Complicated Character Builds and Legality


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Shadow Lodge

I was having a discussion with someone today about some players I know that have some VERY Complicated builds

the conversation had taken a turn to understanding the builds as a GM and Convention settings

as far as I am aware if the player owns the Additional resources in question... offers explanation to the GM of the feats / Items ect used in a timely fashion . the player is well within his power and rights to use them ... regardless of comprehension

the person I was discussing this with seemed to not agree and said that if he didn't understand it and the event organizer didnt understand it the player is getting a pregen

it was my understanding that campaign rules were Written in stone and could not be altered by players or GM's

I know I would hate going to a Convention having a character that I had $50+ in Additional Resource Material (physical books) and have a GM inspect the character then not understand my build before the table started ...and hand me a Pregen

so the bottom Line ... if a build is so complicated that a GM has a hard time understanding it ... but is legal in every way(owning additional resources/ calculations are accurate ect.) .. does that give the GM the right to tell the player "no here's a Pregen" ?

Lantern Lodge

In this particular case, I believe some explanation is warranted as far as what precisely constitutes as a complicated build. I can't think of any combinations I or my group (and we are career powergamers) have played or dreamed up that are so complex they couldn't be understood.

Very generally speaking however, I'd say it's unlikely a character would get turned away from a table. Characters are rarely the problem. Sure powergamed characters can thwart alot of the challenge of a session, but if actual game interference is occuring I think it's far more likely the player is being a jackass and less about what that player is playing.


You seem to be equating "complicated" to "makes heavy use of Additional Resources."

I've never played a Druid. From what I understand, they can be quite complex.

If you make the assumption that the Core Rulebook cannot be disallowed, then complex characters cannot be disallowed by virtue of being complex.

That being said, bringing an overly complicated character that significantly slows down the game is bad form. Local social pressure should kick in, in order to encourage the player to "speed up" his build, such as the figurative Druid player bringing index cards as a reference for his wildshape forms.

-Matt

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

If you're utilizing all the rules correctly, and own the books they come from, and they are all legal, then there is no basis for being told "You can't play that."

Does that mean that there aren't any GMs who will get personal by saying you SHOULDN'T play that? No. But that's a conversation of a different type.

Edit: And Mattastrophic has a good way to look at this, by the way. If a player is slowing the game way down due to complications, then that, too, is a different conversation. Doesn't mean he's not legal, though.

Grand Lodge Venture-Agent, Texas—Mansfield aka sieylianna

If the GM can't understand it, he certainly can't evaluate whether it is a legal build or not. I can sympathize with him, the number of cheesy and/or broken classes/combos (magus 2wf with katana better than a fighter and musket d12 touch attack (x4 critical) are at the top of my list, and it certainly does nothing to encourage me to DM more PFS.


Absolutely not. "Complicated" does not equate to "illegal" - organizers and GMs need to know how to play the game they're judging.

That said, this sort of thing does become a problem as more books (and more power creep) arrive on the scene. Years ago, I used to play and GM a lot of Living Greyhawk - especially high level tables - but it got to a point that there were so many books and literally hundreds of prestige classes, feats, spells and so on, that it was simply not possible to know or understand everything. I finally was GMing a level 18 table at a DragonCon battle interactive, where PCs included a flying, wraithstriking kraken sorcerer (courtesy of Shapechange), and I was literally just going on the honor system - if they said they could do it, I trusted them. It's less a problem when you're GMing a local group of players whom you get to know, but in the "anything goes" setting of conventions, well...

PFS, of course, effectively caps at 11th level, save for retirement scenarios and 12+ modules - 99% of public play, though, is constrained to mid-high power levels, so it's a bit more "learnable". That said, there are certainly some issues which arise, even for experienced judges (I was playing "Echoes of Everwar 2" the other day, 10-11, and a PC - legally built, I might add - was sporting 42 AC and 31 (or so) touch AC, earning a skeptical look from the judge. No audit, but it was an uncomfortable moment at the table, and interrupted the flow of a tense combat.)

