Why do scenarios 'railroad' players into specific actions or situations with no alternatives?


Pathfinder Society

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Liberty's Edge 2/5

I have a question and am not familiar enough with these 'boards' to know where to post, as my comment actually covers more than just this one scenario.
**{Just found out how to post under General Discussion, here: This was originally put onto the product discussion for Jesters Fraud}**

Question: Why do scenarios, modules often 'railroad' the party into specific things with NO alternatives?

Spoiler:
1. To infiltrate the temple, you have to go rough up an innocent baker and wreck his shop (the people we are trying to infiltrate are with us, watching,and we 'lose the scenario/[no prestige]' "if we do not do as they say". [i.e., we can't/aren't allowed to 'fake it']...

What about the Paladin in this action? What if my character doesn't WANT to abuse an innocent? Why is a scenario telling me to do that (or I'm not successful), when PFS says my characters 'can't be evil', 'can't coup de grace', etc etc.? This is one-sided! And unfair.

2. One was an opera house. GM told us point blank, "you have to have an expensive outfit (50 g.p. or more- and we are all 1st level except for 1 or 2 of us! [I prestidigitated my bag of copper coins to buy one]), or you won't be let in. you have to have no weapons or armor/ If you even TRY to bribe the guards/sneak in/ etc etc etc. (any alternative we came up with)--- you will NOT I REPEAT NOT succeed, you won't get in, this game [scenario] effectively ends".

So then we get in with fancy clothes and no weapons and armor to have the doors slam shut and get ganged up on by hordes of zombie undead and nearly everyone dies. Dropping like flies. Only had 1 wand of curing smuggled in [we were all 1st level or so]; that person went around healing back those who droppped while the others ran around perimeter in circles leading zombies in a chase to give that guy time to reach the dying ones... That SUCKED [we were deliberately entrapped, weaponless and defenseless, by the SCENARIO!] !!! And we were told that was only way to get in. Period.

3. RE THIS SCENARIO: "Jester's Fraud"- You have a cursed item that only a 13th level character can combat, that kills permanently, immediately. NO SAVES!!!! Only can be stopped by the LOWEST available [of 3 alternatives] spell level of 7th; meaning a 13th level Wizard. um- this is Tier 5-9.

Why do you guys do this? I disagree STRONGLY. Very wrong.

4/5

"Kitten" wrote:

1. To infiltrate the temple, you have to go rough up an innocent baker and wreck his shop (the people we are trying to infiltrate are with us, watching,and we 'lose the scenario/[no prestige]' "if we do not do as they say". [i.e., we can't/aren't allowed to 'fake it']...

What about the Paladin in this action? What if my character doesn't WANT to abuse an innocent? Why is a scenario telling me to do that (or I'm not successful), when PFS says my characters 'can't be evil', 'can't coup de grace', etc etc.? This is one-sided! And unfair.

This situation is from a module. Modules are not written for Pathfinder Society, though many of them have been sanctioned for PFS play. This often requires some adaptation from the GM to make the adventure fit within the context of the Pathfinder Society. However, for this specific situation, the circumstances you describe are accounted for:

Spoiler:
Divine Conundrum
Clerics and paladins may have a hard time during this adventure. First, they must conceal their faith and spellcasting abilities while pretending to be a part of the temple. Failing to do this brings harsh repercussions from Egarthis and Krant, who become suspicious of such false believers.

In addition, some of the tasks set before the PCs might violate a cleric’s ethos or a paladin’s code of conduct. Plenty of opportunities permit them to avoid having to commit evil acts, and characters should be encouraged to look for other ways to get the job done. For example, the PCs could pay the baker for the damage done to his shop and use their own funds to pay off his debt.

Your GM may have missed or ignored that. Or perhaps your group didn't attempt any alternatives.

"Kitten" wrote:

2. One was an opera house. GM told us point blank, "you have to have an expensive outfit (50 g.p. or more- and we are all 1st level except for 1 or 2 of us! [I prestidigitated my bag of copper coins to buy one]), or you won't be let in. you have to have no weapons or armor/ If you even TRY to bribe the guards/sneak in/ etc etc etc. (any alternative we came up with)--- you will NOT I REPEAT NOT succeed, you won't get in, this game [scenario] effectively ends".

