Retraining due to failure to own books


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Dark Archive 5/5

I run PFS games at my store every week. We have over 50 regular players, and we've gotten to a point where we're running eight tables per week on-schedule, and usually another two to six tables off-schedule. I recently announced to our Google Group that I was going to begin cracking down on people not owning the books they were using for their characters, and unfortunately this has generated a bit of an issue.

I understand that if someone sits down to a table and they're using a feat or a piece of equipment from a book they don't own, they should just switch that feat out or get their gold back for that piece of equipment. That makes total sense to me. But I apparently have customers (and I'm using the term loosely here) who don't own a single Pathfinder book, and I'm not sure what to do about them.

Can someone who's using ten different books he doesn't own for a character effectively rebuild nearly every aspect of his character to be core only? Or does he have to make a choice between buying the books and losing his character? What am I supposed to do about this?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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O_O

5/5

If they sit down using an item, feat, class, etc. from a book they don't have, I don't believe you switch it out...you just can't use it until you can produce the book(s).

It sounds like in this case it would effectively neuter entire characters. Depending on the situation, that may end up being the character can not be played until they actually purchase the books they were supposed to have in the first place... How this works out in the real world...

EDIT: Since it's at your store, maybe start making them make a effort to purchase the items, so that over time the entire character becomes legal but only so long as they make that effort.

That being said, I agree with Jiggy on first take O_O

Grand Lodge 5/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

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They will need to purchase the book or PDF, or utilize the retraining rules in Guide 5.0.

Dark Archive 5/5

Believe me, I feel pretty O_O myself. I actually have one player who has four or five characters, some of which aren't even core classes (and thus the fundamentals of the character are illegal without his owning some books) who has said he just isn't going to buy any books. He's a student and he doesn't have any expendable income and it's apparently just not an option for him. So, effectively his options are "stop playing your current characters and build a brand new core only character" or "stop playing entirely?"

Dark Archive 5/5

Okay, I'll just sit on this until the 7th then. Thanks, Mike!

Grand Lodge 5/5 Pathfinder Society Campaign Coordinator

Benn Roe wrote:
Okay, I'll just sit on this until the 7th then. Thanks, Mike!

Monday is the 5th when the Guide will be available for a preview of Season 5. It doesn't become official until August 14.

Dark Archive 5/5

My mistake. I had been under the impression it released on Wednesday. I knew it wasn't official until the 14th.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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Benn Roe wrote:
Believe me, I feel pretty O_O myself. I actually have one player who has four or five characters, some of which aren't even core classes (and thus the fundamentals of the character are illegal without his owning some books) who has said he just isn't going to buy any books. He's a student and he doesn't have any expendable income and it's apparently just not an option for him. So, effectively his options are "stop playing your current characters and build a brand new core only character" or "stop playing entirely?"

On one hand, you don't want a player to have to stop playing, and I definitely can feel for someone being a poor student. I've been there where I've had $5 to eat for a week (a jar of peanut butter, loaf of bread, and block of cheese slices for some tasty peanut butter and cheese sandwiches twice a day). I get it.

But on the other hand, the guide is very explicit on the requirement to own additional resources. The guy should have never made characters using those sources if he wasn't planning on ever buying them. And so the predicament he's in, is really his own fault.

Bed, lay down.


are there non-pfs alternatives available at your location or in your area, OP?

Dark Archive 5/5

There are plenty of people who run home games, but there aren't store-offered Pathfinder alternatives. We're beginning running Shadowrun Missions this Monday and we run D&D Encounters when it's in-season.

We also offer our PFS mailing list as a resource for people to organize their own home games.


I meant non-PFS, as in Pathfinder games that are not run under PFS rules/reporting.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

The problem is that the ground rules changed at the store from "the guide says you have to own the additional resources, but not really" to "you have to own the additional resources."

If the first time the guy tried that, his GM politely corrected him and he switched out the offending class / feat / trait / spell, then there wouldn't be a car crash now.

And as unpleasant as Benn Roe explains tthis situation, it's even worse at a convention, when the GM at the first session has to inform the player that the campaign disallows the character until the player buys several books or PDFs.

Shadow Lodge

Yeah, I'm gonna have to go with Andrew on this; the Guide is quite clear that you need to own the books, so the players should have known that they needed the book in order to use the material.

