How are badly written rules handled in society?


Pathfinder Society

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For example the witch hex ice tomb has no range, no duration and no target limitation, among many other problems.

Someone in a PFS game wants to use this hex. How does the GM decide what to do? Make house rules on the spot, which may or may not be applied if another GM takes over?

Or do you just follow it by RAW so it has infinite range, duration and can be used on everything?

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Table variance.

I'd say long range, because I think thats the best reasonable answer. Not that it matters much, at that level even short tange is usually longer than the dungeon.

Duration: until it melts. Probably longer than the party needs.

Legal target: Probably not really effective on a fire elemental, incoporeals, or anything immune to cold. Its a general trend that stopping damage stops the rider effects.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Developer

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Good question, Question.

Sometimes you'll come across a character option that's missing a key piece of information; let's use your example of ice tomb. Here's how I recommend proceeding.

Player: I use the ice tomb hex!
GM: Oh, that's going to hurt! What's the range on that?
Player: Um, there's no range listed.
GM: Huh, it's kind of strange that there's no range listed, so let's work under an assumed range of 60 feet for this session. Right now you're 40 feet from the hill giant, so that should be no problem for you. Once the session is over, we can research it a bit more and see if we're just missing something in the text.
Player: And if there's not?
GM: Then we can check the FAQ or errata on paizo.com. If it's not there, one of us can ask about it on the rules forum. Just keep in mind that until we can nail down an exact answer, you might get a different range from a different GM. So long as we're both good with 60 feet for today, let's get back to the combat and keep things moving.
Player: Cool.

Let's say you're playing two sessions that day, or you play again before you can get a ruling. Here's what I would do.

GM: Welcome everyone. Let's get settled so that we can start soon.
Player: Hey GM? I recently got the ice tomb hex, and it's been a little weird because it doesn't list a range. If it's possible, might I suggest a fair range to use until the matter is resolved on the messageboards?
GM: *Reads the hex* Right you are--there's no range. What have you worked with before?
Player: My last GM said 60 feet.
GM: Hmmm...I would say 30 feet because that seems to be the range for lots of other witch hexes. I trust that won't ruin how your character works?
Player: It's a little shorter than I'd like, but I can work with it.
GM: Good to hear. Thanks for bringing this up. I hadn't noticed it before.

Assuming that lack of information means the answer is infinity is a rather dangerous train of thought. In that case, the witch in question might start trying to kill demons on another plane, assassinate someone miles away from on a mountaintop, or something equally concerning.

The Rules forum is the best place to get a clarification about a vague rule. Remember that if you're aiming for an FAQ, it's helpful to present a concise, well-worded question; it's harder for a developer or designer to know quite what to answer if there are lots of facets to your FAQ-ed post.

Thanks,
John


It is always great to give the dm notice of unusual or have table varience rules you use.

Myself, if i know their is table varience on something I generally avoid it like the plague.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Alaska—Anchorage aka Dragnmoon

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Wow john, your GMs and players work so nice together on rules like this. If only that was more true in real life. ;)

I have seen it, but mostly what I have seen is not as happy a conversation as that.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Alaska—Anchorage aka Dragnmoon

Finlanderboy wrote:
Myself, if i know their is table varience on something I generally avoid it like the plague.

Same, and that is how I mostly advice others.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Developer

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Dragnmoon wrote:

Wow john, your GMs and players work so nice together on rules like this. If only that was more true in real life. ;)

I have seen it, but mostly what I have seen is not as happy a conversation as that.

Most of my rules-ambiguity discussions have gone like this, actually. I find it helps if both sides approach the matter with a positive attitude, willingness to be flexible, and an understanding that compromise might be necessary. I like to approach these messageboards in the same way.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

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Quote:
How are badly written rules handled in society?

Badly.

Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

PFS GMs are people, too. We make a call if one is needed and we move on with the game. It does seem that the common perception outside of this forum is that we are RAW robots, and some may be, but the ratio is no higher than play-at-home GMs.

The Exchange

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As a GM, my discussions go much like johns example. As a player, I try to avoid grey areas.

Grand Lodge

In recent news I have absolutely zero idea how the advancement for the Bone Oracle's 'Raise the Dead' revelation works, but somehow we still manage to have fun.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Andrei Buters wrote:
In recent news I have absolutely zero idea how the advancement for the Bone Oracle's 'Raise the Dead' revelation works, but somehow we still manage to have fun.

