Helpful Tips for Doing A Quick Character Audit


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This thread was inspired by other threads and personal conversations on a GM's duty to perform character audits before any PFS session begins.

GUIDE TO PATHFINDER SOCIETY ORGANIZED PLAY PAGE 32 wrote:

Your Duties as Game Master

As a Pathfinder Society Organized Play Game Master running a session at a convention or an in-store event, you have the following duties.
• Introduce yourself.
• Encourage your players to introduce themselves (and their characters).
Look over each player’s character sheet and previous Chronicle sheets, quickly checking wealth, equipment, calculations, and so on.
• Start playing the session.
• Play for no more than 5 hours. (Note: home games and online games do not necessarily have to follow this
restriction, and some conventions may run longer slots.)
• Give each player an accurate Chronicle sheet for that scenario (see Filling Out a Chronicle Sheet, later in this chapter).
• At conventions, you may also be expected to quickly fill out scenario or module reporting sheets with additional tracking information—these sheets need to be turned in to your coordinator so she can report the results. • When acting as both the Game Master and coordinator for an event, you are expected to report the results of your sessions on paizo.com/pathfindersociety in a timely fashion. Failing to do so has negative consequences for Pathfinder Society as a whole (see the sidebar on page 30).

This is not a place to discuss when or why we should do audits, but a place to provide helpful tips to doing so in a quick and unobtrusive manner.

I'll start:

1) Hit points. Hit points should roughly be their level times their hit dice. If it's significantly more or less than this, do a more thorough check for a high or low constitution score, toughness, application of favored class bonus, etc.

Examples:
ex. Mortika the 3rd level cleric with 12 CON and using his FC bonus for hit points should have 8+2*5+3*1+3=24 hit points. Using the quick formula, level 3 x d8 = 24 hit points.

Peters the 11th level Summoner of dhoom has a 16 con AND her FC bonus for hit points. 8+10*5+11*3+11=102 hit points. Quick formula is 11*8 = 88. That's 14 points less, but a quick scan shows a decent con score and you can quickly ask about FC bonuses.

Morgan the 7th level barbarian with 20 con and toughness and FC hit points. 12+7*6+5*7+7+7=103 hp. The quick math is 7*12 = 84. He's 19 over it, you see toughness and a 20 con, so you know you're close.

Miles the Cheat is playing a 10th level wizard with 14 con and 104 hit points (he's high level, so it should be a high number, right?). Quick math says that he should have about 60 hit points. Long math says 6+4*9+2*11=64 not including a FC or toughness. The difference here is big enough that you can simply ask the player how he got to 104 hit points.

It's not perfect, but it's fast and will show any crazy-wrong numbers. If someone's hit points are off by a few, ask yourself if it really matters in the current situation. (new players, time available, etc)

Silver Crusade

Thanks Kyle, that is nice quick way to understand HP. Does anyone else have quick ways to detect things that are off?


2) A well built fighter-type's primary attack bonus will be roughly 2-3x their level.

5th level fighter, with a +1 weapon, weapon focus, 20 str, weapon training = 5 (bab) + 5 (str) + 1 (weapon) + 1 (WF) +1 (WT) = +13

Granted most of these quick maths break down at 1-2 second level, but at those levels, it's very simple to see how the bonus is calculated or should be calculated. In this case, if it's more than 3x, just ask how it's calculated.

Lantern Lodge

Along these lines, what I would recommend for players who want to be able to help their GM's quickly audit is to create a few index cards for any aspect of your character that is beyond the normal range. These index cards can quickly lay out the math in an orderly fashion and save your GM several moments of flipping through your sheets. They take 2 minutes to write out, only moments to update between levels, and your GM may thank you for them if something you do sounds a bit off and is called into question. For example, my monk's AC card reads thus:

10 base
9 dex
6 wis
5 monk levels + monk's robe
4 armor (bracers of armor +4)
5 deflection (ring of protection +5)
1 dodge (feat)
1 insight (dusty rose prism ioun stone)
1 luck (jingasa of the fortunate soldier
5 natural (barkskin from qinggong monk archetype)

6 dodge (fighting defensive, crane style, acrobatics, rod of balance)
4 dodge (combat expertise)
4 ki dodge (class feature)
4 shield spell (wand + cracked vibrant purple prism ioun stone)

47 AC standing, up to 65 situationally


I agree with your post Lormyr. I do something similar with my bard/oracle showing how I can hit a DC 60+ knowledge check.

Regarding your monk: 47 AC if you spent $111k on your armor class...

