aboyd's page

Organized Play Member. 235 posts. 20 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 1 Organized Play character.

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Nick, hearing what your intentions are for this really helps a lot. Thanks so much.

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Dan Armstrong wrote:
Harold Ervin wrote:
Less Fewer haunts.

I seem to have a hard time making these fun as well. I wonder if they should have some more element of puzzle in them to engage the players more.

I would also like to hear some GM tips from someone who has success running them.

For me, haunts were a mess until I read & re-read & re-re-read the haunt rules. I think they're really wonderful and can tell a great story, but you have to be soooo perfectly in tune with the rules. It takes a lot of GM descriptions and prodding, in order for players to feel like they're even sure what's happening. Here are two interesting nuances I picked up from the rules:

  • Haunts, by the rules, would only ever trigger on one person. Group experiences are impossible. Why? Because it triggers the moment a PC hits a designated zone, which is almost always a leader and almost never a group of PCs who fanned out and are approaching an area in a wide line that would all hit the zone simultaneously. So it should almost always be that 1 PC is suffering effects and everyone else just stands there watching (or, you know, takes action to help, but at that point they're an observer rather than participating in the ongoing mental interaction). Technically, you can't move in to experience the opening vision of the haunt, because of this line: "All characters in the haunt’s proximity can attempt to notice the haunt at the start of this surprise round" which means they cannot move in to the haunt's zone first, and thus cannot participate in the hallucination/haunting, even if they wanted to.)
  • Here's a neat thing. I've never seen a PFS GM use this rule, except for me. But check this: "The GM may elect to treat all neutralized haunts (those reduced to 0 hp) as CR 1 rapping spirits while they reset. Using this option, haunts retain enough ectoplasmic fortitude to linger in the area, where they attempt to convey their needs to the living. While these knockings are still potentially frightening, communication with these feeble spirits can be established by working out a series of codes (such as one rap for “yes” and two for “no”) or by calling out words, numbers, and letters for selection by the spirits." That is so completely right out of scary movies and kids with Ouija boards hearing thumps and bangs and so on. It's also something like modified Christmas light communication, straight out of Stranger Things. It's cool and helps the PCs a ton.

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I just finally played through this as a player (high tier) and read the module afterwards, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it! However, it has a problem that is similar to 9-03 Border of War. That is, TONS of status effects. Confusion? Yes. Poisons? Yes. Ability damage? Yes. Smoke & Black Tentacles combo effects? Yes.

I think it made for a LOT of fun, but it's also a lot to juggle if you're the GM.

I loved the terrain & environmental challenges. I'd urge GMs to be very familiar with ceiling heights, box/barrel heights, rules for difficult terrain, etc. Know the maps!

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This thread boils down to "But I want muh stuff!"

I'm not clear on what the point of that is. Nobody here has the power to change this, and those who do have power to change it, won't. And I suspect most PFS players are happy about that. Leadership has a proven system, and we like it, and that's partly why we are attracted to PFS.

Literally, there is nothing that can come of this discussion. All it can do is peter out or get locked.

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Lau Bannenberg wrote:
the mission briefing has enough hints in it that you ought probably to check out the town.

Yeah, it has a huge hint. VC Alvar almost flat-out states it. Here is his comment when asked about what they have time to do:

Venture Captain briefing wrote:
Try to delay these hostilities to buy time for your exploration. I recommend spending a day at Zmeyka, and then another day at Hartsfall; two at the most.

So the "delay hostilities" thing is him asking the PCs to smooth things over with the nobles -- so you'd have to at least get into town and talk to them to succeed at that request. Then he says he expects the team to spend a day in town before going to the keep.

So, yeah. The VC is pretty blunt about this. The mission isn't one of those "what should we do" things. It's clear, or at least seems that way to me. I guess if the PCs never ask the VC questions about the mission, they could miss this text, though.

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Walter Sheppard wrote:
aboyd wrote:
It's scary to buy your unreliable products.
This is kind of a silly stance.

Luckily, whether a person's stance has your seal of approval or not, we still get to have our stances anyway. So if Paizo's issues are not fixed, that's OK, I'll put my money toward other games. No worries. So really, it's just down to whether Paizo wants the money from the customers they used to have, and if so, are they willing to address those concerns in order to get that money back.

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bugleyman wrote:
I guess my question to you would be this: When -- not if -- an unbalancing option is published, how would you prefer it be handled in PFS?

In my home games, the standing rule is that if a player can even find the original text for an item, they can have that version for double the price -- with Quickrunner Shirts at triple the price.

But that's it. Just... pay double, get to use the original text. Seems to have worked out OK. The items are still desirable and useful, but maaaayybe require a little more thought about their worth.

The Jingasa of the Fortunate Soldier at 10,000 GP is still a decent choice, if you get all the original features. Nobody feels mad or ripped off at that point; it just becomes something to mull over and you only end up buying the things you really still want.

In PFS if they did that, it would feel much less painful than the current handling, because characters level up long before any errata is produced. In other words, by the time the errata hits, the PC will have acquired more gold, and be able to pay the price difference. Mostly. Usually. In this way, it slows the usage of overpowered items naturally. Newer players might hesitate at the price, while older players will probably be able to keep 90% of their stuff as-is, if they can pay the price difference.

Harold Ervin wrote:
Nerfing Tribal Scars invalidated the entire People of the North purchase as far as I'm concerned, and you've cost yourself sales... again.

Wait. Tribal Scars got nerfed too?!?! I can't keep up with this stuff. This is ridiculous.

