On Using Iconics when a player has a legal PFS character of the appropriate tier


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Dark Archive 4/5 5/5

I know this has been discussed elsewhere, but I can't find the thread with the official ruling: What is the EXACT ruling on what to do with players who chooses to play an iconic rather than their own character (who is level appropriate for the scenario)?

The situation at hand: I've organized King of the Storval Stairs tomorrow, and several of players want to play iconics rather than their own characters (to avoid death/cheat the system). I know this is against the spirit of the rules, but I want to be able to cite an official ruling when I chide them about this.

As I recall, the ruling was that if they play an iconic, they'd have to apply the chronicle sheet to a character who is BELOW level 7 (and is thus ineligible to play the scenario), right?

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Texas—San Antonio aka Dragnmoon

Here is the Quote fro the Guide

Guide pg. 6 wrote:
If you play a non-1st-level pregenerated character, you apply the credit to your character as soon as she reaches the level of the pregenerated character played. You may not apply a Chronicle sheet earned with a pregenerated character to a character that was already at the level of the pregenerated character or higher, as you should have used this character for the scenario instead.

So they can if they want play 7th level pregens but they have to apply the credit to a lower then Level 7 PC.

Silver Crusade

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Curiously, this practice is flat out illegal in modules/APs. I wish they would extend this to scenarios.

3/5

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I don't understand why anyone would want to do this in the first place, even to avoid the risk of death. Why would you want to waste your one time playing a scenario with a pregen rather than your actual character?


because a lot of the time the one character i have in tier just isnt a good fit for the adventure... or maybe the party just needs something else to succed. that and i really dont mind just using it as fodder to help my lower level characters level up a bit quicker.

Scarab Sages

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If I have one character with me at a scenario appropriate for the level and its a paladin, and it's a mission to murder someone in cold blood, it might not be the best idea to play my character on that mission, as my choice would be to cause the mission to fail or possibly fall.

In that situation, if i have the choice of playing a pregen or not playing its better to play a pregen.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

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I am in the "wonderful" situation of not having characters above level 2, so the use of iconics is going to be a semi permanent feature for the foreseeable future. So I don't really have a horse in this race just jet, but for my 2 cents, is this really a problem?

Playing a pregen when you group makeup would otherwise be disastrous for the adventure, or when your character has some personality quirks that spell doom for the scenario.

If the adventure has a reputation for being deadly, it seems reasonable to not want to play their own characters, but it could be seen as a dick move. Of course there are gradients, when you come to a table with your beloved PC, and learn that you sit with a bunch of newbies with pregens.. chances are that your character would have to do the heavy lifting and the chances of failure are higher. I really can't blame the player there.

However the situation mentioned by the OP is different, it that case, it seems like some players are unwilling to take risks, thus increasing the risk for the other players with "real" characters. And of course, in many cases this will result in the players with non-pregens expending more personal resources on behalf of the party.
That seems to be a dick move, but I don't think we want society rules to restrict players in this area.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Nicely said, Sebastian.

Saint, let me give you a real-life, not-making-this-up example.

I've met a pair of GMs who've advanced the following argument: "the Pathfinder Society uses smugglers to get goods into Absalom. Missions often involve breaking laws to get into a site or get out stealing artifacts. It is, essentially, a criminal enterprise, wrapped in lofty rhetoric. Paladins cannot function as pawns of that organization. If I have a paladin sit at my table, I'll ask him if he accepts the mission briefing. If he does, he falls." They are otherwise okay GMs.

So, let's say your only character in-tier is a paladin. Are you sure you'd want to bring him to that table, to argue for an hour? Wouldn't you rather play a pre-gen?

And you can substitute "summoner" or "gunslinger" in there, too. There are lots of GMs out there who don't like certain character concepts. A lot of griefing players, too.

--

Or, you have a level 3 magus, and the other players are bringing their 7th-level squad.

--

Or, you've just played your 18th game with a PC in the morning session, and it's time to rise 7th level. But you want to use a feat from Inner Sea Combat, a source you didn't bring to the game. So, you could have a legal 7th-level character, if you just give up and give her a feat out of the Core Rulebook. Or you could play a pre-gen.

