Thank you for weighing in! As a follow up, would a monster such as an Ankhrav (https://2e.aonprd.com/Monsters.aspx?ID=23) become indifferent to everyone after being bonded due to the text in the indifferent condition (https://2e.aonprd.com/Conditions.aspx?ID=25)
“Assume a creature’s attitude to a given character is indifferent unless specified otherwise.”
I think it would probably remain hostile to anyone else, if it would normally attack humanoids on sight (and even eat them as with the Ankhrav). However, I am being told that would be an interpretation because the rules state that creatures are assumed to be indifferent unless specified otherwise, so I’m not following the rules as written if I rule it that way. I don’t think I’m wrong, but other perspectives always help.
More thoughts are once again appreciated! :)
I’ve been trying to establish rules for this before one of my players builds out a bonded animal character for Extinction Curse. He would like his bonded animal to be able to attack enemies that attack it without having to spend an Action to command it to do so. I feel like this is sort of gaming the system based on a single sentence related to minions (as the rules for bonded animals are even less clear). The sentence is:
“If given no commands, minions use no actions except to defend themselves or escape obvious harm”.
What does this sentence mean in terms of actual game mechanics?
If attacked, will a bonded animal use all of its attacks to attack back (or run away), if given no other commands? These are essentially free actions for the player if this is the case, making both minions and bonded animal much more powerful. It also significantly diminishes the value of the Mature Animal class feat of druids and rangers, since the animal could potentially be getting free actions all the time anyway (just send it up to attack unintelligent whatever, and keep it in something similar to a PF1 confusion loop — it’s not quite the same, but I think it gets the idea across).
Or do they take a single action to escape or attack (assuming defend themselves means attack)?
Or do they just not get actions at all if not commanded, except for extenuating circumstances? For example, the animal is beat up badly and will die if hit again.
Any clarity provided is much appreciated. This has turned into a MUCH larger discussion than it should based off of one unexplained sentence. Thank you! :)
Ferious Thune wrote:
I played this at a 5 player table that was just barely pushed into high tier. While we almost succeeded, completely failing a mission due to missed skill rolls wasn't fun for anyone at the table. In fact, to me, this is now one of the worst PFS scenarios I have ever played from an actual "how fun was it" perspective.
I flat out lost a character in Bonekeep 1, but I was relatively new to Pathfinder at the time and I enjoyed the challenge. It encouraged me to create a new, better and more prepared character. Failure in this scenario encourages me to find out what scenarios use the intrigue system (before playing them) and avoid ever playing the ones that do. Call that metagaming or whatever, I just have no intention of wasting my time again.
Played this one with a group of 5, relatively under leveled, but just pushed into high tier. The party had the majority of skills needed, but just decent bonuses on the rolls. Going around the table and watching roll after roll of single digit numbers, compounded by being locked out of the skills we were good at to bad rolls, led to a pretty poor play experience. The GM was awesome, so he was able to bring the characters to life at least, but I don't think anyone at the table enjoyed outright failing a scenario by repeatedly failing skill checks.
Maybe there are some sort of tactics to employ in the intrigue system to push things in your favor, but I didn't see them. It didn't really seem like there were many choices to be made. This scenario made my "never going to play again" list.
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
Seems like an awful lot for ability score bonuses for 11 RP. Are you sure you calculated that right?
Advanced (4 RP): Prerequisites: Advanced or monstrous power level; Modifiers: Pick either mental or physical ability scores. Members of this race gain a +2 bonus to all of those scores, a +4 bonus to one score of the other type, and a –2 penalty to one other ability score of the other type.
I created a race for an evil campaign I'll soon be participating in and after receiving positive feedback from the other players, I figured I'd share it here for others to use. It's an 11 RP build with advanced racial traits. I attempted to fit it into Golarion as much as possible. Feel free to use it however you'd like. Comments, praise and criticism are always welcome. :)
Drell (11 RP, Advanced)
Standard Racial Traits
Feat and Skill Racial Traits
Senses Racial Traits
Weakness Racial Traits
Drell are hairless humanoids with sharp features. Their nose, chin and ears tend to be pointed to varying degrees. Drellen eyes are catlike in appearance and come in a variety of colors including gold, red, violet and grey. Drell tend to be muscular but lean, although that is likely due to their nomadic lifestyle. The most noteworthy feature of Drell is their skin. Drell have tiger striped skin displaying white, greys and black. While this in itself is not unique, the fact that the tiger like stripes move across the skin, swirl and change shade is. The speed at which colors change and move relates directly to the emotional state of a Drell. An angry, excited or fearful Drell is quite a sight to behold, but is often a source of fear or distrust of Drell in other races. It is certainly not the norm. Drell have a midnight black patch of skin around the eyes. This patch has a unique shape for every member of the race and is the easiest way to identify different individuals. Drell are particularly long lived, assuming their life is not cut short unnaturally, generally living at least 500 years with some particularly hardy and intelligent members earning a death of old age with as many as 800 to 900 years behind them. There are stories of a few elders living past 1,000 years, but none are currently known to exist.