Some suggestions for organizers and judges which ARE within their purview would be (i) GM at a level you are comfortable with - I know many newer judges who will only judge 1-5 or 1-7, which is wise, I think - and (ii) simply don't feature higher level scenarios at game days until the organizer or judge is better equipped to deal with high level characters.

You're less likely to face complex cheese at a 1-2 run of "Dalsine" than a 10-11 run of "Sarkorian"!


42 AC for an 11th level character is on the straightforward side, isn't it?

Full Plate +3 (12)
Heavy Shield +3 (5)
Dex Bonus +4 (fighter)
RoP +3
Amulet of NA +3
DR Ioun Stone +1
Shield Focus +1
Improved Shield Focus +1
Combat Expertese +3
Fighting Defensively +2
Dodge +1

That's AC 46...

Shadow Lodge

Mattastrophic wrote:


I've never played a Druid. From what I understand, they can be quite complex.

-Matt

I find it funny (but not illogical) that you immediately jumped to Druid ... the character that sparked this is indeed a Druid / Monk Build (of course it spread out and briefly touched on class Dips ect.)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Drogon wrote:

If you're utilizing all the rules correctly, and own the books they come from, and they are all legal, then there is no basis for being told "You can't play that."

Unless of course you're using things specifically forbidden by the campaign. You can't use the Spellslinger even if you own Ultimate Combat, And if your Synthesist Summoner, wasn't made before the grandfather period, you can't have one. Likewise you can't use a power form the "random roll" tables of Blood of Angels/Devils because it's specifically forbidden.

Without something substantial and specific behind the OP's rant, there's nothing to comment about.

Shadow Lodge

LazarX wrote:


And if your Synthesist Summoner, wasn't made before the grandfather period, you can't have one.

there was no grandfather period ... they are Illegal - rebuild your character

I need to regress my statment a bit ... the Conversation was based off of Complex builds in my Area ... vs. the oppisite from his Area ... one of the Prime examples .. was this Druid / Monk Character that is VERY Complicated and was utilized as the "Spotlight" for the discussion

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

LazarX wrote:
Drogon wrote:

If you're utilizing all the rules correctly, and own the books they come from, and they are all legal, then there is no basis for being told "You can't play that."

Unless of course you're using things specifically forbidden by the campaign. You can't use the Spellslinger even if you own Ultimate Combat, And if your Synthesist Summoner, wasn't made before the grandfather period, you can't have one. Likewise you can't use a power form the "random roll" tables of Blood of Angels/Devils because it's specifically forbidden.

Without something substantial and specific behind the OP's rant, there's nothing to comment about.

Right. That's why the "and they are all legal" part is there.

Shadow Lodge

so what do you tell a GM / Event Coordinator when they try to do this?

and there are even worse combinations of the question I just asked

Dark Archive

Has this happened to anyone ever? Have they ever had a build so complicated that both their table GM and the event coordinator could not understand how it worked?

At the point where no one but you understands your character build, maybe you should take a step back and play something a little easier to understand.

Shadow Lodge

Mergy wrote:

Has this happened to anyone ever? Have they ever had a build so complicated that both their table GM and the event coordinator could not understand how it worked?

At the point where no one but you understands your character build, maybe you should take a step back and play something a little easier to understand.

you may think this is an implication of myself as the "Character build" or the "Hypothetical Player" but I assure you it is not

my PFS Profile doesnt have any druids in it ...

has it ever happened ? dunno ... doubt it ... but the fact is that in the conversation I had ... the guy brought it up as a possible outcome ... and I know that trying to tell someone "No you cant do that" generally devolves into an argument ...

Dark Archive

Without seeing the build we cant really comment though, as I cannot see a situation in which both a GM and the event organiser would be incapable of understanding a build (unless its built in the very grey areas which generally leads to table variation anyway).

We would need some type of idea as to what the build was and what it was supposed to do to be able to say definitively if it is even legal.

Generally if you have all the rules with you it should be understandable, if you dont its unplayable anyway.

