Cameron Ackerman's page

40 posts. Alias of Hyren.


Shadow Lodge

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Paizo should definitely take a tip from established development practices and give a deprecation notice several months in advance before retiring tools that people depend on. It's a pretty huge no-no to just kill something out of the blue. Seems like this is a good lesson learned, but hopefully it is remembered for the next time.

Shadow Lodge

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I don't want to go too far into the weeds here but the middle slot is indeed rather chaotic because its meant to be an opportunity for folks to unofficially run games in between the official slots. Because of the unofficial nature, it's not run by HQ. Because it's not run by HQ, the support HQ can give for it is limited to "the middle slot exists," "the signup sheets are over there," "I have no idea where the sign up sheets are right now," "someone's running a special in the middle slot?!" etc. :)

I -believe- (do not quote me on this please) that paizocon stopped having an official middle slot because the back to back to back games created an opportunity for high strain on volunteer GMs and attendees, so the last few years the middle slot has been free for people who would like to GM voluntarily as opposed to scheduling volunteers to do it.

I guess that's the background on it and why it is the way it is, but I agree with the general sentiment that its confusing and there's room for improvement, but I think this is a little bit out of the scope of what HQ can do by itself, this is more of an organizational problem. I can at least say that its been getting a little better every year. :)

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Something that I think will help people, ticketed or otherwise, is to remember that these events are a lot like going to the movies. The time on the ticket is when the show starts. If you want the best seats and to sit with your friends, show up 15-20 minutes early so you have the most control over the situation :). After about 10-15 minutes into the game, HQ is not going to be able to move tables around for large groups who show up later. That'd be like moving folks to a different theater and is not fair to people who showed up on time.

If you're rolling to the game without a ticket, seating for that starts at the beginning of the slot, but its on a first come first serve basis and therefore its even more important to be there early for that, particularly with a large group.

Not trying to beat the OP or anyone else up, but I hope the advice is useful to others who might run into this situation next year :)

Shadow Lodge

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I too feel the loving warmth of my VO on a regular basis. Even now, in the chilly frozen north of Canada, his spirit keeps me warm. God bless Walter Sheppard!

Shadow Lodge

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How did you get a picture of you as your forum avatar, Steve?

Edit: at the time of posting it was not the gorilla!

Shadow Lodge

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The Fun Sponge wrote:
Disk Elemental wrote:

I'll start.

Sealed Gate - #funsponge

Thanks for stealing my thunder.

Fun sponge not having fun?

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It was a real bummer for me that I couldn't train 4 cleric levels into Envoy of Balance so I could get Twinned Channel. =\

The rule seems kind of overkill.

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You might try to do an online session over Check the Online Play section of the forums to see if there are some games you could join.

Shadow Lodge

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Ever been to LA, Sior?

Shadow Lodge

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Erick Wilson wrote:
Cameron Ackerman wrote:

As it stands now, there is 0 reason to get Crane Riposte because people aren't going to attack you when you're in full defense and in crane stance because they'll know whats up.

I don't think this should be the case. Not every monster is a super genius, and they shouldn't all be played as master tacticians. If you leap into the middle of a group of bandits and go into total defense while your friends are all hanging back, the bandits should attack you, because they totally would do that. I understand this is a tricky subject, but GMs shouldn't be wrecking the effectiveness of feats by giving their monsters meta-knowledge of the way those feats work. The Panther Style tree is similarly wrecked by GMs that operate this way.

A reasonable counterpoint! But I think if it's only effective against stupid monsters, that's a touch too situational to be cost effective.

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Might want to continue the conversation here?

Edit: Made into URL, sorry.

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The additional resources list contains all of the legality rules for PFS.

Specifically for traits out of Ultimate Campaign:


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Campaign

Refer to page 10 in the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized Play for rules on utilizing character retraining.
Note: Race traits are only available for characters of the associated race. Religion traits are only available for characters of the associated religion.
Traits: all traits listed on pages 51-64 are legal for play except corpse cannibal, hedge magician, natural-born leader, rich parents, and unblemished barrel.

