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Dm who is completely disregarding the rules. How to deal with them?


Advice

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I have a DM who allowed me to take the shadow creature template as a rogue who's race was dvati from the dragon compendium. At first he allowed the ability shadow blend work the way it is supposed to, then he would have the dungeon which was filled with illithids and drow, he had the place filled with daylight torches. Then when I attacked a guard whome I knew was in league with doppelganger who have infiltrated this city, this person was standing by a fire at night, he said I could not shadow dlend as the fire would not let it. This fire was nothing more that non magical bone fires.

He said after I brought up about the shadow blend ability should work, said he made a mistake letting me take the shadow creature template, so he with out telling me made the ability basically useless.

Then the next session I was 8th level and was traded in a cell and because I had 8 hit dice I took plane shift. So he killed my character because I escape the cells my character was in, the plane shift shifted me to the plane of shadow.

Instead of asking me to make a new character or taking me aside and asking me to remake my character with out the template. All he said was the ability was to Powerful and when I found was of getting out of the cells I was in he got angry and just killed my character.

How should I deal with this DM besides not playing.

He also allows the other players to do things they should not be able to do, like have 4 racial hit dice and 8 class levels and an ECL of +2 saying they are only 10th level jot 14th.

Any advice on how to deal with him.


Dont


Daw wrote:
Dont

You mean just stop playing?


It sounds like he's picking on you choosing some cool abilities that can ruin an adventure. But before I judge him I have a few questions. The first is does he slam on other players when they get abilities that upset the adventures? There are 3.5 rules for playing racial HD characters so is he using that system? The ECL+2 where is this coming from, templates, mythic or what?
If he is allowing other players to run around all powerful but punishes just you, yeah you need to stop playing with the group. But if their is more to this then maybe you should talk it out, out of game.

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

No gaming is better than bad gaming.


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wintersrage wrote:
Daw wrote:
Dont
You mean just stop playing?

"Stop playing with him" would be my advice as well. Specifically, talk it out like a reasonable adult first and explain your issues first. Then stop playing with him. If you're not having fun, then there's no reason you should be playing.


Derek Dalton wrote:

It sounds like he's picking on you choosing some cool abilities that can ruin an adventure. But before I judge him I have a few questions. The first is does he slam on other players when they get abilities that upset the adventures? There are 3.5 rules for playing racial HD characters so is he using that system? The ECL+2 where is this coming from, templates, mythic or what?

If he is allowing other players to run around all powerful but punishes just you, yeah you need to stop playing with the group. But if their is more to this then maybe you should talk it out, out of game.

There is a player with alters self at will, and no he doesn't slam them.

The player in quest about the +2 ECL is a lizard folk druid.

I explained to him when I asked about the shadow creature template that shadow blend on a rogue is very powerful, and he sa8d it was OK.

He also allows other players to cast spells as immediate action and these spells are not immediate actions most of the time they are standard actions.


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How would you guys deal with a player playing a shadow creature dvati race as rogues.


Dvati is a 3.5 edition race from the dragon compendium.

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Well, I wouldn't have allowed it in the first place, but I would have been up front about why I wasn't going to allow it.


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Your DM needs to learn to say no.

Whilst it's cool to look at these awesome abilities from the monster manual and think how they could be applied to a player character, they're actually designed to be put on creatures you fight.

Giving you the shadow creature template was a mistake, and the DM has realised this and is now trying to fix that problem. I'd recommend talking with the DM and checking if they're still cool with you using these abilities, or if you should remove them from your character.

Sounds like the core of the problem is between the gentleman's agreement with players and DM. The DM needs to be more restrictive with what they're allowing players to do with their characters instead of simply caving in and letting them apply random templates, then hand-waving away their special abilities later.

Seriously, not every character needs to be a special snowflake. There's nothing wrong with a straight pure-class Wizard, and honestly these will still break a game far faster than any chimeric amalgam of templates.


