What kinda PFS GM are You?


GM Discussion

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Scarab Sages

Hihi! So, there is no "Right" or "Wrong" answer here, I'm just intrested in your perspective.

Now that that's out of the way~

My question is this:

As a PFS GM,

Are you the type of GM who feels (s)he should take the time to research the character builds at the table and be intimately aware of their spec's just as you are with the npc's?

or

Do you feel that it is up to the Players to know their characters and it should not be part of your responsibility to know the character builds at the table?

or

A Mix of the Two? Please leave details <33

I ask, because when I was a new player, not so long ago, I had walked into a game shop and one of the employees was running a Pathfinder game in the shop. I was wrong when I thought that because he's a long time store associate, he would know the ins and outs of the game.

His gaming style was to have the players read the books and educate him on all things beyond race and stats.

This was a very bad first experience for me and as a new player, only played a fighter type (Lore Warden) in depth, I know that I would like a GM to know about my characters race/stats/class, and give helpful suggestions so that I don't feel like I'm not pulling my own weight at a table with guys who have an intimate knowledge of the rules and would make an average player feel incompetent and obsolete.

Scarab Sages

<.< -chews on toes wondering if anyone's interested in this topic- >.>

Shadow Lodge

I was, but now i'm more interested in seeing what you'll chew on next.

1/5

I'm firmly in the "it is up to the Players to know their characters and it should not be part of your responsibility to know the character builds at the table" camp.

I just don't see a practical alternative for someone with a full time job, kids, etc.


I feel I should know the rules for every character(often times I do nto have the time too) and the players should be experts on their characters know perfectly what their builds should do.

I am very active on the advice boards. I also have a reputation for building powerful characters in my area and people ask me for advice often.

4/5

The Core Assumption for a PFS GM is that the GM should have access to all of the hardcover books. Not so coincidentally, these are the books available for free on the PRD.

Note that "should have access to" is not the same as "should know backwards and forwards."

Based on that alone, it is unreasonable to expect a GM to be familiar with any of your Archetypes/Feats/Spells/Items from other additional resources, as they are not expected to have access to those resources.

What else does the guide say?

Who Can Be a Game Master?:

Anyone with a valid Pathfinder Society Number can run a legal game of Pathfinder Society Organized Play. There are no tests to qualify to GM a session, nor are there any rating systems by which Pathfinder Society Game Masters are judged or ranked by their players. While some players are hesitant to transition into the role of Game Master, local Pathfinder Society groups and the campaign as a
whole benefit as the pool of Game Masters increases. The more active Game Masters are at a coordinator’s disposal, the more tables of Pathfinder Society can be offered and the faster the campaign can grow. In many cases, players sitting at a new GM’s table can offer guidance to help build the new GM’s skills and confidence, so don’t be afraid to get behind the screen and give a whole table of players a great Pathfinder Society experience.

So there aren't any real requirements. No one, GM, or player, is expected to have better mastery of the system than anyone else. Put another away, everyone is equally responsible for knowing how to play the characters they'll be controlling. In the case of the GM, that means the NPCs, and the NPCs alone.

Personally, I make sure I know what I'm doing with the NPCs and do my best to help the players. If they've got some weird build or thing with which I'm unfamiliar, they're responsible for knowing how it works. If that thing turns out to be unbalancing to the game, they're also responsible for producing the source that it came from so I can read up on it.

Scarab Sages

Conman the Bardbarian wrote:
I was, but now i'm more interested in seeing what you'll chew on next.

X3 perv <3<3

Shadow Lodge

When GMing for players who know how to play, I expect that they know all about their own characters and their abilities.

When GMing for players who are new to the game, I'm happy to go over the sheets, look over who they are, and help them throughout the game to figure out what they want to do next and what their options might be.

In either case, you need to get a feel for player's comfort levels and give them "just enough" hand-holding throughout the game wherever appropriate. It keeps the game fun.

Dark Archive

I'm in the same boat as Buglyman.

Scarab Sages

Hmm,I think... the kind of GM I would like to aspire to be... is the kind that takes the time to sit down with players who have weird builds and do the research on the things I'm not familiar with as they arise, like I would with the NPC's.

