Dealing with the inability to deal with long term ramifications in PFS.


Pathfinder Society

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Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

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I ran a game recently where the local VC gave the PCs orders to essentially remove one of the lodge’s competitors for something by convincing the NPC through Intimidation or Diplomacy to essentially leave town. The party was told specifically not kill the NPC as this would reflect badly on the Society. They went to the NPC’s room at the Inn, the barbarian kicked in the door, which precipitated a fight. Now most of the PCs were trying to use non-lethal attacks but the barbarian refused. Each round, he would tell the NPC to surrender and attack for lethal damage if he didn’t, despite being repeatedly reminded they had been ordered not to kill the NPC and several PCs had specifically asked him not to do it. The tactics for the NPC said you couldn’t Intimidate him into leaving until after you defeated him in combat as he thought you were probably going to kill him anyway. So the barbarian’s demands for surrender were irrelevant. Three rounds into combat the NPC, who hasn’t even done double digits in damage to the party is almost down and the barbarian crits him and kills him, then shrugs and says, “well I gave him three chances to surrender and he didn’t.”

I had not expected the barbarian to do this and his actions caught me completely off guard, but after thinking about it there were a lot of ramifications the character would have suffered in a home campaign that I was pretty much powerless to do anything about in PFS.

The party had busted into a room in an Inn in broad daylight without any attempt to hide their actions, attacked and killed the guy in the room. That’s murder and there were plenty of witnesses. On top of that, the barbarian disobeyed the express orders of the local VC. In a home campaign, the local authorities would be seeking to arrest them and put them in jail for long periods of time or execute them and they might suffer long term ramifications from the VC such as reprimands, demotions and even expulsion. But as a PFS GM I was virtually powerless to do anything about this. I couldn’t even hit the barbarian with an alignment shift because his actions had caught me so off guard I didn’t think to warn him he would be committing an evil act if he murdered the NPC, and according the Guide I have to give him a warning regarding alignment changing actions. The mod gave some minor penalties for dealing lethal damage to the NPC but didn’t even consider the fact the PCs would kill him. So my hands were mostly tied with this.

The Guide simply doesn’t cover situations like this, so what, if any, ability do I have as a GM to deal with situations like this? Can I, for example, simply say the adventure is over and you failed because you are now spending all of your time being chased by the authorities or were arrested and put in jail, or the local VC removed you from the mission due to gross insubordination? Is it fair to the other 5 players if I do that? How, exactly, would you deal with situations like this?

Grand Lodge

No answer here, but this is a fantastic question. I'll be watching answers with interest. Awesome question.

The Exchange

Yeah, I wish I could give an answer, I think we've all been in this situation once or twice before and often felt the same helplessness. Its definitely one of the frustrating aspects of PFS.

I hope Walter weighs in on something like this, just because he always has good responses to tough situations.

Shadow Lodge

Could it be considered an evil action? Sounds like he just busted into a guy's room and straight up murdered him when he stood his ground...

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

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Arresting him and throwing him in jail is certainly a valid option, and I recall a PFS leader even suggesting the action once in the past (don't recall who, but I *think* it was Josh Frost). At any rate, the character would be "dead" and removed from play was what he ruled.

I have arrested PCs for stupid things like kicking in nobles' doors in broad daylight. I have gone on to have the VC who gave them the mission show up, lecture them sternly, ask why they should be bailed out and allowed to continue with the Pathfinder Society, then waited for appropriate answers. The one time I got lip I said very sternly, "If I leave you here to rot, no amount of Fame will 'resurrect' you. I hope that's clear. Would you like to try again to convince me of your worth to the society?" That worked.

I have also informed players (many times) that their chosen course of action will result in a shift toward evil. If that means they go from neutral to evil, then they have an illegal PC that will be removed from play. The player has never gone forward with the action, even if they have one "throw away" step by starting out good. This, too, was a suggested course of action from leadership, and the "removed from play" part was their suggestion.