But that's beside the point. My point would be: you're right, Harold Ervin. In 2013 & 2014 I bought maybe 40+ Paizo books. Big books, splatbooks, PDFs, hard covers. Probably over $1000 USD if I bothered to add it up. My last big purchase was Occult Adventures in 2015. Since then I've purchased only 2 of Paizo's paperback splatbooks in 2016, and a handful of PFS modules up through 2017.

Why did I spend $1000+ in 2013/2014, and then maybe just $35 in 2017? Because it's scary to purchase a product that is unreliable. Let me say that again to Paizo management: It's scary to buy your unreliable products.

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OK, makes sense. Thanks!

At this point I've got a human sorcerer with this meta:

  • Boost
  • Lengthy

And because I'm allowed to add the 3rd party books, I've got these extra Target words for free:

  • Arc (lvl 2 - like bouncing metamagic)
  • Guardian (lvl 2 - gives a very bad emanation option)
  • Lobbed (lvl 1 - turns spells into splash weapons, which sounds cool but seems to be strictly worse than Burst)

For my feats I took:

  • Meta Word Mastery
  • Toughness

For my traits I took:

  • Magical Lineage (Burning Flash)

My intention is to eventually take that feat that allows you to increase the maximum damage to 10d4 on Burning Flash, and it won't have an increased level due to Magical Lineage.

My words are:

  • 1: Burning Flash
  • 1: Friendship
  • 0: Decipher
  • 0: Flame Jet
  • 0: Sense Magic
  • 0: Torch (3rd party from Jon Brazer Enterprises -- gives word casters the light cantrip)

I took the draconic bloodline so that I have +1 damage with Burning Flash and Flame Jet.

Later on, I'll take Lock Ward and add buffs to my allies. So far, the whole character doesn't seem great but it doesn't seem awful either. Once I realized that word casters can still cast the normal class spells from scrolls, I felt a lot better. I may have my 2nd trait be Rich Parents so that I can start with a hoard of scrolls of normal wizard/sorcerer spells like Mage Armor. That would shore up the weaknesses that word casters have.

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MendedWall12 wrote:
I check the Kickstarter amount every day and the rate at which it is going up has severely tapered off, by my own estimation.

The biggest problem is that we can't see many stetch goals, so nobody knows what we're driving towards.

I remember when I did the Kickstarter for Reaper's "Bones" minis, they had this huge graphic with frequently-revealed stretch goals, just constantly. There were lots of things to look at and look forward to. There were tons of reasons to upgrade your amount $$$.

In this one? We get campfires. Meh.

I understand that in practice, in implementation, it's going to be a fun feature. However, it's meh for marketing, meh for "sexy new feature," and meh for bringing in new people.

If they had made the magus the first stretch goal, it would have instantly done better. If they had revealed a TON of similar additions with easily achievable stretch goals -- say, each one was $20,000 apart -- then I suspect the funds would have careened toward the final number, faster.

Of course, this is speculation, so I could be totally wrong. However, I know it would have worked in my case. I'm still waiting to see more.

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They changed the time of the AMA, as 12 AM is midnight. It's now noon Friday Pacific Time (3 PM Eastern time).

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Here is some text from my review, which might be relevant/helpful to GMs. Three notes about the final encounter:

  • Chalissier is just a modified air elemental. However, if you run him just like an air elemental, this fight is going to suck. He is also an arcanist. You need to grab the Advanced Class Guide and learn about how the arcane reservoir works. His spells are not even normal due to how he can modify them with the reservoir. For example, in subtier 3-4, his Magic Missle spell should shoot 3 missiles, not 2. If you don't know how to boost spells like that, re-read the arcane reservoir rules.
  • Something many GMs don't realize or forget: Flyby Attack provokes AOO if you move through threatened squares. It is not like Spring Attack, which says no AOO is allowed. Flyby Attack doesn't protect the attacker. So it's a good option on round #1 while everyone is flat-footed and cannot get AOO anyway, but after that it's stupid. It just gives everyone free attacks on your elementals. Try their other abilities.
  • The fight has a glaring flaw: it states that the lightning elementals use their huge disarm bonus to remove the weapons from the PCs, but it says nothing about what happens to a "dropped" item floating in the plane of air. Is it subject to the gravity of the original wielder? So if the owner of the item drops it, it flies off? Does it have no gravity and hover? Does it fly in a random direction? The easy way around this is the disarm rule which states: "If you successfully disarm your opponent without using a weapon, you may automatically pick up the item dropped." So the elementals snatch the PCs' weapons. AND, due to elemental forms being amorphous or "at the elemental's discretion," holding these items shouldn't tie up the elemental's body in any way. The items can simply be "held" within the cloud-like body of the creature. Or multiple wisps could tether each item. Also: the elementals don't have Improved Disarm so this is yet another way the elementals provoke AOO. It might be too good to pass up, though -- they have a +18 to CMB rolls in tier 3-4 (6 normal CMB, +2 charge, +10 Spark Leap).

Also, this module has 2 big failure points, or bottlenecks where it's possible that the PCs just fail with no solution. You may need to help them with some foreshadowing. First, without anyone having any way to speak Auran, it's possible that they simply never get far enough to even hire a translator. They need at least a meager Comprehend Languages scroll, or a Share Language scroll, just to get started. Second point of failure: the final fight will be brutal if the PCs are low wisdom and never bought potions of Fly. That final fight desperately needs mobile PCs. Without that, they can be bombed/strafed from afar by highly mobile air creatures, as evilaustintom showed so powerfully in his earlier post in this thread. Basically, fighter types stuck on a plank in the sky will feel utterly useless. Light hints might be appreciated by your players.