So then we get in with fancy clothes and no weapons and armor to have the doors slam shut and get ganged up on by hordes of zombie undead and nearly everyone dies. Dropping like flies. Only had 1 wand of curing smuggled in [we were all 1st level or so]; that person went around healing back those who droppped while the others ran around perimeter in circles leading zombies in a chase to give that guy time to reach the dying ones... That SUCKED [we were deliberately entrapped, weaponless and defenseless, by the SCENARIO!] !!! And we were told that was only way to get in. Period.

This also looks like an oversight by your GM.

Spoiler:
The PCs are allowed to attend the opera for free (regardless of how they’re dressed), but anyone wearing less than a courtier’s outfit and 50 gp or more of jewelry suffers a –2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks when dealing with any Taldan nobles throughout the scenario.

"Kitten" wrote:
3. RE THIS SCENARIO: "Jester's Fraud"

I don't have a copy of this scenario, so I can't speak to it.

Generally, though, the authors can only anticipate so many player responses. And even if they do, they're limited by word count. It is the GM's job to do their best to hide the rails, or at the very least to help the passengers enjoy the journey.

The tricky part with PFS is that if the group decides they want to go off the rails and find their own adventure, the GM is not allowed to create new encounters out of whole cloth. They can improvise some social interaction here and there, but we're not at liberty to whip up a new batch of baddies just because the group decided to investigate the rumored werewolves in the nearby forest.

As a PFS player, you have to accept certain limitations and suspend a certain amount of autonomy. But it does help when the GM actually reads the provided information.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Please use spoiler tags in the future.

1. Is a module (Masks of the Living God), and so not a PFS scenario as best I can tell. So the only way you fail to get prestige in a module is by not finishing it.

2. I believe the GM was trying to make you buy stuff. If this is Among the Living, then there is no stipulation that you have to look pretty and can't bring your weapons. As a matter of fact, there is no social interaction in this one really.

3. I've played this one, and scanned it over just now. And I have no idea what you are talking about.

It sounds like you had a GM that was making stuff up.

Dark Archive

Some of it is the nature of Organized play, in order to have as consistant as possible experience for everyone who plays the scenario, there is some railroading required.

Some of it is bad scenario writing. Some of the scenarios are amazing, and some of them are not so great. They have to pump out scenarios really, really quickly, and they don't have a huge staff, so the so the editing process suffers some. This isn't a complaint, it's just the realities of the situation.

And finally, some of it is bad GMing. The guide encourages GMs to reward creative solutions to the problems presented, even if it goes off the rails some. But some GMs aren't as skilled as others at improvising when it's needed. This is also the nature of organized play. Sometimes you get fabulous GMs, and sometimes you get terrible GMs.

Also, please include spoiler tags in your posts when you talk about specific parts of scenarios. Someone might be interested by your thread title, but hasn't played the scenarios and won't know to not read what you wrote without spoiling it for them.

4/5

Opera House Issue:
The scenario says the PC's are allowed in wearing anything they want. They just suffer a penalty to charisma based checks when dealing with taldan nobles during the scenario. The scenario does not prevent you from bringing in weapons.

Jester's Fraud:
I assume you're talking about the necklace of strangulation. Some challenges in adventures are harder then what people can deal with, but the NPC in the scenario tells the players that one of the items is a necklaces that "throttles anyone that dons it".

The point of the scenario is to recover cursed items that shouldn't be left out in the world. If they could easily be dealt with by 5th level characters they wouldn't be much of a danger.

I can't pick the specific scenario out for the first one cause it seems like a few Ive played/ran but for the most part it seems like the GM might have made a few mistakes, and/or the needed information wasn't conveyed to the player's correctly (Or in the Jester Fraud case the player's may not have bothered to ask).

Edit:

Mask Of The Living God:
Yeah my Paladin refused to speak that whole module while the investigator in the group told everyone I was a big and stupid mute. I just paid the baker for his damages and paid off his debt and apologized because the people stand outside the store why you destroy the place and not inside.

Grand Lodge 4/5

3. If the players listened to the briefing and talked to the NPCs, they should know what the item is. If they choose to test it, they had better be prepared for the consequences. A player at my table triggered it and dealt with it, without any 7th level spells.

4/5

Starglim wrote:
3. If the players listened to the briefing and talked to the NPCs, they should know what the item is. If they choose to test it, they had better be prepared for the consequences. A player at my table triggered it and dealt with it, without any 7th level spells.