I cannot search and link posts, as I am on a phone, but I do recall the discussions, in both cases. Of course, as all discussions are wont to contain, there are many sides to the opinions of the veracity of those options. I, obviously, have my own opinion. And the tactics have always worked to make players recall the fact that they're supposed to be the good guys. I've never had to go through with the extreme step of removing a PC from play.

Dark Archive

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There are times when PC actions will just completely invalidate whole blocks of written material. Don't be afraid to improvise at those periods in time would be the only advice I know to give you. So long as you don't violate the spirit of the game, what is the harm? After all, you're not choosing to toss out written material; you're having your hand forced.

I actually had one situation where I was running Blakros Matrimony for a particularly silly group of murderhobo-types.

Spoiler:
They actually began trying to attack the groom in the middle of the actual wedding. Their asses were subsequently kicked (after having repeatedly ignored both in-character warnings and my own OOC warnings) by him, my logic being that a retired hellknight ought not be a pushover. As fate would have it, I actually have a hellknight PC. I may or may not have slipped the stats it had back then onto the aforementioned groom. >_>

Needless to say the aftermath was about as awkward as Elmer Fudd walking into a furry convention.

5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Germany—Hamburg

I suppose what you can do in situations like that also depends on the PCs' level. If they are mid-level or even high-level, you could tell them they will fail their mission unless they take the dead NPC to a temple and have a cleric cast Raise Dead on him so they can cover their actions.
As was already said above, there's also the option of throwning the PCs into jail. Being bailed out is less expensive than Raise Dead as far as I know.

Also, either that barbarian dealt an awesome amount of damage, or his teammates didn't deal any significant amount, because even if one character deals lethal damage, nonlethal damage from the other characters can still make the NPC unconcious before he gets anywhere near death.

Then there's another question to this: Why did the barbarian's player choose to deal lethal damage? Was it a logical in-character decision, or did he just want to avoid the -4 penalty for dealing nonlethal? That would be a purely seflish out-of-character decision and falls under the "don't be a jerk" rule. In that case, you should have a talk with the player about proper gaming etiquette.

Dark Archive

Besides that, it's a freaking barbarian. I think I know what NPC the OP is talking about and uh... yeah. Even with the -4 penalty I have a hard time believing a barbarian would have a hard time hitting him without raging, let alone with. Violating the don't be a jerk rule would be putting it mildly if you ask me. Unless there's some mitigating factor we're not aware of, that barbarian doesn't have a leg to stand on, figuratively speaking.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

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Unfortunately, it would be impossible to list consequences in the Guide for every action a PC would take. Drogon gave a very good answer. This is all going to depend on GM adjudication. If the PCs are grossly negligent, and they are brash and open about illegal behavior, then there is nothing wrong with the PC being arrested. If it is warranted (such as murder in your specific example), then the character should be marked as "dead" and removed from play. An alternative to "save" the character from this fate would be for the PC to pay 5 PP to "recover his body" as it would represent the Pathfinder Society pulling strings to get him released from jail. In this case, it would also most definitely be an alignment shift towards evil, and if necessary, an atonement would be required. Also, you probably want to make a note so future GMs could be made aware of such actions.

I had a similar situation occur when GMing Shades of Ice, part 2, where I had to remove all 6 PCs from play.

Spoiler:
The PCs confronted and killed a group of Iron guard. Instead of fleeing and continuing with the adventure as is noted in the scenario, they decided to stand and brag about their actions to the local peasants. Soon after, another group of iron guards appeared, and the PCs killed them as wel, and again bragged about it. Bear in mind, this is inside the walls of Whitethrone. So, when the next set of Iron guards arrived and saw two patrols dead! one of the guard blew a signal whistle while the rest of the iron guards waded into battle with the PCs. I advised the PCs heard other groups of guards approaching and would probably arrive on the next few rounds, trying to give the PCs a hint they should flee so we could continue with the rest of the scenario. They refused, and decided to continue fighting the iron guards. 1d4 rounds later, a second patrol arrived, again blowing a signal whistle. The party continued to fight instead of flee, and again I warned them they could hear another patrol arriving and would be there within 1d4 rounds.