Drell hail from the Darklands and typically do not ever venture to the surface, certainly the cause of their unusually keen sight in darkness and difficulties seeing clearly in areas of bright light. While Drellen settlements have occurred in the past, the majority of their population has been decimated by Drow hunting parties. Drellen flesh continues it's hypnotic movement even when removed from the body, although the speed at which the movement occurs is significantly reduced. This feature has created a demand for Drellen flesh in the upper echelons of Drow society as trophy and symbol of wealth and power. The Drow hunting parties have hunted Drell to near extinction, the remaining members of the species the fastest, most powerful and most intelligent. Drow hunting tactics often relied upon magical darkness to blind the Drell and force them into traps or ambushes. The Drell that survived were often those found they had the ability to see through any darkness the Drow could cast upon them.
Generations of forced selective breeding amongst the survivors, owing to the extermination efforts of the Drow, has led to an extremely versatile race. All have an innate ability to hide and move stealthily, as well as very keen senses. Drell are now solitary creatures and coupling is extremely rare. Their naturally quick minds tend to latch onto a single skill that they almost obsessively develop to pass the time on their lonely journey. They are adept at navigating the Darklands and have learned that the ability to appear as something else through disguise and deception are skills particularly well suited to preserving their own lives.
Drell tend to birth several children from a single pregnancy, typically at least 3 but no more than 6. However, the harsh realities of the Darklands generally take the lives of the majority of offspring before their first 100 years. The 100 years mark is generally when a Drell is considered an adult, although they are capable of reproduction somewhere around 50 years of age. Drellen females are generally responsible for raising children to adulthood, but the males have been known to take on the responsibility of raising orphaned or lone children.
Drell show little concern for other races outside of their hatred for the Drow. However, Drell will usually avoid Drow rather than directly confront them, even if it appears they have a direct advantage. As all Drell pass along the dangers of Drow traps and ambushes to their offspring, this tendency is likely deeply ingrained in their psyche.
Drell almost never harm other Drell as the dire situation of the species is known to all members of the race. There are rare instances of violence between Drell throughout Drell history, but they will generally work with one another to accomplish short term goals and then part ways. Most violence between Drell occurs when a member's mind has fallen into insanity, but only when peaceful options have been exhausted and there is a real threat to the sane Drell in the encounter.
Alignment and Religion
Owing to the harshness of the Darklands and the particularly difficult history of the Drell, most members of this race are primarily concerned with their own survival and well-being. They tend towards Neutral Evil alignments, willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure their own future. While this may simply result in continued survival in the Darklands, a Drell that finds their way to the surface finds a much safer land and will likely concern themselves with their own prosperity. A comfortable life is something that Drell hardly would consider dreaming about, but separation from the everyday dangers of the Darklands frees considerable time to dream and scheme.
Drell have little need or want for religion and are more concerned with their own ability to deliver themselves from danger than prayers offered to a divine being. Drell do, however, have great respect for their ancestors and have even been known to draw divine powers from the spirits of members of their bloodline that have passed. Most Drell are able to recount tales of their direct ancestors that are passed from generation to generation by word of mouth, although this is considered a very private matter in Drellen society and is closely guarded from anyone not part of the bloodline.
Drell have an innate desire to obtain knowledge of anything and everything and wanderlust that helps facilitate this personal growth. Knowledge and experience are considered particularly valuable to survival, which is always at the forefront of a Drellen mind. Drell make excellent wizards, magus and alchemists, but are extremely versatile and capable of fitting almost any role.
D'meer, K'thek, A'theem, V'rand, Z'kuhr
K'ayris, S'tahy, L'vaan, P'treen, M'steel
I'm sure I'll provoke the ire of some GMs, but when I run a game, I will scale "monster intelligence" to the group to bring the difficulty down if needed. My objective is never to kill the players, rather to ensure everyone at the table has a good time. This is a game and people play games for fun. To me, that outweighs any argument you can throw at me as to why "I'm doing it wrong".
When I run games, I believe that I am on the same team as the players. I want them to win. I do try to knock at least one player down over the course of a scenario, just to keep them on their toes. I'll also provide more liberal circumstance bonuses (GM discretion) to outmatched groups that do a little thinking. I also do everything I can to encourage creativity and roleplaying, being a roleplaying game and all.