May I ask how did they deal with it?

Grand Lodge 2/5

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Jester's Fraud:
Uh, it turns out that "smash with warhammer" was not good way to deal with necklace. First time for everything.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Jeffrey Fox wrote:
Starglim wrote:
3. If the players listened to the briefing and talked to the NPCs, they should know what the item is. If they choose to test it, they had better be prepared for the consequences. A player at my table triggered it and dealt with it, without any 7th level spells.
May I ask how did they deal with it?

Spoiler:
I assume the following: Decompose corpse, take necklace off, Restore Corpse.
4/5

Jeff Merola wrote:
Jeffrey Fox wrote:

May I ask how did they deal with it?

** spoiler omitted **

Ok, that's an out of the box type solution I didn't expect.

Spoiler:
And don't forget the raise dead afterwards.


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With regards to the opera house one, I've played it and I don't think the writing is especially clear - well, either that or it is actually trying to mislead you. On the other hand, it doesn't make me unhappy.

Inside the opera house:
The brief says that getting permission to go downstairs is hard, which implies some sneaky stuff will be in order. So we'd prepped as much as we could for a sneaky infiltration, (being level 1 and on our second adventure it wasn't all that much) and I was kind of scared we didn't have enough bluffing and stealthy rogue skills in the group. We'd put most of our weapons and armour on the summoners eidolon and unsummoned it (assuming it wouldn't be welcome...) then just walked in with fancy clothes and concealed sidearms and saps, hoping to sneak off during the interval. Result, we had to kill the first cluster of zombies with a monk, a couple of summoned eagles, and daggers. Didn't go so well, but nobody died.

The thing is, there is totally a way round it. If your characters aren't completely ignorant of local law and attitudes to pathfinders they would know you can just walk in there with longarms and armour. You just need to know some law, or talk to some people about the law, or know that pathfinders are reasonably well-regarded. We failed at our socialising and knowledge check stuff partly because we made assumptions and partly because we took the wrong skill-set for that. And it nearly got us killed.

So maybe the scenario is pulling a fast one, but since it encourages you to do more socialising prep and use more knowledge skills and non-combat stuff, I'm actually pretty happy about that. Combat gets more than enough screen time for my tastes, and it's not even like I play face characters.

I'm far more irked by the assumption of mass mutual-carnage and the almost total lack of survivors. Combats don't usually end like that - there tends to come a tipping point where one side just gets rolled.

There's also the speed-of-plot thing where the massacre only happens on the night you happen to go. But a certain amount of handwaving has to happen with that if you want to write scenarios in public places.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Jeffrey Fox wrote:
Starglim wrote:
3. If the players listened to the briefing and talked to the NPCs, they should know what the item is. If they choose to test it, they had better be prepared for the consequences. A player at my table triggered it and dealt with it, without any 7th level spells.
May I ask how did they deal with it?

Spoiler:
Adamantine longsword. I assumed the item had some extra hit points as for a magic weapon, so there was some question whether the sword would get through it before the character fell over from the damage he was doing to himself on top of the constriction and strangulation.
Grand Lodge 4/5 * Venture-Agent, Colorado—Denver

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Omg, Kitten! 74 PFS characters!?! Amazing.

Shadow Lodge 1/5

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"Kitten" wrote:

I have a question and am not familiar enough with these 'boards' to know where to post, as my comment actually covers more than just this one scenario.

**{Just found out how to post under General Discussion, here: This was originally put onto the product discussion for Jesters Fraud}**

Question: Why do scenarios, modules often 'railroad' the party into specific things with NO alternatives?

** spoiler omitted **...

I think this comes under expect table variation. I ran a table of Scars of the Third Crusade which went totally off the rails.

Spoiler:
When the PC's failed to get an interview with the imprisioned pathfinder agents. One of them left, turned invisible and tried to sneak into the room where prisioners were being held. This is something the module has no contigency for. Because I allowed this under "allow creative solutions". It led to turn of events where he got locked in the jail while invisible. The party went to go save him. Once alchemist fire was used on the streets of Dawton it was pretty clear the investigation was over.

I've also encountered GMs who wouldn't let PCs take any action that wasn't explicitly covered by the module under run as written. This to me is illegal if taken to extremes or in ways that erode the crediblity of the world (what do you mean I can't use my unseen servant to move the heavy idol?) then it's a problem.