Shadow Lodge

I can tell the thread is getting away from the issue at hand ... and focusing on 1 character concept... that is partially my fault

the statment was made as a general statment of "if I don't understand it and the Event Organizer Doesnt Understand it I would hand them a pregen"

and

" I can't see anyone saying, "Yeah, if the GM doesn't understand the build he has to let the player run at his table'"

"The GM has the right (Some would say responsibility) to understand what a player is doing with their character...and reject anything he/she doesn't understand"

those are Direct quotes from the Conversation

Dark Archive

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If a player showed up with a build that I actually couldn't understand, I wouldn't feel comfortable with them playing at my table. I can't make them play a pregen, but I can tell them that they aren't welcome at my table with that specific character.

I don't think that's me crushing their fun. That's me attempting to stay sane.


I think that is silly and basis the judgment on one person. If that person GMing does not know the rules well enough to understand someones build I would not want to play with that GM. If they do not take the time to understand and read the build then they have no right GMing and it is a moot point. Atleast in my opinion.

Sovereign Court 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I feel like every experienced player should be able to understand their character well enough to be able to explain their character to another person. It's great to have all the books there, but if I ever audit a character higher than lvl 1, I'm going to have the player explain their character to me. There's no reason not to use the wealth of knowledge that the player is, and it helps me to focus on the important parts of the build. Also it gives the player a chance to brag about their character, and I feel like most characters who make a complicated build are proud of it and wouldn't mind explaining it to you.

Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

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From a player's perspective, it would probably be a good idea to highlight any unusual resources or odd boons and mention those to the GM before you start. At least that way you don't end up interrupting combat to explain your character.

From the GM's perspective, would it work to ask the players if they have anything odd? Or would you always just do a full audit of each character you haven't seen before? (Here I'm thinking of some tight time-crunch convention slots and what's the best way to handle those.)

Silver Crusade

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If you have a crazy complicated build that has strange abilities, then either A) talk to the GM before the game and explain it, or B) play something else. If I am at a con, I sit down to GM, and I don't have much wiggle room in a 4 hour slot, now is probably not the time to have a crazy build that will result in an audit. Please do yourself a favor and either play something simpler or make a quick handout.

Dark Archive

The point being if you cant make the GM understand your build how can he determine its legality anyway?

I dont believe that there are any builds too complicated to be understood by anyone given adequate time and discussion, however if you know you have a complicated build you should also know exactly which points will cause issues.

For example in the druid/monk case I would guess dragon style and feral combat training for extra natural attack damage, which should be fairly easy to illustrate in a simple manner to the GM and take about 3-5 minutes.

However if the player doesnt make any effort to assist the GM in understanding how his character works, and its a choice between the GM being unable to adjudicate the character correctly or not starting the slot within a reasonable timeframe (which detracts from the fun of the other 3-6 players at the table), then the player will probably find himself not able to play that table.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

Caderyn wrote:


For example in the druid/monk case I would guess dragon style and feral combat training for extra natural attack damage, which should be fairly easy to illustrate in a simple manner to the GM and take about 3-5 minutes.

Try wild shaped feral combat style, Janni Rush, Vital Strike. Even extremely experienced GMs take 15 minutes to look it all up and actually believe that it all stacks. It just doesn't sound like it should. And even experienced GMs don't know everything, it comes down to what you play or know. I can tell you in a flash if a particular monk or cleric build is legal but I might get lost on an alchemist. As Haller said, at some point you just have to take it on trust unless it sounds impossible.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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I also have trouble imagining a build so complicated that I can't understand how it works (although character sheets that are too sloppy to understand are an all too common issue). If a player is trying to tell me what they are doing, and I can't understand it, then I'll ask them to explain how the abilities in question work. If they can't explain it well enough for me to understand, then either they don't understand the rules themselves (and are probably breaking them unintentionally), or they're trying to pull a fast one on me.

Grand Lodge

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The rules requiring a player bring all the Additional Resources books their PC uses along with a copy of the Additional Resources list is primarily to allow the GM access to read any rules they are not familiar with so they can properly adjudicate any issues with the PC during the game.