In my opinion, if you're running games with the goal of killing players, you're likely killing fun as well. Some groups do appreciate difficulty more than others, and if I know the group I'm running a game for and know they like things more challenging, I'll run it accordingly for their enjoyment. That said, generally groups that appreciate challenge are so well optimized that they steamroll most encounters.
I also believe in being a bit more forgiving in lower tiers. I have no desire to kill a new player at level 1 or 2. What a huge buzzkill. However, by the time you've made it to level 10 or 11, you've seen a lot of what PFS will throw at you. I expect you to a be bit more prepared and the VC sending players on a quest may even make gearing recommendations if I feel they are needed.
Anyway, the most important point that I want to convey here is that the reason PFS is successful and continues to grow is that people playing it have fun. Anything you can do to increase enjoyment as a GM of a table is helping PFS. Anything you do that decreases enjoyment is hurting PFS as a whole. Just something I believe everyone should keep in mind when playing at or running tables.
Jeffrey Fox wrote:
Wizards have to worry about SR and saving throws. Gunslingers pretty much never miss. The bigger monsters get, the lower their touch AC goes. The entire Pathfinder systems is simply not designed to handle a full BAB class that targets touch AC (from range) every single attack. Knocking the damage down means they will still do great damage and it will be pretty reliable. They only stand to miss with the misfire chance really and with a lucky enchant, they can mostly get around that.
Chris Mortika wrote:
FAQs and errata are specifically created to address errors. I don't expect everything to be error free, but I do expect all tables to observe the same rules. If someone picks up a Trust Buddy and then invests character resources into using it to it's full effect, but is then told it works differently at 1 in 10 tables, something is wrong. I would argue that removing ambiguous cases should be high on the priority list of campaign leadership, assuming they wish to present a similar play experience across the entire campaign.
dwayne germaine wrote:
Other GMs can run it however they want outside of PFS. My understanding is that PFS takes a strict RAW stance. If some people are using RAI, the campaign experience is not the same for all players. In this case, it could potentially have a significant effect on the difficulty of a scenario. If the RAW stance is not enforced, why bother following the other rules?
Allowing GMs to interpret rules as they see fit breaks the continuity of the organized campaign experience. Something being considered legal at one table and then illegal at the table right after is a symptom of a broken system. The only way to ensure everyone is following the same rules is to follow EXACTLY what is written in all cases, never adding your own assumptions or interpretation.
dwayne germaine wrote:
There is no interpretation. It says "bypasses DR when used as improvised weapon". Seems pretty clear as to what is written. Two checks.
1) Is it used as an improvised weapon? If yes...
2) Is there DR? If yes, it bypasses it.
This reading follows EXACTLY what the text says (which is the definition of RAW). Any other reading is adding assumptions that are not stated (which is the definition of RAI).
I love how people in here are saying they just won't allow it RAW at their table. It very clearly states that it bypasses DR when used as an improvised weapon. Two simple checks to meet this condition.
1) Is it being used as an improvised weapon? If yes, then...
2) Is there DR on the target? If yes, it is bypassed.
It doesn't matter if you don't like a rule. If you're not campaign leadership, you can't pick and choose which you want to follow. If there is ANY GM interpretation, it is now RAI. RAI is not PFS legal.
It should also be pointed out that it doesn't matter if you think it's a typo. It doesn't matter if you think something is overpowered. If there is no FAQ or clarification, you follow it exactly as written. This thing has been around for what, 3 years now? More than enough time to clarify if it was intended to be different than what is written.
Does that only apply to the bonus from the dwarf FCB? Can reliable reduce the misfire chance below 1 in combination with the dwarf FCB? The reliable text indicates that the misfire chance can be reduced to 0.
While you don't see it too much in PFS, gunslingers (musket master and pistolero) get worse at level 13 when they lose the misfire chance. Then it's just a broken class destroying a game system that wasn't designed to support it.
Even worse is a Bolt Ace at level 11 with the Sharp Shoot Signature deed. All attacks resolving against touch AC at 120 ft at the cost of 0 grit... Give them a double crossbow and it just gets more broken.
Double ranged weapons *should* work like Rapid Shot at best. It's extremely cheap to purchase them and the way they work currently, they are WAY better than a feat, without having to expend a feat. You can use both barrels on a standard action attack, effectively giving you 2 attacks with a standard action. You can outright double your attacks on a full attack, which is how you see builds shooting 14+ shots in a single round. Nothing else in the game can compare to that.
