What to do when a player tries to prevent you from finishing your faction mission


Pathfinder Society


Played a scenario this weekend with a guy who was quite adamant about my character not completing her faction mission. I will admit that he was a new player (new to PFS, not to roleplaying) so I can cut him some slack there, but I really want to know how to handle this kind of situation. I can't really get into the details without spoiling some of the story, so see below if you've played Delirium's Tangle:

Spoiler:

The mission for the scenario was to find a lost Minotaur Prince who had gone missing in the Tangle, and to return a missing artifact, if we could find it. The artifact was an hourglass, and my faction mission (Osirion) was to bring back a sample of the sand inside the hourglass.

So we find the Minotaur, and we find the hourglass. With some help from the rogue (Andoran), I manage to get the hourglass open and reach in to grab a sample of the sand. As I do so, the rogue goes b+&@@!! crazy on me and tries to stop me. First he tried to swipe the hourglass from me before I could take some sand. Fortunately, he rolled a 1 on a DEX check so I was able to get a sample of sand before he could take the hourglass. When he did manage to pry the hourglass away from me, he demanded that I return the sample of sand that I'd taken. I refused. He said I was sabotaging the mission and that we weren't going to get our full reward since I'd "defaced" the artifact we'd come to get. My character shrugged, rolled her eyes, and ignored him, at which point he tried to stab me. The GM had to remind him that PvP is not allowed in PFS. Then he tried to use sleight of hand to steal the sand from me. GM said that was considered PvP too, and wouldn't allow it. Then he tried to get the rest of the party to help him tie me up so they could bring me before the Pathfinder Society and charge me with theft. Nobody would help him (and I doubt the GM would have allowed it anyway.) When we gave our report to the venture captain, the rogue tried to get him to arrest me and give back the sand.

In the end, everything turned out fine (except for the rogue, and his player, being absolutely livid at me/my character) and we all got our full rewards for finishing the mission and finishing our faction missions. But the rogue made it abundantly clear that if he had rolled higher on his DEX check when I was taking the sand from the hourglass, he would have taken the hourglass and not let me get the sample I needed to complete my faction mission. What do you do, in this kind of situation, where a PC/player tries to physically (in-game) prevent you from completing your faction mission? I should add that I paraphrased quite a bit here, we did do quite a bit of "role-playing" which mostly consisted of my character trying to explain that she needed a sample of the sand for her boss (without going into too much detail) and him yelling that I'm a thief (which I found amusing, since he was playing a rogue and I an oracle) and a b$+~* and a traitor to the party. He was not budging at all and if he had gotten the hourglass away from me sooner, he would have kept it on his person so I wouldn't have been able to get the sand without attacking him, which of course is not allowed.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

As a GM, it is our responsibility to make sure that things like this don't get out of hand.

So as a GM, I would not have even allowed a Dex roll for him to try and get the hour glass away from you in the first place.

I play an Andoran Battle Oracle. And since my character is NG, Bbauzh is rather opposed to stealing. But when he's on a mission with Taldan guys, who seem to be trying to steal everything they come across, he tells them not to steal, that its wrong, then rolls his eyes when they ignore him and say that he won't have any part in trying to steal, so don't ask him for help with it.


Sounds pretty obvious that the player was reacting according to their own out-of-character perceptions, above and beyond in-character responses. Obviously, as you found out, your faction mission DIDN`T conflict with the main PFS mission, and it seems strange (in-character) to bring this fact up in front of the VC if he was worried about `removing sand` invalidating the main mission.

Even that action (in front of VC) should be construed as PvP, e.g. enlisting NPCs to act against another PC. The player should understand that faction missions aren`t written to directly conflict with PFS missions. I`m fine if the character has in-character reasons to not like your faction mission for moral reasons, they can ROLE PLAY this opposition, but the premise of PFS is that all members agree to cooperate, and not put their own morals above other members.