If the build is so complicated that it is going to take more than 10 minutes for the average GM to fully understand it, that build is probably in poor form to blindside a GM with. If you do have a complicated PC and you can let the GM review it well before the game, it is in your best interest to do so.

More importantly, a GM can't be forced to run with the PC at the table.

The GM can always walk. It's a terrible thing to come to that point, but if the player insists on playing a PC that the GM doesn't have time to understand (and it does take time to fully understand a complex build), then the GM can quit the table. If it is a big event, the organizer can probably switch GMs between two tables or seat the complex PC at another table. If it is a small event or even a 1 table event the GM that just walked could go sit at another table and reform the group taking everyone except the complex PC. It amounts to not allowing the complex PC at the table, but that is really just semantics.

Asking a player to explain their PC, doesn't always work. Most times the player is spouting off facts and using unfamiliar terms so fast that the GMs head is spinning.

Sometimes a problem can be found quickly or it is clear that the player does not fully understand their build or in which book each component of the PC is. In that case the GM is fully in their rights to ban the PC so the game may continue in a timely manner.

Every effort should be made to seat the complex PC, but not if it is going to take more than 10 minutes for any available GM (or even knowledgeable player that the GM trusts) to OK the PC.

The alternative is to take the player's word that the PC is legal and accept all the crazy things the player says it can do.

Players need to understand they have hours, days, weeks to develop a PC and put it together. A wealth of input from the messageboards. A GM who may only own a copy of the Core Rulebook, PFS Field Guide and Bestiary has about 5 minutes to understand that same PC.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Wraith235 wrote:

so what do you tell a GM / Event Coordinator when they try to do this?

and there are even worse combinations of the question I just asked

Then you tell the GM that he has no right to deny your character just because he doesn't understand the rules regarding your character. Same with the event coordinator.

However, if they persist, you probably should just stand up and leave and ask for your money back from the convention.

Then instantly report them to your local Venture-Officer.

I can't imagine any Venture-Officer denying you the right to play a character because they don't understand the rules behind the build.

Keep in mind though, there is a HUGE caveat to the above statement.

If you use borderline loopholes to build your character, then the issue isn't that he's complicated and the GM/Event Coordinator doesn't know how to adjudicate it and so decide to be jerks and not let you play it; the issue is that you've built a character where potential table variation determines whether the characters is actually, indeed legal.

Grand Lodge

Obviously there are differing views among venture officers on this.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Mergy wrote:

If a player showed up with a build that I actually couldn't understand, I wouldn't feel comfortable with them playing at my table. I can't make them play a pregen, but I can tell them that they aren't welcome at my table with that specific character.

I don't think that's me crushing their fun. That's me attempting to stay sane.

But at the same time, in a public setting, unless you can show them how their character is illegal, you don't really have the right to tell them they can't play the character.

In a private PFS game, you do. But then you probably wouldn't invite that player with that character in the first place.

I have a hard time though, believing that there are any combinations that are so obscure and useful enough to matter, that you'd find so many people that couldn't understand it, that they'd ask you to not play it. That concept alone makes no sense to me.

The only way I see this conversation actually making any sense is:

You say, "I have a complicated build that nobody can understand and they won't let me play it."

They say, "your character build is illegal because of x, y, and/or z."

And you say, "no its not, you just don't understand it."

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Don Walker wrote:
Obviously there are differing views among venture officers on this.

I'm actually quite surprised any Venture-Officer would agree to denying a player the right to play a character just because they don't understand a build (or don't have the time to understand the build correctly.)

Shadow Lodge

Grey Area's and Table Variation I don't include in this ... those are and always will be subject to the will of the GM ... and typically players creating inside those boundaries know they are well ahead of time that they are and accept what comes from them from table to table

Liberty's Edge 5/5

To Don's point though.

If the build is so complex, that the player can't even understand it properly, then a GM probably has the right to ask the player to play something else.

So warning to players:

Understand your build, and if you make it really complex, figure out a way to quickly (key word quickly) explain it in easy to understand laymans terms.

