Changing the location of the last encounter in a scenario


Pathfinder Society

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1/5

I just got done playing and running at a local con this weekend. PFS isn't as big as D&D in my area so I wasn't able to run Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–16: Scions of the Sky Key, Part 3: The Golden Guardian, but I did prepare to run it so it was fresh in my mind when I played it later in the weekend.

The GM who did run it change the location of the finale encounter. Now the rules of PFS say that you should run a scenario as written, but there is table variation various componets of each encounter. I was wondering what the opinion of the PFS as a whole was. Is this just table variation or does this violate the rule "run as written"?

Pathfinder Society Scenario #6–16: Scions of the Sky Key, Part 3: The Golden Guardian:
The last encounter in this scenario is suppose to take place in the temple, known as area C, which is open area with a walkway. The enemies come in 2 waves, but can be weaken if the PCs did certain things during the course of the scenario.

The GM instead had the encounter take place at the beginning of the dungeon, known as area A, and didn't have come in waves. The enemies were hidden through out this area.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Well, it's hard to say anything about a GM without having been at the table, but from your recounting and my recollection of the scenario, this sounds incorrectly done. (And no you're not allowed to change the location of a fight)

1/5

Joe Ducey wrote:
Well, it's hard to say anything about a GM without having been at the table, but from your recounting and my recollection of the scenario, this sounds incorrectly done. (And no you're not allowed to change the location of a fight)

I not concern about the GM. I only wondering if it is something I need to bring up to my Venture Captain or is it something I should just let slide. I just want to know the overall opinion of PFS on this situation, because on most things on table variation the answer is if someone dies then make it a big deal.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 5/55/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Sacramento

Not being there or the reasons behind why it was done I can't answer your questions, but...

If you think the GM made a mistake you should bring it up with him/her first.

If the response is not satisfactory then bring it up with your local organizer.

If it is still not satisfactory then bring it up with your VC. If your VC is your local organizer see above step.

1/5

Steven Lau wrote:

Not being there or the reasons behind why it was done I can't answer your questions, but...

If you think the GM made a mistake you should bring it up with him/her first.

If the response is not satisfactory then bring it up with your local organizer.

If it is still not satisfactory then bring it up with your VC. If your VC is your local organizer see above step.

I don't understand your response. Did you read the spoiler part? I know for a fact he change the location for the final encounter, because I was prepare to run this scenario. The scenario clearly states what area the final encounter should take place. The concern is does this violate the PFS rule "run as written" or is this just table variation?

Liberty's Edge 4/5 5/55/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Sacramento

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jtaylor73003 wrote:
The concern is does this violate the PFS rule "run as written" or is this just table variation?

Since Table variation could mean lots of things that I can not be privy to since I or no one here you are asking was there so we can't answer your question.

I have no idea what lead to your GM changing the location, therefore it could be table variation or it could not be.

Your best bet is to ask your GM.

If the GM gives you a reasonable excuse telling you that PC actions lead to the change then it could be table variation, if the GM says she just wanted it to make it more exciting then it is against the "run as written" rule.

Silver Crusade 5/5

What Dragnmoon said is still the best course of action. First, talk to the GM about it. Then go up from there if he won't/can't be reasoned with.

As an aside, did people lose characters over it? Was anyone put through an undue amount of punishment? Did anyone walk away from the table mad?

If so, talk to the GM then work your way up from there.

If no, then still talk to him and help him understand why scenarios are designed to run a certain way, but no need to bring down the sky on someone that might be new or inexperienced at running.

Grand Lodge 5/5

Steven Lau wrote:
jtaylor73003 wrote:
The concern is does this violate the PFS rule "run as written" or is this just table variation?

Since Table variation could mean lots of things that I can not be privy to since I or no one here you are asking was there so we can't answer your question.

I have no idea what lead to your GM changing the location, therefore it could be table variation or it could not be.

Your best bet is to ask your GM.

If the GM gives you a reasonable excuse telling you that PC actions lead to the change then it could be table variation, if the GM says she just wanted it to make it more exciting then it is against the "run as written" rule.

This was pretty much my thought as well, though I didn't express it well. (Or even talk about the part about talking to the GM)

1/5

Steven Lau wrote:
jtaylor73003 wrote:
The concern is does this violate the PFS rule "run as written" or is this just table variation?

Since Table variation could mean lots of things that I can not be privy to since I or no one here you are asking was there so we can't answer your question.

I have no idea what lead to your GM changing the location, therefore it could be table variation or it could not be.

Your best bet is to ask your GM.

If the GM gives you a reasonable excuse telling you that PC actions lead to the change then it could be table variation, if the GM says she just wanted it to make it more exciting then it is against the "run as written" rule.

The scenario specially states that the last encounters takes place in a certain area no matter what the PCs decision are. The scenario has a subset of rules to handle how the scenario will change based on choices by the PCs, none which effect the location of the final encounter.

To me the GM clearly changed the location only for tactical reasons(making the encounter more challenging) or was severly unprepared. If he was severly unprepared than when he asked if I like to run it and him play then he should explain this.

