My first Pathfinder Society / Pathfinder game EVER n my character is Dead


Pathfinder Society

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I just got done trying Pathfinder out for the first time, and playing my first Pathfinder Society event. I spent hours learning to make a character, and about 3 hours playing the module. We were a rag tag group of 4 player. I know there was 1 2nd level rogue type character, 1 2nd level heavy amour fighter, 1 unknown level fighter, and then my character 1st level Alchemist. The module was The Devil That You Know- part 1 Sea Rats, I think. Again brand new to Pathfinder.

The party was doing okay till run into a Woman using channel for 2d6 damage Will to half each turn. First turn 9 damage. My character at 0 from full heath. Rogue type dying. Second round 8 damage. I am dying. Third round 10 damage I am dead.

Session ends with Woman running away while one fighter, blind and almost dead, left standing. Able to use a health potion on second fighter, so they are only ones who get anything for this session. At the end I specifically ask "Why didn't the Game Master pull his punches?" I was told by other players that Pathfinder Society doesn't allow him to.

I left the Session, unhappy and with feeling of having wasted my time and resources to play a game perfectly okay with purposely killing my character. I want to know "Why".

Why are Game Master's hands tied to the point of killing off a completely new player with a level one character?

Why was the module built that ensure that members of party would be killed?

Why should I return for another Session, since most likely this will happen to my character again?

Grand Lodge

As with it being that scenario, which I have heard is pretty rough on first level characters. It is a harsh lesson, but hey, at least it was o oh level one, and not higher. The most you can do is either give up and return materials, or to try again. Negative channels are hard to get by, especially at lower levels, unfortunately. All I have to say on my part, is that I loathe harpies with a passion..... Always keep earplugs, always.


Well, what's the alternative to being willing to kill off new characters? Fudging the dice so you never kill characters? Killing off only high-level characters that you've put a lot more work into? Saying, "There's a new player here, so the enemy isn't going to use the powerful attack that's her only chance of survival. Do you want to roll some dice, or shall we just skip the battle and say you won?"

It sounds like a vicious encounter for a level 1 group, but it's not like there was no way you could have survived. Not standing so close to the enemy would have saved you. Having more Constitution for more hit points. Passing your Will save for half damage. Playing, or playing with, a Cleric who can channel energy to heal the party. The enemy not rolling above average on the damage dice every turn. Having competent allies who can defeat the enemy before the third attack.

I suggest building a more resilient character (I don't like having less than 14 Con) and giving it one more try.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Hey, bad experiences happen, and are unfortunately a (typically rare) part of gaming. Pathfinder GMs are certainly provided latitude to go easy on new players, and while the occasional scythe crit can claim a life, a new player typically won't be a target of a scythe in the first place.

The scenario you were playing does have a reputation as being particularly deadly in the lower (1-2) tier. You may have had an inexperienced GM who didn't know what 2d6 of channeling per round would do to a party, or who didn't know that he/she had some flexibility in playing the opposition.

I will say that your experience is an unlucky event, and I'd recommend giving PFS another shot before giving it up. Try it with a different GM, this time, and see if your experience is different. Particularly, try to see if you can play at a table of "The Confirmation" or "The Wounded Wisp", as those are intro scenarios that shouldn't be too deadly for brand-new characters. As soon as you hit level 2, your survivability greatly increases, and it gets easier from there.

Scarab Sages

A GM is able to make certain allowances for new players. It's true that PFS GMs are supposed to run enemy tactics as written, but there are also instructions in the guide to organized play that allow the GM to cut new players some slack. You ran into a bad combination of a particularly difficult encounter and a GM who stuck too closely to the letter of the rule. He/she could have decided not to channel a third time, knowing that it would likely kill half the party. But, that scenario does list channeling as her main tactic, so I can see why the GM might have felt there wasn't another option. In part that tactic is featured because it was the first scenario to use Pathfinder's channeling mechanic after the switchover from D&D 3.5. As a result, I don't think the author or the campaign staff at the time knew just how brutal it would be on low level characters. I can promise you not all scenarios carry that level of difficulty or that lethal of an attack (though a few do).

Sometimes the dice go against you, too. I've seen a low level group defeat that villain easily, because they all made their saves and got her surrounded. Failing 3 will saves in a row and taking full damage from those channels is rough.

You should come back if you thought the game up until that point was fun and because not every experience will be like that. If you have the opportunity to try a game under a different GM, give that a shot. PFS is a large community of good people, so I hope one bad experience doesn't turn you away from it.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
Well, what's the alternative to being willing to kill off new characters? Fudging the dice so you never kill characters? <snip> Saying, "There's a new player here, so the enemy isn't going to use the powerful attack that's her only chance of survival.

For a brand new player? Yes. You make sure they have a good time and help grow the hobby that we both (presumably) enjoy. Sure, neg channel a couple of times and drop the first level character to the negatives, but after that you can switch to dropping Blindness/Deafness or other nasty spells on the more experienced players. Stomping newbies who don't know any better is a great way to turn them away from Pathfinder.

Their second character? Sure, go lethal on 'em. =)

Grand Lodge

I agree with a first character having high con. I like to play hardmode for most of my characters though, and generally have a base con of 10 after modifiers, unless I feel that more is needed. Personally, I would try again, with the same character as a -2 or whatever number you have next, and try to get a party together that can tackle various issues as a group. As a side note, once I get a few map packs, I can start getting some pbp games started up with at least two of the evergreen series and I can let you know when I start them. Just pm me if interested, and that'll help me keep you in mind.


