Forbidding players from my PFS table


Pathfinder Society

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Patrick F wrote:


At least that's more exciting than watching the power levelers wipe out the minions by second round.

I think it's a bit of a misnomer that only power levelers and super optimized players can tear through PFS scenarios. A couple of days ago I had a group of mostly new players ask me "Does this get any harder?" when they hit level 6 and I had to honestly tell them "No, it doesn't."

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Aqueuous orb
Summon nature's ally.
Profit.

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Cast aqueous orb,

Then Summon Nature's Ally.
Profits will roll in.

That post was so close

I had to fix it for you:
Now it's a haiku.

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

One year I tried this:
Write a new haiku each day.
It got old real quick.

3/5

TOZ wrote:
Are you the Gamemaster?

No, but I am a god.

*ducks*

Liberty's Edge

TOZ wrote:
Are you the Gamemaster?

I am the walrus?

Sczarni

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Hey, I heard someone might be looking for me. But I think I'm in the wrong thread.

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

I hate haikus...

Dark Archive 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

Hey Big Norse Wolf
Why do you have so much hate
For great poetry

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

Todd Morgan wrote:

Hey Big Norse Wolf

Why do you have so much hate
For great poetry

Because its not poetry. Its an arbitrary assignment of syllables that, whatever meaning it had in japanese, is completely lost in english.


Ohh silly Big bad norse wolf. Poetry is verse writing as well.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Todd Morgan wrote:

Hey Big Norse Wolf

Why do you have so much hate
For great poetry
Because its not poetry. Its an arbitrary assignment of syllables that, whatever meaning it had in japanese, is completely lost in english.

Purposeful placement.

Arbitrary assignment.
The difference is art.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Todd Morgan wrote:

Hey There Big Norse Wolf

Why do you have so much hate
For great poetry

Fixed that for you pal.

Now it's a proper haiku.
These things aren't half bad.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Chris Mortika wrote:

Patrick F, it sounds to me like you don't like that aspect of organized play.

Rather, I get the sense like you want to run a home campaign, where it's the GM's job to modify encounters to provide a fun experience for the players. As GMs we are not allowed to make the kinds of changes you're suggesting. If you insist on doing that, stop running Pathfinder Society games. There's lots of other kinds of fun to be had with the rules system that isn't organized play.

I do like the organized play aspect of Pathfinder. Simply because I interpret 5.0 guidelines differently doesn't give you the right to place ultimatums over me. 1) You aren't at my table events. 2) You can agree to disagree. 3) Don't make assumptions about me.

Maybe all those stars next to your name have gone to your head. Enough said.


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I'm sorry I used your dice
They were so shinny and clean
I know you were saving them for Mummy's Mask
They were so tempting I just couldn't help myself

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Society Rules (p. 19)

It is impossible for the campaign management staff to
cover every possible situation or rules interpretation. As such,
you may encounter rules combinations or questions during
the course of a scenario that aren’t covered in this book or
the official Pathfinder Society FAQ. In these cases, the Game
Master has the freedom to adjudicate the rules as needed to
ensure a fun and fair gaming experience is had by all.

Table Variation (p. 32-33)

While the goal of the Pathfinder Society Organized Play
campaign is to provide an even, balanced experience to all
players, doing so would require all PCs to be exactly the
same and all GMs to be restricted to a stiflingly oppressive
script. We understand that sometimes a Game Master
has to make rules adjudications on the fly, deal with
unexpected player choices, or even cope with extremely
unlucky (or lucky) dice on both sides of the screen.
As a Pathfinder Society GM, you have the right and
responsibility to make whatever judgments, within the
rules, that you feel are necessary at your table to ensure
everyone has a fair and fun experience. This does not
mean you can contradict rules or restrictions outlined in
this document, a published Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
source, errata document, or official FAQ on paizo.com.
What it does mean is that only you can judge what is right
for your table during cases not covered in these sources.
Scenarios are meant to be run as written, with no addition
or subtraction to number of monsters (unless indicated
in the scenario), or changes to armor, feats, items, skills,
spells, stats, traits, or weapons. However, if the actions
of the PCs before or during an encounter invalidate the
provided tactics or starting locations, the GM should
consider whether changing these would provide a more
enjoyable play experience.

Additionally, the GM may consider utilizing terrain and
environmental conditions when those effects have been
written into the flavor of a scenario but the mechanics that
are normally associated with them by the Core Rulebook have
not been added to the encounters. GMs are always encouraged
to reward role-playing and flavor when adjudicating the
reactions of NPCs or the outcome of in-game encounters.
GMs may use other Pathfinder RPG sources to add flavor
to the scenario, but may not change the mechanics of
encounters. Specifically, the mechanics of an encounter are
the creatures presented, the number of opponents in the
encounter, and the information written into the stat blocks
for those opponents. If an encounter is a trap, haunt, or skill
check that needs to be achieved to bypass a situation then the
listed DCs and results are not to be altered, as they are the
mechanics of that encounter. Additionally, if an encounter
already includes mechanical effects of terrain, weather, or
hazards, please be aware that these things are also considered
mechanics that may not be altered.