--

As feylund notes, your one PC in tier could be a big, dumb half-elf barbarian, when the party really needs a cleric. Or a bard. As Imbicatus notes, your one PC in tier could be wildly inappropriate for the adventure; that could be fun, if everybody's in a mood for that kind of thing. (What is this "Stealth" you speak of?)

--

You've played parts 1 and 2 of "Destiny of the Sands," and that PC how has 20 XP. If you use that character in this unrelated game, you'll have to play Destiny, part 3, with a different PC.

Silver Crusade

That's not why these people are doing it.

"That seems to be a dick move, but I don't think we want society rules to restrict players in this area."

Well they sure as hell restricted it for modules.

Liberty's Edge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Maryland— Baltimore aka Qstor

David Bowles wrote:
Curiously, this practice is flat out illegal in modules/APs. I wish they would extend this to scenarios.

Hmmm...then its probably a good idea to make the text in the scenario section match the module/AP section of the Guide to OP. It sounds like the spirit vs the letter of the law.

Mike

Scarab Sages

With the hinted changes to allow replays, it seems like the leadership is trying to give more options for playing instead of taking them away. Besides, even if you have a perfectly appropriate character for the adventure, you might want to to try out a new class at higher level to get an idea of how it plays before you commit to making one. The iconics are a great way to do that, especially with the release of so many new classes in the ACG.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Bringing a pregen because a scenario is known to be deadly is IMO unsportsmanlike. You can't really force people to be good sports with rules though. You could patch some exploits, but the pregen rules are I think deliberately loose because there's a lot of bona fide reasons to play them. In trying to outlaw all bad behaviour you'd also restrict people from using them for the right reasons. Like the ones Chris Mortika listed.

If a GM is known to be a sadistic killer GM, just stay away. No play is better than unfun play. Also, talk to the VO about it.

In your position as GM, I feel that it's right to (gently) chide your players. Explain to them that what they're doing is lame. You can't force them to be sportsmanlike, but you can promote it socially by praising good examples. If they want bragging rights, they have to actually run the risks.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Florida—Jacksonville aka Kyrie Ebonblade,

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Saint Caleth wrote:
I don't understand why anyone would want to do this in the first place, even to avoid the risk of death. Why would you want to waste your one time playing a scenario with a pregen rather than your actual character?

Let's see, you sit down at a table with five players all playing martial types and no healers or vice versa. Not every table composition is conducive to good balance. I did this a few time when our lodge was starting out.

Granted, I typically applied it to a new pc though, not something in Tier

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

David Bowles wrote:

That's not why these people are doing it.

"That seems to be a dick move, but I don't think we want society rules to restrict players in this area."

Well they sure as hell restricted it for modules.

I assume, that since modules and adventure path volumes are a bigger time commitment, but even then it doesn't really make sense, after all, I think we should err on the side of giving players the chance to play.

Otherwise we could end up in a situation, where a player will not play, when he would be forced to play an adventure with a character, that he doesn't want to use. In this situation everybody loses.

There are plenty of threads about unsportsmanlike behavior/being a dick rule on these boards, that this is hardly a terrible issue.

And lets not forget, that some things in the modules section are a bit weird, like receiving chronicles for playing an adventure path with a group that is not using PFS rules... so this includes playing Rise of a Runelords with 50 point buy and mythic rules...
That just sounds weird, but of course I could be dead wrong.

PFS Guide page 30 wrote:

Legal Pathfinder Society Characters
For modules and Adventure Path content below 9th level,
if you do not have a character in the correct level range,
you may use a Pathfinder Society pregenerated character,
available on paizo.com or the 1st- and 7th-level iconic
characters on pages 275–297 of the Pathfinder RPG NPC
Codex. You must apply the credit to your character
as soon as she reaches the level of the pregenerated

character played. If you play a non-1st-level pregenerated
character, you may apply credit from the pregenerated
character to one of your 1st-level characters, with
the gp gained reduced to 1,398 gp (or 699 gp for slow
advancement track characters). If you play a non-1st-
level pregenerated character, you may apply the credit
to your character as soon as she reaches the level of the
pregenerated character played. Equipment listed on the
pregenerated character sheet may only be sold to clear
conditions, such as death, during the play of the module
and any remaining gold does not carry over at the end of
the module.
Alternatively, if you are participating in a Pathfinder
Adventure Path with an ongoing group undertaking the
entire, six-book campaign, you may receive credit for
playing the sanctioned portions of the adventure as if you
had played a pregenerated character. In this case, GMs
running the Adventure Path are not bound to the rules
of the Pathfinder Society Organized Play campaign (such
as 20 point buy, unavailability of hero points, etc...) when
running the campaign or the sanctioned portion of the
adventure. Pathfinder Society characters and characters
from an ongoing Adventure Path campaign may not play
in the same adventure.


