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Couple of Questions from the PFS Event Last Weekend


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

Andoran

I have a few questions from events that came up.

1) PFS question. There was nearly a TPK last session. A single 2nd level PC managed to run away with 3 hit points left. (We were stupid enough to play up against advice.) The PC that got away used all the cash from the other 5 pc’s and sold the gear from 3 of the dead PC’s to just barely be able to pay for a raise dead for the 2 higher level PC’s (one of which was mine). This was a group decision that the players of the higher level PC’s had more time invested in their PC’s than the rest did. I actually would have been ok with it if mine had not been raised. But I think the others were not real happy with how their PC was playing anyway. I don’t want to be accused of cheating or taking advantage of someone. Is this allowed by PFS rules?

2) General rules question. My sorc tried (and failed) to cast burning hands from a scroll defensively to avoid an AoO. First, can I cast defensively from a spell scroll? Second, Is it true that since I failed the roll, I still don’t generate an AoO but I do lose the scroll? I had thought it was the other way around (I would get and AoO on me but would keep the scroll).

3) The GM felt really bad for trashing the group. I don’t think any of us felt like it was his fault. He pointed out this was a 4th season scenario, we did not have a real tank, and we had 2 first level PC’s. We made the choice to take the risk. He seemed to think he should have tried harder to talk us out of it. I don’t think so, I tend to think he might have gone a bit farther than he should have already. What would you as GM have done? Would you have tried harder to talk the group out of taking the risk or would you have let them take their lumps.

PLEASE NOTE: I am not upset or trying to get the GM in trouble in any way! I think he behaved properly and ran the op force correctly. Be he seemed genuinely disappointed in himself.

Andoran *****

My PFS Lavode De'Morcaine wrote:

I have a few questions from events that came up.

1) PFS question. There was nearly a TPK last session. A single 2nd level PC managed to run away with 3 hit points left. (We were stupid enough to play up against advice.) The PC that got away used all the cash from the other 5 pc’s and sold the gear from 3 of the dead PC’s to just barely be able to pay for a raise dead for the 2 higher level PC’s (one of which was mine). This was a group decision that the players of the higher level PC’s had more time invested in their PC’s than the rest did. I actually would have been ok with it if mine had not been raised. But I think the others were not real happy with how their PC was playing anyway. I don’t want to be accused of cheating or taking advantage of someone. Is this allowed by PFS rules?

As long as none of the PC’s selling their gear for cash is a pregen, I believe this is ok.

My PFS Lavode De'Morcaine wrote:
2) General rules question. My sorc tried (and failed) to cast burning hands from a scroll defensively to avoid an AoO. First, can I cast defensively from a spell scroll? Second, Is it true that since I failed the roll, I still don’t generate an AoO but I do lose the scroll? I had thought it was the other way around (I would get and AoO on me but would keep the scroll).

The rules seem to be unclear on whether you can cast a scroll defensively and if you fail whether the scroll would be lost. Expect table variation based on how each GM rules it.

Casting a scroll says that it provokes an AoO and can be disrupted just like casting a spell can be.

Casting defensively says that you don’t provoke an AoO, but if you fail you lose the spell.

I would say it is a reasonable interpretation that you could try to read a scroll defensively, thus not provoking an AoO, and if you fail, you lose the scroll.

It would also be a reasonable interpretation that you could not read a scroll defensively.

My PFS Lavode De'Morcaine wrote:
3) The GM felt really bad for trashing the group. I don’t think any of us felt like it was his fault. He pointed out this was a 4th season scenario, we did not have a real tank, and we had 2 first level PC’s. We made the choice to take the risk. He seemed to think he should have tried harder to talk us out of it. I don’t think so, I tend to think he might have gone a bit farther than he should have already. What would you as GM have done? Would you have tried harder to talk the group out of taking the risk or would you have let them take their lumps.

As far as I’m concerned, one warning is enough. “Guys this is a season 4 scenario, and you are likely to die if you play up with this character and level make-up.” If the players persisted, that’s on them, not the GM. Basically I would have rolled my eyes, and said, “O-kay… don’t blame me then if you die, because I am not going to softball this just because I know what’s about to happen.”