For example a role of knowledge history is needed covering something in Taldan history. Taldan Player (key here is player is coming up with a solution/making the connection) w/Knowledge:Nobility says, "Since this covers the history involving the noble lines of families I may be familiar with, can I make the role."

Some gms would allow it, perhaps with a penalty (that would be me), others would say no. Neither of us are wrong.

But at the same time I was once told by a GM my unorthodox solutions "bordered on cheating". As far as I'm concerned, they were the ones who crossed the line, not me.

But bluntly, this seems that you have a GM who has a problem, not you. Avoiding stick in the mudd GM's seems to be a good solution. Trying to create a pardigm in your local gaming community where such people are the outliers is even better.

Hope that was helpful,

Kerney

Shadow Lodge 1/5

"Kitten" wrote:
Why do you guys do this? I disagree STRONGLY. Very wrong.

Agreed, 100%.

Point is, it is the GM who is doing this, not the scenario. Any gm who prevents or always says "this won't work" or basically NEVER allows a work around is either a bad GM, is cheating, or simply not comfortable with things going off the rails even a little bit.

The problem is, from their perspective, many feel like they are following the rules and adhearing strictly to play as presented. They are not. Looking for ways to deal with is a problem in need of a solution.

Liberty's Edge 2/5

Andrew Christian wrote:

Please use spoiler tags in the future.

1. Is a module (Masks of the Living God), and so not a PFS scenario as best I can tell. So the only way you fail to get prestige in a module is by not finishing it.

2. I believe the GM was trying to make you buy stuff. If this is Among the Living, then there is no stipulation that you have to look pretty and can't bring your weapons. As a matter of fact, there is no social interaction in this one really.

3. I've played this one, and scanned it over just now. And I have no idea what you are talking about.

It sounds like you had a GM that was making stuff up.

Ah. Sorry. did not know how to add the spoiler tags; thank you to whomever fixed that up for me. I just went to 'how to format' so let's see if this works....

Movie plot spoiler:
The baker one we did go back later and repay but we couldn't/weren't allowed any chance(s) to tell the baker AT THE TIME, we weren't 'for real', AND we had to do the action to begin with, which still is a stickler for Pal/et al. regardless of any 'going back to fix it, later'-ideas. The opera house... nope- nothing said about penalty on reactions etc., it was as I said, so that was a total miss on GM part, I guess. And the last one, we found the necklace inside a bag on someone's dead mount at a battle site; there was nobody there [alive]. No time during Scenario BEFORE that encounter did we meet anyone with that info. So to me it seemed a punitive 'let's cost a character 12-grand' (to get raised/restored, after the inevitable fact of let's kill someone, period)... Thanks for all the feedback.

4/5

"Kitten" wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:

Please use spoiler tags in the future.

1. Is a module (Masks of the Living God), and so not a PFS scenario as best I can tell. So the only way you fail to get prestige in a module is by not finishing it.

2. I believe the GM was trying to make you buy stuff. If this is Among the Living, then there is no stipulation that you have to look pretty and can't bring your weapons. As a matter of fact, there is no social interaction in this one really.

3. I've played this one, and scanned it over just now. And I have no idea what you are talking about.

It sounds like you had a GM that was making stuff up.

Ah. Sorry. did not know how to add the spoiler tags; thank you to whomever fixed that up for me. I just went to 'how to format' so let's see if this works....

** spoiler omitted **

Jester's Fraud:
The NPC that sends you to recover the items is supposed to tell you that one of them "throttles anyone who dons it".

It sounds like all three are cases of the GM omitting, misinterpreting, or outright ignoring the information in the scenario or module. Out of curiosity, was it the same GM for all three?

5/5 5/55/55/5

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Switch DM's or take a seat behind the screen yourself.

Some people think "run as written" means run as written no matter what the players do., and find various rules loopholes to try to stop players from doing anything not specifically in the module.

Sometimes there's just very little or nothing to do if the party won't go on the adventure , and sometimes the module specifically says X doesn't work because of.. reasons.