Unfortunaly I can't bring up to the GM, because I don't game with him at all. The Con was only time I ever met him. I see the Venture Captain on the regular, and I want him to do a GM workshop for our regular group. I was wondering if I should bring this issue up or let it slide as table variation.

1/5

UndeadMitch wrote:

What Dragnmoon said is still the best course of action. First, talk to the GM about it. Then go up from there if he won't/can't be reasoned with.

As an aside, did people lose characters over it? Was anyone put through an undue amount of punishment? Did anyone walk away from the table mad?

If so, talk to the GM then work your way up from there.

If no, then still talk to him and help him understand why scenarios are designed to run a certain way, but no need to bring down the sky on someone that might be new or inexperienced at running.

I find other GMs don't like to be critize on how they run their games. Unfortunaly I won't be able to do as you advise. No one died, but can't answer if everyone had fun or not.

I just want to know opinions on whether this is violation of rules, so I can bring up to the VC, especially if he hosts the GM workshop for my regular group, or if I should let this slide as table variation.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 5/55/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Sacramento

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Same answer but different steps.

If the game has been reported I would suggest the following. Look under your player sessions for that game. You will see the GM with a link to their profile. Check to see if they are a regular poster on the boards. If they are send them a PM telling them your concerns. If they are not a regular poster see below.

If the game has not been reported wait until it is.

If they are not a regular poster contact the organizer of the Convention with your concerns since it is unlikely they will reply to a PM.

If the answer is not to your satisfaction then talk to the VC, if the VC is the convention organizer see step above.

You should always try everything you possibly can to talk to the GM first even if it seems like a lot of work instead of going to their "boss" with the possible accusation of "cheating".

Edit: Now accusations of a lot worse of a GM that which are obviously not something you want to talk about with that GM *Sexism, racism, etc.* then go to his boss.

Dark Archive 4/5

If someone was replaying you can change locations.
Having this, well I read the mod blah blah. Well, step up and run if you dislike how others do it.
I recently played a core night march, and the dm ran the 4 of us up, with 6 player adjustment. I certainly didnot like it, but he was new and stuff happens. So I dealt with it. Ymmv.

1/5

Steven Lau wrote:

Same answer but different steps.

If the game has been reported I would suggest the following. Look under your player sessions for that game. You will see the GM with a link to their profile. Check to see if they are a regular poster on the boards. If they are send them a PM telling them your concerns. If they are not a regular poster see below.

If the game has not been reported wait until it is.

If they are not a regular poster contact the organizer of the Convention with your concerns since it is unlikely they will reply to a PM.

If the answer is not to your satisfaction then talk to the VC, if the VC is the convention organizer see step above.

You should always try everything you possibly can to talk to the GM first even if it seems like a lot of work instead of going to their "boss" with the possible accusation of "cheating".

Edit: Now accusations of a lot worse of a GM that which are obviously not something you want to talk about with that GM *Sexism, racism, etc.* then go to his boss.

I don't want to accuse the GM of anything. I don't want to report the GM. I just want to bring up the issue without naming names to VC at the GM workshop, and him explain how this issue should be handle.

I am asking the opinion of PFS forum to see if it is worth the time to even bring it up.

1/5

Sin of Asmodeus wrote:

If someone was replaying you can change locations.

Having this, well I read the mod blah blah. Well, step up and run if you dislike how others do it.
I recently played a core night march, and the dm ran the 4 of us up, with 6 player adjustment. I certainly didnot like it, but he was new and stuff happens. So I dealt with it. Ymmv.

Is there a rule for this you can cite? It is fair to say that I was replaying because I was prepare to run it only a couple of days earlier.

Grand Lodge 5/5

If he changed it for the following reasons (probably not exhaustive list) to make the encounter more challenging, he was unprepared, he thought it was more interesting, in your opinion you'd be well within your rights (and maybe even responsibilities) to bring it up to either your VC/VL/GM. In most cases the GM would be the best option, as this was a con the VO is probably a more reasonable one. That said, I would expect a similar outcome to that discussion as with a number of the responses on the board, with that VO also having a talk directly with that GM. (It is less an unwillingness to criticize as an openness to differences happening and an understanding that sometimes s*** happens. As a general rule I will give the benefit of the doubt to the GM over the player (even one who knows the scenario) for a number of reasons)

If he changed it for the following reasons; a player did something that invalidated the tactics/encounter, he misread something, he had a brain fart and mixed up encounters. Then personally I'd leave it alone, no one died, etc. On a side note, Cons are stressful, I've made mistakes with scenarios I've run more than once at cons. Did the scenario work? Did you have fun?

That said, there is a reason a lot of us are hesitant to criticize other GMs beyond what I stated above, number 1 is we would also like the benefit of the doubt if in this situation occurred and we were the GM.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 5/55/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Sacramento

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Sin of Asmodeus wrote:
If someone was replaying you can change locations.

I am not sure where you got this idea from, though I have seen GMs change things when there is someone at the table who knows a lot about the scenario, that does not mean they were allowed to.