There's rules for advancing creatures by Hit Dice, and unintelligent creatures don't get new skills or feats for getting new Hit Dice.

For example, undead get this:

Quote:


  • d8 Hit Die.
  • Base attack bonus equal to 3/4 total Hit Dice (medium progression).
  • Good Will Saves.
  • Skill points equal to 4 + Int modifier (minimum 1) per Hit Die. Many undead, however, are mindless and gain no skill points or feats. The following are class skills for undead: Climb, Disguise, Fly, Intimidate, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (religion), Perception, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, and Stealth.
  • I am unsure whether they get an ability score advancement every 4 levels.

    So, use that info to upgrade the stats for whatever the "default" Skeleton/Zombie is.

    So, using the information above, you can calculate the stats for a Skeleton or Zombie for any number of hit dice!


    John : That sounds like a good idea, unfortunately the rules forum cant give official responses, so nothing there is legally binding on society play.

    Take for example ice tomb, lets say a player were to ask there what the range and duration was. You get a bunch of responses ranging from "dunno" to "i think its X". In the end all you can do is go back to the GM and say that some people on the internet suggested X, Y and Z.

    The GM then has to make a ruling, which could get annoying fast if he has to make multiple rulings on how something should work because a key piece of information is missing.

    Its also problematic for the player because he has no idea whether he should take a particular ability. In the case of ice tomb, lets say he talks to his current GM who decides that ice tomb works a certain way. So the player takes it at level 10. After a while he ends up switching to another GM, who might decide on something completely different, and now the player no longer wants ice tomb because it works very differently now, but hes stuck with it.

    It would be nice if there was a thread where a player could ask rules queries and get them clarified by paizo staff, which would then translate into errata. For example :

    Player : What is the range and duration on ice tomb?

    Paizo : Oh yea we missed that, its actually x and y.

    Then someone copy pastes it onto the FAQ page and it becomes official. Yes i know theres a faq system but it doesnt work very well, actually theres no evidence that people do address posts marked as FAQ candidates at all...given that nobody has looked at ice tomb over the last 2 years despite countless requests to do so, theres very little faith in the FAQ system.

    Ive just made a series of short and concise questions regarding ice tomb which were all seperately FAQed (http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2qqpm?Why-wont-Paizo-release-an-errata-for-the -Ice#14), but i cant help but wonder if that will actually help. Not sure if you can nudge whoever is in charge of FAQs to take a look at them?

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

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    Question, I think most of us would like to have a forum like that, but to be honest, I would rather the designers spend their time coming up with more cool content. It would be a full-time job to answer all the questions that come up in forums. That being said, they do monitor the forums, especially the rules forum and the "Ask James Jacobs" thread. You can often find answers there.

    True, the answers are not technically binding, but it can help your own understanding and adjudication to get the thoughts and analysis from other players. We have to remember that PFS is only a portion of the Pathfinder world, and there are quite a few rules that are intentionally left vague so GM's in non-PFS games do not feel bound by the specifics. The designers have essentially said that on quite a few occasions. Sure, it causes some inconvenience for us in PFS, but most rules issues can be worked out if both the player and GM approach it appropriately.

    To the GMs out there, BE NICE! Don't make the player feel like its a you vs. them relationship. We are there to facilitate their fun. Sure, sometimes you have to rule "against" the player to maintain the bounds of reasonable gameplay, but that doesn't mean wielding the rules heavy-handed. Try to let the player do as much as possible to fulfill their character's schtick while maintaining some sense of consistency.

    To the players, BE NICE! Don't surprise the GM in the middle of a heated encounter. If you know there is something about your character that is ambiguous or unclear, approach them before the game starts. Give them time to review the printed material and any online support so they can make a reasonable decision. And remember, not all GMs have the same level of comfort, so if s/he rules a bit more strict than you like, don't freak out, thrown a tantrum, etc. A GMs job is challenging enough without having to deal with an unreasonable or pi$$ed-off player.

    In general, John's comments should be the way all of these issues are resolved. I encourage everyone to approach rules discussion that way. And remember, while its not the best solution, if a player or GM is just being an unreasonable jerk, walk away from the table. This is a game and suppose to be fun. If you're not enjoying it, do something else. I like strategy board games, miniature wargames, and long walks on the beach ;-)


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    To be honest i think its more important to have working content then new, cool content. You could have 100 classes but if 90 are broken, what use are the 90?

