Its all fine and dandy that you can create a character that can trivialize every encounter. It's even legal. Until you've been behind the screen as a GM in those situations, you can't understand the abject hatred that GMs have of those PC tactics/abilities when we cannot change anything about the scenario. DC23 Will save at level 1 or die? Congrats. You win at Pathfinder.
Do I allow that and simply sigh to myself and die a little inside each time it happens? Absolutely. Do I consider adding that person to the list of people for whom I'd rather not GM for? Absolutely. I do this for my enjoyment as well, not just players.
I have no fun as a GM when this happens at my table. GM fun is at least 4x greater than player fun, since without a GM, there is no game. Consider that when making characters. Enough bad GM experiences, and people stop wanting to GM, since the 4+ hours of prep will be for not.
And as far as written tactics go, as soon as they're invalidated by PC actions, they go out the window.
I do agree that damage from falling down stairs is a bit of a stretch.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
The buffing that really chaps my ass is when a player (this has happened to me more than once) makes the realization that there is less than an hour left in the slot so the door they are about to open must be the final encounter and therefore dump all their buffs.
I've had that happen a few times total. My reply is always "Why? There is nothing different here than before."If there is a reasonable reply, then sure. Maybe they noticed something that I glossed over. Though I have said no on more than one occasion.
But yes, back to the OP, it depends on what the characters do. Depends how bad they were beat up. Depends if they were using Infernal Healing (always a gimmie in terms of how long until you're healed). Depends if they're searching the room thoroughly, depends if they identify items.
If they're new to the genre, I'd suggest something more akin to 5-08 The Confirmation as an introduction to Pathfinder. There is only a bit of introduction to some lore that you don't need to fully understand to 'get' whats going on.
If a raucous time is what you're gearing for, then it's hard to go wrong with We Be Goblins.
Leg o' Lamb wrote:
That would be me.
This is the list of modules that we played, in order.
The GM tied them together in a narrative. Took some work on his part, but was well done.
Crypt of the Everflame
Wands, wands, wands.
There are so many good level 1 wands, even if you're not able to cast yourself:
- Cure light (or Infernal, if you're so inclined)
Plus the above mentioned scrolls and potions.
This is why we really push the sub-tier component when scheduling games, to try and avoid this.
I know it doesn't work well in areas where there is a smaller player base, but that's how we combat it here. All our game schedules are done by sub-tier (it was hours upon hours of making custom scenarios on Warhorn to include sub-tiers for every scenario, but worth it inthe end).
The same general issues can be said when you get a high sub-tier player playing in the low sub-tier.
On a personal note, and as Sin stated above, players don't have to 'win' every scenario. Sometimes a 'loss' is more memorable and fun.
On a humourous (and memorable) note, our latest convention, we had a table of Mists of Mwangi (Core) wipe in the first encounter. Done in 10 minutes. Nobody could save vs. the ghoul and it ended up eating them all.
Kevin Willis wrote:
Were those written by Thursty? Why can't I use my Profession Merchant for the win!
Personally, I am not a big fan of the Faction Cards. I understand that many people are, and if that's what draws them into the faction, more power to them.
The factions as they exist now, some are very niche ideological quadrants, while one is the catch-all: Anti-slaver (Liberty's Edge), noble-recruiter (Sovereign Court), mercantile guild (Exchange), intentional do-gooders (Silver Crusade), not-quite-too-sure what the former ParaCountess actually does faction (Dark Archives), Sacred servants of Osirion (Scarab Sages) and the catch-all, my character's motivations don't fit into any of the other 6 factions (Grand Lodge).
We had the same 'issue' with the national factions. Great if your character was from that nation, but not all Pathfinders were from those nations.
The rewards, though cool, for me aren't what draws my characters to a faction. When I do come up with a character concept, some fall strongly into a faction other don't. For instance, I love what is happening with the drama in the Exchange and the internal disagreements on how to proceed in the future. I now have two dedicated Exchange characters, each taking a different direction, one was simply a GM blob until a certain scenario came out. Then, the character became clear to me and what his motivations are and who he is. I did have a straight merchant before this season.
I don't need a faction card to have those two characters take their role in the faction seriously. They already do because they've internalized it. It's part of who they are.
For my characters who aren't in that ideological niche, they end up in the Grand Lodge. I liken it to your place of employment. Some people are super-dedicated and go to every event with bells on. Some just want to do their job and go home.