I guess if the Rogue had pocketed the hour-glass before anybody else, and refused to help you, it wouldn`t be so out of bounds, but the players` actions when they couldn`t do this are definitely out-of-bounds, and as a GM I would have been much more rigorous, perhaps giving them a warning at first that they are at risk of violating PvP restrictions and their character would become non-legal if they persisted. It sounds like the GM was winging it with a DEX check, that probably should have been CMB, and CMB checks are `attacks`, prohibited ala PvP.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

In this case, the don't be a jerk rule preempts all other rules. You may want to remind your GM that PvP is prohibited, as is knowingly interfering with another's faction mission. For example...grabbing and breaking object X from a player once he/she has collected it because the character thought it looked funny versus sundering the same object X in combat before a player Y can collect it for their faction mission because the player thought it was evil. Also, as you said, the player was new and probably did not know any better. It might be a good idea to have your GM sit down and remind this new player that The Pathfinder Society is a mechanism for us all to play together, and there is a certain amount of flexibility that must be permitted in an OP game.

Report, Explore, Cooperate after all.

Silver Crusade

Yeah, as a Gm I would not allow such an attempt to be made. There was no real reason for his character to act that way.. There are very few times when faction missions should cause conflict within the party. It can happen but normally there are ways around it that work for everyone.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

In an effort to answer your question, I'd say that you should step out of the game (out of character, obviously) and explain to him what faction missions are and what they do for each character. Put heavy emphasis on the fact that your completing a mission has no impact on his character's development, nor will it affect the game's story (Factions "winning" at the end of a season notwithstanding). Make it very clear that the existence of these missions is to add an element of personal role playing that is independent of the scenario, and serves no other purpose than to grant you access to all the goodies that the "fame" grants (and provide an avenue for actual role playing). Again, make it clear that it's not a contest.

If he doesn't wise up, and quickly, then you need to bring in the GM. If the GM isn't doing his job (covered by other posters), then people need to be called out so they can be corrected. Let your Venture Captain know. God forbid your VC doesn't help. Then it's time to start harassing Mark Moreland and/or Hyrum Savage.

Better luck resolving this in the future.


The GM for the scenario was my husband, and it was his first time GMing a PFS game (he's played PFS games and GMed Pathfinder home games, but this was his first time GMing an official PFS game) so part of the reason why I wanted clarification from folks here was so we both know what to do, as a GM, in a situation like this (since I will also be starting to GM some PFS games in the near future.) I was pretty much leaning toward the "don't be a jerk rule preempts everything else" as Ryan Bolduan said. I'm pretty sure that if the rogue had grabbed the hourglass before I could get the sand, the GM/my husband would have intervened at some point if we couldn't come to an understanding with in-game roleplaying. But it's always good to get other GMs perspectives in situations like this. I'm sure my husband was also trying not come across like he was playing favorites with me since we're married.

Also, we were playing the scenario at a convention (not PaizoCon) and the rogue lives in a different city than we do, so I doubt we'll play with him again, unless he shows up at the same con next year.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Quandary wrote:
Even that action (in front of VC) should be construed as PvP, e.g. enlisting NPCs to act against another PC.

I've seen this come up a few times and I have to say I disagree.

If the character honestly feels that the other character has broken the law/betrayed his fellows and feels the need for it to be reported, then doing so isn't PVP. The rogue in this situation had every right to inform the VC of the action. Same goes to reporting to the local authorities when a character has broken the law.

Of course, you have to know your players and how their real motivations work. As a judge, I'd probably keep a closer eye on things in a convention setting, but for most players, it's easy to tell when theyare doing something they truly believe in vs 'being a jerk'.

It's oftentimes easier to just put the complete kibosh on this kind of thing.

I'd talk to the player and make sure that what he was doing was in character, explain to him how you felt about it, and try to come to an understanding. It doesn't appear that he was trying to be a jerk. It actually looks like it could have been some fun role-play.

I noticed that this particular issue could be a problem as well when I first ran this mod.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

Hm. The location of this game made it the perfect opportunity for the player's education. Feel free to grab someone and have them explain the "rules." At Paizocon there was a wealth of options. The same would be the case at any convention, as VCs or store coordinators or veteran players should be available.

As for new GMs having this situation at their tables, my advice is this: nip it in the bud right away. Do what I said above and explain the concept of faction missions. If the player remains recalcitrant, get others involved in the conversation if you can. If it still can't be resolved, the GM holds ultimate control, appearance of favoritism or not. Shut it down. Reach into any management background you may have and resolve the employee conflict you have on your hands. After the game is done, take the player aside and give him a detailed rundown of how all this works, including the PvP and "don't be a jerk" rules.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Maggiethecat wrote:
I'm pretty sure that if the rogue had grabbed the hourglass before I could get the sand, the GM/my husband would have intervened at some point if we couldn't come to an understanding with in-game roleplaying.