This group of Pcs was particularly hard headed, and even though I had given them at least five hints that more Iron Guards would soon arrive, they decided they wanted to fight the entire town instead of play the scenario. Eventually I had enough guards arrive where the entire party was overwhelmed and eventually beaten into unconsciousness. They were subsequently arrested and marked as "dead" and removed from society play.

Grand Lodge

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Mike, that was a great example with Shades of Ice part 2, but what about scenarios where the local town guard stats aren't listed?
Would you oppose the GM introducing NPC Codex town guard squadrons to a scenario? Is that reasonable if the party is being what would be considered a violent threat to the peace? Let's say, a squad of 4 'Guards' from the NPC Codex lead by a Paladin 'Hammer of Justice' plus a 'Investigator Wizard'?

Grand Lodge

Michael Brock wrote:
...This is all going to depend on GM adjudication. If the PCs are grossly negligent, and they are brash and open about illegal behavior, then there is nothing wrong with the PC being arrested. If it is warranted (such as murder in your specific example), then the character should be marked as "dead" and removed from play. An alternative to "save" the character from this fate would be for the PC to pay 5 PP to "recover his body" as it would represent the Pathfinder Society pulling strings to get him released from jail. In this case, it would also most definitely be an alignment shift towards evil, and if necessary, an atonement would be required. Also, you probably want to make a note so future GMs could be made aware of such actions.

Good answer. Adding this to my toolbox for handling sessions.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

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Andrei Buters wrote:

Mike, that was a great example with Shades of Ice part 2, but what about scenarios where the local town guard stats aren't listed?

Would you oppose the GM introducing NPC Codex town guard squadrons to a scenario? Is that reasonable if the party is being what would be considered a violent threat to the peace? Let's say, a squad of 4 'Guards' from the NPC Codex lead by a Paladin 'Hammer of Justice' plus a 'Investigator Wizard'?

A GM has to use the tools at his or her disposal. If the PCs choose to attack the town guard, as in my example, and there are no stats present in a scenario for said town guard, that is the perfect time to break out the NPC Codex since it has low and mid level City Defenses entry on page 309. I wouldn't start throwing in Paladin Hammer of justice plus an investigator wizard, however, unless there is canon that gives the GM direction as to what a typical city defense patrol consist of in the town the transgressions have occurred. A GM should the stats as outlined in the NPC Codex. The mid level does have a "saintly knight" paladin included in the stat blocks.

This is also the time the GM has the creative license to re flavor the text. Instead of dwarf warriors in the low level, they could be replaced with humans of the same level and class if it fits better for the setting, such as my Whitethrone example above. They could also be called Iron guards instead of city defenders since Iron guards are listed as the canon that serves as the city guard for Whitethrone. Note that if stats are given, such as 2-17, then the NPC Codex version should not be substituted and the stats as listed should be run.

An additional note so what I've said isn't taken and twisted out of context, the above advice should be used only in extreme situations. As Drogon advised above, and what I've experienced in most of he games I've GMed that have gone sideways, most of the time, a simple warning will suffice for the majority of groups.

5/5

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I mentioned this a few times before, but there was a collateral-damage type wizard who killed a bunch of people in a scenario where the BBEG was already framing the Society for crimes, thus making that job easier. After the bard gave away his secrets in Celestial, which the enemy understood, he managed to die while in a magic jar, but he magic jar-ed a devil enemy and greater teleported to Absalom, escaping the trial in the scenario and spending the prestige for a raise dead. With one negative level still (since you can't remove both the same week), he didn't have enough caster level to cast his own teleport to get back the adventure location, so the other PCs threw him under the bus in the trial and managed to exonerate the Society but demonize him. The other PCs were told that they were released on the condition that they were deputized to extradite him, and the Venture Captains told him that his many successful missions and prestige managed to earn him enough favor that they are willing to pull strings to keep him safe, as long as he never returns to the country in question and toes the line with less collateral damage.