There are tons of reasons why the gunslinger class is a problem. How about a mostly SAD build with the secondary stat directly augmenting the single low save. The primary stat not only affects to hit and damage, it also increases AC (and touch AC) and many skills. They get additional bonus AC just because. They get 1/2 the bonus feats of a fighter AND double the skill points of a fighter (4+int). They can use a d12/x4 ranged weapon that fires twice for every attack and targets touch AC, compared to a bow user d8/x3 that requires dex to hit and str for additional damage, fires once per attack and targets normal AC. The bullet cost is trivial beyond level 1. The gunslinger is simply leagues above other ranged classes. Not to mention they multiclass amazingly well with 5 levels in gunslinger and all of the abilities of another class. Try mixing one with a war priest and using swift cast buffs in addition to full round attacks. Save up for greater reliable mixed with dwarf FCB (I believe these will stack) and you can blow things up without misfiring, while casting spells every turn too.
The real problem isn't the free actions, it's that the entire game system isn't built to handle a full BAB class that always targets touch AC without expending limited resources to do so. However, that's a whole different can of worms.
Another problem is double-barreled weapons in general. Effectively doubling your number of attacks with the only drawback being a minor penalty to hit is a massive advantage. Granted, that's lots of misfire chances unless you take a dwarf and use your favored class bonus to reduce misfires. Reliable and Greater Reliable also help knock that misfire chance out. Maybe it should be errata'ed that gunslingers can not reduce the misfire chance below 1, period.
That said, limiting free actions on a gunslinger is pretty much going to result in limiting the fun of the player. First and foremost, Pathfinder is a game and games are played for fun. Yes, they are going to wreck everything and pretty much break the game, but that's how the gunslinger class was designed. It's not the player's fault for using it how it's meant to be used.
I don't think I'll be releasing any more prep sheets. I started using the Combat Manager App on my iPad to run Chapter 4 and it is absolutely AMAZING. Prep work isn't really required and all rules, spells, monster abilities, feats and a lot of equipment can be viewed from within the app. It allows me to run monsters on separate initiatives quite easily, I just use a little Post-It tab with a number on it stuck to the bottom of the mini base.
Anyway, anyone who wants to take up the torch is more than welcome to here. Otherwise, I strongly recommend checking out Combat Manager if you're regularly running games. I believe it's available for iOS, Android and Windows.
While I certainly see the resistance to more open replay policies, I'd be curious to see what would happen if there were some 1-5, 3-7 and 5-9 evergreens made available. It would probably be best to make them available on a trial basis, just in case replays really do have a negative impact on the campaign as a whole. Offering it on a trial basis gives the option of saying "Whoops!" and pulling them from legal PFS material or just removing the replay option from the scenarios/modules. I think this is probably the solution that acknowledges the most positions on the topic and could provide some very valuable insight for continued discussion.
I agree to disagree. :)
If that's the case, unlimited replay is not innately a bad idea. It was implemented poorly in a past campaign that had other failings, which all culminated in failure.
1. Exclusionary groups are an issue with or without replay and a problem with the players, not the ability to replay. If people are going to behave this way, there is no logical reason that replay would exacerbate it. I personally find this a very weak argument. A better argument is that (some) people suck and it will be noticed in any social activity.
2. People not wanting to DM games because they aren't forced into it is a problem with the incentive to DM (be that entertainment value or rewards), not the ability to replay.
3. People reread books and watch movies more than once all the time. Consuming entertaining content multiple times is standard human behavior. This is the same thing as PFS replay, only a different entertainment medium.
As far as the complaints Drogon received specifically, here are my thoughts.
> The same guys are always playing.
Good. You have a healthy core player base and if they are cool people, it will grow from there.
> I can never get space at the table I want.
Sign ups are first come, first serve everywhere I play. Granted, we use Warhorn, but you still don't get to play if you sign up for a full game and everyone shows.
> I'm tired of being told I might have missed something and should look again, and lo' and behold, I did.
Bad player/DM behavior that is specifically not allowed under the replay text included in the Guide to PFS Organized Play. Basically, it's the DMs job to kick someone out of the game that is doing this to players, particularly if they are obviously uncomfortable with it.
> I'm tired of being told I should play something different because this or that adventure doesn't treat xxx class well.
The joys of power gaming. This happens now with limited replays. The only effect replays would have on this is that power gamers would likely have knowledge of more scenarios. They are not supposed to share any foreknowledge and if they are doing so, it's once again a player problem that needs to be resolved.
It's rather unfortunate that you have to deal with these types of players at your store, Drogon, but I play with people that wouldn't do any of these things. Also, following the replay rules that are already specified would remove these issues. Not following the rules is a player problem, similar to lying on dice rolls or intentionally altering stats or inventory.
In the end, I don't see replay as the *CAUSE* of any of the problems people cite. Replays may highlight some of the problems, which are generally due to player attitudes, but I can't see the direct causality.