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As a coordinator, if I had several people signing up for a scenario like this with the intention of using pregens because it's too dangerous, I would seat them at another table. If that didn't work logistically, I would change the scenario.

There are plenty of good reasons to play pregens, many of which have been mentioned already. I'm not a fan of the current rule requiring you to apply credit to a lower level character. Heck, just last week I sat down at a table of 3 pregens + my fighter because all their characters were tied up in Fangwood Keep. It was an awesome game.

But this is different: This is simply selfish behavior.

Pregens are less prepared than a normal character, most of them have no way of dealing with darkness or flying enemies or DR, most don't have their own healing resources, and none of them have the cash to pick up those resources. Players are generally less familiar with them meaning combat turns will take longer and they'll possibly be played less effectively, and in a 7-11 they're at the very bottom of the power curve. (As opposed to sub tier 5-6 in a 5-9.) On top of all that, you have at least half the table, if not the majority of the table, running characters they're not invested in through an admittedly dangerous scenario. That's simply not fair to the other players at the table.

So I'd seat people who want to play that scenario with their own characters first. If that doesn't work, (and if there's time,) I'd change the scenario to something less dangerous. If they really want to play that scenario, they can either take their own PCs or plan and run it themselves on their own time with whatever organization they want.

I try not to reward selfish behavior.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Zach Klopfleisch wrote:

As a coordinator, if I had several people signing up for a scenario like this with the intention of using pregens because it's too dangerous, I would seat them at another table. If that didn't work logistically, I would change the scenario.

There are plenty of good reasons to play pregens, many of which have been mentioned already. I'm not a fan of the current rule requiring you to apply credit to a lower level character. Heck, just last week I sat down at a table of 3 pregens + my fighter because all their characters were tied up in Fangwood Keep. It was an awesome game.

But this is different: This is simply selfish behavior.

Pregens are less prepared than a normal character, most of them have no way of dealing with darkness or flying enemies or DR, most don't have their own healing resources, and none of them have the cash to pick up those resources. Players are generally less familiar with them meaning combat turns will take longer and they'll possibly be played less effectively, and in a 7-11 they're at the very bottom of the power curve. (As opposed to sub tier 5-6 in a 5-9.) On top of all that, you have at least half the table, if not the majority of the table, running characters they're not invested in through an admittedly dangerous scenario. That's simply not fair to the other players at the table.

So I'd seat people who want to play that scenario with their own characters first. If that doesn't work, (and if there's time,) I'd change the scenario to something less dangerous. If they really want to play that scenario, they can either take their own PCs or plan and run it themselves on their own time with whatever organization they want.

I try not to reward selfish behavior.

Well, how do your discern the intent? As almost everyone has mentioned already there are plenty of legitimate reasons to play a pregen, that IMO make PFS a better experience for all participants including GMs.

I think we already have a way for GMs to deal with this situation: they are not forced to GM, they have little choice when it comes to the characters they are forced to accept, but they are a allowed to just so "No I don't want to run this under these circumstances".

Aside from that, forcing players to play their existing characters is completely nonenforceable. GMs could check the players profile to see if they have a character with enough XP, but that doesn't tell you if the character is already leveled up, and frankly the player can always tell, that he didn't bring the character with him.
Strictly speaking (and I could be wrong here) a character, like a Swashbuckler, already becomes unusable once the player doesn't bring the additional resource.


Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
Well, how do your discern the intent?

The original poster said "several of players want to play iconics rather than their own characters (to avoid death/cheat the system)." So he knows, somehow. Maybe they told him? Maybe they "asked" him to test out the waters and see if it's legal? He might have talked to them and simply asked? (That's what I would do.) I don't know, but he seems to know what his players intend.