I tend to have very little sympathy for the problems people create themselves, when they should know better. Everyone else has to buy the books to use the material, why should he get a free pass?

There are plenty of things I've wanted to use, but passed on because I don't own them. My myrmidarch (arcane archer) still doesn't have snowball, despite it being the only first level damage-dealing ranged touch spell on the magus spell list, simply because I can't afford to pick up People of the North, yet.

Sczarni

Side question to OP:

I run most of my stuff as PbP. Since I am the only one running in my area, and no one else seems interested in GMing almost all of my play is via PbP. For playing via PbP, I have taken to posting my character(s) via google drive:

Link if interested

I have noticed very few GMs/Players for online PbP pay much (if any) attention to the ownership requirement. Now, for level 1 characters, I kinda ignore the rule, figuring people should be able to play to see if they like the format enough to invest. However, my character (linked above) is just starting to enter the tier 4 realm, so I intend to start running scenarios and modules that are appropriate for me to apply to my own character.

How do you recommend we GMs check for ownership on PbP.

Also, I am half tempted to just screenshot my downloads page, if that works? A lot less stuff to screenshot that way. . .

The Exchange

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What if they've purchased the content for Hero Lab but don't own the actual book?

Paizo Employee Developer

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Akinra wrote:
Also, I am half tempted to just screenshot my downloads page, if that works? A lot less stuff to screenshot that way. . .

The point of owning a rule's source and bringing it to the game is to the GM can reference, and see the rule in its original, official format in order to make fair adjudications at the table. A screenshot of your downloads page doesn't address that issue. At the same time, we don't allow you to distribute digital copies of our products, so this presents a corner case in the rules that we'll have to discuss and come to a consensus on. Due to other priorities in the lead-up to Gen Con, this may be several weeks off at the earliest.

Paizo Employee Developer

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jadelyon wrote:
What if they've purchased the content for Hero Lab but don't own the actual book?

HeroLab often rephrases rules when it explains them on its character sheets. And since Paizo has no control over the validity of HeroLab's content, it is not considered a legal source of rules for the purposes of GM review.

Sczarni

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Mark Moreland wrote:
Akinra wrote:
Also, I am half tempted to just screenshot my downloads page, if that works? A lot less stuff to screenshot that way. . .
The point of owning a rule's source and bringing it to the game is to the GM can reference, and see the rule in its original, official format in order to make fair adjudications at the table. A screenshot of your downloads page doesn't address that issue. At the same time, we don't allow you to distribute digital copies of our products, so this presents a corner case in the rules that we'll have to discuss and come to a consensus on. Due to other priorities in the lead-up to Gen Con, this may be several weeks off at the earliest.

I nominate Joseph Caubo to sort it out! (after her relaxes after a busy GenCon)

The Exchange

Mark Moreland wrote:
jadelyon wrote:
What if they've purchased the content for Hero Lab but don't own the actual book?
HeroLab often rephrases rules when it explains them on its character sheets. And since Paizo has no control over the validity of HeroLab's content, it is not considered a legal source of rules for the purposes of GM review.

Well, so much for GMing any PFS for my group. They've all purchased (at considerable cost) just about everything offered for Hero Lab. I'm trying to get them to play PFS scenarios.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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you can GM using nothing but the PRD.

But to play, you have to own the actual books or PDFs.

Shadow Lodge

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Mark Moreland wrote:
Akinra wrote:
Also, I am half tempted to just screenshot my downloads page, if that works? A lot less stuff to screenshot that way. . .
The point of owning a rule's source and bringing it to the game is to the GM can reference, and see the rule in its original, official format in order to make fair adjudications at the table. A screenshot of your downloads page doesn't address that issue. At the same time, we don't allow you to distribute digital copies of our products, so this presents a corner case in the rules that we'll have to discuss and come to a consensus on. Due to other priorities in the lead-up to Gen Con, this may be several weeks off at the earliest.

If the only issue is ability to see the official version of the rule, wouldn't Paizo's PRD pages suffice for that?

Personally, I've always seen the requirement as serving to purposes:

1. To drive sales of the books (which is fair, seeing as it costs money for them to produce this stuff)
2. For reference reasons

A screenshot of your downloads page, coupled with links to the appropriate PRD pages would cover both purposes.

