Why Illegal?


Pathfinder Society

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Rogues get sneak attack?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
bookrat wrote:

Things in PFS are illegal either because they've been play-tested and shown to be too powerful (such as leadership or certain campaign traits), because they don't work with the math and fairness of the system (such as magical crafting), or because they haven't been properly play-tested yet (such as many of the alternate races).

There may be other reasons, but I would think those are the most prominent three.

Or they may require accounting and/or management which is simply not feasible in network play.


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Hahahaha! I was waiting for the "If X is banned, why not Wizards? They're more powerful." line to be dropped. That's always amusing.

Lantern Lodge

Just my own discernment here, but this is how I see things:

Powergamers gonna' powergame.

If you have an individual who is knowledgeable of the system, and wishes to game it their maximum advantage, they are likely to succeed regardless of how broad or limited the resources available to them.

In that sense, I do not believe "balance" is the purpose of the ban list. I think it is more used to nip in the bud things are either grossly imbalanced by themselves, or things that just do not fit the flavor of the campaign the management is hoping to highlight.

Dark Archive

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CWheezy wrote:
Rogues get sneak attack?

Not very often, no.


Strangely, my monk/ninja gets sneak attack all the time.

But my actual rogue gets all excited if he gets to sneak attack even once in a fight.

-k

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

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Adam Mogyorodi wrote:
CWheezy wrote:
Rogues get sneak attack?
Not very often, no.

Depends on how you build 'em.

My Rogue has Gang Up and Improved Feint, so that gives him a fairly good shot, one way or another, at getting in his sneak attack each round.

On the other hand, he definitely needs to boost his Bluff skill for use with Improved Feint. :( At least, as long as I get those low rolls trying to use it. :(

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

I was getting too much sneak attack with my tengu rogue. it was kinda disturbing.


improved two weapon feint helps a lot. my rogue does it all the time.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Having a party that will try to set up flanks for the rogue also helps

Liberty's Edge

So, I'm new to running the Pathfinder Society and the rules involved (our store is running it for the first time this Wednesday) and I had a couple questions involving illegal properties and the possible repercussions.

First off, I have yet to find a repercussion for playing an illegal race without having a racial boon on your chronicle sheet (still confused on chronicles and boons to be honest). What repercussions are there? What are these odd chronicles? I have found them for specific modules or scenarios, but they seem to be more for attendance than player representation. I understand why some things are illegal (such as certain feats, traits, what have you), but am more or so curious as to what repercussions there are. Is the session considered not able to be reported if the race listed for my player is illegal? Do accounts freeze up? I am unsure and want to make sure before I help my players make their characters.

Second topic, what is the purpose in removing previously playable races? I understand wanting to add variety, but that should be a reason to add more races, not remove some (in my personal opinion).

I guess I am having trouble adjusting to the race restrictions due to the sheer fact that I always encouraged my players to play what they wanted (as long as they found the info in a Pathfinder book). Thanks for any help you can give me and I hope I have properly voiced my curiosities.

Note: this is after a friend of mine and I researched for several hours.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Greetings, and welcome to the Pathfinder Society.

Gman9000 wrote:
I'm new to running the Pathfinder Society and the rules involved and I had a couple questions involving illegal properties and the possible repercussions.

Just before we continue, I wanted to make sure I mention this first. Have you downloaded and read the free Guide to Organized Play? Many answers to beginner questions can be found within.

Gman9000 wrote:
I have yet to find a repercussion for playing an illegal race

You're going to have to probably elaborate on what you mean by "repercussions". There are no "PFS Police" that patrol accounts or game stores. Most things are done on the honor system and assume that players won't out right cheat. Playing a race outside of what's allowed in the Guide (or granted by a Race Boon) would be considered cheating. That character would simply not be allowed to sit down at any Pathfinder Society events.

Gman9000 wrote:
having a racial boon on your chronicle sheet (still confused on chronicles and boons to be honest).

There are a few different types of Chronicle Sheets. The most common are the ones you receive after playing a session. These grant you gold, experience, Prestige, and sometimes minor benefits called "boons". The word "Boon" is used to describe virtually anything positive received on a Chronicle Sheet.

A "Race Boon" is a Chronicle Sheet usually (like 99.9% of the time) acquired by GMing Pathfinder Society events at Conventions. This Chronicle Sheet does not award any gold, experience, or Prestige, but when used as your first sheet for a brand new character it can be used to "unlock" a race normally not allowed in regular play.
Gman9000 wrote:
I understand why some things are illegal (such as certain feats, traits, what have you), but am more or so curious as to what repercussions there are.