So he got a boon at the end that I handwrote about being wanted for murder in that country and the other PCs got "deputized to extradite PC X". All the players thought it was hilarious, and the PC in question started summoning Good outsiders and cleaning up his act (one time he bound an outsider of Torag and promised to follow the Paladin's Code of Torag in exchange if it would help). He sometimes jokes as a tagline about the PC being "so much fun, he's even illegal in Country X".

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

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Mike, you're my hero. I came on here this morning with the intention of going to look for posts to link, and here you are removing that need. Thank you, sir.

I will offer one opinion that (slightly) goes against what Mike says:

I would think that municipalities located in a fantasy environment would be more than capable of dealing with the kind of nonsense that higher level PCs can throw around. Otherwise, the "ruling class" makeup would be significantly different than it is, and would instead consists of groups of bully-style adventurers. So, when your high level PCs start getting uppity, I see no reason that you can't pull out all the stops and bring in serious firepower like the Profane General, Sacred Guardian, or even the Deep Marshall.

Having said that, however, I have not been above simply informing the PCs that, being in a cosmopolitan city of 200,000+ citizens, the PCs are not unusual, and a significant enough force to oppose them with ease has showed up to arrest them. I went on to tell them if they wanted a fight I would win, and I would not use non-lethal damage. Essentially, I offered the same choice that your barbarian offered, trollbill: submit or die. They submitted, and I went on with my above-described "arrested PC" tactic.

Mike, I think, likes to see people twist in the wind more than I do. (-;


Drogon wrote:
-snip- So, when your high level PCs start getting uppity -snip-

Little warning, you may want to be careful about this word here. A week ago or so, I had one the Paizo workers come in and tell me that because of the historical use of it I must have meant that people (specifically minorities that didn't even make sense in the context I was using it) were lower class citizens than me. There were then many other customers and another worker that jumped on that bandwagon.

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

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Really? "Uppity" refers to class-ism? I guess that makes sense, though I will admit I thought it a very harmless way of referring to snotty players.

However, I will defend its use, here, given your context: higher level PCs (and their players) often have a severely over-inflated sense of their "worth" in the fantasy society that is an RPG. I think "uppity" is completely appropriate in this instance. The child whose "affluenza" was the reason he was recently spared jail time in the vehicular homicide of 4 individuals leaps to mind. LINK. High level PCs often act just as entitled as that kid.

So, frankly, I'm fine with its use, here.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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I don't know how many guards it would take to finally defeat the PCs but I know how many they're going to use... (NSFW)

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Hehehehe.. our group stuffed him in the chest and walked him out the front door loudly and drunkenly singing "Oh Susana" to drown out the protests from inside.

Dark Archive

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
I don't know how many guards it would take to finally defeat the PCs but I know how many they're going to use... (NSFW)

Ahahahaha.. Ron White for the win.

Liberty's Edge

I nearly had issues like this in a running of Slave Pits of Absalom in a certain locale there. A Paladin in my game also flat out lied there... atonement time!

I know a lot of GM's out there (myself included) would be loathe to call the game if its not the 'end' of the scenario and bring up an early conclusion. It creates bad blood with the players, other local gms will start saying it could of been resolved a different way. PFS is what is is, which means effectively the punishment needs to be in the game the crime/action is committed, which means it is up to you the gm of that game to make that happen.


Honestly if this happened at my table, I'd fail the table. Zero Prestige, move on. While I agree they epicly screwed the pooch, but they tried to follow orders and those orders did not include do this stealthy. They simply said get this guy out of town without killing him.

I'd sit down and talk to the barbarian's player for a bit, make sure he/she understood the system well enough to do something like strike to subdue, and make sure she/he understood why this had happened, and what they had intended to happen.

But I am honestly more concerned that a GM is shocked when a NPC dies after fighting a party for 3 rounds. I mean most low table I see combat rarely make it into round 3. Even at high tables 1 NPC very rarely last 3 rounds with a party, unless it is a very serious NPC.