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

With two 1st-level PCs, how did you get a high enough APL to make playing up an option? That must have been quite a mixed table.

Regarding scrolls:

Core Rulebook: Combat chapter: Standard Actions: Activate a Magic Item: Spell Completion Items wrote:
Activating a spell completion item is the equivalent of casting a spell. It requires concentration and provokes attacks of opportunity. You lose the spell if your concentration is broken, and you can attempt to activate the item while on the defensive, as with casting a spell.

So yes, you can cast defensively when casting from a scroll, and failing costs you the scroll. You just have to look in the Combat chapter to discover this fact, not in the Magic Items chapter. :/

Andoran

Thanks for the quote Jiggy. Completely resolved. They were right and I was wrong.

Actually, I may be remembering incorrectly. I think we had only 1 first level guy. Most of us were third.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

My PFS Lavode De'Morcaine wrote:
I think we had only 1 first level guy. Most of us were third.

Ah, yes, 3rd level can be... awkward.

Andoran

Oh, another question I forgot.
I made my primary casting stat an odd number since I will be getting 3 points over the course of his career (at 4th, 8th, and 12th level). One of the guys said he always put it even because you really don’t play much at 12th level. You are basically retired when you reach 12 unless there is some special event. I guess I just assumed people kept playing and accumulating items, fame, and prestige points. You just didn’t advance anymore. Was he correct, we don’t keep playing at 12th level?

Andoran

Hmm... I just realized I put this in the PFS GM Discussion forum. If someone wants to move it over to the PFS General forum, that would probably be a better fit.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Tiers for ordinary scenarios don't go higher than 7-11. At 12th, you can play the Eyes of the Ten retirement arc. After that, you can play sanctioned modules. Someone did the math, and I think you can get to about 18th level if you do things in the right order.

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

Your character becomes a seeker and can go through a level 12 seeker arc (Eyes of the Ten) as well as 12+ level modules (or you can play the level 11 Ruby Pheonix Tournament at 12 as well). Also, specials, which are usually run at cons, have recently become available for 12+ characters. There are also Adventure Paths that you can get credit for.

So it doesn't necessarily end for level 12 characters. It's just, at the current time, most of your characters will end at 12. I'm planning to eventually get my life oracle to 18, just to give you perspective.

Andoran ***** Venture-Captain, Alabama—Birmingham aka Grolloc

Normal PFS scenarios are playable up to 11. After that, 12+ play uses either the special Eyes of the Ten story arc built specifically for 12th level, or Modules and sanctioned Adventure Path chapters.

Eyes of the Ten used to be called the "retirement" story, but now there are plenty of options to play above 12th level.

Silver Crusade **

Even with all that, play at or above level 12 is pretty rare.

Personally, I like odd starting stats, because the level 4 boost kicks in earlier than waiting for two boosts at 4 and 8. That's why I started both of my sorcerers with 19 cha instead of 18. But for characters that are spreading things out more, I'm perfectly happy with an 18, or even a 17 that can be boosted at level 4. Only with clerics do I settle for a highest starting stat of 16.

Andoran

Hmm... I don't think I've heard about anyone at our local playing in any of those special things. But maybe we just don't have any/many that high level yet.

I don't go to many cons myself. Hard to get that much free time.

So I guess I should really plan my characters for up to 11th level then. If I get the chance to play beyond that the character should still be viable.

Besides, only playing twice a month it will take me forever to get to where it even matters.

Shadow Lodge **

My PFS Lavode De'Morcaine wrote:
He pointed out this was a 4th season scenario, we did not have a real tank, and we had 2 first level PC’s. We made the choice to take the risk. He seemed to think he should have tried harder to talk us out of it. I don’t think so, I tend to think he might have gone a bit farther than he should have already. What would you as GM have done? Would you have tried harder to talk the group out of taking the risk or would you have let them take their lumps.

Basically, he did what I would have done: give you fair warning and then, if you insisted on playing up, let you hang yourselves. Some folks only learn the hard way.

Andoran

Sammy T wrote:
... Some folks only learn the hard way.

Yup, that's me to a 'T'.

*** RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Mike Seales wrote:

Normal PFS scenarios are playable up to 11. After that, 12+ play uses either the special Eyes of the Ten story arc built specifically for 12th level, or Modules and sanctioned Adventure Path chapters.

Eyes of the Ten used to be called the "retirement" story, but now there are plenty of options to play above 12th level.

I was under the impression you *have* to play EotT to 'unlock' higher level play. Was I wrong (again?)

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

Really, there is absolutely no difference between higher level modules/scenarios and low level ones as far as chronicle sheets go and what you can play. I mean, there are no more scenarios besides Eyes of the Ten, but you can play modules just fine. If you want to play Academy of Secrets as a level 12 character, you can, as it follows the normal rules of being a level 13 module and playable by 12-14. If you want to play Ruby Phoenix Tournament (Level 11, so levels 10-12) as a level 12, you certainly can.

Eyes of the Ten is an exception. You must play right at level 12 (33 XP, no more, no less) and you cannot play anything else with that character until that character is done with all 4 scenarios.

Edit: *Redacted* (Never mind, it got changed again.)

Andoran *****

Matthew Morris wrote:
Mike Seales wrote:

Normal PFS scenarios are playable up to 11. After that, 12+ play uses either the special Eyes of the Ten story arc built specifically for 12th level, or Modules and sanctioned Adventure Path chapters.

Eyes of the Ten used to be called the "retirement" story, but now there are plenty of options to play above 12th level.

I was under the impression you *have* to play EotT to 'unlock' higher level play. Was I wrong (again?)

Yes.

The new Guide 4.3 lays it out pretty specifically.

Andoran *****

Guide to Organized Play, v4.3, pages 27 & 28 wrote:

Beyond Level 11

Congratulations! You have made it to the ranks of the Pathfinder Special Agents, the Seekers. This august group of explorers have adventured to lands unknown within Golarion and beyond.
Once characters reach 12th level, they may no longer play in tiered scenarios for levels 1–11, but they can play special Tier 12+ scenarios and events. They immediately gain the title Seeker and become special agents like Osprey, unfettered from faction and Pathfinder Society politics—instead creating legends of their own, where every action or inaction becomes fodder for the Pathfinder Chronicles.
Seekers (previously known as retired characters) are offered the opportunity to accomplish one last major mission for the Pathfinder Society: participating in a Seeker story arc (previously known as a retirement arc). To play a Seeker (Tier 12) story arc, the character must start it with exactly 33 XP. If a character is used to play an 11th-level module starting at 31 or 32 XP or a Tier 12+ special scenario at 12th level, thus ending the module or special scenario with more than 33 XP, the character receives full credit for the module or special scenario, but may not play any part of a Seeker story arc (except for a few grandfathered exceptions—see the Pathfinder Society FAQ). Once a character starts a Seeker story arc, she may
not be used in any other module or special scenario until she has completed the Seeker story arc.
Characters that have already played in any part of the Eyes of the Ten Seeker story arc receive XP retroactively. Thus, a character who has completed the arc is 13th level and has 38 XP.
Any Seeker with sufficient Fame and experience can purchase scrolls containing 7th-, 8th-, and 9th-level spells, following the price guidelines in the Core Rulebook. Access to these spells is restricted to scrolls and is not available for spell-casting services. Upon reaching 13th level, Seekers are eligible to select spells or purchase 7th-level scrolls. Upon reaching 15th level, they are eligible to select spells or purchase 8th-level scrolls. Upon reaching 17th level, they are eligible to select spells or purchase 9th-level scrolls.

*** RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Andrew Christian wrote:
Matthew Morris wrote:
I was under the impression you *have* to play EotT to 'unlock' higher level play. Was I wrong (again?)

Yes.

The new Guide 4.3 lays it out pretty specifically.

And I am enlightened. Thank you.

Silver Crusade **

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber
My PFS Lavode De'Morcaine wrote:
PLEASE NOTE: I am not upset or trying to get the GM in trouble in any way! I think he behaved properly and ran the op force correctly. Be he seemed genuinely disappointed in himself.

This is the sign of a good GM actually. In my experience a good GM hates trashing the party, feels bad about doing it but does it anyway because he knows that without risk the game is pointless.

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