He did the same thing to my first character who was a vow of poverty monk, with a single level in risen martyr which gives me the deathless templete, saying I could be effected by abilities that the templete says I can't be effected by, and giving me no reason to why I'm affected.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I wouldn't play with him. /shrug


Maybe someone else should start being the GM.


You realize the deathless templete can be achieved from a class that requires you to die.

And the shadow creature creature templete made sense for my character as my character was born in an area that is in the shadow fell and coterminus with the prime material plane. So it made some sense to me that I could have it, and once again I explained to him that the shadow blend ability was powerful for a rogue character, multiple times before we started playing.


I offered to dm a pathfinder game, I was thinking the iron gods. He said no as did the other people they wanted to finish the campagine they are in before starting another.


I will try and talk to him again if he is not going to be reasonable, I will just leave.


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If you want a DM that doesn't bend the rules, it cuts both ways. The rules meant you shouldn't have had the templates applied to your character in the first place, so it's hardly unexpected that you'll have to put up with shenanigans later down the track when your nifty template features suddenly don't work as well as you thought.

If you want to win, go fill in a character sheet and write "I WIN!" across it. This isn't a video game, it's about social interaction between other people who are interested in telling a collaborative story using dice to determine the outcome of their actions.


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Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

(If you're using the dvati race to flank with yourself, my sympathy for your position is going down a point. It's not terribly high to begin with.)

Explaining that an ability is really powerful doesn't mean the GM can't change his mind. You should ask the GM to let you know if something is too powerful rather than taking it out on the character. Work with the GM. Kick back, relax, and play something untemplated and weaker than the rest of the party, if that's still enjoyable for you.

Otherwise call it for this game.


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Depends on the alter self player how he uses it. The Lizardfolk are not a +2 they are listed in the Race guide as an example and come in at 11 RP which is average for the normal races. The racial HD boost can be negated by running higher encounters.
Now he sounds like he is making several mistakes all of them can be fixed. More extreme is to start over and run a official Pathfinder campaign. Nothing from 3.5 or third press. This levels the playing field lowering everyone's power. Before starting this you all should have a chat and talk. If everyone is mature this can solve a lot of problems.


QuidEst wrote:

(If you're using the dvati race to flank with yourself, my sympathy for your position is going down a point. It's not terribly high to begin with.)

Explaining that an ability is really powerful doesn't mean the GM can't change his mind. You should ask the GM to let you know if something is too powerful rather than taking it out on the character. Work with the GM. Kick back, relax, and play something untemplated and weaker than the rest of the party, if that's still enjoyable for you.

Otherwise call it for this game.

Yes they can flank with themselves, but they split their hp between 2 people and any mistakes d effecting spell that effects 1 of them effects both.

I don't consider themc over powered as a race just in certain circumstances, but any character built right can be opened in thing if they specialize instead of generalize their character.


Agreed, sounds like your style of play simply isn't suited to the DM's table. Rule 0 and all that.

I'd suggest sourcing a new group and running your own campaign as a DM, where you can create all the monsters and NPCs with all the special abilities you desire. There's always more fish in the sea. Go out and make some new friends!


wintersrage wrote:
QuidEst wrote:

(If you're using the dvati race to flank with yourself, my sympathy for your position is going down a point. It's not terribly high to begin with.)

Explaining that an ability is really powerful doesn't mean the GM can't change his mind. You should ask the GM to let you know if something is too powerful rather than taking it out on the character. Work with the GM. Kick back, relax, and play something untemplated and weaker than the rest of the party, if that's still enjoyable for you.

Otherwise call it for this game.

Yes they can flank with themselves, but they split their hp between 2 people and any mistakes d effecting spell that effects 1 of them effects both.

I don't consider themc over powered as a race just in certain circumstances, but any character built right can be opened in thing if they specialize instead of generalize their character.

the alter self we are using is from 3.5 which gives you the full size bonus for becoming large, +8 strength -2 dexterity and +4 con.


JDLPF wrote:

Agreed, sounds like your style of play simply isn't suited to the DM's table. Rule 0 and all that.