PFS isn't about a punitive relationship between GMs and Players. Certainly actions have consequences as they must. But it is about having fun as a table. Both GM and Players, telling the story of the scenario together. When failure happens it happens to the table as a whole unit not simply from the actions of one player.

Of course if a player is abusive and doing such things on purpose then they should be handled by the local VC. But it doesn't sound like that is what happened here. It sounds like poor judgement on all sides snowballing into a failed table.

5/5

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Hmm, I wonder, what would be the position if the other players tried to stop the crazy barbarian? Would it be acceptable for them to try and grapple, disarm or trip him? How about something like dropping him in a Create Pit or a Wall of Force to cut him off? How far does the no PvP rule go when someone is blatantly screwing over the rest of the team?

I am not suggesting any of these would be legal (although Wall of Force presumably would be) but I am curious how people would react if another PC were to attempt such a thing.

Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka Mistwalker

I don't think that you have to justify having a town guard strong enough to take out the PCs - if the town guard was over matched, don't you think that adventuring NPCs that lived there, were passing through or wanting something from someone in town, would not jump in and help the town guard?

How many adventures start off pretty much exactly like that?


Ahunting wrote:
Honestly if this happened at my table, I'd fail the table. Zero Prestige, move on.

I think he is trying to find a way to "punish" the bad player without screwing over the rest of the table that repeatedly asked him to use subdued damage.

5/5

The Beard wrote:

There are times when PC actions will just completely invalidate whole blocks of written material. Don't be afraid to improvise at those periods in time would be the only advice I know to give you. So long as you don't violate the spirit of the game, what is the harm? After all, you're not choosing to toss out written material; you're having your hand forced.

I actually had one situation where I was running Blakros Matrimony for a particularly silly group of murderhobo-types.

** spoiler omitted **

Needless to say the aftermath was about as awkward as Elmer Fudd walking into a furry convention.

My mind, it is boggled by your spoiler. Why would they do that? It isn't even close to any part of the stated mission or any of the events which actually occur in the module?????

5/5

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andreww wrote:
The Beard wrote:

There are times when PC actions will just completely invalidate whole blocks of written material. Don't be afraid to improvise at those periods in time would be the only advice I know to give you. So long as you don't violate the spirit of the game, what is the harm? After all, you're not choosing to toss out written material; you're having your hand forced.

I actually had one situation where I was running Blakros Matrimony for a particularly silly group of murderhobo-types.

** spoiler omitted **

Needless to say the aftermath was about as awkward as Elmer Fudd walking into a furry convention.

My mind, it is boggled by your spoiler. Why would they do that? It isn't even close to any part of the stated mission or any of the events which actually occur in the module?????

FOR ANDORAAAAAAAAAAAAN AND FREEEEEEEEEDOM!!!!

(perhaps?)

Dark Archive

andreww wrote:


My mind, it is boggled by your spoiler. Why would they do that? It isn't even close to any part of the stated mission or any of the events which actually occur in the module?????

I didn't really see anything that would cover ridiculousness of that particular degree. So no, it really isn't even covered by the module at all. If it had been, I could probably have avoided the need to give my hellknight's stats to that NPC on the fly.

Mark Seifter wrote:


FOR ANDORAAAAAAAAAAAAN AND FREEEEEEEEEDOM!!!!

(perhaps?)

Well, there actually was an Andoran involved. He was the party member that didn't wind up getting their ass kicked into the ground by the angry groom. He said his piece and let it go like a good Pathfinder. The not-so-fortunate individuals were of Taldoran and Cheliaxian origin; I believe there may also have been a Grand Lodge PC (joining in the idiocy) as well.

5/5

The Beard wrote:
Well, there actually was an Andoran involved. He was the party member that didn't wind up getting their ass kicked into the ground by the angry groom. He said his piece and let it go like a good Pathfinder. The not-so-fortunate individuals were of Taldoran and Cheliaxian origin; I believe there may also have been a Grand Lodge PC (joining in the idiocy) as well.