So, basically, say I was your GM, and you showed up with a character that had a Campaign Trait (something classically not allowed as a PFS option). I would simply not allow that character to play in the session until it was was made legal.

Gman9000 wrote:
Is the session considered not able to be reported if the race listed for my player is illegal?

In an extreme case, that character would be reported as "Dead". A line would appear through their name on the Paizo website, and every time someone tried to report a session for that character in the future it would come up with a warning that that character was no longer legal. In my 3 years of doing PFS, I've never heard of anyone trying to get away with that, though. It would be fairly egregious.

Gman9000 wrote:
Do accounts freeze up?

No. A Paizo account is required to register PFS characters, but "cheating" at PFS games won't freeze your Paizo account.

Gman9000 wrote:
I am unsure and want to make sure before I help my players make their characters.

Just have them build characters correctly from the beginning. If they run into a minor problem here or there (most everyone does at least once) just remedy the error and move on. Few people will fault you for slip ups so long as you make an effort to right your wrongs.

Gman9000 wrote:
Second topic, what is the purpose in removing previously playable races?

This has only happened once, and only after the Campaign had been active for several years. Although there are likely many reasons why Aasimars and Tieflings were removed, Campaign Leadership stated that the main reason was because the conclusion of Season 5 meant leaving the Worldwound, which was an iconic setting for those two types of races. The new races that took their place are thematic for a trip around the world, and will likely stick with us during Season 7, and perhaps be phased out at the beginning of Season 8 in favor of a new set of replacements.

Basically, it's just to change things up a bit.
Gman9000 wrote:
I understand wanting to add variety, but that should be a reason to add more races, not remove some (in my personal opinion).

Sure thing. It's just how Campaign Leadership has decided to operate this campaign. Every organized play environment will be different. You can't please all of the people all of the time, but you can please most of them most of the time.

Gman9000 wrote:
I guess I am having trouble adjusting to the race restrictions due to the sheer fact that I always encouraged my players to play what they wanted (as long as they found the info in a Pathfinder book).

There need to be limits in an organized campaign. Some of the races out there (Drow, especially) just don't fit the theme of being employed by the Pathfinder Society. Evil races in general are universally shunned for that reason. Some races may have out of character reasons for being restricted, such as any race with a natural ability to fly. Scenarios need to be written for an average party, with average abilities. Tossing too many exotic races into the mix can make writing scenarios challenging.

Gman9000 wrote:
Thanks for any help you can give me and I hope I have properly voiced my curiosities.

Sure thing. If you could just elaborate on what you mean by "repercussions" that would be great, but if you have any more questions please don't hesitate to ask!

As a side note, it's generally a better practice to create your own thread to ask your own questions, rather than necro such an old post about a different topic. When you bring up old news, it naturally skips over anything that may have been clarified since, and can confuse people who start reading through and responding to questions that were asked years ago by people who are likely no longer around. But, since you're new, no whammy this time ;-)


The repercussion of playing an illegal character is the player must fix it. If he doesn't that character should not be allowed in PFS play.

The only races that were freely available and then made unavailable were Aasimar and Tiefling both of which are well over the power curve of the playable races. They were removed for fairly obvious balance reasons although there are still a lot of grandfathered characters of both races around.

About chronicles and races, in general race boons appear on chronicles given out at conventions. People get them for running PFS games at conventions and some are given out as random prizes to players.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Starfinder Superscriber

As an aside, one of the posts from 2013 mentioned some races that had never shown up in PFS scenarios. I can now think of two scenarios that had Wyvaran....

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

Gman9000 wrote:

So, I'm new to running the Pathfinder Society and the rules involved (our store is running it for the first time this Wednesday) and I had a couple questions involving illegal properties and the possible repercussions.

First off, I have yet to find a repercussion for playing an illegal race without having a racial boon on your chronicle sheet (still confused on chronicles and boons to be honest). What repercussions are there? What are these odd chronicles? I have found them for specific modules or scenarios, but they seem to be more for attendance than player representation. I understand why some things are illegal (such as certain feats, traits, what have you), but am more or so curious as to what repercussions there are. Is the session considered not able to be reported if the race listed for my player is illegal? Do accounts freeze up? I am unsure and want to make sure before I help my players make their characters.

Second topic, what is the purpose in removing previously playable races? I understand wanting to add variety, but that should be a reason to add more races, not remove some (in my personal opinion).