Silver Crusade

When I read the paragraph, it specifically spells out the *mechanics of an encounter*, which includes the creatures presented, the number of opponents in the encounter and the information written in the stat blocks for these opponents. Additionally, if an encounter already includes mechanical effects of terrain, weather or hazards, they are also considered *mechanics of the encounter*. However, terrain and environmental conditions are also defined as *flavor of a scenario* by the opening paragraph.

Environmental and terrain conditions are effects that are written into the flavor of a scenario that GMs *may* use if the mechanics are not specifically included to run in the scenario. However, please note this sentence also indicates that environmental and terrain conditions are defined and designated as "flavor of a scenario". There may be mechanics involved with environmental and terrain conditions, but still nonetheless they are also considered flavor of a scenario.

The text also states that the GMs may use *other* Pathfinder RPG sources to add flavor to the scenario, but may not change the mechanics of the encounters as outlined above. Weather and terrain are NOT included on the list unless the scenario specifically includes mechanical effects of terrain, weather or hazards. Therefore, the GM cannot alter the mechanical effect of terrain, weather or hazards if written specifically in the scenario. However, nothing expressly prohibits adding environmental and terrain conditions as "flavor of a scenario".

The argument that environmental and terrain effects can be added to the scenario by the GM is validated by the fact that environmental conditions and terrain are considered flavor of a scenario and the "GM may use *other* Pathfinder RPG sources to add flavor to the scenario, but may not change mechanics of the encounters." The text specifically defines what "mechanics of an encounters" means. You can add flavor to a scenario by adding environmental and terrain conditions, but you can't alter what was already written in the scenario for environmental and terrain conditions.

Case closed. Just leave the sharknadoes at home. Please.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Kyle Baird wrote:
Mahtobedis wrote:
Last year at Gen Con during one of the few scenarios I got to play due to my table not firing I experienced some GM creativity and admit I was pretty ticked about it.
I hope you emailed mike.brock@paizo.com about this.

... I don't think I did. I forgot to get the GM's name, no one died or had to spend consumables, and it was towards the end of the Con. I also got tied up in moving, school starting, quitting my job, and starting a new one right after Gen Con. If I experience GM "creativity" on this level again I will email Mike.

Silver Crusade

"Scenarios are meant to be run as written, with no addition
or subtraction to number of monsters (unless indicated
in the scenario), or changes to armor, feats, items, skills,
spells, stats, traits, or weapons. However, if the actions
of the PCs before or during an encounter invalidate the
provided tactics or starting locations, the GM should
consider whether changing these would provide a more
enjoyable play experience."

I interpret the meaning of the word 'invalidate' the provided tactics akin to someone who invalidates an argument. Basically rendering it weak or ineffective. Either you have sound tactics and arguments or you don't. That simple.

So if the written tactics are weak or the starting locations are ineffective, the GM has a right to consider changing them or not to provide a more enjoyable play experience.

Silver Crusade

Mahtobedis wrote:
Kyle Baird wrote:
Mahtobedis wrote:
Last year at Gen Con during one of the few scenarios I got to play due to my table not firing I experienced some GM creativity and admit I was pretty ticked about it.
I hope you emailed mike.brock@paizo.com about this.
... I don't think I did. I forgot to get the GM's name, no one died or had to spend consumables, and it was towards the end of the Con. I also got tied up in moving, school starting, quitting my job, and starting a new one right after Gen Con. If I experience GM "creativity" on this level again I will email Mike.

Changing enemies types, numbers and their respective abilities outside the scope of the scenario is definitely off limits. Spelled out on numerous occasions in Pathfinder Society Rules, so I agree with you there. You have a right to be mad about it.

Silver Crusade

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Patrick F wrote:


I interpret the meaning of the word 'invalidate' the provided tactics akin to someone who invalidates an argument. Basically rendering it weak or ineffective. Either you have sound tactics and arguments or you don't. That simple.

So if the written tactics are weak or the starting locations are ineffective, the GM has a right to consider changing them or not to provide a more enjoyable play experience.

That's not at all what is meant. It's not a "The tactic says the NPC is sitting at his desk, but because this is ineffective, he will be standing in the middle of the room."

The important thing is "IF THE ACTIONS OF THE PCS" invalidate the encounter. So if they for example threw a bomb into his office beforehand he would know they are coming and not sit at his desk.

You should not rewrite the tactic as you see fit just because it's ineffective.
You may rewrite the tactic if the PCs did something to justify it.


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Patrick F wrote:

"Scenarios are meant to be run as written, with no addition

or subtraction to number of monsters (unless indicated
in the scenario), or changes to armor, feats, items, skills,
spells, stats, traits, or weapons. However, if the actions
of the PCs before or during an encounter invalidate the
provided tactics or starting locations, the GM should
consider whether changing these would provide a more
enjoyable play experience."

I interpret the meaning of the word 'invalidate' the provided tactics akin to someone who invalidates an argument. Basically rendering it weak or ineffective. Either you have sound tactics and arguments or you don't. That simple.

So if the written tactics are weak or the starting locations are ineffective, the GM has a right to consider changing them or not to provide a more enjoyable play experience.

