Lundeen's writing an AP adventure? Yousa all gonna die. ;)
Evidence: in 13 years of playing Pathfinder Society and a myriad of other Organized Play campaigns, I've only had my character die three times. All three of these incidents were in adventures written or co-written by Mr. Ron Lundeen.
All kidding aside, Ron is a fabulous writer, and a great guy. Congrats to him, and very much looking forward to seeing this AP!
One other thing I just remembered about conventions during the LG era...
In LG, once you GMed an adventure, you could never play it. There was even a term for GMing one before you ever had a chance to play it -- "eating the adventure". There was no such thing as "GM credit" in LG, so you weren't able to apply the XP/GP to one of your characters, either. You were just being a good citizen, and "taking one for the team".
So, what frequently would happen is that conventions would offer the "premiere" of a new regional adventure, and the GMs for that adventure at that convention would be either the adventure author, or the regional staff (who weren't allowed to play their region's adventures). Attendees at the con would have the chance to play the adventure, and then come back to their home areas to GM it for their local groups -- attending the con had the incentive of giving these GMs a chance to play the adventure first.
I think that's an accurate representation. However...
IME, it's the rare truly-new player who tries to play a complex character type (like a summoning-focused caster) first time out of the box. So, having to provide something like a summoning cheat-sheet to a new player is something I've run into so rarely*, that it's not something I'd spend pre-game time putting together.
Now, if I were the player of a summoner PC, I'd absolutely be making up my own cheat-sheets, based on the Bestiary info, and I'd be happy to share those with another player, but that's a different situation. Having those on-hand for players, just in case, is above-and-beyond duty for a GM -- it's certainly a cool thing, but it's really not something I'd want to ever put into the set of expectations I have for any GM.
* Aside: as long as we're trading bona fides...I, too, have 30+ years of GMing various RPGs, primarily various versions of D&D, and 12 years of experience in GMing for various Organized Play campaigns.
Actually, I seem to remember there was a thread on here about GMs saying they reserve the right to run summoned monsters if they don't feel the player is running them appropriately, and that allowing players to run summons was a privilege that could be revoked and was only granted if it made it more fun.
True, though the OP had the player asking the GM to do two separate things:1) Provide the stats for his summoned critters
2) Run said summoned critters
Here is where I run into the problem with the argument. At least the way I prep myself for games, if I have prepped myself to run, and I have given myself the necessary tools to support a new player in this fashion, I have already done the work that will make it trivially easy to support an advanced player in summoning those same simple monsters. I will concede that maybe my experience is unique, I know I run a *lot* more tool heavy than most GMs, and maybe that is the difference, but it doesn't really hurt me to carry someone who is using the basics this way.
Fair enough, but PFS does not require or necessarily expect that the GM will have a physical or PDF copy of Bestiary I at the table with them during play (as noted earlier, they at least need access to that book during adventure prep, but that's pre-game). Some GMs bring it along, but it's not, currently, a requirement.
Even if it's "trivially easy", for most GMs (i.e., those who don't already have a sheet made up for summoned monsters, as you propose), it's still 2-3 minutes spent doing a lazy player's homework in the middle of combat, as you look the critter up in the Bestiary, do the stat adjustments for the template, and record those stats somewhere for use during the combat.
I say "lazy player" because you specifically describe "to support an advanced player", so we're no longer talking about taking the time to help a new player learn the game. We're talking about a player who (a) should know better by now, and (b) should be taking that responsibility on himself.
"I won't allow people to summon basic animals out of the bestiary like dogs, because looking up a dog's stat block is too much work"
I think you may be misunderstanding what the GMs are saying in this thread.
The player who's relying on the GM to provide the stats for (and, as per the OP, possibly run) his summoned monsters is putting the work for "making his spells operate" directly on the GM. It may not take a ton of time, especially for a simple creature, but it's time that the GM is being asked to spend running that player's character for him, as well as running the game itself. And that's time which is being taken away from making the game work for the other 3-5 players who are sitting at that table.
Yes, certainly, a GM should be helping a very new player, who doesn't have the rules knowledge yet (and possibly doesn't have the book yet), to have a fun time.