I'd suggest sourcing a new group and running your own campaign as a DM, where you can create all the monsters and NPCs with all the special abilities you desire. There's always more fish in the sea. Go out and make some new friends!

I originally asked as a joke, I never thought he would say yes, and when he did I went with it and took the the templete.


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Sounds like this is more homebrew than Pathfinder at this point, or else some ungodly flesh golem of rulesets.


I'm curious if the other players are riding roughshod over the campaign. It sounds like they might be and the GM is having a hard time of it.
Regarding you abilities. I could have shut you down without picking on you. Plane shift doesn't work cell is enchanted with Dimensional anchor. Hiding in shadows is nice but consider this a High Perception and other senses and I can find you long before you get close. Dragons Blind sense, smell. Certain undead have life sense you are not in shadows but a glowing beacon of life energy to them.
I'd suggest talking out of game about this since it seems like it might be a problem that can e fixed. If not then maybe you to have someone else GM like maybe you. If all else fails then find another group.


Rhaleroad wrote:
Sounds like A:you want too many rules bent too let you play a broken build and B:the GM realized this too late and is doing a bad job of fixing the issue. It seems he is loose with the rules as it is and if you feel he is an "unfair GM" then you should leave. If you are feeling cheated, you should leave. If you are having not fun, you should leave. Complaining about a GM in an open forum tells us you are not happy with that GM, and there is nothing we can do to help. Your snowflake won't find a home in any other game btw.

the build he has is hardly broken in fact its probably more manageable than if he were just a normal wizard or cleric the gm is just being a dick

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
wintersrage wrote:
Daw wrote:
Dont
You mean just stop playing?

Yes.


JDLPF wrote:

If you want a DM that doesn't bend the rules, it cuts both ways. The rules meant you shouldn't have had the templates applied to your character in the first place, so it's hardly unexpected that you'll have to put up with shenanigans later down the track when your nifty template features suddenly don't work as well as you thought.

If you want to win, go fill in a character sheet and write "I WIN!" across it. This isn't a video game, it's about social interaction between other people who are interested in telling a collaborative story using dice to determine the outcome of their actions.

wrong pcs are as within the rules to take templates as npc's are its just at dms discretion on weather or not they want templates in their game, same goes for monstrous races any pc can be a monstrous race so long as they have the levels to pay for it.


Derek Dalton wrote:

Depends on the alter self player how he uses it. The Lizardfolk are not a +2 they are listed in the Race guide as an example and come in at 11 RP which is average for the normal races. The racial HD boost can be negated by running higher encounters.

Now he sounds like he is making several mistakes all of them can be fixed. More extreme is to start over and run a official Pathfinder campaign. Nothing from 3.5 or third press. This levels the playing field lowering everyone's power. Before starting this you all should have a chat and talk. If everyone is mature this can solve a lot of problems.

i'm thinking the +2 on the lizard folk is a +2 template the op just doesn't know the name for


Lady-J wrote:
wrong pcs are as within the rules to take templates as npc's are its just at dms discretion on weather or not they want templates in their game, same goes for monstrous races any pc can be a monstrous race so long as they have the levels to pay for it.

I challenge you to show rules for PCs gaining templates instead of levels, or in addition to levels.


Derek Dalton wrote:

I'm curious if the other players are riding roughshod over the campaign. It sounds like they might be and the GM is having a hard time of it.

Regarding you abilities. I could have shut you down without picking on you. Plane shift doesn't work cell is enchanted with Dimensional anchor. Hiding in shadows is nice but consider this a High Perception and other senses and I can find you long before you get close. Dragons Blind sense, smell. Certain undead have life sense you are not in shadows but a glowing beacon of life energy to them.
I'd suggest talking out of game about this since it seems like it might be a problem that can e fixed. If not then maybe you to have someone else GM like maybe you. If all else fails then find another group.

The shadow blend gives you total concealment so no seeing me,vandalism I had on that character darkstalker feat, creatures with blinds ensemble, blindsight, tremorsense, and scent have to make Perception checks just like everybody else with oust those senses. So I'm am effectively invisible to people.