Scarab Sages

Finlanderboy wrote:

I feel I should know the rules for every character(often times I do nto have the time too) and the players should be experts on their characters know perfectly what their builds should do.

I am very active on the advice boards. I also have a reputation for building powerful characters in my area and people ask me for advice often.

My first PFS game, I felt completely inadequate and useless because I had a GM and fellow players like you. It's not your fault in the least and I adapted, but... for a new player to think they have a decent character to be wondering how on gods green earth is that other character dishing so much damage. I don't know, maybe it's an inferiority complex.

I think that's why I want to understand the characters with unique builds so that A. I don't feel like a stupid and lazy GM who's not willing to learn... and B. To stay a step or two ahead of my players <33

EDIT Please understand when I use the term "Stupid."

The difference between Stupid and Ignorant is an Ignorant person does not know better and does not have the resources to know better.

A Stupid person does know better but has neither the desire or resolve to educate themselves with the resources they have on a subject they were once ignorant on.

Liberty's Edge 3/5

Avatar-1 wrote:

When GMing for players who know how to play, I expect that they know all about their own characters and their abilities.

When GMing for players who are new to the game, I'm happy to go over the sheets, look over who they are, and help them throughout the game to figure out what they want to do next and what their options might be.

In either case, you need to get a feel for player's comfort levels and give them "just enough" hand-holding throughout the game wherever appropriate. It keeps the game fun.

Well said. I'm mostly a hands-off type, but that's primarily due to typically GMing a table of veteran players. While it's rare for a player to surprise me, on the occasions it does happen I'll just ask for a quick breakdown of numbers or a "how's that feat work again?" or something to that effect.

If they're a newbie, I'm perfectly happy to go over their sheets and provide advice, if they ask me to. If they don't, I'll let 'em run wild until, again, they try to do something that's surprising.

This changes a bit for super high level play. For any Seeker table (especially for Eyes of the Ten), I'll either look at character sheets or ask detailed questions about people's builds and backgrounds, both so I know what to expect, and so I can make notes for the scenario - favored enemy, languages known, follower of Desna, and the like. It helps speed things up, and it helps to incorporate player back-story into the adventure to make players feel more invested/important.

Scarab Sages

DrSwordopolis wrote:
Avatar-1 wrote:

When GMing for players who know how to play, I expect that they know all about their own characters and their abilities.

When GMing for players who are new to the game, I'm happy to go over the sheets, look over who they are, and help them throughout the game to figure out what they want to do next and what their options might be.

In either case, you need to get a feel for player's comfort levels and give them "just enough" hand-holding throughout the game wherever appropriate. It keeps the game fun.

Well said. I'm mostly a hands-off type, but that's primarily due to typically GMing a table of veteran players. While it's rare for a player to surprise me, on the occasions it does happen I'll just ask for a quick breakdown of numbers or a "how's that feat work again?" or something to that effect.

If they're a newbie, I'm perfectly happy to go over their sheets and provide advice, if they ask me to. If they don't, I'll let 'em run wild until, again, they try to do something that's surprising.

This changes a bit for super high level play. For any Seeker table (especially for Eyes of the Ten), I'll either look at character sheets or ask detailed questions about people's builds and backgrounds, both so I know what to expect, and so I can make notes for the scenario - favored enemy, languages known, follower of Desna, and the like. It helps speed things up, and it helps to incorporate player back-story into the adventure to make players feel more invested/important.

I like this and may adjust instead of trying to do to much at once!

Dark Archive 5/5

I help out the newer people with their sheets to see that they have pts allocated properly and purchases. Have had a new player find out he used 15pt buy for stats instead of 20pts for pfs. Helps catch errors.
Also, I run through their options in combat if they are unsure and pt, out things like if you do that , the bad guy will get an opportunity of attack on you.
With the more experienced players, I would be obviously more hands off.
There are times when an experienced player can assist me with the newer player as well.
Unfortunately, when you play in the local game store, etc.. you have the challenge of time restraint. Also, I always show up half hr. early or more so to give time to set up the newer pcs. Depending on the scenario, you need to keep moving to be able to finish it in time.
Overall, it's a challenge to gm alot but it is so worth it. Helps you grow as a player too. You learn more rules and about the other pc classes quicker.