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Evan Draughon wrote:

Thanks for the advice Cameron. I was thinking I might have to make some of them different than a Wanted Poster. I run "Prince of Augustana" next Saturday so I still haven't decided how to do that one yet.

Some of the key concepts I want to add is mentioning information about venturing into sewers, and in some way that the Pathfinder's needed would be looking into "royal heritage" of someone. Not sure if I should mention anything about the "demonic portal" or not until they meet with the VC.

Yes, there's also the issue of how much information the PCs should get up front. For instance, if the Society wanted to hire a group of adventurers to remove a crime lord or something, they certainly would not want to come outright and say it on a poster because it would blow the operation. I think you have the right idea by leaving some information to the VC briefing.

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I foresee some corner cases with this idea with respect to certain scenarios where the goal would not really fit with a wanted poster. A number of the 3rd season scenarios come to mind such as "The Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment" and "The Haunting of Hinojai" which are ultimately exploration missions. Scenarios in the Blackros Museum, too, would be of a similar group to consider. Anything where the VC says "Hey, there's some sketchy stuff going on here, go figure it out" might be a little difficult to capture in that format. That's easily solved by generalizing the posters from "WANTED" posters to simple "Job Request" posters.

But other than that I think it's cool idea. When listing useful skills, be careful to analyze which skills would be encountered during unexpected challenges and which ones would actually be sensible for a VC to request in advance. On that note, I'm betting you'll wind up with a lot of repetition on the skills list (diplomacy and perception in particular).

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Sorry Adam, I was referring to this:

I took it at 10th level so I could keep improved precise shot.

From my understanding, you'd have to take it at first ranger level. But I've been wrong before.

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dreadfury wrote:
Adam Mogyorodi wrote:
How does a ranger even get a raptor?
beast master/infiltrator. its a decent combo. but you give up 6th level style feat. I took it at 10th level so I could keep improved precise shot.

Unless I'm mistaken it is not actually legal to do that.

When an archetype includes multiple alternate class features, a character must take them all—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain standard class features, but replacing them with other options. All other class features of the base class that aren't mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level, unless noted otherwise. A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced for the purposes of meeting any requirements or prerequisites.

Refer to this topic.

But I suppose this is more of a question of whether you can retroactively modify a character by taking an archetype. I don't believe you can without paying retraining costs.

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I have a friend who has a magus. At the paizo con special 14-15 tier this year, she did 666 damage to a demon. It was amusing.

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I have this really fun deaf Time Oracle. He has a bunch of funny tricks:

1. Erase from time to get himself out of tight spots or (if he's feeling ballsy) remove a combatant from play.
2. Time hop for a similar effect. Teleporting out of grapple is really strong!
3. Because he's deaf he can run around with silence on himself and still cast.
4. Temporal celerity lets him roll a lot of dice for initiative so he usually goes first. And he always acts in surprise round. With sandals of quick reaction he can take a standard and move.

I took a bunch of spells that were intended to mostly disrupt the opponent or just seemed like really mean spells to cast (bone shatter, murderous command). In the late game he has disintegrate, temporal stasis, destruction. Contingency is awesome because I can have contingency breath of life (also in late game). He also has a greater persistent metamagic rod. And a ring of invisibility just to be an even funnier mobile silence dome. But that's diminished in usefulness lately.

He's a huge troll. It's awesome.

Shadow Lodge

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I think what we're trying to get at is your coordination procedure is setting up a culture that deviates from the spirit of PFS. And really, the core of it seems to be this weird sense of entitlement that you and the higher level players in your group seem to have. For people in that group to view others as "dragging them down" if they're not optimized or "bringing their A game" is just another way of saying "if you're not here to win, don't show up."

