"Chronicle fishing". What is it, and why it is a bad thing?


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Dark Archive 4/5

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Dain Nielsen wrote:
BBT, look at it this way. If you were to run an AP, and your players read through the material solely for the purpose of see what loot they got, would you have a problem with that? I would guess the answer to be yes as it diminishes the surprise factor and gives players insight to what they may encounter for any given part of the AP

Counterpoint, you're running an AP as written and don't want to change it, there is an amazingly fun item in there that you really want the party to have and you think will add a ton to the game but they all picked classes who can't use it. Is it cheating or being a bad sport to suggest that if anyone was thinking about it you can promise they won't be disappointed playing X class (that can use it?).

Now reverse that, a player asks you, "Is there any class you would suggest I consider because you think it will work really well with something in the adventure?" Is this the same? Better? Worse?

If all you ever do is cherry pick perfect scenarios for your characters then sure that could certainly be frowned upon, but are you having fun? More importantly, if you're not using any meta knowledge in the scenario itself does sometimes choosing characters ideal for the scenario *harm* anyone else's enjoyment of the game? If no to both... is there really and truly any problem at all?

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

@BBT: The problem is that, for certain scenarios, what is on the Chronicle sheet can actually spoil the adventure.

Generic examples:
Friend of NPC Roguish:
You have assisted Roguish out of a bad situation, and, as a reward, Roguish will give you assistance three times. This assistance consists of the following abilities:
[][][] +10 Stealth check
[][][] +12 Disable Device check (can be used on magical traps)
[][][] Flanking for one round, you also get to apply 3d6 sneak attack damage with your attack, if it hits

[] Wand of Really Useful Spell, CL X+9, Y charges, Limit: 1

The first one tells you, without even looking at the rest of the scenario, that your PC wants to befriend Roguish, rather than attack them because they are a member of monster race Z.

The second one tells you that there is an item available in the scenario that does A', which is both useful for members of Class B', C', and D'; but that you are likely to have an enemy NPC trying to use said item against your party.

By the way, I have received chronicles with both types of rewards on them. Knowing about some of them can cause the PCs to act out of character.

more detailed commentary, might be spoilery:
So, say you are a member of a party sent to clean out a cave full of kobolds, but you also know that, on the chronicle, kobold Binky can be befriended.

When you run across the various groups of kobolds, do you also spend time trying to find Binky and befriend him, or just act as normal, and mow down kobolds? What about if you run across, say, an imprisoned kobold? Do you talk to him, or do you just kill him "because he is a kobold!"


blackbloodtroll wrote:

I just don't see the difference between choosing a Scenario that has many of your Ranger's Favored Enemy, and choosing a Scenario, that has a Boon/Item on the Chronicle Sheet, that benefits the chosen PC.

If one is running a PC, in the exact same manner, whether they know what's available on the Chronicle Sheet, or not, then where does the "cheating" and "metagaming" come into play.

If one is not using out of game knowledge, to adjust how a PC acts in-game, then how is it metagaming.

Is this not what metagaming is?

Did I miss the note on a change of what metagaming means?

I’m not sure, but I think part of the problem might be differing assumptions as to the motivations of the characters, and how recruitment of Pathfinders for particular missions takes place. I’m honestly not that familiar with the shorter scenarios, as opposed to sanctioned modules/APs, but if the majority assume that some higher-ranking official picks out a likely-looking bunch, it might be a bit strange if one of these eager explorers suddenly demurs for no compelling in-game reason. Of course, character selection happens outside the game, but if Player 1 has characters X, Y, Z that are of the right tier and don’t strain party composition too much, why should Z be chosen, particularly for missions that conveniently net them particularly useful boons or loot? After all, the Venture-Captain wouldn’t have a reason to prefer them to X or Y, but this would only be suspicious if Z does get chosen again and again in defiance of statistics.

As to your specific example, I think the likely challenges of an adventure are much more “visible” in-world than possible boons or treasure. If the scenario is “The Gruesome Grues of Grue Manor,” from the name alone both the player and the character of a ranger with the right favoured enemy have lucked out. If that’s where people are being sent, of course the Venture-Captains might have Ranger Gord in mind. On the other hand, that one of the cultists is privately having second thoughts and could be swayed or even won over by a diplomatic word, or that the chapel has a particular relic in the sacristy, is less likely, unless the main goal of the scenario is “recover the McGuffin.”