Invalidation of anything doesn't make it weak or ineffective it makes it flat out null and void. If the big bad is supposed to throw a lightning down the corridor but only one pc approaches then that is now a weak tactic but it is in no way invalid. If instead the players tunnel around the bb and pop up behind him THAT is invalid because lightning down the corridor would not be targeting anyone, therefore no benefit, therefore NULL (as opposed to weak).

To me (and this is just my opinion) you seem to be trying to stretch the bounds as far as possible on how much you can adapt scenarios and when.

Apologies for any typos my phone doesn't like posting to forums!

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Chris Mortika wrote:

Patrick F, it sounds to me like you don't like that aspect of organized play.

Rather, I get the sense like you want to run a home campaign, where it's the GM's job to modify encounters to provide a fun experience for the players. As GMs we are not allowed to make the kinds of changes you're suggesting. If you insist on doing that, stop running Pathfinder Society games. There's lots of other kinds of fun to be had with the rules system that isn't organized play.

Patrick F wrote:

I do like the organized play aspect of Pathfinder. Simply because I interpret 5.0 guidelines differently doesn't give you the right to place ultimatums over me. 1) You aren't at my table events. 2) You can agree to disagree. 3) Don't make assumptions about me.

Maybe all those stars next to your name have gone to your head. Enough said.

Um, Patrick, ... you do understand that you just (a) personally insulted me, and then (b) insisted we close the topic, right?

1) So far as I know, that's right, I haven't been at your tables. I don't understand what that has to do with the topic, though. If someone came here and said "I use the Critical Hit and Fumble decks when I GM PFS," I'd have said the same thing: "Those aren't allowed in this environment." And if that person had insisted, "You aren't at my table events," I'd probably agree with him, too. Still not allowed.

2) Disagree with me, sure. Lots of people do, on a host of issues. You can disagree with CathalFM, and with Blackbot, and with a half-dozen posters upthread as well. We're all telling you the same thing, and you can disagree with all of us.

But Mike weighed in here. It's his job to set the tone and scope of the campaign. Read what he said, please. Some of the suggestions you're suggesting that GMs make (like changing a key to a ring of 8 keys, each of which takes more than a full round to check in a lock) (like having the opponent be outside a room, having gone out to lunch, and arrive behind the party) (like changing a combat encounter into a chase encounter) (like changing the weather) are beyond the scope of the campaign. I'm not alone in telling you: Mike has asked us not to do that. In fact, he has required us not to do that.

3) I don't know that I've made assumptions about you, to the extent that I have, my apologies. Rather, I've told you how you're coming across to me. I never suggested that you do like the freedom GMs have in home campaigns. But that's the kind of freedoms you're advocating here, to make encounters more challenging for players.

Personal anecdote time: this past fall, I was able to attend a convention and play a module in which the last encounter was an enormous fight, even for a well-optimized party of 7 PCs. My magus went down (doesn't matter what your armor class is, when six clerics are channelling negative energy, round after round) and died. Not a big deal, and I had the prestige ready for a raise dead. The GM said not to worry about it, that he'd changed up the module, to "provide a challenge" and "save time", and he gave me the raise dead and restorations for free. Later, I prepped the adventure in order to run it. As it turned out, he'd put all the enemies from four different high-CR encounters in the same room*.

All he did was change the locations and tactics of the opposition. That's the level of change you're suggesting that we feel free to make; your position is that he was within his purview as GM. Now, if I were the sort of person who makes assumptions about people, I'd imagine that your reaction might be, "Well, yeah, but that was bad judgement. And that issue Mike was talking about, with the black dragons; that was bad judgement, too. I'm talking about making things challenging, but not lethal. I know what I'm doing."

Maybe you do. But every GM who changes changes up adventures in PFS thinks he knows what he's doing. In a home campaign, where the GM knows the characters' capabilities and the players' personalities, that's a more reasonable assumption. In an organized play environment, we have been instructed to run the encounters as written.

*

Spoiler:
I don't mean to suggest that the game was entirely a negative experience. The GM had all sorts of positive qualities, none of which are relevant to this discussion. I'd be happy to sit at his table again.

Scarab Sages

UndeadMitch wrote:
Todd Morgan wrote:

Hey There Big Norse Wolf

Why do you have so much hate
For great poetry

Fixed that for you pal.

Now it's a proper haiku.
These things aren't half bad.

Ain't proper haiku

If understanding is clear
Obscurity rules

Arbitrary brand
And pentameter is not?
Poetry is life

Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West aka JohnF

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Life is far too short
to waste valuable time
counting syllables

Shadow Lodge

counting syllables
while annoying in this thread
appropriate here


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Patrick F wrote:

When I read the paragraph, it specifically spells out the *mechanics of an encounter*, which includes the creatures presented, the number of opponents in the encounter and the information written in the stat blocks for these opponents. Additionally, if an encounter already includes mechanical effects of terrain, weather or hazards, they are also considered *mechanics of the encounter*. However, terrain and environmental conditions are also defined as *flavor of a scenario* by the opening paragraph.

Environmental and terrain conditions are effects that are written into the flavor of a scenario that GMs *may* use if the mechanics are not specifically included to run in the scenario. However, please note this sentence also indicates that environmental and terrain conditions are defined and designated as "flavor of a scenario". There may be mechanics involved with environmental and terrain conditions, but still nonetheless they are also considered flavor of a scenario.