Grand Lodge

Mark Moreland wrote:
Akinra wrote:
Also, I am half tempted to just screenshot my downloads page, if that works? A lot less stuff to screenshot that way. . .
The point of owning a rule's source and bringing it to the game is to the GM can reference, and see the rule in its original, official format in order to make fair adjudications at the table. A screenshot of your downloads page doesn't address that issue. At the same time, we don't allow you to distribute digital copies of our products, so this presents a corner case in the rules that we'll have to discuss and come to a consensus on. Due to other priorities in the lead-up to Gen Con, this may be several weeks off at the earliest.

Might I offer a solution for this situation, if only until you guys can come up with an actual official response?

I suggest this be considered a 'expect table variation' issue and left at that.
If the GM knows what the item/feat/spell/etc does, but wants to check to make sure the player actualy owns it (like a wayfinder + clear spindle ioun stone combo), then this would suffice.
If the GM is unaware of the effect, then they are fre to disallow it's use at their table, per usual.

It may not be completely fair from time to time, just because a GM isnt confident in the exact wording, but then again, asking someone to print a few pages (I think my Barbarian had 8 pages printed when going into Eyes of the Ten) isnt much to ask, so if you want to do less than that, you should accept the risk of doing so.

Just my 2cp.

Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka Mistwalker

jadelyon wrote:
Well, so much for GMing any PFS for my group. They've all purchased (at considerable cost) just about everything offered for Hero Lab. I'm trying to get them to play PFS scenarios.

Do any of them own the books, even as a group as a whole? If so, that qualifies. Are you planning on playing home games with your group (that is, PFS games but private ones)? If so, I don't really see any issue with your group using Hero Lab stuff (just be aware that it may not be 100% correct and/or a GM at a con (or other public venue) may have a different interpretation of the rule.

The reason that I explain to folks why they need to bring a copy of the book (or photocopy, or PDF) is so that if the GM doesn't know that feat/spell/class feature/etc, they can look at it and make a ruling. No copy - not able to use the item for the scenario.

I haven't had anyone with a Samurai, Inquisitor or Magus sit at my table for PFS (or my home games), so I am quite unfamiliar with all of their abilities - I likely will ask to see the copy once someone starts doing things that I haven't seen before.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

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What would be the ruling if, for example, I were to GM for a consistent group of players and I both owned all of the books that the characters referenced and had those books at the table, but the players didn't own those books?

I think it's pretty clear that they couldn't play at another table with those characters without the books, but if I provided them and they played those characters exclusively at my tables, would that be permissible?

I feel the need to ask because I've gotten into the habit of buying books I don't necessarily need so that other players in my regular groups can use them if they need them and can't quite afford them. I have to ask because I hadn't realized that it might be disallowed, and I'd like to know before I drop any more money into books that I personally will not likely use.

Grand Lodge

Great topic. And pretty much what Mike says goes. I will tell you that in Utah, we try hard to educate our players on the importance of owning the books that you're pulling from in your character build...unless ya like playing pregens a lot :P Early education is SOOO important to avoid misunderstanding that can result. I have experienced, first hand, the hard feelings that result when you tell a guy who has played for 5+ levels that his character is not valid if he doesn't pony up and buy legal version of the book.

Mistwalker is right that if anyone has the book at the table, that technically works...though I usually still caution the player directly. What usually hapens is that at some point that person may not come to game, and they would have no back up at that point.

Akinra, I found online play + PFS to just be too clunky. Attempting to review official sources from players (which I just stopped trying), chronicle sheets, etc...just becomes too much. Certainly, one can (and many do) GM it to where they simply do not check things over and trust the players. That's not really my personal preference in organized play. However, I have found the new AP & Module "Campaign Mode" to be an excellent way to have my cake and eat it, too....especially since I perfer to houserule Pbp heavily to expedite play in a medium that lends itself to slower gameplay.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Seth Gipson wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
Akinra wrote:
Also, I am half tempted to just screenshot my downloads page, if that works? A lot less stuff to screenshot that way. . .
The point of owning a rule's source and bringing it to the game is to the GM can reference, and see the rule in its original, official format in order to make fair adjudications at the table. A screenshot of your downloads page doesn't address that issue. At the same time, we don't allow you to distribute digital copies of our products, so this presents a corner case in the rules that we'll have to discuss and come to a consensus on. Due to other priorities in the lead-up to Gen Con, this may be several weeks off at the earliest.