I guess I am having trouble adjusting to the race restrictions due to the sheer fact that I always encouraged my players to play what they wanted (as long as they found the info in a Pathfinder book). Thanks for any help you can give me and I hope I have properly voiced my curiosities.

Note: this is after a friend of mine and I researched for several hours.

Gman, I guess the simplest answer is that if you want to play in the shared PFS world you have to abide by the rules set by the campaign leaders.

There is nothing stopping you from using scenarios originally written for Pathfinder Society in a home campaign with rules normally banned by the Guide to Organized Play. However those characters would *NOT* be considered part of the Pathfinder Society Campaign. You shouldn't create profiles or use the scenario reporting tool for them. If they show up to another store or a convention using actual Pathfinder Society rules they won't be allowed to play.

Spoiler:
I have heard tales of people who knowingly create illegal characters and keep running them until they get caught (when they will "fix the mistake"). I have my suspicions about 1 or 2 I have GMed for at conventions. If anyone reading this is tempted to do so, please ask yourself why you feel the need to participate in Organized Play in the first place if that's how you want to play.

4/5

I've had three characters with something illegal originally on them due to either not reading additional resources closely enough or not notcing one line that made two archetypes incompatible. In each case I spotted it by about level 3, fixed it, and moved on. If you're curious, the things I had missed were as follows : Daemon bloodline sorcerors are illegal in PFS. (Though oddly, other evil outsider bloodlines are legal.) Empiricist investigator and sleuth both replace swift alchemy so no empiricist/sleuth which is a shame because at first glance it looked awesome. The alternate dwarven racial trait craftsman (replaces greed) is not PFS legal, I assume because PFS does not like anything that potentially increases a day job check.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Gman9000 wrote:


First off, I have yet to find a repercussion for playing an illegal race without having a racial boon on your chronicle sheet (still confused on chronicles and boons to be honest).

The DM says you can't play.

If you keep doing it anyway they might mark you as dead.

You should also be aware that your pfs number can usually give a pretty good indication of when you started playing

Quote:
What are these odd chronicles?

It looks just like the sheet you get at the end of the scenario, but grants 0 xp 0 gold 0 fame 0 prestige and where you find the scenario boon instead says _____ blooded. You hail from the race of _______ and can play one of these characters in society play.

They're usually handed out/won at conventions, usually for dming.

Quote:
Second topic, what is the purpose in removing previously playable races? I understand wanting to add variety, but that should be a reason to add more races, not remove some (in my personal opinion).

They were banned because they became too popular, in no small part because of how powerful they were. In golarion they're supposed to be a little rarish but so many people were playing them that it became the planar family society.

The bloodlines effectively made them 11 races instead of 2

They had the ability to hop into certain prestige classes because of a now overturned ruling about how spell like abilities interacted with prerequisites.

For most characters, there was a tiefling or aasimar bloodline/ subrace that gave you the two stats you wanted most. A human that does that gets NO other abilities. An aasimar doing that still gets ALL of their abilities, including dark vision. A tiefling can usually do that with a dump stat you don't care about.

Quote:
I guess I am having trouble adjusting to the race restrictions due to the sheer fact that I always encouraged my players to play what they wanted (as long as they found the info in a Pathfinder book). Thanks for any help you can give me and I hope I have properly voiced my curiosities.

You have to remember that PFS is making a decision for 10s of thousands of players. You may not have a chease eating munchkin weasel at your particular table that will abuse Aram Zeys unavoidable force Guillotine in every encounter but somewhere in pfs are a few hundred players that would ruin the gaming fun of a thousand players with it.

Quote:
Note: this is after a friend of mine and I researched for several hours.

Thats probably excessive. Someone will always complain that there was another thread on this some time ago, but that's because there's been a thread on 95% of all topics. DOn't worry.

5/5 5/55/55/5

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RealAlchemy wrote:
(Though oddly, other evil outsider bloodlines are legal.).

The daemon bloodline is a little heavy on the torture, which probably falls below even the loose moral expectations of a pathfinder field agent.

Grand Lodge 5/5 5/5

BigNorseWolf wrote:
RealAlchemy wrote:
(Though oddly, other evil outsider bloodlines are legal.).
The daemon bloodline is a little heavy on the torture, which probably falls below even the loose moral expectations of a pathfinder field agent.

The 9th-level power also uses the aging rules, which aren't used in the PFS campaign.

4/5

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ya know - second guessing is a favored past time on these boards. lol...