1/5

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Joe Ducey wrote:

If he changed it for the following reasons (probably not exhaustive list) to make the encounter more challenging, he was unprepared, he thought it was more interesting, in your opinion you'd be well within your rights (and maybe even responsibilities) to bring it up to either your VC/VL/GM. In most cases the GM would be the best option, as this was a con the VO is probably a more reasonable one. That said, I would expect a similar outcome to that discussion as with a number of the responses on the board, with that VO also having a talk directly with that GM. (It is less an unwillingness to criticize as an openness to differences happening and an understanding that sometimes s*** happens. As a general rule I will give the benefit of the doubt to the GM over the player (even one who knows the scenario) for a number of reasons)

If he changed it for the following reasons; a player did something that invalidated the tactics/encounter, he misread something, he had a brain fart and mixed up encounters. Then personally I'd leave it alone, no one died, etc. On a side note, Cons are stressful, I've made mistakes with scenarios I've run more than once at cons. Did the scenario work? Did you have fun?

That said, there is a reason a lot of us are hesitant to criticize other GMs beyond what I stated above, number 1 is we would also like the benefit of the doubt if in this situation occurred and we were the GM.

Thanks for the response. This helps guide me in my decision more.

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

Steven Lau wrote:
Sin of Asmodeus wrote:
If someone was replaying you can change locations.
I am not sure where you got this idea from, though I have seen GMs change things when there is someone at the table who knows a lot about the scenario, that does not mean they were allowed to.

I think he is confusing it with a certain repeatable which (I have been told) has language moving one of the encounters, to keep it fresh if people are replaying it.

2/5

jtaylor73003 wrote:


I don't want to accuse the GM of anything. I don't want to report the GM. I just want to bring up the issue without naming names to VC at the GM workshop, and him explain how this issue should be handle.

I am asking the opinion of PFS forum to see if it is worth the time to even bring it up.

If you´re going to tell the situation without names, I´ll say go directly to your VC, then he could tell you all what to do if/when the situation arises.

I agree with all the previous responses of trying to talk with the GM previous to report him, but what I´m understanding is you don´t want nothing for that GM, but to learn what to do if that happens again. And your VC will give you better advice than us, if only because he nows more about your area, GMs and players than us.

4/5

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The *only* time I relocated a boss fight as a GM, the party as a whole decided they wanted to wait in ambush for the boss at the same time the boss was waiting in ambush for the party. I rolled a die to see how long the boss would wait, asked how long the party was waiting, and the boss gave up first.

Sczarni 4/5

It might be logical choice of action to change the location of a encounter if there is a valid reason to do it. For example, PCs fight the BBEG in the last encounter, but decide to withdraw from combat and rest. BBEG instead chooses to pursue PCs which changes the location of encounter. This is of course heavily dependent on Intelligence and reason of BBEG. Some BBEGs might choose to stay in the room no matter what. So in the end, it's heavily dependent on NPC's motivations and intelligence but it's possible for NPCs and monsters to change locations if PCs force that change. At least, this is my opinion on the subject.

Adam

4/5

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It could of been just an honest mistake and he misplaced the final encounter.

I would change an encounter location if players actions have dramatically changed it. (i.e. if the encounter occurred in a tavern and the BBG was going to show up, but the PC's burned it to the ground so the bad guy shows up in the street instead) The only time it would be an issue is if there were environmental factors built into the encounter and even then you could replicate most things elsewhere.

Grand Lodge 5/5

I should note having run that scenario that I can come up with some reasons (though at least one of them involves a slight mistake) the GM could have changed the location, while the ones I've thought of probably would not get me to change the location it is a slim possibility (IMO). More likely, to me at least, is it was an honest mistake something like forgetting when/where it happened while being worried about the time (for the slot), paperwork, faction stuff, noise level, etc. and he remembered when the situation had changed so he did his best to salvage the situation (at least this is my hope). That said, tactically his change could make for a much harder and more interesting combat, though if he changed it for that reason it would be a problem.

The Exchange 4/5

Maps. I have forgotten some, and an terrible at creating them. So may grab one I have already.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

I'm with the majority here. Talk to the GM first, if you think something went wrong. It's probably too late now, though. I would have tried immediately after the game.

You just can't know the whole story until that happens. I've moved final encounters before, and modified enemy tactics. Sometimes players' actions demand it.

1/5

@Oykiv Yes. As relatively new GM for PFS, I want to know how properly handle situations that come up.

@all other commentors

Guide to Organize Pathfinder Society Play pg 30 Heading Table Variation wrote:


As a Pathfinder Society GM, you have the right and
responsibility to make whatever judgements, within the
rules, that you feel are necessary at your table to ensure
everyone has a fair and fun experience. This does not
mean you can contradict rules or restrictions outlined in
this document, a published Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
source, errata document, or official FAQ on paizo.com.
What it does mean is that only you can judge what is right
for your table during cases not covered in these sources.
Scenarios are meant to be run as written, with no addition
or subtraction to number of monsters (unless indicated
in the scenario), or changes to armor, feats, items, skills,
spells, stats, traits, or weapons. However, if the actions
of the PCs before or during an encounter invalidate the
provided tactics or starting locations, the GM should
consider whether changing these would provide a more
enjoyable play experience.