Might I offer a solution for this situation, if only until you guys can come up with an actual official response?

I suggest this be considered a 'expect table variation' issue and left at that.
If the GM knows what the item/feat/spell/etc does, but wants to check to make sure the player actualy owns it (like a wayfinder + clear spindle ioun stone combo), then this would suffice.
If the GM is unaware of the effect, then they are fre to disallow it's use at their table, per usual.

It may not be completely fair from time to time, just because a GM isnt confident in the exact wording, but then again, asking someone to print a few pages (I think my Barbarian had 8 pages printed when going into Eyes of the Ten) isnt much to ask, so if you want to do less than that, you should accept the risk of doing so.

Just my 2cp.

Table variation for what is otherwise a completely legal situation of ownership isn't really fair, just because sharing of digital files is illegal in the real world.

A screen shot of the relevant text should be sufficient for PbP games.

Grand Lodge

Angry Wiggles wrote:

What would be the ruling if, for example, I were to GM for a consistent group of players and I both owned all of the books that the characters referenced and had those books at the table, but the players didn't own those books?

I think it's pretty clear that they couldn't play at another table with those characters without the books, but if I provided them and they played those characters exclusively at my tables, would that be permissible?

I feel the need to ask because I've gotten into the habit of buying books I don't necessarily need so that other players in my regular groups can use them if they need them and can't quite afford them. I have to ask because I hadn't realized that it might be disallowed, and I'd like to know before I drop any more money into books that I personally will not likely use.

As far as I understand, you CAN do that...but as I alluded to above, I generally recommend that groups do NOT do that. If/when that person leaves, all those players who depended on the book owner suddenly find themselves with characters they cannot play until they buy a bunch of books.

I encourage...even implore...new players to build off the core rulebook only and any other books they may directly own. As they enjoy the game, and want to build new characters, they buy more books and build off of those.

Grand Lodge

Andrew Christian wrote:

Table variation for what is otherwise a completely legal situation of ownership isn't really fair, just because sharing of digital files is illegal in the real world.

A screen shot of the relevant text should be sufficient for PbP games.

I agree it isnt really fair, but we would do it if they didnt have the print off of the downloads page.

Grand Lodge

I don't really see our role as 'checking for ownership.' I never got that impression reading the Guide, either. As GM's, we are to check (or at least spot check), to make sure characters are legal, and that we have an understanding how those characters/feats/spells/items/etc work. To do that, we rely on the players to show us those things from legal additional resources. So, I'm not checking to make sure that Bob owns the book or PDF he handed me (to show me what a gunslinger can do), but if he hands me an illegal source such as a PDF without a water mark or a photocopy of a book page, I will hand it back to him and say I cannot accept it.

I'm not the ownership/copyright police. But please do not hand me something that the book says is not legal to use as an 'additional resource' form of documentation.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Phillip Willis wrote:
Angry Wiggles wrote:
snip

As far as I understand, you CAN do that...but as I alluded to above, I generally recommend that groups do NOT do that. If/when that person leaves, all those players who depended on the book owner suddenly find themselves with characters they cannot play until they buy a bunch of books.

I encourage...even implore...new players to build off the core rulebook only and any other books they may directly own. As they enjoy the game, and want to build new characters, they buy more books and build off of those.

Alright, that makes sense. I agree that they should get them when they can, but I'd still like to cover for those in my area who can/will get the book, but can't get it at the point they wanted to make the character.

Thanks for responding so quickly.

Silver Crusade

Seth Gipson wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
Akinra wrote:
Also, I am half tempted to just screenshot my downloads page, if that works? A lot less stuff to screenshot that way. . .
The point of owning a rule's source and bringing it to the game is to the GM can reference, and see the rule in its original, official format in order to make fair adjudications at the table. A screenshot of your downloads page doesn't address that issue. At the same time, we don't allow you to distribute digital copies of our products, so this presents a corner case in the rules that we'll have to discuss and come to a consensus on. Due to other priorities in the lead-up to Gen Con, this may be several weeks off at the earliest.