    IIRC SKR mentioned that Paizo doesnt go back and fix old content (barring the occasional errata) because they cant sell fixes...which may explain why theres very few FAQ entries.

    It would only be a full time job if the initial printing of content was very badly done. For example lets say you release a new class with tons of vaugely, badly written class abilities. Well of course you are going to get swamped by FAQ requests, thats a simple result of releasing something broken.

    Now take the fighter class for example. You dont see people requesting FAQs for "what proficiencies does the fighter have?" or "does armor training work for all armor types?"....because theres no need to. Those rules are very clear cut and there is no confusion at all. Either way someone would need to be looking at FAQ requests regardless of what format it is, if you want less FAQ requests, the only way is to get things right the first time around.

    Theres a limit to how vauge you can release something. Giving GMs room to work with, sure. I mean by default, GMs have room to do anything they want, they could make the fighter class cast spells if they wanted to.

    When you start releasing abilities that literally say "this does damage to something" then you may as well just print blank pages with [insert house rule here], because you are asking GMs to just make everything up.

    Edit : I just found the ask james jacobs thread after some searching. Turns out its in the off-topic section...not exactly the place you would expect to go for official paizo responses to game issues.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    Question, you might be interested in this sticky post from the Rules forum.

    Basically, if you have a legitimate issue and can lay out a single question in a clear way, attention can be drawn to it and lead to a FAQ. It's not always fast, but it does work.

    Shadow Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Question wrote:
    Edit : I just found the ask james jacobs thread after some searching. Turns out its in the off-topic section...not exactly the place you would expect to go for official paizo responses to game issues.

    It's not an official Paizo response. James Jacobs is awesome and helpful, but he's not considered an official source for Pathfinder Society, and his answers to rules questions are often incorrect. Unfortunately.


    Yes Jiggy, the problem being that there is no evidence that someone actually does look at the FAQ candidates.

    Let me put it this way. For the past 2 years countless FAQ candidates have been submitted for something. No errata was ever issued, no official response posted nor has anyone from paizo made a quick post asking for further clarification. Absolutely zero official response at all. And this is not for something obscure.

    There are only a couple of conclusions that can be drawn from this, and "none of the FAQ candidates were concise enough so they were all ignored" would not be one of them.

    Well now that ive made a series of short FAQ candidates for ice tomb, maybe it will get addressed, maybe it wont. But given past history, im pretty sure it wont.

    In the ideal world if something kept getting FAQed over and over, paizo would notice and get someone to look at it, but that does not appear to happen here.


    The Morphling wrote:
    Question wrote:
    Edit : I just found the ask james jacobs thread after some searching. Turns out its in the off-topic section...not exactly the place you would expect to go for official paizo responses to game issues.
    It's not an official Paizo response. James Jacobs is awesome and helpful, but he's not considered an official source for Pathfinder Society, and his answers to rules questions are often incorrect. Unfortunately.

    What is considered an official paizo source? Doesnt James Jacobs work for paizo?

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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    Question wrote:

    Yes Jiggy, the problem being that there is no evidence that someone actually does look at the FAQ candidates.

    ...

    In the ideal world if something kept getting FAQed over and over, paizo would notice and get someone to look at it, but that does not appear to happen here.

    Having successfully prompted a few FAQs myself, and having been involved in the discussions that led to others, I'm going to have to disagree.


    "James Jacobs' answers to rules questions are often incorrect" is a mighty powerful claim. Got something to back that up?

    Shadow Lodge

    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

    Question, there are a lot of people that try to make FAQs for things that don't really need FAQs so, yeah, those will get ignored or the common "no answer needed" (or however they say it) response.

    However, if you make a concise arguement with a solid question as Jiggy has done many times, then there is a good chance it could get answered.

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

    Question wrote:
    To be honest i think its more important to have working content then new, cool content. You could have 100 classes but if 90 are broken, what use are the 90?

    True, but I hardly think the extremely rare rules issue is represented by a 90% failure rate. I'm sure your number was just for effect, but the occurrence of problematic rules are just not that prevalent. Sometimes, it just seems that way due to the nature of the forums.

    Question wrote:
    It would only be a full time job if the initial printing of content was very badly done. For example lets say you release a new class with tons of vaugely, badly written class abilities. Well of course you are going to get swamped by FAQ requests, thats a simple result of releasing something broken.