I'm sorry if I'm being a bit too flip. I was trying to introduce some levity to the discussion.

Paizo Employee 5/5 Developer

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Andrew Christian wrote:

Its largely an honor system. If you feel that you are doing your best to only purchase and/or read a scenario/chronicle because you might end up needing to GM, then I have no problem with that. And if you try to do your best not to metagame, then I have no problem with that.

If you use your knowledge, from prepping to GM, whether you actually end up GM'ing or not, to pick a PC, then that's sort of a reward for GM'ing.

Only you know if you are maliciously saying you are reading to GM when you really are just fishing for chronicles for your PC. And you have to live with a choice that is essentially cheating.

If you honestly feel you are doing it for the right reasons (being ready to GM should you be called on) then there is nothing wrong with it. Just don't use this as an excuse to cherry pick every scenario and then say, "Well I just read everything to make sure I'm ready to GM anything should I be called to." Because you and I both know that's not what's going on there.

This is roughly how I view knowing about an adventure's contents ahead of time.

Sometimes you'll learn of something that is a spoiler because somebody didn't use spoiler tags properly, you spotted it on somebody's Chronicle sheet, or you overheard it. It happens, and I'm not so idealistic to think that every player's going to have a hermetically sealed experience in which every spoiler is secret until revealed during play. Of course, I also like to know that players are respecting the play experience of the others at their table by not spoiling an adventure or consistently and purposefully playing an adventure just to reap its reward. By sticking with good intentions and not trying to read ahead in an effort to maximize the perfect set of boons, you're likely doing the right thing.

How much of a spoiler is too much of a spoiler varies on a person-by-person, region-by-region, and case-by-case basis, much like many other social "rules" like not being a jerk. Mike and I try to avoid establishing strict rules for these situations because there are so many nuances and possible exceptions that any such rule or list of criteria would just bog down the game and make the organized play experience onerous. Again, just aim to be an awesome player; others may look to you as a role model.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Thanks for your comments John.

I was completely unaware that reading just the Chronicle Sheet was taboo.

The reaction to this, kind of left me a bit perturbed.

I just don't want to fear getting a boon/item from a Chronicle Sheet, that benefits my PC too much, because of possible social repercussions.

Grand Lodge

I did a sort of this, though I do not place (or gm) PFS games at the moment - I had one character who did every Blackros module he could. Another did every Chellish one he could... back when it was still its own faction.

The changes in factions I think is ultimately a good thing and makes more sense but it did add to my reasons for wanting to take a break from PFS.


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Really, what we need is a system for getting boons and items off of one character and onto another as needed.

Hypothetical situation:

The Chronicle for scenario 18-278 features the Elven Battle Bow, an exotic weapon that can either be used as a longsword in melee or a longbow at ranged (in a manner similar to the axe-musket). Since this weapon is not available in a PFS legal rules source, this chronicle is the only way to obtain it. It's an item that will turn a few heads. Some will use it, some won't. Some will like it for the flavor, some will disregard it since it is a combined weapon. GUARANTEED, all of the following situations arise somewhere with regards to it;

The results of a significant item on a chronicle sheet:

Person A looks at it, shrugs, and moves on, never again glancing at the chronicle sheet.

Person B gets incredibly stoked for a weapon that perfectly suits their half-elf ranger build.

Person C is upset because it is a weapon they *would* use on their Arcane Archer, but that character is too high level to play 18-278.

Person D is upset because they played their Gunslinger through 18-278, now they will need to GM it in order to get it on their archer.

Person E is upset for the same reasons as D, but will never get it since they cannot GM it in their area due to lack of players who haven't already played it.

Person F is upset for the same reasons as D and E but refuses to GM to obtain it.

Person G hears about it prior to playing 18-278 from a friend who played through the scenario earlier and is talking about the unique item on his chronicle.

Person H hears about it prior to playing 18-278 from a thread talking about archer equipment.

Person I hears about it in some way and rolls up an entirely new character JUST to use the Elven Battle Bow.