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So it appears that this is a situation where the rebuild rules will cause the creature to not advance as much, but the "quick" rules flatly increase DCs & HP without adjusting ability scores, so the quick template is more deadly.

So I guess as a GM I have to decide if I want to apply the quick rules and just add +2 to everything (a significant boost) or use the rebuild rules and lose out on anything Con-based.


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Thanks guys. I wasn't asking because I have a GM who refuses to repeat the opening text. If we have questions during the briefing, he'll repeat anything needed.

It's more like... GM is exasperated that none of us wrote down anything and we're now halfway through the adventure and we're saying things like, "Hey you NPC, have you seen the kid? His name? Eh, whatever. His description? You know, a kid. Whatever you described, GM."

And then the GM is like, "Ugh, could you guys care any less? It appears that you didn't pay attention. Since none of you recall the description, none of you can give one."

Now I can turn to my followers and say, "Read back your notes about the kid." Right?

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So... I play Pathfinder because it was where all my friends migrated to. However, I prefer 3.5. I liked that wizards were weaker, with d4s. I liked the absence of gunslingers or other constant touch-attack classes (which, IMHO have sorta overrun many fights which were traditionally more difficult). I like all the traps in 3.5 and the niche protection for the rogue. I liked getting a pile of skill points at level 1 and being able to put 1 tiny point into an obscure skill just for backstory. You can put 1 point into a skill for backstory in PF, but it's 1 out of 5 points you had. In D&D it's 1 out of 25 points you had. So it's very minor! Much easier pill to swallow.

I liked that identifying magic items was borderline impossible compared to PF (OK, not impossible but when the common way to do it cost 100 GP you didn't just spam it and know all items). I have a group right now that is in a 3.5 game, and they had to hold all magic items until level 3. At that point, their cleric with the magic domain was able to cast an Identify spell once per day with no arcane material component cost. Something like 3 weeks later in the game world and they were finally ready to say, "WHEW. OK. Let's keep/sell the items we identified, and find an adventure."

Healing was harder, too. No channel burst on all allies at range. For example, the same group which I just mentioned spent a couple days at level 2 just resting, because they couldn't cast their way out of all the damage. They needed natural healing AND days to recover & cast spells. Some characters were near death (die at -10 instead of -CON) and things looked very risky for a moment there. They had a couple of tense nights guarding their camp, with the players looking at me like, "You wouldn't really send a wandering monster at us NOW, would you?"

No, I wouldn't. But I'm glad you can sense the tension! It just feels dangerous at low levels.

In fact, here is a good way to feel this, for yourself. Have you played Hollows Last Hope? You know, the Falcon's Hollow modules? If you played them in Pathfinder, you may have found your PCs murdered their way right through that thing -- beat the entire 1st module in a game night, no problem. However, I'm running it in D&D 3.5, and this is the game I just referenced, where the PCs are dying and needed days to rest. They are fighting hard to get through that thing. Think about that: a module that is a cakewalk in Pathfinder is near murder in D&D 3.5. This is a module with some silly 6 HP darkmantles and a wolf! Why is it a real challenge? Because the PCs have fewer hit points. Because the PCs have to portion out healing carefully. Because flinging touch-attack bombs around that do an average of 10 HP damage at 1st level isn't a thing in D&D 3.5. A couple of 6 HP monsters might get some good attacks in before dying. In D&D 3.5, a tatzlwyrm with 25 HP will murder a 1st level adventuring party if they don't have their acts together.

And it's not that I like to kill the PCs. I don't. I give them hero points or NPC allies or whatever I can to help them out. But I like the risk.

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I just want to say that this topic comes off like it's full of people who feel this stacking is overpowered and so are trying to make up ways to prevent it by the rules, rather than just saying "The rules allow it, but that sucks and I hate it, so I refuse."

If you feel that the rules truly don't allow for this, you should know that you ("you" the general people making the case here) sound like you know the rules allow for this but you're hoping to twist some logic to make it not work. It's not a good look, man.

I don't even know who is right, and my assumption is that if it gets flagged for an FAQ or dev comment, they will nerf it hardcore like they always do. But even with that understanding, this topic still looks like a bunch of people who are trying to bend rules to the breaking point to kill something, when they could just say, "I house rule this away."

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WaningMoon wrote:
Also you mentioned the xarcabas redirect which I do believe it can use to target itself in which case, there goes the nonexistent hindering template. It redirects the liberating command to itself, breaks the monoliths grapple, and wreaks havoc.


I... I didn't even think of that. Wow.

The monolith is actually statted in scenario 2-02. It's an advanced iron golem of huge size. The CMD listed is 43.

The only thing keeping the xacarba stuck in the grapple is that the monolith probably has +5 from initiating the grapple, getting a CMD of 48, maybe. (Again, only if you're one of those people who think that the +5 for the initiator of a grapple should apply to both CMB & CMD.) Without that bonus, it can't beat the xacarba.

So yes, if the xacarba could redirect the Liberating Command to itself, the +16 gives it an almost guarantee of beating the monolith.

It's kind of shocking to think that the weapon given to help the PCs is probably the item that guarantees the PCs fail. I guess the only hope would be that the xacarba is too dim-witted to think of this.

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Zach Davis wrote:
I stated my opinion on this issue. I'm not interested in arguing it further, and while I'm sure I'm in the minority on this I don't really care.

It's good to know your position is so unbending, so that everyone knows not to waste time engaging you on it. We can just push past it and engage other people.