Rather than "illegal", the correct term is "out of scope".
The rules that exist in Pathfinder are legal, both game wise and real sense legal system wise as non-copyrightable game rules. The Open Source document is a contract that people use, different beast. My point is that you should avoid the use of the term "illegal" as it has unwanted connotations unless you are in a very specific conversation. "PFS legal" is fine, we all understand what that means, as well as "not PFS legal".
Out of scope is better as when you say, "that is out of scope for PFS" it's quite clear what you are saying.

Campaign staff for Pathfinder Society Organized Play Campaign (which IMO is part of Paizo's Public Relations effort) has just deemed some of the rules unusable in their campaign. In some cases they've come up with alternative rules. It's the same as what a Home Game GM would do.

So they'll always be some quirks as to what was thought at the time as reasonable. Things will come in or out of scope as time goes on.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Stephen Ross wrote:


Out of scope is better as when you say, "that is out of scope for PFS" it's quite clear what you are saying.

If you used that phrase I would either buy you mouthwash or hand you something to clean your glasses with....

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Both common occurrences at Conventions.

4/5

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Stephen Ross wrote:


Out of scope is better as when you say, "that is out of scope for PFS" it's quite clear what you are saying.
If you used that phrase I would either buy you mouthwash or hand you something to clean your glasses with....

both are handy and needed at conventions... I'd suggest a large tote... 8^) and Scope brand might add a touch of irony

4/5

I shall have to bring my purple cossack and tall hat to GenCon - as nobody expects the (Paizo) Inquisition... confess! You used that Hex to drink a potion, Hair-I-Say! Prehensile Hair-I-Say!

5/5 5/55/55/5

Jason Wu wrote:

Strangely, my monk/ninja gets sneak attack all the time.

But my actual rogue gets all excited if he gets to sneak attack even once in a fight.

-k

Last night we had a party member rogue party member rogue party member rogue party member flank Congo line. The two weapon fighting rogues refused to surrender on the grounds that "THIS IS THE MOMENT I"VE BEEN WAITING 8 LEVELS FOR!"


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Jason Wu wrote:

Strangely, my monk/ninja gets sneak attack all the time.

But my actual rogue gets all excited if he gets to sneak attack even once in a fight.

-k

Last night we had a party member rogue party member rogue party member rogue party member flank Congo line. The two weapon fighting rogues refused to surrender on the grounds that "THIS IS THE MOMENT I"VE BEEN WAITING 8 LEVELS FOR!"

I've had the same problem. With other characters I get into flanking all the time but when I ran a rogue for a while I don't recall ever actually getting into a flank.

4/5

Jessex wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Jason Wu wrote:

Strangely, my monk/ninja gets sneak attack all the time.

But my actual rogue gets all excited if he gets to sneak attack even once in a fight.

-k

Last night we had a party member rogue party member rogue party member rogue party member flank Congo line. The two weapon fighting rogues refused to surrender on the grounds that "THIS IS THE MOMENT I"VE BEEN WAITING 8 LEVELS FOR!"
I've had the same problem. With other characters I get into flanking all the time but when I ran a rogue for a while I don't recall ever actually getting into a flank.

And this is why my rogue took gang-up :)

Liberty's Edge

Thanks! That was very helpful. Also, I only now just realized when this forum started. My bad.

Silver Crusade 5/5

RealAlchemy wrote:
Jessex wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Jason Wu wrote:

Strangely, my monk/ninja gets sneak attack all the time.

But my actual rogue gets all excited if he gets to sneak attack even once in a fight.

-k

Last night we had a party member rogue party member rogue party member rogue party member flank Congo line. The two weapon fighting rogues refused to surrender on the grounds that "THIS IS THE MOMENT I"VE BEEN WAITING 8 LEVELS FOR!"
I've had the same problem. With other characters I get into flanking all the time but when I ran a rogue for a while I don't recall ever actually getting into a flank.
And this is why my rogue took gang-up :)

True dat. My rogues all have Gang Up and/or Spring Attack to make getting flanks easier.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Morain wrote:
But what's the deal with organized play? Why do they hve to ban things that work just fine in Pathfinder Like leadership and magic item creation? Imo it invalidates the whole concept of pathfinder society since it is not really played by the rules of Pathfinder.

Every campaign, that I've ever played with, or GMed has had it's own set of house rules, whether it was Pathfinder, D+D, V+V, or Shadowrun. PFS is no different than other campaigns in this regard.

Leadership and Magic Item Creation are two specific things which are problematic or just not practical to administrate in a campaign that numbers in the tens of thousands of players.

And despite your claiming it otherwise, the concept of Pathfinder works very well with out them.

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