The text also states that the GMs may use *other* Pathfinder RPG sources to add flavor to the scenario, but may not change the mechanics of the encounters as outlined above. Weather and terrain are NOT included on the list unless the scenario specifically includes mechanical effects of terrain, weather or hazards. Therefore, the GM cannot alter the mechanical effect of terrain, weather or hazards if written specifically in the scenario. However, nothing expressly prohibits adding environmental and terrain conditions as "flavor of a scenario".

The argument that environmental and terrain effects can be added to the scenario by the GM is validated by the fact that environmental conditions and terrain are considered flavor of a scenario and the "GM may use *other* Pathfinder RPG sources to add flavor to the scenario, but may not change mechanics of the encounters." The text specifically defines what "mechanics of an encounters" means. You can add flavor to a scenario by adding environmental and terrain conditions, but you can't...

I havent played society before but from what i read is this about weather.

if the module states there is a storm going on but doesnt list any mechanical effects, u have the choice to add if u chose such as the -8 perception, making range weapon attacks impossible, and it extinguishing torches and candles and such. You can chose to or chose not to because it was stated. The storming being the flavor that u have the right to add mechanics or not.
if the module says its sunny and perfect weather, u do not have the right to change or add a weather and its mechanics to it. So if they are on a narrow ledge traveling and the modules says its sunny or doesnt add a weather to it, u cannot add a storm to make it slippery and add mechanics to it.
So in a nutshell what i read was if there is already a stated weather but no mechanics listed, u can add the mechanics if u choose. If there is no weather stated or already an establish one, u cannot add a weather or a change the weather bcause u are changing the flavor and changingthe module.

Does that sound correct?

Lantern Lodge 5/5

Yup! That's correct Redneckdevil. Ignore it for a group that you think will struggle, or choose to implement it if you so desire.

That call from Mike has gotten me to review the weather rules a lot recently, something I slacked on until then.


That is awesome!!!


Patrick F wrote:
Changing enemies types, numbers and their respective abilities outside the scope of the scenario is definitely off limits. Spelled out on numerous occasions in Pathfinder Society Rules, so I agree with you there. You have a right to be mad about it.

I sometimes do that, but only for scenario I've written. I offer players the choice, "do you want to play this scenario as published or as submitted?"

Liberty's Edge

heliodorus04 wrote:

I appreciate the constructive responses.

I obviously came here expecting that the answer would be "You can't do that" which puts me in a position of leaving public PFS events, which is a shame because I've always gotten very positive feedback (even from the power gamer who just rolls dice and announces his damage without any expression) as a GM.

I'm probably not cut out for PFS play with public groups. I am turned off by uber-power gaming, and I'm seeing way too much of it in PFS, and its worst when I GM.

I don't think I want to put the owner of the store where we play or the VC, both of whom are great people, through any trouble on my behalf. The power gamers are very popular people in the community, and the problem appears to be mine predominately anyway.

Rather than see you quit, I would ask you to work something out. Our local has the standard pick-up table where whoever shows is the party. We ALSO have a couple of groups that game almost exclusively together. They get along and fit together very well. They don't always fit well with the rest of us. I don't think the coordinator publishes their games on the signup roster. They organize it separately. And the table is pretty much full with prior reservations. They play at the same time as us. If their group isn't meeting that week they are free to join one of the regular tables if they want (sometimes they do). No harm, no foul.

They are actually the other end of the spectrum from you. Almost pure optimizers that get tired of all the social nonsense. They want combat and to steam over the opposition.

If they happen to have a no show and an opening at the table, anyone else is free to join. But they will be upfront tell him/her that our PC's are running it through with as much heavy combat as we can. If you are up for that, have a seat.

Personally, I would much rather you talk to your VC and set up something of the opposite. This group would be more geared to the newer players who aren't heavily optimized and the ones interested in the social interactions.

I'd rather see you try something like that than quit.

Silver Crusade

CathalFM wrote:
Patrick F wrote:

"Scenarios are meant to be run as written, with no addition

or subtraction to number of monsters (unless indicated
in the scenario), or changes to armor, feats, items, skills,
spells, stats, traits, or weapons. However, if the actions
of the PCs before or during an encounter invalidate the
provided tactics or starting locations, the GM should
consider whether changing these would provide a more
enjoyable play experience."

I interpret the meaning of the word 'invalidate' the provided tactics akin to someone who invalidates an argument. Basically rendering it weak or ineffective. Either you have sound tactics and arguments or you don't. That simple.

So if the written tactics are weak or the starting locations are ineffective, the GM has a right to consider changing them or not to provide a more enjoyable play experience.

Invalidation of anything doesn't make it weak or ineffective it makes it flat out null and void. If the big bad is supposed to throw a lightning down the corridor but only one pc approaches then that is now a weak tactic but it is in no way invalid. If instead the players tunnel around the bb and pop up behind him THAT is invalid because lightning down the corridor would not be targeting anyone, therefore no benefit, therefore NULL (as opposed to weak).

To me (and this is just my opinion) you seem to be trying to stretch the bounds as far as possible on how much you can adapt scenarios and when.