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This is why you're not supposed to kill the new guy...

Grand Lodge

I don't know the details of the module that you played, but I have both played and run PFS games, so let me try to answer a couple of your questions.

Why are the GM's hands tied?

The official PFS line is that GMs should stick to the module, so that there is a consistent play experience from one place to another. A GM can't go crazy and kill everyone with things that aren't really there. A GM can't go crazy and give away all the cool loot without making the party face the same challenges as anyone else who played through the same adventure. In practice, you'll find some GMs that are very conscientious about sticking exactly to the script and others who are willing to mix things up depending on what the party is doing. Some will be willing to pull their punches for a new player or new character, and others will say this only sets up for future failure. You start expecting that things are always going to be easy and then you get your 3rd or 5th or 10th level character killed after you've invested a lot more than four hours of play in that character.

Why was the module built to ensure PCs would be killed?

Low level mods can be very swingy for first level characters, particularly brand new first level characters. One or two good hits (particularly if you are unlucky in initiative, and someone gets the jump on you)) can take a first level character from full health to dead. I know the closest I have come to killing a character was rolling a lucky crib against an already injured new character. I happened to roll a 3 and a 1 on 2d8, when an average roll would have killed him. If you happen to roll 8, 9 and 10 on your 2d6 rolls for negative channeling that's just bad luck and it hits particularly hard against first level characters.

Should I play again? Will my character die again?

Give it another shot. Maybe you'll play with a different GM or a different mod that you'll like better. Maybe you'll just be luckier with the dice rolls. Once you get a few games under your belt, and a few experience on your character, then you're a lot safer from one streak of bad luck wiping you out.


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Matthew Downie wrote:
"There's a new player here, so the enemy isn't going to use the powerful attack that's her only chance of survival. Do you want to roll some dice, or shall we just skip the battle and say you won?"

There is a subtle line between pushing your players to their limits and killing them off entirely. Of the two, which is the most fun?

The obvious choice for anyone (I hope) is pushing to the limits. People tend to remember encounters and events more fondly if they thought they were going to die only to just somehow barely survive. It's thrilling, it's exciting, it's what makes being an adventurer an adventurer.

I won't deny that the above group definitely could've used medical support in this group, however, it's not always a requirement. I've been through and GMed countless PFS games where there wasn't medical support, but made it through nonetheless with solid tactics and solid preparation.

I get that players that are completely new to Pathfinder wouldn't be expected to know how to go about that. Still, someone could go about as a mentor.


I wasn't playing online. I was at gaming store, which was Scheduled as Pathfinder for Beginners. Remember I wasn't just a level one character. I haven't played the system or with this group.

Tsriel you say Game Master's aren't require to "pull punches" I am asking are they allowed to. I don't understand why he even didn't limit the amount of channeling, since he knew we didn't have a cleric who could hear us or even had her retreat sooner after the zombie fell. Or pulled her back more to only catch the heavy fighter since we were stuck on ship in close quarters.

I am also asking why the module is set up to ensure a player death. I can't see how 4 level one characters could survive a person channeling 2d6 damage each turn for several turns in close quarters. I mean wouldn't be better to face someone like that in an open space at low level so not everyone is caught in the channel aura every turn?


jtaylor73003 wrote:
Tsriel you say Game Master's aren't require to "pull punches" I am asking are they allowed to. I don't understand why he even didn't limit the amount of channeling, since he knew we didn't have a cleric who could hear us or even had her retreat sooner after the zombie fell. Or pulled her back more to only catch the heavy fighter since we were stuck on ship in close quarters.

The short answer, yes, the DM can if they so choose. They are the arbitor of the event. Now, there is a clause about going up the chain of command in the PFSOPG if there's an issue you'd like a Venture-Lieutenant or Venture-Captain to look at if there was an issue about a game you didn't agree with. You're welcome to do that. It's your right as a player and part of the reason why they're there. Whether or not you get an answer to your liking is entirely dependent on your regional VOs.

Grand Lodge

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First level characters probably have the hardest time surviving any scenario, especially in their first scenario. You have very little in the way of gold to help you and you are relatively weak.

That said PFS is a run as written community so that things as are similar as possible no matter where you play. Some scenarios are harder than others and some GM's will pull their punches more than others. I don't know that scenario well enough to know whether the GM had any other options. I know the BBEG has been known to cause a TPK (especially of low level characters). I will say this, just like you as a player is trying to fight for something, the NPC is also fighting for their life. They shouldn't be taking it easy on you (at least psychologically), now some GMs will see so much of the party downed and use sub-optimal tactics to keep the challenge high but deaths down. Some GMs like killing players as much as players like killing the NPCs. Styles differ.

On the plus side, you lost a character that had no exp. You could take the exact same build, put it on a second character number and try again. I know people who have done exactly that. While it is frustrating to lose a character, better now than later when you've got more invested.

Personally, I've found PFS a great way to meet people and get consistent games without the need for a weekly scheduled home game, where if one person has a conflict the game can't run. (It also introduced me to enough players that I can run a pick-up game almost any time, and lead to having a home group playing over the winter in addition to my PFS play.) There are advantages to home games and PFS. Outside of the death was the experience a good one? If so, I'd give it another chance (you can play the same build, or even try a pre-gen). If not, well that's a different story. I can tell you some scenarios are better than others and some GMs are better than others (either in running games or in fitting with any individual players style), but that may not be enough of a reason to come back.

I hope you do decide to give it another try.

Scarab Sages

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jtaylor73003 wrote:

I wasn't playing online. I was at gaming store, which was Scheduled as Pathfinder for Beginners. Remember I wasn't just a level one character. I haven't played the system or with this group.

