamer or the newbie need not apply.

Could you please link to the sources for these three statements.
If you will note, I later retracted these statements. They were largely based on a particular thread that I read, which I was informed was a joke and was not to be taken seriously.

I'm glad you have specifically retracted these statements. That is a good thing.

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