Under this scenario the GM didn't just change the starting locations on the map, but changed the entire area of where the encounters was to take place. Doing this also removed a sub rule set which was the theme of the scenario, and changed the feel of the entire scenario.

I say all this, because the general opinion so far is this is okay table variation. I now ask why?

5/5 *** Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

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The why is we don't know the details and are giving the gm the benefit of the doubt rather than jumping on them based on one side of a story.

5/5

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Robert Hetherington wrote:
The why is we don't know the details and are giving the gm the benefit of the doubt rather than jumping on them based on one side of a story.

^^100% this


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Robert Hetherington wrote:
The why is we don't know the details and are giving the gm the benefit of the doubt rather than jumping on them based on one side of a story.

^^^101% this

Liberty's Edge 5/5

jtaylor73003 wrote:
Steven Lau wrote:
jtaylor73003 wrote:
The concern is does this violate the PFS rule "run as written" or is this just table variation?

Since Table variation could mean lots of things that I can not be privy to since I or no one here you are asking was there so we can't answer your question.

I have no idea what lead to your GM changing the location, therefore it could be table variation or it could not be.

Your best bet is to ask your GM.

If the GM gives you a reasonable excuse telling you that PC actions lead to the change then it could be table variation, if the GM says she just wanted it to make it more exciting then it is against the "run as written" rule.

The scenario specially states that the last encounters takes place in a certain area no matter what the PCs decision are. The scenario has a subset of rules to handle how the scenario will change based on choices by the PCs, none which effect the location of the final encounter.

To me the GM clearly changed the location only for tactical reasons(making the encounter more challenging) or was severly unprepared. If he was severly unprepared than when he asked if I like to run it and him play then he should explain this.

Unfortunaly I can't bring up to the GM, because I don't game with him at all. The Con was only time I ever met him. I see the Venture Captain on the regular, and I want him to do a GM workshop for our regular group. I was wondering if I should bring this issue up or let it slide as table variation.

You are kinda going in circles here. We understand what you've said. We also understand how player choices can completely change things, and as a GM you can't force characters and players to make certain decisions just because it changes the script.

Scions of the Sky Key, part 2:
The characters get a round to act before the first wave appears, since they are warned by the kobolds. When I ran it, the players convinced the aspis agent that they unstoned to stick around and warn them. So I had her warn them instead of the kobolds.

But in that round, its possible for the characters to move into the hallway or streets, and thus the final encounter would be somewhere in area B. And depending on how far into the city they got, it might make sense for both waves to happen at once.

I find it unlikely they could get to A in one round. But maybe the GM forgot about the encounter and rather than retcon and break emmersion, he chose just to do it where the characters were. If time were running short, it may make sense to combine the two encounters for reporting purposes.

Lots of reasons why, some good, some not as good.

But none necessarily nefarious or egregious. Although it could be he was just changing things for his own edification, which he shouldn't do.

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

jtaylor73003 wrote:

@Oykiv Yes. As relatively new GM for PFS, I want to know how properly handle situations that come up.

@all other commentors

Guide to Organize Pathfinder Society Play pg 30 Heading Table Variation wrote:


As a Pathfinder Society GM, you have the right and
responsibility to make whatever judgements, within the
rules, that you feel are necessary at your table to ensure
everyone has a fair and fun experience. This does not
mean you can contradict rules or restrictions outlined in
this document, a published Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
source, errata document, or official FAQ on paizo.com.
What it does mean is that only you can judge what is right
for your table during cases not covered in these sources.
Scenarios are meant to be run as written, with no addition
or subtraction to number of monsters (unless indicated
in the scenario), or changes to armor, feats, items, skills,
spells, stats, traits, or weapons. However, if the actions
of the PCs before or during an encounter invalidate the
provided tactics or starting locations, the GM should
consider whether changing these would provide a more
enjoyable play experience.

Under this scenario the GM didn't just change the starting locations on the map, but changed the entire area of where the encounters was to take place. Doing this also removed a sub rule set which was the theme of the scenario, and changed the feel of the entire scenario.

I say all this, because the general opinion so far is this is okay table variation. I now ask why?

That was not what I was getting from the general opinion. What I was getting is that it was probably wrong but if no one came out the worse for it, then it wasn't that big a deal, and if you feel it is then you should talk to the GM about it.

4/5 *

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Second-guessing GMs is the worst thing that has become part of this game. Monday morning GMs are the biggest impediment to recruiting new GMs.

Yes, there are rules. Lots of them. Most of us follow most of them most of the time, and most of the reminder is accident, forgetfulness, and other human imperfections. Harping over and over on a minor issue for someone you don't even game with that seems to have had no effect on gameplay sounds like there is something else to this situation.

Relax and worry about your own run, not the vagaries of someone else's.