Tsriel you say Game Master's aren't require to "pull punches" I am asking are they allowed to. I don't understand why he even didn't limit the amount of channeling, since he knew we didn't have a cleric who could hear us or even had her retreat sooner after the zombie fell. Or pulled her back more to only catch the heavy fighter since we were stuck on ship in close quarters.

I am also asking why the module is set up to ensure a player death. I can't see how 4 level one characters could survive a person channeling 2d6 damage each turn for several turns in close quarters. I mean wouldn't be better to face someone like that in an open space at low level so not everyone is caught in the channel aura every turn?

It's a poor choice of scenario for a Pathfinder for Beginners session. As I mentioned upthread, the channeling mechanic was new when that scenario was written, so I don't think the difficulty of the scenario was intentional on the part of the writer.

Dark Archive

9hp at level 1? I would absolutely play again, and with a higher constitution score. Either you had a 12 constitution and were plugging your favoured class bonus into skill ranks, or you had a 10 constitution.

Try playing the same character but with a 14 constitution and see how much longer you live. Don't let a single loss take away from all the fun experiences you can have.

Shadow Lodge

Wonder how many times I got ninja'd while typing this...

Congratulations on your first character death. Mine was at the hands of my own wife. I'm not sure where you got the idea that characters don't die in this game, but I'm glad you found out early that this game might not be for you.

As for your assumptions, I'll start with the second one. It's not fair to say the scenario was built to ensure character death. It was designed to provide a challenge for characters level 1-2, 3-4, and 6-7. Sadly, when you're trying to balance an encounter for that wide of a spread, you increase the chance that one tier will be too hard, or another tier too easy. It seems you got the short end of the stick on that one. This is one of the reasons they don't make 1-7 scenarios anymore.

As for the GM's hands being tied, to an extent that's true. We're expected to run the scenario as written, with the enemies and tactics presented when feasible. If Joe and George sit down at different tables in different parts of the country, they should have a reasonable expectation of having a similar experience. That's how organized play works. Sorry if that level of structure doesn't appeal to you. While some GMs will "pull punches" when they feel it would be best for the players at the table, it's not encouraged, and it certainly isn't going to be officially allowed.

Why should you return? For the same reasons we all do. A chance to hang out and play a game we all love. A chance to have your character be part of something larger. A chance to challenge yourself by playing outside of your comfort zone with other people and other characters than you normally would. If that doesn't appeal to you, then don't come back.


Thanks for everyone who is posting.
I enjoyed the game up to the point of being slaughtered. Since I know nothing of Pathfinder I had to ask if this is a normal occurance. I played Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition the night before, and had a 1st level live even after facing down an Orge. I left hurt and confused, because I could compare the session to another system's session. I understand everyone opinion, especially those use to the system. I am simply am not, which would mean increase chances of die next session. This seems like the only Game Master in the area, and he said next week would be part 2.

Sczarni

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First off, sorry about that happening. It can happen to us all. My first pfs scenario, I ended up dropping twice but fortunately never died.

I have seen scenarios where things are written into the scenario in a way that can end in a pc being outright slaughtered, if things go a certain way. For experienced players, I do usually go by how the scenario is written, including moral. For new players, I have fudged some rolls to make it not as mean (I have about 5 or 6 crits that were regular hits due to new player with low hp during combat).

If you do make another pc, I do advise at least a 12 constitution. I usually go with 14 with my characters. Since you can retrain your character once it hits level 2, you could add toughness as a 1st lvl feat to gain 3 extra hp during lvl 1 scenarios.

Liberty's Edge

Mystic Lemur wrote:

Wonder how many times I got ninja'd while typing this...

Congratulations on your first character death. Mine was at the hands of my own wife. I'm not sure where you got the idea that characters don't die in this game, but I'm glad you found out early that this game might not be for you.

As for your assumptions, I'll start with the second one. It's not fair to say the scenario was built to ensure character death. It was designed to provide a challenge for characters level 1-2, 3-4, and 6-7. Sadly, when you're trying to balance an encounter for that wide of a spread, you increase the chance that one tier will be too hard, or another tier too easy. It seems you got the short end of the stick on that one. This is one of the reasons they don't make 1-7 scenarios anymore.

As for the GM's hands being tied, to an extent that's true. We're expected to run the scenario as written, with the enemies and tactics presented when feasible. If Joe and George sit down at different tables in different parts of the country, they should have a reasonable expectation of having a similar experience. That's how organized play works. Sorry if that level of structure doesn't appeal to you. While some GMs will "pull punches" when they feel it would be best for the players at the table, it's not encouraged, and it certainly isn't going to be officially allowed.

Why should you return? For the same reasons we all do. A chance to hang out and play a game we all love. A chance to have your character be part of something larger. A chance to challenge yourself by playing outside of your comfort zone with other people and other characters than you normally would. If that doesn't appeal to you, then don't come back.

I was ninja'd so many times while typing, I'm just going to say this^. Since it's basically what I was trying to say anyway.

If it makes you feel any better, my first PFS session, my character died 2 rounds into the first combat. It happens. It's unfortunate, but it happens. I'm on to character -7 being played with characters up to -12 with at least one session under their belts. So that first terrible play experience didn't stop me from coming back, and I'm glad, because even though a character might die once in a while, it shouldn't keep you from all the interesting adventures you can have with PFS.