I'm not sure I understand how the ability to replay a scenario on each character you have would damage the campaign. Yes, people can point to previous failed campaigns, but I am willing to bet that it was a confluence of circumstances and events that lead to the failure of those campaigns and that the failure was not based solely on replay. Without quantifiable numbers, it is all anecdotal evidence that is just as likely to be incorrect (and colored with opinion) as it is to hold any factual value.
That said, we currently have scenarios that can be replayed called "evergreen" scenarios. I'd be curious how often evergreens are played in comparison to scenarios that can't be replayed. If they are more popular than scenarios that can't be replayed, I think there is some quantifiable conclusions to be drawn. Also, have evergreens damaged the campaign so far? They are exactly what people have spoken out against in this thread as you can replay them with no limit. Do people exhibit the types of behavior that destroyed previous campaigns when playing evergreen scenarios?
I would guess that a small number of scenarios, poor leadership decisions and poor overall campaign planning lead to the failure of previous campaigns more than the ability to replay scenarios. General quality of content is another possible contributor to failure. While I wasn't there to experience previous campaigns firsthand, the ability to replay scenarios smells an awful lot like a scapegoat.
I'll always like the idea of any character being able to run any scenario, but no more than once on each character. Why? Because I'm able to keep my knowledge separate from my character's knowledge and I like the idea of being able to play with any group of people at any time.
"Sorry, I can't play with you guys because I've already run that one." is simply not fun for anyone.
There are rules that dictate proper behavior when replaying a scenario. If someone is breaking those rules, they can be removed from the table.
A wonderful discussion that leads to players thinking, "Damn it, I should have played my <insert class here> like I was planning on!". People leaving a game feeling cheated is pretty much the opposite of my objective when playing PFS games.
Andrew Christian wrote:
They all had the same opportunity. That's kind of the definition of fair.
Regarding #1, you are assuming everyone enjoys the same aspects of PFS that you do. That is an incorrect assumption.
Regarding reading a Chronicle, the rules do not say you need to provide the GM with that information. If you have played the scenario before, you must tell the GM. They say nothing about telling the GM that you have read a Chronicle in advance.
Also, some interesting cases. What if you read your friend's Chronicle because they were showing you the awesome boon they received? What if someone shows you a Chronicle because you say "What?!?! How'd you get XYZ?"? There's no less information known by people in those situations than the person that just reads the Chronicle at the end of the scenario.
You know, reading through the Organized Play Guide, can anyone point out where it says don't read chronicles and if you do, you need to tell the GM? The applicable rules seem to be:
Do Not Cheat wrote:
Replaying Scenarios wrote:
Is reading a Chronicle really considered "replaying" a scenario? If it is, it is completely by RAI and not RAW. These rules specifically address complete scenario replays and don't ever mention having to tell the GM if you have read the Chronicle ahead of time. By RAW, this "chronicle fishing" that has some of you up in arms doesn't seem to be against the rules. However, they do mention that the GM can kick you from the table if you spoil the plot using any information you have, which would include knowledge obtained from reading a Chronicle.
This is generally good advice for life. Caring what other people think of you isn't worth the time or effort. I don't do what I consider to be wrong. I may do some things that other people consider to be wrong. Most people fit into that description. However, I don't spend any time worrying that other people might consider my actions wrong if they don't feel wrong to me.
pH unbalanced wrote:
I view reading a chronicle to make sure you are able to apply any cool boons to your character that makes the most sense (or allows you to do something cool that you wouldn't otherwise be able to do) differently than reading through the details of the entire scenario and the combats involved. If the replay rules weren't as limiting, I would likely view it differently. However, when you're basically given one play opportunity to earn a boon on a chronicle, I don't see the issue with "making it count" so to speak. I simply don't see it as cheating and any potential spoilers on the chronicle are pretty minor. However, I do think people should refrain from sharing any spoiler knowledge they have with the rest of the players at the table.
Chris Mortika wrote:
I doubt you're sorry to disagree with me. That said, I believe you're within the rules to deny someone from your table for having foreknowledge of the scenario for any reason. If I was at a table and someone else at it was asked to leave for having foreknowledge, I would likely leave the table as well with the reason "I don't want to play under this GM". I'd be happy to tell you why I wouldn't be playing as well, if you wanted to know. This is a game played for fun. Domineering GMs are an absolute turnoff for me. In my opinion, the GM is on the same team as the players. Everyone wins when everyone has fun.
I feel calling boon fishing cheating is likely too severe, I expect that it might be more accurate to call it unsportsmanlike.