I mean, we're not playing a sport that requires tryouts. There's nothing in the Guide to Organized Play that would suggest that. And yet with this "What does your character do? What will he do at level 12" attitude you've integrated it in. I really don't understand it either because the higher level content is not so hard that people can't learn to adapt and people can't have fun unless they're super optimized. How does a new player learn to be good enough to qualify at playing the higher tier stuff? Do they play at home to get some experience at what PFS will throw at them? Because it certainly doesn't sound like your game day allows them to learn.

Winning isn't the most important part of PFS, it's also about community. And as a coordinator, your responsibility is to keep that in mind.

And if you're wondering what our "malfunction" is about this, its probably because this is a pretty harmful way to think about PFS. The existence of this topic in the first place is pretty good evidence.

Edit: Let me go the other direction and say that I admire that you took the initiative to start organizing for PFS. This is not a trivial thing to do and it takes a lot of effort. So it is very respectable that you have taken up that burden.

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Eric Saxon wrote:
This team wants to play together at lvl. 12+ and I’m not going to tell them they can’t play together and that they have to take along a weak PC who’s going to have to be babysat for the next 6 levels. That would be uncool in my mind.

On the contrary. If they want to play with each other exclusively, then you should suggest that they set up a weekly private game outside of game day. Because your PUBLIC game day event should not be exclusive. The entire point of going to game day is to meet new people and grow a community, is it not? If you have this exclusive "cool kids club" paradigm in your area then that's defeating the purpose of a game day, and I bet you it's making it more difficult to plan your events. It's also enforcing this notion that some people in your group are inherently better and more preferred than others. And that's the exact opposite of what PFS should be promoting.

I probably would not play in your area if you guys just pick favorites. Especially when your preference is power gamers over those who want to enjoy the story and RP of an RP tabletop game.

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I would like to mention that the weapon cord rule change actually made my caster slightly better. He uses a weapon cord to prevent his Persistent Metamagic rod from being disarmed. Now I can retrieve my item without burning the swift action that would go to a Quickened spell.

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Does anybody have a list of the scenarios where the Dragon tooth longspear and the runed rod are from? I assumed they are from the season 4 special, but they are not.

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Kumakawa wrote:

The boss had just enough time to summon 3 babaus before the wizard d-doored the gunslinger and inquisitor into close proximity with Caggrigar. The gunslinger promptly did 20d8 damage to him, and I was forced to spend two rounds rolling the babaus' d6+5 damage while the gunslinger reloaded

Pathfinder Society is broken.

Sounds like that Gun slinger would be a good candidate for a character audit.

I know its frustrating, but I would politely suggest not letting one broken character ruin your entire experience.

If this Gunslinger is a frequent problem for you, try to find the things that the NPCs can do to potentially disable or reduce the damage output of the Gunslinger if they see that he's just destroying everything (within the rules and limits of their abilities of course).

And what did he have that made him immune to stun? I've yet to see anything like that personally. Also, the Glabrezu could have gotten right in his face to prevent him from shooting. Shooting his gun provokes AoO's just like any other ranged attack. Glabrezus are very gross.

Also, the shadow lodge encounter isn't very exciting by itself, but it makes for a really good RP opportunity if that possibility is available. Each of those NPCs has an issue with the Pathfinder Society and is an outcast for one reason or another. The PCs might be able to relate to the NPCs. Having the PCs talk with them is an interesting story telling opportunity. If you know they're going to just steam roll the encounter, try having them do that instead of annihilating them outright.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience GMing. This unfortunately happens sometimes. I hope you will reflect on any good experiences you've had GMing before deciding to throw in the towel entirely.

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Jiggy wrote:
Cameron Ackerman wrote:
It seems a little bit cheesy to me to effectively have one paladin eliminate the need for a 5450 spell casting service for potentially several people, though. I've seen this be used to raise 3 people, and I still have mixed feelings about it.
What would be a non-cheesy use of Ultimate Mercy?

Raising of a Gug to use in a sacrifice for a ritual to summon an evil creature to fight a dragon?