So in the interest of engaging other people, my opinion is that a lot of you guys have made some good points. Not only are there modules where you are given minutes to evaluate and learn a pre-gen, but even in games that are not all-pre-gen games, you can have the same issue.

When I first saw the warpriest pre-gen, it was baffling to me. I didn't understand all the swift actions and how fervor affected spells. It is now my favorite pre-gen, but my printed sheet comes with five pages of print-outs from d20pfsrd.com, explaining all the abilities in more detail. It took me over an hour of reading and printing to fully understand how to use that pre-gen.

I just doubt that all players are fully able to handle it well in a pinch or under a short timeline, so I'd be pretty understanding if a pre-gen dies and the player wants options. It's a bummer to see one option being closed off.

However, for me personally, I have a fine coping strategy. I'm already at character #15, so it won't be much of a leap for me to create characters 16 through 25, and just assign a pre-gen to each one as needed.

Unless I'm playing the warpriest. I have confidence in that one. :)

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Thanks for being on top of this John. I don't care about the constable, but it's nice to see a PFS leader being responsive to issues. So, thanks for that.

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I'm glad you guys are starting to make questioning posts. When I saw this thread start, I held back because I could see lots of reasons why the veterans would make things uncomfortable for a newbie -- and some of those reasons are so valid that I'd be like, "Stand your ground, don't take that back."

Healing is one of them.

The first time a player is at a game, we all chime in to tell that newbie about buying a wand of CLW with 2 prestige points. Some new players object to this. It's not how their home games go, and they want PFS to follow the home game style. They'll say, "The healer spends money to heal, I spend money on weapons & armor. That's how it works. I'm not buying a wand."

Those players have very uncomfortable moments when, during the next game, the healer won't heal them. These new players object, but our veteran players are like, "You should have got with the program. Tough luck." Some new players are apologetic at that point and fall in line, and get healed. Some new players get argumentative. They get drummed out, they quit, they pout, they complain, whatever.

An outsider could see that and think, "Wow that's mean." However, this is a standard/convention that builds off the PFS "don't make others spend money on you" rule, and it's meant to be courteous to the healer. If a player won't be courteous like that, and won't work with the team like that, then I'm not sure the veterans are the jerks in that case. I just don't think we need every troublesome player. I think it's OK to say "We have these expectations. Oh, you want to ragequit because of that? OK, bye."

I'm sure that none of what I've written applies to the player who started this topic. I would have no trouble believing that someone at that game store was being a jerk and excluding the newbie. So he/she has my condolences.

Still, I really think it's OK to have standards. There are new players who are persistent in ignoring the environment around them (both at the game table and in the game world), and just going off half-cocked. These players can endanger other characters that people really care about.

We had a new player bring a wizard to a game. Unlike the person at the beginning of this topic who said, "I would recommend new players to NEVER start with spellcasters," I will totally make room for a new player with a wizard. However, if you're going to do that, I expect you to know all the extra stuff that is needed to know how to play a wizard. This guy showed up with no armor, AC 10, and no Mage Armor spell, no Shield spell, and only 1 spell for offense (1 use of Magic Missile). We asked the GM if we could help him revise his spell list right there, and the new player shushed us. He said it would be fine. He had little clue how his spells worked, AND he kept running into the melee area of each combat encounter. He went down hard every time, and expected healing every time, and never learned anything. Here's a spoiler about this:

We were in the module with the dagger that makes you commit suicide when you touch it. At this point, he had rushed ahead of us a dozen times, and had his butt saved every time, and we were exhausted. When we saw the dagger, we instantly knew something was up. He rushed in and grabbed it. We desperately asked him not to do this. When he died from failing the fort save, I "donated" my book that gives free rerolls to him, so that he could re-try the fort save. He still failed. And he was upset, but we were done. We were like, "Dude, we did everything to help you, and this was far too much babysitting for us. This isn't fun or funny." I mean, nobody said exactly that, and nobody was exactly mean, but everyone was done with it. I don't think that guy ever came back, and the only thing I heard about that was relief that he wasn't still blowing up games. And importantly, I think the veterans had a point. If you can't show up to the game with some kind of ability to contribute and be a team player, then at some point someone -- soon -- will stop wanting to carry your dead weight.

I love new players, but I expect them to be team players and learn. I don't love carrying dead weight. I really apologize if that makes me a pox on PFS. I just... I really want to draw in new players, but I cannot give them a free pass to just ignore everyone's advice, blow up the scenario, and then laugh it off in the name of fun. I mean, if the whole table is laughing with you, cool. But in many cases, including the one described at the start of this topic, it's clear that the rest of the table wasn't having as much fun. I think that's fair to consider.

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What an amazing post. Thank you The Fox.

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I don't keep track of who's-who on the forums, but you apparently know me personally, so I'll word my response personally, as if we were playing together.

DesolateHarmony wrote:
There are corner cases, however, where some monsters who would have to ready without interleaving can full attack when it is used.

If this is the case, my suggestion would be to call out the issue with the full attack, when it happens, rather than with interleaving in general, which by your own assessment is generally benign.

The reason at least in my case is that I had a very negative personal experience with this issue at a recent convention. A player wouldn't stop second-guessing my monsters and their moves, citing "no interleaving." So I broke apart the monsters into individual initiatives, and then used delays and readies to execute the exact same attacks that he objected to anyway. 100% legit, by the rules. So his correction of my "bad GMing" resulted in no changed outcome, but gained me a huge political problem when I was chastised for running a game overly long. If a player is going to be a backseat driver for the GM and that backseat driving results in no material change but the GM gets yelled at, well, that GM might have a reason to be upset with the player.