I know my own player base, what levels of characters they have (I've helped build and level a non-trivial fraction of the characters in this region, I know some PCs better than their players do,) and what their personalities are. If several people started asking me about playing pregens for a scheduled scenario because they were worried about their (in tier) characters dying, I would not seat them at that table. Even if that meant changing the scheduled scenario. There are plenty of good reasons to play a pregen, but that doesn't mean that there are no bad reasons.

Quote:


I think we already have a way for GMs to deal with this situation: they are not forced to GM, they have little choice when it comes to the characters they are forced to accept, but they are a allowed to just so "No I don't want to run this under these circumstances".

One of my jobs as a coordinator is to avoid situations where the GM has to decide whether he'll run for a group of players or not. I've got a lot more flexibility before to adjust things before the event even starts than the GM does when people sit at his table, so if I put a GM in a situation they think is so bad that they feel the need to walk away, I've failed my job. (And probably also lost a GM.) It's literally 7 times worse on the game day for a GM to walk away from a table than for a player to do so, and the fallout afterwards would be a nightmare.

I also know almost all of my players and GMs pretty well, well enough to identify someone taking advantage of a situation to the detriment of others. Most of the coordinators I know are the same: They know most of the people who play at their game days, even down in Minneapolis where there are 6 or 7 locations and over 200 active players. We're not talking about creating general rules for tens of thousands people that we never interact with, we're talking about paying attention to the individuals we game with on a weekly basis.

It's different at a big, super-regional con where you have 20 tables in a slot and are lucky if two people at a table have seen each other before they sit down. But this doesn't sound like that kind of situation, and most of the cons I've been to aren't even that randomized. Most are composed primarily of local players who at least know each other by reputation.

So, I try not to reward selfish behavior.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Next Sunday, I and two friends will be playing the Confirmation with three pregens from the ACG. Two of us have our own level 2 characters that we could play, but we did not want the third player to feel left out playing the only pregen at the table.

And heck... we thought it might be a fun chance to try out some of the classes from the ACG like Skald or Hunter or Shaman or Investigator and see if we like them.

We've cleared it with our venture captain, and even asked advice in this forum about what pregens to try out... There are sometimes legitimate reasons to try out a pregen, even when one has a character of the appropriate level.

Hmm

5/5 5/55/55/5

Pregen for the confirmation is a lot more expected. You're supposed to be a level 1 in that one.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

There's kind of a loophole in the Organized Play rules on this subject. They're pretty clear that if you play a level X pregen, you can't apply the credit to a level X+ character. But supposing you're playing a 3-7 adventure, you could play the level 7 pregen and then apply the credit to your level 6 character.

You could use that in good faith, to bring a cleric instead of your barbarian, because everyone else also brought barbarians. But it's a bit fishy.

---

I've also heard people claim that the rules say you have to play a pregen that's in-subtier for the subtier selected for the scenario. I've looked but I can't find such a rule. AFAIK, you select the pregen and then subtier is calculated. If you're playing a 3-7 you're within your rights to pick a level 7 pregen, even if the rest of the players are level 3-4. But if you do, I feel the other players have a moral obligation to throw rotten eggs at you. :P

If I'm wrong about this, would someone please point me to the relevant rule? I'm genuinely curious.

Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka Mistwalker

Ascalaphus wrote:

I've also heard people claim that the rules say you have to play a pregen that's in-subtier for the subtier selected for the scenario. I've looked but I can't find such a rule. AFAIK, you select the pregen and then subtier is calculated. If you're playing a 3-7 you're within your rights to pick a level 7 pregen, even if the rest of the players are level 3-4. But if you do, I feel the other players have a moral obligation to throw rotten eggs at you. :P

If I'm wrong about this, would someone please point me to the relevant rule? I'm genuinely curious.

page 6 of the guide wrote:
If you don’t have time to create a new character or simply wish to try out a new character class, you may choose to use one of several level-appropriate pregenerated characters..

In my opinion, that means that if everyone else is level 3 or 4, then the level appropriate for your pregen character is level 4, not level 7.

It may also be a violation of the "don't be a jerk" rule if you take a higher level pregen and cause the APL to go up enough to have the game run in the higher subiter.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

It's not as explicit as I'd like, but it works I suppose.

I've played a scenario where the addition of a level 7 pregen just barely pulled us into high tier, but a level 4 pregen would probably not have survived. In that case I think there was no conflict with the spirit of these rules.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5

Ascalaphus wrote:


I've also heard people claim that the rules say you have to play a pregen that's in-subtier for the subtier selected for the scenario.