Person J learns about it from GMing 18-278 and plays 18-278 later with a character who will use it.

Person K learns about it from GMing 18-278 and plays 18-278 later without a character who can use it.

Person L refuses to fill a needed roll at a table running 18-278 because they want to play a character that will use the Elven Battle Bow

Person M will fill a needed roll at a table running 18-278, but will be upset that they are missing out on the Elven Battle Bow on a character that would use it.

All of these situations will arise when you have unique items or boons on a chronicle sheet. Each person in has their reasons for acting as they do in response to that item or boon's existence. The question comes down to how we can can best address each of them.

3/5 5/5

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Allow you to transfer a unique item or familiar option or animal companion/mount option to another character by spending PP from both donating and receiving characters? Limitation being that the recepient character must be at least high enough level to have potentially gotten the chronicle?

4/5

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I once ran a game at the FLGS. Before we started, I asked if anyone had played scenarios A, B, or C, because they had some relevance to the scenario we were playing. One player immediately said, "oh yeah! I want to buy item X from the chronicle sheet for A." Then he turned to the rest of the group and said, "I read you can upgrade X in this."

I don't enjoy having information spoiled for me as a player and I certainly didn't appreciate him doing so for the rest of the party. I like seeing people get excited when something especially useful or fun pops up.

As far as I'm concerned, getting to apply a boon to the "right" character is great incentive for people to GM.

I rarely even read the boons for something I'm GMing until I'm handing them out at the end of a game. All I need to know is if they've earned it; I don't need to know what it does unless there's a selection for me to initial.


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I will point out a conversation I heard at the game shop yesterday on this very exact subject. I will not quote so as not to embarrass anyone. The 3 individuals involved had very obviously read this exact thread.

It basically boiled down to:
* Most of the people don't seem to consider it 'fishing' if you learned about it 'legitimately' (like GM'ing or playing a scenario) or accidentally if some mention/writes about it when you didn't ask.
* They're going to keep track of what they accidentally hear about.
* GM a few old ones they need for particular things.
* Make powerful, fast, easy Core PC's that they really don't care about.
* Grind through everything that is new for them in a Core game. GM a few on Core if no one else will.
* Then they can play the ones needed with the 'right' PC to get what they want on they character they want.

(Incidentally 2 of those 3 guys are absolutely horrible as GM's. They don't enjoy it and are pretty obviously just cranking through it as quick as they can. They brag about their multiple stars, but I would much rather not play than have them as my GM. I personally don't want more things encouraging them to GM.)

In my opinion, this behavior is much worse for the community than letting people know 'chronicle sheet X-X has the Halberd of Doom on it'
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redward wrote:
... I like seeing people get excited when something especially useful or fun pops up. ...

I absolutely agree with everything you said in that post except this bit. Because it almost never happens.

It has never happened to me or as far as I've heard to anyone that I know that they just happened to have a character play a scenario with a character that can use the reward bangle. Not once. Every single one has been GM'd to get on the right sheet or they knew about it before hand and played the right character.
Yes, I'm sure across the world the odds have played out so that it has happened a few times. But the chances are astonishingly small.
The are umpteen bajillion possible combinations of builds and character concepts. It is pretty unlikely that you just happened to have a character with an animal companion for whom an Axebeak is thematically appropriate when you played that campaign for the first time.

Everyone was talking about it when that came out, so I did hear about it. So I said I was going to make a tengu cavalier specifically to get it. Everyone acted like I had the plague for saying that. Everyone knows that is 'wrong' to play for a specific reward. Building for it is even worse. So now there is this kool reward that I am unlikely to ever be able to make use of because it would be somehow nebulously wrong to do so.
Later I find out that many of those same people somehow have a build that it just somehow coincidentally seemed to work for. But oh no they didn't build for it, it just worked out like that. Yeah right.

The system we have is just promoting being stealthy about chronicle fishing, not actually dissuading it at all.

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
ElterAgo wrote:
redward wrote:
... I like seeing people get excited when something especially useful or fun pops up. ...
I absolutely agree with everything you said in that post except this bit. Because it almost never happens.