Shadow Lodge

DeviantDiva wrote:
Conman the Bardbarian wrote:
I was, but now i'm more interested in seeing what you'll chew on next.
X3 perv <3<3

Oohh I'm a perv now. Ok, how's this then for perv and on topic then?

I don't even make my own bed after I lay in it, so why should I help my players make theirs before?


When I GM, I will ask if there are new players, if there are, then I will look over their sheets to get a general idea of that character. Then during the game I might throw out pointers, or give them some tips on how and where their characters might be useful.

I have an app that has the prd on it, so I can look up the feats fast if I think the player is trying to throw one over on me. And if I do not know the ability because its in a book I haven't really perused, then I have them provide the reference. It is their responsibility to provide the book (hardback or pdf) as proof anyways :). This is more for the veteran players.

Its not my job to know everything about every type of build there is, but a general understanding of the rules is necessary to GM. Otherwise it might be helpful to have the resources available for quick look up.
My memory is not as it used to be, so I can't remember everything anyways.

4/5

redward wrote:
blah blah blah

To elaborate on what I said earlier, I'm happy to help a new player understand their character.

However, I do ask them to meet me halfway:

  • try to show up early so we're not taking time away from the other players
  • start simple; don't use some crazy borderline build you pulled off the forums for your first character
  • if we can't figure out some obscure choice, consider swapping it out and trying it again in a rebuild once we've had time to get it clarified

But I do want to stress that if we expect our GMs to know everything about everything, we're not going to have any GMs. It can be hard enough to get people to volunteer without scaring them off because they don't think they have enough system mastery.

Scarab Sages

DeviantDiva wrote:
<.< -chews on toes wondering if anyone's interested in this topic- >.>

I have not judged so many times but from what I have seen, except for home game most judges have no idea what players are going to be at games let alone which characters are going to be there - even with advance sign ups things chance often.

In my experience I have enough trouble making sure I know what is going on with monsters and people games

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

The players should know it.

If the build is broken I've probably heard of it enough to know how it works... or how it doesn;t

If the build isn't broken its not ruining anyone's fun its not worthy my time to put up a ven diagram and an excel chart to figure out if someone accidentally stacked two archtypes that gave away the same 16th level ranger ability.


I love learning how players do the things that they do.

I get excited when players show me things that I never seen before or ideas I never thought of.

So I want to learn how their characters work as well.

Very often I see player that have no idea how their characters work. At gen con I have seen a master of many styles/flowing monk(both alter the feats option not legal), a stalwart defender that did not understand defense stance means you can not move and exhausts you, a grapple build that thought you got to auto tie them up after a pin.

As a player and GM these frustrate me. To debate them pulls everyone out of the game and grinds it to a halt. So either stop the game or let the player cheat. The sad part is DMs that expect players to knwo what rules their characters use, or ignore the infraction reinforce this misinformation, IE you are the first DM to say something...

5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Georgia—Atlanta aka Yiroep

I like to be ignorant of their builds so I don't even tempt to metagame it, and I am very rules savvy so I usually can guess at what they're doing anyway. If something seems off, though, it's audit time!

I will often ask after the game how they did it if I can't figure it out.


Yiroep wrote:
I will often ask after the game how they did it if I can't figure it out.

When the furious Kender asked how I got my DC so how during the game was a proud moment at the table for myself.

Sczarni 4/5

I prefer that players know their characters, because it saves us time during gameplay and definitely breaks immersion when I try to explain them their abilites.

As a GM, I am leading already a scenario, a world around you, NPCs and everything else. It saddens me when a player (and I don't mean a new guy who is still picking things up) doesn't know their spells or abilities.

When I can, I do try to audit the character sheets, because I already notice when something is wrong a mile away, but in general I am kind of fanatic regarding knowing everything. I am checking SRD always for new traits, feats, archetypes, so anything that player knows, I already know it before him. At least in 80% of cases.

Grand Lodge

Players MUST know their character better than I do. I have a million and one evil goblins, a dozen traps to remember and a demon stuck in a bottle waiting to get out.

Unless I had 5 stars and a blessing from On High, I don't know if I could remember each players particular build or style at my FLGS. Being a GM and running a weekly scenario from the vast catalog of released scenarios only makes knowing everything, less likely. I can barely remember the 3 characters I actually play.