Don't hide loopholes inside complexity.

Any GM has the right to deny a character based on his interpretation of rules that may have table variation. It isn't about them not understanding a complex build. Its about them denying what they interpret ambiguity as illegal.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

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Don Walker wrote:
Obviously there are differing views among venture officers on this.

Indeed. There are also some GMs who audit every character sheet and chronicle when they sit down and others who have never looked at a player's sheet.

Andrew Christian wrote:
I have a hard time though, believing that there are any combinations that are so obscure and useful enough to matter, that you'd find so many people that couldn't understand it, that they'd ask you to not play it. That concept alone makes no sense to me.

The issue here has to do with enjoyment more than anything. At conventions and game days I see a lot of new GMs. (I'm a relatively new one myself.) It's actually a drive in a lot of areas to get new GMs. If two players sit down with builds that a GM needs 15 minutes of one-on-one time each to understand, it's frustrating to the bog-standard fighter, cleric, and ranger also sitting at the table waiting to go.

And I've seen what happens when the GM instead puts it on trust and doesn't understand what the player is doing. He rolls out the mini-boss and the Gunquisitor puts him down before anyone acts. If the GM doesn't want to slow the game down to check it out, he feels frustrated and isn't sure that what just happened was legal. There's a palpable lowering of the fun level at the table. Honestly the only solution is experience.

I wouldn't turn someone away. But I can see why a GM in a tightly timed session would. There's no answer that's going to make everyone happy.


Funky Badger wrote:

42 AC for an 11th level character is on the straightforward side, isn't it?

Full Plate +3 (12)
Heavy Shield +3 (5)
Dex Bonus +4 (fighter)
RoP +3
Amulet of NA +3
DR Ioun Stone +1
Shield Focus +1
Improved Shield Focus +1
Combat Expertese +3
Fighting Defensively +2
Dodge +1

That's AC 46...

I would say straightforward would be including all they types of bonuses to show that it all stacks up, and not having any abbreviations.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Wraith235 wrote:
Grey Area's and Table Variation I don't include in this ... those are and always will be subject to the will of the GM ... and typically players creating inside those boundaries know they are well ahead of time that they are and accept what comes from them from table to table

Without seeing the complexity of the build you are specifically discussing, or seeing some other perfectly legal build that is so difficult to understand it would have someone banning it, its hard to really continue this conversation.

I find it really hard to fathom that a build would really be that complex without having some table variation of legality or loophole within it.

We also aren't playing magic here, so why someone wants to create a super insta-win combo is beyond me.


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1) Get a quick overview
2) Play, trusting it's all on the up and up
3) Audit/dissect later if time allows.

That would be what I would do back in the LG days.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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To save yourself angst, if you are going to build this mythical crazy build that is so complex folks won't understand it...

write up a cheat sheet with references and page numbers.

Have it pre-explained so the GM understands whats happening.

I played at a table at Gen Con with a Maneuver Master Monk, who was essentially grapple, pin, round 1, tie up round 2 and neutering entire encounters almost by himself.

But the player build his character based on 3.5 understanding of the grapple rules.

I felt like a jerk, as a player at the table, explaining to another player how he didn't understand the rules behind his character. But the GM was a first time con GM, and was very nervous. I had to step in and explain why the character was not being played by the rules.

Part of the problem with relatively easy to understand builds is the fact that players don't fully understand the rules behind the build. They only read (or use) half the rule, and then get perturbed when you correct them. The half they don't use is conveniently the half that gives all the negatives or penalties for using said rule.

This is only exacerbated with complex builds.

So KNOW YOUR BUILD. I think I'll mitigate what I said above. If you can't explain your build to me in an understandable way, within 5 minutes, then you obviously don't understand your own build well enough to play the character.

Shadow Lodge

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Bring whatever cheese you want to the table. The end result will still be the same.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

And how do you handle a GM who doesn't understand the NPC's abilities that he is running?

And, afterwards, you cannot be sure if it was his misuse of said ability that lead to the TPK or not.