I think it is implied by the "level appropriate" wording. It is definitely in the "not at my table" category. I wouldn't allow it is a GM and I think that I'd walk as a player if somebody tried it.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/55/5 Venture-Captain, Germany—Bavaria

Zach Klopfleisch wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
Well, how do your discern the intent?

The original poster said "several of players want to play iconics rather than their own characters (to avoid death/cheat the system)." So he knows, somehow. Maybe they told him? Maybe they "asked" him to test out the waters and see if it's legal? He might have talked to them and simply asked? (That's what I would do.) I don't know, but he seems to know what his players intend.

I know my own player base, what levels of characters they have (I've helped build and level a non-trivial fraction of the characters in this region, I know some PCs better than their players do,) and what their personalities are. If several people started asking me about playing pregens for a scheduled scenario because they were worried about their (in tier) characters dying, I would not seat them at that table. Even if that meant changing the scheduled scenario. There are plenty of good reasons to play a pregen, but that doesn't mean that there are no bad reasons.

Quote:


I think we already have a way for GMs to deal with this situation: they are not forced to GM, they have little choice when it comes to the characters they are forced to accept, but they are a allowed to just so "No I don't want to run this under these circumstances".

One of my jobs as a coordinator is to avoid situations where the GM has to decide whether he'll run for a group of players or not. I've got a lot more flexibility before to adjust things before the event even starts than the GM does when people sit at his table, so if I put a GM in a situation they think is so bad that they feel the need to walk away, I've failed my job. (And probably also lost a GM.) It's literally 7 times worse on the game day for a GM to walk away from a table than for a player to do so, and the fallout afterwards would be a nightmare.

I also know almost all of my players and GMs pretty well, well enough to identify someone taking advantage of a situation to the detriment of others. Most...

I really like your approach to this, talking to each other is an option, that quite often seems to be inmpossible, especially since we are on the internet.

Your stewardship of that community of gamers (to prevent those who want to cheese from ruining other peoples fun) is in my opinion nearly ideal (players policing themselves seems to be the only better option).

My appeal not to codify a rule regarding this kind of behavior is based on the fear, that such a rule would prevent players from using pregens for better reasons.

Silver Crusade

The pregen is selected and then subtier calculated.

Lantern Lodge 5/5

In my practice, I calculate subtier without the pregens- -to assign which level the pregen should be, then re-calculate the subtier- -to assign which subtier we play at.

To use carefully selected pregens to alter the subtier of players with their own PCs seems pretty gauche.

Dark Archive

Why does everyone care so much why people are choosing to play a pregen? Is this BadWrongFun really so terrible you have to make a big deal out of it? If they want to play pregens, let them. Maybe they have PCs that aren't super optimized, and are not looking to put them through a brutal meat grinder like storval stairs. But they also want to be able to play at that PFS event. Or maybe their reasons don't matter and they should be allowed to play the game as they choose.

Silver Crusade

Jayson MF Kip wrote:

In my practice, I calculate subtier without the pregens- -to assign which level the pregen should be, then re-calculate the subtier- -to assign which subtier we play at.

To use carefully selected pregens to alter the subtier of players with their own PCs seems pretty gauche.

As far as I can tell, there is no level the pregens "should be".

Silver Crusade

Victor Zajic wrote:
Why does everyone care so much why people are choosing to play a pregen? Is this BadWrongFun really so terrible you have to make a big deal out of it? If they want to play pregens, let them. Maybe they have PCs that aren't super optimized, and are not looking to put them through a brutal meat grinder like storval stairs. But they also want to be able to play at that PFS event. Or maybe their reasons don't matter and they should be allowed to play the game as they choose.

But their choices affect others.

The Exchange 5/5

David Bowles wrote:
The pregen is selected and then subtier calculated.

as a player, or when advising another player on what Pregen to select, we calculate the sub-tier with both available Pregens selected... what's the sub-tier going to be if we take the 1st level Kyra or the 4th level Kyra?

Often it swings the table from one sub-tier to the other... Let the players as a group decide this.

Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka Mistwalker

Victor Zajic wrote:
Why does everyone care so much why people are choosing to play a pregen? Is this BadWrongFun really so terrible you have to make a big deal out of it? If they want to play pregens, let them. Maybe they have PCs that aren't super optimized, and are not looking to put them through a brutal meat grinder like storval stairs. But they also want to be able to play at that PFS event. Or maybe their reasons don't matter and they should be allowed to play the game as they choose.

If you are playing a pregen and die, you assign the chronicle to a new character and they get marked dead. No big deal for you. Nor do you expend any resources.

People playing their own PC, who die, have to spend PP or gold to get their character back, along with any resources expended in the scenario.

That is why there is concern about some people using pregens for "dangerous" adventures - they don't risk anything, but the other players do.

Silver Crusade

nosig wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
The pregen is selected and then subtier calculated.

as a player, or when advising another player on what Pregen to select, we calculate the sub-tier with both available Pregens selected... what's the sub-tier going to be if we take the 1st level Kyra or the 4th level Kyra?

Often it swings the table from one sub-tier to the other... Let the players as a group decide this.

That's what I meant. You can select multiple pregens and preform the calculation, just like people with multiple eligible PCs can.

Silver Crusade

Mistwalker wrote:
Victor Zajic wrote:
Why does everyone care so much why people are choosing to play a pregen? Is this BadWrongFun really so terrible you have to make a big deal out of it? If they want to play pregens, let them. Maybe they have PCs that aren't super optimized, and are not looking to put them through a brutal meat grinder like storval stairs. But they also want to be able to play at that PFS event. Or maybe their reasons don't matter and they should be allowed to play the game as they choose.

If you are playing a pregen and die, you assign the chronicle to a new character and they get marked dead. No big deal for you. Nor do you expend any resources.

People playing their own PC, who die, have to spend PP or gold to get their character back, along with any resources expended in the scenario.

That is why there is concern about some people using pregens for "dangerous" adventures - they don't risk anything, but the other players do.

They risk a 0XP chronicle sheet. That's about it.

5/5 RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka Sir_Wulf

I wouldn't be impressed by players who pull out pregens because they're afraid that their regular characters will die, but I wouldn't rule that they can't.

Silver Crusade

In the case of scenarios, you can't rule that way evidently.

Lantern Lodge 5/5

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David Bowles wrote:
Jayson MF Kip wrote:

In my practice, I calculate subtier without the pregens- -to assign which level the pregen should be, then re-calculate the subtier- -to assign which subtier we play at.

To use carefully selected pregens to alter the subtier of players with their own PCs seems pretty gauche.

As far as I can tell, there is no level the pregens "should be".

It's all GM discretion. At my tables, two level 2 "actual" characters should not be sat with four level 4 pregens so that the tier is 4-5. The non-pregens' levels should determine the pregen's levels.

THEN, calculate the subtier for the group.

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

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Victor Zajic wrote:
Why does everyone care so much why people are choosing to play a pregen? Is this BadWrongFun really so terrible you have to make a big deal out of it? If they want to play pregens, let them. Maybe they have PCs that aren't super optimized, and are not looking to put them through a brutal meat grinder like storval stairs. But they also want to be able to play at that PFS event. Or maybe their reasons don't matter and they should be allowed to play the game as they choose.

It kind of depends on why they player wants to play the pregen.

It's PleasantlyHelpfulFun if the player says, "Wow, none of my characters will be useful to the party in this scenario" or "We already have three frontliners--I can fill a different role" or "Two other people already have pets? I probably won't bring my Druid, then." In that last case (and I've been there more than once), it's even SpareTheGMsSanityFun.

It's PerfectlyFineFun if the player says, "I've had a bad day and I really want to smash things instead of think" or "I just saw the new classes and I want to try one out" or "My friend has to play a pregen and I don't want her to feel left out."

It is at least QuestionableFun if the player says, "Well, I don't want to run my own precious character through a meat grinder, so I'll play a pregen--that way I can get all the rewards without taking any risk." If this happens once or twice, eh, whatever. If the player starts to make a habit of it, then I'd probably talk to them about why they are so invested in a character they never play or why they are so afraid of losing the character and try to help them come up with a better solution.

It is definitely BadWrongFun if the player says, "Hey, I'll play a pregen so that I can do all sorts of the stupid stuff since I don't have to suffer any consequences!" and then proceeds to get the rest of the party killed. Exception: If the player states this explicitly up front AND the entire party agrees to it, then it's just IDon'tGetItButWhateverFun.