Factions matter if they matter to your character. It's OK to have some characters who aren't super into the factions.
I could get behind belonging to multiple factions at the same time. Nothing says you can't be a sage of history past and care about freeing slaves. Though, it would be difficult to be involved in more. There is only so much time in the day. I can barely find time for all my hobbies, so I focus on the ones I love the most, which is one or two.
For new scenarios, I start by reading the scenario front to back. No stopping to evaluate the combats, or any of that. Just story. I need to understand what story I'm telling. Only then do I go back and review the combats and/or other encounters.
RP encounters: Who is this person? Any weird (or new) mechanics?
AND most importantly, if I've played the scenario previously, how did it go for me? What did I like or not like, or what went well and try and improve on that.
For scenarios I've run before:
I'll point out that those who have taken the stance that it is impossible for characters to throw dirt in someone's eyes or steal an item off of an enemy during combat in Core haven't actually cited anything to support their stance yet, nor have they attempted to explain why the phrase "during character building" is used when setting the source restriction for the Core campaign.
The rules are such that the onus is not on me to prove the option is illegal. It is upon the user to prove their option is legal.That has not been done by anyone.
The Combat Manuevers from the APG are no different than any other rule or spell. The player needs to provide the source book for their rule. Since the APG is not a legal source book for Core, you can't provide a legal copy of the rule you wish to use.
I provide no authority on the subject, as was clearly pointed out. Though the above is how i rule during the games i run. If the subject is clarified to the contrary, then i will indeed abide. Until then, that's how it is.
Upon reading the scenario blurb, I was initially really excited about this scenario. I enjoy seeing previously introduced characters returning. It gives the campaign more of a real-world feel. After reading through it and prepping, my excitement waned.
Prepping this one, it reminds me a lot of
3-17 Red Harvest. Though unlike this scenario, you were made aware of both parties well in advance of the final encounter.
I, too, have many of the same questions as aboyd. A poorly-worded skill check/hazard interaction that isn't fully flushed out. In previous scenarios, where a bonus is to be given out from a sufficiently high skill-check, it is called out under the relevant knowledge DC. Strange, unique swim rules specially designed for the scenario, where the normal rules should have been used, with circumstance bonuses given out. An altered sleep-aura of Confusion which is infinitely more dangerous than Sleep, though their slam attack still causes Sleep (especially since the PCs elemental ally is likely to be friendly enough to rouse them, as explained in the scenario. The elemental remains on the fringes of the area to observe, so could potentially be a valid target for "Attack Nearest". The emissary is not immune to Confusion, so if they go to rouse a PC who happens to be in the Confusion aura..... that could end real badly. What if the fight moves their way and are trapped in the aura of Confusion? A 20' aura is huge especially considering the extremely tight quarters for this encounter.
I'm going to go even a bit further here. Both the elemental emissaries have knowledge planes, so they would know the basics of humanoids. In the Meeting section, both elementals are given ignorant characteristics that they would know, especially living on Golarion and having a long association with Osirion where most humanoids are human: Elsharon's not knowing that destabilized grounds would have an effect on humanoids (where a DC 11 would be enough to know that the movement abilities of most humanoids are severely hampered by poor terrain); Iyasset's supposition that creatures trapped on the lower ledge would simply Fly up to talk (again, pretty much the same DC to know that most humanoids do not have the innate ability to fly).
Like many new scenarios that attempt to not railroad players by providing choices and different paths (since there were complaints). It's PFS play, you need to finish in 4 to 4.5 hours, so there will be railroading), it does a lackluster job of doing so and again, further complicates prep (for no consequence). Granted, this is not the same amount of detailed prep required as full-on, totally separate encounters (I'm looking at you, 7-25 Orders from the Gate. Great scenario with check boxes for future development and possible consequences of choice), it still makes prep more difficult, and makes the choice of allied-party a literal coin-toss. High-road or low-road. I'm running it in a few days, and can see that choice going that way. To top it all off, there are no check-boxes to report which side you chose. So it truly is irrelevant which path or side you choose. The addition of different emissaries is unnecessary and simply pads word count and serves no purpose.