    That's kind of simplistic. With the HUGE amount of content available, its a bit unreasonable to think there won't be at least a few rules inconsistencies or ambiguities. Not to mention the ones that are intentionally left with a modicum of "gray" area.

    Question wrote:

    Theres a limit to how vauge you can release something. Giving GMs room to work with, sure. I mean by default, GMs have room to do anything they want, they could make the fighter class cast spells if they wanted to.

    When you start releasing abilities that literally say "this does damage to something" then you may as well just print blank pages with [insert house rule here], because you are asking GMs to just make everything up.

    Come on now. Even you have to admit that's a bit too "the sky's falling." I think everyone most would agree that the rule-set is in the neighborhood of 99%+ accurate and consistent.

    Question wrote:
    Edit : I just found the ask james jacobs thread after some searching. Turns out its in the off-topic section...not exactly the place you would expect to go for official paizo responses to game issues.

    To be fair, he is more of the "lore" designer than the mechanics designer. While his opinions on the rules may not technically be binding, at least he responds and gives us some insight into what the designers are thinking.

    Too often we complain that they are not answering our questions and then when they do, we pick it apart, telling them how wrong they are. In fairness, I'm sure if that happened to you repeatedly, eventually you would limit your responses or stop answering at all. They can't please everyone, every time and considering Pathfinder's position as the #1 RPG, I think the model is working.


    Jiggy wrote:
    Question wrote:

    Yes Jiggy, the problem being that there is no evidence that someone actually does look at the FAQ candidates.

    ...

    In the ideal world if something kept getting FAQed over and over, paizo would notice and get someone to look at it, but that does not appear to happen here.

    Having successfully prompted a few FAQs myself, and having been involved in the discussions that led to others, I'm going to have to disagree.

    The problem with this argument is that you can claim it works because you managed to get a FAQ answered whereas if it never works for anyone else you can simply claim they werent worth answering regardless of what the question was.


    Anthony DiDomenico wrote:

    Question, there are a lot of people that try to make FAQs for things that don't really need FAQs so, yeah, those will get ignored or the common "no answer needed" (or however they say it) response.

    However, if you make a concise arguement with a solid question as Jiggy has done many times, then there is a good chance it could get answered.

    Well ive done that (see previous posts) so lets wait and see if any FAQs show up because of it. But again i doubt its going to happen unless someone intervenes.


    Quote:
    That's kind of simplistic. With the HUGE amount of content available, its a bit unreasonable to think there won't be at least a few rules inconsistencies or ambiguities. Not to mention the ones that are intentionally left with a modicum of "gray" area.

    Of course there will be a few problems here and there, but that wont make it a full time job. That was my point. If something is intentionally left vauge, then i think there should be a note or a mark there stating as such so people go "Ok, i will let my GM handle this" instead of reaching for the FAQ button. That would save a lot of work i think.

    Shadow Lodge

    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
    Question wrote:
    Anthony DiDomenico wrote:

    Question, there are a lot of people that try to make FAQs for things that don't really need FAQs so, yeah, those will get ignored or the common "no answer needed" (or however they say it) response.

    However, if you make a concise arguement with a solid question as Jiggy has done many times, then there is a good chance it could get answered.

    Well ive done that (see previous posts) so lets wait and see if any FAQs show up because of it. But again i doubt its going to happen unless someone intervenes.

    That's the first step but there are other things that need to be considered.

    1) I believe there is a minimum number of people that need to flag it as FAQ for it to even be considered. I'm not entirely sure though that is a common practice so admins don't have to go through every post that gets a FAQ submission.

    2) Even if they consider it, it's likely an answer won't happen very quickly.

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

    Question wrote:
    Of course there will be a few problems here and there, but that wont make it a full time job

    If the forums, especially the rules forum, are any indication, it might be more than a full-time job. Ignoring the massive number of requests for clarification (warranted or not), whoever takes on the responsibility of answering has to thoroughly research the impact of their response. We see time and time again how a simple response can have enormous ripples. And with our preponderance to point out every little flaw or inconsistency in the rules, I don't blame them taking their time to answer, or sometimes not at all.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    Did a search, and only found one thread with a substantial number of FAQ flags. It's got a laundry list of questions, which isn't a good sign, but hasn't been cleared from the FAQ queue yet, so there may yet be hope.