Expecting the GM to have intimate knowledge of a players character is foolishness. A cursory knowledge, maybe even one or two pieces of scenario specific information, is understandable.

Dark Archive

i like to know whats coming my way..

body guarding MoMS summoner? i'm gonna have a few questions

often i ask about builds to see whatt other fun/good combos are out there that i normally wouldnt play

Scarab Sages

Imho, GM should focus on running the game in a timely, yet entertaining manner. If there is a brand new player with a pregen for first level character, allow one of the other seasoned players to assist him/her.

Honestly, you do not have time to audit every character at the table. If they start throwing out some actions/abilities that make absolutely no sense, ask them to substantiate it with rules.


I'm they type of GM that expects the players to know and understand their characters --- they built them they should know them.

However, when it comes to new players, obviously they aren't going to know things and give them the benefit of the doubt. Generally if they are stuck on how to do something, I'll ask them what it is they want to do and then figure out the rules from there. This gives them a good learning opportunity and gives me a refresher course on that rule.

I think knowing the characters that are at the table is very situational. If I had a static home game, with the same players and characters every week, then it would be easy for me to sit down and learn the characters. In the context of a convention that is completely impossible.

GMs, even 5-stars, have limitations; and knowing the ins and outs of ever character at their table is one of those. I barely remember what my own characters can do.

Liberty's Edge

I have always GMed in a way that was open to player creativity. I am a hard line rules follower, as I believe the rules create a fair and balanced game for everyone, so as long as people follow the rules in character creation, have fun.

For PFS I simply enjoy seeing what comes next. By this point in time in my pathfinder career, the only thing that surprises me are the combinations. If the player knows and understands their character, I am more than happy.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
DeviantDiva wrote:

Hihi! So, there is no "Right" or "Wrong" answer here, I'm just intrested in your perspective.

Now that that's out of the way~

My question is this:

As a PFS GM,

Are you the type of GM who feels (s)he should take the time to research the character builds at the table and be intimately aware of their spec's just as you are with the npc's?

or

Do you feel that it is up to the Players to know their characters and it should not be part of your responsibility to know the character builds at the table?

or

A Mix of the Two? Please leave details <33

I ask, because when I was a new player, not so long ago, I had walked into a game shop and one of the employees was running a Pathfinder game in the shop. I was wrong when I thought that because he's a long time store associate, he would know the ins and outs of the game.

His gaming style was to have the players read the books and educate him on all things beyond race and stats.

This was a very bad first experience for me and as a new player, only played a fighter type (Lore Warden) in depth, I know that I would like a GM to know about my characters race/stats/class, and give helpful suggestions so that I don't feel like I'm not pulling my own weight at a table with guys who have an intimate knowledge of the rules and would make an average player feel incompetent and obsolete.

What you're asking for has not been practical since this game evolved from something that was only THREE books into a collection that can possibly cause a hernia if you lifted it all at once.

The GM's responsibilities are to know the characters HE is running as part of the scenario. It is YOUR responsibility to know the character that you are bringing to the table. If I'm doing my job as a GM, I've spent HOURS preparing the scenario that I'm going to run. I don't have the luxury of spending that kind of time to study your characters in addition to that. I don't play gunslingers myself, and I don't feel incumbent upon me to master the class the way you may have as a player if it's the only class you've played since Ultimate Combat came out.

You're going to get variation from table to table, some GM's are walking encyclopedias of the game who'll be able to quote you RAW without opening a single page of text. Others won't be quite as adept. But you can't say that you don't have tons of resources available for you to prepare your characters. You're posting on a messageboard filled with self appointed experts on any Pathfinder topic you can name, and several you probably can't.

Silver Crusade

I don't disagree with any of the answers given. I do disagree with the question.

The question sounds like a trap to me: "Are you the type of person who can recite 10,000 pages of Paizo publications perfectly off the top of your head, or are you one of those lazy GMs who doesn't bother learning it all?"

I'm sorry, but expecting any GM to know everything is unreasonable. Unless they're a newbie, the player had better understand the details of their PC better than the GM. Don't take a feat, spell, archetype, etc for your PC unless you know how it works, and can explain it to a GM who hasn't seen it before.