I would really, seriously, ask you to not cause the GM difficulty if the rules-lawyering will result in no actual gameplay change. If you see an edge case that damages the PCs and actually changes the outcome, sure, flag it. In the case that provoked me into starting this topic, there was no edge case. There was nothing. My module just ran an hour overtime for no good reason.

So, here's the personal part: now that you know I have had a very bad experience with this, would you please extend me a courtesy and not invoke this BS phrasing and notion unless something I'm doing is actually violating one of those edge cases? And if I do violate it, would you flag the actual action rather than a blanket ban on all interleaving, when 99% of interleaving is perfectly viable using delays and readies?

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trollbill wrote:
Can anyone tell me of a specific situation where a character died or a mission was failed because the GM did not allow Take 10 under ambiguous circumstances? Because I really don't see why everyone is getting so worked up about the table variation on Take 10.

Yes, it happened at two weeks ago at a PFS convention. I go into specifics in my response to John, below.

John Francis wrote:
How about the basement in The Wounded Wisp?

Thank you. Exactly. I have a friend who truly believes that if a 3' jump has any risk of falling damage, then you cannot take 10, and so he has level 20 heroes falling into trivial gaps that any dull bloke in the real world would jump over without a second thought. He insists this is the correct way to run the game. He likes "gotcha" gaming, I guess.

At a recent convention, I played in the Tests of Tar Kuata.

During the 5th trial in that module, I was told that there is an "impossibly tall stone pillar" that my PC must climb. The GM gave no description of dangerous winds, no description of attacks upon us, etc. Nothing that should block a take 10. The GM also did not reveal that air elementals were hiding nearby, ready to catch us should we fall. So my armored cleric tank was told to climb an impossible height, and with a mathematical near-certainly that if he had to roll climb checks, he would fail and fall an "impossible" distance. Presumably he would take an "impossible" amount of d6s in damage from the fall. Because of this, I said I would take 10, as my only chance to not fail. I was told no. I argued this briefly, but the GM was firm. So I tried to back out of doing the test, but the GM implied that we would all fail the module if I refused to participate. So my choices, as far as my cleric knew (and pretty much me, too) were:

  • Refuse and cause all the other players to fail the module.
  • Accept and sacrifice my character to certain death.

In hindsight, there was no certain death, but my character didn't know that and I wouldn't have metagamed it anyway. So, what to do? The GM is wrongly forcing a "no take 10" rule and also refusing to allow my PC to peacefully walk away. The only thing I can think of in such a situation (or similar situations) is to thank the GM for the game, and leave the table. Maybe? I don't know how PFS handles walk-offs like that. Would that also result in my PC being listed as dead or removed from Society play?

Andrew Christian wrote:

3) The 3.5 version of the Take 10 rule includes the following text

Players Handbook v3.5 wrote:
...example of climbing being OK for take 10 even though risk of falling...
So its quite clear that the original rule means that the check itself (the chance of falling, the pit, etc.) does not constitute immediate danger or distraction. But Pathfinder got rid of all the examples from the text. And I feel that many of the PDT members have the understanding from 3.5 and feel it clearly works that way and doesn't need clarification. But they are out of touch with the fact that there are actually probably more people playing Pathfinder now that have zero experience with DnD 3.5, than those who converted over. So that understanding doesn't exist within the player base of Pathfinder.

Yeah, you've hit the nail on the head. For the PDT guys, it's a "no change" thing and all of us can go look at the d20srd.org site to see the original rule if it needs clarifying. For the PFS guys, it's a "we can't use any text from the old rules," issue. They're just stuck. I don't think the people in charge of correcting such issues fully understand this, yet.

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So, only in the last month or so have I heard players using "interleaving" as an admonishment against GMs. I think it's localized to the West Coast right now, but it's going to spread, and I want you to be prepared for it when it rears its ugly head near you. It'll wreck your games if you're not careful.

The ban on interleaving is not in any rule book, nor the PFS guide. It's not discussed on these forums, either, which is why I think it's a new made-up term. The idea is to prevent GMs from clustering initiatives of similar/copied monsters. Like this:

  • GM groups 4 normal goblins all on the same initiative since they each have the same stat block, but the vampire leader gets her own initiative roll.
  • Player sees 4 goblins move in and get flank, doesn't like getting ganged up on, and says, "No interleaving attacks, that's not fair!"

The idea is to prevent GMs from weaving monsters' actions together in ways that skirt the rules about discrete turns for each character. The problem? The "no interleaving" text doesn't exist anywhere in the rules. It's completely made-up. Additionally, weaving monsters' actions together is no different from using delay and ready actions. Nothing mechanically changes. Example:

  • Using normal grouped initiative, the GM has the goblins run up, all on the same initiative, get flank, and attack with +2s (flank bonus). This involves each monster using a move action to close in, and a standard action to attack. Nobody is getting extra actions or breaking rules, but it apparently seems "unfair" because if the goblins had moved individually, the first to run up & attack would have had no flank bonus for the attack. Or so it appears to the player who has reasoned it out, but see the next bullet point.
  • Alternatively, the "no interleaving" rule suggests that the GM must resolve every monster's turn separately, to avoid the aforementioned issues. However, in this case, the GM has the goblins delay and cluster anyway, then each goblin moves into position and readies on getting a flank, and then the attacks trigger, and each goblin gets the +2 flank bonus anyway.