Oh, add in that said GM was the VC (and only area VO) at the time?

Grand Lodge

With the wonderful world of the internet and the PRD, it's really not hard for the player to open a word document and copy and paste all the archetype and new feat cheese they need for the character into one printout. Give the printout to the GM at the beginning of the game so they can educate themselves on each feat/class feature and how it works.

If it's more complicated than that, it's probably not legal.

Sovereign Court

For each of my PFS characters I have a spreadsheet called Sources. It begins with a listing of classes, feats and traits that I am using that are not in the core rulebook and the name of the book in which they appear. (I also carry printouts of those traits and feats.)

I then list everything (BAB, etc.) that contributes to my attack with my primary weapon. I get the total by using SUM. I do the same for my AC. And I have even done this for my damage output.

All this can be printed on one 8½ x 11 sheet, usually the back of the third page of my character sheet.

thanks,

Kodger

Grand Lodge

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Also, the third most common GM comment should be: "Gimme the maths on that result." This habit gets players ready on their toes to justify their skill, attack roll and armour modifiers at any given time.

(The second most common GM comment is "Make me a Will save. You want to roll high.")

Shadow Lodge

Andrew Christian wrote:
, within 5 minutes, then you obviously don't understand your own build well enough to play the character.

or are incredibly longwinded ;-p

The Exchange

Honestly, what build is so complicated that it takes more than 5 minutes to explain?

Grand Lodge

KestlerGunner wrote:

With the wonderful world of the internet and the PRD, it's really not hard for the player to open a word document and copy and paste all the archetype and new feat cheese they need for the character into one printout. Give the printout to the GM at the beginning of the game so they can educate themselves on each feat/class feature and how it works.

If it's more complicated than that, it's probably not legal.

The problem with this is that it isn't legal.

If a GM is not familiar with particular Additional Resource features of a PC the GM is assumed, by the Guide, to review those rules in one of the following:

- The physical rulebook
- A watermarked PDF of the rulebook
- A printout of the relevant pages from a watermarked PDF of the rulebook

That's it.

Some GMs will accept photocopied pages from a book too, but they are not indicated by the rules.

The time it takes to look up a bunch of rules the GM is not familiar with in multiple books can easily take more than 5 minutes.

Don't forget, the GM also needs to verify that each feature is also allowed on the Additional Resources list. That is not always easy as a lot of the time the list will only say what is not allowed from a particular source. Then it is necessary to know which book the feature is in.

It is probably best for a player to create a page that lists every non-Core feature, the source and page numbers. Then perhaps a few notes on how everything works together. That would go a long way to helping a GM understand the PC.

The Exchange

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Verifying a complex build can easily take more than 5 minutes, but if you're not monologing like a super villian you should be able to describe how your build works in less than 5 minutes.

Silver Crusade

If I'm faced with a monster build with a bunch of weird rules stacked on top of each other from 20 different books, I'll take the nice convenient hand out that summarizes all the information with gratitude. I do not have the time to review it all, and more importantly, the other 5 players at the table do not have the time for me to review it all. Thankfully, I haven't run into this issue yet, but I'd rather not have to do a full audit of character at a con when schedules are tight as is.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I can think of a number of character builds so complex that I wouldn't be able to interpret them whilst sat at the table:

1. Magus, specifically how Spell Combat and Spell Strike inter-relate. Before running an infamous scenario I had to read that section three times, then sit down and think about it for a while, then go online and double-check my interpretation and then wade through hundreds of posts about using cantrips with it, before I got to the point that I was comfortable running the NPC. There is no way I could have made a valid judgement call if faced with those rules for the first time in a convention setting, under time pressure and with players waiting.

2. Synthesist, I read those rules twice in detail and still wasn't confident enough to create one as a character. There were just too many ambiguities and in the end I decided it wasn't worth the effort, which turned out well!

3. Gunslingers, I hate guns in fantasy and have no intention of either playing one, running a scenario containing one, or reading the class description. I would never turn a player away from the table or treat them differently if that is what they wanted to play, but neither would I be able to adjudicate whether they were playing them correctly or not. This would equally be true for a GM who hasn't bought the book or seen the class before.