You'd have to define the sport to call it unsportsmanlike. Some people enjoy the character creation/concept portion of Pathfinder as much or more than the roleplaying part. Excelling at whatever they focus their build on is part of their "win" condition. To this type of player, an opportunity to build a character with something unique is of more entertainment value than being surprised by what happens in a given scenario.
As we are all playing for the entertainment value (hopefully), I don't think any of the players here have the authority to say their form of entertainment is cheating or breaking some "unwritten rule". If it was a rule, it would be written. You may not enjoy the same form of entertainment, but as long as it isn't detracting from your entertainment, what does it really matter? What if they find losing an opportunity for a unique build option something that hurts the entertainment they gain from Pathfinder? That said, I do agree that if someone is saying things to the extent of "We need to do X and Y and don't kill Z." with the only reason as to why being "uh, just because", it could detract from other players' entertainment.
Pathfinder is a very large game, encompassing many different aspects of play. People are bound to find different parts more enjoyable and one aspect isn't "better" than another innately. My opinion is relax a bit and just enjoy the game. If something is actually preventing you from enjoying the game (not just potentially), then share your experience, see what other people think and if there is some sort of majority consensus, attempt to turn it into an actual PFS written rule.
Everything you listed sounds like drama to me, and ultimately things that would detract from my enjoyment of the hobby. Also, none of those things sound beneficial to PFS as a whole. To each their own, I suppose.
Chris Mortika wrote:
Doesn't sound particularly helpful to PFS as an organization as a whole. Interestingly enough, PFS is a very niche hobby that gains it's success by being inclusive as possible. When I'm running a game, I couldn't care less if a player has read through the scenario... so long as everyone at the table is having a good time. If I've read or played a scenario before, I simply leave the actual decision making up to someone who hasn't and I follow along for better or worse. However, I play PFS with the sole goal of having fun, and that can easily be accomplished at a table where someone knows what's going to happen.
GM Lamplighter wrote:
I disagree and my opinion is just as valid as yours regarding a hobby we take part in for entertainment purposes.
If you, as a player, have the most fun by efficiently building your characters and planning the games you will play with that character based on rewards, then do that. It's not technically against the rules and who really cares if some anonymous strangers on an internet forum think you play your game "the wrong way".
PFS gets the fun job of accommodating a wide variety of play styles. If you are absolutely against players metagaming a scenario plan for their characters, you always have the option of assembling a group of like-minded players and playing a home game with whatever rules you all agree upon in place.
So... someone not running the game at all, and the game not going off, or someone running it with the expectation of a reward, but potentially not as well as if there were no rewards.
I had a chance to run a game with the latest update to Combat Manager on the iPad last night and it went really well. I did all sorts of condition applying, stat editing (for ability dmg), delaying, readied actions, etc. and it only crashed once the entire evening. The crash wasn't even bad, as I was able to reopen the app and it gracefully recovered without losing any data. It just picked right back up where it left off.
I know you said you didn't think this update would address the problem, but it seems to have done exactly that (for me at least).
I'll throw out an idea. It would require some initial work, but once the system was in place, it would mostly run itself.
Create a pool of GM specific boons that can ONLY be obtained through this GM reward system. Tier the boons based on GM stars (1* boons, 2* boons, 3* boons, etc.) For every 5 (or 6 or 10 or whatever) games you run, you can apply one boon from any tier you have unlocked to one of your reported characters. It would be a digital boon that autopopulates the header fields before it's even printed out (name, character name, faction, PFS #).
These boons could be special race boons (that you'd apply to a fresh character or level 1 character), special gear boons that allow the purchase of otherwise illegal items (Bracers of Falcon's Aim anyone?), disallowed racial traits (darkvision for elves!?!), disallowed feats or traits (Divine Protection from ACG on your oracle?), "treasure caches" that provide free items (ie. select 1 item from this list) or just a chunk of cash that scales based on the level it's applied.
This is all at minimum cost to Paizo, particularly once the system to support it is in place. These GM boon tiers could be expanded with new boons and boons could be retired out, to continually add new incentives to GM.
If you're handing out a "free" boon every 5-10 games someone GMs, regardless of whether that's at a game shop or a convention, that seems like a pretty solid reward. I think it may be a good idea to give a pretty nice boon out for the first time you GM as well, applied the same way the other boons described above would be. Getting someone to try it out once is the first step to getting them to GM regularly.
Just an idea. Sounds cool to me but it's certainly possible I am overlooking something or underestimating the amount of work involved in implementing such a system.
Ok, so maybe a bit later than expected, but here are the combat prep sheets for Chapter 3. I apologize for the delay, but sometimes things just don't work out the way to expect them to. There's no spell reference document this time and I'm not sure I'll get around to creating one. Anyway, I hope you enjoy them!