Silver Crusade 2/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Opera house scenario tells GMs on page 6 that

Spoiler:
"The PCs are
allowed to attend the opera for free (regardless of how
they’re dressed), but anyone wearing less than a courtier’s
outfit and 50 gp or more of jewelry suffers a –2 penalty on
all Charisma-based checks"
: so that's a GM bad (read more closely, please)

Jester's Fraud venture captain intro states

Spoiler:
“The man’s wife was a scholar of ancient magics who recently died in some sort of magical accident. If something in the collection caused the mishap, we fear the Tribune might try to unload it on an unsuspecting stranger!”
and asking the right question of an NPC later makes the warning even more clear; PCs who put they find on are asking for it.... PCs, putting gear that you find isn't always a good idea!

As for the 3rd,

Spoiler:
the module tells the GM exactly what to do if the PCs decide to fake it; it takes 1 diplomacy + 2 bluffs, with various modifiers for various reasons

For your 3 examples:
1) You have a GM who needs to prep better/read more closely
2) You have PCs who didn't think things through
3) You have a module which does allow for people wanting to do the right thing -- it's just harder.

5/5

Kitten, I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy that part of Jester's Fraud.

Spoiler:
When writing the scenario, I did include some clues that you might encounter dangerous items.
I hope that the rest of the scenario went better!

Sovereign Court 2/5

"Kitten" wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Sorry, but I'm wondering why it was 12k gp? I calculate it at 8k gp (assuming no PP was spent).

Shadow Lodge 4/5

James "Wulf" MacKenzie wrote:
Kitten, I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy that part of Jester's Fraud. ** spoiler omitted ** I hope that the rest of the scenario went better!

Just wanted to stop by and thank you for a great scenario. It's an old favorite of mine.


Based on how the Opera House one was played and from the information that the others on this thread have given if your character or other player's characters died during it you might want to talk to a VC to get it overturned since it seemed like a massive error ruling that if it didn't happen death could have been avoided(again if it even happened).

Dark Archive

I am of two minds about this. When I first started playing in Living Campaigns, I was playing Shadowrun Missions and in the four or five missions I played during that convention, we went completely off the rails each times and still ended up completing the scenarios and having a great time.

I don't know if it is the group we play in or just a difference with PFS in general, but we can't do anything like that. I even joke about it, at least once a week, loudly and with quotation fingers "that is outside the purview of the adventure". Sadly, it is often when people come up with great ideas. It is strange, because sometimes the scenarios are so incredibly restrictive that you can not do anything beyond what was intended, while other times the scenarios require you to think so crazily outside the box that your pavlonian training of 'follow the scenario' actually holds you back.

While I think the trick of getting players to go to the Opera unarmed in 'Among the Living' is great fun (I don't need spoilers for that anymore, right? It was mentioned like 3 times above), it is all for naught because it screws the players over if they try to do anything else. When I played that scenario, several players also spent a ton of gold on expensive gear and jewels, only to discover it had little to no effect beyond screwing you when the undead attack. It does, however, turn an encounter with otherwise weak enemies into a surprisingly difficult fight.

That all being said, it would be unbelievably hard to write every scenario as an open ended, sand box adventure. Giving players the freedom to do whatever they wanted in every scenario would be a mess. With all the variables at each PFS table (levels, classes, builds, etc.), it would be mind boggling to write and just as much to run. At your home games, you can adjust to party. Not so much at PFS.

Liberty's Edge 2/5

Jeffrey Fox wrote:
Jeff Merola wrote:
Jeffrey Fox wrote:

May I ask how did they deal with it?

** spoiler omitted **

Ok, that's an out of the box type solution I didn't expect.

** spoiler omitted **

UM< ERROR WITH THAT>>>>>>>

:
The item/GM specifically said you cannot remove it until a month has gone by NATURALLY [?] where you have decomposed into dirt (into dirt my words; item says: It cannot be removed by any means short of a limited wish, wish, or miracle and remains clasped around the victim's throat even after his death. Only when he has decayed to a dry skeleton (after approximately 1 month) does the necklace loosen). So that would mean you could not magically speed that up? I think it is written that way because then you need a Resurrection due to that time elapsed. And it was 12,190 g.p. to add a restoration to it so as not to have a neg. level. My character so far had only earned 46,000 gold for its entire LIFE. So that was a 'punitive' more- than- a- 1/4 of my wealth 'fee' to keep this character....for an item only a 13th level caster on a 5-9 tier game could have 'countered'. Even if 'decompose' et al would 'work', you're still dead, and need to pay to continue playing, with same ... issue as before: Why have something so horribly out-of-tier that is so final, or IS it just to cost someone all their money?
Liberty's Edge 2/5

Sabre wrote:

Opera house scenario tells GMs on page 6 that ** spoiler omitted **: so that's a GM bad (read more closely, please)

Jester's Fraud venture captain intro states ** spoiler omitted ** and asking the right question of an NPC later makes the warning even more clear; PCs who put they find on are asking for it.... PCs, putting gear that you find isn't always a good idea!