Never mind the groom given who else is attending the wedding (3 different faction heads?) I would have been tempted to be far more severe with them.

Dark Archive

andreww wrote:
The Beard wrote:
Well, there actually was an Andoran involved. He was the party member that didn't wind up getting their ass kicked into the ground by the angry groom. He said his piece and let it go like a good Pathfinder. The not-so-fortunate individuals were of Taldoran and Cheliaxian origin; I believe there may also have been a Grand Lodge PC (joining in the idiocy) as well.
Never mind the groom given who else is attending the wedding (3 different faction heads?) I would have been tempted to be far more severe with them.

I think being great cleaved by a hellknight wielding a scythe was already bad enough. Admittedly he was doing nonlethal to try and not sully his wedding with spilled blood, but the fact that I threatened two criticals on a weapon with a modifier of x4 in that time certainly put the fear of Asmodeus in them.

Silver Crusade 3/5

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So... wait a second here.

They actually attacked Damien Kastner? Thereby wrecking the longstanding relationship that the Pathfinder Society has been painstakingly building with the Blackros family for ooh at least 4 scenarios by this point?

Hand in your wayfinders at the door chaps...

Dark Archive

FallofCamelot wrote:

So... wait a second here.

They actually attacked Damien Kastner? Thereby wrecking the longstanding relationship that the Pathfinder Society has been painstakingly building with the Blackros family for ooh at least 4 scenarios by this point?

Hand in your wayfinders at the door chaps...

Ding ding ding; we have a winner. Against my better judgment I offered them the chance to rewind things a bit; it was mostly for the benefit of the one not being a jackass. I didn't feel right about putting the screws to him just because the others seemed to have premeditated this.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Ahunting wrote:
But I am honestly more concerned that a GM is shocked when a NPC dies after fighting a party for 3 rounds. I mean most low table I see combat rarely make it into round 3. Even at high tables 1 NPC very rarely last 3 rounds with a party, unless it is a very serious NPC.

I don't know why you think I was shocked by the fact he died in 3 rounds. I was shocked that the Barbarian, despite orders to the contrary and requests from the rest of the party, did absolutely nothing to avoid killing him.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Agent, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

Michael Brock wrote:

Unfortunately, it would be impossible to list consequences in the Guide for every action a PC would take. Drogon gave a very good answer. This is all going to depend on GM adjudication. If the PCs are grossly negligent, and they are brash and open about illegal behavior, then there is nothing wrong with the PC being arrested. If it is warranted (such as murder in your specific example), then the character should be marked as "dead" and removed from play. An alternative to "save" the character from this fate would be for the PC to pay 5 PP to "recover his body" as it would represent the Pathfinder Society pulling strings to get him released from jail. In this case, it would also most definitely be an alignment shift towards evil, and if necessary, an atonement would be required. Also, you probably want to make a note so future GMs could be made aware of such actions.

I had a similar situation occur when GMing Shades of Ice, part 2, where I had to remove all 6 PCs from play.

** spoiler omitted **...

Mike,

Thank you very much for this insightful response. I feel much better armed to deal with these types of situations in the future.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Gee, with my current party, looks like I need to add a scroll of expedious retreat to my utility belt...

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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Sometimes, if the player is just being unreasonable, you have to address it out of game. If the actions are clearly jerkish and impacting the other players with little to no in game justification outside of insanity or evil, the GM should not feel compelled to whip out a bunch of stat blocks and further derail the scenario. Either just stop the game and have a conversation with the player or just cinematically describe the local law enforcement coming in force and in waves until the PC is over-whelmed. The severity and/or repeated nature of the incident will determine if the player needs to be kicked from the table or the PC reported dead.

Remember, RAW does not mean the GM is prevented from taking appropriate action at the table to address unacceptable gameplay.

The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Agent, Kentucky—Lexington

I've ran into more than a couple players that would do things like this.