The GM should not, however, be a crutch for the continuing player who does not want to be bothered with providing the rules content for the things he wants his character to do, because he seems to think that it's something that can be pushed off onto someone else (i.e., the GM). That, I think, is what is being argued against.
Can an experienced GM pull this off? Of course. Should they? Again, only if the player in question is really a newbie.
In addition, if the PC casting summon monster I summons a dog, he's not just summoning a dog -- he's summoning a celestial or fiendish dog. So, if the player is foisting the responsibility for this spell onto the GM, then not only does the GM need to pull up the stats for a basic dog, but they then need to apply the celestial or fiendish template. Again, not difficult (especially not for an experienced GM), but there's another chunk of time spent on only that one player because he won't take responsibility for his own PC's spell.
David Higaki wrote:
I am no longer allowed to request that Paracountess Dralneen and Ollystria Zadrian engage in a mud-wrestling match, even though it would be the best recruiting tool the Society had ever seen.
Matthew Pittard wrote:
Well, it matters to you. Heck, it matters to me, at least most of the time. But, some players enjoy joke/pun names, and others don't see their characters as much more than a set of statistics; different RPG players roll differently.
Yes, Bob the Ranger or Elvish Presley the Bard break the verisimilitude, but not everyone feels the same (or cares)...and, in a OP environment, you can't always pick who you play with. Unfortunately, I think this is an area where you're just going to have to grit your teeth and bear it.
In short, if there's a rules item (particularly in the case of questions about character builds / character options, which seems to the the core of the OP's question) which says something like, "your GM may also let you do X", unless X has been specifically allowed in the Additional Resources or FAQ, you can't use X in PFS, even if your local GM approves of it.
Matthew Pittard wrote:
LFR is still going, with new adventures coming out on at least a semi-regular basis. There'll be five new adventures (plus a Battle Interactive) at Origins next month, though it's been a matter of no small angst that there won't be any LFR at GenCon in August (WotC has chosen to focus on "playtests" of Next). OTOH, there've been no updates to campaign documents in two years (and those last updates still have "draft" affixed to them). In some areas, LFR play is still going fairly strongly, but in others, it's dwindled, sometimes to nothing.
Living Arcanis (now called Legends of Arcanis) is also continuing, though, as you almost always see with a smaller OP campaign, its appeal is often rather regional -- you may find a lot of players in one city, and none in another.
There are a number of other, smaller OP campaigns which are also out there, including Heroes of Rokugan, Shadowrun Missions, Fellowship of the White Star, Legends of the Shining Jewel, etc., but none of them are nearly on the scale of either PFS or LFR.
I did not think I was allowed to change the written tactics for an adventure or are we?
Tactics are an area in which PFS does allow the GM some leeway. From p.35 of the Guide to Organized Play:
As a Pathfinder Society GM, you have the right and responsibility to make whatever judgements, within the rules, that you feel are necessary at your table to ensure everyone has a fair and fun experience. This does not mean you can contradict rules or restrictions outlined in this document, a published Pathfinder Roleplaying Game source, errata document, or official FAQ on paizo.com. What it does mean is that only you can judge what is right for your table during cases not covered in these sources. Scenarios are meant to be run as written, with no addition or subtraction to number of monsters (unless indicated in the scenario), or changes to armor, feats, items, skills, spells, stats, traits, or weapons. However, if the actions of the PCs before or during an encounter invalidate the provided tactics or starting locations, the GM should consider whether changing these would provide a more enjoyable play experience.
Dennis Baker wrote:
It's certainly not what I'm asking or suggesting.
What I'm asking is whether PFS is going to be a campaign in which the casual player, the non-optimizer, and the new player can enjoy playing, and can have a good chance of succeeding and progressing.
As discussed in another thread a few weeks ago...many (myself included) will consider using infernal healing on another character to be PVP, if the player of the character being healed in this manner objects (this'd usually be if the character is a paladin, a good-aligned cleric, or another character who simply doesn't like the concept).
Look at it this way:
Pathfinder Society play exists, in large part, as a way to encourage players to buy Paizo's products. Paizo spends quite a lot of money to support PFS play, and it's not entirely out of the goodness of their hearts, after all.
If you want to play using a class (or whatever), they want you to buy the book that contains it.