Rarely you see things like this happen where a player inadvertantly ruins a faction mission. As mentioned above, doing so purposely is a violation of the PVP rule. Doing it inadvertantly happens on occasion. The important thing to remember that you aren't supposed to earn each faction point.

I've been amused on several occasions when Taldans have literally burned their faction mission on their own.

Sovereign Court Owner - Enchanted Grounds, President/Owner - Enchanted Grounds

cblome59 wrote:
It actually looks like it could have been some fun role-play.

I meant to make a comment like this and got distracted. I, too, thought this might be the case. One question I would have asked as a GM is, "Are you doing this because you're trying to have fun role playing? Or are you actually annoyed about this?" Depending on the player's response, I'd guide the conversation appropriately.

I make this comment because there is a local player (some Venture Captain guy named JP) plays an Oracle of Rovagug. All of our characters come into conflict with this character on a regular basis. It is always in good fun, and we all know that there is nothing personal involved.


There is some suspension of disbelief and continuity that is required in general for organized play systems, and even more so for the Pathfinder Society and this needs to be explained to players like that one who are more used to normal gaming. Think of some of the things that need getting used to: a single magic sword is found, yet all six members of a party can own it; there is no tracking of travel time, or passage of time at all, in between scenarios played, so a player can run the same character through back to back scenarios in the same day that take place in opposite ends of the Inner Sea; whether someone completes a faction mission or not has no bearing at all on the rest of the party, unless the method being used to complete the mission interferes with completing the primary mission of the scenario, and should not be treated seriously or be allowed to interfere with your enjoyment of the game.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

cblome59 wrote:
.If the character honestly feels that the other character has broken the law/betrayed his fellows and feels the need for it to be reported, then doing so isn't PVP. The rogue in this situation had every right to inform the VC of the action. Same goes to reporting to the local authorities when a character has broken the law.

Reporting the actions of other characters to the VC is perfectly acceptable as I believe all pathfinders write reports at the end of the mission anyway. As a pathfinder your actions are subject to the scrutiny of your superiors.

Trying to get another pc arrested by reporting them to the local authorities is clear PvP though, and probably counts as being a jerk depending on how it's handled. Not only is it acting against the other PC but it also puts the pathfinders in a very difficult position as their members know a great deal about missions and the society itself. If the crime was committed on pathfinder business the society could find it's access and influence in that city or country seriously curtailed too. As a DM I would prevent it outright and remind the character where their loyalties lie. As with any secretive group, you keep internal differences internal.

The idea of justice in places like Taldor or Cheliax is absurd anyway. Prisoners could well be sold off into slavery, tortured or given the option to buy their freedom. I always laugh when paladins talk about delivering bad guys to the authorities, as though everyone was granted a fair day in court in front of a jury...

Scarab Sages

If I was a GM, I think I would have handled it in my own special way, but for all the GMs out there, take this as a suggestion, I think this will help.

The higher ups in the PFS know that the factions exist, read enough of the scenarios as a GM and it becomes very clear. As a GM I would try and make this a teachable moment. First I would explain to player "in character" while the artifact is important to the society, the ability to work with other society is just as importaint. If artifact was truely damaged the society would handle the issue. More importantly, the party freed Lord Gyr's (the ruler of Absalom, home to the Pathfinder Society) friend and savior Nuar Spiritskin. It's a huge benefit to the soceity, however it is something that they want to keep quiet, so it would be best that the character keep it quiet and make peace with his fellow pathfinders as they will have to work together again.

Out of character, I would state to the player, taking a sample of the hourglass was expected and part of the game. Getting upset with the player out of the character is pointless, and there will be other events like this in thier future.

If it got so bad that one player tried to hold onto a object like the hourglass to the very end I might be so sneaky as to let him hold on to it till the end, pass it to the VC who inturn ask the faction memeber to hold on to it while he listens to the offending player give a oral report of the delve. After all the players don't know how the Venture Captains play in the "Shadow War". My opinion of the Venture Captains is that they don't want the Status Quo to change too much.

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