1/5

There is no side of the story. Can you change the location of an encounter that is specifically written in the scenario or not?

This is not harping on the GM. This is finding out how PFS as whole sees these events in contrast to the material being put out. I am not concern why the GM did this, which I stated before. I am concern on a whole if it is legal to do so, and if so why.

I apologize if you feel I throwing the GM under the bus, and you feel a need to protect them, but those feelings are on you. Not me. Please don't accuse me of things I haven't done.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

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jtaylor73003 wrote:

There is no side of the story. Can you change the location of an encounter that is specifically written in the scenario or not?

This is not harping on the GM. This is finding out how PFS as whole sees these events in contrast to the material being put out. I am not concern why the GM did this, which I stated before. I am concern on a whole if it is legal to do so, and if so why.

I apologize if you feel I throwing the GM under the bus, and you feel a need to protect them, but those feelings are on you. Not me. Please don't accuse me of things I haven't done.

I'm pretty sure my last post answered yours quite directly.

But in no uncertain words.

It depends.

If the GM is doing it for their own reasons, to increase the challenge or make it more interesting, the answer is no. Run as written.

If the players make choices that make it impossible without forcing actions on them, then do the best you can to wing it while making sure you do your best to maintain a reasonable facsimile of the challenge of the original encounter.

I gave some scenario specific examples above on why this one might not take place in area C.

1/5

GM Lamplighter wrote:

Second-guessing GMs is the worst thing that has become part of this game. Monday morning GMs are the biggest impediment to recruiting new GMs.

Yes, there are rules. Lots of them. Most of us follow most of them most of the time, and most of the reminder is accident, forgetfulness, and other human imperfections. Harping over and over on a minor issue for someone you don't even game with that seems to have had no effect on gameplay sounds like there is something else to this situation.

Relax and worry about your own run, not the vagaries of someone else's.

I responding personally to you because you comment is insulting. I am a new GM trying to learn how PFS handles conflicts of opinions on issues. To call me a "Monday Morning GM" because I don't have any stars, since I just started running shows me that you have a superior complex. I been GM/DM for over 15 years through 3.0 and 3.5, but Pathfinder is not 3.0 or 3.5 and PFS is not Pathfinder.

I know for a fact if I didn't prepare to run this exact scenario then there be no issue. The FACT is I did prepare to run the scenario. The FACT is I know that the final encounter is suppose to take place in another area. The question is: Is it okay to change the location or not? My personal opinion it is against the rules, but I know clue have the community feels. This is why I am asking how does the community feel about this issue.

Please refrain from posting if you can't do so without being insulting.

Dark Archive 5/5

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
jtaylor73003 wrote:
GM Lamplighter wrote:

Second-guessing GMs is the worst thing that has become part of this game. Monday morning GMs are the biggest impediment to recruiting new GMs.

Yes, there are rules. Lots of them. Most of us follow most of them most of the time, and most of the reminder is accident, forgetfulness, and other human imperfections. Harping over and over on a minor issue for someone you don't even game with that seems to have had no effect on gameplay sounds like there is something else to this situation.

Relax and worry about your own run, not the vagaries of someone else's.

I responding personally to you because you comment is insulting. I am a new GM trying to learn how PFS handles conflicts of opinions on issues. To call me a "Monday Morning GM" because I don't have any stars, since I just started running shows me that you have a superior complex. I been GM/DM for over 15 years through 3.0 and 3.5, but Pathfinder is not 3.0 or 3.5 and PFS is not Pathfinder.

I know for a fact if I didn't prepare to run this exact scenario then there be no issue. The FACT is I did prepare to run the scenario. The FACT is I know that the final encounter is suppose to take place in another area. The question is: Is it okay to change the location or not? My personal opinion it is against the rules, but I know clue have the community feels. This is why I am asking how does the community feel about this issue.

Please refrain from posting if you can't do so without being insulting.

You are projecting a perceived insult on a term which you apparently are misunderstanding. "Monday Morning GM" is applicable in that we are being asked to talk about a choice made at the table in the context of 3 hours or so of gameplay leading up to it, "around the water cooler the next morning," as in the common usage of "monday morning quarterbacking".

This has nothing to do with whether you were going to GM Scions 3 as your first table, or your 601st or anything in between, and everything to do with "we weren't there, we don't know what other things happened, so we aren't going to judge it".

There are times when I would make a similar choice. They are few but I've seen some amazing things happen during my 150-ish tables (module credits. whee.)

Those things are called "player choices" and they're the best reason for Expecting Table Variation.


As pointed out upthread yes there could have been reasons this happened, maybe the players ran out of the room as soon as warned, maybe X other thing happened. The game is dynamic.

I cant imagine running a game like..

GM: Tells the players the kobolds warn them.

Player: "ok as you know i had expeditious retreat up so i run out to meet them, my speed is 70 and i double"

GM: "you cant, the adventure says the fight is in here"

In our game, right before the waves started some players were going to go out and free the statue person. that would have changed the location.

The point is that "It depends" IS the answer.