Mystically Inclined wrote:
I am experiencing more problems with the latest iOS update as well. Every single time I go to edit a monsters health, the program crashes. Unfortunately this renders it unusable. This also makes me sad, as it was such a great way to run the game.
Interestingly enough, participation trophies are pretty much the norm now, whether you agree with it or not. That said, not understanding why someone would play a game on easy mode is not the same thing as it being "wrong" to provide an easy mode option to players that wish to do so. You wouldn't ever have to play it. It shouldn't have any impact on you at all... unless a large percentage of players choose to play the easy mode and avoid the games you are interested in. However, if that were the case, forcing them into a game difficulty they don't like because you want to play that way is essentially breaking the "don't be a jerk" rule.
To all of the "that's how the game is" replies, yes, I think everyone is aware of how the game is. The very fact that the game is currently that way is what leads to conversation surrounding how the game is. Repeating that the game currently is a certain way does nothing to strengthen the position of the "this is how the game *should* be". If you like the game exactly the way it is, great! Saying that you like the game the way it currently is does contribute to the conversation. However, implying that people having differing opinions is a player issue is simply incorrect.
It is entirely possible that there are parts of the game that could be better. Save or dies seem to split people in general, so I'd say there is a strong possibility that there is a better solution that would result in far less divide. Then again, maybe it's easier to simply accept that people enjoy different sorts of things and to gear different play modes at different people. There are people that like punishment in their play. There are others that prefer to play through the story and want to be a powerful hero that doesn't end up dead. Neither is wrong because a personal preference can't really be wrong.
PFS is an ongoing process. a couple of years back we got a vocal movement claiming that the Scenarios were too easy, so Paizo ratcheted up the lethality for Season 5. Then we got the vocal response that the Scenarios were too lethal, so they were adjusted back, and further adjustments were put in for 4 player tables. With all the problems PFS is having with a Core/Classic split, I don't think we need another splitting factor, especially if it winds up becoming a Core/Core Casual/Classic/Classic Casual split.
Personally, I wouldn't split Core that way. It would be a Core/PFS/Casual. That said, I did specifically mention that something like that had the potential to make management more difficult, just as the Core/PFS split had. However, with the experience gained, it could be assumed that another campaign type would be much easier to implement as it's already been done once.
I'm not specifically saying that this the best idea ever or that they should immediately move to implement it. I'm saying that if it were available, I would make some characters (that focus more on fun builds than power builds) to play in it and I believe it would significantly increase the accessibility for market segments that the current PFS/Pathfinder does not reach. My assumption is that any business wants to increase their potential market size by as much as possible, but I don't specifically know the strategies pursued by Paizo.
At this point, I've moved away from the original topic, but it's an idea that was inspired by the responses, so...
I have nothing against deaths that have a counter. If proper tactics or a well placed spell can stop someone from dying, but isn't applied, so be it. SOS even have counters. It's the straight SOD that really isn't fun.
That said, I do actually believe that a mode that didn't penalize death (at least not harshly) and pretty much guaranteed success in the end would become very popular over time. I called it a "casual mode" earlier. I am certain that PFS drives off players that aren't willing to lose time invested upon character death, especially when you sit at a table with strangers and some one is playing a pregen terribly. When a portion of your party is not helping in any way and it ends up costing you months of time put into a character... part of the game or not, I'd prefer it wasn't.
If there were a play mode that allowed you to continue playing a pregen after your character was killed (and another pregen if that pregen was killed and so on), that only punished the player with something like no Prestige/Fame gained for the death, it would attract a much larger audience to PFS and Pathfinder. I don't suggest changing the current campaigns, as I understand that a lot of people that already play are interested in a challenge and are more or less ok with player death. This is only because that's how the game has always been and many of the current players have been playing since before it was called Pathfinder. Attracting families and curious individuals to the game with a more relaxed "casual mode" isn't a terrible thing. Those same players may decide they'd like to give the "hard mode" campaigns a try once they have a solid grasp of the game a tactics involved. Some players may just enjoy playing for a few hours and being part of the story, without the potential of real failure. Yes, maybe it's easy mode, but most video games offer an easy mode. I'd probably also recommend changing the replay rules for a "casual campaign" to the same character can't play the same scenario twice, but repeats are fine with different characters. It's not like having played it before is going to provide much of an advantage... you pretty much can't lose anyway.
If such a campaign existed, I'd probably play some fairly unoptimized characters in it that had fun builds, but builds that just didn't cut it for the more demanding PFS and Core PFS campaigns. I'd also continue playing optimized characters in the other campaigns. Harsh death penalty simply puts an emphasis on not dying. Not dying places an emphasis on maximizing power to minimize loss potential.