Apologies for any typos my phone doesn't like posting to forums!

The rule specifically states that the "GM should consider whether changing these would provide a more enjoyable play experience". There is nothing remotely enjoyable about having a spell casting boss sneak up behind the party and sucker punch them from behind with a surprise round lighting bolt.

Again, tactics are similar to arguments. You can invalidate an argument. The argument still exists but would not be considered null and void. You did not eliminate the argument from existence. There may be elements of truth to the argument that was invalidated. There is simply a more favorable argument which takes its place that is stronger and more convincing.

Same way with tactics. The tactics of the module still exist. Often times they may be sound in certain circumstances. However, given the PC actions before or during the encounter, they may not be to the enjoyment of the party. In such instances, the GM has a right to change them.

I'll use your same example. What if the scenario said that the big bad is supposed to throw a lighting bolt down the corridor. You are running a table with only four people -- one of which is a new player to the pathfinder society with a pre-generated character. As a GM, you know that the big bad and his goons are most likely going to destroy the entire party. Three members of the party are not power gamers at all, they are all bards as a part of an entertainment group. One bard sings, one bard dances and one bard plays the tuba. They are making lots of noise during the campaign in good spirit, being bards of course. The enemy knows they are coming. So, you decide to change the tactics and cast Magic Missile at the first party member, which is a valid 1st level spell in the enemy casters memorized spells and lighting bolt one of them when they get into the room.

Case closed.

Liberty's Edge

Gnaw, they're all getting the lightning bolt.

Silver Crusade

Death Tourist wrote:
Gnaw, they're all getting the lightning bolt.

I'd rather change the tactic as allowed in the 5.0 rules rather than wipe out the entire party or adjust damage dice rolls behind the GM screen. The first is in poor form as a GM and the second is not allowed in Pathfinder Society Organized play.

The opposite side of the scenario is a table of six, with half the party as a group of traveling barbarians. One has smelly feet, one has smelly armpits and one has a smelly rump. All of them are tearing into the enemies like a gamer on a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. Changing tactics to make play more challenging is definitely in order, again for the enjoyment of the group.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Patrick, you keep talking about making things more challenging for the enjoyment of the game.

It's been my experience that players who build over-clocked combat monsters like to dominate combat. They like to win, and they like to win fast. People who want a challenging combats play weaker classes, take non-combat roles, or spread out their attributes and skill points to focus on other elements of the game.

If you look at a table of druids, summoners, barbarians, zen archers and tricked out Aasimar wizards with a level of wild-blooded sorcerer, and figure that they're all combat-heavy, how do you determine that ratcheting up the difficulty of the combats is what they want?

Silver Crusade

Chris Mortika wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:

Patrick F, it sounds to me like you don't like that aspect of organized play.

Rather, I get the sense like you want to run a home campaign, where it's the GM's job to modify encounters to provide a fun experience for the players. As GMs we are not allowed to make the kinds of changes you're suggesting. If you insist on doing that, stop running Pathfinder Society games. There's lots of other kinds of fun to be had with the rules system that isn't organized play.

Patrick F wrote:

I do like the organized play aspect of Pathfinder. Simply because I interpret 5.0 guidelines differently doesn't give you the right to place ultimatums over me. 1) You aren't at my table events. 2) You can agree to disagree. 3) Don't make assumptions about me.

Maybe all those stars next to your name have gone to your head. Enough said.

Um, Patrick, ... you do understand that you just (a) personally insulted me, and then (b) insisted we close the topic, right?

Disagree with me, sure. Lots of people do, on a host of issues. You can disagree with CathalFM, and with Blackbot, and with a half-dozen posters upthread as well. We're all telling you the same thing, and you can disagree with all of us.

I've explained my position and interpretation of the rules as written as how I interpret them for table variations. So, again best to agree to disagree on this topic. Telling me to stop running Pathfinder Society games because you don't agree with my interpretation of the rules is an ultimatum which you have absolutely no authority to mandate. Table variation implies that each GM table will be different in Pathfinder society.

The thread is specifically about how to deal with problem players to the point where a GM wants to quit the organized society, which ironically you are actively *advocating* by telling me to quit the society of organized play because *you* don't agree with my interpretation of the rules. Thereby decreasing visibility of the genre and roleplaying game as a whole, affecting the sales of the local hobby store where I run a table and Paizo's profits. You do understand by implying that I don't know how to interpret the rules of the game and to quit running events is insulting, right?

I quote from the first post "But I've consistently run across a couple players in my area who rob the game of fun for me because they don't seem to be there to HAVE fun. They are there to beat every encounter as fast and lopsidedly as possible. One in particular never smiles, laughs, interacts with other players, and has treated me in a way I feel is disrespectful (he has 30 years experience, I've been playing PFS since August but RPing for 30 years as well) so he likes to roll his eyes at me a lot...The only solution I see is to give up trying to run PFS in my area."

Perhaps the person at the table described at the beginning of the thread who has 30 years of experience should be encouraged to run their own Pathfinder tables, rather than participating with a power build of a character and critiquing the other GM's style by body gestures. Perhaps the person needs encouragement to become a GM, since they appear to be unhappy participating as a player. Maybe they just want to provide feedback to the GM but are poor conversationalists. Perhaps they are simply going through a challenging time in their life. Communicating with that particular player can go along way.