For a newbie, I'll be happy to give them advice and help them build their first character. But I'll also stick to the basic classes and options, most of which are in the Core Rulebook. I really don't know enough about alchemists or gunslingers to explain them to anyone else, because I've never played one. For that matter, I'm no expert on monks, either, but I can probably do a pretty good job helping a newbie create a reasonable PC based on any other class in the Core Rulebook.

At a convention I attended last year, we had a GM 101 class with over 20 people in it. The Venture-Captain teaching the class asked the room full of experienced Pathfinder players/GMs to list qualities that we thought made a good GM. We had a list of more than 20 things before anyone mentioned rules knowledge, and the V-C made a point of stressing that fact.

To be a good GM, you need to know the basic rules of the game, enough to keep things flowing properly. But when obscure details come up, the GM either takes the player's word for how something works to keep the game moving, or they stop and read the rule, both of which are reasonable options. Either way, nobody expects every GM to know everything. And many people who don't think they "know enough" to be a GM would actually do fine if they'd just give it a try, even if they aren't expert rules lawyers.

Silver Crusade

I think it's extraordinarily unrealistic and unfair to expect a GM to know how to play all specific builds. If you are a new player, pick something easy to play until you figure it out. I can help with the basics, but there are far too many archetypes and obscure feats, spells, traits, etc.

If you build a weird character and expect me to figure it out for you, you are making problems at my table. And you are wasting my time making me look up your character archetype, equipment, and spells, etc. in game while everyone else is bored because you don't know how to play the character you built. Know your character before you show up to play.


In PFS, my goal as GM is to maximize the enjoyment of the players involved and make sure I am doing all I can to grow the hobby and set a good example for players newer than myself

I am getting better at all of the above, each time

Liberty's Edge

I'm a very new GM, still a couple tables away from my first star. I think I've got a pretty fair handle on low-level combat mechanics, considering I only picked the game up in May and never played or read 3.0 or 3.5.

I run most of my games via PBP precisely because I don't have the time to sit and memorize rulebooks.

I love learning the gaem and building characters, but I won't take the time to learn all the in-and-outs of my players'. I will read your character sheet if you've never played at my table before. I will ask you how you get a +10 to any skill check when you're below level 3. That's how I learn. By experience and repetition. I don't audit sheets to catch cheaters, necessarily, but I like to see how others have built theirs.

If we all had to have excellent system mastery, the following couldn't have happened:

Last Monday we had extra people show up at our local gameday. Several, including regulars, had not signed up on our Warhorn site. I volunteered to run the scenario with no prep. We managed to work through it together, because I had veteran players I could rely on. Everyone was appreciative of the chance to play, even though it was rough at times, with me needing to page through the scenario or search the PRD on a borrowed tablet.

Long story short: I feel like it is incumbent on each player to understand their character as best they can. I'll always help out when I know soemthing they don't. I'll always disclaim my level of experience beforehand. Hopefully this leads to the best experience possible.

Grand Lodge

As a GM I like to view my players characters the first time they join my table just to get a feel of what the party consists of and what they are capable of doing. Its good to know if the party will be having lots of problems due to traps and the likes. Given that the question is directed as Pathfinder Societies, I feel that the build will hardly be game breaking due to the rules placed by the Societies. I try to get also a gauge on my players knowledge of the game, so that if I have a new player in my table I can encourage him to try more things and think outside of the box. If the players ask for help in character creation I am also willing to help.

Now I guess when asking what kind of GM a person is, I would rather think of asking how that person runs the adventures. Do they use lots of descriptions and sound effects? Are they more practical and concise in their games? I feel that the best games are not the ones were your character is the strongest or best built but when you are able to immerse yourself into the game and each person has different tastes.

Liberty's Edge

As a GM I only know what I have experience in building/playing usually. For example it's a full-round action to attempting to rouse someone from slumber, but a free action to scream and give them a decent bonus to waking up, but I only know that from an adventure where the party (I was playing in this one) got jumped on. The GM was only aware of the rules because he spent a campaign playing with a character who liked to sleep in the campfire. That being said, I generally respond to the player in how intently I focus on your character. If a player is up front with numbers/silly things I'll usually just take it in stride (unless it's a little too good). If late in the game and a player is demanding I make will saves without giving me any sort of explanation, I'll be asking for that character sheet ASAP (just to everything is legal, not to start copying things down! of course not, that would be silly!).