But seriously, that's a good point. Haha

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David knott 242 wrote:

That sounds like a more general issue. The scenario ends today, and you do not have the resources (in terms of spells) to raise somebody from the dead or to remove a PFS lethal condition today -- but you can easily do so tomorrow, and the condition in question will not worsen enough in that time to make a serious difference. Surely this issue has come up many times before?

Gentle Repose would circumvent this issue, and presumably allow for an unlimited ressurrection time. It doesn't make sense to me to have the session end immediately upon the end of the scenario. A lot of the time people will want to make purchases and stuff after the scenario itself is over or would like to get raised as described here. I've never seen anybody say that they have a time limit for the session after the scenario is over.

It seems a little bit cheesy to me to effectively have one paladin eliminate the need for a 5450 spell casting service for potentially several people, though. I've seen this be used to raise 3 people, and I still have mixed feelings about it.

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In my experience, simply asking people if their PCs are ok with the use of Animate Dead (or similar) prior to the beginning of the scenario almost entirely circumvents this issue.

Creating undead is realistically not so much different than binding devils or summoning demons (though I suppose it depends on who the corpse is and how you came about it). Even if done with good intentions, the "problem" is that there are classes and archetypes out there that are strongly opposed to the use of such abilities by nature. Because there's a good chance of partying with such types of PCs, it's not really a great idea to depend on the use of "controversial" abilities to such an extent that you're not effective in the scenario if your party asks you not to animate dead or summon demons.

When I play my negative energy cleric, I always ask the party if they're ok with me creating undead. If not, I don't, and its never a big deal because I use undead as a mobile silence focus, to carry my portable altar, or for finding traps anyway. They're not the focus in my strategy because it would be too unreliable depending on who I play with. And if I do use the abilities, my cleric tries to use them in "good taste" with the same justification that FLite described.

I think it's just a problem that people need to anticipate and plan around if they intend to use abilities that are generally understood to be "evil" by lots of character types.

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Criik wrote:

I saw some people mention about the naga silent imaging a wall to block view to Krune's chamber. I like this idea, but would it cast it in preparation? Or would it cast it during combat? With it starting invisible, at least the PCs could not spellcraft it to see that she is casting silent image versus something like wall of stone. So no saves until they work their way over there to mess with it.

In the very first room, there is an alarm trap that the PCs will almost certainly walk through on their way to the door. It's located on the stairs. When this alarm is tripped, it notifies the cleric in Krune's chamber that the PCs are approaching. The herald's tactics also suggest positioning herself in such a way that the PC's trigger the alarm trap so this will almost certainly happen. Furthermore, if you use the air elementals to throw people into the trapped door, the air elemental can trip the alarm as well. There are several ways to guarantee that this alarm is tripped.

In the case that the alarm is not tripped for some reason, there is a trap on the door to Krune's chamber which would also be a more precise notification to the Naga to start using Silent Image. Lastly, the priestess has Mage's Faithful Hound, which will bark very loudly when it sees a PC. You should place this by the door in such a way that it barks before the PCs get a clear look into the room. Then the Naga should have the ability to Silent Image a wall in front of Krune's coffin while the Priestess tries to stall the PCs.

I have yet to see a party that even thought to check for an alarm on the stairs, and frankly I don't see why they would do that in the middle of combat with the herald.

In short, the naga should have the silent image up and running shortly before the PCs get a look into the room. This tactic (IIRC) only works in the upper tier because in the lower tier there is no naga, and the priestess does not have silent image.

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Honestly, with proper positioning, AoOs on BOL are easy to avoid. Also taking combat casting or having a Tunic of Careful casting helps make it easier to succeed a concentration check to cast defensively. The advantage I see in this ability is that you could get multiple targets with effectively one BOL.

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Eric Saxon wrote:
David Higaki wrote:

Actually, to answer the range question:

You use the range of the Channeled Energy.

So, it can be used at range. Thus, I can drag one of "my tanks" out of a pickle and let him stand up without provoking an AO. Sweet.