Might I offer a solution for this situation, if only until you guys can come up with an actual official response?

I suggest this be considered a 'expect table variation' issue and left at that.
If the GM knows what the item/feat/spell/etc does, but wants to check to make sure the player actualy owns it (like a wayfinder + clear spindle ioun stone combo), then this would suffice.
If the GM is unaware of the effect, then they are fre to disallow it's use at their table, per usual.

It may not be completely fair from time to time, just because a GM isnt confident in the exact wording, but then again, asking someone to print a few pages (I think my Barbarian had 8 pages printed when going into Eyes of the Ten) isnt much to ask, so if you want to do less than that, you should accept the risk of doing so.

Just my 2cp.

If the player owns a legal copy of the pdf, and can prove it using a screen print of their download page, then they could also email the GM with a cut and paste from that pdf of the rule in question, without having to break any copyright laws by emailing the entire pdf. That seems like an obvious solution for PbP games.

Or the player can just screen print the entire page from the pdf and send it to the GM, including the watermark at the bottom proving it's a legal copy. Again, copying just one page to show the GM online would be the same as printing that page to bring to the table, without violating any rules about distributing illegal copies of the entire book.

On a related topic, I just caught a big red flag that made me laugh. I was looking at the web page signups for a game I'm GMing tomorrow, and noticed that one player signed up and described his character as a "Dervish of Dawn" bard. Yup, he used the SRD name for the archetype, probably without even realizing that the Paizo name for it is Dawnflower Dervish. Think he owns the book? Think he even knows what book it's from?

Because I'm the GM, that particular book will be at the table tomorrow, because it's one of the 7 or 8 splat books that I always have with me for my own PCs. I just have to decide if I should tell him that or be a stickler for forcing him to go buy the book. If the store where we're playing has Inner Sea Magic on the shelf when I arrive, I'll probably try to convince him to go buy it right away.

The Exchange

I feel this walks a pretty fine line in terms of GM's unnecessarily overexerting their roles in the PFS structure.

GM's doing a source audit on rules they are familiar with just to make sure people own the books is within their rights as it is explicit in the rules, but in this case you seem to be doing it to protect the IP of Paizo. This is something that the campaign coordinators haven't openly stated as being a reason behind this rule (though there isn't really any doubt that it benefits their bottom line and is probably the primary reason for the rule behind closed doors). This sort of activity really seems like more of a ego trip sort of move than a positive act that is helpful in propelling the hobby forward... it feels as if it is being done with the wrong intent.

If the reason that you are doing the audit is to make sure that people are aware of the rules of ownership in case another GM doesn't know what effects something has, I think it makes more sense to move more in the range of Seth's variation concept and strongly urge their acquisition of the books in pdf format asap (maybe be ready to give them an order of importance to nab them).

I would be prepared if you are going to begin a check ownership at the door policy this far into the careers of players to have plenty of time to work with them in building new characters or to supply them with a variety of pregens until they can get the source material so you don't have entire tables come to a grinding halt.

Just keep in mind your own reasons for doing this sudden crackdown, and make sure that you understand how those align with what the coordinators have stated. The last thing that you want to do is unnecessarily drive away good players and future consumers over the lack of a copy of the Cheliax book that happens to be in your own bag when they may be very willing to get the pdf the following week when they get paid. Ownership rules are a small portion of the organized play rules and are easy to ignore if nobody reinforces them.

In short, it sounds you are being conscientious and fulfilling an aspect of your role that many GM's choose not to, I would just caution you to be gentile with your players, some kid might really want to stay active, but doesn't have a spare 70 bucks to drop on a PDF before he can play that night... it doesn't make him a bad kid or a bad community member.

I believe a simple solution to this long term would be for the coordinators to add in to the canned reasoning behind the rule to include a stylized version of "also so we can make sure we generate revenue" which is by no means unreasonable... the lack of it it just adds unnecessary awkwardness to the whole enforcement step.

Grand Lodge

Fromper wrote:

If the player owns a legal copy of the pdf, and can prove it using a screen print of their download page, then they could also email the GM with a cut and paste from that pdf of the rule in question, without having to break any copyright laws by emailing the entire pdf. That seems like an obvious solution for PbP games.