    If nothing comes of it, I suggest a new thread that just says "What are the range and duration of the Ice Tomb major hex?" in great big letters.

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

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    John Compton wrote:
    Dragnmoon wrote:

    Wow john, your GMs and players work so nice together on rules like this. If only that was more true in real life. ;)

    I have seen it, but mostly what I have seen is not as happy a conversation as that.

    Most of my rules-ambiguity discussions have gone like this, actually. I find it helps if both sides approach the matter with a positive attitude, willingness to be flexible, and an understanding that compromise might be necessary. I like to approach these messageboards in the same way.

    Just confirming that this is how it happens with my rules questions, either as a player or as a GM. John is spot on with how you should approach an ambiguous rules question--be polite, and figure out a solution that makes sense.


    Most of the questions in the rules forum dont appear to be FAQ candidates at all, and theres probably repeat posts for the ones that are. Im not sure what kind of research is needed exactly...but some people are going to be unhappy no matter the FAQ, thats unavoidable. Sure you could say "lets not bother with FAQs", then you may as well say "lets not bother making new content, SOMEONE is going to be unhappy about it anyway"...

    In theory they already have someone looking through FAQ candidates...thats assuming someone really is looking at the FAQ queue though...

    Quick search and i found a couple more threads on ice tomb :

    2011 thread : http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2mrx0?No-really-how-does-Ice-Tomb-work#1

    2012 thread, marked as answered in FAQ, but no actual FAQ can be found (certaintly not on the APG page) : http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2p9h1?What-is-the-range-on-Hexes-wo-specified-r anges#1

    2011 thread, marked as answered in errata, but not actually answered in errata : http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2mcc6?Witch-Ice-Tomb-Hex#1. SKR actually responded in this thread to clarify that it only affects creatures, but did not comment further on any other issue such as range/duration, and i have no idea if his post is considered official enough for PFS.

    There were also people asking about it in the ultimate magic errata thread, no response was forthcoming.

    And thats just from the first page results for "ice tomb range"...im sure there are a lot more, but you get the idea.

    My point is that this isnt some obscure problem that just got brought to paizo's attention...paizo even marked it as addressed, but no actual FAQ appeared. They have been aware of this since 2011.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    ...Some of your comments show that you didn't read the sticky I linked you. If you do, it'll shed some light on some of the stuff you're talking about.

    5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Tampere aka Rei

    Ice Tomb really needs errata. I ran a game online a while back where the player of a high-level witch essentially browbeat me into accepting his insistence that since it doesn't have a listed duration or range, the range is infinite and the duration is FOREEVVVEEERRRR.

    5/5

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    Rei wrote:
    Ice Tomb really needs errata. I ran a game online a while back where the player of a high-level witch essentially browbeat me into accepting his insistence that since it doesn't have a listed duration or range, the range is infinite and the duration is FOREEVVVEEERRRR.

    This makes me sad. And mad. Sorry to hear this happened to you - try to remember, "This is my ruling, let's move on" (followed by "You can leave if you can't accept that" if that doesn't work).


    A couple of tips on the matter:

    1. Don't go to the boards for clarification. Definitely don't go to the Rules Questions board. They will just leave you more confused than when you started. The people at your table will be able to uncover a better answer, simply by reading the text, than the Rules Questions board will. So, do not believe that the board is a better source than the people at your table.

    2. As a player, you will get blindsided. Often, elements of the rules which you (and all your previous GMs) thought were crystal-clear will turn out not to be. As an example, I have a character with the rogue talent Skill Mastery, with Use Magic Device as one of my chosen skills. I got blindsided once when I went to activate a scroll of fly. I had no idea that there was an issue there until that moment.

    3. There are plenty of rules questions which do not have an answer in the rules. The range on Ice Tomb is one of them.

    -Matt

    Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

    Starfinder Charter Superscriber
    Question wrote:
    Jiggy wrote:
    Question wrote:

    Yes Jiggy, the problem being that there is no evidence that someone actually does look at the FAQ candidates.

    ...

    In the ideal world if something kept getting FAQed over and over, paizo would notice and get someone to look at it, but that does not appear to happen here.

    Having successfully prompted a few FAQs myself, and having been involved in the discussions that led to others, I'm going to have to disagree.
    The problem with this argument is that you can claim it works because you managed to get a FAQ answered whereas if it never works for anyone else you can simply claim they werent worth answering regardless of what the question was.