And that's the problem. "No interleaving" solves nothing. It just drags out fights even more, and makes the GM appear to be a spotlight hog. For example, I am about to run the Sky Key trilogy. The final fight in the first module involves a dozen monsters. If I play each one individually, I will take 12 turns while each player takes one. And that's every round, until they kill the little buggers off.

That's ridiculous. I mean, if you're a better GM than I am and you can take 12 turns each round and not come off like you're dominating the time, then great. You are awesome. But I am not that awesome, and I desperately need to cluster those monsters. In that particular fight, I will have 3 sets of monsters, and for each group, I roll all the attacks & damage dice at the same time. In that way, I can run 6 monsters in about the same time as doing 1 or 2 individually.

The reason I say this is an issue is because I had a real world problem with it. At the last convention I ran, I heard this "no interleaving" admonishment for the first time, mid-fight. I assumed it was a PFS rule I had never heard of before, and I timidly pulled apart grouped initiatives and ran each monster individually. And then our game ran an hour past our allotted time, and bled into the next game, and I had to manage angry players and leadership. And then I looked it up and realized it doesn't exist.

So I'm getting this out there for everyone, right now. If you group monsters, any actions you do in a "grouping" can be reproduced (if you're forced to run monsters individually) using delays and readies. So this is an unnecessary burden that slows down games. If someone demands "no interleaving," just shrug, say all the monsters go into delay until they're all together, and then they move & ready on each other's actions so the attacks go off. Then it's the exact same as clustering similar/same monsters, and the nitpicker is satisfied. Don't let your games slow to a grind.

(Yes, I'm aware that some dumb creatures, such as skeletons and vermin, should not know to get a flank, and thus demanding a GM run each individually might seem to prevent them from getting flank bonuses... at least until the GM just has them do readies. See, the problem isn't solved with "no interleaving." The problem is "the GM is running a mindless creature in a very smart way." That problem can occur with or without interleaving. The solution, if you're upset that a GM had 2 skeletons get flank, is to talk to the GM about monster intelligence, not force him or her to run every damn monster on its own initiative. If you want games to conclude in a reasonable amount of time, don't force GMs to dive into this level of detail and separated rolls. Some of us absolutely cannot run as swiftly under those circumstances.)

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I too like the notecard idea, but it has two big problems:

1. It IS an accusation. Maybe the GM deserves to be accused. I don't know. But it'll cause bitterness for some sensitive types. However, if I initiated it myself when I was GMing, that would be fine.

2. Players SUCK at getting ready actions right. They'll say things like, "I ready to strike when someone is in range," which is sloppy. WHO are you trying to track/strike, and what are you striking with? Bare hand? Weapon? I don't want you conveniently switching weapons based upon who comes by any more than you want the GM to metagame.

Or they'll say, "I ready my spell." OK, what spell? I've had people try to ready Sleep as an action, even though it can't fit in a ready action slot! And what is the trigger?!? People are vague because it's easy, and because if you let them get away with it, it's a huge advantage. Using notecards, these issues can't be fixed until it's too late. The first time a GM says, "That was badly worded and fails," there will be a fight.

On a related note, although a home game and not PFS, I had a player once who took his mini off the battlemat when he went invisible. I objected, but he said that since I hide invisible critters, he must be allowed to do that too, to ensure I don't metagame. I replied, "You do realize that I am the GM, right? This GM screen is here so I can fudge rolls, bluff you, and manipulate the background details in order to keep the game from falling apart or becoming boring. You realize that we do different things, right? You have to follow the rules, I have to break them. If I want to hit your invisible guy, 16 enemies that you don't know about can appear and fill every square with fire. Hiding from me is irrelevant."

Now, I don't actually cheat like that as a GM. I am actually drawn to things like PFS where the GM has rigid confinement. But the point is, you cannot babysit a GM into not metagaming. He controls the game world; he can accomplish whatever he needs to accomplish, no matter how much you monitor him, because that's his job. The game empowers him to do that (although less so in PFS). So if you want to "fix" a GM who is metagaming, you have to speak to him like an adult and simply let him know that the metagaming is making things un-fun. And then, give him time to work through that and improve. And if he doesn't improve, leave the game (or in PFS, report him to the VL or VC). But don't babysit him.

I'm really happy to say that in my region, the GMs and players are all pretty darn good at saying, "I would do that thing, but my character doesn't know about it, so I do this other thing instead." I feel lucky.

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Oh, I agree Eigengrau. It IS that easy to build/play a new Unchained rogue. However, reading some other threads, it's clear that the new rogue talents and other abilities can synergize in interesting ways, opening up new avenues of skill that the original rogue couldn't achieve easily. I was just impressed enough by those people putting together things like the "cower & coup de grace" combo that I wanted to ask players here to post some official builds that are that clever.

We haven't quite got there in this thread, but I'm very appreciative of the 2 builds so far, and I'll keep my eyes open for more. Thanks guys!

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I don't think "just paying for a Raise Dead spell" is all that trivial. It's 450 GP for the spellcasting service, 5000 GP for the material component, 280 GP (times two!) for two more spellcasting services for the Restoration spells, plus 1000 GP (times two!) for those material components. That's a whopping 8010 GP to make it all happen.

AND you need to have a cleric of at least 9th level, which means you need to get to a big city, AND your corpse cannot have been dead for longer than 9 days. That means it's a rush to get to a good place, which might be an ordeal in and of itself.

If you don't have the cash, that cleric is going to quest you. Even if you do, he may refuse some of the cash and quest you anyway -- you're a high level dude that just dropped into his church, you're useful.