JDLPF wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
wrong pcs are as within the rules to take templates as npc's are its just at dms discretion on weather or not they want templates in their game, same goes for monstrous races any pc can be a monstrous race so long as they have the levels to pay for it.
I challenge you to show rules for PCs gaining templates instead of levels, or in addition to levels.

I took the templete at character creation.


Higher level monsters have a decent Perception some are actually shockingly good. So it's not impossible difficult yes but not impossible. How did you get a Dark stalker feat?
Your GM seems to be allowing a lot of things probably without even considering how powerful it is. It happens but he seems cursed with it. 3.5 abilities, races and feats require 3.5 monsters and adjustments. He seems like he wants to play Pathfinder while letting everyone play 3.5. Their is a noticeable difference in power between them.


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Been thinking, maybe it isn't about which abilities the character has, but how, when and why they are used.

* What is the level of Metagaming in those games?
* How much RollPlay vs RolePlay?
* Are you rolling (and role'ing) along the plot or trying to avoid it?
* ...?


JDLPF wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
wrong pcs are as within the rules to take templates as npc's are its just at dms discretion on weather or not they want templates in their game, same goes for monstrous races any pc can be a monstrous race so long as they have the levels to pay for it.
I challenge you to show rules for PCs gaining templates instead of levels, or in addition to levels.

There are no rules per say but the templete says say if the are acquired or inherited. Inherited is something you are born with.

Shadow Creature:
Creating a Shadow Creature
"Shadow creature" is an inherited template that can be added to any living creature, referred to hereafter as the base creature. A shadow creature retains all the base creature's statistics and abilities except as noted here.

Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +1.

Alignment: Any (usually nongood).

Type: The base creature's type changes to outsider, and it gains the augmented subtype. Do not recalculate BAB, saves, or skill ranks.

Senses: As the base creature plus darkvision 60 feet and low-light vision.

Defensive Abilities: A shadow creature gains DR and resistance to cold and electricity based on its Hit Dice, as noted on the following table.

Hit Dice Resist Cold and Electricity DR
1–4 5 —
5–10 10 5/magic
11+ 15 10/magic
Shadow Blend (Su): In any illumination other than bright light, a shadow creature blends into the shadows, giving it concealment (20% miss chance). A shadow creature can suspend or resume this ability as a free action.

Spell Resistance (Ex): A shadow creature gains spell resistance equal to the base creature's CR + 6.[


KM WolfMaw wrote:

Been thinking, maybe it isn't about which abilities the character has, but how, when and why they are used.

* What is the level of Metagaming in those games?
* How much RollPlay vs RolePlay?
* Are you rolling (and role'ing) along the plot or trying to avoid it?
* ...?

I was roll playing, but my character was paranoid and stayed hidden a lot.

He specifically said he didn't like to have to change encounters to account for my character.

He just did things that made no sense based on the situation, and then just out of the blue with out any notification before hand, makes the shadow blend ability not work after all, when a bonfire can make it so it doesn't work. So I attack someone and then try and shadow blend and I'm told it doesn't work. Being nite time and no bright light around.


JDLPF wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
wrong pcs are as within the rules to take templates as npc's are its just at dms discretion on weather or not they want templates in their game, same goes for monstrous races any pc can be a monstrous race so long as they have the levels to pay for it.
I challenge you to show rules for PCs gaining templates instead of levels, or in addition to levels.

any acquired template a pc can gain during normal adventuring lich and graveknight being an example, while inherited templates are templates a pc can usually only get at character creation half dragon, half fiend and half celestial are an example if they were for npcs only they would not need those classifications. there are also classes that bestow templates onto pcs.


wintersrage wrote:
KM WolfMaw wrote:

Been thinking, maybe it isn't about which abilities the character has, but how, when and why they are used.

* What is the level of Metagaming in those games?
* How much RollPlay vs RolePlay?
* Are you rolling (and role'ing) along the plot or trying to avoid it?
* ...?