Ulfen Death Squad wrote:
If you do make another pc, I do advise at least a 12 constitution. I usually go with 14 with my characters. Since you can retrain your character once it hits level 2, you could add toughness as a 1st lvl feat to gain 3 extra hp during lvl 1 scenarios.

I've seen alot of people do that, not to mention play a completely different class at 1st level then use the free 1st level retrain to go into the class they really wanted to be all along.


Tsriel wrote:
Ulfen Death Squad wrote:
If you do make another pc, I do advise at least a 12 constitution. I usually go with 14 with my characters. Since you can retrain your character once it hits level 2, you could add toughness as a 1st lvl feat to gain 3 extra hp during lvl 1 scenarios.
I've seen alot of people do that, not to mention play a completely different class at 1st level then use the free 1st level retrain to go into the class they really wanted to be all along.

Why would I do this? I thought Pathfinder was Role-playing Game for adventure. I wanted to play an Alchemist because I like Full Metal Alchemist.

How would have a 14 con help me survive the 3 rounds of spamed channel? I don't understand. The Woman even step forward giving both fighters an attack of opprunity just so she could hit me for the 3rd time.

Are many you advising I should look for loop holes in the rules vs just playing to have fun?

Grand Lodge

jtaylor73003 wrote:
How would have a 14 con help me survive the 3 rounds of spamed channel? I don't understand. The Woman even step forward giving both fighters an attack of opprunity just so she could hit me for the 3rd time.

Uhh, okay that definitely goes against her tactics (she avoids melee unless she's stuck). You definitely had a Killer GM. Sorry to hear that, since it means that other games under him aren't likely to be much better and you've said he's the only one in the area.


jtaylor73003 wrote:
Are many you advising I should look for loop holes in the rules vs just playing to have fun?

Because some people will just find any loophole in the book to use. The reasons are as varied for as the number of stars in space. Character survival is usually a good reason why, however.

Anyway, to answer your question as to why a 12 or 14 Constitution score is recommended is because of 2 reasons:

1) You get more hit points per level, which means you can take tougher shots.

2) You are not considered dead until the number of negative hit points you receive equals or exceeds your Constitutiion score.

EDIT: 3) The ever important increased Fortitude save.

It might not seem like much, but there are times where having that 14 Con score just barely kept me alive as I was bleeding out while unconscious.


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My character died in my first Pathfinder Society game, too. And my third PFS game, as well.

I was taught a hard lesson -- the game is what the game is. You are going to have to rely on your wits rather than your GM's good graces. Believe it or not, this has advantages. Keep reading.

jtaylor73003 wrote:
I don't understand why he even didn't limit the amount of channeling, since he knew we didn't have a cleric who could hear us or even had her retreat sooner after the zombie fell.

The enemy wants to win and kill you all, so it makes sense that the enemy tried to win and kill you all. You should take that as a lesson learned: many of your future PFS games (should you stick with it) will involve an enemy who intends to kill you all. Running by the book means the GM can't really pull punches, so don't expect it (or, more accurately, generally won't pull punches even if there could be an exception carved out).

Once you adjust your thinking to realize that punches are not going to be pulled, these modules get super easy. Not all, but many. Think about this: why stay in her channel range? You're at zero HP? Leave. That's it. Problem solved. Come back later.

I was playing at a convention recently, and we played the 1st or 2nd super-hard module from season 6.

Spoiler:
It's the one with the robots and burning skeletons that pretty much insta-kill a party.

Except, we got through it pretty much OK. One PC died, everyone else lived. How? We knew the instant the damage started, it was one of those "GM won't pull punches, we'll die" situations, and we simply all fled, and locked one sad PC in the room with the bad guys. He was our unfortunate sacrifice (he didn't have enough actions to get through the door before we shut it on the approaching skeletons), but once we did that, the module was super easy. We just regrouped, healed, took our time to re-search previous areas, took stock of what we had in our favor, and launched a concerted, planned assault on our own timetable. We slaughtered the enemy.

You can do that too. Never again think "I'll press on because the GM will pull punches." Instead, run like your character will die, because he/she will, and circle back when you're ready.

jtaylor73003 wrote:
I am also asking why the module is set up to ensure a player death. I can't see how 4 level one characters could survive a person channeling 2d6 damage each turn for several turns in close quarters.

My group survived it by rushing the cleric and focusing fire. We had the cleric down in a single round. Never split focus, regardless of whether there is a scary cleric or bad guy. Even with "normal" fights, it's mathematically superior to all focus on one or two enemies until they fall, and then focus on the next batch. Consider this math:


  • Your team of 4 fights 4 bad guys. Each bad guy needs 3 hits to fall.
  • You split up, 1 PC per enemy. Round 1, you each hit an enemy. None of them fall.
  • The enemies all return fire, 4 attacks.
  • You all hit the bad guys again, they all are still standing, and return fire.
  • You finally take them down on round 3. You suffered 8 hits, total.

Contrast that with this:


  • Same setup as previous example, 4 PCs vs. 4 enemies.
  • You focus 3 PCs on the 1st bad guy, 1 PC on another. 1st bad guy instantly falls.
  • The 3 remaining enemies return fire, 3 attacks.
  • You focus 3 PCs on a new bad guy, 1 PC on the same guy he already hit. Another bad guy falls.
  • They return fire, 2 attacks.
  • You hit the remaining bad guy, drop him, and the 1 extra bad guy has now had 3 hits as well, and also falls. You suffered 5 hits, total.

That is how you survive these modules. Learn good tactics, and use them.