Weird. I've seen it happen two of the last three times I've GMd. It really is cool.


Intent matters.

Are you deliberately looking at chronicle sheets to see what nifty things might be good for your characters?

No?

Then don't worry about it.

-j


Jason Wu wrote:

Intent matters.

Are you deliberately looking at chronicle sheets to see what nifty things might be good for your characters?

No?

Then don't worry about it.

-j

First, there is no way to police intent. Any attempt to do so is bound to fail.

Second, Why does intent matter? How is it possibly going to hurt my gaming experience if JJR the Monkey Druid is at my table because he knows the unique Collar of Sheesh will give his Ape 6 more skill points? Even less, why would it matter if he found out on purpose or accidentally?

If he were to cause a mission fail, that might bug me. But he will be trying to avoid that or he won't get the collar.
If he were to intentionally sacrifice my character to get his collar that would bug me. But there are vanishingly few PFS situations where it is beneficial to sacrifice a character. It will almost always result in let group power to complete the mission. See above.
If he spoils info for the rest of the table it can bug me, but that is a separate issue. Whenever someone starts to talk about the current scenario I always try to politely hush them up. "No spoilers please. We can talk about it afterward."

I can't see any reason why the other player's intent will have any effect on my enjoyment of the game.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Elter Ego wrote:
First, there is no way to police intent. Any attempt to do so is bound to fail.

Eyup. But thats why there's more finger wagging than ban hammering on this one.

Quote:
Second, why does intent matter. How is it possibly going to hurt my gaming experience if JJR the Monkey Druid is at my table because he knows the unique Collar of Sheesh will give his Ape 6 more skill points?

Because Bob, the human JJR the monkey druid plays, might be more tempted to play the Monkey Druid instead of someone else regardless of party composition and appropriate level.

Or create schedueling headaches around the item.

Then again, he might not.

Thats why this is something to keep to a dull roar. Everyone does it some of the time, someone does it all of the time, but as long as its not everyone doing it all of the time it should be pretty manageable.

Quote:
If he were to cause a mission fail, that might bug me. But he will be trying to avoid that or he won't get the collar.

If he's looked at the chronicle sheet he may know what to do to get it. Thats definitely cheating.

Quote:
If he were to intentionally sacrifice my character to get his collar that would bug me. But there are vanishingly few PFS situations where it is beneficial to sacrifice a character.

*blink*... what were you playing before? *shuffles away

Quote:
I can't see any reason why the other players intent will have any effect on my enjoyment of the game.

Intent can lead to frequency and severity.


Only matters in the long run, if someone does it regularly they'll have advantages that someone who doesn't won't. Playing this scenario to get the unique Collar of Sheesh won't affect this scenario - as long as he can appropriately firewall anything he learned from the sheet about how to get the Collar. But playing a scenario with the character who's got a dozen character-appropriate things from previous scenarios might.

I haven't played enough and I'm not enough of an optimizer to know whether that's a realistic concern or not. Are there enough such nifty things available that seeking them out is really going to boost a character's power level noticeably?


thejeff wrote:

Only matters in the long run, if someone does it regularly they'll have advantages that someone who doesn't won't. Playing this scenario to get the unique Collar of Sheesh won't affect this scenario - as long as he can appropriately firewall anything he learned from the sheet about how to get the Collar. But playing a scenario with the character who's got a dozen character-appropriate things from previous scenarios might.

I haven't played enough and I'm not enough of an optimizer to know whether that's a realistic concern or not. Are there enough such nifty things available that seeking them out is really going to boost a character's power level noticeably?

Not that I have seen. Plus, most of them won't work for the same character unless you really do a lot of shenanigans with the build. Then the build would probaly be weak enough to not be a problem anyway.

For example the only 2 that I am aware of that I considered for the same character are:

Spoiler:
There is an intelligent shield and intelligent longsword. Longsword is rarely considered to be one of the better weapons anymore. Sword and board is usually considered one of the weaker styles. Unless you go whole hog on the two weapon fighting and shield bashing. But even then, I don't think any of the abilites of the sword or shield would help with that style.

And in PFS you will never be able to improve those items.
I see no power spike.
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BigNorseWolf wrote:

...