    *raises hand*

    I have also had a few FAQs successfully answered. The trick is wording a clear and concise question about a legitimately vague situation and engaging people in a debate about it, which keeps it at the top of the Rules Forum longer and prompts more FAQ clicks. It also helps to link older discussions on the topic to show that it is a valid "frequently asked question".

    Jiggy and I (and, well, probably most people) know that Paizo responds to these requests. It is often our very questions that are quoted in the FAQ, and the Developers themselves will chime in during the initial thread with their own take on the matter.

    The people at Paizo are some of the most engaging Designers I've ever seen of any game.

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

    Also, if there hasn't been an FAQ yet, you can always post questions in the "Ask JJ Thread."

    Even though his rulings aren't PFS binding, they are always well thought out and insightful, and many GMs I know allow them to carry weight at their tables.

    Paizo Employee 5/5 Developer

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    Mattastrophic wrote:

    A couple of tips on the matter:

    1. Don't go to the boards for clarification. Definitely don't go to the Rules Questions board. They will just leave you more confused than when you started. The people at your table will be able to uncover a better answer, simply by reading the text, than the Rules Questions board will. So, do not believe that the board is a better source than the people at your table.

    I understand Rules subforum discussions don't always turn out as intended, but posting there is an important step in getting clarifications. That's the subforum that the designers watch most closely, and avoiding it means that they may never learn that a clarification needs making. Getting a consensus from people at your table is a good short-term fix, but don't let it come at the expense of a long-term solution.

    Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

    Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    Also, and probably most often, if someone asks a question in the Rules Forum someone will respond with a relevant quote that answers it. That's about as "official" as you can get.

    I just had this come up recently regarding using scrolls in combat, and eventually two posters quoted two separate rules from different books that answered the question perfectly.


    John Compton wrote:
    I understand Rules subforum discussions don't always turn out as intended, but posting there is an important step in getting clarifications.

    Okay, I see your point. You are essentially saying that it's important to inform the designers of rules questions, regardless of the clarity of the responses from other posters.

    Meanwhile, I'm essentially saying that the Rules Questions board is a terrible replacement for consensus from people at your table, because of the wild variation in clarity and accuracy of the responses from other posters.

    In other words, let the designers know what the question is, but don't trust the Rules Questions board for an accurate answer.

    If only there was a way to have both, to inform the designers of rules questions but without the added problem of the responses of other posters.

    -Matt

    Sczarni 5/5 ⦵⦵

    Starfinder Charter Superscriber

    I'd argue that the responses of other posters can help determine the appropriate answer required. The first post may bring up one question, and then others may respond with questions or clarifications that the OP had not considered.

    Forum etiquette, I think, is what you wished there was more of.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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    Good things and bad things often come in the same package. On the one hand, the "rules guys" at Paizo watch the rules forum as John was saying, and also some folks there can link you to the relevant clarification/FAQ/whatever if you're not the first to ask your question (which is most of the time).

    On the other hand, lots of posters there seem to have a thought process along these lines:

    Forum Rulesthink:
    Step 1 - Do I already have a belief? If yes, post it because I'm right. If no, go to Step 2.

    Step 2 - What was the first thing that came to mind when I read the question? If more than one possibility came to mind, go to Step 3. Otherwise, post it because I'm right.

    Step 3 - Post the answer that favors the NPCs/monsters over the PCs, even if applying that answer reciprocally would be insane. If no answer clearly favors the NPCs/monsters, go to Step 4.

    Step 4 - Find the topic in the CRB. Read until a possible answer springs to mind, then immediately stop (even if it's mid-sentence) and repeat steps 1-3. If this results in an answer, post it because I'm right and the text is unambiguous. Otherwise, go to Step 5. Under no circumstances should Step 4 be repeated and a rule be read through to the period at the end.

    Step 5 - Declare that the text is unclear and requires a GM call.


    ;)


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    Nefreet wrote:
    Forum etiquette, I think, is what you wished there was more of.

    Yep. That and a nice agreement that a poster really should read the relevant rules before he posts an answer to a rules question. Here's a quick example of this problem that just showed up under the recently-active threads. I wonder how many replies that thread will get... when a single correct answer would suffice. Think of how much time future searchers of the board with the same question will waste.

    There are way too many instances on the Rules Questions board of gut responses and "that's how I'd handle it in my homegame" which are not based on actual text.