The second thing that factors in for me is previous experience with players (and the interactions I have had). If I suspect something is fishy, I'll go dig it up, usually after the session (but because of this I now have a very good understanding of SLAs, another is the bluff skill) and the next time I have players with SLAs, I'll know what to expect.

The last thing is theory builds. I the type of player that prefers to go big or not at all. I often will spend multiple hours crunching out a character because I think it would be fun/amusing to play (only to find paizo has banned some core aspect of it! *shakes fist*) and this gives be insights into "how things work". Druid Wild Shaping in pathfinder can be an interesting beast to wrap your head about if you had any experience with 3.5 Druids. Similarly, grappling can cause massive headings as well.

I expect players to do the heavy theory crafting on their characters and prefer them only to ask for specific help (why is a Pseudo Dragon better/worse then an Imp?), its called YOUR character for a reason. That being said, I'm always happy to help new people with their builds (if I'm not attempting to eat!).

TL;DR: My experience is limited to what I've encountered and what I've play. As a GM, I'm here to make a fun and fair adventure for everyone at the table.

Lantern Lodge

Speaking in general terms:

I believe that if a GM has a solid grasp of the core mechanics of the game (actions in combat, movement, bonus types and how they interact as far as stacking or not, darkness and lighting, ect.), they are in a strong position. I do not think that they necessarily need to know every possible interaction of each archetype, feat, spell, and magic item combination.

The best thing a player who runs a min/maxed or power happy PC can do for their GM is prepare a very simple notecard that explains the math and the source of said math for anything bonus they have that is likely to raise an eyebrow. That way the GM can instantly review it in 10 seconds.

A completely made up example for a high skill could read:

13 ranks + class skill
4 attribute
2 racial (alternate racial trait x)
6 untyped (skill focus)
5 competence (x ioun stone)
2 circumstance (x tool)

+32 skill

Scarab Sages

As a GM there are far too many interactions of the rules for me to be an expert on each class and all its possibilities. I believe I have a good grasp on the core mechanics and some what of an idea of when most classes step outside the rules whether intentional or not.
On a related note, I find it very frustrating when players assume the GM knows everything. They cast or use some ability, and expect the GM to not only know what is does, but also the mechanics as related to their character (DC's). Its even better when they do it in combat and don't have the relevant resource ready. Sorry I needed to vent a little ;p

1/5

Lormyr wrote:
I do not think that they necessarily need to know every possible interaction of each archetype, feat, spell, and magic item combination.

I'd go further and say that it is literally impossible to know every possible interaction of each archetype, feat, spell, and magic item combination.

Silver Crusade

Brett Cochran wrote:


On a related note, I find it very frustrating when players assume the GM knows everything. They cast or use some ability, and expect the GM to not only know what is does, but also the mechanics as related to their character (DC's). Its even better when they do it in combat and don't have the relevant resource ready. Sorry I needed to vent a little ;p

I cannot tell you how many times I have just dead eyed stared at someone and said, "I do not know what that is." They say it like it's the coolest thing ever, and we are cuh-razy for not knowing about this awesome spell/ability/archetype/blahhhhhh.

Scarab Sages

Conman the Bardbarian wrote:
DeviantDiva wrote:
Conman the Bardbarian wrote:
I was, but now i'm more interested in seeing what you'll chew on next.
X3 perv <3<3

Oohh I'm a perv now. Ok, how's this then for perv and on topic then?

I don't even make my own bed after I lay in it, so why should I help my players make theirs before?

Because, imo, new players are a reflection of their GM. If a player has the enthusiasm to play and brings the energy, but feels shut down because their mind isn't geared toward twinking, then you lose an essential part.

Also, I feel that part of being a GM is taking the time to get to know one's players and the characters and see said characters through the players eyes... then tweak the scenario/module to make it more personalized and memorable and engaging to your players...


the problem you run into with that, in PFS, is time

Scarab Sages

I unno, I got all these ideas and they'll probably fall flat -.- -sighs and shrugs-


Meh, time. If the players are having fun that is all that matters. if you are worried about time you can continue at another date to finish as well.