If he's looked at the chronicle sheet he may know what to do to get it. Thats definitely cheating. ...

I would call that poor authoring of the Chronicle Sheets as much as anything.

Plus if someone is the type to cheat, they will just find a different way. Like all the hundreds of people that can't wait to tell you all about it. Taking away the list of items on the chronicle sheets will have little-to-no effect on this.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

...

Quote:
If he were to intentionally sacrifice my character to get his collar that would bug me. But there are vanishingly few PFS situations where it is beneficial to sacrifice a character.

*blink*... what were you playing before? *shuffles away

...

There have been some home campaigns were it was a thing.

It seemed to come up a lot in Dark Heresy.

5/5 5/55/55/5

ElterAgo wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

...

If he's looked at the chronicle sheet he may know what to do to get it. Thats definitely cheating. ...
I would call that poor authoring of the Chronicle Sheets as much as anything.

I really like it. Its a reminder of the adventure, what you did , the choices you made, the story you lived, and breathes some depth into an otherwise bland mechanical advantage.

Quote:
It seemed to come up a lot in Dark Heresy.

Put the funny wavy dagger and necronomicon down and back away sloooowly...

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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Starfinder Superscriber
FiddlersGreen wrote:
Allow you to transfer a unique item or familiar option or animal companion/mount option to another character by spending PP from both donating and receiving characters? Limitation being that the recepient character must be at least high enough level to have potentially gotten the chronicle?

I like this idea. It does have some cost, so it won't be used willy-nilly, but it also allows you to get past the "Damn! I wish I'd run this with my X" that happens when you see a chronicle sheet.

Cheating is bad. People who cheat have done wrong things. However, it's also true that putting in place things that disincentivize cheating can reduce it, so those things, assuming they're otherwise good or don't otherwise have bad costs, are good things to do. Just because the cheaters are the ones who have done wrong doesn't mean that doing things to reduce cheating without punishing the cheaters can't be a good idea.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 5/5

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber
blackbloodtroll wrote:
I mean, is there a non-metagame way to choose which PC you will run in any given scenario?

I look at the scenario being offered, see if I have any characters of the appropriate level, and then read the blurb of the scenario to see if it's interesting. That's my method. I will sometimes play a character of a different faction than one which would benefit by playing in that scenario. I just play whichever character I feel like playing, provided he or she is in the right tier.


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About those "paired" items:

Spoiler:
Someone.prompted me to read the description for Glorymane carefully. He won't abide another intelligent item. Too much ego. The two items should not go on the same character, and GM's should look for it.

Sometimes cool combos don't work upon closer inspection.

I've GMed and played a bunch of.games with cool stuff. Only one time did I play to earn a specific reward for a certain character. That is the only time to date I've purchased anything from a chronicle, and it was a PP vanity, not gear.

5/5 5/55/55/5

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When captain taldor throws his mighty shield
It whines and tells that guy to yield!
I don't like being thrown
and I keep getting sick
put me back on the wall
and you get me there quick
when captain taldor throws his mighty shield....

Dark Archive

So, I'm not sure why this is a huge issue, unless I'm somehow missing a bunch of really cool chronicle only things... Because really, almost every item on the chronicle sheets I've got either through GM'ing or playing amounted to stuff I could buy at worst within a level or two of the chronicle through fame anyway. And as for boons, I don't think I've ever had a spot where I said "dang that one boon would have saved the day here!" I know of a mere handful of rewards that are somehow unique. Therefore while I don't particularly want to see my players trivialize a scenario I've run through pre-knowledge of the scenario, I see very little reason to hide what's on a chronicle sheet, and when I GM I will actively recommend character choices if I know someone might really like whats coming up.

And if we are so worried about party balance because of metagaming, on scenarios why require someone to use an in-tier character instead of a pre-gen if they want? So often I see classes poorly matched for a scenario sitting in their seats half-asleep because they aren't engaged by the dynamic of the scenario and couldn't swap to a more appropriate class.

Community & Digital Content Director

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Removed some posts/replies to them. If you find yourself snapping back at others in the conversation, it might be a good idea to just walk away. Be cool to each other. Thanks.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5

Norzoh'thelax wrote:
I'm not sure why this is a huge issue, unless I'm somehow missing a bunch of really cool chronicle only things...