Or the player can just screen print the entire page from the pdf and send it to the GM, including the watermark at the bottom...

Is there something in my previous comments (this is to Andrew also, I suppose) that makes you guys think I was specifically talking about PbP or online games? Cause I was talking about in-person at-the-table type situations only.

Was the discussion (before I posted) about online play? If so I must have missed that? :P
Just trying to clarify the situation, please dont take this as a personal insult to your reading skills lol

Lantern Lodge

That is a highly unfortunate situation you have, Benn. I wish you patience and luck in sorting it out.

While I am definitely sympathetic to not having the funds to purchase every splat book out there, the CRB and ultimate's line are not a huge investment if you are someone who loves the game and plays regularly, and they will cover the majority of your needs.

I personally would not police materials unless unusual circumstances arose. The simple truth is that taking a printed page of someone using pirated materials does nothing to stop them from reprinting again later. The only time I might consider actual interference is if someone at the table named steve had a book with another person's name and phone number in it or the like. Interference in this case being calling said person and letting them know the situation in the event the item was stolen.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Seth Gipson wrote:
Fromper wrote:

If the player owns a legal copy of the pdf, and can prove it using a screen print of their download page, then they could also email the GM with a cut and paste from that pdf of the rule in question, without having to break any copyright laws by emailing the entire pdf. That seems like an obvious solution for PbP games.

Or the player can just screen print the entire page from the pdf and send it to the GM, including the watermark at the bottom...

Is there something in my previous comments (this is to Andrew also, I suppose) that makes you guys think I was specifically talking about PbP or online games? Cause I was talking about in-person at-the-table type situations only.

Was the discussion (before I posted) about online play? If so I must have missed that? :P
Just trying to clarify the situation, please dont take this as a personal insult to your reading skills lol

Yes, the last couple posts before you posted were about how a GM who is unfamiliar with a particular ability, feat, spell, etc. could verify how the thing worked while running a PbP game. Since you can't send them the electronic PDF, how do I show him how the ability works?

This is especially true of the splat books that aren't in the PRD.

Grand Lodge

I can speak from experience to that, NOG. I never saw it as my role to be the IP police, and I told my players that. However, I do believe that it is my role to check sheets, and, as questions come to mind, ask for players to show me those items in question via legal sources.

Anytime I inherited a new group or something along those lines, if there was confusion about what 'legal sources' are (which means, no, you cannot use HL printout, SRD printouts or PDFs where the watermarks have been stripped), I usually allow a grace period of a month.

Benn wrote:
Believe me, I feel pretty O_O myself. I actually have one player who has four or five characters, some of which aren't even core classes (and thus the fundamentals of the character are illegal without his owning some books) who has said he just isn't going to buy any books. He's a student and he doesn't have any expendable income and it's apparently just not an option for him. So, effectively his options are "stop playing your current characters and build a brand new core only character" or "stop playing entirely?"

That's why we try hard to be consistent in our communication and follow up on requirements so we no longer have these types of reactions. But, sometimes one slips through, right? Or they had a GM for months who never communicated/followed up/checked/etc.

Ultimately, the burden lies on the player to read the campaign rules clearly laid out in the Guide, and to play according to those rules. And, if the end result is that they have to reroll, or stop playing PFS, well..that happens. I know I may sound a little callous here! I really don't WANT to see people leave PFS, and that's why I work so hard with my GMs to insure that there are as few misunderstandings as possible. But, yes, Benn...ultimately, if he's going to refuse to buy the books (the PDFs are only $10/ec) then he leaves himself with those two options (new retraining rules not withstanding).

Grand Lodge 2/5

I feel the need to come to Benn's defense here. Some people have implicitly critiqued him for not doing this "from the start" and others seem to imply that he is doing this for the "wrong" reasons.

Benn and his store have developed an awesome gaming community. He is generous with allowing the PFS community to use the store's space, and he even organizes two mini-cons a year for PFS play. If you are ever in Philly, you should visit Redcap's.

Silver Crusade

Seth Gipson wrote:
Fromper wrote:

If the player owns a legal copy of the pdf, and can prove it using a screen print of their download page, then they could also email the GM with a cut and paste from that pdf of the rule in question, without having to break any copyright laws by emailing the entire pdf. That seems like an obvious solution for PbP games.