I want to reemphasize that I'm not advocating taking anything away from anyone. I'm simply saying that providing a more casual option would likely reach a much wider audience, who would all be purchasing Paizo products. Influx of resources for Paizo means Paizo has a lot more available to make the game you love even better. It seems like it makes sense to me, even if some people would hate such a play mode, they would have the option of not playing it. Options are only bad if it makes the management unmanageable.
I agree with this and I would be willing to bet that the majority of people would agree with it. How can I say this? Lets take a look at video games. Over the years, death penalty has continued to be reduced. Saving and loading games was added, allowing you to continue with very little loss after a death. MMORPGs have continued to reduce death penalty because people didn't think it was fun. The continually growing video game market speaks volumes to how successful this strategy has been in capturing peoples interest. Most people generally have enough difficulties in real life and look to relax and have fun in their leisure activities.
That said, I fully acknowledge that there is a small segment of the population that enjoys punishment in their entertainment. There are extremely hard modes added to games and things like hardcore in Diablo type games that simply wipe massive amount of hours of time invested if you die. There are people that play these hard modes, but its a small minority. If PFS is designed to be a hard mode minority interest, then so be it. Save or dies would certainly add to that. However, it's growth will always be limited due to the minority appeal.
I'm not entirely sure how you could "fix" this to appeal to a broader audience. Potentially remove the death penalty. Maybe the cost is no Prestige gained if you die in a scenario, but you can pick up a pregen, continue playing the rest of the scenario and you still gain the gold and experience. I know this will sound like sacrilege to some people, but when the point of the game is for people to have fun, this *should* accomplish it for a large segment of player base. Then again, this presents the same sort of issues that splitting a Core campaign caused for organizers and tracking, as well as potentially splitting the player base.
I believe that most people do not enjoy punishing loss in their entertainment. At the end of the day, most people want to "win" in their entertainment. They want to have a good time with other people looking to have a good time. I see a "casual mode" attracting a lot more players and that IS the goal of PFS in the end, isn't it?
Sin of Asmodeus wrote:
Aversion to death goes up the higher the cost of recovering from death. As I mentioned, in my home game, I don't punish the players for character death (unless you consider making a new character punishment). They are willing to take chances that sometimes result in death. I don't see the same sort of chances being taken in PFS play simply because death is so costly to recover from. If death is supposed to happen, you don't punish people for it. If the punishment is high, most people don't want it to happen and it sort of seems like it's not supposed to. I'm sure there's a segment of the player base that is completely happy rolling up a new character from scratch after losing one that they have put months into, but I'm also sure that there's another segment (that's probably at least as large) that doesn't gain enjoyment from losing months worth of progress.
Also, you are supposed to be the heroes. The heroes in most stories win in the end. So, yes. I believe the players are supposed to win. The story kind of sucks if it ends with, "You die and the bad guy wins".
I recently heard the tale of a group of PFS players that entered a difficult high tier adventure. Within 15-20 minutes of play, one of the players had failed a save or die roll (DC 24) and was out of the game. Does that really add to the fun?
I know that if I had made time in my schedule to play, drove out to the location, bought snacks and drinks for the game, all looking forward to a good time, then was removed from the game 15 minutes in by an unlucky dice roll (or two... rerolls), I would be less than happy with the experience. I'm fine with save or dies in my home game because I don't impose a death penalty on my players. If you die, you roll up a new character at the same character level and average wealth level as everyone else. This has kept the game fun for everyone, encouraged "heroic" acts (that may result in an untimely death) and significantly reduces that stress that surrounds character deaths for some players. In PFS, dying hurts... a lot. Not only are you out for the rest of that game, there's a significant expense involved with recovering from that death. You also don't ever get to play that scenario again, barring GM star expenditure or a Core character. Personally, I think the cost is WAY too high for rolling two 1's in a row.
I'm curious what everyone else thinks. Do save or die spells add to Pathfinder Society play specifically? Do you think they have the potential to drive players away? Do you think they are fun? Do you tone them down some way in your own home games? Do you feel good about killing players with save or dies as a PFS GM? How do you feel about being killed by one as a PFS player?
Ran into the crash on start up issue again. However, this time I believe I have found a workaround. When I attempted to open the app after the crash, while it was loading I pressed the home button twice to pull up a list of running apps and swiped the Combat Manager app upward, which force quits it. I then reopened the app and it didn't lock up. I'm wondering if iOS still thinks Combat Manager is running after the crash and runs into an issue when attempting to open it again? Anyway, hopefully this workaround works for anyone else running into this issue as well. :)
Unfortunately I have run into the crash issue again and have been unable to resolve it this way this time. :/