As for the 3rd, ** spoiler omitted **

For your 3 examples:
1) You have a GM who needs to prep better/read more closely
2) You have PCs who didn't think things through
3) You have a module which does allow for people wanting to do the right thing -- it's just harder.

Kitten's answer to the 3...:
1. yeah.

2. No. we never met any NPC's who had 'more' information, and how would that be different than thinking you had made the DC to identify the 'Potion of Cure Light Wounds' at 1st level, drink it after a battle, and get horribly poisoned with a 25 DC Save for a 1st-leveler...? [it's not] People use in-game stuff a lot; but there is always some balance. This is combatted only by a 13th level solution (or a huge financial 'penalty' to keep the character, aftewards)- it is a 5-9th level game.
3. Nope. Not given that option, either. so again was GM.

2 Different GM's.

Thanks for all the opinions! .

3/5

Mask of the living god:
There is a lot of leeway involved in this scenario for a DM with creative players. Railroading is easier for the DM to handle but marks a poor DM. When I Dmed this the group had huge issues with the baker part, and I hinted they did nto have to follow orders. SO they lured the barbarian in and killed him. Then beat eachothe rup a bit and ran back saying pathfinders attacked them.

Why wouldn;t sunder work on that item?

Sovereign Court 2/5

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This topic seems to have a lot of discussion on the item in question.

Jester's Fraud:
It seems that there were a lot of hints and available opportunities within the scenario to learn that the necklace is cursed. As s@@!ty as it may seem, this may be a good lesson learned about the value of paying attention to the mission briefing and asking NPCs questions. I can't speak to whether your GM provided such opportunities as I was not there, but it doesn't seem to be the scenario's fault.

In the linked thread, Auke points out a very good work around for the necklace of strangulation, which is the use of Restore Corpse from Ultimate Magic. With that spell, the body can be restored after it has been decomposed (via Decompose Corpse), and then a Raise Dead can be used as normal. You may want to discuss this with your GM, as a Resurrection at that level is very expensive.

Also, as far as I can tell, there is no reason why that necklace could not be destroyed with a sunder combat maneuver. If you run into a similar situation in the future, that might be an approach to consider.

As far as the CLW example you presented, I guess the only question I have is why would you drink something that you couldn't successfully identify?

4/5

"Kitten" wrote:
Jeffrey Fox wrote:
Jeff Merola wrote:
Jeffrey Fox wrote:

May I ask how did they deal with it?

** spoiler omitted **

Ok, that's an out of the box type solution I didn't expect.

** spoiler omitted **

UM< ERROR WITH THAT>>>>>>> ** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
Well "Only when he has decayed to a dry skeleton" is what releases it. The approximately 1 month is there so people know how long it takes in general for it to happen.

Nothing prevents magic from working on the corpse. Decompose Corpse would make the body into a skeleton cleaned off flesh, which is what the necklace is looking for to release. Restore Corpse returns the rotted flesh. Since the person never became undead, and should have been dead for less then caster level in days they should be fine. It's a neat idea using some spells from ultimate magic that probably don't see much use.

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

Because if you fail to identify a cursed item, you think you have succeeded, and that the item is beneficial instead?

Sovereign Court 2/5

FLite wrote:
Because if you fail to identify a cursed item, you think you have succeeded, and that the item is beneficial instead?

Yeah, but how about for a non cursed item?

EDIT: Oh, I see. The example refers to a potion of poison. Got it.

Would like to change my response to "It's not any different, because they're both cursed items and that's the point."


I guess the question is:
Do those types of items fall into the standard challenge rating system?

Is there anyway to codify the challenge posed by a cursed item and thus what level it's appropriate at?
Is an instant death if you don't succeed at a difficult identify test and then decide to use the item anyway a good thing for the game? Would it really be any different than an instant death trap with a similar perception DC in an avoidable section of the map?