I was roll playing, but my character was paranoid and stayed hidden a lot.

He specifically said he didn't like to have to change encounters to account for my character.

He just did things that made no sense based on the situation, and then just out of the blue with out any notification before hand, makes the shadow blend ability not work after all, when a bonfire can make it so it doesn't work. So I attack someone and then try and shadow blend and I'm told it doesn't work. Being nite time and no bright light around.

the dm shouldnt be designing every encounter you counter the party


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
wintersrage wrote:


the alter self we are using is from 3.5 which gives you the full size bonus for becoming large, +8 strength -2 dexterity and +4 con.

I think you're playing that wrong. The text of the spell says, quite specifically, you retain your own ability scores. You don't add any by going 1 size up and that's backed up by an article on the wizards archive about alter self.

Rules of the Game: Polymorphing (Part 2]

Plus, it's just a 2nd level spell. No way is a 2nd level spell going to give someone a +8 on strength and +4 on con together for 10x the duration as the stat buffing spells.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
wintersrage wrote:


The shadow blend gives you total concealment so no seeing me,vandalism I had on that character darkstalker feat, creatures with blinds ensemble, blindsight, tremorsense, and scent have to make Perception checks just like everybody else with oust those senses. So I'm am effectively invisible to people.

How are you getting total concealment from the 20% concealment shadow blend gives you?


Bill Dunn wrote:
wintersrage wrote:


The shadow blend gives you total concealment so no seeing me,vandalism I had on that character darkstalker feat, creatures with blinds ensemble, blindsight, tremorsense, and scent have to make Perception checks just like everybody else with oust those senses. So I'm am effectively invisible to people.
How are you getting total concealment from the 20% concealment shadow blend gives you?

These are the 3.5 versions of the spell, and shadow blend.

Alter Self:

Alter Self
Transmutation
Level: Brd 2, Sor/Wiz 2
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: 10 min./level (D)
You assume the form of a creature of the same type as your normal form. The new form must be within one size category of your normal size. The maximum HD of an assumed form is equal to your caster level, to a maximum of 5 HD at 5th level. You can change into a member of your own kind or even into yourself.

You retain your own ability scores. Your class and level, hit points, alignment, base attack bonus, and base save bonuses all remain the same. You retain all supernatural and spell-like special attacks and qualities of your normal form, except for those requiring a body part that the new form does not have (such as a mouth for a breath weapon or eyes for a gaze attack).

You keep all extraordinary special attacks and qualities derived from class levels, but you lose any from your normal form that are not derived from class levels.

If the new form is capable of speech, you can communicate normally. You retain any spellcasting ability you had in your original form, but the new form must be able to speak intelligibly (that is, speak a language) to use verbal components and must have limbs capable of fine manipulation to use somatic or material components.

You acquire the physical qualities of the new form while retaining your own mind. Physical qualities include natural size, mundane movement capabilities (such as burrowing, climbing, walking, swimming, and flight with wings, to a maximum speed of 120 feet for flying or 60 feet for nonflying movement), natural armor bonus, natural weapons (such as claws, bite, and so on), racial skill bonuses, racial bonus feats, and any gross physical qualities (presence or absence of wings, number of extremities, and so forth). A body with extra limbs does not allow you to make more attacks (or more advantageous two-weapon attacks) than normal.

You do not gain any extraordinary special attacks or special qualities not noted above under physical qualities, such as darkvision, low-light vision, blindsense, blindsight, fast healing, regeneration, scent, and so forth.

You do not gain any supernatural special attacks, special qualities, or spell-like abilities of the new form. Your creature type and subtype (if any) remain the same regardless of your new form. You cannot take the form of any creature with a template, even if that template doesn’t change the creature type or subtype.

You can freely designate the new form’s minor physical qualities (such as hair color, hair texture, and skin color) within the normal ranges for a creature of that kind. The new form’s significant physical qualities (such as height, weight, and gender) are also under your control, but they must fall within the norms for the new form’s kind. You are effectively disguised as an average member of the new form’s race. If you use this spell to create a disguise, you get a +10 bonus on your Disguise check.