Sovereign Court

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Chris Mortika wrote:

Nicely said, Sebastian.

Saint, let me give you a real-life, not-making-this-up example.

I've met a pair of GMs who've advanced the following argument: "the Pathfinder Society uses smugglers to get goods into Absalom. Missions often involve breaking laws to get into a site or get out stealing artifacts. It is, essentially, a criminal enterprise, wrapped in lofty rhetoric. Paladins cannot function as pawns of that organization. If I have a paladin sit at my table, I'll ask him if he accepts the mission briefing. If he does, he falls." They are otherwise okay GMs.

Then those GMs would be welcomed to my banned list. There's no way I'd want to play with someone pulling that kind of GM power-trip dick move. PFS is supposed to be fun, not incessant mental gymnastics pimped around by abusive fiat pedants.


WHY are there GMs here who are saying "No, I would intentionally force my players to play at a subtier they don't want to play at because I am able to twist a vague ruling in the GTOP?"

If you have a table of players, including one who is choosing a pregen, and they want to play at the higher tier because they believe they can handle the challenge, and a level 7 pregen will bring their APL up to the higher tier... why would you deny them? That's just being a jerk. "Oh, you want to play high? Nope! I found a way to deny you the extra gold and force you to play a scenario that's easier and less exciting than you'd hoped. I win!"

I don't understand that attitude. As a GM, I will try as hard as I can to get the players the game they want to play. If that means trading players between tables to raise or lower the APL, go nuts! If that means swapping out pregens to enable the type of game my friends are interested in taking on, by all means.

Silver Crusade

Jayson MF Kip wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Jayson MF Kip wrote:

In my practice, I calculate subtier without the pregens- -to assign which level the pregen should be, then re-calculate the subtier- -to assign which subtier we play at.

To use carefully selected pregens to alter the subtier of players with their own PCs seems pretty gauche.

As far as I can tell, there is no level the pregens "should be".

It's all GM discretion. At my tables, two level 2 "actual" characters should not be sat with four level 4 pregens so that the tier is 4-5. The non-pregens' levels should determine the pregen's levels.

THEN, calculate the subtier for the group.

I don't see any text giving GMs this authority. The player selects the pregen to play. As long as its legal, I don't see how the GM has a say.

Lantern Lodge 5/5

Game Master wrote:

WHY are there GMs here who are saying "No, I would intentionally force my players to play at a subtier they don't want to play at because I am able to twist a vague ruling in the GTOP?"

If you have a table of players, including one who is choosing a pregen, and they want to play at the higher tier because they believe they can handle the challenge, and a level 7 pregen will bring their APL up to the higher tier... why would you deny them? That's just being a jerk. "Oh, you want to play high? Nope! I found a way to deny you the extra gold and force you to play a scenario that's easier and less exciting than you'd hoped. I win!"

I don't understand that attitude. As a GM, I will try as hard as I can to get the players the game they want to play. If that means trading players between tables to raise or lower the APL, go nuts! If that means swapping out pregens to enable the type of game my friends are interested in taking on, by all means.

Firstly, calm down. No one is claiming any intent (besides "I'm gaming the subtier system by adding pregens").

In previous seasons, you were allowed to choose your subtier. That is no longer an option.

Silver Crusade

You can still choose by manipulating PC choices. That doesn't go away when pregens enter the picture.

Lantern Lodge 5/5

David Bowles wrote:
You can still choose by manipulating PC choices. That doesn't go away when pregens enter the picture.

Then it's no longer a pregen issue, right?

5/5 5/55/55/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I believe there is a great deal of difference between one person skewing the average against the tables wishes and one person skewing the average for the players wishes.

Silver Crusade

Jayson MF Kip wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
You can still choose by manipulating PC choices. That doesn't go away when pregens enter the picture.
Then it's no longer a pregen issue, right?

Ummm, no. This is about the use of a pregen when an actual PC is available. The specific level of the pregen being used is largely irrelevant to the original post.

I've seen tables tiered up over the objections of one, inexperienced player, but never beyond that. And it was not done with a pregen.