I'll just repost what I said in the other (nearly identical) thread:

Nefreet wrote:
andreww wrote:

Does this really actually happen? Most loot on chronicles is pretty terrible.

I have yet to see much worth the cost on a chronicle I couldnt already buy with fame.

That's why I said this was for a Core character, since the Chronicle Sheets become much more relevant. But even in regular play there are many interesting Chronicles that grant access to:

  • Special Materials (the Skymetals come to mind)
  • Intelligent items (at least 3, maybe more)
  • Free items (worth up to X gold)
  • Custom items (artifacts, piecemeal armor)
  • Restricted items (want to look like a Red Mantis Assassin?)
  • Restricted Familiars (several of these)
  • Restricted Animal Companions (a couple of these)
  • Restricted spells (super useful in Core)
  • Thematic Boons (Hellknight-related, in my case)
  • Or act as a precursor to another scenario

Grand Lodge 2/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
If you're not doing the thing that everyone is saying is bad, what are you worried about?

Overgeneralization for $400, Alex.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

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Hyperbole is the absolute greatest invention of all time.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I have not found an exact correlation to cheating.

Whenever it has been mentioned, it's always paired with some other act, like spoiling, or changing a PC's actions to make sure they get a certain boon. Those are not what I am talking about. You can't call an action bad, just because it might be paired with a bad action. The action, in itself, must stand alone, be bad.

I don't like such a word being thrown around. It's very inflammatory, and has very dire consequences.

Silver Crusade

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Dave Baker wrote:

If you are looking at chronicle sheets to decide which character you should play for any given scenario simply because of the rewards, that would be metagaming.

If you're not using the information in that way, don't worry about it.

In the same way choosing to run a Paladin, instead of a Monk, for "Day of the Demon", or some other Scenario that "might have evil outsiders" is metagaming?

I'm fairly certain the idea is that the Society sends the best available agents for the job, so if they need to go kill some demons and know that from the briefing then you're absolutely justified in bringing the character you have that's best suited for that.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Renegade Paladin wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
Dave Baker wrote:

If you are looking at chronicle sheets to decide which character you should play for any given scenario simply because of the rewards, that would be metagaming.

If you're not using the information in that way, don't worry about it.

In the same way choosing to run a Paladin, instead of a Monk, for "Day of the Demon", or some other Scenario that "might have evil outsiders" is metagaming?

I'm fairly certain the idea is that the Society sends the best available agents for the job, so if they need to go kill some demons and know that from the briefing then you're absolutely justified in bringing the character you have that's best suited for that.

Problem with that (slight DotD spoiler, kinda):

Spoiler:
You're told to expect devils in the briefing. The title of the scenario actually gives away most of the plot twist.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Mark Stratton wrote:
blackbloodtroll wrote:
I mean, is there a non-metagame way to choose which PC you will run in any given scenario?

I look at the scenario being offered, see if I have any characters of the appropriate level, and then read the blurb of the scenario to see if it's interesting. That's my method. I will sometimes play a character of a different faction than one which would benefit by playing in that scenario. I just play whichever character I feel like playing, provided he or she is in the right tier.

Are you not afraid that the Boon/Item on the Chronicle Sheet might be a little too beneficial?

Apparently, we should be.

Silver Crusade 4/5

blackbloodtroll wrote:

That's not what I do.

I will read the introduction, the Chronicle Sheet, and decide if I want to venture further, and read it, to run it.

If it doesn't quite suite my tastes, through the introduction, then I don't read anymore, because I still might end up playing in it.

If your reading the introductions to the adventure (the page or so before the summary) you should really let your GMs know before hand that you have knowledge of the scenario. Assuming you don't already. That section contains all the background information that the GM needs to run the scenario but that most players won't get from playing the adventure.

Also many of the chronicle sheets out there now are spoilers in of themselves. Many will state who you have to talk to in order to earn a faction boon. So you should also inform the GM if you've read any chronicle sheets that do have boons that imply how you earn them.

Also understand that some GM's don't like to run scenarios for players that have foreknowledge of events, and the guide does allow them to say no to running for players with that knowledge.