Before I sign off, I said earlier that the game being run as-is "has advantages." I want to explain that. The reason that we like the GMs sticking to the module as-written is because it means that when we amp up our power and are able to utterly ruin the enemy using some cool new ability, the GM cannot amp up the monsters and pull the rug out from under us. Just as the GM won't weaken the monster and coddle you, the GM won't double the monster HP and screw you over. If you legitimately find a way to destroy a bad guy in a fast and amazing fashion, then you just get to be awesome, the end.

Was the final fight supposed to last 15 rounds and typically ends with half the party unconscious, but you have a character that is oddly perfect for the fight and has just the right thing to save your allies and kill the enemy in 3 rounds? You can trust that the enemy won't magically/secretly be given extra hit points, extra AC, extra spells, or extra footsoldiers. Instead, that enemy just has to deal with things as-is, and if that sucks for the bad guy, well too damn bad. That's an important and good part of Pathfinder Society. It is flatly evenhanded on both sides of the table. Just as the GM can hit hard if the module says so, you can hit hard if your character sheet says so (assuming it's a legit build).

Keep that in mind. It's a valuable aspect of PFS.


jtaylor73003 wrote:
How would have a 14 con help me survive the 3 rounds of spamed channel?

Instead of being on 0 hit points after the first attack, you'd have be on positive hit points. Being on 0 hit points is bad news because you're Disabled and can only take one action per round, and take 1 HP of damage whenever you act. So if you're still in positive hit points, you could throw a bomb and run away, or run away and drink an extract, or whatever it is your character would have been capable of doing.

Although if your GM was going out of his way to chase you down when you were no threat, you can legitimately be annoyed.


Outshyn Thanks for posting, but none of your advice makes sense. First you assume I played the game before. I haven't. Second you assume I know the rules by heart. I don't since I never played before. Third you advice sounds like the same advice I hear from online players while playing Dead or Alive 5. I know nothing of Frame rates, nor do I play the game to figure out frame rates. I play to have fun. I would play Pathfinder the same way. To have fun. If the other players had decided to kill me to slow the enemies, I wouldn't of even taken the time to post this thread to figure out if I should give it another try. Lastly the Game Master said that I couldn't harm the other players, since I wasn't allow to use my bombs when all the other players were crowded next to the enemies.

Is this what Pathfinder is about? Underhanded tricks and loopholes just to survive to fight another day?

I don't see how I could compare to a Game Master with year's of experience or even other players on what to tactically do.


jtaylor73003 wrote:

Thanks for everyone who is posting.

I enjoyed the game up to the point of being slaughtered. Since I know nothing of Pathfinder I had to ask if this is a normal occurance. I played Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition the night before, and had a 1st level live even after facing down an Orge. I left hurt and confused, because I could compare the session to another system's session. I understand everyone opinion, especially those use to the system. I am simply am not, which would mean increase chances of die next session. This seems like the only Game Master in the area, and he said next week would be part 2.

This is not really a "system" thing. Many times your personal experience will be affected by the GM, and the specific adventure. In PFS the idea is to give the same experience to everyone, but there will still be some variance. Some GM's are more lethal than others, and some players actually enjoy that type of game. Some do not, and others may or may depending on a variety of factors.

I was not at the table so I don't know how much of it was on the GM, the module, or the party. I would expect for a GM to hold back on 1st level characters, but some modules(scenarios) are really hard, and it there is only so much a GM can do to prevent death.

Just to be clear I am not blaming you for anything, I just don't want you to walk away thinking Pathfinder is designed to kill characters.


Matthew Downie wrote:
jtaylor73003 wrote:
How would have a 14 con help me survive the 3 rounds of spamed channel?

Instead of being on 0 hit points after the first attack, you'd have be on positive hit points. Being on 0 hit points is bad news because you're Disabled and can only take one action per round, and take 1 HP of damage whenever you act. So if you're still in positive hit points, you could throw a bomb and run away, or run away and drink an extract, or whatever it is your character would have been capable of doing.

Although if your GM was going out of his way to chase you down when you were no threat, you can legitimately be annoyed.

Okay I would had 1 hp. I was on the top deck of ship. Only places to run was down below or over the edge into the water. Are you saying I should abandoned the rest of the party to for a long shot to save myself? I only have to extracts at first level to prepare, I think. I prepared true strike and shield. I do see that I should of prepared both cure light wounds instead. I wasn't allowed to throw any bombs, because a fighter was always near, even when she step back the fighter would step up at the same time. Since my splash damage on my bomb would of harmed the other player, the Game Master said it be same as playing killing.


jtaylor73003 wrote:

Outshyn Thanks for posting, but none of your advice makes sense. First you assume I played the game before. I haven't. Second you assume I know the rules by heart. I don't since I never played before. Third you advice sounds like the same advice I hear from online players while playing Dead or Alive 5. I know nothing of Frame rates, nor do I play the game to figure out frame rates. I play to have fun. I would play Pathfinder the same way. To have fun. If the other players had decided to kill me to slow the enemies, I wouldn't of even taken the time to post this thread to figure out if I should give it another try. Lastly the Game Master said that I couldn't harm the other players, since I wasn't allow to use my bombs when all the other players were crowded next to the enemies.

Is this what Pathfinder is about? Underhanded tricks and loopholes just to survive to fight another day?

I don't see how I could compare to a Game Master with year's of experience or even other players on what to tactically do.

Nobody's assuming you know all the rules by heart.

There are different styles of RPG adventure. Some are 'fun' adventures. You can play around and not expect to die if you make the wrong decision. What matters is how you express the character you created.