Or the player can just screen print the entire page from the pdf and send it to the GM, including the watermark at the bottom...

Is there something in my previous comments (this is to Andrew also, I suppose) that makes you guys think I was specifically talking about PbP or online games? Cause I was talking about in-person at-the-table type situations only.

Was the discussion (before I posted) about online play? If so I must have missed that? :P
Just trying to clarify the situation, please dont take this as a personal insult to your reading skills lol

The part of the conversation you were quoting was about online play. Akinra stated that he (she?) plays almost exclusively online, and then made the comment about doing a screen shot of the downloads page. The rest of that quote chain was in response to that.

The Exchange

Phillip Willis wrote:

I can speak from experience to that, NOG. I never saw it as my role to be the IP police, and I told my players that. However, I do believe that it is my role to check sheets, and, as questions come to mind, ask for players to show me those items in question via legal sources.

Anytime I inherited a new group or something along those lines, if there was confusion about what 'legal sources' are (which means, no, you cannot use HL printout, SRD printouts or PDFs where the watermarks have been stripped), I usually allow a grace period of a month.

Benn wrote:
Believe me, I feel pretty O_O myself. I actually have one player who has four or five characters, some of which aren't even core classes (and thus the fundamentals of the character are illegal without his owning some books) who has said he just isn't going to buy any books. He's a student and he doesn't have any expendable income and it's apparently just not an option for him. So, effectively his options are "stop playing your current characters and build a brand new core only character" or "stop playing entirely?"

That's why we try hard to be consistent in our communication and follow up on requirements so we no longer have these types of reactions. But, sometimes one slips through, right? Or they had a GM for months who never communicated/followed up/checked/etc.

Ultimately, the burden lies on the player to read the campaign rules clearly laid out in the Guide, and to play according to those rules. And, if the end result is that they have to reroll, or stop playing PFS, well..that happens. I know I may sound a little callous here! I really don't WANT to see people leave PFS, and that's why I work so hard with my GMs to insure that there are as few misunderstandings as possible. But, yes, Benn...ultimately, if he's going to refuse to buy the books (the PDFs are only $10/ec) then he leaves himself with those two options (new retraining rules not withstanding).

I appreciate the motivation behind how you go about working this portion of the rule set in to play, and I know not everyone is coming at this from the IP cop viewpoint, I just felt the need to point that out as it seems not everyone has taken time to think about why or how they go about enforcing rules, and how they can enact that enforcement in a way to maximize the enjoyment and growth of the game long term, something that I think should be everyone's goal.

There are a a fair number of threads on this general topic and it usually seems to devolve into blocks of text by people who posture to be the most adamant in their enforcement, without any discussion on how to constructively solve the ongoing issue of ownership so that players can understand the importance of it.

As for this being a focus on the OP, this is really an issue I have seen more than once and wanted to comment on, it has nothing to do with Benn in particular. I have a very healthy respect for the effort all GM's and area coordinators/ shop owners put in as I like to play a LOT but am just not into GM'ing myself... I am sure he is a fantastic guy and a boon to the community!


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if I had the money I think I'd just buy a bunch of books and when people show up at tables without the proper resources I'd just hand em a book and say, "they own it now"

Then again I'm broke.

Grand Lodge

Well, you know that ancient Chinese proverb, FanaticRat..."Share your books with a man, and you cover him for a day. Teach him to buy his own PDFs/Books, and he's covered for a lifetime!"


Except if I give him the book he owns it now and Paizo still gets dosh so yeah

Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka Mistwalker

Phillip Willis wrote:
but if he hands me an illegal source such as a PDF without a water mark or a photocopy of a book page, I will hand it back to him and say I cannot accept it.

Just to be sure, are you aware that Mike has said that using a photocopy of the page from a book is acceptable?

I believe part of the rational was to not force people to have to carry 50lbs of books, or pay extra for the overweight bag on the flight (for cons).

Grand Lodge

It was my understanding that a print out from a PDF is OK (it's watermarked) but a photocopy of a book is not listed as on option.