    I wish there was a mechanism for deleting posts that are either incorrect or irrelevant, so that future searches of the forums would bypass the waste.

    -Matt

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    Mattastrophic wrote:
    Nefreet wrote:
    Forum etiquette, I think, is what you wished there was more of.

    Yep. That and a nice agreement that a poster really should read the rules before he posts an answer to a rules question. There are way too many instances on the Rules Questions board of gut responses and "that's how I'd handle it in my homegame" which are not based on actual text.

    -Matt

    Heh, I think you'll enjoy the spoiler I ninja'd you with. ;)

    Silver Crusade

    Mattastrophic wrote:


    2. As a player, you will get blindsided. Often, elements of the rules which you (and all your previous GMs) thought were crystal-clear will turn out not to be. As an example, I have a character with the rogue talent Skill Mastery, with Use Magic Device as one of my chosen skills. I got blindsided once when I went to activate a scroll of fly. I had no idea that there was an issue there until that moment.

    I'm curious. What was the issue?


    Blackbot wrote:
    I'm curious. What was the issue?

    As it turns out, there's an active thread in the Rules Questions forum about it.

    -Matt

    Silver Crusade

    Thanks. Never even thought of applying it like that ("overriding" the special UMD clause), but I can see why other people might think it's working that way.

    Anyways, back to topic!

    4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

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    Mattastrophic wrote:
    John Compton wrote:
    I understand Rules subforum discussions don't always turn out as intended, but posting there is an important step in getting clarifications.

    Okay, I see your point. You are essentially saying that it's important to inform the designers of rules questions, regardless of the clarity of the responses from other posters.

    Meanwhile, I'm essentially saying that the Rules Questions board is a terrible replacement for consensus from people at your table, because of the wild variation in clarity and accuracy of the responses from other posters.

    -Matt

    The problem with getting consensus from people at your table is that this is the very definition of "table variation", which we are supposed to avoid in PFS. Also, a person at my table (it might even be me!) is probably more likely to have an undeserved reputation for being right about rules than any random person on the Rules Forum.

    Personal interactions will influence reactions and reputation: if someone is always right but is an ass about it, you might have a tendency to discount their opinion just because you can't deal with their personality. If someone is right about 50% of the time but has a "trustworthy" vibe, or is a really nice, likeable person, or has some position of power in the community, their opinion will probably carry more weight than the person who is right 60% of the time but lacks confidence, or isn't articulate enough to make their case well, or is afraid of disrupting the group dynamic.

    On the Rules Forum, the only information I have to judge whether someone is right is what I think about their opinion, what other people think about their opinion, and how often they've been right in previous opinions. You can very quickly get a feel for which commenters have the respect of the community and what they did to earn it. If the commenters are multi-star GMs (yes, it shows even in the non-PFS forums), you can give their responses more weight. You can even go and read people's profiles and previous posts to get a feel for whether they are worth listening to. And it's very easy to skip over or ignore responses from those people that you've decided not to listen to: they won't even know you're doing it.

    It's true that people who are wrong can still make very convincing arguments and get a lot of people on their side. I just think this is much more likely to happen in areas where you deal with people personally and repeatedly. The loudest voice isn't always right, and on the Rules Forum, each voice is only as loud as you let it be.

    Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Dorothy Lindman wrote:
    If the commenters are multi-star GMs

    To be fair, that's a really big "if". Occasionally if I learn of a new ruling over in the Rules forum, I post a thread in here precisely because I know the PFS GMs will never see it otherwise.

    "Posters in the Rules forum" and "multi-star PFS GMs" are effectively two different demographics with only the slightest overlap (most of which is Nefreet, hehe).

    EDIT: But more on topic, you're right; tablemates are no more likely to be right than forumites. They're all just people with varying degrees of willingness to read and/or to be "wrong".

    Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento aka FLite

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    John Compton wrote:
    Dragnmoon wrote:

    Wow john, your GMs and players work so nice together on rules like this. If only that was more true in real life. ;)

    I have seen it, but mostly what I have seen is not as happy a conversation as that.

    Most of my rules-ambiguity discussions have gone like this, actually. I find it helps if both sides approach the matter with a positive attitude, willingness to be flexible, and an understanding that compromise might be necessary. I like to approach these messageboards in the same way.

    John, that's because no one wants to piss off the guy who can post a FAQ saying that the range is now 5 feet, and it can only be used at temperatures of -100 degrees.

    :)

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