My suggestions were to make the scenarios more challenging within the scope of the rules for 5.0 for the power gamers that are trying to 'beat every encounter as fast and lopsidedly as possible'. If you don't agree with my position or interpretation of the rules, you don't have to take my suggestions. If you do, then implement them accordingly.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Southwest

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Until we all develop the ability to perfectly read another's mind, the only way to determine if someone is having fun or if another option would be more fun for them is to ask the explicitly.

Your fun and my fun may come from completely different experiences. Making an assumption about what will be 'more fun' for the table without confirming that this is what the table wants sounds to me like a recipe for low to no fun for the table.

Silver Crusade

Chris Mortika wrote:

Patrick, you keep talking about making things more challenging for the enjoyment of the game.

It's been my experience that players who build over-clocked combat monsters like to dominate combat. They like to win, and they like to win fast. People who want a challenging combats play weaker classes, take non-combat roles, or spread out their attributes and skill points to focus on other elements of the game.

If you look at a table of druids, summoners, barbarians, zen archers and tricked out Aasimar wizards with a level of wild-blooded sorcerer, and figure that they're all combat-heavy, how do you determine that ratcheting up the difficulty of the combats is what they want?

Everyone has a bad gaming experience after playing for years. Recognizing the GM is human, was trying their best to entertain others and accepting their offer to rectify the situation at hand if something goes wrong. No GM wants to create a bad experience at the table and every GM has a bad gaming night at some point when running a game. The best you can hope for as a GM is to learn from your mistakes and move on.

Reviewing the character sheets beforehand can give you a sense of what the players are capable of. However, even the best power builds may not be effective if the player doesn't utilize their full potential.
The Pathfinder scenarios usually have at least three different separate combat scenarios involved. The first combat usually is a good indicator of how effective the party is at taking down enemies (or not).

If six characters take 10 rounds to dispatch three guards, might be wiser to hold back on the tactics of the next encounter or even implement poor tactics on behalf of the enemies. The window of time to run a table has to be respected at the gaming store and *everyone* gets combat fatigue as the battle continues on for too long. No one enjoys playing a Pathfinder scenario, only to get a portion of gold or prestige for an incomplete adventure.

On the other hand, if the party can wipe the three guards out in less than 1 round without any critical hit, might want to change the tactics of the next encounter to make it more challenging. Doesn't have to be a major change, but if the six minions are grouped together in one section of the room with the leader on the second combat scenario, might be better to spread them out to different sections of the room and implement waves of minions. You only see three minions in the room during the first round of combat, but the second set of three minions appear from the door in the back of the room on the second round of combat, then the boss appears during the third round of combat.

The fact of the matter is, tactics can change at any given moment. Perhaps during the second round, the three minions flanked and got some lucky critical hits in. Now the heroes are faced with great hardship as two players have fallen. Nothing says the boss has to come out of the back room during the third round of combat. Your tactics change again and the boss waits until the tides of battle change in favor of the heroes before challenging the party or even stays in the room until discovered.

Lighting as an environmental condition is also something to consider, unless the scenario specifically depicts a light source in said room. Nearly all spell casters can easily cast a light spell, which makes them feel important and a part of the combat scenario. Most of the time, once they figure out the areas they are about to enter into is dark, they can cast a light spell just before a combat situation begins.

Sometimes, you can even take prisoners as a tactical maneuver if something unexpected happens at the table. For instance, the enemy spell caster hits the party solid with a fireball and everyone fails their saves. You were so busy tracking the encounter, you didn't realize how low the health was of your players. Next thing you know, half the party is on the floor and the rest are really bad off. The boss could issue the command to take the entire party as prisoners, thereby grappling and subduing the remaining party members and binding them up. Is it really so bad to do so rather than play out the scenario as 'fight to the death'? Then offer the opportunity to utilize escape artist skills, figure out how to escape, recover their belongings and challenge the boss by surprise.

The goal is player involvement from everyone at the table, so that all the characters have the opportunity to shine and be heroic. If one or two power players dominate combat and have all the common utilized skills taken (perception, diplomacy, bluff, etc.), the balance of the table shifts considerably. No one likes sitting at a table where one optimized character has the highest AC, the best combat available and does all the talking with the NPC because they took high ranks in diplomacy or bluff combined with decades of experience as a gamer.

We are Pathfinder Society, the visible presence in community to promote our genre. We fight for table space at the local game shop over Magic the Gathering events, hero clicks, euro games and other gaming diversions. The end goal is simply to make sure everyone has a great time at the table, even on the occasion that someone falls during a heroic moment in combat.

Silver Crusade

Eric Brittain wrote:

Until we all develop the ability to perfectly read another's mind, the only way to determine if someone is having fun or if another option would be more fun for them is to ask the explicitly.

Your fun and my fun may come from completely different experiences. Making an assumption about what will be 'more fun' for the table without confirming that this is what the table wants sounds to me like a recipe for low to no fun for the table.