Diva, shoot for the sky and if you miss you land in the stars

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

I am of the opinion that players should know their PC's abilities.

When I recognize something, I will chime in. (Sorry, Flurry of Blows can only be used as a full round action)

For standard tactics/strategy, I will chime in for new players. (If you 5' step here, you will gain a +2 to hit, and your friend, the Rigue over there, will get to add his sneak attack damage as well)

When something seems odd or wrong, I will ask the player how they got there. (So, could you explain to me how your 1st level PC has a +11 to Acrobatics?)

For some of the oddball, unusual rules out there, I will try to cover them for the player, when I know them myself. (Spellstrike works like so, Spell COmbat works like so. Oh, and before you roll, did you want to take an additional penalty to hit to improve your concentration check?)

When asked, I will bend my mid-level rules mastery to help out someone's build. If requested, and time allows, I will look over a new player's PC build. Found a couple of points of confusion, recently, too. Mythic powers and Ultimate Campaign drawbacks, but at least on different PCs...


Finlanderboy wrote:


Diva, shoot for the sky and if you miss you land in the stars

What would be the damage dice for landing in a star?

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

Treefolk wrote:
What would be the damage dice for landing in a star?

All of them. All of the dice.


Paz wrote:
All of them. All of the dice.

Reflex for half? There's precedent:

Sunburst Spell wrote:

Sunburst causes a globe of searing radiance...-snip-...successful Reflex save negates the blindness and reduces the damage by half.

Grand Lodge

DeviantDiva wrote:
I unno, I got all these ideas and they'll probably fall flat -.- -sighs and shrugs-

Having ideas is great. We all do, but Pathfinder Society scenarios is not the place for "ideas". PFS pushes hard for "Run the scenario as written", and some of the situations are handled badly for a reason.

Now, having detailed knowledge of the characters in a home game, is completely manageable. Limiting the number of players (not a random set of 6 from a group of 50-60, with multiple characters each), and limiting the situations they will be in (lots of undead and outsiders) will completely make your life easier.

Pathfinder Society scenarios are pre-written, defined in advance and you as the GM are expected to run them as written. I don't want to say having your own ideas on how things should go is discouraged, but Society aims for an enjoyable experience for everyone, not just the few players/characters a GM can remember.


you cannot throw time so dismissively aside in PFS

unless you are running a home PFS game or a running content for a specific regular group, you generally have a limited amount of time in order to complete a PFS scenario

At a games day, con, LGS store or other such event, you are going to have to get your game done in the slot you are given

I am not trying to shoot your ideas and creativity down, OP, but you should realize that PFS GMing on the whole, in general, is just by necessity a bit more 'railroady' and constrained in order to promote organized play

While I love PFS, you will find that running your own game such as an Adventure Path, non-pfs module, homebrew, 3rd party adventure, etc is where you will truly be able to let your creativity run wild without boundaries

In my own case, I find GMing for PFS and GMing non-pfs 'home' games both to be very satisfying, just in different ways

Silver Crusade 2/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
DeviantDiva wrote:

Hihi!

As a PFS GM,

[should you] take the time to research the character builds at the table and be intimately aware of their spec's just as you are with the npc's?

or

[is it] up to the Players to know their characters and it should not be part of your responsibility to know the character builds at the table?

or

A Mix of the Two? Please leave details <33

A bit of perspective:

I've played one PFS game in Sacramento, CA, a number of games in Columbia, MO, games in Indianapolis, IN -- and then games at cons as well. I've GM'd in all those places except Sacramento, CA.

Because of that and the time pressures already mentioned, and because players can (and as you can see above, do) bounce around:

my response is "player responsibility" with some exceptions.

Exception #1
If you're a brand new player and you're playing a level 1 pregen (fighter/rogue/cleric/wizard) -- I've got your back (I should know those specs well).

Exception #2
I've helped a player build their character. I should know the details -- until they level, at which point I probably won't know where they're heading any more.

Exception #3
You're a brand new player who built built your character on your own -- and I know it. I need to do an audit -- or have an experienced player do it (an again, have you sit next to them).

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