Sovereign Court 5/5

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Quote:
Why do scenarios 'railroad' players into specific actions or situations with no alternatives?

The legitimacy of the presumption in the OP is debated upthread.

Rather than adding to that train of thought, I'll add another one entirely: PFS doesn't allow for modifying (much less outright creating) encounters.

PFS scenarios, even the sandbox-y ones, are inherently railroad-y because it's PFS. The GM can't just go making up encounters to deal with out of the box solutions players might come up with. A GM can delete encounters due to clever actions that would bypass those encounters, but there's no allowance for creating encounters to permit players to pursue a path not covered by the scenario.

By RAW, a GM can't even provide a window for players break through to bypass a door they can't unlock/break down. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is a discussion worthy of another thread, but for this thread just know that's how RAW goes, and quite a few PFS people insist RAW trumps common sense in all ways at all times and have correspondingly little tolerance for 'creative solutions' from a meta perspective.

Unless/until that changes (not that I'm arguing it should, mind you), every PFS scenario is necessarily a railroad because you're simply not allowed to not railroad. Consider it an unavoidable downside of the nature of organized play.

5/5 5/55/55/5

deusvult wrote:
By RAW, a GM can't even provide a window for players break through to bypass a door they can't unlock/break down.

The creative solutions section of the guide is also raw.

If a DM cannot adjudicate something as simple as a door they don't have stats for, they shouldn't DM.

Sovereign Court 5/5

BigNorseWolf wrote:
deusvult wrote:
By RAW, a GM can't even provide a window for players break through to bypass a door they can't unlock/break down.

If a DM cannot adjudicate something as simple as a door they don't have stats for, they shouldn't DM.

I agree, but a total ban on adding anything statwise is what's RAW. Windows have stats, and if you share the RAW IS LAW view, then you can't even do that.

I'd say there is some vague line somewhere between RAW and coming up with grudge monsters, but that's not strictly legal and is theoretically badwrong.

Quote:
The creative solutions section of the guide is also raw.

And to use the rest of RAW, the only creative solutions that can be done are to avoid encounters... not to have new unpublished encounters.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

deusvult wrote:
I agree, but a total ban on adding anything statwise is what's RAW. Windows have stats

They DO?! o.O

Sovereign Court 5/5

TOZ wrote:
deusvult wrote:
I agree, but a total ban on adding anything statwise is what's RAW. Windows have stats
They DO?! o.O

I actually had your name in there as the posterboy for RAW trumping common sense in all ways at all times, then edited it out so as not to conjure you. But since you're here anyway, I'll just throw that little behind-the-scenes fact out there.

Welcome to the discussion.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

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Wait, I stole Ravingdork's title? Boy, is he gonna be upset...

5/5 5/55/55/5

deusvult wrote:


I agree, but a total ban on adding anything statwise is what's RAW.

Citation? I need to see exactly what you're using to reach that conclussion

Quote:
Windows have stats, and if you share the RAW IS LAW view, then you can't even do that.

Friends don't let friends play at a table that's that bad.

Quote:
I'd say there is some vague line somewhere between RAW and coming up with grudge monsters, but that's not strictly legal and is theoretically badwrong.

We are allowed, and even encouraged, to let the players use creative solutions. That does not somehow equate to a backdoor ban on anything creative by saying you can't interact with something I don't have stats for.

Talk to the bad guys? Sorry. Don't have a starting attitude.
Climb the wall? Sorry, no climb DC.
Cut through the wall? Sorry, don't know the hardness

Quote:
And to use the rest of RAW, the only creative solutions that can be done are to avoid encounters... not to have new unpublished encounters.

If you're including a door as an encounter it becomes impossible to have creative solutions that won't do this, somehow. No, you can't throw more monsters, different monsters etc at the party, but if they want to climb in the window you can set a climb dc for the wall and a disable device for the lock.

Little things like that are the required secondary powers of creative solutions. Banning them bans creative solutions.

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

Sure, they bypassed encounter B which has the information that gives them the line to encounter C. Creatively, you, as the GM, are allowed to add an NPC informant to give them the missing information that they bypassed.

The rules for PFS include NOT penalizing the players for creatively avoiding encounters or combats.