Guide 4.3 wrote:
In order to utilize content from an Additional Resource, a player must have a physical copy of the Additional Resource in question, a name-watermarked Paizo PDF of it, or a printout of the relevant pages from it, as well as a copy of the current version of the Additional Resources list.

If you are referring to his reply to this thread, I would point out that the particular situation in question had to do with friends/loved ones/etc being in the same room, and playing at separate tables, but only having one copy. A physical copy of the book would still need to be on hand. I do not believe that this opened the door to make any and all photocopies legal as an additional resource.

However, I have seen the comment made before, and if someone would be kind enough to show me where Mike or leadership said that all photocopies are acceptable, regardless of ownership, or physical existence of said book in the room, I would be deeply appreciative. It's been a topic of discussion numerous times in my region, and I'd be happy to inform them that our previous understanding was incorrect.


Phillip Willis wrote:

...

I encourage...even implore...new players to build off the core rulebook only and any other books they may directly own. As they enjoy the game, and want to build new characters, they buy more books and build off of those.

+1

I see a lot of experienced people offering advice to new (or not so new) players about this feat and that alternate trait or the other archetype. Those veterans are more than happy to share the book's name, & I really wish they would follow it with "you have to own it to use it." They get so excited about sharing 'the combo' they completely sell it, withoug actually selling it. I hate being the one who has to add that almost every time (and burst some newbie's bubble).

The Guide requires additional resources be brought to the table, the CRB is 'assumed.' Sticking to the CRB until you own a copy is not only legal, but the best way to learn the book (indeed the system).

Liberty's Edge 5/5 5/5 Venture-Agent, United Kingdom—England—Chester aka Paz

Phillip Willis wrote:
However, I have seen the comment made before, and if someone would be kind enough to show me where Mike or leadership said that all photocopies are acceptable, regardless of ownership, or physical existence of said book in the room, I would be deeply appreciative. It's been a topic of discussion numerous times in my region, and I'd be happy to inform them that our previous understanding was incorrect.

Will this do? See point A that Mike has quoted in particular, but the whole post is illuminating in terms of the intent of the campaign leadership.

In terms of 'regardless of ownership'; as Mistwalker says, it was so that people can use rules from the books they own without carting a dozen hardbacks to every game. Not to allow people to photocopy the infernal healing page from the ISWG several dozen times to distribute to others to ensure they're 'covered'.


Regarding ownership, would it not be possible to gift a copy to a friend and then have that friend gift the copy back to you. That way a copy is still present for the GM's perusal at need and it can help out with those financially unable to buy a lot of material. In the long run, I imagine that getting them hooked on the game will probably work out better than preventing them from playing.

Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka Mistwalker

Phillip Willis wrote:
However, I have seen the comment made before, and if someone would be kind enough to show me where Mike or leadership said that all photocopies are acceptable, regardless of ownership, or physical existence of said book in the room, I would be deeply appreciative. It's been a topic of discussion numerous times in my region, and I'd be happy to inform them that our previous understanding was incorrect.

The quote that I am thinking of is this one.

This post by Mike agrees with the write up Daniel Luckett. Please note point A.

Quote:
Physical copies, and copies of those copies are 100% legal.

This is what leads me to believe that photocopies are acceptable.

Edit: Ninja'd by PAZ

Grand Lodge

Well...He didn't say it...He was backing up the general thought. At first blush, I agree with ya. But, first, there's a contradiction...first the quote...

Point A wrote:
Physical copies, and copies of those copies are 100% legal. M&M have stated so numerous times. You should have them with you. You can even share (1) book between all of your friends as long as all of your friends are at the same table.

Then Mike says...

Quote:

Thanks for summing it up well, Dan. Folks, it is a game and (most) players are adults. Use common sense.

If you see someone using anything you think is suspicious (such as a unwatermarked PDF), email us and let us know and let us take care of it from there.

I'm left scratching my head. How would I, as a GM, be able to tell the difference between a photocopied page and a printout from an unwatermarked PDF? :P

I agree that the thread and the post lends a lot of strength to your viewpoint though. I'll seek further clarification. So far, I have not been able to locate the posts that inspired the statement: "Physical copies, and copies of those copies are 100% legal. M&M have stated so numerous times." I think I would be happy if I could just find those.

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