1/5

Andrew Christian wrote:
jtaylor73003 wrote:

There is no side of the story. Can you change the location of an encounter that is specifically written in the scenario or not?

This is not harping on the GM. This is finding out how PFS as whole sees these events in contrast to the material being put out. I am not concern why the GM did this, which I stated before. I am concern on a whole if it is legal to do so, and if so why.

I apologize if you feel I throwing the GM under the bus, and you feel a need to protect them, but those feelings are on you. Not me. Please don't accuse me of things I haven't done.

I'm pretty sure my last post answered yours quite directly.

But in no uncertain words.

It depends.

If the GM is doing it for their own reasons, to increase the challenge or make it more interesting, the answer is no. Run as written.

If the players make choices that make it impossible without forcing actions on them, then do the best you can to wing it while making sure you do your best to maintain a reasonable facsimile of the challenge of the original encounter.

I gave some scenario specific examples above on why this one might not take place in area C.

I apologize. I failed to read you spoiler since it said part 2 and I am speaking of part 3.

Your example shows how the players might change the location, and I understand that. I said the GM changed the location, because none of the parties decision effected why he changed it. The GM literally decided to have it take place in one area over another area. Nothing the players did would caused this change during our game, hence the common thread of the player decisions changing location does not reflect on what I am asking. Is it okay to change the location or not?

Dark Archive 5/5 5/5 Venture-Captain, Minnesota—St. Paul

jtaylor73003 wrote:


I responding personally to you because you comment is insulting. I am a new GM trying to learn how PFS handles conflicts of opinions on issues. To call me a "Monday Morning GM" because I don't have any stars, since I just started running shows me that you have a superior complex. I been GM/DM for over 15 years through 3.0 and 3.5, but Pathfinder is not 3.0 or 3.5 and PFS is not Pathfinder.

I know for a fact if I didn't prepare to run this exact scenario then there be no issue. The FACT is I did prepare to run the scenario. The FACT is I know that the final encounter is suppose to take place in another area. The question is: Is it okay to change the location or not? My personal opinion it is against the rules, but I know clue have the community feels. This is why I am asking how does the community feel about this issue.

Please refrain from posting if you can't do so without being insulting.

I think Andrew covered this fairly clearly (and I know he's been through the scenario from both sides to see how it can play out - I was his GM once, of the three times I've run it) but let's try to break this particular one down:

spoiler:

First, you need to look at the player tactics. If the players' first impulse it to rush out of the temple (they do get an entire round to position/ready) then they can completely relocate the encounter. Not at my table, but at another one run locally, the players rushed out and pushed into the living spaces to fight with the doors and halls as chokepoints.

In this case, it's unreasonable to force them into the temple to fight the BBEG - he's coming to them either way. Here, you must adjust accordingly.

Second scenario - while one character is chatting away with the gargoyle, another might want to go and play with their new friend (he's adorable) or go and fix the arrow trap (cause they're friendly). Now, based on the timeline, they will be out of place as the Aspis attack.

In this case, you start them (the enemies) off at the stairs. They might sneak in some, they might catch the trap repairer out of place. Alone. This is another case where the players just didn't quite work with what was written. You can't force them to teleport to the temple, can't prevent them from leaving reasonably, so you have to adapt.

Third scenario - two of the times I've run this the PCs decided to chokepoint the door to the temple area. This makes the BBEGs tactic of sneaking in invisible VERY DIFFICULT. And it's good tactics by the PCs! Why wouldn't they use a chokepoint? I'm not going to punish them by having him magically end up behind them invisible - I'm going to adapt the tactics and change how he approaches.

These are all reasonable changes that you are expected to and will be forced to make. You cannot just pause the events until the PCs decide to be in the right place for you to press play on the attack. Part of being a GM is adapting to players which will - constantly - break the flow of the written adventure.

Since you clarified that there was no reason to change it - no, it shouldn't have been changed. GMs are to run things as close to written as possible, make changes only as needed. Bypassing an entire subsystem that the scenario is based on is not acceptable if he understood it and the players did not act in a way to prevent it.

There are plenty of possibilities - he didn't understand the scenario or the subsystem, he didn't get a chance to properly prep it (which is also frustrating, as I watched two people die and nearly lost a precious character to a GM not understanding recently), or he decided to change things because he thought it was easier. None are ideal, some are wrong, all are worth talking to him about, just to get an understanding.

(And of course ninja'd as I typed)

1/5

TetsujinOni wrote:
jtaylor73003 wrote:
GM Lamplighter wrote:

Second-guessing GMs is the worst thing that has become part of this game. Monday morning GMs are the biggest impediment to recruiting new GMs.

Yes, there are rules. Lots of them. Most of us follow most of them most of the time, and most of the reminder is accident, forgetfulness, and other human imperfections. Harping over and over on a minor issue for someone you don't even game with that seems to have had no effect on gameplay sounds like there is something else to this situation.

Relax and worry about your own run, not the vagaries of someone else's.