Now for the Phylactery of Positive Channeling question. Anyone know of any rulings on that one? It would be nice to essentially Breath of Life at lvl. 7, rather than waiting for lvl. 11.

Channel Force requires that you do channel to harm.

Benefit: When you channel energy to deal damage, you may choose to affect only a single target within 30 feet. In addition to dealing damage, if that single target fails its saving throw, you may pull or push the target up to 5 feet for every 2d6 points of channel energy damage you are capable of dealing.

Emphasis mine.

It's a bummer, but still really fun for negative energy clerics.

My cleric flies up 30ft and pulls people 20ft off the ground with it or just repositions them. Very amusing and useful for controlling the field.

Edited with how I use the ability. :)

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FLite wrote:

Actually, you don't need a bestiary for animal companions. Their stats are in the CRB (at least for the basic choices there.)

you do need bestiary to:

take a familiar
cast about 18 spells (yes, I counted, Ctrl+F is your friend)
Own a horse or pony. (Unless you are a paladin)

Thank you for the correction, but my point still stands. Those are still a minority of the options available.

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Marthkus wrote:
FLite wrote:
Note that under these rules, at least one of the pregen characters pretty much can't be played by any player who does not own a bestiary.

This amuses me.

You might as well just require the bestiary + CRB to play PFS.

You can't use a good portion of the CRB without referencing the bestiary.

I disagree. Out of the CRB the only abilities that would require a bestiary are summon spells, and animal companions. Are you trying to say that a viable character cannot be built without these features?

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Steven Huffstutler wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Michael Brock wrote:
Sorry, I don't hug.
How was the hug Kyle?

I'm sure it was worth at least a sundae and a beer.

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The herald has a monologue that hints about the runes giving Krune power. She gets into it when she takes damage from the PCs. Its kind of hidden. If memory serves, its in the creatures block.

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Son of the Veterinarian wrote:

I'm not really complaining about the adventure, if they have the spells they should use them, and our GM was great. But with a party of four (two paladins, a arcane trickster, and a cleric) we were badly underpowered to take on Krune

And we knew this going in, but by the time we admitted no one else was coming it was after one and none of us were willing to pack it in and miss our shot at a Runelord.

Yeah, I was the one who GMd this table.

It was super super rough with respect to the runes and krune himself. The party composition was not diverse enough to handle all the runes effectively, but they had some work arounds for the life runes and were fortunately given a free disable for having four players (which luckily got rid of the last one). But they really had no chance against Krune at low tier.

I think the real bummer is that we started out with 5 players and we were trying for a 6th. The musterer did not seem interested in trying to get another person despite the difficulty of the scenario. The fifth player left because he did not want to play low tier.

Not trying to crap on the musterer as I know she was slammed, but I think it would have helped to qualify this scenario as one that should be run with a full table moreso than others. I guess that's just my opinion though.

Waking Rune is my favorite scenario to play or GM.

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I have the herald use limited wish to summon some air elementals. They then turn into whirlwinds and try to pick up PCs and throw them into the trapped door. Kudos to Eric Brittain for this tactic.

The herald is happy to die so that Krune can be revived, so this tactic makes the most sense to me.

What I dislike about the scenario is giving the PCs rounds to prepare before Krune comes out of the coffin. Walter Sheppard came up with the idea of using the Naga's Silent Image to set up a illusionary wall in front of the altar in the center of the room, and then to have a riddle of some sort written on the opposite wall that goads a PC into casting a long cast time spell like restoration or at the very least waste some time. I have yet to experiment with that strategy; It doesnt work in low tier (to my knowledge) and my table at gencon has four people after their fifth walked away because he couldnt play up so I wanted to give them a break. But I would definitely use it to stall optimized PCs who would be likely to steamroll him.

On hard mode, still considering if Wish to teleport the group to the positive energy plane or to revive the herald is better.

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4-07 Severing Ties is also related.