And if you do have the cash? So much that it's "trivial" to get the Raise Dead? If you have enough money to not be hurt by a few Raise Dead spells, then you are high enough level (or your GM mismanaged the wealth-by-level standards) that it should be easy.

I have a character who died at 6th and 9th, and losing 16,020 GP was enough of a blow that when he died again, I was like, "I'm too far behind now, this is just not working," and I abandoned the character.

Speaking of which, Dekalinder is right. You give up on a character because being raised from the dead is too much of an ordeal, and the GM is now stuck with a new character that doesn't know any of the plot, and may have no reason to care. It's just some new recruit who has to re-learn all the contacts, re-meet all the NPCs, etc. I would much rather have them pay the spell costs and keep the plot rolling forward.

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nosig wrote:
Faelyn wrote:
Well, in the OP's favor... he did actually ask the players specifically if they wanted to purchase cold weather gear. None of them did....

Actually, he listed the conversation as thus

[i]ME: "Do you have a cold weather outfit on? That would boost your save."

Nosig, with all respect, that's not fair. You left out the entire 4 lines of conversation that preceded that. Those 4 lines of conversation are in my original text, at the start of this topic. Please don't exclude context to make a point, especially if the context would materially affect the point.

Faelyn is right -- I did ask at the start of the game, flat-out, for people to purchase cold weather gear. It is right in the post for all to see.

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Kevin Willis wrote:
I don't think any of the tables started less than 45 minutes late.

Can't you just spot-check? Check like one thing such as "checking for correct point-buy today" and then audit just that? It seems like holding the game up for 45 minutes to check everything is a good way to have players excuse themselves and go to other tables. However, maybe everyone was cool about it. I dunno.

I like to think that I know what I'm talking about, but I often don't.

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nosig wrote:
how about if my PC sits down and just buys 6 sets of cold weather gear? I'll even put it on my ITS - "48 GP for 6 matching outfits of cold weather gear"... or would that be "a jerk move"?

I sense that you're trying to imply that such an action is equally jerky to a GM asking players to actually have/purchase cold weather gear for a cold weather game, except... I have actually done what you just suggested, just last weekend. I purchased 6 sets, 1 for me and 1 for each other player.

I take that stuff seriously and so I am consistent both as a player and as a GM: I buy it as a player and insist on it being bought as a GM.

I guess from your response that I am an aberration and I should not be so nit-picky as a player, and not be so nit-picky as a GM.

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I agree. They were both great players. In fact, a bunch of other players were really cool too, helping the paladins and furthering their cause. It was a pretty cool night.

And that, I realize, puts this thread in perspective. This thread is mostly just casting aspersions and a tempest in a teapot. But the game itself was smooth and fun.

Realizing this, I think no further good can come of this thread, and it's time for me to bow out. However, if anyone else decides to keep posting in this topic, I hope it's fruitful for you.

I send my thanks to everyone, even the naysayers, because by stirring up a commotion, I knew that I must flat-out state how I was going to GM, so the players would have a head's up. Much appreciated.

Have a good night, everyone.

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If you were "deeply disappointed" in me for faulting a paladin for aiding smugglers and hiding evidence, I'd be disappointed in you right back.

PFSOP doesn't say "don't make them fall." It says "warn them." Which I would have, repeatedly, over the course of multiple incidents, if they ever got to a point that I would have needed to. They didn't. They were amazing.

PFSOP wasn't trampled and didn't even come into play. PFSOP was fine.

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There are too many comments to respond to everyone, so to summarize: no, I did not insist that a paladin fall for "arbitrary" reasons. I think my reasons are solid, and 100% on target, and 100% by the rules, and I think anyone who classifies "help with smugglers and hide the evidence" as OK is breaking the paladinhood rules. I also insist that smugglers are not innocents, and helping them is not helping an innocent person. They are deliberately breaking the law both by smuggling, and by coming into the country to promote illegal worship. These cultists are bad people (or more accurately, people sowing chaos).

Also, slippery slope arguments don't impress me. I don't care about "what if" we take it to an extreme. This game didn't involve that, so I don't care about the slippery slope. I made decisions without considering that, and I think that's a good and responsible way to handle it.

In any case, all these posts have come after the game was already underway, and I've already run the game in such a way as to make all of you miserable and unhappy, apparently. I'm fine with that, because I don't think paladins should be a "don't make them fall it's unfun" thing -- falling is part of the deal when you pick the class and break the rules of that class. If you don't like it, don't play it. Taking the benefits of the class without the drawbacks is unfair and gives the paladins advantages that are not written into the class.

So, here's how it went down. The game started, and I announced, "Due to a massive freak-out online when I asked about paladins in this module, I must spoil a tiny part of the game, sorry. Paladins must fall in this scenario, or lose prestige by refusing part of the mission. The mission involves aiding smugglers and hiding evidence of an illegal cult as well (and hiding the smuggling-tax-evasion documents, too, which isn't even a noble cause)! This violates the code about helping people 'provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends.' Unfortunately, they totally use the aid for chaotic ends. So, still want to play?"

Two players decided to play paladins anyway. They were amazing. They did things that I never expected. For example, the cultists will leave on their own volition, when their leader turns out to be a disappointment, so to speak. But the PCs don't know that. Allowing illegal cultists to just be within the borders and having no problem with that would be super bad in my opinion -- and I expected nobody to challenge the cultists, so I was prepared to make a big stink of that and give the paladins their first "you are on the edge" warning, even if the cultists later left (because hey, the paladin didn't convince them or do anything right -- he was fine with them being there). But one paladin didn't wait -- he was role playing talking to them right from the start, to convince them of the error of their ways, and by getting out ahead of the problem, he definitely wasn't passive and -- thanks to great rolls and help from other party members -- had them convinced to leave long before the leadership trouble. In fact, it changed the game and kinda made the leadership problem explode earlier on, but that was cool and worked out fine.