A player who reads the chronicle sheets, or other sections of the scenario and does not inform the GM that they've done so is cheating because they are breaking the rules about telling the gm that they have those spoilers.

Shadow Lodge

BBT, if you don't feel like you're spoiling it for yourself or others, I wouldn't frown on you for it (and neither would some others). Everything you've mentioned in this thread doesn't sound like you fall into the category people mean when they talk about it being frowned on.

Having said that, there are a lot people out there who don't have a fantastic understanding of another unspoken tenet of organised play, which lets a table bend rules if it means a better experience for the table. Those who don't understand that will have heard the general "unspoken rule" that it's frowned upon, and generally speaking, they're correct.

The more you play/run PFS, the better an understanding you'll get. It starts off feeling quite rigid, and then you can learn what parts of it are a little more flexible than you thought. The end goal should be a good experience, regardless.


GM Derek W wrote:

About those "paired" items:

** spoiler omitted **

Sometimes cool combos don't work upon closer inspection.
...

Well carpola! I totally missed that. Do you remember if the other items have similar restrictions?

Grand Lodge 4/5

GM Derek W wrote:

About those "paired" items:

** spoiler omitted **

Sometimes cool combos don't work upon closer inspection.

That combo works "fine".

Spoiler:
Glorymane might not be happy, but it just means the PC will be making Ego checks daily, or more often depending on the GM's idea of a "critical situation". If the PC ever fails the DC 4 Will Save, Glorymane takes over and will probably chuck any other intelligent items the PC has far away (there are more than just two intelligent items on chronicles, FYI). But they totally can be on the same character, as long as the player remembers the Ego checks.

The bigger issue comes up from the fact that you'll have at least one negative level, since you cannot match both items alignments at once (Glorymane requires True Neutral, Gamin requires Something Good).

The Exchange

blackbloodtroll wrote:

I mean, is there a non-metagame way to choose which PC you will run in any given scenario?

How, and why, did this become a taboo?

Is it bad it what is available on the Chronicle Sheet is exceptionally good for your PC, especially if there is some sort of class-specific item, or boon?

I am just trying to wrap my head around all this.

There's nothing wrong with reading the scenario blurb and selecting a character based on that. There's also nothing wrong with readying reviews to see where the scenario might take place, or get a sense of basic themes in the introducton for the same reason. Some people want their characters to be focused on certain areas or regions and that's fine.

The issue is when you're trying to use player knowledge to manipulate what rewards you get.

So the "rule" as I understand it would be that if it's thematic stuff then it's fine, if it's to exploit rewards then it isn't.


Jeff Merola wrote:
GM Derek W wrote:

About those "paired" items:

** spoiler omitted **

Sometimes cool combos don't work upon closer inspection.

That combo works "fine".

** spoiler omitted **

Thank you for the clarification, sir! I was going by memory, and so my information was off. Still, the combo doesn't just work on a song, so the chronicles do bear close inspection, as you illustrated better than I.

Dark Archive

I feel calling boon fishing cheating is likely too severe, I expect that it might be more accurate to call it unsportsmanlike.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Florida—Melbourne aka trollbill

I always knew playing TTRPGs was a sport. Now if we can just get it added to the Olympics...

1/5

DubiousYak wrote:
I feel calling boon fishing cheating is likely too severe, I expect that it might be more accurate to call it unsportsmanlike.

You'd have to define the sport to call it unsportsmanlike. Some people enjoy the character creation/concept portion of Pathfinder as much or more than the roleplaying part. Excelling at whatever they focus their build on is part of their "win" condition. To this type of player, an opportunity to build a character with something unique is of more entertainment value than being surprised by what happens in a given scenario.

As we are all playing for the entertainment value (hopefully), I don't think any of the players here have the authority to say their form of entertainment is cheating or breaking some "unwritten rule". If it was a rule, it would be written. You may not enjoy the same form of entertainment, but as long as it isn't detracting from your entertainment, what does it really matter? What if they find losing an opportunity for a unique build option something that hurts the entertainment they gain from Pathfinder? That said, I do agree that if someone is saying things to the extent of "We need to do X and Y and don't kill Z." with the only reason as to why being "uh, just because", it could detract from other players' entertainment.