In all of those cases I would just run on the honour system and if something outrageous appeared to be happening I would ask for the details and query it later on the boards. The problem with these builds is that even if the player explained it to me in detail, and I looked at the rules for a few minutes, I would still have no more certainty than if I just accepted their word for it in the first place. In the case of the Magus and Synthesist that would be due to ambiguity, and I wouldn't know what the consensus was without checking the boards. In the case of the gunslinger (or any unfamiliar class) it would be due to a lack of context, such as associated class abilities, and I would feel obliged to read the whole class in detail before passing any kind of judgement.

In both cases I'm not going to waste everyone's time doing that at the table and it's hardly fair to make a snap judgement call based on one quick reading. I do understand why GMs might ask someone to play a pregen instead, but I don't think that's the right call when it's the GMs lack of knowledge that's the issue. The honour system is a much friendlier way of getting around the problem, particularly as every player is a potential GM anyway. We wouldn't be asking them to run games if we didn't trust them, so why not trust them as players?

Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, West Virginia—Charleston aka Netopalis

Don Walker wrote:
KestlerGunner wrote:

With the wonderful world of the internet and the PRD, it's really not hard for the player to open a word document and copy and paste all the archetype and new feat cheese they need for the character into one printout. Give the printout to the GM at the beginning of the game so they can educate themselves on each feat/class feature and how it works.

If it's more complicated than that, it's probably not legal.

The problem with this is that it isn't legal.

If a GM is not familiar with particular Additional Resource features of a PC the GM is assumed, by the Guide, to review those rules in one of the following:

- The physical rulebook
- A watermarked PDF of the rulebook
- A printout of the relevant pages from a watermarked PDF of the rulebook

That's it.

Some GMs will accept photocopied pages from a book too, but they are not indicated by the rules.

The time it takes to look up a bunch of rules the GM is not familiar with in multiple books can easily take more than 5 minutes.

Don't forget, the GM also needs to verify that each feature is also allowed on the Additional Resources list. That is not always easy as a lot of the time the list will only say what is not allowed from a particular source. Then it is necessary to know which book the feature is in.

It is probably best for a player to create a page that lists every non-Core feature, the source and page numbers. Then perhaps a few notes on how everything works together. That would go a long way to helping a GM understand the PC.

Question: What is to stop a player from doing both, for the GM's convenience? A page with all of the stuff copied in so that they don't have to sift through rather dense pages to find exactly what it is (along with a note of each book that is being used to generate this document), and then just showing the GM the physical copies? For example, if I wanted to prove Valashmai Veteran, I could do this:

Trait: Valashmai Veteran: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Perception checks, and a +1 trait bonus on Survival checks in jungle terrain. One of these skills becomes a class skill for you.
Source: Pathfinder Player Companion: Dragon Empires Primer

Then it's simply a matter of proving that you do own the Dragon Empires Primer.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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Stormfriend wrote:


In all of those cases I would just run on the honour system and if something outrageous appeared to be happening I would ask for the details and query it later on the boards.

Exactly this!

As a GM, just because I don't have time to wade through 10 actual books to verify your build is legit, I'd accept a cheat sheet and trust the player as long as they showed me they owned the books.


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Don Walker wrote:
KestlerGunner wrote:

With the wonderful world of the internet and the PRD, it's really not hard for the player to open a word document and copy and paste all the archetype and new feat cheese they need for the character into one printout. Give the printout to the GM at the beginning of the game so they can educate themselves on each feat/class feature and how it works.

If it's more complicated than that, it's probably not legal.

The problem with this is that it isn't legal.

I'm pretty sure he's talking about using that to just help the GM understand his build.

That said, I would suggest printing the relevant pages from a pdf or photocopying pages from the books. Highlight what the GM needs to read. That way, the GM knows he's reading the real text of the class/feat/item whatever. As long as you have a copy of the physical book with you, the photocopies work well (and keep the GM from flipping through books).

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