Liberty's Edge

In a 3-7 mod I'm GMing where the players with PCs are all 3rd and 4th level, the pregens must be level 4, period. Anyone telling me I am forced to allow 7th level pregens, I walk.

Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka Mistwalker

Jayson MF Kip wrote:
Game Master wrote:

WHY are there GMs here who are saying "No, I would intentionally force my players to play at a subtier they don't want to play at because I am able to twist a vague ruling in the GTOP?"

If you have a table of players, including one who is choosing a pregen, and they want to play at the higher tier because they believe they can handle the challenge, and a level 7 pregen will bring their APL up to the higher tier... why would you deny them? That's just being a jerk. "Oh, you want to play high? Nope! I found a way to deny you the extra gold and force you to play a scenario that's easier and less exciting than you'd hoped. I win!"

I don't understand that attitude. As a GM, I will try as hard as I can to get the players the game they want to play. If that means trading players between tables to raise or lower the APL, go nuts! If that means swapping out pregens to enable the type of game my friends are interested in taking on, by all means.

Firstly, calm down. No one is claiming any intent (besides "I'm gaming the subtier system by adding pregens").

In previous seasons, you were allowed to choose your subtier. That is no longer an option.

I think that most of us are more concerned about someone manipulating the subtier with a pregen, with no risk to themselves, without the consent of all of the other players.

There may be a valid reason for playing a level 7 pregen when the rest of the table are level 3 or 4, but they would need to articulate them for me. Off of the top of my head, I can't see a reason (well, besides getting all of the lower tier folks out of tier gold - which is not a valid reason in my books), but I am open to hearing their rationale/argument.

Silver Crusade

Rambone wrote:
In a 3-7 mod I'm GMing where the players with PCs are all 3rd and 4th level, the pregens must be level 4, period. Anyone telling me I am forced to allow 7th level pregens, I walk.

It's not your decision to make. The rules for this are outlined in the Organized Play Guide. No where does it mention the GM having veto power. Legal choices are legal choices. If you want to stomp off over legal choices, I'm not sure what to tell you.

Silver Crusade

Mistwalker wrote:
Jayson MF Kip wrote:
Game Master wrote:

WHY are there GMs here who are saying "No, I would intentionally force my players to play at a subtier they don't want to play at because I am able to twist a vague ruling in the GTOP?"

If you have a table of players, including one who is choosing a pregen, and they want to play at the higher tier because they believe they can handle the challenge, and a level 7 pregen will bring their APL up to the higher tier... why would you deny them? That's just being a jerk. "Oh, you want to play high? Nope! I found a way to deny you the extra gold and force you to play a scenario that's easier and less exciting than you'd hoped. I win!"

I don't understand that attitude. As a GM, I will try as hard as I can to get the players the game they want to play. If that means trading players between tables to raise or lower the APL, go nuts! If that means swapping out pregens to enable the type of game my friends are interested in taking on, by all means.

Firstly, calm down. No one is claiming any intent (besides "I'm gaming the subtier system by adding pregens").

In previous seasons, you were allowed to choose your subtier. That is no longer an option.

I think that most of us are more concerned about someone manipulating the subtier with a pregen, with no risk to themselves, without the consent of all of the other players.

There may be a valid reason for playing a level 7 pregen when the rest of the table are level 3 or 4, but they would need to articulate them for me. Off of the top of my head, I can't see a reason (well, besides getting all of the lower tier folks out of tier gold - which is not a valid reason in my books), but I am open to hearing their rationale/argument.

It's not for the GM to decide the validity of reasons for legal choices. If they are engineering out of tier gold, who cares? That's their business, not yours. The potential for disaster in seasons 4+ are sufficiently high that it balances it out.

Venture-Agent, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka Mistwalker

David Bowles wrote:
It's not for the GM to decide the validity of reasons for legal choices. If they are engineering out of tier gold, who cares? That's their business, not yours. The potential for disaster in seasons 4+ are sufficiently high that...

There will be table variation on this.

page 6 of the Guide wrote:
If you don’t have time to create a new character or simply wish to try out a new character class, you may choose to use one of several level-appropriate pregenerated characters..

At the moment, my interpretation is that level appropriate for a table with only levels 3 and 4, would be for the pregen to be level 4.

I could be convinced to expand my interpretation for a specific game if I found the argument compelling and the rest of the table was OK with the choice.

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