I now let all players know before a player does something bad and allow them opportunity to intercede and stop the player if it is something that can be stopped. It seems the best solution.

In cases where it can't be stopped (like ignoring command to do non-lethal and doing lethal instead but demanding a NPC to yield when he won't yield if someone is doing lethal to him), I just penalize the bad player.


This was when my Barbarian was giant and had the BBEG in a grapple. the following happened.
Me: Can I bite the head off him
Gm: No.
ME:But it isnt evil. it is just using the tools I have to kill him
Gm: No, and if you suggest it one more time will I will shift you alignment an kick you off the table
Me: Can I toss him into the portal to hell right net to me?
Gm: Sure
As a GM, you cant be afraid to pull the GM card and say "Because I said so" and punish players for infractions.

Scarab Sages

andreww wrote:


My mind, it is boggled by your spoiler. Why would they do that? It isn't even close to any part of the stated mission or any of the events which actually occur in the module?????

I just had a game certain low level game where a fight broke out in an orphanage - a place in the game i've never had a combat before (taking out one's familiar is not a kind act).

so it doesn't surprise me.

Grand Lodge

Playing the Confirmation. I almost planted my glaive in Uori. Our "conversation" didnt go well. It also doesnt help that I severely mistook him for an evil diabolist of some kind. I wouldn't chalk it up to bad GMing either seeing as the game was being run by the VC of the greater Portland area.

I doubt I would have been confirmed.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

As a GM you don't have to actually create or find NPC guards or have the fights. Just tell them that an overwhelming force of town guards are on their way. Give them the choice in how their character is written out of the campaign: in prison (maybe executed) or arch villain on the lam.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Wow, and I thought the barbarian dragging the cultist through the burning field and pissing on him to put him out was bad.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Northwest aka WalterGM

When this came up in the past, my response was somewhat similar to what's been posted here (I was the VC in question). Fortunately, That Porter Kid didn't mind having his PC arrested for his crimes as an early retirement package, so there wasn't really a situation.

I think that Mike has given us an excellent resource for how to deal with this situation in the future. I'll definitely be referring to it if I need to.

Giving players the opportunity to still play PCs that would otherwise be "dead" is nice, and I think the 5 PP is a fair price to make them pay when you consider the alternatives. Thinking about it, I believe there has been a couple scenarios that have had worse written consequences for breaking the law than the cost of a body recovery. One caused the PCs to have a permanent ability penalty (no way to cure), while the other outright removed the captured PC from organized play.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Another lost you half your gold.


Michael Brock wrote:


I had a similar situation occur when GMing Shades of Ice, part 2, where I had to remove all 6 PCs from play.

If it was preplanned and the whole party was ready and agreed to retire their characters I think this would be a good way to go.

Liberty's Edge

Im going to relate a story of what happens when the party goes off script which happened recently. It is an example of how one event can push the game into not able to be completed

Fury of the Fiend:

I recently attended Arcanacon in Melbourne. Great Con. Always nice to get back to Melbourne and game with some people I sorta know but not really.

We had just finished playing Fingerprints of the Fiend, and had started to get into the first encounter within Fury. The undercover work in the Hellknight camp. We had a fairly diverse party. A Halfling Paladin (giggle), a Brute of a Barbarian, myself a Bloatmage wizard and so on. So it was a tough sell to convince anyone we were hellknights.

Through a combination of bad social skills, one npc particuarly was very intrigued by us and thought our story false. So whilst we camped there, he decided to take on my guise and infiltrate the party to find out why we are really there.

I was asked to play as the imposter me and I was delighted. Its not often you get to do this sorta stuff in any game. I managed to get the Paladin and Barbarian in the same tent and asked some vague questions about our task down in the mine area. The Paladin was a Paladin. Far too honest (and true to character!) and after some back and forth discussion , imposter me dropped the disguise and the barbarian quickly reacted and started to punch the crap outta me (err I mean other me!).