When the change occurs, your equipment, if any, either remains worn or held by the new form (if it is capable of wearing or holding the item), or melds into the new form and becomes nonfunctional. When you revert to your true form, any objects previously melded into the new form reappear in the same location on your body they previously occupied and are once again functional. Any new items you wore in the assumed form and can’t wear in your normal form fall off and land at your feet; any that you could wear in either form or carry in a body part common to both forms at the time of reversion are still held in the same way. Any part of the body or piece of equipment that is separated from the whole reverts to its true form.

Shadow Blend:

"Shadow" is a template that can be added to any corporeal aberration, animal, dragon, fey, giant, humanoid, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, plant, undead, or vermin (referred to hereafter as the base creature).

A shadow creature uses all the base creature's statistics and abilities except as noted here. Do not recalculate the creature's Hit Dice, base attack bonus, saves, or skill points if its type changes.

Size and Type: Animals or vermin with this template become magical beasts, but otherwise the creature type is unchanged. Shadow creatures encountered on the Material Plane have the extraplanar subtype and are native to the Plane of Shadow.

Speed: As base creature x 1-1/2.

Special Qualities: A shadow creature retains all the special qualities of the base creature, and also gains the following:

Resistance to cold equal to 5 + 1 per Hit Die, to a maximum of 15.

Darkvision out to 60 feet.

Low-light vision.

Shadow Blend (Su): In any conditions other than full daylight, a shadow creature can disappear into the shadows, giving it total concealment. Artificial illumination, even a light or continual flame spell, does not negate this ability, but a daylight spell will.

Shadow creatures also have one additional special ability for every 4 Hit Dice they possess (minimum of one additional ability) chosen from the following list:

+2 luck bonus on all saving throws.
Cause Fear (Sp): 1/day. Caster level 5th. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Damage reduction 5/magic.
Evasion, as the rogue class feature.
Fast healing 2.
Mirror Image (Sp): 1/day. Caster level 5th.
Plane Shift (Sp): 1/day, to or from the Plane of Shadow only. Caster level 15th.
If the base creature already has one or more of these special qualities, use the better value.
Skills: Same as base creature. Shadow creatures gain a +6 racial bonus on Move Silently checks.
Feats: Same as the base creature.
Environment: Plane of Shadow
Organization: Same as the base creature.
Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +1.
Treasure: Same as the base creature.
Alignment: Usually neutral evil.
Advancement: Same as the base creature.
Level Adjustment: Same as base creature +2.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

If you're using the shadow template from 3.5, why did you post the one from PF farther up the thread?

OK, so your GM was foolish for allowing the shadow template from 3.5. Suggest you apply the one from PF instead since it's only a 20% concealment and doesn't have any of the additional powers every 4HD garbage. You retain some of the basic character of your character, he gets a PC in his game that's far less abusable.

And with respect to the 3.5 version of Alter Self, notice my emphases below:

Alter Self
Transmutation
Level: Brd 2, Sor/Wiz 2
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: 10 min./level (D)
You assume the form of a creature of the same type as your normal form. The new form must be within one size category of your normal size. The maximum HD of an assumed form is equal to your caster level, to a maximum of 5 HD at 5th level. You can change into a member of your own kind or even into yourself.
You retain your own ability scores. Your class and level, hit points, alignment, base attack bonus, and base save bonuses all remain the same. You retain all supernatural and spell-like special attacks and qualities of your normal form, except for those requiring a body part that the new form does not have (such as a mouth for a breath weapon or eyes for a gaze attack).

You retain your own ability scores is key. As is the level of the spell. Alter self has a duration of 10 min/level compared to Bull's Strength which is only 1 min/level. Do you really think it makes sense that they'd have a spell that lasts 10x as long and offers the same benefit as Bear's Endurance and a double-strength Bull's Strength together at the same time? It doesn't. If a spell seems to offer a benefit out of proportion to spells of the same level, double check your understanding of the spell.