I responding personally to you because you comment is insulting. I am a new GM trying to learn how PFS handles conflicts of opinions on issues. To call me a "Monday Morning GM" because I don't have any stars, since I just started running shows me that you have a superior complex. I been GM/DM for over 15 years through 3.0 and 3.5, but Pathfinder is not 3.0 or 3.5 and PFS is not Pathfinder.

I know for a fact if I didn't prepare to run this exact scenario then there be no issue. The FACT is I did prepare to run the scenario. The FACT is I know that the final encounter is suppose to take place in another area. The question is: Is it okay to change the location or not? My personal opinion it is against the rules, but I know clue have the community feels. This is why I am asking how does the community feel about this issue.

Please refrain from posting if you can't do so without being insulting.

You are projecting a perceived insult on a term which you apparently are misunderstanding. "Monday Morning GM" is applicable in that we are being asked to talk about a choice made at the table in the context of 3 hours or so of gameplay leading up to it, "around the water cooler the next morning," as in the common usage of "monday morning quarterbacking".

This has nothing to do with whether you were going to GM Scions 3 as your first table, or your 601st or anything in between, and...

Yet I repeatly put out that is was not a choice influence by the players. This was the GM's choice only. I just asking is PFS okay with a GM deciding changing the location of the encounter or not? I am not asking you to judge the GM.

I did take insult. If the term was meant as something other than I took it then the commenter should explain the term instead assuming I knew what he/she was saying. I am still insulted.

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
jtaylor73003 wrote:

There is no side of the story. Can you change the location of an encounter that is specifically written in the scenario or not?

This is not harping on the GM. This is finding out how PFS as whole sees these events in contrast to the material being put out. I am not concern why the GM did this, which I stated before. I am concern on a whole if it is legal to do so, and if so why.

I apologize if you feel I throwing the GM under the bus, and you feel a need to protect them, but those feelings are on you. Not me. Please don't accuse me of things I haven't done.

Jtaylor73003 -- I think I get exactly where you are coming from. You are trying to use this case to inform the way that you run things in the future so that you know if what you are doing is in compliance with the rules.

To answer your question, in PFS the GM is supposed to run things as close to written as possible. But they are empowered to make changes on the fly if the circumstances on the ground make those changes a better option than running strictly as written.

If that seems like a vague answer...it is. The PFS rules are intentionally written with some wiggle room so that the organizers don't have to predict and enumerate all possible cases.

Some of the other posters have given very good examples of the kind of decision-tree that a GM is supposed to use when considering changing something up. I won't rehash them, but they are things you should keep in mind.

Since you mention that this is at a con, I'll bring up one that is the most common reason I see for changing things -- time constraints. If the GM was worried about the slot running over, he may well have decided to run the encounter on a map that was already drawn, rather than taking the time to draw the new area, if he thought the encounter would turn out roughly the same in both places.

I know that during my first year of running PFS I *agonized* over every "mistake" I made in running scenarios, despite having a few decades of GM experience and being very confident in my ability to run a table outside of PFS. As I have done more PFS GMing I have learned to let a lot of that go. No one runs a scenario exactly the way it is in the book -- not even the scenario's author. (As you can see if you do much reading in the "GM Discussion" section.) You just do the best you can, try to make sure that any differences don't adversely affect the players, hope that everyone has fun, and move on.

It's not impolite to debrief with a GM after the session, as long as you do it politely and approach it from the direction of curiosity. As for asking the VC, since you seem to be coming at this more from the direction of "is this ok?" rather than being upset, I think it's fine to ask the VC about this, but maybe without tying it to the specific scenario, so that it's more of a discussion about general GMing practice then about "this thing that happened one time".

Is that helpful? Apologies if I misunderstood your intent.

Dark Archive 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

There's a lot of ways that the PCs could derail the scenario's script in scions 3. I could totally see a party where I was a PC getting bored and going off to "help with repairs".

Especially if they freed the woobie, but then pissed her off...

Therefore, I don't know if the GM was responding logically to the PCs wanting to be "forward, active" or to stay at the temple.

Defense point count being super low? Lots of dead kobolds? Yeah, that might be the encounter that "plays right" for the table. I won't try to judge whether it was "We can't get in so we'll wait for him to come out" as I had when I ran one table of Refuge of Time, or some other PCs change the circumstances result.

You can't invent locations out of whole cloth, but you can do what needs to be done to respond to the PCs actions.

Depending on the party makeup, that could even have been a softballing technique to make the big bad less effective a killing machine.... if the party needed such a bailout.

Absent a significant increase in available information, this may be expectable table variation or might be adversarial GMing. Couldn't tell ya. One is good, one is not.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

jtaylor73003 wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
jtaylor73003 wrote:

There is no side of the story. Can you change the location of an encounter that is specifically written in the scenario or not?

This is not harping on the GM. This is finding out how PFS as whole sees these events in contrast to the material being put out. I am not concern why the GM did this, which I stated before. I am concern on a whole if it is legal to do so, and if so why.