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Richard Dangle the negative energy channeling cleric
Herp the deaf halfling time oracle
Rocky the Oread flowing monk
Narf the ranger with his cheetah Snarf (first character, wasnt sure if i was gonna keep playing at that point)

My names are atrocious and I frequently get face palms when I introduce my characters.

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The fame limit is designed to keep weapons from getting too stupid too early. You're only talking about applying this specific +2 bonus to an existing +2 weapon, but you're not considering what would happen if I wanted to apply something else like a +3 bonus to a +3 weapon. Your idea does not scale to higher level weapons.

My ranger had the gold to apply holy to his +1 Shocking, Seeking, Adaptive, Impervious Composite Longbow some time before he had the fame to actually purchase it. If he had gotten it that early, he would have been pretty stupid. Just waiting to get limning next.

Also, you're acting like people don't plan what magical abilities they want to purchase for their weapon. They can buy whatever they want so long as they have the fame to do it even if the item has not shown up on the chronicle sheet. And if they're fully aware of the fame limit, they should be selective with their bonuses so they can get the more important ones at the right time.

If you wanted to have a flame burst bow, you should have planned your purchases in such a way that you could afford it as a +3 bonus instead of a +4 bonus.

This whole thing seems like an issue of lack of awareness to me. My suggestion is to make sure you know what magic weapon and armor abilities are available before you do purchases, and to have better goals on what you want to buy.

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So there would be some pretty funny logistics of having a magical weapon ability bypass the fame cap because there are a few variables that go into determining the cost.

Firstly, the cost of the ability is based on the enhancement bonus it requires. Then it increases based on how many existing bonuses you have on the weapon.

Also, it depends on what exactly you're applying it to. This specifically applies to Amulet of Mighty Fists where applying a bonus is much more expensive than applying it to a normal weapon.

I don't think it would make much sense if you got a Holy magical ability on a chronicle sheet and got to apply it to something like AoMF, or a +3 weapon bypassing the fame limit.

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I have a cleric right now who is built to channel negative energy with channel force (and he does quite a bit of damage despite Mr. Saxon's prejudice). Frequently I find myself being the only person at the table capable of casting healing spells, so I generally prepare restoration, BOL, raise dead, etc instead of the spells that I would normally prepare.

A lot of the important healing spells (resto and raise dead) require some expensive material components. Also, it is important to have BOL scrolls handy at all times when things go south, and those can be expensive too. Whenever I play, I always remind everybody at the table that they should bring their own diamonds and their own scrolls so that I can use the materials to save them. I remind them that buying material components is not a huge deal because if they're not used, they can be sold for full price later because they are a trade good. Most people tend to heed my advice and buy some material components to help me out, but I always have my own set of material components and scrolls for the people who can't afford them or don't think much of my suggestion.

If I have to heal somebody with my own stuff that's not a big deal. I don't harass them about it or get pissed. I just heal them up and assume I've made my point! At least they're not dead!

Healing resources like wands are not expensive. But they add up. And when one person is buying all of the healing resources for the entire party consistently, then that's somewhat inconsiderate. Healers, like everybody else, have goals with their character in terms of gear. If the healers are forced to constantly provide for everybody else, then it makes it harder for them to improve their character, and it makes them less effective as a party member.

In short, it's a matter of consideration and fairness to distribute the cost of healing across the whole party rather than expecting the healer to foot the entire bill. Though I would also say that it's not cool that you get nagged over it.

Here's an example of why this is important:

At the paizo con special, I played at the 14-15 tier table (the guys who were yelling OUTSIDE and INSIDE the entire time) and prior to the scenario we each spent a HUGE amount of gold on healing scrolls and material components. I personally spent more (a touch over 15,000 gold) than I made back from the special, and everybody else paid almost as much as I did. And it was certainly a good thing we did that, because I wound up having to use most of my scrolls (save for a few BOL scrolls, some lesser resto, and heal) and material component we purchased. There is no way I could have afforded to pay for that all by myself.