So, I couldn't fault the paladins for passively allowing illegal Sarenrae worship -- they ended it right away. Then there is the whole issue with Muesello asking them to recover evidence and hide it. Instead, they role played a little outside the module (but I allowed it), by going to Muesello either while he was in jail or after he was let out on the streets, and convincing him to admit to the crimes and pay all the back owed taxes for everything they had ever smuggled. I kinda balked for part of that. I mean, Muesello could confess to everything, I decided, but I don't know if I can agree that he even has all that money (and the module's only option with Muesello is "cover up the crimes"), but then the paladins did something else: they refused to hide the evidence or aid the smuggling coverup in any way at all. At that point, Muesello almost didn't matter. I warned them this will lose a prestige point. They insisted.

So I narrated, "Muesello's worst fears come true: with multiple paladins making public the evidence of illegal actions by Pathfinder Society leadership, all of Pathfinder Society is expelled by the Taldan government. We are now branched into an instance of Golarion where the mission didn't go as planned, and everything you experience from now on should not involve PFS in Taldor." Or something like that.

Of course, I have no way to enforce that last bit at all. All PFS games are disconnected and no subsequent GM will know or care. But whatever -- they acted in line with paladinhood, lost a prestige, took a hit to PFS in Taldor honorably, and played their paladins super well. In fact, so well that I did not even expect them to get out ahead of all those issues, and face them down. Every place at which they could fall, or even just get a warning (!!!), they subverted, to their credit. The game ended well, and I was amazed by their role playing.

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Yeah, I think you're right wraithstrike. In any case, since they didn't really explain that line of text very much, and since the rules on movement provide something that seems to be a trump card for how to move with paralyzed/helpless allies, I'm going to ignore the squeezing text (or more accurately, allow the movement text to trump it).

Tomorrow when they're all paralyzed and only 1 or 2 allies can save them, those allies will be able to freely move among their frozen friends and swing wildly without penalty.

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This is just a simple first-level build. Exploiter Wizard, human, 20 point buy.

Stats: All 10s except DEX 15, CON 13, INT 18.

Trait: Magical Lineage (focus: Magic Missile)

Feats: Toppling Metamagic, Extra Exploit

Exploits: Potent Magic, Energy Shield

If I've done this correctly, at first level I can cast Toppling Magic Missile and activate Potent Magic, so that I get two missiles per casting, and after inflicting damage, each missile will initiate a trip attack at +7 to the roll (3 for caster level thanks to Potent Magic, and 4 from INT).

I think that's extremely useful and helpful to a party -- on balance, possibly as good as Sleep, since it not only disables some enemies, but hurts them too. And it has no HD cap.

My question is: what did I miss? I understand that exploiter wizards are overpowered, but I maybe don't understand how much. Am I missing the forest for all the trees? Is this a situation where you all see me building this and pat me on the head and say, "Nice try kiddo, but that is totally underpowered compared to what you COULD do."

If I have failed to apply my exploits well, can you explain how to do it better? Note that I play in PFS so I don't really care about anything over level 11. I want to be good at levels 1-10 mostly.

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I've read both threads. It's pretty heated. I think there is text to support each side's interpretation, and I'm disappointed to see some suggesting that this isn't the case and their interpretation is the purely, solely correct interpretation.

I would come at this from another angle. I don't care about RAW or RAI or who has the best interpretation in this thread. I care about what I anticipate Paizo's response will be. That is how I would like to run my games. I try to guess what Paizo might say, and unapologetically enforce that, whether players whine or not. Then, I hope that when Paizo gets around to issuing a verdict, it dovetails with what I guessed. If it doesn't, I'm still unapologetic, because guesswork about Paizo's decisions is my favored methodology for resolving these issues, and I don't like the alternatives.

So, here is what I think Paizo will do:

  • Issue a FAQ with this text: Change "transform her current garments into any other non-magical set of clothing" to the following: "transform her current garments into any other non-magical set of clothing as listed on the Clothing/Outfits table."

I don't imagine them giving any other clarification. I think their only guiding motivation is prevent the magic item from being used in a wide-open anything goes fashion that would be out of line with its cost.

Again, whether this ruling from Paizo would be in line with the previous text, or would be based off a RAW or RAI interpretation, is irrelevant to me. I don't think they care. I don't think they feel limited like that. I think they are willing to look at their own text and say, "We don't care what we wrote, we're going to FAQ it in a completely new way whether people like it or not." I also think they don't care about the illusion/transformation argument, and will leave all of you hanging.

Because I believe this, I run my games this way. Because I'm a PFS GM, I run PFS this way. Some have suggested they would write letters of complaint to Paizo for any GM that dared to block the swarm suit. I'd suggest that if anyone really feels that way, I'm running games in a couple of weeks -- contact me and come down, so I can tell you "no" and you can write your letter. It doesn't matter to me and certainly wouldn't intimidate me into complying with your play style -- it's not like being a PFS GM is a salaried position that anyone would miss. At my table, you're stuck with this, until Paizo says otherwise.

In absence of any other information, this is my best guess about how to rule it. In my opinion, with no other information, nothing better can be done. I'm not swayed by any of the arguments in these threads. They're all equally bad.