After that and non lethal overload leading to death, the party was arrested for kill a hellknight and the real me managed to escape (via a Teleport to report back to Senore Drendle). Everyone else was having to spend resources to get out.

It was a very interesting session. Obviously for the guys who were arrested we got a lot of 'But If I had of known surrendering would mean I would need to spend resources (ie pp) to get out, I wouldnt of gone willingly' to some dirty looks to the gm from one player I saw.

I was lucky, I managed to escape with my 0 exp and 0 gold and never being able to play that adventure again with that character (which is a shame.. he is a Rahadoumi who is very interested in the Jitska).

Was a great tale though to remember.

Incidentily, the Paladin fell because he took party in a full on church service praising Asmodeus.

Liberty's Edge

Incidentally, if you ever do get a chance to have Andrei as a gm , take it. His impersonation of a certain female hellknight... scared me :)


This is an interesting thread. I appreciate having options when my PCs inevitably attempt to take on city hall.

4/5 Venture-Agent, North Carolina—Asheville

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My apologies for resurrecting a semi-deceased thread (and a big hello to Nick G from Knoxville, I'm going to try and attend Save vs. Hunger next month.)

For some reason, a lot of the above problems seem to involve barbarians (I'm sure this topic has been beat to death, but bear with me.) Have I completely missed something about barbarians and how they are depicted in fiction over the last three decades? Starting with Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and Robert Howard's Conan and continuing up to the present day, I have read some extremely entertaining and nuanced depictions of barbarians and how they interact with the "non-barbaric" world. Barbarians have been a staple of the swords-and-sorcery genre for a long time and I used to think that everyone understood how they had been portrayed.

Unfortunately, I have recently run into more than my share of folks who seem to equate barbarians with "must destroy everything that looks breakable." That isn't "barbaric," that's flat-out criminal (and possibly evil.) A little of this can be entertaining (in small doses), but it seems to have become the default for a lot of PFS folks. When you question their irrational behavior (and I do mean irrational. When one barbarian in a recent PFS scenario ran out of attack options due to lack of ranged weapons, he told me that he was just going to Intimidate a nearby wall), they immediately fall back on that laziest of excuses: "Hey, I'm just doing what my character would do!"

I have toyed with banning that phrase at my tables. Trying to hide behind an imaginary person who only exists on a piece of paper seems fairly childish to me. If you try to do something dumb and get called out on it, just defend the decision or walk it back, but don't hide behind the PFS version of "the devil made me do it". Otherwise, when I have the character kicked out of Pathfinder Society, I can just say "Hey, it's not my fault, I'm just doing what the Venture-Captains would do." That door swings both ways.

Which brings me back to barbarians. I have yet to roll up a barbarian and play one, but I would like to think I would play him with some style, wit and a little bit of humor, not staggering around trying to Intimidate and Power Attack everything in sight. I'm sure other classes have their challenges with lazy RPs and people trying to act out some sociopathic fantasy, but it really seems like barbarians as a class are getting ruined by this trend.

What are other people seeing? Good, solid PFS sessions with well-played barbarians or just more boring versions of the Incredible Hulk?


John Lance wrote:
What are other people seeing? Good, solid PFS sessions with well-played barbarians or just more boring versions of the Incredible Hulk?

TBF the hulk can be a very nuanced character, I mean he is a hulking menace with rage issues and no regard to property damage, but he is animalistically smart (he wouldnt stare at a wall, might punch it though). I think Barbarians in my mind are similar in a way. Yes they rage and get into a furey and fight aggressively, but that doesn't mean they are stupid, moreso they are instinctive and primal.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Might have something to do with how the Core Rulebook introduces the class:

Core Rulebook, Classes chapter, Barbarian wrote:
For some, there is only rage. In the ways of their people, in the fury of their passion, in the howl of battle, conflict is all these brutal souls know. Savages, hired muscle, masters of vicious martial techniques, they are not soldiers or professional warriors—they are the battle possessed, creatures of slaughter and spirits of war.

:/

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