If that's abhorrent to you, well, remember, it's *their* sandbox.
David Bowles wrote:
The "heavy hitters" can still be trivially shut down by power builds.
OK, but that doesn't get to my point: for players who either (a) choose to not pursue power builds, or (b) don't know how to make a power build, Season 4, even if you don't yet consider it to have reached "hard mode", certainly feels to be "hard mode" for them.
If your solution is "learn how to power build", then my answer would have to be, "if it takes that to enjoy playing PFS, then it doesn't feel like PFS is the campaign for me."
I'm fully prepared for being flamed, and accused of being a whiner, for starting this topic. Nonetheless...
Let me start with a little background. I'm a veteran RPG player -- I've been playing D&D and other RPGs for 31 years. I have been fairly active in various Organized Play campaigns (as a player, GM, and, in one case, campaign staffer) for the past 12 years.
I like to think of myself as a reasonably good gamer -- I'm pretty good at rules mastery, even if I don't know (or pursue) every edge for my characters. I enjoy creating characters who aren't one-trick ponies, can contribute well both in combat and outside of combat, and have backgrounds and flavor which make them fit well in their campaign worlds. I'm not the guy who's going to come to the table with a tricked-out combat monster, but I'm also not the guy who's going to come to the table with a character whose best option in combat is the Aid Another action.
I started out playing PFS at "opening day" at GenCon 2008, but spent a couple of years away from the campaign, until trying it again in early 2012. Over the past year-plus, I've become a pretty big fan of PFS, and Pathfinder in general.
I just got home from a local convention at which I played in a PFS scenario, and GMed another PFS scenario. I've now played or GMed in five different Season 4 modules, and every single one of them have had one (or more) truly brutal combat encounters. In every single one of these, there has been either (a) one or more PC deaths, or (b) a situation in which there would have been multiple deaths if the PCs had been just a little less lucky.
My understanding, in talking with other players and GMs locally, and reading these boards, is that this sort of experience has become very common in Season 4 scenarios. In the last two adventures I've played (Fortress of the Nail and Blakros Matrimony), we failed at our overall mission, due to having to retreat from / surrender in combats which were extremely challenging -- out of 8 PCs in those two sessions, we had three dead PCs, and could very easily have had TPKs in both.
Despite all this, I very much enjoyed the stories in these scenarios (and, for that matter, in most PFS adventures). I find Golarion to be an interesting, well-detailed campaign setting. I generally like what Paizo does as a company, and I think that Mike Brock and his team are, generally, doing great things with how they run the campaign.
I've been fairly active on these boards over the past year or so. I've seen a lot of comments about earlier seasons' adventures, along the lines of "PFS isn't challenging" -- and, frankly, from what I've seen of the earlier adventures, I think that, in a fair number of cases, that was a fair criticism. At the start of Season 4, I read here, "things will be more challenging now". My concern is that things have now swung to the other extreme, and PFS adventures have gone from cakewalks to bloodbaths.
From what I've experienced and heard, it seems like Season 4 requires you to have at least two of the following:
At the convention this weekend, I spoke with a Venture-Lieutenant, and a 4-star GM (both of whom are friends of mine, with whom I've played in several earlier OP campaigns). Both of them said pretty much the same thing:
Please don't get me wrong -- I don't generally enjoy playing adventures in which the characters face no risk of failure. I understand that part of fantasy RPGs is the threat of character death. But, it feels to me that PFS has now listened too much to the power-gamer, the character-optimizer, and the player who likes his RPGs "grim and gritty". The threat of PC death is one thing; the strong probability is another. I don't mind if my OP campaign has some scenarios which are extremely challenging; if most (or all) scenarios are that way, it becomes evident that the campaign isn't appealing to me as a player.
At this point, I have to say that I have very little interest in playing any more Season 4 scenarios. I'm attending both Origins and GenCon this summer, but, right now, I'm thinking that I'm going to avoid playing PFS.
I'd like to understand if it's the intent of the campaign to have, as its core constituency, those who want "hard mode" as the norm. If so, I'm not sure how much room there is in the PFS tent for the player like myself, who wants a more balanced approach (or, for that matter, the novice player).