Other people like 'challenging' adventures where the GM provides tough opposition and you have to use all your skills, system knowledge and tactical imagination to survive. One mistake and it's all over, so the tension and excitement are constant.

It sounds like you wanted one and got the other.

Here's a thread where some people complain about PFS not being dangerous enough and others disagree - maybe it will give you some sense of whether your experience was typical or a freak occurrence.

Grand Lodge

jtaylor73003 wrote:

Outshyn Thanks for posting, but none of your advice makes sense. First you assume I played the game before. I haven't. Second you assume I know the rules by heart. I don't since I never played before. Third you advice sounds like the same advice I hear from online players while playing Dead or Alive 5. I know nothing of Frame rates, nor do I play the game to figure out frame rates. I play to have fun. I would play Pathfinder the same way. To have fun. If the other players had decided to kill me to slow the enemies, I wouldn't of even taken the time to post this thread to figure out if I should give it another try. Lastly the Game Master said that I couldn't harm the other players, since I wasn't allow to use my bombs when all the other players were crowded next to the enemies.

Is this what Pathfinder is about? Underhanded tricks and loopholes just to survive to fight another day?

I don't see how I could compare to a Game Master with year's of experience or even other players on what to tactically do.

I bolded the most important part when it comes to playing Pathfinder. Play for fun, no matter what. As for the not using bombs, in my area, we generally ask if it's okay with the other players that their characters are in the area of effect of various blasts, explosions, and magic, as they may get hit. Sometimes, there may be collateral damage with teammates, but if they survive, then it's all good.

With the singular GM in your area, and from the sounds of how harsh they rule, I would probably try online games to build up your character. Also, there's more Role Playing generally if you play via play by post, as a single scenario can take a couple of days to a few weeks. As Tsriel mentioned, there are plenty of new pbp games starting up and whatnot, which could help as asking GMs as what things may go best where can be done as a tutorial segment via private messages.


jtaylor73003 wrote:

Outshyn Thanks for posting, but none of your advice makes sense. First you assume I played the game before. I haven't. Second you assume I know the rules by heart. I don't since I never played before. Third you advice sounds like the same advice I hear from online players while playing Dead or Alive 5. I know nothing of Frame rates, nor do I play the game to figure out frame rates. I play to have fun. I would play Pathfinder the same way. To have fun. If the other players had decided to kill me to slow the enemies, I wouldn't of even taken the time to post this thread to figure out if I should give it another try. Lastly the Game Master said that I couldn't harm the other players, since I wasn't allow to use my bombs when all the other players were crowded next to the enemies.

Is this what Pathfinder is about? Underhanded tricks and loopholes just to survive to fight another day?

I don't see how I could compare to a Game Master with year's of experience or even other players on what to tactically do.

Everyone starts somewhere so don't worry about the lack of experience for now. You will learn tactics and the rules eventually. It just takes time.

In PFS you are not allowed to harm other player characters from what I understand. I know you are playing for fun, but I would suggest getting another ranged weapon for the times when your allies get in the way if you make another bomb throwing character.

Different areas are different with the local attitude on groups from what I have heard. If you don't mind playing online roll20.net is an option. New games always popping up.

PS: I don't know if I mentioned this before but asking the GM how lethal he is may be an option. <--I would suggest this no matter if you are playing PFS or a non-PFS game.


Matthew Downie wrote:
jtaylor73003 wrote:

Outshyn Thanks for posting, but none of your advice makes sense. First you assume I played the game before. I haven't. Second you assume I know the rules by heart. I don't since I never played before. Third you advice sounds like the same advice I hear from online players while playing Dead or Alive 5. I know nothing of Frame rates, nor do I play the game to figure out frame rates. I play to have fun. I would play Pathfinder the same way. To have fun. If the other players had decided to kill me to slow the enemies, I wouldn't of even taken the time to post this thread to figure out if I should give it another try. Lastly the Game Master said that I couldn't harm the other players, since I wasn't allow to use my bombs when all the other players were crowded next to the enemies.

Is this what Pathfinder is about? Underhanded tricks and loopholes just to survive to fight another day?

I don't see how I could compare to a Game Master with year's of experience or even other players on what to tactically do.

Nobody's assuming you know all the rules by heart.

There are different styles of RPG adventure. Some are 'fun' adventures. You can play around and not expect to die if you make the wrong decision. What matters is how you express the character you created.

Other people like 'challenging' adventures where the GM provides tough opposition and you have to use all your skills, system knowledge and tactical imagination to survive. One mistake and it's all over, so the tension and excitement are constant.

It sounds like you wanted one and got the other.

Here's a thread where some people complain about PFS not being dangerous enough and others disagree - maybe it will give you some sense of whether your experience was typical or a freak occurrence.

Yet your comment just assumed I knew what the right decision is. Or Pathfinder says I should know what the right decision is. I went to an Event called Pathfinder for Beginners. I don't have years of experience playing the game. I don't have system knowledge. I don't have tactical imagination, because all I know I can do very well is throw bombs. This comment sounds like what I was told about Darksouls. You die if you go left instead right. That isn't fun. Hence I never brought Darksouls. (I may have the wrong title. I just remember so people saying it was super easy, while other pointed out you die every few minutes.)

I don't understand why you think this comment is helpful. I came expecting easy level, and you are talking about master level. I thought Master level was after Level 10 or something.