I apologize if you feel I throwing the GM under the bus, and you feel a need to protect them, but those feelings are on you. Not me. Please don't accuse me of things I haven't done.

I'm pretty sure my last post answered yours quite directly.

But in no uncertain words.

It depends.

If the GM is doing it for their own reasons, to increase the challenge or make it more interesting, the answer is no. Run as written.

If the players make choices that make it impossible without forcing actions on them, then do the best you can to wing it while making sure you do your best to maintain a reasonable facsimile of the challenge of the original encounter.

I gave some scenario specific examples above on why this one might not take place in area C.

I apologize. I failed to read you spoiler since it said part 2 and I am speaking of part 3.

Your example shows how the players might change the location, and I understand that. I said the GM changed the location, because none of the parties decision effected why he changed it. The GM literally decided to have it take place in one area over another area. Nothing the players did would caused this change during our game, hence the common thread of the player decisions changing location does not reflect on what I am asking. Is it okay to change the location or not?

Read the entire post you just responded to, and you'll have your answer.

1/5

@ph Unbalanced

You are correct about my intent. I am trying to improve how I run overall, and to have this express to others of my group so we present to new players what they would expect if they went to another group of PFS players. "Bad habits are easy to make, but hard to break." I understand that player decisions can change things, but since the players didn't influence this decision I was wondering if it was okay just to do it to do it. Then the normal thing of "if someone dies then bring it" bothers me. If someone is dead, and this decision of the GM caused it where the other players have lose 4+ hours of gaming is it right to only say something then when I could prevented it by saying something earlier.

@all commenters

I do thank people willing to post. I see that the question, while simple to me need to express more so. I will try.

Is it okay to change the final encounter of a scenario without any influence from the players, the same as changing tactics to make it more challenging which some players find more fun, or is it against the rules to do so, which could invalidate all players playing that session?

1/5

jtaylor73003 wrote:

There is no side of the story. Can you change the location of an encounter that is specifically written in the scenario or not?

This is not harping on the GM. This is finding out how PFS as whole sees these events in contrast to the material being put out. I am not concern why the GM did this, which I stated before. I am concern on a whole if it is legal to do so, and if so why.

I apologize if you feel I throwing the GM under the bus, and you feel a need to protect them, but those feelings are on you. Not me. Please don't accuse me of things I haven't done.

Either English isn't your first language or you are not describing what happened very clearly. Are you trying to say that the GM swapped the entire flow of the scenario around so it ran backwards or are you saying that he put the entire scenario in the entry?

Either one is a problem but neither is as bad as you seem to think. Yes you didn't get to play the scenario as intended which kind of sucks for you and your table mates but stuff happens. However as long as no characters died and no fights were harder than intended then no harm no foul.

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

jtaylor73003 wrote:
Is it okay to change the final encounter of a scenario without any influence from the players, the same as changing tactics to make it more challenging which some players find more fun, or is it against the rules to do so, which could invalidate all players playing that session?

Under those circumstances, yes, I believe it is against the rules. I am not sure what you mean by 'invalidate all players playing that session.' If you mean, would the player be justified in asking a VO to overturn a PC death, then the answer would be, 'yes.' But tables don't get invalidated normally just because the GM made a mistake.

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

Let me summarize

No, it is not okay to change the location without some compelling reason. But mistakes happen. If no one got hurt, nothing more need be done.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

The answer is not yes or no.

There may be things players did, that you don't think changed things that the GM did.

But in a vacuum, no, a GM is supposed to run as written.

And no, whether GM error or purposeful modification, this does not invalidate the session.

5/5 *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
jtaylor73003 wrote:
Is it okay to change the final encounter of a scenario without any influence from the players, the same as changing tactics to make it more challenging which some players find more fun, or is it against the rules to do so, which could invalidate all players playing that session?

This question has now been answered multiple times but you seem to be ignoring the responses you are getting. In short:

1. No, GM's should not adjust encounters, whether the location, number of enemies, order or whatever just because they feel like it or because they feel it would make for a better game or more challenge. It isn't down to GM's to second guess the author or scenario developers and we should try to run the session as written where possible.

2. BUT, we are not required to act like computer simulators simply executing the script put before us. We can and should adjust how we deliver the session to react to what the PC's do. Often this will come in the form of tactics which are invalidated by some action of the PC's. Sometimes it will mean you need to move the location of an encounter or combine encounters or change how they play out. This can be for a wide variety of entirely legitimate reasons which are not really subject to exhaustive listing but will generally be based on some action the players took to change the status quo.

1/5

I like to post again. I am not accusing the GM of doing anything but making a decision. I don't want to accuse the GM of doing anything or report the GM. I am trying to learn how the PFS community sees issues of conflict when their our difference of opinions between GM decisions and/or rules. I want to learn from this, and be a better GM. I would like my VC to address this issue, if it is an issue, to my group when holds the GM workshop to make us all better GMs.

I understand it is hard to form an opinion about an event you weren't at, but I think certain generalities could be formed. I prefer to be proactive instead reactive. I hope this clears up any confusion of what I am ultimately looking for.

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