Pathfinder is a very large game, encompassing many different aspects of play. People are bound to find different parts more enjoyable and one aspect isn't "better" than another innately. My opinion is relax a bit and just enjoy the game. If something is actually preventing you from enjoying the game (not just potentially), then share your experience, see what other people think and if there is some sort of majority consensus, attempt to turn it into an actual PFS written rule.

Sovereign Court 4/5

trollbill wrote:
I always knew playing TTRPGs was a sport. Now if we can just get it added to the Olympics...

it could happen, but only if all the miniatures are made out of ice. (And probably by running Reign of Winter).

Grand Lodge 2/5

trik wrote:
DubiousYak wrote:
I feel calling boon fishing cheating is likely too severe, I expect that it might be more accurate to call it unsportsmanlike.
You'd have to define the sport to call it unsportsmanlike. Some people enjoy the character creation/concept portion of Pathfinder as much or more than the roleplaying part. Excelling at whatever they focus their build on is part of their "win" condition. To this type of player, an opportunity to build a character with something unique is of more entertainment value than being surprised by what happens in a given scenario.

This. I way prefer actually planning/building a character than playing it. Not that I don't enjoy playing it, but the fun is seeing my plan come to fruition.

That, and I still find it insulting that unique boons are given to characters that can't use them. Maybe chronicle fishing is a boon for GMs, but I shouldn't be given something cool, unique, and useless, just because I'm playing the wrong character when the right character could have something cool, unique, and awesome.

Obviously I don't see a problem with foreknowledge. The problem, as has already been mentioned, is people that can't keep foreknowledge separate from player knowledge (which is what most everyone here is complaining about and just assuming both are the same thing).

4/5 5/5 Venture-Agent, Minnesota—St. Louis Park aka BretI

trik wrote:
If it was a rule, it would be written.

Not exactly true.

This is an excellent example of something where campaign management would rather not write out a rule. As shown by this conversation, there are a lot of good reasons that you may have seen the scenario sheet or even read the scenario. They already have the rule of notify the GM before the game. Anything beyond that would be difficult to write.

It basically comes down to don't abuse the system. Don't be a jerk.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

2 people marked this as a favorite.
trik wrote:


You'd have to define the sport to call it unsportsmanlike. Some people enjoy the character creation/concept portion of Pathfinder as much or more than the roleplaying part. Excelling at whatever they focus their build on is part of their "win" condition. To this type of player, an opportunity to build a character with something unique is of more entertainment value than being surprised by what happens in a given scenario.

As we are all playing for the entertainment value (hopefully), I don't think any of the players here have the authority to say their form of entertainment is cheating or breaking some "unwritten rule".

Sorry to disagree with you, trik. But I'll stand by my words. Reading a scenario in order to find out important plot points like boons or treasure and use that to your advantage is cheating.

You are required to tell the GM, when you sit at the table, if you're already familiar with the scenario. If I'm the GM, I'll ask you what the circumstances are.

Good reasons:
"I prepped it to GM."
"I'm burning a GM star replay."
"I played it in Standard Mode, and this is Core Mode."
"I'm playing a pre-gen to help get the table up to 4 legal players."

Bad reasons:
"I was hunting for a wand of magic missiles at CL 5"
"I hate being surprised."

If you have a good reason, I'll ask you to keep your plot insights to yourself. If you don't have a good reason, I'll ask you to leave the table.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

How do you feel about "I used it in a home game long before I expected to ever play real PFS"?

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

That falls under Chris's good reasons.

"I played it outside of PFS already."

Grand Lodge

Kalindlara wrote:
How do you feel about "I used it in a home game long before I expected to ever play real PFS"?

I would consider that to be within the realm of good reasons to have knowledge of the scenario.

Sovereign Court 5/5

dwayne germaine wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
How do you feel about "I used it in a home game long before I expected to ever play real PFS"?
I would consider that to be within the realm of good reasons to have knowledge of the scenario.

I would consider that to be a very reasonable reason to have knowledge of the scenario.

Adding to Chris's List also (might be already covered by prepped to GM):
GMed the scenario already

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