I'm very curious to hear others' takes on all of this. Am I the only one who feels that things have swung too far to the other extreme?
I played my Sczarni pirate, Xan Stormblade, in "Cyphermage Dilemma" with Rene Duquesnoy as my GM. When he learned that she was *from* Riddleport, some of the interactions with NPCs were very funny.
"Yo, Xan, how *you* doin', babe? Welcome back ta town...sorry, but da boss says we gotta cack ya."
N N 959 wrote:
If Spellcraft means you can recognize a spell with only a verbal component, no matter the native language of the caster, what does that suggest about the verbal component?
It suggests that the verbal components of spells aren't in any particular language, but are "words of power" of their own -- e.g., wingardium leviosa, expecto patronum, or even abracadabra. :-)
(Or, as Alexander suggests, just roll with it and don't get hung up on that level of detail, esp. in an organized play environment.)
...I'll be in my bunk.
N N 959 wrote:
Are you arguing that comparing appeasement of the Nazis to anything that could possibly happen at a gaming table (short of actual physical violence) is not hyperbole????
Female Half-Elf Rogue (Pirate) 9
GM thunderspirit wrote:
Passage has been arranged and paid for aboard the Varisian-made brig "Stingray", captained by Xan Stormblade, a freebooter of dubious reputation and passable sailing skill.*
"'Passable sailing skill'? Would you like to spend the trip to Tien Xia in the bilge, Mr. Thunderspirit?"
"As for the rest of you, welcome aboard the Stingray. I'll get you to Goka...it's a long trip, but she's a fast ship."
((And, now, I return you to your regularly-scheduled mayhem.))
Dangit, I got *another* Drandle Dreng!
Speaking of paladins... :)
I played my half-elf paladin, Catraoine Becket, in most of the "Devil We Know" series. During one of the adventures (Cassomir's Locker, IIRC), she helped to rescue a number of...
As none of the party spoke their language, Catraoine used sign language (and some rockin' Diplomacy checks) to convince them that we were helping them. One of them was apparently quite taken with the paladin, and continued to follow her around, trying to clean her armor (she'd fallen into the sewers repeatedly). Later, we found a broom closet, and my wife's PC gave a mop to the little guy -- he happily used the mop to scrub the paladin's armor.
At the end of the adventure, I really had no other choice, but to spend a Prestige point to make the little guy a Herald. I even put a rank into Linguistics, so that Catraoine could speak Undercommon, and communicate with him. He's now outfitted with a tabard featuring the symbol of Iomedae, a little horn, and a brand-new mop. :-)
Since Catraoine is named for Kate Beckett, the homicide detective on the TV show Castle, it made logical sense to name the herald Castle, too.
Anyway, the reason that mithral armor is more expensive, as I'm sure you've realized, is that it is better. It's lighter, it has a lower ACP, and a lower arcane spell failure chance.
+4 mithral full plate costs more than +4 steel full plate, because it's a better suit of armor. The Fame requirement in PFS represents your purchasing power; it takes longer for you to be able to obtain the mithral version of the same armor. Frankly, I don't see a problem with this.
I was at a small local convention today, and there was a TPK in the morning slot -- low level table (lots of 1st level PCs), but it was apparently mostly a case of really poor dice on the part of the players, and really hot dice on the part of the GM. (Then, in the afternoon slot, the same GM very nearly had a *second* TPK, again apparently due to streaky dice.)
I've had one PFS death myself, due to bad tactics -- in a scenario with a reputation for being TPK bait*, I saw we faced long odds, and lobbied hard for a party retreat. I let my fellow players talk me into staying, and my PC, of course, was the one who had to croak before they got the message and ran. They did grab my body before they left, and I was raised, at least. In all of the PFS tables at which I've personally played, that's the only PC death I've seen (but, then, I've played one Year 4 adventure so far).
* Said scenario is:
Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment
Matthew Morris wrote:
Sometimes I think Origins is the redheaded stepchild of the cons :P
It's actually now possibly a bigger con for LFR than GenCon is. And, it's the primary con for Legends of Arcanis. It seems like most OP conventions put at least a little more focus on one or the other.
Matthew Morris wrote:
Seriously, I've no idea of a concept for a grippli character.