Here's the relevant quote from Skip Williams's Rules of the Game:

Skip Williams wrote:

You retain your own ability scores when in your assumed form.

You might appear strong or agile in your assumed form, but none of your ability scores change when you use the alter self spell.


I suggest faking your own death and fleeing the country. To be fair that is like my advice for everyone.


Bill Dunn wrote:

If you're using the shadow template from 3.5, why did you post the one from PF farther up the thread?

OK, so your GM was foolish for allowing the shadow template from 3.5. Suggest you apply the one from PF instead since it's only a 20% concealment and doesn't have any of the additional powers every 4HD garbage. You retain some of the basic character of your character, he gets a PC in his game that's far less abusable.

And with respect to the 3.5 version of Alter Self, notice my emphases below:

Alter Self
Transmutation
Level: Brd 2, Sor/Wiz 2
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: 10 min./level (D)
You assume the form of a creature of the same type as your normal form. The new form must be within one size category of your normal size. The maximum HD of an assumed form is equal to your caster level, to a maximum of 5 HD at 5th level. You can change into a member of your own kind or even into yourself.
You retain your own ability scores. Your class and level, hit points, alignment, base attack bonus, and base save bonuses all remain the same. You retain all supernatural and spell-like special attacks and qualities of your normal form, except for those requiring a body part that the new form does not have (such as a mouth for a breath weapon or eyes for a gaze attack).

You retain your own ability scores is key. As is the level of the spell. Alter self has a duration of 10 min/level compared to Bull's Strength which is only 1 min/level. Do you really think it makes sense that they'd have a spell that lasts 10x as long and offers the same benefit as Bear's Endurance and a double-strength Bull's Strength together at the same time? It doesn't. If a spell seems to offer a benefit out of proportion to spells of the same level, double check your understanding of the spell.

Here's the relevant quote from Skip Williams's Rules of the Game:

Skip Williams wrote:
You retain your own ability scores when in your
...

All they mean by you retain your own ability scores is that you don't take on the ability scores of the creature, but as the ability says You acquire the physical qualities of the new form while retaining your own mind. Physical qualities include natural size, a naturally large creature compared to a medium creature has if you look at the chart for creature sizes in the bestiary says you have compared to a medium creature +8 strength -2 dex ,and +4 con.


I mean, if we're using 3.5 rules for stuff instead of Pathfinder rules, is there even an agreed-upon set of rules as a framework for the game? If it really is just a "found some rules somewhere, let's use those" I don't know how you can really disregard "the rules."

Long story short, PCs should probably not be allowed to base their gimmick around something fairly abusive. If you come up with something clever that uses loopholes or rules interactions to let you do something really powerful, expect to be able to use it once but don't expect to be able to use it twice. Once is funny and interesting, twice is "are we playing a cooperative storytelling game or 'the you show starring you'?"

From the story in the OP this didn't go very well, but when you're playing something so powerful that it's making the game less fun for other players (including the GM) you should agree to play something else. Realistically the problem I see is that the GM didn't bother to ask you to make a new character or rebuild the one you've got. "The GM kills your character and there's nothing you can do about it" is not actually against the rules per se, it's just almost certainly poor form.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
wintersrage wrote:
All they mean by you retain your own ability scores is that you don't take on the ability scores of the creature, but as the ability says You acquire the physical qualities of the new form while retaining your own mind. Physical qualities include natural size, a naturally large creature compared to a medium creature has if you look at the chart for creature sizes in the bestiary says you have compared to a medium creature +8 strength -2 dex ,and +4 con.

Clearly not as Skip made clear in Rules of the Game. And it's clearly beyond the power of a 2nd level spell. So why persist in the belief that alter self can do what you think it can do?

You're accusing your DM of completely disregarding the rules, but you're pretty much doing so as well. Maybe you need to sit down with him and hash your understanding of the rules out and do some research.

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