Grand Lodge

Well, actually about the splash damage, your GM got it wrong (though it is a common conception that many hold to). You can hurt other players, though you should probably try to avoid doing so, what you can't do is kill other players. Generally it is considered good form to ask the other player you are about to harm if they are okay with it. (If they aren't I'd say it's a no-go) (If you do hurt them I'd consider also helping them heal afterwards, if possible) Also, was there a possibility of throwing your bomb in a place where only the enemy would have been hit with splash damage instead of direct damage. You can (possibly) throw instead at a nearby square (which have AC 5) and allow the splash damage only to harm the enemy, it won't do as much damage as a direct hit, but it does give some.

Honestly, it sounds like a situation where the enemy tactics, your teammates tactics, your GM, and experience level of the table conspired against you in a fight. It definitely can happen. I will say that alchemists are an extremely cool, versatile, and useful class, but they may not be the class I would suggest for a first time player. They can involve a number of complicated mixtures of tactics and choices by the player, and some rules mastery to actually use effectively. It sounds like you did a good job of learning how it worked and selecting extracts, but even so there are tricks out there you (and I) haven't seen yet to know to use.

As for people telling you to have higher CON, I agree, it may seem odd but honestly for all my characters I start them at 14 CON, I may adjust them down slightly or up from there by my starting point is always 14. The reason being, PFS is more about survival than anything else. If you can't survive that one big hit from an enemy, the likelihood is you will die sooner rather than later. There are a number of enemies and traps that are pretty much designed to be one-hit kills (partially because a lot of enemies never get the chance for a second hit). CON may not be the most useful stat out there, but it is a very important one.

Toughness is another good feat for lower hit point characters, a lot of my characters start with it at level 1, and switch it out before 2. The reason I do this is two-fold.
1. Generally, when I'm playing a new character I'm trying a concept or class I haven't built before and I want some time getting a feel for their mechanic before choosing exactly what feat I want. Toughness becomes a stand-in so I don't have to go looking for a feat I find out doesn't help me.
2. I get the three extra hit points to survive and trade it for something else when I know if there is something better (if there isn't or I felt like it fit I'll leave it there).

As far as an alchemist goes you might be choosing from a few feats, Point-blank shot, Toughness, Improved Initiative, etc. Say you choose instead Extra Bombs (I know you get this for free, but you want even more). Now you play through a session and find out you had a bunch of extra bombs, because you had trouble throwing around the fighter. So session 2 you choose Improved Initiative instead, so that you can throw a bomb before the fighter ever has a chance to act (thus, no chance of hitting him with splash damage). Maybe, this works better for you and you keep it. However, you may find out after a couple of sessions that neither helps you particularly, and you'd prefer a third choice. Not all my characters have been built with Toughness as a first level feat, but when I can't decide it's my go to option, it just gives me a bit more time to figure out what the character needs.


Barton Oliver Thank you for the tips. You say that Alchemist get Extra's bombs for free. I thought you got Brew Potion at 1st level with Throw Anything. Is that wrong? My Game Master never said I built my character incorrectly.

Silver Crusade

Brew potion, and any crafting feat is not allowed in PFS.

From the Additional Resources:

Alchemist's Brew Potion class ability (he receives Extra Bombs instead as a bonus feat),

Edit: Added link.

Grand Lodge

What Desolate Harmony said.


Thank you. I was unaware of this was available. I signed up for this website at the event. Only other interaction was to make this thread.

Silver Crusade

At the top of the threads, there is a big icon for "Pathfinder Society". If you click on that one, at the top right are a list of very useful icons, like "GM resources" and "Player resources".

You can download the Guide to Organized Play, and also look at the list of Additional Resources, which tells you specifically what is legal from most every Pathfinder book.

Sczarni

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Perhaps I could offer a few tidbits.

1. Watch a play-by-post (PbP) of the same scenario you played, to witness how different characters play through the same experience.

2. Go back and request these easier scenarios: The Confirmation, The Wounded Wisp, The Frostfur Captives, The Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment, and The Glass River Rescue. After the first scenario you will have currency to invest in better weapons and equipment. Also, you should be able to contact the Venture Capt. or Lt. to ask for these.

3. Or you could start out by requesting all of the Silverhex Chronicles. This is a collection of six quests specifically designed for first level characters. They are easier than normal, quick to play. You are, however, required to play pregenerated characters from-start-to-finish, but after accomplishing these simple quests you have enough experience for a second level character of your choice.

4. Try being a cleric. Nobody seems to want to be a cleric (from my personal experience), but everybody certainly appreciates the player who does. The Domains are really interesting, and give you Wizard spells and special abilities. They make you more than a healer with a weapon (recommended domains: Fire, Travel, Weather). You can choose two domains, but your god restricts your choices. I personally have dipped a level of experience in the class, to ensure I had a character that can heal companions by channeling energy and using cure light wounds. By dipped, I mean that my character is currently 5th level. Four of my levels are sorcerer, and one was used on cleric. I personally saved two of my companions from death the very next scenario. They were brash and always tend to play without strategy (lucky for them, I was prepared for this).

5. See if a friend will attend with you. I find there are less deaths when you have 6 players fulfilling a needed class in battle, and achieving the needed skill checks (scenarios are more difficult with 4 players). Also, listen carefully to the information given at the beginning of the scenario, and take notes. If you have fulfilled the points of the quest and creatures attack, go ahead and run. You still get the gold and experience (like I said) as long as you achieve the task at hand.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
crit confirmed wrote:

Perhaps I could offer a few tidbits.

...

2. Go back and request these easier scenarios: The Confirmation, The Wounded Wisp, The Frostfur Captives, The Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment, and The Glass River Rescue. After the first scenario you will have currency to invest in better weapons and equipment. Also, you should be able to contact the Venture Capt. or Lt. to ask for these.