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

Actually, in addition to the explicit citation kinevon gives above, most of the sandboxy scenarios published in the last year or so have a paragraph like this one:

Quote:

Players should be encouraged to come up with their own

creative methods for achieving the Society’s goals in
--Redacted--. It’s important to foster these ideas, but not let the
players completely nullify the design intent of the scenario.
Use the example encounters and situations provided in the
scenario to adjudicate how a player’s idea would unfold and
adjust the remainder of the scenario accordingly, keeping
in mind the enjoyment of everyone at the table. Do not
let a small group of players hijack the investigation at the
expense of others’ involvement.

And even the plotted ones often have:

Quote:

If the PCs try some alternate plan to find and release

--Redacted--, use the DCs of the methods outlined above
as benchmarks for any other required skill checks.

If you want to be be really pendantic, the guide explicitly says:

Quote:
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.

It doesn't say the skill required can't be changed, just that coming up with an alternate skill doesn't change the DC. (That said, the general pattern from the published scenarios is "the skill listed is the best one for the job, closely related skills are +2 DC, any others that the PCs can justify are +5 DC)

The Exchange 5/5 RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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deusvult wrote:

And to use the rest of RAW, the only creative solutions that can be done are to avoid encounters... not to have new unpublished encounters.

That's not quite true. Mike Brock has explained, for example, that PCs committing crimes in a city, and then sticking around, might have to deal with the city watch. He even suggested where we might find useful stats for the guardsmen.

I've used the Chase Deck to deal with parties that, for example, want to pursue skulk villains through unmapped tunnels.

If a party goes off the rails, we do what we can to accommodate that, including using reasonable stat blocks when necessary.

Sovereign Court 5/5

I'm not going to go to any lengths to defend the RAW IS LAW view since I'm also voicing my disagreement with it, but it's good to see that there are others (at least in this thread) who believe there should be allowable exceptions.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

I've hand waved whole combats to leave more time for roleplaying.

5/5 5/55/55/5

TriOmegaZero wrote:
I've hand waved whole combats to leave more time for roleplaying.

Toz, we've told you about the one fingered "wave" before....

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

deusvult wrote:
I'm not going to go to any lengths to defend the RAW IS LAW view since I'm also voicing my disagreement with it, but it's good to see that there are others (at least in this thread) who believe there should be allowable exceptions.

Yes, and since one of them is Mike Brock, if your GM does not agree, he is Doing It Wrong (TM) ;)

Silver Crusade 2/5

" common sense"

Problem being that common sense doesn't really exist.

5/5 RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

deusvult wrote:

(snip)...quite a few PFS people insist RAW trumps common sense in all ways at all times and have correspondingly little tolerance for 'creative solutions' from a meta perspective.

Unless/until that changes (not that I'm arguing it should, mind you), every PFS scenario is necessarily a railroad because you're simply not allowed to not railroad. Consider it an unavoidable downside of the nature of organized play.

That reminds me of the time I enticed Ken St. Andre (the author of the Tunnels and Trolls RPG) to join a table at RinCon. He wanted to veer 'out of the box', but some of the players at the table dug in their heels to keep everything 'on the rails'. I was very disappointed, as I had hoped to see some creative madness.

Gamemasters have the responsibility to work with their players' creativity while ensuring they don't do violence to the scenario's basic structure. This may require that they occasionally include such items as 'unscripted windows'.

Liberty's Edge 2/5

Finlanderboy wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Why wouldn;t sunder work on that item?

That is an AWESOME, creative one... ! I like it. (Baker solution)

Re. 'sunder': I thought...

Movie plot spoiler:
I thought Cursed Items were like... dunno', almost like artifacts: You can't do 'normal' magicky stuff on them, let alone normal ACTION-type stuff on them..Like, they'd be impervious to someone trying to cut it off (even if you had adamantine!), or- that's why "ONLY a Wish, Limited Wish, or MIracle, will work..." ?????? Am I wrong? We could've just pried the damn thing off? That doesn't really jibe with me, with my understanding of 'cursed' [item]...... >>>>?????.

3/5

"Kitten" wrote:
Finlanderboy wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Why wouldn;t sunder work on that item?

That is an AWESOME, creative one... ! I like it. (Baker solution)

Re. 'sunder': I thought...** spoiler omitted **

Nothing says you can not destory the item. If you want to keep the item intact and remove it without powerfull spells...

Well that would be something different.

Saying the item is immune to sunder makes a very powerful item and beyond the description of cursed items in the CRB

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