You can't please everyone at the table, no matter how hard you try. Some people will be combat oriented and hate the roleplaying aspects. Others like the roleplaying and hate the combat. Some like a moderation of both. Some just like to socialize with their friends. You can try to balance different gaming elements at the table the best you can to accommodate everyone, so they can have a good time as well.

Fact of the matter is, if you are miserable GMing a table, it doesn't really matter if everyone else is having fun. You are also a participant in the game and not having fun. A GM should never sacrifice their own happiness at the expense of others.

Recognizing that only you can provide for your own happiness and enhancing other people's happiness is the best to hope for.


Patrick,
Perhaps you should talk to your VO about this approach? Or even contact Mike Brock directly? PFS does have rules and authorities for a reason.

No offense intended. It's just that your interpretation of that guideline seems a lot looser than most others. If you're right, then that should be clarified for everyone. If not, then it's better to get it clarified up front than to wait for someone to complain after losing a character when you, or someone following your lead, boosts an encounter to provide more challenge.

Liberty's Edge

A quick read of the Tactics sections from a few scenarios handy indicates a wide range of detail. Some provide a conditional action tree, others "attack anyone not known".

In general, they appear to be suggestions on how to play out the encounter. Even the conditional actions indicate the priorities of the BBG (self preservation over aiding minions or vice versa for example) rather than specific round by round activities.

I have always run the scenario as if the tactics were suggestions. I won't change the stat blocks, but I will disarm the Pistolero and shoot him with his own gun (with a -4 non-proficiency of course). I will "chessmaster" movement to ensure everyone strikes with a flanking bonus. I will burrow if prone next to Mr. Tripper and then drop out of the roof of the cavern to grapple Peter Pan the Wizard. I will use every dirty trick, up to and including Dirty Trick.

Perhaps a thread dedicated to GM Tips and Tactics would be more productive, this one seems to be too much Us vs Them.


Chris Mortika wrote:

Patrick, you keep talking about making things more challenging for the enjoyment of the game.

It's been my experience that players who build over-clocked combat monsters like to dominate combat. They like to win, and they like to win fast. People who want a challenging combats play weaker classes, take non-combat roles, or spread out their attributes and skill points to focus on other elements of the game.

If you look at a table of druids, summoners, barbarians, zen archers and tricked out Aasimar wizards with a level of wild-blooded sorcerer, and figure that they're all combat-heavy, how do you determine that ratcheting up the difficulty of the combats is what they want?

That is what I want. I want a DM to challenge me and the best builds I can make with the help of my friends and tablemates.

Some peopel do want this, but I think it is best to communicate it first

As a side note at gen con when I played bone keep 1. The DM cheated(will not used changed because he gave them extra actions, immunities, and changed rules for them) wrecking the expereince that I craved.

Silver Crusade

Kyle Baird wrote:
Patrick F wrote:
Changing enemies types, numbers and their respective abilities outside the scope of the scenario is definitely off limits. Spelled out on numerous occasions in Pathfinder Society Rules, so I agree with you there. You have a right to be mad about it.
I sometimes do that, but only for scenario I've written. I offer players the choice, "do you want to play this scenario as published or as submitted?"

Nice. I guess either one is still "run as written." :)

4/5

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Patrick F wrote:
Case closed.

Regardless of anything else, maybe consider not putting this at the end of your posts.

Shadow Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Southwest

Patrick F wrote:
You can try to balance different gaming elements at the table the best you can to accommodate everyone, so they can have a good time as well.

This is half of my point. An important half to be sure and something I believe that every GM should strive for in every game they run.

The other part of my point centers around being aware of your bias. You know how you have fun. Making the assumption that anyone else wants the same things without confirmation is a great way to be a very bad, and I would even say selfish, judge.

The worst judges I have ever encountered we're the selfish ones who ran the game only for themselves.

5/5

Eric Brittain wrote:
Patrick F wrote:
You can try to balance different gaming elements at the table the best you can to accommodate everyone, so they can have a good time as well.

This is half of my point. An important half to be sure and something I believe that every GM should strive for in every game they run.

The other part of my point centers around being aware of your bias. You know how you have fun. Making the assumption that anyone else wants the same things without confirmation is a great way to be a very bad, and I would even say selfish, judge.

The worst judges I have ever encountered we're the selfish ones who ran the game only for themselves.

As an addendum to grow off Eric's point here, it's also true that what other people want as players might not only be different from what you need to have fun as the GM but even what you would need to have fun as a player, so sometimes it can be very challenging if you can't see that. For instance, as a player, I don't mind a hard game or an easy game as long as I feel at the end that I've helped overcome a true challenge (even if smart play made it easy this time). But sometimes, an entire table of players legitimately and truly want to godmode through a scenario and make a mockery of everything, feeling that the opposition was useless and that their victory was inevitable, regardless of the dice or strategy. And that's a legitimate way to play too.