...

Watch out for this one. It can be a killer, too.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
jtaylor73003 wrote:
Outshyn Thanks for posting,

You're welcome!

jtaylor73003 wrote:
but none of your advice makes sense.

Oh. :(

jtaylor73003 wrote:
First you assume I played the game before.

What? No I didn't. In fact, I was relating my first PFS experience with yours. It would be impossible for me to tell you "I died too my first time" if I was unaware that it was your first time.

jtaylor73003 wrote:
Second you assume I know the rules by heart.

What? No I didn't. I started explaining rules and tactics and how I learned to improve specifically because it was clear you didn't know the rules by heart, and needed advice. I was not suggesting "ha ha you shoulda done this other stuff but you didn't!" Nope. Instead I was saying, "now you know what to do for next time." These are learning experiences, and you should expect to improve after each play.

jtaylor73003 wrote:
Is this what Pathfinder is about? Underhanded tricks and loopholes just to survive to fight another day?

Yes and no. Here is the yes part. What I described about winning a fight -- pulling back, assuming the GM will try to kill your PC and acting accordingly, planning out tactics and fighting like you mean it -- is going to be part of Pathfinder Society for you, even if other well-intentioned people here tell you that it doesn't have to be. It kinda does for you. I don't say that to be mean, I say that to do you the favor of setting expectations realistically. Why? Because nobody here can guarantee you get a good GM, and we've seen that the GM in your area is not pulling punches, so you're going to have to deal with that. If you go to a convention where PFS is played, you'll get tons of different GMs all doing various styles of play, and none of us can lock that down for you and guarantee anything. All we can do is point at the rule book and say, "Most GMs will probably follow this, and most probably have at best a surface understanding of it, and that means most will probably just run the module as-is and whatever happens, happens." You have to plan for that, so plan to play defensively and with lots of self-preservation in mind. If that sounds awful to you, well... I don't want to pretty it up. I think it's fine and I've dealt with it, and I play PFS a ton. It's OK, but it's not for everyone. I want you to love it, but I don't want to oversell it or try to convince you to do something that makes you unhappy.

Now, here is the "no" part. What I described is not underhanded tricks and loopholes, anymore than saying an ambush is a trick, or guerrilla warfare is a trick. The truth is that such things are part of combat, and you can deal with those things and live, or not deal with those things and die. I mean that seriously. For example, ganging up on an enemy is not a "trick" -- it is just plain smart, and sometimes necessary. Pulling back and saying, "we regroup outside and will come back after healing and getting a plan" is also not a trick or a loophole or underhanded, and because it is not, many people including module writers are going to view it as a legitimate thing you have to do now & then. So you're going to have to do it now & then, and I think that's a fair expectation. If you prefer to push through each fight as a certain win, you're going to be disappointed a lot. I don't want you to be disappointed, so I'm again trying to set expectations. Come at the game with the understanding that some fights are ridiculously easy and some are ridiculously hard, and that part of the game is figuring that out and then acting accordingly. If the fight goes badly, run. If you lose all your HP on round 1, run. If you don't know how you're losing HP or where the area of effect ends, run. If you think the fight is unfair or unbalanced, run.

Just 10 minutes of regrouping and your party can go back and try again. This is not tricky. This is how PCs live.

jtaylor73003 wrote:
I don't see how I could compare to a Game Master with year's of experience or even other players on what to tactically do.

You can't. My point was, now you're getting there. You just had your first big insight, and now you are at a crossroads. Step up, get tougher, and come back at it better than before... or stop and play something else. Frankly, I think either option is valid and worthy of admiration. If you're inclined to be tough, then build another character and come roaring back. If you think what I've described about playing tough is "tricks and loopholes" that you refuse to try, then it's perfectly okay to say "not doing that" and head off to have a different kind of fun. You mentioned 5th edition. It's very different. Maybe that's better for your style. Also, home games of Pathfinder do not have any of the restrictions of Pathfinder Society. You could get a dream GM who runs the game exactly the way you hoped! Maybe that's an option. You are not wrong to explore options, and I hope you do. Good luck, and happy gaming!


jtaylor73003 wrote:
Yet your comment just assumed I knew what the right decision is.

If anything is coming across as "You should have known better! It's all your fault!" then I apologize. Advice has a tendency to feel like criticism. Most new players would have died under those circumstances - the point is, you don't have to die next time.

Your death was a result of three things: lack of experience, bad luck (it sounds like you missed three will saves and your GM rolled high damage on three consecutive negative energy bursts) and harsh GMing. That won't happen every time you play, if you keep playing.

Grand Lodge

Yeah, Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment would not make my list of easier scenarios (especially if the GM missed a specific clarification).

As for cleric domains: Travel is amazing, luck and liberation are among my personal favorites. Clerics aren't necessarily healers at all (though most do), my personal favorite cleric does next to no healing. He's more of a debuff cleric though (Madness and Deception domains).

Silver Crusade

At the moment, depending on how much bills are the next few weeks, I can get a Confirmation play by post up later this month. As for watching some pbp, you can follow the one that I am currently in as Gary "The Gray" Silgrin in the Season 6 evergreen scenario. Not too much has been done, but who would think a Barbarian would be all nice and whatnot like me?

Sczarni

Hey outshyn, I just played that scenario with the robots and skeletons. We had a player using the Cad Arhetype, and he made the whole scenario with the robots very easy. He used dirty tricks to blind them and then tripped them prone. Our rogue proceeded to finish them off. The skeletons were difficult, but we had two clerics that wore them down with their channeling ability.

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