Scenario in which choosing a side is done well:
5-01 The Glass River Rescue. This should be the gold standard for choosing a side between two factions. It provides ample roleplay opportunities for PCs to interact with the NPCs, each providing an argument based in facts, feelings and possible previous interactions with the NPCs
Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
Interesting. When we played it, my character was totally in the zone and ready to sacrifice herself in a "If this is what I have to do to eliminate a blight on Golarion, it's not a bad way to go."
I figured I would have a great story for a dead character. We too were one or two rounds away from a TPK and it was one of the best games I've played in a long time.
IMHO, a great sequel to (arguably) a top-3 series.
No I've never asked those specific questions, nor do I think I would. Yes, rewards for GMing are great, but as has been said before, focusing solely on that does not build a community. Rerunning that scenario would make them better at running THAT scenario, not make them work towards becoming a better, well-rounded GM. That's not the community I'm trying to build. If cost is an issue, I'll freely lend them my hard copy and GM tools so they can run again.
After their first game, at which I try my darnedest to sit at (if not me, then a VO or someone who is a good GM and whose opinion I can trust), we discuss what went right, what went wrong, how things felt and if they'd like to work on anything in particular (or what I think they should work on). Then schedule their next game, hopefully within the next month. Something different, yet still reasonably easy to prep.
Absolutely not. I GM because I enjoy GMing. Which is the main reason why a person should GM. You'll provide a much better experience to your players if you do. It shows, and they notice.
Drawbacks would be similar to the unlimited replay argument and its detrimental effect on the campaign as a whole.
Again, we are splitting the argument here: Getting new players to GM and rewards for GMs.
Allowing credit for every game run will not create incentive for players to start GMing. That's a specific incentive rather than a general incentive. My first argument to any player in hopes of getting them to GM will never be, "you know, once you run this scenario the 2nd time, you'll still get a chronicle."
We already have general incentives for GMing: You get a chronicle (which never used to happen) and you get to actually play the scenario after you GMed it (again, waaaaay back in the day), you get star rating which allows for your star level in bonus on your (item) re-roll, you get get access to the Star Reward sheet (regardless if you like the rewards or not, it is a general reward).
The latter are the types of rewards which we should be pursuing. Small things that add up the more you GM for the campaign (which we have). If the rewards are too large, they would be imbalanced.
Also, arguably, VOs on the average have more perspective than the rest of us. What they are saying is worth hearing, and there's nothing shameful about them expressing *their* opinions.
Indeed, there is no dismissal intended. We each bring a unique perspective to the argument.
Alexander Augunas wrote:
I thought the former was clearly indicated in the GOP. It isn't, or at least not that I could find. I'll message our Guide team to ensure this gets included in the next version of the guide.
And as for the rest, fair point. Introducing people to GMing is one of the biggest challenges we, as a collective group, face. The GM who won't GM the same scenario twice still contributes to the community as a whole (though IMHO a bit selfish). The bonus for running the same scenario more than once is that you know the scenario and prep is at a minimum. Allowing GMs to apply credit for every scenario they run will still not reward players for trying their hand at GMing.
On a bit of an aside, I am truly blessed with one of the best PFS communities in the world, in terms of player base who is willing to GM, as well as new players who wish to GM. I set the expectation with every player that they need to GM. Not right away, but after some time, it is expected that they give back to the community. After all, someone ran the scenario for them, so in time, they need to run the scenario for the next new player.
On that note, we run a modified GM101 frequently and have two new GMs running their first games in a couple weeks (yay!).
We've already given GMs the following benefits as people cried out that we needed to incentivize GMing:
- GM Stars boon sheet
How much more do we need? Unlimited GM credit, as previously posted, may alleviate a short-term GM issue, but will create long-term GM issues.
Prepping this today, I really like the mechanics. It makes more sense in understandable terms when it comes to a social encounter, making them reasonable realistic.
Think of it as going to a party. Even though you might be able to talk nicely to people, if you don't actually talk about stuff that they're interested in, the conversation will eventually wane. Find the person or people whose interests are the same as yours, and you'll have great conversations all night long, perhaps even making a friend. The anti-social wizard in the back of the room who likes to talk about history and local politics will only ever have a polite surface conversation with the barbarian who wants to talk about the gladatorial fights and weaponry. Once he finds a like-mind, its open season.
GM Lamplighter wrote:
My fetchling PC has a similar tale, having been left behind after a particularly disastrous event at PaizoCon. As long as you don't try to anticipate future events, or try to "be" a key NPC or something, you should be fine. It's a great way to bring more lore to the table!