Shadow Lodge

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Invalidating tactics -

PC's know the Next Room is Occupied by a spellcaster - Decide to Wait APL +4* 10 Min for the casters 10min / level spells and under to dissipate

another Great example of Invalidated Tactics

a particular Season 2 Scenario where a Single Initiative Roll can Completely waste an NPC's 1st 2 Turns (True Strike / Hand of the apprentice only having a 30 ft Range)

I think that the definition of "Invalidation" might be in question here or maybe I'm just off

theres a Quote from Roadhouse

"Remeber .. Be Nice, until its time to Not be nice"
"How will we know when that is"
"I'll tell you"

Basically ... Run as written Until you you Cant anymore ... or
until Actions by the PC's Make using the tactics written feel like your dealing with Lemmings

Remember your NPC's are intelligent .. if the tactics say they "Charge the PC's" ... would they still Charge them across a Spiked pit spell .. or an Obsidian Flow ? (Regardless if they are physically able to or not)

Silver Crusade

thejeff wrote:

Patrick,

Perhaps you should talk to your VO about this approach? Or even contact Mike Brock directly? PFS does have rules and authorities for a reason.

No offense intended. It's just that your interpretation of that guideline seems a lot looser than most others. If you're right, then that should be clarified for everyone. If not, then it's better to get it clarified up front than to wait for someone to complain after losing a character when you, or someone following your lead, boosts an encounter to provide more challenge.

People make so many bias assumptions about others on forums, based on their own personal experiences sitting at someone else's table. Fact of the matter is, GMs have been tweaking tactics in scenarios whether they want to admit it or not to help the players survive a game. Why? Believe it or not, the majority of GM's don't enjoy killing other players off, myself included.

I know many of the people at the gaming table at the local store. Why would I want to hurt my friends? Why would I want to ruin the experience of a new player to the genre, ultimately to kill the hobby I enjoy? If a character unfortunately dies at the table, I always hope it was epic in a grand boss battle.

Personally, I find traps the sucker punch of the roleplaying genre. Rogue fails to find trap, you step in it and die. Alternatively, there are no monsters around, so you get healed by a wand. In my personal opinion, the only trap worthy of being in a game is something that can trigger on a tactical battle map.

However, some people love traps and dedicate their characters to finding them. I have a bias about traps, but I will not modify a scenario to remove the trap or downplay the trap when it triggers. I know that other people like them in a campaign setting.

What have we talked about that's so offensive in this thread? -- having rain fall if the weather is not described in the scenario, having lighting change if not described in the scenario so the players need to find a light source, changing the positioning of enemies within a combat scenario or having them appear in multiple waves, delaying the players entering a room by finding multiple keys or changing tactics that the enemies utilize?

If a player should die during the course of the scenario, what exactly will they complain about? Same content, but the GM added flavor to the scenario as allowed by the 5.0 rules.

Maybe I wanted it to rain, so the players could sneak into the building by giving the enemy outside a negative roll to perception checks and limited visibility or reduce range weapon attack range so that they only take one volley of attacks when storming the castle. Why *assume* that its bad for the players? The changes can be good for the players as well.

The thread started with dealing with power players trying to go through a scenario as quickly and lopsidedly as possible. The suggestions were how to deal with them in a game scenario within the guidelines of 5.0 rules, outside of speaking with the individuals directly.

I guarantee you, the power gamer at your table will *not* be happy with a GM trying to nerf/audit his character or tactics because you can't handle adapting to his build he or she spend hours creating for maximum carnage. Basically, you are distrusting the player coming to the table by alleging that their build is invalid, on top of complaining that they basically created a character that the scenario can't support or shift away from that player's fun to cause maximum damage in combat.

The power gamer is happy with the build -- they created the character for that sole reason to fight minions mercilessly. So give them a fight worthy of their epic character by employing tactics worthy to challenge them! Why else you think they are at your table?


Patrick F wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Patrick,

Perhaps you should talk to your VO about this approach? Or even contact Mike Brock directly? PFS does have rules and authorities for a reason.

No offense intended. It's just that your interpretation of that guideline seems a lot looser than most others. If you're right, then that should be clarified for everyone. If not, then it's better to get it clarified up front than to wait for someone to complain after losing a character when you, or someone following your lead, boosts an encounter to provide more challenge.

People make so many bias assumptions about others on forums, based on their own personal experiences sitting at someone else's table. Fact of the matter is, GMs have been tweaking tactics in scenarios whether they want to admit it or not to help the players survive a game. Why? Believe it or not, the majority of GM's don't enjoy killing other players off, myself included.

What have we talked about that's so offensive in this thread? -- having rain fall if the weather is not described in the scenario, having lighting change if not described in the scenario so the players need to find a light source, changing the positioning of enemies within a combat scenario or having them appear in multiple waves, delaying the players entering a room by finding multiple keys or changing tactics that the enemies utilize?

If a player should die during the course of the scenario, what exactly will they complain about? Same content, but the GM added flavor to the scenario as allowed by the 5.0 rules.

Maybe I wanted it to rain, so the players could sneak into the building by giving the enemy outside a negative roll to perception checks and limited visibility or reduce range weapon attack range so that they only take one volley of attacks when storming the castle. Why *assume* that its bad for the players? The changes can be good for the players as well.

That fact that I, and apparently most other posters here, do not interpret the 5.0 guidelines to allow what you're describing, whether you do it to help the players or to challenge them.

That's why I'd complain. That's why I think you should make sure your interpretation is acceptable. If it is, then that should be made clear to everyone.

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