Guess what the average PFS character earns in their career before Eyes of the Ten? 111-114k.

So your theoretical uber Monk build would never spend a single gp until they had enough fame to purchase a 2k cracked ioun stone, then not until they could buy a 5k item, and then a 13k item, a 36k item and then a 50k item. Sounds like a fun time...

Lantern Lodge

Kyle Baird wrote:

I agree with your post Lormyr. I do something similar with my bard/oracle showing how I can hit a DC 60+ knowledge check.

Regarding your monk: 47 AC if you spent $111k on your armor class...

Guess what the average PFS character earns in their career before Eyes of the Ten? 111-114k.

So your theoretical uber Monk build would never spend a single gp until they had enough fame to purchase a 2k cracked ioun stone, then not until they could buy a 5k item, and then a 13k item, a 36k item and then a 50k item. Sounds like a fun time...

Heh, he was a pure GM credit baby. Poor fellow didn't get to see one session of play until Brent ran Race for the Runecarved Key for him at 15th level.

I did not intend to necessarily advocate that manner of character building, just highlighting how his index card looked for an abnormal aspect to his sheet. I agree, spending your money in such a fashion for a typical (read: played) character would likely be less than awesome.

Lantern Lodge

2). Skills. Especially at the low to mid level play, a quick formula for calculating "standard" bonuses to skill checks is 6 (allows for class skill bonus, typical racial modifiers, and/or a feat) + character level + skill stat modifier. Using that formula with a quick glance at a character sheet for the appropriate stat modifier will let you know if someone is within reasonable range of that, or significantly over and may require an explanation from the player.

Example:

As class skill: Gnome Ranger 4, Perception +11 = 4 ranks + 3 class skill + 2 racial + 2 wis. Well within range of 6 + level/stat.

Non-class skill: Halfling Fighter 3, Stealth +12 = 3 ranks + 4 size + 2 stealthy feat + 3 dex. Again well within range of 6 + level/stat

Note that this formula tends to break down after 10th level or so when feats begin to add their heightened bonus, but it works well for levels lower than that.

5/5

With players I don't know personally, I try to look at the Chronicle sheets quickly (and when I say, "quickly", I mean flipping through them like a flip-book). If there isn't a lot of stuff in the "Conditions Cleared/Gear Purchased" boxes, you know there's likely an issue. Also lets you see if the math has even been filled out (which surprisingly is not always the case). Often, new players or those who play with new GMs don't get around to doing the math except in their head. I have handed out a printed copy of the Guide to Organzied Play a couple of times based on this process, to players that obviously had never read it.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Does anybody have any other tips for checking wealth?

Lantern Lodge

Chris Mortika wrote:
Does anybody have any other tips for checking wealth?

Unfortunately, wealth is considerably more tricky due to the ability to play up and down tier. I might suggest this, however.

4). Wealth. On page 399 of the CRB, you will find the base wealth by level for PC's. PFS tends to run slightly above this chart by 10% - 20%. So keeping that in mind, what you might do is quickly consult that page, add 10%, and then look at their item list. If at a 30 second glance it appears to be more than just a little over that amount, you will know you may have to actually go through their chronicle sheets carefully.

I can't remember if or what they settled on for this issue, but I would love to see wealth simply streamlined by level or some other equal across the board factor for PFS.


Another option GM's can excerise is the random sampling technique, something akin to:

"Who at the table just leveled up before this scenario?"

"Great! You've won a prize, a full character audit! Yayyyyy!"

Maybe not in those words... At least this way, players won't feel singled out.

The Exchange 5/5

got a slot free at a CON for whatever reason?

grab an empty table and drop out a sign "Free Character Audit - Wanna find out what you forgot to add in to your PC?" ... but I'm not sure if you'd get any takers besides me. But heck, I'd get a chance to show off my PCs and maybe find a few extra things I forgot.

Silver Crusade

The 7-11 Rule.

If you just want to glance at the ability scores, add up all the positive bonuses (don't count any negative score). The sum will be between 7 and 11, at first level.

The reason to not count the negatives is due to the nonlinearity of the point-buy table.*

Anything outside the 7-11 range is a mistake. The fringes of 7 and 11 are suspect (but certainly possible). The mid range of 8 to 10 are probably correct.

For higher-level characters, subtract 1 for every 4 levels the character has, and subtract 1 for every +2 bonus in stat-boosting items the character has. You should then still have a total positive bonus in the 7 to 11 range.

* You can do the same thing wherein you include negative modifiers as well. But that method is less accurate and requires you to include a range of 5 to 11.

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