Just don't bring them to a funeral without an explanation of human customs surrounding the dead.
I didn't say PFS is for beginners. It appears as though I was unclear. Scenarios are written with the beginner to average player in mind as far as challenge goes. They are not written for the advanced to expert player. Therfore, optimization of characters will render those challenges moot. As a result, those players will always feel as if scenarios are too easy.
Disk Elemental wrote:
Understood. Though I'd rather have more general content than 'hard-mode' content. I don't disagree that there isn't enough content for those seeking a challenge. I will suggest that PFS OP is not the place to do it.
The tag line "Sorry, but I built this character for Bonekeep," was a recurring theme while those scenarios were ongoing. It felt as if it were a licence to build a ridiculously optimized character IMHO.
Disk Elemental wrote:
There is nothing wrong with the bolded above. Many people enjoy making powerful characters (myself excluded, as I personally prefer well-rounded for the most part).
PFS has always been, is, and should always be, written for the beginner to average player. It, (PFS), is an advertising medium for Paizo, specifically Pathfinder. It introduces players to other players like no other game before. From there, home games crop up as players find other players with whom they'd like to game, where the GM has free-reign. Many times, those games are APs.
As far as scenario difficulty goes, GM knowledge and preparedness is the single most important factor. The better prepared a GM is going in (knowing abilities of each and every NPC, knowing feats and their interaction, knowing spells, their effect and situation, etc, etc) the better chance they have to offer a challenging game. Far fewer GMs have system mastery compared to players. The same scenario in the hands of a GM who isn't tactically sound, can be a cake-walk, whereas in the hands of a tactically-sound, system-mastery GM, it could be a TPK.
After that, look at party composition as a basis for ease-of-scenarios. The CR system, though flawed, is based on a party with a tank/DPS, skill-monkey, a divine caster and an arcane caster, or to put it simply, Valeros, Merisiel, Kyra and Ezren. When you upset that balance, such as a party of 6 martial specialists, you throw off the actual party APL vis-a-vis the CR system. More often than not, tables are comprised of all-martial characters. If I had a nickel for each time someone said "Well, at least character X can use a CLW wand, so we're good."
As for the proposal of hard mode based on player vote, have you ever been the holdout? Have you ever watched a table come to that consensus when there is doubt? Have you ever been one who wanted hard-mode and even once tried to convince the holdout that they should? What type of social pressures do we want to put people under? They came out to enjoy a game, now they are being bullied to either buck-up and play hard mode, or be the party-pooper for 5 other people. Either that holdout walks away, not being able to play a game, and maybe leaving Organized Play, the holdout dies an avoidable death (and some sour-grapes) or you get 5 or 6 grumpy-gusses, who lament their only opportunity to play a scenario for credit.
No, for those reasons, we should not have a blanket hard-mode option.
Absolutely not. In no uncertain terms should we allow 'pay-backsies' of consumables.
It punishes those who are prepared and favours those who are not, or choose not to be prepared. I hear it all the time, I can't afford a scroll of BOL because I'm saving for X. They expect you to spend you money on such consumables and if you ever actually need to use it, then they'll fork it over, maybe.
I intentionally thought about this for some time before providing my opinion to John.
1. Do I enjoy seeing evil-themed boons on chronicle sheets. Not particularly. Personally, as far as PFS goes, I have few characters who would ever consider such an evil item, so no skin off my nose. Did I feel cheated because my character didn't eat the cookie? Again, not really. The in-game price for him was too high and he didn't like who he'd have to thank for it. Would the benefit have been nice to have? Of course, don't be silly. For me, evil-boons feel like it would better suit a home game, since long-term consequences of being evil could be fully fleshed out, same with resisting those temptations. In PFS, that story-thread doesn't necessarily follow-through for the character, so there are potentially no consequences for the evil choice.
2. No. Never. The characters I've had that have had the choice willfully chose not to take them because they are evil.
3. I liked the Warden's boon in terms of drawbacks. I think it was better done that those of season 4, where it was simply an insignificant gold expenditure to obtain a really strong mechanical bonus.
4. As far as Good boons go, I'd like to be able to actually tithe, or donate money to charities in-game. Might one-day there be a boon from it? Who knows, maybe. That's not the point. The point is my characters could choose to do good on Golarion for good's sake.
Dang. Missed that one line.